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Preview: Adventures of the Fernando family in Australia

Adventures of the Fernando family in Australia

What the Fernando's are doing and discovering down under.......

Updated: 2014-10-03T14:16:09.272+10:00





Need I say more? My baby, my youngest, my littlest one is turning 5. She'll start school next year. She's halfway to 10 and a third of the way to 15. My ovaries are twitching and I can't do a thing about it. I don't want her to grow up and I do. I love to see how she changes every single day and I love to see how she's still a very little girl. At the moment, pink is her favorite color but she won't play with baby dolls and prefers trucks and trains. She brought home a snail from preschool that is now our family pet. She loves Henry and talks to him every single day. She quotes movies and says the most hilarious one liners.

(After using the bathroom)

"I'm drier than the outback!"

I enjoy her quirky personality and possibly even encourage it on occasion.

Baby girl, we love you very much and have a happy birthday.

The fever


Just when we had figured out a way for the four of us to attend church together, Katters comes down with a fever. Figures. Maybe next week....

The Church Search: Volume 687


Last Sunday's venue took us to a smaller congregation that was 95% Mandarin Chinese. We stuck out a little bit and the words to that one song about Asian believers kept going through my head. The praise and worship was rocking. I was very nearly sold that this church was it after the praise and worship, but then the really horrible bad thing happened. It all started with a seemingly innocent visitor card. No big deal. Little did I know it would bite me in the rear a few moments later.

After the praise and worship the service took an interesting turn. The lady doing the announcements introduces the girls and I to the ENTIRE congregation. First and last names and even suburb. So much for visiting quietly. I was horrified! I could have lived with the introduction had people not swarmed us immediately after that. Imagine the most hyper, chipper, person you know and combine it with the most annoying person you know. Now, multiply that by about 50 people. That was what surrounded us. After the welcome wagon crowd dispersed, a lady comes to sit beside me and explain what's going on in the service. She was not on a welcome wagon high and I thanked Jesus for that profusely. I liked her. That's also how I found out the congregation was 95% Mandarin Chinese. I bet you thought I made that one up, huh?

The pastor gets up to speak and to be honest, I was a little tense and a bit wired after being swarmed but that man has perfected the monotone sermon to the point I relaxed completely and started dozing off. Oh dear. These people know my name and the suburb I live in. I can NOT fall asleep in a service where they all keep turning around and giving me little 'welcome waves.' Lord help me.

And he did. Mariska starts having a little coughing fit. Perfect chance for escape. I mumble something about her asthma to the lady beside me and out the door we go. Once we're in the car I pull out Mariska's puffer and she gags a little then immediately stops coughing.

"I just had a hair in my throat."

I'll let you believe we went right back inside and finished listening to that sermon.

The Church Search: Volume 482


Today’s game, church fans took us to a very large venue. The original venue for the morning was changed at the last minute due to some unforeseen circumstances, there were missing accessories, clothing items and books. Read on...

As we are finally ready to walk out the door and have just enough time to get there I start looking for my nice shoes. You know, the red ones, that go perfectly with what I’m wearing. Arghhh! I can’t find them. I tell myself that it’s not that big a deal, I’ll just wear my dressy black flip-flops. Not fantastic, but God doesn’t care about my footwear choices. Now we are in the car and headed down the road. Thanks to the shoe debacle we are running a few minutes late. No problem, we can just sneak in the back door and sit on the last row. Spend our first Sunday going unnoticed and it gives us an easy exit if they start doing anything crazy. I'm really starting to like this plan. Oops! I have forgotten my bible. Not that big a deal really, we’ll be in the last row, no one is going to be paying attention to my lack of bible, lateness, or my footwear. We hope. Things are going well, the girls are excited and we are almost there when Mariska makes an announcement.

“I’m not wearing any undies.”

(Imagine an immediate illegal u-turn complete with squealing tires.)

Okay then, we’re headed home again to grab some undies, proper shoes, and a bible. After we’ve abandoned the original venue that looked very promising, we head to the larger one. They have an 11 o’clock service which means we’ll make it with time to spare and all necessary, ahem, items.

