Friday, September 20, 2013

AncestryDNA: Jenny's Ethnicity Estimate

Anyone that really knows me knows how much I love genealogy. I love the family stories. I love finding where my ancestors lived and where they are buried. I love finding royalty and other famous individuals in my family tree. I love submitting names to the temple and seeing them be sealed to their families. I love it all! So I was way excited when a year or so ago, came out with a new DNA test that was affordable and would be added to as the years went on and technology improved.

I ordered the test, got over the grossness of having to see saliva in a tube, and sent the test off to be analyzed.  A few short weeks later, I was notified that my results were in and posted online. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning as I went to the website to view my results. I was impressed, yet also puzzled. My results were:

I understood my 9% Southern European (Italy, Spain, and Portugal) ethnicity. My great-grandmother, Lucia “Lucy” Souza was the daughter of Portuguese immigrants. Her father, Manuel Ignacio Souza Sr., came from the Azores Islands and her mother, Maria Caldeira, came from the Madeira Islands. The Azores and Madeira Islands were settled by the Portuguese in the 1400s. It made perfect sense.

I somewhat understood my 9% Eastern European ethnicity (this included the countries of Greece, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, etc.) I knew that my great-grandfather, Carl Otholt, was the son of German immigrants. While Germany was not part of the Eastern European group, I figured hundreds of years ago, when people moved all over the European continent, it was very possible that my German ancestors were really from a little bit further east. This made sense too.

But then the 82% Scandinavian really threw me off! Nowhere in my family tree (that I have been able to trace), has anyone come from Norway, Sweden, or Denmark. Needless to say, I was confused! I knew that I had ancestors that came from England. These were all documented. I also knew that my great-great-great-grandfather, Michael Crosson, came from Ireland. I also knew that my great-great-grandmother, Jennie Agnes Welsh, came from Ireland. This was also well documented. It was also rumored in my family that the Crosson’s were Irish with black hair, not red hair. Red hair was a sure sign of Scandinavian influence, while the black hair signified a truer Irish lineage. My grandfather was very proud of his Irish heritage… his own father was ¾ Irish (and ¼ Native American). So then I thought… maybe we were wrong? Maybe hundreds of years ago our Irish ancestors really did come from Scandinavia. And perhaps my English ancestors did too. I’ve had a year to digest this information, and today I received a notification that I have been chosen to preview the NEW AncestryDNA Ethnicity Estimate 2.0. And as it turned out, it was a preview of my own DNA sample, and not just a random one for everyone to see. YES!!!!!

I quickly looked over my “new” results:

96% European… okay… I knew that. I’m as white as they come. Translucent even. Out of that 96%? 67% Great Britain! 16% Ireland! 6% Europe West (Germany, France, etc.)! It’s finally making sense again!

7% "Trace Regions"??? Huh? Time to investigate:

4% Europe East… okay, we had this one last time. 2% Italy/Greece… hmm... okay. <1% Scandinavia... well, that’s a bit more accurate and in sync with my family tree. <1% Iberian Peninsula (Spain/Portugal)… BOOO!!! Where’d my Portuguese ethnicity go? *sigh* I guess I do look more English than I do Portuguese. Although I still wish I could have that darker skin back in my DNA to give me some sort of hope for a tan.

<1% Africa? Wait… this could get interesting. North Africa? Hey! I know where this might have come from! Not too long ago I discovered on my dad’s side that my 10 X great-grandmother was the daughter of a Moroccan sultan. She married a pirate from the Netherlands that had converted to Islam and their son (Anthony Janszoon Van Salee) went on to be possibly the first Muslim in America and owned a large portion of Long Island/New York City in the 1600s.

As for the other <1% ethnicities, I have no clear explanation, but only additional theories going on in my mind.
My official thoughts on this new AncestryDNA Ethnicity Estimate 2.0? I like it. There’s always room for improvement and I think that it will only get better. I’m even more motivated to trace my family tree as far back as it can go (accurately, of course). Happy researching!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Homeschool: Pre-K: Day 1

This Monday was an exciting day for us. We started "Pre-K"! Not long after Bridget was born, I decided that I was going to be a homeschool mom. I have no experience with homeschool whatsoever. I attended a public elementary school, a private (Catholic) junior high + two years of senior high, and two years of public high school. But I knew that this was wanted to do with Bridget. I gave it a lot of thought, crammed my lesson plans in at the last minute, and the first day of school came too soon.
Side note: According to North Carolina law, Bridget would not be starting kindergarten until she's almost 6 years old (so Pre-K when she's almost 5). She was born at the very end of September and just missed the cutoff. However, I'm choosing to start her structured learning now because I feel that she is ready. As far as the testing the state requires in elementary school, we'll deal with that when it happens. If she has to take the tests a year later than I would like, then so be it. But I'm not going to waste precious time because the state thinks she's not ready.
I wanted Bridget to feel extra special on her big day, so I bought her a new backpack (with matching lunchbox) filled with new school supplies (crayons, markers, puzzles, pencils, and books). Bridget is a huge fan of Princess Sofia so I thought she would love to have the princess on her backpack. (She does!)

