Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Getting Settled Back Home...

I just arrived back in La Paz this morning...very early! Thank goodness we arrived early because I was able to get one of the last taxis before the strike started at 6 am. The good news is that I am home and back with my boys, but I am wiped out and need some time to get organized. I have so many stories to share with you about the three-day walk. It was a truly inspiriting event and I can't think of a better person to have had this experience with than my little sis. We definitely surprised each other interns of what we can accomplish and what our bodies can endure. We also learned a lot about other people and the amazing drive they have to survive.

Well, let me get organized with school, play dates, clients, ABIA, the PTA and much more and I promise to share our journey of the 3Day with you.

For now I will share two photos of my boys that my friend Bianca took while I was away. Can they really grow that much in 6 days! Sam went up a diaper size while I was gone! Luka got smarter and very persistent. I got home this morning and all he wanted was his surprise!!! What happened to showering mommy with hugs and kisses (he did that too).

Look what happens when mommy is out of town. Daddy takes Sammy out to a BBQ in a PJ shirt! Ha ha ha.

Run Luka Run!


Official Recap


Here is the official recap from the walk as taken from www.the3day.org:

The 2011 Susan G. Komen Washington, D.C. 3-Day for the Cure began early on a rainy Friday morning with an emotional Opening Ceremony at Washington Nationals Stadium. The 17-mile route featured many memorable highlights, including the Nation’s Capitol, the Botanical Gardens and the Smithsonian Museums. After a long day of walking, we settled in to camp at Avenel Park in Potomac, Maryland, our home away from home for the weekend.

On Saturday morning, we woke up early, ready to hit the trail again for another great day of walking. Saturday’s 21-mile route began with overcast skies and a nice 70 degree temperature, warming up in the late afternoon when the sun came out to join us. The cool, green landscape of the Potomac area was inspiring. Every step of the day’s route was filled with community support from local churches, Girl Scout Troops, and friends and family. After lunch, high-energy Kaxaxe’ Dance Troop got us up to speed to finish off a beautiful afternoon as we headed back to camp for a fun camp show and a good night’s rest.

Sunday’s 15-mile route wound through Bethesda and the neighborhoods of Northwest Washington, D.C. The cheering station at Dupont Circle was a great pink celebration with support from family and friends. We passed by the National Zoo and the White House as we headed onto the grounds of the Washington National Monument for a celebratory Closing Ceremony.

It is pretty accurate, but missing all the gory details. I will post my recap soon...

In the meantime, here is a link to all of my pictures.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Closing Ceremonies to an AMAZING Weekend


We did it! 60 Miles in three days. Honestly I didn't think it was possible. I know that both Moqui and I had our doubts about whether or not we could finish in one piece or at all. But somehow we did it and we rocked it!

Friday it poured all day, Saturday was the toughest day and the last two miles seemed like 20 miles all on their own, but somehow even though we couldn't move at night we woke up the following morning and started to walk with our achy legs...about 30 minutes into the walk you hit a stride and get so much inspiration from the people around you...and get this surge of adrenaline that you don't know where it comes from but you just WALK!

I still have many stories and photos to share with you, but for now I wanted to post these videos of the closing ceremonies at the George Washington Monument in Washington, DC. It was an incredible experience that Moqui and I will never forget and participating in the closing ceremonies was very emotional. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. I think the most touching moment was when the survivors walked in. You can see this in the video below. As you looked at the group of people you couldn't help but see all the different women (& some men) in the group. I think what shocked me the most were the young women in the group. There were some that couldn't be older than 30! At that moment Moqui and I looked at each other and realized how lucky we were. How can we not do this again!!!!


The woman you hear speaking on the video also did our opening ceremonies. Isn't she awesome! She is also a survivor.

Just to recap...DC had over 2,200 walkers and we raised 7.2 million dollars!!!! Moqui and I raised
over $5,200 USD and we have over $450 USD towards our fundraising goal for next year. That is right...we are doing it again baby! This time in Tampa...a little closer to Moqui's home. I will have our fundraising page for that up and running soon so if you didn't get a chance to donate for DC you will be able to donate for our 2012 walk. Be on the lookout for that link.....

I will post the photos soon.

