Rewind: Temple Square

The weekend after we arrived in Utah for a little Christmas visit we went to my sisters to eat a delicious lunch and enjoy her new beautiful home. Afterwhich, we braved the crowds and went to Temple Square. Despite the continuous effort to corral a bunch of small children, and whatever brief spurts of stress this may have caused ("Ryder! Has anyone seen Ryder?! Phil! Can you see Ryder? Oh. There he is." Now substitute Ryder's name for any grandchild on two legs and repeat that about 10 times. Throw in about three potty breaks, Penny laying down on the concrete in protest and changing a baby in the car and you get the general idea) we all ended up enjoying ourselves quite a bit.  My dad really, really wants to do this again. As soon as possible. 

I believe this last photo really captures the feelings of chaos and happiness we all experienced :)

Crinkle Nose and Cockatoos

I think it's important to note that this face...

...can turn into this face:

You've officially been crinkle-nosed!
We've all devoted a lot of time into trying to get crinkle-nosed around here. 

Another thing I'd like to note around here are the birds. There are beautiful tropical birds just always flying around right outside our widow. I was telling my mom about them the other day, so when I saw a few, I thought I'd take some pictures to show her. I grabbed my camera and went out on our back porch.

There were three yellow-crested cockatoos sitting across the street in a tree. I took a few pictures of them there, thinking I would just zoom in on them later. (Note: this IS the zoomed-in version).

I got so excited when one hopped (well, flew) over to a closer building. I kept snapping away.

I got excited again when that cockatoo took flight, hoping it would come even closer...

...wha...wo..woah... HELLO!  Look, he's waving 'hi'.

Well, hello there cockatoo.

He ended up hanging out there for a whole 5 minutes. I even called Ryder and Penny out to come take a look and he still didn't fly away. Honestly, I just think he really enjoyed the attention. Notice how he was quite fond of his own reflection....

This whole experience was actually very exciting for me. For one thing, when does anything exciting like this happen WITH a camera in my hand? For me, never. I figured it was my own silly fault if I didn't get a decent photo. Luckily, I had a lot to choose from.

Babyfood, Beachbums & Birthdays

Consider this your 3 in 1 blog special! It's almost better than a really good sale. Almost. First off...

This week will mark the Hazel's 6 month birthday. And to prove it, here is our little angel taking her first whack at the world of solids.

Here's what she really thought of the whole business...

 Penny and Ryder (or shall I say Pennay and Ryda) particularly loved the idea of feeding her "real" food. Unfortunately, in there minds they were envisioning peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches--not mush, so they lost interest rather quickly.

  Ryder, however, does prove to be a big help in getting her to open that steel trap of hers. 

 Nooo mooorrre....

In the two weeks we've been at it, sweet potatoes has proven to be her favorite. Even more so than those tasty fruit combos I try to feed here because, well, that's what I would want. She is also being such a good sleeper for her mommy. Such a trait allows her to do no wrong in my eyes. Her interests can be summed with one word: rolling. This new talent has introduced her to the comfort and joy of sleeping on her tummy. I'm pretty sure she does it just to scare me, but since she can do no wrong in my eyes, I find myself in quite the pickle. 

So for pretty much every Saturday we've been here, we wake up, have a brief discussion about what we should do that day. This includes items like cleaning the house, running errands, figuring out how to drive on the wrong side of the road. After the discussion is over, we lounge around the house for a couple of hours and walk to the beach. 

It's the hard knock life for us.

Last, but not least, I had a birthday. Shout hooray! Twenty-nine big ones people. I'm officially in the last year of my twenties. I plan to enjoy it far, so good. I felt quite "spoilt" on my birthday. Claire and her crew accomopanied us to the zoo where they treated us all birthday doughnuts. It was also the first time we saw their seal show, which was quite fun. There is something about seeing seals do tricks that ignites an inner childhood spark of joy. After Phil got home from work he took me out to dinner and later that evening we did cake and presents with the kiddos. Not to mention all the lovely emails and FB was a great day. I realized this is the first and only birthday I'll ever get to have during summer time. I have to admit it was kinda nice.

*Cadbury Chocolate has a rather large presence down here :) 

Rewind: Hurricane Sandy

As the main purpose of this blog is to record my life's happenings that will hopefully be of some value to my children one day, I didn't want to forget to blog about October 2012's epic Hurricane Sandy that took Southern Manhattan and New Jersey by storm. Now that it's all said and done and now we're over here in sunny Sydney, it's hard to remember just three months ago and how scary that storm was. But here are the main points I would like to remember:

  • This was by far the most serious of natural disasters myself or my family had experienced up to this point in my life. First off, we were not affected even a fraction of what some people experienced. People lost their homes. Subway lines are still affected. Even compared to our neighbors, we were quite fortunate.
  • We lost power for 5 days, even though people in our ward didn't have any for almost two weeks. And if someone had told me beforehand that's what would've happened, I would have said no problem, but the scary thing about that time is the not knowing. We didn't know how long we'd be without power. We didn't know how long we could endure super cold nights with a 2 month old baby. 

  • There was something about these circumstances that put your life on hold. Phil couldn't work. Much of the worry and the cold temperatures prevented any sort of productivity. All energies were focused on how we would get through that day, survival-wise and entertaining the kids. Progression was essentially stunted and you could feel it.  
  • I think even scarier than no power was approximately two days after the hurricane came the gas shortages. Lines and lines miles out just to get gas. Right after we work up, Phil would bundle up and go out on his bike and ride around to see if any of the nearby gas stations, first off, had any gas and secondly, if there was a line short enough you wouldn't waste all your gas waiting in it. 
  • There was a lot of good and Christlike actions going on at this time. One of the first days (before we were concerned about gas) we were invited to our friends, the McQuivey's where we were able to power our devices, and use their Internet. Our kids got to play with their kids and they provided us a nice warm meal. While we were there about 4 other families came and went as well. I was so grateful to them for that day. Come to think of it, this was actually on Halloween.

  • The Latter-day Saints Helping Hands program were able to provide hundreds volunteers who provided hours and hours of service. Phil participated with this group every Sunday except for last two Sundays we were in Jersey. 

  • Finally, the last thing that I don't want to forget is our little Halloween celebration. After we got back from the McQuivey's Phil felt bad the kids weren't able to go trick or treat and got a bee in his bonnet to make it happen no matter what. I was more in an apathetic, feel-sorry-for-myself mood, but he left me no choice but to participate. We each came up with about 3-4 very simple costumes and had Ryder and Penny trick or treat at each door in our house. And behind each door supposedly was a different "person" to hand out candy. While they were knocking on a door with Phil behind it, I'd be running to the next door changing into my next "costume" and then vise versa. Another very special thing to me that day, that took my frown and turned it upsidedown. 

It's a NEW Year

Holy smokes! I don't even know where to begin. Ever since NJ got blasted with a hurricane, it seemed as though my life jumped from that to Thanksgiving to packing to moving to Christmas in UT to Sydney to unpacking. That combined with the ridiculousness of Blogger cutting my storage space has alotted me no room (time-wise or tech-wise) to blog. Bottom line--we've been in a crazy, foggy whirlwind and I think...maybe...I'm beginning to see the dust start to settle.

I think I'll begin with now. And catch up with a few "flashback posts" a little later.

However, first things first. Happy New Year from Sydney, Australia!

We made it!

 And thanks to our amazing friends, Nate and Claire, we got to celebrate the new year at their place with their okayish view I guess, ya know, if you like that sort of thing :)

Considering we've gone to bed at 9:30 every night we've been here, it was a feat to have made it to 10:30 before walking home. Thankfully, they do a 9 pm show for the young ones and their wimpy parents.

Claire provided sparklers for the kids. Unfortunately, they scared the tar out of Penny, but Ryder soon warmed up (haha) and experienced the joy and thrill a only playing with a little fire can bring.

Today we've been in Sydney for almost an entire week. We arrived last Saturday morning with about 30% of our wits. Our babes did great on the flight and Hazel who was recovering from a double ear infection, actually took first place for most well-behaved child throughout the journey here. That was a huge blessing. I know we had a lot of loved ones praying for us, so thank you, thank you.

Unfortunately, after getting through customs, we would be lucky to say Phil and I had 5% of our wits left between the two of us (and it would be quite generous of myself to say I was bringing at least one of those percentage points to the table). It was sort of a math problem, you see. If you have four loaded luggage carts, one stroller and three babies, two of whom are breaking down--using only two tired adults, how do you get everything through a 100 ft zigzaggy customs line? After a half hour of trying to figure out this ourselves we concluded that YOU DON'T! Instead, you yell at everyone and get really, really cranky. Well, that's what I did. While Phil remained the sane one in our marriage I took my pathetic looking self over to some airport workers and begged for help. They took pity on me--got one of those huge flatbed carts and not only helped to roll us through customs, but rolled us right out to Nate's van. Thanks to Nate waiting for us on the other side the airport lady who took pity on our pathatic plight, we were able to make our last leg to the van with relative ease.  (Depending on whether or not you could block out Penny's crying...I could:) And just like the great parable of the loaves and fishes...but, um..opposite...kind of...we somehow fit all of our stuff and ourselves into Nate's minivan. Seriously, a miracle. Phil and I are still scratching our heads wondering how we did that.

Eh, we had to have a little stress, right?

Luckily we had the keys and our new home waiting for us. Which was so nice. We arrived around 10:30 am. Phil was an animal that day. He managed to go to IKEA for linens and a crib, and got us some groceries, while I sat at home with the kids only able to mumble three words over and over, "lunch then nap, lunch then nap, lunch then nap. I'm not really at liberty to say whether or not the children were left under the safest of care during that time...

We were able to adapt to the time pretty well and all of us got a good night sleep that night. Sunday we went to church. More than one person was impressed that we had made it that day, but wherever we move, Phil and I have learned nothing makes us feel more settled and better about our chaotic situation than going to church. So there we found ourselves, in what seems to be another kind and great ward. And thanks to Claire's delicious cooking, we had dinner both Saturday and Sunday night as well as a ride to church. Blessed souls.

This took us to the last day of the year where Phil (why is Phil always doing all of the work?) was in Penny and Ryder's room unpacking their clothes and I hear in a soft voice, "Jaaaaaasmine." Apparently, a 5"wide spider had made its way to the corner of the KID'S room. After about an hour of high drama (killing the spider, analyzing the remains, researching Australia's top deadliest spiders, emailing our agent, etc) we found out it was most likely a Huntsman spider. We read that they the only time they've been known to hurt someone is because they showed up in cars while someone was driving and scared them so bad that it caused said person to get in an accident. Call me crazy, but after reading that I vaguely recalled watching a National Geographic about that a couple of decades ago... Anyhow, once we discovered that my body literally started tingling with relief.

Since the new year began we have been busy doing fun things like figuring out our phones and opening a bank account acquiring groceries and other necessaties. We've also managed to make it to the Taronga Zoo and the beach. I have discovered my body having a hard time deciding whether it's on vacation or real life. I'm guessing come Monday (when Phil goes back to work), its going to have to commit to the latter.