Next, Bridget did her morning chores (ate breakfast, made her bed, got dressed, brushed her hair and teeth, and went potty) and we were "off to school"! So that she doesn't feel left out of having the first day of school pictures taken, I gave her a little sign to hold and snapped away.
Showing off her new backpack:

Then we were off to school! Our homeschool area is the breakfast nook in our kitchen. We eat our meals at the dining table in the dining room, and I've chosen not to have two eating tables in my house because that's just... silly. So, we were able to free up a lot of square footage in our kitchen to accommodate our new learning environment.

For our first week of school, I decided to really see where Bridget's at with her learning. Obviously I have been teaching her random things throughout her life, but I wanted to know how much she really remembered.

After our morning prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance (I insist that she learn this... I hear they're not doing it in schools very much these days), and Article of Faith, we started off with science class. I felt the weather would be excellent to start off with. We discussed what the weather was, what it looked like outside that day (cloudy), we talked about the things we do and the things we wear according to what the weather is. She caught on very quickly and was able to circle all the correct items on the worksheets about the things you see on a snowy day, a sunny day, and a rainy day.

Then we colored a picture about the weather. I wanted George to be included so he got a picture to color too.

After science, we learned a scripture story. I figured since this is the beginning of homeschool, we'd start off with the beginning of the Old Testament. We learned about the pre-existence and the war in heaven. After I told them (yes, them... George was there too) the story, we discussed it more and then watched a short video found on the church website. They both love to watch anything on my kindle, so this was a big hit!

Next, we had a snack and I put George down for his nap. Then it was time for some one-on-one learning. First we did some work on letters. I made flashcards of both upper case and lower case letters. She knows all of her upper case letters but I felt it'd be good to still practice those. She knew most of her lower case letters but would still get mixed up on "h" and "n", "a" and "u", and "b" and "d". After going through the flashcards a couple of times, she was getting much better.

Then was writing. I don't know if you noticed in one of the pictures above, but Bridget holds her pen with a fist. I've tried to correct her on this in the past but kept letting it go. Not this time. Here she is properly holding her pen as she practices some pre-writing skills:

It takes her a little bit to get the pen in her hand correctly before she starts writing, but just on the first day there was so much improvement. She did very well drawing her lines. I had worksheets for vertical, horizontal, diagonal, and curvy lines and circles. I was very impressed with her doing all of them especially with the new way she was holding her pen!

That was the end of our first day of school. She didn't want it to stop! But I didn't have anything else ready to teach her and didn't want her to be too overwhelmed and not want to do it again on Tuesday. So we left our classroom and had lunch. I am so glad that things went well for us!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hospital Visit: George's CT

At our last appointment with the cardiologist, he told us that he wanted a cardiac CT and angiogram to be done for George. So yesterday was the day for that. We got to go to the new James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital at Vidant Medical Center to have it done. It just opened about 3 weeks ago. It’s a very nice building, and they won me over from the very beginning with their free valet parking. Very helpful for a mom with a baby and a heavy diaper bag. Walking in the doors, I had to remind myself that I just walked into a hospital and not an aquarium or a day spa. Everyone was so nice from check-in, to the waiting area, and when we got taken back to George's room.

