Category Archives: Domestic Duty Days

Making Room for Baby: A (Forced) Nesting Checklist

I am officially five days away from my due date. If I am being honest, I am not sure what I am still doing pregnant. Seriously though. Eliann was on time. David was two-and-half weeks early. Pierce was nine days early. And Baby #4 what is going on? I am not technically passed my due date (yet!) but I kind of set myself up for this awful lull by thinking that as soon as July came it was baby time. Guess what? It has been two whole weeks in July and nothing… which can seem like eternity to a preggo who is ready to move on with having a baby.

I honestly had no intention of wanting to feel “prepared” before baby. It’s our fourth so I am kind of like… we got this! Or… we’ll just wing it! Not knowing the sex of our baby wasn’t helping either because I kept getting stuck thinking I won’t feel fully prepared because I don’t know what color to finish off the trimmings in the nursery. Boo-hoo. I sulked for a little bit… but I couldn’t sulk for two whole weeks! Since God is affording me this extra time before baby, I figured it wouldn’t be wise not to make the most of it… hence the FORCED nesting (although I honestly don’t want to be nesting).

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10 THINGS TO CROSS OFF YOUR NESTING CHECKLIST PRE-BABY

I have done some shopping and prepping around the house in the last two weeks before my due date that I think would be useful to list in case you are feeling anxious for baby and don’t quite know how else to feel prepared (outside of washing the baby clothes, packing a hospital bag and finishing off the nursery decor where I got stuck). They aren’t in any particular order and they aren’t necessarily things you should do (have someone else do them), but in my experience bringing three other babies home, having done these things ahead of time (or wishing I had) made for a smoother transition once we got home from the hospital with baby.

1. PUT AWAY YOUR BABY GIFTS

Most families are blessed to receive baby gifts before baby arrives. Do yourself a favor and find them a home now. Having gifts just lying around unopened or unwashed can lead to them not even being used! You wont have time to deal with opening a package, setting up gear, or washing a baby item once baby is here (especially when dealing with a newborn). You’ll always opt to grab something that is ready to be used because its convenient. So do the prep-work now. Open them, prep them (build them, put batteries in, wash them, etc.) and find your gifts a home to make sure they are ready for use.

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2. ANTICIPATE AND CREATE SPACES FOR BABY AROUND YOUR HOUSE

Most people who bring home their new baby don’t put them straight to sleep in their own room. For the most part you’ll want the baby in the same room with you until they are a couple of months old. So anticipate where baby (and baby gear) might need to have a spot around your house.

For example, each of our babies have slept in our room with us in a co-sleeper next to my side of the bed. We transitioned our babies to their crib in the nursery at different times but somewhere between 3-8 months after they were born. So outside of the nursery itself, I set up a space for baby right in my room. It includes where the baby will sleep (co-sleeper) and supplies for baby (diapers, wipes, extra outfits, etc) so that I don’t have to get up and fetch these items from somewhere else in the house.

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Anticipate problem areas too. When I first set up the space above next to my bed, I thought about waking up in the middle of the night to feed the baby. The lamp on my dresser was far away and sits taller than my bed, so it was going to end up flooding the room with way more light than any of us would care for. I decided turning on that lamp wasn’t going to be a good idea and that I needed another solution. I quickly came up with the idea that I would attach a flexible reading lamp on the frame of our bed next to me that I could easily turn on and off and have facing the floor. That way I get enough light to feed but the room isn’t completely lit and I don’t even have to get out of bed. Win-win!

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There are other places around the house to consider setting up a space for baby too: near your computer or work space, in the family room, the dining room, etc. Setting up some baby gear like a pack-n-play, baby swing or baby rocker strategically in these areas will help you feel like you can enjoy those rooms with baby without needing to hold them the whole time or putting them down somewhere further away than you would like them to be if they fall asleep. Keeping a small caddy in these areas with diapers, wipes and an outfit can help you avoid needing to get up and walk somewhere else in the house to change a diaper.

3. CLEAN OUT YOUR FRIDGE

What?! Before you think I am just inventing extra work to do (although it does feel like it at this point) let me tell you why this makes sense. No one really likes cleaning out the fridge. We all find something nasty in there that makes us sad we took on that project in the first place. So having to clean out the fridge when you just brought a baby home would be extra lame to have to do. But why would you want your fridge clean before baby?

For one, cleaning out your fridge would alert you to any staples that you should have on hand that you may need to re-stock before baby (you don’t want to have to run to the store as soon as you get home because you are out of milk or bread, right?). Need help thinking through what staples would be good to have on hand? Click here for a list from The Well-Stocked Kitchen: Freezer, Fridge, and Pantry.

For two, when your family and friends drop by to see the baby and hopefully bring you a meal, your fridge will be ready to receive it or to take in the leftovers. You don’t want to be stressed trying to find room for the extra food. Make sense? It’s helpful, I promise.

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4. TAKE INVENTORY OF THE SNACKAGE IN YOUR HOME AND STOCK ACCORDINGLY

This is serious business. There is nothing worse (at least you’ll think it) when you get home and are up sleepless for the first couple of days with a newborn and all you really want is to order ask someone to bring you a cookie or ice cream only to realize there is none in the house! Someone might love you and honor your request by running to the store to grab you some (or someone may be just as tired as you and can’t possibly want to get dressed to grant you this request which could turn into a spat because you just pushed a bowling ball out your hooha and they can’t go get you a cookie from the store?!) Avoid this drama… seriously. Plan ahead and stock up on your favorite munchies (and your families favorite munchies) so that when things get rough post-baby you can at least count on knowing your favorite treat is waiting for you in the pantry.

Practically speaking too… if you know you will have other people in your house when you bring baby home (spouse, kids, etc.) having these extra easy to grab snacks on hand will help you avoid getting frustrated when they are walking around saying “we’re hungry” and you don’t have the energy to whip up something for them to eat. You can simply direct them to one of these items until meal time (which hopefully others can help you with for the first week or two). The snacks don’t have to all be junk either (think fruit, veggies, cheese, yogurt, sandwiches you make ahead of time and freeze, etc.).

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5. DO YOUR LAUNDRY 

If at all possible staying ahead of your laundry pile before bringing a new baby home is ideal. You will  be producing more laundry than ever before the second your baby comes home, so you don’t want to be in the hole with laundry before this happens. Plus baby items will get priority washing so you want to make sure your adult laundry is definitely able to get you through a week or two without needing to throw in a load.

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Other piles you may want fresh before baby arrives is your bedding and towels (especially if you will be having guests over to help when baby arrives). Get those piles done and beds made now so you aren’t stripping sheets and making beds when you get home with baby.

6. CLEAN OUT THE CAR WHEN YOU INSTALL YOUR CAR SEAT

Trust us, you may as well. You have to make room for your car seat before you head to the hospital anyway, so take that time to clean out your car. It may be the last time it gets that kind of love for a while. Plus baby stuff will be everywhere soon so having the car clean will help you feel more prepared when you rush out the house two days after baby is born for their first doctors appointment.

Because we have other children this step also included coming up with a whole new configuration for the car seats in the car. We had to think through what would make the most sense for where our other children would sit (thinking through how everyone would get buckled in).

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7. BOIL THE BABY BASICS

Now is the time to open up or pull out all your baby bottle supplies, breast pump parts and pacifiers to boil them ahead of time for disinfecting purposes. Having these items clean and ready to go where they will be needed saves time and energy.

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 8. PAMPER YOURSELF

Seriously! It will be baby time soon, so make sure you think of yourself ahead of time. You wont have time for that hair cut or pedicure for a while post-baby so get it done right before to make sure they last the longest. And you may as well make it an event with friends because you may not be able to get out without a baby for a while either.

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Other ways you can think of yourself ahead of time is to consider what you might need to feel “cute” post-baby. Think a new robe for walking around the house, comfy cute pajamas you wont mind visitors seeing you in, new slippers, new undies you don’t care about ruining with post baby recovery (lets keep it real). Take stock of your toiletries so you feel like you will have what you need to pull yourself together (deodorant, make up, hair spray, etc.). It makes a huge difference when you are able to help yourself feel good about your appearance post-baby.

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 9. THINK OF OTHERS

When a baby arrives on the scene they demand a lot of love, care and attention. This can leave others around you feeling a little neglected. Your spouse and other children can especially feel this way because you are there… but not really 100% there for them. This will be especially tricky for our family this time around because it is Summer time and all three of my other kids are home. In order to make this transition for our family easier I have decided to buy some gifts to give each of the other members of my family to open when baby arrives. The gifts I chose to buy them have nothing to do with baby. They are thoughtful gifts just for them and I specifically tried to make it a gift that would entertain them so they have something new to do or play with around the house.

Daddy- Barnes and Noble Gift Card (to go pick out some new books to read)
Eliann (7yo)- Sketch Book, How To Draw Your Favorite Characters Book, Color Pencils
David (5yo)- Ride-On Swing Car from JoyBay
Pierce (2yo)- Transformers Bumble Bee Toddler Car

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10. PREP A FEW DINNERS

Now this one is really a stretch, but if you have the time and energy it can be a life saver. Hopefully friends and family will be around to help you with your first couple of meals. But after that you can feel on your own pretty quick and desperately trying not to think about how dinner time has rolled around again and you have to eat (especially if you are nursing). If at all possible, making some meals ahead of time (freezer meals) or even just cooking meat ahead of time (seasoned ground beef/turkey or chicken you shred and freeze) could help tremendously. Don’t have time to cook? Stock your freezer with some easy meals (lasagna, pizza, chimichangas, etc.) whatever you have to do to feel like you can feed your family for a couple of weeks while you get it together with a new baby.

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There you have it folks… ten things I have inadvertently been forced to do while I have been waiting for Baby Griffin #4’s arrival. I hope you will find this list useful as you begin nesting or that it has sparked some of your own ideas for what you can get done before bringing baby home.

Feel free to share your own tips for how you have nested pre-baby too!

PS. If you have other children… one other thing I think I will be doing before baby arrives is to lay out the clothes I will want my kids to wear when they head to the hospital to meet baby for the first time. If you don’t want to be surprised by what others may throw on your kids when they go visit you and/or you are someone who thinks through picture memories etc. then you totally know why this one makes sense.

The Medicine Cabinets

In case you aren’t familiar the phrase I coined “Domestic Duty Day,” they are days I spend mostly at home working on domestic duties: meal preparation, laundry, dishes, household projects, organization, etc. Not everyday is Domestic Duty Day, although everyday does involves some kind of domestic duty because I want to be a good steward of my home.

No, these are special days where I don’t have to work or run errands or go to activities that keep me away from my home for most of the day. They typically land on Mondays for me which is nice because it is a good day to work in the home and prep for the week.

Today I wanted to tackle my Medicine Cabinets (or the cabinets that have become my medicine cabinets). We kind of have one for the kids and one for the adults. Lets take a look at my home’s main bathroom (we have another in our master bedroom) to see where they are located (look up from the black arrows):

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Don’t they look great (with the doors closed)! Haha. Well last week my daughter was sick. She had a fever for a couple of days and a throwing up incident in the middle of the night. Thank God it was only one time but of course I assumed the worse and went into stomach flu mode- disinfecting everything, quarantining my child and plotting to kill whoever shared this with her and would now infect my whole house. You know the feeling!

So I peaked into my medicine cabinets just looking for some fever reducing medicine for kids and found this:

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… and the adult side was not really any better…

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I dug around and found no fever reducing medicine or electrolyte fluid for her. I made a bigger mess in the cabinet and still had to run out to the store to buy some medicine. I vowed to get organized with the mess and be more prepared for future illness or first aid type emergency… which is where we are today.

Step 1: Empty Out the Cabinets & Visually Organizing the Items You Pulled Out by Type

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Whoo-hoo! Well I put a little more effort into it than that… don’t assume I just threw all the items out onto the floor. As I pulled items out I organized them on the bathroom counter by type or whether it should go in the kids vs. adult cabinet.

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Step 2: Bring Out the Organizational Bins

Since my daughters illness was last week and I had been out to the store since then, I grabbed a couple of storage bins knowing I would eventually get to organizing the medicine cabinets. Knowing what types of bins you need before you shop would avoid buying the wrong product or needing to make returns, but I had a general feeling for what I needed when I dug around looking for the fever medicine before. Now that you can visualize what all needs to be contained because it is out on your counter, this would be the ideal time to run out and grab some bins (but not everyone has the time or capacity to press pause mid-project and go on a shopping trip… but if you do, more power to you because you’ll make smarter buys).

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Step 3: Fill the Organizational Bins Accordingly

I don’t know what all you have in your cabinets, so I can only share what worked for me with mine. Here is what I did:

Kids Medicine Cabinet

  • Used the 3 Drawer Tower to organize smaller tools I use for kids that easily get lost…Drawer 1: Baby Tools- dropper, thermometer, tweezers, bulb and brush.???????????????????????????????
    Drawer 2: Band-aids and Antiseptic Spray (I ditched the bulky band-aid boxes and put them in smaller see threw zip-locks for easy access).??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Drawer 3: Small Sewing Kit and First Aid Extras???????????????????????????????
  • Open Storage Bin to place all kids medicine together. I wanted a way to still use the depth of my cabinet but be able to pull out all the medicines at once to find what I need without toppling over or having to pull out all the bottles one at a time to find it.???????????????????????????????

Before and After of the Kids Medicine Cabinet

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As you can see larger bottles stayed out and to the side and they are still easy to see and pull out. The two storage bins are easy to pull out and still keep all the smaller items contained.

Adult Medicine Cabinet

The Adult Medicine Cabinet wasn’t actually too bad to begin with but I did want the two containers on that side to be a little better organized.

  • All boxed pills or lozenges went in the clear bin with a lid (harder for kids to get to and it is also in a higher cabinet). The fact that the bin is clear makes it easy for me to pull out and see what is in there from any angle.???????????????????????????????

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  • All plastic pill bottles and containers went in the Single Drawer Container.IMG_6494

Before and After of Adult Medicine Cabinet

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STEP 4: Take Out The Trash

In the process of clearing out your cabinets you’ll inevitably have expired medicines or packaging you don’t need so throw it away but then make sure to take out the trash completely from your bathroom so little ones don’t accidentally get to it.

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Step 5: Find A Home For Items That Didn’t Belong

While cleaning out the medicine cabinets I realized I had items in them that didn’t belong there because they would make more sense to have available somewhere else in my house. So the last step is to take those items to where they do belong in your home.

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DONE! 

Project Time: About an hour (not including shopping).

What did I do with my kids during this time: They were in the bathroom with me playing in the tub… so when I was done I washed them and put them down for a nap.

Now because I am having four kids, I purposely designed the bathroom to have four cabinets and four drawers because I want each of them to have their own space in the bathroom that can be concealed (since it also serves as our main bathroom for guests). So I know in the future these cabinets will not work as my medicine cabinets, but everything in them will be easy to relocate and I already assume the cabinet above the toilet is probably where they will be heading.

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Other Medicine Cabinet Resources

Happy Domestic Duty Day and Spring Cleaning!

Getting Wet = Shower? I Say No.

So I am going around the house putting things away while the kids are playing in the bath (before anyone freaks out they are 4 and 6 years old and the water was at a predetermined level by me so no one was going to drown). The kids started being loud and rowdy in there so I decided to peek in on them.

David: Don’t worry Mom we can play because we already took a shower.

Mom: No you didn’t. (I’m the one that comes in and washes them with soap for crying out loud!)

David: Yes we did. See… we were doing this. (Dumps a cup of water on his head)

Mom: That is not taking a shower. That is getting wet.

David: But how come sometimes when we go in the pool Daddy says we don’t have to take a shower because we already got in the pool?

Mom: No baby. That is not how it works.

DADDY FAIL!

Needless to say they were not done taking a shower.

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