Ashley’s bundle of baby joy

Okay so I quickly learned that I cannot use “Bun in the oven” as my blog title. It had people immediately up in arms disappointed because I am not preggo! I’m sorry. Lesson learned.
No, this blog is not about me, but instead about my handsome nephew and his beautiful momma.

I was beyond honored to be able to take my sis-in-law’s maternity photos a few weeks ago. I had so much fun and loved the time I was able to spend with her. I can tell she is so happy with her growing family and that brings me joy :)

Now, let me just go ahead and get a disclaimer out early on: I am not a photographer… nor do I claim to be, I just LIKE taking pictures and happen to have a camera :) I wish I was better and had the time to get better, but right now I don’t, so this is just for fun and you get what you get!
Okay, I feel better now.

This “shoot,” if I may call it that, was beyond a challenge for me for several reasons. First off, I had made up my mind I was going to take the whole thing manually. Now, for some people this would not be a big deal; however, I, on the other hand, did not even begin TRYING to LEARN how to do this until about a week before
…and didn’t really think much more about it until the night before… oops :/

On top of all that, I was PLANNING of taking all the pictures outside, where [for me] shooting manually is MUCH easier. Buuuuuut of course it ended up being the ONLY FREEZING COLD WINDY day IN February in Tennessee. Which brings me to photo shooting dilemma #2… I mostly had to shoot inside. So, I just tried my darndest to make good pictures…on a cloudy day.. inside…with not much light…

I am NOT saying this was not a blast! I am just laying all my struggles out in the open.

Challenge #3, which is probably my favorite one, [if that even is possible] was that my sis already has the most BEAUTIFUL bundle of joy ever with a ton of energy! and when you get an energized 4 year old in a not-so-well it- room, it is not really possible to get her to sit still “enough”…and to take her picture without a flash and without her having four arms is even harder {hopefully this reference makes sense to someone}.

aaaaanyhow, all of that was justa reminder to all of us to be persistant. Because even with nature going against you, beautiful things can happen :) I just so happen to be ridiculously lucky to have a gorgeous sister that makes it looks easy.

Without further ado, I would like to introduce to you my sister and her beautiful baby bump!

Okay, so these coming up are kinda fun. At this point, however, our fingers were frozen, our noses were pink and our chins quite numb…regardless, these pictures turned out cool. They have an earthy weathered look about them. I love the fall colors (even though it was February) and the shades of browns and orange.

I love the sentament right there. Such a cute mother and daughter moment :)

I know I am bombarding you with pictures today, but it just happened to take me entirely too long to get these up so believe or not Ashley has already given birth and Josh and I went over there to meet him. This is Jackson and I believe it he 5 days old in this picture. Welcome to the Shave mafia, I mean, family. :)

Just to get into perspective how tiny he is, this is  my hubby ‘s hand

He was under the lights for jaundice so he’s rockin a newborn tan. That also explains the heart shaped velcro on his face. He is fine now and beautiful and healthy. We all thank the Lord for his blessings.

If I play may cards right I might be lucky enough to capture some newborn photos while he is still teeeny. Stay tuned.

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New Home with a side of Kitchen Renovation

As most of you know, Josh and I are in the works of buying a house! :) We put an offer in a few weeks ago and they accepted. The house passed the inspection last week,  so we are moving right along. We are in our condo until the end of March, so we requested the closing date to be mid-march. Although we are not in it yet, I am already planning away.  I tell myself not to get too carried away because things may not work out, but I just can’t help it; I am so excited!

Lord willing, we will be in there this time next month and renovating in full swing. :)

In the meantime, I thought I would share with you and maybe get a little advice on my ideas and hear your thoughts on colors for the kitchen renovation.

First off, I feel like I should introduce you, so here she is–
So lovely. The bay window goes all the way upstairs and is in a beautiful guest bedroom.

It is such a blessing, and I try my best to remember to thank the Lord every single day. I love so much about it. It is so different than the houses that are popping up all around, and I especially love the light brick and the back yard. :)

One funny thing though, you guys will just love this: I always thought I would never have a red door… because…well, I don’t know where I got this, maybe a book I read or something, but I thought once upon a time a red door was the mark of a harlot. Or “the house with the red door” was how you found the brothel…

Did I make this up? Someone tell me…

Well, I looked it up, of course, and could not find how it originated (way before it was in style, I mean) but several articles brought it back to Feng Shui, good luck, and the welcoming of visitors.

So maybe I can ignore that harlot thing and leave it the way it is…
or not. I haven’t decided yet :)

Anyhow, back on topic//The first week will be ALL cleaning and painting, but after that it is KITCHEN RENOVATION in full force!

