She’s here 💕

Our sweet girl, Quinn, made her arrival into the world one week ago today. The love we have for her is truly indescribable. We are so honored and grateful God chose us to be her parents. We can’t believe she’s ours <3. We are all healthy and doing well! 

Maternity Pictures! <3

*This post was written on May 4th* 

Hi, everyone!! I am so excited to share our maternity photos 🙂 I got these done at 34 weeks pregnant, and I’m glad I scheduled them then since I took so long to show. We had the very talented Molly from Molly Watson Photography take them and the absolutely amazing Amaris, a makeup artist and now friend, did my makeup! The melasma on my face is really dark right now in the third trimester, and she worked some serious magic helping cover it up.

I chose to go with an emerald green dress since this will be baby girl’s birthstone color, and a blush pink dress since she’s a girl <3 

Anyway, this shoot was so much fun, memorable and really special. We will treasure these pictures forever 💕.

We cannot wait to meet our girl, our little miracle. 

<3, 

Mackenzie 

Third Trimester Recap!

Hey hey & welcome to the final trimester recap! I feel like I just wrote the second trimester recap yesterday. I am currently writing this 38 weeks pregnant (on May 3rd) because the doctors think there is a high chance our little one is going to make her grand entrance a bit early. As I did for the last two recaps, I will use the Growing You journal for some inspiration for prompts and then sprinkle in other random thoughts here and there 🙂

Three words to describe pregnancy: Wonderful, magical, surreal!

I’m nervous about: Mainly moving into the third trimester I was most nervous for how jam-packed our schedules were and having the energy to keep up with everything. Thankfully it all went well, and I was able to find a little time to rest here and there. I was also nervous about being on my feet all day at work. Fortunately, the swelling was really only noticeable from about week 36 on. Prior to that I didn’t have much at all! I also was unsure we would have everything ready in time (my to-do list had never been so long!).  Writing this now, the only thing left is assembling the portable changing table for the bedroom, but that should be here Thursday. And then we are really all good to go!

After birth, I am probably most nervous about juggling her and Moose at the same time when I’m here by myself. I don’t know how we are going to do walks since Moose sometimes requires two hand control on the leash (especially passing by other dogs!)- add a stroller to the mix is probably not possible. I’m sure we’ll figure something out.

I’m excited about: Everything!! In the third trimester I have been excited to hear baby’s heartbeat at every OB appt., our baby moon, the baby shower, finishing up the nursery and visiting my grandparents while pregnant. I’m also excited the third trimester means I’m that much closer to meeting our girl! It’s been amazing to see my bump grow at such a rapid pace week after week. I’m also weirdly excited to experience labor to see what all the commotion is about? Lol. Well that, and obviously because it will mean we get to meet our girl <3.

I’m grateful for: Where to begin with this? I’ve never felt so much gratitude in my life. Besides just being so deeply and profoundly thankful for our baby girl, I am immensely grateful for our friends, family, coworkers, our managers, random kind strangers and just everyone who has been beyond supportive and caring through this season of life. A dear friend I met through blogging, Kori, just recently had her sweet girl and being able to go through the pregnancy together and now entering this new phase as moms at around the same time has been such a blessing. And of course, DJ. I can’t imagine going through this with anyone else. He has been so patient, gracious, loving, helpful and is the best husband <3. I’d be much more nervous about the actual labor and raising a baby if I didn’t have him- but with him by my side I feel confident we will be just fine. I’m also grateful on a whole I have had an uneventful and healthy pregnancy, for the memories we have made throughout this pregnancy, for our careers being in a nice and steady rhythm & for the fact that we are near so many people we love as we enter into this next phase as parents. Oh and of course, I’m thankful for my Moose <3. And Door Dash.

Food cravings: Chocolate, caramel, milkshakes, chicken sandwiches and fries (I definitely have that first trimester craving for fast food again), savory and sweet combos, Mediterranean cuisine, pizza, bison or beef tacos & CoreLife.

Exercise: I’ve continued to walk a total of about 4 miles a day (this includes all the steps I take, not a direct 4 mile walk). I didn’t know if I’d be able to keep this up, but thankfully I have been able to. I do very light arm workouts with 5-10 lb. weights about 2-3x per week (Gotta make sure I can hold my baby girl!) & core strengthening that is safe for pregnancy a couple times a week. My running has almost entirely transitioned to using the elliptical instead due to the bladder pressure from running- so I do that about three-four times a week, super easy, for 25-30 mins.

Symptoms/how I feel: The third trimester has not been as bad as I anticipated in terms of symptoms. I do understand better what people mean when they say it’s “uncomfortable”. But overall, I feel pretty darn good all things considered! The worst part was the immense fatigue I had from weeks 28 to about 36. Around week 36, the nesting energy really kicked in, and I’ve maintained some energy since then! The nesting thing is REAL- holy moly I have never cleaned/organized so intensely in my life. Other third trimester specific symptoms I have been experiencing are being short of breath, some restless leg syndrome (although I had it in the second, it got way worse in the third tri) & serious heartburn. My melasma on my upper lip has darkened even more – it’s hard to cover up even with makeup now (such a pain in the rear!). Speaking of rear, mine has become entirely non-existent- I just don’t know where it went. Probs will need to do some squats post-pregnancy- LOL. I also have some ankle swelling after a long day at work, but it resolves if I prop my feet for a while. I also noticed the linea nigra on my stomach appear in the third trimester.

How I would describe my sleep: So my third trimester sleep was actually way better than my second trimester! I have been shocked by this. I am definitely more tired when I hit the pillow each night, so maybe I’m just more tired in general, but overall, I’m very happy with my sleep!

Emotions in the third trimester: Nearing the end of the third trimester has been very emotional. I am simultaneously so stinkin’ excited to meet our girl, hold her, look into her eyes, study her every feature, tell her how much we love her face to face… but then I am already missing being pregnant with her. She has been with me, a physical part of me, through pretty much everything since moving back to Ohio. One thing I’m already having a hard time with is returning to work after maternity leave (as much as I love my job!). She started my new job with me, and I usually talk to her on the way to work. The thought of going back there without her makes me so emotional. I also am emotional about Moosey- knowing he is going to inevitably have to deal with a little less attention from me than he’s used to. DJ reassured me he will give him alll the love and make sure he’s ok. At the same time, I can’t wait to see him and baby girl interact together! I also am just so excited for this next chapter while simultaneously nervous knowing nothing will be the same. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m sure there are things I’m missing, I’ll probably come back and edit them in- but I think this about sums it up for now! Still liked the second trimester more from a symptomatic standpoint, but the third trimester really wasn’t so bad! Now the first– we just won’t talk about that 😝.

