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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


I'm A Superhero, I Guess?

I had to put a halt on some of the picture/drawing-making for this mama.  If the girls each drew me a picture every day, that is at least 3 a day times 7 days a week...well, I just don't have room for all of them.  So, we put them on hold for a while.

But, yesterday, I got this picture from Eva, with the small print written by Ivy...

Apparently, according to Ivy, I'm "wanderful".  I'm not sure how much Mike would like that.  Please notice what a great job Eva did cutting Buzz out of the coloring book, then adding the Hello Kitty sticker to his hand.  And she drew a great soccer goal in the grass at the bottom (just in case you are not a soccer family and had no clue to what that red square was).

Now, did you guys notice the mirrored letters "c" and "h"?  Even in copy work, Eva does this about 35% of the time.  ::Sigh::  She is definitely getting better.  Now, I'm off to find a place for this masterpiece.



I wanted some of my blog buddies to know that something must be wrong with my blog or blogger itself because I've tried commenting on blogs for the last week.  Whenever I have to enter a code to prove I'm not a robot, it never accepts my answers.  So, I've not been able to comment even though I've tried at least ten times for each blog.  Hopefully, this will get fixed soon.



So, if you were an 18 year old Marine, would you be embarrassed if your mom showed up at Family Day wearing this shirt?

(photograph taken by Eva)

Yes, soon my son will graduate from Marine Boot Camp at Parris Island.  I've not heard his voice or seen his face since June.  I'm counting down the days, soon the hours until we see him again.  He has a tough week ahead of him.  He will be doing the 54 hour Crucible from August 31 thru September 1.  Then he will be handed the coveted Eagle Globe and Anchor; he will be a Marine.  I cannot explain the pride I feel inside for both of my kiddos adult children.


My Cross-Country Travels

I have been blogging/journaling for almost six years now.  When we left for China in September 2006 to adopt Eva, I had a Baby Jellybeans website.  I slowly gained some followers and have made some great friends along the way.  As the years passed, I "met" so many more wonderful people in blog land.  I know I probably will not meet most of you, but I think of you often as well as pray for you.

One of my dreams is to pack up the kids and take a tour of the USA, visiting all the wonderful people I've met in blog land.  Some of you, I'd love to meet, but just don't know where you live.  Others, I do know.  So, here is my would-be path.  You know that I'd love to stop by your house for a day or two.

I'd start off in Virginia and head south, stopping in North Carolina to meet a couple of ladies.  One lady in particular was such a sweet encouragement to me when our adoption in 2009 turned heartbreaking.  In the same city, lives one of Ivy's orphanage friends.  I'd keep heading south making a stop in Georgia to see another of Ivy's friends from Zhongshan.  Heading into Florida, I'm sure to stop on both coasts to see a June 2005 DTC buddy, another sweet blogging friend who shares a name with my daughter, and a mom to a whole lot of testosterone.

 Peaceful, Florida

I'd slowly make my way across the south, seeing sights I've only read about, making stops to more families along the way in Alabama and Texas.  Then, while I'm heading into the Southwest, I'd have to make a stop to see a friend that I "met" while blogging before we adopted Ivy, then had the great pleasure of meeting her as well as her sweet children in Guangzhou in 2010!  Since then, I've had the privilege of praying and fasting for this family during difficult times.  I'd love to meet up with her again one day.

I've always dreamed about going to California.  So, when we had a 12-hour layover after adopting Ivy in San Francisco, I knew I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see it, even if I was in a sleep deprived haze.

Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco

One family adopted a daughter last year from Joy's orphanage.  We've actually spoken by phone and exchanged quite a few emails.  She has been an encouragement to me during some struggles, and I've said quite a few prayers for her during her adoption.  Another adoptive mom lives nearby.  Her daughter is also from Zhongshan, and they sent me a DVD of their tour of the orphanage!  How thoughtful is that!

Moving up the Pacific coast, I'd love to make a detour to Alaska.  I met an adoptive mom in 2006 through our Jellybeans sight.  Shortly thereafter, she was diagnosed with cancer.  My heart just ached for her as I prayed for her healing.  Her treatments were successful and she is enjoying life with her daughter and son near the beautiful city of Anchorage.

It seems Ivy has friends from her orphanage everywhere.  She has 2 friends from Zhongshan living in Canada that I'm sure she would love to see!  She remembers Grace, but Ping was just a bit younger than Ivy.  We would definitely have to stop in Wyoming to see the sweet family who adopted Ivy's friend that I advocated here on my blog a couple of years ago.

Heading through the Midwest are some more fun-loving families who love the Lord and answered His call of adoption.  I can imagine my girls swimming with Piper and playing games with Mya or Grace!  Moving on to Ohio, close to where I grew up, lives another kind family.  While I was advocating for one of Ivy's friends, she contacted me.  Although, she didn't adopt Ivy's friend, she did adopt a beautiful daughter a year later.  God used Ivy's friend, to bring their daughter into their lives.  Another Zhongshan family is in Ohio.  They have an amazing family that I'd love to meet!  I love the whole big connection of adoption.

Somehow I'd have to manage to swing down to Tennessee.  I met two ladies in particular during our paperchase in the winter of 2008.  One, I met personally when she stopped by on her way to a doctor visit at a university.  The other I've exchanged some emails with, and she recently returned home from adopting her own "Jack".

In the Northeast are a few families I've "spoken" to before.  One of Ivy's friends is in New York.  She is a firecracker that we intended to adopt.  But, God had other plans.  By the time we were ready to send in our LOI, this family in New York had already made her their daughter.  It is all well, since I see how perfectly Ivy fits into our family.  In Massachusetts is our adoption agency, CAWLI.  I loved how efficient this agency was.  I'd definitely use them if we ever adopted again.

I'd probably finish up our whirlwind tour in Maryland.  There is a special lady there who just recently returned home from China with her daughter.  Amazingly, the condition they thought she had from her medical report, is no longer her special need.  I met Holly while adopting Ivy in 2010 in Guangzhou.  She took my favorite picture of me and Ivy at our last breakfast at the Victory Hotel.

I wish I had spent more time getting to know Holly, but we both had our hands full.  I'm so glad she contacted me once we got home.  She looks like a lot of fun.  I'd love to spend about a week at her house hanging out on the farm, milking cows, playing with her kids.  On her recent China trip, she took the time out of her extremely busy schedule (she took all of her kiddos) and bought me some tea!  I am amazed by her kindness and generosity.

There are times that I want to just quit blogging.  But, I'd miss my blogging friends and the "fellowship" we have with our common link of adoption and Christ.  Thanks for being my blog friends.  Thanks for the prayers.  I can think of many blog friends that I have not mentioned, but I just don't know where you live.  But, if I did, I'm sure I'd make a stop to your neck of the woods.  One day.


Crazy Jack

I love my son, Jack. But, sometimes he is a little weird.  Okay, maybe not weird...but different.  He is probably my most interesting child.  He gets these fascinations.  For a while, he was fascinated with volcanoes.  He moved on to a waterfall fascination.  Then it was all about Barrow, Alaska.  The list keeps growing.  One school year, he learned all 50 states, location, boundaries, and their population.  His most recent fascination....

...habanero peppers.  He watches videos of other weird different kids eating these things.  He decided to take the plunge.  We bought it for him.  He cut it in half.

...mmm, kind of spicy.  (I think he is so handsome.  I am bias.  I admit it.)

Yes, it is uncomfortable.  He doesn't want to eat the other half?!  I won't show you the picture of the bodily fluids that escaped from his nostrils and eyes.  I'll spare you.  After a minute, he resorted to this...

...lots of it.  Almost a half a gallon of milk.  That alone could make someone sick.

He survived.  He decided NOT to try the ghost chili pepper.  I cannot blame him one bit.  Now, onto the next fascination.


A Conversation With My Daugher

Adoption is always talked about in our house.  "When we went to China to get you" is an often-heard phrase.  I don't think Eva and Joy even know the magnitude of adoption.  Ivy might.  She remembers life in an orphanage, life without a family for 7 years.

Last month, Ivy was playing a game with a friend, Allison.  Allison's mom told me that Ivy said something about wishing she knew her mom in China.  Last week, I finally got around talking to her about it.  It was hard.  It was a conversation I expected to happen "later".  I wasn't ready for it.  We sat outside on the deck.  She lay back on my chest as I wrapped my arms around her thin body.  I told her all the things a good mom should tell her.  I didn't know the reasons why her mom could not keep her.  Her obvious cleft could have been the lone reason.  She was not ready to hear or understand China's one-child policy and the consequences of being a girl in a boy-favored society.  Her cleft made my answer easier. 

I told her how special it was to be a mom; I'm sure it was very difficult for her China mom to say good-bye to her beautiful baby girl.  I don't think I could have been so selfless.  I told Ivy it was okay to wonder about her mom in China; that she could love both of us.  So, for about 20 minutes she lay still, silently crying.  I talked about how even though bad things happen, God can make something beautiful from it.  He has made something beautiful from all the sadness.

I asked her if she had the opportunity to meet her China mom, would she?  She responded, "I don't know."  I cannot imagine the thoughts and range of emotions going on in that beautiful mind.  After some more hugs and kisses, she moved on.  She is a very sweet girl, full of emotions.

I'm sure we will have many more conversations about China moms around our house.  I pray for the wisdom to help each of my girls understand their worth and place in this life; this wonderful life!



I'm hoping....that Joy will learn to tie her shoes....tightly.  So we bought her these instead of the velcro shoes.

They are just cute enough with all the sparkles to get her to want to wear them, but her frustration may just win over cuteness.  I'll let you know.


The View From Our Window

We have lived in our house for 11 years now.  This is the longest we ever stayed in one place since marrying.  Quite often, I look out our front window and see a variation of this picture.

(Terrible pictures taken through my window, sorry)

The deer often come to eat the apples on or off the tree.  Funny, how after 11 years, I always stop and stare at this scene.  I never tire of seeing the beauty in nature.  This is truly one of God's many gifts to us that we often take for granted...the beauty all around us.  Sometimes I just get caught up in the work of having a family, that I just forget to appreciate this.

The view from our back deck.


My Life Lately

My daughter, Jordan, texted me requesting a blog update.  She said I'm "boring", to which I replied, "That is my life lately."  I have to admit that sometimes boring is a good thing.  Yes, it is exciting when there is an anticipation of an upcoming event.  But, nothing of magnitude is upcoming in our lives at the moment.  So, I just decided to do another "My Life Lately" post.

After that text, I walked into the living room and viewed my girls (Jack was watching Olympics downstairs). 

This is definitely a far cry from when I was a little girl.  The VCR was difficult enough, but somehow Joy figured out this game, or at least thought she did.

Ivy and Eva played on my phone.  They love it.  I, on the other hand, prefer they play with non-electronic their imagination.  Sometimes I have to shoo them outside for some play time or bike riding.  I'm glad that soccer season is just a couple of weeks away.

I have to admit that I am very thankful for these conveniences.  I rarely watch TV, so my news is always gotten from the computer.  My phone holds all my appointments, calendars, phone numbers, and addresses.  Everything is so compact now.  Things are simplified.  The other day at the pool, I looked up a recipe and made a shopping list right there on my phone.  I used to have one of these:

...with no internet.  I was perfectly content and happy with this phone.  Before Jordan left for the Navy, she talked me into one of these: we could face time each other.  I have to admit that it has been a nice, easy-to-use phone.  And there are tons of cute covers to buy for them.

So, Jordan, are you happy?  I did a post for you and said nothing important at all.

Oh, wait!  I have one "important pic".

Our paper chain for our countdown to Seth is finally off the floor!  I hated to see that puddle of chain on the floor counting the days until we see Seth.  It still goes from floor to ceiling, but there is Progress!

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