Public Park Breakdown

The past few weeks caught up to me today and I had a little cry on a park bench...What set me off, was catching the tone I had with my children. Just getting us all sun screened and out the door was a mission in itself, Noal was kinda grumpy all morning, Pip teething and miserable & me, stressed beyond... 

We put our house up for sale back in May & right when we had come to terms with it not selling in time and just sticking a crib in our bedroom for Baby #3 - Poof, an offer, and not only an offer but an offer to get out in 20 days...

If that wasn't gong-show enough, we purchased a home that I love but that I want to rip down walls & get my creative-nesty-momma-self on in - So we're looking at 6 weeks worth of renos meaning we need to move into a rental for a bit beforehand. Perfect timing with our son starting kindergarten, our daughter facing another surgery and me having another baby right?

I had planned for this summer to be full of so much more. It's the last summer before Noal goes to school, before Pip has a younger brother, before my husband becomes a dad for 3rd time. It was supposed to be full of special momma & Noal dates, moments with my little girl & taking in every kick from #3. 

I wanted it to be a summer I would look back on later in life, remembering exactly what my children were like. Because lately it feels like they are growing up immensely everyday & I'd give anything to just pause time and take it all in...

Today when I caught myself and the way & the tone I was talking to them, I was embarrassed. I gave myself a "timeout" and sat on the park bench while they played and I cried behind my sunglasses. I cried for the summer I wished we were having. I cried for the time that is passing too fast. I cried for the way I get uber short & super frustrated as a momma. I cried for the thought of how drastically our lives our going to change. I cried for the never-ending "to-do" list that seems to suffocate me at times. I cried for how utterly tired I am and all that is ahead. I cried for how I behaved & how impatient I was with them. 

Noal came over at one point, not knowing I was crying, just hugged my knees & sweetly said, "You're the best momma" and ran off to the swings...

I cried because while I'm hard on myself as a momma, they simply think I'm the best. 

Bittersweet Birthday....

Dear Noal,

Today is a weird one as far as birthdays are concerned. It's kinda bittersweet & hard to explain why I've been loving on you so hard the past few days...

You see, 4 years ago on July 27th you were born and changed my world completely. But on July 27th, another little boy was born who was also very special to me. My best friend, your Auntie Laurs had a little boy Maiysn, who you shared your first 3 birthdays with. But today for the first time he is up in the heavens, hopefully making them put on one-hell-of-a-bash...

Today when I'm blowing up your favourite colour {green} balloons and sticking them in your doorway to surprise you when you wake up - Another momma is picking out red balloons to release in her son's memory. While I'm getting pizza, wrapping prezzies and making your dad bake a chocolate cake, she's trying to get through the day with her family & learn to celebrate her son in a different way. 

Today while I'm celebrating you with everything I got, my heart is breaking for my friend who would give anything to be doing the same thing. 

Today as I hold you in my arms and try to get as many cuddles & kisses as I can, I know that's all she wants desperately to do, even if just one more time with her little boy.

So, forgive me 4-going-on-14 year old for all the extra love, snugs and tears you are getting today...

I'm just so thankful you are here and you are mine. 

Life Lesson at Five Guys....

I'm not sharing this story to have anyone say "we are awesome" or pat us on the back in anyway. I'm simply sharing this story to show you how simple it is to help.  

I took my 4-year-old-Birthday Boy on a date today and he picked "that place you SMASH peanuts"...Five Guys for those that have never been.

As soon as we sat down and began smashing {him the nuts and me the food}, I noticed a man who came in looking kinda haggard, carrying numerous plastic bags and bought only a large pop. He sat close to us and it become obvious that he had used whatever money he had to buy the drink to come inside and get outta the hot sun for a bit. The entire time I debated in my head whether I should go over and offer to buy him lunch. I didn't want to offend him in case I read the situation completely wrong and that easily could have been the case. 

I purposely played "Eye Spy" with Noal so that I could stalk him & the situation out as much as possible. And when we were about to leave & throw out the extra fries that we couldn't finish, I felt overwhelmingly guilty and decided to teach my son an important lesson. To go with your gut and intuition - My first thought was to help this man, so that's exactly what we needed to do. 

I grabbed Noal's hand and we went over to him and I said, "It's my son's birthday today and we would really like to do something cool, like buy a stranger lunch. Would you mind if we bought you something?"

He seemed shocked and I thought he might be offended and yell at us to get-the-hell-outta-there. But his eyes soon went from shock to almost tears as he told me what he would like. Noal repeated his order and I'm sure I messed up the toppings on his burger, but not only did we make that man's day, we showed every single person in that packed little Five Guys, that we all should help when we can. 

As Noal and I left hand in hand, I couldn't help but thank Fate for the perfect Birthday lesson. It feels so good to help y'all, do something kind for someone today.

How to Give a Ted Talk...

It's simple really... 

1- When you audition, make sure you're running late, go to the absolute wrong building a few blocks away, wear heels for the first time in months and as an added bonus in the snow, then trot-run-sweat-under-a-winter-coat to introduce yourself to a panel all while slicking your now damp hair back, screw up your power point presentation & make sure the bright red lipstick on your two front teeth mesmerizes the crowd. Feel obviously like you nailed it.

2- Flip out when chosen to actually give a Ted Talk, cry, shout, announce it to the world and then panic because Holy-Sweet-Jesus you have to give a TED TALK.

3- Get pregnant & have to write and remember your Ted Talk. Because if it's not challenging enough to sum up your thoughts and brilliant ideas in 18 minutes, having pregnancy brain {THIS IS A REAL THING} will truly help. 

4- Practice saying your Ted Talk preferably and only in front of a 2 and 3 yr old. The feedback they give is amazing. Practice so much, that your son actually starts to say to your husband, "There goes momma, talking to herself again."

5- During dress rehearsals make sure you feel completely overwhelmed and intimidated by the other speakers. Truly try hard to digest and understand what their Ted Talks are about, even though they lost you 4 and a half words in.

6- Have a couple pregnancy pukes in between dress rehearsal and the actual moment you go on stage. I mean nothing shakes off the nerves more than barely keeping yourself together. 

7- Make sure to get chosen to give your Ted Talk near the end. That way you nervously have the pleasure of sitting though all the other Speakers and hearing them get introduced with their big titles, theories and "Degrees-in-this-and-Masters-In-that". 

8- After hearing a few Ted Talks that are completely over your head, look at your husband with deer-in-the-headlight-eyes, explain you don't understand what the bloody hell these people are talking about & feel uber deflated that your talk doesn't have big, intellectual words or hard to understand concepts. Try to think on the spot of a Gandhi quote to add to your talk, and push away all the Dr. Seuss and Winnie the Pooh ones that keep coming to mine instead. 

9- When nothing comes to you and there is no way to "spruce up" your talk, decide to rock it, exactly how you thought it. For extra confidence and sass, lean into your husband and say, "It doesn't matter, I'm gonna knock your bloody socks off and take these people to church".

10- Use that new-found confidence, put on that Madonna microphone, try to remember how to use the slide clicker and get on out there.

11- Lose that same confidence completely, when you hear your introduction, "Who likes roller coasters, a proper cup of tea, a good cuddle and bacon dip." 

12- Focus on not tripping, not craving bacon dip and just getting through the next 18 minutes of this bucket-list-moment of your life.

13- This is it. This is your chance. Pour it out, be honest, be real, just be you. And try to talk with your hands as much as you possibly can, preferably every-single-freaking-word. 

14- Try not to cry. Deep breaths, focus, you gotta get through this. And shoot you probably didn't wear waterproof mascara & if you cry, you'll be a hot mess in no time.

15- To really stop from crying think of something random to add in. Like why not announce to the world you're pregnant and then picture the shocked look on your husband's face. Instant cry reversal right there. 

16- Say your last words, breath a huge sign of relief and BOLT, I mean Usain-Like-Bolt off that stage and collapse in tears because you literally left your heart out on that stage. 

17- Realize everyone behind the scenes is bawling, clapping frantically and their holding the doors open to show you that every single person in the auditorium is up on their feet giving a standing ovation.

18- Now really lose it...Like ugly cry kind.

19- Find your husband in the back halls like a scene outta a romantic movie, run into his arms crying as he holds you and tells you he's never been more proud.

20- Take off those 1-size-too-small-heels-you-purposely-bought-so-that-they-wouldn't-fall-off when you walked on stage and feel like you've actually helped change the world a wee bit. 

Some Things Just Change You....

There are some things that happen in my life where right away I want to sit down, write and share - Then there are moments that just seem to take me awhile. Moments that I want to let soak in and try & understand how significant they are in my life before finding the words to share. Such a moment was the Canadian Down Syndrome Society Conference...

The CDSS Conference itself was magnificent...The care put into the weekend, the joy filling each event, the pride the staff exhibited, the food, the speakers and the people, oh the people...

The people changed me...Hearing Self Advocates talk, seeing the purpose in all of their lives, witnessing moments that literally made my heart so very happy.

I was talking with one young man on the elevator and he had dosed himself in some sweet smelling cologne, so I commented that he smelled nice. He smiled shyly and told me it was for his girlfriend that he was meeting at the dance. The elevator opened and like a scene from the Bachelorette this young woman, all done up like it was prom came running over and leaped into his arms. I watched them all night, dancing, giggling, holding hands and my heart could barely take it, because that was one of the things when finding out Pip had Down syndrome I was so very sad about. That she might not experience love. Couldn't be happier that I was ignorantly wrong about that one...

And I know that this is uber stereotypical, but seriously there must be a Get-Up-And-Shake-That-Booty Gene that makes up that extra chromosome. The moment dessert was done and the DJ played one beat of a song, the entire dance floor filled up and shook like it was the end of a really good wedding. My sweet Pip leading the way.

I'm honestly not sure who danced more, Pip or I, but damn my girl knows how to work a floor. She confidently & continually kept going up to people making them dance with her...#shegotitfromhermomma
Posted by Happy Soul Project on Sunday, 17 May 2015

And on to my darling Pip, I was a weekend of emotions being there with just her. The night before I was set to do a 45 minute speech, I looked at my daughter sleeping and I was overwhelmed by how full circle my life had become. I mean I was once afraid to tell people my daughter had Down syndrome and now here I was shouting it at the top of my lungs for the entire planet to hear...

But to me what was so amazing about speaking at the CDSS Conference compared to other events I've spoke at or my Ted Talk, was that I didn't have to "take people to church" - You see when I'm speaking in other settings, it's like I have to prove why having a daughter with Down syndrome is a beautiful thing. But at the conference I was surrounded by parents, siblings, and people that love someone with Down syndrome. I got to just talk - Just share my heart and thankfully connect with theirs.

I got to see other mommas in the room cry as they understood what I was trying to say. I got to see a lot of heads bob up and down as people agreed with what I thought. I got to meet, hug and connect with others who are walking a path like mine. And it felt sooo good, I didn't have to prove why we are the Lucky Ones, everyone in the room already knew it, felt it and lived it too. 

This conference was more than just a conference to me - It was inspiring, it was powerful and it held so much joy for my daughter's future.

Thank you Canadian Down Syndrome Society for including us, it goes down as a huge moment in my life. 

And hello have y'all seen ANYONE as happy to take off as this girl?

WestJet have y'all ever seen someone like a take-off more? #shouldhaveseenherwhenlanding
Posted by Happy Soul Project on Thursday, 14 May 2015

2016 #differentisbeautiful Calendar Model Search

So with Baby #3 coming this fall, I had to get on our 2016 #differentisbeautiful Calendar Model Search ASAP...For 2016 we will be featuring kids in one of our Kick-It-Capes to bring awareness to whatever they are fighting or whatever "difference" they want to celebrate... 

I'm extremely proud to say, we have given over 2,500 Kick-It-Capes worldwide to kids fighting cancer, terminal illness or accepting & celebrating a difference in their life. We've also given capes to siblings because of the incredible journey they face when seeing their brother or sister go through what they have. 

Therefore, we want to honour all those 2,500 kids who have received a Kick-It-Cape and also keep Maiysn's memory & legacy soaring. So, if your child has received a Kick-It-Cape or has reason to have one, and you'd like for them to be included in our 2016 #differentisbeautiful Calendar - Please do the following:

I can't wait to see & share the beauty we find for 2016...