Heart Rate App

I've talked with a few people who mentioned wanting to find the app. So here is a link to the iTunes store, you do have to have an iPhone 4/4s in order for it to work.


Apple is amazing

I had much grander plans for my month of amazing. Life happened, that's a whole new blog post, but I will give you this one last bit of what I think is amazing.

Claire is home sick from school today. She just woke up and is laying in her bed watching netflix on the ipad. It blows my mind that there is such a thing, that is so portable and easy to set up and can stream tons of stuff that she would want to watch, for sure it gets filed under amazing. Then I got a call from Claire's pediatrician. We talked about a lot of things, one of them being dehydration. He told me that an easy way to see if it is going to far is that her heart rate will rise to around 130ish and if that happens we need to get in asap. After we talked I was able to pull out my iphone and open the heart rate app. By placing her finger over the camera lens I was able to see that her pulse was 83, she is fine for now. That is why I think apple is amazing. There is a lot more to the story as you might be wondering, will write more soon.


The amazing world of AAC

This doesn't need any words from me, watch it, this man is truly amazing.



More randomness that falls into the category of amazing. This doesn't need much more explanation.

530. Daffodils
I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud 
  That floats on high o'er vales and hills, 
When all at once I saw a crowd, 
  A host, of golden daffodils; 
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,         5
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. 
Continuous as the stars that shine 
  And twinkle on the Milky Way, 
They stretch'd in never-ending line 
  Along the margin of a bay:  10
Ten thousand saw I at a glance, 
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. 
The waves beside them danced; but they 
  Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: 
A poet could not but be gay,  15
  In such a jocund company: 
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought 
What wealth the show to me had brought: 
For oft, when on my couch I lie 
  In vacant or in pensive mood,  20
They flash upon that inward eye 
  Which is the bliss of solitude; 
And then my heart with pleasure fills, 
And dances with the daffodils. 


Verve is amazing

This certainly isn't the first time that I have mentioned Verve on my blog. But I don't think that I have ever had a post just about them and I figured that my month of amazing was the perfect opportunity to do it. Sure it's coffee shop, a really good one at that, but to me it is so much more. It was the good coffee that got me in the door at first and if I am honest I don't often get coffee anywhere else because I have been completely spoiled by their consistent high level of quality. I haven't found anywhere else that makes coffee that I like, of course, Captain Awesome being the exception, he's been known to make phenomenal coffee at home. The insanely good coffee aside, Verve has been a safe place for my children. People don't stare at Claire, the staff always talk to her and know that her favorite thing is a cup of whipped cream with chocolate sprinkles. It is also a place that Chloe enjoys. They have not only tolerated her craziness but embraced it. When she stood in the corner and peed all over the floor they were so gracious in how they handled it. I am pretty sure that it was the baristas at Verve that first introduced Chloe to high five and giving knuckles and now they engage in her asking everyone the same questions over and over. Last summer, Verve was the only public place that I could take both girls to by myself. In part because Chloe knew the rules for the space pretty well and in part because if she jumped off a chair or some other sort of shenanigans I knew that it would be fairly well tolerated. It also helps that they have great access to disabled parking and a bathroom big enough for Chloe to push Claire in circles inside in the event that I might have to pee. Now that summer is over and both girls are in school four days a week I am most often here alone. It's a place that I can enjoy being, not doing anything and that's a pretty big thing for me. In fact, there are a lot of people just being here. Sure some of them are busy working away. There are the super cool hipster types on their various levels of apple products (admittedly I am sitting in the corner typing this on my ipad with my fancy bluetooth keyboard) and the professionals that meet to discuss some sort of business. Then there are some that read and others that are there to socialize and some of us who just sit. It is a beautiful mix of all sorts where it's all pretty much accepted and there doesn't tend to be one predominant group. It doesn't hurt that it is a short walk to the beach from here and that I often here Michael Jackson playing in the background here, what more could you want along the lines of ambiance? All that to say, Verve is amazing. Between the wonderful staff and unparalleled coffee, I sure am lucky that I get to have this place as a part of my life.


Chocolate and strawberry

I was recently shocked when I made this discovery. I was a skeptic. It didn't really sound good, but there was intrigue. Chocolate body scrub was among the latest offerings from the Body Shop, my favorite place to indulge my senses. So I went in to investigate. I will say that I didn't like the chocolate body butter as it smelled of cheap chocolate in my opinion. Then I smelled the scrub. It was rich and dark and had an aroma that made me think of Valhrona. Still I wasn't convinced so I left with a little tiny sample. Wow! I have to say that I never thought that I would find myself saying something like this, but the chocolate body scrub was amazing. The only thing that made it better was my strawberry body butter. I felt like a big chocolate dipped strawberry and as weird as it sounds, well, it really was amazing.


Santa Cruz is Amazing

That last post was a bit of a departure from my month of amazing, but at the same time, that seemed like an important part of my amazing story that I needed to tell. When I talk about living in Santa Cruz and how amazing it is I am referring to the county. It is a fairly diverse area and it is a pleasure to have it all as part of my backyard. For starters, here is a picture that I took during my morning sit and do nothing routine.
I don't always stay up on the cliffs, we often go down to the beach if the tide is out and play in the tide pools, like on days like this.
 The ocean is a 10 minute drive from where we live. One of the treasures that is closer to us is something that Jared takes better advantage of but I hope to spend more time there in the coming months. Henry Cowell Redwood State Park is truly amazing. This is a picture from the side of the road, being inside it is just more than a photo can explain, so you will have to do with this.
 To round out my love of being close to the ocean and the forest is our proximity to our farm. Yes, I wrote that correctly, "our" farm. For the last few years we have belonged to a CSA for Live Earth Farm. It is such a gift to be able to pick up a box of veggies every week that were just picked and feed my family with them. It is as equally good for the soul as it is for the body and something that I don't know how I ever lived without it. This picture was taken last Sept. at the farm when we picked a years worth of tomatoes. I just opened a jar of them tonight and I swear that you can almost smell the warm sunny air when it popped open.
So there you have it, Santa Cruz is amazing. I am so thankful that I am aware of that now. If you had asked me five and a half years ago if I would ever visit Santa Cruz much less live there, I would have laughed and cringed at the thought of all the weirdos. Now that I am getting closer to being one of them, man am I glad that we lost our minds and moved here. Living here is a gift that I cherish every day.


Remembering when

Five years ago today Claire and I got on an airplane in Phoenix and flew to San Jose. Jared picked us up at the airport and drove us home. As we drove down the windy mountain road to our new home peace settled in, it was just so good to be together. It was exciting. Jared had spent one night in the apartment on the bed that was delivered, so aside from a brand new bed and a suitcase of his clothes, the place was empty and it was wonderful. Light filled the rooms and as I laid on the bed, a warm gentle breeze carried in the fresh aroma of trees (something we did not have in AZ) and I remember just taking a lot of deep breathes, just trying to soak it up. The reality of the move was sinking in and as I laid there, waiting for the movers I dreamed about taking Claire to a farm to get fresh fruits and vegetables. I imagined warm afternoons at the beach, sitting and watching as she and Jared ran in the waves. I laid there for a while because well, I was exhausted. You see, the day before had marked one year since my mothers large stroke. We had just moved from San Jose to Arizona the previous July to help out with her care. Miraculously she recovered well and despite the doctors suggestion that she had 4 months to live, she is alive and well to this day. Between her improved health and us hating living in Arizona, in Nov. Jared returned back to work in California. It was four months of transition. He lived in a hotel and Claire and I moved in with my parents while we worked on finding a place to live in Scotts Valley. During that period I had a lot of complications with my Chrone's, my wisdom teeth came out, I was nearly admitted to the hospital twice after that, had a fever of 103 for 8 weeks and severe sores on my feet so that I couldn't walk. So you can imagine the relief that I felt, to finally be in better health, to be living with my husband and to be resting in the middle of the day. I was so thankful to be done with all the chaos. Life was just starting for us. We would attend a new church, make new friends, start our new life. The world was wide open and we could make whatever we wanted of it. The only thing in the schedule was a quick check with Claire's pediatrician the next day, well that's a whole new story. I'll just say that I will remember March 7th as the day that I was able to dream like that. I still rest by the same window with the same beautiful warm breeze and dream. Although they have become more guarded over time, my dreams for myself, our family, for Claire have become bigger and brighter than anything that I could have conceived of five years ago.


Erica is Amazing

I'm not sure, but I think that I first "met" Erica on facebook. Then I met her in person at Erika's Dream in Feb. 2010 for about 30 seconds. Eventually we met again and it was then, at Pizza Antica over a long lunch that I realized that Erica was AMAZING. We laugh now, how I remember telling her that she needed to get into Katie's Clinic to get connected with the doctors and therapists that would be more helpful. She was stressing because her insurance wouldn't approve it and didn't believe me that she could just call them and it would work out. It's funny because now Erica is the coordinator for Katie's Clinic and she's the person to talk to if you need to get in. It is also just a little funny that the two of us are friends. If it weren't for rett syndrome our worlds would never have intersected. She belongs to a country club and likes to play golf (Erica you know I don't hate you for this!) and I am hippie who only wears flat shoes and spends my free time canning what I get from the farm we belong to. Yet somehow, tonight we had dinner and we didn't talk about rett syndrome. In fact neither of us talked about either of our children. I'm not sure what we talked about but I do know that we did each buy a pair of shoes at Nordstrom, albeit two very different pairs of shoes. Erica's been my travel buddy on a few different adventures, Erica you are right btw, Virgin is absolutely the best, hands down, thank you for introducing me to them! I have truly been blessed with getting to have Erica as a friend to walk with me on this journey. Her perspective is often very different than mine but it makes me think outside of the box that I live in and I so deeply appreciate that. She's a vibrant woman who has faced challenges including but not limited to rett syndrome with such dignity and grace. She's not afraid to talk about all the crying and sadness that goes on and how truly trying it all is sometimes. One of my favorite things about Erica is that despite all the extra rett crap she has not lost herself or her life. It is easy to feel guilty and not do the hard work of taking care of yourself but she does. Erica is sorta my hero for this, I hope that someday I can be as good at having fun as she is. So that is my little bit about Erica. If you think that she is amazing too, leave a comment, she'd like that.
Thanks for the birthday dinner Erica, you are indeed amazing friend!


180° SOUTH

A little while back something miraculous happened, Jared got to choose the movie we watched on Netflix. The poor guy lives in a house with three females so I indulged him in a documentary that I thought was about mountain climbing. Less than 30 seconds into it and I knew that I didn't need to indulge him, this was going to be a great movie and it was. That is why I am starting off my month of amazing by talking about it. You can click here to see a short trailer (there are two, I prefer the newer one) for the film if you are interested, in my mind it is worth it for the scenery alone. They call themselves the conquerors of the useless. Perhaps it is because so often I feel as if I have no margin, no room for anything that doesn't count at least twice, either way this story really intrigued me. We have adopted a new motto for The Adventures of Captain Awesome and Miss Amazing that we got from the movie and I will leave you with it. Seriously, if you have time to kill and Netfix, you won't be disappointed, it's amazing!

"It's not an adventure until something goes wrong." Yvon Chouinard

March, the offical month of amazing

I had meant to post this at the start of the month but the weather was spectacular and I couldn't bring myself to do much with my free time outside of walking on the beach. It has been an amazing way to get this wonderful month started! I don't know how long you have been reading my blog, so you may or may not know that I like to refer to myself as Miss Amazing and I am married to Captain Awesome. We came up with the names for when we do things like worry a ton when all of the sudden Claire doesn't seem to be able to walk when a few hours later we realize that her braces were on the wrong feet, things like that. Anyway, March is the month of my birthday. I've never been super big on celebrating my birthday. Last year Captain Awesome did surprise me and I very much enjoyed that. If I am honest, I was never super huge about my birthday because I just didn't think it was that big of a deal, that I was that big of a deal. I sit and write today, on the other side of a full-fledged identity crisis and can say that I finally get it. I am special, really everyone is, but that includes me too. How did I miss that? I don't really know but I know what started to change my thinking. I was reading a book and the author described humility as not being down on yourself but viewing everyone equally. This might not sound like that big of a thought, but it blew my mind. It started the unraveling that at first made things a lot more messy. Eventually I got most of it sorted out and am excited to get on and see what it looks like to live this out. So I am taking March to celebrate different things in my life that are amazing. It isn't hard to think of a list longer than what I could ever write about and I have become a bit of a beach bum, so we will see how this works out.