The Misadventures of Cheri

Mortifying my kids one swimsuit at a time

That one time I almost cried in front of a bunch of 9 & 10 year olds

**Names and initials have been changed to protect the mischievous.**

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I taught a children’s class at our church.  Since we have church on Saturday nights as well as Sundays, it’s a little hard to call it Sunday school.  But that’s basically what Club 45 is – Sunday school for 4th and 5th graders.  Out of all my years of ministry, the years spent in Club 45 were truly some of my happiest.  Keep that in mind.

Fast forward to yesterday.  My daughter and I were in the car and she pointed to a teenager walking on the sidewalk.  She said, “Oh!  That’s C.”  I asked if they were friends from the bus, school, church, etc.  She said C used to ride her bus, but must have moved because she hadn’t seen C on there in a while.  Then she said, “C is S’s twin.”

Cue the post traumatic stress disorder flashbacks.

In an instant my mind went back to that September.  That September in which they showed up to Club 45 for 3 or 4 weeks.  Remember up above when I said those had been some of the happiest ministry years of my life?  Those weeks were not.  At one point during those weeks I had to turn my back on the class and force myself not to cry.  People, I’m no wimp.  Thanks to at home training from my son, I can handle just about any kid situation thrown my way.

When I turned back around to face the class – mind you it had been less that 5 seconds – one of the twins was dancing in front of me.  Yes, it’s funny now, but at the time I almost passed out.  You see, that night I had exactly 42 kids in my class and no helper.  And they all knew it.  ALL of them, my daughter included.  I spent most of the rest of the night trying not to sound too shrill or panicked.

And somehow I managed not to curl up into the fetal position and suck my thumb until the car ride home.

My daughter remembers none of it.  But she did tell me, “I can see them doing that.  They’re crazy in a good way.  I just love them.”

It’s funny how you can be driving along and one teenager walking on the sidewalk can bring back very distinct feelings in an instant.  I’m years away from those handful of weeks and I can laugh about it now.  And remember it as sweet times.

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Self-discovery on Facebook

If you’re not my friend on Facebook, you should be. I tend to post a lot of extremely embarrassing, soul emptying statuses. However, lots of people find them entertaining. At some point when God was putting all the things together that would make me, me . . . .He kind of forgot the shame gene. I have posted the following:

  • ’90’s Glamour Shots of myself.
  • I admitted that I thought my Tyler’s boss wanted me to come to work with him.
  • One time I thought everyone should know how I jumped the curb and simultaneously honked my horn right in front of the church offices. When the pastor was standing in the lobby.
  • I have posted pictures of myself before I started waxing my eyebrows.

Anyway, today I came face to face with my high school self and along with it came some self-awareness. After I wrote the first comment, something occurred to me. And since I’m a firm believer in, “Have thought, must say it,” here it is.


I’ll probably spend the rest of the day in bed sucking my thumb because since I came to this realization, God alone knows what’s next.


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Putting on my game face


It’s come to this.  And for all of those thinking, “I knew it!  I knew she was on the verge of a breakdown,” you can be quiet.  This is a very well thought out strategy. 

And the last straw.

Today while having a lovely lunch with my daughter, I noticed the waiter acting kind of strange.  Aloof and almost stuttering.  Yet he was the picture of charm and grace at the other tables.  I’d seen this male behavior before, but it took a while for me to get what was going on.

What was going on was the girl sitting across the table from me.  My daughter is gorgeous.  It is what it is.  And nothing I’ve done recently has stopped the male attention from flowing her way.  Not even politely clearing my throat as the waiter stared at her while she was trying to decide what to get for dessert.  He said, “Oh.  I’m sorry.  I spaced out there for a little while,” tucked tail and ran.  Then when he brought the box for her leftovers, he put them in the box for her and drew a smiley face on the box.

Hello?  Could he not see my death stare?  Could he not feel the heat rising off my body?  It was then that I devised a plan.

From now on, whenever I’m with my daugther in public I will be looking like the above picture.  It’s all I can come up with short of her wearing a burqa.  Any man, be they young or old, will have to think twice if it’s really worth it to stare at my daughter (or heaven forbid, talk to her) with me around.  No one is that desperate.  Or if they are, I can say, “I don’t bother him?  He must be certifiable!” 

Yes, this might have some social implications for me, but I have all the friends I need.  I’m certainly not looking for a man nor am I running for public office.  So really this is the perfect time in my life to settle into the crazy employ this strategy.  I’m liking it more and more.

And Mr. Waiter?  Yes, you were cute, what with your neatly trimmed beard and all.  But my daughter is 14 and if you can grow a beard?  You’re too old for her.


Just one of those things

I absolutely have to blog about this!  Today was an amazing day for this soccer mom . . . . and not because it wasn’t raining at Austin’s game.  That is a miracle by itself but not the best part of today.

My son plays on a recreational team.  They have done very, very well this season despite four of their best players leaving to play on a premier team.  The remaining boys have played together for years and have really become a functioning team.  The new players have all been outstanding and they work well with what had already been established.

The regular season is over and quarterfinals begin next weekend.  Austin’s coach contacted the coach of the premier team we lost some players to and set up a scrimmage for today.  I kind of cringed when I heard about it . . . . .I mean, really?  Rec against premier?  Did he want to demoralize our boys the week before the state tournament?  Oh well, he’s the coach, not me.  I guess there are life lessons to be learned in the face of humiliating defeat.

It was fun to see the boys I knew on the other team and nice to see their parents.  And I’ll save the suspense for another blog because I’m terrible at keeping secrets – it was awesome to see our boys beat them 7-4.  (Maybe 8-5, but I lost count at some point).  The other team’s parents couldn’t believe our boys are “only rec”.  Our boys outplayed the premier team on every level.  And the premier team was mad.  

It was so much fun to watch all their hard work pay off.  And while this didn’t count as a win in league stats, it didn’t matter.  The boys learned a valuable lesson – you don’t have to be on the best team to be great!


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30 Days of Thanks

As I sit here with the remains of a bowl of Halloween candy (and silently praying more kids show up to get this candy out of my house) I realize that the month  of thanks is upon us again.  I love November and Thanksgiving.  Like my pastor says, “Thanksgiving is the one holiday our culture hasn’t managed to mess up.”

I tried to post every day in November last year and didn’t quite make it.  I really want to focus on giving thanks this year so I’m changing it up a bit.  I’m going to post a picture and a short blurb every day on Instagram.  So much quicker and easier.  And if it’s quick and easy, I’ll more than likely keep up with it.

You can follow me there . . . I’m Kelikana.  What does Kelikana mean?  It’s my first and middle name in Hawaiian.  You can find out your Hawaiian name here.  Totally random info.  You’re welcome.

I’m going to be focusing on little things I’m thankful for.  Things I usually overlook and take for granted.  I’m going to make myself notice (what I think are but probably aren’t) inconsequential things and look for God in them.

Or I might look at things I’m not particularly thankful for and try to find God’s grace in them.  Take right now for instance.  My chihuahua with chronic halitosis is jumping around at my feet and won’t be satisfied until she’s sitting in my lap.  So I put her up on my legs, cold paws flowing through my pajamas . . . shaking her chihuahua shake.  If I truly believe God has a purpose for everything, what’s hers in my life?  Seriously.  Why do I put up with this stinking (literally) dog?  And why have I for over 9 years?  I guess it boils down to this:  I wanted to raise my kids with pets.  I had pets growing up and I think it’s very beneficial for kids who can grow up pets to do so.  For 9+ years (trying not to overthink that one) we have been able to afford this little 6 1/2 pound ball of shaking fur.  God has provided financially so one of my dreams can come true.  I’m so thankful for His grace.

Even His grace in the form of a rat-dog who is barking so loudly at the trick-or-treaters that I want to scream.


Dear Me

I originally wrote this post almost a year ago.  Emily at Chatting at the Sky encouraged us to write letters to ourselves and then link up to her blog today.  So here it is again.  And if you haven’t read her first book, Grace for the Good Girl, drop everything and buy it today.  I’m not kidding.  It changed this good girl’s life!  She just released Graceful {for young women}.  Buy it for any young woman in your life.

Dear 13-year-old Cheri,

First off, I’m very sorry about the acne.  It’s going to get worse before it gets better.  In college you will finally start taking Accutane and it will disappear forever.

I know exactly which boy you’re pining over right now.  Stop it.  Because in 9 years when his mother tries desperately to get you two together, you will foolishly run to Nordstrom and buy a lovely turtleneck and sweater ensemble.  You will show up at his mother’s house unable to breathe.  She will come to the door and tell you that he knew you were coming over, wanted to see you (don’t listen to her) but instead chose to go to a kickboxing match with his friends.  Kickboxing.  You will see him a few years later with his wife and thank God he chose kickboxing over you that fateful night.  Then you’ll glance at your husband and be all giggly about it.

Boys in general.  You will pine over many and none of them are worth it.  There will be one worth pining over, but guess what?  He won’t make you pine.  He’ll do very strange things like call when he tells you he will, he won’t play head games, he won’t lead you on only to start dating your roommate, he won’t make you feel like you’re babysitting him on dates.  He will be the one and he will be entirely worth the wait.  Ignore all the rest.

Get involved with choir in high school and study music in college, please??  Don’t listen to people who tell you you’ll never make any money with a music degree.  Because at this point in your life, you’re not making any money anyway.  You have a musical gift . . . . nurture and enjoy it.

Hoop skirt at prom so big that you have to walk up the stairs alone?  Don’t do it.

Also, just calm down.  About everything.  And I mean everything.

Yes, he is gay.

Yes, that one is a criminal.

Yes, this one over there doesn’t know you exist.

After you break up with a boy do not think you deserve an explanation when he doesn’t answer his phone.  And for the love of all that’s holy, do NOT call his work with a quivery voice asking where he is.

See why I told you to stop it with the boys?  You don’t have a very good history here.  But thankfully you won’t do anything too stupid that will impact your life permanently.

Your wedding will rock.

When tempted to put the $500 non-refundable deposit on an apartment your husband hasn’t seen, don’t do it. No matter how angry he gets, the money ain’t coming back home.

When you’re 42 you will realize all the garbage you went through (most of it created by yourself) will all be worth it.  So just hang in there.


Chronologically Advanced Cheri


An open letter to homeschool parents

I want you to be encouraged, so here goes.

Do not ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER buy into the horse hooey that your children won’t be “well socialized” by staying at home for school.  Today the socialization issue came full circle for me.  I’ll explain after I give a little background.

I have homeschooled both of my children since kindergarten.  My daughter is in 9th grade this year and going to public school.  The reasons are many but it mostly boils down to us letting the kids decide what they want to do for high school (yes, I realize I just lost some of you there, but hang on).  Obviously if we saw major character or academic concerns, we would be more likely to tell them what to do, but so far so good.  Our son is a junior this year and still homeschooled.  He takes two credits in pre-engineering science at a local skills center, but everything else is at home.

All that to say that over the years I’ve heard many times about how I needed to make sure to properly socialize the children.  Of course this never came from fellow homeschool parents.  It usually came from people who were either somewhat or completely against homeschooling.  They also didn’t know how we operated as a homeschool family.  Keeping my kids from society has never been one of our goals.  The kids have always been very involved in church, sports, homeschool co-ops, and too many other social situations.

Today our daughter started ninth grade in public school.  She already had a group of friends because she goes to church with some girls from her new school.  She also met some of their friends and quickly became friends with them.  She also talked to a girl on her bus and talked to other people with whom she had more than one class with.  She came home absolutely glowing, talking pretty much non-stop about her new friends and everyone she met.

Hello?  Socialization WIN.

Our son had his first day at the skills center today as well.  He came home telling me how he talked to his teacher, found a couple of other guys who like the crazy Christian metal music he likes, the things they talked about during the “get to know you” session and his conversation with an administrator.

Hello?  Socialization WIN.

Seriously homeschool parents, your kids are going to be fine.  I never would have believed it years ago as I was slogging through basic math facts and kids who seemed to cry at the drop of a hat.  I never would have believed all would be well when my daughter was so shy she never did speak to my best friend before we moved, a month before her 6th birthday.  I never would have believed it when my son seemed to lack even the social graces of a wild boar.

Guess what?  They grew up. They were well socialized and aren’t socially backwards or strange.

Hang in there!  You can rock the homeschool years, even if you feel like you can’t!!



I saw this on another blog and thought I’d do it, too!!

A. Age: 43

B. Bed size: King.  How Tyler and I survived before we had one is beyond me.

C. Chore that you hate: Mopping

D. Dogs: Ugh.  Do I really need to relive anything here?  Recently I got to get a urine sample from the beagle who ended up with a bladder infection.  And I held the chihuahua so Amber could put a bandage on one of her hot spots.  Both were not awesome.

E. Essential start to your day: Coffee.  Sometimes I get excited to go to bed because I know when I wake up I get coffee.  So lame yet so true.

F. Favorite color: Pink, pink, pink, pink, pink, pink, pink.

G. Gold or Silver: Actually white gold.  It’s the only thing that doesn’t cause a nasty skin reaction.

H. Height: 5’5.5″

I. Instruments you play: Currently?  None.  I can poke around on a piano but that’s it.

J. Job title: Wonder Woman

K. Kids: Two

L. Live: In the bottom left hand corner of Washington state.

M. Mother’s name: Connie.  I miss her.

N. Nicknames: None, really.  Cheri-Beri, but that’s mostly what I call myself online.

O. Overnight hospital stays: Three.  Two c-sections and a gallbladder removal.

P. Pet peeves: The crazy, repetitive noises my son has made since he figured out how to make crazy, repetitive noises.

Q. Quote from a movie: You stink. You smell like beef and cheese! You don’t smell like Santa.

R. Right or left handed: Right

S. Siblings: One younger brother.

T. Time it takes you to get ready: Uhhh, no makeup?  Less than 30 minutes.  Makeup?  Over 30 minutes.  Having naturally curly hair really helps in this department.

U. Ultimate Vacation: Anywhere with white sand and turquoise water.

V. Vegetable you hate: Beets.  Like gag me with a spoon.

W. What makes you run late: My brain malfunctioning.  I was 25 minutes late to my last eye doctor appointment because my brain literally malfunctioned.  THEN I read the letters on the chart starting with the right side and in the wrong order.  I felt like such a loser that day.

X. X-Rays you’ve had: Too many to count.  I’m accident prone to say the least.

Y. Yummy food that you make: Smashed potatoes, banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and a bunch of other stuff.  I love to cook.

Z. Zoo animal: Just please keep me away from the bats (they look like my chihuahua) and the naked mole rats.  I can handle anything else.

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Question of the day (er,night)

I was out enjoying the wonderfully amazing summer day by walking my beagle today.  We were in a neighborhood and she was walking on people’s grass.  Just sniffing, going up into the yard and coming back down.  I didn’t allow her to get into any place other than grass.  No slogging through flower beds, no frolicking in freshly laid bark dust.  Literally, she was walking up towards the houses, then would turn around and come back to the sidewalk.  If she looks like for one second she needs to relieve herself, I take the appropriate action to get her out of someone’s yard.  None of that was going on, either.

As she’s walking in one yard (on her Flexi-leash), a car pulls out of another driveway a couple of houses down.  The gentleman man dude guy male representation of the species driving the car yells out his window, “NICE!  Why don’t you put him in your own grass?!?!”

I was kind of shocked.  I’m pretty mellow about people letting their dogs sniff around my front yard – as long as there’s no funny business – and I thought this was normal/acceptable behavior.

This is my question, is it wrong of me to let my perfectly well-behaved beagle briefly walk in someone else’s front yard?

Shout out your answer and let me know.



I choose you

Twenty years ago I said “I do” to the love of my life. We were young, beyond imperfect, and hopelessly in love.

A few years later, we added some kids and a stinky pug into the mix.

Fast forward even a few more years and our kiddos are on the verge of breaking out on their own.

Before you know it, we’ll be back to this:

And through all the bumps and bruises, pain and growth, joy and tears…..I still choose you, Tyler.