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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Rafa's Papa Day

Dear Rafa,

Your Papa took you on a special day out to Mini Monday's at the Miami Childrens Museum. You guys played all morning long and then, Papa reported that when he tried to get your packed lunch out of the car for a picnic, you climbed in the drivers seat and refused to leave. So you had a solid hour of FOOD, Papa and car. A high point in your young life, I'm sure. Papa came home smitten, I think your love of cars has won him over. 

Later, he wrote this for his brand-wide daily newsletter. Just goes to show how much you are always teaching us, through your own actions and the actions you provoke from others.


Here you are "famous" again. And as always, loved.

I love you,

Mama
xx

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Date with Papa!

Hi Pia,

I don't know who was more excited, you or I to go for a little ice cream run after dinner. You were nice enough to come with me while I made an appearance at a colleague's going away dinner and behaved like the perfect little angel you are. 

I love you and look forward to more ice cream runs.


Papa

Friday, 1 January 2016

Merry Merry 2015

Dear Pia and Rafa,

The past few weeks have been long and crazy and wonderful and exhausting. Today, when we weren't sleeping, we melted onto the sofa with popcorn and movies and barely talked to each other and couldn't have been happier. But every single moment of the past few weeks was so worth it. Watching this movie of these weeks makes me so thankful to know how much unconditional love we have around us. You are so blessed. Your Papa and I feel the same way: we are so blessed.


We love you,

Mama & Papa
xx

A Drop of Snow

Dear Pia,

Your Sanny and Pop Pop came to Miami to see you as a Snow Drop in your ballet school's production of the Nutcracker. We started the weekend at the Edition hotel and ended in Coconut Grove with snowdrops all around. You are so loved and so happy and if I had any sort of sense to me, I might think the two are connected.













I love you,
Mama
xx

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Littlest Angels

Dear Pia,

Last night was your school Christmas Party. They transformed your entire school into a Christmas wonderland complete with Nativity Farm and Santa Claus. You sang in the chapel and then we all ate paella and wrote letters to Santa. You were amazing, you knew all the hand motions and songs. And best of all, when you saw me in the front with a camera (your mama got prime location because I'm on the yearbook team!), you raised your hands and head a bit higher. You are so quiet that you often look away when someone speaks to you, but for some reason when you hit the stage, you just went for it. 


I love that about you. And I love this.
And him.

And he loves you too. 

With all that love, I hardly need to say it, but...

I love you,

Mama
xx

Friday, 11 December 2015

Rafa Boo Boo

Dear Rafa,

You have grown so much since I last wrote a letter that was just for you. Each time we sit down to a story (which is MANY times each day-you love stories), I am shocked at how much you pick up on. I love how you turn the pages when it gets to your favourite parts and shout the simple words out with a look of delight spread wide across your face. "Woot!!" in Candace Flemming's Bulldozer's Big Day, "creak, crack" in Emily Gravett's The Odd Egg, "all aboard!" in just about every train book we own...

 I also love that you are learning every day from your big sister and that you are occupying each other in play for longer than I ever dreamed possible. The other day I went into the shower while you and Pia played in her room. I told Pia the plan to keep an eye on you and she swelled with pride at her responsibility. Every few minutes I listened at the shower door and heard soft chatter and smiled and went ahead and started a shave. A leg later I opened the shower door and heard silence. I called for you and got nothing back. I shaved a little faster. Silence usually spells trouble.

After rushing out of the shower I came running in my towel to Pia's room in search of you both. I was fully expecting the walls to be re-decorated in crayon when I got there. Instead, what I found was a peaceful kind of wonderful silence where the two of you sat cuddling on a single pillow under the pink canopy net in Pias toy room reading to the pups of Paw Patrol. You are so sweet I almost started crying right then and there. I don't think there are bigger words than I love you, but my God, I love you guys. 

When Pia is otherwise occupied, you are so brave and curious. We visited a festival in the Botanical Gardens here and you wandered through the picnicking families talking and smiling and sharing. I wondered if you would ever look back and realize you were on your own. No. 
You shared an ice cream, but in your own cone and wandered off (stopping to dance every few meters). At one point you'd made yourself at home with another family and stood eating until the ice cream dropped clear out of the cone. Then you proceeded to get down on all fours to lick the fallen ice cream off the mulch. Your new-found family laughed at first and then started looking frantically for your mother as you came up with a worm in your mouth. 

We rescued you, sighing 'boys will be boys' all the while...

and then today you attempted to eat a snail. 

