The Misadventures of Cheri

Mortifying my kids one swimsuit at a time

Imma gonna do it

Okay . . . . I seem to run out of ideas to blog about.  And though everyone on Facebook wanted to hear all about my insane beagle and how she captured and ate two baby birds, I just don’t think most of you could stomach it.  Especially the description of what was left behind that my son graciously buried for me.  Apparently, the FDA recommended daily amount of baby birds for a beagle is two.  She has such self control.

I’m going to be blogging this month with a group of bloggers at A Daily Dose of Toni.  Thanks to Ann Again . . . and Again for telling me! 30 Days About MeThe blogfest starts on August 2.  Anyone can participate!!

I apologize in advance for the glurge of information about me you’ll have to endure.

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For my Homeslice

Yep, that’s him, my Homeslice.  He was sooooooooooo proud of himself in this picture.  When we were packing, he asked me what he should wear.  I told him he could wear whatever he wanted.  So he packed the one piece of clothing he has that literally makes me sick to my stomach.  He couldn’t wait for it to cool down so he could show me.  Gotta love that man!

I’ve recently started diffusing my hair dry in the mornings instead of letting it air dry.  It just looks better when I do.  BUT it takes for-ever.  Well, forever for someone who hasn’t diffused – or anything else including a heated, forced air device – in a long time.  So what happens when I do this?  I get bored.  Stinking, flat out bored.  I realize I should enjoy the boredom because it’s the only point in my day where I will be bored, but I don’t enjoy it.  Not for a second.

I decided to start reading while dealing with my hair.  You only need one arm to diffuse so I was good to go.  The most recent thing I’ve been reading is a Bible study I did almost four years ago, “The Patriarchs: Encountering the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” by my beloved Beth Moore.  Last week, I read about Genesis 24:67, “So she (Rebekah) became his wife, and he (Isaac) loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.”

It hit me like a ton of bricks . . . . and again showed me the timelessness of God’s word.  Centuries later, I immediately knew how Isaac felt.  How it felt to be comforted by the love of your life in the shadow of your mom’s death.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Tyler could not have been done a better job supporting me and our family after my mother died almost two years ago.

He really could write a book for people whose significant others are grieving the worst loss of their life.  I can’t even begin to list what he did.  He did it all.  He listened, he talked, he kept quiet, he offered advice, he prayed, he held me in church two days after she died because singing “Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee, Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea” was more than I could handle.  He took care of meals, laundry, dishes . . . . he would have scrubbed toilets if I would have asked him.  He kept the kids quiet, he kept the kids loud, he entertained the kids, he sat with them in silence when their grief wouldn’t let them do anything else.  He picked up and carried on when I couldn’t.

And I will never have words enough to properly thank him.

P.S.  His follow-up book will be titled, “How to Support Your Wife During Her Emergency C-Section: She really was dumb enough to believe it couldn’t happen to her and didn’t listen to that lecture during the childbirth education classes, so you gotta be there for her, dude.”

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He’ll be comin’ ’round the mountain when he comes . . . .

My boy is returning.  Everyone said he would.  I had partially given up hope, but this morning everything changed.

Around 11, Austin turned into your typical pre-teen moody boy.  He didn’t want much to do with me, I got mostly grunts in place of “I love you’s,” and did I mention he didn’t want to have much to do with me?  It was HARD.  One time he hurt my feelings so badly at a church event . . let’s just say I was glad it was outside and I had sunglasses on!  But that was early on in the pubescent process and I grew a thick skin quick.

Thankfully, I had been warned this was going to happen.  By friends with older sons, by books (thank you, Dr. Dobson!!) and even by Tyler.  So I just white knuckled it and held on for the ride.

He’s 15 1/2 now and is mellowing considerably.  We’ve never really had any major problems with him – just attitude stuff here and there.  And even that’s getting better.  So much so that Amber commented out of the blue that Austin isn’t annoying her as much as he used to.  When she said that, I realized there hadn’t been as much bickering as usual.

Anyway, today was a huge step in the right direction for this mom.  Austin left for camp for a week today.  I told him to give me a hug so I wouldn’t have to embarrass him at church.  He hugged me back!  He let me hug him for longer than the usual hug!  The only thing he said was, “Mom, you’re breath.”  {In his defense, it was 6:40 a.m. and I was in my ungroomed glory.}  I couldn’t believe it.

THEN he pulled out the big guns.  After we got him checked in, I grabbed his arm and told him to have a good time.  I tacked on an, “I love you!”  In front of his friends and a leader he thinks is really cool, he said, “I love you, too, Mom.”  OH MY STINKIN’ HECK!  I haven’t heard those words leave his mouth voluntarily in years.  I had almost forgotten what they sounded like without me saying, “Tell your mother you love her,” first.

I was so in shock that I had to run over and tell one of my friends what happened.  She has a son who’s a bit older than Austin.  She has always assured me that boys come back around and I was so happy to tell her she was right.

So for all of you out there with moody boys, it gets better.  My advice?  Have a sense of humor about the whole thing.  And it certainly helps not to take things too personally.  It’s hard, but you have to separate your sense of self-worth from the way your child behaves.  If you’re looking to your children to validate who you are, you’re eventually going to get let down.  Remember that you’re doing the best you can and your children make their own decisions.  And that can stink!

Hang in there mamas!  We can do it!!

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Make 5 Dinners in One Hour

I’ve blogged in the past about my experience with E-Mealz.com.  It’s a 7 day menu planner and shopping list.  It’s wonderful and I used it for over a year.  One day a friend of mine posted a site on Facebook called “Make 5 Dinners in ONE Hour.”  It was too intriguing to pass up.

Like most of the menu planner sites, they offer a free week trial menu.  So with very high hopes, I sent off for the trial.  The idea of 5 Dinners is that you spend an hour one day putting together five dinners.  They keep in the refrigerator (many of the selections can be frozen as well) and you just pull them out and prepare them for dinner.

After just over a month, here are my observations:

  1. After one trial week, I was completely sold.  I always seem to have a day or two in a week that something unexpected comes up and completely zaps my will to make dinner.  I always have dinner ready to go.
  2. I don’t think I’ve ever made all five meals in just an hour.  At many points I decide I need to check my e-mail, Facebook, the blogs I read, pet the dogs, have an iced tea . . . you get the point.  But the overall process isn’t exhausting.  I did “Once A Month Cooking” years ago and that flat wore me out.  No such problems here.
  3. The meals are great.  She only offers one menu, unlike many of the other sites.  So far I’ve been able to do substitutes like Egg Beaters, margarine instead of butter, leaner cuts of meat, etc.  And all of the meals are healthy – not a lot of processed food ingredients.
  4. Her website is full of extra goodies.  She’ll post meals from the archives, helpful hints, cute lunch ideas, etc.  I love her website.  She also has a Summer Lunch Menu you can purchase.  That would have helped a lot when the kids were smaller.  Now they’re responsible for making their own lunch.
  5. The menu plan, as stated, is only for 5 meals a week and not 7.  I was worried about that at first but it hasn’t been a problem.  Many of the meals provide wonderful leftovers.  For instance, I grilled a bunch of chicken last night and we didn’t finish it all.  I’ll use the chicken later this week for a chicken salad.  I’ve never had to go to the store more than once a week,
  6. The menu ingredients aren’t expensive, strange or hard to find.  I would say most of the meals fall well within the norm of American family meals.
  7. The menu plan costs $15.00 for three months.  This is a pretty average price for monthly meal planners.

So as you can see, I love Make 5 Dinners in ONE Hour!  I can foresee myself doing this for a long, long time!!

