My “To Do Before Baby” List

posted by Andrea | 01/21/2014

to do before baby

Now that my brain has finally registered that 2014 is here (and after noticing that the expiration date on my yogurt was only 2 weeks before my due date) I decided that it was time to make my “To-Do Before Baby” list.

To be clear, I don’t make my “To-Do Before Baby” list to stress myself out, to over-work myself, or to put a ton of unnecessary pressure on myself. Not at all!

I make this list as a way to focus and narrow-in on what the most important things are for me to accomplish RIGHT NOW.

When I’m making my list, I ask myself simple questions like:

  • What’s most important for me, for Dave, for our family, for our home, etc. that we want/need to accomplish before the baby gets here?
  • What can I easily do now to make life with a new baby less stressful later?
  • What would I feel stressed about if I did NOT finish before the new baby?
  • What are things I might only be able to do now as opposed to later?

Once I’ve had a bit of time to think about these questions, I start jotting down my list. It’s nothing fancy, nothing pretty, nothing super organized — just a list of the things that come to my mind as I think over the next few weeks before the baby (and the very tired, busy weeks after the baby).

before baby list

I honestly didn’t make my list with the intention of sharing it on my blog; however, since several of you have asked what my “must do” items are before this baby arrives, I figured that sharing the list would not only answer those questions, but also hold me more accountable :)

So here you go…

My “To-Do-Before Baby List” – Baby #2 Edition

NOTE: this list might seem really long (even as I was typing it, I thought WOW!) but as you’ll read below, we’ve already accomplished some of the tasks and I do still have about 6 weeks to go.

Plus, I know myself… and the fact that I have WAY more energy and drive now than I will for months after the baby is born. 

1. Do a quick purge of all the closets, cabinets, drawers, and bedrooms. {DONE}

I did this over the past 2 weeks — going through a couple areas each day until I had all the bags and boxes ready to go. Then I loaded it up and brought everything away to our local thrift store. I also sold a couple items on Craigslist that same week.

To be fair, I regularly purge all year long, so this really wasn’t a huge deal for me and didn’t require tons of time on my part. However, it still feels awesome to open many of our less-full closets and drawers — and just to know 6 boxes, 4 bags, and a variety of other STUFF we don’t need are no longer taking up space in our house!

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2. Fully move Nora to her new upstairs bedroom. {DONE}

So we actually did this (somewhat unsuccessfully) last week. Nora’s new room is completely finished, all her stuff is moved up there, and the old nursery is 100% empty.

Now we’re just working on getting her to actually fall asleep (and stay asleep) up there. To be perfectly honest, it’s not a whole lot worse than trying to get her to sleep in her old room… just more walking up and down the stairs on my part :)

after - window wall

3. Set up the new guest bedroom. {DONE}

With all the “musical bedrooms” we’ve been playing over here, our old guest bedroom basically turned into a junk room that definitely could not accommodate any guests.

So after Nora’s room was finished, we cleaned out the guest room, sold some of the furniture, and made it as nice as we could with as little time, money, and effort as possible (how’s that for honest!) This is the only bedroom in the entire house that we haven’t fully renovated so it definitely needs some TLC; however we don’t want to spend too much time on it until we know exactly how we’ll renovate it.

And in case you’re super excited about another room renovation, I’ll let you know that we probably won’t touch this room until we’re ready to move baby #2 upstairs (and that will probably be a while!)

guest room

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4. File our tax returns. 

We actually have accountants that do most of the ‘heavy lifting’ for both our personal and my business taxes because it was just starting to get too confusing to do on our own.

However, I still need to get them all the information they need, meet with them, answer some of their questions, sign paperwork, etc — and I REALLY don’t feel like worrying about any of that with a new baby. Plus, I just like getting taxes out of my way ASAP so I’m not pushing any April 15 deadlines.

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5. My semi-annual laundry marathon. {DONE}

Yes, I most definitely do laundry every week — but at least twice a year, I like to hunker down for a day or two and literally wash EVERY SINGLE pillow, heavy blanket, sleeping bag, comforter, duvet cover, rug, curtain, etc. You know, all those things that don’t necessarily need to be washed every week or every month — but still get grungy over time?

Yeah, so I did that all last week, and my washer and dryer literally didn’t stop for 2 full days. But now I’m finished until summer!

I seriously can’t even imagine living without a washer and dryer — yes, laundry is a pain but it’s so nice when it’s finished!

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6. Defrost the deep freezer.  {DONE}

This is one of those things I just hate doing — because it involves unloading EVERYTHING out of our deep freezer, spending a couple hours defrosting it, then loading everything back up. We did it this past weekend — and yes, Dave did most of the loading and unloading — but it’s still just a pain!

However, we had put it off long enough that the ice was really starting to build up… and since I wanted to make room for the extra freezer meals I’m hoping to make (see #12 on my list) I wanted the freezer to be nice and clean. The whole process only took about 3 hours, so I really shouldn’t be complaining — and I really am SO grateful for the extra freezer space!

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7. Get a new title for Dave’s car. 

A few weeks ago, as I was making the necessary updates to our “Important Information Binder” I noticed that we didn’t have a title for Dave’s car. I actually knew this (we have no idea what happened to it) and intended to get a new one from the Secretary of State’s office months ago. I just never made work of doing it — and we realized that Dave would probably need to be there in person to get the title.

So, even though it’s really not necessary to do before the baby (we’re not planning to sell that car any time soon), I just put it on this list for extra motivation… you know, for Dave to get his butt in gear! :)

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8. Set up a Will / Living Trust.  {IN PROCESS}

Again, this really doesn’t have to be accomplished before the baby is born — but it’s something that’s been on Dave and my to-do list ever since Nora was born, so we figure we should probably just do it eventually!

We do have life insurance and some simple “power of attorney” type stuff set up, but no official Will or Living Trust. At least not yet…

We actually have an appointment with a local attorney later this week to get the ball rolling. After that, it’s most likely up to them to draft up all the documents for us to sign — and then we hand over the check while we excitedly cross one more thing off our list.

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9. Set up the nursery, repaint, and wash all the clothes.  {IN PROCESS}

I’m actually super excited about this little project, but put it further down the list because I want something to look forward to after some of the less exciting tasks are crossed off.

I’ve done most of the general cleaning and started some of the caulking and touch-up paint, but I’m thinking I’d like a new color on the walls as well. We’ll see.

Also, even though I’m honestly not a germ-a-phobe when it comes to clothing, since all our baby clothing was purchased from 2nd hand sales, garage sales, or given to us, I do just want to run everything through the washer to get it nice and clean for the new baby.

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10. Start my 2014 photo album.  {IN PROCESS}

I was super on top of finishing and ordering my 2013 photo albums (I’ll be sharing more about this on Friday) but I want to get a jump start on the 2014 albums just so I don’t already feel behind once we start taking all those new baby pictures.

Oh, and since I know I’ll get questions about this, here is the post that talks ALL about our digital photo albums.

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11. Start and finish a couple sewing projects.

I really want to try making a small version of one of these Rag Quilts for both Nora and the new baby — sort of as a gift for each of them once the baby arrives (Nora currently has a blanket obsession). The only thing stopping me is that I’m not sure I have the patience to actually finish them — and I don’t want to get started unless I’m positive I’ll finish.

I also really want to make a little baptism outfit with the fabric from my wedding dress — and I know if I don’t do that before the baby is here, there’s pretty much no way I’ll do it before baptism. I wanted to do this for Nora too, but of course, waited too long. However, it turns out my mom saved my baptism dress (which I just so happened to love) so Nora got to wear that instead — a happy medium in my book!

nora's baptism

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12. Freezer cooking.  {IN PROCESS}

I put this last — because it’s really not an “extra thing” for me. Yes, I might be consciously doing a bit more freezer cooking and baking; but almost weekly, I try to put at least one or two meals (or partial meals or baked goods) away in the freezer. You can read more about my freezer-cooking here.

Now that the freezer is defrosted and nicely organized again (hallelujah!) I have an increased enthusiasm to stock it full again — plus, I know how helpful it was to have lots of ready-made meals and baked goods on hand when Nora was born.

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Ok, so that’s “it” for now :)

However, before you start telling me to “take it easy” or “relax”, let me just ASSURE you that I’m not feeling stressed out by this list at all. In fact, many of these projects are things I’ve been looking forward to completing for months — and only now do I have the extra time to do them (thanks to finishing some other house, personal, holiday, and work projects these past few months).

And also, if you’re pregnant and starting to compare your productivity or enthusiasm for long to-do lists with me, PLEASE DON’T!

I generally have pretty easy pregnancies and have tons of extra energy (especially in the last few months). If that’s not enough for you, re-read this post from last week – it might help you look at my domestic doings in a different light!

34 weeks and counting my friends!

34 weeks

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26 comments

  1. Kristine

    01/21/2014

    Don’t forget to rest! I find that when the baby is ‘here’ I get some super BOOSTS of energy, and without that belly in the way, I get so GREAT things done. So don’t stress too much. ;) Enjoy your last days of pregnancy!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Haha — it’s funny how different people’s baby/pregnancy experiences are.

    I guarantee you I will not have way WAY WAY more energy right now than I will for months after the baby is born. I am NOT a baby person so taking care of an infant is extremely taxing on me mentally and emotionally. I feel drained even if all I did was sleep all day (which I obviously know won’t be happening). It totally doesn’t matter that my belly and the extra weight will be gone — I’m won’t get anything productive done for weeks or more.

    That’s why I’m plowing through my to-do list now (while I have the energy and drive) and then I can take it easy and rest later when I don’t feel like doing anything — and yes, I know TONS of people who are exactly the opposite of me :)

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  2. Jen

    01/21/2014

    You look beautiful and healthy. I’m excited for you.

    Will you be having guest bloggers subbing in for you while you take some maternity “leave” again this time, or are you planning to just take a break?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jen,
    Funny you should ask about the guest bloggers — I almost added #13 to my list and said “Work ahead on blogging stuff”. However, I’m honestly not exactly sure what I want to do.

    When Nora was born, I had a few guest bloggers but that ended up being A TON of work to coordinate, formate, edit, schedule etc. — probably more work than if I had just worked ahead and written posts in advance. So we’ll see what I end up doing. I’m sure there will be a few weeks where I’m not as “present” here on the blog, but I think I’ll be ready to get back to regular writing sooner rather than later.

    [Reply]

  3. Barb

    01/21/2014

    Andrea you look lovely! I’m inspired by your enthusiasm and energy to accomplish all of your to-do’s before the new baby arrives. Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

  4. rachel

    01/21/2014

    Thanks for sharing… when I read your post about defrosting the freezer it reminded me that I need to do the same thing — and would also like it to be finished before baby comes (5 weeks).

    Also, I’m glad to see that the Will is on your list too… we’ve talked about it ever since out first was born and never gotten further than that. (Well, I looked into getting a ready-made/basic one from an online/ legal forms site but my husband really likes everything to be done the “traditional/normal” way so I wasn’t very successful in crossing it off the list 3 years ago)!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Rachel — and congrats on your baby to be too :)

    It feels great to have the freezer done and ready to fill up with yummy meals and snacks — and Dave and I would probably agree with your husband about the will too. We’d rather pay extra to assure that it’s done right. We like the idea of using a local attorney that we personally know to handle these types of situations.

    Good luck crossing off your list these next 5 weeks!

    [Reply]

  5. Michele

    01/21/2014

    Hi Andrea! I love reading your blog! The comparison post you did last week is running through my head right now as I read how much you have already crossed off of your list. Trying not to be jealous. lol! I am wondering what type of washing machine you have to be able to fit comforters, sleeping bags, etc? Wishing you and your family all the best!!! Michele

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Michele! and yes, I thought of that post as I was making this list — which is actually why I linked to it at the end. I always have lots of energy at the end of my pregnancies so I definitely use that to my advantage to get so much done!

    As far as our washing machine — we have a front-loading Fridgidaire HE stackable washer and dryer. It says it has a “super capacity” and it really does hold a lot!
    Hope this helps!

    [Reply]

  6. Kristen @ Joyfullythriving

    01/21/2014

    Good for you, Andrea! I’m at week 30, and was just thinking about my “pre-baby” list as well. Some of my similar items include setting up the crib & getting the baby’s room ready, freezer cooking, and working on photo books. I have been trying to keep up on my pregnancy journal, and I set up the layout I wanted for the baby’s book. I’m going to try and do one picture a month with lots of journaling. It’s nice to know the layout is set up (in Shutterfly), so I can just add the picture and start writing. Thanks for sharing your list. It makes me feel better about all I want to accomplish yet! And I am praying both our pregnancies continue to go smoothly!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Kristen! I love that you already have your photo album templates laid out — SO smart! Your baby is so loved already :)

    [Reply]

  7. Tracy

    01/21/2014

    It’s funny isn’t it how pregnancy is different for everyone, I’ve had 3 pregnancies, two didn’t survive but all three I was exhausted practically from the moment of conception…then at the end with my son I couldn’t sleep, was very busy. He was born by C-section and I was recovered in 3 weeks, by 3 months I was putting down a patio out back. I would nurse, put him down to sleep for a couple of hours, mix up a barrow-load of cement and put down 6-10 slabs, then as he started to stir clear up and go get ready to pick him up!

    We had a wild storm which tore down some fencing, my father-in-law, who was a builder told me I wouldn’t be able to fix it, it involved setting concrete posts…well I did, when my baby was about a year old.

    [Reply]

  8. Colleen

    01/21/2014

    Love reading your blog! I am 39 weeks pregnant with my first child and have been powering through my “to-do” lists these last few weeks. Hospital bag is packed, nursery set up, baby clothes washed, bunch of meals in the freezer, etc. It’s great to get it all done and rest easy knowing these tasks will be a huge help once baby is here. Kudos to you for getting all this done! You look great!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow — sounds like you’re ready to go Colleen! Congrats to you and enjoy the new baby!

    [Reply]

  9. JoAnn C.

    01/21/2014

    Beautiful picture of you. Thanks for sharing. Hope you get some rest.

    [Reply]

  10. Mama Murrey

    01/21/2014

    I was quite fatigued in my final weeks of pregnancy, but I did lots and lots of projects because it helped pass the time till my baby arrived. Those days would have dragged on and on if all I’d done was rest.

    Some of the projects, like working in the nursery or getting baby clothes organized, were more fun. I only allowed myself to do a little bit each day on those projects. I just savored those moments, folding each little outfit, hanging up little dresses and looking forward to when I would finally get to hold my first live baby!

    My labor and delivery lasted about 36 hours and I had the classic thoughts “I’m not sure we’re ever doing this again!” But three months later, I see pregnant ladies and remember the little kicks and keeping track of the beautiful process of a baby’s development . . . and I look at the darling baby girl in my arms, who becomes more interesting and dear every day . . . and I think, “Oh, I want LOTS more babies!”

    Andrea, I hope the final weeks of your pregnancy are smooth and very productive, and that your adjustments to a new baby (and his to you) will be much, much easier this time.

    [Reply]

  11. Jen

    01/21/2014

    Wow, I’m so jealous of your easy pregnancies :) I’m high-risk with an incompetent cervix, so I can’t exercise or do much of anything (my husband seriously fusses me if I “walk too fast”…he’s just a little paranoid, lol). I have a 19-month old and am 13 weeks pregnant.

    I’m definitely happy for you that you can get so much done before your baby comes! Especially after reading about Nora’s newborn days. Thanks for your inspiration….maybe I’ll start a to-do for AFTER my baby is born ;)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha! Well don’t be too jealous… I haven’t slept more than a couple hours at a time in over 2 years :)

    I am blessed to have had 2 relatively easy pregnancies so far — but I’m still hoping for a baby who sleeps eventually the next time around!

    Congrats on your new pregnancy. I hope everything continues to go well for you.

    [Reply]

  12. Stephanie

    01/22/2014

    My sister made a few rag quilts for the Jenison Christian craft show. She still has a few left. If you decide you want more info let me know and I can get you her info.
    She made me one for my youngest and it is one of her favorites and super warm!
    Hope you get all your items crossed off the list. Looks like you are making good progress already!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for the info Stephanie — I’d love to see her quilts — or maybe just buy some from her :)

    Could you send her my email address and have her email me a picture or something? (andrea@andreadekker.com)

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  13. Erin

    01/22/2014

    I love reading your blog posts…I get so much out of them, whether it be great ideas of organization or just like minded thinking posts…they always seem to give me great food for thought or be on track with were I am in life. Thank you. I really like this post as we are doing the same thing now at 36 weeks. We are also expecting a little baby boy, our first, and I really appreciate you sharing your tasks/ideas, it is helpful for first time moms like me. It’s funny people keep telling me to slow down, but I have a lot of energy for an older first time mom and have this gut feeling I won’t after the little guy is here, so my task list is also pretty long, but also almost done. Good to know i’m not the only one who feels this way :-) Thank you also for posting the freezer meal blog link…something I am working on currently and it is great to have ideas of how to put it all together. You look wonderful and I really like the 34 week picture! Cheers to you and your family during this awesome time.

    [Reply]

  14. Diana from SC

    01/22/2014

    When I defrost the big freezer….line the shelves with towels and use a fan to move the air. Amazing how fast it will defrost and the towels will catch the water. Yes, unloading and then reloading is a task but great way the see what you have and the reorganize the freezer.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I put a really large baking pan of every shelf to catch the drips from the shelf above and then blow a space heater towards the freezer. It’s usually fully defrosted in less than 2 hours and I hardly have anything to wipe up — just dump out the pans!

    [Reply]

  15. Beth

    01/24/2014

    REST! REST! REST! More important than anything else left on your list. Enjoy these last few days with Nora and her being the “only” child. My daughter was a little older than Nora when my son was born, and the only thing I wish I had done differently was spend more time with my daughter in the final days leading up to the arrival of my son. I had a scheduled C-section so I knew when he would arrive. When my third child, another son, was born 7 1/2 years after my first son, I made sure to spend as much time with them as possible in those last days before their brother came into the world (also a c-section). God’s blessings to you and your family.

    [Reply]

  16. Heather

    02/11/2014

    I love reading “to do” lists from other folks. I find it, oddly enough, inspiring! Ha. Guess I’m a nerd.

    We are expecting our first on 7/1. I’ve got a mile long list of things to accomplish, and thankfully my pregnancy has been relatively easy. I have a feeling that once the baby is hear that energy will diminish. ;)

    Question…where did you find the light fixture for your baby room? My husband is hoping to find one similar for our nursery!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Heather — I love making to-do lists :)
    We found the light fixture at Home Depot — but it was almost 3 years ago so I doubt they still have it.

    Congrats on your new baby and good luck with your list!

    [Reply]