Archive | June 2011

“I Call it Up Syndrome”

I want everyone in the world to watch this video and see the amazing things people who have been diagnosed with Down Syndrome can do.

For those of you who don’t know, my niece Everleigh was diagnosed with down syndrome at less than a week old.  At first I didn’t really think much of it and saw her as just an average baby but to be honest – she’s so much more than that.  I’m probably biased being her auntie and all but I think the amount she has taught me about down syndrome has made her the most powerful two month old out there.  Every little progress in development she makes amazes me – what difference would I know if it’s delayed?  When she pulls her head up when she’s laying on her tummy I smile just as much as if she was a quote “normal” baby.  When she kicks her legs I realize she’s not that little still lying baby that she was when she was brought home anymore – she’s growing and eating more and more each day (the kid is on 6 ounces a meal what a champ!).

To anyone who says that a child with a disability should be aborted should really spend 5 minutes with my niece.  I don’t see anything that makes her unworthy of a life.  I see ten fingers and ten toes, blue eyes, and  hair that just won’t stay down.  I see clothes that always seem a little bit too big and a diaper that is sometimes full and every now and then I see a yawn or a sneeze.  Does that make her unworthy of being here?  I think not.

I never want to use the word ‘retarded’ or ‘retard’ again.  I know everyone is guilty of doing this but I want to challenge everyone I know to change their vocabulary to something that is straight to the point and says what you mean.  If something is stupid it’s STUPID not retarded.  I hate to have the image in my mind of someone using the word to attack my niece when she’s a little girl on a playground.  I’m usually a big believer at ‘words are just words’ but this is a scenario where I don’t believe that.  If you had it ‘slip’ at someone who suffers from a disability I have news for you – if you never used it in the first place it wouldn’t slip out.

Everleigh, my niece & sunshine

I want everyone who reads this to start thinking of abilities instead of disabilities.   Start imagining what people who have been diagnosed with a third 21st chromosome can accomplish instead of what people tell them ‘probably will never happen’.   It’s impossible to predict what any baby is going to do but I always love imagining things Evie is going to do.  I imagine her being a curious baby and pulling all the cupboards open when she learns how to walk, I imagine her giving her puppies kisses because she loves them so much.  I picture her running up to her mom with her arms wide open for a hug and I can hear her both signing and saying momma as her first word. I can see her making every single one of who know her proud. This little girl gives me nothing but hope for future generations and inspires me to become a more informed and less ignorant person.  Little Miss Everleigh, you are everything I ever wanted in a niece and you are a gift from above. I cannot imagine going through a single day without seeing your picture on my phone.

We all Need Somebody to Lean on

For those of you who met me fresh out of high school I was a 120 pound girl who found herself to be overweight and found it impossible to find clothes.  If I could go back in time and give myself a smack across the back of the head then I would.  I would tell myself how beautiful I was and how finding clothes was not an issue of finding things that fit but an issue of getting over the fact the teenage self-esteem issues haven’t quite left yet.

I look at myself today over 30 pounds heavier and not happy with how I look, while I could sit here for hours going on about the stretch marks I’ve gained and the number of jean sizes I’ve gone up but doing this isn’t going to make a change in my life.  I’m not looking for a phase diet to go on and calorie counting hasn’t worked for me in the past.  I think it’s time I start to take things one day at a time and set simple goals for myself to accomplish each day.  Tomorrow will be my official start to these changes.  There’s no sense in me making things unrealistic for me so I’m starting off with some simple steps:

1) At least 2 bottles of water a day.  For many of you this sounds like an absolute joke but I rarely drink water because I’m extremely picky about beverages but this is something I have to over come.  I know that 2 water bottles is technially 1/2 of the servings you need a day (8 cups is the recommended amount) but as  I said earlier baby steps. 

2) While we’re on the topic of beverages a cut out of pop is necessary.  I drink way too much of this crap and all it is sugar and carbonated water.  While I’d like to cut out all caffinated beverages from my diet I’m seeing that goal as impossible because within a week I’ll be working at a camp on 5 hours of sleep a day.  I’m opting to keep my tea in but cut back on the sugar by a spoonful – who knows eventually I may end up drinking my tea black.

3) Walking for 15 minutes a day – sounds simple right?  I never seem to find time in my day to do the simplest of activities to keep weight off and then I run into delemas like I’m in now.  I find it boring to walk around with no one to talk to and without a goal of where to go.  There are some great walking trails near my hosue that I may go check out tomorrow.  At camp this goal will easily be tackled every day – for hours a day we’re running around, swimming, chasing after kids, or simply getting to our next activity.

