Thursday, January 28, 2010

P.S.

For all you gmail/google people, you can now "follow" my blog by clicking on the follow link to the right. I personally don't use the gmail account other than for blogging, so I've never "followed".  HOWEVER, I know that it can be convenient for others.  Tadaaa!

Neurologist and 5K

I had an appointment with Mr. Neurologist yesterday and things are looking good.  Basically, he is in charge of seizure management for me, so no new tumor info.  We told him about our plan to move and he didn't recommend any neurologists for us, however he highly commended the university hospital in Columbus, telling us we'd have our pick of any great neurologist we want.  Only ONE more visit with him before we make the big move!  We'll be seeing him in May and he said that as long as things continue as is, I will only need to visit a neurologist once a year!  Hearing that just made me breathe a huge sigh of relief.  Ahhhhhhh....

As January starts to wind its way toward February, I want to remind any potential 5K participants that the American Brain Tumor Association is offering a discount for the entry fee of the 5K only during the month of January.  Sooooo...If you're looking to save $5, I would recommend that you sign up now!  We are going to the gym this afternoon to get our training on!  Woohoo!  We are also signing up the children for SWIM LESSONS!!!  AHHH!!!  My babies are getting so big!  We'll all be doing swim lessons together on Saturday mornings for 6 weeks.

And just for kicks, another picture of my broken glasses (note the tape):


Monday, January 25, 2010

A Blogger's Dream Deferred


My apologies to Langston Hughes...

Anybody who knows me intimately knows about my love of Costco.  Maybe it's genetic?  My parents were Costco members and passed down their membership to me and my brother when they moved.  My grandparents are also happy Costco members.

After about a year of Costco-ing, hubby and I decided to take our Costco relationship to the next level.  We decided that we were ready to take on the Executive Membership.  This involves paying an additional $50 up front and earning 3% back on all purchases.  A risk that pays off if you are loyal Costco fans, such as ourselves.

Our 3% check arrived recently and we have been debating how to spend it.  Groceries?  Diapers?  Boring, boring, boring.  Then suddenly it came to my little blogging mind!  A new camera!  Our camera is...old.  And only takes 20 pictures at a time.  And can't take pictures up close (remember the pictures of my receipts?  Blurry!).  And it is huge and clunky.  Any blogger can write and post pictures.  A GOOD blogger takes delightful pictures that show amazing detail and are nice to look at.  You want to be so immersed in my photos you can just smell the food I cook or feel the exhilaration of scoring with coupons.  I tentatively posed this idea to Adam--and miraculously, he was totally in support of the idea!  We planned our Costco trip for today to begin our camera journey.  Until this morning.

I woke up, went to put on my glasses as usual and the arm of my glasses fell on the floor!  They were completely broken.  After almost 8 years of faithful service, it is time for my glasses to be laid to rest.  So we went to Costco today, as planned.  We took out our hard earned 3% rewards check and bought this blogger a new pair of glasses.

So, faithful readers, what happens to a blogger's dream deferred?  Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Does it fester like a sore and then run?  Does it take awful pictures of receipts or the road?  Or does it explode?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A New Picture!

My mom-in-law sent some pictures from our recent visit.  Here is one of my favorites...



I love these kids so much!  Take out a book and they're all ears.  :o)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Brain Tumor Mamas and Papas

Yes!  Finally!  We have a 5K team and you, yes you, can start registering for the Path To Progress under team Brain Tumor Mamas and Papas.  Whew!  Picking the team name was the most difficult part of this entire venture!  Here were a few runners up:

Brain Hohls.
Tumor Busters.
I have a Hohl in my head, do you?
It's not a tumor.

I eventually settled with Brain Tumor Mamas and Papas as a nod to the blog and to the rock/folk group The Mamas and The Papas.  I feel a closeness to Mama Cass, who also suffered brain trauma much like myself.    Unfortunately, my vocal range has not changed as a result of my particular brain trauma, but I do feel my left brain getting stronger to make up for the right.

Okay, so we have a team.  Do you want to join?  Check out my page and click on "Join Team"!

http://hope.abta.org/site/TR/ABTAEvent/PathtoProgress?team_id=10370&pg=team&fr_id=1560

Can't make it, but want to help?  Check out my page and click on "Donate" in the upper left corner.  You can support an individual or the whole team.

Can't make it, don't have money, but still want to help?  Well, have I got a job for you!!!  Send me your encouragement along the way!  I'll share all encouraging words with the team to keep us motivated.  Oh!  And another job for you poor folks who can't make it: tell your friends!!  Maybe they want to participate or donate or encouragate?  Spread the word!

So excited about this!  Yay!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Haiti

What can we do?

Giving money feels so impersonal.  And it never seems like you can give enough, no matter how much you give.  Many of us just want to go.  Now.  And we want to help whoever we can however we can.  The knowledge that children are going without food, that people my age are going without medical treatment, that elderly are just being left on the streets to suffer hurts me in a way that just giving money cannot repair.  It is times like these when I have to turn to prayer.  I pray for those who are hurting, those who are separated from their loved ones, those who need food/water/shelter.

It seems so easy to turn off our TV and our minds to the situation in Haiti.  But they can't turn it off.  It is their reality and a reality that will be completely life changing.

As many of you know, I am particularly interested in the people of Haiti and the work of Paul Farmer of Partners in Health.  As an alternative to wedding gifts, we asked that money be donated to this organization after reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, chronicling the work of Paul Farmer and PIH, by Tracy Kidder.



