Mama Joy's Filling My Cup

Hello lovelies... are you parenting too? 

Mini heart explosions, staring the day away observing their every move, nuzzling so hard it brings you to tears, feeling a kind of deep love that's hard to put into words? It’s so true, all of it... and it brings such joy to my life— having a baby.

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It’s not possible to quantify how much happiness bringing another human life into this world gives a parent. Let’s just agree it’s absolutely the best thing ever! Suddenly you're home with this amazing being and you feel the desperation to do things as if there is a set guide book on how to be the best parent raising the greatest kid on earth— anyone else feel that? Take some deep breaths, tune-in to your courage, faith and trust your intuition. You will feel so connected with your tiny babe and in my experience... you will not be lead astray. You're a brilliant team. You are YOUR team, no one else's. 

Of course, we will call friends, ask our own mother's and lean into resources for guidance, especially if you're a first time parent. In my quest to find answers to questions during my pregnancy and once our little bunny entered the world, I came across one too many articles that frankly scared the bejeezus out of me. I wasn’t intending to stumble upon so many; “what they don’t tell you” kind of stories about vaginas, fatigue and more. No offense, I’m an open book and I like some insight as much as the next one, but I really wanted and needed to focus on all the good and encourage my powerful mind and body to keep manifesting the greatest experience of a lifetime. 

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So for all of you; mamas, soon-to-be, hoping to be or praying for a miracle. YOU are incredible. I REPEAT, trust in this perfect journey and your undeniable intuition. Mama joys are an everyday occurrence and as easy as it can be to slip into negative thought patterns of doubt, worry and even failure... I PRACTICE catching myself, shifting perspective and choosing trust, courage and joy. We are six months into parenthood and a good portion of it feels like I’m getting to re-live being a child. Parents, do you feel me? Here's some fun things to try if you're just getting your feet wet. 

FUN and FUNNY (me not the baby)

  • Early to bed, early to rise… passing out mid meal, with a bit of drool. 
  • Making mouth noises ranging from fart sounds to motorboats.  
  • Singing songs like you know the melody and lyrics but just make up your own, terribly cute isn't it?
  • Performing giggly goo’s and monkey moves as if that is strong choice to get your babe to laugh. It is though, am I wrong?
  • Challenging your character voices during story time to see if your baby recognizes the changes... the looks I get from our girl are priceless. 

These are just a few of the ways in which we get to visit our playful minds again, all for the sake of getting the love and attention from our little explorer looking to discover new things. 

HONOR

  • The ability to pull yourself out of a deep slumber at lightening speed to feed and or nurture your babe back to sleep. And then yourself.
  • Becoming Octamom or dad, yes a parent with multiplying, helpful appendages where suddenly even your toes, feet & elbows become more useful than you thought was humanly possible. 
  • Your partner or whatever kind of system you have raising your child. We are all imperfect and feel it so verbal validation and giving our loving support as consistently as changing diapers is a major WIN on all accounts for everyone.  

It's incredibly important to applaud yourself often and wrap your parenting team up in compassion. We are responsible for a new life and it's not easy... honor all that you are doing.   

DELIGHT

  • The milestone changes that happen so quickly, from smiling while they sleep, giggling out loud, roll over, get teeth, hug you and taste food for the first time, to name a few.  
  • The connection you create between your tribe... the bond is incredible. It's indescribable and will cause your heart to swell repeatedly. 
  • The poops, especially the explosive one's that travel beyond the diaper and can cause a 15 min time-out at any part of your day. Just lean into a fun pew-wee potty song and it will be over fast. You just must delight in this. 

Sometimes we get so busy we miss what's happening right in front of us. The number of times I get delightfully sidetracked from perhaps what I was intending to do to see our girl play with a toy independently, explore a new space, sleep like an angel... or whatever it may be, is worthy of reminding myself to be present. 

LOVE

  • Speak it, show it, be it. I don't believe a baby can be over loved in any capacity. Smother away, I say... a million kisses a day.
  • Relish in the love you receive, embrace it fully and let it guide you like a light through the questionable, worry-some times. 
  • LOVE yourself for all the choices you make, the things you learn and grow from as a parent and for braving what some would consider being the most challenging thing a human can experience— raising a happy, healthy, kind child. AMEN

My heart was set on writing a blog about a few of the extraordinary pieces of parenthood that make us smile. The LOVE we give and receive is simply perfection. You can't go wrong with loving your babe. The joys of being a parent are steadfast. Growing abundantly daily. Remind yourself of these very things when difficult moments arrive. And there will be difficult moments. If any of you parents who have far more experience than me have some fun stories to share back... I'm ALL ears! Thank you so so much for popping by. Happy parenting! 

My mother’s gifts of courage to me were both large and small. The latter are woven so subtly into the fabric of my psyche that I can hardly distinguish where she stops and I begin.
— Maya Angelou— Mom & Me Quotes

xo Andrea

Happy Fourth Of July America

Happy Fourth Of July Everyone!

As we celebrate America's Independence today with family and friends... let LOVE soar from our hearts to the hearts of all beings everywhere! 

Pinterest 

Pinterest 

This photo reminded me of going to the St. Louis VP Fair when I was younger. We loved seeing the air show and the incredible fireworks as night fell illuminating the river and reflection of the Arch. Isn't is fun to reflect upon all the Fourth Of July celebrations you've shared over the years? Whether it be traditions with family or various groups of friends cooking out and enjoying the energy that fills the day? The activities, conversations and memories that you take with you each year are a blessing. So seize the day, remember those who continue to serve for us to live in the land of the free and brave and let's pay that gratitude forward with courage and love. 

The essence of America—that which really unites us—is not ethnicity, or nationality, or religion. It is an idea—and what an idea it is: that you can come from humble circumstances and do great things. That it doesn’t matter where you came from, but where you are going
— Condoleezza Rice
Photo By Erik Almas

Photo By Erik Almas

Beaming out my happiest 4th vibes to all of you... with ice cream in hand, per usual these days! Big hugs and help me count down to Baby Almas being born- We are so excited to meet our little girl and thank you all for the fun support we continue to receive. Go enjoy some fireworks tonight!

XO ANDREA

Fill Today With LOVE... HAPPY VALENTINES DAY

Happy Valentines Day Everyone! 

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Pinterest

I know this is one of those commercial holidays that depending on how you look at it, may not be your favorite day... I've been there and can pretty much guarantee, we've all been there at one time or another, am I right? Let's see if we can shift our perspective and let go of that feeling.

Today doesn't have to be about celebrating the LOVE you're either In or Not In with someone else but it can be simply about celebrating LOVE.  You can make it a day that feels amazing no matter what your relationship status is.  And ladies I say, if you're waiting on a guy to overly woo you, I would maybe focus on wooing him... for the joy of doing it and not worry about what you get in return. Try it on for size if you never have... see how that feels? 

TIPS ON WOOING HIM

  • Make the dinner reservation at his favorite spot
  • Call for the uber
  • Cook dinner for him
  • Create something personal for him; photo book, memory video
  • Leave a handwritten card; in his lap top, under pillow, on his car seat

TIPS ON WOOING YOU

  • Take your favorite fitness class today
  • Schedule a self love day; mani/pedi, massage, facial
  • Meditate; visualize the love you want to have in your life
  • Plan a dinner with friends
  • Have a cozy PJ night and watch a funny movie
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Pinterest

As I save the best for last... indulge in a sensual desert for the love of LOVE! My personal favorite are dark chocolate or yogurt covered strawberries. They are really fun to make too should you want to give that a go...

Click here  for a recipe from the Food Network I love. I used the stove top versus microwave and organic strawberries. Mine didn't turn out quite this pretty but I am sure equally delicious!

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Pinterest

Have a loving day no matter what! Tell the people in your life your love them, share your joy with people around you. If you have any fun tips you want to add to the mix, leave them in the comments, I love hearing from you guys. All you need is LOVE.

XO ANDREA

LOVE IS EVERYWHERE, DO YOU TAKE TIME TO SEE IT?

Hello there, how are you guys today?  

I've recently re-read my blog intro and realized I have a little updating to do! I'm struck by the notion that so much of what brings me joy is taking time to see the little daily doses of love that surround us. Since I didn't have a category titled "Everyday Joys" I was inclined to create one.  I hope this will be a space for weekly posts, simple and true that uplift YOU! That rhymed... a poet and I didn't know it, how fun! 

Ask yourself: Do you take time to see & feel love daily? Do you pause long enough to enjoy the presence of it? What does it look like for you? Can I inspire you to soak it up?

Just a few short weeks ago I found myself in the winter wonderland of Aré, Sweden tucked into a beautiful log cabin with my fiancé, Erik to wrap up 2016 with some wonderful friends. I stroll into the kitchen and catch myself gazing through delicate heart wreath’s hanging in the window and out into the magic of Mother Nature. I smile, I feel peaceful and simply; am reminded that LOVE is everywhere. 

Take time to see it. 

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The common eye only sees the outside of things, and judges by that, but the seeing eye pierces through and sees and reads the heart and soul finding there capacities which the outside didn’t indicate or promise, and which the other kind couldn’t detect.
— Mark Twain

Lot's of love to you all and I hope 2017 is bringing you lot's of joyful moments so far. I love hearing from you guys, so drop me a comment or question if you have one... anytime.

XO ANDREA

BLISSFULLY ENGAGED & INSPIRED

Well, what can I say... I've been dreaming of the day I'd fall in love with the man I felt certain I'd get to grow old with. I've watched Father of the Bride more times than I'll admit, noted the song, When You Say Nothing At All and a few others as potential wedding tunes and looked forward to the day my Dad could walk me down the isle. We all enjoy a good love story don't we? Here is a little piece of mine....

Photo By  Tania Soderman

As a woman in my 30's, may I give recognition to an old English phrase from 1892 extolling the virtue of patience, "All things come to those who wait" often used as "Good things come to those who wait" [Wikipedia], both of which I'm fond of and have always found inspiring. I know we can all attest, one's romantic life isn't just rose petals and dreamy moments but I believe when you allow yourself to be open, get clear on who you are and trust the timing of your life— when the good arrives, you are ready and it will light you up and fill you with love and gratitude beyond measure. 

Photo by  Tania Soderman

I was pretty certain after a short time, Erik was the one. So aligned as we'd share our hopes and dreams. It became evident we both were excited about getting married, starting a family,  continue to support and challenge each other and look forward to the years of growing wiser and older through it all.  Even after countless conversations, laughs and smiles about looking forward to doing all these things .. nothing prepared me for the emotional moment he surprised me with popping the question, "Andrea Bogart, will you be my wife"? A blubbering and ecstatic "yes of course I'll be your wife" came out of me. 

Our families; my mom and dad, his mom and grandpa, all were in Sonoma for a few days overlapping one another's travels for Thanksgiving and we were so excited to have them meet and visit our Sonoma home. We enjoyed a wonderful weekend together and planned to continue to relax, walk, shop, eat and hang together on Monday.  Our families came up with a few reasons why they couldn't go on our favorite hike with us mid-morning. Not thinking anything of it we took off to quickly do it on our own. It was a beautiful, sunny morning, I was in my usual Aloyoga attire and Erik in sweats... we were off! The hike takes us about 45 minutes usually and sits in the slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains of Sonoma Valley. We often stop and take some yoga photos and I force Erik to do some Instagram stories with me and we repeatedly talk about how much we love the variety of what nature showcases on this hike. The sky above is a perfect blue with powdery white clouds, the water is flowing through the creek from all the rain, giant mushrooms are sprouting along the path, I'm snapping photos of clover patches & yellow leaves the size of my face, the sun is glistening upon the dewy ground and red berry trees dazzle against the lush shades of green. My soul is soothed. 

 At the half-way point is an adorable, little pond we always stop at. As we neared it this day, I see an old wooden canoe. Blonde as blonde can be I say, "what the heck is a canoe doing here"? Erik says "come on, let's take it out". I reply with a concerned "honey, we can't just take out someones canoe". I notice a pep in Eriks step and as he spins around with a huge smile on his face. Walking closer, I now recognize it's the vintage canoe we shot a piece for our wine launching Stories By The Glass recently and in it laid one gorgeous white rose.  I'm feeling so many things at once; confusion, oh my gosh what's he doing, overjoyed, emotional, shaky, madly in love, nervous, excited, how did he manage all this... lot's of rapid thoughts. He takes my hands we climb in and paddle out. The water calms, I suddenly feel so at peace looking into the eyes of this amazing man. Loving words are exchanged. A stunning ring is placed on my finger. Tears of joy have filled our eyes. I want to leap into his arms but the wobbly canoe advises otherwise. We laugh and enjoy it.  We're Engaged! 

Photo By  Tania Soderman
Photo By Tania Soderman

Photo By Tania Soderman

Photo By  Tania Soderman

Glowing with happiness, Erik informs me our wonderful and talented friend Tania Soderman is hiding in the bushes taking photos, along with the three hardworking gentlemen it took to get the canoe there and Howard the canoe owner.  As we got out to finish the hike and they all emerged from the forrest. I was astounded at the help and generosity he had from several friends to pull this off. And now we are to finish the hike and head home to an intimate engagement party that's waiting for us, Erik explains! What!!!? Am I in a romance novel?

