Fatherly Stuff: February 2014

Feb 21, 2014

Cord Blood Banking: Get Educated!

“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Dad Central for the Cord Blood Registry. I received promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

I'm proud to say that I was present for the birth of both of my children, and I wasn’t just behind her shoulder either. For both occasions as I held my wife’s hand and coached her through each agonizing push, I also peeked over to the other side of her gown and witnessed first-hand the miracle of life. It was breathtaking, emotional… and a little messy.  Once they arrived, I was given the honor of cutting their umbilical cords and each time, they gathered up that cord, along with the placenta and unceremoniously disposed of it all as bio hazardous waste. However, had I known then what I know now, there’s no way that I would’ve allowed that to happen. Had my wife and I understood that within that so-called “waste”  contained precious, life-saving cord blood, we would have sought out more information on how to collect and store it.

Stem cells contained in a newborn's umbilical cord blood possess unique characteristics that distinguish them from other types of stem cells found in the body. Cord blood is rich in potentially life-saving blood and immune cells termed hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). These HSCs are biologically younger and are more flexible compared to adult stem cells from other sources like bone marrow. Once stored, they can last up to 20 years. Using cord blood has a number of unique qualities and advantages, such as a lower risks of complications when used in transplants and the immediate availability of it can minimize disease progression in early treatment. There have even been advances in reversing child hearing loss in some cases. There have been numerous cases in which families were able to either save the lives of their children or even cure illnesses because of it. In addition, cord blood is readily available and can be collected easily without risk to the mother or newborn, regardless of vaginal birth or C-section.

During both of my wife’s pregnancies, we were somewhat aware of the concept of cord blood banking, but we didn’t really know too much about it. In fact, I cannot recall a time where our OBGYN even brought it up during any of our appointments.  Now, why would a medical professional neglect to mention in even the slightest capacity such a clearly beneficial, harmless process? I’m not sure. But I do have a theory:  The process of collecting and storing Cord Blood is not cheap and the associated costs are currently not recognized by the US Government as a qualified medical expense. This means that families are unable to take advantage of tax free vehicles such as a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Healthcare Spending Account (HSA) to cover the costs.   

For most people (including myself), the cost alone is enough of a barrier to give up on the idea all together. Fortunately, there’s hope. There is currently legislation being considered in the US House of Representatives dubbed the Family Cord Blood Banking Act. If passed, large numbers of families will finally be able to receive tax benefits from cord banking expenses. As the general public gains greater awareness about this process, it will gradually become more accessible and undoubtedly save many lives in the future.

We haven’t decided 100% on whether or not we will have a third child. If we do however, we will definitely be incorporating cord blood banking into the conversation. As a dad, I instinctively want to do everything in my power to protect my family and cord blood banking is simply an extension of that desire.  

To learn about Cord Blood Banking and how it can benefit your family, please visit-www.cordbankingbasics.com

Anyone who visits until February 24, 2014 and completes an information request will receive a $200 discount on banking a newborn’s umbilical cord blood with Cord Blood Registry. Click HERE for more details!

Feb 18, 2014

Get the Most out of your Tax Refund with Walmart Family Mobile

How much thought does your family put into your tax refund and how it will be used? Every year, my wife and I sit at our kitchen table over a cup of coffee and we discuss the best way to get the most mileage out of our return. It’s not because we necessarily get that large of a sum, but we find that coming together and setting up a game plan allows us to hold each other accountable and ensure we’re staying on track with our long term budgeting goals. What we ultimately decided to do with the money is quite boring actually; most of it will be added to our savings, some will be used to pay off bills. Of all the things that we have on or list to purchase or pay off, there’s one thing that we absolutely don’t have to worry about: our phone bill. You see, ever since we made the decision to purchase Walmart’s Family Mobile Plan back in November, we’ve been amazed at the savings we’ve been able to take advantage of by hooking up with one of the Lowest Priced Unlimited Plans out there!

With Walmart Family Mobile, you have the option of either purchasing one of their top of the line
smartphones, many of which are under $100, or depending on what plan you currently have, you can simply transfer the phone you have now to them. Seeing as my old phone was years behind the tech curve, I purchased the Samsung Galaxy S4, which is still being touted as one of the best smartphones of our time. With its sleek design and Gingerbread Android operating system, it was practically love at first sight.  At the time, I used my new phone primarily to get real time updates and stats for my NFL fantasy league. Now that the season is over, I mainly use it for  email and catching up on my  favorite TV shows on Nextflix that aren’t appropriate for my children. Oh and I also make the occasional call from time to time.

Over the 3 months since I’ve joined the Walmart Family Mobile Network, my monthly phone cost for Unlimited Talk Text and Data/Web has been practically been slashed in half. I’m able to enjoy all of the benefits of having a smartphone plan, without the hassle of signing up with a two year contract. That way, whenever the next cool phone is unveiled, I have the flexibility to purchase it without any issues.
So, when you’re sitting at the table deciding on how you should spend your tax refund, consider checking out a plan with Walmart Family Mobile. It has saved me a bunch of money so far and I’m sure it will do the same for you! But don’t take my word for it. Check out their site and find out how they will benefit you!

Feb 4, 2014

Enjoy S'mores at Home with Trumoo Chocolate Marshmallow Milk

One of our favorite things that we like to do when visiting my wife’s family in Maine is go camping. There’s something about removing ourselves from civilization, being surrounded by the beauty of nature, telling stories and making delicious s’mores that always seem to bring us closer as a family. 

Lately however, those summer days feel as if they are miles away, as we are currently going through one of the frostiest winters in recorded history, with many days of steady snowfall and temperatures regularly creeping below 0°F. Although it would be impossible to enjoy a roaring campfire and eat gooey s’mores right now, #Trumoo is offering a pretty cool alternative. TruMoo is delighting chocolate lovers everywhere with a special February flavor - TruMoo Chocolate Marshmallow. TruMoo Chocolate Marshmallow milk is made with fresh white milk sourced from regional dairies around the country - pure cocoa and just enough natural sugar to make it taste great.

One of my favorite things about TruMoo Chocolate Marshmallow milk is that is can be enjoyed hot or cold! You can try it as an ingredient in your favorite mocktail. Or family had the most fun drinking it hot; it tastes just like a s’more in your mouth! Making it is very simple: just pour some milk in a couple of mugs, heat them in the microwave and garnish with a few mini marshmallows. If you prefer, you can so sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs, drizzle with chocolate syrup or even as a cinnamon stick for a stirrer.  S’mores flavored hot chocolate is a great accessory to movie night or, like at a campfire,  just sitting around as a family wrapped in blankets and enjoying each other’s company.

  So go check out and let me know what you think! It's available in the dairy section at grocery stores nationwide through the month of February. To learn more about Trumoo and their products, please visit their  Facebook page or Twitter. Also, use their store locator find out where Trumoo is sold nearest you!