Easter blessings

13 months after my diagnosis, my blessings are great.  Including, finally, a decent hair-do ;)

If you celebrate Easter, we hope it was a happy one!

Nicole

Happy Easter Easter morning
Easter impsDecorating EggsLittle blessings

I’ll have the B cup in cancer-free, please.

Dr. Woods filled my tissue expanders yesterday for the last time.

To a size DD.

Kidding!  But I have noticed several of you looking at me recently with raised eyebrows :)

The expanders are hard, oddly shaped and overfilled.  I won’t miss them!  My permanent implants will be 325 cc’s.  Dr. Barber removed 300 grams of tissue on each side back in September.

I won’t see Dr. Woods again until my exchange surgery, which is scheduled for June 7.  No overnight stay and only two small drains (compared to the 4 larger ones I had after the mastectomy).  I should be able to drive after 48 hrs and return to normal activity after a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I go back to Emory for my 3-month check-up next week.  I’m quite nervous about that, so I’m grateful to have my kids’ Zumba classes at the YMCA scheduled, plus a weekend full of Easter festivities.

Thank you for checking in!
Nicole

3rd Grade Bugs: Art & Yoga

Or, activity ideas for a Brownie troop earning their Bugs Badge.

Cursive Bugs
Watercolor paper, folded in half lengthwise and black oil pastels yield the best results.  We used liquid watercolors for brilliant color, but basic trays would be fine, too.

Have each girl write her name in cursive* in black oil pastel, pressing pretty hard, so that her name is resting above the fold.  Fold the paper over and rub, transferring the pastel to the other side, for a symmetrical bug.  She can go over her original name if she needs to, to get enough pastel to transfer.

When she can see the mirror image, have her go over those lines and then step back to take a look.  Any loops that would make good eyes?  Flourishes that look like antennae?  She can add those elements and close up any open ends, to minimize paint spreading outside of her bug.  The coolest results are usually the most simple “bugs,” where the name is still legible.

Then, paint!

*Our third graders are learning cursive, so this exercise was timely.  I wasn’t sure of everyone’s comfort level  with cursive, so I provided a handwriting worksheet with each girl’s name and pencils for practice.  But, as is always the case with pencils, a few girls spent too much time erasing, and not enough enjoying the freedom of art!  I quickly encouraged them to commit with oil pastel.

Bug Yoga Poses
My daughter had fun teaching “bug yoga” to the girls at the end of the meeting.  We’re not sure there’s actually a “moth” pose, but the butterfly pose is a good chance to mention how to tell the difference between a moth and a butterfly at rest – wings (or legs!) up and it’s a butterfly.  Down, or open?  It’s a moth.

Oh, and we played crickets chirping in the background.


March Festivities

Thursday
Behold the contraption with which Dr. Woods fills my expanders every two weeks.  The saline solution is pumped in through a needle that he sticks in the middle of … well, again, thankfully I’m still numb there.
Saline solution fill for tissue expandersI’m getting more and more lopsided – my right expander has fallen – but, like the fact that my arms now rest on the sides of my boobs, Dr. Woods said, “I will fix that!”  (I think he could put them on top of my head if that’s what I wanted.)  Apparently, a few well-placed incisions and stitches during the exchange surgery and I will have “beautiful results.”  Glad he’s confident.

As for the sunken areas on my upper chest – several ladies in my support group said theirs were filled in with belly fat – Dr. Woods thinks mine will fill out enough with the implants.  So, no tummy tuck, but I’ll be able to avoid a second surgical site.  If I’m not happy, though, that’s an option for later.

Later that afternoon, we welcomed my mom and stepdad from Virginia!

Friday
I taught my first Zumbatomic® classes at the Northeast Cobb YMCA.  Not sure the Friday time slot will work – our first sunny Spring afternoon, and there was just one kid.  He received quite the welcome!  My mom and kids were troopers, though, and let me practice on them.  Fun to teach in the same studio where I’ve taken classes for years.  Click here for my schedule.

Saturday
While our kids enjoyed grandparents-time, Joey and I headed south to run/slide/crawl/climb/splash through the 5K Foam Fest.  Happily, my left arm and newly-inflated boobs (and the rest of me) made it over the obstacles.  Thank you, honey, for being my spotter!
5K Foam FestAnd thank you to Joey’s coworkers for letting me play!  Go, Team Horizontal Runners!
Horizontal Runners at 5K Foam FestSunday
Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Happy Birthday to my beloved Mom!  Leprechaun traps*, ridiculous headgear and spectacular GiGi’s cupcakes, compliments of my mom’s dear friends in Richmond.

*Our tenderhearted children, by the way, refuse to call their traps “traps.”  Sam wrote on his, “It’s a hotel – I swar!  Cross my hart, hope to die, stik a needle in my eye.  I just want to be your friend!”Happy Birthday, Mom!Jerry = Best Leprechaun ever
Annual Lucky Charms - gourmet!Leprechaun Traps

Soggy Doggies

Really fun watercolor dogs by some very imaginative 1st graders!

Supplies
Watercolor Paper (12×18, cut in half because I was running out!)
Oval noses pre-cut from an adhesive foam sheet
Bone template (Google search), printed on cardstock
Black Sharpie markers
Washable markers
Brushes, tubs of water, paper towels
Scissors

Getting Started
Each child started with paper, a Sharpie and (3) noses.

I asked that they make at least one dog in the middle of their strip.  The rest was up to them.  We walked about how the nose and mouth could also be a bunny or a mouse, depending on the ear shape.  Long whiskers would make it cat-like.

The room grew loud quickly because all 25 kids were so excited about which dogs they’d draw and what they would name them!

Watercolor Effect
They had the option of brushing water onto their artwork to make the washable marker bleed.  Not everyone wanted to (which was fine) but most did, at least for the background.

Dog Bone
I really just printed these to give the kids who finished early something to do (cut them out).  But by suggesting they use them for a title, or to write their dogs’ names – well, creativity unleashed!

The impetus for this project, by the way, was the kids’ song, “Chihuahua.”  I’m a Zumbatomic® instructor, and when I asked my son if he had an idea for this lesson, he said, “Make a chihuahua and do the dance.”  Well, of course!

We didn’t get to the dance (search “Chihuahua dance” on YouTube), but that or the Skippyjon Jones books would be a fun accompaniment.

LOVE these!