3.22.2008

Australia

Well, we just made it back from our trip to Sydney. Most of you know that Jeramy has business that takes him there a few times a year and sometimes we get to tag along. We had a wonderful time! I was nervous about the traveling part of the trip - mostly about Finn - but it wasn't too bad. I would absolutely do it again - not next month, but sometime in the near future.

So instead of recording a play by play of our trip, I thought I would document it using random and crazy facts about our trip.
  • Hours of travel to and from Sydney - 48.
    • 24 hours each way! 34 hours on airplanes, 11 hours in airports, and 3 hours to and from airports. What a long, crazy 24 hours -times 2! Not quite up to Jack Bauer's standard of a crazy day (24), but getting pretty close. I mean, no one tried to kill us, but based on a few of the looks we got on the airplane, I'm sure a few people would have liked to!
  • Number of hours of sleep the kids got during our travels - 8.
    • They slept about 4 hours each way - leaving about 26 hours of awake time on the plane. Ella is really good at entertaining herself, but entertaining a 13 mo. old in about 5 square feet of space for 26 hours - most of it while he was buckled in - was quite a challenge. I don't recommend it.
  • Number of books I read on our trip - 4.2.
    • I hardly had anytime to read while we traveled since I was busy serving as the airplane entertainment, but Finn was the best napper ever while in Sydney, so I had a lot of downtime every single day. I would put a movie on for Ella and make her have some quiet time for a while and I would read or nap or a little or both and then me and Ella would move the chairs out onto the balcony and enjoy the gorgeous weather. Then in the evenings, we would have the kids in bed before 8 and since Finn was sleeping in the living area, we were banished to our room for the evening. More time to read. Aussie tv is horrible!
Ella chilling in our little balcony lounge
we would set up in the afternoons during
Finn's nap time.
  • Amount of money spent at Subway while in Sydney - $139.05
    • Out of the 10 days (8 full, 2 partial) we were there, we ate NINE of our lunches at Subway. Food was so expensive there! Even Subway, although cheaper than most, was darn expensive. Every single day, Ella begged to have Subway for lunch. Since it was convenient, healthy, fast and not too expensive, I couldn't provide a good argument for not eating there. Don't count on seeing me at Subway anytime soon.
  • Number of pictures I took at Bondi Beach - 76
    • Bondi Beach (pronounced BOND-eye) is one of our favorite places to go while in Sydney. It is a gorgeous, well-know beach that you've probably seen in magazine or in movies. It is without doubt Ella's absolute favorite place in Sydney - possibly the world - and the minute we stepped foot out of the plane, that was what Ella wanted to know - "when are we going to Bondi Beach?" Despite her begging every single day, we waited and went on the weekend so that Jeramy could come with us. We all had a great time! Jeramy dug a big hole in the sand near the water so that when the waves would come in, a little water would seep into the hole. He called it a bathtub and it was the perfect place to stick Finn to play. Finn had a great time crawling in and out of the "bathtub", when he wasn't eating the sand. Ella had a ball running out into the waves and letting them chase her back in. Jeramy was fantastic entertainment for the kids and my favorite thing was to take pictures of the huge smiles on the faces of the three people I love most!
Possibly my favorite picture from our trip. This
captures so many
things I love about Ella - her
spunk, playfulness, sense of humor and zest for life!

Finn's first time at the beach.

Jeramy and the kids working on the "bathtub"

She had a smile on her face all day!
Busted! Didn't taste as yummy as it looked.
Caught in the act - again!

I completely buried Ella in the sand. I was so shocked
by how still she held. Didn't know she had it in her.
My two stunning boys!
  • Number of times mobbed by Japanese tourists wanting to take pictures of the kids - 4
    • These "mobbings" all happened at Bondi Beach - a big tourist attraction. You could tell these people had just arrived from Japan and the novelty of seeing people with light hair and eyes, well, they simply could not contain themselves. It was amusing to watch them survey the beach and stalk poor, unsuspecting, fair-haired victims! While at Bondi, we had four different groups of people come and ask to pose with and/or hold my kids for their pictures. It was pretty darn hilarious. Some of the groups had, like, 8 people and every single person had a camera and every single person wanted their own photos - note the plural on photos, one picture per person just wouldn't do! It kind of reminded me of my annual girl trips I go on - 8 girls, 8 cameras. Wow, we're really annoying! Nearly everyone wanted to hold Finn - probably because he wouldn't sit still - so I passed him over, laughing to myself as I handed my baby over to total strangers as it occurred to me that I would NEVER hand my purse over to a stranger - but, my baby? Of course - help yourself! A few times Finn got upset and started crying so I had to rescue him from the photo session, but that did not deter the determined photographers. Oh no, they would simply just include me in the photo. I guess they can just Photoshop me a blonde, too. Ella was in her element - all smiles and sass, loving every minute of the photo shoots. As we were leaving the beach, Ella asked why every time we go to that beach people want to take her picture? (Last trip it was the same story) I think after I explained, she was a little crushed that it wasn't because she was some kind of celebrity like Hannah Montana. In her mind it's more like - well, not yet....
  • Number of hours Jeramy had to work to pay for us to go to the Sydney Zoo - 100?
    • OK, a slight exaggeration, but it is very pricey. However, it is equally amazing! I am not an animal person but I love this zoo. You are able to get so close to the animals and it is such a beautiful environment with a spectacular view of the Sydney Harbour, Harbour Bridge and Opera House. They also have some animals that we don't get to see in Denver. My favorites, hands down, are the Koalas. You can get to within feet of them and they are so darn cute, especially if you can catch them awake - which is tricky because they sleep about 20 hours a day (what a life!). We all had such a great time at the zoo! Definitely worth the ridiculous price tag.

Wow, if you ask me - Ella looks pretty darn scary!
She looks as though she could swallow anyone whole.

When Finn saw me and Ella posing, he couldn't
stop giggling. What a cute little lion!

Finn's laughing because he though it was
hysterical to pound on Jeramy's head and
pull his hair. Let's just say the ride on
dad's shoulders didn't last too long.

A few pictures of the view from the zoo. Unfortunately,
the place in the zoo with the most amazing view of
the opera house, bridge, and harbour was blocked
off for a private function. It is still beautiful of the
of the harbour and bridge. Much more so in person.


These are some of our favorite animals we
saw at the zoo:


  • Number of turkeys that Finn terrorized - at least 4 or 5
    • At the zoo, they had a gated area you could go in that had some animals just running around free, some of which were turkeys. Jeramy and I were cracking up because Finn was a maniac. He was going full speed ahead, arms outstretched trying to catch himself a turkey. If I hadn't been worried about him getting pecked to death, I would have loved to let him loose to see how long it would have taken him to at least get a fistful of feathers.
As we were leaving, Ella was washing her hands
when a turkey snuck up behind her. She was a bit
worried, but her little brother came to the rescue!

Saving his big sister by chasing the turkey away!

  • Number of birds that terrorized Ella (in her mind anyway) - 30
    • We spent a lot of time at Darling Harbour on our trip. Our apt. was right next to it and Darling Harbour is where the Wildlife World, Aquarium, and park were located. There were also a bunch of shops and restaurants and in order to get to downtown or meet Jeramy we had to go through Darling Harbour. Anyway, because it is such a popular, busy place it is overrun with aggressive birds waiting for someone's crumbs to become their next meal. One day we picked up, what else, but Subway for lunch and took it to the park. We were immediately swarmed with birds wanting to share lunch with us. Ella was completely traumatized and sobbing and decided that the birds were all out to get her. So after we picked a new location for lunch - sans birds - she was constantly looking over her shoulder for the birds and would freak out if any birds came near.
The expression on her face kills me! She would
hardly stand there so I could get a picture of
Darling Harbour. She was so certain some birds
were going to swoop in and get her!
A magnificent fountain at Darling Harbour. Watch out for the birds, Ella!

  • Number of times nearly eaten by a shark - 2
    • The "shark encounters" occured at the Sydney Aquarium (see the pictures below for the full story! :) We always go to the Aquarium, at least once, when in Sydney. It was right next to our apartment and it is so fantastic! There are two things I particularly look forward to at the aquarium. The first are the sharks. To view the sharks you get to walk through these clear, underwater acrylic glass tunnels and literally feel surrounded by sharks - above you and beside you. It is a little chilling to see a huge mouth full of razor-sharp teeth right beside you! There is even a different place where you walk across a clear acrylic floor and sharks are swimming right at your feet. The second thing I love at the aquarium, actually my favorite, is the Great Barrier Reef Oceanarium. They have these HUGE tanks filled with all sorts of tropical fish (including those from Finding Nemo, which is always exciting for the kids) and live coral. The highlight for me is at the very end of the Oceanarium. There is a tank whose window is as big as a wall. There are steps in front and peaceful music playing and it is so beautiful and serene to sit and watch the exotic fish, eels and rays swim around. I almost feel as though there's no window there and I'm scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, well until my children start screaming and running around.......but at least for a few seconds I feel transported to the Great Barrier Reef.
Shark encounter #1! There goes Finn's fingers.

Shark encounter #2. Completely embarassing, cheesy picture, but it was fun!

Good info on distinguishing crocs and alligators.
It's all about how their teeth look outside their mouths.
Crocs - you can see top and bottom, alligators - only top.

