Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Five-O #5 {On the Road Again! (Legally...)}

Good-Aye, Mates!
(Is that how you spell that? I have no idea...)
It's Friday!

So you know what that means!
It's time for:

I don't know if I've ever come right out and said this, but
It's right up there with Ping-Pong!
(Remember my ardent love for Ping-Pong?
You can read about it here.)
Seriously, I am NOT the most coordinated and athletic person in the world,
but I can hold my own on the volleyball court
and at the Ping-Pong table.
This being said, Friday Night was Gym Night with my College and Career Crew.
We started the evening with Volleyball
and I'm thrilled to say that my team won every game! :)
(FYI...I'm also highly competitive...)
Then we switched to basketball.
Well, I guess I should say that "THEY" switched to basketball.
I happily sat out and took pictures...
oh, and had a nice long chat with my cousin on the phone.

I can't tell you how excited I was that
I actually caught the ball going into the hoop! :)

As I mentioned in last week's Friday Five-O post,
on my birthday a very Great Lady passed from this earth
onto her Heavenly reward.
We commemorated this Celestial transition
and laid Magau's body to rest last Saturday.
The usual feelings that accompany funerals naturally overshadowed us,
but in general, it was the one of the nicest funeral services I've ever attended.
As evidenced by the packed out church,
Mague was loved and will never be forgotten.

Magau, thank you for being one of the most loving ladies I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.
You will ALWAYS hold a special place in my heart.
I love you.

Sunday, I had a bit more Birthday Fun :).
After church, my friend Jessica and I went to TGI Friday's for dinner
where, in honor of my special day, I received a free dessert of my choice.

Can you say "A-MA-AZING"!?!?!?!? :)

Also, I was feeling a blue on Sunday, so I wore my red shoes to cheer myself up.

It worked!
My red shoes always put a Pep in my Step :).

Tuesday was DEFINITELY a day to celebrate!
It marked THE END of the most difficult class I've ever taken in my life!
First of all, it was awfully boring information to learn about
(but I suppose I most likely will put it to use someday...):
Reimbursement Fundamentals in Healthcare.
The course work for this class was challenging but not terrible.
Honestly, what caused this to be the most difficult class I've ever taken was:
lack of communication with the instructor.
From the very beginning of the class,
it seems that there has been one miscommunication after another.
First there were issues with the Virtual Campus
and I tried to be proactive by emailing my instructor
to let her know my assignments would be late and why
(she still initially gave me an "F").
Then (even after she informed that she would change that grade),
it remained an "F" for three and a half weeks.
I never received a response from her even after emailing her four times about it.
But she found time to email me (and effectively give me a heart attack)
that I was "missing several assignments"
when in fact, I wasn't missing any.
Like I said, A LOT of miscommunication!
I cannot express the relief I felt when I turned in that final assignment!
(By the way, my overall class grade was an A-!)

 And now I'm only one class away from Graduation!
Yay! My second Associates' Degree is in the Bag! :)

Also on Tuesday, I became a legal driver again.
I had had previous knowledge that my driver's license
was going to expire on my twenty-sixth birthday,
but when it came to my birthday week,
naturally, I completely forgot.
Therefore, I have been driving illegally since last Wednesday
A quick trip to the DMV today rectified that!

And, literally, it was a quick trip!
I was in and out of there in an hour!
I think that's a miracle! :)

Wednesday, I spent the day with my sister in Lincoln.
Lincoln is only like 50 miles from Peoria,
but to me--who is used to driving in no more than a 20 mile radius--
it seemed like taking a mini roadtrip.

I know some people dislike Illinois because of all the flat, farm country,
but I think it's beautiful :).

How was your week?
I'd love to hear about it!

Thanks for stopping by!
Please come back again soon!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Once There Was a Girl Nicknamed Windy...{Born with a Hole in My Heart}

Good Evening, Friends and Family!
I hope this finds you having a good week
and gearing up for the weekend!

I am here today to share a random fact about myself with you.
Okay, so maybe it's not totally "random" in the technical sense.
It does correspond with multiple events
that took place earlier in the week.
What is it?

Simply this:
I was born with a hole in my heart.
(Some of you may already be aware of this,
but I thought I share the full story anyway.)
The technical term is Ventricular Septal Defect.
(I'm going to attempt to stay elementary about this,
but we all know what a wordy person I am
and I kind of have a thing for medical terms.)
To understand exactly what this means,
you have to have some basic knowledge of the anatomy of the human heart.
Personally, I'm in love with the Heart.
Maybe because I was born with this defect.
Or maybe because my first job was in a cardiology office.
Whatever the reason, I'm completely transfixed and blown away by the Heart.

The human heart is made up of four chambers:
the left and right atria at the top of the heart
and the left and right ventricles at the bottom of the heart.
The right atrium receives oxygen-poor blood from the body
and pumps it to the right ventricle.

The right ventricle pumps the oxygen-poor blood to the lungs.
The left atrium receives oxygen-rich blood from the lungs
and pumps it to the left ventricle.
The left ventricle pumps the oxygen-rich blood to the body.
These four chambers are separated by wall of muscle called the interventricular septum.
The function of the interventricular septum is segregate
the de-oxygenated blood on the right side of the heart
from the oxygenated blood on the left side.
(You didn't know you were going to get
an anatomy and physiology lesson today, did you?)

I say all this to say that having a hole in this wall could potentially be a serious issue.
But I'm happy to report that that is not the case in my personal situation.
This tiny defect (literally it is about the size of the tip of a needle)
has never caused me any issues of any kind.
Nonetheless I have been under the care of a cardiologist my entire life.
This VSD just needs to be watched to make sure that it doesn't expand
and/or start to cause me problems.

Here's the unique, sort of cool thing about my VSD:
my heartbeat sounds different than a "normal" persons.
You know how when a woman is pregnant,
she can go listen to her baby's heartbeat on a sonogram at a doctor's office?
Well, essentially the same thing happens when an echocardiogram is done on the heart.
Earlier this week (as I stated in the Friday Five-O post)
I had to have a check up with my cardiologist and an echocardiogram was performed.
It had been nearly seven years since my last echo
so I had forgotten how cool they are.
First of all, I was privileged to watch the images on the screen.
I got to actually see my heart contracting
and I saw the blood moving through the valves into the different chambers.
Like I said, IT WAS COOL!

Then I got to hear it.
I wish I had an audio clip to play for you!
The actual beats of my heart sound everyone else's.
But in between the beats there is a windy sound...
like a mother's hushing her child: "shhh, shhh, shhh."
That sound is made by air moving through that minuscule hole in my ventricular wall.
No pediatric cardiologist used to call me "Windy".

Let me just say right here that I don't believe in coincidence.
I know I've said it before, but I LOVE THE WIND.
There's something refreshing about it
that makes me like anything is possible.
(FLASH to Kate Winslet's character in the movie The Holiday...
standing out side in a December LA enjoying the Santa Anas...)
I don't even mind when it messes up my hair
(and for an Apostolic Pentecostal Girl...THAT'S saying something!)
Could there possibly be a connection between my love of the wind
and my WINDY heartbeat?
(Or could I just be making a mountain out of a molehill? ...Possibly...)
I did just get done say that I don't believe in coincidence.

Whenever I tell people that I have a "heart condition"
or that I have an upcoming visit with my cardiologist,
they kind of freak out.
They seem to think that even a quiet, insignificant defect
is something that is to be--at least--concerned about.
But I don't see it that way.
For one thing, as I said before,
it's never caused me any health issues.
And I truly don't believe that it ever will.
I'm actually a little in love with my defect.
Makes me feel unique.
And I'm okay with being called "Windy"...:)

Do you have any congenital health conditions?
How do people react when they hear about them?
Does your condition worry you?

You know I'm always up to your stories!

Thank you for stopping by!
Please visit again soon!

Friday Five-O #4 {A Week of Celebration and Loss}

Good Morning, Lovelies!
It's Friday!
So you know what that means!

It's time for:

It has been a week of emotional ups and downs.
This Roller-Coaster Life has DEFINITELY lived up to its name this week!
As my title suggests, it had some very high altitude ups
and some very deep downs.
But I was able to find something to celebrate
in every circumstance the week threw at me.

Sunday was spent celebrating my nephew's birthday.
My nephew was born three days before my 13th birthday
and therefore we usually celebrate our birthdays together.
However, things had come up and we didn't think that was going to be a possibility this year.
So imagine my surprise and pleasure when, 
while I was sitting in church Sunday afternoon,
I got a call from my sister explaining that they were going to be eating dinner 
in East Peoria (a mere 6 miles from my location).
I quickly worked out the details with her and 
very soon was treated with the pleasure of her company
and a scrumptious dinner.

My nephew was exhausted from too much partying
and therefore refused to let me take his picture...
Oh to young and irresponsible! :)

Monday, during a trip back in time, I celebrated being in good health
and having good memories of my first job.
Okay, so I did not literally go back in time, but it kind of felt like it.
I'm not sure how many of you know this,
but I was born with a hole in my heart.
(I will be sharing more of that story soon.)
Well, on Monday I went to have a routine check-up with my cardiologist.
Now, as I've mentioned in previous posts,
I used to work in the cardiology office that I am a patient at.
So when I say I took a trip back in time...
I literally mean I went back and visited some old stomping grounds
that are very near and dear to my heart
(honestly, that pun was completely
During that brief visit, I didn't get to see everyone that I knew in my time working there,
but I was privileged to see many smiling, familiar faces.
The building itself seemed to smile at me.

My time at HeartCare Midwest is something I will never forget.
In a way, I kind of grew up there.
It was my first job and learned a lot about integrity and responsibility.

Tuesday, I celebrated the coming of Spring.
I added some more MUCH needed springy decor to my room.
A while back I purchased three lovely 11x14 picture frames for a rather large, bare wall.
I have been trying to keep seasonal photos in them to just cheer up the space.
I had had some lovely black and white snowy prints in there,
but decided those HAD TO GO!
So I replaced them with these:

They DEFINITELY helped brighten up the room!
And, yes, the center photo is of a precious, semi-terrified Easter Bunny...:)

Wednesday, which happened to be my 26th Birthday, I celebrated my Magau's life
You see, on the 26th anniversary of my arrival on earth,
the world lost one of its greatest ladies.

You know, when William Shakespeare said, "...and though she be but little, she is FIERCE."
I think God had given him a vision of my Magau.
Magau, we were never connected by blood,
but you took me right into your life like I really was one of your Granddaughters.
I love you and will never forget you.
Your love and kindness have helped make me into the person I am.

Now, I don't want you to think that my birthday was completely ruined,
because it wasn't.
Absolutely I was sad and of course I shed more than a few tears
over the fact that Magau was gone from my life,
but right now, she's in Heaven.
She's not sick or weak anymore.
In fact, I think she's trying out her glorified body by cutting a rug.
I can just see her kicking up gold dust.
With these thoughts in mind,
I was able to go on and enjoy my birthday.
(I will be sharing more Birthday Fun soon!)

Thursday, I celebrated the Spring Equinox!
(Can you tell I'm excited that Winter is FINALLY OVER?!?!?!?!)
I honestly enjoy all the seasons,
and am truly ready for the ice and snow of winter when it arrives,
but I am BEYOND that now!
I am ready for the more mild temperatures of spring
and the warm winds it brings with it.
I don't know if I've ever mentioned this before,
I have always loved the wind.
I suppose that could be because I was born in the month of March:
the month KNOWN for it's winds.
(Now, my assistant at TJ would argue that the wind is terrible
and he cannot wait for the more mild weather of late spring...
Whatever! He was born in June!
No wonder he can't handle the March Winds! lol)
Anyway, when I arrived at the YMCA on Thursday,
I stepped out of my car and just took a second to enjoy
the blue sky, the fluffy clouds, the birds singing,
the warmer temperature, and, of course,
the WIND.

