We could not be more excited to have our good friend, Hayley Villa as our Meet-a-Mom feature this month! Make sure you read till the end to learn more about her son Max’s condition EOE, Max is truly a hero and they are doing amazing things to help find a cure. If you want to learn more and get involved, please visit CURED Foundation.
Tell us a little bit about you!
Originally from Colorado. Yoga, pilates, reading, and anything outdoors are my favs
How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
Max (9) Sam (6)
What’s your favorite thing about being a mom?
I love all the things my boys have taught me. I think it’s amazing that our children come into this world with their own personalities and views and I’m always in awe of the things I learn from them – oftentimes the simplicity in some big struggles I’ve had.
How did you end up in Prosper/Celina?
We moved from Dallas to Frisco when we were expecting our first son. After 5 years in Frisco we wanted a bit more space so we moved a little further north.
What do you love about Prosper/Celina?
I love the community feel. Everyone in our neighborhood and town seems to really have each other’s backs.
What’s your favorite restaurant in Prosper/Celina?
What’s your favorite place to shop in Prosper/Celina?
What’s your favorite thing to do when you need some “me time”?
a HOT yoga class
Tell us about being a stay at home mom.
I feel so lucky to be a stay at home mom and it’s truly been my dream to be able to be at home raising my kids, but to be totally transparent about it – it is hard. There’s no off time.
What do you love about it?
Being able to be there for anything my boys might need of me.
What is one thing you look forward to every year?
Thanksgiving. My husband is Italian and everyone in his family is just a phenomenal cook. They all usually congregate at our house and they just spend days cooking every meal from scratch while all the cousins run around together. It’s magical. And delicious.
How do you juggle all the things with being a mom and wife?
I don’t! My beloved 94 year old grandmother, Gammy, is constantly reminding me that the housework and chores can wait – I’ll only have little feet running around for so long before our home is quiet and in perfect order. I always hear her in the back of my mind when I feel like I *should* be doing more. We live a little messy around here and focus on being together and our experiences. My one thing I do for sure is get up early and get my workout in before the rest of the family wakes. It sets the tone for my day, gives me so much energy, and is my self care.
Tell us about Max’s Food Allergies? How did you all find out, how has it been to change up all your cooking/eating out habits etc?
Max has a rare disease called Eosinophilic Esophagitis. Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic disorder of the digestive system in which large numbers of a particular type of white blood cell called eosinophils are present in the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. Eosinophils are part of the immune system and play a role in immune regulation and fighting certain infections, and their accumulation is a hallmark of allergic diseases. This condition is characterized by vomiting, stomach or chest pain, failure to thrive (particularly in children), difficulty swallowing, and food getting stuck in the throat. Max was never too excited about food, but at age 5 he started refusing to eat and had frequent complaints of his stomach and throat hurting. We were referred to our amazing pediatric gastroenterologist and he diagnosed Max’s after performing an endoscopy. Changing our family’s diet was HARD. We had to cut out all dairy, gluten/wheat, and eggs. Max can eat eggs now so that has made it easier, but we tend to eat a mostly paleo type diet. The silver lining in all of this is it’s definitely forced our family to eat healthier.
Good tips for others with Food Allergies?
We always have safe foods for Max on hand so that if he is given anything at school, birthday party, or other event he can trade it in for his own special treat. We also educate everyone around us about Max’s allergies to keep him safe. And the biggest thing is we have taught Max how to read labels and advocate for himself – so he is able to decipher for himself what he can and can’t safely have. We have been so lucky to have the most supportive friends that go out of their way to make sure Max doesn’t feel excluded due to food at celebrations (like my sweet Megs!!) But we choose our friends and who we spend time with carefully so that Max doesn’t have to feel like the “different” kid all the time.
Favorite Recipes for Food Allergies?
There is a great website called Allergy Awesomeness www.allergyawesomeness.com that is written by another allergy mama. All of her recipes are amazing and have made it possible for Max to eat some things (like donuts!) that would otherwise not be possible for him.
What’s one fun fact about you?
I met and started dating my husband at the age of 14!