I love this photo of Grandma Lucille and Nole' on Easter Sunday. I will have to ask, but I think Nole' was grandchild #20--ranging in ages from 42 years old down to 3 years old. Just guessing here, but I think she may have 15 great grandchildren. What a legacy, Grandma 'Cille!
"Ciao" GaGa and "Hello" Choo Choo! If you are new to our blog, you may not know that when we first met Nole' we were told he loved Lady GaGa! Finally, we have success in that we have gotten him to transfer his love to Thomas the Tank Engine! And, if you know me, you will know it is a miracle that I kept Sam's old Thomas trains. So, Nole' is have a grand ole' time lining up the trains, giving them rides in his dump truck, AND even getting his big brother to play with him.
So, we are making a little progress with our little man! :)
Busy can be the only word that adequately describes our household these days! Hence....no blogging! Since it has been a few weeks, I thought perhaps now would be a good time to give a brief update on our family.
Nole: He is a full-fledged American citizen! We received his Certificate of Citizenship AND his social security card just today. He is such a gentle soul who charms his way through life! Although, he continues to pester his older sestra Bella and poor old Jake. He had a preschool evaluation done two weeks ago and we will meet in a week to discuss options for next year. He is doing amazingly well in picking up basic sign language such as eat, drink, play, bath....all the important things. He is adjusting to our family so well; we all just love him! Bella: Well, almost everyone loves him! Bella's not so sure yet! I guess you can't blame her when Nole pulls her hair, scratches, pushes to inappropriately try and get her attention. He is not being mean, he just doesn't know how to get her to play with him. When they do play, it is so fun to hear them laughing and running around together. I pray with time, that they become the best of friends. And, Bella no longer carries all her favorite possessions around with her all day, she just hides everything under her bed! She's one smart little cookie!Here they are watching Barney "together!" Grace: Grace is still the character of the family. We recently had her yearly IEP and it went so great! I think it is the first year in which I didn't cry during the meeting. Those meetings are so emotionally charged, they get me every time. It was so great to hear that Grace no longer needs OT, but only needs the therapists on a consulting basis. She is reading over 75 sight words, adding with a bit of carrying, and is handling herself well in the classroom. She keeps everyone laughing with her "Gracisms", that's for sure! She recently had her music program. Right at the beginning, she caught my eye...she did the "rock on" sign and then proceeded to mouth the words "I'm Hungry!" in front of everyone. We died laughing! Oh, and when she got up this morning and saw that it had snowed, she exclaimed "It's Christmas!" Here she is at her music program playing the recorder: Samuel: Sam is having a great school year. He has grown into such a delightful young man. He LOVES to go to the Y with his Dad as often as he can. He has grown taller, slimmed down, and is gaining some muscle. He also found that he loves "selling" things. He was the winner of the school's fundraiser where they sold "coupon" cards for pizzas, gas, etc. He went around town and sold 51 cards at $20 a piece. We told him that if he likes this and can do well, he most certainly can sell "life insurance" like his dad! This weekend he and his friend Trystan went to Fargo for a chess tournament. Can't wait to hear how his weekend goes!
Elizabeth: Well, my little girl is all grown up! She went to her first formal last weekend! She was escorted by a very nice young man named William. He is a foreign exchange student from China. When Grace saw Elizabeth and her friends all dressed up and ready to go, she insisted that she, too, was going to dress up and go to the "prom" with her friend Conner. We let her come along to see everyone, and as you can tell, she jumped into some of the photos! Elizabeth had such a great time that night and most certainly looked like a princess! She is busy getting ready for college entrance exams and year-end activities. I am trying to treasure each day with her, because before I know it, she will be off at college.
Kevin & Me: You will never believe where I was this past week--FLORIDA! I know, I am a really bad mom for leaving Nole' so soon! :) But, I am so glad I decided to go with Kevin. It wasn't his easiest sales job either to get me to go to his conference with him. I insisted that it was just too soon to leave Nole' and the attachment process. However, at the last minute (when it was snowing here), I told him I would go. He had already lined up the child care (five WONDERFUL college gals and my parents)--all I had to do was pack. We had so much fun relaxing by the pool, collecting seashells, and visiting with other Northwestern Mutual Managing Directors and their spouses. In the end, everything was just fine. My parents brought Nole' to the airport this afternoon to greet us. After a few seconds, he said "Oh!" and ran to me and hugged me so tight! I am so glad I took the time to go and that we had the most amazing team of caregivers that our kids didn't even miss us! We are blessed!
We got to dress up for the awards dinner....
Here is one of the hotel pools.... Kevin in the gulf waters.... So now we are all ready to get into a routine. Not gonna happen, I know! But we will try to get back into our daily lives and savor every moment as we go!
How does Grace feel about her new little brother? I think this photo from Kevin's phone says it all.... The first thing she asks about when she gets home from school or when she wakes up is "Where's Novak?"
She wants to hug and kiss him all the time. And says lovingly, gently caressing his face, "That's my boy!"
The only bump in the road is that if he even grazes her shirt when he walks by her, she says, "Owwww, Novak hurt me!" Low pain tolerance, that one!
All in all, Grace is head over heels in love with Novak. Oh, and in her words "It's Novak, not Nole'!!!!"
Hello! My name is Paula Burckhard. I am married to Kevin and have five children: Elizabeth (18), Samuel (14), Grace (12 w/Down syndrome), Bella (7 w/Down syndrome adopted from Ukraine 2009); and Nole' (4 w/Down syndrome adopted from Serbia 2011) We are a family that loves God and desires to bring him Glory in all we do.
Nole' (listed as Nathan) Came Home on March 2, 2011 from Serbia!
Bella Bogdana Burckhard
This "beautiful gift from God" has been given to us through the miracle of adoption. She became part of our family in August 2009. We are excited to see how God will use this Ukrainian princess for his glory!