We arrive and I’m skeptical. It just looks too big. There are a lot of people. Crowds of them. Even with the crowds, I find the girls classes easily, they settle right in and I head off to the auditorium. On the way, I nearly stop in my tracks and get trampled by the crowd behind me, because what do I see on a wall outside the auditorium? A large map of the world with the 10/40 window highlighted. Hmmmm, okay I could get used to this. It reminds me of Hillcrest. I grab a seat down the back and start checking it out. There is a stage and a full band and praise team. I’ve got high hopes for the music. The praise gets started and I like it but I’m not that excited about it. I don’t recognize any of the songs. They do sound fantastic, just not familiar. After the praise one of the pastors gets up and introduces a couple that moved to Australia from India 30 years ago. Now they are headed back to a state in the north east with a population of 90 million and of that population only 0.02% are Christians. There are 450,000 villages there and they have a goal of planting a church in each one. Well, I’m all covered with goose bumps now. You know what they do next??? Just like at Hillcrest, they lay hands on them and pray as they send them out to the unreached to do their work, everybody gathers around or just reaches out a hand from there seat. It was amazing. For a few minutes, I felt like I was back in my next to the last row, sitting near the Baker’s and Thompson’s at Hillcrest.

I still don’t know if this is a winner yet, but it is showing a lot more promise than I originally thought. Now, we just have to get Fern a Sunday off to see if he likes it too.

And make sure everybody is wearing undies before we leave the house.

What you don't want for Christmas


Remember about eight months ago I mentioned we had bought a car? I also said something about taking pictures, but I never managed to get around to it. Well, two weeks ago I found a reason to take pictures of the car and we got a really bad Christmas present all at the same time!


Meet Maggie. The girls named her and we loved her. She was in excellent condition and was a great family car. She was truly a member of the family and she will be sorely missed.

You were loved.

I'm getting a little choked up here. Give me a minute.

Better now. (sniff)

First of all it was NOT my fault. A boy failed to give way. By boy, I mean a 20 year old and we all know that I am like twice his age which gives me the right to refer to him as a boy. So there.

I was taking the girls to swim lessons so Daddy missed out on this little adventure. They took us to the hospital by ambulance as a precaution because Katters had a stomachache and we both had nasty marks from the seat belts. Mariska was just fine and more concerned that she was missing her swimming lesson. I still have a sore back, but I think that is probably expected after a car accident.

Now we're past all the serious stuff, let's have a laugh about all of this!

1. I changed my drivers license to an Australian license all of one month before the accident.

2. One month after I first got my license when I was a teenager, I had a very similar accident. A woman ran a stop sign and pulled out in front of me.

3. I will never change my license ever again.

4. When Katriana was one month old, we had just got a newer car before she was born, a Mitsubishi that was similar in color and model to Maggie. We were rearended.

5. NO more Mitsubishis!

It has certainly made our holidays a little more interesting this year and I had to make up some very creative Santa stories considering half of the Target toy department was in the trunk at the time of the accident. The girls got a very long tour of the ambulance while I stowed the gifts in the trunk of a friends car that happened to be driving past. They knew something was up, of course, and I think they both have some serious doubts about Santa.

I wonder if you can work 'crushing a child's belief of Santa' into the insurance settlement?

Probably not.

Merry Christmas!



Had we not lost the camera, we would have sent out Christmas cards using these pictures.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

I shouldn't admit this but,


After having the camera for just over two years, reading the instruction manual, losing the camera and finding it again, I have just now realized a few things:

1. The camera can take video (In my defense, the manual never once mentioned video and you really have to maneuver around the menu before you find it.)

2. The camera also does photos in black and white, sepia, and other color filters.

3. The camera is just plain ole' awesome!

Yes, I have been playing around with the camera a bit lately and there are many photos uploading as we speak. I will be resizing and posting in the next week or two...


I make no promises, all 2 or maybe 3 of you know how that usually goes.

Merry Christmas!!!

Lost and Found


Our camera was lost for a few weeks. I was mourning the loss especially hard due to the holidays coming up and all the memories we would not be able to capture.

I was also pretty sure I lost the camera, so I was feeling REALLY guilty as well. The camera was a gift from Holly before we left and I have a BIT of a history of losing things.

Well, yesterday afternoon I get a phone call from Katter's teacher. The camera had been located in the writing bag that was sent home with us a month ago. Yes. One entire month and we only realized the camera was missing for two weeks. The children who had the bag after we did never mentioned the camera because they thought the teacher had put it in there. Needless to say, once the battery was recharged we got to view some interesting photos.

When I got the phone call there was actually some screeching and very happy noises on my end. (yes, the teacher thinks I'm nuts, but I'm cool with that) The noises weren't all for the camera being found, they were because I didn't lose it. Fern was the last one with the camera and the writing bag. It wasn't me. No sir, I'm innocent!!!! :)

Remember this?

A T-day Retrospective


T-day 2006: We had only just arrived in Australia and I do mean just arrived, as in less than 24 hours before the big day. There was no way this jet-lagged momma was going to put together the traditional turkey and pie feast.

T-day 2007: Okay, I passed the year before, so I was all prepared to make a big deal out of it this year. I started my shopping and meal planning well in advance. Just one or two or twelve problems.

1. Whole uncooked turkeys seem to be in short supply

2. The places that provide whole cooked turkeys only do them for Christmas and require your first born as payment. (We kind of like Katters so we passed)

3. Stuffed turkey roasts were available, but that would steal my joy in making awesome cornbread stuffing.

4. My husband, children, and in-laws don't really like turkey.

5. I made a chicken.

6. Yep, you read that right, I pretended it was turkey, bought a whole chicken, stuffed it and made it.

7. Stuffing was a problem. Aussies don't really do that whole cornbread thing, so I couldn't make cornbread stuffing, it was just regular boring stuffing.

8. All in all it went well, many substitutions were made and we didn't have pumpkin pie, but that's okay, because those family members are pretty much haters of all thanksgiving food, including pumpkin pie.

T-day 2008: This year, I didn't make a T-day dinner, because I was at work making a T-day dinner. Actually I was making the pies. I'm pretty sure I made eleven pies, but I can't be certain. I was in a pie making trance past the third or fourth one. I work at an American restaurant so we did a massive T-day buffet for all the ex-pats and curious Australians. Fun and full tummies were had by all. I also got to explain to the rest of the staff who are all non-American and mostly non-Australian that overeating is part of the holiday fun.
One guy asked if that is why Americans are so fat.


Oh yes he did


I'm at work, feeling a little bloated as women are prone to do and a fellow male co-worker who has zero manners walks up to me and pokes me in the stomach. (Did I mention he also lacks personal space?)

"Are you pregnant AGAIN??"*

Pause as you imagine three other co-workers have a sudden intake of breath and someone whispers:

"No he didn't...."

Yes folks. He did. He just asked the question that no one should ever ask someone else.

So I paid him back. I was in charge of breaks that night, so later on when he asked to go for an extra smoke break, what did I say?


Ahhh the joy of power and wielding it over someone else.

I also made him bring in the outside signs and chairs in the rain. (He normally does this anyways, but in my vindictive mood it felt like I was making him do it.)

So there!

Please return to your regularly scheduled slightly more mature blog reading.

*Just pointing out my children are 4 and 7, so if I was pregnant again, what would it matter????? Why the emphasis on AGAIN??? It's not like I'm popping 'em out every year and even if I were, would it be any of his business???

3 weeks!


You guessed it folks! In 3 weeks time I am finished with school!

No more homework

No more books

No more teachers dirty looks....

These will still apply, just not to me. I do have two children who have homework and books and I get the teachers dirty looks when I drop Katters off to school late for the 3rd time in one week. Oops!

For my last 5 weeks of school there aren't actually any classes. BONUS! Instead, we have self-study. Do the work and turn it in. This is just perfect for me. I thought. Yet, here it is the beginning of week 2 and I haven't even started any of my four assignments that are due in 3 weeks. I might want to stop blogging and letting you guys know I haven't fallen off the face of the earth and start my homework.

I've also come to another startling revelation. (still not starting my homework) I have to do more laundry now and clean the bathroom and make dinner and all of those things I was getting out of because I had the perfect excuse of being too busy with school and work. I am still working, but not that much. I'm at home a lot more now. It's amazing that I actually missed doing all of that housework stuff.

Mariska just came up to me and said:

"We need more educational books for me."

Then she just turned around and walked out.


I can't really argue with a request from a four year old for more educational books. I think we're headed to Borders. (still not starting my homework.)

