Thursday, July 28, 2011

So Ridiculous...I had to share!

Okay, today I realized that I am actually 36 and not a spring chicken anymore. I felt really old and so out of touch. I sat down to have lunch today and usually during my lunchtime I watch the Daily Show or some other show I have downloaded. But today I had nothing...

So to pass the time I went to YouTube and clicked on one of the most watched videos. It was called Teach Me How to Plank. I was like...what the heck is that. My curiosity got the best of me. Well, if you have played the video above you can see how utterly ridiculous it is. Seriously, this is a fad?!?!?!? Where has all the creativity gone. What ever happened to break dancing, the Cabbage Patch, even the electric slide is more interesting.

At the end of the video I thought this has to be a joke and there is NO way this can be a fad...so I did what any normal person in 2011 would do...I googled it. I was shocked...this is what I found:

Planking or the lying down game is an activity consisting of lying face down in an unusual or incongruous location. The hands must touch the sides of the body and having a photograph of the participant taken and posted on the internet is an integral part of the game.[1] Players compete to find the most unusual and original location in which to play.[1] The term planking is described as the practice of lying down flat with arms to the side, to mimic a wooden plank.

Many participants of planking since 2011 have photographed the activity on unusual locations such as atop poles, roofs and vehicles, while some "plankers" engage in the activity by planking only their upper body and feet while leaving the back suspended.


No, come on for real...read a book for pete's sake, talk to a stranger, talk to yourself...anything but planking.

To all the plunkers out there, "I don't get it..at all." I think the only time I will be planking is when I "plank" on my bed at night. Oh, wait I guess I have to ask JJ to take a photo or else it really wouldn't be planking.

I can't believe I actually posted about this. On what hand I am giving credibility to this craziness, but on the other had it was so "out there" that I thought it was my duty to share and give you a laugh for today.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Update on My Walk & Great Video...Watch It.

60 Miles from Komen 3-Day for the Cure on Vimeo.

Today I had a meeting with a local restaurant to plan a fundraiser here in Bolivia...I am so excited for this event on so many levels. To raise that much money, walk with my sister, walk for loved ones and people that I had learned about during this "journey", to see if I can actually walk 60 miles in three days....the list goes on and on. I think this is something that I will remember forever.

I will give you more details on the fundraiser soon...still a little planning to do before I post the details.

As far as an update on the fundraising. I am almost there, but I still need about $400 to complete the required minimum, but minimum is just that a minimum. No one ever just wants to get by...I know I can raise more money with the help of everyone I know.

If you have donated already, THANK YOU. If you haven't yet...what are you waiting for. No donation is too small or too big. Remember to share your connection to this cause with me and I will be happy to add a name to my "Honor Roll." My sister and I will be walking for these people and their names will be printed on our shirts. Click here to make a donation.

And the training, well that is going slower than the fundraising but it is going. Walking uphill is tough, but every time I am out of breath or think I can't go another step at 11,500 ft. I just think of all the surgeries, chemo and radiation my grandmother has had and then it doesn't seem so bad.

Well, it is time for bed and to rest...tomorrow I walk 10 km in the gym on the treadmill..well, that is my plan! By they way another plus is that i have lost about 13 lbs...whoo too!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Part of Our "African" Family Moves to Bolivia


Don't you love it when you get unexpected great news! Just today JJ called me from work and said, "You would never guess...." and my usual response is "OMG, what happened" thinking it is something bad, but this time it was awesome news.

Our friends the Miranda's are moving to La Paz, Bolivia. We met Leonel and Raquel while living in Mozambique. Leonel works for the US Foreign Service and shares my same exact birthday, pretty cool, huh. Raquel is his lovely wife. She is Brazilian and a dynamo. She is a supermom with three kids and has a regular job as well. Here is a link to her blog. She writes in a way that totally hooks you in and leaves you wanting to learn more about their experiences and life as a diplomatic family.

In the photo above you can see Raquel, Leonel and thier oldest Cesar (taken on our family trip to Richard's Bay in South Africa). Since then they have added to little ladies to thier crew - Marcela and Maria Cecilia.

We can't wait to have them here...we will have to wait until next August, but the time will fly!

As I said before Raquel is a blogger and here is what she had to say about their new assignment.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I need your help...

Recently I came across this quote from Mark Twain: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do."


This is the year of no regrets. I have known about the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure for a couple of years now, but now is the time and my sister and I have teamed up across continents (she lives in Miami) and we will be participating in this very special event in Washington, DC, September 23 - 25, 2011.


We have taken on an incredible challenge. Monica and I will be walking 60 miles over the course of three days in DC, camping out at night with thousands of other women and men taking this journey with us.


Leave it to me to decide to do this event while living in La Paz, Bolivia and having to train at 11,500 ft!!! I am not an athlete and this is not easy, but I welcome the challenge if it means getting a little closer to finding a cure for breast cancer.


The challenge lies not only with walking 60 miles and training, but in the fundraising as well, my sister and I each have to raise $2,300 to participate in the event. We would love to raise more money!


I need your help…Would you please consider making a donation? Keep in mind how far I'm walking - and how hard I'll have to train. You can give online at The3Day.org. Just follow the link below to visit my personal fundraising webpage or click on the button on the right hand side of the screen and make a donation.


Net proceeds from the 3-Day for the Cure fund innovative global breast cancer research and local community programs supporting education, screening and treatment. Virtually every major advance in the fight against breast cancer in the last 28 years has been impacted by a Komen for the Cure grant.


This cause is near and dear to my sister and I. Both of our grandmothers suffered from breast cancer multiple times and since we were little we have seen what this disease can do to a woman's life.

Somewhere in the world, a woman dies from breast cancer every 69 seconds. That's why I'm walking so far. To do something bold about breast cancer. I hope that you'll share this incredible adventure with me - by supporting us in our fundraising efforts.


If you have someone in your life that has been affected by breast cancer please send me their names and I will be happy to put their name on the t-shirts that my sister and I will be wearing during the walk and add them to the “honor roll” on my blog.


If you have already donated and are reading this post...THANK YOU!


Thank you in advance for everyone's generosity.

TO MAKE A DONATION CLICK HERE.

Slackers Rule

I stumbled across this article on being a "Global Slacker" which brought me to this video. What an amazing journey. I just had to share it with everyone.

You can read more about what these Global Slackers are doing on their website. Being a slacker in this case is hard work, but what a way to see the world. I don't think I will ever go on this particular journey. With kids it is a little challenging. But they have inspired me to travel more and be more adventurous in my choices for destinations.

Way to go Megan & Eoin on being such model slackers! I want to be like you when I grow up.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Big Milestone Today...for Sammy & Mommy

Today was Sam's first day at school, a.k.a. daycare. It was a last minute decision. I didn't think I was ready for him to start...notice I said I...ha ha. But JJ convinced me and I called the school and a spot had opened up so off to school we went.

This school is amazing, you can see the 12-24 month room in some of these photos. It is really perfect for the little ones. Anyway, Sam had a great time and as his look says in the photo...I think he was a little embarrassed with his mommy around. But the director said I should be there for the transition period...let's see how many days Sam will like having his mom around.

I was a nervous wreck...all I could see was my baby that just started walking less then two weeks ago in school with all this BIG kids (they were actually only a couple months older) but they seemed like teenagers to me. I mean they could sit, feed themselves (some of them) and sit in a circle during story time. I kept thinking Sam wasn't ready for this. But I know that is just the overprotective mom talking and that after a couple of weeks of his new found independence Sam will be doing all those things as well. I just have to let him go. Damn, this is so hard.

It didn't help that the only time he did go to me today in class and said "mama" he fell and busted his lip a little. It was totally my fault. But I know that things like this happen at home or at school. Well, before I keep going with my mommy rantings let me show you some more photos from this momentous day...

Luka is on vacation so I enrolled him for two weeks at the same school. Luka was really bored at home. As you can see from the photo he didn't miss a beat. He wanted to wear a batman cape to school...the kids loved it and the teacher said he was the "protagonista" in his class. I hope that is a good thing.

Here you can see Sam and his teacher - Mari - as she shows him the lentil table. I think this was his favorite feature in the class. I am so putting lentils in my sandbox at home.

Sam tried to have small talk with his classmate Zoe, "So, what's good around here. Can you show me the ropes..."

Here he is with some other friends. Isn't the class amazing. I don't think the photos do it justice.

I decided to skip out for a moment to check on Luka. Sam didn't notice I left and of course Luka was having a ball downstairs..

Oh, snack time. Sam loved the cracker but the pink mousse not so much. We need to work eating new foods...

After snack it was playtime outside....


To see all the photos from today click here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Back Home in La Paz & a Little Scare


Yesterday was our first day that all four of us felt 100%. We arrived to La Paz on Thursday, but with the altitude and jet lag it has taken us a couple of days to feel "normal."

We took advantage and headed out to a local park in Cota Cota (about 10 minutes from our house) that is the PERFECT park for Luka to learn to ride bike. In the photo above you can see him with his helmet. He has a new bike with training wheels, but we raised the wheels so he has to balance. It is a little difficult for him, but he is a trooper and is really excited about learning.

The park is great. It has lanes, stop signs, speed bumps...all inside for kids to ride bike. It also has a HUGE playground and as you can see Sammy loves to walk around and explore the swings, slides and anything he can get to. He also just likes crawling in the dirt!


We had a great time in the park, but we also had a huge scare. We were the only non-locals in the park and Luka was a little bit of an attraction. I had two people ask me to take a photo with him...I said no, but they begged and finally I said, "Just ask him." Luka of course was ready to pose. Well, I was feeling a little strange about everyone looking at Luka, but we have been getting used to it here in La Paz since there aren't many black people. Okay, there are like 10 in the whole city. Anyway, we were going along our merry way and we sat down for a snack. Luka said he wanted to play on the slides, so he walked over to the playground and we could see him perfectly. Well, I put my head down for 2 seconds to give Sam his chocolate pudding and when I looked back up I asked JJ...do you see Luka? Well, we looked everywhere in that playground he was in and NOTHING. I started to freak out and I freaked out even more when JJ was worried too...he is never worried.

Could someone had taken him? That is all I could think about after all the stares we had been getting. I started yelling like a mad woman and a little girl came up to me to see what was wrong. I asked her if she had seen the black boy. I am telling you, there aren't many. She smiled and told me he had seen him walk to another playground. She helped me find him and at last he was in my arms again.

I think the whole ordeal lasted 3 minutes. I know that this happens to parents all the time, but here in Bolivia it is so scary. In those three minutes I thought, "Who do we call? The police here is not equipped for Amber Alerts. Why would they take him? We don't have any money?" Well the list goes on and on...but luckily it was just a scare. It was the first time that I thought that someone had taken him for real.

Well, we talked about strangers for about 5 minutes and then it was off to playing again. Here you can see that he really likes his helmet and he even wore it going down the slides.


PS As you can see I am obsessed with Instagram - an app from the iPhone.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

On Our Way Home...sort of

(Picture of the boys as we got to the airport)

Well, here we are at the airport getting ready to go home, but hit a little snag. Our flight was delayed to Lima...shocker! We will miss our flight to La Paz and we will have to stay over in Peru for one night and take a flight the next day...oh, what fun. This happened to us on the way to Holland a couple of weeks ago. I guess someone really wants to make us expert travelers and doesn't want to make us have an easy trip, but I unfortunately no matter how many setbacks we have we will always keep on traveling.

Living so far away from family and friends makes it mandatory to travel all over the world through any and all inconveniences. But seriously, again....we must have really bad luck.

But eventually we will get home. For now we are still in Holland...waiting at the airport....so I will show you some photos from our last day in Holland (since Sam is taking a nap).

Sam, Luka and I spent our last full day in Holland in the city. Daddy was at a work training in Den Haag so I took advantage of having the boys all to myself to explore the city.

First, we were on our way on Bus#61 from Bedum to the center of town. Sam is a little fussy on the bus, but Luka loves it. He calls it a "field trip" when we ride the bus, like when he rides the bus at school to go on a real field trip. Here are the three of us. Sam, sorry for cutting your head out of the photo, but it was hard to hold onto you, the camera and keep the stroller from falling. Actually I think I came out pretty fabulous in this photo for being such a multi-tasker...ha ha ha.

From there we met with Oma Joke (JJ's mom) to have lunch on a ship that serves pancakes. Luka was in heaven. Here you can see Luka making his best pirate face next to the "pancake" ship.

