Monday, November 28, 2011


After 4 years of living in South Africa, you'd think I would have acclimated to the weather by now; what each season brings and when they change. Yet, my body and soul still sing to the tune of the Carolinas' glorious seasons.

When September rolls around, I anticipate a chill in the air, not a heat wave. In October, my body craves concession stand nachos and to watch a good old American football game. By the time November arrives, I am ready for cable knit sweaters, not bathing suits.

It's hard to get into the holiday spirit when it's 80 degrees (Fahrenheit) outside and a majority of your memories are leaves changing color and falling from branches. Of football games and sled rides, not laying by the pool catching tans.

This year, that all must change. My attitude toward a warm South African Christmas must change. Even though Ava is too small to remember, I will always remember her first holiday season and I hope to set a precedence for the year's to come.

To kick off the holiday season, I decided to introduce Thanksgiving to my in laws, a group of people of whom I am of the utmost grateful for. We have all now decided that the Scheepers' Thanksgiving will take place on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, every year going forth. We've started a new tradition. YAY!

My mother in law had friends visiting from Cape Town this weekend, so they joined in the festivities. As all Southern's know, the more the merrier. They made us eight adults and four kids. Upon arrival the guests received homemade lemonade in glass jars and were prompted to the crafts table to make their own Indian head dresses.

Johan successfully grilled (yes, grilled) his first turkey and it was delicious. Thanks to my obsession with Pinterest and Google, I was able to create a beautiful table, super cute welcome drinks, five dishes, and Pecan Bars - that are making my mouth water just thinking about them. Thanks to the help of my mother in law for making my favorite spinach and bacon salad and my sister in law for pitching in and making a yummy gravy. How all the dishes were finished in time and ended up on the table still warm, could only have been by the grace of God.

At dinner I explained the origin of Thanksgiving and we all went around the table and said what we were thankful for. Of course, Tria and I were crying.

Johan and I have so much to be thankful for this year.  Our health and our healthy little baby. She has brought so much joy into our life. We are thankful that God had provided us a home where we can invite our family and friends over and we have the ability to provide a meal for them.

I am thankful for my family in North Carolina and the many wonderful Thanksgivings we have shared together. For the Scheepers' and our new tradition. For all of our friends, we are thankful for you, as they say you can't pick your family, but you can pick your friends. I am glad we've picked each other.

Next up on the holiday calendar is the start of our Advent Calendar, which I mentioned here. So far I have only attached the ribbon, tomorrow (finger's crossed) Johan will complete the board with the hooks to hang it from.
So far so good!

I am over the fact that Ava won't have a real first Christmas tree, she'll still have a tree. Plus next year, she'll have an American Christmas, with a real American Christmas tree.

Here are a few photos from the weekend. Johan and I were both busy cooking and didn't get many photos. Will have to get some from Tria.

Charl and Lee - We hope our new Thanksgiving tradition makes you so jealous you want to move home. Little Joshua would LOVE Thanksgiving with his cousins.

Shh! I am watching the birds...

Thank you Pinterest for the leaf idea, and the glass jars as vases and the Pick N' Pay for the only sunflower I could find in Pretoria.

Gobble, gobble.

Thankful for the two of them!

Don't you love all of our head dresses? Thanks Charl and Lee, took the Peacock feathers at your wedding last year. 

The only post worthy photo from the pool. Hectically, awesome! Surprised the pool survived.

Ava turned 10 months yesterday! She is so big, tears...

My favorite.

She just can't sit still.
This weekend my mom returns from two months in the States and we have a family photo shoot at Irene Farm (weather permitting). Super excited. Week please hurry up.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Web Obsessions II

Have I told you about my new obsession with Polyvore? I've heard of it before, but only started playing around with it last week or so because they were hosting a giveaway. Well now, I am totally addicted. Polyvore = paper dolls for grown-ups. It is amazing, even for those of us who don't have any sense of style. You can follow me here. After Ava is in bed, you can either find me on Polyvore or Pinterest.

My first Polyvore - Hello Winter

Inspired tonight by my blues yesterday - Summer Concert Material

Holla -Mango Competiton - I know I won't win, but it's fun to play

I need these items - Fall Concert Material

Whenever I am looking for a gift for someone, I head over to Etsy first to get ideas. I would much rather give a handmade gift than a mass produced thing of a sorts. Sometimes mass produced is the only option, but if I can help it, I try to go to Etsy.

Seeing as Christmas is coming up I spend lots of time screen shopping there. So it's no wonder I found two items for myself....Well, for Ava.

I have mentioned Jessi over at Naptime Diaries loads of times, but not sure if I have mentioned her Etsy Shop. Today, I made my first purchase there, an Advent Calendar. The thing I miss most about home and growing up in the South is all of our traditions. From 4th of July to Memorial day and Christmas Day. Most families have their own special tradition for each and every holiday. I cannot think of one tradition they have here in South Africa. So, it is my responsibility to create our own Scheepers' traditions. I bought this gorgeous advent calendar even though Ava may be to small to participate, we will always know, the advent calendar came from her 1st Christmas.
Buy yours here.
Not sure where I came across this print, but I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. It will fit perfectly in Ava's room. Hopefully, the print arrives at my sister's house in time for my mom to bring it back from the states. If not, we will have to brave the South African postal service...

Buy yours here

Oh Pinterest, how I love thee. Look at what I found this weekend. I will actually make this, well Johan, will actually make this for Ava... Super awesome, uh?

follow me here

Working on Johan's PC is killing me. I NEED my MAC! I should probably just go to sleep now...Wait,  let me just check Pinterest one more time, I'd hate to miss out on something fabulous.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Blues

I woke up today with the Monday blues. Johan is out of town today, so this morning it was just me and Ava. Me, trying everything to get her to lay still so I can put on her clothes and then rushing about to get out of the house on time. I hate rushing about, as it never fails, I always forget something. This morning was a first, I managed not to forget a thing. But, I am down. What I would have given to spend the day with her?! It was a wonderful weekend, but it flew by so fast  and we were so busy, I feel like I didn't get much time with Johan or Ava. One more day with them would have helped me avoid this funk.

And then, my grandma sends me an email about taking time to enjoy life and not working so much. Is it a sign from God? Should I quit work and stay home? Am I selfish to want adult interaction, to further my career and have more money rather then spend my days with my child? Why do I feel so guilty for working, when my mom did it and I am okay? Do dads also feel guilty for working? And why must I work? Why couldn't I have been born rich like P. Hilton and just go galavanting around the globe with the hubs and baby?

On a serious note, I am starting to freak out as Ava is growing up so fast. I don't want to miss out on anything and with a 40 hour work week, plus 10 hours of traffic I would much rather have that time with her. Ugh. The grass is always greener...

On a lighter note, our weekend was so, so very wonderful. It was filled with laughter, friends and most importantly, family. This past month, I've been working with my sister in law, Tria to plan a surprise party for our mother in law. Take note, OUR mother in law, as she is married to Johan's oldest brother.

I am sure I have written about my in laws on here before, but honestly, I couldn't have married into a more wonderful, loving and caring family than the Scheepers. All of them are so great, I thank God every day for them. If it wasn't for these people, I don't know how long I would have lasted in South Africa. From the moment I met them, they welcomed me into their family with open arms. I was treated like a daughter and a sister, not just some girl. They called and checked in on me. Invited me to dinner and really took an interest into who I was as a person.

The surprise party we planned for my MIL, is only a tiny token of appreciation for what she does for us, and our families. There were 40 people in attendance, from far and wide to celebrate my MIL's upcoming 60th birthday. The women donned hats and the men suspenders. Everyone came dress up beautifully. A few of our cousins and friends helped us decorate and serve the food. 13 courses were served throughout the night and the wine flowed. It was a magical summer evening. And the best part, Ma was completely surprised!!

Working with Tria over this past month has been great. I know her well and we are quite close, but working together to pull this party off for Ma was so much fun. I have realized that we are more a like than I ever knew. I am so lucky to have her as a sister. She's already been commissioned to work on the menu for Ava's 1st birthday, just as long as she stays in the budget this time...

A few party pics:
My SIL and our gorgeous girls

love the whole family matching!! 

Big Surprise!


How gorgeous is my cousin and her baby?! 

My FIL and MIL can dance ya'll!

We are family! - Sings cheesy song in her head... 

Love this one!

Where's Charl?

Relaxing after a long day

~insert smiley face~

Love this little girl!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Laid To Rest

Today was my first African farm burial. I thought it would be weird and creepy to take and post photos from today, but now I am disappointed I didn't take photos. The whole experience was so moving. I wish I could share every bit of it with you.

Feisty old Oupa demanded to be buried in the cheapest casket they could find, so he was. It was a plain wooden box, with rope handles. The site was on Johan's uncle's farm, which was inherited by Oupa from his parents. A gorgeous farm where they raise sheep and sunflowers, amongst other things.

The warm African sun set the glorious scene.

Roughly a hundred people came out to watch the burial of this wonderful old man, who I hear was loved and hated by many.

Right before the ceremony started, farm workers from around the area, dressed up in their best, came around the edge of the house. About sixty.

There is still a lot of racist tension in South Africa. Daily, the news is filled with farmers being killed by their workers. The tension lying mostly with the "old" South Africa vs the "new" South Africa.

Seeing as Oupa lived the majority of his life in the "old" South Africa, I was shocked and moved to see a large amount of black people at the burial today. When they broke out in song, my heart swelled and the tears flowed. It was beautiful. One of the men said a prayer for Oupa in Sotho (one of our 11 national languages). I have no idea what he said, but you could tell it was from his heart and he meant every word. Crying right now thinking of that moment.

One of the younger girls stood out from the crowd and started singing a song in English which said, "Don't worry, I am going home, where I will die no more." Remembering that, always brings peace to my heart.

Later I found out one of the men had been living and working for Oupa for over seventy years.

I can understand a bit of Afrikaans. I don't claim to be fluent. Church services are hard for me to follow. Church and old people. They use too big of words. So most of today I didn't know what was said. What I do know is that I am so lucky to have married such an amazing and sensitive man, and to have married into such a loving and caring family.

Tomorrow we head back to the city and back to reality. Thankfully it is Friday and as always we have a super busy weekend planned. I'll spend most if the weekend gearing up for a surprise party for one of my most favorite people next weekend, getting my hair cut and hanging out with some of my other favorite people. Ah, two whole days with Johan and Ava, just livin' life!
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