Thursday, March 27, 2014

Our Three Miracles :)

 Today I want to share with you the artist who created the amazing pieces we are currently featuring in our campaign to raise funding for Icing Smiles. There is an amazing organization called Mommies of Miracles and I have been following their Facebook page for some time and figured I would see if they would be interested in teaming up on a project. Mommies of Miracles is a growing international peer-driven support group of mothers who have children of any age (infant-adult) with complex medical issues, rare or undiagnosed conditions, and/or developmental disabilities. I contacted them and they were very excited to give their miracles a chance to shine and show the world their art. Mommies of Miracles came up with the idea to raise funds for Icing Smiles. Icing Smiles is a nonprofit organization that provides custom celebration cakes and other treats to families impacted by the critical illness of a child. What a phenomenal cause to help ! So now I want to focus some attention and praise our amazing artists and let you get to know them.

 (Brynlee celebrating her 3rd birthday with an Icing Smiles cake)

 Asia is a joyful eight year old with Down Syndrome. Her development is behind compared to ‘normal’ kids her age including her ability to communicate, but it does not define who she is. She loves drawing, music, swimming, ice cream, and playing on the iPad! Asia is very affectionate, goofy, and has a sweet nature.

(Asia showing off her beautiful smile)

 This drawing portray’s her heart and is very special because it is the first complete picture she has ever drawn. She has moments where she shows her brilliance and beauty to others and this is one of them.

 (The amazing Sunflower Asia created)

 She exemplifies other kids with Down Syndrome  in that each is a pearl waiting to be discovered. All that is required is a little bit of love and a little bit of care to open up their shell. They are not just children with special needs but individuals who were made for the glory of God and once you meet them you will whole heartedly adore them.

(Asia outside having some fun)

Emma is a very happy 7 yr. old who loves life.  She was born at 27 weeks and weighed 2 lbs. 14 oz.  She developed a brain bleed at birth and this caused her to have Cerebral Palsy.  She spent 72 days in the NICU and it was during her stay in the NICU when we realized how tough she would be.  She was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy one week before her first birthday. 

(Emma's smile is infectious)

            Emma began physical therapy during her first year of life and she started school at the age of 18 months.  The teachers and professionals along the way have helped Emma develop a positive attitude and have given her a life without limitations.  She loves going to school so she can see her friends and has always been very social.   During Kindergarten, Emma explained to her class why she was in a wheelchair and uses a walker.  One of the kids asked, “What is Cerebral Palsy?”   Emma answered, “When I was born, I got a boo-boo on my brain.”  Emma has not let CP get in the way of her dreams.  She has always wanted to dance and walk by herself.  

(The amazing Cupcake Emma drew)

      On June 6th, 2013 Emma had spinal surgery to help her reach her dream of walking.  Emma took this surgery on with a smile and has undergone extensive physical therapy.   She has made amazing progress and can now take up to 3 independent steps!  She currently goes to physical therapy 3 times a week and continues to persevere.  She has inspired many and we are very proud of what she has accomplished in such a short time. 
Emma recently had an assignment at school and was to give advice to a baby on their first day here on earth. This is what she wrote, "Some days you will pass the test. Some days you will get the answers wrong. Some days you will reach your dreams. Some days you will lose your grip. It's just how it is here. Enjoy your new life!"   She is a beautiful, caring, and bright young lady.

(Emma is an inspiration to all)

Emilee is 2 years old. She loves music and painting. She can wave her hand and sign "please". 

(The beautiful Emilee)

She is a generally happy girl. She was born at 34 weeks with Nonimmune fetal Hydrops and she had a stroke inutero. Since the Nicu she has been diagnosed with optic nerve hypoplasia and spastic cerebral palsy.

(The very cool Fish Emilee created)

 She's our miracle baby. :) 

(Emilee can brighten anyone's day with her smile)

I hope that you loved getting to know our amazing artists and will support this campaign. These little miracles have made my life better and I will remember them every single time I wear their shirt. Thank you all so much for believing we can change the world. We can make it a better place for everyone. I truly love every single one of you who support us. Whether it be by making a purchase, sharing our Facebook posts, blogs, or Instagram pictures, you all are helping us spread our mission and I know we have some great things ahead of us.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wonderful artists of TCH

I became aware of The Centers for Habilitation (TCH) when looking for workers with special needs to fold and package our Paper Clouds Apparel gear. When I took a tour of this amazing facility and got to spend time with the members that attend and work there I wanted to help them in any way I could. TCH provides services that support, care for and empower children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities. Services improve the quality of life, alleviate barriers to independence, and help Arizonans of all ages to reach their full potential.

TCH takes pride in their continuing emphasis on finding new and relevant ways to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities while promoting their independence and self-determination. Their dedicated and caring staff works to encourage consumers to make their own choices, gain confidence and control over their own lives, improve their abilities, and overcome barriers to quality living.

(Members of TCH working hard folding our shirts)

Now I want you to meet the amazing artists that created the designs on our current line of Paper Clouds Apparel products;

                Theresa is kind and gentle. She likes to dance and listen to all kinds of music, and loves to sing along to “Take Me Home, Country Road” by John Denver. She enjoys going to the mall and short walks in the park and feeding the ducks. She also likes to have her nails done and wear pretty necklaces and bracelets. She likes to have long conversations with her staff and likes to give hugs.

(The talented Theresa)

                Alex is a 23 year-old loving young lady. She enjoys interacting with her peers and staff. She enjoys going for a walk and playing with her toy keys. She listens to Disney songs on her MP3 player and makes silly sound gestures, laughing along with her peers.  Alex is very affectionate and loves getting attention from everyone around her, she’s quite the princess.

 (The angelic Alex)

                Amy is 31 years-old, very vocal and is a high spirited young woman. She loves to sing all day long. Her playlist includes “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, “Old McDonald Had a Farm”, and “London Bridge”. Amy is full of life and is always smiling. She enjoys playing and listening to her Casio Keyboard. She also enjoys being outside relaxing on a mat while listening to the sounds around her and long walks in the park.

(The amazing Amy)

I hope you will show these amazing friends of our some love and support TCH. They are changing lives in so many ways and could use our help. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and hope you will share their stories with all your friends. We love you all so much :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Madelyn is my hero :)

A couple months ago I decided to start a contest where every two weeks we would have a contest where those who shared pictures of them wearing their Paper Clouds Apparel were voted upon by the Board of Advisors at Paper Clouds Apparel and the winner of this contest would receive a free shirt. Over a month ago the winner was a young girl named Madelyn who has collected quite the collection of Paper Clouds Apparel shirts and sent us pictures of her in her newest shirt and also a picture of all her PCA shirts. When I posted on our Facebook page that Madelyn had won a shirt her mother emailed me and her response floored me.

 (Madelyn in her newest PCA shirt)

Madelyn's mother Denise sent me back this message when I told her that Madelyn had won a FREE PCA shirt;

"I think the pic you posted of my daughter said we won a shirt?? Thanks, but we already have 5 in our household and one was won from a previous share. This month is all about the good deeds my girl does-**bragging moment- **this Sunday, she climbed 80 flights if stairs for the AON step up for kids, benefitting Lurie children's hospital here in Chicago (beat me by 13 minutes) and today donated all of her b-day gifts to another local hospital, Alexian Brothers pediatric center. This is her 2nd year donating her gifts. In keeping with that theme, she would like for you to donate the shirt to someone. Thanks, love you guys and all you do to make the world a better place! If you do donate it, please let me know how so I can share the story with Madelyn."

(Madelyn's impressive PCA shirt collection)

It took me over a month to find the right person to donate her prize to but when I saw the awesome story of MacKenzie accepting the prom invite of our good friend Logan from The Crumb Diaries, I knew where that shirt had to go :) Especially since all of Madelyn's shirts featured artwork created by Logan. For those of you out there unaware of the awesomeness that is Logan, you NEED to immediately go check out The Crumb Diaries on Facebook and you will instantly fall in love with this family and the incredible relationship between Logan and his mom Allyson, or "Honey Nugget" or "Al" as Logan often calls her :) I will share the story of why MacKenzie deserves this shirt from the post featured on The Crumb Diaries 

(Logan and MacKenzie)

Here is a post created by Logan's mom Allyson that will tell you all you need to know about why MacKenzie is awesome :)
"As you know, having Apraxia makes speaking difficult for Logan, so last night he colored a sign, picked out some flowers and put on a suit and tie to ask MacKenzie to prom. Here is his invitation..and here is her reply MacKenzie is not challenged, or differently abled... but she is special. She is a young lady who Logan admired last year, watching her as she led our high schools cheer squad. She is a girl who has always greeted him with a kind smile or hello when passing. She is a person who is taking time out of her busy college schedule to accompany Logan to a milestone event.
For kids like Logan, sitting next to a "pretty durl" and being treated with kindness and respect means the world. We are changing the face of our special needs youth, one friendship at a time."

(Madelyn in her first Logan created PCA shirt)

When I told Madelyn's mom Denise that I had chosen the recipient of her free shirt and that is was MacKenize she had this to say;
" OMG! I love it! love it! love it! Madelyn and I LOVE Logan and Al (all our shirts are from their campaigns) and LOVE Mackenzie for her prom response. She is adorable! This is perfect!!!"
I feel so blessed to have such amazing people that have joined the Paper Clouds Apparel family. I truly consider every single one of you who believe in our mission of making this world a better place for those with special needs as members of my family. We can do it :)