Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Getting to Know Melbourne - Weist Family Style

One of these days we might just settle down.  Before then, our legs and feet just may fall off.  No, really.

After walking for about 20 minutes we finally made it to Costco the day after we got here.  Its a lot the same as the ones in the US only more expensive.  The hot dogs/soda are $2.49 and instead of beef, they're pork dogs. And MAN they're good.  They sell meat pies too. I might try that next time.  After wandering through and grabbing a few things, we walked back to the train with our goodies.  Oh wait, no we didn't.  We had to have a little drama first.

We were sitting down getting kids in strollers, and getting bags organized ON the stroller when Ashley's flip flop decided to break. Wonderful.  We remembered there were sandals in Costco so Steve ran back in to see if they would fit.  They weren't quite right but he grabbed them anyway.  Good thing Heidi is around so she'll have some nice pink sandals when she gets older... they were WAY too small for Ashley. Soooo.... Gavin wore the pretty pink sandals and Ashley wore Gavin's sandals that were actually too big. Who cried about the arrangement?  Ashley didn't want to wear BOY shoes.  But we all survived and we made it home.  And I had another bout of homesickness before I could get over it and move on.  I told my sisters its like a plague that's just waiting to pounce at any moment.

After trying to call for two days, we finally gave up on getting a hold of Cook's Cottage and rode the train to the station on Friday.  Then we walked for 20 minutes before we got to Cook's Cottage. Only to find out that they'd had the egg hunt sold out for TWO WEEKS and didn't care to leave a message on their phone they didn't answer or post it on their site.   I tried not to rip their heads off while talking to them and managed to get away from the park before blowing a gasket.  Luckily we'd bought chocolate Easter eggs the night before so we could do one at home that night...

We took a train to Brighton Beach and ate our lunches.  It was chilly so we didn't go too close the water. The waves were pretty choppy so it made me nervous to let them go near it.  SO they just played in the sand.  They raced, dug holes, made castles and ate the sand. That last part was Heidi...  She's my beach baby.  They all love the beach but she just plain can't get enough of the sand and the water!!!

Since it was our 11th Anniversary, Steve and I decided to go to dinner. Since it was also Good Friday, there weren't many restaurants open - except Chinese and Korean food.  We decided to try Korean. They cooked the food right at our table. Steve wanted Kim chi which is SPICY and we also had octopus, beef, pork, chicken, eggs, bean sprouts and other food. Yummy!  But here's a tip: don't drink orange soda when eating spicy food. YOW!!! It gets twice as spicy!  Heidi and Ethan were sleeping but the other kids enjoyed the food.  They weren't fond of the spicy but they liked everything else. Of course their idea of using chopsticks was to stab the food with the stick...

We got home and hid Easter eggs all over the apartment. Heidi found one of the eggs and ate it while Steve and I hid the rest.  The eggs were found in 2 minutes flat and were eaten by the next morning...  Steve thought it was funny to get Starburst gummi babies to put in the plastic eggs.  Then he ate one and fell in love with them. I think he most of them actually.

Saturday was a nightmare from beginning to end. We had 6 houses on the list to look at for the day.  They were spread out but still in somewhat of the same area.  I had to cross off one when I realized the open house was THIS Saturday. Oops.  By the time we got out of the house, we had to cross another one off the list.  So we hopped the train and headed on to a house in Croydon, not realizing how far away it was.  We got off in Croydon and started running/walking/whining.   It was quite the uphill/downhill walk for all of us.  By the time we hit the street and realized we were walking the wrong way, we were too late to get to the house in time. Nice that they're all of 15 minutes long...  The street was way too busy for me to feel comfortable with my kids living there.  So we turned around and headed back.  This time we stopped and showed the kids the church as we passed it and tried to get them to stop crying because they were tired.

We hopped on the train only to find out we missed house number 4 because it took so long to get to Croydon. Grumble grumble....  We got off at Mount Waverley and started running/walking/whining again. Yes, this time I was definitely part of the whining. Only mine was all in my head because I didn't want to fuel the kids' grumbling. They were already doing well enough on their own.  Poor kids.

