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(:

The Great American Road Trip, Part 2. Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks!

And the road trip continues! 

If you missed my last blog, check it out HERE.

July 2, 2019

Start– Gros Ventre Campground-Jackson, Wyoming

Destination– Signal Mountain Campground, Grand Tetons National Park 

The trick to getting a good camp spot in the National Parks is to GET THERE EARLY! Living in Northern Michigan, we are part of the Eastern Time Zone; So one of the perks of traveling out west is the time change. Waking up at 6am is more like 8am at home…so it’s kinda like sleeping in, am I right? Not only does waking up early help with getting a good camp spot, but being able to see the sunrise in the mountains is pretty beautiful too! 

Kwin and I were both very excited to be going into the Tetons! Of all the parks, this was the one that most people told us would be our favorite. 

-We’d heard it was less crowded

-There were mountains everywhere

-And there would be lots of hiking, biking and paddling 

Our morning started out again at the cute coffee shop in Jackson, Cowboy Coffee, and then we hit the road! Pulling into Signal Mountain Campground promptly around 7:30am with a train of other campers having the same intentions as us. Luckily, we were able to snag the BEST spot in the campground [well in our opinion at least] right on Jackson Lake.

After setting up camp we decided to do hike Taggart Lake Trail: a 3-mile, rated easy hike, but with spectacular views! We both agreed that it was one of our favorite hikes in the park. 

In the afternoon we did a nice long paddle across Jackson Lake using our inflatable Tahoe SUP paddle boards, and let me tell you …it felt like we were paddling with a green screen in-front of us! I mean just look at those mountains, plus the crystal clear blue water!

Funny story, Kwin and I set up the tent while cooking dinner because we thought it would be fun to sleep under the stars. We didn’t put the rain fly on, that way we would be able to see the stars while going to sleep. Before bed we both wanted to do some reading, so we sat in the camper …. and well we both fell asleep! Around 12am we woke up to the sound of torrential downpour rain! We were dry …. but our tent, sleeping bags and other camping gear wasn’t.  

July 3, 2019 

Start– Signal Mountain Campground- Grand Tetons National Park

Destination– Signal Mountain Campground- Grand Tetons National Park 

Once the rain stopped, around 8am we got coffee at the Signal Mountain campground store and then hit the road to our first hike of the day. Grand View Point Trail: a 5-mile, moderate ranked trail, that definitely fit its name perfectly! The trail at the beginning was pretty wet, thanks to the rain from the night before, so the mosquitoes were bad! However, once we got up to a higher elevation they seemed to disappear. The top of the trail had a beautiful view of Jackson Lake, along with the Tetons in the background! Again, I felt like I was looking at a green screen! 

Our second hike of the day was definitely more busy than the first, Jenny Lake Trail. Despite there being a lot of people, it was still a really nice hike! About 7 miles in length, and I would rate as Easy. 

July 4, 2019

Start– Signal Mountain Campground- Grand Tetons National Park 

Destination– Norris Campground-Yellowstone National Park 

I mentioned this before about getting to campsites early if you want to get a spot in the National Parks. Another helpful thing is this website here: https://www.nps.gov/index.htm it’s a great source of information regarding camping, or really anything in the National Parks. There is an area that lets you know when the campgrounds in the parks had been filling. 

Our number 1 campground choice was Norris Campground, due to its central location. We saw that Norris Campground was usually full by 9:30am…so we got there at 7:30! After two hours of waiting we finally got a spot, set up camp, and then went for a nice bike/hike to Norris Geyser Basin (about 1 mile from our campground!) FUN FACT: one of the largest Geysers in Yellowstone is found at Norris Geyser Basin- Steamboat Geyser– and it erupts every 4-8 days apparently. While we were standing in line waiting for a campsite, it started steaming and showing an increase in its activity. The ranger pointed it out to us all, and said it was due for an eruption! Unfortunately, it didn’t erupt while we were there…but it was really cool to see the activity of Steamboat! After a quick hike we drove out of the park to Gandier, MT to meet up with Megan and Tommy- Kwin’s sister and our brother-in-law! We got groceries for the next couple of days, then went back to the campground and did the same hike we had already done, that way Megan and Tommy could warm up their legs for the upcoming days! Megan and Tommy were planning to stay with us for the remainder of our trip!

July 5, 2019

Start– Norris Campground- Yellowstone National Park 

Destination– Norris Campground- Yellowstone National Park 

Alright guys, not only do you need to wake up early to get a good campsite….but while in any National Park you’ve also gotta wake up early to get to the most popular hikes! We had heard horror stories before going to Yellowstone, saying there could be thousands of people standing around ONE SINGLE GEYSER! I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a recipe for claustrophobia to me! With this being said, we decided to get to one of the most popular geysers in the park, ‘Old Faithful,’ bright and early! This geyser is the most predictable of all the geysers in Yellowstone, and erupts about every 60-90minutes. I can’t compare the eruption to anything else, because it’s the only geyser we saw actually erupt, but it was pretty cool in my opinion! It shot up about 50-75ft in the air and lasted about 5 minutes. We were very fortunate to be there with only thirty or so people [compared to the thousands that can be there later in the day!]

 After that we went to probably our favorite hike in all of Yellowstone! The Mystic Falls & Geyser Basin: a 3.5-mile, moderately ranked hike WITH AMAZING VIEWS! It’s about two miles away from the ‘Old Faithful Geyser Basin,’ so when we hiked to the overlook point we were actually able to see all the geysers there! If you look closely in the picture below you can see all the steam coming up from the different geysers! As the name says, there was a waterfall as well: Mystic Falls. All of us really enjoyed this hike for the views, the waterfall and also the bring blue/sapphire colors of the geysers were pretty awesome! 

We managed to get in another hike this day and did a highly recommended hike Mt.Washburn. This was a 7-miles, moderately ranked hike that ended on top of a mountain overlooking the entire park! In-fact a functioning firetower was at the top. For those who don’t know what that is, a park ranger lives in this fire-tower, which was built in the early 1900’s, from June through October and is constantly monitoring for forest fires! 

June 6, 2019

Start– Norris Campground- Yellowstone National Park

Destination– Norris Campground-Yellowstone National Park 

Our last day in Yellowstone! Our first stop was the ‘Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.’ Now I’ve never actually been to the Grand Canyon, so I can’t really compare it to anything, but man was this beautiful! There were two waterfalls- The Upper and Lower Falls- and then beautiful rock formations lining the actual canyon. By the time we were leaving the parking lot was nearly full-mind you this was about 8am. So get there early folks! 

Our next hike of the day was a “spur of the moment” hike called Elephant Back Mountain Trail. This hike was about 3.5-miles, most of which was uphill! Kwin and I really enjoyed this because we could “feel the burn,” and once you finally got to the top you had a beautiful view of Yellowstone Lake. 

We ended the day by biking the ‘Osprey Falls’ trail- it’s one of the only bike friendly trails in the park- and then got dinner with Megan and Tommy in Gandier, MT.

If you’re planning to stay in Yellowstone, I would highly recommend going to visit this town. It’s located at the Northern entrance of the park, and has so many unique stores and restaurants! You should definitely make sure to stop in and check out Yellowstone Wildlife Galleries too. The store owner is a phenomenal wildlife photographer and has a store full of beautiful pictures!  

Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park were truly amazing! We loved both parks for different reasons. But if I had to choose, I would definitely say that Grand Tetons was my favorite(: 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog, and I can’t wait to share about our time in Bozeman, MT, Glacier National Park and all the stops we made while traveling home!

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!

Inflatable Paddle Boards…Winter Edition!

Stand Up Paddle Boarding is a growing hobby all around the world! If you are around a body of water (especially during the warmer months) you are highly likely to see at least one person paddle boarding!

Living in Michigan during the winter months brings about some pretty harsh winter conditions, like frozen over lakes, blistering wind and below freezing temps. So how do you continue to use your boards? We get asked this questions A LOT…and the answer is  WE GET CREATIVE!

Here are a few pictures from last weekend, where we went sledding and paddled around in the icebergs!

The master behind the photos is Mark Goethel– a good friend of Kwin and I’s who is an awesome action photographer/videographer.

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Group Toboggan is all fun and games…until you notice you’re going right for a tree!

 

 

It has always been a Dream of Kwin’s to paddle on an Ice Chunk! He also brought his Paddle Boards with him for Safety (just in case!) Notice he is also wearing a Wetsuit!

 

Kwin and I love waking up early and paddling first thing in the morning! It’s always to peaceful and a great way to start the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t get outside and enjoy the water! Get creative, get out of your comfort zone and JUST DO IT!

If you’re looking for a very durable paddle boards check out the ones at Tahoe SUP!

Mine: 11’6″ Bliss

Kwin: 14′ Tallac

Inflatables: 11′ and 12′ Alpine Explorer.