The Battle.

Hi friends.  I was reminded yesterday it has been far too long since I’ve updated.  Why?  IDK because life is cray.  My boys (all four of them) need me constantly.  I’m back at work, trying to fit in sweat seshs, cuddle time, photo time, me time, clean time.  I’m basically doing 100 things a day and only get to slow down when these dudes tell me, ok – quality me time… I mean how can you resist these “mom. what are you doing?  Pick me up already” faces:

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I’m blissfully happy most of the time, totally rushed all the time and a maniac part of the time.  Ha.  My mind races with the things I should be doing vs. the things I am doing and I complain too much about not enough hours in the day – complain less, do more is one of the things I repeat to myself when the dark ninja starts karate chopping my positive brain waves into useless depressing ones.  Multitasking is the only option (as I nurse and type) most of the time and I have been powering down a lot (no fb, no phone, texts, emails, etc… it has to wait).  The one thing my dudes help me with tremedously is helping me do what is most important, first.  I enjoy my endless rambling blog posts, really love taking pictures and really love my clean eats and workouts so that’s why I’m trying to fit in blog time.  I can totally see why people love being newborn/baby/child photographers.. they really do make the very best subjects (drool and all):

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Here comes the battle part.  Fitting in everything.  Does it happen? Nope.  Do I try my best? Yep.  What keeps me sane?  who knows. I’m learning more and more where I need to put effort.  For instance, I need a cleaning lady.  Why?  Because it isn’t worth 5-6 hours of my weekend to wash baseboards, floors, bathrooms and windows.  So that’s on my to-do list.  Sure they might not do the perfect job like I would do, but too bad that’s 5-6 hours less quality time with my dudes. I also need to continue my purge.  I’m a big non clutter, organized person. Clean clutter free house=happy Jen.  Dirty clutter filled disorganized house=scary Jen (trust me no one likes that person, I know, hard to believe I can be unlikable hahahaha).  Yet babies and adults come with SO. MUCH. STUFF. So I’m trying to be better about getting rid of/donating things.  If I pick up a shirt or a pair of pants and I have to think for more than two seconds if it is something I will wear – out it goes.  If it is something too big for me now (happy dance) or I hate the way it fits and only wear it bc I can’t find something clean – OUT IT GOES!!  For the kids if I think it looks too small for my giants E or MAV, to a plastic bin THAT goes.  I don’t have time to do wasted laundry and I refuse to fold things that will get shuffled around in drawers and sit there for months.  (clearly THAT has never happened….)  I much rather pick up my camera and shoot 5 minutes of feet than shuffle through drawers and closets for things to wear:

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I’m going to wrap up this part of my battle as E is getting restless MAV needs a nap and I need to assemble myself into a human for the rest of the day.

Back soon.  Thanks for reading my random ramblings.

Jen.

(evan not pictured because he doesn’t stay still.)

Thanks

2 Months & 2.5 Years & 2 Years ago

Two Months:

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And this is how I feel about that:

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Two and a half YEARS:

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and the above is REALLY how I feel about THAT!  My beautiful boys, have been living the lives of sickies this past week.  There has been sooooooooooooo many coughs, so much snot, so much tea, honey and sleepless nights, but everyone is finally on the mend.  Each day Evan acts like a almost 4 year old, not 2.5 in fact no one really trusts me when I say he is 2, even my husband.

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I’m constantly defending the fact that YES he is going to throw tantrums, he is two…

My littlest muffin is also super-sized and super cute. He has a cough and runny nose (thank you so much for the invention of Nosefrida…. Or we’d really be in trouble) – which Evan never had as a baby it hasn’t been fun but he is still in good spirits and stinkin cute to boot:

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He is super super strong, very very heavy and a fantastic eater and sleeper.  I hope he sticks to that for when I return to work.

Michael has the most amazing little smile, he just coos at you – I miss so many pictures (even though I take 10000) because I’m just awestruck by his beauty.  Then Evan, the most perfect big brother, so gentle and wonderful.  My heart couldn’t be more full, really it Couldn’t.

More Twos we are celebrating?  Two years in our home (yep we closed on our house TWO years ago) and TWO years at my not-so-new job!  We are soaking in the TWOs. I’m looking forward to mending this weekend where we start the SECOND year of Hector’s 30s :D

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Monday Thoughts 1.12

Emotional.

