Listening over Hearing

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I love going to see my acupuncturist, not even because of the treatment (but I definitely love that too), but it’s because of the profound expansive conversations I have with my doctor. He is just on the same wavelength and we talk about things like the Dalai Lama, connectivity, astrology, western cultures vs Eastern culture, and THE PRESENT MOMENT.

That’s a big one for our talks and it’s such a grounding topic to be implanted during an acupuncture treatment. Last night, my doctor started telling me about an occurring thought of his.

“So, being in the “here and now”, I realized how I can apply this in practicality to an every day situation. When you are driving or when you are driving with someone, you want a driver who is paying attention to the road, to the surroundings, you want a driver who is in the present so they can react to any unpredictable circumstances. You don’t want a driver who is stuck staring at their phone or thinking about lists or stories. You want a driver or to be a driver who is “in the here and now”. That is how we should be carrying ourselves.”

I loved this. ❤️❤️❤️

This brings me to my next point.

CONNECTION

It’s the way we thrive, it’s where we feel our love expand and share our ideas and it’s where we can learn and feel supported. Validation is key. It’s not even that our conversations have to be metaphorical and profound every time. Our conversations about coffee or potty training or the lunch we ate can be just as connecting if we VALIDATE each other.

Now, connection doesn’t just come by HEARING each other, but by LISTENING. (This was actually another conversation my acupuncturist and I had one visit too)

You know when you are talking to a friend, and they are staring at their phone, and they are scrolling and saying generic responses, no eye contact, etc etc etc.

You may feel like your words were heard but do you feel like you were actually listened to? Connected? Validated? Supported? No.

“You can hear someone speak without listening to the words. Hearing defines only the physical measurement of the sound waves that are transmitted to the ear and into the brain where they are processed into audible information. Hearing occurs with or without your consent. The National Youth Council says hearing is such a passive quality, it occurs even while you sleep. When you merely hear someone’s words but are not listening to what’s being said, it can lead to misunderstandings, missed opportunities and resentments.” (Not surprising, there are other articles about this- Like this one! )

When we actually make eye contact or genuinely express interest and empathetic thoughts or comments to each other, when we are fully present and in the “Here and Now”, that is when we connect and that type of genuine connection is so imperative to us returning to our roots of love and support and relationships that last.

Today as you go about your day, I encourage you to remind yourself of this concept of listening over just hearing, of genuine connection. ❤

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CHANGE and how it isn’t the worst thing ever.

“…you could be completely obsessed with hope and fear and all kinds of other thoughts and you could realize what you’ve been doing—without criticizing it—and you could let it go. This is probably one of the most amazing tools that you could be given, the ability to just let things go, not to be caught in the grip of your own angry thoughts of passionate thoughts or worried thoughts or depressed thoughts.” – Pema Chodron

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I have been struggling with depression again for the past two weeks. If you know my back story, I struggled with major bouts of depressive episodes and addiction 5 years ago that I literally almost didn’t live through. It was a dark time, for both myself and my loved ones, but with love and medical help, I made it through.

I have been on and off having anxiety issues the past few years, but the past couple weeks, this dark-ness kind of re-appeared… AND IT HAS SUCKED. I am getting help again and writing and I am making progress, but at the same time, I am spent! I have not backed off of work during this time in my life, in fact, I have actually been doing more work! (Picking up more classes, doing even more yoga, beginning to sell my art, beginning a new series of trainings or two…)

This seems to be a re-occuring issue for myself. When I feel myself getting shakey, like I feel I might lose might grip on something, I cling to it even more. It reminds me of a few times when I have had wrist pain yet I end up practicing even MORE handstands in my yoga practice because I fear I may lose my strength. (Doesn’t sound very yogi like does it…) I keep feeling like I need to be living my life to the fullest every moment of every day, which has been equated to action and DOING which is SO TIRING.

Does this sound like you? I know I am not alone. If it is, here is a hug to you, because this feeling is exhausting and I think we both know that this isn’t working.

So, this lifestyle of over-exhaustion and too much work is not working and I am finally deciding to see that it means change is in the air and it has been waiting to rain down for awhile now.

We all handle different jobs with different attitudes. I know many yoga teachers with multiple kids who teach 15 classes a week and handle it just fine. I, on the other hand, teach two prenatal classes a week and educate medical students once a month, and am already fatigued daily. I am beginning to notice how I react to how I am living now WITHOUT comparison to others, and that is the main thing allowing me to notice that I need to let change occur without gripping on to “should” thoughts.

Change is not a bad thing… I made a joke with some of my prenatal yoga students about this recently.

“Change isn’t bad! You wouldn’t want to be pregnant forever right?!”

It’s true. Change is inevitable and it isn’t good or bad, it just is.

I am looking forward to the changes that are going to be happening in my life- the shifts, the unpredictability of where the shifts lead. I am looking forward to creating healthier goals for myself and allowing myself to not feel stressed by letting some work go. I am looking forward to using more time to work on myself while I feel shitty, and NOT feel guilty about it- It is ok to not always be helping others (this sentence is for myself in a big way)… I am looking forward to this always feeling wave-y with rises and falls and lessons in between. I am looking forward to loving change.

I am writing this post without even knowing exactly what changes I will be making yet, but this is the first step- NOTICING and ACKNOWLEDGING…

Hey change, I see you there, I know you want to hang out, let’s go.

“…we also change like the weather, we ebb and flow like the tides, we wax and wane like the moon. We do that, and there’s no reason to resist it. If we resist it, the reality and vitality of life become misery, a hell.” -Pema Chodron

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Jude Bug is Three

DSC_0094Dearest Sweet Jude Bug,

On June 20, 2015, we were heading back from an amazing week at The Farm in Tennessee, and it was your birthday and you spent it mostly in the car during our 11 hour car ride home. It was a little rough, but you my sweet baby, are an active dude who needs to swim, run, explore, jump, play, laugh, SO- I get it. I am the same way too. We share the need for movement in common.

The past year has been filled with so many adventures with you.

I have watched your speech develop monumentally this year as you have begun to shout excitedly about cars and “panes” and “choos choos” and “Boas”. It has been a trip seeing you begin to speak and today you started giving this really sweet nod with a smirk to signal “Yes” or that you agree with something.

I covered quite a bit of what we have been up to in my very late letter to you for turning two, but we have still done so much even in the past few months.

We have still been traveling quite a bit, and you have begun spending more time with your grandparents and you LOVE doing that. You constantly ask for your “gigi” or “opa” or grandma/pa. It makes my heart so warm that you are growing up with them around and know how much they love you.

Another big development is that you are going to begin attending a preschool type program in the fall for just 3 hours a day, 3 days a week. YOU ARE SO EXCITED. I definitely freaked out when I learned this was the next step for you, but you are so stoked and love going up to the school. Plus, you look super cute in a little backpack. I might cry on your first day. Ok, I WILL cry, but it will be alright. I love you so much Jude bug.

I still call you my baby all the time and you put on this sweet voice saying the word “baby” and sometimes begin giggling or acting like you are crying. You are now a little boy, and it shows. However, you sometimes get mistaken for a little girl still when your hair is in a man-bun. It happens. Your long hair rocks and I am not cutting it. SO that is that.

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With that being said, you are so handsome. Your eyes have only gotten more sky blue and your hair has begun curling like mine as it grows in length. Your smile is so huge and your laugh is contagious. They are both very much so statement pieces of yours. I love you so so so so much Jude bug.

The past week we stayed in a cabin in the middle of the woods and you loved every moment of it- every messy muddy exhausting moment. You were a little scared of the tadpoles and caterpillars, but you did name a huge caterpillar “PAUL” and made friends with all of the midwives on The Farm. You ran around laughing and exploring the entire time and everyone loved you. Everyone always loves you. ❤

I know you are growing and learning and craving independence pretty much all of the time, but my need to be hugged and kissed by you will never fade. You still give such sweet kisses followed by announcing “Huh” for a hug after, and this is a tradition that must be kept up, because it fixes everything.

You are a strong-willed kiddo, very opinionated, very energetic, and very determined. Although these qualities make for more attentive parenting some days, I see you growing into an amazing man with these attributes and I look forward to our conversations growing, although I do love talking about cars with you everyday still.

