Tuesday, September 02, 2014


As Sojo ages, I have an unspoken fear that she will lose her quirkiness. Of course, some of the quirks from the past, like meowing like a cat when she got nervous and someone spoke to her, might be okay to let go of as she ages, but I see her quirkiness and creativity so entwined that I guess I don't want her to lose either. The way she looks at the world around her is quite beautiful.

Seems I have nothing to worry about at this point. One of our Chinese decorations for the door broke the other day, and there was just a tassel left. Sojo quickly decided that if she wore said tassel, this would bring her good Chinese luck all day, and she set off in search of a hat to attach it to. Even her expression in this photo cracks me up. 

Quirkiness prevails...for now. 

Monday, September 01, 2014

2nd grade

This is what 2nd grade looks like in our house. I was a tiny bit worried about her because she was not in the same class as her favorite peeps, but she was open to the idea of making new friends. One new boy from India who is quiet and shy is in her class, and he joined our community right at the end of 1st grade last year. When I told her he was in her class, she said, "Oh, nice. I wanted to get to know him."

There were some nerves (oh, this kid worries so much sometimes!) about what to do when she is itchy and needs to get Benadryl from the office. She hates, hates, hates missing anything for fear of not knowing the directions, but we are trying to encourage her to speak up and just ask for the directions again. 

She rated the first day a 16 on a scale from 1-10. And then, in the backyard after school, a wild game of ball tag with friends from the other class made us all realize that in our close community, it doesn't really matter what class you are in. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Letting Her Hair Down

This was the summer Sojo wore her hair down for the first time in years. She has always been a bit of a stickler when it comes to her hair choices--for an entire year, it was only two braids every single day. And then it was one ponytail for months and months. After that came the two ponytail stage, but they had to be 'bunny ears,' which means they were coming out of her head right behind her ears.

Out of nowhere this summer, she started wearing her hair down, and it is so silky and gorgeous. When I asked her about what prompted the change (she always said no when I suggested it before), she said it was only going to be for the summer because she didn't want any of her friends to see her wearing it like that. As I probed a bit deeper, she informed me that she feared if she wore it down here in Saudi, all her guy friends would want to marry her.

I get it, kid. I mean, look at that hair.

Monday, August 18, 2014


Another of our favorite summer activities was riding BMX bikes. Technically, it was probably just regular bike riding, but Sojo's cousin recently started racing BMX bikes, so he always brought his with him when he visited. And, let's be honest, it sounds cooler to say BMX riding. The area by the docks was perfect for weaving in and out of the poles, and we even headed to the local skate park to give that a whirl. It was a tad freaky with all the big kids doing tricks when the little ones were there, but they held their own and already have plans to do it more next summer.

This summer solidified for us that we want to one day live somewhere and look out at the sea every single day. We just couldn't get enough of collecting rocks and driftwood and simply taking it all in. And walking on the beach with this sweet girl holding my hand was icing on my summer cake. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Summer of the Bunker

Our area of the peninsula is dotted with forts from World War I, and the bunkers look out onto the ocean. The cousins and Sojo were nuts over exploring these, and they loved scrambling all around them and running amok through echoey rooms and tunnels. Our favorite of them all was right in our town, so a beach run was usually included.

Then, they got the idea to take photos of each of them squeezed into these. Super cute and perfect for photos.

Then, my brother, who is downright hilarious and 6 foot 3 inches tall, got into the fun. Sojo is their Chinese guard lion, because everyone needs a guard lion whilst at the bunkers.

Just to make it even more challenging, he then folded his body up to get totally into the hole. At this point, we were falling over laughing. The knucklehead was so jammed in there that we had to pull on his legs to get him out. 

We have a few more bunkers to explore next summer. Can't wait.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Window Into Summer

Sojo was playing by herself this afternoon, and I stopped for a moment to soak up all the clutter and goodness in our living space. From the sunflowers gifted by my niece to the sunlight coming in on my favorite yellow pillows to the brand new painting Sojo made for above our newly painted wall and fireplace, it felt soulful and wholesome and summery.

This is the time of our vacation when the end is imminent, and I wonder why we are not living here in this house I love with family nearby. I'll be fine once we get settled back in Saudi, but there is always a big dose of heartache leaving each year. 

A better closeup of the painting and the fireplace, which I adore!! Sojo let me help her with the orange part. It's called Chicken Pox Sky. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Daily Beach Trips

Our spectacular town of Port Townsend is a little thumb of land surrounded by freezing cold, but very pretty, water. We head to the beach at least once a day, and this summer, we have been branching out a bit rather than only hitting our favorites (mine is the beach right next to the best coffee shop in the world). Our new favorite is North Beach, which we have been to before, but not at low tide where it becomes this expansive beauty filled with tidepools.

I discovered the low tide surprise when I went for a walk the other morning. North Beach was my destination, and as I walked on the beach, I spotted this brilliant orange starfish in the distance. I carried it ever-so-gently in my hand for the two miles home, and it now sits beautifully on our mantle as a reminder of how much I love this place. I swear I walk over to look at it at least ten times a day.

I grabbed the whole family the next morning to show them what I discovered, and we all had a blast tidepooling. Dale spotted two huge otters munching away on something out on a rock, and it was amazing to see them so close. Sojo and her cousin were fascinated with the marine life and the perfect sand for building.

I'm amazed at the perfect juxtaposition of our life right now--the barren desert for most of the year and this peninsula teeming with life at every turn. Both move me in different ways. 

My favorite find of the morning were these tracks in the sand made by the water. They looked like perfect little spindly trees. Add a heart rock with algae, and it's perfect.