Friday, September 04, 2015


My favorite of our three stops was the city of Ketchikan. Small enough to be quaint, but big enough to have a few things to do, it was a great place to spend the day. We chose to see a lumberjack show as we thought the kids would get a kick out of that, and they absolutely did. It was so cool to see them showing their strength and doing typical Alaskan things like using a chainsaw and climbing poles. I had no idea, before going to Alaska, how much of an Alaska culture there is.

We then walked around Creek Street and looked at all the beautiful rocks and geodes and such for sale. Sojo loves any sort of gem, so she bought an agate that later became her good luck charm for the first day of school in Saudi. 

The best part of Ketchikan for me does not have a photo to go with it, and that was when we saw a black bear in a stream eating a salmon. This was on my Alaskan bucket list (that and Northern Lights, but this isn't the area for that), and we took a trolley tour out to an area known for bears. The salmon were on their run, and so they were everywhere. To our delight, we watched not one but TWO black bears catching salmon, and it was just as cool as I thought it would be. 

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Ice Love

One of the highlights of the cruise for the grownups was seeing Tracy Arm, Alaska, and the gorgeous glacier tucked in that area. We took hours to move slowly through the narrow passage, and seeing the first iceberg chunks in the water was so exciting. As we got closer, their number increased until we were in full sight of the glacier. Spectacular.

The captain of our ship, Captain Fabian, was so incredibly personable, and we were told that he always lowers a metal basket over the side of the ship to 'catch' a piece of ice so the kids can have a first-hand view of a piece of a glacier. Checking out the frozen air bubbles was so cool. 

I still miss Alaska and its beauty. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Panning for Gold

Our second half of the train trip in Skagway took us to a small operation for gold panning. It was a somewhat cheesy set-up of a mining town with locals dressed up and acting as hillbilly as could be. We all got pans and set to work finding gold flakes in the troughs, which was not an easy task. I was certain the kids would get frustrated quickly, but we wound up having to drag them out of there to get back on the bus and onto the boat. Our girl loves her gems, so having the chance to pan for gold was a big treat for her.

Walking back to the boat gave us a chance to use the beautiful Alaskan wilderness to do some parkour training. Love that her look is so Alaskan. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Skagway Adventures

Our first port of call on the cruise was Skagway, Alaska. The town is tiny, even by Alaska standards, with about 860 people living there. We booked an excursion to go on the White Pass railway, taking us on a beautiful train ride up the mountains into B.C. It was stunning, but Sojo didn't really have any thoughts about it at all.

She slept the entire train ride, as per usual with trains and boats and her. The terrain was this sparsely beautiful tundra, and the town of Skagway was just what I pictured an Alaskan town to be. My love for Alaskan wilderness was growing by the second. 

We were so fortunate to have sunny days during our entire trip, and Skagway was no exception. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Disney Cruise to Alaska

Our big adventure this summer was a cruise to Alaska with most of Dale's family. We chose Disney as it gave us tons of fun for the kids, and the adults got to soak in the absolute beauty that is Alaska. It was such an amazing trip for all of us.

One of the many highlights was having the kids dress up for dinner. Sojo wanted a costume from Maleficent, so we grabbed one at a party store right before we left. She looked adorable, and it's been so long since she has worn a dress that she forgot how hard it is to move in one.

We were spoiled rotten on the cruise with delicious meals and lovely servers who made everything feel extra special. Sojo discovered steak on this trip, and her very favorite was filet mignon! Seriously, how do you get back to real life after a week of that? Another new thing was Shirley Temples with her cousins. Steak and Shirley Temples were on the menu just about every night. 

We grown-ups ate like royalty as well, but it was hard to get us off our balcony with all that great scenery. Truly spectacular sights. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Dude Ranch and Ten Years

We celebrated our ten-year anniversary this past week, and my brother hooked us up with a night at a fabulous dude ranch here in Tucson. It was absolutely stunning and nestled right into the mountains. The casita itself was exactly what Dale and I would love to live in--small but not too small and with tons of Mexican touches to it.

Our M.O. is that we rarely give each other gifts, and we are both totally fine with that. Actually, it makes life easier in general, and if we find something cool during the year for each other, we buy it at the moment. However, I was walking around the casita and noticed a sign by the window about how to draw the curtains. I then noticed what looked like another sign on a ledge, and I went over to see it. Then, I saw Chama Linda, which is what Dale calls me (means pretty friend in Spanish, and we've used it for years--I call him Chamo Lindo). What on Earth!? It was our vows in a frame, which was incredibly sweet as we made three promises to each other ten years ago. Looking around, I saw tons of frames all over the room (sneaky guy put them up while I was in the shower), and our vows were translated into every language from all the countries we have lived in. He enlisted help from friends all over, and it was the best gift I could ask for. Those three promises were written slightly on the fly the morning of our wedding, but we meant them and still live those vows today. I couldn't ask for anything more.

I promise to be your true companion wherever our journeys take us.
I promise to continue supporting your growth as an individual and to trust in this leap of faith.
Above all else, I promise to be your friend and, as such, to treat you with respect, kindness and love. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sojo and Shadow

Sojo just came to me and said that I needed to come out and take a photo of her. That type of request is not typical, so I knew it had to do with her new best friend, Shadow.

Even with all the health improvements with Sojo, the allergies to dogs and cats remains an issue. And this kid really wants a dog in the worst way. We have experimented with hypoallergenic dogs, and, most unfortunately, they also cause a reaction for her. However, we saw this Zoomer robot dog at Target the other day, and Sojo fell in love with the possibility of having a dog that acted like a dog but isn't real. She charged him up and spent most of the day playing with him. He responds to 60 voice commands (her favorites so far are "play with me" and "I love you"), and he is downright adorable. She is totally in love. For this reason, she called me out to take a photo of him watching TV with her. 

We are just curious about the towel under him. Worried about an accident? For us, that is the best part of having a dog like this--all the fun without the early morning walks and poop pickup.