Here We Go! 2021 Intentions

2020 was a year of inner growth, mental strengthening and finding the silver linings.
It was a chaotic year in so many ways, and also a year full of grounding experiences.
To be honest, it was one of the most wonderful years of my life. I know that I might get a lot of controversial comments with saying that...Buuuut after sitting back and truly evaluating everything, it’s the honest conclusion that I’ve come to.

  • I got to spend so much quality time with Kwin, and it strengthened our relationship with one another.
  • We were able to accomplish so many chores at home that have been building up over the years.
  • We spent so much time outside, adventuring new and old things!
  • We were blessed with the greatest blessing we could have ever asked for: Fitz Annmarie Morris

Going into 2020 I didn’t know what to expect, and I definitely didn’t expect a freaken pandemic!
I, like many, had so many goals to achieve and had such high expectations of what pregnancy would look like: all of my family&friends going through it with me, having a fun baby shower, the family walking into the hospital room once Fitz was born…NOPE! But I’m not here to dwell on the past. Like I said earlier, I’ve found the silver linings in all that was thrown at us last year and going to put all the negativity in the past!

You never know what life is going to throw at you, which is why I’m going to be setting ‘Intentions’ this year and every month setting smaller goals to achieve. I like the idea of both Macro and Micro achievements, and this is a good way to do it!
So here is to 2021!

Intentions for 2021

  1. Journaling– I want to get better at journaling everyday. Whether it be what I’m grateful for, what I’m happy or sad about, something funny that Fitz did, or just a little vent session. I find so much joy in writing and getting what’s on my mind out! I have an app on my phone that I’ve been using the past couple months (Morning!) and I really like it; But want to transition to a more permanent style by using a spiral bound notebook.
  2. Drinking more Water– Something that I think everyone can work on! It’s so easy to forget to drink…which isn’t good! 98% of the human body is water. I’ve got a 40oz Hydro Flask and plan to make sure that it’s accessible and filled up at all times.
  3. Work on my own confidence level– This is something I’ve struggled with almost all my life. It’s easy to hide…and at times really gets to me mentally! So how exactly do I plan to do this?
    – By getting out of my comfort zone and reaching out to friends to do things
    – Not worrying about what other people will think of me/something I do, and just DO IT
    – If something is bothering me, confront it.
  4. Being more aware of what I consume on social media– It’s easy to get caught in up the unrealistic reality that can be portrayed on social media. I want to make sure that what I’m consuming is beneficial for me mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
  5. Spend more time outside doing active activities– I know it may seem like Kwin and I are outside ALL the time, but to be honest, since having a baby it’s been easy to sit inside all day and not getting any fresh air! Being outside is so good for ones’ mental health, and I hope that by making an effort to be outside at least once a day, that Fitz will pick up on this habit too and love it!
  6. Grow my blogging platform– I love writing! Gosh darn-it, I’ve said this for literally the past 4 years since creating my blog. But what happens is I get in my own head and think “Megan, nobody cares or even reads the blogs..so don’t waste your time.” And well, maybe it’s true..but maybe it’s NOT! So I’m gonna give this intention another try and just write away!

Thanks for reading everyone, and I hope that you all have found peace with whatever happened in 2020 and are ready for a fresh start this year! Here is to 2021 being a year of positivity, hope and new beginnings!

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!

Baby Must Have’s

It must just be the “season of life” that I’m currently in, but holy cow, so many of my friends are either: expecting, trying to conceive or currently have a baby in their life!

As a new mama, I was very overwhelmed by all of the products and options available! It’s crazy the amount of “things” that you will need when your little bundle of joy enters the world. Recently, I have had multiple friends reach out to me regarding products I liked and disliked, so i figured why not create a little blog for you all! So here ya go!
-The first thing I did when building my baby registry (I built mine on Babylist!) was go to family and friends and get lists of MUST HAVE and NOT NECESSARY items.
-Second I did research for specific items that met criteria and all the”safety guidelines” important to me: Green Guard Certified and ECO-Friendly. Oh i was also trying to be a ‘minimalist!’

