Monday, May 9, 2011


I love being a mum. There is nothing like those delicious little kisses and cuddles each day. I actually enjoy making school lunches and helping out with reading. I love play dates and visits to the park. My beautiful boys are the reason I get up each morning and my last thought each night. We had such a lovely Mother's Day last weekend. The older boys had made some careful purchases at the school Mother's Day stall and they were so excited to give them to me on Sunday morning. Jack was of course oblivious to the proceedings but he like sharing the chocolate and the fun. Then it was time to head to the local playground with Grandad for a BBQ and a relaxing afternoon. It was just a lovely day, very relaxing and the perfect way to celebrate being a mum.

It was a long and torturous road to get here. More than 10 years of fertility treatments. Wondering if I would ever hear the precious words "love you Mum". Then the very early arrival of Mitch and Harry. Months of gut wrenching fear - would they survive, would they be badly affected by their prematurity... what would the future hold for us all. Then when life seemed settled and we were happy with life with our beautiful young men, an unexpected surprise - our Jack! A surprise pregnancy just after I turned 40 years old. I have honestly never liked surprises, but this was wonderful. A precious baby boy who made our family complete.

So as you can imagine Mother's Day has a very special meaning for me. And it makes me very grateful for how far Kevin and I have come. We are the proud parents of three gorgeous, loving little boys. And we have achieved what we once thought was out of our grasp...

Happy Mother's Day (belated I know) to all the mums out there - may your days be filled with cuddles and kisses and precious handmade gifts,
Live Lisa xx

Monday, April 25, 2011

Immunisation - what to do...

As the mum of three small boys I consider one of my greatest roles to be their advocate. This is particularly pertinent in medical decision-making. When Mitch and Harry were almost ready to leave the confines of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit we were advised to have them immunised. In their case they were to be given smaller more frequent doses. Before agreeing to this I had time to think about the implications of vaccinations for my little men. To be honest the thought of injecting a foreign substance into their tiny bodies were pretty daunting. At this time Andrew Wakefield was extremely vocal with his belief that the MMR vaccine caused Autism in a small percentage of the population. And he had many passionate supporters. Here was a man who was stating that there was a definitive cause of Autism and it was caused by vaccinating your child. This raised a lot of questions for many parents...

Fortunately we did not need to make a decision about MMR at this stage (this is first given at 2 years of age in Australia), but it made me consider the other immunisations that were available. I only needed to look back a generation to get some answers. Both of my parents lived through the polio epidemics which swept through Australia from the 1930s until the 1960s. Over 40,000 people were affected with actual figures believed to be more than 100 times greater. My Dad recalled children leaving school and either returning with a lifelong disability or not at all, in fact Polio affected his family. Following the advent of the Salk, then Sabin Vaccines Poliomyelitis was eradicated from Australia in 2000. Several cases brought into Australia have not been able to spread due to the herd immunity in our country.

Other illnesses like Varicella (Chicken Pox), Pertussis (Whooping Cough) and Meningoccocal Type C are now either prevented or the effects greatly reduced by an immunisation program. All of which sounded to me like a very good reason to immunise my boys. BUT there were also the risks to consider and if my Google searches were to be believed then these were significant.

A quick online search revealed story after story of adverse reactions to immunisations. Countless organisations advocating the non-immunisation of children. Even books and TV shows discussing the decision to immunise. For a new parent it was very confusing. And in a lot of ways it continues to be so.

I focussed on the facts and figures regarding the benefits of immunisations, although it was often difficult to tease out the information and to establish if it was a verifiable source. Here is some of the information I obtained...

Diphtheria is an acute illness caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Toxins produced by the bacteria affect the respiratory tract, nervous system, adrenal gland and heart muscle cells. Diphtheria is spread by droplets or direct contact with wounds and materials soiled by infected persons. The disease can be fatal - between 5% and 10% of diphtheria patients die, even if properly treated. Untreated, the disease claims even more lives. In the early 1900s, diphtheria caused more deaths in Australia than any other infectious disease, but increasing use of diphtheria vaccines since World War II has led to its virtual disappearance. Perhaps, unsurprisngly Diptheria immunisation rates have fallen with an alarming case recently of a 22 year old Australia woman dying of Diptheria this year.

Pertussis (whooping cough) is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. The disease is highly infectious and most serious in babies. Babies are at greatest risk of infection until they can have at least two doses of the vaccine (minimum 4 months old) as the mother’s antibodies do not provide reliable protection. It is spread through droplets in the air and apnoea, seizures and encephalopathy may occur in very severe cases. Infants aged less than six months and adults often do not have the characteristic whoop. Paroxysms frequently end with the expulsion of clear, tenacious mucus. This is often followed by vomiting. Pneumonia is the most common cause of death. Fatal encephalopathy, which is probably hypoxic, and severe weakness from repeated vomiting, occasionally occur. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in 2008, about 16 million cases of pertussis occurred worldwide, 95% of which were in developing countries, and that about 195 000 children died from the disease. Global immunisation programs were estimated to have averted about 687 000 deaths. Australia is currently experiencing a Whooping Cough epidemic and the concern is that with unprotected infants and a poorly immunised adult population the incidence of neonatal death will increase.

Tetanus (lock-jaw) is a disease caused by the bacteria Cilostridium tetani. Toxin made by the bacteria attacks a person's nervous system. Although the disease is fairly uncommon now, it can be fatal. Early symptoms of tetanus include - painful muscle spasms that begin in the jaw; stiff neck, shoulder and back muscles; difficulty swallowing; violent generalized muscle spasms; convulsions and breathing difficulties. Complications include pneumonia, broken bones (from the muscle spasms), respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. Few people in Australia get tetanus because of the protection given by immunisation but tetanus kills many hundreds of thousands of people world wide every year, many of them very young babies.

It is a difficult decision for many parents. There are so many opinions that it can be difficult to know which way to turn. For me the decision comes down to this - that since the advent of immunisation programs for a wide range of previously fatal diseases there has been a dramtatic drop in the incidences of these diseases. All immunisations have the potential for adverse reactions and we all need to be mindful of this, but the alternative can be far worse.

I am interested to hear what others think...

Kind regards,
Lisa xx

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The joys of motherhood? or when other mothers attack!

Recently there has been a lot of media space dedicated to an attack on one of Australia's radio personalities (for want of a better term). Personally I don't listen to her or her program, but I was interested to read the vitriol which spewed forth when she was photographed walking and bottle feeding her six week old baby. Pru Goward (the incoming NSW Minister for Families) weighed into the debate likening her behaviour to the actions of Michael Jackson when he dangled his baby over a balcony. Many mothers were outraged by her comments and it got me to thinking about how quick we are to judge the actions of other parents (in particular mothers).

Many moons ago before I had children I thought I knew what parenting was all about! I am embarrassed to admit that I was free with my opinions and I am only grateful my friends didn't slap me down to size (like I deserved). I would look at children in supermarkets and wonder why their parents didn't have them under control - if I had children they would know how to behave in public. I would watch parents bargain and bribe their children out of sheer desperation - if I had children they would know who was boss. I would hear my friends complain about how exhausted they were and I would think that in their day they must have plenty of time to rest when the children were resting...

THEN I had children of my own and I quickly discovered one of the best kept secrets of all - parenting for the most part is winging it! Making it up as you go along and hoping that you don't scar your precious child and turn them into to a sociopath. Some days you get up and feel like an earth mother - calm and in charge. On other days you cower under the covers wishing someone would take away those horrible kids who are demanding to be fed. Parenting is NEVER straight forward or easy. When people comment on how well I manage my three boys I usually tell them I am like a duck, all serene on the surface, but paddling like hell underneath to keep everyone afloat!

