Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I have started another blog for editing photos over at I'm simply calling it Photo Magic, because I believe there really is magic in every photo... It just takes a little something or someone special to pull that out sometimes.

To help build up my portfolio on edited pictures, I'm now accepting requests for FREE photo help.

Whether that be a digital photograph you would like enhanced, a scanned-in photo that you would like to have restored, or any other adjustments on a picture.

Simply e-mail the picture or pictures to me at
photoeditmagic[at]gmail[dot]com. Tell me what you would like to have done to it, and I'll do my best to fulfill your request. All I ask for in editing your picture(s) is that I be allowed to use it/them in my portfolio.

Thanks so much for helping me out. Much love and God Bless!

Wordless Wednesday (What Spring Means to Me)

What Spring Means to Me

*Click here and here for more Wordless Wednesdays!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mothers Day Giveaways

From 5 Minutes for Mom
Mother's Day 2008 - Giveaway Event

I think we mothers deserve just a little something for being mommies, don't you? Over at this awesome website I discovered though Marybeth a couple of months ago, they're having awesome giveaways from now through Mothers Day!

The first contest that I found out about is also a really big one - "Your Picture is Worth a Thousand Dollars! " The winner will receive a $1,000 American Express Gift Card – Sponsored by Egg Beaters. And basically, they're looking for photos that tell some sort of story of what motherhood means to each one of us. So, my photograph for this contest is...

This picture of me holding & looking at my daughter just minutes after she was born. Though I can barely even see her through my happy tears!

This picture is worth more than a thousand words - or dollars - to me. It's the epitome of what motherhood means to me. THIS was the moment motherhood became a real and tangible thing!

It's also really important that Perry, my hubby, is in the picture as well. He's always been right by my side through everything. And I would have never become a mother were it not for him! It's one of our very first family photographs with all 3 of us. It will forever be a true treasure in my heart.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Polka Dot Party Extras

I got this idea from Joy - The Dr.'s Wife - hope you don't mind, but it's such a wonderful idea, I just had to copy-cat!

I wanted to show off all the decorations, party favors, & all the 'little bitties' from Livia's First Birthday Party. As you all know, her theme was polka dots - a very simple yet adorable theme! Her dress was the deciding factor on how the decor would go.

From this sweet little Polka Dot Dress, we found so many 'polka dot' things that were just perfect for the party. Like...

Polka dot napkins, and bright green plates and forks to set off those colors in the other decorations. Before I go any further, I must confess that I bought a lot of the supplies from clearance bins at various Party stores! That's definitely the way to go, too! And if I would have seen something that I thought I could use for upcoming years, you can bet I totally would have snatched it all up. Less than $1 is MUCH better than paying $4 or more on a pack of napkins!

I ended up with 2 different kinds of polka dot napkins, but I thought they looked pretty good together.

These picture frames were also in the clearance bins - I was going to make my own, but for this cheep I couldn't pass it up! I improvised a bit on the way the pic was held to the inside though... It came with little sticky tabs, but they didn't really work just right with the pic size (without cutting them all - too much time & work!) So I decided to quickly tape the pics to the inside. Which worked out great, because I was able to get 2 pictures in this way! This was a really great favor for all the 'big kids.' With the pictures inside and everything, they were less than $0.50 each.

For the smaller kiddos, I got balloons (enough for one each) and a coloring book. The balloons were just a few cents each, and I got the coloring books in a pack of 8 for $2! Very inexpensive.

Other favors I had included soap that had polka dots on the outside paper & wallet picture frames that had little jewels around the edges (again, from the dollar bins at Target!), small & medium notepads with polka dots all over the outsides, and candles (from Family Dollar!)

Other Polka Dot decorations I would have made if space would have allowed:
Big circles cut out of construction paper, hung from the ceiling...
Blown up balloons hung from the ceiling...
A big ole' piece of poster board with circles cut out for pictures (a collage of sorts)...

I also would have had this album (from Target) filled with vaious pictures of Liv througout her first year. But I knew that it was going to be so crowded & busy that no one would really get a chance to see it.
So now, I'll just use it as an album for Livia's first Birthday Party!

This is one of the gifts Livie recieved -Pink Polka Dots and everyting! How perfect is it?! It shouldn't come as any surprise that Kendra's Mom actually got it for Liv :o)

There was one more Polka Dot-ty thing I had there at the party...
A little polka dotted book that I had everyone at the party sign & write a little note to Livia on her First Birthday. It's just a little journal from the cheap-o bins from Target - $2.50. But I thought it would be a really great keepsake for Liv.

Here are just a few of my favorite excerpts from the sweet notes to Livia in that little book...

You are a beautiful little girl and we wish you a lifetime of love and happiness. You are loved by many people who will help to raise you in faith and love. May your life be full of many magical moments!

Happy 1st Birthday! We watched your mommy grow from a spunky, adventurous little girl to a wonderful and proud mother. You remind us so much of your mommy! We hope to watch you grow up just like we did your mommy. Always stay close to your family and God...

...You are the cutest little girl and you look so much like your mommy! I hope that your upcoming birthdays are just as wonderful as your first! We love you, Livia!

...Happy 1st birthday! You look so cute and I know you're going to have fun with all your presents. I love you & we'll hang out with you're older!

Hi Livia!
...You are really beautiful today... Your Mommy & Daddy put such a pretty dress on you. I can't wait to see how you'll grow & see how beautiful you are going to be!

Happy 1st Birthday! I'm so glad I was able to be at your party. You are a precious baby & hope you will continue to visit me... I hope someday you'll stay the night at [my] house whole Mommy gets a break! I love you very much!!

Hey Livie!
Happy Birthday kid-o! You're such a pretty little girl & you'll only get prettier I'm sure! I love getting your big smiles! Now, when you get older & your folks make you mad, you just come to me & we'll hang out & make things all better, OK? :o) I love you Livia. Happy first Birthday

You are so sweet and dear to us. We love you bunches.

Your Pa-Pa loves you very much and you are very special to me.

You are a very special little girl and we love you very much. Maggie, Nolan, and Garrett always enjoy playing with you. Maggie and I love our special girl time with you and your mom. Nolan loves to hold you and loves you very much. Garrett thinks you are so much fun because you are smaller than him! He also loves to eat your "puffs." Hope each birthday is filled with love and happiness just like your first birthday! We love you sweetie

Happy birthday to a pretty little girl. You make such a nice addition to our family! We love you

Happy Birthday Livia - you are so beautiful and so loved

Happy Birthday for your very 1st Birthday! You are a very special Great Niece. Pretty little girl, how you've grown!... You are loved so very much.

Love Michael
*Note - Michael wrote one letter on each page! His 'note' was by far the longest!

Finally, this took the most time and effort, but was also the funnest!

Livia Trivia!
5 full pages of fun & games dedicated to Livia! There were multiple choice, true/false, and fill-in-the-blank questions, 'Spot' Livie (finding how many times various pictures of her were on a page - there were other babies on there too, so it made it hard!), and last but not least, the history of Livia...

Perry wrote all this out for everyone:

Dear All,

Amanda & I decided that we would like to give a little background on where Livia’s name came from, and why we chose it. As soon as I found the name, I showed it to Amanda. We both immediately took a liking to it. And when Livia was born, the name just fit her perfectly! So here’s a bit of history about her name:

Livia has a very old name. It actually pre-dates the birth of Jesus Christ. The name ‘Livia’ actually was derived from the male form of the name Livius. Titus Livius, also known as Livy, was a Roman historian who wrote a history of the city of Rome.

The first female ‘Livia’ that history knows of was Augustus Caesar’s wife. She was respected as the most powerful woman in the Roman Empire. Livia assisted her husband as his trusted advisor, and Augustus himself is widely regarded by modern historians as the greatest ruler the Roman Empire ever had. Note: Long before American politicians in the late 20th century began running on family values as a campaign issue, Augustus used this as a platform in running his empire.

Many of you know the name ‘Olivia.’ This name is actually quite a bit newer than Livia. It is derived from ‘Livia’ and was actually invented by Shakespeare in the early 17th century as a character in one of his plays.

As Christians, we are often taught in Church about the corruption of the Roman citizens, and the fact that they worshiped multiple gods. We are told of how Jesus Christ was crucified under their hands, and that the Romans regularly persecuted Christians. What most people don’t know – and this is important – is that the Roman Empire became a Christian nation early in the 4th century. We may not realize, as Christians, that the Roman Empire probably did more to spread the religion of Christianity than any other people. Their Empire spread over 3 continents, and the spread of Christianity took off soon after it became their official religion. The Roman influence of Christianity still plays a very major role in our western culture to this day.