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*I posted this out of my own free will.  I wasn’t compensated and Michelle, the owner/menu creator, has no idea who I am.  I just love to pass on the great things I find!*

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Cabela’s-topia

We headed north last week and our way home, I surprised the family with a “mystery destination” dinner.  It was Cabela’s in Lacey, WA.  They have a deli-style restaurant that serves some strange things.  Wild boar sandwiches, elk burgers, bison hot dogs, ostrich sandwiches . . . . you get the idea.  Since my husband is the hunter, gatherer, fishing, camping type, I knew the store would be a hit with him.  And it was, we were there for over two hours.  At one point in the middle of all the guns I think I yelled out, “This place is great!  It’s all about the killin’!”  {I might have been in there a little too long.}

I knew the place was huge, but I was unprepared for the tons of things I never even knew existed.  Here are just a few:

It’s a cot.  It’s a tent.  It’s a tent cot!  If you think for one minute I could stand sleeping in this thing with Tyler, you really don’t know me.   Thankfully, we don’t camp anywhere that requires us to be completely entombed screened in for our health.

A BUNK BED COT!  This thrilled me on so many levels.  I don’t know why.  Our tent is so gigantic that the kids don’t need to double up in order to save room.  And I lifted the end of this and it easily weighs 187 pounds.  And it costs a small fortune.  There was simply no reason for me to like this, but it left its mark on my heart.  I have no idea why.

Austin saw this lovely little bedding ensemble and said, “Mom!  This has Sarah Palin written all over it.”  He cracks me up.

Oh I want this.  I want this bad.  How in the world I would ever transport it to our campsite is beyond me.  I know it collapses and fits into a “nice little bag,” however they’re lying and the bag isn’t actually little.  But mama likey.

A meat smoker for $1300?  They exist?  How crazy about smoked meat do you have to be to buy one of these?  I have a smoker I got from my dad (for free!) and I’ve used it exactly once.  Tyler has some great ideas for smoking sturgeon and goose breast.  I told him to knock himself out.  I need a good year in between smoking sessions in order to maintain my sanity.

Again, something I never knew existed.  Growing up in Alaska, everyone I knew who needed to do this used a branch on a tree.  Or worse (and actually happened in my house), the game hung off the track your garage door wheels go up and down in.  Classy!  The visual aide at our store was an empty deer sized (un)stuffed animal hanging upside down.  Um, yeah.

I’m not going to post a picture of all the cast iron cookware.  I knew cast iron cookware existed.  I can’t post the pictures because I have such a love affair with cast iron that I’ll want to buy everything Cabela’s offers.  I did manage to buy a tiny cast iron skillet that is actually a spoon rest.  I will never need another spoon rest as long as I live.  It’s the little things.

Okay, and now for the most ridiculous thing I saw all day.  Even more ridiculous than the camo recliners.  More ridiculous than the $3500 rifle.   More ridiculous than the camo denim jeans.

There really isn’t anything left to add, is there?

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Cheri’s Mammogram Misadventures

Today it feels like I can finally breathe.  What should have been a comical post a year ago ended up being a psychological trauma that I really haven’t recovered from until today.  And even now, I’m just sitting here on the couch with my chihuahua at my side, laptop on my lap and taking deep breath after deep breath.

Last year I got my first mammogram.  You turn 40 and blammo! there it is.  Now that I’ve had time to process what happened, I should have thought all along, “Um, you’re Cheri.  Your blog is ‘The Misadventures of Cheri.’  Not ‘The Totally Normal Adventures of Cheri.’ Not ‘The Everything’s Always Easy Adventures of Cheri.’  Shouldn’t you have been expecting this all along?”  But alas, none of that occurred to me until a few minutes ago.

I ended up with the somewhat mentally imbalanced radiation tech.  Of course I did.  She didn’t stop talking the entire time I was getting the mammogram done.  Then she decides I need to know absolutely every possible thing that could go wrong with my results.   Then she brought me over and started showing me possible problem areas.  I told her, “Um, I’m really not in a good place right now.  My mom died last summer from cancer and everything you’re telling me is really freaking me out.”  *I don’t even think she paused to take a breath* and she kept going on.  I looked at her and said, “I’m they type of person who really doesn’t need all the details.”

