Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 in Review

For me December is always a time of contemplative reflection. I'm not one to get too caught up in all the Christmas decorations or the hype of the pending new year. In an exercise of gratitude, I've decided to reminisce on the year past, and recall all the things I'm so very grateful for.

January: I'm grateful that Andel and I have employment
This was a good month for us. We celebrated Andel's birthday, and I started my new job as a lecturer at eta. I remember being very nervous, and feeling much like a 6 year old on her first day at big school. I was welcomed with open arms though: me and my preggie belly. And only once did I overhear a student ask "is that lecturer a bit fat, or is she maybe pregnant?".

A low key celebration, and a home-made birthday cake

February: I'm grateful that I was not full term during the hot summer!
It was really hot. I remember wondering how Ash was coping with Ethan still in her belly, and a sweltering average of 30 degree heat. Andel was on leave for this entire month. He spent most days cycling around the peninsula (on his then 1 month new bike), or hitting some balls at the driving range. I on the other hand, started my 2nd semester of education studies. It was during this monthly checkup that we found out that our little Peanut was a boy.

At Ash and Ethan's baby shower

March: I'm grateful for the those who became parents before us, who help, advise and support us.
After waiting what felt like an eternity, Ethan Izak du Plessis finally arrived. Andel and I got a quick dose of instant parenthood while babysitting Jorja, and frantically took notes as Ashleigh and PJ looked after their newborn. Andel also got a big promotion, and started in his new position at his own club.

Ethan Izak du Plessis, just one day new

April: I'm grateful for the luxuries I've been afforded this year.
Andel and I went on our babymoon. We stayed in a luxury tree house in the winelands, and enjoyed a pampering of note. It was my one and only massage of the year - how sad!

A well deserved pampering, I think

May: I'm grateful to have finished my studies, and done well in them.
Over the course of this month, I had numerous appointments I kept praying I would make before Peanut arrived. I was blessed to have 2 babyshowers, and finish all my exams with any major incident.

How cute are these yummy baby-inspired treats?

June: I'm grateful for our little boy, and all the joy he brings us.
Despite being relieved of my teaching duties, I worked up until the last Friday of the term, and on the following Monday morning our beautiful boy, Zac James Klaasen, exchanged womb for world amidst much excitement and drama. He missed the opportunity to be his dad's father's day gift, but gave us plenty other reasons to celebrate.

A little after 08h13 on Monday 18th June 2012

July: I'm grateful for the ways in which God has provided finances, in even the tightest situation - we have never been without.
After some very last minute arrangements and miracles, Annie was on the flight to Las Vegas. Despite some horrendous travel experiences, including being stranded at Heathrow Airport for 2 days, she had a once-in-a-lifetime dance experience, and a really wonderful time.

Annie: a little jet lagged but still smiling

August: I'm grateful for family, and the unconditional love that accompanies them.
Zac had his first sleepover when he went on his first annual Hendricks Weekend Away. Despite being ill, he loved having the whole family around, and we enjoyed the break. Zac also became a big cousin when we welcomed Gabriella Ava Klaasen into the world.

Six week old Gabbi with aunty Shantel

September: I'm grateful for my life and my salvation.
This month I celebrated my last twenty-something birthday, and tried to savour the last of my maternity leave, and enjoy the spring sunshine. We also dedicated Zac to the Lord, and celebrated his life with our friends and family.

The dedication cake I made for Zac

October: I'm grateful for the flexibility at work that allows me to maximise my time with Zac.
This month was bitter sweet as I returned to work full time. I was excited to get back into some kind of human routine, but found myself really sad at having to leave Zac to go back to work. Zac took to daycare like a duck to water, and while I missed him terribly, I had - and still have - the best reunion with him in the afternoon.

At Hillcrest Berry Farm in Stellenbosch

November: I'm grateful for my marriage, and for the husband and father that Andel is.
On the 21st Andel and I celebrated 3 years of marriage. In some ways it feels as though we've been married longer; we've been through that much together. I'd like to think though that we're only at the beginning of an adventure that'll only get better. We don't get much alone time these days (I doubt we will have for a good number of years yet), but we did manage a dinner at a local restaurant, and a toast to the future.

At a function earlier in the year

December: I'm grateful to have seen another year: to have experienced and learnt all that I have, and to be given the opportunity to see in 2013...
We've just celebrated our first Christmas as a family (see previous post), and I'm currently enjoying 2 weeks' leave with Zac. Even though Andel is working through the season, we've managed to have some good family time in between, and are looking forward to seeing in the new year together.

Zac's first Christmas

A Family Christmas

This Christmas had some extra special cheer and excitement as we looked forward to spending the first of many with our little Zac. Of course it was also Ethan and Gabbi's first Christmas, and in a little twist no one expected, we had another first time Christmaser with us for the holiday: little Matthew, 3 weeks old, and waiting for a foster family.

Starting on Christmas Eve: we started a new family tradition when we had our first Klaasen family Christmas Eve dinner. This seemed to be the perfect prelude to the usual midnight gift exchange, and helped to pass the time for the kiddies who were anxious to see what Santa had brought them.

Christmas Eve Dinner in Grabouw
Gabbi (4 months old), Santa's youngest little helper
Opening Christmas gifts at midnight

One happy and tired family

This was also Zac's first sleepover in Grabouw, and he behaved so well: not only did he smile and play without any performance, he also slept well, and didn't disturb anyone! By the time we left late Christmas morning, Zac was in full Christmas cheer!

For the first time in five years, the full Hendricks family had lunch together. It was a nice change, and was filled with the usual excitement and drama that accompanies the Secret Santa exchange.

Andel bought for Ashleigh, and cashed in on his adidas connections to get her a pair of trainers and a SA T20 cricket top.

adidas ambassador

Ash bought for Yaya, and got her a leather handbag and a pedicure voucher.

Yaya showing off her multi-tasking skills

Yaya bought for PJ - arguably one of the most difficult to buy for - and thankfully, all went well. PJ got a the carving knife he wanted!

The only time that I am able to take pics of PJ

PJ, who had to buy for Dom, stepped out of the Secret Santa guidelines this year, and got Dom what she needed, rather than what she wanted: a new phone. We're all really happy about this as we are now all able to contact Dom when necessary!

Back into the world of connectivity

Dom drew Kim's name, and bought her a docking station for her ipod. I have never seen anyone quite so grateful for a gift.

The epitomy of excitement

Kim bought Andel a pair of jeans he wanted - and there's a really funny story attached to this. On Andel's list he always puts down all the information you need: the sizes, the store you can buy it from, even the price. This year he had a few things from the adidas original store on his list, as well as a George Foreman original. Kim, thinking that the original stood for original adidas store, spent the better part of a shopping outing arguing with a number of adidas staff members insisting that they show her a George Foreman. Eventually a soft spoken manager suggested that she go to Game, and look for the George Foreman grill there. It was hilarious!

Andel laughing at Kim's story

Speaking of George Foreman. Papu drew my name, and got me a George Foreman Grill and Griddle. Not before a dose of drama though: insisting that he'd forgotten who to buy for, I first received a letter of apology, and a couple R100 notes - monopoly notes, that is! It was worth it in the end though. And I suppose you could say that Andel scored on this one. We didn't even know we had the same thing on our list!

Note how many layers of paper Papu used here, ai!

Finally, I had to buy for Papu, who has threatened to resign from this exercise, and submitted a list with absolutely nothing on it - no pressure! I considered a number of things, and watched as week after week Papu proceeded to buy these things for himself. So in the end, I got him an external hard drive for the entertainment system he's setting up at home. I've also hooked him up with old favourites like Police Academy and Vetkoek Paleis, that he can watch until his heart is content!

Me anxiously waiting to see Papu's response

Annie, Natasha, Jorja, Ethan and Zac are still very much with their bottoms in the butter: still scoring gifts from everyone, and by the end of the gift exchange, the living room in Newmans Avenue looked like a paper bomb had gone off in it.

Little Matthew who's with us for the holiday

Annie very happy with her stocking

Eagerly awaiting the opening of the gifts

Quality control

My very own little Santa

The afternoon and evening were quiet. Having babies around certainly does change things. And by 22h00 we were at home getting ready for bed. Not that a (marginally) shorter day dampers any of the Christmas spirit, I was glad for us to have the chance to focus on the real meaning of Christmas, and remember the ultimate gift of the life of Jesus.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Photo Update

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the last few weeks Andel, Zac and I managed to make some time to have our very first family photoshoot.

The last time we had one of these was when Andel and I got engaged, so we thought it was high time we had some more recent pics displayed in our home - and Zac was at the perfect stage: still cute, cuddly and all things baby-like, and old enough to sit and smile on demand!

For those of you in the Cape Town area who are looking for a photographer - for any occasion - consider using Taryn B Photography. We think Taryn did a great job: she was so comfortable and accomodating - with Zac especially - and we love how natural her pics look.

To view more pics from the shoot, please follow this link: