Fall Favorites!

For those of you who don’t know me…FALL IS MY FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR! Like if fall could be 9 months out of the year (with summer being the other 3 obviously,) I think I would be the happiest girl in the world!

I’m not sure I can chose my favorite thing about it: the cool temperatures (hello jeans+sweatshirts,) the beautiful colors of the leaves, football games, outdoor activities or pumpkin spice lattes. Either way, the vibes of Fall are just something I look forward to all year long.

This year was especially fun and special; being that it’s Fitz’s first Fall experience! Does anyone else feel like Northern Michigan really lucked out this year with some warm, sunny and colorful days! Kwin and I definitely took advantage of this with lots of hiking, biking and “fall-ish” activities. Let me know if you enjoyed any of these too; or if we need try some new things next year!

Hiking and Biking

  • Vasa Single Track– HIGHLY recommend going here for an epic bike during the fall! NMMBA has done an awesome job recently of creating more trails for you to explore all over the state land in Williamsburg, MI. You can also hike or RZR on designated trails.
  • Electric Bikes on the backroads– We invested in some Electric bikes a couple years ago, specifically for bike rides like these! We are able to cover so much ground, and still enjoy the ride. Plus adventuring on back dirt roads is always so much fun with Kwin. Shoutout to Oma Jo for hanging out with Fitz so we could have a little day date!
  • Home Sweet Home– We’ve spent so much time over the past five years working on trails around our property. I’m not lying when I say they are my favorite trails to hike! The dogs can be off leash, so many different trails to choose from, and the beauty of the landscape makes it great too!
  • Mt. Holiday– A local favorite for skiing in the Traverse City area is also a favorite for hiking year round! Climbing to the top of the main ski hill really gives you an epic view of both East and West Grand Traverse Bay!
  • Marquette Trip– Our annual UP fall trip took place in Marquette this year. It was a beautiful and sunny weekend; filled with lots of hiking! Some of our favorites are Hogsback, Sugarloaf, Deadriver Falls and catching sunrise on Lake Superior. Fun fact… FOUR years ago Kwin and I got engaged on top of Hogsback Mountain; and look at us now with our beautiful baby girl in the same spot! This hike will always have so much special meaning to me.

Fall Treats

  • Pumpkin Spice Lattes– I’m usually not for frilly drinks, I’m pretty lame and just prefer a good black coffee. BUT this time of year calls for all the frilly pumpkin drinks I can get my hands on. If you’re in the Traverse City area…. go to Espresso Bay and get their pumpkin spice latte (it’s made with REAL pumpkin, no fake sugary syrups) YOU WONT REGRET IT.
  • Third Coast Bakery– Donuts aren’t really my jam, and I usually only have one pumpkin donut a year. However, after trying one of there HIGHLY RECOMMENDED GF donuts… I was converted to a donut person. Lets just say we made it a Sunday tradition to get a few of these bad boys! If you’re in the Traverse City area and looking for a bakery that is Gluten Free and very allergen friendly (soy, dairy and some items even egg free) give this place a try! I haven’t had a bad bakery item yet!
  • Pumpkin Patch– Is it really fall if you don’t go to a pumpkin patch? Unfortunately with COVID, this wasn’t the “usual” pumpkin patch experience…but we still made the best of it!

Sports

  • Lions Games– Even though the lions let us down 75% of the time, we still spend our Sundays cheering them on!
  • Elk Rapids Sporting Events– I love fall because of all the sports! And with Kwin taking a break from coaching this year, we had more time to go support the other teams; like football, soccer and volleyball! Fitz is enjoying going to all these games too. I’ve got a feeling she’s going to be a little sports star!

Family Fun

  • Sauna Season – I missed out on sauna season last year, due to being pregnant. But let me tell ya, I’m so excited the weather is cooling off and the sauna is being lit again!
  • Hot Tubs– Kwin and Fitz have some fun bonding time in the hot tub before “tubby time” almost daily! My heart melts watching her splashing around in there and interacting with daddy. She really is a water lover already.
  • HalloweenEEEEKKK, I was looking forward to Halloween so much! In fact, Fitz rocked three outfits and looked absolutely adorable in all of them. Dottie from a ‘League Of Their Own,’ A Polar Bear, and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle!

Writing this on our first wintery day -hello white stuff&40mph winds– and getting a little sad that fall has come to an end. We are lucky in Michigan to experience all four seasons, as it really makes you appreciate whatever season you are currently in.
So I’ll sign off hear and say: Until next year Fall!

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(:

Our Next Adventure, 1st Trimester

Man, I’ve been waiting since I was a little girl to write this!

KWIN AND I ARE GOING TO BE PARENTS!

