Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from us 😊 👻🎃

Hope you all have a fun, safe & sweet day!

Love,

Mario, Princess Peach, Toad & Bowser

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!
I also lit the pumpkin candle which made the house smell so yummy. 
I even went into the basement and found our old pumpkin pillow that actually went so well with our current living room decor!
Feeling alll the fall vibes, I had salad and Amy’s soup for dinner. I like to add Kite Hill unsweetened yogurt as “sour cream” and some colby jack vegan cheese. I could really go for this right now actually… mmm. 
And it only felt right to put the cutest mini pumpkin into the mini pumpkin patch 🙂 
September 28th, I soaked up some cuddles with Moose. I still battle quite a bit of guilt not being able to give Moose quite the same level of attention I used to. DJ really has helped make sure he gets doted over constantly though <3. I know this phase is temporary, and I will be able to give him lotsa extra cuddles again soon (especially when she starts napping in her crib- but also not wishing away the contact naps either).
That day, a couple fun books arrived for Quinn from our Aunt Terry! We just LOVE the Bear Dunes in MI (probably in my top three favorite places I’ve ever been), so this book definitely is very special to us <3. Also Quinn adores this super cute puppet book- Itty Bitty Yeti!
Moose pretty much always plops right next to Quinn on the floor when she plays, it’s so sweet. He has become quite the guard dog since we brought her home. He growls and barks at people that come near the house like he never used to. The barking actually has become kinda aggressive- anyone ever deal with this? He will go ballistic if he even sees anyone out the window or hears the slightest sound outside. I so appreciate how protective he is of her- but man, oh man- not sure how I am going to get her to ever nap with the random howls! (And they are legit howls!).
On a funny note- I put her in her pack n’ play with some toys while I got few things done & Moose laid next to it trying to give her kisses through the mesh. When he realized he couldn’t get to her he seemed perturbed (he chomped his teeth at me)- I think he thought I had her in a crate and was insisting “let her out!”. Haha. 

The night of September 30th, I made some air fryer chicken breasts with corn, quinoa/brown rice and a small arugula salad. I cannot believe how juicy and delicious air fryer food can be. Also- I am on a real kick with arugula. My mom bought some when she did a grocery run here, and I’m not sure why I don’t buy it more often! I know it’s kinda like cilantro though- some people love it, some people hate it- how do you feel about it? I know you woke up contemplating your feelings on arugula, sincerely hoping someone might ask your thoughts- so don’t worry, I got you!

October 1st, we put Quinn back into her sweet pumpkin onesie (she is getting lots of use of it this fall!) and welcomed October with a trip to Szalay’s with Gigi, Gordie & Ender (our nephew). Szalays is the icornic farm & market. (I stole that from our Aunt Jean who used that on their recent podcast– too good not to include!). 
It was a busy day at the market!! Families gathered under the outdoor table swings, mingled among the pumpkin patch, waited in line for corn and navigated the annual corn maze!

There were 8 pumpkins to find, and while I would like to say we found all of them in no time flat, we only found 3 over…well… way too much time. Ha! This maze ain’t for the faint of heart- these skeletons will tell ya. 
Ender loved seeing the different themes at each pumpkin!

Quinn looked a bit skeptical that we would ever find our way back out, and she had a right to be!

<3
Before we turned into pumpkins ourselves, we escaped. We then meandered through the market (I could do some damage with all the delicious local honey, fresh fruits & treats they sell!), and then we enjoyed the various pumpkin displays.
Gordie so kindly offered to wait in the corn line to get us all corn. It was sooo yummy per usual!

She was so tiny the last time we were here!

We went our separate ways, and for Bachelor fans out there, Gigi and Gordie ran into Michael Allio!

That afternoon, I put in a grocery order. I meant to order three bananas but accidentally ordered three bunches of bananas. Hah, whoops!

And this feels like a good place to wrap! Have a great weekend all 🙂 

Question for you: 

  • Do you decorate for fall? 
  • Anyone watch Love is Blind Season 3 yet?! I see new eps are out!

<3, 

Mackenzie

A Day at Lakeside & A Birthday Brunch!

Hello hello & Happy Fridaayyy!! Spooky season has fully commenced & I am going to do my darnedest to get out these autumnal posts before it passes us by! 

I am fully invested in Stranger Things at this point (thank you all who endorsed that decision) & am currently listening to a Dateline podcast. I don’t listen to true crime stuff year round, but this time of year I tend to dip my toe in. 

