A body conscious confession.

If I'm honest, I've never been able to fully enjoy myself sitting at the beach on a hot summer's day. Sure, when I first get there, I'll plop down my chair in the sand, gaze at the beautiful ocean, breathe in that salty ocean air and soak in the sunshine with a huge sense of pleasure but, inevitably, my gaze begins to wander. I don't think I'm unique in this experience. Before I know it, I'm people watching and eyeing up passers-by beneath the protection of my shades. It doesn't take long before some toned body goes running by on the water's edge and I'm reminded, yet again, of my non-existent exercise routine. I may be thin but I'm not toned. Someone who eats healthy can be skinny but to be toned you need to actually work your muscles. If you avoid exercise, as I almost always have, it's as if you'll always feel that slight sense of disconnect and discontent with your own body. It's a subtle non-spoken guilt that comes out to play only when you finally reveal your skin to the sunshine. No matter how many times I try to feel confident sitting on the beach, I generally walk away from the day feeling disheartened and agitated with no one to blame but myself.

Now sure, one could argue that I need to work on my self-esteem. I think we could all probably use more of the good stuff while we're being honest but I believe this discontent of mine might run a little deeper than that. I watched my body do amazing things during pregnancy, expanding and changing in ways I only imagined in my dreams to be possible. I know I'm physically capable of more than I'm giving myself credit for and I want to be healthier. I want to work hard and sweat, without getting irritated in the process. I want to be a good role model for my daughter and not just value thinness, as this society so often does, but to value health. To use my body and not shy away from sports or other physical activities because I feel inferior. I want my daughter instead to both be and feel strong.

I'm trying. I think that's all that matters at the moment. It isn't easy with a young child to find time but there will be many more beach days now that we live less than an hour from the shore. I really want to enjoy those days with the sand between my toes, without the guilt, for her sake and mine. She's worth it.



When life gets you down.

ROSYRILLI.COM When life gets you downWhen your little one starts going through her 4 month sleep regression earlier than expected...

When the task of moving to a new state and a new area feels both overwhelming and exhausting...

When time with your husband somehow dwindles to a measly hour each evening...
.

.

.

It's nothing that a bit of bright flowers, fresh cut melon and a healthy dose of appreciation can't cure.

Warmly,

A long distance gender reveal.

ROSYRILLI.COM Gender reveal cards
So remember when I mentioned here that I was pretty hesitant and totally awkward about announcing my pregnancy? Well I like to think that I made up for it with our gender reveal. Being so far away from family and friends at first completely bummed me out. It was obvious that there wasn't going to be a small, intimate get-together with family to share the exciting news with colored cake cutting or balloons floating out of boxes. Basically, the vast majority of cute ways that couples typically make gender reveal announcements was completely out of the question for us. But then, I had a total light bulb moment and knew with certainty how I was going to announce our news in a unique and special way.

When I went for the ultrasound at 20 weeks, I was prepared for either scenario but Hubby and I were pretty convinced that the sonogram would confirm I was carrying a boy, I think in part because of what the various psychics had predicted over the years (here and here). We were taken by such surprise and total shock, in a OMG, can you believe it?! kind of way, when we were told that our growing miracle was instead a girl.

Immediately following our appointment, I hopped in my car and proceeded to complete my crafty DIY announcement (I had pre-planned a few days in advance) so that I could send them in the mail that same day. Mail, I had decided early on, was pretty much the only viable option unless I wanted to announce it virtually on Skype or Facetime. I made sure to tell family member's to keep an eye on their mailboxes, which I like to think added to the excitement and anticipation of our news. And then I pretty much sat back and awaited every one's response which was almost as exciting as receiving the news in the first place!

So, exactly what did I send? I had put together gender-neutral cards which stated, "Dear {insert name(s)}, What do you think... Boy or Girl!?" On the card itself, was an envelope stamped with our due date and a small white tag tied with colorful twine and adorned with a baby pin. I stamped the tag with "?!?" and when the recipients pulled the tag, out came another small envelope hidden from within. Inside this envelope I had poured teeny tiny colored beads (pink, in this instance but I had purchased both ahead of time) and a card stamped with the message "It's a... GIRL!"  I truly enjoyed making them, as each one was varied slightly from the next and no two were exactly alike. There were different colored cards, envelopes, ribbons, notes etc. We sent the first round of announcements to family and then I spent the following few evening's creating a multitude of additional announcements to mail to extended family and friends.

