Down syndrome Diary...


In my hands I hold a simple leather book full of blank pages, yet it feels so powerfully important. It feels in a way like I'm holding hope in my hands and I can feel the influence of change in each page. It's a simple idea that ideally will inspire or help others. I have in my hands something I desperately wish I had when Pip was born...


A jumble of words, letters of love all sealed with the tears and hearts of mommas lucky enough to see the beauty in having a child with Down syndrome. It's a diary of sorts, that is crossing around the world, started by Happy Soul Project's First Choir Member, Benny's mom and my friend Jamie...


This diary is passing from momma to momma, country to country, journey to journey, all with the idea that by us sharing a bit of our experiences, it will somehow bring hope to a new momma chosen to follow in a path like ours.

No pressure right?


I'm supposed to be starting this diary and I've had it for weeks, months, {sorry about that gang} and everyday it sits there yearning to be written in but it took until now for me to find the right words. 


Which is unusual considering I write about this all the time - Heck lately I live and breath it...But for some reason knowing how very much it could touch another momma's life and start her path much brighter than mine, it seemed to take awhile to capture in my heart what I wanted out in words. 


I was at loss to be honest, sitting down staring at the blank pages, pen in hand pondering what I can possibly say that would "help" a new momma. I tried to remember exactly what I was feeling when I was given the news that Pip had Down syndrome and how shattered I felt thinking of our life ahead.


But the thing is, I found it extremely hard to go there - To remember that grief and devastation even though it was only 20 months ago. I just couldn't get in that head space because I feel so utterly different now. 



So, I guess I just share what I know...Pip 


In each word I wrote in the diary, I'm hoping it brings with it some happiness, some joy & some wee bit of inspiration because that's truly what Pip has brought to me. 



If you want more information about the Down syndrome Diary or how to be involved email Jamie at Jrf031080@gmail.com - I'm so very honoured to be a part of this powerful project and looking forward to see and read everyone else's journey...





"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...