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!
Well, I guess now that fall has officially begun, summer is really over. We had a lot of fun these last few months, starting when school let out, until the last official day of the season…here’s a look back at some of the things we did!
We visited a lot of playgrounds:
And spray parks:
We saw a dock dogs competition:
We went to Grant’s Farm (twice!):
And had a few tea parties:
We saw a lot of baseball games:
We went to Eckert’s and picked blackberries:
We visited Six Flags St. Louis for the first time:
And celebrated the Fourth of July:
We visited the zoo:
And saw the new sea-lion exhibit for the first time!
Turkey played in his fourth season of baseball:
We celebrated some birthdays:
And had fun at VBS:
We volunteered at and/or visited the LCMS convention:
And toured the Gateway Arch for the very first time!
Bunny met a few famous people, who happened to be married to each other!
We went on a few road trips:
Ryan and I repainted the front room of our house…it looks so pretty in blue!
We visited the Art Museum:
A new school year began:
We toured the Science Center:
Some of us were just cute!
Did I mention baseball?
I worked hard to make this a fun summer, even though, as always, we didn’t go on a vacation. It’s going to be hard to top this amount of fun next summer!
We started our sixth year of homeschooling this week! On Sunday, before we had even officially started, we had a field trip to the Art Museum, to learn about ancient Greek art, as it relates to Greek mythology (something we’ll be studying this year).
Our actual first day of school was on Monday…always a fun day!
In addition to our fun first day traditions (schultüte and the children designing new pictures to go in the front of their binders), we also got started on most of our subjects, including history, astronomy, and new levels of math. We got started on Language Arts this week, too, although we didn’t cover every aspect of it yet, and I’m also waiting until next week to begin Latin.
On Tuesday, we went to the Science Center to see the planetarium, as well as learn about archaeology:
Since we’re restarting the four-year history cycle this year, our history studies this week focused on what history is, why we study it, and what archeologists do. When we were at the art museum, I found this fun little “excavating history,” kit, which allowed the children to pretend they were archaeologists, and dig out and brush off a sculpture. It was a lot more work than any of us expected to free the Greek athlete from the plaster, and I think we all learned that I am not patient enough to be an archeologist, as I went in search of the hammer after a while!
I think we got the new school year off to a good start! Next week will be a bit more ordinary as we stay home and settle into our full routine, but it was fun getting out and doing some interesting thing the first week of school!
Today was the second day of the new school year, and we went on a field trip. How cool is that?!?
We’re starting over with the four-year history cycle this year, and before we really dive into the ancients, we’re learning a bit about archaeology. The St. Louis Science Center just happens to have a fun, interactive area where children can pretend to be archaeologists, see what kind of tools they use, and look at different examples of fossils. They also have volunteers working on fossils they found on one of their summer trips to Montana…we were lucky enough to get to talk to Woody, who was not only working on part of a fossil he discovered, but who has also found (and named), a T-Rex jawbone!
In science this year, we’re going to be studying astronomy (yay!), and the Science Center also happens to have a nice planetarium, so we went through there, as well. We didn’t see any of the the shows, but we got to look at a lot of cool space memorabilia, in addition to some items from actual space flights. The children also got to find out how much they would weigh on the moon, and how much it would cost the three of them to travel into space!
This was our second field trip of the week…I’d say we’ve gotten the year off to a great start!
Our family’s very favorite part of the St. Louis Science Center was the Flight Gallery. This is the area that connects the Center itself to the Planetarium across the highway, and it is full of cool memorabilia. The pictures I took aren’t that great, because it was kind of dark, and most of the displays were in curved glass cases that didn’t like my camera, but I still think they give a good idea of what the gallery is like.
I couldn’t believe some of the stuff they had on display–it was really awesome to see how important the space program was to our culture “way back when!”
We finally made it to the St. Louis Science Center last month. I can’t believe we’ve lived here for 10 years and hadn’t been yet!
We could have spent all day watching this contraption in the atrium. It was fascinating!
Turkey enjoyed building an arch, to see just how strong it was. Once he put the keystone in, we let Ladybug sit on it to test it out–it didn’t budge. At least not until she started bouncing on it!
I found this diagram of the evolution of the internet particularly interesting…it’s hard to remember a time when we didn’t have it!
The children loved the skybridge over the interstate. There were binoculars to look through, and plexiglass covered holes in the floor to watch the cars from above. My favorite part, though, were the radar meters…we saw a lot of people speeding down 64!
The bridge leads to the Flight Gallery and Planetarium, and, (big surprise), that was our favorite part. We liked it so much, in fact, that it really merits its own post later this week, but here’s a teaser:
It’s definitely worth the trip, especially with the free admission. They do get you by charging admission to some specific exhibits/shows, but you don’t have to go, and most of the fun stuff is free. They do cool demonstrations throughout the day, too, which were just as interesting for the adults as for the children. I’m sure we’ll be going back soon!