I think she would have come into the dressing room with me and kept telling me useless yet terrifying information.  Lucky me, she waited right outside of the dressing room and walked me to the front door.  She decided at this point I needed to know that I would probably be getting a call back for a second scan, maybe an ultrasound and to “try to not worry too much.”

WHAT.  THE.  CRAP???  What makes people act like that??  And there began my Summer 2010 Mini-Breakdown.

Yes, I did get a call to come back in.  I told the scheduler to not even think of letting her be my tech again.  She said she would give me to a wonderful woman and she did.  I went back in and had a grandma-type tech who I wished was my grandma.  I told her everything about my previous appointment.  I might have talked a little too much.  Anyway, she took what felt like 20 different mammograms.  At the end she giggled just a bit and told me not to worry.

I did have to have an ultrasound and I kind of was freaking out all over that tech.  She said the doctor would read the results immediately and I asked her to get Tyler from the waiting room.  Because I hadn’t properly freaked out and needed him to receive the end of my panic attack.  The wonderful doctor came in with a big smile and said not to worry.  If she had the same thing going on, she wouldn’t be worried at all.  But just to be safe I did need to schedule a needle biopsy.

{Picture me doing an inward ear-piercing scream.}

I was a good girl and scheduled the biopsy even though everything inside of me was screaming to just skip it.  I knew that would be about the dumbest thing I could do.  The biopsy could be a post all by itself . . . . the assisting doctor and techs were ticked off that the biopsy doctor was taking his precious time to get to the appointment.  I wasn’t knocked out – I just had local anesthesia – and I wondered if they thought maybe I was unconscious by the way they were talking about him.

I lived through that and at the end THAT doctor told me not to worry.  The tissue in question wasn’t in an area they typically see cancer and it didn’t have the characteristics of anything malignant.  A couple of days later we got the call that my problem is ultra-dense breast tissue.  And it’s not a problem at all; it’s literally nothing.  So I passed out on my bed, thankful that I lived through all of this with my mental capacity intact.

Fast forward to this year.  Guess who had micro-meltdown before my mammogram last week?  Yep, me!  I got the results today that everything is normal.  Since I hadn’t heard anything from my doctor or the radiation clinic, I figured all was well.  Thank God it was.

Now I can get back to my regularly scheduled neurosis, irrational fear of birds and all the other quirky things that make me, me.

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The cost of our freedom

This 4th of July finds me a bit more somber than usual.  The weather is perfect (finally), all is well with my family and life has no major bumps or bruises at the moment.  Still . . . .

Recently, my husband’s cousin has moved back to the state and was sweet enough to bring her husband and three children with her.  Her husband, MG, is a member of our military and is deploying in the near future.  Yesterday we were blessed to be able to spend the entire day with this precious family before he ships out.   The day was wonderful from start to beginning . . all the children were delightful.  {Even though my son texted me a picture of my butt while I was in their kitchen to tell me to untuck my shirt, I chose to overlook that in the spirit of awesome family unity.}

And despite all this wonderment, in the back of my mind I heard the faint, “You’re eventually going to have to leave and tell MG goodbye.  A serious goodbye.  Not a ‘hey-catch-you-later’ goodbye.”  And that is when I realized how much our freedom costs.

No matter your political persuasion or your view on the war we’re fighting, the fact of the matter is that men and women are being deployed to be put in harm’s way for our freedom.  And it costs.  “To whom much is given, much is required,” played through my mind for the majority of the day.  Our country has been given a lot and a lot is required.  And at times it stinks.  Like now.

So for everyone bravely serving our country, our states and our cities may God grant you protection of your body and mind.  And for those families of the ones who gave it all . . . I thank you and pray for your comfort.

 

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