Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tommys First Wrestling Match for EGHS

Although he did not win.....he made a great effort for his first time!

Friday, November 28, 2008

A few pics for fun!

Myli loves to wear Daddy's shoes!

Her new hiding spot!

Football Dude!

Sweet Sophi!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Big Helper!

Myli loves to help her Bubby Tommy empty the dishwasher! Everytime she hears the dishwasher open, she runs right for it and this is what she does......

We finally figured out why.....this is how Bubby rewards her!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Operation Christmas Child Boxes!

Each year our family participates in the Operation Christmas Child program through our church. It is a great way to teach our children about giving and they love to shop for "their" child. This year proved to be a bit crazy as we all entered Target and each child got their own shopping basket! Not sure what we were thinking but hey....it was worth it in the end! Right in the middle of shopping, we heard that the Space Shuttle was launching and since all of our children love to watch the shuttle, they nicely (haha) threw their baskets at me as they ran for the door! After returning, the shopping continued. As we were making our way to the check out, Myli decided that she wanted to push the big cart and fell and busted her face on the metal bar! Blood was going everywhere as the manager scrambled to find paper towels and a boo-boo ice pack. After we got Myli all cleaned up, we again headed to the checkout and everyone checked out seperately to be careful not to combine any gifts! We came home and wrapped all of the boxes, decorated them with stickers, loaded them up, and prayed over them for the children that were to receive them!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Tommy - Homecoming 2008

What A Goof!

Enough Pictures Already....MOM!!!

He Dared Me!!

Planning The Night Out!

Isn't He Handsome!!
Love You Bubba!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Half A Lifetime!

Today Myliah is 16 months old and has been with her Forever Family for half of her life!! I can't believe she has been home for 8 months! She continues to amaze us and keeps our home full of laughter and joy!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gift of God

Ok, so I must confess that I have left all of the blogging to my wife for the last four years. Pretty shameful huh? I guess it’s time for me to do my part and contribute to our story. Earlier this year when we were in Ethiopia God impacted our lives in a huge way and she asked me to write about it.

Our trip to Ethiopia was amazing. Melissa covered it in such great detail in this blog that I don’t want to be redundant. We were the family in our travel group that was on autopilot. Thanks to Mel’s great planning we had everything that we needed for the perfect trip, right down to a copy of our income taxes (which really came in handy in getting Myli’s visa!) It was smooth sailing and happy times for us until Thursday.

In an earlier blog entry called “Thursday Update” (posted on March 7th, 2008) that described our time in Ethiopia Melissa said;“OUR TOUR (of the orphanage) WAS OVER BUT WE DIDNT WANT TO LEAVE. WE ARE FOREVER CHANGED AND A PIECE OF OUR HEARTS ARE THERE FOREVER!

That was really all we could say at the time. What happened that day was beyond words. When we arrived at the orphanage we asked to see where Myliah (Frehiwot) slept when she was there. We want to be able to tell her as much as possible about her life in Ethiopia when she is older and wants to know. The director of the orphanage said “isn’t this the twin?” We had no knowledge of a twin so we assured her Myliah was not. A few minutes later we were introduced to the nanny who had cared for Myliah when she was at the orphanage, and she assured us that Myliah was in fact a twin. Our hearts jumped for joy at this incredible news, and a thousand thoughts were going through our minds. A twin? Where is he? Can we adopt him too? Has he already been adopted? Can we see him? All of these thoughts ended abruptly with the words “We are sorry, we did everything we could, but he was too weak and didn’t make it”.

I can’t even begin to express the grief that enveloped us in that moment. It was like a doctor had come out of the delivery room and said that our baby had died. We were crushed and completely overcome with grief. We asked them to give us any information that they could, and they brought out a piece of paper that said: Nathnael brother of Frehiwot. The nanny told us that Myliah got her strength from him, she said it over and over that he was the reason that she lived. He gave his strength to her.

Neither of us could sleep that night, and when we were able to talk we tried to figure out what this all means. The only explanation I have for how we could feel so much grief for a child that we never saw or even knew about is how quickly we had bonded to his sister, and the words of the nanny. We decided that night that Nathnael would not just be an unknown orphan that died, but would part of our family forever. He is our son.

So the question is how do we make him a part of our lives? How can we celebrate his life? How do we make sure that he is not forgotten? We wanted to find a way to think about him every day for the rest of our lives. While we were processing all of this we found out about an opportunity to invest in a project that would help the cause of the Ethiopian orphans. We decided to invest in an incredible project called the Ethiopia Guest Home. Not only is the guest home is a great place for adoptive families and mission groups to stay while in Ethiopia, the profits go directly to caring for orphans. For us, honoring Nathnael’s memory means finding a way to help Ethiopian families care for their children, and not have to abandon them. That is what the guest home is all about. To find out more about it go to: www.ethiopiaguesthome.com.

The guest home is a great way to memorialize Nathnael, but I needed something more up close and personal. I needed something to look at everyday that would remind me of my little boy up in heaven. I wanted to have something that I can’t put away, ignore, or forget about. So I got this tattoo. It is based on a painting called “Gift of God”, which is really fitting because Nathnael means gift of God. And the amazing part of this story is that it was through his death that Myliah (Frehiwot - which means Fruit of Life) became our daughter. So she was his gift to us.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I'm Growing Up!

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Myli had her 18 month check-up last week! She is healthy and growing like a weed and way too fast for me! She is in the 8th percentile for her weight and 35th percentile for her height! I'm guessing she is just going to be a little peanut!! Myli was mimicking the pediatrician with hand gestures, it was quite hilarious to watch and Dr kept a close eye on her too and said she is very smart! We already knew that! LOL! Her new passion is reading. She used to bring you books and back into your lap saying "read" but now we find her reading all by herself! She LOVES books (like her Daddy)! She still loves to dance and sing and takes advantage to do so at every little jingle she hears! She continues to be a clown and is Little Miss Social ALL OF THE TIME! It is hard to get in and out of anywhere without her saying "HI" to all who walk by! She is quite vocal and I dare you not to say "HI" back to her!! She is relentless and will not stop until she is acknowledged! I don't take her to the grocery store anymore because it takes us way too long to get through by the time we stop and talk to everyone who she grabs their attention! She is working on all of her eye teeth (one is just about to poke through) and her 4th bottom tooth. This brings us to a total of 16 teeth when they all come in!! She had 3 when she came home so she has been working pretty hard getting them all in over the last several months. She continues to be one of the happiest babies we have ever been around. Even after receiving 4 shots in her little thighs!! OUCH!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What A Treasure!

We received such a blessing via e-mail today! I just had to share it!

One of the families we traveled with to Ethiopia was the McIlrath's. We had talked several times via e-mail before travel and we were so excited to get to meet them and thank them for all they had done! Dave traveled in October of 07 to help our agency find, set-up, and furnish the new Transitional Home! He also did all of the hiring of the staff, nannies, etc. They are an amazing family!!

During the week, Dave made mention a couple of times that he had held Myli on the bus when they were moving some of the children from Kids Care Orphanage to the new TH. I assured Mark that Dave must have been confusing Myli with another child because we were told that she was not moved to the TH until January of 08, when we received her referral so he couldn't have held her.

Well....today we received a couple of surprises! One was a picture of Myli IN DAVE'S ARMS on the bus riding to the new TH!!! The other was a picture of Myli on her first day at the new TH! We did not have any pictures of Myli as such a little baby, these pictures are true treasures for us! Look at those ears!! No mistaking it, it's her, our sweet baby girl!! She was about 3 months old!!

As adoptive parents, we miss out on so much of our children's lives before we can hold them and that leaves us to often wonder and dream about what they might have looked like when they were little.....Not this time!


PLEASE VISIT: ethiopiaguesthome.com to see the work that the McIlrath's continue to do for the orphans and families in Ethiopia!!!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Leyla's hair is getting so long so in trying to figure out how to care and keep it, we decided to get it braided. She was a trooper!

BEFORE.......Miss Andrea put over 100+ braids in!! It took almost 4 hours!!!


Monday, September 01, 2008


Every morning, as soon as Daddy leaves for work, Myli runs to our sliding glass door yelling "IZZY" where she is met by her new BFF! Izzy is a lizard that appears each morning on the door to play with Myli! They talk and play awhile and then our day can start! She also has taken a liking to her big sissy's 6ft stuffed snake and carries it around! It's the cutest thing! Here they are in one of their in depth discusions (look very closely and you'll see Izzy).........


Check out our new blog for our Ethiopian Adoption!! http://www.totsites.com/tot/journeytoafrica