Thursday, 11 May 2017

Antenatal Adventures

So for Facebook friends, I guess we posted our happy news, then I left you with a lovely picture from Uluru, with Jan contemplating his future in the corner, and we've told you nothing else! For non-Facebook peeps, uhm, hai there, Jan and I are having a baby! Surprise!

So for everyone keen to know the "usual" news - I'm feeling fine (criminally fine, but more on this later); we are 15 weeks along; everything is looking good so far; and the due date is 30 October. Which, come on, I'm totally going to cross my legs for an extra day to get a Halloween baby, purely for the joy of bringing it home in a costume. With The Omen music playing in the car. Or something.

As for the other big question, not only do we want to find out the sex, WE ALREADY KNOW! Thanks to the wonderfulment of modern science (and a chunk of cash), we had a test called the NIPT (non-invasive parental testing), which takes some of the mother's blood, whisks it about a bit in a fancy flask, and gets the baby's DNA out to test. With the added extra bonus of finding out sex! And....... Jan is overjoyed to tell you he will now be bossed about by two* women in his house! Which maybe accounts for the look of fear on his face in that Uluru snap... Or it could be the dingoes.

* As in, me and Baby Girl. I re-read this and realised it sounded like we were having twins, which... PLEASE LORD, NO.

In all honesty, though, I think it's me who is actually the terrified one here. When we did the test and it came out positive, Jan was overjoyed and shed some happy tears, and immediately wanted to text his parents. I.... paced the flat wild-eyed and breathing heavily, and then decided to just up and get the morning sickness out of the way in one big go. And then do a bit more wild-eyed pacing. And then... nope, wait, not done with the sickness quite yet, thanks. I mean, we had been trying, but I honestly hadn't quite believed it could actually happen TO ME and MY BODY and, oh crap, one and one really does make three, and what now, OMG WHAT NOW?!?!?! IT'S GOT TO COME OUT AGAIN AT SOME POINT AND... gah, time for more puking.

Anyway, I'm coming round to the idea, what with it actually being real and really happening and all. And it really is real cos they've given me scans and everything and there's actually a real live human bean all up in my womb, taking up valuable bladder space and everything:

Subject at 11 weeks and chilling...
So now it's time for the biggest (scariest) adventure of all - and it doesn't involve moving to the other side of the world!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The Love Bingle.

We don't tend to celebrate Valentine's Day in the Kollhof house*, as we're sort of all bah humbug, stupid confected commercialised rubbish our love is perennial and needs no one single special day for 'tis special every day sort of thing. That and we're really rubbish at remembering dates.

* We celebrated it once. Jan made a beautiful dinner of mushroom soup followed by steak, but we had to eat it at 10pm as that's when I got home from work. I'd bought him a CD but had no wrapping paper, so had to make my own out of random bits of coloured card.

But this year, we've inadvertently made our biggest grown-up purchase yet around this date, so we're totally pretending it's our VDay gift to ourselves! Ladies and gentlemen, introducing Ravi:

She is BOOTIFUL. I also may have made lots of unnecessary squeaking noises over the bow when we picked her up. The last car we had, I was just plain thrilled that it had electric windows and a CD player. This one has CAMERAS FOR REVERSING. REVERSING. That thing I'm hopeless at because I'm too darn tiny to see the stupid kerb or anything else you're supposed to be able to see to reverse successfully. I. AM. ECSTATIC.

The reason we upgraded from our old car is because it got totally smushed in November. Or, as they say here, "I had a bingle". Let's just say it involved emergency stopping, and me being the rather shocked filling in a metal car sandwich. The main things to remember are: no-one was hurt, it wasn't my fault*, and WE GOT A FANCY CAR WITH REVERSING CAMERAS.

* Important for self-esteem (and insurance) purposes.

Now all we need to do is take her for a big drive somewhere exciting!

Sunday, 1 January 2017


Well, what a year. As so many people have stated on t'interweb already, that's another trip around the sun and what an horrific, traumatising, nightmarish, sh*tstormy, craptabulous interesting trip it's been.

Usually, I'm one of those people who looks around at the end of a year everyone else has found horrendous, and apologetically says, "Well mine was rather good, actually". But nope, this year has pooped on my head too.

That's not to say it was all bad! It actually started off quite well!

Friends visited us...

..and we visited family and friends (and watched them get married <3):

But after that, well... things took a turn. Brexit happened. Trump happened. Countries turned their backs on innocent people needing help. Other innocent people died at the hands of those who would spread fear. People we've grown up with died (and so many so young!). Well, you all know the global horrors we've been through and thanks to having to caption the whole sorry mess every single day at work, I'm slightly world weary as we slip into 2017.

Things in our own smaller world took a tumble too. My parents were involved in a car crash in July - and it was a bad one. Dad was mercifully unscathed thanks to the airbags*. Mom was not so lucky, and spent nearly 4 weeks in a coma. It's amazing how one voicemail message instantly shows you exactly what living on the other side of the world means. We'd always comforted ourselves that if anything happened we were 'only' 24 hours away. But boy, that's the longest 24 hours you'll ever spend. I'd never been to an airport feeling nothing but dread before, never flown somewhere not happy to be going on a new adventure, never sat sobbing in Singapore as my friend insisted she was coming to meet me at 6am in the morning and drive home with me to face everything because people were worried about me driving alone. Never sat in a hospital, watching someone's life being held more in the machines around them than in their actual bodies. Never seen so many darn plug sockets to keep all those machines going! Never been to my parents' house before without my mom being there. Never been in her kitchen, with all the pots and pans and spoons and forks from my childhood**,  and no-one to tell me where to find things, or what to do. But we got through it, with much help from family and friends, and I really learnt how wonderful and special support like that is - from kind words and thoughts, to coffee sent from my favourite place here, to all those people who've helped my dad get around and not kill himself from food poisoning!

* Or 'hairbags' as he likes to call them - one of the very few things that made me smile about the whole episode.
** I had a favourite teaspoon as a child. Seriously. And they've still got it!

More importantly, mom got through it all too. She's still in rehab, but wow - watching her get better has been amazing. I see a determination in her I kind of knew was there, but never expected to see so much of - she was scaring the nurses pulling herself up on the bed and trying to get off when she couldn't even walk! She's got straight back on the computer to re-teach herself, instructed my dad about all things household, insisted on still writing all of her Christmas cards and even made a Christmas cake for all the nurses! Fingers crossed, early next year she will be home again properly.

I guess from there, things could only get better! And they have, towards the end of the year. We made a promise to ourselves to get out there and do 'stuff' this summer - and we have been doing. I'll post more about some wonderful summer December* weekends soon!

* December = summer. Still can't get used to that 3 years on!

And Jan turned 40! Again, a whole other blog on that, but suffice to say, he's still lookin' mighty good:

For now I'll just say... TFI 2017!

For all of us who've had a tough 2016 (and also for those quietly saying "actually mine was rather good"), may 2016 be like this ice sculpture and slowly melt away into a misshapen lump that no-one will remember - and may 2017 prove to be the year we all win the lottery* and live happily ever after!

* We actually have won the lottery already this year! And we'll be getting the best bottle of vino $14 can buy...