Ode to my 50th Post

In an ode to my 50th post, I wanted to write 50 facts about me/my life. Some of them you know, some of them you may not; but I happen to think they are all interesting. So here they are, in no particular order. Thanks for hanging with me these last 50 posts!

1) I think Zach and my “how we met” story is the best story in history.
2) I believe Jesus has rescued me from a life I woul’dve failed miserably had I went it alone and I thank Him every single day for that.
3) I believe having a great marriage is the single best thing we can do for our kids, which is why I work the hardest at that.
4) I don’t understand mullets. Or rather, I understand them completely but still don’t get why people would want one.
5) If I start having a bad dream, I turn to the other side. When I was younger and shared a room with my sister she told me that one side is “bad dream” side and the other is “good dream” side. I’m old enough to know better, but it still works!
6) I used to have nightmares of a fire burning my house. For some reason the only person not to get out was my little brother. So I used to tie sheets together and put them in his closet so he could get out the window if need be.
7) I firmly believe “mistakes” can sometimes turn out to be the best things that ever happen to you.
8) I think laughter truly could be the best medicine, which is why I married one of the funniest people I know.
9) I am a neat freak. I hate going to bed with clutter on the counter or dog hair on the floor.
10) I have always wanted as many kids as I could possibly have.
11) I believe parents blame everything else but themselves for how their kids end up. Don’t count on anyone else to raise your children, do it at home, don’t expect it to be done for you.
12) I was a 4-sport athlete in high school, was named “Female Athlete of the Year” my senior year by the Iowa Games and ran track in college. I haven’t worked out in 2 months and am actually quite okay with that fact.
13) I can say without a doubt that I would die for everyone I love.
14) I love hot showers. HOT, as in, steam-the-windows, make-your-skin-bright-red, HOT.
15) This is my lucky number. It also happens to be Zach’s. It was our number throughout our sports in life and has continued to play a significant role in our lives to this day.
16) One of my favorite places I’ve ever been is my parent’s lakehouse. I am never stressed there.
17) I am extremely protective of my little brother. Though he’s now 21, I would rather die than have anyone hurt him.
18) I just got teary eyed writing that last one. Which leads me to…
19) I cry a lot. I consider myself an emotionally stable person, but I cry all the time. Extreme Home Makeover? Cry. Trysten says something cute? Cry. Dailah burrows her head in my shoulder? Cry. Zach farts after beer and wings? Cry.
20) I have a decently vulgar sense of humor.
21) I have 2 tattoos and can’t wait to get my next one.
22) One of my favorite Bible verses as of late is James 1:24, “My Brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete. Lacking nothing.”
23) I’m not a patient person unless I’m with my kids, which is amazing.
24) I’m actually a fairly forgiving person. I don’t hold grudges for long and truly believe the only person you hurt by doing so is yourself.
25) I believe even the best of us have regrets in our life. I have a few in mine as well and am thrilled that I’m past that point in my life.
26) My least favorite part on my body are my fingernails. They are weak and brittle.
27) I am happy that I can now say #26. 6 years ago I would’ve listed everything except my hair.
28) My husband has taught me the beauty in everyone. He is the most patient, kind, loving person. He believes everyone has value and to treat them like they don’t is the worst thing you can do to a human.
29) I think and dream about my kids in Ethiopia every day, I can’t wait to know them, meet them and hold them in my arms. I can’t wait to learn what they sound like, smell like and are like. I can’t wait to call them my own.
30) I have had 2 nasal surgeries, an appendectomy, a gall bladderectomy (there is a proper word for it), 3 female procedures and various other ailments. I’m not what one would consider “a healthy person”.
31) 7 of my 10 best friends are my brothers/sisters.
32) I dream of starting my own company.
33) In college I took women’s study courses and became an overt feminist. When I had kids and realized there are some innate differences between boy/girls men/women, I’ve learned to appreciate and embrace those. God made us differently, that fact liberated me from trying to be someone I’m not.
34) I believe parents try too hard to be their kids’ best friends. They have plenty of friends, folks, there will be time for that when they get older and become parents themselves.
35) My parents and in-laws are some of my best friends NOW.
36) I got my “need for speed” from my dad.
37) I got my laugh from my mom.
38) I would consider myself a tomboy but love how my legs look in heels.
39) Quite a few of my cousins are pastors, social workers, etc. It’s amazing to see how God can plant a seed and the goodness spreads on its own.
40) I have an insatiable appetite for chocolate.
41) My high school buddies and I called ourselves the fantastic 5. We played sports together since we were in elementary school and they are still on my mind daily.
42) I love reading and learning. I can’t wait to teach my kids how awesome it is step into that world whenever you can.
43) I am obsessed with Harry Potter and all things British. I’ve told Zach if anything every happens to him, I will probably move to London and marry a Brit.
44) I love talking to people. If given the chance, most people have amazing things to say. If given the chance, God can reach you through someone you would have never considered.
45) I believe God talks to us still. I believe when the wind blows on an otherwise calm day or when we get a hug from out of nowhere or during a thunderstorm or during a great day or horrible day, God talks to us.
46) I unwind at night by watching TV, Zach hates it, I love it.
47) I love watching my brother play soccer. He’s such a great, natural player and it’s one of the only times when he shows raw emotion.
48) I think my husband and kids are the 3 most beautiful people in this world, inside and out.
49) I think the best way to evangelize is to be a great person. Love life and give love. People will wonder how you do it in a world like today. Show them that you don’t have to change who you are or be going around passing out Bibles to love God with every fiber of your being.
50) I’ll probably change a few of these once I read them because I’m weird like that.

Money and Interviews

With great excitement I announce we FINALLY received our earnest money last night. For those that don’t know, two years ago we put an offer on a house that we (obviously) did not move into. The owners were what one might call “shady” and took us round and round for months. This led to us having to “rent” the house we owned from the people who had bought it just so we could continue waiting for our closing date on that house. Well, we finally decided we didn’t want to do business with them so we found the house we are now currently residing in (until July 27th, that is). It was a blessing, as this house truly is a dream house. However, these “shady” folks quickly turned into a bigger problem and announced they were going to be suing us. Good thing we had all this documentation of their shadiness because it didn’t happen with all of the evidence stacked against them. Nevertheless, they would not release our earnest money. Judging by their his and hers convertibles in their garage, we definitely needed the money more than they but they were still death gripping it. UNTIL last night. Woohoo! So this was exciting news indeed!

Then this morning my sister-in-law, Leslie, called to let us know my bro-in-law, Jake, got an interview with the Davenport School District. This means that my 3-yr-old dream could come true! They, with my nephews, could be moving closer to us in the very near future. What a great Wednesday indeed!

So that is my news. Oh, and I didn’t end up taking Dailah to the doc. All the praying must’ve worked because there was no upchucking last night so that was awful nice. Now if only that would stay and we could get our official invite to PAC in July I would be one happy woman. They said they don’t send out official invites until 3 weeks beforehand, but come on already!

Oh yeah, and they’re putting the new flooring in the camp house. Yeehaw baby doggies! Hope humpday is this good for everyone!

Projectile Vomit and Vanity Fair

So for the last few weeks (and sporadically before that) Dailah has been projectile vomiting in her sleep. I’ll put her down about 8:30 and about 9 she’ll cough once, I sprint up the stairs (mind you, I’m not as fast as I used to be, but still…) and she’s already bathing in a sea of white. I know, gross right? Well at first I kind of shrugged it off as her wanting 2 baths a night since she loves them so much but lately they happen about every night. I can’t put her in her crib without her being completely asleep or she’ll cry once and throw up everywhere. Not worth the hassle and laundry in my opinion. So she’s going to the doc at 2:30 today. Keep her (and me, if you’ve got room) in your prayers. I’m wondering if she hasn’t built up a milk allergy or intolerance of some kind? If there are doctors out there who are stalking my blog and have yet to come forward, please reveal yourself and save me the $20 copay. 🙂

Vanity Fair’s July issue is all about Africa. I started it last night, very interesting. As I get older, I start to realize the magnitude of what is going on in the world around me. I have become obsessed with worldy issues and realize how corrupt and mean people can be. I feel crazy things all at once. Empathy, outrage, compassion, anger, disenchanted, etc, etc. I’m both overwhelmed by what is happening (in Africa and in other parts of the world) and empassioned. I want to help in any way I can but at the same time feel down about me being “just one woman”. I truly hope that by making our adoption known to our family and friends we can start a revolution here in this little state we call Iowa.

So I guess with that, I just want to ask that you all do your part to become aware of what’s going on. Not by reading your local newspaper, it will say nothing or very little about the events occuring outside the US. Find other places, search and you will find! Take some time to become something other than “an American” and become “a HUMAN who happens to be American”. Because essentially what is going on around the world is a HUMAN crisis. Though the politicians might not be taking care of their own people, it is up to HUMANs to do the work of Christ. To speak for those who cannot and to work for those who cannot. To live and dwell amongst those who have no voice and to roll up our sleeves and work TOGETHER to find a way to heal the wounds of the helpless.

(off my box now) By the way, you can all frequent Starbucks again. They recently (FINALLY) signed the fair trade deal with Ethiopia. Within the next couple of months they will be selling Sidamo coffee (an Ethiopian original) please go out and try it. IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE! And you will be doing your part one delicious cup of joe at a time!


Birth Certificates and Friends

For some reason I love the idea of putting two subjects at once together that don’t normally fit. So there you go.

First, birth certificates and marriage licenses. For the adoption we’ll have to (apparently) have a few certified copies of them when it comes time to compiling our homestudy and dossier docs. Ever the forward thinker, I went ahead and ordered those today. 4 of each of our BC and 4 of our ML. Guess what the total for that was….nope higher, nope higher still. Yup, $160. See where all this can add up? Polk County is outrageous! Zach was born in DuPage Co, IL and it was only $10+$2 additional copies. Polk Co was $15 EACH COPY. Of course that’s where I was born AND where I got married so there you go. Stupid Polk Co. 🙂

On to friends. I know I’ve mentioned that we have great friends, but I really am not exaggerating. I got to have coffee with one such friend this morning. He is an economic developer by day, a lawyer by night but to me he will always be our notary. Thanks to Nathan for notarizing all of our adoption docs, one less thing to worry about because he knows I’m forever impatient with these things and is quick to respond when I need him! Perhaps I should make him a special cape? I think I’m onto something!

We had a lovely weekend. Saturday we got to have lots of family time and napping time, which can never be beaten. Saturday night we had a couple from our small group over to the house. It was wonderful getting to know them better! I love how sometimes God puts people in your life at just the right times. I’m hoping this is one of them! Sunday Zach had to rush into work but the kiddos and myself treked off to church and small group; both of which were exceptionally great. At church they had a very poignant display of how God has changed people’s lives. Was a tear jerker. Then at small group a couple shared their story and it was so awesome to hear how God had worked in their lives too. What a blessing!

After that, I tried to finagle the kids into taking a nap at the same time with no luck. So when Trysten woke up, I let him watch Star Wars while I “closed my eyes” for a bit. When I woke up, he had opened the toy boxes in the basement to find his light saber that my sister had gotten him. It’s a noise and light maker and I think I’m going to really regret my decision. It hasn’t been off for 24 hours! Owell, at least he claims he’ll protect us with it if a bad guy comes. Thanks, Trysten.

Hope all had a good weekend. Check for pics next time, I’m getting ridiculous with them! Peace in the Middle East.


I think I have mentioned AHOPE in previous blogs. A recap: they are an orphange located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that houses HIV+ kids. These kids are given antiretroviral drugs and the attention and care that they need, so it is a wonderful place. I wanted to include this email from the AHOPE coordinator. I know a lot of you have been asking what we can do for kids who are struggling through the conditions they’re thrown in (side from actually adopting them) and this is one way. At the bottom of this email is a list of things the kids are needing at the orphanage. If anyone is interested in making a donation, please either leave a comment in the field or email me. Or, obviously, you can get in touch with her in person. If you have any questions, let me know!

Hi Everybody (and my apologies to those that will get this more than once),
This is Erin Henderson… I have taken over as the donations/supplies coordinator for AHOPE for children, an organization that provides a nurturing home in Addis for orphaned HIV-positive children and helps to educate the community about AIDS prevention.
At the moment there are about 87 children (which is up from the 60 or so kids they had last year, thanks to increases in sponsors and funding) living in AHOPE’s orphanage, from infants to 14 years old. The children are now receiving antiretroviral drugs–thanks to Jane Aronson’s Worldwide Orphans Foundation–and are all thriving. (For more about the organization, please see the website: http://www.ahopeforchildren.org)
We adopted our daughter from AHOPE in the fall of 2006 and the children at AHOPE are very much still in our minds and hearts.Because AHOPE has a very limited budget for basic items like clothing, diapers, and toys, we depend on the generosity of individual donors for these things and on traveling adoptive parents to help deliver the donations.
We realize that the adoption agencies also rely on traveling parents to transport supplies for their orphanages, and we do not wish to commandeer luggage space that the agencies depend on. But if any of you think you might still be able to squeeze some extra things in your baggage, we would be very grateful for your help. Below is the list of items that are currently most needed. If you have any questions, feel free to email me.
In the past we have had people gather some things off of the list and carry them over on their adoption/volunteer trip. If you are willing/able to gather some of these supplies and are not traveling, I can put you in contact with someone traveling that is willing to carry stuff over.And on the flip side, if you are traveling and have room, big or small, to carry over donations, but do not have time to gather them, let me know and I can put you in contact with someone with donations to send.Every little bit helps…even a gallon-sized Ziplock bag of things would be appreciated. I have found that many dollar stores carry a lot of the medical items for $1 or less, and have heard from some families that Walgreens and other stores have been willing to donate items when asked.
Once in Addis, we can arrange for the items to be picked up from you at your hotel or you are more than welcome to deliver them yourself if you would like to visit the orphanage. You can contact me for more details.The best way to contact me is at ahopesupplies @ gmail. com (no spaces)
Thanks so much for your help and support.
list of needed items March 2007
Eye drops
Anti fungal for oral thrush
Benadryl for allergic reaction
De-worming agents taken orally
Oral Suspension Ibuprofen
Antiseptic and Pain reliever
Savlon Antiseptic
Benzalkonium Chloride towelette
AntisepticInstant Hand sanitizer
Burn cream
Poison Ivy Cleanser
Povidone Iodine
USP Prep Pad
Plasil drop
Infants MyliconGloves
Digital thermometer
Bandage (roll)
Sterile dressing gauze (packed)
Cold compress (Hot compress).. Pack which is reusable
Cough syrups
Gas Relief
Hyopan (Hyosine Syrup)
Hyosine tablets
Cloxacillin 125 mg/5ml syrup
Cloxacillin 250 mg/5ml syrup

always needed
1. Cotton diapers
2. new/gently used kids shoes
3. kids’ underwear and pj’s (like sizes 6mos. to 12/14)
4. antibacterial lotion
5. rubber gloves
6. simple English books for the new library
7. balls, simple games/puzzles (that don’t require language knowledge)
8. arts and crafts supplies

— Erin Henderson -Mom to 10 (including two from Ethiopia)AHOPE Supplies Coordinatorahopesupplies@gmail.com AHOPE website: http://www.ahopeforchildren.org/

Swimming Fun

We got to the pool at Camp Abe Lincoln (put a comment in the field if you want to know where that’s at, it’s truly beautiful!) Dailah is wearing a swimsuit that was given to her by my co-worker, Kathryn. Does it GET any cuter than that?


The other day I put Dailah in her crib when it was time for a nap. I encourage her to put herself to sleep and she typically does after playing with her toys for a bit. Well when I didn’t hear her usual enjoyment-while-playing I went to check on her and this is what I found. Out cold just like this. I did end up laying her down for fear of paralysis but waited a few minutes more to grab the camera and capture the moment.


There will be a bit of a picture parade the next few blogs. I have been going crazy with the kids because we’ve been doing such fun things and, let’s face it, they are too precious! So here’s kind of a “random” group of pictures.

Mommy and Kiddos Dailah and Cheerios at the lakehouse

Trysten’s handsome features

Dailah and her outfit I “couldn’t resist” at a garage sale.

Tuesday Thoughts

1) Trysten had a great first day at day camp yesterday. As a mom, we always wonder what our kids are like when they are completely out of reach of their parents. So we were pleasantly surprised when a counselor came up to us and said, “I don’t even care if he is the bosses son, he is just a great kid.” Ahhhh, made my heart happy. But boy am I lucky I was the only one around him once we left camp. He was tired with a capital TIRED. After a less than successful bath, he was sent to bed early where he kept hanging on my neck telling me I’m the best snuggler and he just wanted to hug me and never let go. Tough to tear away from that kind of love!

2) On another Trysten note, he has the most odd timing when telling us he loves us. More often than not he can be heard saying, “Mommy/Daddy, I love you” while bent down waiting for us to wipe his butt after dropping a deuce. It’s truly amazing. Though Zach and I get a chuckle out of it, part of me thinks he knows only someone who REALLY loved him would do such a thing and wants us to let him know he’s worth it.

3) It’s tough for me to think of anything better than waking up and being the first to go get Dailah out of her crib. When she sees you, she inhales with such excitement it’s audible. It’s the sound we make when someone scares you or something like that. It’s even more awesome because it combines with her giggles, smiles and pumping of limbs to make it the best, “Good morning, mommy” in the world!

4) One of my forum friends sent this link http://farmerstravels.blogspot.com/ about some friends of hers who recently went on a 2-year missions trip to Malawi to visit HIV orphanges among other things. Pretty amazing pictures on the blog if you get a chance.

5) So last night Zach got a much needed guys night and I was left to my own vices, i.e. watching the special on Princes William and Harry. Most of you know I have a slight (by slight, I mean ridiculously overwhelming) obsession with English accents (or rather, any accents, when I think about it). So I was sitting down to watch some mind numbing entertainment and get a few laughs on funny phrases the Brits were about to say. What I wasn’t prepared for was the images of them as young boys with their mom, Princess Diana. It was incredibly sad to me and I found myself crying. After much reflection I realized I was crying because I was picturing my kids over in Ethiopia experiencing some of the same pain. Though to be fair, seeing your mom’s pictures splashed across magazines every day for the 10 years since she has been gone would certainly put new meaning to “re-living” the horror. Anyway, it made me grieve for those who have lost their parents, especially at such a young age. It made me count my blessings that I’ve gotten to know my parents through quite a few stages in life and hope that to continue for quite some time.

So my prayers have intensifed to all the motherless. I know God holds a special place in His heart for them, and I’m praying for the wisdom to know how and in what ways I can help.

Oh, and here’s an awesome poem I came across.

A whisper started our journey
Yet with no spoken word
A whisper tugged upon our hearts,
Instead of being heard.

Your family is not quite complete
There is yet another
A precious child that waits
For a father and mother

A tiny hand to hold
A child to embrace
A priceless little smile
A reminder of God’s grace

A whisper offered us faith
As we asked “Who?”, “When?”, “Where?”
Our searching paths found direction
As we whispered back in prayer

Then you were born, your photo shared
Our hearts were drawn to you
Now the whisper brings us joy
As the days between us grow few
Her little hand you’re soon to hold
In a family hug, embrace
Your soon to see her priceless smile
A reminder of God’s grace

Thank you, Lord, for all you’ve done
And all that you will do
Thank you for whispering to our hearts”I have a child for you.”

by Todd and Leslie Murrill