Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Anniversary Luka



Dear Luka -

Can you believe that today it has been exactly two years that Mami and Papa brought you home? I can't believe how fast time has gone by. It seems like yesterday that I was looking at my 8-month old baby with all these questions and concerns and at the same time I had all this love in my heart that I couldn't believe was there just after a few days of knowing you. The day we brought you home we had known you for about 5 days and I swear when you woke up with us that first morning it felt like you had been with us for months and been growing in our hearts for even longer.

You are such a big, smart and beautiful boy. Who would have thought that our little tiny baby would have grown up so fast? I have a confession to make..the first couple of months you were with us I would do what every mother does, but shouldn't....I would compare you to other kids your age. Sweetie, you were so tiny and I would get upset when other people would say, "Oh, he is so cute...how old is the baby? Two months.." and I was like, "No, 10 months!!!!"

Well, you sure surprised all of us! Now at two years and 8 months you are blowing everyone away...including us and we see you everyday, but everyday you amaze us with your curiosity, intelligence and the way you see the world...not to mention your smile and great sense of humor (which I am sure you get from me...ha ha ha).

So today we celebrate your Adoption Day, Coming Home Day, Family Anniversary Day, Gotcha Day, etc. There are many things that we can call it, but it is the day that the three of us became a family. Adoption is a funny thing. If you haven't gone through it you can't imagine the bond you feel with this little person that you only met and had no idea was going to be a part of your life. It is truly special and Lukie this is something that we will always have just with you. Like I have told you before, your little brother/sis is growing in my belly, but you grew in my heart and when I saw you I knew you were my baby.

I love you Luka and remember this day (November 30) will always be Mami, Papa & Luka's special anniversary!

Mami

PS I know you were looking at these photos with me today and you were very surprised seeing yourself as a baby, but here they are for others to see. Here you are relaxing on daddy that first morning you woke up with us and the other photo is of you holding the bottle on your own the first week you were with us:



The video is really dark, but it was late and our lights are not that bright...But at least it documents this very special day and you can hear what great singers we are...NOT!

Friday, November 27, 2009

How I Survived My First Turkey



Yesterday's Thanksgiving dinner was a total success. The turkey was delicious and it was accompanied by home-made mash potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, stuffing (Thanks Laura!), butternut-squash pie (Thanks Paty!), salad (Thanks Ellie!).

Can I tell you I was a nervous wreck all day with the turkey?!?!? I couldn't imagine how this slimy ugly bird would turn into something delicious. For those of you that know me, well you know I am no iron chef in the kitchen. But I wanted to officially become an adult and make my first Thanksgiving turkey. Growing up I always thought that making the turkey on Thanksgiving or lechon for Noche Buena was for the adults. I had no idea how those things magically appeared on the table. Even as an adult living in Miami I only dared to contribute my homemade cranberry sauce for these family functions (damn good sauce by the way!), but never in my wildest dreams the turkey...the main event!

For those turkey veterans out there, you might be saying...come on it is not that hard. But trust me...I need a map to navigate my way around my own kitchen. Well, this will give you an idea of my culinary knowledge. Yesterday, as I was taking out my fresh herbs I ran into a problem. I took them out of the packaging...laid them all nicely on the cutting board...then as I started to chop and measure I realized that I wasn't sure which one was the parsley, rosemary or thyme. The parsley ok...I had a clue since at Denny's they always put a piece of useless parsley on your plate...but rosemary and thyme....NO FREAKING CLUE. I had to go online and look for photos. See I am totally useless and please try not to laugh.

But to make a long story just a little shorter, the Apple/Shallot (but I had to use red onions) Turkey was delicious and I think now I am confident and will offer to make the turkey at future Thanksgiving dinners. Rachel Ray watch out!

Oh, I mentioned what was on the dinner menu, but forgot to mention dessert. Oh, dessert! I made a pumpkin pie, my first as well, and boy was it good. It almost tasted like pumpkin cheesecake. I am actually enjoying a piece right now. Then we had traditional Dutch Apple Pie (that I ordered) and flan. My friend Laura made the flan and it was a special request from me since my mom always makes flan back home. Laura, estaba delicioso! Gracias.

Well enough about the food...the company was also superb. Let's see...we had the following countries represented: USA, Mozambique, Holland, Mexico, Argentina, Gambia & South Africa. How is that for an international Thanksgiving! Some of my friends were celebrating their first day of thanks. We were nine adults and SEVEN kids! They actually behaved really well and we were able to fit in some adult conversation. Here is a photo of the little ones...Baby Magdalena is missing:


A sneak peak into our dining room and set-up...we had another table. I wanted us to have plenty of room to eat until our heart's content.


This look on Luka lasted about 20 minutes, but he wanted to wear his tie. I thought it was really funny that he picked it out himself.


There is Baby Maggie and Luka trying to feed her. He really loves babies. He wanted to totally take care of her. I think he is going to be a great big brother!



For more Thanksgiving photos click here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving



Happy Thanksgiving and today is the final day of sharing what I am thankful for and of course I have saved the best for last.

Today I am thankful for the two wonderful boys in my life. JJ is the best partner I could have asked for and Luka's spirit and smile makes each day a blessing.

More later on how my first Thanksgiving turkey came out...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Catching Up on My Pledge



I had promised to share something that I was thankful for everyday until Thanksgiving. Well I have been doing it, but posting it on Facebook. Here is what I have been thankful for:

On November 20th...I am thankful that it is Friday and I am looking forward to the weekend full of activities...photo show, Luka's first school party, catching on shows with hubby and who knows what else. I just hope it stops raining in Maputo.

