Morning sunrise in Toogoolawah, August 2010

After waking up in a beautiful village like Toogoolawah, we admired the sunrise before taking our family for a short walk to the showgrounds. There were cattle penned at the showgrounds, and we peeked into some empty stables before making our way back to the Schneider’s house.

Schneider's house in Toogoolawah, August 2010
Our truck was just parked in their driveway.

Brioni, 3yo, + Aisha, 5yo, August 2010
The older girls played games on the kitchen floor while we talked some more.

Fishers, August 2010
We marked David's birthday with some little cupcakes and candles — it's always the candles that make a cupcake special, isn't it?

Delaney + Ran, August 2010
Delaney enjoyed some cuddles with Ran.

Woodoo, August 2010
Woodoo was feeling refreshed after his sleep in a real bed.

One of the errands Woodoo wanted to do in Brisbane was to get a little puppy. He had specifically been looking for a toy poodle (just like Ran & Sue’s dog Bonnie), but while we were visiting the Schneiders, we learned that a neighbour had some little Maltese-cross puppies available.

We all walked down to have a look at the puppies. And, of course, who can resist little cuties. (Beware — if you don’t want to come home with a puppy, never go and have a look at them!)

Aisha, 5yo, + Samantha the puppy, August 2010
So it was inevitable that Woodoo would choose a puppy from the litter and we would pack her up to bring home with us.

Aisha, 5yo, + Brioni, 3yo, August 2010
On one of the slow country roads, we let the girls look out the top of the truck to enjoy the scenery (and the bugs in our faces).

We stopped at a park area next to the Brisbane River before it flowed into the Somerset Dam. It was a beautiful, bright day, perfect for canoeing.

David with canoe on top of truck, August 2010
We had been carrying our canoe with us on top of the truck, so David just untied it and lowered it to the ground.

Woodoo lay down in the shade of a tree to get to know his new puppy — that he named Samantha.

Canoeing on the Brisbane River, near Esk, August 2010
David was the first to go canoeing with Brioni.

When David came back, I embarked in the canoe with Aisha sitting in the prow. However, we didn’t get more than two metres from the shoreline before I tipped the canoe, spilling myself out into the chilly Brisbane River. When I surfaced, the canoe had righted itself and Aisha was still sitting in it, gripping the sides of the canoe and screaming in a shrill voice. I burst out laughing although I was very cold from the water, and on the banks, David was laughing too. Aisha couldn’t stop screaming — from fright and from the cold.

We pulled ourselves out of the river, turned the canoe over to empty it of water, and Aisha and I headed up to the truck to find new clothes. (I wouldn’t have gone in again, but David insisted that this was a challenge that needed to be met head-on in order to teach Aisha a valuable lesson in persistence. I think I needed to learn that lesson too!)

Lauren + Aisha, 5yo, August 2010
Setting off in the canoe for the second time, I was a lot more careful about keeping the balance, and we stayed dry.

It was lovely to paddle the river slowly, looking at flowering lilypads and tiny fish and chasing a black swan. The current wasn’t very strong, and I managed to take all three girls for a tour of the river, as well as a Korean worker who was on a day-trip to the area.

Wildlife on the Brisbane River, August 2010
Little swallows had constructed nests from mud under the bridge.

Wildlife on the Brisbane River, August 2010
A lone black swan swam on the water not far from us, but it wouldn't let me get very close to it.

Wildlife on the Brisbane River, August 2010
We examined this pile of sticks near one of the bridge piers and found it was the swan's nest.

Wildlife on the Brisbane River, August 2010
There were two big white eggs in the centre of the nest. (No wonder the black swan was nervous!)

Wildlife on the Brisbane River, August 2010
A pair of lizards sunned themselves on a bridge pier.

Canoeing on the Brisbane River, near Esk, August 2010
As I approached the bank after my last trip out in the canoe (with just the camera), Calista waved at me from the bank, declaring that we were going home.

We had only been away for one night, but it was good to get back. There’s no place like home!