ROSYRILLI.COM Gender reveal cards

ROSYRILLI.COM Gender reveal cards
For those that didn't receive a personalized card in the mail, we made sure to share our exciting news on social media with the below photo of us painting the nursery walls sample colors of pink and a caption that read, "Definitely didn't think we'd be painting the walls these colors! Little lady really surprised us!" 
ROSYRILLI.COM Gender reveal on social media
All in all, I was totally smitten with the way both announcements came out. We were able to cultivate a level of excitement even from a distance. And better yet, we now have one of the announcements framed in her nursery as an everlasting keepsake of that amazing moment in my pregnancy.


My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose.

Hubby and I took advantage of this perfect 68 degree April Sunday by visiting a local park near our new apartment (we even did a little jogging with the stroller and baby!) and it was quintessentially the most beautiful weekend afternoon. While there, we passed a rather pregnant mama-to-be and I had to ask hubby, "did I really ever look like that!?" It was only 3 months ago that I was carrying our little sweet pea and yet amnesia seems to have already taken place. Perhaps it was because I had such an amazing pregnancy (after those first three months anyway) or perhaps it was because you don't see yourself nearly as easily as you see others.

As I mentioned previously, I found it somewhat difficult to fully embrace sharing my pregnancy photos for fear of jinxing my own happiness at the time but that didn't stop me from taking them. However late it may be, I'd like to take a moment to share a few of them now. Some people are into fruit. Some people wear the same outfit in each photo. I decided to take a photo in the nursery every few weeks. It was a special way to document the progression of both my belly bump and the evolution of the room itself. If you missed it, I shared the completed nursery here
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy progression photo idea
And so, here are a few of my pregnancy bump pictures, although admittedly not the best quality. Better late than never, right?!
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose
ROSYRILLI.COM My pregnancy with Evelyn Rose

Warmly,

Minimalism clarified.

ROSYRILLI.COM When less is more.
I gave a little self deprecating chuckle after re-reading last night's post. I promise I'm not just some rich white girl getting rid of her designer handbags and praising herself for her all-mighty efforts.

As way of explanation, I should list as a disclaimer for all of my post's nowadays that most of my ramblings now take place way past my bedtime, when I actually am able to steal a free moment to myself. I'm ferociously tapping away at the keyboard or even, like now, on my phone, in between feedings. There's a lot of shifty eyed and panicky looks at the clock while I try to mentally convince myself that writing is more important than sleep or all of the other never-ending items on my to-do list that have gone yet another day unchecked. There's not a whole lot of re-reading and redrafting going on these days, in other words, which is why I think my last post may have come across just... wrong.

In my haste and over excitement to explain the purging of our possessions, I failed to detail the scenario fully. For instance, those three bags of clothing...some of it, strike through, MOST of it was from high school and college days. Or items that just plain don't fit anymore. Items I had held onto way past their expiration dates. And when I talk about getting rid of excess, it includes the normal everyday things like having 30 different types of pens lying around miscellaneous places, stacks of old manuals and magazines or free hotel samples. Junk drawers and junk closets in every room. Things which I think we're all culprits of if we're being honest. It's deciding we don't really need that storage bench and bookshelf from my childhood bedroom because all they do is store non-essentials. Or the fact that multiple bins of sentimental memories..like 2+ baby bins, a high school bin, a college bin, a wedding bin and a bachelorette party bin, might just be excessive. And guys, I didn't even have a big bachelorette party! Where does this stuff keep coming from?! We have so many photographs that I still can't quite figure out how and where to store them. Is there really anything positive that comes from hanging onto old pictures of ex-boyfriends or that many photos of my underage drinking years? Who exactly am I going to show them off to? Surely not my daughter. And if I myself cringe looking at them, well then, maybe it's time. Same with old diaries. Stacks upon stacks of embarrassing stories that benefit no on and stir up some really rough emotions that were better left forgotten. Gone. Christmas decorations? Makeup samples? Office supplies? Old craft supplies? An overflowing linen closet? Electric chargers we're not even sure of to what anymore? AC window units we've been holding onto since our time in Philadelphia, "just in case"? These are all of the things we're purging our lives of today. All of these average, everyday items that if you're not careful start to build up, not even always as a result of excessive spending but just time itself.

So yes, I fully admit that some of it's due to our own sloppy over-indulgence but a lot of it too has been gifts received over the years or just everyday accumulations that we're just now starting to question. Reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing was really instrumental in making me question what new things we want to bring into our lives and why. It's astonishing to realize just how little we need. And maybe experiences ought to be more important than things. And if there are going to be things, as undoubtedly there always are, than shouldn't we be surrounding ourselves with only those which we love?

This is most certainly, 100% certified, a first world problem but one which I'd prefer not to repeat if I can help it. Let there please be less boxes to pack (and unpack) next time.

Doing with less.

ROSYRILLI.COM Doing with less
ROSYRILLI.COM Doing with less
ROSYRILLI.COM Doing with less
I'm bursting at the seams excited to finally be able to share our new intentional way of {attempting to} live with less. As you well know by now, we've recently moved from Ohio to NJ and with that we downgraded from a considerably sized 4 bedroom home to a somewhat tiny (but perfectly sized) 2 bedroom apartment. But oh my gosh you guys, we've literally been imprisoned by our possessions. This experience has been so completely eye opening to the over-abundance in our lives. Not only has our apartment been stacked high with boxes, but we also have two additional storage units, brimming with stuff. Stuff that's been toted from state to state, basement and garage to storage unit and back again. So much stuff that we've at times forgotten what it is we're even toting around. It's obscene and so ridiculously unnecessary.

I've been leaning towards minimalism for awhile now. During my last trimester of pregnancy, I actually stuck to a wardrobe capsule, inspired primarily by this blog. For those of you unfamiliar, it involves intentionally limiting the number of clothes you use for a set period of time. By strategically narrowing your options down to something like 27 items (including shoes and purses!), it allows you to fret less over your choices, forces you to be more creative and is especially kind to your wallet. Most importantly though, it allows you to focus on more critical aspects of life. Back during my pregnancy, I tried to take a more simple approach with all things baby related as well, even after the showers. Instead of having a bassinet, bouncer and swing, for example, I found this awesome Graco 2in1 Glider Elite Swing (affiliate link) which combined all three. I also made sure to return any non-necessities received during showers (sorry!) and hoard the store credit instead...which has been an amazing tactic for those times when I'm in need of more diapers or things I hadn't anticipated needing. 

In a world of consumerism, it's all too easy to fall prey to the allure of wanting. I'm certainly not perfect and have definitely decided this is a skill set which needs to be honed and polished. In an attempt to keep my motivation for this lifestyle fresh, I've been receiving essays from The Minimalists website here and reading this absolutely life-changing book (affiliate link). I kept seeing the book cover pop up all across the inter-webs and out of curiosity, went ahead and purchased a copy for myself. I'll admit, parts of it are a little different but it really made me think. For instance, why did I bother to register for china when we got married if we're just going to have it sit in boxes all but once or twice a year? So I made a somewhat drastic decision and decided recently that we'd start using our china every day. I love it. It feels fancy and luxurious and fabulous all at the same time. Why not?! So I may chip or break a plate but surely I would have rather actually used this amazing dinnerware than to have it sit gathering dust, right?

And a somewhat amazing thing I picked up on from when we were living in our short-term housing? Picture this: You walk into an apartment but it feels more like a hotel. Lacking is the clutter and knick-knacks. Instead, the living room includes a fully set table. The kitchen is stocked only with the necessities. The bathrooms are sparse but for the fresh white linens. It's serene and calming and I loved it. So much so that I've vowed to keep our dining room table fully set at all times. Another takeaway? It is totally unnecessary to have SIXTEEN sets of silverware, which is what we've had up until now. Sure, we never ran out of spoons but I also dreaded unloading the dishwasher. With less stuff cluttering the kitchen drawers, it makes using cooking utensils a little less aggravating.

And lastly, let's go there. The big one. Clothing. Has anyone else used thredUP (website here)? I've always donated my clothing en masse to Goodwill but some of the nicer items I've recently sold to this online consignment shop retailer instead. I've requested not one but THREE clean-out bags (they send them to you free with a pre-paid return shipping label).  Anything they don't take, they donate anyway so it's a win win in my book. It's also an awesome place to buy discounted brand name clothing, which is nice since my wallet's a bit slim these days, with me not working and all. Ps. They're offering a $10 shopping credit if you click the link above and check them out. Not too shabby!

All in all, this has come at the perfect time. The wardrobe capsule experiment, the book on tidying, the naturally sparse short-term housing arrangement. All signs were pointing towards it being time for us to clean house. We've been unpacking and re-packing boxes now for over a week straight and are still making our way through the storage units. In addition to our craigslist selling frenzy, we've also got a pretty significant (based on the sheer number of boxes lining our place) yard sale coming up in late April. I've now sent in multiple bags full of clothing to thredUP and am clearing our new place of any and all clutter. It feels so GOOD. We're finding homes for the things we've accumulated but either don't love or haven't used and are watching as our cash flow increases in the process. 

Am I a total weirdo for wanting it to feel like we live in a clutter-free, luxurious hotel? Maybe. But if the fresh flowers on my fully set table and a simple wardrobe made up of only items I absolutely love is what makes me happy, well then...sign me up!
ROSYRILLI.COM Doing with less

A cute 3 month old baby and new mom jeans.

