Monday, 30 March 2015

Handy OpaGigi

Dear Pia and Rafa,

We're slowly settling into our new home. Thank goodness your Papa and I lucked out with the two most well behaved and flexible kids this side of heaven. Pia, you have carried on as the inspiring big sister you are. Now that Rafa is getting bigger and able to join you for the exciting things kids do, you're ever the helper in teaching him how. (When you're not snatching your toys back from him that is.) 

Opa and Gigi graced us with a few (too) short days of their love and handy help. Clearly this helpfulness thing runs in the family because I swear they came, I blinked, and so many issues with our new home were solved. Primarily, that nasty brown colour that ran rampant in our back family room. Opa took good care turning it into a much lighter colour we picked out. 

You helped. Obviously.

And in another blink, you were painting the granite counters, the cabinets, the.... so I chose a new role and just played mum to keep you guys out of the way while OpaGigi worked hard at playing house-fixer-uppers. They are amazing.  A whole room painted to professional standards, grime and grease removed from the kitchen and some quality time spent mum-to-kids. I'm pretty sure I won in that job. Can't beat swimming, gymnastics and giggles. 

Though thankfully, once the walls were artistically transformed, OpaGigi came to play. Rafa, you are OVER THE MOON whenever Opa quacks like a duck. You'll seek it out from wherever you are in the house and you'll laugh like a silly if you can get close to it. Which means everyone is laughing like a silly, including the duck. 

Gigi didn't take convincing to get right in the spa with you both, which of course pleased you both beyond belief. 

And Opa shared his famous french toast (that he shares credit with Gigi for because she found THE bread). Pia took some credit for teaching Opa about proper cooking attire. And Rafa taught them all how to put em back by pounding several slices both times the event happened.

With all this love and help around, we sure are blessed.

I love you,


Saturday, 21 March 2015

Baby Pile Up (aka Bryn Round 2)

Dear Pia & Rafa,

We've had a rough few weeks. With non-stop life and then, of course, getting sick in the midst of it. This time the sickness hit us all. Rafa was still goobering all over the place when cousin Bryn came down for a visit with her mummy just a couple days after we moved into our new home. The place was a mess, but luckily, Bryner didn't mind. And Rafa, you were a mess, but luckily we didn't mind because it was high time we shared back with Bryn.

She was so sweet and unsuspecting.

But that face is so kissable (or slobberable), you couldn't help but spread the love.

These photos are all out of order so I wont try. Besides, they tell the most important story straight anyway... the week was a non-stop baby fest where everyone climbed on top and everyone smiled and everyone cuddled and everyone gooed.

Pia, you are non-stop entertainment. The babies can never get enough of you and you always have a way of making them smile even when it seems one wants to scream. Rafa had a lot of those moments when the doctor determined his sickness to be just a cold and gave him his injections anyway...fever ensued followed by a very clingy few days. Which was interesting, especially when Auntie Ali had to go to work and I had three babies and only one arm. 

But not as interesting as the baby mangos we were finding in the playground: hours of entertainment.

Baby mash up on the way home when you, my big girl, were too tired to walk and Rafa wouldn't be put down. This way, everyone was happy. 

We visited Sanny for a quick overnight, arriving late and spending the day. She's just had her knee replaced with a metal one (yup) so was moving slow, but we kept her smiling.

And you watched Misty do her magic. You've told everyone about Sanny's big pupa on her knee since.

And Auntie Ali celebrated her birthday with us. We baked her chocolate peanut butter cupcakes, (quite the feat finding the necessary items in our box, er, kitchen) and you were so excited to show her and see her make a wish... but mostly to eat the frosting, as we all were. 

Rafa, you and Bryn shared the pram a lot. And you swapped seats a lot so both of you got the stellar view of the other one's bum just enough to make you nuts. 

This is what you thought of it.

You and Brynner discovered kisses. And each other. Though not always at the same time...

And I remembered the basket of toys trick from this phase with your big sister. Yes!!

Unless there is a shoe or paper in sight (in which case you scream 'get in my belly' mid bee-line), you are happy to play in a small area and don't venture too far from the toys. Brynner, on the other hand,  goes EVERYWHERE.

Especially the sketchy places that make your Mama's heart pump a little extra. 

You guys were fun little peanuts... especially when you were sleeping. 

Thankfully, Bryn's Mama came back just in time. But then, I guess it's always time for kisses and cuddles.

And we all finally got that gelato we'd been dreaming about since Auntie Ali's birthday at the beginning of the week. It was worth the wait. 

I love you guys... and Bryner & Auntie Ali too,


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

We moved!

Dear Pia and Rafa,

One the one day we had between Issy and Claire returning to London and Auntie Ali and Bryn coming for a visit, we thought we'd move house...into our very own new house that is. 

You can't see the chaos so well here, but it was there. It was sofa-falling-onto-antiques, and moving-van-smashing-into-a-car-driven-by-a-pregnant-lady kind of there. 
We did our best to stay away. And play.
And wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. And wait.And wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. And wait.
But in the end, Pia, you got really good at your scooter, and Rafa, you can do bear crawl now too, and Mama got YOU guys in a new home that we can finally call our own, together, in a really cool neighborhood. Papa got all of those things too...

