Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

I Saw London, I saw France

Hey, everyone, I’m back from vacation! I/we had a wonderful time in London and Paris, but it feels good to be home. I arrived in London after an overnight flight from NYC in the wee hours of Thursday, April 28th. Drew had been there a week already doing pre-coverage of the royal wedding, which was on Friday the 29th. I had every intention of finding some place cool to watch the wedding — along the processional route, Hyde Park, even a pub somewhere with lots of locals — but jetlag and allergies got the best of me and I was too ravaged from sleep deprivation to drag myself out of my hotel room. Just as well, I guess, since I have to pee every five minutes these days.

A little bit after the wedding, I did get myself together enough to head down to the Piccadilly Circus area where there were still tons of revelers roaming about. I saw lots of fancy hats and fascinators, quite a few William and Kate impersonators, and countless Union Jack flags. There was a definite buzz in the air and it was fun to be part of the festivities in at least that small way.

Drew wrapped up with work the next afternoon and we spent another eight days in London, joined for half of them by my parents, who flew up from Germany to celebrate my mom’s 60th birthday. My mom is really big into birthdays and I haven’t celebrated hers with her since 1994, so one of my favorite memories of our time in London was the evening of her birthday as we were sitting in the theater in the West End watching “Million Dollar Quartet” (where Drew and I were the youngest audience members by 15 years, easy), and I looked over at my mom at one point and she had this great big smile on her face and was clapping her hands to the music and in that moment, it was like she didn’t have a care in the world. It reminded me of Drew at his 40th birthday party last year and how happy he was to be surrounded by all these friends celebrating him. It’s a good thing, seeing a loved one happy.

Anyway, we all had a nice time in London, but on Sunday the 8th, we said our good-byes and my parents headed back to Germany and Drew and I trained it to Paris.

Paris!

I hadn’t been to Paris since I was 16, and that was on a family trip, which, let’s be honest, isn’t the best way to see the city of lights. No, the best way to see Paris is with the person you’re in love with, which is exactly how I got to do it this time, and let me tell you, Paris did not disappoint. If I could have stayed there another month, I would have. And I never feel that way about places I visit. I love traveling, but a few days in one place is usually enough for me, no matter how cool it is. But, Paris… I think I was meant for life in Paris.

We didn’t even really do anything there except spend four fabulous days wandering around and around, eating tons of bread and chocolate, people-watching, practicing basic French phrases (Où sont les toilettes?). We did climb up (a little ways) of the Eiffel Tower (that’s where we are in the picture on top), and we went to the d’Orsay museum, and we hit the famous Les Puces flea market. Our hotel was only a few blocks from the Seine, so we walked along the banks quite a bit, and had a picnic dinner on a bridge at sunset. One night, we splurged and had a really fancy dinner at this place it’s tres difficult to get reservations (but we have connections, yo ;)). My favorite part was just sitting in the Luxembourg Garden, near our hotel, for hours on end, eating chocolate croissants and strawberries, reading books and watching all the passersby. I think, on hectic days in my near future, after the baby is born and I’m sleep deprived and crazy and can’t think straight, those are the moments I’m going to remember — the calm before the storm, when it was just Drew and me and our hopes for the days to come.

Oh! I forgot one other highlight of the trip. Early on — my third night or so in London — I felt the baby move for the first time (I think)! I was lying in bed, resting a hand on my stomach and I felt a quick “tap-tap-tap” from inside. I was just about 16 weeks along, which all the pregnancy info says is the earliest a woman might feel her baby move. I grabbed Drew’s hand and put it on my stomach and he felt it too! Another “tap-tap-tap.” I haven’t felt it again since, but I’m hoping in the next few weeks it becomes a more regular occurrence.

I have a midwife appointment later today and it’s possible we might find out the baby’s sex. We’ll definitely know at our next visit, when they do the full anatomy scan, but if there’s some reason they need to do an ultrasound at today’s visit, there’s a pretty good chance we’ll learn the gender. And that might be even more exciting that Paris. Maybe.

32 comments… add one
  • avatar

    melikeycheesecake May 16, 2011, 10:12 am

    Sounds like a fantastic trip… I’m totally excited for you guys and totally jealous!!! :O)

    Glad that you’re back safe and how exciting to feel the baby kick and maybe just maybe know the gender!!!!

    I hope you post lots of pics to your blog of your visit!!!

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    LTC039 May 16, 2011, 10:25 am

    So jealous, I’m dieing to go back!!
    I went to Paris with my boyfriend & we bought cheese from a little cheese shop in the city, a bottle of wine for 2 euro & sat under the eiffel tower at night for a couple of hours…it was one of the best experiences (& best dates) I’ve ever had!
    Paris is defenitely one of the most amazing cities on this Earth! I thought it was cliche before I got there & wasn’t too interested, but it literally swept me off my feet!
    I’m counting down the days until I can return!

    Glad you guys had a great time! & that you’re back! 🙂

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    sweetleaf May 16, 2011, 10:32 am

    So happy you’re back. Just wait a couple more months and it will feel like you have an octopus wiggling around in there! At least for me, my baby was constantly flipping and rolling and you could see it from the outside!

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    silver_dragon_girl May 16, 2011, 10:58 am

    Glad you had a great trip! Welcome back 🙂

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    sarita_f May 16, 2011, 11:22 am

    Oh Wendy – SO EXCITING to feel the baby move! I am in the midst of a gazillion pregnancies for all my friends surrounding me, and every time I can feel a little bean move from the outside I’m ALL OVER my friends’ tummies :).

    Are you guys going to figure out a name and announce it before the baby’s born?

    It’s to the point here where I can’t keep straight who knows the sex, who doesn’t want to know the sex, what the sex is if they know, what the baby names are or might be or if they couple’s keeping it a secret, etc. Just if you’ve got any restrictions like this, please be kind to everyone else if they mix it up. I know I’ve done it several times – lots of recent conversations have gone like this: “Oh, I thought you told me you were having a little boy and his name was going to be Sam? Oh, my bad, I forget that you don’t want to know the sex and even if you did, you wouldn’t spill the name. Sorry, must have been one of my 10 other friends who’re preggers.”

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    • avatar

      honeybeenicki May 16, 2011, 11:27 am

      I’ve had the same problem recently. Everyone around me is having babies and they all have different rules regarding gender/name. Personally, I think its usually a good idea to keep the name to yourself unless you actually want input. I’ve heard it many, many times… “oh, we’re naming him XYZ”… “Are you sure you like that name? That’s a stupid name. How about naming him ABC instead?”

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy May 16, 2011, 11:32 am

      Personally, I would never be offended if someone mixed up or forgot any pregnancy info I’ve shared with them, like the gender of the baby, the name, whether we’re even finding out the gender, how far along I am, etc., etc. You get to a certain age — like mid-30s, where I am — and it seems like every other woman/couple you know is expecting a baby. I imagine it’s actually pretty boring for people who aren’t in the family way to keep hearing all this baby-talk, so I’m grateful that people even act interested in the mundane details of my pregnancy (not mundane to me, of course!).

      That said, we do have some names picked out for both genders, but we’re going to keep those private until the baby is born. We’ll share the gender once we find out. For anyone who cares. Mom, I’m looking at you. 😉

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      • avatar

        SpyGlassez May 17, 2011, 3:56 am

        Props for “in the family way.”

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        Jess May 17, 2011, 5:44 am

        i think its a great idea not to tell the name until the baby is born. For one, when you look at the baby after its born you might not think the name fits anymore. Two, it makes it more exciting for everyone else. Not like, oh baby James is here now, okay. Three, people are MUCH less likely to tell you they don’t like the name! haha

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  • avatar

    MissDre May 16, 2011, 11:32 am

    Sigh. I’m jealous. Jealous that you get to travel with your love. Also jealous that you are going through the joys of expecting a baby. I’m sure I will get there too when the time is right, I am just impatient (always have been).

    I’m so so happy for you Wendy! Congratulations again!

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy May 16, 2011, 11:34 am

      Thank you! It’s definitely a fun and happy time and I’m reminding myself to really enjoy it, especially now that the vacation is behind us and I still have many months to go before baby gets here.

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    honeybeenicki May 16, 2011, 11:34 am

    We’re glad to have you back 🙂 Someday I will make my way to Europe, I think. Mostly I’m interested in Ireland to see where my family came from. For now, I’ll settle for a trip to Seattle in a few weeks.

    I remember how excited my best friend was to feel her baby wiggle around in there and by the end of the pregnancy he really liked kicking her really hard and just holding his foot out so we could see it on the outside. She said it was one of the most amazing feelings ever. Personally, while my mom was pregnant with me, I preferred wedging myself under her rib cage instead of just kicking a little.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom May 16, 2011, 5:15 pm

      My son wedged himself up under my ribs. I think he was stuck because I’m short and he had no place to go. Poor thing. It made my ribs ache nonstop and I’m sure it didn’t feel any better for him.

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  • avatar

    Elle May 16, 2011, 11:09 am

    So glad you had fun on the trip, Wendy! I think you are a great storyteller, and you describe beautifully the little moments that matter in life.

    I have a little (and embarrassing, for me) story about a baby’s gender. I have an acquaintance I don’t see that often. After asking the usual questions, like when are you due, how are you feeling, I asked her the baby gender, since she’s almost 8 months pregnant. I didn’t know that she and her husband didn’t want to know the gender until the baby was born. She then said “We’re going to have a baby, even though we were really looking forward to having a puppy. Oh well”.

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    • avatar

      AKchic May 16, 2011, 5:35 pm

      *laugh* I’ve done something similar in the store when older folks jokingly ask me if I know what causes pregnancies yet (since I have 4 boys).

