Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Preparedness Scenario: Hurricane

Believe it or not, we're in hurricane season. I live in the Northwest now but I grew up on the East Coast. I spent most of my life in the heart of hurricane country.

If you're raising your family on the East Coast, hurricanes should definitely be on your reasons to prepare radar.

Hurricanes can bring:

-Power outages
-Flooding
-Lack of access to food & water
-Damage to your home

You can prepare for each of these possible effects with this hurricane preparedness list:

-Alternative power source - Generator and way to start a fire.
-Food - A food supply you can count on when you can't get to the grocery store or it's not open.
-Water - An easy and effective way to filter water in case of contamination
-Cooking method - Again a way to start fire, alternative stove or other way to cook.
-Radio - A radio for regular updates when power and communications are down.
-Safe or protection for valuables - A safe or other water proof way to protect your valuable items and documents.
-Place away from home - A place you plan to go if your home is damaged and you are unable to stay there or your family is evacuated from the area.
-Full gas tank
-Flashlights
-Batteries
-First aid kit

Hurricanes of all sizes can cause emergencies but you can easily get ahead of the game before peak season by making sure you have everything on the above list covered.





Do you have a hurricane preparedness story?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Preparing to Go Back to Work

Maternity leave is ending. It's a pretty crushing realization. No matter how much you tell yourself that you're doing the right thing for your family, when your baby cries, you think "how can I leave her?"

We're lucky enough that my husband works a project based job from home. That means he's able to stay with our little one while I'm at work. It's incredibly comforting but increases the feelings that I'll be missing out on some things everything.

So that means I'm preparing to go back to work tomorrow.

That means making sure my pump is in working order, all the parts and bottles are clean and I have that process down.

It also means making sure I have enough milk pumped for my husband and baby girl to get them through the first day.

I cleaned the house yesterday while she was napping so that's all set.

The next thing on the list is lunch for me and making sure we have everything we need to dinner for the next few nights. It's also means snacks and smoothies for work.

The weirdest thing is going to be my wardrobe. Since last fall I've been limited to maternity wear and then I've been on leave so I've been living in athletic gear. What do I wear to work? Is the office cold or warm?

That's all the easy stuff.

But the biggest thing I'm trying to prepare for is leaving my baby girl. I won't lie, I've already had a couple of breakdowns. I feel another one coming on as I write this now.

I'll try the take it one day at a time philosophy, not one of my strong suits. I know everyone will get through it but it doesn't make it any easier. It's time to be a strong mom and wife.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Product Review: Skip Hop Diaper Bag

We officially have an 11 week old and one of our must haves is our diaper bag. I looked at a ton of diaper bags before I settled on the Skip Hop Duo Special Edition in French Stripe.

For us, a diaper bag had to have 3 things:

1. Easy to clean

2. Compartments for organizing

3. Not too cutesy so my husband would feel comfortable carrying it

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this diaper bag had all of three those things and more.

The material that the Duo Special Edition is made out of is rugged and seems durable but it's easy to wipe down and keep clean. I don't know but I think this feature will really come in handy the longer we use it.

There are a bunch of handy compartments. We have one for diapers and wipes, an insulated one each side for bottles, pockets on the front for things we need to grab easily. This has virtually helped us eliminate my husband and I having to search too much or ask the other one where something is, it's pretty intuitive.

This bag is very stylish, goes with almost everything I wear but my husband is also comfortable carrying it because it's not too girly or cutesy. It's the right combination of style and function. Other diaper bags seem to be lacking one or the other.

The only thing about this bag is because it's so roomy we fell into the typical new parent trap of over packing it.



 While I'm happy to review products for PR, this is an un-sponsored review.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Getting Started: Peace of Mind

Keeping with my Sunday pattern, let's focus on getting started. Today is simple, you need to define what peace of mind means to you.

When you're getting prepared you're thinking about two phases: before a disaster and after a disaster.

After a disaster is all about surviving and thriving. Before an emergency is all about peace of mind for you and your family.

So, how do you define peace of mind?

Ask these simple questions:

1. Is food and water all you need?

2. Do you need a way to protect yourself and your family?

3. Does your family need an alternative or "bug out" location?

4. How well stocked are your first aid supplies?

5. How will you preserve the things that are important to you? Documents, memories, photographs, heirlooms, etc.

6. Do you have a plan for your pets?

7. Are there any skills that you and your family need to develop?

8. What would make your family's time during an emergency more comfortable?

Outlining exactly what you and your family needs to feel safe and sound during any emergency will help you build a game plan and achievable goals.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Newborn Lessons: Redefining "Prepared"

Everyone tells you life changes when you have your first child. It truly does affect every part of your life so it stands to reason that how you look at being prepared changes.

Before our little girl was born being prepared meant just having what we needed to get by in any situation, some food, a way to protect ourselves, flashlights and matches. But as she was closer and closer to entering our world, our perspectives started to change.

That's what I want to talk about today, perspective.

When you start a family, you get a whole new perspective and just getting by isn't enough anymore. You develop an overwhelming desire to make sure you're doing everything to protect them and provide for them.

Being prepared no longer just applies to an emergency but to everyday life. A trip out of the house can be turned upside down if you're not well prepared before you head out. You have to start thinking 4 or 5 steps ahead if you want everything to go smoothly.

That word, "smoothly", is a bit of a dream. You have the best intentions and even with an extra dose of planning and preparedness, things won't go smoothly. But they will be easier than if you hadn't planned and prepared.

Changing your mindset to preparing for two grown adults to preparing for a family isn't easy and makes you face some harsh realities. For instance, when you look at preparing for a disaster, you no longer think just food and water - you need to make some difficult decisions. Now preparedness includes what happens to our daughter should something happen to us.

Preparedness for a family includes everything from the smallest detail like making sure you have a burp cloth in the right places to what happens to children if the parents are no longer around.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Practical Preparedness Checklist 1: First Aid

I'm a total list person and lists can be a huge help when you're getting prepared. Checklists are only helpful when they are practical and achievable. When you're looking at getting prepared, it can be overwhelming to it's best to take it one step at a time.

Here's my Practical Preparedness Checklist for First Aid:



And of course, an easy, convenient and portable place to store everything and keep it all clean. It's highly recommended that you have at least one first aid kit in your home and each car. This way you're prepared at home and on-the-go. 

If you're family has any special medical considerations you'll want to include things to cover them. For instance, an epi-pen or inhaler if you're affected by allergies or asthma.



Product Review: Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water



We're in the middle of our little one's 10th week and it's time for another product review.

I posted yesterday about some of the difficulties we've been having with baby girl over the last 9+ weeks and there's one product that's been an all-star for us: Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water.

This was the first thing other than breast milk that we ever gave our baby. As a first time parent, deciding to give your child anything is nerve-wracking. You don't how they'll react and you certainly don't want anything negative to happen to them.

Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water is all natural and she seems to actually like the taste.

We've determined that it keeps her regular, reduces discomfort when she's gassy and seems to help out her digestion. You can definitely tell the days when she hasn't had it, she's a different baby.

Funny story, we thought we could do better. My husband did a ton of research into gripe water and found a recipe for making your own. He picked up all of the ingredients and made a batch himself. It turns out, you should leave certain things to the experts.

She couldn't stand the taste and the times when she did get it down, it was pretty much ineffective.

Mommy's Bliss is now a staple in our home and we couldn't do without it.



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Our Baby Has Acid Reflux

As I've mentioned, I was a little bit behind on posting. The biggest reason: our baby has acid reflux.

I thought it was important to share our story because it might save other families some headaches and help them sleep a little bit better.

To start out, you have to understand how our 10 weeks with a newborn have gone so far. First, our little girl is one of the ones with a dairy allergy. This is tough to figure out, dairy is in a lot of food but not necessarily in large quantities so I'd have a little almost everyday and she was super difficult.

Well, one day I was out with my mother-in-law and got some ice cream. That confirmed it, the next 48 hours were pure hell.

So we eliminated dairy from my diet (so tough!) and that led right into the 6-week growth spurt. If you haven't gone through it before, it's almost indescribable. This was followed by a few good days and then back to hell.

We tried everything we could but this baby wouldn't sleep at all, no naps and barely a two hour stretch at a time during the night. The second that swaddle went on, all hell broke loose. This was maddening but it was also a challenge to me. I had to figure out to help my baby and get this whole family some sleep. The only way she would currently sleep is when she finally exhausted herself so much that she had no choice.

I took to Google and BabyCenter, looking for people who had babies who freaked out in the swaddle. And I came across a post, at about 4am, that described exactly what we were going through and they had a diagnosis from their pediatrician and relief.

The symptoms were:

-Freaking out when swaddled
-Bubbles constantly around their mouth
-Coughing or gagging while eating
-Going on and off the breast
-Crying stops when held in the sitting position

Her pediatrician said it was reflux, despite not spitting up a lot. That settled it, I set my alarm for 7am and called our pediatrician the second they opened.

