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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


Letters From My Son

Wow, I'm so proud.  I knew that Seth would make a good soldier and enjoy what he is doing.  But, I never imagined getting such positive letters from this guy!  He is absolutely lovin' boot camp!  In his words regarding the IT's (intensive training), "I slightly enjoy it."  Crazy.  They drill daily with the Ml6's.  He cannot wait for "pool week", which I think is next week.  He is learning so much hand-to-hand combat and warned his brother Jack to "be ready to spar" when he gets home.  He wrote a whole lot of other private stuff that makes me tear up.  He has turned into such a great guy.  I've always loved my son, but in the last 6 months, I have really started liking the man he is becoming.  Last year I could not have imagined we'd be in the place we are.  I praise God with my whole being for his new heart.

(Seth's photo ID he wanted us to take so he could play WWII soldier.  I miss those days.)

As for Jordan, she is doing very well.  She graduates in July, and we will be heading up there soon!  I cannot wait to hear her voice, see her sweet face, and hold her in my arms!


Am I Missing Something?

Since my 2 oldest children have left for their military service, I've gotten a few odd comments.  Is there some stigma about the military that I don't know about?  One comment, "Is this something you forced her to do?"  And another with a half-hearted smile, "Well, if that's what they want to do...".  I find both of those comments unsettling.  Of course, I didn't force my children into a military career, and of course it is what they wanted to do.  They chose it, not me.

I do understand that there are a few bad apples in the military.  The news media makes sure you hear about every single one of them.  But, then again, I know of a few bad doctors, a few bad teachers, a few bad lawyers, a few bad politicians.  It doesn't make them all bad; well, maybe the last one?

Maybe it is because my son/daughter chose the military over 4 years away at college?  Each person makes their own choice.  They need to choose the path that is best for them.  It doesn't make it best for everyone.  I'm proud of my children and their most recent decisions to serve their country.



After coming upon this in my pantry door frame...

I began to think of all the strange happenings in our house.  When you have a home with any number of children, there is bound to be unusual happenings.  Sometimes, words come out of my mouth that I thought I would never utter...

"Don't put worms in your pocket again.  They will die."
"Get your gun and pink back pack out of the hall closet."
"Get your toes out of your sister's nose."
"Stop licking your sister."
"You don't have to eat all of your dinner if you don't want to."
"Stop scaling the walls of the barn."
"Put the machete down and come eat dinner."

If you've been reading my blog long enough, I'm sure you can guess who I have said some of these quotes to.  Ah, life with children.  They make you laugh and cry, sometimes within the same day. 


MM (Military Mom)

I am slowly adjusting to my new role as a military mom.  This is a role that I didn't expect to have with Jordan, and did not really want with Seth.  But, this is a part of the new me.  Since both of my children are currently in boot camp, my new role boils down to a lot of letter writing.  Since email and texting is the new norm, an old fashioned, hand-written letter seems to be a thing of the past.  I miss those.  But, I've written quite a few of those old-fashioned letters lately.  And, I've been getting quite a few of those from my adult children, which I read and re-read throughout the day and weeks.

Yesterday, we received our first letter from Seth.  The envelope didn't even have our names on the outside, just our address.  We received a form letter telling us the ins and outs of sending letters and packages.  We also received a short hand-written note starting out "Dear Family" requesting protein powder and bars.  The South Carolina heat probably zaps the recruits of a lot of nutrients.  I'm sure September (Seth's graduation) won't come soon enough for him.  I'd say he's missing his air-conditioned house right about now.

Jordan writes regularly and tells me all about her days and how she is coping.  She sneaks in how much she misses home, siblings, and her bed, and how she revealed to her room mates that her mom is her best friend ::gushing::  She is doing very well and learning so much.  I am extremely proud of her.  She had to get another haircut, and she says she looks like the American Girl, Kit...about 12 years old.  My daughter is sick again.  She has had a cold for about half of her time in boot camp.  I'm sure the lack of rest prevents her from healing 100%.  She broke down and went to medical for some cold meds.  She said she felt much better after taking something.  She graduates in less than a month, and everyone is very anxious to see her.


Wanna Lose Weight?

Eat like Joy.  Or have an attitude like Joy.  I know my previous post was about Joy, but here is another one, giving you a visual into our special girl.

Food is definitely not a "biggie" for her like it is for Eva.  Eva has an internal clock that tells her exactly when it is lunch time and dinner time.  She can tell just by looking at the sun high in the sky which meal is due for her.  Joy...she could care less.

So, if you want to lose some weight or just not put on weight, do what Joy does.

