Friday, December 16, 2011

Sam's Last Week of School



Here is the update from Sam's last week of school. He has loved every minute at LIVE and I am sure he can't wait to start in January. They have so much fun at that school!

Sam in Action @ LIVE


By now you know how much I love Sam's little school, LIVE. Well, today was Sam's last day of school (he will start again on January 12th). And I got a big surprise...they gave me a photo CD of Sam in action at school. I thought the photo CD would be of general photos of the class, but the teachers at LIVE made a personal CD for each child with photos of Sam doing all his fun activities at school.

How amazing to see my little boy experience his first year at school. I posted some of my favorites...but click here to see all of the photos they gave me.

We are very proud of you Sammy!




Welcome to Miami


It is 2:15 pm and the taxi is coming to pick us up at home at 5 pm. The kids are almost dressed and we are almost packed, but I had to take 5 minutes to update our blog and say how freaking excited I am to go to Miami this time. I feel like we are way overdue for a Cuban Family Christmas and to make it even more special our best friends from Mozambique are spending the holidays with us in Miami.

It has been a trying couple of weeks with hospital stays, influenza, salmonella, scary family medical news and I just need a big dose of my family in my favorite town! Miami might be a lot of things and not all good, but to me it is home and there is nothing like the feeling when the plane lands in MIA.

Mami, Papi...we will be there soon and Luka is very excited about sleeping over and seeing his cousins. All he talks about is Max and Evan, oh and dad's parakeets. I really hope you still have them and nothing has happened to them, because he talks about it like if Papi has his own little Parrot Jungle in the backyard.

Okay, now I have to finish up the suitcases and make sure I am not forgetting anything, but I always do!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Our 2011 Holiday Card


We would like to wish our friends and family all over the globe a HAPPY & HEALTHY HOLIDAY SEASON and all the best in 2012!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Little Christmas Cheer from Luka



For a whole week poor Luka has been home sick with some type of really bad flu. The little guy has had fever, vomitting, coughing and just a general state of "ick." But event sick days call for some Christmas activities. During the moments he felt up to it he made these Christmas posters. I love the coloring page with Santa...doesn't he have great penmanship!

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays Lukkie!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oldies but Goodies



Okay, here are the rest of the brag books I have done since the beginning. I figured that since I learned how to make these videos in iPhoto it would be great to share them. Wow, how time flies huh?!?!?! Luka has changed so much it is incredible. I am so glad I make these every year.

The first book I made was in 2008, but actually in 2007 (we got Luka in November of 2007) I made the grandparents real photo brag books...so that one I don't have a copy of. Modern technology is so much better, no?

The Real Frankenstein Lives in La Paz


I had forgotten to post this Halloween video. This was actually the day before the official Halloween day, but we had a party to go to and I told Luka to practice being in character. What do you think?

Luka's Audition Tape?

I was cleaning out my Flip Camera and I found this video. I just couldn't resist and I had to post it. Luka loves to see himself on the video camera. I am not sure what he is singing...when he doesn't know the song he just makes up words to the melody. Do you think he was trying to make an audition tape for American Idol?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lights, Camera, Action...


Here is the video of Sam's first performance ever for his school's Holiday Show. The kids are so funny! Enjoy.

Friday, December 09, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas...

Today was a big day for Sammy. It was his first performance EVER at school. LIVE, his school, celebrated the holidays in a big way today. All three classes performed and it was great. The kids were adorable and each class had custom made hats in a different theme. Sam's class had snowmen, the 2 year old class were Santas and the older kids were elves. Each and every one of the kids looked so cute, but of course I was a bit biased and thought Sam was the most handsome snowman of all...

The morning started off iffy...with daddy and Luka home all week with a really bad flu, Sam and I had been spared. But on the morning of his first performance at school he woke up with a fever of 38.5 (101.3) so I did what any self-respecting mommy would do. I pumped him with his appropriate dose of tylenol and prayed the fever would go down in time for the show. He seemed to be in an okay mood so I was hoping for the best. By 8:36 am the fever had gone down to 37...only "destemplansa" so off we were to school while JJ and Luka suffered at home. I know they didn't want to miss it, but I had my camera and Flip camera ready to document the entire event.

His class performed a song in Spanish that I don't know the title, but it was a catchy tune and the kids were supposed to shake the bells on their wrist. Well, these kids are 12 - 24 months so the choreography wasn't perfect, but let me tell you. They were the ONLY class that didn't have someone crying on stage or running off as soon as they saw the crowd. We are very proud of the "NIDO" class at LIVE.

Here is a photo of Sam as he stands on stage and the magnitude of this event sinks in. I don't think he has ever been on stage with almost 100 people staring right back at him.

I was even more proud when I saw the ornament that Sam had done made it to the stage, as part of their Winter Wonderland decorations.

This is the beautiful christmas tree that Sam's class created. For two days straight he came home covered in glitter from head to toe!

