Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Camping Reunion

My freshman year of college was tons of fun and more than a little bit on the crazy side. A large part of the fun was the great group of people I met in my dorm, and there are so many memories attached to that window of time when we all were stretching our wings for the first time. One such memory was a group camping trip, of which I can only remember blasting the Cure on someone's car radio (that would be so annoying in my 40's!) and being incredibly envious of our friends Jay and Gretchen who had enough foresight to bring real food like pancakes instead of the beer and bagels many of us brought.
20+ years later, thanks to the connections of facebook, we gathered as many of us as are in Arizona still and went camping again. With eight kids in tow, we have changed a lot over the years, but we quickly settled into a groove that told me we didn't really change that much--we are more mellow but such interesting people all grown up now.

The gaggle of older girls took Sojo under their wing in a way that made my heart ache with gratitude. She felt so loved and so happy. The icing on her cake was the discovery of Otter Pops. Blue ones, to be specific. Lots of them.Topping off the fun was a stop in the town of Prescott for some microbrewed beer in a growler, along with some impromptu hooping. Perfect ending.

Digging on Dinosaurs

A random advertisement in a local parent magazine led us to the Dinosaur Discovery Center, a family-run interactive center for all things dinosaur. As our kid is a lover of all things dinosaur, it was a big hit. It's a pretty small place, but that actually made it perfect--not overwhelming, not crowded, and just right for lots of turns on all the activities. We practically had to drag her away from the small dinosaur play area, and the petrified poop was simply fascinating.

Obviously, it's all the rage in Tucson this summer to wear your swimming goggles during the day. Sojo's reasons are to avoid dust and see the world in blue. Hard to argue with that.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Groovin' With Anthony

Although I am in love with the international lifestyle, there are many, many things I adore and miss about the US. People being the first and food being the second. In the cool friend arena is Anthony, a beautiful tattooed spirit who truly embodies the essence of being free. He runs a music hour at our favorite used bookstore, and Sojo had a great time hanging out with him and making music.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dogsitting Glee

Most of her life, Sojo's pets have been imaginary due to her allergies (minus the pet fish which seriously is the most B-O-R-I-N-G pet on the planet). Well, there was the time we had two cats in the house in Shanghai and didn't know she was allergic, but they mostly ran away from her in sheer terror, so I'm not sure that counts.

Recently, she said to me, "Mama, I'm ready for a real pet, not an imaginary one." So, we went through the list of pets that won't cause an allergic reaction, and I suggested a turtle. With the most hilarious deadpan look, she turned to me and said, "Mama, a turtle won't be able to keep up with me." Very true, oh wise and speedy child, very true.

Much to our delight, the pets gods appear to be on our side because my brother and his wife are headed to Thailand for their honeymoon, and we are dogsitting their Maltese named Matthew. This dog has hair and not fur, so it's hypoallergenic. You cannot imagine the glee this is bringing Sojo to have an actual pet in the house. It is also teaching her the elusive skill of being still and quiet so as not to freak out the dog. An added bonus.

We took Matthew for an early morning walk, and I followed behind chuckling and smiling the whole way. She is taking her job so seriously, even carrying around a big square piece of Lego that is her checklist of things to do. (Step 1, feed the dog. Step 2, Let him go poop, etc.)

So far, her very favorite morning job in Tucson has been to go out and get the newspaper (hmmmm...very dog-like behavior). Combining the dog walk with picking up the newspaper was just golden for her.

Holy smokes! Would someone comb that child's hair!?!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


My brother, Sean, got married to his love, Katherine, this past weekend. It was a stunning wedding, and watching my sweet brother look so happy was beyond beautiful. Making it extra special was the fact that Dale and I, along with my brother Matt and his wife Cathy, stood up for him. Unfortunately, being on the groom's side meant I only got pictures of the groomspeople and not of the bride! We'll have to wait for the professionals to see those beauties.

And this one--her inner princess was officially unleashed for the wedding. She was a star being the flower girl, and I even saw her working it a bit at the photo shoot. She never ceases to surprise us.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Settling Into Summer

We do summer so well in this family. The seemingly eternal flight over is getting easier and easier, and we are showered with love the moment we arrive. Summer so far involves an insane amount of bacon, a fabulous hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and perfect desert evenings. An added bonus is that we are finding the desert is helping Sojo's skin tremendously. Dry for sure, but big improvements from the tropics.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Love & Golf Carts

Our dear friends Pierre and Sharon flew over from Hong Kong this weekend for a quick visit. It was perfect timing as we finished our school year on Friday, and we did nothing but relax, chat and toodle around in the golf cart. We gave them a nice preview of their upcoming summer vacation.

Sharon likened Sojo to a Great Dane puppy--she always was leaning on one of them throughout the weekend. It was subtle, but there was always a slight lean on the shoulder or a hand placed on one of their legs. I swear she can sense the people we love fiercely.
Off to the Arizona desert on Wednesday. Can't wait to sit on the back patio at night and watch Scorpio sit in the night sky. I love that constant nature of coming home every summer to that beauty.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

New Wheels

Blame it on the hot season. In the last few weeks, it has been harder and harder to jump on the bike and sweat to the grocery store and then lug everything back in the baskets. As much as we love being eco-warriors with our bikes, we have a kid going to school next year--a kid who barely fits those long legs in her kid seat on the back of my bike anymore.

In Sojo's words, "It's the coolest golf cart I've ever seen." What it really is is an old golf cart that a friend's high school son rode around for years and is selling for a steal of a deal. With a new paint job and some seat covers, we'll be riding in style!

**Yes, that is a bucket on her head. However, to Sojo, it's a racing helmet that she insisted on wearing for the inaugural drive.