Tag Archives: kayaking

My Favorite Holiday Weekend

I love kicking off my favorite holiday weekend with the Heart and Sole Race, in Pittsville, WI. It’s always on July 3rd, so sometimes it’s crazy hot! It’s an evening race, which sometimes helps, but it’s a fabulous five mile race that raises money for their little local fire department. What a great cause!

There are a couple things that I can count on in this race, and this Blues Brothers guy is one of them!


This course is an out-and-back with four water stations, and they’re all needed since it’s usually so warm. I stop every time! I run this race with my friend, George, and we chat almost the whole time. We both see runners that we know from other races, so it’s nice to wave at our friends when we run by! That’s one of my favorite parts about out-and-back courses… I get a chance to see everyone who hit the turnaround before I did on their way back, and then I get to cheer on everyone behind me once I turn around! πŸ™‚

The finish line for this race is just adorable. So festive!


I obviously took that photo before the race- when we came through the chute, there were lots of other people with us! I really love small town races. πŸ™‚

I enjoyed some incredible watermelon post race…


…and granola. Oh, gosh, the granola.


It’s homemade, and I have dreams about it the rest of the year. It’s sooo delicious, and I love munching on that once I finish the race! πŸ™‚


Many thanks to this lady, who obviously is responsible for cooking pans and pans and pans of the good stuff!

George and I came in at a strong 47:24, and refueled with cold beer. πŸ™‚


I came home, soaked in a tub, and hung out with Brian on our newly finished back deck. We live close enough to Riverfront Rendezvous that we could hear Here Come The Mummies as they played, and I relaxed with a glass of lemonade and enjoyed them from the comfort of my own home. πŸ™‚

On Saturday morning, we prepped for a cookout later, and I got ready for our Stevens Point Fourth of July parade. I love parades, and the Fourth of July, and everything patriotic. This is my favorite day!

The common council and the mayor all got together and walked in the parade. It was a lot of fun!



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This is me with “the Marys…” Alderperson Mary Kneebone and Alderperson Mary McComb. πŸ™‚



Our other friend Mary was driving the truck with the City Band float. Way to go, girl!


After the parade, I dropped off cookies for our police department and fire department (THANK YOU for working holidays and keeping us safe!), then met Chris and Amy at our house for some lake time!




We had some perfect weather- hot and sunny with a cold, clear lake to jump in. Before we knew it, it was time to head back to our house for our annual cookout. Of course, I completely forgot to take photos of our friends and all the delicious food, but we had a gaggle over for burgers, brats, sweet corn, and all sorts of traditional grilling foods!

For dessert, we featured my tenth annual flag cake!

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I can’t believe I’ve been making this cake for ten years! I used to choose white cake, but now I make angel food cake with fresh whipped cream for frosting. Delicious!

Once it got a little darker, we played with some sparklers. My friends are the cutest!

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We finished our night with s’mores by the fire, and Amy and Chris stayed for a sleepover!

We woke them up with coffee, egg sandwiches, and quite impressive Bloody Marys.


Breakfast on the front porch with friends is really the best way to start my day, especially since our post-brunching activity was a walk to the new winery. Brian and I were lucky enough to attend their soft opening the week prior, so we were excited to show off this new facility!


We strolled through the parks on the way home, stopping to look at the emergency vehicle display.

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Abbie was thrilled with all our visitors and all the time playing outside, but she was really happy to cool off inside for the afternoon. πŸ™‚

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Stevens Point hosts fireworks on Sunday, so Brian and I headed over to the park with our kayaks and watched both our friends in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades play at the park AND the fireworks from our little place on the water.

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Don’t worry, friends: we are experienced kayakers and had both bow and stern lights, as well as headlamps. I get concerned about the other kayakers out on the water- there is a lot of boat traffic out for the fireworks and I’ve seen less experienced kayakers struggle in the wake. Lights are very important, too!

We packed up the boats, drove the three blocks home, and collapsed in bed.

Fourth of July weekend? Complete, and a total success. πŸ™‚

As always, thanks for reading!!

Miles this year: 308.55

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Killeen and Ernie + Wisconsin Adventures

I was home just long enough to charge my camera batteries, do a load of laundry, kiss my Mr. Mustache and my pup, then I headed down to shoot the engagement photos of the gorgeous Killeen and handsome Ernie in Elk Grove.

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This shoot was extra special because Killeen is my cousin, and you can definitely see a family resemblence! πŸ™‚

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We lucked out with fabulous weather, perfect lighting, and a cute little nature reserve right near their house. You’d never guess we were in the city!

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We shot, and posed, and laughed, then headed back for an Italian dinner (Chicago has the best food options!), a sound sleep, and a short runΒ before I hit the road home. I had a meeting with my accountant (my aunt, Tina) in Madison, to work on my taxes. Being self-employed is difficult for many reasons, only one of which is doing my taxes. Another quick meeting at city hall, then Brian and I headed off to Waupaca to deliver our little Abbie monster to my mother-in-love. We made the switch at a very funny and Wisconsin-y bar, JR Sportsmans, with a gigantic fish out front, and a little game farm.

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We ran home, performed minor surgery on my kayak (a new compass!)…

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…then headed up north to meet Nikki and celebrate the long Memorial Day weekend.

We swung by my grandparents’ home to give my grammie and grampie a little love and share the news about the alderwoman gig. They’d already seen it in the paper, and saved me the clipping. I love these people. ❀

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Once we made it up north, we kayaked, ran, did yoga, napped, sat in the hot tub, went to the Tomahawk old car show (saw Adam, a pianist friend from college!), sent the boys fishing, and caught a tree frog.

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It was an incredible weekend of relaxation, laughter, and a fabulous reminder that sometimes the oldest friends are the best friends! Love you, Nikki.<3

We met my mother-in-love again in Waupaca to pick up our puppy, and we took her out to dinner. We love the food at the Chain Bar in King- their pizza is delicious! While we sat at the covered outdoor bar, we watched a storm roll in, and a double rainbow appeared. How cool! πŸ™‚

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I spent the following week in meetings as an alder, including meeting the president of our neighboring town, since we share a boundary line.

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I went on a fun run with the SP running group (and saw Margaret and her new babe!), shot a few headshots, and spent some time playing outside with Abbie.

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I also went down to southern Wisconsin for a Wisconsin League of Municipalities training for newly elected government officials. I have learned so much with this job- more than I ever realized I needed to know! Do you know the average lifespan of a Wisconsin police car? I do! πŸ™‚

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I spent the night in Madison with our friends, the Langes, and we went out to dinner at this crazy but delicious Jamacan restaurant.

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Before I knew it, I was back at home with Mr. Mustache, and ready for a whole new week of adventures.

As always, thanks for reading, friends!

Miles this year: 288.1

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Driftless adventures

Our first stop once we got back to Wisconsin was at Goose Island park.

We put in, and headed out for a great paddle on the beautiful Mississippi River πŸ™‚
We stayed pretty sheltered, since the park is full of beautiful little water mazes, and we spent a couple hours exploring.







It was a fun day to be out- hot, humid, and a fair amount of current, but very little chop. After we loaded up, we dried off, hydrated, and headed down to Viroqua via a beautiful country drive. 30 minutes of solid Wisconsin. ❀
A late lunch at the co-op, and 15 more minutes in the car led to one of my favorite spots, Camp Creek.

We only had a couple hours to play down there, but I caught a few fish.

I also took my very first fish selfie.

I peeled off those waders, sat by the car, and ate chocolate cake while drinking an IPA. Perfection.
We packed up and drove the three hours to home, with just enough energy to unload the car from the home-Amherst-Milwaukee-Winona-LaCrosse-Viroqua-home trip, and collapsed into bed.
My Monday morning involved getting my first crown. I didn’t realize that young people needed crowns sometimes, so I felt pretty old when they told me I needed one. In order to lighten the mood, I wore a crown to my crown appointment.


Yes, I love my crazy life.
As always, thanks for reading, friends!
See you soon!

Miles this year: 417.65

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Flag cake and Lake Superior

Since we had Ashley and Erik’s wedding on the Fourth of July this year, I made my celebratory flag cake on the fourth of August!

This is my ninth annual flag cake, and it was every bit as delicious as it looks. Angel food, with whipped cream and fresh berries. πŸ™‚

We ate it all in three days- since we knew it wouldn’t last past our fun weekend ahead.
We headed up to Grand Marais, MN, for a personalized, quaint wedding of Allie and Toby. Grand Marais is just a gorgeous place, and these two said their vows right on the rocks along the shore of Lake Superior. Start with cute kids, add longtime friends, and finish with perfect weather. After the intimate ceremony with a vast backdrop, we headed to Harbor House Grille for dinner, drinks, and laughter. Allie and Toby came back to the lake with me at sunset, before spending the evening celebrating at a rooftop bar. Stunning doesn’t even begin to describe it…

























This was one of the most serene locations that I’ve ever visited with a bride and groom. I saw this area, and just fell in love.

Congratulations, Allie and Toby! πŸ™‚ Thanks for inviting us up to capture your day!
We were so happy but exhausted on Saturday night, so we collapsed into bed and slept in a bit on Sunday. We walked downtown to get breakfast and coffee before heading out on the water, and I found these…

Umpqua. A company that makes awesome minnow flies and oatmeal? Interesting… πŸ˜‰
We walked and explored…





The cold water was calling us on such a warm day, so we grabbed our boats and headed onward!

After a couple miles, I was steamy, so I pulled my boat up on some rocks, and jumped in! Damn, that lake is cold. πŸ™‚



Every time I paddle Superior, I like it more and more. πŸ™‚
We knew we had a long drive home, since there was a lot of construction, so we hit the road around 1, stopped at Red Mug for coffee and snacks…

…and made it home around 9:00.
I will leave you with two questions:
1) anglers, I saw this beer up there. Can a trout actually get lost?

2) does anyone remember the drama around this guy’s website? I love kale, so his court case stuck with me… But I haven’t seen a sticker in quite some time! It’s probably no surprise that this truck was next to the adventure gear shop, in front of the co-op.

Be back soon to share more adventures. πŸ™‚

Miles this year: 374.75

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A summer of grilling, families, running, paddling, and reading…

Right in the heart of grilling season, the folks over at Ski’s Meat Market called me up for some promotional photos. They haven’t made them to their website yet, but are featured in ads and fliers.




I’ll be going back for a shoot with the cheese case next! πŸ™‚
The Laudons, who I met through Trout Unlimited, celebrated their 50th anniversary this summer. They had us come over for family photos of the whole crew who flew in for the occasion. What a beautiful family!

Congratulations, Jim and Marilyn! πŸ™‚
George (my beer-drinking-cycling-running friend) and I ran a little race over in the geographical center of Wisconsin- the Pittsville Heart and Sole race. It’s always a weeknight close to my absolute favorite holiday,, the 4th of July. Last year, it was so hot that I almost drowned in my own sweat, but this year was a pleasant five miles. All proceeds go to support this small town fire department. What’s not to love!


On the actual 4th, the Beggs family invited us over to their lake house for photos with their extended family. In a word? Granddaughters.


And as always, it wouldn’t be summer in Wisconsin without hearing the Mark Little Band on the chain while drinking Jameson.

Love you guys. Love dancing in a sundress, in the heat of the summer, to your music.
I usually give Lifest it’s own post, but I am not going to post a single photo from my camera this year. I was “promoted” to photo team supervisor this year, so I basically felt like a nervous mom…
“The pyrotechnics are starting, where is everyone?”
“Stay away from the flames!”
“Where are your earplugs?!”
“Are you drinking water? HAVE YOU PEED TODAY?”
I snagged one image off my phone for you guys to get a feel for where I was most of the time…

On the Saturday of Lifest, they host a 5K. You know I had to get in on that action. I even dragged B along for the ride.




…and, even though I’m sure you all think I won, I finished in the middle of the pack, and was greeted by the infamous Bill and Darrell!

A few days of shooting, a lot of friends, some great music and fellowship… And of course, selfies of me with my neck strap.



…and a table full of cameras.

