My Life Abroad: The Adventures of Two Birds
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Mon
30
May '16

Adam’s trip to Melbourne

It1 seems like it’s been years but finally my brother decided to come out and visit.  We aligned his visit with the big Beer Festival in Melbourne the GABS Fest (Great Australian Beer Spectapular). We calculated it has been about 5 or 6 years since his last visit… much, much too long.  I tried to take off from work so that we could go out and see the sights, but he is also a runner and even though we live over a kilometer from the train station, and the main part of town, he found it therapeutic to run a lot while he was here.

This is my main list for visitors to Melbourne (and Melbourne is by far the best Australian city to visit), of these, they are the mainstay of my “tour of Melbourne” that I offer to our guests.  Check them off your bucket list?

 

List of Top “Things to do in Melbourne”

-Melbourne Aquarium
-Phillip Island Little Penguin Parade
-Hot Air Balloon over Melbourne (or) the Yarra Valley [wine country]
-Queen Victoria Market
-Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) – Cricket or Australian Rules Football
-Healesville Sanctuary
-Puffing Billy Railway
-The Yarra Valley wine region
-Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne
-The Great Ocean Road (The 12 Apostles)
-City Circle Tram
-National Gallery of Victoria
-Melbourne CBD Laneways Tour
-Old Melbourne Gaol (Jail)
-Federation Square
-Yarra River Tour
-St Kilda Beach Boxes
-Flinders Street Station
-Flemington Racecourse
-Haigh’s Chocolates Rialto
-Melbourne Star Observation Wheel
-Arts Centre Melbourne
-Crown Casino
-Hardware Lane

You can Google any of these sites for more information or to plan your next trip to Melbourne!!

 

Thu
31
Dec '15

U.S. Trip 2015

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This year we decided to take a trip back home to visit, and since Rae hasn’t been back since she was 4 months old, everyone could get a chance to bond with her, now at age 2-1/2. We started off our trip at Disneyland for 3 days and then continued on to Las Vegas for the duration.  Now that my family has relocated to Las Vegas, it gave us a chance to explore the suburbs of Vegas and get an idea of how the other half lives (ha-ha).

We took a week off to go up to the snow at South Lake Tahoe, visit with friends and play in the snow – Rae really loved getting into the snow! Even I have missed it!  Birdie and I took one weekend to fly up to Portland and stay for a weekend, dine, shop and visit with friends.  I hadn’t been to Portland before and I really enjoyed going to ‘food truck row’ to try all the wonderful food!  It rained every second we were in Oregon but I really enjoyed the experience. It’s somewhere I will love to continue visiting, but with the rain, I don’t think I could ever live there!  Who am I kidding, I’m never leaving Melbourne!

We finished off the trip, with a trip up and down California visiting from Sacramento to Petaluma, Escondido and then San Diego before we headed back. I don’t think we will be back again until 2018 – when we will be visiting to attend my 30-year high school reunion… 30-years, I can’t believe it!  See you then.

Tue
8
Jan '13

The Blessing of a Baby Bird

After 7 years of trying, and 3 years of hard core IVF, a couple miscarriages, and a few embryos failing to meet their potential… we’re finally PREGNANT! Embryo #5 is a success.

Having a child in my 40’s certainly wasn’t plan from the beginning and I still think that it’s going to be a scary road… but, sometimes things work out in different ways for a reason. My husband and I have been trying from the beginning but following my diagnosis of Wegener’s Granulomatosis in 2009 we’ve found that even the prospects of having a baby were going to be challenge, a risk, and may just never come true. My doctor actually discouraged us but we marched in protest – assured that we could find a way.

For those of you that know me, I’ve always been “motherly” – I love to take care of my friends in need. But myself, I’ve never really focused on creating a family – instead only thought about study, study, work, career advancement, study, travelling around the world and more study. I’ve had a few fun years of partying and really feel like I’ve lived the best of my life… until now. Now, the prospect of a whole new life is on the forefront. It’s like someone that changes careers after 30 years. I only know one way… now, I’m going to have the opportunity to learn a new way to live life and I am so looking forward to the challenge.

