Friday, December 30, 2011

More dancing...

We are really ready to say 'adios, 2011'. but in the meantime Raf is really working hard on his musical pursuits! Here is doing some mix of line-dancing to some Christmas beats. He was in the middle of his dinner and kept returning to his plate for bites.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011

This isn't the Christmas we hoped for. Mum and Dad had been due to fly in on December 20th and they were going to stay for at least a couple of months. With Dad's recent death we've all been dreading the holidays, but with moving we've really not had time to think or do much about anything. Yet we have a little 2 year old boy, who, while he might not really understand what's going on, deserved a nice day with pressies and some joy.

Indeed Raf really had no sense of what was going to happen, and when he woke up this morning with no anticipation of anything, he was very pleasantly surprised to find a stocking full of lovely presents! The first thing he happen upon was a train decoration, and it went uphill from there where he discovered a Diesel train as well as Belle (a Thomas the Tank Engine character). Unfortunately for Raf it wasn't all trains - and he was very unimpressed with other stocking goodies. He did like his raisins and juice, though, as well as the peppa pig books we had snuck in. Oh, and his recorder. He does like to play a tune.

He was very slow in opening his presents at first, and then - every so often - he would go and pick up a pressie (anything wrapped in train paper!) and open it. He was nonplussed with anything that wasn't Thomas! Toward the end of the afternoon, though, he was just liking the unwrapping and was ripping through everything... so we picked up the remaining hundreds of pressies and put them away for another day.

Raf did have a lovely day, and all of us were cheered by watching him dance to the Christmas tunes.

The boys enjoyed their Christmas dinner! Tofurky all around.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve in a new home

We're spending Christmas in our new house. We moved - sort of - yesterday, and we're very happy to be in a brand spanking new house with heat, straight walls, and working locks on the doors. It means we've been frantically busy trying to pack up our house, and since we'd only just returned from Spain it was chaotic, to say the least. It also means that we're not very prepared for Christmas. I don't think that Raf has any idea that tomorrow he'll be showered in gifts, much less the idea that Father Christmas has left them for him.

Anyway, all, happy holidays to you all. It is a super sad time for us.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Musical Rafi!

Rafi kept running after us with instruments every time we stopped 'playing' to do something else....

Friday, December 16, 2011

Groovy Raf

Rafi's grandpa seemed to have two rules which, when followed, made you a good dancer. Those rules were to be both fast and vigorous. Raf seems to have learnt this lesson well. Here he is dancing in Spain. Two of my sisters were staying in a hotel when we were there and to take advantage of their free wifi, we hung out in the 'entertainment' area where the next youngest person was 70, waiting for the disco to begin.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Grandpa meets Raf

When Raf was born my parents, of course, were still in Spain. We planned to go across and see them as soon as we felt able to travel with a new baby. So in October of 2009, when Raf was just 3 months old, we took a bus from Portland to Boston and then hopped on a plane to Madrid and then another one to Alicante where my mum and dad were waiting. We'd been traveling for over 24 hours but we were all so excited to see my folks.

I remembered my mum calling me in the hospital when I had Raf, just an hour or so afterward, and then speaking to my dad and I told him how wonderful it was and how well it had gone and how it was the best thing ever, and he said, "I can tell in your voice, Billy".

They soon became fast friends.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Traveller Raf

Raf is such a good traveler. On the way to Spain he did amazingly well despite having a fever. It was a long journey which took us from Maine to Boston to New York to Madrid to Alicante to my parents' home. 24 hours in to it we came to the train part. Although Raf was very excited about seeing the trains, he was not excited about being on one and it was 3 hellish hours with a very tired little fella. En route home he fell asleep in the car to the train station and had to be woken up... this did not make for a good train journey.... We stayed in a hotel in Madrid overnight and began our long jaunt home yesterday. It was another long ol' day as the Madrid to NY part is almost 9 hours. With 4 hours to go both Rich and I felt like crying... especially since Raf had a bad tummy! When we got to NY, though, Raf had just fallen asleep AGAIN as we were about to depart the plane so I thought we'd have a hard layover. Thankfully Raf fell asleep in his stroller and we had enough time to walk around with him before we had to go through security again and wake him up...

Here he is having just gone through security. Because of said upset tummy Raf had run out of outfits and was wearing his elf pajamas in the middle of the day. He had a lovely time running around the airport helping with the luggage.

We had fries and Fanta at McDonalds as Mum and Dad always do this on every trip to the States when they're waiting for a flight, and then we boarded our flight to Boston. After 90 minutes waiting to take off we got to Boston late and very tired. Rich was wonderful in that he drove us home. Raf slept almost all the way home and woke up at his usual USA waking time so I'm hoping he is not too jet-lagged (he went to bed with us very late in Spain).

