Tattoo strippers, boob smack & retard = Happy Soul Project

Today is the last day of National Down syndrome Awareness Month & I for one could not be happier...I'm bloody exhausted...Writing, posting pictures, thinking of quotes & ideas for 31 days has been more challenging than I thought it would be...


I'm also ready to "move on" from celebrating this side of Pippy...


Don't get me wrong, I really think all the awareness, information & inspiration that has been shared this past month has served it's purpose...At least I want to believe it has...


I want to believe that in some way those that did their part, somehow made a difference...


For me, I hope that the pics of Pip each day helped change someone's perspective a wee bit...I know without a doubt, it helped make someone smile but I hope it hit a little deeper than that...


Actually what I hope more than anything is that it smacked a certain few right in the face...You see in having a blog, you get "stats"- information about what countries view it, what posts are popular & key words people use to search or find your blog...


For the most part I find this absolute hilarious- As you can see below, some things people have searched & ended up at Happy Soul Project are bizarre...I wrote once about a seagull shatting on me & now thousands of people who are googling seagull end up here...


And than there are some word searches I just don't get- things like "tattoo strippers, beauty boobs & boob smack" or "Daddy knocking me up stories"- I mean I'm pretty sure I've said the word boobs before but I am not 100% sure I even know what a boob smack is...



Regardless of how people find their way to Happy Soul Project, I'm happy they are here...


But it's when I see people are searching words like "Retard", "Retarded babies" or "Down syndrome jokes" that the smack em in the face reaction comes into play..It's kind of shocking, utterly devastating & oh so sad that people are actually searching such things...


So my hope is some how, some way Happy Soul Project changes them, even for a second...Search "Retard" & then find stories about how Down syndrome changed my whole outlook on life...Search "Retarded babies" & see beautiful pictures of my baby girl who is doing more good for this world than they could ever imagine...Search "Down syndrome jokes" and find a place where instead Down syndrome is being celebrated...


My hope is as hard as it is to see people actually search these types of things, that they end up here at Happy Soul Project instead of sites out there that are actually making fun of people with Down syndrome...Hard to imagine I know but it's true, sad and actually quite horrifying that there are people out there that seek that out...


So, as National Down syndrome Month comes to an end as much as it makes me happy that Pip makes y'all smile...I hope some how, some way this past month she has helped change someone...Someone who in my mind desperately needed it...


My hope is that in seeking out Down syndrome they realize the person behind it...Pip is who she is & while she has Down syndrome she is not Down syndrome- She is so much more...



This month while appreciating all the efforts bloggers, organizations & other parents put into raising awareness, I absolutely fell in love with a new campaign called Lose the Label...

Mara's mom is the brilliant mind behind the campaign & while chatting with her we found "we are of similar mind when it comes to our girls"Here are her thoughts & a bit of background behind Lose the Label:


"My daughter is Mara, 16 months old, intelligent, funny, beautiful, and my Mara has Down Syndrome.
When my husband Ben and I received confirmation of Mara's diagnosis (Trisomy 21) on day 3 of her life, I did not fear it, I did not love my girl any less, I did not morn the loss of what I had hoped she would be, she was everything I had hoped and she held my heart from the moment she arrived screaming, just 33 weeks and a tiny 3lbs 3oz (1510 grams). To this very day the only fear I have is society. The part society will play in shaping the way my daughter feels about herself. This is the reason for Lose the Label.
 
Lose the Label is a campaign to promote the use of person first language. Language is inherent, this campaign is not designed to point fingers or make anyone feel uncomfortable because they may have used limiting language in the past, its merely asking you to think about what it is you are saying. A small change in our language can make a huge difference to someones life.

The Lose the Label Facebook page will provide information to help you know what to say, when talking to new parents of a child diagnosed with Down Syndrome, referring to a group or an individual with Down Syndrome, anything that has historically been limiting and negative, the posts on the page will provide a more inclusive alternative so it's easy to know what language to use."

Please find the beautiful picture of Mara below & look for Pip's pic tomorrow on Lose the Label Facebook Page HERE...





And a big thank you to everyone for celebrating Pippy & the month with Happy Soul Project- Thanks for all lovely comments, sharing Pip's awareness pictures & following the journey with us... 


And if I ever end up finding out what a boob smack is or have a story about tattoo strippers I'll be sure to let y'all know...

I got a big love/hate on...

I have a love/hate, okay mostly hate relationship with Pip's therapy stuff...I love that it is available & we are being proactive instead of reactive...I love that the people involved seemed to actual care about Pip's progress & are helpful & supportive...I love that we really have seen her develop the last few months- almost as if catching up from the slow start she had at the beginning...


But all that positive stuff being said- I still hate it...


I hate that it even has to happen...It's hard to explain but let me try...


As a mum you kinda naturally just know what to do- well at least I felt like I did...You know how to hold them as babies, feed them when the time comes, play & do activities together- It all just comes about as it should...No one necessarily is telling you what to do or how to do it...You're just doing what feels right for you & your baby...


But with Pip it's the opposite...While I still just do what comes naturally, it is now on display, literally for others to dissect...


"Hold the spoon this way instead of that way", "Lift her leg up from under her", "Make sure you have conversations everyday with her"...



Whatever it is- whatever they are telling me for some reason it bugs me...A lot...


I've never really been one to like when people tell me what to do- So having someone, {regardless of the fact that they are just trying to help} watch you intently while you feed, play or talk with your baby just about does me in...


Take the other day for example- The doorbell rang at 9 am, the hooligans were both in pj's, I'm was looking like a hot mess in leggings & a tight tank top with a nursing pad poking out the top, no makeup, hair in a bun, the house was outrageously messy & the dog was going absolutely buck wild...I opened the door shocked to find Pip's Feeding Specialist & Speech Therapist all set & ready to go for an in-home session...


Bloody hell- It's the first appointment I have forgotten & of course that's how it starts- So right off the hop I'm irritable with myself, not prepared & silently praying that Noal will eat a muffin & watch a show while we focus on Pip...


Now I'm not one to cry much, but after they left I just couldn't help it...I just hate all of this sometimes...


I hate that I feel like I am being "judged"...I know in reality I am not- But when you're sitting there & all eyes are on how you are feeding your child, how your holding the spoon, how your paying attention to her behaviour or shouldn't be, all really do my head in...



I just want to be...Period...I just wish all of this was just as natural as it was with Noal...I wish I didn't want to punch her Speech Therapist in the neck when he looks at me in all seriousness & says, "Do you talk to Pip? Do you look at her when you're talking?" - Or when she's playing with a toy & he advises me to, "Repeat what you are saying, Pip press the button, Pip press the button, Pip press the button" - Wham punch in the neck...


It's a weird thing this whole therapy thing...It's like I go in there, rooting & hoping Pip really shows off...Really proves to them how much we've been working on things...Last week in her OT & PT appointment she impressed them with how well she's been sitting up- And a little part inside of me was clapping wishing I could scream out, "See we got this- You show them Pip"...


But then there are other days where she is tired or has had enough & she doesn't do as well...Days were she just looks up at me with tears in her eyes & I can tell she's exhausted...Those days I just scoop her up & tell them she's done & that we will work on things at home...Those days I try not to cry- I try not blame myself for not doing enough...Those days suck to be flat out honest...


And as if the actual sessions weren't hard enough, you then get a report a few weeks later that flattens you completely...There I am proud little mumma thinking Pip is doing so well, {and she is} but comparatively to a "typical" 10 month old in which the report is compared to she is not...


So it all kinda just smacks ya in the face...


Different bloggers out there really get into the whole "therapy" side of Down syndrome...And I actually really appreciate that as it gives an outlook on what to expect...Those reading Happy Soul Project & looking for some therapy tips/advice/etc please seek out other bloggers as I probably won't be getting into such detail- Blogs like Noah's Dad are quite helpful for that kind of information.


I've said it before, I do, really truly believe her big brother will be by far her best "therapy" in life...Keeping up with him, playing, learning & absorbing all he does has already helped her grow leaps & bounds...





At the end of the day, I really do know that all these therapies are a really good thing for Pip- It's a part of her life & I need to embrace it a bit better... 



But a part of me will always still hate it...

Choose to Shine ~ Crap & All

Tuesdays are my "easy" days- Well at least they are supposed to be...They are just me & Pip days & usually involve at least one doc appointment but for the most part are relaxing compared to when a busy toddler is around...


I had just gotten Noal out the door for daycare, had brewed up a nice hot coffee & was about to catch up on some Ellen when I smelt something a little funny...


Looking over at Pippy happily jumping away in her exersaucer, I thought it couldn't possibly be her & blamed it on a dog fart instead...The smell lingered longer than Deacon's typical bombs so I regrettably put my hot coffee down & went over to a lovely early morning surprise...


Pip was up to her neck in crap - Literally...


As I screamed in disgust, debating my plan of attack, I knew I had to act fast as each jump caused a most disgusting result...


It was a cut the sleeper, hold back gagging, get her the hell out of it, hold back gagging, wash any & everything, hold back gagging kinda morning & she seemed to love it...

~Jumping in crap didn't even seem to phase her~

~Getting in the bath upset her more than anything~
~For half a minute & then she was as happy as can be~
~Loving bath time without her brother bugging ~
~Seems like she is plotting when her next explosion will be~
~This is her new wide mouth smile - I'm obsessed with it~

Love that she smiles through all the crap life throws at her...Literally...



She always "Chooses to Shine"...Who knew a crap of a day would hold a life lesson? Don't always blame the dog...







My 3 Fav Post...Hop...Hop...Hop...

Last time I participated in the Down syndrome Blogs & T21 Alliance Blog Hop you had to share 1 truth, 1 tip & 1 photo...This month the purpose is to share 3 of your favourite posts in relation to Down syndrome...So here goes:


One: Life is beautiful because Reid Layne is here...
I guess I would have to start at the beginning of our journey with Down syndrome...Writing this post changed me...It was healing, overwhelming & soul bearing to write but it also catapulted my outlook on everything...I often read this post just to realize how far we've come...


I also adore this little sign that hangs above Pip's crib - It saved me in a way then & will always hold a special message throughout her life...









Two: 6 Thoughts for 6 Months as a Special Needs Mumma
In those first few months of Pip's life we were close to losing her & she overcame mountains...I kinda felt in a way I earned my badge of honour as a Special Needs mumma & these were 6 thoughts I had along the way...


Three: Finding Joy Each Day- Each Step- Each Dance
This was a very simple, yet very special moment for my husband & I in embracing the fact that our daughter had Down syndrome...



Those have been my 3 Favourite post in regards to our journey with Down syndrome- What have been yours?





Also don't forget to check out these other bloggers below:

"Faith in a box"

Growing up "heavily Christian", rebelling to "nothing" & then kinda-sorta-finding my own peace, hope, faith in God has been such a journey...An ongoing, ever changing one that comes & goes in little whispers throughout my life...To read more about that click HERE...


God or Fate or whomever is no longer in a church for me...And that's okay...I'm okay with that...That doesn't mean when I am in a church I don't feel God- It just means my "Faith, Belief, Hope, Peace" is thinking outside that "Christian Box"...


Regardless, one thing that always moves me about going to a church, any church is seeing the faith others hold...


Take today for example...While at a beautiful, old church watching our friend's get their baby baptized my mind was not once on the service, the songs or the scriptures being read...


My mind was on the frail old lady in the first pew who seemed to be drinking in ever word or blessing as if she needed it to survive...


My mind was on the man behind me who sang so incredibly bad & loud, but it didn't matter because he meant it with all he had...


My mind was seeing the kindness in the old man beside me as he gently touched Pip's back, smiled & said God Bless her...This same old man who as they baptized my friend's baby, whispered in my ear that in that exact same spot 73 years ago he was once baptized...He then pointed to the frail old lady at the front of the church and told me it was his mother & she was 105 years old & had been attending this very church for 100 years...As if that wasn't amazing in itself, he then told me she refuses to miss a Sunday & walks a bloody hill to get there...


Right in that moment, that is what I needed to feel "God"...I just needed a little dose of seeing someone else's faith- And not just a little bit, a 100 years worth...




And that my friends, is all I needed to appreciate "Faith" today...Not the hymns being sung, the words from the bible, the communion shared by many...But simply a message outside of the box...

A wee little hangover feels just right...

Today I'm thankful for the wee little hangover I have...Yep, that's right...I'm thankful for the throbbing stab in my head- The strong desire to want to punish a greasy burger- And waking up feeling a little parched...It's been sooo long since I had a few...


Having two babies back to back & exclusively breastfeeding them doesn't give you a big window of opportunity for pints & shots...But last night it was lovely to leave "being a mum" at home for a bit & be in a bustling bar with some girlfriends...


That being said, today friends you are simply getting Pip's Down syndrome Awareness Pic as my mind doesn't want to focus too much on gathering thoughts for a post...


So, I leave you with the wise words of Aibileen Clark- Words that I will most definitely instill in Pip...


Ok maybe a few more pics too!!!




Happy Saturday...And for the record I love a Snakebite- bloody refreshing little treat that is...

If you are lucky enough to be different don't ever change...

The other day Noal came home from daycare all done up special for "Crazy Hair" day...The teachers all claimed he had the prettiest hair & sat perfectly still while they put in about 10 ponies...Wasn't surprised...Since Pippy's been sporting pigtails, Noal sometimes asks for some himself...


Sure thing buddy...Here's my pig-tailed hooligans...



And Pip's Down syndrome Awareness Pic of the day...


Have a great weekend friends...

Sometimes you need a little cheese & corn...

One thing I love dearly about my husband is his brutal honesty with me...Take yesterday, after reading my "Happy Ever After" post...He just looked at me with a smirk on his face and said, "A little corny even for you T" and pointed at the picture at the bottom and added, "That's a lot of cheesiness"...


Ah God love him...He's absolutely right though...Reading it back today, it does come across as overly cheesy/corny, some kind of make believe "Disney fairy tale" family life...And that is most definitely not what our lives are...


Our lives are full of messy diapers, staggered sleepless nights, scratches in our new hardwood floors, irrational irritability, spilt cheerios, snotty noses, weekly doc appointments, short tempers, cuts & bruises, lots of "no way Mummy", speech & other therapies, potty training, lots of coffee, daily chores, worrying about the future, more surgeries & mundane everyday life... 


But our lives are also full of Eskimo kisses, snuggling in blankets, walks hand in hand, sing-a-long songs & love...So it kinda balances it all out...



I didn't mean to make it come off all "Disney-ish" - I meant it more as what you dream or hope as your "Ever After" might/probably will be different than what it becomes...But that it will be brilliant all the same...



So, in honour of my husband's honesty today's Down syndrome Awareness Pic is a photo of him & Pip...And trust me if I wanted to go cheesy with a quote today I most definitely could...Was tempted to really get him good & use something like this beauty, "I may find a Prince but you will always be my King"...Barf



But like always his honesty reigns me in & balances my cheese & corniness...So instead I've decided to simply quote him...



Beautiful right? It's from a letter he wrote Pip back in February- The full post is HERE....

.......................................................................................................................................................


Reid,
I must start this with an apology – When it comes to my family and the feelings and emotions that I have towards them my instinct has been one of privacy.  When your Mom shared with me this idea I backed away from making my private thoughts and wishes for you public ones.  I have come to learn that although this is a creative outlet for her, it comes from a place of pure love and is something only she could do.  This love for her children, in my mind, has not only inspired but has challenged people to look at their own family in a different way.  I love how brave she is – you will undoubtedly get that trait from her.
As you will find out I can be stubborn at times, but after some careful reflection this truly is something special.  I feel as though I need to be a part of it.  So I am sorry for being late to the dance, but when you dance as well as I do you can afford to let punctuality slide – you can ask your mother about that.
I think I have always been one of those guys who thought they had a good handle on life and the lessons it can teach you.  I carried on this way until the day your mother told me your brother was on his way.  For me it was a sobering moment that exposed me to an uncertainty mixed with pride and happiness.  My insecurities went from an ultimate high when I first held him back to normal within a month or two – that’s right it didn’t take me very long to think I knew it all….Again. 
When I found out that you were on the way, a day I like to call Shock n Awe, I found myself composed and calm.  It was nothing I hadn’t been through before….piece of cake right?
When we brought your brother home I remember my mind racing about all the things I would teach him over the course of his life.  When you came home with us the only thought that I can remember was thinking about all the things you would teach me.  This is a theme that has continued and something that I look forward to daily.  I can’t wait to see your interpretation of our world as you grow, I am sure it will continually change the way I think about things – as much if not more than you being in my life already has.
You will probably hear a lot of words like benchmark, spectrum, and milestone but I want you to keep this one thought close to you. You will never care about where you are unless you remember how you got there.  Struggle, determination, and resilience build character and you, sweet thing, are full of just that.  I will always be right beside you to hold your hand or give you a boost in the event that you need it….but I know you’ll do just fine.
As you can tell by these letters your mother is a pretty special person – you will hear no different from me…..well maybe once in a while…usually when she is smothering everyone with “We should take a picture”.  She is easily the most beautiful person I know, this blog is only a small window into the size of her heart and just look at how many people she has touched.  The three of us are lucky to have her and she will be your biggest cheerleader throughout life.  If you get just half of her smile you will be one amazing lady.
I look forward to our journey……
I love you,
Dad
......................................................................................................................................................
And here's some extra pics of the two of them...Nothing cuter than a dad with his baby girl right?




~All of these beautiful photos are by Genevieve from Joie de Viever~

Glad that I have a guy who tells me as it is...And sorry friends for the "Disney-ish" type fluff from yesterday- Wasn't really my style & I promise to keep the cheese & corn to the minimal from here on out...


As for cheese & corn you can best be believing that's what good, old Mr. Honesty is getting for dinner tonight...

This really is our Happy Ever After...

When you are younger & you think about what your life is yet to become - The "Happy Ever After" can be anything...A handsome prince, getting into a brilliant University, making it to the Olympics, even flying to the moon...The point is you daydream what the "Ever After is" without even really knowing what it could possibly be...


Take my life for example...What I use to dream as my "Ever After" is completely different than the reality of what is has become...But I guess that's the beauty of it all...Dreaming, living, walking on this journey that is set out for you in life..


Sometimes I have days or moments where my life feels like I couldn't possibly have dreamed a "Happier Ever After"...


Take the other day...


A friend took some family pics for us, well really me...I adore having pics of my little family- And even though I take hundreds of pics a week, it's rare that the 4 of us are in them together...Craig on the other hand is not a big fan of pictures in general, let alone a family photo shoot...So I didn't tell him until the very the last minute, that way he couldn't get all worked up about it...I'm good like that...


The shoot was as to be expected...Never what you picture it to be...Pip had fallen asleep in the car on the way there so had her grump face on for the majority of it...


Noal was well Noal...Chasing after things, wanting to dig in the mud, wiping his snotty nose all over my face...The usual...I resorted to flat out lying to get him to look at the camera..I'd yell out "Oh look there's Aidan" {his little buddy who we were seeing after} & pretend I kept seeing him...


The thing that got me the most looking at the pictures is she really captured us as we are...








And I felt the love, the hope, the happiness when I looked at them...It hasn't been the easiest of years for my little family but seeing all that shine through brought such a overwhelming feeling when I saw them...


Regardless the challenges...Overcoming the hurdles...Accepting it all as it comes....This is our story...This is our journey...This really is our Happy Ever After...





BIG SHOUTOUT: All photos are by Genevieve from Joie de Viever ...Thank you Gen for having such a big heart, talented eye & capturing us as we are...Much love...