February 11, 2017

My Petite Maternity Wardrobe

There hasn’t been much in the way of fashion or how I’m styling myself since my pregnancy took off. The last time I felt “cute” was in my second month, when I was able to comfortably wear my favorite jeans and summer dresses. In my third month the clothing fit a little tighter and I committed myself to leggings every day. Maternity leggings are the best thing I’ve worn in a long time. I don’t work or have commitments, so I get to stay home in my comfy leggings all day, every day. Thus, I didn’t find any need for investing myself into a vast maternity wardrobe. I was comfortable and that was all I cared for.

Now into my sixth month, I am growing and less of my closet will suffice my tummy. I’m also a little burned out on the same leggings and shirts that had been my go-to for several weeks. Even Cylara once commented (frustratingly) on my leisurely outfit, asking, “Are you going to wear that again?”. She misses my cute dresses and sweaters. I do too. I’ve seen the cute maternity clothes in store and on-line, modeled by fashion-forward twenty-somethings who look way too good to convincingly be carrying someone tiny in their tummies. I have also seen the cost of a wardrobe like that, and even when items go on sale I still can’t manage more than a couple pieces - at best. I have to accept that I’m making sacrifices and a closet of options is one to give up. 

 Part of my intentions going into this pregnancy was to only have what I need - no extravagant spending on superfluous clothing. But I looked so drab and was starting to feel it too. Leggings are comfortable and so are the shirts, but they were starting to define me as a sort of costume. I am not that; I am textured patterns, flowy hems, pretty fabrics. It’s funny how clothing can define a person, but it’s true. I grinned through it and wore my uniform day in, day out. It’s only a few more months and I could survive that long in Liz Lange athletic wear. I could, really, if I have to!

This is where people amaze me. James’ sister gave me a Target gift card for, in her words, “to find something to wear”. She saw me first hand and probably got the picture that I had no more to offer. So now I have a fun plaid tunic to break the monotony of the long sleeve shirts. Then, my mom calls me from the ARC to tell me about some clothes she found. I’m hesitant, because I can’t see or try them, but to my surprise she buys three items and drops them off to me, just because. They all fit! They’re not in styles I myself would have chosen but to have some variety is enough for me. The next week, she and I are out together at a Goodwill and, again, maternity clothes in my size show forth from the racks. I couldn’t believe it - and at thrift store pricing too. Even on my budget of zero a month, I can make allowance for deals like that. So now I have a little more “wiggle room” with my clothing choices.

Today I wore a shirt I have been saving onto for a few months, but I couldn’t have made it work with my one pair of leggings. I tried to style it before and it was off - just not me. I actually looked normal today and I felt really good about myself. Patience in waiting worked out for me and right around the time when maternity cuts start to matter. I couldn’t imagine how expensive my little collection would have been had I purchased these garments in store. I lucked out on my recent finds (with help from Mom) and got five things for less than the cost of one new item. I can feel good about that.
I keep my closet full with my normal clothing. This includes year-round items from skirts to sleeveless tops to formal dresses. Lots of fitted size XS and waist lines that are inches smaller than what I wear now.

February 9, 2017

My Woven Wall

I am a wife, a mother-to-be, and a knitter. Do we also know that I am a fiber artist of sorts? Well, I am. Playing with yarn and wool and hemp and twigs is a big part of me. I like using my hands to maneuver the fibers and craft my own looms and tools to aid in the process. James built me two wooden frames for my weavings. He believes in my little hobby and likes to see me working on yet another hoop or weaving. I like to collect unusual yarns, interesting sticks, and bits of fluff that I find when on my walks. These sit on a special shelf and usually inspire the piece I want to make. Sometimes, I just look at everything I collected and think about each thing individually. I really do a lot of admiring more than I do creating.

My newest interest is in making hoop hangings. I started collecting materials for these in late summer of last year. I mostly just looked at all my yarns and thought about how nice they all are. In October, James and I went to a fiber mill - an event initiated by his mom - and we dug our hands into a large basin of wool remnants, grabbing at bits and pieces. Originally I thought to make James a hat with these pieces of yarn, but I realized that the better option was a special wall hanging for our home. Something we could both admire on a continuous basis. That is how I made my first hoop, using only the yarn we found at the fiber mill. It’s basic yet perfect.