Ahhhhh. There is just SO much I want to share and clearly not enough hours in the day to do it. It's not helping that there's a huge pile up of past details from my pregnancy. I haven't even gotten a chance to show-off my my favorite maternity outfits, share how we decided to photograph the growing baby bump or the creative way we decided to share our gender reveal. And then of course there's little Miss Evelyn's photos from birth through 3 months. Oh, and did I happen to mention the whole new level of crazy our lives have taken on since moving to New Jersey? My poor Etsy shop is on a seemingly eternal vacation mode as I scramble to get these days under some semblance of control. I PROMISE that eventually I will catch up to our new lives. 

So, in a last ditch effort to avoid getting too far behind....let's chat about the present. It shouldn't go unnoticed that this weekend our rapidly growing baby girl turned three months old and on Easter no less! So much has changed in those three months that it feels simultaneously like an eternity since she was born but somehow also like a blink of an eye. How does that even happen!? So anyway, here's a few snapshots from Sunday, albeit blurry ones since it was prior to my phone upgrade. Hey, some is better than none right?! 
ROSYRILLI.COM Evelyn Rose turns 3 months old
ROSYRILLI.COM Evelyn Rose turns 3 months old
ROSYRILLI.COM Evelyn Rose turns 3 months old
And that brings me to today. Being with baby has definitely made shopping of any kind more difficult. I now cringe at the thought of going to places without shopping carts and I so easily get exasperated trying to make returns of any sort. Grocery shopping with her is possible but only for the essentials because her car seat alone essentially eats up a good 90% of the cart. There's really no such thing as a quick pop in anywhere. Every single time, there's lugging of her car seat and then the stroller and then back into the car and then the whole "pleaaaase don't cry" attempts being made while the shopping is actually occurring. So anyway, this is just basically a big long excuse for why I was still wearing maternity jeans up until yesterday. Taking on the mall and shopping just wasn't falling too high on my to-do list. Most things, like Evelyn's new Mamas and Papas snug floor seat below (love it!) can be easily ordered online. Unfortunately, jeans and a computer screen don't mix all too well, especially given that my body has changed just enough since pregnancy to make sizing a bit of a mystery. So yeah, we bought jeans today. Regular, normal person jeans. From Loft in fact and at 50% off! Boy did I forget how much I love me a good sale. Can I get a woot-woot!?

ROSYRILLI.COM Mamas and Papas snug floor seat
ROSYRILLI.COM Mamas and Papas snug floor seat
ROSYRILLI.COM New non-maternity jeans
Baby headband: EllureSage on etsy
Jeans: Loft
Baby seat: Mamas & Papas Baby Snug (Teal) (affiliate link)

Warmly,

Flashback: Telling friends and family.

From the day I first found out that our third IUI attempt was successful, I couldn't help myself but to start brainstorming a unique way to inform Mr. Hubs of the gleeful news. I waited until the doctor's office confirmed things were progressing as they should be, in addition to my own multiple pee stick comparisons, and then promptly created the below little gem of a handmade bookmark. I wrapped it up neatly with a bow, along with a book for Daddy-to-be. I think at the time I used newspaper because I didn't have anything else appropriate on hand but, looking back, it's kind of sweet to see that it was right around Easter time as well!

ROSYRILLI.COM Pregnancy announcement
So while I was over the moon excited to share our news with my husband (thinking about it even now makes me grin from ear to ear), I was a bit more hesitant to announce anything to many of our friends and family. It was tough. Unexpectedly tough in fact. After years of struggling with infertility and loss, here I was, finally pregnant again, bursting with joy, wanting to scream it from the rooftops but also paralyzed by the fear of jinxing myself. Which was just silly, I know (and knew even then), especially considering that after both miscarriages it was the very people whom I had told which ended up being the greatest condolence in those days and weeks following. But alas, the heart wants what it wants. I actually waited until I was a full 16 weeks pregnant to start slowly, and rather awkwardly, sharing the news with the majority of my relatives, co-workers, and close friends. All of the attention and hoopla just felt uncomfortable, especially given that this wasn't my first time at the rodeo and all.

So, my advice to those who find themselves in a suddenly similar, all too thrilling scenario? Even if you're getting pressure from others to spread the news like rapid fire, time is okay. There's no rush. People will be just as excited to find out that you're pregnant when you're 4 months pregnant as they would be to find out at 3 months. Only you can decide when you feel comfortable to make a public announcement...and that extends to social media as well. I personally couldn't bare the thought of posting an ultrasound photo on Facebook, not only because I lived in fear of being forced to later take it down, but also because I knew how difficult it was for me during those infertile years to see other people's photos. So I never did. Basically, this decision is yours and no one else's.

Okay, well unless it's your significant other who decides to spill the beans :)