July 4, 2017….A Day On The Chain O Lakes -Waupaca, WI

We all had the day off this July 4 holiday so just like old times we loaded up the kayaks and headed out as a family to one of our favorite places to paddle…the Chain O Lakes in Waupaca,WI.

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Very seldom do we all have the chance to paddle together anymore….oh, how life has changed since our son has graduated, starting working, and has become an adult. So as you can imagine, these days are cherished.

As usual, my husband and son had fishing on their to do list, I had swimming and I really wanted some time to relax in my beloved blow up inner tube. We arrived shortly after 9a.m and was happy to see the parking lot had plenty of spots left in it.

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We unloaded our kayaks and I strapped my tube to the back of mine. We then made our way to Marl Lake first. Marl is the best swimming lake here in my opinion.

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It has a public dock, the bluest water probably in WI..or at least that I have ever seen in WI, and no weeds. However, if you are not here early…good luck finding room near this dock. By 1p.m. this same afternoon the dock was packed with people.

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I wasted no time at all beaching my kayak and taking a seat in my tube to relax while my boys fished the same lake near by.

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I had a great time, sucked up plenty of Vitamin D, was completely relaxed, and even managed a good swim while here. Our son, on the other hand, received his first ever fish foot massage….I believe this is something probably in New York or somewhere where the fish pick at your feet/toes while you are in a massage chair. Well, here in WI…it’s free and we don’t need an appointment for it either.

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We again paddled 6 of the lakes total for a total of five hours, swam in one, fished in all of them, saw numerous turtles, our son captured many gorgeous photos with his gear, and most of all we all enjoyed a great day together.

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Summer has arrived and hopefully is around to stay for a few weeks here in Wisconsin. Make sure you all get out and enjoy it before it’s too late!

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****If you would like to read more here is a link to the visit we made here a few weeks ago also.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Time For A Good Ole’ Brain Dump

Where did May go? I seriously feel as if it just began and we are almost to the end, ready to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, and begin summer. I would never say I am not ready for summer but this year I have an assortment of things I want to get on the calendar but have not quite pinned any certain dates down quite yet.

A lot has been happening around here which could be adding to my craziness…..new jobs mean new schedules, new eating restrictions mean careful menu planning, a new grocery store mean a girls date night needs to be set to check this out, camping plans, kayaking/SUP plans, gym visits have been pushed aside for exercise outdoors, new summer recipes being run through in my head but rarely make it to the dinner table, and so on. Yeh, I am a bit overwhelmed….add work, sleep, and yard work to the mix and well, you could say I am a bit stressed. However, I know summer only last a few short months and when winter comes along I have all the time in the world to catch up so I have to say…..bring it on….I am so ready!

First, lets talk new job. Our son started his new job and is really enjoying it so far. You all know he is working on becoming a professional photographer and this new job is right up his alley. Yes, I am sure there will be some hiccups along the way but all in good time things will work out. And, as a bonus, we may be able to get back to river kayaking easier since he should have one day off every weekend. Without three people and two vehicles it is next to impossible to kayak a river and have a chase vehicle for the end.

New diet restrictions have come into play here when after so long and no results you start to become your own medical advocate. Two years ago after receiving a diagnosis of IBS regarding stomach issues that my husband was having and seeing no results as far as improvement, I finally did some researching myself. (Especially since you all know how I feel about the medical profession in regards to taking 3 years to find my issue when I saw numerous specialists….I no longer have a whole lot of trust in doctors.) I read numerous articles, research documents, and testimonies from patients regarding the issues artificial sweeteners added to our foods can cause a body. After some thought and label reading of some of the food my husband loves to eat…..I was mortified to say the least. I then approached him, we discussed it, and he said he would try anything, so we kicked this plan into action immediately. And now I am here to tell you that in some cases IBS(Irritable Bowel Syndrome) may be a definite diagnosis but in other cases it is simply a case of BS(Bull Shit)!!!! He has been on this no artificial sweetener diet for three weeks and is a completely different person!!!!! He has lost so much belly bloat it is amazing…..I wish we would have measured his stomach before this all took place since it’s simply unbelievable. We are trying to figure out how his work travel will allow this type of diet since eating out is sometimes a challenge but I am confident we nailed this one and he is on his way to feeling better once again. If you have been diagnoses with IBS and are not seeing your symptoms improve with diet and/or medication….give this a try….you may be happily surprised. He sure was and he has even started enjoying some of the foods that use to almost kill him like sprouts again.

