Monday, January 26, 2015


Our golf course on camp is entirely made of sand. They oil the sand to make it flat, and you use a little piece of fake grass from which you hit. It's unlike anything I've ever seen, but it is well used and totally free, so it's hard for the golfers to argue too much. For the little ones, the sand bunkers were tons of fun for the cousins this weekend when my brother and his family came down. Augie ran around in circles in the bunker, and Sojo's best way to connect with her cousin is to let him chase her. He will do it forever, and he has the funniest laugh when he is running around trying to get her.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Tennis, Anyone?

With the start of a new trimester, we sat down with Sojo and made a big list of various sports and activities offered on camp. Her job was to pick two--our way of keeping her involved but also honoring that she loves to come home and do all that fun kid stuff of riding bikes and playing in the park. She wound up choosing tennis and baseball, which we thought were awesome choices.  I grew up with lots of playing tennis in the street with friends, and I have tons of great memories of the sport. We opted for private lessons because the whole waiting in line thing is just not fun at all for kids, and they are pretty cheap for a half hour.

With fingers crossed that she would like it, we headed off to our first lesson with a borrowed racket and a Darth Vader tshirt. Watching her play, I was gobsmacked at how well she hit the ball, and she loved playing with the teacher. Just the right amount of competition and instant gratification to hit the ball so well. She was so hooked that she wound up going for another lesson the following day, which surprised me as her friends were waiting to play in the park. 

Kudos to her for branching out and trying something new. Kudos to us for steering her towards a sport where Dale and I can watch instead of being the coaches. 

Friday, January 16, 2015


Although we do love to stay here in the desert over the winter break, it is nice to have a few days of 'the real world,' which usually includes movies, no abaya wearing, and wine. Since Dubai is fairly close, we decided to head there for a few days of fun. We loved seeing the Burj Khalifa from our hotel and from about everywhere else, and we saw tons of movies (some even twice!). Add in Cheesecake Factory and the Rainforest Cafe, and it was a dose of all the finer things that we need living in a small town and a conservative country.

The highlight for Sojo was the trip to Ski Dubai. A veritable winter wonderland inside a mall, complete with snow, skiing and a chairlift, tubing, luges and 2 degree weather. We were given snowsuits upon arrival, and Sojo and I got a ski lesson as part of our package. The whole thing was crazy fun, at least until the crowds descended on us around noon. It was so comical to be throwing snowballs while looking out the glass windows to see people shopping right to the left of you. Once we could not bear the crowds, we headed to the Cheesecake Factory that also had big glass windows to view everyone having fun.

At the end of the day, we really are small town people at heart. Mind you, small town people who lived in sprawling Asian cities for 10 years, but this is truly what we love. Albeit, with a getaway every now and then. 

Thursday, January 01, 2015


Having a quad is a big thing here in the desert. Since our backyard is just hills and sand, it's more than a perfect way to spend some time. Last Christmas, someone was selling an old, kid-sized quad that didn't work, so we picked it up and Dale worked on it for a while. Most unfortunately, it ran for 2 minutes, and that was it.

Before this Christmas of 2014 happened, Dale was bound and determined to make that thing work. Since he was a mechanic years ago, he persisted and persisted and it was our own little Christmas magic. They have been toodling around ever since, snack in hand!

Yesterday, Dale and I headed out beyond our back gate into the hills behind our house for a little adult riding. Super fun, even if we do look like circus people riding a tiny quad with our pillow on the back since we don't fit in the seat of the kid quad. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas 2014

As she does almost every year, Sojo asked for the most random gifts from Santa. Only three things this time, but biggies: a diamond about the size of a half dollar, a gold bar, and a safe to keep them in. Oh, and she made sure Santa didn't think she was greedy!

He came through with the diamonds and the safe, but we think he had some sort of money limit on the gold bar. Thankfully, Sojo was not disappointed because he wound up giving her two diamonds. And, wow, was there was ever some serious love for the new safe! She is all about her treasures, and this will keep things safe and sound.

I made out like a bandit with some massage coupons from Sojo. Absolutely fantastic to see the advice of 'bare in mind, use wiseley' on them. 

Santa brought matching gifts for Dale and Sojo this year: tape measures for garage projects the two of them work on often. She loved that they were the same and proceeded to measure tons of stuff around the house, including her best friend, closet doors and her sweet baba. 

Monday, December 15, 2014


Each and every day, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and immense love for these two. I love our walks to school together, talking and laughing. Catch them both in the most perfect light and with those two small hands covering his, and it's the perfect start to my day. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Santa in the Jebels

It's that time of year again--the time for Santa to come and visit us here in our town. Each year, he arrives via a different mode of transport, and this year it was by a golf cart that was decked out like a train.

And each time I think that Sojo is about ready to stop believing, she surprises me with a flurry of joy and utter belief. When she saw Santa on his way, she ran ahead and was jumping up and down like crazy. It was beautiful to see her ponytails flying with such delight.

Last year, we had a bit of drama because the presents Santa gives on this day are almost all the same for the girls and for the boys. When Sojo received her present for girls, it was a kit of makeup and sparkly stickers. She was so disappointed and felt that there was no way Santa could be real because, if he sees everything, then why would he ever get her that kind of present that she hates? Um...good point. I explained that for these big gatherings, he has to give the same present, but we would fix it for next year. We made sure to let Santa know this year that Sojo would better enjoy a present he normally gives to boys.

The spy kit was a huge hit!

This is our third year of having our family photo taken against the stunning backdrop of jebels and blue sky. We do not have many traditions, but I do love this one so.