My Labor & Delivery Story!

Hey everyone!!! Oh wow am I ever excited to write these next few posts about our Quinn coming into the world. Thank you all for your sweet welcoming words for her 🥰. It’s crazy we have only been with her almost two weeks and how my heart seems to have expanded to a size I did not know was possible. So many memories and treasured moments in this short time. My favorite two weeks ever!!! I feel like I’m going to be quite rambly (not a word, but I think it works) these next few posts. Our lives have very much changed in the best way since my last recap.

I have my girl sweetly sleeping on me while I write this post on a notepad on my phone.  I think I have maybe written one post on a notepad before so we’ll see how this goes 😅. Mr. Moose is also curled up at my side. Life is good.

So, let’s get to it!

So naturally, it would make sense to recap my labor and delivery first! I actually loved my whole experience beginning to end. People say everyone’s experience is unique, and I couldn’t have predicted or planned how this would go if I had tried. And even though it did not go as I had planned, I reflect so fondly on it.

Oh wait wait wait! I have to back up! *Rewind tape noise*. A couple things happened the week leading up to delivery that I want to make sure to mention too.

On May 2nd, I went to L & D for a second time because I was uncertain if my water had broken, although this time I had no contractions. They did a pretty extensive workup, said it hadn’t yet, so I went home.

On May 4th, my amazing coworkers surprised me with a baby shower. They are the best 😭. I was totally surprised- goodness gracious they spoiled me and my fam!!! It was the sweetest thing.

May 5th is a funny day. So around 2 AM I started having those darn contractions again, very similar to the ones I had the week prior. Thankfully I wasn’t scheduled to work this day. I timed them, and they met most criteria to go to L & D, except they weren’t a full minute in length. I figured these were likely just latent labor contractions again, and I didn’t want to go to L & D unnecessarily for the third time in a week.

Anyway, I had scheduled a mat pad cleaning under the carpet around Moose’s crate (we had such a hard time getting the urine smell up in that area of the living room and realized it was the mat under the carpet that needed cleaned). We also had an electric fence installation scheduled that morning (our solution to the trespooping situation since we can’t build one). I know I probably *should* have cancelled the appts., but I really wanted to get that stinkin’ (quite literally) carpet mat cleaned and fence installed. Plus it was hard to get it all scheduled initially to begin with.

When the electric fence guy answered the door I warned him I was having contractions every 4-5 mins. The look on his face was hilarious. Poor guy probably thought he was going to deliver my baby 🤣. When he was explaining to me about the electric fence box, I had a pretty intense contraction come on and had to sit down. He asked if I was ok with wide eyes, and I just tried to act like it was no big deal and said it would pass soon 😂. I asked him if this was his first time installing a fence for a lady in labor and he said yeah- and then asked me if it was my first time in labor 🤣. The carpet guys came soon after that. It was quite a scene. Me having my contractions every few minutes, the raucous from the fence being installed and our living room in disarray to get that mat cleaned.

I messaged my mom-in-law and asked if she was around in case this was the real deal (I insisted DJ go to work until things progressed because I was still convinced this was latent labor). She came over right away just to hang out and in case things did get more intense since they weren’t subsiding. Once the fence was installed and the carpet was cleaned, we took Moose to camp bow wow since there was no way I was able to walk him that day to get his energy out. Also if we needed to go to the hospital he would be taken care of there. On the way there and back the contractions definitely got more intense, but still not quite a full minute. When we got back we ate lunch (I ate a huge lunch thankfully since, unknowingly, that would be my last meal for a while). I so enjoyed my time chatting and hanging out with my mom-in-law despite the contractions coming in more intense waves.

That afternoon, before getting in the shower, I noticed a trickle of fluid down my leg. No denying it was probably time to go to L & D. I was so grateful my MIL was there. She drove me to the hospital where we met DJ. Sure enough, my water was broken, and I was going to be admitted. The first thing my OB said when he saw us was “Third time’s a charm” lol. Since I was only 1 cm dilated, I had to be induced. With wanting to try to go unmedicated, I realized this may be a little more unrealistic with an induction (not impossible, but I was way more open to an epidural with pit on board). So now the game plan was just go as long as possible without the epidural. We were taken to our L & D room and got settled in.

Seeing the equipment for baby girl SO real!! She was going to be here so soon!

The rooms were nice and spacious, and DJ and I just chatted through contractions, and I even painted my nails early on. The Pitocin was started at 4 pm, and the contractions were manageable for a while. I had some jasmine essential oil on a cotton ball that was very calming and made the room smell glorious (a little went a long way!). The exercise ball in the room also helped tremendously early on. Then after a while we started walking the halls which was the only thing that helped with the pain. That, and DJ massaging me with counter pressure, which he did through every contraction.

I hit a point where I could imagine handling the contractions a few more times, but not a few more hours. I wasn’t dilating as quickly as I’d hoped, so I requested an epidural around 10 pm. The anesthesia team was all held up in the OR, so I ended up getting the epidural until closer to 1030/1045 pm. At this point I started to get the labor shakes and the pain was so tremendous for the last couple contractions I started screaming. The epidural got on board right on time. Wow, I have never experienced such blinding pain before as I did those last few contractions. Also, with the pitocin on board, there was no relief.It felt like there was just one wave coming quickly right after the other. Once I got the epidural, I experienced pure bliss. I am so glad I got it because I truly enjoyed the rest of the labor. And I’m grateful I experienced the contractions to the point I did just to have an idea of what unmedicated labor is like. I would definitely do it this way again!

Quinn did have quite frequent late decelerations toward the end of my labor, which were scary to see (she did end up having a nuchal cord, but, thankfully, it didn’t ultimately cause any complications and she came out crying). Our nurse was absolutely incredible- I can’t rave about her enough- she was very reassuring, confident and helped made sure our baby girl was okay the whole time.

Around 11:45 pm I was fully dilated and ready to start pushing. I pushed until 1:43 AM when on girl was born! I didn’t mind the pushing phase at all and nearly fell asleep between pushes a couple times 🤣. I’m telling ya, that epidural was magic. I avoided using the on demand button for extra doses so the epidural could wear off a little bit for more effective pushing , and I think that did make a difference.

When she finally made her grand entrance, the feeling that we both experienced was like nothing I could ever explain. Greatest moment of my life (besides every subsequent moment with her). I am all teary eyed writing about it now. DJ cut the cord, then Quinn and I did skin to skin immediately. She latched to breastfeed so quickly, and nursed for 50 minutes the first time! It’s so mind-blowing how they just innately know what to do.

One of my favorite parts was watching the way DJ looked at her and doted over her. I knew he’d be an amazing dad, but wow, seeing him be a dad to her is the cutest thing ever.

And would it be a true post around here without a food recap? First meal postpartum- a burger, fries and milkshake post delivery from The Burger Den (thank goodness they were open!). Someone told me food would be the last thing on my mind during labor, and lemme tell ya, I was thinking about my next meal with every one of those pushes 🤣. I was so hungry! The burger combo meal hit the spot and then we were off to our postpartum room.

I’m so grateful for a smooth delivery and, most of all, that Quinn is healthy <3.

I’ll recap the rest of our hospital stay in the next post 🙂

<3,

Mackenzie

 

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

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

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

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

Our Babymoon to Charleston Part Three!

Gooood morning! (or afternoon or evening- whenever you may be reading this).

It’s a rainy day here, and my favorite days to blog are for sure rainy mornings. I’m ignoring my to-do list that is longer than it’s ever been, and giving myself one solid hour to write about & share our final day in Charleston, SC!

The morning of February 26th, Rach sent us a picture of Moose and Trotter. So cute how sleepy they both look. We were reassured knowing Moose was in the best of hands with her & I know he loved having his friend Trotter there.

We headed out right away to soak up the sunny morning.

We immediately went to Miller’s All Day for breakfast knowing there would be a heckuvah wait. It was about an hour and a half, so we decided to just walk around town and stop in shops to pass the time.

First stop- a Christmas store!

We usually don’t get souvenirs from the places we travel to, but we decided it would be fun to start collecting an ornament from each place we visit. This is the one we ended up getting!

The place the ghost tour started the night prior seemed like a neat little area of town, so we decided to explore it a little more in the daylight.

At Historic Charleston City Market, there were many vendors selling a sundry of artistic DIY creations. You could also find benne wafers just about every few feet!

When we were on our ghost tour, we noted Byrd’s had a sign displaying free cookie samples. As much as we were tempted to ditch the ghosts for some free samples, we resisted, but thankfully we made it back to enjoy some the following morning!

I tried a lemon one and a chocolate one. Since they are more crunchy cookies versus doughy, they would go wonderfully with some coffee! They had great flavor.

We were about due back for our reservation, so we started the walk back to Miller’s. I was ready to CHOW DOWN.

And we’re back!

We were seated immediately once we checked back in. How cute is this place.

I ordered a decaf coffee, and DJ had the nitro cold brew.

Now for the foooood. This was a brunch we will not forget!!

I had their frittata with eggs, grits, roasted veggies, whipped feta and mixed greens. I have stayed away from feta most of my pregnancy since it can be a risky cheese for listeria, but I made sure this was pasteurized- and the fact that it was heated up on top of the eggs made me feel better. It was phenYUMenal!

DJ had their signature fried chicken biscuit. I had one bite and was blown away by how good this was!! A must try. 

And we could not resist sharing a side of their waffle with sorghum, caramel and meringue. Every bite was heavenly. 

10/10 brunch!

Our big tourist stop on the agenda this day was visiting Magnolia Plantation & Gardens. Magnolia houses the oldest public gardens in America. I like this quote from their website to sum it up, “Unlike most of America’s gardens, which are formal and seek to control nature, Magnolia cooperates with nature to create a tranquil landscape like Eden where humanity and nature are in harmony”.

It was stunning & truly peaceful. We enjoyed every moment being out there. I only interrupted the tranquility about three times for a bladder break, but besides that it was wonderful in every way!

There was a Japanese garden with bamboo, many beautiful flowers on the different trails, quaint bridges, a garden maze and even a Biblical Garden amongst much more. I’ll just let the pictures tell the story here 🙂

And ya know I had to sneak in a bump pic somewhere!

DJ took the picture above with the bee-have to give him photo cred for that one!

I don’t even think we were there in peak blooming season, and it was still breathtaking. Of course, the pics cannot do justice!

After Magnolia, we decided to drive around to different areas of Charleston from Mount Pleasant to Sullivan’s Island to the beaches along Isle of Palms.

We then headed back to the Mansion to rest our feet a minute before dinner.

On the porch in the mansion around 5 pm, they serve hors d’oeuvres and wine for guests. I sampled a little bit of everything (minus the wine), but made sure to save my appetite for a great dinner we had planned.

We popped up to the Cupola one last time and then went back to the room to get ready for dinner.

We snagged a picture in front of the glorious stained glass mansion doors and then headed across the lawn to the restaurant on site, Circa 1886.

This meal was included in our babymoon package, and we wanted to make sure to save this for our last meal because we knew it was going to be a real treat.

This is one of the best meals we have ever had beginning to end – from the service to the food itself to all the creativity in between. It was a fun, romantic and delicious meal!

First, since the waitress knew we were on a babymoon, she immediately brought out a “Spirit Less Sippers” menu. I ordered the Faux-jito and DJ thought the menu looked so good, he ordered their Baby Burro. These were some yummy drinks to start out the evening!

We then enjoyed the bread and crystal salted butter- the best butter! Also, it was extremely dim in here (I loved it for the romantic atmosphere), but the quality of these pics leaves much to be desired, lol. Now the quality of the food did not.

Our waitress brought out this dish below as an amuse-bouche before we started our first course. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but I think some type of tasty potato puff and refreshing gazpacho.

The menu was quite unique in how it was set up. It had four categories to choose from: Tastes of Native Tribes, Influences from Europe, Flavors brought from Africa and South Carolina today. You could mix and match selections from each too. We tried a little bit from each section.

We started with the shrimp n’ rice grits- yum!

Next up we had their southern grilled cheese which included pimento cheese mousse, grilled brioche, surryano ham (I just took off the ham & gave it to DJ since I can’t have deli meat), paddlefish caviar and cured yolk powder. Probably needless to say, this was a grilled cheese unlike any we’ve had before.

We also tried the preserved rabbit. Neither of us have tried rabbit, so we thought why not give it a go. I very much enjoyed the flavor of this! It was flavorful and savory, not gamey like I had expected.

DJ had their venison, which was cooked to perfection. He raved about it.

I had their scallops which… as I sound like a broken record.. were very good.

I think my favorite part may have been the dessert. To start out dessert, they surprised us with alcohol-free champagne to toast one last time on our babymoon. It actually tasted like champagne too and was crisp and light- not too sugary at all.

While we sipped on our non-champagne-champagne, we indulged in the apple soufflé with hot toffee sauce and candied praline ice cream.  Divine. 

And a beautiful contrast to the rich soufflé was this west African milk tart with ginger sable, coconut cream sauce, pineapple mango sorbet and banana mousse. Each bite was an explosion of flavor.

I could not have imagined a better babymoon! This trip was a dream. I am so grateful we were able to find time to go & were able to make it happen.

We went back to the hotel, packed up for an early flight the next morning and grabbed as many z’s as we could before the alarm went off.

When we made it through security, it was about 6:30 AM. Priority number one- you guessed it, find some food. We passed a Cinnabon and DJ grabbed one for breakfast. I was excited about his selection because it meant I got to have a bite.

