Thursday, June 27, 2013

Graffiti, Kindergarten Style

We have a small office in our house that Dale has turned it into a pretty groovy music room. He chose the bold paint (he is nothing if not bold) and left a small, unpainted space for his big white boards that normally cover the length of the wall. When he asked Sojo if she wanted  to write some stuff on the white space, she jumped at the chance. Her kindergarten word wall book provided the inspiration for her cool graffiti. 

I love that years from now, we will take down those big white boards and see her gorgeous kindergarten writing. She loves making the letters the correct way and always does her best work. So very proud of that girl who is two days away from being in first grade. She's become a reader and a writer this year, which has been so beautiful to witness.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Growing and Growing

An old photo card in a drawer provided this bit of cuteness from the Thailand days when Sojo was about three. So tiny! So adorable! So Thai! 

And now...still so adorable with her gold pants and her missing teeth. Lately, Dale and I feel like walking cliches as we are always looking at each other in disbelief at how grown up she is. She walked down the hallway with her backpack the other morning, and we had visions of her walking onto an airplane by herself one day. It is a beautiful thing to see, this whole growing up thing, albeit with tiny heartbreaks every now and then. 

Proof positive that she is so big--in October, she was 110 cm tall (43.3 inches) and now she is 113 cm (44.4 inches). 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Zombie Eyes

Zombie eyes all the time now.

Simultaneously freaky, annoying and hilarious. 

And get a load of that mouth of teeth! Another one fell out the other day (#6) and they are currently coming in all over the place. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Break Dancer

About two summers ago, Sojo caught the break dancing bug. Where she caught it, I'll never know, but at my brother's wedding that June of 2011, she had her break dance all planned out in her poofy flower girl dress. Two years later, she now has a small group of kindergarten friends who love to break dance together. Watching her bust a move is so much fun, and she takes her dancing quite seriously.

With summer coming on, I looked and looked for a break dancing camp of some sort in our neck of the woods, but I couldn't find a thing.

Could be because it's not 1983.

Enjoy the moves! I was told later that I should not have said anything in the video. Schooled again by a 6 year old.

Monday, June 17, 2013


A long time ago, I backpacked through Central America my awesome friend Aimee, and we had heaps of adventures. One such adventure was renting bikes in Bocas Del Toro, Panama, a city with insane heat and frequent electricity cuts. Our seemingly endless bike ride on dirt roads filled with hills was a nightmare for me, and I am fairly sure I convinced myself then that I hated bike riding. It has stuck with me since. I am a bit stubborn like that.

But then I moved to Saudi, to this tiny desert town where there is a huge biking group that rides on lonely roads and comes across camel herds that freak out when they see bikes. I joke with them because when I see them on weekend mornings at breakfast and ask how their ride was, they normally say, "Oh, it was just 40K." Um, 40K is a lot of kilometers. Over the months, I slowly started wanting to be able to say "just 40K" myself.

This new-to-me bike is just the thing to get me started. I love all its possibilities. And it gets me ready for the sprint triathlon I want to join next year.

At this point, 40K is still a long way off. However, I did 15 the other night and felt like a riding rock star!

Sunday, June 16, 2013


It's that time of the year again--school is nearly finished and life has become busier than we are accustomed to. The randomness of these photos match the randomness of our lives right now. 

Putting Sojo to bed around sunset makes us miss the beauty. I was at a women's party the other night and caught this one. Stop sign included.

The women's party was an interesting cultural experience. I admit I was hoping for a bit more 'under the veil' sightings, but it was definitely fun to see women get so dressed up for each other. After our dinner, there was a talent show. The Indian women were stunning and so proud to do their dances. 

Snapped this because she is looking more and more big. Yes, that would technically be 'bigger' but I can't seem to find any other word to describe her of late. I am seeing snippets of her as a teenager, and this couch pose was one of those moments.

You know you're living in the Middle East when your kid comes home from a playdate with henna on her arm. Gorgeous! 

3 weeks until we take off for the summer adventure! First stop is Seville, Spain for 5 days of fun and flamenco! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fine Arts Night

Our school hosts an evening of fine arts where all the students from kindergarten to 7th grade actually create art in the gym while parents and others walk around and watch them. It's pretty darn cool, especially for a kid who lives and breathes art. Poor Sojo got sick the night before, so we stayed home from school and rested all day (and watched movies and ate tons of what she calls 'sick popsicles' that are really Pedialyte pops) just so she would be okay for the evening.

