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 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

My Baby Boy All Growed Up

So today was a tough day as a momma…my baby boy went off to day camp. 😦 We packed his bagpack last night and this morning he ate a good breakfast and was ready to tackle his day. He went to work with Zach because day camp doesn’t start until 9 and Zach goes in about 8. So he got to hang out with his daddy for an hour. Zach said when he dropped him off at the day camp place and saw Trysten head out with the other kids he almost cried. It’s a good thing I wasn’t the one dropping him off, I’ve been a bit emotional lately and I would’ve embarrased both Zach and Trysten, I’m sure. So his activities will last from 9-4 and include things like hiking, swimming and arts and crafts. Zach said he’s doing well but at lunch time (corn dogs and tator tots) he was asking if it was time to go home yet. 🙂 That’s my boy, he really does miss us. He kept saying last night and this morning..I’m really going to miss you guys when I’m at camp. Little does he know I’ve thought of little else today. It is interesting because, as a whole, I would consider Zach and myself pretty laid-back parents. But we have been nervous wrecks about this week at day camp! Perhaps control issues are to blame?

Dailah started waving over the weekend. As in, on purpose waving to say hello and good bye. Although interestingly enough, she does it backwards so it looks more like a full-handed “come here” but it’s extremely irresistable and deserving of lots of hugs and kisses.

Father’s Day was wonderful. Zach put off going into work for just enough time to go to breakfast with us. It felt like we were spoiled with so much daddy time! After these last couple of weeks, I have newfound respect for single moms. I know I’ve said it before, but it’s not even about raising the kids on your own, which can be tough. I just miss talking to him at night and things. I am blessed with easy kids so my reasons for missing Zach are mostly selfish. 🙂

Tomorrow marks exactly one month until our adoption classes. I can’t wait! I’m excited to learn (as most of you know, I’m a bit of a junkie when it comes to that) but perhaps even more excited to really give the process a jump start. I’ve finished another book which brings the total to 8 (!) adoption-related books since May. 🙂 I know, I’m ridiculous. But I get crazy when I’m excited about something!

I have been doing so much research, budgeting, etc and had figured out a way to give my 30 days today. Alas, it didn’t happen after talking with my favorite hubby. He talked me into a few more months so we can save for the adoption. I know these kids will be worth it, but I am REALLY looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life! Be praying for my sanity the next few months and for us to continue finding ways to pay for this adoption!

Anyway, I’ll post pictures of the well-captured first day of camp as well as just other cute ones as soon as I can download them to the computer. Until then, peace, love and happiness!


So am starting to try to learn a few words in Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia. The title of this post is Amharic for “mother”. I don’t do phoentics really well, but if I were to try, it’s pronounced like eh-MY-ay. Is that right, Leslie? Anyway, I’m trying. The only problem is, our children could come from a remote part of Ethiopia that doesn’t speak Amharic. Then all of this would be for not….but I’m still considering them learning at least part of the language so they’ll have ties to their culture that way as well. Besides, how cool would it be if I could speak (kind of) 3 languages….okay, okay, 1 languague and bits and pieces of two others.

So it’s been a great week. We were finally able to see some of Zach the last couple of nights before all of us went to bed, which has been refreshing (for everyone, I think) since he’s worked so late recently! We were able to go swimming in the camp pool on Tuesday night (it was beautiful, more pictures to come) and last night Zach brought the kiddos to watch me play sand volleyball with folks from our small group (apparently should have practiced!). Anyway, it’s been a great week and tonight we get to go mini golfing–without daddy–with the Klipschs.

Can’t believe this weekend is Father’s Day. I’m going to have to dedicate a post to all the daddy’s in my life soon. They are all so wonderful, especially my own “Papa John” and of course my husband. I call my husband the baby whisperer because kids love that guy. There’s something about him. I think they can sense his overall contentment and peace. It’s awesome.

Anyway, it’s also been an exciting week on the adoption forum. 6 people have gotten referrals, including one couple from Pleasant Hill, IA. So it’s been awesome reading about them hearing of their newest child for the first time. It gets me excited for when we get to that point. Though I have absolutely no idea when it will be, it really can’t come soon enough. I’m crap (ca-ca) at this patience thing.

I’m also still studying for my ACE Personal Training certification. I’m not sure why I constatly pick the hardest way around things. This is really tough material! At least this way I’ll be confident in my knowledge and skills once I’m actually training people. I also learned that I undoubtedly was born with more fast-twitch muscles than slow-twitch. I always use that as an excuse when people try to get me to compete in long road races. “I’m a sprinter” I say, “I have fast-twitch muscles, not slow-twitch!” Turns out I was right all along…Oh sweet intelligence!

So here’s to a (hopefully) relaxing Father’s Day weekend. I’m attaching a few professional pics of the kiddos. Man they are attractive people (too bad I don’t have pictures of their insides, I bet they’d be ever MORE beautiful!)

Selam (Peace)

Too Sexy For This Shirt?

I had to write that title because it reminds me of one of the reasons I’m looking forward to staying at home with me kiddies…Trysten will never hear that song until he’s old enough to go looking for that undeniably fantastic band that is Right Said Fred. He came home from daycare a couple of months ago singing that song. When Zach asked him where he heard it, he said “school”. It prompted my always attentive hubby to call the daycare the next day. This led to the Director sending out a memo stating all listenting materials must be okayed by her before they are heard in the classroom. It pays to know the boss!

Last night on our way home Trysten was counting. I was listening closely and was surprised when he hit 100!!!! I was so proud of him, giving him high fives, doing my in-car dance. It was all fantastic and I called Zach and said, “Trysten counted to 100!” For the rest of the car ride he tried telling me he counted to 0 and all he wanted to do today was count to 0. No matter how much I tell him 0 is actually where you start, etc, etc, he just likes 0 for some reason. What a weird kid.
Dailah has recently reminded me why I sported that atrocious pixie cut when Trysten was exactly her age. She yanks, pulls and slurps my hair like it’s her business. Especially when I’m giving her the nighttime bottle. It’s like she goes to sleep better knowing I’m in pain. I don’t get it but when I tell her “no” and put her hand down, she thinks we’re playing a game and smiles and laughs like it’s the best game in history. How can I say no to that? But seriously, I haven’t been tempted to cut my long locks in quite some time but I’m toying with the idea now. Shhhh, don’t tell my hubby.
This weekend Dailah had her first belly laugh. I’m talking hysterical laughing-make everyone come watch-light up your week-kind of laugh. All I had to do was juggle (really, really poorly) a plastic cup and she thought it was the funniest thing ever done. It makes me feel good to know I don’t have to try nearly as hard at making her laugh as I do the adults around me.
And seriously…they are getting rid of Burke on Grey’s Anatomy! Boy I liked his character. By character I mean on the show, obviously in “real life” he left a lot to be desired with regards to that word.
Okay, this blog started as an excuse to post pictures but somebody give me a podium to stand on and I’ll talk your ear off! Happy Tuesday every body!

Grandma Dawson

Had a great weekend at the lake. It was Dailah’s first trip and Trysten’s excitement was palpable for the past week as he remembered all the fun we have whenever we go. They are in the final stages of an addition so there was painting and things going on but it was a whole lot of fun, just as I remember. We even had our dear friends, the Hilsabecks, come out to say hello. It was awesome getting to spend some time with them.

I also got to visit my newest second cousin, Dawson Lee Bertran. As soon as I download his pictures you can see just how cute and charming (true to his name!) he really is. It was nice seeing all of my cousins and things and of course getting to hold baby Dawson did the heart good!

On a more somber note, my sister, my cousin and I visited my Grandma Dawson yesterday. She is 95 and has Alzheimer’s, among many other diseases, etc. Last week she went to the hospital and on Tuesday (the 5th) the doctor said she wouldn’t last 48 hours. This prompted my uncle from Texas to come say good-bye. As I’m sure you noticed, she is still living and beating the odds. She has congenitive heart failure so it is only a matter of time. At this stage I’m truly praying God takes her soon so she doesn’t have to go through a lot of pain when the time does come.

It is such a weird thing, relatives dying. Truth be told I was not extremely close to this Grandma and it was due in large part to her not being totally interested in a close relationship (even though we lived just 5 miles from her my whole life, and at one point we lived next door!). She didn’t always have the nicest things to say and would sporadically call me by my younger brother’s name (though to be fair, I was sporting an unflattering pixie cut at the time).

But she was my Grandma. It’s hard at this stage because I find myself not feeling the “right” to be sad. At some point you tell yourself that you shouldn’t feel sad seeings you never really had that great of relationship in the first place. But perhaps that’s why I am a sad. Some part of me not only mourns my inevitable loss, but also the loss that’s been there for 25 years. I just don’t know much about her. I know things only from stories from my dad or uncle (mostly my uncle). Grandpa Dawson died in a tragic drowning accident when I was quite young and the memories I have of him are there perhaps only because I’ve seen pictures. When we asked Grandma to write her memoirs she had just two entries, neither one was altogether interesting.

As a Christian I am excited for her new life after she dies. Her mind and body will be restored and she will again be renewed in God’s image. Not the image I saw on Sunday. Not the old, 85lb lady wasting away on her bed. Not the lady who doesn’t recognize her granddaughters and certainly not the lady who can’t say anything that comes out clearly. I feel so sad for my dad, who I’m sure can’t remember the last time Grandma expressed a whole lot of love or gave him a hug that every child needs from his/her mom. I hope he (and my uncles) can come to terms with the fact that their relationship might have to be built in Heaven where there will be no more anger or resentment getting in the way of a truly remarkable relationship.

Either way, here’s to my Grandma. The lady that called me “my smiler” in a few of my birthday cards. The lady that gave me Red Hots when I would come over to do laundry. The lady who made amazing pies and attempted to show us how before her mind started slipping. The lady who gave the world my dad and my uncles. The lady who somehow knitted such a tight relationship between her sons, they blessed me with my close relationships with my cousins. The lady who taught me how to sew. The Grandma who constantly reminded me to zip up my coat on a cold, Iowa winter day. The lady who survived the Great Depression, WWII, the death of a fiancé, the death of a husband and the death of her mind. The Grandma who asked if I was wearing white at my wedding. The lady who did crossword puzzles and had Christmas at her house. To the lady who (hopefully) gave my dad the ability to weather any physical storm and live a long, long life.