Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Gift of Life

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." 
 -Winston Churchill

Recently, I got my health card renewed.

I also made an important decision.

I decided to give the gift of life.

By this, I mean I registered to be an organ/tissue donor in the event of my passing.

This was not a difficult choice for me. Personally, I simply think of my children.

Now...think of yours.

God forbid, if one of them were ever in the position where they needed an organ transplant at some point in their lives and a match was found, I can't think of a greater gift than that of the person who's organ they would hypothetically receive.

Think about it.

And then think about it some more.

To be blunt - if I am dead - and my spirit has moved on from my physical body, then why would I not choose to give others a possible shot at life?

Why put such amazing gifts 6 feet under or burn them up into useless ashes?

Now, I don't mean any disrespect.

This is a very personal decision and whatever yours happens to be is yours to be had.

I am simply giving you my personal perspective and asking you to give it consideration.

Most of us know...or at least know of...someone who has required a transplant of some kind.

Some are able to use a living donor...such as a liver...and my Dad was lucky enough that when he lost a kidney in a horrible car crash in his late teens, he had a spare (and we only need one kidney...thank God!).

And on that awesome Dad was saved by many, many blood transfusions.

Have you ever given blood?

As they's in us to give!

I started when I was in University to honour my Dad. It was then that I found out that I have a rare blood type and therefore it is in higher demand at the blood banks.

Do you know your blood type and/or how rare and/or how in demand it is?

Of course, rare blood types are needed by less people...but there is a very small supply of blood that is available to them if they need it.

My Blood Type is B Negative.
Yup. 2%

For many health-related reasons - such as three pregnancies and certain medications - I have been unable to give blood on and off for a while - but it is something I am committed to doing when I can.

I am not trying to make myself out to be some martyr...cause Lordy Lord knows I am hardly that.

I am just a woman who has made a choice that I feel good about.

And maybe one day - hopefully a LONG time from now - another woman...or man...or whoever it may be...will feel good about it too.



Sunday, October 28, 2012

What's Up? Toys...That's What!!

This past October 12, 2012, my older boys Julian (11) and Noah (8) were lucky enough to be asked by What's Up Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Erin Ruddy to be "Official Toy Testers" at their annual toy testing event.

The holiday issue of What's Up Magazine, featuring the results of our toy-testing day will be available in mid-November!

The boys had a rare early school dismissal pass (from Mom) and we headed off to the GO Train (part of the fun!) to head downtown.

Julian, Noah and I waiting for the GO Train to take us to the toy show!

We were chosen because I write for the magazine, I am also a loyal reader and I am also a blogger. Thirty-five kids were invited along with other readers, contest winners and bloggers.

This year's event was held at Toronto's CN Tower, which made it extra cool.

I took this pic just before we entered the CN Tower.
What a perfect day!

What's Up Magazine and Erin have been very supportive of my writing career (if you can call it that!) - and I have gotten a number of great opportunities to write feature articles for them. Like, where I get paid. Like, really well.

To read some of my past What's Up articles, click here.

Anyhoo...back to the toy show!

My boys and I got to go around to all of the toys and try the out - and then fill out forms to let the magazine which ones we liked, which ones we didn't and why.

Noah and Julian trying out Roxx!

Here is a YouTube video about the event! (Julian and I make very brief appearances but Noah is the star of the show!)

For their services, the boys were treated to loot bags and their names were entered into a draw for some bigger toys. And Noah was lucky enough to win the scooter that both he and Julian had on their "Top 5 Toys" list from the show!

My boys with their loot and giant smiles.
After the toy testing, we were all treated to a ride up the tower!

The elevator in the CN Tower has a glass floor.
We looked around outside on the observation deck.

The boys on the deck!

We took in the Toronto views.

Look...the Skydome! (Or as they call it now...which we hate...The Rogers Centre)
Home of the Toronto Blue Jays!

We are really far up Mom!

Taking in the amazing views of Toronto.

Then...we - of course - had to have some fun on the famous glass floor!

Here is Noah pretending to be falling off the tower.

Here is Julian pretending to fall off.
I told him he didn't look scared enough...

...Ah! That's better! LOL
We had a great time as you can see!

Thanks to Erin Ruddy and What's Up Magazine for a fun day!



Friday, October 26, 2012

Wellx Article #27: On Cleansing Tears

Hello readers!

As per usual, I will begin by pointing you in the direction of my first twenty-six articles published by Wellx here.

Today, my piece about the cleansing effect of tears and crying was re-published. Crying is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of being human.

I am so happy to continue to work with WellnessX and share my thoughts with you and wellness professionals around the world.

Here's the link!

Thanks as always to Brad and Mel and everyone at WellnessX for continuing to share my work and for their on-going support and great work with the wellness community!



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Raising Boys World Article #6: On Bubble-wrapped Kids

Hello readers!

Today, my sixth article for Raising Boys World (RBW) was published!

To read my past articles for RBW, please click here.

This new piece is discusses how difficult it can be to know how to balance keeping your children safe and letting them explore, gain age-appropriate independence and grow.

I particulary have struggles with this being a big worry-wart! And have three boys aged 11, 8 and 2 - each of my kids have their own personalities and needs.

So here is the link:

As always, thanks to Tara, Renee and the entire RBW family for continuing to publish my work and for their on-going support and wonderful website!



Sunday, October 21, 2012

Celebrity Gossip Girls

So let me start by saying that I am not an expert on teenage girls.

Teen girls soaking up media.

