Monthly Health Challenge- July 2015

Good Morning!

It’s July 1st today which means it’s time for a new monthly health challenge. Whether you have been succeeding at these challenges or not it’s still worth giving each one a try. This month’s challenge you may find very hard or very easy.

July Health Challenge Is: Give up soda and replace it with something healthier.

For me this will be a challenge free month. No, not because I can’t give up soda or refuse to try. This challenge is one I gave up years ago. I will occasionally have a soda while we are out somewhere (maybe twice a year) but for me this one is a no brainer. Soda is simply empty calories and sugar, neither of which I choose to put in my body on a regular basis.There are so many better options.

Like I said, this one is going to be very difficult for many of you soda drinkers. Start out slow and replace one soda a day that you would normally drink with some other type of beverage and work your way up to a soda free day. After you reach an entire day, up the ante and make your next goal soda free every other day until ultimately you reach an entire week of no soda.

Good Luck!

A Look Back At June 2015 In Pictures

As you all know from reading, this month has been very discouraging for me and my family. However, we have still been finding time to get out and enjoy the summer weather. Here is a look back at June 2015 in pictures.

Silver Creek Disc Golf

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First SUP Trip Of The Year

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Fun With Water Balloons

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Little Free Library Trip

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What We Wear In WI On The Beach In June

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SUP Board Yoga Attempt From A Newbie

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Walks With The Kiddos

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Way To Many Waiting Rooms This Month

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Our New Playground Very Nearby

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Hoping For Cherry Tomatoes Real Soon

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Picnics Bay Side

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Exploring A New Zoo

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I hope you enjoyed looking back with me through our June events. I have high hope that July brings better health to my husband and that we can get back to the life we are used to living. We miss paddling our rivers with our whitewater kayaks more than you could all imagine. That being said, I sure am not minding the extra time I have been getting on my standup paddle board while he does water therapy for his back pain. Who needs a pool when you live near so many lakes…..water therapy can be done anywhere and that is exactly what we have been doing.

I Vowed….In Sickness and In Health

It has been a whirlwind week here at our house and I am preparing myself for it to continue for a while longer.

About a week ago my husband woke me in the early morning hours in severe pain. Without going into great detail, we ended up with the day off and me accompanying him to a few doctors offices throughout that day. By the end of the day he had a diagnosis, treatment plan, and some medications for his pain.

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Which brings us to today. Thankfully he is finding relief with the treatment and medication. Although, since this all came about he has noticed an issue that may last a lifetime and could be debilitating for his future. Which leaves me, as his wife, wanting to do anything possible to find a way for him to live happily doing what he loves to do and for us to be able to do it together. Again, at this stage of the ailment we are still hoping it resolves itself after the initial injury is healed but we just won’t know until it happens, if it happens.

For now, I’ll be honest, I am finding it hard to keep up with life. He is on weight restriction, which leaves almost everything to me with help from our son when he is around. I have found myself stress eating, which I hate to do so much. I have found myself back at the gym a few times already just to get in a good sweat and relieve some stress. I have talked with so many medical professionals in the last week that I often wonder if I could not be a doctor myself. Training for our upcoming trip has totally fallen off the agenda of things to do. However, we have been walking, which is something he was told to do to aid in his recovery along with foam rolling, water exercise, and stretching.

Our summer plans have been adjusted as much as possible. My son and I have already talked about how we will adapt our hiking vacation to make it easier on my husband if there is no improvement before then. And we have a few more doctor visits coming up and a few more tests scheduled that will hopefully give us answers we don’t have right now.

Until all this is resolved I plan to continue blogging but posts could be more sporadic at best. You will not see any kayaking adventures since that is on his “don’t do it list”. Although, we have and will be spending more time on the water with my SUP board. We have already bought him a new water toy(a big floating noodle) so he is able to enjoy the water with us and aid in his recovery all at the same time. He is not completely thrilled with the idea of no kayaking/SUP but in time I believe he will be back to paddling again.

For now I leave you all with one thought…..be thankful for good health!

 

 

 

DePere River Walk/Locktender’s House Cafe

Working from home is often quite the challenge for me. I wake up at home, work all day at home, switch over to mom/wife mode in the evenings at home, and then go to sleep at home. Our friends and family wonder why we are never home on the weekends and I wonder why would they ask something so self explanatory. I am ALWAYS home!

Sometimes during the week when I have just had enough of my home and need a little escape I will make my way to the DePere Riverwalk. It’s close to our home, is attached to the Fox River Trail, and offers a little hiatus from my life at home.

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Recently we did this one night after work and I was happily refreshed after only a short walk and a little treat.

We made our way across the bridge.

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We noticed that the locks were closed which meant they had a boat or two inside. I always find the lock tenders fascinating. I would love a job where you are working out, standing outside, and enjoying the summer sunshine every hour of your day.

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Surprisingly, when the lock gates opened up we were shocked to see two kayakers exit. Apparently, I am way to frugal to pay per vessel to take kayaks through the lock system. There is a portage just feet from the locks entrance and a put in just down the path a short distance. No way would I ever pay money to not have to carry my kayak such a short distance.

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After this we headed down to the the path toward the pier near the dam. I have never seen pelicans do the fish dance before this day and I found this quite amusing. They swim around in a circle dipping their heads at the same time herding fish together.

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Until finally one get’s lucky and captures a fish for it’s dinner. That one then swims away and the others just continue on with this dance. Odd but so amusing to watch.

We eventually made our way to the end of the pier which is decorated with locks of families and couples all over the cables of the railings. Again, odd but unique.

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I knew with a little persuasion I could talk my husband into stopping at the Locktender’s House for an ice cream treat. It’s hard to resist when they have the best salted caramel shakes we have ever had. It also helps that is his favorite flavor:)

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This little cafe is open from 9am-9pm and is super cute. If your in the DePere, WI area I highly suggest taking the short walk and stopping for an ice cream treat. You won’t be sorry you did.(NOTE: that is not my husband in that picture…just some older guy trying to figure out his phone….haha!)

After our ice cream we headed back and I was ready to return home. As short as it was, it was all I needed to recharge and return back home for another few days. Sometimes my weeks just drag on and this is a perfect spot to escape for just a little while.

What I Am Loving Lately

It’s Friday again and I have a few things to share with you that I have been really enjoying.

Nature Box: First, let me tell you about a monthly snack delivery we have been receiving from Nature Box. We pick out five different bags of snacks each month on their website and they are sent to our home address. The guacamole bites are spectacular…I ate the entire bag myself. Shhhh, don’t tell. (I am the lucky mail retriever so I only show my boys some of the treats we receive:) Anyhow, they make great additions to a quick grab and go snack bag for last minute outings.  Plus, they have a huge assortment of treats to choose from, so you really never get bored of the same old thing.

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Superfeet Insoles: I have come to love my new insoles. After talking with my doctor and hearing him suggest a high profile insole I bit the bullet and spent the money for some Superfeet.

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They get wonderful reviews from fellow hikers and seem to hold up to some of the roughest trails which is exactly what I was looking for. At first, I will admit, I had my doubts. They were so uncomfortable. Every step was painful and I cringed for about three days. However, each day seemed to get a little better and by the time I reached my first week with them I could not tell I even had them in my shoes. Now, I cannot even imagine walking without them. I no longer feel my ankle bones grinding together when I walk and my hips(for some strange reason) no longer hurt me at all. I even bought a second pair to rotate between my hiking boots and my water shoes since I was told never to walk without firm arch supports in my shoes.

Garage Sale: I recently had a garage sale and I am very happy the pile of junk accumulating in my basement is now gone. HURRAY!

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Panic Attacks: Call me a terrible mother but I was so thankful to hear my son tell us that he no longer can do hills on his long board. After last years accident where he spent the summer recovering from a head injury, a broken collar bone, and numerous road rashed areas, I was extremely thankful that his brain told him this is something that should not be attempted again. However, in case he would forget he does not have to look far to have a reminder that the blacktop is much harder than the human body! He actually had his collar bone x-ray enlarged, colored, and decorated his board with it.

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Water Balloons: Nothing says summer more than a good old water balloon fight between father and son. No matter how old they get, they really never seem to truly grow up. IMG_1228

Active Families: I am so proud to say that we are an active family. Even though we all have jobs, school, different friends, and many other responsibilities we still find time to do what we love as a family and that is being active together.

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Reader Request: Our Favorite Kayaking Gear

I sure can tell kayaking season has arrived. Lately, I have gotten a few emails asking what some of our favorite kayaking gear items are or what I would recommend. So I thought I would write about what we use and what we have found works for us during our paddling trips.

Keep in mind, we paddle mostly rivers with some whitewater involved. We have paddled lakes, although very seldom and when we do we use our recreational kayaks.

Let me also remind you that not everything listed you will find to your liking as much as we have. We have paddled now for years and have changed up our gear from time to time to adjust to our comfort while on the river.

Kayaks: We all own Jackson Kayaks. Our son has a Karma and both my husband and I own Villains. As for our reasoning to why we choose the type we did, well, honestly, we all have different likes and dislikes. I will give you my opinion and my opinion only. Safety and comfort were the big sellers for me. I LOVE the happy seat and the size of my kayak. I feel that if needed I can wet exit without any doubt, which was huge for me. (I had a little accident when we first started paddling in another kayak and will NEVER forget the feeling of being trapped underwater in a boat)

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PFD’s: We have gone through a few until finally finding our happy PFD’s. When you spend 4-6 hours in this safety device you really want to be comfortable. For us we all agreed that the Astral brand is for us. My husband and son have the same style and I wear the female version. Yes, believe it or not they make a female version that allows room for the “girls” to be comfortable also. Many of the other PFD companies have this feature also, so again, to each there own comfort. My advice to you is try them on, sit on the floor, and move your arms as you would while paddling. If you have rub zones anywhere hang it back up and try another PFD.

