Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Love This Book

The title of the previous post "Oh Happy Adoption Day" is taken from the book that we read together with Luka every year on his Adoption Day and usually on the eve the day before at bedtime. It is such a beautiful book and he loves to read it. Today he actually took it to school to share with his class. Here are the words in the book. It is actually taken from the lyrics of a folk song by John McCutcheon....

Oh, who would have guessed, who could have seen

Who could have possibly known

All these roads we have traveled, the places we've been

Would have finally taken us home

So here's to you, three cheers to you

Let's shout it, "Hip, hip, hip, hooray!"

For, out of a world so tattered and torn,

You came to our house on that wonderful morn

And all of a sudden this family was born

Oh, happy Adoption Day!

There are those who think families happen by chance
A mystery their whole life through
But we had a voice and we had a choice
We were working and waiting for you

No matter the name and no matter the age
No matter how you came to be
No matter the skin, we are all of us kin
We are all of us one family

Oh Happy Adoption Day...

Dear Luka:

It has been four years since your father and I took our little boy home. Wow, that first day we took you home from the orphanage seemed so surreal, but one thing was real...our love for you. People still ask us all the time, how it felt that day or to be adoptive parents. It was scary, confusing, beautiful and amazing all at the same time. Now that I have had your brother I can tell those that ask me that have biological children, that it is the same way they feel when they hold their baby in their arms for the first time or take them home from the hospital. The day I took Sam home I felt all those same things that I felt when I took you home that day in Maputo.

Ah, Luka...that day we took home an 8-month old baby that was about 3 kgs (7 lbs)...sweetie you were so tiny...but look at you now! Wow, you amaze us and drive us crazy everyday, but the amazement way surpasses the craziness. You are such a special little boy and not because you are adopted, but because you are a wonderful and kind person with such a big heart and a man, that smile! Your smile is a window into that gorgeous spirit of yours. Everyday you make me laugh and bring joy to my life. By the way.... I love that you think we have the same smile and laugh. That is such a compliment to me (you really have a beautiful smile) and you know what...yeah, Luka we do laugh the same and I think that is pretty darn cool!

We are so proud of you and really I could have never imagined what our lives would be like four years later, but here we are in freaking Bolivia living in the clouds and you are in KG4, you can write so many words, you have a little brother, you speak three languages, you can sing almost any song after you hear it once and you want a Hummer for Christmas! ha ha ha

Even four years later, people still tell us, "Wow, that is such a wonderful thing you did!" I really hate that comment, but I don't get mad because it is just what people say. But really we didn't do anything wonderful or magnificent. We were just a regular couple that wanted a family and our paths intersected and viola...a family we are. It was never about helping you or saving you. I really feel that you saved us and I thank God everyday for sending JJ and I to live in Mozambique!

Well, enough with the sappy stuff. We love you and will look forward to celebrating this day every year. It is not only your day, but it is our day too and even Sammy. It is the day that the van Herksen - Vigues family started and look at us now...and not to be corny and quote Dr. Seuss but, "Oh, the places we will go!"



PS Daddy, we really missed you today. But we know you are almost back home and don't worry we have many many for Adoption Days to celebrate!

Here are some photos from Luka's surprises Adoption Day Party. Note to mommy: Surprise party for four year olds...not such a great idea. You were super confused and even a little scared with the whole surprise thing. But luckily after a few minutes you were running around enjoying the festivities. It was a great afternoon with a few close friends...thank you to everyone that came.

Here is a copy of the email invite I sent out.

These were the "goodie" bags with some candy and a pencil...whoo too! I love pencils.

Table sign.

We tried to bring a little of Mozambique to Charlie Papas with the capulanas.

These cupcakes were YUMMO. Maria Renee really has the best cupcakes in town. This one was red velvet with a cream cheese filling. We also had a oreo cupcake. But today I was partial to the red velvet.


Luka really loves his chicken wings. He has graduated from chicken fingers to wings. I hope he holds off on the beer for now.

