Saturday, July 31, 2010

oh, bother

Wow . . . so we’ve been back in Finland for 2½ weeks already and I haven’t posted anything! In fact, I haven’t really even been reading blogs . . . I have lots of catching up to do!
I will try to keep my boring words to a minimum, and mostly use pictures to give you the 411 on what’s been going on:
P1030685 Kilmer Ladies luncheon at Denise’s house on a stinkin’ hot day! This group has been meeting for dinner about 6-7 times a year for almost 14 years. Once upon a time, we all worked at the same school together!
P1030694 Tradition dictates that once a year, the Holm and deGraaf kids pose for a picture on Grandma Southey’s rock. So far, we’ve only missed 2008 (I think).
P1030704 My dad taught Sam how to wash the gutters (yes, this is the man who recently had a stroke!).
P1030708 Sam finished washing the gutters with Steve’s supervision and then washed most of Steve’s too.
P1030710 Steve took the kids and Roseangela to the BC Lions season opener.
P1030715 P1030726 P1030728 I gave the boys haircuts with my dad’s hair trimmer (we have since bought our own since returning home). The “mohawks” were just goofing around for the pictures – they were shaved off after photos!
P1030759_edited-1 Joel, Uncle Steve and Sofia.P1030762_edited-1 Family photo.
P1030775 We spent an hour or so at Sapperton Park with the deGraafs before our evening flight.
Speaking of which, the flights home went extremely well. I am SOOOO happy I went ahead and took the anti-anxiety medication. It actually allowed me to even enjoy the flights. There was a young woman across the aisle from me who looked completely freaked out and was even crying at times. I’m not sure if she was scared of flying, or if she had something else on her mind, but Joel said to me, “She looks like how you usually look.”!
Sofia’s headphone jack was jammed, so Mattias let her move into his seat, and he went and sat on the other side of the cabin between 2 strangers. What a trouper!
The day after we got home, I had committed myself to sell homemade cards and hairbows at a local craft fair in our village (no pictures). Mattias made Coconut Balls to sell, and he and Joel also sold some old toys. They sold everything they brought and were so pleased with themselves! I think they’ll be willing to part with more of their junk stuff next time!
Joel and Sofia just took swimming lessons for the past 2 weeks, from 9:30-12:30 every week day! Sofia earned her “beginner’s badge” and Joel earned his “beginner’s and interest badges” and pins 25, 50, 100 and 200 meters.
P1030781 We finally put up, and are using, the swimming pool.
I have written one of my papers for my Finnish teaching degree (while the kids were at swimming lessons). I’m just waiting to hear from my professor how I should send it to her. If you want to read it, I can send you a copy (hahahahaha).
P1030783 P1030785 Today we had the 10th Annual Monäs Rodden here in our village. It’s a sailboat race, and all the boats are old-fashioned wooden ones. The weather wasn’t so great, but many people still came. Stefan helped direct parking traffic and I sold coffee and doughnuts.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Today, we were privileged to attend a performance by the African Children's Choir at our old church. It was absolutely amazing . . . such a blessing to see the joy on the children's faces.

A few pics (in reverse order;)

Here are some other things we've done this weekend:
Sam is helping Dad wind up the extra line after we replaced his clothesline.

One of my little monkeys, Joel.

My other little monkey, Sofia (and some random kid who said "I'm good, aren't I?" after every trip across the bars).

Friday, July 2, 2010

happy birthday . . .

. . . CANADA! 143 years and you're looking great (although we could've done without the rain today . . .).

We celebrated at the local park (Queen's, for those of you who want to know):

My post was going to end here, but something happened at bedtime which deserves mention. Those of you who have been around for awhile know that our journey through attachment has not always been easy. As can happen with adopting an "older" child, our attachment issues stem from our daughter's difficulty to trust completely that we love her, accept her and will never abandon her. There have been times when she has lashed out physically but mostly vocally. Last summer had been a very difficult time. Generally, there are waves of good days and bad days. And, it's the same between her and the boys. Without going into details, Sofia can say some hurtful things to them when she's mad.

However, as I was tucking her into bed tonight she said something that brought tears to my eyes.

Happy tears.

Something she'd never said before.

She said, "Mom, can you tell Joel that I love him?"

Thursday, July 1, 2010

meet taco

This is my Dad's newest chihuahua. He's had him for about 8 or 9 months, and he absolutely loves the kids:

My Dad was not doing so well on Sunday and Monday. He was very dizzy and very tired. He's feeling better now. In fact, this is what I saw this morning when I got off the phone with Stefan:
Yes, that's right. He was trimming his hedge with the weed whacker.

Yesterday evening we went to the park. Joel found a cool place to hang out:
Hope you're all having a good week!

The Holms

Denmark Road Trip

The outskirts of St. Pete

St. Petersburg

Saint Petersburg: Sankt-Peterburg, Russian pronunciation: is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. The city's other names were Petrograd (1914–1924) and Leningrad (1924–1991). Founded by Tsar Peter I of Russia on 27 May, 1703, it was the capital of the Russian Empire for more than two hundred years (1713–1728, 1732–1918). Saint Petersburg is home to more than two hundred museums, many of them hosted in historic buildings. The largest of the museums is the Hermitage Museum, featuring interiors of the former imperial residence and a vast collection of art. Celebrating the 300th anniversary of its foundation, Saint Petersburg was selected as the main motif in a recent Finnish commemorative coin, the €10 Mannerheim and Saint Petersburg commemorative coin, minted in 2003. The reverse of the coin features a view of Saint Petersburg, with the Peter and Paul Fortress and its three turrets. In the coin the words "St. Petersburg 1703-2003" can be seen.