We are hiking across the Midwest several times in the coming months for the holiday season, loading up our Camry with a toddler, a 50 pound dog and all of our luggage.  We love visiting our far-away family, and while we certainly wish that we could all live in the same place, having such hospitable parents makes the hike less of a chore.  Aside from the fact that they are early risers and don’t mind waking up with Little C when he wakes with the sun (or earlier – ugh), it is extremely helpful that they have worked with us to accumulate a collection of baby items that lightens our packing load.

While there are certain things that must be schlepped, like his clothing in constantly expanding sizes, after hauling many unnecessary items to and fro far too many times over the past 17 months, we have slowly built a stash of items that will be kept at Grandma’s house.  We are operating under the assumption that Little C will be the first of many grandkids, so there are some items worth investing in to reside permanently at the grandparents.  Certain items we insisted on buying new, whereas others were hand-me-downs from previous generations or great garage sale finds.  Here are some of the items that live permanently with Grandma and Grandpa Confetti:

1) Crib:  My parents bought a crib for Little C before our first visit.  They know that we want a big family, and figured that rather than purchase a pack ‘n play (or ask us to haul ours back and forth), a crib was a solid investment.  They set it up in the same room as my twin bed from my childhood, so eventually Little C will transition into that, and the crib will lay in waiting for future mini spawn.  Any crib will do, since all cribs sold in the United States must meet safety standards, so we gave my parents the go-ahead to find an affordable option.

2) Library Card:  After lugging a stack of Little C’s favorite bedtime books back and forth, I woke up and realized, DUH!  The Library!  While we absolutely take advantage of the library here, and my parents are regular borrowers at their local library, it never occurred to me that we didn’t need to bring books BYOB style.  During our most recent trip, we visited the local library and took out 10 books – a few favorites and a bunch of new ones – and not only that, we found out that their children’s area has a great indoor play area for when C needs a change of scenery.

3) Sippy Cups and Plates:  Keeping a couple cups are grandma’s house (one for milk, one for water) and a few plastic plates and cups means that we don’t ever have to pack them again.  It is a cheap fix for a lot of hassle when it comes to checking items off of your packing list and managing the bulk of All. Of. The. Things.

4) Wipes and Diaper Cream: Diapers change sizes as a baby grows, but the need for wipes and diaper cream remain the same.  It’s so easy to buy a few packs of wipes and a tube of cream to leave at Grandma’s house.

5) High Chair: We have a large, freestanding high chair at home, but there is no need to spend a lot of money for a high chair for grandma’s house.  We LOVE this high chair – it is extremely affordable, portable, easily stored when we are not in town, has two levels of tray space, and keeps Little C safely in his seat to eat his food.

6) Car or Stroller: One of my mom’s friends lent her this awesome Step2 Push Around Buggy, while is totally novel to Little C, and a great alternative to bringing our stroller, which takes up valuable trunk space.  Unless we have plans that we know will require the use of a stroller, we can explore the neighborhood and enjoy the great outdoors on this cool buggy.  If it weren’t for this great gift, we would have purchased the First Years Jet Stroller, a wonderful and inexpensive option that could last with light use for Little C’s visits and for babies to come.

7) All-in-one Bath Soap: We opted not to keep a tub at my parents, because in a pinch, a baby can always be bathed in the sink or seated/propped on a towel on the floor of the tub.  Toys aren’t necessary, since plastic cups are profoundly entertaining, obviously, but soap is mandatory.  Why bring soap that could explode in your bag when you can just buy a bottle and leave it there?

Do you keep any baby items at grandma’s house?