Monday, May 31, 2010

Dale's Big Dream

Oh, what this baba wouldn't do to have his kid say she wants to play the drums? His Partridge family dream come true. She does look somewhat 70's ish with the pirate outfit on...

This is Dale's classroom, by the way. A Spanish teacher by trade, he also runs the middle school rock band. Great way to have all the music gear kept within arm's reach.

Things are back to normal in Thailand. Calmer heads prevail and the rainy season has finally started. Whew!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Family Day Getaway

Our last weekend before vacation coincided with the 3 year anniversary of our Family Day, so we headed out of town to our favorite hotel that is kid paradise. Salt-water pools that are fab for eczema, water slides, lemon sherbets and fluffy duvets--just what frazzled teachers and their kid need as we end the school year. We met up with friends and their 2 daughters, ages 7 and 10, who dote on Sojo. Sojo loved all the sistering that was showered on her, and we adults got to hang out and chat.

It seemed fitting that we put Sojo to sleep that night in a hotel crib pushed up against our bed, just like we did in Kunming three years ago. Time has flown by in such a beautiful way. We have so many memories together already that each passing year is icing on the cake.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bad Parenting or Creative Genius?

We've got big plans this summer. Our first camping trip ever will take place at some point during the holiday, hopefully both in Arizona and in Washington, and there is a lot of excitement on Sojo's part. Lots of books are being read about camping, as well as getting her prepped for her first taste of S'mores. Yum!
Sojo and her friend decided to play camping the other day, and these fabulous garbage bags made the best sleeping bags! Mind you, I was on the lookout for any silliness with plastic bags, but I couldn't resist the cuteness of snuggling up in a garbage bag. My vote goes for creative genius on this one.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Magazine Love

Summertime brings lots of magazine reading for me. I can't wait to hit our local library and stock up on a year's worth of my favorites.

A teacher garage sale provided me with some good ones to tide me over for the next few weeks. Convincing Sojo to sit and chill with me while I read Oprah was more challenging, but her Cars magazine kept her still long enough to take this photo.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Behind the Times

Somehow we missed out on sidewalk chalk for a long time. I'm sure everyone knows the wonders of this, but we are just discovering it and loving every minute of the fun. And look at that fabulous capital E to the side of her! It goes on and on. I love how she first makes it look like a regular E, but then it's like she can't help herself and keeps adding more and more lines to it.

And poor Thailand. The sadness of the spiraling situation in Bangkok is weighing on us all these days. It's hard to explain the peacefulness and beauty of this country and just how shockingly sad it is to see it falling apart before our very eyes. For the last 9 weeks, we have not seen firsthand what is happening in our neck of the woods. Until today. This photo was taken from our apartment building. Although I love the stark white of our neighborhood mosque, the fires in the distance break my heart. And, unfortunately, this is nothing compared to what is happening in central Bangkok.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Water Fight!

What's a family to do when the country is on the verge of civil war, the temperature continues to rise, and rains that normally come in April to cool things down have not arrived?

You have a good old-fashioned water fight, of course. Sojo has been wanting to have one for a while now, so we cooled down a bit yesterday by playing "Songkran."

Bring it on!
Thankfully, the skies are dark this morning. Hoping for rain to bring some relief. I love the grainy look of Photobooth. Softens the edges a bit.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Chess Around the World

Years ago, when we first met and were navigating the waters of friendship and crushes, Dale and I were on a sailing trip in the Caribbean and wound up getting stuck in Curacao for a few days waiting on a flight back to Venezuela. That delightful, small country left a mark on us with its warm people and colorful architecture, and we'd love to go back one day. During our short time there, Dale purchased a chess board that has been our constant traveling companion ever since.In the Africa days, we played at least three games of chess every day after school on our rickety porch overlooking the mango trees. We used to keep tally marks on the outside of the board, but that got to be depressing because Dale beats me too often. It's faded and peeling and filled with amazing memories of hours spent over coffee together in various countries. There is a huge part of the two of us who love to travel simply to discover new places to drink coffee and play chess.
We don't play as much as we used to, but every now and then we sneak in a game or two on the weekend during a D & T brekkie.

One other chess thing we love is to find those huge chess games with pieces that are close to life-size. So far, we have played those in Curacao, Chile and Cameroon. Always on the lookout for more!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bigger and Better Backpacks

We came home from school one day this week to find that the regular panda backpack that has been a staple of Sojo's wardrobe had been replaced by her Minnie Mouse travel backpack. This backpack is about half her body size, and she is now carrying it (mostly empty) everywhere she goes. It is beyond comical to watch her wandering around with it on.

