Thursday, September 01, 2005


104 Days to Go!

I just have to say how funny it is to hear that so many of you share your homes with hair twirlers like Kellen. His new nickname, based on your suggestions, is “Tornado Head” (which is much better than what I was calling him {predictably} “Alfalfa”.) Based on everyone’s personal experience, I have great faith he will either stop twirling it on his own, twirl it until he’s 80 years old and there’s not enough left to twirl, or fall somewhere in between. At least we have it narrowed down, right? :) But the fact that so many other kids out there twirl their hair is really comforting.

Now, the fact that there are so many other duct-taped whoopee cushions out there is really, truly frightening! I wonder if the manufacturers of whoopee cushions and 3M Tape are in cahoots? And why is it that husbands nation-wide think anything can be fixed with duct-tape, a Phillips head screwdriver and bungee cords? Anyway, Kendrie’s popped in another spot, and is duct-taped yet again, so I fear the life of the whoopee cushion might be coming to a slow end at our house. Oh well, there’s always Christmas, right? And we could always try to find one with a remote control…..

At any rate, I wanted to talk to you for a minute about having goals. (But let me interject here that I have no idea what is up with this song. I had this journal entry in mind and searched iTunes for “goal” and this is what I got. It’s a little bizarre, actually, but I paid 99 cents for it and I’m going to use it, by golly!)

Now, where were we? Oh yes, GOALS. I have many goals in my life, most of which are unattainable. Even if I actually lost 40 pounds (Goal #1) and somehow contrived to meet Brad Pitt (Goal #2) I doubt I could convince him to leave Angelina Jolie and come live in my house with me (Goal #3). I’m not looking for any kind of relationship with the man, I’d just like him to hang around so I can look at his chiseled features and amazing biceps all day. But I digress.

One goal that I’ve had for years, that I’ve had much more success in meeting, is that of sitting down to dinner as a family every night. Some nights it’s hard to squeeze it in between soccer and gymnastics and homework, but we mange most nights to eat together at the kitchen table. My children usually meet their dinnertime goals as well, which seem to be, in no certain order:

**Don’t eat anything Mom cooks.

**Make sure Mom knows you don’t like what she cooked.

**Poke things around with your fork, looking like you have a very bad smell on your upper lip.

**Ask Dad repeatedly if there isn’t something else you could have, avoiding the grumpy look on Mom’s face.

**Refuse to eat your dinner and then ask for a snack ten minutes later because you are “still hungry”.

All of this “not eating” gives my kids lots of time to regale us with tales of school happenings, jokes, deep, profound comments about the meaning of life, and for us to listen to them practice their farting armpit skills. Last night was no exception. We also play a game called “Two Good” where the kids take turns telling us the two best things that happened that day. This is the gist of how our conversation went last night:

Kristie: “OK, Kellen, your turn. What were your two-goods today?”

Kellen: “Um, playing soccer at recess, and staying on the green card at school”

Blaine: “The green card means you didn’t get in trouble all day, right?”

Kristie: “Kellen, you’ve gotten the green card every day since school started … good job!”

Blaine: “Is that your goal, to go the whole year on green card?”

Kellen: “No, my goal is to live to be 100”

Kristie: “I thought your goal was to eat pizza at school every day this year.”

Kellen: “That was my old goal. My new goal is to live to be 100.”

Kristie, seeing an opportunity to work some life-lessons into the conversation: “Kellen, that’s a good goal. I can think of at least three things you could do to help you live to be 100. Can you tell me what one of them might be?”

Kellen, poking discontentedly at his meal, and sounding unenthusiastic: “Um, eat your vegetables?”

Kristie: “That’s right! Very good! Take a bite of that casserole. Now, Brayden, what about you? What would help a person live to be 100?”

And the conversation went back and forth for a moment while suggestions like “Don’t smoke” “Exercise” and “Take vitamins” were issued by Brayden and Kellen. I noticed Kendrie hadn’t spoken, so I turned to her and asked, “Kendrie, can you think of anything that would help Kellen live to be 100?”

And with the wisdom and clarity of her almost-six-year-old mind, she suggested, “Um, just don’t die?”

It’s really sobering when you realize your kindergartener is smarter than you are.

So, I’m going to suggest a few goals for you Caringbridge readers as well, this holiday weekend. First of all, please take a moment to visit the site of an online friend of ours who is having a very hard time right now, Clare from Maryland. As you might remember, she relapsed with her leukemia and had a transplant almost two months ago. She is having an extremely difficult time of things right now and could use some support. Please visit her site and leave a message of encouragement for Clare and her parents.

Secondly, I mentioned the strong need for blood donations in my last journal entry. Well, it was true then, but even more true now in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Please, if you are able, take an hour out of your day to donate a pint of blood. Your can visit the Red Cross website to find a blood drive near you and sign up online to donate.

I’m going to leave you with some statistics about blood donation that are very interesting. I blatantly stole them off of Cali Ali’s page, a remarkable young woman who finished her ALL treatment just in time for her high school graduation, and is now preparing for her freshman year in college. Her mom Marey is a strong advocate of blood donation, and if you search the journal history on Ali’s site you can see pictures of Marey and her other daughter Lexi donating. Like Ali, Kendrie will never, in her entire life, be allowed to donate blood. So those of us who ARE able to donate …. should.

Here you go. Please read through this, paying particularly close attention to numbers 48 and 55 (hey, I only need to donate 40 times to reach my #1 Goal!) and then go donate yourself. Make that YOUR goal for this week!


56 Facts About Blood and Blood Donation
One for each day between your blood donation!

1. 4.5 million Americans would die each year without life saving blood transfusions.
2. Approximately 32,000 pints of blood are used each day in the United States.
3. Every two seconds someone needs blood.
4. One out of every 10 people entering a hospital needs blood.
5. Just one pint of donated blood can help save as many as three people’s lives.
6. The average adult has 10 pints of blood in his or her body.
7. One unit of blood is roughly the equivalent of one pint.
8. Blood makes up about 7 percent of your body's weight.
9. A newborn baby has about one cup of blood in his or her body.
10. The average red blood cell transfusion is 3.4 pints.
11. Blood fights against infection and helps heal wounds, keeping you healthy.
12. There are four main blood types: A, B, AB and O. AB is the universal recipient and O negative is the universal donor.
13. Blood centers often run short of type O and B blood.
14. Shortages of all types of blood occur during the summer and winter holidays.
15. If all blood donors gave 2 to 4 times a year, it would help prevent blood shortages.
16. If you began donating blood at age 17 and donated every 56 days until you reached 76, you would have donated 48 gallons of blood.
17. About three gallons of blood supports the entire nation's blood needs for one minute.
18. Blood donation takes four steps: medical history, quick physical, donation, and snacks.
19. The actual blood donation usually takes less than 10 minutes. The entire process, from when you sign in to the time you leave, takes about 45 minutes.
20. Giving blood will not decrease your strength.
21. You cannot get AIDS or any other infectious disease by donating blood.
22. Fourteen tests, 11 of which are for infectious diseases, are performed on each unit of donated blood.
23. Any company, community organization, place of worship or individual may contact their local community blood center to host a blood drive.
24. People donate blood out of a sense of duty and community spirit, not to make money. They are not paid for their donation.
25. Much of today's medical care depends on a steady supply of blood from healthy donors.
26. One unit of blood can be separated into several components (red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, platelets and cryoprecipitate).
27. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body’s organs and tissue.
28. There are about one billion red blood cells in two to three drops of blood.
29. Red blood cells live about 120 days in the circulatory system.
30. Platelets help blood to clot and give those with leukemia and other cancers a chance to live.
31. Apheresis (ay-fur-ee-sis) is a special kind of blood donation that allows a donor to give specific blood components, such as platelets.
32. Donated red blood cells must be used within 42 days of collection.
33. Donated platelets must be used within five days of collection.
34. Plasma can be frozen and used for up to a year.
35. Plasma is a pale yellow mixture of water, proteins and salts.
36. Plasma, which is 90 percent water, constitutes 55 percent of blood volume.
37. Healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets.
38. People who have been in car accidents and suffered massive blood loss can need transfusions of 50 pints or more of red blood cells.
39. The average bone marrow transplant requires 120 units of platelets and about 20 units of red blood cells. Patients undergoing bone marrow transplants need platelets donations from about 120 people and red blood cells from about 20 people.
40. Severe burn victims can need 20 units of platelets during their treatment.
41. Children being treated for cancer, premature infants, and children having heart surgery need blood and platelets from donors of all types.
42. Anemic patients need blood transfusions to increase their iron levels.
43. Cancer, transplant and trauma patients and patients undergoing open-heart surgery require platelet transfusions to survive.
44. Sickle cell disease is an inherited disease that affects more than 80,000 people in the United States, 98 percent of whom are of African descent. Some patients with complications from severe sickle cell disease receive blood transfusions every month – up to 4 pints at a time.
45. In the days following the September 11 attacks, a half a million people donated blood.
46. Females receive 53 percent of blood transfused; males receive 47 percent.
47. 94 percent of all blood donors are registered voters.
48. 60 percent of the US population is eligible to donate – only 5 percent do on a yearly basis.
49. 17 percent of non-donors cite “never thought about it” as the main reason for not giving, while 15 percent say they’re “too busy.” The #1 reason donors say they give is because they “want to help others.”
50. After donating blood, you replace these red blood cells within 3 to 4 weeks. It takes eight weeks to restore the iron lost after donating.
51. Granulocytes, a type of white blood cell, roll along blood vessel walls in search of bacteria to eat.
52. White cells are the body's primary defense against infection.
53. There is no substitute for human blood.
54. It’s about Life.
55. Since a pint is pound, you lose a pound every time you donate blood.
56. Anyone who is in good health, is at least 17 years old, and weighs at least 110 pounds may donate blood every 56 days.

PS. BIG NEWS ALERT!!! Although the celebration isn’t until next weekend, tomorrow is actually Kendrie’s 6th Birthday! Please leave her a note in the guestbook, wishing her a happy birthday. I’ll be sure to update with party details and pictures next weekend. Then, be sure to go to Clare’s site and leave a kind note for her as well. Thanks!

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