OH -For the Things I Love

I started to write a post around my birthday discussing how I actually like aging.  Because I’m slowly learning more and more about myself. Likes, dislikes – things I should spend time on, thinks I shouldn’t – relationships I want to develop, relationships that I don’t –  I love being a mom, love working (usually ;-) ), love taking care of my home (minus folding laundry and picking up dog poop), and generally enjoy being able to try to manage time doing things I love.  This year has been an immense year of growth, trying to find my rhythm and why some weeks are challenging as hell, some remind me that this is the only life you have and I find bliss and peace everywhere I can.


I’ve always been a thinker – I think all the time, makes it difficult to sleep sometimes difficult to focus on one task at hand because I have a million things floating in my brain.  I used to think exercise was my only release but I’ve found comfort in taking pictures, reading to my boys, and attempts at meditation. I’ve also found that forcing myself to get through something has helped me focus on something longer (ie those difficult coloring books, running an extra half mile or pushing myself in a challenging yoga pose just when I think I can’t I tell myself f-you, you can). Projects outside my scope of BAU at work have also helped a bit because I feel like I’m doing something bigger than my job title, hopefully making changes that might HELP an employee get through something.  It is very natural for me to put more on my plate, because for some reason I never really feel a sense of accomplishment – I never feel I’ve done GOOD enough.

Another thing that has challenged me lately?  Taking pictures.  I’m not quite sure of my goals yet maybe it is to learn Photoshop (haven’t opened it yet for any of my pictures, I’ve done light editing through Lightroom), or the capabilities of my camera – or maybe,probably most likely, it is to give someone a feeling of happiness through photographs the way Shannon (S.D. Wyatt Photography) has done for me.


Yesterday I took a few pictures of one of my very best friends.  This is a raw photo, no edits, no nothing.  It shows that babies aren’t always perfect but the look of calm and control on this momma’s face is true – she’s got it.  She’s in control and knows what her baby wants and needs, it’s truth, in a picture and I love it:


Then the moments with my boys, it is a challenge to NOT pick up the camera and try to capture everything with them – and just be in the moment.  I love them more than anything on the entire planet (again, no edits):

evan evanmav

This year I’m still finding it challenging to fit everything in and typically things for me fall by the wayside – actually too often they do.  So I’m making it a new goal to make sure I make time to get away, by myself, and nurture the things I need to nurture – for myself.

I’ll continue to overdo – it’s just who I am but in the meantime I’m going to fill my day with baby snuggles, laundry (yuck), and some homework.

Love. Light. Peace.

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Well. Year one party for MAV – is a wrap.  As my boys literally fight over cheerios in front of me I’m going to attempt to tell you how much fun we had at Michael’s Camp themed birthday party!

I tend to overdo things.  I do sorta-well under pressure (ie, I’ll panic to those close to me but somehow pull something off – not to my perfect idea in my head of what it should be but successful in a sense).  So I’m here to share what we did for Michael’s party.

We went with the camping theme because I’m obsessed with all things woodsy right now.  I swear by adding neutral serving staples to my party pockets (ie, apothecary jars that have been to several events or cool cake platters that I’ll stack and use to hold cupcakes) and knew I loved the rustic things and could use them in other settings (Thanksgiving!!).  So I’ve been scoping Marshall’s for deals on things like that.  I’m also a huge fan of Michael’s who seems to have killer deals on cool things – and Amazon of course:


Target was also essential they had awesome burlap pennants that I was able scoop up every trip :) We also took time to bake some amazing cupcakes!!  Thanks momma mattes for the help we even did homemade buttercream icing.  Not good for you, but better than the store bought junk!  We made tons of oatmeal cookies, had smores things to go and of course the trail mix bar (using cool Chinese to-go containers).

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Staying true to my roots I also made a last minute cake topper that I set on fire after this picture:



I have a pretty small house and was CRAZY blessed that the weather was spectacular.  I prepared for it not being so awesome by buying an outdoor heater (and praying, a lot – but this outdoor heater is so awesome I will likely buy another for my patio). My amazing mom got a jump house that the boys went INSANE for – we will never not get one for any future parties it was that popular.


They had so much fun (so did I!!!).  I envisioned tents of sorts as a front yard display to show people there was a cool party going on and my husband came through with these SPECTACULAR teepees!  DIY!  When I looked up what I wanted (Land of Nod) I was like “uh. no.”  But used them as an inspiration point. So Thursday night my husband did this:


Just twine, super long (8ft!) poles, and painter’s tarp.  SO. Fun.

The day of the party I can’t say enough how perfect the weather was:


We connected the teepee’s with my favorite lights ever so at night it was pretty magical:


Oh and put together a fire pit of course!

We also requested that guests wear their best plaid or flannel shirts!  It made for awesome pictures:

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But the best thing of all in this party?  Seeing the most important people in our lives.  Everyone who was invited and everyone who came, mean THE WORLD to our family so it was such a blessing everyone came to celebrate our special little guy!  We had an AMAZING TIME!!

Until next time, from #CAMPMAV – Nicole waives you goodbye!


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Honesty at Best

Excuse –

  1. 1.
    attempt to lessen the blame attaching to (a fault or offense); seek to defend or justify.

Yep, that’s all I can give for my break from blogging. Sad part is I enjoy blogging.  Which means it needs to stop taking a back seat to everything going on in my life. Which brings me to being honest and wanting to discuss several things.  I couldn’t write (no would anyone read) all of my random thoughts in one blog post so that means I have lots of content but need to make the time to put it all out there: the beautiful, the ugly, the honest.  But I must say my current state of insanity has only one person to blame, me.


The beauty behind this smile is that my life on that day was pure chaos.  I’d been working, received a call that my littlest love, who I am still nursing, had no milk left. So I had to rush home to feed him, and work from home.  Through that chaos I’m immensely grateful for the management team that helps support me.  But that day was not an easy one.  I felt the true internal battle of: what is best for me?  what is best for Michael?  what is best for my job? Do people really understand the personal stress of the challenge of being a mom/working mom that either nurses or pumps for her little one?  WHY DOESN’T MY BODY OVERPRODUCE like it did with Evan?  Why am I so stressed all the time?  Why do I feel so sad, like I’m failing EVERYONE, especially me. – I pride myself on overall making good decisions; but that doesn’t mean I’m always the most confident person in the room, in fact, as beautiful as confidence is and as much as admire it in the people around me, I constantly struggle with myself on just how confident I am in all things in my life.

Anyway, like most things – this day worked out.  Michael was fed, my job’s immediate needs were met but one thing keeps lingering on:  my feeling of so many open ends and the overwhelming anxiety that brings.

Our society today has so many issues.  One – we report too much negative.  Yes, bad things happen. But so do beautiful things.  Yes, some things are ugly and need attention – but some things are so overwhelmingly breathtaking and they need attention too:


Like how a simple curtain can bring laughter to my sweet boy.

Today’s blog is just a rant of honesty.  I’m tired. My brain is mushy and I don’t feel myself.  That’s why I’m doing this – getting off my chest, out to the world and LETTING IT GO.  I’ll continue to do my very best but I have to center myself and remind myself that even though I am getting things done, until I’m truly happy again it won’t be my best.  So weekends are no longer going to be spent worrying about all the world I have to do during the week.  I’m going to log off from time sucking social media, and enjoying my sweet boys who are growing so fast.  I’m going to throw on Ugg boots, save for my 50/50s and make time to be the creative person I am.

Hopefully I’ll be back with some updates on lately – like GETTING BACK TO RUNNING and my EARLY morning yoga/meditation sessions that I’m making a point to do.  I just want to tell everyone it is normal to feel sad, angry, anxious – but it is what you do to battle it.  Do you talk about it?  Do you find what makes you happy to get out of it?  Do you give yourself a break and write down all the things that you DO DO correctly?  It is one thing to hold yourself to high standards, it is another thing to be miserable in the handling of it.  Life should be challenging, but rewarding.  I always thing of it as 80/20 but I’m making a SOLID effort to making it 94/6 ;-)

You really must love the life you live, ya’ll. If you don’t, time to change it up.


Oh.  Snuggle a baby, love a dog. :D

Train Thoughts 8/20

pulled up this app and posted train thoughts from last month. 

Random thoughts:

1.  How powerful is music?  High five to my Hoizer pandora station I’m just 😍 about it. 

2. I can’t believe this app saved stuff from a month ago

3. I never did take MAV’s 8 month pictures so pictures from the 4th will be the placeholder. 

4. I did take 9 month photos but those aren’t up yet.  

5. I hate excuses but I make so many 😓

Turning on my positive Brian waves:

I’m loving life these days.  Hector and I are powering through so much both physical: house projects and side stuff and mental: goal setting, making conscience effort to spend time together, to text to chat, to have dinner dates (thanks, mom!).  Some days are way easier than others but things are great.  

We have been taking advantage of the spectacular weather and making several beach trips with my beach babes

And enjoying our growing family.  It’s been great.  Again with some challenges but my practice has really taught me to let it be, let it go.  Pray for those I struggle with because they are on their own journey and they may see their bumps as mountains and don’t heed signs of stormy weather ahead.

Life is what you make of it.  We only get one.  I’m making sure I spend time with people who lift me, push me, and I’m giving back to those I cherish. If it isn’t through obvious gestures it is through my well thought prayers. 

Fitness goals: 

I’ve started the running game again. I’ve made excuses but I have missed it.  Bought myself fancy headphones that don’t fall out of my weird ears 😊 #littlethings 

Yoga daily!  Even if it’s a couple sun salutations over a five minute period.  I need my flexibility back and the beauty of my happy selfish place.  

What are you up to? Today I’m grateful for the train that gives me 40-50 minutes of thought. #reset 

Give life a high five and follow me on Insta: Jelmvilla 

#liveyourbestlife #namaste 


A Little Bit About MAV – 7 Months

Two plus years ago I found the time to not only take pictures of Evan but blog about him EVERY single month what he was up to, what we were up to how my fitness stuff has changed, house updates ETC.   When I became prego with MAV they all said “you will have less and less pictures of your second baby, it’s just how it goes” – this is totally off base for me because I have almost 9K pictures on my phone alone (Apple LOVES me… Such a loyal spendy customer) and I have an amazing DSLR case that is exploding with full SD cards.  But I really haven’t carved out the super important time to write about his milestones, his amazingness.  But life happens. You get busy, you “prioritize.”  I just so happen to be guilty of mis-prioritizing from time to time.

However – Drum roll please…….


Mr. MAV is SEVEN MONTHS OLD!  I thought time passed quickly with Evan’s babyhood but it has passed much much more quickly this time around.  I simply cannot imagine life without MAV.  It has been the best seven months.  Here are a few things he is up to:


Being perfect.  Yeah yea, I know we all say this but he is the most laid back sweet calm easy baby I’ve ever seen.  I said this a lot about Evan, because he was a great baby too but Michael is just – always happy.  Until he is hungry or tired.  There is no guessing with him.  His favorite things to do are laugh, smile and scream.  His least favorite thing to do is eating solids (and you’d never guess by looking or holding him, dude is SOLID).  We’ve been working hardcore on solids and he just isn’t having them.  He will gag until he throws up sometimes (most times?).  He’s just into mom’s milk. ha. MAV is lightening fast.  For instance, we tried peas the other day (our most successful feat yet!) I turned around for not even a second and he decided he’d rather play with the bright green stuff:


And so fun with food continues.  One thing we all point out is MAV’s adorable right side dimple.  My happy dude shows it off quite often:


Michael is super strong, master roller, and beefy.  Solid guy, he is almost twenty lbs and has two front bottom teeth that started poking through right before his seventh month of life.  He has handled teething SO MUCH BETTER THAN EVAN did.  So that’s been great.  We aren’t crawling yet, backward scooting.. but no crawling:


He’s mastering cat-cow. I see it happening soonish but I’m in zero rush to have two mobile dudes.  Michael LOVES the bouncer in small doses and is really starting to just enjoy sitting an taking toys out of baskets, his hand-eye coordination is incredible and he’s starting to use his fingers to pick things instead of full double hand grab.  Everything naturally goes straight to his mouth.. he chews on everything.  He isn’t amazing at naps because EVERYTHING wakes him up but at night – he is almost always AMAZING.  We have a few nights where he wants to party at 2am but mostly he really sleeps from ~8 to 6.


To summarize:  He’s just freaking fantastic.  Solid and amazing.  Really I couldn’t ask for a more laid back happy loving guy.  Happy SEVEN MONTHS!!!

How’s Evan?  Also great and ALMOST 3!  Dude. How is this possible?  He absolutely loves his brother “baby Michael.” We do have some jealousy moments but he really does well overall with lil Mike.



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,


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

Saturday Morning Madness

Yesterday was a glorious day spent with people I love.



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.



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: