26 December 2012

Meeting Santa!

2 days before Christmas, Zoey got to meet Santa for the first time. It did not go well.
Don't let this picture fool you, you see that bit of blue that she is sitting on? Thats my leg and the only way we were getting a picture of a non-screaming baby. STRANGER DANGER! Zoey knows better then to be sitting on some bearded old fella's lap.

24 December 2012

23 December 2012

A Christmas Catch Up

I had so many festive posts planned in my head, but I find myself with hardly any time to sit and type them out. Bah Humbug! I am going to admit that it has been really hard getting back into blogging. Between being a mother to a baby who will still not sleep through the night, working 30hrs a week, running my Etsy shop during the busy gift buying season and keeping everyone in this house clean and fed; there are just not enough hours in the day. Lets take a minute to catch up shall we?

My mom, sister and brother in law arrived in New York to spend Christmas with us this year. This is the first time my sister got to meet her niece and Zoey thinks that her aunt is the most fascinating and hilarious person she has ever met. It's been great having some extra helping hands while I was so busy with orders for my Etsy shop and with my mom's OCD cleaning habit, my apartment is almost back to it's pre-baby state of cleanliness.

There is nothing like New York during Christmas time! The city is sparkly and festive at every turn, but completely packed and overcrowded at the same time. I took my family to see the department store window displays and the Rockefeller tree today and basically had to use Zoey's stroller to plough through the crowds. What a nightmare. A twinkly, christmasy nightmare.

11 December 2012

DIY: christmas tree ornaments

This is our first Christmas Tree which means it is time to begin our ornament collection. Besides the generic baubles, lights and candy canes that fill up the tree; I think that it is the sentimental ornaments and the handcrafted goodies that give meaning and make your tree extra special. Here are a couple of ornaments that I crafted this year:


There are so many adorable baby's first Christmas ornaments out there, but I wanted to capture how tiny Zoey's hand print was at the time so I came up with this little DIY. All you need is a plastic ornament which is large enough for the print (this one is from Michaels), paint (non-toxic), a paint pen & some ribbon.

First, let me tell you that printing a babies hand perfectly is almost impossible. It helps to just sponge on a thin layer of paint and touch baby's hand quickly to the ornament to prevent smudges. If you miss a finger just go over it again, and if it messes up you can always use wet wipes  to clean up smudges or wipe off the entire ornament and start again. After the paint has fully dried you can use a paint pen to write baby's name, date etc. Each year I plan on making one of these hand print ornaments and watching that little hand get bigger and bigger.


I made this ornament as a way to remember our very first tree, but I also plan on doing this every year and making it part of our tradition. When you go pick out your live Christmas tree most places usually cut off 1 inch of the tree stump before packaging it, ask whoever is packaging your tree if you can keep the inch that was sawed off. I ended up painting the side that was not freshly sawed to hide the ugly grime, added the year with a paint pen and embellished it with a bow. Ideally I would have liked to use a wood burner to write the date on the freshly sawed side, but I couldn't justify buying one just for this tiny project (maybe next year).

I hope I gave you some ideas! If you decide to DIY your own ornaments use hashtag: #theafricanllama on instagram or twitter so that I can check them out.

7 December 2012

Oh Christmas Tree!

Since the last bite of turkey on Thanksgiving evening, I had been begging my husband to take us to go get our very first Christmas tree. He finally obliged about a week later and I quickly searched for a farm where we could go chop one down ourselves since I am set on living my life like a typical American movie. Unfortunately we ran out of time that day to drive upstate to do the our own lumber jacking so we searched the nearby nurseries instead. After almost forking out $80 for a tree at several places we ended up at Home Depot (not quite the movie scene I imagined) and after untying and shaking out about 7 or 8 Balsam firs we had finally adopted the newest member of our household for only $35.

Since this is our first official tree, we had no old, dusty box of family ornaments to bring down from the attic (which was one of my favorite parts of decorating the tree as a child). I went with a red, white and silver color scheme since it is pretty neutral and can be easily adapted and added too over the years. I cannot wait for Zoey to start making her own little Christmas ornaments out of popsicle sticks and macaroni! I picked up some really adorable, yet budget friendly ornaments and lights at Walmart, Target and Michaels; and DIY'ED a couple of special ones too (more on that later).

