Things tend to change when you least expect them to ... it is God's way of putting things into perspective.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Brisbane, Australia

Ok, back for round two of the Australia trip! After we left Sydney, we flew to Brisbane. I will say that I am glad that we did not end our trip here. While it was fun and the weather was nice, there just wasn't as much to do and see in Brisbane. We stayed right in the heart of the town ... we were able to walk to alot of shops and the pier. It wasn't the ocean you were looking at so for me it was just more water.

I will say the highlight of our stay in Brisbane was the daytrip we took to the Australia Zoo. This is the zoo that is owned and operated by the Irwin Family ... yes, that is right ... Steve Irwin, the "Crocodile Hunter!" It took us about an hour to get from the hotel to the zoo, but well worth it. It is unlike American zoos because they want you to really "experience" the animals up close. None of the animals are in cages, rather they are in spaces that look like natural habitats. If they are dangerous animals (tigers, lions, etc) they are put behind glass so that you can still have a great view. While at the zoo, I got to hold (and pet) a couple of koala bears (yes, they are super soft!) I also got to hand feed an elephant (they snot on your hand when the feed) and we also got to walk through 'Roo Heaven! This is an area where the kangaroos are able to roam free with the visitors in the park. We got to pet and take pics with the kangaroos. (Check out my earlier blog for these pics). It was really cool!!

I was a little nervous here ... can you tell???

We also saw some very OLD tortoises that were HUGE. These guys (and gals) live to be over 200 years old and are gigantic! One of the last things we did while at the zoo was attend the show at the crocoseaum. This was a large outside theatre with a large pool in the middle. During the show, they brought out birds, elephants and crocs! These crocs were huge and they explained all about their habits and how to avoid being eaten :) Believe it or not, it is a huge problem in Australia. After we left Brisbane and got to Cairnes, the people in town all told us to stay away from the ponds and lagoons as they were croc havens and many people have been bitten.
Not quite your teenage mutant ninja turtle!

Anyway, back to the zoo. It was one of my favorite things in Australia. Steve Irwin is very much a part of the zoo even though he was killed by a stingray last year. There are pictures and displays of he and his family (and their adventures) throughout the zoo area.

We did some other things while in Brisbane (Surfer's Paradise, etc) but the zoo was the highlight of the stay. We were there only a few days before we headed on to our last stop ... CAIRNES!!

More to come ....

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Morning on ya!

Just thought I would check in to make sure everyone has had a good weekend thus far. Eric and I spent the better part of yesterday running errands and cleaning house. It was a productive day, which means we can spend today relaxing. I think that I am going to head to the Eudora Aquatic Center for awhile this afternoon. There won't be too many weekends left this summer so I am going to take advantage of this nice day and head to the pool to catch some sun.

I am sure that Eric and Huey will hang out here at the house. Huey is busy destroying his toys!!! We got him a few new things to play with, but he doesn't "play," he destroys. In the last week, he has chewed all of the rubber off of one of his new toys ... I found it under our bed in about 1000 pieces and today he is working to ruin the basketball I gave him. It started out as a nice mini-basketball, but already he has popped it and put a large hole in it. It is a matter of time till I start finding pieces. Oh well, whatever keeps him busy!

Enjoy your weekend (what is left of it!)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sydney, Australia

Ok, I have been meaning to update you all on my recent trip to Australia. It would be a very LONG read if I try and do it all at one time, so I am going to break it up into 3 as we visited 3 cities on our tour.

We left Kansas City around noon on Saturday, August 4th. We flew from KC to Dallas, Dallas to LA and then LA to Sydney. Because of the time change (and international dateline), we arrived in Sydney on Monday, August 6th at 7:30 am. It was a long trip getting there and when we did arrive, it was morning so our guide, Jason, told us that we HAD to try and stay awake until 8:00 pm that night. I didn't think that would be much of a problem as we were all very excited to finally be in Australia and there was so much to do. By 5:00 pm that night, we were all starting to look a bit cross-eyed and delirious.

Once we made it out of customs and the airport, Jason had arranged for us to take a short bus tour of the city. It was very cool to see so much at one time. It was funny watching people drive on the wrong side of the road .. yes, Americans drive on the correct side! We stopped at a few different places to take some pictures and then made our way to Bondi Beach. This beach is a HUGE tourist attraction and it is also where a great deal of Baywatch was filmed. We walked along the beach for awhile and then had lunch in a small cafe. By the end of Monday, we were all quite tired and ready for bed so it was an early night.

