"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

The Burckhard Family

The Burckhard Family

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Many Faces of Bella Bogdana....

Bella is quite a little actress! The Orphanage Director warned us and said they would be so sad to not have her in their little productions.

For your viewing entertainment, here are the many faces of Bella Bogdana Burckhard! Enjoy....

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pulling the Adoption Card...

Elizabeth and her Dad headed out bright and early at 4:00 a.m. to partake in the Black Friday festivities. It's become sort of a tradition with them...time for the two of them just to be together to scout out good deals and enjoy a Starbucks.

This year, they went to WalMart first. Elizabeth said it was beyond crazy. Elizabeth really wanted to get a pink guitar for Bella ($15) for Christmas. They didn't know that the specials they wanted didn't begin until 5:00 a.m. So, she resorted to hovering over the shrink-wrapped pod of guitars with the other frenzied moms until they were given the "OK". Elizabeth reported that all the moms were conferring amongst themselves saying "So, how many and what color do you want?" Finally, Elizabeth said she spoke up and said, "Well, I only want ONE pink guitar...and it's for my new little sister we just adopted from an Eastern European orphanage." She said it was suddenly silent as all the out-of-control moms just looked at her, puzzled, and then smiled.

We laughed so hard when she came home and told her story. Way to "pull the adoption card", Elizabeth! Oh, and she got the guitar---just don't tell Bella! :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We counted our blessings and thanked God for His abundant grace and mercy on our lives. I think everyone was most grateful for our little Miss Bella joining our family this year. To think that last year we didn't even know about Reece's Rainbow, let alone Bella Bogdana! What a difference a year can make!

Bella seemed to enjoy her first Thanksgiving and "mmmmm, mmmmm'd" her way through two plates of mashed potatoes and a piece of pumpkin pie. She also loves having people over and clapping for her as she dances her "Ukrainian" jig! LOL

She really took to her Aunt Brenda and sat on her lap while we were playing a card game after dinner. Here she is snuggled into Brenda:

And, here I am with my two oldest kids...and then some "Turkey" jumped into the shot at the last minute!!!

Hope that you all had a wonderful day too! Praise God from whom all blessings flow....

Love, Paula

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"You So Goofy..."

I think I may have mentioned in another post that when Grace sees Bella after school, she bends down to Bella face-to-face and tickles her under the chin saying "Bella, you so goofy!" Not sure where Grace came up with that, but here is proof that it is so:

Ok, well maybe she gets it from this goofball:

Suffice it to say that I love all four of my goofballs--all with their own unique levels of goofiness!

Love, Paula

Monday, November 23, 2009

Our Christmas Photo....

Here's a preview of our Christmas Card for this year:

Whew....we are exhausted! It took a lot of shots and gnashing of teeth to finally get one that is acceptable all SIX of us...I mean, SEVEN with Jake the cat!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Home Three Months Today!

I can't believe Miss Bella has been home three months today! It is like she has been with us forever.

She is quite the little character who knows what she LOVES:

chocolate milk
cream of wheat
bath time with Grace
swings & slides

riding in a car
looking at photos & books

She is doing amazingly well! She had her preschool evaluation yesterday and will start in January a few hours each morning. But, I think she is mostly excited to ride the bus with her big sister Grace. They won't be at the same school, but they will get to ride the "bum" (bus) together.

We are thankful that God placed her in our family. We are also so thankful to our friends and family for giving us the support needed, both financially and emotionally, to make this happen. We are blessed beyond measure!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What Kind of Mother.....

Lets her 15 year-old daughter go to the midnight showing of the movie New Moon on a school night?

This kind........

Monday, November 16, 2009

Texas Visit....Part II

Bella had so much fun with her Texas cousins. We are home now, but have many fond memories...We had lunch at school with the cousins, went to Padre Island (it was in the 80's!), and ate at some fun restaurants. Oh, by the way, Bella LOVED the ocean. We literally had to hold on to her or she would just run on out into the waves--She has no fear!

Here's a glimpse into our Texas visit:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Texas Visit....Good Times!

We arrived in Texas late on Wednesday night after Bella's first flight on an airplane just to take a visit. She was PERFECT on the plane--well, especially when you are mesmerized by Barney half the time!

Yesterday was a full day of eating lunch with Victoria at her school and shopping at the Shops at La Cantera. We also went to watch the three little girls at their dance class. Bella totally got into the dancing when Natasha showed her routine at the end of the class. She has definitely got moves! The rest of the night we hung out, played duck duck goose, ring around the rosie, and played with Lou and Fetching (the adopted Greyhounds Bella was frightened of at first).

