Monday, October 19, 2015

Our Stomping Ground

Throughout the years here, Bahrain is where we go when we need a little getaway from tiny-town living. We headed there a few weekends ago to soak up the sun and see a few movies. Unfortunately, Sojo was getting sick, so we spent a lot of time chillin' in the hotel room. Fortunately, we are a family that loves to hang out in hotel rooms. And this one had a beautiful view.

There were killer sunsets, a glorious evening swim, and our beloved watermelon juice.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Swim Card

For months now, Sojo and her friend Eamon have wanted to take their official swim test at the community pool. Passing the test would give them the chance to be a bit more independent and would not require that an adult is physically in the water with them. Dale and I are not ready to send her off by herself to the pool quite yet, but getting the swim card was still a big deal and both were pretty nervous about the test.

Thankfully, they both rocked it. The trickiest part was the treading water, so the dads both jumped in and did it with them for moral support. As a mama, I was totally impressed with their strength and perseverance. 

The final part of the test was an interview with the lifeguards where they had to answer safety questions. 

You know you're living in a small town when all the lifeguards erupt in applause for the kiddos when they finished. They all call her Jojo instead of Sojo, so that was even sweeter to hear cheers for Jojo. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Golden Birthday

Nine on the 9th. Her golden birthday. This year, she chose a small gathering of two friends to spend the night rather than a big shindig, which was fine by us. I asked if she wanted any games or activities, and she said she just wanted to play and be with the girls. It's extra special because both girls don't often get to have sleepovers, so we were happy to have it all come together.*

My only job was to get the food ready: steak, homemade pizza and a last minute realization that our little cafe down the road sells Shirley Temples, her favorite summer discovery. All three girls had a blast at what they called the banquet. As Sojo said, "I've never had a banquet before." 

After dinner, they danced and giggled and had a great time. Every now and then, Dale and I would peek in and then gush to each other about what a beautiful soul she is. So, so fortunate. 

Friday, September 04, 2015


My favorite of our three stops was the city of Ketchikan. Small enough to be quaint, but big enough to have a few things to do, it was a great place to spend the day. We chose to see a lumberjack show as we thought the kids would get a kick out of that, and they absolutely did. It was so cool to see them showing their strength and doing typical Alaskan things like using a chainsaw and climbing poles. I had no idea, before going to Alaska, how much of an Alaska culture there is.

We then walked around Creek Street and looked at all the beautiful rocks and geodes and such for sale. Sojo loves any sort of gem, so she bought an agate that later became her good luck charm for the first day of school in Saudi. 

The best part of Ketchikan for me does not have a photo to go with it, and that was when we saw a black bear in a stream eating a salmon. This was on my Alaskan bucket list (that and Northern Lights, but this isn't the area for that), and we took a trolley tour out to an area known for bears. The salmon were on their run, and so they were everywhere. To our delight, we watched not one but TWO black bears catching salmon, and it was just as cool as I thought it would be. 

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Ice Love

One of the highlights of the cruise for the grownups was seeing Tracy Arm, Alaska, and the gorgeous glacier tucked in that area. We took hours to move slowly through the narrow passage, and seeing the first iceberg chunks in the water was so exciting. As we got closer, their number increased until we were in full sight of the glacier. Spectacular.

The captain of our ship, Captain Fabian, was so incredibly personable, and we were told that he always lowers a metal basket over the side of the ship to 'catch' a piece of ice so the kids can have a first-hand view of a piece of a glacier. Checking out the frozen air bubbles was so cool. 

I still miss Alaska and its beauty. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Panning for Gold

Our second half of the train trip in Skagway took us to a small operation for gold panning. It was a somewhat cheesy set-up of a mining town with locals dressed up and acting as hillbilly as could be. We all got pans and set to work finding gold flakes in the troughs, which was not an easy task. I was certain the kids would get frustrated quickly, but we wound up having to drag them out of there to get back on the bus and onto the boat. Our girl loves her gems, so having the chance to pan for gold was a big treat for her.

Walking back to the boat gave us a chance to use the beautiful Alaskan wilderness to do some parkour training. Love that her look is so Alaskan. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Skagway Adventures

Our first port of call on the cruise was Skagway, Alaska. The town is tiny, even by Alaska standards, with about 860 people living there. We booked an excursion to go on the White Pass railway, taking us on a beautiful train ride up the mountains into B.C. It was stunning, but Sojo didn't really have any thoughts about it at all.

She slept the entire train ride, as per usual with trains and boats and her. The terrain was this sparsely beautiful tundra, and the town of Skagway was just what I pictured an Alaskan town to be. My love for Alaskan wilderness was growing by the second. 

We were so fortunate to have sunny days during our entire trip, and Skagway was no exception.