12.11.2012

The End Is Near

Starting this Friday, if I haven't already gone into labor, I will be getting the stitches removed and will also officially be off bedrest.  SOUND THE HEAVENLY FREAKING CHORUS.   Mike and I are in full-on countdown mode.  Mike has started repeatedly singing that "One Day More" song from Les Miserables with a few substitute lyrics: "Three more days 'til revolution, they will nip you in the bud..."  It's lovely.  I already have a long To-Do list of things I want done post-bedrest and pre-giving-birth, (depending on our luck that may be a very small window of time, so we'll see how this goes) including Christmas shopping, goody making, Hobbit seeing, closet organizing, Christmas lights viewing, and hiking Ensign Peak.  I refuse to have this baby until I have had at least a day or two to enjoy my new freedom.

What?  I've been a little cooped up lately.

Anyway.

On Bedrest I Have:
-Read 23 books
-Done a fair amount of writing
-Consumed an unknown quantity of Tums
-Watched three seasons of Community
-Had Harry Potter and Star Wars movie marathons
-Had people come visit me from 7 different states
-Sworn off doctors, even while scheduling follow-up appointments
-Watched Mike make an entire Thanksgiving feast for just the two of us, and then gorged down that food like nobody's business.  Seriously, I knew that man could make a killer turkey, but every single dish was heavenly.  I bet you didn't have eleven pounds of turkey per person at your Thanksgiving feast.

Mike and my madre making pie crusts the day before the feast

Cutting into the turkey

After the binge 

-Got a new niece!  Welcome little Ada!
-Played over a thousand games of FreeCell
-Done hours and hours worth of research on cervical incompetence, pregnancy, labor, delivery, recovery, and infant care
-Considered hundreds of potential names for our little squishy
-Failed to find a name that Mike and I can agree on.  Do not be surprised if she ends up being named "kid."
-Never got the hang of swallowing whole cantaloupes prenatal vitamins
-Had a nice no-fuss birthday
-Developed an insatiable appetite for apples and peanut butter
-Threatened to throw all sharp objects within arms reach at the next person who tells me "how nice bedrest must be."


I cannot wait to be done with bedrest.  It's been a loooong and very painful and excessively boring and extremely stressful three months.  I'm so glad that we were able to stay pregnant this long, but I am just as glad that it's almost over.  I am not one of those women who enjoy pregnancy, so it's been kind of an odd experience to severely dislike being pregnant all while dreading the thought of going into labor too soon and not being pregnant.  It's nice to feel like labor is not the enemy anymore.  I realize that giving birth will only mean switching one set of worries and concerns for another, but I'm ready.  Bring it on, fetus.

SPEAKING OF... We are having a kid soon.  How's that for freaky?  It's time for the Birth Guessing Game.

The Birth Guessing Game
Okay, folks.  Please submit your guesses for the following:
1) What day she will be born
2) Her birth height and weight
3) What her name will be (we really could use some input here)

Here are some things to assist you in your guesses:
- The circlage is being removed on Friday 12/14 at 10:15am.
- The average time from removing the circlage to giving birth is 11 days.
- That average includes women who probably never needed the circlage, but had it done as a precautionary measure.  (After all my ultrasounds, we are left with no doubt that I am not one of those women.  I absolutely needed this circlage to keep my baby alive.)
- My doctor thinks it will be only a matter of a few days after the stitches are cut before I go into labor.
- I only have less than 1 centimeter of functional cervix remaining as it is, and for several months now the stitches have been the only thing that has separated her from the outside world.  She will likely be born very soon after the stitches are cut, since there will be nothing left preventing her from being born.
- As previously stated, I refuse to have this baby until I've had a few days of freedom.  You will not win many Mel points if you guess that she will be born immediately after cutting the stitches.
- Mike's goal is to make it to Tuesday 12/18 because on that day she will officially be 37 weeks, making her a full-term baby instead of premature.
-The actual due date isn't until January 8th.

Okay, GO!

11.03.2012

I AM THE WINNER OF EVERYTHING. SOMEBODY GET ME A HAM.

It's official: the three of us made it to November without going into labor or dying or going completely insane.  We win everything!  We're at 30 1/2 weeks now, and are hoping to make it at least a few more weeks, if we can.  Bedrest still sucks, and I miss my body, but, again, none of us have gone into labor or died or gone completely insane.  So I call it a win.  It might sound melodramatic, but all three options have been real possibilities at various points in the last few months.  The fact that we are all still functioning human beings is a serious victory.

We've had some fun things to break up the pregnancy stress/bedrest monotony lately.  Mike's old college roommate and his wife came and visited from New Mexico, my mom came in town and knocked out all sorts of projects, and three of my college roommates came from CA, OR, and DE to visit as well.  True to form, we didn't take a single picture of anything or anyone for any of the visits.  Sigh.  One of these days we'll actually use our camera.  Here's us roomies a year ago...

This year we had planned on going to Balboa, but once bedrest hit I had to brokenheartedly admit that I couldn't go.  Rather than get together without me, the three of them changed their plans last minute and traveled to Salt Lake instead, just for me.  That's right, they traded Balboa Island for my living room.  That takes a special kind of friendship.  I love you guys, and miss you already!  Between the Roomies and my Mamma Lamma, we got all sorts of things done.  Thank you so much for the freezer meals, the sewing projects, the painting, the meal prep, the deep cleaning, the errand running, the impromptu baby shower, and everything else!  Really, the company would have been enough.  But I am so grateful for all they selflessly did while they were here.  

Halloween was pretty low key, but we still had a good time.  Mike made a "scary" Halloween dinner for us, and then carved pumpkins while I separated the pumpkin seeds from the guts.  We then roasted the pumpkin seeds and ate them while watching Hocus Pocus and waiting for trick-or-treaters.  The three of us dressed up as a cook and an oven and a bun for about two minutes just so that we could take a picture.  Here we are at a rare moment wherein I am standing:
Don't worry, I was laying back down on the couch immediately after this picture was taken.  And have been here ever since. 

New goal: Make it to Thanksgiving without going into labor, dying, or going completely insane.  If we make it, we will truly have a lot to be grateful for.  :)

Wishing you all Happy Novembers!

10.13.2012

Tales from the Bed

This post is not nearly as salacious or exciting as that title may have led you to believe.  I'm actually on bedrest right now (more pregnancy complications, story of my life these days) and after a few weeks of constantly laying down, I think I've figured out how to survive this self-imposed immobility without going completely insane.  I thought I'd share.

HOW TO PREPARE IF YOU ARE GOING ON BEDREST

The transfer to bedrest is sudden and unexpected for most of us, but if you do have a few days to prepare ahead of time, here are some suggestions for how to get ready.

-Get your hair cut, but do not make any drastic changes.  You probably won't be allowed to sit/stand long enough to blow dry/style your hair, so something simple and easy is best.
-Get your absentee ballot arranged so that you can still vote.
-Go to the dentist.
-Get a pedicure.  With shellac.
-Check when your driver license needs to be renewed.  You won't be able to go to the DMV once you're on bedrest, so get it done ahead of time.
-Decide ahead of time what to do if someone rings the doorbell.  I've heard of some people give a copy of their house key to friends or family members who will be making regular visits, which seems to work well.  For other unexpected visits, though, decide now that you won't get up.
-Go grocery shopping.
-Buy straws.  You have no idea how difficult it is to drink from a normal cup when you're laying down.
-Trays.  They will keep the inevitable crumbs from your most recent meal to a minimum.
-Dry shampoo.  It will do wonders to preserve your dignity.
-This goes without saying, but really good, comfortable, supportive pillows.  Lots of them.

HOW TO SURVIVE WHEN YOU ARE ON BEDREST

Once you're laying down, you will be spending a lot of time alone doing very little.  Here are some ways to tackle the boredom, retain your dignity, and still feel good about yourself.

-Start the day right.  Eat a healthy breakfast.  Have a cooler by your side stocked with drinks and snacks and lunch to get your pregnant self through the day.  Make sure you have everything you need within arms reach before your spouse leaves for work: cell phone, iPod, laptop, chargers, books and bookmarks, notepads and pens, chapstick, medications (Tums, Tylenol, etc. as needed), lotion, tissues, hair bands and bobby pins, make-up, napkins, hand sanitizer, TV remotes, etc.  Note: this will probably require a good sized nightstand.
-I can still take my own showers, but this may not be an option for you, depending on what kind of bedrest you are on.   If you can shower, though, actually take a shower.  You may not feel very motivated to take a shower, because, hey, you're not leaving the house anyway.  But it will be worth it.  Feeling clean and wearing normal clothes will help fight the depression that more easily creeps up on you if you stay in your PJs all day.  I have been wearing more make-up these days than I did on my non-bed-rest days.  It just makes me feel less like a slob.
-Keep your blinds open.  It will remind you that life goes on outside your walls.
-The interwebs are great.  Use them.  Reading the news online and emailing friends will make you feel less cut off from the world.
-FreeCell.  If it's not on your laptop now, get it.
-Podcasts.  Particularly Wait Wait Don't Tell Me.
-Community.  Or some other entertaining show that will keep you smiling.  (Season 4 starts next week!!)
-You will no longer be able to attend birth classes, infant CPR classes, nursing classes, or any of those other classes that are intended to help you prepare for your kid's birth, so you'll need to educate yourself.  The internet and the library are your friends.  Use them.
-Keep a photo from your latest ultrasound where you can always see it to remind you why you're doing this.
-Muscle pain and weakness, fatigue, backache, joint pain, and insomnia are all side effects of bedrest that can effect your body. I've found that it helps to stretch your muscles. You can't actually use them, but stretching them (as much as is safe) will help your body feel more relaxed and calm, and will help you sleep at night.  Getting massages will also help a LOT.  Getting massages generally helps with everything in life though, so that's no surprise.
-Don't read What to Expect When You're Expecting.  It will freak you out, and more stress and worry about the well-being of your unborn child is the last thing you need if you're already on bedrest.
-Do read Pushed.  It will inform and educate you, and leave you feeling empowered rather than completely freaked.
-Read non-pregnancy books too.  You need to think about other things than all the pregnancy shenanigans surrounding you.  Absorbing and distracting fictional trilogies are ideal, but anything that doesn't talk about reproduction will do.
-Find a friend who will pick up said absorbing and distracting books from the library and bring them to you, and then return them when they're due.  (Marse and Becky, you guys are the best.)
-Your brain is not on bedrest!  Use your mind.  Open Courseware Consortium is a great option.  Or you can check books out from the library on whatever topic you've always been interested in, and become an expert.  Like cheetahs, or British poetry, or psychology, or American history, or Russian politics, etc.
-Learn a new skill that you can do without moving your legs.  Like knitting, or drawing, or computer programming, etc.  It will give you a sense of accomplishment.
-Don't say no to help!  This one is really hard for me, because I am really independent and like to do things myself.  But I can't right now.  And you won't be able to either.  The sooner you can accept help from others, the better off you will be.  Let your friends and family empty your dishwasher, or take out the trash, or vacuum, or bring you lunch, or whatever.  It will make you happy because things are getting done, will make them happy because they're doing a kind deed, and will ease the burden on your spouse, for whom this is also a difficult challenge.
-Remember that bedrest is temporary.  You will not be like this forever.  It ends, eventually.  Just keep going.  A really cute kid is coming out of this, so just take a deep breath and hold on.
Perhaps my greatest piece of advice, though, is this:
-Marry someone exceptionally awesome.  Someone who will be your middle-of-the-night Tums retriever, personal masseuse, chauffeur to doctor appointments, food craving satisfyer, daily breakfast in bed preparer, water bottle refiller, laptop cord retriever, pumpkin cookie maker, Harry Potter movie marathon watcher, lunch schedule organizer, personal cheerleader, and who will make you as many green smoothies as your heart desires.  I love you, Hot Buns.

HOW TO HELP IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE ON BEDREST

Here are some ideas for how to help, support, and encourage your bedrest friend.  (Note: this is not a subtle cry for help.  I am very well taken care of.  This is more a list of things that others have done for me that have made a huge difference and that Mike and I have really appreciated.)

-Bring them food.  Meals are hard when you're on bedrest, and bringing a lunch or dinner is a massive, colossal help.  (You know who you are: THANK YOU!)
-Hang out with them for a few minutes.  They are probably bored and starving for human interaction so just talking will lift their spirits.
-If you see something that needs to be done, do it.  Take dirty dishes from the nightstand to the sink.  Sweep the floor.  Fold a load of laundry.  These are things that the spouse has to do after getting home from work, which means less time your bedrest friend and their spouse can spend together.  So you helping this way will not only make their house a little cleaner, it will give them more time to be together.  And they will love you for it.
-Bring over movies and/or books.
-Flowers seem useless and impractical, but they actually are really nice.  Your bedrest friend can't go out into nature, so bringing a little nature to them is a great way to show you care.
-It's hard to commemorate the holidays when you're on bedrest.  One way you can help is offer to get out your bedrest friend's holiday decorations and hang them.  Or bring over an autumn-scented candle, or something.  Mike's mom brought over a pumpkin, and I have really, really loved having it in our house.  It has made me feel more festive, which has really done a lot by making me feel like I'm not missing out on this holiday season that I love so much.
-Find out what their pregnancy cravings are and help to satisfy them.
-Bring over maternity clothes.  Your bedrest friend can't go shopping, so letting them borrow a couple of your old maternity shirts for them to wear will help them feel nice.  And it will give them motivation to get dressed in the morning.
-I've felt a lot of love and support from people who are far away.  If your bedrest friend lives far away, there is still a lot you can do for their mental and emotional well-being.  Emails that just say hello and ask how they're doing are awesome.  You can't bring them books, but you can recommend them.  And this is a time when your friend could use a lot of book recommendations.  Have your kids draw pictures for them and send them through the mail.  My young niece sent me a series of jokes via text message.  The jokes didn't really make sense, but it still brightened my whole day.  Email them funny stories.  If you can, send them some bedrest-friendly pampering things, like good smelling shampoo, lip gloss, scented soaps, or nail polish.  Something that will add some spice into their limited routine.  Recommend websites, or new recipes, or youtube clips, or online articles (anything from the Onion is pretty much a guaranteed win) or anything else that you see that makes you think of them.  The practical support from people nearby is awesome and needed, but the emotional and mental support from those far away is just as valuable.

I am very much looking forward to bedrest being over.  But thanks to my family and friends, I think my bedrest experience has been about as positive as it possibly could be.  Thank you!!

PS - The baby is doing well.  She is a perfect little fetus, growing and developing in all the ways she should.  The problems we're experiencing are due to my body not agreeing with pregnancy, not due to the baby.  We're 27 1/2 weeks along now, and hoping to stay pregnant for as long as my body will allow.  Our original goal was to try and make it to 28 weeks.  We're feeling pretty confident about making that goal.  (Hallelujah!)  Now we'll just keep going as long as we can in order to give our little girl as much time in the womb to grow and develop as possible.  It's stressful and a constant source of anxiety knowing I could go into labor at any moment (I swear I've aged a decade in the past month) but we're remaining optimistic and hopeful that everything will turn out okay.  We just love our little girl, and hate knowing she's in constant danger of being born before she's ready.  Everyday that passes without incident is a victory.  Continued thoughts/prayers/good vibes are appreciated.

9.16.2012

Summer Happened

Wow, you leave your blog for a couple months, and suddenly it's like there's no way you can catch up.  Well, I'll try anyway.  It's definitely been an eventful summer for us.  Here are the highlights:

1. WE MOVED
A couple days after all the graduation hoopla was over, we had all our stuff in boxes and were ready to move back west.  Luckily for us, Mike's brother and fam were also moving from east to west during the same time that we were, so we were able to coordinate with them and caravan out together.  It wasn't without mishaps (what moves are, really?) but it also wasn't without laughter, good conversation, music, and lots of chips a'hoy, so I call it a success.

And, incredibly, we moved out just a few days before our apartment complex in South Bend burst into flame.  I wish I was joking.  I'm not.  They think it was caused by a not-quite-snuffed cigarette that led to a small fire, which quickly became a large fire when the small fire hit the gas line.  I'm just glad that none of our friends or former neighbors were hurt, though most lost their homes.  The fire was so bad that they bulldozed the entire complex and are re-building from scratch.  Crazy. 

2. WE GOT PREGNANT
 As discussed in my last post.  More on that below.

3. MIKE TOOK THE BAR
 Holy horribleness, batman.  I am so glad the bar is over.  Mike and I would frequently go on "dates" where we would either sit next to each other on the gazebo while he studied and I read, or go on walks around the nearby gully while we reviewed whatever he had spent the day studying.  Poor Mike.  I never doubted his ability to pass, but he was just so stressed about this whole exam.  More stressed about this than anything law school had ever thrown at him.  It didn't help that he had joint pain in his hands and wrists during the week of the test, which would require two full 8-hour days of typing answers and filling in bubbles on the Q&A section.  Even so, the bar itself wasn't as bad as the preparation for it.  I am so glad it's over.  Mike is even more glad.   

4. WILDE GIRLS TRIP
 The Wilde women packed up for a weekend of fun in Cedar City.  The main attraction there is the Shakespeare Festival, so I was right in my element.  I loved seeing all the art based on Shakespearean plays at the main theatre, and we all loved seeing Les Miserables and To Kill a Mockingbird.  The plays were so well done, and so moving.  I loved them.  We were all humming various strains from Les Mis for the rest of the weekend.  We also snuck in some shopping, yummy food, late night hot tubbing, crafting (I now have a Christmas decoration besides my green and red salt and pepper shakers!  Yes!)  and even some vomit, courtesy of yours truly.  Sorry about that last one, guys.

5. TEXAS TRIP (Alternate sub-topic title: Mel Suffers Serious LaPierre Withdrawal)
 My sister had a baby girl in July, and I was thrilled to fly to Texas to meet her and spend time with my favorite Laps.  It was a week filled with trips to the park, incredible meals (seriously, who has homemade bread and banana muffins ready at 8:00am when they've just had their fourth child?), my first Texas barbeque, lots of hide and seek, the famous Round Rock doughnut, admiration of Bryce's carpentry skills, Sleeping Queens, maternity clothes swapping (thanks, Leese!), LaPierre beans, and even the first day of school for the older two kids.  I had a blast, and wish I could see them more often.  I especially miss holding this wonder woman:

Also, for the grandparents and other aunts and uncles who (quite understandably) can't get enough of this adorableness:



 Bridget and "Sofa" were so excited to see each other after Sophie's first day of school.  It was so cute.


(I taught Bridget that rabbits sniff their noses.  This is how she sniffs her nose:) 
video 


6. WE MOVED AGAIN

More accurately, Mike moved again, since I was on the plane from Texas for the majority of the move.  Mike did some painting before moving all our stuff in (our baseboards are so hot right now) and made all the moving arrangements, and had all our boxes moved from the storage unit to our new condo by the time I got home from the airport.  I was sorry to miss the move, but totally thrilled to walk into our new place seeing our stuff ready to be unpacked.  I am loving getting settled.  

7. OUR KID FREAKED US THE HECK OUT, WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY ENSURING HER SPOT AS OUR ONLY CHILD

 A trip to the doctor revealed several big things:
a) It's a girl.  Cue freak out.
b) She's due almost a whole month sooner than we thought. (It turns out the pregnancy test I took at the end of April that came back negative probably should have been positive.)  New due date: January 8th.  Cue even bigger freak out.
c) I won't go into details here, but suffice it to say that my body sucks at this whole reproduction thing, necessitating surgery to prevent this baby from being born pre-term.  Cue MAJOR HUGE freak out.

Needless to say, it was an overwhelming weekend.  I felt like I was standing in front of a fire hydrant with my mouth open; just being hit with one huge piece of information after the next.  The (obviously) most overwhelming aspect was learning that our baby was in danger of being born too soon if we didn't elect to have the surgery, something she would almost certainly not survive given how young she is.  But, because the surgery was taking place literally within centimeters of where she was growing, there was also a chance that the surgery itself could accidentally break my water, triggering pre-term labor that, once again, she would almost certainly not survive.  Either way our baby was in danger.  We weighed the pros and cons, and decided that having the surgery was the best choice.  The doctors were optimistic, but I was a mess.  I spent the next few days before the surgery worrying and crying and not sleeping and ignoring my phone.  (Sorry, concerned well-wishers.  I just couldn't talk about it yet.)  The surgery happened a couple of weeks ago, it went well, the baby is fine, and I appear to be healing nicely.  However, we will still probably not make it all the way to 40 weeks.  The baby will likely be born around 36-38 weeks.  But, being born at 36 weeks is far better than being born at 22 weeks, so I'm happy.  However, I was not happy to learn that I will have to have this same surgery for every future pregnancy, which gives me serious hesitation regarding ever reproducing again.  All of this affects our future and family planning, and we're still adjusting to this new reality.  Despite all the surgery shenanigans, this whole thing has been much more difficult mentally than physically, and I'm still processing it all.  Thanks to those who knew this was going on for the support and encouragement that came in the form of food, emails, flowers, texts, etc.  Our baby is alive, and is on track for a full and healthy life, so right now I'm just focusing on that.     

8. A WELCOME VISIT CAME FROM SOUTH BEND

 My friend and former neighbor from South Bend was in town, and I was able to catch up with her over lunch.  It was soo good to see her, and to remember that I really do have friends, even if they all live on the other side of the country.  Obviously I am still suffering from homesickness, and would appreciate it if my friends would stop having lives of their own and come follow Mike and I wherever we move to and keep me company.  Cambria (and all my other SB homies) if you're reading this, I MISS YOU DESPERATELY!!! 

9. MELISSA GOT INTO GREEN SMOOTHIES

 Lisa is to thank for this new obsession.  I've never liked veggies, and usually have to trick myself into eating them.  I've tried green smoothies before and didn't really like them.  But I like Lisa's green smoothies, and thanks to her genius I have consumed more bananas, strawberries, blueberries, spinach, cucumbers, peaches, mangoes, and pineapples than ever before in my life.  My antioxidant levels thank you, Leese.

10. MIKE PASSED THE BAR
 That's right, Mike passed!  CONGRATULATIONS, HOT BUNS!!!!  I am both thrilled and not-at-all surprised.  It was a long summer of Barbri reviews and flashcards, but it all paid off.  You did it!   All hail the esquire. 

And thus the summer ended. 

8.01.2012

Digital Announcement

Today is our third anniversary!  Go us.  Good things come in threes: like our family.  It's true: Mike and I are expecting a baby! I'm about 13ish weeks along and feeling good.  She or he should arrive around the end of January or beginning of February. We are thrilled and terrified.

Happy three years, Hot Buns. I hope you’ve enjoyed these past few years, because this next one’s sure to be insane.

5.25.2012

The Master and the Esquire

I feel like bursting out with the song "Wonder of Wonders, Miracle of Miracles" whenever I realize that Mike and I are DONE WITH SCHOOL.  It's true.  We graduated and we couldn't be happier.  The festivities started with my mom and brother flying out from CA for my graduation.  They got in a few days early, so we hit up Shipshewana, toured both ND and IUSB, and ate a LOT of food before the ceremony.  Photographic evidence of our graduations follows: 

My brother, Nathan, had never been to Michigan, so we drove 5 minutes north and took a picture to commemorate this joyous occasion:   
Touring IUSB:
  
You can't really tell, but we're standing on the bridge at IUSB that overlooks the St. Joseph river.  Also, Even when Nathan ducks down and I stand on my toes, he is still taller than me.


my fan club in the stands:




Many thanks to my madre and Nath for flying out, and to Liz, Janelle, and Callie for coming/decorating my front door with balloons and streamers.  It made me feel loved.  :)
My mom and brother decorated the inside of our apartment in festive graduation get-up.


A few days passed, and then it was time for Mike's graduation.


We took a picture of Mike with all his school books after his first semester... and after his last semester...
Mamma and Poppa Wilde came out for the festivities.

 Getting hooded
The next day Notre Dame had their commencement with all graduates from across the whole university.  It was bloody hot in that stadium, but we still all had a grand time.

It has been a long road, and we are very proud of each other.
Happy graduations to us!

5.03.2012

Catching Fire: The Dream Cast

Okay, now that we've all seen Hunger Games (and liked it?  Hated it?  Dare I say, loved it?)  it's time to anticipate casting for the next movie in the series: Catching Fire.

Note: This may contain minor spoilers for those of you who have not read the book.  Consider yourself warned.


Finnick Odair: and Mags: Jesse Williams and Cloris Leachman
Seriously, Jesse is PERFECT as Finnick.


Woof and Johanna Mason: Michael Caine and Naya Rivera
(Because no movie cast is complete without Michael Caine.)


Beetee ("Volts") and Wiress ("Nuts"): Michael Emerson and Cherry Jones


 Brutus: Dwayne Johnson


 Enobaria: Thandie Newton or Milla Jovovich
They both have that same look in their eyes that essentially says "I can kill you with my mind," so either way works.  


 Cashmere and Gloss (District 1 brother and sister): Kristen Bell and Patrick Wilson
I hear Kristen Bell is lobbying to play Johanna, but I always imagined Johanna with much darker skin, so Kristen can play Cashmere instead.

 Chaff: Some guy named Patterson Joseph that I found online. 
Seriously though, this is exactly how I imagined him. 

And Seeder: Gina Torres


Plutarch Heavensbee: Chiwetel Ejiofor​  
(I imagined him a little older that this, though, so maybe Chiwetel Ejiofor​'s uncle?)

And lastly, Thead (District 12 Peacekeeper): Damian Lewis


Well?  Am I right or am I right?