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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


All About Eve

This morning, Eva woke up and complained about a pain on the side of her head.  I paid little attention to her suffering at the moment since we were busy getting ready for church.  Eva is rarely sick.  Since she came home six years ago she has never been to the doctor for a sick visit.  Only once has she had a fever.  Her immune system rocks.  So, I ignored her.

During church, again, she complained of pain at her left temple.  Being the loving, over-worrying mother than I am, I only imagined the worst, unpronounceable disease in all history of mankind.  And, since Eva never complains, I paid attention.  We left the sanctuary, and I gave her some pain meds for her headache.  There was no fever, and she did not appear sick at all.  Immediately upon taking the medication, she proclaimed that she "felt better already".

As I pondered this insignificant incident, I briefly imagined life without Eva.  How would I feel if something happened to her?  We don't even want to go there.  She brings so much fun and love into our lives.  She makes me laugh every single day.  Eva loves her life, loves who she is, and is not insecure in the least.  She loves to have fun.

I imagined having a sweet little girl that I could dress in bows and pink:

She outgrew my ideas of a daughter, and came up with her own ideas:

At least five days a week she wears camouflage, stands at attention, and salutes me.  She traded in the girly necklaces for dog tags and whistles, flowered sippy cups for canteens.

She asked to wear her camouflage to co-op classes.  I obliged; she got tons of compliments.  She asked to wear them to church this morning; I declined.  She wore a flowered dress instead and was perfectly content (thank goodness).

Last week Eva asked if we could go camping.  I told her I'd love to but it was up to Dad; Dad is not a big fan of camping (that is another post).  I asked why she wanted to go camping so badly.  Her reply, "I want to see a bear, kill it, then eat it!"  Yep, that's my girl!


Yes, My Bathroom Is Ugly

I live in a 1990's house.  It takes a lot of money and time to get rid of that look.  It wasn't a bad look, but I am ready to get rid of the almond-colored bathrooms.  I think it must have been a nice look for the 90's.  It is in all my bathrooms and my kitchen counters.  Last year, we got rid of the dated and broken-down kitchen.  Next is a bathroom.  And, since the shower started leaking back in the winter, we chose to fix the hall bath; the one Jack uses.

It's pretty small and mostly (probably all) bottom of the line stuff.  The floor is pretty ugly.  It was even ugly back in 1990.  But, it was a workable bathroom.  I am very thankful to have three bathrooms.  I grew up in a family of six and only had one bathroom.  So, I'm not complaining.  But, I will be very glad to have another functioning shower in the house very soon.  The bathroom has already been completely torn out and the tub is installed.  The tile is in process, the vanity ordered.  I'm heading out to look at paint...again, as well as lights.


Jordan Update

Since I haven't seen Jordan since graduation in July, I have no pictures to show you except what I received in the mail last week.

I'm sure she will not be too happy to see this photo.  She was ill and had double pink eye at the time this photo was taken.  She has sent me phone photos, but those aren't very attractive.

Jordan is doing well at her school in Florida.  She told me that if she graduated today, she would graduate with honors; she graduates in less than two months!  We are all so proud of her and all she has accomplished.  Apparently, last week, she filled out her "dream sheet" where she would like to be stationed at once she finishes schooling.  She had discussed wanting to be closer to home and on the east coast.  But, after getting used to not seeing her family, I guess she set her sights some place a little tropical...Aloha!

She is excited about her destination.  Who wouldn't be?  Now, I just have to find a way to get out there at some point in the next three years. 


Time With Seth

Seth had ten days of leave after graduating Marine boot camp.  I've never had ten days fly by so quickly in my entire life.  I'm not even sure how to describe my feelings during that brief time with my son.  Initially, it all started out so joyous.  The day after we came home, we found out that a Marine he graduated with the day before drowned at the beach just seven short hours after graduation.  Immediately, my heart just grieved for that family.  Seth just responded, "How could that happen?"  I couldn't help but feel such a heaviness over me during that week as the frailty of life was magnified by this young Marines death.  As I listened to stories from my son of his time at Parris Island, another mother was making funeral arrangements.  As I sat across from my son at dinner, she looked at the empty seat at the table.  As Seth packed up his gear for SOI training, the young Marine's body was flown home to Ohio for burial.  Eventually, I had to just go to a room by myself and just break down, sobbing, crying out to God to comfort that family.

Then a few days later, the attacks on our embassies occurred.  It didn't help matters when I found out that our country deployed Marine Security Forces to these areas.  Security Force is my sons MOS (job) in the near future.  I admit it.  I worried.  I was overcome with fear of the future for my children.  I know that God is Sovereign.  I have to get it from my head to my heart.  Nothing I do will protect my children.  I have to rest in God's hands.  I never realized until this week how much I do not rest.  Why is it so hard?

For a little while I can rest because I know my Savior.  He loves me and wants me to trust Him.  But, slowly, I pick up that burden again, thinking that somehow I can protect every single one of my children from any pain or difficulty or uncomfortable situation.

Sometimes, I wish I can keep my sons from turning into men.  It is a hard transition for me as much as it is for them.  But, it has been good.

While Seth was home, we did nothing special.  All he wanted was to spend time with his family and a few friends.  Eventually, the burden of worry left me, and I could enjoy the short time we had together.  We anticipated an all-out attack on our refrigerator and pantry.  It didn't happen.  The two gallons of ice cream were only half-eaten, as were the two packs of Popsicles and cupcakes.  Seth thought he would come home and drink a lot of Dr. Pepper.  That didn't happen either.  My, how my son has changed!

Sunday arrived all too soon.  Another good-bye.  Yes.  I miss my son.  A lot.  No matter how long he wears that uniform, in my heart, he will always be that little boy playing soldier with his brother in the backyard.


The Birthday

A special little girl came into our lives in 2006 on her first birthday.  Eva celebrated her 7th birthday and her 6th anniversary with her family this week.  She was quite excited to have Seth home to enjoy her special day.

She only wanted zucchini for her birthday dinner, but Seth talked her into pizza, which she seemed to enjoy.

Jordan bought her the Navy camos!  Aren't they cute on her?

Seth bought her a sword and canteen.  She is so much like Seth in her imagination and adventuresome spirit.


Cooking With Joy

"Cooking With Joy" sounds like a wonderful title for a Food Network show, doesn't it?  But, the Joy I'm referring to is my daughter.

While the other children were at the soccer fields, Joy and I stayed home to fix dinner, Lettuce Wraps.  Today, she was my helper.  She dried the Boston Bib lettuce.  She had a great time!

After I cooked the onions, garlic, and water chestnuts, I poured in the Hoison Sauce.

Then Joy and I had this conversation:

Joy:  Is that barbecue sauce?
Me:  No, it is Hoison Sauce.
Joy:  Poison Sauce?
Me:  No, Hoison Sauce.
Joy:  Good thing it's not Poison Hoison.
Me:  Yes, it is.

So, we continued having a good time together this evening fixing dinner; one of the few times I am alone with just one of my children.

I let her play with my camera.  Not a bad shot, considering she could only hold the camera up with her tiny hands for all of ten seconds at a time.

She loved snapping pictures while I sipped my ginseng tea.  Then we ate dinner together before the gang with a big appetite came through the door.


Family Day and Graduation

We left for Parris Island, South Carolina, for Marine Boot Camp graduation on Wednesday.  The excitement made the trip seem much longer than the 6.5 hour drive.  It is hot at Parris Island.  Very hot.  We left our hotel for the Marine base before the sun camp up on Thursday morning.  We were greeted by a Beaufort police officer letting my husband know that he was exceeding the speed limit.  He gave Mike a nice warning, and we were on our merry way.  We had not seen our son since June.  We were ready to spend the day with him.  Our day started waiting to see Kilo Company and his platoon during the Motivational Run which started at 7:00 A.M.

This scene took my breath away, knowing my son was somewhere among these young men.  I spied him on the front row with a big grin on his face.  Next was the 2.5 mile run.  We lined the streets waiting to cheer on our Marines!

Did I mention how hot it was?  We were all sweating by 7:30 A.M. and we weren't even running!

After the run, the Marines headed back to barracks to get ready for the Liberty Ceremony at 9:00.  We headed to the MCX to do some shopping and sit somewhere very cool.  Then we headed to the facility to see our Marine!

 Patiently waiting...

 Seth's platoon.

Finally!  On base liberty!

He showed us all around the base.

Where he slept...

Who yelled at him...

The head...


We were able to spend time with this young man and his family.  Seth and SS developed a God-ordained friendship during their three months together.  These guys were able to have prayer time and Bible study.  Seth said he always felt "refreshed" afterwards.

My guys and my father-in-law.

For some reason, Anica wanted to come with us?

Seth had to leave us at 2:45 P.M., but it was so great to see him.  We headed back to the hotel and rested up for graduation bright and early the next morning.

Instead of being greeted by a police officer the next morning, we were greeted by the Marines at the gate of the base for a random check.  We had to exit our vehicle while they inspected our van.  At least they let all eight of us sit in an air-conditioned trailer.  Then we were on our way to wait in line to have our bags searched before being seated.

There was a total of around 526 Marines graduating.  The above picture is of Seth's platoon 3065.  Platoon 3065 was the Honor Platoon.  They looked sharp.  Their march and stance in unison was mesmerizing.  Pride and patriotism soared from every parent observing their son.  My words cannot do this ceremony justice.  If you ever have the opportunity to attend a graduation, I highly recommend it.

I'm glad my son was in the front row.  Otherwise, I would have had a difficult time finding him.  I'm thankful for the zoom lens.

Finally, liberty.  He quickly grabbed his bags, and we were heading home.  We get a quick ten days with our son.  He is the same high-energy guy he has always been.  But, Seth is obviously a more mature, disciplined young man.  There is definitely a pride in wearing the Marine uniform.  I'm one proud mother.  If I think about it too long, I can easily become teary-eyed thinking about where Seth was emotionally and spiritually a year ago.

On our trip home, Seth was thanked a few times for his service during our stops for lunch and gas.  It took me by surprise seeing our son's humility and character shine through.


My Life Lately

With Seth's upcoming boot camp graduation, things have been a little hectic around here.  I've been doing school since the beginning of August in anticipation of being off while Seth is home.  School has been successful at least 3 days, sometimes more, a week.  Then I overheard Ivy giving Eva some trivia questions.  The answers are hilarious, and I am thankful that I haven't even taught geography to Eva.  So, her answers are in no way a reflection of my teaching skills.  At least she has heard of some of these places.

Ivy:  What is the capital of California?
Eva:  New Mexico!
Ivy:  No
Ivy:  What states border New Jersey?
Eva:  Egypt and India!
Ivy:  No.  Let's play something else.

So, for some reason Eva likes to play in the hall closet.  Sunday, they decided to bring their DVD player into the closet and watch The Christmas Story.

Crazy Kids (We only have one TV in the house, maybe that is why they have to go into the closet?)

So, in anticipation of Seth being home, and my father-in-law coming to visit, I decided to fix up Jordan's room.  It was really, really, dirty.  Lots of hair spray on the walls, dust on the dirty baseboards.  I had been putting it off.  Eva was originally in that room when she came home in 2006.  I had the cutest Asian bedding for her. 

So, I painted her room a very pale pink, and had a friend of mine paint a scripture and matching flowers around the top of the room.  It was so pretty.  When the girls moved out and Jordan moved in, we never painted over it.

This weekend, I painted over that beautiful scripture.  I hated doing it.  But, I moved on and made the room into a guest room.  There is still plenty to do, but at least now it is clean and freshly painted. 

It is a small room, but it looks so peaceful.  It is missing Jordan right now!  Speaking of Jordan...some of you have asked about her.  She is at school in Pensacola and seems to be enjoying herself.  She is learning a lot of crazy stuff that she is not allowed to tell me...NEVER EVER.  So, I can't even ask.  So, I can't tell you guys.  I could say, "Think James Bond" of "The Bourne Identity", but that wouldn't be right.  It's not as glamorous, she's not an agent, she's not as cool, and she's definitely not as calm.  So, thanks for all the prayers that went up for her.  She is adjusting and I get to talk to her often enough.  Yesterday, we face-timed, and I went through her clothes that she wants me to send her.  Amazing how far technology has come since Mike was in the Navy.  We had a $300 phone bill during the times he was in port in some other country!  Crazy!

Off to clean, pack, cook, soccer, and get ready to see my son!

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