Thursday, August 28, 2014

Steven's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

You've seen it all over Facebook and YouTube.  Celebrities and civilians alike posting videos of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  When I saw people I know start to do it I just knew it would get me too.

Yes, Mom.  I accept your challenge.

But Why All This Fuss Over ALS?

First I did a little research.  After all, this Ice Bucket Challenge raises awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease).  That, and money, but we'll get to that in a moment.  This is a terrible degenerate disease that kills the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord leaving you partially or fully paralyzed.  It's estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans have ALS and life expectancy averages 2-5 years after diagnosis (www.alsa.org/about-als/facts-you-should-know).

Living with ALS just sounds terrible and makes you want to help, doesn't it?  And then the Ice Bucket Challenge sweeps through social media and gives us all the opportunity to learn about ALS and be part of the discussion while enjoying the reactions of people doused with ice water.

Where Does All the Donation Money Go?

Beyond just awareness, this Ice Bucket Challenge has proved to be a big fundraiser for the ALS Association with over $94 million raised as of yesterday.  The ALSA seems to be a responsible charity, using the money as promised.  Charity Navigator gives it a financial score of 90.73 out of 100 with over 72% of the money going directly to its programs.  All charities and non-profits have additional expenses so that looks about normal.  ALSA's own website shows this pie chart for how the money is used:
Expenses

With such a windfall of cash raised by the Ice Bucket Challenge some questions pop up.  What will happen next year when donations drop back to normal levels?  Will all this money be treated the same as what's in that pie chart?  Though we don't have a definite answer yet a recent press release states:
“Under the leadership of our Board of Trustees, we are putting a decision-making process in place to address how this money will be spent. This is isn’t a matter of spending these dollars quickly—it’s a matter of investing these dollars prudently to achieve maximum impact in our quest to help people living with the disease and those yet to be diagnosed...
“We appreciate the numerous emails and phone calls from people who have very clear ideas as to how this money should be spent. While we don’t yet have a percentage breakdown of how the money will be allocated, I want to assure donors and public that ALS research and care services to people living with ALS are top priorities for The Association,” 

I was already going to accept the challenge but that's merely due to the peer pressure and sense of community involved.  Hey, are you going to say no when your mom calls you out?  Learning about ALS and what those affected deal with every day made me more determined to dump ice water on my head.  Then, fad or no, looking up the finances makes me feel all the better about this whole Ice Bucket Challenge.  What really solidified it for me, though was this article on faithit.com.

What Does Someone with ALS Think of the Ice Bucket Challenge?

This article on faithit.com is a good read.  It starts with the critics: Is the Ice Bucket Challenge going to cure ALS.  No; charities shouldn't have to set the bar so high in order to do good.  What about wasting so much water?  It's a mere drop in the bucket compared to the 80 to 100 gallons the average American wastes every day.

This writer's husband has ALS and welcomes all the attention as long as some good comes out of it. "We are in for the fight of our lives with this monster, and the very LAST thing I want is for people to give quietly, anonymously, and then slink away."

She ends with 10 suggestions - Empathetic Experiences - to understand what someone with ALS suffers.  Try lifting a 10-pound weight, pretending it's your fork, and mimic eating a meal.  Without using any of your own muscles have someone dress you and brush your teeth.  Go to bed and lay in one position without moving anything for as long as you can.  Give the whole article a look:


Sure, no effort is perfect and there are many charities with deserving causes but I've looked into this whole Ice Bucket Challenge and I applaud this effort.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ever feel like you need a pity party after a visit to the doctor's?

We pay for our own health insurance. BOO!
We are still alive and don't have to go in very often.YEAH!

Earlier this year we were notified our already expensive insurance had to meet the new Obama health regulations.... therefore our plan was being dissolved. Now you pay more and get less. The equivalent of our old plan was going to cost $1350 every month.... and that is just for mediocre healthcare. We switched insurances and just took the kids in to a new pediatrician to get the next set of vaccinations.

We were on time for our 9:00am appt. At 11:30 we still had not been seen by the pediatrician. The kids were hungry and bored; Evan was tired and ready for a nap. My patience and temper were long gone so I left the exam room to tell the staff we needed to leave. The kids finally got their vaccinations at 12:10... that took about 3 minutes. The pediatrician wanted blood work done to check for anemia. Why? Well, that was done at 12:20. The blood work was a terrible experience. The kids had to each take their turn on Steve's lap being held down by him and nurse. Hailey was hysterical, screaming for help. We finally left at 12:27 and got home at 1:00 with everyone in bad moods. Absolutely ridiculous!

After we left the doctor's office Hailey cried for an entire hour straight that her arm hurt. She cried most of the afternoon.

Poor Evan isn't feeling well after his vaccinations. He has a fever, upset stomach, and the runs.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Evan doesn't play princess

While I was making dinner I heard Evan screaming "I am a BOY! I don't like it!" Hailey claims the "queen" made her dress Evan up. The other day Hailey told Evan he could not wear his favorite hat because Prince Charming doesn't wear a hat and he was supposed to be Prince Charming. Time to lay off the Disney.

I love to see him get so excited.

In the end those little smiles are worth all the mess painting makes.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Work Picnic

Today we went to a park for Steve's work picnic.

It was such a nice day; great for having the kids run around.

They made friends with the other kids; here they are on an expedition.



Evan liked the little greyhounds.

Here's Hailey taking selfies with her new friend.

That phone must be filled with videos and selfie photos of the two girls.


Group photo!

Hailey was stuck to her new friend like glue.


So much fun!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Jump House Fun


We met up with the cousins at Frogg's Bounce House for the day.


When we went inside all the kids ran in different directions, eager to jump, climb, and slide.


Evan really took to it: climbing and sliding like the big kids.


He wanted to do it all by himself.


What fun!


Striking a pose.






There were 5 different bounce houses and slides to play around on.




Evan and Kaylee in the 3-and-under area.




Uncle Greg wants to go too!


Hailey loves playing with her cousin Bri.


There are even comfy places for parents to sit and talk.


Papa needed a nap.




Taking a break from sliding to do some building.




What a fun day!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Another hot week

Playing at the park.

Hailey would only let her friend Ben push her on the swing. No surprise there.

She has the heart of a 16 year old girl trapped in a 4 year old body.

Time to pick the grapes in the garden.

So sweet!





"Sorry Evan I can't play; I have to sing."


Picking apples that are not ready to pick.


She ate the whole thing.

It started as a tickle. . . .

turned into a pinch. . . .

didn't end so well.

Now he has to play by himself.... not so fun.

More animal shadows.

Playing the cupcake game.