My Life Abroad: The Adventures of Two Birds
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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

Apr '07

Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary

Our One Year Anniversary 

We had a wonderful anniversary dinner with friends, our friends that care for us and involve us in their lives – that we care for very much. We had a great dinner and Birdie, of course, cheffed up some great BBQ’d ribs and hot wings – and we shared some drinks and good conversation with Mel & Brent, and Emma & Rob.  Both couples were involved with our wedding and it was so nice to have them for this special dinner with us on this very important day. As you can see in our group photo – Birdie is enjoying his ribs so much, he can’t even stop eating… what’s new?


anniversary1.jpg anniversary2.jpg anniversary3.jpg 


We had a great anniversary and we love everyone – thanks for sharing your wonderful words with us. 

Happy Birthday Mommy

One of the very awful things about living overseas is that I cannot be home for very important dates.  My Mom’s birthday is this week and we wanted to leave some words for my Mom here:


I’m so happy to have you as my Mother. You are such a wonderful woman and you have inspired me to be a better person and be everything I can be. I know my Father would be proud of me, but you tell me so often how proud you are which really means so much to me. I couldn’t ask for a better Mother than you. I wish I could be there to give you a great big hug.  Happy Birthday Mom.  Can’t wait to see you in March.

Love Lainey

Apr '07

Welcome to

This is it… it’s the New Blog!

I’m so happy to finally have my own website. I’ve thought long and hard about moving my very large blog to my own site where I have more control over what can be posted. I’m proud to have my brother Adam on board as my Web Consultant – learning to navigate through this web of pages can be daunting… but here we go.  Additionally I want to thank my friend Tom for helping me with frequent questions about how to do alot of this website building stuff. Tom has helped me bring to life my new photo albums. To see any of the photos we take, click on the Photoalbum link under the sidebar called Pages on the left.  Another new page I have put together is The Story of Two Birds, which tells the story of how we met. Please feel free to leave comments and enjoy our posts.

lainey_mel_50.jpgRecently we had a visitor, a friend of a friend Claudia was visiting Melbourne from Boston and we took her in for a few months so she could spend her money made working part-time on travel and having fun rather than rent. She was a great tenant. She has since moved on to Sydney and in another week she will be residing in Tokyo for a year. She purchased a gift certificate for us as a thank you, to a local Mexican restaurant (for which there are not many around here). Afterward we wandered next door to a bar called Chez Bar and heard some live music.  This acoustic trio Alan, Nick, and Rod played tunes old and new and really sounded great. On the break we talked and they offered for me to get up and sing with them. I did a couple numbers with singer/harp player Alan and we had fun. They asked me for some music and invited me back to play with them for the Chez Bar closing on Friday. Of course I was so happy to be invited, I sent on some good songs: Beautiful by Christina Agulara, True Colors by Cyndi Lauper, and It Must Have Been Love by Roxette. Additionally they threw in a number of Hot Stuff by Donna Summer. It was fun and I had a great time. My best mate Mel (pictured above) and myself danced the night away and had a great time listening to Chords renditions of Aussie songs by Midnight Oil and others. I’m hoping that I will progressively get the chance to sing with them as a featured artist at future gigs.  Here is a shot from the gig at Chez Bar, 30 March 2007:


Chords feat. Lainey

BIRTHDAY WEEK!birthday-flowers.jpg

I really can’t believe that I’m 37 this week. Time is really flying.  I was taken out for a wonderful dinner with my husband, his parents, and our best mates Mel & Brent. I got some lovely gifts and we enjoyed great company and a wonderful evening at one of my favourite restaurants Indochine Vietnamese in Box Hill. Friday was a busy night with dinner as well as singing with Chords later in the evening.  I’ve been recovering all weekend from that one night. I guess as we get older it becomes more difficult to tie one one like we used to. I know it has been for me. Today my husband brought me the most beautiful flowers as he always does. I am happy to be so loved by one person. Tonight is my actual birthday night and Birdie is taking me out to a romantic dinner at the Golden Dragon Palace, he got us a table near the grand piano and we are going to have a 5 course Chinese meal to die for! I can’t wait.

CAMPING TRIPcamping-pack.jpg

Our annual camping trip is upon us. We are excited this year to have two new couples join us and the Hartogs and we hope to build on our fun weekend away with friends.  Okay we’re all packed, well except for ice, and food. One of the good things about having this weekend away is being able to spend time in the winderness and enjoy the outdoors. Also there will be some good poker and drinking going on. We are looking forward to an excellent four days out camping, be sure to check back to the blog after the Easter holiday to see our camping trip pictures! I will be posting all the gritty details here along with some excellent photos and a new photo album.  Be sure to tune in.

2 WEEKS TO GRADUATION Only two more weeks until I graduate… it’s the final countdown.  I am very excited to have a bunch of little letters after my name, I’m starting to think that might be one of the good things I get out of all this edumacation thang. Well, except for the large financial aid bill.  Gulp!


Mental Status: Coming to a cross-roads. Is 40 over the hill? Is 37? Well either way I’d have to say that I have loving friends and family, a wonderful husband, and a lovely best mate (Luv u Mel).
Song: The Final Countdown – Eurpoe
Favourite Thing Today: Well besides its my birthday, going to see Notes on a Scandal with Heather and a fancy schmancy birthday dinner with Birdie tonight!
Favourite Thing this Week: Getting ready for the camping trip.

Mar '07

Hartog Wedding

Wedding Bells

One of the cool things about coming to Australia is the scenery, and Dawn and Warwick’s wedding really took advantage of what the two of them love the most about this land downunder. On their new property, where they plan to build their home together, Dawn and Woz held their wedding ceremony. Out in the country, miles away from the city limits past the suburbs – you do find such lovely lush rainforest-like fern, beautiful moss Warwick Weddingcovered trees, the unsuspecting wild flower, and bright green ground cover at your feet.

Before the actual ceremony we were lead in through very green surroundings, in and out of trees and fern following a ribbon until we reached the clearing where they would be married. Dawn and her bridesmaids came through, in the background a single acoustic guitar plays.  

The sounds of many  wild birds during the ceremony  made my experience standing amongst family and friends memorable. The kookaburra, a flatheaded bird also known as the laughing jackass, was present for the wedding – the cackeling laughter echoing through the trees – I closed my eyes for just a minute to listen letting the silly birds joke pass over me. Dawn


Overall the wedding was beautiful and natural, just wonderful. Warwick came in with his bestman, carrying fishing poles and making their way through the trees appearing at Dawn’s side. On the pole was a velvet bag with the rings inside. During the course of the ceremony the rings were passed around for all friends and family to wish upon before being placed on their fingers. As Dawn gazes with adoring eyes, Woz reads his vows to her. Following the ceremony there was a lovely reception/after-party at the local Discovery Centre, a beautiful building amongst the trees and natural scene. Dawn It was a great day overall and we wish the Hartogs so much happiness in their new marriage.

Dawn, also a graduate of Nevada Union High School in Grass Valley, California married her longtime Aussie sweetheart Warwick after meeting over a decade ago working together at a California ski resort.We love you both, and hope that you will find as much happiness in your marriage that we have found in ours.

Your friends ~ The Birds

Feb '07

Valentines Day, Wine Tasting, and Blogging News

I love you Birdie

Happy Valentines DaySeems like we’ve been back home for a century already, and really we’ve only been back as long as we were gone. It’s been a fun last few weeks. My sweetie had a dozen very long-stemmed roses delivered to my work with a teddy bear, rose oil, chocolates, and perfume…. I swear I’m so spoilt. It was a nice surprise and out of the 60 some odd people that work in our office, I was the only one to get flowers. It was cool, all the girls wanted to come see me open the box. Lovely as always, my Birdie, he remembers that I love flowers. I’d have to say that I’m I’m very lucky to have a husband that loves me and treats me so well. I think many times in our lives we take for grantite what we have and don’t realize the importance until it’s gone. It’s definitely due to my Dad that I like flowers so much, he used to love to garden and grow all arrays of flowers and beautiful plants. I try to do the same here in Melbourne. Rod has a green thumb and loves to grow peppers (as my father did), and other veges for our meals. Thank you my loving husband, you made me feel so special this Valentines Day. Oh! And he took me for dinner at our favourite restaurant Indochine, this great little Vietnamese place we love to frequent.


