Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Back to Reality

Yesterday was back to reality and back to my first day at work in the new year. Traffic was a breeze as most of the country is still on holiday until next week. The office was even more quieter, as I think all of our minds were still in holiday mode.

I am really looking forward to 2012 and the exciting times it will bring for our family. We have quite a few big events already planned.

Any day now, our newest nephew will make his grand entrance into the world. It's a shame he is in New Zealand, but thanks to Skype we will get to see and talk to him often. Hopefully we will get to meet him sooner than later. This little guy is already loved by so many people all around the world, all who can't wait for him to arrive!

stole the pic from Facebook. Isn't my sister in law gorgeous?!?!

Ava turns one in a few weeks and I am still busy putting together her party. You'd think I would be finished, since I started planning in October. Yet, there is still lots and lots to be done. I still need to pay the deposit on the cake, which I am a bit nervous about as it's not like the baker has made before the cake I have requested. But, I've seen her previous work and think she can pull it off. Fingers crossed as we wait and see.

As we get older and our friends begin families of their own, it means lots of more birthday parties to attend. Not sure what's better? The first birthday party or the subsequent birthdays where they actually enjoy their friends and the excitement of the day. Ava's first might be a little OTT (shh! don't tell her dad), but hopefully our friends will brush it off as her mom just being a crazy American... Thank you over the top kid's parties tv shows!

a little message in a bottle

In March, Johan will travel to China for ten days with work. I am so excited (and jealous) for him to see this part of the world. China isn't one of my top places to visit, but nonetheless, I would jump at the opportunity to go. Not really sure how I will cope without him for ten days, but at least I have Ava and my iPad to keep me company.

We also have a friend who is planning on coming to visit in March from the States. Super exciting. I love getting people's reaction of South Africa and where we live. It's my norm now and I love hearing an outsider's opinion and their questions. Watching them try new food and then coming to the realization that it actually isn't so much different from home then they had imagined. Well, except for the Zebras they will see on the side of the road. Oh, let's not forget all the goodies we get shipped to them to bring over for us. Going to start my Baby Gap wish list now!

I want this...
and this...
and she most definitely needs a pair of these!

The seventh of August marks my thirtieth birthday. SCARY! Hoping sparkles are still in style then, as I would like to wear something really sparkly on my thirtieth. Break out of my fashion shell a bit.

 like these pants, out to lunch with the girls

this shirt, on a surprise trip to Cape Town

or this dress, just dancing around the house*

All year we will be trying to save as much money as possible. So if you have any good tips on saving, PLEASE, please pass them along. I, for one, have never been a person who is good at saving. What are we saving for you ask? Our trip HOME to America in December! Oh I cannot wait to introduce Miss Ava to our family and friends!! By then she will be a proper little girl, full of life and personality.

Our plan is to stop in New York City to see my old friend Sherrill, travel down to Washington, DC and meet my brother to do some sight seeing. Then head to North Carolina for about three weeks of fun with family and friends. Really looking forward to Christmas with my brother and sister and their families. And hopefully a grandma or two, my aunts and uncles, and cousins too!

I am in talks with the BFF to organize a massive play date in December, at one of my favorite hangouts and her business, Kate's skating rink. Will keep you posted on the details and let me know if you want to help out!

Well, those are the things we are BIG things to look forward to this year. What do you have planned?

Happy New Year!


PS: Will post pictures of our holiday soon!

*I found all these pics on Pinterest

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Scheepers' HOLIDAY Update

The best thing about South Africa is our public holidays. And well, Cape Town, Kruger National Park and the men... Hello?!?! My sister and I both married one. :)

Back to the holidays... Since the 15th of December I have been on vacation and will only return to work on the 3rd of January. The 3rd, not the 2nd.

So, today is day is the forth day of my leave. What have I done in these days of luxury you ask? Let's start with Friday. FRIDAY, we met a few friends for a little Secret Santa party at Toni's. They have a wonderful play area for the kids. Thankfully mine is still stuck to me like glue and I can relax and not keep all eyes on the jungle gym.

Saturday brought on a serious case of summer cleaning, which Ava destroyed only moments later.

Sunday, grocery shopping and making yummy baby food with this book. Ava LOVES the chicken and broccoli. Add a little salt and pepper, minus puree and even I'd eat it!

There really isn't anything other than breastfeeding that makes me feel more momly than pureeing food for my child.

Well except for...

MOMMY FAIL NUMBER (I don't even know how many...) Ava fell off the bed and got a scrape on her nose. Insert heartbreak.

Monday, even though I am on HOLIDAY and the most of South Africa as well, I offered to forward all work calls to my cell phone. Number of calls during a week - MAYBE 5. Monday = 5 wrong numbers. Which = 1 super annoyed employee.

Number of shops Ava and mommy went to, 5!

Oh my, almost forgot, Monday was our 2 year anniversary. Loved that day.

I took my mom's dress from this:

To this:

A few favorites...

Not cheesecake, a cake made out of cheese!

My BFF making grown men cry!

Tuesday, swimming at Ouma's and Oupa's. YES, I feel more comfortable in a one piece these days.

OMW, I am a mom in a one piece!

and she is one happy baby!

 Then a bit of shopping.

Funny, I use to enjoy shopping. I use to dream about being a SAHM (stay at home mom). Both those days are long forgotten. Running in and out of a store, people do that? However, I was really proud of Ava. Out of the bazillion kids in the first store we went to, Ava was the only one NOT crying. I was so scared, I left without buying a thing and it wasn't even a toy store!!

On the way to store number 2, she fell asleep. I really toyed with the idea of just leaving her in the car. KIDDING!! REALLY KIDDING!! I am just the mom that wakes her kid up to go shopping. Bought nothing again at store 2.

Store 3, thought to myself again, should I take out the pram? No, it will only be a few minutes. Thank goodness, as the store I wanted to go to was on level 1 (okay American peeps, floor 1 is where you start, floor 2 is one up, right? Here not the same, anywho...) The elevator was broken, so with Ava in tow I braved the one flight of stairs and it worked out! Found the corks I was looking for. Corks for her Message in a Bottle 1sr birthday invitations. Which I made today...

One thing I LOVE is iced coffee, especially on a warm summer's (apostrophe because summer owns days!) day. A Gooooogle search lead me to an all time favorite site, with a now all time favorite recipe, The Pioneer Woman's iced coffee. Delicious!

Saving the hubby money on iced coffee this summer, he would say priceless, me? Maybe 400 Rands?

Wait, what day is today?

Friday, December 16, 2011

We're Engaged!

On this day, three years ago, in a tiny little town, nestled away in the North Carolina mountains, Johan popped the question. Down on one knee, looking up at me with tears in his eyes, he asked me to marry him. I said yes and then called our families and shared the good news. Well, first I called Stacy and told her to get her little tail back to the house so we could all celebrate as we were vacationing in Banner Elk with her and her boyfriend (at the time, now husband).

The ring was perfect. Plain and simple, like me. It's gold, with a single diamond. My one friend asked if I wanted gold and yes, yes I did. I know platinum is the IN thing, but gold jewelry looks better with my skin tone. I couldn't have designed a more perfect ring for myself.

And here we are, three years later married, with a little baby, who I might add, is sleeping next to me while I write this. That day seems far away now, but I can still remember it like it was yesterday. As I was so happy this wonderful man wanted me to be his wife.

Here's a few pictures from that trip back home.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Birthday Wishes

Today is my Mom's birthday. 
here she is at 20, on her wedding day

I am thankful that she is only four hours away by car, not 18 by plane. 

just visiting in June 2009
So thankful that  I can pick up the phone and call her whenever I want. 

at Montecasino in December 2010

Thankful that she is a good listener and adviser. 

during Jim's 2011 trip

For always being there when I need her the most.

Ava's birth - 27th of January, 2011

Thankful for the love she gives all of her kids and my dad. 

April 2007
Thankful that her love has given me a strong foundation for my own marriage and as a parent. 
our wedding, December 2009

Thanks Mom, for being you. 

Happy Birthday!


I cannot believe Ava will be one next month. Crazy.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Gypsy Mama

I like to get lost on the internet. Weaving my way from from this site to that. Sometimes not even knowing how I ended up where I do. Tabs open further than the screen can hold. Sites full of different stories, stories from people I know, mostly of people I don't but feel like I do. Images of people from far off lands or right door.

These days I am still in love with Pinterest and the beautiful inspiration I find there. Before the year ends, I have promised myself a craft weekend and plan to make something I have found there.

Today I found The Gypsy Mama, and I can actually trace my steps there. It started at Naptime Diaries with Jessie's link to her new site, Sashes to the Merchants. A site that is geared more to the online business community side of selling really beautiful and creative things. From there, I was reminded about her partner at Sashes to the Mechants, Handmade Recess. A beautifully written blog, and she sells gorgeous handbags. See my favorite one here. Once I trust the South African mail system again, I will be buying this. Until then I will just have to swoon from afar. Handmade Recess posted remember, which then lead me to the The Gypsy Mama.

The Gypsy Mama host's Five Minute Friday. Last week's post was titled Remember. Five Minute Friday's challenge you to stop, drop and write for five minutes, no editing allowed. Just be free. Think I'll try it on Friday. Not sure if I will share it, but I'm gonna give it ago, see how it feels and what I come up with.

Here is what The Gypsy Mama  wrote:

It was strange to be unable to move when they pulled you out of me.
Strange not to have been tired and sweaty from the pushing. Instead I was laid out like a plank – these legs of mine numb to the baby girl crying across the room. But my heart. My heart poured out of my eyes and my arms ached with the empty anticipation of meeting you hand to hand, fingers to flesh.
Hungry eyes waited and feasted on that small flailing fist waving at me from the scale a million miles away.
But when your angry face was wrpped up in that cocoon of warm blankets the journey began. They walked you over to me and my world as I knew it bust apart, to meet you my daughter. My tiny made-in-the-image of me woman child.
Flesh of my flesh and heart of my heart they laid you cheek to cheek with me and despite the epidural I danced.
Every iota of me danced to meet you.
So beautiful and exactly how I felt when I gave birth to Ava, yet would never be able to put it so eloquently. She's now moved on to the blog list. 
I am so ready for December holiday, it's not even funny...
My little pumpkin pie this morning, hogging the bed like she does.

Trying to break out the back door.

I love photos of her sleeping in the car.
Babysitting the fam this weekend. 
Let the party planning begin!


Friday, December 2, 2011

Preparing for Christmas

The advent calendar is up and looks great! Love having a husband that is good with his hands. He found a spare piece of wood in our storage room, sanded it down, painted it red and attached the little gold hooks. It turned out perfect. What do you think? 
taken with my iPad, will post a better one soon. 

Sometimes when I am feeling a little down, I head over to Scary Mommy Confessions for a giggle. The other day someone posted some advice about Christmas gifts and what they do with her family. They give:

 Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. That's what my kiddos get for Christmas. And Santa fills up their stocking. 

I love this. Growing up our family had a few difficult financial years mixed in with the comfortable years. Looking back now, my fondest memories of Christmas are of those years when my parents were going through hard financial times. 

When there wasn't a lot of extra money, my parents became creative with their gift giving. My favorite memory was having to go on scavenger hunts for our gifts. Santa even sent us out into the snow to go look for clues.  We had loads of laughs as we each searched the house, high and low for clues and gifts. Sometimes the gifts were hid right under our own beds! 

As time went by and things got better, the gifts under the tree multiplied and I (as I won't speak for my siblings and can probably reassure you that they will all say I am the only spoiled one) became more spoiled, Christmas wasn't as exciting. I was never satisfied by what I found there. It's no fault of my parents, they tried to give me everything I wanted. Yet I twisted that around and in turn only wanted more and more. 

I never want the magic of Christmas to fade from Ava because I have spoiled her. So as a new tradition, within our little family, we will now only receive something we want, something we need, something to wear and something to read. Now, if Santa wants to spoil the little angel in her stocking, that's his prerogative. 

Sunday we plan on decorating the house for Christmas. A bit nervous about the tree as Ava is pulling up on everything now and I would hate for it to fall over on her. Johan will have to take extra precautions on securing it to the wall. So excited to see her little face lit up by the lights. 

I also plan on making a wreath this weekend from our Rosemary bush. I found this idea on Pinterest, of course. Gorgeous and will smell yummy. 
via All About You
My Crafts I'll Never Do board is getting smaller, as my Pinterest Items Done is gradually filling up! Yay for me. There are three pins so far, but it's a start!

If I had a million dollars (because everything in SA is so freakishly expensive) or realistically, lived in the US, these are the items Ava would be getting for Christmas from Mommy and Daddy. 

Ava doesn't know it yet, but she wants this pram (stroller):
via Timber Toys

Or that she needs this rocking giraffe:
via Your Rocking Horse Shop
Or how cute she would look wearing this:

via Nordstrom

Or how much her Mommy will enjoy reading this to her:

via Amazon

Now for me...

Something I want:

via shopbop

Somethings I need:
via Net-A-Porter

via Piperlime

via Sunglass Hut

Something to wear:
via Forever New
Something to read:

Hint, hint Skippy...

22 days until Christmas!!


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