Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Australian Wedding

We were invited for the wedding of one of Age's colleagues, which took place last Saturday. As I said in a previous post, we'd been busy with our outfits for the day for quite some time. Especially me, as I bought a dress about three weeks ago, but then suddenly the weather forecast changed slightly, from an expected doable 33 degrees to a toasty 37 degrees. I would probably melt in that dress, and needed something different. Well, that was not easy. A gazillion shops and two weeks later I finally found something (and a lot of other things) two days before the wedding. Plus a nice necklace :-)

Age had done his research, bought a new suit, but also needed a new shirt plus a tie. That was a bit of a challenge, as he'd tried the suit on with a shirt and tie of the same brand as the suit, but that would add another $400 to the bill. Of course, anything else you then try on in different stores is never as good... So I'm not telling you how that ended. The suit had to be taken in by the tailor, but that was fine, and would be ready on Friday. It made us think that the current trend in suits is fairly slim-fitting.

And that was true, because just for fun Age tried on his oldest suit at home, bought for his Uni graduation, and after that worn not that much. We remembered it as a nice fitting Italian suit, with fairly slim-fitting trousers. Well, he tried it on - yes, the trousers still fitted, and were still okay, but the jacket was completely hilarious. It was huge, like a loose bag, so much fabric! We wondered whether Age'd lost all his bulk, but we didn't think so. Jackets nowadays seem to be a lot shorter, slimmer, and with shorter sleeves. Another suit, one he actually still wears, but shockingly also over ten years old, is a bit the same. So he really was due for a new suit.
A man's got to have a proper suit, right? But even in his current job, going to clients, wearing a jacket is not something that people do here. It's just too hot. Neat trousers, shirt and tie, yes, but not a jacket. And then after the first day the tie magically disappears too.

We were going to take some photos of ourselves all dressed up before the wedding, but we had to fly out the door to get there in time - as usual.

Earlier that Saturday morning we had our first three-hour antenatal class - a childbirth education class, at the hospital where I will deliver. Twenty pregnant bellies plus their partners in a hot and stuffy room, sitting on terrible chairs, listening to a midwife with a dummy of a pelvis and a doll with a placenta, talking about the three stages of labour and watching an American childbirth movie. When she said that we would be going to watch a movie, I thought Oh crap. Nobody really wants to see other people in labour, right? Certainly not me. I want my own experience, not someone else's.
The movie followed three different pregnant ladies through the stages of labour (only quick shots of heavy breathing luckily), and mostly animations of what was happening inside the belly. I didn't like those women and their partners at all.
But then, when their babies were born, placed on their bellies and mums and partners all overwhelmed, I burst out in tears! In class! I mean, who does that? The floodgates went open, no stopping there. Poor Age got a wet shirt (his first of the day, another one would follow - see later on), but he was prepared as he sensed that something was brewing.
I couldn't figure out what it was exactly that got to me, as really, it had nothing to do with those women and their labour. But later that night in bed, I thought about it and the same thing happened again. Saw those babies popping out, and tearing up all over again. And then I realised that it was the fact that those babies were alive, and moved arms and legs, and made noise. Quite the reality check, especially when you're raging with hormones.

So that was a promising start of the day, and we even had a NICU tour on the agenda (the neo-natal ward, where the preemies are (te vroeg geboren babies)). Months ago I thought that that part would do my head in, but actually seeing those babies was fine and interesting. I saw two babies of 37 weeks of just 2 kilos, so they were tiny, like dolls. Other ladies in the class had more troubles, and most didn't want to come up to the window for a look.
We also went to the labour and delivery suites, and had a look in one of the delivery rooms. That area is fairly new, so looks good and up to date.
And that was the first class. Next week physiotherapy class, all about positions for labour.

Then it was time for lunch and getting ready for the wedding. We looked fabulous, of course, and saw in the car that the temperature was only 34 degrees (it was an outdoor wedding), which seemed a lot better than 37. We got out of the car at 3.30pm exactly, and went straight for the shade in the garden of the venue, as did everyone else. But we all saw the rows with white chairs on the lawn, waiting for us, in the sun - without any form of shade. Oh lala.

When it was time, we were all asked to be seated, and as soon as we sat, with the sun beating on our heads, and the slight breeze magically gone, it started. Sweating, that is. Sweating big time. Drip drip drip. Gush. Drip drip. I am usually the biggest sweater of all, and I did somehow quite okay. But you should have seen Age. Within 20 seconds, his lovely new shirt looked like someone had thrown a bucket of water at thim, it was amazing. He was wetter than when he'd jumped with shirt and all in a pool.
Then suddenly there were two couples who put an umbrella up, and I realised that we had a huge golf umbrella in the car. So Age got it out of the car, and at least I was now okay, plus the people behind me (we suddenly got friends :-)). It really must have been close to 40 degrees in that sheltered garden. Lots of men looked like drowned cats, as well as women wearing satin-type dresses. When the ceremony was over, we were asked to remain seated while the bride and groom did the paperwork, but everyone jumped up as one and ran for their lives back into the shade.

Luckily it only got better from there, with drinks in the garden, then some kind of reception on the deck (with a bit of finger food - everyone was ravenous!), then a three-course dinner, with in-between courses intermezzos on the dance floor or outside, away from the loud music. And we did a lot of dancing - sweating all over again, but hey, this time it was possible to sort of cool down outside on the terrace, where the temperature had dropped to the mid twenties. It was fun, and me and baby did very well.

More or less exactly at midnight the lights went on and the party was over. The well-deserved shower back home just before bed was pure bliss!!!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

I still wouldn't mind a little bit of snow

As I said before, I'm over summer and would love to see some snow / rain / hail. Not many people agree with me on this one, but yesterday, the nurse who did my glucose challenge test did. That test is something - it's to establish whether you're in the danger zone diabetes-wise, around 28 weeks pregnancy. I've been reading a lot of interesting facts on this test on my pregnancy forums, and so many different approaches too. Some people have to fast first, others don't, some have to be there 1 hour, and if they fail the first test, do another test of 2 or 3 hours.

In Australia you start with the 'glucose challenge' test, which is the 1-hour test. It means that the pregnant lady gets a sugary drink, in my case a small bottle of something that resembled ice cold 7-up without the fizz. It was 300ml, and contained 50gr sugar. You have to drink it within 5 minutes, and then just wait. After an hour they'll draw some blood, to analyse it to see how you reacted. If you're over the limit, you have to do the test again at a later date, which would mean here a 2-hour test with a similar drink. And fasting the night before - that would be awful. The drink then contains 65 grams of sugar, and they'll draw blood after 1 hour and after 2 hours. Failing the 2-hour test means you have gestational diabetes. Depending on how bad it is, you have to change your diet and/or inject insuline.

Gestational diabetes is not so much a problem for mum, but it is for the baby. That's why they'd like to pick it up. But everyone knows this, right?

I thought initially that my drink would be as thick as syrup, and as sweet, about 100% sugar. But that wasn't the case, it contained 17 grams sugar per 100ml. That didn't sound too bad actually. There are lots of natural (!) yoghurts here in the supermarket containing over 20% sugar (yes, the dairy products here are terrible, even worse than in New Zealand, which calls itself dairy country - but that's probably because of the export of milk to China).
And later today I found a parcel on our doorstep, from Elbrich (thanks heaps, we'll email soon :-)), which had some candy in it too, and the liquorice contained 70 grams of sugar per 100gr. I think I've never seen that before!

And how is Age doing? I think he's doing fine. Of course his motorbike wouldn't start (not the first time) at the end of the day on Monday, when it was 39 degrees. But our new RAA membership came in handy, so a guy came along (after waiting one hour) with some portable battery-thingies and that quickly did the trick.

We'll also be having our first Ozzie wedding soon, from one of Age's colleagues, and hearing about his stress, family feuds and more it sounds very much like any Dutch wedding. And it'll end at 12am too - I thought that was typically Dutch, switching on the big lights, stopping the music, and serving everyone 'thanks for coming but the party is over'-coffee.
Going to shop for a new suit for Age today - he's done some pre-shopping on my request, as you won't get me into town anymore on 39 degree days, he did that on his own on Monday. So we have two shops to go to, and two suits to look at. That sounds doable :-)

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Swallowed a bowling ball

I've officially reached the third trimester, and can now officially be used as a bowling ball for anyone who needs one. That belly is growing steadily.

The first sentence I read on my pregnancy app today was 'your comfortable second trimester days are over now'. Very nice. But it's true! Fatigue hit me like a train the last three days, and I needed two-hour (!) naps during the day to stay sane. The heat has probably something to do with it too, as we're right back into the high thirties. Can't wait for the summer to be over - give me clouds, wind and rain any day. Blue skies are booooring!

It's getting darker in the mornings though, something we noticed this week - olala.

Minnie is doing well, my right arm looks like someone tried to chop it off with a kitchen knife from all the playful bites and scratches - some work to be done in that area, but she's only little and learning. She's lovely and funny too, and is a master in racing forwards and backwards through the house - on her own, or with us chasing her, or, even better, with her chasing us. We're all working hard on our fitness, as you can see.

What else? Ah yes, we've found a replacement for me at work, so that's great, as I'm responsible for the delivery of two courses, and there's now someone to do a handover with. We've already started, and will continue working collaboratively the next seven weeks, until I go on leave.

Age has been in Sydney last week, also survived a bux night (spelling?) this weekend - that is a stag night (vrijgezellenfeest), from one of his colleagues who is getting married next weekend (WHAT TO WEAR???). It was a night at a cafe, with about 50 guys, young and old. The groom himself apparently was more dead than alive on Monday at work, but Age completed a terribly steep walk through the Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens with me on Sunday, so I think he did just fine. And you know what? The groom's mates had organised strippers (!!), and they were a great hit with the uncles (of respectable age) of the bride. According to Age the young brother of the bride thought that he wasn't ever going to get married, if you had to have strippers on your bux night. I'm afraid that that's largely out of his hands, if others organise the night for you :-)

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

No news really

Nothing terribly exciting has happened over the last week or so. Things are just moving along nicely.
  • Age's been in Brisbane last week, so Minnie and I did a lot of bonding :-). The climate in Brisbane never ceases to amaze us ('us', I've never been there in summer), as the weather is so completely different from Adelaide: it was over 30 degrees with 100% humidity, with the area on the verge of severe flooding. At the same time we went through a bit of a cold snap, with on one of the days just 18 or 19 degrees inside, brrr.
  • I've been baking a couple of breads, and most of them turned out really well. The ones that collapsed in the middle were the ones where I set the timer, meaning that the ingredients were sitting in the bread maker for over seven hours, doing nothing. I think that the dry yeast can't handle that, or gets into contact with the added water. Tips, anyone?
  • One of the breads I made was made with lots of different types of flour, for a heavy and dark crispy bread. Well, that one turned out to be an interesting one (I did follow the recipe for about 80%). I took two slices to work, for my morning fix, and as these slices are fairly big, you could equate that with four slices of regular bread. Well, I had a very boring day that day, didn't have to go out for lunch, because that bread was so filling. Didn't need an evening meal before 8pm - Those slices kept me going forever! It makes you wonder what's in supermarket bread besides air.
  • I've also made some home-made gevulde koeken (what on earth is that in English? Cookies filled with almond paste). They were actually not bad at all. A bit crispy perhaps, but very nice with a cup of coffee. Very easy to make too.
  • I'll be hitting the 26-week mark tomorrow, pregnancy-wise. So the third trimester is not far away anymore at all. Only seven more weeks at work, eeeks. Looking like it that way, time is really flying! 
  • At work I've had a very busy period the last two months, finishing the development and preparing for the delivery of two online courses, which both have started this week. And I am the facilitator, so that's what I'll be busy with the coming seven weeks, including the handover of those courses at some stage, to the person who is going to replace me.