Monday, March 31, 2008

Goodbye Jones family (but for how long...?)

Today we said goodbye to Gareth, Lesley, Cerys and Evan as they packed up and headed on to the next part of their holiday in Melbourne with Lesley's friend Penny.

The blog has been a bit quiet over the last week and that is simply because the house WASN'T !!!!

It has been a crazy 10 days and nights of kids out numbering adults and the house being in a constant state of chaos! Byron had a couple of days off work and we managed to make the most of them with a morning on the Red Dragon.....

An afternoon at caves Beach....

.... and a day in Hunter Valley.

Sian and Rhiannon were at school during the week but Gareth came down with a nasty vomiting, diarrhoea, high temp, sore throat that dragged on over days and limited our ability to show Gar and Lesley around. Luckily they had their own rental car and were able to get away independently.

The weather was a bit grey and damp during their first few days with us and the pool didn't seem so inviting. The second half of the trip the sun came out and most days found the pool full of kids and Byron and big Gar sipping a cold beer on the swing seat watching over them!

One momentous point on the trip was big Gar and myself going to the local post office where he arranged a large envelope of paperwork to be couriered to Perth. It was part of their family visa application. They have spent a lot of time thinking about moving here and this was a big step in that direction. That might explain the title of this blog...

Goodbye Jones family, we hope you had fun here and that it won't be too long before we see you all again....

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

We are Australian Citizens !!! (Well amost!)


We got a letter congratulating us on being successful in becoming Australian Citizens!!!!

After jumping through hoops, juggling knives, drinking copious amounts of Australian wine and promising to name any future kids Sheila or Bruce we have passed the criteria for being granted our citizenship!

It won't be truly finalised until we attend a ceremony where we swear our allegiance to Australia but the main thing is getting this far. We have to wait for a letter from our council announcing the date of the next citizenship ceremony....

Watch this space!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Lesley!

Today is Day 3 of our visitors trip and is also Lesley's Birthday. Her husband Gar helpfully told me via email that her birthday would be shortly after they arrived and mentioned that if I hadn't already made plans I better start..!

He arrived here with no present, no card and no clue really! We went off to a shopping center on day 2 and they went shopping together for a watch then Gar and Byron sidled off to get cards in Kmart.

This morning instead of breakfast in bed we did a big BBQ breakfast and sat out in the garden to eat it. The kids helped me make a cake this afternoon and we lit sparklers and sang "Happy Birthday" after tea tonight.

Gareth and Lesley have gone out for a meal in Toronto to celebrate. We are sitting here nervously hoping Evan their three year old doesn't wake up!!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Goodbye visitors, Hello visitors.....

Yesterday afternoon my parents flew out of Sydney Airport to return to Ireland after their visit to us. The following hours were a blur of stripping beds, washing, drying and re-making the guest room up, hoovering, cleaning, shopping and finally at almost midnight, mopping all the tiles before falling into bed. At 5am the bedside alarm woke me out of a dead sleep and within 30mins three very tired kids had been lifted from their sleep and dressed and sat in the car for another early airport run, this time to collect a family of four from Scotland who were arriving on a 6.50am flight....

Our visitors are Gareth (Byron's friend since Pre-School!) his wife Lesley and their two kids Cerys (7) and Evan (3) Despite our early start and a good clear run of traffic we managed to arrive a few minutes after they did. They had managed to collect their suitcases, change a nappy and clear customs in record time! They looked relieved when they saw us run in. I think it would be your worst nightmare getting off a 24 hour flight to find no-one to meet you at arrivals- oops!

Once we had got a coffee into us we went off to the carpark and I drove our car home with Lesley in the passenger seat and Byron drove Gareth's hire car. It is "Double Demerits" this long holiday weekend. Effectively that means that any driving offence such as speeding will gain you double the normal points punishment and you could loose your license in just two offences. Having nagged Byron all the way to Sydney I kept my speed averaging about 90-100 km per hr on the way back, well under the 110 limit. At one point I saw the speedometer creep up to 115 and I eased off gently only noticing the cop car in the layby with his laser pointing at me after I passed him...... AAAARRRGGGHHHH! If I get done for that I will feel so hard done by!

The rest of the journey went by easily enough and we were glad to get home and get the kettle on. Gareth and Lesley did a great job keeping themselves and the kids awake in order to try and get a full nights sleep to break the jet lag. As the eyelids got heavy in the afternoon we went out to get fresh air and everyone perked up again. Everyone that is except poor little Evan. Despite having a birds eye view on his dads shoulders he just couldn't stick it anymore and was soon fast asleep and dribbling onto Gareth's head!

