Sunday, January 24, 2016

Chat Time

I love when Sojo rides her bike next to me when I walk to school. It's literally a six-minute walk, but it always seems like a quality chat time for us. Truth is, I like it even better when she walks with me because she holds my hand. I never, ever tire of her grabbing my hand.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Cham with the Fam

Lucky us to have had my entire side of the family gather in the uber-quaint village of Chamonix, France for a bit of holiday fun. We rented a chalet that was divine: a wall of windows looking out at a hanging glacier and the Alps right at our fingertips, a beautiful rock fireplace that was well-used on the chilly nights, and simply being in one place for the impromptu family time of card games and fireside chats.

There was no real snow to be had (that is, until two hours after we left the village--bad luck!), but we still had a good time riding a mountain rollercoaster, walking around town, and, of course, partaking of the baguettes, sausages, cheese and wine of France. This is a country I could go back to again and again.

Can't forget about Sojo's love of doing parkour (outdoor climbing/jumping) around the world! Made  even better with sparkly legwarmers my mom brought her. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015

This Christmas, we laid down the law. No waking us up until 5:00 a.m. And, yes, that seems like we are being generous and letting her get us up early, but that is nothing compared to how early she would do it if we didn't set parameters. She followed directions like a champ, but she did tell us that she woke up at 2:00 a.m. and played iPad until 5:00 came around.

This is her first year not really believing in Santa, so we tried to make it extra special and added a few cute things like a toy she really wanted and thought there was no way she would get it. Dale wrote a beautiful letter from Santa about the magic of Christmas and left the BB8 robot from Star Wars on her bed. The letter told her to go upstairs to find one more present, and she loved it.

Most unfortunately, our normally fabulous Saudi weather turned into an atypical day of rain akin to something out of Seattle, so she didn't have a chance to go outside and play with toys. We did, however, take advantage of our local golf club and partake of their turkey dinner for lunch, mostly so I didn't have to cook before heading out of the country tonight. Sojo went to lunch dressed as she is in the above photo: highwater pajama pants, an old tshirt and a flannel put on top. The helmet was worn most of the day, but she took it off for the lunch trip. She's a classy one. 

Off to Chamonix tonight to meet up with the entire side of my family. Hate the journey, love the destination! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

First Camping of the Year

Our first camping of the year was very close to home. About five minutes drive, to be exact. We generally head out to a dune area about 30 minutes away, but there have been a few instances of locals not being keen on foreigners camping, so we decided to spend the night right on our own camp. Once we got over the bummer of not being able to climb the dunes, it was just fine. The kids made their own fun by climbing the rocky hills and playing with fire for hours.

Since many of the kids are Minecraft fans, they found a bunch of metal rods in the desert and spent an inordinate amount of time trying to melt the metal to turn it into swords.

We told ourselves to remember that camping in the middle of November is the most perfect time of year: not too cold, but cold enough to bundle up and enjoy a fire. The next morning, I brought out my super-cool, propane coffeemaker, (my luxury camping item) and it was a big hit with the adults. 

As the adults enjoyed coffee, I snapped this photo of the kids up on a hill, and the early morning light combined with the pretend play were downright magical. Most of us who live here in Saudi are so grateful that our kids are growing up with such an innocent, safe childhood. The only downside I hear folks with older kids say is that the kids are not as savvy about the 'real world' because it's so accepting and so safe here. I can take that downside if it means our kid gets the chance to grow up with such amazing experiences. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Still Here

After a long blog hiatus, we are back! Moving into the winter season in Saudi is always our favorite time of the year as it's the time when we can forgive the incessant heat of the summer. Our vacation has begun, but we will stay here for one week working while Sojo has various middle school babysitters. Sojo especially likes being here for Christmas, and it gives us teachers a chance to rest after a long stretch.

After we celebrate here in Saudi, we are off to the French Alps town of Chamonix with my entire family. Can't wait!

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.