12/30/14 Pregnancy tips

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I am by no means an expert on pregnancy now that I've gone through it and come out the other side a mother but there were, in retrospect, a few things I think truly helped me avoid some of the more uncomfortable aspects associated with a burgeoning baby bump. I figured I'd share them here in case by chance they may help you or someone else you may know. Also, if I ever find myself in the bun baking business again, it probably isn't a bad idea to note what worked the first time around. 

First, drink lots and lots of water. I'm talking 3 liters of the good stuff...daily. The best advice my doctor gave me was to literally measure it out. Go buy yourself one of those liter size bottles of water and re-fill it 3 times a day. You'd be amazed at how much water it is but also how quickly you get used to drinking said amount of water. Besides the medical benefits of doing so, drinking such a significant amount really helped me avoid cankles and constipation. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I saw one of the nurses quite frequently during my weekly visits to the office, and I recall her telling me that she always knows which ladies aren't drinking enough by the size of their ankles. I can't make this stuff up.

Speaking of constipation, do NOT overdose on bread. Be mindful of how many carbs you're eating. For instance, cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, a piece of bread and butter as a mid-afternoon snack and pasta for dinner (because who feels like actually cooking?) will not do wonders for the time you spend in the loo. If by chance you have a bad day (meaning you've practically overdosed on carbs), just make sure it's not followed by a string of very bad days. Maybe tomorrow have a salad for lunch instead of the sandwich? Or soup? Or try to, at the very least, make sure it's whole wheat. I made the mistake of buying a loaf of potato bread once and proceeded to go on a bread and butter binge for a few days. It was glorious tasting but also led to the one and only bout of extended time in the bathroom I experienced. I think I may have used the expression "birthed a bowling ball" afterwards. TMI? Okay, yes, that was probably a TMI moment. Anyway, you get the picture. I learned my lesson reaaaally quickly after that experience. Avoiding the terrible C also allowed me to avoid the even more terrible H you hear women complain about - hemorrhoids!

So that's water and food. Now let's talk poundage. I'll be real here and tell you that I gained 26 lbs over the course of my pregnancy, which is right on par with what my doctor's office recommended. Even more miraculously, I was able to avoid an emotional breakdown about weight gain. Everyone is different but what worked for me was weighing myself once a week. I didn't get too caught up with the numbers since they'll fluctuate a bit but it kept me in check. Another strategy? Keep an eye on the arms! Your midsection and thighs (and butt if you have a good one... I do not) will become useless indicators of weight gain the moment you find yourself pregnant because that area is busy doing all kinds of phenomenal things. Arms though, they're different. If you're gaining weight in your arms, you're gaining weight everywhere so it may be time to eat healthy for a few days. No one wants a fat arm. You know yourself better than anyone and for me this is just one of those areas I could spot in the mirror every morning pretty easily. If my daily splurge on ice cream started getting out of hand, I just made sure to eat a bit healthier for the next few days to keep things in check. Eating healthy is not the same as doing on a diet, mind you.

Ok, the other bit if I'm being honest, is that I didn't use pregnancy as an excuse to eat as unhealthy and as much as I wanted. Truth be told, the first three months I let myself eat whatever I could because nausea had pretty much stolen my appetite. I'm pretty sure I lived on an excess of sugar - all fruits and ice cream - because nothing else sounded remotely appetizing. Once that second trimester hit though and I started feeling more normal (it really does happen!), I tried to eat like I did pre-pregnancy with maybe a daily splurge thrown in for good measure. 300 extra calories a day is not that much people. And remember, whatever you eat is what the baby eats. I'm pretty sure baby would benefit more from a healthy, organic mix of foods than the stuff they serve at those drive-thru's. Not sure if I was just blessed or if it was due to all of my healthy eating habits, but I never dealt with heartburn. Now, no one said a splurge here and there is terrible, but let's not get carried away and eat gobs of grease and fat every day! Plus, who doesn't love hearing someone tell you how great you look? I'd much rather enjoy a pregnancy where I feel good about myself everyday than one where I feel like a beached whale. You still do have to get up and get dressed when you're pregnant.

