Winter Getaway

Daddy O. and I typically get away every winter to celebrate our anniversary.  This year opted to stay in Wisconsin (vs. going to a warm location as we did last year), so we could enjoying snowshoeing in a state forest.

I found a modern and comfortable bed & breakfast near the state forest that was a good location for our weekend adventures.The B&B was full both nights, so we had plenty of company around the breakfast table each morning.

Here are a few photo highlights (including our B&B picture):

scenes from a winter getaway

Scenes from our trip – our log cabin B&B, views from the snow shoe trail, and Old Fashioneds drinks at a supper club.

Snowshoeing was awesome! The trails cut through a forested area with small hills and bends.  Everything was very well marked, and we were working hard enough to shed some layers such that we were comfortable in just a fleece and one under layer. I was delighted to feel warm while being outside on a 20 degree day (a welcome change from so many below-zero wind chill days).

Mama O. Snowshoeing

Look Mom – no coat! It feels so nice to be outside while still being warm.

Here’s a larger panorama:

Bright, sunny day made the snow sparkle in the woods.

Bright, sunny day made the snow sparkle in the woods.

After a few hours of being on the trails, we made it back to our car to find some food.  Being in Wisconsin, we’re always on the lookout for cheese factories! We were pleased to find Beechwood Cheese Factory, making it there right before they closed for the day.

YES - fresh cheese curds!!

YES – fresh cheese curds!! My favorite sign to see!

We bought sun-dried tomato flavored cheese curds that were so fresh that they squeaked when you ate them.  The other two cheeses we bought were a hickory white cheddar and a bacon cheddar cheese.  Both are surprisingly un-opened in our refrigerator right now!  I’ll keep you posted on how they taste.

Later that night we hit up a traditional Wisconsin supper club, where a fellow diner said something funny to us! We had delicious old fashioneds (mine with brandy, sweet & cherries) while we waited for our table. The food & company (Daddy O. of course) were such a treat!

It was so wonderful to enjoy extended quality time together as a couple – a great chance to relax, recharge, and reflect a bit, while the kids enjoyed time with their grandparents. We’ll mark down this winter getaway as one to potentially repeat someday!

Do As I Do in the Polar Vortex

Here’s how I rocked it this morning while dressing up to drive my daughter to school:

#winning! Screw you polar vortex - we're still going out of the house!

Mama O. #winning! Screw you polar vortex – we’re still going out of the house!

With wind chill, it was -25 below zero, so we were dressed in MANY layers.  My daughter shared that her teacher talked about how to dress in the arctic, so she willingly layered on snowpants, boots, hat, mittens, and let me wrap a big scarf around her face, so just her eyes were showing too.  I broke out my long underwear and even layered a tight fitting beanie hat under my balaclava. I’ve lost all sense of style (but I AM smiling with my eyes. Can’t you tell? Thanks to watching America’s Next Top Model, I know that’s a thing.), but I don’t care! I was warm and set a good example for my kids! Some other parents weren’t even wearing a hat when dropping their kids off – one of those “Do as I say, not as I do” moments. (DISCLAIMER – I have those moments as a parent too – just not today.)

Since frigid weather is a reality, and school only closes when it’s -35 below zero wind chills (I think), you simply have to do as I do in a polar vortex. Layer, layer, layer to keep warm! I even threw a fleece blanket over my son in the car to keep him extra warm.

With such advice, I truly feel like I have become my mother! I can hear her saying, “It’s not a fashion show,” when we dressed practically – not fashionably in winters past. I remember one winter blizzard when I was a kid, and my mom ended up walking to our school to walk us home because the roads were so treacherous. We Sconnies (residents of Wisconsin) have to be hearty with such winters!

Over the years I have learned to suck it up, dress warm, and just go about what you need to get done that day.  For example, after dropping off my daughter, I took my son grocery shopping, then stopped at Target to get some warm beverages from Starbucks and do some shopping. Screw you polar vortex – we’re not sitting at home waiting for it to warm up (partly because it WON’T today…or for a few days anyway until it hits a balmy 20 degrees).

Daddy O. does as I do in cold weather as well, saying often in winter, “There’s no such thing as bad weather – only inappropriate clothing.”  For this reason, we’ve taking up snowshoeing as a winter hobby to take advantage of the snow when we can! Here were some shots of us snowshoeing back in 2013.

How do you brave the cold weather? Stay warm and share your thoughts below!

The SLOW Transition to Spring: Hope and Despair in Pictures

A recent post called Hope and despair in pictures from A Thing About Joan truly resonated with me.  March is a crazy, unpredictable time of year in the Midwest in general and in Wisconsin specifically.  We’re used to snowstorms or a light dusting of snow (like today) or beautiful 50 degree days that we experienced just a few days ago. This leads to a lot of melting of the now ugly gray-brown snow. Long gone are the days of the first white snows that stick to trees when we are all moved to say, “But it looks so pretty.”

As a family we LOVE getting outside on these first warm-ish, above freezing days. Daddy O. and I even walked to a nearby restaurant on Friday night for a fish fry date night with two other fun couples. It was so nice! Earlier that day my kids had fun riding big wheels and bikes:

riding bikes by the snowbanks

Image of HOPE – first nice day of March 2014

An even better image of hope was the reprieve from Wisconsin Winter that Daddy O. and I enjoyed on our Kid-free Fun in Phoenix Trip.

Striking views of Chihuly exhibit and scenes of Phoenix, Arizona.

Image of Hope – SUNSHINE and Striking views of Chihuly exhibit and scenes of Phoenix, Arizona.

Images of despair from winter are probably best captured when I discovered that our indoor weather station DOES display negative temperatures, though I was a bit confused by this display:

Image of despair: looking at my weather station during the polar

Image of despair: looking at my weather station during the polar vortex

I guess I have HOPE that today is only in the 20’s, although I am bummed to be dealing with hopefully the final head cold of winter.  I decided to spare you the image of my red-Rudolph-ringed nose and wastebaskets full of tissues.

One final image of hope is a recent colorful drawing from big sister. Aren’t we all looking for rainbows and possibly our pot of gold on Saint Patrick’s Day?!

Big Sister's Rainbow drawing

Image of Hope: A Rainbow for St. Patty’s Day

Have a wonderful day! What do your images of Hope and Despair look like? Thanks for the inspiration Joan.  Link back to her awesome blog to share your posts!