At our appointment the doctor said it was definitely reflux and that this is the time when it's worst. She wanted us to try to different remedies that we had already tried. She was avoiding giving us a prescription but my husband and I knew what needed to happen.

We picked up the liquid Zantac on the way home and it's made a huge difference ever since. She's pleasant during the day, can focus on eating and sleeps for much longer bunches of time at night.

Reflux like that pretty much causes them pain all the time and it wreaks havoc on your whole family. If you can't figure out what's going on, take a minute away from the crying to identify the symptoms. If they match all or some the symptoms above, make an appointment.

Newborn Lessons: Marriage & a Newborn

It's 3am and baby girl is crying, not even crying but screeching at the top of her lungs. We've changed her, fed her and swaddled her. We've both rocked her, we've tried gas drops and gripe water. 

You can't take it out on the baby because well, she's a baby. Someone is going to get the brunt of the frustration and there's one person who's always right there next to you, your husband (or wife).

This will put even the best marriage to the test.

These newborn lessons are going to be very candid posts. Having a newborn is hard and navigating being a first time parent, a wife and the 100 other things we all are is even harder.

Marriages are tested by the challenges of being a parent. We've both learned lot about marriage, each other and ourselves. 

Patience is at the top of the list. It's actually a lesson we've had to learn over and over again. It seems like it will be one we continue to learn for years. We're not exactly on equal footing when it comes to patience but that's a lesson in and of itself.

Forgiveness is another important lesson that we've learned. For me, the little spats when we're tired at 3am don't mean anything and I make it a point that we don't hold on to them. 

One of things that has been pleasantly surprising is that we're learning a lot of fun and exciting things about each other. Watching my husband become a father and a true leader of our family has shown me a whole new side of him. 

He's encouraging, interested in what's going on and proactive. He changes diapers (probably has changed more than me), heats up breast milk and deals with the poopy laundry.

Second only to sleep, outside forces really test a marriage once you become parents. You have both of your families involved and giving advice. Money takes on a new life and work is a difficult topic. We're battling all of these and again, add in an intense lack of sleep. The tiniest frustrations and decisions can become mountains.

At our wedding, my aunt read a poem about marriage and the second line reads, "It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other relationship can equal." That's never been more true than it is now that we've started our family.

It's not easy, not at all but I think our marriage is more important now than it ever has been.

5 Ways to Make Preparedness Fun

For families making necessary activities fun makes a huge difference so let's look at some ways to make getting prepared fun.



1. Backyard camping - This is already a popular activity with kids. Camping out in your backyard can teach important skills and just gets kids comfortable with being outside.

2. DIY crafts & supplies - There are plenty DIY projects, crafts and supplies you can make as a family. Getting kids involved in making supplies and doing it together, it will make the whole process fun for everyone.

3. Emergency Food Taste tests - Not all emergency food tastes great but there's plenty that does. Order some samples from different companies and host a family taste test. That way everyone is involved in choosing and knows they'll enjoy their food in an emergency.

4. Cooking & preserving together - Part of your food supply will likely be things you've canned. Get the whole family involved in cooking things to can, this will also teach your children a valuable skill.

5. Learning new skills - Speaking of valuable skills, work on building them together. For instance, hunting, shooting and gardening can all be fun outdoor activities to do together. Also, hiking and other physical activities build strength and keep everyone healthy.

Keep preparedness light and fun when teaching your children. The point isn't to scare everyone but to give your family confidence for any type of emergency.

How does your family have fun and get prepared are the same time?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Life's Everyday Emergencies

Admittedly, I'm a little bit behind here on the blog. Our little girl has been a bit difficult and sleep has been very limited. I'm also coming to the end of my maternity leave and it's hitting me hard.

Anyways, back to blogging.

Being prepared for life's everyday emergencies is just as important as being prepared for a catastrophic disaster.

Here are some of those everyday emergencies to keep in mind:

1. Natural disaster

2. Power outage

3. Car break down or accident

4. Health issues

5. Job or income loss

Having a small food supply, bottled water and any necessary first aid items in your home and car at all times makes these emergencies a lot easier to handle.

Additionally, having some savings in the bank or currency at home can making weathering an emergency possible.

These events are all more likely to happen multiple times in an individual's life than a catastrophic event. So, while you're building up to being prepared for the worst, get prepared for the everyday.

