Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Just Keep Swimming!

Today was the best day! Leah got the kids free passes to the Oklahoma Aquarium and we took the kids over for the day. It was a BLAST! So much fun in fact, that Lance and I are going to get a family membership. It's only a couple hours over and we like to take the kids to Tulsa a couple times a year to eat at Casa Bonita and stay at Embassy Suites and go to a couple different western stores. We usually go to the zoo, but the aquarium an awesome place to go when it's cold or raining or hot.

Emma took a little time to warm up to the idea of touching things!

Luke, on the other hand, LOVED touching everything!

The stingray and shark exhibit was the best!

We were able to pet the sharks and stingrays for 20 minutes. The kids were sopping wet! Hope especially. :) Her are was wet up to her armpit and the whole front of her shirt was soaked! But it was all worth it and more when she looked at me and Leah and said, "This is the best day ever! Thank you for bringing us!"

The shark tank ROCKED!

Love this one!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve!

I feel like I've just settled into the spirit of Christmas and now it's almost over. Bummer. It's been a great school break so far. The kids and I have had a lot of fun. And now Lance is home for a few days and gets next Friday off also. That's always a bonus! I'm going to leave my decorations up until after New Year's. I've been so pleased this year with our tree and fireplace! This is the first year that I've been able to wrap presents and put them under the tree before the night before Christmas! (we've always had little ones who would get into them) :) Here's a pic of our tree and fireplace. Love it! I made our stocking hangers this year. It's hard to see them in this picture, but they spell out FADDIS. Six of us and six letters in Faddis. :)

Today, the kids and I made a gingerbread house. They had a lot of fun and did a great job of taking turns. And I was surprised at how good Emma did! She was so meticulous and placed her candy just right.

It's a miracle we were able to have enough candy without everyone eating it all gone!

Mmmmmm. Twizzlers.

Everyone loves Twizzlers!

Twizzler mustache!
We went to the Christmas Eve service at church tonight. I'm so glad we do that every year. It is such a special way to make sure we all remember why we celebrate Christmas. And it's such a homey feeling. We sang Christmas songs and then our pastor gave a brief message on the meaning of Christmas. Very much a blessing.
Then it was home to eat dinner and open presents! My parents came over to eat with us and watch the kids open their presents. It was a fun night. We give the kids 3 presents each and they all loved what we got them!

Luke opening his drum pad (he got a paper jam guitar and a heavy bag also)

Emma loved her Minnie Mouse! (she also got a blinged out denim jacket and all 3 girls got portable dvd players)

Sara obviously loved her jewelry making kit! (and her crayons and crayon maker)

The excitement over play doh! (and a sticker maker)
We forgot to make cookies for Santa, so this year he's getting fudge! ha!

putting out the fudge and milk!
I got Lance a ring to replace the one he lost in the river earlier this year. It's a Bob Siemens ring with the icthus fish in a repeating pattern around it. He got me some charms for my Pandora bracelet. I bought the bracelet for myself a few months ago :) and told him that I wanted him to add charms for me. It's a great way to have a personalized gift and easy for him to find something for me. Well, he outdid himself this year. He wrote me a letter recapping our year and then had numbered in the letter the reasons behind each corresponding charm.

The F was the original charm I bought when I bought the bracelet. For obvious reasons. The dolphin next to it, my sis in law Jennifer gave me this week for Christmas. Love it! I've always loved dolphins and it's special because it's the first charm anyone ever gave me.
Next is a horse. As I read the letter and got to #1, I stopped and opened the charm box labeled #1. The horse is an obvious choice for our family. :)
#2 is a Bible. To represent our faith. And to be a reminder to me and a testimony to others.
#3 is a V. And as Lance wrote in the letter, not the letter V, but the Roman Numeral 5. This is not something I have shared in the blog yet. And I will devote an entire entry to it at some point. But the number 5 represents our children. Yes we only have 4, but God has called us to adopt a little boy from Haiti. We knew it before Lance left in January right after the earthquake. And He has confirmed it to us several times over this last year. We have a son in Haiti. We are pursuing this, but are still in the beginning stages. It is a slow process (much slower than I anticipated or wanted). We don't even know yet who "he" is. We just know that God is leading us and has confirmed in our hearts that we have a son we have yet to meet.
#4 is a Turkshead knot. I had never heard of this before, but as soon as Lance saw the charm in the store, he knew what it was. A Turkshead knot was used on the stearing wheel of a ship to mark the King's spoke. It is what the captain used to know that he was stearing straight. Lance compared me to the knot. That I am what helps to keep our family "stearing straight." He told me that just as the knot gave the captain comfort and confidence in stearing the ship, I give him that comfort and confidence in leading our family. So humbling.
Thank you God, for my amazing husband and my beautiful children. All of them.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

All Aboard the Polar Express!

