Thursday, December 1, 2016

'Tis the Season - 5 Thriving Christmas Faves


Whooooo hoooooooo!! The jolliest month of the year has arrived and that means it is time to get decorating, crafting and cooking. Don't look any further, because here are our 5 Thriving Christmas Favorites all in one place!

1. Welcome the holiday starting with your front door, by whipping together this DIY ornament wreath!


2. Share some holiday cheer with friends and neighbors with the hit of the season...Christmas Crack!


3. Showcase all the Christmas cards you receive with this easy, DIY clothespin craft.


4. Find fun family activities in your area...especially if Santa is there!


5. Whip up a batch of these delicious peppermint bark pretzels and before you know it they will all be gone!


Looking forward to all the Christmas fun in store this year, we can't wait to share with you soon!

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thriving With #threeunderthree - The Early Weeks


As I approach the completion of my second full month of being a mommy to three boys under the age of three, I have already learned a great deal. I quickly realized that I needed to make some personal changes in order to be the best mommy I could be.

Before Mac was born I took pride in doing it all. Yes, I have a beyond amazing Thriving Mommy who lives a mere football field away, but she has a full life and unless she is joining us to hang out, inviting the boys over for a play date or taking charge while I am at work, I was pretty self sufficient. Yes, I have a phenomenal husband who if he is not working loves spending time with his kids and also takes charge on those few days I work...but again, for the most part, when I was home, I was the boss.

I maintained the boys daily routine, taking great effort to make sure they received adequate outdoor play time and other stimulating activities while also maintaining the household, cooking and cleaning...and trust me, I loved it.

I accept that I am Type AA (yes, that is one notch above A), a major control freak, anal and quite obsessive compulsive. I prefer to do everything myself because I like it done a certain way and if I let others do it, I will likely just have to do it again anyhow...cray I know.

Everyone said once I had kids that would all change, but it hasn't. I move at the speed of a lady jaguar and knock out various tasks all day long through incredible multi-tasking skills that I have perfected. While I had planned to take a mini stay-cation when I came home from the hospital with Mac for a few days and relax into our new family dynamic...I failed miserably.


As soon as I came home it was as if I had never left for a few days to have a baby. I really only sat to nurse Mac and wasn't really taking the precious time I should have to connect in that moment. I was cleaning floors, feeding boys while trying to latch a four day old baby, doing laundry, organizing paperwork and doing my best to keep my big boys busy with their regular scheduled day. Soon, it all came crashing down.

I was suuuuuper emotional when I first came home. I know hormonal fluctuations are to be expected and I also know that I have a tendency to be dramatic (yes, I know everyone, thanks) and let said emotions get the best of me. Granted, I was popping placenta capsules like candy (more on why placentophagy is amazing to come later) I still found myself feeling overwhelmed and sobbing as I desperately tried to fall into a rhythm with my new sweet baby. While I thought having one would be so easy, (and it was in some ways as opposed to having twins), I didn't put as much thought as I should have into the heartache I would feel not being available to cuddle my big boys and rush to them any second they needed me. Now I seemed to be tied down to a needy infant at all times and while I loved my new lump of flesh...I wanted it all.  I wanted to do everything. Be everywhere to everyone and I just couldn't. My TM would ask what she could do, my TH would ask what he could do and my response would always be a forlorn and rather *hidden* tear filled, "nothing".

I started to feel like I had "ruined our family" (yes, I said that...did you see the acknowledgment of my dramatics?) My TH was starting to get a bit crabby with me as I wouldn't really let him help and would rather walk around crying. My TM did everything she could but didn't want to get in my way as she knows that would upset me even more. Not only did I just have a baby days ago, but Mac and I had to go back to the hospital for some phototherapy to treat some minor jaundice only one day after getting discharged. Add that to the exhaustion/emotional roller coaster. I was starting to feel slightly out of control.

They love their baby!
After a week of my antics, reality hit me in the face and I was forced to deal with my @#&*.  While Mac should have steadily been gaining weight, he had reached his birth weight a few days after birth, then suddenly lost 4 ounces. You can imagine the freak out session that happened when the pediatrician told me that news. He didn't know what was wrong, I didn't know what was wrong and I of course broke down. My boobs were huge, milk was pouring out of them so what could it be? He was nursing a LOT and I mean like constantly and having lots of diapers so what was it?! Possible tongue tie (which was pointed out in the hospital),  issues transferring milk...wwhhhhaattt? Thankfully I had an appointment with a lactation consultant previously scheduled for the following day to take a closer look at what might be going on.

But as a mother, I knew what was going on. I wasn't prioritizing my little man as I should have been. I had planned to focus solely on bonding with him when I got home from the hospital, so why didn't I? Why didn't I accept the help that was openly being offered to me? Why was I determined to change diapers, clean floors and make dinner all while trying to nurse a baby who literally just entered the world a week ago? What was wrong with me?!  It was at that moment I knew I had to get it together.

I sat down my TM and TH and cried through explaining my new plan. I was ready to accept all the help they could give. They were in charge of the morning shift with the boys - getting them up, pottied, teeth brushed, dressed and fed. I was relinquishing my cherished control of everything and putting Mac-a-doodle first. Whatever he wanted he was going to get, especially my full attention. They both sighed a great sigh of relief and were pleased to hear I was ready to let them help.

My sweet littlest thing...
Within a week of my new plan Mac was back on track to being the fat little man he was genetically designed to be.  Since nothing had been confirmed as to why he lost weight, I was told to "continue doing what I was doing"...which I took to mean, "continue to nurse your baby on demand, but for G sake crazy lady, relax and enjoy it".  My milk continued to be more than enough (I prefer to struggle with oversupply and my boobs on the verge of explosion) and we were finally connecting as we should have been from the start. When the doctor asked me what had changed, I openly replied, "I did".

As the weeks have flown, each day tends to be smoother than the last. We have reformed our daily routine and I have learned to accept that it is not the end of the world if the boys don't eat snack at a certain time or nap a bit later than usual. As Mac and I have refined our connection and are working beautifully together (breastfeeding, babywearing, co-sleeping), I have been able to take back bits of control with the boys, but also accept all the help that is offered. I can still be that fast paced, do it all mommy I love to be, but now know and accept when I need to stop. It is ok to "let everything fall apart" (for a second or two) so I can be everything I need to be for Baby Mac.


While I look forward to each day getting a little easier, I also remind myself to cherish each second of #totalchaos as they will be starting college before I know it. Major props to all the mommies in the world who have survived the early weeks of bringing home baby #2, #3, #4....etc. Major props. I know I still have a lot of learning to do and know all I can do is, well, you guess it, strive to thrive.

Any tips on how to adjust from veteran mommies out there?

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!!!


From our Thriving homes to yours, wishing you a very special day. We hope you eat and laugh as much as we do!

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving Menu


This year my Thriving Husband has nearly the whole week of Thanksgiving off. With three little ones in tow, traveling to the Bay Area to see family just isn't in the cards for us this year. We decided it was the perfect time to go all out for Thanksgiving, especially since the boys actually understand holidays now and sharing in their squeals of joy is the highlight of our lives.

So, where is a busy Thriving Wife and Mommy to #threeunderthree to start? Pinning a menu of course!

Since this will be the first year of my life I am actually making most everything (when I did Thanksgiving for two in the past, I skipped the turkey...selfish vegetarian that I am), I needed recipes and a plan.

First up, dranks.

As a sangria lover, this Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria seemed to be the perfect crisp and delicious drink to kick off a day of cooking and eating with the family.


Next, I needed to gather some information for the main event. I had never cooked a turkey and aside from my passionate aversion to meat the task seemed rather scary. With the smallest, most expensive, free range, hormone free, organic turkey I prepared myself.

I checked out some Turkey Tips to become better informed and pick up some tricks of the turkey making trade. Whew, so much to learn!


Next up? The must-haves; stuffing and potatoes. I decided to go with a fan fave, Pioneer Woman cornbread stuffing recipe  ( I love me some cornbread) and a sassy baked potato casserole.


 

With cranberries and gravy added to the mix all I needed next was a green side, bread (I'm set to fufull my of craving crescent rolls) and dessert!

As a brussels sprouts supporter, I jumped at this recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Balsamic Reduction. I may even do a salad too as I skip the turkey and load up on greens...well and bread...and potatoes to be fair.


While I of course will supply the traditional pumpkin pie, I wanted to a little something else too. How about this Pumpkin Crunch Dump Cake?! OK!!!


I have already reserved my Thriving Husband to watch the baby while my Thriving Mommy, Puss, Peanut and I take to the kitchen. The boys love to help and watch "cooking shows" so I am looking forward to prepping tomorrow and spending Thursday cooking, eating and spending time with my loves. While we will miss our family in the Bay Area terribly...we plan to make enough food to feed them despite their absence. That is what the holiday is about right...

What's on your Thanksgiving menu?

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thursday's Thriving Thought - Thankful


As the glorious Thanksgiving is only a week away, there has never been a better time to focus on all we have to be thankful for. In the big picture of life there is almost too much to be thankful for that we sadly take it for granted. Even simple aspects of life like our personal health. Most of us wake up each day healthy and able to take on the day ahead of us. We face choices throughout our day that may cause stress, but at least we have those choices. For example, we have jobs that allow us to stress out (be thankful you have a job). We have family that may drive us nuts at times (be thankful you have family). We have a home that may constantly need work done (be thankful you have a roof over your head). So this week, let's slow down and focus on all we have around us each day. Not what we want or don't have, but what we already possess. No matter how small, be thankful. There is always something to be thankful for.

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

4 Step (Oh So Simple) Personalized Pumpkins


Since I really only decorate twice a year (Fall and Christmas), I like to go all out. I decided this year there would be some new additions to my autumn decor...starting with personalized pumpkins. In only four steps I had the created a simple and sparkly mantle piece to represent my three wonderful boys.


All you need are "pumpkin pie"size pumpkins (you could go larger or smaller if you want, but I went for a good ole' medium cutie), permanent marker, elmer's glue and glitter...yes, glitter.


Step 1: Find a nice OUTDOOR area (no one wants a glitter fiasco in their house), take your pumpkins and permanent marker and write the initial of each person you are personalizing for. I of course did a C for Clarke, J.R. for...well, J.R. (he is always a bit tricky as his name is an initial in itself) and M for Mac.


Step 2: Use your elmer's glue to cover your written letter, nice and even.  I have found it is best to get the glue going a bit then hold it about an inch or two away so it doesn't glob or get bubbles...so annoying when that happens. Do not go too thick of the glue will run when you move on to the glitter stage.


Step 3: Then the fun part...glitter! I typically do all my glitter work over a box to reduce the strip-club after effects of glitter getting eeeevvveerrywhere. Simply dump the glitter on and shake it all around covering every part of the glue.


Step 4: Shake it over the box, take a deep breath and blow! As the excess glitter disappears all that will be left is your perfectly personalized pumpkin! 

How easy was that?!


Find a location in your home to showcase this easy as pie project and you have just added another lovely Fall-tastic decoration to your home. #Boom.

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Thursday, November 10, 2016

RECIPE - Sweet Heat Autumn Almonds


I am obsessed with pretty much every recipe my girl over at Damn Delicious whips up. When I spotted this recipe in her new cookbook, I knew I wanted to try it out. Granted, I made a few adjustments, but overall, she is the inspiration behind these Sweet Heat Autumn Almonds. 


First, preheat the oven to 300 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Get your ingredients organized and work space prepped.


In a small bowl whisk the egg white, Sriracha and water until frothy (roughly two minutes).


With the "wet" mixture set aside, grab a medium bow, and combine the two sugars and cinnamon.



With your nuts in a large bowl, add the "wet" Sriracha mix until everything is well mixed up and each nut is coated.



Take that sweet sugary mixture and dump in, mixing it up to ensure each nut is spicy and sweet.



Spread the nuts evenly onto the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring once for perfect baking purposes.

Once your nuts cool it is time to taste (yum) and package (if you are using them for thank you gifts as I did).


I used a batch of small jam jars, my trusty rubber stamp and some autumn ribbon to make these not only a treat for the taste buds but also the eyes.



With a quick stamp, write and ribbon job I was done and ready to share these Sweet Heat Autumn Almonds with all those wonderful people in my life...specifically the few outstanding medical professionals that assisted our family when Baby Mac was born.


These are a perfect and tasty way to continue to celebrate the season and share the spicy sweet taste of Autumn with friends and family! Thanks for the great idea as always DD!

Strive to thrive, 
Em