Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Trick-or-Treat...Halloween Preview

Tomorrow is Halloween and the van Herksen family is VERY excited. Well...Sam, Luka and I are. Halloween is not big in the Netherlands, it is hard for daddy to get psyched for this North American tradition. Growing up Halloween was always a big deal and my mom never disappointed with costumes, so I have a lot to live up to. This year I think we did pretty good. I usually go with a group theme, but this year I let the boys pick.

Luka decided 2.5 weeks ago that he really wanted to be Rafiki...but not the one from the movie. He wanted to be Rafiki from the stage production of The Lion King. This kid doesn't mess around. Like I have said in a previous post...he thinks the cartoon is fake and the theater version is the real deal. So how did we do? Actually, we did really well. Luka won 1st place at the Costume Parade at school on Saturday. He was a trooper. The contest took two hours to get started and this is not the most kid-friendly ensemble (did you see those fingers). But Luka stayed in character until the announcement...then the fingers, head piece and other parts came off so he could jump, bob for apples and just have fun. I guess all the walking around New York City looking for beads, fabric, feathers and other Lion King looking things paid off. What a mom will do for their children, right?

Now Sam's choice was....Mickey Mouse or he says "Minny." I thought it was a mispronunciation, but we have Minnie ears at home(I wore them last year) and those are the ears he wanted. I didn't comply with this request and as you can see the Mickey ears lasted about one minute on his head (only able to get one photo with them on). I guess he wanted to be Minnie. But either way he makes a darn cute Mickey Mouse. I like that the costume is really simple. I am hoping that tomorrow he will wear the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ears I have from Disney World...maybe that will go over better than the plain mouse ears that were part of the costume. I even have white gloves, but there was no way I could coerce him into wearing those.

Let's see how the boys do tomorrow with the costume party at school and Trick-or-Treating at night in a nearby neighborhood. Will keep you posted on that...for now I wanted to show off our Halloween 2012 costumes....

Monday, October 29, 2012

Luka's Official Kindergarten Photo

I love school photos. We don't always come out beautiful in them, but I think that is part of their charm. I know I love to look back through mine and think, "Oh, gosh I really looked like a dork" or think did my mom really make my sister and I wear the same dress for our kindergarten photos (yeah she did...poor Moqui) and how can I forget the year my parents were out of town and my grandmother had NO idea how to comb/style my hair...lets just say I had a very avant-garde look that year. But my favorite is my 6th grade photo where I secretly put eyeliner on for the first time on and a side pony tail...that one is a doozy. Actually, I think side ponytails are back, but I suspect mine was a little too high to fit in with today's trend.

Well, enough rambling...here my son's official Kindergarten photograph. I think he looks perfect, but I am biased of course. I hope he cherishes this photo in the future, as much as I love all of mine. Thank you Mom for saving all the photos and always making a big deal with saving them for the future.

He is so handsome right...I can't stop gushing. Maybe next year's photo won't be so nice so I have to take advantage. I love you Lukie!

We also purchased his class photo...aren't they cute? Go K2C!

Decorating with Photos

While I was in Holland this summer my sister-in-law Anniek taught me how to make these DIY photo collages. You can read about it here and the one I made for Luka...well finally, I made the one for Sam. He totally suffers from "Second Child Syndrome" when it comes to photos, books and other things. I am trying to be good and play catch-up...luckily he doesn't notice. Why is it so much harder to get these things done after the first baby?

As you can see I paired the collages with two canvas art pieces my friend Laura did for me while we lived in Mozambique. These are really special to me and remind me of all the love we had in our lives while we lived there. I also think the design is perfect and will "grow" with the boys. They are all squares...so they seem to go perfect. My original thought was to put them all in one line, but with the layout and limited space in the room this was the only layout that would work.

Also I tried to select photos that really exuded their individual personalities. Those two little men are very different, but at the same time they get along so well and you would think they shared DNA when you see them play together. Sam loves his big brother and copies everything he does and Luka is the ultimate protector and wants to teach Sam everything.

I apologize for the horrible photo, but I took it with my phone and not the best light. I promise to take proper photos of the entire room and you can see how it all coordinates. Mentally I have planned to take proper photos of the entire house this weekend...now that we finally have things where we want them. Stay tuned for that...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My 1st Day in NYC

It was a beautiful day today in New York. Really the weather was perfect. As you can see from this photo, buying sunglasses was the first order of business for the day. I basically walked the entire day...approximately 10 miles. 

New York is amazing...the energy...the people. There is no place on earth like it. Everyone was so nice today. Everyone I asked for directions really took their time to help me out. 

First I walked to Grand Central Station where I had to go to the Mac store to repair the iPhone. The store basically wrapped around the mezannine level of the station...very cool!

This photo was taken on my way there.
This photo was taken right outside Grand Central Station. I love the colors.
Then it was off to Times Square...wow, I stayed there over 2 hours...having coffee, stopping in front of the various theaters looking at the all the marquees for the different shows, people watching, window shopping in souvenir shops, but mostly just taking in the awesomeness of Times Square. It was so much fun just listening to conversations going on around me and watching the model shoots, interactions with tourists and police officers, etc.
I really want to try to get tickets to see Ricky Martin in Evita. That is my plan for Tuesday.
This photo is for Luka. He is obsessed with Lion King, but specifically the Rafiki character. I will bring him one day soon.
It was dumplings for lunch at a food truck smack in the Middle of Times Square. Delicious!
From Times Square I walked to my friend's flagship store on Madison Avenue. The clothes at Proenza Schouler was esquisite...really beautiful! 
Then I followed Obama's motorcade to the Waldorf-Astoria, where he was scheduled to attend the Alfred Smith Memorial Dinner, along with Mitt Romney believe it or not. I hung around the lobby (I knew I wouldn't see him) but still exciting just to be in the same place and feel the energy. He also went to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart during his visit. I can't wait to download that show tomorrow! 
Walking home to my friend's apartment I fell in love with this Deli Sign.
I didn't have one today, but tomorrow for sure. How can you not buy a pretzel from a street vendor while in NYC?

Tomorrow I will try to explore Brooklyn in the morning and catch up with an old friend.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Teacher Appreciation & Haircut Day

Today is Teacher Appreciation Day in Chile and Luka wanted to make sure we properly thanked his teachers. For about two weeks he has been asking me to buy flowers for them every time we went to the grocery store. I kept telling him that this day was coming and it would be the perfect opportunity to give flowers to his "misses"...that is what they their teachers here. 

Note: Look at the real house they are building in the classroom...isn't it amazing!

The teachers also received some special gifts from the "class." This was for his teacher Ms. Laura.

Here are the notecards we created for Ms. Angelica. Lucia from Luka's class created the portrait of Ms. Angelica. She kind of looks like Rapunzel, no?

After the visit to Luka's class I was off to Sammy's school, where they were celebrating Teacher Appreciation Day with a party! Sam was having so much fun and here he is with his Lion Face. But get a load of those eyelashes...wow, looks like I put mascara on him. I didn't, I promise.

Tomorrow is Picture Day for Sammy, so I took him to get a haircut after school. I found a great place. Finally someone that actually knows how to cut Sam's hair.... 

Didn't they do a great job?!?!? Sam and Mommy BOTH loved it.

So Good I Had to Share...

Doesn't every mother of a toddler feel this way....

Why Luka Wishes He Could Come to NYC with Me

Luka's Circle of Life from Melissa van Herksen on Vimeo.

This weekend was a long weekend and it gave plenty of time for Luka to obsess over The Lion King. Since he was three years old he has had this infatuation with the Broadway show. He says the animated version is "pretend" or "fake." I think that is funny. I am not sure how we first saw it, but it must have been on YouTube. But he can spend hours searching for different versions of the production. He likes all of the songs, but his favorite by a mile is "Circle of Life." He watches it over and over again and tries to get the movements and expressions down perfectlty. He even likes to listen in other languages and try to copy. I think the Russian version is the hardest for him to sing...ha ha, I kind of love to watch him watch  it, but at some point that melody gets on my nerves and I to ask him to shut down YouTube and take a break.

Well, two weeks ago when he realized I was going to go to NYC - the home of The Lion King - it seems that is all he talks about. For him NYC is like Disney for any other kid. He also loves Disney, but I guess since we go all the time (my fault) it is not so special. But NYC is like WOW...that is where The Lion King is and where Rachel (from Glee) lives. We really need to take a family trip there....must put on my list for 2013.

Here is a video of him performing "Circle of Life" this weekend on our front porch. In general he dances much better than he sings, but I love how he makes up the words that he doesn't know and the inflections and movements. I could watch him for days. I love you Lukkie and I am going to miss you soooo much this week and feel so guilty and I will enjoy the magic of NYC, but mommy PROMISES to take you there soon.

Can you believe I leave in less than 24 hours...oh oh I need to pack!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Conversation with Luka...

Conversation with Luka: Earthquake & Awesome Thing from Melissa van Herksen on Vimeo.

Smells Fishy in Santiago...

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go on a PTA Field Trip. It was a chance for parents to jump on a bus (like our kids do...really I think it was their bus because I hardly fit in the seat...ha ha) and tour the city. The idea was to get our of our "bubble" in Lo Barnachea. Yes, we had a good time and got to see different parts of the city, but I don't think that walking off the bus to the mall or going to the fish market (on the bus) constitutes getting our of our bubble...I think a downtown walking tour would have done that better.

But this was also GREAT! I just still feel the need to get out of this bubble....They took us to a local mall that has stores with better prices and the biggest Falabella in Santiago. This was very important to me since I love all the design items Falabella has to offer and the one by my house has a very very small inventory. After coffee and a Chilean snack at the mall it was off to the fish market...

As we drove up to the fish market the fish smell just took over and I loved it. You are thinking "what, is she crazy"...no, but the smell took me back "home." Well to my Maputo home. The fish market was two blocks from our hourse and on our way home there was always commotion at the Fish Market and the smell made you want to make fish curry...well I never actually made fish curry, but I asked someone to make it for me and it was soooo easy to buy ginormous pieces of fish. Man could Elizabeth make delicious fish...I miss her!

So that is my moment of nostalgia...how I miss my Maputo!

But here we were at the Fish Market. It s basically a hanger with tons of stands and folks shoving fish in your face...pretty interesting. The selection was abundant and the prices were soooooooooooo much cheaper than at the grocery store. I mean like so cheap that it is worth the 25 minute drive to get there. I will most certainly go back.

Here are some images from the day.

Ordering snacks at Mall in La Florida.

This guy was a good salesman. My friend Tammie bought enough fish to feed a small army.
This guy really, really wanted me to take a picture of him with his octopus.
Back on the bus heading home to our "bubble." ha ha
Thank you PTA & Karina for organizing this tour...do it again!

To see all of the photos from this day click here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

No Longer Earthquake Virgins...Sort of

Today at 2:22 pm we lost our earthquake virginity. I say sort of because I was driving home from the store and I didn't feel a thing....kind of a bummer. As I drove into the driveway I got a text from my friend Crystal, "Did you feel it? Are you okay?" I was like what...was there an earthquake...At this point I freaked out and went all Momma Bear....ran into the house. 

The housekeeper was cooking and she said all was ok. Sam never woke up from his nap. In my office some frames fell on the ground, but that was pretty much the extent of our damage. You can see the "damage" above...thank goodness the iMac was safe....ha ha.

I started to worry when Luka didn't arrive from school. But I thought he was probably on the actual bus on his way home so he would not have felt it either...apparently it is hard to feel when driving on the road. But he arrived in perfect condition and excited to talk about the earthquake. He said he was on his way to the bus with the teacher and "the earth moved like a seesaw." I thought that was great. Another friend wrote on facebook that she was at school and one student said, "Look the earth is dancing." Children are just the best, no?!?

I was afraid that Luka would be traumatized, but no sign of that. I should upload the video of me interviewing him after the quake and he changed the subject to the "awesome" thing that happened in class today....they built a house. So safe to say that the earthquake trauma is over in Luka's world.

Oh, JJ...my third boy....he was at work...in a tall building. He said he went under the desk. He could feel the earthquake BIG time as it happens in a tall building, but he felt safe. The buildings in Santiago are constructed so well for this sort of thing.

So all the van Herksens are in one piece and accounted for. Earthquake...check.

For a story on the earthquake click here.