Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sam Loves His New Stroller


Here you can see Sam really enjoying his new stroller chair. For the first 4.5 months he was in his car seat that would attach to his stroller frame, but now that our container has arrived he got to "estrenar" his Quinny stroller seat. He loves the extra room and the sitting position!

In this photo you can also see how he has started to play with his toys. Sam is not the only one that loves the Quinny. I am so happy we got this stroller. The streets are so steep and bumpy in La Paz and this stroller drives like a dream.....

Just in case you are interested. Here is a video on our new favorite stroller:

Drowning in Boxes


I apologize for being out of commission for the last couple of days, but our container arrived last week and we have been drowning in boxes...338 boxes/items to be exact. Who knew we could travel around the world with so many things.

Here is a very bad photo from the chaos that is our living room at the moment. Hopefully in two weeks I will be sending you beautiful photos of our fabulous new home. Well, I hope it will be fabulous.

See you soon!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Moqui


Hey Sis....Happy Birthday. Wow, I can't believe my little sis is 32 years old today. You are all grown up! When did that happen? I just wanted to tell you that we love you and hope you have a great birthday. I promised to spoil you next time we are in Miami. I hope you take time out to do something fun today...you deserve it

By the way next time we are all together we need to "update" this photo with Evan & Sam.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Birthday Party Extravaganza


This weekend we had our third birthday party in La Paz. It seems that Luka's social calendar is going to be very full for the next couple of years. This party was out of control. As you can see from the photo there were pony rides! There was also a show, face painting, prizes, an ice cream stand, playground, waiters, a zillion cupcakes and the food kept flowing the entire time. The only thing I couldn't get was a glass of water...go figure.

The kids had a blast. Between the enormous slide (the he must have gone down like 50 times), the pony and the show that ended with a Barney number Luka was in HEAVEN!

Thank you Luciana (she is in the other KG3 class at Luka's school) for inviting us to your fabulous party!

Sam also seemed to enjoy himself...

My New Favorite Shoes


Okay, I never thought I would make a post about a pair of shoes...but I have grown very fond of this pair and I thought they deserved it. I know I am crazy, but aren't these shoes cute. I get really excited when I find a pair of shoes that are cute and comfortable. The reason I get really excited is because I am a size 12...yes, you read right a freaking size 12. I get happy when I find a pair of shoes that don't look orthopedic.

I used to be an 11 and then somewhere between getting married and giving birth my shoe size grew to a 12 or 43/44 for you European folks.

Thank you Payless for making cute shoes in my size...I just wish they would last longer and please if there are any shoe executives reading this post (probably not) please please start making nice shoes in size 12 and please don't hire shoe salespeople that laugh at you when you tell them your size (has happened on more than one occasion).

To all of you that are reading this and have regular size feet...be grateful.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday at the Tennis Club


It seems that anyone who is anyone in La Paz (I am being sarcastic) is a member of one of the "clubs" in town. So far we have visited the Golf Club and heard of the the Horse Riding Club and the German Club. Today we went to the Tennis Club with some friends.

The names are misleading because for example the "Tennis Club" has two pools, an amazing gym with spinning classes, several places to eat, an awesome Little Tykes playground area for the kids and of course dozens of tennis courts....but as you can see it is not just to play tennis.

Basically if we join the Tennis Club we would be doing it to have a nice/safe place for Luka and Sam to play and to have the use of the gym...oh I forgot the best part....they give massages for 80 Bs. ($12 USD for one hour!) Oh yeah and JJ loves to play tennis, but come on a $12 massage. I am so signing up.

Well, here is a photo of Luka and Sam on our first visit to the Tennis Club and it was also Sam's first time on any type of playground swing.

My Latest Photo Book Project

Click here to view this photo book larger

I just finished this photo book and I am sending it to Elizabeth & Clotilde in Mozambique. They were such a big part of our lives, but especially Luka's and I thought it would be a good way to thank them. I also think that this is a great way for Luka to remember his Mozambican family. Enjoy...