Thank you to everyone who has been on this journey with us 💕. Y’all are the best, and I’m so grateful for your support!

<3,

Mackenzie

*Photo taken by Molly Watson Photography

Bow Wow Beach, Contractions & All the Emotions!

*This post was written on May 2nd*

Howdyyy! Continuing on recapping the end of April into May. Usually this time of year is known as something called Spring, but Ohio doesn’t play by the rules, and our winter continued with some serious snowfall on April 19th. Can ya believe it?

April 20th, baby girl really kicked out her foot & I was able to capture it in a photo! Isn’t that wild to see?!

April 22nd, I met up with Clair at The Town Tavern in Fairlawn. Neither of us had been before, so we figured it be fun to try out somewhere new together.

We started out with their soft pretzel to share as an appetizer.

For my main meal, I got a build your own bowl, with just about every ingredient option listed. Tons of veggies, corn, shrimp, etc. Oh man oh man was it good. I did not leave a bite behind. 

It was so good to see her & catch up. We talk on the phone pretty much every day, if not every other, but it is just is the best when we can find time to meet in person.

April 23rd, we took Moose out to Oak Hill again. It’s a little further of a drive than the usual bike & hike trail, but it’s usually less crowded, and we don’t have to worry about bikers sneaking up on us.

After our walk, we took Moose for the first time to Bow Wow Beach. This is easily our new favorite place to take him! It’s a beach strictly for dogs. Moose had the absolute time of his life, and it was his first time in the water (besides baths, which he HATES). Running around in the open water was a different story- he was loving every second. It was fun for us too because we don’t actually get to see him interact much with the dogs when he is at his dog daycare, besides the photos we get from Marie & the video stream from Camp Bow Wow. He was so good with all the other pups! Also, it was adorable- he’d play for a while then come running back to us to make sure we were still there and then run back to his friends. Melted my heart! This place is great.

When we got home, I made us some caprese & egg toasts for lunch. I have been on a caprese kick lately- I will make caprese avocado toast or caprese over eggs on toast most days of the week!

Moose was a sleepy sleepy boy that whole afternoon. Bow Wow Beach wore. him. out. He also has been snuggling up to my bump more often & has been even more cuddly in general (which I didn’t know was possible!)- I really think he knows she’s in there!

That afternoon, we knocked out assembling the stroller & getting the car seat bases installed. I was having no patience with the stroller assembly- but thankfully DJ figured it out. It was a relief to have all that done!

We went on a second walk that evening and pretty much had the hike and bike trail to ourselves which was peaceful.

We stopped by Culver’s after- I had some cheese curds & DJ had one of their mixers. Their mixers are amazing!

On April 24th, I met with Rachel at Creekside Restaurant for brunch. I think my taste buds have morphed into DJ’s through this pregnancy- I ordered chicken & waffles for my main meal, and it was HEAVENLY.

Rachel ordered their avocado spud- a stuffed potato with all kinds of delicious fixin’s and eggs!

We have to go back here because there is so much on the menu I want to try.

Last get together before the baby arrives! It was so stinkin’ good to see Rach. We have been both extra busy lately, it’s been tough to find a time to meet, so this worked out beautifully.

Clearly I need some sunshine 😂.

We took Moose back to Bow Wow that afternoon for round 2!

Also, want to see something funny? We noticed once all the snow melted, our grass was so much greener than our neighbors’. I think Moose may have been fertilizing our yard all winter without us realizing, lol. Maybe our neighbor will be asking him to come back over! 😜

April 25th I took Moosey out on another walk. Don’t let his cuteness fool ya- he was a rascal this day! His Dad was getting a play-by-play at work about all his shenanigans.

In all seriousness, people have said how a puppy is great training for a baby, and I totally understand why. I am so grateful to Moose for all he has taught me about myself in such a short period of time. I have identified things I will need to work on as a mom just through raising him. He’s taught me to be more flexible, more patient, to be more in the moment and to treasure each day we have together. I have times where I wish I had been a bit more relaxed and slow to frustration during his early puppy days- as it was only a phase. I look at pictures of him so little, and feel like I blinked and he grew up. I know in some sense it may feel that way with our baby. So because of Moose, I want to be super present and not miss a beat of my baby being a baby, even if that means not checking things off on my to-do list or letting the laundry pile up for a few days. I understand the hard days are going to go by fast, and to cherish each one of them no matter how hard they are. I realize he feeds off my energy, and how important it is to check myself so a bad day doesn’t wear off on those around me, most of all my child. He’s also taught me what it is to have pure joy through caring, nurturing and loving someone totally dependent on you. Seeing him happy makes me so darn happy- I can only imagine that will be magnified with our baby <3. I don’t know that I would have this perspective without Moose. We love that little, not so little, guy so much & are very thankful for him! I know he’ll be the best big brother.

Ok wiping away my dramatic pregnancy tears as I get back to the recapping..

I have started a new breakfast kick with oatmeal, PB & dates. Dates are rumored to have some benefits for labor. I figured why the heck not give it a go, especially because I do find them tasty.

April 26th I got a prenatal massage! I have been saving a birthday gift for the third trimester massage, and it was a great treat :). That evening was an OB appt. But after I NEEDED a burger instead of Corelife. I was so ravenous I didn’t even get a picture- but we got them from BurgerFi. D-E-lish!

Marie sent us this adorable picture of Moose and Captain (her dog) on April 27th. I love that Moose gets so much exposure to little dogs at her place, especially given how big he is (and he’s still growing)- he’s sooo good & knows to be more gentle with small pups. We got to see that at Bow Wow Beach!

That evening we got our car seat bases inspected! All good to go!

