Friday, July 31, 2009

Esther's Makeover

My bestfriend Esther from Miami recently got a makeover on TV. You can see the entire thing right by clicking here.

Esther, you look beautiful!

I miss you.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Special Message for Abuela

Luka loves birthdays, so when he heard it was his grandma's birthday he couldn't resist to sing a special song for her. As I am typing this message I can hear him singing downstairs. He will be singing Happy Birthday for a week now. Make sure you catch his little joke at the end...he is such a comedian!

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is my mom's birthday and I wish I could click my heels and show up in Miami in time to blow out her birthday candles. But I won't be able to make this one. Living in Mozambique definitely has its bonuses, but being so far away from family is not one of them.

I wish I was there to tell my mom Happy Birthday in person and tell her how much I love her and how much she means to JJ, Luka and I. Luka has a special birthday message for his Abuela, but it is taking me longer to upload that to the blog. I am having a bit of technical difficulties, but I promise it will be up soon.

Mami, I hope you like the photo I am sharing of your 3rd Birthday in Cuba (1956). You look adorable and I actually love the photo...especially the details:
- The Cuban birthday cake with too much merengue
- The Hatuey cups
- Your dress and those sleeves are perfect
- Your blondish hair...what is that all about?

Well, I love the photo and I don't think you have seen this one in a while so Happy Birthday and the three of us send you a BIG birthday kiss from Maputo.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Counting Down Till Dany's Arrival

Finally..finally...I am so excited to have someone coming to visit us from Miami. So far all of our visitors came from Europe and I am so happy they came, but it was time that Miami was represented!

Dany will arrive on Friday and stay for about 3.5 weeks. We are going to have soooo much fun! JJ actually has a business trip right in the middle of the month so that will give us the perfect excuse to get silly and have an all-night slumber party! Okay, I am not sure how long I will last at an all-night slumber party...but I think it will be fun.

I hope to take Dany to Kruger National Park, Hazyview/White River area, one of the beaches in Maputo (not sure yet) and show her all around our new town that we call home.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Maxwell

Dear Maxwell -

I hope you liked my version of Happy Birthday today on Skype. I hope you had a great day. I am really jealous that I couldn't attend your Transformer Party. I have never seen The Transformers, but mommy and I were looking at it on the internet and they look really cool. I still don't get how it can switch from a robot to a car so fast. Next time I am in Miami you need to show me.

So cuz, you are now 3 years what are you up to these days? How is school? And do you have that potty training down? I start school in a couple of weeks and potty training is not going so well for me. Can you give me any pointers? Mommy insists that I pee and potty in the toilet, but I find it much more convenient to just use the diaper. What do you think?

How are abuelo & abuela? I get a little jealous when I see you playing with abuelo on Skype...but dude, why doesn't abuelo ever have a shirt on? Does he always hang out like that, although he looks like he is in pretty good shape for an old guy.

Oh, I also saw the belly on Tia Moqui. That baby brother of your is going to be a BIG BOY! I can't wait to meet him. Mommy says we will be in Miami soon so that I can play with both you and Evan. Wow, three boys! We are going to have so much fun.

Well, I hope you have a great birthday and please send me photos from your Transformers Party as soon as possible. I can't wait to see them.

I love you!


PS Uncle Wole, thank you for sharing these photos from Maxwell's special day. I even got to see what Mommy and I look like on your computer!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bravo Rosanne

I had been looking for this picture everywhere and I finally found it...

It is a photo of Rosanne van Herksen (JJ's cousin). She is the one on the left (hard to see...I know). On our recent trip to Holland we went to one of her performances at the CODA Museum in Apeldoorn. She is an actress and works at the museum, where she writes and performs in the shows. This musical comedy was about two women that go camping and they both have different ideas about camping. Although I don't speak much Dutch I understood the whole thing and I could relate to her character. Rosanne's character didn't like camping much...hmmmm sounds familiar.

Well I just wanted to officially congratulate Rosanne and her friend on a job well done. Luka still hums the songs from the too. "Coffee, Coffee lekker bukkie coffee." (I know I have totally butchered the Dutch language, but that is what it sounds like to me.)

PS The reason I don't have a real photograph is because I forgot my camera that day. Yes, I forgot I took a photo of this brochure at her dad's house.

Look here are some good photos Rosanne just emailed me!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Arrival of Olin Lablans

Today we are the proud aunt and uncle to a new baby boy. JJ's sister Marielle gave birth to Olin. He arrived about three weeks early, but he is a very big boy. He weighed about 3.1 kg (almost 7 lbs)! Luka is also very excited to have another cousin. Congratulation Marielle, Rick & Benthe! We can't wait to meet him.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Planes & A Vanilla Ice Cream Please

This weekend we spent it redecorating the house, moving furniture around and today we took a break from our "project" to spend the morning at the airport. The Maputo International Airport although it may not be the busiest in the world, it does have the unique quality that you can get intimately close to the airplanes as they land and prepare for take-off. On the weekends you always see kids and their parents sitting in the cafe that sits on the balcony just watching the show of planes.

Luka LOVES planes and our friends the Santana family invited us along. It was so much fun. Here you can see Luka covering his ears as the plane starts to roar its engine right before take off.

We must have seen about five planes take off and land. Luka was very intrigued.

He also had ice cream for the 2nd time. The first time was an ice cream cone about two weeks ago at our friend Laura's house. But today he sat down and enjoyed a cup of vanilla ice cream all on his own.

The funniest thing was to watch Luka as he waved at everyone getting off of the planes. You can see everyone walk off the planes on the tarmac. I can't think of any other airport where you can do this?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Weekend Project

We have lived in this house for almost a year and in usual Melissa style I was getting a little bored of the layout and decor of our living room and dining room area. Well, we don't have a Home Depot in town so I had to get creative to see how I was going to redecorate. Without a hammer or paint the house looks completely different.

We do have a new dining room table and chairs coming in September, but I couldn't wait that long to change up the look.

So before when you walked into our home on your left you had the dining room, which faces our open kitchen and to the right you had an open area where we kept Luka's toys, a bookcase and then adjacent to that was our living room. I wanted to have one side of the house be "just for adults" and I wanted the other side to reflect Luka's personality and keep his things, but organized.

So this is our dining before...

And this is what it looks like now...

It is the perfect spot for JJ and I to hang out with Luka, read a magazine or book (if Luka lets us) and just relax. We even made a special corner for Luka so he can showcase his latest projects and works of art.

The dining room is now really modern...but it is a work in progress. I still need to hang up new photographs and wait for our new furniture to arrive. As soon as it does I will post the photos.

Oh, I almost forgot the best part. Now all of Luka's toys are in these red containers and they are labeled with photos so Luka knows where to find his favorite toys like his "Little People." If my sister is reading this she probably just got a little nauseous...but labels make me really happy and I am not ashamed to admit it....ha ha ha. The best part is that Luka knows where everything is now and he can clean up on his own.

"The Train, The Train"

Every time we drive around the city in the car Luka is always saying "The Train, The Train." No he is not confused and trying to imitate Tattoo from Fantasy Island...although that is what he sounds like with his cute accent. He is actually looking for the the new tourist train in town. It is called the Maputo Express. It is a train that drives around the city - very similar to the one in Key West and so many other seaside towns.

The Maputo Express is usually empty, especially now that it is winter. But Luka is fascinated by it. Last week it was his friend's birthday. Peter was turning 3 and we met for lunch in the park and then hopped on the train for a 2-hour train ride. Luka loved it...until the last 20 minutes. What do you expect from a 2 year old? But he must have really liked it even though he wanted to jump off at the end because every time we are in the car he is still calling out "The Train, The Train?"

Here he is trying to convince the conductor to let him drive the train. I literally had to rip him out of there:

For more photos from the party and train ride visit Our Photo Album.

Wish List

If I could buy this bike in Mozambique or South Africa it would totally be on my wish list. Isn't it the coolest bike ever! Oh, wait...I would also need to feel safe enough to ride bike around town. I think the only day I would ride bike around Maputo is on Sundays. But a girl can wish, right?

