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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


12 Days

I have 12 days left with my son.  It seems so strange to think that after that, I will not see him for a whole season.  It is so strange for me to think that he will leave his home before summer begins and will not be finished with basic training until fall arrives.  I cannot fathom the rigorous training he will receive during those 13 weeks.

He is ready.  He is excited.  He is ready to move on with his life and become an adult; to become independent.

(Yes, this is Seth and Eva shortly after our return home from China in 2006)

And because he is ready...

...I am ready.  It makes things so much easier when your child is excited about his future.  Yes, it is going to be hard on this mom, but I have to remind myself that this is why we raise our children; to be responsible adults.  They aren't meant to live with me their entire lives, although at times I would prefer that (and times I would not).

From my previous posts, it is a known fact that Seth has had some difficult years in his short life.  He doesn't mind me sharing those things on my blog because he is so thankful for the "Giver of second chances".  From the time I found out I was pregnant with Seth, I worried about him.  Why?  Was it because of the loss of my 2 daughters before him?  Was it because God gave me a hint of the difficult years ahead of me?  It doesn't really matter.  Two weeks into my pregnancy, I thought I was miscarrying.  Contractions started at 17 weeks gestation, bed rest until 32 weeks.  After he was born, he would only sleep soundly in my arms.  That made for a very delirious mom.  ER visits, glued head, shattered bones were the norm with Seth.  It was just "in him".  I had to learn to let him go and be a boy, doing boy stuff.  I had to walk away when he climbed trees of dizzying heights, jumped off the house, or scaled the barn.  I couldn't control him or make him safe.  No amount of coercing from mom could quench his need to push beyond his limits.  I learned to trust my children to God by being Seth's mom.

As he got older, I learned to trust God for so much more than his physical safety.  I had to trust Him for his spiritual safety.  No boundary could contain him; no discipline could control him.  Only by prayer and fasting would his heart be changed.  And his heart was changed.  It took a big fall, but it happened.  Sadly, I had to see it all, and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

So, again, with another step in Seth's life, I'm trusting God in a big way.  I would not have chosen the path of a Marine for my son, but it is his path to choose.  I'm here to pray and cheer him on as his biggest fan.


Memorial Weekend

I know Memorial Weekend just began today, but we started a bit early for our last hoorah with Seth still home.  We are not crowd people.  So, if we want to go somewhere busy, we try to choose the least busy day possible.  But, since my husband is very busy with work this time of year, we opted for an amusement park on the Friday of Memorial weekend.  It's never a good sign when you arrive and see charter buses at the entrance.  But, we managed to work our way through the park with excitement and patience.

All of these pics are taken with my I phone.  My camera is still in the shop getting it's 6 year cleaning.  I do not know how to zoom using my phone, so you have to endure these pics.

I spent most of my time in the kiddie world, surrounded by screaming kids and strollers.  I rode carousel horses, worms, and dragons, refused to spin with Joy in the teacups, and drank an orange slurpee all by myself.  Then I sent Eva and Ivy off on the rapids by themselves only to watch them get stuck on that ride due to technical problems.  Joy was so small she could not even ride kiddie land rides without an adult.  If she could just squeak out 4 more inches by next year...?  I doubt it.

I managed a ride in a castle and a roller coaster with my big boys while Mike took the girls.

(Don't ask me about Seth's bandana.  I asked him why he was wearing it and his reply, "It's just weird enough to be different."  Yep, that's my son.)

On our way back to the hotel, we found a seafood restaurant.

The meal cost more than our day at the park.  And, because of this excursion, we had no change to pay our tolls on our way out of town.

We have to pay them $1.45 by check or money order within 10 days or else we are fined $25.00.  I had no idea we could be delinquent on paying tolls.


Another Countdown So Soon?

Things have settled down into a new routine without Jordan around.  As I was just getting used to her being away, Seth got the phone call that I was not expecting.  His ship date has been moved up from July to June; over a whole month early.  He leaves in 17 days.  I wasn't prepared for the emotional roller coaster of his departure.  The news was quite sudden.  One minute we are all heading home from the pool.  The next minute he calls to say he is on his way to the station to sign his papers of departure.  That fast.

I'm happy for him; sad for me.  It seems to be the theme of my life lately.  With so many emotional things going on in my life at the moment, it's a wonder I'm still somewhat sane.

I'm asking for prayers for my big kiddos.  Seth seems so young to me to be thrown into adult situations so quickly.  But, he has wanted this for so long.  I've not heard from Jordan yet; still anxiously waiting for that letter or phone call.


My Son

We have a few acres of land here in Virginia.  It makes for lots of grass cutting from the guys.  Seth has his section that he cuts, and his dad cuts another area.  I guess all together it takes about 3 hours.  Seth has some interesting stories about running over a snake (probably intentionally) and a bird (unintentionally).  He always feels pretty rotten after accidentally killing an animal (especially the ones he has hit while driving the car).  So, when I found this on his bedroom lamp, I thought for sure he was trying to redeem himself.

He had high hopes of hatching the robin's egg that he found in the grass on the property.  Whenever someone accidentally cut off the light, his motherly instincts kicked in!  It was funny watching his daily care of this egg.  He continually asked me how to keep it warm.  After a mix up the egg was left cold all night long.  He realized his efforts were futile.  And, instead of just throwing the egg out for the animals to eat, he buried it in our flower bed.  So, behind that tough exterior (at times), he has quite the tender heart.  I heart this man/child of mine.

(I'm thrilled to say that Seth has joined an adult soccer team.  I always enjoy watching him play.)


Playground and Sensory Issues

While Jack is in karate class, the girls and I sometimes head across the street to the playground.  I take for granted that my 3 young daughters can run and play like every other child.  Unfortunately, that has not always been the case with Joy.

Obviously, she will struggle with cross the monkey bars.  Her left hand just cannot grasp that bar.  Maybe in time, she will learn to compensate.

This swinging walkway really was difficult for Joy.  I believe Joy has some depth perception/sensory issues.  When Joy first came home, she screamed when I would change her diaper on an elevated changing table whenever we were out and about.  Once I changed her in the back area of our Honda with the hatch open.  You would have thought she was in extraordinary pain from the way she was screaming.  Once she started walking, she refused or even cried when she tried to walk on the playground equipment that had the tiny holes in them.  Since she could see the ground, she knew she was elevated and wanted no part in that playtime.

The fireman's pole was a real challenge.  Not only could she not grasp the pole, but that whole depth thing really got to her.  She was successful this week in going down this pole.  But, in 2009 it was a different story.  I held her the whole way down.

Ivy seems to have no problems at the park in most areas.

But, she refuses to climb atop the dome-shaped bars and avoids the amusement park rides that causes too many butterflies in her tummy.  I think she is just unfamiliar with that feeling.

Eva seems to have no issues climbing or riding on anything at all.  Her spirit is more adventurous, and if mom says it's safe, then it's safe!

Notice those armpits?  When she was little we could hide her plastic eggs from her play kitchen inside those babies.  I've never seems armpits so big on such a little girl.


Remnants of Jordan

We are all adjusting to life without Jordan around.  It actually isn't too difficult for everyone because Jordan was working full-time, then going to school at night.  The very noticeable difference is the empty, quiet bedroom.

I'll get a little knot in my throat when I walk by her room.  Today I went to her room and sat for a while, missing my first born, looking at the things she packed and the things she left out.


And, just like shedding tears when packing up the baby crib, I'll be shedding tears once I clean out her room.  I'm just not ready for that job yet.  Maybe in a couple of months.

In the meantime, the girls have been writing letters and drawing pictures for Jordan.  Eva decided to make Jordan a folder to keep all her "stuff" in.

Eva somehow manages to make every "J" backwards.  I'll work on that one with her.

Jordan called on Tuesday night from her hotel room.  She and her dad played "Words With Friends" til around 9:30 when she went to bed.  Then she was up at 4:30 a.m. after a restless night's sleep.  After some paperwork at the station in Richmond, she was dropped off at the airport as the "group leader" of a bunch of guys who are also Navy.  They all waited at the airport for 6 hours until their flight to Chicago.  She managed a 2 hour nap, which revived her a bit.  She sent me a text when she arrived.  At 12:15 a.m. we received a phone call from her and this was the jest of it.

Me, groggily:  Hello
Jordan rather perky:  Hi mom.
Me, waking up:  How are you?
Jordan, following her script:  I've arrived at the Great Lakes Boot Camp.  You will be receiving a box with my belongings.  And, I will be contacting you by phone in about 3 weeks.
Me:  Oh, ok.  Are you doing alright?
Jordan:  Yes.
Mom:  I love you, Jordan

No "I love yous", just "click".  I understand it all.  I'm just thankful I was able to talk to her during her 6 hour wait at the airport yesterday.

I'll be glad to see her in July.

(FYI it is phone call to parents letting us know she arrived safely.  The military tells them what they can say.  It is not time for chit chat, just the basics.) 


It Is May 15th

We've known about this date since November.  But, May 15th has come upon us all so quickly.  Today Jordan left for the United States Navy.  The last few days have been very emotional for me.  There has been lots of excitement, anxiety, worry, and anticipation.  There is no need to share my feelings.  I'm sure I'll share some of them at some point, but I thought I'd just share some quick snapshots of our last few days together.

On Saturday, while Jordan was getting her hair cut, people began arriving at our house for a surprise party.  My sister blind-folded her and drove her to our home via another route.  She really had no idea where she was until she spotted her dad's shoes under the bandana.

Total surprise!

For Mother's Day, I got flowers...

Roses from Seth,

Peonies and Godiva chocolates from Jordan.

 Before haircut,
 then after the cut.  I think it looks cute!

Monday, all the kids decided to wake Jack up because he was sleeping in way too late!  When it comes to the boys, there is always wild wrestling and throwing punches.  The girls always have to watch out!

And, we have to share the interesting photo of Joy's head full of toothpaste.  Never a dull moment with that girl.

Really?  How does toothpaste get on the back of her head?

After a nice bath to remove the sticky stuff, she falls asleep in the chair with me, making her usual clicking sound with her tongue.  She's cute even in her sleep.

We did laundry and packing for Jordan on Monday, then headed out for dinner.  I never said anything, but I just dreaded the thought of saying good-bye.  Jordan didn't want me to take her to the station, so we planned on just she and Mike heading out this morning.  Well, things were going so well, that we decided the whole gang should go.

All loaded up and heading to the station!

Our last family picture taken this morning at the station.

Then we said good bye...

...and headed home with one open seat.

(I dread doing this again in 2 months with Seth.)


My Rapunzel

Jordan has to have her hair off her collar during Navy Boot Camp.  Instead of allowing our government the privilege of the cut, she went to her favorite stylist.

I'll post a picture of her new do soon. She leaves tomorrow ::sniff::


Sunday Snapshot

I love this snapshot of my boys.  This is the epitome of "Brotherly Love" even if it appears to be one-sided.  I'm very happy to say that they really do love each other 2 years after this pic was taken. 

Ni Hao Yall


Wise Words of a Six Year Old

This sweet girl made me cry.  Her words choked me up - my first real tear-filled emotions regarding Jordan's departure.

Eva:  When is Jordan leaving?
Me:  Tuesday morning, hun.  Tuesday morning.
Eva:  And she's not coming back?
Me:  Not to live with us.  Just for visits like your grandmother.
Eva, with a tremendous look of sadness:  I don't want her to leave.
Me:  Me either.
Eva:  It's too bad we have to grow up so fast.

It was at those lasts words that I somewhat lost it in front of my family.


Five No More

Joy, holding up her 6 fingers for her birthday.  She'll have to come up with something interesting when she turns 9.

She has been waiting for this day for quite some time.  Joy is beyond thrilled to 6 years old.  She started her morning by reminding everyone, even the sleeping boys, that it was her birthday!

(Notice the irony with the boy in the bed and the poster on the wall?  Ready?)

She was quite excited to see her presents and made sure she wore her "cake" shirt.

Ivy had her spring piano recital, but afterward, we headed off to get some yummy birthday treats.


So much to choose from!  How do you decide?

(Mmmm.  Seth decided to "dress up" for the occassion.)

Our stash minus mine.  Forty dollars well spent?  All for the birthday girl!  She had fun.

I cannot believe my oldest is 22 and my youngest is 6 years old.  There's a wide range of parenting going in in between.  It's the hardest, but most rewarding job there is.  I'm glad I took the job, although I'm sure I failed the interview and have been written up quite a few times.

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