Our friend Dawn (American/Australian Citizen) who has lived here for 10 years planned a day at the Yarra Valley Grape Grazing Festival for her Hens Day (which is similar to a Bachelorette Party). Dawn went to my high school and last year some of my family in Grass Valley saw her engagement announcement in the Grass Valley newspaper. Of course, I called her right up and recruited her into our “American group”. Dawn, myself, Heather, Dawns sister, and her school friend Janie were members of the Grape Grazing group all graduates of Nevada Union! Weird. Also joining us was my houseguest Claudia (a visiting friend-of-a-friend of my brother) from Boston. All of us “American girls” and a long-time Australian friend of Dawn’s, Brooke, grouped up for this long hot day of wine tasting.Grape Grazing 2007It was hella hot, we were all dying out there in the sun, luckily we did get a little shade. There were live bands, many selections of wine and champagne, a wonderful lunch and more heat. I think I was suffering from heat exhaustion… one thing about Australia is that it get’s damn hot here, and its a dry hot.

EASTER CAMPOUT! We are looking forward to our upcoming camping extravaganza over the long Easter weekend holiday. We are all heading up to Briagalong again and we’re bringing several other couples/families with us for our second annual “Campout!” We’re looking forward as always to sharing our pictures from this trip with you on the blog and we hope to have some good campfire stories to tell!

EXCITING BLOGGING NEWS In the coming months there will be some changes to the blog. You will be notified if you are on my mailing list, and I will be posting a link on this “archive” blog to my Shiney New Blog. It’s fantastic to think of all the new things I will be able to bring to my blog! Birdie and I will be podcasting weekly with news and goings-on around Melbourne and in our lives, and we hope you can listen in! Check back soon for more details as the new site is already under construction!


Mental Status: Depressed, saddened, and hurting for a couple of friends/loved ones in need at the moment. My prayers and thoughts are with you to stay strong.
Song: A Womans Worth – Alicia Keys
Favourite Thing Today: Birdie is making me Curry Chicken tonight! Yummo, my fav!
Favourite Thing this Week: Looking forward to my first weekend with no plans since we’ve been home from our holiday… Law and Order marathon, woo hoo!

Sep '06

The Wedding Photos

Professional Photos are In!

I’m uncertain how it has taken me almost a month to post again. But… I’m still here. Our professional wedding pictures are finally back.  I will post my favourite here and put the remainder in the photo album titled 2006 Wedding – Professional. To see all pictures click the PHOTO ALBUM link from the Pages box to the left. These are my favourites:


Signing the official paperwork


All our guests


The road to Kellybrook Winery & Restaurant amongst the vines


the kiss


the rings

Emma’s Birthday

Emma, is the first friend I made here in Australia, she is a long time friend of Rodney and shares a beautiful family with Robert (Rod’s school buddy). Emma’s birthday was dinner and drinks at our local “hotel” – not sure if I have specified this before but a “hotel” is like a local pub. They serve ‘pub meals’ have a bar, pokeys (slot machines), usually a bistro, and have live music on the weekends.  This Friday was a lot of fun, many of our friends were able to come and share in Emma’s birthday celebration!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY EM!

Erdmanis Wedding

Our friends Erik and Di Erdmanis got married. Erik and Rod went to school together and they currently play on the same Cricket team. Erik and Di are a couple years older than Rod & I, but they have been good friends to us. Here are some pictures from the wedding and reception. The wedding was very nice and we really had a good time with all our friends and Erik & Di’s family. Rob, the brother of the groom was also our best man in our wedding – Rob & Rod go back a long way!


Mental Status: Spirits up, hoping to get a call for a second interview with Pfizer!
Song: Who Knew – Pink
Favourite Thing Today: Got all my wedding pictures back!
Favourite Thing this Week: Emma’s birthday party and seeing all our friends.

May '06

Dessert & Champagne Reception

The Wedding: Day Two “The Reception”

The reception turned out very nice although the day was a bit rainy.  Luckily it didn’t rain on our wedding day… but, this day we had the extended family and friends over for a cake and champagne reception. We did our cake cutting and opened our presents with our guests.  It was quite a fun day!

Opening our presents

Wedding Cake by Cakes of Elegance

 Yum, wine glasses!

You can see more pictures from the reception in the photo album 2006 Wedding Pics.

Apr '06

The Bridal Shower and more Wedding News…


The bridal shower went off without a hitch. Mum and Heather planned and arranged for a nice gathering of young and old for a tea party (which doesn’t mean we drank tea), with goodies to eat and champagne cocktails – a good time was had by all.  My father-in-law Chris was our bartender and all-around host-with-the-most who catered to our pleasure. We had Rod’s Mum and sister-in-law, a couple of Rod’s first cousins, and one second cousin Jessica, his Grandmother, a Great-Aunt, lot’s of friends of the family and of course my posse: Em, Heather, Mel, and Dawn.  Things went well, we planned to have chapmagne cocktails and we came up with these three:

  1. Mimosa: Champagne & Orange Juice.  An alltime American Favourite, usually to be drunk at Breakfast or Brunch (late-Brekky/early-Lunch).  Amazingly, Australians not so familiar with this sweet drink but “you believe me” they are now!
  2. Chapmagne Sorbet: Should I make you guess: Champagne with a scoop of beautiful orange/red sorbet. Lovely bubbly drink with a fruity flavour.  Yummy but for adults only!
  3. Cran Champers: Cranberry Juice and Champagne.  Beautiful flavour with real cranberry juice, makes for a different flavour and goes well with just about anything.

I’d think Champagne & Orange Juice (Mimosa) is an alltime favourite but they’ve really not caught on here.  I will have to do more campaigning and work to get the word out MIMOSA FABULOUSO!


Group photo from the Bridal Shower – my new family


Another Birthday has come and gone and as much as she doesn’t want me advertising my birthday’s as they go by, my Mother, will just have to deal with the fact that 40 is right around the corner for me.  I was upset at first but I realize now that she must feel much worse than I.  Knowing that you have a child the age that you feel you are inside, well… it stinks.  So, I’m not quite forty yet Mom, but I’ll keep rubbing it in for you.  Rod and the family (& Heather) took me out to this little Vietnamese place called Indochine in Box Hill for my birthday dinner and I received some wonderful pressies. Rod followed up my pre-birthday dinner with the family by taking me to the coast to have dinner in a quaint restaurant, followed by a night at the Mentone to see one of our friend’s band Mojo. And the weekend didn’t end until we went out for breaky the next morning at a cute little cafe.  It was a worldwind birthday weekend! 


Don’t ever take ‘Masters Statistics and Research for Managerial Decisions’ with Professor Vladimir Crk from UOP. As far as I can tell this is the worst, most stressful and overworked class I have ever taken. Granted, I am over the hump with only 6 couses to go for my Masters – and I expected things to get more difficult as we went – but this is ridicuolus.  If you want to go to a University that is accellerated YET geared toward “working adults” look no further than Univeristy of Phoenix.  But BEWARE… if you are assigned Prof Crk, drop immediately!  I received a B in this class after two hernia’s, three sleepless nights, and one mild heart palputation. On we go to Operations Management – the class I’ve been looking forward to since I started this unseemingly long program. I’ll keep you posted on my progress!


You heard it first here, Lainey has finally scored herself a new giging band.  Splash is a three piece ensamble with music from the 70’s to Now!  Myself and a male singer will take the spotlight up front for a great line up of material. 


Mental Status: Pre-wedding excitement, been waiting for this day for 18 years.

Song/Band of the Day:  Madonna “Confessions on the Dancefloor”

Favourite Thing Today: Preparing for my Mom’s arrival, her first visit to Australia and to see where I live. She’ll be here for Easter and stay through the Wedding.  I love ya Mom.

Jun '05

New Life Decisions

How Many Times?

Time and time again I go through transitions in my life.  My friend Tom (hi Tom!) was just wishing me a smooth transition as I take my next step in life and I thought to myself… I need a new blog.  One just for me.

My friend Rod Bird came to visit a few weeks back, we were quite in love some seventeen years ago (yes, it was quite a while back) – but on his visit we reminisced about the many times we connected back and forth over the years.  We realized that we still have so much in common and were still really interested in having something together.  So like the most incredible epiphany, we decided that I will pack up and head out of this one horse town to take a chance on love and happiness.

So here’s the kicker for any of you that haven’t heard this story from me already – he lives in Melbourne, Australia.  I’m leaving this Thursday for a 10 day job hunt and we are going to make some plans.  I should be heading out for good toward the end of July.  No! It’s not far away, by the time I return from my job search we’ll be shipping my things abroad – and then I’m off!

Call me crazy but how can I not take the opportunity of a lifetime and risk it all to find out if this “is the one”.  Hell, I ain’t getting any younger or anything… it’s time for me to leave Chico, California once and for all and get out in the world – literally!

So here is the beginning of my new blog.  I hope you all will enjoy keeping up with me in Australia and during my preparation to go.  I will post lots of pictures and try to post often.  Leave comments and check in when you can, I will be looking forward to communicating with my friends through my blog.