"Dance with me Momma"


Dear Noal...

My darling, outrageously funny little boy, today you are three...And as I sit here trying to write you a letter, I'm looking at pictures and videos of the last 3 years with tears of pure joy, giggles from deep inside and so much gratefulness that you are mine...You, my little Noal make our family, you have so very much of my heart and we are not a HomeTeam without you...


I honestly can't believe how the years, days, minutes have flown with you by my side...I also find it hard to remember what my life was like before I had you...You came and all of a sudden my world made so much more sense.


I quite simply adore being your momma. I adore watching you become this person who sometimes takes my breath away.


I love your audacious fearlessness in life whether that be how you jump off the couch or light up a room.


I love your hilarious wittiness and how you seek out trying to make others laugh. 





I love your spunky spirit and confidence and I hope you never lose that.



I love your stubborn-as-an-ox attitude {except at bedtime} and how strong-willed you're going to be. 



I love your creative imagination and all that runs through that funny little mind of yours...



I also love your sweet little soul and how you care about the ones you love.


I have no doubt you will grow into such a beautiful person & a happy soul. I love you son, so very, very much. It actually hurts when I think about how much. I don't even know if that makes sense but once you become a momma it's like you love so hard it hurts. 



So on this day, your third birthday instead of telling you everything you like {cars, animals & Franklin}, or what your favourite food {pizza} is, I just actually want to thank you.


Thank you first of all for making me a momma  - I always talk about how much your sister has changed me because of all that has happened, but really I owe it all to you...You made me a momma, made my heart love more than I possibly thought it could, took away {part} of my selfishness, made me look at life, my purpose and what I'm here for more clearly and most importantly you taught me to always want to dance.


Everyday you say, "Dance with me momma" whether we are in our living room, the car, grocery store or a park. It's one of the absolute greatest lessons you've taught me in life - To truly live in the present, enjoy every moment and if you feel like dancing, have at er...



So, thank you son for teaching me to become a better person every day. 

And I promise to dance with you any time, any place and at any moment you want. Forever,


I love you Noal...


Love mum



Thanks to my family, our amazing friends and the person who makes the best chocolate cake in my life for making his day a special one...When I kept asking Noal what kind of party he wanted, all he would ever say was "a chocolate cake party" - So that's exactly what he got...







My daughter made history becoming a Cover Model...


It's been over 20+ years since a national Canadian parenting magazine, Today's Parent has featured a child with Down syndrome on the cover...And my girl, my daughter, my Pip was the one to change that.


Can you hear me thunderously clapping while reading this? If not maybe try clapping while you continue...Or if clapping isn't your thing and you want to continue reading in tears watch this first...



Did ya get through without some? That video seriously gets me every time...


But really when I think of the whole experience; working with the team at Today's Parent, the amazing photographer Hamin Lee, who not only took the time to make my kids laugh but danced right along beside them, getting to know the inspiring Editor-in-Chief and then seeing my words, my heart, my story inside the issue, it has all been kinda surreal...


But last week actually having the issue in my hands, seeing my kids on the cover, realizing how very special this all is, it almost took my breath away...

Seeing Noal in all his cuteness and knowing behind this picture was a little boy who not only got pizza sauce on this shirt, found a drill {ya, a freaking drill} on the set and tried to "fix' things, and neck-gripped-hugged his sister in his overprotective way, makes this picture all the more dear to me.


I mean for any momma, seeing their children in all their cuteness on a national magazine would be a moment...Right?


But seeing Pippy...Oh, be still my heart.


Well seeing my daughter on the cover is so much more than that...Seeing Pip on the cover is powerful, it's history and I guess it's HOPE...


It's hope that a change is coming - It's hope that people start to recognize and accept people as they are, no matter the differences - It's hope that as she grows up, more and more she sees "herself" or others with differences on magazine covers - It's hope that through her life and what we are doing at Happy Soul Project we are changing perspectives - It's hope and in a way proof {not that I needed it} that Pip is indeed a lifechanger, that her purpose here is so very meaningful and beautifully important. 


This experience for me in a way has kind of been eye-opening and in turn, almost life changing...Sitting down to talk with Sasha Emmons, the Editor-in-Chief and later trying to write the article, not knowing exactly what I wanted to say or how I wanted to say it brought out some real truths in my life...In a weird way it's almost kinda like being drunk - the truth comes out before you really even know what you are saying...


