Getting Life Under Control…..For The Moment

It’s no secret that we all feel a little overwhelmed some days. Two weeks ago, I wondered if I would ever get the hang of two infants and a preschooler again, but it’s starting to come together nicely. I can’t say we have a schedule but at least a routine for now. Yes, some days we are completely thrown off but for the most part we have all found our happy place. That’s not to say my family is not having to help more. Not so much with the kids but with life in general. More specifically, meal time after they all go home for the day.

Preparation of meals have been shared more and more by everyone instead of just me being the cook. Even our son has been taking one night a week and preparing dinner…..and we have been actually enjoying his creations. (Typically he eats things I would never even consider eating) My husband has been making use of the grill at least once if not twice during the week. And I will admit, sushi has been picked up and brought home more often than usual lately. Having help with meal times alone makes a world of difference in my life after a long day of work.

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I recently found myself taking an entire morning this past weekend preparing a bunch of things I could prepare and freeze for quick meals or for my husband’s lunch. I made two loaves of banana bread, enjoying one now and freezing one for later. I made a huge batch of calico beans, chili John’s chili, and a pan of lasagna all to freeze in single serving glass dishes. This is a life saver for quick healthy meals when there simply is not enough time.

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I am looking into possibly trying some crock pot breakfast ideas that cook while your sleeping. How super cool is that? Although, I have not given any of these a try quite yet. With my new workout routine so very early in the morning, I can see how this would really be an easy and quick option. I will let you know how this goes when I eventually get around to giving it a try.

 

 

 

Some Things Weighing On My Mind Lately

I have had some issues that have been weighing on my mind lately and I think I am getting a grip on them one by one. Here are a few and the solution I have taken to solve them.

*My afternoon workout routine is not happening with two infants! This for me is tragic to say the least. I live to exercise. It’s not an obsession by any means but more of a release and a way to relax. Recently I started caring for two infants and sleep schedules are all over the place.(As they should be with infants) Yes, I could workout while they are awake but then I don’t feel as if I am doing my job which is caring for them and entertaining their little minds. So I have decided to get in my normal afternoon routine of a half hour cardio and some weight lifting in the early morning before anyone arrives and right after my husband leaves for work. We are talking by 4:50 a.m. I am working out. Surprisingly it has not been too bad. It’s been quiet, relaxing, and honestly somewhat serene. I do hope eventually I can get everyone back on our normal afternoon schedule but for now I really think this is going to work best for all of us.

*Spending money on bear spray that could ultimately never be used. Recently I made a few calls about a back country hiking trip my husband and I have been planning. I received some really good tips and information from a park ranger that made us rethink what we needed to carry while hiking in this area. Typically we do carry a small hand held pepper spray for protection on the trails we hike. Ironically, not so much for animals but to be used on anything.(There are weirdos everywhere). After speaking with the park ranger he advised us to invest in a can of bear spray for this area we plan to hike. I told my husband and recently while shopping we located this type of protection. I (being the frugal person I am) almost sh*t when I saw the price tag. For $50 you can buy a can of bear spray with a holster to easily attach it to yourself or your backpack in the event you would come across a bear in the wilderness. I really had trouble spending this kind of cash for something that could literally never get used or could expire before it’s ever needed. Then my husband mentioned that he would rather carry this than a firearm (which I totally agree), and that $50 is cheap when it could save our lives. I had to agree with that too. After thinking about it for a while, it did make sense.

*Ankle pain is still bothering me. If you are a follower you know I have been dealing with a sore ankle for a very long time now. After kicking a rock in the river mid summer last year while portaging I have had this pain. It has gotten a lot better and the ankle swelling has actually subsided unless I spend hours on my feet, walk many miles or hike without my boots. Now the only real time I have pain is when it is bent in a certain direction. When this happens, the pain is horrendous……like tears in my eyes painful. After trying ice, heat, ankle wraps, water therapy, compression socks, and rest I have finally decided to see an orthopedic specialist this week. Enough is enough, I am done with this pain. I am not a doctor fan what so ever, but I feel in my mind it has been long enough and I have done all I can do. So hopefully by the end of the week I will have an answer and a plan to be pain free soon.

*My husbands birthday gift. It’s almost that time of year again, my husbands birthday. We are at the age now that when we want something we just go out and get it so I never know what to buy him for a gift. This year I searched hard and was coming up with nothing. Until I was actually given an idea from a friend and did some research and found the perfect gift. I would love to tell you all but sometimes he reads this so I can’t just yet. I can say, I think he’s really going to like it and I am happy I have another year before I need to search again:)

*Where to go for Easter? Every year we try and share Easter together somewhere special. This year we have not come up with a plan quite yet and we don’t even have any ideas.

