Monday, April 7, 2008

I'm baaaack

Home again at last!

What a trip, so much to tell you, I have thousands of posts swirling in my head, but most of all it is great to be home!
The (third) wedding was gorgeous. Our niece Shaku, along with her husband Martin, looked so elegant, and the location was fantastic again - in the Yarra Valley outside of Melbourne, on a vineyard overlooking the valley and peaks. Cocktails before, a fabulous dinner afterwards where, to save decision making, a platter of each choice on the menu was brought to the tables for sharing, great local food, beautifully cooked. Lovely wine. Lots of photos. Here's the red dress in all its glory! (I'm sure I felt much taller and thinner then I look here).

The best wedding speeches you have ever heard, funny, warm, inclusive, well balanced. Friends and family from all over the world. The bridal party was scattered among all the tables, and we happened to be at the table with the bride and groom. Just a beautiful night.

This is the ring-bearer (age 3) comparing his foot size with my son. Little Xavier's foot was as long as Patty's was wide. They both thought it was pretty funny! It was hard to get them in the same shot!
Shaku wore a simple white satin gown, no beading, just a shaped bodice and a fitted, curvaceous sheath with a mermaid-y tail. Drop-dead earrings. A large bunch of dazzling yellow roses and a diamante clip in her rolled up hair. Divine.
We stayed on a property outside of Healesville with a mountain view, where stunning parrots abounded, and so did the kangaroos! They were hopping all over the place at night.There was another two days of eating and drinking with family in 2 large well appointed houses, sitting around the fire, laughing like drains at all manner of inappropriate things and loving it! Stephanie had a birthday (19th) while we were there, so it was great for her to be with these cousins (the two young women front centre) for her birthday, as she hardly ever gets to see them as they live in Melbourne now. They were in on the iPod secret (her present) so gave her an iPod tunes voucher. She was pretty happy!

We also went to Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary on the Saturday, which was really worthwhile. These are the dingoes (Australian Native dogs)They had a fantastic "Flight of the Parrots" show and a Raptor display with close-up views of beautiful and magnificent birds from the local areas, including a wedge-tail eagle as big as a dog - it looked much more impressive when flying! Plus a platypus breeding environment. Wow. There was also a working animal rescue hospital with well thought out displays and close-circuit TV of the examination table so you could see the action!

On Sunday, after a lavish breakfast for 16 (so. much. food) we drove into Melbourne and joined my sister Rynny for the afternoon. Patty had gone in to see his mate Dougal the day before, and we met him too. After an early dinner Don, Patty and Steff took off in the hire car for the airport, and left me in Melbourne for a week with my sister!!!

Girls on the town....look out!! Well, girls in their forties, with bad backs, and round tummies...but you get the picture! Aren't street silhouettes kind?

We shopped, and walked, and shopped, and went to see "Priscilla - Queen of the Desert" and ate, and shopped, and went to the movies, including Gold Class (The Other Boleyn Girl), ate and then we went up to see a midwife friend of mine, Jo, living in the country outside of Ballarat.

We set off as a big storm approached Melbourne and drove into it. It was pretty wild and we were going a very long way - over 200kms. It took us just under 3 hours, and then we were there! In a blackout with no power and no water (no power to run the pumps). Just a warm welcome from Jo and her three adorable kids (nr 6, nr 4 and 1). Lucky we'd stopped and brought a couple of cooked chooks with us! Wish we'd thought to buy candles!

Still, there was very little distraction from the joy of just hanging out with friends and their two new kittens, and seven new hatched chickens, and 363 sheep! We adjourned to our (adjacent spare) farmhouse for dinner on the gas stove before returning to Jo's house post-dinner in the dark with a few birthday candles and telling of tales. It was the first time Jo and Rynny had met and they got on really well. Rynny loved the whole family, and she is great with kids and kittens. She was always terrific with my kids when they were small. I think Jo liked the company too, she has a lot of family close by, but it was really special to see her. It will be a long time til we meet again I suspect.

Her youngest child Thomas was caught by me, and he is the most beautiful child, just such a rewarding baby to have. Nearly always smiling, engaging, active, walking! Such a privilege to be a midwife to a friend. An unexpected joy to share such a close bond between us. Jo and I worked together for around 4 months, and I was touched that she stated very early on with Thomas's pregnancy that she wanted me to deliver him. I was a student midwife, only half-way through, but catch number 16 was really special for me. You've seen them before here (at the end of the link).

I made Jo a bag (natch) which she was delighted with. See? The flower is her (just right) finishing touch. The internal pockets fitted her stuff in perfectly, including Thom Kitten's bottle!
After a night spent in a very dark farmhouse (the power came on at 2am) with a pesky mouse (that met its maker in the night) we woke to load sheep for a new owner - wow - how interesting to see a working farm and woolshed and sheepdog! The kids were great and all helped shoo the sheep from pen to pen, while Thom slept. We had a walk and maintained the fences as we went to close and open various gates for the next lot of sheep. It rained and the wind was pretty cold too, but there was the most AMAZING rainbow!
Anyway, I'd better get this photo'd up and posted, or you'll think I've run away and left you all. I've figured out a way to get my camera to take smaller photos (AFTER the wedding) - so it shouldn't take so long, but I think Blogger has just stopped uploading the first lot when i chose the second lot...oh, woe is me...

I promise to write more about midwifery next time...I've been thinking a lot, and had some interesting women in my care on the ward while on night shift, and today I was sent to labour ward as a fill-in midwife. I looked after a couple who had lost their daughter to a congenital malformation a few days was a tough day in many respects, but they were in reasonable spirits when they left.... it was a nice surprise to be on LBS after a month or so away, one of the benefits of working as a rotational midwife. I start on the visiting midwife service next week. I'm looking forward to working in the community again. I've had an offer of more work today in the perinatal loss area...I'll give it some thought.

Thanks for visiting, I'll try and visit y'all too, if you let me know you dropped by! Til next time.


alice said...

your dress looks really gorgeous, and you look really gorgeous in it. Such a busy life you lead!

widget said...

how beautiful a time did you all have and how beautiful did everyone look? Lucky you. Glad we turned on the weather and lack of power for you here in Melbourne town.

Lesley said...

Wonderful post, Laura! So many weddings ... and so many great shared times with family and friends. Love that dress - and glad to see a pic of you in it at last.
I'll be back in Cal on Sunday night, so look forward to an inter-stellar magic-ray meet-up some time next week!
Lots of love

Jennifer said...

What an amazing, wonderful trip -- all that great and gorgeous family, the things you saw and did, the food you ate -- magnificent! What a treasure, really, to have those connections and special times with family and friends.