April 28th I had a serious craving for Jet’s pizza. Pizza is one of those things I would have thought I’d crave a lot in pregnancy, but I really have only craved it once or twice. I ordered mushroom & pineapple (which again, sounds so gross- but something about this third trimester is making me want all the savory and sweet combinations) & DJ had a meat lovers. I ordered their turbo crust for the first time with garlic, romano cheese and butter- and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to regular! It was a game changer.

That evening, we received a book in the mail from where we stayed for our Babymoon. As part of the Babymoon package, you get the book Good Night Charleston for your baby- but they had them backordered when we were there. We were so excited when this came in & we were surprised how closely the book mirrored everything we did while we were there! Very special.

And here’s a pic of Moose being a cuddle bug with my stomach again.

On Friday, April 29th, I stopped by Krieger’s, a local market, for groceries for the first time. I had never been here before even though it’s super close to where we live. Well, I am kicking myself for not coming here sooner, because I’m obsessed! It has amazing options & great healthy finds that you can’t always find elsewhere. I will be back!

That evening was a wild one! I started having contractions late in the evening as I was falling asleep. I thought they were just intense Braxton Hicks at first, but they started getting closer and closer together and more intense, eventually I couldn’t sleep because of them. I woke DJ up to let him know I thought I may be going into labor. We started timing them, and they were about 10 mins apart, each about 50 seconds to a minute and more intense than the usual Braxton Hicks. A couple hours passed, and baby was not being active at all. I also started shaking- more than usual from just being cold. To be safe, we called my OB and drove to L & D triage around 2 AM. When we got in, and I was hooked up to the monitor, she finally started moving again & the shaking subsided. My contractions continued to get closer together and the resident said on the monitor they were 4-5 mins apart. She said she would monitor me for an hour, and if I didn’t continue to dilate then we would head home, but there was a chance this was the real deal. Woah. The contractions did start subsiding about 30 mins in, and by the hour mark I hadn’t dilated anymore, so we were heading out the door. Basically, they said it was latent labor. They estimated she will be coming earlier than her due date (May 17th), and that she could make her arrival any time in the next couple days to week(s). They advised these types of contractions may continue on and off until then. Thankfully, the contractions continued to subside over the next few days- and writing this now on Monday the 2nd, I haven’t had any since last evening. I just hope I don’t have them when I work this week, because that would be awfully distracting for me and the patients, lol!  Anyway, the whole ordeal was exhausting, a bit nerve-wracking and surprising given I was 37 weeks- but at the end of it, it made me all the more excited to meet our girl. I cannot WAIT!

This picture was after the night in L & D triage. I think Moose could tell we were pretty exhausted. He cuddled right up to me and my stomach <3.

That Saturday, April 30th, we took it super easy. I just lounged on the couch while working on blog posts and did light chores around the house. We did have an electric fence training session in the afternoon. We can’t install an actual fence, so this seemed like the best alternative. So far Moose is doing very well with the training! I love the company we are going with too. This will be great because it’ll give Moose way more space to roam depth wise in our yard while preventing him from going sideways into our neighbors’ yards. One more training to go next week!

I was so extra hungry that day, and for dinner I ordered a feast from Aladdin’s. Eventually I gotta cool it with the Door Dash, but I’m soaking up the pregnancy excuse for now, haha.

On Sunday, May 1st, I was having far fewer contractions and decided to see if I could do a walk with DJ and Moose. I made it 3.5 miles without any contractions, and it felt amazing. We also took Moose to Bow Wow Beach. It was a productive day & now we are really just waiting for baby girl to make her grand entrance!

And I want to leave you with just some things that Moose has been doing that crack us up.

First up, he has decided he wants to face the opposite direction while riding in the car now. To each their own.

He also was walking around our townhouse with his bone like this. That can’t be comfortable how high up in his mouth he has it?! 😂

Like, why? I do not understand. Hahah.

Him and his sleeping also make us laugh so much.

Last, we find it so funny when we give him a bone how wide his eyes always get 😂

Thanks for listening to my rambles! I was definitely in my feels for this one. Maybe next time I write a recap it will be with our baby girl in our arms! Time will tell!

Question for you: 

  • What’s your favorite grocery store?

<3,

Mackenzie

Home & Nursery Tour!

Hi all!! I finally finished up our house and nursery- I wanted to document it and give a little tour. In terms of decoration, I  wanted to do something a little more playful/unique for now, and then maybe transition to something more timeless later on. Thanks for sharing in this exciting time with us! 😊

Living Room 

Kitchen

Dining Room

These three pictures above are ones I took from each of the states we have lived together since being married (minus a short time in Indiana when we finished up undergrad). From left to right: California, Texas and Ohio. 

Guest Room 

And… the Nursery!
Baby blanket below is from her great-grandmother, Mimi <3. 

Of course, we’ll make sure there is nothing in the crib when she actually uses it 🙂 

Thank you for sharing in such an exciting time with our family!

<3, 

Mackenzie

We’re the bad neighbors!

Hey friends! I hope you’re having a good week. I am hoping to get all caught up on these posts before I go into labor- hard to believe I’m even saying that already! The second and third trimester just flew by.

It’s another absolutely gorgeous morning here. I’m sitting on the couch with my decaf coffee & the windows open listening to the birds chirp. Does it get much better than that?

Diving in- late March, our neighbor brought to our attention that Moose had pooped in his yard- we felt terrible!! He was so nice about it though, but there was no getting around in that moment we were the bad neighbors. Our yards are all connected since we live in a townhouse with little space in between, so Moose must have made himself a little too comfy going over the imaginary line- enough to drop a poop. It was a wakeup call that we our current way of letting him out on the leash was not working, and we’re looking into other alternatives. Anyway- there is no excuse, and we just felt so badly this happened.

We decided to put a little gift together to apologize for his trespooping – Bar Dog Cabernet, A Nervous Dog Coffee Bar giftcard (a coffee shop not far from here) & a card.

A few days later, we got back a gift on our front steps with a toy Moose, a Kong Frisbee & a note from our neighbor thanking Moose for the gift, saying not to worry and to feel free to visit any time. Can you believe how gracious he was about it all? We are lucky to have him as a neighbor!

