1. Flower bulbs that I planted in Fall 2015 came up in Spring 2016. I planted more bulbs than I ever planted in past year.
This Spring, they came up.
The tulips were so beautiful.
I wish I planted more bulbs for denser flower beds.
2. Of the walks I took with the dogs, there was a fun and memorable one when I Aspen with me (Cooper was recovering from Lyme's Disease).
I parked the car on a rural road that we hadn't walked down before. There were cows in the distance that all came walking and running over to us.
Both the cows and Aspen were equally curious with one another.
As we walked down the road, the cows followed us along the fence line. As we walked further down the road, the cows went back to grazing. When we returned to where the cows were, they spotted us and again came walking and running towards us. I'm so happy I had my camera with me to remember these friendly cows and fun walk.
3. Listening to my daughters' music skills improve, and hearing them perform for others.
Both the girls take piano lessons and Sophia also takes harp lessons.
Having a house filled with music is wonderful.
I enjoy listening to both of them practice.
It's been equally as nice listening to Sophia perform throughout the year at churches, nursing homes, funerals, and weddings.
4. Going to Washington, Idaho, and Oregon with my sister.
My sister paid for my trip to these three states in June. It was such a great trip - not only traveling with her and seeing things I hadn't seen before - but doing things I would never have been able to do.
We both thoroughly enjoyed going to the Chihuly glass museum as well as touring the Seattle space needle.
We waited for about 30 minutes for a storm passed before being able to go inside a wind turbine in Washington.
As much as you see these from a distance, being right next to one makes one feel so small. I believe the tour guide said an entire school bus could fit into the rectangular part to which the blades are attached.
My sister also had booked a train ride from Seattle to Portland. It was a multi-hour trip, but we had our own room and could eat in the dining car.
A highlight of our time in Portland was seeing the thousands of roses at the rose garden.
5. Seeing wildlife up close.
It's a simple highlight of the year. I got to see a tiny fawn up close at Fawn Doe Rosa in Wisconsin.
During the same visit, a deer was leaping through the field and literally jumped a couple feet in front of me. Although startling, it was certainly a memorable experience.
The girls and I also trapped an opossum that was in our barn this fall. Since we have horses, having an opossum on the property isn't good. So, we had to do an "Opossum Relocation Program."
We had studying opossums during the 4-H Wildlife Project Bowl. We've seen dead ones on the road, but never a live one up close.
Through the process of capturing it, we also were able to see it play dead and bare its teeth (it has the most teeth of any North American mammal). It was an interesting experience.
6. Spending time with family and the pets.
Being able to spend time with family is always a highlight. It can be as simple as seeing a small town parade.
The floats, marching bands, and surprises - like the base of a hot air balloon - were memorable.
Spending time with the girls at the Minnesota State Fair and seeing them compete was definitely a highlight. Olivia competed in Shooting Sports. Her focus was on archery - a new sport she learned this year.
Sophia competed in Child Development. She shared what she did with creating three types of bags for children and teens in the foster care system.
We painted and installed 11 barn quilts this year. It was such a feeling of satisfaction to get the project done by December 9th!
We also worked together on the final seeding and planting of perennials at the Pollinator Habitat Park that we had been working on since August 2015.
Prairie Restorations did all the major seeding and the girls seeded some areas by hand that the tractor didn't reach.
Spending time with family also meant celebrating Olivia's adoption day on November 17th.
Thanksgiving was on November 24th this year.
We celebrated Sophia's adoption day on November 27th this year because she was playing the harp at a wedding on her actual adoption day (November 26th).
Of course, for me, spending time with the pets is always special. Both the dogs have their own unique personality.
They enjoy one another's company and ours.
When we come home we can hear them howling like wolves as they look at us from the dining room window. I looked up why dogs do this. Apparently with wolves, one (or more) wolves will stay back while the others go hunting. The wolves call the others back home by howling.
I wonder if they consider us part of their pack and they are calling us back home.
7. Attending WE Day and being able to see the key speakers up close.
We were able to see Buzz Aldrin at WE Day. He had a lot of interesting stories and experiences to share.
Paula Abdul share her experiences about the challenges of growing up without having much money and always feeling like she wasn't good enough. She talked about how she overcame those challenges.
I was very proud of Sophia who received an award at WE Day and spoke in front of 18,000+ youth and educators. She will be heading to Arizona in 2017 to attend a leadership camp.
The last key speaker was George Takei.
He spoke about living in the Japanese internment camp during WWII. It was a powerful talk.
So, I would consider those experiences highlights of my year.