PS There is a letter on the first page in Portuguese. Here is the English Translation:

Dear Elizabeth & Clotilde -

It is hard to believe that three years pass by so quickly.Thank you for everything you did for me and my family. You took care of me and loved me and I will never forget that. You were my friends and in the end you became part of our family.

You will always be my special family from Mozambique and I promise to come visit you when I am older. I hope you never forget me!

I miss you!

Love,

Luka Dario Tinhiko van Herksen

Friday, September 17, 2010

View of Zona Sur

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Excited About Re-Decorating


(I am so ordering this wall decal for Luka's room)

It is Thursday and in about five days or so we will move into our new apartment. After four months of living in hotels, the four of us are so READY to move into our home. But I am particularly excited about redecorating. We have all of our old furniture and we have bought some new pieces, but with a new house I can reinvent every room. This is one of the perks of this life. Stay tuned for photos of our new house....

For now I will leave you with some inspirational photos that I will try to copy in our new house. I just realized that all the photos I posted are for the kid's rooms...oh, well...those are the most fun to decorate anyway.




I am obsessed with the idea of having a tree over Sam's crib? What do you think?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Home Depot Way



We are about to move into our new apartment and there are many things we need to buy for the new place, such as light bulbs, lamps, faucets, etc. Silly me to think there was a "Home Depot" type of store in town. This is our "Home Depot" Way. It is a cluster of streets in the downtown of Zona Sur (where we live). At first I was like...these places are not going to have what we need. Well, trust me...whatever you want they have it. Anything you need to fix your house you can find it on these little streets and in these little stores.

Luka came with me on this afternoon adventure and as you can see from his beautiful expression he was anything but excited. These days he only likes to go to toy stores.
PS Sorry for the blurry photos but they were taken with my phone while trying to hold on to Luka so that he wouldn't jump in a taxi without me. He really wanted to leave.

A Boy & His Toys


Sam is getting really good and playing with his toys. He grabs things and is very intrigued by objects now. It changes from day to day, but for the last two days or so he really loves his "Very Hungry Caterpillar."

One of Luka's New Friends



Luka has been busy making new friends around town. Here is a photo of him and Candela. Thank you to Maria's (Candela's mom) for sending me this beautiful photo. Well, Candela is sort of a new friend. Maria and her family were also in Maputo at the same time we were and we had a close friend in common. Well, here in Bolivia we have reacquainted and it has been a godsend to have someone in town that I know with kids the same age. She also has a baby a couple weeks older than Sam. Thank you Maria! And thank you to Salut and Sergio for introducing us.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

First Time on Exersaucer


Sam is finally big enough to sit in his very own Exersaucer...I think that is what you call these activity chairs for babies. He seems a little intrigued but still can't use the chair to its full potential, but we are getting there. It also gives mommy at least 10 minutes of freedom or time to go to the bathroom.

We went with the Fisher Price Take Along Hop and Pop. I searched all around town for one of these contraptions and who knew it would be so hard to find one. The one I really wanted was $200 USD and I couldn't bring myself to spend that type of cash when they sold the same one at Babies-R-Us for $59 USD. Welcome to La Paz! Well I think Sam likes this one just fine and it seems to be working and we only spent around $100 USD. Next time I will bring it from Miami.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Happy Fourth


No, it is not the 4th of July or Sam’s 4th birthday. Today we celebrated his FOUR MONTHS! Can you believe that our Sammy is already 4 months?

My mom started this tradition of celebrating every month leading up to the first birthday with Maxwell and it has kept going with Sam. I don’t think we blew out candles on his 2nd month (but that is my fault) because we were traveling. Today Luka assisted his little brother in blowing out four candles on a delicious apple pie…yummy! The pie is more for us than Sam.

I really like the tradition because it forces you to capture a picture or video at that moment. Then by month 12 you have a well-documented account of your baby’s progress during his first year. Thank you Mom for this great idea!

Okay, back to Sam. Yes, our little man is 4 months and it is amazing to see how much you have grown in the last couple of months. The changes are amazing and everyday is a new adventure. Let’s see what are you up to these days…

You still only like to breastfeed. Everyday we try to give you a bottle and everyday we are reminded that you are a baby that loves mommy’s boobs. Okay, we have to talk about this…Sam, you have to try. It will give mommy a break and you might even like it. I hear it is much easier to drink from a bottle than a boob. But I will tell you a little secret…there are times that I actually like that I am the only one that can feed you and it is our special time together. Nothing beats that look of satisfaction that you give me when you have filled up your tummy. But don’t tell anyone I said that and yes I still want you to learn how to drink from a bottle.

At four months your facial expressions have also changed. You don’t like taking naps during the day and when you do you fall asleep, on the rare occasion, it is with a big frown and you almost look mad because you are missing out on something. Your smile and laugh are contagious at this point. You have started to laugh out loud at your silly parents and your smile is bigger and more beautiful than ever. You also have a new cautious face that I see every time your big brother jumps on the bed to lay down next to you and play. It looks like you are telling me, “Mommy, please don’t let him hurt me.” Luka loves you so much but doesn’t realize that you are still just a little baby.

As far as playing you are now grabbing your toys and like to stick some things in your mouth, but your hands are still your favorite. You tolerate about 10 minutes in the Baby Gym and just this week you started to sit in your Exersaucer/Activity Chair. You seem to like it, but I am guessing that in a month when you are a little bigger you will enjoy it even more, as I suspect you will be bouncing up and down at that point.

One thing that has not changed since we brought you home is your love of bath time. We have our nighttime routine that starts off with a warm bath and as soon as I lay you on the bed and start to take off your clothes to get you ready you start to laugh and get this look of anticipation on your face. Daddy and I still give you a bath together every night and we love it! We are still using the portable bath we bought in South Africa and to tell you the truth you are a little big for it now. You seem to kick all the water out of the tub by the end of the bath, but just wait…when we move into our new house next week you will have a big bath and I suspect you will have more room to splash around.

Sammy, it has been a crazy four months with all the moving, hotels, visiting families, etc. You know you have been in seven countries (South Africa, Mozambique, Portugal (airport only), Holland, United Kingdom (airport only), United States & Bolivia) since you were born. How many four month olds can say that? I really thought you were going to have a tougher time, but you have been a trooper. You have adapted so well to each place (even La Paz at 3,800 meters) and slept through the night in every country. Sleeping through most of the night makes up for your aversion to naps during the day.

We love you Sammy and can’t wait to see how much you change in the next 30 days!

To see photos of Sam during his 4th month click here.

Here we are blowing out the candles of your cake. Please don't mind your mommy's hair...it was a long day:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Our First School Picnic


Today was the ACS (American Cooperative School) Family Picnic. It was our first official school event with Luka and he had a blast. He bowled, fished, tossed rings, bounced in a castle, played on the monkey bars and even got a fake tattoo. I think he took advantage of all the activities/games being offered.

It was also great to meet new families from the school and from around town. We still don't know a lot of people so JJ and I were extra friendly and got to meet some new folks. Do we really have to make new friends every four years? This making friends thing is hard work. It is like starting a new school every time...oh, yeah that is what Luka & Sam will have to go through...poor babies.

You can see all the photos by clicking here.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Liking the New Couch


I think Sam is more excited than us with the new couches. Here he is in the new apartment just after they arrived. I am not sure if he likes the couches or the plastic on the couches. In any case the van Herksen family hopes to be in their new home this Friday....whooo hooo!!!!

Just in case you were curious...here is a photo of what our new couches really look like! The picture doesn't do the couch justice. We got two couches and a chair. I will post photos once the living room is done.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Catching Up on His Favorite Book


I caught Sam holding his first book and concentrating as he was reading a novel. I just had to take a photo.

