Friday, 29 April 2016

Spring Sharing at School

Dear Pia,

Last week you had a school wide performance. Your class did a chicken dance along with some other songs the whole school sang together. But the very best part was watching you love up your best friend. You cuddled him while you waited to go on stage...
And squeezed him tight once you got up there. (Check you out on the left. You're the one wrapping your arms and legs around the kid trying to wave to mom and dad.)

I loved it.

And I love you,



Dear Rafa,

Last night you were so tired you fell asleep on my shoulder while I was still reading bed time stories to you and your sister in her bed. You guys helicoptered around each other all night long and woke up a bit grumpy. I knew you didn't have enough sleep when you screamed your face off when I tried to get you into the bike trailer after putting Pia in school. 

Here's how the 'ride' home went.
We made it to the state park, which is about halfway home and I write this from a bench in the bay hammock with you sleeping on my shoulder.

Note to self. When you're tired, you win.

I love you,


Monday, 18 April 2016

Lily and Zac and Pumpkin and Us

Dear Pia and Rafa,

We were so excited before cousins Lily and Zac came to visit, I had to find new ways to entertain you. So you'd stop asking me if they'd arrived yet. We visited our old favourite park and new favourite food truck to pass the very last afternoon of waiting away.
When they arrived, Zac got right to work rearranging our entire home. And you guys did, um... this:

We went to the beach as often as possible to make up for the last visit where I think we may have hit it one time. Zac and Lily apparently share your love of giant holes in the sand. 

And Pumpkin shares our love of good coffee, so that worked out all around. We spent a good amount of time at "Python" (otherwise known as Panther) and some at Starbucks and the Bookstore too.

And no visit would be complete without a stroll through Miami Beach. Ending, surprisingly, at the Sugar Factory. I was certain Pumpkin and Papa would never allow a revisit of this place after the bumping music and white pleather sofa, but then as we all tried to walk past, your uncle pumpkin steered the stroller in. Apparently the drinks spill smoke and are magnetic...
Pia, you still didn't want a taste, but I think you're coming around to the idea of swimming worms in smoking bowls of sugar rush. 

After that, the obvious next stop was the candy store. Your cousin lily is such a stinker.
Rafa, you were on protest after being told you could not open all the candy packets on the shelves.
Pia, you filled hour candy cupcake with m&ms (shocker) and followed the candy brick road...
To this:
Pia, you went to school to practice for your Spring performance. Even yhough you were sad to miss any moment with Zac and Lily, you were excited because you love school. Rafa protested.
We picked you up early and took you to a very healthy and well balanced lunch at an ice cream parlor. Which also just happened to be the last stop of the best of Miami ice cream hunt we started last year with Cousin Lilers. We decided this one and Whip n Dip tie for first place.

This one is on Calle Ocho in Little Havana. 
It's called Azucar and has a giant ice cream cone out front so you can't miss it.

We walked a bit through Little Havana, stopping in Domino Park and uncle Pumpkin treated you guys to a hand made palm flower and fish.
Then we hit the beach.
A new one with shady palms....and bumping rap music.
On our last day, we took cousin Zac to our church resale shop as promised. We didn't last long and headed out to get a "Python" cold brew.
Rafa under protest when you saw your favourite gelato shop. "Nooo! Chocolate!!"
We finally made it to a more civilized beach at Papa's hotel. There we had lunch from our sun bed watching the waves. I love these guys and so do you.
But all good things must come to and end and so did this visit. They left us that very night, back up to finish 6th and 10th grades...

Which left us feeling a bit, well, glum.

I love you,


Saturday, 9 April 2016

Role models

Dear Pia,

Last night you stayed up a few minutes past your brother so that you could finish playing with your little animal toys. I played with you a few moments and then sat back to watch. You were acting out the voices for papa elephant pushing baby bunny in the pram. "Oh that must not be very comfortable," you said "here, take my jacket to lie on." You proceeded to take the tiny Papa Elephant's jacket off and line the even smaller hard plastic bassinet with it. Then you tucked baby bunny back in snug and gave her a loving stroke.

I think that gesture sums up the loving gentleman your Papa is and how lucky we are to be learning from him every single day.

I love you,


Easter & Spring Break 2

Dear Pia and Rafa,

For Easter weekend, your Sanny and Pop Pop came to stay. I was meant to get my advanced SCUBA training so would spend the whole day away from you, but the morning of the training, Pia, you were pretty miserable and had an infection. I decided to do the responsible thing and SCUBA next month so I could take you in to the doc. A bit bummed, but not too much. You needed the love and this way we all got it. Like this:
On Easter morning, the bunny left some treats.
And Sanny made Rice Krispy eggs.
You went on egg hunts all over your church/school playground. Followed by more at home. It was quite the haul. Even Rafa picked a few.
Rafa understood fully when we food the golden egg and it said you must find your chocolate hiding on your bed. He raced upstairs and got it in his mouth before we had the camera ready.
You were able to climb right onto your bed Rafa, because we have taken the side off your cot, turning it into a real live big boy bed. It seems a bit early, but really this allows us to transfer you into your bed when you fall asleep on the school run... And it allows us to melt a little when we kiss you goodnight and realise how big you have become. 
On my first real full day in the office. Papa took you both to Pias allergist apt. Doc says those puffy eyes are a symptom of sinus allergies but was reportedly skeptical about your skin rash being eczema (thank God). This was also on report that day:
God I love you three and I am so thankful you get to spend my work day loving each other up like this. I know you are too.

Because I'm only working one day a week right now, I still get my own chance to carry on loving you guys up too. 

On our first free moment, we headed to Barnes and Nobles to spend a morning- an Easter treat courtesy of our favourite Alabama family.
That made us all feel like this: 

I was worried about what going back to work would mean for us and how you guys would feel about it, but this slow integration is the best thing I could have asked for. And the best news is, I'm not just still in the picture, I'm upgraded to holding hands with Pia this week. "Mama and Pia holding hands, then Rafa and Papa."

I love you guys,


Thursday, 24 March 2016

The Part In Between + Spring Break 1

Dear Pia & Rafa,

So much has happened these past few weeks, I've had a hard time keeping up.

Pia, you have turned into a little artist. You are creating pictures on every piece of paper you can get your hands on. I guess you had to find something to do with all the time at home after your allergies became so severe you got an eye infection. We were in home quarantine the last week of school before a 10 day spring break. This resulted in my brining home the class gerbil for Spring break to cheer you up. The good news is you have decided that you do not want a pet.

Rafa, you are finally putting all the pieces together. You have always been a bit of a chatterbox, but now you are making sense of it all. You count to 10, you complete alphabet puzzels, you repeat sections of your books while you're out playing, and you love a good song & dance.

Papa, after working hard for the past 18 months in his latest hotel property, won employee of the year and got us a lovely paid holiday for it. YEY!!

Mama, finished up the Pia Bonita's for Springfest at school, finalised the very long collection of embarrassing photos for Auntie Ali's 40th birthday gift, completed the school yearbook and then got herself a job. Because... I was on a roll, I guess. For now, it's just one day a week, but the hours will grow after our summer of hoildays and even more as you guys get older. It's the best situation I could ask for and I hope I can do it justice. As I hope I can do you justice as the loving mummy you so deserve to have.  gulp.

In between it all, we have...
 finally redecorated Rafa's (now aeroplane) room,
 played with our new bubble machine,
 made some serious messes when left unsupervised for 5 minutes,
 baked some silly things (leprechaun rainbow bread, Easter egg cookies and pretend garden food from the backyard... a lot of that last one)

you guys grew into your old favourite toys-Rafa figuring out how to tow with his truck and Pia doing a complete Lego project ON HER OWN.

Rafa learned to scream "Hi Scrammy!" everytime he enters Pia's room. 
 You guys always keep each other happy.
  We played HORSE with Papa in the basketball courts (papa won) shortly followed by FROG (Pia won), shortly followed by monkeys in the playground (I think that was a tie).

 Pia, you wrote a note inviting your fairy in through the door and she came in and left a note back! Complete with chalk to play with.
 Your fairy loves rainbows so you drew her some... followed by a couple "ms viola swamp" portraits.

 Rafa played with his DIGGERS!!

 We spent the day in the zoo

 Some of the art work you created this week all of your own accord:
The Easter Bunny
 The London Eye
And Rafa, you have learned to love the bath again after a long hiatus. You also learned to launch yourself down the slide... and just about everything else.

I love you,