And Moose loved his gift!

April 2nd, we took Moose to Oak Hill trail- my favorite trail for running when I lived here back in the day. Below is a picture of the “Secret Garden”. The rule is, you’re not allowed to talk when passing through the Secret Garden (I learned this during cross country in high school), and we respect the rule still today . No idea where, how or why this rule originated- but thinking about it now…. it was the only time you could get a group of high school girls to stop talking for any length of time. Maybe our coach invented the rule, Ha!

While on the trail, we found an open area and let Moose run the hill there. He was having the time of his life!

That evening I had a mean craving for a chicken sandwich. We decided to order some Wendy’s and fries-my cravings for fast food have definitely returned in the third trimester. At least I had a healthier stretch in the second, lol. Also, have you had that Wendy’s Ghost Pepper sauce? It’s delicious!!!

I was also craving a milkshake so intensely this night, I couldn’t think about anything else. I ordered a handspun strawberry and fudge milkshake from Pav’s Creamery along with a cookie dough and brownie sundae (DJ got a sundae and the Death by Chocolate sandwich to save for later). While I’m admitting everything in this blog post, I have my ultimate pregnancy confession… Not only did I put in two ice cream orders… I proceeded to dip my sundae into my milkshake. Yes, I dipped one form of ice cream into my other ice cream. I think it’s the most indulgent, pregnant thing I have done this whole 9 months, lol. And wow oh wow, was it worth it- I almost called Pav’s to tell them they made a pregnant woman’s day. It was one of the best milkshakes and sundaes of all time. Can’t wait to get it again!

April 5th we had an OB appt., and per tradition, we got some CoreLife afterwards.

On April 6th, DJ’s coworkers threw us a surprise baby shower!! Well, surprise for DJ- they looped me in on it 😉 It was so beyond sweet. For lunch, each person brought a dish so we had a yummy spread of chicken salad sandwiches, meatballs, veggies and fruit with fruit dip, a quinoa salad, pasta, homemade chocolate chip cookies and rice krispies!

I absolutely adore all of DJ’s coworkers, so it was great to see them and catch up. We all enjoyed the spectacular spread & then they even had gifts that were so stinking thoughtful & creative too! It was pretty perfect because everything they got were things/books we didn’t have yet. We felt so honored they did this- it was really special <3. And DJ was definitely surprised!!

That evening, I was feeling like salmon, so I made salmon over cauliflower pappardelle (love this stuff), mixed with butter, spinach and mushrooms. Pretty simple, but so yummy.

April 7th, Moose was a sleepy boy after a full day at Marie’s playing with his friends.

After work on April 8th, I had a mean craving for some caramel. I stopped into the first Walgreens I could find nearby and grabbed some Werther’s Original Caramels. I didn’t care as much for the hard candies, but the chewy caramels really satisfied that craving!! April 9th I finished up food prep- I figured this is good enough for now, and we’ll probably get tired of crockpot meals anyway at some point.

Here are the recipes I made:

Sweet Potato And Basil Soup 

Slow cooker lentil soup

Chili

Chicken Tikka Masala

Low Carb Lasagna (I recommend using less salt than it calls for, otherwise it is way too salty!).

Mexican Casserole 

I also made some lactation cookies!! I tried a small bite & they are delicious. Cannot wait to eat these. I also have some Boobie Bars on standby, lol.

In the late morning of April 10th, we went by our family’s house to visit for a while and then we had our maternity shoot! Will share those pictures soon :).

We returned that evening and got ready for the week, while cuddling Moose in between chores.

That week was a big week of figuring out child care for after maternity leave. I visited a couple day cares, and I think we have a plan in place. It’s probably been one of the most challenging things to figure out because of my ever-changing work schedule, but I’m relieved we have something in the works! I felt like this guy trying to figure it all out 😅.

April 15th was a gorgeous day. We took Moose out on a walk per usual.

DJ had a lot of work to do that day into the evening, but we took a short break to go out on a second walk at Virginia Kendall Hills as we remembered the significance of Good Friday.

Moose loved scaling these hills! They were a touch more difficult for me than they used to be I will say, hah.

Then Sunday was Easter! He is Risen! We spent the entire day with family starting with an awesome church service. The rest of the day, we ate delicious Easter meals and watched our nephew do an egg hunt/basket hunt- it was so stinkin’ cute.

Even our girl got her first Easter basket! <3

Can ya handle the cuteness?!? Also, we are obsessed with that Night-Night Ohio book- adorable.

More phenomenal food! I have been wanting steak so badly, so when my mom-in-law and Gordie suggested it for dinner, I was not about to turn it down! I never want to order it at a restaurant because it feels like a crime asking for it well done, but Gordie graciously cooked it all the way through for me, and it was soooooo gooooood. It was a great Easter in every way!

April 18th, I started the day with oatmeal, cottage cheese, berries and honey. This combo sounds probably… unusual- but I have been loving cottage cheese mixed with my berries and oats lately!

I also have been doing an odd combo of savory/sweet with toast with raspberry jam, cottage cheese and eggs. Idk what it is, but I crave this!

That evening, I ordered chicken fingers from TGIF’s as a second dinner after seeing how good they looked when DJ ordered them the day before. Chicken fingers have for sure been a third trimester craving.

That week, the nesting kicked in out of nowhere. It is such a real thing! I got this sudden rush of energy after being beyond exhausted for weeks. I cleaned & organized everything I could get my hands on. At one point, DJ goes, “you’re dusting again?!” hahah, yessssir.

Anyway- I watched The Dropout on Hulu while doing my cleaning, and wowza, that show was phenomenally done- I got through it in just a few days. It’s mind-blowing that it’s a true story.

Back to the cleaning- it felt SO good to have the whole place cleaned & now it’ll just be a matter of keeping it clean until she makes her grand entrance :). Talking to you, Moose 😉 (Ok and talking to myself a little too if we’re being honest, lol).

I also got my hospital bags mostly packed- both the labor bag and postpartum bag.

I also figured out gifts for the L & D and postpartum nurses this week. I sent this to my mom, and her response cracked me up.

LOL- I am admittedly extra, I know it- but it is just extra funny coming from my mom.