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For the last time in this letter, I love you so much Jude bug. Everyone knows it and I feel you know it too. I plan to continue making sure you know this, because I will ALWAYS always always love you more than you could ever know my miracle baby. Thank you for making me a mother. ❤IMG_0038

Yoga House

“Group work can be helpful for intensifying the light of your presence. A group of people coming together in a state of presence generates a collective energy field of great intensity. It not only raises the degree of presence of each member of the group but also helps to free the collective human consciousness from its current state of mind dominance”

HOWEVER

“Although group work is invaluable, it is not enough , and you must not come to depend on it. Nor must you come to depend on a teacher or a master , except during the transitional period, when you are learning the meaning and practice of presence” ~Eckhart Tolle

I have been thinking a lot about how I practice yoga at home majority of the time. I practice more at home than I do at studios I teach at, and when I do attend a class, I have had many students approach me asking about this subject. I find comfort in practicing at home, not because I have social anxiety or because I don’t like practicing my physical yoga with others, but because I have slowly learned the beauty and illuminations that come to light in my transformation through my home practice. Now, this is not BY ANY MEANS an encouragement for yoga practitioners to ditch the studios they attend as I believe the community we create is equally as important as an individual development. This is, however, my ramblings. Take them or leave them. IMG_9129 I began practicing ASANA (the physical postures of Yoga) when I was pregnant with my son. I fell in love with the release it gave me and the knowledge I received and began my teacher training at 36 weeks along! My practice evolved very very slowly after I had my son and has kept on evolving in ways I would have never imagined both physically and mentally. I am not going to go into my story over the past 4 years, but I am where I am right now because I developed a consistent home yoga practice when I did not have to option of attending classes at a yoga studio consistently.

Practicing asana and meditation alone is hard work. You have to rely on yourself to get to your mat or to your meditation place and there are numerous times where you may think “ Hey, no one is keeping me here and I can leave if I want! “. It is a challenge, you vs. yourself, all alone, no one commanding you. So, here are some things I have learned from being a yoga practitioner with a mostly at-home practice:

  • My mind will get the best of me if I let it spiral into distractive thoughts or descriptive self talk, so I better not let it if I want to keep moving forward. This is where my meditation practice came into play. I began reading Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates and it has been perfect for my home practice. Each day you read a short 1-2 paragraph subject focused story or description that is meant to be used to create a meditation upon, whether you sit in silent meditation or just create an intention for your physical practice.
  • Any and every distraction can occur to bring me off my mat, so I have to make the conscious decision to stay there. Once my practice became habitual, the distractions lessened more and more. My son has done any and every thing to bring me out of my practice. It used to frustrate me, and some days I can still lose my “zen” but now I have begun using the pauses in my practice as a means to build patience and love.
  • “My practice does not always have to be extra-ordinary. What matters is that I do it every day” (Have this thought on repeat every day)
  • Create a space in your home for your practice. I set up a corner/wall area in my very small home that is my yoga/meditation space. This has become a comfort place for me and feels just as calming as entering a yoga studio does now.
  • Practice non-attachment. This one is especially important for mothers. I donot have a specific time I do Asana or Meditation every day, simply because I do not have that option right now as a mostly stay at home mother with a non-napping toddler. Instead I flow with the tides of the day and get to my practice when I can. Some days I do handstands while I am making my son and I food in the kitchen, or do backbends in the doorway while my son is in the bath. This has been one of the most transformative teachings for myself so far.

Happy home explorations friends. If you have any additional thoughts/comments I would love to hear them. I would like to re-iterate that this is in no way a call to stop attending group classes, but a short encouragement to begin looking into a home practice and its benefits in addition. -xoxo, A.Jo dowhatyoucan

Dearest Human

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“Dear Human: You’ve got it all wrong.

You didn’t come here to master unconditional love. That is where you came from and where you’ll return. You came here to learn personal love. Universal love. Messy love. Sweaty love. Crazy love. Broken love. Whole love. Infused with divinity. Lived through the grace of stumbling. Demonstrated through the beauty of… messing up. Often. You didn’t come here to be perfect. You already are. You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous. And then to rise again into remembering. But unconditional love? Stop telling that story. Love, in truth, doesn’t need ANY other adjectives. It doesn’t require modifiers. It doesn’t require the condition of perfection. It only asks that you show up. And do your best. That you stay present and feel fully. That you shine and fly and laugh and cry and hurt and heal and fall and get back up and play and work and live and die as YOU. It’s enough. It’s Plenty.”

~ Courtney A. Walsh

I have been experiencing some case of writers block, over commitment, and onset illnesses which have kept me from posting for about a month now, so to break that I wanted to just expand on the idea above as well as an instagram post I created about my son recently.

