Going by the number of articles written, it’s clear that I had less time/energy to blog in 2011 than any of the preceding years; but that doesn’t mean the year wasn’t noteworthy! I’m hoping to write more frequently in 2012; but until then, here’s a quick recap of some of the events that happened to the Thomas Family in the year that was.
By the end of the year, we had been back in Australia for 18 months. Both Kristy and I still dearly miss London, and I think part of us will always yearn to go back. However, we’re also loving the comforts and familiarity of being back “home”, having a place of our own, and so many family and friends close by. Oh, and did I mention the beaches?
We didn’t spend nearly enough time enjoying these in 2011, which is another thing that we will be rectifying in 2012.
Our address remained unchanged, and I can’t see it changing again anytime in the near future. Though we love our house at Everton Hills, we’ve identified a few parts that could be better. We’ve already installed a kitchen, fans, and insulation, but by the end of the year, we had also engaged a draftsman to help us work through some of our bigger ideas. More on that later!
By far, one of the biggest highlights of the year was Aubain and Ingrid’s visit to Australia! Crazily, they were only here for one week; we’re still trying to convince them that they can’t do Australia justice without committing for at least a few years! Nonetheless, we made the most of the time that we had with them, with a quick jaunt to Sydney, followed by a few days on the Sunshine Coast, and of course – a tour around Brisbane city.
Here’s some of the other highlights/lowlights of 2011. It’s all about perspective.
- The Brisbane floods! We got a deluge of rain which caused the Brisbane river to break its banks. Our workplace didn’t escape the flooding, and it was weeks (months?) before things got back to normal.
- We planted our first geocache.
- Kristy celebrated her first Mother’s Day, and I celebrated my first Father’s Day.
- My PS3 died the yellow light of death, but thankfully it was recovered only a few weeks later.
- The successful opening of SmartClinics’ first outlet at Westfield Chermside. This was a culmination of months of long days and nights developing the software to run their clinics. Lou and Steve, Ben and Michelle, and Kristy and I celebrated the achievement with a child-free night out on the town.
- I started riding to work a few days a week, and have been thoroughly enjoying the extra exercise.
- The three of us got horrifically sick at the end of November, and it took us weeks to fully shake all our symptoms.
2011 was a good year for the lovers! The year finished on a high note when Mel – a very long time friend – married Ben, one of the most stand-up guys around. They’re two of the most selfless people that you could ever meet! We were quite impressed that they had sign-language interpreters on hand for their hearing impaired guests – as well as with their amazing choreographed dance routine!
A few other highlights for the lovers:
- March saw baby Ryan Daniel jump into the world a touch early (but none-the-less healthy!) to second-time parents Jason and Kellie.
- In April, we saw Nathan and Kelly married at what was probably the most spectacular weddings I’ve ever witnessed. Seriously, impressive!
- Adam Robert John was born to parents Jason and Louise in June.
- Travis and Kira (who I’ve known pretty much since the day she was born) were married in Brisbane city in July.
- Baby Nina Jean was born to proud-as-punch parents Stacey and Wes in August.
- Grant and Cathy welcomed “A” baby number three with Abilgail Linda coming in to the world in September.
- All the way over in Canada, Levi Alexander was born to Geoff and Eva in October – only four days short of sharing the best birthday in the world ;-).
- Amjad (who I worked with at Lloyds in London) and his wife Sobia were joined by Baby Haris in November.
- Also in November, Elise Tilly Joelle was welcomed into the world by parents Aubain and Ingrid.
It’s definitely easier to travel domestically these days – especially to places we can drive, as we always pack out the car carrying things for Oscar. But we still managed to get Oscar the first stamp in his passport in 2011, with a trip to Fiji with Team Threebie and Team Dahl! Sadly, sickness plagued many of our party (with Ben being hit especially hard) – but it was still an enjoyable, memorable trip for everyone.
Other trips that we took in 2011:
- We enjoyed a midweek vacation over Australia Day, crashing Team BaM’s pad at Golden Beach.
- Mom and Dad hosted us and Team BaM at their unit in Grande Florida.
- We spent a few days wandering around Melbourne with Kristy’s parents, after Nathan and Kelly’s wedding. My first visit to Melbourne since I was but a wee lad!
- Rob, Ben and I took an overnight trip to Sydney for the Remix 2011 conference.
- We had a great long weekend with The Durhams in celebration of Amyfest 2011.
- Jason, Louise and Baby Adam drove up from Sydney to join us for a week at Kingscliff.
- We rounded off the year with a few days down the coast at Christmas with Mom and Dad.
Music, Culture, and Theatre
Did I mention we don’t get out much these days? But that’s not going to stop me missing a good gig when it comes to town!
- Stu, Ben and I saw Eddie Vedder play on his solo tour at QPAC.
- Kristy and I happened to be in Melbourne when one of our favourite artists – Imogen Heap – was doing a show, so with Mia and Pa on babysitting duty, we popped along to check it out.
- I saw Jimmy Eat World play at The Tivoli along with Jason, Susan and Ben.
Last, but definitely by no means least – little Oscar Moo. What a year he had! Being a parent is certainly an experience that no matter how prepared you are for it, you’ll never really be ready for the challenges you face. Everyone has their own approach to parenthood, and every child is different – something we’ve learned time and time again this year! It’s amazing how much Oscar changed in 2011, and yet when you see him every day, you barely notice the differences!
Of course, it wasn’t cotton candy for the whole year through; on the contrary, there were a number of lowpoints too. For the first nine months of his life, Oscar was not a fan of sleeping, which meant Kristy and I didn’t get much of it, either. Suffice to say, it’s amazing what a difference a full night of sleep makes – not to mention contiguous full nights of sleep! And, Kristy and I were nervous wrecks when Oscar had to pay a visit to the Emergency Room. And it wasn’t the only time, either – by the end of the year, he’d clocked up three separate trips to the ER!
Still – these are all part and parcel of being a parent, so we’ve done our best to take things in our stride and concentrate on the highlights instead; of which, there were plenty!
- Trying solid food for the first time, and the subsequent face that followed.
- Dressing in matching outfits. Yep, I’m that guy.
- Watching all his physical skills develop – learning to roll over (four/five months), sitting (seven months), shuffling (10/11 months – he never really crawled!), then walking (14 months). Oh, and of course – high fives (nine months).
- Happy Birthday to you! Oscar turned one in September.
- Discovering that he really does understand what you’re saying to him. I’ll never forget when this first became apparent to me. I was playing with Oscar on his mat, and I said to him, “Go and get your toy truck, and we’ll push it at the blocks together.”. He looked at me for a second, then shuffled off to grab the truck, then brought it back to me and sat in my lap so we could push the truck together. I was blown away!
Here’s to an amazing, memorable 2012!
If you feel as though I’ve missed out something/someone important, it’s probably because you’re wrong, and I don’t care. Either that, or that my memory isn’t as good as it used to be; feel free to try your luck by letting me know.