April 19th, we had our last ultrasound as a position check and to check fluid levels. She is head down and fluid levels are looking good! All systems are go. And surprise, surprise, we went to Core Life after as tradition has it.

Now it’s really just a waiting game, while trying to survive 8 hours on my feet at work & going to the weekly OB appt. I told my manager I’m just going to try to work until delivery- so far it’s been going well, my feet are just very swollen at the end of the day, but really I can’t complain!

Alrighty, I should probably go tackle some of these remaining things on the to-do list staring me in the face. I think one more recap post I’ll be all caught up & then baby will be here!

Questions for you:

  • How is your spring so far?
  • For breakfast- do you tend to lean savory or sweet? A combo?

<3,

Mackenzie

Pregnancy Products Round Up!

Hey hey! I wanted to document the products/clothes/etc. I’ve used through my pregnancy so I remember for the future- plus it’s just fun to share 🙂

When looking for cosmetic products in particular, I tried to avoid endocrine disrupting chemicals as much as possible. I actually started the process of mitigating EDC exposure prior to becoming pregnant by overhauling the kitchen with healthier pans and glass containers instead of plastic. I also replaced using plastic water bottles with a Brita water bottle.  I recognize we live in a world where we can’t 100% eliminate our exposure, and I definitely have not been perfect with this, but I see it as every little bit helps. Also- as with anything, it’s always important to run products by your OB if you’re not sure about their safety.

**These are not professional or medical recommendations–I just want to share friend-to-friend what I enjoy using! 🙂 I’ll even probably continue to use most of these products moving forward post-pregnancy. Last, there are no affiliate links included.

Let’s get to it!!

Cosmetics/Toiletries 
Puracy body lotion– I use as both my face and body lotion
Belli elasticity oil
Dr. Bronner’s toothpaste– (I also tried RiseWell toothpaste, but I preferred Dr. Bronner’s).
Earth mama body wash
Tarte Water Foundation
Mineral fusion bronzer & blush
Burt’s Bees Chapstick
Ilia mascara
Jaci toning shampoo & conditioner (Only once every week or two).
No nothing shampooconditioner (These work well, but the shampoo had a weird smell after a while, so I am going to try Puracy’s Shampoo & Conditioner next).
Two Peas Organics Sunscreen
Native Deodorant

House Products
#1: I use white distilled vinegar mixed with water for pretty much all my cleaning! I have been amazed how well it works to clean the kitchen counters/bathrooms/mirrors/etc.
Biokleen laundry
Baby ECOS Laundry Detergent to wash baby clothes
Biokleen dish soap
Puracy dishwasher pods
This is Hand Soap from Evolved by Nature
Trader Joe’s Fruit & Veggie Wash
Pet carpet/furniture cleaner: We liked both Trinova Green Standard and Naturally It’s Clean

Maternity Clothes
*My sister-in-laws graciously gave me so many of their maternity clothes, so I bought very little! I will share a couple things/brands that I LOVED.
POSHDIVAH maternity leggings (BEST maternity leggings ever!!!).
PinkBlush for baby moon, baby shower and maternity pictures dresses (wait for their deals, because they have great deals that go on frequently- otherwise it’s pretty pricy).
Isabel Maternity Jeans 
Maternity Hoodie 
Super comfy maternity shirt

Miscellaneous
Pregnancy Pillow (A little on the pricier end, but sooooo worth it in my opinion).
The Good Grocer snack box – this was a gift and a life saver through my pregnancy. I kept this in my car and would pull out a snack whenever hunger struck!
Nurtured 9 Candle (I was gifted this too, and it smelled amazing!).

And that’s about all I can think of right now!

Curious if you have any pregnancy products you love/loved?

Thanks for reading 🙂

<3,

Mackenzie

All the Sweet Things! Family, Friends, & Food

Hey all! It is a gorgeous Saturday morning here (although who knows what it will be when I actually get around to publishing this!). Anyway, this weather made me want to get out of bed extra early to get things done- starting with this post 🙂 This is another big ol’ recap post.

March 15th Mr. Moose and I went on a walk on one of my days off. It was a beautiful day, so we were able to roll down the window so he could stick his head out.

March 16th I went for my first run outside! My runs are much slower than usual these days, I did 3 miles in about 32 minutes, but it felt glorious getting cardio outdoors.

March 18th I had an OB appt. at 3:30 pm. I spent the rest of the day cleaning the house and getting ready for my mom & sis to come spend the weekend with us!

I also stopped by The West Side Bakery to pick up some birthday treats for my mom since her birthday was the following week & we had plans to celebrate early that Saturday.

DJ stopped by CoreLife to pick us up some dinner. It’s pretty much become tradition to get CoreLife after OB appts, unless baby vetoes it with another craving.

Moose had a little food coma after his dinner.

My mom arrived later that evening. As she unpacked, we just caught up and chit-chatted until it was time to hit the hay.

The morning of March 19th was a very special morning! My sister-in-law, Renee, got engaged! Family all arrived to a park that had special meaning to the couple right on Lake Erie. We all gathered around to witness the memorable moment. I’m convinced it was one of the most beautiful, heartfelt, thoughtful proposals ever. There was not a dry eye!

We could not be happier for them!

That afternoon my mom and I read books on the couch with Moose snuggled up between us. I continued to read through Newborn 101– which when all was said and done, I had about 18 pages of notes I took on the book in a Word document, lol.

My sister, Halston, arrived that afternoon (woohoo! I hadn’t seen her in far too long). For my mom’s bday celebration, we debated going out to eat or staying in, and the resounding agreement was ordering in sounded best. We ordered Aladdin’s, one of my mom’s favorite restaurants in town (& to be fair, we all love it), for her birthday.

My mom introduced me to their Mujadara Plate with lentils and brown rice topped with lebanese salata and fried onions- this is easily my new favorite menu item!! Also if you ever order Aladdin’s, you must get extra sides of their hot sauce. It is some of our favorite hot sauce and goes so well on all the food.

After dinner, I pulled out the desserts I had picked up from West Side Bakery. My mom has been eating mostly plant-based lately, so I opted for some delicious vegan treats (the tiramisu was the winner!), along with a regular cheesecake.

And serendipitously, Rachel’s mom, who bakes the best carrot cake in the world, stopped by that afternoon and surprised us with one!! This is Halston’s favorite too- and I wish I could have recorded her reaction when I told her we had the famous carrot cake in our house when she arrived a couple hours later. We made a good dent in this that evening!Delicious as ever. Oh great, now I have a craving for it again, hah!

Time to celebrate this one!! Easy to do 🙂

With our dessert, my mom opened gifts and then we played the game Chameleon- it’s a fun one! It’s funny because as a kid/growing up I really did not enjoy organized games like this, but as an adult I just love ’em.

The morning of March 20th, I put out a spread of toppings for a big-batch of a steel cut oatmeal recipe I had made for the weekend. We all added our toppings and then topped it off with honey or maple syrup- so yummy and nutritious! I ate this through the rest of the week.

That afternoon was the shower!

On the evening of March 21st, we picked up CoreLife again so my mom could experience it this time.

March 22nd, my mom’s flight out of Cleveland was cancelled. Selfishly, we were not upset one bit because it meant more time together. I spent the day writing Thank Yous and getting other things done around the house while my mom worked from our house. We dropped Moose off at Marie’s that day. He was one happy boy because his best friend, Oliver, was there.

Marie always tells us how inseparable they are and that Moose will even cry once Oliver gets picked up 🥺. They have the best time together. She sent me this in the morning, and it cracked us up.

He is one happy boy when he gets to play with his friends! She sent us this sweet picture of him too.That evening, my mom spoiled us with an awesome dinner of ribs, corn and homemade mac n’ cheese made in the Instapot. I have got to learn to use the Instapot because this was so stinking good.

This is probably a totally individualized preference, but I think a little green onion in mac n’ cheese is a game changer! SO good. Also I LOVE ribs. Who knew.

March 23rd, I expected to be called into work, but surprisingly didn’t- so I spent the day putting away gifts and organizing the nursery. I have to share this adorable gift from my sister-in-law, Maura, and niece, Kate, that I think is so beyond creative & generous! They gifted an outfit for each holiday along with a book for that season along with a sports specific one with an Orioles onesie (DJ’s favorite baseball team). How fun is this?!? Even the months match up with when she will be able to fit into everything. Genius.

Somehow the weekend snuck back up on us, and after work on Friday March 25th, we had our friends from college, Catherine and Devin, over for the weekend with their adorable two year old son, Levi.

They arrived around dinner time on Friday. Since I was at work all day, I didn’t have time to whip up anything up, but we door dashed some Burntwood Tavern– always a solid option.

For dessert, I made some chocolate chip cookies we all munched on while we caught up late into the evening. The four of us hadn’t been all together since 2015!! And it was soooo good to finally meet Levi!

The next day, we got breakfast from one of our favorite diners, Garretts Mill, and then headed out to the RainForest at Cleveland Zoo.

It was a very snowy day, so stayed in the warm RainForest and didn’t venture into the actual zoo. The RainForest was a great call by DJ who suggested we go- we will definitely be bringing our girl here in the future!

Levi LOVES monkeys- so when we got around to the monkey and gorillas exhibit, he was particularly enamored.

My heart just melted watching these three!

That evening we went to my MIL and Gordie’s who graciously hosted us all for dinner. We enjoyed a delicious dinner from Tre Belle. Ender, our nephew, was there too- and he’s around the same age as Levi, so it was adorable watching the two of them parallel play. After dinner, the kids (including Moose) were fascinated by the deer out the window.

For breakfast on March 27th, I pulled out whatever we had in the cupboard for breakfast and made some Kodiak cakes.

We had an easy going morning, watching Sing 2, and then before they left we said we stopped to get Cane’s for lunch. They had never had it, and we wanted to make sure they experienced its goodness!

We said our goodbyes from Cane’s and promised we wouldn’t let nearly as much time pass again before we all get together. It helps we live on the same side of the country now!

On March 28th, we woke up to this. WHAT IS THIS MADNESS. Remember in mid/late February that I thought spring was well on its way? Ha-ha.

On a bright note, that day I did baby girl’s first loads of laundry! The washing and hanging up process took nearly the whole evening, but it was so worth it when it was all finished up 🤗. We won’t have to buy anything for baby girl for a long time!!

This is so random, but the next day while driving I saw this sign and just thought to myself McDonald’s is trying to pull a Jesus. Gave myself a little chuckle.

DJ returned home that evening with the first piece of clothing he picked out himself for our girl <3. I had to document.

On March 31st, I had a breastfeeding course for three hours in the evening. I was in my peak third-trimester exhaustion at this point, and accidentally fell asleep during the class- whoops! I joke that Moose took notes for me.

And this is getting awfully long, so I’ll wrap it up here as we move into April 💐.

Thanks for reading and tolerating my rambles!

Questions for you! 

  • Does your pet have a “best friend” (besides you, of course 😉).
  • Now that I’m very into chicken fingers as a main pregnancy craving- who do you think has the best chicken fingers?!

<3,

Mackenzie

Showered with Love!

Hii, everyone!! I have been so excited to share about the most wonderful and beautiful baby shower my mom-in-law threw for us. She really went over and above in every way. It was such a special day, from seeing so many people we love (and some I haven’t seen in years!) to chatting all things baby to eating delicious food (and dessert) to opening the most thoughtful, meaningful and adorable (!) gifts. Both DJ and I felt overwhelmed with gratitude and love.

Shout out to my mom, sister, Halston, and sister-in-law, Laura, who took lotsa photos for me! Can’t wait to share these details 🙂

These adorable succulents were the party favors- So creative & cute!

There was even a “mom-mosa” bar for the guests- such a fun idea!!!

The real star of the show was my niece, Kate, who was winning over everyone’s hearts with her overall cuteness and adorable personality.

After mingling for a bit, it was time for food!! My mom said the sweetest prayer prior to us eating- it definitely made me tear up 🥺 .

Everything was really good- a perfect lunch!

For games, there was this fun baby word scramble, an emoji pictionary nursery rhymes puzzle (so cute!) and the classic baby bingo. The winners each got a prize with one of those bags pictured below- like I said, my mom-in-law went over and above with every detail!!

