A busy weekend

We had yet another rewarding and exhausting weekend. Saturday we headed up to Oakland for the natural history study. It was fun to see the doctors again and it was nice that they did not bring up any new concerns. We saw many families that we had met before and also made a few new friends. One of Claire's friends is Roxie, in the picture she is wearing the green outfit, and we have been able to see her twice in a month, very exciting. The picture was taken at a golf fundraiser while we were in Arizona, I couldn't get all of the girls in the picture because of the cactus, but I got almost everybody. After a long day in Oakland we came home and rested and got to go to church on Sunday. We have missed our friends and getting to go to the gatherings and worship and learn. It felt so good to be back, three weeks is too long to be away. Now it is Monday and we have what feels like a million things to do. First I have to feed Claire as she is just waking up and the therapist is due here in 5 minutes. Looks like it should be another adventurous week. I know that I haven't been updating here very often, after we get done with the transition into Claire being three, I hope to get back here more often.


It's good to be home

We have made the journey home and it is good to be back. This was our first time driving from AZ to home as a family so we thought that we would take the scenic route. Claire absolutely loved being back by the ocean, she was all smiles. We thought that we did a good job of throwing her around and wearing her out before the last 100 miles of our drive and that she would be out for the last leg. No, she was so excited to be home that she sat and giggled and smiled at the trees the whole way home. I don't know what it is about the trees, but they make her so happy.

During our little pit stop we thought it would be a good idea to stretch a little. Claire was more in the mindset of doing a full yoga routine. We had so much fun, it is so amazing to us to see her continue to come into her own as the period of her life known as the "rapid destructive phase" fades further into the distance. I know that I shouldn't be surprised that she is so amazing, she was fearfully made my God to be exactly what she is, but for some reason I am still in awe. As we drove the the wine country of Paso Robles she would look out her window and take it all in and I wish so badly that I could know all of the things that she is wondering about the world that she lives in. We did talk about the obvious things like why do the vineyards sparkle and what sound does the cow make. She loves to laugh at her parents as we try our best to make good animal sounds for her. Speaking of cows, here is a picture that I took as we got a little closer to home. I love cows so much, I hope that some day we can live on a farm and be closer to some, especially a farm like this one.


Adventures in recycling

We got home late Tuesday evening and I had a very inportant task to complete. I was told by my father that my sole responsibility while he was away was to put the recycle bin out on Tuesday. On the front of the bin is a label that explains that it is only picked up every other week and that it must be on the curb by 5am. As I drove through the neighborhood late Tuesday night I did not see any other recycle bins, but there was a family of javelina's at the end of our drive. I pulled in the garage and shut the door before daring to get out of the car. Javelina's are freaky things and there were babies, which implies angry momas. Being the chicken that I am I called my friend and she suggested a flashlight to keep them away from me. So I dragged the huge bin of junk mail and water bottles to the curb as fast as I could and ran back into the house. To my surprise no evil javelina came charging at me from out of nowhere. The next morning we were leaving around 9 and I went to retrive our bin, since it was the only one sitting out, I figured all of the other good home owners had already brought there bins inside. To my dismay it was still full. So I dragged the big bulky thing back to the garage, figuring it was an off week. Later I told my dad that we had the week wrong and that no other bins were out. He had such a simple answer for me. "Oh, nobody else recycles, so ours would be the only bin out." Of coarse, why didn't I think of that! And this leaves me with reason 157, why I don't fit in in Scottsdale anymore.


Having fun in AZ

We have been here a few days now, long enough for the dust to settle, and we are having a great time. It is such a blessing to see Claire and her acomplishments through the eyes of my friends. Today we had the pleasure of spending some good play time with my friend Kathleen and her two boys. Kathleen was so excited to see Claire in her walker chasing the two boys around the living room. She might not be fast, but she is smart and we had a great time with it. It is so easy to forget how far we've come when you look at all of the things that you are working on in that moment, last time we were playing together Claire was struggling to stand and watch the boys play, she has come so far! Next we went to the park and Claire turned herself into a sand castle while the boys monkey climbed all over the place. It gives her such peace when she gets to play side by side with other little ones. It is such a good remeinder of the perfect little girl that she is and that she is "typical" in so many ways. I have also found myself thinking about how perfect God is that He would create her this way so that I can learn these lessons from her. I am so humbled that He would give me this incredible gift and everything that I need to take care of her. Now that there is a picture, Sam in the stripes is 5 weeks older than Claire and his brother Gary is a year older. The question is, are they giants, or is Claire a minature?


Sad for Fountain Hills

I have been in Arizona for almost a day and I have already gone through such a range of emotions. Driving into Fountain Hills from the airport was great, it is a very beautiful landscape once you leave the cementness of the city. Red Rock was a great sight as it stood against the desert that was green from recent rain. Once we got to town we hand to arrange for food and that is when things took a turn. We went to Safeway because the more local chain seems to be under construction and I couldn't go there. Safeway is enormous and filled with lots of nothing in my mind. It was very overwhelming to navigate the many isles of boxes and packaged goods. As I went through the store I wondered how it is that the people have come to demand this sort of nonsense. It took us a long time to get here, but I have to hope that if people stopped to think about it, maybe they would be appaled too. I went to get Claire an avacado and was shocked when I read the label that bragged that it was from Chile. CHILE! I was fortunate to find one ripe avacado in the organic section that was from California, so we took it. While we were looking for some fresh pasta the store manger tried to hock some ribs at me, claiming that I could get some special discount. I asked where the meat came from and he looked at me like I had a third eye, why would you want to know that? He didn't answer just walked away. We made it out of the store and to the safety of my parents home where I was greeted by cases of bottled water, sad. The next morning Claire and I set off to the health food store, I remembered that they had been carrying local produce and I was excited to see what they had. I was really sad to hear that they were not able to keep offering the locally grown products because nobody would buy it. The customers reported that they were driving 25 minutes to another store to get stuff that was cheaper. At that moment my heart sank. This wonderful local business trying to do a good thing for all parties involved couldn't continue because the consumers wouldn't support the effort because it wasn't cheap enough. This is in a town filled with golf coarses, 600k condos and big burly Hummers. This morning I really feel sad for Fountain Hills, they have the resources to have it, but not the intelligence to know what it is.


Split between two worlds

When I woke this morning I knew it was going to be a good day. Claire was asleep and I was able to spend a few extra minutes in bed listening to the rain as it clinked in the gutters. Once we got up we were off to the Abbey to have tea with friends, the perfect drippy morning activity. As we walked in Jeff Buckley was belting out "Hallelujah" through the speakers and I smiled as I thought about what a perfect song that was for that moment. The rest of the day went well. Claire napped and had a great PT session, I got lots of calls made and bills paid. Since I had a babysitter for the late part of the afternoon I thought that I would go to the nail place and get shined up for our trip back to Arizona. It has been a year and a half since I have embarked on an adventure like this. It was surreal. I decided that since I was there and this doesn't happen often I would get both a manicure and a pedicure. I was a little surprised that I was able to accomplish both tasks at once, something that I never would have dreamed of. It made me start thinking about the whole interaction. It seems that there is a large demand for people to be rushed through their relaxation. I thought that maybe the girls were just trying to get me done so that they could be ready for the next person. Then I listened to the people around me. One lady said to make sure to put the rhinestones on her toes and three minutes later told the man to never mind, she didn't have time for it. Another lady sat and chatted on her phone bragging about how she was leisurely enjoying her time at the salon, although she had just rushed in and told the people that she needed everything done quickly because she was already running late. How sad that our culture is such that people want their nails painted but can't wait for it to dry. I think that in the future I will stick to tea at the Abbey and steer clear of the salon. Now I have to go get this stuff off my fingers, it's creepy looking.


Did I mention I love it here?

I don't know if it technically counts as an Indian summer, but it feels like it. As we left the house it was 90 degrees outside and some of the leaves that have fallen filled a corner in the garage. Since we are going to be on the road for a bit we thought we would go get a nice long walk in and here is some of what we saw.

Little Claire was stoked to be out and watching the surfers and all of the fun stuff down at West Cliff Drive.

We were fortunate to arrive in the middle of a nice set and got to watch some good action. You never know what you will see and today, this super cool bike was one of my favorite sights.

My other favorite is watching Claire and Jared take in the surfing action.

I am always amazed at the great things that we encounter on our walks. Today, not only were there all sorts of spectacular sights, there were several people playing bongo drums in a few different places. Also the surf was very high and as the waves crashed a lot more spray came up onto the sidewalk. I don't know if it is just my new and improved superpower of smell, but the salt was intoxicating and the sweet smell of the ocean was more intense and alive for some reason today. It was a great gift.


Over the hill and through the woods..

...off to Stanford we went. Today we had the opportunity to go see our doctor in the Behavior & Development Unit at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital (part of Stanford hospital). I was not looking forward to this visit. I was afraid that it would be me having to defend Claire to the doctors and that they would be off base and I would be frustrated. I don't know where I get these crazy ideas. Along the principal of "the truth will set you free" I find myself needing to listen to Claire. As our physical therapist pointed out, anyone who is intelligent will see how bright she is. It amazed me today how I didn't have to fight. I now find myself thinking, why is it that I expect a fight, why wouldn't others see Claire for the bright light that I do. Before I was done with paperwork, we were called back, did the measurements and didn't wait long before a fellow was in to interview us for the doctor. It was her first time meeting Claire and we had a nice interaction, but it was great that as she was leaving she said, "Clearly, she is a very bright little girl." She went off for a bit and came back with the doctor. The doctor was thrilled to see Claire and that she was doing so well. It was such nice validation, it is not just me, she is doing great! I think that the doc was half expecting me to roll Claire in and see even fewer remnants of a child that once occupied her body. She was beside herself at how well Claire was doing and happy to write as many letters as we need to make sure that things keep happening for Claire. It was one of those long and really rewarding days. Driving far in loads of traffic, but to hear from a doctor that knew Claire during the regression, she is better.