Friday, October 28, 2011

Gail's 2 loves

This is my Aunt Gail. She is my dad's younger sister. Gail has two loves. I believe her first love is the people around her. She loves her family and she loves her friends. In fact, she can tell every detail of probably every interaction she has ever had with anyone. Seriously, her memory is amazing. She will even do people's voices as she is recounting her stories, if you are lucky. Her very close second love is horses. (Actually horses could be her first love..hard to know for sure)

When she lived in Florida, she was able to participate in a horseback riding program. She got to ride a horse named, Vayda. Gail still talks about that horse and different interactions and conversations she had with him. She will even do his voice too, if you are lucky.

When she moved here to Minnesota from Florida (right after Andrew was born) we all wanted her to be able to continue her horseback riding. Mom and Dad put Gail's name on the waiting list for We Can Ride and after a year or so wait, she was in! We Can Ride is an organization that offers therapeutic horseback riding and carriage driving to adults and children living with disabilities. Gail has been participating in this organization for a few years now. I have wanted to go for a while, but never got around to it (bad niece). Last night was Gail's last session until spring. I finally got a chance to take Gail, see the place and watch her on the horses. I loved having a chance to do something with/for Gail. I loved seeing Gail on the horse. She got to ride Minka. Gail's smile was enormous. I am grateful that there are places like We Can Ride that can bring so much happiness into Gail's life! I look forward to driving her again next year.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sever's Corn Maze

MEA weekend is here. MEA is the two days in October that everyone in the state has off from school (except, of course, the U). We like to spend our MEA weekend doing something fun together with friends. This Fall has been glorious. We met up with the Burgoynes and went to Sever's Corn Maze. This year's theme is outer space. Here is the scarecrow that was at the entrance of the maze waiting to greet us and set the mood for the day. Ry wasn't lucky enough to get an astronaut helmet. Poor guy has no oxygen in this picture.
This is an aerial shot of the maze. As you can see it is huge. Scattered throughout the maze are signs with different letters and different space facts. Luckily, you are given a map to help you collect the facts. Trevor and Ry did a great job of helping us figure out the best routes to take. Andrew and Ethan had a bunch of fun running all over the place exploring, but mainly just chasing each other.I did manage to get a group shot of everyone at a sign within the maze. Andrew is standing behind Ryan. I told him I could not see him and ...he answered, "that's the point!" Such a cooperative child.
The maze was spectacular, but we really loved all the activities waiting for us when we finished it. First we played on the hay-bale maze. It soon became their favorite activity at the Fall Festival.
They didn't actually run through the maze part of the hay-bale maze. Just played on the tops of the walls.They played tag as they jumped and ran around.
Then we went over to the corn pool. Of course, this became their favorite activity at the Fall Festival. It was our first time in a pool of corn. The corn was surprisingly soothing. They played king of the mountain and they had fun burying each other. Everyone had a chance to be buried.

Seriously, who needs water when you can play in a pool of corn? The above picture is just one end of the pool, it was huge. While at the corn pool, we bumped into the Deans. This is another family we met when we first moved to Minnesota. What a fun surprise!
After the corn pool, we went over to the giant pillows.
They were two giant inflatable "pillows" that everyone got to jump on. You guessed it, this soon became the kids' favorite activity at the Fall Festival (do you see a pattern?).The game of tag continued on the pillows.
Other highlights include....launching pumpkins (not pictured), the camel rides,The giant slideand the pig races. We went through this rotation a few times before calling it a day. If you have the time, I highly recommend taking your family here (and this is NOT even a sponsored post...I really recommend it). But, if you go, can we come too?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Giant Park..then and now

The weather is beautiful right now..warm and sunny. The sky is blue and the leaves are changing. It is pretty much wonderful outside right now. Thus, we wanted to spend some time outside. Also we wanted to spend time with our cousins. We combined the two and met our cousins at Highland Hills Chutes and Ladders. It has been about two or three years since we have gone to this it was time for our return! We have always lovingly called it The Giant Park. It was giant and my kiddos were so small. Take a peek at little Ry.Now, look at him!I followed little Em all over the park...she was fast and fearless.Today she got to follow Adele and Fiona around the park. They were fast and fearless. Here is baby Andrew enjoying the Giant Park..
Today he went up and down many times, trying out different paths along the way.
The red tube slide is still a family favorite.Time flies..the kiddos are getting older..
Thank goodness we have our cousins around to keep us young!