Project Smile - January

Count your smiles instead of your tears; count your courage instead of your fears. - Unknown

January was full of ups and downs for us; a new year, a new home, good news, followed by bad, but I'm grateful that I found something to smile about every day:

1st - The first day of a new year full of possibilities.
2nd - Work out routine resumed after three weeks off. Ouch!
3rd - Getting out of the house despite the rain.
4th - Pretty in pink nail polish.
5th - Believing that miracles can happen.
6th - A new path to walk.
7th - There is nothing better than a PB&J to put a smile on my face.
8th - Four loads of laundry, grocery store AND Target, washed and dried my hair, started a new book. It was a VERY productive day.
9th - Lunch and movie with a girlfriend.
10th - Gorgeous walk along Newport Beach strand.
11th - I bought my domain name.
12th - A visit with an old friend and a wonderful compliment.
13th - Today, we have lived in our new house for one month and slowly but surely are making it a home.
14th - Taking time to stop and smell the flowers.
15th - We hung our first picture!
16th - Golden Globes and Thai food with a fellow movie lover.
17th - We rode Becky the elephant!
18th - Today was not a great day, but snuggles with my son always make me feel better.
19th - The wonder of nature.
20th - My sister.
21st - A visit to an old neighborhood I used to once frequent a lot and delicious quiche.
22nd - Champagne brunch with my sister, Aston Kutcher (in the movie No Strings Attached) and shopping for shoes!
23rd - A bowl of cereal makes a great dinner.
24th - Play date at our house.
25th - Covering up the grays, finishing one book and starting another.
26th - Meeting a newborn, visiting our old neighborhood and wine time.
27th - A beautiful walk along the coast and lunch.
28th - A fun day at the Irvine Ranch Park with friends and spend a lot of time thinking of my dad today with love, he would have been 64 today.
29th - Blowing bubbles in the backyard with Lucas.
30th - Dinner with friends and all our kids! Pure comedy.
31st -
The first day of a new round of music class.

I hope every day of January gave you something to smile about and that your 2011 is off to a great start!

Alicia is the beautiful brain child behind this wonderful monthly meme. Be sure to link up at her blog,
A Beautiful Mess or check out other people's reasons to smile.

You can see my December reasons to smile here.

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Hot Patooties

Are you a new mom who's lacking in the self care department? You sure aren't alone. Not at all!

If you come to any of my Yoga classes you are used to hearing me harp on about Self Care. I mean what's more important really? For ALL of us?

The answer is N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

If you can get to Yoga, by all means...Get to Yoga.

*But what if you are a new mom and are feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, scared, burned out?

Ask-for-help* Just do it!

People really want to help.

Remember your Self Care. We can't fully show up for the rest of our lives, our children, loved ones and community if we don't care for ourselves first!

If you are feeling depressed, isolated, overwhelmed, or are just plain not coping well you are NOT ALONE! (not in the least)! Contact The Pacific Post Partum Support Society at 604-255-7999. For more info you can click HERE

And also Three Bridges has Parent Infant Support groups that have different topics each week, community health nurses, resources... It's a place where you can weigh baby, ask questions, hang with other mom's etc.

Those groups are Wednesdays at the new Robert Lee YMCA at 966 Burrard St. from 130-300 and The Roundhouse holds theirs Thursday mornings from 1030-1200. For more info on The three Bridges Community Health Centre and their Parent/Infant groups call 604-736-9844

Many downtown/Yaletown mom's I know attend the afternoon Robert Lee YMCA parent infant group on Wednesdays, so they can come to Baby and Me Yoga on Thursdays at The Roundhouse. For more info on the Roundhouse click here or call 604-713-1800.

**Then they get to enjoy both, on two different days! Getting out is just so very important.

I also have Baby and Me Yoga Monday mornings from 1045-1200 at Mount Pleasant CC. For more info on Mt.Pleasant click here or call 604-257-3080

Anyways, I've gotta run! Wanted to share these little tips for new mom's I came across courtesy of Dr.Lois Nightingale. Take care of yourself. Nobody else is going to do it for ya.

And besides...the world needs us!

Seven 5 Minute Tips to Help New Mothers Relax and Rejuvenate

by Dr. Lois Nightingale

Sometimes 5 minutes at a time is all new mothers can find in their busy days. When the baby is sleepy or older kids are briefly entertained. These can be thought of as "mini vacations" that you can return from more relaxed and ready to take care of the tasks you have committed to:

1. Focus on you breath. Breathe in and feel how cool and dry the air is as compared to warmer moister air as you exhale. Breathe deeply filling your lungs from the bottom up. Let your abdomen move as you breathe. As you breathe in, say silently "re" and as you exhale "lax". Say silently to yourself "re-lax" as you breathe deeply.

2. Sit quietly and comfortably and close your eyes. After taking 5 deep cleansing breaths, bring your attention to noises, smells and feelings around you. What can you hear, smell and feel? Pay attention to detail, subtle sensory stimuli and what you might not usually notice, when your mind wonders, gently bring it back to something you hear, smell or feel.

3. Spend 5 minutes, just noticing without judgment If you notice undone housework, clothes on the floor, your fatigue, just notice that it is so. Do not use "should", "would", "could", "ought" or any other derogatory statements about yourself or others. Detach yourself from the emotional judgment about your environment and those around you. Begin bringing this perspective into the rest of your day.

4. Walk outdoors. Notice how nature works effortlessly, without worry or anxiety. Notice the colors, movement, and temperature, breathe in the fresh air. Exhale completely. Be fully present. Watering, gardening, watching clouds, playing with pets or just watching leaves blow in the breeze creates tranquillity.

5. Spend 5 minutes each night writing down things that you accomplished, giving yourself credit. These may be "small" in comparison to "life before the baby", but now take effort, focus and forethought. Give yourself credit for healthy food you've eaten, quality time you spent with your baby and other family members, and relaxation time you have taken out during your day.

6. Have a lovely fragrant lotion (the more "decadent" the better) to give yourself a 5 minute hand or foot massage, feel the softness, smell the fragrance, bring your attention to the muscles relaxing as you massage the lotion into your skin.

7. When driving, listen to positive self-confidence building tapes or CD's. Feed yourself emotionally by what you listen to. Avoid angry and hostile talk shows or personal acquaintances. Notice if what you are listening to builds you up or tears you or someone else down. Surround yourself with positive growing people who encourage you.

gavi grows:

gavi learns happy 015MLK mindful 010

too fast.
happy birth-day to my baby boy.

love, mama

For The Love Of Children - Part 1

Today, I want to share some of my favorite quotes about children:

"A two-year-old is kind of like having a blender, but you don't have a top for it. " - Jerry Seinfeld

"Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get." - H. Jackson Brown

"If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much."- Jackie Onassis Kennedy

"Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You really need to be certain it's what you want before you commit." - Elizabeth Gilbert

"The rules for parents are but three... Love, Limit, and Let them be." - Elaine M. Ward

"There is no friendship, no love, like that of the parent for the child." - Henry Ward Beecher

"It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't." - Barbara Kingsolver

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." - Elizabeth Stone

"Children make you want to start life over." - Muhammad Ali

"The soul is healed by being with children." - Fyodor Dostoevsky

"It is an amazing opportunity to be able to ruin someone from scratch." - Jon Stewart

“A child is not a vase to be filled, but a fire to be lit.” - Fran├žois Rabelais

"Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes, they forgive them." - Oscar Wilde

"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about." - Angela Schwindt

I saved my personal favorite for last:

"Remember, you are not managing an inconvenience; You are raising a human being." - Kittie Franz

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Do you enjoy helping others? Are you helping them in the right way?

I am thrilled to be spending the weekend with a Yoga Teacher and Psychotherapist named Michael Stone. (and no, he's not my therapist haha.. And yes, I do have one)!
He's doing a book signing this evening from 730-9 and some yoga workshops tomorrow and Sunday at a couple different Semperviva Yoga studios here in town.

The book is called Yoga for a world out of balance.
Click here for details.

