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(:

Adventures With Our One Month Old!

It is no surprise that Kwin and I have welcomed our beautiful baby girl into the world a month ago…man how time is already flying by! Miss Fitz has been a perfect addition to our family, and has already proven to be an amazing travel partner too! Here is a little look into the adventures we’ve been on as a family of three!

Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes

At just a whopping WEEK OLD, we threw Fitz into our Ergo baby carrier and made our way to the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes and Glen Arbor, MI. Thanks to our friends J and Lauren for letting us set up camp in their yard at their cabins (have to be COVID cautious!) Since I was still in “recovery mode” we played more of the tourist role; doing short and simple hikes…but still having great views!

Marquette

Every August Kwin and I spend a week traveling around the Upper Peninsula of Michigan(the bugs are usually less crazy then…not this year though!) Our first destination on this road trip was Marquette, MI. A favorite of ours! Marquette has awesome hikes for both sunrise and sunset, great food and overall is just a fun place to be!
Hiking- Sugarloaf Mountain and Presque Isle Park
Camping- Tourist Park
Food- Sol Azteca for dinner, Java Bay for breakfast and Contrast Coffee!

Porcupine Mountains

A definite MUST when going to the upper peninsula! We had two friends join us for this portion of the trip: Corey and Stephanie Adkins! It was so fun showing them, along with Fitz, the beauty of the Porkies!

Copper Harbor

Another favorite of Kwin and I’s. We love the primitive nature of this town…no cell phone service and full of so much Michigan history! We’ve never camped in Copper Harbor, but decided this time to stay the night at a cute campground just at the base of some awesome biking trails (so jealous that I wasn’t able to bike with Kwin!)
Hiking- Brockway Mountain and Estivant Pines
Camping- Lake Fanny Hooe Campground
Food- a local food truck and Jamsens for breakfast.

Boat Days

What a spoiled girl, spending so much time on the lakes!
This little girl has been in Elk Lake, Torch Lake and had her toes dipped into both Lake Michigan and Lake Superior!

Fun fact!
While hiking with our friends-Corey and Stephanie- Corey made a joke that I’ve breastfed Fitz is some crazy spots! So I thought it would be fun to list them out here!
-Pierce Stocking Overlook
-Lake Of The Clouds
-Miners Trail (Porcupine Mountains)
-Cascade Falls
-Lake Superior Shoreline
-Face In The Rock
-Elk Lake and Torch Lake

People call us crazy taking a newborn to all the places we have.
We call it living life to the fullest(:

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(: