Project Smile - April

Don't count the days, make the days count. ~ Muhammad Ali

It was another month full of many many reasons to smile:

1st - A friend that goes (comes) the distance... literally. Thanks for a lovely play date, Sally.
2nd - Lucas slept in his big boy bed for the first time!
3rd - Family visitors. No, really!
4th - Disneyland fun and a toddler that was on his most excellent behavior.
5th - A relaxing visit to the nail salon with my sister-in-law and nieces.
6th - Lucas turns 22 months... where's the pause button?
7th - A visit with my dear friend, Suzy who I wish I saw more often.
8th - The sun was out just long enough for some outdoor play.
9th - Pizza. Funny how this favorite ends up on every one of my Project Smile lists!
10th - A nice long walk to clear my head and just breathe.
11th - Legoland - just the two of us.
12th - A couple of hours at the hair salon and a new opportunity!
13th- A sick baby means a day spent in pjs in front of the TV.
14th - Helping out a friend with her children while her husband is away on business.
15th - Mother/son lunch dates, a visit with the Easter Bunny #1 and a slew of new Spring clothes from Gymboree (for once I remembered to use my coupons!!).
16th - A long car ride with a quiet tot. Bliss!
17th - Meeting and riding Thomas the Train followed by an adults only lunch at The Ivy. Thanks, aunt Leah!
18th - Meeting Easter Bunny #2, decorating cookies, an egg hunt and a train ride.
19th - A super productive day that had nothing to do with laundry.
20th - A night out on the town.
21th - I got myself a job (of sorts)! More on this later...
22nd - Bounce house play date in our backyard, 90 minutes on the treadmill, girl's night out and trying out a new restaurant.
23rd - A toddler-free weekend... lunch with good friends and their babies, a movie in the theater and having the house to myself.
24th - Easter blessings and chocolate yumminess.
25th - Staying in touch with friends from high school and seeing our children play together.
26th - A guest post on Four Plus an Angel that I am very proud of. Thanks, again for having me, Jessica.
27th - Catching up with my husband over margaritas on a date night.
28th - Spending some time alone with my sister.
29th - Housekeepers. Love me the smell of Pine-sol and Windex.
30th -
A good old fashioned PB&J with a glass of milk. And no, this wasn't Lucas' lunch, it was mine!

What made you happy this month?

To see why I was smiling in March, click here and to link up and share your own month of simple pleasures, please visit Kristi of Live and Love out Loud

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Parte 01

Parte 02

Este programa será colocado semanalmente em nosso blog.

Happily Ever After

I was nine years old.

Giddy with excitement over the gorgeous dress, the 25 foot train, the jewels, the beautiful cathedral, the cascading bouquet of flowers, the 3,500 guests, the pageantry, the glass carriage, the fairy tale.

A prince and a princess.

On July 29, 1981 along with an estimated 750 million other people, I sat glued to the television in an airport (probably on a layover some where returning to Karachi, Pakistan from being on summer holidays in the states) watching the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.

I'm 38 years old now and just as giddy about happily ever afters and fairy tales.

If you need me today, I will be watching Kate Middleton marry Prince William.

I'm excited, but I won't be setting my alarm for 3 AM, thanks to TiVo!

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Have a great weekend everyone! Hopin' for more of this :)

you can click on images and make them larger

I Did It!

I finally did something today that I have been putting off for months!

With my husband's encouragement, I drove the car to a building I have passed countless times.

It's exactly six minutes from our house.

I parked.

I took a deep breath and entered the building.

I met the director.

I asked a lot of questions. One of which, the answer made me bring home a pamphlet and schedule a tour.

The question: "Does my son need to be potty-trained to attend your pre-school?"

The answer: "No, we potty train for you."

Music to my ears.

Lucas will be two in June and by Fall maybe a student. :)

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What is flexibility, and how much do we need?

I've been watching Leslie Kaminoff videos all morning long. Enjoy!

Leslie Kaminoff is a yoga educator inspired by the tradition of T.K.V. Desikachar. He is an Internationally recognized specialist with over thirty-one years’ experience in the fields of yoga and breath anatomy.
He is also the author of the book Yoga Anatomy here
For more info click on Leslie click here

The Sweet Smell Of Spring

I wish I could grow flowers, tomatoes, basil, weeds, cactus... anything! I have the brownest thumb on the planet (I'm assuming that's the opposite of having a green thumb).

As long as my husband and I have lived together he has always said that he'd like plants in our home. I discourage this every chance I get because I would either water them too much, too little or forget all together.

The only plants in our house are the flowers I purchase every two weeks:
Pretty enough, but not the same, right?

I love walking around my neighborhood. I love to feel the cool breeze coming off the ocean not far away, the warm exchange of greetings with the people I pass and the sweet smell of spring, especially all the gorgeous roses in bloom!

I wish I could grow flowers like these:

There must be such satisfaction in having a beautiful vibrant rose garden.

Heck, any garden!

I need to send my husband out for a walk.

What can you grow?
This post was written for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, Prompt 4.) Photo Story: Take a walk through your neighborhood this week and share some pictures of what Spring looks like where you live.
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What I Love About Being A Mom

The top five things I love about being a mom:

1. My kisses make boo boos all better.
2. I get to play, act really silly, sing and dance, color with crayons, blow bubbles, use sidewalk chalk and squish Play-Doh between my fingers.
3. I love hearing "mommy", even if it's three o'clock in the morning.
4. I have to listen to my instincts, go with my gut and trust that the decisions I am making are the "right" ones for my son.
5. There's a little person running around growing, learning, thriving, smiling and being super cute all because of me and my husband.

What do you love about being a mom? 

I threw this question out on Twitter the other night and here are some of the touching and humorous responses I got (names have been withheld to protect the innocent, sentimental and exhausted), in the order in which they were received:
  •  Bedtime ;)
  • Earlier today my kiddos and I were hanging out on my bed goofing around. I like those moments best.
  • I love feeling needed. And I love how proud I am of my son. Every day.
  • Not a mom but I crave the chance to relive the wonder of life thru the eyes of an innocent child. To see reactions at tastes and the feeling of sand on their toes the first time they realize it feels different. Reactions to music.
  • I love that they are mine.
  • The unconditional love you get in return. Kisses & hugs & laughs & funny conversations. & the pride when they succeed/excel.
  • What do I love about being a mom? Right now I really love bedtime.
  • Little stuff: my kiddo holding my hand, knowing how to make him laugh, comfort him. Big stuff: watching a person I created learn and explore. Passing on my values. Seeing a person emerge.
  • I love being there for everything, from small scrapes to huge milestones. I love every second of their lives.
  • I love morning bed snuggles and kisses from my 4 yr old who says *I Love You Mama!!*
  • I love that I get to nurture and take care of my little ones' needs.
  • I love being called "mama".
  • I love the snuggles. little I love you's at random times of the day. The idea of a piece of me in them. Seeing myself in them.
  • I love pressing my cheek against their little cheeks.
  • Coming home from even just the grocery store, and opening the door to huge eyes full of excitement while they are all jumping up and down chanting "mama! mama!"...and Tater says "I missed you so much mom!"
This post was featured on Natalie's blog, Mommy of a Monster, in her weekly feature, Monster Likes #16 on April 30, 2011.
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briana blackwelder

i write here because this is my space. and i’m not sure where else to sort my thoughts. i’m stuck to the computer. reading every facebook thought, every blog tribute – trying to keep her here.

Briana Blackwelder from David Perry on Vimeo.

cath is at her first birth without bri this morning. i’m going about my day slowly. holding the space. i found comfort in the birth images from this video. the tub, the charting, the sling. 
i remember eating breakfast at mimi’s with mom, briana and joanna. they’d just left a long birth. were going to fill their bellies – process the event and head home to sleep. their happy energy amazed me for three women who had been up all night.
remembering the first tiny beats of what would be my charlie-boy here in my living room with briana and my mother. cath couldn’t find them at first and handed the doppler to briana. she pushed around on my belly and moved the doppler to a new spot. she was all business. then we heard it. swoosh-swoosh-swish-swoosh.
“that’s it.” she said.
i loved briana for alot of reasons. she’s was simply beautiful. easy to love. but mostly i loved her for loving my mother. for being a real friend to her. when my mom felt far away. when i worried about her sacred birth work – i knew they were in it together. i trusted her hand in my mother’s life. i was grateful for it.
the facebook messages will eventually stop.
the blog tributes will quiet.
briana will still be gone.
and i am sad today.

Are you on facebook? please, please please help! it only takes a sec and means sooo much!

Back on April 5 I received an email from a wonderful (and oh so generous friend) in the yoga world. He told me that they were just finalizing the details, but that his business was soon going to offer to pay $1 for each new "like" that was clicked on his companies Facebook page! I can't tell you how happy this made me and if he wasn't in another city he would have gotten the biggest hug in the world! The company is My Yoga Online ! What my friend is talking about is going on RIGHT NOW and its for another 5 days from April 25-May 30 and costs us absolutely nothing!

Every single dollar means so VERY much to those lovely birthing momma's in Uganda and for us its one second, and simply a click of a mouse!

All you need to do is click "Like" on their Facebook Page HERE

As well, MYO will be giving away 3 Unlimited memberships! To enter that, simply click "Like" on Shanti Uganda's Facebook Group HERE.

**There is no catch and MYO really will pay a dollar for each "Like" all the way up to $5,000 so please tell your friends! Please spread the word on your own Facebook Page. Let's do it!

The Shanti Uganda Society improves the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of communities impacted by war, poverty and HIV/AIDS in Uganda. For more info on this marvelous organization in which I am a Very proud Ambassador go to

Atividades de Páscoa

A congregação São Lucas esteve repleta de atividades durante o periodo de páscoa, iniciando com um culto especial já na SEXTA-FEIRA SANTA, com uma boa participação dos membros da comunidade e também a apresentação teatral da crucificação de Jesus, apresentada pelos jovens da Congregação São Lucas de São Leopoldo, bairro Mauá.

No SÁBADO, durante a tarde as professoras de Escola Bíblica e alguns jovens da JUHA(Juventude Harmonia) organizaram uma tarde de brincadeiras para as crianças da Congregação e comunidade em geral, na qual participaram 25 crianças, que assistiram a um vídeo contando os momentos finais da vida de Jesus, sua crucificação e ressurreição, tendo também esta história sendo explicada pelo Pastor. Após este momento fizeram uma atividade ainda na sala da Escolinha, e depois foram para o pátio receber um presente de páscoa(doces e um livrinho JESUS VIVE), e brincar com os demais ao final receberam um lanche oferecido por membros da congregação, para recuperarem as suas energias.

No domingo pela manha tivemos o nosso culto de páscoa, onde refletimos sobre o amor de Deus ao entregar seu filho a morte na cruz pagando os nossos pecados, e ressuscitá-lo no domingo de páscoa, nos dando a certeza da nossa ressurreição e da feliz vida eterna ao seu lado nos céus.

A Fact Of Life

Before Nichole, Cheryl and Katie paired me up with Jessica as my Red Dress Club’s Red Writing Hood writing partner, I didn't know her or her story at all.

Jessica is the mother of an autistic teenager, gave birth to triplets and lost one and then had a son that is nearly Lucas' age.
Her blog, Four Plus an Angel is beautiful, heartbreaking and inspirational. I'm honored to call her my friend and her writing, her story never ceases to move me.

Sadly, we have both suffered great loss in our lives and we write about it often. We write about our grief not because we want (or need) pity, but because it is always with us and writing about it helps. It's healing.

I am over at Jessica's today talking about why grief sucks. I promise it's not all that sad, just a fact life.

Please stop by and leave us a hug.

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oh, bri.
beauty. full.
i can’t believe.
i am thinking of all the places we’ve been together.
the thoughts we’ve shared.
your wisdom beyond your years.
i am wondering of you.
hoping you are safe. and warm.
and happy.+++
you have been in every thump of my heart today.
every blink of my lashes.
every waking moment.
the hours keep passing.
it’s sinking in.
i can’t believe.

My Legs Are Still Hairy, But...

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My toddler-free weekend was equal parts relaxing and busy.

I didn't make it to a yoga class, finish reading that book, spend time on my computer or shave my legs, but I did watch four movies (one in the theater!), tackled a pile of magazines while walking 10 miles on the treadmill, had fun girl's night out, enjoyed a long lunch with my besties and their adorable babies (which only made me miss Lucas cuddles) and I ventured into the kitchen and made lasagna roll-ups for our Easter dinner.

I missed my boys, but I relished my time alone.

Todd said Lucas was perfect (of course he was) all weekend, so here's hoping another Daddy/Lucas trip is in my future. In the meantime, seeing as Daddies deserve time off too, I planned a weekend trip for Lucas and I to visit his grandparents next month.

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Happy Easter!



traditional portrait in front of Oma's tree...

