Thursday, 18 September 2014

Possibly One Of The Cruelest Question You Could Ask A Mum

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You know when you discover a blog and from the very first moment you click on the site and start reading, you feel so damn comfortable and at home that it reminds you of hanging out with a bunch of your favourite gal pals?

Yep that!

That is exactly how I felt when I first stumbled upon Champagne Cartel and connected with the absolutely divine Carolyn.

Whilst we banter regularly online, we have only actually met briefly in person at Problogger and we spent that whole few minutes hugging each other stupid and not really speaking... and yet she feels like a life long friend.

That's the thing about Champagne Cartel and the gorgeous Carolyn and Gillian, who together are the brains and beauty behind this awesome blog, they make you feel like you belong there whether it's your first visiting their site or you are a dedicated stalker.

Carolyn recently got in touch and knowing my love of questionnaires, asked me if she could interview me for the blog and of course I was all "Hell Yes!!!" and so I set about answering her questions.

All was going along brilliantly until, she asked me what is quite possibly one of the cruelest question you could ask a mum....

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

An Important Date You Don't Want To FORGET!

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This post is brought to you by NSW Health - Immunisation

My 13 year old son came home from school the other day and said “Thanks for warning me I was going to get jabbed in the arm at school today Mum”

“OMG, I forgot all about that, I’m so sorry hun” I replied with shame. And there genuinely lies a problem - vaccinations are so easily forgotten about in the busyness of life, and yet they could single handedly be the one thing that saves your child’s life.

Vaccination is something I am very passionate about, and although I am acutely aware that it is a subject that is surrounded by such an emotional minefield, I AM willing to stand up and state that I am pro-vaccinations.

This is a big call coming from someone who is terrified of offending anyone, and I haven’t always been so strongly opinionated about this subject. Nearly losing my precious child to a vaccine preventable disease was enough to do it for me.

When I was pregnant with my first son I received a group email from another Mum-to-be in my antenatal group. Say NO to the vaccinations was the message in her email and she went on to tell us about how she had a friend who had a friend who believed her child’s autism was caused by a routine vaccinations.

I hadn't even given any thought to vaccinations at that stage. I was so focused, at that point, of getting that heffalump safely out of my belly that I hadn't even begun to consider all those kinds of things. Yet there I was scared about the idea of potentially harming my precious baby before it was even born. Already scared of something I truthfully knew nothing about?


I emailed her back asking some questions around the how and why and what happened to her friend-of-friend’s child and her response was simply “I don't know”. 

OK, so I was scared out of my mind about vaccinating my child because I had fear instilled in me via a friend of a friend story?


That was possibly the start of my lifelong commitment to my completely non-qualified medical career, you know the medical profession where us Mums and Dads spend hour upon hour researching everything and anything to do with our kids’ health and safety.

I refused to base my decision about such an important subject on someone else's fear, because
I am of the belief you need to be armed with the facts from all angles to make that kind of judgment call. The problem is so many of our decisions seem to be based upon fear and snippets of information we receive from others.

Turns out, I discovered first-hand the importance of vaccinations when our beautiful boy Kai came within inches of death after being struck down with meningitis and bacteremia septicemia – a deadly disease caused by the pneumococcal bacteria, a disease that can be largely avoided with the pneumococcal vaccine our kids now routinely receive.

Late last year I had the privilege of attending a photo shoot with Anne Geddes. Anne was photographing the most beautiful survivors of meningococcal in an effort to raise awareness for this insidious disease.

Whilst I was there I had the opportunity to interview Professor Robert Booy - the head of Clinical Research at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance and I took this opportunity to ask Professor Booy about the concerns I most frequently hear from those who are anti-immunisation, including the fear that the MMR immunisation may be linked to Autism.

Professor Booy explained to me that this fear initially came from a Doctor in the UK who released this Autism theory back in 1998. The theory was disproved within a year following a systematic review, up until 2004, where hundreds of thousands of valuable research hours were spent on researching any potential link.

The original theory was withdrawn and the Doctor responsible for releasing the initial report was found to be fraudulent and unethical and has since been struck off the Medical Register.

Unfortunately, a genuine fear was created by this Doctor and still remains with some people today.