Again, sorry for this being such a long entry! I've given up on post-dating finally; I figure this isn't really as time-critical to me. I know - I'm silly! Thank you all SO much for 'celebrating' Livia's birthday with us. It has been very special indeed! Much love to you all - take care and God Bless!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Livia's Birth - Day 3

For our final day in the hospital, there wasn't really a whole lot going on... No visitors except for my Mom & Perry, so I took the opportunity to take Livia down to the nursery while I got myself ready and packed up to leave.

Livia looked like she was waving to me - "Bye Mom!"

This was the only time she was in the nursery during the daytime, so I wanted proof that she was actually there!

After I was ready to go, they came in to do Livia's birth pictures. The lady was sweet enough to even let me take a few of my own!

My Little Livie-Angel

So sweet

Mine didn't turn out nearly as good as hers, but I was so happy to have these for the memories!

After that, we dressed Livia in her little going home outfit from K~ and took TONS of pictures before we left...

Itty Bitty Livie holding on to her Daddy's finger

Liv in my arms
I love how her little hands are both grasping mine!
Oh, baby, you'd better not be camera shy with me for your Mommy!

Safe in the arms of Love

Look at that tiny little peanut in her car seat! That's what the nurses called Livia in the hospital - Little Peanut. So cute!

Perry leaning in for a pic - now you can really see how small Livia was!

Just the 3 of us just before we left the hospital
My journey through pregnancy had [finally!] ended, but we had only begun on a whole new path together!

*This is the last post-dated entry, I promise! Thanks for putting up with my slight insanity :o)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Livia's 1st Birthday Party

Livia's wonderful little Polka Dot Party was absolutely perfect! We had a fantastic turnout - almost everyone who said they would come sure did. I knew of a few that weren't going to be able to make it - mainly The Dairy Wife & her clan. I was kinda sad that they weren't going to be there... I still want Megan & Maggie to meet up someday - they're both such girlie-girls that I bet they'd get along famously!

Before the party, both Laura Belle and my Aunt stopped by to personally deliver Livie's birthday presents! Livie's Auntie Laura Belle was first - she gave us this small little bag, and said, "Big things come in small packages!" I opened it up to find... a bracelet that perfectly matches her dress! With cute little danglies and everything! And that's not all - my wonderful sister gave ME a bracelet that matched Livie's!!! I was so SO excited! I know those things don't run cheap, and I felt so honored that she would get something so lovely not only for Liv, but for me too!

When Tanya came by, she also gave Livia a bracelet that matched her dress & had a cute little '1' on it as a charm. So absolutely precious. AND she gave me the watch that she made and re-sized for me. I might add here, that all the jewelry that The Dairy Wife & Laura Belle gave us was made by Tanya - she's such a tallented lady.

Here's one of the 1st pictures after we arrived. I had the wonderful idea of putting the birthday party hat on Livia... She didn't think it was such a great idea... (PS - the bracelet Laura got her is on her right wrist, Tanya's is on the left)

Oh my goodness! Mommy finally got that hat on her!
Here's something else really, really cool - the bib that Livie's wearing is from my good friend Tara. I actually got her a bib for this outfit, but Tara's matched MUCH better! I mean, if I hadn't known any better, I'd think that Tara had ESP[N] (haha) because that bib matched Liv's little outfit just perfectly!

Ha Ha! She got that hat off, and it was SO funny!

Here's Perry & Tara looking at party favors & playing Livia Trivia (more about Livia Trivia in a later post!) I still can't get over that perfectly matching bib - you rock Tara!

Anne & Jamie both came (with their hubby's, coarse) - just had to get a shot of the two of them with little Olivia Anne in her polka dot dress! Isn't she a little doll baby? (Just under 3 wks old in this picture)
And here's my Mom & Anne with their little grandbabies

My little cousin Jordan, with his Aunt Breana & his momma (my cousin Jamie) in the background. Isn't he just a cutie pie?

