We are going to the States!

The Free State! Actually we went last weekend. Johan loves saying that we are going to the states! The Free State!

The Free State is a province in South Africa. Provinces are sort of like our states, but not really. Johan’s parents are from the Free State and most of his uncles and cousin still live there. I wrote a post about visiting his cousin Charl and his family, plus we saw his grandparents. Ooh and played with lions, you can read about it here.

This weekend we headed to the FS for one of Johan’s cousin wedding. The venue was gorgeous and the bride breathtaking, of course. Greta always looks beautiful, so it was no surprise that she’d made a stunning bride.

The venue

The Scheepers
Me, Greta and Ria
Ava and her daddy

I always get a laugh thinking about the time we were invited to his other cousin, Ria’s wedding.

Johan and I at Ria’s wedding. 

Johan and I were only dating at the time, and he asked if I would like to join him to his cousin’s wedding. I agreed and asked where it was, Paris, he said. PARIS?!? For a wedding?!? AWESOME. He gave me a look like I must be crazy. I even called my sister Amanda to tell her the good news. Me, Paris and the love of my life, for a wedding? Sounds perfect. I asked how much the plane tickets would cost… Then the laughter began and I was afraid he’d never stop. Not Paris, Parys in the Free State. Lost in the accent.

The good news, is that the bride and wedding was just as beautiful and fun as if we had been in the real Paris.

I actually love the Free State. Whenever we are driving there or through there, I get the same feeling I get when heading up I77, past Statesville, toward Hamptonville. It’s a feeling of belonging and yearning to stay forever. Unfortunately, it’s not my family we go to visit but, if I had to choose anyone else, it would be Johan’s family.

Ava turned 8 months last week. She is so close to crawling, that I think she actually made one tiny movement forward tonight. She is, however, a pro at moving in circles and backwards, rolling over and falling over. Ava definitely does not like to sit in her car seat or highchair.

Her daddy went out and bought the cheapest highchair made (without mommy), so I like to blame him for her not wanting to sit in it but, we have a Peg car seat, which isn’t cheap, and she hates that as well. So there goes my cheap theory. Don’t tell Skip. I need someone to blame for my child’s misbehavior.

I can’t choose which picture I love the most.

Maybe this one…

The sweetest thing!

Did I tell y’all I got to meet Al Gore? Yeah, the first year I was old enough to vote, I voted for him. It was awesome. I’ll probably tell you again at a later date.

Al, if you’re reading this, you’re the man.

In case you didn’t see it…

Skip, if you’re reading this, you are my favorite man. And I won’t let you forget that you promised to take me back to Clarens or to the real Paris.

Blogger, if you’re reading this, get a new iPad app! It’s almost 2012, bru!

On the way there. I just love Instgram.

Night ya’ll,


Life Update

At the moment Johan, Ava and I are on the way back from dropping my mom off at the airport. She is heading home to the US for two months. Johan and I are so jealous. Would love to be boarding a plane right now, destination Charlotte.

Yep, writing this post on my brand new iPad! Love it. I should say Johan’s iPad as he uses it way more than I do. We definitely need two.

My big work event is FINALLY over and we can finally get our life back to normal. (I met AL GORE!) However, it has been so great having my mom and grandma at my house this week. But now, back to normal.

This weekend we were supposed to have family photos taken, the weather obviously had different plans. If I tell my sister it’s warm in Pretoria, by the time she gets here, it will be raining or freezing cold. Shame.

Thankfully the sun came out and today was beautiful for Ava’s baptism. She was such a doll in church. When the preacher placed the water on her forehead, she gave the biggest smile of her life. It was almost like she knew what was happening. My heart swelled up. There aren’t words to explain how happy and proud I was of my little family today. And that my grandmother could be there to witness Ava’s baptism, made it even more special.

For my wedding dress, I used my mom’s wedding dress and had it updated a bit. With the left over fabric, the dress maker made a baptism dress. Della Mae wore it first and now, Ava. My mom bought a blanket and stitched each of the girls who used the dress name onto the blanket, so we have now created our own heirloom. Very special.

This week has been hectic to say the least. Monday I started an events management course online. Not sure why I thought because it was online it would be easy. Ha. Wednesday was the event. Thursday Amanda and the girls arrived. Friday Ruben arrived! Saturday is rained out our plans. Today the baptism… Like Johan says, I need a weekend.


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!