Sunday, November 13, 2011


Going from a family of 3 to a family of 4... has been eventful! Lia is 6 weeks old, and we are getting more used to having 2 girls (everyday).

Our amazing friend Jon Hill took this picture almost a year ago, with the Franschoek Valley in the background. Anke was 8 months old, and we had just decided to move to Pretoria.

Here we are, the family of 4. Picture taken by my wonderful mother-in-law, on our coach 3 weeks ago.

Never in a million years did I think we would ad another baby to our family in 2011 but God did... Who are we to argue? I love that we now have our 2 daughters, to dream of their future and personalities... Temperament and love language!

We pray for lots of grace, wisdom, patients, endurance and love.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

1 Month Later

Lia just turned a month old. WOW.
It feels like I completely missed October. Pretoria is so BEAUTIFUL with its purple Jacaranda Trees, and I almost missed it!

Life is settling in to a 'normal' rhythm. I no longer have a mom or mother in law here to keep Anke busy during Lia's feeds. I'm doing my own dishes and hardly get a nap due to feed and sleep schedules :)

I know it is a pretty dumb idea, but why we don't grow an extra pair of arms for n year or two, I don't know... (Than we would not need a community, right).

I have not cooked a single meal in a month! YES! Amazing right! Love being in a church community! I love my DOXA DOXA BK Family. So blessed by so many servant heart!

Praise Jesus for friends! They are our extra pair of arms! Could not do life as it is, without YOU!

Lia is having a hard time with cramps! I'm not sleeping that much, but its just a season!

@ 2weeks Lia weighed 3,18kg
@ 4weeks Lia weighed 3,8kg
She is no longer wearing new born clothes. She is more awake and wiggles allot more than a couple of weeks ago!

We love having two girls and Anke is getting more and more used to her new life! Oh, Anke has 3 new teeth since Lia was born! Ouch...
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Big Sis Anke

So how are the older sibling/s supposed to react to this new baby? Anke was only 18 and a half months old when we brought Lia home... Except for the first weeks crying tantrums, I think she did awesome!
Here she is helping Mommy, give Lia a bath.

Lia loves to bath, and Anke loves helping. One of the best things I've learned (from my Aunt) is to wrap Lia in a towel and put her in the tub, with it. Slowly open it as you go along. This way, there are no arms and legs flopping around = no screaming baby = happy mom and sis.

My mom stayed 10 days during my hospital stay and first week home and Martins mom, came the week there after and stayed 11 days. i loved having them here, and truly miss their help and companionship!

Our big Sis is helping (playing) by putting Lia's dirty close in the laundry basket, and diaper in the trash can... She is so cute trying to help.

She gives Lia soft kisses on the head, and love to touch her tiny toes.

So far, so good.
Anke is truly Miss Grace...

and we L O V E her!

Welcome Lia Mari Bravenboer

Welcome sweet baby Lia Mari Bravenboer

Born on Thursday September 29th, 2011 at 10:35am
Weight: 3.2kg Length: 49cm

We are ecstatic to introduce you to the newest addition to our Bravenboer Family!
We are totally I N L O V E with this girl.

We believe God has an enormous dream for Lia,
and we can hardly wait to enjoy this journey with her.

Daddy, Mommy and Anke

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wild Africa - Pilanesberg #2

Here are some of our high lights of the wild animals we saw...
(in no chronological order)

Our highlight was seeing this BIG guy...
The elephants in Pilanesberg are known for being a little 'obnoxious'... Especially the old bull without a tail. EEEEEEEKKKKK. Who do we find on our morning drive, Mr Stompie. And yes, he was intrigued by us! I was freaking out, and Martin was just taking photos :) We would reverse, and wait. He would walk closer, and wait. We would reverse more, and wait. He would walk closer, and wait. This went on for about 30 min. There was a 4x4 that decided after talking to us, that they would take the 'of road' challenge and drove through the field, around Mr Stompie... And left us to fend for ourselves with our Toyota Corolla (which seemed so small).
He later lost interest in us, (PRAISE JESUS) and turned to the field.
He did look kind of sad, as we quickly took the gap (and drove as fast as we could on the dirt road), past him.