Heading to the playground

On the see saw (that's her 'telescope' hanging on the side)

Short break with it only near us after she realized it really wouldn't fit on the swing

Size certainly didn't get in her way while using the potty. Still not sure how both items fit on the seat. Thank goodness for small cheeks.

In a totally unrelated story, it's rambutan season! These fruits are so freaky looking with their spiky-haired skins, like something off the trees in the Lorax, but they taste like a sweet, mild grape. A whole bag of them for less than a dollar!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Swamped but Happy

We are at that crazy teacher time of year when energy levels rise in kids and sharply decline in teachers! One huge piece of good news is that after 22 weeks, our fingerprints are back from the U.S. government and will be submitted with our paperwork to the Thai government asap. Crossing our fingers that asap in Thailand means something akin to what it does at home. Our big hope is to have our Thai home interview done by the time we leave in June, so they can begin processing the adoption while we are gone. Woo hoo!

And what do you know? Sojo has created the letter Y with legos. Ta da! I had literally just said the words, "Um, honey, I don't think you can make a Y with Legos," and she did it. Realizing that I need to seriously work on my Lego skills!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


For as long we have been together, Sojo has loved holding something in either one or both hands. As a small child, we remember uncurling her fingers at night and finding cheerios or a wadded piece of bread stuffed down in those chubby fingers. In talking with doctors, we were told that this was probably not the type of hoarding behavior sometimes found in children who lived in orphanages, mainly because she was only 7.5 months when we became a family. This would have been too young for her to have had to fight for food. But it is still a bit of a mystery, or perhaps just a quirky part of her personality to feel secure holding onto something.

Lately, the need for something in her hands has become more urgent in her mind. The backpack she often carries on her back is filled with little objects, and we can convince her to take something out of her hands if we promise to keep it in the backpack. Just a few days ago, she became completely fixated on whether or not the smushed green paper tube she had been holding was still in the backpack. She literally asked me every 30 seconds if it was still there. It went a little something like this:

Mama, is my tube still there?
Yes, it is.
(10 second wait)
Mama, is my tube still there?
Hasn't gone anywhere, sweets. Still there.
(10 second wait)
Mama, is my tube still there?

You get the picture. A bit like a Laurel and Hardy routine, actually. At Little Gym the other day, we held her things for her while she participated in the class. During the first 10 minutes or so, she would walk away from the activity over and over again to ask me if her things were still in the backpack. Here she is walking over to ask if we still had her things. It's a rather cute phase, albeit a bit repetitive.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Little Gym Rocks!

We popped in* to check out the Little Gym near us the other day because we have been hearing such great things about it. To get Sojo ready, I had been talking it up for a few days and it became known as the 'tumbly place.' Sunday was our free trial class, and it was nothing short of amazing. It was the most perfect activity for an active, risk-taking kid, and seemed almost like it was made just for Sojo. As parents, it was so cool to sit back and watch her in a new environment and see how she took it all in. She was such a great listener, took turns and was so brave. We've signed up for 4 Sundays until the end of school and then will start again when we return.

Some highlights:

Note to self: If you are asked to do a somersault and you don't know how, fake it by doing a twirly sideways thing and then grab your legs. Hilariously cute to see this improvisation.

Loved the balancing...such concentration!

Totally tuckered out.

Sojo loved it so much that she put on her new Little Gym shirt the minute we paid for the class. She even pleaded to wear it as pajamas to bed last night. After she fell asleep, Dale and I sat around talking about how proud we were of her. Funny how watching your child from afar is such an awe-inspiring way to spend an hour.

*Yet another cool place only a bike ride away--LOVE living without a car!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Her Inner Girly Girl

Our resident dinosaur/princess hater/tomboy is showing some mild interest in wearing dresses these days. Lucky for us that we tend to get tons of hand-me-downs from other families here so she has a stock of cute dresses in different sizes that are just waiting to be worn when the urge hits her.

Adding to the channeling of her latent girly girl, we've been heading back to the beauty shop on Sundays for a quick change of toenail polish and a little girl time. They only charge $1.60 to add polish, she loves picking her color of the week, and it's the perfect, authentic way to give her some practice at sitting still for more than 2.2 seconds.
The green paper tube has a story behind it. Suffice it to say it is the newest of the "I must hold on to this all day long while I do everything" objects. It will appear again in tomorrow's post about our very first visit to Little Gym! What a blast that was!