MAV – 1 Month

Dear Mr. Michael Alexander:

You are a whole month [and a halfish] old already. You are such a beautiful, peaceful, content little baby.  I stare at you all day. Something I think about everyday?  How absolutely stunning you are.  You just are such a cute little guy.  You are becoming more and more alert from your newbie days.  You still sleep a lot and I’m guilty of holding you a lot.   I must confess I don’t hold you as much as I did Evan but that is for a couple reasons.  Reason 1 – Evan is here and he needs my love and attention too and 2 – you aren’t as picky as he was (or as I make him out to be, but it could have all been my fault, wanting him in my arms constantly).  You really do like to be on the boppy lounger or in your rock and play or swing.  You are just very relaxed except for between 10:30-12 and sometimes later.  Suddenly you are very picky, so picky, you don’t know what you want.  This is the time before your longest sleep stretch (about 5-6 hours then you squirm and make noises and before you cry I nurse you and you go back to sleep for another 3-4 hours) is a little challenging.  You want to nurse, then you don’t, you want the pacifier, then you don’t, you want to be held, then you don’t ;-) you just like to hear yourself scream at this time of the night but you do this little lip quiver thing that just melts my heart (yet I try to get it on video because I never want to forget it) right now as I type this I’m rocking you in the rock and play with my foot and waiting for the scream as you gently get worked up and I know I will end up finishing this up some other time… likely tomorrow.    See, now your are laying on the pillow next to me and you are pretty comfortable for the moment. So I’ll continue.  [5 minutes later, you are in my lap…]

I know there will be many days where I compare you to your brother, because he is my first motherhood experience but I promise I love you so much and know you are your own perfect little soul.  I’m so exceptionally grateful that you are my little boy and I look so forward to watching you grow.  You are my little grunter, you are so noisey – not in a bad way but in a “yeah I’m here” way, it is like you are already trying got talk.  Even in your sleep you talk, maybe you just have very vivid dreams, but you let us know, even when you are sleeping, you are around.  You enjoy the moby, you do not enjoy the car seat, you LOVE being swaddled, you do not cry with a wet diaper, your brother kisses you about 1000x a day so I try to keep up with him, you likely get close to 3000 kisses a day.  What can I say?  You are loved.  So very very loved.

Another thing we do a lot?  Take pictures.  LOTS and lots of pictures. My phone is quickly getting filled with beautiful pictures of you and Evan, and of you.  I’m challenging myself to take at least a picture of you everyday and we are already on day 44 (if I post this 12/19) somewhere in there I screwed up a day, double posted or didn’t post… who knows. But I know I have a picture of you that day ha. As I write this I realize that I’m more than half way through my leave… and my heart breaks a little because each day you change a little, grow a lot and make me feel whole.  I know there will be a HOLE when I leave you all day :( – my sweet baby.  I love you.

I promise to give you my all, I promise to love you even when you think I don’t – I promise I will do everything in my power to give you all the tools you need to be anything you want to be.  I will love you unconditionally – you are my baby.  You are a piece of me and I cannot imagine life without you even though you’ve only been here six weeks – my life is so full because you are in it.

All my love & then some,

Momma

I said I took a lot of pictures – here are some of your fancy one monthers:IMG_3355 IMG_3352 IMG_3349 IMG_3348 IMG_3346 IMG_3336 IMG_3307 IMG_3303 IMG_3289

Brought to You By

Good morning, friends.  This post is brought to you by hector, who so nicely is watching both boys so I can drink my coffee and write a post without juggling one or two kiddos.

We are battling some colds in the Villa-household.  By we, we mean Evan.  If Evan has something, we all feel it.  Even if we are symptom-less.  I nursed Evan for over a year and a half and that whole time he was never sick, ever since stopping it’s like the germs are finding him. *sigh* Anywho-We have been busy here, we made a family trip to see some BEAUTIFUL Christmas lights:

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We were like the stroller gang:

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It was unseasonably warm, and we took advantage.  Remember I said I wanted the Britax (or Uppababy) so we could just have one stroller, well I still haven’t bought the adapter for the carseat (fail) and my MASSIVE toddler is almost past both height and weight specs for the second seat so we skipped that too.  Luckily when we go out we typically are a group so TWO strollers go with us right now. Ha.  I love baby wearing, too (a great alternative) toddler in the stroller baby in the wrap or ergo.

