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