One of the joys of being in a metropolis is that there’s usually something exciting happening every weekend. Today we spent the day at a festival organised by the Cerebral Palsy League to mark the start of Cerebral Palsy Awareness Week.

Early this morning, we needed to take Pa to a city station so he could catch the train back to his home in Sydney. As the the Cerebral Palsy League’s Picnic in the Park was being held at Roma Street Parklands today, it was the perfect combination of events for us!

Victor Bissett and Lauren Fisher with Calista Mae, July 2012
I've enjoyed spending the last week with my father. He's the person I feel most comfortable around — apart from David — and so it's wonderful having him with us at this time.

Delaney Renee, July 2012
For our day out, we decorate our foreheads with "tikka bindis" — adhesive bindi stickers. Delaney insisted on wearing two.

We had a bit of time to spend before the festival began, so we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in a nearby food-court before walking to the park. On the way, we loved seeing the colourful murals painted on the tunnel walls and the rogue plants seemingly growing straight out of the concrete.

Picnic in the Park at Roma Street Parklands, July 2012
Crowds of families with small children, prams and wheelchairs converged on the green at Roma Street Parklands for the annual festival which is kept accessible for people of all abilities.

Torres Strait Islander performers, July 2012
We are greeted at the festival by a performance by a Torres Strait Islander song and dance troupe.

Our girls adore craft activities, and we were delighted to find a whole tent with a range of projects they could work on. There were little card shapes to paint, cards to make, masks to decorate and other painting options too.

Aisha making a card, July 2012
In the craft tent, Aisha decides to make a card for David.

Aisha making a card, July 2012
Looking through the interesting selection on offer, she carefully chooses the stickers that she wants.

Calista making a mask, July 2012
Calista decides she wants stickers on her pink and purple eye-mask.

Making eye-masks, July 2012
Once the string is on, Calista tries her on for size, showing off for the friendly volunteer who supervises this craft table.

Hand-made eye-masks on the girls, July 2012
After the addition of gold doilies, the girls are happy with their creations.

We wandered around the grounds, trying out some other activities, before standing in line at the face-painting stall. Out of our four, only two wanted to get their faces painted when it was finally our turn. But the helium balloons handed out on the way kept everyone happy and occupied while we waited.

Face-painting on Aisha, July 2012
Lauren (wearing fairy wings in the background) creates really beautiful designs on children's faces, and today she volunteered her time and supplies to benefit the Cerebral Palsy League.

Lauren de Luca offers her face-painting services for parties in the Brisbane area, and she was lightning-fast with our girls. I haven’t seen this level of face-painting skill before and was really impressed with her work.

Our girls on the jumping castle, July 2012
Our girls always love the jumping castle, and thankfully we got a turn before the queue turned into a never-ending story.

Aisha plays with the clown faces, July 2012
Strategically timing each ball, Aisha aims for the highest numbers — and the best prizes!

Aisha has really good memories of playing the laughing clowns game at Luna Park in Sydney earlier this year. I’m really pleased that she got to build upon her memories, try the game again and improve her skill level.

We decided to leave the festival when Calista ran out of energy. Interestingly enough, as soon as we were out of the crowds, she revived and enjoyed exploring the gardens as we made our slow way back to our car.

Aisha and Calista look at a fountain, July 2012
The large fountain in the middle of the park attracts the girls' attention.

Plants at Roma Street Parklands, July 2012
Our girls think this herbaceous sculpture looks like a wedding cake.

Plants at Roma Street Parklands, July 2012
Aisha notices a couple wayward leaves in a very tidy hedge that have been missed by the trimmer.

Plants at Roma Street Parklands, July 2012
The flowerbeds display a rainbow of colours.

Playing in the water at Roma Street Parklands, July 2012
Even though the water is icy, the shallow steps are irresistible, and our girls start exploring the man-made stream.

Playing in the water at Roma Street Parklands, July 2012
Aisha finds herself in water a bit deeper than she expects, and yet manages to stay mostly dry.

Plants at Roma Street Parklands, July 2012
A monster hedge or a friendly caterpillar?

Today’s outing was another progression for me in becoming a single parent. The girls and I are able to objectively analyse our behaviour — retrospectively — and although we experienced a variety of negative behaviours from all four girls, I managed to stay mostly calm, cool and collected. It was great, however, to give ourselves the freedom to leave when we stopped having fun, and I wonder how many activities I’ve persisted at because I wanted to get “value for money”, even though we were long past the point of enjoying ourselves!

Calista naps on the couch, July 2012
Soon after we arrive home, Calista curls up for a nap on the couch. She's chosen the exact spot where Pa slept — she's already missing his cuddles.

Yes, that looks like the perfect ending to a fantastic day out!