Tonight didn't turn out as planned, but we had a blast anyway! This year, Mom wanted to do something special for the kids, so she bought them tickets to the Polar Express! (really it's called Holiday Express at the railroad here in our area, but it sounds better to say Polar Express! ha!) She surprised the kids yesterday and told them about the fun that we were going to have tonight! As you know, we just watched the movie a couple nights ago, so the kids were pumped!
Now here's where things took a turn for the worse. Lance came home early today. He was home for a little while and then left to get some hay for the horses. On his way home, he started getting sick. And he didn't get any better. So bad, in fact, he couldn't go with us. And right at the same time, Mom called and Dad was sick with a low grade fever and he couldn't go. So I called my sis in law, Leah and asked her to go with us. (She was excited!) Then, right as we're about to walk out the door, Emma accidentally wet her pants. In her new Christmas pajamas and house shoes. She had gotten up from her nap and was in my room and was trying to make it across the house to the kids' bathroom and didn't make it. :( But after a quick run through WalMart for new Christmas pj's and house shoes ($8 total, thank you very much!) we were on our way!
Leah and me in WalMart in our pj's! You should have seen the looks! ha!
The train was the funnest thing! We picked up McDonald's and ate on the train. Then they served hot chocolate and cookies. Next, Santa came on the car and visited with every kid! It was awesome!

Love this pic of Mom and Emma!

So much fun! (& look at Luke's eyes! ha!)

The girls had so much fun!

Aunt Leah and Emma

Mom read a Christmas story to the kids

Me and Emma :)

My boy!

Aunt Leah and Luke

The conductor came by to punch every one's tickets! The kids thought this was one of the coolest parts of the night. :)
Luke had to inspect to see if he had punched a word on his ticket like in the movie! ha!

On our way back, the kids got to use a microphone and sing Christmas carols. It was late and dark and the rhythm of the train was about to put everyone to sleep, but this woke them up!

It was a GREAT night! The only thing better would have been if Daddy and Poppa could have been with us. :(

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tis the Season

We got back from Haiti and hit the ground running. Our church had our Christmas concert the Saturday and Sunday that we got back. Luke and I were both in it. I missed all the rehearsals while we were in Haiti, so I was flying blind. I almost backed out, but I am so glad I didn't. It was so amazing and I love worshiping the Lord in song.
Then that Monday, Luke had a gingerbread decorating contest it Cub Scouts. We baked a 10 in gingerbread man and decorated him like Batman. Luke did it by himself! I just helped guide his hand when it wasn't steady with the decorator icing. I was so proud of him!
Bat - Gingerman :)
Then on Saturday, Luke and Sara had their piano recital. That morning, they had a practice run through at a local nursing home. It was so sweet. The residents loved it and it was so neat to expose my kids to that. I want to think of other ways that we as a family can minister at a nursing home at other times. The kids had fun doing it. Then that afternoon, our family, my Mom and Dad, and my brother and sis in law met at Wal Mart to shop for the Angel Tree program that our church sponsors. We split a family of 4 boys. We had the 7 year old twin brothers. It is something we do every year. We want our kids to grow up knowing that we have been blessed financially and that God has called us to share what He has given us. And that is what Christmas is all about. Showing His love. Then that night the kids had their formal recital. They did so good! I was so proud of them. They've been taking since Sept. They both are really enjoying it.
After the recital, Lance's parents, us, and my brother and sis in law all met went to Mom and Dad's and had a formal Christmas dinner. It's a family tradition that my Mom started years ago when Jeremy and I were both single. The girls REALLY enjoyed it. I HATE that I forgot to take any pics! Sara, Hope, and Emma were little ladies. It was so sweet!
Last Thursday, Sara had her first kindergarten program. The entire kindergarten class sang Christmas carols, then we went to the classroom and the kids gave us a present. An ornament that they had made for us. Sara was so proud. She has excelled in school this year. She loves it! She was worried because everyone kept saying, "see you next year" and she thought she wasn't going to be in her teacher's class anymore! I had to explain to her the difference between the calendar year and the school year. :)

