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Evan’s New Adventure

We are finding a new routine around here.  My oldest son has started Kindergarten.

My whole heart simultaneously swelled with happiness and sadness.  Happiness because my boy is growing and thriving.  Sadness for the obvious – he’s a baby no more.  “Always my baby you’ll be” will always be in my heart but the truth is he is (and has been for some time) a little person learning, testing boundaries and soaking up all there is to know about life.

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Evan is a special soul he is sensitive, sweet and smart.  He was born a sweet soul.  As we awaited his late start I tried to fill my mind with other things; keeping busy making sure things around the house were picked up and he was ready to go.  Michael and him walked around saying “it’s Kindergarten day!”  We put on jeans, took pictures, realized it was too hot for jeans, changed to shorts lol.  Time ticked away too quickly and before we knew it Evan and I got in the car, drove the short drive to school, pulled up the new color doors and waited for them to open.

Evan stood close to me looking around for children he recognized and people quickly gathered on the grass outside the doors.  The teachers walked out with signs with their names on it and we got in line next to his new teacher.  Parents were allowed in the new classroom and were given a high level of what’s changing from preschool to kindergarten.  Not going to lie, I was instantly more nervous.  I started thinking to myself this is so much overwhelming information.  It’s literally school.  They are going to teach Evan a lot of independence this year.  I’m quite comfortable with this because Evan already has to be very independent due to Hector and I’s work schedules but still it’s just crazy to think how much more ridged his life is going to be.

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The teacher went on about making sure the kids were well rested getting at least 12 hours of sleep; and that they could not be late.  They would be getting homework (so soon!) and that this little blue folder was super important and needed to be brought to school EVERYDAY.  After lots of speaking she sat down with he children and read a book called “The Kissing Hand.” That’s when it took ALL OF ME to hold it together and not start sobbing.  I needed the kissing hand…

The wonderful thing that happens with newness of things is a re-evaluation of routines (or the establishment of them!).  So we’ve started a new things to help Evan make sure he’s organized and responsible for his things [more not that later!].

This new adventure is just in preparation for the rest of his life.  Like I said – so happy for him but also the dull ache of him being a true baby no more.

Good luck my love it is so amazing to watch you go through these new adventures!!!

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Baby Feeeeeever

Ok ya’ll.

It’s hit hard over here. Miss Jen has baby fever.   It’s probably because this guy:

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Couldn’t be less baby.  He’s literally moving and shaking at all times until he just crashes.

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He’s airborne most moments of the day.  He’s sorta like a rubber chicken, just bounces off stuff.  Smashes into things and just is crazy, but in the best way.  His energy is the best and as fun as ALMOST 3 is…

We are fresh out of baby clothes, toys and all that and I’m missing it.  It’s NO secret I’m the worst pregnant woman.  When I think about pregnancy in my head I’m like it’s not so bad, I can handle it.  I wrote this post about how to feel about pregnancy the next time after I had Evan and when I was pregnant with Michael? I still HATED BEING PREGNANT.  I want to clarify what I hate about pregnancy.  It’s feeling exhausted, not myself and sharing my body which I’m too obsessive about.  I’m way too body conscious and although with BOTH my pregnancies I gained around 20-25lbs I still STRESSED about it.  I’ve definitely come to understand that those preg hormones, not for me. I get morning sickness, feel gross and my thighs expand *sigh*.

BUT – I still think I want to do it again because I love babies and I feel like I’m supposed to have them.  I bring my babies home and I know what I’m doing.  I’m CONFIDENT in what I’m doing even when that stupid lady in the store gives you the stink eye (or EVEN says something!  when your baby is chewing on something potentially dirty INSERT EYE ROLL).

The fact my oldest is now five FIVE five years old and starting KINDERGARTEN has also put me over the edge:

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No seriously someone hold me.

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I also love that getting older means I really do care a lot less about people’s opinions.  One day I’m going to write a blog about being a young mom because I had Evan when I was 25 which was younger than a lot of my friends (not all of them!) but thinking about a baby after 30 is interesting and I’ll have to share my thoughts on all that.

Anywho I’m off to enjoy the rest of the day with my dudes and start jotting down ideas for more content like EXTENDED breastfeeding (happy dance), favorite kid stuff and what we are up to, per usual.

Today we saw peacocks and butterflies so I’ll leave you with a couple shots of those guys:

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Deep Love

My people.  They come in different shapes and sizes, some are related some are not.  Some call me friend, some sister, one calls me lover [ha, ok he doesn’t really but that sounds cool], and two precious little souls call me momma.

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I love deeply.  It’s what I do.  I fall in love with everything I do, and I fall hard.  I get into the weeds, learn the ins and outs.  I fail sometimes, sure, ok a lot? Whoops. But still, mostly I gather a deeper understanding of something.  I want to teach my kids to do this… to love deeply.  I’ll tell you this, no truer deeper love has ever come from my soul like the love I have for boys.  I chase that love, that deep profound love, and try to apply it wherever I can.  You look for that morsel that says “yes” deep inside, that touch of “this is right””this is what I should do”.  My love for them blows my mind and is the benchmark of all things in life.  I’ll sit on the couch as they play “let’s pile on mom” and I’ll snuggle and give lots of kisses and lots of hugs and lots of “I love yous”.  I’ll sit and stare as they play with one another.  There are no words to describe this other than the deepest most profound love.

You do not need to have kids to find this; but I do think that people need to find this.  Then you need to apply it to the things and PEOPLE that matter.  Your friends, your family, your barber and your yoga instructor (especially when they give you an extra minute of child’s pose) need to hear you love them, that they are tremendous professionals and wonderful human beings.   You should also pass that smile to the stranger on the street like my neighbor (and dear friend) Hannah does, because you never know how that person is feeling that day and how YOUR act of kindness can make a difference.  Life here would be so much better if we all just loved more, complained less and hugged more.  Like I said my kids are the starter that sparked my soul and started truly guiding my life.  No more bullshit, just huge chunks of love.

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This post isn’t about anything in particular.  It’s just my two cents on life and the most powerful message I can give to anyone outside of “Love and Trust God” it’s truly simple but can be immensely painful but I promise you, you will never regret it:

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there is also this tidbit.  Mental health is a real issue and we need to stop hiding it and talk about it.  People need to talk about sadness, depression and addiction.  People need to take mental health days because they need a day submerged in a book or diving into netflix (or taking a 5 hour walk)… when someone knows they need a day, they need it. AND WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT and encourage it.  It’s not about medicating everyone, it’s about telling everyone it is ok to feel the way you feel, but let’s also help you find out why.  Let’s help you find help, if you are willing to seek it and let’s make sure that WE VOICE THIS to our politicians so they know how we feel about healthcare, mental wellness and family wellness.  We need to encourage more start-ups around family health, coping mechanisms and all-around wellbeing.  Yes it’s important to workout, eat right and take care of yourself BUT IT’S ALSO not as easy as just doing it for some and it can be overwhelming and seemingly impossible and expensive.

I need to figure out a way to make my stamp, and if we each do a little bit to make this world a little better… We’ll be forever reeping the benefits.  What better way to show our deep love…

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Someday I’ll write a sensical blog, or even put together a cohesive set of what we can do – what you can do to even if it’s the smallest thing but today the homework is smile at a stranger, hug your life partner a little tighter for a second longer and send a text to a friend to just remind them you are thinking of them. God knows I think about mine everyday.  I’ll leave you with this picture of Michael saying “boo”:

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[these pictures are all “throwbacks” to last year]

Ok this is what I’m really going to leave you with… I’m giving my sister deep hugs because she lost a friend yesterday, he left us too soon.  I love you Nicole, you are my other light and you are a tremendous person,  don’t you forget that.  I love you. I love you.

Because sometimes we will loose someone, someone too young, far to young… There is evil out there, and deep profound sadness but that just means your depth for love is also greater and we are here for you.

WE can do better by being better to ourselves, the planet and the universe.

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A Few [more] Summer Favs

I hope everyone finds pure summertime happiness & bliss the way I do… Gosh I really should find somewhere warm to live.  Chicago summers are legit magical. I’m holding on to each second.

That said, wanted to share some SUMMERTIME FAVS!  Now I know I need to get into the selfie or professional [looking like my product stuff] posed *cough*hector*cough* pictures… But, I’d like to think sometimes I can get my stuff together.  My hair is super long [too long] but I’m into the messy salty hair waves on weekends.  I support wet hair with a bit of this and this magic in it:

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This goes onto damp hair.  Running after kids?  no worries! Throw your hair in Princess Leia buns and run; OR, not into the side buns? All good, just try to scrunch and run.  Either way this salty stuff gives your hair texture like you are a surfer mom/babe.   What I love about it is – I really am trying to stop from washing my hair EVERY SINGLE DAY (I know terrible… I have oil problems likely perpetuated by my constant washing).  I swear this stuff helps on weekends.  The texturizing stuff in it makes my hair not feel so oily the next day. The Oribe product I’m ordering more of because that was a magic in a can.  I’m going to try Drybar’s dry shampoo too… I digress, more on that later.  This salty goodness really does help me do quick dos and allows me to air dry without looking like a total spaz.

Sweat?  I sweat all the time.  Cold? Stressed? Hot? Working out? Yep.  I own it, but I found this amazing. AMAZING AMAZING deodorant. If I could always smell like a coconut *daydreams* – or lavender? Are you kidding?  Get. this. and you are welcome.  It’s aluminum free and made right here in the great USofA.  35 hundred happy reviewers. Go check them out at nativecos.com. They get two pictures – I’m serious it’s like a blessing to the pits.

I’m sure in some post somewhere I’ve talked about my Target addiction.  I mean Amazon has ruled my life but Target has to be a close second.  IF they had an app like Amazon, holy.guacamole I’d be in BIG trouble (hire me, great idea… upgrade yo’app deliver stuff to our doors).   And just above I talked about loving smelling like a coconut.  I love all the coconuts, like most people.  ANYWHO, I have a thing for this brand:

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Coconut probiotic? Sounds great. Give it to me.  But seriously, this saved our skin on vacation.  You NEED to rub it in.  Rub it in well.  No burns over here and I smelled like heaven doused in coconuts.  I have a bronzer one too.  Put this shirt on over your suit and go. True coconut style.  Honestly though I bought this, friend saw it was faulty but it’s still with the purchase.  Same friend actually rocked it with a side knot, super. cute.

I’m off to take O for a nice walk and walk off the last minute home-made mules from last night. HA.  My body is so confused on what to do with the sugar, but you only live once.

I’ll be back with more later!

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Birthday Tradition + Evan is 5!!

Happy Saturday!

I’m writing this post with my 5 year old sitting my lap, head on my shoulder, snuggling and drinking a #fab4smoothie. It’s like I’ve gone to heaven.  He’s sad his daddy went to work, I think he’s been enjoying weekends when we are all together as a family because last weekend we had 3 whole days together.

I’ve written how I’m loving our little adventures in this post and keeping in the theme we took Evan to Wisconsin Dells for his birthday!  This is the second year we’ve done a mini trip for his birthday instead of a party and it is pretty safe to say it might become a tradition – a mini trip instead of a birthday party.  When I do parties I go a bit crazy see a couple examples here and here.  I LOVE the craftiness of it all but like all big events they are expensive, end too quickly and the cleanup is just my favorite part 😉  – I guess next year I should have a party to just clean up the aftermath LOL. Doing a weekend away not only ends up being so special for Evan (3 whole days of celebrating!!!) but also it’s filled with 3 days of lots of memories and not as much prep for party drama.

We had a really wonderful time.  Wisconsin Dells is a massive tourist whateveryoucallit.  You get to this place you just see tons of billboards advertising a gazzilon things to to do, colorful motels, signs for resorts, hotels and just TONS of roller coasters, mini golf places, water parks… Loads of people with a similar weekend getaway idea like yours.  This year we did lot of what Dells became popular for in the first place,  the Dells.

We enjoyed a river boat tour of the Upper Dells in the rain.  Actually I really recommend you going on a day with a bit of light rain like we did because they don’t pack the boats which have an upper and lower level which means HALF the people and I’d suspect a much more enjoyable experience.  They had two land landings that were absolutely breathtaking but really tight short paths so with double the people it wouldn’t have been as enjoyable.  I’ll try to get a video from the go pro because it was hard to snap pictures – none of these even begin to describe how breathtaking it is in person:

This was absolutely kid friendly.  The boys really enjoyed the paths through the landings (you can also see the tight space below):

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Our second day out there we rented a boat for the morning on Lake Delton.  Again crazy how we got so lucky with the weather.  This all sport lake is public so the traffic can get outrageous, but because the am started out overcast we had the lake basically all to ourselves which meant a few laps just us.  Evan’s vintage Snoopy PFD – I can’t even.

Grandma Debbie always the best around – got into the water with them:

We even saw a BALD EAGLE perched atop a tree on our way back when the lake was getting busy because the sun was making an appearance.  Very. Cool.

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We stayed at a resort with a water park so the kiddos really enjoyed that.  While the boys napped with my parents Hector and I went on a hike.  The hike was AWESOME but the bugs were a-plenty.  I forgot bugspray and got eaten alive.  Do yourself a favor, don’t bring the kids and cover your extremities with LOOSE fitting clothing not leggings that they eat right through and dear LORD use bug spray.  Just do it.  Let me be the example of what not to do. If you don’t do chemicals (trust me I have all the fancy no chemical bug sprays but will take something more powerful next time) take a shower in essential oils before and bring a bucket with you for the trip or maybe one of those bee suits. My legs were horrific after that hike.  Upside?  I walked quickly and kicked my heart rate up – it  made for a good workout – not upside, racing through the views.

Thanks for letting me share some of our adventures with you!  We had a great time and those things inspire us to just keep moving and take in all the pretty things around us.

I’m off to start some of the many outstanding projects for the day.  Have a fab weekend!  I’ll leave you with the face on the Wisconsin River:

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Please like me on Facebook!! << what. Plugs are a thing.

 

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Fab Four Smoothie

Good day!  Wrote this several days ago and have since made oodles of smoothie combos so I’ll def come back with more suggestions!