But since he was the one dealing with those clever movers all day, I think mostly he just got a headache.

I love you,


Bryn round 1

Dear Pia and Rafa,

This is already out of order. If you can believe it, Ali and Bryn have already come and gone for the second time and I have yet to blog about the first time. But, to be fair, daycare Bryn left a wake of sickness the way she does everytime we see her so we've been a bit down and out amongst other things. The good news is We're getting all those nasty viruses now and hopefully not later. Back to that February visit...

First, Pia, you tried a ballet class, and were greeted afterwards with an extra special surprise. I love this photo.
OpaGigi came to visit after going to see a special ceremony for Aunt Tara's amazing achievements in Pharmacy school. They showered you with love and affection as they always do. And together we waited for Sanny, Baby Bryn and Auntie Ali to arrive. We killed time by showing them out new house. We'd closed already, but rented it back to the previous owners for another week until they could move out. We didn't mind. We had enough excitement going on. When Cousin Bryn came she was showered with love too.
And all that love got her feeling a bit hot. Fever hot. So we stuck one of these silly fever stickers on her and giggled a bit while keeping her temperature down. Brynner smiled through it. As usual.
You showed Opa your Gymboree and he stayed to play with you the whole 90 minutes of open gym afterwards. You discovered the joy of tumbling around in the giant tire.
Which made him kinda tired. But not as tired as you. Thank goodness Cole Hann had comfy seating so the girls could carry on shopping. 
Back at the ranch we filled the days with the usual cuddles.
And helpfulness.
It was fun having everyone around in Miami no matter how full the house, but eventually OpaGigi had to get back to Charleston leaving Sanny and I in charge of the three babies while Ali went to work. On the day Ali had her conference, Sanny got a migrane so we did our best to give her rest by staying away from the flat. From school to bootcamp to the park... Thankfully, it's easy to stay outside in Miami weather. 

Rafa, you and Bryn attracted lots of friends in the park.
And you had a good belly laugh on the swings while Pia chased toddlers around, the way she does.
Which tuckered out the three of you.
Back at the ranch you guys piled up on each other. The way you do.
And Pia, you played best big sis/cuz by entertaining the troops.
When Ali's conference was over we went out for a day in Coral Gables. The babies got matching cars in a kids shop. Sanny wanted to buy you hair ribbons for school, Pia, but you picked out a soft pink pillow and would have no exchanges. (It's been with you every night since, and if it's not: "I need something soft to lay my head on.")
Afterwards, we went out for iced tea.
And kisses
And you wore this special dress made by Auntie Ali, all the way home.
Where Rafa, you learned to play the didgeridoo and serenaded us all evening.

I love you,


Monday, 16 March 2015

Issy is from London

Dear Pia,

Your friend Issabella came to visit you all the way from London. We had been waiting for this moment for months...and when Issy "hopped" off the plane and came down that long corridor from immigration, you were ready. And so was she. 

You guys didn't skip a beat. Despite that when we left London, you were just 2,5 and barely conversing the way you do now, sometimes it felt like we'd never gone anywhere at all. Issy danced circles around and you LAUGHED. It was good to see you laugh like that. 
Other times, we noticed just how much the both of you have grown. The two of you could play on your own for hours only to be interrupted by random acts of the 3 year old flavor. Issy loved your dress-up wardrobe and so you both (re) discovered the thrill of being a princess. Usually the same princess. 

Even Rafa got a little love. Especially on car rides. You both would sing and shush him to sleep. Mostly, I'm sure, for your own peace of mind. 
We showed Issy one of your favourite places: DisneyWorld! You both dressed up as Ariel.

And you showed her how to get autographs from the friends, but this time we didn't see any princesses in person.
It was a bit hot, a bit crowded, and pretty sticky, so we saw ALL the princesses from a far as they waltzed across the stage singing Dreams Come True...which you've been shouting ever since.
Issy was skeptical and the time change was getting to her, though she held on like a champ.
Issy was always full of kisses for you...though you rarely returned the warmth.
You're happier just being goofy with mum.
Issy finally got the sleep she needed. Disney World will do that to you.
We did lots of things right near home too.  Like check out the Miami Seaquarium. With babies of course.
And since princess attire was not on for the day, you insisted on wearing your matching Liberty print dresses that you just so happen to have from shops across the Atlantic.
Besides, they were the perfect ensemble for bird pose. Even if you refused to play along.
Issy, you and Rafa all watched the killer whale show and were impressed by its size and abilities. But not as impressed as your Mamas I think.
You guys preferred tents. At home.
But we forced you out anyway. To the beach!! On Papas day off we went to Key Biscayne. The water was cool, but the sun was warm and all was good.
Even if you're a sour-puss about kisses.
It was really nice to have my friend back. I was trying to devise a plan to get them to move to Miami. The weather is infinitely warmer...I don't see how much more persuasion one could need.
When Papa went back to work, we followed him to his beach. It's lovely there and he has to hold me back from coming every day.
You and your little brother shared a moment cuddling on the sand. 
You guys have a lot of those special moments. Between good friends and loving families, we sure are blessed.

I love you,