Calling on #PIPSARMY - I want nothing more than to spread our message...

I wonder if this is what it feels like when you're losing your mind. When you're about to break. I wonder if people sense it beforehand.

I wonder if it's crying at the silliest things, like leaving wet laundry in the washing machine & having to re-do that load. But understanding that really the tears are for the times you can't cry. 

  • The times when you have to be brave in front of your kids, giving your daughter needle after needle. 
  • When you have to set-your-alarm-even-though-you-haven't-slept-in-days because the doctor wants you to check blood sugars at 2am in case her's drop too low. 
  • When you walk aimlessly around the mall trying to find a cute little bag to fit insulin pens, blood sugar monitors & the dreaded Glucagon needle. 
  • When you give the super friendly salesclerk the wrong amount of money, not once, not twice, but three times because your mind is literally elsewhere. 
  • When it feels like everyone else is picking out backpacks & back-to-school stuff & you're questioning if you should even be sending her. 
  • When you have to pull her from daycare the last few weeks because she literally needs to physically be around you, so you can poke & prod her every few hours. 
  • When you suddenly have to pull out simple math, a subject you despise & are terrible at, to count carbs, calculate insulate dosages & bloody weigh food on a scale. 
  • When you now have to stress about seizures, the thought of other people giving your child needles and Hypoglycemia - When you realize it sucks the big one that you even have to know what Hypoglycemia is. 
  • When you feel so lonely because your world revolves around this new diagnosis, it's all you think about, all you worry about, all you want to master to make sure you are giving your child the very best care. 
  • When you find out there is a monitoring system that has alarms letting you know your child is in danger before they go unconscious, but then find out your insurance doesn't cover it & it costs more than your first car. 
  • When you have to record every little thing and then second guess, re-check & doubt yourself anyways.
  • When you're already so over-worked, over-tired & over-stimulated that your brain & body feel like they can't possible take on more or retain any other information.  
  • When it's hard to think about the future because the situation at present seems so very unsure. 

For all the times I can't cry, there is just as many times I have. I cried in the pantry. I cried alone in my van. I cried in the shower & yesterday I cried doing laundry. I've seriously cried more in the past week then any other week I can ever remember, not including the week Pip was born and Down syndrome smacked me in the face

Friends, I'm at that point, where I feel I could break. I'm struggling. It's been one week since Pip was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, I've given over 30+ needles, I've poked her fingers & some already seem to be running out of blood. I've gone to meeting after meeting, changed upcoming school plans & been stretched in ways I would never dream, could be so painful.  

Point is, I'm reaching out for some love. I've shared our lives as honestly & as genuinely as I could the past few years. You've come along on our journey as we walked through so much - And I'm so thankful for all your prayers, thoughts and well wishes.  

But now I'm asking for more, I'm asking y'all for some grace & some support. Nothing would make me happier than seeing all the awareness we are trying so hard to bring, spread a little more. 

So, with the help of my team Fraser & Brittani from Hurricane & Harbour we've created a new Happy Soul Project t-shirt geared at #PIPSARMY - Wearing it helps "Fight the Good Fight" with us. 

And I have made a decision in regards to our #differentisbeautiful Calendars. While I seriously have loved nothing more, than getting the opportunity to feature amazing kids in it, due to circumstances, this year's calendar will just feature my sweet Pip. Bonus though, it can also be used as a teaching tool - Each month will feature fun, interesting facts about Down syndrome. I know firsthand, that talking in front of kids & classrooms is uber nerve-wracking. Seriously, I'd take a roomful of adults any day. When I have to give elementary school talks, I'm always lost as to what to say, how to keep it simple yet interesting. And I know there are so many parents out there, that would love to go into their child's class or school to give a small presentation about Down syndrome, but don't know what to say or how to do it. So this year's calendar is for you. It shows you exactly what I say & do when I go into schools to spread awareness about Down syndrome & our #differentisbeautiful message. 

So, by helping purchase one or both of these items you are in turn helping me. Y'all are allowing me room to breath. To focus in on what I have to do for my little girl & my family, while still feeling like I am doing something for Happy Soul Project...

So, please if you can, shop away:

To pre-order your 2017 Calendar click HERE
To pre-order your #PipsArmy "Fight the Good Fight" shirt click HERE
To pre-order your Calendar & shirt combo click HERE

Thank you friends. Seriously.

