Merry Christmas from Our Family to Yours! 🎄❤️

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All The Christmas Things! 🎄🥰

*Let’s try this again! When I first posted this it wasn’t showing up- hope it does this time!*

Hi all! I wanted to get this post out before Christmas, and I think it’s going to happen! I am as shocked as you are. I’m looking forward to writing it since it’s all the Christmas Things and then some ☺️.

Picking up after Thanksgiving! November 26th I took Moose on his first ever official run (trot for him) now that he’s old enough. We did 4 miles together! So. Much. Fun.

The weekend was pretty chill as DJ recovered from HFM. I just knocked a lot off the to-do list and got the house in order which was nice.

November 27th I started the day with a spinach, mushroom, vegan smoked Gouda omelette and a side of leftover vegan cornbread and jam. 😊

That afternoon, I was sterilizing Quinn’s pacis. Many times when she has her paci, she makes a “doi doi” sound, so naturally we started calling her paci her “doi doi”. Well when I was sterilizing this new batch, DJ walked over with Quinn and went “Look Quinnie, Mommy’s making doi doi stew!”. Made me laugh 😆.

You can hear the “doi doi” a little in this vid 🥰

The night of December 1st, Quinn spiked a 102 temp. The whole next day, she mostly slept but seemed to feel better by the evening. Must have been a 24 hour bug. Thankfully I didn’t have to work that day and could give her all the cuddles.

Another day, another veggie bone broth soup.

December 4th was a lot of fun! Kollyns, my cousin’s daughter, had her first birthday at a fruit farm lodge! It was the coolest first birthday, not a detail was spared. It was Christmas themed with a tree full of ornaments of her from the first year, festive decorations galore, a cookie making station for the kids, a hot chocolate and coffee station and the cherry on top- a special appearance by Mr. and Mrs. Claus themselves!

This was Quinn’s first time meeting Santa and she did great. She was purely fascinated by this guy with a long beard. Speaking of- she decided to pull said (very real) beard. Poor Santa!! That girl has an iron grip too. I know, my hair is on the receiving end of it most days, lol.

But still a memory so sweet! Just like this dessert station 😍.

December 5th we woke up to this glorious sunrise!

That afternoon, Gigi, Chris and Renee stopped by to see Quinn and have lunch together! We ordered in Piada. They also kindly watched her while I ran off to a doctors appointment (finally established a PCP after being here for over a year, figured I should practice what I preach ha). Us healthcare folk can be the worst patients.

Anyway, while they were here, they shared the link to all the wedding photos! (You may remember the wedding from this post). They were without a doubt some of the most gorgeous wedding photos I’ve ever seen!! I wanted to share this one of Quinn making her first ever debut as flower girl down the aisle :).

That afternoon for Quinn’s nap, Gigi walked with us in a nearby neighborhood for a good couple hours. It was so fun, the two of us could chat forever if given the chance!! And Quinn slept the entire time. I think she likes the white noise of the chit chat.

December 6th, I unfortunately had to call off work again since Quinn spiked a temp overnight. She turned the corner fairly quickly the next day though, just had a little cold that lingered after.

That evening I made some Banza pasta paired with a yummy Athletic non-alcoholic IPA.

Moose was exhausted that evening after a fun day at Aunt Marie’s!

For DJ, I made some black bean tacos that week. Unfortunately, I couldn’t have them because there was soy in them, but he said they were delicious!

December 7th I ran through the Starbucks drive through before a haircut. I have gotta say. I have decided as an unpopular opinion that I just don’t like Starbucks. Cue the gasps. I know, I know. I sound like a real coffee snob, but the coffee always tastes so bitter to me. We’re spoiled with having Nervous Dog nearby; it’s tough to go back to Starbucks after that. But I will definitely drink it if there’s nothing else around, don’t get me wrong. I will drink any coffee over no coffee.

I dropped off Quinn at daycare for a couple hours while I got the hairs chopped and took Moose for a run. They sent this sweet picture of her writing her first letter to Santa!❤️ It’s hard for me to drop her off when I don’t absolutely have to, but these pics remind me she genuinely enjoys daycare!

When I picked her up, we had fun together the rest of the day! We went to the same local shop we did in the fall, and this time instead of pumpkins, we picked up poinsettias. The owners were both there and soo sweet. They seemed happy to see Quinn again!

