Our Little Housekeeper….

The truth is out….we admit it….we adopted Bella because I needed some help around the house. Ha Ha! Seriously, while I was working on the computer, I could hear her talking away to herself. I finally went back to her room and what did I find? Bella not only making her bed but her sister Grace’s as well! She was so proud!

And, here is mine:

I guess I better get on the ball and get my bed made too. Bella is quite the slave driver!!

Love, Paula

Oops….. :)

Last night Kevin came out and said, “Oops, I think I just did something really funny.” I looked up from the computer and said, “What?” He just stared at me. I looked at him once more questioningly, like “Well, are you going to tell me or what?” And then I noticed this….

Sam was standing right by us and burst out laughing too. Kev forgot to change his shaver to just a clipper. (He eventually shaved off the “mustache” too. But Sam HAD to get a picture of him like this!)

Remember how Bella was so “byoos” or “afraid” of Kevin with the goatee? Well, Grace took one look at him without the goatee and was “byoos” of him. I finally got her to realize that it really is OK and that Daddy will be fine and the goatee will grow back! She kept saying, “Goatee on again?” over and over.

Poor Kevin–He can’t win with his little girls! As for me, I still love my Mr. Clean!

Bella’s First Haircut….

Today Bella had her first haircut at a salon.

Before:

During:

After:

Truthfully, I don’t see much of a difference. 🙂 Maybe the stylist was new? She was so timid. Oh well, Bella seemed to like having her hair done. Now we’ll let it grow and I’ll just trim the bangs until it’s time for a “real” haircut.

Buddy Walk & Pumpkin Patch…

Today was a very fun day! Our whole family (except for Elizabeth who was scoring all the points for the VB team–she’s the stats person 🙂 headed out to Bismarck to our state capitol building where the 6th Annual Bismarck/Mandan Buddy Walk was being held. And guess who was asked to be the host family?

The weather was perfect: blue skies, low 80’s, light breeze–a beautiful ND fall day! Over 1,000 people turned out to support loved ones with Down Syndrome. Kevin did a great job welcoming the group and sharing our journey! It was so encouraging to also have Grandma, Grandpa, and my brother Joe and his wife Brenda there to support us!
There were also many families from Minot who made the journey down; so maybe we will have to start our own Buddy Walk!

Also, Sam was a great Reece’s Rainbow ambassador. He had a big basket of Lifesavers gummi candies that he handed out with Reece’s Rainbow brochures and magnets explaining how they can support the ministry or maybe even adopt themselves one day! He would hand out the lifesavers and say “Be a Lifesaver; support Reece’s Rainbow!” Do you think he takes after Dad, the life insurance agent, a little bit? 🙂

Here is a hefty dose of our day….








After the Buddy Walk, we went to Papa’s Pumpkin Patch. It is an amazing place with so much to do…the kids had a blast!









Thanks, Bismarck Designer Genes for asking us to be the Host Family this year! We were humbled and honored to have been selected. And you put on one great Buddy Walk!

Love, Paula

Bella goes to College…

Today, Kevin, Bella and I were invited to speak to an Honors Level Disability Awareness class about the lessons we’ve learned by having a child (now children) with a disability.

The students came from all disciplines and it is a class with the main purpose of helping people work and live with people with disabilities. In this class, there are future school teachers, medical staff, economists, business people etc. I think it should be a REQUIRED course for all college graduates!

Today’s topic was “Lessons Learned”. We shared our family journey and how it impacted our decision to adopt Bella. We also shared insight and gave advice on how to best work with families who have a loved one with a disability.

One of the biggest areas for these students to work on is plain and simple — the use of language– “People First Language” that is! Both in the written and spoken word, the person should be put before the disabiltiy. i.e. a child with Down syndrome, a person with a mental illness, an employee with cerebral palsy, etc.

A disability does not define a person; it is just a part of who they are! We also shared about how using the “R” word (retard) makes us feel or any other word that can be construed as demeaning. I think the students were quite receptive to our suggestions to stop using the “R” word to refer to themselves or others doing something not up to par.

Also, I shared a story that was a turning point in my life after Grace was born. When Grace was about two months old, I was still quite sensitive to the fact that everyone was staring at my baby because she had Down syndrome. I felt that people would turn and stare at her while I had her out in her stroller.

Well, one day we were at the mall and Grandma went into a shop to get a coffee. While she went in, Grace and I waited just outside the entrance. While waiting, I noticed a girl walking towards us with black hair, black lipstick, black clothing, black fingernails, piercings…I am ashamed to admit that I was already “prejudging” her in my mind.

I watched as she glanced sideways at my baby as she walked by. Then, out of the corner of my eye I saw a movement, and lo and behold, the “Goth” girl came back to us, squatted down face-to-face before Grace, looked at her, and then looked up to mean while she was standing and said “She is just beautiful!” Wow, talk about God using an unlikely source to bring me to my knees.

There I was judging her by her looks, thinking the whole world was staring at my baby because of the way she looked! God used this young lady to stop me in my tracks and realize that the outside of a person is not what counts, it’s what is on the inside. To this day, I really think the “Goth” girl was an angel in disguise!

We are so thankful we are able to share our journey with others. Perhaps one of those students will remember just one thing we said about working and living with people with disabilities. Because when it comes right down to it, “we are more alike than different.”

Lifetime Goal Achieved!!!!!

The Hallelujah Chorus broke out this morning when I realized one of my lifetime goals–all the laundry baskets are EMPTY! I could have cried tears of joy. (Seriously)

I use three hampers–one for whites, one for colors, and one for “special”. This is the first time they have all been empty at once.

Maybe it’s because I have a little helper now?…hmmmmm…..could be…That little Bella loves helping load both the washer and dryer. Then, she loves to stand and ask “That?” to each piece of laundry I’m folding to see whose it is. When she recognizes her clothes, she gathers them into a pile in her arms. Having never owned a piece of clothing, Bella sure helps me appreciate all we have!

Love, One Happy Mama

PS–it lasted all of FIVE minutes and then Kevin brought out his dirty laundry. Oh well, loved it while it lasted! 🙂