Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ultimate Daddy Date

Sophi loves to meet other people who are "differently-abled," like her.  She has communicated with a few other people who were born without arms, but has never met any of these people in person.  Recently, Christi found out about the documentary Right Footed, featuring Jessica Cox.  She left a message on the documentary Facebook page asking if it was going to show in Utah.  The wonderful director, Nick Spark, messaged her back to let her know that it was soon going to be shown at the Napa Valley Film Festival and would love if Sophi could come.    Christi knew how much it would mean to Sophi to be able to meet Jessica in person and asked if I would be willing to take her on a very special Daddy date.  Twist my arm (no pun intended!)-would I like to take a two-day vacation with Sophi to beautiful Napa Valley California?  Uh, yeah!

So Christi went to work.  She worked with Jessica and Nick to figure out logistics.  They were really excited to have Sophi come.  Knowing how prohibitively expensive hotels were that week, they reached out to the festival organizers, who were generous enough to provide a free hotel room for two nights!  So we booked the flights and let Sophi know the plan.  Here is her reaction:

On November 11, Sophi and I woke up at 3:00AM and left for the airport.  We were both exhausted, so on the way to the airport I asked Sophi, "When we get to our hotel, do you want to cuddle and take a nap?"  With no hesitation she replied, "Do you snore?"

We tried to get a bit of rest on the first flight from SLC to Las Vegas:

Had breakfast at the Vegas airport:

We ran into a group of Chinese tourists here who were absolutely smitten with Soph:).

When we arrived in San Francisco, we had several hours before we needed to be in Napa.  So we went to the Embarcadero, where Sophi tried to catch a pigeon:

We also visited a friend of mine in San Francisco.  He is one of the inventors of Perplexus.  (If you don't know, we are involved in selling this great toy:)  He showed Sophi around his toy invention workshop and gave her a couple of things to take home with her.  Thanks, Dan!  Sophi enjoyed eating lunch with him and decided we need to visit him more often!

While in San Francisco, I parked the car and got out to get something from the trunk.  Sophi, who tends to have separation issues, hollered out, "Are you going to leave me?" I sarcastically replied, "Yes.  I'm just going to leave you here.  What do you think mom would do if I came home without you?"  Sophi, very matter-of-factly:  "She would kill you."

From San Francisco, we drove over the Golden Gate bridge and up into Napa.  I had told Sophi all day that we would be driving over the famous Golden Gate bridge.  As we approached, I pointed it out.

"There's the Golden Gate Bridge, Sophi!"


"Right there."  Then understanding her confusion, "It's red, not gold."

Sophi, in a disgusted voice, "You're kidding!  Then why do they call it the Golden Gate?!?"

An excellent question, Soph:)

The drive into Napa was fantastic.  It was turning a bit brown, but the vineyards are still breathtaking.  We arrived at the film festival and met Jessica and others involved with the film.  Jessica took a lot of time talking to Sophi and hanging out with us.  Even during the times Sophi and I were alone, she couldn't talk about anything but Jessica Cox.  "How do you think Jessica Cox would do this?"  "What do you think Jessica Cox is doing now?"  "Do you think Jessica Cox likes me?"  Etc.

On day two, we spent the morning with Jessica and her brother and sister-in-law at the magnificent Castello di Amorosa, a vineyard with a full on, real life castle.  We toured the castle, sampled grape juice instead of wine (best.grape.juice.ever!), and marveled at our surroundings.  One of the best parts of the trip was the opportunity for Sophi to eat at two different restaurants with Jessica.  Sophi is a whiz at eating with her toes, but she tends to get very shy and self-conscious when eating at restaurants and usually makes us feed her.   Before we left on the trip, when contemplating the chance she might get to eat out with Jessica, Sophi exclaimed, "I can be brave eating at a restaurant with her because I won't be the only one eating with my toes!"  Bless her sweet heart!

In the afternoon, Soph and I went to Safari West and rode on the top of a large 4x4 vehicle as we viewed a variety of African animals.  Very cool!  Sophi made me take a couple of hundred pictures of the animals.  I'll just share a couple:)  The cheetah was her favorite.  The giraffes were close enough to reach out and touch.  Sadly, the guide wouldn't let us.

A few random pics:

A visit to Baskin Robbins:

 Sophi LOVED having her own, queen-sized, bed!

Daddy did a respectable job fixing Sophi's hair:)

It was a wonderful daddy date.  Sophi and I grew closer as we were able to spend such a concentrated dose of time together.  And meeting Jessica Cox was a life-changing experience for Sophi.  Soph now has a mentor that she has met in person.  I am sure they will keep in touch with each other throughout their lives.  Thank you, Jessica, Nick, Patrick, and everyone at the Napa Film Festival for making this possible.  And thank you, Sophi, for being the most wonderful seven-year-old in the world!