Please excuse the needles on the ground and no tree skirt, I'm planning to sew a really cute one soon!
I love our tree, especially because it is our very first one. I'm quite grateful that Zoey isn't able to stand up and pull all the ornaments off just yet, but she loves to sit in front of it and stare at the pretty lights.

4 December 2012

2 Years

2 years ago, in a simple ceremony in Central Park, New York I married my soulmate.
Each year around December 4th we visit "The Ladies Pavilion" and refect on our year. This has probably been the best year of my life and although we have had our struggles trying to juggle working full time jobs, going back to university and parenthood, we know that we can always count on eachother.
I love you Mike. You are my everything!

3 December 2012

It's officially Christmas in New York

There is nothing like a trip to visit to the Rockefeller Christmas Tree to get you in the holiday spirit.

28 November 2012

7 Months of Zoey

headband available {here}

Weight: 14lbs 

Height: around 22 or 23 inches

Clothing size: 6 month clothing is fitting well, although she wears size 3 pants

Diaper size: Size 2

Feeding: Still 4oz - 6oz bottles every 3 hours. 2 tbsp cereal & 1/2 jar of fruit in the morning and 1/2 jar of veggies in the evening.

Sleep: She/We are still not sleeping through the night :( She takes 3 naps a day (50mins in the morning and afternoon and about 2hrs midday)

Milestones: She said "DADA!" which is fitting since she is Daddy's little princess. She can now sit up nicely on her own and can crawl! (Mostly backwards and army-style) This was a big month for milestones!

Loves: Chewing everything, her jumper & Sesame Street (especially Elmo of course)

Dislikes: Waking up on her belly after she tossed and turned in her sleep.

Adventures: Zoey celebrated her 1st Halloween & Thanksgiving. Thankfully we also survived Hurricane Sandy, Frankenstorm (her first snow!) and no heat or power for 12 long days.

Mommy and Daddy could not get through the month without: Zoey's new snowsuit which she wore for the entire time our house had no heat. Grandpa, who took us in after he regained power and her jumper (again) which helps entertain her since she cant sit still for a second.

22 November 2012


Starting at midnight TONIGHT every single item in my Etsy Store will be 25% off.
This is the perfect opportunity to stock up on Chritmas gifts for all those little ones in your life!
Just use code blackfriday25 at checkout!

4 November 2012

This Fall

Apple picking, pumpkin picking and Halloween are all reasons why I LOVE Fall time in the US... not to mention I may have celebrated a birthday in between it all and got dragged into my upper 20's.

As soon as the air gets crisp and the leaves start to change, all I want to do is drive upstate. We celebrated my birthday by going apple picking (perhaps a sign of old age?) and proceeded to get rained poured on. Needless to say it was not the exact vision of fruit picking perfection I had imagined especially since Zoey spent most of the time wrapped up in her car seat and then proceeded to catch a cold. BUT we did have a lot of fun and came home with a bountiful harvest which I later turned into baby food.

Next up on the Fall to-do list was of course, pumpkin picking. Zoey put on her pumpkin hat made beautifully by my blogger friend Amber (she just opened an Etsy shop) and off we went in search of the perfect pumpkin. This was not only Zoey's first time picking out a pumpkin, but mine too! We ended up spending a good amount of time travelling from patch to patch to find the perfect pumpkin to represent each member of our family while sipping on pumpkin lattes and warm apple cider.

Of course, we then had to carve up our prised pumpkins. We spent an entire night scooping guts, carving flesh and roasting seeds before finally lighting up our beauties and setting them outside our front door.

Before we knew it, it was Halloween weekend. Mike and I enjoyed our first baby-free night out in a very long time and headed over to his work colleague's costume party as Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Werewolf. As a South African who never got to have an authentic "American" Halloween growing up, I get VERY excited this time of year. We realised that this year was the first time we have ever dressed up as a couple or even celebrated Halloween together (last year I was pregnant during a Halloween snowstorm and we can't even remember what we were doing the year before that-fail!)

As for Zoey's first Halloween... sadly it was a little bit of a failure. I had been planning her chicken costume for so long but had barely begun working on it (I was determined to hand make ALL of our costumes this year) before the storm hit. Luckily, I stumbled upon a rouge chicken cap that had lost the rest of it's outfit at the store so I scooped that up as a backup plan. Zoey had also caught a cold, which made her miserable and I decided that taking her to the children's parade on a very windy day (1 day before Hurricane Sandy) would not be the smartest parenting decision. On Halloween day I dressed her up barely long enough for the above pictures to be taken. A tantrum then ensued.