I also picked up a couple other little Christmas trinkets like the reindeer feed, burlap fern, and coffee mug that I lined with candy canes. I put Quinn front facing in the carrier for the first time ever while decorating- she was alll about that!

This Santa pictured above actually has special sentiment. It was my grandma’s, and she distributed them to family before she and my grandpa moved into their current place. All my family on my mom’s side has a couple Santas. I obviously wanted the baking Santa with the dog and was excited when he was still up for the taking!

That evening, I asked DJ if he was craving anything specific for dinner, and he requested cacio e pepe. We had this for the first time in Austin, and we were obsessed. I looked up a recipe expecting it to be complicated (I mean the name sounds so fancy, right?), but it was actually so easy!!! Highly recommend. (I couldn’t eat it with the dairy, but I will be trying it as soon as I can). DJ raved about it!

December 9th I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. I had a 102 fever overnight (deja vu!) and severe chills. I haven’t had chills like that since I was a kid. It was hard to get out of bed, but obviously Quinn needed me to. I tried to stay moving and distracted most of the day so I didn’t have to focus how terrible I felt. I started to put together the gift bags for her daycare teachers and wrapped a few gifts.

I captured Quinn’s 7 month photo (just a couple days late). These photos are getting harder to get because she’s so wiggly and wanting to be Dora the Explorer everywhere she goes.

Probably needless to say, this sweet girl and my time with her was the best medicine. I was feeling better by the evening!

I was fiercely craving red meat that evening, so I made some bison tacos for dinner. Mmm mmm.

Unfortunately, with my fever and not feeling 100%, we cancelled our weekend plans. We’ve had to cancel so many plans lately, but thankfully everyone has been very understanding.

The morning of December 11th, I sat with Quinn and rolled this small ball to her. She loved it (but is still working on the idea of rolling it back hehe). She’s sitting so well though unassisted now.

That day I made a gift box for the delivery drivers who I do not know what I’d without this year. Since Quinn was born we pretty much have had everything delivered, and I’m so darn grateful for the convenience.

December 13th, Quinn and I went to First Watch with Gigi! Quinn had her very first food order out for herself, which of course I had to document. I got her a couple eggs that I could cut into strips and feed her. She did well! About the same amount made it on the floor that made it in her mouth, but it was so fun.

Gigi ordered their cinnamon chocolate chip pancake. Their pancakes are so so good.

I had their tri-athlete. Love this meal, it’s so filling and nourishing. I think the cremini mushrooms they put in it are particularly tasty.

We went back to play with Quinn before Gigi headed out for the day. I adore these pics! 💕.

We got Quinn the biggest playpen we could find for the living room. She loves it! We had a hard time keeping her from climbing on the wood furniture and chasing after Moose’s bones, so this was a great solution! (Moose was so fed up with her going after his bones that he started stock piling them on the couch out of her reach. One time we gave her one of her toys that looked like a bone just to keep her happy 😂).

Also, this is officially Quinn’s pouf- she loves pulling up and standing on it. Such an unexpectedly great little tool for her to practice her gross motor skills.

For dinner that evening, I made us caulipower chicken tenders, veggies and farro. I’ve been on a real farro kick lately. I love how hearty and chewy it is.

December 14th I was craving sushi like nobody’s business. I ordered an eel and crab roll from Ichiban Sushi for lunch- never disappoints!

That evening, I made a veggie flatbread with tomato sauce, kite hill ricotta cheese (vegan), mushrooms, artichoke hearts, arugula and vegan parmesan on a Lavash wrap. This turned out unexpectedly so delicious. That kite hill ricotta is a winner!!

The evening of December 15th was DJ’s holiday party for work. I ordered Enticing Cakes to bring to the party. They had great flavors, including a deep fried Oreo cupcake! We didn’t make it to dessert to try them out (had to leave early to get Quinnie to sleep), but we will reorder for some occasion and give them a try! I just love DJ’s coworkers and always have a blast when we all get together.

December 17th, we went over my brother and sister-in-law’s to celebrate Christmas with them and my nephews and niece! It was special bonding time. My brother is an awesome dad, but it’s fun seeing him in the Uncle role now. Here he’s showing Quinn the ornaments on the Christmas tree and the train looping around on the track.

Chatting with my sister-in-law, Maura, is like therapy! She’s a mom of three young ones and always has amazing wisdom, tips and advice for me. So grateful for them.

Kate could not wait to see and hold her cousin Quinn!

Kate gave us all face paintings, and I’m kicking myself for not taking a picture because the butterfly she painted on my cheek was so cute & good! DJ and Jack were two peas in a pod the whole evening, playing various sports games. Will is a ball of energy and has the sweetest little giggle! I love seeing his sweet personality develop.

We opened gifts and enjoyed watching the kids play with them before heading out.

December 18th, my good friend Melissa had a birthday lunch at Michael Angelo’s. I was so excited to try out the food since the only time I’d been there was for Renee’s wedding. I didn’t get pics (I should have), but I tried their asparagus salad with salmon, and it was soooo gooood. I think I will go back there for my birthday-there’s so much on their menu I want to try! It was a blast- I got to meet many of the fellow bridesmaids and flower girl who will be in Melissa’s wedding next August. They are all so awesome!

December 19th, I couldn’t find my pump bag anywhere. I realized I must have left it at work, so I ran there to get it. So frustrating when things like this happen because it feels like a time suck, but I was grateful I at least found it!

This week at daycare, I received this adorable pic!

They also sent the sweetest, most creative Christmas goodies back with Quinn. Made me darn emotional! They have a wrapped gift from Quinn to us that I’m saving for Christmas Day. I savor everything. How special is all this?! There’s even a little footprint reindeer ornament 🥺💕.

And that wraps us up to about… well now! Have a very Merry Christmas, all! What a beautiful time of year to spend time with loved ones and celebrate Christ’s birth. ❤️🎄

Questions for you:

– What are your Christmas plans?

– I didn’t get around to baking cookies this year, but if you did, what did you make?!

<3,

Mackenzie

Trying a New Diner, New Foods & New Recipes!

Hello! Hope you all are doing well & staying warm out there! Today I’m catching up from November, the month I call “the month of sick”. We had one thing after another- it was a pretty rough month, but thankfully we are ok at this moment in time (knock on wood). 

November 1st, we introduced Quinn to salmon. I had to share her adorable reaction. She actually ended up loving it and ate a lot of it after getting over the initial shock, lol. 

She and Moose are quickly becoming best friends- it’s so stinking cute. Quinn lights up and laughs when Moose walks into the room. Moose is so careful and gentle with her too. He’s a great big brother. He’ll often go over and sit right next to her as though he’s keeping an eye on her. 

I’ve been on a real kick lately with avocado toast and arugula together. Add a few drops of Frank’s Red Hot sauce- YUM. 

November 2nd, I took Moose out on a nice fall walk <3. 

I love how creative they are with Quinn at daycare!

November 3rd, I got this sweet girl ready to go out for her first breakfast out!

Gigi, Quinn and I went on a chilly walk on the hike and bike trail and then went to Molly Brown’s Country Cafe for some food.

Molly Brown’s has a cozy, local feel and smells like a traditional breakfast diner: toast, coffee and cooking oil. I also get a hint of cigarette smoke, but obviously that’s been banned for a while indoors, so I think it’s probably my brain playing tricks since I went to so many diners growing up when smoking was still allowed. 

We placed Quinn in the high chair and used diapers on either side to help give more support. She did great! No fussing the entire time. She just loved looking around and people watching. 

We ordered some smooth and yummy coffee and lots of food. I tried the veggie omelette- It was delicious! 

November 4th was camo day at daycare. Just had to share her cute little outfit we got off Amazon. 

November 5th, we woke up to the most beautiful sunrise. It was a special moment watching it with Quinn. She loves the cool air too- I’ve discovered she way prefers being on the cooler side than being warm. She naps best on cold walks outside in my carrier right now. 

And fall is officially over!

After our morning family walk, one of my good friends from childhood, Sarah, came by with her dog to meet Quinn! It was soo good to see her and catch up.

Sunday, November 6th, I met up with Rachel for brunch at the Burntwood Tavern in Cuyahoga Falls. 

We sat outside on their deck over looking the water. It was a beautiful morning!

I ordered a delicious omelette with some of the best darn sea salt breakfast potatoes. 

Rach came back after and hung out with us and Quinn for a little bit <3.

The 6th also happened to be Quinn’s six month birthday, her golden month birthday if you will! <3.

That evening I made a garlic shrimp toast recipe. It was pretty good, but not sure I’ll make again.