Not sure how I missed ever knowing of this guy (especially since I have pretty much lived my entire adult life in Toronto where he's from before moving here). Anyways, none of that matters now. Since September of last year (the same month this particular talk was recorded) I have listened to every podcast, watched every video, and heard just about every public word that this man has said, and honestly I could listen to him every single day. He's fascinating, wise, edgy and very cool. I highly recommend listening to his talks, reading his books and catching him any chance you get. I got into a workshop with him last year at The Yoga Conference on the very last day of the conference and left wishing that I had gone to more. Many more. His Sangha is called Centre of Gravity. Heres a link

Here is just one of his many talks HERE
Enjoy & Namaste

This blog is always so light and fluffy, but this is serious! You WANT to sign this petition to STOP the meter on your internet use.

For more info click HERE

Gone Too Soon

It's been 1201 days since my parents died.

1201 days? That seems like an eternity to me when I think of all they've missed.

Then again, 1201 days really isn't that much time at all when I think of how fresh the loss is in my heart.

I often worry that I'll forget what they sounded like and looked like, but both are etched in my brain and woven throughout my memories.

I carry them with me everywhere and I ache to hear their voices again and dread each and every single anniversary, birthday and other special occasion they are missing. But it is the mundane everyday life events that they are missing that make me the saddest.

1201 days later and I am still pressing on.

I press on for my sanity, for Lucas' sake and for them, because that is what they'd want me to do.

My father would have been 64 today.

Michael Stephen Adams
January 28, 1947 - October 15, 2007

Rest In Peace.

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My dearest DC,

Nothing gets me going like you do.

To me, you are quite simply... perfect.

You are my strength and my weakness.

You are one of the very first things I think of when I wake up in the morning because it is then that I need you so.

Our relationship began when I was in college and while others were touting their need for coffee, I stuck by your side never giving coffee another thought.

You make my heart beat a little faster and my eyes twinkle a little brighter.

I'm no fool, I know I'm not alone in this love. I know that you have lots of admirers, but when it's just us, my world quiets and I feel like I'm the only one. Thank you for that.

Thank you, too for always being there on my grocery list and in my refrigerator, because I don't think I could go a day without your smile. It's true, I have a jealous streak and have even warned family members and babysitters alike never, under no circumstances to take the last of you or there will be hell to pay.

I know I don't tell you often enough how much you mean to me with your no calories, no sugar and sweet wonderful help-me-get-up-and-go chemicals I can't pronounce, but it is your secret formula that does the trick every time. I so enjoy the pleasure of your company.

I hate to admit that I have been unfaithful when you weren't available, but Diet Pepsi nor Diet Dr. Pepper are nearly as refreshing as you. It's your effervescent personality that keeps me loyal today and always.

Yours truly,

This post is for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop: Prompt 2.) Write a love poem to a favorite food. It was not a food, but a drink, Diet Coke that I chose to profess my undying love to. I have written about my obsession once (I Heart Diet Coke) or twice (I Don't Like Coffee) before.

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Saving Mule Days

It’s Wednesday, January 26, 2011. I am anchoring a couch in Bishop California, letting my skin heal from climbing on the granite boulders of the Buttermilks. I am here for the climbing. I am also here for the job.

I wake up on hump day with a list. Statistically speaking, suicides occur most often in the middle of the week. Shots in the head and a planted gun, a suicide note and a push off the building, and the old “accidental overdose” happen on Wednesdays because assassination attempts in the middle of the week often look like suicides. The list of lives to save, of “suicides” to stop, begins and ends with one person: Neal McCoy.

On Wednesdays, I work my part time job as a secret agent. Wednesdays are busy days.

This is what I look like in uniform.

I tussle my hair in the bathroom mirror. Secret agents have a casual clean look. Think James Bond. They also have good oral hygiene so I brush my teeth. My contact wants to meet at Schatz, a busy and buttery local bakery. I do a few pull ups on a bar hanging above the bathroom door to make room for an apple fritter and walk down to meet the CIA spook.

Practicing my shooting at a Bishop firing range.

I pretend to examine the rows of danishes. Really, I am watching the reflection of people walking into the bakery in the glass display. I am also counting the number of apples in the fritters two rows down. Secret agents are good at multi-tasking. My contact doesn’t recognize me. I am disguised as a derelict rock climber. I blend in to the environment of the East Side of the Sierras. That’s why the CIA hired me; I can blend in. I watch the contact pretend to read the news paper. I sit at the table next to him and eat an apple fritter. I should have flossed. The contact looks around the room suspiciously, glances at his watch, then leaves. He doesn’t bring his suitcase.

Secret agents love apple fritters. You should too.

On Memorial Day Weekend in Bishop, more than 700 mules compete in 181 events at the Tri-County fairgrounds for the Mule Days Celebrations. Thursday night, a couple days before the longest ever running non-motorized parade, more than 30,000 people pack into the stands of the fair to see the show’s headliner. This year Neal McCoy, a 52 year old Irish Filipino country musician from Texas, will be starring the show. McCoy’s Billboard hits include “No Doubt About It,” “Wink,” and “Billy’s Got His Beer Goggles On.” He’s a perfect crowd pleaser for the desert town. He’s also a perfect candidate for a highly publicized suicide.

The target: Country crooner Neal McCoy

My contact’s briefcase include McCoy’s itinerary for a day reconnaissance to Bishop for a Mule Day's publicity shoot. It also includes information about the assassination attempt. A crazed member of the Bishop Chamber of Commerce decided that the death of McCoy would bring more tourism to the town than an actual show. Bishop will be the next Graceland, a place thriving on the memorabilia of a dead star. A suicide would look best- at the very least people would go to the Thunderbird Inn to see where McCoy died.

Orange juice is good. Lots of Vitamin C. Lots of antioxidants. Lots of good good stuff. For McCoy the morning orange juice would contain heavy amounts of hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen, or Vicodin, an opiod that in heavy amounts is lethal. Cue pun about pulp in the orange juice.

Drink Milk cause OJ will kill you. That's right. Secret Agents make bad jokes. The difference is if you don't laugh, I'll kill you.

McCoy required that there be good old fashion oj at his hotel room for his 9 am continental breakfast. The Thunderbird Inn imports their Minute Maid from the nearby Vons. From there it hits the kitchen, and then McCoy’s room. Room service would be dropping dissolvable pills in and then housekeeping would be staging the “suicide”. My Wednesday mission was to stop that orange juice.

After finishing my apple fritter, I tussled my hair again. Look good Be good- that’s the motto they taught me at my old alma mater HBSAS (Handsome Boy Secret Agent School). I headed down the street as the innkeeper stepped out of his Dodge Dakota with a gallon of Minute Maid. At the back door, I karate chopped the room service man in the neck as he was taking a cigarette break. After changing into his uniform, I ran inside and grabbed the already poured oj. The innkeeper yelled behind his back, “Smitty, go to room 211 before you hit McCoy at 200. There’s something the Mule Days chairman needs you to deliver down the hall.”

“Room service,” I knocked shave and a haircut-two bits on the door. The chairman brought me in, double checking the hallway. He pulled out a wad of bills. It was a hundred wrapped around a dozen ones. He pulled from the middle of the pile, and stuffed the bills into my pocket. It amounted to $6. Cheap bastard.

“McCoy needs his sleeping pills in his breakfast,” he cracked a dozen Viocidins onto a piece of paper on the nightstand and brought the powder over to my tray.

The Thunderbird: free continental breakfast, lots of bed bugs, and home of an assassination attempt.

“Not on your life Chairman!” I did a flying crane kick, knocking the powder out of his hands and drop kicking him on the head. “I bet you didn’t know that there were bad-ass handsome secret agents around Bishop did you!? Well, the CIA will be having words with you!” I cuffed him to the bed and texted the Spook that the mission was accomplished.

I delivered the oj to McCoy’s room. I didn’t ask for an autograph, though I should have. I saved his life.

I headed home. The dog needed to be walked. It was 10:00. I had a busy day. The couch still needed to be anchored.

Thank God I saved McCoy. He'll be playing Bishop's favorite song at Mule Days

Always Go With Your Gut

There are many mommy moments when your patience is tried, your strength tested, your heart strings pulled and you are forced to make a from your gut decision.

The scariest thing happened to me today and I am so glad that I went with my gut.

I took Lucas to San Diego to visit a friend, who just had a baby and on the car ride home, he fell fast asleep. 30 minutes into our hour long drive, he woke up and started coughing and I can only assume got scared and then started crying.

From the front seat, I reminded him that we were in the car and on our way home and asked him if he was okay. Typically he would say "yes" and then work on clearing his throat. Today, his coughing turned into choking and as I looked at him in the rear view mirror, I could tell that he was really having trouble breathing. I turned around to get a better look and he was banging his hands on his car seat and gasping for air.

I started to panic.

Here I was, going 80+ mph in the car pool lane, five lanes from the next exit, which was less than a mile away.

What's a mother to do?

I had no choice.

My son was choking!

I went for it!

I put the hazards on, crossed the double yellow lines risking life and limb, not to mention a hefty fine, crossed five lanes of traffic like I was Mario Andretti on his best day all in an effort to help my son.

Just as I whipped into a gas station parking lot, Lucas threw up all over himself, thus clearing his air passageway. He could breathe!! I rushed around to get him and he threw up again.

After I cleaned Lucas and his car seat, changed his shirt and held him for a while, we sat there in the parking lot sharing a turkey sandwich. He was fine. It was a trying few moments for both of us and while I know I didn't do anything that heroic, but he sure looked at me like I did.

I'm proud of myself for going with my instinct even if I did break all kinds of laws in the process.

Have you ever had to do anything potentially more dangerous than the current situation you were in, in order to help your child?

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Hope Springs Eternal

Hope springs eternal in the human breast: Man never is, but always To be Blest. - Alexander Pope

Out on a walk the other day, Lucas and I saw this tiny yellow flower, a weed really poking it's way out of the sidewalk.

How strange I thought.

And beautiful.

This post is for Wordless Wednesdays and if you want to link up or see some really beautiful photographs, visit Alicia at A Beautiful Mess.

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January in these parts

Signs of spring are right outside your window if you live in Vancouver

The winter hasn't gotten to me yet this year (heres hopin' it stays that way)!

Just this morning I snapped this pic of daffodils making their way out of the ground outside our window! There are buds on many of the trees out there and I haven't had to turn on my sad lamp yet, which is very unusual. I know it could all change tomorrow (or in the next 10 minutes haha). I mean we could get a blizzard! But for now, enjoy.

If winter is getting to you, try going out for a walk with your camera. You'll see signs of spring everywhere you look.

Man invents machine to convert plastic into oil

This is amazing! A girlfriend sent this to me this morning and wow...
Read the subtitles, it's in Japanese.

Laughter In The Backyard

My sister is so good with Lucas and their relationship is simply endearing to witness.

Lucas' face lights up whenever we speak of aunt Leah and her visits are always too short.

Leah recently spent five days helping me out while Todd was away on a business trip and I could swear there was more laughter in (and out of) the house.

We have been blessed with some gorgeous sunny winter weather, allowing for some fun in the backyard. Lucas calls it his "park" and since he can't yet be out there on his own, one or both of us are always out there with him.

On Saturday morning, Leah and I were both lounging on the chaises watching Lucas run around the yard having a great time, when all of a sudden he was sort of over it and wanted to go back inside. Leah and I, on the other hand were enjoying soaking in the sun, not quite ready to start the day and both wanted to stay put.

Leah bounced up and started chasing Lucas around the yard and then he'd turn around and chase her. This is a game Lucas loves and he and I play it often. Leah's twist on the game was every time she "caught" him, she tackled him to the ground and tickled him.

His laughter was divine. It's moments like this that make me hope my son and my sister always remain as close as they are today.

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Another session to the big island .

Yet another good session on the island .
This session wasn't what i'd call the perfect one , the sky was grey and threatening , some droplets fell off the sky time to time , but we still decided to go to the boulder , give our best effort with Pascal and Guillaume .
After a while it started raining on us but not enough to get the keyhold wet , so we waited more to get the hold dry again .
I ended up trying another heelhook that finally didn't work but had me refind the correct body position and how to grab the hold perfectly , from then the temps got lower and the psych started to rise again .
I got to amazing tries really late with a lamp to light up the main holds , then rain came and i desperatly tried once more in vain . I never felt so close from doing it and psych is really high .
I hope being able to go there tomorrow to finish it .

Here's a little clip with from the progress .

Rabbit Hole

Todd and I saw Rabbit Hole a couple of weeks ago staring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart and I'm still thinking about it. To me, that's what good movies do; make you think and stay you for days to follow.

I thought the performances were very good, but I disagree with all the buzz Kidman is getting for her role as a grieving mother. Of course, I didn't think Annette Bening deserved the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy for The Kids Are All Right either, so what do I know?

At any rate, Rabbit Hole allows us a glimpse into one couples lives as they deal with the loss of their four year old son, who runs into the street after the family dog and is hit by a car.

The couple is grieving in their own way and at their own pace and it almost destroys their marriage.

Horrific to think about, but always up for a good mental exercise, Rabbit Hole prompted some interesting and insightful discussion for our car ride home, another sign of a good movie.

Could our marriage survive the loss of a child? Hard to say. We agreed that it would require the utmost patience and understanding that either of us could muster and that it would most definitely be the hardest thing that we would ever have to go through. A parent should never have to bury a child. Every time you looked at one another you would have a living reminder. It's a difficult scenario to imagine.

But that's not the part that has stuck with me.

There is moment when Becca (Kidman) finally lets go of some of her pent up emotional control, breaks down and asks her mother, Nat (played brilliantly by Dianne Weist), who has also suffered the loss of a child, about her pain and the weight of it. The dialogue is breathtaking and the message is

Becca: Does it ever go away?

Nat: No, I don't think it does. Not for me, it hasn't - has gone on for eleven years. But it changes though.

Becca: How?

Nat: I don't know... the weight of it, I guess. At some point, it becomes bearable. It turns into something that you can crawl out from under and... carry around like a brick in your pocket. And you... you even forget it, for a while. But then you reach in for whatever reason and - there it is. Oh right, that. Which could be aweful - not all the time. It's kinda...

[deep breath]

Nat: not that you'd like it exactly, but it's what you've got instead of your son. So, you carry it around. And uh... it doesn't go away. Which is...

Becca: Which is what?

Nat: Fine, actually.

I thought that this was such a beautiful way to describe grief and loss and where it goes after time. I am still learning to live with the passing of my parents. It's been almost three and a half years. I know I will remember these words from Rabbit Hole and I look forward to finding my "fine", my peace some day.

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RIP Jack LaLanne

I always liked this guy and his attitude! He was way before my time but a guru to many. He was way "ahead" of his time. He just passed away this evening, and lived to the ripe old age of 96! He enjoyed wonderful health his whole life long.

Born Francois Henri LaLanne in San Francisco (his parents were French immigrants), he felt the effects of sugar and bleached flour in his diet. After hearing a health lecture, he devoted his life to following a diet of raw, unprocessed foods. His staples: two meals a day and no snacks.

He opened up a chain of gyms and worked out releltlessley his entire life. Fitness and nutrition were his life, and for him it certainly paid off.

At age 60 he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf while pulling a 1,000-pound boat – and while handcuffed. At 70, shackled again, he pulled 70 people in 70 boats 1½ miles through Long Beach Harbor.

The quote I most remember is "Exercise is King: Nutrition is Queen, put 'em together and you've got a
Kingdom. The guy was always happy and full of energy. He was sure doing something right.

He often said, "I cannot afford to die, it will ruin my image."
Rest in peace Jack LaLanne. You were a wonderful role model.

Despite advanced age, LaLanne continued to work out every morning for two hours. He spent 1½ hours in the weight room and half an hour swimming or walking.

Models Can't Resist

Styling by Aida Domenech

The New Collection of SR.CRANEO

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