Friday, July 23, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Writing On Stone

As the sun sets, the clear blue sky of the day gives way to the pitch black night sky with countless stars. There are many origins of the Star People. These stories tell of the children who were lost or neglected and went to live in the sky. To honor these Star People, the Blackfoot often paint circles on the upper part of their tipi's. These remind us to always care for our children.

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After our weekend in Elkwater, we headed off to Writing On Stone Provincial Park. This is a park on the Canada/USA border that is all Hoodoo's. There are many ancient indian carvings all over the park, sadly there is also a lot of graffiti. Our kids wanted to hike all the time and jump from Hoodoo to Hoodoo.

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This seems to be Lilah's new pose when I pull out my camera...

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Elkwater

We spent our first weekend of holidays in Elkwater, Alberta. Every year my mom's side of the family meets for a camping and golf weekend. We spent time hiking, golfing and just hanging out together. I love my extended family. We always have so much fun. We always laugh until we cry!

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Camping



Tomorrow we head out for three weeks of holidays. This sign sums it up for how I am feeling right now! It is so much work to get ready, and then to come home. I know once we are out and on our way, I will not be so stressed and will say it is all worth it. We are camping for the first two weeks in three different places (and spending a couple of days at my parents) and then heading to the mountains to stay at a condo with some friends.

This is the first year that Tim has taken three weeks off in a row and I am so excited that we get this amount of time to spend as a family, with family and friends.

I have a couple of friends waiting for referrals this month and I will be checking my email and updating my blog when I get the chance to do so. Good luck everyone!

We are also waiting for our Letter Seeking Confirmation. I was hoping it would miraculously show up before we left, but it hasn't. I expect it will come when we are gone and so it will be a bit of a pain to have it sent out and for us to sign it wherever we are. It would take a miracle for us to travel in the September group at this point. Our agency isn't traveling the end of September and the beginning of October because of the Moon Festival. The next trip would be October 9th. We will see what happens...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bathroom Reno

We built our house five years ago. We love this house, but one thing we didn't really like was the shower in the master bathroom. It was very small and ugly. We chose it originally thinking it would last a long time and be an efficient shower. It just seemed to close up our bathroom and make it feel very small. So we jumped in to a "small" reno! Who knew... how much work a shower would be to replace! But it is now done and it is so much nicer. The whole bathroom is brighter and feels so much bigger.

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After:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A bit about Guang'an, Sichuan



Chinese Name: 广安市 (guǎng ān shì)

Population: 4,530,000

Area: 6,344 square kilometers (2,449 square miles)

Nationalities: Han

Location: Guang'an City lies in the east of Sichuan Province, northwest of neighboring Chongqing. Other nearby cities include: Nanchong, Suining and Dazhou.

History: In the 11th century BC, the Ba Tribe moved to eastern Sichuan and established the Ba Kingdom; its capital was situated in present-day Chongqing, with Guang'an falling under its jurisdiction. During the Qin Dynasty (221BC-206BC), Guang'an became part of the united China and ethnic groups from the central plains moved and settled into the area.

Physical Features: Guang'an is situated on a giant incline which slopes from east to west. The Huaying Mountain divides Guang'an into two regions: the eastern gorge area and western hilly area. Two main rivers, the Qujiang and Jialing, flow from north to south through central and western Guang'an.

Climate: The city is subject to a subtropical monsoon climate; weather is generally humid with warm winters and hot summers. It rarely rains during winter or spring, although heavy precipitation is common in the summer months. The average annual temperature is around 15.8℃-17.7℃ (60.4℉-63.9℉).

When to Go: Guang'an is suitable for visits throughout the year, however it worth noting that special temple fairs are held on the nineteenth day of the third, sixth and ninth lunar months. The temple fair of the sixth lunar month in Huaying Mountain represents the largest of these events. Those interested in the local folk-customs are recommended to come to Guang'an during this period.

Special Local Products: painted bamboo scrolls, navel oranges, pomelos, Huangjin (Gold) pears, litsea cubeba oil, beef, Yongshou Temple dried bean curd and herb and fungus products from the Huaying Mountain

Attractions:
Renowned for its beautiful landscapes, northeastern Sichuan's Huaying Mountain has been a Buddhist shrine site since the Tang Dynasty, and is sometimes referred to as 'Little Mt. Emei'. Visitors are rewarded with views of bamboo forests, clouds, snowy scenes and - providing you arrive early enough - an awe-inspiring sunrise.

