Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I have this uncle who tells the best jokes, almost always with an inappropriate spin. He can keep us in stitches around the campfire like no one else I've ever seen or known. His delivery combined with his quick wit cannot be matched.

I have this uncle who trained with the Airforce and worked as an airplane mechanic for most of his life. He had a gas station for a stint and went to Saudi Arabia, where he made a fair amount of money shooting stray dogs, since it's such a problem there. He worked extremely hard for decades. Some of that time he commuted to Buffalo, NY each week to work, before returning home on the weekends to be with his family. He finally retired last October.

I have this uncle who loves working in his shop. For many years he dreamed of having his own workshop. One that he could complete woodworking projects within & work on cars, but also one wide enough to bring in a small aircraft. He built one out of straw bale barn construction and it is quite a specimen.

I have this uncle who is passionate about to serving others. At his church he would lead groups of volunteers in making handicapped ramps for those who need them, among other projects. He's also the fix-it man, when all else fails.... everyone goes to him.

I have this uncle who enjoys biking with his friends and participating in bike tours throughout Europe. Recently, he's also enjoyed fly-fishing.

I have this uncle who adores his family: his wife, two daughters, two sons-in-law, and three granddaughters. His face lights up with joy, when one of those grandchildren walk into the room. The feelings are completely mutual, there's no doubt about it.

I have this uncle who signs every card to me "YFU" (which doesn't mean anything inappropriate). It stands for "Your Favorite Uncle." It's been our running joke since I was in the single digits, I believe.

I have an uncle who had Acute Myeloid Leukemia and spent many months at the Cleveland Clinic fighting for his life. He received a bone marrow transplant from his brother, a perfect match, and was able to come home this spring. We were all thrilled and he was so glad to be home.

This weekend we learned that he needed to be transported back to Cleveland because he had very low blood pressure, a pulse difficult to read, and was struggling with a GI bug that swept through our family. Next we learned he had pneumonia and was placed in the ICU, where he would need to stay for a few days. Today we learned that he has Graft versus Host Disease, which means that his transplant is actually fighting against his body.

He's calm, sedated, & intubated, but still really fighting in the ICU. This time is crucial.

I have this uncle, named Uncle John, who I adore. My prayers, thoughts, and heart are with him, though states away.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Happy Birthday, Jim!!

This year is not unlike any other year in that Jim is playing down his birthday. Always the humble one, he does not like to make a big deal about his birthday. So, what is he doing to celebrate? He is spending the weekend on-call in Clinch Valley. Why, you ask? So that he can come to the Strawberry Festival with me next weekend. See what I mean? Humble.

This is the first year of three where we won't be celebrating with a dessert creation meant to stump me ON his birthday. The impetus for this tradition is really that Jim doesn't want anything for his birthday, so he makes up a dessert that he believes doesn't exist. The year we started this tradition he asked me to make a banana carrot cake and last year it was a mint chocolate chip cheesecake. This has actually produced some of the most delicious desserts! BUT we will be doing this at a later date. Stay tuned. It's a fun tradition :)

In honoring the birthday boy, here are a few pictures and things I love about him :)
Honeymoon, St. Johns. July 2009
I love his fascination with all creatures and plants that comes with being a biology major and being lifelong student. He always wants to learn & do more in this area, though his time is limited. This isn't "work" for him,; it's a passion.

White Coat Ceremony, November 21, 2010
I love his hard work and determination as he finishes his third year of medical school in this last rotation. It's been a grueling three years but he's held steadfast to his dreams. One more year until he adds two letters to his name, Dr. or DO (Doctor of Osteopathy)! The driving force behind it all is to provide for our family and serve those in need.

Mt. Aspiration, Alaska. July 2011
I love his steady, calm, relaxed demeanor, putting those around him at ease.

I also love his desire to travel. Oh the places we'll go...
Lake Martin, Louisiana. April 2010
And I love his sense of adventure, with a desire to spend time in the great outdoors. We've had a lot of adventures in our almost 6.5 years of knowing each other and I don't expect them to end. Ever.

These are just a few of the things I want to honor him for, but the list could easily go on and on.

As we embark on this new journey of parenthood, I feel blessed to be traveling this road with Jim.

Happy birthday, Hon!!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day Weekend

This weekend was full of gardening, walking & playing at our favorite local park, and celebrating being together and my "first" mother's day. On Friday we went to Floyd for the Floyd Jamboree and had a blast listening to music in the streets, when the rain let up, and then inside, when the downpour drove us back in. Sorry, no pictures of that event. You'll have to come visit for the true experience!

Jim enjoyed time with Leif in the yard and planting, during his study breaks. This picture shows another side of our view.
Let's talk a little about this trickster. He has adapted well to living in a place where people come and go often, and where we are not very secluded. He has also learned a bit about living with mammals much larger than himself and, fortunately, no horses have actually landed a kick on his head yet. He now knows his boundary lies with the fence, but somehow forgets about said boundary when his owners are not looking directly at him. No longer does he have the covered front porch to relax within during the day, so he spends his days inside. BUT, he knows how to open the front door and will carefully stand on his hind legs, press down on the handle, and pull back, all while stepping backward with his hind legs. Needless to say, the door remains locked most of the time. He has escaped a few times, unbeknownst to us. Too smart for his own good, but we still love him.
Sunday I went to prenatal yoga and then hit the post office, since we now have a PO box, and there was a package from Aunt Sherri (Jim's aunt from Colorado) for me on my first mother's day! How incredibly thoughtful! In the card she said it was a generational gift, since the books and outfit were from her and the basket was from Nanny, Jim's grandmother. I've only heard stories of Nanny from Jim and his relatives, but now our baby will have something from his/her great grandmother within their room.
Here's the 21 week picture. 
Growing, growing growing!!!

Jim was sweet and offered to celebrate Mother's Day, so we did by going to one of our favorite restaurants and out to Sweet Frog afterward. YUM!

Happy Mother's Day to my amazing, creative, and talented mama! 
I can't wait to see you in two weeks and then again at our favorite place, The Pinery!

I'm also grateful to have a wonderful mother-in-law who's adopted me as one of her brood.

Both of you are going to be wonderful grandmothers to Baby B!! :)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

My Mate

This marks the last weekend Jim's home for a month. Well, he'll be home each weekend, if he's not on call, but it's the last weekend for a while where we can both relax, be together, and not have to worry about studying. He has another board exam coming up at the end of June and he's studying furiously for it, but this weekend he's taking some time to just be.

So, what does he do? Devotes his time to woodworking! 

I absolutely love being married to someone who's savvy as a woodworker. He has many talents and I'm grateful that woodworking is one of them! As a high schooler he spent three or four summers working in a cabinet shop. It was there he learned the ins and outs of making custom cabinetry, drawers, or anything wooden that needed to go into a kitchen or bathroom.

His perfectionistic eye combined with artistic and mathematical abilities make each product a quality piece. In my eyes, anyway. He often can point out some sort of flaw, but it's never noticeable. When he finishes a piece he's proud of, it really does look professional. He could easily sell what he makes.

Over the years his workshop has been in our living room or on the porch. One day we hope to have a workshop for him, where he won't have to assemble the wood and tools from closets and under porches. He's resourceful in acquiring wood, since we don't have much money to pour into this passion. Another hope for one day. He makes do and produces great stuff in our limited space and budget.

Anyway! Remember that first adirondack chair he built?

Well, it was time to have a mate for the poor thing.

The tools came out, the sawdust fell, and a new one materialized. All with a gorgeous view to enjoy and the cool breeze blowing all of the sawdust away!

Tonight we plan to relax in our matching chairs and take in the beauty around us. Perhaps there will be a fire, too :)

Now that's a nice way to celebrate our last night together for a while!

Here's a 20 week picture for those wanting a peek ;)

Friday, May 3, 2013

It happened!

The night I wrote the previous post, Jim felt the baby move! His eyebrows raised and then his face lit up into a huge smile.

Feeling movement from within has to be the coolest thing I have ever experienced! Right now it is so exciting to me that I get very distracted when it happens. The other day I was listening to a speaker while writing notes and I found that I couldn't write and feel the baby at the same time. I had to choose... and which one always won? The baby!

Side note: Lately salty foods have been quite appealing to me. I purchased veggie chips last week and had to get more during my last grocery visit. I'm trying not to eat junk food, so veggie chips were my compromise.