Last week, our little family, The Mister, Ms 4 , Mr 2 and myself, participated in the 2015 Walk For Prems. It was a great day, and we all had fun! Although it was quite windy for much of the day, it didn’t seem to put anyone off and there was a great crowd gathered around Albert Park Lake in Melbourne. The Walk For Prems is a regular Walk, that raises funds for the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation. Life’s Little Treasures Foundation is Australia’s leading charity dedicated to the families of babies born sick or prior to 37 weeks gestation. This year, the aim is to raise $250,000 and the walk was held in six cities around Australia simultaneously. The major sponsor for the race, was Medela. Medela understands the importance of human milk in the NICU and know that the content of human milk makes a considerable contribution to the best possible development of premature babies. According to Medela CEO, Jarrod Percy, the organisation is looking forward to helping the foundation in the very valuable work it does to support the families of premature and sick babies.
We have been blessed with healthy, full term pregnancies with both our children, and feel incredibly grateful for this. When I was presented with the opportunity to participate in the walk with Team Medela, to raise awareness and funds, I discussed it with The Mister and we both agreed it would be a great way to support those that have not been as lucky as we have.
You see, this cause is also important to us, as we have friends who have experienced the roller coaster ride that comes with the premature birth of your baby. Their little man Thomas was born at 27 weeks. What followed was three months in the Royal Children’s Hospital with surgeries, IV tubes, humidicribs and more. The family received support from Life’s Little Treasures, and others throughout this bewildering and scary time. Eventually, they were able to take their wee little man home, where he received lots of early intervention in the form of physiotherapists and occupational therapists from the Royal Children’s Hospital. Thomas is now in primary school, and continues to work on his motor skills and is also learning keyboard, riding his bike and participating in running try outs. He is an amazing little man, who in the words of his mum “is a very caring boy who loves learning about the world he lives in and it has been possible because of the Royal Children’s Hospital including all the staff and availability of equipment”.
It’s amazing what babies and families can do when they have the right supports in place. The Life’s Little Treasures Foundation want to ensure that no family endures the traumatic and life changing experience of having a premature of sick baby without easy access to critical information and community support to help them through their journey. The Walk For Prems event continues to raise money, and in the last three years has raised half a million dollars. The actual Walk was great – there was such a fun atmosphere, with families walking with their babies and kids and even their dogs! There were prams and toddlers and lots and lots of teams walking for the little one in their life who made their way into the world too early. At the end of the walk, the kids enjoyed music and food and all sorts of fun activities. It was a great day!
If you would like to find out more about the work that Life’s Little Treasures do to support prem babies and their families, click here. And if you feel like you would like to donate some money, and help the Foundation reach their goal of $250,000 you can do so here.
Have your kids participated in a fundraising walk/run? How did they go? I would love to know!
And it’s pretty scary, actually. We had been taking Mr 2 back to the doctor on a seemingly weekly basis. It wasn’t actually weekly, but that’s what it felt like. Constant coughing that turned into wheezing, that sometimes turned into heavy, laboured breathing where his poor little ribs sucked in and out.
It started about September last year. Initially it was croup – meaning a steroid dose was taken. The next month, we were away on the Great Ocean Road for a weekend, and his breathing became wheezy and his ribs were working hard. So we called the Lorne hospital and they recommended we come in. It was a Saturday evening of a long weekend, and we had never needed to take the kids to an emergency department before. And we weren’t in Lorne, we were probably 25 minutes further on the winding ocean road. That had Mr 2 vomiting with car sickness the day before. Awesome.
So we headed in, with Ms 3 happily bunked in with friends in their cabin. I was, of course, completely anxious the whole way there – was he going to spew on the way, was his breathing going to get worse, was Ms 3 ok with us leaving her when it was night and we were in a strange place. Naturally, he didn’t spew, slept the whole way there and Ms 3 had an awesome time with the big girls! When we got to the ED, the staff was great. Saw us straight away and were lovely. They monitored him for a bit, gave him a dose of steroids and diagnosed bronchiolitis. Rest and fluids, and get another course of steroids for him.
Over the months since, we’ve been back to the GP at least five times with similar symptoms – particularly the wheezing and coughing. Each time leaving with redipred and ventolin, and sometimes antibiotics, but no diagnosis. When kids are under two, there is a reluctance to diagnose asthma, mainly because they can ‘grow’ out of it. Their airways are small and more sensitive to inflammation. So they wait a bit and see if the symptoms will ease off. That’s my understanding.
We had started considering going to a different GP, to push for a bit more assessment. He had turned 2 at the start of the year and it was still happening. Around March, he was wheezy AGAIN. Of course it came on later in the day and I only managed to get an appointment at about ten to five and with a different GP. I got in to the clinic, with Ms 3 and Mr 2 managing to climb all over every inch of the waiting room and the GP’s room. They cannot sit still when we are in a GP’s office!
Well, this one was awesome. She read the file, listened to what I was saying and assessed Mr 2’s presentation. “It is asthma” she pronounced and proceeded to instruct me to take him to the local emergency department for assessment. Wait, what? She was concerned that he needed a thorough assessement that she couldn’t do at this stage of the day. He needed to be monitored over a three hour period, to assess his breathing and his response to medication.
So off we went to the local emergency department. The Mister had just got home from work, so he met us there. Luckily, it went fairly well. We didn’t have to wait hours and hours. Saying that, whislt we were waiting, his breathing worsened and we heard that real rattling, whistle type breath for the first time. That wasn’t great.
He was assessed and monitored and sent home with ventolin and spacers and instructions to see the GP, having responded well to the ventolin. And that was how we found out our child has asthma. Since then, we have had an appointment with the nurse at the GP’s to develop an Asthma Management Plan and to learn a little more about asthma. That appointment really bought home to me how serious asthma is. We don’t have it in our family and neither does The Mister. So I’ve never really been exposed to it. The nurse made it clear that it can and does kill children when not managed properly. Scared the bejeesus out of me. So now he is on preventer medication, morning and night, with the plan to reassess once we are through winter. For Mr 2, coughs and colds appear to be a trigger, so winter can be a difficult period. And we carry ventolin, spacer and mask with us all the time, in case an attack flares up.
Luckily, the younger kids are when they’re first diagnosed, the more likely they seem to grow out of it. Fingers crossed that happens for us too. He’s been travelling well so far through winter, with only a few episodes of needing ventolin, usually when he has had a particularly severe cold/cough.
Did you know there is an Asthma First Aid Plan? I didn’t, I had no idea. Click through if you are interested in knowing more about it. It’s simple and straight forward, and good to know if you’re with someone who appears to be having an attack.
How about you? Do you or your child have asthma? Was it a surprise, or does it run in your family? Let me know, I’d be keen to hear (read!) your experience.
Here are some more links you may find useful:
- The Asthma Buddy App – great for slightly older kids learning to manage their asthma.
- The National Asthma Council Australia – lots of information for those with asthma, or caring for someone with asthma, for professionals and for media.
- Asthma Australia – again, has lots of information and links to state/territory specific sites.
So you’ve all seen them by now, haven’t you? The Thermomix? They seem to be all over the interwebs at the moment. Man, I wanted one! A super duper machine for the kitchen that cooks, blends, chops, mills, grinds etc etc etc. Super fast cooking, transformative cooking! All that jazz. One problem – the just under $2,000 price tag. Yup, you read that right. So I read loads of information. Blogs, forums, all kinds of sites. I discovered lots of love for the TM and several cheaper alternatives. Many that did not get good reviews. So I arranged a demonstration – to purchase a TM in Australia, you have to host/attend a demonstration. No probs, they cook about six dishes over the couple of hours to show the cool things it can do. Now I was a bit hesitant to arrange one, because I knew there was no way I was going to be able to purchase any time soon, but they were lovely people who seem to completely understand that its a big purchase and not many people attend a demo and buy straight away.
So the demonstration did not make me want one less! And The Mister was impressed, however he just could not see how the TM was so much more expensive than the nearest rival, the ThermoChef that is around $700-800 retail. Both have a two year warranty. I was convinced though, and kept calculating and re-calculating how long it would take to save the money. I even considered becoming a consultant! TM offers an opportunity for people to earn their machine through becoming a consultant and selling a certain amount of machines in a time period. I’m really not the party plan type! I get far to anxious/embarrassed. However in the end I decided against it mainly because I thought I would really need to have used the machine for a while before I would feel comfortable trying to sell it.
The machine appeals to me because it makes things easier. And quicker. And I am slowly attempting to introduce our little family to a healthier diet, richer in whole foods, less preservatives and less sugar.
So I did some more research – there are A LOT of blogs and websites out there dedicated to the TM – and some have really good comparisons between the different thermo machines out there. In the end, I decided to purchase the somewhat cheaper ThermoChef. I found a good deal and purchased just before Christmas last year. I was very excited. It arrived promptly, especially considering it was Christmas time. However, irritation was to follow! It didn’t work. Straight out of the box, it didn’t work. Newwave, the company that distributes the TC, provided excellent customer service. They responded promptly – on Boxing Day and arranged for a courier to collect it once the factory had returned to work after the break. Despite the excellent customer service, what followed was approximately five weeks of frustration, irritation and concern that I had made the wrong choice. A lot of this was, to be fair to Newwave, caused by the courier companies – they didn’t turn up, twice, then they came a week after being cancelled and then they lost my item when it was being returned! Also Newwave sent my repaired unit to someone else in the midst of all this. After I made it clear I was over the whole situation and ready to request a refund, Newwave arranged for my brand new unit, plus extra cook books to be hand delivered by one of their team. Phew!
Since it has been here, it has been great. No concerns, and I’ve used it on average three times a day nearly every day. I think in the short time we’ve had it, our meals have become less boring (I’m cooking outside the square!) and less stressful. Well, dinner preparation with two toddlers under three is always going to have some stress!!!!!
I would love to hear your ThermoLovin’ stories! Anyone purchased a ThermoChef? A Thermomix? What’s the biggest change your ‘thermo’ has made in your kitchen?
Erm, who knew coconut could taste so good?! Not me. I thought I didn’t really like coconut. I remember gnawing on hard pieces from the coconuts that my parents occasionally bought home, but I think the attraction was really in the process of breaking into it in the first place!
Any other experiences with coconut have mainly been the good old desiccated form, sprinkled on cakes and slices. Although I do recall slices of banana rolled in desiccated coconut and served by my mum with her homemade curry. Perhaps I’m making that up?!
If you happen to follow Tully & Mishka on Instagram, you’ll have no doubt seen some posts that demonstrate my growing fondness for the humble little coconut. I was seeing posts and photos all over the interweb, with people singing it’s praises. And when I read Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar*, there was a lot of delicious sounding recipes and some information about it’s health benefits included. So I decided to see what the fuss was all about.
Now I have no qualifications when it comes to health/nutrition, and I know that some people feel that both coconut and quitting sugar is the latest fad that people are on. So all I will say is do your own reading on both subjects and see what you think. A lot of the information rang true for me, and I have decided to incorporate some of the priniciples into our family menu.
And besides, coconut butter is delicious! I use the Loving Earth variety, which you can buy here.* I’ve tried a few different recipes so far and really enjoyed them, and making my own adjustments to them. I’ll post some of these soon.
But I’d like to know – do you use coconut? Does it all seem just a fad to you? Let me know what you think!
* This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and purchase, I’ll receive a percentage of the sales.