Across the pond...


Day 1229: Today I'm thankful prezzies from their Aunt whose visiting England came & started a conversation about what it's like to travel the world. I've lived this momma-life-for-too-long-now, I forget or never talk about the fact, that I lived in Switzerland, cities all over Australia & created a life in Ireland. 


I'm so swamped in the life I lead right now with three-kids-under-five, warming up my coffee twice if not three times a morning & almost too tired to brush my teeth before zonking-out-to-Netflix every night. So there just ain't a lot of reminiscing happening on my end. 



I'm not thinking about moving to a small mountain town in Frutigen, Switzerland for my penpal crush when I was 18. 



Or I'm not remembering the rush of jumping out of a plane, scuba diving with sharks or taking a shady bus tour in Morocco. 



I'm not smiling at outrageous nights like when I drew on my foot with pen and in the happy state the free-spirited-atmosphere Byron Bay brings, I then got a man about 6 feet tall, in all leather, with a grey mustache and gnawing on a toothpick, to tattoo over the pen while singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" with a burly Oz accent. 




I'm not remembering the warm nights, the comfort an acoustic guitar could bring, the excitement of who you'd meet tomorrow & the ability to leap outta any comfort zone you may have had. 


When I landed in Australia, I was 20 Years old. I had just spent 3 nights in Hong Kong. Alone. With little money, only enough to get me from the airport, to the hostel I booked in Sydney. Only problem was the taxi took me to opposite end of the city to a sister hostel & I had to learn that the freaking-Australian-sun-can-melt-off-makeup-in-no-time-flat while walking to the right one in Kings Cross. My roomate was a stripper, I got asked out for the first time by another girl & once woke up on a top bunk bed to find the face of a German boy who broke into our room staring me in the eyes. #thankgodIwokeupwhenheburpedwhatsmelledlikekobassa



I then stayed & I traveled around Australia, pretending I was a hairdresser - Giving everyone the "Rachel" & highlighting with "Sun-in-type-stuff" using tin-foil from the Hostel's shared kitchens. Wasn't horrible. Wasn't great. Just gave them something different. And that's all they were seeking and all I was offering. 




Traveling was beyond fulfilling, scary at times, deeply soul searching & in my case, something I needed to do before I moved on to the rest of my life. 



So today, I'm thankful these presents came from across the pond. That they reminded me how traveling is what made me, a large part me. How it taught me lessons & independence & I'll be forever grateful those years & experiences make up my life. 



And I'm proud of my sister-in-law for doing it, I want my son to know I encourage it & I wanna give others a push if they can, to live abroad at least once in your life. 







P.S - Just cause...


While he learns to walk. She's been "spotting" him like a freaking-little-gymnastics-coach. She's there to catch him, nudges him along & claps & cheers if he takes more than three steps at a time...

#Swoon

Feel like a Queen...


Today I'm thankful I got to see her feel like a Queen. 


I saw her big brother go from dead-asleep to adorably sweet.



I listened as her boys told her, how their Elf-on-the-shelf-Tink decorated for her big day.


I got to watch her from afar, in her morning routine at school. I saw as she proudly stood for O'Canada & only gave her amazing EA half-the-sass-she-gives me. I then beamed as she confidently vocalized choosing her big brother to be the "leader with her" & then swooned as they walked hand in hand to bring the attendance down to the office. 


I giggled as her friends gathered around as she got crowned with the "Birthday Hat" and sung upon. 


I watched her as she watched me make my way to the front of the classroom to chat about Down syndrome, using our 2017 #differentisbeautiful Calendar


I caught my son's eye a few times and I'm telling you, the love I felt beaming from him in that moment was a beautiful thing. He kept nodding as if almost urging me along in my presentation to his class. Like "You got this mom, come on, you can do this."


And I could not stop smiling each time I flipped a page and Pip proudly hit her chest and claimed to the room it was "Pippy".


I could not help but feel my sweet girl was so very celebrated. 


And because of that on her 4th Birthday we gave her entire school a #differentisbeautiful Calendar & I walked away feeling so very proud of who my daughter is. And so very excited to see who she will become.


Not to mention the fact that BRITNEY-FREAKING-SPEARS posted her sweet face on Instagram, she got her very own not-annoying-at-all-music-making-keyboard and she stuffed a gluten-free-chocolate-cupcake down her hatch like a champ.



She felt loved. She felt celebrated. She felt like a Queen. 









Britney Spears #Pipmebabyonemoretime



Dear Brit, 
Today for some odd-unknown-outrageously-awesome reason you posted a picture of my little girl Pip, with our #differentisbeautiful message to the thousands-of-bazillion-people who follow you...











                                                             
Within minutes, I was getting flooded with messages from any & everyone who follows Happy Soul Project about what you had done. 



I don't think you really understand what you have though.



Not only did you share an important-much-needed message, brought awareness to Down syndrome and got anyone who loves Pip to shoutout and claim it was her.




You gave a tired-weary-starting-to-doubt-what-I'm-even-doing momma a big ol' boost of hope.



Pip will be four tomorrow and she's done more, been through more & inspired more, than most people do their entire lives. 




She's literally inspired my everything & because of her I do what I do.



Pip was recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, just recovered from her 10th surgery, has Celiac Disease, is usually in bed by 6:30 & I'm just so God-damn-tired that her birthday party will consist of a Costco gluten-free pizza, 4 balloons hung up by our Elf-on-the-shelf and her hometeam singing Happy Birthday as many times as she wants. 



And she'll feel loved & she'll be over-the-top happy.




But despite all that, a wee bit of momma guilt will still make an appearance for not throwing her a birthday party. 




So, because the internet is a weird and wild place, you proved that today. I thought what the heck, why not give it a go, can't hurt to ask. 



You wanna throw a Pip's 4th Birthday Bash with moi?




Here's the thing. Hear me out. 


I run a cool thing called Happy Soul Project. Here's a small peek into what our Non-Profit does: 

  • #differentisbeautiful: From our annual calendar, to inspiring companies to have inclusion in advertising. From our school presentations or chatting with medical students & doctors to our Ted Talk - We are spreading a message that being YOU is being BEAUTIFUL.


  • #BeAwesomeToday:On the 15th of every month we challenge thousands of people around the world to do something awesome for someone else.


  • #Kick-It-Capes: Close to 6,000 kids have received a personalized superhero cape to help them get through cancer, a terminal illness or face a vast difference in their lives. 


  • #SchoolKits: We're launching a school/club/group program about how to live with a Happy Soul. Which engages kids in important life lessons, opportunities to help their communities and teaches confidence in being themselves.


  • #PenpalProject: An old-school-paper-and-pen concept linking kids and parents to others in similar situations. 



So Brit, how cool would it be to throw a bash that helps our Pip-inspired-Projects soar? 



I was thinking all Pip's favorites:
 - You along with musical guests Bruno, Justin x 2, Walk Off the Earth & obviously Adele.



- And since Ellen is pretty much all their BFF's, I guess we should probably invite her too - Hello, #OperationEllenMeetPip 


- And then I mean, whomever you wanna rope in too.


Thoughts?


Let's chat.







P.S - If a party isn't your thing. Maybe you could facilitate us pranking Ellen instead. I'd be killer at that Dennis Quaid hidden camera prank kinda thing.


P.P.S - If everyone and their mothers read this and Britney doesn't - Please help instead. You can donate to our Non-Profit Projects HERE!!!


P.P.P.S - Back to Brit again, out of curiosity what in Sweet Jesus moved you to share Pip's photo? 



Flip Your Whole World Upside Down...


Sweet Jesus, do Facebook memories take a walk down memory lane or what? Sometimes I look at a photo and it kinda shocks my system, sending it down a path of emotions. Take this photo for example. 


Man, am I thankful perspectives change, your mind can shift and your heart can heal. The first few months after Pip was born & I was still "grieving" her Down syndrome diagnosis, I use to look at pictures of me pregnant with her and almost cringe. I use to get angry & think, "How the bloody hell, did you not know? You're such an idiot, here you are all happy and pregnant and little did you know your whole world would be flipped upside down."



Then Pip got all up in there, into that heart of mine.



Now I look at pictures like this and think, "How the bloody hell, did you not know? You're such an idiot. Why oh why did you waste so many tears and such heartache on something that can flip your whole world upside down."




In 2017, we are celebrating her. Pip. And in turn we are hoping to create a useful tool in bringing awareness & education about Down syndrome.


So, we've partnered with SafeHaven to bring you some cool Christmas gifts that will help others this season. You can not only get our 2017 #differentisbeautiful Calendar in their popup shop, but you can snag some of these adorably groovy pj's too.





Visit the popup shop HERE & for 20% off, use code: pjsforcharity 


Just something about all my kiddos in matching pjs, makes me right swoon...





Thank You Letter - City of Kingston...



Dear City of Kingston,


This thank you has been a long time coming. 


Exactly four years ago my family & I moved here. Two weeks later our little girl was born and unknown to us she happen to have Down syndrome. Add in Congenital Cataracts, Heart defects, Type 1 Diabetes, Celiac Disease and a handful of other challenges and somehow you still end up with the sassiest-most-influential 4 year old I've ever met in my life. 

  

My daughter Pip, not only has changed my life. But she is changing the lives of Kingstonians every chance she can. In simple ways like acknowledging the lady who slept on a bench downtown or bringing a smile to the hospital receptionist. To powerful ways like changing perspectives & influencing inclusion & acceptance. 



She has inspired me to strive for a world, a city, a community where change is possible. Where differences are celebrated and all people are valued.



Yesterday, I pulled my five year old from school so he could be there. I bravely decided to skip my one year old's nap and I knew Pip needed to come as she was the inspiration behind it all. Yesterday I was humbly honoured with a Celebrating Accessibility Award for making a significant contribution to improving access for persons of disabilities in Kingston. 


"Tara from Happy Soul Project uses her voice to inspire people to celebrate those with Down Syndrome and the beauty of people of all abilities and gifts through her blog and projects like the “Difference is Beautiful” calendar."


Even though my kids are young, were way more interested in the refreshment table & my son thought that Mayor Goodway from Paw Patrol would be there instead of Mayor Paterson, it was beyond important that they came.


I wanted them to see and feel the importance of change. 


Thank you for acknowledging my ideas and my contributions.
Thank you for recognizing people trying to do good. 
Thank you for supporting important decisions that in turn provide inclusion.
Thank you for gifting me this award & validating my efforts.

“I started Happy Soul Project with the intent of informing family and friends about our journey with special needs — and since then it’s soared into this beautiful movement — this extraordinary community and i’m so honoured to be the voice behind it and have this platform to create change.”


Thank you for showing my children that one voice can make a difference.


Much love, 
Tara McCallan
Proud Founder of Happy Soul Project