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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 one of Those "Conversations"

I am sure it all starts because of the eyes.  They aren't like mine.  Or Mike's.

I was at H@rdee's with the 3 girls and Jack.  Since we don't have a kitchen up and running at the moment, I had to feed them something.  And, since the girls have never been to H@rdee's, I thought it was a decent choice, right on the way to the pool.  We sat down to eat our lunch.  An elderly lady about 75+ years old stopped by with her husband.

Lady:  Can I take one of your girls home with me?
Me:  No.  I think I'll keep them all.
Lady pointing to Jack:  What about him?
Me:  He's staying with me, too.

At this point the lady is eying all my children rather closely, and I'm just wondering if she'll actually say it, or just leave, wondering why my girls look so different.  I guess she felt comfortable in commenting.

Lady:  Your husband must have brown eyes?
Me:  Yes, he does.  (Jordan is my only blond/blue)
Lady:  But the girls' eyes are so dark, almost black.
Me:  Yes, they are.  (long pause since the lady is still waiting on an explanation)  The girls are from China.
Lady:  Oh.  They are all so beautiful.

Then after some comments about how busy I must be, she was off.  None of these questions really bother me at all.  I know that some adoptive parents dislike them for various reasons.  The only reason I dislike them, is that I feel that my biological children are just ignored.  This particular lady did comment about Jack, but her focus was the girls.  I understand that.  But, sometimes I just cringe because of how my other 3 children may feel about stopping and explaining our family.  I always try to change the focus when this happens, sometimes to no avail.  I don't want my 3 oldest children to feel less special, if that makes sense.  I don't want my 3 youngest girls raised up on some pedestal by other people.  I often see that happen in the adoption community.  I like a comment that Seth said to a friend after having Eva home a while.  His friend asked him what it was like having a Chinese sister.  Seth's comment was, "I don't look at her as Chinese.  She's just my sister."


The Idiosyncrasies of Eva

She's unusual.  But, most 5 year-olds are.  I already mentioned how she carries "stuff" around all day.  At bedtime there are toys all around her, in her pillowcase, and hanging from Ivy's top bunk.  She likes little gadgets.  She saved a rock once just because it was "smooth".  The other day the girls were outside, and I spied this peeking out of Eva's pocket:

a rock, and a red sharpie, which she is not allowed to have.  In her hand, she carried an old checkbook cover her dad gave her.  She makes me laugh.  She always has some sort of adventure going on.

A girl with a long stick can be anything she wants to be.  So can a girl with a backpack.

When we first moved to this house 10 years ago, this weeping willow was too small for Jordan to play under.  But, now, it becomes a fancy castle when you add a few chairs and blankets and a dog.

Eva's first word she spoke was "bug".  When we came home from China our ceiling was covered in ladybugs...hundreds of them.  She later was terrified of bugs or anything looking like a bug.  I tried putting a worm in her hand once and she screamed.  She was even scared of frayed rope.  So, when she started bringing me "bugs", I thought, "that's my girl!".  I loved bugs and worms when I was little.  The other 2 girls would never have brought me these:

And just because Moxie goes everywhere the girls and Jack go, here is our 11 month old puppy.  Jack has trained her well...loving the soccer ball.


A Lttle Bit of Organized Messes

I know I have to live with this for a while.  But, this is hard for a couple of organized adults.

This is as organized as we are gonna get until the counters arrive, which won't be until July 12th.  The hardest part is no kitchen sink.  I have to wash my dirty dishes in the bathtub!  Yes, that's right!  We use paper plates when feasible, though.

I'm kind of getting used to the open top cabinet concept.  It makes it easy to just reach in and grab a fork without opening a drawer.


I'm really liking my door knobs.  They add just the right touch to the kitchen.  Notice that my doors are not aligned just yet.  We still need the molding added to the cabinets, which won't happen until...July 12th when the counters are installed.  I know once the floor is installed next week it will look much better.

Got a new microwave put in.  My last one caught fire once and just was so old.  I'm sure it was leaking some radiation over the last decade we've lived here.

We've had this faithful refrigerator (Kenmore) for 10 years.  The ice maker went out on us just a few years after we bought it.  We had some other problems, but it seems to be working fine now.  It just doesn't match, and it is kind of small for our family.  But, we Mike is not ready to purchase a new matching one just yet.  Maybe I should sabotage it?  All in due time...The lights need replaced too.  Do you like the bright, gold-builder-installed lights from 21 years ago?  I broke down and cleaned them the other day.  I thought I was getting some new ones right away, but it appears I may have to hold off on that, too.  What a Pandora's Box we have!

Someone Grabbed My Camera

Yes, I found these pics on my camera.  Some I deleted, but kept a few.  Jack really isn't this ugly, though.  He just is good at making ugly faces.


Kitchen Redo

I consider myself to be a pretty easy-going, content person.  It doesn't take much to make me happy.  Something as little as a new hair clip or laundry basket can tickle my fancy.  So, imagine my complete joy when we decided to redo the kitchen.  After all, I've been living with this for the last 10 years:

which we found out had this underneath:

thus, needing a repair job to happen next week, before the flooring guy comes over, before we head out of town.

And these hideous cabinets were just falling apart.  My bottom drawer had to be lifted, then lowered to sit on the floor when in use.  I've received numerous splinters from these cabinets.  The formica counters have snagged a few sweaters over the years, also.

In the meantime, we are living with this chaotic mess of a kitchen.  But, I'm pretty easy-going and can handle these minor conditions in our home.  After all, I do have a home, indoor plumbing, and many, many extras in my life.  I'm thankful, so thankful.

So, my kiddos get Krispy Kremes for breakfast, which they are thankful for.  I'm not quite sure what is up for dinner.  But, I'm pretty certain it won't be happening in our kitchen.

**Disclaimer - If you happen to have these particular cabinets and floors, please do not be offended.  They just do not suit my particular tastes or function for our family.


Father's Day

Father's Day used to be about my dad.  I guess I was no different than Mike.  He once told me, after not acknowledging me on Mother's Day, that I was "not his mother."  He has since not forgotten a Mother's Day.  But, I don't think I do enough to show Mike how much he really is appreciated.  He works hard, loves his children, and loves the Lord with a full heart.  In the last 25 years, we've been through some really tough times, and some amazing times.  Sometimes we fail to show such love to those we love the most.

So I made him cupcakes.


Dinner with the Girls and a Guy

I am usually a stickler about fixing one thing for dinner and making everyone eat it whether they like it or not.  Sometimes it just doesn't work that way, though.  Sometimes I fix something that I know one of my children would not touch with a pole.  I make some exceptions.  My two pickiest eaters are Jack and Ivy.  Jack would be happy with burgers and tacos.  Ivy would prefer Asian, hmmmm.

Tonight, I made this taco type chili.  I love black beans.  I put this over some nachos...very tasty.   I've fixed it before, but Ivy and Joy did not care for it.

Notice the girls plates?  They are all eating something else while Mike and Jack were at karate, Jordan was still at work.

Let's see...Eva, of course, as usual, eats just about anything.  So, she ate the meal.  A very large portion, I might add.  Joy...well, Joy lives off mac 'n cheese.  I made a large dish 2 nights ago, and she's still eating from that.  Add a pickle on the side, and she's a happy camper.  Notice the twinkle in her eye and the wide opened mouth?  Then Ivy...yes, she's eating out of plastic.  Annie Chun's Pad Thai, to be exact.  This is my go-to meal for her when we are on the run or I've fixed something she just does not like.  Seth had dinner with us, but it was so quick that I did not get his picture.  Jack should have no problems eating dinner tonight since it is slightly Mexican, and he can eat it with chips.  And of course, Mike is just about happy with anything I fix.


Wild Kingdom

Since I've shared a few wildlife episodes of bees, a skunk, and a snake recently, I have to add our most recent visitor:

It came from the upper part of our property and headed to the pond below our property. I'm no turtle expert, and am wondering why it left its pond to begin with. Any thoughts? Laying eggs? There is no water above our property, and despite the algae and greenery on its back, it was pretty dry. After this incident with Seth, it quickly (as quickly as a turtle can move) headed to the pond, and it seemed to know exactly where it was going.

And onto our other "Wild" animal, Moxie. This is what happens when a dog gets into the recycle bin looking for treats.  And no, we did not let her fall down the stairs.


Ivy's Prayer

After having a much needed discussion on cleanliness in our house with the little girls, I couldn't help but chuckle at Ivy's prayer the other night.

"Jesus, help me be nice.  Help me wash my hair good so I don't get bugs."

On another note, Ivy had her first filling at the dentist today.  On her permanent front tooth she had a spot.  It took me a while to find it since that tooth was way up in her cleft area of her mouth.  The doc said the spot was from lack of enamel.  It finally earned the right as a cavity last month during her 6-month check.  It is amazing to see that tooth quickly sliding down into place since her surgery back in December.  I can actually see the tooth pretty good when I pull her upper lip back.  Anyway, after many tears, slobber and a drippy nose, the tooth with the spot is all fixed and one color.  She cries at every doctor visit, no matter if the doctor touches her or not.  I was amazed to see her crying at her first eye exam.  The poor doctor never put a finger on her and had to contend with teary eyes.

Tomorrow, off the cleft clinic to see what the next step will be.  I'm guessing it will be braces to move those teeth down to where we can actually see them!  And one day soon, she will be able to pronounce the many sounds that need front teeth to make.  I'm looking forward to it.


What To Do With The Safe Child?

I've always been a little adventurous.  As a child, I spent my days playing in creeks, catching crawdads and tadpoles, riding down rivers on make-shift rafts, riding ponies, swimming, fishing, playing ball with the big boys, etc.  Even as I've aged, I'm always game for something.  If Mike said to pack my bags today, I'd head out to hike or camp for days or weeks, travel across the globe with no agenda whatsoever (Mike wouldn't ask that of me, but I'm just lettin' you know what I'd do).  So, since I have a little girl who would rather sit in a house most of the day, it is a little disheartening.

I feel badly for Ivy.  She is quiet, shy, not up for adventures.  For example:  Today, we headed out to a camp with a bunch of kids from co-op.  There was a huge rock wall, and even huger zip line.  Other 8-year olds and younger tackled them both.  Ivy sat and watched.  While other girls, whom she knew, played on noodles in the pool and jumped off the diving board, Ivy quietly walked around in the shallow end. Despite the lack of participation with girls other than her sisters, she said she had an "awesome day."  At times I feel like she is missing out on all of the fun.  At home, I watch her creeping ever-so-slowly on her bike, training wheels intact.  During her swing time, she never goes very high.  And roller coasters?  I don't think so!  Even when Seth gets a little wild with the girls and throws them around, she is the first to scream, "No!" when he gets them spinning.

Ivy is quite fun and playful, but she is usually pretty calm about it all.  I told Mike the most spunk I've seen from her was the day we met, and she screamed when she was finally left alone with me.  I hope that experience did not zap the zeal right out of her.  She is a smiley, happy girl.  The best way to describe her is "safe".

I've repeatedly encouraged her to participate, yet she doesn't.  I give her opportunities in various settings.   Sometimes I think I should just leave her alone, and she will do what she is comfortable doing.  Other times, I want to push her to participate.  I struggle.  She is unlike all my other girls and me.  For me, as long as I know that she is happy, then I am happy, regardless.  You would think that after having her home over a year, that I would have it all figured out...but I don't.  Maybe I'm the one struggling, not Ivy.

Playing it "safe" at the playground

Jack, rock-wall climbing and zip lining.


Five Years

Our 5 year referral anniversary is coming up.  Of course, all mom's think about their children's anniversaries.  But, one thing I've been thinking of is China Adoptions.  Our file was logged in on June 30, 2005; we got our referral July 31, 2006.  So, in the last 5 years since our referral, China has only completed one full year of non-special needs log-in-dates.  How terribly sad for those families and children still waiting.  And to think...we've had Eva for almost 5 years.


The Passing of Martha

I had a message a few weeks ago from her daughter, Judy.  She asked me to call her with news of her Mother.  I dreaded calling her back.  I had not spoken to Martha since she had gotten out of rehab for pneumonia.  My mind raced with various scenarios of how the call would transpire.  I knew the call would be coming some day soon since Martha was almost 90 years old.  But, I was not prepared for the wave of emotions I felt when I heard Judy say, "This is the phone call you've been dreading.  Mother passed away today."

Judy shared with me the details of Martha's passage into eternity, one that was painless and peaceful.  The lump in my throat grew larger and larger as I thought of my dear friend.  She was someone who loved the Lord with all of her strength.  I could always count on her praying for me daily.  All of the little things Martha did for me over the years came to my memory.  Seth and Mike were her groundskeepers.  Weekly, Seth would make the short trek to cut her small yard.  The whole family would make a day of raking 40+ lawn bags of leaves every fall for her.  We'd end the day with Martha fixing us a wonderful, warm dinner.

This is Martha with Eva on July 4, 2007.  She really wanted to travel to China with us, but I think the trip would have been way too much for her.  Unfortunately, it was only 3 months later after Joy came home that Martha moved away to live with her daughter in Florida because of her declining health.  She was always so full of life and spunk even up to her last day of life on this earth.

Our November 2009 Trip to Florida to see Martha

Martha and Mike exactly a year ago.  She looks so good.  I miss her so much already.
So today we went to her memorial service.  I was not sad.  I knew where she was and I rejoiced for her new life and body she now has in heaven.  But, as I heard the sweet stories from her family and other people who loved her, I could not help but feel that lump in my throat once again.

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