Looking Back At 2016

Hello, I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. I know we did here and I am ready to get back to a bit of routine again. So without further ado….

It’s always fun for me to take a look back at what the past year has been like for me which is what I am going to share with you all today. Maybe you have been a long time reader or you are a new virtual friend, which if that’s that case, then you can catch up with the events that have happened these past months.

Here we go:

January: A routine doctor visit turned into emergency surgery one week later with the removal of a large abdominal tumor and a few other parts and pieces that were effected by this slow growing tumor. Thankfully, it ended up being benign and all that was left was recovery and getting use to my new life with some limitations.

IMG_3344

February: This entire month consisted of recovery. I could not bend, lift, shower by myself or sleep in my own bed forever. And everything was left to my husband and son. I had friends stay with me during the daytime hours so my husband and son could work and visitors stopped in during the evening hours. It was a longggg month!

IMG_3339

March: I finally got the ok to return to work half way through this month. I also got the ok to keep the preplanned trip we had scheduled to visit Arkansas and do dome hiking. Although, my surgeon told me very firmly to stop when it hurts and don’t push myself. And in all honesty, when we arrived at the first trailhead I was a bit overwhelmed when I first put my hiking boots on. It had been a stressful, painful 9 weeks of HELL and I was not sure if I would ever be able to hike again….but I was here and it was warm, sunny, and I was truly happy for the first time in what felt like forever.

IMG_3545

April: By now things were progressing slowly and each day was getting a bit easier. Although, I had so many things I was still wondering….would I be able to paddle again, would the swelling ever go away, would I ever be able to do another abdominal crunch….etc.? Well, this is the month I gave paddling a try and I’m not going to say it felt great, but it was tolerable. I knew immediately I was a long way from a river with current but I was padding and it was a start.

IMG_5172

May: My husband and I went on the first camping trip of the year. Ahhh, I could feel summer right around the corner.

IMG_3968

June: I had the opportunity to go tubing behind a boat the first time in my life. And let me tell you, it was so much fun!!!!

Clark Lake-5

July: Family vacation to the North Shore of Minnesota. A first for us and definitely not the last time we visit here.

IMG_4790

IMG_4885

IMG_4626

IMG_4927

August: Ahhhh, boredom will get me every time…..so, I had been patiently watching flight prices for a bucket list trip to Sedona, Arizona for almost an entire year. One day I happen to just be bored and thought, let’s take a quick check if anything has changed…and sure enough its finally affordable. I wasted no time…I emailed my husband at work and waited patiently for his response which took hours since he was in a meeting!!! And all he said was….”go ahead sounds good to me”….YEEEEESSSSSS! Three hours later we had three tickets, travel insurance, hotel, and a rental vehicle all booked. And when my husband and son arrived home later that day I greeted them with a training plan for the next 8 weeks. Steps, hills, and more steps:-)

IMG_5138

IMG_5135

IMG_5139

September: I finally had a chance to take a friend of mine hiking for the first time. I have been trying to get her outdoors to try different types of activity…..and she finally agreed to go hiking. She had a wonderful time, as did I.

IMG_5339

October: We celebrated our 23rd. wedding anniversary hiking in Sedona, Arizona. There are simply no words to describe how wonderful this place was.

IMG_6037

IMG_5678

During this trip I also accomplished a bucket list summit which was captured by our son in a picture.

Mom Cathedral End low logo-1

November: As always in November my husband and I took our annual coach bus trip shopping for the day in Illinois. I love this day. I am not a big shopper but once a year I enjoy it completely.

IMG_6181

December: I returned to the gym full time for the first time since January. I dabbled here and there a few times while recovering from surgery and during the summer months but just was not willing to risk anything going wrong. I was told it would take a full year to completely heal and I waited as patiently as possible….gosh it feels good to be back.

IMG_20161125_0850350_rewind

What a year….it brings tears to my eyes just seeing what my family has been through this past year, what I have accomplished, and the hurdles I thought I would never overcome. It’s no secret, if you know me personally, life has changed and will forever be changed……but that is not holding me back. It has made me adjust a bit here and there but I still wake up every day with a dream and I work to accomplish that dream someday.

