Saturday, May 30, 2009


There's a book called Pinkalicious that a gaggle of first grade girls talk about every time they have come to the library this year. For this reason, it's never on the shelf. Being that I'm collecting books for inventory, I finally saw the cover (pink, of course) and decided to take it home for our favorite lover of all that is pink.

It was a hit! And to embrace the pink a bit more, we decided to make our own pinkalicious cupcakes today, just like in the book. Here is the look on Sojo's face when she saw the white batter turn pink when we put the liquids in. Priceless!The mini-muffin pan makes a gazillion of them, so we even went around to kids in teacher housing and delivered the yumminess. After we gobbled up a few ourselves, of course.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Family Day #2

Two years ago today, Dale and I sat in a room in a nondescript concrete building in Kunming, China and waited for Sojo to arrive. Things we remember from the day...

Not knowing what to sing as a lullaby and coming up with the tune from "Girl from Ipanema" and humming that.

How we had prepared ourselves for lots of crying, but she just looked at us when we held her. It was very serene.

We didn't remember to bring any diapers or wipes with us to the pickup. Not sure what the heck we were thinking, but we had to borrow some, which was comical.

She needed a photo for her Chinese passport but wasn't allowed to have a light-colored shirt. They made her wear my jean jacket, which was huge.

We put socks on her that first night b/c she was scratching.

Two years later, we still put socks on her every night. And tell her stories of when she was a baby. I love hearing her ask for more and more stories.

Oh, yeah. Guess who has figured out how to pedal a tricycle on her own?

Monday, May 25, 2009

China Girls

There are a whole bunch of us who used to live and work in Shanghai that now live in Bangkok (could be we all want better weather!), and we met up with some old and new friends yesterday for a day of sunshine and swimming. Between our 3 families, there are 5 girls adopted from China, all except Sojo over the age of six.

This was our first day surrounded by girls from China, and it was so fun to see the older girls so into it. Sojo didn't get that all the girls looked similar to her, but she adored all the attention. And believe it or not, Dale and I got to sit and visit while Sojo was upstairs being attended to by "the girls" as we refer to them now.

We swam, we played, we ate, we compared eczema stories (3 of the 5 have it, which I'm not sure makes me feel better or worse, but I got some good tips on managing it) and it just felt so good.

Towards the end of the day, there was this moment so gorgeous I just soaked it up. Sojo had put on a new pair of pajamas one of the girls had grown out of, and she had a tiny teddy bear they had given her in her hand. She sat on the swing, and dusk was just settling in while one of the girls pushed her. She looked so content. I was so content. It felt so much like going to the drive-in theater did when I was little and we played on the playground in our pajamas before the movie started. Pajamas, dusk and being a kid. Such a perfect combination, I doubt I will forget either memory.

Something else I won't forget--one of the girls turned to her mom and said, "Is Sojo a China girl too?" When she got her confirmation, she said, "I thought so."

Friday, May 22, 2009


May 2007At an afternoon goodbye party today, I watched Sojo listening to her baba play music...twirling around, a telescope in one hand and a bubble wand in the other, head thrown back, laughing, completely and utterly her own person at the age of two...

She is joy, this child.

Next week will be two years together. I think I love Family Day more than birthdays.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Backyardigans

Living outside the U.S. sometimes puts us way behind in discovering cool things like Tivo (still not sure exactly what this is but everyone seems to have it so it must be kind of cool). Other things like purple ketchup (come on, really? ketchup is supposed to be red) can remain undiscovered to us for as long as they want.

A new discovery to us, but perhaps not to the rest of the world, is the TV show Backyardigans. We don't actually have TV channels, but we have bought a bunch from iTunes lately. It's fueling Sojo's blossoming creativity, and the three of us truly love it. The 5 characters have a pretend adventure each show, which is set to music of a specific genre of music--anything from 1920's jazz to Nigerian pop to bluegrass. It's just so quality, and I am such a fan of shows that use rich language for kids. If kids are sponges, why not give them good stuff to soak up?

We now spend lots of time acting out the shows. Here she is as Captain Bubbles squirting bubbles on the giant robot .And as Pablo the Penguin, the newspaper reporter on the phone.And the tiny yellow flashlight is used as a telescope while searching for 'scurvy pirates'. Yea, we're not sure why the pirate is fishing either.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tropical Lethargy

Whoa, we are low energy in this house lately! The crazy time of the school year, being sweaty and humid most of the time, and the fact that my morning Starbucks has moved from tall size to the largest they have all point to the fact that summer vacation is right around the corner. Trying to muster a blog post is proving difficult lately, so a pretty picture will have to do. Sojo looks somewhat pioneer-like in this photo, but I love the dappled light, her intense stare and the perfect positioning of the octopus.

15 more days of school! Then family, fires, and wine on the deck.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pancakes with Pizazz

Breakfast was made more fun this morning with pancake metal shapes of stars and flowers that I found last week at a store. Add a generous helping of sprinkles and a cute little helper, and it was a great morning. Sprinkle idea taken from a great kids' book called Meet Mr. and Mrs. Green by Keith Baker. Why didn't I think of sprinkles years ago?
p.s. This is about the entire size of our kitchen here in Thailand. Made for gnomes, I think.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Going to the Dark Side

At our home away from the home, the mall, there is a fancy play area on the top floor where one can pay about $1.50 and have 30 minutes of fun on a pretty groovy play structure. Sounds fabulous, I know, but the only problem is the extremely loud music blaring and the flashing lights all around the structure. Perhaps I'm old-fashioned, but why on earth do we need all that nonsense when it's already super cool with a trampoline and slides and mazes? Sojo wouldn't have anything to do with it when we tried to take her a while back, and her reaction was much like it was when we first took her to Chuck E. Cheese--yuk!

But a little friend asked us to come on a playdate at this place, so we tried it again and I pumped it up as the most fabulous thing ever. (oh, how I wish I could ask them in Thai to just lower the music...)

Of course, she needed to wear a fedora when going on a playdate. Friend in tow, we were on our way.
After some major convincing, she entered the play area, and there was no turning back. I lost her to the dark side.When our 30 minutes were up, I had a hard time convincing her to leave. So much so that I had to climb through more than one munchkin-sized hole to physically remove her from the area after being ignored every time I said, "last time!" Secretly, I think she enjoyed the ability to run away from me and having the advantage.

So, now she's figured out that there is more to life than wooden toys. Next thing you know she'll figure out that the real world has sugared popsicles and will reject my homemade spinach and mango pops.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Family Time Windfall

Lucky us to have had 2 Thai holidays this week. I do love the international school scene where you get both North American and host country holidays off. And with summer vacation only about 4 weeks away, it felt like a little taste of tons of fun family time coming our way soon. A few highlights of the past week...

Per Sojo's suggestion, we all ate at her level tonight. The crown is just her accessory of the day.
A new, more protective swimsuit for Sojo. Seriously, did she grow a foot in the last week? Look at her! I assume it is not a good thing anymore to admit that I love tiny tan lines on kids, but oh how I do. However, it's way hot here and more coverage is needed during peak sun hours.

Someone in this house almost considered giving up her one nap a day. Uh, I don't think so, chica. Not quite yet. 3 hours after her normal naptime, she was still insisting that she wasn't tired. Even as I took this photo, she was insisting she wasn't tired. It was a close call, but I think we still have a few more naps in our future.
And such a sweet mother's day for me. Dale booked me a facial and massage, I went for a nice long run and had tons of hangout time with the fam. But the best of all was this amazingly beautiful movie Dale made for me. The song he is singing is a little-known Jimmy Buffet tune called Little Miss Magic, one of my favorites. I'm telling you, it's a bit uncanny the resemblance between Sojo and me as little kids. Thanks to mom and dad for sending Dale such great memory photos of me as a child. Only thing that was weird is that most of the photos weren't in color. Hmmm... How I love these two people. Awash in gratitude for their kindness and love.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Elephants in the Parking Lot

Our neighborhood doesn't have a lot of restaurant options, but one that is pretty good is a Mexican restaurant called Que Pasa. The randomness of a Mexican restaurant in Bangkok isn't lost on us, and it ratchets up the randomness when an elephant walks into the parking lot while we're having an after-dinner play on their playground. For years, one of the favorite things Dale and I have said to each other when we see something out of the ordinary is, "Whoa! You don't see that everyday." Living in Africa, we said that about three times a day. Not as much in Thailand but certainly worthy of the statement when elephants visit you after dinner.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

A Good Home

After 4 hot, sweaty bike rides to the mall just this week to visit our giraffe friend, we decided to bring him home with us permanently. Mind you, this is a push toy for kids just starting to walk, so we were a tiny bit worried that the draw of it was the visit itself, but we were wrong...So wrong.As you can see, it is already swimming in love here in our household--sleeping with her, watching movies with the family. It has the potential to become the family pet. Sojo loves it so much that I had to convince her that it couldn't come with us on a bike ride this morning. I was putting sand toys in a bag and told her that the giraffe couldn't come with us. Her response was that I could find a special bag just for him so he could go on the bike too. Nice try, Sojo, but this is an indoor pet.I wish I spent this much time pondering every purchase. Makes it seem sweeter.