      My favorite thing to do is wail “I’d stop but the aliens keep impregnating me!” It’s best to do this in a Wal-Mart or open-air market.

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    • avatar

      Jess May 17, 2011, 5:41 am

      did you ask “what are you having?”

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  • avatar

    LennyBee May 16, 2011, 12:44 pm

    Welcome back! Sounds like a fabulous trip!

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  • avatar

    Bellz May 16, 2011, 1:08 pm

    So jealous!! Welcome back, Wendy!

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    fallonthecity May 16, 2011, 1:14 pm

    Sounds like an amazing trip, Wendy! I have always wanted to go to Paris.

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    HmC May 16, 2011, 2:19 pm

    Awe congrats Wendy! What nice timing, that you got to enjoy such a trip with your hubbie while right on the brink of parenthood. I’m going to be living in Barcelona this Summer and I’m planning a long weekend trip to Paris- I’ve never been, but from what you say here and what everyone tells me, I have a feeling I won’t want to leave!

    Not to be too nosy (and feel free not to respond if you’re not comfortable), but you mentioned a midwife… have you seen the movie The Business of Being Born? It’s a documentary about domestic childbirth practices- how they came about, how they compare to the rest of the world, and how some of them (like the traditional American birthing position) are arguably detrimental to the health of the mother and baby. It’s an interesting documentary, subjective of course, but it made me think critically about things that I had always just taken for granted to be true.

    Anyway, welcome back, and best of luck to you with the rest of your pregnancy!

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy May 16, 2011, 2:29 pm

      Oh, a whole summer in Barcelona — I’m so jealous! That was one of our spots on our honeymoon in 2009 and we just loved it. I may have mentioned this to you before — or maybe it was someone else who is planning to be in barecelona for a few months — but hand’s down, one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life was at a restaurant in Barcelona called Cal Pep. It was pricey, but so worth it. So, save your pennies, and some evening, get there when doors open (7 pm, i think) as it sits only a handful of people and there’s a line to get in all night long. There’s no menu. The staff just serves you whatever the cook is making that day — usually whatever s/he picked up at the market that afternoon. And you can bet whatever it is will be absolutely delicious.

      As for your question, yes I’ve seen the “The Business of Being Born.” Drew and I are doc junkies and we actually watched it several months before I got pregnant, so we started thinking about things pretty early on. It’s definitely a thought-provoking movie, especially for anyone who’s thinking about having children one day.

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        HmC May 16, 2011, 2:37 pm

        Haha, yes that was me before, Cal Pep is definitely on my to-do list. 🙂 Omigosh fresh seafood and I get my decision made for me, sounds perfect.

        Thought-provoking is a great way to describe that movie. I’m not even close to having kids, and it really made me think about the whole process in a detailed way that I never had before. It’s actually overwhelming thinking about all the decisions and possibilities, and getting access to the exact care you want. Plus, if you’ve never had a baby before, it’s such a mystery knowing how you will respond, physically and mentally, to the pain and the whole process. I wish you lots of luck and good health!

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        Jess May 17, 2011, 5:48 am

        i LOVE barcelona!! I’ve been all over europe, and barcelona was my favorite city 🙂 🙂 I’m hoping to do another beach/clubbing trip this summer, I’m thinking an island in greece or maybe corsica, which I hope will be even more amazing. But right now, barcelona is number one!

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie May 16, 2011, 1:53 pm

    Great trip and visit with Mom. tap-tap-tap must be wonderful, bladder being pressed on not so much but it’s a lot better then labor’s gonna be. Welcome home darlin. 🙂

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  • avatar

    abby May 16, 2011, 2:19 pm

    So glad you had a great trip, and arrived back home safely. You look fabulous, pregnancy definitely suits you 🙂

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  • avatar

    WatersEdge May 16, 2011, 3:33 pm

    I just wanted to say that I think we all behaved ourselves wonderfully in your absence. I’m glad you didn’t need to write a Letter from the Editor. I love the vibe over here 🙂

    ETA: What I mean to say is, you should be proud of your success.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy May 16, 2011, 3:37 pm

      As long as all you heathens continue behaving yourselves, the only message you’ll hear from me is “carry on.”

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      MissDre May 16, 2011, 3:39 pm

      Hahaha yes, a Letter from the Editor 😉

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        ReginaRey May 16, 2011, 4:24 pm

        Hehe. For REAL though?? I thought “finally, someone’s addressing the content!” and was disappointed when that was not the case. Read your comment MissDre – liked it a lot.

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        Rachel May 16, 2011, 4:43 pm

        I agree with Regina – you said pretty much exactly what I had been thinking!

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  • eelavocado

    eel avocado May 16, 2011, 10:01 pm

    Wendy, so glad to hear you had a fantastic time! 🙂 I was lucky enough to spend an entire month in Paris the summer after college. One of my favorite things to do was eating a fresh bread and cheese at the local park. I will never forget my time there, and it sounds like you won’t either! What a gorgeous city!

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