The girl unloading the car was so nice, maybe in her early 20's and eager to help out how she could, but very knowledgeable. We unloaded a lot but hadn't told the hotel just how many kids we actually had, so trying to not be up front about them while they were all asleep (for once). I took Caleb up with me (we had to walk past the front desk to get to the elevator) and I got all of our stuff put into the room while Josh parked the car and brought up the rest of the kids. Our room was big and spacious with a great view from the 20th floor. We had 2 double beds and quite a bit of space. Caleb kept looking out the huge windows at the street saying "car, cars Momma. Look car cars!" Just as I expected Josh would be there any time, there was a knock at the door so I answered it. It was the bellhop and she had brought us more towels, soaps and toiletries as well as another bed "we were talking and thought you guys might like another bed with all the troops you had in the car." Talk about nice and helpful. Our first night may have started out crazy, but we definitely picked the right hotel to stay in while in Sydney. I highly recommend the Westin on Martin Place in Sydney and you can feel free to tell them I sent you.
On Saturday we did some shopping and walked around a bit but really didn't do a lot past that. On Sunday we made a trip across the bridge to go to church. We attended the Greenwich ward and they were so friendly. While at church we found out that the temple was closed until Wednesday morning so we basically had Wednesday and Thursday to go while we were there. We got some names and phone numbers for people who might be able to watch the kids for us while we went and headed back to our room.
On Monday we went to the Sydney opera house and walked all around it. It was a nice, long walk that took us about 20 minutes to get there but it was worth it. The kids all marveled at the look of the opera house and loved all the docks on the water and the bridge just over the water. It was a beautiful day and we all enjoyed ourselves. We thought about taking the tour until we discovered that it would cost us close to $200 for the whole family to go-not worth it in our books. We stopped at the gift shop and let the kids each pick out a small, inexpensive something before heading on our way back to the hotel again. On the way back we discovered a really cool looking park. It had what appeared to be pieces of decorative stone from a building that was no longer together and they were all spaced out to look nice. There was a photo shoot with a model (who looked really unhappy and uncomfortable) and they took up about half the rocks but they took a break just after we got there and didn't resume shooting until we were about ready to leave again. The kids loved climbing on those stones and the especially loved posing for pictures on them-Raven was the camera ham that day, I think I must have got about 20 pictures of her alone as she kept yelling "Momma, take a picture of me on this rock!" We found a fountain to play in on the way back and discovered a free Australian currency museum that we tagged for another day when our kids weren't complaining about sore feet.
On Tuesday we went to the currency museum and Noah especially really enjoyed seeing all the money and learning a bit about how it was made. It was a self-guided thing and pretty quiet in the other side of a bank but it was free and really cool. After that we went to a park and found a place to sit and have lunch. We made sandwiches and had mandarin oranges and the kids enjoyed chasing the birds away and climbing a tree that was nearby. We kept having to look for Caleb as he would chase a bird and keep going until we called him back and he'd turn and see how far he had gone. The other kids all kept pretty close though. After lunch we headed to the Australia museum of Sydney. It cost us just under $50 for the family because we opted to see the exhibit on mammoths that they had going too. The kids loved the mammoth exhibit and all the bones and videos and everything that was meant to be touched. When done there we saw the rocks and gems, stuffed animals, dinosaur bones, insects and so much more. We were in the museum for hours and the kids really enjoyed themselves. We finished off with the kids' activity corner before we left (we knew we'd never see anything else if we started there). We then hit the gift shop and picked out one small something under $10 for each kid and some things for ourselves before they kicked us out of the museum (you'd think they all wanted to go home or something). It was just starting to get dark when we got outside so we put on our jackets and took a leisurely stroll back to our hotel, picking up some dinner at Pizza Hut on the way.
On Wednesday we decided to see the botanical gardens. It was right near the opera house but not quite as far. There were so many trees and flowers to see and there were even a ton of bats that lived in the trees. The kids loved the walk along the ocean too. It was kind of windy and chilly so we didn't stay too long. We hit the gift shop to see what they had (not nearly as much as others) and spent very little there before heading back to the Westin again.
Thursday was laundry day so we went walking to the laundromat the hotel recommended. After a very long walk with a heavy load, we discovered that the place was not a do-it-yourself thing. They told us where another one was and we went walking again. It wasn't where they said it was so we stopped to ask directions again. Nobody knew anything so we headed back to the hotel again and pulled out the phone book. After locating a place and calling to make sure it was what we wanted, Josh took the boys for a drive (no, it wasn't walking distance as they told us) and I put the girls and Caleb down for naps. When we got up we got in the car to head to the temple. It took us 30 minutes just to drive the 5 or 6 blocks to the bridge with all the traffic and one way roads and then we missed our turn a few times and finally found the home of the family who had volunteered to watch the kids. We arrived there at 7:15 and the last session of the night was due to start at 7:30-the temple was another 20-30 minute drive from their house. We were bummed but knew that we wouldn't make it in time. So we sat and talked to the family and got to know them a bit and then took the kids to the temple to walk around. It was freezing so we didn't stay very long but we took some pictures and talked with the kids about temples and had a really nice night.