Going After Your Dreams #SwitchersRemorse

Going after your dreams

Imaginative play was huge for me when I was growing up. I can still remember playing house for hours when I would have a friend over. If I was alone, I would often pretend I was a teacher and set up my room like a classroom. I had old school books, attendance logs, and more. I dreamed of being a teacher thanks to the role models I had in elementary school. I wanted to teach the next generation of learners.

In my junior year of high school, my love of science and a subtle push from my mother changed my immediate goal. Since I was a strong science student, pharmacy looked like a wonderful career. The teaching profession was highly saturated in our area and pharmacists had 100% job placement upon graduation. At the start of my senior year, I was in a first ever health explorations class and applied for early acceptance to our local pharmacy college.

Early in the fall of my senior year, I was one of the first students that had already been accepted to the college of their choice. I continued learning and watching my teachers, always dreaming of being in their shoes in a classroom of my own.

At 19, I started pharmacy school with several hundred other naïve college freshman. Freshman year was NOT what I imagined. The ideal college experience was turning into more of a horror story. Our freshman Chemistry professor had to leave because of a health emergency. This class is crucial for everything that follows. The school had other faculty members trade off portions to teach our class while they looked for a more permanent substitute for the second half of the year. This meant learning new styles of teaching and getting used to different types of tests. 

Secretly, I still dreamed of teaching. I wanted to make it through with the goal to possibly teach in a pharmacy school rather than go to a retail store and or be with patients.

Enter Organic Chemistry and second year.

I may have made it though my freshman year with too many professors to recall and wracked my brain over Calculus, but Organic Chemistry would quickly become my nemesis. Tears were shed by many of us. Many of those days were only bearable because I started to go to hockey games to scream, shout, and escape the reality that I was living in.

Fear of failing was real.

Fear of disappointing my parents was in my mind.

Fear of my dreams disappearing were also a reality.

Somehow, I made it to my third year of pharmacy school. This is the time when you switch to professional courses. I still remember a lab where we learned how to punch capsules. Each day we were told that a mistake, even a small one could kill a patient. I was withdrawing more and more.

At the end of the first semester of my third year, I was burned out. I knew I had to grow a back bone and admit to switchers remorse. While I switched and sold myself on becoming a pharmacist, my heart was not into it. The reality was that I did not want to be a pharmacist, I did not enjoy school, and I still dreamed of teaching young children. One of the hardest days was confessing to my parents just how miserable I was. They knew because they saw how I avoided being at the school and had been struggling because I was so unhappy.

That winter break, I signed up at the local community college to retake Organic Chemistry and Biology. My what a difference it was when I knew I would be following my dreams. In August, I started back to school for my undergraduate degree in elementary education. I was more grown up, focused, and ready to make my dream of teaching a reality. Being happy made such a difference. I was focused on a goal. When I made it to student teaching, I was able to breathe and know I had made the right decision.

Photos of my classroom

Going back to my dream of teaching and switching colleges was the right choice for me. I had to let go of the wrong choice I made and know that it would make me a stronger teacher and adult.

No matter what, nobody should be forced to stick with something because they are afraid of admitting to switchers remorse. Remember to follow your heart and reach for those dreams that you may have pushed aside for one reason or another. .

It's Me

Disclosure: This is a paid post for Verizon’s #SwitchersRemorse campaign. If you switched away from Verizon and are regretting it, don’t worry. They’re making it easy for customers to come back. For more information, head over to your local Verizon store. Oh and don’t wait three years to conquer your switchers remorse, do it now!

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Smartphone Use in a Medical Emergency

#VZWBuzz Disclosure

Two weeks ago was a really big day in our family. It was my mother’s birthday and she was also set to retire. Prior to the special day, we planned to go out to dinner to celebrate together and then head back to Nana and Papa’s house for cake. I went out and bought the cake that morning. Photos to make sure it was the right kind were sent back and forth to my father. In the afternoon, my middle school kiddo and I went to buy something special just for Nana.

NHL and I went to see Nana after her last day of work. We decided to go with my parents to the restaurant. TechyDad would meet us there after he picked JSL up from an after school program. When we got to the restaurant, we ordered our meals and drinks. Just before our dinner arrived, I noticed my mother fishing around in her purse for something. She mentioned she had heartburn. This is something she had been bothered by a bit more recently.

Smartphone use in a medical emergency

I was sitting next to my mother and could tell she was getting no relief. In fact, it was pretty clear that things were intensifying. I watched to see where Mom was grabbing on her body. She was rubbing by her sternum and over to her left clavicle.

Alarm bells started to go off and I pulled out my smartphone. I did a quick search that I wish I never had to do. My search was symptoms of a heart attack in women.

You see, my mother has a heart condition that started years ago when a virus attacked her heart. Something bothered me with what I was seeing.

As I searched things changed again.

Mom started to sweat like I have NEVER seen before. She could barely keep her eyes open and looked like all of the color had drained from her face.

That was it. I mouthed to my father that I was calling 911. My mother, putting her grandkids ahead of herself, told us no. While it seemed like an eternity, Dad got Mom to head to the car. She wanted to go home, but Dad said he knew there was no way. Yes, we should have called emergency personnel – but in the heat of the moment it was more important to get her to the emergency room STAT.

I was numb and sat with the boys who had no clue what was going on. I asked to have everything packed up. I left text messages for my brother to let him know to call me immediately. Then I sent a text to my aunt to see if she was still in town. She replied back to me just as we got to the car. TechyDad got the kids into the car and I stayed outside to chat with her because I did not want to scare the boys. At this point, they really had no idea what was going on.

My father messaged me shortly after this to tell me he had made it to the ER and Mom had her EKG and it was fine. I was able to breathe a little as we made our way to the hospital.

Much of the events in the ER are a blur. Mom’s pain continued, but they did not think that she had a heart attack. They believed that it was an esophageal spasm and gave her things to help that.

NO change and the pain intensified again. I told the nurse and thank goodness she listened. We got mom baby aspirin and she gave her nitroglycerin to see if it would relive the pain.

During this time, my brother and sister-in-law had called me. I was able to talk to them and later on text things that I didn’t want to necessarily say and alarm my parents until we knew more.

Within seconds, there was a difference. My own heart sank. That’s about the time some blood test results came back. The cardiac enzyme result was negative. Based on this they felt it was not a cardiac event, but because the nitroglycerin helped some they were admitting her over night for observation and to do two more cardiac enzyme checks.

At almost 11, we moved up to the Cardiac area of the hospital. While settling Mom into her room, the second cardiac enzyme came back. This time it had gone up. The nurse told us and immediately went off to contact her cardiology group.

This is exactly why they do multiple enzyme tests because they can change within 6-9 hours (thank you again smartphone search). Dad and I left for the night knowing that they would check things once more and would wait to hear from the doctors in the morning.

Birthday Retirement and Heart Attack

Saturday morning, I was up early and heard the words that brought tears to my eyes.

My mother had definitely had a heart attack on her birthday and the same day she retired.

I was numb.

By this point, we knew that her levels were decreasing. The cardiology group had decided to keep her for observations while giving her IV blood thinners. The plan was to add her to the schedule for an angiogram on Monday where we would hopefully find out the cause of the heart attack.

While I don’t encourage using Dr. Google for medical advice, I do encourage you to use your smartphone as a resource. When out and about, you have nothing else quickly check things. Use your phone to dial 911 and never second guess this. Keep an extra charger with you because when in the ER and hospital for hours you will want to be able to check in with family, friends, and others. 

Quick update: My mother is doing very well. During the angiogram, they put a stent into an artery that caused the heart attack and likely her recent heartburn symptoms. More to come about some additional items I learned during the last two weeks coming soon. For now, please hug those that you love a bit tighter.

It's Me

Disclosure: As a member of the Verizon Lifestyle Bloggers, I receive devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Droid Turbo to test out and share ways that I use it in my life. I am a long time Verizon customer, and all opinions are my own.

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Apps to Encourage Summer Reading

#VZWBuzz DisclosureSometimes reading can be a chore for kids during the school year. Older children have to read specific books for classes and it can be a challenge to push through something they may not enjoy. This can result in some kids becoming reluctant readers. As a reading teacher, I love the summer and the freedom for my boys to be flexible and read fun books. While I would love them to read award winning books from time to time, reading is what matters most. The summer is a valuable time for them to be able to find new genres, authors, and books that they enjoy and want to read more.

 Apps to Encourage Summer Reading

Of course, managing reading time during the summer is important to me. We are in school until the end of June, but I always work on ways to encourage my own children to read as much as possible. We frequent the library a lot throughout the year, but sometimes technology can assist us. Some of the apps that I plan to use this summer to nudge my kids are listed below in a few categories.

Library Apps – Not everyone is able to get to the library as often as we are. Many local and state libraries now have apps for people to use. Our library app allows me to search their catalog to request books that I can pick up later. I am able to manage my account and renew items. Location and hours are available, along with a list of other ways to connect with them on social media. When my boys start reading a book series that they adore, I can go online to the library app and search for the next books for them to continue along. I no longer have to find the branch that has it, I can request that an available copy goes to my branch for pick up. Being able to get the next book quickly is priceless and can make everyone happy.

Apps to find a good book

Finding a Good Book to Read – While I am a big fan of talking to the librarian at your local branch, that is not always an option. There are two apps that I will be using to help the kids find books this summer. Scholastic Book Wizard is the mobile version of Scholastic’s database of over 50,000 children’s books. The app allows you to search by book title, author, interest level, reading level (Grade Level Equivalent, Lexile Measure, Guided Reading Level, and DRA). While a teacher tool of sorts, it will definitely help families to search for more books to read together or independently.

I have been using GoodReads for years and want to utilize it for my boys more. When you add and review books, it keeps track and gives you book recommendations as well. In addition to this, many people have submitted their own reviews on GoodReads for others to read. I think it will be a wonderful way to keep track of books that they read or want to read. My youngest always has a book in his hand and I can’t keep track of what he has read these days. Setting up a GoodReads area on my account for him marked for a certain bookshelf would be easy to do.

Apps for Ebook and Audio Books

Audio and Ebooks

Kindle/OverDrive – While many people prefer paper books, there is still a convenience factor associated with eBooks. When traveling over the summer, you can carry more books on a Kindle app than in a backpack.  What I love with the Kindle app is that you can move from device to device and it will sync up where you have been reading. Bookmarks will not be lost and if you fall asleep reading, no worries about losing your place. You can easily purchase a new Kindle book from Amazon or borrow one from many library selections without leaving your home. Last summer, JSL fell in love with reading chapter books. Thanks to the online library options he rarely had to wait to continue with his reading.

Another fun option for summer reading is an audiobook selection. Families can listen to them during a road trip, or kids can relax and listen to a book while crafting or something else. OverDrive connects to online libraries where you can pick out books that fit your reading style. As noted in the past, OverDrive was fantastic during the school year for my son in middle school. Android devices allow kids to select from MP3 format book and it helps with their listening comprehension at the same time.

Apps to log reading time

Tracking Reading Time – My missing link is an app to have the kids keep track of the minutes read, along with books. I would adore something that logs the book title, how long they read, and possibly number of pages (so I know nobody is rushing and skimming). So far, I have found two possibilities and need to check into them a little more.

Reading Time Tracker allows parents to make an account and have child accounts within them. Both adults and kids can log in to use the stopwatch feature to track reading and record times. This app has been around for two years and has no reviews, so I need to research it a bit more to see if it will work for us.

I also found Reading Log. With Reading Log you can keep track of books read, date of reading, and time spent reading. There is no timer available to use within it to assist the kids when reading independently. This app only came out in April of this year and I have read that people wish you could have folders to keep track of items for multiple children. This may be a reason it will not work for us, but I plan to look more into it before the kids start their summer break

Why do I want a reading time tracker? It’s simple. I have one son that would play games and avoid reading without motivation. While he has found new books he enjoys this year, a reward system helps motivate him to read. In the past, we have set up an arrangement where minutes read earned minutes with his tablet, Nintendo WiiU, or computer. If you have tried any apps that may help us with this, I would love to hear about it.