Daily Necessities

  • Babybjorn Bouncer-Fitz LOVES this thing! Whether I’m trying to take a quick shower (just put her in it outside the shower stall,) fold laundry, or cook dinner, this is such a great thing to have around! Of note, it doesn’t bounce on it’s own!
  • 4 Moms MamaRoo Swing– Fitz likes this (for short periods of time) and I’ll usually put her in it if she is sleeping, or almost asleep and I need both hands free! Our original one broke almost immediately (not sure why…) but the company has great customer service and sent us a new one right away!
  • Boppy– The greatest nursing invention ever! I use it everyday and can’t imagine nursing without it. We also use this pillow to sit Fitz up in and sometimes to lean on during tummy time!
  • Diaper Bag– Love the amount of storage this bag has, and its very simple looking too!
  • UppaBaby Messa Carseat– Both Kwin and I love this carseat because it’s super light, easy to instal in the car, and has the Green Guard Certification I was looking for!
  • UppaBaby Vista Stroller– UppaBaby has multiple different stroller types and we went with the Vista style because of the ability to add more seats to it! We are hoping to have our kids close in age and being able to add seats to our stroller would be great…instead of having multiple strollers!
  • Boba Wrap– LITERALLY A LIFESAVER, especially when Fitz doesn’t want to nap unless she is being held! I love this wrap, probably the most of our wraps we own because it just seems the most stable when I’m holding her.
  • Ergobaby Aura Wrap– I love this wrap too. It has a little bit thinner material and folds up into a small carrier bag. I keep this one in my diaper bag, that way I have some type of wrap with me at all times.
  • Ergobaby Omni 360 Carrier– You’ve probably seen a bunch of pictures and video’s of Kwin and I hiking with Fitz, and this carrier has made it all possible. I HIGHLY recommend getting this if you plan to be out and about with baby! Oh and make sure that you also get the ‘Infant Insert.’ It allows smaller babies to enjoy the carrier (for 8-12lbs.)
  • Halo Sleepsack Swaddle– I didn’t think I would like this, just another “thing” to have…but let me tell ya, I love it! It’s so easy to wrap her up while she is sleeping or if we’re trying to get her to sleep. Babies loved being swaddled and it is definitely easier than trying to swaddle a blanket.
  • Haakaa Manual Breast Pump– Ever heard the expression “Don’t cry over spilt milk,” well when you are a breastfeeding mama, this is so incredibly true! The haakaa is attached to your non-breastfeeding boob and collects your letdown! You’d be surprised how much milk you leak. I’ve only used my breast pump twice since giving birth, but already have a bunch of milk stocked up in our freezer, just from catching my let down!
  • Blooming Bath– This simple thing makes bath time so much easier! Especially with Fitz being so small still, we are able to bathe her in the sink and not have to worry about her flopping around or getting hurt in the slippery sink.
  • Baby Bum Bath Essentials– A lot of baby shampoo’s and lotions are filled with chemicals that I wouldn’t want to put on my own body, let alone my daughters. This brand however, has great ratings by the EWG; PLUS it smells really good too!
  • Earth Mama Diaper Balm– It’s inevitably, baby’s get red butts occasionally. I really like this balm though because of the clean ingredients and the eucalyptus smell!
  • Peanut Diaper Changing Pad– This simple changing pad is the bomb. What I like most about it is the fact that it’s rubber and doesn’t have a pad cover on it (you can buy one if you want.) In my opinion just having it the rubber material makes it so much easier to keep clean and 1 less thing to have to wash!
  • Guava Family Bassinet– This was a minimalist purchase for me! It’s a 2-in-1 Bassinet and Pack-N-Play all in one. Just make sure to get the Bassinet conversion kit when you purchase it. I love this because it’s very easy to travel with (fold down into a backpack) which allows Fitz to sleep in her bassinet whether we’re at home or on the road.
  • Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Camera– After much research, I felt that having a ‘non wi-fi’ based monitor was the best idea. So far we really like this one; You can move the lense with the monitor, can hear clearly and has a good picture too.
  • Hatch Rest Baby Sound Machine– There is so much research that babies sleep better with white noise going on. And this sound machine is perfect! It not only acts as a sound machine, but also a nightlight too! There are so many sound to chose from and it’s all controlled by your phone app.
  • FridaBaby NoseFrida– This little gadget makes keeping the babies nose clear of boogers so easy! It looks intimidating at first, the idea that you’re “sucking the boogers out” but honestly it’s so nice and easy! Fitz doesn’t budge at all when we’re doing it.
  • SnuggleMe Organic Pillow– Fitz also loved being in this pillow for the longest time! It’s nice because it helps to make the baby feel nice and wrapped up, while also being supportive and not able to move around too much. The only downfall to this pillow is that she has almost outgrown the length of it…so if you have a tall baby you might be more interested in the Dock-A-Tot Pillow!
  • Milk Snob– This works as a car seat cover and cover for me while breastfeeding out in public! I would definitely recommend getting a couple of these.

