Category Archives: Family

Medical School with Children

August 28, 2019 · 8:00 am

Med School with Kids

A few weeks ago I was up late taking a practice test for Step 2, my last major exam of medical school.  I didn’t feel prepared and was dreading the exam, but when I finished the practice test, I was pleasantly surprised to score higher than I had expected.  I ran up the stairs to wake up Yohannes (yes, it was the middle of the night) and share my good news, but stopped by Lily’s room to drop off a stray pair of socks.  When I went in, I found Lily awake, with tears in her eyes.  Read More →

Dear Mama: First Foster Care Placement

May 26, 2016 · 8:15 am

Dear Mama: First Foster Care Placement

Dear Mama of the sweet little girls in my care,

I love your children.  I didn’t know I would so soon.  I worried about your kids and my kids, tangled together in daily activities. Could I treat them fairly?  How would I react when your youngest pushed my youngest? Or when my son wouldn’t share with your daughter?

I didn’t know how long I would have these children when I picked them up in the middle of the night, my hair and clothes in disarray. They reached for me so eagerly, and I was afraid.   I’m not your mother, I thought to myself, and in the back of my mind lingered the word, yet.  How long does it take to feel like a mother? How long will they be mine? Read More →

How To Save Your Marriage (In Four Easy Steps)

May 20, 2014 · 6:45 am

Breathe Right Strips

There are a myriad of forces that drive married couples apart, but the most dangerous of these can be the ones that we casually dismiss as trivial.  For example, snoring.  It is one of my most deeply held beliefs that snoring is an unwritten part of Eve’s curse for eating of the forbidden fruit.  I’m sure that passage of the Bible was intended to read like this:

I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.
Though your children sleep through the night,
Still you will have no rest.
For your husband will shake the rafters of your household with his snoring,
and you shall never sleep again.”
Read More →

Poorly Drawn Face

February 24, 2014 · 6:57 pm

So, this is what I looked like this weekend.

2014-02-22 13.33.13

Poorly Drawn Face

It came about because I had agreed to do face painting for an event at Yohannes’s office.  The day before this event, Yohannes said, “Hey, do you want to be a clown, too?”

This is not quite as bizarre a question as it might first seem.  You see, of the many things I have gotten from my mother (like taste for cilantro, and my aversion to leaving the house) dressing up as a clown in one of them.  But I didn’t have time to drive all the way to her house to pick up the clothes and makeup, so I decided to just buy a cheap costume the morning of the event. Read More →

Quickie Update 10/6/12

October 6, 2012 · 7:51 pm

1. We went to see an alpaca farm last weekend with Jason. CUTE!!!!! I want one! $3,000? Nevermind.

2. Carved an AWESOME jackal lantern! Adorable Kitten + Adorable Puppy = Best Mom Ever.  Picture below.

3. Someone stole my jackal lantern before I took a picture. They left the lid.

Thanks, guys. It means a lot that you left the lid.

4. Lily is sporting 2 more teeth for a grand total of 4.

Don’t let the grin fool you. Those babies are vicious.

5. We spent a day in Philly after Yohannes’s citizenship interview.  We saw Independence Hall and some museum mummies, and gave a piece of our mind to the mean lady in the subway elevator who pushed Nati.  (Okay, so Betty and I just tried to disappear into the wall while some other, more experienced family members told her off.)

6.  Four of the family headed home today, so we are down from 11 in the house to just 7.  The visit went by so fast.

7. Quickie trip to the ER this afternoon for Nati.  The doctor prescribed Neosporin.  Never before has a single prescription made an emergency visit seem quite so superfluous. (Yes, I did just use superfluous in a sentence. Thanks for noticing.)


A Confidant

September 12, 2012 · 2:57 pm

When I was in elementary school, I had a classmate who told her mother everything.  And by everything, I mean she told her mother when she had a crush.   I was extremely jealous of her because I didn’t feel that my mother would respond well if I told her about my crushes since I wasn’t allowed to have a boyfriend.

As I got a little older, I was still envious of that relationship and began to experiment by telling my mother about important things I was feeling (like crushes.)  I was surprised to find that she was remarkably receptive.  She didn’t scold or judge me, although she did encourage me not to date until I was 30.

As a married adult who blatantly disregarded that advice and no longer has crushes at the crux of my existence, that relationship has continued to grow to depths beyond anything I had ever hoped for. I am honored to have my mother as one of my closest friends and confidants who still mothers me when I need it, and grandmothers my children like a pro.

Happy Birthday Mom! You are the best!

Kipona Art Fest

September 5, 2012 · 2:07 pm

Over Labor Day weekend we went to the Kipona Art Fest in Harrisburg.  Actually, we only found the kids section.  We drove past the actual “Art” section on our way home, but never actually saw any art.  Nati didn’t mind.  Especially because Auntie Poupie was visiting from Atlanta and he is in love.  How can you help but love someone who holds your hand…

Holding hands.

…and takes you to get a balloon…

Dinosaur Balloon

…and helps you play the duck game…

“Every duck is a winner!”

…where you win an obnoxious horn that mommy disassembles to remove the squeaker.

Daddy got points for going down the giant slide with Nati…twice.


Lily also got her share of Auntie Poupie Love.


Also, how cute is she in the outfit from Akoi and Tata?


Nati Quote of the Day:  “Mommy, I want the ‘Ta da da da PBS Kids dot ord’ so I can watch Caillou!”

9 Days and Counting

July 26, 2012 · 12:04 pm

You might have heard. My sister is getting married in 9 days.  Nati will be a ring bearer, and today his suit arrived in the mail.  It was ordered on ebay, so I put it on him to make sure it fit okay.  It was a tad big, but I’m pretty pleased.  He loves it and won’t let me take it off.

Cheeky smile

Adorable much?



He insisted on making a video.  This one’s for you, Hannah. 🙂


July 15, 2012 · 2:08 pm

My parents and sister Naomi went down to Richmond to visit my sister Hannah this weekend.  Hannah is getting married in less than a month (!) and they were dropping off some things for the newlyweds’ home.  I sent along these “messages in eggs.”

Message in an Egg.

I saw the idea on Pinterest and thought it would be something cool to try for her Bridal shower.  Before the shower, I blew out 30 eggs and then at the shower, people could paint them and put a note inside with encouragement or marriage advice.  I ended up taking them home to finish the leftovers, which is why my parents took them down this weekend.

If you feel tempted to try this, there are a few pointers I would give you.

1. Do less than 30 eggs.  Like maybe 1. Or 5.

2.  Don’t do it when you have a friend over at your house.  They will see you blowing out 30 eggs and you will look and feel ridiculous.  Then you will both not be able to stop laughing, and you can’t blow out eggs when you’re laughing.

3.  Do it when you have a friend over at your house.  Preferably around breakfast time.  That way there will be more people to eat all those eggs you now have to scramble up.  Pick a good friend, because it is maybe a little weird (verging on gross) to eat eggs that you blew out of their shells.

After the shower and before we sent the eggs down to Hannah, Nati helped me to finish decorating them and stuffing them with messages.

Nati:  Mama, what are we gonna do with the eggs?

Me: We’re making them for Auntie Hannah, because Hannah and Pierce are getting married.

Nati: But Mama, why are Hannah and Pierce getting married?

Me: Because they love each other very much.  Sometimes when people get very big and old [compared to a 2 year old] and love each other very much, they get married.

Nati: Oh…  Nati loves Lia very much, so Nati will marry Lia.

Me: Well, people don’t marry their cousins, but that’s very nice that you love her so much.

Nati: Oh… But who should I marry, Mama?

Me: I don’t know Honey, but you don’t have to decide right now.

Nati: Okay.  How ’bout Grandma and Pop Pop?

Me: Well Grandma and Pop Pop are already married to each other.

Nati: Okay.  But Mama, who should I marry?

I’m not sure how I finally stemmed the tide of questions, but if this is any indication, boy are there a few other talks I am not looking forward to.


July 13, 2012 · 5:15 pm

Just a follow-up on the vacatastrophe.  The rest of vacation was pretty great. My parents watched the kids a bunch, which was a wonderful break.  Once Yohannes arrived, he helped extra much with the kids too. I got to jump some waves and splash in the pool a bit, and we got to hang out with some extended family. For the 4th, I had planned ahead and brought SPARKLERS!!!  I LOVED sparklers as a kid, so I was super excited for Nati and Lia to be able to try them.  Did you know you get carded when you buy sparklers? Weird.

Well, it turns out that 2 year-olds don’t love sparklers.  Every time we lit one for them, they would freak out and drop it on the ground.  I guess it’s a good thing that they aren’t eager to hold exploding sticks of fire.

Oooooooh. Aaaaaaah.


Could she be any cuter?

No pics from the beach, because how can you even try to use a camera when there is sand and water all over the place?  Best imaginary pics would have been:

1. Me in goggles.  (Turns out you still can’t see your hand in front of your face in the ocean.)

2.  Naomi sticking her tongue out at me, just as a wave came up in her face…multiple times.  (She didn’t seem to understand that I was making her do it on purpose.)

3.  Everyone squealing and doggy paddling around every time our feet touched something in the ocean, even if it was just bubbles.

No great imaginary pics of Yohannes and the kiddos, because they pretty much avoided the beach like the plague.

How many days till the next family getaway? 😉

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