We're all missing Dad, though, and this morning I woke up with a heavy heart realising that he wasn't downstairs with Mum. But friends, and friends of this blog, have been just lovely. Jen sent us flowers and is bringing food over, and my friend, Kate, left lots of food in the fridge for us so we'd have something to eat this morning, and the messages and cards keep coming. Thank you, all.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Eulogy for a Wonderful Dad and Grandpa

Dad’s Eulogy

It’s hard to capture a person’s life in one short eulogy, especially when you’re writing about someone like my dad who seemed to me to live many lives, spanning many decades, touching so many lives. From his childhood years with his mum Marjorie and his Dad Archibald Macpherson, to his navy days in the second-world-war, and more recently his final decade in Spain, living in the sunshine, growing his beautiful garden, living and loving life to the fullest.

Dad often said that he wished he was 50 again, and to me that says many lovely things about the way dad experienced his world – that he’d live so much of his life all over again just to be able to enjoy and relish those moments once more.

But instead of trying to distill Dad’s biographical life into a few insufficient words I want to tell you a few things about what I know.

I know that I grew up with a Dad with surprises in his pockets: chocolate and sweets and long forgotten poems and well-worn photos.

I know that Dad was passionate about many things including his serene garden, The Wolves, playing pool, Patch, and DIY.

I know that I had a dad who didn’t really like the finer things in life; he didn’t appreciate good music or wine, and much less fine food. In fact he liked terrible food and terrible music and loved to watch terrible TV.

I know that Dad had a wonderful turn of phrase; that he liked to see a ‘man about a dog’, that he liked most foods ‘not partic’, and that his nickname for me, Billy, was sweet and enduring.

I know that Dad was an unusually modest man, whose humility was humbling except when it came to parking cars in impossibly tight spaces and bragging about his pool playing triumphs.

I know that Dad’s company was good company, and that while sometimes he was shy that he delighted in the company of others.

I know that Dad was a wonderful storyteller, and told funny tales with tears streaming down his face. “It was so bloody funny, Billy”, he would say, as he recounted how a fierce woman had shouted at him “to get out of my way, you silly little man” as he, Colin and Ian tried out their new self-built boat.

I know that Dad was deeply loved and liked and that I was his biggest fan.

I know that he made friends everywhere he went, and that watching the burgeoning friendship between himself and my son is my greatest ever gift.

I know that dad was a decent, good and kind man. And people’s kindness as mum and dad endured these final weeks speaks so much to Dad’s own sweetness and his capacity to touch people with his empathy and gentleness.

I know that the only person who could offer comfort and take away this terrible pain and this terrible loss is not here.

When people looked at dad they likely saw an older man whose story was coming to a close. I saw only an ageless man with an infinite future. I saw him and mum visiting us at Christmases in the distant future, I saw him planting apple trees and digging holes and choosing flowers to make new beautiful gardens; I saw him watching and delighting in my growing son, and I took dad at his word when he looked forward to the day he’d be putting Raf on the school bus.

But we all die in the middle of stories and my greatest sadness is that I will miss him terribly. I will miss him for us all.

I will grieve mum’s life partner and soul mate ‘Cammy’. I will grieve Uncle Ian’s older, cherished ‘our kid’. I will miss Colin’s and Bex’s Pop, and I will miss fiercely Jane’s, Fiona’s, Melissa’s and my Dad; our beloved and cherished dad. I will miss Tricky’s Keith-Lad, Codger Campbell, Sailor Boy, Arch and Archie, I will miss Pops, Grandpa, and Papa Keith.

To borrow a brief passage from W. H. Auden’s poem Funeral Blues

He was my North, my South, my East and West,

My working week and my Sunday rest

My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song

I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong”.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Never known a boy like it

We´re in Spain at the moment. Very sadly Rafi´s grandpa, my dad, `passed away yesterday. We´re of course devastated by the loss, and especially for Rafi who loved his grandpa very much. My parents were getting ready to fly to join us for the holidays, and it was all my dad could talk about these last couple of weeks following an illness. My dad was incredibly kind and we were very, very close. He would always say, when talking about Raf, ´I´ve never known a boy like it´.

Very, very sad times.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday's at Nursery

Raf has been having some hard drop offs at school recently, with some crying and clinging. Of course as soon as we leave he's happy as Larry, but it is sad to see him struggling. So it was lovely reading his little journal this evening as he had a great day! Mind you, he almost always has a fantastic time at nursery - except when he's feeling under the weather.

"Rafi, Rory, and Sawyer did a fantastic job taking turns this morning! We have a new push toy in the classroom and the boys all love working their big gross motor muscles with it. We used the clock to time their turns, practicing number recognition and patience too!

