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(:

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(:

Current Recipe Favorites

Hey guys! I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite recipes that I’ve been making lately, as well as some of my favorite cookbooks!
I’d like to say start out by saying that I’m definitely not a recipe creator by any means… so I can’t take credit for “creating” any of these delicious meals! But they’re tasty, and for the most part on the healthier side.
I hope you enjoy!

  1. Banana Blueberry Muffins– Looking for something sweet and easy to grab? These muffins are delicious! They’re easy to make and have become a staple in our fridge lately.
  1. Vegan Eggplant Lasagna– I love this recipe because it’s dairy free (which my GI system appreciates) and it’s also just a “healthier” twist on one of Kwin’s favorite meals. Using eggplant for the noodles instead of zucchini (like most recipes call for) is SUPER BENEFICIAL because it it’s as watery as zucchini! I also usually still put in shredded vegan mozzarella between layers to give it more of a cheesy taste.
  1. Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce- This is from an Ebook that I purchased written by Ellen Fischer. I was a little hesitant to try this recipe at first, but let me tell ya…it hits the Creamy Alfredo Sauce craving right in the butt!
    • Ingredients: Big head of Cauliflower, 4 garlic Cloves, 1 C. SOAKED cashews, 1/2 C. Nutritional Yeast, 1 tsp Onion Powder, 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1.5 TBSP Cornstarch
    • Recipe:
      • Steam cauliflower for about 10 minutes, or until tender
      • Blend Cashews with 3 cups of water on a high speed blender, until smooth like cashew milk
      • Add cauliflower to blender with cashews and the rest of the ingredients listed above. Blend until creamy smooth
      • Transfer sauce to a large pan and heat on medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until sauce thickens. Taste and add appropriate seasons- This is where I usually will add some oregano, basil and other spices to give it more of an authentic Alfredo sauce taste!
  1. Copy Cat Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs– Oh man, I made these for Easter and they taste exactly like the OG Reeses Peanut Butter Cup! Just a little “healthier” twist on them! Rachel Devaux is always creating a “healthier” twist on so many classics. These guys are Dairy Free, Gluten Free, and Refined Sugar Free!

Favorite Cookbooks or Websites For Recipes!

Being stuck at home is not always a bad thing! In fact, it has allowed me extra time to get creative in the kitchen and try some new recipes that I previously wouldn’t have tried.
I hope this sparked your taste buds and got your mouth watering.
Use this is a resource of inspiration; And maybe it even gave you that kick in the butt you needed to get in the kitchen yourself and get creative too!

Final Stretch- Bozeman, Glacier National Park, Roosevelt National Park!

Life is meant for spectacular adventures. Let your feet wander, your eyes marvel, and your soul ignite. 

Two weeks down, and one week to go before heading back home! We’ve already seen some pretty amazing things while in Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons and Yellowstone; but knew we still had some great things to look forward too! 

Here is the final week of adventures!

Bozeman, MT 

On our way from Yellowstone National Park to Glacier National Park we decided to stop in Bozeman, MT for a couple days. National Parks are great, but one downfall is that our dogs [aka our children] aren’t allowed to hike with us.  We had also heard so many great things from friends that grew up in the Bozeman area, so we figured that we definitely needed to check it out.

Camping- We stayed at the Langohr Campground, a quaint campground located about 10 minutes south of downtown Bozeman. The location of this campground was PERFECT! 

No phone service + Creekside + Located right near a bunch of biking trails. 

Hiking- Bozeman is located amongst the mountains, so one would only guess that the hiking is unbelievable.

  • The ‘M’ Trail: A 1.2 mile trail, that has two routes (hard or easy route) ending at the famous ‘M,’ which I believe represent Montana State University. We obviously took the hard route [when hiking with Kwin, it’s pretty expected] and let me tell ya, the views are spectacular! 
  • Baldy Peak Summit: A 9.6 mile trail, rated at hard. We did about half of this tail, due to time constraints, but it was awesome! We saw so many active people [mostly locals] and had the best views of Bozeman! Mountain living is crazy … while hiking two storms split us, allowing us to watch as the storms, on-top of a mountain, as they passed through.

Biking- From our camping spot we were able to jump on some of the mountain biking trails, and like the hiking, the trails were pretty awesome! This was the true definition of Mountain Biking! We pretty much started from the bottom of a canyon, and biked about 2500 feet UP HILL before being able to descent again! It was exhausting to say the least.

Dining- When we are traveling and camping mosts of our meals are eaten and cooked at our campsite. Seriously, who doesn’t like cooking over the campfire? But after two weeks of doing this, we were pretty ready for a little “treat.” Bozeman reminds me of Traverse City, Michigan in so many ways [obviously minus the Great Lakes, and add Mountains.] There were a ton of great coffee shops and dinner places too! 

  • Mackenzie River Pizza: Now, I’m not usually a person who would order pizza, but I’d like to report that the pizza here was AMAZING! Plus the atmosphere was really inviting. If it were up to Kwin, we would have eaten here for every meal. 
  • Plonk: A recommendation from James, Kwin’s high school friend who currently lives out in Bozeman! The drinks were phenomenal, the food was phenomenal [and vegan friendly,] and the atmosphere was so fun! 
  • Bozeman Community Co-Op: I LOVE going to Co-Op’s! This place had a wonderful salad bar, as well as hot food bar.
  • Wild Joe’s Coffee: One of the best Matcha Latte’s I had the entire trip! 
  • The Daily Coffee & Eatery- Northside: Quick coffee, with great breakfast food selections [gluten free and vegan options available!] We hit this place bright and early before hitting the road to Glacier National Park. 

Glacier National Park 

Going into our trip, this was one spot I was most excited for! It’s not everyday that you get to see and hike to glaciers. Plus, if you didn’t know, the glaciers found in Glacier National Park are the only ones left in the United States AND they are receding fast! Infact, researchers are estimating that they may be completely melted within the next 50 years! 

So our original plan for this National Park was to go to the western most part of the National Park, drive the famous “Road To The Sun” through the park and then end up in Waterton National Park (the Canadian side) for a couple days. However, plans don’t always go as planned. When we arrived to West Glacier, we found out that YOU CANNOT DRIVE VEHICLES LARGER THAN 21 FEET ON THE ROAD TO THE SUN! Yup that meant we couldn’t drive through the park while pulling our camper [18foot camper + our truck is bigger than 21 feet.] So we decided to forgo Waterton, and instead to two days on the west side of the park, then drive around to the east side and spend a couple days. We were still able to drive part of “The Road To The Sun,” which was crazy beautiful!

Camping- We decided to stay two nights on the west side of the park, then two nights on the east side of the park, that way we could experience a little bit of everything! 

  • Apgar Campground:  Located right at the entrance of “The Road To The Sun” on the west side of the park. Apgar has a campground and a little village too! Not only is it at the entrance of the famous road, it’s also right on Lake MacDonald- a BEAUTIFUL glacier lake! It was our favorite campground of the two we stayed at.
  • Many Glacier Campground: Located on the eastern side of the park. This area was definitely more primitive than the western side. A tip for anyone planning to camp out here is to ALWAYS check how the wildlife is. This campground had a lot of bear activity, so they did not allow soft top campers or tent camping while we were there. 

Hiking- While in Glacier we obviously wanted to hike a glacier, but that wasn’t the only awesome thing we got to see! 

  • Apgar Lookout Trail: a 7mile, rated difficult hike. This was a great hike to warm the legs back up from a day of driving. It was beautiful, however the summit was starting to get a little overgrown by trees and other vegetation; affecting the view of Lake MacDonald at the top.  
  • Highline Trail: a 14.7 mile [one way] trail, rated as moderate. This was probably one of my favorite hikes! Despite it being long, the views were freaking amazing! When reading all the reviews on ‘All Trails’ they recommended that we park at the bottom of the hike, take a shuttle to the top, and then hike down. That’s exactly what we did! Hiking alongside the mountains gave spectacular views, plus there was so much wildlife along the trail too! 
  • Iceberg Lake Trail: a 9.3 mile [out and back] trail, rated as moderate. This one was my favorite hikes on the Eastern side of the park! A family friend of ours recommended that we do this trail, and I’m so glad we did! PS: If you stay in Many Glacier campground, you can start most of the trails right from campsite. It was pretty windy that day, so unfortunately all the icebergs had been pushed to the far side of the lake, but the crystal blue water was still breathtaking. We also saw two bears while hiking! 
  • Grinnell Glacier: A 9.5 mile hike, rated as moderate. Given it was mid July when we were there, most of the snow on the trail was melted. However, there were signs all over the trail advising people to “proceed with caution” because of the ice and snow that commonly covers it! Fun Fact: the trail actually ends at two different glaciers- Grinnell Glacier and Salamander Glacier. 

Paddle Boarding- Have you ever paddled a glacier lake at sunset? Yup, neither had we… Until Lake MacDonald! You guys, this paddle was so spur of the moment, and it was absolutely amazing! Shout out to Tahoe SUP for the amazing inflatable paddle boards that we take EVERYWHERE with us!

The mountains in the background + crystal clear and glassy water + perfect sunset!

Horseback Riding Megan [my sister-in-law] really wanted to do some horseback riding while at Glacier, so we did! This was only my second time horseback riding, and it was a lot of fun. We rode around Lake Josephine, another glacier lake located in Many Glacier. The two leaders were super knowledgeable, funny and made the trip very enjoyable.

Roosevelt National Park 

After parting ways from Megan and Tommy, we started our journey home. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to do a ton of hiking while here, but we did bike around the cute town of Medora and watched the sunset at an overlook in the park! Roosevelt is sometimes known as the “Northern Badlands,” which I can totally see why! It had a lot of the same rock formations as the Badlands in South Dakota, but this definitely had more greenery. 

Another really cool thing about this National Park, was the abundance of wildlife. I’m talking wild horses running around so majestically, buffalo herds of 100+ and prairie dogs popping out of the ground everywhere you look. 

Ballard Lake, Wisconsin 

Our final stop of the trip! Thanks to our good friends, Mark and Janna Goethel, for inviting us to their family cabin! We had so much fun with the whole Tucker family boating, hiking, swimming, paddling, and lots of drinking. Neither Kwin or I had ever been to this part of Wisconsin, but it was so beautiful! It reminded me of Northern Michigan is so many ways. Wanna know something crazy? The cabin is only 1 hour south of our cabin! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed following along on Kwin and I’s road trip! If you haven’t already, check out Kwin’s video he made of the trip HERE. Also make sure to read Part 1 and Part 2 of the blog series for our road trip! 

We sure do love traveling, but there is nothing like being home.

Sauna’s and Ice Baths-The Best Immune Boosting, and Injury Preventing alternative to Western Medicine!

I’ve got a question for you all. What would be your FIRST reaction if someone told you that they do Sauna and Ice Baths?

-Is this person crazy?

-What kind of sick joke is this….

-Sauna, yes. But What was that second part?

Three years ago, Kwin and I made a pretty big investment and got a barrel sauna for our backyard! We had heard so many great things about saunas from podcasts (Joe Rogan, Laird & Gabby Hamilton, Aubrey Marcus, etc.) and figured why not, we love a challenge! Having struggled with Raynauds- which is a circulation problem that causes my hands and feet to turn white/be very painful whenever I’m cold– I love the heat and was obviously all in for the sauna part. But NEVER did I ever think that I would jump in an ice bath willingly.

Functional health and wellness is a huge part of Kwin and I’s lives, and finding ways to improve our overall health is fun to us! So I’m sure you’re all wondering, what exactly are the benefits of a sauna? How about the benefits of adding in an Ice Bath rotation?

Sauna Benefits

  1. Helps Improve Circulation– The heat from the hot sauna has a vasodilation effect (basically means that your blood vessels dilate, which can cause your blood pressure to come down!) In fact, HERE is a pretty interesting article I read a while back about how saunas can help with lowering an individuals blood pressure in the long run! The dilation of your blood vessels helps to make sure that different parts of your body are getting the proper amount of oxygen that it needs.
  2. Increases your resting metabolic rate– If you think about how many calories you burn when playing a sport, or riding a bike…this is partially in part to your heart pumping at a faster rate (otherwise known as sinus tachycardia.) Well in a sauna, your heart is also beating at a pretty fast pace! With your heart pumping and your brown fat cells working hard your overall core body temperature rises, resulting in more calories burned while at a resting state.
  3. Detoxifies your body– This is a pretty simple concept. 180+degree temps is going to make you sweat….A LOT! When sweating, you loose a lot of water and toxins. These are typically from what you ingest on a daily basis, as well as anything that you may be exposed to without even knowing it. Unfortunately, the world we live in is full of endocrine disrupting chemicals and toxins. So riding them from our body is a pretty good idea! You may notice the next morning a few more zits than normal, but it’s just your body getting rid of junk! ALSO I would advise drinking lots of water after a sauna session to rehydrate all the water lost.
  4. Increases recovery time after a workout– As mentioned above vasodilation allows for more oxygen to be delivered to muscle cells. With more oxygen being delivered to your muscle cells they are able to rest and recover at a faster pace!

Ice Bath Benefits

  1. Helps Increase Immunity– The initial shock of getting out of the HOT sauna and into a FREEZING tub is exactly the shock the body needs to fight any intruders that may be in your body. Think of it this way, your body is going from somewhere that is close to 200 degrees, to being submerged in something close to 32 or less degrees! Jumping into an ice bath activates the body’s natural healing powers that can promote a sense of health and well-being. If you’re able to do it on a regular basis, they can even provide long-lasting changes to your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems! If you don’t have a large tub laying around, jumping into a lake or pool is always a good option. A lot of Naturopathic Physicians have started offering a treatment very similar to this (Hydrotherapy.) Check out THIS article for more information!
  2. Allows you to stay in the sauna longer– How many times have you been in a sauna, but only been able to stay 10-15 minutes MAX because it’s just so hot? Been there, done that! Well the ice bath provides you with a sense of relief, so that you can stay in there for closer to 30-45 minutes! The longer you are able to tolerate the saunas heat, the more health benefits you’ll get out of it.
  3. Increases recovery time after a workout-Going along with what I mentioned above, the ice bath helps to decrease your inflammation that individuals usually accumulate after workouts! After all, working out causes micro tears in your muscle fibers, which causes generalized inflammation! Recovery is so important for athletes!
  4. The Mental Challenge– I’ll be honest, my first couple times of doing the ice bath I defiantly did the “Bird Bath” technique. Meaning I didn’t actually submerge in the tub, but rather splashed myself. I slowly worked myself up to getting into the bath, and now I can’t imagine doing a sauna without it! The exhilarating feeling of being in an ice bath is so empowering!

The sauna/ice baths SAVE US during the winter! It helps to get rid of the chill after being outside in the frigid cold. Plus as you can see in the picture above, the ice bath actually has large chunks of ice in it, which Kwin usually has to chop through with an axe. We average about 2-3 sauna sessions a week during the spring, fall and winter months. When the summer comes around though, it definitely drops down to about once a week!

I hope you all find this information helpful and even try out a sauna/ice bath session in the future!