Friday, November 18, 2011

Closing time

As we get ready to depart in just 2 days, a short blog to bid farewell and keep you updated is due. Just to keep us on our toes, 10 days ago Celia managed to pull a container of near-boiling water onto her lap in her highchair. A cold shower, a short ambulance ride to the Mater Hospital and a few silver nitrate patches have done her a world of good. She's well and truly on the mend and it slowed her down for about oh, one day all told. She is soooo fiesty. Trying to do anything with her that involves her being still is like trying to hold down a juvenile kangaroo, so try to imagine dressing changes...not much fun. Tim said it well the other morning when he commented 'Dear Abby, my daughter is stronger than I am...' I have had to take her to the hospital burns unit for 2 checkup appointments since and she's been pushing her weight around the other burn victims in the waiting room. She totally flattened an 11 month old boy who was just minding his own business and didn't happen to notice her race-crawling towards him. As a bonus, she's been seeing the same surgeon that worked on Edie...Good because we know he's excellent and kind of embarassing because he's had to fix both of our kids...Either way, let's just hope that this is the last hospital visit before we leave.

Ceeley and our friend (and pastor) Michele. Michele is a great person to have around when I'm feeling like a bad mom (there have been a few moments over the years)...She has 3 boys, and always has a story to top mine. We are really going to miss her and her family. As for Celia, the bandages really make it look pretty bad, hey? It's not nearly as frightening underneath, thankfully.

One person that we've been hanging around with a lot since he moved here is Brian Fry. He's an American, a stable isotope guru, one of the 350 most cited scientists going, and happens to be one of the nicest guys on the planet. Edie in particular is quite smitten, as you can see from our photos she and Brian have lots of fun together. We are really going to miss him.

Edie and Brian, great pals working the hoola hoops.

One friend we've already had to say goodbye to is this guy.

What! A toaster? Yes. A toaster. A toaster from the 70's that has toasted our bread to perfection ever since we brought it home from the Salvos nearly 4 years ago. How many appliances over 30 years old do you have kicking around still working? Anyway, we sent it home with Chelsea and Burt, our Canadian friends living in Sydney who came up to say goodbye and to help pack up last weekend. We hope it treats them as well as it treated us- 10 out of 10 Mr. Goldair!

She's a very willing helper, she is.

She's also a very good director.

A few more pictures to end off our time down under. To our Aussie mates we say good on ya, you're a beaut. To our Canadian friends and family we say we'll be home shortly, leave the porch light on.


This one has trouble written all over her.

Signing off from down under. Love to all.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Totally forgot this picture...

Best costume of the night hands down. Not only is the costume awesome (Nicki, aka, Wednesday Addams, is a creative genius), Remi and the Hulk have a few things in common, like freakish strength.

You might think to yourself, "now that seems like a pretty good costume that isn't your standard witch or goblin", to which I would reply "they are ex-pats, check out the witch in the back, you guessed it, she's an Aussie."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Ya, so it turns out that halloween isn't really a big deal down here. We've know this for a while, but are still surprised that people wouldn't take advantage of the excuse to dress up in anything they want and get candy for it. Silly really.

It is getting more popular though. Last year our friend Anjali hosted a great party on our street for the kids (Edie's famous robot outfit), this year our friends Allie and Dickie hosted one, and another great Halloween party it was. A few weeks ago while rummaging through our things to get ready for Canada I came across some scrap fabric that inspired me to dress our children as watermelons for Halloween. The costumes took a bit of work but they turned out great, and I designed and created they myself which feels pretty good. In fact, I designed them so that they will even be able to accomodate for growing kids, meaning that this stroke of creativity should get us through to high school. Awesome.

Ya, Tim and I were farmers, another popular costume from childhood due to the fact that it required very little costume prep-work, hobos and bums also being quite popular. And don't let our faces fool you, we were having a great time.

Lots of room to grow in this one.

Her eyes say it all- my parents have dressed me up as a piece of fruit and are trying to hock me.

Tim decided to ditch the sign after narrowly avoiding poking someone with his watermelon stand. I followed suit shortly, but I think that I'm looking quite relaxed with my stand, it was like having a counter to lean on in front of me all of the time- genius!

One thing we did learn about Halloween down under is that Aussies are generally still in the 'Halloween should be scary' mode, which is what I thought when I was 5 (after 5 I just wanted to be a punk rocker most years, ahhh the 80's). Now I dress my kids in watermelon suits, scary's the dressing up and candy factor that makes it fun. So it turns out that we were the only folks not dressed up as witches or...well, witches mainly, with a devil and a skeleton or two kicking around.

The party started at 4pm and the kids entertained themselves by digging candy out of the sandpit graveyard and then cycling between eating the candy and crashing temporarily. By 6pm it was time for Celia to get to bed so we put her down in one of the spare rooms. The other kids, still hyped up on lollies, crashed in front of the TV watching scoobie doo, which we found hilarous. Tim and I decided then to head down to Dickie's bar and pretend that we didn't have kids. After about 10 minutes of relaxing someone let us know that there was a baby screaming her head off in one of the rooms, all signs pointed to Ceeley. So, at 7:00 Tim and I carried the girls back down the street accepting that our 10 minutes of peace at the bar was a good enough reason for having made the effort to get to the Halloween party- that and seeing a whole bunch of friends that we're going to miss so much when we leave.

It's not too long now before we do leave. The calendar is packed and our house is not, but we're slowly and surely getting our ducks in a row.

Ceeley is on the move and loving the incorporation of things like vegemite toast into her diet. She's also picking up on waving, which delights all of us (yes, there is a whole lot of waving going on in this house now, C's first lesson in how to make mom and dad look like idiots). Miss E is doing all that she can to prevent Ceeley from having fun, with the exception of tackling her every now and then. Life is pretty interesting these days. I can no longer assume that the chaos that erupts on a regular basis in this house is caused by Edie, Miss Celia is getting her hand in the mix now too. Also awesome.

Love to all, we'll be seeing you soon!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Home Stretch

33 more days until we head back to Canada. It's really hard to not focus totally on that, missing the awesome days that are to be had right now here in Brisbane, arguably one of the best places to live on the planet. But ya, our hearts are kind of already home.

I come from a long line of amazing ladies, and the Queen Bee on my Dad's side, his mother Eleanor, passed away on Friday after an almost 2 week struggle following 2 mini-strokes the week prior. Before it all went south I was really, really, really hoping to see her again when I got home in December. Now, I'm glad that she's not suffering anymore. Because I'm not anywhere near home I forget that people are living and ageing the same as we are down here...Gram was 96. She wore it well.

We, and a whole lot of people, will miss this amazing Lady. A bonus- I got to watch the funeral as it happened due to amazing technology (I felt like a fly on the wall)...3am as it was, but you know, I'm often up at 3am anyway and thought I might kill a few birds with one stone. Celia slept on my lap as I watched which made the experience even more memorable. I do love my family, and they did a great job celebrating my Gram's life.

It's also the end of day 2 without my very good husband. He left for a week-long work trip in Singapore on Monday. I do miss him and so do the girls. Days seem to be so much more eventful when he's not around though...Today while attempting to get Celia to go to sleep Edie succeeded in plugging the bathroom sink and letting the water run until I saw what 'happened to the sink', we got school pictures done with no small effort to get Edie to participate, and when I tucked Edie into bed tonight to send her off to lala land I clipped her nose with my elbow and she experienced her first bloody nose. Oh, and I jammed my thumb in the car door earlier in the day. Just weird stuff that doesn't happen when Tim's here.

As I finish this post on Wednesday morning I can't help but mention that Edie slept like a baby last night without any intervention, perhaps the jolt to the nose jostled some loose wiring.

I wouldn't mess with these two if I met them on a dark street corner, especially the little one with the pipes.

Love to all,


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New beanies

Edie was so excited to get a package in the mail for her and Ceeley today. Nana and Poppa Jardine sent along jingle beanies in anticipation of our cold move across the planet (45 days but who's counting). A pretty exciting day in the Jardine household. Thanks to Bob and Debbie.

Love to all.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Celia- Keeping ladies clucky for 6 months now.

Birthdays have never been a huge deal for Tim or I. So with Edie's 3rd birthday approaching a few months ago, we were thinking that we'd keep it small. Then we found out that this would be Edie's last birthday down under, which changed a few things for us. First of all, we didn't want to give Edie something that we'd have to get rid of before December or lug back to the Great White North, and secondly we now need to fasttrack our Aussie goodbyes.

The result: a 33 person party with a princess jumping castle. Yes, we are those parents.

With thanks to Wade for the great pics.

Love to all.

Edie's 3rd

Monday, September 5, 2011

Birthday Girl

It's mulberry season again, and it's Edie's birthday again. Both good things:

And to ensure adequate representation from the younger cohort (Ceeley and Joely-man):

Fun times in Oz.

Monday, August 29, 2011

One Year On

The day before yesterday, one year ago, Edie was diagnosed with Hirschprung's Disease after spending 4 miserable days in hospital undergoing treatment for what doctors thought was a blocked bowel. Yesterday, one year ago, she underwent surgery to have a colostomy put in place in order to remedy the problem. Today she's a super-healthy girl with telltale scars. The 12 week foetus that I was carrying at the time is now our beautiful Celia on the outside. It was the toughest year we've ever gotten through and it shows, but it's pretty amazing that things have turned out so well.

Rachel and Paul were with us at the time, on their own Australian mis-adventure given that their hosts were tied up at the hospital for pretty much their entire trip. At the time the topic of parenthood was a hot one for us, with Tim and I having had our eyes opened to just how much nothing else matters when the life of your child is in question. Rach and Paul were debating whether they had what it takes to do the parenting thing- we joked about this a lot. One year on, they are parents in the very sad situation of having outlived their child. What a difference a year can make. And what a shitty year. Rach and Paul, we feel your loss acutely. You guys more than anyone have what it takes to be amazing parents because that is exactly what you are.

And time marches on.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fish, birds and butterflies

Well the Jardines are finally fighting back against the strains of child-rearing. Slowly, steadily, we're gaining some sense of normalcy in our lives as Edie continues to improve following her surgery and Celia finally gets on top of her reflux/general malaise. Both are surprisingly pleasant these days, and although their sleep is still erratic, it is a million times more manageable than it was even a couple of months ago, when we were ready to cash in the chips and bail to a tropical island sans kids.

Speaking of tropical islands, we finally sucked it up and visited the Great Barrier Reef, ticking a big item off our things-you-must-do-when-you're-spending-any-amount-of-time-in-Australia list. All up it was a roaring success. The girls travelled well, we avoided seasickness despite some high winds and sea swells, and there was plenty of entertainment for us on the pontoon where we moored. It wasn't the best day to be out there, but we still got to see plenty of cool fish. The next day we drove up to Kuranda (a rainforest village) to spend the day. The highlight was a butterfly sanctuary that breeds and houses hundreds of species of tropical butterflies. A different experience to your average zoo. We also visited a koala gardens and an aviary - both were ok but no better than what you can get in Brisbane. Despite all those animal highlights, the best part of the trip for Edie was the resort where we stayed, specifically the giant jumping pillows. I'm not sure I've ever seen her so excited and entertained for as long a period as those jumping pillows provided. The best thing for her was the fact that so few of the other guests were using them, so she had them almost all to herself. Trip pics in the album below:

Cairns trip 2011
Given our pending return to Canada, we knew we had to do things like seeing the reef before setting sail for the Great White North. The longing for our homeland that we've felt in the past few years has wrestled with our dual feelings of love and frustration for our adopted home here. Despite all the perks about living here (the weather being at the top of the list), we always felt that a return to Canada was in store at some point. I came across a passage in a book recently (The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie) that I thought was very poignant. Rushdie, himself no stranger to living abroad (albeit under vastly different circumstances), writes:
"Who is he? An exile. Which must not be confused with, allowed to run into, all the other words that people throw around: emigre, refugee, immigrant,....Exile is a dream of glorious return. Exile is a vision of revolution: Elba, not St. Helena. It is an endless paradox: looking forward by always looking back. The exile is a ball hurled high into the air. He hangs there, frozen in time, translated into a photograph; denied motion, suspended impossibly above his native earth, he awaits the inevitable moment at which the photograph must move, and the earth reclaim its own.....His home is a rented flat. It is a waiting-room, a photograph, air.

I've jokingly referred to our time here as exile, if only because most people that move here arrive on a one-way ticket (and for good reason), but that was never our intention. We'll have mixed feelings about leaving Australia. On one hand it's been the most challenging three year period of our lives. On the other hand, we're going home with a suitcase full of great memories from this remarkable country. And that includes two little girls that were made in Australia.

Friday, August 12, 2011



In poor taste, much like me complaining that my 2.3$ house renovations are not up to par, or that my hair just gets so messed up when I drive my convertible with the top off, I will be complaining about Australian winter. Check blog postings from 6 months ago and you'll find that I then complained about Australian summer...The gig is up, I'm fickle.

So, just these past few weeks Miss E and Celia have shed their colds, which have been around in some form since late May. The reason our girls have been sick for so long? a) Tim and I have no idea how to take care of children and b) We especially have no idea how to take care of children in Australia. Our rate of learning the ropes here is quite low...We still expect our house to be warm inside when it is cold outside despite the fact this has not happened in the 3.5 years we've been here. It's also been a cold winter. At any rate, the girls haven't been able to shake the bug. Edie eventually had to go on to antibiotics, Celia had to tough it out, yet they seem to have hit a [temporary] healthy patch. Oddly enough, four days after starting antibiotics, Edie woke up resembling this guy. After the doctor assured us that she was having an allergic reaction to the antibiotics and we subsequently stopped the treatment, we waited for the swelling to go down. Three days later she was looking a lot more like this guy and was for all intents and purposes, miserable. That morning as I was dressing her, I pulled a shirt down over her face and the festering postule under her top lip burst open. The poor thing. Apparently she randomly picked up an infection under her top lip that was unrelated to her cold or the antibiotics she was on. Once again, Tim and I were frustrated with Edie for being so grouchy only to find out that she was in and was tolerating a whole lot of pain. Poor girl, see comment 'a'. She was put on to a stronger antibiotic and we were advised to help her gargle with warm water and salt- my Dad's favorite antidote to anything that ails you. She's fine now, thank God.

This winter was bad enough to make me want to get back to the land where it might get 30 degrees colder in the winter, and where winter lasts a whole lot longer, but where you can turn on the heat or A/C and be comfortable in your house no matter what the weather is like outside. Probably timely as we've recently learned that Tim has landed a faculty postion at the University of Saskatchewan starting in January 2012...We'll see what tune I'm singing when I'm actually back in a real winter in Saskatoon, especially after leaving Brissy summer. We're excited, and sad to leave of course, but looking forward to a new phase. We'll get to the east coast for Christmas with our families and then head out west early in the new year. So if you were ever looking to come and visit us, you've got about 3 months before you're gonna miss out on the Sunshine State and will be looking at the City of Bridges (hmmmm, which one would you choose?)

A shout-out to Nana Midge; she made it possible for Tim to jet for Canada for his interview while Edie was still in the hospital recovering from her surgery...we really don't know how we would have swung that without a third person on the team who loved us very much. We think that pulling this off has been one of our greatest accomplishments to date.

As we are looking at leaving Oz shortly, we've had to make an effort to get out and see what we can before we go. One such trip was to Byron Bay, which is about a 2 hour drive south of Brisbane. As you'll see from the pictures, we stayed at a farmstay and had a great time. Aside from one night of poor sleeping on Celias part, it was the most relaxing thing we've done in a really long time. We need to relax more I think. We'll be flying to Cairns with the girls this weekend to check out the Great Barrier Reef, something we should have done a long time ago. We'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Byron Bay Farmstay

And finally, the annual Mount Gravatt Fair was on again a few weeks ago. It was a hit with Edie last year and we decided to try again this year. Sadly, most likely due to the general lack of good health that the girls have experienced this winter, it was a bit of a bust. A whole lot of waiting in lines to do things that Edie told us she wanted to do, only to get to the front of the line and discover that she really didn't want to do any of those things. The pictures say it all. And yes- I was that Mom taking pictures of my child in distress while trying to conceal my laughter. Comment 'a' seems applicable again.

What? Edie doesn't want to hang out with the farm animals? That's right. Ball one.

I did feel pretty bad about taking this picture, not as bad as I felt about not being able to conceal my laughter while my child screamed to get off of the ride though. Strike one.

This is as close as she got to actually getting in to the jumping castle. Strike two.

Surely the bumper cars would save the day, given that Dad could ride with her? Not so much. Strike three and we're out. No love for the fair this year.

Love to all,

Team Jardine

Friday, July 8, 2011

So, on the 31st of December last year we were sitting with the Davis family on the deck of the house where we were housesitting (in Graceville, heard of it? Check this out) and we were talking about the year past and the year to come. I remember thinking that I had no resolution for the new year, thinking about resolving to do something in light of what was already planned just made me really tired. At the time we were thinking about the arrival of Celia in March, and Edie's surgery in May. As it turns out, now that we're already in July, both of these things (and a whole lot more) have come and gone better than we ever could have ever expected. I don't want to go over just how we got through, it's been a long 7 months and ya...lots accomplished. With the departure of Nana Midgie just two weeks behind us, we can safely say that her being here had a lot to do with just how well all of the hoolpa that's been going down with Team Jardine has blown over. That, and a whole lot of divine intervention.

There really is nothing as good as having your mom around when the chips are down. But I'm now a mom, and I can't get my head around how my kids could possibly feel that way someday about me. So, in an effort to be a good mother or perhaps just to procure favour from my children, Miss E gets things like this...

Awesome, hey? Edie thinks so too. But I really can't take any credit for this one, it all belongs to Medical Illustrator Lindsay of Team Davis. This was all part of a plan devised soley for the purpose of trying to get Edie to wear her pink plaid jacket by showing her that Dora also wears her pink plaid jacket. It's good to have talented friends who are also parents.

Lots of pictures to go through on this round, I hope that everyone is doing well.

June and July 2011

Love to all,

Laura on behalf of the team.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

On the Mend

We're happy to report that the Jardines have undergone two successful surgeries in the past month. Edie and I now have matching scars (hers is bigger) after I finally had a hernia repaired last week. I've been living with it for ten years now, going back to my weight-lifting and fishnet hauling days on the Miramichi. Of course, I don't expect any of you are tuning in for my health news. Edie is the star of this show. She handled her whole prep, operation, and recovery with a dtermination beyond her years, and is now pretty much your typical two and a half year old, barking orders, getting into all kinds of mischief, and having an occasional meltdown. We're thrilled to be done with the daily bag change and her enormous stoma. I'll spare you the details of her week in hospital - there were definite ups and downs but we pulled through with the help of Nanna Midge, who has now set her sights on getting Celia onto a proper sleeping routine. So far so good. We might just survive this Australia experience after all.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Carrot removal

Well the day has finally arrived. No, not Rapture Day, Edie's surgery Day. We're off to the hospital today to get Edie ready for her operation tomorrow. She's pumped about not ever having to wear a bag again, but a little concerned that she is going to have to get a "sting". It's hard to believe that she's worn a colostomy bag (and we've had to change it everyday) for the past eight months. Time flies when you're having fun!

We're thankful to have Nanna Midgie on board for practical and moral support. She has already paid dividends as Laura and I are able to ride in the front seat of the car. Edie demands that someone be crammed into the back seat with her and Celia, and Midgie has got the call. They've been two birds of a feather since she arrived, reading plenty of books and going for walks together. But now comes the hard part, 5-10 days in the hospital while managing grumpy Celia, all with me heading off overseas at the end of this week. Here's hoping it all goes well and Edie comes out in two pieces on the other side.

May 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

You look really tired.

A comment we've been hearing fairly regularly these days, as our two lovely girls slowly drain the life force out of us. There have been some pretty long nights recently, as Miss Celia has turned out to be....wait for it...harder to settle than Edie ever was. So much for the balancing forces of one intense baby and one mild one. Ah well, at least they're cute, and this unsettled period will soon pass.

