I am a Sore-Winner...It's a problem


A wise old man or shoot maybe it was even Winnie the Pooh, said "Try, Try Again" and that's exactly what I did last night....


Last spring I gave a speech to the Awesome Foundation - Kingston - If you don't know what the Awesome Foundation is you need to check it out- It's an unreal idea where 10 people get together & put in $100 each...Then they listen to people with passion & ideas give a speech and choose a winner, and the $1000 helps benefit their idea. Kinda like a mini-local Dragons' Den or Shark Tank ....



The last time I was so nervous speaking to the crowd, I went home empty-handed & kinda deflated...But since the spring so much has happened with me, Happy Soul Project & what we are doing - So I decided to try, try again, to get up, shake it out, re-think and re-do...


And last night I went home with my arms raised instead of empty handed, my confidence boosted instead of wavering and 1000-smack-a-roos to put towards our Kick-It-Capes and our #differentisbeautiful Calendar....


While the moula is obviously fantastic and needed, to me it was more about winning over this same group of people - Getting validation in a sense that my ideas for Happy Soul Project and all our Initiatives {Awesome Eh Acts, Kick-It-Capes, Paint Outside the Lines Collection & #differentisbeautiful campaign} are indeed as awesome as I believe them to be.


The thing is friends, I get that validation from y'all everyday- Truly, the encouragement and support you show is unreal. But for some reason to get it from a group of strangers that don't have ties to Happy Soul Project, somehow gave me a new-found-confidence in what I am doing.


And about that confidence...I think in general I am a pretty confident person. But in areas where I need to stretch myself, like public speaking, I am a nervous-need-a-drink-hope-this-is-over-soon type of gal...However, by continually working on this via events like last night, tv & radio interviews and upcoming Guest Speaking engagements, I'm hoping the confidence I normally have eventually shines through...


That confidence though is also uber annoying & big apology the other presenters who had awesome ideas - I thought for sure the idea to feed the homeless a Christmas dinner was going to win me over...Anyways, I'm sorry I'm such a sore-winner - I always have been - Ask any Euchre partner, board game opponent or poor smuck that has gotten a karate-chop-to-the-neck for not giving it their all...I'm the worst - losing, I'm on fire and winning, well I'm this girl...


When they announced Happy Soul Project as the winner, I screamed, I cried, I threw my hands up in the air in victory and then I continued to fist-pump-the-air like I had just won a bloody Oscar...Even after just chatting & having a drink, I kept fist-pumping & smiling so big, my face actually hurts today.


Then of course, like I do at any event in which I'm put on the spot & right filled with emotion, like my wedding or baby shower, I felt the need to give a sappy-tear-filled-speech using the word "truly" 100 times..."I'm truly so this, I truly can't thank you enough, I've truly blah-blah-blah"...


So sorry for the dramatics last night folks - Was just so very happy to know my ideas mean something...


Inspiration thanks to a Kick-It-Cape....

The other day I found inspiration in a place I wasn't expecting to. 


I found courage in families that showed me what it is to fight for something so out of their control. I found love in parents that give up everything to be beside their children in a place no one wishes to be. And I found so much hope in meeting kids that are beyond courageous everyday.


The other day I got to meet numerous families and give out our Kick-It-Capes at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto...I got to see how a simple act of giving a stranger something to let them know someone in the world is on their side and fighting with them, can be oh, so powerful.


I got to hug mommas who have already been in the hospital for months, separated from their other children, fighting everyday for the care of their child. I got to talk with a dad who showed such courage & acceptance in the battle his daughter was fighting with cancer. I got to walk down the halls of the cancer ward and see how numerous kids, already had one of our capes and proudly hung them by their cribs or on their walls. And I got to hug and hold a little girl, who I now just can't get off my mind or outta my heart...


This is little Kyra - Adorable right?
She even had a cake made with her on top wearing her Kick-It-Cape....

I got to see the utter sadness of dealing with a child who is sick, yet I left feeling inspired and so moved by these children and families...While Pip's been in the hospital & we've had some scary moments - I still can't imagine what these families go through on a daily basis...I can't truly understand how hard it must be to to live day in and day out in a hospital or Ronald McDonald House. I can't fathom the fear and worry, they face over and over after every round, test, or surgery. I can't let my heart even go there, trying to think about what it feels like to be ripped away from your other children because one needs you so desperately beside them. And I really can't contemplate what it feels like to see your child lose the fight. 



My heart is heavy, my van once again let me cry on it's steering wheel as soon as I was done at Sick Kids and if anything I am more then ever ignited to help. To do my part in anyway I can, to bring a wee bit of hope to these courageous children. 


So with that I've changed Kick-Cancer's-Arse Capes to Kick-It-Capes because it's not just cancer these kids are fighting...I want to open it up to any illness that a child is trying to Kick-It's-Arse and I also want to open it up to siblings...In meeting with these families & chatting about their stories, I realized how much the siblings go through - I gave one little boy, who is his sister's rock, who literally when she's going through treatment wants to hold onto him more than anyone else, a cape & care-package - And it made me realize that he needs the strength and boost of hope and recognition of a courageous job well done, just as much. 


Therefore, with the waiting list of kids in need growing - We desperately need more capes, more fabric, more money to help with shipping, presents & shirts. We need YOU.  



So now you can purchase or sponsor a Kick-It-Cape directly off our store for $20 - When you do we will either send the cape directly to a child you know of or we will use your donation to send it to a child on our waiting list.



So y'all can do that HERE



You can also sew, make, or beg others to donate capes or fabric - Start a sewing bee with friends, do a cool school project or sit down with your kids and teach them a life lesson while making them...However, you do it, just do it...


Trust me, meeting and seeing firsthand the reaction the Kick-It-Capes have, is something that will forever be with me...So please help friends, please donate however you can and help us change the world just a wee bit...


Aha Moment...It's Outrageous...


A few weeks ago I had one of those is-this-really-happening-I-might-faint-kinda aha moments...Instead of fainting, I just busted out in tears...It happens, not often, but it happens...


Pip and I were in Calgary and went to the Canadian Down syndrome Society headquarters - Right off the hop, the spirit and passion the team showed was inspiring & contagious. 


But the reason we were there is something I don't even think I can explain, it is something I am beyond humbled about & maybe one of the proudest things I will ever do in my life.



In Canada, when you are told your child has Down syndrome whether that be a pre-diagnosis or post-birth, you are given a "New Parent Package" - Kinda like an Orientation or "What to Expect" information kit...In those early days with Pip, that was the last thing I wanted to read but my husband actually found it crucially helpful. For me however, I wanted a real, raw look at what to expect from another momma, not factual information from a doctor or organization.



Now close to two years after me wanting to throw that bloody "New Parent Package" across the hospital room because I was in such a dark, terrified place - I get to be that momma who gives a real, raw look at what to expect. I get to pour my heart out into a letter that will now go in every "New Parent Package" across Canada.


The fact that I desperately wanted this when I found out and now am going to actually be the person to give it, floors me. 


I am so humbled that through my own story with Pip, through my words, through my honest thoughts - somehow, someone might be able to connect and it just might bring a bit of hope to what they are feeling...




Floored...Just floored...



On top of the emotional moment regarding the letter, I was told that this cool cat Paul, who is a blogger too, is adding a letter from someone with Down syndrome to be including in the "New Parent Package" also - Bloody awesome. 



And then if that wasn't enough, I mean seriously my heart was about to burst at this point, I was told that Pip will be the Canadian Down syndrome Society's 2014-2015 See the Ability Billboard.

"From November 1 to 7, Canadians across the country will be celebrating the 45,000 people with Down syndrome in Canada for National Down Syndrome Awareness Week (NDSAW).

National Down Syndrome Awareness Week celebrates Canadians with Down syndrome, many of whom are making important contributions to their communities and teaching all people to “See the Ability.”

Representing the campaign this year is Pip McCallan from Kingston, Ontario. She will appear on the 2014-2015 CDSS billboard with her brother, Noal and her mother, Tara, the popular blogger behind Happy Soul Project(www.happysoulproject.com). Pip was named a Canadian Down Syndrome Society Hero earlier this year.

This year’s message reflects a sentiment shared by many parents of people with Down syndrome: “She teaches us to paint outside the lines.”


Outrageous right? 



I mean, I can't, I mean, what, I mean, I have no words...Seriously, Pip and this billboard will be ALL OVER CANADA...


I am so honoured to work with this amazing organization and look forward to painting the world a bit brighter together...



Seriously outrageous though, right?


Seriously. Enough. Already


I'm having one of those pity-me-pity-Pip-pity-what-we-got-going-on kinda days...I realize by tomorrow afternoon, my stress, sorrow and snickers will be gone and that in the grand scheme of things, this really is not a big deal...I get that so many kids & families, have it so much harder...Trust me, my best friend is in a hospital hours away from her other kids because her little boy has cancer. So I get it, but bear with me here friends, because as routine-and-not-that-big-of-a-deal as this is, it still is my reality and it still sucks.


Tomorrow, Pip faces her 5th surgery... Five - Cinco - Cinq - those are the only languages I got, but you get the idea...My little girl is not even two years old and she's had more surgeries than most people have their entire life.


Pip has conductive hearing loss & this time, she is getting #Myringotomy - aka Ear Tube Surgery. Ideally, this will help with the fluid in her ears, her constant congestion and also help accelerate her speech & language. Another thing common in kiddos with Down syndrome, that again, my darling Pip can check off the list...


The thing is I'm so bloody tired of that list...I just want for one moment to breath and just be with her...Not worry about another blood test, an upcoming surgery, new contacts, a heart check up, braces fitting, eye exams and on and on and on...


I'm so bloody sad that my little girl has yet another complication in life. She has already been through so much & with her eyes and such, has still so far to go.

I'm so bloody jealous of mommas that get to plan their days around play dates & activities and not therapies & specialists...My day and weeks leading up to any surgery are filled with appointments, keeping Pip "isolated" & away from germs as much as I can & endlessly looking at her trying to remember every piece of her, just in case.


I'm so bloody anxious that something will go wrong - These doctors/nurses/specialist are just human after all, and mistakes are bound to happen - I just continually hope not on my girl. 


I'm so bloody bitter that I'll have yet another sleepless night filled with worry and a morning with 4700 calories made up completely of snickers to ease or eat away that stress.


I'm so bloody tired of feeling so helpless...As a momma, it's me who makes Pip feel better when the nurses can't find a vein, it's me who she snugs her little body into if she's hurt herself, it's me who she looks for when she does something funny, it's me who gets the biggest smiles that light up her face & giggles that gurgle from deep in her belly...It's me who makes her feel safe...And I hate that for these small moments in her life there is absolutely nothing I can do.


And I'm so bloody scared, terrified really, at the thought of her not waking up.


Her very first surgery at 5 weeks old, had complications and she had a terrible time coming out of anesthetic and now every surgery since, I'm petrified it will happen again. I realize lots & lots of kids get these bloody Ear Tubes, and the surgery itself isn't that big of a deal - But you see, for me, it is...It's another routine surgery to add to her list of others. It's another round of doctor appointments and specialists to see on top of the Rolodex list she already does. It's one more thing on the check list of complications with Down syndrome, that my girl has to face that others don't...


So to be honest, this time I'm bloody annoyed....Enough already Fate - Seriously, Enough!!!

Down syndrome Awareness Month - Pippy Layne Way


Last year when October rolled around I got caught up in Down syndrome Awareness Month...It was Pippy's first one and since I failed horribly at her first World Down syndrome Day, it was yet, another chance to make it up to her. Another way to prove to her & the world that this part of who she is, deserves really to be celebrated...


So I took a blog challenge, among many other momma-bloggers to write & post every single day in October to help bring awareness...


Here are some of my fav blogs from that time:


As much as I loved sharing with y'all, I found that it was too much to do with two little hooligans & it stressed me out at the end of the day, knowing I had to create a blog post...Now add on everything else going on in my world and the thought isn't even a thought because it just isn't a possibility. 


So instead to keep me sane, my babies happy & Happy Soul Project running, I am going to do 3 things:


1- Launch our Pippy Lane #differentisbeautiful Collection which features knitwear by LeeLee Infinity exclusively celebrating Down syndrome. Hello, how cute would these be on a Buddy Walk?




2- I still want to see Pippy on Ellen - I want to be able to share her contagious smile with everyone, bring light to our #differentisbeautiful mission and hopefully get more people to help with our Awesome Eh? Acts & Kick-Cancer's-Arse Capes. So in October, everyday instead of blogging I will be sharing a picture or video on Ellen's Facebook Page and bugging y'all to do the same...This bloody woman can't ignore us for that much longer right? 


Okay maybe she can, but either way the more we share the more Pip's smile gets around showing others how outrageously beautiful life can be with Down syndrome.


And 


3- Throughout October I will be part of a few fundraisers to not only help bring awareness to Down syndrome but hopefully raise some moula to help with our Happy Soul Project's Initiatives...Check out our Facebook Page for details about upcoming events with Group Hug Apparel & Sweetheart Baby Boutique...


And yes, this is me & my girl doing I'm a Little TeaPot!!! Swoon right?

So, maybe in years to come I will go back to the 31 for 21 Challenge and blog everyday in October, but for now I will find my own ways in which I proudly celebrate the one who forever changed October for me... 






P.S - If you are in love with the Pippy Lane #differentisbeautiful Collection shop HERE - Part of our proceeds will go to the Canadian Down syndrome Society.