Saturday, March 24, 2012

Date Night!

Being that Adam and I are both shift-workers and have been together since our very early twenties, somewhere along the track we started date night. It didn't have to be a super-spesh, expensive night out - simply a night where we make the concerted effort to spend some quality time together - just the two of us.
Before our 1st wedding anniversary rolled around, I came to the realisation that we had fallen out of the habit of Date Nights.
My anniversary present to Adam was a full years worth of Date Night's. One a month, pre-organised by me - for the entire year.
I made 12 envelopes using scrapbook paper and an envelope template given to me as a gift by my friend Chloe, yet again - more proof of what an awesome gift-giver Chloe is!
I spent a lot of time googling the interwebs and racking my brains, to decide on a date for each month, and then printed out the details and pictures that could be used as clues for each date.
I tied them all together with string and anchored them in each envelope so that Adam would pull the picture clues out first. He could then take a guess at the date, and see if he was right as the details would be on the last card.
One down. Eleven to go.
It was a labour of love and well worth it in the end.
The Dates!

The Clues...
Theatrical Masks, one fish, two fish, quote "Say you'll share with me, One love. One lifetime." -Christine Phantom of the Opera.
What was planned...
Dinner at One Fish, Two Fish followed by A Bad Year for Tomatoes - A Community Theatre Production.
The Date...
One Fish, Two Fish was a fantastic restaurant in Coolangatta. Please note the use of the word was. It's the same restaurant we had my birthday dinner at last year. Thankfully I organised this date first, because out of absolutely nowhere this wonderful restaurant closed down. It was possibly only a week or two after our date and the restaurant had disappeared. We never got to the Community Theatre Production... we were too busy enjoying each others company and our food (delicious porkbelly...mmm).

The Clues...
Sushi, two couples holding hands, a microphone, quote "At last my love has come along. My lonely days are over. And life is like a song." -Etta James.
What was planned...
Shogun Japanese Restaurant.
Take your shoes off to enjoy traditional Japanese Cuisine and Karaoke! The fun and deliciousness will be shared with DrewBoy and BrownDog.

The Date...
The double date, doubled in number and became more of a Quadruple date! 
And it was fantastic fun. We highly recommend Shogun.  
The food was authentic and delicious, the atmosphere was great (who doesn't love taking their shoes off and sitting on the floor?) and we totally rocked at Karaoke. I sang Unchained Melody completely sober, and utterly terribly and still got applause. Shame? I have none.
Note to self: I really must learn how to edit red eye's out on my computer.

The Clues...
A Golf ball, screenshot of TimeCrisis videogame, Homer and Marge in the PuttPutt Windmill.
What was planned...
A Day Out in Surfers Paradise.
We'll be finding our inner kid at Timezone, and getting it on like Homer and Marge in the windmill at King Tutts Putt Putt.
The Date...
As much fun as this date could have been... we traded it in for a day at MovieWorld.
I once went on the Scooby-Doo Sppoky Coaster ELEVEN times in a row. It is still my most favourite ride. Keep your arms up!!
That's Adam's attempt at pulling a Clint Eastwood face whilst we were hanging out in the Dirty Harry Bar. We tried out the new Green Lantern ride (awesome!) and when we were done for the day - had Thai takeout for dinner and went to the cinema to see The Muppets! A fantastic trade in, if you ask me!

The Clues...
A turkish restaurant, a faulty product symbol, a basil plant, a dead parrot, quote "Your mother was a hamster. And your father smelt of elderberries." - French Taunter.
What was planned...
Dinner and a Show.
Dinner at Ahmet's SouthBank, followed by a short stroll to QPAC and An Evening with John Cleese.
The Date...
We decided to make a proper day of it and went to see some exhibitions at GoMA. That's Gallery of Modern Art, for those of you not familiar with the acronym. First we saw the Matisse: Drawing Life exhibit, a French artist who began painting in 1889, and Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama: Look Now, See Forever exhibit.  Both were completely different, but very enjoyable. The Matisse exhibit was a more traditional art exhibition and it was interesting to see his progression through time, his impact and his life story. The Yayoi exhibit was visual eye-candy and a whole lot of fun! You were even encouraged to take pictures!
The Obliteration Room, was a room that on the first day of the exhibit opening was full of everyday objects that were painted completely white. All visitors are given sticky dots of different sizes and colours to put anywhere in the room. The result?
Adam and I love to browse the quirky books and bits and pieces in the GoMA Gallery Store, and the State Library of Queensland Library Shop - where we found this print, which we are seriously contemplating purchasing to frame and hang on our white brick wall.

We did go to Ahmet's for dinner as planned, but after having snacked at a cafe in the afternoon (and having our stomach's shrunken in size from lite'n'easy), we enjoyed the flavour of the delicious Turkish food, but it was embarrassing how much we couldn't eat!
Finally, we were able to take our seats in the Lyric Theatre at QPAC and watch the ever hilarious Mr John Cleese take the stage. Did you know he is 72? Technically, it was 'An Evening with John Cleese' - where he sat on stage and chatted about his life, showing photographs and film clips, telling stories and making us all laugh. It was very enjoyable, and we are glad we had the opportunity to see him. We did feel a little let down by the ticket price, when you considered the production value. Technically, you would get better bang-for-your-buck if you were to go see Mary Poppins... Which I still can't believe I missed - considering how much of a fan I am of the original movie. A spoonful of sugar helps the IVF medicine go down!

Hhmmm... Better get on to organising the next date night, before March ends!

Much Love!

Kristy xx

Monday, March 19, 2012

DIY: Gumboots Gloriously Modified

As I patiently bide my time for Aunt Flo to arrive, and hence await our next IVF collection with our new specialist, I choose to distract myself with cooking and craft.
I have had a wonderful weekend. 3 and half days off with my husband (a rarity for two shift-workers), dinner and drinks with new neighbours who are old friends, Elaine style dancing at a wonderful wedding of an old high-school friend, baking my first ever orange cake and damaging my thumb by modifying a pair of plain black gumboots.
I had an awesome pair of gumboots with a fantastic skull and rose print that were originally from my Mum's shop. Unfortunately, they spent a little long time neglected in the backyard, where some mice decided they would make a rather attractive home. Needless to say, I couldn't really put my feet back in them after that.
Motivated by the Pinterest Challenge, from my favourite blog Young House Love, I decided it was time to craft myself some funky corseted gumboots to help motivate me to take back control of my terribly neglected and over grown garden. After all, a girl needs to garden in style!
The picture doesn't really do the total and utter cute-ness of these boots justice. I was hoping to get Adam to take some photo's of me in them, in action, in the backyard - but alas I took too long and the boy was at work before I was finished.

What You Will Need:
Pack of Eyelets with accompanying tools.

Kristy's Hot Tips:
I bought my Gumboots for under $20 at Big W. They come in a range of sizes, and can be found in the women's shoe section.
I bought my eyelets from a local fabric and craft store. I chose the size 8mm, and colour black. Other colour options are usually gold and silver.
Use a solid work surface. I used Adam's work bench in the garage. This tutorial requires plenty of hammering, and you don't want to do any damage!


Step One: 
Measure and mark where you want your holes.
I used a ruler and a lead pencil to mark where I wanted my holes to be. I did them 3cm vertically apart. Given my time over, I probably would now do a 4-5cm gap. But its up to you, and what you think will look good on your boot.
I also chose to do 3 on each side. Depending on the look you want, you may wish to add a lot more.

Step Two:
Make your holes!
Follow the instructions on your eyelet packet. You can see the tool and attachments that came with mine above. It is essentially a hole punch. Line it up where you want it, and hammer until you have a hole!

As you can see from the photo's above, I chose to cut my plastic tool in half to allow the punch to reach further down the boot. The tutorial from which I originally borrowed this idea, chose to cut down the back of the gumboots. It's a great option for girls who find the gumboots too tight on their calves, and would probably make the whole hole punching process a lot easier. I chose to keep my gumboots in tact, as they fit just right.
Yes, my bottom holes are terribly mis-aligned. I didn't realise that I had accidentally moved the punch. Word to the wise - don't get distracted by your ridiculously cute cat! Nothing I could do about once it was done. Thankfully, the ribbon hides it pretty well, otherwise it would drive me batty. 

Step Three:
Hammer in the Eyelets!
Depending on the eyelets you bought, it may be a little different... But I will show you how mine work so you can better understand the concept.
The main eyelet piece is the one that looks more like a hat, it is what should be on the outside of your gumboots as it is the most attractive. The washer looks like a flat ring and goes on the inside where it cannot be seen. Take the eyelet piece (above) and push through your pre-made hole. Next comes the positioning of the washer, and the tool, which is best explained through song... I mean pictures!
Once in position give it a bunch of good whacks with the hammer. Remove the tool and check to see that your eyelet looks and feels secure.
Being a Carpenter's daughter and an experienced orthopaedic scrub nurse you would think I would be proficient with the handling of a hammer... but no! I struck the very tip of my thumb several times, resulting first in a blood blister, then just blood, then a decent skin split along my nail line. All for the love of craft. Ouch! But look how awesome I am...
Yes I have fabulous new hole-punching, eyelet pressing skills. Add it to the list, it's only going to get longer!

Step Four:
Thread your Ribbon and Voila!
Ok. So it wasn't that easy for me... because as a self-confessed bulk-buying hoarder-holic, and currently having an obsession with gift-wrapping... I have A LOT of ribbon. I was feeling indecisive and kept threading and rethreading different types, widths and colours, trying to work out what will look best.
Of course I always have my substitute child handy to give me a helping hand paw.
Here he is personally inspecting the boots during their 'before photo shoot'.
Here he checks that no waterdragons will mischievously walk into shot. 
And here he is jumping in my grave during the ribbon selection process. Seriously. I got up to get water, and he had highjacked my seat.

In the end I decided on a black and white, large gingham-ish ribbon.
But I figure I can easily change it up when I feel like a new look, or when the ribbons end up full of farmers friends. Looking back through my trial pictures, the plain red is looking pretty spectacular... it's definitely next on the list!

Hope you all had a weekend as wonderful as mine!


You can find the original pin from Pinterest here, and the tutorial it links to here.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Say You'll Share With Me One Love. One Lifetime.

Adam and I went to high-school together, and whilst always friends, we were never childhood sweethearts. We fell out of touch after high-school ended. The first time we met again was when my friend Claire convinced me to go to an Eagle Farm Race Day - my first ever race day. It was also my first time ever drinking champagne... in the middle of the day and in the sun. It was also the first time I ever vomited from drinking. I will never forget the support I got from the women in the cubicles beside me. I have no idea who they were. But every time I heaved, I felt the need to tell them that it was my first time... and they would tell me 'you're doing really well honey'. Needless to say, my hot-pink high heels ended up tied to my AstroBoy handbag, and I spent most the day sitting on the grass where Adam joined me and we spoke at length about different Japanese animations. We spent the whole time talking non-stop, and nothing naughty or romantic happened. After that, Adam invited me to his 21st birthday which I couldn't go to. He continued to invite me and my brother Tim up to his place in Brisbane where he lived with other friends of ours Simon and Sam. We went and good drunken times were had.
The photo above, that was the night Adam and I happened. After drunken festivities at the Bromley Street house, my crazy-eyed baby-faced brother passed out on the lounge, Buck vomited in front of everyone (I won't show you the photo's of that), and we headed out to the Valley and danced on stage at the GPO. Still one of the most hilarious things I've ever seen is Tom (far right) falling backwards off the stage as his beanie bobbled on his head and fell over his face. That was the night Adam Pommer put his hand on my leg.

And I thought to myself "Oh my God. Adam Pommer has his hand on my leg. Oh my god. I think I like it!". And the rest is history...
Adam and I have been together since I was 20 and he was 21. The photo above is us the day after my 21st birthday celebrations, having lunch at my Nan's. Remember when I told and showed you how Adam loves to ruin photo's? Well it started the day I turned 21. Aunty Tam was doing her best to take a nice photo, but Adam couldn't help himself.
That was was 2004. Back when we were both in Uni and I frequently wore Ugg boots as day shoes.
The year of 2005 saw me move from Tweed to Brisbane to begin my first year as a Registered Nurse. When I applied for my job I was hoping to work in Paediatrics or Theatres, so when I was offered a job in the Mater Kids Operating Theatres you can understand, I was pretty ecstatic. I moved out of home and chose to rent a super-cute little 3 bedroom settlers cottage in Woolloongabba, just a short walk from work. It had a kitchen that felt like it was going to fall off the back of the house, a bathroom door that flung open at any given moment, and a teeny-tiny sink (that makes me all the more grateful for my dishwasher - which I still LOVE). Adam moved in almost immediately.
MovieWorld 2005
Cairns 2005 - Adam's first ever plane trip!
November 2005 Believe it or not... Off to the Murwillumbah Races!
Already being friends with the eldest of my brothers, Adam very quickly became a part of the Drew family and all that it entails.
Mater Family Christmas Picnic 2006
Brooms Head 2006/2007 and the Tramampoline
It's still in working order, we were out on it this year!
Adam's Batman Birthday Cake 2007
Adam and I broke up in September 2007. It was me who made the break and it was one of the hardest things I've done. It was not for lack of love. It's more complicated and intimate than could or should be discussed online, but basically we were at different places in our life. I was ready to start saving for a house, get married and have babies. Adam was still at Uni, and like alot of his friends of the same age, didn't want to start thinking about that stuff until he was thirty. He moved out, postponed uni, moved back to Tweed and got a full-time assistant manager position, while I stayed on living and working in Brisbane. I cried that year when I turned 24 and realised I wasn't going to be the young mother I always wanted to be. We kept in contact, with Adam coming to visit on my birthday and at Christmas. 

Adam came back fighting.

He wanted me, the house, the white picket fence and the kids. We started dating again at the start of 2008 and by April Adam was in Thailand with the Drew family, for his first trip overseas.
Adam's Birthday Beach Pub Crawl in Koh Lanta, Thailand.
Adam steering our longtail boat.
The day after we got back from Thailand, I went to see Phantom of the Opera with my friend Claire and totally fell in love with it. In August 2008, we went on another holiday - this time just the two of us. Adam and I went to Sydney to visit Tim and Lisa, where - at my encouragement, we all went to see Phantom of the Opera. Adam loved it just as much as me, and I downloaded the soundtrack. We then went on an awesome little camping trip to Goomburra. We were the only people camping out in the middle of nowhere. It was glorious, and we sang along to the music from the Phantom of the Opera while we relaxed and dined on awesome food cooked in the coals of our campfire.
For my birthday in October 2008, Adam threw me an absolutely amazing Halloween themed 25th birthday party. There was so many fantastic costumes, and everyone seemed to have a great time making shake-faces and getting drunk on teapot shots and Adam's potent dry-iced punch!

2009 was the year Adam proposed.

Tim was up from Sydney and we were heading off for a family picnic and I had absolutely no idea what was coming. We picked a nice little spot beside Kingscliff Creek. It was a windy day and Tim was snapping photo's with his new DSLR Camera. I saw a man walking in a full suit with a violin and I nudged Adam and said - 'hey check out this idiot busking on a day like today'. His reaction was 'No Kristy' as he pried the always classy west-coast cooler out of my hand, I still didn't understand what was going on. That's when I heard the violinist play 'All I Ask of You' from Phantom of the Opera and I immediately burst into tears.
He told me he loved me, that he wanted me to be his wife and the mother of his children. And of course I said yes!!!

In November 2009, we bought our first home. A 2 bedroom duplex with a massive internal brown brick wall. It was a good price, liveable but dated - we looked forward to making it our own. We moved in literally a few days before Christmas of 2009. Having both quit our full-time jobs in Brisbane, the jobs we had lined up on the coast didn't work out as we had planned - but thankfully we were able to live off our savings until we both secured our full-time permanent positions. The house reno's that the money was previously planned to be used for, would have to be put on the back burner.

2010 was a massive year.
First came our Engagement Party.
Followed by an awesome family Thailand holiday in April with a total of 9 of us - aged 13 to 70 trekking around Thailand for a month and a half.
An engagement/practice photo shoot.
And on October 30th 2010, in a gorgeous gothic church in the little town of Maclean, Adam and I professed our love for one another in front of our family and friends.
And celebrated our day in an old hall by the beach in our happy place, Brooms Head.

We have the house (minus the picket fence), we're married, we both have reliable full-time positions, now it's time to turn this family of two and a cat, into more than that.
Sometimes having babies isn't as easy as most think.
We started actively trying in January 2011. By August 2011 we still weren't pregnant so we decided to start slowly doing some tests, to get the ball rolling. I had some blood tests which were fine and Adam had two lots of semen analysis, both with bad results. Low count, poor mobility, bad shape. The GP referred us to an IVF specialist. Mid September 2011 we had our appointment with the specialist, who told us that with those test results we have very, very, very little chance of falling pregnant. Whenever sperm is involved, there is always a chance (it only takes one in the end) but realistically - if we were to have unprotected sex for the next ten years we might get a (singular) baby out of it, but odd's were that we wouldn't. We definitely want children, and most might consider us young, but we want a big family and the longer we leave it, the less chance we have of attaining it. So it was decided that ICSI IVF was the only option for us. ICSI is the most complex form of IVF where under a microscope they take my egg and one of Adam's good sperms and using a microscopic needle a scientist injects the sperm directly into my egg.
Five days after our appointment with the specialist, I did a pregnancy test expecting the usual negative, but instead got this:
We couldn't believe our luck! We were pregnant! And by natural means! It was an absolute miracle. In fact we couldn't believe it so much that I actually did two trips to the local BiLo to buy more pregnancy tests. Yes, I did go through the same checkout twice. Unfortunately, it didn't last long and at the start of October 2011, the day we we began building our deck - I started spotting. We went to the hospital where an ultrasound and blood tests confirmed we were having a miscarriage. It was absolutely shattering for both of us.
We proceeded as planned, with ICSI IVF having our first egg collection in mid November 2011. Fifteen eggs were collected, 11 were inseminated, 9 fertilised and in the end we were left with 3 text-book perfect blastocysts. One was transferred five days after the collection, the other two were frozen as 'snow babies' for later. Considering our situation, we were given odds of 50% chance of falling pregnant... which is massive when you consider that a healthy, fertile couple actively trying for babies only has 20% chance each month! Unfortunately the fresh little blastocyst baby (I called him Petri) never took. We had one of our 'snow babies' defrosted and transferred in mid December 2011, also with no success. Our final blastocyst was transferred in late January and when it didn't work, we decided to change specialists to someone I regularly work with who is closer to home.
Having taken our whole history into account, it was decided that I had an implantation problem, and that I would need surgery to see whether there was an explanation as to why I wasn't falling.
Yesterday I had a laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, D+C and dye studies. Which means they put me to sleep, to have a look in my abdomen, a look in my uterus, take tissue samples and test whether my fallopian tubes are patent. Well, it turns out there was in fact, a lot wrong with me. My endometriosis was removed, a polyp in my uterus was removed, one of my tubes were blocked and I had a fimbrial cyst. All of which hinder pregnancy.
When I came out of anaesthetic I felt like I'd been hit. Maybe not by a bus or truck, but definitely like a large car, maybe a 4WD. And boy was I spaced out for hours and hours afterwards. I've had a few general anaesthetics before, but they were for shorter, less invasive procedures and I always woke up feeling great. This was a whole other kettle of fish. Adam was a wonderful husband. He brought me home to a big bunch of flowers, which he put beside my bed. He was constantly providing me with heatpacks, glasses of water and medication.
This morning I woke up to my substitute child Leo, watching over me. Occasionally giving me loving little sandpaper licks on my forehead.
As I have said before, this whole experience has, and continues to be - a crazy, expensive, massive roller-coaster ride. You hear so much about IVF ruining relationships, but for Adam and I - it is absolutely the opposite.
I have to say that I feel so much better about my miscarriage right now. There is nothing I did to cause it. We were against the odds from the start.
It truly sucks that we have to go through this, but right now I can't help but feel positive. I am in a rock-solid relationship with a man I love soooo much. We both have fertility problems, but now they are all known - we can tackle them all head on. And my god, when we finally do get our baby - they will know with absolute certainty, just how much they were wanted.

To Fertility and Beyond!