Australian Holiday

The holiday season for Linda was quite the opposite from Sue’s, as Linda headed to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia - high summer! The heat there soared to record temps for December mixed with smoke from the blazing fires taking over the country (south of Brisbane). All that, plus daughter Maddie having a newborn, kept us indoors during the heat of the day. The sun rose at 4:15, so it was easy to start our days with early morning walks to a really good coffee shop and then through the neighborhood reserve where we saw Xanthorrea (grass trees), Wallabies, Flying Foxes (kind of a giant bat - but too high up in the trees to take any meaningful pictures) and only FAKE BIG BUGS.
We found this Blue-tongued Lizard in Maddie and James' backyard. Asked if it was innocuous, James replied," He might bite ya, but that's it." 
He stayed in the backyard.
 A walk through Maddie's new neighborhood found us at a most wonderful coffee shop called Silky Oak Espresso. It's literally one block away. I don't care where you live, Australian coffee is like no other. 
A real treat for this coffee snob.
We love a small business with a great mission!
Holiday yard decorations sure look different in Australia!
We didn't see too many Frosty the Snowmans  - except on Maddie's front porch.
Our holiday was filled with our Australian family experiencing many of the Heins Christmas traditions . . . gingerbread house contests, homemade cookies, peppermint ice cream and rye bread . . .  And we enjoyed seafood fests full of smoked salmon, grilled barramundi  and Moreton Bay Bugs (kind of like a small lobster) at every Aussie family poolside event. 
No actual fireplace needed - Maddie drew a fireplace on a chalkboard.
 We ventured into a downtown area flanking the Brisbane River called Southbank, to see the Aussie Christmas fireworks. These celebrations are held three consecutive days leading up to Christmas Eve.
Of course, baby cuddling was top priority every day . . .
And then back in Montana, Silas got this news on Christmas Day!
australia family

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