June 13, 2014

What Blocked Our Toilet?

A few weeks ago we had some trouble with our toilet. We called a plumber who came and was able to pull out a kid's toy that had been causing the issue. In a family with five young kids, this is to be expected. A week ago our toilet, again, wasn't functioning properly. Once more we called the plumber. Heather and her brother Dan were in the living room when they heard the plumber react in a surprised way to what he discovered. They made there way to the bathroom to see what was going on. The plumber removed a dead fish. At that point Dan made a comment about which of our kids will confess to doing it. Aubrey's eyes got large and she took Heather's hand and lead her into the bedroom where she broke down confessing it was her fault. Well a toy I can understand, but a dead fish is quite another thing.

For the record its not often that my children play with fish. We have a small pond in our apartment complex that's stocked with fish. Some of the kids in our neighborhood caught one of the larger ones and for some reason it was left in our backyard in a bucket (unfortunately for the fish). Aubrey claims it was dead when she put it in the toilet.

Here's another conversation that sums up life with five kids: 
My wife had just returned from a morning walk pushing Isaac.
Me: How was your walk?
Heather: I changed a poopy diaper with a plastic bag and water.

That’s right. My wife is the MacGyver of the parenting world.

A couple days ago we had to say goodbye to our friends the Faillas. They had been with us the past two and a half weeks and it was a great blessing to have them here. We really enjoyed our time and look forward to seeing them sometime in California! 

We're seeing things happen with the adoption. Our dossier was sent to China and we're looking at 5-6 months for the process to be finished. We wrote a grant agency last week and are hoping they will help us with our adoption costs. Please lift this situation up asking for favor over our family.

much love,
the petersons

June 4, 2014

Visiting Friends

Hi everyone,

A little over a week ago our very dear friends, the Faillas, came to Xining. We spent ten years working together and our first chunk of time in China we were with them. And our kids have been friends since birth. Its been such a blessing to have them here and to be able to spend so much time with them. Our kids have played together most of the waking hours since they arrived. Part of the fun has been that we got to put out our inflatable pool last week. We feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends. (And doubly blessed since we just had our friends the Klomps here!)

Yesterday, Heather and Sarah headed out for Xian. It will be nice for them to have some time together. And, of course, it will be nice for Chris and I to get to hang out.

Finally, I've been working at finishing up some applications for grant money for our adoption. If you think of us please lift us up and ask for favor. I despise doing anything paperwork related and am needing lots of grace to finish this process. I will keep all of you posted on what kind of response we get from these grant agencies.

much love,
the petersons

May 16, 2014

My Trip To Labrang and Langmusi

Hi everyone,

I had the opportunity to take a four day trip with a couple friends into a couple different areas. Here's a look at my trip and some photos from it as well.

First we set-off for a city called Labrang. It was a six hour bus ride on some winding roads through Qinghai province and into the Gansu province. If I couldn't tell the road was winding the guy behind me could as he got sick multiple times during our trip. It was a pretty drive and we got to drive past the Yellow river. When we got to the Gansu border the road got muddy and bumpy. At one point we needed to get off the bus and walk through a small town, because the roads were so bad. Before this we stopped and got yak yogurt from a lady selling it out of a store. They dumped a packet of sugar in it and it wasn't that bad. Before we finished our bus ride there was one point when the driver had to get out of the bus and use a shovel/pick ax to fix the road.

We arrived in Labrang and it is one long street. The buildings have a certain Tibetan feel to them in their appearence. This area is known for having a large Tibetan monastery. 

This is the outside of the monastery where Buddhists walk and spin prayer wheels. It took us 45 minutes to walk around the monastery.

Some of those walking around the monastery do a type of prostrating. They would take three steps and then lay down. Stand up. Then repeat as they made there way around the monastery. Others who are more hardcore would face the monastery and lay down, then get up and take one step to the side and repeat. We watched a large range of people doing this from young kids to old people, each wearing wooden blocks on their hands and cushions on their legs (to protect them as they lay down to prostrate themselves).

As we made our way down the river that ran through the city we came across a few monks practicing these instruments.

We climbed a hill to overlook the town and the monastery. That night we ate some Tibetan yak dumplings that were quite good.

After a couple nights in Labrang we took another four hour bus ride to a town called Langmusi. It sits at nearly 11,000 feet above sea level and is surrounded by mountains. The bus ride was great as we went through some grasslands and got to see some wonderful scenery. When we arrived in Langmusi we went to a hotel and found out that we could rent a Tibetan house for the evening for only $7.50 a night. I love doing stuff like this because I like new experiences and new stories.

So this was our house. Outside there were seven Tibetan mastiffs, which are capable of confronting wolves and leopards (according to Wikipedia). After we settled into our 'hotel' we made our way to a cafe in town. We got to eat yak pizza, which was good. I was enjoying all the different ways I was getting to eat yak.

After lunch we made our way through Langmusi. Here was a picture of one of the monasteries in town. There are two monasteries in town, one being in the Gansu province and the other in Sichuan.

Here's a picture of the street in town and the wonderful scenery that surrounds this town.

We tried to check out this monastery, but they wanted us to pay to enter and we refused. The Mosque across from the monastery allowed us to climb the minaret where I was able to take this picture.

Again, here's a picture contrasting the town and culture here to the landscape. It really was a great place to visit.

This was the room I stayed in for the night. I was excited when my friends told me they would use yak dung in the stove to heat the room. I was disappointed, however, that they used coal and not yak dung. At night we had a great chat with the lady who lives here; hearing about her life.

The next day I left and spent about 11 hours on the bus getting back to Xining. The trip was awesome and I was grateful to have done it.

much love,
the petersons