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!
Today was the big day…we made the trip out west for our favorite annual Christmas event–St. Charles Christmas Traditions!
We went to a new restaurant for lunch…Llywelyn’s Pub. I think this is my favorite place that we’ve gone in all of the years we’ve been going to St. Charles. The restaurant is in the old First National Bank building, which is really cool. There are even tables in the vaults! The food is really good…I had a burger with bacon, onions, and havarti cheese (genius!), and colcannon on the side.
After lunch, we began our walk. I love looking at all of the shop windows, signs, and decorations. You really feel like you’re stepping back in the past!
For the second year, there were also gingerbread houses to see. I loved the Tower Bridge, and the person in charge of the voting (who happened to be British), was impressed that Turkey actually knew the name of the bridge, and didn’t just call it “London Bridge.” I also really like the Toys for Tots display…it was so detailed!
Of course, we hunted for Christmas characters. We got cards from 26 of the 40 that are participating this year, and saw another three of them as they went by. Sadly, we didn’t see the Master of Revels at all (my personal favorite), but we did see Jack Frost, which is almost as good.
All of the buildings are so beautiful, too…it’s such a charming town!
There’s a part of me that dreads when this day comes every year, because it’s over so quickly, but I’ll spend all of the next year looking forward to that day when we go back, and do the whole thing all over again! In the meantime, though, I can enjoy this souvenir Ryan bought me from my favorite little English shop!
Today was one of our most-anticipated events of the year…going to downtown St. Charles, and walking up and down Main Street, taking part in the Christmas Traditions festival.
We stopped and saw the “Trains on Main” display this year…we haven’t seen it too often, so it was very fun.
For the first time, St. Charles had a gingerbread house contest…and we love looking at gingerbread houses!
I especially liked the gingerbread nativity.
After seeing the trains and houses, it was time for lunch. Usually, we go to Frankie Toco’s for pizza, but they had a 45 minute wait, so we tried a new place, Lewis and Clark’s. I’ve wanted to eat there since the first time we saw it, and I wasn’t disappointed. Their burger wasn’t as good as the Seamus burger, but it was still really good (especially the garlic mayo!)!
Then the real fun began…looking for Christmas characters, and collecting their cards. This year, the children got 28 out of 35 cards. Not the best year, but not the worst either, and the weather wasn’t great, so I call it a win.
We were a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see one of our favorite characters, Jack Frost, but we did see evidence of his work!
We love listening to the Victorian carolers.
And seeing the drum and fife corps.
And the architecture is beautiful!
I also love all of the old-style shop signs.
We stayed so long, we even got to see the Christmas lights as it began to get dark…a very fun and busy day!
Yesterday was our annual pilgrimage to St. Charles, MO, for the annual “Christmas Traditions” festival.
There’s just nothing I don’t like about this event–I look forward to it all year long!
I love the historic buildings.
I love the decorations.
I love the Christmas characters.
I love looking in the store windows.
It’s just one of my very favorite things. I remember someone at our church, back when Bunny was still a baby, telling me that we had to go. I was dubious, but the following Christmas, we checked it out, and now, we’ve been for the last six years straight. It wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to St. Charles–I just wish it wasn’t quite so far away, so we could go more than once during the Christmas season!
It’s that time of year again! We made the trek to St. Charles, MO, to take part in the “Christmas Traditions” festivities. This is something our whole family looks forward to all year long, and probably my second favorite day of any year (with only Easter bringing more joy and excitement). As usual, we started with lunch at Frankie Tocco’s, where we had a St. Louis style pizza. I’m still not sold on that particular creation, but I did have a very delicious piece of tiramisu for dessert.
After lunch, the hunt to track down as many Christmas characters as possible began. This was our best year yet, with our having collected 25/30 cards. We saw four of the remaining characters from a distance, with only one character (the Town Crier) flying completely beneath our radar…I don’t know, he may not have been there at all today. We also heard carolers, and the fife and drum corps, watched the chestnut roasters as work (Turkey and Bunny even tried them, but only Turkey approved), and saw an intricate train display (probably Moose’s favorite part of the whole day!).
We saw the beloved Master of Revels shortly after we arrived. He is my absolute favorite character–his entire job is giving people a hard time. He told Ladybug that she looked like a giraffe with her pointy hat (not entirely untrue), wished children a happy Arbor Day, Valentine’s Day, and Lincoln’s Birthday (but never Merry Christmas), and hassled fellow performer Jack Frost, all while standing on a park bench. He is absolutely hilarious.
This year was the first time Ladybug was really able to participate, and did she ever enjoy it! She collected cards right alongside her older siblings, and she wasn’t at all shy about having her picture taken with the performers. She decided the “purple angel” was her favorite, and she liked Snegurochka (the Snow Maiden), so much that she walked right into her arms for a picture without even asking. That’s OK, though, because Snegurochka really liked Ladybug, too–just like she did last year! I guess they’re old friends, now!
We even managed to get a few pretty good pictures of all four children together, which, as any parent of more than one child knows, is nothing short of a miracle!
Every year, we go to St. Charles, MO, to take part in their Christmas Traditions festival. There are storybook characters (we got to see Clara and the Nutcracker prince), Santas from around the world (Father Christmas is always a favorite, even though we don’t “do” Santa), as well as other Christmas characters (including my favorite, the Master of Revels, who specializes in giving everyone a hard time).
The children loved meeting the different characters, and collecting their cards. Out of the 29 available, I think we only missed six characters, which is the best we’ve ever done! One of these years, we’ll find them all.
We also got to hear several groups of carolers, who stay true to character and only sing carols written prior to about 1890. The fife and drum corps was also quite a hit with the children, and you can hear them coming all the way down the street!
This is definitely one of our favorite Christmas traditions, and something we look forward to all year long!