A Christmas Hike and A Big Birthday To Celebrate

Wow, these past few days have been so wonderful that for once I can honestly say I have enjoyed Christmas. Typically, the holiday is crazy nuts with places to go and people to see that there is hardly time to breathe in between. This year was so different and so pleasant in every way.

First, let me just say that the weather was gorgeous. We had no snow what so ever and I was one of the very few that was happy about this. Everyone claims they need snow for Christmas….everyone except me that is. I had to laugh when I received this in our mail box recently since this is exactly what I prefer to build a snowman out of also.

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Alright, back to why our holiday was so wonderful. We woke up bright and early Christmas morning to open gifts while breakfast made our house smell heavenly. Baking away in the oven was a gooey mess of yumminess we were going to enjoy before packing up to leave for a day of outdoor adventure. Here is the finished product before we devoured it without guilt since it was Christmas and all:-)   IMG_3135

We had plans to head out and do what our family loves to do on this gorgeous day…..hike. We packed up a quick Christmas lunch, threw our hiking boots in the back, grabbed our camera gear, made a thermos full of nutella hot chocolate and away we went.

IMG_3136A while later we arrived at one of our favorite parks, Cave Point. As we made our way to the trail we noticed that Mother Nature seemed to have decorated the lake side bushes and tress with icicles that were like diamonds hanging from the limbs. It was quite beautiful to see.  IMG_3137

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We hiked along the shoreline for quite a ways enjoying the beauty of the day and the area.

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After this it was time to have Christmas lunch as we have had many, many lunches in our family…..right from the back of our vehicles. Many of you will probably think this is an insane place to share a Christmas meal but in our family, some of the best meals have been shared on the tailgate of our truck or from the trunk of our car. Anyone who has kayaked with us will agree and know right where I am coming from. I could not have thought of a better place to share this meal on this day.IMG_3179Then we headed out to another trail on the way home.  IMG_3182

The main reason for stopping here was to search for a geocache we have been meaning to get for sometime now. Although, as you can see the area is mainly what I refer to as SNAKE GRASS covered. Which means the only time this is possibly with me along is when the snakes are are happily sleeping away winter.

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After this it was time to return home, watch a movie and just be together.

The next day, Christmas celebrations were officially over since we now had a big birthday to celebrate. Our son celebrated his 21st birthday the day after Christmas which meant a nice birthday lunch out at his favorite restaurant.

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And some birthday presents all wrapped in birthday paper. It’s very hard to not forget a birthday when its celebrated so close to a big holiday. As his mom, I have always had the rule that if your going to give him birthday gifts at Christmas time, they MUST be at least wrapped in birthday paper. Thankfully, to this day, everyone abides by this rule.  IMG_3134

That pretty much sums the past few days.

Do you prefer snow on Christmas?

 

 

If The Bears Are Ready, I Should Be Too

Did you hear the bears in Yellowstone National Park are starting to come out of hibernation already? The officials feel it’s because of the recent warm weather in the area. I suppose that means I need to start thinking about crawling out of my den too.

Last week was the first time we took a walk outdoors in months and actually enjoyed it. It was about 32 degrees and the sun was still shining after work so we went with it and gave it a try. I did need my big winter jacket, hat and gloves yet, but I did not shiver one shake.

I’m also on a mission to seek out a double stroller to purchase. As soon as it hits a comfortable temperature we will get back to our daily walks and I can’t wait. With two infants in tow, I will need to make an investment in one of these two seaters real soon. However, my luck of finding one so far has not been good. The search continues…..

We have also started stocking up on some of our favorite snack foods for our trail and river journey’s. We have a box we keep fully stocked for our active months. This way I can avoid running to the store every time we get the urge to just pick up and go. I plan to do a post on all our favorites, especially since the epic Pop-Tart fail of 2015. You can watch for this post in the upcoming week or so.

As for the upcoming weekend, we have a few options on the list to take advantage of. It’s my birthday and I am hoping to spend a portion of it outside. We may attempt snowshoeing for the first time this winter if the temperatures cooperate. We could also give ice skating a try since our son just purchased new skates last weekend. Although, I am not an ice skater, I don’t mind watching. I also have a new restaurant picked out for us to visit for lunch on Saturday. All this should be fun and something to look forward to. I  overheard my husband mention that the end of ice fishing season is getting near, so he is hoping to spend Sunday on the ice. This is something he is on his own for. I am not a fan of ice fishing…..way to cold, and neither is our son. Again, we’ll see if all this actually happens. We are really good at over planning and for some reason we run out of hours on the weekends.

With all this and many plans already made for the upcoming months, I feel that it may be time to start poking my head out and getting a little glimpse of life again. What about you?

What is the one thing you can’t wait to do when Spring arrives?

 

 

 

 

Random Thoughts…

Ahhh, it’s Friday and I have so many things running through my head that I am afraid it could explode. It has been a crazy week and I hope to have many things wrapped up by the end of the weekend. Hear is what I have on my mind…

Illness In Our Home Taking care of youngsters is normally a joyous experience until something like illness strikes. At this point I am in the “hoping it stays with one family and does not spread through all my families” stage of the game. Monday night my husband,son and myself spent the night cleaning every toy, bedding, and stuffed animal we have. Along with sterilizing highchairs, outside toys and everything else little fingers touch in our home. Here’s to hoping we got it all and we have a healthy week next week.

Vacation Plans This has consumed me for the past two weeks. I am making great progress and really hope to have it all wrapped up by Sunday. I keep thinking in my mind that I am actually resorting to buying warmth and sunshine in the winter months. I have always disliked winter but I never thought I would be one of those people that pay money to find warmth. Apparently I am.

Winter Gloves  I am ashamed to say, I bought a new pair of winter gloves this week. People, it is SEPTEMBER and I bought winter gloves. OMG, what was I thinking????

Weekend Plans This weekend we plan to take a trip up north to visit and celebrate my MIL’s birthday. Saturday hubby has to work as does our son. And hopefully we make it to a waterfall so our son can get some photography homework done in the meantime. Other than that no grand plans are set. It’s going to be a chilly weekend here so I am just hoping my boys don’t get the urge to kayak…then again…does that urge ever go away?

Workouts  I am pretty proud of all the workouts I achieved this week considering all that has been happening. We made it to the gym, walked over 15 miles the entire week, I did not miss a single afternoon workout, and even did one yoga session. I have not done yoga in a few months, so believe me when I say, sore was a good feeling:)

Panicked About Winter  I just can’t shake the thought that winter is going to be upon us so early this year. Thursday morning we woke up to a WINDCHILL!!!! I heard that on the news and wanted to shut if off. Don’t tell me about it yet, I am not ready. Maybe those winter gloves were not such a bad buy in September. Anyhow, my fall list of outdoor chores is written and hanging on the board. I better get at them before it snows.

Training Plan With our vacation plans coming together and a good idea of what we will be hiking I have been thinking about how we will train for this trip. Training and exercise are two totally different things in my eyes. I train to accomplish a goal. I exercise to keep my sanity. We trained for our Zion hiking trip and were so grateful we did. We were two of the oldest hikers in our group. We were also two of the only ones that did not live on vitamin I (Ibuprofen) the entire trip. I was proud of this. Which means I need to come up with a plan for this trip as well. We want to enjoy every second and not live to regret it for weeks after.

There you have. Everything important running through my head. Along with everything else I typically have on my mind, I sort of feel a little overwhelmed right now. If only I could see in that crystal ball and know what the future holds….then again I would ultimately just worry about the future too. So as life passes by I will just be patient and hope things all work out for the best.

Hey Dad, We Should Go Kayaking…

Hey Dad, we should go kayaking! This is exactly what I heard last night!

Oh boy, I believe it’s going to happen. My boys were discussing at dinner last night taking the kayaks for the first paddle of the year this weekend.

Temps are suppose to hit 50 degrees, which means there is nothing I can say to stop their plans. I will keep you posted with pics if this all happens.

Myself, I am digging out my hiking boots and planning hike. I know it will be muddy, wet and predicted to be windy but nothing will keep me indoors this weekend. We have not had a temperature of 50 in months…. I am almost giddy with excitement.

Plus, today we have a birthday celebration planned that is bound to be exciting. I will try and post some pics tonight.

Have a Great Weekend Everyone!

 

My Birthday Will Be Filled With….Wishing, Wondering and Waiting

As I celebrate another birthday today, I can’t help but wonder what the next few years will bring. Would I ever want to be 20 again, no way! 30, maybe. Each decade that has passed has brought much different pros and cons.

In my 20’s I was newly married and a mom first and foremost. We were new homeowners. And honestly, every penny we spent I kept track of. Would I go back? No, I am happy all that is over with. I loved being a new mom, love our home, enjoyed being a new wife and I got us through some rough times financially just starting out. I can honestly say I am happy that stage of life is over.

