Sunday, January 30, 2011

Luka is All About Grease

Luka's Version of "Summer Lovin" from Melissa van Herksen on Vimeo.

A couple of days ago I posted about Luka being obsessed with GREASE. Well he has memorized the melodies of all the songs from the movie. The words not so much, but who needs the actual words when you can sing a song like this. This is Luka's rendition of Summer Lovin.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Say Cheese...


Luka loves to take photos and have pictures taken of him as well. He wanted to let you know that we have uploaded many new photos to our online photo album. Take a peek here...

Enjoy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Our First Jungle Adventure



Two weeks ago we went to Coroico. It is about a three hour drive out of La Paz and it is a completely different world. It is literally the jungle with warm humid weather. Just the drive there is amazing. The climate changes and the landscape goes from rocky mountains to mountains covered in trees and vegetation. To get there you have to go UP then all the way down. We literally drove through the clouds.

I have to say my only complaint about Coroico are the 50+ mosquitos bites I still have. These were some killer mosquitos and for some reason they wanted to attack me. Thank goodness they left Sammy alone and Luka only got three-four big bites, but my legs and arms look as if I just had the chicken pox (which I know I don't have). I hope they clear up soon.

Well, Coroico was treat. It was great to getaway and see some of the real Bolivia. We live in the Zona Sur, it is sort of the Wysteria Lane of Bolivia, and it was very refreshing to be in a real town.

The five of us (Evelin the nanny came with us) rented a taxi so that we could have our own personal tour guide, but really it was because there was no way we were going to drive down some of these roads. I mean you felt as if you were literally going to fall off the mountain. Our taxi driver was great and he manuevered his Toyota really well.

Look at this photo...one more step and Luka and JJ would have slide right down. It was a little scary.


Our first stop were the three waterfalls. I left the hotel in flip flops that morning....NOT A GOOD IDEA. I nearly killed myself climbing the waterfalls like that. Next time I really need to wear shoes. Then we were headed to the river. Luka was impressed by the strength of the water.


All this excitement made Luka very tired.


Sam was very happy in the taxi reading his picture book about the jungle. And yes no car seat...I know, we didn't have a choice. What can I say...it was truly an adventure.


We headed back to downtown Coroico for lunch. We invited Jaime our taxi driver to join us. It was a small little restaurant in a backpacker hotel with a spectacular view. Here are JJ and Luka taking breather on a bench after lunch:


Typical Bolivian Cholita.


After lunch we were off to Tocaña - one of 5-6 small villages in Bolivia with Afro-Bolivianos. Luka was a star there. The black Bolivian folks could not get over that we had a black son and he was really from Africa...a real African in thier village. They are very proud of their African roots, but it is rare to have a visit from a Mozambican three year old. I have mentioned before on the blog the fact that there aren't many black people in La Paz. I can count on my hands the number of black people I have seen, so we are used to Luka being stared at in town, but I thought Afro-Bolivianos wouldn't even blink to see Luka. But they all wanted to talk to him and hear him speak Spanish and English...Luka was happy to entertain them.

Luka and JJ making friends...


This is the welcome center in Tocaña...I am serious. They invited us to come into this room and watch a video about Afro-Bolivianos and buy some souvenirs. It is also a place where grungy Argentinian Backpackers, mostly students, come and hang out. Really interesting, but I am soooooo over backpacking...ha ha ha.



To see all the photos from our jungle adventure click here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

So Many Things to Tell & So Little Time


I feel like I have so many things to share and not enough hours in the day to sit down and blog about it, but I guess I am not the only mommy that is short on time. But so many things have been happening, let's see...here is the quick version:

Our little Sammy is just about ready to crawl. He sort of crawls now but after two strides he collapses and doesn't really understand that he can keep moving. It is really quite entertaining to watch but then you start to feel bad with his cries of desperation. He is also totally off the breastfeeding now. It has been almost two weeks and I think, no I know, that it was much worse for me than it was for him. I never thought I would feel bad about not breastfeeding anymore, especially after those months in the beginning where he would feed almost every hour. But I started to like it and I got really sad when I stopped. But almost 8 months was long enough and we stopped so that we would all get more sleep at night and for the most part it has worked. He wakes up much less, but as I type this line I know he will keep me up tonight (whenever I say things like this I just jinx it).

Luka...for those of you that haven't seen Luka in a while you won't recognize him...not so much in the way he looks, he is just taller, but more in the way he talks and things he says. He is such a little chatterbox and boy does he love to sing. His love for music and rhythm was apparent since he was a baby, but now, now he is a star! He was the hit of the Christmas show (I never posted those photos, did I?) and he knows almost all of the Lion King songs by heart. He doesn't really get all the words right, but the melody is 100%. I was actually getting really annoyed with Lion King songs so I introduced him to another musical this week - GREASE.

OMG, I have created a Danny Zuko (not sure if that is how you spell his name) monster. He thinks he is a T-Bird and he walks around saying he loves Sandy. For the last two days if Luka is alone he is repeating lines from Grease or singing a song from the movie. The first 2 hours it was cute...now I can't get Grease lyrics out of my head...totally my fault, I know.

For me lots of new things have been happening. I have been super busy with Mami Love Design. This week I had my first logo client. What do you think? Just click here to see the logo. I also have clients that have asked for photo sessions, birthday cards, stationery sets, business cards, etc. I am really happy on how well it is all going and I haven't really started to advertise yet. I have a plan, but I don't think I will have time to put the plan in motion until I get back from Miami.

Yes, that is the most exciting news of all. The van Herksen family is headed to Miami and we are ALL super happy and eager to literally go DOWN to Miami. La Paz has been great, but the altitude is strange and I think we need an overdose of oxygen. Even JJ is super psyched about our month long adventure in South Florida. This time we have Sam's Baptism to look forward to and his sister Anniek will come from Holland. One of Sam's godfathers is coming all the way from South Korea - Jaco & Leontien we can't wait to see you.

You might have noticed that I said one of his godfathers. Well, of course I always make things difficult. Luka has two godmothers (Marielle and Monica) and Sam will have two godfathers (Wole & Jaco). My uncle (the priest) thinks I am a little silly but as his niece he has no other choice than to let me have my same-sex godparents....ha ha ha.

Well, I have to work and start packing for the trip! More updates soon...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sam's First Baby Gym Class

Mommy and Sammy have signed up for the gym. No we won't be on the treadmill..it is Baby Gym silly!

Today was our first class and Sam had a blast. He was really into all of the activities and wanted to socialize with everyone. In the video you can see him going down the slide all on his own. This exercise is supposed to get him ready for crawling. We are almost there....a few more days or weeks maybe. Let's see.

Here Sam was captivated by the bubbles. The teacher told us that it is a great exercise to to with babies for their concentration and it is also a great way to calm them down. I think I will try blowing bubbles next time Sammy throws a fit. I will let you know if it works


Sam had the most fun looking at himself in the mirror and making himself laugh.

I thought he would be scared of the pool of balls...but nope. He seemed super relaxed and all he need was a cold glass of beer or in his case milk.

To see more pictures from the day click here. I apologize for the quality, but they were all taken with my phone.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Evan...Not a Fan of Inca Kola


Last week I posted an entry on the blog about my new favorite drink - Inca Kola. Here is my nephew's response to the letter. He is less than two years old and can type so well. I think Grandpa has been giving him lessons:

Dear Auntie Melissa:

Since your introduction to Inca Kola Abuelo have been talking about it a lot about the medicinal qualities of the drink. So I decided to go to Sedano's and look for the damn drink. I was able to buy DIET Inca Cola in cans and
everybody in the house likes it except me.

Im sending you pictures of mami drinking it at lunch today and me tasting it again, but to no avail because I hate that
"golden cola" flavor.

Then I went to Publix with abuela and we bought the two liter size bottle to keeep it until your arrival in three weeks.

I hope you like the pictures.

Your Non-Inca Kola Nephew,

Evan

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sam is 8 months!



I know all parents say this, but seriously where does the time go. It seems like yesterday that we were arriving in La Paz and Sammy was a teeny tiny baby. Now he is 8 months and is almost crawling and is changing and growing everyday.

