…and so so thankful I did.
4 years ago:
I was pretty miserable, even though on the outside I seemed happy. I had basically settled on the fact that I might not ever have kids, never be truly in love, and never have a job/ career that I enjoy. Then one August afternoon I heard about the EATM (Exotic Animal Training and Management) program in California. After spending several hours online googling and reading all the info I could find on the program, a new light shone inside of me and I knew that EATM was where I was supposed to go. I finally had something to look forward to, finally something that I really wanted to work towards. After going back to college to get pre-reqs to even be considered for EATM, then visiting the campus in California, I knew with all my heart that I belonged there. To get into the program would be a dream come true for me.
3 years ago:
I got accepted into the EATM program and I moved far away from my home and my family – to another country all by myself. (but with my 2 best furry friends, Angus & Zoey of course). Ready to start the most amazing adventure of my life.
1 year ago: (well slightly more than a year ago)
I graduated from EATM, married the man of my dreams (who was in my class at EATM), went on an amazing Disneyworld honeymoon, and then moved across the country from California to Chicago.We started our own business and for 2 animal lovers, it is our ultimate dream business. We get to educate people daily about the wonderful world of animals – and we now have over 50 animals of our own! Everyday is an adventure for us and we get to work together and be with our animals – happiness 🙂
and last month, another dream come true – the biggest dream of all: I became a mother.
We have the most beautiful, perfect little girl and we are so happy. Ava was born on July 18th at 8:22am.
It’s amazing what has happened in the last few years, and none of it would have happened if I hadn’t taken a chance.
I know it’s cliche, but I really had no idea how in love I would be with this little baby until I laid eyes on her. I could stare at her for hours and hours, she is just amazing. I fell head over heals in love with her the day she was born and I love her more each day. I didn’t think it was possible but I also fell even more in love with my husband! Just watching how he is with our daughter makes my heart smile. When we were on our way to the hospital the morning she was born, he said to me “I don’t even know how to hold a baby!” and I told him “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.”
He was more than fine. He is like a natural with her. He was the first person to talk to her and one of the first to hold her (after the Dr who delivered her and the nurse who cleaned her up). In the first 30 minutes of our daughter’s life, I think he took over 300 photos of her. Total proud daddy. I was really sick that entire first day (from the anesthesia) so that day was really a blur for me. Steve was wonderful and looked after our baby that entire day. I don’t think I even changed a diaper until she was 3 days old.
So needless to say things have been busy. Trying to run a business, look after a newborn and all the general care and feeding of over 50 animals that we currently have leaves us very little time for anything else. I do kind of get a little laugh when people say to me “oh you have a newborn – you must be exhausted from lack of sleep!!”. Well actually….I’m getting more sleep now than I did throughout my entire pregnancy. That was one of the worst things for me I found, as I just could not sleep. I had no problem falling asleep but then I was wide awake a couple hours later. I think I’ve watched just about every Lifetime Movie there is – like 3 times each. Now I actually get to sleep for several uninterrupted hours in a row! And there have been several times where Ava has slept for 7 hours straight, a real treat.
I have been terrible at blogging but in all honesty, being on the computer is the last thing I want to do now when I have a spare moment. I’d much rather sit and cuddle my baby or spend time with my husband and our animals. There is always something to do around here, that’s what happens when you live where you work! I’m not complaining though, I love my life and now that our sweet Ava is here, it really is a dream come true for me.
Joan VanCourt says
Jess, life is beautiful and a mystery. What a wonderful story you have told. Thank you for sharing your story and the beautiful pictures of your family. You are so blessed.
Kim Heggins says
What a wonderful story…I have been following you for some time and always love to hear your updates and this is an amazing one. Congratulations!
Heather H. says
Congratulations Jess!!! Ava is beautiful. I’m glad that you took the chance you did to follow your dream — it obviously was the right path for you as it led to so many wonderful things coming into your life. Wishing you much happiness always!
She is absolutely the most precious baby. My daughter’s fiance is the same way. It’s hard to believe we welcomed Abigail into our family almost a year ago. They grow up so fast, Jess. Absorb every moment with her and let Daddy take all the pictures he wants. You’ll be glad he did!
Many Many Blessings!
Thank you so much for this wonderful blog! I read all about your EATM experience, and it really shed light into how much work you really have to put in. I am going to eatm after i get my 5 prereqs, so your blog was extremely helpful and eye-opening. 🙂 I’m so glad your life has fallen together so beautifully.