Our Journey to Pregnancy- Infertility Awareness Week

We try all our youthful lives to NOT get pregnant, and then when we try to get pregnant…it doesn’t quite happen. Why is that?
It’s National Infertility Awareness week and I have had a really strong pull to share our journey through infertility. It’s one of those things that when we were going through it I was quite shameful and embarrassed…but I feel like lately it has become a more talked about topic.
Does anyone else agree with me when I say that I feel like infertility has become more prevalent in our generation compared to our parents and grandparents? Not sure why this is, maybe the fact that people are more open with sharing their lives; or just a scientific freak accident?

I’ll be honest, this is quite challenging to write. But I remember when I was in the mix of everything reading SO MANY BLOGS, and doing so much research trying to navigate through everything.
If this blog can help just one person navigate through this process, then I’ll feel good!

  • When I was younger, like middleschoool/high school age I had VERY REGULAR periods and almost no “period symptoms.” Yes, I would consider myself very lucky! In my senior year of high school I struggled with an eating disorder and started having irregular periods. So between the irregular periods and the fact that I was heading off to college it was decided that I should be started on birth control.
  • Fast forward 4 years, now I’m a senior in college and relapsed into my eating disorder tendencies again.
  • August 26, 2017 Kwin and I got married and I took my last birth control pill ever! We had talked about the idea of letting my body rid the chemicals of birth control for a couple months before starting to try for a baby. Well lone behold, after 8 years of birth control and TWO different times of anorexia…. my period didn’t come back. I waited six months of no period before I decided to go see my GYNO to try and figure out what was going on.
  • February 2018 I had an ultrasound to check out my ovaries/uterus and some reproductive lab work done.
    • The ultrasound came back insignificant and my lab work showed low FSH&low LH (female hormones,) normal TSH, normal testosterone, normal cortisol, and all other labs normal as well. Great news right? NO..not when you’re trying to find the reasoning behind your issues!
    • I was diagnosed with PCOS and told to start on Metformin. Um no thanks… I didn’t meet the criteria below to be diagnosed with PCOS and felt like this was just looking to put a bandaid on my issues.
    • PCOS Diagnostic Criteria (to be diagnosed with PCOS you have to meet TWO of the three criteria listed)
      • Have irregular periods– this indicates that your ovaries do not regularly release eggs (ovulate,) blood tests showing you have high levels of “male hormones”, such as testosterone (or sometimes just the signs of excess male hormones, even if the blood test is normal,) scans showing you have polycystic ovaries.
      • Blood tests showing you have high levels of “male hormones”, such as testosterone (or sometimes just the signs of excess male hormones, even if the blood test is normal)
      • Scans showing you have polycystic ovaries
  • June 2018 I made an appointment with the most amazing naturopathic doctor! We worked on hormone balance and acupuncture.
    • I was getting acupuncture once a month. My Dr’s focus for these sessions was promoting blood flow to the reproductive region. She would also make modifications each session based off life situations and what my pulse was reading.
    • We monitored my hormone levels every 3-6 months. Some things that we did to work on balancing my hormones were seed cycling and looking at my cycle being in alignment with the moon cycle. I will link some resources for seed cycling HERE.
  • November 2018 still no periods, but my hormones were getting closer to normal. Kwin and I were both getting impatient with the process so I decided to make a consultation appointment with the ‘Fertility Center‘ to see exactly what they offered and become an established patient for when we truly were ready. I was really impressed with these doctors!
  • April 2019 still no periods. So Kwin and I both met with the Fertility specialists and did more tests to rule out any other issues!
    • Kwin got a sperm analysis done
    • I did a procedure called HSG (Hysterosalpingogram) A simple (yet quite painful procedure) where they insert an iodine-based dye through the cervix and take x-rays. These x-rays help evaluate the shape of the uterus and whether the Fallopian tubes were blocked.
    • Again everything came back “normal” so I was given the diagnosis of ‘Secondary Amenorrhea.’ With this diagnosis the fertility specialists felt that I would probably need to do IUI or IVF (eventually, not something you can start with right off the bat) to get pregnant. That was a hard pill to swallow. They also gave us the option to do “timed intercourse” which essentially means that I would still take all the fertility promoting medications, but instead of having them inject Kwin’s sperm into me (IUI procedure) we would have intercourse around time of ovulation. We opted this option to start with!
  • June 2019 1st round of Menopur injections– How menopur injections work… I would have to give myself shots every night based off the dose that the doctors prescribed me. Every couple of days I would get ultrasounds done to check how my body was responding to the medications- specifically looking at my ovaries and the eggs developing. Once my eggs reached “optimal size” the doctors instructed me to take Ovidrel (the trigger shot to tell my body to ovulate!) After the shot was done we were instructed to have intercourse for the next three days!
    • We learned a lot over the first month of this process. The #1 being that I needed to RELAX and not try and “force” anything. When it came to “doing the deeds” Kwin felt super pressured and like it wasn’t natural.
    • This cycle was not successful.
    • We took the month of July off due to our big road trip out west!
  • August 2019 2nd round of Menopur injections
    • Cycle #2 I was defiantly trying to me more relaxed about everything. Same process as above!
    • This cycle was not successful
    • We had to take the month of September OFF due to cysts being present on my ovaries from the previous cycle.
      • I’ll be honest this was very upsetting to me… I felt like my body was failing me even more than ever.
    • I took the month of September as a “Megan’s ultimate selfcare month” where I dialed in on my nutrition, took more rest days, and just really listened to my body!
  • October 2019 3rd round of menopur injections
    • The doctors wanted to change up the dose of medications on this round…AND IT WORKED!
    • Our THIRD round of Menopure injections + timed intercourse was how we got our little miracle baby!

