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SMURF HAPPENS! The Premiere

My kids and I rarely visit the Westside of Los Angeles. Traffic and rampant Bruins make it less-than-desirable for us. Last Sunday, we were noticeably blue because we got invited to Sony Pictures’ blue carpet premiere of The Smurfs 2! My kids didn’t grow up on the Smurfs like I did, but we loved the first movie and were thrilled to see the sequel!

Smurf Happens!

Smurf Happens!

We grabbed Lauren’s friend and set off on an adventure!

Smurfin' Street Scene

Smurfin’ Street Scene

Within a block from the parking lot, you saw Men In Black positioned at key positions along barricaded streets.  According to my friend, with Katy Perry and Britney Spears attending, the security detail was going to be a clusterfoccacia!  The first sign that we’d arrived at a premiere, not an alien invasion, was a huge Smurf melting in reverse positioned for his shining moment at the head of the blue carpet.

Where the Action Is

Where the Action Is

The street was a sea of blue laid with Smurfing custom cars,

Smurfin' Smart Cars

Smurf My Ride!  Smurfed Out Smart Cars!
I finally realize who fits in those cars!

and a Smurfing tiered cake.

My favorite Baltimore Baker - Duff!    Getty Images

My favorite Baltimore Baker – Duff!
(C) Getty Images / Sony

Fans and paparazzi were already lined up warming up their flashes or their voices.

Smurfin' Tour Eiffel

Smurfin’ Tour Eiffel

I yelled to my friend and, after making eye contact, started to move towards her. The security twitched in my direction ready to pounce.  Seriously, do we look like we will body slam people to get pictures with them?

Cheyenne Jackson is so hot it's startling - obviously! Really?!

Cheyenne Jackson is so hot it’s startling – obviously! Really?! I couldn’t muster a smile?!

MMmmmKmaybe.

Neil Patrick Harris and family (C) Getty Images/Sony

Neil Patrick Harris and family
(C) Getty Images / Sony

We waited to see celebrities inside the lobby. On the carpet, stars were moved along, but once inside, they had a moment to relax before entering the theatre. For my son and myself, the highlight was seeing various personalities and meeting a super polite kid who stars in one of my kids’ favorite shows!

Dylan Riley Snyder from Kicking It!

Dylan Riley Snyder from Kicking It!

For the girls, tchotchkies, ushers with bottomless boxes of treats, a Smurfing Happy Meal with 2 toys plus chocolate milk was more valuable than free-flowing champagne.  Then came the Staff lanyards!  With the power of executives flowing through them, the youngsters could stand in the lobby where they wanted, ignore the wishes of security, and walk the blue carpet!

WTF: Wave towards Faces The power of the lanyard!

WTF: Wave towards Faces
The power of the lanyard!

Seeing the film before it opened, star-gazing and being thrown in with such a creative crowd was such a fun experience for us all!  Bonus:  Finally knocked a big item off my 101 in 1,001 list!

Grandma Perry's shirt was classic:  I've got the hots for Grandpa Smurf!  Check out the blinged out cane too! (C) Getty Images / Sony

Grandma Perry’s shirt was classic:     I’ve got the hots for Grandpa Smurf!
Check out the blinged out cane too!
(C) Getty Images / Sony

Pop Princesses Britney and Katy! Love them!

Pop Princesses Britney and Katy!
Love them!
(C) Getty Images / Sony

Thanks Pal! We had a blast!

Thanks Pal! We had a blast!

See you next time Katy!  Or in 30 min. when we go home and watch "Part of Me!"

See you next time Katy!
Or in 30 min. when we go home and watch “Part of Me!”

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BEST MOTHER’S (OR OTHER) DAY GIFT

In our house the kids get excited about holidays – especially those involving gifts. We like to put thought into gift giving when we have the luxury of time, and they enjoy planning for me just as much. They start planning what they’re going to give me early on but considering they don’t have an allowance, the school no longer offers their gift fair (where the kids bought the family’s gifts), nor do we have another parent to take them shopping, their options were limited. Additionally, considering how much stuff resides in this apartment with us, the last thing I need are more tchotchkies. Pinterest didn’t exist yet in my universe so what now?!