Woah, did I really just write that?! That was actually a little intimidating…but at the same time gave me butterflies from the excitement(: Anyway, lets get into the dirt of how the first trimester of pregnancy went for me.

I’ll be honest, getting pregnant was NOT EASY for Kwin and I. In fact, it took a lot longer than we anticipated (I fully intend on writing a blog on the whole process)…but everything happens for a reason and now our little Miracle baby is finally on her way.

I get asked this questions basically in every conversation I have nowadays “How are you feeling” or “How horrible was your first trimester?” Well, I’m happy to report, but my first trimester of pregnancy was actually great! I had no morning sickness, no nausea, and no major food eversions. I’d definitely say that I was a lucky one!

My symptoms

  • Extreme Fatigue! Once 2pm hit I was ready to be in bed and could probably have slept until the next morning.
  • Getting winded doing the simplest activities. Now I know I’m an active person, so maybe someone who doesn’t do all the activities that Kwin and I do on a normal basis would have said no change…but when we were hiking on some of our trips, or even just up our driveway, I would be really riding the struggle bus.
  • Not an extreme food eversion, but vegetables did not appeal to me like they usually do.
  • Sore and tender breasts! Phew, not only were my boobs tender but they also grew at least one cup size (Kwin’s favorite thing yet.)

My Favorites

  • My Favorite foods were: Avocado toast for breakfast. ALL THE CITRUS FRUIT- especially clementines, pineapple, mango and raspberries. CARBS…pasta, wraps, etc.
  • Sleeping…yes I would go to sleep at 6:45pm almost every night.
  • LuLu Lemon Align leggings, they have no compression effect on the bloated and now growing stomach!
  • Lemon water. For some reason tap water would make me nauseous sometimes, so I found that freezing lemons and putting them in my water would help prevent that.
  • My home doppler ultrasound that I purchased on Ebay. This might easily be the best purchase EVER! At around 11 weeks you can start to pick up the baby’s heartbeat, and being able to listen to her whenever I wanted was such a sense of relief. It’s almost torture sometimes waiting between your appointments, especially when you’re early on and can’t feel any movement/don’t feel pregnant sometimes. (Side note, I am a Nurse and do have some education regarding human anatomy and knew what I was looking for.)

Adventures We Did During First Trimester

  • Fall UP Cabin Trip. This trip was technically during the “two week wait,” however, I had this strong feeling that I was pregnant the whole time!
  • Detroit for Thanksgiving. This was a pretty fun trip for us. It’s when we told my whole family (McCormack side) and some of my closest friends back at home. We also did our annual 5K run on thanksgiving morning, which yes was a little bit more difficult this time.
  • Sedona Arizona. Man, what a trip this was! We were planning to make our “Facebook” announcement while on this trip as I had finally made it to the 12 week mark! We also found out that we were having a beautiful baby girl while hiking! It was such a fun and memorable trip for us(:

Training and Other Activities

I’ve been very fortunate to feel good during my first trimester and still able to do most of my normal activities. My mindset has been- If I feel good, then just keep going. But if something feels off at all, then just stop. Pretty simple.

  • Detroit Turkey Trot 5K and Farmland 5K
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Weight Training
  • Barre classes
  • Hiking

Pregnancy has been such a fun and fulfilling journey so far! I know I’m lucky to have felt as good as I have…but I really feel that taking care of myself before pregnancy and being in such good health really helped! I hope you all enjoyed getting a little glimpse of this journey so far for me and I can’t wait to share how this journey continues to go for us!

Things Are Getting Serious…Recovery is Real!

Alright, never did I EVER think I would be writing this blog. But truth be told, I’m feeling really confident today and have had this overwhelming feeling like telling my story will not only help me continue in my recovery, but may help others too! So here goes nothing…

Growing up I was an active young girl. I played competitive soccer and volleyball, I ran for fun, swam in my backyard, biked with all my friends and well pretty much did anything outside! I ate when I was hungry, and stopped when I was full. One could say, I lived a pretty “normal” childhood. I had great friends and family; whom always supported me and provided nothing but encouragement and a positive environment to grow up in.

It wasn’t until the summer going into my senior year of high school that things began to change.

