Monday, May 31, 2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

In the Morning with My Boys...

Since Sam came home JJ and I have parted beds on a temporary basis so that Sam and I could get this feeding routine down. We don't really have a large bed and Sam has been sleeping next to me. So instead of sleeping in constant fear that we would roll over on him, JJ has been sleeping in the guest bedroom.

I think Sam and I are just about ready for daddy to come back to bed...I think Sammy is ready to sleep in the bassinet next to us.

But every morning we all met as a family in our bedroom. I love mornings with all my boys in bed. Usually Luka walks in around 6 am to say hello to Sam and I (I am usually feeding him). Then I ask him to go get daddy....then we all jump in bed and Luka usually makes us laugh about something or other. JJ also has his morning time with Sammy. It is really my favorite time of day.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Luka Getting to Know His New Little Brother

Luka is loving his new little brother. This video was taken last night. Luka was really intrigued with Sam's feet and the rest of him too. I love seeing them together. I just can't get enough. I hope this brotherly love lasts FOREVER.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Latin Baby Group

Today Sam made his debut at the Latin Baby Group. For almost a year now my Latin girlfriends and I have been meeting on Thursdays with the kids. They always have a great time and it gives us girls an excuse to gossip and girl talk in Spanish....or as in my case....Spanglish.

Here in the photo you can see Sam surrounded by all of us and the kids. The kids range from 2 weeks (Sam) to 5 years old (Celeste). By the way Luka has a BIG crush on Celeste. He keeps telling me he wants to marry her. She is the little girl in the middle of the photo with the light blue shirt.

Sam's iPhone Session @ Two Weeks

Today Sam is two weeks old and during our regular 6 am feeding I decided to put Daddy's new iPhone to good use. His new model has here are some "moving" pictures of Sammy after he had his milk in the morning. Not too exciting, but you can see some of his many faces and are some pictures too:

"Seriously, Mommy?!?!?"

For those of you that grew up watching Different Strokes, in this one Sam is saying "What you talking about Willis?"

"Damn, I am cute!"

Here Sam is napping in his favorite spot...Mommy's chest. This boy only likes to sleep on Mommy's or Daddy's chest.

Sam's Official Birth Announcement

(American version)

(Dutch version)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Strong Genes in the van Herksen Family

(photo of JJ's sister Anniek as a newborn)

JJ's middle sister - Anniek - sent me these photos this week. I think now we know who Sam looks like. Okay, he looks a little like JJ, but Anniek as a baby and Sam have MANY similarities.

This is JJ's baby picture:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Who Does Sam Look Like?

You can't help but ask when you see a new baby, "Who does he/she look like?" Really, it is kind of silly because they change so much and they might look like mom on day one but then six months later be the spitting image of their father.

But nonetheless it is fun to compare and we have been doing the same thing. So let the comparisons begin.

I haven't had any luck finding many baby photos of JJ and I. I have no idea where I have put those two albums, but I will find is just a matter of time. What I did manage to find is this photo that was taken of me at the hospital the day I was born (June 3, 1975). I am still trying to figure out why I have a blue blanket...hello, didn't they know I was a girl!

Well, what do you think? Any similarities with Sam...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sam @ One Week

Dear Sam,

Today you are a week old. I can't believe it. I swear it was just yesterday that they put you in my arms for the first time. Seriously, where has the time gone? These last seven days have been a whirlwind and it has been full of new experiences for all of us.

You are our little miracle baby and I never thought I would take care of such a tiny human being. Your father and I thought we had this parenting thing down, but it is a whole different ballgame with a newborn. We have so many questions and doubts, but along with every question or worry there is a moment of pure joy.

Your father and I are asking questions all the time to make sure we are taking good care of you. Your dad especially is great and looks up any questions I have. The two of us have been with you all week...well I sort of have to right, or you don't eat but your dad took time off work to get to know you and take care of you. I think you really like your dad since your favorite place to nap is on his chest. I think you even like it better than mine (unless you are hungry).

Let's see in just one week we have....bathed you...watched you make all sorts of different faces...heard you cry, burp, sneeze and also peed on me twice already while I was changing your diaper. And just today you lost your umbilical cord!

After just one week your big brother is totally in love with you. He doesn't miss an opportunity to give you a kiss or show you off. I think that the both of you are going to get along great.

I also have to mention what a great baby you are. You hardly ever cry and you actually like to sleep at night....please, let's keep that up.

Well, you are about to wake up...I think it is time for some milk!



PS To see all of our photos from Sam's first week click here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Home Sweet Home

The four of us were very happy to finally be home. Here we are after a long car trip (Sam's First Road Trip) from Nelspruit, South Africa to Maputo. It took about 3.5 hours to get home and we couldn't get there fast enough. I think that besides me, Luka was the happiest to finally be home! The only bad part is that we won't be here for long :(

Thank you to Paty and Laura for the surprise homecoming with the signs and flowers. The sign says "It's a Boy" or something close to that in Dutch. I need to verify with my hubby....

Our First Family Portrait

Yesterday I was blown away when Luka showed me the drawing he had made of the family. No one asked him to draw it and he didn't have any help with the drawing. The only thing that he got help on was labeling the faces. I couldn't believe how much better he can draw now and how he was able to scale the faces with Sam being the smallest. I was so proud that I had to share it with everyone!!!! Since we brought Sam home I think Luka is growing up on "overdrive." Please slow down Lukie!

Here is a close-up of the drawing:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Happy Feet

Here are Sam's feet on day five...I still don't know if he has mine or JJ's feet, but I am leaning towards JJ. But one thing is for sure...he has big feet and that he gets from both of us.

Sam's First Bath

Sam had a bath at the hospital on the second day, but JJ and I were there and it was a very traumatic experience. Today we gave Sam his first official bath at "home." He cried at first but then when Daddy started swaying him in the water he really enjoyed it!

The Boys are Sleeping...

I got up from bed and realized that all my boys were taking a nap and I couldn't resist snapping a photo of each of them. Sam's favorite spot to nap is on Daddy's chest and then I walked into the other room and found Luka resting peacefully with "Lucy." Isn't this photo delicious?

He has been practicing how to be a big brother with Lucy the entire pregnancy and now he likes to imitate me with Sam. For example when I change Sam's diaper he changes Lucy's diaper, etc.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day Three with Sam

It has been three days since Sam made his entrance into the world and the whole family can't get enough of him. Here he is taking one of his many naps.

I think here he is getting a little tired of the camera in his face..."Please mommy, do you always have to take a photo?"

Yesterday we got to take Sam Sam “home” or to our temporary home in Nelspruit. He was ready to go...I wasn't so sure about me. But off we were. We had to wait for the doctor to give me the okay and after a long list of medications for the pain and “recovery” we were getting Sam ready for the ride home.

He wore a special outfit that my mom bought us before we knew the sex and it goes great with his special yellow blanket that used to be mine when I was baby (my grandmother made it for me). After we put on his special outfit we wheeled him out of the hospital….in Nelspruit they don’t wheel out the mom, just the baby. I had to take a breather while JJ fetched the car. And finally in a few minutes he was in his new car seat.

Off we went to introduce Sam to his big brother. When we drove up to the house Luka was so freaking happy. He practically jumped on the car to see Sam. He can't stop giving him kisses and for some reason he is obsessed with seeing his hands and feet and making his little brother clap. He also wants him to talk right away.

Luka is totally in love with Sam. All he wants to do is kiss him every time he is close to him.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's Time...

The day started off pretty normal with no indication that our baby would arrive soon. We went to breakfast with my girlfriends – Paty & Laura – that had stopped for a visit from Maputo (the day before we had spend the entire day shopping).

After breakfast the four of us (JJ, Luka, Clotilde and I) went to the mall again (can you tell there is not much for us to do here). JJ and I went “house” shopping and Luka enjoyed the playground with Clotilde.

3:30 pm - After the mall it was time for our appointment with the doctor to see how the baby was progressing at 39 weeks. The doctor seemed a little concerned. He said the baby had not dropped at all and he didn’t feel he/she was going to…maybe the head was too big and my pelvis wasn’t helping the situation. His biggest concern was that the baseline hearbeat was a little lower than he would have liked to see. He explained that maybe that placenta was no longer functioning optimally and it was time to discuss how to deliver this baby.

OMG…it was time and I don’t think JJ and I were ready! He asked us to return to the hospital that evening where they would start a slow induction to try and get things moving along. So off we were to get our bag and things ready for the baby’s arrival. Tomorrow at some point we would be holding our new baby in our arms.

5:00 pm - We went to the grocery store to make sure Luka and Clotilde had food and supplies for the next couple days.

5:30 pm - We went “home” to talk to Luka and let him know what would be happening. I think he sort of understood what was going on. Here are our last photos as a threesome….by this time tomorrow we will be a foursome.

6:15 pm - We arrived at Stephano’s where we had our “last meal” before the baby’s arrival. I was told to have pasta to store my engery, but the truth is that I was so nervous and my belly was so big that I really couldn’t fit much in my stomach.

7:15 pm - We arrive at Nelspruit Medi-Clinic and walk to the Labor Ward to have our baby. I never pictured that it would happen like this. What happened to the drama of my water breaking in the middle of the mall or having to wake up JJ at 3 am saying “It’s time honey!” Oh, well…the truth is that you never know how your birth will go. You can have all these plans and then most likely it won’t turn out how you planned. So I had to settle for:

Melissa: “Yes, hello my name is Melissa van Herksen and I am here to have my baby.”

Receptionist: “Are you in labor?”

Melissa: No

Receptionist: Okay, please have a seat until I am done with this patient.

As I am sitting there another woman arrives huffing and puffing. I have to tell you, I was a little bit


8:30 pm - Here we are in the labor ward waiting for them to give me the gel to induce. They say it

could take hours…like 12 hours for anything to happen. Lets hope it doesn’t take that long. By the

way…was there a full moon or something because the labor ward is PACKED. There is no room

the pregnant woman are everywhere and you can hear them.

9:30 pm - The gel has arrived. Let the labor begin….more on the actual delivery in another post.

