Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mirror Mirror on the Wall...

We really need a new mirror over the fireplace in the living room and I am loving these three. I have to have it custom made because I can't order from the states and I have been to many stores in town and I have found NOTHING even remotely in the ballpark...but which one. Do you have a favorite?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Typical Day with the Boys

Today was just one of those regular days full of activities with the boys, laundry, making dinner, cleaning the house. My productive day usually ends at 1:30 pm when I have to pick-up Sam at school. He usually falls asleep in the car and then I wait with him in the parking lot of Luka's school. He gets out at 2:30 pm. I was there at 2:30 pm today but he decided he wanted to stay for dance class...so I had to entertain Sam for another hour. We found this area of the Early Childhood Center...an outside art studio. Sam loved it! 

Here he is running away from the graffiti wall thinking he has done something wrong. I tried to explain to him that in this case writing on the wall was ok.
Look at my little sly Sammy. That face..man that face...don't let it fool you. He is pretty naughty these days. 
Then at home I became Luka's own personal hairstylist. It is kind of easy when all you have to do is shave his head. We took advantage of the fact that in the end it was all coming off anyway and we had some fun...

Here is the "before" photo.
"Mom, I don't think this style is working! What do you think?"
"I pity the fool that gets in my way!" (Mr. T reference)
The "after" photo. Now Luka is ready for picture day tomorrow! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Shoe Box Project

Today our priority getting ready to turn in our "Shoe Box Project." What is the Shoe Box Project you ask? It is a school-wide community service project at Luka's school. I could explain it to you in detail, but it is much easier for you to watch this video. Just click on this link. The video is very cute and gives you a great visual on how the project works.

Above you can see Luka ready to go with his list at the grocery store. Well Jumbo is really more like a Walmart. So off we went with our list.... Luka's class was assigned the Cottolengo Center that takes care of children and adults that are developmentally disabled. Luka's class was asked to make shoe boxes for 20-something year old men. I thought it was going to be hard to explain to Luka why we had to get a razor and a toy for a boy, but really a man. But then something great happened at the store...a real teachable moment.

As we were looking for a pair of men's socks someone said "hola" to Luka. He asked me, "Mommy what is wrong with that man...is he a baby?" I said, "No, Luka he is a man and we are shopping for a man that is a lot like him." Luka, "But was is wrong with him Mami?" "There is nothing wrong with him Luka, he is just a little different. He is developmentally disabled...like the man we are shopping for." "Mom, what is developmentally disabled?" I knew that was coming, but kind of hard to explain to a five year old....this is what I came up with.

"Luka, developmentally disabled means that their brain grew differently than yours or mine. He is older, but still likes to play games like little kids and he probably won't go to the same kind of school that you go to. But he is a person just like you and me, just that he someone needs to take care of him, just like parents take care of their little kids." Luka said, "Oh, like that man had his mom and dad with him taking care of him." I said, "Yes, Papi just like that."

I am really glad we ran into that stranger and I was able to explain to Luka who we were making the Shoe Box for. I hope he didn't mind the stares from Luka, but he was really intrigued and kept looking at him while we talked about it.

After getting home and getting ready for bed we started on the art for the Shoe Box. Here you can see Luka drawing in his PJs. He was so happy working on this project!
This is how the drawing came out. Don't you love how he is smaller than the man. He really got that the person is older than him.
Here is our Shoe Box all wrapped up and ready to go...We are totally rocking the PacMan wrapping paper!
On Friday the Shoe Boxes will be delivered and I hope that Luka and I get picked to be on the delivery team...we applied and are waiting to here if we made the cut. I will keep you posted.

Isn't this a great project!!?!?!??!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Conversations with Luka

Luka has been busy making friends at school. Apparently he has friends that are boys and he has girlfriends. Here is a conversation I had with him recently:

Luka: "Mommy, I had a girlfriend at school. But only for two days. She is not my girlfriend anymore."

Me: Why...what do you mean she was only your girlfriend for two days?

Luka: Mommy, she followed me EVERYWHERE. I sit down and she sits down. She does eveyrhting I do and even when I go to bathroom she goes to the bathroom.

Me: (Inside I am thinking...bathroom trip...at 5) Does she go into the bathroom with you.

Luka: No, not inside Mommy, just to the bathroom.

Another thing we are talking about lately is all the people that come up to him and make comments about him being black or saying "Ayyy que lindo." That is code in Chile for "Oh your son is so cute and I have never seen a black child." It is also usually accompanied with patting on the head, an unsolicited hug and yes...even with kisses from strangers (oh gross). Poor Luka, right?

Well from strangers we have learned to live with it, but it really bothers him when kids from his school say something or single him out. Yes, I try to explain to him why they talk about it, but he is five...so I have had to help him with some responses that seem to be working. 

Luka: Mom, that boy says I am black.
Me: Yes, you are black and he is white. Did he say anything bad? 
Luka: No, just that I am black...but I am not black I am brown.
Me: Next time someone tells you you are black. Tell them, "No I am brown and you are pink."

Luka is very literal with colors...i am not white...I am pink. His cousin is light brown. So being completely honest works for him.

This is my favorite....they constantly ask Luka. "Why are you black?" So after talking with Luka we came up with a way for him to deal with this question:

Friend from Luka's Classroom: Why are you black?
Luka: Why are you white?
Friend: Let's just talk about something else and keep playing.

He uses this one all the time. Of course I explained to him and he knows he is from Mozambique and people from Mozambique are black, or brown like he says. And people from different parts of the world look different and we should all be proud of where we come from. But answering with a question to this particular comment/question is MUCH easier for Luka to do on his own.

Decorating in Santiago

Okay, so I have been running around town for the last couple of weeks trying to find pieces for the house, fabrics, etc...I have come up with a list of places to recommend. I am making a post because people have asked me and it is just easier to refer them to the site...so if you aren't in Chile, sorry and I promise to post something interesting soon:

Mio - Modern Furniture for Kids
a little pricey but really the only place I found in town with this simple and modern style

Olika Scandivavian Design
Cool place for marimekko fabrics and modern gifts. They also have a series of Wallpaper Travel Books. I bought the one for Santiago. I love those books.

Pupa Color
Beautiful mural and wallpaper store in Lo Barnachea. It is not cheap, but price is comparable to the other store I visited (and I went to many). These papers are imported and they have a big collection of modern, retro, vibrant colors, etc.

Design shop in Vitacura. Expensive, but only place I have found with the type of fabrics I have been looking for. I wanted geometric, crisp and modern patterns. I would suggest to buy the fabric there then contract someone else to make the curtain and the fixtures...it is cheaper that way.

Outlet de Telas y Fierro
I used them to make curtains for three rooms in my house. I had some of the fabric and I used one of the fabrics from the store. They don't have the largest selection, but since I just needed something simple for the guest room, then I had the fabric for the other two. They had the best prices and the job is done and complete in 8 business days. The lady's name is Juanita.

El Otro Outlet
This place had great fabrics and I saw some chairs they had done for another customer in the store and they were beautiful. I didn't contract them, but the fabrics were a good price. They also had a large selection of fabrics from Ikea. I haven't used them yet, but as soon as I find the fabric I want for a chair in the living room I will definitely call them.

Trying to have a mid-century modern vibe has not been easy to do in Santiago, but these places have helped. As I find other cool places and shops I will ad to the list.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Why I Walk...Why I Need Your Help

Emilia Reyes.
Angeles Vigues.
Ines Vigues.
Jose Vigues.

Those are the reasons I walk and I will continue to do it as long as I can. I hope you can help me reach my goal of raising $3,500 USD this year. This will be the second year that I make the commitment to fund raise and walk way more miles than I would normally on any given day. But it is an amazing experience full of cramps, muscle aches, blisters and literally blood, sweat and tears but soooo worth it. Not only am I raising money for disease that must be dealt with, but it is therapy for me and my way of dealing with having this disease affect my family in so many ways...and most recently my father.

When my sister and I walked last year we never thought we would be adding our father to this list, but it just goes to show you that breast cancer doesn't care what color, age, religion or GENDER you are...so we need to fight it with all that we've got. In my case I am not a doctor or  researcher, but I can walk so that is what I am going to do in October (wow, it is right around the corner!) and I need your help. So please click on this link and give something...$1 or $100 is doesn't matter...every little bit helps, really! And it would be so much to me to know I have supporters in this endeavor.

We just moved to a different county and we have not been having the easiest time transitioning to our new home. I could have easily said,"You know what...it is too far (because it really is)...I can't this year...I haven't trained as much," and the list of excuses goes on and on...but then I think of all the people I met on the walk last year that didn't have a choice to start chemo or fight this disease. How can I not do it?

I have not been able to be there for my aunt and father this past year as they have battled treatments and the challenges of having breast cancer, but I will be there in NYC walking 40 miles and thinking of them every step of the way.

Here is the link to donate...you can also email me if you rather deposit the money in our Dutch or American bank account. For those in the US the link is easier and this way your donation is tax deductible.


This week I have started my intense training and I hope to be ready on October 20th so that my friend Jackie Jenkins doesn't have to carry me to the finish line. She is going to be walking with me this year.

I will keep you posted on news of the walk and I hope to hear from you.

Please send me the names of those friends and family members that have been affected by breast cancer so that I can add them to my "Honor Roll."

Thank you.

Double Dino Fun!

This weekend was jam packed with activities. Well Sunday alone was a whirlwind. It started with Disney on Ice at Santiago's Movistar Arena (I was told the largest arena in South America, but only sits 15,000). But the entire arena was SOLD out for this magical show. We loved it and I wish I had more photos, but the ones we took are on JJ's phone and we were so high up that taking photos was going to be tough. But we had a WONDERFUL time. The four of us enjoyed the show. It was amazing. The boys were attentive the entire time and they couldn't get enough. My boys love Disney as much as most kids, but they love to watch parades and shows from the park...not Disney movies. Luka and Sam sit and watch videos on YouTube of other folks vacation at Disney...it is quite funny..so this was right up their alley...they could see the actual people like in the shows and in the park. Are my boys wierd? But it was a blast nonetheless.

Then we headed straight to this COOL Dinosaur Birthday Party. Charlie (in Luka's Class) and Sam are in K2 at our new school and were lucky enough to celebrate with them on thier birthday. Celeste (their mom) did an amazing job with all the decorations and the details...even down to the dinosaur poop. 
Look, here we had cookies we had to dig for.
Sam looks so grown up, no? He also had a good time with all the dinosaurs lurking around the house.
Luka quickly got into the theme of the party.
Sam doesn't look so scary, though!?!?!?!?
This was a fun game - Pass the Parcel. But the best part was hearing Luka say, "We are going to play pass the parcel." But in an Australian accent....he was trying to imitate their accent. He does this all the time and is pretty good at it.
This I LOVE and I am going to buy at Jumbo (grocery store). It was an Dinosaur Egg Race..but it can also be an Easter Egg Race, right?
Luka with one of his other classmates, Borga!
Sam looks so cute by his amazing cake!
Thank you for making all four of us part of your special day!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dia Del Nino

It is 12:33 am and I should really be sleeping. It was an extremely long day filled with mounting lamps, shelves, putting up photos, emptying more boxes, selling more items that don't fit, picking up kids, making dinner...well you get the picture. This is probably normal for most people, but I miss having help and I am counting the days until September 3rd when Tita (name of our new empleada) arrives and I can finally unpack my office (aka my mom cave) and restore a little sanity to my life.

But anyway...off on a tangent there. I was trying to clean out my email inbox and came across an email from Sam's school...they were inviting me to visit the photo gallery (they sent me a username and password)...fancy shmancy, right?!?!? Well, the photos were great and pretty cool that my two year old's daycare has a web gallery. I am all over that.

They were letting us know that they took photos for Dia Del Nino (too tired to find accents and symbols for Spanish, sorry). It is a National Day for Children in Chile. They had a party, Sam seemed to have fun, for the entire school. There are the photos they sent.

There is Sam's "I am Going to Eat You" Face...not sure where he gets this. He does it all the time. It is really funny.

Check out Sam in the back watching very attentively. He doesn't do that at home. He doesn't even watch TV for more than 5 minutes.
There he is again...Sam, you behave so well at school. 
Not sure what this photo is all about. They look as if they are all in a time out, no? You can see Sam's class in this photo. 
I have to really take photos and bring you up to speed on the progress in the house...will try and get to it this weekend.

Now it is really bedtime! Sweet Dreams.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Put a Bird on It

Okay, lately I have been a little obsessed with birds. Wait, let me clarify...I don't know the first thing about birds or the difference between a pigeon and hornbill. But in the last month I have bought 3 items of clothing with bird silhouettes. I am also on the hunt for a white ceramic bird large enough for my bookcase.There is just something so crisp and clean about the silouette and I don't know it just makes me happy.

I also splurged a little in Holland and bought the Eames House Bird (thank you to my inlaws for helping me). I have been wanting this puppy, I should say birdie, for a long time. Okay, that is not my mantel, but once my living room is done I hope to have a nice vignette on my mantle with my beautiful bird...what should I name him...maybe Charlie or RayRay after Charles & Ray Eames....my mid-century modern design gurus.

Okay, so I like birds at the moment. Well, my new super fun friend Crystal was really excited to see I was into birds...she is an avid birdwatcher (she is still really cool, even though she is a total nerd when it comes to birds, but I think that rocks). But then 2 minutes later she was even more disappointed to find out that I was a big fat poser and really only liked birds to suit my design fetish.

She sent me this video...pretty freaking hilarious...and pretty much sums up my bird fetish at the moment. Enjoy!

There is much more going on at the moment that I really haven't posted on...but birds are the priority at the moment...ha ha ha. No, they aren't, but they are cute, right?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hard to Say Goodbye

Luka Says Goodbye to Alyssa from Melissa van Herksen on Vimeo.

A few weeks ago when said hello to our friends from Mozambique...The Sacci Family. But then just 2 weeks later we had to say goodbye (not used to saying goodbye that quickly). They were leaving Santiago to Washington, DC. It was great to have them here to show us around our new city and see some friendly faces...even if it was only for a short time.

Luka fell in love with their seven year old Alyssa. They got along, but Alyssa aware of the age difference was not cool with the whole Luka likes me thing. But they did have a great time on their play dates, but Alyssa always stressed the "play" and downplayed the "date."

Luka didn't care...he was in LOVE.

This is a video he asked me to send Alyssa a day after they left. I found it again on my computer and I just had to post.

We hope the Saccis are doing well and who knows we might see them in another post, another time, on another continent...that is something really special about our life...you never know what lies in store for you and who you will run into again!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Quick Update...

Wow, the last week has been INSANE. We moved into our house and on most days I can't even find time to go to the bathroom. This move in has been quite challenging for me. Opening 320 plus items with a two year old running around and no help is note an easy feat. At this rate I am not sure when the house will be ready. This is the 4th time I have had to unpack in the last four years and set up house....I should be an expert by now, but this one threw me for a loop. It could be the fact that we don't have a maid/nanny yet, or that fact that Sam is TWO, or the fact that I run around and drive the kids to school, or that we downsized in living space substantially from La Paz and opening boxes is a game of shifting things around and trying to find a place to put things. I think that is it...there is just STUFF everywhere.

But with all that being said...life still goes on and there are many new things to tell. I am so freaking behind it is not even funny! But let me flash some pics and give you a little update before I pass out and my laptop runs out of juice (I have no idea where the extension chord is!

The first photo is from our day trip to the beach at Vina del Mar...the boys loved it and I loved the clean air!

Here are the boys on Luka's first day of school. My mom always took these awkward first day of school breakfast photos and I have kept the tradition and have become quite fond of them. I love how the capture exactly what happened. Can you see JJ trying to feed Sam and Sam is not wanting to cooperate. Luka with the totally forced smile. Love it!
Look at my big boy going to his first day of Kindergarten...seriously time flies!

The school is so big you need directional signs to get around. There are FIVE kindergarten classes.
Luka loves his new class. He fit right in and didn't seem to stress about the new school. 
Here he is with his teachers...Ms. Angelica and Ms. Laura (who is from Bolivia...funny coincidence).
Circular driveway and view from Luka's school.
Here are more directional signs...I am telling you the school is BIG.
Here are some photos of Luka at recess...