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What a Plus Year!

9 Aug

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Christian with Ms. Christa & Ms. Paige

Today I sit overjoyed.
Overwhelmed. Truly Thankful.
Christian completed his first year with Pediatrics Plus and we couldn’t be happier!
Our story started with Pediatrics Plus not too long ago, yet the place already feels like “home”.

When Christian turned 1, we started noticing things were a little different, but we couldn’t put our finger on it. We went through the Autism screenings and more to only find out we have quite the “Sensational Little Boy”.
You can read about that here.

When someone tells you there is something “different” about your child, you start questioning what you could have possibly done wrong, your “ideal view” (which is stupid by the way) is shattered, and you feel lost. All you wanna do is “fix it” because at the time all you know is that your perfect child seems “broken” because when you have a child with special needs, you initially focus on “what’s wrong” when really there’s nothing to be fixed at all. You, “the parent”, realize that you’re the one that needs fixing, along with the world that has a long way to go in accepting these beautiful extrodinary children for who they are. That’s where I am today and that’s where the team at Pediatrics Plus has been SINCE DAY ONE.

Christian & Jen

Christian & Jen

Christian started at Peds Plus with therapy after he was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). He was given some of the best rockstar therapists from the start. It was determined early on that he needed a speech therapist since his vocabulary was almost non-existent. Jen took him in and made him work from the beginning. She worked through the meltdowns, the sensory issues, and layed the ground work. Shortly after came Anna. Christian accepted Anna from the beginning and I always told them, “I think he has a thing for Blondes.” Anna and Jen made a

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Christian and Anna!

dynamic team and they did everything in their power to get him to where he needed to be. They both assured me, if I could get him in the preschool, I would see a world of difference, and, boy, were they right! They continued with therapy and we were making great strides, and then after being on the waiting list, Christian was set to start preschool in 2016.

I was nervous. He had been in Soulie (Grandma) school once we realized that traditional daycare wasn’t cutting it anymore. He would be entering a new world, and they were going to teach him, work through the sensory issues, the delays, yet I still didn’t know what to expect. I was told Jen would no longer be his therapist, I was even more nervous. Who was going to keep my son on track, help him with speech, and who would be teaching this superhero 3 year old of mine? Here comes Ms. Christa, Ms. Paige, Becca, and later Mr. Jordan.

All of a sudden we had a team on our side. We had teachers and a new therapist who knew how to work through the kinks (that’s all they are), who knew how to build those skills, push the limits, and push my child to be the incredible little boy that he is. They cheered through his triumphs, encouraged him through his difficulties, and sat with him when leaving mommy in the morning was just a bit too hard.

They kept food diaries, to assist during the time when food textures became too much and he refused to eat. When words became hard and Christian was having a rough day, he had a speech therapist there who was willing to be creative and teach through play, who celebrated when he could say the “ink” in pink, and so much more. (Becca I could go on and on about how awesome you have been) All of a sudden my husband and I weren’t in it by ourselves. We had a team who celebrated victories, who were there at his birthday party, and became a true part of our family.

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Christian with BECCA!

Christian was no longer by himself either. My son, who only had the close family friends who saw past everything, now had friends. He even had his special friends Molly Kate and Emma (love those girls). Christian loves Emma so he tries to take care of her and Molly Kate, well that sweet feisty little girl just loves on my son and I’m so grateful that she’s a part of his life (she has the best family too).

Christian has an increased vocabulary, isn’t as afraid as he was in public environments, works through his sensory issues, loves to read books, and seems to be a happier, full of life, he has the sweetest friends, and super loving little boy.

Emma and Christian

Emma and Christian

So today, My heart is full. I’m thankful for each and everyone of you. You have made such a dynamic team for my son and you’ve forever changed his life.

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Ms. Christa, Molly Kate, Becca, Christian & Ms. Paige

Ms. Christa- Thanks for loving on him when he was having those hard mornings, and assuring me that he was having incredible days just rough minutes ( not even mornings) because they would never last longer than 4 minutes). Thanks for  teaching him so much! I swear he has asked for every book that you ever shared during Circle Time! Thanks for being such an amazing teacher and always reminding me that Christian is extremely smart and he will go far!

Ms. Paige- I swear you were Cj’s First Crush. How many stories have I heard with Ms. Paige’s name in it? How many times did I hear, I’m going to hang with Ms. Page (I guess he doesn’t just like Blondes!, ha ha) Thanks for always being so sweet and soft with him. For always being willing to provide that extra little love in the morning. It made a WORLD of difference for him, and I want you to know it doesn’t go unnoticed. Thanks for being an awesome babysitter too!

Mr. Jordan- Thanks for being Cj’s friend. He would always talk about playing with Mr. Jordan and cool things that Mr. Jordan showed him in class. Every kid needs a guy like you in his corner.

Anna- Thanks for sticking with us from the beginning. Thanks for never giving up on my son, for your INCREDIBLE communication and for always willing to come up with solutions. You never stop, no matter what time it is, and you’ve always been so accessible to me. I’m so grateful for you.

Jen-Thanks for being the beginning of our journey. Thanks for laying the foundation and being so incredible.Thanks for pushing, encouraging, and just being you!

Becca- MAN! Thanks for just being you. For your heart. Your Spirit. Your soul. Your love for my son. For pushing him. For never settling for mediocrity. For never giving up. You are a light my friend like no other, and I’m glad to know you.

To my fellow pediatric mommas I’ve become so close with- Whitney-Nikki-Janaye-Thanks for being rockstars. Thanks for being supportive, shedding tears with me, laughing with me, and being in my corner. I can’t forget Mary Lu and Paula either!

To all of Pediatrics Plus Faculty & Staff in Little Rock, thanks for being so awesome and for showing everyone that these children aren’t different, they are “special”. Unique. One of a Kind. Thank you for showing the world, that the kids who go here are dynamic, little superheroes who will change the world one day.

Thank you for being a champion for my kid and being behind me 100%.
I’m in awe of each and everyone of you, and how far Christian has come.
Thank you for being a part of our extended family. We love you all very much.

Until Next Time, Much Love,

Mrs.SPJ 🙂

 

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Easter Remembrance 

15 Apr

It’s that time of year again when all the little girls are  getting ready to be dolled up in brand new dresses and little boys will be running around scuffing up those brand new church shoes. Ladies have picked out their perfect outfit, some with the final touch of a perfect hat, as the men prepare to get suited up  a in their Sundays best. So many of us fixated with our eyes on our appearance, and I can’t take my eyes off the cross.

I always get super emotional around Easter and I just can’t help it. The idea; the thought; the emotion behind someone dying for me, is more than my heart can even handle at times. 

I find myself going through the gospel from time to time  in disbelief, because we all know how flaky human beings can be at times, and even when Jesus asked God to “take this cup from me” he didn’t allow temptation or fear to overwhelm him. He carried out what was set before him and if that isn’t love, I don’t know what is. 

Today, as we remember the power of the cross and the depth of his love, let us not forget what it means:

1. Jesus died for us because God loves us so much. (John 3:16) Sin was keeping us from the world, and Jesus’ death became the bridge back to our father and that bridge is ALWAYS open, which means nothing we can say or do will keep us from him. 

2. God isn’t asking us to be perfect, he doesn’t expect us to be perfect ( he is) so don’t put expectations on yourself that God doesn’t even have for you! (I will get into this point more a few lines down) 

3.  God loves everyone ( go back to point one). We aren’t here to justify what is right or wrong, we are here to love and point people to the word, let them see for themselves how much God loves them and discover truth. Don’t let a “view” or “mindset” distort who God is for others. He’s pretty awesome, and here for errybody (yes, I meant it like that).

4. God wants what is best for you. That doesn’t mean life will be easy. Everything works for the good of the Lord ( Romans 8:28) Not some things, sometimes, on occasion, EVERYTHING. So just hold on, he’ll pull you through.

5. God isn’t keeping score. He isn’t condemning  u for what you have done. ((Romans 8:1) There arent bonus love points for being a pastor and news flash, there are no GOOD christians.  There is no such thing. So stop beating yourself up and telling yourself you need to be a “better” Christian. Love him, follow him, and keep his commandments. (And guess what, if you don’t, he still loves you). 

Be encouraged, friends. Stop being so hard on yourself! Oh how he loves us and I’m so glad he does and on this Easter, I just want to remind you what that love means.  It means he loves us when we do good, when we do bad and when we are in the darkest places, his light is still shining, if you look for it. You are never too far from God, and on this Easter, I hope you feel the love our Good, Good, father has for us.

Until Next time, much Love,

Mrs.Spj:)

P.S.- I’m so in love with this shirt Lift Her Up Clothing

Your church could do More.

6 Feb

Don’t get offended, it’s the truth.

I know some of y’all are already shaking your head at this post and before you begin rattling off the list of amazing things that your church does for the community, let me explain.

I’ve volunteered with nonprofits for most of my life and have even worked in the nonprofit sector for 10 years (this year!)  Although my experience may be short to some, I can tell you I’ve learned quite a bit in the few years that I have been here and I can tell you or almost guarantee you, your church could be doing more. Let me explain.

You could provide SPACE- Yes, my friends, sometimes simply having a location or space outside of an organization’s very own offices allows them to expand their reach, and serve more people at one time. While some organizations have space to do the types of services and events they do, many of them don’t.

You could provide PEOPLE- In my experience, a lot of organizations could do more if they had the hands to do it! A lot of times when serving the community, you get bombarded with people and I always think, if we just had DOUBLE the amount of people, it would make a difference.

You could provide SERVICES- Yep. That’s right. I know that many of you provide services already, but if you could reach out to people besides the ones living in your neighborhood to expand those services, imagine what could happen!

You could provide TRANSPORATION- This issue is a big one. I have heard from numerous parents and caregivers, that many times they would like to take advantage of opportunities and do more, but they just don’t have a way to get there or the funds to get a ride.

You could provide FOOD- Of course, that is literal for some organizations that feed the homeless, etc. but have you ever offered to provide food for an organization’s event, or for families,. etc? Do you know how many events, meetings, and programs go on, but we have families that are hungry? I’m just saying.

Most importantly, You could provide something OUTSIDE OF THE WALLS that you dwell in. (No pun intended, well kinda) I have knocked on several church doors and have dealt with quite a few church folks in my life, and I will tell you that a lot of them had something in common: They wanted to do good as long as it was in their comfort zone. It’s time churches stopped pushing this “Church” Agenda and became more people centered. Who cares how many members you have or if you have the biggest and baddest choir in the land! What are you doing to reach ALL people? How are you helping our brothers and sisters?  We’ve got some scary times going on right now, and it’s time that churches
focus on what’s most important: Loving God and People. That’s it. No fancy gimmicks, extravagant banquets, or tv ads. You don’t even have to recreate the wheel! There are already amazing organizations out here doing some great things that just need help! Simply, help people where they are and if I have learned anything from growing up in the church to giving my life to nonprofit, that is it.

So you can roll your eyes at this post if you want to and maybe even get a little attitude in your spirit, but at the end of the day, I’d rather you think about what else you could be doing to advance the mission of Jesus.

“And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Luke 10:27  (ESV)

Until Next Time, Much Love,

Mrs.SPJ 🙂

Dear Perfect Parent,

25 Apr

Or shall I say, to the parents I see out and about staring at me, sometimes pointing,  and piercing me with their eyes while my child is having a moment.

I see your eye rolls.  I see your glares.

I see you mouth the variety of statements from the following choices of:

“she has no control over her child”
“my child never acted like that”
or my favorite
“she needs to give him a good spanking”

Yep. I see it all right along with my fellow parents of children  deemed “different” “special” or “misbehaved”.

We see everything. But what is sad is, that you don’t.

You don’t see how desperately we want our children to be on their best behavior.
You don’t see how we want them to enjoy the same activities that your children do.
You don’t see the constant appointments that turn into disappointments, the desire to do what’s best for your child but at times not knowing what that is or even means, and you don’t see the pain that YOU cause, by  your actions.

I can’t tell you how many times YOUR actions have caused me to second guess mine.
How I have sat at a table holding my child with severe anxiety in my hands and tears rolling down my face because at times I don’t know what to do or  how to keep the world from spinning around me in slow motion, to only look at you staring across the way, judging me.

I try to be strong, I need to be strong, for my child, but your judgement, your ridicule, your disgusting lack of respect for my child and situation, make a difficult situation even worse at times. When you have a child that is already labeled “different” and reacts to life on edge at times, you simply want to crawl in a hole somewhere, and there you are, ready to throw dirt on top and bury me.

Perfect parents, I’m sorry my child is keeping you from enjoying your perfect little world. Perfect teachers, I’m sorry my child doesn’t learn the way you teach. Perfect family members & friends, I’m sorry the way I’m raising my child doesn’t line up with what you all did “back in the day”.

I’m raising my child, I’m loving him, and I’m fighting for him along with a large majority of parents out there still learning how to find the right resources for their children and fight for their needs. At times, all I can do is pray because I’m trying so hard to “love like Jesus” when your actions make me want to go off on you in public and say things which Jesus would definitely not approve of. But I leave you with this-

When you see a child having a moment in public, think long and hard about how you respond. Before judging them, before putting them in categories, and deeming  my parenting “unfit” in your eyes, just stop and think- there’s a chance it couldn’t be what you think. The child having a moment could be struggling with a disorder, disability, etc.
Everything can’t be seen with the naked eye.

To those people who are supportive- I’m not talking to you. I love you. I thank you. You give the “high fives” when moments are rough.

To my fellow mamas and papas of these special children God has blessed you with, don’t lose hope. I get it. I know it’s tough and people are mean. But we can do this. God gave us these awesome children for a reason.

Until Next Time, Much Love

SPD MOM- Steph

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Cj turns “TWO-DLES”

2 Jun

My little guy turned 2 last week and I still can’t believe it!
In honor of his birthday, we opened up “Christian’s Clubhouse” for an unforgettable “TWO”dles event!

After feeling a bit uneasy and rushed after Cj’s First Birthday party, I knew that I wanted this year to be different. It wasn’t too hard to find a theme being that my son is obsessed with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!  However, I wanted to do something a bit different than the norm. No red, black, and white, and I wanted to incorporate all of Mickey’s friends!!!

Since we knew the theme, picking out colors was next. I picked red (of course), aqua/sky blue, and yellow! I wanted his clubhouse themed party to be fun and colorful just like he is! After that, I started trying to think of decorations that would go with his theme. I searched pinterest all over for unique and fun Clubhouse party ideas (there were way too many)
I saw this really cute idea on pinterest to do centerpieces that represented all things Mickey, but I didn’t want to go overboard. I combined centerpieces with balloons and that was the setting for the table! I just saw a picture and my husband designed the centerpieces. If you do a simple search on Etsy, you can find some amazing centerpieces! I just wanted to go the diy route!

Next in the planning process came picking out games. I wanted games that babies and toddlers could enjoy, but I wanted it to have a clubhouse theme. I wanted to link all games to the character’s cj loves most as well as make it easy for parents to grasp! All kids in attendance recieved what I like to call “The Toodles Sticker Card”

twodles card

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Each child was encouraged to visit at least 4 out of the 8 stations, play the games, and get the chance to earn a sticker at EACH station! Once your “Two’dles card had 4 stickers, you could turn it in for a prize! Here are the stations we had:

Mickey & Minnie Golf 
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This set was purchased at Walgreens and was the perfect size for lil Mousketeers! You can also do a search for some online, they aren’t that expensive (under 15 bucks)

Daisy’s Rings & Things
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Another great Walgreens purchase! It’s just a simple ring toss game! However Daisy and her fabulous splendor are all about rings & things!

PIN THE BOWTIE ON DONALD

I totally forgot to take a picture of this game, but my husband designed a poster of Donald without a bowtie. Bowties were then glued to foam board and viola! You could also do pin the ear on Mickey using your child’s photo which is something I’ve seen a lot of other people do! I just wanted each friend to be represented in the clubhouse!!!

PLUTO’S HIDDEN TREASURE
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I purchased this bin for about 8 bucks at Target and we cut up some water noodles to “bury” the treasure! Dogs are great at hiding things, so if you could go through Pluto’s hidden treasure, you would find great age appropriate prizes you could keep! Some of the prizes included, but not limited too, bath toys, Disney necklaces, trucks, balls, etc, flash cards, etc.

GOOFY’S GUMBALL POOL
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This was probably my favorite! We took about 200-400 ball pit balls and filled up an inflatable pool with them!
I do not recommend this exact pool, but the game was great! It was big enough for the big kids, but perfect for the baby mousketeers too!

TOODLES WATER TABLE
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My son loves his water table, so we thought, why not let the other kids enjoy it as well? This one was purchased from Babies R Us last year on sale! I’m sure you could find the same! They have all kinds!

PETE’S PAINTING PALETTE
My husband is quite the artist, (he did all of the artwork in Cj’s Room), so we figured we would set out some canvases, paint markers, and let children become their own little Picasso! The great thing about this game is at the end, you have an interesting beautiful keepsake, from your child’s birthday party!
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THE CLUBHOUSE TOSS
My son could play the Clubhouse Toss for hours! You can find kiddy versions online, but they are either too cheaply made and would break or wayy to expensive so my husband made the one for the party. He even added a painted touch!
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We had such a blast and I’m really happy with the way everything turned out! I saw lots of smiling faces and even my lil guy seemed to be having a good time!
Pinterest and Etsy really will be your best friend and don’t be afraid to get creative on your own!!!!!

Here are some Freebies! Please feel free to use what you need!!!

Twodles Birthday Sticker Card
Mickey Head Centerpiece
Mickey Hand Centerpiece
Mickey Pants Centerpiece
Red Stars Centerpiece
Yellow Stars Centerpiece
Clubhouse Sign

 

I hope you have a fun Mickey Party as we did! Check out some more fun pictures below! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them below!

How awesome are these photos from my dear friend and photographer Pier Nguyen?

If you are in the Little Rock area book him!

 

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