Orion's 1st Year : Month-by-Month
Her transition from womb to world
Life became the brightest it’s ever been as our dear little lady, Orion Terry Smith joined the world on Thursday, July 11th at 12:22am after 24 hours of amazingly raw labor. The amount of unconditional knowing, love and support that was present to bring her into the world has given connection a whole new meaning. Seeing my incredible husband, Daniel with our little lady just melts my whole being! Our little lady, whom I could stare at for hours has truly been one of life’s greatest blessings and couldn’t be more stoked to share her with the world! A massive, massive shout out to our dear friend and doula, @pondwond for your unconditional love and presence in bringing Orion into the world! And thank you to all those who have spread so much love into our lives!
It’s been one full week that this sweet soul has been in our physical world. They say there is no love like a Mother’s love and to hear it is one thing, to experience it, well, what’s a whole different reality. I look at her and tears fill my eyes. Yes, hormones. But, this, this is so much more. For 41 weeks and 2 days this precious little soul grew in my womb. Her communication was that of jabs and nudges into various parts of my core. The rest, it was all built on trust. Trust that she was growing strong and healthy. Trust that my body, mind and soul could support this immaculate little being as she descended into the world. Now, our communication is that of various cues, sounds, but mostly intuition. The first few days were truly some of the hardest, having this precious, perfect little being, her trying to figure out the world and us, trying to figure out her in the world! These past few days have been so beautiful as we’ve gotten into a rhythm and are really starting to learn one another.
My sweet Orion, you are everything I dreamed of and more! Community, family, friends, you name it, thank you for all the love and support! We couldn’t be more blessed!
One whole month of being this little ladies mama and my goodness, my heart couldn't be more full. We had a really rough couple weeks as we have been working through her colic, yet have found the most beautiful rhythm and natural remedies that have given her and us such lovely relief. She has taught me immense patience, absolute dedication, the necessity of being in the moment and truly slowing down. She's strengthened my understanding of unconditional love and has created space for me to fall in love with her daddy even more than I thought possible. She's determined. She's independent. She's such a lover. She's got the most beautiful little soul. She's got the most vibrant, curious blue eyes. Her milk drunk cuddles are my favorite. Her love for her talking elephant fascinates me. Her ability to interact with us already has given my days new purpose. Her innocence, grounds me. I cherish every feeding as I stare into her eyes and hold her tiny little hand. As I know, it will not always be this tiny. Orion, thank you for choosing me as your mama and already teaching me so much about myself, and life in your month here on earth. Community, thank you for the outpouring of love as it is so graciously received. ASP family, your patience during this time has been much appreciated as this time, this time is immensely valuable. Do you enjoy these updates as much as I love sharing them? Tell me more about what you'd like to know!
A package arrived, I excitedly opened it. This onesie was tucked inside. I turned to my husband, "Love, who sent this?" There was no name, no card. I immediately messaged our family groups assuming it was one of them. As the replies of "no" started to trickle in, it hit. I messaged my very dear friend, Gabby. "Did you send this?" Her reply, a gif that I knew meant a "YES!" Tears began to fill my eyes. Yes, she would be the one to think of something as heart loving as this. This, this is her history.
This is Orion's foundation. Her daddy, born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. Myself, born and raised in Southern California. Our meeting, our connection, truly beyond a dream, one in which our love has led to this little soul being in the world. From the very beginning of Dan and I meeting, we've been extremely intentional. Intentional in our visa application. Intentional in our three, almost four years of long distance. Intentional in his immigration into the States. Intentional in our wedding, truly one of the most magical days of our lives. In our connection. In our love. In our friendship. In our relationship.
In the building of our family. In the amount of love and care we spread to this little being. Intention has brought us to this very moment. This moment of our sweet little seven week old lady,
Orion Terry Smith wrapped in the flags of our foundation, laid upon a very special piece of fabric from our meeting spot of Mafia Island, Tanzania.
This, this is our reality. One in which I count my blessings for each and everyday!
