Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! May your day be filled with delicious food, fellowship and all of the things that are the reasons to be grateful.

The 2nd Time Around — Hospital Bag

There are lots of lists out there of what to pack in your hospital bag when you’re preparing to give birth, and I think that I read through 90% of them when I was pregnant with my first child.  I went on what I thought was the minimalistic side and didn’t pack a lot of things that people suggested because I thought they may be extraneous.  It turns out there were still plenty of things that were in my bag that I never used.

So, this hospital bag packing list is for those people who only want to bring the very necessary things and don’t want to pack more than is absolutely necessary.

*Disclaimer: Anything that the hospital had and provided to us, I used and did not bring my own version of it.  Because I had done this once already, I knew what those items were and that they were perfectly sufficient.

Minimalist’s Hospital Bag Packing List:

  1. Robe – I saw this on many people’s list, but didn’t have it in my bag the first time.  Partially because I didn’t already own a robe and didn’t want to go buy one, and partially because I didn’t think I would wear it that often.  WRONG.  This was the first item I put on my second-time-around packing list.  I would go so far to as to say that if a person doesn’t already own a bath robe, it’s worth purchasing for your hospital bag.  It is so versatile and can be worn while in labor, and immediately after.  It’s also the easiest thing to put on or take off for layering.
  2. Pajama shirt – I’ve decided that I’m giving all my pregnant friends this shirt as a gift as long as they keep selling them.  It is ideal for every nursing mom.  Super comfortable.  Modest. Easy access for nursing.
  3. Sleeping bra – Perfect for under the pajama shirt
  4. Nursing tanks – I suggest packing multiples in case of “spills”
  5. Maternity Leggings – I read in a lot of places that people needed loose fitting pants, but my regular maternity leggings were super comfortable and didn’t bunch when I slept or walked.
  6. Maternity long-sleeved cotton shirts – One of these over a nursing tank with the maternity leggings were the perfect clothes for the couple days in the hospital after the baby was born.  Soft, comfortable and no fuss.
  7. Toiletries: Toothbrush & toothpaste, face wipes, shampoo, body wash, deodorant, hair ties, bobby pins, make up, blow dryer, hairspray, dry shampoo
  8. Camera – We both took some photos with our phones, but wanted the real camera to take what I call our “real” pictures.  Some people are good at getting good pictures with their phones, but I’m not one of them.
  9. iPad – Truthfully, I didn’t look at the iPad once while we were in the hospital, but I can see where a lot of people would want to have it, so I left it on the list
  10. Phone chargers – We learned with our first child how fast a phone battery can die upon announcing the birth of a child.
  11. Onesies
  12. Receiving blankets
  13. One-piece zip ups
  14. Going Home outfit
  15. Hat
  16. Socks

I think the above list begs the question, what were the items that I packed in my bag the first time, but left off the second time.  They are:

  1. Nursing bras in multiple sizes – The nursing camis are much more flexible than a specific size bra and more comfortable
  2. Flip flops or soft socks – I don’t get all grossed out by my feet touching the surface of a floor.  And I spent most of my time sitting or lying in a bed.  If I needed foot coverings, I put on my toms.
  3. Books & Magazines – Everywhere I read said that you had lots of down time before the baby is born and even after.  When I had downtime before my daughter was born, I slept (once I had the epidural), and after she was born, I snuggled her.
  4. Water Bottle – Our hospital had the giant water bottle with the straw that they constantly filled for me.  I didn’t bring it home after my daughter was born, but when my son was born, my husband made me bring it home because he remembered filling my water bottle “once every 20 minutes with the last kid”.  🙂
  5. Pads – The hospital provided an entire package of them.
  6. Breast pump – Again, this was an “in case” thing.  Josh and I decided that if circumstances dictated needing it, he would run home and get it.  Which you can do when you live in a small town and the hospital is 5 minutes from your house.
  7. Nipple cream – Also provided by the hospital
  8. Pillow & Blanket – Also provided by the hospital and perfectly comfortable
  9. Pacifiers, Diapers & burp rags – All provided by the hospital
  10. Diaper bag – I don’t remember what I had in there that I thought I would need once my daughter was born, but I know that the only time it got touched was to carry it up to the room when we arrived and back down to the car when we left.

The funny thing about this list is that there were only so many things that I could pack ahead of time because a number of them I needed each day.  I had a post-it on top of the bags with a list of the things that needed to be packed right before we left to go to the hospital (i.e. toothbrush, make up, blow dryer, leggings, shirt) to make sure that I didn’t forget them.

I went in for a regular appointment and found out that I needed to be induced that morning, so my husband had to pack those last few things.  Lesson learned: Go over the list with your husband ahead of time so he knows what and where said items are.  🙂

Which leads to the more important lesson learned: Even if you don’t get everything you think you need in your hospital bag, the world doesn’t come crashing down.  You still get to bring that beautiful bundle of joy home.


Friday Faves

When I went home to visit Iowa last fall, my best friend from high school told me about Stroller Strides.  She had just bought a franchise and was teaching the classes.  I LOVE the idea of incorporating my kids into a regular work out.  I want so badly for someone in town to start this.  I would sign up so fast!

I mentioned a few months ago that I was loving the ‘She Reads Truth’ Instagram feed.  I didn’t know that there was so much more to it.  I just discovered the app, and am encouraged daily by their devotionals.  I specifically recommend the Hymns series that they have.  Fan.tas.tic.

This just cracks me up.  I’ve wanted a roomba since I was in high school.  Now I really want one.

I’ve been trying to find a good way to organize gift cards and I found this idea on Pinterest.  I thought it was worth a try, but it turns out that I can’t find these kind of photo albums anywhere.  I didn’t think about it until I walked into Target, but no one sells photo albums anymore.

My Facebook feed has been inundated lately with recipe videos and I’m a sucker for it every time.  This one is especially appealing.  Anyone tried it?


Mom life shirtSpeaking of things popping up on my Facebook feed lately, this shirt showed up a couple weeks ago and I laughed out loud when I read it.  I am not a novelty apparel kind of person (Iowa Hawkeye apparel excluded), but I could totally wear this.  With my leggings.  And my hair in a messy bun.  To Target.  As I spill my coffee on the shirt trying to carry a tantrum-prone two year-old and oversized infant into the store.  #themomlife

Grow Into\Out Of Bins

Organizing & Storing Kid Clothes :: maximizingdaysblog.com

When you’re pregnant, you hear people say “kids grow out of clothes so fast.”

They’re right.

I thought my daughter grew out of clothes quickly, but it’s nothing compared to the rate at which my son grows out of clothes.  He was 10 lb. 5 oz. when he was born and, remarkably, fit into newborn clothes for the first week of his life.  He wore both 3 months and 6 months sizes for just over one month each.  He just turned 3 months old and I filled his drawers with all the 9 month clothes we had.  I am professional drawer emptier and refiller.  #nosuchthing

I’ve tried a couple different systems to manage the kids’ clothes transitions  and one that I found that works best is what I call ‘Grow Into & Grow Out of Bins’.

Here’s how it works.

Grow Into Bin

Create a ‘Grow Into’ bin for each child.  As you acquire clothes (as gifts or that you purchase when you find them off-season and cheap!) that are too big for that child, store them in this bin.  Once they grow out of one size and move up to the next, start in this bin to see what you already have.  Go from there to assess what else you need in order for your child to not walk around naked.

I store our ‘Grow Into’ bins in the garage because I don’t want to waste closet space with something that I only access seasonally.  Where you store it is more of a personal preference.  What’s important is knowing where it is and easily being able to access it.

Organizing & Storing Kid Clothes - Keep bins to collect clothes that they will grow into :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Grow Out Of Bin

Create an ‘Outgrown’ Bin for each child.  As a child outgrows clothes, throw them in the ‘Outgrown’ bin.  When I say throw, I mean throw.  Don’t overthink it or worry about folding or stacking.

Organizing & Storing Kid Clothes - Keep a bin in their closet to collect outgrown clothes :: maximizingdaysblog.com

When the bin is full or you reach the point where everything that you have of a certain size is in that bin, then you can organize it.  Empty the bin, sort and fold the clothes.  Pack them away, label the bin and put in storage.

Organizing & Storing Kid Clothes :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Most of the time, I swear by doing things a little bit at a time rather than letting it become a big, overwhelming task.  But in this case, I’ve found that it works best to wait until I have everything all together that needs to be packed away.  I also try to fit as much in bins as possible, so, depending on how much of one size I have, it’s possible that one bin might have two sizes in it.  And there’s no way to know that until I have all of those sizes together.

Store these bins in the child’s room or closet so that you can you can easily throw items in there as you realize that the child has outgrown it.

Organizing & Storing Kid Clothes - Keep bins in their closet to collect outgrown clothes :: maximizingdaysblog.com


One benefit of this system is that it will work indefinitely as the kids grow up.   I wonder if they’ll have ‘Grow Into’ and ‘Outgrown’ bins in their college dorm rooms…..

Organizing & Storing Kid Clothes :: maximizingdaysblog.com


Portable Diaper Changing Station

When I was pregnant with my first child, I knew that I wasn’t going to want to go to her room every time her diaper needed to be changed.  I had the idea to get a small basket and put diapers and wipes in it and leave it in our living room where we spend the majority of our time.  It worked really well to have the necessities right there and change her on our ottoman.  I think she was three months old before she ever laid on the changing pad in her room.

When I was pregnant with my son, I knew I wanted to create the portable changing station again.  However, I learned a few things the first time around and decided to use this as more than just a place to hold diapers and wipes.  I wanted one place in our living room that would have the things I needed most often.  I bought a bigger basket this time and thought through what I needed.

What to include in your portable changing station will be different for everyone, depending on what you use most for your baby.  Diapers and wipes are the obvious contents.  I use a thin flannel baby blanket as a changing pad.  Thankfully, neither of my children have had issues with diaper rash, but I have a tube in there for those few instances when they do need it.  We use this basket as home base for pacifiers; whenever we find one laying around, it goes here so that whenever we need one, we know right where they are.  We also keep a burp rag, swaddler and thin swaddling blankets in this basket.

Changing Station contents - maximizingdaysblog.com

It works well to have one central location for all the baby necessities.  As any parent knows, it’s a rule of nature that whenever you need one of these items, you need it immediately and don’t have the time to rummage through drawers or even walk into the next room.