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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


The Doctor Appointment

A few posts back, I shared my concerns about Joy's hand.  I'm so thankful for all the informative comments and emails I received regarding Poland's Syndrome.  I did some research and this is a condition that my daughter does have.  Her doctor confirmed it yesterday.  She has a minor form of it and seems to only be missing her pectoral muscle on her left side.  I remember the doctor checking for it when she first came home.  She was only about 15 pounds and very weak and floppy, so it was hard to tell.  As her strength grew over the last few years, it became more obvious that something was "missing".

So, my sweet, hot-tempered girl is finally diagnosed.  Her hand issue is not from amniotic banding, as originally suspected.  I'm sure Poland's Syndrome is not so easily diagnosed in tiny girls at an early age.  As for her medical records, it just mentioned hand deformity.  Am I upset?  Absolutely not.  I love my little firecracker.  (I've forgotten what she was so mad about on this particular day.  It could have been that I made her eat apples and a pbj sandwich when she wanted something else.)


It's That Time of Year...Again

Yes, it is soccer season.  And, you know how much we love soccer around here.  Jack has played since he was 5 years old.  Seth played for the last 10 years, so, it makes me sad seeing him stand on the sidelines.  I think I'm having a harder time with it than he is. 

This is Eva's first year.

 She looks like she has always played.

 And this picture looks completely weird.

Big Brother Seth with some encouraging words for Eva...

 ...and a few tricks of his own.

The sideline cheerleaders.

Seth and Anica on the way to a dance after the game.

Then Jack had to show us his stuff.  He looks good during his first season with the "big boys"

We lost both games, but had fun.


Sunday Snapshot

Ni Hao Yall


Joy's Hand

Most of you know that Joy has a birth defect on her left hand.  The docs stated it was due to amniotic banding in the womb.  Well, it never seems to affect her too much.  There are times she'll hold her smaller hand at an angle as if to protect it or not even use it.  So, I believe in her mind, she thinks it is not as proficient as her right hand.  And in some ways she is correct.  Her left side is not as strong as her right side, and her grasp is not as large.  It was brought to my attention by a friend last year, when he picked Joy up, that her left side feels much smaller than her right side.  When placing my hands at her armpits to lift her, I can definitely feel that something is "missing".  Maybe the muscles are smaller?  When I look at her without a shirt, her left nipple is definitely smaller.  Is anyone reading this blog familiar with this?

Most days I do not pay much attention to Joy's hand.  It is just something I am used to.  But, when we are around new friends, the topic somehow comes up.  It is usually brought up by way of another child grabbing Joy's hand to see why it looks so different than theirs.  Joy sometimes shows her annoyance at being tugged on and states, "It's my special hand."  I'm somewhat torn over using those words.  I used to tell her that God gave her that hand, but now I'm second guessing what I am saying to her.  I don't want her to one day be angry at God for giving her a less proficient hand.  I want her to know that this is life.  Things are not always going to be perfect.  Praise God for our differences, trials, and struggles.  They make us who we are.  I guess until that time comes, or even if that time comes, I'll let her call it her "special hand". 

Joy's hand before surgery.

Four years after surgery with painted nails, compliments of Jordan.


The Countdown Has Begun

Always in the back of my mind, it has been there.  That nagging feeling.  The inevitable departure of my adult children.  I've had a date for months.  I've known about it.  I think it would feel differently if she was moving across town.  But, moving around the world is just a tad harder to take.  My firstborn has begun the countdown to her departure date.

She does not want me to take her to the recruiting station that morning.  She prefers her dad.  Little does she know that her dad will probably be more emotional than her mom.  Twenty-two years and nine-teen days after she was born, she is leaving.  I will miss everything about her; her beautiful smile, her silly laugh, her opinionated stubbornness, her friendship.  I'm so glad I am her mom.


Joy's Trick?

I found out today that Joy tried to pull a fast one on a bird.  Our days have been quite windy around here.  And because of that, we have found 2 birds' nests in our yard, along with one beautiful robin's egg.  I was bothered about the loss of life in that egg.  There was nothing I could do.  So, I took the nest, placed the egg inside and slipped it into one of our bushes.  It made me and the girls feel better.  Today, I looked inside the nest and saw this:

Yes, that is a colored Easter egg.  The robin's egg had fallen out and cracked.  Joy replaced it with one of her own thinking that the bird would not notice the difference.  Oh, the innocence!


Today's Morning Prayer

"Dear Heavenly Father, please allow the judge to show us favor today.  But, if not, let Seth learn his lesson and accept his responsibilities for his actions.  Thank you for 18 years of life for Seth today."  I said this prayer right before we headed out to the courthouse this morning.  Seth received a speeding ticket a week after he was hit by a drunk driver and at the same place.  This is how our morning went.

Judge:  Officer, tell me what happened.
Police Officer: (states that Seth was speeding in a 35mph zone)
Judge:  Seth, how do you plead?
Seth:  Guilty, sir.
Judge: Officer, how did Seth respond?  Was he polite?
Police Officer:  Yes, sir.  He was very polite and respectful.
Judge (talking to us):  Is there anything else to add?
Me:  I just came today because Seth was 17 at the time of offense.  He is scheduled to leave for military service in July, and we wanted  to take care of any responsibilities so it would not effect his departure date.
Prosecutor:  Seth is scheduled to leave July 15?
Me:  Yes, sir.
Prosecutor:  Has he signed a contract already?  One that he cannot get out of?
Me:  Yes, sir.
Prosecutor:  You are aware that any pending court case supersedes his military duties?
Me:  Yes, sir.
Prosecutor:  I see that today is Seth's birthday.  He is now 18.
Me:  Yes, sir.
Judge:  Yes, I just noticed that.  And he has no offenses against him.
Prosecutor:  Your Honor, I ask that the court dismiss the offense against Seth.
Judge to Seth:  The offense of speeding against you is dismissed.  You are only responsible for court costs and there will be nothing on your driving record.  Thank you for your service to our country.
Seth:  Thank you, sir.

Yes, God did show favor.  But, even if the case was not dismissed, there is still favor shown.  God knows the beginning and the end and what is best for us all.

Despite all the heartache this guy has caused, I cannot help but love him to pieces.  I pray God's protection over his heart and life.


It's Not The South Pacific....

...but it was a beach with white sands and emerald Florida.  The purpose of our trip to the Destin area was to see our good friends.  Their son, Josh, was graduating from Army EOD (Explosive Ordnance Demolition(?)) class.
Josh and his family.

Our Family minus Jordan.

 You know me.  I love our military.  Every single branch.  I got choked up a few times, especially after seeing the Navy and Marines flags flying in front of me.  Then I looked down and saw this.

It is a very difficult reminder of the sacrifice these men and women make for our country.  I am forever grateful to them all.  I wish more people were.

The weather was very nice.  The first day was a bit windy, but we headed to the beach anyway.  I packed swimsuits for the girls, but doubted they would get in the chilly waters.

I was wrong.  The other reason we traveled 12 hours was so Jack could hang out with his buddy David.  They've known each other their entire lives and have stayed friends even through they live 700 miles from each other.  There's nothing like a good friend.

 I couldn't believe how clear and beautiful the water was.  The guys had a good time in the choppy waters.

No, I didn't get into that freezing water that day.  But, the next day was much warmer that I ventured out into water knee-deep and even wore a swimsuit.

It was a very quick trip, but one that we thoroughly enjoyed.  I had never visited the panhandle of Florida before.  It was beautiful.  Since Jordan will be going to school near Pensacola after boot camp, I'm sure we will be heading down that way again in the near future.  Happy Easter everyone!


Chinese Tea

I was never much of a tea drinker before I went to China.  I tried the usual teas that you buy in the grocery stores, but I always went back to drinking coffee.  Then, in 2006 we went to China to meet our daughter.  Before being introduced to Eva, I was introduced to Chinese tea in Beijing.  We were having lunch in the Hutong District.  It was there that I fell in love with Jasmine tea.  I was the only one, though.  Mike did not like it.  I had tea in the morning, tea at lunch, and tea at dinner.  We bought lots of tea on that trip.  When we went back in 2007, our guide Judy took us to a tea shop that looked like a cinder-blocked gas station.  It was kind of scary, but they had great teas!  We spent a small fortune on tea.  I was pretty much stocked with tea for the next 2 years.  I think I still have some from that trip in 2007.  When I traveled alone in 2010 for Ivy, I drank the tea daily, but never thought about buying any.  Mike was the shopper on our China trips, so I felt lost without him.

My friend, Wendy, went to China to get her sweet daughter last year.  She made a wonderful tea purchase for me that I'm still enjoying to this day.  I take the flowered tea with me when I head out to classes or church, and I never fail to receive comments on it.  I've even been asked if I was doing a science experiment or had crawdads in my tea mug.

Another friend went to China recently to bring their daughter home.  Fortunately for me, we live in the same area, and our boys play soccer together.  S started her adoption paperwork when we were waiting on our referral of Eva.  Yes, that was in 2006, and they just traveled last month.  A long wait, I know.  Since I let them borrow my luggage, I felt somewhat inclined to ask if they could make a tea purchase for me.  Since only S's husband and son traveled, I didn't expect them to think about buying tea for me.  But, they did!

I felt like I hit the jackpot!  They bought me Oolong, Chrysanthemum, Ginseng, and, of course, my favorite....Jasmine!  I'm set for a while, but I'm running out of friends who are heading to China.  I either need to make new friends or go to China myself...

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