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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



We started our first adoption in 2005.  After hearing a friend's story of 2 failed domestic adoptions (birth mother changed her mind) and watching the news of families torn apart years later when the birth mother changed her mind, I knew that I would not adopt domestically.  I guess I was terrified or very selfish.  I did not want the grief and agony of giving up my child.  So, I researched international adoptions.

People have asked numerous times, "Why not "our own?", meaning the United States.  One man recently said to me while working on my kitchen, "Too bad our country makes it so difficult to adopt our own kind, isn't it?"  I don't know why I was so surprised.  Maybe it was because he was just so blunt about it all.  I told him, "A child needs a family, regardless of where they are from."

Today I was reminded about the agonies of domestic adoptions.  My friend and her husband were asked by the birth mother to adopt her 12 month old son.  She had moved around and could not take care of her son.  She had a very bad life that involved drug abuse.  My friend, lovingly, brought this child into her home and heart in February, making them a family of 7.  There were many struggles with attachment and fears from this beautiful son of hers.  We could see him starting to make eye contact and smiling at church.  He was progressing.  Only days away from finalizing the adoption, in walks the father, who has never been a part of his son's life.  Within 10 minutes, their son was gone.  How can our agencies allow this?  Why does blood make such an impact on the system?  I had to spend more than a $1000 to prove myself worthy to adopt, being fingerprinted and having multiple background checks.  No one did a background check on him.  I understand that he is the father.  But, if he has had absolutely nothing to do with his own son for over a year, he should have to prove that he can parent and provide for this child and not rely on a monthly government check.

Fortunately, I do know of wonderful families who have adopted domestically and/or through our nation's foster care system.  I know that it can work.  But, for others, like this little fella and my friend, the system has failed.  It is a reminder why I could not bring myself to take that step domestically.



Jack has been collecting these lately.

They are just the shells of the cicadas.  Then he proceeds to feed them to the dog.

I smacked his fingers.  It was just gross to me.  Instead he feeds them to her without my knowledge, outside, and leaves the tiny legs on my kitchen floor.

Can you see it?  It is just as bad as when Jordan did her bug collection for her 9th grade biology class.  She kept them stored in my freezer.  After freezing the praying mantis for about 10 minutes, she set him free.  She could imagine him freezing to death.  Softy.

Speaking of my kitchen.  It is almost complete.  I ordered my lights, but am still debating about the one over the sink.  One door needed to be re-ordered.  But, I really like the finished look.

The only thing I really dislike are the outlets.  They seem like such an eye-sore to me.  But, that much electrical was not in the budget.  Neither was the new frig, so I'll wait.


Happy Birthday

One year old today. 

Ten months has surely flown by with Moxie  She has finally settled down and is quite a pleasant pet (although she still eats everything, even the inedible stuff).


My Girls

Why is it that my girls will freely pose for a picture?  They love it when I grab my camera and say, "Let's go outside for some pictures!"  But, this time it was Jordan's idea.  She wanted a picture of all the sisters for her desk at work.  So I took a few.

A couple of the girls were not thrilled getting spiders and various bugs on them.  So, this did not turn out so good.  Let's just say one girl with the pouty face was not happy. 

So, we focused on a close-up where the girls could stand up.  Joy tries too hard to pose.  Then we tried again.

And Joy still tries too hard.  But, I was happy with it because this is just Joy.  Eva is just her goofy self, and Ivy always seems so calm about it all.  And Jordan, of course, is the mature one.  I think.

This is about the best I can currently get with the boys with my phone.  They were being exceptionally good with the girls at the pool, letting me relax in a chair the whole time.  Eva once asked me, "Mom, why aren't you in the water?"  Ivy replied for me, "Because mom comes to the pool to sit and relax.  It is the only time she gets to do that."  Thanks Ivy.


Back In Business

Well, mostly back in business.  A few workers came to the house this week to install our counters and hook up our plumbing!  I will never take my running water in my kitchen for granted again.  I'm very pleased with my counters, Tan Brown Granite.  Yes, it is dark, but it sure is nice having counters again.  So, now we need to have our upper cabinet doors replaced next week (ordered squared not arched) along with the molding and trim.  And the plumbing needs adjusting.  The gurgling sound down the drain just doesn't sound right.  Add a couple of bars stools, some touch up paint, light fixtures, and we are set.  Well, besides that the fabric on our dining chairs need replacing (another time).  I'm just so thankful for a working kitchen.  Can you hear me singing that last sentence?  I am enjoying it so much that I don't mind doing dishes :o))

Yes, I know the fridge does not match.  But, it works.

Did you know that this dark granite hides everything (crumbs, coffee & tea stains)?

I need a light over the sink.  Until I find one, I get to look at the exposed wires.

I even framed some pictures from our 2006 China trip.  This man has no clue his picture is being viewed everyday in our kitchen.


Eva Keneva!

I stole the "Eva Keneva" quote from my friend Becky last week.  She quoted it after seeing Eva riding a bike down her street.  So, last week while we were at Becky's house, I took Ivy to their backyard with a small bike, no training wheels.  She felt safe because she could put her feet down quickly if she thought she was going to fall.  No problems!  She took off immediately and rode around the yard all week long.  She was quite scared.  I could tell by the look on her face.  So, while she was practicing, I went inside the house.  The next thing I knew, Ivy had given Eva a push on another small bike, and off she went.  So, both my older girls are now officially "bike riders".

I was concerned that once we were home, Ivy would not want to ride her bike anymore.  I was correct.  We have hilly property and a hilly driveway.  Not dangerously hilly (except one side), but more gently sloped.  Plus, Ivy's bike is a bit taller than the one she learned on.  Although she can touch the ground with her toes while on the bike, she is a bit unsteady.  So, once home, Mike took the training wheels off both girls' bikes.  Eva took off, fast as lightening, thus "Eva Keneva".  She appears to be fearless, and crashed onto the grass only once.  Ivy....well, just as I predicted, was very cautious.  She has trouble going fast enough to ride it because she doesn't want to go too fast.  She spends more time "stopping her bike" than "riding her bike".

Notice the intense look on her face?  The fear of falling and getting hurt is such a part of her daily life.  I know with time that fear will subside, but it hurts watching her be this way.  She actually jumped right off her bike yesterday, instead of putting on the breaks, because she thought she was going to crash. 

Eva is loving this new-found freedom.  She zips and zooms all around the driveway, which is pretty long and circular.  It has been fun watching both girls learn this skill, which epitomizes childhood.  I loved my first bike, a yellow Huffy.  What more could a girl want?

I am trying to teach "drive on the right side always!" to the girls.  It even applies to walking on sidewalks and in grocery stores.  This is a hard one to learn.  All 3 of them want to take up the whole sidewalk or aisle.


Floors Are In

After repairing the back door and replacing the rotting wood, we finally got our floor down the day before we went out of town.  It is really hard to get used to a dark wood floor, since I've had white vinyl for the last 10 years.  But, I really like it a lot.

I like the contrast of the darker wood against the medium wood cabinets.  The wood is a 5-inch, hand-scraped hickory.  Definitely not what I'm used to.

Tomorrow morning the counters and sink will be installed.  Our water hook-up won't happen until Wednesday (hopefully).  We had it all planned so that it would be finished right after we returned home from our trip to Illinois, but it didn't go as we expected.

FYI to our family in Illinois...all went well on our trip home.  We had planned on leaving for home on Monday morning, but we had discussed the idea of driving through the night.  When I mentioned it to the boys, they were all excited.  So, after dinner on Sunday, we left Illinois at around 7:30 pm, EST.  Mike did amazingly well.  I tried driving a bit, but had to turn it back over to Mike after my eyes started crossing at about 3:00 am.  We arrived home at 9:05 am this morning and took a short nap.  All the kids did great.  We even had Moxie with us.

One thing about me and vacations...I end up eating something with gluten in it at some time or another.  I should know better.  Some things effect me worse than others.  I can eat a half piece of pizza with no problems, but give me some noodles, and I'm a mess.  Most people have an intestinal issue with gluten products.  I, on the other hand, have a skin issue.  This is the worst it has been in a long time.  If you are squeamish, don't look.  My hand looks horrible, and it hurts even more.

My hands are swollen, cracked, and blistered.  And this is on day 4 AFTER I ate the Chinese noodles from Panda Express.  I really did not think 3 bites would hurt me this badly.  Hopefully, in a few days, the swelling will go down.  It is hard to wash dishes, bathe my children or even myself when my hands are like this.  I end up with band aids and ointment all over my fingers just to stop the burning.  Lesson learned.


And Now It Is July

We spent July 4th with some old friends and new friends. We enjoyed the fireworks sitting on a dock on Lake Geneva in Wisconsin (wish it was Switzerland), but we had a fantastic time.

Grace, Jack, and David

Our new friends (lovely family, by the way) had this neat swimming area at their house.  The girls had a grand time swimming and playing in the sand.

Jack, trying a dive off the canoe.

All the kiddos lined up trying to sink the canoe.  They were not successful.

Such a beautiful place!

Now onto my childhood.  I absolutely loved tadpoles when I was a little girl.  Any chance I could, I'd find some sort of waterhole and a bucket to bring home tadpoles.  I loved watching them swim in the palm of my hand.  So, when I got to see this... brought back such fond memories!  Then, we got the see some tadpoles growing some legs...

...but, when they were onshore by the hundreds like this and now tiny frogs... girls weren't too amused about my childhood stories.  I won't mention the fact that we stepped on many, squishing them to their death.

Yes, I know.  I failed once again.  No sunblock for Jack caused this look.  You would think he had been floating in the ocean for a week.  Poor guy.

Becky and I have been friends since 1997.  Since moving away from Illinois in 2001, we've visited each other all but one year.  I love this girl!

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