They have all gone off to bed early and we are hoping that they will get a full nights sleep ready to get up bright and breezy tomorrow to begin their holiday!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Last day with Mum and Dad.

Goodbyes are always emotional.

Today was our last full day with Mum and Dad. This visit has been more emotional than most as we didn't know over the last 2 1/2 years if Mum would ever be well enough to travel over and see us. Even though she did well to get here in good spirits she was in a lot of pain on many of the days and went to bed shortly after the kids each evening. There were days I know that she wondered if it was worth being here if she couldn't be a full-on energetic Granny, hopefully there were enough special moments to persuade her that seeing her at less than her normal 110% was far better than not having her here at all.

Although we cannot look into a magic ball to see when we will all get together again we are all hoping that she will return to her normal healthy self and that we still will have many happy visits in the future to look forward to.

Safe home Mum and Dad.


Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patricks Day

We had a great St Patricks Day this year. It was on a Monday and Byron took the day off work. The kids had school as normal but it was an out-of-uniform day and they could wear anything they wanted. Carrie had sent them over some great Irish themed T-shirts from Dublin so they wore them in. (Thanks Car!!! xoxox)

Sian's said "Happiness is being Irish" which was reasonable enough....

Rhiannon's said "Patrick was a saint .... I aint!" Perfect for her!

Gareth's unfortunately said "100% IRISH" You dont have to think too long and hard about Byron's nationality to read into the problems that arise from such a statement...!!!!

After we had breakfast (complete with green milk) and dropped the kids to school we drove to the Hunter Valley for a relaxing day of coffees, pottering around the fabulous shops and lunch at Harrigans Irish Pub. It was a great day and we managed to squeeze in another quick coffee in the decadent Tempus Two vineyard cafe before dashing home in time to meet the kids off the school bus.

Dinner that evening was a suitable mix of colours with all the veggies making up the Irish flag in the center of the table.

A lovely day made all the more special for having Mum and Dad share it with us.

Happy St Patricks day !!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Blackbutt Reserve

We took Mum and Dad to Blackbutt Reserve this weekend. Mum has been feeling quite unwell over the last week so we have to choose carefully what to do and where to go as she doesn't always have the energy we all do. Luckily at Blackbutt she was able to sit and talk while the kids and Grandad Joe went walking around looking at the animals.

We all went to the Koala talk and although the kids have heard it many times before it was still great fun.

Grandad Joe brought them on the Koala encounter afterwards where he paid to bring them in behind the scenes to talk to the rangers and stroke the koalas on a one to one basis.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

On the boat

The Red Dragon got a good run on the lake today! The sun was shining and the wind was calm so we packed up a picnic and got away nice and early to make the most of it. The conditions were perfect but you will have to take my word for it as I left my camera in the car!

We took a photo after the boat was safely back on dry land and then my Dad had fun snapping Byron and myself washing and waxing the Red Dragon before putting it under its covers for a well deserved rest!

St Josephs Day

Our kids go to a Catholic school called St Josephs. It is a name that is very close to my families heart. My Fathers parents were called Joe and Josephine Sheeran. Dad was called Joseph and so was my brother and now his son Cian has Joseph as his middle name.

When Mum and Dad booked their trip over here we found out that St Josephs Day would be celebrated during their holiday. We went to Mass at St Josephs church that evening and Fr Tom offered the mass for my Grandad and Granny Sheeran, my Dad, my brother and my nephew. It was very emotional for us to stand there and listen to Fr Tom speak their names out during the Mass. Fr Tom also told everyone that Sian (who was Alter serving during the Mass) was Dads grandchild and praised her for doing such a good job that evening. There were more than a few tissues needed in our seat.

After Mass Rhiannon and Gareth wanted to light some candles. They both said that their candle was for Auntie Carrie in Dublin because she was missing us.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Caves Beach

Because Mum and Dads trip is a short one and the kids have no school holidays during it we decided to take the kids out of school for one day so we could have fun on the beach. The kids thought it was a great adventure heading off to caves beach with sunhats and swimmers while all their friends were heading to school in their uniforms!

It was a lovely day spent sitting near the water with a little paddling with Granny and body boarding with Grandad Joe!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Banana messages....

Sometimes I write a message in a pin on the skin of a banana the kids are bringing to school. My sister Carrie rang the other night and was missing us. Before we said goodbye she asked me to write a banana message for the kids at some stage over the next few days.

One day this week Rhiannon and Gareth wanted bananas for their fruit break in school so out came a pin! When they saw the bananas going into their bags they wanted to know what they said. I told them Auntie Carrie had flown around the world last night and stolen the best two bananas out of the fruit bowl then snuck out and flew home.