We had a really great time stretching our legs with Grandma, Grandpa and Auntie Colie.  It was nice to sip hot coco and hang with our amazing family & the rest of Chicago that place was PACKED!!

I’ve been home alone a lot with the kiddos so I also have had Evan busy with at home projects like – decorating gingerbread houses (well he did the cookies they looked beautiful):

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(with my littlest one so sweetly swinging next to us) – coloring, painting, working on our felt tree (I’ll post finished product pictures later) and watching a little too much TV (Netflix is the devil ;-) ) – Projects are nice to do – they make me feel like I’m getting things done and that my toddler isn’t ridiculously bored. His favorite past-time is still dumping all his toys everywhere and not picking them up.

Michael is just as sweet as ever.  Nursing champ, sweet cuddling love, and only has about an hour of crazy time around 11-12am (yeah, we went from early nights to late night parties).  He is growing beautifully and gives us these AMAZING little smiles that I haven’t really caught pics/videos of because I just melt when he does them.  Today we have, as always, way too much on the plate but I’m going to sip my coffee, get dressed and get moving with my love bugs. I still owe a one month update on M.  :)

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We have a ton of Christmas shopping left to do – what a crazy time of year.  I’m just so grateful I’m spending this time with my loves. <3

Oh!  My sister and I are doing a 5k in a month.  I’m freaking out.  My lungs already hurt :) So I’m desperate need of some warm running gear and THAT is on my Christmas list.  Santa will likely bring my jewelry but I’m secretly hoping for things that make me sweaty (warm running gear and hot yoga passes :D)

Saturday Morning Madness

Yesterday was a glorious day spent with people I love.

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We stopped by Auntie Joanna and had a great time destroying her house.  But adult talk with my dearest friend was so nice.  We have a lot in common and she doesn’t flinch when I pull out food for Michael – I love that. hahaha. (the little things).  We had a super lazy night at home.  Hector made macaroni and I enjoyed a glass of red.  Glorious red. It was like angels were singing.

Then bedtime happened.

Something crazy happened last night.  It was like a series of extraordinary events in our household.  Our house has been quiet peaceful at night.  The baby does his fussy hour before his long stretch typically around 9 but by 10 everyone is pretty much asleep for a good 6 or more hours, with Evan asleep until 8-9 the next morning.  I’ve really counted my blessings in this department because I know sleep can be non-exhistent in “newborn” households.

Last night Michael seemed more fussy than usual so I went into his nursery and we rocked for a long time, he was super sleepy and so I put him down and he wavered in and out of sleepiness.  I could hear Evan up too… past his bedtime. This should have been the sign of impending sleep doom.

Evan FINALLY fell asleep around 11.  Way way way past his bedtime.  There were lots of tears and “Momma I want helicopters, momma I want choo choo trains, momma i want my iPad and so on and so on…”, with Evan if you don’t get him down in time he is a nightmare but this rarely happens.  It is SO weird because nap time was so simple yesterday.  But yeah, Evan asleep at 11. I laid down totally done for the day but insomnia crept in I could hear the sound of the dog scratching his neck downstairs, the heat kicking in, normal creaks of the house, my snoring baby, my SNORING husband, it was like a migraine without the headache everything was SO LOUD.  Baby gets up about 1, I nurse, rock and swaddle – he goes back down at 3 EVAN gets up.  This never happens.  He runs to me and I hold him, then guess who else wants momma?  There was not enough Jen last night to go around.  Hector is trying to hand me the crying hungry baby while Evan is freaking out “no momma, daddy hold the baby, you hold me.” He really didn’t care baby was crying, which is strange.  I figured he’d fall back to sleep within minutes.  No dice.  I had two crying babies for like an HOUR or greater last night I refused to look at the clock to remind me how long the madness was lasting and somehow Hector ended up in Evan’s room.  I woke up with a child on each side of me and me in the middle of my bed… It felt like the night never ended.  It was complete chaos. Like a frat party.