I am the proud Mom of three little boys aged one, eight and ten.
I am also the proud sister to two younger brothers.
But I was a teenage girl once myself and if memory serves, my little fascination with all things celebrity began during this time. I watched the Hollywood tabloid scoop shows, read the magazines and as such, was a sponge to all of their splashy content.
I seemed to have turned out OK. 
Sure, I have some normal body image issues and I would love to have Jessica Simpson’s hair…but I am old and wise enough to understand the sheen and fantasy and artistry that go into the images I am presented with now. 

Kate Moss - real and celebrified.

Britney. I think she looks great in the first photo.
But the media makes already beautiful celebrities look like Barbie dolls.

Not to mention the fact that a great deal has changed since I was in my teens. 

Prom photo alert!
Holy hair product Batman!
Where's MY airbrush!???!?
The celebrity gossip/tabloid industry is a much larger monster than it was back then and teens today are bombarded with photos and messages that are much more extreme and mainstream than ever before.
So the question is – is it harmful to allow your teenage daughters to partake in reading celebrity tabloids? How much is too much? Well, as a self-professed, celebrity gossip aficionada, here are my thoughts.

Tabloids Can Negatively Affect Your Teen's Self-Esteem and Body Image.

Young, female actresses and singers are encouraged to be extremely thin.  

I see that this trend seems to slowly be changing, but not fast enough and the Hollywood standard of beauty is never going to mirror reality. 

Your impressionable teen may look at these images of stick-thin celebrities and internalize them as a beauty ideals.   While we as adults understand that celebrities do not represent typical women, your teenage daughter may not.

Tabloids Are Full of Spiteful Comments and Falsehoods.

They don’t call them “rag mags” and “gossip gabs” for nothing. 
Many of the stories in celebrity tabloids rumours based on heresy and half-truths. They also habitually run unflattering photos of celebrities caught off guard or without make-up with captions that are tremendously negative and offensive.  
With all of the nastiness that already goes on between many teenage girls, this constant stream of insulting messages does not aim to dampen this behaviour.

Tabloids Offer A Twisted Reflection Of Healthy Relationships.

Take a look at a celebrity magazine from a year ago and you’ll quickly realize how quickly relationships change in Hollywood.  
Marriages that last more than a few years are rare. 
Affairs, flings and breakups are talked about in such a casual way that more often than not they disregard the very real and agonizing repercussions that result from the constant changing of partners. 
Teens look up to these celebrities and what they are reading can certainly affect their overall views on what it means to have a healthy relationship and commitment.
Now don’t get me wrong. 

A read here and there of celebrity tabloids is not going to equal the end of the world for your teen, but it is important to be aware of the messages they may be internalizing. 

What is important is that you talk to your daughters. to your sons as well!

Help them understand the difference between the gloss of Hollywood and the authentic beauty of reality. 

I may have indulged in a few tabloids as a teen myself, but it was the close, communicative relationship that I had with my parents that truly shaped the woman I am today.



Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Truth About Tears

"Let your tears come, let them water your soul."
 - Eileen Mayhew

Crying is often looked down upon.

It is something that is seen as weak, inappropriate or shameful.

Well let's take a closer look at tears shall we?

Crying can mean many things.

People cry when they are sad.

My Julian when he was younger giving his best dramatic interpretation of "sad".
Hey...maybe he will get into acting!
But I am thinking athletics is more his thang.

People cry when they are angry.

What did you just say dude?

People cry when they are mad.

I hate it when Mom says "no"!
People cry when they are frustrated.

Again, frustrated about my diet!

People cry when they are happy.

People cry when they are blue.

Old blue eyes.
And blue lips.
And blue hair.
No wonder I wanna cry!

Need I continue?

I didn't think so.

In short, people cry to let something they are feeling out.

Crying is a release.

Kinda creepy.
Makes me wanna cry.

Now, some people are big criers and some are not.

I, personally, am a crier.

Sometimes I don't even really know exactly why I need "a good cry", but I just do and so I do it.

My middle son Noah seems to be the same way.

...although you would never guess it based on pretty much every photo I have of him.
He's like his mom...both a goof-ball and a crier.
We are being goof-balls here obviously!

I can tell when he is in need of a cry and is embarrassed about it because many still consider crying to be a sign of weakness.

Luckily for my son, I don't.

I get it.

So I call him over for a snuggle and tell him to let it out. He will burry his head into my arms and let his emotions take over.

Then sometimes he has something he wants to talk about or sometimes he just says something like "I don't know why I needed to cry Mommy...I guess I just had a long day."

And I look at him and say "I know exactly what you mean buddy. You always have my shoulder to cry on when you need it."

I am also a major sap.

When maple trees cry, their tears are made of sap.

Mmmm...Canadian maple syrup...made of maple tree tears!
This does NOT make me cry.
Except when I am dieting.
Then you can refer to the frustrated photo above!

I am as sappy as a maple tree peeps!
Maybe it's a Canadian thing, eh?

I mean - Hallmark commercials...cheesy TV shows...every, single time I watch ET...I am a mess!

This last scene of ET gets me every, single, frickin' time!

I also have those "I don't really know why I am crying" episodes more often that I am willing to admit to.

Usually, it is due to built up stress - and I am tellin' ya...I have a stress threshold and when I get close to that brink, crying is one of the requirements for not going over it.

If I don't let it out, this is what happens.
Except my waist does not get that small.
Otherwise, I would never cry again. ;)

I can feel it in my throat...almost a burning feeling...and a pounding in my chest.

If I am in a public place I know I have to find a quiet place to be alone. Generally, I am pretty good at keeping it together until I have my own space, but sometimes it ain't easy.

The point of this is to let you know that crying is a form of catharsis.

Oh will be OK.
(Cue the "Dawson's Creek" music montage! Enter Katie Holmes...go!)

It is normal and it is not a sign of being weak.

It is simply a sign of being human.

...or a cartoon of a human.

Or Dawson.