Friday, December 31, 2010

Wollf Christmas Gathering

We celebrated Christmas with my family on the 27th.  It was the best Christmas we have had in a long time.  For the most part, we all seem to be past the intense pain of losing Mom and Dad.  The emptiness is no longer quite as empty.   We are settling into a new normal and that is good! 
It is still hard to believe that Dad has been gone for 4 1/2 years and Mom for 3 years.  There are still times when I want to share something with Mom...and then realize that is not possible.  I really missed Mom in the first weeks after we adopted Raina...I know she would have fallen head over heals in love with her!

We met at Dave and Jean' of the few homes large enough to host all 49 of us.  I wish the other 12 family members could have been there as well! 

The "older" nieces and nephews.  Each age group has their own Christmas box.  That makes for 4 seperate groups! 

As an aside.....I've been thinking it is rather odd that 3 of my children are the youngest in the Wollf clan.  That has NEVER happened before...someone was having a baby before any couple could have 2 kids that were the youngest in the clan!  Makes me think it is about time that SOMEONE should have a baby or adopt...hint, hint Ben & Alison and Kathy & Mark!  ;)

 Malia "playing" piano.  She thought she needed to play because many of the other kids played a piece.  She is not taking piano lessons, but played a very pretty "piece", turning the pages and enjoying herself.  I'm not sure how long she would have played had we not finally clapped.

Raina, all tuckered out after a long day!

I am VERY thankful for my family.  They have been incredibly supportive...praying, bringing meals, baking, and showing their support in words as well!

Blessings Beyond Measure!

My cousin Ken and his wife Edna and their 2 kids, Hudson and Laney visited us this Christmas season.  What a blessing to visit with them!  After all the family stress it was awesome to talk to someone who understands and has experienced similar things.  This couple radiates the love of God and are strong beyond words!  God knew exactly what we needed at the exact moment we needed it!  How awesome is our God!!! 

Our New Toy

We bought a newer, used snowmobile just before Christmas.  Martin has wanted one for many years and finally decided that it was high time!  We would like our kids to enjoy it before they are too old to enjoy a day of snowmobiling with their parents.  I had not had a ride on a snowmobile in many years.  It made me squeal like a little kid!  What an adrenaline rush!
We bought helmets, but not for Malia.  I'm hoping to find a used one...they are too expensive to only use for a year or two.  If I can't find one, we will simply keep the driving at a very low speed.

The next thing we need to buy is a decent snow suit for Martin.  All he has is his hunting gear and that is sooo NOT cool!  He has been looking for a snowsuit, but so far all he has found is stuff that costs around $300.00 just for the jacket.  I think it is time to do some online shopping!

Our little Piglet...or is it our little kitty...? :)
Raina is over her jet lag and now that we do not have a gathering every day, she is beginning to sleep better at night and at nap time.  The past few nights she has only cried a few times and settled quickly.  She is a very good sleeper...12+ hours at night and sometimes 3 hours at nap time.  She is generally very happy and loves to play with her siblings.

Peters Gathering

December 25, 2010
Peters Family Gathering.

Christmas day began as another stressful day for me.  After our experience on Christmas Eve I was afraid.  Afraid to once again face racism.  Afraid for my far our kids have not clued in to the negative undercurrent (although I do think Malia senses it).  Afraid that I would explode and vent all my frustration.  Afraid that I would tell someone to f#*@ off!  My stomach was still upset...literally burning, from the stress.  We prayed...and neither one of us said anything inappropriate!  I refuse to stoop to their all I do I choose to honor God.  I am very thankful that he helped me be calm!
Not only were we able to be calm, but God also sent some members who ARE excited for us!  People who congratulated us and love our girls!  For that I praise God!  It made the gathering enjoyable.

As usual we sang songs and read the Christmas story.   It blessed my heart to see Brian (cousin and best friend) and Morgun singing!
 I had bought the girl's matching outfits, but Raina's ended up being too small. :(  However, I did manage to find this cute dress just a few days before Christmas! precious one!  She is concerned...other kids were playing with and throwing Raina's toys.  She found that to be very disturbing. (Although I do wonder if that was all she was distressed about.)
 I love this in the midst of all the "chaos".


Our Christmas was a little unusual this year.  The kids opened the gifts they had bought for each other and then  we headed to Martin's parents house.  It was rather awkward...some family members had still not acknowledged that we have a new family member.  There were no words of congratulations...rather simply a "so you have another baby".   End of conversation.  It saddens me to think that, for whatever reason, our little ones suffer the brunt of other peoples ignorance.  It reminded me of Jesus' birth...many did not welcome Him either.

 Christmas morning was also unusual.  We usually open gifts as soon as everyone is awake.  Raina was still sleeping at 10am, so we decided to open gifts without her.  (She slept till 11am, when we finally woke her...I guess that's what happens when you are still recovering from jet lag!)

Can you feel the anticipation in the next photos?!?  These are a few of my favorites.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I know it's a little late, but Merry Christmas to you all!  This is our first family picture as a family of 6!  Yikes that seems big! And yet so perfect!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Chris Tomlin - Glory In The Highest

I absolutely LOVE this song! God is always near, but this song makes me feel like I am dancing with Him alone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Coming Home!!!! :) :)

We left Beijing on Thursday at 5:35pm and arrived in Beijing around 12:30pm the same day.   My family, Andrew, Ben & Alison, and Dan & Darlene, and Ginelle met us at the airport during our 6 hour layover.  It was wonderful to see them again.  We felt very blessed to be able to spend time with them!  It sure helped the time pass quickly. ( I do wonder if our conversation made any sense though...our world kept rocking!)
 Morgun and Alex waiting for us to arrive.
 All together at last!!!

 Many family members and friends came to welcome us home.
 The boys...tickled to have a little sister!
It is wonderful to be home!  Now we need to get over the jetlag...I can hardly wait!  The girls are really struggling with switching back to our time.  It is difficult to function on only a few hours of sleep a night or more hours that are constantly interrupted.  Hopefully by Christmas we will be feeling somewhat normal!

Bits n' Pieces of Beijing

During our stay in Beijing, we decided to opt out of most excursions.  We went to the Beijing Zoo (because Malia really wanted to go), went to the Silk Factory, and did some shopping.  I really wanted to go to the Great Wall again, but it made for a very long day and we were all exhausted!

Raina preferred to be in our room and loved playing with empty water bottles.
Heading out to go shopping.
Malia watching a movie.
The Silk Factory...fascinating!
Good-bye China party.  Here I am visiting with Yulin from FOI.
The magician and one of the kids...gotta love her expression

Delay in Quiyang

We were suppose to leave Quiyang at 6:45pm on Friday.  By 6:20pm everyone was on the plane, seated with all luggage stowed.   I was impressed, thinking we would be leaving on time.  Shortly after 7pm the crew began serving supper..not a good sign.  After sitting on a stifling hot, smelly, and crowded plane for an hour and a half we were told to gather all our things and leave the plane.    Our flight was delayed "due to air traffic congestion in Beijing".  (Later we discovered that part of the roof at the Beijing airport had been torn off due to strong winds.)  We managed to get both girls to sleep...and continued to wait...

After a 5 and 3/4 hour delay we were finally able to leave Quiyang!  I was very happy and exhausted!  As beautiful as Quiyang was, I was ready to leave.  To have some less spicy food and begin the last stretch of our stay in China.
We arrived at our hotel around 4 am only to discover we had a very tiny and disgustingly dirty room.  The throw pillows were sticky and slimy, the floor was stained and dirty and the light switches were broken.  The room was very hot and the fan did not work properly, thus no way to cool the room.  The next morning we requested a new room.  The new room was bigger and a little cleaner (I have come to appreciate the cleanliness of home).  However, it didn't take long to discover that our Internet outlet was not working.  We did not want to move again, so we decided to give up on trying to email and Skype.  Instead we continued to call home.
For the next 3 nights we tolerated the loud noise of a jackhammer breaking up concrete right below our room.  It is illegal to work at night, but nothing was done about the noise even though we complained.  Finally, we decided to switch rooms again...what a challenge it was!  The third room I looked at was finally OK.  The first was too small, the second the fan didn't was 30 degrees Celsius in the room!  By this time we were more than ready to go home!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More of Quiyang

We visited several parks while in Quiyang.  It was just the thing we needed...a little bit of nature and some fresher air!
I just had to post this picture.  Note the wire running precariously close to peoples heads.

 Jennifer & Vesa, along with their daughter Anna also travelled to Quiyang to meet their daughter Kate.
 Old men enjoying the park.
 Feeding the pigeons.

 And the monkeys!  They are wild, but people come to feed them.  Of coarse the biggest monkey always gets his way and scares all the other least favorite of all the monkeys!
 A baby monkey...isn't he cute!?!
 Raina sleeping with Daddy.  We were very happy that she loved the baby carrier...wonderful for bonding even though it killed my bad back!
 And I just HAVE to share this.  I'm always looking for the English signs that are misspelled or worded incorrectly!  Funny!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Quiyang is a beautiful city.  1.3 million people live in downtown alone and the buzz of people and vehicles is constant.  The honking is continuous, even at night.  Even in Beijing the honking is not as loud.  I can only imagine how many deaths would occur in Canada if Canadians honked at each other like that.  There would definitely be an increase in road rage. lol!! There were only a few hours a day where it quieted down for a bit.
The city was smoggy, but not as bad as Beijing.  It had several rivers running through it with beautiful parks.  The weather was also lovely...about 10-15 degrees Celsius.

 The entrance to the underground WalMart.  It was similar to our WalMart, but also carried a large grocery section with fresh meats, which explained the stench.

 As we headed farther from the down town area, the homes became more primitive.  Every available plot of dirt was used to grow greens.