Thursday, March 23, 2017

Mommy Advice - When is it too much?

I loved being pregnant. Really, it was best thing that ever happened to me.  Granted, there was some discomfort along the way, but despite it all, each day was still the best day.

I remember relishing in the chance to finally chat about my body changing and having people talk to me about my belly and share their tales of motherhood.  But, sometimes, when I was listening to a monologue about their horrible pregnancy, awful birth, what didn't work for them and all their woes, I start to feel rather awk-dawg. 

I mean, why would anyone want to share their negative stories with a pregnant mom?  Especially when I was pregnant the first time. I didn't know anyone who ever walked away from that convo feeling great.

I remember when I was pregnant with the twins, I was practically crawling through the airport experiencing a great deal of back pain. Despite wanting to curl up on the ground and cry, I had to power through it. When the security attendant asked if I was ok, I smiled and said I was just carrying twins and they were making me a bit uncomfortable at the moment.  With a large exhale, she too said that she had twins.  I quickly perked up and asked her how pregnancy was, hoping she would offer some support.  However, she exhaled again and said, "It was awful".  The hope and joy I had momentarily felt left my body and I started to tear up.  Thankfully, I was traveling with the Queen of all Momma Bears, Mrs C and she jumped to my defense saying, "Couldn't you have lied to her?!...geez!!!".  That made me think, couldn't she have fibbed, just for a second, to give me a bit of hope/strength?

As I chat with preggo friends and strangers alike,  I make sure to only highlight all the joys of pregnancy and motherhood. There is plenty to worry allllll on our own.

As mothers (old and new alike), maybe we should all take that extra second to stop and think before we offer advice. What if we all offered only positive support/advise that we did when we were brides.  I don't think I have told ever told any of my engaged friends all the horror stories of my wedding, because when looking back, everything that seemed so "horrific" turned out to be nothing at all.

The main advice I offer to my soon be MRS. girls, is to slow down, enjoy every second of wedding planning because it is over before you know it.  All the tears you cry now and the stress that arises over invitations, flowers and guest lists is HIGHLY laughable after the fact.  The only thing that you will remember is the absolutely magical day you experience.  Isn't motherhood the same?  All the pregnancy woes and birth stories end in a perfect lump of human flesh that you and the person you love created together?

So next time you are chatting with a new (or even old mom) see if you too can channel only the good stuff. The beauty of your pregnancy, the unicorn-ness of your birth, the superhero status of being a mommy....just think how uplifting that might be.

Who will you comfort today?

Strive to thrive, 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

DIY Spring Flower Picture

The shortest/non-existent winter is behind us and it is with open arms that this heat lovin' mommy welcomes Spring. What better way to get the season started than with a fun and easy art project for the little ones. Grab your supplies, head outside and get crafting while enjoying the beautiful weather.

All you need to get started is some card-stock (cut the sheet into thirds), non toxic/washable/safe for littles paint, small plates/napkins, a foam brush and sweet, sweeeet tiny hands.

Make sure you set up an art area that is ready for a mess. If you have already created an art cart then you are one step ahead. We used our outdoor table covered with a plastic table cloth for easy cleaning. Toddlers + paint = mess. 

Decide what colors you want for your blooms; I went with pink and yellow. The green paint will serve as your stem and thumb print leaves therefore, all you will need is two to three colors. If you aren't too interested in purchasing a paint variety pack you can buy singles. But I would suggest getting the pack as it ends up being cheaper and you are sure to use it as there is an endless amount of toddler art projects. 

Now lets get started! Dump out a bit of paint on each plate or napkin so that a little hand can smear it around juuuuuuust right. My boys each chose a color (ok, that is a lie, I assigned a color) and took turns getting their hand coated.

Taking your cut sheet of card stock, grab that sweet little painted hand and PRESS it down nice and firm to get your first bloom. If you are like me and plan to do multiples, set it aside and grab the next sheet. Re-press into paint, re-press onto paper...again and again...well don't forget to kiss your little in between of course...

Once you are done with one kid/color/flower get them cleaned up and on to something else while you get started on the other one.

Whooo hooo! Success. I added my boys' names next to their print and then let those beautiful blooms dry for a bit while I prepared for the next step...adding the stem and leaves. 

I let the boys do some drawing while they waited for their flowers to dry...they never get to use real markers (only those fancy magic ones that don't get everywhere) unless under SERIOUS supervision so this was quite a treat for them.

Once they are dry, grab that foam brush and add a little green paint. Give your flower prints a nice stem to stand on and then get ready to wrangle two little thumbs.

I had each boy put their thumb into the green paint, then press down (on the same side as their name) to add a tiny leaf to the stem. I was dying at how cute these were turning out!

When your flowers are complete, it is time to hang your bouquet for a final dry in that fresh Spring air! 

Grab a marker, add the date and these cuties are ready to display and be sent to family for some seasonal cheer!

Our gallery is boasting these flowers and I can't wait to get started on our next project...what will it be?!

Strive to thrive, 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

St.Patrick's Day Weekend!

Remember when you were young, wild and free? It seems like it was just yesterday when in fact it was over ten years ago. Nothing holding you back from where you wanted to be. Days filled with workouts, pool side naps, mani/pedis, champagne, those were the good ole' days.

Alas, those days are gone and now my days are filled with little boy laughter (and screams) and lots and lots of love. But hey, a mommy can reminisce right?

What are you doing to celebrate this beverage filled holiday falling on a Friday? Plans out on the town? Biking and bar hopping on the coast? Tasty green treats for your husband and kids with super fun art projects...oh wait, that's me.

Even though I won't be cheers-ing with the rest of the Guiness drinking least I know what I would be wearing and what I would have in hand!

I would surely be rocking this adorable Chummy Tees top with my favorite high waisted (duh), flea market, Levi's cut offs. With my boyfriend cardigan close in case it gets chilly and some Pot o' Gold Tory Burch Miller's I am ready for anything! To top off my look I would of course add my gold bar collection and a green Kate Spade cross body. I am feeling quite good about this ensemble I am not wearing...quite good.

Now....for a signature Em drink....

I'd start with some Bailey's and know to get a jump on the mornin'.

Then some water...

I'd most likely keep it light and sparkly with a Tipsy Leprechaun...or two.

Then more water...

Lastly, I'd end the night with some Jameson as I do love me some whiskey.

Then LOTS of water and bed...

Yikes, this makes me sound quite old...oh wait, I am.

Well, at least I can wish for this outfit and day of cocktails on the next rainbow.  

Now excuse me while I go prepare for my green children's activities...well I may still drink that Bailey's & Coffee, I mean it IS almost St. Patrick's Day after all...

Enjoy the weekend and drink as responsibly as any other 30-something Thriving Wife with kids would!

Strive to thrive, 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

I'm Seeing Orange...Theory Fitness

**The pictures included on this post are all tinted with an orange hue, please be aware I am fully aware of this fact**

As you all know, I love to workout.  Since having my last little man, I haven't gotten back into teaching fitness classes quite yet (due to the busy mom of three schedule and all); boo. Heck, I haven't even been able to really go to classes since moving and have had to take matters into my own hands by creating my own home gym

For years I had seen these Orangetheory studios popping up all around, but I hadn't had a chance to explore as I usually do. Lucky for me, it didn't take long for the reviews to make their way to my ears. Friends and clients alike started telling me about how this place was perfect for me. I enviously listened as they shared their latest sweaty tales, hanging on every word and imagining I too was rowing my heart out right next to them. 

When my girl Mrs. S started going to our local studio, I decided it was high time to try out this bad boy. I made arrangements with my TH that I would be taking an evening off of mom duty and snuck out for pure physical bliss. 

Since the first class is free, I only had to sign up online. I was quickly called back and given some information regarding the class I was interested in attending.

I got there early, answered some questions, got a tour and run down of how it all works and tried to contain the sheer elation that was fighting to escape my body. I put on my heart rate monitor and became glued to the screen where my name was in shiny orange lights. The minimum goal of "splat points" (getting to that target heart rate) was a 12...I planned to double least.

Since I am obsessed with High Intensity Interval Training, I knew that this heart rate focused circuit workout was riiiiggghhhttt up my alley. And boy was I right! I marched in to that studio ready to take this workout to another level. It had been faaarrrr too long since I had let my crazy cardio junkie out in public and that chick is straight cray...

From the moment I stepped on the first machine and the first beat dropped my body and mind were on FIRE; bright orange fire. While our "coach" (the instructor transitions groups between workouts and motivates people to get into that "orange zone") was shouting motivational comments around, I took it upon myself to kick Mrs. S and I up to where we needed to be. Who was that chick yelling in the mirror on machine #11? Oh yeah, that was me. I was really holding back from grabbing the microphone of the coach and taking over the class myself. These people needed to TURN UP!

For the next 60 minutes I sprinted, rowed, lifted, squatted, screamed, pulled and sweat my thriving tush off and man oh man...did it feel good.  When the coach told us to stop I had one more splat point to earn to reach my goal. So, as others started to clean their equipment, I kept rowing and growling my way to the finish line. And yes, people did stare. But I didn't care, I did it. I met my splat goal and was very proud of my first session. I knew I was only going to get better from here...

I left the studio ten levels higher than cloud 9. As I continued to enjoy my post-fitness adrenaline high I immediately went to the website and reviewed what I needed to do to get hired. There was no doubt in my mind that I was destined to teach there, this was so my jam.

The rest of the night I could feel my body continuing to burn calories as my muscles ached in glory. It was far better than a standard gym class and while it was a bit pricier due to being a private studio, to me, it was well worth the cost. Now....finding the time to actually go was a different matter entirely.

While I wish I could go five times a week, that is just not possible. As the baby gets older and starts to need my boobs less and less I know I will have a bit more free time for myself. I have applied, chatted with the manager and look forward to getting added to the Orange Schedule in the future.

I HIGHLY suggest you give it a try and see for yourself. If you are ready to push it, burn it and reap in the benefits, then this is for you. Please let me know what you think!

Strive to thrive, 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Custom Kitchen Booth

I have always wanted a diner-esque corner booth in my kitchen. At our old house we didn't have the space, but in our new home we had the most PERFECT corner in our kitchen nook. Ever since we bought our dream house almost two years ago I have been eyeing it and dreaming of filling it with the most perfect bench like seating.

As with most initial obsessions, I needed to find some visual Pin-speration to help me determine the best way to get this dream accomplished. I found some pretty interesting DIY ideas, but there was no way I could build it and while my husband is super handy, he is also super busy and I knew it wouldn't be fair to ask him to take on yet another one of my "demands".

Kitchen nook before bench..table and chairs...
Since my Thriving Mommy's home had recently been completed, we were lucky to have some legit contacts for all our home improvement needs.  I reached out to a local professional and shared my vision. He listened, took some measurements and gave me a price. I was so excited I could barely stand it! Two rectangles with under storage, easy enough right?! 

Well, as with most pros, this gentlemen was a true artist. He looked at a couple pictures I had sent him and then just went for it. Materials were purchased, baseboard was taken from the nook-in-mind and he quickly got to work.

Then, it was finally done and ready to be installed...

He completely exceeded my expectations with the details and overall amazing-ness of the bench. To ensure it matched the rest of the kitchen, he took our existing cabinet paint and had it matched to some super heavy duty paint so I could scrub that bench after the boys made their regular meal messes.

He made sure the bench top would lift and close carefully so no little fingers would get smashed.

Each cubby was perfect for appliances/cooking supplies alike and I was THRILLED at how it turned out!

Since he built the bench to custom fit our existing table and chairs (it was my great grandparents and I loved it), it was of course a PERFECT fit. The boys even were able to ditch their booster seats since I could squish them in between the wall and table. They loved it and so did I since I could easily store them right below their little tushies.

With the bench built, painted, installed and baseboard-ed up, it was time to decide on my decor. I wanted a very simple backless bench where I could add some pillows to warm it up.

I found these guys on clearance at Target and snapped them up since they went with the colors of the kitchen and complemented the lovely fabric my TM had covered my chairs in. As a mommy to three little ones, of course I need everything to be practical. I love the pillow look, but with all the peanut butter/mustard/burrito hands that I see on a daily basis...these guys sit safely in a bench cubby until they boys are done eating.

I am absolutely in love with my new diner booth and couldn't not be more thankful to the talented Mr.C who took a chance on a crazy Thriving Wife with a vision only in her head. I have so much more room in that nook of the kitchen now and post-meal clean up is a breeze! Just wipe down the table, benches, floor and DONE!

Do you have a corner begging to be booth-ed in your kitchen? Well, now is the time to design and hire a professional. Trust, it will be money well spent!

Strive to thrive,