Wednesday, January 25, 2012

These are a few of Asher's favorite things...

Here's a sneak peek at a day in the life of Asher...

I truly think Asher's favorite part of the day is breakfast. Although, it comes as no surprise. Eggs are his favorite, and when paired with sweet treats like pancakes or donuts, he's beyond thrilled. First thing he says in the mornings is frequently, "I hungee. Eat breh-test."

We've noticed the wind is almost always present in the New River Valley, and it makes adventures outside a little chilly, even with the appropriate attire. The blustery weather often keeps us inside, finding ways to entertain ourselves.

Here is Asher getting "rec-tangled" in my yarn. Cute.
Also, a tower we built to stack his cars on.
He was very proud.

Caution: if you try to take a nap when Asher's awake, he will do his very best to encourage you to play with him instead:

One of Asher's favorite toys:

He even likes to have his brother play with him! So long as Gray doesn't touch anything...

He loves to tackle Grayson, despite the regular protests he receives in return:

Asher will climb on, jump on, hang on and bounce on anything he comes across!

He's my sweet boy!

I love you forever,
I like you for always,
As long as I'm living
My baby you'll be.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Herbs in the Window

Fresh herbs are a luxury during the winter, when I cannot simply pop outside to harvest some from my pots. When purchasing herbs from the store, I always end up with more than I need for my recipe. Instead of hiding the remaining stems in the refrigerator, where they will most likely go bad before I have another use for them, I like to set them up in my kitchen window in a little vase (or two!) so I can enjoy their fresh scent and vibrant green.

Here are a few sprigs of cilantro, leftover from my homemade salsa. They are now at home inside my bud vase from the antiques store and a shot glass my parents brought home from Fankfurt, West Germany. It has the most beautiful ornate detailing...

I was born in West Germany. Daddy was in the Army.
What fun to have a little piece of it grace my kitchen window.

A bouquet of green is just the perfect reminder that while there may be snow on the ground, the life of Spring is just around the corner. It always comes. Just wait.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Our Little Gray

Here's our sweet Grayson Wayne at nine months. Isn't he darling?

We're so happy to have him in our family, and he brings so much joy to our lives!

He pulls up on furniture, laughs at his brother, babbles constantly, and just popped his first tooth out!
It's so fun to have him at the table with us.

I've given a little information here and there about Gray's health, but I thought I would fill in the gaps for anyone out there that is curious.

From birth until 2 months, Gray was a fat, happy, healthy baby boy, tracking along the 75th percentile for his weight. (Just like his big brother!) We moved when he was almost 3 months, and between settling into our new home and adjusting to our new routine (woah, med school!) we didn't get around to Gray's 3-4 month check up.

Gray: 3 months, Asher: 23 months

At 6 months we finally got him in and found out he had only gained a couple of pounds since his last check up. He had dropped into the 5th percentile for his weight and the doctor was concerned that he wasn't getting enough food.

Grayson at six months

This came as a shock to us, because Asher was such a butterball!
She told us to start him on solids and a multivitamin, and she sent me to a lactation consultant. She recommended that we come back in a month to do another weigh-in. My milk supply checked out fine, but even after starting solids and making a conscious effort to feed him more, he remained in the 5th percent and so was diagnosed officially with Failure to Thrive at eight months. At that second check up the doctor also heard a heart murmur. We were discouraged and concerned, and she began mentioning terms like "Thyroid," "Malabsorption," and "Lymphoma or Leukemia."

My throat tightened, and stayed that way for a couple of weeks.
My baby boy. My sweet Gray.
Please be healthy. Lord, please keep him safe.

We had to take Gray to the lab to draw blood for testing, and he was a champ.
They kept the needle in his tiny arm for five minutes in order to gather enough.

Then we made the trek to Roanoke to see the pediatric cardiologist, and were so relieved to learn through both echocardiogram and EKG that his heart is perfectly fine, and that the murmur is only functional.

No concerns, no further treatment needed. God has heard our prayers.
Praise the Lord!

Shortly after Christmas we heard the news from the lab work. Everything came back normal, aside from some slightly raised lymphocytes.

We were overjoyed! What a wonderful Christmas gift!

The doctor wanted to be thorough, and ordered a smear with the remaining blood to further investigate the elevated levels, and said she would see us at his nine month check-up.
That check up was this week, and we are so glad to announce that his smear came back normal and he is meeting all of his milestones.

He's just little!

He measured under the 5th percentile, even lower than before, but the doctor said she was much less concerned now.

*Big sigh*

We've been given instructions to put butter or heavy cream in everything Gray eats, add pureed meats to his diet, and amp up the carbs, since we are avoiding grains due to an increased risk of celiac disease. We will take him back for another weigh-in next month. She is going to send us to pediatric gastroenterology if he doesn't beef up a little by then, but concerns of the really frightening diseases are behind us, and we couldn't be more thankful.

Asher prays before each meal that "Grayson get fat. Get helfy." and we ask you all to join him in that plea before the Lord!

He's a cheerful little guy! Just small...


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Show and Tell

I mentioned that I did a bit of handcrafting to make Christmas more budget friendly for this little medical school family. "A bit" might be a slight understatement (I think I counted 35 handmade gifts?) but I assure you, I enjoyed every project, and made them with love. There's something special about a home made gift! I managed to squeeze them in during naps and late in the evenings, despite the fact that my house began showing signs of neglect. Fortunately we could just keep the lights low and somehow the twinkling Christmas lights hid the bulk of the mess!

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite projects with you!

Since I'm showy like that... *wink*

First is a blanket I crocheted for my sweet friend Danielle, who just had her first baby.
A darling little girl.
They named her Evangeline. I have no doubt she'll live up to her name.
Despite constant complaints from me in regards to how hard it is to crochet a blanket for a baby with a hidden gender, they decided not to find out what they were having, and so I was forced to go gender neutral in both color and construction. I made up the zig-zag pattern, thinking I could leave it without a trim for a boy, and add a scalloped edge for a girl. I think it worked out alright.
Although if I had known it was a girl I would have gone much, much more frilly!

My mother and mother in law were both given a little something to spruce up and brighten their kitchens during the long winter ahead.

A little taste of Spring...

Crochet cotton dishcloths and towels to match. (Mom-in-law's was blue).

Every year (make that every gift-requiring occasion) I make my Dad a hand-embroidered handkerchief. And he actually uses them!

Lately he's been enjoying the remote control airplane world, and owns a plane similar to this one. Asher painted a wooden airplane ornament to put on Pappy's "Manly Tree" but I forgot to take a picture of that one!

"Aunt Andi" received a package that included this little cutie. An ornament fashioned after our favorite four legged friend, Cocoa.

I made my boys (all three of them) swords.

This was one of those impromptu projects that I really didn't have time for, but happened to finish off three small rolls of wrapping paper at one time and thought to myself, "Hmm... I should save these so the boys can sword fight with them."
Well, from there I couldn't stop myself, and before I knew it I was elbow-deep in hot glue and acrylic paint. The dishes didn't get done that night. But they're so cute!

Then comes the big question. When you have a big (make that huge) family, what do you make? More specifically, what can you make in less than three weeks? How about 11 monogrammed felt ornaments? I can do that!

I just love this family!

And then comes my pride and glory. My favorite project. Yes, I've saved the best for last!

I saw an idea for a card table tent that looked like a house with little windows and a mailbox back when the air was warmer and the berries were ripe on the vines. All I could think was "What a wonderful idea!" I decided a barn would be less girly, and so I whipped up this fun playhouse just one week before Christmas! (I know, I'm crazy, huh?) I bought the fabric (cheap flat sheets at Walmart for a mere $5!) in the Fall, but managed to procrastinate until the last minute.

Of course this is not USUAL behavior. Not me. Never.... *wink*

I rounded up all of Asher's farm-themed books and toys and kept them in hiding during the Christmas season. I placed them inside the barn so when he went in he had fun "new" toys to play with.

My little sillies... Oh, how I love them!

Now that the Christmas rush is over I've started a few yarn projects to keep my fingers busy during the winter months.

Including a beautiful handmade scarf for myself. Merry belated Christmas to me!

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pretty Things

I love what I do. I love to stay home and be mommy to my children and make meals for my family and take care of the home front. I love my people, and am fulfilled by my God. I don't wish I had a career or feel unimportant because I don't have an income. I don't have an identity crisis. I am Tamara. Riley's wife and helpmeet. Asher's and Grayson's Mama. Colleen's daughter-in-law. Anna's sister. Danielle's friend. Daughter of the Most High King.
(And, sorry Dad, that's not you! Although you do rank pretty highly!)
I love who I am and what I do.

But that's not to say I don't enjoy a break every now and then.

I got a break yesterday! Hubby sent me out with some gift money to a darling little antique store and told me to have fun. The shop is less than three minutes from our house and I've wanted to stop inside since we moved in. I got lost in that store for two hours while he stayed home with the boys. I got to touch hundreds of beautiful items that are loaded with more history than any book could chronicle. I love antique stores. And I found a few little treasures at this one, I thought I'd share.

First my teacups. When we married I didn't register for china. I went with a garden theme. I wanted "any china with pink flowers on it."

I found these two beauties marked down half price!

The one on the left is actually Haviland China, and has a most beautiful "apple blossom" motif. The double handled cup on the right is apparently intended for soup, according to the lady at the shop, but I may not be able to resist sipping my coffee from it in the morning. It is made of such delicate bone china, the scalloped edge of the saucer feels dreamy between my fingertips.

I drink coffee or tea from a tea cup every morning. It's the perfect way to greet the day...

And for a mere fifty cents I picked up this darling little bud vase.

I'm not sure I'll keep the dirty brass look. I'm thinking a coat of white spray paint will spruce this little trinket up nicely. I'll try to get it done before the crocus buds start to bloom, so they will be able to find a happy home inside my kitchen window. I have a feeling it will also hold many a clover and weed from my sweet Asher. Perfect.

In addition to my three lovelies I found a few demitasse spoons and a beautiful crochet-edge hankie just waiting for a hand embroidered monogram. I'll be realistic and say that this will not get done before the crocus blooms come, but it will sit in my grandmother's jewelry box and look pretty until I can find the time to do one of my favorite crafts...

My grandmother taught me to embroider before she died. I love her.

Many thanks to my sweet husband for the time off. Now, I get to revisit the busy season of life we are in, and I get to do it with a few little treasures that are bound to brighten my days.

* * *
Bud vase: $0.50
Haviland Tea Cup: $3.25
Soup Cup: $1.75
3 Demitasse spoons: $1.50
Crochet Lace Hankie: $3.00
Shopping without a destructive toddler and fussy baby: Priceless...

p.s... this is what my house looks like when I blog instead of clean.
Time to go make it pretty again!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Post of Christmas Past

Well, the Christmas season has come and gone without a single post from me.
(Although, technically it's still the 9th day of Christmas!)
Christmas on a budget means over 35 homemade Christmas presents from this little blogger (if I can even call myself that!), and that means zero time to keep you updated on our family's happenings. So my sweet family and friends will have to catch up on what we've been up to all at once in this picture-loaded post! I'll try to keep my comments to a minimum, so as to limit the inevitable overload you are about to experience....

Christmas is just so fun...

Welcome to our Christmassy home...

Andrea gave us this lovely pillow to add charm to my entryway.
I love early Christmas presents...

It really is a wonderful life!

And it was a wonderful Christmas morning. Asher was so excited about it that he wouldn't go to bed the night before...
I can't blame him. There's something magical about Christmas morning!

Asher had to wait upstairs until he heard the choo-choo train chugging around the track, his cue to rush down and take in the sight!
(The train is a tradition carried over from my childhood... so many lovely memories!)

It was somebody's first Christmas! I think he enjoyed it...

After celebrating Christmas at home, we headed to Grammie's house, where the real fun happens. (With 10 cousins in one room, it doesn't get more fun than that!!)
Here they are opening their presents from Grammie and Grandpa...

Sleeping bags!
Here's Asher with one of his very best friends, his cousin Ian Jude.
Ever since we left, he has not stopped talking about, "Tackle Jude! 1-2-3 tackle Jude!!!"

We left Lynchburg and rang in the New Year back home. We tried to eat out at Outback with a gift card we got for Christmas (Thanks, Mom and Dad!) but with two crying babies in the back seat and the news of a 70 minute wait, we ended up at Wendy's. It was definitely the best choice! Asher got the best kid's meal toy ever! A wind up train that rolls around a little track. He was beyond excited!

The train track went with us to Starbucks for treats.
(Yes, that's whipped cream on Asher's upper lip. He got a treat, too!)

We were all a little more smiley after dinner and dessert!

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!