4) START EATING BREAKFAST.  Okay so this is one I absolutely have to start doing and at camp we’re forced to do it.  At university I’m usually waking up around 11 and opt to wait until lunch to eat a meal which ends up becoming a binge eat of something not healthy.  I figure if I start my day off with a big bowl of cereal and a bottle of water I can complete a goal and a half right there.

5) Food cut off time – I learned this one from Oprah’s personal trainer!  If you cut out food at a certain time at night eventually your body isn’t going to get hungry that late anymore and let’s  be honest – we tend to eat the foods that are bad for us,

While goal making is easy so is breaking promises to yourself hence why I’ve found myself a support buddy.  My friend Evelyn recently went away to school and also faced the terror of weight gain because of cafeteria food.  We both want to change our lifestyles and figure in investing in what one another has to say as a critical part in reaching our goals.  We both have jobs for the summer so it’s going to be a little tricky to stay in touch but I know we can do it.

Also, come September I’m going to be able to have more control over what’s around for me to eat.  Fresh fruit can be expensive but I figure if I buy what’s on sale every week/other week (depending on the weather) I’ll be getting some form of variety.  Another great thing about September rolling around is the fact my school offers personal training sessions for a decent price and I have a rommate who wants to go to the gym (even if it’s just our little one in residence) as much as possible. 

I feel like this journey I’m about to start is a lot about breaking habits and developing new ones.  I figure every so often I’ll post something on here about how it’s going but I don’t want my blog to become a weight loss blog because that’s not the type of girl I am.  In the mean time, I’m finishing off this last pop of mine and resisting the urge to get another plate of the leftover chinese food.  It’s going to be a struggle but here’s hoping I can figure it out

Tattoos

The more and more that I’m thinking about it, the more and more I want to get a tattoo.   This isn’t one of those “oh I want something abstract” or “I want something pointless” I’ve put a lot of thought into what I want to get.  While in my younger teen years I had a lot of ideas of what I want one has always stuck out in my head – the cover of the Sometimes CD has always stuck out in my mind, and I mean every since I saw the CD cover I’ve wanted that bird on me.  I’ve also made a really easy decision on who I want to do my tattoo, mainly because he’s done my piercings and has made me feel nothing short of being absolutely comfortable (plus he’s not bad on the eyes).

The delemas I’m currently facing are as follows though:

1) Tattoos are expensive -I have no income until August 1st and I can’t spend it all on a tattoo, I have tuition and residence fees to pay.  It may end up being something I have to wait until my birthday to get but if that’s the case then so be it.  If I want the tattoo badly enough I’ll wait that long for it.

2) I keep having delemas of where I want to put it on my body.  The two spots I’ve considered are my foot and on my rib cage and both present problems.  One is I don’t know what I would do for shoes in the corporate world if I go into a company that doesn’t want tattoos showing, and the other is that I don’t want my bra rubbing against my tattoo as it’s healing and putting me in super amounts of discomfort.

3) What I want to go in the ribbon of the birds mouth keeps changing, but I’m 95% certain it’s going to be “you must follow your heart”.  It’s a simple and timeless line that I don’t see me regretting later on in life, and it’s a line that has meant a lot to me through many different stages in my life and I guess could even be coined as my own little motto.

4) I have parents that generally haven’t taken well to any body modification I have done – when I died my hair red my mother wasn’t impressed and told me to dye it back to purple which needless to say makes me confused as to how they’re going to react to a tattoo.  My first piercing my mom was completely fine with but the more ‘rare’ ones I get like my rook and my snug the more she becomes turned off the idea of me having piercings.

I want to make sure this is a tattoo I’m okay with representing me, and everything about me.  I consider it a dedication to everyone who has taught me to follow my heart.  There’s my dad who has let me spread my wings and fly with whatever I want to do, my mom who set her bird free to be on her own, my grandparents who passed away and flew away to be somewhere else.  I don’t feel like I need people’s approval for it but I need to know that I’m not going to be kicked out of my house if there’s ink on my skin.  I guess we’re just gonna see how it turns out for now.

The Super Happy Fun Club

I’ve always been the kind of girl to come across an unknown band and kind of keep them to myself but this is a band I haven’t been successful in keeping a secret!  The Super Happy Fun club is a little known band from Chicago, Illinois that have recently released their first CD Go Fun Yourself which you can order off their website here under the merch section or if you’re like me and have absolutely no patience at all for delivery you can order it off of iTunes by clicking here (which of course will save you on the shipping and handling portions of things).   They are an independent band which has used various social media networks to promote themselves and to also communicate with their fans which explains why the band has over 600 twitter followers and 700 facebook fans.