Rhiannon the savvy seven year old knew I was joking but Gareth looked at me with amazement!

Monday, March 10, 2008


The finishing touch for our garden arrived this week.... Gravel!

2.9 tonnes of it to be precise!

Byron had only ordered 2 tonne and when it arrived and the guy said that there was more than planned Byrons face looked a wee bit distressed. The kind gravel man explained that he was only charging Byron for the amount ordered. Byrons face still looked distressed. He didn't care about the cost. He was thinking about how hard it was going to be moving it with a wheelbarrow over the next few days!

To use a phrase Mr B has said to me on many occasions ... It won't move itself sweetheart!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Sians Birthday

Sian asked if for her 10th birthday she could have her two best friends Gemma and Maddie spend the afternoon ice-skating with us. It has been a really hot week and I couldn't think of anything better!

We had a fun morning with Joe, Rhonda, Cian and Anne calling in for coffee and muffins then off we went to Warners Bay Mackers (McDonalds to all you non-ozzie slang friends!) where Gemma and Maddie met us.

The kids all tucked into their food and had great fun opening the presents. Both Maddie and Gemma had made gifts for her. Maddie made a lovely scrapbook and Gemma made a photobook with a poem about all the fun things they had done together as friends.

Gemma had also wrapped up lots of fun and silly things that were connected to lines in the poem. Some of the connections were obvious and some were obscure but they all had us laughing!

When we got to the ice-skating Mr B was on duty in the spectators area watching bags. He knew ice-skating had dislocated shoulder written all over it! The kids loved the skating and we were joined by Joe and Rhonda too shortly after getting there.

The next couple of hours passed in a chilly blur of skating, eating and limbo skating

(which Rhiannon won!)

It was a lovely birthday, the best one ever according to Sian!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Underwater fun!

My brother Joe brought his underwater camera to our house today and we had fun with it in the swimming pool! Here are some of my favourite shots.....

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Mum and Dad seem to be over their jet-lag!

I think the Australian air is agreeing with them!!!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Gareths wobbly tooth.

Gareth has been dying to have a wobbly tooth so he can get some money from the tooth fairy!
At last his front tooth on the lower jaw started wobbling over the last few days. When he got to the stage of finding eating sore I decided enough was enough and gave it a tug! Out popped the tiny tooth and the whole family as called into the bathroom to have a look! We wrote a note asking the tooth fairy could he keep this first tooth and wrapped it in tissue under his pillow. The next morning there was a shiny $2 coin next to the tooth and Gareth was a very happy boy!


The sun is out and so are the badminton racquet's!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

First swim.

One of the things my Mum and Dad were most looking forward to doing when they got here was having a dip in our swimming pool. It didn't take them long to get into their swimsuits and jump in!

It was great to see them enjoying themselves with the kids, especially as Mum and Dad were the ones who so generously helped us out with getting the pool in the first place. Lets hope there are many more sunny days to come.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Mum and Dad arrive !!!

Yippee! At last, after moving here 2 1/2 years ago my Mum and Dad are finally here to see us and the new life that we have made for ourselves here in Oz!

It was an emotional reunion. The first night in our house was Mothers Day in Ireland so we had a special Mothers Day meal and mum opened presents and cards that were from us and from my Dad and Sister in Ireland.

It was a lovely start to the two weeks we are lucky enough to have them stay with us.

Sian, The librarian...

Sian loves books. She borrows weekly from her school library and has become a regular in there at lunchtimes. This term she was asked to be a library monitor. I'm not 100% sure what it means but she gets a red badge and gets to be in charge of overseeing the library one lunchtime a week with her friend Gemma. Will this be her future career...?!!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Happy St Davids Day!

It's that time of year again when I celebrate everything about being Welsh, and making sure the kids know it's part of their heritage too!

Thanks to Mrs B, I woke to a bedroom covered with Welsh Dragons, had my morning cuppa out of a Welsh mug, wore the obligatory Welsh rugby shirt all day and am just about to tuck into a leek sandwich (!)

We draped a flag from our balcony to remind the neighbours that I'm not actually an Aussie after all - just in case they couldn't tell by my accent, pale legs and penchant for warm ale.

Thanks to everyone for their kind wishes today, and for the cards, daffodils (from Ireland!) and for helping me feel like this corner of Australia is Wales for today.

Who knows, I may even flash my Welsh dragon tattoo later tonight?

Happy Saint David's Day! (Dydd Dewi Sant Hapus!)