PS I apologize for the quality of the video. Recorded it with my phone...I should have taken my FLIP...next time.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Very Wet Day 1



Hello People!! This will be a short post as I am super tired...but Moqui and completed Day 1. A total of 16.5 miles and our legs are killing us, but all for a great cause. We actually kept a great pace and finished the day much earlier than most people. Of the 2.500 walkers I would say we were in the first 150 people. We were already at lunch by 10:30 am!!!

The last few miles were the toughest mentally and physically due to the hills.

Then the big surprise was at camp. It had rained pretty much all day we were soaked to the bone, but I never expected the camp to be such a mess. It was flooded and everything was covered in mud about 2 inches deep. This was a bit of a disaster in the area of the tents and we made an executive decision to find a nearby hotel. I was really excited about my first camping experience, but being a novice camper I was not prepared to rough it and be soaked and freezing at the same time. Moqui and I also weren't prepared with tarps for the tent and floor.

So now we are in the hotel...toasty and cozy and resting for our early wake-up call tomorrow! Sorry. I only have one photo to post...don't have a way to load the photos from my camera to the computer here in the hotel.

More updates tomorrow...now to crash in bed!

Sam's Weekly Update



I was in Washington while I received this update...gotta love the internet and email. I love being able to see what my little man was up to this week even though I wasn't there. I miss them both so much! Luka, Sammy...Mommy will be there soon!

You may click on the images to see them larger.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Is that JJ on the red carpet?


Hey, I was just checking my email and reading an update from my friend Bianca's blog and she posted about the Generous Hearts Party and I thought I would link to the post since I never got around to writing about it. It was a fun night and we (ABIA) raised over $6,000 USD for our charities.

I really love this photo of JJ being interviewed on the "red carpet" with James. Yes, we really had a red carpet...why wouln't we...ha ha.

Click here to see Bianca's post. Thanks my friend!

And I promise to catch up on my posting upon my return to Bolivia...no more pink parties to plan and more time to blog.

First DC Update...

(me and my sis during the layover)

Well, my little sister just landed and I am anxiously awaiting her arrival. I am all dressed and ready to go. My plan for today is to go shopping at Union Station for some last minute things I need for the walk and they go for an early carb packed dinner somewhere and be in bed by 8 pm. We have a 4 am wake-up call tomorrow and need to be ready to walk at 5 am, we are going to need all of the rest we can get.

But what has happened on the trip so far...

Well, leaving La Paz was a bit of a drama. I received an email at 11 pm the night before my flight telling me it was cancelled. When I called American Airlines they said I could leave La Paz no earlier than the 25th. I nearly had a heart attack, that would mean that I miss the whole walk. This was not an option. But after hours of JJ and I on different phones trying to come up with a solution we had NO solution and I decided to trek to the airport at 4 am anyway to see what I could do.

You see the problem was that I couldn't get out of La Paz to make my connection to Miami from Santa Cruz (also in Bolivia). All flights on other airlines were booked and American was helping with these bookings. So basically you had 200+ people at the airport fighting for the few seats on two other flights with two national airlines. I was really out of luck, then suddenly my angel appeared - Patricia Viscarra.

Patricia is the daughter of one my fellow ABIA members and she was also at one of my recent PINK PARTIES so she knew all about my walk. Well, she had a reservation on a flight (she had managed to get one last night after she got a call about the flight being cancelled). She reserved the last first class seat on the flight. The problem is that she actually needed two seats. But she gave me her reservation! Alleluia!! I had a seat. So I paid $300 USD for my FIRST CLASS one way ticket to Santa Cruz with 15 minutes left before the plane took off and I rushed to the plane. I was in the such a hurry to make the flight that I just sort of forgot to check in my huge duffel bag...OOPS. I was able to gate check it and properly check it in when I arrived in Santa Cruz.

Here I am in the long flight from Santa Cruz to Miami. I can't believe I made it. You see, angels really do exist.

Then I arrived in Miami and got a wonderful surprise. I had a welcoming committee waiting for me at the airport: Mom, Dad, Maxwell and Wole's sister and nephew (in town to help Wole with the boys while Moqui is walking with me. And Monica, Wole and Evan we on their way too. We had a great birthday/family dinner at the airport. Really there is no better way to spend a 2.5 hour layover at the airport...and it was my little sister's birthday to top it all off!!

Happy Birthday Moqui. This is the first birthday we are together since I left to Mozambique in 2006. I know that Miami International Airport gets a bad wrap, sometimes well deserved, but I have wonderful memories there...this being one of them! I love MIA.

Then I literally ran to the plane to make it. I wanted to spend every last minute at Chili's...but I made it and I was able to work off my Buffalo Chicken Salad...ha ha ha.

11 pm - Made it to DC and took a cab to the hotel. Saw some TV...I love flipping through the channels late at night in the US...something always peaks your interest, right? Then I slept until 7:30 am...heaven for me...then I spoke to JJ and Luka on the phone. And Luka reminded me that I had to buy him a Halloween costume and was very intrigued about "sleeping outside." I am camping two nights during the walk. I really miss my boys, but I will be with them soon enough and as the flight attendant reminded me on the plane: Every woman needs her "Mommy FREE" time to enjoy herself.

So here I am it is 12:39 pm and Moqui is still not here...Where is she? I think I will find a phone to call her.

I will try and post an update but I am at the mercy of the free computer at the hotel and I don't have a way to upload the photos from my camera...but let's see what I can manage.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Family Picnic @ ACS

It has been one year since our first ACS Family Picnic. I can't believe one year went by to fast. It was like I blinked and Sam is walking and is his own person and Luka is 4 years old and everything that comes with that. How did that happen?

One year ago Sam was a teeny tiny baby and was content with drinking milk and being in mommy's or daddy's arms...not so much anymore. We have a nickname for him in our house "Terremoto" or "Earthquake." The boy does not sit still and oh my is he stubborn, so different from his older brother. Sam doesn't sit still. If he wants something he just gets up and goes for it. Here he is playing in the obstacle course, "Hey this is cool, I think I will stick my foot in it."

Here is Sammy with Daddy. I just wanted to show you how tall he is...well, you know how tall JJ is so it gives you a little bit of a point of reference. Sam is 16 months old and he is wearing cloths from when Luka was 2.5.

Here is another Sammy face. This is the "I know I can't do that, but I am so cute I am going to do it anyway" face.

This is his "Hey I want to do that too...who cares if they are 5 years older. I am sure I can figure it out"

At last year's picnic Luka was all smiles, but nowadays Luka gets very sour when he doesn't get his way. This is his "No, I don't want to leave the inflatbles to eat lunch. Seriously mom, I am not going anywhere so forget it" face. But the good news is that this Luka only last 3 minutes then it is back to the lovable and hilarious Luka. Don't you love his "Hello My Name Is" name tag.

This morning on when we were getting ready for the picnic he said, "Mommy I love you to the Sun and back because there is no moon out right now." What a smart little boy!

He asked us to get his face painted...he went for the zebra makeup.

It was a hectic day, but the boys had fun and we managed to mingle a little as well. You can all all the photos from the picnic here.


You've Got Mail


Wondering what we are up to? There is a new feature on the blog...you can sign up for email updates. Just look on the right hand side of the screen and you can subscribe to email updates and receive the posts as they are posted.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The PINK Party

It was a night full of PINK surprises at Destapa restaurant in San Miguel. The owners went all out and had the place decked out in PINK. There wasn't a detail they didn't think of...pink drinks, pink straws, pink napkin rings and the pink menu was delicious. Here is a photo of the pink drink menu...those were really yummy!


We raised about $800 USD and half the money went to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the other half went to a local charity - La Fundacion Contra el Cancer de Bolivia. Actually at this point my sister and I have raised what we need to raise for the walk. We have actually surpassed our goal of a combined $5,000 USD. So these $400 USD will go to the foundation, but will be earmarked for our 2012 walk in Tampa.

Even the boys got into the pink theme. Look at my handsome hubby with his pink tie & shirt.

Towards the end of the party I got to really party with JJ and all of his friends!


I would like to thank Destapa and all of the sponsors (Flor de Leche, D&M, Shocolat, Mami Love Design, Campos de Solano) for helping to make the PINK party such a big success.

To see all the photos from that night please click here.

Quick Thursday Update


(click on images to see them larger)

I apologize for my few postings, but these last month has been literally insane. Planning two events on my own has been a challenge. The first event - Breakfast with my BREASTfriends was a success and in a few hours we will have the PINK PARTY. I promise to post photos and details about it all and I also need to catch you up on all the great things our boys are doing, but all in due time. For now I will leave you with the weekly update from Sammy's daycare...I just love them!

Happy Thursday!

