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Archive for June, 2012

I met with Jodi today.  My blood results from week 36 came back really good.  My iron levels are no longer a worry!  I was surprised to find that out! Baby Ray’s heart beat was between 130-140 bpm.  My belly is 37 cm as well.  Jodi was a little worried about the amount of fluid around the baby.  So I’m having an ultrasound on Friday morning to check the fluid volume.

Jeff and I have also rearranged the apartment to make room for the baby.  On Saturday, while looking around at the Salvation Army, we finally found a baby crib for sale.  The crib had just arrived a few minutes before we did!  Needless to say, we snatched it while we could!  It’s a big relief knowing we have something for the baby to sleep in once he is too big for the bassinet.  Jeff also fixed the dresser that Yun Yng gave us for baby clothes with the help of Peter’s tools.  Jeff is amazing ; ) That means all the baby stuff is now organized as well. All in all, everything is ready for the baby.

38 Week Photo

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Jeff here…

On Sunday I participated in Mud, Sweat, and Tears. Mud, Sweat, and Tears is similar to a cross-country race with a few obstacles added for fun. You could choose from the 5km run or the 10 km run which was just 2 laps of the same course. Approximately 1500 people did the event.

So how did I get tangled up in all this mess? Well at work a few weeks ago, an email was sent out to everybody asking if anyone wanted to signed up for Mud, Sweat, and Tears. Aurecon offered to pay half of the entry fee of $50 for anyone who wanted to participate so you only had to pay $25. I thought about it for a while but decided not to do it because I had this image of running through the mud while it was snowing. So about 30 people from Aurecon decided to do it. For various reasons, a few people dropped out and on Thursday an email was sent out asking if anyone wanted to take their spot. So I looked at the weather and it was calling for a slight chance of rain in the morning but sun in the afternoon with a high of 11 C. So I thought, well that doesn’t sound so bad, I’ll go ahead and take the vacant spot.

On Saturday, we went out to the Salvation Army so that I could by some clothes to wear during the mud run. With a high of only 11C I decided to get some running pants, a thin long sleeve shirt and a nylon soccer style shirt. I also bought some shoes so I wouldn’t  ruin mine.

On the day of the race, the weather was clear with plenty of sun. The high turned out to be more around 16 C. I was feeling good about the race. The only thing I was worried about was the fact that I haven’t done any real exercise since summer time in the states, last year. We were told to dress in costumes especially a costume that starts with ‘A’ for Aurecon. I thought about Actuary or Accountant but there wasn’t a suit that would fit me at the Salvation Army. There were quite a few interesting costumes at the race ranging from ninjas, to cows, to M&Ms, to London’s Double Decker Buses, and so on. I was quite ordinary though.

All clean before the race.

The race started in three waves. The first wave was the 5km individuals, with the 5km teams following, and the 10km individuals last. The persons spot that I agreed to take was on a team so I went in the second wave. The team that I was now part of was the “Aurecon Gals.” The first wave was the largest and consisted of probably at least 700 people. The second and third waves were smaller but still quite large. As you can imagine, the track was completely full of competitors so there was almost no need to run.

The first obstacle was a large water slide into a mud hole.

The Slide.

Jeff going down the slide.

Then around the corner a second mud hole. This mud was about the consistency of pudding and was up my waist. By the time I got to it people were being pulled out with brooms and the rest of us were told to go around. There was a wide variety of obstacles. Such obstacles were large holes filled with water and mud, logs to jump over with mud on the other side, a few long ditches about 3 feet deep and about 150 feet long, full of water, that I had to run through. There was also a wall about 10 feet tall made of 6” x 6” welded wire mesh that we had to climb over. There were round bails of hay covered in plastic that I had to climb on top of and hop from bail to bail. Then there was 100 feet of barbed wire that I had to crawl under. Needless to say, by the time I reached the three quarter point I was completely warn out. I walked the last obstacle which was yet another series of ditches, called the swamp.

Jeff working his way through the swamp.

As I crossed the finish line, I heard the announcer say, “And now we have our first competitor crossing the finish line…” I thought really? “No way did I do that well.” Then I heard the rest, it was the first 10km competitor to cross the finish line. I thought, “man, that means I that guy passed me twice.”

After the race!

All in all, I’m glad I did Mud Sweat and Tears. I’m sore but I don’t feel too bad. In conclusion, I’ve decided to ride my bike to work and back at least a few times a week to get back into shape.

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Weekly Summary

This week I met with Linda, my back up midwife.  She will assist Jodi during the birth of Baby Ray.  She was really nice and I feel comfortable having her as my back up midwife.  Unfortunately, Jodi is going to Wellington this weekend, so nothing better happen until after Monday!!!  I keep talking to my belly and telling Baby Ray that he can come whenever he wants, but he can’t come this weekend!!  While meeting with Linda, she did a check on Baby Ray.  Everything is still good.  He is still in a downward position with him facing my back. His heart beat was 140-150 bpm.

We finally have all the baby clothes washed and dried.  Yun Ying gave us one of her dressers for us to put baby clothes in.  Jeff just needs to fix the railings that the drawers slide on and it will be good to go.  Mind you he doesn’t have any tools so it could be difficult.  We are also getting things ready to take to Burwood for the delivery.  All we need left is to get more cloth diapers.  Overall, everything seems to be coming together nicely.

Last night, Jeff and I went over to one of his co-worker’s, Mike, house for supper. Mike is from New Zealand and his wife Katie is from Seattle.  They have two adorable boys ages four years and 18 months.  Both Katie and Mike were very willing to offer us baby gear to borrow so we wouldn’t have to buy any more things ourselves.  They gave us a bassinet and a porta cot (aka a pack and play) to use on trips and what not.

Tonight we are having cheese kranskys for supper!  YUMMY!  It’s sausage with cheese stuffed into it.  We get them at Verkerks, a European butcher here in Christchurch!  It’s one of our favorite butchers.

On Sunday, Jeff is participating in a Mud Run with some folks from work.  It sounds like fun.  It’s basically a 5km obstacle course covered in mud.  Stay tuned to hear more about it.

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Man, I didn’t realize how far behind in baby updates I got.  So sorry.  Here is information on the last three weeks.

35 Weeks:

We entered the 35th week of pregnancy on Sunday, June 3.  During this week we changed our newborn photographer.  We were going to use Urban Light Photography, but she never got back to me after we spoke and I gave her a month and a half.  So we are now using Puddle Duckling.  Puddle Duckling was recommended to us by Melanie, Wendy and Peter’s daughter.  She used Emma (the owner of Puddle Duckling) both for her first born, Joel, and her recent addition Kayleigh.  We can’t wait to see the photos Emma produces with our baby!!

There was no antenatal class this week due to the celebration of the Queens birthday.  We ordered and received our cloth diaper detergent in the mail this week as well!!!  We are trying Rockin’ Green detergent first to see how it goes.  This detergent received amazing reviews from customers, so we have high hopes.  That means, pre-washing our cloth diapers has commenced.  For those of you who don’t know, with cloth diapers you need to wash them a couple of times before use to increase their absorbency, esp if the diapers are made of natural fibers.  You also can’t just use any ol’ detergent on cloth diapers since it can mess up the absorbency, as well as the water-resistant outer layer.

35 weeks photo.

36 Weeks:

Sorry no photo of me this week because I didn’t like the photos outcome.  We started the 36 weeks of pregnancy on Sunday June 10.  Monday night we attended our last antenatal class.  We were told to bring a dish for supper.  Upon our arrival we quickly learned that supper in New Zealand is not the main meal.  It’s basically evening tea time with cakes and a hot beverage of your choice.  During our last class we discussed the best way to dress your child for winter and how to dress the bed for sleeping.  It’s very interesting hearing different views on dressing your child and what to put in the bed cross culturally.  Everyone we’ve talked to in New Zealand says a winter baby needs to be wearing the following during the day time:  a cotton singlet (aka a onesie), a woolen singlet on top of that, then pants, a shirt, socks, and hat.  Then at night, you need to add a gown, then swaddle the child, and put two blankets on top of them in the crib. It sounds like overkill!  But we are thinking the reason for this is due to the improper heating in the majority of homes and public buildings (as well as the lack of insulation).  The New Zealand mindset is if you’re cold, put on another Jersey (aka sweater) instead of turning the heat on.  But in America, I’ve been talking to a few recent moms asking what they did during winter to keep their child warm because in the last few years it has been taught that it is better to not put any blankets in the crib to reduce infant death. Those mothers reported that they would just put their child in a onesie or gown with a swaddle me on top of that for night time sleeping.  HUGE DIFFERENCE!

We met with Jodi again this week; Jeff was there so we could discuss the birthing plan.   The plan is to stay at home for as long as possible and then transport to the Burwood Birthing Unit.  We plan to have a natural water birth, assuming that there are no complications during labor. Baby Ray’s heart beat was 128-139 beats per minute.  He went through a growth spurt and my belly measured 36 cm.  Also, this week I had to give away more of my blood to check my iron levels.  I can already tell you that my iron levels will be low, but I will wait to see what Jodi says about it.

Moreover, we received a lovely package in the mail from my parents.  The box included three 3 month old outfits, a book full of nursery rhymes, two toys, and two tubes of Crest toothpaste!!!  Thanks mom and dad.

Jeff at work received an email from Human Resources that they were giving male employees one week of paid paternity leave!!!  Unfortunately, Jeff isn’t qualified to receive this because he hasn’t worked at the company for a year yet.  We think it’s really awesome that Aurecon is giving their male employees paid paternity leave!  Especially since no one (aka the government) is forcing the company to do it.  I’m not going to go much into this, but America really should be ashamed at the lack of paid maternity and paternity care given to workers, esp when America is considered the wealthiest nation in the world and smaller, less rich countries far out do them in this area!!!  Ok, I’m off my soap box now.

37 Weeks:

This week we are in the 37th week of pregnancy. Holy crap! Only 3 more weeks till the baby’s due date.  So really, he can come at any moment.  We are hoping that he stays in until at least 38 weeks though.  I feel like we are running out of time, esp with getting the diapers ready.  The sun just doesn’t like to shine here in winter time.  I’m so not used to that at all!!!  Without the sun, it takes longer to dry the diapers, which means we will have to buy a lot more.  My belly is as hard as a rock!  No lie!  On Wednesday this week I will be meeting Linda, who is Jodi’s backup midwife.  She will also be present at the birth of Baby Ray.

37 weeks photo.

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This past Saturday, the New Zealand rugby team, the All Blacks, played the Ireland rugby team here in Christchurch. Unfortunately we weren’t able to attend the match.  The tickets went really fast since the new rugby stadium in Christchurch only holds about 22,000 people (they added a few thousand seats since we saw the Crusaders play). Malcolm, Jeff’s boss, emailed everybody in the Land Development Department at work and suggested that a group of people come over to his house for the game. We were definitely interested because it’s a real New Zealand experience to watch the All Blacks play. So a bunch of people from Jeff’s work met at Malcolm’s house with a covered dish and their spouses to have dinner before the game. We brought a 9 layer bean dip so they would have food during the game too. People liked it but I think people thought it was a bit strange to have that hardy of a snack during the game. Malcolm has a separate room that is like an entertainment room with a large projection screen that must be 100 inches and surround sound. It was a great place to watch the game.

Before every game, both teams’ National Anthem is sung.  I thought it was really awesome that the New Zealand Anthem is first sung in Maori and then repeated in English.  (To see a clip of the New Zealand National Anthem “God defend New Zealand” click http://youtu.be/mhCgcZ0efAA – it’s not the same game that we watched) Then it was time for the famous haka where the opposing team stands on the field in front of the All Blacks watching the haka as a form of intimidation.  It also acts as a way for the All Blacks to get themselves pumped for the game. I must say it’s quite intimidating. There’s a link for a haka on the post called “10 Things we Love About New Zealand” under Rugby.

Since the Irish flew all the way to New Zealand to play the All Blacks, the teams planned to play three different games, first in Auckland, than in Christchurch, and finally in Hamilton.  Last Saturday they both played in Auckland and the All Blacks really thumped the Irish. So we expected the same result when they played in Christchurch. However, the Irish started the game with an early try (which is similar to a touch down) and they looked like a completely different team. We couldn’t believe it. I think the All Blacks may have been a little rattled after the early try. It was a nail biter throughout the entire game. Then at the end, it was all tied up with only about a minute to play, the All Blacks had  pushed the ball within a few meters of the goal line and the Irish weren’t going to give up without a fight. So, while the All Blacks were attempting to punch through the Irish line to score a try, they tossed the ball back to their star kicker, Dan Carter, who then kicked a successful drop kick. A drop kick is where the player drops the ball to the ground and after the first bounce kicks it through the goal posts. The drop kick is worth 3 points and the All Blacks won the game.

All in all it was a great night and we enjoyed the game and the company.

Sorry about the delay in posting anything.  We’ve been out of internet data since Sunday evening.  Tomorrow there will be a post to catch everyone up on baby news.

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Snow in June

The craziest weather has taken place this week. On Tuesday night it was pouring down rain for hours and hours. Then during the night all you could hear was howling wind. It was extremely loud! When we woke on Wednesday morning, we woke up to falling snow. It kept snowing all day long too! We received about 4 inches at our apartment. The Alps received about 3 feet though. It’s a good thing the storm came when it did because if it came any earlier we would have been stranded somewhere on the West Coast. Every single road we drove on this weekend became impassable. Here is the view from our bedroom window of the Port Hills. The Port Hills are so pretty covered in snow.

Also, the car did amazingly well in the snow. Jeff was very satisfied. It’s a Subaru with All-Wheel Drive and it had no issues getting around Christchurch’s snowy streets. Jeff even took a guy to and from work on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The previous owner of the car even joked with Jeff about buying the car back. Jeff said, “sure I’ll sell it back to you…just not at the same price.”

Between almost being stranded by a river, getting locked out on our apartment’s balcony, and a huge snow storm, I must admit, it’s been a very interesting week.

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Monday:

Reefton

On Monday morning we were in no rush to get out of bed.  Jeff went to the convenient store and purchased some breakfast food for us while I remained in bed.  After checking out, we went over to the visitor center to see what was available in the area to see.  While there we learned a little bit about the town’s history.

Reefton boomed to life in 1870 after gold found in quartz was discovered in the surrounding hills above Black Point.  It was the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to provide electricity for public use in 1888. There wasn’t much to do in Reefton, which was perfectly fine with us since we were still worn out from the dangerous adventure of the Fox River Cave Track from the day before.  The one thing I really wanted to do was to visit the Black Point Museum, but it is closed during the winter time.  So we walked around the tiny town and visited the Bearded Miners Company.  The Bearded Miners Company is a replica of what a mining camp would look like in 1870. This included a small house that showed how a miner’s family used to live many years ago. The three guys that operated the camp were actual miners which was pretty cool. The guys showed us the hut, as well as the different types of rocks mined in the area.  It was really interesting listening to what they had to say.

The Bearded Mining Company

The town of Reefton still has an old frontier atmosphere to it.

Then we browsed through the shops.  We bought an original painting of Lake Tekapo, which is near Mount Cook, for only $30.00!  The painting was done by a local artist in Reefton.  It was a steal of a deal.

Lewis Pass

After leaving Reefton, we drove through both Victoria Conservation Park and Lewis Pass, both of which provided more amazing views of the country.

Hanmer Springs

Before returning to Christchurch, we made a pit stop in Hanmer Springs.  Hanmer Springs is known for its thermal springs.  Unfortunately due to being pregnant we were unable to enjoy the pleasure of the thermal springs, so we just decided to wonder about the cute little town.  The coolest part was the bridge that you have to drive over to get into town. (People actually buggy jump off of the bridge too.)

The bridge with an amazing view!

Once we finished exploring the town of Hanmer Springs, we returned home to Christchurch late Monday night. It’s a good thing we returned home when we did because on Wednesday it snowed about a meter which closed all the roads and knocked out the power.

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