Our appointment was at 9 a.m., and the CT was scheduled to begin at about 10 a.m. I got George into his tiny hospital gown and Miss Leah, who was with us the entire time, played with him and kept him entertained and distracted.
Nurse Elizabeth and Dr. Nguyen did their examinations of him to make sure he was healthy enough to be sedated for the CT. Everything checked out well, so it was time to get the IV started. This is where the tears began, of course. They numbed his arm so he wouldn’t feel the needle, but he still screamed just from having his arm held out against his will. I was able to hold him on my lap while they did all this, which was comforting for me and hopefully for him. I was sad he was crying, but at least I could hold him and kiss him to try to make him feel better. I would have hated to be sitting in a chair in the room away from him or even out of the room and have his sad little eyes looking at me. They first tried the IV in his left arm, but the vein blew out because of the size needle they needed to use (because he was going to be injected with contrast during his CT, the needle needed to be thicker than usual). So then they looked at his right arm and decided to call the nurse practitioner in to start the IV to make sure they got it this time. Everything went well, and afterwards I was able to lie down on the bed with George on top of me as he sobbed himself to sleep.
I took this opportunity to snap some pictures of the room we were in. The lights in the room changed from blue, to green, and to red. They were like black lights so everything in the room glowed. It was pretty neat. They also had a screen over the bed and on the wall for the children to watch some calming things. The particular shot is of some hands drawing all those fish shapes in the sand.
George napped for about 1 ½ hours, and didn’t wake up even when we were being transported down to CT. We had to wait a little longer than expected because some trauma patients had come in and they got first priority. Finally our turn came and they wheeled us into CT. They got everything hooked up first and then I was able to stand up with George and lay him on the CT bed. This was when he woke up, and he was not very happy. The doctor then had me pick up George again and I held him while they sedated him. It was a strange and almost  scary feeling of holding my little boy while he was being sedated, watching his little eyelids go down and his body first jerking around and fighting the sleep and then finally going limp. I laid him back on the CT, and removed his pacifier. Then they put the oxygen on him and it was time for me to leave the room. I went back to the waiting area and sent my husband an e-mail (I left my phone in the room but had brought the tablet with me) to tell him what was going on. Then one of the nurses came to tell me that the CT would take a bit longer because George's IV had kinked up when they tried to inject the contrast. After this, it did not take long at all. I think the entire process was about 15 minutes. I got to see George immediately following the CT.
He looked so pitiful. I rubbed his head (to comfort myself, because obviously he was totally passed out) and kissed his forehead. And since it’s not every day that a toddler lies perfectly still with his mouth wide open, I took the opportunity to check for new teeth coming in. Finally, they said for me to get back on the bed and get comfortable and they would put George in my arms. They wheeled us across the hall to wait for him to wake up. This took about 30 minutes. During this time, the nurse told me of all the things to look out for when we got home, how George may still be wobbly, look out for vomiting, etc. Then finally my little prince began to wake up! The nurse quickly got his IV out and George was able to fully wake up. I was so happy to see those big blue eyes again!
He was back to his usual self in no time, and took the opportunity to throw a piece of gauze over the edge of the bed, then look over and say ”uh-oh!”. Yep, he was back. We were then wheeled back to the room where he got some apple juice and crackers.
Then after taking a couple of steps for the nurse, we were able to leave! We received a voucher to be able to enjoy some snacks at the Ronald McDonald House in the children’s hospital. Even though George just had a snack, I was HUNGRY! By this time, it was almost 2 p.m. and I was running on one small glass of chocolate milk from breakfast. Now, being a vegan, McDonalds and I are not friends, but I will say that I am grateful for the work they do for the families of tiny patients.
We took our time leaving the hospital, strolling down the main hall, looking out the windows, looking at the fish on the walls, etc. They even had a huge aquarium in the main lobby. I hope that are able to maintain the new hospital and keep it looking this nice. We were very impressed!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Just One Month Ago...

It was one month ago today that my almost-perfect life hit a major speed bump. I was sitting in the doctor’s office with my son as the cardiologist was telling me that my otherwise healthy little boy had a congenital heart defect and would need open heart surgery. I never would have imagined that either one of my children would have anything wrong with them. They’re both very active, hardly ever get sick, and eat well. There were never any signs of anything like a heart defect in my son. But there we were.

George was diagnosed with a rare congenital heart defect know as Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Connection (TAPVC). In addition to the defect, he also has something that the cardiologist had not seen in his 30+ years of experience. He explained it very well to me, but I tend to butcher the relaying of it to others. It has something to do with a hole in his right atrium, where there is some flow, but also some obstruction (this is what the cardiologist had never seen before—the presence of both).
Two days ago, we met with the cardiologist again who was able to get more ultrasound images of George while he was napping. He was very pleased with what he got and sounds very optimistic about the surgery. We have not met with the surgeon yet but he did tell the cardiologist that he wants a cardiac CT and an angiogram done before the surgery to get an even better look at George’s heart. Were all very nervous about the surgery, and it’s difficult to find any good in this situation, but I’ve tried hard to come up with a few things to remind myself that things could always be worse.

-          The cardiologist and the surgeon believe that everything can be fixed in just one surgery. I am so thankful for this, because I really don’t want to have to go through this again.
-          The surgeon is one of the best in our area. He’s the only pediatric cardiac surgeon, but also operates on adults and I’ve heard nothing but good things about the outcomes of his surgeries.
-          The surgery will be done within 5 minutes of our home. I was worried we would have to go all the way to Duke (almost 2 hours away), but Vidant Memorial Hospital has a new heart institute and a new children’s hospital, and the East Carolina School of Medicine is also right here. I think it is safe to say that they are “up to speed” on their medical knowledge.
-          George is a very strong and healthy boy. I believe he will be a fighter and will bounce right back to his normal self within weeks.
-          As much as I would have preferred a vacation instead of a medical crisis, I’m glad that my husband didn’t use up his vacation time yet. He still has about 2 weeks left so it will be great to have him home during the surgery and for George’s recovery. (Honestly, he would probably take off work regardless, but at least this way he still gets paid.)
-          My parents live in our same neighborhood, just 6 houses down from us. Bridget will be moving in with them temporarily during the week of the surgery and for a short time afterwards, so that my husband and I can focus all of our energy on George. But with Bridget being so close by, I’m glad I’ll be able to visit her every day so she knows we still love her.
When I think of those things, I think about how lucky we are, in spite of this diagnosis. Obviously I’m still scared, still worried, as any mother would be. But I’m also doing my very best to be optimistic. Everything will be okay.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Our July 4th Holiday

We’ve made it a tradition recently to spend the Fourth of July in New Bern, NC with my husband’s parents. We got to New Bern shortly before lunch. I had prepared some vegan baked beans and maple roasted Brussels sprouts to go with the vegan Kielbasa and hot dogs I brought for myself and the kids. The in-laws provided the hamburgers and hot dogs for the meat-eaters. My husband helped his dad with the grilling while I got to relax for a bit. My husband’s sister and her family arrived just as the food was coming off the grill. It was a pleasant lunch and then we visited for a while. My sister-in-law and her family then left to spend the evening with her husband’s family. Then we left Sugar Plum with my husband’s parents while we took the Charmer with us for a quick trip to Wal-Mart. I needed some things (shampoo, toothpaste, borax, etc.) from there but have not been able to go to our Wal-Mart since a shooting that occurred there back in June. It’s probably for the best, as our Wal-Mart is absolutely disgusting to walk through in the first place. While the New Bern Wal-Mart was still a Wal-Mart, it was far less gross than the one we’re used to.

After our Wal-Mart trip, we all had a quick dinner at Taco Bell (the most vegan-friendly fast food restaurant we have here) and got ready to watch the fireworks. We had a great view from the train tracks overlooking the Trent River.

As the fireworks started, my 17-month-old son was fascinated and loved them while my 3-year-old daughter was terrified and screamed for the fireworks to go away. So we pack up our things and walked slowly back to the car, looking back at the fireworks every few steps. At least I got some pictures of the kids before the fireworks started:


Monday, March 4, 2013

Meeting the Greats X 5

Over the weekend, the weather was nice enough to go out for a drive to finally find the graves of Sugar Plum and Charmer's great-great-great-great-great-grandparents. We had gone a few weeks ago but were unable to find it, due to some changes the new owners of the farm had made. But thanks to our cousin for his research and instructions, and Granny and Papa for coming along, we were able to finally “meet” them.

Now, just a side note about myself… I LOVE cemeteries. I love finding my direct ancestors graves. I love finding the graves of cousins and families connected to my family through marriages, etc. I photograph every grave I can and transcribe and upload photos to I’m kind of an addict. It’s just that I find this to be very important because so many young folks have no idea where their ancestors are buried, much less who their ancestors even were. Also, many of these old cemeteries are being lost to the forests or being destroyed by farmers to make more land to farm, or even destroyed (or moved) by towns to make room for buildings. Whatever the reasons, we’re forgetting about them and as someone who loves history (especially family history), I try to do what I can to help preserve it. Now, on with the story of our day.
Isn't she the cutest?!?:
We found the graves! To me, the most precious graves were of these fine people:
Ichabod Moore was born on April 10, 1793 in Pitt County, NC to William and Millicent (Jones) Moore. He died on May 1, 1857 in Pitt County, NC and is buried on the land he farmed during his lifetime. The land also had belonged to his father, William Moore. Ichabod was married to Elizabeth Jane Jones, daughter of James and Martha Jones of Greene County, NC. They had about 9 children, 2 of which also have markers in this cemetery (a granddaughter is also buried in the cemetery).

It was really neat to see these headstones, as I think they may be the some of the oldest I have found for my family here in North Carolina (the Stancill graves are also quite old).

Here is Sugar Plum reading each letter to Ichabod Moore’s name on his headstone:
She's only 3, but I'm trying to get her interested about her family history at a young age.
The babies with their ggggg-grandfather:
The babies with their ggggg-grandparents (Elizabeth on the left, Ichabod on the right):
There are supposedly some slaves that were also buried on the outskirts of the cemetery and had wooden markers, but those have recently been destroyed and the area cleared out. I was able to find and photograph just 7 graves in the cemetery. For more on these graves, click here for the full cemetery. There are probably more graves that have been lost to time and neglect.
After leaving this cemetery, we visited 5 more cemeteries that we happened to spot as we were driving by. Of course I couldn’t leave these behind, so out came the camera.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...