Sunday, May 29, 2011

Weekend Update

The Scheeper's have been very busy this weekend despite both Skip and I being sick with colds. 

Friday night was a bite hectic. I got stuck in traffic on the way home from work, turning my hour drive into almost two hours. Johan called about 30 minutes into my drive, to tell me that Ava had already finished our last standby bottle and was still hungry. Fifteen minutes later, Johan calls again, Ava is screaming now, she is starving. In come my tears. Big Mommy fail.

I was going ZERO, the guy in front of me was going ZERO and from what I could see, there were miles and miles of people sitting at ZERO. The radio said there was a serious accident ahead of me. What was I supposed to do? What could I do?

Having a ton of back up bottles is much easier said than done. If our timing is off by even 5 minutes, we have to use a bottle. I am not afraid to sit in a public bathroom and feed her, or in the car, but that is not always an option and bottles get used. I try to pump as much as I can on the weekends. But if we are busy, there is no time for me to pump. So here I am, again on Sunday, pumping away trying to get four bottles for tomorrow. Insert little guy pulling out his hair, that's me...

 Saturday, the best day of the weekend, always passes by so quickly. Too quickly for my liking. Our Saturday, like every day of the week, started at 6am. We then bathed the family and spent the day in Joburg! Woo hoo! The Skipper never wants to go to Joburg and I love it there.

Before heading to Joburg, we first took Ava for her 16 week immunization. I wanted Johan to come with so I wouldn't have to experience her heart wrenching cry on my own. Would you believe Ava took it like a champ? There were maybe three tears shed. Not the blood curdling screams of the last two visits. Nope, little Miss Ava sucked it up and took it like a champ in front of her daddy. I was astonished. Johan should definitely take her to get her shots from now on.

Our next stop was my new office. At the moment, the designers are busy with the layout so it's just a blank canvas, but it is beautiful. The top floor of the building, with windows all around. You can almost see to Pretoria from up there. The new office will definitely make going into work much more enjoyable.


Ever since Hooters opened in Joburg, Johan has been dying to go. So we went. Saturday, I was the lady with the baby in a bar. Ha. It actually wasn't that bad considering we were there at noon. Don't get me wrong, dudes were already there getting their drink on, but there is no smoking allowed inside, so I didn't feel so bad. I just kept reminding Ava, mommy and daddy will pay for college, she doesn't need to worry about getting a job at Hooter's. Shame.

Johan was a bit disappointed by the food. What we don't get is, if they would pay so much money for the franchise rights, why wouldn't they copy the menu, or at least the recipe for the wing sauce? Nothing is the same, other than the decor. The dressings pretty much tasted like watered down versions of the real thing. Minus the chunks of blue cheese. Don't get me wrong. The food isn't bad, it tastes quite good. It just doesn't taste like Hooters. (American's, I know, there are a million better places to eat chicken wings than Hooters, we just don't have that luxury here in SA.)

Since we were so close, we stopped in Monte Casino and checked out Skoobs. Skoobs is by far my favorite book store in South Africa. I wish I had a picture to post, or they had a website. It is, a little slice of heaven. Imagine a children's section with the most beautiful books and little hiding places to spark the little ones imagination. A lounge that serves wine and champagne. A philosophy section with a Zen garden. A putting green, in the sports section. A coffee shop, fish tanks and a cooking section you would not believe. Absolutely wonderful. I could spend days on end there. Thankfully the husband gave me an hour. It was one magical hour.

We then headed to the main event, Willie and Elzaan's going away party. Two of our best friends are moving to London for a year. Man, am I jealous. Johan and I would love to go there for a year or two. Anyway, the party was so much fun. I love our Joburg friends and wished we got to see them more often. The theme of the party was SA vs England. The costumes were hilarious. Normally, I love dressing up, but seeing as we had so many errands to run I didn't feel like trotting all over town in some crazy get up. So the Scheepers were the lame ones at the party. Amy Whinehouse was there, Catherine and Pippa, the Queen, a maid, a bunch of boers and safari hunters. It was great.

Our life has definitely changed. Instead of being the last to leave, we are now the first. My beer has turned into Sprite, and at 6pm, the Scheepers headed home. At 7:30, we were all curled up in bed watching movies. And I couldn't have been happier.

Today, we witnessed a friend's baby get dedicated to the Lord. It was so beautiful and really warmed our hearts. For friends to include you in something so special, really means a lot. Everyone wants to get invited to the party, but it's the intimate gatherings that are important. I look forward to watching Ava and Nanindi grow up together and become friends. 

The last stop of the weekend was at the in-laws. I, unlike many other people, love my in-laws. I really can't say it enough. A) They made my husband the amazing man he is, and B) they have always made me feel so welcome and like their real daughter, not just the girl who married their son. For that, I am truly thankful. Then there is the brother in-laws and their families. My niece Keira is learning English and likes to tell me that I am beautiful. Might be the only few words she knows in English, but I just can't get enough of it. Today, when we were leaving, she ran up to the car and kissed me goodbye. Maybe 6 times, back and forth. So sweet.

And here we are, Sunday night. Ava has over slept her feeding time by two hours. Why can't she do that during the night?? Maybe she will sleep all the way through until 6? Doubt it. I actually want to wake her up and play with her. Get as much Ava time as possible this weekend.

Last but not least...

AVA IS FOUR MONTHS OLD! And getting cuter every day...

When a wet wipe just won't do and the bath is too much, you go to the sink. I didn't think she would out grow the sink so soon, but it looks like any day now...

Going to do a little screen shopping while I wait for Miss Ava to wake up. Have a good week.

Happy Memorial Day. Thanks to all of the troops who fight for freedom!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ava's School Report

On the 24th of May, Ava's school report read:
Ava het baie mooi aangepas en geniet die maaitgies baie. Sy drink haar bottel goed. Geniet die aand.
My translation:
Ava is the most wonderful kid we've ever had in class! All the other children just adore her! Everyday, she drinks all her milk like a good little girl. Have a good night.
Google's translation:
Ava has adjusted very nicely and enjoys her friends a lot. She drinks her bottle well. Enjoy the evening. 

Either way you look at it, it is a pretty darn good report. Mommy is very proud that her little girl is adjusting to school. Still breaks my heart to say goodbye to her every morning, but at least I know she is happy. 

In other Ava news, she has found her voice!! And just like her Mommy, she likes to use it!! On Monday, when I went to school to pick her up, the moment she saw me she squealed! It was the moment I have been waiting for! Just a little recognition, but it went a long way. Melted my heart like a chocolate fountain. 

We all know our little ones love us, that their mom is number one. Well, deep down we do. That all the late nights and hectic diaper changes are appreciated... But until they show it, there is this incy wincy doubt that you just can't shake. The moment they do, it is music to your ears. 

For a split second, you know, she loves you just as much as you love her.  

Here is the little Miss Ava, all dressed and ready for school. Sorry for the bad quality of photo, shot it with my mobile. I take one of her every morning, to help me get through the day. Such a happy baby. 

Thank you Aunt Natalie for the awesome shirt! And Aunt Sherrill for my Baby Gap skinny jeans. Johan said all the mom's were ogling this morning, they'd never seen skinny jeans on a baby before.


I am proud to introduce,

Miss Isabella Jocina Hofmeyr
Born the 19th May, 2011 @ 13:00
3.08 kgs / 6 lbs 7 oz

Isabella Jocina Hofmeyr
Such a sweet baby!

Here she is wearing my favorite outfit of Ava's newborn clothes. Look how big it is on her?!

Another beautiful girl, added to our clan of gorgeous women. Ava and Issy are going to be the best of friends, I can see it now!

As my friend Marissa always says, STAY BEAUTIFUL!


ps. I almost change the background of this blog like I change my underwear, everyday. Just bare with me. :) This one is called Sweater Weather, which is what we are experiencing here in SA at the moment.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Blairadise Guide to South Africa

As per request from my cousin April, here is the Blairadise Guide to South Africa. I don't claim to know everything about this beautiful country, nor do I claim to have traveled the country over. This is just a peak into what I have discovered and hopefully it will entice more friends to come and explore SA. And visit us, of course.

Buying Tickets

Johan and I have made it back to the states twice since I moved here in 2008. Each time, we have scoured the internet looking for the best deal on flights, and not once have we bought directly from the airlines. South African Airways is way too expensive when dealing direct and Delta isn't too far behind. For Natalie's ticket in April, I found the cheapest tickets at Travelstart.  For our most recent trip in October, we bought our tickets on Flight Site. Today, I checked and Flight Site was cheaper. The lowest ticket prices I've ever found was around $1,200, and the price normally fluctuates between that and $2,000. You can always check with your local travel agent to see if they can get you a better deal with a layover. The direct flight from the states is almost 18 hours, so a few days in London is a nice way to avoid such a long flight.

When to Come

There is a website,, that states from November until April is the best time visit South Africa. I agree. Who wants to come to Africa during the winter time? It's not our snow you want to see, it's the hot African sun you want to feel. Personally, I say come in December, because then we will also be on holiday and might get to travel with you.

Where to Go

There is so much to see and do here, so I suggest staying at the very least, two weeks. Especially considering you loose a few days while traveling. Where you should go, depends on what you want out of your trip. If you want a safari, you go to the Kruger National Park. If want breathtaking views, you head to Cape Town or the Panorama Route. Surfing, Durban. If you want a bit of history and city life, you stay right here in Joburg.

If you are into 4x4 off road travel, then you have to check out my brother in laws site, Ivory 4x4 Hire. They offer 4x4 rentals with all the essentials you need for camping in the African bush. He will also recommend a route for you to travel and places to stay along the way. All suggested routes he or some mates have traveled. Johan and I went along on one of his trips in 2008. It was one of our most memorable trips to date. We saw a mother cheetah catch an ostrich, THEN call it's four cubs out and teach them how to finish the kill. Amazing!! Straight out of the National Geographic. He can't promise you such an adventure, but I am sure your trip will be just as memorable.

My two favorite places are the Kruger National Park and Cape Town. If you've seen those two, you will go home more than satisfied.

Where to Stay

The best site I've found for accommodation in South Africa is SA-Venues. They have a huge selection, from luxury homes and villas, to backpackers and hostels. In the Kruger, I would suggest staying in a tented camp. There you can also find the most luxurious tents to budget rentals.

We've always stayed with friends in Cape Town, so I can't recommend a certain place, but there are loads of wonderful choices from backpackers to the fanciest hotels. Once there you will also need to venture down to Stellenbosch and check out the wine farms. Even if you aren't a big wine drinker, you must go enjoy the scenery. One thing to remember when booking your accommodation is that most places charge per person, per night, opposed to per night.

There is always a free place to stay in Pretoria at the Scheeper's house! I'd say it's 6 star.

What to Do

Again, there is so much here to do and see for everyone. Safaris, cage diving with Sharks, whale watching, hiking Table Mountain, exploring the vineyards, the Cradle of Humankind, tour Diamond mines, watch a Rugby game or Cricket match, travel along the Panorama Route, braai with the locals, and the list goes on and on.

South Africa isn't as far away as it sounds. Here are few of my favorite photos while on holiday in SA:

The Vortrekker Monument - Pretoria - May 2011 - Don't believe what you read in your travel guide.

Mine and Amanda's first rugby game in 2008

Botswana with Ivory 4x4 - May 2008 - Can you spot the lioness?

Knysna - March 2008

The Kruger National Park - December 2009

The Kruger National Park - December 2009

Cape Town - December 2009 - The view of Table Mountain from our dinner table.

Stellenbosch - December 2009

Table Mountain - December 2009 - The view from the top!

Cape Town - December 2009
Botswana with Ivory 4x4 - May 2008
The Free State - March 2008 - Sunflower Fields

Uvongo - February 2011

Oribi Gorge - February 2011
Panorama Route - April 2011 - God's Window

Panorama Route - April 2011
Are ready to book your trip? I'd love to help you. Email me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Things I Am Loving Right Now Part-1

Today is Voting Day here in SA, and in true SA fashion, a public holiday. It was only in 1994 that black people were allowed to vote, so today is actually quite a special day for many South Africans. And rightfully so. Unfortunately for me, I am not a citizen and therefore, not allowed to vote. But, at least I still got the day to spend with my family! So while the baby naps and the husband completes some chores, here's a blog post to kill some time. A list of the things I am loving right now.

Have you heard Adele's new cd 21? Amazing! I don't really relate to the songs, as they are mostly about heartache and I've never been so happy or in love in all my life, than I am right now. What I am loving is how good my voice sounds when I sing her songs. Ha! I am serious. It is like they were written for me. Someone Like You is on repeat as I learn the words. Coming soon to a karaoke bar near you! Well, near me. Actually, I'll probably just belt it out to myself in the car. Or to Amanda on BBM.

Ava's got a new bird house! A big thanks to Mrs. Boger! She sent the house with Natalie and it was such a nice surprise. We are still pondering on how we will attach it to the wall, because we want all sides to be visible. Such a thoughtful gift!

Ava's Ruby Slippers and Mommy's

Little Ava is growing so fast and the best part is her new clothes!! Here are some of my favorite outfits she's worn out of her 3-6 months clothes.

Thank you Mrs. Boger for my purple Polo dress!

Compliments of Aunt Stacy!

This is the first outfit I purchased for Ava. A Polo layette velour coverall. Precious.

 I read the Millennium series in less than two weeks, I was totally obsessed. We saw the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in the theater and watched The Girl Who Played With Fire last night. Cannot wait to see the Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest. Will rent it this weekend. Hollywood has got nothing on these movies. I am also dying to see Water for Elephants and The Help (which isn't even out yet).

Just started reading Hot Six by Janest Evanovich. Gotta love Stephanie Plum. Eagerly awaiting One For the Money movie release in 2012...

Do you Goop? I do. But only to torture myself.

Tomorrow Isabella arrives. Another girl added to our clan. We are extremely excited to meet her. I know her and Ava will be the best of friends. They are already sharing clothes! Will post pictures soon!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Library

Can you imagine a world without books? Me either, but it seems like these days every Tom, Dick or Harry has a Kindle or an ipad. Coffee shops are full of people on their laptops, instead of reading books. Some people no longer even buy hard copies of books, newspapers or magazines. Why would they, if they have the world at their finger tips? It's so convenient to buy an ebook, why would you even bother going to a shop? If people stop buying real books, then they will most definitely stop frequenting libraries. What then? Are real books and libraries soon to be a thing of the past?

I was so upset yesterday when the family and I pulled up to the public library and found it closed. At 13:00 (1:00) on a Saturday, the library was CLOSED! I couldn't believe my eyes. And then, hearing from my friends to not even bother with the libraries here because all the books are so old. I couldn't believe it. What if Ava doesn't get to experience life with proper libraries?

Some of my fondest memories of growing up are of days spent at the library looking through all the books and struggling to decide on which to check out. The smell of a book, old or new, can take you places before even reading a line of the story. The shelves packed full of adventures just waiting for you. I was so proud of my library card when I was little. It ranked right up there with my season pass to Carowinds.

Growing up in Charlotte must have spoiled me because there were so many amazing libraries within miles of our house. Even the tiny library off highway 51, by Catholic high school had loads of books to choose from.  And now, is there a better place to take your child than ImaginOn downtown? A child's imagination must run wild there.

I know even in Charlotte, the government is cutting back on funding for the libraries. Do they not know how important the libraries are for our children? It saddens me to imagine Ava growing up without proper public libraries. I hope I am wrong, and someone can point me in the direction of a library filled with old and new books that will one day spark her imagination.

Nevertheless, I still want a nice library at home as well, and we have the most perfect little nook where we plan to build one.  Unfortunately, there are few more important items to be finished before I can have my library, but it will happen.

The other day I stumbled upon this gem of a site, Shelterness and their article on 20 Cool Home Library Design Ideas. I want something like the picture below, floor to ceiling shelves with little treasures scattered here and there.

 I would love for Ava to have a bookshelf in her room just like the one in the photo below. Aren't all the colors so fun? I'll even let her have the little puppy too, as long as he doesn't destroy any of her books.

Ava's own little library is already growing. Mostly gifts from family and friends. My Aunt Ava gave my little Ava the most beautiful book, On the Night You Were Born, by Nancy Tillman. Such a sweet story with absolutely beautiful illustrations, every child deserves to have a copy of this book. It begins with:

 "On the night you were born,
the moon shone with such wonder
that the stars peeked in
to see you
and the night wind whispered,
'Life will never be the same.'
Because there had never been
anyone like you...
ever in the world."

Just stunning. I have always loved reading and really hope Ava does too. As much as I want my own Kindle and/or ipad, they will never replace my real books. I'll be honest, I have actually bought books just for their cover, that is how much I love them.

Keep reading!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I realized today, while reading a friend's blog post about her struggle to fall pregnant, just how selfish and ungrateful I am.

My Mother's Day was spent sulking because Johan didn't get me flowers or a card. Because he gave me a gift two weeks early and not on the day. I had to do the dishes while he played games. I actually thought how I would love for this one day, not to be a mother and be able to do what I wanted all day long without worrying about feeding and changing diapers. Soothing cries or sterilizing bottles. Last week was a stressful week for me, emotionally and physically and I was looking forward to this one day to just relax and be spoiled. How pathetically selfish.

Last June, when Johan and I found out I was pregnant it was a huge shock. We weren't trying, but we weren't being overly careful either. And we definitely didn't think it would happen so soon. We had been married for only 6 months, I had just started a new job and we had plane tickets for America. A pregnancy was not a part of those plans. 

After we heard the heart beat our life changed. I changed. There was a life growing inside me. Things that were once important, were now obsolete. Celebrity gossip blogs were replaced with parenting blogs. Daydreaming online at JCrew was replaced with Buy buy baby. I prayed to God throughout the day, opposed to just in the morning and night. I prayed for him to please watch over this tiny being growing inside me and to keep her daddy safe so that she will know and love him as I do. 

Now that Ava is here, I continue to pray throughout the day, but mainly just thanking God for everything we have. For how perfect she is. The love Johan and I share. For the love Johan has for our daughter. Our cozy home. Our safety in this hectic world. Our family's safety and well being. For our parents and what amazing role models they are for us.

Before I fell pregnant, I don't think I realized how many people actually struggle to conceive and how lucky I was to have fallen pregnant so easily. I know a few family members and a couple friends, but I don't think I really understood the severity of their struggle. The pain they experienced while waiting for that double line or during a miscarriage. Now I wish I would have been more supportive and can only hope I am supportive enough to those still struggling. 

I am extremely disappointed in myself because I truly am grateful for everything God has blessed me with. Words cannot describe how I feel about Ava and about being a mother. Feeling her grow inside me and now watching her grow before my eyes is the most amazing thing I have experienced. I cry when she's grown out of her clothes. I tear up when Johan leaves to take her to school.  I love watching her sleep, yet fight the urge to wake her up to see her smile. It is still very tough for me to spend the days apart from her. Ava has made my life complete and never again will I take her for granted. She is the best gift I could have ever asked for.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Back to Reality

May 3rd has come and gone. The day I have been dreading since Ava's birth. Our first full day apart and for me, back to the reality that I actually work.

It's not that I loathe going back to work, I enjoy my job and the people I work with. My pain comes from dropping her off at a strange place and leaving her. The thought of her crying for me, and I am not there. My friend Charlene said it best, "it's like having your heart outside your body, and you have to leave it there." While I work here in Johannesburg, my heart is in Pretoria.

I know it will get easier as time goes on. Today, is already a bit better than yesterday. Yesterday, I know I cried more than she did. But hopefully, my guilt will soon pass. Ava has a good home and parents who love her more than anything, which I think she knows and can feel.

Another reality is pumping at work. At the moment, I pump in the handicap bathroom that is right off the building's lounge. Would love to know what the people think I am doing in there with my little black backpack for such a long period of time. It's strange to listen to people talking while I pump, but I try to block out the noise by thinking of Ava and the benefit my milk has on her growing little body. As of now, my system is working and I am able to supply plenty of milk for her. I hope it lasts. However, pumping is not the most convenient of tasks and will not be missed.

Getting my family into a routine is quite tough, as Johan and I are more fly by the seat of our pants people than following strict time lines. I did notice Tuesday ran more smoothly when I organized everyone's bags and gave Ava a bath the night before, opposed to waiting until the morning to get everything together. But I am still learning how to be a wife and a mother. A working mother. Wow, that makes me sound so old.

A working mother?!? What happened to the 21 year old me? Kidding, I am actually glad that crazy girl is long gone.

Here are a few photos of my little family out to lunch at Lombardy's last week. What a beautiful place? And the pizza was the best I've had in South Africa. Yes, way better than Pizza Perfect.


Me and my heart

Daddy and his little girl

Does it get any cuter than this?

Het 'n goeie dag!
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