Party Hearty

I was asked to take some pictures and video at little baby Eliyas’ baptism a couple weeks ago. First of all, I had no idea what I was getting in to. I thought this would probably be a pretty casual affair. You know, like a little church basement reception with some cake and a few family photo ops. But there was easily over 100 people there, a huge buffet line, live muscians, balloons, booze flowing, dancing, etc. I was told relatives and friends came from Colorado, Ohio, Missouri, and North Dakota to help celebrate.


It seemed like the entire midwestern Eritrean community came together. And it was a gorgeous cultural experience to witness. Everyone was so affectionate and happy and they partied from 3pm to well after midnight! Ayyy oohhh.

Please notice: Guy pouring straight up Black Label into plastic cups for everyone, guy with a mullet that rivals Joe Dirt in terms of greatness, and how much of the serving and childcare men are doing. Claps all around.

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The video is kind of long (it actually ends at 5:22) and horribly edited (thus why it continues the length of the song and not the footage) but you can check out some Eritrean dancing here (its very beginner friendly and awesome):



7 Things Sunday

7 things my mom did when I was growing up (proving her incredible-ness):

One. She used to make home made Lunchables for Madison and I to take to school. She would use cookie cutters to cut the meat and cheese into little stars or hearts. Does it get any cuter than that? No. It doesn’t.

Two. She was very ahead of the curve in terms of being “all natural”. Right now anything and everything organic, hormone free, paraben free, etc. is trending (which is obviously great). But I remember having Tom’s toothpaste, vinegar cleaner, aluminum free deodorant, toxic green superfood powder mixed in grape juice, and allllll those types of things when I was in elementary school. Way to go, mom. Perhaps I have less sulfates in my body than the average 20-something thanks to your concern.

Three. Do you remember Creative Memories? Well, my mom scrapbooked and documented our life like a madwoman. I think she told me that over the years she put together 60-some photo albums. She was an embossing, sticking, stenciling, stamping machine! There are many memories preserved thanks to her. HOORAY (except for those awful junior high pictures. Those can be burned.)! Sadly, due to the the mass production of the cell phone/digital camera, the scrapbooking hobby has fallen to the wayside. Probably for everyone. Sigh.

Four. She made quality time a priority by taking me on mommy-daughter dates. Just the two of us would go bowling, hike through the woods, see movies, bake cookies, etc. When I was 11 or 12, she took me to visit the town of Pella for basically the first time. During our trip I exclaimed that I wanted to live there and go to Central and then THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. What?! Life is weird, people.

Five. She implanted in me a love for adventure and traveling. For being a homebody, she certainly has an adventurous spirit. My mom has been to all 50 states and many of those states were visited while she was on tour with her handbell choir (the fact that my mom was in a handbell choir brings me sheer joy and giggles). We went on fantastic family vacations growing up. One of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had in all my life was hiking a waterfall with my mom and sister. She has always been encouraging of my international expeditions and I hope that we continue to travel together forever.

Six. She introduced me to the wonderful world of 1970s music. I can still picture sprightly young Taylor in the back seat of the Saturn, singing along to the mixed cassette tape. I knew every word to ‘The Night Chicago Died’ by Paper Lace, ‘Chevy Van’ by Sammy Johns, ‘Hooked on a Feeling’ by Blue Suede, and many more.

Seven. She threw birthday parties for our cat where she would put out all our Beanie Baby cats, make a cat cake, and invite our friends over. Because why not?!I will also mention that these parties were held in a bright purple kitchen that possessed personalized kitchen table and chairs which she decoratively painted.