Here I am strapped to the monitor so they could check the baby’s heartbeat before the “games”

begin. You can also see the LAST photo of my belly (39 weeks and 1 day).

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Golden Arches

(He really liked it...don't pay attention to his face...that is the same face he puts anytime he bites into his food)

Today we spent the morning at home…JJ catching up on this studies and I was hanging out with Luka. Then we headed to McDonald’s for lunch. For most of you reading this it might not seem like a big deal, but I love going to McDonald’s every time we come to Nelspruit. It is such a treat and I don’t feel that guilty because it is usually once about every 6 weeks and it just recently opened so it hasn’t even been that long.

Luka also shares my enthusiasm for those golden arches and I don’t really know why, except for the fact that he knows how much I like it. He goes crazy yelling, “Look McDonalds’s!!! Look, look.” Until today he wouldn’t dare try the food, but today he had his first 3 bites of a Happy Meal Cheeseburger. I was such proud mommy. Before some of you go crazy thinking how could she be proud of Luka sucking down all that trans fat. Well, my son doesn’t like to chew or eat regular food…so this was a BIG step. Since we arrived to Nelspruit he also eats peanut butter or ham/cheese sandwiches. This is HUGE! But the hamburger was a big accomplishment.

After our delicious lunch as McDonald’s (I also had a Happy Meal) it was time for our visit with the doctor at 38 weeks. The good news is that the baby is doing great and seems to be really comfortable in my belly.

There are no signs yet that he/she wants to meet us in person yet. The doctor did tell us that he/she already weighs 3.4 kg (7.5 lbs) and has a fairly big head (OUCH FOR ME!!!). Can you imagine if he/she decides to stay in there 3 more weeks….it could be a HUMUNGOUS baby. But lets focus on the good news….We are both healthy and everything is fine.

JJ and I will get cracking on some “exercises” to help move this labor along…I am talking about walking of course! ha ha ha….why, what did you think I meant?

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Waiting at 38 Weeks

Here we are in Nelspruit, South Africa “waiting” for Baby van Herksen to arrive. Under the recommendation of the doctor we decided to come to South Africa two weeks before our official due. So here we are..Luka, JJ, Clotilde and I. We had to bring Clotilde so that Luka would have someone to hang out with once we went into labor. I keep saying “we” because I realized today after our first and probably only prenatal class that if I really want to do this “naturally” JJ is going to have to be there every step of the way.

The class was great. We took at the class at Bella Rose Birthing Center right outside of Nelspruit. Belinda was great! She sat with us for almost 3 hours and went through everything that would happen with the labor, how I would feel, the breastfeeding, etc…she gave us lots of pointers and we learned some things that we didn’t know. I mean all these books we have can only take us so far. It is different when you sit with someone that has witnessed 100s of births.

We will be having the baby at the hospital. My doctor wasn’t into going to the birthing center and after 3 years of being with him and after all he did for us to get us preggers JJ and I felt like we would be “cheating” on him if we opted for the birthing center and I really love my doctor. He is the best!

Those of you that are reading this and have been to Nelspruit might be saying….what the heck are they going to do there for 3-4 weeks? Well so far, we have been to 2 malls and the grocery store. But today I made a list of fun things to do around town…visiting the Elephant Sanctuary, Botanical Gardens, Petting Zoo, Monkeyland. Those are just a few. I really have to keep Luka busy, even though all I want to do is hang out at “home” on my computer, read baby books or watch tv/movies. But that wouldn’t be fair to him.

Tomorrow is our check-up at the doctor so we will have more news on the baby!

Here is a photo of my belly today (38 weeks)…it still hasn’t dropped and I think I have a couple of weeks to go….YIKES.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Luka Eats Cake & More Photos

Yesterday was a day full of activities. We spent the afternoon at Laura's House at a big send-off party for a bunch of us. Luka had a great time and even enjoyed some flan. For those of you that know Luka's eating habits....that was a BIG deal. But the excitement didn't end there. In the late afternoon we went to our friend's house to celebrate Tendai's Birthday and here Luka ate his first cupcake. Can you believe it!!! This boy finally had a cupcake at 3 years old.

Here are some photos of Luka having fun at Laura's House and the party. Here he is with his friend Andrea:

Here is Luka with Peter, Max & Celeste. He has a major crush on Celeste, but she is like 8 years old (she is kneeling in this photo). Everyday he tells me he wants to marry her:

Luka and JJ enjoying some outdoor time with Laura's dog:

Here are our friends Kebba, Ellie & Tendai. Happy Birthday Tendai!

Here you can see Luka as he sneaked around the corner with his new friend Mariana to enjoy a private dance. You should have seen them. One moment they are dancing in front of everyone then the next thing I know they are holding hands and walking around the corner to enjoy some alone time. Has he gotten over Celeste so easily??? ha ha. This boy loves his dancing!

Here I am at 38 weeks...

This was taken yesterday at my friend Laura's House. We spent the afternoon there with some friends for a party. Thank you Lauri for such a great afternoon. I will post more photos later of Luka and all his friends. He really had a blast.