Eight Things We Did To Prepare For Our Baby’s Arrival

With just seven days until my actual due date (although we’re pretty sure Baby P will make us wait even longer), we’ve officially begun getting ready for her arrival. Of course you’ve seen us tackling her nursery, but now when we say getting ready, we really mean getting-ready-for-my-water-to-break-and-to-actually-welcome-our-new-daughter-into-the-world. See, pretty much right after we found out I was pregnant we slowly began to wrap our minds around the idea that our family would be growing as my belly continued to expand with every baked potato and chocolate milk craving.

Now you see why I’ve been humming my tweak on an old Beyoncé classic: “I don’t think you’re ready for this belly.”

And only quite recently did we fully digest the concept that we actually made a person. We made a person! There’s a girl in my belly who will walk and talk someday, heck she’ll even have a job and probably be desperately embarrassed about her dorky parents who always have paint in their hair. It’s just such a giant thought that it literally takes about nine months to sink in- which might just be why it takes so long to cook one of these things. It’s probably nature’s way of making sure you’re really ready for the life changing and momentous birth instead of smacking you in the face with a baby after 30 days of gestation. But anyway, now that we have fully been able to wrap our heads around the notion that we’re about to really be parents (!) there are a few things that we’ve done in anticipation of our little miracle’s arrival:

1. Our practical purchase: My obsession with my water breaking in bed or on the couch got the best of me and I convinced John to let me get a waterproof mattress cover to protect our beloved organic mattress and another little waterproof blanket that I can place on the sofa or the seat of the car in these last few days… you know, just in case. And the good news is that they’re not nearly as crunchy and diaper-like as I expected (we picked them both up for $23 total at Bed Bath & Beyond thanks to two of those 20% off coupons). Maybe it goes back to how fiercely I love our house, but it just seemed worth the added security to at least attempt to keep the sofa and the bed (along with the passenger seat of our new car) protected from the wrath of holy-cow-it’s-really-time. Especially since my mom’s water broke in bed with every single kiddo. Sidenote: my absolute dream is for my water to break at Target or Home Depot because I just think that would be hysterical since we practically live there. I know, I’m weird.

2. Our DIY project: This second idea was John’s brain child (I’m telling you, he’s the sweet sentimental one and I’m the neurotic fool who worries about my water breaking). He actually brought it up as my birthday gift back in March by suggesting that we get a fabric covered album and create our own little “baby book” with fun patterned paper and printed prompts that you see in typical baby books like “The First Week Was….” and “First Word…” We love the idea of adding in keepsakes like her hospital bracelet and her little going-home hat along with a ton of photos and even things like her inked footprints (we plan to bring a few pieces of cardstock to the hospital since the nurses will gladly make footprints that we can stick into our little memory book of sorts). So we headed over to Michael’s (with a 40% off coupon in hand) and snagged a sweet 8.5 x 8.5″ album covered in super fun Amy Butler fabric for just $9 after my handy coupon.

We also picked up a pad full of 8 x 8″ patterned paper to use as a backdrop in our keepsake album (to the tune of $6). So our entire DIY baby book project ran us $15 total. And after adding all the decorative paper and leaving room for notes about momentous occasions (along with photos and other memorabilia) we were left with a pretty sweet way to document many of Baby P’s firsts:

And since we made it ourselves we had fun adding in quirky things, like this page of “future predictions” where John and I guessed everything from her hair and eye color to her first word, her favorite subject in school, and even her future profession. It should be super fun for the beanette to look back at all of our goofy (and most likely completely wrong) guesses someday.

Plus the fact that it looks so cute in the nursery is the icing on the cake…

3. Our Burger-meets-baby prep: We’ve actually read quite a bit about how to ensure that your pooch and your baby get along, because there’s nothing we want more than for our first fur baby to happily coexist with our first human baby. And time and time again we’ve heard that bringing home a gift for the dog along with the baby can help your pup associate the baby with good things and feel appreciated and excited upon her arrival. Of course we’ll also be doing the bring-home-a-baby-blanket-for-him-to-sniff-beforehand trick, but ever since John mentioned that his mom got him a He-Man toy when his little sister came home from the hospital I’ve been convinced that something super fun for Burger (like a pup-cake from Three Dog Bakery along with a new chew toy) will make him giddy about our growing fam. So we recently picked up some goodies for him… and can’t wait to see his tail wag when he gets ’em.

4. Our blog backup: This forth prep step was actually right up there on the practical side with my waterproof mattress cover. We’ve been working overtime for over a month to amass enough extra blog posts to “tide us over” for the first few hairy weeks after Baby P comes home. That means we took on a few secret projects and wrote up a lot of extra Reader Redesigns, Look & Learns, Email Answers, and Burning Questions along with some fun new tutorials to keep the blog from stagnating while we get our “sea legs” with a newborn, so to speak. Oh and we have a killer House Crashing post to share as well. Basically, you can rest assured that you’ll still get the same YHL experience even when our day to day has gone from projects and blog posts to diapers, feedings, and no sleep.

5. And speaking of diapers: We got a bunch of BumGenius One-Size-Fits-All Organic Snap Diapers from a local shop called MonkeyGrass that we love to support (here’s a link to their online shop and for any Richmond people you can visit their store inside It’s Hip To Be Round in Carytown). These cloth diapers alone (which were actually selected as “more convenient cloth diapers” by Cookie magazine) will save us a substantial amount of money over the course of Baby P’s childhood, and we even ordered them in colors that will work for a possible boy down the road, since we definitely want to use the same cloth dipes for multiple kiddos.

Plus our easy to use Energy Star front loading washer and dryer will keep our water and electricity use to a minimum (everyone says you do laundry like crazy with a baby so we figure it won’t be much of a difference to add some diapers to the mix). And since the average baby uses 8,000 to 10,000 diapers between two and three years, we’ll get to keep that many disposables from landing in a landfill. And all the moolah that we’ll save from buying disposable diapers all the time (which is commonly estimated to be between 2-3K per child) means more money that we can put towards future DIY projects (maybe even with the help of our little girl when she gets big enough to hold a paint brush…). Is it weird to be super excited about diapers? Probably.

6. My clothes cleaning ritual: I actually read that washing all new non-organic baby clothing and bedding (as well as the removable covers of car seats and swings) with a cup and a half of vinegar can rid them of most of the chemicals and dyes that aren’t present in organic clothes. So I’ve been busy washing all of our sweet baby socks, onesies, and pretty much everything else I can get my hands on… just so I’m über ready with the purest baby clothes possible. And the funny thing is that they don’t smell like vinegar when they come out of the wash (they’re completely odorless, it’s kind of amazing). Of course I did have one fateful white-blankets-and-onesies-are-now-pink incident (don’t ask- I somehow tossed tiny hot pink leggings in with the whites) but the soft pink cast on everything actually charms me to no end. And I guess I should get used to letting things roll off my back, so it was a good lesson in the whole nothing-will-be-perfect-and-that’s-ok concept.

7. My pillowcase purchase: I actually got a quick tip from a reader that I just had to follow since it seemed like such a simple way to add some cheerful color to the pretty-stark-and-sterile hospital birthing experience. Joni wrote to us and said:

“I have a little piece of advice that may seem stupid but you’ll thank me later. Make sure you have a pretty pillowcase for the delivery of the baby. It will be in a million photos. Mine was so pretty that when I look at the pictures 13 years later, all I see is my gorgeous baby and that fabulous fabric. It’ll distract people from looking at your puffy I-just-gave-birth face”

Well, for those who don’t know me, I can puff up like the best of them. Seriously I broke my nose in college and my cheekbones didn’t come back for nearly a year. I’m a swelly girl (John even calls me Swell from time to time). So the idea of a pretty pillowcase to take the focus off my giant face sounds like a good one. Plus I just love pillowcase shopping. And the best part is that I hunted down this beauty (on sale of course) and John’s family actually got two of them for me as a birthday gift. So springy and sweet right? Just like my May baby on the way. And not only do I plan to use them at the hospital on Baby P’s b-day, but they’ll make such pretty and fun guest bedroom pillows from then on.

8. Our space saving multipurpose solution: We heard from various friends and family members that a white noise machine and a light machine were two secret weapons to help the beanette drift off to sleep (especially in those first few weeks). And although we believed that they both would really make a difference, with limited outlets and surface area in the nursery, we wondered if we could get some sort of a two-for-one solution that would work double duty. Enter our new iPod I-Home dock stage right (we’ve seen it on amazon.com for a good price):

It was another baby item that came highly recommended by friends and fam (since we can upload children’s music and learning songs for Baby P as she grows). And John, in a stroke of daddy-to-be genius, realized that we could download a CD of white noise from iTunes – to the tune of $6 no less – and effectively turn our iPod dock into a white noise machine with the press of a button (we can even leave it on “repeat” for lengthier renditions of “crashing waves” or “static”). Gotta love a $6 quick fix that allows us to cut back on an entire nursery gadget while saving money. But wait it gets better, the particular I-Home dock that we selected actually has a color changing feature, so it can cycle through a bunch of room-illuminating hues (quickly, slowly, or not at all if you turn off the ambient light setting). So not only does it serve as a sound machine and a music player, it’s a light machine too! Jackpot.

Oh and while we were prepping left and right we came across this quote, which touched both of us so much that we just had to share it:

“A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.” -Anonymous

Pretty sweet, huh? We can’t wait to meet our little one. And we’d love to hear what any of you guys have done while prepping for a new arrival (whether it’s a baby, a four-legged friend, a roommate, or even a few weekend guests). How did you get your house ready for the new company?


  1. Sophie says

    I’m super excited for you guys! Those first few weeks can be so difficult – but just remember, that’s when everybody learns how to become a family and all of the bonding occurs! The only piece of advice I have is – slow down, and really try not to do much and accept help whenever you can!

  2. Kimberly Gardner says

    I just wanted to say, YAY for cloth diapers. We use Bum Genius sized diapers (and way to many others to name) and I love them.

  3. Kathy says

    Is it strange to be proud of two adults that you have never met? Well, if so, then I am strange. I hope when my children have children (the oldest are 23 and 21 so not QUITE yet, please) they do it with the same kind of care, thought, attention, and love as you guys.

  4. says

    Cutest stinkin’ belly ever! Enjoy the time you have left. SLEEP SLEEP SLEEP. Wait…I only have dogs.

    Question: Where did you get your duvet??

    • says

      Hey Nikki,

      It’s from West Elm a while back, but since they no longer sell it you might have more luck looking for it on ebay. Happy hunting…


  5. Eileen says

    You are a gorgeous pregnant woman! Best of luck to you.

    The pillowcase is really beautiful … can’t believe no one ever suggested that to me, LOL!

  6. says

    That is so thoughtful of you to front load the blog posts. However, a small request that we get some real-time thoughts about how you’re enjoying Baby P. The first few days and weeks of my firstborn were some of the most magical days of my life.

  7. says

    Well then, you won the Looking-Cute-While-Pregnant lottery. Congrats on that! Like everyone else in blogland, I’m looking forward to meeting darling little Baby P when she arrives.

  8. says

    You are so stinkin’ adorable. You probably don’t feel it, but you are. And I would love to read a “My Water Broke in Target” story.

    I fell flat on my monsterous belly in Target when I was about 23 months preggo with my first. I was wearing high-heel boots and just lost my center of gravity. I started stumbling forward and ran at least 20 feet before I landed belly/face first in the children’s section. I was horrified at the time but I can laugh about it now.

    Moral of this story? Flat shoes only after month 8.

  9. says

    Oh so exciting! I have a 1 month old and let me tell you, it is SO FUN! I just love my girl. Anyway – we are going to use cloth diapers, too (Bum Genius) and you might already know this, but they won’t fit until your bean is about 12 lbs. You can always do a fold (old school style) with a cover before that, but just wanted you to be prepared (since it seems like that’s your MO ;)

    Good good luck to you, two. You are going to be awesome parents!

  10. Carolyn says

    aww I love the belly pics! too cute! I’ll be praying for a safe and easy delivery.

    SN: I know you guys love the all natural route just like I do..will you be doing an all natural birth with no drugs? I did it all natural and it really is not bad at all. I read this book called Hypnobirthing and it comes with a relaxation CD which I listened too and I had a smooth, easy, all natural delivery. I’m a big advocate of the all natural way :-)…

    • says

      Katie F- Great suggestion! We actually do have a backup plan (Seventh Generation newborn diapers) until she’s big enough to fit into the BumGenius ones that we have. We can’t wait for that day though- all the bright colors are so cute!

      Carolyn- Good question! We’re keeping an open mind about the birth (since we know we can’t control everything about the experience- not even close- and don’t want to be disappointed if things don’t go exactly as we picture them going). We’ve prepared for a natural birth since the women in my family have a history of accelerated births (my mom had me, her first, in an hour from her water breaking) so we’re not certain there will even be an opportunity for any pain meds and we definitely wanted to be prepared. We’ve mainly been reading up on the Bradley Method when it comes to pain management and John is THE BEST coach. We’ve been practicing for the past few months so we feel pretty prepared, but we’re also trying to be very flexible about how things will go because we know that there are many things about birth that can’t be predicted or controlled so as long as we end up with a healthy baby and a healthy momma we’ll be thrilled. Hope it helps!


  11. Erin C. says

    You two are giving Martha Stewart a run for her money.. is there any detail you don’t think of?? I can envision you with a magazine, tv show… heck- whole empire some day. (The blog is perfect on its own though!) I am seriously so excited for you guys… thank you for all of the wonderful advice and for letting us share your excitement in the arrival of Baby P :)

  12. Annie says

    love the baby book. And no it’s not weird to be excited about diapers. I love our cloth diapers and will tell anyone who will listen about them. We love our Bum Genius and all the other brands we have!

  13. KG says

    Yay! Soooo happy for you both, you’re going to have so much fun with a little one cruising around the house. They really are the best.

    Sentiments aside, I have a completely superficial question – where did you get that striped top in the third photo? I’m about to be going for baby number two and I LOVE it!

    (and I LOVE this blog, it’s my daily dose of design goodness, so thank you)

    • says

      Hey KG,

      It’s from Old Navy actually! And not the maternity section. I’m a fan of just grabbing stretch cotton shirts in medium or large which stretch over the baby bump just fine (thanks to my short torso they’re long enough for me). Hope it helps!


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