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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


She Has Been Here Three Years

It is so hard to believe how far Joy has come in the last 3 years.  Some days it seems like she has always been with us.  In a sense, she has, considering she's been with us more than she's been without us.  She came to us, sickly and with many orphanage behaviors.  She was not happy.

Her rocking, moaning, and head-banging that first night with us scared the life out of me.  I felt so much pity and love and anger over what I saw.  Why wasn't she loved more?  Why was she left in her crib for so long?  Why was she never fed solid food?

Over the next few months, Joy learned her crib was a safe place to be..a place of rest.  She slowly stopped her rocking and head banging.  With the right nutrition and care, her hair that felt like straw grew into a silky crown on her head.  Her rough skin smoothed with the continual massaging of lotions.  Her cheeks grew rosy with love and laughter.

Joy experienced walking in the rain and loved every minute of it.  

Joy experienced sisterly love.  She finally had a playmate, someone to learn from.

She experienced the love of a family and was happy...very happy.

She learned to trust her family even when it meant something very difficult.  She is a trooper and has overcome much.  She amazed her doctors by removing not 1, but 5 casts in 2 weeks!

By her 6-month post placement report, she fell into her rightful place as the "baby of the family".  She loved being loved.

Joy is sweet with a strong personality.  She will either love you or snub you.

Joy is known for her temper.  Things like this can easily set her off, and it will take quite a while to get her back to her "normal".  She's pushed me to the edge and back quite often.  Four days a week I wake up to her screams of anger and frustration over her blankets.  She is a firecracker, for sure.

Joy is beautiful.  At first we thought she looked like a boy.  We were we wrong!  She has the most beautiful long eyelashes and sweet cheeks.

Joy is loved and happy.  She is her namesake.


Soccer Jam

*Feel free to skip this post if you are not a soccer fan.*

We are soccer fans.  Mike coaches Seth's soccer team this season.  Yesterday, the team was in a soccer tournament with 5 other teams.  It was fun.  It was long, all day long.  It was hot.  It was stinky.  But, we had a great time.  Their first game was at 9:00 a.m.  They tied.  Lost at PK's.  The girls and I were not there early enough because it was a 1.5 hour drive south.  So, we missed the game, which I'm thankful for, 'cause I do not like those close games.  We made it to half time of the 2nd game, which they won.  Afterward, we had a cookout with the team since we had to wait about 2+ hours for the next game.  So, this is what the team did during their break.

The team went on to play a couple of more games, winning them all.

"Hey!  Over here!"  Seth is #23, calling for the ball.

Gotta love the headers.

The Trip

The Fall

Jack and Kyle, the fans.

Another cute fan.

So, the team ended up winning it all!  Although it was fun, we were so glad to head home and cool off.

Team Captains, Caleb and Seth.

The Team

The Injury.  No that is not my hairy leg.


Our Summer's Last Hoorah

With summer winding down, and school starting, we decide to take a short trip to Busch Gardens, Williamsburg.  We have not been there since 2002.  I was pregnant with the twins, so I stayed in "kiddie-land" with Jack the whole time.  I pretty much stayed in "kiddie-land" this time around, too, but Mike and I did switch off a bit so I could get some time in with the older children.  We had a great time.  This was Seth and Jack's first time riding roller coasters.  Seth has always been a bit timid when it comes to theme parks.  He's always been my risk taker, but for some reason hated the feeling of roller coasters.  I remember taking him to the fair when he was about 6 or 7, and he actually climbed out of a ride after being buckled in.  The look on his face when he was riding the umbrellas was priceless.  I thought he'd lose his lunch at any moment.  So, on this trip, he conquered his fears and enjoyed the day.  Of course, Jack and Jordan took the park by storm, no problems.  I can say the same for Eva and Joy.  They both wanted to ride things they were not large enough to ride.  

Then there's Ivy.  Let's just say she does not have an adventuresome spirit about her.  She likes to take things slow and easy.  So, we put her on Escape From Pompeii for her first ride.  Big mistake.  She did not want to ride anything after that.  I forced her on the Elmo Roller Coaster.  Then I forced her on the Wirly Worm.  By then, she decided to have a good time.  She preferred slowly chugging along in the dragon boats with Joy right next to her.

Jordan riding with Ivy.  Eva and I are right behind.

Ivy is still not too happy about this whole "amusement park" thing.

Yes, I forced her on the Wirly Worm.  It made me nauseous, but Ivy ended up liking it and riding it twice.

Poor Joy.  The straps never even touched her body.  Some protection.

Joy was escorted nicely through the park in this large contraption.  $16 for the whole day.

The exciting "Griffon".  We rode this one right after eating some baby-back ribs.  They stayed down.  We waited long enough so we could be in the front row.  Jack starts off the center, then Mike, Seth, and Me!

Here's the drop.  I can't believe how fast this one goes.  I had to not think about it.  If I did, I doubt that I would have ridden it.


I'm Still Here

Things have been a little busy around here.  We started school last week, but we're not in full swing.  Seth's soccer games started, Jack starts soccer practice, along with taking karate.  My days are packed full of thing that I need to accomplish, and I may succeed at 3/4 of them for now.

Today, we did school, completed most things (except Ivy's math).  Seth had a soccer game at 4:30, which was a 30 minute drive into town.  So, I packed the girls a sandwich dinner with fruit.  Mike and Seth had dinner with Jordan and her friend, John.  After the game, Jack had karate class.  We got home, gave the girls' baths, talked a bit and put them to bed.  It was 10:00 pm and Jack comes into the kitchen.  It was not until then that I realized that I had not even fed Jack dinner!  Yes, give me the Bad Mom Award!  

Now, back to the soccer game...the girls were off playing while I was sitting on the bleachers.  I looked over at Joy, who was slowly making her way to me.  There was some commotion, then Joy started screaming.  A dog had bit her on the lip!  She had a cut on the inside of her mouth, very tiny though.  It had taken me by surprise, and I did not even know how to respond to the owners, other than tell them that she was fine. I did not want them to feel badly.  After she settled down a bit, she said, "Millie is nice."  (Millie is our dog)  She's never been afraid of dogs, and I hope this does not affect her.

She's a sweetie, even with her temper.  Today, I asked her why she was so tiny.  In her own wisdom, she replied, "Because I be that way."  I love her.


School and Stuff

I've always wanted a school room to teach the children in.  For the past 12 years, I've schooled in the dining room, the kitchen, bedrooms, and family rooms.  Our house is not very big, so I do not have many options.  We do have this room in the front of the house that was labeled as the "sewing room" by the original builders.  This is the room where the laundry is, and it has the door to the pantry in it.  When Eva and Joy came into our lives, we put in a small table and chairs.  It was more of their "coloring station".

Last spring I got this wild idea to add some shelving and counter space to make it an official school room.  I have never painted that room since we moved in way back in 2001.  So, we cleaned out the room and painted, and now I have an "official" school room.  I love it and it makes teaching so much more pleasurable.

The waiting mess.

Before the paint job.

 The finished product.

Oh, yeah.  I can't forget about the great new additions!  We added a wonderful couple to the room...The Whirlpool Cabrio washer and dryer!  I'm in love!  Who knew laundry could be so easy and painless?

I could lose a child in this huge machine!


I'm Healed

For almost 16 years, I have had eczema.  The last few years have been terrible for my hands, the only place I have it.  I have been to different dermatologists and doctors.  They all prescribed creams and told me to come back in 6 months.  My eczema was so torturous that I'd wring my hands until they bled.  Sometimes I'd wake up with bloody sheets.  I would have deep, painful cracks on my hands and fingers.  I dreaded bathing myself and my children.  The only time my eczema went away was when I was pregnant, on a low carb diet, or in China.  Notice anything strange about that?

Well, I understand the pregnancy thing just had to be hormonal.  Shortly after childbirth, my eczema would returned.  I was perplexed by its disappearance on my trips to China.  I thought it was drinking tea instead of coffee.  But, once I came back to the states and drank tea instead of coffee, my eczema still returned.  It had to be something in the states.  

My friend was reading this book by Dina Khader.  The book talked about allergies to food because of blood type.  Well, I thought that I had nothing to lose but my eczema.  I was on that diet for a week and had not a single outbreak.  My hands started clearing up.  Why?  Well, it all has to do with wheat/gluten products. 

A week later, we went to the beach.  I had pizza.  The next day, I had my eczema again.  I knew it was the bread.  When I was in China, I ate rice, no wheat products.  It all started to make sense to me.  I'm happy to say that my hands are clear, all except for the small outbreaks I'll have if I veer too far into wheat/gluten land.  

Just thought I'd share this bit of information with you all in case you have the same sufferings.  The book is wonderful and full of information that I was completely unaware of, but now makes perfect sense.



Yes, it is another Jack post.  Jack's life is an interesting book, even at the young age of 11.  The way he came into this life was only been by the hand of God (different post).  He has taken up karate, which seemed to be a stretch for him.  Jack has always been the quiet boy, never starting a conversation, and boy with few words.  When we introduce someone new to Jack, his only response is "Hi", and he walks away.  I did challenge Jack to say 30 words to my mother on our last 2.5 day visit to her house.  He was not successful. point was...for him to take karate in front of strangers...well, I cannot comprehend that.  He loves it, so who am I to comprehend anything?  He signed up for an in-house tournament for last weekend.  It was a packed room.  He did his universals and received 3rd place.  Then came the sparring.  Let's just say it took everything I had to hold myself back from yelling, "Go Jack!  Hit him hard!  Harder!  In the head!"  Jack is only yellow belt, but he sparred the orange belts and received First Place.  I'm very proud of his success, but so much more proud of him getting in front of so many people and speaking.  I don't think I could have done such a thing at age 11.



This is what I found sitting in the living room today.  Thanks to Jack, the girls have been having fun "shootin' up" everything around the house.  Even Ivy's doll, Jessie, got in on the action.


Six Month Post Placement

When I came home with Ivy in February, that 6-month post placement visit seemed so far away.  Now, it seems like it has gone by so quickly.  As expected, it went very well.  When it came to the question of bonding, I shared with our social worker Ivy's reaction on that first day we met (you can read about it here).  As I was reciting the story, Ivy quietly started crying.  I know there had to be so many emotions she was feeling that day and the day we met the social worker last week.  She is such a brave girl.  She has adjusted so incredibly well.  I cannot imagine it being any more perfect.  So, we're moving on.  I'm looking forward to the final post placement visit in February.  I can only imagine how great she will be doing by then.


Because One Is Not Enough


 Mike and I celebrated our birthdays yesterday.  Yes, they are the same day, and yes, Mike is a year older.  Back in the ancient decade of the '80's, Mike thought that I was using a pick-up line when I said, "Oh, August 3rd is my birthday, too!"  Twenty-three years later, we are still celebrating our birthdays together.

Mike loves Angel Food Cake, so I baked that one for him.  The girls liked the pretty cake, so I baked that one for us.  Seth ate them both.  Jack did not care for the icing, but liked the cake.  Jordan preferred the Angel Food Cake.  So, we had a mix at our house, but both cakes were gone within 26 hours of making them.

Jordan blessed us tonight by watching the children while Mike and I had a nice quiet dinner.  She had her hands full.  She took Jack, Ivy, Eva, and Joy to McDonald's for dinner.  Then she dropped Jack off at karate class and took the girls to the playground in 95 degree temps.  So, thank you Jordan.  Same time next year?

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