Wednesday, September 19, 2018

How to Prepare for Lying In - A Postpartum Must

The rush of having a new baby is truly euphoric. The transformation of pregnancy, the pure magic in the experience of birth and the incredible emotion that takes over when you hold that sweet baby for the first time. A whole new life for you and baby is beginning.

That new life needs to begin with rest, healing and nourishing your miraculous body for all she has accomplished. Not getting home and throwing in a quick load of laundry before heading to Costco because you are out of milk *ahem, yes, I am talking to you...well myself that is*

Sadly, my last time around looked more like me getting home with a newborn, leaving him with his Daddy and big brothers while I quickly rinsed off the hospital cooties and freshened up my lady parts. and racing to unpack After a nurse session with my sweet baby, I hopped up, cleaned up the house a bit from my two day absence and started making dinner. BIG MISTAKE. Newsflash, you JUST HAD A BABY LIKE 48 HOURS AGO!! YOU NEED TO CHILL THE F OUT.

Thankfully this time around I am ready to apply what I've learned and the use the incredible struggles I faced previously to approach this postpartum recovery differently. I am going to put myself and baby first. The house will be fine if it is not maintained to my OCD/anal standards. The kids will continue to thrive with their Daddy and Maj taking care of their daily needs. The laundry will still get done, the dishes will be washed and everyone, yes everyone will survive. (This is my new mantra. I say it on repeat to calm my anxieties).

When I entered my third trimester, the time came to really develop my postpartum plan of attack. I was so grateful to have been given an amazing resource to help me achieve my new goals. I was also flabbergasted to realize that this "mommy bedroom vacation" I was dreaming up was in fact a legit thing that had been celebrated throughout cultures ,across the world for centuries. How had I missed that?!


My MBV (Mommy Bedroom Vacation) was actually referred to as Lying-In. A time to rest, heal and bond with your newborn. When The First Forty Days was sent to me as a part of my trimesterly Mama's Bump Squad package, it felt like the sky had opened and Earth Mama sent me a gift from Heaven.

Well, that was that! I was ready to start sharing my new found knowledge and preparing for my Lying-In period. I was going to force myself to slow down and was actually looking forward to being able to accept that this needed to happen and I was the one who needed to make it happen.

So, now, how to prepare for this amazing experience...

1. CREATE A PLAN. To make this even easier, Earth Mama provides not only excellent information on the process as a whole, but also has a FREE and easy fillable document that prints into a lovely PDF for you and your support team to reference. Now you have an outline to discuss with your support team and have your goals ready to share!

2. GET YOUR SUPPORT TEAM UP TO DATE ON SAID PLAN. Obviously I knew my husband and Thriving Mommy were going to be the key players, so that was easy to establish. Having a plan for everyone to reference with what I saw for my week of bed rest and slow re-entrance into full mommy-ness made it easy for us to get on the same page. Since my main concern is my three little guys, it was good for me to be able to delegate responsibilities and discuss how I saw each person fulfilling the role I hoped they wouldn't mind assuming for a bit.

3. HOUSE/KID PREP. Channel all that pregnancy nesting into lists, tasks and getting organized for you to be out of commission. My goal is one week, which to me will feel like one year. I can barely handle sitting still for one hour let alone one week, but again, this is about healing...which considering I was up at about only two days after my C-section screams that I have a problem and need to rest. Get the house cleaned, the laundry done, sheets changed, kids foods/snacks restocked, menus made and any and all notes prepared for your team. The last thing you want is to be disrupted 300 times a day asking where the extra goldfish crackers are. Make sure everyone has access to your kid's schedule and that they know what they need/have to do. For example, Tuesday, sports camp. Kids need to be ready to go with athletic attire at 8:50am, snacks and water packed for after. Dude needs his own ball so he doesn't disrupt the activity... You can never be too prepared, trust.

4. PREPARE YOUR RECOVERY SUITE. Remember that time my husband got a vasectomy and had an amazing, calm, healing recovery suite all to himself for the weekend? Well take that times 1,000 and that is what you should get mommy! I will be staying in our bedroom which is slightly more tricky as the boys will have easy access to me and I will get to hear all their squeals/daily squabbles a they yell throughout the house, but everything is here where I need it. I am not packing bags to move downstairs, way too much.

I did vamp it up a bit, adding an extra bedside table with all my baby/mommy necessities (nipple butter, single manual pump, diapers, booby tubes, iPad, kleenex...the list goes on). I also have my "eating in bed tray" for constant calorie consumption of healing, nourishing foods (my mommy is all over that). I moved the changing table and little baby chair in my room for when I need to stand up for a second and/or take a quick shower. My linens are changed, my room is clean and I am ready to seclude myself into a sanctuary of healing and connecting with my last baby boy.

5. ALLOW IT TO HAPPEN. Now you are ready. You have your plan, you have done the leg work to prepare, you are set up and ready for action. Here comes the hardest part (especially for me), allowing it to happen. Allow yourself to let go of all those constant tugs at your mommy brain and let chaos ensue. Remember, it can and will all be put back again. So what if your kids eat In N Out for a week straight, worse things have happened. You will soon emerge from your recovery suite with a well adjusted, breast feeding champion baby and a stronger, healthier body ready to get your kids back on Spinach and Kale and into clean clothes. It will be alright.

Truly savor this time as it is so important and so necessary. You can do this mommy!

Are you ready to help yourself or a loved one with their lying-in period? What an incredible way for women to support one another through the greatest miracle of all...motherhood!

Don't miss my IGTV episode on the topic too!!

Stive to Thrive, 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

5 of my Favorite Hospital Essentials

It's time to get ready to welcome Richie!! We are two weeks out and thankfully we are packed and loaded. Game time here we come!

I am a proud over packer and feel no shame appearing as though I might be moving wherever I go. I HATE needing something, so I make sure to take everything. Even if I don't use it all, at least I have it...just in case.

The hospital is no different, I do not want to nee something that I hesitated to pack. I know this, I plan for this and I am always happy I overpacked because I rarely want for anything...aside from a cool glass of rosé. Just kidding. Kind of.

But in reality, aside from all the cozy clothes, all the fresh linens I bring from home and all the other millions of items I can't live without, these 5 essentials I would never forget!

PS, I did not include my best friend/barf bowl on this list, but please know she is by far NUMBER 1.

1. SWEET/SASSY ROBE. Those first pictures with that fresh baby can go one of two ways. You can look like a hot tired mess who just went through the marathon of birth. OR you can look like a hot tired mess who just went through the marathon of birth...but has a great robe on. I choose the second option. Since I birth in only a bralette (if that), what I put on for those first few pictures (aside from blending the sweat into my hair and applying some fresh chapstick) is muy importante. I always opt for something that is A. Comfortable and B. Photo worthy, which for me, usually means florals. It is like an instant "freshen" and photo ready move to make...way cuter than any gross hospital gown in my opinion.


2. SLIPPERS. Cooties are gross. Hospital cooties are the grossest. I keep my slippers right at next to that bed and slip them on and off for my bathroom trips. Clean feet = clean bed = happy mommy. I like my toes free and these floral cuties (with bow of course) are light weight, easy to fold/pack as needed and after a good wash can be re-worn once you get home.

 3. 40 BLINKS EYE MASK. Now this is not just a hospital favorite for me, but a life favorite. However, in the case of my hospital trip, it is great to block out stimuli during labor AND great to wear after when you want to send those sweet nurses a hard message to please, kindly F off and let you sleep in peace and darkness. Lash friendly, great price and wonderful when you want to "black out" and relax.

 4. EARTH MAMA PERINEAL BALM. Birth does quite a little number on your lady parts, as it should. I mean a human AND self created organ are leaving your body, so obvi it's going to be a little swollen for a bit. Thankfully, that magic vag muscle goes back, but while you wait for that to happen, why not alleviate some of that discomfort. This balm (you can get the spray is like a spa day for down unda) makes it allllll better while nature takes its healing course. 

