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[Friday, 2010-12-17 08:13]
Lazy Babies!


I fear Majandra is turning to her lazy-bum mum. She's slept really well the last few nights, right from around 10pm all the way through to the morning. Yesterday I left for work and she was still asleep only to wake at 8:30. This morning I got up at 7:20, looked to check on Majandra, and she was wide awake staring back up at me. An instant beaming smile from her was the perfect start to the morning, she's so lovely.

We went to my parents' place the other week after dog training, somewhat of a "we'll just call in" thing. Majandra was really awake and really happy, so we wended up staying there for several hours. Mum and dad were playing with her and she was laughing and making little screaming noises. These screaming noises have, just in the last few days, become very frequent and LOUD! It's not like she's screaming constantly, and it's certainly not an upset noise, it's just I can't describe it any other way. It's like all the noises she's made (crying, grunting etc) before have been from deep in her throat and now she's learned to open her mouth and actually make some noise.

We've had two more "poo situations" recently. The best was when I got home from bike riding with Matt last Saturday. Majandra had just finished a feed and was having some nappy free time on her play mat. She'd rolled onto her belly, all good. We were having coffee and heard this "splat" noise. Briony's said "oh no" and raced over there. Sure enough Majandra, naked on her belly had done a liquid poo. We lifted her up and next thing Lucy the dog has stood in the poo. We soon got cleaned up, but we had an unhappy baby for being disturbed and an unhappy dog from having her leg dunked in a bucked of cold water.


We also have formally introduced Briony to the Adelaide Central Markets. She's never really liked the place, but I think it's pretty cool. So after belly dancing last week we went to the market to get some fruit and veg ready to cool dinner for mum's 62nd that night. We had to get some apples, so I put some in a bag and gave Briony some money to pay for it. She soon learned that the people from the stall lean over and can take your items to be weighed and then take the money. Briony has an issue with foreign accents, even strong English accents, she can't understand what people are saying. She misheard the amount and gave the wrong money. Then when the man repeated the price she gave more money. But she'd become all embarrassed and hot and flustered.

Then another stall operator started flogging his strawberries ... "two for six, two for six". So I gave Briony some money and made her get them. She came back hot and flustered again and had to remove her jacket. I love tormenting my wife :) but seriously, she'll soon get the hang of it and realise the stall owners aren't out to get her!

Last story for the day - last Sunday Briony went on a bike ride with a couple of ladies she's met on the Gear Up Girl ride a few weeks back. They rode from town to West Beach down the Linear Park, and back via the Westside Bikeway. I met them down at West Beach for pancakes and coffee, but also for a feed because these days Majandra is pretty much exclusively on breast milk - she just won't take a bottle! So no Briony means cranky baby. Pancakes weren't bad either! On the way back I got a message from Briony telling me which way they were going, so I picked a spot on the bikeway under a tree, put Majandra on her blanket and waited for Briony. When they all arrived I got a few good photos of them too.

Oh, HOW COULD I FORGET?? The other we went for dinner with Dylan & Sarah, and before dinner we took Majandra to the Magic Cave! She liked having a look around and we got a good photo of her with Father Christmas ($50 though!). I did feel a bit cheated though - there were four Father Christmases. There were probably more than one when I was a child too, but it was just a bit of a shock, I never knew there was more than one!



[Thursday, 2010-11-25 18:10]
A taste of Summer


I'm on the train, a bit wet, yet I'm hot. We've just had our first two days of 35C summer weather, and now today it's still hot, but humid and raining. I'm also wondering where the last 5 weeks have gone, since I haven't done a blog update since last month! So this is going to be another big one.

I'll get work stories out the way first. Mark's left, and so has Phil. Mark leaving hasn't really affected me as we sort of did different things, but still there's been a bit of handover and cleaning up lots of loose ends. Phil leaving, on the other hand, has made life quite busy. Nothing I can't handle, but certainly it's made me give some more conscious thought to how we can streamline our processes to make life easier. As for Briony's work, well she's not working of course, but we were driving past her work's old offices recently, they were demolishing it as expected. It was somewhat symbolic that the HUGE complex was destroyed, we just happened to be there as the big machinery ate the final section of the front office, with all the company logos etc.

At the start of this month we went over to Victoria for Kerrie's 40th birthday party. She'd organised a fairly big event, and booked some room at a function venue for dinner, drinks and some entertainment. We saw a few different sights on the way over, as the GPS told us the best way there was to go north before Horsham, and drive via Donald, Warracknabeal and Avoca. I don't really think it made much difference, in fact it may have been longer, however this alternate route skipped a lot of towns and also there was hardly any traffic at all.

Kerrie's place is in Clunes, a small town near Ballarat. It was Victoria's first gold mining town, and these days is a very quiet spot with a population of 850 and a whole lot of history. We really just wandered around the town, had some food down the street and relaxed at Kerrie's. We also hired the "2012" DVD to watch during dinner - I would like that 100 minutes of my life back please, the movie was awful.

Kerrie's 40th party was at The Palais in Daylesford. The Palais is a really old theatre come dance hall come pub come function centre. The main room area is quite nice, with a decent stage and lighting. Kerrie and the Palais' manager had arranged for Bobby Flynn to play at the party. Briony has always loved Bobby Flynn, so she was really thrilled to have the chance to see him in such a close and intimate setting.

Of course nobody could have predicted just how intimate!

Majandra was hungry and cranky, and while Briony's OK to breast feed in public she wasn't really too keen on doing this in a pub. She was going to do it with a chair facing the wall, but the manager saw us and told us we can go out back into the office if we like. So we went out there to do a feed. Right next to us was a door and we could hear Bobby Flynn was in that room, practising.

A few minutes later, right in the middle of the feed, the door opened and Bobby stepped out, only to find Briony in front of him with her boob out! It actually turned out really well, as inside the room was Bobby's wife and daughter, who'd just finished a feed themselves. Bobby sat on the desk and had a chat all about babies and boobs and music and the party and all sorts. What a nice guy!


The rest of the night went well. The food left a bit to be desired (I swear my mushroom risotto was from a tin!), but the drinks were cold, the music was good and the company was great. I spent most of my time hiding in other rooms, as Majandra didn't like the loud music too much and she was getting quite upset. Majandra and I retired to bed at our hotel room next door, around 11:00 I think, Briony came over around midnight, but the more eager ones carried the party through until about 4am so I'm told.

As we were already in Daylesford, we took some time on Sunday to relax. We had some coffee at a local cafe and then headed to the Daylesford Sunday Markets. There is heaps of stuff there, nothing that really interested us until right at the end there was a woman selling off a car load of old baby things - we got a couple of bargains which was great.

Sunday afternoon we went over to the family "farm" at Tourello, only 15 minutes away. Ted was there, getting the 4WD motorbike ready to do some weed spraying. He invited me to have a go, which was good fun but actually quite hot work. I had to stop several times because Ted's done a really dodgy wiring job on the bike, and with the bumps the cables work themselves loose and the engine stops. We also go the bike tangled up in some fencing wire which was lying in the grass. I ended up spraying the whole area that needed to be done, but finished up with a horrible hay fever.

Monday morning, we were ready to head home - it'd been a good trip!

I wanted to write a bit about Majandra here too, And Lucy of course.

Lucy has calmed down a bit now, she's still quite active and energetic, but not quite as insane as she used to be. We're not sure if this is just because she's growing up a bit, or if my dad whipped her into shape while we were in Victoria.

That reminds me of a funny story. As a child, it was us kids' job to feed the family dog and also clean up the droppings. My father would often threaten "the first time I walk outside in bare feet, and step in dog shit, THAT'S IT! Anyway while we were driving to Victoria we'd stopped in (I think) Coonalpyn to change and feed Majandra. I called mum to see how they were going with Lucy. She told me that the previous night Lucy had dropped her bum inside and was doing a poo, and dad went over towards her - my guess is dad was going to interrupt her mid-poo and put her outside. Anyway as dad approached her she moved in front of him. Next thing he's tripped over her, fallen down on the floor and put his hand straight into the steaming fresh dog droppings. Mum was laughing so much on the phone she could hardly finish her story. I think it's rather amusing too :)


So Majandra ... quite a lot has happened in the last 5 weeks.

She's still smiling and laughing, perhaps not quite as much as last month when she'd first discovered smiling and laughing, but we sure do still get a smile every time she wakes up. Her hands are getting a lot better at movement, and grabbing things. She still needs a lot of concentration to actually grab an object but once she grabs it she holds on very tightly. She's also discovered the art of grabbing her feet - when she's lying down she'll put her legs in the air and grab her toes. She loves it, and she'll just sit there in that position quite comfortably.

As of today she's 5.33Kg, a little sack of potatoes.

We're trying to give Majandra lots of tummy time, so she can strengthen her neck and arms. She's not quite an athlete yet, but she is getting a little better every day. And she's getting better with her balance - I'm often sitting her upright, supporting her a bit but not holding her firm - it's good to see her swaying a bit and trying to stay balanced. Oh, and I gave Majandra her first shower :)

Enough typing, it's Friday now, this blog entry has taken two days to write, I'm outta here! Here's the photos ...





[Sunday, 2010-10-17 16:34]
Monster Blogging at the Laundromat


It's Sunday afternoon, and I thought I'd get some blogging done while I do the laundry. I've got a few blankets to wash that won't fit into our machine (they're big blankets!) so I drove to two different service stations around home, got half a tank of fuel at each, and withdrew some cash and asked for $1 coins. So now I have 34 minutes to kill while the blankets go around in circles. I can't believe I actually just wrote a paragraph of text about doing the laundry...

So I've got a few things to catch up on as I haven't done my blog for about 5 weeks now. I'll start with the most recent, I'm not sure how much I'll be able to remember about what we did more than 2 weeks ago!

Firstly, a Majandra update. The little girl's doing absolutely great. She's growing fast now, she's outgrown a few of her jump suits already and now her nappies have to be fastened one press-stud looser. It's obvious she's becoming more aware of her surroundings, as she's really starting to look at things with interest. Majandra smiles at us every time she wakes up and recognises who we are. She pays attention when spoken to, and gives some smiles back. She is also laughing a little - mainly when Briony makes some silly noises at her, the laugh is so gorgeous but I don't think we've got it on video yet. Majandra also seems to love it when Briony says the word "Einstein".



Majandra is starting to want to use her hands - the arms are always up in the air, and she's trying to grab the hanging toys all the time. When I'm changing her nappy we have some face time - I put my face within her reach and she always reaches up and touches my face. She still hasn't got a lot of hand control though - the other day I put a rattle in her hand and moved her whole arm so it made a noise, then watched as she tried to move it around too. She got one tiny shake from it, then the arm went randomly flying and she hit herself in the head.


Today Briony took Lucy to dog training/agility. Plan was to walk up the super-steep Lynton-to-Belair path after training, so while Briony was still at training I put Majandra in the pram and walked from home all the way down the hill. That was about 75 minutes walking until I met Briony, then we walked back up the hill again. Briony gave Majandra a feed at the top, but Majandra didn't take much as she was so distracted by all the trees and birds around the place. We walked back down, ate our Bakers Delight scrolls, and tried to feed Majandra again. She wasn't all that interested, so we tried a bottle. No luck their either. Briony drove home, but as we'd forgotten the baby capsule, Majandra and I took the train. I don't know how much Majandra can actually see, let alone interpret, however she was certainly enjoying herself looking out the train window.



