Today was amazing! We had no alarms, no work, and no grown-up things to do. Tyler played some much needed video games and he even let me play some. We then plucked away a little more at the Aussie goodie packages we're sending to my sisters and their families. We bought a whole bunch of little kid candies for our nieces and nephews. We wanted to gift them with these little jars we've been collecting (thank you Talenti and all your lovely flavors). We first wrapped them in paper, then I printed out each of their names and colored on the back of the printer paper with a pencil. Then I placed each name onto the paper covered jar and traced over the name on the printer paper. The graphite on the back of the paper transfers onto the paper wrapped around the jar. Lastly I took a Sharpie to the pencil-traced name and there you have it. Tyler had some Aussie stickers from way back on his mission that we decorated the rest of the jars with. I sure hope they like them.



Today started out incredibly stressful; I think people's breaking points have been pushed to the limits at work and the outcome is being shoved onto those who don't deserve it. All things were resolved by lunchtime and everyone went about their Friday with the lingering hope that the weekend was just around the corner. Tyler was working late again, so I went to Sydney's house and we both worked on our personal websites. We have both been bouncing ideas off each other about how to go about branding ourselves. There are a couple of things I am thinking about and color is one of them. I absolutely love this color—this is the sketchbook that Tyler bought me in Australia and I think it has become my inspiration for the direction I want to go. Bold yet subtle.



Tyler and I are sooo out of groceries, and I mean really out of all food that contributes to making a real meal. We're not entirely poor (although Australia did make a significant dent in our wallets), we just haven't had time to do some real hardcore grocery shopping. Somehow that seemed to be the theme at work, for everywhere I looked someone was giving away fruit because they were going on vacation, or veggies that were overflowing their garden, or pastries just because. I came home with tomatoes, cucumbers and kiwis—of course that was not enough to make up for how out of fresh food we were, but it definitely helped—what great co-workers! After Tyler got home from work, we braved the supermarket to shop 'til we dropped.



You know what's a great thing about birthdays? There is almost always a chance that you get a present(s) before or after the actual date. This, my friends, is one of those. My thoughtful friend Sydney got me this lovely cake pan that has a tasting cup. You pour batter into the pan as well as the little cup and set it in to bake. After a couple of minutes, you pull out the cup and taste the cup to ensure that it tastes as lovely as the recipe says it should. Quite genius, no? She got it from quirky where you can make your inventions and ideas come to life. I can't wait to use it; I've got to find the cake recipe to break this bad boy in. 



My co-workers have been talking for some time about starting some sort of exercise thing after work while the weather is still good. My one co-worker is a mad Zumba instructor and has taught multiple boot camps, so naturally she offered to whip us into shape twice a week. One day a week we will work on our arms and the other day work on our legs; both days we will do cardio and abs. Today was the first day and boy howdy have I put on some pounds. It doesn't help that while in Australia I justified every morsel of chocolate with vacation. We looked so funny in the parking lot with our yoga mats doing all of our reps. I'm sure I will be sore tomorrow, and the next day and the next day…



Tyler's mom is in the Stake Young Women presidency and asked me to help her with an upcoming project. They were going to have a meeting/dinner where they were announcing the upcoming youth theme for 2014 and needed some hand-lettering done, among other things. They bought six of these acrylic chalk boards and wanted the theme lettered on it with the scripture to give to each ward. I went to Lynchland after work to do some experimenting with fitting the scripture on these boards and going over all the deliverables needed for their meeting next month. I'm excited to do something with my hands. Sometimes being stuck behind a computer hinders my creativity and it gets mundane, so this will be a nice way to change things up.



This morning we rushed to Lehi for my cousin's farewell. After the meeting, we rushed back to Murray for our church. Tyler had to go into work, so I went to nursery by myself. It went okay, but there are definitely some kiddos that just can't cope when Tyler isn't there to save the day. Tyler tried so hard to get his shift covered today, but no luck; we both were super bummed about that. Tonight, Nicole and Matt came over to give us some lovely cookies. We were excited because we knew they'd make the perfect picture for today, but we were so hungry that we gobbled them up before either of us remembered to snap a photo (they were that good). Tyler starts school tomorrow—summer is officially over.



Tyler hasn't slept well this week and I have been going going going all week with my work photo shoots. This morning we slept way way way super-way in. Tyler was supposed to work at 2 p.m., but a co-worker wanted more hours, meaning Tyler didn't have to go in until 4 p.m.; he was so grateful for a couple more hours of sleep. After Tyler went in, I did things here and there. We only had the bare essentials of groceries and I had no desire to cook. For dinner I ate the cheese and crackers left over from the photo shoot yesterday. Tyler made fun of me for posting this picture with the comment: "Oh Brooke, must you simultaneously broadcast to the world both our poverty and our laziness? I will be home and cook for you momentarily!"



Tyler had a follow-up appointment for his eyeball this morning, so even though I had my last day of shooting I got to sleep in a teeny tiny bit before driving him in. His appointment went well and he passed the vision test with flying colors (way to go!). I dropped him off at home and then went on to work for the final day of being on set. I wore one of my very favorite things from Australia that we bought on this day. I got so many compliments on my opal fleck kangaroo. I still can't believe we've been back for almost a week. It seems like we were just on that plane, but at the same time if feels like ages since we were frolicking on the beach. I'm so glad this week is over; bring on the weekend!



I had to wake up even earlier today for day two of shooting our upcoming winter catalogue. The first half of the day we spent up in Morgan, Utah, with a real live '57 Thunderbird, complete with robin's egg interior and the purest of white exterior. Again, it was hot, but we only shot for four hours and then had a four-hour break. We cleaned up part of the set and headed to a neighboring town for some country eats. Once we had our home cooked lunch it was onto the Morgan Municipal Airport to shoot with some authentic war planes that were quite a sight to see. We shot for four more hours and then made the long trek home. Tyler had a LASIK touch-up appointment in the morning that I had to miss, so luckily his mom was able to take him. His right eye has never been quite as clear as it should have been since his procedure, so they fixed him right up. I got home oh-so-very late and tried my hardest to stay awake to hang out with Tyler, but these last couple of days have just pooped me right out (which is a good thing, because I think it is slowly but surely getting rid of this wretched jet lag).



Today I woke up extra early (which wasn't very hard—since being back from Australia even a full night's sleep feels like a short nap) for day one of our winter catalogue photo shoot. I am especially excited about the theme of this catalogue, for it is planes, trains, and automobiles. Today we were on set at the Union Station in Ogden, Utah. We shot all over the place: inside one of the medical cars, on the tracks, in front of the engines, the main station, and the back of the ticketing room. It was quite the romantic and moody shoot, even though it was bloody hot (I was missing the Aussie winter breeze more than ever). Every shot we took I got more and more excited about laying this out in a couple weeks. As much fun as these shoots are, that is definitely my favorite part. We had a company-wide meeting that we had to call into from our location. It sounds like they are making some changes, some for the better, but they'll be a difficult adjustment. In the evening, Tyler and I ventured to a couple of stores to catch up on all of the birthday gifts we've missed this year with the siblings and kiddos that live out of state. We figure since we are sending them packages of Australia goodies, why not include their extremely belated (or early) birthday presents?



I completely chunked it today. I woke up late (of course) and managed to make it into work at a reasonable hour. I mustered through work and went home to try and stay awake for our work party in the evening. My work makes an effort in the summer to do some sort of company party at a fun place in the state. Last year they took everyone to Lagoon and this year it was the Hoogle Zoo. Tyler had to work tonight, so I was flying solo. Sydney suggested we go together, so I planned on meeting up at her house a couple of hours after work. I tried to stay awake, but ended up falling asleep at my computer and missing her five phone calls, three texts, and one voicemail. I woke up and managed to read her text message stating that I had won an award at the party (for all my hard work at our summer conference) and wasn't there to receive it. I felt like a terrible employee and an ungrateful co-worker (thanks again Caroline for nominating me). I then texted Tyler to tell him the bittersweet news and soon he came though the door with this single flower he plucked on his way home. It completely cheered me up, and I am sure I am over-reacting, but I still felt like a chump. Here's to better days.



I have the best co-workers around, right? I mean they let me take a whole two weeks off without any contact and took on all my responsibilities. I knew I had to bring them back some great things from down under for their efforts. I made them these cute little thank you cards with one of my favorite pictures from this day, a Crunchie honeycomb candy bar (because I am determined to share, with everyone I know, Australia's best kept secret: honeycomb), and a cute little clip-on koala for their desk. Going into work was rough; the Baileys told us the jet lag was worse going to the U.S. than coming from the U.S., and boy howdy were they right. We are so tired…



Tyler and I couldn't sleep until late this morning, which was okay because we didn't have church until 1 p.m. We got up with groggy heads and mustered through the two hours of nursery, while our bodies thought it was the middle of the night. We left early and fell into bed to catch up on sleep. We woke up much too late in the evening to help us get over this jet lag. We did a little bit of unpacking, but mostly spent our time unpacking all the chocolate we plan to send to different parts of the state and the country. We can't wait to share all of these goodies with our friends and family.



Today was a strange day because we went back in time. We woke up around 6:30 a.m. to drive to the airport. John drove us in his swanky Jaguar again and we watched a documentary on the Beach Boys while he shared priceless wise thoughts and tips on life. We got to the airport with plenty of time and ate some Cadbury chocolate for breakfast. While we were waiting I was looking at pictures on Instagram from Sydney about the office luau going on. I was living out Saturday and she was still living out Friday. It was pretty trippy knowing that when we landed "this afternoon" she would be the one picking us up, but she still had to finish out Friday and go to bed and such. We boarded with no problems, but were disappointed to find that it was a full flight and we would not have the row to ourselves like we did on the way there. The flight was long and Tyler got a terrible migraine. The lady we shared the row with had the window seat, and I swear she had the smallest bladder in history. I can't blame her though; Delta came around with the drink cart way too often for a thirteen-hour flight. I watched some movies and tried to sleep, but had no such luck.

Finally, we landed at LAX at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday (haven't we done this already?) and could not wait to get off of the plane. Unfortunately, immigration didn't open until 6:30 a.m., meaning we had to wait on the plane for another thirty minutes. The rest of the day was a bit of a blur as we finally got off the plane, waited in long lines, and had what seemed like the longest and most exhausting layover in L.A. Finally we made it to Salt Lake and Sydney was there awaiting our arrival, but of course we weren't done. The baggage carousel wasn't moving and we waited for what seemed like forever because we just wanted to get home. Sydney got us home in one piece and we rewarded her with her Sydney T-shirt and some of the numerous Aussie lollies we had brought home in our little suitcase. We got into our beckoning bed and sank into a deep sleep until 8:30 p.m. We had no food and no energy to make dinner, so we ordered a pizza and Tyler went out to get some basic groceries. Thanks to some major jet lag, we didn't get back to sleep until 4:00 a.m.



Today was our last full day in Australia and boy did we cram it full. In the morning we started out at the Koala Park, just down the street a ways from the Baileys' home. We once again saw an array of animals, although most of them were still sleeping, and a sheep shearing demonstration complete with a boomerang demo. After that we went to a koala talk where a lady told us all about koalas and then we got to pet them! EEK! Did you know that koala comes from the aboriginal word meaning 'no drink' because they rarely drink water because they get all of their hydration from the eucalyptus leaves? After the koala talk we got to go into the kangaroo feeding area where, you guessed it, we fed the kangaroos. Tyler bought us some food for them, which was basically rabbit food, as kangaroos are essentially giant rabbits.

While waiting for Shaunee to meet us there and accompany us to our next destination, we saw that the Koala Park had honeycomb Magnums, and of course we bought them. Shaunee met up with us, delivering one last lunch from Pie Face, and we drove to Gosford to go to the Reptile Park. It was great because we got to see many animals that we hadn't had much luck with at the other parks. We saw another even bigger crocodile that actually swam around for us, a normally nocturnal Tasmanian devil that was out and about, dingos and even dingo puppies, and a wombat that was running around to pat. They had a reptile show where a reptile specialist told us about all these different animals and let us pet them, gators and crocs included. We then walked through a snake house and a spider house and saw all the different Australian spiders. Did you know that Hollywood imported the Australian huntsman spider for the movie Arachnophobia? It's because they needed a spider that was big and scary, but not deadly, and the harmless but horrifying huntsman fit the bill. Tyler said he killed giant huntsmans all the time when he was here... Yikes.

After the Reptile Park we drove home and dropped Shaunee off before meeting up with a couple more of Tyler's friends from his mission. We had Chinese food with a missionary from his mission who had come back to marry an Australian from one of his wards, and then we met up with a convert who treated us to a Taiwanese dessert. While we were there, we ran into an Australian missionary couple from Tyler's mission that was back in Sydney again for another mission. It was so fun to meet everyone and the food was great to boot. Once home we had the daunting task of packing everything into our suitcases. We are bringing a lot back to the States, but I am confident we can make it work. 



Today was completely jam-packed to the brim with awesome sites to see. We started off at the Wild Life Sydney Zoo to finally see all of the various deadly and dangerous animals of Australia. There are SO many snakes here, it's crazy. We also saw kangaroos, wallabies, an echidna, a kookaburra, a cassowary, and a massive crocodile. After Wild Life Sydney we made our way next door to the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, but took a break to eat some scrumptious Golden Gaytimes on the pier. The first thing we saw at the aquarium was a couple of very active platypuses; it was so fun to see. We saw all sorts of teeny tiny fish and sting rays and then made our way down down down to the basement to walk through several various fish tunnels filled with sharks, gigantic fish, and fake ruins.

When we were done there we walked up the street to the famous Sydney Tower. After a very cheesy 4-D intro video, we rode an elevator to the observatory deck at the top. We made it right on time to see the sun set. Can I just say how amazing the sunsets are here? They always have a band of orange and then the blue blue sky until it is down. Back in Utah it seems like the whole sky is a changing color as the sun sets, but here it is just that band… so interesting. After we got our fill of that floor, we went to get our literal fill on a neighboring floor at the Sydney Tower Buffet. This floor was amazing, you get two hours to eat whatever you want, sit and enjoy the sight of Sydney out the window, AND—here's the kicker—the floor is slowly spinning while you eat. The windows and the center of the tower remain stationary, but the tables are all arranged on a giant, slowly-rotating carousel so you get a gradually changing view of the whole city. I loved that.