*Section Hiking. I have been toying with the idea of trying to section hike the Pacific Crest Trail or the Appalachian Trail. I have been researching for weeks and really think this is going to be a goal in the near future. I mentioned it to my husband and to my surprise he is all for the idea. Does anyone have any advice for us? Do you like one trail more than the other? Let me know what you think.

 Is there anything weighing on your mind? Do you want to talk about it?

 

 

Ahnapee State Trail: Another Few Miles Closer To The End

We spent our first full day of Spring geocaching on the Ahnapee State Trail. As you know if you’ve been following us on this journey, our goal is to do the entire 48 mile distance in bits and pieces. Saturday we did a round trip total of 5.2 miles, found 17 geocaches, caught up with each other on life matters since I have not seen much of my husband for the past two weeks due to his work schedule, and just really enjoyed the solitude this trail has to offer.

It always amazes me how different yet how similar some trials can be. Last weekend I hiked a few miles alone on the Mountain Bay Trail which I found to be nice, peaceful(after the first mile or so), and also very flat. The Ahnapee is also very flat and peaceful (we saw no one the entire day). Although, the sounds, critters, animal prints, and the surrounding is so different on the Ahnapee. We saw so many deer and coyote prints that it was amazing. Hunting must be no challenge what so ever for those that hunt out that direction. We came across carcasses, some unique old buildings, and tons of old tractor/farm equipment that was discarded over the past years.

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However, the most amazing thing I saw on this day hike had to be a farmers field and the destruction he apparently choose to do to the tree line around his crop field since the tractor that did such damage was still sitting on the side of the field. (keep in mind, I am not a farm girl so this was quite amazing for me to see)

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This tractor recently rode around the outskirts of this field and literally mutilated any tree that was within the reach of that blade on the front. It was amazing how this appeared and how far the pieces flew being we even had to cross that path of some of these pieces while on the trail. Here is a chunk my husband is holding just to give a visual of how destructive this piece of machinery was.

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Now, I am sure in world of farming there is a reason for such damage but I can’t help but think if there would not have been a better way.

Anyhow, it was a fantastic hike.

For those looking for the logistics, here you are:

We started and parked on the side of the road at Center Road in Forestville, WI. We ended our hike at the crossing of Cty. Hwy. H and Hwy. 42 in Maplewood, WI. We hiked 5.2 miles round trip. Terrain is completely flat with a crushed gravel path.

 

Introduce Your Children To The Outdoors

It’s almost been a year since we took one of my daycare children on her first hike. She had always asked to join us but when a child is included hikes need to be geared toward their abilities and interests. At the time she was almost 2 1/2 so we knew this would not be a day to hike many miles, climb bluffs, or explore anything too difficult. That being said, this did not mean we could not all have fun being outdoors.

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She was excited, which in turn made us excited, and the key to everything was to make her feel like one of us. We had backpacks, so she needed a backpack, we had water bottles so she needed a water bottle, and so on.

Well, to this day I still hear stories about that hike from this child. She remembers everything from the items she found in the geocache bucket to the cookies we ate on the trail when we found the woolly bear caterpillar. It’s amazing and so rewarding to hear that she had so much fun at such a young age being outdoors.

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Which brings us to now, a year older. She has been asking lately if we are going to ever go hiking again and I keep telling her as soon as the snow melts we will. However, this year she has a much larger request for her dream hike. She has this hope to hike into a cave. (And she has no idea that her childcare provider dislikes bats) Not just look at the opening of a cave, nooooo, she wants to hike INTO it. She is going to bring her headlamp that we bought her for her birthday and go explore in this cave. She tells me it will all be fine, that we can hold hands and then we won’t be scared. How nice of her to offer to hold my hand. So, me being who I am, I have started researching caves nearby. I can only hope at this point that she chickens out at the cave opening when she she’s it, but if not, I may just try and convince her that my husband is a better cave explorer that I am and send her in with him. I will keep you all updated on this cave hike when it happens.

The message I am trying to get across is that at any age it is possible to introduce your children to the outdoors.(Here is a great example:a family with four children with two still in backpack carriers hiking)

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Keep it simple, age appropriate, let them have input on the adventure and make it fun. You will be amazed how much fun you will all have. For me there is nothing better than seeing families together enjoying the great outdoors.

 

 

Will I Cause It To Snow Again If…..

Oh my, what a gorgeous weekend for mid March in Wisconsin. I am using every once of self control I have not to hang laundry on the lines out back, bring out the patio furniture, and wash my winter jacket so it’s ready to be stored until next winter. I am so afraid I could jinx myself and cause it to snow again if I do all these summery things. Although, my husband has already put away all his ice fishing supplies and the shovels have traded places with the rakes in our shed.  So in all likely hood, it’s already too late. We have done too much already to not have jinxed ourselves and at this point we can only hope this gorgeous weather sticks around.

