Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bryce's first Video

Bryce was assigned to make this video. He did a great job! I love the ending. Sorry we didn't have Juli's iTunes stuff on the mac so the music selection was pretty small. Hope you like Irish music......
video

Saturday, October 24, 2009

For the record



That spider was nearly dead when we found it. Shon flicked it and it fell on its back and stayed there. Just thought you should know since I can tell some of you are considering not coming to visit. And it wasn't poisonous either. So there.
Here's a big, happy, messy face for you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Crikey, it's a big one!


I woke up this morning, and went to make breakfast, and before I had even put in my contacts, I could see this beauty waiting for me in my living room.
Let's take a closer look.
Thank goodness my Lone Ranger was there to save the day. You're my hero, Shon. I'm not scared of spiders, but I've never had a Huntsman Spider (not to be confused with the Huntsman Cancer Center, which we love) hanging out on the wall.

Here's Shon in action. He used the swat and stomp technique. The spider is no longer with us.

Actually, I live in a zoo. I saw a fruit bat fly past my house last night. It looks more like a flying chihuahua - they call them flying foxes. You're in serious guano if you leave your laundry out for the night - green poop everywhere.

Shon posted about our trip to the zoo. What he didn't mention was the animals we saw that weren't part of the display. The wild turkeys tried to steal our lunch. Kookaburras were in the trees.
And these burley Iguanas were fighting over a lovely female - on the sidewalk. My favorite was in the snake cage - not part of the exhibit.
Don't worry, it's on the other side of the glass. Not that I'm scared or anything.

Please note: No one (besides Steve Irwin, who we adored) says "Crikey" here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm lost!


We've officially been in Australia for three weeks. I've learned a lot in those three weeks, but I must say, I'm still lost.
I'm lost in the grocery store. I have no idea where my favorite items are or if they even carry them. I couldn't help noticing that vanilla here tastes sweet! I made a big scene the other day when I asked where I could find baking soda. After consulting three employees and a grandmother with a straw hat, I realized that baking soda here is called bicarbonate of sodium. Of course, it's sodium bicarbonate! I have yet to find Crisco. I never realized I even cooked with Crisco until I couldn't find it. My cookies and biscuits are just not the same with butter. Would you believe that bell peppers here are called capsicum. Wha? And did I mention that everything is measured in grams here - flour, butter, salt, water. I bought a scale, but I'm still lost. I knew I was in trouble when I couldn't find a single cereal that looked familiar - oh yeah, there's Rice Krispies, I mean Rice Bubbles.
I'm lost on the phone. I can't talk to people on the phone without repeating several times "pardon, could you say that again?" I'd just say "What?" but that's a little bit rude-americanish. I still don't think that handy man who came by today was speaking English. Really, would you mind repeating that. I don't know my phone number. People ask and I look at my palm where I have written it in permanent marker. It would be easier to learn the phone numbers here if they weren't so randomly grouped. It could be xxxx-xxxx or xx-xxx-xxx or xxx-xxx.
I'm lost at school. Yesterday was "student free day" but I had no idea until my children were already in their uniforms. (I'm not sure if student free day meant a free-day for the students, or a student-free day for the teachers, like fat-free or drug-free.) I have no idea how to button the white collars on to their shirts and I confess that until this week I had never ironed pleats.
I'd better master that one soon - I have a feeling that if I took the girls skirts in to the cleaner, he'd probably sigh and say "Oh, St. Margarets. . . " I have yet to figure out how to use the tuckshop (canteen) - at which you can purchase lunch (sushi included on the menu) or morning tea, via a basket system? (Basket system?!) I think the kids are doing well, but at the parent teacher interviews yesterday, their teachers mentioned that they need help in measurment (metric!) and counting money (in Australian $ which has tiny $2 coins and 20 cent pieces).

I'm lost driving. I still can't back out and look over my left shoulder. Half the time I still turn on my windshield wipers when I aim for the blinker. Twice this week I have gone to the passenger side door when I was the driver. I will avoid parallel parking at all costs. I cling to my GPS (whom we have affectionately named "Bruce,") like a security blanket, though yesterday he led me astray - straight over the Gateway bridge (toll $2.95 each way!) We've decided it's better for our marriage if Shon drives - that way he won't have to sit in the passenger seat and cringe every time we turn a corner. It is seriously disorienting to be in the passenger seat and not have control of the vehicle. He's been very patient with me and my new drivers ed. It might help if they put a big A in my window for "American Driver" like they do with the L here - L for "Learning" then P for "Provisional" after one year.

I've been lost for a couple of weeks, but there is one place I know I'm not lost - at church. We showed up at our ward building and I know where to sit and I know that the library would lend me a set of scriptures (because my luggage was too heavy - 60 lb - I only brought a missionary copy of the Book of Mormon) and the children know that primary is after sacrament meeting, and we sing the same songs. I know I have visiting teachers to call if I need help. We watched General Conference 6 days late (because we're 16 hours ahead, the meetings were broadcast in the middle of the night), but I knew I was still sustaining the same prophet, whom I love, and I felt at home - that same spirit of comfort I feel in my own home/apartment/hotel room.
Before we could come on this assignment, we had to have an interview (aka psychological evaluation) in Houston. After asking many questions about the strength of our marriage and our drug/alcohol habits, they asked if we had some sort of support system. We said we were LDS, you know, Mormon, and the woman doing the interview said "Oh, I guess we're done here." Wherever I am, I am at home.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Somewhat settled

Hi it is Shon so if it isn't cute it isn't Juli's fault........

We are getting more and more settled. Today we bought a fridge, washing machine, dryer, TV, DVD player, the list goes on and on. It is nice to have behind us. Today for the first time we kind of have stuff set up. We have the upstairs TV, DVD player set up (huge deal). We have the downstairs TV, DVD, and game systems set up (again huge deal). It is starting to feel like home. Juli keeps walking around saying I love my house, I love my house. I hope that isn't code for "there's no place like home". Hmmmmmm. We'll see.

Emily played the xylophone in a concert Thursday night. She did well. I could tell what the song was when she played it without any question.

We still have lots to do but we are settled enough for you ALL TO COME ON OVER NOW.

Next week will be huge. We get internet and phone service!!!! Then we can skype, call home to the US for free etc. We feel like we don't talk to anyone and we want to. As soon as we can we'll be talking your ears off.

Hope you all had a great week. I love reading everyone's blogs. It keeps me in the loop on what is going on. Jason I love the texts from your phone. That is cool........

Only downer from the move so far is our desktop looks like it didn't make it. Hmmmmm if I lose all the pictures I will be pretty ticked. This is the first move ever where we didn't do a full back up. Duh. It is the farthest ever..... Anyway hopefully it is something recoverable. Thank heavens for our laptops.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

G'day Mate

We're here in Brisbane. It is beautiful and a bit too hot, which is too bad since it's only spring. We're staying in temporary housing and it's driving me nuts. Enough complaining, we're moving to our house on Friday. Yes.

We survived the flight. The fourteen hours from LA to Brisbane were the easy part, thanks in part to a flight attendant named Peter. He was so helpful. We started our day with a 3 hour drive to Salt Lake and then a flight to LA, followed by a 5 hour lay over. Caleb fell asleep in the lounge before we had even gotten on the plane and he didn't get up until 2 hours before we landed. Actually, he did wake up, but I didn't. Thank you Peter for getting him some juice and starting a movie. With unlimited movies and video games, the flight was not hard. Getting through customs with 10 checked bags was a chore, especially since the kids were getting cranky and Caleb refused to sit in the stroller, which meant I had to carry "the child" and push the stroller too. Did I mention that he weighs 40 pounds. We were just lucky no one got lost. Let me tell you, I was glad to see Shon.
The kids started school on Monday. It has been great. People here are so friendly. We've already had play dates and party invites and one awesome mum from school even brought us dinner. There are a lot of people who have lived out of country themselves, so they really understand what our needs are. Penney even let us borrow some toys.

One of the big adjustments has been driving on the left side of the road. Shon is all-pro at it because he lived in Hong Kong. I spent the first day refusing to get behind the wheel (though I accidentally ended up there a couple of times - I was looking for the passenger side but it moved). I was waiting for a parking lot to practice in but there is a complete lack of parking lots here (not a bad thing). I finally submitted to driving on the motorway (freeway). Shon felt inspired to capture the moment on film. I look relaxed, right. Turns out it's not a big deal. Once I stopped running people off the left side of the road (we Americans tend to drift left) I was good. Until I tried backing up. Threw me off again. Oh and yesterday out of the blue I turned a corner and there was no one there. Suddenly I was on the right side again. Oops. I think I'm going to have to completely re-learn how to parallel park. I have so many things to learn.
The kids have been amazing. They got over their jet-lag twice as fast as I did and jumped right in to meet new friends at school. We're loving the new uniforms - one less decision to make in the morning. The girls look like Madeleine in their panama hats and midi skirts. They all belong to Hufflepuff house, I mean Bede. Emily has already asked if she could please stay as a boarder. I had to explain that the boarders come from far out of the city. And no way am I letting my children move out so young. I don't know how the boarders mums do it. I guess if you lived far out in the bush you'd do what you could to get a good education.

Bryce is doing great. He had to choose a sport when he started. His choices were: cricket, tag rugby, or water polo. He picked water polo, though I think he wanted to try cricket (the team was pretty full), which means he'll be wearing a lovely speedo swim suit (they call them "budgie smugglers" here). He blushed when we bought it. They make the kids wear a rashie (swim shirt) when they're swimming. I really like it. It's so much easier to slip on a shirt than to wear sunscreen everywhere.

Of course, the hats really help keep the sun off too. Better not forget your hat or they won't let you out to recess. There's been an epidemic of skin cancer in Australia - a combination of people of european descent and a hole in the ozone. I've already had skin cancer myself, so I welcome the fashions here. It isn't cool to be tan. The only tanning salons I've seen here are the ones that spray paint you.

So, it would be Eden here if only I didn't miss my family and friends so much. I need to talk to my sisters and my mom. I think I'm suffering from withdrawal - headaches, fever, nervous twitching. I haven't run in two weeks. I just ran a marathon on Sept. 19th (recap to come soon), so I keep thinking that I earned it and it can't hurt to rest, but I really miss it and mostly, I miss my friends. They did a marathon without me on Oct. 3. I really wish I could have been there with them. I'm so proud of them. They are awesome. Annie, Stephanie, Debi (and Keith too) you are strong women.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

We're Here!

This is Shon. Juli and the kids made it safely to Australia.

We are having a great time! We went to the beach for the first 5 days in Australia. Then Saturday we went to a Koala preserve in Brisbane. We had no idea what would be there but the kids got to pet kangaroos, hold a koala, hold baby chicks, pet sheep and the sheep dog (that was a cool show). Emily even got to catch, feed, and hold an owl. She did a great job. In that picture with the family Emily really is holding a live Koala bear. Everyone got to hold it even Caleb.
Caleb was a little nervous to pet the kangaroo but once he was in he loved it. He fed it, petted it etc. They were everywhere.
Aren't Bryce and I cute! We chose the same shirt from Jason's mission. Funny.
Abby loves to pose at the beach. The kids loved the 5 days we spent there.