The bikes are made by Madsen.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thank You Marta & Connor

Our friends Marta & Connor will be getting married in NYC on August 2nd. Aren't they the cutest freaking couple? Besides showing you how fabulous they are we wanted to send them a BIG thank you. Instead of buying wedding favors for everyone they will be making a donation to the Infant Nutrition Program at Luka's orphanage. I know that all the babies at Primeiro de Maio thank them very much. Here is a photo of the card they will be giving to guests at the wedding:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Jumping for Joy

Finally, I am all caught up with my photos in terms of sorting them and posting them on the web. It seemed like I would never finish after we got back from holiday. Our internet connection has been anything but helpful. But today I finished. Just click here to see all of our recent snapshots and adventures.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Visit My New Blog

Finally...I have been meaning to do this since we started the Infant Nutrition Program back in December 2008. Well here it is. Just click here to see the blog on the program. You can also read a previous post about the program by clicking here.

If you are interested in making a donation please send me an email to

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Budding Artist

Today Luka attended his first painting class with Frani. He loved it. He couldn't get enough of the color blue. Actually in the end there were more colors on the canvas and it turned out quite nice (see photo below).

He was the youngest in the class and I had to stay with him the whole time, but you should haveseen him...he was super focused on the task at hand for the first 30 minutes. That is a lifetime for a two year old. You can see his concentration in some of the photos above. He was so cute. He demanded that he sit next to Frani so that he could show her that he could paint too. Frani is 2.5 years older than Luka, but I don't think he minds or notices the age difference. He likes to follow her around and make her laugh and Frani is so nice to him.

FYI, Frani is my good friend Laura's daughter. Laura is from Argentina and is one of my partner's in crime here in Maputo.

Here is the final outcome of Luka's 1st painting class...He calls it The Kite.

To see more photos from this day click on Our Photo Album.

Like Mother Like Son

This was a rare moment caught on camera. I was taking some photos of Luka as he was playing peek-a-boo and slammed right into the poll....ahhhh my poor baby. My camera is so fast that by the time I put my camera on the floor to grab him I had already taken two photos. I wasn't trying to catch this photo people...I am not that mean of a mommy.

But I think Luka has inherited my clumsiness. This marks the second time he has cut his lip in one week. Sorry mother like son.

I am happy to report that he was fine 2 minutes later and back to his usual happy self.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I'm in love...

I am in love with our new dining room chairs. Six of these beauties will arrive in September and we can't wait. JJ and I fell in love with them and I have wanted an Charles Eames chair for as long as I can remember....I just had to share my joy with the rest of the world.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Scenes from Our 4th of July

We spent our 4th of July at a BBQ hosted by the American Embassy. It was great to hang out with everyone wearing red, white and blue (which coincidentally happen to be Holland's colors and well) and share a real American BBQ with all kinds of delicious salads, hamburgers, chicken and lets not forget the large sampling of favorite were the cupcakes! I was soooo off my diet!

Here you see Luka modeling his 4th of July ensemble...come on...he has to be the best dressed Mozambican in town!

What is this game called again? All I know is that it isn't football, which is the game I thought they would be playing.

Luka, never misses a chance to show us his artistic abilities!

Matching patriotic ribbons....I really need to have a daughter. I don't think Luka would like if I put ribbons on his hair. He had a hard enough time letting me put on the red sweater vest.

Luka really wanted to play volleyball and kept running into the game. I think he was a little disappointed when they kept picking him up and placing him on the sideline.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Home Sweet Home

We are back home and life is back to normal. Luka is loving being at home and mommy and daddy do to. We really hit the ground running when we arrived in Maputo. JJ was busy with work with six weeks of paperwork on his desk and I had to catch up on photo projects and some freelance jobs I am working on. I still haven't had time to upload all our photos from the trip.

Pretty soon I will have a site for the Infant Nutrition Program at Luka's orphanage. I promise more fun things on this blog next week....