I wish I still had the article that provided this gem so I could credit the woman. At her suggestion, I purchased a nicer journal and every Mother’s Day and birthday the kids now each design a page in the journal. So far, I’ve received pictures of our house, poems, and love notes with bouquets of flowers. One of the best parts becomes looking back reliving the love of previous years and laughing at what was on someone’s mind. I love seeing how the children’s abilities and interests grow each year as well.

Lauren working on her masterpiece!

The rules are simple – anything goes. It can be handmade or store bought then glued in the page, drawn, assembled as a collage, painted, stickers, glitter, anything! Realizing that children evolve, as do their moods, written words aren’t required but if you include them they can be original thoughts, song lyrics or whatever communicates your sentiment. Being realistic that kids will pass through teenage years, the philosophy “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” stands. I fully expect trends to waver from flowery sweetness to minimalist.

Carson keeps his back to me so I can’t see. Not too secretive but it worked.

Even if you do have another parent in the house to take the kids shopping, I’ve yet to see any gift that will beat the journal. While we started it for the holidays, my goal is to showcase it and make it available for any OTHER day as well so whenever the children feel so inclined, they may savor its pages, relish the memories and add to its richness.

Lauren’s 2011 masterpiece! (I haven’t seen 2012 yet!)

GRATITUDE SUNDAY – CATCH UP!

Whenever I get days off from work, I take care of neglected things – and as you’ve seen, blogging made the list longer.  With me having three days off before rolling into the kids’ Spring Break, I couldn’t wait to get caught up.

KIDS’ SCHOOL

I immediately signed up to fulfill my parental duty working the drop-off for my daughter’s class. Then I helped in my son’s class helping with a super fun hands-on science roller coaster building project.

The break also fit perfectly with my son’s Battle of the Books. Seeing how the contest operated brought so much more meaning to his team’s positioning in the top two which qualified them for the district championship!  He and his friends on all teams really worked hard and it felt great seeing them shine in this scholastic competition.

It was a tough competition!

TAXES

They’re done, I got my refund, I don’t want to talk about them for at least another 290 days. We did one splurge, renewing our passes to a local theme park and immediately broke them in!

Doodleoodleooooo Wah WAH wah...

BABIES

I spent time with some of the most adorable babies!  From my 15-month niece to my friends’ 9-month and 6-week old babies, it was a delicious morning of baby smell, snuggles and mom chats!

KID STUFF

We spent so much time shuttling to band auditions and ball games, to name a few, that for a moment, I couldn’t figure out how we normally manage this.  During spring break ball sports were cancelled which meant we didn’t have to leave town to “get away.”

FAMILY

We relaxed with all my family, and enjoyed our favorite traditions – Hungarian Feasting and Maryland Crab Feast! My kids soaked in their favorite event – swimming! We met new babies: 2 ducks and a dog, and had a girls’ night to get my sister caught up on Twilight: Breaking Dawn!

Fight to the end!

HOME

While my place isn’t spotless, folding laundry the same day we washed it and the kitchen sink being absent of dishes meant a lot.

Although, I worried that it was too much at first, the break maintained a perfect balance of work and play! How about you? Working hard or hardly working? There is no wrong answer!

KEEP YOUR NUMBERS TO YOURSELF

Numbers and I remain cordial. By accident, or my ethnicity, I usually score well on math tests. However, the more I think about numbers, the faster my head spins.

I started this blog for the daily discipline to write and to live the joy discovered by breathing life into creative tidbits that I wander across, then releasing them.

Numbers taunt me. From the first day, when the numbers passed a level high enough to show more than just my family read the blog, my mind created challenges. 1) Get 10 new readers a day/3 followers a week; 2) How fast will I get to 100, 1,000; 3) Does social media affect the outcome? My body viscerally reacts to numbers and as they grow, so, too, does my excitement! Add the touching, personal comments left by readers and I cannot stop! These people wandering with me keep me from being the nutball laughing alone at her own jokes.

