Category Archives: Yohannes

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 →

I Went Skydiving

April 15, 2014 · 6:30 am

Skydiving freefall Esther

I went skydiving on Sunday. Me, who is afraid of heights.  The long and winding path that lead to this insanity adventure, started about six months ago. Photographs and video courtesy of Sabo at Freefall Adventures.

Est. 12 November 2013: I wrack my brain for a good birthday gift for Yohannes. He always gets me cool stuff. I always get him things like gloves.  I want to improve my marital karma a little, and eventually I come upon the idea to get him an “experience” gift.  I find a place that offers gift certificates which can be redeemed for anything from whitewater rafting to a pilot lesson. Bingo! My adventurous husband will love it!  I can see it now: my marital karma rising like a phoenix form the ashes. Read More →

Poolside in the Caribbean

September 20, 2012 · 11:13 pm

This is where I have been since Sunday.  Feel free to envy me.

The World’s Largest Cruise Ship: Allure of the Seas

Just kidding.  I am home.  Alone.  With two children.  Yohannes, on the other hand, really is on that ship along with his parents and two of his sisters, a friend, my uncle and aunt, and my uncle’s in-laws.  So it does seem odd that I’m not there and I feel it’s important for morale (mine) if I at least pretend to be there.  The short story is that the tickets were through Yohannes’s work, no children were allowed, and I thought the kids were too little to go a whole week without me, so I opted to stay home.  My introvert self was in need of a little re-charging after so long with a full house, so it’s not all bad.

In the mean time, we have done the following exciting things instead of going on a cruise:

Go Through Withdrawal: I spent last week participating in a 40 hour, mentally stimulating Immigration Training with real, live adults.  So the transition back to temporarily-single-parent/stay-at-home-mom was a little jarring.

Sleep in: While it’s not as restful when you’re co-sleeping with two fussy kids, there’s still something to be said for staying in bed till 9:00am.

Watch Planet of the Apes (me) and Caillou (Nati):  Worth it for that aha! moment a few minutes in when I realized that this is a political allegory and not just weird science fiction that dorks (Jason) watch. Planet of the Apes, that is.  There’s so little to be said in defense of Caillou.

Get First Teeth (Lily):  An aha! moment of a different sort when I nursed her and she bit me.  Also, I felt a little silly after having just told the doctor that morning in a solemn tone that, “I’m a little worried because she’s been having unexplained fever’s all week, and I know she’s not teething.” The two bottom front ones are just barely through.

That’s all the excitement I can think of for now.

Nati Quote:

Nati: “Mama, are you happy or grumpy?”

Me: “I’m happy.”

Nati: “Are you happy?”

Me: “Yes.”

Nati: “Are you happy?”

Me: “Yes.”

Nati: “Are you happy?

Me: “Nati, yes I am happy!”


Nati: “Are you grumpy now?”

Tata and Akoi

August 31, 2012 · 3:39 pm

On Wednesday, Yohannes’s parents (Meseret and Worku to the world, Tata and Akoi to Nati and Lily) arrived from Ethiopia.  We’ve been over to visit them twice since Nati was born, but this is the first time they have visited us since shortly after our wedding and their first time to see Lily.

It was love at first sight on both ends.

Meseret (Tata), Lily, and Akoi (Worku)

Lily has warmed up to them faster that I have ever seen.  She is usually a little timid about being held by new people.   Nati, on the other hand, has seen them on Skype and in pictures, and was very excited for them to visit.


It’s going to be a wonderful visit. 🙂


Daddy’s Girl

August 6, 2012 · 5:20 pm

This is what Lily looks like just after Daddy leaves for work:


It came on suddenly in the past week or two.  But now every time he walks away from her, she bursts in to tears, and every time he gets home, she reaches for him to pick her up.  I’m sure it does his heart good.  Also, it lets me have free hands for part of the evening. 🙂

“When is he coming back?”


June 7, 2012 · 4:42 pm

Four years ago today, I woke up in a convent.  More accurately, it was the guesthouse of a convent, because I had given up my aspirations of becoming a nun, and this was my wedding day.

Everything started off smoothly with the electricity being rationed (we were in Addis).  We were prepared for this possibility and headed across town to the house where the wedding would begin (and where there was electricity) so we could use our curling irons and other electrical contraptions.  I hadn’t quite been prepared for the fact that this was the domain of the “Paparazzi” (AKA wedding photographers and videographers).  They graciously agreed to leave while I put my dress on, and that was the last time I didn’t see them all day.  They memorialized our special day through hundreds of beautiful pictures, and almost as many awkward ones.

Awkward because of the Paparazzi:

Awkward because I threw rose petals in the air.

Awkward because I’m standing on a bed in my wedding dress.

Awkward because we’re all laying on a bed in gowns and high heels.

Awkward because there are now two of me.

Looking adoringly into each other’s eyes….

…and awkward because I got my makeup all over his face.

Awkward because, What am I doing?

Awkward because he was supposed to kiss my collar bone while I leaned back or something? At this point one of Yohannes’s cousins wisely gave us the advice that we don’t have to do whatever the Paparazzi says or they will try to make us into a Bollywood film.

That Paparazzi leaning dangerously out of the car to video the processional of cars.

Awkward because I didn’t know what I was doing:

This is the part of the Wedding where everyone crouches around the bride and she has to hop in a circle on one foot in her high heels.

This is the part where I brought non-alcoholic champagne from the States for the toast…

…and then the hotel gave the bridal party whiskey on the house, and me and my sisters pretended to drink it. I made a face when I tasted it and everyone laughed.

The cow that was served at our wedding raw.

Yohannes offering me some of his raw cow, and me saying very politely, “No, thank you.”

My sisters and I giggling because, as good Mennonites, we had our DNA altered to remove any God-given dancing ability, and these people don’t seem to know it.

Me feeling intimidated when the professional traditional dancer came over the dance “with” me, and begging Yohannes to please get me out of it.

The pictures weren’t all bad:

At the end of the day, we were married.  Four years removed from the awkwardness and two kids later, I can say without a doubt that it was one of the best days of my life.  Happy Anniversary, Johnnye.  Love you. 🙂


May 8, 2012 · 10:00 pm

I haven’t gone shopping since Lily was born.  I don’t mean clothes shopping, (although I haven’t done that either.) I mean grocery shopping.  Yohannes graciously took on this added responsibility after I explained to him that I. COULD. NOT. DO. IT.  I know many amazing moms who grocery shop with a giant herd of children.  But to me, the idea of Nati having a meltdown and running through the store screaming as I chased after him with poor Lily being jerked around in my arms and a cart full of frozen food melting away unattended, was just more than I could bring myself to do on purpose.

The last week and a half, I feel I have been more productive than usual.  Well, yesterday was one of those days where Yohannes came home and said, “What did you do all day?!” (Of course, very lovingly, etc., but feel free to punch him for that one if you get a chance.)  But other than yesterday, I have been doing better than usual (usual being the key word here).  So I decided, after nearly half a year, to try tackling the grocery shopping by myself.

Success.  Lily sat happily in the baby carrier the entire time, and even fell asleep.  She got a tiny bit fussy at the cash register, but kept it low-key.   Nati was a real trooper. He asked for everything…especially the pink princess hats and the pink princess pillows, and the pink princess clothes.  But he took it very well when I said no. As a reward and because summer is almost upon us (and because I am a giant pushover) he got to pick out a couple things. 

He put the hat on like that all by himself. 🙂

Wisdom Teeth

April 25, 2012 · 10:18 am

Wisdom Teeth

I got my wisdom teeth out a couple months ago.  I’ve had a few teeth pulled before as a kid, and somehow had the idea that this would be similar.  I was most nervous about being put to sleep, because I had never been under general anesthesia before.  When they took me back and sat me in the chair, I asked the nurse if there were any special instructions for after the surgery. Read More →