The Misadventures of Cheri

Mortifying my kids one swimsuit at a time

His first memory has to do with Toy Story

Well.  I thought I was ending my Toy Story saga here.  Apparently not.

When I was telling my son about the above blog, he then told me just about the cutest story I’ve ever heard . . . . . .

Oh, Mom!! That was my first memory.

Your first memory?  What?

The first thing I ever remember.

Was what? (This sort of questioning is rather normal when dealing with a 14 year old.)

*sigh*  I remember at the hospital you guys told me to open a drawer.  I opened it and Buzz Lightyear was in the drawer.  It’s my very first memory.

Awwwww!  Do you remember seeing Amber for the first time?

No.  All I remember is getting Buzz.  I was really happy.

I’m so glad that is his first memory.  He was two years and three months old at the time and let’s just say his first memory could have been not-so-pleasant.  Austin was the type of toddler who was into everything.  And when he got into everything, he took the “getting into” to the highest achievement level.   He had a will of steel (still does) and was intent on doing everything his way.  So, yeah.  There were lots of times he got the chance to be disciplined.  Lots.  And lots.

So many that it still makes me shudder at the thought of it.

It’s a miracle we even had a second child after what he did to me.

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The class I’d never teach

Yep.  That one.  That one right there.  Club 45 . . . . . I said I’d never teach it.  And especially not on Saturday nights at 5:00.  I mean, come on!

Club 45 is our church’s Sunday school class for 4th and 5th graders.  Since we have services on Saturday nights and Sundays, it’s kind to hard to call them all Sunday school.  So they come up with these clever names.

Around the time Austin was in 5th grade, I started substituting in the class on Saturday nights.  Not a bunch, but I really loved it.  The problem with teaching the 5:00 p.m. class was that it was (and continues to be) so huge.  We have two services on Saturday nights and the 5:00 one is SO popular.

There was no way I could deal with all those kids.  All the noise.  All the craziness.  All the, well, you get it.  But you my readers are very smart.  You know what happened.  I ended up teaching the class.  For two years.

And it was the two of the greatest years of my life.  I loved every second of teaching those kids.  Only once did I think I was going to cry . . . . I had 42 kids and no helpers.  It was the first weekend after school started and the kids were more hyper than usual.  That was a bad, bad night that I probably shouldn’t think about too much.

The class helped me “get out of my own head” when my mom was so sick.  The class ministered more to me over the two years that I taught it.  I always said the class gave me more than I gave it and I still feel that way.  I quit teaching around the time my mom died.  I had known for months when I was going to quit; it wasn’t as if my mom’s death made me quit.  Nevertheless, it was just so sad to stop teaching during such a sad time.

All of that to say that life just works better when I listen to God.  He wanted me in the class I’d never teach for so many reasons.  Of that I’m sure.

Also, God redeemed the sadness for me.  Since quitting, I’ve had a chance to substitute a few times.  After my first time I realized maybe I don’t miss saying, “Sit down,” 29 times in an hour.  And since my daughter is about the same age as the kids I taught, I still keep up with most of them at church.  That has been so rewarding.  Seeing those timid 4th graders now heading to 7th grade is such a sweet experience.


Speaking the language of summer

Fresh peonies on the table.  Nothing says summer like that!

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Nerts madness

Never heard of Nerts???  It’s the greatest card game ever and it’s running amok in our house.  It is, quite frankly, the crack cocaine of card games.  You just can’t put it down after one hit.  Tyler taught me a few years ago when the kids were really small.  We’d put them to bed and stay up playing for hours.  Just recently, we taught those very same kids and they are just as addicted as we are.

Here’s one way you can tell we might be in need of an intervention . . . . . .

It looks pretty innocent, doesn’t it?  Only we always leave the table like this.  Always.  Usually there’s a lazy Susan in the middle, the cards are put nicely away and the table has its leaf in.  You’ll see the leaf in the top right hand side of the picture, unceremoniously dumped right next to the dog door.

The craze has infiltrated our whiteboard.  Since Tyler gets up so much earlier than we do and leaves for work, he typically leaves us a message every day on the board.  Sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they’re sweet, sometimes they’re serious.  But lately the messages have looked something like this:

Yeah, we definitely need some help.

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Not me

Nope. Not me.  No way.  I’m not looking at Austin’s ice cream sandwich.  I don’t really want any of it.

Not a bite.

Not even a sniff.


Toy Story, the third and final installment

This is the first time Austin met Amber.  Tyler laid her down in his lap and he immediately leaned over and kissed her.  I’m so glad I got a picture of this for proof that they once loved each other because it’s so sweet.

But of course no major life event would be complete without Toy Story edging in somewhere. We got Buzz for Austin as a gift since we all knew who was going to get the most attention for awhile as a happy reminder that he was special, too.

Don’t you just know this is going through Buzz’s mind . . . .

“Terrain seems a bit unstable. No readout yet if the air is breathable. And there seems to be no sign of intelligent life anywhere.” Then glancing around and seeing Tyler, he says, “Local law enforcement! It’s about time you got here. I’m Buzz Lightyear, Space Ranger, Universe Protection Unit. My ship has crash-landed here by mistake. I need to repair my turbo boosters. Are you still using fossil fuels, or have you discovered crystallic fusion?”


And the reason the picture has a red stripe through it was because our idiot dog at the time decided to confiscate the roll of film and chew on it.  But the heroes at Ritz Camera saved the day for me.

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Father’s Day

About 2 years into our marriage, I got the baby itch.  Well, I guess a more accurate description would be an all consuming rash.  I wanted a baby and I wanted one NOW.  And even at the tender age of 25, if I would have had one doubt about my husband’s ability to be a committed husband and father, I never would have had a child with him.  I knew Tyler would make a great dad.  And he has . . . . . here are a couple of pictures from the two days he became a dad.

Tyler had been a dad about 12 hours at this point.

And now he was a dad to a little girl.

If you’re observant, you’ll notice him sleeping with both the kids in the hospital.  There was no sleeping in the plastic crib when Dad was around.  When Amber was a few hours old I told him it was okay to put her in the crib.  He said, “There will be none of that.”  He freaked out one of the nurses (who was also a dear friend) because when she came in she couldn’t find Amber.

Over the past 14+ years, little has changed.  He’s never missed an opportunity to hold his kids.  And now that they’re older, he can’t physically hold them all the time.  But I know he holds them with his prayers.

He holds them with his ability to talk heart to heart with them.

He holds them when I have come to the end of the rope and have not a single, rational thought after dealing with a teenager and pre-teen all day.

He holds them by initiating family game nights.

He holds them by his loving example of a servant of Christ.

Believe me when I say our family is a miracle.  As screwed up as Tyler and I have been over the years, we’ve only managed to slightly screw up our children.  And now that we have found our way to being healthy and whole, it floods out of our children.

And that’s all because one man was humble enough to change everything for his family.

So he could hold us better.


Maybe he does know

. . . .where everything in his room really is.  I never believed he knew the exact location of things amidst the chaos.  But this just might prove it.  It’s from a recent math assignment in which he got a 100%.

How he keeps track of all of this is anyone’s guess.  I was stunned when I saw it.  But at least he knows to write the answers to the questions on the workbook page . . . . . Mom doesn’t do too well hunting for the answers in this mess.

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Toy Story: Destroyer of VCR’s

Ahhhh, another memory in the Toy Story saga of our lives.

We had (okay, have) a t.v. that was combined with a vcr.  Almost exactly like this little beauty:  Yes we still have it.  We have a dvd player hooked up to it and we don’t watch vhs movies anymore.  It’s in our bedroom and the kids can’t believe we watch t.v. on such a small, inadequate and outdated box.  Oh well.  They used to, too.

In this story Amber is very small.  She called the movie, “Toy Tory.”  S’s weren’t exactly her strong point for quite a few years.  Anyway, she was very adamant about watching the movie one day.  As soon as I put the movie in, the whole tv shut down.  Just a small hiccup – this wasn’t the first time it happened and I could usually get it up and running again.  But not this time.  Amber started wailing for Toy Tory at the top of her scrawny, yet powerful little lungs.  A cold sweat broke out on my brow.  I tried and tried to get the stupid movie out (a screwdriver may or may not have been involved) with absolutely no luck.

I somehow appeased Amber with something else and the next day we took the tv to the repair shop.  I thought the fix would be simple.  Of course it wasn’t!  It took a week to fix and at one point someone called me and told me the movie could not be salvaged.  Toy Story had to give up its life so the tv could live.  Again, I broke out in a cold sweat.  No movie?  No Toy Tory to babysit the kids so I didn’t have to listen to their constant screaming all day?  How could Toy Story be so selfish?  Couldn’t it have fought harder to live?  Couldn’t it have given this poor mom a break?

At some point in the hysteria, I realized I could just go to the store and buy a new movie. Which I did.

Don’t judge me.  I had a hyperactive 4 year old and Toy Tory crazed almost 2 year old.  You wouldn’t be thinking straight either.  Within an hour, Toy Story was back in the house.  I think I saw a glimmer of a tear as I plugged it in.

The kids were happy, too.


WFMW: Getting more from your Bible

Something I’ve discovered in the last couple of years is how to get more out of my Bible reading time.   When I do full on, hard core Bible study, I usually stick with the New International Version.  I love the NIV!  I’ve been using it faithfully for 20+ years.  For a while I was truly enamored with the New American Standard Bible translation.  It’s one of the closest translations of the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic texts.  For me, it got a little daunting and I returned to the NIV.

The problem I encountered during my more private, quiet times with the Bible is that I had a terrible habit of just reading over the verses and not letting them sink in.  For me, reading the same thing for such a long period of time gave me too much familiarity with the text.  About the time I was really struggling with this, my husband bought a One Year Bible using The Message translation.  I know, I know . . . . . I had a few issues with The Message, too.  Mostly they were issues I was told to have from other’s points of view.  I decided one day to pick it up and read a little for myself.

Yeah.  That was the day my world was rocked in a very good way.  The Message is amazing.  If you, too, have issues with it, I’d ask you to read this post from Melissa Fitzpatrick.  Her mother, Beth Moore, posted Melissa’s answer to a question someone had about the validity of The Message.  Melissa is a Bible scholar . . . . one undergrad and two graduate degrees in all things Bible.  I take her viewpoint very seriously because she has the training I don’t.

Fast forward a year or so and I am more in love with God’s word than ever.  I have been reading through the New Testament  and, well, there aren’t words for it.  The book of Philippians in The Message alone was enough to chew on for months.

You can take a test drive of sorts with The Message.  BibleGateway is a free, online resource that has dozens of translations of the Bible.  You could read the entire Message online for free if you were so inclined.

So, reading a new version of the Bible to get more out of God’s word works for me!!!  Join the Works for me Wednesday fun at We Are That Family.