My little snow bunny!
The weekend of the Christmas concert at church, we took a family picture for our Christmas card. After SEVERAL attempts, this is what we ended up with. Everyone looks good. (Except me. Are we ever pleased with ourselves in pictures?!?!)

My family. I am a blessed woman.

Yesterday was our annual Faddis Family Bake Night. :) Every year we bake goodies to give to our friends at Christmas. This year we made fudge, divinity, pumpkin bread, pumpkin-cranberry bread, and cranberry bread. It was a blast! Here's the funniest thing that happened all night. I had mixed the fudge and Lance swiped some out of the bowl before it hardened. He tasted it right at Emma walked into the kitchen. She looked at him, then at the brown stuff on his finger and asked, "What's that?" Lance didn't miss a beat and said, "poop." You should have seen her face! He extended his finger to her and said, "Do you want some?" She instantly started backing away and said, "NO!" We started laughing and he licked his finger again. Emma then pointed at him and said, "You eat poop!" bahahahaha! It took a little convincing to get her to believe it was chocolate! Oh my family. :)

Bake Night!

Then tonight it was Faddis Family Movie Night! A couple weeks ago, I bought a popcorn machine for our movie nights. We broke it in tonight! We watched Polar Express. It's become another Christmas tradition in our family. This was the first year that Hope really got into the movie. It was fun watching it through her eyes. And Emma sat still the whole movie. She's getting to the point that she will watch with the big kids.

Movie Night!

Everyone's ready for the movie!

We have a lot of more fun planned over the Christmas break. I am LOVING having my kids home and enjoying the season!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Haiti Day 5

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40

Today we saw the least of these. We went to 2 different orphanages today, while some of the guys went back to the dorm to finish it up. The first orphanage we went to had about 20 severely and moderately mentally and physically disabled children. A 20 year old Haitian, laying on the concrete floor, in a diaper, catatonic, is definitely the least of these. I really got that verse for the first time. I was able to live it out. Blessed to be able to live it out today. God is good.

We got to love on so many kids today. Kids who don't have anyone to love on them. Kids with no one to say to them, "I love you." It was such a joy to be able to give them that, if only for a short while. And the smiles we received said that they wanted more.

And we also got to see more of our translators that we used last time and to also meet new ones. Brothers in Christ. These young men have such a heart for the Lord and for their country. Gillen, Sylvester, Sam, Ben, Jay, Jacques, Jean Phillipe, Dario. They are such a blessing to me. I have hope for this country because of these young men. They want the best for Haiti, and I challenged a few of them today, that the future of Haiti is up to them. They have to live for the Lord and be an example to their country of His love.

Tonight when we got back to the house, I told Lance that I was a little melancholy. He understood. I miss my kids so much. I want to hold them, and hug them tight, and cover them with kisses. But at the same time, I'm not done in Haiti. Once again, I will leave part of my heart here. I am already thinking of the next time that I will be here. It can't come soon enough.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Haiti Day 4

We spent the day at the orphanage again. It was a very busy day for the men and a slow day for the women. The guys worked on building forms to pour concrete on top of the walls that we finished yesterday. The girls were going to be in charge of mixing and pouring the concrete, but the forms were a slower process than expected. So we didn't get to mix or pour concrete. Instead, we were runners for the guys. If they needed nails, we got them. If we needed boards, we got them. If they needed a tape measure, we got them. You get the picture.

But we spent a lot of time standing around. We were getting a little discouraged because we weren't feeling very useful. Until school got out. We have a professional photographer on the team who does nothing but children and family photography. After the kids got out of school, we got them all together and took individual pictures of them. We are going to develop them and send them back to the kids so they can have a picture of themselves. They've never had anything like that.