So why do we feel it is okay to judge another mother? Is it because in pulling someone else down we feel better about ourselves? Or is it because it is somehow seen as a rite of passage, something that happened to us and we will do it to others? All I know is that it is the hardest job I have ever done. Full of rewards, but bone tiringly exhausting and never-ending. So the kind comment another mum makes about my boys or my parenting is much welcomed. Maybe we could all try to be a little gentler towards each other. And understand that for the majority of us, we want nothing more than to do a good job and raise our precious children in a loving home.

Now excuse me, but I have been hiding from my kids for long enough (in the computer room) I better go in and try to be an earth mother or at least find some clean clothes for them to wear...

Warm regards,
Lisa xx

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Worth a read...

An interesting read on the consumer push for lower prices at the expense of the small retailer and quality...

Cullen of Adelaide: We DROVE the prices and the quality down: "In a recent discussion over the Harvey Norman issue I'd received an alternative point of view. Gerry Harvey has done himself unspeakable da..."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ahh the joys of being a domestic goddess...

Is it just me or do other stay at home mums find some days...weeks...months are kinda like Groundhog Day? I seems like a dozen times a day I call out "please flush the toilet" - seriously do my boys imagine that what they have produced is so precious others will want to view it? And what about getting ready for school? Every morning I have to remind Mitchell to put on his glasses and if he forgets somehow it is my fault! And then when we get home I seem to repeat the sentences over and over.

Now please don't get me wrong, I love being a Mum. BUT sometimes it all gets a bit same-same. Of course there are lots of compensations. There is nothing as sweet as those cuddles and kisses first thing of the morning. Or the precious little cards or drawings that cover our fridge. And I adore watching those precious little men sleeping at night.

But just for once it would be nice to wake up and discover the boys all ready for school and eating breakfast. And no arguments in the car! And rushing inside to start their reading. And a dream, just a dream would be if the three boys happily went to bed and to sleep without reprimands or raised voices. See I am not that unrealistic am I?? (grin)

Here's to parents and carers who day in and day out care for our precious little people and try to do their best...

Lisa xx

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The house hunt continues...

"Oh No" I hear you say. Yes, its true unfortunately. We thought we were going ahead with that beautiful home, but it wasn't to be... and frankly I am sick of living in a packed up house!!! Our house is still on the market and we are currently back to weekends looking through houses. It means a mad dash as we clean our home, whilst rounding up the three boys. "Don't use the toilet its finally clean" " Stop touching the surfaces" "Please don't touch the books and toys Mummy finally got it tidy". And yes it is as relaxing as it sounds (eye roll).

And I have to confess that some of the houses we have seen have been gag-worthy! Seriously, if you are selling your home, then the odour of cat urine is not a selling point, neither is a table heavily encrusted with food. And that was in the same house and a very new home too. I know that not all people are quite as obsessive as me, but a bit of spray and wipe does wonders.

Some of the homes have been lovely though. And I hope that anyone who visits our home sees that although it has a dated kitchen and bathroom, it is much loved and well maintained. It is kind of confronting to know that people will be traipsing through our family home saying (probably) the same things I say... "Why would they paint it that colour" "God what awful tiles" "Would have been lovely if they mopped the floor"...

Oh well will keep you posted - hopefully next post will be a more positive one...


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Moving home...

Well soonly we could be on the move. For the past 8 months or so we have been house hunting and we have finally found a place that we BOTH like! It is a beautiful home and would be a wonderful place to raise our boys. So now we have decluttered our current home and are open for inspection this Sunday. It is a bitter sweet time packing up and planning to leave our home. The home that we brought our three boys home to and the home where we started life as a couple. BUT it is also exciting to plan the next stage of our life and know that very soon the boys will each have their own rooms and a bit more space. Fingers crossed it all goes well.

Lisa xx

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Argggghhhhhh - stop the world I want to get off!

Why is it that some days which start so beautifully unravel so horribly? Today I had a lovely day out with a good friend (thanks Jenn)and picked up a few bits and pieces and then headed off to pick up Mitch and Harry. And then at bedtime it all went awry. Mummy was clearly being mean when she suggested that 7.30pm was bedtime. Mitch started screaming that he hated me and Harry threw himself on the floor and howled. Thankfully this burst of angst caused them to fall asleep in record time. And as I collapsed onto the lounge and watched The Rafters being a happy family I wondered (not for the first time) why our lives couldn't be so simple?

I suppose this is REAL life. Not the made for television sanitised version. Sometimes we fight, yell and scream. Sometimes we hurt each other. And sometimes we feel exhausted and overwhelmed. BUT how amazing is family? Regardless of where we go and what we do they are there for us (if we are truly fortunate). So tomorrow morning I will get up and do it all again - and hopefully tomorrow will be a bit more like the Rafters :-)

Lisa xx

Friday, January 28, 2011

Gratitude - day seven (but a very late post)

Well finally I am getting around to finishing my gratitude journal. And you guessed it - I am grateful for my three beautiful boys. Somehow after years of infertility I am lucky enough to be the mum of three beautiful boys - Mitchell Steven, Harrison Adam and Jackson Kevin. All totally different and all a blessing in their own way.

Mitchell is the smoocher. He loves nothing more than to cuddle and kiss. On a rough day (and who doesn't have those) he is the first one to come over and climb on my lap and tell me that he loves me. BUT don't get me wrong he is an equal opportunity cuddler and will happily give cuddles to the mums at school and even to strangers at times. He loves jarmie days and playing with his trains. He loves going out for coffee and spending time alone with either Kev or me. We call him Grandpa Simpson beecause he loves to tell stories which never seem to end or have much point to them. Mitchell is a blessing in our lives. He shows us daily that even when things are tough to do a positive attitude goes a very long way.

Harrison (or Harry as everyone calls him) is a thinker. He wants to understand the world and sometimes seems to pick the most inopportune time to ask questions - usually whilst I taking something out of the oven or changing Jack! He is also less outgoing than Mitch, but once you win his heart he is yours forever. He loves bike riding especially with his Grandad and loves to play games with his Dad. He loves the computer and his DS. He is a wonderful big brother to Jack and loves making him laugh. He is happy to play with Jack for hours and then pack up the mess. He is my little shadow and some would say my clone (grin). Harry amazes us every day with how far he has come in such a short time. We are so proud of all of his hardwork at school and the friends he has made.

Jackson (or Jack) is our little clown. He will happily blow raspberries or jump up and down if it gets a laugh. Being the baby of the family he expects and demands attention. He loves cuddles. He also loves puppies - his favourite words are "puppy", "Mum", "Dad" and "happy". He is our happy boy. Jack shows us how the biggest surprises can be the most delightful!

So that's it for my gratitude journal. In a small way it has helped me clarify what is wonderful about my life and in turn what I need to appreciate more. Hope your life is full of good things too,

Lisa xx

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gratitude - day six...

Observant readers may notice that I hadn't posted a message for well over 24 hours... and there is a reason. The past few days I have been staying in Victor Harbor with my Dad (and Mitch & Jack). Victor is a beautiful seaside town about an hour's drive from Adelaide. It has lovely beaches, great restaurants and lots of things to see and do. Now that Dad has moved here we have a good excuse for visiting often.

And how does that relate to my gratitude journal? Well I am grateful for time to just relax and be. This doesn't happen all that often, but when it does I relish it. I remember reading once that "taking time to do nothing is never wasted time". BUT it is hard to remember it when life seems to be a series of deadlines, jobs to be completed and places to be. And being the kind of person I am, it is often difficult to prioritise relaxation, before the household chores or whatever "job" I think needs to be done.

So I am grateful for the opportunity to relax, to sip a glass of wine, read a good book or doze in a comfortable armchair. It is times like these that I am reminded of just how good life can be.

Hope you manage to find a little piece of heaven too,
Lisa xx