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

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gratitude - day five

I am grateful for my home. That might seem a bit funny, especially since we are looking for a new home. But recently I listened to a radio program in which they discussed homelessness in South Australia and particularly Adelaide. They estimated that there were more than 230 homeless families with children currently residing in Adelaide. These families were often reluctant to seek help, as they were fearful of having their children taken away. The radio article commented on how homelessness impacted on everything in a child's life - and would impact on their adult life too. How is it that we live in such an affluent society, but we have children living in cars or in parks? Having cared for homeless people as a nurse, I understand that some individuals remain homeless due to addictions or mental illness and that even with the best intentions in the world they are unable to be housed. BUT children? What choice do they have?

That got me thinking about my boys and our living situation. Sure our home is a bit cramped, but it is comfortable and clean. We live in a nice neighbourhood and are fortunate to have good neighbours. It will be great when we find a new home, which gives us a little more room to move. However our family doesn't have to wonder where they will sleep each night or whether they will be safe. Our little home is a haven away from the worries of the world. So I am grateful for our home.

Hope you have your own little haven too,
Lisa xx

Friday, January 21, 2011

Gratitude - day four...

I am grateful for my parents. My Mum and Dad raised us in a loving home and we had no doubt how special they thought we were to them. Although it has been more than four years since my beautiful mum died, I feel her touch in a lot that I do. Sometimes I miss her so much that there is a physical pain. Every day I wish she was here. And sometimes the need to talk with her is almost unbearable. My Mum taught me what it is to be a Mum and I would love her to be able to experience the joy our three little men bring. She was so thrilled to be a Gran and was so excited awaiting the pending birth of my nephew Liam. I am so grateful to have had a loving and close relationship with her. And my Dad despite his obvious grief at the death of my Mum continues to be an important part of my life. No matter what time of day he is always ready for a chat and some words of advice. The boys adore him and so do Kev and I.

I am grateful for my brother, sister-in-law and my beautiful nephew. Adam, Kelly and Liam are a loving family and I grateful to have them in my life and the lives of our boys. Although I know Adam gets sick of the childhood "Adam stories" - he puts up with my reminiscences and good-nature jibes. I can't remember a time when Adam and I haven't been friends. We even lived together for a while as adults! And if he could tolerate my cleaning obsession then he must be made of strong stuff. And soon there will be a precious little addition to their family - can't wait :-)

And I am grateful for my extended family. Although we may not see each other very often I always enjoy spending time with them. Having a relatively large extended family has been a bit of a steep learning curve for Kev, as most of his family lives overseas (his Mum & Dad are in Queensland). I especially love when the cousins get together. Now we have grown up and have families of our own it is a double blessing to see our children playing together. And I enjoy seeing my Aunties and Uncles too. They have been an especially important part of my life since Mum died and I am grateful for their wise counsel and understanding.

And I am so grateful for Kev's Mum and Dad. Norm and Iris have accepted me into their home and their family. They live too far away and we don't get to see them often enough, but when we do its like no time has passed at all. They are wonderful grandparents and so loving towards me.

So you see I have a LOT to be grateful for and as I head off to bed I am reminded just how lucky I am,

Lisa xx

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gratitude - day three...

I am grateful for my friends. I heard it once said that you have a friend for a reason, a season or for life. And I can certainly relate to that. I have had friends who have seen me through my darkest hours and highest of highs, I have had friends for certain periods of my life. And then friends who are stuck with me for life. And for each of those friends I am indeed grateful.

Its funny how no matter how special our friends are, we often fail to tell them. We are often more comfortable sharing our feelings with people who are merely acquaintances. I suppose that part of the reason is that we get so busy with our lives and the time just slips away before we realise it. But aren't those close to us the most deserving of our love and honesty? So if I have one New Year's resolution it is to make sure I tell my friends how much they mean to me.

With much love,
Lisa xx

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gratitude - day two...

I am grateful that my family and I live in Australia! And probably more to the point that we live in South Australia. SA is a hidden gem - beautiful beaches, Mediterranean climate, fantastic wineries and restaurants, and a city which is easy to get around (on most days).

I am reminded daily of just how beautiful this place is when I drive a short distance from home and stretched out before me are the magnificent vineyards of the Barossa. A community settled in part by people who were fleeing religious persecution in their homeland of Germany (formerly Prussia). They came to our country seeking a new life and as a consequence brought their knowledge of viticulture which is now an integral aspect of our lives here in SA. Now a trip to SA wouldn't be the same without sampling our local wines.

Our beaches are wonderful. And there is something so soothing about walking for miles along a deserted beach. Withing a short drive from the centre of Adelaide (or a slightly longer tram ride) you can be at the beach - enjoying a swim, sunbathing or taking a walk.

Our scenery is breathtaking. Whether you explore the Great Australian Bight, The Flinders Ranges or The Murray River there are wonderful photo opportunities everywhere. Sometimes it is easy to drive past in a flurry and fail to take it all in, but it IS there waiting to be discovered.

Yes, living in South Australia is something I am very grateful for (although not as often as I should be). So my plan this weekend? Enjoy some of the fruits of the vine, take a walk along a beach and take the time to explore my little corner of the world.

Thanks for reading,
Lisa xx

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gratitude journal - day one...

I wanted to concentrate on all the good things I have in my life - the wonderful friends and family, the great places I have been and also the simple pleasures of my life. And I couldn't go past mentioning my beautiful husband Kevin. Most of you probably know that Kev and I met after he responded to an ad I placed in the Connections section of the local Sunday paper. That was 17 years ago this April. He was one of over 200 respondents and he was my 17th date (I am nothing if not persistent!). I first met him when he came to my place for a coffee - not the wisest thing to do, but my brother Adam was lurking in the background. He knocked on the door and Adam welcomed him and handed him a beer. Kev said later that he was desperately hoping he was at the right house (grin). We chatted for a few hours and I headed off to a nursing night shift. After that it was just one of those things. We kept ringing each other and catching up and six months later we were living together. He was nothing like the man I imagine I would spend my life with, but at the same time he was everything I needed. He was (and is) calm, kind and genuine. There is no pretence. He says what he means and doesn't tend to sugarcoat things. Most of all he loved me for all my faults and foibles - he never (and has never) asked me to change and he wanted the same things from life that I did (and still does).

17 years later I consider myself very lucky to have such a good man in my life. He loves our boys and is an active part of their lives. He loves my family and although he would happily spend most of his time at home, is happy to come to family get togethers with me. He is a good provider. And most of all he is my safe place in the world.

I am forever grateful for having Kevin in my life...

Thanks for reading,
Lisa xx

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Today I was thinking about how life can be altered irrevocably in a heartbeat. The Queensland floods have had a devastating effect on so many families - homes have been washed away, businesses destroyed and worst of all lives have been lost. And as the death toll slowly rises, it is the individual stories which have moved us and made this awful event all the more real.

The other morning I read of the desperate struggle of pregnant mother Stacey Keep to save her three young children from the flash flood that swept through their home. She was swept onto a railway track whilst clinging onto her 23 month old baby girl Jessica, but the little girl was torn from her arms by the current and is presumed drowned. Her husband Matthew tried to keep two of their children above the flood waters, but they were all swept out of the house. He somehow managed to find some roofing to cling to and was rescued down stream. Maddison (5) and Jacob (4) were saved by their grandmother Pauline, but she then drowned. And the children's other grandmother is also presumed drowned. The toll on this one family alone is just dreadful.

As I read their story the tears fell. I could not imagine what they were going through and it made me pause for a moment and think of all I have to be grateful for in my life. A friend posted on Facebook the other day about how the act of cleaning out her fridge made her realise how lucky she was to have a fridge and electricity. And so this got me thinking about gratitude (and my lack of it). Seems I am all too ready to complain about things, but expressing thankfulness falls way behind. So my challenge this week is to blog about those things (big and small) which I am grateful for in my life.

Maybe you might like to share your blessing too,
With much love,
Lisa xx