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.