It’s My Birthday!!

Today is my birthday! Woo hoo! Normally, I am not a birthday person. The thought of organizing a birthday party for myself, fills me with anxiety. What if no one shows? Depressing! The thought of growing older? Depressing! This week leading up to my birthday, was just that. Monday I woke up with a horrible cold, which I still have. Cut my thumb at work, a fingernail broke below the quick and my hair is falling out. Becoming ill, clumsiness and a deteriorating body? All signs of old age. Depressing.

Thankfully, my birthday has been anything but, depressing. 

This weekend, I celebrated two new lives. The birth of my brother’s baby boy, Lucien. The other, a baby shower for one of my best girlfriends Mitzi’s unborn baby boy, Ruben. I am so excited to watch both of these little boys grow and flourish. One day, they will be handsome young gentleman, ready to steal the hearts of all the girls around them.

Chatted on the phone to my brother and older sister, both in America.

Skyped with Stacy for about an hour. 

Chatted to my sister in law in New Zealand.

Had a braai with some friends. Johan’s best friend and his wife, who is also my sister’s brother in law. Basically the link that brought Johan and I together. 

Johan and Ava bought me the biggest bouquet of flowers. Really, it’s so big we can’t even get a proper photo. I asked him what he is going to do for my 30th to top this gorgeous and gigantic arrangement. He hadn’t thought about that… Hehe.

Today, we took the Gautrain into Rosebank. It was such a pleasant experience. The staff was so friendly and helpful, the other passengers, also friendly and just as excited to ride the train. The train and train station was so clean, it felt like we were in a first world country. Plus, I got to shop in Joburg, something that NEVER happens. 

Quality time with Johan and Ava, exploring our world. It was perfect in every way. 

Did I mention I got a ghd hair straightener? AMAZING! You will see in the pics below. I didn’t even ask for it! I guess the husband does listen to me!

How about all the Facebook love on your birthday, it’s awesome!

My brother in law and his family came for a visit this afternoon and brought delicious treats and a BIG surprise that I will share at a later date. 

Lucien Chandler Kernodle

At the Pretoria Station

So cute

Love this one.

Look at the big girl, in her own seat!

Our first family trip on the Gautrain!

She shopped til she dropped!

A sign of the times, I go shopping on my birthday, and all I buy is toys for Ava.

Drumroll, please! 

The winner of the lucylucybangbang “Vintage Lights” kitchen towel is… Dee Stephens of Dee’s Adventures! Congratulations!! I’ll put you in touch with Jacy to receive your towel. Thanks to everyone who entered and to all my new followers on here and Twitter!

Like Jacy said, every one here is a winner, and she has been kind enough to extend her offer of 10% off any order with the coupon code “blairadise”. Recently, she has added a few more gorgeous collections like “Vintage Oilily” and “Orla Kiely”, go check them out here and buy a few!

Happy birthday to ME!


Happy Birthday, Stacy!

I just wanted to give a quick shout out to my best friend in the whole world. Today is her birthday.  

Oh Sally, 

This is the last year of our 20’s and I hate I am not there to celebrate with you. 

Wish I had photos from our joint birthday party many moons ago, but it’s probably a good thing I don’t. They are some where in storage waiting on Ava to find and question. 
Ava: Mom, why are you covered in cake?
Me: Well, um. See. Aunt Stacy thought it would be funny to slam it in my face…
 That’s all I will say. The details will never be shared. At least not with Ava…

Cheers to you old pal! May this year bring you lots of smiles.

These two photos make me smile. Always good times.


Day Dreaming

I spend a lot of my time day dreaming, a trait I picked up from my older sister Amanda. She is the Grande Dame of day dreaming. I love listening to her day dreams and hope, for all of our sake, that one day, at least one of hers will come true.

Lately I’ve been dreaming about moving back to America. Dreams about Sundays at my grandmothers house, eating fresh veggies from the garden, fried chicken and homemade biscuits, maybe even some gravy. Chatting about the good old days, when the house was filled with people, young and old and laughter could be heard all around. When there was someone pounding away at the piano and horns honking as my grandfather’s milk trucks passed by the house. The days when the whole family sat sipping sweet tea on the back porch.

I dream about a little house in Charlotte. Something with hardwood floors and a Harris Teeter close by. Eating sushi with Bailey, after watching her play volleyball. Of play dates with old friends and gossiping over wine with Stacy. Weekend trips to the beach. Many dreams about our old house on Lake Wateree. Shopping trips with Natalie. Day dreams of Ava as a high school cheerleader and later attending Duke. Honestly, I don’t know why Duke, but Duke it is. They don’t have cheerleaders here.

Johan and I have talked about moving to America. It’s definitely a possibility for us. Then we have a weekend like this one and I can’t imagine ever leaving this place. A weekend full of beautiful weather and wonderful friends. Great food and lots of laughter. I love Pretoria and the home we’ve built here. I love the friends I’ve made here and the family we have close by. I love the life we’ve built here. But, there is no denying that I miss America and the life we could have there. 