Monday last week it was announced that I'd had the highest percentage sales above target for July, August and September. The prize for the winner was a brand new Apple iPad. I'd worked really hard to get all my sales done, and even more so to make sure all the extra sales I'd done were actually set up and my customers were happy. There were a few late nights on the computer at home over the last 2 months, but it paid off in the end.

As would be my luck, the iPad i received was faulty. The touch screen would stop responding randomly. I took it into NextByte in town - they hadn't seen that issue before so they were all a little puzzled, however I was thrilled that they agreed to just swap it over. Also since work had given me the base model (16GB Wi-Fi only) I paid the gap to upgrade to the top of the range 64GB Wi-Fi+3G. I was also thrilled to learn this model also has GPS built in, even better. So anyway the iPad is now at home, Briony's become addicted to some silly games, suffice to say I don't see the device very often.

Sunday before last we went to McLaren Vale, but not the traditional way! We drove to Seaford with Briony's bike on the car and the pram in the boot of course. It was about 6.5Km from Seaford to McLaren Vale, which was a perfect distance for Briony to get herself back on the bike after not having ridden for about 12 months. I pushed the pram with the aim to run as much as I could, I'd say I ran 3/4 of the way. We had lunch at the Tin Shed Cafe in McLaren Vale. We've been there before and it was awesome. This time it was okay but not brilliant, as some of the yummy (and vegetarian) options from the menu are gone, as are the awesome fruit juices. We had a Tinny Burger each but with the meat swapped for a veggie patty. The patty was enormous, so we were quite full after the meal. Surprisingly, even on a full stomach, I still ran most the way back to the car. Overall, a wonderful day!


A few weeks back we had Dylan & Sarah around for dinner. The roast vegetables and vegetarian schnitzels went down a treat. They brought their Chihuahua, Penny, who is about the same age as Lucy. They didn't kill each other, but that Penny sure had a serious attitude - she's ferocious! Anyway they had a good time, with Penny doing all the chasing. Here's some photos of Lucy, plus a couple of shots of her with Dylan & Sarah's Penny.



[Wednesday, 2010-09-08 08:47]
A miserable Saturday, and a first Fathers Day!


Saturday just gone was some of the wildest, most feral weather we've had for a while. It was raining pretty much all day, the skies were a nasty grey colour, and the wind was terrible. The online news sites are full of photos from around the state, with dams overflowing, rivers bursting their banks, trees falling over and just general chaos.

We didn't have any such chaos at our place, but we did cop our fair share of cold. We went to Natures Cradle at Goodwood, looking for some natural nappy rash solution. We didn't have any success but it was still worth a look in the store. Following that we went to Bunnings for a bit, Majandra got a few drops of rain while we carried her from the car to the store. It was also a bit cold inside the store, so we didn't hang around for long. Final stop was Big W for some clothes for Briony. The wind had really picked up, and the moment I opened the car door, Majandra let out a shriek as the cold wind blew on her. I had to run from the car to the shop to make sure Majandra stayed warm.

Saturday evening we went to Belinda's for her birthday party. It was just a small affair, but good to have a chat and a few drinks. We also ordered the biggest pizza I'd ever seen!

Sunday was Fathers Day - we caught up with Ted at lunch time, and then with my parents for dinner at our usual Mexican favourite. Dad spent most of his time at dinner with his hand in Majandra's capsule, gently patting her to sleep. He seems to have the right touch, as whatever he did worked!

Here's some photos from the last week ...



And here's a photo series of Ted re-learning how to burp a baby ....


[Tuesday, 2010-08-31 18:03]
A wedding and a bloodshot eye


Had a great weekend just gone .... Saturday was a little sleep-in, followed by a few light chores around the house. We had Camilla & Brenton's wedding that afternoon, and around lunchtime we started getting ready. At about the same time I had a call from Daniel, who wanted to pop in. It was great to see Daniel, and little did I know he'd actually turn out to be quite useful ... while I was getting dressed, Majandra needed a feed. So I gave Daniel a baby, a bottle, and let him figure out the rest. Majandra sucked down the whole bottle in no time, and when it was burp time I noticed Daniel gave Majandra back very quickly!

Saturday night was Camilla & Brenton's wedding, at Longview Winery. It was a cool day but the rain held off, and the ceremony went without a hitch. A few drinks later and we were all chatting happily, and then went inside for the reception dinner. Briony had graciously offered to drive, so of course I took that as an invitation to drink more! Many beers and a few red wines later, I was having a merry old time.

We got home around 11:30pm, and our Babysitter Tanya opened the back door, half-asleep. Tanya had been itching to baby sit Majandra, and she;d brought her daughter, Jasmin, who adores Lucy the dog. As Tanya opened the door, I see Jasmin getting up, and then I notice Lucy climbing her way out of Jasmin's top. Obviously those two are now best friends!

It wasn't long before I began to feel a little ill from all the booze. After a quick vomit I was feeling better, but through the night I felt awful and had to get up a few more times. I also had to get up to attend to Majandra at the usual 3am calling. A lesson learned here is that if one has to get up to a baby through the night, it's best not to get completely hammered.

Sunday was a fabulous day, we lazed around the house and enjoyed the first peek of sunshine we'd seen in quite a while. We went to my parents' place for dinner and just relaxed a bit. My parents both obviously love their grand-daughter, and my father (the dog Nazi) seems to be quite fond of Lucy too!

Time for the usual run of photos so I can sign off, as tonight is another round of chores!


[Friday, 2010-08-27 18:25]
A blurred reality ...


It's a month and ten days since we brought Majandra home from the hospital. It's weird though, as I don't really seem to have a grasp of where this time has gone. Some friends had described having a newborn as 'ground hog day' - and it's true. The days and weeks have become meaningless - I seem to get up, tidy the house, go to work, come home, take Majandra while eating dinner with one hand, settle Majandra, tidy the house some more, and perhaps at 10:30pm get the chance to quickly check my email (and heaven forbid, a blog entry!).>

But I should also point out - it's wonderful!

