Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bittersweet, Gratitude, and An Update

I've noticed recently that Emma is ready to move up a size in clothing. So today, I went through her dresser and pulled out all the too small 12 month clothing, moved the 18 month clothing up a drawer, and put 24 month clothing in the newly vacated drawer. Yes, my almost 2 year old is just starting to wear 18 month clothes. She's very petite and always has been. It's actually really nice that she's so small because she can wear her clothes for much longer this way.

All the same, it's always bittersweet to switch out her clothing. I look back on outfits that she has outgrown and think, "oh I loved this outfit" or "we did some fun things when she wore this" and such. It's also a reminder that my little girl is growing up. Before I know it, she'll be all grown up and writing posts about her own children.

There were also some things she never got the chance to wear but are now too small. She had some adorable 12 month sweaters, but it was clearly too hot to wear them over the summer. Now that it's cold enough to need them, they no longer fit. She also had a cute long sleeve red velveteen dress that is now too short. I'm very particular about dress lengths. Emma typically wears a size bigger in dresses than she does in anything else because baby/toddler dresses just run too short for my high standards of modesty. You'd think finding modest clothing for a toddler would be easy...but no, not always. Even baby boys' clothing can be difficult! But, again, I have VERY high standards when it comes to coverage - most people would probably call me a prude. And I'm ok with that.

Moving the clothing up made me realize just how little 24 month/2T stuff I have. I'll have to hit the consignment store for more soon, I think. I also need more baby boy clothing. I'll have to figure out a way to budget that in; money is pretty tight these days. I try not to buy TOO much stuff ahead with Emma, since she's so small and doesn't grow at the same rate as many other toddlers. When I DO buy ahead, I try to get things that will work regardless of the time of year - you know, like jeans, medium weight PJs, t-shirts, etc. I've had to store too many outfits that Emma never got to wear because they were for the wrong season. Thankfully, most of them were gifts. And since I plan to reuse her clothing when we have another girl someday, I still have at least another chance to use them.

But there are a few 18 month items that I don't have much of that I know I'll need. She only has 3 fleece sleepers in this size. She has several sets of cotton long sleeve PJs, and that helps, but the weather is just going to get colder and colder. Winters here are brutal. And for some inexplicable reason, Emma's room happens to be the coldest in our apartment - especially near the window, which is the only place we could logistically put her big girl bed. We had the window recaulked this summer, but it doesn't seem to make much of a difference. I think there's something wrong with the window itself. WAY more cold air gets in that window than in any of the other rooms. I plan to put some plastic up on her window to help with that. Also, the vent doesn't seem to push much warm air into her room, either. I'm not sure how well she actually stays under her blanket at night, too.

Another thing I want that she doesn't have yet is a pair of denim (but with some sort of girly-ness) overalls in 18 months. I saw a pair last year that I really wanted, but John talked me out of buying them. I've regretted it ever since. We tried to find them again later, but no luck. No one seems to carry something like that right now, either. Hopefully I'll have some luck at the consignment store. I know it's not a huge NEED, but...I love overalls on little kids. If I can find some at a decent price, I'm going to get them.

We also need to get her a winter coat soon. Since winter is so long here, we're going for 24 months/2T size. She'll likely be wearing that size by the time the weather warms up anyway.

There are so many things I want for my little family. Many of which are simply not attainable at this point. Like, for instance, a house. Or a second car (minivan, really). I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting those things - it's all about the motivation behind the desire and keeping things within reason. For instance, we want a house that meets the needs of our family, but we don't need something ridiculously huge or expensive. I don't want to spend my entire life paying off an excessively high mortgage, thanks. We're trying to live as frugally as we can and excessive debt does NOT fit into our equation. The only debt we have is John's student loan - and we plan to keep it that way until we are in a decent position to buy a house or a second (but modest) car. Oh, and we need to pay off the root canal John needed a couple of weeks ago. He was absolutely miserable until he got it done. Thankfully, it will only cost us $300. But he has a ton more dental work that needs doing and we figure it's best to take care of the fillings before they necessitate root canals in the future. Ah, it never ends. But it's all for our learning and benefit, so the challenges are definitely worth it. I just need to remember that when life gets difficult.

John's been gone a lot lately with school and work, so that has been challenging. And Emma hasn't napped in 2 days. We think she's getting ready to cut either her 2nd set of molars or her eye teeth - she keeps pointing at her mouth and saying "ouch," insisting on teething meds before bed and naptime (though she didn't actually nap today or yesterday), not eating or sleeping well...sounds like teething to me. Only 8 more teeth and she'll be done. I kind of hope she's cutting all 8 at once so we can just get it over and done with.

Emma has also developed an extreme fear of the vacuum. Our vacuum was broken for a long time, so we couldn't really do much. Plus, it scared her then too. Now that it's fixed, she completely freaks out when we try to use it. Vacuuming has become a 2 person job - one to vacuum, one to soothe the scared toddler. I had to take her to her room and close the door so John could vacuum the living room last week. I really really want to vacuum the whole apartment, but I can't do it alone. Emma wants me to hold her, and I can't carry a 22 lb toddler around while pregnant and vacuum at the same time. But John has been gone so much lately or too busy with homework for it to be possible. I'll have to figure something out. Maybe have a neighbor watch her or something. But I want to help her overcome this fear, so she has to be around the vacuum enough for that to happen. I keep trying to tell her the vacuum is our friend and that it helps us clean our house, but I'm not sure how much that will appease her. Sure, she's fine with the vacuum when it's turned fact, she now points to it and says "vacuum" and I then proceed to explain the above again. We'll see what happens the next time we turn it on...

Emma is speaking more and more these days. She can say several sentences now and is always amazing us with new words/phrases/sentences everyday. Of course, she rarely says things around other people, but that's to be expected. She is learning so much! It's really fun to watch her. She now knows several colors, shapes, and is learning to count (she can get up to 5 now). She remembers so much. I just bought her a new pair of church shoes and she got so excited when she saw the shoebox. She opened it and pulled out her new shoes. In the one day she's had them, she figured out how to put them on all by herself. She also keeps pointing at the shoebox and saying "shoes" - she totally remembers the shoes came in that box!

She is SUCH a girly girl, too. A couple of months back, we had an RS activity where we got free manicures at a local beauty college. Now, I NEVER wear nail polish. My nails have a natural French manicured look, so I don't really NEED to do anything with them. Plus, the polish comes off so quickly for me that it really isn't worth it. So, for the very first time ever, Emma saw Mommy with pink nail polish on after that activity. And the polish only lasted for 2 days. She kept pointing at my fingernails. Well, 2 months or more later, she started taking a pen and coloring her OWN fingernails! She's done it with a black pen and a purple marker so far. I'm considering getting a cheap nail polish for her (we're talking dollar store cheap), but I'm not sure she'll actually hold her hands still long enough for it to dry without smearing it on everything.

She has become little miss independent lately. She wants to do everything herself; get dressed, wash her hands, brush her teeth, change her diaper, etc. She gets mad when we try to help. But obviously, she can't change her diaper by herself;) Though actually, she only wanted to do that one once so far, and it was simply putting on a clean diaper after a bath. So we're trying to be patient with her newfound independence and teach her to be patient with letting us help.

Every night, after we sing songs and say a prayer, Emma gives us hugs and kisses - and she kisses my belly, too! It's so sweet. I love that she gives her little brother a "kiss" every night - and he isn't even out yet! I hope it continues after he's born. She's also started saying the prayer at night. We have to talk her through it, but she repeats after us as best she can and it's SO adorable. Lately, when I go in to get her in the morning (at least for the last 3 days), Emma is standing next to the crib (which now has boy bedding in it), points at it and says "baby." Yep, that's where the baby's going to sleep when he gets here. So she's understanding the baby thing to some extent at least. We'll see how she reacts when he's actually here...but I think she'll do really well with it. She loves babies, and she's done really well with every transition so far. Which reminds me, she's been sleeping in a twin bed for almost a month now. The transition from crib to twin was absolutely seamless. She does fabulously in her big girl bed!

Emma has also requested to watch church movies recently (specifically, The Lamb of God and The Testaments)- and she'll actually watch them. It makes my heart smile when she does this. It's so sweet. I guess we're doing something right with her:) We try to take these opportunities to teach her. We'll sit and watch the movies with her and explain what's going on in toddler-friendly terms.

I need to spend more quality time with her. Sure, as a stay at home mom, I spend all day everyday with my little girl. But too much of that time is spent with me vegging on the couch with some sort of kids' movie on for Emma. I should be doing much more. We should be reading together or doing fun activities. It's been difficult, being pregnant and all. Especially since even at nearly 27 weeks I still need zofran to keep the nausea and vomiting at bay. But I am very grateful I have access to medication that works for me. I wish it were cheaper, though.

I've been thinking a lot about the simple things I have to be grateful for. I need to remember to think of them when life gets challenging. It's amazing how such simple, everyday things we now consider to be necessities were not available 100 or so years ago. Things like indoor plumbing, electricity, modern appliances, and high speed internet - all things I consider "necessities" in my life. It's so easy to take these simple things for granted and to think we can't live without them. I am so grateful for them. I love how convenient they are. Could I survive without them? If I had to, sure. But I certainly wouldn't choose to! There are still many places in the world where our "necessities" are inconceivable luxuries. How grateful I am to live in a place and time where these things are readily available. I am so blessed to have what I have: a roof over my head, food to eat, clothing to wear (though I wish I had more things that actually fit right now - but at least I have some things), modern conveniences, and the freedom to make choices and live my life the way I want.

Even with these modern conveniences and rights prevalent in the US and other countries, I have so many other simple - but no less powerful - things to be grateful for. I have a husband who loves me and is 100% devoted to me - and I to him. He treats me far better than I think I deserve. And for that, I am extremely grateful. He sees me better than I see myself. I'm sure he's right - I just need to learn to see it. I am blessed to have him. I hear of so many unhappy relationships. It makes me sad. Sure, we have our disagreements and challenges, but that's part of life. We always work through whatever issues come up.

As much as I complain about pregnancy, I am blessed to be able to BE a mother, to carry a child. There are so many women who struggle with infertility. Or who have complicated pregnancies, miscarriages, still births, etc. I am grateful that I have never had to experience that pain - and I hope I never do. Getting or staying pregnant hasn't been an issue for me. Both come pretty easily. I haven't had any extreme complications. Sure, I still have to take medication to keep from throwing up, but at least I have something available that works. Yeah, I get heartburn on an almost nightly basis, but I can pop a Tums and it goes away. I haven't had to worry about anything serious like bleeding, early contractions, baby not growing, excessive weight gain, high blood pressure, etc. My pregnancy complaints are relatively minor. The vomiting would be an issue if I didn't have medication available that prevents it, but I do.

I am grateful to be a mother. I have a beautiful, sweet, loving little girl. I adore her. Being a mother is one of the greatest joys of my life. It can also be one of the greatest frustrations at times, but every parent will tell you that. The frustration is definitely worth it. Being a mother takes sacrifice, but I don't really see it as sacrificing much. I would much rather be a stay at home mom than have any other profession out there. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to stay home with my daughter. Sure, I would love to have a higher income, but it isn't worth it for me (besides, most of it would go to daycare anyway). I'm grateful that my sweet husband supports and agrees with me staying home. We both know it is the best thing for our family.

And most importantly, I am grateful for the truths I know and understand. I have a lot to learn, I'm sure, but I know I'll get there. I have much to improve on. But even the best men and women express their own need for improvement. There are some things I need to work on and apply better in my life, but at least I know what they are and have some idea - however vague - of how to achieve my goals. I've heard some wonderful guidance today that will help me, and anticipate hearing even more tomorrow:)


  1. Emma is turning into such a little person. I loved reading about her, she's growing so fast.
    Target has some cute playstyle dresses - they're long sleeve and pretty long in length (they go far past the knees on all my girls). They remind me of Hanna Andersson but without the price tag.
    And I think it's good to have reasonable goals. It's not so bad to want your own home and it's not so bad to want another car so you'll be able to get out with the kids. You guys are doing great, I know how it is to pinch pennies and try to be frugal.
    Best wishes!

  2. Does Emma have a play vacuum? My oldest would always get hers out and "help" us whenever we vacuumed. Maybe that would help?

  3. It's true- that's always something to be grateful for. We're blessed!

  4. Maybe put a thick blanket up in the window to keep some of the cold out of Emma's window.

  5. Just so you're aware, 24 mo and 2T are two different sizes. I have NO idea why, but Jacob is just getting into his 24 mo stuff and Mic just grew out of 2T, so there's a size difference between them. Seems silly though...

    We always plasticked our windows in apts (still do in the house) and it makes a HUGE difference. I totally recommend it.