Clothing

  • Zutano Fleece Booties– Living in Michigan, we can have some pretty chilly weather. These booties are fricken amazing and so cute too! I wish they had these in adult sizes.
  • Cotton Sleeping Gowns– LOVE LOVE LOVE these! It makes for midnight diaper changes to be so easy.
  • Magnetic Onesies– Wow, I was gifted these by a friend and they are pretty awesome! No more messing with buttons or zippers.
  • Two-Way Zipper Onesies– These are super nice too! Instead of unzipping the clothes all the way from their head and making them super chilled, just unzip from the foot up.
  • Full Throttle Infant Life Jacket– If you are planning to take your baby on a boat this is a must have! Fitz doesn’t seem to be bothered by it at all, plus it’s pretty cute too. It’s good for up to 30lbs.

Feeding

  • Medela Pump– Insurance covered my breast pump and this is what I got. I’m happy with it so far (only use it twice) but gets the job done.
  • Elvie Pump– I personally don’t have these, but wish I would have gotten them! They’re cordless, so you don’t have to be tied down to a wall when you are pumping.
  • Medela Storage Pump Bags– Easy to store your milk in to freeze for future use.
  • Philips Advent Glass Bottles– Fitz isn’t too fond of taking a bottle yet (we’re working on it!) But I prefer glass over plastic for health reasons. These bottles aren’t heavy or too bulky. Something to keep in mind new mama’s is that there are different nipple “Flow-Rates.” Make sure to look this up!
  • Breast Pump Bag Backpack– This is going to be super useful for when I’m back at work or traveling and need to bring my pump. It’s got a couple pockets for holding all the gear and an insulated bottom part to make sure the pumped milk is kept nice and cold.
  • Boon Lawn Countertop Dryer– Love this for making sure the bottles and pumping pieces are clean&dry and kept away from Kwin and I’d stuff.
  • Bottle Cleaning Brush– Always gotta have one of these on hand!

Mama Goodies

  • Hands Free Pumping Bra– The first time I pumped I didn’t wear this, and it was so frustrating! Having to hold the bottles while pumpkins really tied me down. This bra holds the bottles in place, making it so your hands are at least free.
  • Earth Mama Nipple Butter– Oh man those first couple weeks were pretty rough for my nipples. Not use to something sucking on them 24/7 made them quite sore. That has sense resolved, but I still apply the nipple butter to keep them from drying out and cracking!
  • Nursing Bra– A staple in my wardrobe. I honestly don’t wear any other bras….so convenient and easy to feed with these on.
  • Nursing Tank Top– I love these as much as the bra. Personally I sleep in them most nights, and also will wear them under things!
  • Disposable Nursing Pads– originally I thought I was going to go the ECO-friendly route and get the reusable pads, but friends…that’s just another thing to have to launder. And let me tell ya, Ain’t Nobody Got Time for more laundry🤷🏽‍♀️.

Toys or Play Things

So Fitz hasn’t quite gotten to playing with things much… but these items are pretty popular to have and I can’t wait until she starts enjoying them!

  • Jolly Jumper– I can already tell that she is going to spend a lot of time using this! She loves to be standing (held up obviously) and moving around….we may be in trouble!
  • Joovy Walker– One thing I liked about this vs. other walkers was that it doesn’t have over toys/distractions on it. This allows her to pick what she wants to play with and get creative.
  • Wooden Play Gym– She has just recently started showing interest in this toy and loves it already! I love that it’s small&compact (taking up little space) and isn’t made from a bunch of plastic!

Here is the direct link to my Babylist registry! I didn’t mention everything in this blog because either I haven’t used it yet personally (so don’t feel confident speaking on it,) or just forgot to mention it!
Mamahood is the absolute best, so feel free to reach out to me with any questions(:

What Are They Doing Out There….They’re CRAZY!

Michigan…what is up with these curveball winters lately!

Winter really started off hard; being dumped on by snow in December. Then the new year rolled around and we haven’t gotten much of anything….UGH.

As you all know, I use to dread winter when I was younger. But as I’ve gotten older (Lets be honest..since I met Kwin and he has challenged me to try new things) I’ve really started enjoying this season.

Our normal winter activities have kind of taken to the back burner, do to the lake of snow. BUT….with this recent weather that we have had lately (warm days+cold nights+rain/snow mixtures) the ice skating has been OFF THE HOOK!

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We are lucky to have friends who are just as crazy as us! Not many people would want to walk a ways away from shore to the perfect glassy ice.

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It was Kwin’s birthday, and what better way to celebrate this birthday boy than will some pond hockey out on East Bay.

Check out our friend Mark Goethel’s video [HERE] of our skating adventures!

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If you’re ever looking to tire your dogs out…just have them chase a ball on ice! Kanyon was having so much fun with the guys trying to get the hockey puck. She was at a little disadvantage when she couldn’t stop and would go sliding a couple hundred feet!

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We stayed out until sunset, because WHY NOT! I love February because by this time of year the Great Lakes are usually cold enough,  that when a front passes over cloud formation doesn’t happen. Blue skied winter days are the best! 

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DISCLAIMER: It’s always important to remember that being out on the ice is dangerous. NEVER DO IT ALONE! Pay attention to the weather, and don’t go out on ice when it’s been too warm. Too many people risk it and fall through and can be seriously injured!

Explore Michigan , UP Adventures

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, for those whom have not visited before, is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Full of lush forests, fresh Great Lakes water, waterfalls, mountains, and so much more. It is a place to escape from the rest of this busy world. A place to unplug for the weekend. And a place to really experience what life use to be like back in the old days.

The Upper Peninsula is one of Kwin and I’s favorite places to go, as we try to make a trip up there at least once every season. We definitely have our favorites; like: Marquette, Porcupine Mountains, Copper Harbor, and Pictured Rocks, but we always try something new with each visit.

With how crazy this summer has been, we both needed a long weekend away to do the things we love: be outside, hike, bike, swim, paddle and just be carefree and active people. On this Michigan Adventure we hit up all of our favorite places!

Day 1:

Marquette

  • Went mountain biking at Harlow Lake Trails. This was a new trail system for us, out by Hogback Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain. It was full of wonderful scenic views, and definitely a difficult ride (I may have walked a good chunk of it….)

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  • Went Cliff jumping off Black Rocks
  • After spending our day in Marquette we made it back to the cabin just in time to hike up the Cascade Falls to catch sunset on-top of the mountain

    Day #2:

    Copper Harbor

    While in Copper Harbor we…

  • Went Mountain biking, yes we do love to bike, at the Copper Harbor Trails. I will say that this trail is hands down my favorite trail to bike EVER! It is definitely technical and not easy, due to its very rocky terrain.  Plus, the first half of the trail is riding up Brockway Mountain, which gives the most amazing view of Lake Superior!
  • Went Hiking at Estivant Pines- home of the oldest White Pines (Virgin Pines) in Michigan.

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 Porcupine Mountains

  • We hiked up to the Lake Of The Clouds for sunset. Such a beautiful place to relax: on a mountain side, with nothing but trees and water in site.

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  • Once the sun was no long visible over the mountains we hiked back down to catch the remainder of the sunset right on Lake Superior. This night was perfect!

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Day #3:

Marquette

  • Went Mountain Biking at South Noquemanon Trails which is another favorite trail system! There are a bunch of different trails to choose from with different difficulties; but my favorite is the ‘Green Trail.’  You get to ride right along the Carp River, see the beautiful Morgan Falls and is all around just a fun ride.
  • Paddle boarded to a secret beach where were swam and enjoyed the beautiful 80 degree Northern Michigan Summer day.

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  • To finish our time in Marquette we obviously had to go to our favorite Mexican Restaurant-Sol Azteca!

 Munising

After Marquette we made our way to Tourist Park in Munising where we set up camp. Once settled in we decided to jump on our paddle boards and paddle across to Grand Island to catch another beautiful sunset! (we really did luck out with the sunsets this weekend). The water was beyond calm, and could not pass up the opportunity! After sunset we had a nice fire…until the bugs got to bad.

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Here is Kwin’s Video of the weekend!

Weekend Adventures are what keep us both sane! It allows us to unplug, get away from the go/go mentality of life sometimes, and enjoy time with one-another. I am definitely lucky to be able to experience the Upper Peninsula and adventure as often as we do!

 

 

To My Mom..

Dear Mom,

Where do I even begin…from the beginning you have always been there for me. You went  through hours of painful labor, had countless sleepless nights, and endured my famous childhood temper tantrums. We bickered a lot in the teenage years, and did not always see eye to eye.  Yet, you still seemed to love me endlessly. There was never a night that I went to bed without singing the bedtime song, never a day I went to school without a homemade lunch, and never a day I went without hearing the words “I love you to the moon and back.”

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Today is mothers day, and I am so lucky to call you not only my mom, but my best friend. Over the years we’ve definitely had some head-butting moments, but don’t all moms and daughters. I’m pretty sure most of them are because were both so stubborn and bull headed that we always want our way (yes, thanks for passing that trait on to me!)

Over the past 23-years you have taught me more than you will ever know. You have showed me what it is really like to love someone unconditionally, and to make a relationship work. You have showed me what handwork and compassion look like. How to always respect and care for others; And lastly, to always fight for what you want.

You made my childhood so incredibly amazing Mom, memories that I will cherish forever. I remember cooking with you in the kitchen, and learning how to clean the house properly. I remember jamming out to Backstreet boys in the car and dancing anytime we could. I remember reading bedtime stories and snuggling when I wasn’t feeling well. And most importantly, I will always remember to say I love you everyday.

Mom, you have always pushed me to follow my dreams, even if that meant moving  3 1/2 hours away from you. Yes the distance is not fun, but as they always say “Distance makes the heart grow fonder.”  I look forward to our six AM phone calls on the way to work, and then again on my way home. I look forward to the times I get to see you and the family. Plus it just gives you an excuse to come Up north more!

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Life has definitely been full of twists and turns, but thank you for always being there to point me in the right direction. Thank you for always being a listening ear. And most importantly, thank you for being YOU.

Mothers Day only comes once a year, but you deserve to know everyday how much I love you and how much you mean to me!

I love you to the moon and back infinity times<3

xoxoxo, Moo Moo

Mackinaw Straights Paddle, Stand Up for Great Lakes

April 22, 2017.

A sunny, 40 degree day in Northern Michigan. The water of the Mackinaw Straights extremely calm, which as many of you may not know is VERY rare. Absolutely perfect conditions for a paddle board adventure.

Gordie Lafontaine and Kadin Patterson, two 8th graders at Cherry Land Middle School, have both grown up in the Northern Michigan area and share a love for the Great Lakes. So they asked Kwin Morris (my fiancé and their 8th grade science teacher) if they could join up with Stand Up for Great Lakes for their 8th grade community Project.

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Stand Up For Great Lakes

For those of who don’t know, Stand Up for Great Lakes is a non-profit organization, started by my Fiancé, and four other native Northern Michigan friends, whose main goal is to raise awareness and protect the Great Lakes. Two years ago the five guys successfully Stand Up Paddle Boarded across Lake Michigan (starting in Algoma, WI and ending in Frankfort, MI). This was a 60 mile paddle that took them 24 hours to complete. Since then they have organized beach clean-ups, went to local elementary schools to teach water safety, and many other SUP demo days for the public.  Another goal of the organization is to reach out to the younger generation so they too can become more involved in preserving the Great Lakes.

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Mackinaw Straights Paddle 

Gordie and Kadin have been working alongside their teacher planning something that they felt could really raise awareness to preserving the Great Lakes. They came up with the idea to paddle across the Mackinaw Straights. The two students decided this location because they wanted to educate and bring awareness to a huge Political/Public issue going on, Line 5. Gordie and Kadin went around to local town meetings, wrote to newspapers and did TV interviews educating the public. They trained throughout the winter paddle boarding to practice for the cold and windy conditions,  and have been lifting weights before school with Kwin every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

April 22, 2017..Earth Day, the day of the official paddle. They took off from St. Ignace and ended in Mackinaw City, MI.  For safety measures they had two safety boats, wore dry suites, had leashes connected to their boards and each wore PFD’s.  A five mile paddle may not seem long, but the conditions that the straights provides make for a very difficult journey: 30 degree waters, currents exceeding Niagara Falls, and choppy waters caused by the westerly winds passing though. With all the training and preparation the paddlers did the five mile journey only took them 1 1/2 hours.

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At the end of the day the Kadin and Gordie ended up raising over $4000 for the Stand Up for Great Lakes foundation. Not only this, but they  earned a lifetime of experience in public speaking and learning how to organize public events.

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What’s Next? 

Stand Up for Great Lakes paddlers Kwin Morris, Jeff Guy, and Joe Lorenz next adventure is to paddle across Lake Huron. They are going to be starting at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which is the only fresh water sanctuary in the world, and ending in Canada. This is going to be about a 90 mile feat! To follow along their journey and help protect the Great Lakes check out their website!

Stand Up For Great Lakes

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Moab Adventures, Part 2

It has been a crazy couple of weeks since I last posted a blog..but jeez wedding planning is a lot of work!

I cannot believe it has almost been a month already since our trip to Moab, Utah. I miss the desert hot days, the scenic red rocks, and the sporadic nature of being on a road trip vacation. In fact, I’m already counting down the days until we are back out there next year for spring break!

Moab is most known for the National Parks that are found in town, but I would have to say that my favorite part of the trip was all the other adventures we did while out there!

SlickRock Mountain Bike Trail 

This bike trail is no joke. The whole terrain is slick rock, which means you grip to it so easily and can ride super fast. However, due to the “grippy” nature of the rocks the trail consists of lots of intense drops and climbs, riding along the mountain edge, sandpits, and other extreme obstacles. Slick rock was hands down one of the hardest trails that I have ever ridden, note I am a mediocre mountain biker. I did absolutely love the scenic views that the trail provided through out the entire 11 mile loop though. If you are a mountain biker I would highly recommend riding this trail!

Stand up Paddle Boarding the Colorado River 

As most of you may know, the Colorado river is not your typical calm and slow river. It is full of class 1-2+ rapids and travels at an average speed of 6mph. So, who in their right mind would want to SUP down that?

Kwin tells me that we need to scare ourselves once a day to feel alive; Well let me tell ya, this day was full of that! We pumped up our Tahoe SUP inflatable paddle boards about 12miles upstream from camp (which are super easy to travel with!) and hit the rapids.

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Other Great things about Moab 

Corona Arch 

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This Arch was probably one of my favorites in Moab. I wish is was a little more sunny for an epic sunset, but the view and hike was still amazing.

Fischer Towers! 

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Fischer Towers is just a little bit outside of Moab, but is beautiful (Especially at sunset). We stayed out and star gazed for awhile before heading back to camp.

Petroglyphs 

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You can find ancient Petroglyphs on almost every trail! Some of them dating back to the 1600’s.

Road Bike Trail 

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In Moab, they have bike trails everywhere. Really, you can bike to almost any destination you want which Kwin and I absolutely loved. Plus, can you beat the view of the La Sal Mountains in the background?

 Our Awesome Campsite, right on the Colorado River!

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Base camp was something hard to beat, especially being right on the colorado river and in the mountains!

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Canyon Lands and Arches National Parks-Moab, Utah!

We just returned home from our week long trip in Moab, Utah…and let me tell you, it was amazing! The Red Rocky mountains, warm desert air, La Sal Mountains in the horizon and just the environment was so awesome. Every day was exhausting and filled with lots of hiking, mountain biking, and just enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

In this blog I want to tell you about two of our days, which we spent in the National Parks in Moab. Theses are called Arches National Park, and Canyon Lands National Park.

Arches National Park 

Arches is known for its more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches; most commonly Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch!

We arrived to Arches just before sunrise and made our way back to Delicate Arch, guided by our headlamps, to catch sunrise. It is rated one of the best sunrise spots due to the way the sun hits the arch and the light glowing off the red rocks. It really was a breathtaking view and great way to start the day.

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We then made our way to Devils Garden! This was my favorite part of Arches because of how beautiful the scenery was. We hiked the Primitive Loop Trail finding multiple Arches and making our way through a maze of red rock mountains (or Fins as they call them).

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Arches was full of great views, easy and extreme hiking and is definitely a place I will visit again in the future.

Canyon Lands National Park

Canyon Lands started out very similar to Arches with a headlamp guided sunrise hike. This time we made our way to Mesa Arch. This is National Geographically rated as one of the best sunrise locations in Moab! It definitely was beautiful, but because of its high ranking everyone seemed to be there.

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From there we went to Grand Overlook Point where we hiked right along the cliffside. This trail is commonly known as “Island in the Sky” because how the cliff extends over a huge canyon, you could seriously see for miles!

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(Yes, Kwin is a bit of a dare devil and likes to hang off ledges that have a 400ft drop!)

Next on our list was a road bike to Dead Horse Point. We parked out car about 7 miles out from the main entrance and then rode in through the desert planes. The views were breath taking. From there we decided to do a trail run the rest of the way to the actual hairpin overlook of Dead Horse Point.

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Spending a day in Canyon Lands is definitely not enough because of how large it is. I hope to be back there next year and can explore even more territory that we weren’t able to see!

Moab is lucky enough to not only have two National Parks within a couple miles from each other, but also some of the top ranked Mountain bike trails in the nation and infinite other hiking trails.  I can easily say that Moab now has a piece of my heart and I cannot wait to go back again!

Early Bird Gets The Best Sunrise!

Oh the notorious saying “Early Bird gets the worm,” something I was told quite frequently while growing up. I, like most young kids, would usually laugh and respond saying “I’d rather sleep.” It was not until college that I my mindset changed and I truly started appreciating early morning wake ups.

I find that mornings are the most tranquil part of the day and where I am most productive. Catching the sunrise peaking over the horizon is one of my favorite things; whether it be sitting on my paddle board in the middle of the lake, on-top of a mountain, or just sitting on my back deck it really sets the mood for the day.

Yesterday, as I was returning home after a kick ass workout, I took a slight detour. Northern Michigan is known for its picturesque sunrises and sunsets, but in the winter they are hard to come across. NOT THIS MORNING! The horizon was painted with pinks, blues and oranges. The water of the lake calm as can be with the thinnest ice covering overtop. And nothing but the sound of birds chirping filling the air.

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I sat and watched the sunrise from atop a snow covered rock, just taking in the beautiful view. Moments like these are a constant reminder to appreciate life and everything that you have. This year has been full of so many changes, all of which I am so thankful for.

Everyday I am working towards being a better person than the day I was before. Changing one habit and practicing it everyday is all it takes.  If i had never changed my habit of sleeping in till late morning I would never be able to enjoy these beautiful moments.

“Your life doesn’t get better by chance, It gets better by change.” -Jim Rohn