Since we are leaving for Texas on Thursday we decided to do some Christmas celebrations early here in Brisbane. Tuesday morning we surprised Leighton with her toy kitchen. I had gone on a mission to find the hot commodity kmart kitchen. I then copied a hack I saw on Instagram and painted the hardware and fake wood.
She was sick on Tuesday (ear infection), so her response was pretty anticlimactic. Once she started feeling better, she hasn’t stopped playing with it.
Friday after her afternoon nap we headed into the city to meet Travis. We wanted to go to City Hall to watch the first night of the light show. Every year they project a different Christmas story on to the side of the building. We had gone a couple years ago, and it was pretty impressive so we decided to take Leighton.
It didn’t start until 7:30, so took the bus over the river to South Bank to get dinner first. Before dinner we stopped by the playground (it is the best kid’s playground) and let her run around and get off some energy from being stuck in her pram on the way over.
We decided to get Turkish food at Ahmet’s. The food is always good and more importantly because it is loud and busy which is always good when dining with a toddler. Leighton was pretty fascinated with the belly dancers and kept clapping along with the music.
After dinner we walked back into the city to see the show. Since it was the first night, King George’s Square was pretty crowded. They were even people with a stand selling mangos (a Brisbane summer/christmas staple). We tried to get some pictures of Leighton in front of the tree and at Santa’s mailbox but she mostly wanted to run around.
They play the story every fifteen minutes, so it wasn’t hard to get a spot with a good view. It was a cute tale of a little boy in Brisbane who wished for snow. Leighton mostly loved the river scenes and was shouting out “blub blub” (her fish noise).
Friday is late night shopping in the city. The stores normally close at 5pm, but Friday nights they stay open until 9. Other malls in the city have different nights for their late night. We stopped in one store for Trav to look at something, before heading home way past someone’s bedtime.
Since she won’t sleep in her pram anymore she was quite wired by the time we were on the ferry home. She wanted to chat and wave at everyone.
Saturday we had a plan to hit up the West End Markets to get some last minute Christmas gifts. We love this market because it has a lot of handmade crafts made by locals. After picking up a few items, we wandered around Boundary St and found the cutest kid’s bookstore.
We had a late lunch which pretty much messed up Leighton’s nap schedule for the day. She fell asleep on the way home and we all took naps as it stormed through the late afternoon. Once she woke up we decided to give her an early dinner and go look at Christmas lights since the rain had stopped.
Christmas decorations are definitely not as big of a deal as they are in the US and we had specific addresses to go look at. We sipped peppermint tea and listened to Christmas playlists as we drove around. One of the houses was ranked the best decorated in all of Brisbane. There was an ice cream truck parked out front and even a police car to monitor the traffic. It was pretty wild.
We kept thinking Leighton would eventually fall asleep in the car but she stayed awake the whole time, but was pretty over it by the end. We swung by and picked up a pizza for Travis and I before retiring home. We watched a cheesy Christmas movie, Office Holiday Party, and ate our subpar pizza before calling it a night.
The next morning we all had a good sleep in before getting ready to go to the Gold Coast. Travis has been following this photographer, who has a shop in Burleigh Heads, forever on Facebook and has been wanting to buy one of his prints. He saw they were having a big carapark sale over the weekend, so we went to check it out.
The sale was pretty picked over, but he still managed to leave with three smaller prints that we will frame for the living room. We did a little more shopping and strolling on James St, the main road in Burleigh. Travis picked out another Christmas present for himself, while Leighton and I picked up some delicious smoothies from a health food shop.
We were planning on driving to a different beach nearby that has a calm creek Leighton likes to play in. But we realized we had left our beach tent at home, so we decided to stay since Burleigh Heads has shady trees lining the back of the beach. We posted up at the back and went for a swim.
Leighton has always been afraid of the waves, but this time she was loving having Trav jump her over them and didn’t even mind getting smacked in the face a couple of times. It was the most fun just watching the joy and excitement on her face.
We stayed on the beach for a while before heading back up to look for lunch. We decided to try out California Tacos, since it was ranked #1 Mexican in the Gold Coast and I knew that it was owned by Americans. The tacos were really tasty (and pricy) but Leighton was the biggest fan of the chips and salsa.
After lunch we headed home just in time for Leighton’s afternoon nap in the car. Once we got home, Travis was kind enough to take her to the grocery store and park, so that I could get some down time. I took an hour long bubble bath and enjoyed having the house to myself for the first time in forever. We let Leighton eat her dinner outside so we could sit on the front porch and enjoy the pretty evening. Once she was asleep, Travis grilled up a delicious dinner of lamb, brussels sprouts and potatoes. It was the greatest ending to the most perfect day (and weekend).
We are heading back to the US tomorrow. Wish us luck as we brave a 17 hour flight with a 16 month old!