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, 
Em

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 happen...so 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 alone...so....there 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, 
Em

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Summer Swim Workout - Preggo Approved!


Channeling my Mermaid Mommy more than ever these days!

It is like the Universe knows I need my daily workout and therefore honors my needs by giving me Fall babies. August, October and now (soon to be) September have been when all my babies have made it into my arms. As I get bigger, my workouts evolve into low impact, low intensity. I am so thankful to have swimming be my go-to third trimester workout.

Granted, you can and should absolutely swim anytime during pregnancy or not pregnant at all,  but something about relieving all that weight while also feeling that burn I so love really makes me look forward to it. That and I am a terrible swimmer so I am seriously dying after each lap...

From jogging, kicking, lap swimming to treading, this is a total (preggo approved) body workout. Best part, it is GREAT for getting baby into position for that calm, easy birth we all prepare for...and no, I did not make that up, a midwife told me.

Since I now have my own pool  (not a lap pool by any means) I set my timer for 30 minutes and go back and forth from corner to corner across the pool. The big boys LOVE watching and cheering me on too which makes it even more fun!

Kicking is my favorite; flutter, "mermaid" aka butterfly kick and breaststroke all get 10 laps.  Don't forget your hat!


Once I've done my kicks and my legs are on fire, it is time to grab one of my kid's goggles (lash protection always is a top priority) and get in my laps!


This is where I reallllllllly struggle, but I LOVE IT!
One more round of treading water and I have gotten in a great workout while enjoying some family fun in the sun. Love that.

Have access to a pool and want to give this splash worthy workout a try? Well then, here you go! The workout below is based on a lap pool, but if you've got one in your backyard, just find the longest distance and go for it!


As I countdown these last 10 weeks of my very last pregnancy, I can honestly say, THANK G FOR THE POOL! It has saved me once again and I look forward to kicking my way to that second unmedicated VBAC and meeting my sweet Richie!


Anything I should try next time I take my daily dip?

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Momtrepreneur - The Launch of Thriving & Organized



It should come as no surprise to those of you who know me that I am suuuuper obsessed with cleaning and organizing. So after years of refreshing my own home, helping friends and family I listened to those ever present suggestions of, "You should totally do this as your job, you'd be so great!" and am DOING IT!

Oh hey you overall wearing, clipboard carrying, post it loving organizer!

I know what you are thinking..."What?! You are crazy! How could you possibly add ONE more thing to your already overflowing plate?!". Well, my answer is, "There is no shame in filling your life with things you love. And this is something I love. Thank you very much for your concern." 

But, I mean, can you even imagine if this could be, like, my "real job"?! You know, beyond my "realest of the real jobs" of raising four kind, compassionate, caring gentlemen?

So, after realllllly thinking about it, discussing it with my TH and TM (obviously any time I am away from the kids I need their help, so their opinions and support is essential) I decided to go for it. If I fail, I fail. But at least I will be able to sleep at night knowing that I tried.  What do I have to lose? Oh wait, nothing.


I am so incredibly proud to announce myself to the Temecula Valley (and surrounding areas), as an Organizing Specialist. I have made myself a legit business lady, license and all!  At long last, my time and expertise is available and I couldn't be more excited! I have all summer and most of next year (yes, I will have a new baby, but will also be out on maternity leave so I'll have a bit more "free time") to really hustle and see what happens.

I always look to drive inspiration from friends and fellow momtrepreneur's who allow me to believe that it is in fact possible to do it all.

Heck, I have enough doubt of my own so taking strength from these women that are following their passion and owning it is my latest jam.


Alas, it is I, Emilia, the owner/operator of Thriving & Organized, where I help you renew and refresh, one space at a time. Looking forward to what the future may hold for this go-getting mommy of four!

Look me up and/or email me for more information if you think my services may be something you are looking for!

*Special thanks to my forever cheerleader Mrs. G for not only suggesting this idea to me long ago, but always building me up and making me believe it is possible. Also, my fellow TW Nic for all her tech help and endless question/answer sessions as I navigate these new waters. Lastly, my amazing TM and TH for letting me chase my dream and see what happens. Love you all!*

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Thursday's Thriving Thought - Live the Dream


Life is what you make it. All the things you dream, manifest and embrace are yours to enjoy. I can honestly say my long dreamt up fairy tale has come true in every way possible and I couldn't be more grateful. All that is left is for me to go live the dream in which I created.

With another beautiful summer upon us, I am so exited to be able to create more magical memories with my guys before we welcome our last little man. So, raise your mock/cocktails and let's cheers to creating AND living the fairy tales we dream of.  Hey, if Ariel can do it, so can we!

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

5 Ingredient DIY Lavender Sunscreen


**This recipe has NOT been tested by a regulatory organization and therefore cannot with certainty make any claims to the SPF content***

*Use caution when using zinc oxide and do NOT inhale powder*

As a Thriving eco-mommy I am always looking for healthier ways to live. From cloth diapering, to making my own cleaning products and even getting into making my own beauty products I love trying to make more natural choices for my family. 

Thankfully, my girl Wellness Mama is an endless resource for all things natural and DIY. As usual she came through again with a natural alternative a product we use multiple times a day... sunscreen!

With little ones playing outside most of the day I am quite serious about sunscreen and the constant reapplication of said sun protection. However, I want to make sure that what I am continually covering my littles skin in is safe and as non toxic as possible. Katie, aka, Wellness Mama shares a ton of research on the harmful effects of most sunscreens and smart ways to stay sun safe.


I was amazed to learn about the suggested SPF of individual ingredients and how when combined they could provide just the sun protection we needed for playing outside...before I applied more an hour later...

This simple 5 ingredient recipe is natural, cost effective, easy to make, feels good on skin, smells amazing and keeps the bugs away (did you know lavender is a natural repellant to moths, flies, mosquitos and fleas?!)



Once you have your ingredients (if you aren't into lavender, just make sure to not go with a citrus essential oil as they increase sensitive to the sun) it is time to get cooking!


Combine all ingredients BUT the zinc oxide in a pint size mason jar (or larger).  I have one on hand that I reuse for making other natural beauty products too...that wax is tricky to clean...


Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium heat. Place the lid loosely on the jar and put it in the water.


As the water heats the ingredients in the jar will begin to melt; stir occasionally. 


Once the ingredients are completely melted (carefully) add the zinc oxide powder and stir well.


Pour sunscreen into a jar or tin for storage...I obviously went with my go-to, the all mighty Mason.


Stir a few times as it cools to make sure the zinc oxide is evenly distributed and store at room temperature. 

Hit it with a Washi label and you are ready for some safe fun in the sun!


I absolutely love how this sunscreen feels and smells. The way it leaves a thick white lather on the boys' skin makes me feel great that they are super sun safe...some may not like that, but I do!

Most of all, I love knowing EXACTLY what I am slathering alllllll over my babies bodies! Thank you Wellness Mama for always providing me with great natural alternatives for well...everything!

What is your favorite sunscreen?

Strive to thrive, 
Em

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

10 Minute Tushy Toner - Preggo Approved


Since my days of teaching fitness classes (for more than myself) are on hold for a bit, I really try to mix up my workouts.

I tend to find comfort in intense cardio (well, as intense as can be when you are growing a human), so I make a point to include weight training 3-4 times a week.  One of my favorite zones to target? My tush. 

My body goes through quite a transition when pregnant. I expand early on and while I stay consistent with my healthy lifestyle, I still seem to struggle embracing the changes my glorious body goes through to create life.  I remind myself this is all temporary, rub my big belly and get back to doing what I love most (well right up there with organizing/cleaning)...sweating.

Now that the intensity of my workouts has slowed (no more squat jumps for now) I love to pull out some of my low impact, burn until you cry, fast and furious exercises. This FOR SHO is one I never tire of...I love to hate it.

This PopSugar, 10 Minute Booty Burner requires only a mat, 5 pound weight (or less) a timer and a ten minute commitment to yearn for that burn. 


Each exercise is only 30 seconds, I repeat, only 30 seconds. Easy enough right? I mean you can do ANYTHING for 30 seconds...ha. Talk to me after.

I love this booty blaster and incorporate it into my weekly weight routine regularly.  I feel my tush and hamstrings getting tighter and only pray this dedication pays off...especially once I shed my pregnancy suit this Fall!

Do you have any good workouts for your backside?  PLEASE share!

Strive to thrive, 
Em