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.

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.

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

I said YES

Okay okay okay, I know it’s been awhile, but I am finally going to put our proposal story (and pictures!) on here :)

It is a difficult story to start—only because there are so many details that are too funny and too “us” to leave out. First of all, for all of you who don’t know, Josh and I have been friends since we were 14. We met at church camp in 1998 and have not lost touch since; literally. We used to write letters snail mail, talk over IM, meet up when he came to Knoxville, and I even called him up in 2006 when I was down in Tampa, FL to meet.  We remained friends throughout the years and finally started dating a year ago when he moved back to Tennessee. I can honestly say I have never been happier. He is, indeed, a dream come true.

Josh and I had been talking about marriage for a little while and I hoped it was coming soon. He had been telling his friends and family for months that I was the one :) and he was not ashamed to admit he was just as head over heels for me, as I was for him. So, when we started talking about getting married, I of course was very VERY EXCITED. I swore up and down he had no chance of surprising me with the proposal since I already knew it was coming. After all, it’s awfully hard to surprise a girl when she is waiting every second of every day for you to ask her to be your wife :) (the poor man couldn’t bend down to tie his shoe, for crying out loud, without getting my hopes up!)

When he went to talk to my dad (which was way sooner than I thought—the day he proposed I still didn’t think he had—) Dad pretty much told him it would be impossible to surprise me. “I’ve been married to her mother for nearly thirty years”, he said “…and I’ve surprise her twice.”

So Josh was doomed… or should have been, but he is abnormally awesome at surprising me and still pulled it off. :)

He proposed May 7th 2010 and took me completely by surprise! I thought he was going to propose at church camp, where we met, in July of this year (and at one time this was his plan, but both my dad and his dad said not to wait, so he didn’t and that is a good thing.) As I mentioned, he said originally he was planning on July at church camp, then June for our anniversary, then he got the ring in his possession May 6th and lasted about 36 hours :)

Josh and I had plans with Kyle and Christin to go downtown to first Friday. We were going to eat at Oodles (one of our favorite places) and then walk the town. Godmom called me after school that day and asked if I wanted to get my nails done. I said sure. I also invited another friend of mine out with us, Sara, to meet me at the salon. Normally, this would have been fine, but I was slowly putting kinks in Josh’s plan. After getting my nails done a worker volunteered to freshen up my hair, and as soon as she finished, Josh walked in to pick me up.

When he saw me he thought for sure I knew. My hair was down and blown out very pretty and of course my nails looked great. (I really had no idea) Josh, Sara and I got in the car to head downtown and Josh handed me a book.  Now there is a lot of background to this proposal so bear with me… I had written to Josh in a journal like notebook about how much he meant to me and MY SIDE of the Florida visit in 2006. To me, Josh  was stunningly good looking , muscular, college basketball player that I did not think I stood a chance with, so I spent the whole weekend thinking we would hang out and never talk again…but Josh swears he was already in love with me, so I asked him to write his side of the story [months ago…]

I get in the car and he is like, “guess what!” and hands me the book. I am very excited he has written and I want to read it, but Sara is in the car, so I don’t want to be rude, and I toss it in the back seat! He is thinking at this point, “you’ve got to be kidding me…”

One good thing is, before I threw it in the backseat I turned to the last page he had written on, and saw the message:

“July 26, 1998” is the best day of my life so far because that is the day I met you.

Awww… I thought that was so sweet but still didn’t think anything of it. Josh is always sweet. He told me he got a hold of Doug, who was the Dean of that week of camp and both of our youth ministers, and researched the date.

Well after dinner downtown with Sara, Kyle and Christin, Josh wanted to go for a walk. We started walking out of Market Square and into the gardens and I was confused…. These people don’t walk to talk around here, I thought we were going to window shop” I am thinking to myself…

At that point the three, who are in on his plan, say they want to look at this dress shop and miraculously disappear… Josh and I start walking down this path and I am still clueless for several minutes until I realize neither one of us is talking, we are kind of jogging, and I am officially sweating…

About the time I started to ask Josh why we were running, he is taking my stuff from me and sitting in on a bench under a tree.

At that point, I knew————————— but was in totally disbelief.

I think I might have gotten my name out and I was like “no way!”

Hahaha I said that about 5 times he says :)

I’m pretty sure I blacked out, but I do remember him telling me how much he loved me, that he had given me his whole heart and that he wanted to take care of me and take me as his wife.
He then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him :)

I, of course, said yes.

He put the ring on and I instantly hugged him. I couldn’t think straight. My face hurt from smiling but somehow I was crying. When I realized this was REALLY happening I screamed at the top of my lungs and my friends came running. This is the first picture Sara took when she rounded the corner:

My family over Easter and mom’s birthday

This is my awesome uncle, Tim.

easter-029

He is my mom’s brother (as if you can’t tell). He and his beautiful wife Cheri came to visit for mom for her birthday over Easter weekend, it was the best surprise ever!

This is my wonderful family as we strike a lovely, yet generic, pose on the back porch for the camera.

easter-041-medium

This is where Tim gets a hold of the camera…
easter-038He decides he likes it and we should have more fun with this…

So, here is my family more accurately depicted in several still frames…

easter-043-mediumeaster-044-mediumeaster-045-mediumeaster-046-mediumeaster-049-mediumeaster-050-mediumeaster-056-mediumeaster-053-medium

I love who we are.

Christmas Tradition #1

So I went to the gym today for the first time in… mmmm a month maybe?? No matter how long, it was obviously too long because when I walked in the door the guy at the front desk said, “wow… long time no see…”

Yeah… that’s never a good sign. I did however decide not to wait until New Years to start training for my half marathon. Although I only ran two miles today, it felt good to exercise. I missed it. It makes me feel so much better about my self.

I don’t think I will ever get enough of the song “Dear Bobbie” by Yellowcard. It is so good and I can listen to it over and over struggling all the while to not tear up. That has nothing to do with anything but it just came on my ipod and made my stop typing long enough to listen. Here, have one yourself:

I was lucky enough to celebrate Christmas this year three times so I am going to blog about them over the course of a few days so they all get the attention they deserve. Although it was early, the Jigga Chick Christmas must come first. Now most of you are probably saying Jigga what?!?! which is the normal response. For all of you who don’t know, I have three best friends that I have had for years (at least ten or more) and we call ourselves the jigga chicks. Now this is not so often verbally or publicly announced but it is kindof a well known fact among our close friends and family. The four of us, just… well, go together. If I am out people ask where Ashley is. If LaBrina is out, people ask where Tami is (we come on two’s too) it just works out :) It’s a long top secret story on how the name came about, so I will leave that out.

Not all the way back, but back enough

Not all the way back, but back enough

Ashley Harris has been my best friend since the 6th grade. I met her while I was still home schooled and playing with the Middle Valley Basketball team. She was my rival. I was somehow the top scorer in the league and she was number two. Nowadays, neither one of us should be anywhere near a basketball; but then, we were all-stars! (Chubby red faced and confused all stars that is:).  Anyhow, Ashley and I have been close for as long as I can remember. Tami and LaBrina are best friends and became some of our best friends in high school. The four of us have been close ever since. Each year we get together for each others birthdays and always Christmas at one of our houses. We also try to squeeze in a vacation or other fun activities but with new careers, relationships and a minimum of 70 miles between any of us, it is often difficult. But 5 times a year is guaranteed and the last of 08 was Jigga Christmas.

december-2008-032-mediumAshley came from Atlanta, LaBrina from Soddy Daisy and I of course came from Knoxville. We all met at Tami’s house in Dalton, GA. We each bring and cook something different. This year we had a casserole extravaganza and it was all delicious. We bumped elbows in the kitchen and all shared one oven.  

december-christmas-2008-013Melanie Poole, yet again, blessed us each with a wonderful over stuffed stocking of homemade candies, candles and many many other goodies. She is so good to us and we are all so thankful.

A sneak peak of Brina on the front porch

A sneak peak of Brina on the front porch

After dinner we talked and of course stayed up late catching up on jobs, dreams, loves, hates, stories, fears, memories and eventfully got ran off to bed by the rain. (We were sitting on the front porch after Tami went to bed so we would not be loud and wake up her or the puppy.) It was altogether wonderful and I wish we were 17 again so we would be at each others houses nearly every other night doing nothing or everything together.

Opening Momma Poole's gifts

Opening Momma Poole's gifts

I love and miss them.

After all, they are my three best friends.

Just one more shot of the *i deserve to be the picture on a puzzle* puppy

Just one more shot of the *i deserve to be the picture on a puzzle* puppy

more on Thanksgiving

 

Aw I am so happy my Aunt Suzi found my site! (Thank you for your comments! I hope you keep reading, it is so good to be in touch:) Not to mention, every time someone finds it and comments, I am more motivated to write. I love my family so much! I have been gone far too long!! I had such a great time in Indiana and am so glad I took the 8 hours to drive up there. My only sadness was leaving my friends in Tennessee. I have gotten used to being with them on the big holidays and it was sad to leave them, especially Mattie, behind. If I could have stuck them all in my pocket (or trunk) and brought them with me, there is no doubt I would have!

The best way I can think of to briefly tell you about my trip is with bullets. So, here are some of the things that made the trip so great:

  1. Getting to call 911 on the way here (everyone, that I know of, is okay) it’s too long of a story but if you see me in person I will tell you all about it
  2. Seeing a Krispy Cream Donut truck pulled over on the side of I75 by, not one, but THREE cop cars!
  3. How hilarious my family is! I now remember where I get my horribly abusive sense of humor lol, never a dull moment
  4. Grandma and Grandpa’s impressive dog Andy. He is an Irish Pointer (Setter?) something like that, he’s got back and white spots and minds better than I ever have. He fetches the paper, tells you what he really wants and lies down on his rug quietly whenever he is asked. I think I want one
  5. Getting to see all my cousins and laughing non-stop
  6. Listening to Chris make fun of… everybody…
  7. The assembly line made of Chris, me, Aunt Suzi, Angie and Uncle Dave as we passed chairs down the stairs into the basement and Chris at the top trying to hand me in the middle a giant rocking chair! (it was soooOOoo funny)
    *had to be there I guess*
  8. Grandpa’s horrible jokes
  9. The smell of grandmas house
  10. The memories when driving through the neighborhood
  11. My first and 110% successful Black Friday shopping expedition!
    I went to Best Buy, Office Max and Dicks! It was fun but definitely not an annual event for me.I need to cross some things off my Christmas list!!
  12. Mom’s green bean casserole
  13. Everyone asking 9 million questions about Mattie
  14. Getting to see my sister (even thought it was not for as long as I would have liked)
  15. Grandma’s tears when it was time to go…

The only not so exciting things:

  1. The crazy had to be drunk or dead driver that tried to run me over on the interstate.
  2. My camera broke…
  3. Having to stop at midnight to add oil to my old clunky car…
  4. The disappointing Kanye West Cd… normally I would never even buy this but I heard on the radio it was awesome and I like “Love lockdown” so I gave it a shot… very disappointing…
  5. Matt couldn’t come
  6. Dave and Amy, Cannon and Criston couldn’t make it
  7. I missed out on Suzi’s sweet potato casserole
  8. I could only stay three days…

Bitter sweet was the road trip, I always love road trips but his one kind of stunk because it was alone and long and I didn’t really talk on the phone at all but it gave me time to sing, think and focus on the road. I also got to use my new birthday present! Matt got me a Tomtom GPS and it saved me so many times this weekend! (and helped me tremendously on back Friday, but that’s another story)

Okay my next post will surely pertain to the present (unless Angie puts her pictures up soon then I will throw in some of those!) since I have reminisced on the past twice now. I am extremely busy with school finals and preparation to student teach next semester but I will try to keep everyone up to date with life’s fun happenings!