Monthly Archives: March 2011

Princess and the Hog

Me: Hey…what do you think you want to be when you grow up?

Lydia: An apple.

Me: Well…I don’t really think you can be an apple.  Anything else you wanna be?

Lydia: A person.

Me:  A person?  What kind of person.

My girlie-girl Lydia: A hunter.

Me(completely surprised): A hunter?  What are you going to hunt?

Lydia: Animals.

Me:  What kind of animals?

Lydia(in a deep Southern accent):  Dee-yers and hawgs.

A Photo Favorite { Giveaway} *Updated*

**This giveway is now closed.**

-Winner chosen with help by
-Congrats to Punkinmama!  Birthday luck FTW!-


The very first Groupon I bought was for
It was a great deal and the reviews for the product looked great.
Aaaand…even though Asa was already 2 and baby #4 was about to make her debut, I still hadn’t made him a baby book.

Carter’s baby book is about 4 inches thick and was scrapbooked as we went along.
Lydia’s baby book is maybe 2 inches thick, with a lot less details because I didn’t do it as I went along.
(You think you’ll remember all that stuff, but when you sit down to write it down…you don’t.)

And poor Asa had nothing.
The week after Alden was born, my mother-in-law was here and I decided that it was a perfect time to get this book done!
(Besides…I couldn’t let the Groupon go to waste!)

I spent a lot of time gathering my photos and putting them in one easily accessible file.
I went to and couldn’t believe how much fun it was.
I’ve always loved scrapbooking-the cutting, the pasting, the tactile part of it.
And I always thought that I wouldn’t like digital scrapbooking because it wouldn’t be hands-on.
But this site-unlike several other sites I’ve used before-gave me complete creative control.
(Don’t worry!  If you aren’t computer-savvy or creative, they have templates where you can just plug in pictures!)

I started Asa’s book by picking the “Scrapbook Baby” theme
(They have over 60 themes available!)
And started clicking away.

I downloaded my pictures directly from my computer,
but you can also upload pictures from places like Flickr, Facebook and Picasa.

You can either drag and drop your pictures into the pre-made template pages
OR you can move things around or design it yourself…even down to the tiniest details.
(They have “stickers” that you can use, but you can even upload your own if they don’t have what you want!)

Here’s the page I did for his 9 month pictures.
The top is the template,
the middle is the online preview of my page and
the bottom is a picture of the printed version.

You can see that I changed a few things:
I took out the bees, the bug sticker and I changed the words.
I also changed some of the frames and added a few pictures.

You think I was excited much when it came in the mail?

Another great feature?
You can add multiple contributors!
Think about all the possibilities there!
Siblings could work together on a Mother’s Day gift, even if they live miles apart.
Co-workers could all add their own touch to a retirement gift book.
You could even do a wedding gift that allowed people to add their own pictures of the couple and a note to them.

Something else I’m excited about is the save function.
In order to not do what I did with Lydia and Asa, I’m doing Alden’s book as we go along.
There is no time limit on how long you can save your projects!
So I’ve done her birth day and these first 2 months and at the end of the year, I’ll print it!

The best part is that it won’t break the bank!
They have a variety of sizes(hardback or soft cover) starting at only $6.99!
I’ll admit that for this price, I wasn’t expecting the print quality to be very high.
I was very impressed with how clear everything was and how true-to-color all the pictures were.

If you’re interested in seeing more sample books, check out the Mixbook Gallery.
They also have calendars and a wide variety of stationary options!

Have 30 more seconds?
Watch this and see how easy it is!

So are you excited yet?
Do you want to start your own Mixbook right now?
Well…I have a complimentary 20-page, 11×8.5 landscape, hardcover photo book for one of you!

There are 3 ways to enter, but you must leave a separate comment for each way:

1. Go to’s theme selection page and tell me which theme is your favorite.

2. Post about this giveaway on Facebook and then let me know that you did in the comments section.

3. Tweet this giveaway and leave the link to your tweet in the comments section.

Giveaway closes at midnight(EST) on this Friday(March 25th).
Winner will be selected at random and contacted by email.
(That means I have to have a valid email address for you!)


Just can’t wait to see if you won?  You can use this 20% off coupon code: IVEYMIX20
(No expiration date, but it can only be used once per customer.)

I purchased my first Mixbook and fell in love with this product.
I was so excited when I had the opportunity to write a review for them!
As compensation for my review, I did receive a second Mixbook for free.
I can assure you, however, that I will be a long-time Mixbook customer.

Rose-Colored Glasses…or something like that.

Sometimes I think I paint this picture of motherhood that is light and airy and beautiful.
And it is…or at least it can be.

But there are times (like yesterday) when I just want to burst into tears and walk out the door.

Alden is a good baby.  She really is.
She sleeps well at night.
She doesn’t spit up nearly as much as the others did.
She (usually) doesn’t mind her carseat too much.
She (usually) doesn’t mind when the other kids get all in her face.
She is a very, very good baby.

But there are days that she does nothing but scream and cry.
No amount of milk or cuddles or soothing songs can calm her.
And I, unfortunately, don’t handle it as well as I used to.

I did not have a good experience with Lydia as a baby.
For a variety of reasons, I was not at my best.
And she, bless her heart, was simply a very colicky baby.
They kept telling me that she’d be better soon.
But at 4 months old, she was still crying.
And at 6 months…
And 7 months…
And 8 months…
And 9 months…
And finally around 10 months, the crying just stopped.

Those were the longest 10 months of my life.
Marshall was always working.
I was often alone with two small children.
And the crying just.wouldn’t.stop.