Everyone’s journey is different! So please please please don’t compare yourself to me or anyone.
Use this blog as a resource, as a source of hope!
If you are someone going through infertility treatments please feel free to reach out!
It is nothing to be embarrassed or shameful about.
You are not alone.

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!

Baby-Led Weaning! The Messy, Fun and Realness of It

Alright guys, Fitz is officially 6 months old…and we are going to give feeding a try!
I’m not sure why, but the whole “feeding my baby” is so intimidating to me…the idea of her choking, introducing the wrong foods, or even having an allergic reaction to something is so unsettling to me.
However, all that aside, Fitz and I are going to give the concept of ‘Baby Led Weaning’ a try!

What exactly is Baby-Led Weaning (BLW?)
BLW is a method of adding foods to a baby’s already existing diet of breast milk or formula. An important moto to keep in mind is the key saying … Any food before ONE, is just for FUN! Baby-Led weaning encourages the development of age appropriate oral-motor skills, along with creating a positive and interactive experience regarding meal time. Typically parents start once their baby reaches the age of 6-months old (or older- all is baby dependent.) This type of feeding introduces finger foods FIRST and bypasses what was historically started first: purees and mashed-up foods.
It’s called baby-led because the main concept is — letting your little one feed themself the foods that they want to eat right from the beginning

When I first told me mom that I was going to be trialing BLW with Fitz, she thought I was a little crazy. Probably because when she was going through the first stages of food with myself and my brothers, they highly encouraged starting with purees! Her biggest concern was “You know that’s going to be really messy!” And while that is very true, there are so many benefits to this type of feeding that I couldn’t resist giving it a try!

  • Babies who are fed using the BLW method are more familiar with different textures&flavors, compared to babies who are fed purees. This may make them more likely to develop more varied and healthy food preferences in the long run.
  • Research has shown that babies who eat a variety of foods (including peanut products, eggs and fish) may actually be less likely to have food allergies later in life.
  • Studies show that babies are less likely to become overweight compared to children who are spoon-fed. With spoon-feeding, the parent is in control (which may make babies eat faster and more than they really need, potentially leading to a habit of ignoring feelings of fullness.)
  • BLE leads to the development of hand dexterity and hand-eye coordination skills.
  • Learning how to chew, which aids in digestion.
  • Learning how to respond to their own gag-reflex…which is REALLY strong in babies! For those who don’t know…babies gag-reflex is located in the front 1/3 of their mouth (which can be scary at first because the baby seems to gag at everything and so easily!)

Items/Tools that I purchased

  1. Bib/Smock– Like I mentioned above…this type of feeding can get pretty messy! The long-sleeve bib style has definitely helped with maintaining some cleanliness.
  2. Food Crinkle Cutter– A lot of people mentioned that cutting the foods using this crinkle cutter makes it easier for baby to grasp on to foods (especially if they are slippery!)
  3. Mat for under highchair– Again, not 100% necessary, but highly recommend to help keep things clean!
  4. Plate/mat that sticks to table- I’ve read conflicting views on whether or not the plate should have dividers to “separate foods,” so I’ll leave that up to your preference! Personally I plan to use both styles.
  5. Soft-Tip Training Spoon– This obviously goes against the idea of “finger foods;” But I used this spoon since Fitz was about 4 months old as a “practice” tool for her hand-eye coordination& hand dexterity development.

I’m going to provide some helpful resources that I’ve been using to help educate myself on this style of feeding!