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I am always learning so much from this creature. Jude and I spend a lot of time together just us two. Zachary has been working a ton, (and we love him), and I’m only teaching twice a week right now (which I’m loving), so it’s just Mr.Jude and I quite often. He teaches me patience. He teaches me what it is like to breath in love when I am on the verge of losing my patience. He teaches me to show compassion and empathy. He teaches me to see fun in all things and that you can imagine anything. He teaches me to notice what I’m saying, because he is always listening. He teaches me that teaching others is important. He teaches me new things every day and always gives me multiples hugs and kisses every day. I’m growing so much as a human as my little human grows too.💙” (jo_mamma)

For all you out there having a bad day because of your thoughts of not-enough-ness, or maybe you are tired and yelled at your toddler, or maybe you got mad at yourself for something that, in the big picture, doesn’t need any scolding for (not much does anyways), I want to encourage you to let go of your expectations and anger, and take a deep breath. (I have a tantrum throwing three year old climbing all over me and grabbing my hands as I type this oddly enough. Well played Universe) All you need to create positivity in any situation, is just show up fully and start to notice little bits of gratitude and love that surround your everyday situations.

I have found that by taking a step back from a situation to become quiet and beginning to notice ordinary situations such as the leaves blowing in the wind, the bird chirping outside my window, and the soft pillows throughout my house is the beginning. It is the beginning to grounding me and repelling the thoughts that might drag me into a spiral of underminding how truly loving and illuminating of a woman that I am so that I can show up fully in love and life.

When I show up completely and coat myself in affirmations of presence and love, I see the people around me light up, I see the objects around me light up, and I see myself light up. I am able to not let any outside circumstance change the love or presence I have cultivated because I hold that inside myself, becoming a light. This doesn’t happen every day, and it is a constant practice, and a constant struggle, and a constant success. Every morning I wake up and decide to plant the idea to “Be the light”. That is how I have been showing up as fully as I can.

Catalysts for Joy

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I have been reading Brene Browne’s The Gifts of Imperfection and every chapter really lit up different parts of brain. (I highly recommend this short but super satisfying read) I was especially inspired by the areas on authenticity and joy. Today I wanted to talk a little bit about joy and how I have learned to define it in my life so far, especially when it was so hard to come by not too long ago.

How can you find more joy in your life?

Brene Browne suggests that grateful people experience more joy and that instead of the mindset of “If I have more joy in my life, I will be more grateful”, we need to strive for “I am grateful for what I have and this leads me to joy”.

I also asked around on social media as to what others define as joy and the answers all shared similar themes. One friend of mine defined joy as watching her family and feeling love and another talked about letting go of the past, staying present and feeling grateful for the moment at hand.

Throughout the answers I received, they all shared themes of gratitude and mindfulness being catalysts that will truly cultivate JOY.

It is the little ordinary moments that we need to be grateful for in order to live a joyful life.

Browne interviewed people who had experienced traumatic events such as the loss of a child, or a loved one, and what she wrote about it pulled at my heart strings as I was laying next to my 3 year old who had just passed out from a really tiring grocery trip. “The memories that they held most sacred were the ordinary, everyday moments. It was clear that their most precious memories were forged from a collection of ordinary moments, and their hope for others is that they would stop long enough to be grateful for those moments and the joy they bring. Author and spiritual leader Marianne Williamson says, “Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are”

I immediately set my kindle down, and just looked over at my sleeping miracle. The little tiny being that has my heart on a leash, who I would do anything for. I then started to think about all of the little ordinary moments that I let pass without gratitude because lately I have been struggling with the “ I am not enough” attitude. (Moms, you know the one I am talking about).This made me really sad. How many beautiful moments have I let pass before my eyes because I was too caught up in not seeing them?

After deciding to bring more mindfulness practices into my life a couple weeks ago, I believe it would be just as easy to implement gratitude practices into your life. And I don’t mean gratitude for huge big events, but gratitude for the small ones; I think that is the key. If you set yourself up to only feel gratitude when its obvious, you are setting expectations, you are setting up a let down. The key is feeling gratitude for little things that you might not normally notice, or things that happen everyday.

A few ideas for a gratitude practice:

  1. Keeping a small journal to write down little moments of gratitude in.
    (This is one that I have done and plan on beginning again. It is beautiful to keep little reminders to look at of all the beautiful moments.)
  2. When you wake up in the morning, immediately take a deep breath and think of 3 things you are grateful for.
    (This one is powerful if you can remember to do it because it really begins the morning with beauty and joy. It may even take place of your first thought to lust for coffee hehe)
  3. Before the family meal, have a talk about one thing each family member is grateful for. (You could even end with a group “Om” like we do. Jude loves doing it )

These are just a few ideas, but I do know that feeling gratitude and joy requires your full vulnerable self. It means being open to the full spectrum of emotions, you can’t half ass it. You have to fully open yourself up to what is happening RIGHT NOW to experience joy.

“Joy seems to me a step beyond happiness. Happiness is a sort of atmosphere you can live in sometimes when you’re lucky. Joy is a light that fills you with hope and faith and love” – Adela Rogers St.Johns

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Mindfulness

Mindfulness.

Being Present.

This is a skill that I found will actually cause life to not move as fast. I kept wishing life would slow down, and although that is not possible, we can move slower through life, and this is pretty sweet too.

So, how do you start to become present? I have been learning that I don’t have to sit in  meditation for hours to do this, although that would be nice to master, but I am a mother, and a mover and right now, that is not a daily attainable goal. Instead, there are a few skills that I am doing or plan on incorporating into my life to keep me grounded throughout the day.

  1. Set random alarms on my phone with reminders to be mindful.
  2. Set an alarm on my phone for a mini dance party every day. Having fun and smiling is a meditation in itself.
  3. A short meditation every evening. Deepak Chopra is running a free 21 day meditation right now that I love! I have even found that the more I practice short meditations in front of my almost 3 year old, the calmer he becomes as well. ( Click Here )
  4. Place quotes on mindfulness around the house where I will see them everyday. I will list some below.
  5. Stop moving so much, take a little time to be still and do nothing every day. My favorite thing to do is lay on the ground with a pillow under my bum, with my shins and feet up on the couch. Super yum.
  6. Pick a task I do every day (brushing my teeth, doing the dishes, folding laundry) as an opportunity to remind myself of things I am grateful for.
  7. Change my email or facebook password to a skill I am working on every few weeks, such as forgiveness or gratitude, as a reminder.

These are just a few small ideas, but when I actually DO them, I find that I am noticeably happier and more in tune with my emotions.

Xoxo, friends. Get grounded, stop time, be here now. ❤

“Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.” – Sylvia Boorstein

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.” – Thich Nhat Hanh”

“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.” ― Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” ― Mother Teresa

“Restore your attention or bring it to a new level by dramatically slowing down whatever you’re doing.” ― Sharon Salzberg, Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” — Eckhart Tolle

“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.” ― Bill Watterson

“Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.” ― Betty Smith, Joy in the Morning

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Time Escaped me

Dearest Jude,

It dawned upon me just recently that I never wrote you a letter for your 2nd birthday. How do we let time escape us THAT much? I am at stay at home mother, but at the same time, I became very busy this past year, finishing yoga teacher trainings, teaching, taking on MORE than I can handle, getting swept up in my own emotional issues. But I am still your mother, and honestly, that truly is the most fulfilling job that I have, and it really is the only that job that I want in the end. So, here’s my first “I LOVE YOU”

So, where do I begin?

It has been almost 2 years since I last wrote you a note, and you will be 3 years old in exactly 3 months from this day! What a long strange trip its been my little dude.

We have gone on many adventures this year. You and I went to Austin many many times to be the wild spirits that we are. As a family, we went to Arkansas and you helped us mine crystals on Mountains.

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We went to Colorado and sped around on a 4 wheeler at a farm to anxiously catch the sun setting behind the mountains.

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On the way to Colorado we stopped at Cadillac ranch and you helped spray paint one of the cars, and photo bombed a handstand picture too.

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We are travelers, and I get anxious when I am too stagnant. You are the same exact way. You test SO many limits, and you are really stubborn when you are passionate about something and cannot do it. I think these are qualities that will make you a spectacular man. Speaking of which, YOU ARE SO TALL!

Seriously, you used to be the skinniest little baby and although you are still lean, you are tall and handsome. We have never cut your hair, because you are a little rockstar, and you are so beautiful that sometimes you get mistaken for a girl. I think its because people in the area we live in usually cut their boys hair, you know that buzzcut look? That’s not you kid. You are different. You are my child. ❤

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So, its taken you a while to start talking with us. Your first word was car and its really still the clear-est word in your vocabulary. We talk about cars quite a bit, and the other day we had an entire conversation consisting of solely the word “Beep”. I loved it, every bit of it. Oh, and your dad is actually a mechanic now so if cars are still your interest when you are older, chat with your pops.

I wanted to also insert a little bit here about how much your grandparents all love you. We are lucky enough to get to see them ALL all the time. Your OPA, your gigi and other grandpa, Zachs parents too, which I am still not sure what you call them. You’ll figure it out. They ALL ADORE YOU. (PS, so do I)

Let’s chat about our yoga practice together, because you have started actually taking some interest in doing the physical practice instead of using me as a jungle gym while I do mine. You still climb, all the time, in fact, you make a nice prop to put weight on my back in forward folds. I love seeing your eyes light up when you do a pose, or get upside down. It is one of the many things you do that warms my heart and makes the threads that connect us even more solid feeling.

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You are so amazing to watch. Some days I just watch you play while I drink for 4th cup of coffee in the afternoon. Your favorite toys are Mega Blocks that have wheels to build cars and planes. You reach for them every day and throw them all over the couch causing us to need to sit on the floor, which we do anyways so I am cool with it. Build away little dude.

Every morning we do a few things. I wake up and cover you in kisses, some mornings you attempt to tell me what you dreamt about. We wander into the kitchen and get coffee started. You watch or help me grind the coffee beans, and then we make cashew milk together. This is my morning meditation, just doing these little things with you. In fact, just waking up with you is enough to ground me. I love you, so much Jude.

We still live in the little one bedroom duplex, but it is suiting us just fine for now. Your dad began prepping the garden in the back and I can’t wait to get back outside with you every day. Being outside is kind of our thing.. also, wearing very little clothes or no clothes when possible is also our thing. Being naked is the best, you think so too. Even though we are in a one bedroom, we got you a twin size bed this year and you loved it the first week, but now you are in our bed pretty much every night. Some nights it seems like we play musical beds but again, this is something I love. I love being so close to you.

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So, alright, you are almost 3. You are so independent sometimes it makes me nervous, so please just remember that as you grow up, I am never going to lessen the strings that connect our hearts, not matter where you go. I love you, more than I have ever loved anyone or thing, its at a different level. I hope that you still give me kisses like you do now as you grow up, and I hope that even when you don’t need me as much, you still want my hugs because they will always be here for you. I will always be here for you. I love you, more than words my Jude bug.

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A Letter to Jude

Today, June 20, 2013, you had your first birthday. I keep wanting to say, “I cannot believe it” or “Time has gone by too fast” and while those sayings do hold some truth, the past year of my life with you really does not seem like that much of a flash. I can and will always remember every detail about the day you were born too….

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It was incredible Jude. YOU are incredible.

I am not going to go through all the details of my labor with you in this note though do not worry, but I will never forget the moment you were placed into my arms. We all took a beautiful 2 hour nap together directly after you were born and then it was time to go home. This is another very memorable moment to me, the moment that your father and I left the birthing center with you in the backseat. It was the weirdest feeling, finally being alone with you and you were so helpless.

That is when it began to sink in that I had a very important job now, a job that scared me (a lot), a job I had NO way of training for but it was a job that began right away. My purpose is to keep you safehealthy, and loved no matter what age you are or what kind of man you grow up to be. This will always be my job.

Words cannot express just how loved you are by your father and myself… or how much love and joy you bring to your grandparents, uncles, great grandparents, friends, or even random people we encounter. Jude, you are special and already have such a fun personality. You make me laugh everyday.

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I would do anything for you, anything to keep you happy and loved. There have been days that you just want tp be held ALL day, despite what I though I had planned for the day, so I wear you in a sling or wrap you on my back o let you feel comforted or even nap there. There have been days where you won’t nap at all (which is not surprising because you do not sleep for too long at a time at this point) so I lay down and cuddle with you or do whatever I can to comfort you. It is pretty much all about you, all the time Jude, and that is okay.

I will always cherish the snuggles and sweet naps I get with you because I know that you will be a little boy soon and will only seek more and more independence. Although this does make me sad, it also makes me excited. I become to happy and joyful as I see you beginning to learn new things and skills and as I watch you begin to grow up, I can do nothing but love you all along the way.

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Happy First Birthday baby.

I have SO much love for you and promise to always do everything in my power to keep you happy, healthy, and safe. Thankyou for the incredible joy and love you have brought me this past year.

Love always,

M om

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