Sunday, September 28, 2014

Soccer Coach Love

Snapped this photo tonight at soccer practice. I know that having her baba as her coach will be a forever memory for her.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Beauty of Jordan

Since we know my parents are here until December, we wanted to make sure they were able to see other parts of the Middle East rather than just Saudi and our compounds. Although I do love living in Saudi, it is not set up for tourism at all.

Our first big trip was to Jordan last week, and it was beyond our expectations. From the roman ruins of Jerash to the super salty Dead Sea to our final destination of the ancient city of Petra, we were fascinated with the beauty of the country at each location. We hired a driver and van for the entire trip, which really relieved any stress of finding the right road or reading exit signs in Arabic.

Dead Sea mud is so fun! 

Jordan is a place that feels sacred in many ways, and the people were some of the kindest I have ever come across in my travels. We stocked up on lots of good memories together as a family. A highlight for me was hiking with my dad and Dale to the Monastery in Petra--a pretty decent climb in the heat, but the view was worth it.

The whole family in the Siq on the way to Petra

Dale won many hearts with his guitar in Petra

Favorite family picture ever!
This year, we have only 2 company holidays, and they line up almost back to back because of where Eid falls this year. We are taking advantage and heading off to Oman next week. After that, it will be all Saudi all the time for a while.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

2nd Grade Duds

Before time goes by too much, I wanted to post Sojo's first day of 2nd grade photo. We stocked up on our yearly supply of shirts and leggings this summer, and there were lots of choices for the first day. Wearing shorts is totally new for her, so wearing one of her funky new pairs was a must. She then chose her ancient Angry Bird t-shirt that she actually sleeps with each night (she gently rubs it on her lips, and it's adorable) as her blanket. I mentioned that maybe she should choose a shirt that fit better, but she insisted that this particular one made her feel "fuzzy" all day long, and she needed that on the first day.

I get that feeling. You gotta feel good on your first day, even if you are wearing what is basically your security blanket. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ninja Warrior

Over the summer, Dale's sister told us about the show called "American Ninja Warrior." We wound up catching it on TV one night, and the little ones just loved it. Literally, Sojo was pacing around the room with nervous energy and excitement. Since the show is all about physical challenges and obstacle courses, it feels like a great role model show, and we are all basically addicted to watching it.

And then she realized that our house could become a practice place, since she wants to join the competition when she turns 21. Hence, the spider climb in the hallway.

And balance practice on the couch arms.

She and her best friend even do the spider climb together sometimes. Love the determination. Not as big a fan of the dirty walls. 

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Extended Grandparent Time

It's so wildly beautiful how life turns out sometimes. My brother and his family are now teaching in a compound about an hour from us, and my parents generously offered to help them settle their 2 year old son into life in Saudi as the adults adjusted to their new jobs as well. We are having a bit of adult joint custody as they take a bus down to spend the weekends with us. It's a true gift for all of us, especially since I have lived away from my family for over 20 years now. Having mom and dad walk in the door every Thursday afternoon is amazing to me, and we are celebrating the little things like going to the movies or playing Monopoly with Sojo or having American Ninja Warrior marathons.

Watching her fold the towels for their arrival was such a loving thing to see. 

Friday, September 05, 2014

Fun with Driftwood

Perfect light, perfect eyes closed, perfect windblown hair. And her discovery of the 'driftwood mustache' was just one of the awesome summer beach memories. 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014


As Sojo ages, I have an unspoken fear that she will lose her quirkiness. Of course, some of the quirks from the past, like meowing like a cat when she got nervous and someone spoke to her, might be okay to let go of as she ages, but I see her quirkiness and creativity so entwined that I guess I don't want her to lose either. The way she looks at the world around her is quite beautiful.

Seems I have nothing to worry about at this point. One of our Chinese decorations for the door broke the other day, and there was just a tassel left. Sojo quickly decided that if she wore said tassel, this would bring her good Chinese luck all day, and she set off in search of a hat to attach it to. Even her expression in this photo cracks me up. 

Quirkiness prevails...for now. 

Monday, September 01, 2014

2nd grade

This is what 2nd grade looks like in our house. I was a tiny bit worried about her because she was not in the same class as her favorite peeps, but she was open to the idea of making new friends. One new boy from India who is quiet and shy is in her class, and he joined our community right at the end of 1st grade last year. When I told her he was in her class, she said, "Oh, nice. I wanted to get to know him."

There were some nerves (oh, this kid worries so much sometimes!) about what to do when she is itchy and needs to get Benadryl from the office. She hates, hates, hates missing anything for fear of not knowing the directions, but we are trying to encourage her to speak up and just ask for the directions again. 

She rated the first day a 16 on a scale from 1-10. And then, in the backyard after school, a wild game of ball tag with friends from the other class made us all realize that in our close community, it doesn't really matter what class you are in.