From the ship we walked Oma to her bus stop and the idea was that we take a real boat ride around the city, but then something miraculous happened. Luka fell asleep in the stroller and Sammy was very content in his ergo baby carrier and, almost in a trance with the walking motion. Could it be true, both kids quiet and calm. So I took FULL advantage and walked very slowly down my favorite shopping street in Groningen making sure to visit every shop I couldn't see before. When the boys are awake shopping or looking around is impossible. Luka for instance stands at the door blocking my entrance saying, "NO, I DON'T WANT TO COME IN HERE....I DON'T LIKE THIS STORE." The only store he doesn't do this for is the toy store...hmmm.

Well, I was in heaven...jewlery shop, antique shop, kitsch shop, purse shop, pop art shop, gallery and finally a clothes shop where I found the perfect soft long sleeve t-shirts that will be perfect for La Paz. I love finding that perfect item.

After almost 1.5 hours (that is a lifetime in my life) the kids were up and ready for some excitement. Luka said he wanted an appelflap (sorry for the misspelling). Here he is pointing at his for lack of a better name "an apple pastelito." Mommy of course couldn't say no...

But I forgot my son is 4 and his mind changes faster than a speeding car. As we walked outside to find the perfect spot to enjoy our "apple pastelitos" he spots the Belgian french fry truck. The appelflapen weren't so cool anymore and "needed" fries. Yes, I am a sucker.

We saved the apple deserts for grandma and grandpa and bought some fries. Luka was a happy camper.

We even made some friends while enjoying our fries. We met Wim & Nicoletta. They were super nice and were very intrigued with Luka's knowledge of languages. He was carrying on with them in Dutch. I had no clue what they were talking about then Wim started to talk to him in Spanish...now I could join in. Luka is great out and about. He is really friendly and loves to talk to everyone.

You can see that he really loves his fries and I love seeing him eat his fries. Sammy loves his fries too, but he wasn't too keen on taking photos at this point. He was tired....

So off we were to catch the #61 back to Bedum and start packing for our trip back to La Paz. Mommy day with the boys was a success!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Another Photo Recap...

It is past midnight in Holland and I am exhausted from two days full of activities with all of the Omas and Opas! I will give you a quick recap with photos...

Yesterday we spent the day with JJ's mom and Johan and we went to Apekooi - an indoor playground for kids. Luka and Sam loved it. Here is Luka jumping outside..I don't know if he is giving the thumbs up because he likes to jump or for the blonde cutie jumping with him.

Sam needed a juice break from all of the activities. I just love what he does to his lips when he sucks out of juice box. I laugh every time.

Here Sam is very happy to be sitting with his Oma Joke.

After all that fun they boys needed to refuel. Back in Bedum Luka made Dutch pancakes with his Oma Coby. I think he ate THREE big pancakes. Sam had 1.5 pancakes. Isn't it funny how Dutch families eat pancakes for dinner and never for breakfast...weird.....but I am not complaining and neither is Sam and Luka. I guess since they are 1/2 American they can also have pancakes in the morning.

I think Luka was asking Oma if they could have pancakes every night...

This morning we woke up and it was off to the city with the whole family. We all went shopping and then for lunch. Oma Coby and Opa Jan Erik took Luka to the toy store for a special present. Of course Luka had to buy his Rapunzel doll. He is addicted to that movie and he wasn't going to let it go once he saw it. I know some people are probably reading this and squinting, but hey he is four years old and loves Rapunzel...what are you going to do. He was so happy that it was really a joy to watch.

Hey look who joined us for dinner at Nihau (not sure on the spelling). After a day of shopping we went to this Chinese/Japanese buffet thing. No it wasn't like those all you can eat places in Orlando or a Golden China Buffet..well the idea is the same, but the food was much better


Sam had salmon, bami, chicken nuggets, fries and he still had plenty of room for the ice cream!

Luka loves his Aunt Marlotte...JJ's youngest sister.
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The restaurant is in a beautiful park. After dinner we walked outside for some family photos. It was 7:00 pm and still super sunny....I love Europe!

Sammy is very proud that he can show his Opa how well he is walking.

And we are very proud of him too. You should hear Luka. Every time Sam walks he says something like, "Look he is walking, Yeah Sammy." He is a very supportive big brother.


Sweet dreams...

Sam's Road Rage


And you thought a 13-month old couldn't have road rage... You should have seen Sam with his Little Tykes car in the indoor playground. There was no stopping him!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Luka's Ikea Booty Shake

Luka Shakes It in IKEA from Melissa van Herksen on Vimeo.