Onto fluffier fall things! Saturday September 24th we surprised DJ for his bday. This was his big 3-0, so I was wracking my brain of how to make this extra special. He made me promise not to plan any surprise parties, so that was out of the running. But he said nothing about surprises in general ;). DJ has mentioned several times this year how he can’t wait for us to have more time to make it to Lakeside. This is probably his favorite place on Earth, and we were only able to make it there once this year for the 4th of July.  I organized with some of our family who have a cottage at Lakeside to use their home for the day for feeds. My mom and Pete also were excited to come along and help watch Quinn. 

I made him think since my mom and Pete were in town we were just going to have a family day (No studying allowed!)… Which was a partial truth- but when he found out where we were having our big family day, he was quite stoked! We were on the road by about 8 am with one mission in mind- to get there in time for Patio Donuts! These are some of the best donuts in existence.
We dropped everything off at the cottage and then followed the scent of fried sugar. Yumm. 
We got a smattering of nearly all the flavors & Pete grabbed a hot chocolate. Tragically, I couldn’t have any this time due to the butter- but trust me, I’ll make up for it when I can have dairy again! Y’all are probably so sick of hearing me mention this haha. 
This girl knows good food when she sees it!
We grabbed the donuts and went to the dock to enjoy the fresh lake air, the views of the water and the melt-in-your-mouth donuts. While I couldn’t have the scrumptious little things, I still got to hold this scrumptious little thing :).
Quinn is just so happy whenever we’re near the water. 
After grabbing donuts, we went back to the cottage for a feed and then stepped back out into the perfectly brisk fall day. The kind of ‘brisk’ that begs you to hit up the nearest coffee shop. My mom and I dove into Coffee & Cream to get a couple cafe au laits with one pump of pumpkin while the guys got more donuts. Yes, you read that right. There was a flavor they liked in particular, so they went back to get a couple more. When in Rome Lakeside!

This felt truly like the first day of fall with the weather & the pumpkin au lait! 
Are we in the Chessboard Chamber from Harry Potter or Lakeside, OH? Hard to know!
After walking around and admiring the unique and lovingly tended to decor on the cottages, we went back for another feed, tummy time & a short rest before heading out to the dock. 
For lunch before hitting the road, we went to a newly added restaurant- Slack House. 
It has a relaxed cafeteria sort of vibe with great quick options. Pete and I had their turkey burger, my mom had a salad and DJ got their chicken sandwich. 
Quinn did great with this meal out! She just sat on my lap the whole time. We really should try to venture out more with her. She does amazing in public (better than at home some may say! hah). She just loves looking around & I think the white noise of chit-chat calms her.

That night we had football on in the background & enjoyed an easy pizza night- meat-lovers for the guys and vegan for me & my mom. 

My mom and Pete insisted DJ and I have a date out while they were there, so we decided to sneak out for a brunch on September 25th to Cantine

I had been here once before with Rachel, and noted how yummy their brunch sounded! We actually had planned to go to another brunch spot that was closed, but this was a good back up plan. I designated this DJ’s bday brunch too (even though his birthday was still technically a couple weeks away). 

I started with some sparkling water with a little lemon and lime. 

For our mains- DJ got their Rise & Shine burger with an 8-ounce brisket and short rib burger on brioche bun, bacon, American Cheese, fried egg, and pommes frites. We both agreed the french fries were maybe the best part of the meal!

I had their veggie omelette which was very much… a veggie omelette lol. The side of potatoes left much to be desired. But overall- even if the food was not the best, it was still sustenance, great company and nice to get out together :).

Once home, Quinn continued to sleep on my mom while I finished laundry and prepped everything for work. Usually this would take all day, but it only took about an hour or so with that uninterrupted time. 

For dinner that night, I made air fryer filets with lemon garlic broccolini, sautéed mushrooms, mashed potatoes for the guys (I cheated with the mashed potatoes and used Bob Evans) & sweet potatoes for my mom and me.

Unfortunately, this day my mom got pretty sick with a gnarly cold so she went to bed early. They left the next day & it just felt like the time wennt wayyy too fast. Great memories as usual though <3. Can’t wait for them to come back!! 

Questions for you:

  • Does your coffee order change with the season?
  • Do you like surprise parties? 

<3, 

Mackenzie

Book Club, Recent Eats & Family Bonding ❤️

Hi everyone!!! How are you enjoying this fall? Let me tell ya, mine is night and day from last year. I was so sick in my first trimester, I don’t really remember enjoying it- I just remember one long wave of nausea & cuddles with Moose (I did enjoy that part). This year I am living for it allll. 
When we returned from Michigan on September 5th, we unpacked and ordered in some Piada for lunch since I hadn’t restocked on groceries yet. I finally enrolled as a Piada member, which I should have done a loong time ago considering how much we order from there. I went for the build-your-own bowl with all kinds of yums and a side of the apple cider vinaigrette and vegan harissa. 
On September 6th I had my first book club meet-up! The book we read was The Last Mrs. Parrish which I included in a recent Friday Faves. We all brought a different snack, so I made a cheese board with various cheeses (including a couple vegan ones so I could indulge), hummus, chocolate covered cherries from Michigan, salami and a side of pretzels and crackers. 
It was so much fun!! After Quinn was born, DJ and I talked about how important it is to take time to prioritize our hobbies and friends because we realized how quickly those could fall by the wayside. Monthly book club, a weekend run and a monthly brunch with a friend are my “things” for now and DJ tries to get out golfing whenever he can and tries to meet up with friends here and there too. It feels really good supporting each other in making these things a priority. 

September 7th, we went out for a morning walk with Mr. Moose on a new trail. The trail was a little noisy being right next to the highway, so we probably won’t frequent it, but it is convenient if we ever just need to get a quick walk in with him.  

September 8th, I grabbed a Cafe Au Lait from Nervous Dog and worked on modules for work at the hospital. 

When I picked up Quinn from daycare, she surprisingly still had some energy so we did a bit of tummy time before a long nap. 
September 9th, she had her four month appt. We went on a walk on a trail on the way to the peds office to get some fresh air to start the day.
I was sorta dreading the appt. with the next round of vaccines, but it went well enough. This round she seemed a bit fussier/more uncomfortable than the last, so it was lots of carrier naps and cuddles. On top of that she was teething a lot that day. My girl :(. The nurse did give a great tip to put frozen breast milk in one of those fruit strainers to help with teething & Quinn loved that! 

That afternoon we were low on groceries, so I was forced to get creative. I threw together this Lavash wrap with sardines, mixed greens, tomato and mustard. It sounds kinda gross, but it was so satisfying. 

Aaand it was around this week my hair started falling out in droves. That postpartum hair loss hit hard and fast. No fun! 

That weekend was a nice, chill weekend with walks on new trails, watching football (or enjoying the white noise of it in my case), getting the house in order & quality time all together.

Quinn has been so eager to sit up and stand. She loves when we hold her up like this! I feel like sometimes she thinks, “this baby stuff is for the birds!”. She just wants to moveee <3.

I’ve been on a pizza kick lately, but good dairy-free/soy-free pizza can be hard to find. I tried the meatless lovers from Daiya that weekend, and it was definitely one of the better ones I’ve tried! 

I worked September 12th & 13th. The back to back shifts are exhausting for Quinn since we get up so early to get her to daycare. But she handled these long days like a champ and seemed to have so much fun with the activities over those couple of days! She has had pretty consecutive colds since starting daycare (which sucks), but I try to see the bright side that she’s building immunity. I also learn a lot from her teachers and implement a lot of the activities they do at home. 

September 14th, we went on a nice morning walk. As we trotted along, I admired the yellow blooms on the side of the trail. The next day when I returned they were gone, so I was probably just admiring some weeds, hah. I know nothing about flowers. 
That day, Quinn was soaking up just chillin’ and kicking this little ball on her playmat. We Facetimed with my Aunt Terry, and she just dribbled the ball the whole time. Maybe future soccer player? 
Quinn LOVES her Sophie the Giraffe, and we take her everywhere with us. With her teething, forget me, Soph is her best friend hah. 
Also my baby has turned into a crab. She’s been pinching me like crazy lately lol. I just think, “girllll I gave you life, why must you hurt me like that?!”.
One of the activities I stole from daycare was putting water in different containers. I improvised and put them at different temperatures so she could feel a warmer bowl with water and one with cooler water. This girl loves water. I’ll take her to sinks in the house and she gets the biggest kick out of turning the faucet and running her hands under it. 
Aaaand my first dive into embracing fall on September 17ththis candle 🙂 . 
September 18th, I had plans to meet with a friend for brunch, but unfortunately, they fell through last minute. I was so looking forward to brunchy food, so I decided to make my own at home. I took a little extra care making a veggie omelette with vegan jalapeno havarti cheese and a side of Dave’s bread with raspberry Crofter’s jam. I added a dollop of hummus on top for kicks.
Quinn was just stunned to see I was wearing a. real clothes, b. makeup and c. no baseball cap.
We made the most of the time I was going to go to brunch and instead DJ linked his computer up to the TV, and we planned and dreamed up some weekend trips for next year & one family vacation. We are so excited to travel all around with Quinn! 

Moose really relished that chill weekend energy. In a world of nervous dogs, be a chill Moose. 

Speaking of! September 19th, I stopped into Nervous Dog Cafe for a cafe au lait. I also finally signed up for their reward system. 54987 cafe au laits later…
September 21st my mom and Pete arrived in town!! My mom hadn’t seen Quinn since May- can you believe it?! 
I worked the day they got in town, so to keep things easy, I ordered in for all of us. Can you guess from where? 
Ding ding if you guessed Piada, you guessed right. 

My mom and Pete unpacked while Quinn napped in my carrier, then we all caught up while enjoying our meals. We go to bed fairly early (730/8ish), so the evening was short, but thankfully we had more to come! 

Every morning, I put Quinn in her bouncer in the kitchen while I make breakfast. She seemed especially chipper this morning of the 22nd; I think she was looking forward to a morning with her Grammy and Grampy!

While letting Moose out, I witnessed this gorgeous sunrise. We are in that time of year where the sunrises and sunsets are just spectacular.
That morning, my mom and I zipped to Nervous Dog and grabbed au laits for us and a pup cup for Mr. Moose. This time of year I like to get one pump of pumpkin for a little pizzazz. 
We then headed to the trail for a walk. I realized once we got to the trail that I forgot my carrier, and girly girl never makes it through the whole walk just in the stroller anymore. My mom offered to just sit with Quinn while I zipped home- so I went back with Moose, grabbed my carrier and then we drove back to the trail. 

When I pulled back in, Quinn was all cozied sleeping on my mom’s chest on the park bench. It was so sweet. Ok, time to get on with this walk!

It was gloomy with ominous clouds looming, but I just love that kind of weather. 
We had a wonderful walk and only had to dodge one little drizzle. We also had really interesting conversation. My mom and I love the podcast Cultish and reflected on some recent episodes. 
The rest of the day was just lotsa playing and spending time with Quinn <3. 
How cute is she with her Grammy and Grampy?!
Quinn has been rolling over from stomach to back for quite some time, but this week I was really working on getting her to go back to stomach. My mom was watching her while I went out on a run, and caught her first time rolling back to stomach on camera! We were sooo proud! You can see how proud of herself she was too 🙂 
That evening I made air fryer shrimp tacos for everyone with all the fixin’s. We got your cilatro, we got your lime, we got your fajita veggies. I made ones with vegan cheese for my mom and me and ones with queso fresco for the guys. 
Quinn was a trooper through the whole dinner! By the end of it though, she was over it and ready to go to sleep.
While we went to start the bedtime routine, my mom and Pete so kindly cleaned up dinner and the entire kitchen (and listen, I’m working on it, but I have a bad habit of using every single dish we own while making dinner). Having them around is amazing for their presence alone, butttt it’s also so nice when I wake up to the dishes done and put away, the counters cleaned, and then Pete walks around with his magical fixer-upper powers and repairs everything needing repaired. 
September 23rd, while I worked, my mom and Pete watched Quinn <3. My mom sent pics of Quinn through the day- I have only ever dressed her first thing in the morning, so it was adorable seeing what my mom chose!

P.S. Quinn is loving this exersaucer from my friend Rachel!

Quinn had a lot of visitors that day! First up was our family friend, Mary :).
In the afternoon, her Gigi and Aunt Renee stopped by, and then in the evening, more family friends stopped by before going out to dinner with my mom and Pete.

My mom did say she seemed maybe a bit under the weather with how much she was sleeping. I was really grateful she was home with my mom instead of daycare that day.

I’ll wrap it up here before recapping the rest of the weekend :).

Questions for you:

  • Do you make a mess when cooking or are you fairly neat? (AKA does anyone else use every single pan/bowl in the kitchen?). 
  • What’s your go-to quick dinner?

<3, 

Mackenzie

Quinn’s First Trip to Traverse City/Suttons Bay, MI!

Good morning!! How are you doing? I’ve been so looking forward to sharing this trip with y’all! If you’ve followed this blog for a few years- you may know how special Traverse City, Michigan is to me and my fam. My mom was raised there, and my sister and I spent many weeks in the summers and winters there. And the cherry on top.. (pun totally intended as TC is the Cherry Capital of the world)- DJ proposed to me at my Aunt’s house on the water in Suttons Bay (right next to TC). Every time we go back it feels like home away from home. Not only was it special introducing Quinn to the place that holds such a cherished place in our hearts, but we also got to introduce her to the people we cherish there: her Great Aunt Terry, Uncle Pat and Great Grandma and Grandpa!

We handled the drive the exact same way we did for the wedding trip to Illinois, leaving at midnight on September 2nd and driving through the night. It worked well again!

When we arrived, a glowing sunrise over the placid bay greeted us.

After we pulled in the driveway, overwhelmed by excitement and exhaustion, we unpacked and took in the gorgeous morning. The air itself in TC is different- it is much cleaner and fresher than our air here in OH. Ahh 😌.

My Aunt Terry and Quinn were instant best friends!! Every time Quinn spotted my Aunt throughout the weekend she would just light up! Also, their dog, Stout, was so sweet with her. He was her little guard dog. We stayed in the downstairs bedroom, and if he ever heard Quinn cry he’d come sit at the stairs to check on her. It was adorable. Reminded us of Moose (who was staying with his second mom, Marie, for the weekend).

I tried to nap, but Quinn was not having it! She was ready to take on the day- so we got her changed, dressed and headed upstairs for all the fun. I gave myself an IV of coffee (I wish, it really was an extra half a cup- not quite the same, but it did the trick) and rallied! 

We spent the day catching up with my Aunt Terry and Uncle Pat and took it super easy. We went on a beautiful and peaceful morning walk together in the neighborhood to kick off the day. It helped get the cob webs off from the drive.

The rest of the day, we just relaxed between Quinn’s feeds and naps in the carrier. They have a treadmill too, so I just used that to get her to fall asleep if she refused to just conk out while I was stationary in my carrier. It will be nice when we can get her to nap in a pack n’ play, so I don’t miss out on time visiting with people when we travel. Or when they visit us.

She sure was happy to be in Northern, Michigan. In the afternoon, DJ watched Quinn while I snuck in a little run (that helped wake me up more than anything!), and then we all gathered outside prior to dinner with various beverages. 

My Aunt had this tremendous dealcoholized sauvignon blanc. It was a dead ringer for a sauvignon blanc! While I can technically have a drink here and there as long as I carefully time out the feeds/bottles, I rarely do because it’s more trouble than it’s worth. So, I was excited to try out this wine! It was delicious! Highly recommend if you’re looking for a good dealcoholized wine. 

We sipped our “wine”, or beer in the guys’ case, and took turns holding the Sweet Pea <3.
First time trying on some shades! Lol. 
While soaking up the fresh air, canvas-worthy views and family time- Quinn happily chomped on my Aunt’s finger. My Aunt suddenly became wide-eyed and announced she felt Quinn had a tooth!! I took a look and, sure enough, one was fighting to come to the surface. The rest of the weekend she was teething, and my Aunt had just happened to get her the cutest little onesie complimented by a bamboo teething ring! 
Eating at my Aunt Terry and Uncle Pat’s feels like we’re dining at a restaurant whenever we’re there. They are awesome cooks. For this meal, we had a melt-in-your-mouth halibut with a cous cous medley and brussels sprouts .
After dinner, we wanted Quinn to experience Grand Traverse Bay for the first time! We walked out to the doc and she was wide eyed taking it all in. 
She was all about it! We dipped her toes into the water for the first time too. Harder to read her on this one- she was entirely stoic. Haha.

The next day, September 3rd, was a very special day! We were all up at about 6:30 AM and had breakfast & coffee. I had oatmeal with berries, coconut yogurt and almond butter. MMmm. 

One thing I had been craving was a proper good cafe au lait from a coffee shop (I learned how the UK use the word “proper”, and I just love it, so I’m now incorporating it into my own speech). UK friends, let me know if I botched that, lol. Anyway- on my way to visit my grandparents in their new residence, we stopped into Aroma’s for said au lait. Lemme tell ya, it was everything I dreamed of and more. It’s wild to think the last time I was at this coffee shop, I was studying for my NCLEX… one of my first blog posts. Nostalgia. *Sigh*. 

Next up- a highlight of this trip- Quinn meeting her Great Grandma & Grandpa!!! MY HEART!

 

They were beaming ear to ear the entire time we were there. It was sooo sweet & so special. She was soon due for a nap after we got there, so I put her in my carrier, we all sat outside and chatted while she snoozed.

Then it was time for more cuddles and pictures!

We did a round of tummy time before leaving so she could show off- both her outfit which had little mini cherries all over & her strong TT skills!

While we were at G & Gs, DJ and Uncle Pat went golfing. DJ has never golfed there before, so it was a fun new experience for him!

When we got home, DJ took over and I snuck in another run. It felt amazing!

For dinner, we had these juicy chicken thighs from the air fryer (I must make at home) with french fries and salad- so. good. 
Then it was time to hit the hay. The lack of sleep was catching up with us, so we went to bed a little extra early that evening. 

The next day, September 4th, we all felt ready to go! Especially this girl!

I made sure to capture at least one sunrise too (I know you have seen a sunrise before, but have you seen this sunrise?! ;)). They are so beautiful there!

After breakfast, we went on a nice walk, had a really chill morning filled with tummy time & naps- then my Aunt picked up my G & G to come over for the afternoon to watch football, hang out all together and then have dinner.

While everyone was watching football, I went through a box of pictures and historical documents from my G & Gs home & Quinn napped in my carrier. They and my Aunt said to take whatever we wanted. I was shocked to see so much history in these boxes- there were letters and pictures probably from the 1800s! I could have looked through everything all day long, and I plan to continue sifting through it next time we’re there. It was so fascinating to me.

Dinner was a refreshing salad with perfectly grilled steaks,  mushroom & corn. We managed to have Quinn sit on our laps for the meals, and she did really well! Makes me hopeful we can start taking her out to restaurants with us!

It’s corn! 

A couple family pics before ending the night (Quinn was snoozin’ at this point, and, don’t worry, I readjusted Quinn in the carrier after this- she was getting a bit low!). 

 

Uncle Pat took some family pics for us on the dock before we called it a night! Clearly, we’re still working on the smiling for the fam pics ;). 

We had planned on trying to leave at midnight again that evening so we could have actual labor day to get ready for the week. We tried to go to sleep, but Quinn was not having it. DJ and I decided it may be more productive to just leave right then (around 8 pm) rather than waiting until midnight. It did take a lot of soothing and one last big feed to get her to finally settle in the car, but the rest of the trip was smooth after that! 

And that sums up a very special trip to TC <3. 

Thanks for sharing in it with us! Cannot WAIT to go back!

Question for you:

  • Do you have a ‘home away from home’? 

<3, 

Mackenzie 

All Smiles Here!

Good morning all!! Hope you are feeling as enthusiastic about this day as Quinn is!

Gigi took this photo, and I just love it. Quinn has been all about the big open-mouth smiles lately.

She has become more and more interactive by the day, reaching and grabbing things, attempting laughs and actually playing! It’s been so much fun. I just love this stage!!

The end of August brought with it pretty repetitive days. If I wasn’t working, then we went on early morning walks. Walks were followed by days marked by wake windows and naps and then a super early bedtime of 730/8 pm. I go to bed the same time as Quinn and am asleep prior to 9 pm many nights.

I’m still on my bison or beef taco/lettuce wrap kick. I think I’ll probably need to make these tonight!

August 22nd, I was let home from work early since the census was low. I was ecstatic to go get my girl early. I downed my lunch in the car prior to picking up Quinn which included a salad with various veggies, a sweet beet burger, a hard boiled egg, baba ganoush and fattoush dressing.

Speaking of work!! I don’t know if I’ve talked much about what it’s like being back. I was so nervous going back after being away for 3 months, but it was just like riding a bike. I also cried on the way for my first shift knowing I’d be away from Quinn, but getting updates/pictures from her daycare made ALL the difference. It actually felt so good to be back at it and back with patients. My first patient said the kindest, most encouraging words to me, and it affirmed I made the right decision by continuing in this role. I also don’t work full time right now, so I think that helped the transition.

Anyway, on non-work days, for lunch I’m still on a kick of turkey sammys with vegan smoked gouda cheese, tomato, lettuce, sometimes avocado and mustard on Dave’s bread. Always accompanied by something salty and always followed by a piece of Hu dark chocolate 😋.

I found these Lavash wraps recently and have been making turkey wraps instead of the sandwich some days.

This girl has been soo smiley lately, and I just adore every single one. My heart!!!

Another craving lately is huge salads with chicken, colby jack vegan cheese, hummus and fattoush dressing.

And I’ve been obsessed with air fryer salmon with harissa, veggies and brown rice at least once a week.

The last week of August, it really felt like there were notes of fall in the air. I’m so looking forward to Autumn this year (basic girls commence 😝). We had a beautiful one last year, but I couldn’t enjoy it as I was so sick my first trimester. Also our summer has been HOT, so I’m looking forward to not rushing out the door to beat the heat for walks.

Oh look, another wrap. For this one, I experimented by adding sweet beets. It was good! Kind of reminded me of cranberry and turkey together.

Something I’ve been trying to do lately is make sure nothing is going to waste before restocking on groceries. I also try to find pantry items that have been sitting there for a while and use them as inspo for a new dish. I found a can of cream of mushroom and made this beef stroganoff. So easy & DJ loved. I’ll have to make again once I can have dairy!

Another criminally easy but tasty dinner included these chicken & quinoa lettuce boats with a dollop of kite hill almond milk yogurt as “sour cream”. My one regret was not adding the vegan colby jack cheese – which, of course, dawned on me only after I had gobbled them all up.

On weekends, we always make sure to do a morning walk as a family weather permitting. We so look forward to these walks together as it’s some of the only uninterrupted chat time we get through the week. We are starting to notice all the other “regulars” on the trail too. There are two bikers, Jill and Sue, who pass us almost every single time and always make sure to say a friendly hello!

After feeding Quinn on the trail (I just bring a blanket and feed her standing), DJ snapped this pic. I sent around to family to caption. Mine was “when you have a blowout, but are a mile from the car with the diaper bag”. If it’s wrong to make memes out of your child’s pics, I don’t wanna be right 😆.

It’s really hard for me to get runs in during the week since Quinn is not napping super long in her crib (and other things take precedent during naps like dishes and such), wow, sometimes I find myself sounding like such a mom LOL. Anyway, DJ helps me sneak in a run or two every weekend while he watches Quinn .

This was one of my better runs of late!

My pace is generally slower, which can be discouraging. I know I’ll get back to running regularly one day, but my main priority right now is being with Quinn. Plus, we get so much walking in during the day, so I’m at least getting exercise. I also alternate an ab or arm workout daily (I usually can do that during play time!). She actually loves to watch me do arm workouts, it’s kinda funny.

When I got back in the car from my run, I looked in the mirror and did not realize I hadn’t fully rubbed in my sunscreen. People probably got a giggle as I ran past them smiling with gobs of sunscreen on my face. Also still have the sticker on my hat 🤣.

More smiles from this sweet girl!

She loves when I sing/chant this little jingle to her. Don’t mind my obnoxious voice, but I just love this vid of her!!!

Lots and lots and lots of carrier nap walks!!!

I would occasionally crave the time I know a lot of moms get when their baby is an independent napper, but now I so appreciate that Quinn loves contact naps. I just treasure this time, holding her so close. I usually will watch a show, listen to a podcast or read while walking. I look forward to the naps & oh my goodness, I will miss them when she really starts napping in her crib for long periods. She does fine napping at daycare surprisingly which was my biggest concern, but she adapted well. Oh, we upgraded our carrier too!! Now that she’s bigger, this one is a lot sturdier than the cloth and way less a hassle (the fabric was getting stretched way too easily).

Before leaving for Traverse City, our Aunt Jean and Gigi stopped by to see us and play with Quinn! 💕

Unfortunately, Quinn also got sick with a cold for the first time on the heels of DJ and me having one. Girl is gonna have a heck of an immune system with me working in a hospital and her going to daycare. She battled it well and got over it fairly quickly, but it’s scary seeing your little one so congested and having difficulty clearing out that mucus.

We also FaceTimed my mom that week. She was playing peek-a-boo with Quinn which she got the biggest kick out of. My mom and Pete are coming next week & we are SO stoked!!! My mom hasn’t seen Quinn since May, so she’s changed a lot. It’s going to be a great week ❤️.

Thanks for reading this little hodge podge of a post!

Questions for you:

– What are you looking forward to this fall?

– What was the highlight of your summer?

– Have you watched Stranger Things? I’m thinking it’d be a good show to watch during spooky season! I’ve never seen it.

<3,

Mackenzie

Friday Favorites 9/9/22!

Happy Friday! I wanted to share a super speedy Friday Favorites post before diving into this weekend. Let’s see if I can get this done before Quinn wakes up 😅.

1. The Last Mrs. Parrish. This was my latest book club book, and it’s a real page turner! I will give an abuse warning for it though- some parts were very hard to read. But overall, it’s a great thriller with good twists.

Speaking of twists…..

2. Quinn Sea Salt Pretzels. The name is just a bonus, but DJ and I both agree these are some of the BEST store bought pretzels we’ve ever tried. They’ve quickly become a staple in our home.

3. Henry Rose Fragrances. Since trying to reduce endocrine disrupting chemicals from my environment/products, I’ve given up perfume/fragrances. I miss them!!! I recently discovered Henry Rose has EWG certified fragrance lines, and oh my gooodness, they are amazing!!!! I LOVE! I ordered their Discover sample set.

5. Olly Prenatal Vitamins. I have tried so many different prenatal vitamins throughout pregnancy/breastfeeding, and I am currently really enjoying taking these Olly ones! They’re tasty & gentle on the stomach.

5. And saving the best for last!!! I am OBSESSED with these Born and Raised bows gifted by my sweet friend Kori. They are the softest bows, leave no indentation and are SO stinking cute & dainty. Love love love!

What are you all loving this week?! TV shows, podcasts, snacks, anything at all?!

<3,

Mackenzie

P.S. I successfully finished this post and Quinn is still sleeping!! Woohooo!! It’s the little victories ☺️.

*Some pictures are from the direct links associated with the featured product*.

DJ’s Hall of Fame Induction, El Mason & Pav’s Creamery!

Guess what? I am once again writing to you from the back seat of the car at around 130 AM. We are currently on our way to see my grandparents and Aunt and Uncle in Michigan!! No better time to whip out a recap post 😊. We’ve got podcasts loaded up & snacks on hand, so we’re good to go!

August 14th we spent most of the day sleeping after driving through the night after the wedding. What was left of the evening, we spent unpacking and getting ready for the week.

August 15th I wasn’t scheduled to work which was nice so I could recoup with Moose and Quinn. Lots of rest and cuddles that day!

That evening, I made air fryer salmon topped with sautéed tomatoes, onions and mushrooms with brown rice and green beans. 😋

This week I was on a kick of oats mixed with dragonfruit usually topped with peanut butter.

To change things up that week during wake windows, I went around the house and had Quinn do tummy time on multiple different surfaces such as the couches, beds, the crib. She loved the change of scenery!

She even found a new lounge chair 😆.

We did lotsa walks on the trail that week! Quinn is tolerating the stroller somewhat again, but I always have my carrier on me just in case- she does end up in it by the end of the walk usually.

August 19th was a special day!! DJ and my sister-in-law, Renee, were both inducted into their high school hall of fame for athletics, DJ for basketball and Renee for track. It was a huge honor!

That evening, we went to the high school for a reception and then before the football game, both DJ and Renee were announced with several other spectacular athletes on the field.

We walked across the field as a family; DJ insisted on holding Quinn the whole time 🥰.

I was and am so proud!!! DJ’s athletic resume is quite impressive, but more than anything, he always conducted himself on and off the court with the highest character.

After the induction, we drove to Marie’s to pick up Moose man.

We were ravenous on the way home, so we DoorDashed BurgerFi. A burger and fries really hit the spot that night. Also the air fryer is sooo clutch when it comes to reheating french fries!

August 20th, my friend Clair offered to come by and watch Quinn so we could have a date night! She said she missed Quinn and wanted time with her, and we were not about to turn down her offer!

DJ and I chose to go to El Meson, a Mexican restaurant nearby. I loved this restaurant growing up, but I hadn’t been back in over ten years!

It had changed a lot! It was unrecognizable with the contemporary renovations they made. I just hoped the food remained good as I remembered!

We sat out on their relaxing patio. It was supposed to storm, but we didn’t mind taking the risk- the warm, but comfortable, air felt so nice!

I ordered their shrimp fajitas, and they did not disappoint! I will crave this place.