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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Letter To My 12 Year Old Self

Madison is growing up so fast. It's hard for me to believe that she is already twelve years old. At the same time, I feel like I have had her forever...I can't remember life without her or our boys. As I look at her, I think of how much I have been through since the time that I was 12 years old. The road is scattered with both good and bad memories..happy times mixed with the sad. The hard times, while painful, only helped to pave the way for the life that I am now living. I wish there could have been some way for me to write a letter to myself at 12 to let me know that I would one day have so much that my young heart desired at the time, even though I would lose a lot along the way. If I could write the letter now and send it back to 1980, this is what it would say:

Dear Sherri,
As you read this letter, you are on the verge of entering an exciting, yet sometimes scary, new chapter in your life. Though you still feel like a child and would like nothing more than to play dolls and ride bikes with Vicki every day, your body will soon plunge you into adulthood. I know there is a part of you that is counting the days until it happens..reading such things as "Are You There God, It's Me Margaret?" Don't be discouraged when many of your friends arrive before you do. Don't rush it...just enjoy childhood while it is yours. So many things are going to change for you in the next couple of years.

Though I hesitate to cause you to carry this burden any longer than you have to, I also long to give it to you so that you can cherish what you have while it is yours to hold. Right now, you have something that you will spend the rest of you life longing for....a mother. You have two more years with Mama. You are going to lose her quickly and will lose life as you know it the moment that Daddy and Uncle Harold pick you up from school to tell you, Vicki, and Lori that your mama has cancer. Build a relationship with her the best that you can...now...before the overwhelming, suffocating presence of cancer moves into your home. Ask her questions about herself...sit and talk to her...hug her...appreciate her...make a mental note of every little moment that she mothers you and store it all away. You will need those moments to feed off of for the rest of your life. No one else will ever sustain you the way that she does. This will be a defining moment in your life. You will lose so much, but will also, one day, be able to look back and see how it carved the fork in the road that God intended for you to take. Daddy will be there to show you the way and to carry you when you are tired.

Don't worry about Daddy becoming lonely. God is going to send him a wonderful woman to take care of him and love him. She will give him a son..a brother for you. Be patient as she moves into your lives and know that it is just as hard for her to carve a place for herself as it is for you to understand how she fits in. As you grow older and more mature, you will come to realize this and will thank God for the woman that she is and for what she added to your family.

You have so much to learn about boys...the boys who will one day become the men of the world in which you live. Have fun getting to know them, but don't expect too much too soon. When the first one breaks your heart, you will wonder if you can ever feel happy without him...you can and you will! There will be others, and one day you will meet the one who was placed on earth to complete you. There will be times when you wonder if you will ever find him, but just when you quit looking, he will find you. Meanwhile, just relax and enjoy your teenage years and college experience and know that God has someone very special waiting for you. He will be everything that you have ever dreamed of and more.

I don't remember how much you are thinking of college right now, but know that in a few years, you will begin to dream of going. You will go, and you will follow it through to the fullest. It won't happen, however, when you expect it to. You are not going to understand at first why you have to go to work while all of your friends pack their cars up and head to college, but trust me when I tell you that Daddy is a very wise man for doing what he will do. In those two years, you will mature so much and will learn the value of a dollar earned. Because of that time, you will arrive at college ready to make something of yourself...not to mention that you will be driving that wonderful first car that you were able to pay for. I won't tell you what kind you will pick out...I'll leave that for you to find out. I'll just say that it will become one of your best friends!

I know that from the time you could hold a doll in your hands, you have dreamed of becoming a mother and building a family of your own. I'm only going to say that God will bless you with that family. Quit worrying that you will never get to experience what it is like to have a baby...you will, and it will be the greatest experience of your life. There will be precious moments, difficult times, and surprises along the way as God fills your home with family, but remember that He knows what is best for you. Follow where he leads and praise Him when things do not feel just right. One day you will realize that everything was falling into place even when the pieces didn't seem as if they were going to fit right!

I can't tell you what your entire life will hold. I can only say that you will reach the place you have worked to get to for as long as you can remember. Every time you played make believe house with Vicki and Lori on the blanket outside...every day filled with toy dolls and dressed up cats...every time you pretended to fall in love and live happily ever after, you were dreaming of your moment in time. You will have it!

I hope this letter gives you comfort. I wish that I could take away the parts that hurt you..that I could bring Mama back and save you from the things that will break your heart along the way. To take them away, however, would be to also take away all of the amazing things that came to be as a result of them. All I can give you is the comfort of knowing that God will work it all out to give you the moment in time that you are looking forward to even now. I want you to reach for it, but remember that none of it will mean anything without the vivid backdrop of memories that come before it. Go now and create those memories. Your moment is waiting!

Friday, February 22, 2008


Patrick and Carter both got the first stripe on their karate belts this week! They were so surprised, and I was so proud. They have worked so hard to get to this point. It's a lot more work to it than they expected, but they have stuck with it and really enjoyed the experience to this point! They have gotten so much stronger and learned so much discipline in the sport in the short time that they have been in it. I hope they will continue to grow in it.

Playdoh and Science

Last week we used playdoh to demonstrate the blending of colors. We followed an instruction wheel until our three main colors had turned into twelve.

This week we used playdoh to make models of different atoms. Some homeschool/church friends were here, so they did the project with us. I think they did a great job on the models!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Rock and Roll

We finally had Madison's 12th birthday party. We had a little party with the family on her actual birthday, but wanted to wait a few weeks...further away from the holidays...before having her "friend" party. It was a blast! I had the greatest time planning it, but then again, I love party planning anyway!

Madison and I did most of the decorating on Friday night. We were so excxited to finally get to put everything up. We found the greatest Rock and Roll decorations online...how fun it was when it all arrived!

We chose a cupcake cake shaped like a guitar from the Walmart bakery. I usually make their birthday cakes, but decided to buy one this time...what a mistake. When Jeff came home with it, I was shocked to see that it was not even finished. They didn't outline it or even write what I told them to on it. It just wasn't finished. I added the records and confetti around it to make it look a little better. Madison liked it, so I guess that's all that matters! The colors were great and went with the decorations.

I had an icecream bar set up for the guests when they first arrived. We had all sorts of icecream to choose from along with toppings, sprinkles, and cool whip. Everyone had a nice sugar high going before the party ever got started!

Next, we played three different games. First, we had a bubble blowing contest, followed by a hula hoop contest. I had pink blow up guitars for prizes, but gave the winner of the hula hoop contest a choice between the guitar and a hula hoop.
Finally, we had a Sing Star(Play Station) competition. The great thing about it was that the singers were judged by the game, so I didn't have to do it. We all got in on that and had such a great time!

Madison got some great gifts from her friends. She also got more money to add to her "new camera" savings. I took her today to pick one out.

Finally, we sang "Happy Birthday" and had cake/cupcakes. The cake may not have been made right, but it tasted great. The kids finished off the last of it today...there was nothing to throw out!

I always feel so great when we finish another birthday party. Yes, part of it is relief that the work is done, but most of it is just knowing that I have taken the time to make the birthday special. All of my children are very appreciative of their birthday parties and thank me for them often. Each year with them is special, and I want them to know that.
Happy Birthday my precious daughter. I hope you know how much you mean to me! I would have had 20 children to get you. God chose to give you to me first. I'm so thankful that He did!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentines Day 2008

I love making the table pretty for Valentines Day. Every year I add more and more chocolate...I just can't stop myself. As I sit here typing, I have my stash of Hersheys from the table :)!

I woke up to a beautiful vase of tulips from Jeff and three red roses from the kids. It was a nice surprise!

We made heart shaped pancakes for breakfast then got ready for our homeschool Valentine party at the skating rink. The kids decorated their Valentine boxes and labeled their Valentines the night before. It always amazes me to see how many Valentine boxes are sitting on the wall when we get to the skating rink. Each box represents a homeschooled child. We are so fortunate to be a part of such a large homeschool community.

I decided to cook a big dinner since Jeff always takes us out or brings something home for Valentines Day. I thought I should cook for him for a change. Of course, the kids and I were so full of chocolate from the day that we weren't very hungry by dinnertime! Madison had her friend, Emily, over for the night. She's one of her new homeschool friends. The boys are also friends with Emily's brother, and Jeff and I are in her parents' Sunday School class at church. I'm happy to have become friends with all of them and even happier that they also homeschool.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


We spent a week studying electricity with a little help from one of Patrick's Christmas gifts. We did some experiments with static electricity. For some reason, Carter's hair was the only thing we could find to produce the static. He didn't mind!

We also lit up a small lightbulb using a battery and two strips of aluminum foil.

We did a few more little experiments from Patrick's kit, as well as from a GREAT Christmas gift from Jeff to me!
We didn't get around to making our big circuit board and homemade battery, but will do it one weekend. Patrick has enjoyed his kit so much..we all have. As for my new book...it is amazing. I have wanted it for a long time. It's as great as I imagined it would be.
We are studying light this week. It isn't quite as fun to study as electricity, but we are finding some interesting little experiments to do along the way.