Let’s Talk P’s: Preschool,(Green Bay) Packers, Planning and Photography

As we slowly adjust to our new daily schedule of walking the four year old I care for to and from school everyday, we have really surprisingly been enjoying the few hours we are a threesome instead of four. The two boys I care for are 6 weeks apart and play very well together (at the moment) which is so fun to watch. At first they seemed to miss her presence, although now they seem to know that eventually we go back and get her.

IMG_1378Another fun thing I have been taking full advantage of lately is the Green Bay Packer season has officially begun. You all know I am not a football fan which means when the GB Packer season begins and everyone (and I mean everyone) in Green Bay lives, sleeps, breathes, dreams, schedules vacations, plans births, and even shits according to the GB Packer schedule, I take full advantage of the moment and I go shopping!!!! You can get in and out of Costco with a full cart in under 20 minutes with no lines to stand in, literally. I know because I did this on a Monday night game recently and it was incredible. So even though I don’t care to watch the GB Packers, I sure take advantage of the their schedule and get lots done in a very little amount of time in the city.

We have started looking at our next vacation destination. Both my son and husband requested Alaska….like this would ever truly happen. SERIOUSLY!!!! I can hardly get through winter in WI, why would I choose to go to Alaska. I am all for traveling the road less traveled but no snow covered roads for me during vacation….sorry boys. I offered for them to go their direction and I would head to my happy place (south) but they both agreed to join me in my next adventure….how thoughtful they are. For now I am working out all the logistics, which is extremely time consuming. We don’t typically go on your normal beach vacation where we sip umbrella decorated drinks on the ocean side. Our vacations take hours of planning, permits, and it looks like this time we will be needing a high clearance rental vehicle. Ohhhh, what fun we will have….

IMG_3100

You all know our son is working on becoming a professional photographer. This has been his passion for many years and he is enjoying every second of it so far. One of his recent classes gave a final project of creating a 3-5 minute video using the techniques they all were taught in class. Of course he wasted no time getting this together and roping in a friend to help create this project. One Sunday morning they woke up bright and early(4 a.m.), loaded up the car with all their photography equipment, and headed to Sturgeon Bay, WI to capture the sunrise on the pier near one of our favorite lighthouses.  IMG_0745

His friend is the musician and our son did the camera work…..enjoy.

Here for Me – Ian Sutherland from Dockside Productions on Vimeo.

Our upcoming few weeks look a bit sketchy to be honest. We have our anniversary coming up in about a month and no real plans quite yet. We are hoping to join our son and a friend in a Devil’s Lake hike before winter. I have one more bus trip scheduled and I am hoping to make a day trip to Trader Joe’s and REI before November. And to top all this off, we are still awaiting my father-in-laws heart surgery date to be set. If we pull all this off we will be doing good. I am feeling the pressure to get in every second I can outside before our lawn, streets, and trails are covered with snow and ice. I’d say it’s a bit like controlled chaos and honestly, I love every second of it. Busy is good.

A Look Back At August 2015 In Pictures

Wow, what a month it has been! I still find it hard to believe we pulled off such a great vacation considering the medical issues we have had in our family this summer. However, that is not all that happened in August for me…let’s have a look back.

My First Rose Water Lemonade

IMG_1865

My first ever gyro

IMG_1858

Feast With The Beast 2015 Event

IMG_1896

Family Vacation 2015

utahfamlow-5

Summer Sunsets

IMG_2457
Which now leads us all to September, when the leaves will start to fall, colors will start to appear in the tree tops, and my favorite season begins…..Autumn. As much as I dislike the cooler temperatures I do love the seasonal things like pumpkin, soups, and fall festivals. We have a pretty full calendar coming up and I look forward to sharing it all with you here soon.

Did you do something exciting in August?

Tell me about it.

 

Our Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park Family Vacation-Day 3

Today our plans were to hike to the 3 Emerald Pools and also do the Narrows. However, nothing happens until after a hearty breakfast just like yesterday. Again, we filled our stomachs with wonderful food while being surrounded by beautiful mountains and then boarded the shuttle back into the park.

Our first hike was the Emerald Pools. The trail head is located right across the street from the Zion Lodge in Zion National Park.  IMG_2017

We started out across a bridge and immediately noticed a horse corral and riders crossing the Virgin River. I have always wanted to try horseback riding but there are not enough allergy medications in the world for this to ever be possible, so I watched from the bridge with envy. IMG_2024This trail starts out paved and is well maintained until you reach the first Emerald Pool. There is a nice waterfall and a great little area where you pass behind and enjoy a sprinkle from above while doing so…..very refreshing.  IMG_2044 It was a great photography place and a nice area to cool off before heading up to the next two pools.  IMG_2049  IMG_2052 After getting all the shots my son wanted here we headed up the trail to Pool #2. The trail at this point was no longer paved and got a bit more rugged but tolerable. It took only a few minutes to reach pool two and we were happily surprised to find water in this one along with some tadpoles. This is the dry season so we were not sure what to expect at each pool.

IMG_2066

After a short time here, we headed back up higher to the last pool. This is where the trail became more like rock scrambling that hiking. It completely turned to a sand trail with boulders to maneuver up and over. This was right up to my expectations, one of my favorite things to do is rock scramble….and I loved it! This stretch offered very little shade and was hot and dusty but exciting all at the same time. After a while we crossed over a hill of boulders and were rewarded with the last pool and a nice large area of shade to rest.

IMG_2074

IMG_2078Our son took some pictures, we all sat on the big boulders to cool down a bit and this is also where we shared a trail snack before heading back on the same trail.

IMG_2080

Upon reaching the trail head we again boarded the free park shuttle and headed toward our next trail which was the Narrows hike.

IMG_2086

This is probably the most populated trail in the park in our opinion….and I will admit, not my favorite for this one reason. However, if this is your first time I would say it’s a must see and worth dealing with the crowd. This is a completely paved trail until you reach the rivers edge. There are rental places near the visitors center to rent water shoes and hiking poles to help you through the river up into the Narrows or you can do what many do and walk right in with their hiking boots/shoes. (We brought our kayaking shoes from home) When you reach the rivers edge there is a spot to change and put your personal belongings into dry bags/ziploks etc which you must also provide yourself. IMG_2089After you are all settled you walk down the steps into the river. Hiking poles, large sticks, and trekking poles are all a good idea….it is a river and there are many rocks.  IMG_2087

You start out down river and eventually make a turn into the Narrows passage….this is where the crowd is typically enormous as it was on our day here. I actually skipped this river walk this time around, last time it was not my favorite adventure. My boys were gone about and hour and we then made our way back to the shuttle bus for our return trip to the city shuttle which then returned us to our hotel.

Again, this was a very nice day, with temps over 100 degrees which meant we were in need of showers yet again before dinner. We ate tonight at a restaurant that had some amazing appetizers.

IMG_2313

IMG_2311

And since it was vacation we ended the night again pool side with views of the mountains in the background.

IMG_2014

Have you ever visited Zion National Park?

What was your favorite hike?

Do you have specific questions regarding the park or the area? Feel free to email me and I will be happy to answer them if I can.

Where To Next?

You may be wondering why we did not reschedule our rock scrambling vacation. I know everyone else is because they have all asked that exact question. To be honest, we just could not make it what it would have originally been if we would have rescheduled. Which for me would have been even more of a disappointment. Our hiking guides were booked up, many plans at home would have needed to be rescheduled, and I am self employed and taking vacation days or switching them up last minute is not something I like to do to the families I offer daycare to every day. Cancelling was our best option right now, BUT it did not take me long to schedule our next adventure:) It’s already done!

However, this is going to be a little more than our typical vacation. Yes, we plan to hike, swim, fish, explore and spend time as a family. We also plan to research homes, communities, and check out the general public areas of our next destination. Why? Well let’s put it this way, very soon I will hopefully be able to bid a fine farewell to the state of Wisconsin. It’s time to find my happy place and this my friends is the first step in that direction.

We have a destination in mind but until we actually go and spend some quality time there we will not be sure. And we could not think of a better way to do this than to vacation in the area. We will be moving around every two days to a different location, which will be a hassle but worth it in the end. So far, I will say from talking with people in this area while making these plans I am completely and totally impressed. I know they are in the hospitality business and they are paid to be friendly, however, so are the people here in Wisconsin and friendly is very hard to find here in my opinion.