November 8th,  I took Quinn into the pediatrician’s for an eye infection. She got put on antibiotics, but I started feeling under the weather the same day. We went for a walk on our way back from the office to get some fresh air.

That evening we hit the polls, I just put her in my carrier which worked out well. If she’s in the carrier, she is happy. Do not know what I’d do without this thing!

That evening, I made cast iron salmon with rice, spinach and mushrooms. 

November 9th, I had to call off work since Quinn needed to be on antibiotics 24 hours before returning to daycare. Her eyes improved quickly after a couple doses thankfully! I hate calling off work, but Quinn is my #1 priority now. I didn’t mind the extra cuddles and time together the next day one bit <3. 

That evening was rough though! During the day, I realized my eye started looking quite red and started feeling a cold fully coming on. By the evening, I knew I had picked up Quinn’s eye infection, I felt awful overall and my ear started hurting. Around 11 pm the pain in my ear became excruciating and then my ear drum perforated. I did a teladoc appointment– thank goodness for that technology–and DJ ran out to get my meds from a 24 hr. pharmacy. Bless him. 

November 10th, I had to call off work again. I’ve never called off twice in a row- or hardly ever to begin with- but thankfully my manager has been so supportive and understanding. I’m just praying we make it through the winter without too many more call offs since I know the first year of daycare is tough on the sickness front as the little ones build that immunity. 

I was craving soup that evening, naturally, so I made a veggie bone broth that hit the spot. Ya got your veggies, ya got your protein- it’s great! I’ve made this several times since. If we have any leftover grains like farro or brown rice, I’ll throw those in too and sometimes top with vegan cheese. (And always a piece of buttered bread on the side).

I also discovered one of my new favorite pastas that week! This Banza Rigatoni pasta is made from chickpeas, packed with protein and soo delicious. I topped it with regular parm for DJ, vegan parmesan for myself (Follow Your Heart has a great one) along with a little parsley. 

We had some naan bread leftover after using most of it for Indian food, so I decided to try it out for grilled cheese & tomato soup! DJ loved this!! 

November 13th, Quinnie was introduced to a small amount of regular yogurt! She did well with it as far as we can tell. Her eye infection ended up coming back, and then she got put on oral antibiotics for an ear infection later that week, so we put the dairy introduction on hold and just gave her probiotic drops. She liked the yogurt though, that’s for sure! We’ve re-introduced it one other time since, and her reflux seemed to worsen; however, she was battling a cold and cough that week- so it was hard to tell the culprit. We’ll try again when she’s all better! And if she does well with it, that means she no longer has an intolerance (woot woot) & I can start having dairy again! I feel like we’re almost there :).

That evening I made an artichoke chicken that I’m obsessed with! (I substituted mushrooms for the tomatoes, and loved this combo). 

November 14th was picture day for Ms. Quinn at daycare, so we sent her off with a bow :). 

November 15th, I used naan we had on hand to make a pizza in the air fryer. I topped it off with basil & it actually turned out pretty good! I think it would have all around crisped up better in the oven, but it was fun to try in the air fryer (and faster).

November 16th, I took Quinn out on our first super cold (sub-40F) walk. I was eager to get out of the house, and Quinn seemed to love it. She had one of her longest naps to date all cozied up. 

That evening I made air fryer shrimp tacos. Still one of my favorite meals to make through the week. 

This is how pretty much every meal looks right now. So fun & oh so messy!!

This week, we also started getting full on giggles which make my heart burst 100x over!

November 19th, I made more caulipower pappardelle mixed with veggies and topped with vegan parm. I could eat this every night!

And that brings us to the week of Thanksgiving

Questions for you!

  • Favorite memory of this holiday season so far?
  • Have you tried any new recipes lately? Would love if you have a link to it too!

Have a very Merry Christmas, all <3!

<3,

Mackenzie

A sorta different…but still tasty…Thanksgiving!

Good morning everyone! Currently, Quinn is sleeping in her crib for her nap. Admittedly, I have become very lazy with doing crib naps after I realized she was just fine napping in the crib at daycare while doing carrier naps at home with me. But, with travel coming up here for the holidays, I’d really like to be able to put her to nap in a pack and play so I don’t miss out! I know, I know- a lofty goal to accomplish in a couple weeks.

Anyway, I’m skipping one recap that I have yet to write and jumping into our Thanksgiving recap, since it’s a bit more timely!  

November 20th, my sister, Halston, came to town! She was here for a few days before driving to Cincinnati to be with Kevin’s family for Thanksgiving. While she was calling me to give me an update on where she was en route, Quinn started pulling up to stand on our pouf in the living room. I couldn’t believe it!

My sister arrived later that evening right on the verge of us putting Quinn to sleep. When Quinn saw my sister, her eyes got very wide and she looked between me and my sister several times, clearly confused. I feel like she was thinking, “wait, which one is mom?!”. It was too funny and cute. We went to sleep shortly after, and then we all worked the next day (Hal worked from our home). After work, I was eager to drive home to pick up Quinn from daycare and see Hal! 

I’ve been trying lots of new recipes lately and have been trying to be more creative in the kitchen. I was getting into a bit of a rut making the same things over and over, but cooking always brings me such joy and makes me feel productive. The evening of November 21st, I made scallops with couscous and a veggie medley of zucchini, mushrooms and a broccoli slaw. 

Dancing to Christmas music with Aunt Hally <3.
Tuesday, November 22nd, was a chill day at home for me and Quinn. She slept through the night for the first time ever the night before! I got so much sleep too, I couldn’t believe it- I was actually more tired than usual the next day because I think my body isn’t used to that much sleep. Anyway, my sister still had to work, but she was able to sneak out for a walk with us. 

That evening I made one of the best recipes I’ve tried in a long time- these Buddha Bowls! Hal and I couldn’t believe how delicious they were. We made them with Japanese sweet potato rather than regular, and I think that made them even better (although we were then missing the orange “pop” of orange). 

Wednesday, November 23rd, we dropped off Quinn at daycare in the morning and had a sisters morning at home. I worked one day less than usual that week so I could prep for Thanksgiving, so I used half of the other daycare day she usually goes to get all our cooking done! We started the day with cranberry orange mimosas. Mine heavier on the cranberry, Hal’s heavier on the orange.

We had two Thanksgivings planned this year- one with my dad-in-law’s side and one with my mom-in-law’s side. With Hal’s help, we prepped the following dishes: 

My cranberry pistachio acorn squash

Vegan Cornbread (Holy moly, this is going to be a new staple). 

And vegan cauliflower mashed potatoes (I sorta winged this one, but we couldn’t believe how delicious they were, I’ll have to post a recipe for it soon, so I remember how I made them for next year). 

After listening to holiday music and cooking away, we hit the trail for a 3 mile run together. 

Then we picked up Quinnie from daycare and went to a nearby neighborhood to go for a walk and nap. Hal requested to wear the carrier, so I helped her put it on, and it was so special they had that bonding time while Quinn caught some snoozes. 

Then sadly, Hal had to hit the road. It was a tough goodbye, but I’m grateful I’ll see her for Christmas!

The morning of Thanksgiving, things took a wee bit of a turn. DJ woke up with a horrible case of hand, foot, mouth which, unfortunately, Quinn had battled over the weekend. DJ got it worse though- thankfully, Quinn had a super mild case. Due to how contagious HFM is, we had to cancel all our Thanksgiving plans.

We were determined to still have a good day and make it memorable for our family. I just wish DJ had been feeling better. We started out with an off-trail walk in the woods with Moose and Quinn. 

Then when we returned home, DJ kindly watched her while I actually “got ready”, a rare thing around here. Even though, we weren’t going anywhere, I still wanted to dress like a civil human being on the holiday. And then I got Quinn dressed in her outfit too :).

I whipped together an impromptu spread with whatever we had. It was an oddly fun challenge to see how I could make something that resembled a Thanksgiving dinner so last minute. We used a couple of the Waygu steaks that were gifted to DJ for his bday as our main course, cauliflower mashed potatoes, vegan mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, biscuits, vegan cornbread and leftover of the quinoa mix to go over a spinach salad (I already had devoured a stuffed squash for lunch and wanted to save the rest to drop off at Gigi’s since I know they like it!). 

I laughed when DJ randomly yelled out during the meal, “Thanks for the rolls, Quinnie!”. 

It ended up being a great meal! The star of the show was the steak (thank you, Gigi and Gordie- you saved Thanksgiving!)- I don’t think I’ve ever had that quality of steak in my life. It was like butter. The flavor was so well rounded, tender- absolutely incredible. And I’m just glad I didn’t butcher them in the air fryer! 

For Quinn, we loaded up this vegetable turkey dinner we got from the store. She ate the whole jar and loved every bit. Girl LOVES turkey. I was hesitant to feed her much else from our table for this meal since it was all loaded with sodium, but she did not mind one bit sticking to her personal turkey dinner.

The next day, I put her in outfit #2 even though we wouldn’t be able to show it off in person. I still sent pics around to the fam. My mom sweetly gifted this to Quinn <3. 

Here she goes trying to stand again!

She is so intrigued by our little Christmas tree, trying to brainwash this girl early to LOVE Christmas! <3.

For dinner Friday evening, I made a leftover salad with the quinoa/cranberry/pistachio mix, leftover steak, fresh cranberries and vegan cheese with a balsamic drizzle. 

Our family so sweetly stopped by over the weekend to drop off food for us too, and we had a drive by hello <3. It was also a very productive weekend, and we just spent a lot of quality time with Moose and Quinn. As I write this, thankfully DJ is totally recovered- but woah, hand foot mouth in an adult is no joke!

Hope all my USA friends had a wonderful Turkey day!

Questions for you: 

  • Do you have any stories about turning a rough situation into an unexpectedly good memory? 
  • What’s your favorite part of the Thanksgiving feast? I will say I really missed Gigi’s pumpkin pie and my brother-in-law’s green bean casserole this year! And, of course, what I missed more than anything-seeing all our family.

<3, 

Mackenzie 

Favorite Quotes from Educated!

Educated was easily one of the most well-written, gripping stories I have ever read. I had a hard time narrowing down my favorite quotes- but these were definitely some of them! I highlighted a good portion of this book just out of pure admiration of Tara Westover’s insightful, vivid and beautiful writing. Others were the power of the words- the way she was able to put universal experiences into words in a genius way.

“It would be past dusk by then- that moment just before night sets in, when the landscape is visible only as darkness and lighter darkness, and you feel the world around you more than you see it.” (Ch. 1, p. 7).

“It’s a tranquility born of sheer immensity; it calms with its very magnitude, which renders the merely human of no consequence.” (Ch. 3, p. 27).

“but the notion that a person could be functional, lucid, persuasive, and something could still be wrong, had never occurred to me.” (Ch. 3, p. 29)

“Dad lived in fear of time. He felt it stalking him.” (Ch. 6, p. 55)

“The skill I was learning was a crucial one, the patience to read things I could not yet understand.” (Ch. 6, p. 62)

“To admit uncertainty is to admit to weakness, to powerlessness, and to believe in yourself despite both. It is a frailty, but in this frailty there is a strength: the courage to live in your own mind, and not in someone else’s”. (Ch. 22, p. 197).

“Not knowing for certain, but refusing to give way to those who claim certainty, was a privilege I had never allowed myself. My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.” (Ch. 22, p. 197)

“He had defined me to myself, and there’s no greater power than that.” (Ch. 23, p. 199).

“His voice was gentle, and that gentleness was cruel.” (Ch. 23, p. 200).

“Curiosity is a luxury reserved for the financially secure:…” (Ch. 23, p. 203).

“I began to experience the most powerful advantage of money: the ability to think of things besides money.” (Ch. 24, p. 207).

“I knew what it was to have a misconception corrected- a misconception of such magnitude that shifting it shifted the world.” (Ch. 28, p. 238).

“I could tolerate any form of cruelty better than kindness”. (Ch. 28, p. 240).

“I felt exposed by the elegance and yet somehow made invisible by it”. (Ch. 28, p. 241).

“This monster child stalked me for a month before I found a logic to banish her: that I was likely insane. If I was insane, everything could be made to make sense. If I was sane, nothing could. The logic seemed damning. It was also a relief. I was not evil; I was clinical.” (Ch. 35, p. 294).

“When I was a child, I waited for my mind to grow, for my experiences to accumulate and my choices to solidify, taking shape into the likeness of a person.” (Ch. 40, p. 327).

“But vindication has no power over guilt. No amount of anger or rage directed at others can subdue it, because guilt is never about them. Guilt is the fear of one’s own wretchedness. It has nothing to do with other people.” (Ch. 40, p. 327).

Have you read Educated? Would love to discuss it more!

<3,

Mackenzie

Wrapping up Fall!

A Wonderful Wedding Weekend & A Flying Object!

Trying Oats, Burning Muffins, Eating Blue Habernero & Enjoying Fall! 🍁

Hey all! How are ya doing? I discovered a new way I can get some blogging in my life! I have my laptop propped up on a cake stand and am typing away while Quinn sleeps in my carrier. So far, so good! Also, I’m listening to Midnights as I write this- I really like it so far. 

Finishing out the first weekend in October- October 2nd, we introduced Quinn to some *quite soupy* oatmeal for the first time! This is the first time she’s had anything except breastmilk. She seemed uncertain but also seemed to like it as she kept grabbing the spoon from me. Although it was hard to tell if she just wanted to teeth the spoon, hah. I have to say- introducing solids terrifies me. Especially after the choking episode in the hospital, my blood runs cold any time she makes the slightest gagging sound. I do think we are going to try baby-led weaning, but I am nervous about this whole endeavor. At the same time, I’m very excited to introduce all these new foods to her. Our goal is to get her to try 100 foods in her first year!

We used a smaller spoon moving forward (I actually just bought some infant spoons on Amazon that she does great with) & have gradually thickened the oats with each feed. These are the ones we use!

That afternoon while watching the Brown’s game, Moose and Quinn bonded on the couch. Peep the corner of the couch Moose destroyed- SMH. 

I was craving a piece of pizza that day. I made some of the Daiya pizza- it’s fine, but wow, I cannot wait to have a REAL slice of pizza again!

October 3rd, I got my hair done at Shear Perfection Studio in Cuyahoga Falls! I tried to go a touch lighter, but still natural, so I don’t have to get it done often. I loved it. Will definitely be returning here!

October 4th, I took Quinn on a nice evening walk after work. As exhausted as I am after work, I really try to get outside if we can- she sleeps so much better after spending time outside & the fresh air is good for us both. 
She almost made the whole walk in the stroller, but not quite. 

October 5th, I busted out my ‘feeling wicked’ mug for my morning cuppa joe.

I walked Moose & Quinn on the hike & bike trail after breakfast.

That afternoon, I made some Banana Nut muffins for book club. I burned them. Since becoming a mom, I usually burn something daily- whether it’s toast, oatmeal or the coffee I’m reheating. So I wasn’t too surprised lol. Usually I’d order another box to make them again- or even a step further- I probably would have tried to attempt them from scratch with the droves of bananas I accidentally ordered. But I ended up just getting some pre-made ones from the store and took the time to cuddle with Quinn instead. My friend Nicole has a blog called The Mommy Strike, and it really inspired me to choose less than perfection in certain situations- it has made me more cognizant of where I’m putting my time and energy, and the mindset has allowed me to soak up more intentional time with my babies! (the human and furry one ;)).

That day, we received an awesome delivery of Snake River Farms Steaks from Gigi & Gordie for DJ’s birthday!! They offered to grill them up for us, and we are certainly taking them up on that! I don’t trust myself with such nice steaks, hah. One of these days, I really would like to get good at grilling. I haven’t the slightest clue how to do it & that feels like a plain crime being born & raised in the midwest…. and just being close to 30.

Time for book club! We read What Alice Forgot, which was one of my favorite books I think I’ve ever read. I was so excited to discuss it. It really made me contemplate my own life and made me very reflective. I could have talked hours about it- but the group didn’t quite feel the same! It was definitely mixed how people felt about it. Some didn’t even finish it. I heard recently “books are more personal than comedy”, and I have to say I’ve found this is true! 

October 6th, I put Quinn in the carrier and took her to Ledges for a hike. 

Parts of the trail were blocked off to prevent the spread of White Noise Syndrome from killing bats- I had never heard of this! So sad..It has nothing to do with noise but rather a fungal spore that causes the spread of the disease.  

Anyway-I just love this place especially in the fall! It’s gorgeous.

The overlook was beautiful- but I knew in a week or two the colors would be even more vibrant!

That afternoon Gigi stopped by and took this sweet picture of Quinn. She watched her for a few mins while I finished making DJ dirt pudding for his birthday!

That evening I made scallops in the air fryer, a veggie medley and brown rice for dinner. 

It was DJ’s birthday, but also this sweet girl’s five month birthday!!!

Also this just makes me laugh- this is our grass compared to our neighbors, can you tell who has the dog fertilizing the lawn all year? LOL. 

October 7th, we went to see one my younger sister-in-laws on homecoming court and the other cheer at the game! Quinn did incredible, as she usually does in public. Also it’s hilarious- this girl loves watching football. Whenever it’s on TV, she happily sits in DJ’s lap and watches (for a short time before I nip the screen time in the bud hah). For this game, she just sat on my lap and happily watched the two teams dual it out. 

October 8th, we braved the cold, wrapped Quinn up with lotsa layers and hit the trail! 

The leaves had changed even more by this walk!

That evening, Gigi and Gordie offered to watch Quinn while we went out for DJ’s birthday! 

DJ had wanted to try Blue Habernero for a while- so it was an easy decision when choosing where to go!

The decor was very much channeling Day of the Dead! 

And the food- ohhhhh my goodness. This was all SO good & fresh. We started with the trio sampler. The guac was particularly fantastic. (Although there was no salt on the table & I think a dash of salt would have made it 10/10). 

DJ also tried their chorizo fireballs and said they were his favorite part of the meal! 

They had some of the best margaritas we have ever tried- DJ got their pineapple margarita, and I tried their spicy cilantro- delish!

For our mains- DJ got their carne asada tacos- look at this presentation!

He said they were great. I got chicken fajitas. Mmmmm mmmmm! I was lovin’ the generous portions because I was especially hungry that evening. 

It was soo nice. We laughed a lot, and it felt really refreshing to have that one-on-one time. I see why prioritizing these dates and time together is so important. We admired the cute little downtown Brecksville area and then drove around town for a while looking at plots of land for sale before heading back.

Here’s a sweet pic of Quinn & her Grandpa Gordie!

And it’s not a date night without a car selfie, hah. 

October 9th we went back to Ledges for a hike- Couldn’t stay away!

We took a little bit of a different trail this time & found ourselves at the offshoot- Octagon trail. There was no one around so we let Moose off the leash to run around the open field. He loved it!

After, we went to wish a happy birthday to DJ’s Grandma, Mimi <3. It was so sweet watching her and Quinn together. We spent a wonderful time chatting and catching up. 

That evening, DJ took over so I could squeeze in my weekend run. 

Then my good friend, Melissa and her fiance, Michael, stopped by and asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding next year <3. Easy yes!!! 

How absolutely adorable is this bridesmaid box?! 

Thanks for reading! Quinn just woke up- what perfect timing. I got a whole post done! Have a wonderful weekend :). 

Questions for you: 

  • What was your favorite candy to get trick-or-treating? Mine was Three Musketeers. I was laughing at the debate in Stranger Things whether Three Musketeers is the best or the worst. 
  • Have any thoughts about Midnights if you listened? So far, Lavender Haze is my favorite song. Close second is Maroon. 

<3, 

Mackenzie 

Fall Fun & Szalay’s Corn Maze!

Goood morning, friends!! It is a very chilly 40 degrees here right now (which I know will sound balmy in a couple months from now). But until now, it’s been a gorgeous fall!
Going back to September 27th, Quinn and I had such a fun day together! I put her in her new pumpkin onesie, and we ventured out to the Hike & Bike trail. I’ve discovered she falls asleep a lot faster in the carrier when I cover her head and eyes with a little blanket to block out the light.
After the walk, we went straight to Nervous Dog Cafe. She did great just chillin’ in her car seat while I sipped my au lait. I loved our little coffee date. I was even able to answer some blog comments while sitting there. 

After Nervous Dog we went to a place nearby our house (JLC landscaping) that advertises mums & pumpkins. I put Quinn in the carrier & started walking around the rows of beautiful mums. The owners came out and could not have been sweeter. They explained they recently renovated the inside of the house on the property to become a shop too. They have a year-round Christmas room & the lobby was set up with festive Halloween decor for sale. They also sell Szalay’s corn (famous around here- it is the besttt). I picked out a few pumpkins, mums and a ceramic pumpkin for inside. And some corn, of course. Quinn didn’t fuss at all- she loves being out and about!

They helped me load up the car, and then Quinn and I headed home to set up. Having the new decor inspired me to do a deep clean of the house. It felt good to have it all cleaned up even though I knew it wouldn’t stay like that for long!