Traveling with an 8-Month Old, All the Essentials!

Hi friends!
It’s been awhile since I last wrote a post…What can I say, life has been busy!
Any who, if we’re friends on instagram then you know that Kwin, Fitz and I just went for our FIRST trip on a plane! We flew to the sunny Florida to visit my grandma for a couple days. It was refreshing to get some sunshine and warm weather to say the least!

Leading up to our travels I was feeling pretty anxious about WHAT TO PACK for my little girl! I watched countless YouTube videos, talked to family and friends and ultimately felt pretty confident with how everything went. So here is a compiled list of everything to make traveling with a little one a little easier!

DISCLAIMER REGARDING TRAVELING DURING COVID both Kwin and I are fully vaccinated as well as my grandma! We flew on Delta airlines which I was VERY impressed with; They were very strict on the “mask wearing” and had the middle seat blocked off still. Once in Florida we we made sure to follow all the “safety protocols” that we do when at home.

Packing Essentials

  • Carseat and Car Attachment- These are FREE to fly with! We checked ours at the baggage check since we had a straight flight to Fort Myers. One thing that I will do next time though is get a carseat bag! If we were going to have layovers I probably would have checked it at the gate to make sure that it gets to our final destination!
  • Stroller- We didn’t end up packing our stroller because my grandma had already gotten us one! However, many people suggest bringing it and checking it at the gate to help with moving around through the airport. These are also FREE to fly with.
  • High Chair– Depending on where you are going…most airbnb’s and hotels don’t have highchairs for your baby! We love this one as it is compact and easy to travel with
  • Pack-N-Play- We love THIS one. It is so compact and easy to travel with. My cousin recommended folding it up and packing it right in Fitz’s suitcase…GENIUS!
  • Buy a Seat vs. Infant on Lap- When flying with a baby that is <2 years old you have two options. You can buy them a seat and place their carseat directly on it to fly, or you can have the infant sit on your lap for the duration of the flight. We chose the second option and I was hoping that Fitz would sleep most of the flight anyway (she did’t, but still did AMAZING) Something you have to do if you chose the “infant on lap option” is call the airline and get them added to your boarding pass! It was very easy to get done, but important because they still need to account for her!
  • Bring baby’s birth certificate- At security check in they may or may not ask for this!
  • Diaper Bag- ALWAYS PACK 1 MORE DIAPER THAN YOU THINK YOU’LL NEED! I also had multiple outfit changes (just incase she had a blowout on the plane,) and lots of toys/distractions! To be honest though, Fitz was more interested in the packaged foods and plastic wrapped fork they gave us that she barely played with anything I brought for her.
  • Take Off and Landing- Just like adults, baby’s can struggle with the pressure changes at take off and landing! To help counter this, make sure to your feed baby! The swallowing can help relieve the pressure changes. Whether it be breastfeeding or bottle feeding, this is KEY!
  • Baby Monitor– Love these so that we weren’t stuck sitting inside during nap time.
  • Baby Carrier- Our ERGO baby carrier goes EVERYWHERE with us! It made walking through the airport, walking the beach, and just around town so easy.
  • Reusable swim diapers– I was debating between the reusable vs. disposable swim diapers and ultimately decided with the reusable ones! Not only are they better for the environment, but they also just seem to “work” better! One main difference between regular diapers and swim diapers is the fact that they don’t absorb pee! The main purpose of these diapers is to contain and poop that baby might have while in the water. PLUS I really liked that the reusable ones don’t swell up when in the water, making it really difficult for baby to move around.
  • Sunscreen– We love Baby Bum for Fitz!
  • Diapers and Wipes- These are something that we didn’t pack in our bags. To save space I just went to the store right upon arrival and stocked up for the week!

Thanks for reading! If you don’t already, make sure to follow along on our adventures on Instagram!

Winter Essentials For The Baby!

So I’ve been asked quite a bit lately by family and friends how we dress Fitz to “Bear The Elements” in the lovely Northern Michigan winter weather. And while I always start my response out with encouraging LAYERS… I do have to say that we have found some pretty cool things that help to keep Fitz nice and toasty on our outdoor adventures.

  1. Zutano Booties– These are an absolute MUST in my opinion. Fitz wears these booties/slippers everyday! They aren’t 100% baby-proof (ie. Fitz can sometimes still get them off her feet…) but they stay on so much better than just socks! Her feet stay so warm both chilling inside around the house, and also when we’re outside playing. I will say though that when we go on longer outdoor trips we double up with socks+these booties.
  2. Ergobaby Fleece Lined Winter Cover– A friend of mine showed me this, and man am I happy we got it! The cover straps right on to your Ergo baby carrier (not sure if/how it would work with other brands) and creates the most perfect cocoon of warmth for her to sit in while we are out and about.
  3. A Good SnowSuit- This might seem like common sense…but there are so many out there to pick from! We love our North Face, Patagonia and Snozu one. Yup, we have three. Anyone who has tried to buy baby clothes knows that EVERY BRAND’S SIZING IS SO DIFFERENT! We have three 3-6 month snowsuits and each of them is a completely different size. PLUS I can attest to this first hand, but having a backup snowsuit is never a bad thing!
  4. Little One Shop Co– I love this company’s clothes so much! They are super soft, stretchy and perfect for layering. You’ve probably seen Fitz wearing these outfits all the time…but I can’t help myself!
  5. Warm Fuzzy Hat and Gloves- Again, I feel like this is a no brainer. But sometimes people just gotta see it written out to remember(: We love our Patagonia, North Face and hats that we got from TJ MAXX or H&M!

People think we’re crazy for taking Fitz outside as much as we do…but gotta start them early, right?

Annual Trip To The UP…AND WE SAW TWO BEARS!

Yup you read that right, TWO BEARS! Don’t worry, both were within reasonable distance away…but still pretty cool! Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is pretty chuck full of wildlife and it’s especially noticeable this time of year. With animals coming out of hibernation, and the lack of leaves on trees to hide things in the woods; You’re chances of seeing something on a hike are very high!

We weren’t uncertain to whether or not we would even be able to make this annual trip of ours to the cabin (due to COVID and the stay-at-home order here in Michigan.) However, when Governor Whitmer loosed the restrictions allowing people to go to their second residences, we ran for it! Obviously following all necessary precautions- wearing masks at gas stations, bringing in all our own food from a grocery store around home, and only going to the cabin!

The trip was nothing short of amazing, per usual! In fact, because Kwin doesn’t have to be at work currently we were able to stay longer than ever… 6 days! Whew, that’s a long time staying at a primitive cabin with no running water, electricity, or cell phone service. But man, it was much needed during this time of craziness!

We spent lots of time hiking (averaging 8-10miles per day,) reading, doing chores around the cabin, fishing, searching for the biggest White Pines we could find (we found one with 14ft circumference) and spending quality time with each other!
Would you believe me if I told you there were still HUGE snowbanks? Welp, there was! The currently melting snow resulted in REALLY high water levels in the rivers and HUGE waterfalls, I had never seen them pumping so much!

Kwin and I enjoy and look forward to this trip so much!
With the sprouting tree buds, the chirping birds, muddy terrain, and sunny days…It’s a true sign that we’ve made it through another Michigan winter!
I hope you enjoy the blog and are getting outside during this beautiful spring weather yourself!

PS. For anyone who cares, baby girl did great with all the hiking and activity this past week! I cannot wait to bring her up to the cabin with us and make a whole bunch of new memories with her(:

Feeling On Top Of The World, 2nd Trimester!

I can’t believe how fast time goes when you’re pregnant! I mean it feels like just yesterday that I was secretly taking the positive pregnancy test in my bathroom, and now I’m finishing up 2nd trimester! I think it helps that throughout the entire pregnancy I’ve felt 100% normal, despite my body physically changing, not too much has changed.
I will say, most people said that 2nd trimester would be the best; I’d get my energy back, the minimal food eversions I was having would be gone, and I would just feel on top of the world. Well, thank you everyone for the positive words because YOU WERE ALL CORRECT.

A lot has been going on for Kwin and I during this trimester, as well as a lot going on in the world. So lets’ dig into the good stuff!

My Symptoms

  • Ligament Discomfort: Around week 18 I started experiencing some pelvic discomfort, most notable after being on my feet all day at work, or after a long walk/hike. The discomfort is not unbearable, just more of an annoying feeling. To help with this I’ve been seeing a Chiropractor weekly (shout out to Dr.Darnell at Torch Lake Chiropractic) as well as stretching everyday and incorporating Yoga into our workout regimen more.
  • Winded easily with high cardiac activity– This hasn’t gotten any worse than it was during 1st trimester, but still gets in the way of hiking sometimes! I do know that it’s important not to get my heart rate up too high during pregnancy, so I’m taking the winded feeling as more of a sign to “slow down!”
  • Feeling baby girl kick all the time– This isn’t a bad symptoms at all; In-fact, it’s my favorite thing nowadays! Even if she wakes me in the middle of the night with a kung-fu like kick in the bladder, her movements give me the greatest feeling in the world. I’d say that I started feeling her around week 18, but was kinda uncertain if what I was feeling was actually her. It wasn’t until our 20 week ultrasound that it was confirmed! What I was feeling was indeed her; that’s because we caught all her movements on camera(:

My Cravings

There is NO DOUBT that this child is Kwin’s (Inside joke.) One reason I say this is because ALL of my cravings and eversions are Kwin’s favorite foods to eat and foods he could care less to eat. It’s so interesting how that happens, but in all honesty I don’t mind at all (and neither does Kwin…we’re eating his favorite foods for dinner all the time!)

  • Pasta or Pizza– I’m usually the type of person looking to “health-ify” everything we eat, and this includes pasta (can you say spaghetti squash or zoodles!) But lately, I’ve wanted the FULL gluten, drenched in pesto sauce pasta, or a good pizza.
  • FRUIT– Similar to my 1st trimester, if I could eat fresh fruit all day then I would! Especially the sour/citrus fruits- like pineapple, raspberries, oranges, mango’s, berries.
  • Cranberry Juice– Again, not something I usually fill my glass with; but one of Kwin’s favorite things!
  • Big Salads– I do still love me a big salad filled with lots of veggies. If I’m not craving pasta/pizza, I’m wanting a salad. It’s all about balance, right?
  • NOT A CRAVING, but I don’t have much of a pallet for sweets anymore…and if you know me, you know I’m a sweetaholic!

My Favorite Investments I’ve Made

  • Lulu Lemon leggings– The Align leggings are a gift from the heavens! The high waist band on them allows for your belly to continue growing, without cutting into it or making you feel suffocated. If they weren’t so darn expensive, I think my whole wardrobe would consist of these leggings!
  • Bamboo pant expanders– I’ve been very fortunate to really only be “gaining weight” in my stomach region. I fit in most of my pre-pregnancy pants still, except having a hard time buttoning now. For this reason I was trying to find some good “pant expanders” that wouldn’t show under the shirt I would be wearing. These guys past the test! Super happy with this purchase and will even be able to use them with my shorts this summer.
  • Bamboo nursing bra– Having sore and growing boobs has made me reevaluate my bra situation. I refuse to buy new bra’s because I know this is only a temporary thing…but guys these bra’s are the comfiest things I’ve ever worn! I wear it 99% of the days!
  • Lotion for my growing belly to help prevent stretch marks– I understand that stretch marks are almost inevitable, but if I can try and prevent them in anyway, then I will! I’ve been using lotion from Primally Pure, or just coconut oil on my stomach twice a day! So far, so good!
  • Apps I’ve been using to help track my growing baby:
    • What To Expect- Weekly updates on what baby girl is doing, how big she is, and what my body it going through too! Another nice feature of this app is that I am included is a forum with other momma’s who are also due in July 2020. It’s nice to see what other women are going through as well!
    • The Bump- Similar to the one above, except it doesn’t have the momma forum. I like both apps as they usually share the same information…but maybe a few different things!

COVID-19 And It’s Impact On Us

I’ll be honest, I was kinda a mess at first when the chaos of COVID-19 came around. All the uncertainty of the virus, plus the uncertainty of how it could impact pregnancy and my growing baby…to say I was scared is an understatement. Especially being a nurse, where I am still required to work (lucky for me, I work in the Oncology world and feel very safe around my patients!) After much research, discussion with my OB, and other momma’s going through the same things… I started to feel better. WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!
-COVID-19 has had some negative impacts on our daily lives. Kwin is NOT allowed to go to any of our pre-natal appointments with me right now, I’ve had to cancel/ postpone baby girl’s baby showers, and we weren’t allowed to travel anywhere for spring break!
-COVID-19 has also has some positive impacts on our daily lives. It has allowed Kwin and I to spend a lot of quality time together before baby girl joins our family. We have also accomplished A LOT of chores around the house that have been put off for the past 5 years (basically since we moved in,) and lastly we started working on her nursery!

Adventures

  • Due to COIVD-19 being around for most of my 2nd trimester, Kwin and I were not able to travel much for adventures. However, this time allowed us to explore new trails and old favorites close by!
  • Some of our favorites are: Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, Brown Bridge Quiet Area, Maple Bay and just around our own house!

I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse of what we’ve been up to over the past couple months!
Stay home. Stay safe. And stay healthy during these crazy times!

MOAB UTAH, Round Two

One of the perks of being married to a teacher, are the breaks that he gets throughout the year. Anyone who knows my husband, knows that he cannot sit still and is always planning our next trip.

Living in Michigan, where winter seems to run forever (from October 1 through May 1,) we are always itching to get to the heat by the time Spring Break arrives. With this in mind most people (Including the Morris Clan) flock to the south, seeking out the sun and warm temperatures!

So, where to go?

MOAB, UTAH!

If you’ve never been before, let me try and paint a picture of what Moab is like. Red Cliffs. Snow covered mountains in the distance. The Colorado river flowing through town. TWO National Parks just outside of town- Canyonlands and Arches. An Infinite amount of mountain biking and hiking trails….basically an active individual’s dream!

It was a no brainer that Moab was going to be our destination for spring break. Kwin and I went out to Moab two years ago (plus Kwin has been to it three times before that too,) we just love it. The road trip out there is long….but exciting (yes its about 25 hours straight…but road trips are fun with your best friend!) 

Going into any vacation, we try to have a “skeleton plan” of things that we want to do. But it’s also important to us to be spontaneous…because spontaneousity is what makes life fun, am I right? With this being said, I’d like to share some of our favorite things to do while in Moab!

  • Sunrise and Sunset Hiking– With the two hour time difference, it’s pretty easy for us to be awake in-time for a good sunrise!
    • Some of our favorite sunrises are in Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park (beware, that A LOT of people also like to see the sunrise at these parks, so it’s definitely busy…GET THERE EARLY.) My advise would be to see the sunrise at Delicate Arch and Mesa Arch at least once in your life, because the view really is incredible! But after that, there are plenty of other secret spots to watch the sunrise that would be a little more intimate and less crowded too!

Some of our favorite sunsets are Corona Arch, Moab Rim Trail, or really hiking up on of any cliff you can find! You’re in the middle of the desert so the sunsets are pretty epic from anywhere.

Mountain Biking– Moab is one of the best mountain biking places we’ve ever been too! Honestly, while driving through town I don’t think you drive past a car without a bike on it. They have biking for all levels…but mostly moderate-to-advanced trails! I remember when we were there two years ago I was terrified to do any of the trails because of how “technical” they can be; But this year (with the encouragement of Kwin) I went past my fears and just DID IT! I’m glad I did because the trails were HARD but SO MUCH FUN!

    • Slickrock Trail– Yup, I DIDN’T do this…but I did hike this one. Kwin and our friend Joe crushed this trail, and had so much fun! It’s an advanced trail with some pretty crazy descents and climbs all on sandstone rock.
    • Canyonlands– The drive to the national park from the town of Moab (which is about 30 miles) is littered with trails! A combination of sandstone cliffs and desert riding. These trails range from moderate to advanced and were a blast.

Klondike Trails– Something unique about these trails is that you are riding near or on dinosaur tracks! Thats right, I said dinosaur tracks! Something unique about Moab and it’s terrain is that the sandstone is actually petrified sand dunes, so the geographical history behind the land is pretty awesome! Kwin and I really enjoyed these trails-note they are definitely more on the advanced side, but walking part of the trail is not too bad because of the views!

    • Porcupine Rim Trails– Again, a trail that I DIDN’T do…but Kwin and Joe absolutely killed it. The crazy thing about this trail is that you descend DOWN a mountain about 4000ft. I’ve hiked part of this trail, and it blows my mind that people can bike down it…crazy people!
  • Petroglyphs– The Native American’s- believed to be the Pueblo People- who use to live off the land in Moab left behind some pretty cool pieces of artwork (rock carvings made by hammer and chisel.) Petroglyphs are believed to be a way of communicating and/or celebrating achievements. You can’t see them everywhere, but always be on the look out for the cool pieces of artwork while hiking!

Camping– Kwin and I have created a pretty cool rig that we live in while traveling. With our Aliner camper, an EZ-up Canopy, Solar Panel’s to help keep our camper battery charged, Solar heated shower bags, and all the water and food one could need, we are able to be completely unplugged and off the grid! Camping can be so fun when you have a good set up(:

Being with friends– This year we were lucky to have another family join us…the Shorts! Trips are always so much fun when you’re with other people, and able to make memories with them too. Joe, Leah, Simon and Elmer thanks for making this trip a great one!

As much as we love Michigan, it’s always so sad when vacations are coming to an end (yes, the dogs were sad to be returning to snow again too.) The freedom and spontaneousity of life that vacations bring about are the best! Trips like this one are rejuvenating and make getting back into daily routines exciting. It also excites us for all the upcoming trips that we’ve got planned!

So, can anyone guess where we will be going for next years Spring Break?

If you guessed Moab…YOU’RE RIGHT!

FAMILY VACATION 2018!

For the first time in about 10 year, my family FINALLY did a family vacation! Earlier this year, my mom and I were throwing out ideas about where we could go. The key determinants were: inexpensive, warm, and had a lot of activities we could do. Hawaii? Nope too expensive. Florida? Nope, been there too many times. MexicoOK! Without any argument, we decided to take them to the wonderful Puerto Aventuras, Mexico!
Puerto Aventuras: a small, quaint, gated community located about 50 minutes south east of Cancun (between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum.) Kwin and I have vacationed here two years ago- where it was my first time to Mexico, and Kwin’s…well he’s been here a lot!
We left on Christmas Eve- leaving the snow covered, and bone chilling Michigan- and headed for the sun. Travel tip… Christmas Eve/ New Years Eve typically have the cheapest plane tickets! Customs was a breeze. We then caught a shuttle to pick up our rental car. We ALWAYS rent a car when traveling, even in Mexico, because it allows us more freedom. We don’t have to depend on a bus, other people, time constraints, and predetermined schedules.With the van all packed up we made a quick stop at SAM’s club to load up on some snacks/groceries and then made our way to our final destination! Last time Kwin and I stayed in the Omni Hotel, located right in the downtown area, and this time we stayed in a nice VRBO condo.

So, what is a vacation with Kwin and Megan like? Well, just because we are on “vacation,” doesn’t mean that we are going to be sitting and doing nothing all day. I love relaxing occasionally, reading a good book and getting some good R&R…but when we travel we feel like we should be adventuring new terrain, and diverging into the culture!
Coba
Our first excursion was the Mayan Ruin- Coba. This Mayan community was first settled between 50 BC and 100 AD in the Yucatan Peninsula. However, when the spaniards discovered this land, they brought over deadly diseases, which nearly wiped out the entire population! When Coba you will see the main/ largest pyramid (Ixmoja), spiritual temples, two ball courts, and other Mayan ruins.
Upon arriving you can choose to have a tour guide, which is nice because they are very knowledgable about the ruins, or walking the through by yourself. You can also rent bikes or take a “trolly.”
Ixmoja is one of the ONLY Mayan ruins that you can still climb! It’s a steep 120 stair climb to the top. Most of us were able to make it to the top, and the view once up there is spectacular. Overlooking the vast green jungle, two lakes (Lake Coba and Lake Macanxoc) and seeing evidence of other uncovered Mayan structures.
Given that Coba is a good distance from the Ocean, and in the middle of the jungle, it can get pretty toasty out there! But no need to worry, there are three fun cenotes to jump in just a short 5 minute drive away- Cenotes Tamcach-Ha, Choo-Ha and Multum-Ha. Keep reading to learn a little more about these!

Tulum
Otherwise known as Zama, meaning City of Dawn, because it faces the sunrise. Tulum resides on a bluff facing east toward the Caribbean Sea. Tulum had access to both land and sea trade routes, making it an important trade hub.
All of the Mayan communities were connected to one another by way of path. This is said to have extended for miles connecting Coba, Tulum and Chichén Itzá.
This is probably my favorite Mayan ruin. The ocean views, ability to swim whenever you want, PLUS sunrises and sunsets! Unlike Coba, most of the Tulum ruins have been preserved. This allows you to feel like you are actually walking around the same community that they once did.
FYI: This is a VERY popular tourist attraction, so if you’re not there early in the morning it can get very crowded.

Cozumel
We always make a day trip over to the island of Cozumel, taking a ferry from Playa Del Carmen (which is about a 45 minute ride.)
Downtown Cozumel is similar to any port city- full of people, restaurants, shops, etc. Given it’s a popular location to do a day trip, and where cruise ships port, we like to get away from town ASAP!
Just like last time, we rented mopeds, and cruised around the whole island! Stopping along the way to do some snorkeling, body surfing, or getting some refreshments.

Cenotes
What exactly are these things? They’re natural caves that are filled with fresh water (That’s right, FRESH WATER,) in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. These underwater sinkholes were formed millions of years ago when limestone caves collapse, revealing underground pools.
When driving down the highway you will see signs for cenotes EVERYWHERE! Let me tell you, it’s so refreshing to jump into fresh water pools after doing some hiking all morning.
Most of these cenotes are well managed and cost only a couple pesos. Some of our favorites are: the ones I listed above at Coba- Cenotes Tamcach-Ha, Choo-Ha and Multum-Ha- and Cenote Cristalino (Which is right near where we stayed in Puerto Aventuras.)
Each Cenote is unique….

  • Cenote Choo-Ha has platforms that you can jump off into the water! A 50ft and 20ft jump…believe it or not, I actually did the 50ft jump this time!
  • Multum-Ha supposedly has a legend that a man fell into the hole and his skeletal remains are still at the bottom.
  • Cenote Cristalino is an above ground cenote which has a rock wall to jump off of, and fish that suck on your feet and give you a nice pedicure (if you sit still enough.) You pay big money for that in the states!

FOOD!
Well, how can one go to Mexico and NOT like the food? I think it’s impossible! Fresh guacamole made right there on the spot, fresh pico-de gallo served as we sat down at the table. Fresh seafood. Man, I don’t think we had a bad meal. Plus the food is SO CHEAP here!
Puerto Aventuras main downtown is a popular tourist spot called “Dolphin Discovery.” Surrounding the area with dolphins, sea lions and manatees, is a boardwalk and 10+ local, family owned restaurants.
Each night we tried a different restaurant! We obviously all had favorites, but in my opinion they were all great.
Good food, good drinks, good company!

I’m so glad that we were able to take a fun family vacation with my parents and two younger brothers!
A trip to the sunny, and warm Mexican weather is always so rejuvenating for the soul. Especially living in grey, cloudy and cold Michigan.

Check out Kwin’s Video he made of our trip HERE!

I hope you all enjoyed reading this and are having a great start to the new year!