First Few Weeks Home <3

Hi, everyone!! I am so ready to start the Ohio recaps. We have LOVED being back. I thought I was going to have many more mixed emotions since I also loved Austin so much- but as soon as I was back it just felt right…As though an entirely new chapter had begun, which it had! Although.. I do miss those sunset runs and find myself day dreaming about them time to time 💭.

Anyway, I drove back from Nashville early August just in time for our anniversary. Unfortunately, I hit a ton of traffic, so I didn’t get back until late- but we had planned on formally celebrating our anniversary another weekend anyway. More than anything- I just couldn’t wait to see DJ. Those three months apart were not easy, and I hope to never have to do that again. I hadn’t seen our townhouse in person either, so I was excited about that too!

DJ gave me a tour, and I immediately noticed the gorgeous flowers he got me for our anniversary <3 Also, side note- you can see wrapping paper up on the windows. We used the wrapping paper as a place holder before we got blinds. I think DJ actually made it look quite nice, and it was a much cheaper alternative than getting those temporary blinds!

The next week was operation get-unpacked-and-organized! I also spent a few days submitting a poster presentation to a national nursing conference- I won’t hear until December if it was accepted though.

I also discovered my love for a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee with oat milk. Yes I know, very late to the game on that one!

We saw family throughout the week that I hadn’t seen since 2019 (!!!), and I got to meet two nephews, which was obviously a big highlight 😊 I also can’t even tell ya how nice it was to have my mom-in-law and Gordie’s cooking again. Gosh, it is SO nice they, and much of our family, are just 15 minutes down the road!

That weekend we ordered from my favorite restaurant in town- Aladdin’s! They have a falafel pizza that is *chefs kiss*. DJ also loves their lamb dish. And of course, we can’t get enough of their famous hot sauce. Well, it’s famous in my book 😉

Around then, I started feeling a little under the weather for about a week- I think my immune system was just shot from all the travel and stress of the summer. When I started feeling 100% again, I started applying for jobs like crazy, went to the BMV (about 4 different times 😭), finished up getting the essential furniture for our home, and we got back to trying some restaurants in town. We ordered breakfast takeout from a nearby restaurant- Garretts Mill Diner. This was an amazing breakfast & those pancakes are in a league of their own!

Also, we had a good laugh over this receipt (look under veggie omelette).

I didn’t make a big deal out of ordering egg whites or anything, so I’m guessing Brian made an order wrong earlier that day. Oh, Brian! It seemed like such a sweet staff when I went in to pick up the order, so I’m sure someone was just playfully ribbing him. Whenever an order anywhere is wrong for us now we jokingly go, “Come on, Brian!”. But in this case, lemme tell ya, Brian made a GREAT egg white omelette!!

The weather toward the end of summer and early fall was absolutely gorgeous. We took full advantage and tried to get in as many hikes as possible!

We downloaded the AllTrails app which we lovee & started out on our first hike: Deer Run Trail.

This hike was a bit buggy, but still enjoyable.

Next was Brandywine Falls, probably my favorite hike to date.

I was amazed by these beautiful waterfalls! It’s kinda crazy that we lived here for most of our lives and didn’t know about some of these trails- my mom said she did take us here once when we were younger, but I don’t have a recollection of it!

The trail transforms from a shaded and wooded area with ledges and falls to an open running trail with a couple quaint little farms lining the trail. If you look closely, you will see a little lamb peering through the doorway.

The trail eventually went back to a more traditional wooded trail with a stream never too far out of reach.

For dinner, we found a new favorite restaurant- CoreLife Eatery. It is kinda like a Sweet Green (Sweet Green still is better, but this gives us our delicious salad fix!).

Near the end of August, I was craving a run on one of my favorite running trails- Lock 29.

The trail is mostly paved and super easy running with gorgeous views and nature. It’s just so peaceful.

I actually had my senior photos done here. It’s kinda fun all the little memories we have sprinkled throughout here. I think I was a little worried it would feel like I was stepping back in time coming back to Ohio, in the sense that I worried I would feel like the growth I made in myself over the last nine years would be lost. I didn’t like myself when I left the Midwest, and I worried I’d have some type of identity crisis moving back. It hasn’t been like that though at all, it’s just an exciting new time in every way, and I tend to remember the good here more than the bad. We often smile and laugh about our memories here prior to moving away, and it’s so much fun to simultaneously make new ones in a place that is so special to us ❤️

I can’t wait to share much more!

Thanks for reading 🙂

<3 ,


32 thoughts on “First Few Weeks Home <3

  1. Oh hi! Welcome home! I’ve been coming and going so much I haven’t even welcomed you back! Welcome back! Love the photos- Ohio really does have some lovely scenery. (I’m going to share this list with my friend in England so she can see my world.) Happy for you and DJ!

    1. Hi hi!! No worries at all- excited to see you over the holidays!! We have lots to catch up on, and I can’t wait! 🤗 Aw so glad you wanted to share this with your friend. It is so nice to be back, we really missed it! ❤️

  2. It’s beautiful!! Oh my goodness those waterfalls are amazing! I hope to see more pictures of them on the blog 🙂 And I’m so excited about this post–I’m so so happy everything is turning out as perfect as it could be! You and DJ deserve a special place like that to live. Glad you’re all settled in and that you’ve been able to get some great food and running in!

    1. Hi, Taylor!! Thanks for sharing in our little slice of life here with us 🙂 This comment really made my day! Hope all is well with you!! 😊

  3. LOVE this! Congrats son the move Mack! That waterfall hike is stunning! I can completely relate about going back home and feeling overwhelmed with feelings that you haven’t grown! I was in a similar place when I moved to New York, and coming back to New Hampshire and what was suppose to be a summer and ended up being two years was stressful. But I know I have changed, and I don’t need to prove anything to anyone! You have accomplished so much in just the time that I have known you. You are such a strong warrior with the biggest heart, who is as much punny as you are kind! “Your” people will see that and gravitate to you, because you are such an incredible person! <3

    1. Oh my gosh you get me 🥺 Thank you SO much for this comment! It’s so good to know I’m not alone in feeling that way, but you are so right, we have changed and grown and have nothing to prove. Also, thank you for your sweet words- I need to read this comment on days I’m feeling down on myself!! It means a lot coming from you who I admire so much. Thank you for always being such a wonderful, encouraging friend!! ❤️

  4. Good Morning my O H I O friend! I loved seeing your photos. I’ve been to almost all of those trails! I’m so glad that you are enjoying this new chapter in your lives together.
    Have a lovely Tuesday!

    1. That is too cool you’ve been to almost all these trails!! It just always surprises me what a small world we live in 😊 Thank you for your sweet comment! I hope you’re having a great weekend, Nancy!!

  5. This is so much fun to see your gorgeous photos of where we live!! And to find out about new restaurants in my own backyard like the Garretts Mill Diner, love the note to Brian! These blogs are now helping me see my own world in a whole new light, thank you Mackenzie!! Can’t wait for the next one. Love, your very happy you are here Ohio mom

    1. I am soo happy you enjoyed this post 🙂 We have to go to Garrett’s Mill Diner for pancakes sometime soon- they are so good! We are so so happy to be here too, can’t say it enough! 😊

    1. Haha you’re in the right place to talk all about food!! The falafel pizza is so yummy!! I want to try to make at home some time 😍 Thanks for stopping in, Natalie!

  6. Glad your move to Ohio was such a positive one and all those nature trails look awesome, just what I would enjoy going on. The waterfall and that loooooooooooooooong flight of steep steps was pretty awesome too. I’m guessing that most of October was as nice for Ohio as it was here in SE Michigan. Now we await the first snow tomorrow morning … you already dealt with snow in Austin, which probably seems like eons ago now.

    1. I really do think you would LOVE the trails here in NEO! It was an absolutely beautiful fall. I’m glad you had nice weather too!! It is kinda wild to think about the Austin snowstorm, I have moments of – did that really happen?! It certainly prepared us a bit for returning here! We had the first snow fall last weekend and I loved every minute of it- so did Moose, he could have played in it all day. We kept calling him our little snow dog!

