YERTpoll7: Topics in DC?

Hi, Gang!

We’re heading into a big week in Washington DC tomorrow, and we’d like to know your thoughts about what to cover while we’re there. Feel free to contribute comments to this blog entry with suggestions, or e-mail them to team@yert.com. In the meantime, please go ahead and fill out this little poll to give us a quick clue.

Thanks, and happy Cherry Blossom season to ya!

Mark

flashback to Days 195-198: YERT Does Dallas – Texas Part 1

Monday, Jan 14th, we drove our way from Arkansas to Texas stopping by a very suspicious looking buffet at a Western Sizzlin’ in Oklahoma for what might qualify as food in some parts of the world, but was terrifying to us – suffice it to say a lot of iceberg lettuce, mashed potatoes, and creepy mac and cheese was consumed in the name of dodging the four-day-old “everything else at the salad bar.” Thankfully we made it safe and sound to our fine hosts in Dallas, Tom and Joy, who had agreed to take us in on spectacularly short notice.

We spent Tuesday playing catch up and running errands – as we must on occasion – enjoying an enthusiastic conversation about YERT and the art of quitting smoking with the manager of a local Chipotle franchise over burritos served on pizza pie tins. It’s always nice to see the no-trash rule bringing people together. That evening, based on a photo of the facade and a quick glance at the menu online, I suggested that we take a chance on a little vegetarian Dallas eatery called the Cosmic Cafe. None of us was prepared for what an absolutely wonderful dining experience this was to be. As we travel, one of the most comforting things for me to find in any town is a local haunt where you know you can find reasonably-priced, freshly prepared, creative, delicious food (preferably vegetarian) served with care in an eclectic and friendly environment. Most city’s worth their salt have at least one and the Cosmic Cafe simply blew us away by almost every criteria – ten seconds poring over the menu at the table and the three of us knew we had hit the jackpot. Generally when we find a place like this, we make repeat visits, and sure enough, the next night saw us back once again for their delectable vegetarian fare – complete with a live accordion concert this time.

Wednesday, we headed to the Fort Worth Stockades for a little Western culture to see the running of the bulls, or, as it turns out in Texas, the walking of the steers. The whole gang there really rolled out the red carpet for us and we had a heck of a time learning all about one of the lone star state’s original “low emissions vehicles” – the Texas longhorn steer. Julie even found herself sitting on top of one for a second.

Then we headed into downtown Fort Worth for an interview with one of our key Texas liaisons and a one-woman eco-dynamo, Haily Summerford, Public Education Specialist for the City of Fort Worth’s Environmental Management Department. Haily taught us all about Fort Worth’s “incredible shrinking garbage” and even introduced us to a real-live cardboard cartoon super hero – Captain Crud (he gave a riveting interview) – who’s helped increase Fort Worth’s recycling diversion rate from 6% to 20%. Haily is truly doing yeoman’s work in North Central Texas.

After Crudding about, we hustled over to the EPA’s Region 6 headquarters in Dallas for a sit-down with three of their experts to find out all about the Sustainable Skylines initiative to improve air quality in the Dallas metro area, a team effort between the City of Dallas, the EPA, and the North Texas Council of Governments. Apparently, Dallas was selected from a pool of several cities as the first in the nation to test-drive this innovative program made up of a number 3-year projects which could serve as a model for programs in other cities. This sounds like good news and bad news – the good news is that it finally looks like there’s a program starting up that might help address some of Dallas’ air quality problems, the bad news is that those air quality problems are so severe in Dallas as to warrant starting the program there first. Oh well, better late than never. And of course, so as to leave no stone unturned in this quest for clean air in North Texas, Thursday morning we had an even larger roundtable discussion with the North Texas Council of Governments’ crack-team of air-quality policy peeps in Arlington, TX to get the skinny on Big D’s dirty air and to probe even further into the Sustainable Skylines initiative.

Then, just for good measure we headed just down the road to tour the AbitibiBowater recycling facility – one of the world’s largest newspaper recyclers – where we watched giant machines do all sorts of cool stuff with all things recyclable – shred, sort, compact, cube, tie. In a word it was…neato. By Thursday afternoon, though we’d already seen a lot in Dallas, we were just getting started in Texas and headed west in search of wind…

Stay tuned for more Texas in the next installment (what can I say, it’s a big state and I’m sleepy).

YERTpod24: Non-Invasive Ways to do Holidays in Hawaii

Dear YERTians,

(Hang with YERT in Washington D.C. on Sunday night at 7PM! Get details to this event, including the full street address, here.)

A key objective during our visit to Hawaii was to explore the impacts of invasive species on this beautiful, isolated island. How do new plants and animals arrive? Why do they thrive, or fail? And why is Hawaii a hotbed for genetically modified food research? Then it hit us like a ton of bricks—WE are the most invasive of the species!

Our world turned upside down as we began to scrutinize each of our vacation habits, and we learned that measures we previously considered extreme were far from it. Prefer a simple room? Try a yurt, or even a repurposed VW Bus. Low flush toilet? Try a composting toilet, entirely solar powered. Anitra at Lova Lava Land showed us how simple it was to vacation lightly on the planet and still have a blast.

If you seek more comfort than a stylish (but old) VW Bus can offer, then you might have preferred our other destination. We enjoyed an extraordinary bamboo cottage at Kahua Institute’s Maui Retreat Center, using it as a home base while exploring the island—where we found countless human specimens invading the streets to celebrate Halloween! We hunted for invasive insights from lions, clowns, Transformers, and even a life-sized martini.

Conserving Vacation Days,

Ben, Julie, and Mark (Your YERT Team)

team@yert.com

P.S. And now for the Breadcrumbs! If you’d like to learn more about the topics covered in this video, check out the information below…

  • BioBeetle – If it weren’t for the recent arrival of the BioBeetle to the islands, we might have had an even larger footprint! Both BioBeetle and YERT are not convinced that biofuels are the way to go as “the” solution for our energy woes, but we can all totally get behind BioBeetle’s 100% recycled veggie oil fuel. After helping us rent their cute green diesel VW Bug, these folks even loaned us maps, books, and TUPPERWARE while on the island. We even got hugs. Talk about a full service car rental company…
  • Lova Lava Land – Ben edited most of the Iowa "corn challenge" video (YERTpod14) while at LovaLavaLand, which meant that it was almost entirely powered by solar energy! If you have a good pair of shoes, then you’ll have no problem walking around on the beautiful (but sharp) lava rocks at this simple-riffic vacation spot. Budget vacationers will enjoy the price and you’ll be well hosted by Anitra.
  • Kahua Institute’s Maui Retreat Center – Home to the oldest bamboo farm on Maui and, and according to their website, the first two bamboo structures in the U.S., it also became the site of our very own Step It Up event back in November. This lush Hawaiian haven offers classes and work-study opportunities on sustainability and embodied spirituality for anyone looking to transform bamboo or themselves from an "invasive" into a more sustainable "beneficial non-native".
  • Dr. Christopher Dunn, Director of the Harold L. Lyon Arboretum, introduced us to plants that should and shouldn’t be on the islands, and explained why it is important to pay attention to having the right plants in the right places at the right times.
  • Daniel Gluesenkamp, Biologist at Audubon Canyon Ranch, is Ben’s cousin living in San Francisco, and quite possibly one of the more knowledgeable and passionate conservationists we’ve met on the trip. He’s not from Hawaii, but a visit with him in California just before our flight put invasive species high on our radar for Hawaii.
  • Christy Martin gave us the technical low-down on invasive species in the Hawaiian Islands. She is the Public Information Officer for the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (CGAPS for short), and we learned that she’s constantly on the alert for snakes and other exotic pets/pests that shouldn’t be “vacationing” on the islands. Even the dirt on our shoes can carry the seeds of a new pest. Tread lightly…

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Days 251-254: NC Pt II: the motherload that is Asheville

Going in, we knew that Asheville, NC, would be a hotbed for environmentalism, and we were not disappointed. We were welcomed into the elegant mountaintop home of our new friends, Stephen and Suzie, and were immediately taken under the wings of two of the most sustainable people I have ever met, Bob and Isabel. Here is one of Bob’s amazing sandals that he has been wearing and repairing for the last 5 yrs, made from spare tires and seat belts…

Isabel set up an evening party for YERT at Pearson Drive Garden, one of three community gardens featured in Asheville’s Bountiful Cities Project. It was a really nice potluck, we got to meet a bunch of sweet folks, showed some videos, shared stories and heard what locals are doing. We even had a sign language interpreter there with some deaf people, who suggested that we consider finding a sponsor for ‘CLOSED CAPTIONING for the hearing impaired’ on our videos – something I personally had not thought of before and which we would love to offer.

Isabel drove us to Earthaven – self described as “an aspiring ecovillage in a mountain forest setting near Asheville…dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning, living, and demonstrating a holistic, sustainable culture.” We were shown the ropes by Isabel’s teacher and revered permaculturist, Patricia Allison. Both women pointed out that what may look like a garbage dump to the untrained eye, piles of paper and cardboard lying about the garden in seemingly haphazard fashion, is actually nourishing the ground, creating rich new soil. Compostable outdoor toilets have a separate section for PEE!, which is then collected, diluted and used to further fertilize the improving soil. Like The Farm in Summertown, TN, this intentional community is an example of attempting to live sustainably in community….

Another example is the Ash Village Institute, in Asheville city limits. (Isabel also brought us here!) We met Janell Kapoor, another student of Permaculture and tasted several of her many flavors of meade – a naturally fermented honey wine – (ok, I didn’t) before hearing all about Kleiwerks, her natural building website, and getting a tour of their demonstration house, refinished completely naturally. We were inspired to hear how the neighborhoods are taking to their totally green neighbors!

The last things we were treated to by our amazing Bob and Isabel were 1. the totally cool grocery selling all surplus organic stuff at very affordable prices, 2. REAL dumpster diving!! which is mainly hitting grocery dumpsters for perfectly good food being tossed in the dumpster, while it is still clan and edible… and 3. the biggest Goodwill store I have ever seen…it has a huge back section where clothing is sold $1.10 per pound. That is where Ben stepped on the scale for fun and stepped right off again when he realized how much sympathy weight he has gained since my pregnancy…

We can also look forward to video with Professor Andrew Jones. I slept through the entire thing on his couch and cannot comment except that he is an exceptional host who knows how to treat a pregnant lady (feed her bread…Thank you, Andrew!) and that his son is very honest. When I told him I was growing a baby, he said, “Is that why you’re so big?” Yes. Yes, it is. :)

Days 247-251: NC Part 1: Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill/Carrboro

Here’s a quick rundown of our early days in beautiful North Carolina.
First we stayed with a terrific little family in the charming town of Carrboro. We walked with the Teals from their house right to the Farmer’s Market! Yeah, that’s the way it should be! Loads of bike trails and walking trails through forests behind people’s houses. 1st place where i actually said out loud, “I could live here.” IF we could afford it. Ay, there’s the rub. Still out of the range of the most modest incomes but nevertheless encouraging to see land being conserved, protected and shared as dear, instead of every house sitting on an acre or more of lawn, all to itself…

Professor Rob Jackson took us into a part of Duke Forest where scientists are pumping in extra CO2 to see if the forest will take in more carbon, grow faster, etc., as a possible solution to the problem of increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The boys climbed a high tower above the canopy to see how the CO2 is dispersed, and I sat at the base, drawing leaves on my maternity jeans and making a really poor basket out of long leaf pine needles. Unfortunately, they’re finding not much of a change, really, in carbon absorption or tree growth, unless fat doses of fertilizer are involved, which sort of defeats the purpose, so…back to the drawing board?

We had quite a lovely and thoughtful visit with the elegant Dr. Ellen F. Davis – author, Old Testament scholar, and professor at Duke Divinity School – at her home near Duke University. Dr. Davis has rediscovered what she believes is an unmistakable message in the books of the prophets in particular: Our highest calling as humans is to take care of the natural world that God created. She has recently published a book called Scripture, Culture and Agriculture in which she examines Old Testament biblical text in relation to our relationship with the earth…

And Jeff Fisher has found a way to make Conservation profitable through a Conservation Real Estate Company called Unique Places, LLC. Will this be the beginning of different kind of relationship between land and developers?? Let’s hope so…

We also got to spend an afternoon with some students at Duke’s Nicholas School of Sustainability, thanks to Sonya Reinhardt.

Next time: Asheville: the motherload…

Days 255-258: West Virginia, Mountain Momma…

THIS
MUST
END.

It’s the phrase that’s been going through my head all weekend in West Virginia. We’ve been “digging into” mountain top removal (MTR) coal mining out here – unbelievably tragic stuff and arguably the most environmentally destructive process that mankind engages in.

Saturday morning, we took a small plane up over southern WV – there’s a great little operation out of Asheville, NC called Southwings where pilots volunteer their time and money to take people up in the air to show them the MTR that’s happening out here. Our wonderful pilot, Susan Lapis, has given tours to everyone from Robert Kennedy Jr. to Woody Harrelson and was an unbelievable guide and pilot. There’s really no substitute for seeing this problem from the air. Evidently, everyone who takes the flight has the same initial response to seeing the devastation – “I had no idea!” We were certainly no exception.

Then we visited with a man named Larry Gibson, a mountain-loving native of Appalachia who lives in a humble cabin perched on the last remaining sliver of Kayford Mountain in a sea of MTR coal mining. His cabin used to be one of the low points in the area and now it’s one of the highest. He’s a one-man army taking on big coal and speaking around the country about MTR. Fighting to protect his “family’s mountain,” he was emboldened even further after the coal companies blew up one of his family’s grave yards in the course of destroying a neighboring mountain to get at the coal underneath. Though of small stature, Larry is truly a giant among men – just the warmest, most colorful, caring activist. We first spoke to him in his cabin on a rainy Saturday afternoon, and then returned to him on Sunday for a grand tour of his little “island” in the sea of “big coal,” complete with an enormous mining operation right in his back yard. Having been threatened, shot at, and had his cabin torched, he’s fighting the big-coal monster, and willing to lay down his life to do it. A true hero.

Finally, on Monday, we traveled into a hollow (a valley hamlet, pronounced “holler” if your local) and spoke with Bobby Mitchell and Maria Lambert. Maria lives in one of many hollows that have been ravaged by water pollution from MTR mining, where the incidents of certain cancers and diseases are off the charts – in one hollow, nearly every person has had to have their gall bladder removed. The things that come out of Maria’s tap look like a toxic science experiment gone awry, and the seemingly innocuous creek running in front of her house is untouchable – she won’t even let her granddaughter stick her foot in it. Bobby is helping to organize and empower local citizens like Maria to unite around these issues, get their water tested, and start raising some hell about these life-threatening problems. More often than not people like Bobby and Maria are given the run-around by local agencies and governments, but they continue to persevere. It’s a daunting and thankless process, but there’s nothing like having your life and health on the line to motivate you.

Pictures can not begin to do this MTR issue justice – the amount of devastation going on in Appalachia in the name of cheap energy is just mind-blowing. In Wyoming, coal seams are, in many cases, just under the surface so companies can essentially “scoop” it out rather than burrowing underground like in traditional mining. This kind of strip mining is cheaper and requires fewer workers than traditional underground mining, so in order to stay competitive with cheap Wyoming coal and to make an extra buck, companies that mine in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky are increasingly relying on MTR coal mining. Huge mountains are simply gone and the “overburden” is dumped into the valleys, polluting waterways and ecosystems. Over 1200 miles of streams and rivers in WV have been effectively buried or poisoned from MTR – there are all kinds of heavy metals and chemicals that leach into the surface and groundwater when coal and rocks that were never meant to see the light of day are suddenly and violently exposed (not to mention the witches brew of toxic chemicals used to “clean” and process the coal before it is shipped off). So much illegal is going on in these mountains it’s hard to know where to begin – one mining operation was committing an average of 26 violations per day, every day for 6 years! Of course, all of this has been getting dramatically worse under the current administration.

Many people are finding every color of water coming out of their tap (black, brown, red, orange, green) and are either dying or suffering a long list of ailments from contaminated drinking water. Much of this news never sees the light of day, and the state and local governments seem to be completely in bed with the big coal companies. This is why, despite the current rhetoric on TV to the contrary, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS CLEAN COAL. Carbon sequestration is such a small tip of such an enormous ice berg. If our excursion into coal country has taught us anything, it is that coal simply needs to stay in the ground, and more people need to hear about what is really going on behind the hills next to the highway. The things that are kept out of sight from the general population out here (and in many other places around the country) would break the hardest heart. Check out a documentary called “Kilowatt Ours” for more about MTR coal mining and what each of us can do about it.

Finally, the next time any of us turns on a light switch or fires up an appliance, we would be wise to remember people like Maria, Larry, and Bobby – because, odds are, somewhere out in Appalachia, a piece of mountain just disappeared and real people suffering as a result.

why West Virginia wore julie out

I am going to bed early tonight in the hopes that I can recharge my own batteries, fully drained by witnessing firsthand mountaintop removal in West Virginia. Susan Lapis, Southwings Conservation Aviation pilot, flew us over the area to see how coal companies are chopping off mountaintops for the horizontal seams of coal that run through them, and then shoveling the rock, the “overburden,” as they call it, into valleys and streams, filling them completely. Words cannot do justice…so here’s one photo for you to ponder while I am off to sleep…
oh, what are we doing?

Days 244-246: South Carolina: Noisette Navy Yard becoming something new…

Back in November, YERT was contacted by Jim Augustin of Noisette Navy Yards in North Charleston, South Carolina. We kept in touch and were pretty happy that we were able to visit and get a good look at several of the facets of this unique place… Once a working Navy Yard, the waiting space was taken on by Bill Augustin and John Knot, to be developed as a sustainable multi-use community resource center called Noisette

The first person we spoke with was Chris Fischer of Fischer Recycling. I have never seen so much broken glass in one place; it was beautiful, all separated into neat colored piles. Fischer said he started out selling t-shirts at the mall but, seeing restaurant employees carting out bottles to be recycled every night, he was inspired to get in on the recycling gig. He bought a cheap truck, started hauling people’s bottles for them, and a business just grew from there. He assured us that recycling IS lucrative, but he draws the line at plastics. He hates the stuff. I asked him if he had any idea why America doesn’t reuse bottles anymore – his answer: Plastics. All the bottle bills die immediately because the Plastics lobbies are so strong. It hurts their business if bottles are returned and reused. I didn’t even know there were bottle bills being drawn. Here is an interesting article on bottle bills

We also talked with three lovely women from the Navy Yard’s HUB Education Program.
The program’s self-described mission is “To enhance opportunities for Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) to participate in construction projects throughout South Carolina by providing education and training essential for managing a competitive construction company…” We found this fascinating in that the program specifically offers women and minorities an opportunity to get ahead in the field. All 3 women felt incredibly empowered by working with the program. WOOHOO!

Finally, we talked with Jim Schultz. Metal sculptor, welder, salty dog, chain smoker, interesting critter, an artist and a gentleman to me, Jim has been burned a few times trying to make a living as an artist but he loves and trusts Jim Augustin and Noisette, and has been working with them now for some time. We found him in his studio with his son, Jeremy, unloading a giant piece of metal he was calling an anvil…and I was banished to the car for fear of old 1940’s paint chips and etc flying around, my being pregnant and all. Jim took us over to the firehouse where we got to see one of his very large works – a welded metal palm tree over 9′ tall – and we also saw two of his pieces over at the Noisette office. My favorite was the fish…

All in all, it looks like the city of North Charleston still has a way to go but Noisette has taken a giant step in starting the ball rolling that is making people proud to be a part of the neighborhood. And we had a great dinner party hosted by our honorary (for now) 4th member, Erika Bowman, and her mama, where we got to meet John Knott as well as some of the other movers and shakers at Noisette. We were honored, and wish them well.

YERTpod23: Bioneering Change in California and Beyond

Dear YERTians,

(We’re headed to Washington DC soon (3/29-4/6), and want to know what you’re eager to see! Politicians? National non-profits? Maybe even watch us try to meet with President Bush? We need to get started on our DC focus, but we need your input, so send it along today! …And now for the rest of the show…)

Welcome to California, the motherland for the mother lode of Mother Earthly events. We knew that we’d be frustrated by the screamin’ YERT schedule while we tried to take in all the green mother-ness in the state, so we did our best to bring the state to us: we went to a couple of conferences. Our first conference was Bioneers, and we were blown away…

The place was filled with creative, intelligent people motivated to change the world. If you’ve never heard of Bioneers, then just imagine a group of pioneering innovators in fields spanning biology, technology, spirituality, sociology, and everything in between. Bioneers are working hard to bring out the best in humanity and make it stick.

We caught up with one of the folks working to make things stick: Medea Benjamin, Co-Founder of Global Exchange and Code Pink, who connected the dots between oil, the environment, and—wouldn’t you know it—peace! Amazing what you can do with a few extra billion dollars. We were also delighted to meet Kristin Rothballer, who once worked in development for the Bioneers Conference, and is now the Managing Director of Green For All. The brainchild of Van Jones and Majora Carter, Green For All is working to bring the green revolution to people of all socio-economic backgrounds—not just the Prius driving elite.

One of the most incredible discoveries (at least for a YERTian) was a one-stop shop for all eco explorers: the Ecology Center in Berkeley has a phone number that anybody can call to get any eco-question answered: 510-548-2220 x233. The service is free—you just have to pay for the call to the 510 area code. Now if that doesn’t motivate you to explore a new eco-alternative, I don’t know what will. Give ‘em a call!

With Change,

Julie, Ben, and Mark (Your YERT Team)

team@yert.com

P.S. And now for Breadcrumbs! If you want to learn more about the topics in this video, check out these resources:

Green For All – We met Kristin Rothballer, Managing Director of Green For All. Knowing the talent that Kristin brought to Bioneers, you can rest assured that Green for All is going to make incredible positive waves in this country. From their website… “Green for All has a simple but ambitious mission: to help build a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.” That’s all based on the premise that “a national effort to curb global warming and oil dependence can simultaneously create good jobs, safer streets and healthier communities.”

Ecology Center (and Hotline!) – Amy Kiser, Development Director for the Ecology Center (in Berkeley), gave us the rundown. While we are ticked by their eco-hotline, they also provide a variety of other community services that they can describe best: “We address the public need for non-commercial information about ecologically-sensitive practices and the numerous toxic threats to society and the environment. In addition to our Environmental Resource Center, we provide direct services including Berkeley’s residential curbside recycling pickup, the three Berkeley Farmers’ Markets, the Farm Fresh Choice food justice program, Terrain magazine, the EcoHouse demonstration site, and a wide range of fiscally-sponsored projects.”

WiserEarth.org – We were entertained by Adam Burkett, Web Designer for WiserEarth.org. When he pulled out his leaf business card, however, we knew that we had a magic man on our hands. He’s currently helping make magic at WiserEarth, too… which is essentially a community networking website devoted to social change.

ChicoBag – Meet ChicoBag before they became a YERT sponsor! We caught up with Founder Andy Keller, who shared the scoop on ChicoBag’s birth. We still think it is the ultimate re-usable bag, but you can decide for yourself… We’ll be offering official YERT-branded ChicoBags for you to buy in the next month or so. Stay tuned!

Medea Benjamin has made a name for herself as the Co-Founder of Global Exchange and Code Pink. You’ve probably seen her on TV singing for social change in a pink shirt. We can’t get enough of her, and we always like to find folks who can eloquently connect the dots between war and sustainability. Also, if you haven’t heard, Global Exchange (among other things) runs fair trade stores in SF, Berkeley, and Portland, OR.

Conscious Goods Alliance – This bus tour is spreading the word about a variety of eco products. We enjoyed the fact that they’re also on a road trip of sorts, though you can never replace Rachel (the Car) Carson. The website explains it well: “The companies that make up the Conscious Goods Alliance follow a Triple Bottom Line approach, a business philosophy that partners with, and is committed to, the social and ecological bottom line in equal partnership with traditional bottom line financial returns.” Catch a list of their partners, including Theo Chocolate, here.

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Day 250: YERT Squert update! baby love…

So, for those of you who may not have gleaned from previous blogs (or my facebook page), WE ARE GROWING A GIRL!!! I flew home to KY at 19 weeks to have some checkups, one with a midwife at the farm and one at the ob/gyn office. Here is our little one giving us her sweet profile at 2nd ultrasound…i think she is pretty already…(and I really hope I am seeing the Evans chin)…

Actually, we considered not having the 2nd ultrasound because, at my checkup at The Farm, our midwife suggested that we research “ultrasounds and autism” before we agreed to have another one done. So, of course, I panicked and googled and read and tried to absorb. Ben read, too, and we both felt worried enough to say Let’s skip it. Even though the fact is that nobody knows WHAT is causing the increased incidence of autism in kids in this country. It’s not that ultrasounds are indicated, exactly – it’s more like they can’t be been ruled out.

Day of my appointment in KY, I called the nurse to let her know our decision not to have the test but Nurse convinced me otherwise. She said this was THE ultrasound, the “anatomical” ultrasound, where they check to see if the baby has all its parts, both lobes of the brain, all 4 chambers of the heart, etc…. So i said ok. I have to say, I felt really sort of happy. I wanted to see our baby again, wanted to be reassured, as I hadn’t started feeling any real movements yet at 19 weeks, and I worried that she was still alive in there. Plus I wanted to know if she was a boy or a girl, even though I was pretty sure she was a she. Which she is! And getting bigger every day. Of course, no I actually get to FEEL her moving around, which is the BEST.

Just wanted to let everyone know that I DID in fact build her a onesie out of Ben’s underpants, but I was wrong: it took 2 pairs, not just one. And the eyelets were not a part of his underpants before I made the little outfit. Here it is, front & back. And yes, moms, that is a snap closure. Made in SC, with love, from Daddy’s underpants. Baby girl’s underpantsuit. Will she hate us for this? Not for awhile, anyway…