Oh, I guess I was wrong..one of the little girls did cry, but she quickly calmed down and stayed on stage with the rest of her class. Sam is so freaking cute, huh!

Here you can see his entire class. They are 8 and Sam likes all of them. He particularly loves to play with Jose Manuel (far left) and the Zoe, the princess and senior of the class (far right). Nicole the one in the middle did the best job with the performance. She was shaking her booty the entire song, she must have some prior dancing training. And Luciano, to the right of Sam, had serious "business" to tend to while on stage and didn't take his finger out of his nose the whole time...ha ha ha.

Sam immediately after his "performance." Look at those cheeks and lips!

Sam and Mommy were particularly excited about the Christmas donuts after the show.

Of course Sam picked out the Snowman to eat...YUMMY!

But then he went back for seconds and thirds...so I had half of three donuts in total.

Sam absolutely loves his teachers Ms. Mari & Ms. Juli...


And here are some more photos of my handsome little Christmas model...



I have a video too. I hope to post that soon!

Sam's Weekly Updates



This week they ended with their Christmas show...it was so cute. You can see more photos here.

Everyone Can Be an Angel...


I received this story via email from my aunt and I thought it was a good story to post during this holiday season. It made me think of my sister and father and all the nice things they do for people they don't know or meet on the street. Everytime I see someone asking for money or food I always think, Moqui or Papi would help so I should too.

We all know someone, especially during the holidays that needs our help or could use it. You might know this person or just bump into them on the street.

Well, I will leave you this story to read and a photo (above) of one of my Christmas angels (took the photo this morning at his Holiday Show)....

Have a wonderful Holiday Season! Thanks Ine for sending me the email.

This was written by a Metro Denver Hospice Physician:

I was driving home from a meeting this evening about 5, stuck in traffic on Colorado Blvd., and the car started to choke and splutter and die - I barely managed to coast , cursing, into a gas station, glad only that I would not be blocking traffic and would have a somewhat warm spot to wait for the tow truck. It wouldn't even turn over. Before I could make the call, I saw a woman walking out of the quickie mart building, and it looked like she slipped on some ice and fell into a gas pump, so I got out to see if she was okay
When I got there, it looked more like she had been overcome by sobs than that she had fallen; she was a young woman who looked really haggard with dark circles under her eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up, and I picked it up to give it to her. It was a nickel

At that moment, everything came into focus for me: the crying woman, the ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with 3 kids in the back (1 in a car seat), and the gas pump reading $4.95.

I asked her if she was okay and if she needed help, and she just kept saying 'I don't want my kids to see me crying! ,' so we stood on the other side of the pump from her car. She said she was driving to California and that things were very hard for her right now. So I asked, 'And you were praying?' That made her back away from me a little, but I assured her I was not a crazy person and said, 'He heard you, and He sent me.'

I took out my card and swiped it through the card reader on the pump so she could fill up her car completely, and while it was fueling, walked to the next door McDonald's and bought 2 big bags of food, some gift certificates for more, and a big cup of coffee. She gave the food to the kids in the car, who attacked it like wolves, and we stood by the pump eating fries and talking a little.

She told me her name, and that she lived in Kansas City . Her boyfriend left 2 months ago and she had not been able to make ends meet. She knew she wouldn't have money to pay rent Jan. 1, and finally, in desperation, had called her parents, with whom she had not spok en in about 5 years. They lived in California and said she could come live with them and try to get on her feet there.

So she packed up everything she owned in the car. She told the kids they were going to California for Christmas, but not that they were going to live there.
I gave her my gloves, a little hug and said a quick prayer with her for safety on the road. As I was walking over to my car, she said, 'So, are you like an angel or something?'

This definitely made me cry. I said, 'Sweetie, at this time of year angels are really busy, so sometimes God uses regular people.'

It was so incredible to be a part of someone else's miracle. And of course, you guessed it, when I got in my car it started right away and got me home with no problem. I'll put it in the shop tomorrow to check, but I suspect the mechanic won't find anything wrong

Sometimes the angels fly close enough to you that you can hear the flutter of their wings....

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

2010 Brag Books Revisited




Some of you asked to see the 2010 Brag Books for the boys. Here you go! I can't believe how tiny Sam was. Time really does pass in flash. Luka's book is set to one of his favorite Mozambican tunes. Enjoy!

Guess Who is Knocking on Our Door...


Here you can see the excitement in our house as Sinterklaas was about to knock on the door. Luka was very excited and I think Sam was just happy to open a box.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Knock Knock..Who's There...SINTERKLAAS

Well, today was Sinterklaas. I won't go into my whole discussion about the holiday. I still don't love it and I really don't love the "painted" black helpers that accompany Sinterklaas, you can read my thoughts here on last year's post.

