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! 

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

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

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 One!

Oh, am I ever excited to have a little time this morning to document the first part of our Babymoon to Charleston! It was wonderful in every way. DJ had never been to Charleston, and I only went once when I was very young (so I barely remember it). We packed as much as possible into our couple of days there, and they were two days we will not forget!

For those that are wondering “what the heck is a babymoon?”… basically it’s a little trip or vacation the future mom and dad take before baby is here. Think honeymoon, but pre-baby!

On February 24th, I met DJ at his work and then we drove to Cleveland airport. We made it through security with plenty of time for dinner. We stopped at Great Lakes Brewing Co. I ordered a salad and their shrimp tacos (which were good, but only a sneak peak to the real goodness of seafood we were about to experience), and DJ ordered a burger.

With full stomachs, we were fueled for the late evening. We were worried about our flight getting cancelled because of the weather, but luckily everything went ok, we made our layover, and made it to Charleston around 12:30 AM.

We loaded up our rental car and headed out to Wentworth Mansion, the charming, dreamy location we’d be staying for the weekend. When looking up places to stay in Charleston, I stumbled across Wentworth Mansion’s Babymoon package. I didn’t even know this was a thing hotels offered! Of course, when I saw that I knew we’d have to do it. There are a few other hotels in Charleston that have babymoon packages too, but we were so drawn to the historic, quintessential Charleston feel with the mansion- and we’d never stayed in a mansion like that before. All about a unique experience!

Even in the dark, we were taken aback by the beauty of the mansion.

We walked into a spectacular open lobby bookended by beautiful stained glass doors. To the right was a winding staircase and several hallways leading to the parlor, day room, and other rooms tucked within the mansion.We were greeted with true southern hospitality, were given our room keys and headed up to get unpacked and get some sleep. We would do more exploring of the mansion in the day light.

When we walked into our room, we were greeted by a lovely, storybook type room with light classical music playing, sparkling grape juice and chocolate covered strawberries. The babymoon package was off to a great start!

 

We also had a package of these benne wafers waiting for us, which we also saw sold at just about every shop we passed that weekend. These are popular for good reason- they are sweet, nutty and delicious. I love them with a little coffee or just on their own. Here’s the history of the benne wafer if you’re interested.

One of our favorite parts about getting away and staying in a hotel is getting a hotel breakfast room service. There’s just something about it! February 25th, I woke up ravenous, surprise surprise. I was craving something cold & fruity, so I had their yogurt bowl and their pastry basket. DJ enjoyed their sweet potato pancakes & helped me out with some of those yummy cinnamon rolls.

As the light came through the long curtains in the sun room, we enjoyed our breakfast in bed. Everything tasted amazing. The decaf coffee was even so yummy. We were particularly impressed with how darn good the pastries were. I had a bite of DJ’s pancakes too which were really good sweet potato pancakes; the sweet potato flavor was nice and subtle and the pancakes were griddled just right.

We headed out to get our day started. A couple’s massage was included in the babymoon package with a prenatal massage specifically for the momma-to-be, so we walked through the back doors of the mansion and across the courtyard to their spa. If you do this package, make sure to book your massage right away because they fill up fast!

For the massage, they have a little donut to prop up the mom’s baby belly. It was a luxurious massage and a great start to the day!

We headed back through the courtyard to get ready for the day.

Once dressed and ready to head out, we were able to finally see the dazzling mansion from the front entrance for the first time and in the daylight!

Priority #1: Get a really good lobster roll. I did a, probably excessive, amount of research looking for the best lobster roll in Charleston. There are probably three places that contend for the “top”, and 167 Bar Raw Oyster Bar was within walking distance and at the top of most lists. We walked through the city and put our name in. It was going to be about a two hour wait (and they don’t take reservations) , so I was grateful we had a hearty breakfast.

To kill the time, we reversed our schedule and walked out to some spots I had planned for us to explore after lunch.

Just walking through Charleston is so much fun. There is a little bit of history everywhere you look and even just building-gazing is fun with all the different architecture and gorgeous churches that draw your attention from practically every corner.

We first walked to rainbow row to see the homes here. It actually reminded us a little of painted ladies in SF!

We grabbed some pics out on Rainbow Row, and someone graciously offered to take our picture- never will turn that down!

Oh, and our weather was beautiful- high 70s and sunny!! We really lucked out. Next up was Waterfront Park.

There is nothing more calming than being by or in water, in my opinion. I love it so much, and I just remember feeling so relaxed as we walked around the pier.

And you know I had to get a bump pic whenever I had the chance!

We walked down the pier a little ways, and I probably was over-excited when we spotted the famous Charleston Pineapple fountain. Pineapples are seen everywhere in Charleston as a symbol of hospitality!

On this side of the pier, there are wooden swings staggered throughout these little pavilions. We couldn’t find one that was open, but I think it’d be so nice to just relax on one of those if you find yourself at Waterfront Park.

Since those were the two big spots I had planned for the afternoon (Rainbow Row and Waterfront Park), we had a little time to kill still before getting back to 167. We just walked around, stopped in little boutiques and enjoyed the stellar (and quite foreign!) sunshine.

This cute little Gelato shop caught my attention with their adorable pink chairs and tables outside, but even more so- the advertisement for Dutch mini pancakes beckoned us inside.

I would love to come back here to try their gelato sometime, because it looked mighty tasty.

These mini Dutch pancakes were so good. We had them with maple syrup and honey- and oh myyy. So sweet, so delicious.

As good as they were, I was admittedly a tiny bit queasy after and my body was screaming, “need real food NOW!”.

And I will leave ya on the edge of your seat to see if we finally did get those lobster rolls!

Thanks for reading 🙂

<3,

Mackenzie

Our Valentine’s Day, Super Bowl Sunday & A Nursery Sneak Peak!

Wanna know something embarrassing? When typing the title for this post, I had to Google if Super Bowl was one or two words. Clearly, I do not know my sports, hah.

Hiking right into our February!

On Tuesday February 1st, our sweet Moose man got neutered. He handled it like a champ- he didn’t seem to be in any pain through the whole recovery (I’m sure the meds around the clock helped) & we never even had to use his cone to prevent him from licking at his stitches. We were so proud of him!

I worked it out with my job that I could work early in the week before he got neutered and then the weekend when DJ was home, so we had someone with him through recovery. I did not bank on him having so much energy right away (that evening!). Without being able to take him on a walk to get said energy out, I knew we would need lots of distractions. Cooped up high-energy pup + not allowed to go on walks, run or jump + I need to get things done = must invest in distractions!

I stopped by Pet Supplies Plus to stock up on new toys and bones for Moose. He wanted nothing to do with the fake bones, so I ended up returning them the same day and getting the real bones in place. He goes crazy for these!

I had to run to an OB appointment on February 2nd for my glucose tolerance test. People have horror stories about the taste/their reactions to the drink, but it tasted like flat Hi-C to me 🤷🏼‍♀️. I was so very nervous going into it, but thankfully I did pass. I turned on the Furbo and watched Moose while I was gone to make sure he didn’t lick at his stitches. He didn’t at all – I was very proud of him! The rest of the day was shopping around for the nursery, publishing a blog post and knocking out miscellaneous to-dos. And of course, we had the occasional Moose potty breaks, which he was thrilled about because it meant time to enjoy the snow.

I also had my first of several childbirth courses that evening. I wasn’t sure after taking an OB clinical rotation how much new info there would be, but it’s just so different when you’re going through the learning for yourself & your own baby. I had these courses once a week for 2.5 hours through all of February and have found them very beneficial! I’m delivering at the hospital where I work, so if I go into labor while at work I can just walk downstairs. We joke I’ll just deliver on my lunch break, ha.

After Church, Sunday February 6th, we ordered Panera for lunch. I was having a major craving for their grilled mac n’cheese. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried this! I also am obsessed with their green goddess cobb salad. YUM.

It was just a lazy Sunday afternoon for the Moose.

Monday February 7th I noticed I had finally popped with a noticeable bump! I had to document. (Don’t mind the dirty mirror, I really oughta clean that, hah).

That evening we went to my younger sister-in-law’s basketball game! Love watching her play.

That week we were surprised at work with this sweet cake.

My 26th week of pregnancy, I started noticing I felt very “first-trimestery”, minus the nausea- thank goodness! Some of the fatigue started coming back along with the intense cravings for certain foods (and similar foods that I craved the first trimester!). The craving of February 9th was a veggie sub with avocado and provolone from Subway. I know people either hate Subway or tolerate it- I am probably one of the few that actually crave it, lol.

My sweet tooth was acting up that week, so I was extra excited about the delivery of Baked by Melissa cupcakes from my mom-in-law for Valentine’s Day! These are always soo good. 

February 10th, it was somewhat tolerable out temperature wise, so I took Moose on a walk in the afternoon. The craving on this day was Thai food – specifically red curry with crab rangoons from Papaya Salad. I usually order Thai at about an 8 on the 1-10 spicy scale, but this time I ordered a 6 because I don’t want baby to be uncomfortable from the insane heat I enjoy. I missed the 8 though, lol. I also stumbled upon Topo Chico at the Walgreens near here and nearly squealed with glee since I haven’t had it since we lived in Texas. I love this sparkling water so darn much & it was so nice to have with the Thai. DJ had their Pad Thai which he loved too.

