Things are starting to slow down enough that I am able to think a little and feel as I move through the days. I hate it when I go through a day and know that there were a lot more blessings in it than I saw. Friday was a little intense. Claire got out of school two and a half hours earlier and the two previous night Chloe had kicked our buts. Then our nanny called to say that she was at the doc with strep and wouldn't be around any time soon. So I pretty much freaked out and felt so overwhelmed. Then, I assume by the grace of God, I found the strength to take a deep breath. So glad I did! I had so much fun with the girls that day. Then Saturday we went up to Oakland and had a nice relaxing morning at a street food festival. As I sat there feeding Claire, of coarse with people staring, I was thinking how blessed I am to be able to share my love of food with her. One of the suckier things about Rett is that often the girls have to get a feeding tube to keep weight on. Claire still has very good control of her mouth, so every day we try to put the yummiest food we can find in it. I am finding the richest and most amazing moments that I get to have each day come out of really hard things like this. I guess that has lead me to start to cherish the tough things, because ultimately, they truly lead to such sweetness. Like talking on the phone with my mom or watching Claire take 8 minutes to wiggle out of bed. Maybe they are just everyday things to most, but because of some hard circumstances they have turned into the biggest blessings. So I sit here this morning and think about my life and I just have to say how amazed I am that I have gotten so much blessing, far more than I ever could have imagined.
I begin writing with such mixed emotions. It may seem silly to you, but I am very passionate about food. It gave me such joy today when I went to get my CSA stuff and I saw that I was getting a watermelon. A real watermelon, not one that is perfectly round, but one with flavor and character. After picking up my fruit, veggies, eggs and goat milk from the porch of a home a few blocks away, I stopped by Safeway to get some tortilla chips for Jared to enjoy the salsa that I made a few weeks back. Wow, what a different emotion that experience was. I almost felt violated. All of the rows of packaged food, stacked to the ceiling, yelling at me with their loud marketing. I am still in my 20's, it isn't like it has been that long since I have been in a market, but this was horrible. The package sizes and low quality ingredients just blow my mind. There was an open refrigerated case with single serving beverages as well as bottles of wine. I was not really surprised that the case didn't contain any decent wine but I was taken back by the other beverages. Who needs to drink 24ounces of Frappacino, nobody, ever! The soda was sold in 1 liter bottles, what happened to a 12 ounce can? Then there was the check out. I was aghast at the magazines degrading various famous people for whatever they are doing in their lives mixed with the convience foods put forth by the Hershey company. I almost ran out of the store crying. The poor people that go there regularly. Such a good reminder of how important it is to "Vote With Your Fork". It might sound crazy that we eat mostly beef and veggies, but we are blessed with those resources close to us, so that is what we eat. I know that I am not perfect. I have a bad habit of occasionally enjoying Panda Express (which I normally regret) or when trapped in the car with two sleeping girls going to a drive-thru for some french fries. I guess the part that makes me so sad is that so many people just don't realize what they are doing and the options that they really do have. Those that think that they are doing the world a favor by purchasing really small individually wrapped organic snacks are missing it. Eat an apple or a carrot! It is tragic to me that our nation is so missing the big picture on our food system. On the bright side, there is movement, momentum is stirring for a sustainable food system. I belong to a preservationist society. I am able to get tomatoes and cucumbers among other things in quantity almost directly from local farms. When their fields are brimming with food faster than they can get it all sold at market, an email goes out and I can put my order in for a Friday afternoon pick up. There are few things I would rather do than spend a Saturday at home with the girls, in and out of the kitchen and wind up with shelf full of salsa for the winter or strawberry jam. Actually, there is one other thing I would rather do, go to a festival celebrating food and it's place in culture. If you are in the Oakland area at the end of Aug. you might want to check out Eat Real, we hope to go, girls and weather permitting. So that is my rant, I feel better now, time to go make some fruit spread with all my fresh berries.
It has always been a good life, but finally, this weekend I was able to exhale and soak it all in. Saturday we wandered down to the aquarium to meet up with our good friends Garrett and Heather and their two children. Since we were with friends we were able to get a picture of the four of us. It was sunny, Chloe being as smart as she is, refused to open her eyes in the bright light. Pretty good though, no one was screaming ;-) After we lost the will to go on in the crowded exhibits we went out to the tide pool. There were groups of four diving and doing some sort of educational instruction. I stood with Claire and Alicia as the two were transfixed watching the group below us. As we stood there it was the perfect balance, warm sun beating down with a gentle sea breeze to take the edge off. Since the weather was so epic it was decided among the grown ups that the day should be further enjoyed while eating ice cream. It was leaving the touch pool that was a huge surprise highlight of the day. Claire was so calm after standing and watching the divers that I thought she could walk up the stairs to leave, and she did! There were about five stairs. She would pick which leg to step with and I would help her to place it on the stair, then she would step up and take another step to get to the next stair. She was so proud of herself, so I told her we would go celebrate with ice cream. She didn't need to know that was already the plan, she was stoked! I can't say that I remember much of the rest of the weekend. Once we got home Jared and I rotated so we both got naps, for some reason we were exhausted. Both girls are a good time, but both facilitating and enjoying the fun does wear one out. Now I find myself at Monday afternoon and off to a pretty good start to the week. As I type Chloe is very excited about the octopus rattle hanging above her and her new found ability to twirl it over and over. It is warm, a perfect end to the summer only 10 days left of being home alone with both girls. I am already starting to miss having Claire around all day, but I know she loves being in school. So we will just go slow and enjoy today and deal with the rest later.