Imagine If You Can - #type1diabetes

Before 7:30am today I had to excuse myself to our pantry & have a little cry. I had to shake off the heavy feelings of anger & being overwhelmed before they literally choked me. I had to re-group, put on a smile & a "We-Can-Do-This attitude," before opening the door to face our situation:

My five year old bombarding me with questions; "Where's the needle?", "Can I try?", "Does it hurt her?","Why does Pippy get to have that and not me?".

My 10mth old who hasn't taken his eyes off me since I had to leave him the entire day yesterday, to take his big sister to the hospital. 

And then Pip...

My little girl who has already been through so God damn much. My little girl who bravely takes on life, like we all should. My little girl who now, has yet another life changing diagnosis. 

Yesterday, we went to her Eye Surgeon to discuss the possibilities of surgery for a permanent contact lens for her Congenital Cataracts. Inserting & removing a tiny minuscule contact in a squirmy-outrageously-upset little girl is starting to become impossible & we wanted to hear about other options. That appointment alone was physically and mentally exhausting. Imagine if you can, having to hold your child down in your lap while someone pokes around in their eyes. Imagine if you can, trying to distract them for hours upon hours because appointments are running behind. Imagine if you can, hearing your child potentially needs another surgery after y'all have been through more then a dozen already. 

Then try to imagine getting through all that but still needing to go to another appointment - Feeling for a week or two like something was up with your child. Just knowing that something was wrong. Imagine thinking because of their excessive drinking & peeing you just assumed something was off with their thyroid medicine. Imagine thinking your appointment would simply be a discussion to change dosages & maybe if they really had to, do some dreaded blood work.

Then imagine seeing the look your child's doctor has given you time and time again when bad news arises. Imagine finally breaking down and crying, simply not being able to keep it together. Imagine feeling like it's always one thing after the other. Imagine hearing your child has Down syndrome, then Congenital Cataracts, then Congenital Heart Defects, then Hypothyroidism, then needs tubes in their ears, then has major issues with their hips & knees. Top it all off with a life changing diagnosis like Celiac Disease & add in all the therapies, blood work, surgeries and appointments. 

Imagine then if you can, having the doctor put her arm around you & explain that your child now also has Type 1 Diabetes. Imagine losing it, dropping your head in defeat, feeling the weight of her words and simply groaning "FECK". Imagine trying to reign in your emotions but can't stop crying, your almost in hysterics because you feel this must be a joke, there is no way one child can have so many things. Imagine nurses who have known your child since she was born, coming over to hug you but with each embrace realizing how serious this must be. Imagine having your child rest their little head on your knee because they think you are upset only to then have to hold them down for more tests, more pokes, more blood work while they just cry & scream "momma" over and over. 

Imagine learning to work an insulin pen, how to poke your child's finger to do blood sugar tests & get up the nerve to actually give your child insulin shots. Imagine being deathly afraid of needles yourself, to the point where you pass out more times then not. 

Imagine having to know what to do if your child goes unconscious because their sugar levels are too low, or having to work out a diet that is Diabetes & Celiac compatible. 

Imagine being so scared of yet another thing that could potentially threaten to take your child away. 

Imagine thinking God or Fate or whomever is running this show, is outta their freaking mind to unfairly give your child yet something else to battle. Imagine feeling so utterly overwhelmed & never being able to catch your breath, finally getting use to one diagnosis only to receive another.  

Imagine after a day like that, rocking your little girl at bedtime, thinking she is asleep, so letting teardrops fall. Imagine her then reaching up and gently touching your cheek, wiping away your tears in her own way and snuggling in deeper as if to let you know it will all be okay.

Imagine if you can, all of this. And then you will be me. The momma in the pantry needing to cry because you just gave your daughter her first shot of insulin. 

Type 1 Diabetes you don't know what you're in for - Pip and I, are gonna kick your arse! Might take a few pantry-cries to get there, but we will. 

2 Night Summer Giveaway @ Presidents' Suites

While this summer has been full thus far of popsicles, watermelon & everything else associated with the season, it's also been excruciatingly exhausting. 

I have 3 hooligans - A newly 5 year old who wants to play lego, go for bike rides & be outside as much as possible. The sassiest little girl who needs constant supervision & would dance all day if I let her. And a happy-go-lucky baby boy who is breastfeeding, still napping twice a day & into just about everything...

3 kids with 3 totally different needs and I've been feeling like I'm pulled in so many directions having them home with me all summer. And to be honest, the mundaneness of the everyday was getting a bit weary. 

So, I was beyond happy to break it up a bit & do some summer at the lovely Presidents' Suites in Haileybury, Ontario. 

Our days were filled with comfy sleep-ins, porch chats on rocking chairs, coffee made from one of those fancy machines that create cappuccinos, late-night snuggles watching the Olympics & homemade pastries brought every morning, including Nicole - the sweetest hostess around, making Pip special gluten-free things...

We most definitely will be back & I'd love for someone to get to experience what we did. So together with Presidents' Suites we are doing a giveaway which includes a 2 night stay & a fabulously fun pirate scavenger hunt on Farr Island.

Here’s how you enter to WIN:
  • Simply like Presidents Suites on Facebook {Click HERE} any time between Aug 15th to Aug 21st & make sure you're a Happy Soul Project Facebook follower - A winner will be randomly selected on Aug 22nd...

The older I get, the more I realize life is all about soaking in the memories with those that matter to you. And being able to create moments that me, my children & husband will remember, literally is what it's all about...

So, good luck & to whomever wins, I hope it brings as much happiness to you as it did to us.

Worth it...

Days like today make me re-hash everything she's been through medically, discover where she falls developmentally according to doctors and makes me want to punch the word "milestone" in the neck.

Days like today make me understand how her needs will likely be met & hope special equipment & accommodations will be provided. 

Days like today make me re-live what I don't often reflect on; surgeries, illnesses, hospital stays & medications. 

Days like today make me feel the heavy of heart defects, Congenital CataractsHypothyroidism, Celiac Disease & all Down syndrome carries along for the ride.

Days like today I feel myself on the verge of slipping into a rut. 

But then I think of her. I think of what she brings to the table. I think of her how she's changed my world. I think of what she does for our family, our hometeam. I think of all the walls she's broken, milestone development charts she's proved wrong & the fact that she connects with me, with us, so deeply simply by being herself. I think of all the joy she brings, the contagious smile that no one can refuse & her need to get down to a beat, as much as humanly possibly.

 I think of her this morning, as she patiently waited for me to "find her." How she'll never really know, how nice it is to start my day with her face just beaming of love. 


I think of her this morning, as she tried so very hard to communicate. Her "toooo-ast" that she demanded for breakfast, followed by her ferociously signing "music" & then yelling out "Ma, Momma, Mom" cause I took too long for her liking. 

I think of her this morning, as she proudly picked out her own sandals, took her dad by the hand & led him to the front door to take her to "school-aka-daycare."

I think of all the way-too-many-to-count beautiful moments that she brings into our lives every day. And all I know, despite days like today, is aren't we ever lucky...

It's not just a sign...

In our home, there is this one wall, that for over a year now, I've imagined the perfect piece of art to represent my little family. And for some reason, I kept coming back to the idea of a Subway sign. 

I wanted a symbol to look at daily, of how this all started, the journey we've traveled on thus far & the love it's brought into our lives. 

When I met my husband in Windsor, I was a cocktail waitress & he was a poor University student. We had barely any money, a whole lotta love & some big, adventurous dreams. 

With a suitcase each, we kissed our family & friends goodbye & moved abroad to Dublin, Ireland. We lived in literally a one room apartment, I used the 4 kitchen cupboards to store clothes, we drank way too much Guinness, met amazing people & made memories, I'm sure we'll talk about till the end. 

Since then, we've had three kids, moved a bunch of times, lived in numerous cities and discovered a love so beautifully chaotic it makes me believe in fate. My husband often tells me that he knew after our first date that he loved me & I often question if maybe deep down I knew too. 

Maybe that boy who tried to give me a high-five after the "best first date he's had" was always the boy for me. Maybe fate knew this was the boy I needed. This was the partner who balanced me out. This was the man who makes our Hometeam work. 

And this was the sign that reminds me of it all. Can't thank Art By Kelly for getting it so perfect.