The Misadventures of Cheri

Mortifying my kids one swimsuit at a time


Doesn’t she look thrilled? I think I had just taken the 67th picture of the night of her and she was getting tired of it. We were at the Fall Carnival at our church on Wednesday night. I will be completely honest. I was ecstatic when I realized that this is the last year we can go. It’s only for ages up to 5th grade. If not, there would be literally hundreds of kids all over the church and, well, it would be ugly.

We took my brother’s kids and they had so much fun together. Austin even willingly posed for a picture at the beginning of the evening.

Austin had been asked to help out in the “Cool Room.” Basically, it has a bunch of fans blowing and they replace all the fluorescent lights with black lights. The kids working in there have yellow highlighters and they draw pictures on the kids going through. They have a few glow in the dark games.Here’s a picture of Austin . . . . as well as my camera would take it with no flash.

He said he wanted to look like a raccoon.

And speaking of Austin, he had a great birthday. He requested peanut butter cake and thanks to the internet, I had just the recipe! Click here if you want to try it. Let me warn you . . . it could cause the sin of gluttony. He also received the coveted cell phone I had convinced him he couldn’t get until he was in high school. I’m still not sure how I feel about a 13 year old having a cell phone. But he’s so busy that it will make my life easier – LOL! How’s that for justification. It’s all about me!

I didn’t know how to wrap it without giving it away. He was soooooooooooo sure he was getting and electric guitar. So what I did was set up a treasure hunt with a bunch of clues. Finally, his last clue was a drawer to open. He was so funny. He didn’t see the cell phone at first and ended up taking the drawer completely out. The phone was in plain sight. Tyler called the phone and once it started ringing he understood.

Here’s a video of it – it was really cute. Amber nearly lost her mind when she realized Austin didn’t have a clue!

I’m not sure what we’re going to do about trick or treating. Austin had already decided he was going to stay home and pass out candy. Now the forecast is calling for rain and Amber said she’s NOT going out in the rain (yeah, I raised her right). I told her we could always turn off all the lights, watch a movie and keep all the candy to ourselves. She liked that.

We have a very busy day on the 31st and I hope to have some pictures from it for you tomorrow! Happy Haunting!!!

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Where were you on the day of October 30, 1995?

I don’t know where you were, but I know exactly where I was. I had just birthed what I thought was the largest thing that could ever come from my body. Little did I know that 27 months later his sister would outdo him by 11 ounces, but that’s another horror story for another time.

Yes, 13 years ago today, Tyler and I welcomed the much anticipated Austin Tyler into the world. All 9 pounds and 4 screaming ounces of him. And today, I can’t believe he’s a teenager. I mean I really can’t believe it. I was okay for most of the 29th until bedtime. It was at that point I realized I would be hugging a teenager goodnight for the next six years. The pre-teen years are gone. Just like that. Like I told someone lately, the days are long but the years are short.

So instead of getting mushy, I’m going to look back on some of the more interesting moments raising what has to be one of the most difficult children on the planet.

I never thought . . . .

  • My son wouldn’t sleep through the night or take naps until he was 14 months old. I don’t remember much from that year.
  • Austin would be naked for much of his first five years of life.
  • He would throw a golf ball blindly into my bedroom, have it ricochet off four surfaces and then hit me squarely in the forehead.
  • He would go #2 in the backyard. Eight years later he told me he wanted to see what it was like to be a dog.
  • He wouldn’t have broken a bone by now.
  • He would never keep a thought to himself . . . . even in public in a very loud voice.
  • He would have such beautiful blond hair.
  • He would be so stubborn and strong willed.
  • He would be taller than I am at age 13 – he’s over 5’5 1/2″ now.

So the road labeled “Raising Austin” hasn’t been nearly as smooth and easy as I had hoped. But then, is life ever? I guess I’ll just strap myself in and hold on for the ride of my life – his teenage years!

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Organized Christmas – Are you up for the challenge?

I found the above website a couple of months ago and put it in my “mental lockbox” to be remembered at a later date. And I did remember it. Today. When my friend Caroline mentioned it in a comment. So thank you, Caroline. My lockbox must be more of a vault. Because things go in there never to resurface.

I’ve decided I’m going to organize this Christmas. Notice I didn’t say “try.” I’m serious this year. Last year was a great Christmas, but mostly because I just threw up my hands and didn’t do half of what I usually do. This year I’d like to be a little more in the proactive camp instead of in the cry uncle camp.

So I’m going to do it. The organization starts this week. Yes, my friends, this week. I admit, I think it’s a bit over the top, but I had already toyed with starting a few things now anyway. I truly don’t want to turn Christmas into a huge planning event that exalts my organizational skills (that’s a good one . . . . ) over celebrating the birth of my Savior. But I think if I take it a little at a time, the stress that I almost always experience around this holiday might be lessened, leaving me more time to focus on the greatest gift ever.

And I’m also the same person who in years past has said either to herself or her husband, “I hate Christmas!” I think I was just hating my lack of getting anything organized and the resulting pressure I felt from it. I truly do hate the commercialism of it and the materialism that results. Even in Christian homes. We may rail against how secular Christmas has become while we’re the same people who will go into major debt, turn our children into spoiled brats and turn all our focus on shopping, planning and doing at this time of year. And then on the 25th, maybe the 24th, take a minute to remember Who we’re celebrating. I don’t want to get caught in that cycle ever again.

So does anyone want to take the challenge with me? Anyone feeling up to the task? If you are, you’d better get a move on and head over to Organized Christmas. I’ll meet you there!

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I got boo-ed!

Oh yes I did! I did the happy dance when I came home from Bible study and saw it on the counter. What is “boo-ing” you might ask. And why does it make me so happy? Okay, boo-ing is when you get a cute little package on your doorstep in the darkness of night around Halloween. It comes with goodies and two pieces of paper. One is a cute goblin with the words “BOO” printed on it and the other are your instructions. Here’s what they say:

Since this is the time for goblins and bats
Halloween spirits and ghosts and cats
Weird happenings and witches brew
These are the things I wish for you

May the only spirit you chance to meet
Be the spirit of love and warm friends sweet
May the only goblin that comes your way
Be the neighborhood phantom, whom you’ll want to give away

So by tomorrow, pick three friends sweet
And give them all a Halloween treat
You only have one day so hurry!!!
Leave that treat on the doorstep then flee in a hurry

Now these are the things you need to do:
1. Make three copies of this letter and a copy of phantom ghost for each
2. Place the phantom poster on your door until Halloween. This will ward off the phantom ghost from returning to haunt you and yours.
3. Take your letter, phantom and treat and deliver them to homes that do not have a phantom poster.

Last year when the kids went trick-or-treating, I saw all these “boo” signs in windows of houses the next street over. When I finally went to the door with the kids because I couldn’t stand not knowing what they were any longer, I had it explained to me. At that moment I proceeded to burn hot with envy. OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, I wanted to be boo-ed so. bad. But alas, Halloween was over and it was too late. I swore up and down that I was going to start the tradition on my street this year.

Of course I forgot. I don’t think it’s crossed my mind once since I was so vexed last Halloween. I was shocked, but so happy when I saw it this evening. Of course, the kids had finished off the candy, but I don’t care. The letter was in pretty bad shape so I retyped it. I think I have an inkling of who did it, so I’m going to drive by their house tomorrow (yes, it’s that far away . . . . . I’m not lazy enough to drive only a few doors down – yet).

So tonight I shall plot whom I will choose to boo. This is just so much fun!!

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I love Portland, Oregon!

I really, really, really do! Yes, it’s one of the most uber-liberal cities in America. Yes, there’s a lot of traffic. Yes, there are old dirty parts. Yes, yes, yes. There are a lot of negatives to the city. But I still love it. And even though Nancy Pelosi and Al Gore were both in Portland today, I still love the place.

We took the kids to our favorite restaurant today, which happens to be in my most favorite of cities. It’s a Greek restaurant called, fittingly, Green Cusina. I know I’ve mentioned it before so I won’t bore you. The weather the past few days has been spectacular. As we drove along the Willamette river, it sparkled and shined. You just have to forget how polluted the darn thing is. Even Tyler commented on the beauty of the city in the early stages of fall.

We were having a wonderful lunch in the middle of downtown, next to a huge floor to ceiling window. And then it happened. Why I love this city so much. We got a show on the sidewalk. Two women were walking together and they were, well, how do I say this nicely? Uh . . . hmm . . . ug . . . oh!! They were probably 10% sober. One of them stops, making both of them come to a halt quite awkwardly. Apparently, there was a need for peanut butter Whoppers.

But, alas, with that much alcohol on board, things can go wrong so easily. And they did. The contents of the king sized Whopper box ended up on the sidewalk. No big deal at this point; I was just watching curiously. Well, these women must’ve been environmentalists, too, because they quickly decide that there should be NO peanut butter Whoppers on the sidewalk.

So they bend down, very slowly, and begin picking the Whoppers up. Again, no big deal. It was at this moment that the show began. They ended up putting the Whoppers back in the box. I was kind of giggling at this moment because their aim wasn’t exactly accurate. By this time, they’d made such an impression that our waiter and a busboy had to stop and watch.

Then one of the ladies started eating the Whoppers right off the ground. This sounds awful to be blogging about, but it was like a train wreck I couldn’t stop looking at. The waiter starts yelling, “Oh My G**! She just ate a Whopper off the ground!” He then runs to tell the host who nearly gagged. It was a circus inside and on the sidewalk.

The ladies managed to get back up, with all but one Whopper either being eaten or put back in the box and into a purse. But the show continued in the restaurant with our very animated wait staff.

So that’s one of the many reasons I love Portland. You never know what you’re going to get. It’s never, ever a boring place to be. And while I don’t think I could ever live there, I certainly love being 15 minutes away!

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And the winner is . . . . .

. . . . Betty R! Yes, there really is a winner!! Well, she’s not technically correct, but close enough. And I originally thought what she thought until the firefighter, yes the firefighter, told us otherwise.

We were enjoying a lovely day at Cocoa Beach and about 1 1/2 hours into it, I was standing about knee deep in the water and suddenly felt the pain of my life. Oh. My. Lord. It literally felt like something was implanted into my leg. At first, all we could see was the little squiggly line and not the other three. As I was kind of freaking out (that being an understatement) and managing not to completely lose my mind (that also being an understatement) we decided I must’ve been stung by a jelly fish.

There was no one else on the beach and we had no clue what to do. So Tyler ended up calling 911. He told them it wasn’t an emergency, but we didn’t know what to do. It was really, really windy so the poor dispatcher was having an awful time trying to hear him. He finally asked Tyler, “Did you say your wife swallowed a jellybean?”

Once Tyler got the point across, let’s just say things went overboard. He was up by the street and all of the sudden I saw a lifeguard come flying down the beach on a four-wheeler. So being the self-conscious person I am, I just sat there. He was looking all around, then listened to his earpiece, turned and left. But Tyler was still up by the road that I thankfully couldn’t see, because they nearly sent out the entire calvary.

When the fire truck pulled up, Tyler told him what had happened. It appears I was actually stung by a man ‘o war, not a jellyfish. He said unless there were multiple and/or very large stings, they weren’t allowed to treat them anymore. Which I agree with – it would just be a waste of their time. He also told Tyler that there was a huge rip tide going on (which we actually knew about and wouldn’t let the kids get in over their knees) and the rip tide churns them up and tosses them all around because they have no way to propel themselves underwater. It also tears them up, so there can be thousands of little man o’ war parts floationg around waiting to sting an unsuspecting family from the northwest.

After we got in the car, which was pretty much right away, I was so thankful. Amber had been laying down in the knee deep water and she could have gotten it pretty bad.

We stopped at Walgreens to get Benadryl and they actually had a spray for jellyfish. I don’t remember too much of the drive home.

Which leads me to the pain. Oh. My. (Insert expletive here; more than one if it makes you feel better). It was like the worst burn of my life, only worse. I went to my parents house after we got back and they were watching “Beach Patrol.” A girl got stung by a man ‘o war and the lifeguard told her it would only hurt for about 45 minutes. Talk about getting someone’s hopes up. Mine hurt for over 12 hours. It woke me up once in the night, but the next morning it didn’t hurt anymore.

But all in all, I have to remember that it wouldn’t really be a ‘Cho (my new nickname for the fam) family vacation without a little drama. Drama follows us around like our shadows. And the stings didn’t kill me so I guess all’s well that ends well!!!

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‘Fro Me To You – Crybabies

**Alert, alert! Check back here @ 1:00-ish PST for me to announce the results of my contest/giveaway (post below this one). You still have time to venture a guess!**

And here we are with another lovely edition of ‘Sincerely ‘fro me to you. I was in Florida for two weeks and am just now starting to feel somewhat normal. One of my first thoughts upon waking this morning was that I HAD to get this post done.

A little background on the picture. My brother and I hated having our pictures taken by the professionals. I can’t tell you the number of 8 x10’s my poor mother has of us with tear stained eyes and puffy red lips and noses. So one year she had a brilliant idea.

She decide to pay a professional a truckload of money to come out to our house and take the pictures there. I mean, we’d be comfortable, we’d be surrounded by comforting things, thus ensuring angelic, perfectly posed smiles on our faces, with our heads tilted just so. Here’s what she got:

My. Poor. Mother. The fact that the woman has not ended up in a mental facility thanks to her uber-shy, crybaby kids who turned out to be extremely independent and defiant at later ages attests to her strength of character. Mom even brought a friend over for moral support. The friend ended up yelling at us to stop crying and smile. Yeah, it didn’t really work.

Guess what? After the photographer left in what I’m sure was abject defeat, she took her own pictures of us. We were smiles all over the place, albeit with tear stained eyes and puffy, red lips and noses.

Join the fun at Kristen’s blog: We are THAT Family.

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My first blog contest giveaway!

First of all, I know I’ve been a little quiet since I got back from Florida. What can I say?? Home girl is tired. And I’ve been nursing a constant headache (which is now gone), running my son around the greater Clark county/Portland metro area. But blah, blah, blah . . . . let’s get to the contest. Amber is really ticked that it’s taken me so long to get this blog up. Why? Because if none of you guess right and don’t win the prize, she gets it.

In this particular contest, you will be guessing the tragic event that happened to yours truly on vacation. I have a picture of it. Those are your two and only clues – it happened in Florida and the picture. The first person to guess correctly by Thursday, October 25, 2008, 1:00 p.m. Pacific time.

Here’s the picture:

It was (and still is) located near my knee, off to the side, kind of between my knees.

Wanna see what you’re guessing for? Here it is:

The kids ended up being obsessed with Disney pins – both collecting and trading them. Amber came home with quite an assortment and Austin’s was pretty good as well.

If you think you know the malady that befell me, leave a comment with your best guess. My blog allows for anonymous comments, so anyone can comment. If I don’t know you and/or you don’t have a Blogger account, please leave a way for me to contact you should you be the winner.

Hopefully no one who already knows what it is will ruin the fun for everyone else. I only think a couple of people know . . . . . I’ve been very quiet about it just for this contest.

So get your thinking caps on and guess away!

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I’m baaaaaaaaaaaack – sorta

I’m sitting in the Orlando airport at the unthinkable hour of 7:45 a.m. – making it 4:45 at home. I’m about to fly clear across the country on two flights, thus returning from a two week vacation in Florida. It has been wonderful. Not without family drama and one “event” that will not only be a later blog, but a contest. I think only one of you, my sister in law, knows what happened, so no commenting on it! I’ll be enticing you all to guess the event with my first blog giveaway. But that’ll come later in the week.

I’m exhausted, but relaxed. And a bit irritated. People are so pushy and rude – especially in the security line. It’s not my fault Mr. and Mrs. Unhappy were running late. Then I saw them arguing in the Starbucks line and was satisfied. They weren’t just unhappy with my family, they were unhappy with life in general. That’ll be a real fun trip back home.

It’s a good thing the Cho family (my new nickname for us) is a rather laid back group. If not, we would have HAD IT at Disney. I’ve never seen more pushy, get-me-to-the-front-of-the-line-even-if-it-is-only-one-person-closer people in my life. So I’m glad to be going back to the much more laid back northwest. I realize Disney isn’t exactly grounds for indicting an entire region of the country, so I don’t blame Florida. Most of the Floridians I ran into were very nice. I can’t say enough wonderful things about where we stayed, for example.

And spending two weeks with my son’s almost 13 year attitude was, well, a bit much. The thing is, he’s a lot like I was at that age. So instead of losing it, I’m going to just keep a bit of distance for a day or two once we get home.

So that’s all. We should be boarding soon. I’ve got plenty of pictures to upload, PLENTY of stories to tell (I kept a journal while we were there – it’s the first time I’ve done a vacation journal and I’ll do it from now on), and one contest coming up.

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On a bloggy break

I’ll be taking a break from my blog for the next couple of weeks for some much needed time of rest, relaxation and focusing on my family. See you in mid-October!

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