Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy Faces and Legs

Oh how I love watching Sojo develop day by day...

Having been a teacher for a long time, I've watched kids develop over the course of a school year, but never did I imagine how fun it is to watch your own child gain new skills.

She is very into drawing happy faces right now of the family (I am both mama and a duck in this picture), and just recently the addition of legs (or many, many legs on the drawing of her) has become a must in every picture. Baba is the upside down one.

Notice the use of only one color--red. This one is going in a frame soon, but for right now it's on the window right in her play area for us to admire.

And in the middle there....snot. Her words, not mine.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Asian Life

I adore that there is a sense of "when in Asia..." in our lives, and I don't just mean an overindulgence of massages. Sojo often sits in the Asian style, and I find myself doing it every now and then. Caught her the other day while waiting for a taxi. Ever tried it? It's quite comfy and logical and keeps your clothes clean. Plus, she just looks cute.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Growing Up

Lately Sojo just seems so grown-up. It happened sometime over the holiday break, and I'm in awe of the transition. Her legs have grown longer, she's drawing happy faces with legs and arms (pic soon--it's beyond adorable!), and she is rambling on and on in paragraph form about life in general.

Not only is she seeming bigger, she is talking about when she is bigger. For the last few months, she will randomly tell people that when she is a big girl, she's going to go and live in China all by herself. No mama, no baba. Just her. Some days she'll turn to us and say, "I'm ready to go and live in China now." Of course, I have all these beautiful visions of her 3 year old soul wanting to reconnect with her homeland. Then, one of us asked her the other day why she wants to go back to China. Her answer was, "There's lots of toys." Ha!
The surest sign she is getting bigger is her lack of what we used to call the "bubble breakdown." Inevitably, she would lose it when we played with bubbles because she would get so frustrated. Now she goes out on the back step and blows bubbles to her heart's content. Even better when she and her friend get to wear superhero capes while doing it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Doughnut Joy

Sometimes a pink-frosted doughnut just makes life worth livin'.

Dale is off on an After the Wave trip with middle schoolers. Sojo and I are having a girls' weekend of playdates, morning coffee/smoothie runs and maybe even a pink doughnut. We're so wild!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Bangkok is certainly a kid-friendly city. Lots and lots to do, and we've only scratched the surface in the 18 months we've been here. I guess it's hard to see everything when your kid is totally satisfied to go to the mall and ride the little train ride.

A few weeks ago, we got up early and headed downtown to a place called Funarium. And fun it was. From the crazy fast slide with bumps on it to the balls being kept aloft by air to the treat of Jello in a fancy bowl, it has been talked about ever since.

Smart business as well to know what the parents need. Can't beat being served a good cup of coffee while your kid is whooping it up.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Our Space

We are color people. Bright, funky walls and splashes of color bring us both lots of joy. I think it is because we secretly would love to open a cafe one day--live music by Dale, coffee and dessert by me. Since running a cafe would probably be really, really hard and Sojo wouldn't enjoy being the busgirl, we just arrange our living space to feel like a cafe. And it feels so good, so peaceful, especially when the day is ending. Warm light, open spaces, twinkle lights and rustic wood. A sensory slice of heaven.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wishful Thinking

I sometimes feel just a wee bit guilty that we are basking in the tropics as many people in the Northern hemisphere are putting on mukluks and winding scarves around cold, cold necks. I've never even thought to ask Sojo what kind of weather she likes...but lately I think this girl is missing a true winter. She's been asking if it's going to snow soon and hopes that when it does, it will land on the roof. Um, keep waiting, cutie.

The next best thing is to pretend that it's winter. This weekend, there have been a lot of snowball fights in the living room, and I even brought out a hat and mittens. Come to think of it, being a non-winter gal myself, a pretend winter is near brilliant.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Just Love

Just a bit of mid-week love...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cars, Cars, Cars

This was the scene at one point during our last few days of vacation-Sojo watching the movie Cars again. She watched it all the way through for the first time during the break and is absolutely in love with this movie. Can't say we have a problem with it, though. I gotta say that we both find so many kid movies fairly violent or depressing, and so when we find a good movie with an awesome message, we have no problem watching it over and over. And over and over we did watch this movie.

While watching the movie, I love how she gets all her matchbox cars up on the couch with her, and how many of them have become characters from the film. Add to the mix a random Cars magazine we found at a 7-11 (as ubiquitous as Starbucks here in Bangkok) that she refers to while watching, and she is in heaven. She's even become a Cheryl Crow fan since she sings on the soundtrack.

Back to work tomorrow. No more lazy days of watching movies, running around on the playground or lingering over coffees. It was great, though. Always is, always will be. So much family time just rocks.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Lumpy Lost and Found

Dale's sister Gladys brought Sojo a stuffed elephant from the Winnie the Pooh show called Lumpy. Oh, was Lumpy ever a loved toy from the minute he arrived. He went everywhere with Sojo--to the pool, to dinner, to bed. As we left the beach last week, we were about 45 minutes out of Hua Hin when Sojo was feeling sleepy and asked for Lumpy so she could cuddle. Gulp! Where was Lumpy?!?!?! Sadly, we realized that Sojo had left him on the hotel lobby couch.

We quickly called the hotel and they kindly said they would send him back to us in Bangkok, but that didn't stop Sojo from periodically wallowing in the utter sadness that Lumpy was not with us. There was even some whimpering every now and then. It was so cute and so mournful.
True to their word, the hotel sent Lumpy (yea, Hilton Hotel!) our way, and he arrived yesterday to squeals of delight. He's been properly loved and cherished and fed and hugged ever since.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The 5 Minute Gingerbread House

Found some pics of more holiday fun we had. My mom and dad sent a ready-made mini gingerbread house, complete with icing and all the parts. This would be the only way we'd ever make one, I think. All that work is so overwhelming to me.

