"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

Thursday, March 24, 2011

March Blizzard.....

What do you do when school is called off (for the first time this year, although we have almost 60 inches of snow already!) due to a March blizzard?

Well, first of all, you can play in the Hettie the Hippo tent...

OR, you can go sledding around the block.....
Or, cuddle with Daddy.....Or, take a little nap wherever you land....
Gotta love March in North Dakota!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Just Too Cute.....

Not to share..... :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Champion! Go Nole'!

The crowd goes wild chanting "Nole', Nole', Nole'"!

Who is this Nole'?

Nope, not our little Novak--but none other than Serbia's #2 world-ranked tennis star--Novak Djokovic!
We assume that our Nole' is his namesake. We were told that the name "Novak" is a older traditional Serbian name that has had a surge in popularity because of Djokovic. And if you didn't know, Nole' is the nickname for Novak...just like Bob is Robert or Mike for Michael here.

Just yesterday, Novak Djokovic defeated the world's top-ranked player 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to win the BNP Paribas Open title on Sunday, keeping the Serbian perfect this year. Djokovic improved to 18-0, including victories at the Australian Open and in Dubai last month. Djokovic will move into the No. 2 spot when the ATP Tour rankings are released Monday, having bumped Roger Federer down to third after he lost to Djokovic in the semifinals.

Kevin and I used to play a little tennis and enjoyed watching it on TV. Now, because of a little Novak, we have a renewed interest in the sport!

Does anyone know where we can find a "Nole'" jersey?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My Brave Hubby.....

Professional at work, do not attempt.....
I have to say I would NEVER attempt taking all THREE to the grocery store by myself, but that is what my sweet husband did while I was taking a delicious Saturday afternoon nap.

I owe you one, Daddy....just not grocery shopping!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Love My Big Brother!

Nole' loves his big brother Sam! And, I think the feeling is mutual! If you remember, Sam was the only grandson on this side of the family. Before we committed to adopting Nole', we asked Sam how he would feel if he had to give up his spot as the only grandson. He replied, "I can get used to it!"

My heart was so full on the first Sunday we had Nole' in church. Why? Because Sam got to hold Nole' and take him out halfway through the service. I would look over during the worship songs and thank God for the gift of the two precious boys. Sam always wanted to hold Bella during the service, but she only wanted Elizabeth as she was so attached to her because Elizabeth helped bring her home from Ukraine. So I am happy that Sam is getting his turn!

Two days ago, I asked Sam to "do something" with Nole' as I prepared supper. This is what he came up with.....
Yesterday, Sam took Nole' on a walk to his friend Meghan's house. If anybody even walks towards the door, Nole' is so hopeful he can put on his jacket & shoes and go out. So, suffice it to say, he was one happy little brother!

Today, Nole' visited Sam in school for lunch today. Here are Nole', Sam & the boys in his class.
This school lunch is "yummy, yummy!"
Sam is proving to be a great big brother! At least, Nole' thinks so!!!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Nole & Sissy.....

Nole and Sissy are getting along famously!

Nole visited Sissy's school last week and was a hit! So many girls to flirt with, say "Caio" to and blow kisses at!
Elizabeth just wishes she could have gone to Serbia with us to bring him home. But, now she would love to visit the orphanage in Belgrade to volunteer. Maybe one day, Sissy!

Friday, March 11, 2011

This Thing Is Sooooo Coooool!

"I just push a button, touch the screen, and I can play games, listen to Wiggles (or GaGa), and play my favorite game...."Talking Tom"--It's so fun, especially when I make him fart!"
"Oh, do I laugh and laugh!"
"Did I mention I love this thing?"

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Havin' A Blast Takin' A Bath......

No words needed....Oh, and just so you know, Grace is "too big" to take a bath now--"I shower!"

New Boots......

Bella & Grace LOVE to be like their big sister Elizabeth! When we came across these boots for $7.00 each, we snatched them up....They were THRILLED to be able to be like Sissy!

Bella would sleep in hers if she could. Oh, and hers have Dora on them--way better in her eyes than those Ugg boots any day!

Love these girls!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Texas Cousins "Welcome"...

My sister Karla, her hubby Dave, and their five girls live in Texas and welcomed Novak home with this very cute picture...
In June, Grandma & Papa are flying ALL of us down for Alex's high school graduation. We can't wait for Nole to meet his Texas cousins face-to-face!

The Bedraggled......

We've been home five days now, and I don't know who is more bedraggled--me, Bella, or Jake the cat? LOL

Nole's saving grace is that he is a cutie patootie!
Seriously, he is a very busy little guy. But, oh so loveable! Except to poor Jake!

I think Nole thinks that the cat is a toy and that when you pull his tail, you get the coolest "meooooow" (emphasis on OW") sound.But the dumb cat, keeps sitting by Nole and following him around. He is certainly a glutton for punishment. Or, it could be that any attention is better than none!