This weekend was somewhat odd. My husband actually ended up working both Saturday and Sunday which is very unusual for his schedule. Some big job needed to be done and at least it’s better now than in July when it’s really summer. So I was somewhat on my own all weekend for fun and excitement. Which you would think I would actually take full advantage of but I didn’t. I am a list maker to the extreme and I recently made our Spring cleaning/chore list that needs to be all done before we “play” every year. So since he was working, I figured I may as well get some things done also. I accomplished getting all the rugs washed, cleaned the garage, picked up some leftover leaves from Fall, ran a few errands, mopped the floors, washed all the comforters and throw blankets, and washed and ironed all the curtains throughout the house. By Saturday night I was exhausted but very happy to cross many things off the list.

Which brought Sunday as a day to do something fun. So I grabbed my backpack and hiking boots and headed to a nearby trail alone. It was so peaceful. I saw a few joggers, many people walking their dogs, and an elderly couple walking together. It is so great to see others enjoying the wonderful weather we are having. After the first mile I was pretty much alone on the trail with the occasional chickadee landing nearby. It was so great to feel alive and be outdoors again after so many months of winter.

Many of you have asked me to start letting you know the locations, mileage and so on about where we do our hiking. So here is that information:

I parked at the Mountain Bay trail head parking lot on  Lakeview Rd (Also know as CTY. J) and walked just past Rockwell Road until I came to snow/ice/water covering the trail.

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My entire walk was just over 3.5 miles round trip. This trail is completely flat with a crushed gravel covering. Beware of dog droppings everywhere along the edge of the trail. Apparently dog owners don’t feel like they need to follow two of these rules which are located at the beginning of the trail head.

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All in all ,it was a great walk. Not my favorite trail as I prefer something besides a flat surface, but it was closeby and I knew for the most part it would be snow and ice free.

 

 

 

 

Thermostat vs. Remote

We have had the most unbelievable weather this week. Highs reached the 50’s everyday which for me was pure heaven.

I dug out the screens and installed them on all the windows because this is the time of year I love to air out our house and breathe fresh air. My husband on the other hand can’t stand it when I turn off the heat and open everything up. He says its best to leave the heat on and house closed up so when it does drop low enough to turn back on it will not have to work as hard to heat everything back up again. Needless to say, we completely disagree. Actually, whether he is right or wrong, I don’t truthfully care. He has always and will always be in control of one thing in our home, the remote. I have always and will always be in control of one thing in our home, the thermostat. When I don’t like what he’s watching on television, I find something better to do, which is often. If he does not like the temperature of our home, he can put on more clothes or go drive around with the heat on.

Moving on.

We did so much this week that by Wednesday morning I was feeling every muscle and joint in my entire body. Vitamin I (Ibuprofen) was my best friend and my husband said that maybe I had a sunshine hangover. I was ok with that. It’s better than any other kind of hangover I have had in my life. My daycare kids and I played outside every single day this week. Even though we are limited to mainly the driveway because our lawn is so wet, it was still so much fun. Chalk drawings cover my driveway again, we blew bubbles, rode bikes, etc. Even my infants are enjoying the nice weather. I will admit, our routine of getting ready and making it outside in under a half hour needs some work. I am totally out of practice when it comes to dressing two infants, one three year old, and gathering all the supplies to make it outside without having to run back in for any forgotten items.

I am very happy to say I do believe our mall walking nights are over until next winter. We walked outside every night and I saw neighbors that I have not seen in months. Our son visited a local recreation trail one night and came home reporting that it is clear of snow and ice which put another smile on my face. Maybe it’s time to head out to our favorite trails this weekend.

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I hesitate to say that hopefully winter has come to an early end and maybe this year we will see summer earlier than last summer. Even though I feel rough and should rest up this weekend for the week ahead I know that will never happen. If all goes according to planned I hope to meet up with a friend for a walk, maybe hit a few tennis balls with my hubby or even try hiking if the trails aren’t too muddy. My boys are already debating removing the kayaks from their storage area and going for a quick paddle. BRRRRRR I also heard my son has already scoped out a local park to see if the disc golf nets have been reinstalled. (Which they have)

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So what we do this weekend is totally up in the air but you can bet Monday will be a slow, tired, achy kind of day after a very busy weekend. If none of this works out I would be perfectly happy just to clean the garage. It’s not a fun job but at least it’s outside:)

 

Do you and your spouse fight over the remote/thermostat?

Who wins?