My little lady. Oh my, this little soul. Her smile, her laughter, her heart, her immense eye contact, her curiosity, her growing rolls under her chin, on her arms and thighs just make my heart beat like it's never done before. They say they grow quickly, but this quickness isn't fully understood until it just starts happening in front of your eyes. Each day, she's reflecting something new, holding onto her toys, expressing her want to stay longer in the bath, becoming more curious on our daily walks, holding my hand as I change her, my boob as I feed her, laughing as I talk to her and kiss every ounce of her sweetness. Every day the magic unfolds, my heart expands and our love, our connection, our understanding deepens. To say I love her more and more everyday is truly an understatement. She's the greatest blessing of this lifetime. She is everything I had dreamed of plus so much more of just pure HERNESS (if that's even a word)! I committed to being fully present when with her and was afraid I wouldn't be able to do so as I love my job and clients so incredibly much. But, my friend. I've never been so aligned with presence than I am now as every moment, every experience is just felt with so much ease, so much lightheartedness, so much love, so much knowing. My friend, be present with your loved ones. These moments move so quickly!
THREE MONTHS. My sweet love is already three months. I got asked the other day, “What is your favorite part about being a mom?” My immediate response, the mornings. There is this special time, about an hour and a half. She wakes, I wake from her movement and little noises. I change her. We feed. And then, magic really starts to unfold. I’ll lay her on the pillow, her head next to my head, our eyes in one another’s focal range. We talk. We giggle. We stare at one another. Me in amazement, in love, in gratitude. Her in wonderment, in curiosity, in what I’m understanding to be her expression of love. Her hands move the whole time as she grabs finger by finger, hand by the whole, you name it. They just move, like her little antennas. It’s this intimate, serene, sincere exchange of a mama and her baby. It’s with these very moments that I’ve deeply, wholeheartedly come to understand an additional purpose in this lifetime. To hold space for this dear little love to learn, to grow, to explore, to create, to wonder, to dream, to bring to life all her soul desires. AND to know, feel, understand and be unconditional love. For her, for the blessing of life, I share my gratitude each and everyday.
Happy Friday friend! It truly has been such an incredible week as I started Monday with a reading from a medium that I’ve come to admire and adore so incredibly much! Believe it or not, her name is also Ashley Strong (@light_love_and_spirit)! The reading started off with really being in a space of honoring this new phase of life! Trying to find balance with family, business and self! Although, I feel this on a regular basic, hearing it from a higher power truly brought a deep sense of awareness and in that awareness, gratitude for this existence that I, we have created and now Orion has joined! For as long as I could remember, I’ve been so aware of wanting to leave such a strong legacy. In this knowing, I’ve been so intentionally about the minute and massive moments that have ultimately culminated to today! These time capsules here are just a few reflections of this little souls light that already shines so brightly. My awareness, creates space for her awareness. My light, creates space for her light. My love, creates space for her Iove. And most definitely the other way around. Her awareness, light and love creates space for me to dive deeper into the meaning of this lifetime. The knowing in the balance. The deep desire for a strong legacy. The commitment to being the best and most present version of myself so this very soul has space to do the same! Orion, your presence has given my life a whole new meaning. That you for choosing me to be your mama! Friends, be present with your loved ones. Be in gratitude for the minute and massive moments.
You see, it’s Halloween my friend. It’s a holiday that truthfully has been an afterthought over the years, putting together costumes with whatever I can muster up from my closet. Although my hubby and I aren’t dressing up, you better believe this dear soul is getting dressed up on her first ever Halloween. My goodness, do I sound like such a mom right now. Can you tell what she is? I’ll give you a hint, they have very, very long necks. For as along as I can remember, her existence has been one of absolute intention. When preparing her physical space for her arrival, that of her nursery, we did so with an African safari / jungle animal theme (scroll back to see time capsules of the space) to really bring to life the roots in which her daddy and I began to grow long before her creation. He’s born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. We, met on a very small island off the coast of Tanzania, called Mafia Island. And although we made the decision to live and raise our family in the United States, it’s so very important for this dear soul to understand her history. With this, for her first Halloween, this happy little love is representing as a giraffe as we hope to one day very soon, take her back to South Africa, to witness for herself this magical land that daddy came from and all the majestic animals that call this place home. Orion, you’ve given my life a whole new meaning. I adore your curiosity, your joy and this immense voice that is already starting to surface. I do hope you look back at all the time capsules your mama (yes, you were born to a photographer mama) documented and see the absolutely intention, the immense love and pure joy that makes up our existence! Happy Halloween community! You amaze me.