My favorite day dream to dream, is where both my lives are combined. All my friends and family in one place. Somewhere near the sea, with a Target close by…

I cut my hair this weekend!! It feels so weird. Johan likes it, I am still on the fence. Ava still recognizes me and that is all that matters. I was going for Drew Barrymore in Going the Distance hair.



The Hazel Food Market is the place to be in Pretoria on Saturday mornings. The yummiest food and greatest place to people watch. Grannies dressed better than you.

My sweetheart


The best pork dumplings ever! I get them every time,

Waited in line almost 10 minutes for that cappuccino. Yes, it was well worth the wait!

The Man

Day dreaming about sitting at that fancy table and people watching while drinking champagne.

Me and the birthday girl

Ava had her first taste of food this weekend! Steamed sweet potato with breast milk. Here’s what she thought about it…

A pictures worth a thousand words!

Keep it real.


Please accept my deepest apology…

Dear Mothers,
Please accept my deepest apology for passing judgment on you, as a mother, for your child’s snotty nose and dirty face. Until now, I did not know how difficult it is to remove loads of mucous from a tiny little nose. Especially, when tiny little person refuses to have the mucous removed. It is quite a battle, that is not easily won. So again, please accept my apology for judging you and please, try and not judge me, by my snotty nose little child.

Dear Previous Neighbors,
Please accept my deepest apology for all the loud, late night parties I hosted on a regular basis. Especially, to the Boger’s, residents of 5th and Ann and Cotswald on Walker. For your knowledge, I am now getting paid back in ten folds. Our bedroom backs up to our neighbor’s patio area. The first set of occupants were a couple of middle aged women who threw loud parties, quite frequently, that consisted of long nights of horrible karaoke. You could tell when there was a break-up, because there would be only female voices, drunkenly singing to the likes of Alanis, Kelly and Avril. Johan had to hold me back many nights from shouting at them from the window. And now, there are new tenants that are gearing up to be just as bad. Unfortunately, I think they bought the house, but my fingers are crossed. It is definitely karma paying me back for my younger years.

Dear Future Bachelors,
Please accept my deepest apology for the heartbreak these five little girls are going to cause you. Their wit is going to knock you off your feet and their beauty will steal your breath away. Their confidence will make you doubt yourself and their daddies will probably scare the life out of you. Take this message as a forewarning! Be afraid, be very afraid.

Dear Husband,
Please accept my deepest apology for all the money I spent buying Ava new clothes last week. While cleaning out her closet today (sniffle), I stumbled across all of her 6 months clothes that I had assumed where too big, but are not. Our little girl is growing so big and tall, so fast, that I can barely keep up. Hopefully, you have already figured out that a girl cannot have too many clothes and the Hello Kitty  t-shirt was too cute to pass up.

Dear Self,
Please accept my deepest apology for wishing Ava liked falling asleep on your chest. I did not know that the wish would come true and make her only want to sleep on your chest. However, time is flying by and one day she will be too big, so enjoy it while it lasts.

My mom, sister and the girls came to visit for the weekend. We had a great time. Really missed my older sister, Natalie and her daughter, Bailey. One day we will all get together. I hope that one day will be real soon.

Here are the pictures of all the beautiful babies, just like I promised.

Bath time!

One proud sister.

Passed out.

Amanda and her mini me.

Della Mae talking a tour of the garden.

Only took them two hours to become BF’s again.

Don’t worry, Grandma’s got everything under control.

Ronet and her newest addition.

My favorite picture of the entire weekend, Ava and Isabella.
This one is also a favorite of mine.

Ah, family…

Happy 235th Birthday America! Miss you tons! We will be celebrating the 4th on the 9th of July. Going to introduce some of our SA friends to some good ole’ greasy American hamburgers and hot dogs!

this photo via this site

Proudly American,

Our Next Thirty Years

The Skipper turned 30 on Wednesday, hard to believe but true. When he woke up I played him Tim McGraw’s song, In My Next Thirty Years. He’d never heard it before and I’d been waiting for this day to play it for him. I was definitely more emotional about his birthday then he was. I started crying when Tim sang,

“My next thirty years will be the best years of my life
Raise a little family and hang out with my wife
Spend precious moments with the ones that I hold dear
Make up for lost time here, in my next thirty years”

Raise a little family and hang out with my wife, that’s what we’ll be doing these next thirty years. I am so proud to be his wife and we are really enjoying watching our little family grow. Ava’s personality has really begun to take shape and shine. She is becoming such a friendly little girl. At the moment, I can’t imagine having another little baby, but I know the day will come.

I always find it ironic that the day after my husband turns a year older, is Youth Day. The day might not be meant for him, but at least we get the day off work. Being the lucky guy that Johan is, it’s only fitting for him to have a public holiday the day after his birthday. And from this year on, he will also get to celebrate Father’s day in the same week. An entire week celebrating him, lucky duck! Good thing he’s worth it.

For his birthday I got him an Xbox and we went out to dinner at The Spur with some friends and family. The Spur is like the American version of Outback Steakhouse, but instead of an Australian theme, it’s a Native American theme. Not very fancy, I know, and I don’t think the Skipper was too happy with me when he heard where I had made the reservation for his 30th. But, in my defense we had 10 children in attendance and with the chaos that many children stir up, we would have been kicked out of any other restaurant. All in all, the night was a huge success. Johan got to spend time with his nearest and dearest, who were all there to celebrate him. He was given some wonderful gifts which he really appreciated and did not expect.

A recap of the nights best photos:

The Birthday Boy!
Skip’s parents and Ava

Three of my favorite girls!
Tyron and his mini me.
The De Jager’s
Big boy!
Isn’t my sister in law so beautiful? Her youngest is going to be a heart breaker for sure!
Johan’s oldest brother and family, minus one.
 See, The Spur is a fun place!
Too cute!
The newest addition!
The Dad’s.
Little Angel and her daddy!
Love this photo! Little Miss D is too cute for words.
M squared.
Opa love’s his Ava!
The Smith’s.
This little guy will actually pose for a picture unlike most little ones. Which works out well because he is so photogenic.

The Kolver’s – Troopers who helped us celebrate Johan’s b-day well into the next morning!

Today is a school holiday so I am working from home. Little Miss Ava is a full time job on her own! It’s hard to get any work done with this gorgeous little thing around.

Don’t forget to click on the Top Baby Blog button and vote for me. I don’t win anything, it’s just for fun. But I would still appreciate it.

Johan’s wife and Ava’s mother, sometimes referred to as Blair.

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!



At the moment I am reading a story about an American journalist living in Paris. After 25 years there, she was still viewed as “The American” by some. I’ve only been in South Africa for 4 years and yet I sometimes feel more South African then American. But I know, no matter how long I live here I will always be viewed as “The American” by some.
In these few shorts years, I fell in love here. Got married here. Had my baby here.  I have family here. Made great friends here.  We bought our first house here.  And I am finally becoming the person I want to be, here.
There are days when I miss America and the people there so much it hurts. Especially when I try to speak to my grandma’s over the phone and they can’t hear what I am saying. Or on Tuesdays, the day when Stacy and I use to get into trouble shopping or drinking wine and gossiping. On holidays, when the traditions (or lack thereof) just aren’t the same.  When my niece won the state championship for volleyball and I wasn’t there. Or when my brother hosted a gender party for his new baby, I wanted us to be there so bad it hurt.
South Africa is my home now and it has my heart. The difference in lifestyle from the states isn’t as apparent as it once was. It’s my norm now. Only until someone visits does the normalcy once again become strange.
For example, there is no electricity allowed inside the bathrooms. Therefore all the light switches are located on the wall outside the door. How does this make sense? Even as an adult I have to fight to urge to turn the light off on someone in the bathroom. Imagine being a kid?! In our house growing up, if you didn’t lock the door while in the bathroom you took the risk of having the light turned off on you. And now it’s on the outside and no one can see who flicks the switch? Way too tempting. No plugs either, and in older houses only one plug in a room. Where are you supposed to dry your hair? 
Stop lights are called robots. “Honey, please slow down, there is a robot up ahead.” Need I say more?
The car trunk is called the boot. Why? You got me.
Everyone has a gate around their house. At first it seems as if you’re in a fancy estate back home.  Then you realize it’s for security not privacy. Not so fancy anymore.
When not speaking Afrikaans or one of the many African languages they speak the Queen’s English. And I now find myself using it as well. I don’t stand in line, I wait in a queue. I’ll phone you later, not call.
Everything runs on African time. For example, “I’ll get back to you now, now.” You would think a double now would mean right away, not later or maybe even never. When Johan says now, I ask if it’s the American now or the African now and it better be the American one.
My older sister Natalie is here visiting from the states. It’s fun to watch her get in the car on the wrong side or look for the light switch. Out to lunch the other day she asked the waiter what kind of cheese came on her chicken sandwich. In his heavy SA accent he said, “I don’t know, shall I go ask for you?” She looked at me with these big eyes and wanted to know what kind of cheese was that. My mom and I almost fell out of our seats laughing.  
That’s another thing, in the US it’s a chicken sandwich and here it’s a chicken burger.  Skip and I have had many discussions about this. Why am I so defensive of it being a chicken sandwich and not a burger? I have no idea…
My sister is here until Sunday. One week is definitely too short of a trip, but it’s been so wonderful having her here and watching her with Ava. I take the best photos on my phone so here they are. I will upload some proper ones later.

In front of the Gateway Inn.

On the dirt road to Amanda’s farm.

Ava with her Auntie Natalie.

Power walking on one of the few hot days of Nat’s trip.

Wonder Della Mae!