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Dry Bag: We have a few dry bags but the one that we like the most is from Sea Line (5L). This is the bag we take and load it up with a snack for up to 6 people, bug spray, travel size sunscreen, and my camera for every trip. It has always kept our items dry and is clear which means when we do need to open it we don’t need to rummage through everything to find what we are searching for which is very nice. It has held up for years and is still in great shape.

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Helmets: We all wear the same brand but a little different style. They are made by ProTec and were purchased through NRS. As you can see, my husbands is pretty beat up and has served it’s purpose a few times already. They are as comfortable as a helmet can be in my opinion as I am not a big fan of any helmet.

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Shoes: This is the item that we have replaced most often in the years we have been paddling. However, not due to damage, mainly due to style, and once forgetting them at the rivers edge…arggggg!  All our shoes were also purchased from NRS and for personal comfort reasons.

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Water bottles: Without a doubt I would suggest Nalgene bottles. Hook a carabiner to them and clip them behind your seat and you will have nothing to worry about. Ours have been thrown across rocks, down waterfalls, and on pavement and have never cracked yet.

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Safety Knife: My husband is the one that carries our safety knife on his PFD. Again, there are so many to choose from but we felt this knife would serve all our needs in any event where we would need to use one. Thankfully, we have never had to cut PFD straps or ropes from anyone or anything. The only thing it has cut so far is food wrappers at lunch time on the side of the river. Let’s hope it stays this way.

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Paddles: This is way to personal an item to suggest. There are so many variables to paddles that it is too hard to suggest a certain paddle to you. We all own different paddles and each of us dislikes the others for one reason or another.

That pretty much sums up what we use while on our rivers. We do carry a throw rope which can be purchased anywhere kayak supplies are sold and spray skirts are basically which ever company carries the proper size for the kayak you own. We have been very happy with the company called NRS and their customer service is beyond wonderful. I would highly suggest checking them out.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation to any of these companies and I receive no compensation to mention or recommend them and their products to all of you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standup Paddling the Chain of Lakes – Waupaca, WI

I finally had my chance to take my SUP out for it’s first paddle of the year. We watched the weather all week and Saturday was the day that was predicted to be beautiful, low 70’s and sunny. However, when the alarm went off I glanced outside and all I saw was clouds and more clouds. Life must go on and despite the dreary skies we packed up as planned and headed to a new destination, Waupaca, WI and the Chain of Lakes.

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We started to hit a fine mist of rain about half way there and prepared for a wet paddle. I was so determined to make the most of the day regardless of the weather that we just continued on toward our destination. I had been quite anxious all week to know if my ankle was strong enough yet to be back on my board and within 20 yards I knew it was healed enough to continue. I have been pretty diligent on stopping whatever it is that I try when I feel pain, as I was directed to do, until I have gained back all the strength in it. So I knew if I felt pain, this would have been a short trip but happily I felt nothing and we paddled onward.

We started at Knight Lake/Manomin Lake boat launch. They have a nice sized parking area, no bathrooms, but a great place to launch kayaks, canoes and SUP’s.

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Our destination was Marl Lake, known for it’s crystal clear waters and floating public dock which many paddlers are known to bring and share a picnic lunch at. To reach Marl Lake you must launch where we did, paddle through a small opening into Pope Lake and then again through another small opening into Marl Lake. If you have any sort of rudder or fin on your vessels watch for logs in these openings. (We had no trouble at all maneuvering through on this day)

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Within minutes of reaching Marl Lake it started to sprinkle a little heavier. Which was ok, I had prepared for a possible wet ride anyhow not knowing if my balance would be what I wanted it to be after an entire winter. Although, not long after this sprinkle the rain really started coming down. My husband and I found a tree and sat under this for quite awhile waiting it out. Thankfully there was no lightening, just rain. After about 20 minutes it seemed to have let up a bit and we made our way as fast as possible to the other side of the lake to the floating public dock. We beached our vessels and again hid under the trees.

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By this time I was wet, very wet, cold and a little miffed. However, my husband being the positive person he is said at least we were together and safe. Which was right, but sometimes that glass he always keeps half full I would just love to dump over his head. He always finds a bright side to everything and it sometimes drives me crazy!

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Eventually the rain stopped and we did not take long to make our way back to the truck to warm up and dry out our clothes using the heat vents.

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While waiting for our clothes to dry we shared our picnic lunch in the truck shivering instead of on this nice dock.

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After lunch we did go back out for awhile. I paddled, he fished, and we just enjoyed the cloudy weather the best we could. Even though our day was not everything I had hoped for in the weather department, I am very glad to know that I am still able to enjoy my standup paddle board.
We have already researched a little more about the area and have our next few lakes in the Waupaca area picked out for our next trip. However, at this time we have no idea when this will happen. Summer is so short and there are just so many fun things to do that I can only hope we make it back here one more time before it’s over.