That was the best part of the day. Seeing those kids faces when they saw their picture on the viewfinder was worth a million dollars. And one of our translators, Jay, was so awesome with the kids. He got them all to smile so big by tickling them and teasing them. He is going be a great dad someday!

Tonight, a few of us went up the road to a missionary's house for a Bible Study. What an amazing experience. The Trimbles have lived in Haiti for 31 years. They have an incredible ministry here. Their future daughter in law works for Thirst No More, so that is how we have gotten to know them. I can't even begin to describe what it was like to worship in a house with missionaries from all over the United States and different countries here in Haiti. It was beautiful. A glimpse of what Heaven will be like. The most amazing thing was that God spoke to me in such a very personal way. It was an ordained meeting. Someday I will share what it was about, but for now, I will just say that God is faithful to keep His promises. He has been teaching me that and speaking that truth to me in several different ways over the last few weeks. Tonight was just another time that He has assured me of His plan for my family.

Capping of a beautiful night was driving down the hill in the back of the truck looking up at the stars. Unforgettable.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Haiti Day 3

I'm tired! Today, we spent the day working at an orphanage building a dorm for the kids. A team before us had started it and we are going to finish it the walls this week. It was HARD physical labor! My hands ache, my arms ache, my back aches. But it feels so good! The kids have been sleeping in tents since the earthquake. To know that they will now have a safe home is so amazing.

We were getting the water for the concrete and mortar from a creek that runs through the orphanage property. It is a disgusting, filthy creek. Trash filling the creek. The threat of cholera in our minds. And here we are arm deep in it, filling buckets of water to build walls for these beautiful kids. Someone pointed out the irony that we are using the water that is laced with death to make a home that is filled with life for the children.

What a thought. Death is all over this country. Still fear from the earthquake. But these kids are smiling, happy, and so excited about their new home. It is such a stark contrast. Once again you see the glimpse of hope for Haiti. The children that are being taken care of by those who love God. Who love their children in their care. These children are being taught about the love of God and seeing it in action by the vast amount of American teams coming to help them all because of the love of Christ. I hope and pray that they will see and understand that He is the reason the Americans are coming. That they will come to a saving knowledge of Christ and become leaders in their country. That is the hope for the future of Haiti. Embodied in the smiling, beautiful faces of the children.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Haiti Day 2

We found out after we scheduled the dates for this trip that we would be arriving the day of Haiti's elections. Ooops! Had we known that, we definitely would have picked different dates. But, one thing that God has been teaching me over the last year is that He is in control and all I have to do is give myself fully to Him and He will direct my path.

We did that for this trip. We kept trying to find the right dates to plan the trip and the only dates that would work in Lance's schedule were these. God definitely directed our steps. And He has proven Himself faithful.

We arrived at 4:00. It gets dark at 5:30. It takes 1 1/2 hours to get from the airport to the house. We left the airport around 4:30 and we were at the house at 5:25. There was NO traffic and no people in the streets. It has NEVER been like that. In all of TNM's (Thirst No More) trips to and from the airport. On our way, we saw a riot protesting the elections. We were able to divert and drive around it at arrive to the house before dark. Definitely the hand of God.

There was some violence in downtown Port Au Prince last night. Two people were killed. We are up in the mountains in a town called Petionville. There hasn't been any violence near us. And we don't expect any. We stayed in this morning until we knew what to expect. And once again, that was God's plan. The staff with TNM has been overwhelmed with all of the donation's that teams have been bringing. The basement was full of supplies that they couldn't get to, and there was a lot of organizing and fixit projects that needed to be done that they just don't have the manpower to get to.

We were able to do that for them this morning. The pharmacy/office has been totally reorganized. The basement is cleared out. And all the supplies have been gone through and organized for easy distribution. God's plan for us today.

After lunch, we were able to go to the orphanage that we will be working at for the next two days. We are going to finish a building that was started a couple weeks ago. This orphanage is run by a Godly man who is making a difference in these children's lives. TNM has a brick press that makes earthquake resistant bricks. It is an amazing thing. It uses, dirt, concrete and the rubble from the quake to make these bricks that will build houses that are safe.

The children at the orphanage are so excited about their new house. 28 kids are living in a 20x20 room. Sleeping on a concrete floor. Why. That's the hardest question for me to reconcile. Why. My kids are in double beds. In a beautiful home. No worry for food. So many toys that I wrestle with it being sinful. That is the hardest part of Haiti for me. The abject poverty of the people, especially the children.

But, it all comes full circle to my first thought. God is in control. He has a plan and He will make it come to pass. He love the people of Haiti far greater than I do. That is what I take comfort in. His ways are not my ways.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Beauty From Ashes

I'm not normally an over the top, emotional person. I don't like making outrageous hokey comments, but right now, I feel like my heart is whole again. When we left Haiti in June, I told Lance that I left a piece of my heart here. It's back with me again.

The people, the land, our friends that live and work here. Amidst the chaos that is Haiti, there is hope. Hope because I know that there are people here that are working to make Haiti a better place. We are just a small part of that of that vision.

I am giddy with excitement right now. I'm running on fumes because of the chaos of my week before we left. But right now, I can't sleep. I'm so excited to be back in this land. Excited to reunite with friends. Excited to hug my Haitian brothers. Excited to see what God has in store for us this week.

This country helps me to understand what God meant when He said He will make beauty from ashes. I see it here. And I can't wait to see what He has in store for us tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Sara!

Happy Birthday to my sweet, sweet Sara! 6 years ago today, she came into our lives and I had no idea how special that little 8 lb, 6oz bundle was going to be to me! Sara is such a little lady. We always say that she's a 25 year old in a 5 year old body. (now a 6 year old body!) We don't get a whole lot of alone time just the two of us, but when we do, it's like I'm out with a friend. She loves all things girly and she's good to have around to give me fashion advice! ha!
Sara is the momma of the crew. We joke that when Luke is 12, we can leave them alone at the house with Sara in charge! ha! God knew that I was going to need a lot of help with this family and He gave it to me in Sara.
This year, she had a Tea Party Birthday. We had her party yesterday. There is a cool place in our area that is a tea room/restaurant. They use mis-matched china and tea cups, table clothes on the tables, and they have a dress up section for girls to play with. It was so much fun! I bought all of the girls purses, necklaces, rings, silly bands, gloves, and bubbles to dress up for the tea party. And they had tea cakes, and lemonade in tea cups. It was all so girly! Right up her ally! :)

The Birthday Girl

With her sisters

The cakes. I had fun making them!

I LOVE this picture!

Opening presents

Mom reading "Fancy Nancy" to the girls

Then today, we went to Chuck E. Cheese. Where a kid (and mom!) can be a kid! ha! Some friends met us there and of course everyone had a great time!

Loving being 6!

Nathan was trying to climb inside the bowling game!

Dixon, Hope and Emma

Feeding tickets. She literally won 300 tickets today by herself!

NO Deal! ha! Luke loves the "Deal or No Deal" game

The whole crew! (except Emma really wanted Sara's lip gloss and wouldn't turn around!)

Happy Birthday Sara. You are a light in my life. I love you so much. You are a joy to everyone who knows you. Daddy and I are so proud of you. You are a beautiful person, inside and out. You are fun, kind, caring and so so sweet. I can't wait to see what the next 6 years have in store for us!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Wanna Rock & Roll!

On Sunday night, Luke had the experience of a lifetime! He went to his first concert! Our church sponsored the Hungry for Love Tour with The Afters, Leeland, and Sanctus Real. Lance and I had been talking for about taking him to his first concert and then this opportunity came up. It was perfect! VIP tickets were only $25, so that's what we got. And we got front row seats! Plus, he got to meet all of the bands. It was really cute, because a lot of the band members are dads and Luke was the youngest person in the meet and greet line. They all were so nice to him and gave him a little more attention than all the teens in line.

The Afters


Sanctus Real (minus lead singer Matt), he was sick and resting his voice.

Which leads me to the coolest thing of the night! Some close friends of ours are good friends with the drummer from Sanctus Real. After the meet and greet, James and Ruth headed to the tour bus to visit with him and on the way out, Ruth grabbed Luke! He got to go on the tour bus!!

Hangin with the lead singer Matt

Hangin with Mark, the drummer

Can it get any better than this?!?!
I told Luke that he peaked at age 8 with regards to concerts! Never again will there be VIP tickets, meet the band, front row seats AND get to go on the tour bus!