Wednesday, October 26, 2011

When was your last Pap?

So, being finished UNI has opened the way for much needed life maintenance. As I mentioned before, I have passed on many material things and begun decluttering our home. But there is the 'other' personal decluttering to-do list, the one that has been burning a hole in my sub-conscious for a little while... the list that includes going to the dentist, sorting the wardrobe and dealing with the cloths that have 'shrunk' while I have been studying (ie... sitting on bum for hours on end feeding face with junk), and of course, the over due PAP smear!
My dear Mother-in-law has been battling cancer since November last year... 2x surgery, weeks of radiation and MONTHS of sickening chemotherapy and we are optimistic she will overcome her disease. She was found to have reasonably advanced Cervical cancer AND Bowel cancer. A double whammy, both of which she was symptomatic but admitted to avoiding the check-up for some time because of the locations of her problems.
It is sooo easy to make excuses as to why we are overdue with our bi-annual or annual smear test... 'too hard with the kids', 'haven't had time', 'too busy with Uni' etc etc... when in reality, taking off our nanna-knickers to show the Doc our lady-bits isn't USUALLY our idea of a good time. Here's the thing, the Doc doesn't actually care what our pink-bits look like, they care about the early detection cancer. If there is one thing Nursing has taught me, it is that every woman has the same pink bits, despite the fact they are all different, and advanced stage cancer treatment is far worse than early stage cancer treatment. 
So long story short, I booked in and had mine done on Tuesday. Easy-peasy, and lucky for me, my gorgeous Doc was on her last day of work before finishing up to have baby number 4, so we squeezed in a quick chat about the kids, my new job and some other goss haha!
So, now to book the dentist appointments for the family...
I wonder, when was your last PAP smear test? Do you really mind having it done?

Monday, October 24, 2011

That's it done and dusted!

So, huge news in my world.... a few weeks ago I finished my Bachelor of Nursing degree! Final grades are in, and the GPA is pretty damn impressive if I do say so myself! After my last exam, we (hubby, 3 kids and I) absconded to the beach with friends for a few days of much needed caravan camping R&R.
I felt very special and spoilt when our friends cracked a bottle of Pink Moet and Chandon in my honour to celebrate.
Mmmmm.... take me back!
Life is returning to 'normal' and I have been so busy trying to restore order to our world. I have been de-cluttering like a mad woman (after four and a half years at Uni, there is much to catch up on)! Over one (of MANY) recent champagne sipping session, we worked out that I have spent about 2 and a half years of this degree breast feeding, 8 months of it pregnant, and each round trip between campus and home is 3 hours in the car, so travel time = whoa! Then there is the 23 x 40 hour working weeks I completed on clinical practicum, which was of course UNPAID, oh how life will be so different with an income!
On the subject of income, I was lucky enough to be offered BOTH new grad positions I applied for, (life is kinda amazing right now) and I accepted one in private health as they offered me the most amazing critical care rotation.
If I could say anything to myself 5 years ago (or anyone in that position), it would be 'working HARD for your dreams is worth it!' Sure Uni is hard work, but if you love what you do the battle is half won.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I had an interview today! An interview for a position as a Registered Nurse.

 This is my second and final interview in applying for a new graduate nurse program for 2012. I can't tell you how exciting it is to be sitting interviews after working my butt off for the last four and a half years at Uni... after the sacrifices made by my family to allow me to study.
I am so excited to be near the end, I have two exams to survive (and pass!) before I can say I have finished my Bachelor of Nursing degree! I am striving toward a career in Intensive Care / Critical Care, and was lucky enough to spend 3 weeks in an ICU during my last prac. I would love to write about my nursing journey, but I am not comfortable sharing stories that are not mine to share. Maybe I will find a way to write from my own experience without compromising my patients. It really is such a privilege to care for people as a nurse, I just love my chosen path, and I LOVE my young family for taking this in their stride. There really is no perfect time to chase a dream, you just have to decide that NOW is the time, and ROLL with it! Yahoo!
I am also thankful to my favourite blogs, who I have read just about every other day, giving me welcome distraction from the study, and reminding me of what lays ahead at the end of all the hard work.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Eczema Awareness Week

I want to talk about something that is an absolute passion of mine, ECZEMA!
As a matter of fact, it is:

Eczema Awareness Week 5-11 September 2011

I have three children. Aged two to seven. They have all suffered eczema to some degree. Miss 7 grew out of her very mild eczema by the age of 2, however being my 1st child, it did cause me so much distress. My boys have not been so lucky, and have been diagnosed with allergies which trigger their eczema.

When my second child was an infant, he developed eczema at about 3-4 months. I was baffled, he was exclusivly breast fed, what was I doing wrong? (He was being exposed to his triggers via my breast milk, but it didn't get severe until he was on solids, I weaned him at 18 months and things then got way out of hand) His skin was always so dry, so instintivley I would slather him in creams. I went to doctors, nurses, naturopaths, everywhere I was recommended to go. By the time he was 12 months old, (eating plenty of different foods,) he was in a dreadful state. I desperatley sought advice where ever I could, and even changed GP's as I felt like I was being judged either as a neurotic mother, or as a bad mother for letting him get so bad.
By the time he was 18 months old, I was pregnant with our third baby, and a year into my nursing degree. I was becoming increasingly frustrated and hurt by the sheer amount of (mostly well-meaning) family, friends and strangers who offered me their advice. I would be in the supermarket, and have complete strangers approach me and start asking me "what do you feed him?" or tell me what I was doing wrong, or the famous "have you tried blah blah?" or "My sister's neighbours child had eczema JUST like this, you HAVE to stop feeding him wheat, milk, eggs, soy, broccoli, strawberries, and never give him packaged foods". I became much more aggressive in my quest to find answers.
Through a mutual friend, I was put in touch with a gorgeous woman who had been on this journey with her child for 8 years and wow did she change our course! This stranger lives about 700kms away, but I phoned her up, and we spoke for so long like we had known each other for years... well we truly did, because she too knew the heart ache behind having your child scream for hours on end because their skin is crawling and on fire at the same time, she too would have to remove blood-stained sheets and clothing from her children's delicate, broken, and blood-caked skin, she too had been in that awful place as a Mum wondering desperatley "what am I doing wrong?", she too had cried everytime she came home from the doctors with nothing more than a prescription for steroid creams and antibiotics to treat the infection that had developed on their skin. She knew that feeling of not being able to help your child. A few days after our talk, a care package arrived in the mail from her, home made moisturising cream and a recipe book. She is an ANGEL!

Mother's complain of a lack of sleep alot. Mothers of children with a condition like eczema know this all too well, and it stays like that for years! These days it isn't anywhere near as bad for us, but it still wakes at least one of them each night. Oh I have so much to say,! I will have to write about eczema another time, what I can say, is that we did find some answers, and some real help.

So here is my simple advice, from the heart, paying it forward, to share the love this Eczema awareness week.
  • Be gentle on yourself, it is such a hard road.
  • Remember that YOU know your child best
  • Take that well-meant advice with a 'grain of salt', and a smile, they really do mean well (I think...)
  • Moisture is your child's skin's best friend
  • Make your own cream if you want to avoid nasty chemicals and additives and save money (I have a recipe to share soon)
  • Do WET DRESSINGS, ALOT, they work! (Post coming later, much to say on this, but for now, here is a you tube demonstration, maybe sponsered by tubigrip lol??? You can use simple bandages and I will source another video later that I like better.)

  • Request (DEMAND!!! It took me more than one trip to doctors!) a referal to see a paediatric allergist to get to the facts- ie what are the triggers? This means a skin prick test and/or blood test. My Doctor argued that I needed to consider the distress these tests would cause my boys. I argued he should sleep over at my house one night and witness the distress they experience every 24 hours as they try to sleep and play, I held them down for the said tests, and they did not cry, right up until the itch reaction happened on the prick test... but I was SO delighted to KNOW what their triggers were, and our excitement showed them it was all going to be okay.
  • Our paediatric allergist has a rule... "Treat PROACTIVELY, not REACTIVELY!" and it is so true!
  • Don't play guessing games or take that advice from lovely family/friends in regard to messing too majorly with their diets. We all know kids need specific, adequate nutrition and if you go messing with their diet too much you could comprimise their health in other ways. Eczema knocks them around enough. There are actual elimination diets you can follow, the RPA hospital has a great one, but be warned, it is really really hard even with some proffessional support, going alone could be a nightmare!
I hope this post can help somebody, eczema is such a cruel condition for little ones, but it can get easier. Just this week both my boys had a MAJOR flare up, but we got on top of it so quickly this time (YAY!). I am past caring about being considered a nuerotic mother, as parents we are our children's advocates and need to speak up on their behalf. 

Back from... a busy place.

I am still here.... after a 3 month break from this little blog,
Life has been busy, I am so close to finishing my nursing degree,
and even have a few applications in progress for my first position as an RN in 2012
I have said goodbye to a dear friend, aged 28 and robbed from this world by cancer.
I have tried to be a good mate for another dear friend who is battling the same disease at 33
And I have news that my cousin, 26, is about to wage her own war.
These are young women, not fair.
One in every two of us they say.
Life is to be cherished!
I am cherishing as much as I possibly can

Friday, May 27, 2011

I am grateful for exams

Life is so busy and we wouldn't have it any other way! There is so much to be grateful for, and so many reasons to smile...

1.This week I will sit my final exams for this semester, and I can't wait! I am so pleased to get another semester behind me. After next week, I can say I ONLY HAVE ONE SEMESTER LEFT! Despite the high pressure of needing 100% to pass the clinical numeracy exam, I see the positives in that 100% means I will be competent in avoiding a medication error. I want to be safe and competent in my practice. I am confident in my knowledge for other exams too. Positive affirmations abound during exam week! I think I can, I think I can!!!!
This is my dining table at the moment, it is study and cramming HQ!!!
2) Family camping trip coming up, in our gorgeous new Jayco Expanda Van. Precious family time awaits.
3) Semester break means I will have time to work on my crochet, knitting and sewing projects! It will be like a crafty FRENZY! I want to try to crochet a baggie beanie for one of my oldest friends who is battling cancer. She is only 33 and has been fighting breast cancer since the age of 25. The battle ensues, but I hope to put some handmade energy into some special things to help her along. I also want to make more bedsocks for each of us as last years ones just won't cut it!
Thank you maxabellaloves for encouraging us to look for the colours in the rainbows. I am off now to sit in the backyard sun, and cram some more study in while the little ones dig for treasure in the sandpit.
Ciao Bella's! xo

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Our precious bundle of fluff...

* So I have had my first attempt at joining in on the Maxabella Loves by linking this post... I hope I have done this correctly, and please let me know if there is some blog- link-ettiquette that I have missed, I really have no idea what I am doing hahaha! 
I am greatful for new beginnings and life lessons.
 We love animals, and we have quite the menagerie living with us. Several months ago, we lost our beloved cat to her 2nd paralysis tick in a month. She barely survived the 1st tick, (and my husband was just getting over the bill from that episode!) We use a vet-recommended tick treatment, but this tick season was sooooo bad because of the very wet summer... and apparently cats can be notoriously good at removing/reducing tick treatments with their incessant self-grooming. We had gone away for a few days camping, and friends from the nearby police station were calling by to feed her daily, only one morning she was found all-but-dead, completley paralysed, tongue protruding, and showing signs of respiratory distress. This makes me so sad. She was all alone, for however many hours, even if we were home, I am can't be sure we would have noticed in time, as she would be absent for hours, curled up in the police station back rooms where she was always welcomed and fed. Our friend rushed her to the vets and she was put down. We didn't tell our children until we came home, and we said our goodbyes together.
My daughter was devastated! She begged us to adopt a new cat, but we let it go.... until we saw this little face!
Everyone is in love with her, she owns the house, uses her litter, eats so much, plays for hours and climbs everything!
Charlotte was raised around little children, and when one of my 3 little ones pick her up, she goes soft and limp and snuggly which is just lovely! Happy days!
I think she is darling.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stress and Joy

Uuugh! So apparently sitting and knitting in front of Dancing With The Stars is not conducive to completing DKA assignment, which happens to be due tomorrow.
So computer is now on... and I find myself on blogger.... I come here most days to read my faves, but I haven't contributed anything lately as life has been busy, and I spend way to much time at the computer as it is...

The beautiful CAZ really hit a nerve with me with her post, except my 'thing' is UNI work/study/assignments. My children miss me, I know it. They ask questions like "Mummy, when you finish the Uni, will you be like a normal Mummy?" (excuse self to stick head in the washing pile and wipe tears). My husband resents the strong pull of study, he has a day off and I see an opportunity to send him out the door on an adventure with the kids to give me a few hours of uninterupted time to research and write my latest paper...or I sneak into bed at 2am after a marathon study sesh hoping he doesn't wake up and realise how late it is and remind me of it if I complain of fatigue to him tomorrow... it is a juggle, but when I drop a ball it has consequences on the people I love the most. I feel the most incredible guilt... and mostly because I LOVE what I am doing and learning and working towards. Ironic much?