At eight months the only word I can decipher so far is Mama, but is sounds more like mamamamamamama. But know he says it when he actually wants to call my attention or wants something from me. My heart lights up every time he says it. I know JJ is chomping at the bit to hear papa, but mama is easier for babies to say and JJ gets a special look from Sam that I don't get so let me have mama.

JJ goes to work everyday so when he gets home Sam gets really excited. We are usually sitting in the kitchen having dinner when JJ strolls in the house and Sam goes crazy and smiles from ear to ear. I guess with me he sees me all day and there is nothing exciting about that.

Sam has started to play on his own more. We can sit him down and he is actually entertained with his toys for about 15 minutes at a time...that is such an improvement. He loves to put EVERYTHING in his mouth.

But his favorite thing to chew on these days are cookies. I get nervous every time he eats them (I am such a worrier), but he loves it. He also loves breads and just this week he had Cheerios for the first time. I was also on standby with the baby Heimlich maneuver, but I didn't need it. He ate cheerios like a champ.

Sam is not crawling yet, but he does move backwards and loves to turn in circles when trying to grab things around him. What he does very well is stand up with the help of his crib or any large piece of furniture. I really want to get him to crawl first, but I think this boy is going to start running soon.

Luka and Sam are getting along great and Sammy laughs at his big brother all day long and Luka is happy to entertain.

Sammy, we are so proud of you and can't wait to see what you have in store for us during month nine!

PS I really need to work on getting more videos of Sam...I will try to post some soon.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Summer Fun in La Paz

Summer Fun in La Paz from Melissa van Herksen on Vimeo.

Here is a peek at some of the fun Luka had while on his Holiday Break. It is summertime here in La Paz and we took advantage of the afternoon sun...since it usually goes away at about 4 pm! The weather in this city is CRAZY, but I am learning to like it. In the same day you can wear a tank top, bathing suit, sweater and a coat. Who knew I could wear so many items in my wardrobe on the same day...ha ha. Sorry to go off on a tangent. Enjoy Luka being silly...

Friday, January 07, 2011

Kola Krazy


Today my nanny gave me a thank you present for her Christmas gifts. She said her family wanted to give us something special...it was a bottle of Inca Kola. She gave it to me as it was a treasured bottle of wine...super sweet. She went on to explain that it is much healthier than Coca-Cola and people like to drink it when they are on a diet and that it was super hard to come by here in La Paz (it is Peruvian) and it was "expensive."

I don't know about the diet thing, but it was darn tasty. Tomorrow I will look up the nutritional facts and see if it is indeed lower in sugar. If it is...then I found my new favorite drink.

Thank you Evelin that was really awesome of you and I really wasn't expecting Inca Kola today.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Busy Week


This is Luka's last week of Holiday Break and we are making a FUN WEEK with his friends. A group of us are taking the kids places every day. Yesterday we did a tour of the city and today we went to the zoo and I have the sunburn to prove it. Well, as if I wasn't busy enough with all of these activities I decided to launch two new projects: La Paz Yard Sale & Mami Love Design. Check them out and let me know what you think...I decided that I needed more things to keep me busy. So far I have received great feedback on the two ventures...let's hope that it is successful.

I will post photos on Luka's Fun Week later...he is really having fun!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

2011 Here We Come

I woke up on New Year's Day with my boys and I couldn't get over how much they had grown and how lucky I was to have them in my life. I decided to take my camera and record my morning with them. Here are some of the first photos of 2011 with Sam & Luka...

One of Luka's many funny faces.

Sam trying to crawl...we are almost there!

"Mommy, now I am tired. I think I will just hang out here."

"oh, oh, oh" - Luka Singing

"Seriously, how many photos are you going to take?"

"I think I will eat these toys now...yummy!"

Sam is serious about his cookies and loves to make a mess!

My little cookie monster.

Okay, no..this one looks more like a cookie monster...ha ha ha.

Luka performing Circle of Life from Lion King for his little brother. He is still obsessed with that musical. I really need to take him to see the real Broadway version.

Luka singing "Ah Sigona..." Okay my spelling is really off, but I have no idea how to spell the first couple of words to that song. You know the part that Rafiki sings...Luka is really good at it and he is VERY passionate.


To see all of the photos from that morning click here.