No matter what we do, I want to make summer reading fun for our entire family. Life long readers are inspired when they have choices in literature. Be sure to look into summer reading programs at book stores, check out the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, and look for events at your local library. I know we will be going to our library and many others will also be participating in the Every Hero has a Story theme this year.

What apps will you be using this summer to encourage you or your family to read more?

It's Me

Disclosure: As a member of the Verizon Lifestyle Bloggers, I receive devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Droid Turbo to test out and share ways that I use it in my life. I am a long time Verizon customer, and all opinions are my own.

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Eight and Great

Dear JSL,

Eight years ago today, you came into the world and completed our family. Watching you grow up has taken my breath away at times. I think some of this is thanks to being able to see so much of myself in you. You get sarcasm and have certainly learned to dish it out in recent months. While most people think that you are so quiet and serious, I know a super silly and spontaneous JSL is hidden inside.

 Super JSL at almost eight

Over the last year, you have grown up so much. Right before you turned seven you set a goal to learn to ride your bike without training wheels. You did this in a matter of days and were ready for a new bike soon after that. You love to ride your bike and were so excited when Daddy pulled out a bike to clean it off and ride with you. The simple things really do make you happy.

JSL Riding a Bike

Your love for the world of art and being an artist came out a lot over the last year. You beg to do art projects and ask for gifts that are related to crafting. It should be no surprise that when it was time to get your first pair of glasses, they could not be plain. No, you insisted on a blue pair because that is what an artist would wear. We also went to a local museum where your artwork was selected to be on display. You were SO proud of this accomplishment. In addition to this, you became quite the book worm this year. Out of the blue, you learned to love reading chapter books. Solo book reading opened up the world for you and you always have a book with you. Thank goodness you still like to read with me. We are reading the Harry Potter series together and it’s fun to watch your reaction to everything taking place.

My little artist and reader

It should be no surprise that you also focused in on being more of a geek. You love Star Wars, Minecraft, Doctor Who, and superheroes. While you may drive me batty walking around humming the Imperial March, it makes me smile to see you move up from the Indiana Jones tune.

My little geek in training

Thank you for sharing these special moments with me JSL. I love you with all of my heart and am so lucky to be your mother. I can’t wait to watch you finish up second grade and continue to be excited to learn, write, explore, and create as an eight year old.



Past B-day posts to JSL:

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My Commitment to Charity

As a Jamberry Independent Consultant, I love that I can use my business to help people and charities that are near and dear to my heart. In February, March, and April, I donated commission from a party to a local autism group that has helped us over the years. Of course, Jamberry also has committed to helping charities. They have done special designs over the years that are for organizations and causes. On Wednesday, they released the Nepal Relief design  and Jamberry will donate 100% of their net proceeds from the sale of it to UNICEF to support the earthquake relief effort.


Nepal ReliefNepal Relief Design

Of course, the original Autism Awareness design is what made me fall in love with Jamberry. That wrap retired at the end of April, but a new design was released and will once again include a donation to the Autism Society by Jamberry.

Autism Awareness 2015Jamberry Autism Awareness

I am always open to ideas to help friends and charities. Right now, a group of my friends who all had Summer 2003 babies together are working to assist one of our members. For 12 years, we have known each other and been there to support one another. Now, we will be holding her hand and drying her tears from a distance as she and her family received some life changing news recently. Lisa’s three year old daughter Paislee was diagnosed with brain cancer. We set up a TeeSpring fundraiser with shirts designed in Paislee’s favorite color that features a princess and her castle.

Prayers for Paislee

In addition to this, I am donating all commission in my Prayers for Paislee Jamberry online party to Lisa and her family. This would be a great time to order some new nail designs for the summer including the special Throwback Thursday Deigns that will keep changing each week until mid August. All of the items shown are also eligible for the Buy 3 get 1 free.

Jamberry Throwback ThursdayThrowback Thursday - May 7

More coming soon about helping another beautiful friend of mine also in the Summer 2003 Moms group. Steff was just diagnosed with stage 4 appendicineal cancer. Steff’s Army will be wearing anchor’s for her when she has an upcoming surgery and further treatments.

Steff's Army

Please feel free to message me if you have any questions or would like to talk about a fundraising idea for your charity.

It's Me

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