Friday, September 22, 2017

Summer Flashbacks #1

Since I missed the entire summer of blogging, and since this is basically our family's memory book, we decided to simply go back and document some highlights.

As always, most of our summers are spent at one body of water or another in or near Port Townsend. My favorite and Dale's favorite is North Beach and Sojo's favorite is the bunker beach because of the bunkers themselves and the big rocks for bouldering. North Beach is the sunset beach and the best for combing for sea glass.

This summer, we added a new beach activity when Jared and Cheng-Wei brought up their metal detector. Even though this one was powerful and fancy, we still only found a rusty pipe and some pop-tops.

We also ventured out to Crater Lake when Matt and Cathy came up to visit and wound up getting my very favorite family photo of the summer. Scratch that--maybe of all time. We caught ourselves mid-laugh, and I love everything about this. 

Another thing I love about summers is that we always spend good, quality time with Matt and Cathy. It's gorgeous to watch Sojo grow and have more meaningful interactions with family members. 

We made it a point to leave the house to watch the sunset more often this past summer. It's a bit tough because the sun doesn't go down until about 9:30 and everyone is in a relaxing zone by then. One night, we decided last-minute to go and some of us even went in pajamas. We arrived at North Beach to find gaggles of people also there for the view, some drinking wine and having dinner. We're going to have to get there more often next summer. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Dale's Work is Done

Over the summer, we always hit the US bookstores. Dale captured this beautiful snapshot of Sojo reading the back of a Stephen Hawking book. That furrowed brow is priceless. Needless to say, her very intellectual baba was proud that she picked up that book.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Euro Road Trip, Part Two

After our stint in Lausanne, we toodled off to Bern, which was a short two-hour ride away. The back highways we took to get there took our breath away, and I think we could have driven for hours. Roadside nature like this, for example:

After so much brown desert in our lives, we soaked up all the green. And gloomy skies were totally welcome as well.

Bern was a quaint town with some cool coffee shops (Coffee Fellows and Tibits were awesome) and historical sights to see. We wandered around and discovered some stuff along the way, but we had hoped to find the statue of an ogre we had read about that is eating a child. Yikes!

When we finally did find it, Dale and Sojo decided to act out the ogre part. Sojo's face in this photo is absolutely priceless--her drama skills are totally on point.

On our way back to Geneva, we passed through the same towns as we did on the way back. The best part of being on a road trip was being able to stop in a gorgeous little town we spotted on the way over called Moudon. We found a little Italian restaurant and ate the final pizza of the trip (I truly never thought we would say that we needed a break from pizza, but we did!). The cook, who was Italian himself, came out to chat with us and told us about how he lived in the Wisconsin Dells when he was ten. He then insisted we have some limoncello before hitting the road (just a little bit for the driver, he said). Meeting him and having a cool travel experience made the end of the trip so sweet.

And, Europe must look good on us because so many of our family selfies were just fabulous! This one was taken right in Moudon. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Euro Road Trip, part one

Our Eid vacation came very early this year. So early, in fact, that we only had 12 days of school before a ten-day break. Not too shabby, so we headed off on a European road trip that was nothing short of spectacular.

First off, we rented a car in Geneva and drove to Italy in only a bit more than two hours. I chose a somewhat random town called Aosta in the Aosta Valley--mostly because it looked cute and wasn't too far away. We wanted to include Italy in the vaca since we have never been, and it did not disappoint. Beautiful views, pizza that was incredible and a trip to the Italian Alps.

Nothing like a playground at the top of the world

Next, we toodled off to Lausanne, Switzerland where a dear friend of ours is living and working. Lausanne was so, so beautiful and right on Lake Geneva (or Lac Leman like the cool kids say).

Catching up with Aimee was incredible, and we got to meet her husband as well. We soaked up together time.

This was our splurge hotel room that offered us a perfect view of the lake. Needless to say, Dale and I spent much of our time gazing out the window.

Guitar + wine + a lake view = perfection!

One more fun adventure whilst in Lausanne was taking a boat to the other side of the lake to Evian, France. Yes, the Evian of water fame. That would be country #3 in about as many days. We all love the ease of Europe, and Sojo claims that the playgrounds are a kid's dream. Part two tomorrow!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Back in the Swing of Things

When a blog hiatus turns into a really long break, it's often hard to get back into it. So, I'm just going to start with the beginning of fifth grade and the start of our sixth year here in Saudi. Sojo had a great first week of school and came home super excited that her class earned enough of their dojo points to get a shaved ice on the last day of the first week. Definitely a good way to motivate kids!

For me, I am back in the library after five years of teaching other subjects, and it's fun to be in a new space and helping kids of all ages find books that feed their fabulous souls.

First day of 5th grade! 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Out into the Desert

Sojo often tries to drive Dale crazy by talking about how she much prefers the "brown, brown desert of Saudi" to the glorious forests of the PNW. And drive him crazy she does. Whether it's because she has spent most of her memory years here in Saudi or she's just cheeky, the desert does it for her.

As the weather is starting to cool off a bit, we headed out for our first camping night. I love how in Saudi, anything under 95 is considered cooling off, but the nights are downright glorious right now. I wasn't really prepared for the chilly night and didn't bring enough clothes for Sojo or me.

Since our camping trip was also our staff social, there were a gaggle of kids up and down the dune for hours. Even the next morning, I awoke to giggles and voices in the dunes, and, when I came out of the tent, I saw a bunch of them running at the top of the dune having a blast.

Sojo loves to dune jump (and also loves to forget to change her clothes when she gets home so all that sand generally goes right into her bedroom and bed), and I took a bunch of series shots to get the full picture of jumping.

Whilst I love dune jumping as well, I love coffee even more. My luxury coffeemaker makes every grownup happy on the camping trip. Propane-powered goodness right there.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


This fabulous girl is turning ten today. Her idea for a birthday party this year was to have three girlfriends over for a sleepover--three crazy friends, as she put it. On the menu was roast beef, make-your-own-pizza and roasted broccoli. We dragged mattresses downstairs and made a huge sleeping area, which was adorable to see them all chatting into the night on their beds.

Cake-wise, she cracked me up. I thought maybe I'd branch out a bit and make some sort of creative cake like a Minecraft or Terraria one, but when I asked her, she replied (with a deadpan face, I might add), "Um...mama, you've never been a fancy mama before. Why start now? Just make a cake." Well, all right then, definitely makes my life easier.

That is one of my many favorite things about this girl--she is so darn easy to please. She needs very little and definitely isn't looking for a Pinterest mama. Thank goodness.

Ten. Wow.