5.  EARTH MAMA NIPPLE BUTTER. Those of us who have breastfed in the past know that those first few weeks can be absolute torture!! Turning those nipples into leather is no easy feat and I am thrilled to be using this nipple butter yet again to make the process not so absolutely, positively miserable. Best of all it is not only super safe for mommy but baby too! No more having to wipe off raw nipples coated in lanolin while the baby goes back for seconds, thirds and pretty much sucks around the clock. Earth Mama does it again as always!

While I could continue this list forever, I will spare you and let you watch the details unfold on InstaTV. Season 1, Episode 3 in the Birth-y series is ready to be watched my Thrivers! Enjoy!

Strive to thrive, 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

6 Ways to Prepare for a Thriving VBAC

I am very open and honest about my first birth experience and how it was NOT at all what I wanted, prepared or planned for. While I knew that "special circumstances" could arise (especially with twins) and had said the affirmation over and over, I still hoped I wouldn't have go through a C-section, but I did.

Thankfully, with Dude, I was dedicated to making all my birth dreams come true. Starting with of course, him coming out of my lady parts. And that is exactly what he did. He was my birth dream come true (in terms of goals. Trust, it was no walk on the beach...unless your version of the beach is a lot of vomit). I successfully had the unmedicated VBAC I had set out to achieve.

What is a VBAC you ask?

VBAC stands for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. While I thought this was no big thang, I was in fact quite wrong. Maybe this was because whenever I talked about my next birth being totally different people "seemed" supportive. Maybe it was because I had laser-beam focus and was so committed to a natural, vaginal birth that I didn't realize that people weren't all that supportive. Whatever it was, it was not an easy task to find a doctor to take me on the first time around.

I had reached out to a number of local doctors and was denied by all of them, apparently having a VBAC was not an option in my "rural" community.

I was incredibly upset and thankfully had a locked and loaded birth guru in my corner 24/7, my doula and TW Nic. She hooked me up with some resources to check out (first on the list, ICAN, International Cesarean Awareness Network.) and I eventually found the doctor of my dreams, only a short drive away in San Diego. 

After successfully having Dude, I figured I would be like any other pregnant chick and no one would look at me twice when I said I was GOING to have my baby vaginally. Nooooot so much.

I again found myself fighting for the right to birth the baby inside MY body how I wanted. I gave a local doctor a good run in an effort to make it easier on myself and my boys (the appointments in San Diego can be tricky with so many kids not to mention my husband's panic about the hospital being nearly an hour away), but halfway through my pregnancy I realized that it was far more important to be supported unconditionally and went back with my AMAZING Dr. Cap.

So while I am ready for this guy to make his smooth, easy exit from my body in a few short weeks, I also know that not everyone is as lucky as I am when it comes to finding a match to support you and your wishes for birth.

With that said...

Here are my suggestions on how to best prepare for a VBAC - 
  • Educate Yourself. Apparently there are some safety concerns surrounding VBACs (this was news to me of course), like uterine rupture. Well, the research indicates that the possibility of that is less than 1%. A risk I am more than willing to take. However, not all women feel the same which is of course understandable. But, take the time to educate yourself with evidence based research and make sure you are confident moving forward in whatever path you choose for you and your baby. 
  • Take Classes. As a second time around mommy, I assumed I didn't need any classes besides a little HypnoBirthing refresher. Well, I was wrong. Not only did I freshen up on my Hypno skills but I also took an amazing class designed for VBAC moms. Not only was the class incredibly therapeutic as we connected and shared our stories, but it provided more information to boost my confidence levels even higher. I also took a Labor Comfort Measures class which allowed my TH and I to re-create what we saw for our next experience. The Birth Education Center of San Diego was an excellent resource and Care is an absolute dream!! Now that I am going in again, I didn't take the classes and more centered my mind around what was going to happen and refreshed some of my Hypno skills. 
  • Release. I still have some negative memories with the twins birth (back labor nightmare) that sometimes haunts me, but I have to let it go. I try and focus on all the positive things that happened during Dude's labor and imagine that it will be the same...but faster! And he was FAST!
  • Create A New Experience. I am now sending energy to my new experience. I see myself starting to feel surges and welcome them calmly. I let my family know it is time to go, kiss the boys and slowly walk to the car. We make an easy drive to the hospital, I get checked in, relax into my body and my baby...and two minutes later I am engaging in my favorite part of the whole experience...breathing him out and feeling him leave my body along with my purple leg syndrome...
  • Find Support. Every pregnancy is different and every mother requires a different level of support. Since I had found a doctor who I trusted completely I knew the only other birth support person I needed besides my TH was a doula. My doula, Nic. I cannot recommend a doula enough. Granted, I am lucky enough to have a doula wrapped in a bestie, but this service is truly one I wouldn't want to be without. Having someone there to help not only you, but also your partner is huge. Whatever support you feel you need, you should get. It is well worth the investment.
  • Get excited. Every birth is different and should be treated as such. For those of us who desperately want a VBAC (or a second one), this is the time to get super excited. I know I can do this, I've done it before. I know things may arise, but I am choosing to send energy to a smooth/easy birth...did I mention fast too?

Whether or not you want to be a repeat cesarean mommy, have a VBAC or pretend the baby will never come out and do nothing to prepare, just make sure the choice is yours. There is no wrong way to bring a baby from a loving womb into a loving mommy's arms. From my experience, I never want anyone to feel the self-doubt, despair and confusion I did before having Dude. I refused to accept someone telling me what was best for me and my baby.  Remember to trust your body, your instincts and follow your gut. We are strong, powerful Thriving Women who have been given the gift of co-creating, sustaining and delivering HUMAN LIFE. I mean, is there anything more freaking cool than that?! I think not. 

I look forward to sharing my birth story in the upcoming weeks as I welcome my last sweet baby boy. I am hoping to help other Thriving Mommies take another look at their birth choices and find the strength I momentarily lost...then got back ten fold when I made that VBAC my b*%@#.

*Here are some additional resources that I found helpful and empowering**

Strive to thrive, 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

My 5 Favorite Labels...So Far.

Despite my personal passion for all things organized, now that I am a big time business lady, I feel even more entitled to buy allllll the supplies.

Especially indulging in my love of labels.

While Washi Tape still holds a huge place in my heart, I have been going nuts-so with my Amazon account as of late and don't show signs of slowing down. These five have been getting purchased and re-purchased as I attempt to label EVERYTHING in not only my home but also, in the different projects I take on for clients.

So, go ahead, treat yo'self and start a label collection of your own...all you have to do is click on the picture and BUY!!

1. CLEAR WITH GOLD BORDER. These are probably my most favorite. They create a clean, basic look with just a touch of sass (thank you gold) and are still oh so subtle. Great for pretty much everything that you want to label but maybe not scream, "HEY, THIS HAS A LABEL ON IT!!!" They are super easy to take on and off leaving no sticky residue..and heck, they even come with a pen!! L.O.V.E.

2. THE "SEE ME".  Same distributor, same inclusion of a great pen, different look. Still love these for the design, but I tend to use these more on things I want to REALLY notice. You know, like toys and stuff little ones need to learn to identify. These also add a great pop to a clear storage bin that is loaded up so you don't miss what all is in there.

3. THE CHALK LABEL.  These are one-use wonders, but for the price, you won't be mad at it. These are kinda my fave as far as chalk labels are concerned, and I mean, who doesn't love a good chalk label? Also comes with two pens, but I didn't use them as I prefer a thinner one myself. Same sassy designs and great for anything/everything!

4. THE CHALK CLIP. Not all of you (I won't say us since I am excluded from this statement) are in to the whole clear canister thing. I get it. It can be a lot for someone who is not obsessed with organizing or who doesn't have a deep rooted hatred for packaging. So, here, let's meet in the middle-ish. Chalk clips. These are great to get that cereal bag out of that junky old box, keep it fresh and also write what it know, like "Red Berries"... if you're in my house. You can also clip these on to thin bins to mark what is inside, and again, lose some of that junky packaging. If it too makes you cray.
5. THE CHALK TAG. Again with the chalk, I know, but it's just so great! I use these to label all the baskets that hide everything. You know, your wicker lovers in the house. The baskets you can put stuff in and easily forget since you can't see it. Too thick for a clip, means a tag is in order. Label it, tie it on and #boom, you are looking fresh, clean and organized!

And there you have it! My FIVE most ordered labels to date. Looking super forward to my next obsession as I continue on my journey of Organizing Specialist...well, and I guess just being anal ole' me!

Strive to thrive, 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

How to Make Your Home a No Shoe Household

I am not sure at what point of my childhood my Thriving Mommy decided to make our home a no shoe zone, but she did. Perhaps it was after one of our Hawaiian getaways where it is just a part of the culture to remove shoes; not sure. I do however recall that at first it wasn't easy.  I remember my friends and I scoffing at this insanity, but I also remember that soon we were all doing it without even thinking anymore.

When I am home I like to be barefoot. Then when you add in lots of little kids who are ALWAYS barefoot/crawling/making "air angels" on the floor, the thought of tracking in all the filth from outside makes my skin crawl.

I mean, I would never allow my kids to walk barefoot/playing on a the floor of a public restroom, sidewalk...ok, kind of everywhere.

Therefore, my home too, my home is a no shoe household. I remember college was tough as I always lived with tons of other people, but I survived. Once I moved out on my own (ok, I never lived on my own, I went from my house to living with my now husband), I knew the no shoe thing had to make a comeback. As most of you know, I like my house super clean and super cozy. Which meant I had to train my shoe wearing husband this was his new normal. Thankfully, he is the most easy going, supportive, go with (mostly) whatever I say kind of guy and adjusted rather quickly. 

And let me tell you, having a no shoe household is the absolute best if you like to keep a tidy haven like I do.

Have you ever wondered how people that wear shoes in their homes can then go barefoot and NOT notice their feet are black with street filth? Well, I wonder. I mean, I PRAY they wash those feet  before they crawl in their beds.

And with that, I will end my judgement of filthy feet.

Making your home fresh and clean is a learning process for not only you, but also your family and friends. Even to this day, I sometimes feel slightly awkward politely asking guests to remove their shoes...especially in winter when they are wearing boots.

Which is why NOW is the best time to make the transition if you are ready and willing! The weather is still warm and sandals are easy to slip on and off. I mean, if I can teach my one year old to take off his shoes...I am pretty sure you can train your family (husbands are the hardest, #typical).

First and foremost, make it KNOWN. I have my sweet little wooden sign hanging above my door so anyone who wants to enter is aware, you can come in, but the shoes cannot. I decided to honor the old Hawaiian custom since I am part mermaid and all.

I also suggesting trying to make it easy. I have a bench right next to the door so if guests need to sit down to remove their shoes they have a designated place to do it then hop inside with their clean feet!

Have a "landing pad" there are only a few areas in our home that allow shoes, and those, are the landing pads. At each door, we have mats (Costco is where I grab my collection). Anyone coming over, removes on the outdoor mat. Our family comes in the front door and slips off their shoes on the main mat. Then we get to enter our fresh floored home... and know, if they were wearing sandals, I do in fact wipe off their feet with a damp towel. #imstraightcray

It is also important to create a space for these removed shoes. I have two suitcases stacked near the door. The bottom is for rain boots and other rarely worn shoes and the top has all the boys' shoes. Shoes go off and in the case. Clean AND clutter free! When we are heading out, they grab their shoes, put them on while sitting on the carpet and go out the door.

Even my sweet Dude is perfectly trained...I mean he isn't even two years old! 

Where are my shoes you ask? Well, when I or my Thriving Husband are heading out, we grab our shoes from our bedroom and bring them to the door. Again, clutter free!

Now, what about the irregular visitors, ie, contractors, my exterminator, ect. I have a box of slip on booties available to cover those dirty work shoes, don't you worry. They are all happy to oblige this anal neat freak and I am happy to not be having a panic attack on how quickly I can clean the floor after they leave.

As I said, it is absolutely a process, but as with everything, if you want it bad enough you can do it! 

I assure you once you make the commitment, you will be THRILLED at how clean your home feels and feet look!

Strive to thrive, 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

5 Tips for Little Sleepers & My Thriving Sleep Routine

***DISCLAIMER - NOTHING in this post is to suggest that I am a professional sleep consultant or have any scientific data to support my claims/theories. This is simply my experience having raised twins and a dude, what worked for me and my opinions. Please do not take any of what I say as judgement towards any personal choices surrounding parenting or sleeping in any way shape or form. Again, this is plain and simply my Thriving Life. Thank you , have a lovely day***

Sleep. That thing we are told to truly enjoy before having kids...because then it all goes away...forever.

Let me tell you, this scared the crap of my sleep loving, pre-mommy self. How would I survive? Waking up early? Not clocking 12+ hours of sleep regularly? Not sleeping in until the late morning on weekends? As panic set in,  my friends assured me I would adjust. Ha. We'd see about that.

Before our babies make their way into our arms, I think we all kind of create a "plan" for what sleep will look like for ourselves and baby.  We chat with our partners about what will work for our family (and our keeping our mommy sanity) and determine what sleep style we want to strive for.

Before the twins arrived, I felt I needed my own "sleep space". I loved sleep and the thought of sharing a bed with two babies did not seem appealing to me at all.

I set up a bassinet next to my side of the bed and when we got home from the hospital, I nursed, swaddled and set them down for a few hours of restful sleep before the next feeding.

Well.....then the reality set in. I was terrified. I just sat there, uncomfortably leaning over that stupid bassinet watching them, constantly touching their little chests to make sure they were breathing and got ZERO sleep and I mean ZERO. If I nodded off, the moment I heard them move, cough or breathe too heavily I sat up, heart racing, sick with terror as to what could be wrong. #newmom
Then came the super fun addition of my life commitment to tandem nursing. So when one woke, I woke the other. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. So, yes...I was basically nursing 24/7 as they adjusted to tandem feeding.

After the utter exhaustion of the birth, hospital stay and first night home. I was about a week in with no more than a few straight hours of sleep.

Cue massive, hysterical, hormonal, emotional break down.
Through my sobs I suddenly remembered what a veteran twin mom told me about how she made it work with hew new babies. She just  let them sleep on her chest each night. When they wanted to eat, she sat up, nursed and fell back into a blissful sleep. I decided nothing could be worse then what I was doing now, I would give it a try.

That night, I set up a pillow fortress. I was slightly raised at the head with pillows under each shoulder/arm and on my side so I wouldn't roll over (since I was one of those that was convinced it would not true). I nursed the boys before "bedtime", leaned back into my soft nest and had my husband ensure each tiny baby was secure on my chest. I kissed their heads, cried softly at the extreme joy I felt at these precious creatures I had created and then...

...I felt a little wiggle, I glanced at the clock and four hours had passed...FOUR HOURS?! What just happened? Neither I nor the babies had slept so soundly in days. This was HEAVEN!!! I could feel every breath, my heart steadied theirs, a slight wiggle and I was awake and ready feed again and they barely had to ask for it. No suckling I slept through, no crying to get my attention...just a little wiggle, maybe a hand to their mouth and we were snacking, then back to sleep.

For the next four months those two little lumps and I slept heart to heart. I started to question what those moms were talking about, I was sleeping just like my babies! Sound as could be. I felt so rested that I rarely had to "sleep when babies slept" and could just relax when the did nap and actually continue to do things around the house.

I was a new mommy!

