So damn proud....#differentisbeautful 2015 Calendar

Last year I had this crazy idea...An idea that came with the baggage of "what if's", "that's too much work" & "I can't's" - And what I'm starting to realize in life, is those crazy-far-fetched-day-dream-like-seems-impossible ideas are actually the ones you should grab a hold of, fight to do and then watch soar. 

This idea in particular had been brewing around in my head for a bit and then my friend Sandra at Eden Grove Photography, started to creatively stir it up. Pieces started to just fall into place, businesses opened their doors to help, families and children were excited to be a part of it and together, somehow we created something so extraordinarily, beautiful.

As a special-needs parent, I know how it can feel to be overwhelmed with pride for who your child is - but to have others stand up and celebrate them with you, is a remarkable feeling. So, I wanted there to be a way for others to feel what I do - I get this amazing platform through Happy Soul Project to share and watch others celebrate Pip for who she is everyday. And somehow I wanted to bottle up that feeling and be able to give it to other families.

Happy Soul Project's 2015 #differentisbeautiful Calendar was made with such a hope, endless frustrations with me learning computer programs and designing it, hours & hours & hours of Sandra's talent and the most charismatic, joyful and beautifully different kids around. 

I am so thankful that I got to see this idea soar. And within that thanks, I got a lot to do. 

  • Thank you Sandra for capturing the kids perfectly - For your great big heart, the time you put into this, your patience, outrageous talent and most importantly for putting up with me.

  • Thank you Meghan & Donna - my two "interns/friends"...Our Calendar Launch Party would not have happened without you both. Thank you for roping your families in to help, doing just about everything & for both of your generous spirits. So happy to have y'all on board. 

  • Thank you to everyone who volunteered to help at the calendar photo shoot & the Launch Party...Having extra hands, donating food or helping make the kids smile - It all was so appreciated. 
~All photos by Eden Grove Photography~
  • Thank you to local businesses who helped make our Photo Shoot & Launch Party days to remember. 
    • We couldn't have done it without the Kingston 1000 Islands Sportsplex, the space you donated could not have been more perfect. 
    • Delta Kingston Waterfront Hotel for hosting the photo shoot in a beautiful room overlook our gorgeous city.
    • All of the local Shoppers Drug Mart in Kingston & Amherstview for the impressive amount of donations and a fabulous gift for each child.
    • Staples Kingston - Gardiners Road for entertaining my crazy ideas, making it all work and helping us out above & beyond. Y'all rocked and I can't thank you enough.
    • The Kingston Frontenacs, Chapters Kingston, Minotaur and The Rocking Horse for not only donating a gift but for believing in our project and selling the calendars in your stores. 

    • Thank you to each and every person who bought a calendar..Your support is encouraging. Your purchase is powerful and you now are on the hook to help change the world a wee bit...We want the calendar to help build a community of kindness. So each month there is an “Awesome, Eh Act” which shines a light on a random act of kindness that leaves someone with nothing left to say except “Awesome, eh?” On the 15th of every month, the thousands of people who have the calendar will be challenged to put that positivity out there in the world —whether it’s leaving a Post-It note that reads “You are beautiful” in a public space, or donating a coat to a child in need. It’s meant to make someone else’s world brighter and I thank you for being a part of this. 
    • Thank you to my husband - Y'all have no idea. This man, oh man, this man needs a whole blog of thank you's - Thank you for encouraging me to learn this process even though I was up till 2am most nights, for helping me pack and ship thousands of these beauties and supporting, always, supporting my dreams. I'm so very lucky to have someone believe in me and what I'm doing, as much as you do.

    And most importantly thank you to each and every child that graced the pages of the calendar...Meeting you and seeing you smile made this all worth everything. It was an absolute privilage to share your stories & those smiles with the world.

    Note: Staples is having a 10% off sale starting today...Go stock up

    Breath momma, breath

    My little girl started daycare today....Breath momma, breath. 

    While it is hard for anyone to leave their babe in the hands of others for all the obvious reasons - For me leaving Pip is so much more - I mean besides going away for the first time last week with my husband, her and I have never been apart. 

