Sunday, June 27, 2010

108 to 68

Whoa! The temperature change from Tucson to Washington was a big drop, but we found all our boxes of jean jackets and scarves and are settling right in. Our decision years ago to purchase a house we always come back to has been a solid and smart decision for our third culture kid. I'm amazed at how many memories she has in this house already--the toys she knew would be in her bedroom, different activities we did that she remembered from last year--all reinforcing that need for a global kid to have some permanent roots.

The first day we were here, all Sojo wanted to do was go to the beach. "I want to go so badly," was her plea. We obliged and took a quick walk to the shore to sit and throw rocks into the water. It was so relaxing that I could do that every single day.

The farmer's market on Saturday morning provided us with some flowers to spread around the house as well as a hoard of yummy carrots.

At one point yesterday, Sojo exclaimed, "I am so happy." When I asked her why, her answer was, "Because we are at the clock house." Love that she feels comfortable here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


In the last few months, we've started to begin meals with going around the table and saying what we are thankful for. Besides being a great way to be conscious of our blessings, it is truly nice to hear what each person is thankful for that day. Sojo reminds us when we forget to do it, and sometimes she is deep while other times she's just a goofball. Goofball examples being "I'm thankful for...the ceiling, I'm thankful for...the fountain."

The other night, we had our last meal as a whole family, and Sojo was in a deep mood. She started us out with the thankfulness. "I'm thankful for...(insert the most perfect pregnant pause while looking around the table)...all of you."

Wise words from a sweet soul.

South of the Border

After the extreme heat and humidity in Bangkok, Tucson is not looking so bad to us. A dry heat truly is different and not nearly as sweaty. To beat the heat and have some added quality family time, we all headed south of the border to Rocky Point, Mexico, our family vacation spot for many years. We rented a beautiful house on the water and frolicked, drank beer and did a whole lot of nothing. It was glorious. Sojo was all about digging on this trip. Digging in the early morning, digging in the evening, digging under umbrellas.

We are off to Washington tomorrow and sadly won't have any more time with my brothers and their fabulous ladies. My dad recently found this wise quote by A.A. Milne from Winnie-the-Pooh that is now a favorite of mine.

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

Couldn't have said it better myself. Goodbye, Arizona. We kinda love your extreme dry heat. Thanks for the fab suntan and bluest of blue skies. Mojo and Seanie, Cathy and Katherine--thanks for the true together time. Gets sweeter every year for me.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Poster Child for Summer

When this outfit randomly came together--'vintage' Froot Loops t-shirt, sporty shorts, new blue sneakers and fabulous pigtails, she looked like the epitome of summer to me. Add the skinned legs covered with bandaids, and I wanted to eat her up.

Make your own groovy motivational poster here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

First Camping

I grew up camping. My childhood memories include big caravans of matching station wagons piled high with friends and gear, driving up and down the east coast during the summer. Of course, our CB radios were poised and ready to go in case we needed to talk to each other in our wagons. Dale grew up in a camping family as well, so it only makes sense to introduce Sojo to that cool world of dirt, family togetherness and campfires.
We've been talking up Sojo's first camping trip for a while now, and Arizona gladly obliged by providing us some very cold temps up on Mt. Lemmon. Some 'wuzbee' was played (frisbee), she was a stud on the short hike we took, and she used her 'camping hammer' to pound on everything we came upon, just to see what sound it would make. Way too many marshmallows were consumed, and it was fabulous to see her caked with dirt from head to toe at the end of it all. Hopefully the first of many camping memories.

I must say the coolest part was when Dale pulled out his guitar and Sojo requested a drum of some sort to play along. Not only one drum, but a 2nd one to make a different sound. One step closer to a future band member.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

New Duds

Depending on where we have lived overseas, there have been varying degrees of access to clothing. In China, we were lucky to have a children's market with tons of choices (but still nowhere near as cool as Target). In Cameroon, we had an open-air market with piles of secondhand clothes from western countries on sale for cheap. Picture an outside, bustling thrift store with goats and chickens. Many of these markets are referred to as Dead White Man's Markets, which still is one of my greatest life lessons from living in Africa. That continent can always be counted on to provide good perspective.

During our US summers, we are definitely consumers. We stock up on a year's worth of clothing, toiletries that are hard to find and special food items that make life a bit sweeter. What I love about not having easy access to clothing is that Sojo wears through her clothes in the way I remember from being a kid. Slightly highwater pants, stains everywhere but all coming from good, old-fashioned everyday play.
There's nothing like new duds to put a spring in your step. Add some funky hats that we all love, and it's even better.

*Sojo's carrying of items is becoming a bit like a "where's Waldo?" book. In this photo, it's a flute in one hand, but the somewhat hidden hand has a small can of shaving cream. But of course!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Chasing Chickens

As always, it's just so good to land on home soil. It is wild that after 17 years living overseas, I have called many places home, but the familiarity of coming back to my first home is always lovely. We are extending our time here in AZ this year and have some fabulously fun plans for all of us to do together: Sojo's first camping trip this weekend and a quick drive to Mexico's beaches are top on the list.

The highlight thus far has been meeting Mojo and Cathy's backyard chickens. I love how my bro and his wife are creating this little haven of sustainability in their backyard--not an easy feat in the desert! In a few months, the chickens will being laying and they will be flush with organic eggs. Sojo loved the chickens so much, chasing them around, feeding them and then getting sad when they were hiding from her. Dare I say she enjoyed the chickens much more than Disney?
Now I really, really want my own chickens running around. I have a bad case of chicken envy.

The thing about living in Asia is that we mostly eat Asian food. Although the meals I grew up on are welcome and yummy to me, Sojo will choose Asian fare any day of the week. She was happy to hit the local Chinese restaurant last night for some noodles and edamame.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Disney, Tokyo Style to describe Disney in a simple blog post? Bullet points might be the only way to do it without going on and on.

1. Lots and lots and lots of people. I hear this is the case at all Disneys, but it was overwhelming to all of us. Only consolation is that Japanese people dress really funky, and so we had some great people-watching. Plus, I always find the experience of being a minority myself very enlightening.

2. We told her she could choose a present at one of the Disney shops that appear every 3 feet. Of all gazillion choices, she chose a flashlight. Not surprising as she currently loves all things shaped like a telescope.

3. When asked what her favorite ride was at Disney, Sojo had no answer. For her, it was all about the apple popsicles. They were yummy, but come on! What about It's a Small World?

4. Sojo ate her first churro as well. It was a little bit of heaven for her to lick all the sugar off of it. I will refrain from saying that we could have simply gone to South Tucson for a churro rather than flying to another country for one. Oops, I didn't refrain.

5. Once the gates opened, people were literally running to get in line. Day one, we thought this was ridiculous and unnecessary. Day two, we were going to get in that Pooh's Hunny Hunt ride if it killed us, so Dale hightailed it to the ride without us. Poor Dale wasn't allowed to get in line until we arrived, so the running was for nothing. Still loved the Pooh ride though.

6. The funniest part was the big parade. At first, we could only hear the songs and I thought I was hearing the words, 'easter bonnet,' over and over. That couldn't be because it's June. When the floats came closer, indeed it was a full-on Easter parade, complete with dancing and a huge HAPPY EASTER! at the end. Huh?!?

7. But . . . um . . . is it blasphemous if I didn't love Disney? I fear it does.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Airplane Loot

It's that time of year again. Buzzing with excitement to get back to family, farmer's markets and our sweet house but also dreading that it takes so long to get home. Any long-time readers out there will know that there was once a parent-imposed travel ban on Sojo for about a year after some pretty miserable flights, but I think we're past that now. We're being smart this year and stopping off in Tokyo for 2 days to rest up and hit Disneyland in style. Even with the genius of breaking up the trip, we still have many, many hours of flying and waiting until we hit the gorgeous Tucson desert.

So we've stocked up on some airplane loot. Things to bring out every few hours that are new and exciting and will suck up about 20 minutes of a long flight. Truth be told, Dale and I had a lot of fun picking it all out the other day. As usual, I had to control him from buying 8 million matchbox cars.

And what a difference from one summer to the next--she's so independent now. I've been able to have some time to myself this afternoon while she and her friend play some sort of complex "it's winter and I must wear lots of clothes" game. They run in every 2 minutes to tell me there is an emergency (usually means they can't open something), I fix it and go back to getting into vacation mode. Ahhhh, summer. I do love thee so.

Sojo in her winter dinosaur costume.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


Pre-child, Dale and I belonged to a gym near our apartment in Shanghai. But we knew that when Sojo came, getting ourselves to the gym would be hard. It was either take time away from her and go after school or drag ourselves to the gym one by one after she fell asleep. Instead, I bought a treadmill that has been worth every penny I spent. It's so much easier to drag myself down 7 steps to the treadmill after she crashes.
What we've slowly noticed about having exercise equipment in the house (and using it) is how Sojo pays attention to what we do. The healthy modeling we are doing makes her want to be a part of it, too. Recently, she wanted her own 'exercise bone' to do weights like we do. We gladly bought her a small weight to join in the fun. She can also do a pretty mean leg lunge. The bonus is that drawing an 'exercise bone' is a piece of cake.