Friday, November 21, 2014

Cold Hard Cash

Mom and dad made the difficult decision to head back to their home in Arizona after three months here in Saudi, and so we had to rearrange our plans of having Thanksgiving and Christmas together. Instead, we decided to throw them a Thankschristmagiving event at our house. Sean, Katherine and Augie came down, and we decorated the house, ate a whole turkey and had all the fixings. Not as good as the real thing, but it sure felt nice to have 2/3 of us together.

Mom and dad decided that, since they didn't have a Christmas present yet for Sojo, they would give her some of their Saudi money. The plan was that she could use it for Legos since that was what they were planning on giving her. If you could have seen her face when she saw the cash--it was priceless and quite possibly the coolest gift she has ever received. Totally gobsmacked. 

Not even how can we compete with that! 

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Repurposing Yet Again

One thing I love about our family is how we can repurpose something and make it feel so special. Living in places where there aren't materials needed to make something or else no store to buy it at has made us pretty resourceful. I enjoy watching Sojo take pleasure out of something handmade and slightly wonky versus something purchased from a store.

Enter our latest project--the "new" basketball hoop outside our house. We noticed this awesome hoop set back in a little alcove down the street away from the houses, but we also noticed that no one has been using it. Well, except for one of our dear middle school boys who carries a basketball with him wherever he goes, and he takes a shot on the way back to school after lunch.

Dale and I decided to drag it back to our house and see if anyone said anything. We also asked a few neighbors to see if maybe it was theirs, but their kids had grown up and moved out or something. One neighbor laughed and said he and his friends had dragged it from another area on camp years ago, so we felt ok about repositioning it.

And what a hit it has been. From Sojo practicing her shots to tons of games of Horse with us to it now being the hangout place in the area for kids of all ages to come and have a good time, it's downright perfect. Just one more reason why this place reminds me of my own childhood. We played in the street all the time growing up. I distinctly remember moving out of the way when cars came up the road, only to start right back up again when they left.

And the diversity in this community is downright dreamy for me as a parent. In this photo alone, there are 5 nationalities represented with two more on the sidelines of the photo. So cool.

Friday, October 31, 2014


It's that time of year again when we can walk to school and enjoy a cup of coffee while doing so. The shift is so subtle here at first, but usually by November 1, it's like a switch is turned on for cooler weather.

No matter the weather, this one is almost always riding her bike to school. As always, I love to watch her fly away on the bike ahead of me, pumping those growing legs of hers.

So much here in our tiny town reminds me of my own neighborhood growing up. My childhood was absolutely idyllic and something I wasn't sure existed in this new world that seems much more fearful than when I was a child. Until we arrived here. Many days, I feel I am reliving my childhood and very grateful that my daughter gets a chance to live the carefree life I did years ago.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


When the weather is not unbearably hot here, we try to walk to and from school. Sojo tends to ride her bike, even if it is scorching, and she always beats us home, no matter what our mode of transportation is. Waiting for us is soooo boring for her. Poor thing--the whole 3 minutes behind her that we are...

So, for her 8th birthday, we decided to give her a key to the house so she can get right inside after school. My parents bought her a few cool key chains, and she was incredibly excited to get her very own key. Like I said, this birthday was a big one in the area of feeling grown up, and the key was proof of that. She carries it on her backpack now to and from school with such pride.

I swear she is like I remember being when I had the key to my first apartment. Giddy. She raced ahead of me the other day, opened the door by herself, and then stood there smiling so big. I had to have her reenact it for a photo as it was that precious. 

8 is pretty darn great. And the birthday seesaw has also proven to be a big hit, especially hanging out with a good friend and laughing away in perfect afternoon light. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Oman...again and again

Oman is called an 'oasis of tolerance' in the Middle East, and it is a very special country indeed. The Omani people pride themselves on being friendly and accepting of everyone. For me, it is a country I want to visit over and over again as it is stunningly beautiful. We spent this time around doing lots of lounging by the pool or on the lazy river at the hotel, as well as a trip to the souq and a dolphin cruise.

The most special part of the trip for all of us was visiting the Grand Mosque. All dappled light and shadows and curves, it is an architectural beauty.

Next on the Oman list is a trip into the mountains for some hiking. I have a feeling this will be our go-to country in the Middle East. 

Friday, October 10, 2014


There is a chance I have said this on prior birthdays, but this one feels like a biggie to Sojo. She was incredibly excited while leading up to her special day, and she kept asking us if we had already bought a present. She was convinced we had not bought anything. Little did she know that the two of us were building her a see-saw that she had been asking about---extra green points for using all wood that had come on a recent shipment container to our school!

The see-saw making was happening in the garage, and my parents were on the lookout to make sure she didn't come in. All was well until later in the evening when she barged in looking for something, well after our lookout time had passed. Oops! She decided to help us finish the project, which made it even cooler that all three of us helped build it. However, I could tell she was hoping to be surprised this year for some reason.

We were able to surprise her after all with a few Lego sets. She has shown zero interest in the small Legos until just recently. Her daycare at school has some, and she and her friends are totally into it now. She couldn't believe when she got her very own to use at home. So glad she had the surprise she was craving. Even more glad that this special girl is growing into such a beautiful person.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Soccer Coach Love

Snapped this photo tonight at soccer practice. I know that having her baba as her coach will be a forever memory for her.