Prepping for Baby #2

“Hello, Santa? I know it’s a bit early, but I wanted to ask for a little advance. I just found out that a baby sister is not a sure thing… and that if I don’t get one, we won’t be able to use the name ‘Elsa.’ I’ve been a very good girl, and I’m hoping you can help me out here! I’m willing to brush my teeth without complaint for this.”

Mitch here! (And Kelly to jump in halfway through.)

I walk around this city doing my daddy thing. I buy groceries. Also, I make mac ‘n cheese. I play the male lead in whatever Disney movie we’re currently obsessed with and acting out. But inside, I can barely contain my excitement. Because in a few short months, I get to meet the newest member of my family. I don’t know how to accurately convey this, but it’s a new person! A new sense of humor and a new dancing partner. A new person to play games with. Also, a new person to console in the middle of the night. A new voice when we sing songs. A new person to fall in love with. How crazy is that? I should probably get ready or something.

If I could summarize this pregnancy, for me, in a single word it would be “overconfident.” After raising Emma to the ripe old age of 2.5, I strut around like I’m some kind of Super Dad. Long nights? Formula? Plush giraffes? Make way and take heed. Master Dad coming through! I know how to do this now! But it’s safe to say that I’ve kind of forgotten what it’s actually like to have an infant at home, and that there’s some gear we need to buy as well as plans we need to make. (Despite having been through this before!) So today, we’re sharing all of that!

If you follow this blog closely, you know that we’re a big Marshalls family.

As a dude who spends most shopping trips near the door, tapping my foot and glancing at my watch, I love shopping Marshalls. Kelly and I dart through the aisles, looking for designer labels at incredible values and we have a blast presenting each other with our discoveries. Even Emma gets in on it with about three dozen toys she “needs.” Good finds, Emma, but not happening. And Marshalls is just as baby crazy as I am this season, as the store is stocked with tons of baby products–especially this month. Whether you need apparel, toys or gear, it’s all right there, available for a fraction of the price you’d normally find in other stores! It’s the perfect place to stock up on all your baby essentials.

Handing things over to Kelly now, but here’s what we picked up on our most recent trip:

Marshalls had a TON of gender-neutral apparel
Marshalls had a TON of gender-neutral apparel, which we really appreciated
Marshalls had a TON of gender-neutral apparel, which we really appreciated


Because we don’t know the sex of the baby yet, shopping for clothing is a little difficult. When I was pregnant with Emma, I bought all boy clothing–washed ’em all, too–because I was so convinced that I was having a boy. 😂 Luckily, I’m really into the whole nautical look for girls, too… so they didn’t go to waste. But this time, I’m going to far more gender-neutral stuff, and one or two blue/pink pieces to bring the baby home in. (Can’t tell you how happy I was when my mom ran out to grab a few pink onesies! Obviously not a big deal, but made bringing Emma home even more special and fun.)

Marshalls had a TON of gender-neutral apparel, which we really appreciated. Elephants are always a sure thing since they’re grey… so I picked up some adorable elephant-themed booties and a plush bath robe, which were less than $10 each. (We used robes with Emma instead of towels because they were a lot cozier!) And I couldn’t help myself and grabbed a couple of navy and pink onesies to pack in my hospital bag. :)

Gear - This was the area I was most excited about because Marshalls had our favorite baby monitor!


This was the area I was most excited about because Marshalls had our favorite baby monitor! Mitch and I have tried so many fancy video baby monitors, but have found the simpler ones–particularly this guy!–to be the most reliable. Unfortunately, our master bedroom is on a different floor than our nursery… and we live in a house from the 1800s and thus are dealing with a lot of brick walls that often affect baby monitor frequencies. But we’ve had zero issues with this product, and I’m so happy that we were able to score a second one for much less than we paid for Emma’s!

The quality bottles were a great find, too. We lost literally every single one of ours by the time we were past that stage, so we were in need of a restock. And a soft gray blanket seemed right, too, since Emma still sleeps with hers every night! Finally, we go through washcloths almost as quickly as we go through bath water 😜, so those were a no-brainer… and then I’ve simply always wanted one of those flat-lay month blankets for photos to send to family. I picked up this adorable one for $9.99!

KIds toys with Marshalls
KIds toys with Marshalls


Because our home is so small, we gave away all our baby toys last year to our friend Blair when she had Owen as well as to some neighbors with younger kids. I love the strong community of families here in Chicago, and how we all pass around stuff since space is tight and storage is limited. (A special thanks goes out to our neighbors Janie and Elise, who are constantly passing down their toddler toys to Emma! We love you guys.)

Despite this, we wanted to pick up a few new toys for the baby–and ones that perhaps Emma would be interested in as well, that way the two can play together. :) My sister-in-law, Sarah, gave Emma one of those microwavable stuffed animals when she was first born, and it was so helpful in soothing her in the early days! And Emma herself selected the cell phone (of course), the caterpillar ring and the beach-themed teething toy (in memory of our Florida trip), which I found adorable and very special.

What we still need to figure out

  • What stroller to get: We need a double! I honestly haven’t done a lot of research yet, but am leaning toward a tandem one so it’s easy to maneuver on city streets and in and out of stores, restaurants and the gym. But would love to hear your thoughts!
  • Where we’re living: Eek. We did think that things in this department would be settled by now, but they are not. I’ve pleasantly surprised myself about how easygoing I’ve been about the whole thing, though! I mean, I’d love to have a solid plan right now. But if we aren’t able to move before the baby arrives, everyone will be just fine!
  • Where the baby will sleep: For now, we are not turning our guest room/office into a second nursery because for the first three months of Emma’s life, she slept with us. And since we’re hoping to move soon, I’d love to know what kind of space we have before buying new furniture. (If the baby is a girl, I’ll probably pass down our current white nursery furniture and invest in some “big girl” pieces for Emma… but if it’s a boy, I’ll likely go with darker stuff. We’ll see!) So yes: the baby will sleep with us in the pack n’ play for a while, and we’ll cross the second nursery bridge when we get to it. I’m lovin’ Laid Back Kelly, haha!

 Have you found anything awesome at Marshalls lately? We can’t get over how fabulous the baby selection is, and can’t recommend checking it out more! Once we find out whether we’re having a boy or girl, you know we’ll be going back for additional surprises! :)

This post was sponsored by Marshalls, but all opinions are my own. As always, thank you so, so much for supporting the brands and partnerships that keep Kelly in the City up and running.