I took off after this first one. While something can be said of a simple hoop, I want to create more interesting visuals. I played with multiple hoops, with beads, with askew angles. I tried a variation of fiber: wool, cotton, acrylic, linen. I liked how each fiber lays differently and wraps differently. I learned how to suspend a hoop within a hoop (no visible attachments) and to insert a beaded string. That’s what I like about these hoop hangings: I am always learning with my hands. Some of these come out better than expected and I fall madly for them. Others won’t cooperate how I wish them to. A couple of them resembled dream catchers and I wasn’t pleased with that similarity at all. These are not dream catchers! However the result, each of these hangings is unique in character and coloration. I feel proud of what I can make from the simplistic ones to the dimensional ones. I like making them. They’re a part of what keeps me happy, and in that, a defining part of myself.

February 6, 2017

Our Preconception Story

We are coming into our third trimester, already, and I’m thinking back to how this endeavor began. James and I didn’t always want children. Our change of heart was a natural progression over the course of several years. When we met as teenagers we knew we would somehow be together for a very long time but that idea excluded any thought of a family. Here we are, ten years later, with our first baby on the way! 

What changed our minds? Nothing really. I think we heard the question, “when will you have kids?” too many times in our earlier relationship and we just weren’t near ready for that. I was barely twenty-one and constantly asked about having children. It didn’t feel right for me - I was still growing mentally and discovering myself. We both felt that way and even marriage at that time wasn’t a priority. The latter proved differently in our mid-twenties and we did marry. We just knew it was right for us as we had practically committed beforehand. Still, no thought of children at that time. We were asked the baby question even more after our wedding.

Once we found our home and created our career paths, everything came together in a very grown-up way. We felt like adults. Married adults with careers and a house. This was content enough for little over one year; the same routine and financial independence. About one year after marrying, I started getting that womanly baby bug that bites at you, telling you to have a baby. This sensation would happen around my time of my month so I wrote it off as such. Then it came more often. I would see women with babies and husbands playing with their children and that struck me. Family. I think I really wanted a family with James.

I dreamed of this a couple of times and confided in my close friends my desire to start a family. I was too shy to tell James because I thought certainly he would oppose - he seemed to pay no mind to children. I was wrong about that. In spring of 2015, James, very shyly, told me he wanted to have children with me. He had seen something of a mother and her child and it warmed him so that he re-evaluated his own wants and needs. It was wonderful! I should have opened up to him - I realize that - but this worked out in its own time.

We take family very seriously, so it wasn’t like we just jumped into bed and started making babies. No. We read books on parenting and prenatal care. We researched proper dietary guidelines for conception and beyond. We practiced keeping a positive, loving environment at all times. That was easy, we felt more in love now than ever. I quit alcohol and caffeine, increased my intake of fresh foods, and limited sugars and packaged foods. I wanted a clean, healthy home for our baby and I had my mind decided on that. James, the coffee man, could only do so much. Together, though, we created our ideal preconception plan for ourselves and for our future baby.

Six months into this we tried our first time at conceiving. We were so excited and so in love and felt like the moment was one of our closest ever. We want to be parents and here we go! I think we tried a few times but our first pregnancy test was a fail. That was heartbreaking. I thought sex would equal a baby? I went to see a nurse about this and how we could best conceive. I had no idea about this big world of fertility and how difficult conceiving can truly be for most women. The nurse gave me tools and started me on folic acid, so I felt more ready than before. James and I tried again and again but the tests kept failing. I was disappointed. He was too. Approaching one year of preparing for our baby, we kind of gave up. I didn’t want to keep seeing failed test results were a positive pink line should be. We stopped trying and our lives moved along, differently, with the air of dissatisfaction. 

This was no good. We knew we wanted our family and that we didn’t want to wait and wait. I delved into my Magical Beginnings book by Chopra and reread his chapter on creating a baby. There was one paragraph that explained time frames and percentages, etc., of the science of conceiving. I took that and applied it to my own menstrual calendar (which I was charting for the past year) to narrow the day best to conceive. This was in August. When my marked day came to, James and I knew what we had to do. We followed suggestions from the nurse and paired it with the materials we had read and we made our baby. This time I just knew it worked. I felt that way for the weeks leading to our next pregnancy test. I have heard that women know when they’re pregnant, and I did know. I felt it.

On September 4, I couldn’t sleep any longer and I took my test at 4:30am. Two pink lines appeared almost instantly. I was pregnant! I was excited! I woke James and showed him (at that same early hour) and he just didn’t know what to think. We had seen so many failed tests that this positive one didn’t make sense. The fact sunk in with us, and after a few hours we knew we were going to be parents. Everything worked out for us after all, nearly one year after trying. We had our baby.