For Memory’s Sake: 20 Baby Clothing Items I’m Keeping for Elvie

I am a sentimental person, and I find that this is even stronger when it comes to things associated with my children. There are so many little things in our lives that conjure up memories of when each of them joined our family, and all the milestones along the way. Because of Elvie’s tough beginnings, I feel like there have been even more milestones to celebrate, and often when I think of those things, I remember what she was wearing. This weekend, I sorted through her clothes to decide what to keep, what to donate, and what to take to consignment. I ended up with a larger pile of “to keep” items than I meant to, but there are just so many special memories from her first eighteen months with us, and I want to remember them all. I managed to whittle my pile down to twenty items that I really can’t part with. I’m putting them away in a keepsake box, with a note explaining why each item was special enough to keep. Here is what I’m keeping, and why.

  • The Baby Clothes I'm Keeping for Elvie

    The Baby Clothes I'm Keeping for Elvie

    Each item has a special memory attached, and I look forward to taking them out when she is older and talking about those memories together.

  • The Little Sister Dress

    The Little Sister Dress

    This dress, lovingly made by a friend, was the first thing I dressed Elvie in on the day we met her. It was the very first thing she wore that was only hers, and no one else’s.

  • The Embassy Dress

    The Embassy Dress

    When we went to the US Embassy in Addis Ababa to secure Elvie’s visa so she could emigrate to the United States, this is what we dressed her in. That appointment was the last one we had to keep in Ethiopia before we could bring her home with us, so it is a very special memory.

  • The First Real Clothes She Wore at the Hospital

    The First Real Clothes She Wore at the Hospital

    Elvie entered the hospital two and a half days after we arrived home with her from Ethiopia. She had so many tubes and wires that initially, we just put her in a little kimono shirt and wrapped her in her blanket every day. As she started to feel better, they took more tubes and wires away, and we could finally dress her up cute. This was the first dress I put on her, and it was a hit with all her doctors and nurses.

  • Stripes and Ladybugs

    Stripes and Ladybugs

    My friend who made the “little sister” dress made an entire wardrobe that would accommodate Elvie’s physical differences. There were several dresses, and this was my favorite. It is just so sunny and happy, and it is a reminder of how much Elvie was loved before she even arrived.

  • The Wish List Dress

    The Wish List Dress

    I first saw this dress online when we had just begun the process to adopt Elvie, and I put it on her online wish list, knowing that we couldn’t afford it at the same time that we were saving to travel for the adoption. A kind reader of our blog sent it to us, and it is not only adorable, but a testament to the kindness of those we haven’t met. This baby sure has a lot of people in her corner.

  • The Mouse Sweater

    The Mouse Sweater

    When we got Elvie’s weight shortly before travel, I realized that everything I’d bought was too big. This mouse sweater was one of the things I bought when I went to pick out a few things that would fit better than what we already had. It was still enormous on her, and when she started to gain weight, I loved watching her grow into it.

  • My Favorite Shirt

    My Favorite Shirt

    There aren’t any particular memories associated with this shirt, but it was simply my favorite. I put it on her as often as I could, and I was sad when she grew out of it.

  • Her First Holiday Dress

    Her First Holiday Dress

    I searched high and low and all over the internet to find just the right dress for our sweet baby to wear for the holidays. It was such a joy to put her in this fancy dress and celebrate the gift of having her in our family.

  • The Shirt She Wore to Her Big Surgery

    The Shirt She Wore to Her Big Surgery

    Elvie became a little bit famous at the hospital, thanks to all the time we spent there, combined with her sunny disposition and rare diagnosis. So when I found this shirt that said, “I’m kinda a big deal,” I knew it would be perfect for her return to the hospital for surgery. I was incredibly worried about that surgery, and it helped me to have a little comic relief in the form of a funny shirt.

  • The First Footie Pajamas

    The First Footie Pajamas

    Because Elvie’s body shape wasn’t typical prior to surgery, she couldn’t wear footie pajamas. I LOVE footie pajamas on kids, and I was more than thrilled that she could wear these when we brought her home from the hospital after surgery. After a longer-than-anticipated hospital stay, dressing her for bed was a sweet moment.

  • The Dress in the Window

    The Dress in the Window

    On the way back to the hospital one morning after spending the night at home with Zinashi, I spied this dress in the window of a favorite consignment shop. They weren’t open yet, but I called as soon as they were to ask them to hold the dress. With so little in my control as far as Elvie’s care and healing was concerned, it felt good to do this little thing for her, to choose a dress that she could wear once she was home again. A friend went and picked it up for me; we were so well supported during that time.

  • Her First Birthday Dress

    Her First Birthday Dress

    We were incredibly excited that Elvie arrived at her first birthday happy and healthy. I chose this dress for Elvie to wear for her celebration, and my mom ordered it for her. Remembering how much she fought through in her first year of life still brings me to tears, and this dress is a reminder of the miracles we witnessed during that year.

  • The Band Sweater

    The Band Sweater

    I found this sweater online, but it wasn’t available in her size. I put out a request for others to look for it in their local stores, and one of our sweet blog readers sent it all the way from Scotland. When I tell Elvie about her first year, I can show her this sweater and tell her about how people all around the world were pulling for her.

  • The Snuggly Bear Jacket

    The Snuggly Bear Jacket

    Yet another generous gift, this bear coat always looked so cute and cuddly. I have lots of fond memories of bundling Elvie up in it for walks. I hope that someday one of Elvie’s children can wear it.

  • The First Hand-Me-Down

    The First Hand-Me-Down

    This was one of the first things that Zinashi wore when we were with her in Ethiopia, and I was terribly excited when Elvie grew into it. It is soft and comfortable, and now I have beautiful memories of both my girls wearing it.

  • Polka Dot Panda Jammies

    Polka Dot Panda Jammies

    Another hand-me-down from Zinashi, these jammies are just a fave. Elvie has started noticing what is on her clothes, and she loves animals. She was incredibly excited to see that she had pajamas with a panda, and her flapping arms and excited exclamations will always be a fond memory.

  • The Denim Jacket

    The Denim Jacket

    The moment I pulled this jacket out of the package, Elvie insisted on putting it on. Anytime she has the option to wear this or something else, she chooses this. I’m keeping it for her because it is her favorite.

  • The Fruit Romper

    The Fruit Romper

    This is another hand-me-down from Zinashi that looks great on Elvie. We got a ton of compliments when she was wearing it, and she beamed when people told her how cute she looked. One of my favorite photos of Zinashi includes this romper, so it’s a keeper for sure.

  • The Ebay Dress

    The Ebay Dress

    After seeing this dress in a photo of a friend’s daughter, I had been trolling Ebay, hoping to find one. I bid on one, but I was away from my computer when the auction ended. I thought I’d lost my chance, but then that same friend, whose daughter I saw it on first, sent it to me in the mail. Knowing how busy our life is, she had made the winning bid and gotten it for Elvie. It was such a kind and thoughtful gift; I couldn’t do anything but keep it.

  • The Dress She Picked

    The Dress She Picked

    When my husband and I were out with just Elvie, finishing up some holiday errands, Elvie grabbed this dress off a rack and did not want to put it back. Lucky for us, it was on clearance, and we were able to buy one for her and one for her big sister. She adores matching Zinashi, and this tiger dress is her current favorite. Her strong sense of what she likes is already emerging, and that will be a great memory for sure.

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