Sammy, Sammy...what an appetite you have!

Luka with his Bolivian "Abuelos". These are the grandparents of one of his classmates - Simon - and they have really taken our family under their wing and made us feel so welcomed. Luka loves to hang out with them and it doesn't hurt that Grandpa John drives a really cool Hummer!

With his friends...

Sam was really begging for a cupcake here...

Look at Sam, he is just drooling for one...ha ha ha

Ah, we have contact....


Oh, but here he is eating ice cream after his cupcake. This boy loves to eat!

Luka with Simon and Jose Antonio (we knew Jose Antonio from Mozambique...what a small world!)

Hey, Sammy has a girlfriend????

Hot mamas...well, it was really hot today as well!

Sam's Weekly Update

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Sam had a busy and exciting week! Just look at him shaking that musical instrument on Tuesday (Martes)...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Holidays Class of 2025

Wow, Class of 2025...that makes it day Luka will be all grown up, leaving me and heading off to college. Can someone teach me how to make the clock stop??? Please these boys are growing up way too fast!

We organized a Holiday Party for the KG4 Class. It was amazing. A BIG BIG thank you to Valentina's Mom, Daniela, for hosting such a fabulous party. The food was amazing and the parents really appreciated the open bar!

But the most important part was that the kids had a wonderful time and although it was a freaking hot day in La Paz, you could still feel the Christmas spirit in the air. All all Christmas broke loose when Santa arrived to give all the classmates their presents. Here is a little photo overview of the day.

Oh, no this little boy is NOT in KG4...but he also had a great time. And he looks like he could almost be in KG4...ha ha. Boy, did he love that ice cream!

Here is Luka playing pin the nose on the reindeer. He was very brave and volunteered to be the first. He was also the only one to pin the nose on the was pretty funny. Good try Luka!

Here Sam is having a conversation with the Snowman. I wish I could have understood what he was saying.

I present to you the CLASS OF 2025. I wonder where they will all be when they are 18. Luka will probably be on another continent, but I bet you he will always remember his KG4 friends. He has made many great friends at ACS.

The KG4 Moms

The KG4 Dads

Santa has just arrived. I think someone is happy...Tabatha is still looking for him.

Santa and Elves came all the way "up" to La Paz to deliver presents...what a special treat!

This was really precious. The night before Luka and I sat down, at his request, to write a letter to Santa. He knew there was the possibility that he would make an appearance at the party and he wanted to be prepared. Well, he surely didn't forget and after the excitement of the presents was over he made me go get the letter so he could personally give it to him. He was so focused on the task and I really hope Santa works on his wish list:
1. A Hummer
2. A Jeep Cherokee
3. An iPad
4. Something for his cousins in Miami
5. Something for Mami & Papi

By the way...when did 4-year olds start asking for an iPad??? I don't think Santa will be getting him that. Let's see...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

International Day at ACS

Luka's School ACS celebrated International Day and for days Luka couldn't contain his excitement and he kept saying all the things he was going to do on that day, like...saying "Hello, my name is Luka and I am from Mozambique...VIVA AFRICA!" and dancing to his favorite Mozambican song as he walked across the stage. But life with a four year old is not predictable and that day he woke up on the wrong side of bed and I also don't think that it helped that he was all alone representing his country. The photo above and below show his demeanor that morning...poor baby! He was reluctant, but he did manage to walk across the stage and finish in one piece. He did love his outfit because it had impalas...he loves impalas. The fabric was actually given to me when Sam was born (Mozambican tradition) and I guess I should have saved it for Sam (sorry about that Sammy) but Luka loved the fabric and we needed to make him a new capulana outfit, since he outgrew the other one he had.

Sam was excited to be part of the festivities and Sam is wearing Luka's old outfit. Doesn't he look cute! He also loved banging his Mozambican drum.

After the procession of countries all the elementary school students participated in a group square dance to celebrate the USA. By this time Luka was a happy camper...he really loves to dance!