In my 30’s I was obviously still a mom first and foremost. Although, I was able to concentrate on me a little more at times. We were still happily married. I had been now self employed for quite sometime. My husband went through a major job change after 17 years, which was stressful for us all. And finances were much easier than the decade before. This is the decade I also came to realize I wanted more out of my life and started making changes to my lifestyle to achieve my weight loss. Would I go back to this decade, possibly. I’ll be honest, being a parent to a son between the age of 14-16 was the worst. If I could skip that part in this decade, I would go back.

Which brings me to today, my 40’s. I am still a mom but with more of a “part time position” with him being an adult now. We get along fairly well and enjoy doing things together. Which is a great feeling for me. I sometimes feel like he is now watching over me instead of the other way around but I am ok with that. I am still happily married. I have been self employed for 18 years now and still enjoy what I do. Yes, it has some ups and downs, but what job doesn’t? I have no problem putting myself first again now that my son is grown. I am still eating healthy and working out, which brings me great joy and satisfaction. I will admit, I think my hormones are starting to mess with my mind and body because some days dragging myself to the gym is hell, but I still do it. I feel more pressure to accomplish the things I have on my bucket list, but slowly I am getting them crossed off. I am much braver now than I used to be. I don’t worry about what other people think about me or the things I do as much as I did when I was younger. I also feel like it’s my time to make some big dreams comes true, before I am too old to do so. This may take some time, but I am working on it. All in all, so far this decade has been pretty good to me. Especially when I look around and see others my age and compare lifestyles. I feel blessed to have the life I live.

So for the next year my goals are simple. Stay active, enjoy life with my husband and son, eat healthy and work toward my one dream. All of you that are close to me will know exactly what that dream is. The rest of you will just have to wait until it comes true for me to share it.

I will make my wish, blow out my candle and wait to see what happens in the next few years.

Milwaukee Museum, REI, Trader Joes….A Day Of Fun

This past weekend we just could not face another day inside. With the temperatures well below the tolerable point, we packed into the car and headed south to Milwaukee to celebrate my birthday a few days early.

The Milwaukee Public Museum has a special attraction right now called Body Worlds. The human body has always been a fascination of mine. So I was beyond excited to have the chance to go see this.

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Even though they allowed no photography inside the exhibit itself, I can assure you that if health, fitness, sickness and the development of the human body is something you enjoy, you will love this exhibit.

Admission to the rest of the museum is also included when you pay for the special attraction so we spent the rest of the morning touring the three floors. My favorite exhibits were the Japanese garden which just looks so peaceful.

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The African huts.

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And the wall of perfection. Patterns have always been something that is pleasing to my eyes.

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My husband and son enjoy the butterfly room, where you enter double doors and walk through this real life exhibit. The butterflies land on you, fly near you and sometimes even follow you out(hence the double doors).

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This is not so much my cup of tea, so to say. I like butterflies and all but from a distance is where I prefer them.

After the museum we headed to my favorite outdoor sport store, REI. I have been waiting patiently to visit an REI since Christmas to purchase a set of new hiking poles. Yes, I could have ordered them online but from experience, I knew I needed to hold the hand grip in person to see if I would like them first. I was specifically looking for a pair of Leki’s because these came highly recommended from our trail guides we had in Utah. I fell in love with a pair the second I held them in my hands. Thankfully, I had a gift certificate from one of my daycare families left from Christmas and the rest was my birthday gift.

I also found a few other things while I was there. A half buff to wear under my kayaking helmet and for a headband during workouts. A new water bottle, because our Nalgene’s don’t fit in the drink holders of our new car. This will drive me crazy to always have it tipping over, so I bought one that would fit. And some Clif Shot Bloks because that time of year is coming and they work great on the river while paddling.

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I would say this trip to REI was a success….then again I can’t say I have ever left without spending at least a little money.

Next, it was time to fill our bellies with some pizza from California Pizza Company. When we travel we always try and find a place to eat that we do not have in Green Bay.

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It was a big hit with us all. We loved the thin crust pizza and the menu was huge. I can see us trying this out again in the future.

And what would a trip to Milwaukee be for me if I did not stop at Trader Joe’s? This would never happen. I just can’t resist, they have so many things that I just love. It’s funny because upon entering, all three of us go our separate ways and I usually have the cart. My boys will return with arms full of all there favorites while I try and get all the rest of the things we love from here. We try and make this trip every three months or so, just to stock up.

All in all it was a long day of fun. It sure beats sitting at home another Sunday waiting for warmer weather.