Project Smile - May

Another month has come and gone and while I found many reasons to grumble, it was also a very smile-worthy month!

This month, instead of listing something for each day, I'm going to share just the highlights and lots of photos.

May 1 - A beautiful day for baseball, Dodger dogs, cold beer and catching up with old friends.
May 4 - A delightful afternoon with the Dalai Lama.

May 6 - Beach day!
May 8 - Mother's Day. How did I get so lucky to be this boy's mommy? May 13 - Spending a perfect day with Lucas.May 14 - Birthday celebrations, margaritas and good friends.May 15 - Lucas meets Mickey Mouse for the first time!May 17 - Date night = a movie in the theater. Thanks, Leah!

May 18 - Pancake day.
May 20 - A trip to see grandma and grandpa.May 22 - Cousin love.May 24 - Eight years ago today, Todd and I went on our first date.

May 26 - A mommies only dinner.

May 29 - It's Memorial Day weekend and we're happy Daddy's got the day off.
May 30 - I found a bathing suit.

May 31 - Signed Lucas up for more swim lessons, enrolled him in a summer school program, scanned photos, made calls, ran errands, lunched with a friend, sent three overdue e-mails, wrote three blog posts and played a lot of cars and choo choos. It was a very productive day!

What made you happy this month?

To see what had me smiling in April, click here and to link up and share your own month of joy, please visit Kristi of Live and Love out Loud

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The other day, I read (and re-tweeted) two lists: 10 Things Never to Say to a Stay-at-Home Mom and 10 Things Never to Say to a Working Mom and both lists got me thinking about my SAHM role.

It's been almost two years since I became a stay-at-home mom and honestly, I'm still getting used to it.

Sure, I have somewhat of a schedule: music class on Mondays, tumble class on Wednesdays, nanny help for a few hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays and a free-for-all Friday. No matter what, we get out of the house. For my sanity, just as much as Lucas'.

I like to say I'm a stay-at-home mom, that does anything but stay at home.

Apart from the classes, we have passes to Legoland, Disneyland and the zoo. There are also weekly visits to parks, libraries, toy stores, pet stores, book stores and Daddy's office. When we're not out and about, we've got a host of in-door activities, but if given the option, I'd rather be out! At home, there's the Internet, TV, laundry and other chores. Plus, some days it feels like the walls are coming in on us.

If I was stuck inside all day every day, I would certainly lose my mind. So while I don't have meetings to attend or a closet full of suits to wear anymore, I plan, I schedule, I organize, I manage, I orchestrate, I clean, I cook (sort of), I live for nap time, me time and date nights all while staying at home. Whatever that means...

Slowly but surely, I'm learning to embrace being a SAHM, but I'd be lying if I said that didn't spend a lot of time day dreaming about returning to work full time.

On one hand, I can't imagine having anyone else spend as much time with Lucas as I get to or allowing them to be such an active participate in his growth and development. I do realize how lucky I am that I am his primary care giver, but on the other hand, there are days that I would give my right arm to have a 7:30 meeting and drop him off somewhere along the way.

It's an age-old argument, but as I see it, being a mom, stay at home or not, is hard work. No matter where you do it from.

For some, returning to work is a financial necessity and not a choice. I get that. And when I think about being a SAHM in those terms, I know I'm one of the fortunate ones.

Are you at stay-at-home mom? If so, is it by choice? Do you miss working?

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Upper Clavey Day 1

Well I have had a sick start to my US mission.My self Pete Daan Toni and Jess got on the Clavey river.

