Sunday, June 26, 2016

That's a Wrap!

Another school year is coming to a close, and third grade is done and dusted. We teachers work an extra week after the kids go, but that still means vacation for Sojo. And, as she is getting more and more independent, that means she can stay home by herself instead of coming to work with us as she normally does.

It was the best year ever for her, and she has a renewed spark for learning. Her teacher was so good at celebrating everyone and making them feel wonderful and capable. Sojo, not often a gushy kid, wrote her teacher a letter that said: "Thanks for accepting me for who I am." Truly, at the end of the day (and at the start of the day as well), that is what matters most and what helps kids succeed.

One more week before we are off to Port Townsend for some hopefully cooler temps and loads of family time.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Nine Wonderful Years

Lucky for us that our Family Day occurred over a long weekend, so we drove over to Qatar for a vacation by the sea. Nine years together. Wow. I can no longer say that it feels like yesterday because it doesn't feel like yesterday; instead, it feels like the most beautiful, slow-moving passage of time together. As always, we are grateful for this special girl to be our daughter.

Highlights of the weekend included seeing the new Angry Bird movie, loads of pool time, and her first-ever milkshake. That one was a big hit!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Mother's Day Tea

Sojo's teacher is so into celebrating them and others that even we parents are reaping the benefits. She organized a Mother's Day tea yesterday where we were escorted into the room by our child and sat at a table filled with cards and gifts.

Sojo's job was to serve me. It was adorable and hilarious at the same time as you could easily tell that almost none of the kids had ever actually made a cup of tea for anyone. The lady next to me wound up being served a cup of cold milk with a tea bag thrown in by her son. Sojo did pretty well and remembered that I drink my tea super sweet. We also had donuts. Then, when she was done and still wanted more to do, she convinced me I needed a coffee now. And another donut.

In true Sojo style, I had asked her in the morning if she was excited about the day. Her reply was no. When I probed at to why not, it had to do with the fact that she had to serve me. She is nothing if not honest. After the tea, we debriefed and she admitted that she did like serving me. I could tell the whole time as she was a total lovebug that day.

Sunday, May 08, 2016


Since Sojo was little, she has hated wearing dresses. Just hated it. When she was old enough to express herself, she let us know this. So, long ago, we stopped buying her dresses and asked others to do the same as they just sat in the closet. Plus, as Sojo says, "You have to be who you are." True that, kiddo. She has her own style, and she is happy with it.

So, this year, when her class was writing persuasive speeches, she wrote hers on gender roles. The kids literally got on boxes to share their speeches with the school, and it was glorious watching her share her views on gender with others. At the end of the day, her message was to accept people for who they are, not what they wear or do. Plus, she despises how stores have signs for toys that are boy toys and girl toys.

Seriously proud of her conviction at such a young age. I can only imagine what she will be like as she ages. Extra cute bonus points for dressing up by wearing a tie.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Living Wax Museum

Sojo's class has been studying biographies and world changers. She has always been a fan of bios, but this time around, they had a choose a person to study closely and "be" during their living wax museum. Sojo chose Sadako Sasaki, a girl who lived through the Atom bomb and then died later of leukemia. Sadako tried to make 1000 paper cranes as this was a Japanese custom that would allow your wish to come true. The Peace Park in Hiroshima has a statue of her with her paper cranes. The kids had a speech ready and when they finished, they froze as if they were statues. It was sweet and fabulous. She is loving her third grade year, and we love seeing her share her writing and reading so much.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Prague in Spring

Our spring holiday usually involves spending time with some of Dale's family, and his mother joins us in Europe somewhere. That sounds incredibly decadent, I realize, but Europe is both a decent-priced and a decent-distance from us here in Saudi. Plus, I never did Europe in my twenties, and I find it much nicer to do in my forties. We are taking advantage of the beauty!

This spring vacation, we headed to Prague; unfortunately, though, Dale's mom could not join us as her husband was not well. Dale's sister and Sojo's cousin joined us, and the girls had such a good time together.

Most of our days were spent walking around town and exploring in the newly spring weather. Sojo's cousin wanted to take a horse-and-carriage ride, so we did that together. Sojo loved the sound of horse hooves on cobblestone.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Strong Girls

Being a strong female is very important in our household, and we talk about it often. I remember when we first moved here and Sojo was in kindergarten, we would watch one of the high school girls ride her skateboard down the street to school. All three of us loved it, and this girl was one that Dale and I considered such a good example of a strong, beautiful girl who was so comfortable with herself at 15. 

Cut to a few years later, and I now teach that girl's sister, who is now 15 herself, and she sometimes rides to school as well. She is yet another girl who is strong, intelligent and confident: all the qualities we wish for our own daughter. 

Of course, being a strong girl is more than riding a skateboard, but it was quite beautiful (and quite full circle) watching Sojo practice on her new skateboard last weekend. As with all things requiring balance, she picked it up crazy fast, and she was ready to board to school this week.

I walked behind her, marveling at how she is such a strong young person: so confident in who she is as a person and what she has to offer to the world around her.

On another note about her confidence, she is currently working on a unit in school about persuasive speeches. They are calling it Soapbox for Change, and her two topics she is going to present on are "The Power of Adoption" and "Gender Roles." Wow.