Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015

This Christmas, we laid down the law. No waking us up until 5:00 a.m. And, yes, that seems like we are being generous and letting her get us up early, but that is nothing compared to how early she would do it if we didn't set parameters. She followed directions like a champ, but she did tell us that she woke up at 2:00 a.m. and played iPad until 5:00 came around.

This is her first year not really believing in Santa, so we tried to make it extra special and added a few cute things like a toy she really wanted and thought there was no way she would get it. Dale wrote a beautiful letter from Santa about the magic of Christmas and left the BB8 robot from Star Wars on her bed. The letter told her to go upstairs to find one more present, and she loved it.

Most unfortunately, our normally fabulous Saudi weather turned into an atypical day of rain akin to something out of Seattle, so she didn't have a chance to go outside and play with toys. We did, however, take advantage of our local golf club and partake of their turkey dinner for lunch, mostly so I didn't have to cook before heading out of the country tonight. Sojo went to lunch dressed as she is in the above photo: highwater pajama pants, an old tshirt and a flannel put on top. The helmet was worn most of the day, but she took it off for the lunch trip. She's a classy one. 

Off to Chamonix tonight to meet up with the entire side of my family. Hate the journey, love the destination! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

First Camping of the Year

Our first camping of the year was very close to home. About five minutes drive, to be exact. We generally head out to a dune area about 30 minutes away, but there have been a few instances of locals not being keen on foreigners camping, so we decided to spend the night right on our own camp. Once we got over the bummer of not being able to climb the dunes, it was just fine. The kids made their own fun by climbing the rocky hills and playing with fire for hours.

Since many of the kids are Minecraft fans, they found a bunch of metal rods in the desert and spent an inordinate amount of time trying to melt the metal to turn it into swords.

We told ourselves to remember that camping in the middle of November is the most perfect time of year: not too cold, but cold enough to bundle up and enjoy a fire. The next morning, I brought out my super-cool, propane coffeemaker, (my luxury camping item) and it was a big hit with the adults. 

As the adults enjoyed coffee, I snapped this photo of the kids up on a hill, and the early morning light combined with the pretend play were downright magical. Most of us who live here in Saudi are so grateful that our kids are growing up with such an innocent, safe childhood. The only downside I hear folks with older kids say is that the kids are not as savvy about the 'real world' because it's so accepting and so safe here. I can take that downside if it means our kid gets the chance to grow up with such amazing experiences. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Still Here

After a long blog hiatus, we are back! Moving into the winter season in Saudi is always our favorite time of the year as it's the time when we can forgive the incessant heat of the summer. Our vacation has begun, but we will stay here for one week working while Sojo has various middle school babysitters. Sojo especially likes being here for Christmas, and it gives us teachers a chance to rest after a long stretch.

After we celebrate here in Saudi, we are off to the French Alps town of Chamonix with my entire family. Can't wait!