Friday, January 30, 2009

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Happy Chinese New Year!

Lots to celebrate this week:

1. After 13 years at his company, Steve gave his resignation on Monday. He will start with a new company on February 9th. He will go from managing 14 programs and about 50 employees to managing 1 program and 13 employees. A great and much needed change for him. The really cool thing is that when the CEO interviewed Steve, Steve noticed several photos hanging in this gentleman's office. The photos were of children of different ethnicities. After the interview, Steve inquired about the photos and the man said that he does work for World Vision. Very cool....we sponser a little girl named Somkit, through World Vision. She lives in Thailand. If this was any sign of the type of company this is, it will be a welcome change for Steve!

2. My Distiguished Service Award (see previous post).

3. Our application with Better Futures Adoption Services was approved and we can begin the process of bringing our little girl home.

4. It's Chinese New Year!

To celebrate all of these things, we decided to go to our favorite Chinese restaurant for dinner. The boys wanted to order off of the "adult" menu, and Caleb was determined to try the duck. Of course, his meal was the most expensive of all of ours, but he loved it. We all liked it. Caleb took the leftovers to school for lunch the next day. The funniest thing is that Emma kept saying, "I eat duckie"....I'm sure she was thinking of one of her bathtub duckies. Fortunatly this "duckie" was not rubbery, like the bathtub duckies.

Happy New Year!

Distinguished Service Award

My job share partner and I were recent recipients of our school district's Distiguished Service Award. We were each nominated by our principal. We were presented our awards at the monthly school board meeting, along with about 15-20 other teachers and school personal. It was quite an honor to be acknowledged for the work we do with our students.

It is an even greater honor to be entrusted to help mold and shape these little minds. God has equiped me with some great gifts for teaching and learning. He continues to strengthen my character by hand choosing each little child that will be in my class for the year and allowing me to learn from him or her. I thank God every day for the opportunities he gives me!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Snow (Cold) Day Fun with Caleb

We had a snow day/ no school today due to the extremely cold temperatures. So, today we invited Becky, Kyra, Braden and Kenson over for lunch and to play. We made homemade chili and ginger snap cookies, played a game of Scrabble and I even had time to vacuum my downstairs and mop the wood and tile floors.

Tonight's low is -20 degrees with a windchill of -40. Brrrrr! Wonder if we'll have school tomorrow?? Being a teacher is challenging at times...but snowdays and summer vacation make it all worth it!!

My Little Reader

Emma stayed up a little later than the boys on Tuesday night so we read some books together. When I was done reading, she wanted to read to me. Pretty darn good for a 2 1/2 year old, I'd say. As my teacher friend said, "Emma has good book orientation, understands left to right, gets meaning from pictures, understands that words must make a story. Needs work on one to one and needs to begin making some text to self or text to text connections". We'll work on that....ha!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Friends

It's amazing how many people you meet and become friends with through the adoption process. Our China travel group friends are some of the best friends we have made, because we share a common bond...our children!

Yesterday, we were able to get together with Melissa and Scott and their little boy, Micah. Melissa is the woman I spoke about in my blog entry on December 8th, entitled "Is That You, God?". Melissa and her husband, Scott, traveled to Ethiopia in December to adopt Micah. We wanted to meet them and find out more about their experience with Better Futures Adoption Services out of MN, as we are planning to use them as we begin the process of adopting from Ethiopia. They had nothing but good things to say about the agency and their experience....which is good news for us. And even better news is that we've made new friends...friends to get together with and correspond with as we begin this new journey.

About ten minutes after Melissa and Scott left, I ran out to get our mail. What did I find, the latest issue of Adoptive Families magazine....and guess what was on the cover? A little African girl. I looked inside the cover, and sure enough, she was adopted from ETHIOPIA. I flipped the magazine over....and on the back cover....another little one adopted from ETHIOPIA. God is just too AWESOME!!! How humbled I am to know that God speaks, just to me and gives me his approval!!

Later in the evening, I looked back at my previous issues of my Adoptive Families magazine and the last time there was an African child on the cover was March of 2008. Which, ironically, was the month we started to think about starting adoption number 2. At that time, we were thinking Taiwan....maybe God was trying to tug at my heartsrings way back then and get my heart prepared for His plan, because the doors to Taiwan were then closed for us (as we do not quilify for Taiwan) and the doors to Ethiopia became an option for us. Really, the only option, unless we would adopt domestically. How GREAT is our God!! AWESOME and MIGHTY and HIS plan is always much better than my plan could possibly be!

Kyra, Becky, Braden, Randy and Kenson
Randy and Braden
Kenson and Emma making pizza
Caleb and his new hockey stick
Maria, Rick and six reasons for birth control :)
Kenson in his new hat, with Uncle Steve
Grandma and four of the six kiddos Chris and Mark

I finally have some time to post some photos from Christmas with my family. We celebrated on New Year's Day at our house. My parents, my sister and her family, my step-brother and his girlfriend and our friends Mark and Chris joined us for the day. We decided to have a "homemade pizza" meal. Mom made her famous homemade cheese and sausage pizza, Becky made homemade taco pizza and I made homemade BBQ chicken pizza. Then, everyone brought an appetizer, too. The food was great and the company even better. Never a dull moment with 6 kids running around. It's hard to believe that just between my sister and I, we have 6 kids. I would have never thought we'd have that many children....God has truly blessed our family!! Enjoy the photos!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Makin' Strudel

Thought I should post a photo of our Strudel making on Christmas Day. This is a special recipe that is a Fidlin Family tradition. Steve's grandma, who is 87 years old, used to make these a lot when Steve's dad was young. Most people would call these pocket sandwiches, but for some reason, they were named "strudel". It is bread dough wrapped around a mixture of ground beef seasoned with lots of all spice seasoning and sauerkraut. Then they are baked until they are golden brown. We all love them, but they are a bit unusual. I don't know that everyone would like the flavor combination. We made 25 of them on Christmas morning and then we made another 35 "pizza pocket" sandwiches today. We bake them all in batches and then freeze them in bags of 5 for quick and easy meals.