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.
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!
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!
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.
Halloween– EEEEKKK, 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!
I can’t believe how fast time goes when you’re pregnant! I mean it feels like just yesterday that I was secretly taking the positive pregnancy test in my bathroom, and now I’m finishing up 2nd trimester! I think it helps that throughout the entire pregnancy I’ve felt 100% normal, despite my body physically changing, not too much has changed. I will say, most people said that 2nd trimester would be the best; I’d get my energy back, the minimal food eversions I was having would be gone, and I would just feel on top of the world. Well, thank you everyone for the positive words because YOU WERE ALL CORRECT.
A lot has been going on for Kwin and I during this trimester, as well as a lot going on in the world. So lets’ dig into the good stuff!
Ligament Discomfort: Around week 18 I started experiencing some pelvic discomfort, most notable after being on my feet all day at work, or after a long walk/hike. The discomfort is not unbearable, just more of an annoying feeling. To help with this I’ve been seeing a Chiropractor weekly (shout out to Dr.Darnell at Torch Lake Chiropractic) as well as stretching everyday and incorporating Yoga into our workout regimen more.
Winded easily with high cardiac activity– This hasn’t gotten any worse than it was during 1st trimester, but still gets in the way of hiking sometimes! I do know that it’s important not to get my heart rate up too high during pregnancy, so I’m taking the winded feeling as more of a sign to “slow down!”
Feeling baby girl kick all the time– This isn’t a bad symptoms at all; In-fact, it’s my favorite thing nowadays! Even if she wakes me in the middle of the night with a kung-fu like kick in the bladder, her movements give me the greatest feeling in the world. I’d say that I started feeling her around week 18, but was kinda uncertain if what I was feeling was actually her. It wasn’t until our 20 week ultrasound that it was confirmed! What I was feeling was indeed her; that’s because we caught all her movements on camera(:
There is NO DOUBT that this child is Kwin’s (Inside joke.) One reason I say this is because ALL of my cravings and eversions are Kwin’s favorite foods to eat and foods he could care less to eat. It’s so interesting how that happens, but in all honesty I don’t mind at all (and neither does Kwin…we’re eating his favorite foods for dinner all the time!)
Pasta or Pizza– I’m usually the type of person looking to “health-ify” everything we eat, and this includes pasta (can you say spaghetti squash or zoodles!) But lately, I’ve wanted the FULL gluten, drenched in pesto sauce pasta, or a good pizza.
FRUIT– Similar to my 1st trimester, if I could eat fresh fruit all day then I would! Especially the sour/citrus fruits- like pineapple, raspberries, oranges, mango’s, berries.
Cranberry Juice– Again, not something I usually fill my glass with; but one of Kwin’s favorite things!
Big Salads– I do still love me a big salad filled with lots of veggies. If I’m not craving pasta/pizza, I’m wanting a salad. It’s all about balance, right?
NOT A CRAVING, but I don’t have much of a pallet for sweets anymore…and if you know me, you know I’m a sweetaholic!
My Favorite Investments I’ve Made
Lulu Lemon leggings– The Align leggings are a gift from the heavens! The high waist band on them allows for your belly to continue growing, without cutting into it or making you feel suffocated. If they weren’t so darn expensive, I think my whole wardrobe would consist of these leggings!
Bamboo pant expanders– I’ve been very fortunate to really only be “gaining weight” in my stomach region. I fit in most of my pre-pregnancy pants still, except having a hard time buttoning now. For this reason I was trying to find some good “pant expanders” that wouldn’t show under the shirt I would be wearing. These guys past the test! Super happy with this purchase and will even be able to use them with my shorts this summer.
Bamboo nursing bra– Having sore and growing boobs has made me reevaluate my bra situation. I refuse to buy new bra’s because I know this is only a temporary thing…but guys these bra’s are the comfiest things I’ve ever worn! I wear it 99% of the days!
Lotion for my growing belly to help prevent stretch marks– I understand that stretch marks are almost inevitable, but if I can try and prevent them in anyway, then I will! I’ve been using lotion from Primally Pure, or just coconut oil on my stomach twice a day! So far, so good!
Apps I’ve been using to help track my growing baby:
What To Expect- Weekly updates on what baby girl is doing, how big she is, and what my body it going through too! Another nice feature of this app is that I am included is a forum with other momma’s who are also due in July 2020. It’s nice to see what other women are going through as well!
The Bump- Similar to the one above, except it doesn’t have the momma forum. I like both apps as they usually share the same information…but maybe a few different things!
