Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Potty Training Twins - Success!

 

After a quasi-successful trial run with potty training six months ago (I was desperately trying to get them out of diapers before their baby brother came into the world), we decided to give it another go.

Since our all-in, two day "practice round", the boys had still been using the potty whenever they requested as well in the morning and at night as part of their daily routine. However, they still weren't asking to go by on a regular basis. Granted, they were now two-in-a-half, chatting up a storm and had nearly mastered pulling their pants up and down, so we figured, why not try again?

We scheduled a stretch of time when we were both off work and decided to attempt the "all-in, three day method" for the second time. This go-round I was not pregnant (yay) and was looking forward to keeping cool and calm with my trusty friend red wine on hand as needed. I have a tendency to become incredibly anxious when there is a lack of structure and this was sure to be one of those times.


We made plans to stay home, stocked the house with stickers, potty candy, magic potty juice, potty rewards, charts, movies, coloring books and started talking to the boys about what was to happen weeks before the big event.


When that first morning rolled around we said good bye to our "night night pants" (aka, diapers which they only wear at night since they aren't waking up quite yet), put on our favorite monster truck shirts and started our day pants free.

Immediately, the boys loved it. Having easy access to one of their favorite toys?! They were having a grand ole' time. Since we wanted to focus on them just going on the potty, we set up a little potty area in our living room. A large blanket, towels, potty chairs and two little boys who sat there...and sat there...and sat there. Between their favorite shows (Dinotrux, Mighty Machines & Bob the Builder) and the learning games on their Kindle Fire's, they were more than happy to just stay put on those potties.

Each time they felt themselves going they would look down, yell, "pee pee down" and push those little things down to make sure that stream stayed in the bowl. Then they would jump up, squeal and start asking for "pah cah" (potty candy). The first day that is pretty much all we did....sat. When they did get up to run around we would constantly ask if they had to go and kept taking breaks to have them sit. Sometimes they went, sometimes they went on the floor...or while riding a truck. It was a looonnnggg first day but we made it and moved on to day two.


The next day we decided it was time to put on our big boy chonies. They chose a pair and set off to play. After a day on the potty, we hoped they would be able to feel the sensation to potty and run into the bathroom or let us know. We talked about it at length and just went for it. When they ran in there and pulled down their chonies to go potty you would have thought we won the lottery. Screaming, singing, dancing, sticker choice, sticker on the chart, potty candy, more dancing, looking at the pee, ooohhhing, ahhhiinnng, hugging, kissing...this went on all day. When they had accidents, we calmly told them it was no biggie, but that we wanted to try and go in the potty. Soon, having accidents made them very sad and they made a great effort to get to the bathroom.

Sometimes they made it, sometimes they would forget. Doing what a typical mommy does, I started to question everything. Were we doing this right? Was this supposed to be happening? Is this working? I texted my sister in law and non-bio sister with questions and they helped me stay calm and motivated to ride it out.


By the third day the boys were still doing ok. A few accidents here and there, but for the most part they would go potty on command. I started to notice that Clarke was becoming more consistent about stopping what he was doing to run into the potty and go. As it is with twins, J.R. noticed what Clarke was doing and started to follow suit. Soon, more often than not they were running into that potty...especially since they knew once they went a huge party would ensue.

On the fourth day I (thankfully) had to go to work and therefore was forced to leave the house for a long period of time. Since my TH was going it alone with two potty training toddlers and an infant, I told him to stick with it, but if it got crazy with pee all over the place to throw in the towel and put them back in diapers. Well, I checked in later that day and NO ACCIDENTS!  When I got home promptly at 3pm there had only been ONE all day!! Say whhhaatt???!!! My big boys had done an amazing job and showed no signs of going back to diapers. I was elated.


With our in-home bathroom skills pretty much perfected, it was time to test the waters of skill generalization. We started with going over to Maj's house. We brought their potty adapter seat and made the short walk over. Even though they had only really used their little potty seats at home, I figured this may help them get used to going on the big potty as needed. I mean, they had sat on the big potty a few times at home, but still weren't too sure about it. This of course only created more anxiety for me wondering how on Earth you transition to that...but I knew that was a worry for another day.

They did well at her house with only one accident and I was feeling more confident in their skills each day. By the end of the week they were playing outside for hours with no accidents and telling me when they had to go. I decided to bring out a little seat to make it easy on myself as it is no small feat to grab one to go inside with the baby and another little one refusing to come in. With the potty always within their reach they never missed a beat...well, there were a couple poopy mistakes, but that too is a whole different beast which takes a little extra attention.


After one short week they were having few to no accidents in their chonies and I decided it was high time to get out and back into the real world. To make life a little easier on myself, I decided to purchase some pull ups for the boys to wear. While I knew this was considered a "step backwards", the boys and I had a long talk (as did I with my non-bio sister) and I made sure they knew these were our special going out big boy pants and they still needed to tell me when they had to go.  Lucky for me they had Lightening McQueen on them so the boys were happy to wear them as needed.

Being a tad bit overzealous, the Maj and I thought it would be a good idea to go to Ikea...on a Sunday...with all the kids...Thankfully, we had some backup from the beautiful Mrs. S whose extra set of hands were a huge help.

With their Cars big boy pants on, we made the 45 minute drive to San Diego....

About 15 minutes into our trip Clarke started saying, "uh -oh, pah, pah" (potty). I was terrified but told him it was ok, he was doing a great job and made my way to the nearest exit. While I was sure he had gone in his pants, we raced into a gas station, grabbed the potty seat (and antibacterial wipes) and rushed into the bathroom. I held my breath praying that he would not flip out at the big potty and got it ready for him to sit as he tugged down his pants. I whisked him up, he pointed that pee pee down and we both watched as the beautiful stream of liquid left his little body. The smiles grew across both our faces and they party started. Screaming, clapping, me fighting off tears of joy as he giggled and squealed with delight. HE DID IT! ON THE BIG POTTY! AND TOLD ME ABOUT IT!!! One dry pull up and a bag of M&M's later (I forgot to pack the most important essential of all) we were back on the road and my heart couldn't have been more full.


During our two hour trip at Ikea I must have taken those two to the bathroom at least 20 times. They often went, sometimes didn't but I nearly died when each time we went that pull up was dry. Not one drop had left them if it wasn't in the toilet. They were rockstars!

The only thing that has slowed down in our quest for potty training perfection is their regular number two. It used to be every day, but now it is every other. They aren't quite sure how to deal with the sensation, but since they constantly touch their tushies when they have to go, I am pretty good about making sure we stay on the potty and reelllaaxxx it right out. It scares them a bit so they always need one of us close to hold them until they realize that not only is it ok, but it is the best thing ever...and they get an upgrade from one M&M to a Hershey's Kiss!


The latest development is their new obsession with the big potty (all thanks to the amazing"poop light" I purchased on Amazon to light up the toilet and draw them in) and having dry-ish diapers through the night. Next up is them moving to big boy beds (I am terrified) and going potty in the night like big boys.

Then I might as well pay their college tuition as they will be leaving me in a blink of an eye (start uncontrollable sob now). Another milestone met and this mommy couldn't be more proud of her two biggest boys.

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

How to Create "Tribute to Love" Wall


Happy Valentine's Day!! What better way to celebrate another lovey holiday than with a love wall! 

I remember when I first got married and I needed the pictures to be everywhere. As time went on I started to remove most of them keeping only a few out. Aside from the couple on my family wall  my favorites were moved to our bedroom.

It started with my all time top pick, a canvas my Thriving Mommy had made for me from my favorite wedding shot. I absolutely loved this picture and it pretty much summed up my entire event. It highlighted our theme of hydrangeas and was kind of artsy which I adored...it had earned the place of being the centerpiece.  


My non-bio sister Mrs. H had taken my beautifully designed invitation (thanks again for that Mrs. W) and had it custom framed perfect to put that up next to the canvas.


When I was cleaning out an old box I found the letter (or poem rather) my husband and written when he proposed along with the vows we had written to each other. I took an old shadow box frame, arranged all three inside and added some craft hydrangea petals I had lying around (lucky me, I know) to keep with the whole theme.


With my top three wedding momentos taking center stage, I slowly started to around it. First, with my belly shot from the boys...


Followed by the most recent shot of my belly with Mac.


About five years ago, I decided to frame pictures of us getting ready before the wedding. The one of me set next to my husband's side of the bed and vice versa. Well, with three kids those bedside tables fill up pretty fast each night so I decided instead they should make the wall.




Find a wall in your home and start to showcase the love! From weddings to babies and beyond, nothing will bring you more joy than watching it grow.

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Recipe - Sparkle Heart Krispies


Rice Krispies recipes are almost embarrassing to post as there is really nothing to it. Yet, here I am again sharing my love of this ridiculously easy to make treat.

With Valentine's Day right around the corner why not make something special for the one you love rather than buy it. Even better? Get your little ones involved in the mix, dip and sprinkle!


I decided to throw in a lobster one just for fun too since I had it and all...


Make the Rice Krispie treats according to the box (melt butter and mallows, mix with Krispies, press into greased 9x13 pan until cool..so easy).




Once the Krispies have cooled, take your pan and flip on a sheet of wax paper.


Grab your heart cutter (or any other Valentine/love themed cutter) and start the press and pull process.




With your Krispies cut and set aside, heat your chocolate in 30 second intervals (stirring in between) until smooth. Add food coloring and mix to make a pretty pink,


Grab a heart and give it a half dip. You may need to use a spatula to spread chocolate around the edges so have one on hand.



Once your hearts have a little color, add the sparkly sprinkles!


Allow the chocolate to cool and harden and then you are DONE!  So easy, so pretty and oh so sweet!


This little cutie was made especially for my TH...I have a thing for lobsters...
So head into the kitchen, grab an apron and get ready to show some love in less than 10 minutes!

What are some of your favorite Krispie recipes?

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

7 Ways to Keep the THRIVE ALIVE in a Changing Marriage


The month of love continues here at Thriving Wives, so while we keep sharing the love let's take a look at the most important relationship we have...our marriages.

Life is constantly changing, so it should come as no surprise that your relationships would change as well.  From meeting someone, to dating, becoming exclusive and hopefully committing to that person, you change all along the way and you may not even realize it.

The b*$!& slap that a marriage takes after having kids can often make or break couples.  Pregnancy makes a usual rock-star of a Thriving Wife sometimes limited (the exhaustion alone is deadly) which only ends with the addition of a (wonderful and perfect) human joining the family dynamic.

New roles are defined, those Thriving Husbands that we depended on for everything during pregnancy sort of gets shoved to the background as we mommies dote over our new bundle of sweet baby love. It is important that we take a moment to put life in slow motion so that we can keep the THRIVE alive.


Easier said then done? Yes. But here are 7 tips to keep your relationship honest, open and to help you along the way.

1. Communicate:  First and foremost, talk to each other and talk A LOT.  Don't let the other one get off the hook with the whole, "Nothing's wrong" bit, that is a bunch of crap.  You know it, I know it, so cut it.  It's obvious something is wrong, so either come out with it or get over it. Discuss what you are feeling in the moment, hear each other, validate each other and make an effort to address the others feelings/improve in the future.

2. Know when to give space.  If the other person refuses to discuss what's on their mind, then leave it and them alone.  I know my patience runs very thin when my TH wants to pretend nothing is wrong when it is so totally clear that something is up.  So, I just say, "Ok, well I am getting a different vibe from you which is telling me something is wrong, so when you are ready to talk I will be ________" and peace out.  Sometimes no attention and some space is what the other person needs.



3. Be patient and understanding.  Allow the other person to work it out in their own way.  I know my coping strategies are much different from my TH.  I like to work out until I can't move, he likes to sit and drink a beer in peace.  We know that about each other and honor what the other needs. We help each other with the kids so we can have that "alone time" to reset and regroup.

4. Welcome changes and go with the flow.  With change comes adaptation.  Learn to adapt to the changes life throws you.  My TH and I have gotten to know and appreciate each other so much more now that we have a house full of little boys.  Our lives have changed dramatically but we have always been on the same page and see each other as our biggest supporter and teammate.  We definitely have our moments of weakness where the world seems to be ending (ok, that is more my take as a I am a serious drama queen), but we always end up working together and working through everything we encounter...together.


5. Make time for each other.  This is a BIGGIE. Once you have kids you lose a sense of who you are and start to be seen only as mommy or daddy. It is incredibly important to remember how it all started and how those precious little people came to be...you two. Even if it is a small hug in the kitchen while making dinner, or a taking a moment to collapse in laughter together as your kids have full blown melt downs over fruit snacks, stay connected. Spend some time each evening talking about something besides kid stuff after everyone is in bed and make plans to go out alone at least once a month (at least). Don't stop being each other's best friend no matter how crazy life gets.

6. Never stop trying.  I love my TH more than is possible to express, but I never stop trying.  Even though I have more than my fair share of crazy moments, I always remember to thank him for letting me have them and supporting me along the way.  I never give up on working to make our relationship stronger and welcome any challenges knowing we will get through it together.

7. Remember why you fell in love.  When the stressful times come (weddings, homes, job changes, financial struggles, babies, babies and more babies) take a moment to step back from it all and remember who you are in this with and why.  You chose your best friend, your partner and (hopefully) the love of your life.  You can do anything if you work together, acknowledge the problem, and focus on a solution.  Remember why you fell in love with this person and why you chose to share your life with them.

Marriage is constantly changing and will continue to do so. Instead of growing and changing alone, grow and change together as well.

A very wise Thriving Wife once told me, "We had to remember the "me" mattered as much as the "us" and always work to keep balance"

Keep on loving this month TWs and don't forget to keep that THRIVE ALIVE!

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Thursday, February 2, 2017

What We're Loving Lately - 7 From the Nest



As we continue on with our month of love, we decided there is no better time to introduce a new series featuring what we're loving lately. First up, NEST!

1. Curtain Cabinets - I have enough vintage table cloths to cover more tables than I own. Why not turn some of those into sassy cabinets? When we removed the trash compactor in our kitchen it left an ugly gaping hole. No need to fret, a simple equation comes to the rescue. Tension rod  + vintage cloth = PERFECTION!


2. Suitcase Storage - It seems like old suitcases are everywhere these days. I myself not only have collected them from family, but snap them up at garage sales and flea markets alike. They are wonderful storage bins and give every room a little character.


3. Floor Cushions - I had been eyeing these at Costco last year and was so pleased to see them back in the mix. I snapped them up knowing that my little boys would just love sitting/climbing/jumping/dragging them all over the house. It is also a great way to keep them from jumping all over the couch!


4. Floral Patterns - Spring is coming and as usual I am florally obsessed. Sheets, pillow cases, curtains, napkins...it if is in floral, it is out!


5. Dining Nook - I have always dreamed of having a little booth in my kitchen. Thankfully, I now have the perfect location! I contacted a local contractor and designed a custom bench that will make all my visions come true.


6.  Essential Oil Diffuser - As you know, I love essential oils. I roll, mix and of course, diffuse. Not only are they going to fill any room with safe fumes to inhale, but you can choose any oil to match your mood. Want to feel fresh? Throw in some lemon. Ready to relax? How about some lavender. Any and everything is available and you don't have to worry about what is going in your lungs!


7. Pretty Plates - Something about eating on a pretty plate makes me enjoy eating all the more. Since most of my meals consist of the scraps my kids leave behind, when I have a moment to truly enjoy a "mommy meal" I am quick to grab a beautiful vintage plate and enjoy every second.


What are you loving lately around your nest?

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

28 Days Of Love - #TWlove Giveaway


February is nearly here...so bust out the chocolates and let's start celebrating love! With life being so busy we wanted to do our best to focus signs of affection for the next 28 days and recharge our relationships. Here are 28 ways in which we are going to show the love, why don't you join us?


We are so excited about the month ahead we are offering a LOVEly giveaway to help get you started! We will be announcing our big winner on February 9th so we can ship your LOVEly package and in hopes it arrives for Valentine's Day...how perfect is that?!

You could be sporting your sassy vintage apron while sipping sparkling wine from an antique glass all the while burning your homemade candle...now that is what I call festive!


We love seeing you Thriving Wives in action, so please share your love with us by tagging @thrivingwives and using the hashtag #TWlove. We can't wait to see if you are pulling from our list or creating your own.

The giveaway starts tonight at midnight so start planning those loving acts and get ready to enter!


Let's get lovin'!
Strive to thrive, 
Em