Wegener’s has been one of the biggest struggles in my life, and I know so many friends with challenging autoimmune disorders that have had very similar struggles to me. Part of my treatment involved a full year of chemo with a very potent drug that threw me into menopause and wiped out my egg supply in a quick 10-months. From that point on we were doomed to think that we had no chance to have children, and in our late 30’s we started looking at other viable options.

Adoption was a no go. Although we would have been more than happy to adopt, in Australia, adoption can take anywhere from 5-7 years – I don’t have that kind of time to wait. And not only that, my medical condition, or in fact – any medical condition – knock’s you off the Adoption list immediately. Goodonya Australia! As citizens of Australia we are not allowed to come back to the US for the sole purpose of adopting – it’s a slippery slope and so we chucked the idea pretty early on.

IVF was a good option for us and first we tried to find out if there were any eggs salvageable to use. Knowing that there are no eggs really throws you for a loop. I started seeking out more alternative forms of IVF, including an egg donor. I must say that it was a tough road ‘asking’ for someone’s eggs but in the process of seeking out that right person – SHE was seeking ME out. The most selfless act anyone could give is part of themselves. I am blessed to know someone like that, who has given us a chance at having a family and has been supportive and involved in our family process.

To my egg donor (you know who you are):

You are the most special person I have ever met and I don’t know how I will ever repay you for your loving me so much, that you could ‘offer’ me the chance to be a Mother. Although I live in a land far, far away, I know that you will always be a part of my life and my child’s life. I love you so much. Thank you for the gift that you have given us. I love you more than words can ever say.

We still have a long road and 6-months of struggle ahead of us to get to our goal. Medical problems can be the root of all evil when it comes to having a baby so from this point forward we work at staying healthy, in remission, sleeping A LOT, and controlling my blood sugars to give #5 the best chance at a healthy life.

I pray for all my friends out there still struggling with getting pregnant or trying to adopt, the pain in waiting can sometimes break your will, but be strong and continue on your path. From experience I can tell you… “it’s never too late”.

Lainey & Birdie

Mon
7
Jan '13

A Summer Christmas Visit

Even after all these years I still can’t get used to the Summer Christmas.  I don’t know if it’s just the 100F (41C) degree heat, or that people still sing Frosty the Snowman, White Christmas, and Let it Snow.  All in all we survived what they call Down Under, the “silly season”.  Mom was out again for another holiday, 3-weeks this time and it was nice to actually spend some quality time with her this time around.

IMG_1165We started off by heading out to the moonlight cinema at the Melbourne Botanical Gardens, were we watched an less than average film and it sprinkled on us the entire time…  it was no B-52’s at a muddy winery – but it was fun!

This year was the first that we were assigned Christmas Dinner at our house, so we decided to keep the plastic tree in the attic and go cut a real one this year.  The 9 footer fit in our living room quite well (I might go a foot shorter next year – they are really hard to decorate when they are that tall).

We spent about three days making Christmas cookies – they were soooo yummy – I’m not sure why I’m saying “were” because we have heaps left over in the freezer!  Did you know you can freeze your Christmas cookies – they last forever and they taste yummy even when frozen.    We made everything from Gingerbread reindeer, to oatmeal cranberry, pumpkin with a kiss, rice krispie treats (rice bubbles for you Aussies), all beautifully delicious.

On Christmas Day we usually do a morning brunch of seafood.  Pretty much all of the significant cities in Australia are on the coast so seafood is a big deal here – and of course it is very good!  We did some cold king prawns with dipping sauce, and Oysters Kilpatrick.  It was a nice break from our Dinner prep.  I should rephrase that – they call it Christmas Lunch here, and we served around 2pm.

Birdie’s family came for Christmas Lunch, his parents, and my brother- and sister-in-law with the niece and nephew.  We tooled around for a while, had a drink and watched as Birdie finished up with his new smoker – smoking a Turkey and a Ham.  A bit of Rotisserie Pork on the BBQ and we were overloaded with meat!  I try to make a more traditional Thanksgiving dinner for our annual get together, and usually we have Christmas at the parents.  Birdie tried to do a more traditional spread with long bean and asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, roasted tomato’s and vegies, Rod made my favourite Italian Sausage Stuffing (my Mom’s recipe), and I made a pumpkin pie and a cheesecake. Believe me when I say it was more food than we 9 could eat!!

The full photo album is here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152199437031309&type=1&l=5f790b3bec 

The kids opened their gifts and there was a horrible wrapping paper disaster in our living room but alls well that ends well.  Everyone was tired and happy at the end of the day.

I did plan a bit of activity around Mom’s trip this year.  She got to go to our 12-week scan and see the baby move around on the ultrasound, we spent more quality time just hanging out than really going off to do too many things – that’s the way I like it.  We went to see our first Opera together at Opera Victoria – Madame Butterfly – which was spectacular!  And I took her to see her first Play – War Horse – which was even more spectacular!  And on Boxing Day (that’s the day after Christmas – traditionally when gifts would be given to the servants), we went to the Gold Class Cinema, had lunch and watched Les Misérables (fabbbulooous)!  On our last day we had high tea and devonshire scones in Sassafras and then had dinner with Mum and Dad in the mountains.

We wrapped up our visit with a bit of baby shopping and we are excited to be coming back to the US in October next year with the baby to see everyone!

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and that you enjoyed our pictures!

Sat
3
Nov '12

Recipe: Baked Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 60 minutes
Chilling time: 3-4 hours

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Ingredients – BASE
3/4 cup Digestive biscuit crumbs (or Graham Cracker crumbs)
1/2 cups brown sugar
60g butter

Ingredients – CAKE
3 x 250g blocks Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups mashed cooked pumpkin (or Libby’s canned pumpkin – unspiced)
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp thickened cream
1 tbsp corn flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs (size 60, or medium)

Ingredients -TOPPING
2 cups Sour Cream
2 tbsp caster sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Maple syrup to drizzle

Directions
1. Combine biscuit crumbs, brown sugar and butter. Press into a greased 24cm (9″) springform pan. (Any variety of biscuit/cookie crumbs can be used – plain sweet, coconut, chocolate.)
2. To soften Philly, allow to stand for 1 hour at room temperature or remove foil from Philly, place in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds.
3. Beat the Philly, sugars and vanilla using an electric mixer, until smooth. Beat in the eggs and cream until well combined. Add the pumpkin, sifted corn flour, spices and salt and mix on a low speed until well mixed (do not over beat). Pour filling into crust and bake at 160 C (do not use fan-forced setting) in the lower rack of the oven; for 50 minutes until just set. Allow to cool 5 minutes.
4. Whisk together the sour cream and sugar then pour over the top. Bake for a further 10 minutes then allow to cool completely in the oven with the door ajar.
5. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours before serving.
6. Garnish with maple syrup drizzle over the top, and of course whipped cream.

Sun
27
Nov '11

Thanksgiving in Australia 2011

Thanksgiving, an American holiday in a land far far away…

To me Thanksgiving is something different than it used to be.  It used to be a time to share and give thanks with my own family.  My Gramma would come visit, my cousins in toe, my Mother would work all day cooking the biggest feast for us to share together.  Much of this time when I was at University, my brother and I would come home to be together.  And my Dad (I miss you Dad), cooked the big giant turkey.  He would carve, and laugh and share the day with us.  After dinner he would watch the football game, beer in hand, and fall asleep.  Thanksgiving is a time for family to be together.

My Thanksgiving in Australia celebrations are a time for me to share these feelings of family and love with my new family and friends.  I am thankful for everything I have here and for the new life that I have been given.

Without my friends I would be no one, no where.  They lift me up to believe in myself, that I can be whatever I want to be, do whatever I want to do.

I am happy to share my feast of love and friendship with those that add value to my life.  Thank you my dear friends.

I hope you enjoy our pictures this year, we did two turkeys my mom’s famous stuffing recipes and backed mac and cheese, my father-in-law did a beautiful ham as always, and all our guests brought all the fixings. Desserts consisted of one pumpkin pie, a pecan pie, peach cobbler, and my first pumpkin cheesecake ever (yum!).

I want to especially thank my bestie Norelle, and all the girls that did the dishes clean up… you are my savours!

It was a success, and we had the biggest table ever this year, thanks to all that came to celebrate my special day with me.  These are my family, my American and Australian friends:

Tue
17
May '11

Meet LuLu

    

It’s been a struggle getting used to having a dog.  For all intents and purposes, I’m a “cat person”.  I like my cat to sleep with me, sit on my lap, snuggle, talk to me, etc. etc.  If I wasn’t married, I’d be a cat lady.  Yeah!  I said it.  Cat Lady Lainey. 

