48. 2011 Its all about Family – ‘cos thats what its all about.

The weather dominated the beginning of the year with Queensland enduring hideous and devastating flooding.  This saw Alisha and Chris High and dry but unable to leave their suburb….and the twins were stuck in hospital!  Robs work went under water and mud while my workplace and our home stayed dry.   These were stressful times as the water rose, receded then rose higher still.   Tropical Cyclones smashed the north as mother nature delivered her worst.  The premier of the time said “Queenslanders are tough” and Kiwis living in Queensland are even tougher. We came through.

The initial cleanup of Robs work, the assistance with community clean-ups and then the ongoing challenge of developing projects through my work to deliver assistance to community organisations as they recovered from devastating damage.

Late 2010 Christchurch had begun to shake  and some of our relatives were “over it” so they came “over here” for some stability.   Our refugees made our lives interesting and busy but it was great to host Sarah, Dylan and Jave in their time of need.

By the end of January Zach and Lilly were released from Hospital and were home in time for Australia day celebrations.  What little troopers they were – it was a stinking hot day and all the people were there to see them.

Zach And Lilly
Zach And Lilly

We Celebrated our Irish heritage (or lack thereof) with a family get together….

Our kids had told us that we could have a child free holiday (Honeymoon) when we had been married for 5 years….so we went to Vanuatu for a week of food and fresh air.  We swam, Snorkeled, walked, sailed, ate, drank, toured, sailed some more and refreshed ourselves.  We had both been to Vanuatu before – but not together so it was fun showing each other the things we had seen and finding new things together.

Sunset Cruise in Vanuatu
Sunset Cruise in Vanuatu

Sadly my Nanas health deteriorated and in September she decided enough was enough and toddled off to greener pastures and rosier gardens.   It was hard being so far away from family but was awesome that those of us here gathered together to support each other in our loss and share precious memories.

My Nana Smith
My Nana Smith

By the end of 2011 I was in some clear air.  My job was going really well with added challenges and responsibilities a clear sigh of the confidence that my employer had in my skills and abilities, The family were all doing well in their chosen vocations with Dianne part way through her Butchery Apprenticeship (good for the budget), Alisha as 2IC in a liquor store (love staff discount) and Riki studying at Waikato University.  Family was the centre of our lives with many events such as St Patricks Day and the “Bubbles and Balloons” Easter celebrations attended by both Robs and my local family and family flying in from NZ and Adelaide.  I was pleasantly surprised to see all three of my children “step-up” during the year and take on greater responsibilities in the family and in their communities. I done good.

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