Mr Giraffe was posing for his picture. He was right next to us. I almost had to zoom in to get his entire body in a picture. Just look at that face, isn't he just kissable?

This picture is just so beautiful. First the elephants were just walking directly to us, but then suddenly turned and started running in single file to the right. Everything is so dry, and the field had burnt, which makes this picture even more dusty...
Just look at those youngens... I love Elephants.

The Lion was eating the head of a Blue Wild Beest...

On our way back to camp one night, we met this BIG guy in the road. Martin took this picture before I made him close the window... The truck behind the rhino was full of men, whom later commented about putting on new pants :)
The rhino wasn't even interested in us (thank you Jesus).

This is an open invitation. If you would like to visit, Pilanesberg would be on the list. Safari Safari Safari :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011


After a very long July, we took to the road on Friday for a Potgieter Family Camping Weeking in the National Park Pilanesberg. We camped at Bakgatla Camp and took at least 2 drives through the park every day. One early morning and one before the gate closed.

I'll have to post more nature pictures of the WILD animals but here are a few moments with Anke, in the car and camp!As a 17 month old, she is getting so wise... and understands so well. I love it. I think it will help once our second baby arrives (i hope).
This was one of our early morning drives, MieliePap in the car... She calls it Miemie, she loves corn, in any form.
Anke loved being outside and she LOVED Vian's FrogChair. He wasn't so happy about sharing it, but if he wasn't around, she SAT her bottom right down in it, with a very pleased smile.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Special Needs of a 7 year old...

My sister (19) stayed with us this week while my parents took some time off, camping in the Kruger National Park!

2 years ago Ilze visited us in Cape Town, for almost 3 weeks! I was not pregnant then, and I didn't have a 16 month old demanding all my attention!

I have a new appreciation for my Mom! Having a mentally disabled child in your home, 24/7 can be challenging and draining!

A few things I've learned, noted or thought to write down this week -

1. Buy cheap mayonnaise, and no matter what or how you season your food, a spoonful of Mayo will be added... LOL

2. Double check that if/when sister makes two min noodles she adds water to the bowl before turning the microwave on.

3. Keep the schedule the same as much as you can. Over explain quick changes or delays...

4. Don't expect a 7 year old to act 19...

5. If you will pamper me, you can get away with lots of smiles, hugs, kisses and I Love You's...

I love my special needs sis! She can do so much for herself, in that regard we are truly blessed!

To more visits in the future :)
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Sunday, July 10, 2011


Monday morning Anke started saying A-Lu-Ya...

No I don't walk around singing Hallelujah all day. At church on Sunday the worship band did a song that repeats Hallelujah a few times! Anke and I go to big church and that is where she heard it!!!

I love how even though we sit in the back and play with blocks, Anke picked up a word so significant!

I will never again say Church at this age doesn't really have an impact!!!

Today she is singing Alle-Luya, very proudly!
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Monday, July 04, 2011


I love that my brother is now blogging.... Just look at his cute little boys on the farm! I just love them!!!

He tagged this blog as the Future of BenJoe. He is a very proud dad... (And I'm a very proud sis)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sleep Training a 15month old

We are currently done with night 6... A quick rundown:

Night 1: Martin took the shift... Anke slept from 7:30 till 11 had her bottel (100ml) and slept well till 6ish.

Night 2: Martin was brave and took the shift again... Not a good night. Anke was up every hour, with screams! Dad got no sleep!

Night 3: my turn! Anke woke up around 12, gave her passi, she slept till 2 and them screamed till 4! Martin eventually calmed her down, and she fell asleep. She slept till 6ish.

Ok so I started writing this post, and never finished... We finished night 11 last night but due to fever, blocked nose and runny eyes, I'd call last night SHOT!

I have to say my HERO mom took Anke night 9 and 10! So if you ask me, Anke did well, but looking at Mom, Anke did ok...

Still going strong in second week of sleep training! Still NO fun though.
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Monday, June 13, 2011

Pretoria Zoo

Sweet Miss Anke had her first taste of The Zoo yesterday! During the morning she was on her daddies back in the carrier, and after lunch in her stroller!

It was Martins weekend off (we get one every quarter). So fun to have 2 days to spend together. Yesterday was a perfect June day. Not to cold, not to hot, there was hardly a breeze or cloud! Perfect.

Anke loved the animals, but she was more entertained by the Algerian sports team... Funny girl! She would wave and say Hello to anyone who would listen or wave back!

We are so in love with this 15month old girl!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

USA Hometown - Joplin

On Sunday a Tornado hit, our "home town" - Joplin, MO. If you need more information please read here... (or go to youtube)

Our friends Eric and Torry Epperson, lost their entire home, read his blog here...

We praise Jesus, that all our friends are ok and safe. We do mourn with all the suffering many families are going through.

Our hearts long to be with our 'family' friends in Joplin but we are so proud of our fellow Christian brothers and sisters for surving there currently. Proud to be a part of the BODY!

Anke @ 14 months

This picture was taken at a friends 2nd birthday party!

Our sweet baby is turning into a Toddler (cry!!!).

I taught Anke that a sad baby's heart is sore and that is why they cry. You would ask me why would you teach your 14 month old something so sad... Well, this little girl can whine! And because she doesn't have words, she will just stand at my feet and whine!

Anke is very vocal, especially with the word NO. She will say it at the top of her lungs, she has a pretty strong voice (it is actually very sweet). She will point to something she is not allowed to touch and say NEE! (no)

Martin taught her to sing... That is sweet, she just goes DAAA DA DA DAAAA on demand. SWEET GIRL

Poor thing has Roseola (baby measles). She had a fever the weekend, at our Church camp and now has a spotty body. She was 'fragile' the entire weekend. Poor Iwan, didn't really get to play with her much.

We saw a frog the other day, and now she loves them. Not that the green plastic play frog she has, looks anything like the cold, brown gutter frog... Kids are amazing, though.

Anke loves books. That is by far her favourite 'toy'.

20 Weeks Pregnant

Wow, I can not believe we are half way with our second pregnancy! (and my first post about this pregnancy...)

With a toddler time flies! Yesterday Anke put both her hands on my bulging stomach and said: "BABA". How cute is that.

Baby B is now 14cm long and weighs 339g.
We are not sure about the gender, but the Dr is speculating it is a girl. We honestly don't mind, boy of girl. Having another baby is a miracle in it self, and it being healthy is our second miracle. Gender, not so important...

I'll write Anke's 14 month update in a second post...

Sunday, May 01, 2011

@ 13 months

Anke is a walking talking "roaring" machine :)

She says Hallo to any and every one. When you answer the phone, she'll put her hand to her ear and say "Hallo!"

She not only Meauiws like a cat but also Roars like a lion! It is so so cute!

She now says "NO!", and the word "MOOI" which in context is Well Done. She will reply with "OK" when she agrees...

Her little personality is coming forward everyday. She is a very friendly, happy and loving little girl.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

After 65(71) years

How are you suppose to continue living after losing your life partner, best friend, companion, husband, father of your children, lover of 65 years of marriage?

Ouma Nel endured World War 2, moved across the world and raised 3 children with Oupa Bob!

Ouma Nel knows life only with Oupa Bob! At almost 90, how do you continue to live?

If you read this, please pray for Ouma Nel! She has endured life changing events in the last couple of weeks! Friday at 15h00 is Oupa Bobs funeral! She needs lots of strengthening prayer for her frail body and soul!

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Two very special visits

Anke eating corn with her Grandma Ida on the Farm. a Very special visit on my moms birthday. It rained so much they had to come get us in town with the 4x4, for their road is a mud mit...

Anke with Great Grandma Loraine! Anke and I had a sleep over at Ouma on Tuesday. We moved all Oumas little picture frames and knick knacks to higher ground... Ouma enjoyed Anke so much.

Such a privilege to be a part of their lineage!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Moms musing

So last night Anke ate rice, chicken, carrots and peas! I made nothing specially for her, it was our normal dinner. She ate everything on her plate :).

If you know anything about our last 3 months, it has been a eating disaster. Anke would not let me feed her, so she ate no purity, nothing mashed up... She would not eat carrot, sweet potato or butternut (she loved all of the above as a baby).

