Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Oh, just crying on the bathroom floor, typical #momstress

It may have to do with the fact that I'm moving in t-minus 6 days.  I've packed nothing, NOTHING, my garage is so full and disorganized thanks to our garage sale that I literally can't even walk out the door.  I just open it and throw whatever it is I'm trying to get out of the house as far away from the door as possible.  I feel like a real winner.  The kids are out of school in two days which means I'll be in charge of them 100% of the time for the next three months.  Which is a lot of time.  But I'm just so happy that I don't have to wake up at what feels like the crack of dawn to make more peanut butter sandwiches and wrap them in plastic wrap because we are out of baggies, AGAIN.  No more looking for folders, chasing kids down on their way to the bus because they forgot their permission slip, no more school.  I'm pretty happy about it to be honest. 

But moving, you guys, it's a lot of work.  And it's so overwhelming.  So overwhelming that I'm not even starting.  I'm just in that I-know-the-panic-will-hit soon and I'll be borderline insane but right now I just can't even go there.  I'm just sitting back waiting for the storm to hit.  So then, it makes sense that the next best thing to do (with all my free time) is have a birthday party for my 6, going to be 7 year old. I have nothing packed, my garage is bursting with crap I need to donate, my office is so disorganized it's embarrassing, so why don't I throw a party?  That's what #momguilt will do for you. 

Because about 12 months ago I promised to do a party, even bought all the stuff, and then I failed.  I gave up. I wasn't even moving.  I just got too tired and it was the end-of-the-school-year typical overwhelm and I put all the stuff for the party away telling her, we will do the best party ever NEXT year.  Not realizing that next year, in addition to end of school craziness, I'll also take a trip to Pennsylvania, drive to Logan four days a week, spend so much time and energy trying to find a place to live, and be moving in 6 short days. 

So the timing is dreadful but--I promised.  I will not go back on your promise because #momguilt is the worst.  So birthday party, here we come!  PRAY FOR ME.  

My advice to you, when you're on the brink of a breakdown, throw a party.  ;)

Everyone Survived!

Hey everybody,

Guess what?  I survived and so did my kids.  It was awesome, fun, and invigorating to  have some time to myself (and I never even cried and everyone survived) and now I'm pumped and ready to schedule some more time to travel.  I can totally see how once you get out of your house and see how a tiny glimpse of another life, you want to see more.  It's addicting, and I want to share that with my family.  I want THEM to go and see different parts of the country and eventually, other countries too.  
I went to Pennsylvania to visit my Brother, Sister-in-law, and their three kids.  They had just moved into a beautiful, charming home in a gorgeous rolling hills neighborhood.  They had already done a ton of work updating the house with new counter tops, flooring, paint so I got to do the fun part, decorating.  It was so much fun.  I also got to go to a pretzel factory, some fun, unique restaurants, Chocolate World and to Lancaster, the Amish town and go on a buggy ride and find out more about the Amish beliefs.  But the best part was getting to know and bond with my brother and his family more.  I will never forget this trip and all the memories and stories we shared.  And that is what I think is the most important thing in life; enjoying and making time for family. 

I posted several photos from my trip on my instagram @kelliemcclure One of the cutest things was my 12 year old got dressed up in his suit and tie to greet me at the airport with a cardboard sign with my name on it that he had made.  It was so unbelievably adorable.  It was one of my greatest moments; being back home and seeing my beautiful children waiting for me.  I'm one luck mama.  


Monday, May 8, 2017

A Short FICTIONAL Story for You...

All characters and events are fiction.  Any thing that resembles a real life person is pure coincidence.

Once upon a time there was a mom of five who recklessly booked a trip to Pennsylvania to see her brother and sister-in-law.  She was very excited and looking forward to the trip in so many ways but she was also freaking out inside because well, the term attachment parenting, that word was made-up to describe her parenting style.  She's the lady who carries her infant bouncer into the bathroom so she can watch them breath while she brushes her teeth.  She writes down every oz of medicine, the exact time 7:13 and 3 seconds, and will not give the medicine one second before it is due.  She carries cups of water into her kids in bed to make sure they have plenty of fluids in their little bodies.  She locks the doors every night and then wakes up at least once a night to check the doors to make sure they are still locked.  She also walks into every room and checks on her precious sleeping babes, pulling up blankets etc.  She is the epitome of an attached parent.

If she hears any sound that resembles a cry for help she will "shush" the entire house, rush about inside and out to help the poor child in need which usually turns out to be a screaming-for-joy child on the trampoline.

As the trip has neared she has been stressing, and breathing, and "calenderizing", and carpool setting upping, and packing, and note taking, and breathing some more, and pep-talking herself, and asking her husband questions like, "on a scale of 1-10 how worried are you about covering everything while I'm gone?" His calm response,  "I know this is going to annoy you but a 0, I'm not at all worried, everything is going to be great."  "UGH.  you're so unrealistically optimistic and yes, it is annoying that I have to do all the worrying." 

Now that her flight is hours away she is in panic mode.  Thinking of frightening scenarios that she is going to be needed to save the day for.  She is racked with worry and wondering if maybe she should cancel the flight and just eat the loss.  She thinks of all her instagram friends who seem to constantly be on exotic vacations sans kiddos and seem to be having the time of their lives and wonders, "Who is taking care of their kids folder signing and breakfast getting?  Who is driving them to dance/baseball/soccer/cheer?  How are they so care free? Posting captions like, 'Never coming home' "  Her picture is going to be a red and swollen eyed lady at the airline ticket counter saying, "It's not too late fam, should I just come back home? " 

It's funny because her kids know her so well.  They are making her promise not to text constantly to check in on them.  They are setting phone reminders to check the locked doors, and give the baby plenty of drinks, (dehydration is a serious threat) And they are promising to help curl hair, and keep everyone alive while she's gone.

She in turn promises to TRY to relax (is it really relaxing if you have to try?) and actually get on the airplane.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Kell's Spring Favorites

Movie:  LION 

Image result for lion movie
You guys!  I cannot recommend this movie enough.  I'm basically the least emotional person there is.  And I cried several times.  It was JUST SO SO GOOD.  I literally loved it.  The way the story is told, the actors, the moral of the film, the cinematography, there are so many beautiful moments that you need to experience.  My kids and husband loved it too.  Dan is probably the pickiest movie goer EVER.  He basically likes romantic comedies and that's it.  He said, "I don't normally like movies like this, but this was really good!"  If that's not a raving review from the toughest movie critic, I don't know what is.  And the little boy who plays Suroo.  I swear he is the most lovable face ever to act in the history of movies.  He was brilliant!

Snow Cone Machine
Image result for snow cone machine

We bought this two years ago for my son's birthday and let me just say it probably saved Crew's life.  Ok, that could be a slight exaggeration but in truth it is the only thing I can get Crew to drink when he is sick.  It helps keep him hydrated.  I also mixed Crew's medicine into a tiny little snow cone because I found it is THE only way to get him to take his medicine.

Another thing I love about it is I don't have to get the kids a snow cone every time we drive by one of those super expensive snow cone shacks.  And anytime they come in and ask "Can we go get snow cones?"  I cheerfully yell "YES!" and whip this baby out. #MomOfTheYear  I keep snow cone flavors on hand year round because I'm awesome like that and they are super cheap/basically have an eternal shelf life.  Get yourself one of these.  It is well worth it.

Also, on a selfish level, if you LOVE pebble ice in your beverage.  Now you have your own mini ice making machine.  Think Dr. Pepper, with tons of tiny ice chunks, a dribble of heavy cream and a spritz of lime.  I'm speaking your language now aren't I?

Image result for tim ferriss

THE best podcast I listen to.  I will warn you, he isn't a Mormon, and he does swear, and so do his guests.  So if that's a deal breaker for you...don't listen.  Honestly though, he has the most interesting guests, asks them powerful and life changing questions, is quite entertaining and very well spoken.  No annoying over use of words such as "like" "uh" etc.  He's good at what he does and I frequently am finding myself jotting down notes as quickly as possible.  So many good nuggets of wisdom in this podcast.  I always get so many ideas of helping to make my life more enjoyable and purposeful from listening to Tim Ferriss.     


Hanging On By a Thread

It's that time of year Mums.  The school days are coming to an end and I'm feeling it.  The importance of reading has dwindled, signing school papers is exhausting, finding backpacks is sapping all my energy, I'm too sick and tired of making home lunch so I sent a ginormous check to cover school lunch for the rest of the school year all of 4 days because I need a reprieve.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not excited about being 100% in charge of entertainment for the next 3 months, driving them to swim lessons, setting up play dates, packing for 3 hours so we can go to the pool for 1 hour, you know...all the summer stuff.  I'm just ready to be done with all the school stuff.  I'm over it.  I know the kids are too because when I wake them up for school I'm met with tears, and fake coughs, and some legitimate excuses.

To be honest, I think the teachers are feeling it too...they are sending hostile notes about IF YOU DON'T RETURN IT BY.....THEN YOU WILL BE PUT IN PRISON.  And they are starting to watch more  movies.  I absolutely hate when this happens.  It makes me all TEAM HOMESCHOOL when my kids come home and say, "Today we watched An American Tale, and then went to recess, and then cleaned our desks, and then went to lunch and then recess again, and then we did a color by number worksheet and then came home".  UGH!  So boring.  So pointless.  Go ahead and stay home if that's what you're going to do.  But then if they aren't watching movies all day and they are awesome teachers who are making them do book reports, and other "Mom, I need help!" projects, I'm thinking, "Come on Teach, I'm exhausted here, I can no longer do school stuff. Please just turn on An American Tale and call it a day."  Apparently I can't be pleased.

Are you feeling the drag too?

Don't worry, I'm already buying absurdly thick next grade curriculum books to keep my children's minds bright through the summer months because I have nothing but good intentions of being the best summer mom EVER!

If you don't remember my last summer time Mom survival guide you should read it here!

If you want to read a hysterical essay you should read Jen Hatmaker's Worst End Of School Year Mom Ever. It is amazing!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Because I Want to Whine for a Minute

I shouldn't write when I'm in a rant and rave mood.  It's the sort of frame of mind that makes me want to write more than any other.

The thing is, I've been house hunting for about a year now.  It's no bueno.  And by no bueno I really mean it.  There is, according to our realtor, the least amount of inventory EVER. No inventory means steep prices on a tiny piece of junk, built in 1910 houses that include mold, lead paint, 1 bedroom, 1200 square feet, a weed ridden yard and a huge mortgage.  Can you tell I'm completely sold? 

I'm a teensy bit sensitive about this situation because we had a poopy deal about 8 years back when we bought a house for $143.900.  It was a high market and it was the nicest, least expensive house we could find.  We gussied the place up with concrete counter tops, a new roof, a white vinyl fence, opened up the space by taking out a huge wall, all new tile etc. The whole time we were watching the sweat equity pile up, or so we thought.  Cue market crash.  Since my husband got a new, better job out of state we had no other option but to sell.  After living with family for 4 years, getting the world's WORST renters in the history of renters (a story that needs it own post) we finally went on to sell for $100,000.  You don't have to be a math genius to figure out the level of poop going on there. 

Since I'm a pro MLS searcher these days I decided to look up the old Idaho, nearly killed me, house and see if it's been sold since.  It was recently listed for $160,000. 

It's just so crazy how hard it is to find a decent house that doesn't cost at least $1600.00 a month right now.  It truly makes me wonder how so many other people have 2 legit vehicles ($500.00/month), a posh palace, and take exotic vacations every 3 months.  I'm starting to re-think my life plan at this point. #isittoolatetostartdentalschool? 

How do you power through your down times?  I'm just feeling downtrodden about moving.  I used to think our budget was quite sufficient for a nice place but in this market it's not near enough.  My biggest fear is repeating our Idaho situation.  #rentingforlife

Right now I just want to go into a coma and wake up after Dan has dealt with all the stress and chaos of up-rooting a family of 7.  Somebody send help soon. Or somebody cue another market crash because I need to buy low,  not high.

Friday, March 10, 2017

On The Verge

For several months now I've been reading all the emails/blog posts from Allie Casazza from The Purposeful Housewife and I just subscribed to her podcast, The Purposeful Home, and I can't wait to get listening.  But for now I'm waiting for a big enough time-chunk to open up so I can get started.  At least that's what I keep telling myself.  :)  I actually have a lot of fear.  Somewhere along the way I've gotten real attached to my stuff.  Or in the very least I've felt like my stuff is truly needed. I know part of that has to do with my business.  Owning a custom design company where I design and create custom pieces for dancers, children, and brides requires a lot of stuff.  And it's not always organized.  Sometimes it's so disorganized that I end up buying stuff I already have because I simply can't find it.  I'm not proud of this.  But it's the truth.

I'm really not exactly happy with my life right now.  When someone comes over and I know they are coming I spend hours faking that we indeed are super clean people.  I scrub and stuff and vow to NEVER do this again!  And, now don't take this personally family and friends, but I kind of get peeved about it.  It's so annoying to have people over because I'm never "ready".  And quite frankly, I don't have TIME to even get READY because I have too much crap to do.  So it's such an imposition that I always curse myself for inviting people over and hence, I've stopped inviting people over.

When having people over is required, I'm bugged.  Like when clients have to come pick up their dance pieces I'm always rushing around trying to clean, and look presentable.  It's never convenient because I'm always so behind!  And I become a resentful, ornery person.  UGH!  I hate it.  I am so ashamed that I don't even want to tell you all.  Because it's not other people's fault that I'm letting all my stuff ruin my life.  It's my fault.  And I want to change.

The main reason why I'm ready to change my life is because of my kids and husband.  Our life has become a whirlwind of messes, clutter, practices, yelling, stress, and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.  We hardly have any fun any more.  Every single Martin Luther King day, or President's Day, or Memorial day guess what we do?  Clean.  We organize our closets, we clean our garage, we clean my office, we clean and organize the toy room.  And guess what?  It never lasts.  So we do it again and again and again.  It's not very fun.  And it's not creating fun memories.  It's just not the way I want to live and not at all how I want my kids to remember their childhood. I'm so sick of cleaning!  But I want to be clean.

Not only can we never go and do anything fun as a family because we have too many chores to do at home; but my kids can rarely invite friends over either.  When they do, either we've just spent the last few hours cleaning or most likely I have to apologize for some mess or other.  It's embarrassing.  So "no, kids, you CANNOT have friends over until we clean the entire house!" Its just a vicious cycle of messes, begging them to help, or giving up and embracing our life, as messy as it is at times.

I can go ahead and blame some of this on my upbringing.  I grew up in a mess.  Or I can go ahead and accept responsibility for continuing to share the messy love.  But I want to be clean. I want to have people over, and I want to have fun with my kids.  I would love to not spend every waking minute tidying, and organizing.  Just to wake up and do it all over again.

This is where Allie and all her ideas and testimonials are stepping in.  I am so hopeful that this is going to be a game changer!  Are you down and out about cleaning non-stop?  You should check her philosophies out! we come!  I hope...I'm still kind of scared.




Thursday, March 9, 2017

Less Stuff = A Better Life?

In all reality, I have a pretty decent life.  No one is terminally ill.  We all have good health.  We have a roof over our heads, access to plenty of treats, and enough money to get by each month (barely, but still)  we all have oodles of shoes and toys, and clothes, and craft supplies, and blankets, and pillows, and more toys, and more clothes, and paper, and pens, and broken crayons.  Well you get the idea.  We have a lot of stuff.  I'm kind of like Ariel, from The Little Mermaid..."I've got gadgets and gizmos of plenty, I've got who's it's and what's it's galore."  And I think in the past that is what has given me knowledge that we're doing ok.  Look at all the stuff we've accumulated.  We are succeeding.  We've got the stuff to prove it. 

I no longer feel that way.  Now I feel buried and enslaved by our stuff.  I've been reading every piece of content that Allie Casazza has been putting out about minimalism and every thing she says, I raise my hand high in the air and say. "Yep!  That's me!"  And I'm so ready to be done with all the organizing, and re-organizing, and cleaning all just to wake up the next day and do it all over again.  Not to mention, all the time I could be spending with my kids actually having fun instead of cleaning non-stop.

I'm literally so freaking sick of it.  And so are my kids.  They walk in the door and the first thing I'm harping on is, put your stuff away, go clean your room.  It's just a never ending list of jobs spouting from my mouth because with five kids, I can't stop for even ten minutes or the whole house falls apart.

You know how sometimes the Heavens send you a little wake-up call to get you going in the right direction? Well that happened to me this week.  It came in the form of a flood.  What's weird is that not two weeks ago I was downstairs in my disaster of a basement and thought to myself. "Holy Buckets!  Can you imagine if we had a flood down here?  That would be SOOOOO bad because we have so much stuff piled on stuff down here."  And guess what?  Monday morning I go downstairs and our water softener had been leaking for a couple of days and half of my office was completely soaking wet.   So I put on my puddle boots and grabbed some garbage sacks and started chucking wet fabric, ribbon and flowers like a crazy person. 

The Lord knew I needed a kick in the pants and a kick start to my reduce the crap in my life plan.  I'm now on a mission to drastically reduce all the excess in my life.  I'll try to write more about my experience and how it changes my life (hopefully for the better).  Right now I'm in the midst of chaos.  I've gotten rid of a bunch of stuff but not enough.  I still am spending all of my time putting it all back over and over again.  I guess I'm still scared that once it's all gone, I'm going to go and buy it all again.

How do you keep up on your life?  Have you tried to simplify only to go right back to where you were before?   

Friday, February 24, 2017

5-6 Squats

The other day I got in spring fever mode and I pulled out all my swimsuits and even ordered a new one (I have a weird habit of buying swimsuits; I just seriously love to buy them)  But my happy mood quickly evaporated once I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  Holy Buckets!  My bum/thights look no bueno.  Quickly, I did 5-6 squats.  "That should do it!" I told myself, and ventured back to the mirror.  I must be mistaken, after a few side looks, back to the behind look and whelp, still looks flabby as can be.  That's so weird because I just did a 5-6 squats.  LOL

After that I put all my swimsuits back into the dark recesses of my drawers and went into depression mode.  After depression mode, I went into get-to-work mode (which means more than 5 squats) and I started exercising 3-4 times a week.  For about 2 weeks.  Then it dwindled.  Then I asked some super healthy body builder friends what to do about my flabby thighs and butt and they told me it's largely diet. " Crap!" Back to depression mode.  They suggested eating a lot less sugar and drinking a ton of water.

So I did it.  I've been drinking water (and going pee-pee-deep) non-stop.  I also cut out a lot of sugar.  Which is super hard for me.  It's basically my main food group.  And then I got sick.  And now, I'm blaming it on all the good food and water drinking I've been doing.  Because when I ate sugar non-stop I felt healthy as a horse.

It's time for a trip to the store because I NEED candy!  Also, I've cancelled all swimming exhibitions this summer and returned the new suit I bought because candy is better than a nice butt.   Also, have any of you done lipo?  I really want the one where they suck all the fat from your butt and put it in your boobs.  Whoever thought of that is a genius!  Sign me up!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

We Can Do This

I just can't seem to catch up lately.  Everywhere I look I feel like I'm falling behind.  The laundry, groceries, messes, projects, etc.  Since Christmas I can't regain control of my house or life.  I feel like I make a little headway (take the tree down, move furniture, etc) only to have the rest of the house go to complete tornado mode.  I'm beyond frustrated and I'm super unmotivated to keep trying.  Right now, I just want to light a match and go back to sleep. 

I keep thinking I'm going to get caught up and then we'll be fine.  I'm not giving up completely but I just need to say, how the heck are you all doing this?  How do your houses look like model homes and your businesses are just thriving, and you can pay all your bills, and keep feeding and providing deodorant for all your kids? I know no one is perfect, and if you've read any of my posts then you know full well I'm so far off the mark it's down right ridiculous.  Typically, I feel like I'm keeping up for the most part.  I'm only two days behind.  Right now, I feel like I'm two months behind.  The only thing I can think of that sounds appealing is a free vacation to somewhere warm. 

Those last two paragraphs, sadly, sum up my mood currently.  I'd like to think I'm not the only one (misery does love company).  So I've come up with a couple of ideas to help pull me out of the January, winter blues, overwhelming funk state of mind I'm in.  Hope they help you too because I know if I'm not alone and we can feel comfort in knowing we have a sisterhood who can relate, offer advice, and just listen, that will make a difference. 

Here's what I hope/think should help. 

