Friday, September 29, 2017

Grandparent Time

Our main reason for going home each summer is family, and a good dose of grandparents is good for Sojo and our parents. Popo and Gong had already been living in our house for weeks before we arrive, so we were spoiled with lots of favorite meals they had made ahead of time and froze for us to eat when we got home. Veggie soup and meatballs are our definite favorites!

Sojo is almost as tall as Popo now!
And speaking of being spoiled, both Sojo and Dale's mom love the local, homemade ice cream from Elevated. We go so often during the summer, and it never gets old. Lemon chiffon for both of these gals.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Cousin Time

Sojo's favorite part of any summer is cousin time. We were not able to see her cousin Jake this summer, but we had tons of time with her other two cousins. They even did three camps together: basketball, Ninja Warrior camp and the most beautiful Forest camp.

During forest camp week, we dropped the kids off in a field just outside of town, and they headed off into the woods for five hours of fun. We heard stories about campfires, climbing trees, learning games and general old-fashioned kid fun. They came home dirty each day, and that was awesome.

The grand finale was in the woods. We trekked into one of their areas in the woods, but there was no one in sight. Noises erupted in the forest, and out came the kids. They put on the coolest obstacle course show for us, complete with tricks and drumming.

Sojo's final vote for the best camp was the Ninja Warrior one, but my vote went for the forest camp. Either way, it was good to have so much cousin time.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Skate Like a Girl

This past summer, Sojo was totally open to attending a bunch of different camps. The first one she attended was called Skate Like a Girl, and it is run by young people. We made it a mini-vaca and headed downtown Seattle for a few days to toodle around while she was in the camp.

She LOVED the camp! And, just like it is intended to do, she felt very empowered and strong. Our favorite part each day was the end: each kid gets up and shared a trick he or she learned that day for "showcase." If they do it right, awesome! If they fall, the crowd chants, "One more time! One more time!" Sojo's growth in only three days was incredible, not only in skill but in confidence. We all hope to do this camp again next summer. Here's the final showcase!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Summer Flashbacks #1

Since I missed the entire summer of blogging, and since this is basically our family's memory book, we decided to simply go back and document some highlights.

As always, most of our summers are spent at one body of water or another in or near Port Townsend. My favorite and Dale's favorite is North Beach and Sojo's favorite is the bunker beach because of the bunkers themselves and the big rocks for bouldering. North Beach is the sunset beach and the best for combing for sea glass.

This summer, we added a new beach activity when Jared and Cheng-Wei brought up their metal detector. Even though this one was powerful and fancy, we still only found a rusty pipe and some pop-tops.

We also ventured out to Crater Lake when Matt and Cathy came up to visit and wound up getting my very favorite family photo of the summer. Scratch that--maybe of all time. We caught ourselves mid-laugh, and I love everything about this. 

Another thing I love about summers is that we always spend good, quality time with Matt and Cathy. It's gorgeous to watch Sojo grow and have more meaningful interactions with family members. 

We made it a point to leave the house to watch the sunset more often this past summer. It's a bit tough because the sun doesn't go down until about 9:30 and everyone is in a relaxing zone by then. One night, we decided last-minute to go and some of us even went in pajamas. We arrived at North Beach to find gaggles of people also there for the view, some drinking wine and having dinner. We're going to have to get there more often next summer. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Dale's Work is Done

Over the summer, we always hit the US bookstores. Dale captured this beautiful snapshot of Sojo reading the back of a Stephen Hawking book. That furrowed brow is priceless. Needless to say, her very intellectual baba was proud that she picked up that book.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Euro Road Trip, Part Two

After our stint in Lausanne, we toodled off to Bern, which was a short two-hour ride away. The back highways we took to get there took our breath away, and I think we could have driven for hours. Roadside nature like this, for example:

After so much brown desert in our lives, we soaked up all the green. And gloomy skies were totally welcome as well.

Bern was a quaint town with some cool coffee shops (Coffee Fellows and Tibits were awesome) and historical sights to see. We wandered around and discovered some stuff along the way, but we had hoped to find the statue of an ogre we had read about that is eating a child. Yikes!

When we finally did find it, Dale and Sojo decided to act out the ogre part. Sojo's face in this photo is absolutely priceless--her drama skills are totally on point.

On our way back to Geneva, we passed through the same towns as we did on the way back. The best part of being on a road trip was being able to stop in a gorgeous little town we spotted on the way over called Moudon. We found a little Italian restaurant and ate the final pizza of the trip (I truly never thought we would say that we needed a break from pizza, but we did!). The cook, who was Italian himself, came out to chat with us and told us about how he lived in the Wisconsin Dells when he was ten. He then insisted we have some limoncello before hitting the road (just a little bit for the driver, he said). Meeting him and having a cool travel experience made the end of the trip so sweet.

And, Europe must look good on us because so many of our family selfies were just fabulous! This one was taken right in Moudon. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Euro Road Trip, part one

Our Eid vacation came very early this year. So early, in fact, that we only had 12 days of school before a ten-day break. Not too shabby, so we headed off on a European road trip that was nothing short of spectacular.

First off, we rented a car in Geneva and drove to Italy in only a bit more than two hours. I chose a somewhat random town called Aosta in the Aosta Valley--mostly because it looked cute and wasn't too far away. We wanted to include Italy in the vaca since we have never been, and it did not disappoint. Beautiful views, pizza that was incredible and a trip to the Italian Alps.

Nothing like a playground at the top of the world

Next, we toodled off to Lausanne, Switzerland where a dear friend of ours is living and working. Lausanne was so, so beautiful and right on Lake Geneva (or Lac Leman like the cool kids say).

Catching up with Aimee was incredible, and we got to meet her husband as well. We soaked up together time.

This was our splurge hotel room that offered us a perfect view of the lake. Needless to say, Dale and I spent much of our time gazing out the window.

Guitar + wine + a lake view = perfection!

One more fun adventure whilst in Lausanne was taking a boat to the other side of the lake to Evian, France. Yes, the Evian of water fame. That would be country #3 in about as many days. We all love the ease of Europe, and Sojo claims that the playgrounds are a kid's dream. Part two tomorrow!