And ok she was. Whew! Then she got really nervous and started doing all these weird zombie eye things to compensate for her nervousness. That went on until the artwork began.

It was really a beautiful night, watching all these kids working away on being creative. I started thinking of Sojo years from now, doing various art projects and getting more and more passionate about art. Here she is doing her Vincent Van Gogh inspired piece of work. 

Since our whole family is often found wearing funky hats, I thought we needed a family artsy photo to remember the evening. It might appear to simply be an excuse to have my fabulous yellow shoes showcased, but we also need a new family photo. We don't often dress up, so it was a must! 

The highlight of the evening for Sojo (besides sitting next to her buddy Umar and cracking him up doing the zombie eyes) was having her very favorite 6th grade girl, Nabila, come to watch her doing her artwork. I believe the beaming is evident in this photo. 

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Bahrain and Super Shamal

In Sojo's words, "Bahrain is amazing! It has everything!" On her kid list of things that rock, it does have an indoor water park, her favorite popsicle store AND pork bacon. That constitutes amazing. 

We enjoyed our getaway but somehow forgot that the entire expat community from Saudi Arabia would also be in Bahrain, soaking up life that includes glasses of wine and abaya-less shopping. It felt a bit like Spring Break for the 35-50 year old crowd, so I think next long weekend, we'll head somewhere a bit quieter.

 I absolutely love crossing over the Gulf to get to Bahrain. The customs is this futuristic-looking island in the middle of the two countries, and the water is just stunning.

Sojo has a new friend called a 'shoulder buddy.' There is a magnet that holds it together so it stays on your shoulder. Needless to say, she is in love. 

We drove back in a fairly intense shamal (sandstorm). So intense that, in many places, one lane of the highway was already covered in sand. The desert was taking over! 

Even when we arrived home, the day had this eerie, orange glow to it. Our bedroom floor was covered with sand that came through the window cracks, so we assume it was a sandy weekend here. 

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

A Hefty Dose of Perspective

I try to wake up each day with gratitude. And it generally happens. But yesterday, for some reason, I was a bit caught up in what is now being referred to as 'first world problems.' Like...

1. Dale was home sick and we have a getaway planned this weekend. A getaway in a country where I can sit by the pool without a big black robe in the 110 degree weather and have a beverage of my choice. I want him to get better fast.

2. Seems all my teacher friends are on holiday already and I have 4 weeks to go.

3. I am tired to the bone of my clothes. Our water here is actually desalinated ocean water, so you can only imagine what it does to your clothes when you wash them. My bras are falling apart.

4. My hair has turned an entirely different color due to washing in chemical 'used-to-be-the-ocean' water every day. (Actually, I kind of like this one).

Poor me, right? And I've lived in developing countries where people have real problems like finding enough protein for the day and watching their children die of malaria. Shame.

But then this happened. Chocolate scones.

We get to school at 7:00 and kids don't usually arrive until 7:30. Right at 7:05, one of our 7th graders from Sudan popped in my room with a tray of chocolate scones. He informed me he was selling them to raise money for an orphanage. I asked him about it, and this is what he said, 

"Well, in my country, where my town is, there was a bomb. And a lot of the parents died, so the kids are orphans now. My sister and I thought we could do something to help."

This is where i quickly excused myself to "get money" but really was in the bathroom stifling my sobs. 

When I returned, I gave him the equivalent of about 20 bucks US. He apologized that he didn't have any change, and I somehow managed to tell him he could keep the change (the look of surprise on his face...) without curling up in a ball on the floor and pounding my fists at the unfairness of some things in this big world.

I'm always a fan of a healthy dose of perspective. I love it especially when it kicks me in the butt like it did yesterday. 

*I do totally love the randomness of what is on my K4 teacher desk--a random googly eye, a button off someone's dress that I need to return to the mom, and a tiny safety cone. 

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The Summer List

Feeling more excited about summer every time I pass the pantry and see the list. A bonus is that I already found someone in our artsy town who will give Sojo private art lessons. And my parents have tickets for our favorite slapstick dinner show. I'm a bit obsessive with checking thing off a list, so I can't wait to take this out of the suitcase and tick away this summer!