On February 11th, the cravings continued. All day at work all I could think about was Indian food. As soon as I got in the car after clocking out, I put in an order for us at Jaipur Junction. It was all tasty as can be, as usual from here!

February 12th, we celebrated Valentine’s Day a couple days early! We went to the very elegant La Vetta.

We were seated next to this gorgeous fireplace and started with some of their focaccia and oil. I mean do they know they way to my heart or what.

We started with a couple of appetizers- the calamari with pesto, marinated olives and mozzarella balls. The combination of everything was really great together.

They also brought out these parmesan truffle fries complimentary since they made extra. We were not about to turn them down, and they were deelish!

I was really craving some veggies, so I also ordered their chop salad with all kinds of veggies, avocado, sunflower seeds and a flavorful Italian dressing. It was so refreshing and delicious. For my main, I had their grouper (I think it was grouper, I remember it was a white fish that was deemed safe in pregnancy, haha). It was really tasty & cooked to perfection.

For dessert we shared the panna cotta with lightly candied fruit and basil – which was, without a doubt, the star of the show. We have really had luck with our dessert orders lately! From the peanut butter bomb to the key lime pie and now this…Ohio knows how to do dessert!

It was a wonderful evening with my Valentine! Once home, we watched about 10 minutes of Succession before I conked out. At least I gave it a valient effort.  

February 13th, I met with my friend Melissa and her boyfriend at Yours Truly in Valley View for breakfast. I hadn’t seen them since my sister’s wedding!!

We came at the right time because within about 20 mins of us being seated the place was jam packed.

We had some good breakfast eats, lots of laughs, great conversation and then exchanged bday gifts. They soooo sweetly and thoughtfully got these stinkin’ adorable clothes for baby girl and a Momma Bear sweatshirt for me. I get emotional just writing about it all over again! Also that sweatshirt is so cozy, I could live in it.

I drove back home and stopped at Walmart on the way to grab some various cheese and crackers to make a little Sunday cheeseboard. Felt appropriate given that it was Super Bowl (two words) Sunday.

I didn’t eat the deli meat portions, but I was obsessed with the cheeses. Can’t get enough cheese these days.

Since I wanted the Bengals to win, I wore their colors and a leopard hairtie. I know they are technically Tigers, but Leopards are at least- also felines?

We went to a couple Super Bowl parties that night- it was a particularly beautiful evening as we drove around.

How cute are these football brownies my mom-in-law made? Also, they were some of the best tasting brownies I have ever had!

February 14th, actual Valentine’s Day, DJ sweetly got me these gorgeous flowers <3. I love Valentine’s day for an excuse to turn up the cheese, so I got him a pack of Mike’s Hot Honey (His favorite to put on pizza) & told him he’s my hot honey- heheheh.

Wednesday the 16th, I had a delivery of some dresses from Pink Blush Maternity! They are a little pricy (although do run good deals), so I stuck to investing in only a couple- one for the baby shower and one for our baby moon.

That same day, the wallpaper for the crib wall went up in the nursery! Woohooo! We still have a ways to go in here, but I was too eager to share even before it’s finished up.

Thank you for reading & I hope y’all have a wonderful rest of your week!

Question for you:

– How has February treated ya so far?

-Feelings about spicy honey on pizza? Have ya tried?

<3,

Mackenzie

Our January Part 2: A Weekend with my Mom & Pete & Lotsa Local Eats!

Happy almost weekend!!

Jumping right into Part 2 of January!…Moose just keeps growing and growing.

And so does baby girl- her kicks are powerful as ever. I absolutely cherish every single movement <3

Moose man wasn’t feeling quite himself starting on Sunday, January 23rd. He didn’t have his normal energy, and when he started refusing his food we knew something was up.

I didn’t have any days off until later in the week, and neither did DJ to take him to the vet, so we did the chicken and rice routine for a couple days to see how he’d do. We also didn’t want to take him to the normal dog daycare since there are so many dogs, so we frantically reached out to a dog sitter, Marie, on Rover who we had chatted with before. She is amazing to work  with, knows dogs well and agreed to take Moose for the days we worked that week to make sure he was rested and cared for. We felt extremely relieved knowing he was in good hands and would get the rest he needed.

On January 24th, I woke up to this spectacular sunrise before work.