I stopped into Caviar & Bananas and grabbed a decaf coffee, a banana, a Siggi’s yogurt and a Go Macro bar for my breakfast.

I was focused on loading up the protein since I knew we probably wouldn’t get to stop for food again at our short layover- also I was somehow ravenous despite the big meal seemingly hours prior. Although, we did calculate that we had walked 16 miles in the two full days we were in Charleston- yes, 16! No wonder I was extra hungry that morning.

We could not wait to get back to see Moose. It was tough being away from him for a whole weekend. When we walked through the door he gave us all the love, kisses and cuddles and stayed by our sides the rest of the day. He does this usually though, so it’s hard to gauge just how much he really missed us, hah.

Thank you for reading & following along on our Charleston babymoon! If you want to read part one and part two, I’ve linked them here 🙂

Question for you: 

  • Do you collect anything from the places you travel?

Have a great weekend, friends!

<3,

Mackenzie

Our Babymoon to Charleston Part Two!

Welcome to Part Two of our Babymoon to Charleston, SC! Here is Part One in case ya wanna read that too. Continuing on our way back to 167 Raw, we kept seeing historic buildings and churches that grabbed our attention.

We ventured through the wide open gates of one church as we spotted the inviting pathway lined with beautifully planted greenery on each side.

At the end of the path was a quiet cemetery, home to tombs hundreds of years old and cherry blossom trees that towered around them.

We made it back to 167 Raw with about 15 minutes to spare. We found a nice bench and rested our feet while checking in on Moose.

And then…we FINALLY got some lobster rolls!!!

These were very good and definitely gave us our Lobster Roll fix, but we both agreed they did not beat out the epic lobster rolls from Sam’s Chowder House in Halfmoon May.

We walked back to the mansion after to explore its grounds and rest a bit before heading back out for the evening.


We peaked around the various rooms and then stopped by the parlor for some afternoon lemonade and tea. Naturally, we made a couple Arnold Palmer’s, as ya do 😉

We put our walking shoes back on and headed to the Charleston Maritime Center dock to go on a historic sunset tour on water with Charleston Harbor Tours.

The whole vibe could not have been better. The weather was near perfect, the boat had great music playing, and everyone seemed in a relaxed mood.

While waiting for the boat to depart from the harbor, we watched dolphins playing in the water around us.

And then we were off! We had a great tour guide that kept the tour  entertaining with trivia games and dad jokes. We passed by Fort Sumter (pictured below), Forts Moultrie and Johnson, USS Yorktown, St. Michael’s Church, striking homes along the Battery and passed under a magnificent bridge to round out the trip.

We got back right to the dock around the actual sunset, hustled back to the mansion in a Lyft and dashed up to the mansion’s cupola to catch the last bit of the sunset.

We made it right on time!

At this point in the evening, I was starting to get real hungry. We decided last minute to do a graveyard/ghost tour, but I needed to get something in my stomach beforehand (outside of the benne wafers I munched on in our hotel room).

On our way to the tour, we decided we would grab something quick to tide us over (read: keep the hanger at bay) and then also grab something after the tour.

Lenoir caught my eye. This is one of those spontaneous game-time food decisions that could not have gone better!

While I enjoyed admiring their decor, I had one thing on my mind- FOOD.

We put in an order for their cornbread and some veggies and hummus. Mmm the cornbread was oh so yummy & I was glad to get some veggies. It was a great tide-me-over until our next meal.

SpooOooOooky time! We walked to Bulldog Tours main building, were paired with a group and a guide and set off the explore Charleston’s graveyards.

It was a tour worth doing! It went maybe a bit long for us after a long day, but the stories were fascinating, and it was a fun way to see the city at night.

After the tour I got an intense craving for a chicken sandwich. We did a quick Google search and found Blind Tiger apparently had a good one, so we decided to give it a go!

I had the chicken avocado club which satisfied my craving with their delicious fries. DJ had the fried chicken sandwich- I had a bite, and it was a mean fried chicken sammy!

And the sweet tooth started acting up, so we indulged in their peanut butter pie. Ohhhh my goodness, this was one amazing PB pie. I could go for some right now.

And then we headed back to the hotel to rest up before another big day to follow! It was a peaceful walk back as we soaked up the charming city’s nighttime beauty.

When we got back to the room, we had these amazing dusted chocolate truffles waiting for us. Idk how they make these, but wow they are good.

Thanks for sharing in our little adventure with us 🙂 Stay tuned for Part Three!

<3,

Mackenzie