"To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." Isaiah 61:3

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Best Buds....

Grace and Jen are best buds!

Every Monday night they have a standing date.

Jen picks up Grace.

They go to Wendy's for "chicken, fries, and a Frosty".

Head to "my house" (what Grace calls Jen's place).

Watch "Toy Story".

Head out to Tae Kwon Do.



Grace loves Jen. Jen Loves Grace. What a pair!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Funny Little Honey....

Grace is my funny little honey! And, we got a chance to hear all about her antics once again.

Yesterday was the infamous IEP day for Miss Grace. Kevin and I met with the team to discuss next year's goals, plans, and dreams.... Besides that, the teachers shared how Grace is such a joy to have around and that the whole school really loves her.

Here are a couple highlights:

* Whenever they play "musical chairs" (as a sensory game), she gets all excited and calls it "High School Musical Chairs".... :)

* She has a crush on a 4th grade male teacher....instead of hanging his class's snacks on the door (as is her daily job for the school), she insists on hand delivering it to him and coyly hands him the snacks and smiles! Then, she bows to the class! AND they applaud. Talk about reinforcing behaviors!

* She has a problem keeping her hands to herself. Sometimes she hugs, sometimes high fives or gives knuckles, or if she feels like it, just firmly shoves a classmate out of her path.

* There is a photo hanging in the school hall-way by the office of a group of the students wearing their "Character Counts" t-shirts. She is in the front of the photo holding a sign. We're told she can't walk by it without taking time to admire herself! She would probably gaze at herself forever, unless someone redirected her.

* I guess they will have to hide the microphone to the new classroom sound system. Grace wants to take it and sing "High School Musical" songs into it and then say "I Grace Burckhard!"

* Often times, before school she goes off into a corner to read books. Her teacher said many times after she has already marked Grace absent, there she pops up out of a corner ten minutes after class has started. At least she is looking at books (and keeping her hands to herself!)

We can see that her teachers truly love and care for our little muffin. We are so thankful Grace is in a good place where she loves to be...and that her classmates not only respect her, but clammer at who gets to be with her! You go, Grace!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Flat Stanley Visits North Dakota....

Texas cousin Victoria sent her Flat Stanley to North Dakota for a visit with Grace and Bella. Daddy and the girls took him on a sightseeing adventure to the Scandanavian Heritage Park here in our town.


Here are some snapshots of his visit:










He is already on his way home back to Texas. Thanks, Victoria, for sending him to us!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wow, Has a Week Really Gone By?......

It has been over a week since I made my last blog post---can't believe it. I don't think I have ever let that much time go between posts. Guess that just goes to show that we are entering the boring, day-to-day "real" life phase of post-adoption. And, although we are plugging along in this dreary month of March, I thought it might be a good time to give a brief update on what's happening in each of the Burckhard family members' lives.

Bella: She is still the light of our lives and brings so much joy and wonder to each day, that it's hard not to smile when you are around her. She is continuing to ride the "bum" (bus) and going to preschool and LOVING it. Another love: basketball games! She is totally into watching basketball on TV. She is such a hoot to watch as she gallops in place, clapping and cheering as she watches. And then as soon as a commercial comes on, she stops dead in her tracks with her arms at her sides. Once the game's back on---she's doing her galloping, happy cheer dance once again. I will get some video of it and post it one day...it's too good to miss! We jokingly refer to her as the epitome of "March Madness!"

Grace: Grace has been such a good girl! She is so kind and sweet to "Bella Bogdana" (as she calls her). She is now an orange belt at Tae Kwon Do. Every day when she gets off the bus, she asks if it is her night to go. I can't believe she will be ten in a few weeks. She is growing up and slimming down! Yay! She thinks it's great that she gets to stay up later than Bella and she no longer needs naps. That surely makes her feel like a big sister!

Sam: Sam is growing up and up! Both in maturation and in height! And, he is becoming quite the socialite. He can't wait to get home from school to be back in contact with his friends via the internet, texting, and the phone. And now, his thing is to meet up with his friends in the neighborhood (girls and boys) and wander around talking and wading through puddles. (OK, I don't think he is deliberately wading, but he sure is wet when he comes home.) Also, he is in the chess club at another middle school and is moving up the ranks. Think he is now ranked 4th!!! And, he will be joining the junior high golf team at his school in a few weeks. He LOVES to talk and laugh (just like another "boy" in this house.)

Elizabeth: My grown-up 16 year old! She is now done doing stats for boys BB but will start doing stats for Kevin's church BB league. Busy, busy, busy describes Miss E. She is also working hard on some musical pieces to compete in the Regional music contests with hopes of making it to state. She and I are avid Am. Idol fans and love cheering on our favorites together. She is a master texter and typist. When she types, it sounds like machine guns going off! (never even had a typing class either.) And, she WILL be getting her driver's license this spring....under duress, I know, but I need another driver to help out!

Kevin aka Daddy, Papa: Busy as ever as the Managing Director for Northwestern Mutual in northwestern ND. He is gearing up as the commissioner for the Minot area church league...which he has been heading up for the last 100 years (seems like to me :). Now he and Elizabeth will be gone two nights every week from 5:30 to 10:30 setting up, running the show & stats, and cleaning up. Oh well, with I may have to attend some games so that our Little Miss Basketball (Bella) can cheer on some Christian athletes. He is a great father and provider for our little family! Keeps us laughing and everything real around here!

Me aka Paula, Mama: Busy holding down the fort; taking part in Our Redeemer's Moms in Touch, Parent Expert on our Medical Home Team, taking Bella to speech at MSU, volunteering at the school, helping Reece's Rainbow with grant writing and the Connecting the Rainbow, gearing up to be an adjunct professor (actually it's called parents as co-teachers) for a university class next fall called Disability Issues, exercising, losing weight with Weight Watchers, AND has yet to buy any new clothes in her new clothes challenge this year. Whew, when I write it out, I guess I do actually do something!

Jake the Cat: Eat, sleep, repeat!

So there you have it, a synopsis of where we are to date in the Burckhard household. So does this mean I won't have to blog for another week again? :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bella Goes to a Tea Party!

Bella attended her very first tea party yesterday with two special little muffins named Kindle and Katie (And Katie's mom Holly). And, my-oh-my, was it EVER a tea party!

Lisa, aka Kindle's mom, hosted the party in her home and made it such a festive, girly-girl affair. Just look at the table!


To make it even more special, Lisa made each of the girls a beautiful bow for their hair. Here are Bella's two beautiful friends Kindle & Katie:

All of the pics were taken by Lisa's good friend Liz who has her own photography business http://www.lizbyersphotography.com . Liz took some great shots that really captured the essence of the party!







Let's just say Kindle and her Mom know how to throw one really GRAND tea party!

Make A Pledge for Grace, Bella & Friends!

r-word.org
Today is the day that thousands of people are pledging to end their use of the "R" word. What is the "R" word? It is "retard" or "retarded".

If I were given a $1 for every time I have overheard someone saying "That's so retarded" or "I'm such a retard!", I would be a very rich woman!

Yes, my daughters' both have mental retardation--I get that. But what I don't get is how people use their diagnosis in a defamatory manner. It truly hearts a Mama's heart. :(

So, would you pledge to stop saying this today? People from my neice Kassie to Joe Jonas are doing it....you can too! Just click on the link to make a formal pledge or just pledge it to yourself.

Words hurt....Let's SPREAD THE WORD TO END THE WORD today!