DJ joined the shower when it was time for gifts! I was so happy to have him there for this. We couldn’t believe how stinkin’ generous and thoughtful everyone was. We were blown away. Everyone also gifted a book, so we have a heckuvah library right now- I’m obsessed! I’ve been reading her one a day. Also, we were gifted the cutest clothes- I cannot wait to put her in every single outfit. I probably won’t need to buy her much for the next year!

While opening gifts, guests helped themselves to dessert… And not just your average dessert… we’ve got this delicious cheesecake and probably one of the most beautiful cakes I’ve seen from the West Side Bakery!!

Not only was that cake gorgeous, but it was beyond delicious with a rich lemony flavor. I LOVE lemon cake! 🍋

Some additional special notes- three of my dearest friends from college were able to make the shower. The four of us pictured below were roommates/suitemates and super close, but we hadn’t been reunited all together until the shower. It was soooo beyond special having them there and meant everything to me they would travel in for it. I could cry again just thinking about it!

And I wanted to include a few more pictures of my close family and friends you may recognize from being on the blog before!

My sister-in-law, Renee, was also so helpful with setting up for the shower, tearing down and helping take gifts out to the car- so I want to give her a big thank you here too :).

It was such a wonderful shower in every way. When we came home, I was eager to see my Moosey.

My sister also gifted me something once we got home in private from her and Kevin. I am so glad she did it this way because it took me a little bit to pull myself together after seeing what it was!

They got baby girl this onesie below <3. Even typing this I have tears in my eyes. I couldn’t have imagined a better gift & it meant the absolute world.

Needless to say, this was an unforgettable day. Our baby girl is so loved already, and I was reminded of the true village we have around us, filled with incredible role models for her. We are feeling so loved and so blessed.

<3,

Mackenzie

Cravings, Baked Goods & A Trip to TC!

Hey everyone!! I figured I would do a hodge-podge type post of all the miscellaneous happenings from the end of February into March. I have quite the random spread for you today!

The evening of February 18th, I had to have my (pregnancy safe) sushi fix. I got all fully cooked sushi that were made fresh that day (one is vegetable and the rest are various California rolls with cooked crab). It really hit the spot.

My whole pregnancy I thought I would want sushi (mainly the raw stuff) after delivery as my first big meal- but I think that’s changed!! I have wanted nothing more than a big ol’ deli sandwich with tons of meat and cheese from Jimmy John’s. I told Deej he’s on JJ duty- Priorities, priorities!

Saturday, February 19th, was a very productive day for both of us. We got a lot done around the house and work-related stuff accomplished too. Moose caught up on enough sleep for the three, well technically four ;)), of us.

That day, I was craving some Panera. I got their green goddess salad as well as their turkey chili and added some cheese on top. This was all soo good! I also live for those baguettes.

Side note: We were having a discussion with a group of friends the other day, and a lot of people apparently don’t like Panera in general! I didn’t know this was a possibly commonly felt sentiment? I do think it can be overpriced, but I also think the food is pretty good/it has good options when you need something quick. Curious your thoughts on it!

Sunday, February 20th, we went to our nephew’s basketball game.

It was adorable watching this age group play! He did really well too- lotsa assists and even had a basket! He was so selfless with the ball. He made us all proud, but especially his Uncle DJ who played through college.

That afternoon we took Moose for a walk before getting back to the work grind.

Monday, February 21st, I woke up feeling a bit under the weather with a cold. After a day of tomato soup & grilled cheese I felt a little better. I feel like I really turned the corner a few days later.

I tried to get outside for some fresh air that week and keep up with my walks. I remember on this walk in particular it felt like spring really may be approaching! It was a tad warmer than usual, the snow was melting into the side of the sidewalks, and the sun was out in all its glory. Could it be we survived our first Ohio winter since being back? (Spoiler alert: Despite my naïveté optimism, we still had a couple months of winter left considering it just snowed a few days ago in April, loll).

February 22nd, I received a Babylist box for creating a registry. I loved using Babylist because you can add anything from any store on it.

I was impressed with all the little samples of things that came in here- bottles, belly butter, diapers, lotion, fridababy products, a Burt’s Bees newborn onesie, coupons and even more I’m sure I’m forgetting!

February 24th we took off on our Charleston trip documented here, here and here 🙂

March 3rd, I had a hair appointment scheduled at Agape Organic Salon and Spa. I drove a little further since this place uses all organic products and no harsh chemicals. I hadn’t had my hair touched up since August 2021, so it was time. (Of course, I made sure with my OB it truly was safe before going).  The stylist did a great job- she did as little as possible just to blend some of the balayage and stayed away from my scalp. I was shocked how I didn’t smell any fumes while she did my hair compared to the usual stuff used. The final result was super subtle, natural, blended & exactly what I was hoping for. Thinking I can probably go another six months at least without getting it done again!

March 4th, we ordered Piada Italian Street Food for dinner. DJ always gets their carbonara which is incredible, and this time he got it with their hot fried chicken. He also tried their lobster bisque which was yummy too. (Can you tell I sampled a little bit of everything he ordered?). I was craving veggies, so I got the create your own salad with a side of their basil pesto and green harissa. Also, a must order every time is the parmesan piada stick. It’s so goood. And their brownies are deliciously dense & fudgy too!

March 5th, we ran errands around town. We took Moose man with us because we knew all the driving would likely make him tired, and a tired Moose is a good Moose 😉

That day, we did have a bit of a scare. Baby girl was active enough in the morning (she met her kick count, but maybe wasn’t as active as usual- although she does have the occasional quieter day). That afternoon, DJ and I went on a long walk enjoying the beautiful day, and when we got back from the walk I didn’t feel her move hardly at all for a couple hours except for a bout of hiccups. I started to panic when all the normal tricks to get her to move weren’t working. I called my OB, and he said the hiccups were reassuring, but to do kick counts again and come in if she didn’t meet them. We were due to babysit my niece and nephew around that time, so we zipped over their house, and I filled in my sister-in-law on what was going on. She gave me some orange juice she had on hand, and I started the new round of kick counts. I knew DJ could hold down the fort if I needed to go to triage. Thankfully after about 20/30 mins, she started moving again, she met her kicks, and my niece even got to feel her move ❤️. It was so scary, but I was/am so relieved she is ok! The next few days after that she was more active than ever, so I think she was just resting up.

