This Kinda Love...

I can't think of anything as fragile as a momma's heart...Before having kids, I might have never thought that or truly understood it. But being a momma breaks your heart...Literally. 

I mean I can't think of anything more potentially heartbreaking - Sure if you lose a spouse, parent or someone close, it is an undeniable loss. But the thought of losing or something happening to your child, a piece of you, someone that no matter what can never be replaced, is so different.

Losing your son from cancer, having your 3rd miscarriage, choking on fear at the thought of another surgery for your little girl, learning how to deal with kids bullying your 6 year old, having other children call your baby broken or gross...I mean how do us mommas seriously do it?

I guess it's the most selfless act of love - Our hearts are no longer are own. Mommy-Hood is this big, gigantic leap of faith hoping, praying, wishing you get to keep them and protect them until your time has come. 

But I guess the risk of it all, is experiencing this kinda love.

The kinda love where both hands are used to grab your face for a kiss.

The kinda love where you can make someone laugh more than anyone else on the planet.

The kinda love where what you say, how you act and who you are, all matter - You choose how they see their momma and who they become because of it.

The kinda love where you can still make mistakes daily, but know your love is enough regardless. 

The kinda love where your life explodes in beautiful purpose and your heart finally feels fulfilled. 

The kinda love where you are their world and they are yours - And really that is all that matters.

So to all mommas out there - Those that lost a piece of themselves, those that are trying desperately to become one, those that are in sleepless nights and those that are grieving their empty nest. Regardless of the heartache, regardless of the fear, regardless of the unknown, remember & dwell in this kinda love.

"Motherhood: All love begins and ends there." - Robert Browning

Happy Momma's Day.

Moments Like This, Make Me Believe....

The scar on my daughter's back is barely visible anymore...I know it's there because I trace it when I'm reflecting on that day. The day I begged God-Fate-Karma whomever, to keep her alive during her heart surgery. The day it felt like God was actually holding me...

It's funny, I grew up in a Christian home, heck my grandpa was even a preacher, but for me God is not so much a church anymore, but moments within my life. And this moment will be one I forever embrace.

Obviously leading up to my daughter's heart surgery, I was a hot-outta-control-snickers-binge-eating-emotional MESS. Everything I did with her, in the back of my head I thought "this might be the last time". Her last bath, her last nap, her last snuggle. I remember waking her, cause God knows I didn't sleep that night, around 3 am to nurse her for "the last time" and that just about did me in. I remember stroking her little head as tears streamed down my face and begging God to please let me keep her.

Giving Pip to the doctor was probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Although she had a quite serious surgery before this one, for some reason the thought of operating on her heart seemed so much more unstable.

As soon as I placed Pip into the doctor's hands, I literally collapsed on the floor in the middle of the hall, weeping in fear. My husband picked me up and shoved us into the first door he saw and it just so happen to be a chapel.

As I cried my heart out, and my husband held me, it felt in a way like God was holding me too - That as scared as I was, as unsure about everything happening, a peace kinda came over me and I knew that God was there looking out for my little girl.

It was a simple moment, wasn't like lightening crashed down on us, or the heavens opened up, or the doc came running in and said she's fixed...In reality my husband could have picked any door, but Fate knew that was the door I needed, that was the door that let me feel God.

It's moments like this, that make me believe. 

Happy 2nd Heart-Aversay my sweet Pippy Layne...

Quite the Bee....Actually Bee of all Bees.

One of the things that blows me away all the time is the generosity in people's hearts...I couldn't do everything that I do, without the help of others - And because of it I am throwing a Kick-It-Capes Sewing Bee to pay it forward so that this beautiful cycle happens over & over.

Over 2000 Kick-It-Capes have been given out around the world, we always have kids on our waiting list and we are working with organizations like Sick Kids, Kingston General Hospital and Ronald McDonald House. 

On May 31st we will be hosting A Bee - A Day of Inspiration, Hope and making the world a brighter place. This will be a Sewing Bee like none other in the sense that it won't just be about sewing - The day is meant to uplift others and stories will be shared, tears will be flowing, hugs will probably be needed and Kick-It-Capes will mean that much more. 

My best friend Laura, whose little boy Maiysn is the inspiration behind our Kick-It-Capes, will be sharing their story and her heartache in losing her precious son. You will find out why it's so important that these capes live on, so that Maiysn can soar in his legacy. 

You will listen to stories from two other mommas about what it meant to receive a cape for their child and the hard journey they are facing. And you will hear a dad's perspective in fighting and losing his beautiful daughter - A little girl that touched my heart so deeply...

We need all sorts of help - those that can sew, those that can't, those that can iron, those that have never touched one like me, those that can cut, those that are better without scissors, mostly we just need those that want to help...

I just want this to be a day of hope and I can't wait for you all to hear these incredible stories of inspiration and help create Kick-It-Capes to lift up kids all over the world.

So all the info is here:
Tickets are limited and can be purchased HERE...

Hope to meet some of y'all, although you might not recognize me because I'll be a hot-emotional-crying-my-eyes-out-mess...

21 Things that Rocked My Socks off this World Down Syndrome Day

1. Last fall the Kingston Frontenacs, our OHL team which is a level below the NHL, I think - I'm really the worst person ever to know anything about hockey...In the first meeting with them, when we were coming up with ideas, they asked if Pip & Noal would like to design their socks and brought out a gigantic sock to which I said, "I'm really sorry, I just do not understand this at all, is that just a really obese man's sock?" - To which laughing and utterly shocked they replied, "No, it's a hockey sock, the players wear them." - The fact that they miraculously still wanted to partner with us after my evident lack of hockey knowledge is awesome. So we celebrated World Down syndrome Day with them and thousands of people all celebrating the beauty in differences.

Photo by Julia McKay - The Whig Standard - Full article HERE

2. The hockey socks themselves designed by a 2 and 3 year old were outrageous and everything differences should represent - Awesome, beautiful, colourful & spirited. Seeing what my hooligans created when the players wore them, was actually quite cool.

3. My Happy Soul Project team worked it out that night - They sold shirts & signs like it was there job...I mean seriously, I am the luckiest in regards to the right people falling into my life. My girls who help at events, do so much behind the scenes, are passionate about our mission, love my kiddos and make me laugh so very much, truly are such a part of all of this.

4. Pip tried popcorn for the first time and this picture will go down as one of my favs ever.

5. Being surrounded by friends and family - Noal's little buddy, my cousins, Emma and others from our Down syndrome group...Just being surrounded in a huge hug of love & support. 

6. One of the most touching moments of the night was when students from the Hart Studio sang our National Anthem. Check out what this amazing non-profit is doing HERE...

7. Right as we stepped onto the ice and I was about to get all blubbery-over-the-top emotional, my foot slipped on the carpet and almost took me down. Thankfully this big momma didn't fall and it sobered me up to take it all in, instead of cry it all out. 

8. My little boy was beyond excited...Meeting the hockey players, dropping the puck, getting to keep it and show all his friends, being on the jumbotron, looking up and having an entire arena cheering for what he thought was him, just about might be the best day in his little life yet.

Photo by Julia McKay - The Whig Standard

9. Pip clapping so hard and literally oozing delight. At one point she was so excited when the entire arena was clapping for her, that I thought she was going to jump outta my arms...I realize she doesn't get it now, but one day I hope she knows how proudly we celebrated her. Watch this awesome video to see her delight HERE.

10. Looking around and seeing so many Happy Soul Project shirts was humbling, exciting and such a proud moment...Seeing others rock our Down syndrome Proud, Paint Outside the Lines or What Makes You Different Is What Makes You Beautiful baseball t's was pretty damn cool.

11. My husband is my support behind the scenes kinda thing. He doesn't really do any of the media side of things in regards to Happy Soul Project...But anything hockey and count him in - The sock incident had him in shamed disbelief - But seeing the pride in his eyes that night for our little girl was truly a beautiful thing. 

12. Seeing Happy Soul Project logo and video up on the jumbotron-big-screen-thingy...I mean, that was just cool - Who would have thought a blog I started thinking my mom, aunt and a handful of girlfriends would read would one day turn into what it has.

13. All the local media attention bringing awareness to World Down syndrome Day, Kick-It-Capes, and other initiatives from Happy Soul Project. My girl is becoming a pro and charms tv & radio host over within seconds. 

14. Meeting Bill Welychka a Much Music VJ from my teenager days who now host The WS Daily show and getting "church giggles" so bad I couldn't control them...During a commercial break we let Pip listen to Up Town Funk on a phone and seconds before we went live, the phone dropped under Bill's chair on full volume as he reported the news & weather...Watching him keep a straight face as Bruno Mars was blasting "Girls hit your hallelujah - Whuooo" did me right in and I had to think really sad, sad thoughts to reign er back together. 

15. This moment...I mean not being a "hockey" person I didn't think it would be as emotional as it was. But being there, feeling the love from the crowd, the excitement from my children, looking into the stands and seeing so many people there proudly celebrating their differences with us - It was a bucket-list-kinda-moment for sure. 

16. When people came over to say hi, tell me their stories, explain what Happy Soul Project meant to them or how Pip's changed their perspectives, it validated everything we are trying to do...Also seeing people rock their socks everywhere, you could almost physically feel acceptance & awareness wherever we went. 

17. The half hour we spent backstage with the students from the Hart Studio was very special. Watching them rehearse, interact with each other, play with my kids and just be who they are was very powerful for me. 

18. Since becoming a part of the Down syndrome community, the one thing I walk away with over and over is how fiercely proud we are to be parents, grandparents, siblings or friends of people with Down syndrome - And you could feel that...

19. Like my Happy Soul Project team I mentioned above, my friend and uber talented photographer from Eden Grove Photography, Sandra has a way of capturing these moments in my little family's life, that will always be cherished. She is such a part of what we are doing and her gigantic, generous heart is always teaching me things. 

20. The #differentisbeautiful hockey socks are being auctioned off to raise moula for our Kick-It-Capes Sewing Bee in May...The socks are signed by players and have my hooligans handprints and outrageous artwork all over them...If you want to help and buy one - check out the auction till Monday HERE.

21. It's one thing for a parent to accept, love and celebrate the difference in their child. That alone is an amazing thing proving over and over that LOVE is greater than any diagnoses or disability.

But it's completely-take-your-breath-away-overwhelming when others celebrate that with you. When others lift up your child, celebrating their difference and clap as loud as you do, for who they are.

Happy World Down syndrome Day - till next year!!!

Generation by Generation.....

It pains me to think of what Pip's life would be like if she was born generations ago..The hardships, the struggles, the unacceptance and the ignorance. I can't imagine as a momma what those mothers went through giving up their children to institutions or adoption because of the pressures of society. And I'm so very thankful for the generations of mommas that proudly fought for the acceptance and inclusion we now have.

I realize it's an ongoing fight and I gladly pick up my piece in it, for the next generation to come. Because it really is the next generation that makes all the difference. It really is about how their going to see differences and what will come from that.

So whenever I can preach our #differentisbeautiful message to a school, that's when I truly feel, I'm taking it to church...That's when I feel it's mattering the most - because these kids are the kids that are going to be accepting my daughter as she is.

These kids are going to be the ones to shatter the stigma around disability.

These kids are going to be the ones to accept people for who they are, not the disability they have.

These kids are going to celebrate differences, whether that's freckles, one arm, diabetes or Down syndrome.

These kids are who are going to change the world.

Last year to celebrate World Down syndrome Day, I was invited to a school that celebrated this beautiful little girl named Emma. It did my momma heart good, seeing inclusion first hand and also seeing the love from Emma's classmates, teachers and her mom.

It was an honour to chat with these kids this year and tell them that they can indeed change the world...That they in fact, already are.

Happy World Down syndrome Day,

All photos by the ever talented Eden Grove Photography