Another reason to buy it ready-made is that the minute we finished putting this one together and adding a ton of M&M's, we took it all apart and ate it.

Hence, the 5 minute gingerbread house. Constructed, deconstructed and digested in about 5 minutes. Thanks mom and dad!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

The End of a Day

Dale is away for the night, DJ'ing a friend's wedding at a nearby beach. Sojo and I decided to stay here and have a mellow day together instead of spending hours in a taxi.

After dinner, we headed out to the playground for a quick play before the sun started going down and the mozzies came out. Almost as soon as we got out there, the king's anthem came on the neighborhood loudspeakers. This means it's 6:00 (it also happens at 8 a.m. and is followed by a long speech in Thai--note to self to find out what they are saying), which is usually our key to go inside, but we decided to stay out a bit longer. While she played in the sandbox, I just soaked it all in--the evening light, the sky framed perfectly through the silhouette of the branches, and the realization that the king's anthem played each night is like when I was a kid and the streetlights came on. It was our reminder to finish up the playing, say goodbye to friends, and head home to our families. The routine of a day coming to an end.
Minutes after the king's anthem finished, the call to prayer came across yet another loudspeaker (funny, but we really don't live in a loud place) from the Muslim mosque just outside our apartment building. I love that Sojo knows it's the call to prayer, and how sometimes she wishes aloud that the man would be just a bit quieter with his praying.

As our day was ending, the strangest thing happened. We met a camel named Camel in the sandbox who really wanted to come home with us (where on earth did that come from?!). He was lonely, so we got him some water and let him sleep downstairs instead of the original idea of having him sleep in my bed. Sojo tucked him in with her new robot, and the plan is to check on him in the morning.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Santa's Green Thumb

Sojo's new red scooter (with a bell) winds up staying in our house most of the day because she toodles around the dining room table and on every open surface she can. She always seems to be in motion, and in just the week since Christmas, I'm rather blown away at how much her balance has improved. So much so that she even posed for a picture or two showing us how great she can balance.
It was such a special gift from Santa that its story is worth telling. It goes a little something like this:

Santa called us one night saying that he was having a really hard time finding a RED scooter with a bell here in Thailand, and he asked for our help. Could we maybe help him find something even close to a red scooter and then his elves could work on it and make it super special for Sojo? Well, we thought and thought, and what do you know? Just around Christmastime, there was a cleaning out of all the old, used bikes and such in our teacher housing that no one wanted anymore. And in that pile was one pink scooter (without a bell) that was a bit wonky and crooked but was still a favorite of Sojo's for a long time. As a matter of fact, she borrowed it a lot from its place in the parking lot.

Dale arranged for that scooter to be sent straight up to the North Pole for some serious TLC from Santa's elves. They must have worked really hard (I'm not sure, but it looks like maybe they took the whole thing apart, spray painted it completely, cleaned it up so lovingly, straightened out the wheels, and gave it a nice new bell) because it looked spectacular on Christmas morning.

Good on ya, Santa, for going green this year!

p.s. In case you didn't hear it in your neighborhood, but red is the new pink. At least, that is what Sojo has been telling us for about a week now. Randomly she'll spout, "I love red!" at least 2-3 times a day. Poof! the love/obsession with pink is done for now. Sorry, mom!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Food and Love

Dale's mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and really all I wanted was this book called A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. I've been reading great reviews of it, and it was just so gorgeous to read. Her style made me feel like I was drinking a bottomless latte while listening to her tell me stories from across the table. The premise is how food is wrapped up so often in memories of those we love or the experiences we have. It has me thinking about how much care is put into a nice meal for the family, and how I don't cook as much as I used to since Sojo's arrival. I, too, have many memories wrapped up in my family and food--the family recipe for Scottish scones, mom's meatballs, snickerdoodles, and grandma Russell's ham balls to name just a few.

Inspired by the book, I wanted to cook a bit over the vacation, and one of my goals was to make my own bagels. Besides being a whole house full of breadheads, a truly good bagel is very hard to come by outside of North America. There really is nothing like a brown paper bag of hot, perfectly squishy bagels in the morning (especially when I convince my dad to be the one to get up super early to pick them up. thanks, dad!).

The recipe I used was really easy, but I wasn't sure what to put on the bagels (could not for the life of me figure out how they get those little onion flakes on there). I then realized that I had made a batch of pesto the other day, and we are ALL pesto freaks. I just dipped the tops in pesto and put on some parmesan. The bagels turned out so great that we ate 7 out of the 8 I made. A bit overboard, but they were that good.

Sweet and Sour Sojo

Three is proving to be an interesting age. I am referring to it as the "sweet and sour Sojo" stage. One minute, things are fabulous, we're laughing and having a great time, and the next--yikes! Drama with a capital D.

This picture illustrates the newest behavior that is puzzling. For the past week or so, she doesn't want to talk when someone says hi to her. She'll literally turn her back on the situation and you can sense that she is willing herself to be invisible. Awkward yet comical to an extent. After yet another incident at the grocery store, I finally just asked her what is up. Her explanation is that she just wants to be at home and only wants to talk to mama and baba. Fair enough. Guess she is loving all the family time on vacation, just like we are. This, too, shall pass.

In the meantime, it's a good thing we like the Asian fare of sweet and sour dishes.