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Now, this has me so completely excited it is really quite funny when you think about it…..we are getting a new grocery store here in my hometown. Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market is a natural and organic grocery store and apparently it is coming here and is almost ready to open. I know….how did I not know this??? Well, for #1. I do not travel on Oneida St. unless I have to which is where this is opening and #2. I do not follow events that happen here in Green Bay since I rarely stay in Green Bay to do anything I consider fun. Which will then make you ask…then how did I hear about it? I actually had to travel Oneida Street one evening and my goodness, there are like three new restaurants, this new grocery store, and a few new clothing/shoe venues I had no idea where even being built much less already opened. It’s very touristy(which I tend to avoid) in this area but I will be one of the first to brave the crowds in July to check this grocery store out. We have even already tossed out a girls night suggestion to check it out all together….I will let you all know what I think when it opens. Until then….have you ever been to one yourself…..tell me what you think?

Outdoor exercise has completely taken over our lives and I have not been to the gym on a regular basis in weeks. Here and there is the best I can do since it’s time to start making paddling weekend plans, SUP plans, and I am hiking every chance I get. I am always ok with this since the membership is super cheap and I spend all of winter in the gym. Which means, come summer I have no guilt what so ever about missing gym workouts. Besides the outdoors has so much more to offer.

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I have so many summer time recipes floating around in my head its ridiculous. However, getting them to the dinner table is somewhat of a challenge since I spend most of my days outside with my daycare children and most of my weekends away from home having some fun of my own. Although, once in a while it rains and this gives me time to actually prepare some of these recipes floating up there in my head. Recently, I made an orzo pasta salad with wild picked asparagus(thank you honey), kalamata olives, feta cheese, garlic, and smoked salmon. Then I whipped up a quick lemon-dill vinaigrette to drizzle over this. Oh yum, it was a keeper for sure.

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That should do it for now. Anything you are excited about you wish to share? Leave a comment as I would love to hear it.

 

Kayak Trailer Construction

This week we have made some real progress on the construction of turning our utility trailer into a kayak carrying trailer. By “we” I mean my husband has made progress.

Ever since we started paddling, we have always just lined them up side by side and wiggled and jiggled them until all vessels were in a happy place for travel.

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And every time we buy a new kayak with a bit different shape or size, its gets a bit more complicated to find a happy spot that they can all be carried safely.

Now of course, we have seen kayak carriers on trailers for many years but time was always a factor. Let’s face it, summers are short and who wants to work on the weekends when you could be paddling. Well, we have now come to a point where we had no other option since our son bought a very long kayak and this has thrown our whole trailer situation into a tail spin.

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Thankfully, my husband is an engineer by profession and can literally come up with a plan for almost anything. And he is a pack rat (which I consider his second profession) which actually turns out to be a bonus in this situation. He has had pipes laying around in our garage rafters for years with no good reason until now. They are what he is using for the frame work that the kayaks will be braced on for travel.

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Evey night this week he has spent time drilling, measuring and making progress.

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All that is left to do is add are few more bolts, cover a few more pipes with pool noodles for protection, and a test drive to a body of water somewhere. Now, whether that will be this weekend or not….we shall see.

 

 

 

A Weekend Of Sun, Fun and More Sun

What a weekend we had!

We traveled 2 hours to pick up our son’s new kayak at our nearest REI on what happened to be one of the famous “garage sale days”. Since we were aware of this event ahead of time we planned to arrive early enough to hopefully get some deals ourselves since we had to be there anyhow. Even though we needed nothing at all….we still ended up with $100 spent and some buys that we just could not pass up.

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After we did our shopping they kindly carried out the new addition to our fleet of watercraft. Meet the new addition the Dagger Stratos. IMG_4325

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After we left the store we remembered that we had not eaten since 5 a.m. so we stopped at a great restaurant with outdoor seating. It was perfect, hot, and sunny outside. I could not have wished for any better.

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Until, of course, the food arrived, which was fabulous. IMG_4334

After that I was itching to get home quickly. I had prepacked our bags to make sure we had a few hours to spend on the water ourselves having some fun. Upon arriving home, we tossed everything in the house, grabbed the bags, switched vehicles, loaded up my standup paddle board and headed to the bay.

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By the time we returned home we were exhausted. 

Which then brought Sunday and as we call it, a sun hangover. This is when you feel as if you drank all night but never had a  sip of alcohol. Morning came way too early and I knew the plan was to pack up and head back to the bay, only today with our son and his first paddle of his new kayak. However, I quickly decided today mom was staying home. I had taken my first fall off my SUP Saturday and was feeling the after affects in my abdomen area, which meant I was taking it easy today. Neither of my boys disagreed and they packed up and headed out while I did some chores around the house. By mid afternoon, it was time for some relaxation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling Alive Again

You know those morning where you go to get up and every joint cracks as your body weight is lifted from the mattress and is supported by your skeleton?