Here are a few snapshots of our first day:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


As we are getting ready to travel, Kevin and I thought we would let Bella "try out" a portable DVD player and watch Barney. This is what she thought....

Yes, she was mesmerized to the point of drooling! Guess I will bring it along on the airplane for the three hour leg of the flight. Barney has a different affect on us all, don't you think?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bella, Mama & Grandma's Big Adventure...Here we come TEXAS Cousins!

Yes, that is right! Bella, my mom, and I will be flying to Texas tomorrow! Finally, Bella will get to meet her Texas cousins: Alex, Kassie, Julianna, Victoria & Natasha!

Kevin and I (sorta) jokingly said we hope that Bella doesn't think we are taking her back to the orphanage. But, Karla DOES have five girls...so it is just a DIFFERENT orphanage. LOL

Yay! Here we come.....Will post pictures soon!

Love, Mama (I better go pack..you would think it would be easier to pack for a five day trip, versus a two month excursion to Ukraine, but....)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Checking off the Medical Appointments....

As the days go on, I am able to check off the medical appointments needed for both Bella and Grace. Today, with the help of our Jen, we headed off for Grace to have her blood drawn to check up on her thyroid. She has been complaining of being tired lately. She says "I not sick, I tired!" And her gym teacher said she is wanting to go off and lay down on the stage in the gym instead of playing with the other kids--that is so unlike her! I put the Emla cream on the crooks of both elbows with band aids covering them and off we went. She was so good at the lab. She asked the young man drawing her blood "What's your name?" He told her "Josh." She responded, "Oh, thank you, Josh." He said, "I think that is the first genuine thank you I have ever gotten here!" Soon, we will know if we should adjust her meds for her hypothyroidism. After the labs, Jen took Grace to the car while I took Bella to see an on-call Doctor.

First off, the nurse weighed and measured Bella. She has gained THREE pounds since coming home 2 1/2 months ago. At this rate, she will be gigantic in a year. LOL

Upon the Dr.'s exam and irrigating her wax-filled ears, she was diagnosed with a double ear infection and a sinus infection. Poor thing. No wonder she hasn't been her usual upbeat self!

So to date, Bella has has had a hearing eval, entered speech therapy, and is on her first round of antibiotics not to mention that nasty ear flushing episode! We still have to do a full blood work up on her, xrays of her spine and hips, and vision check. On November 19th she will be evaluated for her preschool which begins in January. Slowly but surely we will check these appointments off.

All in all, she is a strong, self-determined little girl. I am so proud to be her Mama!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kevin's New Baby....

Kevin is proud to announce the arrival of his new "baby"....a Bobcat!

After last year's ND monumental snowfall, Kevin and my Dad have started a snow removal business called "The SnowMen" with the slogan--"We Get Your Drift..." Sam will be the third snowman in the group and will help out with more of the shoveling and precision work. :) My Dad will run the Bobcat and Kevin will take the phone calls, market, and schedule appointments. (basically schmooze)

Do you think they are wishing for snow this year?

So, if you need snow removal services and are in the area, give Kevin a call! He can't wait to get his new "baby" out....

Love, The SnowMan's Wife

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NaNoWriMo...Go Elizabeth!

Elizabeth has been writing since she was, oh, two years old. She is one of those people who needs to write like she needs breathe. She journals faithfully and considers it a hobby and a stress release.

Last year she participated in the NaNoWriMo contest otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. The goal of the contest is to write a novel with at least 50,000 words in the month of November. She accomplished last year and published her book "From Every Hill of Flame." However, she won't let any of us read it...guess she will be one of those posthumous-type writers.

She is participating again this year and has been going to Barnes and Noble to meet with a writing group. They bring their laptops, write together, share tidbits, and have word count writing contests. Elizabeth said she has won every writing contest so far. She is having so much fun...the group is all adults but her. But she shared with me that the fun part is being included in a group of adults who see and treat her as a peer!

I am so proud of my author! An update will be forthcoming at the end of the month to share how she did! Go Elizabeth!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Our Four Children....(I Like Saying That!)

About one hour before the kids went trick or treating, Grace decided she did not want to be a Bumblebee or a Queen--she wanted to be a Cowboy! Thank goodness we have an ample supply of dress-up clothes, so we were able to throw a costume together with only one quick stop at KMart to pick up a holster set. While pointing at her waist, she insisted "I need this!" (meaning gun & holster)

So here are our FOUR children--Flapper Girl, Sherlock Holmes, A Cowgirl, and a Bumblebee:

And, just to report back on the poll...we kept Daddy's bumblebee outfit. He didn't even wear it though. We'll have to save it for future torture-I mean-use!