Tuesday, November 25, 2008

We're home.

Our trip was so great! We went to Hawaii, Australia and Tahiti. I'll touch on a few highes. Ambri's favorite part of the trip was breakfast (more than once) at the Hukilau Café, in Laie. Bryce loved it all. I loved being warm.

• November 7 - we traveled to Hawaii and visited the Dole pineapple plantation. We love that pineapple!
• November 8 - we went to the Hukilau Café for breakfast and then went to Diamond Head for a hike, which was closed when we got there. Got us out of exercise that day!
• November 9 - we went to church, and then we visited the Laie temple and visitors center.
• November 10 - we went to the Polynesian Cultural Center. Our favorite part was visiting Samoa and watching the Chief.
• November 11 (Vetran's Day) - we once again had breakfast at the Hukilau Café (they are closed on Mondays, or we'd have eaten there yesterday) and then we went to Pearl Harbor. It was amazing seeing it again. The devastation reeked on our military is amazing to behold. This was my 2nd trip to Pearl Harbor on Vetran's Day.
• November 12 - we spent the day on another airplane, to Australia. It was November 13 when we arrived in Sydney.
• November 14 - we exercised in Hyde Park (Doug and I, at different times) and then we visited the Taranga Zoo. Our high for the zoo was being able to take pictures right next to the Koala bears. One thing I noticed was how rude the many school children were, sadly. We got to fairy right in front of the Sydney Opera House. We also went to the Sydney Tower (and we even got in for free - score!)
• November 15 - we toured the Sydney Opera House and saw a cute show called How To Read Tea Leaves, in the famous Spiegel Tent.
• November 16 - we went to church. It was a YSA branch, so we only stayed for sacrament meeting. The chapel and classrooms were on the 2nd story of a high rise building.
• November 17 - we visited the Sydney Aquarium, and then McDonald's for lunch (for the kids, Doug and I found Subway). We wandered around downtown Sydney for a bit and then walked back to our condo. We got to go swimming that night at the community pool.
• November 18 - we exercised again this morning, each of us going all the way to the Sydney Opera House and then back. We made the train trip out to the Sydney Temple. It took us 2 hours to get to the temple, that was 15 miles away from our condo. We didn't get lost, it just took us a long time to get there, and we had to walk a long ways as well. Bryce and Ambri came along and waited for Doug and I while we did a session.
• November 19 - we visited the Powerhouse Museum. It is kind of like OMSI. It was a nice relaxing day, but our last day in Sydney.
• November 20 - we left Sydney. Everything went fine at the airport. The thing the kids liked thte best was the individual TV screens that they had on the flight. They could watch their own movie or play video games. We crossed back over the international date line and arrived in Tahiti on the 19th.
• November 20 (again) - we slept in. The first thing we noticed in Tahiti is that people can smoke anywhere (starting with inside the airport). We spent the day at the pool. The beach at the hotel is BLACK SAND (just what I wanted to see in Tahiti - yea!). The shocker in Tahiti was the lady at the pool that didn't wear a top. Doug said he expected it (at the beach) but we forgot to warn the kids in advance. Oops! Picture is of Ambri and Flat Stanley. She got to bring him along on our trip, he is from school.
• November 21 - we started the day by exercising. It was so difficult to exercise in Tahiti because it was so humid and hot. It was another day at the pool, and we ventured out to the beach to do some snorkeling. Later that afternoon we went to the temple. We waited in the (HOT) sun for the bus, but after 20 minutes, it never came. They said the busses stop coming after 5pm. We made it to the temple, and Doug and I did a session. It was in French, so we got to use the headphones. Bryce and Ambri waited for us in the waiting room and they got to watch a movie and talk with the Temple president. Some members took us back to the hotel.
• November 22 - was our last day in Tahiti. We had to check out of our room at 11am, and our filght wasn't until 11:30pm. I started the day by exercising and then we had breakfast. We checked out of our room and then spent the rest of the day by the pool (they stowed our bags for us). It rained a bit later that afternoon, but it was warm and refreshing. We headed to the airport early and got on an earlier flight (10pm). It was a red-eye and we made it to LAX to find that another passenger took one of our suitcases. Good thing it was on the way home. We continued onto Seattle and then Eugene. We made it home by about 6:30 and we were very happy to see Chase and Oakli. We finally got our suitcase back by Tuesday afternoon. It was a great trip! Tahiti was so warm, it was wonderful!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Need I say more?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Give the Aussies another chance... and they failed!

Well, I figured I'd give 'em another chance, maybe it was just a bad zoo day (see the post before last). We headed to the Sydney Aquarium today, hoping for a relaxing day. We walked over to the Aquarium today, rather than taking the subway. The Aquarium is in Darling Harbour. Of coarse, we took the long way because we really didn't know where we were going, but we found it, nevertheless. We got in and everything was fine. We were admiring the Platyapus', the HUGE Croc, and many other exotic fish that I had never seen before... and then we heard it. The stampede of school children, AGAIN. I think Bryce was as dissappointed as I was, but I was determined to give them another chance, knowing that these couldn't possibly be the same school children that mobbed the zoo just days earlier. I was dissappointed though, they were just as rude as all the others. They were pushing (not just nudging... all out pushing total strangers)! Poor Ambri was trying to take her turn at the touching pool and she got totally squeezed out of the way from all directions. They even had their teacher telling them "manners...manners", but nothing. She could see how rude they were being (I made eye contact with her, with a question on my face) but nothing was done. So, we had to quickly finish our tour and then move on. They failed.

We continued out to find lunch and Doug saw the sign for McDonalds. The kids were thrilled! On our way we also saw a Subway, so we stopped in there for some "healthy" food for Doug and I. Bryce even got a sandwich, his new fettish is ham, cheese, and lettuce. The cheese here is a little different, but we are managing. The cheddar cheese is not "yellow" or "orange" (pick your descriptive color, I think it is still up for debate) but rather it is a white color. We bought sliced and shredded at the grocery store, and the shredded tastes the same. The sliced is a close 2nd. Anyway, we got some lunch and then headed to McDonalds for chicken nuggets for Ambri. We all sat down to eat at an outdoor McDonalds. The birds were mobbing us and Bryce and Ambri had a wonderful time chasing the birds. No one was even annoyed about them making so much noise, because the birds were that much MORE annoying. We stopped for a few minutes in Darling Harbour because Ambri asked to play on the play set. As they were playing, that same pesky group of school kids came walking through the area. At least they couldn't stop and play, only watch Bryce and Ambri longingly. Some redemption, maybe.

We walked over to the "Cinema" to see if we could see High School Musical 3. First they were "closed". What kind of movie theater closes? Well, I'll tell you. The kind that has Daniel Craig there on Friday night for the premier of the new James Bond movie, and then Nicole Kidman coming tomorrow for the premier of the new movie "Australia". Who wants to see stupid movie stars anyway? I guess it doesn't matter much anyway, because Sydney doesn't even get HSM3 until "Early December 2008". I had 2 mighty dissappointed kids. We came back to the condo and watched a pay-per-view. It was a comedy and they soon forgot their woes.

NOTE on the time stamp: It is actually 11:00 pm here on Monday night. I believe it is 4:00 am at home.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A picture from the past.

I'm working on sorting pictures and I came across this one. I thought I'd post it for all to see. This is Ambri eating ice cream (or something like that) in 2003.

Taronga Zoo ~ I thought Americans were rude...

Well, first I'll get the bitterness out of my post, then I'll get on with it. We went to the Tagonga Zoo in Sydney, Australia. The Zoo was mobbed with school groups. When I say mobbed, I mean MOBBED! It was difficult to see a display without getting pushed (that would include any school age child of various ages that runs into you because they are not paying a whit of attention) or having toes stepped on by a school child. I can say definately that it is a school child because the kids in each group would all be wearing the same uniform. Some group even had the same backpack for each child with the name of a school on it. AND I THOUGHT AMERICANS WERE RUDE, I DON'T FEEL QUITE SO BAD ANY LONGER. I mean, I came to Australia expecting a little more hospitible behavior than what you typically expect from Americans... I was dissappointed.

With that said, the Zoo was amazing. After disembarking from the "Subway" (which is really the train I guess, sometimes it goes under the ground and sometimes you can see it at street level), we headed to the warf and took a fairy over to the Zoo. On the fairy we went right by the Sydney Opera House. It is the most recognizeable building in the world, so they say. We'll tour that tomorrow... or is it today? I'm not sure, but it will be SATURDAY.
We took a really cool sky bus ride up the side of the mountain and then we were at the top of the Zoo. The Zoo is on a hill, similar to the Portland Zoo. Nice exercise. Anyway, we got off right by the Koala encounter, and we got to have our picture taken with the Koala bears (that really aren't bears). Here's Ambri with her photo:

The kids were amazed at "how cute" they are. We weren't allowed to touch them, although we obviously could, it is against the law. They sleep for 20 hours a day because they eat eucalpytus leaves, and they don't have much energy in them.
We saw many other native Australian animals while at the Zoo, and then the "regular" zoo animals as well. The giraffe habitat was really nice, and many of the exhibits had a great backdrop of the Sydney Harbour, Sydney Bridge, and Sydney Opera House in the background.
Later that night we went grocery shopping with the kids. The reason I mention it, is because the grocery store is in the basement of the mall. The mall is smack in the center of Sydney, amidst the office buildings and residential apartments. Doug and I have experienced it before in Chile, but the kids were in awe of it. Of coarse everything was different, but many things were the same in a wierd kind of way. For example: Rice Krispies are called Rice Bubbles, but they are exactally the same, even made by Kellogg's. Pringles are the same though, and we can't forget the wonderful Cadbury Chocolate. It still tastes as good as at home.

Just a note on the time stamp, it is 9 pm here on Saturday, 2 am Saturday at home.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Do we get to go "Charc-ling" today?

That is the question that I have been asked more than once today by Ambri (7 yr). What she really means is snorkeling (for those of you that didn't know that we are on vacation right now). She's interested in that, and going to "Smashers" beach. She really meant "Pounders Beach" (which is where we are actually staying) but the cute things she says still get me.

We had breakfast at the Hukilau Cafe. We ordered way more food than we could eat, and just as always, it was wonderful food. Bryce said he wants to come back on Tuesday (they are closed on Sunday and Mondays) and he wants to order a whole plate of just bacon. We were also supposed to hike Diamond Head today. When we got to the parking lot, the lady at the pay booth said "Didn't you see the big sign at the bottom of the hill? The trail is closed." We weren't the only ones that didn't see the "Big Sign" because there were many cars behind us as we turned around and pulled out. So we went in search of the "Big Sign", which for your information, Lady, it was NOT at the bottom of the hill. I think that Bryce and Ambri were releived that we didn't have to go on "another hike". He just wanted to stay in the car and play the DS. He's milking this trip for all it's worth. Instead of going "Charc-ling" (which we will do later on in the trip) we just went to the beach and played in the "Smasher" waves. So far we've done that both days and Bryce and Ambri just love playing in the water the best. That is surprising to me because they get the chance to play in the ocean in Oregon many times each year. I guess it really doesn't surprise me once I think about it, the water is much warmer. Heck, I even got in!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's time for vacation... ALREADY?

Well, that is how I'm feeling. I can't wait (we're heading to Hawaii on Friday, then Australia after that, and Tahiti on the way home), but there is so much to do.

I guess I'll go start doing something.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Yeah, whatever, Mom.

So another Halloween has come and gone.

Here's how they rank: Bryce was a sumo wresteler, Ambri was Wonder Woman, Chase was a knight and Oakli was Cinderella.

The kitchen is a disaster with halloween candy and wrappers everywhere. I guess when I threatened the kids with disposing of all the candy if they didn't take care of their wrappers was a hollow threat. The good news (sort of...) is that the candy is almost gone. It hasn't even been 24 hours yet. Is that a good thing?

Ambri came home last night from the Trunk-or-Treat and told me that she didn't know why all the grown-ups knew who she was, but the little kids didn't. Go figure. We've definately watched our share of Wonder Woman on YouTube. She's also go the moves down to block the bullets on her wrist bands.

Chase was very sweet with his costume choice this year. He realized that Oakli was going to be Cinderella and he wanted to be a knight so he could protect all the princesses from the dragons. He will tell you first thing that "trains, cars, and firefighters are my favorite" so I don't know why he didn't pick one of those. We found a cheap costume at Wal-Mart, so I wasn't going to challenge him on it. I spent a good amount of time looking for a Thomas the Tank costume, but couldn't find one anywhere. Don't press your luck, eh?

Our trip is drawing ever closer and I can't wait! I'm starting into panic mode, realizing how much I still need to do. I havn't planned our days out for the Australia portion of the trip yet, so maybe I should go think about that now!