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!

Time for Thanks

Each year the leaves fall, the weather gets cold and the nights start way too early.  The darkness at 4 p.m. reminds me the holidays are near – it is sorta magical once the twinkle lights go up and you see the Christmas trees start to peak out of people’s windows.  Add that white powdery stuff I’m NEVER ready for, but looks pretty beneath the lights and yup, it is like the holidays are early in Chicago.

This time of year is great for reflection and after the most challenging year of my life, I am reminded that I’m still so grateful for so many things and nothing tops the list more than my relationships with God and my family, friends, and of course, my beautiful healthy children:

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The last 3 weeks (YES 3 WEEKS TODAY, ALREADY!) – have been the most amazing weeks of the year.  Even through recovery, temper tantrums, soreness, hormones, change… The list seems endless, so much has fit into these past 3 weeks – I’ve never felt so much love.  Your heart does double in size when you have your second child. When you don’t think it can expand more, it just does.  I watch Evan with Michael and love him more, I watch Hector with them both – and I love him more, I watch Michael grow in front of my eyes and I just am filled with – thanks.  I’m very lucky to have such a beautiful family.  My heart couldn’t be more full.

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Even though breastfeeding has it challenges, it is amazing to watch your child grow and thrive because of the goodness you are feeding him.  Michael has changed so much already.  3 weeks in newborn life is like a year.  He is more alert, much fuller and sleeps a bit better already – oh and he nurses better, one trade off for his quick growth is longer sleep stretches and more efficient nursing although they are not unbelievable changes they are changes I can notice more significantly than with Evan.  Maybe it is the second time around – who knows, but I’m much more in tune with everything this time around.  I’ve been resting as much as possible but am FINALLY starting to feel like myself, I feel a little more energized each day.  Even though my days are absolutely full right now.

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So what are we up to in week 3, the day(s) before Thanksgiving?  Thanksgiving prep, of course.  My husband pulled out Christmas decorations on Monday and we started putting them up, Evan woke from a nap and started shouting “DADDY, CHRISTMAS, I LIKE IT, CHRISTMAS, DADDY, LOOK!” – I have a feeling this Christmas will be even better than last as far as Evan’s involvement and excitement.  He sees Santa and says “Christmas!” – this kid is too much.  He is absolutely hysterical these days.  I just sit and stare and am amazed by the conversations he has with people.  I can’t wait to sit him down to watch the parade tomorrow, he will be so cute!

What else am I grateful for?  My lovely yoga mat, thank you for being my peace, my space for healing, thinking and stretching… You are the best therapist.

Evan is nursing a cold, baby is congested but both are better than yesterday – either way, boys will likely stay in pjs today and I’m sure Michael will be wrapped in the Moby for a good part of the day because I have tons of work – cleaning, cooking, nursing, playing…. A little bit o’shopping (sans boys). So we are going to get moving over here – Just starting the week off with a Thankful post, as it is the season.  Hope to be back with updated – what we did today – pictures.

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I’m also so grateful for my (still broken) camera.  :D

Holiday Prep

Hello friends.

Yesterday was a very lazy day here at the Villas. I was NOT feeling well.  I think I really over-did it this weekend and on Monday so yesterday I was barely able to lift a finger.  We had a lot of bedsharing cuddles.  Way too much TV and easy eats. Reminded me I really need to go shopping but I’m hoping to make it through today without a trip.  Yesterday I read that american families and restaurants throw out on average 40% of the groceries they buy.  THAT’S NUTS – you may as well through money out the window.  I know we are guilty of throwing away a lot of food, so to combat that I try to – meal plan, and buy little amounts, often. Still there is always some waste. Anyhow, to help our crazy grocery budget, I really plan on being more conscience of the amount of food I buy – it is so terribly wasteful to throw all that away. *sad trombone*

Anywho – Today I’m feeling a bit better and am hoping today is a better day as far as being productive.  I’ve spent a good amount of time on Pinterest making lists of things to do with Evan, and planning for Thanksgiving.  Last year was awesome.  My table was beautiful, food was great and my grandma was here:

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I’m so sad Gma won’t be here this year, but Michael will be and our family has lots and lots to celebrate this year.  So I plan on doing just as much this year – with Evan’s help and Michael wrapped close to my chest in the Moby.  Last year I literally made my own butter and fresh whipped cream for pies.  I’m telling you – all out we went. It was glorious.

This year’s menu is not finalized but I think it will go a little something like this:

Apps:

  • Assorted cheeses & garlic roasted mushrooms
  • Fresh seasonal fruit

Dinner:

  • Turkey (I would love to try a fried turkey, but we are going old-school roasted, Hector-Style)
  • Roasted pork shoulder (Another Hector dish)
  • Roasted Veggies (Last year’s were awesome)
  • Pomegranate-cranberry sauce (omg… to die for)
  • Sweet Potatoes (May ask mom to make her usual)
  • Steamed green beans
  • Asparagus and a hollandaise sauce (family tradition)
  • Pierogis (from Gene’s deli)
  • Fresh seasonal salad (I’m thinking cranberry walnut?)

Desert:

  • Pumpkin Pie!
  • Apple Pie (Hector would never let us not have this)
  • Spice cake (another Mom request, maybe ;-) )
  • Turkey Cupcakes (mom and Evan creations!)

You’d think I was cooking for an army but I’m cooking for maybe 8 people lol.  The sides might get mixed up a bit again, I’ve pinned a few recipes I might try so instead but at least we are thinking a head this year.  I’ll have to grab some fresh flowers but I really can’t wait to pull out grandma’s old china and silver-ware again.  Also!  Looks like we did pull out some Christmas stuff for last year so I think I’ll have Hector pull some out tomorrow and we can have hot-coco and decorate, slowly.

Evan is excited about Christmas, I am shocked there aren’t too many Christmasy movies on TV for him to watch.  I’m going to have to dust of The Santa Clause, my all time favorite, I cannot wait to share it with him!  Something else we are looking to do this year?  A few “Night before Christmas” boxes!  I read this article and was so excited to try it with Evan and Michael!  I plan on making it a holiday tradition – what a great way to get some of the Christmas jitters out and I think it is awesome to snuggle and watch a movie with the boys likely in matching pajamas! I will be soaking up these holidays like crazy because next year when I’m back at work – it will be mayhem to fit everything in – so I’m enjoying the time of year with my two sweet love bugs:

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I’m sure this will be the first of many “what we are doing for the holidays” posts. Any traditions you have for thanksgiving?  Do you host?  I’m excited!