Thursday, March 27, 2008

Horses at the NAHRA conference

Last week my daughter, 15, went to her first professional conference at the Region 6 conference for NAHRA in Fargo. I cannot believe that she is so grown up. Having volunteered with a therapeutic riding program for two years already, it only made sense that she would want to go to this and learn even more about this and horses.

Several staff members drove up there with her. She learned so much; she was ablaze with enthusiasm when she came back. The people with her also taught her a lot about equipment on when they were on their way back from Fargo. They had stopped at a supply store--she found the saddle she wants to buy. (I have had to point out the wisdom in not buying a saddle until she is actually has a horse.)

I miss the days of her toddling around. I guess so many moms dread these days. I must learn to rejoice in her independence, intelligence, generosity and strength. I guess I always knew that animals would be her first love. I can only hope that I am able to do as much for my boys.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Soaring Eagles at the National Eagle Center

My family is fortunate to live in an area that allows us to get to many places in a short drive and still live in a rural setting. Last Thursday, my 3 children and I went to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, about 40 minutes away, with another friend and her son. The NEC celebrated a fabulous new building last spring. My daughter went to a class there in the old building and she was amazed at the difference.

This building sets right on the Mississippi River and overlooks several eagles' nests on the Wisconsin side. They were beautiful and they kept the interest of all the kids. It was nice to see them interact with each other. My oldest boy, and middle child, has a hard time keeping his attention focused on things, but these magnificent birds did it. They went around the center checking out the stations that helps explain the birds' features and learned quite a lot.

We had a great time and had lunch at a small cafe nearby. As my friend put it..."memorable moments." The experience left me wishing we had chosen the other coffee shop instead. Despite surrounding conditions that would make anyone raise an eyebrow, we found the food both tasty and enjoyable.

We finished the afternoon by returning to the NEC and looking at the flag display. Every flag from our nation's history was represented from a private collection. There was also a display and short film about some Native American artifacts. All in all, the experience was worth the short drive.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Music to our ears: an evening with the Minnesota Orchestra

Saturday my daughter and I were fortunate enough to spend the evening with our friends at the Minnesota Orchestra in Minneapolis. They are the same friends that we spent a couple days in Duluth--they have been an answer to multiple prayers. It was a wonderful evening.

The music was beautiful. Listening to a world class orchestra play the selections brought new meaning to listening to classical music on cds. There was a vitality that we are able to understand better now.

The musicians brought a small amount of envy from a person that cannot play any instrument. I am grateful that I have my children in piano lessons even more so now. I cannot imagine taking that opportunity away from them. I also appreciate the concerts where all of my children have gone. As my boys grow up, I know I want to be able to bring them as well.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Winter Wonders

This past week, my children and I were fortunate enough to have been invited by a friend of ours to Duluth. My oldest was able to ski with a friend who uses a monoski. While my daughter was able to participate a little while, for the most part, her status as a beginner and her sore feet made her hand the skis in early.

We stayed in a hotel with a very awesome waterpark. I felt privileged to be there with a my friend, Mary, and was happy to be the one to go down a watertube with her for the first time. She told me that this makes us blood brothers--an honor I truly appreciate. I was thrilled to see her daughter, Kathryn, work her way to the top despite being in a wheelchair. This girl is incredible--she swims, she skis, she rides horses and she gets herself up a ton of stairs to go down this pretty intimidating slide. I am impressed and proud.

I was equally impressed with my youngest who is petrified of heights. It took him a while, but he faced his fears. I am sad to say he didn't get his bravery from his mother--it would have taken me tons longer to battle that. I relished his giggle as soon as we embarked into the dark tube because until that moment he wanted to back out.

This trip to Duluth was incredible. Beautiful, memorable and a great time. I feel very blessed.