Yikes! Check out those chompers.

Some kind of ray swimming overhead.
Brave sea turtle hangin' with the sharks.

Finn just hanging out (and drooling) at the Aquarium.

Finn trying to either eat or kiss the
fish in the Oceanarium.

My favorite place in the whole aquarium -
the Great Barrier Reef Oceanarium. It is magical!

  • Number of new food names I was able to translate this trip - 4
    • So I've figured out in the past that "rocket" is lettuce and "tomato sauce" is ketchup and "bangers' are sausages...but this time I learned that "capsicum" is a bell pepper, "coriander" is ciliantro, "rock melon" is cantaloupe and "sultanas" are raisins. Good to know!
  • Number of days of perfect weather - 10 out of 1o
    • Gorgeous and sunny every, single day there! The weather was the exact same every day we were there - sunny and low 80s. With the humidity it felt more like 90 degrees to me - which was perfect for the beach and pool. Because the weather was so great we tried to spend a lot of time outside - the park, the pool, just walking around, and when stuck at the apartment for Finn's naps - on the balcony.
The kids having fun at the park near our apartment.

Umm -gross! Can't imagine how
he keeps getting sick!

My little poser.
The bridge at gorgeous Darling Harbour.
My darling Ella looking gorgeous! :)

Hanging out at the pool one night.
  • Number of separate items to send through the airport security conveyor belt - 25
    • This included 8 shoes, one bottle of medicine, a sippy cup, a quart size ziploc bag of liquid items, DVD player, laptop, stroller - which came apart in 3 pieces b/c of the double seat and the storage bag, carseat, my purse, Jeramy's laptop bag, carry-on suitcase (sidenote: the first time we went to Sydney, our luggage showed up a day and a half later and if you add the 24 hours of travel - it was 2.5 days in the same clothes & underwear. Never again! I will always carry and extra change of clothes on long trips even if it makes for one more bag.), carry on bag for kids stuff, my bracelet (which set off the security sensor the first time around), Jeramy's watch and keys, Ella's jacket. We were quite the spectacle!
  • Number of times we had to go through airport security - 4
    • Oh brother!
  • Minutes spent waiting for our luggage at the end of our trip in Denver - 50
    • It was killing me! I just wanted to get home and brush my teeth.
  • Number of times I said "I'm so happy to be home!" upon our return - probably 100
    • I love to travel and our trip to Sydney was unforgettable! But when it's all said and done, you can't compare anything to the coziness and familiarity of your own home. I think after such an incredibly long day of traveling and battling children, it was just that much more wonderful to be home. By the time I'm all caught up on our laundry, I'm sure I'll be dreaming about our next getaway...

10 comments:

The Kimbles said...

What an adventure! You are so brave. It looks like you had an amazing time, and made it back sane!

Love the pic. of E&F in the tiger cut outs. What a fierce pose! Jeremy's look with Finn on his shoulders is priceless. Too funny!

Courtney said...

Sounds like a great trip. I love all the pics. I flew with Chase from SLC to LA last week and the three hours on the plane about killed me trying to contain him. I can't imagine 2 days!

Ella is cracking me up with all of her posing.

Brad, Rebecca, Jacob said...

Sounds like a great trip! The animal pictures are beautiful and I laughed pretty good at the comment of handing Finn over to perfect strangers but not your purse...I'd not thought of that before, but it's so true!

Brecken said...

What a great trip! There's alot of fun memories there. I love the pics of your kids. They're adorable...no big surprise. Glad your home.

Carley said...

What a great trip. Thank you for sharing your facts and pictures. I want to go see the aquariums. You are brave for such a long flight with little kids. You get the "Super Mom" award!

Kerry and Mindy said...

What a grand adventure! I am living your thru you and your family. I love all the pics. I missed you and excited to talk to you.
Your kids are so cute. Those pics will forever be in your heart and mind. I loved your beach day. I tried to not be sad for me, and happy for you. The park even looked grand. I want to hear every dirty detail. I will call soon. love you! love you! me.

gollyjess said...

awesome T, love the pics. love Finn's hair. And Ella, she reminds me of...hmmm...me when I was that age. Silly, I could be her aunt.

Emily said...

Sounds like you had a blast! You all deserve medals for making that trip more than once. I'm dreading our 5 hour flight to Utah this summer. I'll have to get tips from you. Glad you're home safe and sound.

John & Shauna said...

You are amazing you did that flight with your kids. I love your pictures. Looks like you guys had a great trip.

Tiffany Garfield said...

How fun!!! I love the beach pictures!!! You did such a great job writing about everything---you're so creative. I want to go to Australia! Noah's little sister is there on a semester abroad right now and keeps telling us we need to go over. It looks like you guys had a great time!