Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rock the River

This weekend I took my kids to Rock the River
A christian music festival put on by Franklin Graham

We went early stood in line for good seats (a good place to stand close to the stage)
We stood for 9 hours. But we had a great place to stand with a great view.
It rained and sunned, off and on all day - we actually sun burned our cheeks.

We saw a rainbow. A double rainbow. 'What does it mean?'

The bands were great. Skillet was awesome. Starfield came to sing infront of us (he high fived Josiah and his friend and spit on Abby's friend Courtney...). I include the video from just after he was right in front of our group singing. He made off with a free pair of sunglasses...

I had been waiting to see Downhere in concert for a few years and finally got to.

Very entertaining and good messages from Franklin Graham and the artists.

So I got a sore back from standing on the metal floored barricade
...and got a sore throat from yelling and singing along (good thing it was loud - although the really off key voice in the video is probably mine)
...but I got to spend the day with Josiah and Abigail and 6 of their friends.


If you want to watch this pause the music player at the bottom of the blog first

Starfield lead singer Tim Neufeld from Winnipeg and now Abbotsford...must be a good Mennonite boy with a name like that

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Room for Two


So, after a big shuffle of bedrooms in our house, we are now ready to bring Zoe home. She has a room, she has a bed, she has toys and she has clothes.


Lilah asks every night when Zoe will come home. The other night she asked and then continued to say "Zoe NEEDS to come home." I agree. She does.


Once the kids are back in school, I look forward to organizing for our trip and figuring out what is still needed for Zoe. The shopping should be fun!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Letter Seeking Confirmation

Today we signed the Letter Seeking Confirmation. This letter indicates that we still want to adopt Lv Jie and they will now send out our Travel Approval, which will take about a month or so.

It took us 59 days to get our letter and it was all stressing me out a bit. We were hoping to travel in the September group, but we knew that this would be unlikely. We will now be in the October group and they should know our exact travel dates in about two weeks.

FOI is great. We told them that Tim needs to be in China for November 5th- 17th for another medical mission and Yulin called to check in with us. She told Tim maybe he would only have one trip, just longer. He told her that he wants to get us home first, if possible, even if it means flying back to China just a few days later. So hopefully, the dates will all work out!

We are excited to be past this last big, unknown step in the process and that we can now look forward to our travel and prepare for that.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Care Package

I just wanted to share the photos of the care package that Zoe will be receiving on September 15th for the Moon Festival.

Yes, the pillow is rather tacky! But I hope that she will have this in her bed and that it will be our faces that she falls asleep to each night until we go to get her. Hopefully, it will help her recognize us.

I also found out that her orphanage doesn't have an internet connection. The director told Gifts to China with Love that they are using the cameras that we have sent and that they have pictures of Zoe, but because of no internet, we won't get any more photos until Gotcha Day.

Still waiting patiently for our Letter Seeking Confirmation. Who knows when it will come. We are past the average date (we are on day 56) and are just praying that it will come soon and we won't be one of those families that wait 100+ days.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Etsy and The Pioneer Woman


I ordered this beautiful dress from Growing up with Charissa. I actually ordered two and the other one is my favorite, but I am waiting to dress Lilah in it for fall photos.


I made this Bacon Tomato Capellini today and it was so incredible I had to share the recipe! It may not be the healthiest meal, but bacon doesn't hurt you once in a while, right?! (I added shredded zucchini to the sauce). The recipe is from The Pioneer Woman. And actually, I haven't tried a bad recipe from her yet.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Abigail: {grade 10}


I can't believe I have a child about to enter high school. To my American friends, high school starts in grade 10 in Canada, and we say grade 10, instead of tenth grade.


She will be starting at Strathcona High School, knowing nobody. She chose this school because of the sports and academics, knowing that it will get her where she wants to be in the future, rather than choosing a school where her friends will be.


Right now, I pray that she will make some great new friends, friends that have the same focus as she does. That the next three years will be a time of maturing and growing and joy for her!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Preparing another care package

This week I ordered another care package for Zoe. I decided to try a new company called Gifts to China With Love. They had a great selection of packages and one specifically for the upcoming Moon Festival on September 22nd. She will receive her package one week before.

Base Care Package includes:

--A translated letter (up to 600 words)

to your child or his or her caregiver,

(and a translated reply, if we receive one.)

--Plus a call to the orphanage to

ask for a brief update,

--and a picture or two--if they will send us one.

--And a $5 gift to the SWI

in your child's name to be used

at their discretion.

Also...just added!!!

--A cute panda bear (18cm tall)

I added on the Fall Festival Care Package.

1--box of 8 Moon Cakes (total weight 800g)

1--27 exp. disposable camera

1--bag of candies

1--order of fresh fruit

The Tradition of
Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the few most important holidays in the Chinese calendar, the others being Chinese New Year and Winter Solstice, and is a legal holiday in several countries. Farmers celebrate the end of the summer harvesting season on this date. Traditionally on this day, Chinese family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes and pomelos under the moon together.

For generations, moon cakes have been made with sweet fillings of nuts, mashed red beans, lotus-seed paste or Chinese dates, wrapped in a pastry. Sometimes a cooked egg yolk can be found in the middle of the rich tasting dessert. People compare moon cakes to the plum pudding and fruit cakes which are served in the English holiday seasons.

I also added on a pillow with a photo of Tim and I. Hopefully, she will sleep with this and get to know our faces before we come.

We wrote a little note to Zoe, which she will get with her care package:

Dear Jie,

We are trying to wait patiently to come and get you, we will be there as soon as possible! We can all hardly wait to meet you and get to know you. We hope that you will enjoy these gifts and that you can share some of them with your nannies and your friends. Make sure you take some pictures of your friends and of your nannies and of your home there, so that we will always remember. We love you and look forward to being your family forever.

Love, Mommy and Daddy

I also sent a few questions for the director. I didn't ask too many, as I know that we will meet her and some of the nannies on gotcha day and will have a chance at that time to sit down and ask many more questions. I have a lot.

1. What does everyone call Jie?
2. Is there a nanny that Jie is particularly close with?
3. Who are Jie's closest friends?
4. Does she know she is going to be adopted soon?
5. Does she look at our photo album we sent her?

These are the answers we were given:

Riegel Family
Lv Jie
July 18th, 2010

Lv Jie is a active girl.

She has a cleft lip palate and has had a surgery and it looks good. She is healthy.

There are 20 children around her age share one big bed room and more than 10 nannies take care of her.
She knows a little that she will be adopted.

She knows some about her adoption family since she is just 3yrs old.

The care package will be sent to her one week before the moon cake festival.

Everyone just call her the name LV JIE.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Life with Boys


I took the boys for their back to school haircuts today. Two needed faux hawks, one needed the skater look. Micah decided he needed the blue gel, so he could have blue hair... where does he get it from?!


Eli, on the other hand, did not want his hair cut at all. He wants it long! Not while mom has any control left...

Every Saturday night we do the huge switch of children with our friends, this weekend Eli had four friends spend the night. Five 9 year old boys... need I say more?


I told them to line up on the dock and jump at the same time and I would take a picture.


Eli and Tyler thought it was hilarious that the other three jumped in and they didn't.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Zoe's Finding Ad


We received Zoe's finding ad. I was hoping to see a much younger picture of her, but this ad wasn't even placed until she was about 2 1/2 years old. It seems to be just a formality to prepare a child for adoption in this case (and in the cases of the other girls listed on the same page) rather than to find their family.


I need to dig into some of Zoe's biography, once I get the kids back to school. A lot of it doesn't really make sense regarding her finding spot, the police station she was taken to, and then ending up in the orphanage she did.


She was found at five months old in a chicken market at night. The police found her. This definitely makes me wonder about what the circumstances were regarding her abandonment. Her needs were visible from the day she was born, so did the parents hope to keep her? Did they give her up when they became pregnant once again? Were her needs preventing her from staying healthy and they realized they couldn't care for her or provide for her the way she deserved?

Whatever the circumstances, I hope it was out of love. I wish the parents of these girls could at least know where they go and the opportunities that are given to them, as a mother that would at least give you some peace of mind in amongst such a devastating decision.

Friday, August 13, 2010


While on vacation our kids swam just about every day. The boys mostly jump and dive in over and over and over again.





I realized after I downloaded the photos, how much everybody in the pool was just sitting there watching them...



Lilah also became very comfortable in the water. We put water wings on her and she was completely comfortable in the deep end, swimming back and forth between adults, doing little spins, etc.


In the kiddie pool she would lay on me tummy and "swim" with her arms. She was very proud of herself. Then she would lay on her back and try to float. She was "swimming" just like the big kids do.


Monday, August 9, 2010

A Day at the Farm


While we were in the mountains we stored our trailer at my cousins house. She has a beautiful farm in the rolling hills of Alberta.

(This is an old railway train car)

My kids have never visited a farm and have since decided that farm living would be the way to go.




You can quad all day.



You can climb on all the equipment.



You can keep old things forever, so the city folk can come out and take some interesting photos!





Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Little Hike

We are here with friends of ours who have two boys the same ages as Josiah and Eli and a girl the same age as Micah. A bunch of them headed out for a hike. The hike was fairly easy, but the drive a bit scary, therefore I didn't go along. I don't enjoy the nightmares and images that come to my mind when driving along a very steep road, with a cliff on one side. I gave Abby my camera and told her to be the picture taker, while I laid next to the pool with the ladies.

Some of these photos may seem a little scary, but it was perfectly safe. These ramps are where the local hang gliders take off from.