Happy Easter!!!

mister, pull up a chair…

we got  in the car late on tuesday. i am not a morning person - and hadn't planned on leaving too early, anyway. but i wasn't even packed and it was already nine.

part of me was aching to stay. couldn't bring myself to climb into my silver mini full of boys and leave my family there in the state that we're currently in.

part of me couldn't get home quick enough. home to studebaker street. to andrey. to put us back together as a family of five, minus miss presley.

i decided to check the weather. it would be my deciding factor. 

there is a point on the trip home called dead man's pass. it's a twisty winding downgrade through the mountain. at several spots there are warning signs for the truckers - escape ramp! last chance!

it's the place where my mom would round us girls up from the back of the suburban and instruct us to put our seat belts on. and we'd all breathe a sign of relief when we reached the bottom. the scary behind us. full speed ahead.
dead man's pass in a snow storm is my worst fear.

weather forecast for tuesday: all good.

i threw our clothes into our suitcase, buckled up the boys and gave jade a quick squeeze goodbye. and we were off. i've done trips in a hurry that way before and they haven't gone well. but it felt a little different this time. 

my heart is heavy. these days.
and i hit the road to sort my thoughts.
miles 1 - 120 were a quiet stream of healthy tears. boys sleeping in the back.
i trucked on. i listened to adele and brandi and an episode of this american life.

we stopped in boise at the co-op for a late lunch. turkey and provolone on whole wheat. a scoop of 'p' pasta and a slice of chocolate cake to share. two hansen juice boxes for the lucas and gav and a peach izze for me. 

we asked about the nearest park.
"the orange park is just around the corner," the cashier told us.
so i decided we'd walk. fifteen blocks later we reached camel back park.

but that fifteen blocks of walk? perfection. under popcorn trees. on the perfect evening. gavin asleep in the stroller. charlie shaking his new co-op rattle. lucas practicing his whistle.

on the fifteen blocks of walk back to the car an hour later i spotted orange park tucked back behind the co-op right where it was suppose to be. i'd missed it. on purpose, i think.

press play:

the last few hours of travels required several rest stop breaks to nurse charlie grey. he was craving his bedtime snuggle. the boys were bored. i was out of new tunes. 

i filled charlie's belly up to the brim.
kissed lucas and gavin on the cheek and put on a movie.
"we're almost home, littles."

i plugged in my ipod. turned the dial to every indigo girls song ever made and hit the road, again. i was going to listen to as many as i could. let amy ray and emily sing me home. we reached the summit of the blue mountains right as the sun was going down. this is last little stretch before the lush mountains turn to sagebrush and it's beautiful. the quiet tears started again. i was nearly home and too far away from where we'd come from to turn back. 

i slipped through dead man's pass just as a. ray started in on salty south. i thought of the hundred times we've made that trip. as littles. lindsay, natalie, christine and jade. instructed by my mother to put our seat belts on.

I remember the wind
As it was settlin'
And every sun goin' down was a picture then
But we look back at 'em framed
They all look the same
There's no sense of time, no sense of pain
A thousand tides, and
A thousand waves
Takin' it all away
And it'll come back in
We'll be gone by then, oh
And it's a miracle we ever learned to give

i hit repeat until my mini full of boys and i pulled safely into the driveway. andrey was waiting for us on the porch.

Home Alone

I will be staying home alone this weekend while Todd takes Lucas to the Bay Area to visit his parents.

Yes, you read that correctly, an entire toddler-free weekend! Whatever will I do with myself?!

Honestly, I don't care if I don't see another living soul for the next 48 hours.

After much consideration and deep deep thought (yeah, right!), here is my Top 10 List of Things to do While my Husband and Toddler are Away, in no particular order:

1. Shave my legs.

2. Read and possibly even finish a book I started nearly three months ago.

3. Walk 10 miles AND take a yoga class.

4. Enjoy a leisurely lunch with girlfriends.

5. Organize my recent mail, e-mail, desktop folders, edit my media kit and update my About Me page on my blog (I don't have high hopes for any of this one but added it, in case I feel like being productive).

6. Sleep. Nap. Daydream. Cat nap. Sleep some more.

7. Spend some quality time in front of the TV.

8. Plan a weekend for me and Lucas to be out of town.

9. Enjoy having the bathroom all to myself.

10. Make a special Easter dinner for my boys arrival home.

Check back on Monday to see how much I actually accomplish and in the meantime, Happy Easter!

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