And just like that, little love is already five months. She’s been on earth side for five whole months. As if possible, I become more enamored by her everyday. They say there is a massive growth spurt right around this time and my goodness, is it so apparent. Her expressions are getting louder, her laughter is getting more hearty, her opinions are becoming more clear, her mind is moving quicker - sometimes her limbs keep up, other times, not so much. She’s determined. She’s curious. She’s so loving. She’s obsessed with her daddy’s voice - I get it, he’s got a rad South African accent. She’s mesmerized by our daily nature walks. Everything goes into her mouth. And everyday, her smile is the first thing I see when I wake up of which gives my day purpose, meaning, intention, wholeness. One of my sisters, her auntie asked me the other day if I’ve adjusted to motherhood. I said, “It feels so right, so normal, like she’s been here the whole time. I’m exhausted. And my heart now lives outside of my body as I love this soul more than imaginable. And it’s the greatest blessing of this lifetime.” Baby love, thank you for being a reminder, each and everyday of living life with purpose, with intention, with heart opening love. I adore you.
First Christmas : 5.5 months
I truly hope your holidays are as vibrant and joyful as this ones eyes and smile! We’ve been watching this ones curiosity expand as she’s now sitting up on her own, doing a dancing crawling thing and more enamored by her toys than ever. And have spent the past few days sharing all her and her yumminess with some our loved ones! Having her light in our lives has been one of the greatest blessings of not only this past year, but this lifetime. She is pure joy, the perfect expression of her and everything we didn’t know we wanted/needed and more. Happiest of holidays dear soul!
SIX months of loving this soul on the outside world! Six months of being this little souls mama! Six months of loving this little soul more than the heart knew possible. Six months of being in curiosity, exploration, nonverbal communication, trusting, listening, falling, understanding, growing, learning, loving and oh so much more with one another. Throughout my pregnancy, I went through a plethora of emotions, questions, unknowns. How was I going to be a mama? How would I run my business as a mama? How would mine and Dans relationship going to be affected? How? How? How? Everyday I am reminded of the answers to those questions. The how comes in the love. The how comes in the trust. The how comes in the curiosity. The how comes in the exploration, listening, growing, learning, you name it. Every morning I wake to her little noises, her nails against her co-sleeper, her letting me know she’s ready to start the day. I look over, smile and say hello! She greets me with a smile, a squeal of some sort followed by the excitement of flapping her body parts. This interaction, is everything. This interaction is how it is all possible! The days are long, the exhaustion is real, but the moments, the moments are so fleeting and the love, the love so deep. Orion, thank you for being my why, my how, my purpose, my intention, my inspiration for everything in this lifetime.
This rad little soul turned seven months old this week. With each passing day, I am mesmerized by her beauty, by her curiosity, by her love, by her being a constant mirror, a constant reminder that I am an intentional woman doing my very best to raise an intentional daughter- there is so much power in that reality. Everyday I am committed to being the best possible version of myself. Some days, this comes with ease and grace. Other days, it comes with tears, exhaustion, confusion, humiliation. Regardless, she is watching, she is listening, she is mimicking, she is learning, she is growing. Her foundation is building. For this, I am honored to be her mama.
This soul, this sweet, sweet soul. She’s been earth-side for eight months. Eight months of loving her more than imaginable. Eight months of being mesmerized by her curiosity, her growth, her fun-loving sass. Eight months of learning what it means to be her mama. Eight months of literally falling in love with and being reminded of the greatness within the minute details of life. The subtle patterns, the birds chirping, the vibrancy of fruits and veggies, nonverbal communication, yet unspoken understood love, being fully present and opening my heart as wide as it can possibly know at this point. Everyday I learn something new, something refreshing, something frustrating about this mom, daughter dynamic and of course, mom, daughter and daddy dynamic. Because of this little soul, I love deeper, I feel deeper, I breath deeper, I expand my roots deeper, I understand deeper, I dream deeper, I ultimately live deeper knowing she is feeling, watching, listening, learning, becoming her. This soul, choosing me to be her mama and my amazing hubby as her dada has been one of the greatest gifts of this lifetime. Her laughter is my music, her hugs are my strength, her smiles are my inspiration, her curiosity - my reason for being the best possible version of myself.
Nine months. This little love has been out now as long as she was in, which I find so immensely fascinating. Getting to watch her grow in my womb was one of the greatest experiences of my life. And now getting to watch her grow on this outside world and really blossom into this insanely rad and loving and happy little soul has been the greatest journey of my life and quite frankly why I feel like I was put on this earth at this very time. As I took these 9 month portraits, in the Easter dress her grandmother so proudly bought her and unfortunately, hasn’t gotten to witness in person - I am filled with such an array of emotions as there is this euphoria, this giddiness, this love, this unification, this connection. And on the other hand, there is this sacredness, this unknowing, this intensity of living through this pandemic right now. Experiencing the realness of the stay at home order, where we are confined to the walls of our house and the nature surrounds, hurts my soul. It is my greatest hope and my greatest intention that the reality we’re facing today, is only going to create a stronger, more connected, more supported society that my daughter will grow up in. When she’s older we can look back on this time of this pandemic, this immense global suffering and honor the lives that were lost, honor the lessons that were learned, and take it for being able to better and advance ourselves as human beings and society as a whole. Sweet baby girl - your joy, your smile, your immense love for being in nature, your curiosity for dirt and all that is around you is my guiding light. Thank you for giving me the greatest gift of this lifetime, being your mama. Happy nine months you little nature lover.
First Mother's Day - 9.5 months
I’ve written a Mother’s Day post three times, each time, somehow it not saving. For me, that is the universe telling me to just speak, speak from the heart. I look at this little soul, my sweet, fun, independent, determined, beautiful little girl and am in awe that she is my daughter and I am her mother. She is my daughter and I am her mother. Those words, those two phrases, they light up my entire being. She, she is everything I could I ever dreamed of and oh so much more in all that she is meant to be. To witness. To explore. To love, oh to love this deeply. To be held accountable. To live with my heart so wide open. To play. To sing. To dance. To share my likes and watch them resonate with hers. To be in such intimate exchange. To communicate without words. To hold someone so close knowing that my existence and my husbands existence, combined to create her very existence. This, this is truly the greatest honor. Being a mama, her mama has been a dream of mine for as long as I could remember and for this to now be my reality, I am the happiest, fullest, most presently grateful version of myself. To all the mamas out there, my heart is with you. The strength. The courage. The exhaustion. The selflessness. It is all seen, all heard, all so very much felt. To all the mamas-to-be, oh am I over joyed for what you are about to experience. To all those out there, who have lost their little soul or are unable to bring this dream into reality, you are warriors, you are radiant, you are truly incredible! I am with you. And to all the women out there, keep shining your lights, keep sharing your voices, keep being exactly who you are as this world is blessed to have you! So much love to all of you. Happy Mother’s Day
Little miss determined and independent turned 10 months this past week. As the days keep moving forward, so too does the expansiveness of my heart. Recently, one of my sisters asked me what it was like being a mama? In that moment, I was flooded with thoughts, with emotions. How do I even put into words what it means to be this little loves mama? It means falling in love, more and more each day with this human being that was created by the love of myself and my husband. It means creating space, an environment for her to discover, to explore, the subtly understand this place called earth. It means being immensely present, being present as one day she wakes saying mama, the next she eats a meal beyond comprehension and the next she’s nonchalantly taking her first steps. It means looking at the world through the lens of curiosity. It means falling in love with subtle everyday occurrences such as smelling a flower, turning anything into a musical instrument, putting our feet in the ocean water. With her there, experiencing this all, it brings back this element of wonder, like everything is covered in glitter. It means sleepless nights. It means constant kisses. It means endless laughter. It means them chocking on food. It means them finding anything they can, off the floor and eating it. It means patience. It means a unspoken understanding. It means immense trust. It means living a life with more purpose than I thought imaginable. It means being the very best version of myself for my daughter. It means working even harder before to ensure she doesn’t suffer. It means understanding a love that creates this strength, this bond, this wholeness. Everyday, being a mama, being this little souls mama brings about a new meaning as she is constantly growing, constantly exploring, constantly becoming more her. For this, everyday is a blessed day.
