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.

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.

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.

Our wedding

Lori Hensley Photography

I am pleased to shared with you the pictures from our wedding day, June 25, 2011, taken by Lori Hensley Photography in Knoxville, TN.

You can see some of them she has put on her blog : http://lorihensley.com/2011/07/14/amy-josh-wedding/

and see them ALL  and ORDER at  http://www.lorihensleyclients.com/

Look foe Amy + Josh wedding, and the password is welch :)

I must say that I was absolutely thrilled, and that if you are planning a wedding, graduating, having a baby, getting engaged, or want to trash your dress, I can HIGHLY recommend Lori Hensley.

Every time I am with you, it’s a Holiday.

After finally uploading pictures from my camera after a couple of months, I was  inspired to write about something.
Family.
Yes,  I have one solid, constant, forever family by blood, and they will always be my closest and my favorite, but as time goes on my family is growing by leaps and bounds.
I have my Northern Family, my extended family, my in Laws, my outlaws, and of course my friends I love so much it’s almost better than family— if it were possible

And believe it or not I was able to see them ALL all over the last 4 holidays and it was wonderful.

I spent thanksgiving with the Welch family in Indiana. This is the second time lately I have gotten to hang out with my sister and the more time I get to be around her, the more I wish I was around her all along. I think we are going to be great friends :) —For all of you who don’t know my sister and I have not lived in the same place since I was about ten… she went off to college and then we moved to TN and she didn’t come :(
Both of our weddings have brought us close together. I am extremely blessed.

The clothing in this next picture was NOT planned… needless to say a few of us changed our outfits after the picture was taken.

great minds think alike

Christmas this year was about 4 holidays in one. I was so excited to induct Josh into his first ever Christmas Eve Eve at Momma Harris’ House. Every year she cooks tons of yummy foods and we watch movies. I loved having him there this year, and it sure beats texting him the whole time.

Then, Josh and I had Christmas eve with my immediate family in Chattanooga and woke up to a white Christmas as we drove through the snow to get back to Josh’s family in Seymour for Christmas Day. It was wonderful to be with them, they are great in-laws, and my parents came up for the fun too.

Families United :)

Oh it’s not over….

Then, Josh got to experience his first Jigga Christmas with the girls — and Chase :)  The guys are officially jiggas and I love that every time the girls send a message their names are on it :)

Jigga Christmas

Ashley was not able to make it :( but she was there in spirit… if you look closely you can see her left of Josh and Megan.

Jigga Christmas 2011

We rang in the new year in Roanoke, Virgina with my close friend and first college roommate Becky [Wood] Blankenship. She and Mike just had their first child, a healthy young man named Luke so we scooted on down there to meet him and catch up with them.

Even when we have not seen them in months Josh will start laughing out loud at something Becky did or a story she told a year ago, lol that is how funny she is.

Luke and his mommy

In January we got to see my long lost best friend Emily [Nix} Sneed. She is the kind of friend (Becky is this way too) that you can go months without talking to and when you get a hold of each other there is no bitterness and it is like you never skipped a beat.  [somehow I got off without taking a picture… that is very unlike me]

Josh’s birthday was about three disasters in one and I feel like a terrible wife to be… but I did somehow come out with a yummy tasting [although ridiculous looking cake].

Let’s just say I had to recover from someone eating half his cake the day I was going to finish making it and then give it to him. I had about 30 minutes to create this masterpiece:

Josh's cake- post surgery

Ashley’s Birthday: I cannot do it justice by telling the stories from the weekend, so you don’t get any… see facebook for the visual retelling.

Sing it or Wing it: New Zealand edition

The fun continued on with Valentines day at the Gala with our close friends Brett and Lee Ridens. We got to dress up for dinner, drinks, an auction and dancing.

At the Valentine's Gala

This post was just a really long way of saying, no matter what I do, or where I do it, when I am with my closest friends and the love of my life, I am happy. I am so blessed to have great relationships and such caring and wonderful individuals surrounding me.

Thank you.

I love these people

February 25th—4 months to go!

Okay, so  keep seeing all these awesome wedding blogs and wish I was that cool and savvy (and had enough time) to log all the awesome things I am doing and give you how to’s :)
But I don’t.
All I can say is I am working, teaching, planning and saving. I am trying to do practically everything I can to save money (yes, I am making things myself)  :) but you don’t get pictures or how to’s!             You’ll just have to come to the wedding!

Josh and I have officially booked everything “big” and he recently bought the honeymoon and his suit. Poor thing didn’t even have the option to rent because of his [if i may say so myself] awesome muscular build. He is like a 44 in his shoulders and 34 in his waist! Needless to say, the jacket has to be tailored. Now all we have left is wedding rings! We both pretty much know what we want we just need to go get them.
His guys are all excited and pretty much have all the guys things done. I think his groomsmen are in the process of getting measured and such. I am still working on the little things that drive me insane…you know like what color the table clothes are going to be and deciding on a “signature cocktail”… what is that about?? I might be a sucker for it though because, again, it saves money. SO we will see.  Suggestions are welcome. Long Island Iced Tea perhaps?

I am super excited about my girls weekend next month; it’s the family and bridal party. We found a way to incorporate our wedding wine tasting! and MOST of my favorite women on earth will be there with me! Of course there will be a spot in my heart for those who can’t make it.

Anyhow, I just got on to shout out and tell everyone I am alive in well. I miss my family in Indiana and hope they get to make it down in June.  We have a wedding website that I keep up to date much more than this blog, feel free to check it out. I am trying to keep it updated with wedding/reception details, hotel info and registry hoopla; Josh is trying to find a good place for tools but no place with tools even has registries! How crazy is that?! I would LOVE for Josh to be able to get the things he needs. We also registered for out Honeymoon! Josh booked a great resort in St. Lucia and I’m pretty sure I dream about it every night. Anyhow it’s cool because people can contribute and get us actual excursions (like biking or sailing) so when we get there we don’t have to do it; how cool is that!? The things they come up with… I’ll find some pictures for you all. Until then feel free to check out our wedding webpage. Love you!

http://www.theknot.com/ourwedding/AmyWelch&JoshShave

First time to Ye Ol Steakhouse