Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas 2013

Christmas this year was pretty low key. Our Christmas Eve was filled with tasty food. We had banana pancakes for breakfast and made a turkey breast, mashed sweet potatoes and asparagus for dinner. On Christmas Day we went to my parents' house for Christmas with my mom's family. Then on December 28th we celebrated with my immediate family in the morning and then my dad's family in the afternoon.

Christmas 2013

Mom and Ben

Patrick's gift

Ben and his remote control car

Christmas 2013

Mom & Dad

Mom, Dad & Ben

Earle, Dianne, Sara, Patrick, Nathan, Nickie, Ben & Luke

Mike & Elim

The Whole Traxler Family

The Ben's

Jeanne & Elim

Christmas 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Camper Cabin at Lake Maria State Park

Last weekend we tried out a new adventure. We had been to Lake Maria State Park a couple years ago and saw they had these camper cabins. We thought it would be fun to stay at one of those in the winter. Patrick checked into it and they are very popular and this was the only weekend that was open until March, so we booked it. Up until a week before hand we thought we would be hiking in without snow, but lucky for us a huge storm came in just days before our trip. That also meant a cold front came through after the snow as well, so we were forced to bundle up as temperatures were below zero.

I was not looking forward to hiking in negative temperatures, but it really wasn't bad at all. We got to the cabin and the wood burning stove still had embers in it so we had the cabin warmed up in no time. We didn't have much time until the sunset so we got all our stuff organized before everything went dark. The cabin doesn't have electricity, so we had to use our headlamps to see the rest of the night. The rest of the night we made dinner and played a game of checkers. It really is nice to get away and just enjoy life versus constantly focusing on your never ending to do list.

In the morning we woke up, made some oatmeal and then bundled up for some snowshoeing around the park. We spent a couple hours snowshoeing around the park. It was still pretty cold, but it was lightly snowing and no one else was crazy enough to be out there so it was pretty cool to have the park to ourselves.

snow shoes

Lake Maria State Park Camper Cabin

Patrick Backpacking to Cabin

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Cabin Scenary

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Lake Maria State Park Camper Cabin-006

Cabin Inside

Candle Light Dinner and Games

Moon

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Patrick and Sara at Cabin

Lake Maria State Park Camper Cabin-003

Snowy Snowshoeing Scenary

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving Weekend

This year for Thanksgiving we headed to La Crosse to spend Thanksgiving with Patrick's family. We drove down on Wednesday night after work. We stopped for dinner at a new sub place by our house and traffic was kind of annoying so we didn't end up getting there until around 8pm. That night Patrick went out to a bar from our college days for 25 cent wings and dollar beers.

Thanksgiving morning we were up bright and early for the Turkey Trot. We hadn't pre registered so we got there around 7am for the 8am run. We ended up running into Erin a girl that we both worked with in college. All three of us ran the entire 5 miles together and made pretty good time. We finished in 48 minutes and 28 seconds. I wasn't really feeling it at the end, but Patrick motivated me to keep going:).

2013 La Crosse Turkey Trot

After our five mile run we went back to Steve and Sandy's to shower and hang out with Steve's family for a while. Then we were off to Georgia and Rich's for Patrick's family Thanksgiving. We spent the day there eating a tasty meal, watching football and just hanging out.

The next morning we were able to visit our friends Chris and Sammi who recently moved from the cities to the La Crosse area. We saw their new house and all the home projects they have planned. And to cap off our trip we headed to Etrick to take some photos of my friend Katie's one year old girl.

And if that weren't enough on the way home we stopped in Red Wing and checked out their little town Christmas festivities. It was a really neat little event. One of the churches had a live nativity scene, there were sleigh rides with real reindeer and the main event was a parade. We didn't watch the parade, but we did check out quite a few little shops and even bought a couple things. It was a great way to kick off the Christmas season.

We planned on getting our Christmas tree on Saturday, but after being gone for a couple days it ended up being much nicer just relax. On Sunday morning we went to Lowe's and got our tree. This year we got a short tree and it was only $23. Our living space is so small it really is just nicer to have a small tree so that works out well since they are so much cheaper and require less decorating than the taller trees. The tree is pretty similar to last year, except I was very excited to find my red wooden garland from last year's after Christmas sales in our box of Christmas decor. We also added our 2013 ornament to the tree, a grizzly bear eating huckleberries from our trip to Glacier this year.

Christmas Decor 2013

Christmas Decor 2013

Christmas Decor 2013-002

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Packers vs. Bears

On Monday November 4th Patrick and I headed to Lambeau Field for another Packer game. We were both super excited about it: first it was a Monday night game broadcast on ESPN, second it was against a division rival the Bears and third we were going to help carry the flag on to the field during the National Anthem. The whole night ended up being an awesome experience, something neither of us will ever forget.

We arrived at Lambeau Field around 4:30pm and we didn't have to be at our flag practice until 6:00pm so we had plenty of time to wander around and check things out. The previous game we went to in September it was pouring rain the entire time we walked around outside, this time it was chilly but at least it wasn't raining.

Packers Bears Game 11.04-001

Tailgating at Lambeau Field

Tailgating at Lambeau Field

Tailgating at Lambeau Field

Lambeau Field

Around 6:00pm we headed to the Don Hutson Center, where the Packers practice, to meet for our flag practice.  We were spilt into four groups when we arrived. During the National Anthem there would be four flags on the field and we would be helping hold one of them. Each flag would open at a different point during the song, so we spent 45 minutes practicing our performance.

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Flag Practice at Don Hutson Center

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Don Hutson Center

Event Entertainment Pass

After our practice at the Don Hutson Center our group of about 128 people carried our flags to the stadium. We were at the front of the flags, so we could see the tunnel to the field from where we were waiting. We even got to watch the Packers go back to the locker room after their warm up.

Tundra Tunnel

After the teams were back in the locker room it was our turn to go out on the field. We went through the tunnel and down the Bears sideline to the north end zone.  Since we were first in line we got a front row seat to watch both teams run out the tunnel and be introduced to the stadium.  We were also standing right next to the goal posts that the kickers were warming up on, so we were right in the action with our spot.  In the end we were probably on the field for 10-15 minutes before the National Anthem started. After the coin toss the National Anthem started and we ran out on on the field with our flag. The song seemed to fly by compared to normal. I wish I had some photos from that but it really was pretty awesome to just enjoy the moment.  We both loved the whole experience of being on the field and carrying the flag, but it was extra special for Patrick. He has loved football and the Packers since he can remember, so being able to be on the field before the game definitely fulfilled one of his childhood dreams.

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Sara and Patrick on Lambeau Field

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View on Lambeau Field

Sara and Patrick on Lambeau Field

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Packers Entrance

Packers Entrance

Packers Entrance

Packers Entrance

After the our performance we went to our seats.  We missed Rodgers getting injured since that was in the first play. Also by the time we got to our seats the woman next to us had taken over our seats with papers, desserts and a bottle of diet coke. Because of this we didn't end up spending much time in our seats that night.  The Packers ended up losing the game 27-20. After the game we watched part of the ESPN broadcast and took the long route back to the car. On our walk to the car we saw Jordy Nelson leaving the stadium. Even after the loss he rolled down his window and waved to a small group of us.

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ESPN Broadcast

Packers Bears Game 11.04-006

Even after waiting a long time to leave traffic was still quite annoying. We got to our hotel in Oshkosh around 1:15am and immediately went to bed. The next day we slept in and then hit the road back home.