That’s the word of the day.  I’m totally conflicted.  Anxiety creeping in.  I expected this.  I knew that my 12 weeks of maternity leave would fly. I knew that it would be beyond bittersweet to return to work.  Sweet, because I do it so I can provide for my family and build my life beyond motherhood – it is what I need to do, for me. Bitter, for obvious reasons.  I LOVE being with my boys.  I truly do.  I love nursing my sweet baby boy, even though clogged ducts that make me fall ill (that’s what happened this weekend *sad face*).  I love living each moment with Evan, he is SO full of life.  He is smart, funny and just down right amazing.

Emotional.

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Michael is thriving.  He is 13lbs 9oz (70% tile) and 24.5 inches long (90+% tile), he is so strong and beautiful.  I stare at him cry, on the rare occasion he does, just to be in awe of him. He does this lip quiver thing that I never want him to stop doing and I want to badly to capture in on video but have been unsuccessful.  He is a cuddler like his brother, he likes to be wrapped tight and close. He doesn’t spend much time in his rock n play or his swing – he is in my arms or in the Moby.  I just can’t get enough of him.

So many people told me there was no way I’d get so lucky with a sweet easy baby again.  That my second would be a terror.  Well they were all wrong, he is just as mellow and sweet as Evan was.  He is an excellent nurser and pretty good sleeper.  If I didn’t hate pregnancy so much I’d think about another.  Really, he is that sweet.  I love being a mother, and am sad I am not one who cannot enjoy pregnancy.  I really am sad about that.

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Evan is also a mini monster. We weigh him and track his height in 2 months, I expect him to be pretty much off the charts.  He has had a major growth spurt, he is in 4T clothes and talks like a 4 year old. He can hold conversations and puts things together so much so it blows everyone away. People look at me crazy when I say he is almost two and half he has matured so much in the past two months it is really unreal – even early pictures of him and Michael show how he went from a toddler to a kid.  It makes me sad and proud.  Sad, because my newborn skipped so quickly to a baby and my toddler so quickly from a toddler to a child but proud because they are my boys, they are happy, healthy and beautiful.

Evan has adjusted to having Michael around so wonderfully I cannot believe it. It is something that no one around me can believe either.  As much as Hector’s personality makes me absolutely crazy sometimes, my children exhibit that true mellowness that has to be in their genes, in their makeup – so I’m learning to love Hector’s mellowness, it gave my kids a great disposition.

Now – don’t get me wrong, not everything is sunshine and daisies all the time.  Some days are tough, but most days are wonderfully balanced, except I find it hard to be away.  Even though making time for me is important. Yoga helps me keep that anxiety in check, my kids and yoga teach me to be present.  That is something I try to work on each day.  Being present, not giving myself a heart attack about 6 months, 2 years, 10 years from now.  Yes, my babies will grow – and yes, it breaks my heart they will not be babies forever – but they are babies now and I need to soak that all up.  My body will get there, my heart will get there, as long as I’m moving forward and taking it all in (and taking A BILLION pictures) in the meantime.

Like I said, I’m emotional. Emotional thinking this could be my last baby, my last time to enjoy so much time at home with my boys.  Emotional with gratitude. Emotional over so many things. I have to remind myself to keep breathing too because my boys are breathtaking. Simply breathtaking.

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2015, Nice to Meet You.

Happy New Year, friends.

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On Day 2 I want to reflect on the past couple of joyful days.  The day before New Year’s Eve I texted my mom “hey mom, can we spend NYE with you? Hector will cook!” – I had battled with the idea of dinner in the city with Hector, just us two.  But, after the year we had, we both agreed we wanted to spend it with loved ones.  My parents helped Hector and I through the roughest days of our marriage and life in 2014, so I felt like I wanted to seal up the old year, and ring in the new year surrounded by love and family.  2014 was filled with some serious trials, but we all came back with grace and strength and most importantly, renewed faith and stronger relationships. My mom who isn’t in to ever celebrating that holiday (what! we all go to bed at like 10 ;-) ) said “sure!”.  So our plans were then to hang, eat and play Taboo with Nicole.  My mom pulled out some festive goodies which my uber cute awesome son, Evan so nicely displayed (he even dressed baby! Gah, I missed that camera moment):

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I went to a glorious NYE Hot Power Fusion (my parents gave me a gift certificate to my favorite studio, #winning!!!), set my intention to just be me. Be grateful. Be present.  I came home and wrapped this dude up in the Moby:

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Got a surprise call from Joey (my brother) – asking what we were up to for NYE.  He decided to pop by with his little family. So the last day of the year was spent hanging with my family, a beautiful way to end the year and start a new one.

Hector and I bought poppers for the countdown that were a funny disappointment.  We held them up, counted down – were thinking they were filled with confetti but alas, they popped and everyone looked around at each other like, “huh?” all that popped out were paper hats and various little items… I got a compass, Michelle got golf tees “I don’t even golf, here Jaylee ;-D” my sister made out like a bandit with a cork screw. Ha.

Yesterday Hector and I visited dear friends of ours, ones I hope to build a stronger relationship with in 2015.  I’ve said this a million times but we are surrounded by amazing people.  Sometimes I ask myself how it is possible to be so lucky, one thing that has never changed and wavered in my life is my wonderful friend and family filled support system. I’m so rich because of this. So amazingly rich. I look forward to goat cheese pizza with my love Joanna (ahh! and more blue!!!), chats about breastfeeding woes and workout routines with my Nicole… I look forward to taking Ellie to Blue Max and chatting about her beautiful home and discussing never ending home projects :) .  I look forward to time with my mom, my amazingly strong mom… I look forward to building my friendships with new friends, like Shannon and chatting about futures with Susie.  I look forward to watching my little loves grow, growing my yoga practice, reading, writing and praying… There is so much positive  – and I pray each day to stay present. Today I look forward to shopping with my lovely sister in preparation for our first 5k in 2015, it will be a real shitshow :D ha – what it will be!  Nicole, my sister… this is our year <3  She reminded me yesterday that 2014 had some lowlights… but it also had some highlights – SHE IS GOING TO BE A NURSE!! WE have a nurse in the family, now all we need is an SUV. ha.

2014 had some challenges, but challenges make us all stronger, so at the end of the day I was ready to say goodbye, but I did have some super special moments in 2014 and the main one was the completion of our little family.  I’m so over over over the moon in love with these two little loves:

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Adios 2014, Hola 2015. YOU WILL BE GREAT.

I’ll be back with some new years “resolutions” and what not sometime this weekend.

xo

Jen

Merry Days

Happy Christmas Eve from the Villas!  Our house is deck’d

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gifts wrapped:

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and all is merry and:

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Mr. MAV is 7 weeks old!

Evan has been an angel lately, he is just the best big brother and I cannot even believe how well he has adjusted to the new family vibes (Day 4 and Day 48) – Day 4 photo cred S.D. Wyatt Photography (she is AMAZING):

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This year has been probably the most difficult year of my life and I’ve been very honest about it, but this time of year is magical not only due to my sweet boy being so excited about Santa, but because the end of this year has brought many MANY BLESSINGS.

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Like this T-Shirt says:

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This year has taught be to be present and thankful for the things I DO have in my life and the new angel we have gained (miss you grandma – so much), the things money can’t buy – important relationships. <3 We have some serious angels in our lives, both new and old who have stood by us, offered us gifts unimaginable and I’m beyond beyond grateful for them – they know who they are ;-).

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My mom has been hard at work baking while I snuggle and wrangle (well she does that too, you can tell she has multiple kids experience):IMG_3749 IMG_3759 IMG_9367 IMG_9368

IT will be a yum-fest tonight and tomorrow!

The hubs has been working hard, but we are excited to have him home tonight and tomorrow – for all my hardworking friends in retail – God Bless you – this time of year is tough on you all I’m sure – Evan doesn’t like when daddy isn’t around:

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I’m looking forward to the new year but I’m also soaking up every second of holiday bliss at the end of this 2014 like being able to run again OUTSIDE & and looking forward to a FREE 75 minute hot yoga class tomorrow (Thanks CPY!):

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Using this mug:

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Making my kids wear things they will hate me for in 15 years (maybe not… it is so cute):

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And hanging with the best shiny new gift this year:

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I’ve been blessed beyond words – MERRY CHRISTMAS, LOVE THE VILLAS (Photo Cred S.D. Wyatt Photography – Like her on FB!):

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hehe

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)