Loving That Family Life at Home and up at the Cabin
This Chippewa Falls family cherishes time at their Northwoods cabin and their sometimes hectic life at home
Husband of 17 years: Matt
Kids: Myles (16), Lydia (13), Simon (10), Henry (7), Martha (6)
Pets: Cece (a silky-poo who rules the West Hill neighborhood), and 4 NWSF goldfish from several years ago
West Hill, Chippewa Falls
Background: Amy was born and raised in Chippewa Falls, attending private schools through high school and graduating from McDonell High School in 1998. She transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with her husband Matt, bringing her oldest son, Myles, into the world 10 days before she started classes in their nursing program. Juggling parenthood and college courses, Amy completed the nursing program and graduated while pregnant with their second child, Lydia. Amy started working as an RN at Mayo in Eau Claire and worked there until 2016 with various maternity leaves along the way. Amy and Matt grew tired of their daily commutes from their country home to their Eau Claire jobs and had a strong desire to be closer to family so in 2012 they made the move back to Chippewa Falls. Now working 3 days a week at the HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine, Amy has found a good balance between a rewarding job and being home, where her heart is. In February, she will be participating in her first Birkiebeiner. Long story short, they love being active and enjoying all the Chippewa Valley has to offer.
We love the Chippewa Valley because it is a beautiful area with many things to do and places to go. We frequent the Lake Wissota area, Irvine Park, various trails and other parks, the library, the YMCA, and many of the dining areas the Valley has to offer. Because we were born and raised here, we know many people from the community and there is something comforting about that. There are familiar faces everywhere we go.
I make sure to never miss a meal. For real, who doesn’t love food. And with so many awesome places to shop and eat in the Chippewa Valley, it is quite easy!
My favorite place to take the kids is our cabin. Although the teens bawk a little at the lack of wi-fi and the fact that squirrels were living in our outhouse, deep down they love to be there. We canoe, fish, kayak, swim, ski, read, do puzzles, work outdoors, make forts, explore, and go to fun restaurants in the area. We love making memories at the cabin. The kids love hitting up the candy shop in Hayward, as well.
I never leave the house without my phone, ugh. My husband and I resisted smart phones until 2015, but now, how can I live without it? What if I needed directions? What if my car broke down? What if we simply had to know how many bones a rainbow parrot fish has?!
In the summer you’ll find us at our cabin, Lake Wissota, the Chippewa pool, Irvine park, or cruising the West Hill by bike, scooter, or on foot. You can also find us in our yard. You can find our youngest kids selling things at the end of the driveway. I don’t want to squash that entrepreneurial spirit but I do need to reign it in when they are selling the new boxes of cereal I just bought…
My spouse would say my super power is caring for others. I have a heart for others and care deeply for my family, friends, patients, and our world. I would have thought he would say multitasking, but I appreciate his thoughtfulness.
My kids will tell you that their mom and dad ... “Love me” Martha, age 6. “What she said.” Henry, age 7. “Are sometimes embarrassing, sometimes fun.” Simon, age 10. “Are annoying because my mom always sings and dad falls asleep.” Lydia, age 13. “Are always nagging me.” Myles, age 16.
I couldn’t live without oxygen? Really though, all I really need is God. My faith is very important to me. And although I do not want to live without my family, friends, my home, etc, all I really need is the Lord who provides all I need.
My family has taught me to see the perfection in imperfection, to cherish every moment, and to laugh. As you can imagine, 5 kids can be a crazy circus life. There are days that nothing on the “to-do list” gets done. I am reminded that tasks and chores are not all there is to life. Those things will always be there tomorrow but the relationships and experiences of today may not. My family has taught me to roll with the punches.
Our typical weekend is planned based on whatever activities we have, be it kids’ sports games, races, recitals, parties, etc. If we can, we try to go to our cabin. We also attend church on Sunday mornings and try to spend time with our families (my parents or Matt’s parents and our siblings) at some point on the weekends whether it be to share a meal or spending some time doing fun things. Or course, laundry tends to pile up and weekends must include at least a few loads of that.
When the kids are with a sitter we love to go out to dinner at some of our favorite spots in the Chippewa Valley. We love Mahli Thai, The Informalist, Chippewa River Distillery, Bye the Willow, The Local Lounge or whatever new place we can try. Matt and I cherish our date nights. It is so important to us that we spend time together on a regular basis. Marriage takes work and we believe the most important thing we can give to our children are two parents who love each other deeply. We also like to play cribbage, ski together and take walks. Matt and I love to head to our cabin without the kids sometimes too. Somehow with just 2 people there it stays much tidier. And much more quiet.
My spouse always laughs at me because I like to be funny. I love witty humor and I am always looking the humor in situations. We love pranks and have embraced our quirkiness. Our kids will someday appreciate it. I try not to take life too seriously. I love to record all the funny things the kids say throughout the year and share some of the highlights in our annual Christmas newsletter.
If I could pass on one bit of advice it would be in a compilation of many well-known quotes, hoping not to be too cliché, I would say: Work hard, play hard, put others before yourself, don’t compare yourself or your family to others, have goals, roll with the punches, don’t overschedule, and laugh a lot. And always remember, wherever you go, there you are.