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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


What Makes a Mom?

One night, I was sitting with a friend during a banquet.  It was fun watching all the little kiddos running around.  We were remarking about how cute this one tiny little girl was.  I mean, she was really, really, cute.  She was maybe 3 years old cute.  Then I noticed all of her siblings.  And, you guessed it!  They were all cute!  They were all wearing cowboy boots and belt buckles that weighed more than the cute kids.  Anyway, my friend remarked to me, "You know...she has six kids, and she is only 38 years old."  I wondered what was so remarkable about that since, well...I have six kids....they're all cute....and I'm only....well...skip the 38 years old part.

So, I looked a little confused and replied, "I have six kids you know."  And she said, "Well, she birthed all of hers.  There is a difference."  Now, I am not a very good bluff.  I'm sure she saw the surprised look on my face because she repeated herself, "There is a difference."  I just looked at her and didn't really know what to say.  Those words made me feel that I somehow had to prove myself as a mom.  Was it a competition?  Childbirth vs Adoption?  Thoughts ran through my mind and I wondered if there really was a difference.  I thought about my babes that I lost at birth, Ashton, Grace, Ben, and Rachel.  I turned to A Friend and shared that little bitty fact with her.  She replied, "I didn't know."  How could she know?  It is not something I go around telling people.

That short five-minute conversation keeps popping into my mind.  It is amazing how a simple comment can affect someone and cause their thoughts to go in all different directions.  Is a mom, who has never given birth, less of a mom to her two, five, six, or even ten adopted children?  Do those children not count on the scale of "mommy-hood"?  Is giving birth some sort of badge of honor and those who are not successful doomed to wear a scarlet letter their entire life?  Is it the physical act of childbirth and the passing on of our genetic traits that makes someone a mom?  Or is it the raising of a child that makes someone a mom?

I've always heard that DNA doesn't make someone a mom or dad.  To me that is absolutely true.  I guess I just have different eyes when it comes to mommy-hood.  It is not the nine months of work up through the birth of the child that makes someone a mom.  It is that mom's entire life of self-sacrifice, prayer and devotion to her children that makes her a mom.


Ni Hao Yall


New Threads

When Seth stopped playing in leather breeches, coonskin hat, leather gloves, and cowboy hats, I packed them up, hoping one day that he would want them for his own little boy.

Last week as I was rummaging through the tubs of "stuff", some little one was tagging along with me.  Once she saw all that fun looking stuff, she asked to play with it.  And, after promising me she would take care of her big brother's stuff, she picked out her favorites.

I went onto explain to her that she was wearing real leather.  Then I had to explain what real leather was.  Her response was priceless.

"You mean I'm wearing dead animals?"  Yes, Eva, you are.


She Turned Eleven

Wow!  That seems so strange to even write the title to this post.  Yes, I  have an 11 year old daughter.  When you're adopted at age 7.5, age 11 gets here rather quickly.  It was a pleasant day.  Big brother started off wrapping her gifts that he bought.  He wasted a ton of paper because he wasn't interested in making it look pretty.

If you were an 11 year old, which gift looks more appealing?

Jordan always wraps beautifully.

Remember those cool pens that has about 10 different colors?  I always loved them.  Jordan found one for her.

Then she opted for the ridiculously-rich dirt cake.  Yum.

Ivy had her school pictures taken yesterday at co op.  As she sat there on that stool, she looked so long and thin....and old.   No more baby pudgy cheeks. 

Remember how her cheeks looked?

Time is rushing by...


The Grande Dame

She came into our lives 14 years ago.  I felt the children needed the responsibility of having a dog. So, I took the young crew to the animal shelter in Winnebago County Illinois to "look".  I knew I wanted a big dog; a dog for protection.  We found a perfect dog when they brought out a yellow lab mix with short legs and white socks that had been found roaming the streets.  We walked her outside.  She lay in the grass and my kids climbed all over her.  She was a happy, patient dog.

We came home with Millie after 2 baths from the pet shop.  She was still stinking like a farm animal, but we didn't care.  She was ours.  The kids loved her, and Millie seemed to fit right in.  She was about a year old and chewed our stairs, toys, stuffed animals, pacifiers.  She had a penchant for roaming.  If she slipped past us, out she went.  Many times we searched for the escapee in the pouring rain.  She made me mad.  Why, oh why, couldn't she be happy with just having a loving family and food in her bowl at all times?  Why did she need to take off at every opportunity?

We moved back to Virginia in 2001, and Millie couldn't be happier!  She loved the acreage and the freedom to roam.  I gave up trying to keep her confined to our property.  She had free reign and permission to roam wherever she chose.  Thankfully for her, there were plenty of cows and horses nearby.  The scents drew her to roll around in the forbidden stuff.  Eventually, she became an outside dog: that was her dream in life.  She preferred laying in the cool garage in the heat of the summer, or letting the snow pile up on her as she lay in the grass.

My children grew up with her.  She could not have been a more perfect pet for our family. She brought fear into the lives of the delivery men. Eventually, the UPS man just threw our packages off his truck when Millie would come running.  I can't blame him.  She had a ferocious bark and was not afraid of anything.  She was our great protector.

When we added to the family, she accepted the girls fully.  No questions asked.  She was always faithful.

As she got older, she got better.  I loved greeting her in the morning.  She was always happy with a smile on her face.  Yeah, she put on a little weight as she aged (don't we all?).  But, she was still beautiful to us all.

Nothing could deter her faithfulness.  Not even a rotten puppy named Moxie.

Millie took it all in stride and showed the new dog the ropes.  But, Millie was still the queen of the castle.  No other dog could usurp her!

They really did love each other.

She aged gracefully and holds the title of the "Grande Dame" of the home.  She maintained her dignity through arthritis, failing eyesight, and hearing.

She died September 25th.  Sadly, I didn't see her walk in front of my car.  I can chalk that day up to one of the worst days of my life.  I didn't sleep much that night, and had a "crying hangover" all day long on Thursday.

I never understood how people could be so sad over losing a dog.  Now I understand.  I belong to that "club".  We all knew it would happen one day soon, but just didn't expect it to happen last week or so suddenly.   I sure miss the queen of the castle.  She always made me smile.

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