I highly recommend reading this book if you have any interest in world health issues or an interest in Partners in Health.

Anyway, although we plan on giving money, I still never will get the feeling like it's enough.  I will always want to do more and not know what or how.  Does anyone else feel this way too?  Eventually, the problems of Haiti will fade in the news and in our minds as well.  I just hope that we will find ways to help that are meaningful and significant.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Eating "healthy" and BIG savings!

 
What exactly is "eating healthy"?  While there are constant debates on this issue, there are some well accepted beliefs about what is good for you and what isn't good for you.  Eating too much meat, particularly red meat can be bad.  Eating a diet rich in whole grains can be good.  Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can be good.  Eating foods containing trans fats can be bad.  And so on and so on and so on.  

As we make this journey to living a more healthy lifestyle, I thought I would share with you our attempts as we go.  Every week, we create a dinner list based on what we like, what we have, what is on sale, and what sounds interesting to make.  This week we made an awesome eggplant parmesan with an eggplant that cost $.70!!!  We also put it on top of whole grain pasta.  With some cheese melted on top, it was a hit here at the house with the two year old and the parent who is not a big fan of eggplant.



We are also making some vegetarian bean dishes (chilaquiles and red beans and rice), veggie quiche (freeze one for later), and whole grain veggie lo mein.  Our palate is going around the world this week, making it fun and exciting to cook here.

With super double coupons at our local grocer we had some big savings this week!  I was so excited I took pictures of the receipt....



  




Yes, our bill came to $23.95 and our coupons tendered were $24.32.  We saved over 50% on our bill due to coupons!  Me + coupons = Nerd!!!   More food (and coupon?) adventures to come!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Book Review

I get a sense of excitement when a movie ends and they show all of the behind-the-scenes mistakes and random silliness of the actors and crew.  It's nice to see actors as "normal" people who do stupid things or they mess around with their co-workers just like anyone else.  Well, I just got that same feeling after reading "Another Day in the Frontal Lobe" by Katrina Firlik.  

Katrina Firlik is a neurosurgeon who describes her time as a resident and practicing neurosurgeon.  It is fascinating to learn about the behind-the-scenes of something I actually experienced!  She describes when patients come in to the ER (which I did!) and patients who have brain tumors operated on (which I have!).  Especially cool is that she is a woman in a very male-dominated career who has proven herself successful as a neurosurgeon and a writer.  I recommend this book for anyone looking for a book that will break down knowledge about the brain in an easily readable (and not gross at all) way.  Also if you are just interested in behind-the-scenes stories (or you enjoy ER or Scrubs or Behind the Music) like me, it will totally draw you in.  



Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sickies

Ahhhh...sweet blog!  A chance for me to unload my woes!  ;o)  So, the kids are sick (and thankfully sleeping!).  This means I have suddenly gone from Mama to human snot rag.  They are both clingy and snotty and sneezing in my hair and drooling on my clothes.  And there is nothing we can do for them except wipe, hydrate, repeat.  ::sigh::

On a more positive note, I am ready to get my team together for the 5K.  If you are wanting to join in the fun, please let me know ASAP.  There is a $5 discount for people who register early.  This knocks registration down from $30 to $25 (for folks 12 and older).  If you have a child under 4, the child can participate for free.  If you have a child between the ages of 4 and 12, registration is $10.

Please pass this on to anyone who is interested.  If they want to join the team, have them contact me via email, blog, or phone.  If YOU want to join you can do the same!  Now, the registration fee goes completely toward putting the event together, so I'm also going to also have a fundraising goal for my team.  It is important to me to have a fundraising aspect because I respect the organization and the efforts they are making to support brain tumor patients and their friends/family.

Okay, in conclusion let's get a team together and kick 5K tush!  The early registration discount ends January 31st, so let me know as early as you can if you know you want to do it.  Otherwise, you can register later and that's cool too.  Goooo team!  :o)

Monday, January 4, 2010

And a picture, of course



I forgot to post this picture of our family that was taken recently by my mom-in-law.  We really had fun while we were visiting.

Brain Tumor Mama, 2010

Hello everyone!

I'm back from vacationing with my family and am ready to get back into the swing of normal life.  Of course this means keeping up with my blog and now training for a 5K to support brain tumor research!  I have so much to share with all of you that I'm brimming with excitement to get it out!  Therefore, I need to focus and list it out!

1. I have some family members who are planning on making the trek to Chicago to participate in the ABTA 5K!  My brother just called and is up to 2 miles now!  I'm so proud of him!  (he said I should hold my pride for when he breaks a 5K record this year....)  So what am I doing to train?  Yikes!  Still working on moving my intensity level from a gentle stroll to a speed walk.

2. I had a great winter break.  We survived the snow and ice, thankfully and made it to Ohio to spend time with my in-laws, my aunt and uncle, my brother, and some good friends.  It was a refreshing reminder of why we want to move back home.

3. I have officially lost over 30 pounds since September 1st!  I'm way excited about this and excited to meet my next goals as well.

4. My sweet baby Isaac is now crawling.  While this is super news, it is also makes me feel a little sad that my baby is growing up and quickly getting into mischief.

Wow!  I've heard the saying that things are "fine in 2009" but all I can say is, "AMEN for 2010!"  :o)