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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

2.29.2012

Life In A Box

Since Jordan has 2 months left at home and leads a very busy life, she decided to get a little organized.  You know how girls are?  They keep almost everything.  We had a storage tub for her prized possessions all packed away.  While cleaning out her room, she realized she needed more storage.

The Process of Organizing the Room

The girls "helped" Jordan go through her storage and found some interesting items of interest.  Did you know that Jordan was once on the cover of American Girl?


This was one of her keepsakes.  She had it done in Chicago a looonnng time ago.  Amazing how she can quickly transform from an awkward preteen to a beautiful young lady.


Notice the stuffed animals?  All were given to her when she was born.  The girls are looking at scrapbooks she made when she was around Ivy's age.  Wow, the memories in that tub bring tears to my eyes as I type.


The things Jordan did not keep were the bandanas.  The girls enjoyed them for the day.  Now they put them on the dogs for entertainment.  I cannot imagine the day these girls move out.  It will be here one day too soon.  Wow, I sure have a beautiful life.

2.26.2012

Disruptions

I cannot remember exactly when I was following her blog.  We were either waiting to travel for Joy, or had just returned home with Joy.  Whenever it was, I do remember not understanding why this woman would travel all the way to the other side of world to adopt a little boy, but change her mind once she met him.  She never detailed her reasons, but people on the adoption forums made their assumptions.  I admit that I, too, passed judgment on this lady, albeit quietly, not on forums.  But that was before.

Disruption is a dirty word in the adoption community.  Opinions are very strong on this topic.  Many adoptive moms say that they would never even consider a disruption.  And, I have to admit that it never once crossed our minds.  When we started the adoption of Yang in 2008, we knew that she had a variety of delays.  But, I also believed we could work through them.  I did a lot of research and reading preparing myself for this adoption.  While doing the paperwork, waiting, and doing more paperwork, I never once considered that we would not bring Yang home with us.  Never.  We were prepared.

We traveled in 2009 and met Yang in Nanchang.  She looked just like her pictures with the happiest smile on her 8 or 9 year old face.  Her delays terrified me.  I thought I was prepared, but hindsight, no amount of reading could have prepared me for the face to face reality of the disabilities.  I filled out paperwork, but could not rid myself of this gnawing feeling in my gut, this fear.  We were her parents briefly.  My husband and I talked, cried, prayed all night long as I watched this beautiful child sleep.  Without going into details, we knew that Yang's needs were so great.  We had to make a decision for our family as a whole, not just what I wanted.  We had 5 other children back home to consider, each that would be impacted greatly in one way or another.  We chose not to continue the adoption.  Shortly thereafter, the emails and comments came.The adoption forums started their discussions and judgments about our decision, all without even knowing what was happening in our lives.

It was not an easy decision.  I never thought I would be in this situation...having to make this choice.  We once had to make a decision about removing our child from life support.  We could see our daughter deteriorating before our eyes, but we didn't want to accept it.  We knew we were prolonging the inevitable, unless God intervened.  With both decisions came grief and the loss of a child.  The feelings were the same.

One lady on a particular forum stated that those who choose to disrupt are not "good human beings".  Another stated it was just a wrong decision to disrupt.  These are both judgmental attitudes. No one knows what a family is experiencing.  No one knows their financial or emotional situation.  A serious, unexpected special need could be detrimental to a family financially.  No one knows what is happening with the other children in the home.  One child at home could be resentful of the new sibling that takes mom or dad away many days a week for various therapies.  Everyone has to make a decision based on what is best for their families at that particular time.  If Yang had been our first or second child, I'm sure the outcome would have been very different.
 
With China special needs adoptions becoming more common than non-special needs, there may be more disruptions.  My hope is that the adoption community would be one of support and not one that tears down. If you've never disrupted, you cannot understand what a family is going through.  It would be like comforting a mother who just lost her child by saying, "I know how you feel.  Our child ALMOST died."     I've heard  people's "almost disruption" stories numerous times.  It is not the same.

I've learned never to say "never".  You may say you know in your heart you would never disrupt.  I'm glad.  I hope you are never put to the test.  I've learned that I have limits and am not perfect.  It is very humbling to leave China without your child.

*3/3/12  Many people have sent me very personal emails and comments that I have chosen not to post.  I did not want to put some of the comments on for the purpose of protection.  Some of these families truly do fear the attacks from those who disagree with their heart-breaking decisions.  My post was not saying any one person is right or wrong for their decision to disrupt or adopt.  Most (almost all) of the families' decisions were very traumatic and not for trivial reasons.  My post was meant as an encouragement for those who have experienced the pain of disruption and for those that may have preconceived ideas towards families that make this life-changing decision.

Ephesians 4:29  Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.

2.23.2012

Choke Him?

Is this what I've taught my sweet little girls to yell when one sister has the big brother in a choke hold?  I couldn't believe "Choke Him!" was coming out of Joy's sweet little mouth. 

 
Fortunately for Eva, Jack was a good sport during it all.  She doesn't understand or even care that Jack just received his black belt in karate.  As rotten as Jack can be to his sisters, he never once got too rowdy with either of the girls.  He always gently removed them from his head, shoulders, or face.  How gentlemanly of him!  Ivy was much too lady-lake to participate in such activities.  She sat by and just giggled.

Remember the "comb stuck in the hair" incident?  Well, hair has been an issue in our house lately.  Or rather, the lack of brushing the hair.  The girls were capable of brushing their hair from the top down to about the shoulders.  Anything longer than that got neglected.  It was usually a snarly mess every single day.  So, I finally ventured out with all 3 and took them for cuts.  I was quite pleased with the results, and the girls all had fun times.


Ivy is sending her hair to a "Locks of Love" type program with Pantene.  She only had 7 inches cut off, not the 10 inches needed for Locks of Love.  Eva had about 5 inches off.  Joy had less cut off because her hair is much easier to care for (as long as it isn't twisted in a comb).

2.20.2012

A Winter Day

On Saturday it was 65 degrees and everyone played outside.  It was lovely.  Sunday morning, it started snowing.  It snowed all day long.  By the evening, this was going on:



This morning, we woke to Winter Wonderland.  It was our first snow of the season.


By 9:00 am, Jack was outside.  By 9:30 am, the girls were outside.  They were in and out all day long.  By 2:00 pm, Joy had to come inside to be disciplined for throwing a fit for all the neighbors to hear.  By 4:00 pm it was in the 40's and looked like this:


By Thursday, it will be 65 again.  Ok, I'm ready for spring.

2.18.2012

Is She Hoarding Or Just Being A Six Year Old

Last week, I went through the girls' closet and did just a little organizing.  I picked up the back pack that Ivy had given to Eva (the one from China...the ugly one).  This is the back pack that Eva happily carries around with her everywhere she goes.  If she is outside playing, the back pack is with her.  Upstairs or downstairs, she drags this heavy load around.


She can't even stand upright with this pack.


So, when I was organizing the closet, I decided to see what made this pack so heavy.  Are you ready for this?

*One who ream of copy paper secretly taken off our computer desk
*4 Holy Bibles
*18 Lipsmackers (chapsticks)
*1 small tree branch with bark partially removed
*25 sticks with all of the bark/skin removed
*15 rocks, ugly ones, not pretty ones
*5 books
*4 Note pads
*6 pens/pencils
*Baggie filled with magic markers
*Coloring book
*A plastic coke bottle with label removed, filled with water and wild green onions that were picked off our property.
*Math blocks
*Wallet
*Half a deck of Dutch Blitz cards
*Keys with key chain

That is all that I remember at this moment.  The plastic coke bottle with onions really got me wondering what was going on in this girls mind.  One time I found a plastic baggie filled with Millie's dog hairs from when we had given her a good brushing.  Apparently, it was a worthwhile item to keep.  I'm hoping this is normal behavior?  None of my other children were this extreme.

2.15.2012

Childless for the Moment

I felt childless today.  At least I did after lunch.  The day was beautiful and 60 degrees.  We had school finished before lunchtime, and I finished up with Jack around 1:30 pm.  The rest of the afternoon, I was all by myself.  Jack was doing his own thing, and the girls were outside doing this:



I think in some ways God is preparing me for a day that will come exactly 3 months from now.  Although, I rarely see Jordan, the thought of her walking out the door to start her own life makes me feel unsettled.  I've never been without her.  The longest we've been apart was during her 2-week trip to China in 2008.  So, I sat today and wondered what our lives will be like in 6 months when we will have 2 less children at home.  Seth has recently become employed, so even he rarely graces us with his presence.  At our house, leaving the nest is a slow process; one which I'm thankful for.  I realize that we still have more than a decade at home with our children, but I also realize that it is going by way too quickly.  There was a time when it seemed like their departure was always in the future.  Now, it is becoming reality.

2.13.2012

South Carolina

I have never been to this state other than passing through.  I'd love to hear from families who live or have lived in South Carolina, particularly the Greenville area.  Early Saturday morning, we packed up the 4 youngest and headed south.  We went through some snowy weather, but the drive was pleasant enough.  Once we arrived and check into our hotel, we headed downtown.  We really enjoyed it.  There seemed to be many shops and restaurants.  There is a beautiful waterfall with walking paths all around.  Despite the cold weather, many people were out enjoying the day.

 

We drove around trying to find some neat places, but with no guide, we were a bit limited.  Saturday night, we met a man at our hotel who gave us a little insight into the area along with a great map.  Sunday morning, we got up early and made our way around the city, getting a better idea about the area.

On our way home, we had to make a stop for Jack in Spartanburg.   You know they have this restaurant there called The Beacon, which Jack found on the Man vs. Food site?  Jack could have his own TV show about food.  He finds certain foods interesting, and will try about anything.  He tried the chicken feet while in China.  He said it was leathery.



The Double Chili Cheeseburger-A-Pleny.  That says it all.  He was stuffed, and I was still tasting it hours later (and I only ate a few onion rings and a small cup of chili).

So, any South Carolinians read my blog?

2.07.2012

Strange

Eva brushes her own teeth.  I usually brush them once or twice a week.  A couple of weeks ago, I felt around for loose teeth since she is 6 years old.  Nothing but a small nudge.  Last night at bath time I was brushing Eva's teeth and found this...


...yes, those are her 2 new teeth behind her baby teeth.  Jack called her a "shark" because of her rows of teeth.  Eva is definitely never "normal".  She better get wiggling those teeth unless she wants the dentist to take them out.

On another note...where is winter?  We've had nice 50-60 degree days around here.  The first thing Eva wants to do every morning is go outside to play.  She asks after breakfast when it is still in the 30's.  She would stay outside all day long if she could.  She impatiently begs her sisters to play outside with her.  Sometimes Moxie is the only one who wants to endure the adventures.  Remnants of her playtime dot the yard: teapot, photo album wedged in a tree (?), notebooks, cups, backpacks, collection of walnuts, sticks.  She reminds me a lot of Seth when he was younger.  He would wake up at 5:00 am, do his school by 9:00 am just so he could play all day long.  Life was so exciting and never dull during those single digit years!  I'd like to have a few of them back.

2.04.2012

My Diet Update

Some of you have asked about my Juicing diet.  So, I've been juicing for a month now.  I think it has gone pretty well.  My biggest lesson learned?  I really don't need to eat so much food.  I eat a light breakfast of toast, fruit (usually blueberries), tea/coffee at around 8:30 a.m.  Then around 10:30 I have my morning juice, which usually has another fruit in it.  I'll have a little lunch around 12:30 p.m., with another juice at 2:30 or 3:30 p.m.  Dinner around 5:30/6:00 p.m. usually consists of a salad with some protein.  So, it is not a lot of food, and I never eat after dinner. But, I have to say that I feel great!  All the aches and pains I had before juicing (primarily in my lower back and hips/legs) are no longer present.  I also have absolutely no indigestion or heartburn issues at all.  Those issues were resolved once I stopped eating wheat/gluten products.

Looking back in pictures, I can see a very big difference in my appearance.  This pictures was taken in 2010, shortly after arriving home with Ivy.  I looked puffy.  But, it was also before I knew about the wheat/gluten problem, which caused me to retain fluid.


Now, I eat a lot of raw fruits and vegetables and some raw nuts and lean protein.  It consists of celery, kale, cucumbers, apples, lemons, carrots, cabbage every single day.  I feel better and sleep better.  I'm fitting into clothes that I've not worn in quite a few years.  Since this picture, I've lost a bit of weight, too.  That is always a plus!


(photographs compliments of Eva)

Who knew that a change in diet could have such a big impact on how I felt?  I've always heard it, but never realized it until I actually made the change.

2.01.2012

Second Anniversary

So, it has been 2 years since Ivy walked into our lives.  Or rather, we walked into Ivy's life.  We talked this morning, and she said, "It seems like I've always been here."  Amazing that 2 years can seem like a lifetime to a child.  Her past is slowly pushed to the recesses of her mind.  She is moving on.  She is family.

My first half-hearted smile that I got from Ivy on Feb. 1, 2010.  We had many more smiles in the days to come.


Our last full day in China.  She was a happy girl.  I was a happy mom.

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