  • I was being recruited to play collegiate soccer (stressor #1)
  • Changing soccer teams [this meant leaving the team I had played with since I was 8 years old] and going to a team that would help prepare my for the collegiate level (stressor #2)
  • Dealing with some friendship issues (stressor #3)
  • Rebelling out against my mom [She was the best mom I could have ever asked for, but we clashed heads a lot. Especially in my high school years] (stressor #4)
  • I was letting my perfectionism get to the best of me-especially regarding school grades (stressor #5)

So all of this added up and I felt like I had completely lost control of my life. UNTIL….I found that I could control what I ate! This meant how much, what kinds of foods, etc. I took this and ran with it! So from June 2011 to about January 2012, I had lost a significant amount of weight. Because I was only 17, I was still considered a minor. So my parents decided to do what was best for me at the time, and get me some help! This meant going away to an inpatient hospital program for about 1.5 months to fully recover. While there I was able to gain all the weight back that I had lost, but never truly learned how to control WHAT CAUSED THE PROBLEM IN THE FIRST PLACE! I graduated the hospital program and a couple months later graduated from high school too!

Fast forward a couple years, I was now in college and living the best life! The summer of 2014 I got accepted to work [as a Nurse Tech] at the hospital I ALWAYS wanted to work in when I graduated Nursing school. So I packed my bags and moved in with my wonderful Aunt and Uncle for the summer! Not only was I finally living in my dream town (Elk Rapids, Michigan) but that summer I also met my now husband<3. Life was going great and I was truly living the dream!

Until that following spring….my papa, whom I was very close to, lost his battle with Dementia and passed away. I was lost, HOW could he be gone? This is when things went downhill again…

 

  • My papa passing away (stressor #1)
  • Nursing school, which is incredibly tough! (stressor #2)
  • The societal ‘norms’ of having a perfect body (stressor #3)

I went back to my controlling habits. This time it wasn’t only food, it was also over exercising! From June 2015-February 2016 I was eating MAYBE 1000 calories a day [being VERY strict about counting calories, and habitual about what I ate.] I had to get in ATLEAST one seriously demanding workout a day, usually about 60 minutes in duration + running all the time! Phew, just writing that is giving me anxiety again!

By the time February came around, my husband [boyfriend at the time] was threatening to leave me, I had become incredibly antisocial, had lost a ton of weight again, and was depressed. With the encouragement of my husband and family I seeked out help. This time I went through an outpatient program [that way I could finish out Nursing school…especially because I was graduating that April.] Man, I’m so glad I did! The difference between this program and the previous one was night and day. The counselors actually dug deep into WHAT the problem was and WHY I was acting the way I was. They helped me to learn to balance my eating habits, and good coping mechanisms for stressful times. I “graduated” from the outpatient program at the same time as Nursing school and truly felt like a new women!

Fast forward again to now! I’ve been “recovered” since May 2016, but I say recovered gently. I still have days where I feel crummy about my body, where I want to restrict food, and compare myself to others. But I use the tools I learned on a daily basis to keep me from going into that dark place again. What I put my body through was absolute hell, and the fact that I’m still here and able to do all the wonderful things I do [like bike, run, workout, yoga, cook, etc] is a true testament to how strong the human body can be. I am mentally, physically and emotionally stronger than I’ve ever been! CHEERS TO THAT!

Today’s society has some pretty harsh ‘norms’ which can be misleading and devastating to the younger generations. Praising the skinny, lean models and bashing the fuller, curvy women. Its so wrong! Not only that, but all the “quick-fix” diets that are around too…ugh it just disgusts me! One thing I’ve learned from my past experiences is that being present and appreciating the things in life that you DO have are what makes life so amazing.

To this day, I’m still struggling with some of the long term effects of having an eating disorder….but that’s for another post. I hope this helps anyone who is currently struggling! Just know, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. BUT YOU HAVE TO PUT THE WORK IN TO SEE THE BENEFITS!

 

Miracle Morning

Three years ago, I was lost. A ‘soon to be’ graduated college student; searching for jobs, and anxious to be out on my own for the first time in my life!

Here is a little history that has lead me to take my health more seriously, and why I got more interested in a healthy Morning Routine! This part is going to be vey personal, and really hard to write. But I hope that it will help anyone who is going through the same things that I struggled with, and still am struggling with to this day!

I was fighting a demon [a lovely eating disorder] that had taken over my life for the past year, and was trying to get back to living a “normal life.” My husband [boyfriend at the time] suggested that I read the book ‘Miracle Morning,‘ written by Hal Elrod, with hopes that I could find my path, and a way to decrease my self induced stress and anxiety. I remember not being very interested at the time; Thinking that meditation was a waste of time and energy, and if I didn’t get in a “hard workout” before work or class, then my day would start off on a bad foot. Little did I know, but this mindset was setting me up for failure and a total burnout!

Fast forward a year in a half, after Kwin and I got married, I decided to get off birth control with the intentions to “cleanse my body from the toxic-artificial hormones” and thought that soon after we would be able to start a family. BOY WAS I OBLIVIOUS! The years of mental stress, physical stress and not taking care of myself nutritionally had really taken a toll on my body. My hormones were completely wonked out, and unfortunately resulted in me not having a period! How sad is it, that something so serious had to happen for me to open my eyes to the real world? To realize that what I was doing to “live a healthy lifestyle” was actually harming me!

So January of 2018, when I still hadn’t gotten my period back, I decided to stop with the bullshit and take matters into my own hands. I did hours of research on what could be wrong. I saw my gynecologist and and starting seeing a naturopath-both with hopes that they would give me the magic pill to heal my problems. May I note that during this whole experience I was still very stressed, working out 5x a week, and never letting myself rest. It wasn’t until August 2018 [one year after stopping birth control] that I realized the magic pill was to just CHILL OUT! With the help of my Natropathic Dr, we were able to finally give my health problem a diagnosis: Hypothalamic Amenorrhea  [the absence of menses for greater than 3 months, and all other medical conditions have been ruled out.] OK, so now I’ve got a diagnosis but how do I heal myself? The research I had done put a lot of emphasis on the the best ways to recovering was to decrease my stress, cut back on my working out and eat more!

January 2019, still no period and I’m frustrated beyond belief. What else can I do? I’ve cut back on my working out to 3 days a week, and nothing extremely intense! I’ve gained many pounds since our wedding, and definitely enjoyed eating more! So what else?

  • Decreased working out- CHECK.
  • Weight gain-CHECK.
  • Eating More-CHECK.
  • Self Care and Decreasing Stress- NOPE, GOTTA WORK ON THIS.

So January 2019 I finally decided to give that book, Miracle Morning, that my husband had suggested I read THREE YEARS AGO a try…and man am I happy I did!

So what exactly is the ‘Miracle Morning’ all about? Basically it’s one of those LIFE CHANGING books that really kicks your butt into gear, and opens your eyes on how to improve your life in SIMPLE WAYS! Hal Elrod uses the platform of ” Life S.A.V.E.R.S” as a way to help organize your miracle morning.

  • S- is for Silence.
  • A- is for Affirmations
  • V- is for visualization
  • E- is for exercise
  • R- is for reading
  • S- is for scribbling

So with this in mind, I’m going to walk you through what ‘Megan’s Miracle Morning’ looks like; and keep in mind it’s not perfect, but it’s what works for me.

A typical morning for me on days that I work [being a Nurse I am gone for 14+ hours a day, so being productive and calm is very necessary in the morning.]

  • I wake up around 5am and brush me teeth immediately.
  • I then drink about 8oz of warm water, usually with a lemon in it too.
  • From there I proceed to a quit room and do about 15-20 minutes of yoga to get my blood pumping and some stretching in.
  • Once of yoga is complete I will then meditate for about 10-15 minutes! I’ve found that I need some guided assistance for meditating, so I use the ‘Calm’ app! It’s wonderful and has a ton of options for mediation…keep in mind that after your 7 day free trial, you do have to purchase a subscription.
  • After that is complete I finish getting ready for work which usually consists of making my Matcha Tea [I love to buy local if I can and Light of Day Organics has some of the best tea around!] and my protein smoothie for later in the morning.
  • Finally I clean my face and listen to meditation radio on pandora.

Nothing crazy, but I’ve definitely noticed a change in my overall mood throughout the day! Now, Hal encourages affirmations and journaling in the morning too. But given my time constraints, I don’t want to be stressed and try forcing too many things in! Gratitude journaling is really important though, so I try and do that at some point during the day. A good time I’ve found to do gratitude journaling is if I’m feeling stressed or just BLAH.

To end the night, I try and do a bedtime routine as well! Going along the same principles as my miracle morning, I’ve found some habits that work for me.

  • Starting with making some Nighty Night tea-I use Traditional Madicinals with a dollop of Elderberry Syrup-from Herb Pharm (because who has time to be sick.)
  • I then do a skin care routine to help make sure that I’m going to bed with nice clean skin!
  • Limiting my phone time before bed is something I’m still working on…but I know that it’s been proven to help with improving sleep habits.
  • I journal right when I get in bed as a “Review of the day” or to just get anything off my chest that may impede on getting a good night sleep.
  • Lastly, I ALWAYS make sure to have my essential oils diffusing-THANK YOU LAVENDAR!

So, my Miracle Morning is not perfect. It changes based on if I’m working or not. But in general is remains the same…and I love it! I’m so happy that my husband encouraged me to read Hal Elrod’s book, and has also set a great role model for me [He has been doing his own Miracle Morning for about 3 years now!] If you haven’t yet read the book I would highly encourage you too, and start implementing your own form of Miracle Morning too!