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Welcome to my family blog. I have been married to Mike for over half of my life. I love my Savior, Jesus. I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to six terrific, interesting children. My 3 oldest were born to me in my younger years, while my 3 youngest were given to me by God in my older years. I am very blessed. ~Cheri


Another Step Down!

We're moving right along.  We received notice that our Article 5 was approved today.  That is our last step before China issues our TA!  The people at the National Visa Center and now the Consulate were so kind and expedited everything for us trying to make up for the lost time my papers sat at immigration.  Now, if there was only a way for China to expedite my TA....ummmm.  That one is completely up to them!  Who knows?  It can be 2 weeks or 4 weeks.  I'm at their mercy.

I am so thankful to the Lord for working all this out and leading me to the right people to contact to get things moving for us.


Christmas Day

We had a very pleasant, low-keyed Christmas Day.  Eva, Joy, and Jordan were up shortly after 7:00 a.m.  I heard them all giggling in the girls' room.  We still had some snow, but we had freezing rain that morning, and all the trees were white with ice.  It was very beautiful.

After piddling around in the kitchen, straightening things up, getting the girls dressed, I sent Eva and Joy downstairs to wake up the boys.  After a prayer of thankfulness, we let the children open their gifts.  After seven people opening gifts, the living room was a mess.  Everyone played while Mike and I tried to get some organization going on.

Seth, going through his stocking.

Eva, looking forward to some games!

Joy has been waking Jordan up with the trumpet recorder ever since Christmas.

The Aftermath

Joy having fun with the lacing cards from Grandma.  I thought she would have a hard time with these, but it was Eva who found it somewhat difficult to do the front-back thing.  Joy is always amazing me.

Jack is having SOOOO much fun terrorizing his sisters with his remote-controlled Rexy.  It is very life-like and loud.  Joy screams whenever Rexy is "awake".

On December 23rd, we had no idea what to fix for Christmas dinner.  The last few Christmases we had a beef tenderloin.  But, last Christmas, Mike, Jack, Seth, and I got the stomach bug  and re-tasted our beef tenderloin all night long.  This year we just couldn't imagine enjoying it as much.  Jordan suggested a hot pot of potato soup, salad, and bread.  It hit the spot.  Everyone, but Eva and Joy liked it.


Something I Found

I found this today and thought with all of the anti-God stuff at Christmastime, He always lets the truth be told, even when people try to get rid of the Christ in Christmas...

The "W" in Christmas

Written by anonymous

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience.

I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending..

Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

My son was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old.  For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school’s Winter Pageant.

I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production.  Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher and she assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation.   All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then.

Fortunately, my son seemed happy with the compromise.

The morning of the dress rehearsal I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down.  Around the room I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats.

As I waited, the students were led into the room.  Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.

Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer.  So when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.

My son was aglow (as were all of his classmates), adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads.

Those in the front row- center stage - held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.

As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love."

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M” upside down - totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W".

The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, as she stood tall, proudly holding her "W".

Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together.

A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen.

In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.

For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:

"C H R I S T W A S L O V E"

And, I believe, He still is.


Two More Steps Down

I was hesitant to post earlier because I just wasn't sure what was happening with my file.  But, after many emails to the consulate in China and the National Visa Center (who have been great!), they finally managed to get my file sent to the Visa Center, then cabled onto Guangzhou!  I found out from different conversations with various supervisors in many entities that someone "dropped the ball" with our case.  My file was never sent back to immigration.  After 2 weeks from saying it was put in the mail...they still have not received it.

I got an email today from the Visa Center (working on Christmas Eva on my file, thanks Al!) that they have sent a cable to the Consulate in Guangzhou.  Now, I just wait for them to be back in the office next week, so they can issue my Article 5 and have it sent onto Beijing, where we will wait for our Travel Approval.

What a relief to 3 weeks of unknowns.

Merry Christmas to all.


Mr. Snowman

Believe it or not, our snow is still here.  Usually it melts within a couple of days.  Seth and Jack have been sledding and enjoying the snow.  Seth was so kind as to "help" the girls build a snowman outside the girls' bedroom window.

A work in progress....

Still working....

The finished product!


Our Snowfall

 Last night we got a lovely dumping of snow.  It started snowing around 2:30 p.m. yesterday and stopped this morning.  We have about 15 inches here in Virginia.  It is so beautiful and silent.  Last night the boys sledded a bit down the hill, and Eva and Joy were excited to play in the snow today.  Unfortunately, we do not have snow clothes for the girls.  We really don't get that much snow.  When it is predicted, it generally does not come to pass.

This morning Eva asked if she could go outside on the front porch.  I told her yes so she could enjoy the beautiful snow without getting wet and freezing herself.  I went back inside to make breakfast.  Apparently, the snow was too enticing.  She and Joy walked off the front stoop into the very deep snow.  They only had on little boots (not snow boots) and coats and regular cotton pants.  Once they got in the snow, they could not get back up on the stoop.  Lesson learned?  Probably not.