1. Clean Something- I don't know why but lately the one thing that is sure to put me in a bad mood is a mess.   I can't relax, I'm anxious, I am irritable.  I've set up some new chore systems but we haven't quite caught up and it's bugging me!  Adding all the new Christmas toys, clothes etc have tipped the tables and there's just way to much stuff crammed into our small house.  I just took a little break and went and cleaned my bedroom.  I cleared everything off the dresser, vacuumed, and made my bed.  I feel so much happier and whenever I start feeling grumpy I go and sit in my room and take some deep breaths. 

2.Inspiration- I know there's a lot of amazing people out there who post a lot of lovely pictures of their lovely lives/homes and let me just say, "Thank You!"  It is super helpful for me to have a goal to reach for.  I love the inspiration and it honestly motivates me to try and be like them.  Try to spend time with my kids doing fun activities, and look cute everyday, and have a pretty home, maybe even plan a vacation.  The point I'm trying to make is that when I'm feeling down and out, sometimes it helps to see someone who doesn't look all that down out.  It motivates me to try harder, to work at improving just one thing.  I know you can go too far on this, and you can start comparing yourself to others who are only posting their best moments.  But for me, it helps me.  It motivates me and it inspires me to create a few of my own best moments!

3. Read a Book- Sometimes we just need a little escape from our own worries.  The cheapest way to do that is to delve into a good book.  I'm going to go ahead and just recommend THE BEST BOOK I've read in such a long time.  I'm a fairly avid reader; picky, but I love to read.  My good friend Kati Jo recommend this to me and let me just say it was fascinating, horrifying, inspiring, and incredibly well written!  It's called The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.  If you don't love it, then we can't be friends. 

4.  Do Something for Someone Else-  The best way to stop feeling sorry for yourself is to start looking for ways to help other people stop feeling sorry for themselves.  I love getting a package together in the mail for someone.  It completely distracts me from my own problems to start planning something fun to give or do with someone else.  I'm going to start a collection of fun things to share with one of my readers.  I'll post more about it as I further develop my plan but it's going to be a collection of some of my favorite things.  Or maybe I'll do a favorite things swap where each of you get an anonymous swapping buddy and we all swap one of our favorite things.  OK  I need your feedback. Comment below which you would be more interested in, swapping favorite things with each other or entering a giveaway of my favorite things? 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

I'm sure next year will be better....

Christmas is over; huge sigh of relief here.  Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas in theory.  All of the kids snuggled up near the sparkling Christmas tree reading Christmas books together planning all sorts of random acts of service to do.  It's just never actually like that in my world.  And then I feel guilty that it's not and then I wonder what I'm doing wrong, and then I wonder what's wrong with my kids and then I go berserk because the house is cluttered to the max and I'm out of tape again and I forgot about 6 different people's gifts and I over-bought for one kid and completely under-bought for another so I get to go shopping at 2:00pm on Christmas Eve again to try and even things out.

But the past is in the past and I'm sure next year I'll have budgeted $6000 so I have enough money, and I'll have a graph to keep track of equality, and I'll have two trees.  One that's pretty and blog-worthy, and one that's homey and has all the sentimental, homemade elementary school ornaments draped unevenly on it.  Because I'm going to be amazing next year and it's going to be AWESOME.  But I'm so flipping happy right now because I finally got the last of the Christmas crap put in my garage (Dan cleaned the garage and I could not be more in love with him for it) and out of my house and I feel like a new person.  Plus the kids are back in school.  Happy Day!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Just Take My Word For It

Just Take My Word For It

A Misinformed First-time Mom and How To Not Be One

Little Black Heels
What I brought to wear home from the hospital the first time: black high heels, nylons, a black skirt, a blouse (insert 300 laughing-cry-face emoji's).  Hashtag- misinformed.  I also lunged a huge bag full of candles, a stereo/mixed tape (I realize this dates me) filled with "calming songs"  to play in the background etc all with intentions of creating an ambiance for the birth of our baby (pretty sure it's against hospital policy to have open flames).  If you're not rolling on the floor laughing at me then you've probably never actually had a child and all of these ideas seem reasonable.  Since I've got 5 kiddos worth of birthing experience I'm giving you all the ins and outs to help make your experience more smooth sailing than mine.  First note-worthy tip.  Don't bring high heels to wear home. 

Now that I've given birth 5 times, I've learned a thing or two about what is actually helpful and necessary and what is absolutely fluff.  I want to help you avoid some of the mistakes I've made and make your transition to motherhood a little more comfortable, aka, I want you to be prepared/realistic about what's coming.

No Special Certificate If You Forgo Pain Meds
A few things I didn't realize despite all the "Mom" articles I read were that after birth things get swollen.  It makes sense thinking about it, but I just didn't think about it- because no one ever mentioned it. You just pushed a very large bundle out a very small opening.  That combination will make for some swelling.  I just want to assure you that the swelling will go down.  Things will return to close to normal eventually.  Take your pain medication.  Sure, you are still numb so you don't need any meds because you can't feel anything.  That will change.  If you are in intense pain, it will be hard to take care of your baby.  It will be hard to visit with family and friends.  The pain medication is offered for a reason.  You don't get a discount, or a special certificate if you forgo your meds.  All you get is misery.  Nursing is not easy.  Your bosoms will expand with healthy fresh milk that your baby needs and it hurts.  Also, having a baby suck vigorously on your nipples will cause levels of pain that you'll wonder if you could also get an epidural for.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm a pretty big fan of nursing (I've nursed 5 kids for about 2-3 years each).  If you do the math I've got about 12 years of nursing experience under my belt.  I didn't start out as a natural nurser it was a rocky road to start off but I got the hang of it and became an experienced milk-maid.  Now I'm a huge proponent of getting educated about breastfeeding in order to be successful.

Now that I've been through this circus called childbirth 5 times I've created a list of things you actually should bring. 

Flip flops, slippers, or socks and ginormous maxi pads.  Remember when I told you about how your lady parts will be unrecognizable? That's because you just pushed out a baby that is much larger than the hole it came through.  That also means you're going to bleed.  More likely than not it's going to get on the floor.  Especially when you go to the bathroom (which they will make you do even if you're as scared as we all are.  You must at least pee and hopefully poop before they will release you, Dr.'s Orders).  Think about how many mothers have bled, thrown-up, etc on that very same floor.  Just think about it. And now pack some easy slip on shoes or slippers to wear while you walk around.  You cannot wear tampons postpartum so maxi pads it is.  They will provide you with plenty at the hospital but you'll need a bunch once you checkout so make sure you're stocked up.

Stool Softener.  Remember how about 2 sentences ago I told you that they will make you go poo and you will be scared.  That is most likely due to the fact that your parts are swollen, bleeding, and sore.  Also factor in that your poop has become a rock solid mass that is content to stay where it is.  Enter stool softener.  Yes, they will have this available at the hospital and will give it to you.  But you will be going home soon and you will need this like a 2-year-old needs their Spidey videos and blanket. You might even carry it around with you like a 2-year-old with a blanket.  Just saying, stool softener will be your best friend. 
Shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush.  Although your spending approximately $3,000 a night for your accommodations that, somehow, does not cover luxurious amenities. So yes, they do have a tiny bottle of cheap shampoo but my hair felt awful after using it. And it was only enough for 1 use.  Depending on your circumstances you could need more than 1 shower and you definitely will want fresh breath.  And smelling and feeling clean can not be overrated at this point. 

Food.  This may be something that only I need but I'm going to include it in case you're like me.  After my baby was born, approximately 15 minutes later, I was starving.  Probably had something to do with the fact that I had been brunching on ice chips for the last 15 hours.  I was ravished.  They immediately brought me some food and I devoured it.  Then I threw it all up.  All over.  Now, don't get me wrong, one of the best parts about having a baby is sitting on your propped up hospital bed snuggling your delicious nugget and picking up your phone to order food.  I'm not kidding, if I ever change tax brackets and get super rich, I'm totally hiring a cook.  One I can call from my bed and order things like "Tex Mex Breakfast hash, grape juice (think stool softener), and wheat toast with grape jam."  I LOVE this part about having a baby.  But you only get three meals a day.  If you're nursing, you will need about 7 meals per day.  My suggestion is, at least bring a few of your favorite snacks to hold you over while you wait for your "Tex Mex Hash" to arrive or to fill in if you've puked your last meal up.

A Hair Dresser/Make-up Artist.  You think I'm being ridiculous or joking.  I'm not.  I don't really mean bring in a professional to do this, but you need to ask a trusted family member or friend to come and gussy you up while you're at the hospital.  You will be too tired to hold up a hair dryer.  Your fingers will be too shaky to properly do eye-liner.  Besides, make-up and hair are beyond your husbands realm of expertise.  He can sit in the corner and hold baby while someone can help you look like the normal you.  This cannot be over-emphasized.  Family and friends will be coming by, gobs of photos will be taken.  Your pride and vanity have not evaporated just because you have a  baby.  The more you look like yourself, the better you will feel.  I promise. And whomever you ask to do this will feel very special and honored to be there for you at this special time. 

Comfy, stretchy clothes.  You won't want your maternity clothes (you will want to burn them) you won't want heels and nylons (just take my word for it) what you will want is something cute-ish (you'll likely be taking pics of this joyous occasion) but comfy (you will be feeling worn out and anxious).  A soft, loose tunic and some stretch pants are my suggestion. You can still look good while feeling comfortable.  It's laughable to look back and remember gingerly removing my hospital gown and pulling out nylons, and cunning little heels for my drive home from the hospital postpartum. (What in the heck was wrong with me?)

A really big, baggy bra (no underwires).  Your nursing boobs will get a lot bigger than you think.  It's kind of amazing, and also painful.  The last thing you want is anything tight squeezing them.  If I wear any kind of wire-bra while nursing I get a clogged duct within 24 hours.  By the 2nd child I stopped using nursing bras.  I just pull down the side, latch that little ravenous mouth on and I'm good.

Phone (with a lot of open storage space), phone charger, camera, batteries or battery charger, an empty camera disk.  This is the greatest moment in your life.  It happens very quickly (if you're lucky), you don't have time to go and get your charger at home, or to the store to get new batteries.  This will cause you a lot of emotional grief if you don't document these moments as a new family.  You also don't have time to delete a photo every time you want to take another one.  

Pillow and blanket.  If you have any sort of preference about texture or denseness you'll want to bring your own.  The hospital pillows are pretty scratchy and too fluffy for me.  You need to get as much sleep as possible and since they are going to wake you up every couple of hours to take your blood, check your bleeding, and deliver your pain meds, it's nice to not have to toss and turn for another hour because their pillows are crap. We all have different temperature preferences.  I tend to get cold in hospitals so I have a much more comfortable stay if I bring a blanket from home to snuggle up with and add extra warmth.

Personal Quirky Items.  I live in a very dry region and can't stand to have dry hands or lips so for me Baby Magic lotion and chapstick are a necessity.   If you're reading this Baby Magic CEO's, I will gladly accept a sponsorship from you.  I love you beyond belief.

Nipple-Shield.  Most-likely you've never heard of this.  I know I hadn't.  Luckily, my sister-in-law gave birth about 9 months before I did and offered this suggestion after I was failing miserably at nursing the first time around.  I was sitting on my toilet at 2 am pumping my severely sore boobs and then tip-toeing to my bedroom (my Mom was asleep on the couch) to bottle-feed my breast milk to my screaming with hunger newborn.  Super fun. It took forever to first pump, then feed my little girl. I couldn't get her to latch on properly and I was bleeding and so sore that I couldn't feed her.  The nipple shield is basically a thin latex cover that helps the baby latch on and can be removed once your initial "let down" is over.  It worked like a charm, helped my nipples heal, and I was able to stop using it after a couple of weeks.  Problem solved.   

Leave Your Stilettos Home
Giving birth is a stressful experience.  I don't care if you've got a Douala and your having a water birth in your front room. If you've taken la mas classes up the ying yang (pun intented) you're going to experience stress.  Even if you have a fully-planned, fully-numbed c-section.  You will be stressed!  There's no way around it.  The stress comes from wanting your baby to be healthy.  That is all you care about.  You want your baby to come out with all the normal parts, to not have any health issues and that is where the stress lies.  Hoping, waiting, and sometimes finding out that not everything is as you hoped and prayed it would be.  Enter, stress.Having a few items of your own and having a plan in place will help alleviate some of that stress.  So, leave your stilettos and tummy sucking nylons at home. And pack plenty of ginormous maxi pads, stool softener, big bra and nursing pads. 

Let me know if I forgot anything that you know to be a necessity!  I'd love to hear.