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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



Since settling in after our last adoption, we've gotten into a place of comfort, habit, and routines.  It has been good.  Today in my email I received an update from Bringing Hope to Children.  These are the same people who we used when we adopted Joy, though they no longer do China adoptions.  Usually, I don't look at the children.  My heart aches for them.  Even though we are not planning on adopting again, some of you might be.  There is a healthy girl, 13 next month, waiting for her family.  Go here to register.  Then on the navigation bar, go to Member Area, then to Special Needs, then China.  At the bottom of the page you will see a list of children.  Yu Ying is the cutie pie I'm talking about.

As I scrolled the list, I came to a familiar name...Wu.  That is Joy's orphanage name.  The little one who shares her name is called Wu ChunYu.  She is just a month younger than Joy with knee and feet issues.  They were together in that orphanage.  I think how much Joy has grown and learned in these last 3 1/2 years.  I look at ChunYu and think of how much she has lost.  As much as I would love to bring her into our home, we cannot.

There are numerous beautiful children, waiting, on this partial list with varying severity in their special needs.  But, their biggest need is the one for a family.  But, I warn you...once you look, your heart will never be the same.



We've lived here 10 years and this is the first time we've seen a snake.  We've had many deer, opossums, foxes, skunks, rabbits, groundhogs, squirrels, mice, a bear (but that was 2 miles away), bats (living behind our shutters), but never a snake.

I love the look on Eva's and Joy's faces.  Jack and Joy were the brave ones to touch it.  Ivy took off around the house when I asked her if she wanted to feel it.  Mike then set it free in the woods.


The Dirt

I have always considered myself a neat, clean person (except as a teenager).  As a newlywed, before children, I actually cleaned our house every single Saturday morning!  I cannot believe I did that.  No one was there during the week to even get it dirty.  Even when Jordan was born, I still cleaned every Saturday.  Anyway, as time passed and more children came, I cleaned less and less.  But, the one thing I had to keep clean, was my children.  I have never been one to go out in public with a dirty-faced/grimy child.  It just seemed the proper thing to do was clean up before heading out the door, baths every  night during the summer. 

It seems the older I get, the more dirt I can handle.  I don't clean my house every Saturday.  The bathrooms get cleaned somewhat regularly.  At least I know when they need to get cleaned and end up getting to them within about 4 days of realizing they are a hazard zone.   But, I still need to keep the children clean.  For the life of me, I don't understand how a little girls fingers and toes can look like this AFTER a bath.

And just to let you know, I clipped and cleaned Eva's nails.  It's the least I could do for her because I will never let her go out of the house dirty and grimy.



I can hear her walking down the hall in the morning. I always know it is her by the sound of plastic. She carries around a hand-picked selection of plastic bags to put "stuff" in. Eva never puts anything of value in them, just "stuff". I hear the sound when she climbs into bed. Her pillow case is filled with little plastic baggies of "stuff". Eva wants to take them wherever she goes, although she never opens them. Last night I cleaned out a kitchen knife (from the play kitchen), small New Testament, and a hair bow from her plastic baggie.

Backpacks, purses are filled to the max. Whatever she has, she wants a lot of it. Food. She can never have just a little, but it has to be a plateful, or a second helping. Water. She will go into the house every 5 minutes to get water. Eva always wants a cupful of water all day long.

What is it? A sense of security of having something? Is she afraid she won't have it? Is it just fun to have "stuff" in little bags? When she was younger, and something was missing, we knew to look in Eva's bags. She always had it. When I ask her why she has plastic bags of "stuff", she says, "I don't know." Maybe she doesn't know. Sometimes it is sad to see her carrying her bags from room to room, never opening them, having the need to take them with her. Other times, I just laugh at her. Sweet Eva.


What I Love About Jack

Jack is different from most boys.  He doesn't say a whole lot.  He enjoys little things and staying home. He is satisfied wearing the same clothes multiple days in a row and it doesn't matter if they match or are off-season. He can go months without combing his hair, and he is not concerned with his appearance.  He plays soccer and is a red belt in karate.  He loves his two dogs.  Teaching Jack has been a challenge and always interesting.  In his sentence writing, I get things like: "The white cake, frosted with pink icing, broke apart."  "Her birthday party, held at a pizza place, got bombed."  "The dog, trained to shake hands, died."

Both of my boys' sentences or papers have tragic endings.  My girls, on the other hand, write lovely, happy sentences.  Anyway, back to Jack.  The other morning, Jordan came out of the bathroom after showering, "Jack got into my shaving cream again, and my razor, and soaked my towel."  I just grinned, knowing this was typical Jack.  When I asked him what he was doing in the girls' shower, he replied, "Shaving."  Well, Jack is only 12, and he doesn't shave.  I asked, "Shaving what?"  "My arms", he said smiling.  That is life with Jack.

Jack's Dogs

Today Jack had to write a 3 paragraph paper.  Since he loves geography, I told him to write it on 3 places he most wanted to visit.  I did not get a typical 12-year old's answer.  He did not choose Disney, the beach, or an amusement park.  Instead, he chose Nord, Greeland, a military and scientific base in the Arctic Circle as the #1 spot.  For #2, he chose the Hawaiian Islands for the warm, wet, forests.  And lastly, he chose the Gobi Desert in Mongolia because "the temperature ranges from 120 degrees in the summer during the day to -40 at night in the winter."

So, if anyone would love to donate to the "Jack's Trip Around the World" fund, just let me know.  All we could do is visit, look, and freeze to death (except in Hawaii).



I saw this outside my front window:

After shooting them with a paintball gun to no avail, we sent in the big guy...Seth:

Then I felt badly when I found out they were just there for a pit stop, probably waiting for their queen on their way to a new home.  They were gone before nightfall.  Fortunately, Seth was not successful.  Fear gripped him.


The Birthday

We now have another 5 year old in the house, and she is excited about it!

She was excited about her fish cake...

...excited about money, which she knows nothing about...

...excited about presents...

...and candles.

And today, I thought about the other mother.  I wondered if she remembered her daughter.  I look at these pictures and know that I am the one who gets to love her as my daughter, know who she is, hold her, cuddle her, kiss her.  Tonight, Joy fell asleep on the living room floor, clicking her tongue like she usually does when she falls asleep.  I got to carry her sleeping body to bed.  The other mother did not.  She did not.  To not know my own daughter would be unbearable.  I cannot even express in words how I feel about that.


Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to everyone who reads my blog!  Last Mother's Day I was doing this:

This year it was a little different, although it was still pleasant.

Jordan bought me these cute measuring cups.

When they are stacked...they look like a flower.  So cute.

My stash of cards from the family.

Later, we headed to dinner, where we all ate too much.  I'm just thankful I did not have to cook or clean the kitchen.  I've a good life.



Moxie sneaks into our pantry every now and then, but never walks away with anything.  But, this time, she decided to try out a sweet potato.  I guess it was pretty least it was until she was caught with it.  She doesn't look too happy, does she? 

She looks like she has lot so self control here.  Notice the drool hanging off her jowls?  All over a little milk bone.


Creepy Crawlies

When Eva first came home she was terrified of bugs, worms, and such.  She even cringed and cried over the frayed edges of a rope.  So, imagine my delight when she brought this to the front door!  I so enjoyed the feeling of worms in my hands when I was a little girl.  She sure has come a long way!

Now, if I can only convince Ivy to do the same.


Good Bye Old Friend

You've been true and faithful since the day we bought you for our daughter in 2005.

You were Jordan's first car, and served her quite well all these years.  But, it is time to move on since you have some problems.  Jordan needs something more reliable; something that doesn't suck down 2-4 quarts of oil a week.  After a day with her dad, she decided to replace you with this:

At least it is still in the Toyota family.  So, enjoy your new life with your new family.  Maybe they can mend your wounds and get you feeling better.  Au revoir,  Ciao, Guten Tag, Zai Jian, Adios, Sayonara, Good-Bye!

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