But I have come to accept it and they boys enjoy this very important Dutch tradition...so this year we had many Sinterklaas activities: Luka sang songs and prepared for his arrival at Dutch school, Sinterklaas actually made a stop in La Paz at we got to see him (I don't have those photos, still waiting for someone to email them to me) and of course on the eve of Dec. 5th he made a stop at our house.

It was priceless...at 6:30 pm there was a loud knock at the door and Luka freaked out. He was so scared he didn't even want to open the door. When we finally convinced him to open the door he was pleasantly surprised to see the presents, but he wanted to know where Sinterklaas and his horses went. He couldn't figure out how they disappeared so fast and were no where insight in our apartment building.

Here he is opening his present. He had specifically asked for this Sinterklaas Playmobil set...so essentially Sinterklaas brought him a Sinterklaas. You can see a close up of the figurine at the top of the post. He sort of looks like a cross between Santa Claus and the Pope, no?

He was very very happy as you can see from the photos.

Well, Sam was ready for bed time, but he didn't want to miss out on the fun. Doesn't he look tired, though? He liked his gift too. JJ was also excited because he also had this Classic Fisher-Price toy as a little boy.

Sam, "How does this toy work?"

Everyone Deserves a Happy Holiday Season


As most of you know my sister Monica and I walked our first 3-day walk this past September. It was an experience we will never forget and one that we will repeat as long as we can & are able to. We have already signed up for our walk next year in Tampa for 2012!

This holiday season I ask you to think about making a donation to our cause. This year we raised over $5,000 USD, but in 2012 I want to raise double that amount. Recently this cause has hit close to home and we are more motivated than ever to kick breast cancer’s butt. I hope you can help me with the fight. No donation is too small…give a dollar, give $5, give BIG…whatever you donate will be greatly appreciated and let me tell you we thought about everyone that helped us out this year when we walked those 60 miles!

Click here to make a donation.

Thank you & Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Mini-Photo Books are Done!



This year's mini-brag books are done. Every year I make these tiny little perfect books for the grandparents and it has become an anticipated tradition. I also can't wait to have them in my purse every year to show off my boys. The idea is that it chronicles their growth and experiences for that year. So far I have done them every year since Luka joined our family & not only are they are great little "brag book" to have in your purse, but I save a copy for Luka and Sam. When they are older, they will have a little library of these books that document an entire year of their life...I hope they will appreciate them as much as I love making them.

I try really hard to capture their spirit and experiences for that year...what do you think? Here are videos of the book. Enjoy!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Friday Updates


(Click on the images to see them larger)

Looks like Sam had a fun week. At the moment he is loving playing with Zoe (Jueves/Thursday). The teacher told me this week that he spends the whole day following her around. Poor Zoe!

Another First for Sammy & Mommy - Teacher Conference


Yesterday I had my first Parent Teacher Conference for Sammy. As always I was nervous, but this time I think it was warranted. Remember a few weeks ago when I posted about Sammy pushing a girl at school. Lately Sam has all this energy and he is just bursting to let it all out. So when he wants to hug you, kiss you or just show affection he does it with a lot of force. The boy is like Bam Bam and he doesn't know his own strength!

So I thought I was going to go in there and Ms. Mari was going to tell me to work on that...I picture him pushing all the kids in class. Well, Mommy was WRONG. We had a great meeting! I know I say it all the time when I post the Friday updates, but I love this freaking daycare! They were so thorough in their evaluation and I really feel like they truly care about Sam.

Well I won't bore you with the details...but the first line was: "Sam es un niño, feliz, cariñoso, activo y communicativo. Además disfruta la compañia de personas conocidas."

Yeah! Sammy we are so proud of you! Keep up the good work.

PS The photo above was taking at Luka's KG4 Holiday Party and I was telling Sam that it was time to come out of the bouncy castle and he decided that the best response was the blow raspberries in mommy's face...ha ha ha. I wish I would have had a video camera instead to capture the moment.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Thanks Bianca!


My friend Bianca has a beautiful blog where she documents the adventures of her son Santiago and her love of cupcakes. I mean who doesn't love cupcakes, right! But today she wrote a beautiful post on Luka's Adoption Day. Thanks for including us Bianca!

Click here to read the post.

Preparing for Sinterklaas


Luka preparing at Dutch school for the arrival of Sinterklaas...I still have mixed feelings about this Dutch holiday, but Luka loves it and has a great time preparing for it. We have a Sinterklaas Party this Saturday so I will tell you more about this interesting holiday later...



Thank you to Ms. Janet (his Dutch Teacher) for sending these photos of Luka.

Surprise...Happy Adoption Day


Luka had no idea we were going to celebrate his Adoption Day with a party. This is the video as he walks into the restaurant with Florencia, who had picked him up at school and told him she was going to treat him to an ice cream. Florencia helps us out at home in the afternoons. She is holding her baby...not Sam.

As you can see he was a little confused. Maybe surprise parties aren't a good idea for 4-year olds.

Read about the Adoption Day party here.