So I mentioned in my last post I’m reading the book Body Love (well listening to, I grabbed the audiobook, I suggest hard cover for this as there is lots reference material and sciencey words HA).  Kelly talks a lot about her #Fab4smoothie.  She actually swears by it, and says a lot of her clients (who include Molly Sims & Jessica Alba) really subscribe to her Fab 4 combos: protein, fat, fiber and greens (well, duh)!  I’m giving it a go because, why not.  It’s not like I don’t already eat clean but I don’t balance my meals always with those four categories and it’s pretty straight forward so I thought I’d share today’s smoothie, it was… not bad! PLUS I’ve been doing extensive research about how terrible sugar is for you so I’ve been really limiting/eliminating sugar anyway (Kelly would approve!).

I’ve been a smoothie making machine for some time.  My beloved Vitamix is honestly the best thing since sliced bread IMO so I’ve thrown all sorts of concoctions in there.  One super important thing in all those?  Fruit.  Def.  I mean, my fave that I lovingly call my own Mean Greens Spicy Machine (celery, pineapple, spinach/super greens, lemon, coconut water, fresh ginger + Cheyenne pepper!) doesn’t have too much in it but it’s certainly more than what Kelly would like us to do as far as sugar content (coconut water + pinapple). She’d like you to limit the fruit to 1/4 cup or none and if you use coconut water – no fruit.

I’m sure I’m like a lot of people when you go “I need fruit in my smoothies…”  But once you try it – it’s not so bad!

Today’s smoothie was just these simple things plus Cacao Powder and two really big handfuls of greens:

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All these are super clean – the protein powder obviously the most processed (I also have been using this which is collagen protein peptides, more on those in another post).  The nut butter has one ingredient (cashews!).

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Super buttery! I also found this nut milk brand and am really pleased with it and the ingredients:

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Chia seeds for fiber a ton of greens and I had myself a super simple very satisfying smoothie (also threw in some ice).  This really keeps me satiated for some time, that’s a huge part of her book – that we should eat to satiety and and not confuse our system with sugar and insulin spikes which cause a bunch of different issues.

As I continue to follow this I’ll def tell you about my experiences along the way, but encourage you smoothie lovers need a simple quick breakfast people – to try a non-fruit (low fruit) #fab4smoothie and checkout Kelly’s Website for other smoothie ideas.  I do promise a full review on her book I have about 30 minutes left to listen to and I think I will be purchasing a hard copy for reference material!

Chat soon!

 

 

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Adventure

I mean, what’s the definition of adventure?  To me it could be cleaning under my bed.  I never know how some things get under there. But I actually like to associate it with movement and exciting places.

Yesterday I made my husband and kiddos run to the beach.  Ok not literally run, we got into a car but I just said let’s go!  Evan’s happy place is the water.  He could live in the water if he could – as we drove downtown we were just dressed in regular clothes because it was chilly.  Honestly the boys weren’t even dressed warm enough.  The waves were NUTS.  I mean Crazy.  There was no beach! There was about two inches of water covering what typically is a packed with umbrellas and towels beach after several hundred feet about 50 feet where waves started breaking was a sandbar where people were watching waves from.

This is what my chat sounded like to Evan.  “Evan, honey, walk slowly so you don’t splash water everywhere.  If you get cold we’ll go back.”

His response:

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He just flew through the water.  It could have been bath water by his reaction.  But this is what I love about being a parent. To Evan it’s simple, he loves water – he sees water, he enjoys it.  Better that than let him eat all the chocolate cake he wants.  I choose my parent battles.

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After running though the water we made it to the sandbar and he just loved digging his hands and feet into the sand.  So. Simple. No toys, no nothing.  Just me screaming,
“Evan don’t go into the water… Evan be careful… Evan those are big waves PLEASE be careful…  EVAN NOT THAT FAR” Then there was Michael, his take not his?  Terror.  This was an Evan party.

I love being with my guys.  They make my heart so full.  We also tried out some new gear – can’t wait to share some of that with you all!  Just need to figure that out… but this post is mostly me taking pictures of my almost 5 year old.  Someone hold me.  Seriously.  This post is also about me encouraging everyone to just get up and go.  Yes it’s easier to sit down and binge watch GOT, I mean I certainly did that this winter & rushed home for my dose of Jon Snow after this beach adventure.

Make as many days you can an adventure.  Go walk your neighborhood or drive somewhere prettier.  Take LOTS of pictures.  My mom always jokes about my hundreds of pictures but I will never regret them.  Ever.  In fact I’m upgrading to video!  Need the best of both worlds.

The last piece of this post is to wish you all a very Happy Monday!  Let’s kick ass this week.  Tomorrow I plan on a 5am row.  Join me on Snapchat friends:  jlmattes

Go into your week with this enthusiasm and nothing will stand in your way.

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