We FINALLY made it to the house - and there was no one there.  We were ten minutes too late. Wonderful.  With a glare at Steve, I turned around and headed back.  Steve, being the ever positive person, looked at the map and noticed that we were close to a park and some shops. AND he knew that we had 2 hours until the last house.  So he gave us directions to the park and then headed on. By that time my head was a thundercloud.  The kids, who'd been crying moments before, went shrieking happily toward the park.  Those four children (the two younger ones got to sleep through the walking while their mom pushed them up and down hills) who had just run at least two or three or fifteen miles of distance to houses we didn't even get to see, suddenly had the energy to run.  And jump.  And fight. Because nothing ever occurs without a few arguments.  About everything.

Steve got back with some delicious pizzas, chips, apples, and juice.  We all devoured the food before heading off to the last house. Which was at least one town over but shared the same street. So, why not walk instead of hopping a train?!

An hour later, five hills walked, kids comforted many times,  thundercloud mind turning to a full blown gale, and we finally almost reached the right house.  Luckily, the area of Glen Waverly is beautiful.  And by that time I think I'd gone delirious with exhaustion because I decided to be happy.  Of course that might have had to do with the hilarity of watching me try to keep up with a double stroller going downhill while my two year old pretended to fly...  Whatever it was, we were in good spirits by the time we got to the house.  And what a house it was... the carpet was old, the house smelled, the doorknobs were up at my shoulders and the real estate agent was rude to my kids. Sorry, but just because you see 6 kids coming up the walk does not mean that they're bad mannered little monsters that are going to destroy your house!!  They were actually very well behaved while we were there.  Probably because of the 3 hours of walking we'd just done...

After that fiasco, we walked up another hill to the shops and train station. That was quite the hill but the houses were gorgeous so I enjoying looking as I walked.  The kids mostly agreed but still asked if we were almost there.   We raced through all the shops hoping to find a toilet (they're not restrooms here, they're toilets) before Gavin lost it.  We made it!  We were also able to find Ashley and Heidi Easter dresses and Steve got a hair cutting kit - which has many stories of its own...

We FINALLY made it home and while Steve made kangaroo bangers (sausages - yes, made out of kangaroo), I shaved four heads.  And what wonderful haircuts they were too... I blame the razor. Know why? Because Steve also had an adventure with it the next morning.  Long story short,  He was using the longest blade so he could keep his curly locks, the blade attachment fell off, Steve had a very big bald spot...  Now Steve has no more hair. Well, he has some but not much.  So much for a business like hair cut!  It's a very good thing his hair grows fast.

Between moving and having cleaning ladies cleaning the room we were moving into, we had about 22 minutes to get ready for church.  Luckily I'd put Heidi's dress on already before we moved.  But that was 1 down 7 to go.  By the time we were ready, it was 12:53 and we had a mile to walk. We BARELY missed the Sacrament.  But we had a wonderful time at church. We met great people, the kids loved their classes, Ethan jumped right into nursery and we had a fabulous Easter.  Even if the Easter Bunny was lame and had to go through all the candy and cookies in the house to come up with anything because of Good Friday and Easter Saturday making everything closed... Whoops.  The kids were good about it but Jakob is now suspicious. Actually, I'm pretty sure he's beyond suspicious.

Monday was Anzac Day so most shops were closed. Steve had the day off so we went to the Science Works museum.  We were able to use our Questacon membership (which also works at Thanksgiving Point and a TON of other places!) to get in.  We were there for an hour or so and then headed off to another beach.

This time we decided to head for Williamstown since it was only a few stops below where we were. The town was awesome. Its small towny and quiet and I LOVED it.  The beach was right there and it was wonderful. The water was warm, the sand had streaks of color and the kids had fun. We ate our lunch and then let the kids play.  We were there about an hour before we decided we better get back to the train.  The kids wanted to play at a playground but it was cold.

Today was our last day of holiday.  It was Easter Monday/Anzac Day something or other.  We got to the train station, ready to head to another beach, and found LOTS of people.  The train was PACKED.  We managed to get to the station in time to head to the city with thousands of Aussie Football fans.  And they all got off at the same station as we did.  However, they stayed there and we moved on to another train to go to Frankston. We were going to hop on a diesel train for another beach but with the brilliant scheduling, that train left 2 minutes before our train got there...

