Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Birthday Splash

Dear Pia,

Yesterday you got sent home from school because you tried to take a nap on your snack. You were tired, you slept a lot. You watched a lot of Miles From Tomorrowland and Paw Patrol. Now you seem fine but I kept you home today at your insistence that you're still not feeling well. I think you just want to help me in getting ready for your birthday party this weekend. I'll take it. 
I love you,


Friday, 25 September 2015

Birds in September

Dear Sophia and Rafa,

I can't believe how quickly time is flying by. Pia, you have been in school for a solid month and you have learned so much. We all have...

We started PreK3 at Plymouth.
 And as it's your church home, you were comfortable in your silly skin straight from the start.
 Rafa stopped napping in his bed. Full stop. This made Mama a little loca sometimes.
 With Pia in school more often, I recruited a new helper in the kitchen.
  ...different sous, same tricks.
We watched our holiday video over and over again. Clearly missing the family.
 We (maybe not so) narrowly escaped our first hurricane, and then it rained. A LOT.
 Pia, you declared you will not be called "Pia" anymore, but will be called "Sophia" as shown on this sign you made while waiting for dinner one night. (I tried to convince you how cool of a name Pia is without success.)
 We explored a new indoor playground with really cool imported Japanese toys. You both went WILD.
 We tried out our new bike trailer and despite the sticky weather, you guys LOVED it. (Rafa, you now climb into the trailer and look at me expectantly every time I open the garage door.) We made pizza. We cuddled with stories.
 We joined the rally day at church... a kick off to Sunday School where (gulp) mama is teaching.
 We made snacks for school.
 We made invitations to the Mermaid Bash one soon-to-be-four-year-old-I-know is VERY excited about.
 We got weird.
 Mama broke the faucet.
 Papa broke the whole pipe... that lead to the indoor flood.
 Pia, you tried out for the Nutcracker and will practice every week until the holidays for your role as a Snowdrop.
 Rafa got the first ear infection of the season. You sometimes smiled through it. Papa got sick too. He did not smile through his 5 am wake up calls for his work week.
 Pia and Mama had a girls day for the first day of Sunday School when both boys were down and out.
 We procrastinated by playing in the car sometimes.
 Rafa, you figured out how to close the gate. (You soon learned the jokes on you, bud!)
 Rafa, you appeased your sister.
 And just because we can, we went to the beach at 5pm after naps sometimes.
 Rafa worked hard.

I mean, really hard.
 Pia, you worked hard too.
 We spotted another leak, this time before the flood.
 You both helped me make our very first batch of Monster Cookies for the bake sale this Sunday.
 On your own accord Pia, you clasped your hands and began to pray right in the middle of mama's mixing. You said something like, "Dear God, I like my tea cold and my cookies big. Amen."
... And then dug in. (I guess the school's practice of praying before you eat has rubbed off on you.)
One evening we sat on the beach that is 10 minutes from our (not so) new home and looked up at the sky. We watched for almost an hour as birds flocked from the chill in the north to the sunshine of the south, and a strange feeling took hold of me. Something like when I used to be rushing through work weeks and suddenly look up and notice the trees reaching their orange and yellow leaves down to the earth and realise I'm wearing a sweater and wonder where the time had gone. Except instead of dreading the snow to come, I sat basking in the warm 6 pm sunshine from the glassy ocean of Biscayne Bay watching the birds and knowing it is the season of visitors to come.
 And it feels good. 

I love you both,


Monday, 7 September 2015

new england

Dear Pia and Rafa,

We spent August visiting our family in New England. It started with Sanny and Pop Pop in Madison, CT. But as tends to happen in Madison CT, the family multiplied by the day. In the end there had been Lene and your cousins Alyssa and Jordan, Cara and Pat and your adventure buddy Maggie, and Val, Eric and your cousins Owen, Kaitlyn and Gavin. Maggie was new to you and is the (not so baby) girl of Mama's classmate from London. Pia, you and her hit it off immediately and gave each other the courage to have all kinds of adventures, especially aboard the giant tube in the breaking waves, which you took upon yourselves to attempt to set up every time we turned our backs. You also made it your mission to "do the distance" at least once a day Pia. That meant, I soon came to learn, walking all the way down to the beach or up to the house with no one around. Which could get exciting for all as you can imagine. Especially when the rest of us are halfway down the beach and you bolt the opposite direction without a word.

Sooner than we'd have liked, our time in Connecticut came to an end and we jumped in the car to drop Papa at the airport enroute to Vermont. OpaGigi and Gee had driven up there in the Model A Opa hand-restored and we had to see it. As usual, Vermont was filled with fun and laughter. Now that Baby Brynner is walking, no, running it was piles of fun to chase her. Rafa, you were all out of sorts as is unfortunately becoming the norm for you during travel so you barely hit the ground at all. Auntie Ali worked some, but also took the time off to show us around Vermont. Like the petting zoo where Princess BamBam squealed with delight until her Mama cut her off from sharing the chewing of the goat pellets with the goats. The same one where Rafa, you tasted your very first sheep boogie and were satisfied with the result so tried to share with the sheep... he should know if he's got good boogies after all.

Thankfully, we were able to wash those down with some ice cream. And then even more importantly, with a special stop at THE Herrells ice cream parlor in Northhampton where Rafa, you got your very first ice cream dish to yourself. You took about two spoonfuls (and one mouth to the cupful) before just giggling and dancing the rest of the hour away. Apparently that's all you had needed the past two weeks to turn the mood around.

Eventually we pulled ourselves away and headed down to Westport to visit the Mathias clan, including Aunt Candy and Uncle Bonkers from AZ, along with the usual faves: Barbie, Uncle Pumpkin and Aunt Gaily and cousins Lilers and Zac. We joined Barbie for a white party to celebrate Uncle Bonkers' Birthday. Pia, you and Cousin Zac made sure to get some use on the dance floor before bed. You were so excited to be at a fancy party that staying up late to dance couldn't be missed! Bryn agreed dancing shouldn't be missed because even though she slept peacefully at her usual time, she showed off her moves the very next day in the garden. Whirling whirling never twirling, whirling round and round!

And then off to Hartford we drove again. We had an early morning flight so settled in for the night at a hotel near there with the company of Opa and Auntie Ali and Princess Bam Bam. We spent the afternoon at the Childrens Museum there and finished the day with cake and ice cream in our room. I'd say that was a perfect ending to an amazing holiday.


I love you guys,


Thursday, 3 September 2015

Preschool round 2

Dear Pia,

Today was your first full day with the whole class at preschool. You bounded out of bed and could barely get through your meal you were so excited to go. When I dropped you, you ignored me and carried on playing at the kinetic sand table. When I picked you up, you smiled and said, "mama! Did you sign me up for aftercare?", followed by "why not?!" And a look of tears ready to explode."

This is everything we wanted out of preschool. Im so glad because it already feels like home.

I didn't even have to ask you how your day went, but I did. You just looked at me while munching a grape... contemplating. Then: "have you ever read the book NO David? You should!" Before launching into a summary of the story.

Then, just minutes after getting in the car,  this:

A good day. I hope they only get better from here.

I love you,


Wednesday, 2 September 2015

First Day of Pre-K

Dear Pia,

You're beautiful in so many ways and I know that when you're ready to open up to your new teachers and friends-you're going to rock the world.

I miss you terribly already and you didn't even bat an eye when I kissed you goodbye.

I love you,


Tuesday, 1 September 2015

My Kind of Town

Dear Pia and Rafa,

After a whirlwind month*, we spend the final weekend of your summer in Chicago. It's the city your mama and Papa met in and it still holds all the romance and charm it once did. I think you'd agree because our friends Cat Monkey, Uncle Lamby and Bennett were amazing hosts. They made sure we'd all enjoy ourselves so we couldn't wait to come back. I think they may live to regret being SO accommodating. I won't!

After a late night flight made even later with delays, we were very excited to wake up in their lovely new apartment. (Though the plane cud-pud wasn't bad either.)

We took off first thing for the newest family park in Chicago- Maggie Daley Park. Basically Disneyland sans the empty wallet and licensing and right in the middle of downtown Chicago. We had so much fun running up and down the hills and through the mazes and around the jungle gyms. Mostly it was Pia as Rafa, you slept soundly in your stroller as Lupe, Bennett's nanny who joined us with her son for the excursion, kindly pushed you along.

After all that playing, we took the token photo at the bean on our way to meet Uncle Lamby for lunch at the Park City Grill. (You were all on your best behaviour despite the fancy white table cloths.)
Bennett is on a solid schedule for naptime, which meant we would book home for naps after lunch each day. Due to hefty travel through August, the two of you are far from scheduled... on anything. Rather than fight it, we decided to roll with it. Rafa, you took your naps as and when needed by pram and Pia, you went down when you were tired and didn't if we had better things to do... like eat really good ice cream.
 And after Bennett woke up, we went right back to playing. Yes this happened:
And this
And thankfully some of this:

 We explored the Lakeview parks and are feeling pretty jealous of their water features and a little less jealous of their crowdedness.

After all, we're the kind of people that just like to lay low sometimes.
But we're also the kind of people that are always up for a visit to the zoo, especially when you can see Cat Monkeys with THE Cat Monkey there. Pia, you were so excited to see a real live Cat Monkey that we had to do it twice. (It was my fault. I was so confused when I didn't see a sign that said 'cat monkey' that I didn't make a big enough deal about it. See, I remembered there to be an actual sign that said Cat Monkey the way I remembered the catamaran holiday-someday mama will fill you in-but the zoo was so clueless of the priceless treasure they had, they didnt even have that sign. Next time I think we will make it for them.)

We even played at being adults for awhile with a lovely dinner with Cat Chris and Nana while you both slept soundly with Lupe watching over you. And the very next day, we met Monkey and her friends for appetisers on her birthday. Which meant I got to see a few old friends of my own!

On the way home, Papa and I had two different flights leaving just a few minutes apart. Or so it seemed. Pia, you and I had the same ticket so we let Papa take Rafa on his flight. Papa and Rafa took off while you and I waited and waited for our flight to be delayed again and again. Well, sort of we waited, but mostly we just played in the Children's Museum at O'hare airport. Even I had fun. You were elated.

Reason number 562 why we love Chicago and everyone there. I know I miss them already, and I'm pretty sure you both do too.

I love you,


*More on the whirlwind to come.