*sigh*


I love you,

Mama
xx


Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Turkey Day in Charleston

Dear Pia and Rafa,

Last but most definitely not least in our November whirlwind was a visit to Charleston. We packed up the car early in the day and then anxiously awaited Papa's return from work so that we could drive the 10 hours through the night to OpaGigi's open, loving arms (and warm, cosy beds). The drive was great (says the Mama who slept through it) and we arrived early enough in the morning for you guys to transfer easily into bed for a few more hours sleep. We woke up the next day and laughed in good company as we walked through a gorgeous park your Gigi found and wondered why we don't visit more often. A lot more often. Life just gets away from us sometimes, I guess. That is part of the beauty of a blog. I get to reflect as much as I hope you will some day. And I get to see these moments and appreciate them for all they are... a the second time. 






I started to fill these photos with commentary, but then thought, when the happiness is this raw, the beauty this pure, the photos say it all. 

I love you (and we know a few other people that do too-clearly),

Mama
xx

Monday, 7 December 2015

Maya in MIA

Dear Pia and Rafa,

You were just a tot when Maya used to visit us in Kew Gardens. She's always been a nature lover and was always good for a walk through the botanical gardens. When she came to visit us here in Miami, we knew we had a good guest for Fairchild Tropical Gardens. We've heard all good things about the botanical gardens here, but never found a chance to go so we were thankful for the excuse. Rafa was ready.
 When Pia learned there would be a butterfly exhibit, she quickly climbed on board. We were lucky enough to follow right behind a release of butterflies that had just dried.
 They were everywhere, even you loved it Rafa.
 The gardens were beautiful...
 and so were you both



 We knew it was time to go when you threw yourself on the ground and started licking the sidewalk Rafa. Your hints are not so subtle, but you have to train us somehow.
 We showed Maya and Kent Papa's hotel. You guys are always up for an excuse to play on his beach.



 And then Papa took us down an alley and past some rubbish bins to a very cool pool bar with, erm, grub for you both. Rafa, you redecorated, the way you do.
 We had fun catching up with our London mates and in the mean time we ate a lot of good food, hung out a bit at home and a bit downtown, and on the last day, we took the Londoners to Key Biscayne for a bit of raw beauty you can't get in just any old city.





Oh and the beach was beautiful too.

I love you, 

Mama
xx

The week in between

Dear Pia and Rafa,

What little of November wasn't spent with visitors or travelling was spent doing our usual routine. Pia, you are dropped at school at 8:45. Rafa, you are dragged away from the school courtyard against your will somewhere around 9:20. We run errands, you come with me to volunteer (mostly it seems lately), or we play in the local park or at home reading books or legos or zooming around your cars. (You love cars, trains and anything that goes. You are also very good with your words and lately have started jumping ahead of me in stories - to the words you know come next.) Around 11:00, I put you in the stroller and we walk a bit so that you can sleep. Since you were 12 months, you have refused to nap in or transfer to your cot for naps (night time is without fuss mind you), so every day you sleep 90 minutes in the carseat or in the pram. Fine by me, we're usually on the go anyway. At 13:00, if you're not up already, I wake you to pick up Pia from school. We play again in the courtyard and eventually make it out to the tree at the entrance, just outside the gate. The roots of which preoccupy you both for another 30 minutes if I allow it. Afterschool can be busy with classes or museums or beach or showing visitors around. There haven't been many days without visitors this month so where there are, sometimes we just lay low. Because, while I love to be involved in your school and dance and friends, I love most of all soaking up the wonderful little beings that you are. 


 And getting ready for our next round of love to visit of course. Sanny came to visit just a week after her birthday. I had her mark her calendar as soon as she returned for the season, because I didn't want to miss the International Book Fair. I loved it together with you both last year and I wanted to share it. I hadn't counted on the 10,000 school children that would be there making it all a bit of mayhem on Friday morning, but Sanny smiled through it anyway. We all did. And as I posted before, you guys even made it into the Miami Herald. 


 After a long day at the bookfair, we spent the rest of the weekend with Sanny just playing. We took her to Toys R'Us. I'm not sure why now, but we had lots of fun in the usual places anyway. You guys made a photo wish list for Santa, which was pretty silly and entertaining. 

We also made it to the more refined shops of Merrick Park, where Pia insisted on having a special Sanny date. Rafa, when we were ditched in the parking lot, we headed out for our own fun. We rarely go anywhere but Target and Michaels together (I know I shouldn't publicly admit that, but what's out is out), so this was new. We just wandered the halls and ended up in the brand new Christmas displays at Nordstroms. You did less wandering and more beelining for this little dog. Every time I put him back on the shelf, you had her cousin in your arms before I could turn around. Sometimes you had all the cousins at once. And all of them got kisses on the mouth again and again and again. 



 In the end, Sanny wasn't going to let you go home without Boo (who she later told me is an icon from a little dog on some wretched show like Toddlers and Tiaras), especially when you guys share the same name. You love Boo, to this moment, you love her with all your heart and I love you for it. 

We're thankful Sanny only lives a few hours away and we can just spend the day with her when we please. It's been decades since I can claim to that with any of my family and it feels good. 

I'll bet you guys make her feel good too. We all love each other and that's about as good as good gets.

I love you,

Mama
xx