As for now we will be waiting patiently for Spring to arrive. I have some researching to do in regards to either snake boots or snake gators for this trip(I can’t believe I just said that), and I am really considering a new backpacking backpack. I have a fantastic small pack, a great large pack, but I could really use a mid range pack. Can you see a trip to Milwaukee’s REI coming up soon? Because I can:) Now, to persuade my husband to drive is the next battle. Although, he is pretty easily swayed so I am not too worried.

Does anyone have advice for snake gators/boots? I could really use some insight if you care to share.

Any recommendations on backpacking packs?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Perfect Storm…

QUESTION: What is 17.5 inches tall and can ruin a wonderful vacation?

ANSWER: An airport covered in 17.5 inches of snow!

Yes, you read it correctly. Our vacation was not delayed or postponed. It was CANCELED!

I have learned a hard lesson about trying to escape the winter blues of Wisconsin and escape somewhere warm for a few days. A lesson I will NEVER relive again as long as I live in this state. (Which will not be much longer, I hope)

I will say, if you are ever headed to the Nevada area and wish to hike the Red Rock Canyon area I have two spectacular guides that offered exceptional customer service. I wish I could tell you how much we enjoyed hiking with them but this never happened. Although, despite their cancellation policies we were very happy to hear we would receive a full refund from both guides.

For now, give me a few days to feel sorry for myself. Then I need to find my big girl panties, put them on, and continue on with life as usual.

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.

Looking Back At The Summer Of 2014

With Labor Day past us the unofficially end of summer is here. This brings some sadness to me personally but as always, life must go on. So I thought it would be the perfect time to take a look back at our summer of 2014.

SUP DAYS: We used my stand up paddle board more this year than ever before. We even found a great new beach.

IMG_4907

FUTURE CAMPING DESTINATIONS: We found our next new park to reserve a campsite at for next summer. I am so excited about this one. It’s on a gorgeous lake and offers nice trails to hike throughout the park.

IMG_4787

A FRIENDS CABIN: I finally made it to visit a friends cabin. And while we were visiting them, her and her husband tried our recreational kayaks and fell in love immediately. They bought one of their own the next week:) She thanked me for inspiring her to try kayaking and hiking (which they did on their summer vacation) and I felt so honored to be the person to do this for her. They are a couple with 3 kids that have grown and married. And now they are searching for active things to stay healthy as a couple again. I am so proud of her and hope she continues in this path of trying new things.

IMG_4878

AN EMERGENCY: We also had the chance to experience what it’s like to get a phone call telling us our child has been hurt and rushed to an emergency room. This, of course, was not a pleasurable thing to do this summer but it was still something I will not forget about the summer of 2014. Thankfully, no permanent damage was done and he is close to a full recovery at this point. However, it was a long few weeks!!!

IMG_4896

GIRLS DAY IN DOOR COUNTY: I had the best time spending the day in Door County with two girlfriends wine tasting, shopping, and eating our way through the area.

IMG_5041

FEAST WITH THE BEAST: Our annual date night we shared this year with another couple my husband knew from where he works. We had so much fun, came home way too full of food and maybe even a little to much alcohol may have been consumed. It was a great time and I can’t wait until next year.

IMG_0076

VACATION TO REMEMBER:  We visited the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and Copperfalls State Park for our vacation this summer and it was amazing. We will have memories forever of everything we did, saw, and shared while at this beautiful place together.

IMG_0523

A FEW KAYAKING TRIPS WITH A NEW FRIEND: This year we were pretty limited to our kayaking weekends with our son unable to paddle for most of the summer. Thankfully we still did get out  a few times with our neighbor who has become a big part everything we do. We have lived two doors down for a few years now and just never really met until this year. We have since learned that she is as adventurous as we are and have enjoyed including her in all our activities. She has become a fun friend for my entire family.

IMG_4944

This is just a quick look at everything I loved about the summer of 2014. From sunsets,

IMG_0820

IMG_0533

to chai shakes,

IMG_0051 and nice hikes,

IMG_4785

I will miss summer for months to come.

Despite my sadness, I do have great plans on the calendar up until those white, cold flakes start falling from the sky. So I best be going and start planning those fun filled fall days that are ahead.

What’s your favorite season?

Why?