Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The lovely Isabelle

When I saw the Centipede that Isabelle created it automatically brought a smile to my face. Then I saw a picture of the adorable Isabelle and that brought an even bigger smile to my face. When I asked her mom for a little bio on her she wrote the following and it made me so happy to know how much this little angel is loved :)

(Isabelle showing off her million dollar smile)

Isabelle has always been full of surprises.  Our first surprise came when I found out I was pregnant with twins.  At 35 weeks, our fraternal twin girls, Grace and Isabelle were born.  Isabelle is the "little sister" by 11 minutes.  Our second surprise was the fact that while Grace had dark brown hair and dark eyes like her mommy, Isabelle had blonde hair and blue eyes like her daddy.  The morning after their birth, her pediatrician came in to deliver the biggest surprise of all.  Isabelle had features that were common to children with Down syndrome, and she had a murmur in her heart beat, suggesting a heart defect, or hole in her heart.
(Grace and Isabelle, twins and best friends)

These surprises were a bit hard for us to take in.  They were not the cheerful well wishes that we had expected to hear, yet this little girl looked up at us with so much love and joy that made this last surprise feel not as painful.  Isabelle had open heart surgery to correct a VSD at 6 months old and hasn't been held back since!  Although she has been hospitalized numerous times, her motivation and love for life and her family always gets her through.  

(Grace and Isabelle looking fabulous)

Isabelle is currently in Kindergarten, and spends the majority of her day in the regular education classroom.  She has a wonderful team at school, and family at home that help to support her and are helping her reach her highest potential.  Isabelle has the most wonderful, contagious smile and laugh, everyone just loves her to pieces.  She loves watching Sesame Street, eating Double Stuff Oreos and doing art projects with Grace.

We are all so lucky that we were blessed with a child who has Down syndrome.  As much of a surprise as this was to our family, it has also be one of our greatest blessings!
(The awesome Centipede created by Isabelle)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Justin the magnificent :)

I want you to all meet an amazing young man named Justin. Justin has created art for two different causes now and we are in love with both of his pieces. Justin is the type of person you can't help but smile when seeing and is a true inspiration who refuses to let anything get him down. This young man is also a duel threat, he is not only a artist for Paper Clouds Apparel but will also be modeling for us on a future photo shoot :) We received this email from his mom after she told him a second piece of his art was selected to be used by us; "Justin is running around the house saying "Woo Hoo!!!"  He is so excited and said to say "Thank You!"

 (Justin at the Firefighters vs Autism event)

Justin is 31 years old with a dual diagnosis of Down Syndrome with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  This is Justin's second piece of artwork accepted for a campaign with Paper Clouds Apparel, and he is so proud and excited.   He likes to tell everyone "I am an artist!".  His increased self esteem from the positive feedback he has received about his artwork has been a real blessing and made such a difference in his feelings of self-worth!  He just beams when he gets a compliment about his drawings or when he wears his Paper Clouds Apparel shirt with his  own whale art!  Justin's interest in art and drawing as a creative outlet has helped him to express himself when he does not always have the words to do so.  

(Justin wearing our shirt with HIS art on it)

Justin also loves to help others and has a big heart.  It has meant very much to him to be a part of helping others who have Down Syndrome with his contribution of artwork .  Justin is also involved locally with the non-profit Firefighter's vs. Autism and with helping to collect art supplies for a non-profit Children's art gallery in Tucson called Eat, Sleep, Breath Art!
(Justin in the woods)
Justin works in a wood shop with the support of a job coach and loves his job.  He also loves music, weight lifting and girls!   

(Justin's most recent design for us)