Friday, October 31, 2014


It's that time of year again when we can walk to school and enjoy a cup of coffee while doing so. The shift is so subtle here at first, but usually by November 1, it's like a switch is turned on for cooler weather.

No matter the weather, this one is almost always riding her bike to school. As always, I love to watch her fly away on the bike ahead of me, pumping those growing legs of hers.

So much here in our tiny town reminds me of my own neighborhood growing up. My childhood was absolutely idyllic and something I wasn't sure existed in this new world that seems much more fearful than when I was a child. Until we arrived here. Many days, I feel I am reliving my childhood and very grateful that my daughter gets a chance to live the carefree life I did years ago.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


When the weather is not unbearably hot here, we try to walk to and from school. Sojo tends to ride her bike, even if it is scorching, and she always beats us home, no matter what our mode of transportation is. Waiting for us is soooo boring for her. Poor thing--the whole 3 minutes behind her that we are...

So, for her 8th birthday, we decided to give her a key to the house so she can get right inside after school. My parents bought her a few cool key chains, and she was incredibly excited to get her very own key. Like I said, this birthday was a big one in the area of feeling grown up, and the key was proof of that. She carries it on her backpack now to and from school with such pride.

I swear she is like I remember being when I had the key to my first apartment. Giddy. She raced ahead of me the other day, opened the door by herself, and then stood there smiling so big. I had to have her reenact it for a photo as it was that precious. 

8 is pretty darn great. And the birthday seesaw has also proven to be a big hit, especially hanging out with a good friend and laughing away in perfect afternoon light. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Oman...again and again

Oman is called an 'oasis of tolerance' in the Middle East, and it is a very special country indeed. The Omani people pride themselves on being friendly and accepting of everyone. For me, it is a country I want to visit over and over again as it is stunningly beautiful. We spent this time around doing lots of lounging by the pool or on the lazy river at the hotel, as well as a trip to the souq and a dolphin cruise.

The most special part of the trip for all of us was visiting the Grand Mosque. All dappled light and shadows and curves, it is an architectural beauty.

Next on the Oman list is a trip into the mountains for some hiking. I have a feeling this will be our go-to country in the Middle East. 

Friday, October 10, 2014


There is a chance I have said this on prior birthdays, but this one feels like a biggie to Sojo. She was incredibly excited while leading up to her special day, and she kept asking us if we had already bought a present. She was convinced we had not bought anything. Little did she know that the two of us were building her a see-saw that she had been asking about---extra green points for using all wood that had come on a recent shipment container to our school!

The see-saw making was happening in the garage, and my parents were on the lookout to make sure she didn't come in. All was well until later in the evening when she barged in looking for something, well after our lookout time had passed. Oops! She decided to help us finish the project, which made it even cooler that all three of us helped build it. However, I could tell she was hoping to be surprised this year for some reason.

We were able to surprise her after all with a few Lego sets. She has shown zero interest in the small Legos until just recently. Her daycare at school has some, and she and her friends are totally into it now. She couldn't believe when she got her very own to use at home. So glad she had the surprise she was craving. Even more glad that this special girl is growing into such a beautiful person.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Soccer Coach Love

Snapped this photo tonight at soccer practice. I know that having her baba as her coach will be a forever memory for her.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Beauty of Jordan

Since we know my parents are here until December, we wanted to make sure they were able to see other parts of the Middle East rather than just Saudi and our compounds. Although I do love living in Saudi, it is not set up for tourism at all.

Our first big trip was to Jordan last week, and it was beyond our expectations. From the roman ruins of Jerash to the super salty Dead Sea to our final destination of the ancient city of Petra, we were fascinated with the beauty of the country at each location. We hired a driver and van for the entire trip, which really relieved any stress of finding the right road or reading exit signs in Arabic.

Dead Sea mud is so fun! 

Jordan is a place that feels sacred in many ways, and the people were some of the kindest I have ever come across in my travels. We stocked up on lots of good memories together as a family. A highlight for me was hiking with my dad and Dale to the Monastery in Petra--a pretty decent climb in the heat, but the view was worth it.

The whole family in the Siq on the way to Petra

Dale won many hearts with his guitar in Petra

Favorite family picture ever!
This year, we have only 2 company holidays, and they line up almost back to back because of where Eid falls this year. We are taking advantage and heading off to Oman next week. After that, it will be all Saudi all the time for a while.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

2nd Grade Duds

Before time goes by too much, I wanted to post Sojo's first day of 2nd grade photo. We stocked up on our yearly supply of shirts and leggings this summer, and there were lots of choices for the first day. Wearing shorts is totally new for her, so wearing one of her funky new pairs was a must. She then chose her ancient Angry Bird t-shirt that she actually sleeps with each night (she gently rubs it on her lips, and it's adorable) as her blanket. I mentioned that maybe she should choose a shirt that fit better, but she insisted that this particular one made her feel "fuzzy" all day long, and she needed that on the first day.

I get that feeling. You gotta feel good on your first day, even if you are wearing what is basically your security blanket.