We found out the other day that Celia is officially an Australian citizen - because we were permanent residents at the time of her birth. Edie, on the other hand, will have to wait until her 10th birthday to be granted it, and then only if she has spent the majority of her life living here. So if we decide to move permanently back to Canada anytime soon, Celia will be able to lord her dual citizenship over Edie. Edie's response will no doubt be to pin Celia down and give her repeated chest pokes much like Heather used to give to Laura. Can't wait for that.

We're eagerly anticipating the arrival of Nanna Midgie, now less than a month away, to be followed by Edie's surgery. It should be interesting times with plenty of running around but also hopefully some site seeing and forest walks. And of course lots of puzzle making.

Laura has posted a few recent pics. Don't let all the smiles fool you. We're mostly mugging for the camera. Just kidding. We did have a fun Easter egg hunt with Tim, Lindsay, Joel and their friends Jen and Andy who had travelled all the way here from the states with their 10 month old twins. Now that's a journey for the ages.

All for now. Happy Easter!

The girls- April 2011

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Looking for meaning...

So, this is a short something that I thought was rather funny and share-worthy.

Tim is collaborating with a Lithuanian colleague on a paper. They didn't know each other before Tim was asked to join in as a co-author but have since learned a bit more about the other. So the other day this colleague sent along a word document to Tim telling him about his family and in particular his two daughters. He also described what his daughters' names meant, and they happened to be lovely and romantic meanings. Tim, thinking he'd send back information about our family did a little search to check out the meaning of Edie and Celia's names, and they are as follows:

Celia: blind
Edie: prosperous at war

So we didn't do our homework when it came to meanings of names. Guilty. I do happen to think that the meaning of Edie's name is quite apt, however. Let's just hope that 'blind' is a metaphor in Celia's case, i.e. blind to skin color (or something equally catch-phrase worthy) and not physically blind, but we'll see (Rick Cunjak, that was for you).

Some new pictures, sorry for the repetative poses on the part of Celia, like the manatee all she does is eat and sleep.

Love to all,


Little Celia rockin' the duck suit

Bouncy chair of neglect courtesy of Steph

Bathtime with big sister the excellent helper

Monday, March 28, 2011

Team Jardine in Babyland

Hello friends,

Well, it's been a week since the arrival of little Celia, and we're slowly coming around to feeling human again. We're all doing very well, Miss E is loving having Playmate home and out of Mom's belly and Tim and I are managing to keep the girls and each other somewhat happy on limited amounts of sleep.

I'll say that since the pretty low-key arrival of Miss Celia, we've realized how nice normal feels, and how not normal life has been for us since we arrived here, and especially since Edie arrived. Don't mistake us, we wouldn't trade Miss E or her troubles for the world, we consider them all part of the perfect package of Edie and part of what we love about her. However, straight out of the hatch, Miss E was scheduled in for a follow-up specialist appointment in 6 weeks time, a trend (her frequency of specialist appointments) which continues to this day and will continue for some time. When we were discharged from the hospital with Celia after 2 days and I asked when her follow-up appointment was scheduled, I got a strange look from the midwife who responded, "for what?" and when I said "you know, just to check up on her" she laughed at me and politely explained that that was what our GP was for. So you might say that my expectation of what newborn care entitles is slightly skewed towards lots and lots of hospital visits. We're glad not to be dealing with that again. And that being said, the question burning in all of your minds just has to be "does Celia poop?", (if it's not and you still care, check out our postings of the past 6 months and have fun learning all about Hirschprung's Disease and what it might mean to have a two year old diagnosed with the condition). We're happy to report that Celia's GI tract appears to be in great working order. I've never changed so many pooey nappies and she's only been around for 7 days- we might have dodged the bullet with Celia and genetic links to Hirschprung's, thank God.

As for having had a normal delivery, I can also say, "wow...we had it rough the first time around". Everything about this delivery was calm and pretty controlled compared to the last (again, thank God...and a timely epidural). Labour is no picnic as most women can attest, but not having eclampsia makes it a lot more bearable. Of course I was monitored like a hawk with every gadget that could fit in or on me going at once to ensure that nothing was out of whack, but aside from the normal pains of labour nothing else happened. We were in the hospital by 8:30 on Monday evening almost 2 days overdue, and oddly enough I had a hard time convincing myself that I was actually in labour even though I'd been having contractions 5 minutes apart or less for 2.5 hours. I think that our first birthing experience must have shattered my confidence in my abilty to self-diagnose what was happening, because even when it came time to push the baby out I questioned whether what I was feeling was actually my body telling me to push...the baby coming out surely cleared up that confusion. Regardless, I requested an epidural as soon as I got to the hospital as a part of making this delivery as easy as possible on us in the case that anything did go wrong. Though it wasn't actually put in place until 1am, Tim and I were able to handle the rotten stuff until then, although there was a point where I seriously thought that being unconscious (as in the first delivery) would be preferable to the pain that I was in- Tim did not agree. From about 1:15am through to about 1:45, the epidural gave some relief from the contractions and even let me rest up a bit before actual delivery. However by 1:45 the midwife and doctor on staff thought that I was getting a bit too much rest and that labour had slowed down too much, so they decided to put in yet another drip (syntocin) to bump up progress. Very shortly after that as Tim explained in our previous blog, the midwife left the room to get Tim a warm blanket and I felt a head pop out and screamed at Tim to get her back in the room. And then Celia was out within 4 minutes at 2:14am. Compared to the hour-long pushing session with Edie for which I am unable to remember anything from, this was a complete walk in the park. No, I don't ever want to do it again, but now I can understand why people do. Rather than be rushed off to ICU post-delivery, Tim and I enjoyed some juice and toast and our screaming baby Celia thrashing around in the bassinette beside us. A welcome upgrade.

So Celia is eating and sleeping and pooing like a newborn should, and Edie is quite taken with her new playmate so far and is a great help. We'll enjoy the euphoria that this beings as long as we can. We're also enjoying the massive amounts of help that we've been receiving from friends which has included a freezer full of prepared food with the promise of more to come, and lots and lots of baby supplies and offers to help with little things like cleaning and laundry...We are surrounded by some great people here in Oz.

With that being said, our door is still open to the great people we know from around the rest of the planet. You'll just have to be prepared for Team Jardine in babyland, a far cry from where we were when we left Canada, but a fun place to be in nonetheless.

Enjoy some new pictures.

Celia week 1


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

And then there were four

She's here! The fourth member of Team Jardine is Celia Eleanor, born on the 22nd of March weighing 3764 g (8 pounds 5 ounces, almost identical in size to Edie at birth). This time around we're celebrating no more drama in our lives, as all went well with the delivery. We arrived at the hospital at around 8:30 pm and she was born at 2:20 am. The only minor concern happened when the midwife stepped out to get a warm blanket about 5 minutes before the birth, leading Laura to scream at me that "something was coming out, call the midwife!" Sure enough when she came back in and checked, there was a little head starting to poke out. Apparently my doctoral qualifications weren't enough to reassure a mom-to-be. And by the way, the warm blanket that the midwife had gone to fetch were for yours truly. Hey, it was chilly in there!

Laura and Celia were discharged this morning, so we're all home trying once again to adapt to the unstoppable forces of change that have been a feature of our lives since we migrated down under.

The running joke around here before Celia we born was that if it was a girl, I'd have to compensate for the feminine dominance of Team Jardine by getting a tattoo of a skull and crossbones or something. I don't foresee that happening anytime soon, but I think I will have a fair excuse when I want to step out to watch footy or partake in other manly activities.

A few pics of the new bub here. More to come in the next few days.

Celia's early days

Sunday, March 13, 2011

First-round draft pick

Hello friends,

Well, the countdown is on and we're looking at T-7 days until Playmate arrives. Kind of crazy, but super exciting. This past month (so sorry for the delay...busy and exhausting days these ones have been) has been a bit of a whirlwind for us. Full of appointments, meetings and very little sleep, making team Jardine a little bit rotten, and leaving us with not a lot to write about (it's all boring, with the exception of a two night stay on South Stradbrooke Island for a Climate Change Adaptation meeting and a few surprise baby showers which caught me completely off guard).

Edie the naan maker, with her new 'fake-smile-camera-pose', looking good!

Miss E has settled back down with night sleeps and is (cross the old fingers) sleeping through most nights, giving her and Tim a break. I however have picked up some serious pregnancy insomnia which gives me every sympathy for those who suffer from insomnia without a known cause...Nighttime is definitely time for sleeps (a commonly-used phrase around here). I am looking forward to not being pregnant anymore, and although I realize that sleep will be scarce with the new bub, at least there will be a good reason for why we're up all hours of the night.

Sadly this past week we lost a great friend, Monday night gluten-free dinner buddy and free babysitter to the northern hemisphere. Auntie Steph the Canadian took a new job in Vancouver after a year and a half of living in Brisbane. She's been a big part of our lives since she moved here and we already miss her lots. We're soon going to have to find an esthetician to take over Edie's weekly 'paint-nails' session that she enjoyed with Aunt Steph. We wish her all the best and who knows, maybe she's the start of a great migration back North for all of us...We'll keep you posted on that one.

Our last night with Auntie Stephie, and note mom's new fake smile!

So with no real new news to speak of in our lives, we'll bid you farewell until we have the newest recruit to Team Jardine signed on. Love to all.


PS. Found some recent pictures that we've not posted, enjoy! Also, a big thank-you to all who took the time (or tried) to contribute to Lindsay and Tim's baby shower book caper. It means a lot!

Early 2011 random pics

Friday, February 18, 2011

Landing (Invasion) Day

Hello folks,

Today marks the 3rd anniversary of our arrival on this continent. Feb 18th 2008 feels like so long ago and yet we still feel new and undecided about anything, as we did when we arrived. Funny that is, hey? As Edie would say, 'cheers big ears', here's to another action-packed three years, wherever they take us and you. Love to all.

From Drop Box

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tassie pics

Tasmania 2011

Tassie adventures

Good evening friends,

At about the beginning of December Miss E figured out how to highjack our evenings by postponing her bedtime by about an hour and a half. It's taken a while to figure out just how to deal with this, and I'm not sure that our solution is sustainable...But, I have finished my “bedtime book reading with Edie” segment, and Tim is now in telling stories about kitty cats, puppy dogs and fairies, if all goes as planned she should be asleep within the hour. It makes for very little Tim and Laura time in the run of a day, and we suspect that Miss E is on to the fact that she won't be the only game in town by the time the end of March rolls around so she's getting what she can while she can. This makes it sound like we haven't told her about the new bub, when in reality we talk about it all the time with her. She's very excited for a new playmate, for various reasons I think- 1) she gets to be a big sister, aka, the boss, and 2) when the new bub arrives mom will be able to do stuff for Edie again. As an example I give you an excerpt of our conversation this evening just before Tim and I swapped over on the bedtime roster-

Mom: Goodnight Edie, I love you
Edie: Can you sleep in my bed?
Mom: Mom needs to sleep in her own bed because she's too big to sleep in Edie's bed
Edie: When the new playmate comes out then you will sleep in my bed again
Mom: Ummm, yes dear...

At this point Tim has heard this exchange and we both look at each other wondering if she'll hold us to this (guaranteed, she's like an elephant and never forgets), and then how we'll work our way out of the deal when trying to deal with 2 children and bedtime. What fun to come!

We arrived back from Tasmania just over a week ago and need to give you some highlights. It was an amazing and exhausting trip and Tasmania didn't fail to completely win us over once again. We've decided that it's our get-away place: so much like home (minus the family) and a truly delightful break from Queensland life, especially the mid-summer humid and hot/flooding/cyclone prone Queensland life.

So first off, Tas is a 2.5 hour direct flight from Brisbane when you fly into Launceston, so that's what we did. Miss E is a star traveller, made a few buddies on the plane and in general was a treat to have along on the flight. She's especially keen on being helpful to the flight stewards, which made things pretty easy. Such a far cry from the flight from hell which was the Sydney-Vancouver flight back in December '08...Where Edie perhaps still holds the record for the longest tantrum by a 3 month old...Regardless, from Launceston we drove south to a town called Ross about halfway between Launceston and Hobart, where we stayed at an old cherry orchard bed and breakfast called Somercotes. It was originally a family settlement established in the 1820's and has kept its historic qualities. We stayed in a 2 bedroom stone cottage on the property and revelled in the juicy cherries (in season and off the orchard) and quaint surroundings. Edie fell in love with the giant turkeys roaming the grounds along with the sheep. She's still talking about how the turkeys would jump off the ground to try and knock apples off of the apple trees. She spent a lot of time outside there. Our sleeping situation was a little rough since Miss E had to revert back to sleeping in a single bed (yes, she sleeps in a Queen bed at home, was there ever any question?), I found her screaming and half hanging out of the bed by about 2am, needless to say it was an indication of what her sleep would be like for the rest of the trip. The next morning we had a bacon and egg breakfast and hit the road.

That day our goal was to bypass Hobart on the way down to Southport, and sample a site along the way. The sampling went well, the bypassing of Hobart wasn't so successful. Tim had decided that we would take a 4-wheel drive track over a mountain to get to where we were going rather than drive through the city of Hobart. We had a good sturdy 4-wheel drive vehicle, and it sounded like an adventure, so why not, hey? Here are 2 good reasons: 1) Pregnant wife and crazy 2 year old child are absolutely useless in any situation that involves thinking your way out of a sticky situation and 2) Pregnant wife and crazy 2 year old child can provide no physical help in getting yourself out of a sticky situation. The first couple of k's up the mountain track were not so bad, kind of scary in places but drivable, but getting worse the further up the mountain you went. At about 5k's we were seeing water-filled holes on the track that a) our vehicle could have disappeared into and b) made the track barely passable. The breaking point (i.e. turning around and giving up) was when we were stuck in a deep rut which happened to have a row of jagged boulders along-side that came within centimeters of our vehicle when Tim tried to go forward or backwards. Just what we would have done if we couldn't have gotten our vehicle unstuck, we don't know...There are a lot of reasons that would have been very bad. But Tim did get us out, and aside from a few big klunks and rattles underneath we were able to get off of the mountain relatively unscathed. On our way back down we drove past a local going up the mountain who asked us how the track was holding out after all of the rain they'd had in the past couple of weeks...Now when a local has to ask the Canadian idiots in a very muddy 4WD how the road was, (indicating that the locals weren't even using the track) there's a bad sign. Again, just glad we got out of there.

We got to Southport late that afternoon and relaxed in our beachfront cottage. Beachfront sounds lovely (and it was) but the beach was much more like a beach you'd find on the north Atlantic seaboard. Frickin' cold. That didn't stop us from maximizing our time on the shoreline. We stayed at the cottage for 3 nights, and sampled various rivers in the vicinity over that time. On the beach, Edie was especially keen on the shells and one part of the near beach which had some really big rocks that got submerged with each tide and which were covered in green algae. She actually made herself an imaginary house near these rocks. The door to her imaginary house was perpetually in need of repair and Edie was quick to use imaginary oil, an imaginary hammer and an imaginary screwdriver to fix it. We had a lot of fun there. On a spare morning we also took a drive to the southernmost tip of Australia (by vehicle, you can walk further south if you're so inclined, maybe we'll tackle it someday). It was cold and beautiful. It kind of reminded me of places I've been in Newfoundland, but it was warmer and the water was clearer. There were 'thermal springs' nearby southport which we checked out, and decided that we've acclimatized to Queensland weather seeing that these pools were roughly 28 degrees, and 28 degrees does not feel warm anymore. I bailed pretty early. We also took a hop onto the Ida Bay railway, which is a long-standing tourist attraction in the area along an old railway line which used to be used to deliver limestone and other goods. It was a nice little trip despite keeping wiggly Edie within the train seat, no small feat.

The last night in Tas we spent in the city of Hobart in an apartment suite. It was lovely but we missed the beach. We found a park nearby the next morning and Edie spent hours there just going from the teeter totter to the swings. In the time there, quite a few people came in and out of the park. When I came to retrieve them, Edie had attached herself to some older girls and was quietly bossing them around by trying to relay her commands through Tim. Hilarious. Shy but domineering, wonder who she picked that one up from. Later that morning we hit the Salamanca markets to find some good sausages for lunch and were suprised and happy to run into our old Canadian friend Peter Edwards, one of the first people we met here in Oz. That was a bit of a shocker considering we rarely see him in Brisbane.

I mentioned that we 'sampled' rivers in Tasmania. That was the underlying goal of this trip, as part of the ongoing eel project that Tim is working on in which Edie and I provide free labour. At each stream that we sampled we collected leaves, bugs, algae and water in order to pair this data up with stable isotope data from eels collected in the area, to determine what eels are feeding on in those systems. The items collected also help to determine how productive these streams and rivers are. All of this helps to answer a larger question of whether fish that migrate from sea to freshwater during their lifespans actually have a 'choice' in whether to migrate or not...i.e. Do they migrate to get to more plentiful food sources? Anyhow, this was our second field trip as a family to collect data for this project and it was a blast. Edie was so happy to be in nature for most of the week and was particularly happy helping Dad out in the streams. Since I was pretty useless when it came to navigating steep riverbanks, at some sites Tim took Edie down to the river by himself. I wasn't sure I was ok with this at first, in case something happened where Tim couldn't get to Edie quickly, but we discovered that if we sent her down with snacks she was perfectly happy to putter around safely and help Dad when he needed it. At the first site that we tried this on, Edie accidentally dropped a wrapper from her Tiny Teddy snacks into the stream. I was on the bank watching, saw Tim contemplate what he should do for about half a minute and then laughed my butt off as he charged down the stream in waders to retrieve the wrapper...Not an easy task. But he pulled it off and felt that Edie had witnessed a lesson in environmental stewardship and how important it was to not litter. In true hypocritical parenting fashion, the next day we were driving to another site while Edie was coloring in the back seat. The roads there are not straight by any means, and coming around a sharp bend she tossed her cookies- i.e. she puked. We had no option at the time but to throw vomit soaked paper towels out of the window...and are just hoping that Edie can make the distinction between biodegradable items (though vomit soaked) being ok to toss but not plastic. Ahhh parenting, a.k.a, self-justification.

I should mention that we were 'helped' on one sampling day by another capable, but out-of-commission-due-to-the-addition-of-a-new-bub researcher, Dan Warfe, and her 3 month old daughter Lexi. They live in Tasmania. We love Dan and she and Lexi were great company. Dan helped a lot with knowing/finding good sites to sample. It's funny to think though that on that day we had two bubs, two mums, and Tim for a job that really should have taken 1 person. The joy of the family vacation/work trip is not lost on us.

I mentioned in our last posting that Tim and I were set to see Sufjan Stevens at the Tivoli upon our arrival home on the 30th. We knew we'd be so tired, but were pretty excited about the show either way. We were also aware that we would be pushing our limits for time with our plane arriving in Brisbane at 6:30 that night and the show starting at 7 (we were counting on a long opening act), us having to go home to get Edie to bed and then get back into the city...So you can imagine our dismay when we got to our car at the airport and found a flat tire on the drivers side. Rather than sulk however, Tim ran to the valet station, borrowed a bike-tire pump and pumped his heart out on our front tire while onlookers laughed. It did the trick and got us home where we met the baby sitter, popped Edie into bed (popped sounds quick, it was more like an anxious hour of telling stories), called a cab to get us back to the city and walked through the door of the Tivoli as Sufjan and his band were coming on stage. It was perfect timing. And it was an amazing show. For those who know of his work, his most recent album is a bit of an electronic diversion from his former folky banjo-plucking, and the show was based around his new stuff. To quote my husband from his ramblings:

"[The music is] Quite a departure from his previous stuff, but his formidable talent comes through in a pretty wild stage show that included breakdancing (white boy style a la Chris Bowes), a balloon drop, neon space alien costumes, vocal distortion and plenty of reverb. Just about everything that should make you shudder. But of course it was absolutely spectacular."

The show was totally worth the hassle, I'm glad that we do stuff that doesn't necessarily make great sense in the present because it's always so much better than expected when it works out well. It's pretty much the story of our lives.

So we're back into the swing of things, Edie's back in daycare after a 2 month break by our carer, which means that I'm back at work and we're all getting ready for the arrival of E's new playmate in March. Everything looks good from a pregnancy perspective and based on the last ultrasound at 34 weeks, we'll have a new little bubby that resembles Mr. Potato head. Awesome! Another fun piece of news- my Mom has booked her ticket to come down in May and June to help out with the new bub and with Edie's surgery which is scheduled for the 25th of May. Also awesome!

Love to all,


Monday, January 24, 2011


Hi folks,

Just a quick note to let you know that we're heading off to Tasmania shortly. We'll be there until Sunday and are pretty excited. Although it's a family vacation/work trip (we're still working on the eel project which took us to Tassie last May), we're pretty excited about going back. It'll be nice and cool where we're heading which is Hobart and due south to a little town called Southport, it'll be the closest we'll ever get to Antarctica I expect. I'll say that it really hasn't been untolerably hot in Brisbane lately, it's actually been quite beautiful weather with lots of sun and lots of cool breeze. A lovely contrast to the soggy months we've just spent here in Queensland.

Edie is excited about the prospect of bush-wees in Tassie, bush-wees being what they sound like, and have been eagerly picked up from her good friend/older kid idol Eli. The lemon grass in our back yard is a great alternative to the big-girl potty in our bathroom apparently. She's also excited about the prospect of her very own seat on the plane-ride to Tassie and back. Gone are the days of free air travel for this one, but it does come with perks, the main one being that we don't have to beg people to give up their seats so we have a little bit of room (and when they don't comply, watching Edie prove to others that she needs her own seat/will get her own seat through sheer toddler willpower (or torture, whatever you want to call it)).

We'll take lots of pictures and will be in touch on our return with lots of fun stories. Oh ya, the night we get back Tim and I are off to see Sufjan Stevens at the Tivoli here in Brisbane, super exciting! I'm sure we won't be too tired to enjoy Sufjan at a standing-only venue after a week of dealing with Edie in Tasmanian nature...Might be just the break we need despite it being a late-night for us. I'm sure it will be amazing.

Love to all

Laura, on behalf of the team.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

More Australian adventure for Team Jardine

Good evening friends,

I write from home tonight in the suburb of Mt Gravatt east, and since we live on a mt, yes, we're high and dry and safe from the crazy flooding that has hit the city over this past week. The worst of the flooding in the city of Brisbane is over now, and most people directly affected by the flooding have been able to get back to what remains of their homes to start clean-up for the lucky ones, or to say goodbye for the unlucky who have lost their homes. At this point it's probably now safe to unofficially say that the number of people who have been directly affected in these past few weeks of flooding in Queensland is either equal or greater than the number of people who have gotten by unscathed. I guess this is what happens when it rains for two and a half months straight, and yet the extent of what we experienced in Southeast Queensland was pretty unexpected. Even so, there are other parts of Queensland who have been hit repeatedly over the past few weeks, and I can't imagine the frustration which those folks muct be experiencing. But the reality is that a) Australia is a pretty volatile place and b) that this summer is predicted to be a wet one, and therefore the chance of more flooding to come is quite real. Just think: when Tim and I arrived in Feb of 2008, Brisbane was just coming out of a roughly 7 year drought with a dam capacity of barely 15% volume for the main water supply to the city, this week that same dam reached over 200% capacity. Things seem so much more at the mercy of mother nature here then what we experienced back home, it's hard to get our heads around.

So, despite reporting that we're safe and dry now, in true Team Jardine Australian adventure fashion, we got stuck in the very wrong place at the very wrong time over this past week. If you check out which of the 35 inundated suburbs in Brisbane were hit the hardest, Graceville comes up as a big one. We were on the tail-end of house-sitting for our friends in Graceville when this flooding hit. They were in Vietnam on two weeks holiday and we were at their house on two weeks holiday because their house is a) much nicer than ours and b) has a pool and a dog. The pool was kind of a bust because it rained pretty much the whole time we were there, but the dog and nice house were a big hit with all of us. As the day approached for our friends to return I was thinking that it had to be the easiest and most non-eventful house-sitting job I'd ever had. No losses of pets, no major 2-year old damage, relatively little to clean up after ourselves...

However, watching the evening news last Monday the commentators made an announcement during the middle of the show saying that anyone in the Lockyer Valley should evacuate immediately as their was a 7m wall of water heading towards the area. That was shocking, but I didn't realize how close the area was or that the water that flowed through that area would end up at the mouth of the Brisbane River eventually...Things a Canadian who is house-sitting in a low-lying flood-plain in the same catchment should know. As most have heard, the Lockyer Valley was devestated. By Tuesday morning, it was basically understood that the Brisbane river would flood, but the extent was unknown. So Tim and I decided to move a few things
that we knew were valuable to the upper floor of the house and then went on with the day. When Tim went to work the news reports and emergency warnings became more urgent, and I got freaked out, I'll admit it. By noon Tim had decided to come back to the house given that the warnings were getting worse and I was getting panicked. My worst fear was being stranded at the house without Tim trying to manage an Edie, Ella (the dog) and a very nice house that might potentially be underwater in the near future.

By Tuesday night it was pretty clear that the house that we were in would probably be flooded based on what experts were calling for and on the past history of the house, which was flooded in the devestating flood of '74. We were in touch with the house owners and were instructed to start moving things from the ground floor to the top floor, which we did with help from the neighbours. By 10:30 that night, Tim and I were in hot debate about whether to stay at the house in case flooding (which was predicted to hit our area by the next day) was minimal, or to leave in the event that it was as bad as predicted or in the event that we couldn't get back to our own home in Mt Gravatt east. We had two things working well against us: 1) that Edie was already asleep and we were not keen on getting her back up to pack our things and move at that hour and b) navigating potentially flooded roads in the dark was not up our alley either. So, whether it was smart or not, We 'collectively' decided that we would wait things out overnight and get out quickly in the morning. Between anticipation of this natural disaster and a 2-year old with crazy sleeping patterns, there was not a whole lot of sleep had that night. At 5am we were up, got our things together and packed up the dog to head to the higher ground of Mt Gravatt. Unfortunately overnight, Graceville flooded enough that most roads out of the suburb were underwater, and we couldn't find a way out where we wouldn't have to drive through water up to our headlights or higher to get back home. So with our tails between our legs and a few tears in our eyes, back to the house we went to prepare for sticking the flood out.

Thankfully the house was well stocked and had plenty of supplies in it to handle a few days of no electricity, as long as the water didn't rise above the second level we thought we'd be safe. We called our parents and broke the news that we were stranded. Not the first call we've made to our parents to break the news that we were seriously in a bad way...more like the 5th since we've arrived on this crazy island, so maybe they're getting used to it. To keep ourselves sane, we kept on working on getting ourselves prepared (moving the cars to higher ground, etc) while watching the flood-water backed up in the storm drains creep up our street. By mid-morning Fran (the homeowner) was texting us to tell us to get out of there, and the neighbors were of the same mindset. We weren't sure what to do (since we knew none of the layout of the suburb nor anyone on higher ground where we could crash, nor what one should do in a flood anyway), but when someone told us that the toilets would back up with the flooding, we decided to take their advice and find somewhere higher to crash until we could get out of the suburb. By this point we'd lost electricity as well.

So Fran texted a friend of hers in a non-flooding area a few streets over and we made our way there. This house was a hive of activity with scads of stuff being dropped off by people who had nowhere else to take their things. Someone there who recognized the signs of a horribly exhausted and ragged ex-pat family offered us a bed and Edie and I took advantage while Tim continued to help others move stuff, and to check on Fran's place as well which was just starting to flood. I should also mention that Wednesday (the day this was all happening) was the first beautiful non-rainy day that we'd had in weeks...It was eerie I tell you, not the typical picture one would have in mind when thinking of what a flooding city might look like.

When Edie and I got up from our nap, the family who owned the house we were in were eating Subway. I don't know if it's just me, I suspect not, but Subway is one of the foods I crave the most as a pregnant lady. I rarely eat it otherwise, but there is something about it when incubating a foetus that I can't pass up. So you might say that I was drooling a little bit, Tim was in the house by this point and could read my mind, so he asked where they'd gotten it (since we couldn't find a way out of the suburb that morning and no businesses in the area would have been operating at that point). The guy said that earlier in the day he'd taken a run to Forest Lake, a suburb about 35 minutes away that wasn't flooded. Also the suburb where our Canadian friend Steph lives! That did it for Tim. He insisted on taking a solo-run to see if he could get us there for the night, because the potential for electricity and no flooding was too appealing to the husband with a very pregnant wife and child with a medical condition to pass up. I balked at the idea because I really didn't want him to go alone, or leave us behind, and certainly didn't want to risk us getting ourselves into deeper problems by trying to flee a drowning suburb as a family. But Tim won out and scouted things out. He came back about an hour later and had found a dry route that would get us there. So we packed up our things for the third time that day and took off for Forest Lake, leaving Ella behind with the neighbours who'd agreed to take care of her.

We got to Stephs in time for supper, had Subway (of course) and crashed hard as a family by about 7pm. Roughly 11 hours later we awoke from our coma and felt rested for the first time in days. Fran and her family arrived home later in the morning, to a house in about 1m of water, which was much less that predicted, and an upstairs that contained all of their items from downstairs as well. All in all, they had very little damage to their house or possessions, which we're all thankful for given the extent of damages to other people within that same suburb and certainly across the state. They are still without power (it's Sunday now) and probably won't have it for another week, but they have been able to get a good start on the clean-up process. Many other people fared much, much worse, but I won't go into detail because it's readily available through the good old information highway (by the
way, if as North Americans you want a reliable source for what's happened/ is happening here in terms of flooding, check

All-in-all, it was undoubtedly the worst house-sitting job I've experienced based on our last 3 days there. Trying to figure out what is important enough to salvage when dealing with threats to your own possessions is hard enough, and I don't recommend trying to do it for someone else. On the other hand, we now have a much better idea of what to do in the event of a flood, and Edie became very very good at puddle jumping.

We're safe and sound, unscathed and tired, and wishing that we now could be more help to those who have been affected. Logistics prevent doing this in a tangible way for us at the moment, so when things settle down a bit more we'll see what we can do. Parts of Victoria are now experiencing flooding from an unrelated system, which is scary. And to be honest, most everyone knows that we probably haven't seen the worst to come yet for the summer. Our dams are still at almost 190% capacity, the ground is saturated with water and there is a lot more rain predicted to come. I think this is part of life in Australia, and most Australians have come to accept it...Not something that was brought to our attention when lured here originally.

We've got a few pictures, but ran out of batteries/became insanely busy before long to really record what was happening through pictures. I imagine that there are lots that can be found online, I haven't bothered to look at them because I saw it happening and don't really want to remember what it was like. We'll post a few in the next few days.

Through this we've been exposed to the 'best-side of Australians', and I'd agree that in a pinch like this, you won't find better mates. Again, good on ya Australia.

Signing off for the night,


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Tennis anyone?

Happy New Year all! The wet weather from late 2010 has carried on into 2011, with no let up in sight. The country north and west of us is pretty much submerged or slowly drying out, as most of you would be aware given the amount of news coverage it seems to be getting globally. Unfortunately this is just part of life in Australia, the land of drought and flood. Hopefully some good will come of it, with agricultural yields likely to be high once full recovery sets in. The recovery, however, will probably take several years. Thankfully we haven't been affected in Brisbane thus far, with the only side effects being higher fruit and vegetable prices.

Despite the rain Laura and I were able to make it out to see some top-tier tennis at the Brisbane International this week. The venue is walking distance from where we are housesitting, so we thought, why not? The first match featured former world number 1 (current world number 8) Andy Roddick. This was significant in that, for Laura, it increased the number of live performances she has seen by men who have dated Mandy Moore to two, the other of course being her trip to Portland a few years back to see Ryan Adams. Now she only needs to see Wilber Valderrama and Zach Braff to round things out.

The tennis was good (we also saw Jelena Dokic) but Steph had a rough night with Edie, who has thrown some pretty serious tantrums lately and still keeps us guessing with her sleeping habits. Otherwise she is doing well, doing lots of colouring in, splashing in the many puddles in the backyard, and playing with the Wii. Her favorite part of staying here though is hanging out with Ella, the dog. Of course, Edie's love for Ella is put to the test each morning when Ella tries to steal her vegiemite toast.

Our Tassie trip is only a couple of weeks away. This will be our last crack at a family adventure before Team Jardine expands yet again in late March and we have to hunker down for a few months. Just to make things interesting, we've bought tickets to see Sufjan Stevens the night we return to Brisbane. Sufjan is someone who was on our "go see if you get the chance regardless of your circumstances, financial or otherwise" list. So we're going for it. He's been playing mostly from his new album, which leans towards techno hip hop (as opposed to the eclectic folk of his past) so it might not suit us, but the reviews have been good and he rarely tours. We figured this might our only chance. We'll catch up with y'all in early Feb.