Out of all the bands I listen to I can easily say this is the most down to earth band I have ever stumbled upon.  Before the CD was released anyone who signed up for free music on their website received two free songs in their inbox.  I’ve personally followed Stubhy (the band’s lead singer) on twitter since I first got an account years ago and have received Happy Birthday’s, responses to my personal tweets, and even encouragement to write this blog entry.   If you look up the band on facebook you’ll see that after every single show they play they thank the audience for coming out and genuinely show that they appreciate the support every single one of their fans give.

Album Art for Go Fun Yourself

Don’t let Go Fun Yourself’s small track list (eight songs) drive you away from purchasing it – while many bands creates albums that have 15-18 songs on them I often find that there are filler tracks.  Every song on the CD is extremely catchy; even the 41 second tune Billy the Entertainer  is bound to get stuck in your head.  The Super Happy Fun Club writes all their own music and lyrics while providing fans with a wide variety of songs from slower music to up beat music that makes you want to dance there is a large variety you can find on this album.  The CD has songs that were previously released online and quickly became fan favourites including My Life’s a Mess (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah), Victims, and Light Pollution  all of which can be heard here.

I want to encourage everyone out there to listen to the songs, buy the album, and tell the band what you think of their stuff either on facebook or twitter.  It’s important that small bands get support from everywhere and get passed along to as many people as possible so that they aren’t forgotten within the major record company bands.I hope in the future to write more on the band and keeping everyone who reads this blog updated on any new releases they have. As far as shows go the band currently doesn’t play many shows out of state but if there’s enough interest in one particular area the band may consider coming and playing.

For now, I’m counting down the days until my 21st birthday where I will buy a plane ticket to Chicago with one of my best friends and head to my first Super Happy Fun Club show in hopes to get my first autograph of the band.

City and Colour

Dallas Green

Canadian Man Dallas Green AKA City and Colour

I cannot say I was one of the people who instantly ran out and bought the Sometimes  CD when it was released back in 2005 and to be honest the name Dallas Green meant absolutely nothing to me.  It wasn’t until one day in HMV I was buying CDs and noticed it in the 2 for 20 bin, and it was love at first listen. Comin’ Home was a constant reminder to me of how that special someone can make any place feel special to you, and Hello I’m in Delaware was a painful reminder of how difficult distance in a relationship can be.  Shortly after noticing the first few scratches from the CD being overplayed I learned from his website that he was working on a new CD and I was anxious to get my hands on it and see what it was like.

In the summer of 2008 I picked up the Bring Me Your Love CD and it never left my CD player for long.  Dallas’ lyrics showed a change in maturity and my love for his music grew even stronger.  I fell asleep to Against the Grain on almost a nightly basis and it was my personal anthem to remember to go after what I truly want and not what others want me to go after.  The first time I ever heard Body in a Box I cried at how much it reminded me of how I felt about my grandpa’s death – everything is so rushed and we only really celebrate people’s lives once they’re gone.  This CD was my world and when I found out he was releasing a limited edition of the CD I trecked all the way down to Toronto to get one of the 3000 copies available (now that it’s on iTunes it doesn’t seem like that exciting of a deal but at 17 this was the biggest thing that ever happened to me).

Album art for Little Hell

Today marks the release of Dallas’ third studio album entitled Little Hell.  This is the first time I’ve ever gotten his CD on a release day and I opted for the digital iTunes option as I’m currently running out of room for CD’s in the limited space my room has and while I was on iTunes I found out some of his songs that are not on CDs were on sale for 69 cents (how could I say no?!).  I was a little iffy to get this CD at first as Fragile Bird (the first single) seemed to be a complete 360 from the usual style of City and Colour. Luckily, the week before MTV has released a leak of the album and I quickly saw that Fragile Bird was nothing like other songs on the CD. The iTunes deluxe edition came with a video about Dallas in the studio and also included the digital song booklet (one of the disadvantages about iTunes is this doesn’t seem to happen very often.

If you’re considering getting the album but want a preview of some of the songs available MTV’s The Leak has the album up.  I encourage you take a listen to We Found Each Other in the Dark and Northern Wind – both a little lovey dovey but that’s one of the reasons I love City and Colour so much!

Oh and if the music isn’t enough for you to see what an amazing man Dallas Green is – the man is always putting on free shows.  Last night was his record release show which happened at Sugar Beach in Toronto and today he’s doing another free show in Toronto.  I have nothing but amazing respect for artist who share their talents for nothing.  City and Colour is also touring the UK in July before returing to perform at a few Canadian Music Festivals this summer.

If you’re interested in visiting the official City and Colour website: Check it out here.

