Here are the rules:
1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. Name the person who gave the award to you and link to their blog (or hyperlink).
3. List 10 things that make you happy.
4. Pass the award on to other bloggers and visit their blogs to let them know.
Step 1: My sincerest thanks go to Stephanie who writes Our Daily Smiles and recently awarded me the “Happy 101” Award. There’s just something about getting an award… isn’t there? Seriously! For me, a little appreciation goes a really long way these days. Especially when it feels like most of the time in my real life nobody even notices any of my efforts. And, I know I’m not alone. Stephanie was just as jazzed to receive the award as I am. Perhaps it’s because we all work so hard doing all we do to raise our children with special needs — rarely getting any recognition for what we accomplish on a day-to-day basis — and then we endeavor to share our experiences by writing about them hoping to help and inspire others… As such, a little positive reinforcement from the blogging community via a comment, or better, an award is like getting one of those sticky little gold stars in life… awarded by those who know just exactly how much it takes to do what we do. For me, that makes it even more significant! And each and every one of us out here in blogland sharing our experiences deserves that gold star, giving back in such a positive way to help others who walk in our shoes.
Step 2: My Happy 101 list (not necessarily in order of importance):
 I love to write. It helps me work through and organize my thoughts… and my life. But, I especially like writing my blog. Mostly because it makes me feel like I’m contributing to making the world a better place for my beautiful little boys who happened to have been born with an extra 21st chromosome. My job in life is to create a peaceful path for my children…. writing Walk On The Happy Side is a step toward educating the world about my incredible children and Down syndrome while breaking down barriers for them.
 Getting comments on my blog makes me happy too. I’m not fishing for comments here. I’m just acknowledging that when I open my email box and see a comment from a reader, that’s the first one I click. Hearing that something I’ve written resonates for someone else — provides them with hope or information or a bit of happiness — brings me pleasure. It’s the whole tree falling in the forest thing… If I blog and nobody reads it… does it make a difference in the world?
 Helping others — whether it’s offering comfort, acknowledging a challenge they’re facing, sharing a problem, listening, lending a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand or just plain old making them smile if I can — makes me feel good.
 Doing the right thing… Knowing that I’ve acted according to my principles (a good sound mix of Christian/Buddhist/Green principles… LOL) makes me feel as though I’ve earned my keep in the world.
 Feeding the birds and squirrels, especially our little friend, Bunny the squirrel, who apparently lost his tail somewhere along the way and has just a little bunny-like stump now. He’s the cutest little guy and visits every day for the bread and fruit we throw to him.
 The perfect feeling of weightlessness when I’m SCUBA diving with only the calm, zen-like sound of my breathing, floating my bubbles and the fluid movements of the fish cruising around me. Oooooh I LOVE that! Very peaceful!
 The sheen of purple that covers the lawns all over my neighborhood when the first crocuses break through… a great reminder that Spring and sun-shiney weather is on the way.
 I LOVE the feeling of the warm sun shining on my face and in my eyes. Truly!
 The way my dogs greet me at the door when I come home — their tails wagging in hyper-time — reminds me how much they love and depend on me… I love the feeling of being loved and needed.... My boxer’s tiny little stump makes her whole butt wag and my black chow chow’s long-haired tail curls up over her back and wags a mile a minute but ONLY for a very select few…. lucky me!
And the number ONE thing that makes me happy (drum roll please)
 Hearing the beautiful sound of my children’s laughter! No sweeter sound in the world. I thrive on it, seek it out, anticipate it when I’m away from them. It is my life blood. Thank GOD for my children and their laughter.
My Happy 101 Awardees are:
Note: There are so many blogs I’d like to name but 3 is the magic number. To those I’ve selected, I apologize if you’ve already received this award and understand if you prefer not to post and pass it on a 2nd time. Please know that I had no intention of annoying you or putting another item on your to-do list; only to recognize you for the wonderful service you give the world through your blogging and to let others know you’re out there doing it.
 Michele at Big Blueberry Eyes: Michele does a fantastic job conveying her deep appreciation for the happy life she’s been gifted that includes the beautiful Kayla who is blessed with an extra 21st chromosome; her baby brother, Lucas; and her husband who gives so much to us all via his military service and who is currently on deployment. God bless Michele and her wonderful family and blog. Thanks for always being such an inspiration to me.
 Lisa at Finnian’s Journey: For always doing it her way and for sharing her thoughts along the way. She’s blazing her own trail and writing all about it. At one time or another we all feel railroaded into going one way or another and wish we could break free. Lisa actually manages to rise above that pressure and do what she thinks is right for her beautiful Finnian who is also blessed with an extra 21st chromosome and her family. She’s a constant reminder — despite the pressure to conform — that I still and always will have a choice… There really is more than one way to raise a child… with or without Down syndrome.
 Ria at BillandRia: Ria’s need to gather and share information makes her blog extraordinarily informative about all things pertaining to raising a child with Down syndrome. Bill and Ria’s acceptance and drive to do the right thing for Matthew shines through in every post. Just a great and informative visit every time.
So thanks once again to Stephanie at Our Daily Smiles for giving me this award and to Michele, Lisa, and Ria for writing such wonderful blogs. Go check em out folks. Totally worth your time and effort.