Although our [hopeful] future home has gorgeous bones, the kitchen needs a few updates and TLC. When we walked into this house I completely fell in love. It is open with lots of windows and there are no neighbors behind us. After seeing only the downstairs, I screamed upstairs to the Realtor that I wanted it.
(I did end up looking at the rest of the house, and yes, it was just as charming.) Slyman Real Estate, wins again :)

My plan is to pretty much redo the whole kitchen. New paint, new counter tops, new cabinet hardware, new backsplash, sink, etc… (the counters and the gold hardware are the WORST…) it is almost hard to see past them. You can’t see in the picture, but there are little green leaves on the counters haha; I guess that is the camo edition.

At first, I wanted to redo/paint the cabinets too, but Josh talked me out of it…. maybe later :)

Major things first, and then we will slowly update appliances… like the white dishwater. Take a look at that beauty–

Okay, so it isn’t beautiful yet, but it will be by the time I am done with it. It is even a little dusty because no one is living there now, so don’t hold that against me.

I have spent days and days looking at images online to find the look I am going for. I want it to be light and “welcoming” somewhere in between a traditional country kitchen, and the modern, more contemporary look… I am loving gray right now but do not want to over commit in case it is not as popular when we sell.  But I cannot help but put it in some places–

I found this blog by Abode Love and she had redone her kitchen entirely, even using the same back splash I am looking at! Check that out here.

That said, I want something that will bring the gray walls together with the brown cabinets. I am looking at counter tops with a little bit of that natural gray stone color, but also with the warmth of a taupe brown or tan.

I know there are 8, but we are just beginning– some have warm browns and others have that cool gray I am interested in; ideally I would like to pick one of the few that has both:

(sorry I could not figure out how to NOT get the other pictures to show up in this gallery)


What do you think of these?

Josh and I are so overwhelmed with all the choices and he did me the favor of traipsing around home depot on Valentines Day :) We even looked at new saws and sanders, both on the soon to be bought list.

I think I am getting my hardware from overstock.com, they seem to have a good selection. You can see them here and here.

The backsplash that I am in LOVE with is all white, so we are still trying to decide if it is “too” white.

If it is, I may just try something like this:

I love the shape. So romantic.

We looked at other mosaic tile and such but it was just so BUSY with a granite counter top.

Remember, these are all just aspirations and ideas. If you have any ideas of suggestions I am open to any of them! I have only seen light (white and gray) kitchens with white cabinets, so I really am not even sure this will all work out with our oak ones.

Do you think it will?

If you like, you can even click on the granite samples and “like” your favorite!

**update: this is a bigger more accurate picture of my current favorite, Kashmir White:

eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I’m giddy!

God rescues// Happy Birthday Joshua Grady Shave

God rescues//and he brought me Joshua. Happy Birthday, my love.

1998 SMCC when Josh and I met

Today is my sweet sweet love’s birthday. He is 29, strong, healthy, blessed, and wonderful. I wanted to spend today bragging on him and thanking God for blessing me with such a wonderful, loving, selfless, consistent husband.    Seriously.   I do not just spout off these adjectives like I am writing a greeting card. He REALLY is ALL  these things. Over the years I have become more aware of just how considerate he is. So many people, including myself, tend to take advantage of his kindness. At first I thought it just came naturally to him and he didn’t even have to think about it. But realistically, he does. He is the kind of person who makes a daily effort to build others up, to NOT always say what he is thinking, to go out of his way to help you with what you want, to think the best of people, to forgive, to put his plans aside when he knows you want him or need him for something. And all these things are not just for me.  They are for everyone: our families, his co-workers, his friends, my friends…

It is almost bad for other people because I see him sacrificing all the time and it just accentuates how selfish the rest of us are.

I love him for so many reasons, but the first one would have to be that he loves God so much and wants to live his life (our life) to please HIM. This is the most admirable trait in a man. It brings a constant comfort because I know where his priorities lie and I can trust him to LEAD us in the right direction.

I love him because he likes what I like…and even when he doesn’t he sacrifices and compromises.  I love that we can sing and dance and scream out the window in the car together. I love that when he is in front of me at a stop light, he opens his back window and says, I love you.

I love that we can laugh together.

Our 1st Dave Matthews Concert together

I love Josh for all these things and more. He is so strong. So athletic. So funny. So freaking talented at everything he tries; it might be a little sickening, but adorable at the same time.

I did find something I am better at than him……… and that is ice skating. :)

Pathetic for me I know, but seriously. He is good at EVERYTHING. And humble about it too. How lucky am I?

I love him because he makes me coffee in the mornings.

I love him because when I am tired and do not want to wake up and go to work, he walks around the bed, throws my arms around his neck, and walks me into the bathroom.

I love him because he always opens my door.

I love him because I know he prays for me every day.

I love him because when he travels I do not worry about his integrity. (but I pray about it nontheless to keep him strong and holy)

I love him because he thinks it’s cute when I look up new words.

Lol….. like the house we are buying is on Avocet. I didn’t know what that was and I didn’t want to live on a road that meant like “hoochie momma” so I looked it up :)
and this made him smile.

It means a long legged shorebird, by the way. How fitting.

I love that he can make so many people laugh and that he is not afraid to be silly.

I love him because he is passionate about so many things… our love, surfing, basketball, family, snowboarding, his work, his prayer life, God, wakeboarding…

I love him because he is not boring.

I love him because keeps me sane and eases my fears. He reminds me where my focus should be. He holds me accountable and teaches me love.

I love him because I want to. Should all these awesome things fade away. I will love him.

God rescues.

When I looked up his name last night that is what I found.  And its so true; God did rescue me. In the same way he rescued Josh and all of us who allow him to be our Savior. What  wonderful life we live, abiding in him and seeking his face.

Thank you for all of it, God.

And thank you for being a wonderful husband, Josh. I love you. Happy Birthday.

2012 Fitness kickoff

Well, I might be two weeks late, but I am starting my fitness routine today. I can blame 10 days on sickness, 2 of them making sure I was better, and, well, 2 were just plain lazy. But I am starting today. I still have some congestion and a sore throat but I cannot put it off any longer. I have a training buddy at school who is in good shape so I need to spend a couple of weeks catching up! We are running a half marathon April 28th.

I have a few goals for myself: Not only do I want to workout more and lose fat, but I REALLY need to eat healthier. It’s really bad. So, for now, my goal is to simply EAT more fruits and vegetables. “More” is not really a measurable term, so my literal goal is at least one fruit and one vegetable a day. (I know, the fact that that is a goal just shows you how unhealthy I am.) Confession: I had puppy chow for breakfast and lunch and as a snack in between today… I mean there was real food in there too, but ya. Who does that?! I am going to have clogged arteries by 35.

For the record in case a stranger stumbles upon this blog (and so I don’t have to do the math when I am old and looking back on this) I am 27; 5’6 and my start weight is 140.2. I have an at home “body fat calculator” on my scale. From past experience with a real trainer I know it is not very accurate, but it is consitant, so as long as the number goes down I am happy. Right now it says I am at 33.3 — like I said, it is not accurate. Based in the BMI calculator I found on-line being 140lbs and 5’6 means I stand at 21.3. Either way, I just want it to go down.

My goal is 130 by our first lake day; we normally start going in April, so I will use 4/1 as my deadline; that is 11 weeks away so I have a goal of about a pound a week.

These pictures are my motivation. We were opening wedding presents over at Kyle and Christin’s a few days after the wedding. I want to be more toned than that though.

Here  I am now.  You always have to look bad in your “before” picture, so don’t judge my no makeup-havent left the house all day-face and wardrobe :)

Now I am off for the gym for the first time this year, my goal is 4 miles, wish me luck!!!

http://traininglog.runnersworld.com/logs/8e9b96f43cf64966b9dd655eb6b4f3e0

 

***update: it has been a month since this post and I have lost 3 consistent pounds (meaning once it goes off the scale it doesnt come back:). I still don’t eat healthy :/ healthy food bores me…. but I am working out so lets just not get so greedy here.

Momma Welch’s Greenbean Casserole: Shave edition

My mom has always made the same greenbean casserole for as long as I can remember, and it is a lot different than the “normal” GBC. It envolves, corn, water chestnuts, french cut green beans, with crushed town house crackers with butter as the topping! :)  mmmmmmmmm

It is not much like any other casserole people make, and personally, I like it best. It is always a tough decision when deciding to share a recipe, but since I am trying to start blogging more, I thought now was a good time. :)

First things first || Ingredients:

3 cans french cut green beans
1 can shoepeg corn
1 can water chestnuts-chopped (or you can get sliced and chop them yourself)
Mom uses 1 cup finely diced onions. I use 1/2.
1 can cream of celery
Salt and Pepper as needed

Topping:
1 stick butter, melted
1 roll Crushed townhouse crackers

Drain the 4 cans of veggies and spread in an 8×10 [glass prefeered] cooking dish
Chop onions and water chestputs and spead on top 
I drop the cream of celery soup in about 9 blobs and spread bake 350 for 35-40 minutes

*I changed the recipe a little because I found people tend to like the french onions on top, so I crunch them and ADD them to the top.

Homemade Vanilla

First off, I must give credit where credit is due. My all knowing, home making, garden growing, egg hatching mother-in law got me started on making vanilla from “scratch”. She originally gave me a jar at a bridal shower and I was hooked. I give it credit for many of my recipes turning out so well. I am about to make some for my mom for Christmas; she has been asking for some since she saw mine but since the beans and vodka can be pricey, I decided to do it as a formal gift instead of a give away.

Even vanilla extract at the grocery is expensive for its size, running anywhere from $4-$10 depending on brand and purity. So you can guess, as mentioned, that vanilla beans are expensive too…so do yourself a favor and order in bulk. I got mine from Atlantic Spice Company for a good bulk price… and (sidenote)  I hear they have great nuts too. :)

Depending on what size bottle you are going with, you could need anything from 5-15 beans. Even after the package is open you can store the rest to use later.

Today I am making a small amount in about an 8 oz bottle which uses 5 beans and is the perfect size for a gift.

You will need: cheap vodka, vanilla beans, a knife, and a bottle with some sort of secure lid.

Step One) Slice the beans long ways, it helps release the flavor. (I am using 5 beans)

Step two) For this size bottle, you will fold the beans in half so they will fit, then place them in the bottle.

Step Three) Add your vodka.

Close lid.

and you’re done! vuala!

You can deliver it as is, informing your friend to let it steep 6-8 weeks, or make your bottle 2 months in advance so it is ready when you give it. I personally loved “waiting” until mine was ready, so that is what I do.

Christmas

This Christmas has already been so so different and possibly more fun than any Christmas in the past, and it isn’t even here yet!

First off, this is Josh and my first Christmas together. I went shopping AFTER Christmas last year to get most of our decorations, and the rest, well, we can all thank Pinterest. So I have decorated the house, the tree, the kitchen table, and on top of that, never, ever, like in my whole life, have I ever sent Christmas cards. ever.

and this year I did :)

I enjoyed making them so much. From the pictures, to the word web, to the writing on the outside of the envelope. It is just my thing. We sent 60 this year and I have a feeling that # is going to be a one time thing. I just figured since this was the year we got married and so much has changed; it was the appropriate year to go overboard.

I first started out with a picture form all the “big events” this year, but it was just too many images; so, I went with wedding pictures and one of us in the snow. :)

The first few I addressed, I sent out normal; but I wanted to add a little more personality to them so I did. Some people might hate me when they open their card, but I might have sprinkled in the TINIEST bit of glitter. Finally, to top it all off, Christmas lights were needed around the return address.

Okay, that’s it. I promise.

I am so excited for everyone to get them!

oh! I forgot to tell you about our Christmas tree experience! That will have to wait. We are going to Nama’s to get Sushi with friends.

Until then, in short:

We came.

We saw.

We Conquored.

Day 1

I think I am actually going to do it.

sweat. pain. shortness of breath. cramps. carbs. more sweat. fatigue. and maybe a change in diet.

can you guess?

I am going to run a half marathon!

There is a girlfriend at work who asked me a few weeks ago, and after she did, several others followed! Erica Fair, Sarah Fair, and possibly Beth Lovelace! :) It is going to be a great time.

Valarie and I are going to do the one in Nashville. I hear there are less hills and you get live music :) Not that I will actually be listening to it, because I am a rule breaker and like to run with my ipod.

The training technically starts in January, but Erica and I are running the Jingle Bell 5k this Saturday so I started training today. I ran 3.2 miles in either 32 or 34 minutes… i could tell you better if the treadmill would not have turned off on me at 30:00……..

that was miserable.

Yes, I know a 10 minute mile is slow but that is the first time I have run since….. pre-wedding…. so let’s say MAY.

Yikes.

I am going to be keeping track of my training on one of my pages; I didn’t want to clog up my blog with running and time/weight posts.

If any of you want to join us in our training let me know.

House hunters

Yes, I have been watching that show lately on HGTV.

Josh and I were going to wait until next summer -or the summer after that- to start looking for houses, but we found this adorable one in west Knoxville that woke us up from out slumber and started the house search. The one we found has a huge yard at nearly an acre but it not quite as west as we want, so we started looking.

Our goal is to move about April or May, because that is when the condo lease is up and I will have Spring Break/Summer to move in and nest :)

Also, we want a dog. So a big yard, preferrably with a fenced in back yard, would be ideal.It is a little older than I want and I did not love the front porch, but Josh and I already talked about how we would renovate that.

This is the back yard of our first love in west Knoxville:

I love the view to right that isn’t pictured either. It is about 2,280 sq ft, 3 bedroom Cape Cod 2 story with finished basement, Parquet foyer, Greal wood fireplace, formal dining room with triple bay window, finished basement, and did I mention great yard?

Our #2 is a lot smaller, newer, and brick-which I love. It is also in LC, which would be closer to Josh’s work. I am not sure how big the yard is though.

Finally, but surely not the end of the hunt, this is just the beginning, I like another one in LC. It is gorgeous on the outside, hardwood, bigger, but does not seem to have much of a yard.

I am so excited about embarking on this new adventure with my hubby. I am not sure what we are more excited about: a new home to call our own, or an adorable new puppy :)