There he is square dancing away...

After the square dancing all the students were invited into the auditorium for a "World's Fair" with booths from many different countries. All of the kids had a great time "traveling" around the world and sampling foods from many countries.

Luka was so proud to show his classmates around the Mozambican booth. Here he is showing the video of his 2nd Birthday to his friends. He loves the video because it features the Mozambican dance group that performed at his party.

He also wanted to be the one that stamped the passports when his classmates "visited" Mozambique. The PTA gave each booth a stamp with the country's name and basic was such a cute idea and by the end of the day students had close to 20 stamps from around the world in their ACS passports.

Here I am with Luka in my capulana outfit...I really miss Mozambique!

I had a video looping at our Mozambican booth. Here is the features photos and tid bits from Mozambique. Enjoy!

The day started off rough, but it ended on a good note and now the kids at ACS know a little more about our favorite African country! VIVA MOZAMBIQUE!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Luka Loves Impalas

This was taken as we were leaving International Day at ACS. Luka was talking about how much he loved impalas and his Mozambican outfit. I don't know where he came up with jumping like an impala after his "shake-it, shake-it"!?!?!? He does love to do his "shake-it" dance!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Update & a First for Sam

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As I do every Friday here is the update from Sammy's school. I know I say it all the time, but aren't they great! Well, this week in addition to all the fun, we also had our first incident at school where Sam hurt a fellow classmate.

On Thursday I get to school and the minute I walked into class I could see Sam was feistier than usual...then the teacher says, "Oh, we need to talk." Oh oh...every mom knows that is not good news. Well apparently Sam pushed his new classmate Nicole and she busted her lip as part of the fall. Sammy, Sammy! Of course my first reaction was, "Oh my gosh I am such a bad mother. It has to be my fault that my child is such a bully." But wait, it was an isolated instance and this stuff happens all the time. I mean they are toddlers and a little clumsy, but nonetheless I was mortified.

Well, I called Nicole's mom and all is okay in the world. She understands that things like this happen and we even planned a play date for the pair next week. Let's see how that goes...

But this whole thing got me many more conversations like that will I have with the teacher?

Monday, November 14, 2011

In love with this party...

Too bad I don't have a little girl to throw a party like this for...I fell in love with everything about this party when I visited this page. Just wanted to share...

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's Friday...Here is an update!

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Sam's week was full of activities and new friends. He has some new classmates and I think he likes having more girls in class. Take a look at his face on Tuesday (at the light table)...I love that face that Sammy makes. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

ABIA Holiday Fair

This past weekend was the ABIA Holiday Fair and as a member of ABIA and Food Court coordinator I had to be there ALL weekend. Yes, all day Saturday and Sunday in the sun, but my boys came to visit me throughout the weekend and it made it more bearable.

Don't get me wrong, the fair was great, but it gets a little tiring when you are there from 8 am - 5 pm two days in a row!

The fair was a complete success and we raised money for our charities in Bolivia. I also got to do some shopping and buy some gifts for family and friends. Some of you in Miami might receive some of the goodies I bought at this annual artisan fair....let's see.

Sammy's favorite part of the fair had to be the can see all the evidence across his face

Luka was excited to see Barbie again (she was at the fair last year). But this year was special...he got to KISS her. He was in love!

Sam and Luka were walking and dancing all around the fair. Don't you love those hats!

It is a little early for holiday photos, but Sinterklaas (from Holland) made an appearance at the fair and Luka was able to talk to him and his wish list.

Oh, look but Santa Claus also came...thank goodness. Sam didn't want to sit on his lap, but he was okay if mommy held him.

I just can't get enough of these hats. I think JJ needs one too.

Shortly after this photo was taken the boys went home after a long day at the fair and I stayed to close up and wait for the results of the raffle...guess what. SAM WON TWO TICKETS ON ANY ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE!!!! Hello!!! We are really excited and are looking forward to our cruise. First time anyone in our family ever wins a prize that big.