We had another intense snowfall while I was at work that day. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to drive my car home, so DJ met me at work and sussed out the situation. He said the roads were good enough, so he drove my car in front of me very slowly, while I trailed with his truck. We picked up Moose on the way home, and he was a little better, but still not 100%. We decided to give it one more day to see if he would fully recover since he was seeming more himself.

On Tuesday, the 25th, he was still not himself all the way and was still occasionally refusing food. I didn’t love the idea of not getting him checked out for another couple days and couldn’t gauge how urgent this was, so we called Vet ERs in the area to see if he could come in. We were cited wait times from 2-8 hours, and it was already 9:30 pm. We decided to do a virtual ER vet visit through Vet Triage for a flat rate of $50 just to see if we were ok to wait until Thursday to take him in. It was amazing service. The vet walked us through a step-by-step physical exam of Moose, asked us a bunch of questions and reassured us he was well enough to wait to go to the vet when I had off. He sent a follow up report with OTC meds to help Moose, tips and tricks to stimulate his appetite and warning signs to look for. It was the BEST service, and I highly recommend!!

A little more about Rover, we are so grateful we found this service! Marie sends a “Rover card” after each visit to let us know how everything went along with tons of pictures throughout the day!

Wednesday, January 26th, Moose really turned the corner and even played a bunch with the other dogs there. Here is the Rover card from that day:

On Thursday, January 27th, Moose was back to near 100%. I still took him into the vet to be safe- they didn’t find anything concerning, said his stool looked fine and he should continue to recover. Whew, what a week for our little guy. So so relieved he’s ok!

I spent the rest of the day cleaning the house, getting groceries and knocking out other things on the to-do list before my mom and Pete arrived on Friday! We hadn’t seen them since early August  (before I was even pregnant!), so to say I missed them would be an understatement.

Friday, January 28th, they flew in around noon. I met up with them and my Grandma Violet at Olive Garden for lunch. Nothing like OG’s never ending soup, salad and breadsticks!! I’d been craving this meal, so it really hit the spot.

It was so good to catch up with them all.

I headed back to the house to get some things done for work in the afternoon, and then they joined me after a few hours. They were so excited to finally meet Moose after the countless pictures and videos I have sent them, and I was able to give them a little tour of the townhouse.

In the evening, we went to The Rail near DJ’s work for dinner. I haven’t been here since we moved back, but it’s such a great local spot.

We started with these smoked gouda mac and cheese bites which were to die for and delicious, perfectly crisp brussels.

While they are primarily a burger spot, I have been on a massive salad kick lately and couldn’t resist their mandarin chicken salad. It was oh so yummy.

They also have some of the best shakes. DJ ordered a chocolate one with his burger and fries, so I was happy to steal a few sips.

Pete’s bday was on the 23rd, so for a little belated bday dessert after dinner, we stopped by to get his favorite baked goods in town from Gasoline Alley (which, fun fact, happens to be owned by Rachel’s extended family).

Pete particularly loves their Carrot Cake, Hummingbird Cake and double whipped cheesecake. They were out of the cheesecake, so we had their regular cheesecake which was still very good. My favorite of the three was actually the hummingbird cake – mmmm mmmm!

They also brought the sweetest gifts for baby girl. I teared up reading the words in the picture frame. 

My mom found this book, On the Night you Were Born, and it is so special. I highly recommend it you are looking for a wonderful baby book.

I have been reading various stories to baby girl every day since around 23 weeks. Each night my mom and Pete were here, either I or my mom read to her. My mom even got to feel baby kick over the weekend, which was so awesome <3

On the morning of Saturday, January 29th, my mom and I started the day with a session at Orange Theory.

Before leaving, my mom soaked up some Moose cuddles with her coffee. Can you tell she lives in Texas with the way she is bundled.. indoors? LOL! 
Orange theory was so fun, although I had to do it a bit modified. While pregnant, I can’t push myself like I usually do and have to pay close attention to make sure my heart rate doesn’t get too high, but it was still a great workout. I can’t wait to go back to it regularly eventually!

Pete and my mom told us to save up some projects for when they were here, and they helped us big time! While at Orange Theory, Pete worked on getting the crib assembled 💕. He did it so quickly & it makes me so happy every time I peak in the nursery seeing it there! He also measured for the wallpaper in the nursery and fixed our water tank to the guest room. My mom later helped me make some decorating decisions and scour the internet for the perfect pot for our snake plant, so it was a very productive weekend around the house! 