Here's my Gramma Pat & her boyfriend, Jerry

And of coarse Mr. Michael & my awesome sis, Laura Belle

My long-time friend Kellee came with her fiance, Marcus - unfortunately this is really about the only really good pic I got of the 2 of them. Liv & I will be going to Marcus' little boy's birthday party this Sunday afternoon!

Cousins Together, Friends Forever
One of the best snapshots of the night - Maggie holding Livie. Such beautiful little girls!

"Oh, Nolan, help me!" I think that's about what Maggie was saying here! Luckily, Nolan stepped right in & took the weight of Liv off of Maggie-Boo.

And here's one of Livia & Nolan - he loves her so!

Livia & her PaPa Bill

Livia, her Grandma Trilby, & Maggie - such a cute picture!

Nolan & his Daddy, Matt - aren't they both so handsome?

Kendra & Maggie enjoying the fun

Livia being held by her Auntie Kee-Kee

I just LOVE the way K~'s looking at Livia - it's just so beautiful and sweet!
I'm sure I mentioned this before, but Kendra was definitely my inspiration for the Polka Dot theme of the party. Thanks SO much for helping me get everything together, K~! I owe ya :o)

The following entry is the continuation of this day... Again, both are post dated to the day that they SHOULD have been written on! Don't worry, I won't be doing very more like this, I promise!

Livia's 1st Birthday Party (Continued)

Maggie-Boo and Livia getting ready to eat

Livia LOVED the balloons - by far the best 'gift' I got her!

See her hair sticking out everywhere? From the static electricity from the balloons, of coarse.

Big grins & a big balloon!

We even managed to get a snapshot of our little family. (A very rare thing!)

We just love that little girl SO much!

One more of the 3 of us

And here's Livia's BEAUTIFUL cake! Made by Sandy's Cakes and Candies here in Evansville - I would recommend them in a heartbeat for any event. Absolutely delicious! And stinkin addicting too... I've polished off almost all the leftovers myself!

Here's me & Liv and her sweet little polka dot cake

And look!
She even got a personal little bitty cake all for herself - they did that for free! I'm so glad K~ gave me their contact info. She's used them for many of her kiddo's b-day parties, and I know I've always loved the cake!

Livia couldn't wait to try her cake

She was so sweet at first - just barely poking at it, and gently nibbling little bits of the icing.

She didn't even want to get her fingers in it here; she's just taking a bit right from the cake itself!

A BIG bite!

Oh, she loves it!

Still pretty clean for having full access to a whole little cake right in front of her.
Then Mr. Michael started making her grin and giggle from across the table.

More big grins!

She is SUCH a happy baby - and her birthday was such a happy time for all of us

Oh, Liv just loved her little cake!

She gave it patty-cakes it was so good!

WOW - big bite, kiddo!

In the end, she did a pretty good job of getting icing almost everywhere.

And she was so happy that it was totally worth it. Hey, look at those little tooth-ers!

So why's Mr. Michael cracking up & grinnin like a monkey?

Everyone really close to Livia knows that she has some really cute tricks - like putting her hands up to her head when she hears, "Oh, my goodness!" And that's exactly what Michael said to her while she was eating cake!

And this is what happened...
Hands right up to her head... and therefore icing too!

Everyone thought it was an absolute riot - Livie included!

Yeah, Livie - Oh My GOODNESS!
Well, it definitely made for some really cute pics, huh?

That's right, Laura Belle! I'd be cringing too - he's such a rascal that he just might do it!

My Mom managed to snap just a couple of pictures of me opening the gifts Livia received - see Maggie-Boo in the background 'helpin!'? You can barely see the top of her head & her cute little hairbow. That's one of the things Livia actually got from Maggie & her Mamma - some SUPER cute little hairbows! I love how K~ always has an adorable bow in Maggie's hair. I hope I can make Livie look as cute as Maggie always does :o)

I shouldn't have a problem with that right now, though - Livia got SO many wonderful presents - the cutest little clothes & outfits, and something I'm so grateful for - books! We just love books around here. Liv takes absolutely no interest whatsoever in the television, so books and fun little games are our go-to's during the day. Matt & K~ and my Aunt Dana & Uncle Darrel got Liv some REALLY cute, fun toys as well. What a blessing!

I'm so thankful for everyone who was able to be a part of this VERY special day! It's a day I will cherish forever :o)