Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Movin' On Up

The crib that Sojo slept in when we first became a family turned into a toddler bed with the quick removal of the sides, but her growing body simply will not fit in a toddler bed any longer. She's an active sleeper, and we often hear her bang into the wall with her legs or find her legs hanging off the edge in the middle of the night.

Time for a true big girl bed. We bought a mattress the other day but have yet to find a frame or bedroom set that speaks to us, so handy Dale put together a platform for the new mattress.

However, until tomorrow evening, when the new mattress will be here, the platform is the most perfect stage for our drama queen. Last night, she ran downstairs to grab her silver sparkle shoes to do a tap-dance show.

Already thinking that Dale's next project is a real stage, not a temporary one. We are a family who loves a stage.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Big Arms

I love this season in Thailand.* It's hot, but not crazy hot like in April when even the simple act of breathing makes you sweat. It's hot, but the kind of hot where you get home from school, change right into a swimsuit and hit the pool. And it's soooo refreshing.
Sojo is swimming on her own now, even in the deep end. Most of the time, she bobs along and swims like a frog, but we have been encouraging her to use those 'big arms' her swim teacher taught her to use. What do you know? One swim with the big girls at housing and those big arms appeared. Well, they might be called 'flailing arms,' but she is getting the hang of it.

* I love just about every season in Thailand. I'm more of a 2-season girl than a 4-season girl. Rainy and dry seasons do me just fine.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday Night Checkers

Tara had a night out with the girls for wine and foot massages, so I stayed home with Sojo. And after an evening swim, I wondered, “Is almost-five too young for checkers?” But, a couple of crayons, a scrap piece of butcher paper and a ziploc bag of poker chips (for boys’ night poker games that never happened) later, Voila! Baba and Sojo’s first real game of checkers – with rules, strategy and everything. The best part was watching Sojo’s brain work until she realized that she could jump one of my pieces and take it for her ‘treasure chest’ (always a hint of pirate in her games). She’d work her eyebrows up and down and tentatively say, “hmm … I think I’ll jump this one!” And, yes, for anyone out there in the family who’s keeping count: Sojo won two games. Baba: none.

A wonderful evening: the swim, the checkers, a couple of bedtime books, a back scratch and a beautiful little girl sleeping peacefully. I hope this is the first of many, many games of checkers together.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ninja Taekwondo Girl

Activities have started, and I now see how hard it is not to overschedule your child. There are so many cool options for the little ones! However, we are keeping it to two choices this semester, and our newest sport is taekwondo. Sojo has been keen on taekwondo for a while now as she sees it as a sport where she can somehow be a ninja. Either that, or it's the awesome outfit she gets to wear. She was positively glowing when she put it on and did her best ninja move.

The teacher was great--incredibly strict, but I like that he is honoring the discipline of the sport, even at a young age. Sojo listened so well and tried her best at every task. I sat back and watched those two black braids jump right into it.
With yoga as her second activity, she will be the yin and yang of sports.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dream Job

As if my library job wasn't dreamy enough, now I have this super cute kid who comes to see me once a week. Besides refusing to call me Miss Tara (we got as far as Miss Mama, but she actually never called me anything at all), she was good to go. One of my plans was to practice fighting over a book and have the wee ones think of how to solve the problem. Sojo was my helper, and we went over how to do it the previous night. She was totally in character and a hoot! When I asked the kids to think of what to do, she immediately shouted out, "CHECK IT OUT THE NEXT DAY!!" So much for teacher wait time...
Having Sojo so close is simply wonderful. Both Dale and I try and control ourselves by not spying too often, but every now and then I run into her as I am walking the halls. The joy it brings me is bigger than I thought joy could be.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Whew--Day 2!

Confession time. I was the tiniest bit freaked out that Sojo became so serious in her uniform photo yesterday. My just-barely-under-the-surface fears of conformity and uniforms and traditional schooling peeked out that morning, and I had a vision of her losing her funkiness.
Day 2, she had PE and dressed herself. Complete with Hello Kitty necklace and a request for 3 braids, not 2.

Whew. Funkiness prevails.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Today was one of the coolest days ever for us.
Here is what I will remember:

1. Sojo remembering all the steps her teacher had told her during the orientation meeting. Everything in our house the last month for her has been "step one...step two...," so this was great practice to remember what to do when entering the classroom.

2. Watching Sojo choose her favorite robot book and sit down in the Hub to read quietly while I worked a bit.

3. Popping in at lunchtime to help her with food choices b/c of the allergies. Finding it incredibly bizarre that I did not even recognize my own kid in line. They all were wearing red, were basically the same height and there were tons of Asian kids. It kind of freaked me out for a minute, but then I saw her cute face!

4. Every other first day picture is her being her silly self. This year, maybe because of the uniform, she was more serious. She didn't even want to have a necklace or any splash of color at all.

5. She loves her teacher tons and was so happy to spend the day with her. When we asked who her new friend was, she said Teacher Jennifer.

Can't beat riding in style to your first day of school. The golf cart got a sprucing up and a paint job over the summer. It's like driving a big ball of sunshine. Love it!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I'm Old Now

It is the night before Sojo's first day of school at ISB. She is so excited and so ready. We are so excited and so ready. Most of all, she is so big. Those legs just keep growing!
Proof positive that she is big. She asked to help me wash the dishes the other night, and we stood side by side, her washing and me rinsing. It was profoundly beautiful and felt so important and real to me. She turned and said to me, "Mama, I'm getting older now. I need some pocket money." Classic. We are officially doing chores.

Sneak preview of the first day of school. It has not yet arrived, but that has not stopped her from wearing the school uniform for the last week. Cute overload!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Spinning and Stalking

Although it's hard to pick my favorite thing about living in Port Townsend, I think I'd have to say it's the weekend farmer's market. From the cheese breadsticks at our favorite bakery to the fresh flowers and the raw key lime pie I ate every Saturday morning, it's packed with goodness.
This summer, we met Rebecca, the weaver who spins her own wool as she sits at the market. Sojo was absolutely fascinated with her. Seriously, it was to the point that it was borderline stalking. We'd go find Rebecca on Saturday, watch her spin and Sojo would ask her a gazillion questions: "Do you love spinning?" "When you wake up in the morning, do you think about spinning?" "Do you have chickens?" (Yes, yes, and yes to those questions.)

There will be some serious farmer's market withdrawals for the next few Saturdays as we settle back into life here in Bangkok.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Going, Going, Gone

We have one of those decks at our house that have somewhat dangerous, rotted boards here and there--the ones where you recommend family and guests NOT to step on when walking. So, when we made the decision to rent our sweet house for a few years*, we had a choice: either fix a whole lot of rotted boards or just tear the whole thing down. We opted for tearing it down. Superman Dale had it down in about 24 hours, which really opened up the yard and leaves us with some great possibilities in the future. Plus, we won't spend any time worrying about tenants falling through the deck.

Once we planted a few bushes and put down some grass seed, Sojo pitched in by making some warning signs. The signs went something like this: No Throwing Food and No Deer on one side, and then No Walking and No Wild Animals on the other side. Needless to say, she was very proud of her work. Her only confusion was when the deer ignored the sign and walked right through.

*Post to come on how much I miss our house already. Sniff. Sniff.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Hangin' at the Skate Park

Early in the summer, we discovered these awesome rollerblades at Target--they have wheels in a triangle shape for younger kids that then change to inline skates as they grow older. Brilliant concept. Sojo started out in Tucson on the back patio and then graduated to the skate park in Port Townsend. I must say it was a bit funny to be hanging at the park amidst the angst-ridden teens of the town, but Sojo simply loves skating.

"Jumping" with lots of help was her favorite trick by the end of the summer, and she was really getting the hang of skating overall. And I promise we do make her wear a helmet--we just forgot it that day and so provided extra hands to ensure there were no falls.

Another of my favorite summer memories was Sojo wearing her Batman cape everywhere. I couldn't resist snapping a photo of her helping me with the laundry one day. Sounds simple, but I love having a washer and dryer that she can reach to help out a bit.