We had so many delicious and upscale foods: barbecue pork belly, lamb, kangaroo rump, sausages made from crocodile and buffalo (both were pretty meh, but now I can say I've had it), and all sorts of sides. The desserts were pretty grand as well: lemon curd tarts, pavlovas (another authentic Australian delight made from merengue, cream, and fruit), eclairs, ice creams (hokey pokey aka honeycomb), and a honey lavender pudding that definitely tasted like soap to me. Shaunee had intended to join us today, but again had too much work to do. We planned on buying her dinner at this fancy buffet to repay her hospitality and generosity, but since she couldn't come, we brought little plastic bags so we could bring the buffet to her. Tyler was a master at secretly sneaking our top picks of food into the baggies to take home. I just kept laughing because it looked like he was discreetly spooning food straight into his lap. We took the train home and presented Shaunee with all of the exotic food we had bagged for her—she was quite impressed. 



We slept way in again today, but managed to make it to the 11 a.m. session (the very last one before the evening sessions) at the Sydney Temple. This is such a tiny temple, but I loved it, blue tile roof and all. After the temple we were going to drive to Canberra, the capital of Australia, but it was a three-hour drive and we were tired. As we talked about it more, we realized that we were only going to Canberra because we each thought that the other one had wanted to go, and that neither of us really even cared about going. Instead we ran a few errands; first up, mailing off Kevin's postcards all the way from down under to the great Kentucky state. We then went to get lunch at Red Rooster, another must-eat place while here in Australia. It's a sort of KFC/Chick-fil-a and boy did we pig out.

We went back to the house to change and then go on our last errand of buying souvenir lollies. It's no question that the best souvenir is food, especially when you're in a place that values honeycomb and Cadbury chocolate as much as here (can you tell how much I love their taste in treats here?). We bought the works for our friends, families, and of course ourselves. The look on that cashier's face when she saw us unload our cart was priceless. We fessed up right away and told her that we were Americans who couldn't get enough of their sweets; she laughed and agreed that the chocolate here is much better than the States'. We were totally that person in the line that prompts people behind to take their things off of the conveyer belt because it is talking so long and go into the longer line because you know it will be faster.

We got back and spread out all of our bags and showed the Baileys how much we love the treats here. Tyler also called up some of the people that wanted to visit with us while we were here to set up some meet ups. After dinner we went to visit a less-active member who really liked Tyler and his companion Brad when they served here. She was so happy to see Tyler and told us all about her life, family, and happenings. We were there for about an hour and then made our way back home.



Shaunee was finally able to join us for a full day of fun. We took the train into the city, like always, only this time it was Shaunee's first time since she was in grade school; she can afford the ridiculous parking costs in the city. We started out at Circular Quay again and made our way to The Rocks for a delicious breakfast. We ate at a restaurant called Pancakes on the Rocks. Did you know that you don't tip in Australia? They just include it in the food costs. It has it's pros and cons—you don't get a drink refill as often, but you don't have to do math when you they bring you the check. After breakfast we walked though all of the shops for more souvenirs. We found a shop entirely devoted to honeycomb; I had no idea there were so many different kinds of honey. I bought a bag of honeycomb to share with my co-workers to go along with the little koalas I bought them. We then stopped at an opal shop (opal is the semi-precious stone here that is in all the jewelry) and I bought some opal necklaces for my sisters and myself.

We ended up back at Circular Quay for a ferry ride over to Manly beach. I love ferry rides, I could seriously ride them all day—we even saw a pod of dolphins before reaching Manly. At Manly Beach we played in the water while Shaunee watched and called us crazy kids. Just off the beach we got some fish and chips, a Bailey tradition at Manly Beach that is always followed with Copenhagen ice cream. We rode the ferry back during the sunset and got a true view of the harbor. The last place on our list for the night was Luna Park, the sort of Lagoon of Sydney. There are some slight differences though; first off, Luna Park is much more iconic for Sydney, and secondly, Luna Park is WAY smaller than Lagoon. The rides were all closed, but the park was opened to walk through because there was some sort of event going on in one of the fun houses. After some photos, we made our way back to the train station and rode home. It was good to have Shaunee with us; she and her parents had been making fun of us all week for how tired we were, but she saw firsthand how exhausting our days had been and she was just as pooped. We stopped for some McDonald's on the way home and turned in.



Today we had planned to go to another art gallery and then to visit Surry Hills—a part of Sydney that used to be a bit ghetto, but was recently turned into a bunch of hipster shops and boutiques. We slept way too late, then the Baileys forgot to inform us that the cleaners were coming. They were cleaning all of the hallways outside our room, so we decided to wait a bit. Once they were gone from the hallways they moved their way into the bathroom, so we couldn't get ready. By the time they left, the weather had turned gloomy, dark, and grey, and we decided not to go out. I was okay to not go to the other gallery and I am sure that Surry Hills would have just been another 'Pitt Street Mall' in that it would have been very expensive. We settled instead on staying in for the rest of the day. Once we were ready, we had a snack of our mangos we had bought on Saturday at Parklea Markets. Tyler showed me the true way to eat a mango, you slice it into thirds, favoring the outer thirds. With the middle third, looking like a thick disc, you trim off the skin and eat it to the pit. The outer thirds you cut it into a grid without cutting the skin. Then you pop up the round bottom so that it fans out like so and then you eat each little square with delight. The rest of the night we just relaxed together. It was really nice to have a day to just take it easy, like a vacation from our vacation.



We had a rough time getting up this morning because we've finally adjusted to the new time zone and sunk back into our sleeping-in-selves. It doesn't help that church was at 9 a.m. and we are used to going to 1 p.m. church. It was a really great meeting; it was a missionary farewell for a young woman in the ward. Not many of the people that Tyler remembered were in the ward anymore, but there were some familiar faces. After church we went back to the Baileys' house to help prepare dinner. They were having their family over (Shaunee's sister and two brothers and their spouses and kids) for an authentic Aussie barbecue. They grilled beef, chicken, sausages, and lamb with the most lovely marinades you could think of. The potato salad was delicious too, and Shaunee's mom, Leslie, even made a quick bag of frozen vegetables because she thought all this meat wasn't very healthy, although they were mostly untouched. For dessert there were merengues, rice pudding, and trifle. We stuffed our faces flat and enjoyed the funny family dynamic that the Baileys have. They are noisy, silly, and fun to be around, and we have felt honored and humbled to be in their gracious company for this trip.



Today we were finally able to go somewhere with Shaunee. She has been meaning to accompany us to some of our tourist destinations, but has been rather busy at work. In the morning we went to Parklea Markets, a ton of shops inside of a fairground-type warehouse every Saturday and Sunday. It is chock full of produce, souvenir shops, candy shops, and really anything else you can think of. Our first stop was at this little cracker jack looking cart with an old lady behind it making fresh mini doughnuts with this little machine—a terrific breakfast. We then got started on the shops.

Tyler already brought home a slew of Aussie things for his family when he returned from his mission, but I was determined to get something for my family members. We bought an authentic Aussie hat for my dad, which took me forever to select because there were so many choices. We bought an Aussie license plate for my mom to put in the family game room and a decorative boomerang. We then bought real throw-around boomerangs for my dad and brothers-in-law, and little boomerangs for the nieces and nephews. We bought a shirt that says "I (heart) Sydney" for my friend Sydney because she was and will be our airport chauffeur. Soon Shaunee had to leave for work-related reasons and her brother came to pick her up. Next, we then bought Aussie playing cards and kangaroo tie tacks for us and little clip-able koalas for my co-workers.

We came across a shop selling workman's clothes. In Australia, all workmen wear these neon yellow/neon orange and navy blue tops, whether it be hoodies, polos, v-necks, or coats. In the States, neon is all the rage, so of course we had to buy some, but Shaunee just laughed at us when we showed her in the evening, as it's a sort of janitorial/construction worker uniform here. We scoured the fruit stands looking for mangos, but couldn't find any. Fortunately, a produce man directed us to a different Asian fruit stand, the only one in the whole warehouse that had mangos. Tyler was ecstatic; we bought five! We then had lunch—kebabs. They are sort of like gyros, but Australian. We also got an order of chicken chippies (french fries with chicken salt on them… so. good.) and ginger beer—a very Aussie meal.

Our plan for the evening was to drive up to Newcastle to ride camels along the beach. We found that we had plenty of time, so we hit up some thrift shops and stopped for a couple of Golden Gaytimes (honeycomb-biscuit covered ice cream bars made with toffee ice cream—honeycomb!). We soon were on the road to Stockton Beach for the camel riding at sunset. At first the GPS took us to the wrong end of the beach, unbeknownst to us until we asked a lady walking her dog. She said that we needed to go to Anna Bay for the camels; we thought we had plenty of time, so we frolicked in the water a bit. We jumped in the car and put in Anna Bay and saw that it took another hour to get there. Who knew Stockton Beach was so massive?

We raced the sun to get there in time. We parked the car and walked down to the camel trailer, waiting for the camels to come back. It never said on their website when they stopped giving rides, they just said sunset. We waited and waited until it was basically dark. Tyler was gutted that we weren't going to be able to ride them. He rode them on his mission, but really wanted me to be able to ride them too. When they finally came back, he asked if we could just have a quick ride, but they were all done. I told him it was fine and that we should get on the road. We stopped at a gas station on the way back to buy drinks for our Sunday dinner with the Baileys. Once back in Dural, we bought a pizza from Eagle Boys, because pizza cheers up even the bluest of Tylers.



Today we started our day with a long drive to the Blue Mountains. They are certainly not as big as the mountains here, but they are incredibly blue (something to do with all of the eucalyptus trees). We stopped at Echo Point in Katoomba, which is a little lookout point swarming with tourists. It was pretty cold today, especially up in the mountains, but we were so glad that we got to see them. We took the small hike down to the Three Sisters, a famous rock formation (like Delicate Arch or something) and took some pictures. You can hike down past the Three Sisters to the floor of the valley, but the "hike" is really a set of rickety stairs carved and/or bolted into the mountainside. It is called the 1,000 stairs, and is literally over 900 stairs, so we walked about twenty of the stairs and decided it was enough.

We made the long drive back and ended up in Cabramatta, one of Tyler's areas in his mission. It was like entering another country; Tyler always told me Sydney was more diverse than Americans thought, I had no idea it was such a melting pot. It was like walking around the corner and boom, you're in Vietnam, it was so crazy. It took us forever to park, but we managed to find a spot and get out to explore. We went to a corner bakery and bought red bean pastries; somehow, Asians use red beans as a dessert, like a jelly donut filling, and it tastes just as sweet. We looked at some shops and then went to Happy Cup, a store that sells teas and fruit juices with all sorts of mix-ins like tapioca pearls, jellies, and other weird things. They vacuum seal the top and then give you a super fat straw that you pierce through the seal. The straw is fat so that you can suck up all the chunky mix-ins. It was a very entertaining drink.

After Cabramatta we made our way to the Olympic Park. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it was really just a bunch of buildings that were dark and vacant. It was fun to see all the sculptures and Olympic-esque signs and buildings. We grabbed a small bite of McDonalds (that seemed to be the only thing open) to eat while we walked around. One of the streets was lined with tall trees, with street lamps interspersed every four trees or so. As we walked beneath the canopy there was rustling and squealing in the branches. Tyler told me they were bats swooping out of the trees; the street lamps were attracting lots of bugs, a late-night feast for the bats gliding into the beams of light to grab them. I flipped out, these trees weren't that tall and I didn't want anything to do with them. Tyler just laughed at me, but on the way back to our car to head home we crossed to the other side to watch them from afar.



Today it drizzled for a good portion of the day. We started out with a late breakfast of Tim Tam slams, which Tyler informs me were a regular breakfast for him when he lived here, especially on chilly winter mornings. We took a train into the city and went to the Pitt Street shopping mall, suggested by Shaunee. She forgets, though, that we don't have expensive taste, which resulted in us doing very little shopping.

We did see a Magnum kiosk, though; I had never heard of Magnum ice cream bars until our grocery trip and Tyler told me I had to try them. Well, this Magnum kiosk was double the greatness because you could build your own and they make it right in front of you. You first pick your chocolate (dark, milk or white), then you pick up to three toppings (they ranged from pistachios to dried rose petals and everything in between), and lastly you pick what type of chocolate you want drizzled on top. Of course we both picked honeycomb as one of our toppings.

After we devoured our ice cream bars, we window shopped a little longer before leaving empty-handed and with semi-empty bellies. It was clear we had only had sweets and not one substantial meal, so we sought out a Pie Face (they are everywhere) and pigged out there while it rained. Neighboring the Pie Face was the Queen Victoria Building, an amazing Romanesque building turned shopping mall that took up the whole block. Again this was recommended by Shaunee, and again these shops were extremely pricey, but we enjoyed looking through the building.

We took a train back to Circular Quay and walked over to The Rocks to find the Museum of Contemporary Art. We went through the exhibits in the museum seeing some pretty interesting pieces. One of our very favorite installations was simple but clever: the artist used 100 flip clocks, but instead of numbers she replaced them with different colored cards. They were all a little bit off of each other, so it was just this massive colored checkerboard. It was so mesmerizing with the faint hum of the battery operated clocks and the every-once-in-a-while click when a card flips. It's hard to do justice in a description, but we've embedded a video below. After walking through the whole museum we stopped in the gift shop. Museum gift shops are my very favorite; you could seriously just buy any item in there for me and I would love it to pieces. The only problem is that museum gift shops are ridiculously expensive, so I rarely buy anything. I did find the most perfect neon green leather sketchbook, but it made my jaw drop when I looked at the price tag. I went to put it back, but Tyler said that it was too perfect and he would hold onto it while I thought about it. I made my way to the children's section (again, everything in there was the best of the best). I turned around to show Tyler some vintage drop cap letter blocks and saw him through the small crowd purchasing that sketchbook at the counter. He spotted me and I shook my head with a smile; he is so good to me.