Thinking back, I (personally) feel setting this foundation of "sleep safety" (I just made that up) helped teach them early on that sleep is not scary, it's safe. Mommy is as close as can be as is your beloved milk. So don't fear little one, just sleep.

I mean, that fourth trimester thing is no joke! These poor angels need their mommies touch around the clock and I wanted to make sure I did everything I could to help them adjust to life on the outside...of my body.

Since I was already incredibly organized and routined prior to having kids, twins just made me even more on top of it. I created a routine for everything, especially the evening; sleep preparation time. I had read (#newmom scrolling the internet at all hours of the night to solve every issue you are currently facing) that it would help them sleep, put it into practice and can say that it is 100% true for me.

Our evening routine was and still is (drummmroollll:

  • Dinner
  • Bathies
  • Grease Up 
  • Jammies
  • Books
  • Bed
Not really much to it aside from it being the same every. singe. night.

Now, the details:

DINNER - I am big on family dinners. We eat as a family, at the table each night. Nothing but good, old fashioned conversation is allowed during this time. And, as to be expected with three little boys, each meal is a total mess. Add in the filth of the day and they are for sure getting a bath. After they finish their dinner, they ask to be excused from the table, strip down and run into the bath tub which I prepare with bubbles and toys. (I sneak off and do this as they enjoy their dessert...if they earned it that is. No eating dinner, no treat).

BATHIES - Before the boys were crawling and getting super dirty each night, I used to only give them a bath a few times a week. On the "off" nights, I would wipe them down with a warm towel and resume the nightly activities.  At about 6 months on, they seemed to be constantly dirty, so they got a bath each night. And trust me, on those random times we are somewhere and I try and skip it, they are not having it...they look forward to getting "clean and cozy" as they say.

Once they are squeaky clean, they hop out, wrap up in their hoodie towel and grab their toothbrush (I get those prepped on the sink while the water drains from the tub). This is by far Dude's favorite part, he LOVES a good toothbrush. They all start on their own, then one by one they "step right up" (must be said in a circus/carnival voice) to the sink so I can help get those last remaining "sugar bugs" off.  Once rinsed, they head into the their room for phase two.

** This was definitely I skill I had to teach as those twin toddlers of mine loved to run around the house naked and giggling, thankfully they are well oiled machines now and Dude just follows suit**

GREASE UP - I have never used lotion on my guys, only organic coconut oil. I get the huge one at Costco and fill up a small mason jar that I keep in their room and refill as needed.  Once we all transition into their room, I start greasing them up (Dude is always first as he loves to pee on everything) from head to toe and try to work in a little leg massage on those growing muscles.

I also would like to sign myself up for this portion of the evening as it looks like Heaven. Alas, my husband continually refuses to add me to the line up. Rude.

JAMMIES - Once greased, we throw on their jammies and roll on my favorite essential oil I've used with them since infancy; Young Living's Gentle Baby. As minis I only rolled  it on the bottom of their feet. As big guys, it goes straight on the back of their necks. However, they now ask to do it themselves, so I have been phased out.

A quick comb through their conditioned hair and they are off to play within their room while I move on to the next...and the next...and soon to be, the next.

BOOKS - Now that all three are clean, greased and dressed, it is time to relax with a good book. They each get to choose one for me to read. As they go to their library and decide what thrilling piece of literature will be read that evening, I close the blackout curtains which signals sleep mode.

They hop into bed as I settle in to read their top picks. Once I am done, the big boys have the choice to continue reading in bed with their flashlights, or have lights out. I would say 9 times out of 10 they ask for lights out. I am always part amazed, part thrilled.  One last potty trip and they are back in bed while I go and put The Dude down in his room.

(Dude down). I then take Dude into his room, close the door, draw the blackout curtains, turn on the noise maker/nightlight. We hug, kiss and then he gets set down, tucked in and I am out...about 30 seconds later, so is he.

I then return to the big boys room to also plug in their noise maker/nightlight and do one last snuggle. I head out and just like that...

The End.

Please know, one reason all this works so smoothly is because A) There are three of them and they are constantly playing like maniacs B) I make sure to run them like dogs. I keep them moving, rarely watch TV and prefer to keep them outside burning energy so they welcome sleep with open arms.

And as expected, there are some nights where more potty breaks are needed, waters ask to be refilled, additional cuddles are requested...but all in all, things are relatively smooth, with all my sweet angels sound asleep between 7-8pm.

It is incredibly rare that the boys wake up in the night for anything and while The Dude sometimes cries out, he quickly falls back asleep. The vast majority of our nights are filled with three sleepy little boys who don't wake again until 6:30am (really, anytime between 6am-7am), so yeah, I'll take it!!

I am sorry of this makes you hate me. Honestly, as I am re-reading it I kind of hate myself.

This is what I would suggest if you are struggling with your little sleepers...

1. FIGURE OUT WHAT WORKS FOR YOUR FAMILY.  Family bed, no kids allowed ever or somewhere in between, do what works for you. I always listen to my gut and do what feels right...and of course discuss everything, at length with my sister. Once you and your family have a plan, see if it works, if not, tweak it to what does work then stick with it.

2. TEACH GOOD SLEEP HABITS EARLY. Once you have worked through the trial and error phase of figuring out what works for you, stay consistent. As a breastfeeding advocate, I personally do not subscribe to any so-called, "sleep training" until they are at least a year old. If my itty, bitty baby is crying, I am up and with them immediately. I nurse on demand and since I sleep with my teeny tiny ones it works for me. But again, that is me. I personally feel that by teaching my angels that sleep was safe and I always responded to their distress, it helped them learn how to be good sleepers. Just a mom theory, not at all proven or suggesting that other ways aren't just as good. (Please revisit disclaimer as needed...)

3. CREATE A ROUTINE. As an educator and overall Type A, controlling mommy I am all about structure and routine. I think/have seen how behaviors are drastically different between structured environments with clear expectations, versus ones that aren't. For ME and MY FAMILY, I obvi go the more structured route. My kids know the way their evening will go (unless there is something special event, but we always talk about it beforehand) and there is no question as to what is coming next. Their little minds and bodies have adapted to it and they (ahem) seem to thrive.

4. STICK WITH THE ROUTINE. I always found one of the hardest parts of the whole sleep thing to be the regressions. They suck. Three days feels like three months and you wonder if your kids will ever again sleep through the night. Well, I assure you, they will. But this is when we mommies have to stick the convictions of commitment.

Honestly, I too fell to weak many a time with the twins and when they screamed/cried during the night and WOULD NOT go back to sleep for anything, I would bring them into bed with me. However, I was committed, so once they had fallen back into that safe sleep in my bed/arms, I would lug their big ole' bodies back into their beds, tuck them in, wait for a few minutes then creep out.  Dude has never come to bed with me and the only thing I have ever done to support his sleep is allow him to fall back into his deep sleep in the recliner in his room before putting him back down.

When it gets hard, stick with it. When all you want to do is quit, stick with it. From my experience, consistency is key.

Now that my guys grow bigger, sleeping in bed with mommy aka a slumber party is such a huge treat for them. They get really excited to snuggle in bed with me and fall asleep at hotels or while visiting family. Well...last time Clarke did ask me to please go into another bed as he would like to sleep was that.

5. KNOW, THIS TOO SHALL PASS. No matter what you decide or end up actually sticking with, as long as you and your littles are happy, nothing else matters. If you and your partner are all about sharing a family bed with your four sons, then more power to you!! I am sure that those four sons will one day NOT want to sleep in bed with their parents and before you know it all of your babies will be grown up. Trust the the hard nights will pass, the good ones will come again and at the end of the day, you are doing great mommy!

WHEW!! How was that for some sleep info!

Ask and you shall receiving, hoping to put this in IGTV for you all...emphasis on hoping.

Feel free to ask as many questions as needed!

Strive to thrive,