Nurse, registered nurse, Sister, RN... 4 years behind me, 6 months to go and that is what I will be!

Hectic. I have almost completed the 1st semester for my final year! I should be an old hand at this by now, I have been studying my Bachelor of Nursing since June 2007, that's almost 4 years! But it does not get any easier. I started my Uni journey as a 29 year old mother of two, my youngest was just 5 monthes old! I would dash to daycare between lectures and tutorials to breastfeed him, and somehow it all just worked. Then in 2008, we discovered that we were going to be blessed with baby number three! I decided not to defer, so instead I dropped the clinical units for one year and carried on at a half workload of external units during 2009. Baby number three decided to shake things up a little and arrived in week 3 of the semester, at 6 weeks early!!! So, suffice to say, I have been a busy Mumma the whole of my Uni life, and I have spent most of this degree juggling children, breastfeeding, naps, and a shift working husband quite successfully! Surprisingly enough, I mostly feel like an at home Mumma, as I have usually only had to attend campus 2 days a week during semester, then I do my prac blocks. I feel so lucky.

But this is final year. This is when they cram having to attend campus each day (3 hour round trip in the car) for 4 weeks, then 6 weeks of UNPAID full time work on prac (yes, the childcare bills will be haunting me!)... we also have essays and papers, and assignments to churn out and exams to prepare for. And I gotta do it all over again next semester! My baby is now 2.... enough said! My middle boy is now 4, and our big girl is in year 1. This is the dining chair beside me holding the text I am reading or needing this week...

The contents of the children's lunch boxes have become much less naked and much MUCH more packaged, the homework is not being attended to every evening, the dog is lacking in walkies, and my kids are looking deep into my eyes looking for the relaxed Mumma they much prefer. So here I am, 4 years into my journey, and I am asking myself "Why did I do this?" but I remember often, because something little happens, and I feel the excitement stir.

So, VERY long story short..... I kept turning to my favourite  Mummyblogs for inspiration, Thankyou to my wonderful favourites! I just couldn't beleive it when I received a little message from the very inspirational Naomi from Seven Cherubs telling me I had WON her AMAZING giveaway! I am not sure if she would understand HOW much she has cheered me these last 2 monthes at Uni... the KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON tea towel is hanging over my study area... oh yeah baby!

The little pear notes make me smile every time I use them, I make banana bread just to use the gorgeous little Kawaii measuring spoons... ohh love! But those Sunny Mummy organisers, what the hell did I do before those! Miss 7, the hubby, and I refer to them always to know who has to be where and when, so great when hubby works 7 days a week on shifts! From the bottom of my heart, thankyou to my bloggie girlfriends, who I LOVE to visit most days, who make me smile, and inspire me to be better everyday!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


So, I have attempted many postings over the last few weeks, but they have all been waaaay to negative for my 'happy place' blog. I am back at Uni for my FINAL year, and things have been crazy hectic. I am a frazzled, stressed, anxious ball of a mother, who is trying my very hardest not to raise my voice or throw a cranky glance at my darlings when they do the slightest irritating thing, like forget where they left their shoes.

Oh.... the Mummy guilt, it is crippling me at the moment. There are two forces at war inside of me, the Mumma who wants to be the best Mumma I can be, providing a warm and safe and calm, loving environment for my darlings, and then there's the Mumma who's been around alot longer, before three darlings arrived, the one who has her own dreams and goals, and who has worked damn hard at them. So, here I am, only a few monthes from realising a very big, lifelong dream, to become a Registered Nurse... I should be on top of the world. But the guilt is winning out at the moment. And I have a MOUNTAIN of work to get through...

So.... here's some inspiration I went and found (on my beloved youtube!) just puts a little perspective back into my day. Thought I would share and spread some positivity!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Butterfly Beauty

Latley, the kids and I have become quite obsessed with our butterfly vine out the back. We pass under it each time we go out in the car, walking slowly with our heads turned to the sky. We find caterpillars muching away, and new chrysali pop up every day.

We check to see how many have vacated and flown away, and we have even been lucky enough to stumble across a beauty emerging from the chrysalis.

I would love to know more about who is who in the zoo... do you know what any of these beauties are called?

Aren't they gorgeous! I could sit and watch butterflies all day...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Play Dough and Bread makers.

I have a breadmaker.

But, if I am going to be honest... I have to say I haven't baked actual bread in it for years. But I am in no rush to re-home or do away with her just yet. You see, I discovered a new life for her, she is my mess-free playdough maker! My kids love playdough, but I hated making the sticky messy concoctions up, mixing and kneading. Blech!
So here is my no-cook recipe, which I was given several years ago by my mother, who is a dedicated child care worker.

2 cups plain flour (plus about another 1 cup to add later as required)
4 tablespoons of cream of tarter
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup of cooking salt
Food colouring of your choice
2 cups of boiling hot water

  • Add all ingredients to breadmaker in order specified by your model (Mine specifies wet ingredients 1st, with dry ingredients poured on top.)
  • Select "Dough" mode on your breadmaker, press start and leave it to do it's business. I find that 2 cups of flour is never enough, so I add more as required.
  • Once dough is formed (about 5-10 minutes) I removed in a neat ball from the non-stick bread pan, and gently knead on the bench to make sure it isn't too wet. (BE CAREFUL, the dough is very hot still at this point due to the boiling water!)
  • Keep wrapped in cling film or sealed in a container in fridge and it should last for weeks.
  • Straight from the fridge, dough tends to be quite hard and firm, so let come to room temperature first.
  • Dough becomes softer and more pliable the more it is manipulated
So when my kids want playdough, it take me 3 minutes to prepare, and very minimal cleanup! Hoorah!
A pink pig!
love Mummamoments xxx

Flood of tears.

Many of us have watched from the comfort of our own homes, as evacuation centres filled with families, many who have lost everything. I held my three little ones so tight as I listened to tragic stories of families who have been torn apart, and I worried for my husband as he went to work in the emergency services each day or night during the awful weather. 
It really has been a heart breaking start to 2011, and there is so much more to come as we as a nation recover from the astounding damage to lives and property, however, as I continued to read my favourite bloggers, and I cried as they opened their hearts and found many individual ways for us all to help out.
For example, I am so inspired by the amazing and talented participants of the flood auctions. 
 But the one blogger who has really touched me and bought the tears to my eyes several times, is the gorgeous soul Corrie, aka retromummy, who truly opens her heart with the Quilts for Queensland event.  
make a quilt block
What a star!
We really do live in the lucky country, when you see the love and compassion that flows from stranger to stranger in times of crisis. I hope to contribute something to Retromummy's Quilts for Queensland, but as a very new quilter, this may be the best contribution I can give at this point, a dedicated blog posting! Never know who might see it! I am thankful for the Retromummy's of our world xxx

Friday, January 7, 2011

I did it!

So, I am well chuffed with myself right now! I have finished fussing over the finished product, washing, tumble-drying, trimming and tidying, and running my fingers over the soft frays. I have never, ever completed a quilt, and I am so excited that I did it! Okay, so it's just a small baby quilt, and a rag quilt at that, but I made it! Would you like to see?
I have a new camera and I am trying to get the hang of all the functions, so the pictures are a bit average...
Cotton prints, bamboo batting, flannel-backing.
It is far from perfect, but you can't wipe the smile off my face. I made this! Also, I received an update today about the dear boy whom I made this for and he is growing stronger and stronger by the day. He is just amazing, and so are his parents! I can't wait to give this gift to them, and see this precious baby home in his Mumma's arms! xx

Monday, January 3, 2011

Diving in!

Some very dear friends of ours have been through an extraordinary difficult time in recent months. Their third child has arrived at a frightening 23 weeks and 6 days gestation, (yes, 16 weeks and 1 day prematurely) and so far he has been an absolute battler. He is over 2 months old now, but still has a long road ahead before he even comes home. I am endlessly inspired by their courage and love as a family, and I really wanted to gift them something special, so I am attempting my first baby quilt!!! I have decided to do a rag quilt, as I imagine it will hide the multitude of sins of a first time quilter.
I chose two pre-packed fat quarter selections in blues and greens, and a dinosaur print flannel for the back in similar colours. The batting is a bit of a mystery to me, but I went for the more environmentally sustainable bamboo batting.

I am having so much fun cutting and sewing, and it is especially rewarding to put some love and energy into something for a very special little boy and his family. They are just amazing! Living in rural areas means that the family (Dad + 2 older kids) will be living almost 3 hours away from the inner city hospital where baby is staying with his beautiful Mum by his side for about 3 months. I am endlessly inspired xxx