Toni firing the first big rapid of the upper Clavey and about to eat shit.This thing was stout and rowdy

I was feeling fired up and decided to run this amazing skate board ramp kicky thing.I styled the move and flew off it

Daan lining up one of the many drops

well I was so stoked on this run,good way to start the mission boom!!!!!


i can't believe that this boy is already THIS boy. 
only a year-and-a-half later. 
soooooo not wanting his picture taken. 
those are trading cards in his shirt pocket.
and there are stripe-y socks inside those big boy shoes. 
my lukey requests that we call him luc or lucas. 
and pours himself a bowl of cheerios (with a spoonful of sugar)
all before waking me in the morning.
and THAT boy down there graduated from pre-school on friday.
and i'm not even kidding.
we are walking the line of little boy wonder and big boy curiosity.
i want to keep his imagination wild.
keep the magic in rainbow tie-dyed head-to-toe suits.
and mittens on both hands in the middle of spring.
i don't want anyone to tell him otherwise.
not yet.

ahh...remembering my doula days :)

Great little video

I've Earned This Pouch

Memorial Day weekend is the official/non-official kick off to summer.

Summer means lots of time spent outdoors, which translates to shorts, tank tops, flip flops and [insert shutter here] bathing suits.

Like most women, I hate shopping for a new bathing suit, but with an ever changing body, Lucas' swimming lessons and an upcoming trip to Hawaii (!), it was time to bite the bullet...

It was also time to face the fact that I can no longer pull off a string bikini. Not that I ever could very well, but thanks to my post pregnancy body, (now almost two years old) it'll never happen.


Two hours and 19 suits in a variety of colors and styles later, (I am NOT exaggerating, I actually counted!) I came home with not one, but two suits.

Go me!

I went with a demure one piece tank with perfectly positioned ruching and a practical tankini halter, just like my mother used to wear.

Oh well. I've earned this pouch, I made a baby for God's sake!

A big special thank you to Maggie at Everything But Water. Her patience and honesty were very much appreciated.

And before anyone asks, there will be no photos.

I hope everyone had a fun and safe Memorial Day!

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Hope you got to get outside and enjoy some nature! Lucky for us it's everywhere...

This weekend was the annual Brain Tumour Foundations Spring Sprint and it was a HUGE success! Thankfully the weather cooperated s well (For more info on this marvelous organization click here). The event was held once again at such a lovely spot. Burnaby Lake Park (Click here for a map). Each time I go there I vow to return more than once a year. If you love nature, photography, the outdoors, bird watching (it's a wildlife reserve), or going for a nice stroll or a run, you really must go. I know we are blessed beyond belief with the ocean, seawall and stanley park on our doorsteps right downtown but Burnaby Lake Park is sooo worth a visit. And its a 15 minute drive. I took countless pics. Here are some. You can click on any to enlarge. Namaste.

Left Behind

It's not an exclusive club.

Anyone can join and often do when they least expect it.

Dues are paid in tears.

The moment you lose someone close to you, the very instant you learn of their deaths, you immediately become a lifetime member of a group you never wanted to be associated with.

You are one of the ones left behind.

You now have a kinship and a bond with fellow suffers of grief and loss whether you like it or not.

It doesn't matter if you lose and an aunt, grandmother, best friend or father, you now "get" it. Or, at least have the ability to understand a little better what other "members" of this grief stricken club are going through. You can empathize in a way few can.

When you lose someone, other people's losses are harder on you. In part because it conjures up your own loss and because you know what they are going through. You know that kind of pain.

I learned yesterday that my cousin's son, Zach died.

He shot himself for reasons that are still unclear to me, as well as the rest of our family.

I never met Zach. I regret that, not because he's gone now, but because he was family.

I know two things about death: it's final and a parent should never outlive their child.

My heart aches for Zach's mother and father.

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This was absolutely the last time was going to do this. The final time she would ever put herself at risk. She'd been lucky up until now. Very lucky.

But, there were so many things she wanted. How could she give it up when merely entering the department store made her heart beat faster and her forehead perspire.

She did it for the rush.

She did it for the goods.

The racks and racks of beautiful designer clothing were too tempting. All her life she'd worn hand-me-downs. Not anymore.

She dreamed of owning a rainbow of make-up and perfume that smelled like money and now she did.

Which section should she hit today?

The shoe department was bustling and shoes were easy. All you had to do was keep walking.... straight out the front door.

The allure of the jewelry counter was as sparkly and shiny as ever. If that dizzy blond was working today, that would be a cinch too.

Keep your cool. You've done this dozens of times.

She gotten away with it before, in fact nothing she was wearing was paid for. She was slowly filling her closets with cashmere and silk and her ears, wrists and neck donned diamonds and other precious gems.

She wanted more.

"Sir, do you have these in red in 7 1/2?"

"Right away, miss."

And there was nothing standing in her way today.

As soon as the salesman walked away, she let out a deep breath and thought, You've got to be kidding, $715 for a pair of shoes?! It would take me 10 shifts to make that much dough.

"Here you go, I brought them in gray too."

"Wonderful, thank you. I'll just take them for a little stroll."

"Very well, I'll be here when you get back."

As soon as she slipped them on her feet and made sure that the sales clerk was a "safe" distance away, she casually picked up her over sized handbag and turned on her heel.

Keep your cool. You've done this a million times.

She walked right past the handbags and scarves and finally saw sunlight through the large glass door.

You're almost there. This will be the last time. Just keep walking, you're scot-free.

Heavy footsteps.

"Excuse me, Miss? Miss? Excuse me, do you have something you'd like to pay for?"

She was wrong.

This post is fiction and was written for The Red Dress Club's writing assignment, Red Writing Hood. This week's prompt: Write a short piece that begins with the words, “This was absolutely the last time” and ends with “She was wrong." Constructive criticism is welcome.

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Why? Just because cats hugging makes the rain a little more tolerable.

I Was A Senior Hottie

With graduation season upon us, Liz of a belle, a bean & a chicago dog came up with the most awesome idea of revisiting our past by digging up our favorite Senior moments. :)

Or, in my case... Senior Sourpuss:
This photo went out with my graduation announcement. Really! What was I thinking/doing?
Love the cheesy cityscape background. By the way, I actually wore the same exact dress to my BFF's rockin' 40th birthday party this past February. For more on that (lots of fun 80's photos), go here).
Graduation day. No cap or gown. I attended a small boarding school in northern Arizona and the tradition was for the girls to wear white dresses and guys wore suits and ties.

Wait a minute...

Could it be... is that a smile?

As a side note: I loved every minute of high school, especially my senior year. I was full of hope and promise, had a great boyfriend, tons of friends and was on my way to college. The world was all mine. So, even if it didn't show on my face, it was a happy, happy time.

Also? I'm still trying to find my Glamour Shots.

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The Trouble With Trash

I don't recall having that many chores as a child, other than keeping my room clean; making sure my bed was made each morning and toys and things were off the floor and put away at the end of each day.

When I got to high school, it was all about keeping my grades above average and being home by curfew, a rule I consistently broke.

I do recall getting in trouble a lot, especially this one time I was on
trash duty.

I loathed this task.

Don't let anyone tell you different, trash is nasty, stinky, smelly and gross and trash duty sucks!

My job was to gather the trash from all rooms in our home and take it to the dumpster, usually just outside our house, but when I was sever years old, we lived in a cul-du-sac and the dumpster was (for some strange reason) several houses away. Maybe it was a communal bin or something?

I dreaded making the trek every single time I was faced with it.

Instead of making the complete walk, I found a short cut in the form of a neighbor's storage shed half way between our house and the actual place the garbage was to go.

As you can imagine, it wasn't long before my parents were notified of my dirty deed.

And not long after that, there was yelling and tears and then there was me on my hands and knees picking up every last take out container with food remnants, balled up piece of paper, yogurt container, banana peel, cans with liquid still inside, nail clippings, used Kleenex, Q-Tips and other unmentionables, chewed gum, egg shells, packaging, yuck, muck and every other disgusting item you can think of that we discard.

You see, while everything was bagged, it wasn't tied shut. This was in the days before drawstring.

I threw up twice and I'm quite sure I wasn't allowed sugar cereal or able watch The Donnie & Marie Show for at least a month.

I still hate dealing with trash.

This post is for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, Prompt #1.) Write about a time you got in BIG trouble as a kid.

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I'm A New Recruit!

Today I'm proud to be at Sluiter Nation and tickled to be Kate's latest recruit!

Come read about a store I loathe just a little more now due to a recent visit. It's a good one.

I cried.

I'll give you a hint, it's NOT Target, but they do have a popular baby registry.

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Ten on Tuesday

After a short hiatus, I'm back with some updates!

1. Lucas has had a little language boom, like today. We've been working on "do" support, and he's finally using it unprompted. Instead of "Mommy, you want to play outside with me?", he's consistently asking, "Mommy, do you want to play outside with me?" He was even emphasizing the do.

2. While we were playing outside, he started to take off in his "pedal truck," (aka motorized car), and I asked him where he was going. He responded, "space, outer space." Where did he get that one?

3. When I was putting him to bed tonight, I said, "Goodnight, Lucaberry" (one of my nicknames for him). He said: "That's not my name. My name is Lucas... You can't call me that. You eat berries, like blueberries. But, I'm a boy. You can't eat me." Whoa. That blew me away.

4. Lucas has woken up the past 3 morning dry. I was so impressed the first day, but I didn't expect it the next day or the next. I'm just so floored that he's potty-trained during the day at all, that I've had no expectations for overnight. We'll see what happens tomorrow!

5. Lucas has officially bonded with his ear. He hardly touches it in the car anymore. In fact, the other day, when I took his new ear upon entering the car, he asked me, "Why are you taking my ear?"

6. While we were playing outside tonight, his new ear fell off. I took it for safe keeping, because I figured the wig tape had lost its stickiness, and I would replace it when we went back inside. He walked right over to me, and said, "I need my ear." I've been waiting for that moment for about 5 months now. So happy.

7. Lucas stopped by at International Culture Day at our high school, and sat so still to have his face painted. He chose an elephant. Lucas was so excited that so many students knew his name! What can I say... we talk about him a lot, and his reputation certainly precedes him!

8. Lucas continues to eat great international food with us! Sunday night he enjoyed sushi. He ate an entire roll (6 pieces) of California roll and shrimp tempura. He was eating edamame like candy too. He was really into eating with (modified) chopsticks AND he was pretty successful too. I hope he never gives up his adventurous eating habits!

9. We picked up our first share from a local CSA. I'm so excited to pick up our produce directly from the farm, and to share that experience with Lucas. We got lettuce, arugula, tatsoi, bok choi, and radishes. It feels so good to buy fresh & local, and to try some great veggies that we normally wouldn't buy. Lucas liked seeing the farm and the chickens, but he wanted to know where the roosters were. I didn't have a good answer for him.

10. We have less than 3 weeks of school left. The students aren't the only ones counting down...

Artigo do Prof. Manfred Zeuch - Diretor Seminário do Canadá

O Jovem cristão e o Rock
Pode um jovem cristão ouvir rock?

Minha primeira resposta sera uma informação: Eu me considero jovem ainda, embora em meia idade: 49 anos. Eu ouço rock. Esporadicamente. E sou presidente de um seminário. Meu colega, pastor, teólogo (muito conservador por sinal em questões de estilos de música para o culto!), presidente da universidade luterana aqui em Edmonton, Canadá, ouve mais rock do que eu. Entrando no seu escritório num desses dias, eu o vi com caixas de som com booster na mesa de trabalho, ouvindo um heavy rock pelo computador enquanto trabalhava. Em casa ele tem telão e projeção de shows de rock, com os filhos.
E muitos outros cristãos luteranos adultos "menos jovens" ouvem rock. Então a primeira resposta é: se nós "coroas" ouvimos, por que não os jovens? Ok. Simples.

No entanto tanto nós, como - e aqui eu diria: muito mais os jovens, precisamos manter constante vigilância e certas distinções.

Um colega meu, teólogo, na Alemanha, director da Hora Luterana, Dr. Neumann, fez sua tese de doutorado em Erlangen sobre o tema "O pano de fundo religioso na cena to rock". Ele sustenta a tese de que os inicios do rock, e grande parte do rock contemporâneo, têm uma origem e um propósito religioso pagão. Volto a isso mais tarde.

Lembro de uma palavra de Paulo: "Tudo me é lícito, mas nem tudo convém", 1 Co 6.12. Assim, não existe padrão bíblico sobre que tipo de música é "correto" e que tipo é "errado" para um cristão. Música e instrumentos fazem parte da alma criativa do ser humano, recebida por Deus, e fazem parte deste mundo, e Deus descreve o céu – com palavras simples e da "nossa realidade", para entendermos – como um lugar que tem música também. E se instrumentos celestes mencionados na Bíblia fossem lei, deveriamos banir órgãos e harmonios e só tocar "harpa" nos cultos...
Então: tipo de música, instrumento e vozes, em si, são neutros, para se ouvir. Os aspectos a serem considerados são o cuidado com os "fracos" na fé, o conteúdo e mensagem da música, e sua influência em nossa mente e estilo de viver.
Música rock é totalmente parte da "pop culture", a cultura popular, e um cristão pode usufruir dela como: livros, arte, filmes, música. Eu por exemplo gosto muito de "Avatar" mas sei que o filme do Canadense mistura um monte de coisa não cristã religiosamente falando. Mas tem um bom fundo moral. Se sugerisse alguma ação contra a vontade de Deus claramente, não recomendaria! Se um conteúdo de música por exemplo "sugere" vida libertina, uso de drogas, violência, desrespeito a outros seres humanos (se é racista, ou anti-pais, anti-autoridade, etc.), banalização do amor e casamento, ou como o diabo ou satã são bacanas, devemos nos antenar e banir! Não é a melhor coisa de se ouvir, muito menos deixar outros verem que estamos ouvindo!
Agora muita música tem teor erótico. É errado? Bem, até a Bíblia tem, basta ver o livro de Cantares por exemplo, com poemas eróticos. Então tudo depende da situação da pessoa: erotismo faz parte da vida da pessoa para ser exercida em casal, por natureza, dada por Deus (Ef 5.31; Gen 1, Cant). Se uma música leva o casal para mais perto e a usufruir mais de sua vida íntima e amorosa em dado momento, excelente! Mas e jovens solteiros? Se a música o leva a querer ter sexo com outro/a jovem, fora do casamento… tudo errado! Deve-se evitar ouvir muito esta música ou banir totalmente! Entendem como depende da situação da pessoa? Tudo depende do que a música pode 1) causar em você, 2) em sua relação com Deus, 3) em sua relação com o próximo e seu testemunho como cristão. Eu poderia particularmente ouvir uma música de amor (por exemplo a “forte” música dos anos 1970 do Serge Gainsbourg "Je t'aime mois non plus") mas não a ouviria quando tenho ao meu redor outros irmãos na fé dependendo de quem são. Eu posso ouvir e gosto da música "My Sweet Lord" de George Harrison, mas sei que a letra descreve o apego do Beatle a religiao Hindu e Hare Krishna! Vou ouvir apenas como entretenimento musical e sons de melodias e palavras, não como mensagem religiosa e existencial para mim, porque tenho um outro "doce Senhor"! O Senhor Jesus Cristo. De novo: provavelmente não ouviria "My sweet Lord" na frente de alguém que ou não gosta dos Beatles ou acha que esta música é errada.
Agora quanto ao mais radical, o rock pesado. Bem, em 2005 eu fui com meu filho num show de rock "Live'n Louder" no Gigantinho que teve 7 bandas com 10 horas de rock pesado sem parar, sendo a maioria gothic rock. Nightwish e Scorpions fecharam a noite. Embora eu não tivesse considerado errado nós dois termos ido, não faria facilmente de novo pela simples integridade dos meus ouvidos. Mas gostei dos três solos de bateria por exemplo! E da voz da Tarja.

Mas, com meu colega presidente da universidade Concórdia, e com nosso Deão acadêmico de 63 anos que curte cultura pop, fui novamente assistir a banda alemã "Sorpions", desta vez aqui em Edmonton, há dois anos. Ta ok, muitos de vocês vão dizer que Scorpions é banda de velho mesmo… mas atentem para o princípio! (sorriso)

Assim, vocês podem ver que, como não podemos de maneira alguma dizer hoje – como se dizia em nossos círculos antigamente! – que "dançar é pecado", em si, mas que depende de "quem, onde, como, quando, com quem, pra que", o mesmo com a música. Cuidem da mensagem da música, do contexto, da mensagem que vocês dão também.

"Rock cristão"? Hum. Meu colega presidente, que já mencionei, é contra toda música

contemporânea cristã e acha que "lugar de violão é no bar", não na igreja. Rock pesado cristão não é meu estilo, na verdade não ouço muito (gostava dos “Sãos e Salvos”, este meus alunos do seminário!). Mas se é para ganhar "alguns para Cristo", vamos lá! Por isso também acho bacana um colega pastor na Alemanha, conselheiro distrital – motoqueiro – organizar passeios e "cultos para motoqueiros" que reúne dezenas de pessoas não da igreja que ouvem a mensagem dele, em cima de suas motos num parque! Para nossos cultos luteranos o rock não parece apropriado, mas sim o uso de música que fomente e auxilie na meditação, agradecimento, adoração. Nossa hinologia luterana tradicional é um tesouro seguro, insuperável e imperdível! Entre música contemporânea acho o estilo de Taizé, da França, muitas vezes como muito bom para nossa espiritualidade. Porque enfatiza a palavra de Deus e sua ação, e não nossa propria religiosidade e atividade (como muita música cristã "evangélica" de hoje faz! Cuidado aqui também!) Apenas um exemplo.

No mais, um aluno nosso aqui da teologia que se formou pastor agora em maio, o Lin Pui Yeong, de Hong Kong, sob minha direção escreveu o TCC de mestrado dele sobre "Adiáfora: liberdade no Evangelho" (Adiaphora: Freedom in the Gospel) e foi muito bem. Não quero entrar em detalhes teológicos aqui com vocês, apenas compartilho as linhas gerais com que vejo tudo isso.

Manfred Zeuch - Canadá, Edmonton, Junho de 2010.

Curtam ai esta musica do Sãos e Salvos...

My Three Favorite Magazines

This post is for Jessica (My Time As Mom), Kate (Mommy Monologues) and Elena's (Mommy is in a Timeout) meme, Vlog Talk. The prompt I chose was #1: Show us your 3 favorite magazines and tell us what you like about them.

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There Will Be Tears

I have been watching since 1991.

I have laughed, cried, jumped for joy, believed, been inspired, yelled at the television, fast forwarded, re-watched, rewound, discussed with friends, read the books, bought the products, lusted after, learned, wondered, rolled my eyes and felt better about myself all thanks to a guest I welcomed with open arms into my home every day.

Relatable, smart, funny, and an excellent interviewer, Oprah is more than just a talk show host, face of a magazine, cable network and radio mogul, philanthropist, or one of Forbes' most powerful and not to mention wealthiest people, she is an institution.

She makes me believe that if we ever do meet in real life, we could be friends. Her public struggles make her human and her giving heart makes her a saint.

Tomorrow, after 25 years, the final Oprah Winfrey Show will air.

You better believe there will be tears.

I will miss her daily visits.

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