10 weeks


In 10 weeks I will be finished with school. Let's all do a happy dance!Okay, you can stop now. I'll still be working but I will have one less thing to do, so I've already decided what I'll do with all that extra time. Blog! And spend time with my family, of course. Now on to the pictures. I know you guys love pictures and there were some grumbles (polite grumbles) about no pictures of Fern and I. We just aren't as photogenic as the girls, but we did go to an engagement party this past weekend of two of Ferns work people. That required us to dress up and put on make-up and fix our hair. Okay, I'm the only one that put on make-up and fixed my hair and technically I didn't have to fix my hair because I already had a hair appointment that morning anyways, so after it got colored and cut, it got fixed. Right, on to the photos.ACK! No flash. How do we make the flash work??? That's better, the flash is working! Wait, hey guys buggar off!Hey! Quit trying to eat Patricia's hair!There we go, it's perfect. Flash is working and no goofballs in the back. :)This is George. He's a Greek/Australian that thinks he's really American. He's looking for love so he can get a green card. Just kidding. He does like to pretend he's American, and it looks like he'll have a green card in the next year anyways thanks to the lottery. He's also Republican and likes long walks on the beach. If you have single sisters, let me know. :)[...]

Pictures. Of Birthdays. And things.





Mariska turns four.


We went to the Aquarium.


Walking on a winter day.


Fantastic view of the city from a ginormous ferris wheel.


Katriana turns seven and Mariska sulks. Life isn't fair when someone else is getting the presents.

Happy Birthday Love, You're Seven


Happy Birthday my love. You are Seven. It absolutely floors me that I have a child that old. Just a few days ago it seems you were turning one or two or one of those really small numbers. Now, you are Seven. You are over halfway finished with Grade One. We've finally put you in swimming lessons. You have more friends than you have fingers and maybe even toes. How did you make it so far and still manage to be so sweet? After all, I am your mother.

This morning as I put confetti and glitter inside balloons and then inhaled all of that sparkly stuff while I blew them up, you told me it was your best day ever and your best birthday ever and you loved me more than anything and let me tell you, those glitter coated lungs I'm sporting, are so worth it.

As you played with Rose Petal Cottage and pink legos I was thanking God that you still have no idea about boys and belly piercings. You are still so innocent, and yet, you know what's going on. We can't hide things from you. You know. You figure things out.

How will we manage now that you are so close to those double digits??? You are growing up before we're ready. But, isn't that the way it always is? They always do. One day they are babies, drooling, cutting teeth, and toddling across the living room and the next day we are stressing over boyfriends and a first kiss.

Right now, we are in the middle. We struggle to keep you young, yet not too sheltered, not too protected, but at the same time we aren't ready to give you to the world. Precious girl, you still belong to us. We aren't giving you up just yet. Give us more time, just another year or two, or twenty....

Happy Birthday my Love. We Love You.

Faking it


At work the other night, it was pointed out to me that I do not sound like a girl from the south of America (not South America mind you just the southern portion of America)until someone asks me which bit of America I'm from. Apparently, as soon as I respond with Oklahoma and Arkansas, I pull out a bit of a drawl and my speech from that point forward becomes a smidgen twangy.

Just a smidgen.

I did not believe this. Not one little bit. I have never had and will never have a typical southern accent with a drawl and twang. It just ain't happening folks.

A couple of hours later, someone asks me where I'm from. I say, (I kid you not)

"I'm from Oklahoma, what about ya'll?"

(They were Americans too)

I nearly choked as soon as the words were out of my mouth. I listened to the sound of my own voice and I could hardly believe it. I do occasionally throw around ya'll on the ole blawg and I will admit I actually miss the southern accent at times, but I have gone so far as to FAKE a southern accent.

Yes, I am crazy.

But we knew this.

Tell me peeps, what is the reason for my faking it?

(Yes, I just said peeps, I think it is part of the craziness that has afflicted my brain and caused me to fake a southern accent.)

(Or, I just said peeps, because I've always wanted to refer to some people as my peeps, and you people are my blog reading peeps, so yeah, peeps.)

The one that isn't about poop...


Two poop related posts in a row is enough for any blog, so now I'm moving on. Even though my life is still plagued by Mariska and her poop issues, I'm over it. It is okay. Everything will resolve itself and I will survive the plague of poop. (Isn't that mentioned in Revelations after the locusts?)

Now that I have freed my emotions from the plague of poop I can focus on more important issues surrounding the world around us. My energy, time, and emotions can be put to a better use. I can blog about things that other people actually find interesting. Things that might actually pertain to Australia. Like:


I started driving. I actually started driving back in March (I think) when we bought our car, but I haven't blogged about it yet. I am now driving on the opposite side of the road folks. The first few weeks were a little mind-boggling, but I'm doing alright now. Just keep me away from round-a-bouts.

I kid.

I can now successfully maneuver a round-a-bout and talk on my mobile (cell) at the same time. Actually, I've never tried that and I wouldn't really recommend it either, considering that driving in a round-a-bout is sort of like driving in a circle and that requires you to turn, which usually requires both hands on the wheel, so yeah, don't do that. I was just joking. Unless you have one of those high-tech hands free thingy-majigs and then you should be just fine.

Now that I am over the initial shock of driving on the left hand side of the road, it is starting to feel almost normal. I stopped chanting left, left, left a few days ago and now my fellow drivers don't think I'm as crazy.

I just wonder what it will be like when we go to America for a visit. When I drive there, will I just revert to driving on the right hand side of the road with no trouble? Or will it take some getting used to again?

That saying that everything is bigger in Texas should be changed to include all of America. (Sorry Brandi!) The lanes are smaller here and so are the parking lots, which is actually improving my driving skills. I'm not complaining. I took my driving test in Arkansas, which pretty much required me to drive around the block and stop at a stop sign and a red light. I had to park but that was in a normal sized parking space. No issues.

Tell me about the driving test in your state. Was it as easy as Arkansas? Did you have to parallel park?

Full of $#it.


It is official. Mariska is what the title says.

Full. of. It.

She turned 4 over a month ago and isn't pooping in the toilet yet, so off she went to the doctor to rule out any physical causes.

And guess what we found out?

Yep, she's full of it. Absolutely stuffed to the brim.

At some point, she started holding her poop, we're guessing because she thought it was gross. This IS the same girl that has a meltdown if she gets a booger on her finger, so it only makes sense that she'd be disgusted enough by her own poop to hold it in.

Well, because she was holding it, she ended up constipated, so now she's all blocked up and has stretched out all of her innards to the point that she can't feel when a poop is coming on and when new poop is made it just pushes what's closest to the opening out in her pants.


Right, so now to fix the problem we need to empty her out and let her innards go back to their normal size. Mariska is currently getting a couple of teaspoons of benefibre everyday and a laxative. I'm concerned that Miss Stubborn will still attempt to hold it in, but surely she's no match for a laxative??

If this doesn't correct the problem then she gets to start going to someone who will do biofeedback. I haven't really looked up biofeedback yet, but the doctor said it is a combination of exploring the psychological issues and teaching the child to recognize their bodily signals.

One day when Mariska is a teenager I will remind her of the days when she was 4 and held her poop to the point we had to take her to the doctor and get her abdomen x-rayed to find out she was full of it.

I will enjoy that day of motherhood when I can tell my child that she is FULL OF IT and not be considered a bad mother.

Happy Mother's Day!

If the world were made of poop.....


Today, after another poop accident, Mariska informs Daddy:

"If the world were made of poop, then Australia would be in my panties and Sri Lanka would be in the toilet."

Deep thoughts, let me tell ya. We just need Mariska to get that Australia sized poop into the toilet with the Sri Lanka sized poop.

Let's finish this already!


As promised, just late due to changes in internet providers and wacky modems that wouldn't work and a missing cord, here is the last of the pictures from Sri Lanka. At the wedding. Fern and I are doing the meet and greet. It's a large family and I did my best to remember names, but after the first 20 relatives or so I was sunk. I think the person we're talking to in this picture was relative 197. A tuckered out Katriana after a full day of wedding related stuff and a night of dancing.The bride and groom in their going away outfits. I did not manage to get a photo of them in their actual wedding attire. I was too busy trying to learn the names of 200 relatives.Mariska spent all but the first half hour of the reception asleep and being passed around to various relatives. She actually cried when we arrived at the reception. She told us she was tired and just wanted to go to sleep. Awwww, poor thing.The girls at the homecoming, which in Sri Lankan weddings is like the reception that happens when the bride and groom return from their honeymoon. You know, when they come home. A picture of the girls and I at the zoo. Yes, it's sideways. I'm too tired to change it. Just tilt your head to the left. Keep tilting. There you go, touch your ear to your shoulder. Good job! Your stretching your neck while looking at the picture! See it's an advantage to my many (2) blog readers that I didn't fix the picture. Yes folks, Sri Lanka has McDonald's. They have lots of McDonald's and KFC and Pizza Hut. The best part about McDonald's was their McRice value meal. It doesn't say on the sign, but it was 350 rupees, or about $3.50. That folks, concludes the never ending series on Sri Lanka, I did leave out huge chunks of our trip, but as I remember those bits, I'm sure I'll bore you with the details. Hopefully in the next few days I'll fulfill a few of my other promises. Hopefully.[...]

My Blog Will Go On


Yes it will. I'm currently trying to work 20 hours a week, go to school 20 hours a week, plus travel to and from, spend time with two children, my husband, tackle the never ending mountain of laundry, pack lunches and ocassionally cook something that doesn't come from a box. While trying to figure out how to do all of those things simultaneously and balance plates on my head I left out time to blog.

I've learned I'm not very organized, I stress out easily, and I've broken all of our plates. Only kidding, we still have two left.

Organizing my time is coming along nicely, either that or I've just gotten used to the feeling of being run off my feet.

I actually have lots of news that I will jam into this one little post. Here goes:

1. I am going to finish my never-ending series on Sri Lanka with a photo post in the next week. Promise. :)

2. Mariska turned 4 last week and I will post some photos on that before she turns forty. Promise.

3. Mariska has to see a podiatrist tomorrow about her feet. (They turn in and she trips over them.)

4. Mariska has started peeing in the toilet by herself! Yay!!!!!

5. She still isn't pooping yet. Our next hurtle.

6. There is a lot on Mariska isn't there?

7. We bought a car!! Yay!!! We named her Maggie. I'll post about that soon too. Promise.

Okay kids, that's 7 things and a lot of promises. I better end this post now before I get myself in too deep.

Still here and Christmas


Right, I should have some perfectly legitimate excuse as to why I haven't blogged in two weeks, but...

I don't.

So, you'll just have to forgive me, as you usually do and hope that I no longer neglect my blog quite as much in the future.

But I probably will.

I'm just saying.

Now, for the fun part! CHRISTMAS!!! Only 6 weeks after the holiday, you guys get to find out how we spent Christmas Day.


It's okay, I don't mind if you're jealous.


This gorgeous piece of beach is located at the Mount Lavinia Hotel. This place was just beautiful. As you can see.


The highlight of any day at the beach is being buried in the sand. Of course.


After all the burying, fighting the waves, and hunting for seashells, it's a good time to sun yourself and have a little chat.

Day 6 to Christmas Eve


Okay folks, I'll try not to bore you with minor details and just hit some of the high points. On Day 6 we got to meet the bride and her mother and the girls took to their new auntie right away. She was very friendly and sweet with the girls. :) It was also decided that I was doing the 1st reading at the wedding. Later that day I was also introduced to the most awesome iced coffee and savoury pastries EVER. We made a stop by Fab cafe and OH MY GOODNESS. I was in food heaven. I can not describe to you the tastieness that was going on in my mouth. I am salivating just remembering the wuuundeerfulll things that I ate. Excuse me while I wipe the drool off of the keyboard.Nothing interesting happened on Day 7. We just did some shopping. Day 8 was a full day. In Sri Lankan weddings they don't do a rehearsal dinner, sometimes they will do an informal rehearsal, which is what we did that day. We also took the girls for their fitting of their flower girl dresses. And yes, I took pictures!The straps were not finished, so they are just tied up around the neck to keep the dress on until the lady got a chance to measure them.No surprises here, Mariska refused to turn around so I could take her picture, but it works out okay, so you can see the back of the dress as well. The hem had not been done on Mariska's dress, so that is why you can see that ratty looking edge at the back. After the fun of rehearsals and fitting, it was time to head off to Water's Edge. The in-laws had to discuss the menu and all the final arrangements for the Homecoming. In Sri Lankan weddings, they have almost a second reception when the couple gets back from the honeymoon. It is a little more laid back than the wedding reception and typically a little smaller as well. In this case there were 400 coming to the wedding reception and only 200 coming to the homecoming. Water's Edge was gorgeous. While the in-laws discussed menus and other details, the girls and I explored a little bit. The girls are checking out a stray cat that has wandered onto the golf course in this one. My mother-in-law and I went shopping in the afternoon for fabric. We hadn't been able to find dresses we liked for the girls to wear to the homecoming so we decided to have dresses made. The dresses turned out very well and came out to about $35 a piece. That is very expensive by Sri Lankan standards, but we had looked at dresses in Australia before we left and a dress of similar quality was running $80, so we felt like we got a pretty good deal and we got to decide the color, fabric, and exactly how we wanted it to look. :) On Day 9 we travelled north of Colombo for a couple of hours to visit my father-in-laws brother and his wife and kids and spouses and other relations in Chillaw. They were all very welcoming and absolutely adored the girls. This was also the first time we went to the beach while in Sri Lanka. The beach was a mere 5 minute drive from the house."I think I'm a little wet.""The waves are getting me!"This is Tishan Seeya and Shanti Achi. Seeya and Achi are the sinhala words for grandma and grandpa, so it's like calling them grandma shanti and grandpa tishan. Tishan is my father-in-law's younger brother and Shanti is his wife. They were favorites with the girls. Christmas Eve was Day 11 and it was by far the most Christmassy looking place we've ever been. Sri Lankans will put fake snow on anything that doesn't move and probably on things that do move as well. All of the businesses have Christmas lights up and Christ[...]