They both did go outside after Mike snowblowed the patio and driveway.  Again it did not last long because it was very cold.  So, I don't think they are quite as excited to go in the snow as they first were.  I think next year they will enjoy it a bit more.

Even Mike was enjoying the snowfall.  The snowblower could only do so much, though.  Mike gave up shortly after.

While the snow was coming down on Friday night, we had a fun time inside playing games and being wild with the kids.  It was nice having everyone home.  Jordan did not have to work that night, thankfully.


Boys, Jack in Particular

Why is it that my boys want to dress off-season?  When Seth was younger, he wore sweaters in the summer and shorts in the winter.  Jack seems to be no different other than he always is wearing shorts.  This is his daily attire.  If it is above 45 degrees out, he's in shorts.  If we go out when it is colder than 45 degrees, we make him wear pants and a jacket.  I know...mean mama.



This is how I feel today.



I wish I had some news to share, but I've nothing to say about our I800.  All I know is that our previous file was mailed from the NVC on 12/10 and immigration has yet to receive it.  It is not easy....I don't think I'm cut out for this disheartening wait.

We have a book called, "Sometime I Like To Curl Up In A Ball".  Of course, it is a children's book, but that is how I feel today.


Still Waiting to Hear Something

Well, there is nothing definite to report about our file.  But, the National Visa Center did send me a reply to my email saying my previous file was sent back to Immigration.  Please pray with me that it will arrive at the proper place early next week.  Since there has been a 3+ week delay, my new best friend at the Visa Center, Al, says he will "see what he can do about expediting our file."  I'll be calling him next week.

I've been accumulating some clothes for Ivy Xue.  Lands End was having a grand sale last week.  I ended up getting corduroys for $10, shirts for less than $10.  Lands End has great quality clothing that can be passed down to Eva without much visible wear.  On other's advice, I bought her a 5 slim in pants, and 6 in shirts.  I also ended up buying a pair of 8/9 Alison Crocs.  But, they look so small once they arrived.  I may have to bump that one up to a 9/10 in the Crocs.

I think I'm prety much set in the clothing department for Ivy, except for pajamas.  I looked at Target today, but no gowns that were not fleece.  Ivy seems quite tiny around the waist that I think that is my best option.  All those who have adopted Ivy's friends from Zhongshan CWI...what size clothes and shoes did you buy?  Or rather, what has fit?  Thanks so much!

The girls having fun dancing to Christmas music!


Visa Received and Delays

Today I received my visa/passport!  Glad to get that out of the way, and glad that it is good for a year.  Now, we are in a holding pattern.  My I800 was not sent to the Visa Center.  Normally, it would have been sent last week, right after approval.  But, because we did not adopt Maggie back in the spring, the Visa Center needs to send back our old file to immigration before immigration can send my new file.  Clear as mud, right?

So, I ask for your prayers.  Immigration requested our old file almost 3 weeks ago, but have not received it yet.  This set-back has been an immense struggle for me.  There is nothing on my part that I can do.  Please pray first that I can have peace and not frustration about this, and secondly, that the NVC will move quickly to get my file sent back to immigration.  I appreciate all your prayers.


Looks Like Christmas Time

The view out our front door

Saturday, we woke up to humongous snowflakes coming down.  That is very unusual here in Virginia for early December, but I loved it.  Eva and Joy went outside at 7:30 a.m. in their footy pajamas, boots, and coats just to walk around in the snow.  This is the first time they've been been outside to play in it.  Later in the day, Mike and Jordan went out tree hunting and brought home this beauty!



The Ivy Doll

Another adoptive parent recently brought to my attention that American Girl has a doll named Ivy.  And guess what!  She is Chinese!  You know I'm not one for picking popular names for my children.  I thought that when I picked Ivy that it would be a little unique.  I hope no one thinks I named her Ivy because of this doll.

On another note...I found out that Ivy's middle name is not pronounced "Shew" like I had thought.  Her orphanage friends, who recently came home to their families, are calling her "Shoo-ay".  So, Margo,if you are reading this, you were right, the "e" in Xue is pronounced, not silent like our English language.


Another Approval Down, Two More To Go

I800 approval pic

But, I'm glad to almost be finished with the immigration portion.  Now we wait for the visa center to process Ivy's visa, then onto the Consulate's approval in China, then China's Travel Approval.



Jordan and Abby went to the grocery store Sunday night for some apple cider and egg nog.  What I didn't know was what else they bought.  I only saw the evidence when I was going through my pictures on my camera.  Come on!  The whole box?!




Enjoying Friends

Our friends, Josh, Patrick, David, and Abby are visiting us for the week.  Everyone is having a great time.  Eva and Joy are having fun entertaining the guys.  Jack is glad to have his buddy, David, with him for over a week.  Seth is also enjoying being with the Godly young men.  Jordan always has a good time with Abby.  They've been good friends since 1997 when we moved to Illinois.  Unfortunately, Abby is leaving tomorrow to go back to NY.




The guys enjoyed a good hike on Saturday.  The view was beautiful and the skies clear.  It was very windy once they got to the top.  Quite a different view from their hometown in Illinois.

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