Thursday, January 31, 2013


Our student council hosted a spirit day this week where kids dressed up as their heroes. Technically, they were supposed to be based on real people, but according to our little Obi Wan Kenobi, Obi Wan used the force for good and helped others. Hero enough for me. And our own baba hero/renaissance man whipped up this Obi Wan Kenobi robe on the sewing machine out of an old sarong he bought in Sri Lanka years ago. He is truly amazing, and I love that his hero was Atticus Finch. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Camping on the Bottom of the Ocean

Unbeknownst to me, the eastern part of Saudi Arabia used to be the bottom of the ocean, give or take 60 million years ago. There is a place to go camping and look for shark's teeth and other fossilized shells that is only about 90 minutes from our house, so we grabbed a few families and headed out to find the proverbial shark tooth in a haystack. There were many teeth found (not many by me as I found it too tedious) and other fun things like tons of rolling down dunes and hanging out with friends and building kid fires and dune jumping. Our weather is downright glorious now, and this was a great time of the year to be out enjoying the desert.

Before we moved to Saudi, we bought all new camping gear as we really want to explore the desert and camping is a good way to see the country. We bought a decent sized tent, but not until we opened it and set it up did we realize just how fabulous it is! It's tall enough to stand in and has room for a queen air mattress AND a twin mattress and there is still room left over! It was a brilliant purchase and was aptly named the 'Taj Mahal' of tents by our fellow campers. And, of course, there was room enough for the world's largest Angry Bird that just had to come camping with us. 

Look at this topography. So many times, it feels like we are living on the moon. The shark's teeth were on the bottom of the wadi (like an empty riverbed) and these hard stones and fossilized flint were on the top part. The photo from the top of this post is of what I like to call a desert backbone--the place where the wind creates a small peak from both sides. They are awesome in the truest sense of the word, and the ripples in the sand are even more beautiful in person. 

Before we headed home, Sojo and I did a bit of dune climbing. The sky was impossibly blue. Like, when I downloaded the photos, I could not believe my little camera captured how piercing the blue was. 

Camping in Saudi is great fun so far. However, we hear that the camping window is closing soon as the shamal (sandstorm) season is approaching. Darn--we were hoping to head out and find some sand roses soon! Maybe we can squeeze one more in... 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Golfing & Sand

After all these months, we finally got ourselves to the driving range with Sojo's new clubs. The best thing about the driving range is that there are garbage cans filled with balls, all for free! Interestingly, I swung better with free balls than when I pay for them. Perhaps less pressure? It's worth mentioning that our entire golf course here is oiled sand. Yes, sand. Our whole life is sand.

Then it was off for some putting and jebel climbing. 

Sojo is spending a lot of her time lately running around in the jebels. This would be why every time I put her to bed, it is filled with sand. And why sand is everywhere I turn. Mind you, this floor photo was after a party with tons of teachers and kids, but it looks close to this most nights when the shoes come off. Like I said, our whole life is sand. Beach living without the water...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Super Baba

Dale is an amazing father on so many levels, and I feel so lucky to have him as my partner and as Sojo's baba. He is so very hands-on with everything, including this amazingly fun project he, Sojo and her friend created this weekend. Sojo noticed that our empty water bottle looked like R2D2 from Star Wars, and that gave her the great idea to make her own. She spent breakfast drawing the plans, and they spent the next few hours making these cool robots.

There was some painting,

and some blowdrying of the paint, (check out those fab fur socks that my sis-in-law's mom gave her!)

and then the best part---rolling them down the driveway over and over and over again. Dale put casters on the robots, and although they rolled a bit wonky, the kids had a blast. 

And just look at that hair of hers. It is a rarity nowadays that she wears it down, but it is so incredibly beautiful and black and long. 

What a sweet day for her.  Dale overheard Sojo say to her friend, "I have the coolest baba in the world." Such a cool thing to overhear, and I am in complete agreement. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Rock Star Party

Somehow I thought that living in a tiny town would not be super busy, but there is always something going on around here. And so much fun stuff! Sojo was invited to a rock star birthday party yesterday, and although I am usually in charge of attending the parties with Sojo, Dale took over this time. From the photos he took, I think he had a blast. There was a lot of break dancing, and she came home with makeup on. I'm a sucker for eyeshadow on Asian eyes (it always looks amazing with those smooth eyelids), and she looked super cute, as you can see from their sunset photo shoot. 

I'm still in shock that someone was able to convince this girl to wear makeup... 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

First Sleepover

It was bound to happen. The girl who was sure she would never have a sleepover ("What if I wake up in the night and you are not there??") dove in and did it. There is a good chance it was easier because the sleepover took place in the green space behind our backyard and included a gaggle of rowdy boys and a few parents. Our friend Norma had the Bedouin tent set up with rugs on the floor and tons of space to run around inside.

While the kids wrestled each other and enjoyed tons of random roughhousing, the adults sat by the fire and chatted about life and travels. It was a freezing night, and Dale and I had decided to let Sojo have her first sleepover without us watching over her. Okay, it was also a whole lot warmer in the house. What really happened is that we both got barely any sleep as we fretted all night with thoughts like these: what if she had to pee and didn't know to wake up an adult? what if she peed in her sleeping bag and then felt embarrassed in front of her friends? what if she woke up and shouted out, "mama!" like she does almost every time she wakes up? what if she felt unsafe without us there? A whole night's worth of worry.

This is how we left her before heading in for the night. Snuggled up with all the Angry Bird friends and her best friend. She was in very good hands. 

Needless to say, she had a blast, did not pee the bed, and Dale and I spent our first night of childlessness sleep-deprived instead of enjoying it. Yet another lesson that it's all about letting go, no matter how hard that actually is. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Just when I thought she could not get any cuter, she went and lost a bunch of teeth! Front teeth, to be exact, some on top and some on the bottom, and all those holes are absolutely adorable. For now, her  voice has changed, words are hard to say, and she is already wiggling more teeth as she is keen to have both the top ones out. I love, love, love watching her be so excited about growing up.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Germany, Part Two

Our trip back to Saudi also included a Germany stopover. My cousin Ryan recommended a little town called Freiburg, about two hours from Frankfurt, so we stored our luggage at the airport and hopped on a train to this gorgeous town. Lucky for us, some old friends drove over from Zurich to spend the day with us. It's been 7 years since we have seen each other, and we now both have little ones that are so very loved. Meeting Marate was wonderful, and we spent the day walking around the town and playing in the parks. Germany's parks are so beautiful in that they have brought nature into the city by placing logs and trees as climbing areas. I fell in love with Freiburg's quaintness and walkability. 

Unfortunately, Sojo ate something weird at the Frankfurt airport that made her very sick on the way home. It was a nightmare for her to be on the plane, (and a bit for us, too, but only because she puked on me!) and she was so uncomfortable. When we finally arrived in Saudi, we still had a two-hour drive to our house. Bummer for her that she slept through all the camels crossing the road. The juxtaposition of wooded Germany in the morning and camels in the afternoon was pretty darn cool. Although the trip was packed with tons of fun, it was still good to be home in our other favorite desert. 

Wednesday, January 09, 2013


Tucson was simply wonderful this Christmas. We had only a week in the desert, but it was packed with lots of family time and that is why we came! Plus, we got to meet the newest member, Augie, who is super cute and super sweet (hardly surprising!). Dale's mom came down for a lot of our visit, which we also loved. As always, Tucson delivered lovely December weather...

such a doll! i love that my brother is such a good dad. 

tucson's beauty is incredible

the whole gang in my brother's fabulous backyard