Friday, May 29, 2009

Partners in Policymaking May Graduation!!!

The 2009 Partners in Policymaking class came to a close with graduation on the weekend of Mother's Day.

We had our normal session and then for Saturday afternoon, was the graduation ceremony. It was very meaningful, as Christine Dahlberg, the program director, spoke of many of the highlights of this class, such as the the people backing each other and how the entire class got behind the IN Service Dog Bill HB1603 and got it pushed through legislation and passed into law. :)

Here is the room set up before things began- a table with all the bags and certificates on it:

With that, there were a couple of speakers and then they called each of us up to receive our certificates, our business cards with our names/addresses on them and congradulate us all and took pics.

Nancy Griffin (IN Gov's Council board member) Jan Bullington (Assistant to Christine during class)KC & Rei, Christine Dahlberg (IN Partners in Policymaking program director)

After these were all handed out, one of our guests speakers had everyone circle up and we were each given a candle to hold. He lit a candle brought over from the Cincinatti Partner's program and lit it saying what Partners meant to him and then lit the next person's candle.

That person then had a few minutes to mention what partners meant to them and then lit the next candle until we had made it completely around the room.

KC speaking about what the Partners program has meant for her.

KC with Rei and holding her certificate of graduation:

It was quite amazing, as after the ceremony was over, Rei and I went over to Gary and Brady to say our good byes. A lady then came over with this tiny little dog wrapped up in a blanket and thanked us both profusely for working to get HB1603 passed as her little dog was an emotional support dog for her and she has had long time issues with being able to take the dog with her as needed, but now with the passing of HB1603, she was now legally able to take her dog with her.

Quite honestly, Gary and I were kind of at lost for words and wasn't sure what to say other than "You"re Welcome", as we did it for the right thing, not to cater to any one partiular group but for service dogs and guide dogs in general and we were just thrilled and happy to see it go through and that Gov. Daniels signed it into law!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Turkey Run State Park

Because of Soccer fields being flooded in early May, the games were cancelled and instead of sitting around home, we decided to take a family outting to Turkey Run State park and enjoy the great outdoors. So we packed a picnic lunch, a set of extra clothes for everyone, in preparation of getting wet and muddy, and set out on a nearly 4 mile trail hike!

KT swinging on the tire swing at the playground in the picnic area:

AC holding a large walking stick with an exuberant look on his face:

Hubby and the kids walking single file on the trail with growth and trees on both sides:

KC with Rei, the kids, all sitting on a large tree trunk alongside of the trail:

This is one of my absolute favorite pictures from this trip, all three kids overlooking the water and the beautiful background of trees and scenery behind the water.

Rei really, REALLY impressed both Hubby and I though this whole excursion. She worked hard to keep me safe around branches, over small logs and around as many mud puddles as she could. She navigated the safest path and even got to do a little rock climbing herself as we had a few rough spots on the trail.

First, here she is in front of the water as the kids were:

The path that we walked down, a dirt path about 4 feet wide, lined on both sides with trees as far as you can see:

Hubby and the kids overlooking the white covered bridge that was built in 1882:

Here is the hard spot in the trail that we came to, where the kids needed help to go down and Rei navigated her own way down too:

Hubby and the kids going down:

Rei navigating her way down:

Hubby and the kids standing in front of a large tree by the trail:

KT on the suspension bridge:

Almost back to the van- several hours and nearly 4 miles later/ Hubby and the kids walking up the stairs along the box canyon:

A break sitting on the bench overlooking the box canyon:

Rei checking out the ledge area and sniffing around:

The last hard climb: MD, AC, & hubby making it up the stone steps:

Rei at the stone steps, which she looked at me and gave me this look of "you want me to do WHAT???"

On the home stretch back to the van- Hubby, MD, & AC walking the last little bit back to where we started:

A SUPER tired Rei crashed between the front seats in the van: