4th of July Pictures

We went to our friend’s parents’ house for the 4th. It was a lot of fun!

Our friend’s dad was awesome with Samuel and taught him how to swim completely across the pool underwater (and come up for air midway!) I tried to get a picture of him above water, but he was submerged the majority of the day. Needless to say, he had a great time.

Aram also is learning how to swim! He right now is getting comfortable going underwater by himself.

My little Fishies!

Big FAT Armenian Good Friday- stolen name

My cousin posted this blog title and I stole it.

Here are some pictures of my extended family when we all got together in Northern California.

grammy and brian

lori, baby declyn, and whitney

aram, shane, and samuel

the three bry/ians

lori and me

lori, grammy, and me

we are picture-takers

cousins

Saturday at CHOWS

Danielle showed up for the action

my sister's house

chaos

Ali and her husband, the country music sensation- with Samantha the reclusive niece (not a picture-taker)

The newest addition to the family, baby Bobby.

Ethiopian and Armenian Easter!!!

I’m back tracking a little, but we had a GREAT Easter!

On Saturday night we attended an Ethiopian Easter service in Oakland, California.

My grandma and cousin decided to join us.

Trying to be as multicultural as possible, we decided to go with Chinese food for dinner before the service:

Grammy feeding Samuel

Lori enjoying a random drink we decided to order

When we got to the church everyone was dressed in their white clothes (including Samuel, Lori, Grammy, and me) It was so much fun. Everyone was unsurprisingly kind.

We took off our shoes and entered a beautiful church with amazing wood ceilings.  It was packed, but the church is very hospitable to obvious guests and even though some people were standing outside the sanctuary, they demanded they we come inside- and they made room for us. Due to the limited space Grammy happily was separated from us with Samuel. She has a way of completely immersing herself in her surrounds. The Ethiopian people sitting next to her kept looking over in adoration of her and Samuel and her spirit.

Grammy and Samuel

The ceremony started with women dressed in white singing hymns and walking down the isle. I kind woman next to me was translating the meaning of the songs.

Then the men came out and the drumming started! The music picked up and the women made these fun noises (sounds like “lalalalala”. I always wondered why they did that and someone told my grandma, but she forgot what they said! Here is a video and the women make that same noise. The drum is also in it…..(it took me forever to find it, so I hope you watch!)

….. Good luck clapping to the beat- it doesn’t work like that to these songs. The clapping still confuses me- it is totally beyond me when to do it.

Samuel was clapping and singing along in Amharic. The only one in our group that could!

They brought out their prayer canes and began dancing with them.

Unfortunately by this point it was 9PM and we needed to get the boys back to bed. So we had to go outside and put our shoes back on 🙂


Samuel kept fixing my shawl like that and telling me how pretty I was

our odd group leaving

Next year we will probably leave the kids home and stay until 3AM like the rest of the people there.

Easter morning was so much fun, but I already posted about that.

After we went to church my aunt, uncle, sister, her husband, and their kids all came to my parents’ house.

aunt Sharon, my sister, and her new baby

Uncle Bob and Brian

The kids played in the sandbox and we had a great time outside, followed by a very satisfying dinner.

my niece, Jessie, my boys, my sister's boys, and me

my mom and my nephew, Bobby

my sister, Ali, and Brian

my dad and the boys

the twins

On Monday morning we went over to Grammy’s house for bishi! That is an Armenian breakfast treat. It is a little like a sopapilla (only better), with no cinnamon or sugar….and we serve it with honey.

My cousin Bryan and his kids were there, and so was my cousin Lori- we brought my niece, Jessie with us.

The master bishi-maker at work

Bryan and Lori

BISHI!

And that was my Ethiopian-Armenian Easter……

Happy Easter!

                                               HAPPY EASTER!

We made it safely up to Northern California!

Update later…. Until then, are a few pictures of the boys finding their Easter baskets.


Brian showing off his farmers tan and explaining the hidden Easter baskets.

Aram found his!

Samuel found his!

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!

February is a very active time in our house.

On February 3rd it is our wedding anniversary.

The 14th is obviously a fun day.

The 21st is my birthday. (The big 2-5 this year!)

And this year my dad’s birthday and our annual Oscar party.

We are ready to party.

TIMKET!

On Sunday we went to a Timket celebration at The Forum in Inglewood.

Aram in his traditional Ethiopian shirt that really ended up looking like a Mexican poncho.

We're still working with Samuel on how to not look so tortured when he smiles for a picture

Drawing in the kids' tent

Kids learning about the baptism of Jesus. Unfortunately, I look horrible here.

We ended up getting interviewed by a journalist for the LA Times, that had recently returned from Ethiopia. She said she fell in love with the people and the culture, and was pleased to get this assignment.

Singing,chanting, and prayer going on in the "big tent"

Brian getting an "Ethio Burger" for the boys. The authentic raw meat was not going to cut it for Aram or Samuel (afterall, we just finished up the Flagyl and Alinia!)

What is Timket?

That was my first question when we were invited by my friend Ti Ti….

Timket.org had the best description:

Timket, or Timkat, is Ethiopian language for Epiphany. Although the holiday commemorating Christ’s baptism in the River Jordan is observed by Christians all over the world, Timket is of special significance in Ethiopia. It is the most important and colourful event of the year.

The festival starts at Timket Eve, eleven days after the orthodox Christmas. According to the Ethiopian epic Kebra Negast, the Ark of the Covenant was abducted from Jerusalem to Ethiopia during the first millennium BC. Since then, it has become the most sacred element of the Ethiopian orthodox church. Early afternoon in the Timket Eve, the replicas of the Ark, covered by silks, are carried solemnly by priests from each church to the nearby body of water. Accompanying the procession are tens of thousands of church members andbelievers, chanting, dancing, drum-beating, horn-blowing, prayer-stick-waving and sistra (a simple musical instrument)- rattling. All in all, it resembles the scene described in the Old Testament.

As evening falls, the priests and the pious believers participate in overnight vigil around the Arks until dawn. Then huge crowds gather around the water. After the chief priest blesses the water, the celebration reaches its climax. Many jump into the water, the rest are eager to get a splash. After the religious vows are renewed, some of the Arks are paraded back with the same celebrating fashion.

The festival does not end until the third day, dedicated to the Archangel Mikael. With parade no less magnificent than the previous two days, the rest of the Arks are carried back to their respective churches.

Timket in the town of Gondar is undoubtedly the most interesting. The bath pool in the historical palace built by the Emperor Fasiladas during the 17th century stages a dramatic backdrop of the event, while the garden surrounding the pool provides believers a perfect ground for prayers and overnight vigil.