  1. The Hapa Family
  2. Nekole (Kids OT Help)
  3. Feeding Littles
  4. Baby-Led Weaning Book
  5. Rachael Tucker (babyledweaningideas)

Because we are just starting… I don’t have too much to report! But I will keep you all updated on any successes/failures that Fitz and I experience while trying this new adventure(:

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?

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!

Some Favorite Fall Recipes!

With the weather getting cooler and spending a little more time inside, I’ve made it a goal of mine to get more creative in the kitchen!
Cooking has always been a love of mine; but I’ll be honest… I hate wasting a perfectly good day inside when the weather is beautiful outside!
Cooking healthy, nutrient dense foods is a top priority of mine. Not only does it make me feel good (mentally) knowing that I’m fueling my body with all the “good” foods, but also physically too!
Obviously “everything in moderation” is important when it comes to food…but cooking with whole foods and minimizing process foods is always a good habit to have! So here are some of the most recent recipes that I’ve been dabbling with, and have been a success in the Morris household!

Copycat Peanut Butter Pumpkin Reese’s
Sweet treats have a special way to my heart…I hate to admit it…BUT IT’S TRUE! I made a version of these copycat Reese’s back around easter time and LOVED THEM. So, why not make them festive again and turn them into Pumpkins!
I know I’m not the only person who likes the seasonal Reese’s anything (hello more peanut butter filling(: )

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Candies made with plant-based, grain-free and gluten-free ingredients. Plus they have extra protein in them!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
Yup, another pumpkin recipe! Tis the season to make everything pumpkin.
I love making this recipe as both a bread and muffins! They’re so tasty (and guilt free) that Kwin and I usually finish the batch off within days.

Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Breadwith Collagen Peptides for an easy and healthy pumpkin bread recipe, perfect for breakfast or snacking!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust (Dairy-Free + Gluten-Free)
Who else has tried countless cauliflower pizza recipes, and had MULTIPLE failures? I know I can’t be the only one…
Pizza is Kwin’s favorite meal, so trying to make a “healthier” version for us both to enjoy has been a goal of mine. Well I’m pleased to announce that Rachel Mansfield has done it AGAIN! This recipe was a huge success, and is now a staple in our household meal plan.

gluten free cauliflower crust

Spaghetti Squash Taco Bake
Such a quick and easy recipe to make! I love spaghetti squash, Kwin on the other hand isn’t the biggest fan. Win for Megan! He absolutely LOVED this recipe!

Bowl of cheesy low carb spaghetti squash taco bake topped with veggies.

15-Minute Crispy Chicken (GF, DF)
How could one go wrong with a good crispy chicken tender? Like HELLO CHILDHOOD FAVORITE!
The breading of store-bought chicken tenders are usually disgusting and leaves me feeling so sluggish/gross afterwards. Rachael Devoux is a genius when it comes to making “healthy” swaps on favorite recipes. Thanks to ‘Simple Mills’ crackers for the breading mixture, plus Flax Seeds (added protein &Fiber!) and this is also a new favorite.

Simple Cashew Chicken Stir-fry
I tried this one out on a limb because Kwin was craving a ‘Chinese’ dish. It was super easy to make and very tasty!

VEGAN CURRY RAMEN NOODLES
OH MY GOSHHHHH this recipe is a must! Especially with the cooler weather coming in and soups making more of an appearance on the meal plan. My mom made this for us after Fitz was born; and Kwin&I about died.
Ramen noodles use to be a guilty pleasure of mine growing up.
If you like curry… MAKE THIS…you won’t regret it!

Overhead shot of two bowls of curry ramen noodle soup garnished with fresh cilantro

General Tso’s Tofu
Another ‘Chinese’ dish for Kwin; and we both really liked it! If you aren’t into Tofu, you can easily swap it out for a different plant based protein or even chicken!

An overhead shot of a dish with white rice and general Tso's tofu on top

Ultimate Vegan 7-Layer Dip
HOLY COW, this seven layer dip was AMAZING! Tastes just like a seven layer dip…except with some homemade vegan sour cream!
This would be a huge hit for a football game or any other type of get-together.

the best vegan 7 layer dip | RECIPE by hot for food

Sweet Potato Toast
Such a simple breakfast alternative to toast! The sweet potatoes provide extra micro and macronutrients profile that a piece of toast is lacking.
This has become a new favorite of mine- topped with Almond Butter or Avocado is what I like best(:

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Toast 4 Ways on a gray countertop

A little copyright note… I am not a food blogger, nor do I take aesthetically appealing photos of my food (let’s be honest I’m usually too hungry for that and forget!) All the pictures in this blog are from the original recipes! So all rights go to the original authors(:

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(:

Wow that flew by…Third Trimester!

As I’m sitting here with my little baby girl laying on my chest, I can’t help but reflect on how fast pregnancy truly went! I was incredibly fortunate to have had a pretty great pregnancy, feeling good throughout the entire process.

Third trimester came and went in the blink of an eye; and I’m excited for all the fun adventures ahead for us as a family of three!

My Symptoms

  • Ligament Discomfort: The ligament discomfort continued from second trimester, but because of my awesome chiropractor, Dr. Darnell, the discomfort actually improved. That is until about week 37 when baby girl had started to drop; increasing the amount of pain/discomfort in my lower pelvis!
  • Gastric Reflux- As pregnancy progressed I was experiencing more and more reflux after eating. It wasn’t terrible, but enough to steer me away from certain foods due to the reflux feeling after eating them! Pasta sauce was the major culprit….
  • Braxton Hix Contractions- Yup, these guys were definitely more noticeable during the third trimester. They acted as a reminder to me to SLOW DOWN!
  • Edema in my ankles- After a day of work, or just being on my feet all day, my feet would be pretty swollen!

My Cravings 

The cravings continue! I’m lucky that for the most part that I was able to eat mostly the same foods that I did “pre-pregnancy.”

  • Pasta or Pizza- Usually with pesto sauce though, thanks to my reflux with tomato sauce!
  • FRUIT– Similar to all the previous trimesters, I could eat fruit all day! But once third trimester hit I noticed that I really wanted watermelon, cherries and pineapple!
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Big Salads
  • Fruit smoothies

Adventures

  • CABIN TRIP! This was a little bittersweet as it was our last cabin trip just the two of us. We enjoyed lots of hiking, reading and kubota rides around the property(:
  • Local Favorites: Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, Brown Bridge Quiet Area, walking around our property, sunset paddle boards, bike rides and just being spontaneous!
  • Boating! This summer has been one of the hottest that I can remember in a very long time… and because of this, Kwin and I spent almost every day on our boat!

Quick and Dirty On My Labor Experience

Friday July 10, 2020
All day I was experiencing intermittent “period cramps” but no regularity to anything. I had this gut feeling that our little girl was going to be making her appearance soon though!
8pm I started experiencing contractions that were about 8 minutes apart and lasted about 1 minute in duration. Kwin and I decided to pack up the car with our luggage and chill the rest of the night!

Saturday July 11, 2020
1245am my water broke while sleeping in bed. Kwin and I made our way to the hospital at this point (as instructed by our midwife) and were both super excited!
130am the admitting midwife confirmed that my water indeed was broken and the admission process was started. She checked me and said I was about 3cm dilated. She reiterated that labor could be a long process still since I was a ‘First Time Mom.’ Kwin and I got settled into our room and tried to get as much sleep as we could.
730am my doula, Harmony, arrived to the hospital. She was an absolute SAINT! I don’t know what I would have done without her during the labor process.
9am Kwin, Harmony and I went for a walk around the L&D unit and that’s when my contractions really started getting intense!
10am I started experiencing the intense feeling like I needed to poop, and that I couldn’t go through labor anymore. My amazing nurse, Heather, said those are the two magic words and checked me again (I hadn’t been checked since first being admitted due to increased risk of infection after your water breaks!) I was so nervous that I was not going to be very far still and would have to make the decision whether or not I wanted an epidural or not. BUT, then she told me I was 8cm, almost 9, and I got the biggest feeling of motivation to finish it out unmedicated! I asked to get in the tub at this point to help my body relax for the rest of labor until I was allowed to push.
11am I was really having the urge to push, so again, my nurse checked me and now I was finally fully dilated and ready to push! The team finished setting up the room, got the doctor and the pushing period began! I pushed for about 45 minutes, which was the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. After much profanity and other kind words….
1147am Fitz Annmarie Morris made her entrance into the world! She was absolutely perfect in every way.

Stay tuned for an update on Fitz’s first month of life and all the crazy adventures she has already done! We are completely in love with this little girl and cannot wait to show her the world(:

PS. For everyone curious where we got the name Fitz from…. I read her name in a book (My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Piccoult) awhile ago, It was a characters nickname, and absolutely loved it. I told Kwin the name, and well he loved it too for a completely different reason (the Edmund Fitzgerald!)
FUN FACT- two years prior to Fitz’s birth, Kwin crossed Lake Superior on his paddle board (this paddle took place July 10-11, 2018) which is exactly when I went into labor and delivered her! It’s like this name was almost meant to be(:

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(: