Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Little Artists

I will be posting pictures of our new place soon. I'm trying to finish cleaning it though first. That project was put on hold while I 'recuperated' from a fall. (roll of the eyes)

Here's the story in all it's embarrassing glory. Papa Echo, Jonathan and I went for a walk along the beach. It was low tide and we thought we'd find something fun. We did... we found jellyfish. Anyway, the boys went on to look in some pools along the rocks. I followed, and slipped. It was so NOT graceful and I ended up bruising and scraping the right side of my body and laying in the water. It hurt so bad, and it was so EMBARRASSING. I had to walk back to the apartment looking like I had peed my pants and blood running down my arm. Oy!!! No worries. I'm fine.

So, in lieu of pics of the apartment, I present to you pictures of the kids at the Modern Museum of Art, in the children's section. There was an area where kids could create art similar to famous surrealist artists.

Well done my little artists.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Little, Tiny Things... and School

We knew that things would be much different here. I went to the Soviet Union when I was in High School. Papa Echo went to Europe. We tried to warn the kids. I think we've done alright so far. Not too many blunders. People are patient.

But I can't get over how little everything is here.

The first time I ordered a Diet Coke, I just about fell over. The bottle was the tiniest one I've ever seen. It was probably a little 8 ounce thing. I don't even know. They don't give 'free refills' here either, so I had to be careful not to finish the whole thing in one swallow. It was expensive for the one... we couldn't afford lining up bottles. I'm just grateful I didn't have to go 'cold turkey' with the Diet Coke. That would have been most unpleasant.

We are staying (for a few more days) in a hotel/apartment It has two bedrooms and one bath. While it is a 'hotel' for us, there are many residents here who own their apartment and live here full-time.

This fridge is so tiny. No more shopping for a weeks worth of food.

Alyssa sitting next to the oven AND dishwasher. The dishwasher is on the bottom and the oven is on top.

On our flight over, everyone was given an 'amenities bag' which included this toothbrush and toothpaste. It's so tiny and cute!!

We are enjoying every minute of our time here. Many have asked about the kids and school. We could not get them signed up until we had a place to live. Once we signed the papers, we registered them in school and then we had to set up times for 'interviews'. Those interviews consisted of going over school rules. Special emphasis was given to wearing school uniforms because we were from the states. (giggle) By the time all this was done, there were only a few days left of the third term and then the students would be on 'Holiday' for two weeks. So, it was decided that our kids would start on the first day of the fourth term which is Oct. 3rd.

The thing with moving here, is that their school years are different than ours in the states. They don't have kindergarten, and they label their years, Year one (for kindergarten), Year two (for first grade), Year three (for 2nd grade)... and so on. And they go all the way to Year 12. (which would be 11th grade in the states? This is where I get confused...)

They have placed my kids in classes according to their birthdays. It looks like this... Jessica will be in Year 9, Alyssa will be in Year 6 and Jonathan will be in Year 3. This will be for one quarter and then they have summer vacation for six weeks. They start the new school year at the end of January 2012. Now for Jonathan and Alyssa, this sounds good because they will be in Year 4 and Year 7... Not too bad.

BUT, Jessica? Because her birthday is in October, Montana made her wait an extra year to start kindergarten. (California had let her start kindergarten and then we moved and Montana said no, so we had to wait a year... she is not happy about that) So, the Deputy (Assistant Principal) looked at her birthdate and said, let's put her in Year 9. We said okay. Jessica was thrilled! Afterwards, I thought it through... This means that in January she will be in Year 10... Then January 2013 she will be in Year 11... That is ONE YEAR from graduating high school!!! Agh!! I have totally lost time by being here.... She was going to be in 8th grade and then 9th grade in the states.

Who knows exactly how long we will be here... the plan is for two years... (could be more or less in reality) I know things will work out. Obviously I'm not changing where she is at in school here and I'm not projecting my own insecurities and lack of being able to cut the apron strings onto her. But to you dear friends?
Stomp, Stomp, grumble, grumble.... I'm going to throw a little bit of a fit here.

And then I'll put on my happy face so they can start school soon.

Friday, September 16, 2011

CottonTree Grove

We have found one of the best places for the kids to play and it's close by our new apartment.

Can you imagine a child in the US drawing a tree with two trunks and a teacher saying that was okay?

Some of the leaves are as big as your head.

Can you see Jonathan?

Can you see the girls?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Our First Day Alone

Papa Echo's work needed him to do some training last week. (I know, I know, it's weird they need him to work...) So for the first time here, the kids and I were left to fend for ourselves. We started the day with me saying no to the electronic games, TV and movies.

Jessica didn't mind... she wanted to draw.

Alyssa didn't mind... she wanted to read.

Jonathan didn't mind... he wanted to play with his K'nex.

We spent the morning relaxing and then... oh wait...

Did I forget to tell the kids about a pool? Outside on the 7th floor?

Alyssa and Jonathan couldn't get their suits on fast enough.
Even though the water was cold, they liked it.
Jessica and I liked reading off our e-books by the side of the pool.

After swimming, Alyssa decided to practice her clarinet.
Her audience loved listening to her play.

Then we decided to eat lunch by the river followed by an outing on the ferry system.

We rode the ferry for about an hour and then came back home to the apartment. Papa Echo met up with us at that point and then we went for dinner.

It was a good day.

Monday, September 12, 2011

We did it!

We signed papers on an apartment today. We move in on the 23rd of this month.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


We were given much advice and told many things prior to coming here. Most of it was helpful. Some of it was disturbing. For example, we were told that there was NO Diet Coke... only Coke Light. (which any Diet Coke addict will tell you is NOT THE SAME THING!!) My Dad even commented that he was hearing nothing negative about our move to Australia, except for the NO Diet Coke warning.

Enter Mythbuster #1
It may be expensive, but it's here. Hallelujah!!

We were also told that there would be NO MEXICAN FOOD. Anyone who knows us, knows that that was almost a deal breaker.

Enter Mythbuster #2

It was so yummy!

I have two kids (and one husband) that LOVE seafood. They are in heaven here.
They say it tastes good. Alyssa and I just trust them.

I have been testing the local candy cuisine.

Gummi.... Babies?

And how can we not enjoy a 'bag of lollies' Just saying it sounds awesome.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Odds and Ends

We have been valiantly looking for a place to live... it has been frustrating to say the least. We are close to being done. Instead of giving you all a run down of the frustrations, I will give you some random snapshots of what we have done and seen on our breaks from the searching. Have I said I LOVE it here yet?

Jonathan, Jessica and Alyssa

There is always a tree nearby that the kids want to climb.

I LOVE the flowers here!

Fig trees.
They have the coolest roots/branches. I can't imagine drawing them and having them look real.

Our first view of the bay.

I could have stayed at this park all day long. It was at the edge of the bay. And Dad? Note the way ALL the parks are covered here. Give you ideas for the pool?

A seed pod Jonathan found.

Even the bugs are prettier.

Big, happy sigh.

On our way to find a good place for lunch.

Jonathan and Alyssa playing in the bamboo

Our view of the fireworks show from our balcony at the hotel.

A wonderful welcome to Brisbane show.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Just for Fun Day

We have been very busy this past week trying to find a home to rent… but that saga will be for another blog post. Today we decided to take a day off and do something fun and NOT house related.

Welcome to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

I felt like such an ‘American tourist’, but yippee!!!! They had all the cool Aussie animals. And? We bought an annual pass, so for anyone who comes to visit… we’ve got you hooked up to feed kangaroos, feed lorikeets, AND hold a koala.