Beautiful Color in Many Forms

Columbines in Brisbane!
Columbines in Brisbane!

Imagine my thrill and surprise stumbling across these beauties yesterday at a Brisbane city park! These flowers are in my heart and the fact that they are the Colorado state flower just makes the attachment stronger. The gorgeous Rocky Mountain columbine—purple for the mountains, white for the snow and yellow for the sunshine. So many happy memories are linked to July hikes on forested mountain trails where they are in full resplendent bloom, and it is always an incredible sight.
I adore flowers. The colors that nature invents and reveals are mind-boggling to me. I am so enjoying the different colors here on the trees, bushes, vines and plants. October is my favorite month for many reasons. In Colorado it is my favorite because of the gorgeous gold autumn leaves, especially on the aspens, another one of my favorite plants. I love the cooler temperatures, the light snowy days mixed in with warm, sunny days where there is still so much green. I love pumpkins and Halloween. My parents got married in October, and so did I. It is a great month!
Luckily, here it is as well.  It is spring and temperatures are warmer without the stifling humidity. Birds are having babies, the jasmine is blooming accompanied with what has become my favorite scent, and my favorite tree of all, the jacaranda is in full bloom, painting the landscape around me in purple. It’s all very poetic, isn’t it? Spring and fall are such amazing times of year…..
My favorite tree!  Jacaranda in our neighborhood
All my boys have been off school for most of these past two weeks and we have all been having a pretty good time. We have been enjoying a nice little “staycation,” along with putting some funds towards improving our material possessions. We completed Zach’s upgrade to a single bed with two new bed frames for the boys and a new mattress for him, and we got a new coffee table. An IKEA $30 special! We’ve never really had any new furniture at all, instead always relying on secondhand, other than for mattresses, so these new purchases are a lot of fun. We’ve also replaced some of our plastic outdoor dining platters and improved our storage and organization possibilities around the house. It’s great to watch things slowly come together.
I’ve still worked my typical two days and week, put in a couple hours towards my yoga observation requirements and done my two hours of freelance writing per week from home. I also heard confirmation that an article I submitted to a parenting magazine should be published in the next couple of months and the payment for it is much more than I originally thought—cool! So, since August, these attempts at writing have almost paid for my yoga trainings, which was exactly the idea. I sometimes can’t believe it is working!! I submitted a short story to Highlights, the well-known children’s magazine, as a bit of pipe dream…..just have to keep trying! We shall see….
As for our staycation activities: We had three girls, aged 5 and 4, for a sleepover one night, which was a lot of wild fun. It’s fun, too, when you’re rolling with all the silly fun and chatter, to know that their parents are enjoying a peaceful, adult dinner. It’s so great that friends can do that for each other.

Sleepover fun--a dramatic movie....
Sleepover fun–a dramatic movie….

Along with three other families, we took all the kids to South Bank one day to swim in the manmade pool and play at the manmade beach adjacent to the Brisbane River in the middle of the city. It was great fun. The next day, we went to some manmade pools near a beach we hadn’t been to before with two other families and that was great as well, although a bit cooler and more blustery—brrr!

Windy day at Redcliffe
Windy day at Redcliffe

Then my sweet husband babysat four kids while I got to go see Alan Jackson and Sara Evans in concert—woohoo! It was my 2nd time seeing him, the first time being at Red Rocks, which of course, is unbeatable as far as venue is concerned. But it was a great show anyway. He is a classy performer and even adapted some of his lyrics to fit the lingo down here, which was so cool. At one point, he changed the word truck to Ute and I yelled loudly (I’d had one beer, so was no longer responsible for my actions! Haha!), “OMG, Alan Jackson just said Ute!! That’s SO cool!” I don’t know why people were turning and looking…. 😉 I liked watching people’s response to him and it made me smile at how his music and lyrics are so relatable; the difference in culture melts away.
We spent two days enjoying two beautiful parks right in the heart of the city, one called New Farm that we’d been to a couple times before. We altered the experience by enjoying a picnic lunch right on the river this time, on a gorgeous day. The other one was called Roma Street Parklands, which is where we discovered the columbines. That is definitely my favorite city park in this area! There were beautiful botanic gardens to stroll through with incredible flowers everywhere, and more than just the columbines made appearances as visitors from my home (daffodils were one of the others—fun!)

My perfect monkey at Roma Street Park
My perfect monkey at Roma Street Park

We took the boys out to dinner one night at a place where kids eat free. One thing I love about some decent restaurants around here is that they have play areas for the kids. This one was the best I’ve seen, all outdoor and shaded. Such a fantastic idea that allows parents to relax and enjoy themselves a bit more, stay longer and spend more money—brilliant! The same place was offering free activities for kids on the weekday mornings, so later in the week I went back with a friend and her kids.
I also took them to an indoor play center one day that has disco dancing at certain times along with the play areas—again, brilliant! The kids LOVE it! My friend and I discovered it last month with our younger kids, so took all of each crew back this time. The other reason I like it is that, although they don’t allow you to bring in food, which I don’t like, they sell the healthiest options I’ve seen in this area. This is a REALLY bad area for healthy kids’ meals and that drives me insane, so this is a refreshing change.

Our performer at the disco
Our performer at the disco

We caught up with fun friends for dinner last night, enjoying a great multicultural evening with Steve the only Aussie present. Except they all think he has a strong American accent now! Ha! Accents are so interesting to me, especially now. NO ONE in the U.S. would EVER mistake Steve for a native, but here they think he sounds very American. I wonder what people will say I sound like when we visit in December….the boys are going to crack people up for sure—full on little Aussies!
It’s happened few enough times that I can count them on one hand, but I must say I LOVE when people say they like my accent! It makes me feel very exotic. 😉 Someone said it to me last night. I complained to a friend once that people don’t often ask me where I’m from and he said, “They don’t have to. It’s obvious the second you open your mouth!” A few weeks after he’d said that, I was buying meat at the butcher shop and my request got lost in translation. I apologized to the young guy and said, “I could have asked for a pound of meat instead of a half a kilo. That would have been even worse!” He laughed and asked me where I was from. I told him U.S. and he laughed harder and said, “I know that much! I’m not that silly—which part?” It was so funny. Then it was the typical response to “Colorado.”: “Oh. Cool.” Moving on…..
Tonight some friends are taking the kids overnight and Steve and I are celebrating eight years together. We have survived the 7th year, the bad luck year! Yay! Boy, they’re not kidding on that one, either! Thank goodness for professionals…..although we had another tough year at year 5, the year our precious, crazy little Zach joined us. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and we’re definitely weathering the storms together and enjoying our precious moments. I love that best friend of mine.
Speaking of precious moments, another fun thing we did was go to our first family movie, meaning Zach’s first movie as well. We had both boys in between us and for some reason, I got really emotional during the movie. I kept looking down the row at the three beautiful men in my life, the expressions on their faces, and my chest just filled with so much joy and love. I couldn’t stop looking at them all….such beautiful gifts in my life.

How blessed am I....
How blessed am I….

I’ll close with this funny story (well, I think it’s funny): A few days after that, the boys were acting psycho and driving me insane. We planned to have a family movie night at home and I gave them choices. They each picked what they wanted to watch and of course, they each picked something different. I told them they needed to work it out and left the room. A few minutes later they come out screaming, beating each other and chasing each other around the house with these craft sticks, each yelling that he wanted his choice for the movie. Smoke started coming out of my ears, and suddenly my mind thought, “You two are acting like the U.S. Congress!!” Then I realized—at least my boys are actually 5 and 3-years-old. It’s a bit more understandable in their case.” That calmed me down and I suggested we pick a choice that was different to either of the ones they were holding onto. They shot down the first couple I re-suggested and then Zach said, “I’d watch Cinderella.” Drew held to his stance and I said again that we might not have a movie, and then he said, “Ok. Cinderella’s fine.” Done. In three minutes we had a compromise and had solved our issue. I said to them, “You two are actually smarter than the U.S. Congress! Good job!” Yep, my poor country is a bit of an international laughingstock right now. 


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