1. Last fall the Kingston Frontenacs, our OHL team which is a level below the NHL, I think - I'm really the worst person ever to know anything about hockey...In the first meeting with them, when we were coming up with ideas, they asked if Pip & Noal would like to design their socks and brought out a gigantic sock to which I said, "I'm really sorry, I just do not understand this at all, is that just a really obese man's sock?" - To which laughing and utterly shocked they replied, "No, it's a hockey sock, the players wear them." - The fact that they miraculously still wanted to partner with us after my evident lack of hockey knowledge is awesome. So we celebrated World Down syndrome Day with them and thousands of people all celebrating the beauty in differences.

Photo by Julia McKay - The Whig Standard - Full article HERE

2. The hockey socks themselves designed by a 2 and 3 year old were outrageous and everything differences should represent - Awesome, beautiful, colourful & spirited. Seeing what my hooligans created when the players wore them, was actually quite cool.

3. My Happy Soul Project team worked it out that night - They sold shirts & signs like it was there job...I mean seriously, I am the luckiest in regards to the right people falling into my life. My girls who help at events, do so much behind the scenes, are passionate about our mission, love my kiddos and make me laugh so very much, truly are such a part of all of this.

4. Pip tried popcorn for the first time and this picture will go down as one of my favs ever.

5. Being surrounded by friends and family - Noal's little buddy, my cousins, Emma and others from our Down syndrome group...Just being surrounded in a huge hug of love & support. 

6. One of the most touching moments of the night was when students from the Hart Studio sang our National Anthem. Check out what this amazing non-profit is doing HERE...

7. Right as we stepped onto the ice and I was about to get all blubbery-over-the-top emotional, my foot slipped on the carpet and almost took me down. Thankfully this big momma didn't fall and it sobered me up to take it all in, instead of cry it all out. 

8. My little boy was beyond excited...Meeting the hockey players, dropping the puck, getting to keep it and show all his friends, being on the jumbotron, looking up and having an entire arena cheering for what he thought was him, just about might be the best day in his little life yet.

Photo by Julia McKay - The Whig Standard

9. Pip clapping so hard and literally oozing delight. At one point she was so excited when the entire arena was clapping for her, that I thought she was going to jump outta my arms...I realize she doesn't get it now, but one day I hope she knows how proudly we celebrated her. Watch this awesome video to see her delight HERE.

10. Looking around and seeing so many Happy Soul Project shirts was humbling, exciting and such a proud moment...Seeing others rock our Down syndrome Proud, Paint Outside the Lines or What Makes You Different Is What Makes You Beautiful baseball t's was pretty damn cool.

11. My husband is my support behind the scenes kinda thing. He doesn't really do any of the media side of things in regards to Happy Soul Project...But anything hockey and count him in - The sock incident had him in shamed disbelief - But seeing the pride in his eyes that night for our little girl was truly a beautiful thing. 

12. Seeing Happy Soul Project logo and video up on the jumbotron-big-screen-thingy...I mean, that was just cool - Who would have thought a blog I started thinking my mom, aunt and a handful of girlfriends would read would one day turn into what it has.

13. All the local media attention bringing awareness to World Down syndrome Day, Kick-It-Capes, and other initiatives from Happy Soul Project. My girl is becoming a pro and charms tv & radio host over within seconds. 

14. Meeting Bill Welychka a Much Music VJ from my teenager days who now host The WS Daily show and getting "church giggles" so bad I couldn't control them...During a commercial break we let Pip listen to Up Town Funk on a phone and seconds before we went live, the phone dropped under Bill's chair on full volume as he reported the news & weather...Watching him keep a straight face as Bruno Mars was blasting "Girls hit your hallelujah - Whuooo" did me right in and I had to think really sad, sad thoughts to reign er back together. 

15. This moment...I mean not being a "hockey" person I didn't think it would be as emotional as it was. But being there, feeling the love from the crowd, the excitement from my children, looking into the stands and seeing so many people there proudly celebrating their differences with us - It was a bucket-list-kinda-moment for sure. 

16. When people came over to say hi, tell me their stories, explain what Happy Soul Project meant to them or how Pip's changed their perspectives, it validated everything we are trying to do...Also seeing people rock their socks everywhere, you could almost physically feel acceptance & awareness wherever we went. 

17. The half hour we spent backstage with the students from the Hart Studio was very special. Watching them rehearse, interact with each other, play with my kids and just be who they are was very powerful for me. 

18. Since becoming a part of the Down syndrome community, the one thing I walk away with over and over is how fiercely proud we are to be parents, grandparents, siblings or friends of people with Down syndrome - And you could feel that...

19. Like my Happy Soul Project team I mentioned above, my friend and uber talented photographer from Eden Grove Photography, Sandra has a way of capturing these moments in my little family's life, that will always be cherished. She is such a part of what we are doing and her gigantic, generous heart is always teaching me things. 

20. The #differentisbeautiful hockey socks are being auctioned off to raise moula for our Kick-It-Capes Sewing Bee in May...The socks are signed by players and have my hooligans handprints and outrageous artwork all over them...If you want to help and buy one - check out the auction till Monday HERE.

21. It's one thing for a parent to accept, love and celebrate the difference in their child. That alone is an amazing thing proving over and over that LOVE is greater than any diagnoses or disability.

But it's completely-take-your-breath-away-overwhelming when others celebrate that with you. When others lift up your child, celebrating their difference and clap as loud as you do, for who they are.

Happy World Down syndrome Day - till next year!!!