With the smell of BBQ filling our cozy outdoor space under the maples, the sight of parents and grandparents gathering on the lawn, settling on the coziest spot for their families to spend the day. The cool and overcast sky, that made you just slightly want to be wrapped up in a blanket, yet made being outside quite comfortable. The sound of music playing and chalk being scraped across the concrete. Voices talking, and laughing. Little feet stomping, and running, from one activity to the next. Our very first "Off To College" Playgroup Picnic BBQ was a huge success. So much so that it's pulling me out of my blog coma to tell you about it and share some pics. 


The day was packed with fun activities for parents, families and children. We had everything from a tricycle obstacle course, to a HUGE parachute, dancers, lawn games, AMAZING volunteers, yummy food, GORGEOUS setting at the St. Clair College (our loving and supportive partners in our Off to College Playgroups) and the best part - the FAMILIES. 


I was overwhelmed and ecstatic about the turnout. My best guest would be over 100 people altogether. Everyone grabbed a colour on the parachute and kicked things off by adding a little colour to an otherwise cloudy day. I got a good chuckle when I saw the parachute float up and all the grown men holding it run under at the same time, trying not to bump into each other while laughing at the state of themselves. One of our littles really liked in under the parachute and just stayed under it the whole time, refusing to move. Another liked to sit on top of it and crawl around, refusing to move, making playing with it a little tricky. Let's just say lots of laughs were to be had playing all together. In a way I think it set the tone for the day. Watching everyone work together as a team to see the dramatic effects of the colours being lofted up and airy and then to be dramatically pulled back down again, making objects like balls and bean bags fly high overhead. Almost every guest grabbed a hold of a colour and started smiling. 


One of my favourite parts of the day was meeting all the grandparents who came out. I know so many of the parents of kids with special needs but the grandparents are such an important part of every child's support system, I wanted to include them in the day as well. I feel like all of us parents have a community to be a part of but often times the grandparents do not. Or maybe it's not as obvious of one. I was happy to be able to extend the invitation to many and that they came out to meet the rest of the Down syndrome community that they are a part of.


I got to meet and welcome a new family into our community, which may have actually been my favourite part. That baby though - GAHHHHHHH! It's incredible the instant, supportive, and loving bond that you have with a family the moment you you lay eyes on them. Being a human being is absolutely fascinating. I remember looking around and thinking if I never had Hazel I wouldn't know any of these people. Immediately followed by the thought, what a shame it would be to not have a single one of them in my life. Down syndrome is not always a party, and I don't always feel "blessed" to have Down syndrome taking up space in my brain, but on days like this one I most certainly feel that I have been given the golden key to this magical land where only a selected few have been granted entry. 

A huge thank you to Mike Kovaliv and Snapd Windsor for these amazing photos (all below).


Thank you to The Dance Barr Team who came out to entertain.


I have no words for these ladies and the rest of the volunteers. They exceeded my expectations and made the day PERFECT!! Such strong, intellegent and beatiful women right here.


These two fed us all. Worked their tails off all day and then thanked me at the end. Cause this is the kind of compnay I keep. I have the best husband and the bestest friends. 


Without this girl shining her light, I am not sure any of this would be happening. She is worth it. Hazel you are a dream come true.