Day 3, 4, and 5 - Sri Lanka


Okay folks. Yesterday, I left you with landing in Colombo and Mariska shouting that we were in India. We still don't know why she thought we were going to India, but it was good for a few laughs. Technically this is still part of Day 2, but those are minor details so I shall go on. As we walked through the airport and did all of our immigration stuff and duty free shopping, I was shocked by a few things: (List time! Hahahahaha!)1. The airport was nice, clean, and a decent airport. It wasn't very big, but it was still a perfectly fine airport. Fern had warned me that the airport wasn't very good, but I'm still wondering what wasn't good about it. 2. Every 25 feet or so, there was a white christmas tree decorated with all colors of ornaments and garland. This was the beginning of a bit of a theme. Sri Lankans put up Christmas trees and lights everywhere. Don't even get me started on the fake snow. 3. The duty free prices were listed in American dollars, so we bought whiskey for the wedding reception, paid in Australian dollars and got American dollars as change. End of list. :) As we were getting ready to exit the airport we had an interesting predicament, there were two lines for customs. Foreign passport holders and local passport holders. Hmmm. Fern is a local and the girls and I are not, but all of our bags are packed together, etc. Now what? Well, Fern took us through the locals line and they just waved us on through without checking our bags or anything. Score for being married to a local! They were thouroughly searching all of the foreigners bags, so we were able to avoid that headache. On our way to the apartment, the girls were very excited to see the grandparents and Uncle Shehan. Mariska noticed the "tons of coconut trees." Katriana was counting the stray dogs she saw, 8. Before we made it to the apartment, the girls were fast asleep. They woke up early on Day 3, ready for their first full day in Sri Lanka. Here are the girls ready for our first outing in Sri Lanka. It's Sunday and we are headed to Majestic City which is a shopping mall that is conveinently located a couple of blocks from our apartment. The first thing you notice in Sri Lanka is the traffic and the horns honking. Everyone honks their horn. It's a bit noisy and seems chaotic, but there are rarely traffic accidents. If there are two lanes, you'll usually see atleast three lanes of cars crowded in there. People with motorcycles just go where they please and swerve around other cars and manage to fit into the smallest places. It's pretty interesting to watch.Hey look! Sri Lanka is considered a developing nation, but they have shopping malls with play areas for children! Fern was impressed and a bit jealous that they didn't have anything like that when he was growing up.Sunday evening we started making the visiting rounds. I think we went to 3 houses that night and had dinner at the last house. Katriana also started complaining of an earache, but she didn't have a fever or any other symptoms, so we gave her some Tylenol and decided to see how it went on Monday. Well, Monday was a full day. We went shopping for my saree for the wedding and I was measured for the top to be made for it. We also headed to Mt Lavinia to meet the wedding coordinator/dressmaker lady. She measured the girls for their flower girl dresses and showed us the flower arrangements and other wedding related stuff. After that and a few more errands, we headed back to the apartment for a rest. T[...]

Day 2-Singapore to Sri Lanka


Let's see here... Where did I leave you? That's right. We were in a taxi and on our way to the hotel. Speaking of the taxi, the system was very very organized. You step into a line that leads to the exit door of the airport. There is a guy with a walkie-talkie thingie and when you get to him he tells you which numbered parking spot to go to. When you get to the spot there is a taxi waiting for you. At the same time that he is directing people to their taxi's, he is also directing more taxis from the taxi line into the numbered spots. I was pretty impressed. Order and organization make my eyes light up and my heart flutter. I may not be able to create that order myself, but I sure do like to look at it. Everything in Singapore seemed very organized, orderly and clean. We loved it.After we made it to our hotel, checked in and got to our room, it was nearly midnight Singapore time and nearly 2am Australia time. We kind of expected the girls to crash and us to crash, but no. We were all wide awake. No problems, Fern has been to Singapore many times and knows of a department store called Mustafa something or the other that is open 24 hours and just so happens to be two blocks from our hotel. We've been in our room for all of 10 minutes and we are off again. I was a teensy bit unsure about walking down the street at midnight in a foreign country, but once I stepped outside, I realized it was just fine. People were out and about like Saturday afternoon at Wal-mart.Saying that Mustafa was overwhelming does not do the place justice. It was at least 4 or 5 floors and they had everything. Clothing, Saree's, electronics, jewellery, groceries, and an entire section devoted to bangles. All colors, sizes, and varieties. This place was amazing. As we wandered around, we made a few observations:1. It was packed. Midnight does not mean time to be at home in Singapore.2. There were American brands everywhere. Hershey's, French's mustard, and more. Singapore has more American brands than Australia does.3. Mustafa had Wal-mart supercenter for a snack. It would have taken days to look at everything so we just grabbed a couple of snacks (Hershey's chocolate bars) and headed back to the hotel for a little bit of sleep. I think the excitement had gotten to all of us, because we only slept for about four hours. When we woke up, we headed back to Mustafa to do some actual shopping instead of people dodging. At 6am Mustafa is nearly empty. That was nice. We all got a few little things and decided it was time to do some Singapore sight-seeing before we had to head back to the airport. This is about half of the saree section in Mustafa. Only half. The girls, being adorable in their hats and sunnies.Now we are getting ready to ride the MRT (mass rapid transit) which in Singapore style is very clean, organized and looks brand-new. There were Christmas decorations all over the place and most seemed to focus on the birth of Jesus, not just Santa Claus. Singapore is very culturally diverse without a Christian majority, yet if a nativity scene offends someone, they don't make a big fuss over it. Katriana shows off her mad photography skillz.This amazing little piece of technology lets you know if you have enough time to make it across the street or if in the interest of prolonging your life, you should wait. Another interesting fact about Singapore. They have Burger King! Why am I so excited about this??Australia has Hungry Jack's. It's th[...]

Day 1- Melbourne to Singapore


The long awaited day had finally arrived. We were heading to Sri Lanka. Katriana had not been feeling very well and had a nasty sounding cough, but she kept reassuring us that she felt just fine. The girls were both excited to fly again, especially since we were flying Qantas for the first leg of our flight and Sri Lankan for the second leg. We made it to the airport in plenty of time, checked in our bags and browsed around the airport. We headed to the gate a few minutes before we were scheduled to board so we could watch the airplanes.


Qantas gives out these great wiggles fun packs for the kids on board and they entertained our children for most of the seven hour flight to Singapore. The other bonus was the in-flight entertainment. Personal monitors, choosing which program you want and when you want to watch it. Bliss. Katriana enjoyed Bindi, Jungle Girl. (Steve Irwin's daughter) Mariska only wanted to watch Playhouse Disney. I watched Gone with the Wind and Fern watched a little bit of everything.


Now, if you squint in this picture and use your imagination, you can tell that this is a photo of Ayer's Rock, taken from an airplane window. Remember, use your imagination.


Once we made it to Singapore, we were faced with long lines at immigration. As soon as we cleared immigration it only took a few minutes to get a taxi and be on our way to the hotel for the night. This is what a taxi looks like in Singapore. All different colors, but the style car is always the same.