Thursday, March 22, 2018

Mother of Boys...Again!

Apparently, one should not write off "it will never happen for us", because just when we were in no way shape or form expecting happened!

After two years of heartbreaking disappointments, one year of tests, trials and emotional decisions we decided to go through IVF to get our first boys.

Fast forward 18 months, I went through IVF again and got pregnant with our third boy.

Fast forward 15 months, I stopped breast feeding....and we discussed what was next. Even though I had always seen myself with four, my husband was perfectly content with three. We had the same conversation about 100 times (mostly because I basically needed him to say "absolutely not" before accepting it.

But, I also knew I couldn't go through IVF again. It was hell on my body and to be frank, I felt too old to go through it again.  I had three healthy, wonderful boys and they were enough. I accepted it, we were done.

I didn't worry about when my cycle would start up again, I knew my hormones were balancing out and my body was getting back into the swing of being free from people living in it or surviving off it.

The big question...How did I know? 

Well, I have had three bloody-ish noses in my life. One when I was pregnant with Clarke and J.R, one when I was pregnant with Mac and one when I was pregnant with this little man. While I had one in late December, my husband assured me it was just he weather changes. That made sense, the weather was rather odd lately...back to my sparkling rosé.

Mid January...again with the bloody nose. Enter also unexplainable exhaustion and a causal comment made by my bestie Mrs. G , "Maybe you are pregnant"...."Ha! I thought, fat chance"...yet something inside me flipped a little...apparently that was the baby.

I dug out a dusty old pregnancy test from 2013 trapped in the back of my bathroom cabinet and took it. POSITIVE.

I asked my husband to clarify the number of lines and compare to the box. He looked as if he was going to vomit.

Me - "Nope, this one is clearly expired, I'll go to the store on my way to work, Vons opens at's fine, everything is fine...everything is fine...everything is fine".

Insert disbelief, panic, nausea, joy, terror...wait, is this what normal people go through?!?!

Keep in mind I had NEVER seen a positive pregnancy test aside from the one I took just to see a positive result for the first time ever after blood-work had confirmed our IVF treatment had worked. Needless to say, this was UNREAL. Those few years filled with negatives. Those few years of utter despair sobbing on the bathroom floor. Those few years of being an emotionless zombie with my heart cut out and a smile pasted on.

It. Actually. Happened. The odds were in our favor.

I know "they" say that lots of women get pregnant after IVF, but I was certain it would never be me. I mean yes, I had secretly prayed and dreamed, but never did I think it would happen.  That in itself made the news even that much more surreal.

Goes to show the power of manifestation is legit.

What was even more insane to me is that I had finally come to terms that we were done. My experiences being pregnant were over, my love of breast feeding would never happen again; it was on to phase two of mommyhood.  Or so I thought...

After two additional digital pregnancy tests, a confirmed blood test and an ultra sound it was confirmed. SIX WEEKS!

And now, I am in about to embark on my second trimester having my FOURTH son and my husband is already meeting with urologists...his decision.

Who would have ever guessed it. Not me, not even in my wildest dreams did I think this would truly happen. But it did, and I cannot imagine feeling any more complete than I do at this very second.

Now, here are the top 5 FAQ I've been getting -

1. Are you sad it isn't a girl? Yes and no. A girl would have been unchartered territory for me which if you know me, makes me rather anxious. The thought of it excited yet kind of terrified me at the same time. The main reason I always wanted a girl is because I am so incredibly close with my mommy and wanted a similar relationship with my future daughter. However, being a boy mommy is my JAM and I love it so much, so this is AMAZING news as far as I am I have everything I could ever need!

2. Are you going to keep trying for a girl? No. I am all done. Four kids in five years is plenty. I am ready to get my body back and just enjoy raising my crew of men.

3. What are you going to name him? Since I am 100% sure my Poppa sent this angel down from Heaven for me, I of course want to name the baby Poppa...just kidding...kind of. I want to name the baby Richard (after him) and call him Papi for short. Fingers crossed that gets approved by my TH.

