Project Smile - June

Proof that my June was magical.
While celebrating Lucas' second birthday, my 39th and Father's Day, welcoming three cichlids into our family and breaking in a new pair of sneakers, enjoying a fun overnight in Palm Springs with my girlfriends, I was gently reminded by my sweet son on a walk around our neighborhood how important it is to stop and smell the roses every once in a while.

I'm also proud to share that we got Lucas completely off of bottles in June. 

It was a great month! 

To see what had me smiling in May, 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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allow yourself to just breathe and let go..

According to yoga scriptures, the heart center can be opened indirectly to cultivating compassion and kindness, calmness and dispassion, or directly through the focused practice of pranayama, or both. -Beryl Bender Birch

I Just Look Like I Exercise All The Time

This post is for Jessica (My Time As Mom), Kate (Mommy Monologues) and Elena's (Mommy is in Timeout) meme, Vlog Talk. The prompt I chose was #3 Your favorite outfit and why. 

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Determination Followed By Glee

Time after time, Lucas took each careful step up the ladders at the park, only to thoroughly enjoy the ride down the slides. 

It was brilliant to watch.
Each of these shots was taken with the Hipstamatic app for iPhone, using Ina's 1969 film and Jimmy lens, no flash.

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A Preschooler?!

I no longer have a toddler. 

At two years old, Lucas is considered a preschooler. According to Gerber that is; who identify a preschooler as:
  • Runs well without falling
  • Chews more skillfully and efficiently
  • Mastering the use of spoon and fork
  • Sits in booster seat or child seat at family meals 

Check, check, check and check. 

But a preschooler? I can't get my head wrapped around it yet, even though in just one short month, Lucas will be attending preschool three morning a week.

I am so excited for him! I truly cannot wait for him to learn more than I feel I could ever teach him; wonderful and amazing things, beyond basic manners, nursery rhymes, numbers, colors, shapes and the alphabet. I'm excited for him to increase his social skills and come home and tell his dad and I all about his day. There is no doubt in my mind that he is going to love school.

    But a preschooler! How did that happen? 

    I suppose it was inevitable. Lucas is in a "big boy" bed, off bottles (FINALLY!), can carry on a complete and coherent conversation, has a great sense of humor and is becoming more terrific than terrible (most days). Plus, he's curious about everything and loves learning. School is next natural stage. 
    When asked if he's a baby, Lucas will be the first one to tell you, "no, big boy". But, if it's all the same to him, he will always be my baby.

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    It's PTSD Awareness Day.

    Chances are extremely high that you know someone with PTSD. It is common among Veterans as we know, but it's not only Veterans who get it. I happen to know a lot about this disorder and one day when I have the time I'll do a longer post about it. (It's getting late and I only just realized that its PTSD Awareness day)! Folks with PTSD basically have a faulty fight or flight response which can be very debilitating for those with the disorder (and tough on their loved ones and families as well.) People with PTSD often suffer from flashbacks, nightmares/sleep disturbances, anxiety attacks, depression and dissociation, and they sadly sometimes wind up making their world very small due to the avoidance of triggers. It is a very debilitating disorder, and one that people need to work at on a daily basis. Therapy helps (cognitive behavioral therapy in particular ,whether one on one or in a group setting.) Yoga is very helpful for PTSD on many levels providing many tools for coping and helping to self regulate the nervous system (therefore counterracting the fight or fight response etc.) The practice of mindfulness meditation and breathwork (pranayama) are a godsend for people with PTSD (as all anxiety disorders).

    Really happy to see that there is a PTSD Awareness Day! Its a start :)

    Two Places At Once

    Today is a very big day for me! I am in two places at once....

    I'm hanging out with Devan at Accustomed to Chaos talking about Letters For Lucas and blogging in general

    I'm in Jessica's (Four Plus an Angel) Hot Seat
    Please stop by and to say hi! These are both wonderful women and fun features. Check them out.  
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    Its time to register & here's my schedule!

    All Yoga classes with me begin this week at The Roundhouse!
    (Corner of Davie St @ Pacific Blvd-Yaletown)
    To register click here

    Tuesdays it's Prenatal Yoga from 545pm-715pm
    and Mixed Levels Hatha from 730pm-900pm

    Thursdays- Baby and Me Yoga is from 1230pm-200pm, Prenatal Yoga is 545pm-715pm and Mixed levels Hatha from 730pm-900pm

    Mount Pleasant Community Centre more convenient for you? (Main St @ Broadway)
    Mondays it's Baby and Me Yoga from 1045pm-1200pm and Daytime Yoga from 1230pm-200pm
    Wednesdays it's Daytime Yoga from 1230m-200pm and Prenatal Yoga from 630pm-745pm
    For more information and to register click here

    If a session has already begun costs are prorated so you can still sign up (and the classes you missed will be deducted from the price). *Registering not only ensures a program will run but you will save you $3.00 per class

    yoga shouldn't cost an arm and a leg. This is affordable yoga. namaste & see you on the mat!

    listen up:

    sometimes the universe
    (or your jones' soda)
    loud + clear.

    Reflections On 39 Years

    It's my birthday and in my 39 short years on this planet, I have...

    1. moved 27 times.
    2. owned five cars.
    3. ran a 1/2 marathon.
    4. sky dived in Tucson, Arizona and scuba dived in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
    5. learned that money can't buy happiness, but it can make things a little easier.
    6. graduated from college.
    7. been fired from, laid off and quit three different jobs.
    8. learned that everything in moderation is the best way to live.
    9. been a bridesmaid four times and a bride twice.
    10. attended approximately 39 concerts (15 of which were Dave Matthews shows).
    11. learned that change is unavoidable.
    12. been on a road trip (15+ hours round trip) by myself.
    13. broken my collar bone.
    14. been in five car accidents (three of which were my fault).
    15. gotten three tattoos (and want at least one more).
    16. walked 180 miles in three 3-Day Walks for breast cancer research.
    17. thrown a surprise party.
    18. climbed the pyramids, hiked into the Grand Canyon, kissed at the top of the Eiffel Tower and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge.
    19. realized that family, no matter how often you see one another is important. 
    20. learned that you can get grey hair and acne at the same time. Unfair and annoying, but true. 
    21. won a sewing contest in the third grade, the leading role in a school play when I was a Senior in high school, a customer service award once I started working and two giveaways from blogs I read.
    22. never had to be bailed out of jail.
    23. learned that home is where the heart is.
    24. swam with dolphins in Mexico and zip-lined in Costa Rica.
    25. been the first one to apologize and the first one to walk away.  
    26. learned that music really can save your mortal soul.
    27. discovered that asking for help is not a weakness, but a strength.
    28. called 911 twice (not for Lucas, thank goodness!)
    29. collected more books than I'll ever be able to read.
    30. watched every single episode of Sex & the City, Alias and Grey's Anatomy.
    31. attended the Grammy's and Emmy's.
    32. learned that a vast majority of people can be worn over with a smile and a little kindness. 
    33. been blessed with the best friends a girl could ask for.
    34. only wanted the very best for my sister, Leah.
    35. never missed my parents more than I do today, except maybe tomorrow.
    36. had more perfect moments than one person should be allowed.
    37. made a baby with a man I admire, love and respect.
    38. never tired of hearing "Mommy". 
    39. a lot more living to do and tons more to learn.

    Here's looking forward to the next 39 years!
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    brought to you by the letter "s"

    Today I bring to you the first installation of our ABCs of summer. Basically, I'm going to pick a letter of the day to concentrate on, and try to find as many things to do for the day that start with that letter. We are also going to practice writing that letter, and talk about its sound all day. I'm hoping that this will give our days a little bit more focus, while working on pre-literacy skills and vocabulary expansion with Lucas!

    Today's letter was S. We practiced writing it in one of these cool workbooks that I got on Amazon a few weeks ago on sale...

    We ate an egg & cheese Sandwich for breakfast...

    Then we went to the park to play in the Sand...

    Swing like a monkey...

    go down the *gasp* plastic Slide...

    and we finished off the first half of the day in Oma's Swimming pool...

    It was easy, fun, (free), and focused. It gave us something to talk about all day long. I was happy when Nate came home from his grad class and Lucas told him about the letter of the day unprompted! I'm looking forward to the rest of our ABC days... in no particular order, of course.

    Big Timber Creek

    Well I have made it to the state of Montana Bozeman.I have been here for awhile now and have been lucky enough to be abel to get on big timber creek. Here are a few pics of our first run down Big T
    Myself in the middle of fine line

    Nate Garcia having a nice boof at the top of fine line

    Evan dropping into Big Timber Falls,this is the biggest stout on Big T,You drop into this slot thing on river right then make your way down a fast slide then bomb of a nice 30footer
    to finish

    Myself Running the stout drop of big T Falls

    Eric all steezed out on Big T falls hitting the right line of the falls, STOUTNESS

    Well we are still kicking it here in Montana,we will be making our way to Cali soon so stand by for some more stoutness shit running

    Searching For Peace

    Even though she hadn't had a decent night's sleep in days, she woke up before the sun.

    There were no more international calls to make or receive; all the details had been handled to the best of her ability, knowledge and strength. 

    The photos and music had been carefully selected and the difficult but necessary phone calls made.

    She bought a new black dress that she knew would hang in her closet forever but only be worn once.

    The obituary had been written and ran in the newspaper the previous day. She will always wonder how there can be a word limit when describing a person's life. Let alone two. How do you convey all the wonderful qualities about someone and list the reasons why they will be missed in 300 words or less? 

    This morning she would do something life affirming. 

    She wanted a chance to forget for a while; to do something that she would do any given day so as to feel the slightest bit normal.

    A walk through a beautiful canyon. She would immerse herself in abundant wildlife, get lost in hillsides resplendent with palo verde trees, graceful groves of ocotillo and prickly pear cactus. 

    She wanted to be surrounded by life, to fill her eyesight with nature and growth so that her dark and broken heart may heal someday.

    Today was a day to remember, mourn and begin searching for peace.

    This post is fiction and was written for The Red Dress Club's writing assignment, Red Writing Hood. This week's prompt: Write a 300 word piece using the following word for inspiration: LIFE. Constructive criticism is welcome.
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    Qigong, Yoga and Tai Chi have a great many similarities.

    All three practices attempt to heal the body by unblocking energy restrictions.
    I like when he says "You will feel different because you are different."
    I think that any of us with a practice can attest to that.

    Roger Jahnke "Health Patriot" from Omega Institute on Vimeo.

    Thankful on Thursday

    Things for which I'm thankful this Thursday...

    1. A great cardiology appointment. We were in and out of there in about 45 minutes, including an EKG, a heart echo and two visits with his cardiologist. Lucas was cooperative, although a bit apprehensive of all the tests. We also got a preliminary results reading of status quo. His heart condition is no better, but it also does not appear worse! We'll take it. You can read a little more about Lucas's heart here.

    2. Our new home and new neighbors. We enjoyed spending time with our neighbors at "hot dog Thursday" tonight, while Lucas played with the neighborhood kids. I love that our neighborhood gets along so well that we have a get together once a week!

    3. Waterproofing CI efforts. Lucas is a different kid in the water when he can listen and we can reason with  him. We are limited to our 50 or so survival signs, which don't include ultimatums, reasoning, and bribery. It's so much more effective when he can hear us!

    4. Summer break. My stress level has decreased significantly, as has my blood pressure! I am thoroughly enjoying being home full-time with little-boy-blue. He's enjoying his "mommy days" too!

    5. The public library. Lucas has a love of books, and is highly motivated by new books. We have been having a blast visiting the library to check out books and DVDs every week. The summer is still young too...

    6. A boy that never stops talking. He talks to himself, he talks to his stuffed animals & he talks to me constantly. It never.gets.old. I will I often ponder the idea that he was truly born to talk. Without his CIs, that never would have been a reality for him. It's so sad for me to think about.

    7. Light-blocking blinds in Lucas's bedroom. With these blinds, he doesn't mind going to bed before it's dark, and he would also sleep until 9 AM some mornings, if I would let him. He's rather sensitive to light, I believe in part due to a heightening of his 4 other senses, because of his loss of hearing. It's just a mama theory though.

    8. 2-sided wig tape. When we saw Lucas in recovery after his most recent surgery, the nurse informed us that Lucas would have to wear his left (new) ear only, because of the incision. I laughed out loud. We could try that, I thought to myself, if she wanted to see a very agitated preschooler yelling, "I need my ear," while groggily awakening from anesthesia. Instead, I popped off the ear hook and stuck it to his head with the ear tape that I keep in all of my bags. Beautiful solution. She even thought so.

    9. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. I wouldn't imagine taking Lucas anywhere else right now for all of his specialty care. We feel very blessed to live within (pretty) easy driving distance to their facilities. Lucas sees some of the best doctors in the nation, and I feel very comfortable with him in their care.

    10. Family. I'm so thankful for the very special relationships that Lucas has with both sets of grandparents and his aunts and cousins. They also help us out tremendously. I'm so glad that we live so close to everyone.

    For what are you thankful this Thursday?

    RIP Simon Davidson

    Well yesterday I heard that my good friend simon davidson had died kayaking in canada,I am devastated cant really believe it.He is such a kick ass dued I loved hanging around him,always had a positive attitude towards everything. I stoked that I got to no you bro,we had many sick time boating running the shit, just hanging, getting loss bending, you allways killed it at the partys to bro.

    If everyone had an attitude like you bro the world would be a better place, you were allways stoked on it bro

    Allways smiling,always happy,always stoked

    Simon killing it on his local run Huka Falls in Taupo

    Well you will always be in my heart bro I will never forget you bro,will firer somthing big for you bro,Love you simon rest in peace bro

    Jet Setter

    Voluptuous and simple - the world is larger than one had thought. - Denise Levertov

    I grew up overseas so I have been fortunate to see a lot of the world, but there are still places I want to visit.

    Topping my list right now, in the order of which they may be visited, are:

    Palm Springs - I know, I know, I was just there (read all about my recent trip here) and it's only 90 minutes from my front door, but I am craving some consistent sunlight, lounging by the pool with the latest celebrity gossip magazines, a good book and yummy cocktails with cool names like "The Julie"; and some alone time with my husband. For the record, all the other destinations on my list will include Lucas.

    Vancouver, Canada - My husband spent nine months in Vancouver several years ago and has always spoken so highly of his experience, the scenery, the accessibility to nature and outdoor activities and the people. The way he talks about it makes me want to go!

    Greece - Ever since I saw Captain Corelli's Mandolin, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Mama Mia, I have wanted to go to Greece. All terrible movies, but the stark contrast between the gorgeous blue Mediterranean sea and white buildings, the rich history and authentic sadziki are all very alluring.    
    My list of "must see" destinations is never ending... Croatia, the Galapagos, Ireland and Tokyo are high on the list too. 

    I would also love to take Lucas on an African safari one day. There's nothing else on earth like being within 30 feet of an elephant, lion, zebra or giraffe. To date, that has been my favorite trip. 
    Where do you want to go?
    This post was written for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, Prompt 4.) A country you would like to visit.

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    Cooperative or uncooperative? That is the question...

    I'll give Lucas a grade of B on the cooperation level today. Overall, we had a great day. I was flying solo. It was just me, Lucas, the GPS lady, and Dave Matthews. The same exact trip that took me 1 hr 20 minutes on Monday took me 2 hours flat today. It's a good thing that I left at 7:45 AM for our 10:00 appointment. I timed it perfectly.

    While sitting in traffic on the Schuykill, Lucas informed me that he had to go potty. I told him he had to wait. That was not good enough of an answer for my 3 year old munchkin. He started to cry and whine. We weren't going anywhere, but there was nowhere to pull off on the side of the road, not even a small shoulder. I made an executive mommy decision: Lucas was going to pee in our potty on-the-go, while I was driving. He unbuckled the top and I unbuckled the bottom of the 5-point harness, and he wiggled onto the floor the sit on his moving potty. Then we reversed the order. I was pretty relieved when I heard that last click. It ended up being a good decision, as we wouldn't arrive for another 30 minutes.

    What happens on the Schuykill, stays on the Schuykill. I promise, precedent has not been set.

    The purpose of today's speech & audiology appointments was strictly new ear follow-up (6 months post-activation). We started with speech, and Lucas was quite cooperative. He gets an A- for that appointment. It was interesting to see some of the deficiencies he still has with that ear, although he's come a long way. He has trouble differentiating between /b/ and /d/, and he was unable to discriminate the word "ball" at all, on several occasions. He confused it with "dog". We decided that if he would slow down and listen, he might get more, but he wants it to be easy, and he just tries to fill in the information. I think that it comes back to the disparity between the two ears. It IS really easy for him to hear with his old ear. He has to work  hard with his new ear. At one point she used the phrase, "read the book" and he repeated, "ride the bike." He got the r/d/b/k part, just not the vowels. I thought that was pretty interesting.

    He got a nice little break between appointments: some time to play and have a snack. I thought he would be good to go for audiology. He was more interested in doing this:

    That was really only part of the time. He was willing to listen to the various frequencies/decibels, but he lost it when he was asked to repeat and/or point to pictures. He moved into teacher mode.

    This is where I pulled out the bribery card.

    When we went to the room for him to be mapped, I reminded him several times that we would go to the Please Touch Museum if he listened to M. He remembered playing on the digger & dump truck, and he kept confirming that that's what we would do. I think the bribery encouragement worked. He let M map him pretty well. He got a few new programs to work through, that hopefully will help him in the lower frequencies. 

    We had a great time at Please Touch! 

    He was asleep about 5 minutes after we got in the car to go home. The only thing that kept me awake for the ride ahead was singing a little Dave at the top of my lungs. 

    Lucas couldn't hear me. It was probably a good thing, to which my husband will attest.

    Tomorrow's line-up includes the last day of camp for this session, and another trip to CHOP for a heart echo and a visit with cardiology. At least we won't be driving the whole way into the city, but going to the King of Prussia office. There might be time to stop for a little Baja Fresh too...

    Mas Cerveza, Por Favor!

    And you thought I was going to pour a glass of wine, didn't you? 
    This post is for Jessica (My Time As Mom), Kate (Mommy Monologues) and Elena's (Mommy is in Timeout) meme, Vlog Talk. The prompt I chose was #2. How to make your favorite summer drink.

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    Happy Summer everybody!

    the next day

    Lucas is totally back to himself, and he had a great day. I did give him some Tylenol, but I sent him to camp because he seemed to be feeling so well. It is amazing how quickly he is able to bounce back from surgery. He's even looking forward to heading back to the hospital tomorrow to see speech and audiology. We talked a lot about how he would not see any "hospital beds" and there would be no "ouchies", but that he would have to listen with his new ear! I'm really hoping he cooperates. I'm prepared to take him to the Please Touch Museum after his appointments, and bribery is not out of the question to get him to cooperate... maybe he'll just do it naturally though!

    I'm A Celebrity Look-Alike

    My friend, Morgan from The Little Hen House is the mastermind behind the latest blog-hop and since I played along with I was a Senior Hottie and Rockin' the Baby Bump, I thought why not?

    Here is I'm a Celebrity Look-Alike... what do you think? See any resemblance? 

    My father used to mail me photos ripped out of magazines of Sigourney Weaver with her jawline, cheekbones or smile circled with a note attached saying something like, I see it, do you? or There's definitely a resemblance, but you are much prettier. Aw...

    I have one friend that has always told me that she thinks I look like Elizabeth Hurley

    Don't laugh! I don't see it either, however, I do appreciate the compliment.

    Another friend makes Blake Lively comparisons.

    I wish!

    And recently, someone put a link on my Facebook wall saying Kate Middleton was my doppelganger. 

    Hmmm.... maybe? Maybe not. What do you think?

    Do people tell you you look like someone famous? If so, link up here and join in on the fun, even if you think they're crazy! 

    Speaking of crazy, this is my 600th post! 

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