The Misadventures of Cheri

Mortifying my kids one swimsuit at a time

Three Simple Rules

Yes, my husband is off on yet another (and his last of the year) hunting adventure. He called and said the hunting was very slow today and he actually fell asleep in the blind. Bless his heart. Isn’t that what you say at the end of talking about a crazy person?

I knew when I married Tyler he was the hunter-gatherer type. He came equipped with guns, gear and professionally mounted caribou . . . rack? . . . . horns? . . . . . pointy things? I don’t know. All I do know is they’re the only previously-alive item that is allowed to hang on the walls of our house. Through the years, with some trial and error, I have come up with three non-negotiable rules when it comes to Tyler and his hunting escapades. I should say it took me less than two years for me to come up with these, and they haven’t changed in the following fourteen years.

*Disclaimer – these rules stand as long as we’re not starving. If we ever have to hunt/fish to put food on the table, I will abandon these rules in a heartbeat.

RULE #1

Whatever you kill and bring home, you will bring it home cleaned. I do not do guts. I do not do scales. I do not do fur. I do not do . . . . well, you get it. There will be no bleeding of a mammal in my garage. There will be no rotting guts in the garbage. It will come home ready to eat or put in the freezer.

RULE #2

Don’t tell me about any close calls you had. This rule came about when Tyler and a friend went moose hunting and ended up getting charged by an angry female brown bear. After his hour long story that ended in the ultimate demise of the bear, I think I needed shock therapy. I don’t want to know about how close the hook you were casting came to your eye. I don’t need to know that the gun went off in an unintended direction. I don’t need to hear any of it.

RULE #3

Don’t ask me to come along. I don’t hunt. There’s really nothing more to say. I don’t want to sit at the Comfort Inn all day long and wait for you. I have two kids that need to be entertained and eastern Washington (currently the object of my husband’s hunting and fishing desire) isn’t really a hot bed of excitement for them. Which makes it unbearable for me.

There you have it. Tyler has actually done very well with the “rules” over the years. Sorta. He does manage to ask me every year if I want to go catfishing with him, the kids and his dad every year. Refer to rule #3 dear! I’m sorry, my idea of fun is not sitting on a boat for 6 -8 hours in 95+ degree heat. I asked him where I would go to the bathroom. He informed me that they put the port-a-potty on the bow of his dad’s boat. And that “we all turn around when someone goes.” I didn’t even ask him about the other boats on the river. Yeah, doing THAT in front of – or behind – my father in law. Never in a million years. And I also know I’d end up doing all the cooking, cleaning, refereeing the kids . . . . . Wow. Could it be any more attractive?

As he’s out falling asleep in goose blinds in 30 degree weather, here I sit – at home and cozy. And using a bathroom with walls, a door and a toilet that flushes.

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My Mom’s Cancer is in Remission!

Praise our glorious God. I have so much more to blog about, but I also have phone calls and e-mails to send out. I’ll be back later today. Thank you all for your support – I love each one of you so much!

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Hope Now

So the last few days have been an interesting mix of emotion. And I’m sure it’s just going to intensify until Wednesday morning. My mom finds out the results of the CAT scan on her lung then. She finished her last round of chemo a few weeks ago. She had the scan done last week and the waiting has been awful. And WHY anyone scheduled her to find out her results the day before Thanksgiving is beyond me.

Either way, Thanksgiving is going to be very special this year. I honestly think Mom is going to get good news on Wednesday. Things were going so well mid-way through her treatment with an over 50% reduction of the tumor. But you still wonder. Cancer is not a friendly enemy.

And if I can complain for a minute . . . . . when you’re going through agonizing emotional times like this, homeschooling sucks. Seriously sucks. I nearly had a breakdown trying to explain fractions and pronoun antecedents to Austin today. He told me I don’t do a very good job explaining, and I have to agree. But, just like last year when we got the initial news about my mom, we’ll make it through. God was so good to us last year. The kids have to take standardized tests once a year according to the state law (we do the CAT). I just knew that I had ruined them because of what I was going through. We got the results back and they were either average or above average on everything. Both of their scores had gone up from the previous year and Austin scored 100% in two categories. So I should stay off my case!

I’m going to leave you with lyrics from a song that has been very meaningful to me during this time. The song came out around the time of mom’s diagnosis this spring and the lyrics hit me hard. It’s “Hope Now” by Addison Road.

If everything comes down to love
Then just what am I afraid of
When I call out Your name
Something inside awakes in my soul
How quickly I forget I’m Yours

When my life is like a storm
Rising waters all I want is the shore
You say I’ll be ok and
Make it through the rain
You are my shelter from the storm

I’m not my own
I’ve been carried by You
All my life

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free
You’ve become my heart’s desire
I will sing Your praises higher
Cause Your love sets me free

P.S. Don’t worry too much about me. I have an amazing husband, precious friends (both in town and online) and church support like you can’t believe. So even if Mom’s news is the worst of the worst, I’m covered 🙂

I’ll let you all know as soon as I find out.

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‘Fro Me To You – Ode to the Family Christmas Photo Shoot

With the holiday season upon us, I thought this week’s ‘fro entry should reflect it. Well, that and when my husband saw this picture laying around he said, “This has to be your ‘fro entry this week. Holy cr*p, look at your hair.” Thanks honey. Really.

So here we have my attempt, 10 years ago, at a beautiful family photo to impress all of our friends with.

Yeah, that’s quite a picture. Take a minute and take it all in. I’ll start deconstructing it piece by piece.

  1. My husband and the crazed lunatic look on his face. Trust me, his eyes are never that perky. Just moments before he had announced, “This better not take all night.” OH what Christmas spirit doth overflow.
  2. Obviously looking at the pug was more fun for my then almost 3 year old son. He insisted on holding that black piece of wood so he could ‘moke in a piccure. Loosely translated, smoke in the picture. Yes, my son wanted to smoke. In our Christmas picture that was supposed to make us look like a Stepford family.
  3. One can only assume that the spot on said son’s crotch is pee. What else would it be?
  4. The 8 month old looking intently at her shoe. Did we really expect more than that?
  5. Gander down at the spot on my pant’s leg. Don’t remember that being there. Probably never knew it was there.
  6. The pug. Our dearly departed St. Ginger. She looks like she just needs to escape. And quick.
  7. And yes, holy cr*p Batman, look at my hair. That’s a lot of hair, even by 1998 standards.

In case you’re wondering, out of the 10 or 15 pictures we took that night, none of them made the cut. I used a picture of just the kids instead.

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



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The Letter of the Law vs. the Spirit of the Law

I was chatting on Facebook with my husband’s darling cousin, Kendra, yesterday. I love her so much that I now claim her as my own. I don’t put “husband’s” in front of cousin anymore. Oh that she didn’t live in New York! Oh that when she visited her parents in Seattle I could get my act together to go and see her! Oh that the name of my blog was “What is it NOW!!” just to be cute. Anyway, our conversation reminded me of one of my favorite stories about Tyler from his childhood.

The story I’m about to tell is, what I’m told, very typical of my husband as a child. What’s funny, is that it’s very, very typical of our son to this day. So typical in fact that I thought maybe his mother was telling a story about Austin.

When Tyler was three, his mother had what every parent dreads all year long. An over-active three year old and a Christmas tree. I know. Take a minute to let the shuddering stop if you have to. Betty had made it very clear to Tyler that he was NOT to touch the ornaments. He could look at the ornaments all the live long day, but he was not to touch even one of them.

Betty was feeling confident that Tyler would obey the “no touching ornaments” rule. So she headed down the hall to the bedroom because not only was she hugely pregnant, she also had an 16 month old daughter to tend to as well . . . . I don’t call her “Fertile Myrtle” for nothing. She said once she got to the bedroom she heard the most awful noise. Probably in the midst of changing a cloth diaper, she yelled to Tyler, “Are you touching the ornaments?” Her reply was the angelic and completely convinced of his innocence voice of my husband saying, “No, mama, I no touch dee orn’men. Ty no touch!”

But the noise got louder and louder until she finally had to run down the hall to see what the racket was. My husband, ever the obedient child, was, in fact, not touching any ornaments. He had stuck his entire arm in the tree, avoiding the ornaments, grabbed the trunk about half way up and was shaking the life out of the tree. But hey, Tyler figured he was in the clear because he wasn’t touching any ornaments.

I am convinced my husband and son should write a book. The title would be “How to Obey Without Really Obeying.” It would be a runaway best seller.


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The test I was oh-so-happy to fail

I’m not a fan of failing anything – especially tests. But let me take you back to May 1995 when I failed a test and cried tears of joy . . . . . .

Tyler, Austin and I were on a family vacation in North Carolina. I say family vacation because my parents were on the trip, as were my dad’s two sisters and their families. We were surrounded by people at all times. We had driven from Florida to North Carolina and were doing some sight seeing in Maggie Valley, NC. Maggie Valley is nestled in the Smoky Mountains and one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

You’d think I would have been all relaxed-like, surrounded by nature’s beauty, the love of my family, the amazing canned greasy beans my aunt gave us (of which I downed nearly a quart on my own). But relaxed I was not. Why? Because my then 6 month old son was intent on killing me. Screaming when he was put in his car seat. Demanding to be nursed around the clock. Wailing for hours because after he went to bed his mom went out on the town with her cousin (I think he could just sense my presence leaving the house). And everything else he could manage to throw in at a moment’s notice. No, my son was not an easy baby.

I had begun to get increasingly worried about a certain visitor who was late. You know the one. And I was NOT happy. In fact, I think sheer panic would be a better way to put it. It finally got to the point that I had to know what was going on – meaning I also had to let Tyler in on my plight.

His reaction was one of, “WHAT? Just exactly how late are you?” I had no clue. I was barely surviving Austin so tracking that little thing on the calendar wasn’t happening. About that time my dad knocked on our hotel room door. He was going to get gas and wanted to know if Tyler wanted to tag along. Tyler said, “YES!!” just a little too enthusiastically. I told him, “Don’t you dare let my dad know what’s going on!” He just humphed and went out the door.

About 20 minutes later Tyler returned with a brown bag under his shirt. I asked him, “Did Dad see?” He answered, “No.” I started with, “How did you . . . ” and was cut off with, “Just take the test . . . .NOW!”

Folks, we were broke! Another kid at that time was the furthest thing from our minds. We knew we’d eventually have more, but to have them only spaced out 15 months? After having the worst infant on the face of the earth? I could think of about 500 better things to do with my life at that particular moment. All I could imagine was people saying loving things like, “Oops, that was obviously an accident.” “Don’t you know how that happens?” “Somebody had too much wine one night?” The things that make all newly pregnant women feel so good about themselves.

I took the test and we waited in gut wrenching anticipation. I think I never stopped praying for the entire three minutes, “Oh please, God, no. Oh please, no, no, no, no. OH. GOD. NO.” I was way past asking – I was into pleading and bargaining.

As most of you know, Amber is not 15 months younger than her brother. She’s 27 months. When the second line didn’t appear on the test I told Tyler, “I’ve never been so happy to flunk anything in my life.” We both laughed the laugh of very relieved people. And then Austin started screaming and our glee was interrupted and we were reminded why we were so relieved we weren’t staring down the barrel of the newborn gun again!

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Sittin’ in Seattle

Okay, really I’m in Bellevue. But it’s all Seattle to me. One of my dearest friends from Alaska was down here for a scrapbook convention. She had a free afternoon and we met to go shopping. I drove up here this morning and am getting to stay in a hotel for the night. By myself. With no one with me. It’s been wonderful.

The only complaint that I have is that the internet connection is sllooowww!! I only have 3 more episodes of 30 Rock to watch until I’m caught up with the series. But it skips and jumps here so I can’t watch it.

Right now I’m watching the local news. All our local news comes from Portland. It’s very strange to be up here and see all Washington news. That is an interesting thing about where we live. I may live in Washington state, but I know more about what’s going on in Oregon!

Driving to the outlet mall, and then leaving, I see the sign for the Whidbey Island ferry. That is something I really, really want to do someday . . . . visit Whidbey Island. *Sigh*

Oh, and I did do some shopping. I got a new purse, tennis shoes and cod liver oil capsules. My bff promises me the cod liver oil will give me more energy, make me less gloomy (which I think is due to the fall weather) and help the arthritis in my knee. We’ll see . . . . I will admit I feel a little more chipper that I did this morning.

Nighty night!

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My worst experience with my last name

My last name. UGH. As if “Cheri” isn’t bad enough, I had to marry a man with a last name next to no one has ever heard. And if they have heard it, they freeze and are unable to speak for a few seconds. Then the light comes back into their eyes and tell us what connection they have with our last name. I have been married to Tyler for over 16 years and have literally met ONE person with the same last name as us.

I’m not going to actually blog my last name, but I will tell you it sounds a lot like “Shaver.” Try as much as you want, but you won’t guess it. At least once a week I have to have a verbal argument of sorts over the last name. Explaining how to say it, how to spell it, clarifying letters, whatever. I’m just used to it. But there is one experience that tops them all as the worst time I had with this last name.

Imagine if you will September 11, 2001. Yes, THAT day. I had taken the midnight flight out of Anchorage (where we were living) to Seattle for a Women of Faith conference. By the time I got to my hotel, I watched the second plane hit the second tower live. That’s a whole blog in itself. I checked in, got to my room and even though I’d been up for 22 hours, of course I couldn’t sleep. I watched the story unfold with the rest of the country.

Two or three hours later, I was pretty much whipped up into a frenzy. Here I was stranded 1500+ miles from home, none of my friends were going to be joining me, who knew if Seattle was going to be a target (I didn’t think so but my mom was freaking me out), and who knew when I was going to get home.

During my mental freak out, my hotel phone rang. I answered it thinking it was probably my parents or Tyler. Here’s the conversation.

Me: Hello?

Them: You hab shay-bah?

Me: Hello?

Them: They tell me you hab shay-bah.

Me: You’ve got the wrong number.

Them: No, no, desk tell me you hab shay-bah!!!!!

Me: What do you want?

Them: I want shay-bah!

Me: You want a shaver?

Them: Yes, you got one?

Me: NO, that’s my last name.

Then I hung up. Thankfully, the idiot at the front desk didn’t give them my actual room number. But I was running on little sleep and lots of emotion. So I stood and looked out my peep hole for who knows how long, dreading the sight of someone wanting something that I didn’t have.

It didn’t take too long for me to realize some poor man who probably had a nasty 5 0’clock shadow called the front desk and asked for a shaver. So in a strike of what can only be sheer brilliance, they thought he was asking for me. Even now, seven years later, I’m still flabbergasted.

So of the many, many adventures this last name has taken me on, September 11 will always be the most remarkable!

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The 13th Birthday Party

First, thank you to all the Veterans. I could wax philosophic on this day, but I’ll leave it to those who are much better wordsmiths than I am.

Okay, on to the birthday party. Let’s just say that I got an education in 12-13 year old boys. For the past few years, Austin has opted to have family parties or just invite one friend over. This year he decided a full blown party was called for. So he carefully picked his six closest friends and miracle of miracles, they were all able to come the evening of November 7.

My education started with the party itself. There was to be nothing planned. Yikes! This one scared me since his party was from 5:00 – 11:00 p.m. But on this point Austin would not budge. It worried me a bit and I think I bothered him too much to figure something out, but again, no budging. He really wanted them to spend all their time playing outside. But it’s November. In the Pacific northwest. And rain had been forecasted for his party for 10 solid days. Finally on the day of the party he let me rent a movie for a back up plan. Even he started to lose hope as far as the weather was concerned. No actual plans for the party unless the weather is bad, check.

I also learned that 13 year old boys still want a ginormous cake from Costco, but there is to be NO writing on it along the lines of “Happy Birthday Austin.” When I asked him what he wanted written on the cake he looked at me as if I had just asked, “Shall I have them write, ‘Happy Birthday Sweet Little Shnookums Boy?'” No writing on the cake, check.

And for the love of all that’s holy, there will be NO singing of Happy Birthday “like a 5 year old.” No song, check.

And unless you want my son to spontaneously combust, do not bring up the thought of party decorations more than once. No decorations, check.

So as the evening of the party dawned, I was a bit apprehensive. But in yet another miracle of miracles, it wasn’t raining. It was still damp out, but there was nothing falling from the sky. So guess what? The unplanned party went off without a hitch. We fed them pizza, chips, pop and cake. Do you know how much food a gaggle of boys are capable of inhaling? After that, Tyler and I went upstairs to watch “Penelope” (which I loved by the way).

At one point, every light in our house was off and the boys were running in and out like every light was on. They were playing “Mission Impossible” and having a wonderful time. Wonderful yet loud. Oh my aching ears they were loud. But, being the sanguine that I am, I just let them bellow. Thankfully our house is set up so that you can come in the front door and go out the back door without your feet actually touching carpet – long live Pergo!

So I really didn’t have to worry about the lack of planning – Austin’s friends are obviously just like he is. A party wherever they go. Yeah, I had leaves, pine needles, dirt, moss, etc. to vacuum up the next day, but that was okay. Oh, and my house smelled like the great outdoors for a couple of days, but again, it was okay.

It was okay because in my opinion, my son got to see God bless him on the day of his party. No rain this time of year when it had been forecasted for over a week? That is nothing short of a miracle straight from the hand of God. It did rain the last hour of the party, but the boys were exhausted from Mission Impossible, basketball, trampoline, and all the other crazy things they did.

And I do have to give a plug to the boys at the party. They were so nice to Amber. They let her play everything with them, made sure she was included and never once did I hear or see any of them treating her like “Austin’s stupid sister.” Amber has had to survive her brother her whole life, so she can keep up with the best of any 13 year old boy – I’m sure that helped.

So the party was a smashing success on many levels. I’d show pictures but all of them have most of the boys in them and I don’t feel like calling the parents to see if it’s okay if I put them up on my blog. Trust me, it was great. Successful party that my son loved, check.

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Why Barack Obama doesn’t phase me

Nope, he doesn’t. Not even a little. I’m sure there are many out there that would tell me I’m a fool, that I need to be concerned, if not even a little worried. So here ya go . . . . this is exactly why President-elect Obama has no hold over me.

For some of you this part of the story will be old information, so feel free to skim 🙂 I went to Anchorage, Alaska on April 24 of this year. Late the morning I arrived I got a phone call from my dad telling me my mom had to have a CAT scan on her brain for some health issues she’d been having recently and they found a tumor. Life as I knew it changed almost 100% at that moment. I will never forget standing in my sister in law’s living room and hearing those words. I was back on a plane home that night having spent literally 24 hours in Alaska.

Let me explain a little about the relationship I have with my mom. She is my #3 best friend. Jesus is first, Tyler is second and Mom is third. There are two places being held in honor of my children as adults (yes, that’s a joke peeps), but for now the top three stand strong. Next to Tyler and the kids, I would rather be with my mom, talk to my mom, go shopping with my mom, you name it with my mom, more than anyone else on the planet.

There is no bad thing in our relationship. We don’t fight and I can even remember the last time I was angry with her. It was in 2003 and involved a motor home and a parking lot and she would NOT listen to me – lol. I have asked Tyler over the years if our relationship is a healthy one. I need someone to keep me in check because I don’t want anything in my life becoming an idol. He has assured me I have things in balance.

The afternoon before my flight left, my sister in law and her mother in law took me to Applebee’s for lunch. I was a wreck and excused myself to the bathroom. As I was washing my hands, I glanced up at the mirror, looked myself dead in the eye and said, “Well, you’re either going to live by the faith you’ve been claiming for over half your life or you’re not.” So I chose faith. During those first few weeks of sheer confusion, fear when another tumor was found on her lung, and of the sand shifting beneath my feet, God led me to a very specific passage and whispered to my heart that it was for me. Psalm 27:13-14: “I am certain that I will see the LORD’s goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be courageous and let your heart be strong. Wait for the LORD.”

And as some of you know, He has shown himself absolutely magnificent through my mom’s treatment. In the grand scheme of things, her cancer is the good kind to get. The radiation on her brain has removed all of the tumor and that cancer is considered in remission. Less than half-way through the treatment for her lung tumor, we found out it had shrunken over 50%. She finished up her last chemo treatment last week and we will find out what the tumor has been up to (all the while praying it has completely vacated the premises) at the end of the month.

Since my mom’s diagnosis, I have had to cling to Christ like never before in my life. And He has shown Himself nothing less than glorious. When David talks about Him being our rock, I know what he means. When Paul talks about the peace that passes all understanding, I get it. And when He whispers on my heart, “Cancer doesn’t have the final say, I do,” I listen.

For me, Mom’s cancer has clarified a lot of things in my life. For instance, what’s really important. Also, what exactly truth is. And most importantly, what really matters and Who is actually in control of everything.

I don’t know what the earthly future holds for my mom. We could hear back from the doctor that things have taken a turn for the worst. We could hear a lot of things. But I know this, no matter how the storm rages, I have an anchor that is secure and an eternal future with my mom.

Soooooooo, when it comes to our new president, I guess I’ve just applied the lessons I’ve learned over the last 6 months to our country’s new situation. The bottom line being, God is in control. I could have everything stripped away from me (which I don’t think is going to happen) and yet I’ll have all I need . . . . . . having the knowledge that everyone will one day be called into account for what they’ve done . . . . . . knowing that EVERY arrogant knee will bow to my Savior.

I also don’t think it gives God any glory to let this election steal our joy, contentment, peace and to cause us to worry so much. We as American Christians have it easier than just about anyone since the establishment of the church as told about in Acts 2. And if you don’t believe that, I would ask you to read Voice of the Martyrs once in awhile. Even if Obama stays in office 8 years, we will still have a walk in the park compared to many of our brothers and sisters worldwide. We think we’re being persecuted because someone laughs that we go to church every Sunday.

This blog probably comes off as more of a manifesto, than a blog. But it’s something I’ve had on my heart since Tuesday night and just had to get it out! So let’s all unite as the body of Christ, realize how good we actually do have it and pray for the new president and his administration. And look for the many, many ways our glorious God will show Himself faithful!


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