Numbers milestones. I give myself a “Woot woot!” anytime my numbers feel great – when I’d hit a high score, then passed 100 readers and hoped to do it again that week. These numbers tickled me pink… UNTIL – I watched the first iCarly episode and on her fictional TV show their webcast got 27,000 hits their first day! I joked about it, but inside my self rattled a bit. The same week, I got a link to a video for Walk Off the Earth’s Gotye cover song that increases by 100,000 views per hour and is now over 65 MILLION views!

Number nonsense. I remembered advice I picked up somewhere: Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, only worry about yourself and doing YOUR best! This phrase gets repeated to my son when he worries about letting his team down, or when my daughter tattles, “He didn’t do what you asked.” I remembered that I’m new to this blogosphere. I will learn, it may take time. The fact that anyone wanders through and that my numbers doubled in my second (shorter) month feels great right now.

Make personal goals, meet and celebrate them! Then, don’t forget to make a few new ones. What’s your next blogging goal – numbers or not?

LEAPING INTO THE UNKNOWN!

I boldly committed to writing 365 words a day for 365 days, and leapt onto the page, typing enthusiastically until the screeching realization about 10 days into it, that 2012 actually has 366 days! Dang it!

I could write 366 words for 366 days, or write 366 words every 4th posting. Perhaps I should blaze through the first 365 days of the year and take New Year’s Eve off. Then it dawned on me that Leap Year threw me for a loop, so for Leap Year, I would leap into something new!

Grab my hand and let's leap!

I cruised through the blogosphere enjoying the scenery and feeling for some inspiration and found it on Smile, kiddo. The blog introduced this 101 in 1001 project, shared their list and experiences. In a nutshell, the goal stands to complete 101 goals in 1001 days. Smile, kiddo referred to Day Zero Project for a pile of ideas and suggestions for one’s lists. The fact that it was called Day Zero meant that really, I could still call it 365 days of 365 words since a zero doesn’t count.  I’m a little OCD like that.  Even if you don’t do a list, it’s a fun site to browse to see what occupies other people’s wish lists.

It took longer than expected, but I finally compiled my list of 101 things:

I’ve always wanted to do but never made time for
I loved as a child and couldn’t wait to share with my own children
That made me sweat a little because they test my usual comfort zone
To allow me some time for introspection and growth
To allow me to connect with others That are completely random and wacky
That I’m leaving up to YOU! Leave a comment on the list page to suggest what you’d have me do and when we get a bunch, I’ll do a random drawing to pick out the activity!

I will indicate on the list as things are completed, or link to the blog posting about my experience.  I hope some of you will come along and consider making your own lists as well, and wander off with me for some exciting adventures!

BEST DAY EVER – I WONDER AS I WANDER!

My son gave me a Valentine’s Day certificate for a day to do anything I want!  I carefully considered my plan, sorting events into two days – with or without kids. This reflects Part I of “My Day” (I go by hours, not calendar date).

Best gift ever - power to choose my day!

Picked up before cleaners: The early morning wake up, to chase down my kids’ toys running rampant throughout the house, was worth it when I left for my day of endless opportunities while someone else vacuumed behind my couch.

Grabbed coffee at 7-11: For someone who loves ordering the longest-named drink at Fivebucks, six pots of 7-11 flavored coffees, plus a lazy susan of creamers, thrills me.  I’ve had blueberry+cinnamon+vanilla coffee with caramel creamer. Today I had butter toffee+hazelnut with chocolate.  BONUS: It’s cheaper, faster and less bitter!

Trip to library: I located books from my wish list, strolled through new non-fiction – choosing a few about writers, then drooled over a cookbook Bacon! – a global collection of mouth-watering recipes that happened to use bacon, not just “slap bacon on anything and call it an improvement.”

So many books, so little time!

Napped: Rerouted my plans to home realizing I told the cleaners to not worry about locking the door when leaving. In our neighborhood, nobody’s going to walk in – EXCEPT a sign on my lawn says “For Rent – Apartment Open!” Later, while snoozing on my couch, someone walked smack into my locked door, then knocked asking to see the apartment.

Dinner with TNTers: For me to enjoy a meal with amazing people without thinking about marketing plans, the next event or volunteer roles to recruit them for, was a treat!  I really enjoyed listening to everyone’s stories …and got recruited for a Zombie Run.

Wine: I love red wine with a tiny square of chocolate.  I picked out two richer wines than usual thanks to a 30% off coupon. I did a social media Cheers! asking my Facebook friends to choose which wine to open first, and was invited to an online wine group.

Image

HANDS-DOWN WINNER: Malbec

I’m hoping Malbec goes well with shiny vampires – I still never made it past the bonus features. While watching I will find a new recipe to try – wanna bet it’ll involve bacon?!

THANKFUL THURSDAY – THE GRASS IS GREENER

I’ve driven through town, rushing through lunch hour, wondering about people running behind strollers or heading to yoga. I assumed they married, divorced, or invested well, lied to their bosses, had a trust fund or worked from home. I wished out loud to switch places. My wish came true – I have loads of free time! I never included unemployed job-hunters in this shiny, happy bunch.

This week, job hunting annoyed me for the time span it has consumed and the drive span I’m limited to. I enjoyed being off in December, but am ready for what’s next. When I went to buy a winning lottery ticket, I grabbed a newspaper that held a great horoscope written to me. It acknowledged my wrestling with challenges and foretold that my week would include veils lifted, planets aligning, and serendipitous timing to change everything!

Since Friday was approaching, and nothing crazy revealed itself yet, I guessed the universe wouldn’t find me holed up with my laptop. I left, in search of answers and to test if the grass IS greener. After chatting with friends at school drop-off, the sun pulled me towards the beach Farmer’s Market. To be fully present, I sent two texts first.

Fresh perspective with a side of veggies

The crashing waves invaded my thoughts, while the blend of blue sky, brown crystals and salty air recalibrated me. I stared at the horizon’s curve, amused that behind me Americans rushed through their day while ahead lay endless possibilities! The endless waves hypnotized me while sun on my cheeks added a joyous glow!

I ran into more people there, and later at toy testing – another luxury when not working. Nobody whispered mystic words of “I have the perfect job and it’s yours to take.” What I found on “the other side” was changed perspective. I get stuck in routines, in my house, because of should-do lists. I fill the day job-searching or completing projects trying to prove something by finishing the list. Today’s lesson pushed me outside to feel the world’s vibrations and survey the horizon. I realized the list will always exist, it doesn’t matter how someone gets free time, just that it is relished! What lesson are you thankful for?

MY NAME IS SARAH AND I’M A LISTOHOLIC

It takes an iPhone, copies of class schedules, and a fridge calendar to keep my family on time.  Events usually fall into place, but my random lists get unruly.  I use to-do lists for planning parties; bucket lists of goals; lists of where I’ve traveled; wish lists of books; lists of accomplishments; even lists of favorite quotes.  The Internet even handles lists for me housing titles of flicks to see or pictures I pin up to share.

In my defense, lists are everywhere!  Magazines, websites, even TV shows have lists for worse movie posters, best stomach exercises or places to work.  I start to feel like a slacker if not paying attention to such time-saving and sage advice. My goal is not to join an elite group that accomplished everything on my list.

I still haven't cured myself of Sticky Notes.

I used to purge my lists onto paper, schedule out tasks and inch my way towards the goal.  Brain surges scribbled on sticky notes adhered nicely to the pages. I preferred hand-writing the list as it grew then shrank.  It was simple to keep an eye on the horizon also. Ironically, I eventually grew tired of writing and lugging it around.

My Blackberry answered my prayers with audible reminders and a snooze feature!  When necessary, I simply rescheduled the task items farther out.  I loved setting up reminders for everything to unclutter my mind and calendar. I was cautious, but not always successful, to not over-schedule that could lead to snooze abuse.

Despite, or because, of my many lists, there are some I rarely use.  Shopping lists are only created for event recipes that happen 1-2 times a year.  Checks written only exist on carbon copy, not in a check register – don’t tell my bookkeeper mom.

Currently Captures Everything

Now, I’m back to straddling both electronic and paper lists.  I have my regular schedule on my iPhone, the rest on paper. That way I can visit my wish lists weekly but they don’t distract me daily.  My spiral-bound notebook fits in my purse and captures my thoughts as they flit by.  I hope to find a long-term solution and am sure I can find a list of suggestions. Share your top 3 personal favorite lists.