      1. Yes, the Austin snowstorm was a trial run and preview of coming attractions, even though you did drive before in it when you lived here before. The older I get, the more I avoid it. It is fun to watch dogs romp in the snow!

      2. Definitely a trial run! I am already nervous about driving in it all again. I got in a car accident when I was 17 in bad weather here, and can be a nervous nelly in snow ever since. I’m thankful my mom forced me to get back behind the wheel immediately after though. I am planning on getting new tires soon- so that will put my mind at ease a little bit!

      3. I remember you said that once – that would paralyze me with fear going forward. Our driver’s training was not included with school due to a millage issue, so I took driver’s training in the Winter to feel comfortable. I was in my VW Super Beetle and hit some ice or slick snow and spun around many times, narrowly missing a ditch, so NOT even an accident and still have my heart in my mouth when I drive in snow. Yes to the new tires and pack emergency gear in your trunk in case you get stranded somewhere. I don’t do that anymore as I don’t have to go out in bad weather – I don’t schedule anything in Winter and I work from home. (I’m getting to be a little old lady!)

      4. Those near accidents are terrifying!!! I’m so glad you never had a crash. I actually haven’t done that yet with the emergency gear, so I’ll definitely be putting that on my to do list! And you’re not alone- I try to avoid it when I can too ! Or let DJ drive and keep my eyes closed lol

  7. I am so glad to catch up with you in this space, Mack! especially at this time when you have started a new chapter in your journey.

    Have to clarify – I know you said you grew up here …. did DJ as well? (And he is such a sweetie to set up house for in preparation for your arrival … and those flowers!!!! Happy anniversary, incidentally!) I love your huge huge kitchen with that fabulous island! I have always dreamed of a kitchen island … typical Singaporean kitchens in typical apartments are quite rather small.

    I have missed your run & food pics so much!!! And I have now gleaned yet another enticing food combination (I still remember French toasted croissant came from you – haven’t had it in a while …. croissants don’t sit around long enough for me to French toast them) – falafel pizza! I can’t wait to try making one!

    1. Hi Ju-Lyn!! Thank you tons for stopping in 🙂 DJ did grow up here as well! We actually started dating in high school! He is just the best- those flowers were such a sweet welcome. Thank you for the anniversary wishes and kind words about our kitchen too! I have to say, the island is probably my favorite part of our home too! It’s so nice to sprawl out with so much space while cooking and baking.

      Aw that really means a lot that you’ve missed the run recaps and food pics! I am feeling back in the swing of things again now that we are getting settled! Ohhh yes falafel pizza- SO GOOD! It’s a combo you will love, I guarantee- enjoy!! Have a great week ahead, friend! 🙂

      1. Wow! What a love story you both have! And now you are where you began together. It must come with so many memories. And now, you have Moose as well!

  8. Hi Mackenzie , welcome home to Ohio ! I understand the daydreaming about what went before, we all do it those that have lived in different states/countries . I am sure it was so nice to see DJ after those 3 months apart! The same thing happened to us, I stayed on 3 extra months in New York before finally moving to Minnesota and being reunited in our first home ! How sweet to arrive home to those pretty flowers . It must have being so exciting to get the tour of YOUR home ! The kitchen is amazing I love the modern white look! We love Dunkin Donuts also from our time in New York, we just got a store here 3 years ago, and now more have popped up. I am so happy you got to meet your nephews. It will be amazing to be able to see family all the time now , and the cooking sounds amazing! Are your family accepting new members !!!? Haha , I love that comment on the receipt ! The deer run trails are so pretty . And the waterfalls look amazing in photos , I can only imagine how they are in person. That stream looks so peaceful. Your salad must have been so delicious ! What memories of your senior pictures ! I totally get how you feel moving back , and thanks for sharing your thoughts on how you felt before you left. You can now concentrate on those brand new memories you can make . I am trying to catch up top your posts!! Have a great day, Terri xo.

    1. Hi Terri! Thank you for the welcome back to OH 😀 I didn’t know you all lived in NY before! Thanks for the sweet words about the kitchen too- it definitely came in handy with the big island for thanksgiving cooking! It really is so nice being close to family, such a treasure. Thanks for reading!! Have a wonderful day too!

Let's chat!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.