I see my family and his, dressed up waiting for us on the patio that's lined with gorgeous roses everywhere. As I hug him again I'm completely flooded with emotions and I spread that joyous, messy cry to our families. Continuing in, there are dozens of white roses showcasing our beautiful home, additional smiles and congratulations from some close friends that have joined and one of our favorite Sonoma restaurants, The Girl And The Fig is catering. It's all so touching and special. I pull myself together with a quick shower and change out of my yoga attire and into something more suitable and enjoy celebrating all together over an incredible meal and champagne toasts! 

This has been one of the most special times of my life. As my loving brother says, "sis, you've found someone that really shows and expresses how much you mean to him and that's awesome". I cherish how blessed I am to have someone like Erik and I will strive to always make him feel that, as always he does me. I've gotten choked up over and over again writing this. His grandpa asked if it felt different now. I think the most exciting difference for me is calling each other fiancé out loud... it's so fun and exciting to hear it and say it. I love it! Not to mention the rush of love we've felt pouring in from all of our friends, families and those supporting the next steps in our journey is incredible. 

Everyone helped so much and played a part and pulling this surprise off and I'm incredibly thankful. A special thank you to Howard, for so graciously gifting us that canoe. It's magnificent & we have such a special connection to now. And Erik... there is a lifetime of love that awaits us and I'm so very happy to share it with you. 

Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star
— E.E. Cummings

I hope love inspires you everyday in some way. Let it guide your heart to wondrous places and share it with the world. Thank you for stopping by and if you have a favorite love quote or song or story you want to share in the comments, please do! I enjoy our little Inspirational Addict community and hope it grows and grows! 

Squeeze The Day

When Life gives you lemons... make a wreath and lemonade of course too! 

Sometimes the lemons that roll our way are the very things that wake us up and strengthen us! Go get'm today, SQUEEZE THE DAY!

Strength Necklace by The Giving Keys, one of my favorite INSPIRATIONAL companies founded by my beautiful friend, Caitlin Crosby.  Check them out!

Happy National Best Friends Day

It's hard to keep up with all the Celebrated Best Day's erupting over social media anymore... but National Best Friends Day deserves a shout out! Take a moment, stroll down memory lane and think of the best friends you've had growing up and the special humans that are in your life today. Did you ever share a best friends necklace? I always felt I needed more halves, you? I wanted to wear it with more than just one friend, I still feel that today.

We all share something universal in this notion of having friends. A person or persons you share your up's and down's with and your funny and embarrassing moments.  It's that phone call you pick up, the ears that listen, the voice with sound advice you trust, honor and respect and wrap your heartfelt love and support into. Did you know that having friendships is essential to living a balanced, healthy life? So pick up the phone and say "thank you" to that best friend or friends that you surround yourself with. 

Friends are like Angels who lift you up when your wings have forgotten how to fly
— Pinterest

From so many different chapters of my life, I have the fondest memories I cherish with some wonderful humans and even my pets throughout childhood that nurtured a relationship in what I consider to be a best friend. Thank you, every last one of you! 

What does having a best friend mean to you? Honor those in your life with a little extra love, even if it's just done in spirit! 

Check out The Giving Keys for a beautiful, new best friends collection. Do they make them for multiple best friends I ask???

Happy MLK Day

Happy MLK Day gang! I was scrolling through Pinterest  last night to read some of the many great quotes from our beloved Martin Luther King Jr. and felt inspired to read a little more.

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Thank you to President Reagan for pushing through the hesitations and early objections about making MLK's birthday a national holiday and creating this day in memory of the extraordinary things Mr. Martin Luther King Jr. did for the world.  It's an opportunity for our youth to learn about how they too can grow to be strong individuals with a voice, live bravely, be leaders and experience freely from their hearts.  I believe when we strive to work from this place, our spirits soar and wonderful things develop. 

I bow with gratitude to all people who so eloquently use words and create great phrases which give us strength and empower us and we draw motivation from.  This is part of my practice as a yoga instructor and it's my hope that through teaching, I too can impact anyone who may take away something that resonates or feels good to them as I guide a practice. 

Be grateful for the leaders that help shift and grow our views of the world and may it inspire you to have an open heart and be a leader as well!

I stumbled upon a great article What to know about Martin Luther King Day at TIME.Com by Tessa Berenson @tcberenson - Check it out, it's a quick, informative read/ view.  If it inspires you, share it out loud with your family or friends.  We encourage ourselves by encouraging others.  If you have anything you want to share about MLK or your favorite quote please share it!

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