Look, I am not here to tell you which decision to make nor am I going to stand here and judge the decision of a parent to not vaccinate their child based on their own personal experiences. We are all parents who love our kids and doing our best to make decisions based on what we believe will protect our precious children.

I do however beg of you to consider these proven facts in your decision making process;

 The NSW Health Save the Date to Vaccinate website is an awesome resource to find out everything you need to know about the why, when, how and myths and realities surrounding vaccination. It is easy to understand and get your head around and I seriously encourage every parent to check it out.

So, you have made the decision to vaccinate, now you just need to stay on top of when it is due - which admittedly can be hard at times, especially when you have multiple children all requiring vaccinations on different dates.

Well, lucky for us NSW Health is making it easier for us parents to ensure our kids are vaccinated on time with their Save the Date phone App – available for iPhones and Android devices.

The App allows us to enter our child’s name, date of birth and GP contact date and it will then calculate their next immunisation due date and send us a series of reminders to prompt us to call our GP to make the appointment. You can even make that call straight from the App.

 What about you – was vaccinating or not vaccinating an easy choice for you?

(As I’ve said before - I know this is a very emotional topic and although I welcome open discussion, I do ask that everyone please play nicely and respect each other’s rights to differing opinions)

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Place I Go To When I 'Run Away'

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Everyone has that special place they go to when they are 'running away from home'... don't they?

When I was a wee youngen, in my pre-child days, it was this beach that I would go to when I wanted to hang out with my friends or when I just needed some space to think.

This place has an uncanny way of soothing me. It's like some hippy trippy anaesthetic balm for a noisy mind.

I feel so significant here, but in a good way though - you know?

When I stand and watch the waves pound and the clouds rumble along the horizon, I can't help but feel fabulously insignificant compared to all of it. It is that feeling that holds the power to make all the nonsense and noise in my head go quiet... at least for a little while, which is the whole point of running away really.

This beach also happens to be the exact place that I first met my hubby. I was seventeen and I rocked up to the beach with a friend in her little Barina. He was standing shirtless on the roof of a panel van looking at the surf and I turned to my girlfriend and said "There's my future husband right there. I'm going to marry him".

No really!

Alright I know it's mildly perverted that I picked my future soul mate based on his hunky shirtless torso, but it is a freakishly true story.

We hung here when we were going out, and lived here when we first moved in together and got married.

We moved a suburb away for a little while before returning to an apartment in the beachside village when we had our first child.

There are so many precious memories ingrained in the sand here that it's no wonder really that I have such a connection with it.

Once the kids came along, I had to fine somewhere a little closer to home to escape to when I needed to breathe... closer as in like IN our home. And so I used to hide in the bathroom or the walk in robe.

No matter how well I hid, they always managed to find me. They were like little sniffer dogs that went from room to room hunting me down and then when they found me I'd get the "Whatcha doing Mum? Mum? MUM? Whatcha doing in here?" fired at me like boom boom boom, with no break for air in between.

Once the kids reached the age where they weren't hanging on to my legs anymore as I tried to go out the front door, I managed to reconnect with my special place again.

I love that whilst we no longer live right here, we still live close enough that I can continue to use it as my 'running away' place when I need to think... or not think. I can come here whenever I need the surf's hum to wash over me and drown out any noise in my head. .

Everyone needs a special place they can escape to.

Where do you run away to when you need a time out?

Monday, 15 September 2014

More Than Just A Jumble of Words

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You know what I love, like really really love about kids? 

I love the way they run like they are so desperately excited about where they need to get to that they couldn't possibly walk there, even if it is only the next room. 

Last night Flynn came running into the room with a page full of words he had written all by himself, for no other reason that he just wanted to write down all the words he knew and show them to me. 

It was just a jumble of words, some misspelled and others totally on the mark. Collectively the words made no sense whatsoever, but in his mind, they weren't written with the intent of making any sense. 

It was his way of showing me how hard he is trying with his school work and just how far he has come. It was his way of making me proud of him.

Like he even needed an excuse for me to be proud of him.

Learning hasn't been all that easy for this free spirited seven year old. He finds all this school stuff much harder to get his head around than his brothers did. In fact he kinda of finds it all a little boring given that there are worms to dig up and mud to slide in and life to explore.

God knows there has been times when I have been so frustrated when after 10 or more times of me explaining something he still doesn't get it, nor does he really want to. 

And so this page of jumbled words may not look like much to anyone else, but to Carl and I - they are everything. 

Last night when he proudly showed me his work I squeezed him really really hard and told him just how proud I am and how clever I think he is. 

Stuff these experts who tell us we praise our children too much. Too much praise? Pfft! Bite me! 

The pure look of pride on his round little face, the way he puffed his chest up like a pigeon and the big happy gappy grin confirmed to me that no expensive degree qualifies anyone to tell a parent how much they should or shouldn't show their child how special we think they are. 

He threw his arms around me and hugged me back twice as hard and gave me a big wet sloppy kiss before grabbing his scrapbook and running back to his bedroom. 

His enthusiasm could be felt in every noisy thump of his feet as he ran and he left me equally enthused to thump excitedly between the day to day wins in my own life.

Made the beds before we left for school? Thump thump fist pump "Yessssss!"

Nailed that deadline and had dinner served on time? Thump thump fist pump "Whoooooo hooo!"

Got us all through the day in one piece and sanity intact? Thump thump fist pump "Yeeeeeeeww nailed it!"

Sometimes I think our kids know way more than we do about how to really suck the most out of life and that somewhere along the way to being adults we let the enthusiasm ebb away from us.

I want to find that balance where I place less emphasis on the structured boring bits in every day and give more attention to the worms and mud pies in life

I want to run with the same enthusiasm as kids do through every single day of my life. I want to feel that much joy in every step that I can't possibly walk from one thing to the next. 

Flynn may have just written a page full of words that made no sense to anyone else,  but to me they made more sense than any literary masterpiece ever could hope to convey. 

There was a valuable life lesson in between the wonky lines of jumbled words.

And we adults think we know best? 


Friday, 12 September 2014

Weekend Rewind - 12 Projects To Inspire You

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Well pickle me polka dots we have arrived at the weekend and I for one am STOKED. This is the first weekend since February we do not have any kid's sports on and all I can think about is sleeping in tomorrow morning.

I know I'm very spoiled rotten having a hubby who simply cannot sleep in no matter how hard he tries, and so we figured early on in our marriage that since I am not a morning person, we won't let that sleep in go to waste - I'll take it!

Alright so maybe I decided and he agreed.

Semantics really.

Our Mambo man Sam finished up the rugby season with a grand final win under his belt last weekend so we have gone out on a high. Now touch football, basketball and summer soccer starts but it's all weekday stuff - that's totally doable cause it means our weekends our ours again... at least until Feb.

I don't know about you but Friday nights in Spring and Summer are hands down my most fave time of the week.

The work week is done, the whole weekend lies ahead of us and there is no arguing over bed times with kids for two whole nights. Bottle that feeling and we would be squillionaires.

This weekend I intend on getting stuck into some gardening and some crafty projects as well as making some diabetic inducing food before the diet starts on Monday.

Nothing like the final supper before a diet? Diet *shudder* the word makes me itchy but it has to be done as I have totally overindulged this winter - BIG time.

To get my creative juices flowing I have rounded up 12 of the projects that include craft, cooking and cocktails from some of my fave creative blogs this past week. Man there are a whole bunch of clever clogs out there in blogland aren't there!

A clear weekend full of cooking, craft and cocktails. I'm feeling giddy already. I tell you... SQUILLIONAIRES we would be if we could bottle this Friday night joy.

Speaking of joy - a certain spunky pocket rocket happens to be turning 30 today. My gorgeous pal and namesake Sonia (Sonia Styling) is celebrating the big 30 so please be sure to pop on over and join me in wishing her the HAPPIEST BIRTHDAY like ever EVER!

Happy Weekend Lovelies, I hope you have a fabulous one whatever you are doing!

Have you finished weekend sports or do you go year round?
What do you plan on getting up to this weekend?

Link up your favourite post from the past week and then if you get a chance, pop around and say hello to some of the other lovely linkers. The Weekend Rewind blog hopping party starts every Friday night at 8pm and links will close on Sunday night at midnight. Link up here or over on Bron's blog (Maxabella)Sonia's blog (Sonia Styling) or Kelly's at A Life Less Frantic
It does not matter where you link as your link will show up in all 4 places.