Until next year… avoid sensor dust, my ninjagraphers.
I’d barely been home from Lifest for 24 hours before I found myself up at Cynthia’s charming bookstore in Wausau for a photo shoot with River District Theatre’s latest featured performer.





They are working on creating a brand new, super hip, NYC-style intimate venue. So cool.
And speaking of cool, I took off for a paddle on the chain and to practice all my kayaking tricks. Love the water. It heals every ill.



I make standing in that sea yak look easy πŸ˜‰
Another quick trip up to Wausau to visit my Delta Omicron sister, Amanda, after surgery. Can you see the family resemblance?

I’m happy to report she is feeling better and healing well. Speaking of healing…
I ran some single track trails with my Oklahoma friend, Brandon. 10 miles, two skinned knees.


Those little scars are worth it πŸ™‚
I couldn’t shove those sore knees of mine into waders, so I missed a TU work day with the DNR, but I stopped by to capture them all working hard πŸ™‚


I was able to wrap up my knees and hide them under a long dress to shoot Ashley and William’s colorful northwoods wedding.














Congratulations, Mr. and. Mrs. McCarron!
One of the things I love about shooting weddings is being a part of this brand new family unit as it’s being created. Heidi and Maxx called me up to ask if I would be a part of their tradition with their “picture-in-a-picture” shoot. Basically, on their first anniversary, they had a picture taken of them holding their wedding photo. Then they framed that new image, and had me take a photo of them on their second anniversary, holding their first anniversary photo. So cool!

I couldn’t resist taking this beautiful couple to a perfectly dreamy spot.

Keep up the love, you two!
My best friend, Amy, was a star in a murder mystery dinner theatre. Brian and I headed up to see her perform, and eat steak, of course!


We practically wore the same dress!
Happy fifth birthday to our sweet nephew, Reid. He was present at our wedding, but probably couldn’t see or hear anything, since he was still inside my sister-in-law! πŸ™‚ It’s amazing how time flies.

I’ll leave you with a few yoga photos- I am in the middle of doing a new series of group fitness photos for Adventure 212, and this is the class that I attend… I almost put down my camera and jumped in!






Miles this year: 327.85

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How many photos can I shoot in one week?

I have had a wonderful reverse taper week. It was filled with relaxing workouts…



…beautiful sunsets…

…a visit with my grandparents (and a home-grown orchid!)…


…new sandals to replace my worn out ones…

…a graduation party for a friend (Congratulations, Jenna!!!)…

…and so much more. I am suffering from a post- marathon cold, so I’ve been drinking a lot of tea, sitting in the sauna, and eating a lot of garlic. Sorry, Brian!
On Thursday, we headed out east of town with a few of my TU friends to check out the stream restoration projects that our chapter has in the works on the Tomorrow River. Our future president brought his little girl along for her first kayak ride. πŸ™‚



After that, we headed over to a little lake for some fishing. πŸ™‚




After that long day, Brian crashed pretty hard. My cold was bothering me, so we were both happy to be home.

I logged a few slow miles this week, and one of the highlights was finding a little duck couple in my neighbor’s yard. πŸ™‚

Our weekend was filled with quite a bit of excitement. It started Friday night, with a Zumbathon. This was quite a fun gig! Check out the content of the dance party…





I came home from that photo shoot and worked on packing my equipment for the Northwoods. We woke up Saturday morning, packed up the car, and headed to where the freeway ends.

We had the incredible opportunity to shoot Kyt and Nick’s wedding up near the Michigan border. I’ve known Kyt for almost two decades, and it was wonderful to spend the day with her and see our friends all in one place!


Their ceremony took place on a dock floating in the middle of the lake. πŸ™‚

…and they jumped in as the finale!









Many congratulations to Kyt and Nick! It was wonderful to see your family again, and of course- our friends from Riverside Elementary, DCE Jr and Sr High, and UWSP. πŸ™‚
Brian and I drove south to Minocqua to spend the night, and we enjoyed our Sunday together. I went for a run on the Hiawatha trail.

Historical and beautiful- it was the perfect way to shake out on a vacation-y morning.


After a quick shower and stop for coffee, we walked around downtown and stopped at a craft show at Torpe park. We bought candy at Dan’s…

…gummy candy is my favorite! I especially love those “fruit” slices.
We went to lunch at an awesome BBQ joint.

It’s one block off the main drag, and worth every penny. The food was good, the people were good, and the ambiance was awesome. I love anything served to me on butcher paper πŸ™‚

After that awesome meal, we headed out for a couple hours of paddling/fishing/swimming.


Look, Mom… I can touch my head to my deck!




Balancing on top of a kayak like mine is harder than it looks- right side up OR upside down!


We got on the road just in time to catch some of the “returning home” traffic. We were in a hurry to get back for Mary and Joe’s engagement portraits! Brian and I went to college with Mary. She’s our DO sister! Congratulations, friends. πŸ˜€ I tried to capture a little of Joe’s personality in my shots. Can you tell?




After a full day of fresh air, we crashed hard. I only woke up in the night to scratch my 863684894789354636793 mosquito bites. I must have had high blood sugar after all those gummy candies. Whoops.
I’ll have to fill you in on today later. πŸ™‚ I had a lot of photo editing, cleaning and unpacking, router shopping, and some adorable family portraits. Whew! I’m off to bed.
PS: If you’re a Wisconsinite, please remember to vote tomorrow!

Miles this year: 328.2

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Happy (belated) May day!

Hey, friends. πŸ™‚ I hope that May is treating you all well so far!
After my whirlwind weekend, I spent Monday recovering… Laundry, cleaning the house, and TONS of photo sorting. While I was at the gym on Monday, a man had a heart attack.

I’ve since changed my name to Concernicus, since I’m deeply concerned about my own heart health, and I’m concerned that I wasn’t wouldn’t be able to help a stranger in need. I need to re-learn CPR. Seriously. While I know that prayer is powerful, I have a hunch that chest compressions might be more powerful in that situation. I’m taking a class in June.
I came home from the gym pretty shaken up, but I was also SUPER hungry, so I wanted to get started on dinner right away. We had Mexican! Brian had some delicious tacos and I had a taco salad. With a Coronoa, of course! πŸ™‚

Tuesday was a miracle of a day- I got my kayak rack readjusted and brought our boats home for the summer. We store them over at our friends’ house during the winter. Thanks, Bill and Beth! This is what a happy Stratus looks like!

I didn’t have time to take my boat out for a spin because we had to head to small group. This is our first small group led by Robert, but we love Tapestry, so I thought we’d enjoy it. We’re reading and discussing Things Unseen by Mark Buchanan. So far, I’m intrigued.
I was able to take my boat out yesterday for some BEAUTIFUL time on the Wisconsin River. I love that we live just a few blocks away. I’m also continually reminded of how blessed I am to have the equipment and the strength to paddle. I saw some fish and quite a few birds, although the water was pretty murky looking after all the rain we’ve had lately. The sun was shining and the wind was blowing lightly. It was a perfect afternoon to escape real life and play on the water for a while.

I stopped at the Hostel Shoppe afterwards to have a little work done on my bike, and I picked up some delicious buns at the co-op for Brian to make grilled chicken sandwiches for dinner. You know me and my penchant for greens… I had a grilled chicken salad. πŸ™‚
Our neighbor, William, also took me out for my first Harley ride of the season. Aw, yeah. I saw Matt Kirsch while out there… Hey, Matt! That was me with that helmet on, waving like a crazy person. πŸ™‚
We had some crazy storms last night, so I didn’t sleep well. It’s okay, though- dreary weather is God’s way of helping me be more productive indoors. I have a hard time sitting in a dim room editing photos when nature is calling me to run/paddle/cycle/garden. You know what I’m talking about! πŸ™‚
My friend, Justin, came over and we went for a run today. I haven’t seen him since our Pray-Sims days, so it was awesome to catch up! We did a little 6.5 mile loop around the river. My back has been sore for about three weeks now, and it was bothering me a lot on the run today 😦
At least I had some great company to help keep me distracted! I hope my back shapes up and heals before my marathon madness this summer. Thanks, Justin. πŸ™‚

I’ve got some more photo work to get done before we have another busy weekend, so I’m off to my dimly lit room. πŸ™‚

Miles this year: 234.3

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