Then you go to bend over to put your socks on and can’t believe how far away your foot is.

When all you want is a cup of coffee with a little extra punch.

As you drink that coffee wondering, why in the world you played so hard all weekend to return to the work week exhausted and sore everywhere.

If you have experienced that type of morning it simply means it was a great weekend.

I am currently going through that right now and I am so happy to feel this rough. It means I spent the weekend making memories that will last a lifetime.

It means that I have a week of recovery before I ultimately will do it again next weekend.

Those mornings, for me, mean I am alive and feeling wonderful.

Here is a quick look at what we did all weekend as a family.

28 holes of disc golf

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yard games

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our son making do with what we had while waiting for his new kayak to arrive

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Add in a few not so fun chores, like oil changes and yard work and I would say it was a very productive and fun weekend. Finding time these days to spend as a family is hard. This particular weekend we did everything together and it was great.

Farewell Gertrude…..Here’s What’s Next

As you all know I saw my doctor yesterday. I had a long list I needed her to give me permission to do which included exercise, go back to work, hike, fly to our vacation destination, and resume life as I knew it before Gertrude ( apparently, this is what my surgeon and my husband named my tumor after surgery) was found and removed. Well, I am happy to share with you all that I checked out good and she is allowing me to get back to life. However, she stated clearly this would be an uphill battle between wanting to do it all and fighting exhaustion for the first few weeks. Uggg, I guess you can’t have it all but something is better than nothing.

Which means I plan to go back to work in about two weeks, I will start exercising again with many limitations, and our vacation we had preplanned before all this medical stuff came about will be happening with a few changes.

First, let’s touch on work. I fully expect going back to work to be difficult. Any mother of three will know exactly where I am coming from. Caring for three kids solo of any age is not easy. I do however feel I threw their little lives, as they knew it, into a roller coaster ride and regardless of where they all found different care for the past few weeks, I feel I owe it to them to make it all good again. We had such a great routine and I will do anything I can to make the transition back easy and smooth. Thankfully they have all been here during my recovery to visit, so it won’t be a complete shock to return and see us all again.

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As for exercise, this is what helps keeps me happy and sane. I would love to jump right back into where I left off…..which will not happen for quite sometime. Being passionate and motivated by exercise is something I have learned to accept as a wonderful thing. I can be having the worst day ever and know that if I can just get myself to the gym or downstairs for a workout, I will feel so much better. Now, I do have the go ahead from my doctor to return to the gym and daily workouts. I cannot, however, do any abdominal workouts for another four weeks. At this time I can try something easy and if I experience pain, I need to wait another four weeks. This means that by summer time paddling my standup paddle board could be quite the challenge at best. Typically, our bodies of water here in WI are not quite warm enough to actually use until at least July, so that gives me about 8 weeks to condition and strengthen my core to be able to paddle my SUP again. Despite being limited to what I can do and cannot do, I will be documenting my workouts again to #1 be able to look back at for myself and #2 share with anyone else that has gone through a similar surgery and give them something to refer to in this situation.

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Briefly, I will touch on our hiking and vacation plans. We had planned to do daily hiking on this next vacation in a region that we have never visited before. Unlike our Utah vacations which are intense elevation, heat and mountainous terrain, this one should be much easier. Although, I still don’t believe I could have done a few of the hikes we had on the list, so we did ultimately plan alternate activities in place of these hikes. We do plan do do some geocaching, small hikes, and a lot of sight seeing. I have no doubt regardless of what we end up doing that it will be a well deserved break from life and a much needed vacation for my husband. He has had everything on his shoulders for the past few weeks, while I spent every day just trying to recover enough to go on this trip. So whether we hike, have a picnic on green grass, or just enjoy the break doing a whole lot of nothing, I know it will be wonderful.

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As the weather gets a bit nicer everyday and Spring inches closer and closer, I cannot wait to start hitting our local trails again. I need to start working on logging hikes for the 52 HIKE challenge I joined.

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I also can’t wait to dig out our front porch chairs and go back to having fresh sushi while enjoying the sunshine on my face.

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Eventually, we may will dust off those kayaks that did not get any use last summer after my husband sustained his back injury and do some paddling.

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To say I am looking forward to Spring with enthusiasm and excitement would be putting it mildly……the anticipation it almost killing me.

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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!!!

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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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

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Resistance Bands:

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Walking:

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.