Even think of the small things, like those nights where getting to the store to pick up dinner isn't possible or you come home to find out there's nothing to cook. This can turn an average day into some what of an emergency for your family. But you can keep your family first by having simple plans and supplies in place.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Week 8 Review: Best Product So Far - Chicco Keyfit 30

We've just finished our 8th week with our little girl. One of the things we've come to love is our Chicco Keyfit 30 infant car seat, base and caddy stroller.

My better half is a researcher and the car seat/stroller combination was one of the things we put the most research into, it's a confusing group of products. We wanted something that would be easy to get her in and out of, simple to use and of course, safe.

We ended up choosing the Chicco Keyfit 30 system and it's been working out great.

Here's the little one comfy in her car seat:



What I love about this system:

-Easy to use - The way that the seat connects with the base and the stroller makes it so simple to take everywhere. We're out and about a lot, taking her on walks, etc and this system being so easy makes a big difference. The base was also super simple to install, it only takes a couple of minutes.

-Lightweight - The seat and stroller are very lightweight and easy to carry. Not having to fumble and bumble with the seat or the stroller gives a new parent a lot of confidence as they get used to bringing their baby out and about.

-Comfortable - She seems very comfortable in her car seat. She almost always naps it in, which is a miracle for this non-sleeper.

With all of these awesome features and the high safety rating, this product has been a favorite of ours so far.

This review is not paid or sponsored.




Sunday, June 12, 2016

Getting Started Series: What Are You Preparing For?

One of the most important first steps in getting prepared is identifying what you're preparing for so you can make a plan.

Here are some common scenarios people prepare for:

-Natural disasters - Identify the potential natural disasters that can affect your area. Natural disaster can often lead to power outages, lack of resources and issues accessing food and water.

-Economic collapse - Many believe that there are signs of a coming economic collapse everywhere you look. If you agree, you'll want to be prepared for the lasting effects of such an event. This type of collapse can affect access for food, water and other resources.

-Personal emergencies - This cover a wide variety of things like job loss, loss of a loved one or unexpected health issues. Having a back up plan during these types of scenarios can help keep everyone calm and not add stress to a high pressure situation.

-Government collapse - Similar to economic collapse, many believe that the government and infrastructure in the US is bound to collapse. If you agree, you'll want to be prepared to be fully self-reliant.

-Terrorist attack - A terrorist attack on US soil has proven to be a top fear for many, with good reason. This is another even that can really affect access to things you need on a daily basis.

-Grid collapse - Growing theories are worried about our national power grid. An attack on our grid or grid failure would affect food, water and of course, power and communications. Think about what you would be able to do without any electricity.

Each of these warrant different preparedness plans. The base is usually the same but the length, challenges and other considerations will form the rest of your plan.

What are you preparing for?

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Simple Saturdays: One Thing You Can Do Today

It's time for another Simple Saturday. We all need to enjoy our weekends and focus on family so here's one thing you can do today to get prepared!

Take stock and organize your first supplies.

Take 15-20 minutes today and take stock of and organization your first aid supplies. This will allow you to know exactly where everything is and what you might be missing.

Last week's Simple Saturday covered how you might already be prepared and first aid supplies were one way. Taking a few minutes to get organized and identify anything you still need is an important and simple step towards getting prepared.

That's all for today.

Enjoy your family time this weekend!


Friday, June 10, 2016

Our Story - How We Got Started in Preparedness

We're still fairly new to being and getting prepared. Our story is simple and sets up the entire logic behind our style of preparedness and our general beliefs.

In March of 2014, we were still living in North Carolina. We probably considered ourselves "prepared" because we had a flashlight.

If you live in the Southeast or have friends or family that do, you know that we battled ice storms. We had a huge one in late February/early March and we woke up to the sounds of transformers blowing left and right. My husband said, "if you want to shower, you better do it now, we won't have hot water for a while."

He was exactly right. We were without power for four days and we quickly learned that we were very unprepared.

We had flashlights but that's about it. We walked outside that morning to look at the damage, we quickly noticed we were the only ones on the block without a generator.

The next four days were definitely a bonding experience but not one either of us wanted to repeat.

We spent a lot of time trying to find restaurants with power, eating anything in our fridge that didn't need to be cooked and playing cards but candlelight. The one candle we had was our unity candle from our wedding.

That experience helped us see that all of the people we've heard talk about getting prepared weren't crazy, not at all. There are plenty of life's "little emergencies" that warrant a little bit of planning and preparedness. A few months later I took a job in the emergency preparedness industry and from there on we've been slowly but surely getting prepared. Not necessarily for a big collapse or natural disaster but any type of emergency.

I wanted to share this story because it wasn't some big catastrophic event that fueled our fire but an everyday occurrence that can and does happen to everyone.

What's your story?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Week 7 Review: Best Product So Far - NuRoo Swaddler

I wanted to give some (un-sponsored) reviews of the products that we've found most helpful so far as new parents.

In this first one, I wanted to review the NuRoo Swaddler.

Here's our little one in this swaddle blanket.



Bottom line is, we love our NuRoo Swaddler. In fact, it was the first product that we looked at each other and said, "We need to buy another one of these".

What I love about it is how easy it makes swaddling. When you have a drowsy newborn who you're trying to get to sleep it can feel like you're diffusing a bomb and the last thing you want is some complicated swaddling process that's going to wake them up.

You need something simple and the NuRoo Swaddler is it. You simply put your baby in the right opening, cross over the left side and cross over the right side, velcroing it tightly. And they are successfully swaddled.

Important tip: make sure you cover the shoulders when you cross over each side.

Honestly, our little girl can still get an arm or even both out of this swaddle BUT she still fully stays asleep if the rest of her is swaddled in her NuRoo.

Overall, this is product is a must have for us. She's nicely swaddled and napping in it as I type this right now.

What's one of your must have products? Have you tried the NuRoo Swaddler?

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Getting Started Series: Things You Can't Do Without

For our Sunday conversations, let's focus on getting started. We'll look at the basics you need and questions you should be asking yourself to make sure your family is prepared or gets prepared.

In my original "Getting Started" post we looked at defining what preparedness meant to you and I asked a series of questions. We'll start this series by breaking down each of those questions.

First up: What are the things your family cannot do without?

1. Food - This should be obvious but you need a plan for food. There are a few ways to plan for food, it's recommended that you use a combination of methods. First, get some storable food. While your stash of canned goods might help for a little bit, you need real food. And in order to ensure real food, you want to include food that can be stored for at least 10 years while maintaining it's nutritional value. That way, you'll have what you need no matter when an emergency strikes. This type of food source is great for everyday and small-scale emergencies.

The other way to plan is growing and possibly hunting your own food. This will allow you to have fresh food in addition to storable food. The key here is that growing or hunting a reliable source of food takes time and patience but in a longer term emergency, these are crucial skills.

We'll discuss planning for a food supply more later.

2. Water - This one should probably be first, water is the most important thing. Your family will need water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene. You need a good source for water and it needs to be clean. Water filtration, bottled water and fresh water sources are all important parts of your water plan.

We'll discuss each later.

3. Medications - If anyone has any chronic conditions in your family, you'll want to make sure you're well-stocked on medications. It's also a good idea to be well-stocked on over-the-counter medications and first aid materials. Things like rubbing alcohol, anti-inflammatory medications and anti-histamines can be helpful in an emergency.

4. Power source - Your family will need a power source, in an emergency big or small. You'll need it to cook, possibly filter your water, for heat and even for communications. Generators - both gas powered and solar - are great options. Also, pocket or portable chargers for electronics are a huge help.

Also, keep in mind that fire can be a solid power source. Having matches, lighters and other fire starting materials on hand can make a big difference in any type of emergency.

5. Other considerations - Do you have family pets? Will you need to get someplace during an emergency?  Your family life and circumstances may dictate additional necessities. Take some time to think about the other things you can't do without - like dog food or gasoline.

If you're looking for the very basic steps in being prepared, covering you and your family's absolute necessities is a great place to start.

What are some of your family's necessities?

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Simple Saturdays: 5 Ways You Might Already Be Prepared

I'm going to keep my Saturday posts focused on simple things. Saturday is a time for family so let's not over complicate our weekend lives and take simple, easy steps towards getting prepared and putting family first.

With that in mind, let's look at some ways you might already be prepared. These small things are probably around your house and provide an simple foundation of preparedness.

1. Spare towels/clothes/sheets - Everyone has spare towels, clothes and/or sheets around their house. These can be incredibly useful in countless situations, fabric can be used to clean, in medical emergencies and other applications.

2. Canned foods - It's more than likely that you have a number of canned goods in your pantry. Things you always forget when you cook your regular meals. These might be the items that extend your food supply during an emergency. For instance, if you're snowed in or your are looses power and the grocery stores are closed.

However, keep in mind, these canned good are not a full food preparedness plan. More on that in a later post.

3. Bottled water - Your family might rely on bottled water daily and in an emergency it could come in handy for drinking, cooking and in medical emergencies.

Like canned goods, this is not a full and sustainable solution for water in an emergency.

4. First aid - Are your bathroom cabinets filled with band-aids, rubbing alcohol and other such items? These could be essential in an emergency. Keep them in mind and keep that supply well-stocked.

5. Tool kit - Most homes have a tool kit. This kit can be a huge help in an emergency. Tools like a hammer, screw driver, wrench, etc can have a variety of uses during even the smallest emergency. Make sure you throw a flashlight in there too!

You should take stock of these items  and get a little bit of comfort knowing that these items that you likely have in your home right now could be a big help in an emergency.

Go enjoy your weekend!


Friday, June 3, 2016

Sleep Survival

... or lack there of.

Sleep deprived is an understatement when you have a newborn. No one can really prepare you for it and you never believe them when they try to tell about it's severity.

Here are some ideas for surviving with little sleep and getting as much as you can with a newborn.




1. Schedule - Just forget this word exists. We were on a steady 10-11pm to 6-7am sleep schedule. That's gone right out the door. Most recently, for example, our little one has decided 1-1:30am is an appropriate bed time and will sleep until 10-11am. This changes your whole day.

Don't cling to your schedule, accept all of the sleep you can.

2. Get outside - Fresh air and movement can do wonders when you're sleep deprived. Wear the baby, put him or her in their stroller, do whatever is best but get outside. It will help you feel better when you're awake and sleep better when you can sleep.

3. Let It Go - Don't forget you and probably your partner are both sleep deprived. Let things go that might normally get on your nerves. It's not the time to hold stuff against each other or argue. Just remember that you're both running on fumes, take a deep breath and get through it together.

4. Eat & drink - Make sure you eat enough and stay hydrated. And bonus if you can eat and drink things you can enjoy. This all goes a long way towards sleeping better and feeling better when you're awake.

5. It's all normal - I can't tell you how many countless hours we've spent googling things, sharing links with each other and posting on forums. If you're wondering if others have gone through this, the answer is yes. Whatever the sleep issue you're having is, you'll find someone else who's going through it too. These posts are comforting, misery loves company. But don't expect a cure all fix to come out of all of that research.

6. Put the baby down - This is super important for a few reasons. First, they can get overtired, which means they won't sleep. Make your little one nap during the day. Second, when you have some time to do laundry or take a shower or whatever you need to do, it relieves some stress so you can cope with everything better.

This is our first child and we're still battling with newborn/infant sleep patterns or lack of sleep patterns. But I've noticed that these all help us get through this period.

Good luck!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Newborn Lessons: Hospital Bag

In your third trimester, people make a big deal about your hospital bag - when to pack it, what to include, etc. However, everything changes when you walk out that door and you really don't know what you'll need or want at the hospital.

Here's what we packed and we what actually used. It's important to note that we live about 10 minutes from our hospital so my husband was back and forth a lot so we could get additional things if we needed them.

What we packed:

-Our clothes - I packed a few shirts/sweaters and a couple of pairs of pants for myself. And some t-shirts and shorts for my husband.

-Shoes - Slippers and flip flops for myself.

-Chargers - For our phones and other devices.

-DVDs - Mostly The Office.

-Personal hygiene products - Toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, deodorant and yes, maxi pads.

-Newborn clothes & blankets - A few onesies and blankets for the baby.

-Pad of paper and pen - In case we needed to write anything down.

What we used:

-Flip flops - Thank goodness for these. I had a $5 pair leftover from the dance floor of a friend's wedding. They were the perfect around the hospital (and especially that bathroom) shoes. They were my MVP during the hospital stay.

-Chargers - Absolute necessity. We took all of our pictures on our phones and we received tons of calls and texts. You don't want to be without your phone. If your phone supports a turbo charger, get one.

-DVDs - If your hospital has DVD players, definitely bring some DVDs, Keep it light, something that you can easily be distracted from. The Office was perfect, lighthearted and I've seen it 100 times.

-Toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant & hairbrush - Doing simple things like keeping up with brushing your teeth and brushing your hair can make you feel almost normal during a totally strange time.

-One newborn outfit & blanket - For going home.

That's truly it. Keep it simple and small, when you're leaving the hospital, you really don't want to be worrying about whether or not you have everything. I reviewed all of the checklists before packing my bag but what I realized at the hospital is that this isn't the time to be high maintenance. You want to be comfortable and feel like yourself as much possible.

My three rules for packing your hospital bag would be:

-Essentials for keeping comfortable
-Lighthearted way to pass the time
-Shoes & chargers are never a waste of space