#40THINGS - I've Learned About Life!!!

 I'm 40 today.

Seems like it should be a big deal. 
In my head it always felt like 40 would.
And feeling all the love, is truly making it so.
But in a way, it doesn't feel like I thought it was going to.
I am sooooo emotional. 
I opened up a package from my best friend this morning & lost it.

And all I feel is absolute gratitude. 
That I'm here. 
That I've made it thus far in life. 
And that I get the privilege of growing old. 
So, I thought I'd share:

  1. Like yourself. Be the type of person you'd would want to be around.
  2. Let others be themselves - Especially your children.
  3. Kiss your babies, no matter how big they are, every night and as much as you can. Even though by bedtime they are driving you mad, snug them, love them, just be with them.
  4. Say thank you. It means a lot to people & you should appreciate what others do. Even if that is passing you a coffee in a drive-thru window. Thank people always.
  5. Cherish those you love. Maintain friendships that are important, call your parents, love your siblings.
  6. In that same breath, let go of relationships that have expired.
  7. Have an open mind to ALL things. Trust me, life is so much more interesting that way.
  8. Be silly - If riding the grocery cart like a skateboard to your van makes your kids giggle, who cares what the woman parked next to you thinks.
  9. Try. Whatever it may be. You only have one life to give it a go.
  10. Give yourself grace to grieve when needed. 
  11. Realize your body, those wrinkles, grey hairs or too-many-years-to-count have past baby ponch is all a part of you now. It's not going away so learn to embrace every wrinkle as a laugh line, dress to fit your body so that you feel good & own the new you.
  12. Celebrate the differences within yourself and in others. 
  13. Be interested in people. Really interested - Barbara Walter's the crap outta them, because everyone has a story to share.
  14. Apologize if you need to. 
  15. Let loose, however that hits. For moi, I'll be toasting myself today with a bottle of Champagne.  
  16. Celebrate the little things. For they are indeed what end up being the big things. 
  17. Realize life is never going to be what you pictured it & that's a good thing, a really good thing.
  18. Get angry, mad, sad or whatever at God/Fate/Karma or Whomever. Shout if you have to, cry if it helps. It's okay to work through things before moving on. Even if that means shedding a tear or two hiding from your children in the pantry. 
  19. Help others. Do things for other people. Try to be the change the world needs in simple ways.
  20. Eat dessert...ALWAYS!
  21. Be genuine and real.
  22. Believe. Whether that's in God, Miracles, People, the goodness & hope that's out there - Whatever it may be just believe in something greater than yourself.
  23. Trust your momma gut when it comes to your babes. From how you parent them to how you fight for them.
  24. Live in the mentality of never judging someone else. Literally. Who cares what other people do, who they love, what they believe, etc? Focus on living your life and that alone.
  25. Find your purpose. It's life changing when you do.
  26. Love your Home Team more than anything else on the planet. 
  27. Realize life can change instantly - and everything is temporary. 
  28. Fight for something, stand up for what you believe in, advocate for people who need it or join others in a cause that's dear to your heart.
  29. Work hard at whatever you are working at.
  30. Let go sometimes and just be.
  31. Laugh...Laugh...Laugh...At yourself, others, anyway & anytime you can.
  32. Dream Big. Why not? Strive for things outta reach. For me writing a book WILL happen one day!!!
  33. Ask for help when you need it. I know it's hard, trust me, but let others use their time & talents to help you.
  34. Dance. At least once a day, in the van driving with your kids, in the kitchen slow dancing with your husband, or have a little sway by yourself while you make dinner. Music is good for your soul.
  35. Be honest. With others & with yourself.
  36. Do things that you normally wouldn't or that make you uncomfortable - Live abroad, join a new group, do something creative. Sometimes the very best of things come when painting outside the lines.
  37.  Get lost in daydreams or a book or a good Netflix series. Escape is sometimes needed. 
  38. Refuse to sink no matter what tries to drown you.
  39. Be kind always - In every situation you can. 
  40. And finally think of one thing every single day to be grateful for. 

#TheMagicHat / #ThankYouMarine

 Many years ago, when Pip was either struggling with an upcoming surgery or I was overwhelmed with everything going on with her.

A young US Marine reached out to us.

He told me how Pip had touched his life, had a Happy Soul Project logo in his helmet & then graciously sent some Marine goodies, including this hat.

To this day, that hat is constantly fought over and hangs proudly in my oldest son’s bedroom.
It continually sparks the conversation that his little sister, has amazingly gathered this community of people, we like to call #PipsArmy.
That have made us feel lifted up in times of need, have helped our non-profit-projects soar & like getting a picture of a bunch of US Marines holding up a sign for my daughter made me feel, I’ve borrowed the strength of others from all over the world.

Anyways, a few days ago my youngest, some might say on the shy side, Kindergartener.
Had to be the “Leader of the Day”.
And I could tell he was kinda freaked out about it.
But, no matter what I said to boost him up.
It wasn’t until, both my sons disappeared upstairs.
And then my little Theo came down more confident then I’ve ever seen him.

Not only did he kill it as Leader.
He busted out with nailing, a Catholic prayer on his own.
And then kinda winked at me, cause we ain't Catholic, shooting me a charming little grin.

In this hat.
That is MAGIC.
All because a young Marine.
From way across the seas.
Stumbled upon us here, at Happy Soul Project.
And somehow, someway.
Something connected.
And he took a chance.
Reached out.
Sent this hat.
And he has no idea, the magic it’s brought my kids since.
So, thank you Marine.
Proud of you in so many ways...


[Pics shared with permission: Thank you US MARINES ]



Lately I feel like I've lost my way in soooo many areas:

- As someone trying to run a non-profit during a freaking pandemic.
I mean, I hate asking for money on a normal day, add this wild-twist-to-life and people barely know I run one.

- As someone who vowed this was my year, turning 40 to get serious about my health.  Put it this way, Amazon had the audacity to deliver just a Toble​rone the size of a​ newborn baby, on a freaking SUNDAY and my husband caught me trying to hide it in a hall closet.


- I've also lost my way as someone who wants to stay connected with friends, but sucks at it & is over zoom or whatever else.

- ​And I’ve completely lost it as mom to 3 busy kids, one needing to be in a bubble & keeping up with their Remote Learning.

I constantly feel like I’m dropping the ball somewhere and that life right now, is in such a limbo state.
None of it makes sense.
For example;
This kid right here.
My mini-me in sooo many ways.

Every year as his personality becomes more and more like mine, it’s actually freaky to watch.
I remember once when he was a baby, I walked into a coffee shop with him in my arms.
And a man held the door for me, smiled & said, "Well no one will ever not know that baby is yours. You two are gonna have the same face."
And slowly but surely he was right.
Last week Noal's face could open my phone.

Anywhoo, this kid.
Struggles a wee bit in normal school.
And he was my main concern when we decided to keep everyone home for Pip.
But, Sweet Jesus he's KICKING ASS.
Literally, getting student of the week all the ding-dang-time.
He of course, has had his moments.
Missing friends & hating this terrible pandemic.
But, he's remained happy & goofy & is digging this set up enough.
Even though I never would have thought it.
And in this weird judgy-covid-world right now, I didn't post about it because it made me feel kinda bad.

In a weird way, that my kid is doing so great.
When, I see & read about other kids struggling so hard with this type of learning.
Heck, I get it, Pip besides "Oh' Canada", has pretty much called it a day.

So, in turn I kinda even feel lost as a writer in sharing lately because of all this.

Don’t even know if that all makes sense.

But, that’s my heart lately...


#PIP - That time I changed my kids name...

I use to wonder why in the world parents would change their own child's name after the fact.

I see you Amy Schumer. 

But, yet, here I am absolutely delighted with a name change certificate in my hand.
Finally officially making Pip my daughter's name. 

You see, 8 years ago on the day she was born, we had a different name & a different daughter in mind. 

We called her Reid and I thought or hoped she'd be strong & smart with a side-of-sass. 
And while she ended up being all those things, she just wasn't Reid. 
Or what I originally envisioned at all.

The news she had Down syndrome, shook me to my core. 
And I had to grieve the daughter I thought I was having. 
In that grief, that is hard for me to even remember now, a daughter unfolded more beautiful than I could even dream. 

She's nothing I imagined. 
Yet everything I hoped for. 
She defies the odds, every single day. 
They said she might not talk or walk. 
And she kept getting hit be that a diagnosis, countless surgeries or learning to walk again after double-knee-surgery. 
She's had a broken heart, eyes that weren't supposed to see & 24/7 bring-you-to-your-knees disorders like Type-One-Diabetes & so much more. 
Yet, she's the most loving. 
Full of spunk, spit & sass person I've ever met. 
She's Pip. 
And now it's official. 

We gave her that nickname when she was just a few weeks old. 
She was so itsy bitsy we called her Pipsqueak. 

And it stuck hard. 

She knows no other name. 
My sons only know her as this. 
We've only ever called her it. 
To me, my own daughter is truly only Pip. 
Reid seems so foreign when it comes outta anyone's mouth.

Trust me, if you could see how proudly she writes out her name. 
Owning that P.I.P and when she's spicy she throws in a P.Y. 
She is my Pip. 
Thru & thru.
She was made to be beautifully different. 
And I didn't know it then. 
Like everything with her. 
I had to learn along the way...