Most of the time I have spent at home this month, has literally been spent tidying the house, cleaning up poo, or cleaning up wee. The poo and/or wee is coming from both Majandra and also from Lucy the Jack Russell. She's a beast - absolutely gorgeous and loves us to bits, but all the biting and chewing is insane. She loves to eat feet, and ears. And just the night before last I woke up somewhere around 3am, only to find Lucy asleep on (yes, literally on) my neck. Other days I come home to find Lucy's grabbed some toilet paper / plastic bag and left pieces scattered all around the house.

We've had a few visitors round to see us and Majandra which is nice, and we've also been out by ourselves which meant leaving Majandra with a babysitter for the first time. This babysitter, however, was one of Briony's workmates and was so excited to have Majandra, so we knew she'd be well looked-after.

One more story that I just have to put in here ... probably for my own benefit as I don't think anyone else would find it funny. So it was Ted's 70th birthday and we took him to Windy Point Restaurant for dinner. A wonderful meal it was too. Anyway we're at the table, before dinner, and somehow the conversation turned to suicide. I don't know how, it just did. Next thing Ted pipes up with some story about him in his youth, driving along the highway with a sore knee. Apparently the knee was so sore and hurting so bad, that he thought about careering his car off the side of the road. He even used the words "into a tree". It goes without saying that I absolutely cracked up, as this was probably the funniest thing I'd heard all year. And even funnier, was that he was absolutely dead serious about it. That just made me laugh even more, and apparently I had veins bulging out of my forehead. So Ted, I'm sorry for laughing at your sore knee, but thank you for making me laugh so much that I cried.

Let's finish this random story with a few photos of Majandra, Lucy, and our dinner at Windy Point.



[Monday, 2010-08-02 22:42]
WOOF!


The days and weeks are blurring into each other, it's kind of weird. But also nice that Briony I as new parents are slowly finding our way into a routine as we learn what on earth we're supposed to be doing. Majandra's getting more energetic all the time. This means she can stay awake for longer which is nice, but also means when she gets upset and unsettled, she makes a LOT of noise and sometimes makes noise for a long time. By the time she falls asleep on my shoulder, my arm is well and truly worn out.

Last Saturday we went for a visit to Melanie & Ben, who had their child (Oscar) a few weeks before Majandra was born. It was nice to see them, and really full on to see how both of them have changed now they have a family. And bugger me, Oscar's a big boy!

On the Sunday I took Briony to town with Majandra in the pram. It was a cool but pleasant day, very nice to get out, but my sneaky motivation was to get Briony out of the house and show her that walking to the railway station, getting to town and back home isn't really that hard after all. We had some lunch in town, did some shopping and found the parents rooms in City Cross and Myers (the Myers parents room is excellent!).

On Sunday night we gave Majandra a bath, which was just the usual floating happily in the water followed by a screaming match when we took her out of the bath. Putting her in front of the heater makes her stop crying though!!



The weekend just gone was another nice one. On Saturday we wanted to get some furniture from Whitewood Furniture. We'd looked at some items at Morphett Vale, however we ended up going to the Norwood showroom because we wanted to go up that side of town to look for a dog. Briony had seen an advert in the newspaper for 7 Jack Russell X pups, perfect! We ended up taking a little female. I think we've called her Lucy, But Briony still hasn't confirmed if that's our final choice. When we got home with Lucy we caught up with Andreas and Paulina, they came bearing gifts for Majandra and Toblerone for Briony and I.



On Sunday we did a few chores, went up to see Ted, and spent some time at home just relaxing with Majandra & Lucy the new dog. Today we caught Lucy sleeping in middle of some rolled up carpet. I guess it's nice and warm in there!


[Friday, 2010-07-23 08:27]
Welcome *yawn* Home Majandra!


In 15 hours from now, Majandra will be exactly one month old. She had to stay in hospital for 3 weeks following her birth due to being 3 weeks early and also being a little on the skinny side (but nothing too serious). We roomed in at Flinders Medical Centre last Thursday and Friday night, and were allowed to take Majandra home on the Saturday afternoon. More on the pregnancy, birth and hospital stay in my Majandra Blog.

Having Majandra at home is absolutely awesome for a couple of reasons. Most important of course is that she's healthy and doing fine. But also we feel a lot more relaxed being at home, being able to feed and hold without having nurses and doctors supervising. Not that the nurses were bad or anything, but it's just nice not to have to worry what someone else is thinking. Thirdly, we can spend more time with Majandra, and Briony and I get that time together too - it's nice just to be able to sit there and hold Majandra, and have her fall asleep while being held.


So what about routine? Well, the routine bit's been quite easy, probably helped by the time Majandra spent in hospital. When we first got her home 6 days ago, we were following that 4-hour feed routine as per in hospital. This included setting our alarm clocks for through the night, waking Majandra up, and doing the feed. But we've quickly learned that we have to be ready for a feed every 3-5 hours, but now we don't really wake Majandra up unless we have to - she'll generally stir and make some noise, which wakes us up.

The lack of sleep think isn't (yet) a problem for me, but Briony's a bit tired. I actually have a theory about that. Before Majandra was born, I'd stay up late on the computer every night. I'd generally head to bed somewhere around midnight, then up at 6:30. Briony had been telling me for months, that I should go to bed earlier as I'll be really messed up when the baby comes. Alas, I ignored her advice. Now that Majandra's here, we're going to bed around 10, up at 6:30, with perhaps 90 minutes attending to Majandra through the night. So overall I'm still getting the same sleep I always have, and I'm not really feeling tired at all. Fingers crossed it stays that way, and I don't suddenly crash in a week or two.

There's been some changes around the house ... it used to my a myriad of random clothes in the bathroom, scrunched up tissues everywhere, hair everywhere, empty tea cups everywhere. Now the house is just a maze of washing on the clothes horse, feeding bottles and teats in a queue to the steriliser, various bum- and mouth- cloths (hopefully we don't mix them up!), and the most frequent sight in home is breast pads and handkerchiefs! They're everywhere!

Nappy-change time is generally easy, but can be a challenge if we've had to wake Majandra. I've learned that after waking her, it's best to mess around for a few minutes and see if there's any poo waiting to happen. If the old nappy is removed too quickly, Majandra gets cold and has a big stretch, and then the poo all comes spraying out everywhere. Just by waiting a few minutes, makes for an easier job.

Speaking of nappies, we're eager to switch to cloth. We've been using mainly disposables, mainly because we were given a packet of them anyway so we might as well use them, but also because Majandra's small, most of cloth nappies looked too big. What is interesting is that even though they LOOK big, they actually seem to serve their intended purpose just fine (although they do look a bit ridiculous on her little bum!).

I've also received my initiation at burping Majandra. After a big feed the other day I had her on my shoulder for a burp, and she let some milk back up and it got all in my beard, all over my jumper and over Majandra's face. Not really all that gross though, it just wipes up.


Last thing to report was that yesterday we took Majandra to Marion Shopping Centre. I put the pram in the car and met Briony at the shops after work. That was pretty cool taking her around, and Briony does look awesome pushing the pram around - she's making a great mum!


[Tuesday, 2010-07-13 17:38]
Come Home Majandra, and Goodbye Sophie :(


Today is the twentieth day that Majandra's been in the Neo-Natal unit at Flinders Medical Centre. She's wonderfully healthy, but has been stuck in the hospital because she was small, just waiting for her to fatten up a bit. She's doing well, getting better at feeding and getting more awake with every day that passes. Still, it's a bit of a drain having to travel between the hospital every four hours. I'm back at work now so it's just Briony travelling during the day, but at night time I get home from work, quickly scoff my dinner, race to the hospital, and by the time I get home it's time for bed! There's heaps of photos and stories on my Majandra Blog.

The weekend just gone we also had to say goodbye to our wonderful, awesome, faithful, loving and gorgeous dog, Sophie. She was just shy of 10 years old, and I honestly believe she'd led the best life possible for such a creature. Sophie was loyal, smart, obedient-ish and most of all she was playful and affectionate. Sophie would always greet us with a wag and a lick, she'd spend evenings on my or Briony's lap while we watched TV, and she'd sleep in our bed. She'd show up in the kitchen every time we opened the cheese packet, and would jump for joy every time we mentioned "walk" or "car". Apart from playing ball, her favourite pastime was definitely "mousing" - spending hours on end hunting mice in the garden.




Sophie had been healthy right until the time Majandra was born. A few days after we came home from the hospital we noticed Sophie wasn't very happy. She was mooching around looking sad, she was constantly shivering and just generally miserable. Briony took her outside for toilet, and Sophie collapsed and rolled backwards. She got up again, but Briony had such a fright. We took her to the emergency vet, who suspected a throat infection. A few days later, no improvement, so we took her to the Hills Veterinary clinic near home. They suspected an infection too, and gave us some tablets. Sophie wasn't eating, so would not take the tablets, so we went back again 2 days later and Sophie had an injection of antibiotics.




Another few days and Sophie was even worse, so back to the Vet for some X-Rays which showed fluid in Sophie's chest. She had the fluid drained which helped, however the vet informed us that the fluid would be caused by either a tumour or a heart condition. He offered to do some blood tests so we could find out, but this means Sophie would be in horrible pain with tubes in her for 3 days, and he was 99% sure the results would be tumour or heart condition anyway. On the vet's recommendation, we were forced to have Sophie put to sleep.




Briony took things pretty hard, which is to be expected as Sophie had been THE central part of our life for the last ten years. We both miss her terribly, and the house is a quiet place without the pattering of her feet. We buried Sophie in the back yard over the weekend, along with her "Property of Sophie" bowl and a couple of her favourite toys. We will always love her and remember her, as I'm sure will all our friends and family who just knew her as "the crazy Jack Russell". May Sophie rest in peace.




Overall it's been a pretty hairy month for us, with us having to induce Briony's pregnancy early, have Majandra stuck in hospital, lose our precious Sophie and hear some terrible news about our neighbours. I'm hoping everything turns around and becomes more positive from here on.

Oh, we should have Majandra home within the next 7 days. Finally!


[Monday, 2010-07-05 12:49]
She's our daughter ...


Yep, she's our daughter and her name is Majandra (pronounced "Ma-handra" - it's a Venezuelan name).

Today's Monday and I'm back at work after two weeks off. Majandra's still in hospital due to being a little on the small side. We hope to have her home in a week or so, more details in my Majandra Blog.

The last two weeks have been just a blur of driving to and from the hospital for Majandra's 4-hourly feeds, it's funny how one day can just blur into the next. It feels all a little weird to be back at work actually.

About the only other news is that our dog Sophie is sick. We put her outside at night while we were at the hospital following Majandra's birth, it was a bit cold but she would have been okay I'm sure. But now she has a nasty cough, and she's trembling really badly, wheezing and just generally miserable. I'm sure her being outside for 2 nights can't possibly have been to blame, at least I hope not. Anyway here's a cheer to Sophie to get better soon!


[Tuesday, 2010-06-22 11:29]
Could be the last blog before we have a baby


Dinner last night, at Windy Point Restaurant, was absolutely awesome. I knew it was upmarket, and I really wasn't sure what to expect. What I found was a lovely atmosphere, great food, and I didn't feel at all uncomfortable there. Well, I was feeling a bit uncomfortable at the end, as we both ate WAY too much. The food was fabulous! At $150 for the two of us it's not a place we'll go regularly, but I think we can manage once in a while.

Briony got up this morning, on the day she's going to hospital, and she has a head cold. Talk about typical Briony, this sort of stuff always happens to her. I'm about to go put her in the shower and make her some breakfast, hopefully that makes her feel better.


[Monday, 2010-06-21 18:06]
Time to be a dad ... and a few photos from June 2010


I'm sitting on the train writing this blog entry, heading home after my last day at work before becoming a father. The last 5 days has been a little hairy for us, with some developments in Briony's pregnancy that aren't particularly nasty but just a little left-of-field and unexpected.

I won't go on about those events here, but you can read more in my Majandra Blog. I will include some photos of the lovely Briony though, 37 weeks pregnant and looking absolutely wonderful.


There's been a few other things happening in the last couple of weeks too. Briony finished work just over a week ago, and I was invited down for lunch. They say there's nothing like a free lunch, but it was $25 in taxi fares to get there and another $25 back again. But it was all worth it, just being there on the last day and seeing all her workmates. The pasta was pretty good too!


The weekend before last my parents put on a surprise birthday party for Dad's brother, Rob. He was here from England with his partner Julie. They had a casual two-week stay and my folks put on the party at the end. It wasn't anything huge, just a few family and friends with some food and drinks and music, and of course the customary dancing by my parents :)


Oh and we also had a visit from Kerrie (Briony's sister) and Rob (her fiance) the other week, so we took a day's outing to the Barossa. It was a nice day, relaxed and casual, and we got a nice family photo at our place. Of course dad had to be smart and give mum a "grab" during the photo - there's always one smart alec, isn't there.


I'll sign off here as I'm almost home on the train ... I'm taking Briony to dinner at Windy Point Restaurant - it's a little more upmarket than the places we usually frequent, but by oath Briony deserves all the goodness I can throw her way. She's the best.

Next Station ... Coromandel .... time to get off the train!


[Saturday, 2010-06-05, 15:23]
Trying to avoid my chores ...


If there's one chore that I absolutely loathe, it'd have to be weeding. I can't stand it. I've never liked it. I'll do anything I can to avoid it. So I'm sitting inside now doing this blog because it's time for an update, but perhaps also unconsciously I'm doing it because if I turn the computer off, I'll have to go do the weeding!

We went to the last of the ante-natal classes at Flinders Hospital today, the final session being all about baby care. More on that in my Majandra Blog if you want to read more.

We went to the Barossa with Kerrie and Rob the other week. They came over from Melbourne, so we took the opportunity to take a drive for the day. That was actually quite enjoyable - we didn't really do anything productive, just more about going for a drive, having some food, having a chat, and just relaxing.

Briony's got 4 more days left of work - then she's officially on maternity leave, and will be getting ready for the arrival of our baby in about six weeks' time. Her office at work is full of chooks, and it goes without saying that short, blonde, cute and pregnant thing like Briony is the centre of attention in the office. All the girls have decorated Briony's desk in preparation for her time off work. At this stage she plans to have 12 months off and then return part-time, but I guess 12 months is a long time so we'll have to wait and see what happens. I think they're planning a big celebration at the office on Briony's last day. I know there'll be lots and lots of tears!

Signing off now, I've realised that the garden isn't going to weed itself, so I'm reluctantly going outside to do it!


[Thursday, 2010-05-13, 18:07]
Too much popcorn (and choc tops)


I feel like a fattie. Well, not too bad, but I've eaten a lot of rubbish this week. We went to the movies to see Clash of The Titans on Monday night, and then to see Animal Kingdom last night. Movies means popcorn, and a big soft drink, and a choc top. Fatties for me! I'll have to make up for it somehow ...

Since my last entry which was almost 2 months ago (shame on me!), a few things have been happening.

Briony's obviously getting larger by the day, she's looking absolutely beautiful and I love touching her belly. There's more stuff in the Majandra Blog so I don't need to say much more here except that our baby daughter is only nine weeks away. I'm not scared yet, but there's still plenty of time to get scared!

The other week we went to Belair National Park for a photo session - just to get a few scenic shots of us together, but particularly shots of Briony. There's some pretty good photos here, even if I say so myself!


Next on the list - I sold my motorbike. And I'm not at all proud to say that I haven't missed it. Not that I didn't like my bike - I loved it - but it had to go as I rarely rode the thing. And when I did, it was 90% for commuting, not the fun rides through the hills with friends. Even though I live in the hills. So anyway I advertised it, sold it pretty quickly, and the bloke that bought it got a good deal and a very tidy motorcycle.


Three weeks ago, my sister Koorine got married. We flew over to Hobart for the wedding, and stayed a few extra days to do some touristy things. Nothing too strenuous, given the size of Briony's bump! It was a bit windy and cool in Hobart (nothing out of the ordinary), however Koorine and Ben were blessed with a 3-hour window of sun and clear skies for the wedding ceremony. As if on queue, 30 minutes after the ceremony the wind came up and the rain came down!


The wedding was nice, everyone had a great time and the girls (Koorine & Ben's daughters) loved it. We had a nice afternoon tea, went for a drive and then returned in the evening for a dinner with both sides of the family. Dinner sure tasted okay, but the food came out in a somewhat adhoc fashion, probably due to the chef burning herself and being taken to hospital! Then the crazy lady that ran the place didn't think we'd paid for dinner, even though we'd handed her the money only 5 minutes earlier, along with a big conversation about Briony's belly. For the record, yes we did actually pay. Once.

While in Hobart itself we did a tour of the Cascade Brewery which was quite nice, and they have a nice cafe inside the guest centre. We stayed for the beer tasting and we also had lunch - unquestionably the best vegetarian lasagne we've ever had.

We took the journey to Port Arthur, which is only about 90 minutes drive from Hobart. There were a few nice stops along the way, all well-signposted and really only a few minutes off the main highway.



I didn't really know what Port Arthur was, but quickly learned that basically when Australia was a convict colony and any of the convicts tried to escape or were otherwise badly behaved, they were sent to Port Arthur - essentially a jail within a jail. Here they were worked hard, building infrastructure, cutting trees for timber, or working in the coal mines. It's quite a big place, with a lot more history than I first realised.


The last touristy thing we did was to visit the Newdegate Cave, otherwise known as Hastings Cave. Briony made a comment that "a cave's a cave", and to some extent yes caves do all look fairly similar. But it's a long time since we'd been in a cave, and this one really was quite lovely. Certainly worth the trip down!


That's all for now!


[Tuesday, 2010-03-16, 08:14]
Happy Birthday to Me...


I think Paulina put it perfectly... "Welcome to the 31 Club". Of course on Sunday at her birthday lunch when she said this, she was still officially 30, so she was inviting me to a club of which she was not formally a member... maybe I'm too picky :)

So yeah, I'm 31. Just another year, but this year I got District 9 on Blu-Ray. That would have to be my favourite movie of 2009, and certainly one of my overall favourite movies ever. If you haven't yet seen it, I recommend you do!

After a stop at Windy Point lookout for some family photos, we went to Montezumas for dinner as is tradition, but especially now with Briony being pregnant. Her appetite is a little unpredictable and some days she just doesn't fancy certain foods, so going out for Thai, Chinese or Indian may result in disaster. If there's one thing you can bank on, it's Briony eating Mexican. The restaurant was absolutely packed, we could see the staff were getting all stressed out but they seemed to get everything taken care of. Bet they were glad to see the last customers leave though!


After dinner I took everyone for a surprise dessert at a new-ish "dessert cafe" called Eggless on Goodwood Road. I'd heard from Erina at work that this place was great, and of course as their name suggests all their recipes are egg-free, so that sits well with us too. I didn't really give any thought at all to booking, however in hindsight we were actually lucky to get a seat - the place was packed, and by the time we finished our dessert there was actually a line-up outside! The rest of the family got a dish each, Briony and I got a tasting platter to share - that's smaller servings of 4 different desserts. Ours had the torched fig pudding, a green tea tiramisu thing, a rhubarb and fig custard, and a white choc mudcake. We also shared a pot of Moroccan Mint Tea.


All in all, a good meal, a good dessert, a good present, and a good birthday :)


[Friday, 2010-02-26, 08:14]
February Catch-up


It's been three weeks since my last blog update. So what's the stories? Well, we went to A Day On The Green concert, that was at a winery in McLaren Vale. Vanessa Amorosi was supporting, with Rob Thomas doing the big show. The whole event was really good, even considering I don't know either of the artists all that well. Rob Thomas has sort of grown on me actually - I've even caught myself humming some of the tunes. Catering at the event was great, the crowd was well-behaved and I didn't even get busted for not knowing the lyrics.


Another Valentines Day has been and gone, as well as our first wedding anniversary. We didn't do a lot for our anniversary, just went out for dinner, but it was still a nice weekend and a nice meal. I know officially I'm supposed to give the gift of paper for our first anniversary but I didn't know what to get so I ended up getting Briony a perfume (I love Catch of the Day!). I did get her a card too, something I don't usually do, so I suppose I really did give paper.


The biggest news of the last three weeks is actually from just two days ago. I finished work early so Briony and I could go to Flinders Medical Centre for her 20-week pregnancy scan. I'm happy to report that all went well. The baby looks as it's supposed to, its heart is beating, the size is right, awesome. We also found out that "probably" it's a girl. Briony's delighted! We saw them taking measurements on the ultrasound ... the baby's head is 5cm from front to back, and 4cm from left to right. That's a tiny little head, but already has a brain growing in there. More in the Majandra Blog.


In other news, I've decided that I should get to scanning all my old photos ... you know, old photos taken on film! I have a whole box of them, lucky for me they are actually sorted in quite a sensible fashion. Now I just need to scan them .... 30 packets of 36 files per packet, that's a lot of scanning. If I come across anything amusing (no doubt I will) then I'll throw it online.


[Tuesday, 2010-02-02, 22:52]
An unfinished bike ride, and a belly photo


Look, I'm excited about Briony's pregnancy. It's cool. But, I've promised myself I'm not going to be one of those people that talks about baby stuff constantly. So no more baby talk tonight, but I'll throw a belly photo online as I don't have any photos more exciting than that at the moment.

So the Tour Down Under ride was a great day, that was Friday before last. Matt and I were originally going to do the 110Km ride, but we decided to start from the proper start line and do the 160Km. Plan was to take the shortcut from Strathalbyn, making our ride longer than the 110Km, but shorter than the 160Km. The first part of the ride just flew by - lovely roads and scenery, a slight tail wind most of the way, and we did 100Km with hardly a sweat.

So at Strathalbyn we decided not to take the shortcut, we'd give the 160Km a go. All was good going until we got past Langhorne Creek and took a right turn at Lake Alexandrina. We were confronted by a terrible headwind that just didn't let up. We stopped at Milang, in pain, for a rest and drink. We made it another 20 minutes or so past Milang, but had to stop on the side of the road at this time my body decided a stomachful of Powerade was a bad idea, so up it all came. It would have been excellent to finish the ride properly, but overall we still did Gorge Rd, we still did King of the Mountain, and we still got almost 140Km under our belts. So I'm happy still!

Two more quick stories tonight ...

1. Stick with what you know - I went for dinner at The Oxford with a couple of mates. When I go there I generally get the Vegetarian Risotto - it's big and it tastes awesome. But last night I thought I'd try the Vegetarian Ravioli instead. The ravioli pieces were fairly big, but there were literally only 5 pieces on the plate. It was a little more filling than I'd expected, but the overall meal was still quite small for $16. Lesson here is to stick with what you know.

2. Plan ahead better - We had evaporative air conditioning installed the other week, it's a Breezair and it's really good. But as with any tradespeople on the roof, we were left with a few broken tiles. They'd fixed the tiles, but there was water coming into the roof. So I got up and replaced the broken tiles with new ones but there were still some that I thought may be an issue. So up goes the hose, turn it on, and then climb into the roof space to see if water was coming in. It was. So a quick yell to Briony to turn the hose off was in order, however Briony has this nasty habit that I should have considered .... if I yell out to her, and she can't hear me properly, she might yell back "what?". And then if I yell and she can't hear me again, she won't make any effort to come find out what I want. So I started yelling really loudly to turn the hose off. Briony thought my screaming was because I'd fallen off the roof, so she came running out the back. Of course a woman with a big belly running is a bad idea, and yes Briony did hurt herself. Nothing serious, just a strained muscle or something. The lesson here is, if you think you may need your pregnant wife to help, call her BEFORE the water starts pouring into the house! Sorry babe.


[Wednesday, 2010-01-20, 22:34]
Surrounded by Baby Stuff! And, a bike ride.


I was hoping to get a photo online earlier, but to get a decent photo I really had to get all the stuff into a spot where I could get a good shot. That took a little longer than expected, given some of the things needed to be assembled. But finally here it is - a photo of Mother-to-be Briony, along with all the piles of baby stuff we've already bought. We didn't really intend to have so much stuff so early in the game, however as the lovely girl at BabyCo did us such a good deal we would have been foolish not to buy some of the larger items. And then Target had their Bumper Baby sale, so Briony grabbed even more stuff from there. The good news is that we've saved a stack of money, plus also we have most of the major purchases done which will avoid having to go baby shopping every single weekend. The bad news is that now I have to find somewhere to put all this stuff for the next 6 months.

So it's Wednesday night, two more sleeps until the Tour Down Under Community Challenge. Matt and I were planning to do the 110Km ride, but Gavin told us tonight that there's an escape route at Strathalbyn - a 35Km shortcut to the finish line. I'd always felt a little ripped off at the 110Km ride, as there were no proper hills to ride up. Plus also 110Km, while it's a decent ride, would not be a really hard challenge. So Matt and I have decided to start at Norwood for the 160Km ride. As we're on mountain bikes the 160 is probably a bit much, but we can always take that 35Km shortcut. This way we get the big hill at the start, we get to do King of the Mountain, and we can still brag to our friends that we did the 160Km (we won't mention the shortcut).


[Sunday, 2010-01-10, 22:47]
Tic Tac What The?


I've seen all the images before, you know the ones friends keep sending around of products from other countries having funny names. Toilet Paper called "Fanny" and stuff? Well I thought in Australia we were immune from questionable product labelling. But then I bought a packet of Tic-Tacs. There's no problem as such with the label, it's just a little amusing. Check out the picture and you'll see why.

In other news, we're in the middle of a heatwave here. It was 39 on Friday, 41 yesterday, 41 today, and it's forecast for 42 tomorrow. I'd love some rain as we're almost out of rainwater.

I went for a ride with Matt yesterday, and unfortunately took some friendly fire. We pulled up to meet some of the other guys, and I stopped next to Matt. Next thing I hear him moan as he's stopped without unclipping his pedals properly. By the time I realise what's going on, he's already at a 45-degree angle falling toward me. Nothing really I could do, and next we're both on the ground. A little laughter and a skinned knee later, and we're back on the bike. The rest of the ride was excellent as usual, if perhaps a little on the warm side. We met up with Briony at Joan's Pantry for lunch, absolutely 5 stars to that place. It's not all that expensive, and the food's always good. No wonder it's been in the same place for 100 years or something.

I'll have more to report tomorrow or the next day .... I could tell you know, but without a photo it's a little pointless.


[Friday, 2010-01-01, 22:54]
It Moved ...


First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010! We spent New Years Eve at Alex & Bel's, and it worked out really well that one of the houses across the road had some rather impressive (and illegal) fireworks. There were 2 or 3 houses in the area setting off fireworks, but the ones across the road definitely were the best. I'd say they would have easily drowned $1000 or more, there were stacks! Anyway enough about New Years, as it's overrated. I have some more exciting news.

Yesterday we got up bright and early, as Briony had to drink over 1L of water before 8am. Then it was jump in the car and head down to Marion for Briony's 12-week pregnancy scan. Oh by the way, did I tell you the Briony's pregnant? Well, she is :) So anyway we get there and Briony gets her scan. This is the "Nuchal Scan" where they do a few measurements specifically checking for things like Down Syndrome and a few other things.


I have to confess that it was one of the most exciting things I've seen. The scan itself wasn't exciting, it was what I saw on the screen. The little thing is only 5cm long, but it definitely has that "baby shape" happening, we saw its arms, legs and head, and while they were scanning we saw it move! It really just moved the arms, but that's enough to make any dad-to-be feel happy that at only 12 weeks along, it's already moving around.

The second the scan had finished, Briony had to race to the toilet to get rid of the litre of water she'd consumed earlier. She actually then had to get some more scanning done, as the senior doctor had asked to see more detail of the nasal bone. While it's no big deal, apparently they really like to see the nasal bones are forming properly. The senior doctor had come in, and she really pressed the ultrasound HARD on Briony's belly, trying to get the best picture possible. The 5cm baby was upside down and back to front, so Briony had to jump up and down to make it move. They eventually got what they wanted, and ended up telling us about the baby's "prominent nose". Bloody hilarious, given the size and shape of Briony's hooter. I plan to give her grief about this for years!!

Anyway I'm a happy man signing off ... Happy 2010!



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