I bought this little plastic book in Holland. It is meant for the bath but Sam likes to play with it all day. It is actually one of the few toys that catch his interest at his ripe young age of almost four months. It is a Nijntje book (in English he is called Miffy, but in our house it is Nijntje). It is a Dutch creation and I think one of my favorite characters around. I love the simplicity of the drawings and the bold colors! We have shirts, books, toys and videos. Click on this link and enjoy!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Happy Birthday Grandpa & Papi


Dear Grandpa -

I wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday. I am sorry that I woke you up so early, but I wanted to be the first one to sing to you on your special day. I asked mommy like 100 times to go to Miami for your birthday. I really want to go to your birthday party and blow out all those candles with you. Mommy told me they were a whole lot of candles, but she said I have to wait a little while before we fly to Miami again.

I hope you have a great day and tell everyone I said hello.

Love,

Luka

PS Sam, Mami and Papi also send you a big hug

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Like Mother, Like Son



Recently my parents emailed me some photos of when I was a baby. These photos are great and my dad says there are more coming. They bought some sort of machine to digitize all their film and slides....I can't wait to see more!

Here are the first ones I got. First of all doesn't my mom look great and man...she was so young. And did you see the awesome blue car! And third of all (although my husband does not agree) doesn't Sam look just like me! Sam is just the blond version...don't you think?

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Scenes from Our Sunday

Today was a great day. What a beautiful Sunday in La Paz. We started off this afternoon with a trip to the city's Golf Club. We were invited by Stephan's (Luka's classmate) parents.

As the taxi driver kept driving up the mountain I kept wondering...where the heck is this golf course...there is no way there could be a golf course here! I mean we were in the freaking rocks and the road to the club seemed as it if was carved out of the mountains for the sole purpose of arriving to the Golf Club. But low and behold and we drove up to the main gate you saw the green fields. It was amazing! It is the highest golf course in the world. So, let's see....I live in the highest capital of the world. We flew into the highest airport in the world and today we had lunch at the highest golf course in the world! Wow, that seems like a lot for two weeks. ha ha ha.

Here is a photo of the golf course:

After lunch it was off to see the Lion King...or should I say El Rey Leon. Boy, was I impressed! The show was great and Luka kept on singing and dancing when we got home. I think now I have to download the soundtrack for him. He loves the music!

Here we are as we just arrived to the theatre...which happens to be at his school...they rent it out to the local production company.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Sam's Stats


This week Sam and I went to the doctor for his three month check up and he passed with flying colors. This boy is in the 95% for height!!! He weighs 6.7 kgs (14.8 lbs) and is 67 cm (26.4 in.) long...and isn't he so cute to top it all off. Here is a photo of him hanging out in the hotel.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Spending the Day with Luka's Class


Today was Student Appreciation Day at Luka's school and they had a day full of fun activities for the kids (magicians, BBQ, games, etc). I thought it would be a good day to hang out and spend some time with my son at school. I asked the teacher and she said it would be fine. Well, it was a BAD idea. Who knew that your child turned into someone else when you were in the class? I was feeling really bad and a little embarrassed, but then his teacher came to me and told me that it was completely normal for your child to act up if you in the classroom. Sorry, Luka mommy won't be spending the day in your class anytime soon!

It wasn't all bad. It was fun to see Luka and his classmates interact and I did get some fun pictures.

To see the photos from Student Appreciation Day click here.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Maputo on the Front Page of CNN.com

(photo taken from here)

It is a pity that Mozambique has made the front online page of CNN.com for these reasons. Mozambique is hardly ever on the international news scene and now it is a negative story. You can see the story entitled Gunplay in Mozambique Streets by clicking here. I hope all my friends in Mozambique are doing okay. In 2008 we also had riots for the same reasons - rising food, fuel and transportation prices - but they seem to be worse this time.

Click here for yet another article.

My thoughts and prayers are with my friends in Maputo.