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.

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.

Cherrio!

The Ice Cream Man

As the sun slowly sets on this relaxing Sunday, I find myself quite disappointed. All day I have been straining my ears to hear the ice cream man. The familiar jingle that would give me all the confirmation I need, that summer is on it’s way.  The ice cream man is like my ground hog. If I hear him, then winter-like weather is nearing an end. Hopefully next weekend he will surface.

Funny thing is I have never even seen the ice cream man here in South Africa. I hear the jingle, then search for my wallet and keys, rush to open the gate on our door, then one at the front of the house and lastly, the gate on the street, by then Mr. Ice Cream man is at least two blocks away. It’s not too terrible, as you all know how I feel about South Africa and their ice cream, which I wrote about here. I was still a bit shocked the first time I heard that the ice cream man only sells soft serve?!?! How boring is that?!?! No ice cream baseball glove, with the bubble gum ball? Unimaginable.

Note to Self: Ava MUST experience an American summer, chasing after the ice cream man, for an ice cream baseball glove, with a bubble gum ball.

Friday night was Johan and I’s first night out without Ava. It wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated, however, I did check my phone a bit more than usual. In my defense, both our phones were on silent so I was a bit paranoid something would happen and no one would be able to reach us.

The night was wonderful. A glass of wine at this swanky new restaurant, then a hilarious comedy show that had us all in tears, and then a nice snack and glass of wine at another swanky restaurant. Felt young again, until I realized the only people I was younger than were my friends. Everyone else around us looked like they were still in matric!! Thank goodness we don’t get out much these days. I don’t think my confidence can handle it. Honestly, I don’t think I ever wore my skirts as short as the girls these days.

Happy Half Birthday, Ava! Here is a look back at the first half of her life:

Don’t forget to enter my Birthday Giveaway here! It’s easy, just leave a comment saying which lucylucybangbang print you like the most and WIN! The winner will be announced next Sunday, on my birthday!

Goodbye July, hello August!!

Blair

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.

Before

After

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.

B

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,
Blair

Scratch that off the "Mommy Fail" list

It’s taken me five months to come to the realization that no matter how often I trim Ava’s nails or how short, she will inevitably scratch her face. And scratch it a lot. This week she has a scratch coming out of the corner of her eye. How she didn’t cause serious damage to her eye ball, I have no idea. But, I am officially taking face scratching off of the “Mommy Fail” list, as there is nothing I can do to prevent her from said bodily harm.

Yes, I said five months. Ava turns five months tomorrow! I can’t believe how fast time has flown by. Last year at this time, the notion of being pregnant was only starting to sink in. My diet had changed to 95% crackers and 5% fruit. I could not stomach the idea of any meat and yearned only for sushi. And American fast food, of course. During my pregnancy I gained a total of 23 kgs, which is 50.7 lbs. Way over the recommended limit. I cannot imagine how fat I would have been if we lived in the US during my pregnancy. I’ve got 6 more kgs, 13.22 lbs to loose before I am back to my normal weight. With only two months until bathing suit season…

Yesterday my Aunt hosted a baby shower for my brother and his girlfriend, who is due in August. Missing special moments like these really make me miss home. But if we lived in America then we would have missed Johan’s nephew’s 1st birthday party this morning. Unfortunately, we will always be in a lose, lose situation.

Sometimes I day dream that Johan is American and his family all live in Charlotte. Or that I am South African and my grandmothers are only a few hours away. But then I guess we wouldn’t be the people we are. And maybe those people wouldn’t have fallen in love like we have. Life is all about tough choices and our toughest choice is being away from the ones we love. Right now it is mine and maybe one day, it’s his.

We got Ava’s mid-term report on Friday. The additional comments read:

Ava is ‘n baie oulike dogtertjie. Sy het gou aangepas en geniet die skool. Sy is ‘n plesier in die klas.

I know enough Afrikaans to understand what it says, but for those of you who don’t, Google’s translation is:

Ava is a very cute girl. She quickly adjusted and enjoys school. She is a joy in class.

So Google’s translation isn’t so great. Here is mine:

Ava is the cutest little girl in class. She has adapted well and is a pleasure to have in class.

Keep makin’ Mommy proud little one, so I can keep my “Mommy Fail” list short!

Here are some photos from the weekend:

The Birthday Boy and his Mommy

 Sweetie Pies, some chocolate log thingys, strawberries and white chocolate! Yum.

Again, Ava drank way too much and was the first to pass out at the party…

5 Months old! Yay for Ava! She is laying on top of one of my baby blankets, almost 29 years old…

Modeling is hard work, Mom…

 My mom and sister, along with her girls are coming to visit Ava and I next weekend. The Skipper will be out of town for work, so it is perfect timing. And we will get to celebrate Amanda’s 32nd birthday!! Man we are getting old! Well, she is.

Be on the look out for more pictures of beautiful babies coming next week!

-Blair

Here

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.
Totsiens!

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!