Happy 10 months little love!
Yesterday, this light turned 11 months old. My husband asked, “Are you going to take photos every month of every year?” I laughed, and said, “No, after the first year, just every six months.” And then giggled some more. Who am I kidding? This little soul is going to have so many photos of her as she chose a mother who is a photographer. I’d say she knew what she was doing. With all the heaviness that has been happening around us, this little soul's love, light, curiosity and joy has truly been my anchor and the greatest gift, for us and all those whom she comes into contact with. Every person we walk by, she looks at them, deeply, very deeply, screams hello to get their attention and then giggles and waves. She now does the same thing as we leave, this time screaming BYE. Her daddy recently taught her how to give eskimo kisses and it literally makes me melt. Speaking of her daddy, there is one very special photo in here as we’ve been celebrating as a family - her daddy got THE call, one he’s been waiting for years. We will share more as the time comes. I stare at her in amazement as she is the product of such immense love, determination, awareness and global expansiveness. Her South African roots are known, felt as I watch her drum on our jembe, shake her booty, bounce her legs, throw her hand in the air and just sway. It is in her. Her connection is known, felt as when she looks at you, she does so, deeply. She feels others, deeply. She processes situations, deeply. Afterall, she is a cancer baby. Us empaths. My babe, our babe, this babe - she will grow in a home where hard conversations are had, love is felt, shared and encouraged. She will grow in a home where she knows the value of human connection, compassion, understanding, upliftment and acceptance. She will grow, oh she will grow with so much greatness in her soul. Happy 11 months my little love. I am honored, blessed, humbled, infinitely grateful you chose me as your mama each and every day. You are truly my greatest light, greatest teacher, greatest inspiration.
Orion Terry Smith,
I write this, just days away from your first birthday. My little girl - the soul who I so cautiously watched grow in my womb - who I so intentionally committed to safely bringing into the world - who I so humbly raise to the very best of my ability each and everyday, you have changed every part of my reality.
Each and every breath, I am beyond grateful you chose me to be your mom, you chose your dad to be your daddy and us as your family. You are everything I could have dreamed of and so much more and you are so you, so beautifully, uniquely, wholly you. For this, I am beyond grateful.
I pray that you continue to grow listening to the voice within, the pulse of your heart, the love that you're surrounded by, the expansiveness that is our world. I pray that you never forget how immensely supported, loved and honored you are. I pray that you remain kind, humble, open, educated, accepting, conscious, funny and connected to all that is around you. I pray that you always speak your voice, that you shine your light, that you acknowledge those who have guided you along the way and that your heart, your heart remains the guide. I pray that you grow in a home filled with so much love, so much understanding, so much joy, so much realness that it becomes your compass.
Thank you for being you. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for being my greatest teacher, my greatest guide, my greatest inspiration. I love you beyond what words could ever describe.
Thank you Alyssa Boynton Photography for these incredible portraits! We will forever be grateful.
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