Canuck Couponing

With Summer just around the corner and my budget for life in general about to be cut short due to university costs I decided to take a look at freebies and coupons I could find online.  I’ve recently become intrigued by the show Extreme Couponer but know in Canada our coupon restrictions are a lot different.  For example, I worked in a grocery store for 2 years and learned that a lot of times you cannot accept coupons that have been printed off at home and can only accept mail sent coupons.  I found a few sites I think people may find helpful and interesting:

Save.ca  is a great resource for coupons!  I remember we used to get people who used this site all the time and I found it really simple to use.  You simply select from a list of coupons available which you want mailed to you and they will send them out in the next 2-3 business days.  Save.ca recommends that you only order coupons that you are going to use in the next 60 days or so.  I ordered some cleaning supplies coupons (to buy stuff for me and the future roomie), toilet paper, laundry soap, and tums for my parents.  Save.ca updates their coupons every 2-4 months apparently so I will probably be checking in August to stock up for university suite stuff.


Websaver.ca was my second amazing find for coupons specifically for Canadians.  The thing I love most about this site is that every time one of their coupons is used they donate 5 cents Breakfast for Learning which helps with the creation and ongoing funding for school breakfast clubs.  I found HUGE savings on this website because a lot of the coupons were buy one get one free on products such as febreeze (a quick laundry substitute for any student),  Fantastik, and Glade automatic air freshner refills.  Their coupons are also huge savings, most of the coupons I found were dollars off not cents.  I also love their selection of beauty product coupons such as L’oreal Paris and Maybelline.  Their FAQ page states that they usually ship their coupons every 5-7 business days depending on how Canada Post is in your area.

Brandsaver.ca  offers numerous P & G coupons for numerous aspects in your house including  beauty products, cleaning products, batteries, and baby items.  I was impressed to see coupons listed for duracell batteries on this site including rechargeable batteries AND chargers!  I ordered coupon for almost every swiffer product available as I find them to make cleaning a residence room a breeze.   The coupons for Crest White Strips 3D is impossible to pass up if you know anyone who uses the product – a $5 saving on whiting strips is an amazing deal (if you buy the biggest pack you are saving yourself nearly 8% of your product), and the Gillette coupon that is available (although intended for fathers day) is sure to get used this summer!

These are the best 3 sites I found today.  If you’re a Couponing Canuck  here are some tips I have for you:

  • Make sure the coupons are mailed to you – a lot of places won’t take printed coupons as they’re too easy to print
  • If you have friends that could benefit from a product on the site – order it!  A new mom can always use diaper savings, a student living on their own can always use more toilet paper, and stocking up on body wash is never a bad idea.
  • Check sites frequently, sometimes a coupon may be out of stock (I noticed this was the case for yogurt on save.ca)
  • Understand that you can’t mass stock up on coupons from the same site – you often have to wait between 45-60 days to order the same coupons again.

Let me know of any success you have with these sites or if you have any other tips!

 

 

Feelin’ all lovey dovey

What if I never said to you I was ¤DYNAMITE¤?
What if I never told you I’m afraid to cry?
What if I never let you down and said I’m sorry for the nights I can’t remember?
What if I never said to you I would try?

This is so us it’s actually ridiculous.  I’ve probably called myself the bomb before, I told you I don’t like to cry in front of other people, we BOTH have nights we can’t remember together and despite asking me out on a second date I took the chance to go out with you and haven’t regretted it one second since.  We have the STUPIDEST fights anyone has ever heard of, we spend way too much time watching movies in bed and we make the most amazing plans together.  We never rush at doing things because we know we have a lot of time together.  I wasn’t looking for a relationship when you came along but I knew you would be quite a catch if we did start going out.  There are days where I wonder how deep I’ve gotten; like when I realize you’re my niece’s uncle and when we discuss things like puppy names.  I also realize that I’m a 19 year old girl and my imagination deserves the encouragement to run wild and my heart reserves the right to hope for nothing but the best for our future.

I have so many ridiculous memories with you I’ve never had with anyone else.  The first night we said I love you to each other?  We had been out for a friends birthday and you were the DD.  I was obsessing over the 10 dollar mini pitchers and was completely drunk off my ass.  You stopped at a 7/11 to get me water and I made it perfectly clear that I didn’t want Dasani so you got me two huge bottle of Montclair, one of which I spilled a fair bit of.  Just before we got to the highway you had to pull over so I could throw up where I managed to get it all over my boots and a bit on my scarf and had a crying fit over it.  I also realized I had gotten your pants, but you didn’t seem to care.  You grabbed a bottle of water and dumped it on my boots and said “see all better”.  When we got back to rez you cleaned off my boots for me and I went to get ready for bed.  That night when we were cuddled up to you I got the most intense butterflies and was debating whether or not I should say anything.  And how did it go?
A: I was going to say something when I was throwing up
M: What was it?
A: Nevermind
M: Go for it
A: I was going to say this would be a really inappropriate time to say that I love you.

We are far from perfect but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Happy 9 months in a few weeks MK.  You put the ZING in amazing (and I put the ME in awesome).