Oh, wait I had to share a quick conversation I had with Luka two nights ago:

Luka: Goodnight Mommy, I love you.
Me: Luka, you know what...I love you to the moon and back.
Luka: What is back?
Me: You know...(I had to think how to explain this basic concept to my 4 year old). Well, Luka this is back. Like when I say I will be back in 5 minutes or also like when I walk back to your bed after turning off the lights so I can give you a kiss.
Luka: Okay, I understand.
Me: So I love you to the moon and all the way back.
Luka: That is a long way. But mommy, you aren't going to the moon now????

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Breakfast with my BREASTfriends

Thank you to everyone that attended Breakfast with my BREASTfriends at the Hotel Camino Real on September 13, 2011. The breakfast was a success and we raised $1,000 USD to FIGHT breast cancer.

Half the money will go to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and my 3 Day Walk in DC in a couple of weeks and the other half went to a friend from La Paz that is currently undergoing treatment and is not covered by health insurance.

Here I am with my pink outfit, about ready to start the program!

We had a fabulous guest speaker - Dr. Veronica Alume from Argentina. She is a specialize in Radiation Oncology. Here she is informing us on prevention and so many other important issues on the disease. Vero, you made it so easy to understand everything and hopefully people will take action towards prevention.

Here I am with Bianca and Valentina. Thanks Bianca for taking all of the photos!


To see all of the photos from the event click here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Luka is the Star Student


This week Luka was selected as the Star Student in class. What does this mean? Well we had to fill out a questionnare and send tons of photos to school and the teacher created a special bulletin board all about Luka. He was also able to do special things all week, such as take toys, dress up and share books with his classmates.

These photos were taken on the first day when Luka wanted to take Rapunzel to school and dress up like Flynn Rider. I think he did a great job of dressing up. He even asked for a messenger bag like in the movie, the only thing is that I didn't have a crown for him to put in the bag.

He had so much fun and was very proud of being the STAR STUDENT. We were also very proud that he was the first in his class to be selected.

To see all the photos from that morning click here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We've Got Mail...Hopefully


I apologize for the short notice, but I just read this in one of the emails from the walk that I had saved to read at a later date...when I wasn't so busy. Apparently we can have friends, family and loved ones send us letters at the walk. How cool is that? Well, if you have time and want to drop me or Moqui (my sister) a line)you will have to write your card/letter by Tuesday, September 13th and drop it in the mail.

I am sure the encouragement and love will do us good. We will need it to finish the 60 miles. As the day gets closer I get more and more nervous. But then I think, if my grandmother can survive breast cancer three times I can walk 20 miles three days in a row.

Here is the address you need to send the letters to:

3-Day for the Cure Post Office
ATTN: MELISSA VIGUES VAN HERKSEN or MONICA VIGUES-PITAN
PO Box 417
Gore, VA 22637

Envelopes only, please. No boxes or large packages. Mail must be postmarked no later than September 13 in order to ensure delivery at the 3-Day Camp Post Office. This address is not the actual location of camp, but a PO Box for mail delivery only. Any mail that is not retrieved by the participant by October 9 will be destroyed.

Thank you and we hope to get some messages from you!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Another Salty Week for Sam...


(click on the images to see them larger)

I hope you are enjoying these updates/recaps every Friday as much as I am. I get so excited when I see the email in my inbox!

This week Sam continued his exploration of salt at school...they ate hard boiled eegs, made salty edible play dough and even found time to plant their own vegetables. Very busy group of toddlers!

This week I got a little sad when I realized that Sam has grown up in a blink of an eye. Lately I have been so busy that I have been slacking with the photo taking and recording milestones. Where did my baby go? This morning he said "Hola" on the phone and he is very independent around the house now...a little too independent sometimes.

Something new he did this week is that he gets on the couch all on his own and sits next to Luka and actually will watch TV for 5 minutes...that is huge for a 15-month old. He looks super concentrated for those five minutes. Until now the TV was just a big picture frame he would ignore.

Oh and how can I forget his fascination with Rio. We recently discovered this movie in the van Herksen household and all I have to do is press play...at the first sound of Rio Sam is shaking his arms, dancing with delight. He doesn't know how to shake his booty yet, but seeing him shake and bake his upper body is very amusing. Luka on the other hand has no problem shaking all sorts of booty and doing the Samba during the opening song in the movie.

That is all for now...