But, about 2-years ago Birdie talked me into getting a dog.  I thought for sure I was doomed.  That our cat would run away, and that I would hate having a dog.  My brother had a big dog once.  It jumped up on me and scared the shit out of me.  They lick places they shouldn’t and most of the time they don’t mind. 

Overall, I wasn’t excited about a dog.  It was at a time when I was very sick and in fact, after we had picked the type of dog and picked a breeder – I ended up being in the hopspital for the first 6 weeks that we had our dog.  I missed the puppy part and came home to a little crazy dog.

I love my dog Spot.  Spot is a Smooth Fox Terrier, cousin to the Wire Fox Terrier (see the link below for Wikipedia). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_Terrier 

Spotty will have the addition of a new little girl on Friday, Lulu.  We went to the breeded last week to pick her from the litter and she was just as cute as a button.  I’m not excited to go through the training process but once they get the hang of it, these are excellent dogs.  They are high energy and love to play! 

Lulu is Spots first cousin, and she will be a great addition to our family.  Even our cat Pete would agree – dog’s make good pillows!  I’m getting very excited for our new puppy.  Here you can see a picture of Birdie holding up our new addition.

Sun
26
Dec '10

Our trip to California

Family and Sierra Nevada Brewery

Going home to Chico was fun as always, we got to see so many friends – it seemed like everyone came out of the woodwork for the night.  Some that never come out to the bars even… and thank you for that everybody.  I had a great time.  The Sierra Nevada Brewery was great, we always love going there, and we met up with my friend Liz, her boyfriend Cody and baby Gavin. The cheesecake was yummy!!  We also made a special trip to see Kahlua, Marie & Leanne.  As always the Sierra Nevada Brewery was great, on our second trip with John and Jackie, and Dustin we tried the beer sampler of all the Sierra Nevada beers in a short taster glass each. 

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NBA Basketball 

During our trip we went to a few Sacramento Kings basketball games, and we had some nosebleed seats, and some floor seats.  We also got a close up of Andrew Bogut (the Australian player on the Bucks).

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Christmas at the Hay house

We’ve spent the week shopping, and going out for some fun dinners while in Sacramento.  With Mom and friends, we’ve had a good time! Were settling down a little for Christmas then back on to the shopping, and all the after Christmas sales.  We had Gramma, and my cousin Lavette, my brother Adam and girlfriend Kat, and Mom, and the dog Raider (yes Mom is a Raiders fan). It was nice to be home with the family this year for Christmas, hoping to catch up with a bit more family and some friends before we head on to New York City for New Years Eve and 5-days of sight seeing.  Stay tuned for pics of our New Years Eve events!

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Our Christmas Day

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Merry Christmas everyone!

Sat
11
Dec '10

Home for the Holidays

About 3-days from now, we’ll be having our last drink and stepping on the plane.  Three more days of work, and I’m so busy at work right now I can’t actually believe that I’m taking 3-weeks off right now.  Hey, I’m not going to complain though.  It’s been 2-years since I’ve been to California and although my Mom visited last November, it will be good to be home with her… especially following her horrible medical state this year.  It’s definitely one of the difficult things being away from ones family.  I suppose I’m lucky to have such great in-laws here in Australia.

Today we’re preparing for the trip.  Going from summer to winter is a stretch, lots of bulky packing.  The house is all clean and ready for the house-sitter and I just can’t wait to get outta here!

sn.jpgOur first weekend home we’ll be arriving in San Francisco and making a quick drive to Sacramento to check-in at Mom’s house and spend Thursday night.  Then we’re off to Chico, California (my old college/home town) for a weekend with my old friends.  

We’ve planned a lunch at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and to meet our friends for a weekend get together a bit of beer, pool, and camaraderie. I’m so looking forward to my first sip of Pale Ale and the smell of the Tap Room, the most beautiful hops. 

Mmmmmmm.      

It’s another thing I miss about California.  The lack of microbrewrey’s here in Melbourne is sinful.  No beer festivals, no seasonal or specialty beers, it saddens me.  My Melbournian friends, while I’m in Chico I’ll have a nice cold beer for you, or 10.