Trying to avoid that emotional breakdown? You know the one, where you throw an adult tantrum because nothing in your wardrobe fits. Planning in advance helps. I made the mistake of buying a bunch of cute maternity tops pretty early on in my pregnancy but didn't actually get around to wearing them until I hit 5-6 months. There will be quite a window where you'll probably be able to get by wearing loose fitting shirts like flowy blouses. I never had one of those tear-filled "but nothing fits me anymore!" moments because I had taken the initiative to stock my closet with a few looser alternatives ahead of time. I think this was a lifesaver and probably spared my husband from quite a few eye roll moments. Also, if you're blessed enough to be able to fit into your regular jeans throughout your entire pregnancy, bravo! I still suggest you go out and try a pair of maternity jeans on because you really don't want to miss out on how heavenly comfortable those babies are!

A few last random thoughts - invest in shaving cream and new razor blades. It will help you avoid skin tags. They do happen and can happen ANYWHERE.

You don't need to buy a $55 pregnancy pillow if you're okay barricading yourself in with regular pillows.

Your boobs are going to change. Sure, you've read that it happens but when it actually does, and you're all pumped full of those extra hormones, it may still freak you out a little. Just know that everyone experiences it. Try less mirror time until you've gotten used to your new ladies in waiting.

UPDATE: All of the above was written way back when I was still pregnant and waiting to welcome little Miss Evelyn Rose to the world. I would also add to this list, in retrospect...do your kegals mamas! There was an incident where I sort of, kind of, totally peed myself laughing a few days after the birth. Not a tinkle either. Full blown peed my pants. It was more funny than traumatizing but still, if I could go back in time, I would have done a few more kegals in my baby baking days. 

Hope this helps ladies! If you have any other pieces of advice, I'd love to hear them :) And in the end, just remember, it's all worth it!

Three super healthy, summer approved favorites: ToneItUp, The Honest Company & some coconut oil.

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ROSYRILLI.COM Healthy lifestyle
I feel a little bit like I'm late to the party. Seriously. Am I the only one just learning about ToneItUp.com now or are there others out there like me? One of my favorite bloggers, who does an amazing job of trying to work up a sweat daily (or at least, so she claims...since I mean, it is blogging and all) mentioned TIU a few times on Instagram. I hopped on over to the website and WOW, I'm in love. Well, to be honest, at first I wasn't. I'll totally admit that the first time I visited the website I thought it was really confusing and overwhelming. There's just SO much going on. To break it down, they provide a weekly schedule which includes both free workouts but also references their paid workouts in case you happened to have already shelled out the moolah for the DVDs they sell. They also have paid nutrition plans as well. I've just stuck to the free weekly workout schedules so far. The only items required for most of the free workouts is a yoga mat and dumbbells. There are a few that feature exercise balls or kettlebells (I just substitute my dumbbells) but I haven't quite gotten around to purchasing extra gear yet. The best part about the videos though is that they're almost always less than 20 minutes long! You're talking to someone who has never, ever exercised on a regular basis but I've been following along for 8+ weeks now and I feel GREAT. I swear even my complexion has improved with all of the extra blood circulation. If you're like me and are new to breaking a sweat (or glowing, as Karena and Katrina call it!), I would recommend that you follow along by just doing one workout video a day and then after a week or so, try going for a run. I promise you'll be amazed at how much easier it'll feel. You can see the results of all your work fairly quickly but it's the strength and endurance that will subtely sneak up and surprise you. Running always made me feel like I was dying in the past but after a few weeks of doing these videos, I can run 2+ miles with ease! I promise this isn't some gimmick either. I'm certainly not being paid to fawn over their website or products but am just super excited to share the information.

I'm pretty sure this is the healthiest I've ever been in my life. No lie. I've been aiming to do a few short workouts per week, mixing in a healthy dose of running and eating exceptionally healthy. I've been avoiding dairy (say goodbye to cheese, pizza and ice cream) for months now since it doesn't seem to agree well with the little one. I hope that's not TMI. Sorry folks! But anyway, between the healthy eating and exercising, I've been feeling pretty amazing lately. And then there's The Honest Company. I'm sure you've all seen the Facebook ads by now for a free trial of diapers or is that just constantly on my news feed? Well, well, well... did you also happen to know that they sell everyday items like sunscreen, toothpaste, and dish soap too?! I was inspired after reading the Forbes article on Jessica Alba to check out the company website. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to find that their products are quite reasonable AND they ship them right to your front door, which for a mama like myself, saves me a lot of time not having to tote a baby to the store. I'm super excited too because remember when I explained that one of the symptoms of MTHFR, which we believe caused my miscarriages, is my inability to absorb folic acid? Well, I'm not doctor here (that's my disclaimer), but from everything I've read online, it's best to consume l-methylfolate instead of folic acid. Basically, it's just a broken down form that we with MTHFR supposedly can actually absorb. It's super healthy, probably for everyone, and The Honest Company actually sells a prenatal with it included!

Lastly, I'm completely late to jump on the coconut oil bandwagon. I've seen its praise pop up from time to time and decided to finally pull the trigger. This is the organic brand I bought but you can find it at pretty much any grocery store. I will never ever waste my money on lotion again. Try using the coconut oil instead! It's AMAZING and it feels so much better knowing that I'm not slathering my skin with chemicals. It'll give your skin a nice glossy look which is perfect for summer. I should mention the texture is actually kind of amazing as well. Below a certain temperature, the oil will be a solid. A few seconds after it hits your fingers though it'll melt into a liquid. Interestingly enough, if you leave your AC off for the weekend and return to your apartment, you may find the entire jar has turned liquid but it'll quickly turn back to solid once it cools. I found out by accident and from what I've read, it's completely okay to continue using it. Pretty interesting, right?

Anyway, those are my three super healthy, summer approved loves right now!

Evelyn Rose's nursery 2.0... a re-do!

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So although I love my nursery, I'm definitely cringing inwardly at sharing these photos because the quality is so poor. Nice opening right? Ha!

As a quick recap, my original nursery had to be torn down approximately 2 months after my baby girl was born due to our relocation. I was definitely eager and oh so excited to put her room back together again once we unpacked but knew in my heart that I wanted to tweak a few things. First. since the moving company's packaging job was less than stellar of my original flower mobile, it broke into about five separate pieces (insert tear drop). It was such a focal point for the last nursery that I knew I wanted to remake it...and then I got a bit carried away and made a handful more! The one featured in the photos below is actually currently for sale on my RosyRilli etsy shop if you're interested ;)

Next, it was obvious that I needed to replace my soft, pretty curtains of yester-nursery with some new blackout versions. Evelyn's current room has a rather large window which makes it bright and beautiful (and awful to try and photograph with an iphone!). All of that bright light makes it kind of miserable trying to put a young babe down for a nap in the middle of the day. I tried HomeGoods, which was my go to for all other apartment curtains, but wasn't impressed with the quality of their stock. After some extensive online research, I ultimately chose the Best Home Fashion's brand because they received such positive reviews. It's deceptively difficult to find lighter colored blackout curtains that will actually do the trick and, I must say, this brand's didn't disappoint!

During my shower, I received a cute bird cage shaped wrought iron hanging piece (what would you even call this???) and  decided to use it to display some of the details of our daughter's birth. A pocket watch to show the time, a cloth measuring tape to reflect her height and a cute calendar month page to display the birth date. As a quick side story: I had originally purchased 2014's calendar seeing as our baby girl was due in December but when I went over my due date and realized she was going to be a 2015 baby, I immediately reached out to the ShannonPix etsy shop I had purchased the 2014 version from to see if I could buy the new year. Shannon was such a doll and sent me the month of January for free of charge! Her photography is absolutely stunning (unlike my own, as clearly displayed below) and I highly recommend her shop for anyone looking for adorable calendars. Ok, so back to this hanging piece. A little section of our Christmas tree from the season Evelyn was born in is also pinned up, as well as her birth announcements from Minted.com. Still haven't quite figured out a way to portray weight in a unique way though so if anyone has any cute ideas, let me know!

Hmm... so what else? Well, let's see. I still use my original changing pad cover from Carousel Designs but also use the one featured below from the same company. It's the Rose Pink Damask pattern if anyone's interested. 

After the birth, when my parents came to visit us, my dad brought the original scale his parent's used to weigh him as a baby! It was too precious to pass up so I decided to use it in the nursery. It's now a placeholder for Evelyn Rose's stuffed animals. It matches perfectly with the whole soft and vintage vibe. Oh, and my childhood dollhouse has made its grand entrance into her room as well. How funny is it that the only piece of furniture I still have for it is a tiny crib that looks like a small replica of the one I ended up purchasing for Evelyn Rose!

I'm aware, by the way, that I've been terrible lately at posting photos on here of my sweet baby girl. I've been a little obsessed lately with instagram and find it so much easier and faster to upload them there. If you'd like to follow along, my name is rosyrilli... surprise surprise!