Archive for April 2010

Rewards vs. Costs

April 30, 2010

*** READ UPDATE AT BOTTOM AFTER YOU READ THIS POST ***

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been having some trouble with the ole’ back. And my neck too. I’ve been getting done what I need to do around the house and with the kiddies, but this week I have been trying to really give my back and neck some time to heal. Yesterday between loads of laundry and while lying down on a heating pad, I caught up on a few blogs. A friend of a friend was diagnosed with leukemia (specifically CML) a year ago, and I wanted to see how she was doing. While reading her blog I was lead to another blog, and it has really got me thinking.

The author of the “other” blog, Dawn, was a young woman who chronicled her battle with leukemia from diagnosis until her death less than a year later (her boyfriend did the documenting the last few months). Even though Dawn was a stranger to me, I became attached to her and wanted so badly for her to recover and return home to her retardedly cute puppy, wonderful boyfriend and family. I was heartbroken as I read how the treatments for the disease didn’t work and Dawn ultimately died :(. Laced throughout the various posts, she (and her boyfriend) responded to the thousands of readers comments asking how they could help by urging everyone to join the bone marrow donor list (as well as blood donation since she was also in desperate need for plasma). Since I was legally of age, I’ve always been a blood donor (and in the past did it religiously every 2 months), and have donated plasma/platelets through the Red Cross as well. I even looked into becoming a marrow donor years ago after my cousin donated marrow, but I didn’t take action.

Yesterdays read has lead me to learn a little more about bone marrow donation. Joining the bone marrow donor list entails answering a few preliminary questions, ordering a kit, taking a tissue sample by swabbing the inside of your mouth (painless), and returning the sample in the pre-paid envelope. Easy peesy!ย  It does cost $52 to process (see update!!!), which kind of sucks (since you’re already willing to give something… why the crap should you have to PAY for it), but the payoff (um, saving a life. Hello!) is worth the cost. And that’s when it hit me… This is what I want for my Birthday! I want to be a registered bone marrow donor!

I’ve done a lot of reading about what being a donor means as well as the commitment it can take. If you actually end up being a match for someone, it’s not totally pain-free (but not horrible, and is a relatively easy outpatient process), but I think the minimal cost or any short-term personal discomfort is SO worth the possible rewards. The thought that keeps coming through my mind is, “what if one of my children needed a bone marrow transplant, and there was no matching donor?”. If I can help save the life of someone’s son, daughter, sister, brother, parent, or friend, then damn it, count me in! I feel really good about the prospect ofย  making a REAL difference in someone’s life… LITERALLY saving someone’s life. So very cool!

If you have any interest in reading Dawn’s blog, here’s the link: http://www.goshdawnit.com (I love the name ๐Ÿ™‚ ). I was incredibly impressed with her sense of humor and courage (although I would suggest sitting down with a box of Kleenex).

More (most) importantly, when you’ve got a few minutes, visit http://www.marrow.org/index.html and at least think about becoming a bone marrow donor. Check it out… read the Q&A, FAQ, and other pertinent info.

Often my intentions are good, but problems in the world seem so big that I get overwhelmed and feel helpless to really, well, help. Will me recycling this newspaper or milk carton REALLY help? Who knows. Do the clothes I donate to D.I. assist the mentally or physically or economically challenged? Maybe. But because of the nature of donating bone marrow (in that they only “harvest” when there is a match, so there is no “waste”), it’s one thing that you KNOW is going to someone who needs it. And for someone such as myself, who likes instant gratification (even when it comes to service and charity ๐Ÿ™‚ ), this is wonderful!

I get so caught up in my own life and the craziness of it all that I sometimes forget to stop and take stock of how incredibly lucky I am. And how my little “problems” are nothing more than inconveniences comparatively speaking. Yeah, so my back hurts. But I am alive and I am healthy! My children and family are all healthy. And if I can give a little something of myself to help someone else, a little bone poke is worth it :).

***UPDATE***UPDATE***UPDATE***UPDATE***

As soon as I finished writing this post, I went to sign up to receive my kit so that I could join the registry. There was a spot for a promotion code (and I had read about a promo code in Dawns blog). I did a little online search and I found one that is active and working. Do you realize what this means!?! This means you can become a registered bone marrow donor at NO COST TO YOU!!! It’s free, suckas! And I should receive my kit within a week :).

Go to the site, register, and when you reach the spot where it asks for a promotion code, enter:

truelife2010

Fill out the rest of the online form and when it asks for your credit card info, don’t enter it… just click “NEXT” at the bottom of the page (you’ll know the promo code worked because your balance will say $0).

So now you really have no good excuse… JOIN TODAY!!!

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That Time of the Month

April 28, 2010

No, not THAT time of the month. Last night was my monthly date night with one of my kids. This months contestant was… Cooper!

I always take the kids out for dinner as a part of our night, but as for the activity following, I’ve been running out of fresh ideas the past couple of months. We’ve done movies, swimming, arcades, shopping, Aquarium, etc. The problem is this: I let the KIDS decide what they want to do, and half the time they can’t think of something or what they want to do just doesn’t work.

Last night Cooper decided to eat at T.G.I.F.’s (which was a last-minute switch from IHOP), and he seemed to thoroughly enjoy the entire pizza that he ordered, as well as the side of fries AND the ice cream sundae. That kid can put it away! (And I thoroughly enjoyed the less than $10 price for us both!).

I had told Cooper to think about what he wanted to do for the activity the morning of, and before dinner he still hadn’t decided. The past few weeks my neck and back have been being incredibly rude and slightly disfunctional, so I wasn’t feeling super hot. But this was Cooper’s night so I was willing to do whatever. While he was finishing his ice cream I told him it was time to make a decision.

He said, “Mom, can we just sneak home and watch a movie together?”.

“Sure. But is that what you really want?” I asked.

“Yeah. I really just want to cuddle with you”.

SO CUTE! I got a kick out of the “sneak home” part. And it couldn’t have been a better idea for me and my high maintenance back. We came home, kicked back, and watched SHREK for, oh, maybe the 2384289 time. But I didn’t mind… it was great to relax and enjoy some much-needed snuggle time.

I’ll Get Offa My Soap Box Now

April 25, 2010

Shortly after I married my now ex, a friend of ours got married and at the reception they didn’t have a traditional cake like I (everyone?) is used to. They had a tower of fruit. FRUIT?! What the hell was up with the fruit!? Come to find out the bride didn’t eat sugar, and our friend, the groom, was following suit. Now this was the type of couple that never used birth control (even though they had 3 kids and a 2 bedroom apartment), probably knitted their own clothing from bark they harvested off of the tree next to their parking lot, and for all I know, she’s still probably breastfeeding her now 10-year-old. OK, maybe not the last, but they were always a little too “au natural” for my taste, albeit very nice, and always were preaching about why they practiced what I thought was kind of, well, weird.

I’ve always sort of done an internal eye roll at people who were super gung-ho over ANYTHING. Or at least super verbal and pushy about it. Especially when it comes to food. Sugar free, Atkins, only organic, etc. I was once trapped for 30 minutes in a kitchen being lectured about how I was evil because I didn’t feed my children organic only food. But as I’ve gotten older, wiser, and more decrepit, I’ve become more aware of my health and what I put into my body. I blogged a few months ago how I’ve gone sugar-free (including honey, molasses, AND chemical sugar supplements, like Splenda) as well as nixing all refined or processed food (like white flour), potatoes and corn products. Kind of ironic seeing as I’ve almost become the person I rolled my eyes at. Although I don’t “preach” (or volunteer) my beliefs about food and diet, so I can still tolerate myself just fine.

It’s been a process that has evolved through months of reading, research, and some trial and error. There are times that I want to just say “screw it” and eat whatever I want without having to read labels or think about it. But I feel SO much better in every way, I know it’s not worth it. I am less tired each day, I sleep better at night, my skin is clear, and mentally and physically I just feel better. Plus, I can pretty much eat anything I can think of. I may have to make substitutions and tweak recipes so they are “legal”, but I’m excited about the prospect of new things, finding new recipes, and learning more about nutrition each day.

This weekend for a dinner with friends I prepared one of these sugar-free/refined ingredients free desserts. It’s a lemon cheesecake and although I’m not sure the Mr. is convinced, my kids absolutely LOVED it (and I was rather fond of it myself). And it tasted even better today, a day later. SIDE NOTE: Speaking of food, I have to mention the amazingly delicious fresh tuna we had for our dinner party. Greg prepared it outside on the BBQ on a wooden grilling plank and it was heaven! It was even better with the butter wasabi sauce.

ONE funny “side effect” of eating this way is that I feel like I taste the flavor of my food better. Foods taste sweater, deeper, brighter, I dunno… they just come through more clearly I guess. Hopefully feeling good will be motivation enough to keep on keeping on (because I do have my moments). If you’ve got any great recipes or menu ideas that would work, send them my way. Anything from salads, main courses and meat, and dessert is welcome. I’ll be your lab rat :).

Helloooooo Sunshine!

April 19, 2010

After this LOVELY weekend, I’m almost ready to forgive April for it’s little “joke” of snow last week.

Sunday afternoon we all spent the day outside… me reading and soaking in some sun while enjoying watching the kids play. The kids decided that 72 degrees was “running through the sprinklers” weather. Although the water was cold, they had a blast. I think its funny how coming into spring/summer from winter, 70 degrees feels absolutely balmy. But going from summer/fall to winter, 70 degrees is jacket weather. I kept laughing when the kids kept saying that it was “scalding” and how hot they were.

All I know is that I loved it.

Also fun was the BBQ we had with our awesome friends, the Hennessy’s (my kiddos were with their dad that evening). Here is some proof of the good times :).

Brain. Dead.

April 14, 2010

Today I met (in person) one of my heros. I don’t mean like “my mom is my hero” sort of thing. I mean someone who I REALLY admire and look up to. She has helped me more than she will ever know or understand, and I owe her and she has my eternal gratitude.

Remember a few months ago when I talked about being a board member of a foundation who doles out money to various organizations? And remember how I got a fairly large donation for an organization that is incredibly important to me? Well, this woman I had lunch with today is the founder of that organization. Now to say that I just met her isn’t really true. I’ve known her for years, but it’s all been through phone calls and email. But today we got to sit down together, face to face, and spend some time talking without kids yelling in the background or other distractions and demands placed on us. It was fun to be able to celebrate the donation and catching up. Thanks for lunch Leann… You’re amazing!

I (yes, I… I’m a big time real estate agent. Pfttt, as if you didn’t know) listed our house this week, 2 days ago to be exact. Last night we had our first showing, and tonight we have our second. The most awesomest part about it is that I’ve got to get all 5 kids, 1 dog, and myself out of the house for an hour so that the buyers agent can show it. AND Mr. N is working late, so I’m on my own. Maybe it’s not a super daunting task, but I have been literally busting my butt ALL weekend and week to get the house ready and to a level of perfection that I’m OK with, and I am exhausted. And yes, achieving that level has made me a little psycho. So the thought of being out in public with all 5 is a little overwhelming right now. I can’t wait until 8 pm, which will be EVERYONE’S bedtime tonight :).

The upside of this is that all of the windows downstairs now have blinds instead of crappy curtains. The windows, screens, and blinds are all clean. Walls and baseboards have been wiped down. Bathrooms deep cleaned. Almost every room painted. Yard spruced up. House dusted. Floors vacuumed (and mopped where appropriate). Kitchen cabinets wiped down, etc. If only we could have gotten all of this stuff done ALL AT ONCE before, at a time when I could enjoy it. Now I feel like this broken record who is constantly saying “don’t make a mess” and “clean up anything you get out”. Nothing like being a cleaning nazi.

I must admit that I have had my doubts, but I am beginning to believe that Summer WILL come and as each day gets a little warmer (except for yesterday when I woke up to snow… LAME!), I am getting a little more antsy to get outside and enjoy some sunshine. If only I had someone to tell me to just put down the dustpan, back up, and walk away…

Hippity Hop

April 6, 2010

And exhale.

Wow, it’s been quite a week (or do I mean month, year, life?).

We returned home yesterday afternoon after 6 days in beautiful St. George. The weather wasn’t as I expected… it was much better (and I have the fading sunburn to prove it). It was crazy as always is, but was also a lot of fun. The kids absolutely loved playing with each other and their cousins. They spent the majority of the time in the pool, which we had a hard time dragging them out of the each day. I also had a great time. It was nice to (almost) balance out being a mom with a few hours of games with the adults after bedtime each night. I’m not bragging or anything, but Greg and I NEVER lost one game that we played as a team. I’m just saying.

NOTE: I’ll let you in on my “family vacation” belief. When you take a trip with kids, it’s not a vacation, it’s a family trip. A “vacation” is when you go somewhere to relax, enjoy, and pamper yourself without worrying about sunscreen, vomit bags for the long drive, hungry bellies, etc. A vacation, however, would be, oh, I dunno, like 8 women going to Hawaii for 5 days this July (thanks to the insanely awesome generousness of my wonderful friend…xoxo!).

Family trips require A LOT of work on my part. Not only is there getting everyone’s bags packed, the house clean, pets farmed out, mail pickup handled, there is the taking care of 5 kids someplace other than my comfort zone. And that can be exhausting. All that being said, I loved being able to spend uninterrupted time together as a family this past week. Sure, I’ve got the kids at some point everyday (minus every other weekend), but I feel like I’m always going at mach 20 and being pulled in so many different directions, it’s difficult for me to just sit back and enjoy the ride. So having almost a week with no schedule or demands to get kids to school, Greg off to work, etc., was really nice. I’m looking forward to our next trip all together… maybe camping this summer?

It’s back to the grind for me and mine. I’ll try to get a few photos of our fun-filled time over Easter, and then again, I might forget. Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend.