One of the things we really like to do when we are here is to take a picnic to Papago Park. There are lots of places to explore and hike around, plus it's just a lovely park.
Here's H. hiking around.
Do you remember our trip to New Hampshire two years ago, right after H. came home? We did a lot of things, one of which being a nice long hike up in the White Mountains. That would be the hike where J. and I literally dragged H. up and down the mountain. It was not a lot of fun and her inability to navigate terrain which did not involve a sidewalk caught me completely off guard. The combination of undiagnosed eye issues and a complete absence of muscles combined with life experiences which involved sitting in a room doing not much of anything creates a child who cannot engage with her environment in ways one expects a child to.
How much has changed... she can now run (really run) a fairly long distance, her muscle tone has improved significantly, she is curious about her environment and is able to ask appropriate questions to get the information she wants, she understands past, present and future (so that we didn't have her asking where we were going every 30 minutes as we did when we went to New Hampshire), she asks for things and joins in instead of passively just watching other people enjoying what she would like to (we never intentionally leave her out, but it helps to have her ask instead of waiting for us to notice), and she will turn down food when she is not hungry or doesn't like something (you just can't believe how huge this one thing is). It is like watching the real child bloom from an empty shell. I know that sounds a bit melodramatic, but it is truly what it is like.
Some pictures. Here is the first small hill H. was able to go up and down without a problem.
Some pictures from the picnic ramadas.
This picture does a great job of capturing the extent of the muscle tone H. is developing.
We noticed while we were there that more than a few people chose to wear blue shirts.
(l-r) G., L., M., K., and H.
Because of B., we notice all things bees. This sign made me chuckle because I wondered what the opposite would be... lazy bees? couch potato bees?
When we were done with our lunch we drove over to another part of the park to climb up to Hole in the Rock. Here is everyone inside. M. noticed that there were people taking pictures of us trying to get everyone together to take a picture. I guess we're our own moving tourist attraction.
K., M. (who looks as though she's texting, but is really trying to figure out the panorama feature on her phone which is what she said when I mocked her for it), P., and B.
B., with the view from the top behind him.
Here is the view up the path to the hole. H. did this entire thing herself, both up and down. Only once she needed help on the first step down, after which with her new confidence, she then jumped (JUMPED!) down each step the rest of the way. There was no dragging involved anywhere. It seems fitting that this occurred on her two year anniversary home.
We all had a nice time, though when you are the father of so many, you don't really get a chance to do what you would like to do... rock climb.
I have another article up... The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Yes, we all have them.
Also, if you are in the Chicago area, go see Thin Ice Theater's latest production, Pride and Prejudice. A. is (obviously) not in it, but you should still go and see it anyway. (A. really, really, really wishes she could have been in it.)
And really you should go just to see the dozens of dresses that were created. I made a few of them before I left town, such as this one:
Please notice the yards of piping... and the lace... and the gathers everywhere... and the piping....