Sunday, February 26, 2012


It's hard to believe it's nearly March and spring is coming soon - it hasn't been the (feared) usual winter in New England though I still expect a late winter April!

We are still settling into our new house, town and schedules - the wild ride of 2011 has left us still feeling a sense of unrest though we are trying to slow down and build in some relaxation into our week - not always successfully though Al has hooked onto 'Gossip Girl' and I've watched the complete UK 'The Office' once more - a genius series whilst Al thinks 'Gossip Girl' is up there with and highly comparable to 'Dawson's Creek!' Sunday is our new down day, trying to not leave the city limits but we'll see how that goes...

This Saturday it was Rafi & I heading to his gym class - which went well for the most part. Raf took no notice or interest in the warm-up exercises, and climbed all over me as we tried to do the floor warm-up exercises. The first round of circuits was about 50% successful as Raf went his own way over and through them - front rolls became 'front worms' as he slid and rolled over the obstacles laughing all the way. The second set of circuits were much better - more strength-based such as hanging, climbing and jumping. The climax was jumping into the sponge pit - and Raf teetered for a few moments and then... decided against it! He got very excited without jumping and then (in agreement with the instructor), it was a quick heave-ho from Daddy and he was into the pit, much to his glee!

Then it was off to the store - which is proving interesting as Raf likes the 'car trolley' which has a driving space for little ones. Usually he's content to ride the trolley but more recently he's, well...

Goodnight everyone!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Golden Moments

It was a sad day here - as we bid Alex's mum farewell as she headed back to Europe after staying with us since the beginning of December. It was great to have her here, though under very sad circumstances given the loss of Keith in late November. I enjoyed going to the cinema with her to see 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' - nothing like a British spy thriller to remind us Brits of our infamous double-crossing ways! Gary Oldman was perfect as Smiley, we both agreed - though we both felt Alec Guinness' performance in the late 70's television serial was hard to beat...

So as they headed off to Logan, I set off with Raf in the chariot and the boys on the double lead for a two mile walk. It was sunny, chilly in the wind but for February it was lovely. It's our new walk and we're getting to know the neighbourhood - and thinking what must people think of us - a double stroller and two naughty westies pulling me everywhere but straightforward. One man said 'you've got your hands full, you can't do anymore...' Raf was asleep by this point and then slept in the chariot for another half an hour in the garage until he woke up and then I thought it would be lunch. Well, it was rough wake-up as we headed in the house and I sat down with him thinking he will get down and lunch will begin - well he promptly fell back to sleep...

Usually if this happens - my sentimental thoughts kick in - thinking this won't last too long (usually around five minutes) and it could be the very last time he will sleep like this tucked in my arms since he's getting older and he has better things to be doing once he's awake. So I'm lamenting that all things must pass, and he stirs, turns over and goes back to sleep again. I ponder, read, ponder, call Alex and he sleeps on unaware that I'm still thinking this *must* be the very last time whilst trying to enjoy it in the moment and dispel the myriad of things on my to-do list. I keep reminding myself that these are golden moments that can't be rushed or abruptly ended for so-called important things but enjoyed for as long as they last - which is usually never that long anyway. These moments can't be bought or got back, wished for again but are fleeting and wonderful. This lasted for a hour - with two sleeping westies nearby - and the trees swaying the wind...

After lunch we headed to a playground/park in Old Orchard Beach not before our weekly ride around Camp Ellis. Camp Ellis is a small fishing village where the Saco River hits the Atlantic Ocean. It's very small and quaint but it has a dock and jetty and a few places to park and watch the water. I can't wait for a huge ocean storm to hit the coast and be in Camp Ellis because it will be a wild ride, as we eat our sandwiches in the car...

A lovely active afternoon, whilst wishing Al's mum a safe journey and a speedy return to the good ol'USA...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

beach, gyms, parties, and restaurants.

This is Nana's final full weekend before she returns to Europe, and it happened to be a very busy one! On Friday Rich took Raf to his Music Together class, which was not altogether a great success, but late Friday afternoon, with sunny skies and a not too cold wind, we took Raf and the dogs to the beach for a walk. Everyone was worn out with so much running around!

After a good night's sleep we began Saturday with Rafi's gymnastics class. Well, I have to admit that I was dreading this class after last week's harrowing hour but he ended up having a super, super fun time. Mind you he didn't pay much attention to what the other kids were doing (no need to worry, at the moment, that he's a 'follower'!!) but he really loved some of the stations, especially the ones involving bars and swinging. He really is a little monkey. And, the foam pit he was dying to dive into last week, was part of another station - so he was quite happy about being able to jump into there!

After a pretty tiring class Raf took a brief nap and then we were off to his friend Sawyer's 2nd birthday party! We had a lovely time with Sawyer's family and it was great that Raf got to hang out with his old pal from his nursery school. Sawyer is such a sweetheart and, like Raf, loves to dance! Raf was very excited to get his party package, which included a beautiful balloon, a truck, and a lollipop! Believe it or not, Raf hasn't had a lollipop before and when he got into the car he was excited to try it. He really did enjoy it!

VERY sadly Raf's balloon escaped when we went to meet mum and Rich at the store. Raf was devastated as he watched the balloon drift away and I felt so sad for him as he didn't really understand why I couldn't get it back. Poor little boy.

Raf was so bushed when we returned home. He did some painting (he is really into working on his art, at the moment) and then had another good night's sleep. Today, we had an old friend of the family visit with his lovely partner. They took all of us to Federal Jacks for a nice pub lunch and, again, I was almost dreading it as it's not that relaxing taking Raf to a pub. But, what a patient boy he was. He did some colouring, played with his trains, and did a lot of 'chin chins' with his apple juice drink.

We were very proud of him for making it through the entire meal with no screaming! last time we were there, Rich and I could barely keep him in his seat. Mind you, the fries helped! Just as we were readying to leave, Raf suddenly got up and gave Rich's coat to him and then gathered his coat and declared to everyone, "bye bye". He was certainly ready to leave!

A busy weekend, but a lovely few days.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Winter Into Spring...

It's been a long time coming - this is my first blog of 2012! Firstly, I would like to thank Al for holding down the blog fort with her sweet posts about our life (the ups and downs), over the last three months or so. Moving house, the big loss of her Dad (my own blog about Keith is in the works) and other trials and tribulations that tested us over the second half of 2011. I'd like to thank our family and friends who have offered all manner of love and support - we are still very grateful for everything we received...

We are very happy to be in 2012 and our warm and straight new house, not far from the sea and beaches. We are also looking forward to the warmer days of spring so we can get our bikes out and hit the roads of southern Maine once more. We are happy (and a little sad...) to see Raf grow up and be his joyous self as he has navigated a daycare transition - which has gone very smoothly and he has also joined two new classes - music together (a separate post is upcoming) and gymnastics with varying degrees of success each week - he's learning I repeat to myself!!! He has been wonderful through these demanding six months - and now he has been enjoying the treats and attention of 'Nana' for the last two months. Basically he has been getting away with murder as he watches Kipper marathons whilst surrounded by snacks/drinks and soft cushions with the often mentioned word 'juice' never being to far from our ears. How things may change next week when 'Nana' sadly returns to England then Spain though a quick return is hoped for...

So we just enjoyed our first date for sometime as 'Nana' looked after Raf and we went to see 'The Descendants.' It was a very good understated film (yes an understated American film does exist...), George Clooney in fine form with Hawaii turning in a lovely supporting role and we enjoyed the treats that Marlene had bought for us. We missed Raf too...!

So we are in 2012 safely, lots to look forward too - a few more posts from me - more birdsong and wildlife sightings, the funfair and chips in Old Orchard, running races and seeing Raf turn a big three in July! Also will the reformed Stone Roses play Portland?

Goodnight everyone.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

is this 'ink?

Raf has an unusual way of expressing colours. Instead of saying the word 'blue', say, he prefers to use the name of a train that is the colour blue. So, blue is 'Gord(on)', red is 'James', green is 'Hen(ry)' or 'perc(y)', purple is 'Charlie', black is 'Mav(is)' or 'Deise(l)', brown is '(d)uke', yellow is 'Moll(y)', and so forth.

But since we don't have a pink train, pink is 'ink'. Sometimes we play a game were I go through the pages of a colour book and say 'is this pink/red/blue/etc' and we all have a fun time saying 'noooooooo' (such a toddler favourtie). Tonight Raf took the lead and went through the book saying 'is ink?'. He was so proud of himself for being a jokester and making us all laugh.

Funny boy.

A kiss, A kiss.

Raf has always been a big snuggler but lately he has been even more cuddly. What a nice treat for us as I know this won't last too much longer.

When he really wants a kiss and a cuddle, he exclaims, "a kiss, a kiss".

There's not a time I can resist this. So in the middle of the night, when I'm pretending to be asleep and he's woken up to 'play', he'll suddenly say, "a kiss", and I've not yet discovered the discipline to keep on pretending to be asleep. Instead I roll over and give him a big cuddle. In the middle of dinner this happens, too, and, once again, we always get up and go over and give him a kiss. Dinners can take a while.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Gym Class.

So much for our new year's resolution to be better bloggers! We're still very busy with the move and with my mum visiting, though we're settling in very nicely and Raf loves having his Nana here. One of the first things Raf says in the morning, before we head downstairs, is "where Nana"? In fact he says this a lot whenever she is out of sight. I think Raf thinks that Nana is now a permanent fixture of the household, so it's going to be a very sad day when she returns home. Being in the States, Raf sees very few of our family. In fact Mum and Dad have been the only family to visit since Raf was born and it's very regrettable to me that Raf doesn't see or have any regular contact with any of his other close relatives. This seems even sadder now that we've lost Raf's Papa, though we're glad that Mum is planning on coming back, hopefully, for his birthday.

But, that is months away, and today we took Raf to his first gymnastics class. Let me say that I had very high hopes for today, and I was in fact very excited about taking Raf to this class as he loves to tumble and climb and jump...

I should have predicted that after a difficult morning trying to get Raf dressed and his teeth brushed that he was not in the most cooperative of moods. Indeed he was outright oppositional! This is actually not the norm for Raf, though perhaps it is our emerging reality, but when we were in the car leaving for the gym we were all feeling stressed and sad and teary. I wasn't my best parent self on the way in the car, and I am guessing this didn't help prepare Raf for what was coming.

He was actually excited to be there, and though he wasn't happy about leaving his crocs outside (he is somewhat attached to those shoes right now), he was chomping at the bit to get into the actual gym. Well, 2 minutes into the class we realised that this would be tough going. Raf was taking absolutely NO notice of 'Coach Dan', and while every other single child followed happily long, Rich and I, slightly mortified, were trying to stop Raf making an escape for the big boy/girl apparatus.

He did have a ton of fun on the different 'stations', with lots of jumping, climbing, and rolling, but as soon as he wanted to do something that he wasn't supposed to he SCREAMED (oh, mercy, did he scream) with snot and tears pouring down his little face. I have to admit that I felt increasingly mortified by Raf's lack of 'obedience', and tried my best not to feel like a failed parent because our kiddo was the only one not playing along. Lots and lots of screaming and crying with every little setback, made for an exhausting time, and honestly, even though he had a lot of fun it was a bit of a nightmare.

The truth is we want Raf to be curious and to walk to his own beat, but in these situations it can be a wee bit stressful and I did find myself wishing he would be a bit more cooperative.