So I would give her potato blocks, peas and cheese... She would eat bread with butter and sometimes w peanut butter.

Lately I've been sneaking spinach and grated carrot into her scrambled eggs :)

Anke wakes up at least twice a night. She drinks a bottle at 23:00ish and again at 3:00!
Last night, after her well balanced dinner, she woke up for her 23:00 bottle and again at 5 this morning! Wow, victory! I feel so much better having slept 6 hours without waking up!

Getting there, one day at a time!
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Monday, March 14, 2011

in one YEAR

Our sweet Anke turned 1 last week! Wow, how time flies!
Just look at my teeth!!!

Anke is crawling so fast she is almost swimming :) ! She's not that confident with holding your hand and walking, but she is getting there. She stands up against any and everything. She now has 4 teeth!

Anke can say a few words like, Mamma, Pappa, Ouma, Oupa, Hallo (her favourite word). She says Eina (the word we use when you get a booboo, like ouch).

She sounds MOO for a cow, MEE for sheep, Ho Ho for an owl, and even the sound a monkey makes (I'm not going to try and write that down). She doesn't bark like a dog, or meaw like a cat.

She waves Tatta! Signs all done, more, down, milk.

She loves her Daddy, books and the new swing we hung in the garden.

She's figured out she has a belly button, and she's trying to whistle like her uncle Johan.

It is funny the emotions you go through, on your child's birthday. I remembered Martin and I getting ready in the hospital room, before they took us to the theater last year March 9th, it was almost 7 on a Tuesday morning. We knew we would hold Anke within the next couple of hours... Life Changing. Meeting that little 2,5kg baby girl, with a bunch of hair and small little nose, unforgettable.

The pictures was taken last week, I wanted to note how much she's grown in a year. Look at the little tiny tiny feet and the sleeping baby. Lots have happened in a year. Praise Jesus for ALL He has done for us!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cape Town

We are on our way to Cape Town!!!

The main reason - U2 Concert with Pierre, Anique and Bernard, but with the show comes a visit to our beloved Cape Town and the people we've come to love over 3 years.

We will arrive past 23:00 tonight... ridiculous right? They bumped our flight more than an hour ahead, eish. Anyhow, we will wake up in beautiful Cape Town. Martin will fly back mid Saturday morning.

Tomorrow we get to meet Isabelle Grace Willett, the first addition to Matt and Chereens family. I can hardly wait to hug them, and hold that sweet 3kg baby!

Anke and I'm getting to be at Zani's dedication Sunday at Doxa Deo Langeberg and visit with the family until next Saturday!

Here's to the weekend, and week to come!!!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Weekly Wonder

Since we now live in the same City as my best and longest friend - Anke and I try to hang with Iska and Iwan once a week!

Iwan is 6 months older than Anke and they are loving each others company! Iwan just started walking, which seems to be a good motivation for Anke!

This is not just a play-date! Iska and I get a few hours of quality time, although most of it is spent on the floor, cleaning diapers, feeding etc...

Have I mentioned that both our husbands work for the same church? I love how God is true to His word when He says "I know the plans I have for you..."

My weekly wonder is my saving grace...

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011


We are a ONE car family!

Martin commutes to work with his Scott Mountain bike but due to the unpredictable weather, Anke and I drop him of in the morning!

Well this morning, it started raining on our way to work... We dropped him of in medium rain!!!

On our way home it started RAINING so hard that I could hardly see the road! Ooooeee scary!

Anke fell asleep! So here I am, home but stuck in the car! It's about 30m from the car to the front door but it is still RAINING!

So if you can't go anywhere, stuck in the car, with a sleeping baby and a BlackBerry... BLOG
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Project - Roman Blinds

Roman Blinds by a Perfectionist and optimistic Enthusiast...

Martin (the Perfectionist) help me (The Optimistic Enthusiast) yesterday to make the blinds I've been needing COURAGE for!

Our new rental has horrible windows, and you cant buy already made blinds. Her room is so light and bright that we are having a hard time napping in there. The Block Out material is so expensive, and due to the size of a Roman Blind, it just made sense to rather make some!

It was a fun project to do together.

So the project cost us just over R600. The blinds only about R250. We needed some tools for the project, that came out of the blinds budget. But next time the blinds will be cheaper :)

I used Anke's old green curtains, and saved even more.

I think she is happy with her new 'darker' room! and I think it looks BEAUTIFUL.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


The windows in our new house are weird!!!

I'm actually anoid by the fact that I have not one curtain that hangs perfect... Most of them are about a half meter too short!!! I know insane.

I might make Anke's green curtains, into Roman Blinds. I found a great how to... Now I need to find the courage.

She has a window from wall to wall, and from ceiling to half way down... The current green curtains are too short.
This picture is from the previous room!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Val de Grace - Birds

I got a Bird Guide for Christmas. Here are some of the beautiful birds I've seen in our Garden in Val de Grace, Pretoria.

1. I was sitting on the balcony. I could not get Anke to sleep, I was praying softly asking God to give me strength and patience. Suddenly I saw this beautiful bird with its rusty feathers in a tree not far from me... The Paradise Flycatcher! Needless to say, I felt better and it didn't take long before she was asleep!

2. If we open our bedroom curtains, it feels like we are in a tree. So last week, early one morning, Martin saw a couple of Red billed Wood Hoopoe's. We've never seen these before... it is a very cool bird :)

3. I spotted this little guy, the Black eyed Bulbul on Christmas, sitting outside with my dad. They call it a "butter bottem"... You will see why!

4. The Glossy Starling is a daily visitor.

5. Coming back from picking Martin up from work, I was a Black Gollared Barbet. Wow, first timer. Love living in this area!!!!

6. We have a couple of Olive Thrush birds, who are very regular visitors. They drink water in the garden and if you work in the garden a little, they are there to pick up any displaced bugs.

7. The Speckled Mousebird is so cute, it is as small as a mouse...

8. Cape White Eye birdies are beautiful and I see them daily! They make me smile! This is a picture I took of the "Glasogie" in our Tree.

We have 'normal' birds like doves... but we all know what they look like!!!

Sunday, January 09, 2011


I decided to drive to church early in the hope that Anke would fall asleep on the way... And now I have a couple of minutes to write a quick blog!

Let me give you a run down of our new Sunday routine - Get up before 6, get out the door at 6:25 to drop Martin at church before the rest of the tech and worship guys get there before 7.

Anke and I go home (10km drive), eat breakfast and get ready for second service at 10:15. We should be home around noon!

Afternoon drill starts around 15:30ish. Most people with small children come to first night service at 17:30. I'm not sure what we are going to do yet... Because Anke will be sleeping if we go home after first service, and I'll have to drive back to church to pick Martin up.

Anyhow, we should all be home by 21:00ish...

Full Sunday at Doxa Deo Brooklyn! Exciting times :)
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Friday, January 07, 2011

How are WE?

We've had so many people ask us how we are... So here we go!

We've been living in Pretoria, Gauteng Province for 3 weeks!

We've celebrated Christmas, our 6th year Anniversary and New Years in our new home...

Martin just finished his first full week at Doxa Deo Brooklyn, and he loves his new job!

He commuted 3times this week, about 10km one way! This is a good thing! There are a few (little) hills on the way...

Anke is doing well. She is learning to climb stairs, walking by holding on to everything and eats anything on the floor! We are anticipating her first tooth! I'm afraid she's going to have 8 at one time :)

We are planning a trip to Cape Town mid February. We have U2 tickets!!!!! We will stay with Martins family, we can hardly wait!

Schools open this week, so our lives are going to get hectic pretty soon!

I never did blog about Jon and Sara's visit! I will! I can say IT WAS FANTASTIC :)
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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Praising Jesus

I stand in awe of my Lord today!

After many years He has over exceeded my friends expectation!!!!

I love you Lord, and will Praise you always, for YOU know the plans you have for each of us.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Great Friends

Today @ church (Doxa Deo Brooklyn) in the early pm service, Anke "followed" Iwan around...

She would crawl-follow him around.

She would crawl around him, find his eyes and smile @ him... The toy he picks up is the toy she wants, if he moved, she moved. They are so cute!

Only 6 months apart, and I just know they are going to be GREAT friends (just like their mommas :)...)

This picture was taken 6 months ago...