For circle time we had special guest Miss Alyssa join us as she came for a visit during her holiday break from the Maine Maritime Academy. The kids loved seeing her and showing off their newly acquired skills :) We sang songs, did some fast movement songs, practiced deep breathing, Qi Gong and the Warrior Pose before marching with instruments to their favorite 'What is Yoga?' We also have started charging our new citrine wand with good chi by passing it around the circle and thinking happy thoughts.

Outside Rafi again loved digging around in the leaves and tossing up big armfuls! He also played with the bulldozer, ran with Sawyer and Rory and played on the slide.

What a great day!"

Sunday, November 20, 2011


This is obviously a little late, but we've been so busy the past few weeks and haven't had a chance to blog about Halloween! So a few pics and an overview of our day.

Raf doesn't go to nursery on a Monday but his school were having a Halloween party so we all headed there for a morning Halloween parade of all the little ones in their costumes. Raf was a scarecrow but because of a) his dislike of hats, and b) the size of his head - refused to wear the very funny hat that came with the outfit. Never mind, as his hair was perfect for the occasion! We took some goodies, and much to our shame and dismay, we were the only parents to bring 'bad' food: vegan chocolate 'spiders' and vegan sugar cookies decorated with all sort of bright, luminous sprinkles, which contained probably hideous dyes and preservatives. Eek.

Everyone looked so sweet in their outfits, and though Raf clung to me to like a little barnacle, it was funny seeing him with his little friends. Soon enough we were all headed outside so we could parade around the town. Given there was snow on the ground we didn't get too far, but it was a lot of fun. Raf sat in the buggy and insisted on holding my hand the entire way around. He also held the hand of is little friend sat next to him!

After the parade everyone had a nice snack (including the bad food we bought) and Raf started to untether himself from me. Toward the end he was having a good time with his friends, brothers Sawyer and Colby.

When we got home Raf had fun painting a pumpkin. It looked so beautiful afterward, and that weekend we made two very delicious pumpkin pies out of Raf's offering.

Sadly, our camera's battery died when we headed to Noah and Stacey's house for some trick or treating. I had to rely on my iPhone, which didn't do a very good job in the dark, but still, you can get a glimpse of Raf.

It was very funny because Raf doesn't really know what candy is and hasn't shown any interest, so Rich and I thought that he's be fairly reserved about collecting the sweets and goodies. But, this was far from the case! He bulldozed past everyone to get to the first house and had a lovely time filling his little pumpkin bag as we went from house to house. He had no clue what he was collecting, but enjoyed very much the process of going to people's houses and popping his hand in the bowl.

He didn't show any interest in eating any of the candy, either, though I suspect that next year's Halloween might be very different!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday's at Nursery

"Raf had a fun day playing with his pals. He's really been learning a lot about cooperative play and taking turns. This morning we had an awesome dance party! Rafi always looks so happy when immersed in musical pursuits. Then we had circle time with some favorite songs, fitness, and discussions about feelings.

Outside, Rafi and Sawyer played in the leaves and on the slide, and he and Rory raced so 'fast' around the yard :)"

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday with Raf.

It has been a very difficult week in the Poppet household and today we were due a nice day. We all woke up with little sniffles but decided that we'd get out of the house for a little expedition. First, though, I whipped up some pancakes with Rafi's help. He does like to help in the kitchen. Here he is pouring in some flour followed by a bit of stirring. Then, though, he heard a favourite song come on and he got down from the stool and had a bit of a dance.

The time for Raf's nap was rapidly approaching so I packed up some sandwiches and soup and we bundled Raf in the car and decided to check on the progress of our new house we're building and find a nice spot to have lunch outside. Of course Raf didn't fall asleep until we were almost at the house so after stopping briefly to look through the window we got back in the car and made our way to the Rachel Carson preserve in Kennebunkport. We had our lunch - though Raf was a wee bit distracted by another family at the next table.

The loop around the preserve is just a mile but I did fear that I'd be holding Raf all the way around as he was not at first enjoying his new shoes. But, soon he realized that he would be able to run the entire way without being encumbered with doggies and passing cars. He had a fantastic time! He was so fast! He's definitely running like a little boy now, and less like a toddler.

Raf had such a happy day. We all did! He was exhausted when he got home and ran around like a lunatic! Thank goodness for this little boy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mama, Mummy, Mummis!

Raf has really learned the power of the word "Mama". I've been moving to the spare room in the middle of the night as I've been a bit poorly, but of course Raf wakes up without me there. This morning, from downstairs, I could hear him shouting "Mama, Mummy, Mummy, Mamis, Mummis..." all variations on the same 'mama'. I was too sick to get out of bed, and it wasn't even 5am! Soon I could hear that Rich had gotten him back to sleep.

