Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jon & Jaclyn

Last weekend, we were able to go up to a cabin in Midway and help Ben's brother Jon propose to his AWESOME girl Jaclyn!! She had no idea and thought we were just going up for a fun day of snowmobiling. Here Jon and I are before we left showing off our baby bumps!

And here we are being goofy, hanging out in the Yurt before snowmobiling:

Ben and Jon had set everything up out in the snow earlier that morning, and when it was time, Ben and I headed out on the snowmobiles before Jon and Jac to hide and take pictures. We built a little duck-blind and settled in the snow waiting for them to arrive. Jon had made a treasure map and they followed it to this spot. They dug and dug in the snow until she hit a rock:

When they dug it up, it was a beautiful rock that had "Treasure" inscribed on it. Under the rock was a treasure chest and in the treasure chest--the ring! SUPER CUTE!

We're so excited to have her join the family and I couldn't be happier with my new sister-in-law!! She's awesome and we love her!! The date is May 26, 2010 and we can't wait!

They have a new blog,, but it's private so if you want an invite, write me and I'll let Jon know.

Also--we're finding out the gender of the babes next Saturday so be sure and put in your vote on the right side of the blog!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

First Comes Love . . .

Then comes marriage...

Then comes baby in a baby carriage!

(ultrasound @ 12 weeks)

That's right! We're pregnant and we're so excited!
I'm about 15 weeks and due
July 21st, 2010!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Goodbye to Africa

It is very hard for me to write this post. I am already in tears. Literally. I can't believe that our year is up and we are headed back home. Ben and I were talking about this year and how we've been married for 2.5 years and have spent almost half of our married life together here in Africa. It has been the best year of our lives. We have had so many amazing experiences and opportunities here and I know without a doubt that it is the place we were meant to live. We have grown so much, as a couple and individually. Our eyes have been opened. Our hearts have been filled with new friends, new places, and new cultures. It is very hard to say goodbye. We have been able to visit Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique, and many many places in South Africa (see labels on left side of blog). I think we definitely made the most of our time here.

Ben and I made this list a while ago, thinking about our time here and what we'll miss and not miss, and what we are looking forward to...

Things we’ll miss:
• Everyone in our Johannesburg 1st ward

• The weather
• Having maids 3x a week
• The beef. The steaks
• Some of the local yard decor (Yes those are plastic people. What you can't see are the fake Rhinos and Zebras):

• Volunteering at Princess Alice Adoption Home
• All the animals at our doorstep
• No traffic rules
• The cool old abandoned buildings:

• Speaking Zulu to people
• The 10-minute walk to Ben’s work
• Volunteering with our little baby lions
• Pick ‘n Pay, Checkers, Wimpy, the Dagwood, Café Europa, The Meat Co, St. Elmo’s and Virgin Active Gym
• The World Cup hype:

• Bernard, Pumla, Howa Buzo, Mbonisi, Melanie, Olivier, Marcia, Erin, Leonni, Nalini, Ipsa, Josh, Alan, Itai, Rafael, John, Princess… and many more
• Ben’s colleagues
• The South African lingo (which we will come home saying)
• How open and full of faith the African people are
• The weekly garbage runs:

• Ben’s weekly, and sometimes biweekly, soccer games
• A good tip is $0.50 cents
• Staying in the car for gas fill-ups
• The protective Tactical Units
• This temple:

• Orthodox Jews making their family walks every weekend
• Braais
• Our home, the Splice
• All the hatchbacks
• Peaking in at mansions at the gates
• The African sun
• Vodacom monopoly and this landmark building:

• Traveling Africa
• Pilanesberg, Cape Town, Mozambique, Krugers, and the Lion Park
• Chutney flavored Fritos
• Our walks/drives down the tree-lined streets:

• Living across the street from the mall
• Movies for $2.50 each
• The major downpours of rain
• The lightning that cracks so loud we scream and drop to the floor
• Driving by some of the local transport:

Things we won’t miss:
• Food going bad after one week
• Being away from family
• Stores closing at 5pm
• Cricket, rugby, and soccer being the only sports popular
• CRAZY taxis
• No inspection rules for cars, hence break downs everywhere
• The honking
• The absence of fast food
• The lack of variety in restaurants
• Being paranoid driving at night
• Keeping my purse in the glove box or under the seat at all times
• Locking the car doors the second we get it
• Beggars and people selling Hello Kitty planners and phone chargers at every intersections:

• The huge walls topped with barbed wire and electric fences on every house
• Paying for parking everywhere
• The smoking and swearing
• Paying for plastic bags at grocery stores
• The random police inspections on busy roads
• Radar cameras
• Our complex always filled with the smell of curry
• The neighbor’s smoking on the balcony that somehow it penetrates our walls and windows
• How fast the weather can change

We’re looking forward to:
• Being back in the USA. God Bless America.
• Eating at the following restaurants: Café Rio, Subway, Little Caesars, Applebees, Olive Garden, Taco Bell, In ‘N Out, Wendy’s, Arby’s, and Guru’s
• Doritos, Cottage Cheese and Wheat Thins, Tortilla Chips & Salsa, and tons and tons of our favorites sweets and junk food
• Snow
• Driving on the right side of the road
• Being able to turn right on a red light
• Customer Service
• Hot tubs
• Walmart
• Stores being open late
• Fast, reliable, developed internet

There are many more things we could add to the list, but we'll keep it at that. If you've seen Blood Diamond then you've heard the quote that Leonardo DeCaprio says about Africa that talks about how there's just something about AFRICA. It gets in your blood and steals your heart. It has definitely done that to us.

I have also had some of the most amazing photography opportunities here, ranging from wildlife and photo journalism to safari weddings in the bush. Here are some recent shoots:

We are so grateful to our Heavenly Father for blessing us with this awesome opportunity. We are just overwhelmed with so many feelings right now. We will forever remember our memories and time here in Africa. Thanks to all of our amazing friends here in South Africa. We love you and thank you for helping us make this our "home." We will miss you all and hope to see you again in the future, whether back here in Africa, or visiting us in the States. And to all our family and friends back home, thank you for supporting us and writing me to keep me sane and alive through the lonely times (being a consultant's wife). We can't wait to see you again and be close to home.
Sala Kahle Africa!