Dearest Ria,

Okay, so much to talk about. Firstly, and possibly most importantly, I checked my half-birthday on the website you found (genius) and it’s January 15, 2013. That is summer over here when the mangoes are juicy and the sun is a-shining. Just in case you were looking for a holiday… (hint-bomb)

What a perfect evening that was! Your ice cream looks amazing and I know it was because you are an ice cream wizard. I still remember that time you gave us home-made lavender ice cream. And that other time you made verjus sorbet. I don’t know if you’ve thought about it, and it might distract from your writing / family responsibilities / letters to moi / general life plan, but you should probably become an ice-cream mogul. I do have one question though – what is sole en papillote??

You are so right about the restorative power of nature and food. Food from nature, preferably (Ahem, raspberries straight off the bush? Are you trying to turn me green with envy?!) Recently my sister’s husband brought home freshly caught snapper and we made a feast, eating it in different ways – sashimi, ceviche, battered and fried, steamed with ginger. Wow. If only we’d had a mountain nearby to hike up before / after…

I cannot believe your mother was told to hurry up with her labour due to a “car being in the shop”. OMG. Words fail me. Yes, I have stories for B1 and B2. Actually, I have a stash of letters I wrote to each of them throughout my pregnancies, ending with a birth story letter for each of them. Every now and then I re-read them and smile. Recording your experience is one of my top ten tips for pregnancy (I’m pretending right now that I have ten tips…) because you forget, don’t you?  B1 and B2 have birthdays separated by a mere four days and because my letters were in fact emails that I sent to myself for safe keeping (i.e. dated) I could go back and see what was going on and how I was feeling on the exact same date in the previous pregnancy. I hope the letters are treasured by my girls. My mum and I were recently discussing a breastfeeding issue we’d both had with our first bubbas but not our second and she said to me – you must remember to tell B1 and B2 about that for when they have babies. It made me realise that in recording the troubles, challenges and nuances I might be creating something actually helpful. Imagine a few generations on and one of my girls is saying to her daughter “Oh yes, your grandmother had that trouble too. She wrote about it. Don’t worry, it won’t be a problem for the second.” Reassuring, don’t you think?

I’ve been meaning to ask you – are you an Olympics person? I’m not generally into following sport but I do enjoy the Olympics, I have to admit. I get all teary when I see the New Zealanders stride out in their crisp, new uniforms at the Opening Ceremony. Scratch that, I get teary during the whole of the Opening Ceremony. I heart Opening Ceremonies! I’m a sook for the whole pomp and palaver of it all. I like seeing an underdog take home a gold medal too. This year I’m hoping to catch some more waterpolo because I used to play when I was in highschool, but it can be tricky to get coverage of. Yes, me, the not-sporty-at-all one. Turns out I have a very tiny sporty streak.

So now I am off to bed, to give myself half a chance of getting up to see some of that Opening Ceremony with breakfast cereal and tissue close at hand…

Big hugs always,

Hannah x