Bella is slowly adjusting to this little "bother" (ok, brother). She still gathers up her most valued possessions and keeps an eye on them very closely.

Bella and Nole have played together a bit--but I have to be there to run interference. Nole doesn't realize that Bella outweighs him two to one and that she is being very patient with his pushing, pulling, and stealing her things. Soon, her patience will give way, hmmmmm? Note the space she has placed between them....smart girl!

Praying that they develop a close relationship and that Nole slows down a bit....or I might just wear out! :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Home At Last......

The first two days home have gone quite well. As they say in Serbia, "Živeli" (cheers)...

Playing the Wii with his sestras.
I think I am going to like it here....
Grace adores her new little brother--she tries to hug and kiss him all the time. Oh, and for the record, she did not get sick! :) And, she let him play with her necklaces....
Bella is having a harder time. When Nole tried to take her Barney, she gathered him, her Barbie convertible, and two Barbies and gave them to me to protect. She does not seem quite sure about this new boy in the house.

Elizabeth thinks he is the cutest little boy she has ever seen.
Sam is smitten and is enjoying showing his little brother a thing or two on the Ipad. Right here they are playing "Plants vs. Zombies"...Nole loved his first bath at home...here he is in the towel we got from Shelley Bedford's adoption fundraiser.....
Here I am feeling the love....

So far, so good..... :)

Our Last Days.....

Our final days in Serbia were bittersweet. We loved our time in this country, but we were so excited to be returning home to our other children.

Monday morning started off bright and early with many things to do to finish up the adoption paperwork. Here are Nole & I in front of our apartment building...
Jasmina came to our apartment at 8:30 am in a taxi and picked us up to go pick up Nole's passport. When we got there, however, the passport office was have "technical" difficulties, so we waited for a while before going to Nole's medical appointment. After that was done, there were several other stops to make, but because Nole was not needed in person any longer, Nole and I went back to our apartment while Kevin met with Jasna, the attorney, back to the passport office & the medical office, and then came back to the apartment to get us. From there, the three of us went to the American Embassy for our 2:00 Visa appointment. Here is a photo showing how narrow the streets are in Belgrade...
That evening we decided to venture out on our own--Jasmina sent us the name and address of a very good pizza place in downtown Belgrade. After eating some very authentic Italian pizza, we walked the streets window shopping. Each little shop specializes in something....a socks shop, jewelry, tailor, shoe repair, tatoo & body piercing, you name it. At the very end, Kevin found a very quaint tie store. It was only a little closet of a space, maybe 5 ft by 10 ft, and only sold ties. He bought two. :)

On Tuesday morning, I met Jasmina at the orphanage where she works as a medical doctor. She gave me a tour and I got to meet several little ones who are in the process of being adopted who are listed on Reece's Rainbow. Oh, how my heart ached as I saw each of these precious children--all in need of their own forever family! However, most of them are not free for adoption for one reason or another....often times it is because the parents will not release them. So there they sit, in their cribs with no real family to call their own. I wanted to snatch up several little girls... Kevin and my Dad were very worried about me visiting an orphanage....thinking that I would want to take them all home with me. :) Well, just two or three....

When I got back to the apartment, Kevin and Nole did not answer the door bell. So, I went off to Coffee Dream and had a latte and chocolate muffin. I went back to the apartment and rang & rang the doorbell. Finally, I decided to call Jasmina to call our apartment number (because I didn't have the number) and ask Kevin to let me in. I guess my little men had fallen asleep.

After letting me in, Kevin took a taxi to the Embassy to pick up Nole's visa. When he returned, we went out to an authentic Serbian restaurant with Jasmina and her handsome nephew Bane. We had a wonderful dinner together!

After dinner, Bane dropped Jasmina and I off for a performance of Kolo--a Serbian Dance troupe.
Their performance was so wonderful and an awesome way for me to end my time in this beautiful country.

After a tearful goodbye with Jasmina, I went into our apartment and packed. We woke up at 4:00 a.m. for our very long day of travelling.

I will spare you the details of the trip, but I must say that Nole was such a great little traveler. We had so many compliments about his good behavior.

Our travels home took us from Belgrade to Munich,
Munich to Washington D.C., Washington D.C. to Denver, and then Denver to Bismarck. Kevin's brother Randy met us at the airport at midnight and gave us a ride to my brother Joe's where our Tahoe was waiting.

Nole loved riding in this big vehicle in his very first carseat.
We had to drive the two hours home to Minot where Elizabeth, Sam, Grandma & Grandpa welcomed us home.

After the long day and visiting, Nole settled into his new little bed in his 'monkey room' and sleep away like he has been here forever.

Now we end this journey with the only words we can say: Hvala Bogu...Thanks be to God!