I slept pretty good all night that first night, but was up at about 4:30 am the next morning. I got up and went with Bonnie (our head coach) on a walk around the area. We were staying right near the harbour so we had great views of the Sydney Opera house, the famous bridge and the water. It was great!! Later that day, we toured the opera house and spent time seeing the various theatres. It was much more plain that I thought it would be, but still very neat. Following the tour, we took a cab over to the Sydney Aquarium and toured it for awhile. It was your standard aquarium, but still very neat. We had our first game later that night ... it was a semi-pro team show up (much better than expected) and we were still very jet-lagged so we did not play well.

We spent time Tuesday doing more sightseeing and went out to Manley Beach. To get to the beach, we took a ferry across the harbour. It was still located in Sydney, but outside of the harbour (connected to the ocean). Manley Beach is alot like Miami Beach .. the shops just aren't as high end as down in Miami. Lots of little stores, though, to browse through. It was winter in Australia as well while we were there so we didn't have to fight the summer beach traffic. We saw lots of bikinis and speedos, though, as winter was still 70+ degrees there.

We got up early on Wednesday, then, so that we could catch a flight to Brisbane ... more details to follow.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I will say that today I am not a fan of Wednesdays! With the start of school, I find myself in the office all week. It hasn't been this way in awhile with the trip to Australia, summer camps and grad class. This week has been really long already and it is only Wednesday!! Because of our trip, we have had to do alot of meetings and such this week to get everyone ready for the year. I think that we are just about there, though, and I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend ... in 3 more days :(

Anyway, I have gotten alot of calls and emails regarding our newest student at KU, John! I promise, you all, he is doing great! He is enrolled in 12 hours ... COMS, Western Civ, Sociology and English. He goes to class in the mornings and then heads to work. He is still working with Eric's company, he has just reduced his hours now that school is in session. Since our move, he has gotten a bigger bedroom and bathroom so that has been good. He seems to be fine, though, just looking to make some new friends out this way. I am sure that he is sick and tired of Eric and I ... we are old farts in his eyes ;)

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Free Day!

Today was the first day this month that I had entirely free. With the "fast" move and the trip to Australia, it has been a crazy month. Eric and I spent the entire day today working on the house. We finally have it in pretty good shape. We got most everything put away today and have caught up on laundry. Eric did a great job while I was gone, but I came in on Wednesday night (exhausted) and just dropped everything. So, our new house has been somewhat of a disaster zone. We made alot of progress today though, and can finally relax. We even got the materials ordered for our fence so hopefully we can get that started this week. I didn't realize how BIG our yard is, but it is great ... the fence will take awhile though, but it will be well worth it.

With a new house comes a laundry list of things we want/need. We have more than doubled our size, so we have alot of EMPTY house right now. In due time, we will get it filled up, but right now we are just getting some things that are much needed (rugs, blinds, etc ...). It has been really fun shopping for new things. I am not much of a decorator, but it is fun to try and make it all look nice.

It is about time for me to head to bed ... before I go, I wanted to ask for everyone's prayers for my friend, Brooke. Brooke and I work together for KU. While our team was gone to Australia, Brooke lost her father. He was only 60 years old. I am not sure of all the details, but I was able to see Brooke on Thursday as a few of us from the team went to pay our respects at the visitation. Brooke is doing as well as expected, but her father's death was very unexpected so she is dealing with a variety of emotions. Thoughts and prayers are needed for she and her family at this time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Back From Down Under!

Hey All -- I know it has been a few weeks since I have lasted posted, but it has been with good reason. After moving into the new house, I left for Australia and just got back this evening. It was a blast!!! I had the opportunity to see a performance in the famous Sydney Opera House, bungy jump in the rainforest, snorkle at the Great Barrier Reef and get up close and personal with kangaroos, kaolas, elephants and crocs! It was an amazing experience. I plan to write more for you all about the trip, but right now I am ready for bed. We left Cairnes and 3:30 am YESTERDAY and got home to Kansas this evening about 7 pm. Needless to say, it was a LONG trek home!! Here are a few pics to tide you over until I can expand on my travels ... Enjoy!