2013 was a much calmer year than 2012 was, but we were still plenty busy!
In January, I started the new year by rearranging the school room again. This has become a fairly regular occurrence, and I’m not sure that it will ever really be “done.” I had one of my worst kitchen disasters ever, but corrected it a few days later. We enjoyed our final feast of the holiday season. In school, we made an Alleluia banner to (kind of) match the one at church. The entire city of St. Louis mourned the passing of Stan Musial in January, as well.
In February, we celebrated our 100th day of school. I made a big deal out of it, as I always do for a student (this time, Ladybug), in kindergarten. Chickadee celebrated one of her last remaining first holidays…Valentine’s Day. We had a tea party to celebrate. How I love all of my valentines! Our school received a wonderful gift of a microscope, and we had a great time playing with it. I got hooked on Downton Abbey, and the children got hooked on Jem. Chickadee entertained all of us by learning to say “uh-oh,” as well as dropping things intentionally so she could try her new word out!
March was arguably one of the busiest months of 2013, filled with big events. Bunny attended a park district volleyball clinic and loved it. I received a piece of mail from Buckingham Palace. We celebrated Chickadee’s first St. Patrick’s Day with a tea party…my favorite one of the year! Turkey turned ten…we could hardly believe it! We finally tracked down some zeppole for St. Joseph’s Day. Chickadee turned one…it was a big day! We had a snowstorm that will always be remembered as the “Palm Sunday Snowstorm.” We made a Paschal candle on Holy Saturday and (hopefully) started a new family tradition. We had a very blessed Easter, complete with a new Easter bonnet for me.
We started April still celebrating Easter with another tea party. The Cardinals started another awesome season of baseball. We didn’t make it to Opening Day, but we did take the children on their first train ride to Stan Musial Night at Busch Stadium. The blossoming trees were especially beautiful this year! We took lots of pictures and did lots of tree identification. Chickadee started walking unassisted…watch out world! She also had her first ride in a swing. She wasn’t too sure about it at first, but it turned out to be a lot of fun! St. Louis finally got a Lego store, much to our excitement (and to the dismay of our checking account)! We went on a farm tour at Eckert’s, and learned a lot. I finished planning the year’s summer school. We watched with interest as Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands abdicated the throne to her son, Willem-Alexander (one of several abdications this year).
In May, Ladybug turned six, although we had to wait for her big birthday celebration, because Ryan was gone on one of his many business trips (almost two months’ worth!) on her actual birthday. Our Lego store celebrated its grand opening, and we stood in line to be a part of it. It was a lot of fun, and the wait was worth it…unfortunately, it didn’t take the children too long to put all of their sets together! As we do every year, we went to Art on the Square, and this time, bought a print of our town’s beautiful fountain from our favorite artist. I took the big girls strawberry picking for the first time. We had our last day of school for the 2012-13 school year. We used some of the strawberries we picked for our Pentecost tea party. Memorial Day weekend, we made the trip to Kansas City to see the Cardinals play the Royals. Ryan and I started building the Lego Tower Bridge. We finished making a full set of church year banners for our school room.
June began with our biannual (apparently) “Park Day.” We had a lot of fun visiting different playgrounds and splash pads. Turkey started another season of parks and rec baseball. Ladybug lost a tooth for the first time. Ryan and I continued working on the Lego Tower Bridge. I took the children to a “Dock Dogs” competition at Eckert’s, which was definitely a first for us! We also went to Grant’s Farm. We celebrated the Queen’s birthday with another tea party. To celebrate “Beer Stein Night” at the ballpark, Ryan and I went to the Flying Saucer for the first time with a friend. The children and I (minus Chickadee) went to the International Center for the service of blessing for the new KFUO studios. Ladybug was very disappointed to learn that the American Girl doll she’s always wanted was going to be retired by the end of the year (stay tuned…). We went blackberry picking for the first time, and really enjoyed the fruits of our labor!
We were very happy that this July had much cooler weather than last July did. We were able to be outside doing things a whole lot more! We went to Six Flags St. Louis for the first time, and the children had their first experiences with roller coasters. And I remembered why I hate roller coasters! Moose took us with him to “Honor Roll Night” at the Gateway Grizzlies game. We had a fun Fourth of July, and celebrated with an adorable little patriot and a big feast. Bunny and I went out for a Mother-Daughter sushi lunch. Twinkies made a comeback! We went to the zoo, and got to see the very cool new sea-lion exhibit for the first time. Turkey’s baseball team had an unexpected victory in the playoffs, which allowed them to play one more game. Bunny celebrated her ninth birthday. We had all-inclusive tickets to a Cardinals game…a rare, but very appreciated, treat! While we were there, Turkey got beaked! I volunteered at the LCMS convention, and then took the children back to see it in action. We also finally visited the Gateway Arch (although we didn’t take the ride to the top). We celebrated the birth of Prince George with yet another tea party (I’m getting to be a professional at putting those together!).
In August, we went peach picking at Eckert’s. There’s no end of things to do there! We added Lego Big Ben to our architecture collection. Bunny and I went to Star Wars Night at Busch Stadium, and even got to sit in the Champion’s Club. We took another road trip, this time to see the Cardinals AA affiliate, the Springfield Cardinals, play. Ryan and I repainted and redecorated our den/his office. The whole family (but especially Chickadee!), got hooked on Dinosaur Office. We visited the St. Louis Art Museum. All of the older children went back to school, and I made schultüte for them again…I guess it’s a tradition now! We took a field trip to the St. Louis Science Center. Fredbird celebrated his birthday, so we went to Busch Stadium to help him.
September was a big baseball month. I went to Social Media Night, and even won an autographed Jason Motte photo! We also got to see a walk-off victory the night we went to Busch Stadium with Moose’s school. We went downtown to see the fountain at Kiener Plaza dyed red in honor of the Cardinals going to the playoffs. We celebrated Oktoberfest. We took another trip to Eckert’s, this time to pick apples. While Ryan was out of town (again!), the children and I went to the St. Louis Scottish games for the first time. We celebrated Michaelmas with an angelic feast.
Moose brought home a really cool piece of art he made in October. We were back at Eckert’s…this time for pumpkin picking. Even the Lego store caught Redbird Fever. I shared what a day in the life our homeschool looks like. I also rearranged the schoolroom…again…which allowed Chickadee to move in with her big sisters. Red October really started to heat up in St. Louis (before it fell flat in the World Series). I put together one last tea party for the year (number seven!), for Reformation Day.
Things got really busy in November. The children and I (minus Chickadee, again), spent a fun day in Forest Park, looking for leaves and seeds and any other nature items we could find. We even looked at some of it under the microscope! Moose turned eight. Ryan took me to my first-ever hockey game. Chickadee was very excited when we put up the Christmas tree! Ryan and I finally finished the Lego Tower Bridge, complete with mini vehicles assembled by the children. I made my radio debut on KFUO. I also baked a lot of pies for our Thanksgiving dinner. We finished our Thankful Tree for the year. The day after Thanksgiving, we started what I hope will become a new tradition…we spent a few hours as a family, putting together a Lego Christmas Market. I already can’t wait to see what next year’s Christmas set will be! When we finished that, we went down to main street for our town’s tree lighting.
December was, as it is every year, crazy. Due to an illness that we couldn’t shake for several weeks, we had to cross a few things off of my to-do list, and Christmas school fell a bit flat. We did get around to all of the important stuff, though, even if it didn’t all quite happen as planned (our Christmas baking this year, for example, got spread out over several weeks, and was still happening after Christmas was over!). Other than the illness, there was one low point in December…Turkey had to have some baby teeth pulled. He was very brave, though, and it was soon forgotten. We went to Christmas on the Hill…it was very cold! That meant that we didn’t walk around as much as usual, but we still saw La Befana, looked at the nativity scenes, and ate salamites! For the first time, we got to walk the Anheuser-Busch brewery at nighttime, and see all of their beautiful Christmas lights. We celebrated Santa Lucia Day, with Bunny playing the title role, and handing out Lussekattes for breakfast. Even though we had looked at Belleville’s gingerbread houses at night after the tree lighting, we went back to see them a little better in the daylight. Of course, we made it to our favorite event, St. Charles Christmas Traditions. We all fell in love with this sweet video of Sweden’s adorable Princess Estelle baking cookies, and Ryan even bought Chickadee her own tiny rolling-pin just like the Princess. To kick off his Christmas vacation, Ryan played video games for 25 hours straight (with some help from the children), to raise money for the children’s hospitals in St. Louis. The children worked hard to prepare for their roles in the Sunday School Christmas program. Ladybug lost a tooth right before we left for church on Christmas Eve! We had a very merry Christmas. For the first time ever, each member of our family received a Lego set (well, Chickadee’s was a Duplo set, but it counts!), but mine was the best…the now-retired Lego Winter Village Cottage. Now I don’t have to worry about what we’ll build the day after Thanksgiving next year! We continued our celebration the day after Christmas, when I made a pork crown roast for the first time for our fancy Christmas dinner. Ryan’s mom and I went on the “Beermaster Tour” at Anheuser-Busch…it was both fun and informative!
Writing this up is always a huge undertaking, but I love the chance to look back at all of the fun things we’ve done over the last year, and wonder what the next year has in store for us! It has been a busy, fun, crazy year, and I am so Thankful for all of the moments with which God has blessed us. I pray that He also blesses your days with joyful, noisy moments!
Happy New Year!
I love this quote…it demonstrates how baseball imitates life!
In the end, it comes down to throwing one pitch after another, and seeing what happens. With each new consequence, the game begins to take shape. Avery Brooks as Commander Sisko in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
It is played everywhere. In parks and playgrounds and prison yards. In back alleys and farmers’ fields. By small children and old men. Raw amateurs and millionaire professionals. It is a leisurely game that demands blinding speed. The only game in which the defense has the ball. It follows the seasons, beginning each year with the fond expectancy of springtime, and ending with the hard facts of autumn. It is a haunted game, in which every player is measured against the ghosts of all who have gone before. Most of all, it is about time and timelessness. Speed and grace. Failure and loss. Imperishable hope. And coming home. From the Ken Burns Documentary Baseball
“Not only was I not the best catcher in the Major Leagues, I wasn’t even the best catcher on my street!” Joe Garagiola Sr., on growing up with neighbor Yogi Berra
I’ve stayed away from writing about the whole Albert Pujols situation, partly because it makes me so angry, and partly because I didn’t think it deserved any more attention.
But, I’ve gotten angrier, and writing is cathartic, so…
It would be really nice if Albert, and his wife Deidre, would stop insulting the Cardinals fans’ intelligence. If I hear “It wasn’t about the money,” one more time, I may scream. Of course it was about the money…it’s always about the money. At least Lance Berkman was honest enough to own up to that fact earlier this year. But Albert, the man who two years ago claimed that he wanted to stay in St. Louis forever, and didn’t need an extra three or four million a year somewhere else because he’d already made his money? He wants us to keep believing that the reason he left St. Louis for Los Angeles was for some nobler purpose, some idealistic reason having to do with commitment, and not money at all?
Yes, the Cardinals most recent offer was for “only” five years. Perfectly reasonable, if you ask me, given Pujols’s (reported) age. But lets not forget that prior to that, there had been a 10-year deal, with the added incentive of having some sort of stake in the team, some kind of front-office job, and a lasting legacy here in St. Louis. He was set to become the next “Stan the Man” here in town; he almost certainly would have had a statue outside the first base gate someday, as a testament to his time and success here. The fans loved him, even when his performance slumped, and would have continued to love him, even as age started to take its toll, as it certainly would have. That’s the kind of town St. Louis is; that’s the kind of fans the Cardinals have. That’s why they call this “baseball heaven.”
But we weren’t committed to him. Right.
I’m with columnist Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He tried to be sensible about this unpleasant situation, and not cast blame. But, like many Cardinals fans, myself included, all he had to hear was Albert’s very insulting press conference with the Angels to get his ire up. When your town’s (former) hero turns on you, and openly states that the team, the organization, and by extension, the city, weren’t committed to him, you can’t help but get mad, and call a spade a spade. In the end, Bernie was spot on with his first reaction to this whole mess:
I’ve mentioned this before, and will talk about it again: the sentimental side of me wanted Pujols to remain with the Cardinals for his entire career. I know better, but I still suffer from the disease of naiveté. Baseball does this to a lot of people, me included. Makes us all sappy and romantic. You want the hero to stay and complete the storybook. But it doesn’t work that way in modern sports. Not very often, anyway.
That about sums it up–we baseball fans are a bunch of romantics at heart, and even though common sense says otherwise, we want to believe that we’ll get our happy ending–all of us, players and fans alike. After all, “faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to,”* right? So, our initial reaction of shock and dismay, was honest and real, even though we may have tried to justify it after the fact. And our anger and disgust are equally justified, especially after hearing our support criticized.
It’s all about the money, Albert. It always has been, and always will be. Stop deluding yourself, and stop insulting the people of St. Louis. We know where your loyalties lie, now more than ever.
*With thanks to George Seaton, and by extension, Fred Gailey in Miracle on 34th Street, for summarizing faith so well.
“So I guess in the end, Anaheim traded the Rams to St. Louis for a baseball icon to be named later.” Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Albert Pujols’ departure from the Cardinals
The end of the baseball season, even an amazing season like the one the Cardinals had, is bittersweet. There were so many great moments this year–victories, comebacks, and great plays. So many great players–Cards vets like Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina, other vets new to the Cards organization like Lance Berkman and Rafael Furcal, young players just getting started like Danny Descalso and October hero David Freese. And so many weird, memorable incidents–mainly, the Rally Squirrel and the presence of Torty Craig on Twitter and in conversations.
But, no matter how good next season may be, (12 in ’12, anyone?), it will never be the same. This exact team will never again play together, because like it or not, some players will no longer be part of the Cardinals organization next year. While there may be new weird moments, the things that happened this year that made this season so special will fade away. And the comebacks that we experienced this year, from being 10 1/2 games out in August, to the improbable wins versus the Phillies and the Brewers, and especially the multiple comebacks in game six of the World Series will likely never happen again, and should never happen again–those were once in a lifetime moments.
So, the championship victory was amazing. The celebration has been fun. The new heroes born in October in St. Louis will never be forgotten. But just like New Year’s Eve, you look back and realize that while things in the future may be just as good, they will never be the same, and you look forward knowing that you’re looking a different kind of experience, that will provide new, amazing opportunities, but will never again be a match for the things that have gone before.
This is how I’m feeling after the amazing end to the Cardinals baseball season:
“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” Rogers Hornsby
I was excited to see a new “Legends are Born in October” commercial for this year’s MLB postseason. Enjoy!
Every time I see this video, it makes me laugh. Especially the slow-motion part. There’s just something about watching a squirrel run at an astonishingly slow rate that’s very amusing!