"I hope that Pip is in this world and knows how loved she is. Knows that it's okay to be different. Knows that she's beautiful. I hope that she grows up to be a creative, independent person with a generous spirit and grateful heart...Everything I hoped for my daughter before I found out she had Down syndrome, I hope for in Pip." - To read more and my article in Today's Parent click HERE....


Truths I didn't even know were there because I never really looked at them before...Truths that now fuel me even more so, in showing the world just how beautiful, different can be...


So truly from all that I got, thank you Today's Parent...Thank you for seeing the shine in my hooligans, thank you for recognizing and showcasing their happy little souls and helping to share our story, our message and our journey. 






All photos by the amazing Hamin Lee

I'm just an ordinary mom in extraordinary circumstances...


There has been a few videos in the past few months about Pip, Happy Soul Project and my little family that I honestly can't watch without shedding a few... Awhile back this tear-jerker from Station 14 Kingston came out and then well there possibly will never be anything in my life again, like the Indie88 Billboard reveal video.



I adore that my family gets to have these "keepsakes" if you will...These moments in our lives captured so beautifully to remember, be proud of and have a good cry at.


But I wanted to address one small thing in all of this...


Since all this media attention, be it videos or articles or our most recent Cityline TV interview, I'm constantly getting messages about what an amazing momma I am...And while it's always nice to hear and really lifts me up, I want it noted that I am indeed just a ordinary, everyday momma...It's just in my case I am in extraordinary circumstances in which the very best of me is being being showcased...


These videos, news articles, even my own pictures or blog posts, show me kissing my babies, laughing and dancing, fighting for advocacy & awareness...It doesn't show me yelling "Dammit" after my toddler son refuses to eat the eggs he just demanded I make or my eyes having their own pulse because I am so bloody tired....It doesn't show me crying in my minivan when Pip has a discouraging appointment or sobbing in my pillow when I find out another babe with Down syndrome didn't make it...It doesn't show me texting my girlfriends when I've spent hours trying to get Noal or as I refer to him my "demon" to bed, frustrated as all hell...It doesn't show me in my pjs having a day filled with Dora and Franklin because just the thought of lugging all of us out is beyond exhausting...And it certainly doesn't show me making beans and toast again for dinner or stepping on yet another dinky car, while swearing & throwing it, marking up the wall... 



It shows the best of me - Or so I like to think...



Take yesterday...Pip and I were on Cityline, hello amazing!!! And what you saw was a momma who loved her daughter and was fighting the fight to spread #differentisbeautiful a little further. 



And while that is the case, what you didn't see was:
  • I got lost and missed my exit coming into Toronto - I drove around downtown in traffic for 2 extra hours with Pip losing it, me needing to pee like it was my job and swerving my big momma van scared of you fearless Toronto bikers...
  • I stayed up too late with my cousin drinking too much wine and scarfing down the most garlic of all garlic-tzatziki sauces as if I didn't have an uber important tv interview in the morning.
  • I was up 4 times with Pip from 1 to 6 am and was at my wits end about to lose it from lack of sleep, a teething baby and nervousness at the day ahead when she woke me up with this:

  • My hair started out curly then Toronto humidity beat it down and I was worried it was going to get all big and bad for the interview - Instead of thinking about what I was going to say, what questions I might be asked - I was wondering how I was going to manage the frizz.
  • I waited in a parking lot outside Cityline for almost 45 minutes begging Pip to sleep because it was gonna be prime nap time when we were supposed to be filming - No such luck which in turn caused hair pulling and glasses rip-offs live on air...
  • I chatted with my husband numerous times before I walked in because he somehow in his straight-forward-way calms me the heck down.
  • When we had the Today's Parent shoot {blog to follow about this awesome outrageousness} I desperately wanted them to do my makeup but they said I looked fine - this time I was making sure it happened and I looked a bit "rougher" coming in - blame the wine or the baby up all night, either way I wanted to see what I could/would look like done up by a professional. 
  • Not only did the makeup artist have to work around and with Pip in my lap reaching for her brushes but she had to endure my still rancid tzatziki breath- So sorry about that. 
  • They had trouble getting the microphone in my dress because it was so bloody tight - that's a whole other blog in itself...I mean what does one wear on TV? We all know I struck out big time live with the Huffington Post...So you'd think I'd learn to step it up a notch, but no went big with an Old Navy Dress and Ardene's belt. 
  • One of the first things I did when I sat in the chair to be interviewed was nervously ask if the mug full of water was "for real" and could I have it so that I felt like I was on a "real talk show" - I'm seriously such a twonk...The audience laughed and they played along with me but who knows what they thought, when I announced and then stole the mug as a souvenir.



  • Everything happens so fast - one minute you are watching the show in the greenroom, next you are watching a few steps away and then wham you're in the chair and the camera is on...And the whole time I was wondering, how the heck are my legs supposed to be in this scenario? I looked over and the lovely Sasha, Editor-in-Chief of Today's Parent had her's crossed all lady like, but I had Pip on my lap so quickly made the decision to cross at the ankle...Bad call but y'all gotta realize that was honestly what was going through my head.

    • But then the questions started and not knowing it at the time but reflecting back after watching it a mere 32 times, I talk too much with my heart and way too much with my hands.

    • Add the granola bar I gave Pip and called lunch on the way home and trying to change out of my too tight dress in a busy parking lot and there you have it...


    You see I'm just an ordinary, everyday mom just being showcased by all the best points...


    Don't get me wrong, I do really think I am an awesome momma to my two little hooligans...Most days. 


    But I have to state I think we all are - Being a momma is beyond anything I imagined. The happiest, the hardest and the most humbling experience by far in life...


    But it's us everyday mommas that are so awesome - It's that momma I saw the other day when Pip had 4 appointments back to back and I was thanking Sweet Jesus that Noal was in daycare, who had a baby and was entertaining a busy toddler..It's that momma who has twins and is determine to breastfeed them both...It's that momma who just knows something is wrong and fights and pushes for her babe...It's that momma who makes homemade muffins and baby food or who like me lives off those squeeze packs...It's that momma who volunteers at school, takes on play dates or goes to a job and works their arse off...It's that momma who at the end of the day kisses her sweet babes and thinks to herself I love you, I love us but tomorrow I am going to be an even better momma...


    Being a momma is what is amazing and inspiring...And I just happen to get this awesome opportunity to show others how I do it...


    So, truly thank you for all the kind and uplifting comments, messages and words - Right back at ya though mommas, right back at ya...


    "Beat It"


    I can't even describe the whirlwind my little family has been on the past few days, weeks, okay months really, but with anything there is most definitely a balance of good times and crappy moments...


    Take today.


    I had to lug Noal to some of Pip's appointments, usually I try to book them for when he is in daycare but some days that just doesn't happen...But I was prepared; a bag of snacks, my phone fully charged for a YouTube video if needed, toys and my patience fully charged and ready to go.


    Two hours in, a few major toddler tantis, making a "fishing pole" out of a measuring tape and latex glove, snacks and 3 granola bars demolished and my patience now patiently waiting for a gin & tonic.


    But it was during Pip's second appointment where I had to hold her down while two nurses poked both of her arms in search of her little veins, without any luck that I just about lost it...She was desperately struggling to be free, crying harder than I've ever heard her, saying "mum mum mum" over and over and her one little arm was already starting to bruise, when Noal turned his "fishing pole" into a sword and said, "That's enough, you ladies leave my sista alone". 


    When they wouldn't stop because they finally found a vein, Noal looked at me and said, "Momma tell them to beat it"...


    In that moment when I was so close to tears myself, so jealous of others whose day revolved around which park to go to and not which arm to let a nurse poke, when I was so frustrated about how our day was unfolding, my little man showed his sweet, protective heart and made me realize it's all okay. 


    This is all part of our story...The endless appointments...The dreaded blood work...The heart defects, vision problems, Hypotonia and now the news that Pip has Hypothyroidism - Resulting in medication and continual blood work.


    But it's still all okay.


    Sometimes it all just feels a bit much, and that she was the unfortunate one who got all the other health complications associated with Down syndrome and just can't catch a break. Her vision problems are consuming in itself, her heart surgery just about did me in and now while this is definitely treatable it's still a serious thing.


    At times, like Noal I wish I could just take her away, tell all the nurses and doctors and test to "beat it"....



    But it's all still okay - She's here, glasses, patches, scars & pills and really that's all that matters...

    Huffington Post interviewed me in my underware....Bloody hell...


    As I sit down to try and write about the whirlwind of the last few weeks, I keep coming back to the fact that I have to always be honest with y'all...You are the ones that have walked this journey with me thus far - Seen my excitement when doing newspaper interviews, voted to get Pip a billboard at one of the busiest intersections in Toronto, tried to rally the Ellen show to get Pip shaking her booty & withstood all my tears when talking about my girl, be that good or bad...


    So I have to be honest with you - It's only fair...


    I wore no pants yesterday while getting interviewed by the Huffington Post...


    Yep I wrote that write and you may not be able to watch the following video the same way every again - But honesty wins right?




    Yesterday a goal of mine since I was a journalism student became a reality...A daydream that replayed over and over while I worked at numerous newspapers played out - What a feeling that is...


    An article I wrote was published on the Huffington Post and that alone, made me byline giddy...Add in the proud momma stuff and the opportunity to share Happy Soul Project and the Special Olympics #takeastand campaign to a wider audience and well, you got a pretty, freaking amazing day...


    Then today I woke up and realized on the Huff Post page alone over 50,000 people have liked my article..MY article...MY words...My heart...Sweet Jesus...


    But what really floored me & I guess literally took the pants off me, was being asked to talk on Huff Post Live...


    Let's just run down my thought process or priorities here before you judge how this all came to be:

    • I had to get Noal to a friend's for the interview or else it would be total madness - He'd take over doing his rendition of What Does the Fox Say? or better yet he'd tell the interviewer his new fav thing to bust out with, "he has a penis"....So ya, priority one Noal outta here.
    • If you know me at all, you know I run late for everything - So after dropping Noal off I was in go mode, letting Pip destroy the playroom while I, all hot & flustered tried to get ready. I mean what in bloody hell, does one wear when getting interviewed by the media giant Huffington Post? So clothes everywhere, Pip somewhere, makeup starting to get melty in the heat and the only sensible solution was to take my pants off...I had time.
    • Next priority was to get Pip's pigtails in...It's her signature look these days because there is not much else to do with the long rat-tail growing awkwardly down her neck...
    • And then when I'm struggling to put in the second pigtail the damn Skype makes it gurgly little ring tone and my heart stops or drops or just doesn't remember to beat..I'm sitting on the floor and have to scootch up in a crawl-like-way with Pip on my lap to answer it...
    • It's the Huff Post Live audio department calling early - Bloody Awesome - I have to sit & listen in to the show live with the fear of any and everything in me thinking that:
        • A - The entire Huff Post Live newsroom can see my gonch - Sweet Jesus, what kind of underwear am I even wearing? 
        • B - What the hell am I going to do if they ask to see Pip crawl or do something? 
        • C- Maybe if I pull my shirt down lower it will seem like this top is a dress - dammit now I have too much cleavage showing but don't know how to pull it back up - dammit, dammit, dammit...
        • C - Is this really bloody hell happening?
    • At this point Pip is starting to get real antsy - grabbing at me, whipping her glasses off, me saving them like a skilled MLB player because if they fall to the floor there is no way this big girl can bend down to get them...
    • And then before I can put my oops-it-disconnected-try-calling-back-put-pants-on-in-2-seconds plan into play, the interview starts...
    • And what I thought would be a quick question or two turned into a 12 minute interview one on one with the host...A 12 minute interview in which I was begging God/Fate/Karma whomever to let me get through without showing the world totally what they don't need to see...A 12 minute interview in which all I could think was how do I possibly get out of it, if I'm asked to put Pip down and get her to crawl or dance...A 12 minute interview in which Pip flung her glasses and I let them drop trying to play if off with a "she's sassy line" knowing I couldn't even attempt to get them...A 12 minute interview that ended yet I still sat there for an extra 5 minutes in case somehow, someway my camera was still on....A 12 minutes interview I will never, ever forget...



    I get emotional watching this interview, but the overwhelming desire to laugh at certain points because I can tell when I'm thinking holy shite I'm not wearing any pants, really makes this unforgettable...

    Hope I didn't ruin it for you...Hope you can watch this clip below and remember #differentisbeautiful, we should think of people first and disabilities second and #takeastand with me & the Special Olympics....

    Who am I kidding right? And who bloody does this - I mean a once in a lifetime opportunity and I do it like this...

    So, Ellen if you have us on your show I promise both Pip and I will have pants on, Noal you can never tell, but here's hoping...







    P.S- After ABC News did an interview & I gotta say I felt much more comfortable zipped in safely...To see that interview click HERE