    I guess it's also the undeniable fact that while there is still issues, like her little eye contact falling out, developmental delays that come with having Down syndrome or her glasses getting broken - At the end of the day she is thriving and growing up and sometimes I still momma hen her because I remember moments when she wasn't...

    Moments when she needed a feeding tube to survive. 

    Moments where surgeries to fix her heart and eyes loomed over us. 

    Moments when nothing else mattered in the world except holding her in my arms...So, to let her freely walk out of them caused some major momma tears this morning. 

    And I know all the "it will be good for her" and "you need this time" and yada, yada, yada goodness that it all will bring. But today I choose to dwell in these tears.

    Tears of letting my little girl go.

    Tears of being so damn proud of her.

    Tears of fear that she's going to be teased, bit, pushed or not accepted.

    Tears of excitement to see the impact she has on all those around her.

    Tears of peace that her big brother is there with his big, sweet heart and protective bull dog tendencies. 

    Tears of acceptance that this is what is needed for our family.

    Tears of thankfulness that I had 2 full years with her.

    Tears of guilt because I'm a momma and that just undeniably happens. 

    Tears of happiness that as soon as I put her down and let her loose in her classroom, another little girl went right up over to her and hugged Pippy hard. That little girl will never know how she helped ease a momma's heart. Because as rationally as I can be, I know this is just daycare, but I can't help get emotionally revved up imagining this all when it comes time for real school. The "will she get teased", "will Noal be there to protect her", "will she be okay" kinda thoughts swirled in and out of her today and her in a few years. So that little girl coming up and hugging her helped the swirls stay positive.

    The amazing daycare director and staff sent me pictures and updates throughout the day and I think have already fallen in love with my sweet girl...Pip had a great day - A million times better than Noal's first day or any of my friend's kids days combine. She rocked it like I knew she would yet I still ate too many snickers and got emotionally-crazy-felt-the-need-to-ride-the-change-train-all-the-way and chopped off all my hair. 

    I need help and more snickers.

    "Throw caution to the wind" - #onelittleword

    There is this whole "one little word" thing now that is supposed to simplify making resolutions, goals or your focus for the New Year...One word, sheesh, as a writer that is both excruciatingly challenging & utter nonsense...

    I mean I could pick one of many words, that would carry me into 2015:
    - Believe
    - Shine
    - Give
    - Love
    - Soar
    - Create
    - Grow

    But here's the thing, while I could own and really try to live by any of these #onelittlewords that could be applied to my life right now - None of them sit well with me for some reason...What resonates with me and what I keep coming back to, is oddly "Throw caution to the wind". No clue why, but that's where my confetti little mind goes. 

    For some reason on New Year's Eve I posted this pic of Pip with the words, "Today I'm thankful for the anticipation of all that is possible in 2015...Hope y'all have a year full of moments that knock your glasses off, make you laugh so hard you don't care about your double chin & is full of chances to throw caution to the wind"...

    And I guess without knowing, when wishing it upon all of you, in turn I was wishing that for myself...And this week when I go on VACATION, a real vacation not just visiting family with the kids kinda vacation...I want to really think out what that means in my life and for 2015...

    I'm hoping to be able to read a book, get drunk and dance with my husband, daydream & set goals for myself & Happy Soul Project and most importantly EAT. SLEEP. EAT. SLEEP. Repeat over and over.

    Pip laughs at herself when she tickles her own toes...I mean, come on. Outrageous. 

    I've never vacationed at an All-Inclusive-kinda-place before so I have no idea what I'm walking into. But whenever I pictured myself going and according to the sale items I buy at Target and convince myself in the changing room would be perfect in the Caribbean - I always thought I'd have months to get bathing suit ready, instead of going right off the plumpest season called Chocolate-Fest, I mean Christmas....Regardless, I'm squeezing this bootay & momma ponch into a one piece, enjoying every sun-filled second and getting my eat on, big time.

    See, throwing caution to the wind...And so it begins.