Here I was actually trying to get a video of Sam walking towards me but I was not having much luck with that. I did manage to film Luka doing his favorite booty dance while we were visiting our favorite store. The van Herksens love to go to IKEA whenever we can. So while in Holland we took advantage and stopped by to peruse their newest collections and have their delicious Swedish meatball lunch with french fries...YUMMO! This is a meal that the four of us can agree on.

By the way, my son shakes his booty pretty well, no?

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

What have we been up to...

Okay, so everyone always asks me...how do you have time to post and do all of your "projects" with two little kids? Well, the honest answer is that I have a nanny in Bolivia. And I never realized how easy it was to have "mommy" time when you have help. I mean I knew it, but being with both kids alone it has become evident to me during this 5-week holiday that without Evelin (our nanny) I would NEVER have time for work, photos, blogs, projects, etc.

If I had to run around after my boys all day, currently more Sam. Luka is easier now that he is 4. He is pretty independent, but Sam at almost 14 months is a full-day workout.

I can't get too comfy with our "situation." If we are ever placed back in Holland or another first world country I would be a full time mommy, but let me enjoy the perks of living in Boliva.

So now that they are both asleep and I am still awake I will try to give you the "nickel tour" of holiday so far.

Well above is Luka enjoying his flight...here you can see what a baby looks like in business class. Actually it was a great flight from Lima to Amsterdam. The boys slept like 10 hours.


Once we arrived in Holland we stayed there for less than 48 hours and then we were off toMallorca (please refer to the previous post.)

Back in Holland we spent time with family and friends. One of the friends we got to visit in Den Haag (Dan, Danielle & Baby Rafe) were our friends in Mozambique. They are British and have recently been posted in the Netherlands. So it was a couple of days in Casa Fieller. Here Luka is walking around Delft (we went there with Danielle & Rafe).



Here is Danielle & Rafe in Madurodam (or as I like to call it "Mini Holland"). This place was great...it gives you a BIG miniature tour of the entire country and the details are "impresionante."

Look at Luka and JJ at the train station in Groningen (town where JJ grew up). Don't they look like GIANTS!

Oh, there is Luka's rockstar face...he is still working on the "rock on" hands.

Rafe & Sam had a great time in the playground. They are about 2 months apart...it was so cute to see them together.

Here is Luka with his "Great Oma" JJ's grandmother.

With JJ's sister and Luka's cousins we went to a kid's park that was pretty awesome for kid standards. Luka had a blast. Here he is riding his first roller coaster. Wheeeeeee...

Look at us on this big boy ride. It was just like the one at the Youth Fair. I was freaking out. Luka kept pretty calm and after the ride he kept asking me, "Mommy, why did you scream so much." Yes, that came from my four year old.

Back in Bedum (JJ's dad's house) it was time to break open the bubbly and celebrate with "Gourmetten" - a Dutch form of BBQ....well sort of. It was a beautiful sunny day and it was the perfect way to enjoy the evening sun. The food was delicious. We each grilled our own meat and vegetables, then we used the grill to make pancakes...lekker!!!


We spent a week in Centerparcs. Click here to see the park we stayed in. It is very Dutch to stay in these types of vacation parks. It sort of reminded me of "Kellerman" in Dirty Dancing. I kept trying to find the dance class with the Patrick Swayzesk instructor, but I never found it. They did have countless activities for the kids, boat paddling, an indoor pool with three slides, family game night, Disco for Kids. Everything was in Dutch and German, but I just kind of went along with the flow. It is really strange to see my son (Luka) carrying on in a language I don't understand at all, but I was so proud of my little trilingual 4-year old.

Here we are in the pool, both of the boys LOVE the water.

Sammy had a fight with his first ice cream cone and Sammy won!


While at the park we went a quick trip to a nearby town and went to the zoo with JJ's mom. Sam got to visit his first petting zoo.

Here is JJ with his first cousin Marinke and her son Quinten. Sam and Quinten are four days apart.

Back at home base in Bedum, Sam loves to play with his reflection. Silly Sammy!!!

JJ's dad - Jan Erik - is a great cook. He makes delicious dinners for us almost every night. My Herbalife coach is going to be a little cross with me once I return to La Paz....ha ha ha.

Here is Luka with JJ's cousins - Kirsten & Peter. They are also from Bedum.


Well, that is the update for now. We will be back in La Paz soon, but not before some more fun times in Holland. Stay tuned...