So we stayed in Frankston.  We walked the few blocks to the beach and the kids were in HEAVEN.   The beach was great.  There were a few spots where the kids could run between the beach and sandbars.  In that spot, Steve found a sea star and a crab. And there were tiny little fish swimming around.  Heidi had the time of her life walking around, licking her hand after splashing in the water and at one point she even shoved a handful of sand in her mouth. Yuck!  We played for two hours before the younger kids announced they were cold.  I changed their clothes and we headed out to the train.  And I started calculating....  How long does it take to play an Aussie Football game?  About as long as it takes for us to go to Frankston, play at the beach, and get back to Richmond Train Station.  Yep, another busy station.  We were packed even more but this time it emptied out faster. We met some nice people as we were being squished and smashed.

Tonight we decided to make sausages, Anzac biscuits,  and German potato salad.  Steve laughed when he realized how ironic that meal was.  Its not funny when you think about it but it was yummy.  Anzac Day is when Australia and New Zealand joined World War I. Its to honor those that were lost.  They do huge parades and memorials services. I wish we could have gone. Hopefully next year we will be able to.

I've enjoyed getting to know a new city.  I'm hoping to have more help with housing and schooling but whatever comes will come and we'll go with it. Because that's how we roll - whether we want to or not. :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hi Honey, we're here!!!

  And all in one room - our choice.  The one room is huge and we'll end up in this building on Easter anyway.  SO we canceled the other one and they let us take all the bedding from that one into this one! So right now Steve is setting up beds on the tile floor...its for 4 days so they're all fine. Plus its bigger than Steve's parents house so we're all happy.  Its cute because there's a porch (with a very high wall so I'm happy) and Jakob told me that Steve and I can go out there for our anniversary dinner. :)

The flight was good.  It took FOREVER to check all the bags and it ended up costing $1300. Which is insane considering it was $300 from the US to Sydney...  The airline lady said it would have been MUCH cheaper to send it freight. Oh well.  THe kids did well - except Heidi who liked to shriek - alot.  Ethan had a REALLY hard time on the descent.  He made me sad because he said "we flying home!" and wasn't thrilled when we got here.  Of course he was also asleep and NOT happy that we woke him up.  There was a very sweet lady that helped take some luggage so we could usher/push Ethan off the plane.  His screaming went on in the airport until I finally said "Bye Ethan!" and started walking off.  He promptly stopped, hopped up and came after us.

We didn't go to Costco the first day like we'd wanted to. :)  We did walk about 1/2 a mile to get to the grocery store and then stumbled home with about 10 bags of groceries. We need to stop moving. We keep giving away all our food. This time at least we can take it all with us... we hope.  Oh and the groceries were mostly carried by our stroller handles - which wasn't thrilled and kept trying to buck them off and we walked along.   Apparently we live near a China Town place because there were tons of stores we couldn't read. :)

Heidi is doing MUCH better.  She's running wildly through the apartment and shrieking when she's especially excited. Silly girl. 

Melbourne is beautiful.  Its got a lot of European-esque buildings.  Its very green.  Tomorrow we'll try a train and try to find Costco. I'm hoping we can find the temple and be able to look at some houses too. I want a real house asap!

Friday, April 15, 2011

When Life Lobs Lemons at You....

... fall to your knees and pray it won't hurt too much!!

Rule of thumb to follow:  NEVER say "Bring it on!!" because it will be brought.

This morning began like any other since we got here.  Steve rolled out of bed and out of the house (stumbling and looking for things while I glared at him, hoping I could go back to sleep) and I rolled over and fell back asleep - until 9:00.  I was actually surprised.  Why, I don't know, because that's what has happened most mornings since we got here. One advantage to no school. :)

I got up, made sure the kids weren't killing each other, and then did my morning "catch up and read everything since I last read the newsfeed on Facebook" routine.  Then I got to gather all my kids and call my family on Skype!  Skype is the best invention ever.  Really.   From thousands of miles away I got to see my family in my parents' house just as clear as could be (for the first hour... then it got fuzzy).  The kids were ecstatic.  The little ones didn't know what was going on but Heidi DID remember everyone and was trying to get to the computer screen.

When my brother-in-law asked me if we had a house I told him that we didn't but that we would be hearing back any time.  The next wave of family came in (We have 38 - I think -  total people in my family so they had to go in shifts) and while I was talking to them, Steve called to tell me we got the house in Garran. Yay! We were excited. Great neighborhood, great school, amazing location. Woohoo! And we could finally call a school and get started on getting the kids enrolled.

We continued talking. Cousins showed off lost teeth and everyone was making funny faces.  After being disconnected and having my computer run out of power once, we talked again for a while. I got to my last sister (while the others made burritos that I'm STILL craving) and we were talking about everything from the bookstore to what we were going to do this weekend and then the phone rang again.  It was Steve again, letting me know that the lease couldn't be signed on the house because we may possibly move.

Wait, what?

So in the process of one phone call (well, 3 because of the disconnections - and granted, it was a 2 hour phone call...)  we went from no house, to a house, to possibly moving...

I talked for a bit longer and then decided I should probably eat breakfast - or lunch since that's what time it was.  We cleaned and packed and cleaned some more.  The maintenance guy came to fix the lights and the cleaning lady came to get towels and rubbish (I still think that sounds cooler than garbage...).  The lady said "So, you move out tomorrow?" Um, no.  We have another week.  I told her the room had been paid for up to another week and she just kinda shrugged and left.

30 minutes later I got a phone call from reception saying they hadn't heard from the company and that they couldn't possibly keep us after the 20th... OH and we were being charged every day since last Sunday. $350 a day....  I told them I'd talk to Steve.  Luckily SMS hopped right on it and got things worked out within minutes after I talked to him.

But before I heard back from Steve about things being worked out, I had a meltdown. And yes, I did say "I want my mommy!!!"  I really did. You can ask my mom because I told her that on msn messenger.  I chatted with her and my sister until I was able to calm myself and think about the good parts of the day.

What were those?  Let's see.  I did get to talk to my family.  That was a HUGE bonus. I had a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. I like those.   My kids wreaked havoc on the house and wouldn't help me clean when I asked them forty times.  Oh wait, that wasn't a good thing.   But there were good parts of the day.  And I got to talk to them about some of the things that had been bugging me.

I have loved Canberra.  Its grown on me. Its green, its hilly, I love the shops and just everything about it. I REALLY wanted it to work out and find a good place.  But in our search for houses, we never found "The House".  The one we just had to live in. The house that I would be devastated if we didn't get.  There were gorgeous houses, huge houses, cute houses, scary icky spidery houses, old houses,  nice houses.  But none that I had decided was the one.   It disturbed me.  Where was that house? Which little suburb was just calling my name?  None of them felt right.

So I kept wondering if this area was the right place for us.  When Steve told me we could possibly move I felt a slight hope that maybe in one of the other towns here we could find "The House." Instead of freaking out that we were going to be uprooted I was actually excited.  I was sad because we've made some great friends, we just bought 2 year season passes to an amazing museum and I just love the city.  But I knew that Steve had a better chance of finding a project - two had fallen through here - and we might have better luck finding a cheaper house and a school elsewhere.

Steve waited to hear when he and his boss would be meeting and then talked with them.  They were going to wait until Monday and I thought my head would explode.  Luckily we were spared the yuckiness and they decided today.  Melbourne it was!!

I was very excited.  I'd heard so many good things about the city.  Its been on the top 10 list of Most Liveable Cities in the world for the last 10 years.   True, it has 3 million people and I grew up in a town of 650 people but I can handle that..... right?   We even found a school that's a boarding school for grades 5 and up.  Jakob was very interested. I'm not so much. For some reason the boys didn't want the Presbyterian Lady's School.  Silly kids.

So on we move to the next adventure.  Oh, I almost forgot.  How did we celebrate this momentous day? We went out to an Italian restaurant (L'unico Ristorante) and ate a $211 dinner... Guess that won't happen much.  $40 of that was Fanta drinks.  Apparently refills aren't free. :)  The food was amazing though.  Steve had a pizza and I had salmon pasta.  Three kids had chicken nuggets, one had lasagna and one had Italian sausage.  Each kid's meal was $9.90...   Heidi ate whatever we handed her.  And ice cubes. That she pulled out of my drink without me knowing it - until she dropped one and it slid down my arm.   The dessert was an amazing mousse. Yummy!   We ordered three so Steve told the waitress we wanted three mice.  She laughed.

Time to start packing. Again.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Little Things

The other day I was thinking about different things that I've experienced since I've been here.  I've decided that there are some things that I enjoyed before I got here that made me ready for Australia.

When getting ready to go on a trip a few years ago I grabbed a few travel sized soaps and shampoos. I fell in LOVE with Sunsilk. It worked better in my hair than anything else did. The only problem? It was travel sized... So I went on a mission to find it.  NO ONE carried Sunsilk except Walmart.   Which I believe is where I got the travel sized one in the first place.   So I grabbed the good stuff and enjoyed it. When it was gone, I went to get more and Walmart didn't have it. No one did.  I searched frantically.

First thing I found when I got to Australia? A commercial for Sunsilk.  We went to Big W (kinda like Walmart) and there it was!!  A few days later as I basked in the silkiness of my hair, I decided to figure out where it was made.  Yep! Australia.  I even went on their site today and the US isn't even listed on their site.  So I will happily use it while I'm here and find a way to get more sent to the US when its time go home...

The second thing I've noticed is that a lot of the words I liked to use are used more here than in the US.  Lovely (although this one is usually a sign to Steve that something is wrong when he asks how I am doing....), wonderful, fantastic, etc.  Great words but you don't catch them often.

My store is what helped prepare me for the last one I've thought of.  Actually Steve mentioned the fact that we love British comedies (Fawlty Towers is at the top of our list) which helped with humor here.  Anyway, back to the store.  The store helped because no matter how my day was, I loved to greet people and talk to them as they came into my store.  I always tried to have a smile. Everyone is so friendly here.  You can get friendly words from almost everyone and they look out for you.

With all the difficulty we've had finding a house thanks to our 6 wonderful children, I wouldn't give them up for the world.  I love each of them and their silliness and their love for me and Steve.  To have to apologize for having so many is an insult to us and to our children.   There are people that will just never like children and will look down on us for the amount that we have. Fine.  I wonder how they figure life will continue on if there WERE no kids...

Anyway,  I have been very thankful for those that have defended us or complimented us in the last few days.

I went to go get flip flops the other day.  It took a bit and our kids just sat there.  Which is quite miraculous actually... Anyway, I told them our difficulties in finding a house since we had no address to put on the application thing.  They looked at the kids with this amazed look on their faces and the three employees immediately told us how well mannered our kids are.  I told them to give it five minutes. Steve pointed out we'd already been there for 10...  They told me that they have many kids that come in, rip things off the walls and run everywhere.

On to the next store.  They still continued to behave (although they did get more restless).  We had to run to catch the bus (and take Gavin potty as is custom).  The kids sat there and then we hopped onto the bus. Immediately I was told that our kids are well-mannered.  Steve was told by another guy (who didn't speak much English) that kids are a blessing and how cool it was that we had six children.

That was last week.  Two nights ago we went to see a house. I was meeting Steve at another bus station before we headed on to the house.  We were in a bus full of students because the city buses become school buses at certain times. Anyway, three teenagers were using rather colorful language and their friend kept saying "language guys!" because he knew our kids were there. He may have been joking but he then told his friends that he was trying to make them happy instead of upset with a girl they'd been talking about.  I thought it was cool.

After the house showing, where the lady spent the entire time glaring at our kids (SUPER nice house but we didn't put in an application because it was a little pricey and the agent obviously didn't want us there), we headed back to the station.   When we finally got to the bus (Woden's shopping centre closes off most of their building at night which we didn't know so we got to walk all the way around the outside of the building - in the rain - to get to the bus stop), we had a very friendly bus driver.  The driver said "'allo 'allo 'allo!" to the kids and was just very nice.  We were near the front of the bus and were sitting there quietly. Ashley decided to push the stop button and when no one got off the bus the driver asked who pushed the button. When I explained what happened, he said "no worries!" and continued on.   A few more stops away, a guy started getting on the bus. We didn't hear what went on but the driver stopped him from coming on and threw him off for 'being abusive'.   Steve and I just looked at each other and shrugged.  We got to our stop and as Ashley and Andy got off he said "good night! Be good for your parents!" As we were getting off, he apologized for the guy he threw off. I told him we hadn't heard what was said and he said it was a good thing because the language was rather colorful and he wouldn't want the kids repeating what had been said... grrreat!!

People are just more open here.  They're more willing to tell it like it is.  I love it. If I ask how things are, I'd like to know. Instead of the usual things are great even though my world is blowing up thing that people usually say.

I still miss my home.  But I've learned to love it here and I'm enjoying to get to know more and more about it! The other day I got to go to a museum with a friend.  She'd taken the kids and I to a "Live in Canberra" welcoming morning tea which was awesome (their pastries were AMAZING) and then to the museum. Anyway, we saw a show about space. It was very interesting to hear about the space race between the US and Russia from someone that didn't live in either place. I loved it!  If you ever visit Australia and come to Canberra, you need to visit Questacon. Its very hands-on for the kids and its HUGE.  Its a good thing we got a 2 year membership because it might take us that long to get all the way through it!

Anyway, off to put out some fires going on in the other room. Not literally thankfully!

Oh and the best part of this whole trip? Ethan has finally decided its time to potty train. YAY! Its the little things that can make life a happy place to be.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Decision Making

One thing I have learned about myself upon moving to Australia is that I have a few little quirks I get to learn to get over. Or learn to deal with.   I'm sure no one that knows me knows what I'm talking about. :)

First off, I have a condition with only one way to describe it.   I am a cross between  the dog on UP! and Dory from Finding Nemo.  I suffer from short term memory loss and have the attention span of - SQUIRREL!   The first time I told my sister this condition she laughed very hard because of how much it described me. Of course, the fact that I kept misspelling, leaving out words and typing the wrong words while we were chatting probably made her laugh a little harder...

Speaking of which, I got off the topic of what I was talking about in the first place.  These two problems add up into one big problem.  I can be asked to do something and unless I do it RIGHT NOW, I forget to do it and move onto another thing. Then I start doing that, forget what I'm doing and move onto the next thing.  You may think you have the same issue, but unless you'd watched me while packing you wouldn't fully get what I'm talking about.  Ask my sister. :)  Because there hasn't been a lot to do here, it hasn't been as bad. And maybe that's my cure. Stop doing so much!

Ok really, I'm guessing that if I went through my day, I could probably name about five times I changed what I was doing in the middle of what I was doing because I forgot what I was doing in the first place. Like burning the cheese sandwiches because I was on the phone with a realtor about a house... My kids were not impressed with their blackish sandwiches...

The next thing I've noticed about myself is that I like to be in charge - but don't like making decisions for anyone.  Wait, how does that work?  I haven't quite figured it out but its how my life works.   Last year I had the calling of Athletic person in my ward.  I was 7 months pregnant so I couldn't PLAY basketball so they had me coach.  17 women, 2 - 20 minute halves and I had to make sure everyone got fair play time.  WHAT?!   I had a few people that would 'help' coach so those that hadn't played much didn't know who to listen to. And I also had those that liked to complain about the amount of playing time they got.  So I had a nice meeting about how I was the coach and needed to be the one that was listened to and if there were complaints they had to come to ME and not to each other.

How did that work?  Pretty well actually. Decisions were given to me and complaints were made.  How did I do with it?  Not so well. I was the only one that was allowed to talk to the refs and I was scared to death.   I spent so much of each game trying to make sure everyone got in that I didn't even get to watch the game.  I loved my calling and was sad when it was done.  But the stress of being the one to make the decisions weighed heavily on me.

Fast forward to now and I'm really not any better at making decisions.  I don't know what I want to make for dinner. I don't know what house we want.  When there are no choices of houses, I'm sad.  But when there are about five choices of houses I get even more stressed because I don't know which choice to make!!  I ask everyone around me for their opinions.  I research until there's nothing more to research. I pray but then question if the answer I got is what I wanted or if it is really supposed to happen.   So I come to the conclusion that decision making is DUMB.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love the fact that we have choices.  If you saw what my 5 year old daughter wears you'd know I let her make her decisions on the clothes she wears because I feel its important.  There ARE times I step in if its outrageous - especially for church.  But otherwise she gets her choice.  I even ask my kids what their choice would be with everything to do with our move.  I feel bad when leaving them behind in our house search because I want to know what THEY like. Of course by the time we're done with the house viewing I regret taking them because of how boisterous they are about choosing which room is 'theirs'.   So the next time I decide that they're not coming and I'm sad they missed out on the house I just looked at.

Today's major decision? Yet again, its a house.  We have two fantastic houses out there that we have the possibility of getting.  Actually, one we did get accepted for.  The other one we are collecting references for.  One is bigger, cheaper but further out of the way (which I prefer because I love the drive out there). The other is a little more, not as nice but its by the school we want to send our kids to and convenient as far as shops and parks to play in.

It makes sense to go for the house that's central to everything since we'd HAVE to get a car right now if we lived further out. Schooling is not free in New South Wales like we could get where we're at. We're talking $4500 per kids per year expensive!! Which would mean a 20 minute drive to and from school every day - thus the need for a car!  It sounds like its pretty easy to make the decision.  But my brain doesn't see it that way.

I think I'll go bake something or clean - SQUIRREL!!!