4. Why were you so shocked? I mean, didn't you know this could happen? I think to go through what we went through kind of took a toll on me mentally and emotionally. I have been trying to explain it by comparing it to the Lotto. Yes, you play, but you never think you will actually win, so when you do it is hard to comprehend and takes time to process. I still sometimes pinch myself even though I am fully popped and there is no denying it. Another reason I had a hard time comprehending what was happening was I had mentally closed the door on that being a possibility as I decided to not undergo IVF again, which for my brain, made it harder to really grasp.

5. How is this pregnancy different since it was spontaneous? The best part has been medications prior to conception which means I avoided packing on those 15 hormonal pounds pre pregnancy which make me CRAZY! I have also been able to keep with my normal fitness routine which has also been such a game changer. I still felt like crap for six weeks with a sweet hangover about 18 hours a day. Still super tired and even found myself randomly falling asleep for minutes at a time during the day. Still same amount of crazy excitement, joy and amazement at the female body and it's ability to grow freaking human life. I mean how cool are we?!

So there you have it, my "Mother of Boys" title shall live on as we expect our little love to join our family this September.

Looking forward to keeping you all up to date and I grow my fourth and final little boy!

Strive to thrive, 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

DIY Art Gallery

I remember when I stumbled across my first frame; I didn't know why I needed it, I just did. After that initial purchase, one thing led to another and I started (as I often do) collecting frames on my visits to garage sales and antique markets. At first, I wasn't quite sure what their purpose would be, but I knew it would be something one day!

When we moved into our forever home, I knew right away I needed a gallery to showcase all the beautiful art that my boys created. My stashed away frame collection was finally ready to be displayed in all its glory.

I found the perfect wall in our breakfast nook and decided that was where the gallery needed to be. Now, to hang each frame, I went with burlap ribbon handed down from my MIL gave me as I just adored the texture and slight striped sass it. I wrapped each frame at the top, and proceeded to lay them out and play with their arrangement.

Once I had an idea of how I wanted them placed, I carefully tacked each one to the wall. I made sure to tie the ribbon tightly over the tack holding it in place.  I worked my way out from the center until all my fabulous frames were hung.

Once they were up, I needed a way to showcase the actual art piece. I grabbed a few of my vintage clips and secured them inside the frame with a thinner piece of burlap ribbon. Before I knew it I was done and ready to showcase some pieces in our very own gallery!

One of my favorite things about this gallery as it is always changing and always reflecting the upcoming holiday or season. It is absolutely one of my favorite walls of the house!

I am always looking to add to our collection as there is more art coming home from preschool these days than I know what to do with!

Are you ready to create a gallery for your home?

Strive to thrive, 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

RECIPE - Mary's Divine Dressing

Salad is a key part of my diet. I grew up eating all sorts of tasty, leafy green concoctions (thanks mommy) and have grown to be rather obsessed. When my Thriving Mommy came home with a new dressing recipe from her friend Mary, I nearly died. It was literally everything I could have ever dreamed of. Vegan (which works out great when I am on a reboot), healthy and incredibly tasty. I have been eating it nearly everyday for what feels like forever and have yet to tire of this divine dressing.

After many requests, it is high time I share it with all of you Thrivers so you too can incorporate it into your daily (or weekly) salad parties. With this on hand in your pantry you will look ever so forward to those Mason Jar salads you are dreading this week. Trust.

Depending on how much you want to make, adjust any of the above ingredients. Also, if you want a little more (or less) flavor you can also adjust the garlic/shallots. But as my Thriving Mommy often points out, who wants to save half a shallot?

Start with your 1 qt Mason Jar (the better for shaking) and add equal parts (thirds) of the liquids (oil, vinegar, broth).

 Next slice your shallot and crush your garlic. Preferably in a garlic press...if you've got one.

Dump that flavor in the jar, let it sink and soak. PS, my mouth is watering as I write this...

 Add a squirt of Dijon and a some S&P to taste....


Just like that you will have the most delicious, low calorie dressing that ever was or will be. You will be dreaming of salads filled with rich leafy greens, roasted & chopped vegetables, scoops of whole grain goodness (think quinoa), heck throw on a sprinkle of your favorite cheese and then SHAKE WELL and poooouuuurrr out some of the sweet stuff.

The best part? The last bit of that dressing, when all those pickled shallots make an appearance as the tastiest topping ever!

Hope you love it as much as I do and thank you Mary for bringing this Divine Dressing into my Thriving Life! Also huge thanks to my own Thriving Mommy for always filling my order requests...hers is always better than mine.

Strive to thrive, 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

5 Tips to Thrive at Legoland

Heading to any amusement park tends to be super overwhelming. The crowds, the lines and soon-to-be exhausted/constant borderline tantrum throwing kids often leaves many of us wondering...why am I here again?

Well, we all know why we are really there. Watching our kids light up at every turn, giggle with glee and experience every magical moment for the first time makes all that chaos worth it. 

Disneyland for us is a annual treat as the preparation and recovery are enough to last the rest of the year. Our go-to amusement park of choice as So-Cal residents is Legoland!

A mere 45 minutes from our house and full of exciting things for my little boys to do. From water, to rides, lego stations to play structures, it really is perfect for small kids. It is actually probably better for smaller kids as it seems the "big kid" stuff is pretty limited. Since my guys are the PRIME age to enjoy such a heavenly spot it only made sense that we be season ticket holders so we could enjoy all that fun and dodge the crowds vowing ONLY to go on un-busy weekdays. Why wait in any lines if you don't have to?

Not only does Legoland have the main park but it also has a full water park (beyond the super cool features within the park) and an impressively interactive aquarium (the food court there is quite good too). While it is great for kids, it is also great for the family budget as well. Season tickets  (Merlin Annual) are only $199, which is a lot of money, don't get me wrong. BUT, that price includes, parking ($18 per trip), access to the main park, water park AND aquarium...ALL YEAR! Not to mention 20% off on all food and merchandise. You can guess what the boys got this year for Christmas from Mommy & Daddy!

We bought a play pass the year before (pay for a day get the rest of the year free, which equated to about 6 months) but it was only for the park and didn't include parking. I mean, honestly the upgrade pays for itself just with parking costs alone! ANNNNDD ( I know, it doesn't stop) you get all sorts of perks too, like a free hotel stay, free one day passes for a guest of your choice for all pass holders and so much more! Man...maybe I should work in their sales department. 

So, now that I have you hooked and you want to go..let me share my top five tips. While these were created specifically for Legoland, they really apply to ALL amusement parks in general. As long as you are prepared for anything you are sure to THRIVE!

1. PREPARATION IS KEY. I know, it seems super annoying to bring all that "crap", but being left in a pickle without what you need, to me, is way worse. Pack more than you think (an additional pair of shorts, an extra pair of shoes...screaming about ouchie feet sucks, an extra shirt for you, hats, sweatshirts, sunscreen, wipes....the list goes on)...

2. BRING YOUR WHEELS. Even if you think your kids are too old to ride in a stroller (my big boys often refuse) at least you have a "locker on wheels" (Thanks Mrs. A). Since these kid friendly parks have stroller parking everywhere, it is great to be able to stash all you need and wheel it wherever you go. Throw that diaper bag, backpack, snack bag and extra clothes bag on that thing and roll out!

3. SNACK CENTRAL. My kids eat literally every second of every day. It is imperative that I have snacks to last at least a week...yes for one day. They know they get a "treat" when they are there, but I would rather be prepared with their favorite go-to foods for snacks and lunch. Not only am I saving money, but I can toss them a snack-stacker while in line, no problemo.

4. WET & DIRTY IS THE NEW BLACK.  One of my favorite things about Legoland is all the water features. With two awesome splash pads and an entire play structure filled with water fun, you might as well just have your kids wear their swim suits to the park; I know I do. Between the water play, fossil station (huge sandbox filled with Dino bones...perfect for my scoop loving boys) and about a million other lego building stations, your kids are going to be filthy, soaked and oh so happy. I bring a change of clothes for after their water play/digging is over, but for most of the day they are running wild in their swim trunks!

5. KEEP THE GOODS CLOSE TO THE HIP. Since my stroller is bogged down with my daily essentials for all three kids, myself and usually my own Thriving Mommy (she of course never misses a trip as she is an essential part to our Lego crew...), I do not suggest leaving anything of real value on your stroller when you go on rides and park it. Sure, if someone wants to wheel off with my expensive stroller, Vera Bradley collection of bags filled with goodies...go for it. But my credit cards, ID, keys and phone? No way sucker, that is always on me.  With my pouch snug on my hip I am always ready for hands free fun with the most essential items closely monitored at all times. I even stash a small sunscreen in there for safe keeping!

If you are looking for any secrets or insider information, I am most likely your girl.

Feel free to leave a comment asking for more and I will do my best to help you out. Now get planning your next trip and look for me while you are there!

Strive to thrive, 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

*Guest Post* Leaning into Motherhood

**So happy to welcome my dear, strong, beautiful and inspiring friend Mrs. G back to Thriving Wives! Last week the Thriving Thought was to LOVE yourself. Well, that is exactly what today's post is all about. Loving yourself enough to make hard decisions to ensure your happiness. I am so thankful she was willing to share her latest experience of "Leaning into Motherhood" and hope you feel all the chills like I did when reading. Enjoy!**

I have a confession.  

I was one of the many women that judged stay at home moms.  Before I had my son Jacob, I was completely career driven.  I used to think, once I get a job with a big corporation I’ll be happy.  Once I landed my dream job with a corner office, and make six figures than I’ve really got it made.  I worked until I was 37 weeks pregnant, and managed to get promoted before going out on leave.  I read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean in, and ate up every word. There was no way I would be able to walk away from all of my hard work for a baby.  

Well guess what?  Once I become a mother, everything changed.  I fell in love with my son, and love every second of being his mommy.  
When I finally came to the long and hard decision to leave my career to stay at home with my son, I felt a huge wave of relief come over me.  This decision did not happen overnight either.  My husband and I have been throwing this idea around for over three years since my son was born.  The first year of Jacob’s life was a total blur.  I worked for a large company in downtown Los Angeles that required 60 hours of my time on a good week.  I knew I had to make a change for my family so I took a job closer to home with a smaller family owned firm. Unfortunately, my heart still wasn’t in it and I knew I wanted to be home with my son. My internal struggle was real, and I started to feel as though I was finally ready to Lean in to Motherhood. 

My Thriving Husband and I started digging into our discussion by covering the following topics in depth:  

1. Finances.  What discussed what we were currently paying for, and what could we cut back on. We made spread sheets that were extremely detailed.  The first financial decision we made was letting our nanny go.  We had agreed that I would look after our son full time.  Our family is fortunate to live near to not only my mother but also my MIL and they each agreed to take one morning with my little man so I could have a little “Me” time.  

2. Lifestyle. We then decided on smaller adjustments such as cutting back on Postmates, and eating out.  One of my new duties that I was looking forward to was cooking more at home.  I would have the time to make it to the grocery store without feeling completely rushed.  

3. True Feelings. We also discussed each of our feelings about this decision.  I was so worried that my TH wouldn’t feel completely confident that he could financially support our family.  The last thing I wanted was to add more stress to his everyday work life.  

My internal struggle was what people would think of my decision.  Would I feel less confident about myself?  Would I feel fulfilled in my new role?  My TH and I had decided to attend marriage counseling to get us through this hard decision.  The decision to see a therapist was a fantastic one for us, because it gave us a safe space to share our feelings and hold each other accountable.  A couple weeks of sessions helped us both air things out, and come to our final decision to have me stay at home full time.  It felt right for our family dynamic and to the both of us.

Sharing my news about my decision to take a leave from the industry was very uncomfortable for me.  I was so worried about what people would think of my decision.  I decided to make a list of the people I considered to be trusted peers within my industry, and made phone calls and/or sent text messages to each of them.  

I would say 95% of people seemed completely supportive of my decision.  “Family first” was a common response.  I even had a couple of my women peers admit that they wished they could stay at home with their children as well. There were also some that couldn’t wrap their heads around my decision, whether they openly admitted it to me or not.  I could sense it. And you know what? Who cares? I had to learn to brush it off.  It’s my life, and I made the choice to stay home. 

When I was in the office, I was constantly comparing myself to others and waiting from my next review.  While I think my work stood up to the best of them, I was never sure doing my best was enough since there was always someone just as good or better.  Slowly, I am starting to see that I no longer view promotions, raises, paychecks and other opinions as a mark of my worth.  

When my children get older, I want to be available to them to help guide them and support them through the complexities of growing up. Crafting this life, is a choice I make every day now. I can never imagine looking back and thinking “I wish I spent more time at work”.  I can always go back to work when I want to eventually.  

I recognize the privilege I have in making the choice to be a stay at home mom right now.  I do not envy anyone who feels differently and am disheartened that any mom would feel pressure to permanently abandon their career when she is not happy at home.  Every family dynamic is unique, and decisions need to be made based on what helps your family to thrive. All moms deserve to live a happy and fulfilled life, no matter how they get there.   

Strive to thrive, 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Thursday's Thriving Thought - Love Yourself

Two words that carry a lot of weight.

As we end the first month of a new year and begin "the month of love" why not start with ourselves?

Love yourself enough to do whatever it takes to create your own happiness. Love yourself enough to make changes to your life and put your health first.  Love yourself enough to make the tough decisions, even if they seem impossible. Love yourself enough to trust your gut and do what feels right. Love yourself enough to think outside the box. Love yourself enough to demand respect from others. Love yourself enough to know your worth and accept nothing less. Love yourself enough to take risks despite the fear of failing. Love yourself enough to accept and embrace the ever changing you. Love yourself enough to be able to love others.

Fill the month with self-care, self-love and never feel guilty about putting yourself first!

Strive to thrive, 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

3 Insta-Fitness Accounts to Follow in 2018

We all know I am a fitness fanatic. I love being active, incorporating new exercises into my routine and most of all, learning about the body and just how powerful it truly is.

Well, these three ladies are my faves right now and if you aren't already following them, you 100% should start.

1. Deliciously Fit n' Healthy. Andrea Allen is for sure, #momgoals. As a fellow mommy of twins, plus a baby (you will see that trend with me...) she kills it on the regular. Her instagram account and her website have tons of amazing workouts that you can bang out anywhere anytime. I love that her littles are often found running around at her feet while she gets it done...reminds me of my own house! She offers online training too if you need the 1:1 support and is incredibly knowledgeable about what to put in your body and how to work out your body. Needless to say, I am in love.

2. Bubs2Bikinis. Anna Strode is an Australian mommy goddess of light and positivity. Also a mommy of twins plus a baby (told you there would be a trend...) she inspires all mommies that no matter what, YOU can/should put YOUR health/happiness FIRST. With quick at home workouts that will leave you sweaty and rejuvenated in 30 minutes or less she never ceases to amaze me with her can-do approach to handling the life of three little ones. She is a bright ray of aerobic sunshine and I in love.

3. Fit Designs by Annie. Annie Miller is incredibly intelligent and knows her SH&%. She is the strength yin to my cardio yang. She does a killer job calling out the wrongs floating around the fitness industry and teaching all the rights. She too offers online training and sets out to make women strong through setting realistic goals and offering information that will educate you all the while blowing your mind. I've said it before and I'll say it again...I am in love.

If you are looking for a little fitness insta-ration (yes, I combined instagram and inspiration...I am a regular wordsmith) then make sure you check these three powerhouse Thriving Wives out; they are amazing!

Strive to thrive,