On November 21st...I am thankful the rain stopped in Maputo by the end of the day. It had been raining for days.

On November 22nd...Today is Sunday and I am VERY thankful for my hubby that let me sleep in until 8 am. Yes, that is considered sleeping in when you have a 2 year old!

On November 23rd...I am thankful for my dad. Thank you for always being there for me whenever I needed you. Whether it was homework, making campaign signs, picking me up in SoBe after drinking too much or pretending to be awake when I call before 7am from Mozambique. I love you Papi!

Yesterday I was thankful that I found a good size turkey in Maputo. I thought I wasn't going to be able to find it.

Oops, I guess I skipped November 24th.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I am in FONT heaven


Okay, those of you that know me know that that I love fonts and I love to write. Some people say I have nice handwriting. I kind of owe that to my dad...he always had and still has spectacular penmanship.

But now everyone can have thier own font in their own handwriting....This is the awesome and the best part is that it is free. Thank you to my friend Susana for sending me the link.

Click here to access the program.

Happy typing! And you are so going to get emails written in my handwriting now...ha ha.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Elizabeth Rocks!



Today...Melissa van Herksen is thankful for Elizabeth (our empregada). This woman is amazing and she is a little older so she has been the one to give me the advice that my abuela/mom would have given me in Miami when it comes to kids. She is the best. Luka loves her and having her allows us to have lots of quality time. She rocks!

Luka's First School Picture



My first reaction when I went this morning to pick-up the photo was one of total disappointment. I mean come on...not for nothing, but if Luka is one thing...he is photogenic...and his first school picture!

Once I had a few minutes to mull it over I realized that school pictures aren't supposed to be fabulous, right. There is something inherently dorky and nerdy about them. Who ever said that blue was a nice background, and I can just imagine what they were trying to do to make Luka laugh...He was probably thinking this is totally silly and my mommy says that candid shots are much better anyway...ha ha ha.

Well, it is what it is and here is our son's first school picture. But if you want to see Luka in his photogenic glory you can click here, here or here.

This is his class photo. If you click on the photo you will see the larger version. Look at Luka...I think he is purposely trying to make himself not smile...pretty funny!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thankful for My Mami


So far it is not hard to think of something everyday to be thankful for...the hard part is to just pick one thing...so here is what I am thankful for today:

Melissa van Herksen is thankful to her mom for all that she does. She manages to be a great mom and abuela even from thousands of miles away. I am especially thankful she convinced me to go on match.com after my 29th birthday or else I would have never met my husband, ended up in Mozambique and adopted Luka...talk about a chain of events. Gracias Mami, you are the best!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Today I am thankful for...

I have pledged to give thanks for something different everyday until Thanksgiving. This is what I am thankful for today:

Melissa van Herksen is thankful for her "Maputo" family. I don't know what I would have done without our friends here these last two years. You know who you guys are...some have gone off on other adventures, some will stay and some of us will go soon...but I love all of you.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What I am thankful for...


Recently on Facebook I started to notice that everyone was saying what they were thankful for. I was like...did everyone get together or is it a coincidence. Well I must have missed the status updates of one of my friends from high school when she said she was going to list one thing she was thankful for everyday until Thanksgiving. She also said that it would get harder as the days would go on. I don't think so...do you? Well, I am going to try it. From now until Thanksgiving I will post something I am thankful for in Facebook and I will also try to post it on the blog. This was today's entry:

"Melissa Vigues van Herksen is thankful for her growing family. God blessed us with a pregnancy. Do u know someone trying to have a child...tell them not 2 give up. It happened 2 us after 3 yrs of trying and the doctor telling us it would prob never happen. We just had to embrace parenthood and let go of the idea of getting pregnant. We adopted Luka and I think he was truly our lucky charm with this last attempt."

So yes, we are preggers. I am 14 weeks now and so far so good. The picture above is from 12 weeks or so. I have every symptom possible according to What to Expect When You are Expecting and as my doctor so eloquently put it when I told him I was having every symptom in the book...he said, "Well then stop reading the book." I have and I am starting to feel a little better. Now JJ reads it and updates me on any pertinent and vital information....ha ha ha.

I will try and keep you updated on the pregnancy and this incredible journey. Here are some picks of the earlier scans:

This was the scan we had right after we found out the IVF really worked. It was taken when the baby was 5 weeks...well sort of a baby...you can see the gestational sack. He/she is just a bubble at this point. On this day I still couldn't believe I was really pregnant.


This picture was taken at 8 weeks. Okay, on this day we heard the heartbeat and God was telling me, "Melissa, you are freaking pregnant....for real."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Some of Luka's Latest Creations...


Dad, this is for you. My father has been asking me to see Luka's latest creations at school. As you can see there is a big Halloween theme going for October. The ghost above was put on a little stand and he was able to display it when his friends came over for the Halloween Cookie Party. He was extremely proud!

Here is the Halloween Card he created at school for JJ and I. He especially wanted to show us the inside with the spider. He is obsessed with spiders at the moment!


He also colored this plane in school. Luka loves to pretend he is flying. I think it is from me telling him about our upcoming trip to the states in January. He actually puts his car seat in the middle of the living room and pretends he is buckling his seat belt on the "avion." In this drawing he said the black lines were clouds...


Monday, November 09, 2009

Luka & His Ice Cream



Luka recently discovered ice cream. I can't say that he loves it, but he loves to ask for it...take a couple of licks and then give it to mommy. So I guess it works out for everyone...Luka doesn't overload on sugar and I get an ice cream cone!

Thank you Paty for the great photo!