For lunch, I made sure to have the famous Five Star Hotdogs on hand for Pete- they are some of his favorite and they’re local. My mom whipped up the hot dogs in a cast iron pan for the guys, and she and I had some salad and yogurt. I can’t get enough of the greens lately!!! I’ve wanted salads at least once if not twice a day.

(Not pictured- all the hot dog fixin’s!).

After lunch, we went to a matinee of Redeeming Love. Redeeming Love is probably my favorite novel to date. When I saw the movie was coming to theaters while my mom and Pete were here, I knew we had to get it on the schedule! My mom actually recommended the book to me, and it’s one of her favorites as well.

I don’t think I had a dry eye for the whole two hours and 14 minutes. The movie had horrible critic reviews, but I’m telling you- this was so well done, and I loved how closely it mirrored the book. Were there cheesy moments? Sure there were, but it was still very good- I highly recommend. Actually funny note about said cheese- I mentioned later that day that I thought my “cheese-detection-meter” broke when I became pregnant. Everything just makes me emotional, and I tend to lean that something is sweet and moving rather than eye-roll cheesy. My mom said to be prepared that with having a baby it will now stay broken forever, lol!!

After the movie, we came back home, got ready for dinner and then headed out to Butcher and Sprout, a place DJ and I have had our eye on since moving here.

They have such a fun mocktail menu. I had their Lima Libre with La Croix, lime juice and soda water- this was so delicious and refreshing with a citrusy tang I was craving.

We started with an order of their truffle tots with shaved parmesan. They were delish! I do have to say the smoked gouda mac n’cheese bites still took the cake for best appetizer of the weekend, but these were certainly tasty.

Now in usual mom-daughter style, my mom and I chose two dishes to split. Since baby girl calls the shots these days, it’s always entertaining to see what she’ll have a hankerin’ for. And this night, it was a BLT. I don’t know that I have ever ordered a BLT off a menu in my life, but out of everything on the menu, that is what stood out to me!

My mom loves a BLT too, so it worked out. It was so good and exactly what I was hoping for. We also split their upstream burger with wild caught salmon, green cilantro, housemade slaw and sriracha aioli on a ginger butter banh mi bun. Also fantastic!!

The guys took a page out of our book & split their Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich and surf-and-turf burger, which they raved about.

I had to make sure to grab a pic with everyone before the weekend snuck by!

Sunday morning we were up bright and early to get to the 8:30 AM service at church.

This was our first time going to this specific church, and a new friend I met through blogging welcomed us so warmly to the service. After a great service (that I’m pretty sure baby had hiccups during!), we went to Blue Door Cafe, easily the best brunch spot in town.

We put our name on the wait list, and thankfully only had about a 30 min wait. It can be over two hours if you go during the rush, so we were happy with 30 mins!

Once seated, our stomachs growled while looking over the menu.

Since I have been weirdly obsessed with cottage cheese for the last few months, I couldn’t resist their whipped cottage cheese as a little starter. This was light, sweet and delicious and paired perfectly with their banana bread- which we all agreed was the best banana bread we have ever had.

DJ had their monte criso crepe with imported leoncini rosemary ham, melted comte gruyere, ohio maple syrup, & ohio maple dijon, which did not last long!

I opted for their avocado toast, which was not your average avocado toast. It was served with the most incredible multigrain toast, perfectly cooked eggs and a hearty serving of ripe avocado.

I can’t remember in particular what Pete had, but I know he loved it and ate every bite!

And my mom actually ordered my typical go-to, their egg white croissant with sundried tomato, avocado and egg whites on a croissant like you’ve never tasted before!

After a brunch to remember, we came home with full stomachs and sleepy eyes. I had the usual Sunday to-do list to knock out before the start of the work week. DJ had some work to do as well. While we worked on our respective projects, we had football playing in the background. My mom and Pete kept offering to help, but it made me so happy to see them comfortably relaxing in our living room, so I insisted they take the day to relax. For the countless number of times I have vegged on their couch having a relaxing Sunday afternoon, it made me smile to see them doing the same here.

Later that afternoon, we were all surprised we somehow found our appetites again after such a big brunch. I made a cheese and cracker tray for us to enjoy with the game for a pre-dinner snack.

For dinner, the guys had pizza and my mom and I had salads – real chicken for me while she enjoyed some vegan chicken on hers. And of course, I mixed cottage cheese mixed in. 

Then it was bright and early wake up calls on Monday January 31st– 3:30 AM for my mom and Pete to get to the airport and 4:30 AM for me to get to work. It was such a great and memorable weekend <3.

I, DJ and Moose (and baby girl too!) miss them tons already!!

Question for you:

  • What’s the best brunch spot in your town?

<3,

Mackenzie