• Discussing the bigger, more important things in life (or, quite possibly, Batman and his prowess) today on our hike and picnic. Being Huxley's mom is my favorite thing to do, of all the things I do.
  • After a picnic lunch and hike in the forests around our home, Huxley and I kissed @glennbenglish goodbye and wished him good luck as he set out on a hunt for the ever elusive morel. He texted to say the magic mushrooms weren't showing themselves, but that he did make it up to the mountain bald that rests on the ridge line behind our property. Love his panoramic video!
  • Hello, gorgeous fog. Happy Monday, friends!
  • Smoked sea salt chocolate chip cookies, because rainy Sundays were meant for baking cookies with my home slice.
  • Nothing you could say could tear me away from my guy. || Playing in the park, from yesterday in Decatur.
  • Rain + birdsong + spring green. On repeat. The city is fun to visit, but home in the cove is where my heart sings.
  • These Brussels sprouts, our first course @pinewoodtr, with their spectacular dipping sauce, were the stuff of crispy, salty, cruciferous dreams. Totally set the tone for the rest of the meal. So, so good.
  • Passed this scene on our driveway earlier this morning as we headed to Decatur, GA for the weekend. Going to miss the cove, but am stoked to enjoy a bit of city living. Happy weekend, friends!
  • Mountain morning ridge line fog is, to me, the best fog. Taken from our entryway porch.
  • Last Thursday, our perennially kind and generous friend Jessica Smith asked if she could stop by with a gift for us. This stunning succulent planter (in a vintage enamel pot) was what she showed up with. Turns out she's starting a new business called DIRT FLIRTS with her friend Diana. As they describe it:
  • Since this past Friday evening, @glennbenglish, Huxley and I have had the exquisite pleasure of hosting @tea_austen in our home. There has been much laughter, much eating, and much sharing of our hearts, minds, and deepest selves. As she drove away just a bit ago, it didn't feel like we were saying goodbye, but instead, see you again, hopefully sooner than later. Thank you for being such delightful company, @tea_austen, and for loving our little guy so fully (and getting a TMNT education in the process ?!). || Image is from this past Sunday, when we took Tara up to #blackbalsam for a hike and a picnic.
  • Jump in, you know these arms can fill you up.
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Blissful Belly Coloring Journal (+ Giveaway!!!)

Blissful Belly 2Blissful Belly
When I was pregnant with Huxley, like any woman carrying their first child, I felt an intense array of emotions. Ecstatic, anxious, blissful, scared, sometimes all of them within the course of an hour (or, on particularly rough days, less). I questioned my mom and my father’s wife about their birth experiences, asked my mom friends about theirs, and turned to quite a few books (Birthing From Within was just what I needed to hear, the way I needed to hear it).

Now that I’ve had a baby, I know what to expect. Not that each birth isn’t different, should I have another child. It’s just that, well, I’ve been down that path, I know where it goes, and I know where it eventually ends up, even if there are some unforeseen branches or boulders encountered en route. I’ve felt kicking in my stomach for the first time. I’ve experienced what it is like to have your unborn child hiccup inside of you (it’s freaky; that’s just honest). I know now the sensation of my water breaking, what a contraction feels like, and when your body gives you the head’s up that it’s time to push (full disclosure for those not in the know: you feel like you’ve got to “go”, now).

What would’ve been wonderful during the pregnancy, though, was a space that was just for me. A place to chronicle my experiences and chart my journey and convey my fears and hopes without worry about  judgement, admonishment, or correction. A pregnancy diary, of sorts, with images of round mamas-to-be, mamas in labor, and mamas with their new ones, reveling in and recovering from the birth process. Drea of These Little Joys has created exactly what I’m talking about.

Her Blissful Belly Coloring Journal is a wonderful means of positively directing the avalanche of emotions and questioning pregnant women often experience. As she details it, the journal will aid in allowing you to:

*Take time to relax and enjoy being pregnant.
*Put yourself in the same state of mind you will be in during birth (right brain mode).
*Give yourself the gift of presence and peace.
*Coloring is relaxing and fun, let your inner artist out.
*Connect with your baby and let yourself envision a peaceful birth.
*Take the words of encouragement contained on these pages with you into labor.
*Recall the calm you felt while coloring as you are birthing your baby.
*Calm your nerves, allow yourself to focus your intention.
*Decorate your birth alter or nursery with your finished images.

Drea sent me the PDF of the coloring journal and it’s truly lovely. Each image she has rendered is full of love and compassion and, well, just kind of a sense of “understanding.” As a mother of three, she’s definitely travelled down this road before. Lucky for us all, she’s offered to give away a copy of the journal to one small measure reader. Yay! Whether you’re pregnant or have a sister/friend/daughter/niece/aunt/loved one who is, Drea’s journal will be most welcome.

The journal comes in an electronic file format, a PDF, that is then printed out by you. That’s why having an email address attached to your entry is very important. Drea will use the winning email to send you the file. To be entered in the giveaway, simply leave a comment here. It can be about anything related to pregnancy, or just “pick me!” I’ll run the giveaway for one week, concluding next Thursday, July 3rd, midnight EST. Since the giveaway comes in an electric format, international entries are most welcome!

I wish you all the best, and thank you Drea for both your small measure sponsorship and for your generosity with the giveaway!

20 Responses to Blissful Belly Coloring Journal (+ Giveaway!!!)

  • Barbara Bretherick says:

    My best friend is about to have her first grandchild–her daughter is expecting in November 2014. I would love nothing more than to present her with this precious, creative, resourceful gift! As a side note–we didn’t own a TV while I was pregnant for our two (now-grown) girls, so my husband and I colored each evening–a passing-the-time, bonding-with-one-another, totally-calming activity that we still remember fondly after 34 years!

  • My sister and her wife just found out YESTERDAY they’re pregnant with their first child, this would be such a lovely way to start their pregnancy journey together! so….pick me!!

  • Ashley Thompson says:

    I would LOVE this, it would send positive vibes as we are currently trying to conceive!

  • Amber Leonard says:

    I am 7 months pregnant with my second child and trying to stay sane with all the pregnancy emotions and the recent passing of my father. These images are beautiful and would be a wonderful gift for anyone.

  • Hey Miz Ashley! Wow! Time has flown since I first started following your blog 5 or 6 years ago and I love watching your evolution both personally and professionally! As for me, I’ve recently remarried and with this great man comes plans to try for a little one of our own. So, long story short, the writer and artist in me would totally dig something like this :) Either way though, keep doin’ your thang and long distance cheers from Oregon! – Aimee/EcoGrrl

  • Kris says:

    I would love to gift this to a dear friend who just asked me these same questions Drea includes in her beautiful book. Pick me please! What a great giveaway!

  • Jen says:

    I *love* this! I’m pregnant with our first child right now and how you describe your first pregnancy is exactly how I’ve been feeling. What a lovely giveaway.

  • Alysha says:

    Pick me!! I’m pregnant with my first child due the beginning of December. This would be a lovey keepsake of this pregnancy!

  • This sounds like such a lovely resource to have!

  • Becky says:

    Pick me! Despite good preparation my delivery and first week went far a field. As we begin to think about another child I really feel the need to process and prepare mentally and emotionally

  • Amanda says:

    I totally get where you’re coming from! My first pregnancy was amazing, with every new twist and turn an eye-opening marvel. I’m halfway through my second pregnancy now, and while it’s still a marvel, time is surely flying by! This book is beautiful. What a lovely way to help one slow down and take it all in!!

  • kels says:

    Wow! This looks like the perfect journal for me. I’m four months in with my first and I love artsy opportunities for expression. Thanks for offering this book!

  • Anja says:

    I would love this, especially as we are trying to conceive at the moment

  • Kasey says:

    This lovely book is a gift, and one that I would enjoy giving to the next friend or family member that is pregnant!

  • Cat K. says:

    This is so beautiful! Would love to have this in my stash for someday down the road. Just gorgeous, and so empowering!

  • Becky says:

    Expecting my first September 27!

  • Amy says:

    I need this for my best pregnancy!!! (#6 !)
    What a perfect meditative practice <3

  • Megan says:

    This would be such a perfect thing for us to record this time and memories before our little girl comes in November!

  • The images are so beautiful and I think this is a wonderful idea. Thanks so much for the giveaway.

  • beth says:

    goodness, this is so perfect. i’m 11 weeks with my fourth! and freaked out, and way too busy (others are 20 mos, 3 yrs, 5 yrs!), and in very much need of something to slow this pregnancy down! thank you.