Monday, 24 November 2014

North Carolina

Dear Pia & Rafa,

When we signed up to go to Cousin Courtney's wedding, i thought: "Yey, we get to see aunt babs and auntie Ali and Pia can meet her cousins!"

I didn't think about how I would have been essentially dwindled down to an exhausted single mother by the time the adventure would take place, or about how I would have to jam three people's essentials into my ever-shrinking suitcase, not about how I-being all too comfortable in the warm temperatures of Miami-have no cold weather gear for our youngest family member. I also didn't think to ask until we were all jammed into the car on the way to the airport, how we were getting there. 

Left on the sidewalk outside departures with two car seats, several suitcases a double pram and your great grandma...I figured out how it was going to go pretty quick. Thankfully, it turned out Gram was incredibly helpful when you put her to work. Sure I felt kinda bad about putting my 87 year old grandma to work, but, well, desperate times.

We made it onto the first flight without a moment spare. Pia treated it all like the old pro she is. I felt like a novice with a baby on my lap all over again.
I don't have to tell you how the first leg of the journey went. This picture says it all. Look blurry? No that's just the chaos running through it.
In the end we made it. And when Sanny and PopPop went off to fetch our minivan (yup), we waited in the very comfortable and familiar (for some) rocking chairs for Auntie Ali and Cousin Bryn to arrive. 

Pia only ate half the cookies before getting up and running wildly in circles on a serious sugar high. I should know better. But that definitely gave Ali and Bryn all the more enthusiastic welcome.

Auntie Ali and Cousin Bryn were well worth the wait. Obviously.

It's pretty great that Rafa and Bryn are so close in age. They're so completely different and yet the same its amazing to see. Pia and I had a good time cuddling these guys.

During the day, we visited all of Mamas old haunts. Beaufort is next to where Gram lived and where Auntie Ali and I spent many spring breaks over the years. This place is everything I remember and more.
Most mornings started with a coffee run. Auntie Ali was usually up early working so she beat us to it, but once I used this pic to get her off her computer and come play. Mochas are good bait for Auntie Alis.

Kids weren't invited to the wedding itself so we had to get a bit crafty in our execution of the night. I used the "I'm still nursing, I'll go to the wedding and you take the early shift" excuse. Also knows as "while I go watch a beautiful wedding, you take all three babies under three at the witching hour." And even though I left her with my screaming child, Auntie Ali rose to the occasion. As always. She's impressive like that.

And when it was my turn, all the babies had cried enough for bed so all I had to do was cuddle Miss Pia-wia-woo like crazy. That's easy.
Since we had an early night, we woke up early and bathed. 
Then headed out to surprise Auntie Ali with a morning coffee. Along the way we spotted the bride and groom snapping photos in the soft morning light. Looking a little too beautiful for that hour in the am. We also spotted Auntie Ali and Brynner going for the same outing we had in mind. Which made Pia giggle. And made me pretty happy too. Mochas are good bait for Mama too.
After playing together in our lovely bay front suites...
Sanny and Pop Pop showed up to help us get ready to go to the beach. 
This time it was all about the kiddos.

And we got to spend a bit more time soaking up the love from your cousins and the blushing bride.
Pia was all about the love. And I like that Brynner can handle herself.

It was pretty great to get some quality time with your cousins in such a special place too. I'm glad you seemed to like it as much as we did.

Afterwards, since it was traveling time again, there was some debate over who would drive. Sanny got in and looked around desperately for the keys for awhile until my photo taking coupled with a fit of giggles tipped her off. I would have suggested we reevaluate the person nominated to drive, but then chucked it off to the chaos of travel. As per usual.
So we said goodbye to Mr & Mrs Souza.
And headed back to Naples. This time with another baby in the group (Brynner was coming for a visit)... Just to add an element of excitement to chaos.
Somehow I didn't manage a single photo of us with Aunt Babs, but she was the amazing Aunt you're are to remember her as. When Rafa broke down in tears at dinner the first night, she held him until he fell asleep listening to the band. A picture I'll keep in my memories for you.

I love you both,


A Clip in Time

Dear Pia,

These videos are from the past month and they don't show anything particular, but I love them because each one captures a moment in our lives right now. A little essence of you. And that, of course I love.

This one's a bit older, but it shows how incredibly communicative you've gotten in telling Papa all about your first day at school. 