But the shouting of 'Mama' (or one of the variations) is something I hear all day and all night. Rich picked up Raf from nursery this evening, and as soon as they were out the house I could hear Raf shouting for 'mummy, mummy, mama, mummis, etc.' It is really sweet and endearing but it's a constant chant, it seems! After his bath tonight, Rich and I both were in the bathroom getting Raf dry and dressed, and, there again, he started his chanting. I'm going to have to try and catch it on film as it's incredibly lovely.

He also does shout "dada, daddy, da', but mostly it's mama, mama, mama!

One day I'll be too embarrassing for him and he won't even acknowledge that I'm his mum, so I'll take it for now.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Trip to the Beach

To cheer ourselves up we popped to the beach this afternoon, which is very near to where we'll be moving in just over a month (fingers crossed).

Here are s few of my favourite shots. Raf had a lovely time running up and down the beach, chasing his ball.

On trains and discipline

I don't think that Rich and I had our best parenting moment, yesterday. Somewhat unexpectedly we popped into the new big bookstore that's taken over from Borders. Now, Raf loved Borders. He loved playing with all the little toys and reading all the train books he could find, so we were excited to find that this new store has a very similar set-up. Except.... it sells Thomas the Tank Engine merchandise. Specifically, it has an entire podium dedicated almost entirely to very overpriced wooden Thomas trains and his many, many friends!

To say that Raf is passionate about trains would be understating how much he loves them. Thus it was no surprise when he scurried toward the trains and set his sights on having EVERY single train. Usually Raf is pretty good humoured about things and will make an attempt to secure many trains but will happily come away with just one, or even none. For instance, every time we go food shopping Raf puts at least 2 or 3 Thomas DVDs in the shopping trolley, and when we get to the till to pay we ask the cashier to put them back for us, and Raf is fine. Well, yesterday, Raf saw a wooden Gordon train and started shouting 'Gord, Gord, Gord', and taking as many 'Gords' as he could off the shelf and bundling them in his arms. I took some of the trains off him and he was really cross!

Trying to reason with a not very verbal 2 year old, I said, "Raf, you can have one Gordon", and then he proceeded to grab James, Percy, Edward, and Bash! Mind you, he only has little arms.... He was being quite loud and since I hate to be 'that' family, I again try to reason with him, 'Raf, you can have one train but you need to shush and put the rest back'.

This had no impact whatsoever, as more knowledgeable readers of this blog will have predicted. But we were left with a dilemma... should we buy this very over-priced wooden train when Raf is being a bit of a dink? So we hemmed and hawed as Raf still cried, and instead of buying it, we put it back and I did the walk of shame through the store with a very upset Rafi.

I didn't feel good about what happened and I'm left wondering if our expectations of him were too high, and whether we should have bought the train. By the time we were in the car and driving away he was actually fine. Of course now I'm planning on getting that damn train for him...!

Saturday, October 22, 2011


One of our favourite words of Rafi's and we know it's one of his favourite words is 'Juice!' From early morning, to bedtime he has acquired a taste of juice and will try many times to get some with repeated calls of 'juice!' We obviously try to manage the juice consumption and intersperse it with water and soy milk - though we have caught him tipping milk into the sink. The juice itself is either apple juice which we water down since its quite strong or raspberry ice tea - and he likes both - and will go through it quickly either followed by thrusting his cup at you with cries of 'juice, juice' or haranguing us in the kitchen until we open the fridge and pour some juice with our words 'this is the last bit until tomorrow....'

Monday, October 17, 2011

Rafi's little friends.

"Rafi had a nice morning playing with his trains. He and Luella were very silly together as they played in the kitchen area, then he positively cracked up as he 'surprised' baby Kai :) Kai really enjoyed the attention, too. Rafi is very engaging with his young friends.

he wasn't very interested in story or circle time today. but chose to explore on his own and have some quiet time.

He used his hands as a stencil for art today as we created cut out decorations for our classroom.

As he was falling asleep he talked a lot about mamma and dada and the car!"

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oh no, crash!

Raf still babbles a lot, interspersed with the odd recognizable word. For all we know he could be chatting up a storm and we're just not getting it, but tonight he said what I think is his first time at putting a few words together. While playing with his trains, he shouted:

"Oh no, CRASH!"

He kept on recreating crash scenes and saying the same phrase! it was very sweet. As he says 'oh no' he puts his hands on his head, and then moves them to his mouth when he says 'crash'! It was quite a dramatic performance :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Raf on the beach

We had a photoshoot of Raf done in September. Here are a sneak peek of some of the pics. There are over a 100 more - and some of them are even sweeter! I don't know how we'll choose. Any strong preferences?