Honestly, up until that point,
I had been a little keyed up about some work issues,
but that pause to enjoy the weather settled me right down. :) 

How was your week?
Have you ever had someone close to you pass away
on your birthday and/or a Holiday?

I would very much enjoy reading your stories!

I hope you have a great weekend!
Please come back visit soon!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! {Five Dr. Seuss Themed Projects with the Kiddos!}

Good Morning, Dears!

This is the long ago promised Dr. Seuss post! :)
February 26th was an early dismissal day at Thomas Jefferson.
As I have mentioned in previous posts,
I strongly dislike early dismissal days.
The only way I get through them is to have a good plan.

The last Early Dismissal Day, I declared it to be Penguin Day.
And in all honesty, it was a ROUSING success. :)
You can read more about it here.
The success of Penguin Day inspired me
to plan a great theme for the next Early Dismissal Day.
And I already knew what theme I wanted it to be...
(drum roll, please...)
Since his birthday is March 2nd, it sort of felt like it was meant to be! :)

Now, here's a confession...after the actual Dr. Seuss Day,
we were having so much fun making Dr. Seuss related crafts,
that we decided to continue the theme up to St. Patrick's Day.
(So, just to warn you, this is going to be an excessively long post
with LOTS and LOTS of fun photos!)

A lot of these crafts and projects I found through Pinterest
and then added my own unique twist to them.

To start us off, we have:
The Wocket in my Pocket Craft

 This is the example that my wonderful, artistic assistant, Nicole, made to show the children.
I think it's adorable...and beyond simple!
We used colored foam sheets for the pockets
and felt for the Wockets.
We had the children decorate the Wockets in the Pockets
however they desired and the result was GREAT!

Next we made Hand-print Lorax crafts.

I absolutely LOVE how these turned out!
They are all a bit different, which is great
because it shows off each child's individuality.

Then we did two different varieties of Truffala Trees.
First, using straws and yarn,
we made our own Truffala Tree Forest :).

Evidently, the children thought it was necessary to add fruit in some of the trees
and then, of course, there had to be bears to eat the fruit.:)
Like I said, I LOVE their creativity!

For the second Truffala Tree project,
I had the children do a bit of abstract painting on plain pieces of construction paper.
I let them choose whatever color they wanted.

As you can see, some of them were really into it
and others...weren't...:)
Some of them liked their abstract painting so much
that they wanted to keep them just the way they were.
Of course, I let them under the condition
that they complete another abstract painting for the Truffala Tree project.
That actually worked! It kind of surprised me.

I gave each child a few Truffala Tree Tops (that's kind of hard to say...)
that I had previously free-handed and then copied onto colorful paper
and had them glue them onto their abstract painting.
Then I instructed each child to cut out strips of white paper
and decorate them and then glue them onto to be the Truffala Tree Trunks.

This was the example I made for the children.
I love how theirs turned out!

I have to be honest, I think the above one is my favorite! :) 

You can't really tell the above one is supposed to be Truffala Trees,
but I still love it! :)

Finally, we made a One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish Canvas.
We definitely took our time with this.
We would do a bit and then let it dry for a few days
and then do a bit more.
It's not really Dr. Seuss in the traditional sense,
like we didn't use his drawings for the fish,
but obviously, the idea stemmed from his genius.

And, of course, we kept the book around to inspire us during the completion of the project. :)

What follows is the culmination of all of our Dr. Seuss Projects.
Also, I'm throwing in some darling photos of a few of my little people...
just because I can :).


Did you celebrate Dr. Seuss' Birthday?
I would love to hear about it!

Thanks for stopping by!
Please visit again soon!