You are always asking me if I want to see you "jump for joy".  I have no idea where that came from. Just another sign you're growing up and becoming so much more independent (gasp). This one also highlights the dress up change. You've moved on from dressing up as characters and just want to wear fancy dresses every day.

Though these fuzzy antennae usually accessories the outfit. I don't know where you heard this phrase either, but it makes me giggle.

This song was a Pia original. There are a lot of those these days. Mostly as a helper for me to stop Rafu from crying. You're good like that.

And you're also incredibly silly with your baby brother. You love to whisper sweet gruffalo nothings into his ears. I think he will grow up to be a baby talk babbling Gruffalo at this rate.


I love you,


Getting Sleepy

Dear Pia and Rafa, 

After a few weeks on our own with Papa living in the hotel he's opening, we were ALL getting pretty tired. With no break for Mama, I was at wits end, until I reinstated the afternoon nap for all. Sanny told me Gram used to have the kids take an hour rest everyday, no matter if they sleep or not, an hour in bed. So I tried it. Turns out Pia was as tired as I was. And Rafa never takes too much convincing to sleep. PHEW.

Once we got our heads a bit straighter, we were feeling pretty good again. We did the normal things like building houses (Pia built this one all on her own with my instruction)

I built this one all on my own with Pia's instruction :)

We took time for arts and crafts as usual.

And we got fancy once in awhile... so Zac wouldn't be too upset with us.

But most of all we just worked on the cud pud thing.

Until the day came that we would go visit your Auntie Courtney up at her wedding in North Carolina. You guys haven't met that part of the family yet, so after showing you lots of Facebook photos of the family you were going to meet, you were pretty excited. In fact, your Mama used to love getting to go visit her cousins in Connecticut when she was little, but it's been awhile since those days, so I was pretty excited too. 

First we drove across Alligator Alley to Sanny and Pop Pop's house.
...where you got cozy right away. Then we tucked in for the night. 

The next day, our adventure began... be continued. 

I love you both,


On our own

Dear Pia,

Papa has been very busy at work... which of course, keeps me busy too. That means that I have yet to blog the goings on in between our visitors of October. But we were busy. In pictures, here's what I can conjure up...

Weeks after Zac left you carried on his legacy by putting on my high heels and telling me, "mama, you have to learn to walk in high heels."

You also moved from the Mama & Toddler classes at Gymboree into the drop off classes. Without a blink of an eye. You've been wanting to go into the big kid school since you noticed the special room at the back and I think it was a pretty big catalyst of you telling us you were ready to use the big girl potty. So, as you should, you went out with a bang. In your final class you completely ignored the teacher and ran about like a lunatic which resulted in you smacking your face into the wall at the top of a slide. Result: your first bloody nose. You bonked your face, looked totally normal but cried a bit and when my normal tough in up talk didn't stop it, I figured it was serious so we walked outside. Then a little trickle of blood ran down your upper lip. We got you a bit of ice, took a breather and you wanted right back in. Which made me pretty proud of my little tough girl. Even if you pick the most peculiar places to pretend sleep... 

Back at home we were up to the usual no good. Playing dress up and practicing our princess braids. 

We brought Rafu to his first pumpkin patch. A tradition we've stuck with since you were in my belly. 

You mulled over lots of $40 pumpkins ($40?!)...

But thankfully chose this little one, which made everyone happy.

We had a full week before Halloween so we made the most of the pumpkin day by day.  First by cutting shapes and sticking on different faces, later by painting it with glow-in-the-dark paint and finally by making him into a jack-o-lantern.

Rafa watched and smiled. The way he does.

You're getting so big, you now go to the potty all by yourself, you actually help in the kitchen (instead of just put on the outfit and make messes), you can get your water all by yourself, and you are the best helper I know. 

Your drawing skills are getting so advanced. You went from just peeling the crayons to holding them properly and drawing people or tracing letters in the matter of a couple months.

You also went from calm little girl to terror who needs a new "house" built for her every thirty seconds in that time. But you're the best terror I know and my wolf lungs are getting pretty good out of it. 

Rafa has grown with you. He's so much more alert now. He's replaced his days of sleeping all day long with proper 3 hour rotations of eat play sleep on his own accord. He's found his hands and his mouth and he cant get enough of either of them. And I think he must loose his body weight in drool each day. "He's pretty slobbery." Your words, not mine. But we cover him slobbery kisses none the less. He's too cute not to. 

In fact, we spend a bit of each day chasing you each with kisses. Who wouldn't want to kiss these goof balls? 

I love you,