COVID-19 And It’s Impact On Us
I’ll be honest, I was kinda a mess at first when the chaos of COVID-19 came around. All the uncertainty of the virus, plus the uncertainty of how it could impact pregnancy and my growing baby…to say I was scared is an understatement. Especially being a nurse, where I am still required to work (lucky for me, I work in the Oncology world and feel very safe around my patients!) After much research, discussion with my OB, and other momma’s going through the same things… I started to feel better. WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER! -COVID-19 has had some negative impacts on our daily lives. Kwin is NOT allowed to go to any of our pre-natal appointments with me right now, I’ve had to cancel/ postpone baby girl’s baby showers, and we weren’t allowed to travel anywhere for spring break! -COVID-19 has also has some positive impacts on our daily lives. It has allowed Kwin and I to spend a lot of quality time together before baby girl joins our family. We have also accomplished A LOT of chores around the house that have been put off for the past 5 years (basically since we moved in,) and lastly we started working on her nursery!
Due to COIVD-19 being around for most of my 2nd trimester, Kwin and I were not able to travel much for adventures. However, this time allowed us to explore new trails and old favorites close by!
Some of our favorites are: Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, Brown Bridge Quiet Area, Maple Bay and just around our own house!
I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse of what we’ve been up to over the past couple months! Stay home. Stay safe. And stay healthy during these crazy times!
As we cross the Mackinaw Bridge from Mackinaw City to St.Ignace there is an instant feeling that you’re in a whole new world. Something about the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that separates it from anywhere else I have ever been. Picture this: Virgin White Pine forests along one side of the road with a view of Lake Michigan on the other. Traffic is nonexistent. No billboards advertising the nearest McDonalds or skyscrapers in site. Now at this time of year add about 3 feet of snow plowed up along side the road and you’re set.
Northern Michigan in the winter can be pretty brutal: you get the intense lake effect snow from Lake Michigan. The brutally cold winter days and nights, barley getting above freezing; and the majority of the days are cloudy with a peak of sun occasionally. So why do I love it so much up there? Well that’s because the snow, coldness and peaks of sun are what make winter beautiful. When I think of winter I don’t think of 75 and sunny. In fact, weather like this makes me enjoy the other seasons so much more because I appreciate them so much.
Growing up I use to hate winter. I felt like all I could do was stay inside and do nothing. Well I sure was wrong! As I’ve gotten older I have started to expand my horizons (thanks to my wonderful Fiancé, Kwin) and gotten out to enjoy the beauty of winter. I look forward to snowshoeing, skiing, fat tire biking and all the other activities there are to do.
This past weekend in Marquette, MI was possibly one of the best winter weekends I can think of. It was one of those random sunny weekends (and lets be honest sun makes everything a little bit better). Kwin and I do not like to waste a second in a day, so here is a little rundown of what we did this weekend.
Woke up before sunrise to get to one of our favorite hikes, Sugar Loaf Mountain, and were able to hike the beach and mountain to catch a beautiful sunrise.
Went fat tire biking at the Marquette groomed winter trails. This was quite a challenge for me. See, I am still new at this Fat tire biking stuff and the beginning of the corse was NOT EASY! However, I never give up to a challenge and kept going. It ended up being such a beautiful, relaxing and fun ride too!
Went Skiing at Mount Marquette. This ski resort was absolutely breath taking. At the top of most of the hills you had this amazing overlook of Lake Superior, plus the skiing conditions were absolutely perfect!
Took our dog,Kanyon, for a hike along the pathway that goes for miles along Lake Superior. We love this pathway for many reasons: It’s perfect for biking and walking along, you’ve got a great view of sunrises and sunsets, and it’s right along Lake Superior!
We ended our day by going to one of our favorite restaurants in Marquette, Sol Azteca (this place is a must!)
Woke up, again before sunrise, and drove to Pictured Rocks to catch the sunrise there.
-Our plan here took a little bit of a twist. We thought that the road was plowed all the way to the coast line, however when driving down there we soon found out that it was a season road (meaning not plowed!) This did not stop us, instead we hopped on out Fat Tire bikes and rode the remaining three miles back.
Our first stop was Miners Castle. This was absolutely beautiful with the sunrise hitting the colorful rocks and the crystal blue water.
Second, we rode an additional one mile to the Miners Falls. This is a waterfall hidden in the Pictured Rocks National forest. This was my favorite stop of the weekend. The waterfall was breathtaking. 80% of it was frozen solid, but being how massive it is there was still some flowing water. When we got there the sun was hitting it so perfectly!
We then finished our Fat Tire bike back and started our voyage home.
Marquette and Pictured Rocks are two of my favorite places in the Upper Peninsula, and maybe even Michigan in general. The rustic, wooded, outdoor feel that you get when you’re in the Upper Peninsula is something you can’t get anywhere else. If you are willing to endure the cold temperatures and snowy terrain, I would highly suggest going up there for a winter adventure!