Once I was reassured all was ok, I was able to really enjoy and be present for that time with Kate and Will <3. We missed Jack, but he was busy at the Monsters Game representing the Boy Scouts on the rink during halftime!

We had the best time with them!

On Sunday, March 6th, I drove to Medina for a maternity shoot that was more intimate, focused on documenting my pregnant belly <3. This was one of the greatest experiences, and I highly encourage any pregnant momma to do it! I felt really empowered during the shoot, and I will absolutely treasure these pictures forever! Shout out to my photographer, Rachael, who made me so comfortable and knew just how to capture this special time.

That evening was gorgeous, so we took Moose out for a walk taking advantage of every second of daylight.

By this point in the day, I was ravenous. DJ had already enjoyed some leftovers for dinner, but I was ready to chow down on something specific- gyros. I wanted the usual lamb gyro, but the veggie one looked delicious too- so naturally I ordered both… and a side of jojos. It was all so good. 

I had a little leftover the next day, so at least I got two meals out of being indecisive, hah.

March 8th, I started meal prepping for the postpartum period. I try to make one crockpot meal to freeze per week. So far I have about six in the freezer. If you have any freezable meals that you love, please send them my way!

March 8th and 9th, Moose and I got lotsa walking in!

Here is post-walk with his sleepy head on the pregnancy pillow.

The afternoon of March 9th I got an exciting delivery! Allie over at Living My Full Life has an awesome blog and Etsy shop, Braid Bakery.  When I saw she was selling the most eye-catching Easter chocolate covered Oreos, I had to get some. When I was checking out, I also threw in some gluten free brownies and she generously gifted some of her granola.

We were blown away by how good this all was! She is so incredibly talented!

That afternoon, I met up with my friend, Kaitlyn, in downtown Hudson at the cutest little coffee shop, Heartwood Coffee Roasters.

It was a gorgeous afternoon, even if a little chilly, so I grabbed some hot tea, and we ventured back outside to walk around downtown Hudson. Also, I have to come back here to try some of these baked goods! I have my eye on those croissants.

The walk was filled with lots of sunshine and wonderful, soul-fueling conversation 💕.

I worked on Thursday and then headed out on Friday, March 11th, to Traverse City to see my grandparents. I almost missed my connection due to my first flight being significantly delayed, and I had my first Braxton Hicks contraction while trying to speed walk/sprint to the gate- no fun! But I made it!

Anyway, I wish DJ could have joined, but unfortunately it was tough to schedule with work. It had been wayyy too long since I’d seen my grandparents, and I knew this was probably my last weekend I could travel while pregnant. They are living in a new residential home that is just perfect for them, and I was excited to see it in person. And I was also thrilled, of course, to see them in person and for them to see me pregnant 💕.

It was so wonderful to be reunited. They were so sweet with the baby and talked to her a lot through the weekend.

That evening they gave me a tour of the building, we played a couple rounds of pool and had dinner in the beautiful dining room.

They both are way better at pool than I am and easily beat me, haha.

When I left later that evening, I realized I could probably eat a whole other dinner after the long day of travel! I ended up going to Poppycocks (a family and local favorite) to pick up some food and took it back to the hotel with me (usually I’d stay with my Aunt & Uncle, but they were on a road trip).

I couldn’t believe how much of an appetite I still had- I chowed down on some pita, a roasted veggie platter, hummus and bread while watching an episode of Married at First Sight. It really hit the spot! Also that show is nuts, and I love it.

I returned to my G & Gs in the morning for breakfast bright and early. It was such a yummy breakfast, and we felt fueled up for the day.

After breakfast, my Grandpa and I dueled off in several rounds of pool. And of course, he won most of them.

We had lunch in the dining room and then drove to the mall. I thought it would be so special for them to help me pick out a couple outfits for baby girl 💕.

It was so adorable watching them dote over the clothes and take their time making a decision of what they wanted for their great-granddaughter <3. Makes me all emotional just thinking about it!

They settled on these adorable gems below! My grandma chose the pink set and my grandpa chose the overalls and sweatshirt. He said they both spoke him, so of course, we had to get both 🙂

I can’t wait for them to see her in these outfits!

We did some grocery shopping in the afternoon and then got ready for dinner.

That evening, we had plans to go out on the town! We had reservations at Artisan located inside the Delamar Hotel on the water in downtown TC.

We had an early reservation, so it was fairly empty when we arrived, but it filled up quickly! The interior was stunning.

Artisan is a fairly new restaurant (I believe late summer/fall of 2021), and my G & G had never been.  They kept saying how amazed they were with the renovations since they’d last been, and they even ran into a couple friends.

We started out with some hearty and delish bread & butter.

And I managed to sneak in a photo of these two cuties!!

To our delight, it was actually restaurant week- so we were able to try a bunch of menu items at a great price.

For starters, we enjoyed this brilliant presentation of roasted crudités with hummus, pomegranate, and kale pistou.

My G & G both tried some of the butternut squash bisque and didn’t leave a drop behind.

For our mains, I had their roasted chicken which was beyond good.

They both had their steak for restaurant week & raved about how great all the food was.

Oh, but it didn’t stop there. Included in the restaurant week menu was dessert! We tried two- the butterscotch bread pudding & salted caramel cheesecake.

I think the pictures speak to just how delicious these desserts were!

After dinner, we said our goodbyes (which was soo difficult), and then I had my flight out early that next morning. It was a short trip, but one chock full of amazing memories with them!

My grandma also sent us home with some sweet cards <3.

On the plane ride home I read as much as possible out of Newborn 101. I know there is no real way to truly prepare to be a parent, and you have to be able to be flexible, but reading and absorbing some info gives me a touch of confidence having a general framework to work within. This book is also full of awesome tips & suggestions!

I couldn’t wait to see Mr. Moose and DJ, but I already missed my grandparents so much. And that wraps up through March 13th!

Thanks for reading, and next up I’ll share about the baby shower!

<3,

Mackenzie