The famous Stone Forest is located towards the southwest of the Gaodeng Mountain, Huaying's highest peak. Remnants of the ancient Gaodeng Temple can still be found near the forest.

Should you decide to venture up the Qujiang River from Guang'an Garden, you will no doubt be charmed by the fascinating riverside scenery. A highlight of the journey is passing through the Old Town of Xiaoxi, which contains an ancient-style dock, characteristic of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties.

Other Scenic Spots: the Former Residence of Deng Xiaoping, Jincheng Mountain

Travel Tips:
Guang'an does not have airport, yet the local expressways provide convenient access to such facilities outside of the city. Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport or Nanchong Airport can be reached in around one hour and half an hour respectively.



There is very little information about this city or about the SWI that Zoe is in. I have found no pictures of the building. I am really hoping that we will be able to go and visit the city and the orphanage, so we can see where she has been.

We also have a lot of questions regarding her biography. Some of the names don't really make sense from what I can find online. Zoe was abandoned when she was five months old in a chicken market, but according to her paperwork, that was in Shanghai and she was shuffled from police station to police station. And finally... to this very remote and small orphanage that we know nothing about. We pray that she is in good hands and well taken care of. That her needs are being met and that she will be emotionally and physically healthy. With Lilah, we knew so much. We knew she was being taken care of and loved. It is harder not knowing how Zoe is doing and how she is being cared for. It is very much in God's hands...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Day at the Beach

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I am down to only two children during the day this week. Abby and Josiah are away at camp until Sunday and Eli is in a Tae Kwon Do day camp. And this is a good thing because this week has turned out to be a bit crazy!

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I decided to take a bit of a break and take Micah and Lilah to the beach for a couple of hours. They requested sushi for our picnic and so off we went...

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Lilah loves the beach and being outside. But dirty... not so much. I think she ran back and forth to the water to wash her hands about three hundred times!

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Micah found one of his friends and spent most of his time on the playground. He doesn't really like to pose for my camera without being goofy, but I got these shots while he was watching other people, and I kind of like the way the sun is right behind his head.

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We then headed home to weed the flowerbeds and continue the moving of children's bedrooms. Nesting...

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Monday, July 5, 2010

Care Package



Our care package will be delivered to Zoe in the next two days. It was held up a little, because the backpack I ordered was out of stock.



I hope she likes pink!



Zoe is said to be shy and restless and very talkative. She gets along well with others and is quick in reaction. She is impatient and loves to watch TV and play with balls and dolls. She has 20 teeth and we did find out that she has a fistula (opening in her palate), so we will need to be prepared for that.



This letter was translated and will be read to her...

Dear Jie,

We are so excited for you to join our family! You will have one older sister and one younger sister and three older brothers and they are all waiting for you to come home and be a part of our family.

Mommy and Daddy are looking forward to coming to China to see you and bring you home to Canada. We will love you forever and take very good care of you. We think you are beautiful and can hardly wait to get to know you.

We pray that you won't be scared and that your nannies will prepare you to join our family. We have lots of fun together. We hope that you like your presents!

We can hardly wait to give you a great big hug and kiss and we will be there soon!

We love you already,
Mommy and Daddy
Abby, Josiah, Eli, Micah and Lilah

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Canada Day Long Weekend

This weekend we headed out to Red Lodge Provincial Park to celebrate the Canada Day long weekend with 7 other families and their many children. (22 in all!)

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We have a great group of friends and had a great time. The weather was just okay, with one really nice day to float down the river, but we all had fun just being together.

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Lilah is little miss social and all the kids just love her. There is a great group of little girls for her to play with and she is starting to really connect with some of them. And the boys too...

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Oh how we LOVE this country we live in! We are so grateful to live here and in this province as well. We are so close to so many beautiful places to visit and camp.

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I have included some photos I took of friends children, because they are all so gorgeous!

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And some of my own....

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Strange how just knowing Zoe is half way around the world... our family no longer feels complete.... it feels ALL THE TIME, like someone is missing... we can hardly wait until she can join us!