Wake up happy.  But, when it is time to eat, be grumpy because it is a chore to eat a meal.  Too much work.  (Kind of like the work you have to do brushing your teeth.)

Then just eat half of a banana because it is required of you.  Next, even though you have a delicious home-made blueberry muffin in front of you (just a small one, not 2), crumble it up in your hands because it feels good.

After all that, make sure there are a lot of crumbs all over the floor so you can get exercise by sweeping them up after every single meal.

Just make sure you leave a little for the dog to enjoy.

Follow these rules for every single meal, and you may just be stuck in a size 3T even though you are 6 years old.



I haven't done any -isms lately.  I guess my children just aren't as funny as they used to be.  But, tonight, Joy said something I thought was quite amusing.  I was going over some two-syllable words with her since this is a new concept for her.  The word was chatter.

Joy:  What is chatter
Me:  It means talking.
Joy:  Oh...sometimes you chatter a lot after church.  Blah, blah, blah.

Yes, she actually said, "Blah, blah, blah."  I'm not sure where she got that slang from.  Wait.  I just asked her where she got those words, and her reply was, "From Dad."  So, there you have it.  It wasn't from me.  Little ones have very sensitive ears.  Joy picked up a yucky slang word from her big brother.  She used it in perfect context last week.  It sounded quite funny coming from this little girl, but I had to quickly explain that it was not a very nice way to describe something.

Too big for her britches.


She Cracks Me Up

Last week, I took the kids, plus Anica to my mom's house so she could see Seth one more time before he left.

(Yes, he lay around playing skee ball and watching TV)

The girls love going.  Eva rummaged through all of the stuff at my mom's house.  She found some treasures that she brought home with her.  Well, she calls them treasures.  I'm not sure what I call them.

Her complete ensemble.

 First, she has the gun holster, the the hammer inside, draped with a stunning, pink, bead necklace.

 Notice, the holster is held around her waist by a lovely Samsonite luggage strap, which has seen better days.

On her left side of her strap, um, I mean belt, is her sword, which is actually an old mini blind stick left over from the good ole days of vinyl blinds.

Eva completes her get-up look with crooked, scratched Ray Bans (not!).

I just LOVE her style.  She reminds me a lot of Seth when she plays like this.  What an imagination!  Never a dull moment for sure.


From Six to Four

We've gone from having 6 children at home, to now only 4 children in less than a month.  I'm not going to lie, it is hard.  I woke up Sunday morning, just like any other day.  Except it wasn't.  My son was leaving that morning.  The busyness of getting the girls ready for departure kept my emotions at bay.  Seth was excited to start his life as a Marine recruit.

(I forgot to get an after picture)

We too quickly arrived at the station we were just at less than a month ago with Jordan.  Then my tears came.

Seth's friend arrived at the station to say good-bye, even though they spent the previous day together shooting big guns and playing video games.

Then it was our turn.

The Mom

 The Sisters

The Brother who has only known Life With Seth (noticed Jack's closed eyes?)

The Dad, praying for his son.

The female friend.

Then we left.  We went to church.  I cried when we walked through the door without him.  I cried when someone asked how I was doing.  I cleaned myself up and moved on.  Another person asked how I was doing, so I cried some more.  After a while I just gave up trying to look decent that morning.  Then I walked into the sanctuary and saw my son Jack sobbing.  He had held it all in so well.  That was all it took for me to lose it again.  I cried because he cried.  Jack had complained of a stomach ache all morning.  We now know it was just dread.  Dread of saying good bye to his best friend.

Despite the roller coaster life with Seth, we already miss him and are so proud of him.  He always seems to bring us much laughter and much turmoil combined.  I am so glad God gave us this tornado.  I often times wondered if God knew what He was doing by giving him to us.  Raising Seth has been my biggest accomplishment as well as my biggest defeat.  I have learned so much about myself along the way.  Please pray for my son, that he will be fully dependent upon God throughout his life.


Obligatory Phone Call

After more than three weeks, I finally got that obligatory phone call from Jordan.  I knew it was her because caller ID said Waukeegan, IL.  I thought we had a bad connection, but it was actually Jordan crying, trying to gain her composure.  She is homesick.  We only had 5 minutes to talk.  I kept asking if she was OK.  She said she was, but I know it is hard for her.  She loves home.  She misses her family.  She is a girly girl.  She is not tough, but she is strong.  She wants me to bring her Milk Duds.

We also got another letter from her today.  Please pray for her.  She said every time she gets a letter from us, she cries before she gets it opened.  Physically she is handling it.  She has bruises on her back from doing sit-ups on concrete, bloody blisters on her heels from running, swollen knees from running, a sickness from all those shots.  She is on antibiotics.  She passed her physical fitness assessment.  

One good thing about being in a large family....Jordan learned to sleep through the noise of kids.  I remember how she would come home from work and lie on the couch.  Even with the girls playing and being loud, she managed to sleep quite peacefully.  It really has been to her benefit!  She said she fell asleep sitting up, and once she fell asleep and never moved out of that position the whole night.

This picture was at a costume party in 2009.  I thought it was fitting since Jordan is wearing Mike's sailor uniform.  Who would have guessed she would end up in the Navy?  Definitely not her!  (I was Rosie the Riveter, by the way)

If you think of Jordan, please pray for her.  Thank you so much.


They Love The Dentist

Am I the only mom whose daughters actually enjoy their dentist appointments?  Eva came into the kitchen this morning to tell me that her alarm didn't go off (we set it for 7:30 just to make sure she didn't oversleep).  I had to break the news to her that she got up an hour before the alarm.  She and I had a dentist appointment this morning that she was so excited to go to.

Up before the sisters.

Looks like fun, doesn't it?

Ivy's dentist appointment was rescheduled because her hygienist was ill.  She cried.  I'm glad they enjoy it so much because all 3 have to go back in 2 weeks to get holes filled and some sealants.  Do other adoptive moms have issues with holes in their children's teeth?  Eva has had 2 fillings due to holes and not cavities.  Joy has one cavity that completely broke off a corner of her molar.  Ivy had a cavity in her front tooth, but that was to be expected with her cleft and all.  I'm wondering if lack of nutrition in utero has affected their teeth.

And, Seth is still scheduled to be leaving on Sunday, six more days.  He already left his job to hang out with friends and family this last week home.  That familiar feeling is returning; the dread of saying good-bye.  I'm just doing my best to enjoy the time we have.

Seth always manages to get the girls all wound up.  Never a dull moment with him.

Sometimes he gets too wild with the girls.  Notice Eva is not present in the chaos?  She was in her room upset with her big brother.  She got over it rather quickly, though.  She can't stay mad too long.

We set up the badminton net for Jordan's surprise party a few weeks ago.  We are still enjoying it with the gang here at home.  The girls love to bring their blanket out and watch the competitive nature of our guys.

 This picture is for Luana.  Yes, this is our yard.  We have lots of green space.


Sunday Snapshot

This photo was taken in a village home in Nanchang, Jiangxi, China in 2006.  The trip to that village humbled me; seeing the way the people lived.  Seeing a simple bamboo chair in the middle of a plain, concrete room.  It says so much, still.

Head on over to Ni Hao Yall and see all the great photos and play along.

Ni Hao Yall


Soccer Season Done

Tuesday, we had a banquet for soccer season.  Since this was Eva's first season, she was beyond excited.  She had 3 goals this spring and is ready for the fall season.  I took pics of the trophy presentation, but failed to insert the memory card.  Yes, I'm forgetful but for a good reason.  I had just picked up my camera from the shop.  Anyhow, here is one picture of her with her trophy.

A train was going by at the moment, thus the ear holding.  We had fun eating potato chips, fruit, brownies, rice krispy treats, the food of champions.

Joy loves Seth's friend, Anica.  She is always wanting to sit on her lap.

It was nice having Seth with us at the banquet.  He spun the kids incredibly fast on the merry-go-round, all of them screaming for more!  Crazy kids; I'd vomit.

We had a very bad storm right before the banquet.  On the way home, Seth, Anica, and Jack stopped by the soccer fields where there is a nice hill.  I wondered what happened to them.  Let's just say that none of them were allowed inside my house with their clothes on.  I gave them towels and a laundry basket while in the garage.

They decided a wet, muddy hill was good times for a water slide.  Seth ripped his underwear, and most of the clothes did not come clean.  But, it was fun times with memories made.



Except for a quick phone call from, I have not heard from Jordan...until today!

She is sick with a cold and homesick.  She had a difficult first week, but it is slowly getting easier.  She doesn't like to be yelled at for others' mistakes, she wakes up at 5:00 a.m., she gets 5 minutes to shower, she can only shave and shampoo her hair once a week (she got around that by washing her hair with body wash), she has 2 4-hour shifts every other night, she is section leader (because she pays close attention to details).  Only 7 more weeks!

I've written her a couple of "running letters" where I write for a couple of days, then send it out.  I'll get another one started now that I know how she is doing.

So, my 3 other girls made a paper chain to count down the days until we get to go to see their big sister graduate.  They can't possibly be as excited as this mom!

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