How did you celebrate the Fall?
What did you/your little one wear this Halloween?

3 November 2012

A Post Sandy Update!

Hi everybody from a damp cold and dark New York.

Hurricane Sandy hit us 6 days ago and I have finally found a place to plug in my laptop and some miracle WIFI to connect to. I feel like I have been totally cut off from the outside world. Until today, I had only seen the devastation from my car window, but am totally shocked as I turn on a television for the first time and take in all the tragedy and heartbreak especially coming out of our neighbour, New Jersey.

Although it has been tough for us with no power or heat, especially with a sick baby and the cold temperatures, but today we moved to my father in law's apartment since he regained power and at least we will have a house to return to whenever our power is restored.

If you would like to donate to the American Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Fund, please click here.

Here are a few pictures from around the neighbourhood, mostly just down trees and electrical wires. Nothing compared to the pictures I am seeing from NJ.


25 October 2012

6 months of Zoey

Pumpkin Hat from ItsyStitches
Weight: 13lbs 

Height: I will measure her tonight and update asap.

Clothing size: Around 3-6 month clothing and a lot of 6 month size now fits. I just did another closet clean out. It's so sad to say goodbye to some of those cute little outfits, but luckily we have a lot of adorable replacements.

Diaper size: Size 2

Feeding: Still 5oz about every 3hrs. She has also had green beans, sweet potato, prunes and apple.

Sleep: 3 or 4 naps during the day, but is still not sleeping through the night. :(

Milestones: She is HALF A YEAR OLD! She is getting closer to sitting up on her own and has started with the ba-ba's. You can tell she really wants to crawl, but hasn't figured out how to actually move, she makes sudden lunges at objects and wants to eat everything in sight!

Loves: Her big teething ring with a rattle in the center of it, funny faces that mommy makes, sitting in her jumper, her blankies and monkey.
Dislikes: She is not too fond of solids, but I'm still working on getting her used to it.

Adventures: Zoey attended her first birthday party, we went apple and pumpkin picking this month and she also got her first cold (not much of an adventure).

Mommy and Daddy could not get through the month without: Jumper! We can put her in it for 30mins at a time while we get stuff done, and she loves it!

24 October 2012

I've been a mom for half a year.

We have reached a little milestone. Today, my little girl is 6 months old. 

Sometimes I feel like time is going by so fast that if I blink for just 1 second I'm going to miss everything. On the other hand, being a mom is the most natural and consequential thing I have ever done that I can hardly believe there was a time before Zoey. I may not have had a full nights sleep for 6 months or a day off all to myself, but I wouldn't change it for the world. 

I will be back tomorrow with Zoey's monthly update.

23 October 2012

Cha Cha Cha Changes...

Hi, and welcome to the NEW and improved blog The African Llama

I decided to change the name of the blog as I feel like I am beginning a new chapter in my life. I am no longer that foreigner adjusting to life in New York (I am a New York resident now ~yay~ but not yet a US citizen ~boo~) , no longer a tourist in Manhattan (even though I still find something new everytime I walk around) and my new adventure as a parent has taken over any desire for me to spend an entire night clubbing in the city, missing that last train home and having to sleep on the floor in Grand Central Station. (Although you might still find some toned down versions of all the above here).

I am also rebranding this blog to connect with my Etsy shop. For those of you who may not know, I started creating custom applique onesies and selling on Etsy a few months ago. I have been so pleased with the feedback that I have recieved and the great customers I have connected with that I wanted to be able to bring life and personality to my shop through my blog. This means that YOU, my blog friends, will be the first to hear news about giveaways, promotions and new items which is great for all those new mommies out there. I will also focus more on DIY and share some fun projects with you that happen while baby is sleeping.

So what the heck is an African Llama? Well, you can read a little more about the name {here}

Connect with The African Llama:

facebook: www.facebook.com/theafricanllama
twitter: @theafricanllama
instagram: The African Llama
Etsy shop: www.theafricanllama.etsy.com

4 October 2012

5 months of Zoey!