We then made our way to the Customs House, which was just across the train station and was a suggestion in the tourist guide I had picked up at the airport. We didn't know a whole lot about the building going into it, but we knew that there was a city model under glass you could go see. We walked in and there were so many swanky people in tuxedos and formal gowns, we felt super out of place. We took our photos and got out of there as soon as possible. We were going to hop on the train and head home, when we passed (for the fourth time this week) a sign for pumpkin soup at a restaurant just outside the station. Pumpkin here is different than in the States; it has a thicker wall and they roast it, like squash, and Tyler highly recommended it. We broke down and bought one to share—well that's what we asked for, but the waiter brought us two. Turns out we were hungrier than we thought because both gigantic bread bowls were gone before we could even think to photograph them. We took a train home and it felt like 10:00, but alas it was only 7:00. Between the overcast day, the sun going down sooner because it is winter here, and jet lag, we are so disoriented.



Today we had plenty planned; we woke up and drove to the train station—my very first Australian train ride—and stopped at a Hungry Jack's (the Australian Burger King) for a brekkie burrito (yes, that's what they call breakfast). As soon as we walked out of the train station we could see the Sydney Harbor Bridge and all that surrounded. Circular Quay is filled with restaurants, museums, shopping strips, hotels, and of course the Sydney Opera House. We went to get tickets for a tour, only to find out that the next available one was at 1 p.m.

To pass the time we photographed all angles of the fascinating architecture and took a walk through the neighboring Royal Botanical Gardens—basically a Central Park along the harbor. My feet began to bother me, because of course I wore sandals and didn't anticipate how much walking we would be doing, so we made our way back to the opera house, and soon it was time for our tour to begin. The tour was fascinating; we learned that the design of the opera house was actually a competition, and the architect that won initially submitted a rough sketch that had no dimensions or tight renderings. It required quite the innovation to execute it. We also learned that the opera house hosts more than operas—everything from children's sing-along concerts to Mr. Universe competitions. By the time the tour was over we were filled to the brim with fun facts and unusual history of this beautiful building.

We began walking towards our next destination and I knew my feet would not hold up. Luckily, we weren't too far from the train station and decided to just take the train to Hyde Park. We walked through Hyde Park to get to the Australian Museum, which was not at all what we were expecting. It was more like a natural history museum, with a few other traveling exhibits. We didn't spend very long there because my feet were killing me and honestly there wasn't much to see. By this time we were starving, but right before walking underground to the train station we spotted a Pie Face. Australia is known for its meat pies and now has a meat pie chain. The pies were delicious and it was just the beginning of our brief love affair with Pie Face during the trip. As a side note, the regular condiments here are tomato sauce and barbecue sauce, and the barbecue sauce here is to die for—there is nothing like it in America. We gobbled them down before finally starting our trek home for the night after a long but incredible day.



Today we slept in a bit and got up to finally take a shower (embarrassingly enough, it had been four calendar days between all of our travels). We hadn't had time for much trip planning before we got here, with our summer being so busy and not knowing for sure we were actually coming until three weeks before. We made lots of lists: things we wanted to buy, things we wanted to see, things we wanted to do, etc. We looked up the best prices, the best days to go, and talked to Shaunee during lunch to rule some things out and add some of her recommendations. We grouped things by how close together they were and made sure we went on the days they were open late (fun fact #1: everything here closes at 5:00). While Tyler researched, I photographed this beautiful house. The whole house is made of beautifully exposed brick with floor to ceiling windows and mini courtyards between all the large rooms. In the evening, after we had finalized the rest of our itinerary for the week, we made a McDonalds run. Apparently the "Macca's" here has Grade A Angus Beef and the burgers are to die for. We went through the drive through and it was quite comical going through it "backwards." (fun fact #2: when you order anything here, they don't ask what you'd like to drink; they automatically give you a Coke unless you specifically ask for something else). The burger was great and, shocker, we fell asleep before 8 p.m. again.



We landed ever so early in the morning and were met by Shaunee after a long line through customs (and almost not making it to the toilets). She walked us to the parking lot where her dad, John, was waiting for us with his Jaguar. The weather is extremely perfect here compared to the hot humidity back in Utah, and the drive through the city and into the suburbs was amazing. Through the whole car ride to their house, the Baileys pointed out things to do, places to see, and plenty of things not to waste our money on. It was nice to relax in the back seat and have our unofficial tour guides lead the way. Soon we drove up to their amazing property, complete with a gate and beautifully manicured hedges. They helped us with our luggage into their home and gave us the grand tour. We were to sleep in the guest room and we had the main bathroom to ourselves. John has his own income tax business and moved the central office to their backyard. Shaunee works for him which means she rarely uses her car—of course that also meant she offered her car to us for use while we are here. For reals, these people are so unconditionally kind. We settled in and decided to go to the store for some groceries, because we didn't want to eat their food too. Our visit to the store was a glorious one. It took us a bit to find it and a spot to park, but Tyler managed with the whole driving on the opposite side of the car and road thing. We bought everything Australian, some things for breakfasts and some items for lunch. We came back to the house, made a pizza, and fell asleep around 6 pm. Jet lag… I had no idea you'd be such a beast.



Virgin Australia sure knows how to treat their passengers; every seat had a dainty little pouch in the pocket of the seat in front of it. It had a sleeping mask, ear plugs, headphones, a mini pen, and an Australian postcard. When Tyler and I checked in before going to Baby Blues BBQ in L.A. the nice lady behind the desk told us that she could make our flight a little more comfortable. The flight was late in the evening and wasn't booked up; we had the aisle and the middle seat, but she informed us that she would change our seats to the window and aisle so that we would have all three to ourselves. We were ever so glad that she did—we tossed and turned a bit, but if we hadn't had that third seat, I'm sure it would have been much worse. We enjoyed the airplane food (that's right, I enjoyed it) and the movies (even though the headphones kept cutting out) as we waved goodbye to our Sunday spent in the air.



We didn't get much sleep as we woke up with some errands to run before leaving today. We arrived with plenty of time at our gate and leisurely people-watched until it was time to board the plane. After handing our passports to the clerk and he asked us for our entry visas. We both looked at each other with confusion and Tyler responded that we were only going for holiday. Apparently we didn't do our research—it seems that, even with a passport, you need an entry visa to enter the country. We asked what needed to be done and he told us it could be done online. He said he thought it was a fairly quick process and sent us away with a twenty-minute boarding deadline to scramble on our computer for approval. As the website gave us more trouble than our anxiety could handle, he called us over to tell us that since we had a layover in L.A. we would be allowed to board the plane, as long as we had our entry visas before boarding our connecting flight to Australia (talk about a race to the finish).

On the plane, we saw that there was in-flight wi-fi and we paid the $3 for a thirty-minute session. We managed to get the confirmation email in the air and sighed with relief knowing that we would be landing with everything in order. Since we had already purchased wi-fi, we decided to order from our very favorite Californian restaurant, Baby Blues BBQ. When we landed we had to trek clear over to the opposite end of the monstrous LAX. As we walked outside, passing each terminal one by one, Tyler turned to me and asked if I had handed him two boarding passes or only one. I had handed them both to him a ways back because it was windy and I didn't want them to blow away, but one of them was now MIA. Tyler ran all the way back to where we had handed them off and had no luck. On his walk back to where I was waiting with the luggage, he noticed his boarding pass stuck under someone's luggage trolley and snatched it up. (At this point in the trip we were wondering if we were supposed to be going on this trip at all.) After dropping the boarding pass, Tyler put me in charge of all important documents for the remainder of the trip.

We finally reached Virgin Airlines where the check-in lady hooked us up with a sweet seating arrangement and we began our layover in L.A. We hopped in a taxi and made the drive to Baby Blues BBQ where our order was hot and ready to go with our arrival. We got back to the airport with two hours to spare and plopped down near ticketing and security to devour our feast. We had ordered everything under the sun and we got plenty of looks while we chomped on our corn on the cob and licked clean our baby back ribs. We cleaned up our picnic on the floor and sat in some chairs to let our stomachs digest a bit.

With forty-five minutes left until boarding, we still had their famous desserts to eat (key lime pie and banana pudding—Tyler hasn't found a banana pudding to compare and I feel the same about their pie.) After eating our shares of those smiling fruity treats, we went through security and twiddled our thumbs until boarding our 10:55 p.m. flight. When we were finally seated on the plane, people all around us were speaking with Aussie accents and it hit us: now, our holiday was real.



I only went to work for a half day and then drove to one of my sister's friend's for a much needed hair trim before ending up at home to get right to work on cleaning and packing. I started gathering things while Tyler went in to work for a four-hour shift. I went into full-on cleaning mode doing dishes, laundry, and gathering items to pack in my suitcase. Packing was very selective since we're spending two whole weeks there; of course I packed all of my purchases from my City Creek trip and some others from my various summer purchases. Tyler got home from work and he joined me in the cleaning and gathering. We packed and cleaned late into the night (and early into the morning) to get everything ready for the trip that was hours away.


3, 2, 1

Aren't these pretty? Tyler has had his since before he went on his mission, because he has been to both Australia and Italy (lucky). That's mine, on the bottom. It arrived on Aubrey's wedding day (that's why I didn't blog about it; not really a priority shot from that day). They look so official, with their gold foil lettering and all of the anti-counterfeit doodles and seals on the inside. Tyler's already has a bunch of stamps and markings inside and I cannot wait to get some of my own in three days. (EEEK! Three days!)