And, in some ways, I wish I could just erase over some of that.
Because now when Alden has a few fussy days in a row,
I’m catapulted back to those days when Lydia just.wouldn’t.stop.
And my heart races.
And I can feel it beating in my ears.
And despite trying to breathe deeply, my body involuntarily tenses up.

And so I place her in her car seat where I know she’ll be safe.
And I put her in her room and close the door
And I walk away.

Writing that makes me sound like such a horrible mother,
Like such a hypocrite.
The mean, nasty voices in my head echo with snarky comments like:
“I thought she was savoring the moments.”

But I put her down because I don’t know what else to do.
She is fed.  She is dry.  She is clean.
She is loved.  Oh, how she is loved.
And I want to make it better.
Oh, how I want to make it better.

But it’s like they say on a plane before take-off:
“Secure your own mask before helping others.”

In order to help her, I have to help me.
And while it may sound self-centered, it’s true.

Call it a mommy time-out.
Call it a breather.
Call it collecting your thoughts.
Call it what you will…but do it if you need to.
Take that moment.
Step just outside the door…
just barely beyond the sound of the cries…
and get it together.

As my pediatrician has been known to say before:
“No baby ever died from crying.”

And 9 times out of ten, when I step back inside she’s fast asleep.
And I look at the rise and fall of her chest.
And all those light, airy, beautiful feelings rush in.

She is loved.
Oh, how she is loved.


I take pictures because I want to remember.

I take pictures because I can look at them and instantly recall details I had forgotten.

I take pictures because there is something so breath-takingly, mind-numbingly cool about

(for a moment)

being able to freeze time.

I take pictures because time plays tricks on us all and
moments that I want to remember looking like this:

will somehow end up looking like this in my mind’s eye:

I want to remember it all.
But I know I can’t.

And so I photograph.
That’s why.



The Original Hazelnut Awesomeness

If you’ve known me for any amount of time, it’s almost guaranteed that I’ve mentioned Nutella.
I was introduced to Nutella when Marshall was in medical school.
And It was love at first taste!

Many a time I’ve had Wheat Thins dipped in Nutella for snack or lunch.
I’ve made Nutella and banana sandwiches.
And I once made Nutella brownies but vowed to never make them again because I ate the whole pan.
(I got rid of that recipe card.)
(And my bread maker for the same reason.)

So when I got an email about hosting a Nutella breakfast party, I replied immediately!
All this time I’d been eating Nutella for snacks, lunches and dinners…
But I never thought about breakfast!

When the party supplies arrived, I looked at one of the recipes they suggested:
toasted multigrain english muffin with Nutella and fruit.

We made our own version of this where we added strawberries, bananas and blueberries and then used the panini press to toast it.  My kids call them “chocolate sandwiches” and Lydia has asked for one every morning this week.  When you use multigrain muffins and a reasonable portion of Nutella, it’s caloric-ally reasonable and packed with fiber and protein that she wouldn’t get with a bowl of cereal.

(Side note:  You must go watch this english muffin video!)

I also decided to make some Nutella poptarts.
I’d made homemade poptarts before and thought why not make them with Nutella?
They are heavenly.

After posting on Facebook, I found out that Savoring the Thyme had a similar recipe up a few weeks ago.
(Hers are prettier than mine!)

Most of the ladies who were able to join me for breakfast had never had Nutella.
Now?  They’re all addicted to Nutella poptarts and they understand my love affair!

This party was sponsored by BSM Media‘s Mommy Parties and Nutella.

P.S. Something I never knew about Nutella?  It’s peanut-free, gluten-free and kosher!
P.P.S.  Nutella poptarts really are majorly addictive.


The Real Me

The words that I write and the sentiments I share here are not unique to just me.
They aren’t things that haven’t be thought or said before.
It’s not something you couldn’t find on a hundred other blogs.

But it’s real.
It’s personal.
And it’s who I am.

I’ve come a long way since those first posts five years ago.
Somewhere along the line I stopped chronicling every detail of our days
And started capturing the spirit of the moments.
I went from telling stories about my kids
To sharing my thoughts, my feelings, my heart.

I write not for you,
But for me.
(And for them.)
(Because I hope one day they will want to know.)

And yet?
Hidden behind all this authenticity is more.
There is more to me than the words you see here.
There is more to me than the pictures show.
(There is more to me than I am even aware of.)

This post is a part of Aiming Low’s Capture It prompt: The Real Me.

40 Words{Pick Them Up}

Lenten Prayer, Part Two.
Inspired by the lovely Dawn at Not Going Postal.
(See Part One here.)

Sit in the sunshine.
Look into their eyes…
And their souls.

(Of others.)
(And myself.)

Less critical,
More accepting.
(Of others.)
(And myself.)



Good enough.
Strong enough.
Brave enough.

40 Words{Lay Them Down}

It all started with this.
And then she posted this.
And she invited me to join her.
Inspired, I did.
(Even though I’m late in the game.)

She shared with me.
I’m sharing with you.
Won’t you share with me?


Tired of being needed all.the.time.



Dark and twisty.


Never good enough.
Never strong enough.
Never brave enough.
Never enough.

Not letting me be me.



Sentences on Sunday {Carter}

Oh, how I love your bedtime prayers-
Never the same.

Sometimes for doors and lights and fans
(and anything you can see from where you are).
Other times big, grown up things
(like friends in need or things that bother you).

So authentic.
So simple.
So utterly you.

I love how you pull me close-
With my head on your chest
And your arms wrapped around my neck.

I can feel your breaths.
I can hear your heart.
And, for now at least, I am privy to the sounds your soul.

My Soul in Bloom {Friday}

We all have the power to make wishes come true,
as long as we keep believing.
~Louisa May Alcott