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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


Merry Christmas

I'm so thankful for another Christmas with our family.  Last night, the girls had a Christmas program at church, which we all were going to attend.  Unfortunately, one young man was sick to his stomach all day long.  So, I took the girls by myself.  And keeping with tradition, the girls asked to sleep next to the tree with the lights on.  Little did they know that Grandma had bought them new sleeping bags.  So, while they were getting ready for bed, I spread out the new bags.  And, Mike and I had them pegged on which girl would pick out each patterned bag.  We were right!  Thanks Grandma!

The girls woke right on time.  They were ready to start the day!  Jordan asked us to Face Time with her, even though it was 3:00 am her time.  She is such a trooper!  We missed having her home, but we set her up nice and neat on the table so she could watch her crazy siblings.

Poor Seth had not eaten all day on Monday.  He spent most of his day lying on the bathroom floor moaning and eating Popsicles.  I'm so glad he is feeling better, and I'm praying no one else gets it.

Before I knew it, the presents were opened.  I'm quite embarrassed by this next picture, but no one bothered throwing the paper away and keeping the house in order.  We didn't even buy many gifts for the kids, and the house was still a mess.

For some reason, we had a whole lot of sweets in the stockings.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas!

Seth and his friend, Anica.  They've been friends for a really long time...



This week I was doing some organizing and came across some of the letters my kiddos have written me over the years.  I keep the older ones stored in a box, but had to add to it lately because of the girls.  But, for years, I have kept this one near my bathroom vanity.  It has faded over the years, but still lovely as ever.

Maybe it is the fact that this is our first Christmas without Jordan home, but I'm a bit melancholy.  Not in a bad way, but in a thoughtful way.  There has been a lot of stuff going on inside my brain lately; lots and lots of pondering over lots and lots of stuff. 

So, I thought I'd share some of my precious masterpieces.

 Jordan's Father's Day card, obviously.  But, below, is a heartbreaking card Jordan wrote when her brother and sister twins died.  She was so heartbroken.  It still makes me cry.  Jordan was only 12 years old.

I have a lot of letters from Seth.  Most of them are letters telling me how much he loves me and "Thank you for letting me off school today."  I must have needed many breaks while schooling him.

And apparently, Seth tried his hand at cross stitch at some point in his childhood.

My Jack was never much into coloring or writing.  I'm not even sure I could find a letter in my tub of Melancholy from Jack.  So, yesterday, as part of his schoolwork, I made him draw me a beautiful picture and a note.  Not a man to mince words, I got this from him.

If you know my son, you'll understand this is as good as it's gonna get.  I'll take it!  At least he made it look colorful.  It might just be my favorite.

Remember doing these in school?

I should have done one with all my children.  Any guesses who this is?  Yes, he is the one who never brushed his hair except on church days.


My Life Lately

There never seems to be dull moments at our home; it seems to be a busy home.  So, our last few days consists of lots of school.  I am about 2-3 weeks behind schedule with Eva and Joy, about a week behind with Ivy, and I haven't a clue how far with Jack.  I'm going to be a scrooge and only give them a few days off for Christmas.  I have to blame it all on the adult children I have.  When they come home to visit, it is hard to get anything done.

So, I found the girls hiding things today.

 Moxie lets them do way too much to her!

I'm not sure of the look she was trying to acquire.  A five o'clock shadow, maybe?

So, I'm having to make the Christmas cookies this year.  My baker left me for Hawaii.

Since baking 80 or so cookies takes me all day, I needed a nice pot of jasmine tea to start the day. 

Joy thinks the candy-cane shaped cookies are really "J's" especially for her.  After the hard work of rolling and baking, the girls came around for the fun part.

Jordan would be very proud.

Ivy's recovery is going very well.  I'm very pleased that her left nostril is rounded like the other side!  Yes, it is still smaller, but it looks so nice.  Hopefully, in the next few days, the swelling will go down and we can get a better look at her lip.  Stitches come out on Monday!  She is such a trooper.


Ivy's Surgery

Last night after dinner, Ivy and I drove out of town to spend the night near the surgery center.  I had a nice time being alone with my daughter, eating veggies and hummus, watching HGTV in a big, soft, king-sized bed.  Ivy had a peaceful spirit about her last night and wasn't too concerned about the upcoming surgery.  I thought about all that must be going through her mind as I lay there listening to her nose "whistle" the steady rhythm of her breathing.

We both woke up bright and early, ready for the day ahead of us.  (Note of caution not to go any further if you don't want to see her cleft stitches.)  We arrived at the center and didn't have to wait too long to be called back to pre-op.  In the meantime, I drank two cups of coffee, and Ivy played games on my phone.

 All smiles for a very short bit.

Excuse the strange look on my face.  I look like some sort of feline ready to attack.

I was allowed to walk back with Ivy to the operating room.  I helped her climb on the warm bed and held her hands while they readied her for the surgery.  She was being very brave as I held the mask over her tiny tear-streaked face.  In a matter of minutes she was asleep.  I kissed her good-bye and got out of that strange get-up to wait for over 2 hours, playing Words With Friend, Candy Crush, and Flow.  I drank 2 cups of tea and ate a candy bar that someone else bought for me because I had no single bills for the vending machine.

Dr. G. finally came out to tell me all went well.  He moved her septum to the left a bit, removed some scar tissue, lined up her pinks, rounded out her left nostril (which is still smaller than her right one anyway), and fixed a tiny hole that made that lovely whistling noise I heard all night long.  She was quite sad when I went back to see her.  She has a whole lot of swelling.  And, as with most cleft surgeries, a constant slow drip of blood continues from her nostrils.  She had the same thing in 2010 when she had her bone graft.  But, she has done remarkably well.

We drove home without any issues.  Ivy ate some crackers and drank some soda.

We were both glad to be home.  I think she is such a brave young lady.  Next week we get the stitches out, and I can't wait for the swelling to go down so we can see the results much better.  Thank you all so much for your prayers.

I came home to these goofy girls who had not even brushed their hair today.  All they did was play.  What a life.


A New Ivy

When I looked at Ivy's medical file back in 2009, I was unfamiliar with cleft.  Her file did not mention anything about her palate, so I was thinking she was only lip affected, but preparing for the cleft, too.  This was the picture we saw of her.

It looks so minor to me right now, but back in 2009, I wondered how to care for a cleft.  I, personally, had oral aversion issues and couldn't stand the thought of looking into anyone's mouth, let alone a cleft affected child's mouth.  Despite my issues, we sent our paperwork in to China to adopt this little girl.

Once in China, I found out that Ivy did not have a cleft palate, but rather a cleft in her gum line, which affected her teeth and nose.  In December 2010, Ivy had a bone graft to fill in her cleft.  Tomorrow morning, she will have her lip and nose revision.  We're all excited about her new look!

The surgeon will lift up her left nostril and line up the pinks of her lip from her surgery scar when she was a baby.  Pray for peace for Ivy.  She knows what is going on.  I'm sure there is much anticipation.


Should Have Seen It Coming

No pun intended in the title, of course.  But, Jack had just been for an eye exam a year and a half ago.  So, I was surprised when Jack would say he could not read the license plate on the car in front of us or a road sign until we were right upon it.  He had no problem with seeing his school work or playing soccer.

So, I decided to get him checked anyway (especially since his daddy can't see a thing without his contacts).  Apparently, Jack's eyesight is 4 times worse than his last visit, which was so minor I was not even told about it.  Apparently, puberty affects eye sight.  Who knew?

Jack told me he wasn't going to wear his glasses in public.  He was wrong.  We went out for Mexican food the other night, and he wore them.

He is a stickler for the serious look.  Jack gets mad at me if I try to make him smile ;o)

He said to me, "What do you need a picture of me for?  The blog?"  Why, of course!  Everyone needs to see how handsome he is getting.  Yikes!  He looks like Seth!  I like Jack a lot.  He's weird, but I still like him a whole lot.


Playtime In the Woods

When I was a little girl, I loved being in the woods playing make-believe.  I would "set up house" around a tree and have sections marked off by sticks or rocks.  I could spend hours at a time pretending.  Seth and Jordan were great pretenders, too.  They could also sit for hours designing Lego houses.  They'd never actually play "house", but was always designing.  So, I was quite delighted when my girls started escaping to their secret place, secret password included.  Eva begged me to come visit, so this morning, I did.  Joy led the way.


And she was quite pleased with having me in their "home".

 I'm not sure what this contraption is.  Ivy just informed me it is her pantry and stove.

Their place to put "things".

 There were rocks to climb on...
 ...a trampoline to bounce on...
...vines to swing on...

 ...paths to walk on...
 ...all within sight of home.

And, I can see and hear them while they play.  Seth would be proud of his sisters in the woods.

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