Good bye 2016……bring on 2017…..I am so ready to start fresh!!!

 

Advertisements

Looking Back At 2015

About this time every year I find myself looking back at the year and like many of you, looking forward to the next year to come. 2015 for our family was not a typical year, from beginning to end, it seemed to challenge our strength as a family both mentally and physically. However, I will say, I do feel like we won this battle and came through it pretty well.

Take a look back with me,

January 2015

I experienced my first dislocated rib while working out and preparing for our rock scrambling vacation in February. Very painful!!!

IMG_3391

February 2015

Our rock scrambling vacation we had prepared for for months was suddenly cancelled due to a major snow storm and no flights were coming or going. We were completely disgusted for weeks….

March 2015

I celebrated a birthday this month with a venture out of the house and some first steps of the year on a muddy trail.

IMG_0626

April 2015

I finally decided to see a doctor for a sore foot I had been having for a few months. After testing and imaging I found out I had torn two tendons in my ankle. Which resulted in some new footwear for weeks.

IMG_0736

On the brighter side, my husband picked up his brand new Jackson kayak this month.

IMG_0705

May 2015

After 6 weeks in that orthopedic boot I thought I was going to go see my doctor and he would say everything looks good and I could remove it. Well, that was not quite what I heard from him. He said I still had two weeks to go, but now I could do anything I wanted to do as long as I wore the boot. I took that line,”anything I want” very seriously and left two days later for a hiking trip to our favorite WI state park. Thanks to my husband and son, I made it to the top of the bluff and back down again with that horrendous contraption on my leg. Let me tell you, IT WAS NOT EASY BUT I (we) DID IT!

IMG_0851

June 2015

I finally was able to remove my ortho boot and what happens next…..my husband suffers a sudden back injury that literally changes our entire summer outlook. After a day of lake kayaking and standup paddling where we were rained on all day, we returned home that night with him feeling pain in his leg.

IMG_1277Nothing had happened all day so this was strange that he was feeling pain. By the next day it was intolerable and medical attention was needed.  IMG_1410

After numerous tests, doctors, and images, we had a diagnosis that we were hoping not to hear. Next would be physical therapy for weeks, a lifting restriction for quite sometime, and learning how to do things differently for the rest of his life. This took some soul searching and a lot of praying that he could eventually recover enough to continue doing what we love to do again.

July 2015

This month was the start of a few months of physical therapy which we all tried helping with. He did seek professional help for awhile but after some time his neurologist thought he could accomplish more on his own. Most people need a therapist because they are so inactive that they don’t know where to start. We, however, are very active and just needed to know the basics of what would give him the biggest benefits toward his recovery. We found all sorts of ways to do physical therapy.

TENS Therapy: IMG_1701

Stretching:  IMG_1732

Water Therapy:  IMG_1741

Inversion Therapy:  IMG_1749

Resistance Bands:

IMG_0981

Walking:

IMG_1725

August 2015

After all that therapy he was given the ok to go on our planned family vacation which just so happened to be hiking in the desert southwest in extreme heat and with extreme elevation. He was limited on backpack weight and was not allowed to even touch our luggage but could hike as far as his body allowed him to hike(as the doctor kindly stated). So we did. And it turned out spectacular!

utahfamlow-5

September 2015

We returned from vacation, rested up for two weeks and hit the trail again, only a little closer to home this time. We headed to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and hiked the Chapel Loop together….10.6 miles in a day.  IMG_2530

He was still feeling some discomfort but by now we had learned how to deal with any pain he was having. We would rest when the pain started or soaking his foot in cold water was also a nice way to help decrease his discomfort.  IMG_1798  IMG_2661

I also got away in September for a girls day to Cranberry Fest. We had a blast!

IMG_2726

October 2015

October is when we celebrated our 22nd. wedding anniversary. We did this with a overnight trip to Sister Bay, WI at the Birchwood Lodge.

IMG_2823

November 2015

The beginning of this month we found ourselves, yet again, among numerous medical professionals supporting my father-in-law with a major surgery.

IMG_2868

Also this month my husband and I went on a shopping trip to my all time favorite city….Schaumburg, Illinois. I begged him to join me last year and he agreed. This year he offered to join me since we had so much fun last time. I think I may have a shopping partner (package carrier) for life:) Whoo Hoooo!  IMG_2888

December 2015

As predicted by weather forecasters, it had been a pleasant December. One of the best ways for me to celebrate a no snow December is to continue hiking which is exactly what we did. Here is where we spent Christmas Day as a family with sun in our eyes and doing what we love…..hiking.

(photo courtesy of our son, Quade Byrnes)

finished-1

So there you have it. Our year from start to finish. It’s been quite a roller coaster ride this year. Among so may other exciting things that have happened throughout the year, I am happy to see this year is now behind us.

My hopes for next year, of course, are to continue to stay healthy. We miss our kayaks severely, have not touched a golf disc in months, and are very excited to be traveling more in the upcoming months.

 

 

 

Happy New Year/ January’s Health Challenge

Welcome back…..Happy New Year!!!!

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday celebrations as much as we did here. I have been doing a lot of sleeping in…6am is spectacular, getting in some fierce workouts, eating yummy food, and to top all this, we even had our son’s 20th birthday to celebrate. Christmas day was the best….we did what we do best as a family and went hiking all day. Our son had the best scenery to capture in pictures, my husband found a few geocaches and I was just happy to be outside together as a family.

IMG_0495

Now it’s time to turn a new leaf and stick with whatever resolution you all decided to make for yourselves. Last year I challenged you all to get up and move for 30 minutes a day. This year I thought it would be fun to change the challenge every month to something new. Some months will be harder to accomplish and some months will be very easy, but all in all, it will be a healthy change for each and every one of us.

Every month I will update you all with the next challenge. There is no need to sign up, check in, report what you did or did not do unless you want to. I just ask that you have an open mind, try to create a healthier lifestyle and enjoy each and every months challenge with me.

Let’s start with January’s Health Challenge: Eat Two Pieces of Whole Fruit Every Day

Pretty simple some may say. Although, others may struggle with this like I will. I am not a huge fruit lover. I would much rather eat vegetables. However, I will make an effort to accomplish this and I hope you will try the same.

Good Luck!

 

Most Memorable Moments of 2014

Hi everyone!

Can you believe we are just days away from 2015? I think the older I get the faster the years fly by. I was looking back through some pictures of this last year and thought it would be fun to pick my top three most memorable moments of 2014.

This was not as easy as I thought it would be after looking back at everything we did. We really did so much fun stuff this past year.  Although, I do have to say, while looking back there were three moments that I can recall very clearly in my mind. Sadly, they are not all happy moments, but all of them touched me forever in my mind, heart, and soul.

First, would have to be the dreaded phone call we received from our son’s friend back in May. Calmly, he told me that our son had been in an accident and which hospital to meet them at. I can honestly say, I will forever remember the feeling I had at that moment. To explain how I felt is impossible so I will not even try. Thankfully, today he is fully recovered, and back to himself.

My second most memorable moment of 2014 would be floating in Lake Superior on blow up inner tubes while on vacation in the Apostle Islands.

IMG_0709

The water was calm, the sunsets were spectacular, and the temperature was perfect.

IMG_0831

And as much as I wish I could forget this last memorable moment I know I will never be able to. Our last big hike of the year in October to Devil’s Lake State Park was bitter sweet. The trees were brightly colored with oranges, yellows and red leaves everywhere around us.

IMG_0070

We were having a wonderful hike and had less than 2 miles to go before finishing what was the perfect day. We came upon a group of rock climbers and stopped to watch them do their thing along with many other hikers passing through this same area. That is when I looked to my side at a gentleman walking toward me on a trail next to the edge of the bluff. Apparently, he thought the trail was wider than it actually was and I watched him take his next step and fall down the bluff. That moment, that sound, the scream from his friends, the disbelief I felt when I thought maybe I was imagining things will be with me forever. I will never hike this park again without recalling that moment. My hope is that he is fully recovered or at least on his way to being able to enjoy life as he once knew it.

Those are what I would consider my most memorable moments of 2014. Even though they are not all good memories, I do believe that each one has changed me in a way that is for the better. I am a firm believer that everyone should live life everyday like it could be your last. You just never know when that day will come. I was so relaxed and at peace floating on the water that day. I thank God for my son and his health(and his friend). And every hike I take will be with more caution than before.

I Still Can’t Believe It…

First, let me remind you the exact statement my husband made to me 8 years ago.

He said,”I am not giving up red meat and I will walk with you only twice a week!”

OK, I was not going to argue. Something was better than nothing at all. He was not happy at the time that his doctor wanted to put him on medication for cholesterol and blood pressure issues. I had already lost a significant amount of weight by this time and was walking about two miles a day by myself. He came home and said he asked the doctor to give him 6 months without medication to see if he could get healthier on his own. They both agreed and he left, arriving home to walk into the house and made the statement above.

I ask him to walk with me and just cut back on red meat. He agreed and we started eating better together (instead of just me) and walking twice a week. I was thrilled;) Little by little we started walking more and farther and the better he felt the more we started to do other things. 6 months later he returned and the doctor could not believe the results of his blood tests. Amazing what a little exercise can do. As of today we are both medication free, blood work is all perfect, and we are an active family.

Which brings me to the surprise he gave me the other day. He called me one morning and stated that he was not feeling good about himself and life was just blah. No energy, no will to eat, tired, just plain blah. Now this is weird because we still walk three miles almost every night. Yoga has not been done regularly but we do still do it together at times. So I said ok, what is your plan? He said,”I want to join the gym with you!!!” I was speechless.

IMG_3391

I have tried numerous times to get him to come try it as a guest with me and every time he shot me down before I even had the entire sentence said. Both him and my son hate it when I come home from the gym with loads of energy after a workout. So, we went that night to try it out. I took him on a tour of the place, we had a quick workout just so he could try out the equipment he was interested in and before we left, he signed up. I still to this moment find it amazing. To this date we have had a total of three workouts together so far and he is feeling the same energy I feel every time.

IMG_3773

Our plan for now is to still walk twice during the week and workout twice during the week at the gym. Friday’s are always up in the air what we do for exercise. Saturday and Sunday I have been known to spend 2-3 hours at the gym because it’s really my happy place. He is planning on working out on the weekends also, but I may have to cut back to 2 hours max if I want to workout with him. Winters are hard, so I really think this is going to make all the difference in the world to him.

I must say, I am so happy he is going to give this a chance. I can’t wait to workout together but I am even more happy he is doing this for him and no one else.

My question for  you is, do you and your spouse/significant other work out together?

Would you if they ask you too?

It’s More Than a Resolution…It’s a Gift To Ourselves

Are you a person that start’s a resolution every year just to fail after a few days, weeks or months?

Personally, I think some of us make that resolution just too big to accomplish which means failure is ultimately inevitable. So let’s change that together.

First of all, let’s call it a “gift” to ourselves for the new year. It will not be a resolution, it will only be as difficult as you want it to be and realistically we all should find it fairly easy to fit into our daily life.

It will take you thirty minutes per day, six days per week, with one day being a free day where you can either do nothing at all or still try and get in 30 minutes if you wish.

Now don’t panic and say you don’t have time. I know you do. Let’s set a timer one day and start and stop it every time you go onto a social media website. Add those minutes up at the end of one day. OK, now let’s take just 30 minutes of that (I know you accumulated more than 30minutes on your timer for one day) and dedicate it to this “gift” you are going to give yourself every day.

The “gift” we will be giving ourselves on these days for at least the next year, hopefully longer, will simply be to GET UP AND MOVE!

Now I know what you are thinking, especially if you read my blog, that this will not be difficult for me at all. Which may make it seem a little unfair. Just remember, you are not doing this for me, this is a “gift” for you. I do move everyday, whether it be walking, working out, playing tennis, kayaking, biking etc. What really has me concerned is the number of people that don’t move, complain they are tired all the time, there body aches everywhere, they are irregular, they cannot sleep……….

Believe me, if you MOVE you will feel better. I am not talking a normal workday of 8,9,10 or whatever hours you work on a daily basis. I am not talking about chasing after your kids all day or walking the trash to the curb once a week. I want you to add a SPECIFIC, different activity than normal to your daily routine for 30 minutes six days a week.

Want some stimulation, here are some suggestions:

*do it with a friend

*get a dog or borrow a neighbors

*join a gym, many people will feel obligated to go if they pay money to do something

* it’s great stress relief

*do you realize nursing home residents do daily exercise and a lot of us do none. Now that’s just sad:(

*do it for your health

I can offer you some ideas of things that you could do to make this a successful gift.

Inside:

water aerobics at an area high school or community center/lap swim

join a gym

yoga either by joining a class or buying a dvd

zumba

dancing lessons/classes

bowling

weight lifting

climb steps in your home for 30 minutes

stability ball exercises

dance around with your kids and just get crazy (they won’t know what has gotten into you but I promise they will love it)

Outside:

Ice skate

ski

sledding (only use the rope to go back up the hill every other time)

walk your/a dog

yoga in the park

hike a near by trail

snowshoe

run/jog

kayak

swim

bike

join a sporting team like softball, baseball, basketball etc.

tennis

I am sure there are many, many more things I could have listed, but you get the point. I don’t care how old or young you are, you can do this. Include your spouse, children, the elderly lady/man down the street. Stop in at a nursing home and take a resident for a walk around the grounds for half an hour in their wheel chair. (Get permissions first)There are so many things you could do.

So, are you in for the challenge? I promise you will feel better. Let’s even be optimistic and say that maybe next year we can up the time to moving for 1 hour a day. Although, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

For the next month, I will post weekly what I did to move for thirty minutes six days per week. If you send me a message either by reply or by email and let me know you are going to try it out, I will follow your progress and cheer you on.

LET’S ALL JUST GET UP AND MOVE!!!!

GOOD LUCK

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Looking Back ….

Did you all have a great holiday? We did. Looking back, I can’t believe everything we did in just a few days.

It all started with my first night geocache, where you use a flashlight and follow reflectors strategically place in the woods to find the actual cache. VERY fun, EXTREMELY cold (8 degrees) but I have high hopes to do this again when it’s a little warmer. (I have no pics because I was shivering too hard to even try and hold the camera steady, sorry)

Let’s see, we also moved our son back home because he has decided to transfer schools back to our hometown.We hosted Christmas Eve with my brother and his family, then went to my in laws and celebrated with my husband’s family. Christmas morning we had a wonderful breakfast.

IMG_3718

Then proceeded to open gifts in our jammies. I love celebrating with just the three of us, in jammies, with no where to go, no time restraints or worries. After gift opening we decided to do what we do best, head outdoors for some fun. We went snowshoeing for a couple hours.

IMG_3737

We saw some beautiful winter scenes.

IMG_3739

Arriving back at the truck with some hot chocolate waiting for us.

IMG_3750

After this it was back home for some relaxing family time. Our son even took a nap for two hours!

Thursday brought a day to celebrate our son’s birthday. He chose a great pizza place to visit for dinner.

IMG_2502

Then he ventured out later that night with a friend from high school to do something I think is just crazy. They went kayak sledding. Yes, that’s right, sledding down a snowy hill with their whitewater kayaks!!!! Dad would have normally joined in on the fun, but they left too late and he had to work in the morning so his fun will have to wait until next time. Myself on the other hand, will not do this. I like my water unfrozen, warm and the sun to be shining brightly in the sky.

The weekend brought ice fishing for my hubby that went very well. He caught his limit of fish which we enjoyed for lunch the next day.

IMG_3759

I was able to get in two wonderful workouts, which always makes me happy.  I also was able to get all the holiday decor put away.

Finally, as of today our normal routine is back and life will once again have some order to it.

I am working on a challenge for the New Year that I will post Wednesday. Not so much a New Year’s resolution but a “gift” I think we can all give ourselves for the New Year. So make sure you take a quick peak on Wednesday and see if your interested in challenging yourself.

Until then…