This afternoon, I took Chickadee down to the Hyatt Regency St. Louis Arch for the Cardinals Winter Warm-Up. (Ryan took the big girls yesterday, and is taking the boys tomorrow.) It’s hard to explain the crush of people, the lines for autographs, all of the vendors with displays, so I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
I didn’t have any autograph tickets, but I did manage to get one signature while I was there…from Fredbird!
It was nice to think about baseball again, even if the season doesn’t start for a few more months!
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!
This weekend, the Cardinals celebrated Fredbird’s birthday. As it was the annual Build a Bear giveaway day today, the one game we try to make it to every year, we were there when the gates opened!
Chickadee doesn’t need a ticket to the game yet, so she didn’t get her own Fredird, but Moose already had one at home, so he generously shared his with her (and she did not want to let it go)!
There was confetti:
And chalk art:
And, of course, we sang “Happy Birthday” to everyone’s favorite mascot. But the highlight of the game was the fact that Fredbird’s friends from around MLB came to wish him a happy birthday! (And he even got a chance to rough up the Pirate Parrot a bit…in a very friendly way, of course, while trying to hit his birthday piñata). They even brought him a present!
The Cards didn’t win this one, but it was still fun to be there for the party!
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might be thinking that we’ve had new visitors in the nest in our tree. On the other hand, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you also know how much we love baseball! That’s the kind of baby birds I’m talking about today!
On my summer to-do list was taking in a minor league baseball game. Not just a Grizzlies game, but one of the Cardinals affiliates. Our choices were the Triple-A team, the Memphis Redbirds, or the Double-A team, the Springfield Cardinals. Springfield is a considerably shorter drive, so yesterday, we took a road-trip out to Hammons Field to see the baby birds play!
It was a nice, albeit small, ballpark. Since we were at a minor league game, we got to sit a lot closer to the field than we usually do!
The ushers were very helpful in pointing us to our seats, and they were also easy to find, given their Hawaiian print shirts!
One of my favorite things about visiting a new park is seeing who the sponsors are, what kind of shops they have, and what kind of food they serve.
There were some things, though, that were very familiar (including seeing Shane Robinson, who was on a rehab assignment, and Chickadee being mad at me for putting her down so I could get a picture of her with her siblings)!
I also love seeing the mascots. In Springfield, they have Louie (a cardinal, who looks kind of like Fredbird-lite), and Fetch, Louie’s canine friend.
They were giving away Shelby Miller bobbleheads (who was a Springfield Cardinal quite recently), and the children were very excited, because there was no age limit on the giveaway, so they each got one!
We saw a home run (and heard the home run siren!):
And we watched the between inning antics, including my favorite of the night, musical chairs, where, if there was a tie involving a lady, the lady always won!
We also saw evidence of the Springfield Cardinals 2012 Texas League championship:
It was definitely another fun day at the ballpark…maybe next summer, we’ll make it to Memphis to see the Redbirds!
Last night was Star Wars night at Busch Stadium:
Tickets were expensive, so we couldn’t all go, but Ryan did get two tickets so that Bunny and I could take part. Why Bunny? Because the voice of her favorite character (Ahsoka Tano), from the Clone Wars was doing a meet and greet!
Bunny had a great time meeting Ashley Eckstein, and Ashley was so nice! She talked to Bunny for several minutes, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you’ve ever been in one of those autograph lines, you know that a few minutes can seem like an eternity. Bunny learned that Ashley’s favorite episode of the Clone Wars is the one in which Ahsoka meets Chewbacca, which we haven’t seen yet, so we’re really looking forward to that. Ashley also told Bunny that Bunny’s eyes reminded her of Ahsoka, which, of course, put Bunny on cloud nine!
Just in case you haven’t put two and two together yet, Ashley Eckstein is the wife of former Cardinal David Eckstein. He was with her, and was signing autographs and taking pictures, as well. I had hoped he might be, so I brought a baseball along…so we left with autographs of not only an actress, but a baseball player, too! He was also very nice…I was impressed with how gracious both of them were!
The rest of the evening was a lot of fun, too. There were fans dressed in character, as well as characters stationed around the ballpark for photos. A highlight of the night was seeing “Jedi Fredbird!”
We also saw Storm Troopers brining in the game ball and escorting the umps, and Princess Leia as a member of Team Fredbird. There was also a battle between Fredbird and Darth Vader, which ended with them dancing, Gangnam-style. It was a little surreal!
It was a great evening…I’m so glad Ryan sent us to the ballpark for a girls’ night out!
Today was a special day, because we had all-inclusive tickets to the Cardinals game. We sat on the Coca-Cola Rooftop Deck:
First, we had to get into Busch Stadium, which wasn’t easy…there was an incredibly long line (the longest we’ve ever seen!), because of the Stan Musial statue giveaway:
We did finally make it into the ballpark, and made our way to our seats. When you first go to the Coca-Cola rooftop deck seats, you’re given a wristband, which gives you access to the food, and allows you to move around the ballpark, and come back without any troubles.
There are bar-style seats, with a table in front of them:
I loved these seats! There was room to walk with Chickadee, room for the children to move around without annoying the other fans around us, and it wasn’t too high up! Plus, you know, the food (hot dogs, nachos, BBQ chicken, beef, and pork, plus cookies and brownies)!
I started with some BBQ pulled pork nachos:
Chickadee loved them, so I had to go back for more food for me! Since she loved the pork so much (even more than the cookies and brownies!!!), I got more of that, plus a hot dog with sauerkraut. Yum!
There was also a dedicated drinks server, which the children loved:
We had a great view from center field:
And a great view of the cameraman:
The back-end of the deck overlooks the Ford Family Plaza:
Fredbird hangs out there during the first three innings, so of course we had to go say “Hi!”
And did I mention how much I love high socks Sundays?
Of course, the best part of the game was that the Cards won!