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But the morning arrived. We survived and I will be surviving off of caffeine, caffeine, energizing yoga postures, and more caffeine… Seriously. But it’s part of being a parent.  I’m lucky most days, this is like everyday norm for some moms POWER TO YOU. lol

What else is on the Saturday agenda?  Lights!  There are some incredible displays in the Chicagoland area so I’m wrapping my loves up with Auntie Colie and the grandparents and we are going to enjoy the magical 45 degree weather.  We are taking two cars and probably two strollers. We are like an army these days and we have only grown by one tiny being.  I have a yoga class at 12 and Christmas cards to get out the door.  OH and wrapping!  Any luck not having your two year old open everyones gifts under the tree?  I haven’t wrapped anything because telling him no just means he will sneak downstairs and do it anyway and put his hands up like “I didn’t do it.” hahaha.

Happy Saturday!  I’ll be back this weekend with an update on my ONE MONTH OLD:

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<3

Some Last Minute Gift Ideas for the Ladies

Well.  Because I’m a lady I’m starting with gift ideas for us. Specifically chicas like me.  The mom, fit person, and who loves fashion but doesn’t like to splurge on herself because she spends her money on everyone else. But if you fit in any of the categories you can find something here.

Right now my inner yogi wants the following which would be a great idea for any Namaste friend you  may have:

Beautiful mala prayer beads!  You can find these at various prices on Etsy and my lululemon app just told me they have new sets on their site for sale but I’ve had my heart set out on several over at Silver & Sage Jewelry (photo cred below to them):

Open Heart Mala (Silver and Sage Jewelry)

Open Heart Mala (Silver and Sage Jewelry)

Also for the yogi – a great yoga mat, again my friends at lululemon have a popular yoga mat (the mat) but I love and adore my Manduka Pro mat.  It is LOVELY and durable and perfect for my daily practice.  I also own their eKO Lite mat which is super easy to travel with but how in love am I with their Limited Ed. metallic mat?  Seriously.:

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I’m all about workout gear.  I like to feel good in what I wear and lately am a little obsessed with the tight pants; loose top look.  Again lulu gets a shoutout because they are almost all I own but Onzie has some awesome printed capris that I would love to rock with a loose black top to a yoga class.  Check out both sites for awesome gear.  I promise fitness people will love the goods ;-)

Also nothing says I love you then paying for classes at her favorite local yoga studio.  One of my FAVORITE studios – Core Power Yoga has a deal on gift cards 80 for 100.

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Ideas for runners?  Buying entrance to races is always fun.  Because I live in a big city who has a 5k pretty much every weekend (even in the winter lol) – there are some super fun ones that come to town and the entries can quickly add up$$ so buy friends race entries to some of the popular ones!  Rock n Roll series are awesome and CARA’s website has links to tons of others.

Runner’s Road ID - I’ve wanted one of these for sometime, alas have never gotten one but they are super duper popular.  You should get there now as they are having an AWESOME sale ;-)

I also love the idea of commemorating important things with jewelry – and this Etsy site has some awesome little goodies:

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(that site has a lot of cute things, not just running related, check them out!  Fantastic reviews too.)

This sweat away bracelet:

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Or for the distance runner with lots of medals?  A custom medal rack:

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Ok, so your gal isn’t into the running/yoga/studio thing. Every girl wants more SHOES. Wintertime deserves new boots.  Although I want the dreamy Stuart Weitzman 5050s – they aren’t quiet in my budget hahaha but big stores like Macy’s do have great sales this time of year where you can get some designer goods at somewhat of a discount and your gal will not be upset with a new pair of boots.

I feel like girls are so easy to buy for – except for my sister. lol

For the moms, Moms – the active ones – doesn’t hurt to get some memberships to cool nearby places. Or giftcards to spas.

This year I’m just hoping for a cute family photo & maybe to fit into some of my old clothes hahaha.

Any awesome ideas for gifts this year?