On Sunday we’ll leave Chico and take the 1-hour drive back to Sacramento to catch our first of four King’s games.  This of course is Birdy’s favourite NBA Team (Sacramento Kings).  The Live games (as opposed to ESPN) are pretty fun, I’m looking forward to this.  

And then my brother, Adam, will arrive to spend a week with the family. 

Stay tuned, as always we will start off our trip with Day 1 of 21 on the blog and work our way through the holiday with updates and each ‘day in pictures’.

Happy Birthday Adam, I love you.

Thu
2
Dec '10

Beverly Pando

bev.jpgThis month has been a somber one, my Godmother Bev passed away on November 24th after struggling with Cancer.  This really brings up so many emotions for me and my immediate family… and after going through a similar situation with my father some 13 years ago, all I can think about is how Bevs children and and husband are suffering right now.  It’s something you never want to go through, losing a parent, and I am just crushed that Lisa and Anthony will have to go through this type of pain.

Bev has been around since before I was born, she was at one time married to one of my Dad’s best friends and mates from high school. Don and Bev were both named my Godparents back in April 1970, and we had remained in close touch over the years. We spent time growing up around their children Lisa (a little younger than me), and Anthony (a little younger than my brother) – and closer to junior high/high school we actually lived under the same roof for a short amount of time. Similarly, we were like family in many ways – Bev’s cousin married my cousin after meeting at a party at our house… we definitely were an extended family.  My parents were lucky to have such great school friends that remained adult friends and are still friends to this day. 

It was only a several months ago I heard of Bev’s struggle and I was making plans to visit Bev when we come home for Christmas (in a matter of days now), unfortunately I am so saddened to hear that her life was cut short, but thankful that the pain she endured is now over and that she is at peace.

I hope that Bev’s family can find peace too.  It’s taken me a long time to find it myself, and I don’t even think that I’ve fully accepted that my Dad is gone. Even after 13 years I still think about him every day of my life, I still have a good cry every once in a while, I still talk to him and look at his picture as not to forget.  I think that’s all you can do really. Be thankful for your family, and especially your parents.  The love of a parent is something you can get nowhere else. Lisa you are so lucky to have found your true love, and shared your child with your Mother before she passed, I know those must have been the brightest days for her.  It’s something I will forever regret for myself.

If you are going to lose someone don’t take the time you have left for grantite, be sure to say all the things you want to say to that person. Take time off to be with them a little bit longer, if you take the time it will be for them and for you.  Don’t look back and say I wish I could have.  Hold their hand, tell them that you will be okay after they are gone – that’s all my Dad wanted to hear.  And even if you don’t think you will be okay… you will.  Time heals all wounds. 

Lisa and Anthony, I am so sorry for your loss.  I am so sorry that you have to feel the anguish of losing your Mother.  I hope that you can be there for each other and lean on each other.  Don’t shy away from talking about your Mom every chance you get, it may make you cry but those are tears of love and you need to shed them.  I love you both.

I love you Dad.

I love you Bev.

Wed
3
Feb '10

Mady medical updates available online

Updates on my mom, Mady’s, condition in the hospital is available on an info blog Adam has set up at http://www.titanstrides.com/mady

Please check here periodically for updates and leave comments or questions.

We are hoping for a speedy recovery.

Sun
26
Jul '09

Days off from the hospital

It’s been a long four weeks in hospital and with all the surgeries and treatments it has been quite a busy time for me.  I had discussed with my doctor leaving for good on Friday or Saturday.  In the process of agreeing to do the plasma pheresis treatment, it was agreed that I would have a day-pass on Saturday and Sunday to be with Rod.  Unfortunately my diabetes isn’t cooperating which is my hold up this, Sunday, morning. Doesn’t mean I’m not going home today, just means that there’s always a hold up.  The mentality around here – hospitals in general – is that people can’t take care of themselves.  Looking around at my roommates for the past 4-weeks, most over 70, a lot over 90, it’s understandable. 

But as a 39-year old woman that has had diabetes for 11-years – when I leave here I am obviously going to have to take care of myself. If I had checked out on Friday I would have been having to deal with my blood sugars at home today alone… doesn’t matter, they don’t have handcuffs here I hear – so when 10am rolls around, good blood sugar number or not, I’m outta here, man.

Yesterday we just stayed home, and cuddled on the couch, watched a little footy and Law & Order… and played with the furry children.  Spot has definitely gotten bigger since I moved in to the hospital, after four weeks he’s as big as our 8-year old cat Pete and soon he will overtake him in size.

Heres my pics with the furry family from Saturday. 

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Yesterday was more relaxing, today, Sunday we are going to do a movie – Transformers (which we’ve been waiting to see!) and we’ll catch some lunch and just be together.

I’m so grateful to have a partner like Birdie, who loves me so much, and who I know will be there through everything.  These challenges in out life certainly make our love and relationship stronger.  Birdie’s family, as well, my in-laws, sister- and brother-in-law, little niece and nephew and our friends… everybody has been so great!  I couldn’t ask for more support.  Even my friends from home, on Facebook, and my dedcated blog readers (yes, that means you), have been helpful in my contiued recovery.

And I can’t forget to thank everyone at work, my Agency and my current employer that have been so supportive in being away so long and still knowing that I have a job to go back to.  As a self-employed person this is definitely a worry I don’t want to have to be thinking about while I am strugggling in the hospital.  Thanks to Blair, Jas, Andrea, Janelle, Catherine, Mat and Mary-Anne – without you guys I’d be a mess!

Thank you to everyone.  I’m about to go out for the day then I will be back in the hospital for as few more days for treatment and one last procedure (TOE Heart Scan Monday morning).   I can’t wait to be cleared to go home!

I’m off!

Mon
20
Jul '09

Transoesophageal Echocardiography Test

Pathology Reports ~ Update!!

The pathology reports back from the Lung Biopsy show that the Vascilitis is indeed Wegener’s Granulomatosis. So we are on the right track with the treatment, we’ve started the steroids used for Wegener’s so we are on the right track for treatmrnt forward.  Not out of the woods yet! 

The tubes are quite large and are held in with suction. Yesterday the suction was turned off and when gravity takes over the remainder of the lung begins to drain out the “bad stuff”.  Lets just call it “bad stuff” for now. I have no effing idea what it really is – the vasculitis, toxins, junk? Doctors just came round to evaluatem my lung drainage… and there is still some bubbles between my lung and where the lung should be sitting.  After they deflated the air from my lung during the biopsy the process of getting it reflated (is that a word… Dawn?) is a process of streghtening the lung, doing deep breathing excercises and getting the lungs fully inflated (thats the word!).

Looking like 2-more days before the tubes from my lungs and chest can be removed and I can move on to working on the other ‘problems’ I’m facing… heart scan (possibly Tuesday), returning to work, the finger removal, returning to LIFE, etc.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

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Got a visit from the Baby Birdies Mum and Dad -Amanda and Brad.  Baby Harry and I had our best visit ever, he was so cute, laughed and smiled at me and let me hold him.  Happy auntie Lainey – heres a quick snap with my phone, I swear he looks just like Amanda, big brown eyes and brilliant smile.  This visit was very nice and made my day today!  It’s so nice to get a full weekend of visitors it sure made my weekend go by fast this time!  Knock wood that this is my last weekend in here!  Can’t wait to see the little ones back on their own homefront in their new house on their  own turf.  Really, I just can’t wait to see the new house!!!  So excited with the new kitchen and everything!  Here’s my little nephew Harry on his visit with me at the hospital.

Baby Spot gets his first bath

It so sucks that I can’t be home to see my new puppy’s first’s.  Bidie gave Spot his first bath today, which I heard he needed…  luckily he got some great pictures for me to blog about something new.  Thank gawd… cause the blog’s been depressing s of late, eh?  So cute puppy pictures for today.

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Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Transoesophageal Echocardiography (TOE)

The TOE is an invasive echo test provides the doctor the very best soundwave (ultrasound) pictures of the heart. It evaluates heart chamber size and pumping action, valve appearance and function and the blood flow through the heart. The ultrasound images of your heart are taken from your oesophagus (food pipe) which lays next to the back of the heart. TOE provides vastly superior picture quality compared to echo pictures obtained from the chest surface, where the picture quality may be variable quality. There is much less interference to sound wave travel from the oesophagus into the heart compared to travel from the chest surface, through the chest wall and lungs into the heart.

The study uses a similar method as looking down into the stomach. The back of your throat is numbed with a xylocaine local anaesthetic gargle. You will be fitted with a mouthguard. An intravenous tube (IV) will be placed in your arm to sedate you (please note sedate means you are still fully aware). The sedation medicine is given to make you very relaxed. After you are very relaxed and possibly asleep (not), the TOE probe is placed gently into your mouth and passed down your oesophagus to the area close to the heart. When the probe is in the right place, the soundwave pictures are taken. After the test is completed, the probe is removed and the IV is taken out of your arm. You then stay for two hours before you can go home. I will not be going home the same day from what I hear we are awaiting word on the status of the finger.  I’m starting to get queasy about putting a new finger picture up as it is quite disturbing.  The finger situation has somewhat changed, only in that to get better final results in look and length of the remaining piece of finger – we need to let thegood parts of skin continue to heal.  The most good skin we can retain means the longer and more normal the finger will look at the end. 

Sun
3
May '09

Welcome Baby Harry Christopher

My new Nephew

It was only a little over a year ago when my brother & sister-in-law brought Maddyn into the world, and not shortly after is the arrival of Harry Christopher to our family.  He seems very small with long fingers and toes, he might even have red hair – its a little ‘gingerly’ looking.  Harry was born on Anzac Day, the Australian holiday to remember war veterans, that is April 25.  He was ready to come and on the drive to the hospital – he was born in the car – delivered by dad Brad.  Mother Amanda says it was an easy delivery, her second child, weighing in at 10lb 14 oz.  

harry.jpg

We are a very proud auntie & uncle to have another little one join the family.  Welcome to the world Harry. 

***

Mental Status: Not happy to be packing, but the day is getting closer!
Favourite thing this week: Happy Birthday Mom!!!
Book this week: 8th Confession by James Patterson.
Happy Moment: The arrival of my new nephew Harry.
Looking forward to next week: More packing?  I don’t think so.

Fri
12
Dec '08

Lainey’s Top Ten

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and we’ve just been going full out over the last couple months with so much going on here. I’ve been doing community work and with Thanksgiving and a visit from Candace for a couple weeks – I’ve been overwhelmed.  

Movember

Movember’ went off well, Birdie’s team raised over $2000 by growing Mo’s for the month of Movember. Birdie has yet to shave his off even though the rest of the group shaved theirs off on the last day of November. I don’t mind his moustache so it doesn’t bother me he looks like a biker.  Here’s the before and after!!

before-rod.jpg after-rod.jpg

Thanksgiving

Our annual Thanksgiving was great, family gathered together to celebrate the third Annual Thanksgiving in Australia and we had some wonderful food as always. It was nice to have Candace visit during this time and she really got to see how we live. Meeting all of our closest friends and family was a good experience for her.

Candace does Melbourne

One thing about Candace is that she is pretty independent – I remember when I first moved here I cried the first time I had to get on a tram by myself. Candace really made the most of her two weeks here. I did take her out to do a lot of fun things but she sure did a lot of stuff on her own. Soon pictures from Candace’s trip will be available on my pics page for everyone to see. Already miss you Candy – can’t wait for you to come back out! Here are my favourite pictures of Candaces trip, which will hold you over until I get off my lazy butt and make a new album!

art_degraves-street2.jpg eureka-tower.jpg vic-market.jpg camel.jpg flinders-station.jpg melb-center-place.jpg

 lainey_candy.jpg penguins_10.jpg jellyfish4.jpg arcade2.jpg southbank.jpg

In researching things to do in Melbourne I came up with a Top-10 list and I thought I’d share it here for anyone thinking of coming on a holiday to Melbourne. Whether you are coming from Perth or from overseas, these are the fun things to do in Melbourne year-round:

LAINEY’S TOP 10 MELBOURNE SIGHTS 

  1. Healesville Sanctuary. The Healesville Sanctuary is a spin-off of the Melbourne Zoo located on the outskirts of the city in Healesville, Victoria.  Healesville the town is a quaint little get-away with wonderful shops, restaurants, and country scenery.  The Sanctuary is all Australian animals, those indigenous to this continent and it makes for a full day of entertainment from Kangaroos and wallabies, to koalas and kookaburras. If you can’t find your way out of the city, a trip to Melbourne Zoo is also a wonderful day trip.  You can find out more online at http://www.zoo.org.au/HealesvilleSanctuary

  2. Melbourne Arcade Walking Tour. Purchased online, the Melbourne Arcades Walking Tour is a 4-hour jaunt around the Central Business District of Melbourne, travelling through some of the hundreds of laneways that weave through the city.  From wonderful little boutique shops and restaurants, chocolate, wine, and more – this makes for a wonderful experience of the city itself.  You can purchase tickets for the Walking Tour online at www.walkingtoursmelbourne.com.au 

  3. Eureka Tower Skydeck. The Eureka Tower is the tallest residential building in the southern hemisphere and the tallest in Melbourne, of course.  The 88th floor has a wonderful view of the city. Open day or night this experience is a great way to see the entire city on a budget! www.eurekalookout.com.au 

  4. Balloons over Melbourne. For those that can afford this experience, it’s well worth your time to take a hot air balloon over Melbourne. ‘Balloons over Melbourne’ was the smoothest ride I’d ever been on!  Following the ride get treated to complimentary Champagne and breakfast at the Botanical Gardens in Melbourne. Buy your tickets online and see some great aerial photos from other trips to the Yarra Valley http://www.balloonovermelbourne.com.au 

  5. The Victoria Market. The Queen Victoria Market (a.k.a. The Vic Market) is one of Melbourne’s most treasured and wonderful experiences.  A cavalcade of vendors comes out of the woodwork to offer everything from clothes and shoes to genuine Ugg boots, akubra hats, and indigenous art.  Fruits, vegies, and meat markets are also on hand.  This is a full day experience so come prepared.  Sunday is the best day to visit! More about the Vic Market can be found online at www.qvm.com.au 

  6. The Moonlight Cinemas. The moonlight cinema in the Botanical Gardens is such a fun and memorable experience in Melbourne. First of all the Botanical Gardens is a beautiful place to visit – the moonlight cinema shows a great movie (new and old) Tuesday through Sunday. Laying on a grassy hill at dusk you will see the hundreds of bats leave the gardens before the show begins.  Bring your blanket, picnic basket and bottle of wine or rent a bean bag for extra comfort. Get your tickets for the moonlight cinema and see the list of movies at http://www.moonlight.com.au 

  7. Phillip Island: Penguin Parade Wildlife Park. Phillip Island itself is a fun experience; there is a wildlife park available to see all types of wildlife but what you go to Phillip Island to really see are the “fairy” or little penguins.  These little penguins come up at dusk each night to the beach to make their way to their burrows in the dunes, a ritual that has been followed for thousands of years.  This is a very unique experience and from the viewing deck you can see them all waddle in. This is a full day with the wildlife experience during the day and the penguin viewing at night but completely worth it! Find out more online at http://www.melbournetours.com.au/penguin_viewing.html 

  8. Great Ocean Road: The Twelve Apostles. Port Campbell National Park is a bit of a drive but once you get to this majestic spot you just have to take it all in!  This is the most wonderful natural experience ever!  The drive from Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road is about 4+ hours and a beautiful drive. The Twelve Apostles giant rock stacks are a central feature of the spectacular Port Campbell National Park. The forces of nature gradually eroded the softer limestone, forming caves in the cliffs which became arches and when they collapsed, the rock islands as high as 45 metres were left isolated from the shore. This is free and a must-do while in Melbourne. Find more info online at: http://www.greatoceanrd.org.au/Destination_View.aspx?homepageid=5 

  9. The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. This is the one thing I haven’t been able to do yet, but I am planning on very soon.  The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant is an old time tram car that has been converted into a dining car – it takes off Thurs – Sun through the city for a full dinner service while winding the streets of Melbourne.  Old time colonial features and I’ve heard it’s a really fun experience. Buy tickets online at: http://www.tramrestaurant.com.au/ 

  10. The Melbourne Aquarium. Last but certainly not least the Melbourne Aquarium is in the heart of Melbourne and has a wonderful brand new display of penguins that cannot be missed!  This display has only been in for a couple months and splits views of snow and water for all to see.  The penguins jumping in and out, they come right up the glass and wave at you – it’s just incredible!  Additionally everything else that an aquarium should have is available here. The jellyfish display as well as the shark and stingray tank is absolutely wonderful. Take the time to come out and see this one!  Info available online: http://www.melbourneaquarium.com.au/