Weight: 14lbs

Height: 24'

Clothing size: She still fits into SOME 3 month clothing, but mostly around 3-6 now.
Diaper size: Size 2

Feeding: About 5oz about every 3hrs. Zoey now eats rice cereal in the morning and I'm hoping to whip up my first batch of green beans for her to try this weekend.

Sleep: She is still waking up once or twice a night to eat. (Tired mama and papa over here!!) but can now easily fall asleep on her own (without being rocked to sleep).
Milestones: Zoey has become a roly-poly! She just rolls and rolls until she is all the way across the room. She can sit up at a 45 degree angle for a while and she has a VERY strong grip! She has definitely found her voice! She chatters away to herself in the morning when she wakes up and can reach some pretty loud decibels.
Loves: The TV :/ Having a blankie to hold all the time, rolling over, playing with mommy and daddy.
Dislikes: Too many people in her face at one time.
Adventures: Zoey had her first trip to Brooklyn to a very noisy festival and was GREAT! She even fell asleep in the noisiest restaurant ever.
Mommy and Daddy could not get through the month without: Blankies! She always has to have something to hold which calms her.

10 September 2012


The 9/11 memorial, NYC

As a 14 year old kid on September 11th 2001, I was sick from school and at home watching the devastating news coverage from 8000 miles away in my hometown in South Africa. Little did I know that just 9 years later I would become a permanent resident of New York and call it my home.

I have walked amongst people who experienced the events of that terrible day first hand, and heard stories of heartbreak. I have witnessed the building of the memorial since its early beginnings and slowly watched as the 1 World Trade crept up to become the tallest building in Manhattan and took it's place in the New York City Skyline.

Today I want to remember all those who lost their lives and my whole heart goes out to anybody affected by such tragedy.

7 September 2012

Zoey Does DC!

27 August 2012

4 months of Zoey

Weight: 13lbs
Height: 25 inches
Clothing size: I have just done another wardrobe clean out. It's crazy how fast babies go through all these cute outfits! She now fits into 3 month clothing, although some brands are still a little big.
Diaper size: Size 1

Feeding: 4oz about every 2 and half hours. Sometimes she needs an extra oz and sometimes she only drinks 3oz.

Sleep: She takes a longer noon-time nap, but takes smaller 40min naps throughout the day. At night she will usually go down from about 9pm, wake up around 1am to eat and then sleep until 6 or 7am.
Milestones: She lifts her head up really high and strong when she is lying on her belly. She can roll over from her belly to her back and has rolled the other direction once. Zoey bears a lot of weight on her legs... I feel like she will be standing and walking sooner then usual.
Loves: Baths, shiny things like TV's and lights, Mommy and Daddy making funny sounds, laying in Mommy and Daddy's bed, Car rides.
Dislikes: Very loud family events... she is becoming more aware of her surroundings
Adventures: We took our first family vacation together! We went to Philadelphia and Washington, DC. Zoey was great on the car ride and enjoyed the hotel pool very much.
Mommy and Daddy could not get through the month without: Zoey. I have really grown attached to this little human. Sometimes when she naps for too long I miss hanging out with her. The love I feel for her is unlike no other which grows stronger and stronger each and every day.

8 August 2012

Where the heck are ya?

Oh hey guys! Yeh so remember that time when I was all excited to be back on a 3x weekly blogging schedule and had so many cool ideas up my sleeve? Can you guess what kinda got in the way? 

It's been pretty hectic around here trying to keep up with working 36 hours a week, starting a website, the explosion of orders in my Etsy shop and then there is of course motherhood (phew!), housework and ferrets to be fed etc. My list could probably go on for days, but because of all these factors my beloved blog is taking a bit of a backseat these days. 

I will still keep posting sporadically (since this is my own little diary/scrapbook) but I am taking the pressure off of myself from trying to keep up with a regular schedule and then feeling terribly guilty about not posting. I hope to return in full force one day, but for now I need to make time to cuddle my little Zoey at the end of a very long day.

26 July 2012

I bought a car!

In the quest of becoming a real adult, I finally got myself a grown up car. 
It may not seem like a big deal for most people, but for an immigrant with ZERO credit history who has been driving a beat up '97 car with huge transmission issues, its a big deal
I'm so happy to finally have a reliable car that I know will not break down, and it's super pretty too! 
I'm already planning a road trip!