 

 

 

 

Love & Light

Happy Monday!  Another week, unreal. This weekend went by so fast I’m not even sure what I did. I do know that I took an AH-MAZING hot yoga class last night – and I swear each day I get back into the swing of daily practice I feel so much better.

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What I love about yoga is it teaches me to breathe (a stress reliever for me, I breathe through stress, always have – yoga helps me cultivate that breath) and humbles me deeply.  I’m proud of where I am right now in my practice even if I can’t do crow again just yet, or if my stretches aren’t as deep as they used to be (my balance in balance poses has never been better though #winning).  I will get there. Hot yoga always gets me to sweat it out too – like toxins are just leaving my body.  Yoga isn’t all I do fitness-wise but it is an excellent place to start my postpartum journey.  I’m definitely a lifter (who wants to add to her “at home gym” collection), and a runner (haven’t started back just yet) and I love to try Pilates & Barre dvds/videos I enjoy challenging myself and am excited to get back into my normal routines but I’m taking my time with it.  Good workouts keep me balanced, mentally strong and healthy – they are the most selfish thing I do and makes me a better, happier person. A better wife, mom, employee and a better ME.

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I’m constantly on the go, constantly thinking, need to get things done… Stressing myself out relentlessly with lists, to-dos, want-to-dos, etc.  I get upset if I don’t make time to pump enough or clean enough or if I’m late to something because I haven’t yet got down how to pack a newborn & two year old (it is a juggling act, I swear). Yoga reminds me – slow down, if you are aware of what you need to do and are doing what you need to do.  That’s what recovery and time off is for, figuring everything out again.  Also this is TEMPORARY. I’ve done it before with Evan, and then got used to running out of the house with just his hand in my hand (not an extra pair of clothes 5 diapers, wipes, breast pads, blankets, burp cloths oh and 5 pacifiers because those suckers just seem to disappear) and a smile on his face.  Life needs to be lived by the day and I need to enjoy these newbie moments because they are fleeting and will be over before I know it…

People ask how I fit it all in – mom, work, fitness.  It really is simple I make time for what is important to me. Working out these days has never been easier with the internet, there is no excuse.  You can become ultra-fit with just your body and determination – #truestory – you don’t NEED fancy equipment or a personal trainer – you just need you and the will to do it. You don’t need a treadmill, or heavy weights start with pushups and burpies if you have to.  For yoga, you really only need a mat and a want to keep yourself happy and healthy.

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Be active. Love. Light. My journey to be fit is never ending and my body is ever evolving.  If I thought it was amazing above, it is so much better now.  It gave life to my beautiful boys.  It has a few scars, but they MEAN something now. They won’t hid the fact that I will have killer abs again or that I will set PRs and be able to do crazy inversions once again for now I’ll bask in the the beautiful soreness I missed after a good workout, it means I’m changing.

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Because let’s face it… the above is pretty AH-MAZING.

Nurse. Yoga. Play. Sleep. Eat. Repeat.

These are the words of the moment.  Six words that I live over and over and over again. I’m cool with it though because, I feel so content right now.

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Our lives are absolutely nuts right now.  The days are blurred together and I rarely know what day of the week it is.  Most days I’m living in yoga stuff because a lot of things still don’t fit me… I’m struggling with my new “right now” body.  Change when it comes to my body is and always has been so hard for me, but snuggles and smiles from my boys helps me remember it is worth it and I will get back to where I need to be.  But the daily dose of yoga also helps me find contentment, balance and humbles me that I have to take it slow and steady…I was given a special gift yesterday –  a trip to the yoga studio special thanks to my husband and medela for making that possible. It was a beautiful Hot Power Fusion class, a mix of hot yoga static postures, glorious heat and short vinyasa flows. I will definitely be easing that back into my regular schedule.  BUT Merry early Christmas to me via the Fitnessista is 15 days free to Barre3 which has some postnatal videos as short as 10 minutes long I plan on doing everyday for the next two weeks!  Boom. #winning

What else is going on?  Christmas Cheer and incomplete trees:

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Again, it will get there – it is pretty though – I love the magical Christmas lights :) I put over 700 lights on that tree, it was sappy.  But really pretty:

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Evan was an amazing little helper:

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So our “play” time has been a lot of decorating, and watching “The Santa Clause” over and over. I love that movie and know almost all the words by heart.  Evan loves “santa” and “christmas” too. <3 He also enjoys mixing all his play doh colors together until it is a nice shade of grey. ;-)

Today I have a coffee date, and some cleaning to do.  It should be crazy. Just the way we like it over here.

 

Time Bandit & Brain Dump II

Yes.  Time, GRRRR!  You are insane, the way you steal minutes away from me.  My littlest love will be 4 whole weeks young tomorrow. And one MONTH old by the end of the week.  I have to plan my “one month” photo shoot, with my little guy- let’s see how successful I am with putting that together haha.  I also want to figure out some cute Christmasy photos because I’d like to ATTEMPT to get out Christmas cards this year.  But each day flies by and everything just seems – well – harder than it is.

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Yesterday my day was filled with cleaning, meditating, hanging with my littles and a wonderful 2.5 hour nap time where I slept about 30 minutes but was able to read for a solid 1.5 hours. I love reading. I tend to start books, not finish, or finish a good book and then be done with reading way longer that I’m ok with.  Nursing, cuddling and late nights helps me with reading time – also now that Evan knows what cartoons are – I read during cartoon time :) (yep, my kid watches cartoons, no I’m not the devil, it happens).  I’m reading Vanished because my best posted she finished it on Goodreads, because we are so alike, I thought grabbing that one – no thinking required lol.  I soak up lots of minutes staring that these faces, but some mental reading exercises are very welcome:

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I’m feeling much better these days.  I know that very soon I’ll be taking some time away to get in my workouts (where I actually say – here hector – I’m going out with Oso for 45 minutes, or using my yoga groupon I bought 6 months ago) & I welcome this because I miss my workout highs and need some alone time.  However, I get a very high amount of anxiety when leaving the boys.  Especially Michael, as he is exclusively breast fed and I’m not building my freezer stash as quickly as I’d like.  He has had one day where he has had a bottle for a feeding, just to introduce it to him.  I’m not the biggest fan because 1) I prefer nursing over pumping and 2) because I will go back to work and pump for him, he will have LOTS of bottle sessions then, so I sorta relish in the time to nurse him now whereas when I go back to work he will be mostly bottle fed.

I’m spending a lot of time behind my camera these days. Michael is fun to photograph because he is usually quiet still, but Evan is still a little difficult. haha :) I think I’m going to take a photography class with my sister in the Spring.  That or an excel class because I’d like to hone those skills. Again, time bandit will tell me what I can and cannot do these next few months. I’m feeling very optimistic these days.  Nursing happy hormones?  Who knows, but I love it.

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Don’t mind the mess.  It’s real life in the am when we are scrambling, I’ll make my bed soon – I have clean sheets to put on ;-) and a blog to write lol.  Right now Michael is comfy in the Moby as I work on my posture and rock him side to side (great core time!)

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- Shoulders up and back. -

He is super cute he has his hand in his face, just like when he came into this world.  This week we are putting up the tree and finishing up Christmas decorating.  We are also going to the city Friday to do some homeowner exemption stuff and check out some lights… get some fresh air.  Evan is running around right now saying “I’m dancing right now momma, I’m dancing.”  I need to get him outside today.  I’ll probably bundle everyone up and take a walk around the block. Venturing out is quiet the ordeal when it is cold out. Gah. ha  Or when you are one person with two children and a dog (Oso would HATE ME if he didn’t go out too) – the thought of this adventure is making me slightly tired and scared hahaha.

Yesterday THIS happened:

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It was nice to watch the twinkling of the fire in our fireplace.  I even helped myself to a cup of hot chocolate :-)

Oh!  Thanksgiving.  It was a success.  If I can get all my pictures in the same place I’ll happily update and do my “Thankful List” which I’ve done the past two years.  I’ve already started it but – it is sitting unfinished. :)

Ok, well I have mom duties to attend to. Happy Tuesday!