2015-16 School Year–Week Nine

This has been kind of a weird week.

We started out strong on Monday. Turkey and Bunny had their first quarterly exam in math, at which they both excelled. And they (and Ladybug), kept up with the rest of their lessons this week, without too much trouble. There were a few new concepts, but nothing earth-shattering.

And then there was writing. Turkey and Bunny had to write their first big essay this week. They’ve written essays before, but using pre-researched materials. This week, they had to find books, do the research, and then write a 500 (or more) word paper. Turkey chose the Oort Cloud, and Bunny picked the Protestant Reformation. They both did an excellent job…I was quite impressed with their essays, and learned something from each! This was a huge project, though, and we didn’t get very much science done because of it.

We also had a very felicitous moment when our readings in Mr. Pipes and Psalms and Hymns of the Reformation (about Philipp Nicolai, Johann Heermann, and Paul Gerhardt), converged with a church commemoration (for those three hymn writers), and our history lessons (the 30 Years’ War). These moments don’t happen often, and you really can’t plan them, but when they do occur, it really drives home the point!

We also learned about Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, and Charles II and the great fire of London in history this week. Talk about an intense period of time! I love teaching British history even more than American history, so this was a very exciting week for me. We had a great discussion about how Charles I and Cromwell were very similar, and we also talked about the sadness of the crown jewels being destroyed.

We also had a field trip day this week. The Gateway Arch, the most recognizable icon in St. Louis, celebrated its 50th birthday on Wednesday. To acknowledge this event, tickets to the Arch were available at throwback pricing of $1 a person. Of course I couldn’t resist, especially when I learned we would also receive pins and certificates commemorating our “Journey to the Top!” There was also an Air Force band, a flag raising, speeches, and free cupcakes as part of the celebration, and adding in our visits to the Old Cathedral and the Old Courthouse (as well as Citygarden and the KSDK building), it was a full day event!

Next week is our fall break. I considered just going through to Thanksgiving week, but I need some time to be just mom, and not teacher, too!

Celebrating a Monumental Milestone

Today the Gateway Arch, the tallest monument in the United States, celebrated its 50th birthday. I decided that this was the perfect opportunity for a field trip!

There was a band from Scott Air Force Base:


And a crowd of well-wishers:


A flag raising ceremony:


There were even (free!!!) cupcakes from a few cupcake trucks!

We spent a good deal of time walking around downtown, and admiring the view of the Arch:

But of course the main purpose for our visit was the “Journey to the Top,” which was only a dollar a person today, in honor of the original ticket price. Nothing beats that view!

We also received commemorative pins and certificates, to show we had been there on this historic day.

The Arch grounds are kind of a mess right now, but it’s going to look amazing when it’s done!

We had a great time looking at the metro area from every possible viewpoint!



Back on the ground, we had to get one last picture of St. Louis’ most famous landmark:


Happy Birthday Gateway Arch!

Arch Memories

The Gateway Arch is now officially 50 years old! Hard to believe, I know…it doesn’t look a day over 20! Even though we first “journeyed to the top” only last year (to coincide with St. Louis’ 250th birthday!), the Arch has dominated how we see St. Louis for the 14+ years we’ve lived here (and it was even partly responsible for the purchase of our home!). So, in honor of the big day, here are a few of my favorite Gateway Arch photos:

I think we’ve seen the Arch from pretty much every angle imaginable (including seeing its shadow on the ground when we were at the top!), and we’ve built our own replica more than one time at the St. Louis Science Center. No matter how we look at it, though, the Gateway Arch always means “home” to us!

Fall at the Gateway Arch

I spent some time walking around the Gateway Arch grounds yesterday, just to see the fall color.

It’s funny…there are places in the park where you would never guess you’re downtown in a big city. It seems a lot like any other big park in the area, with nice paths, people walking, and plenty of foliage. And, you know, a giant monument looming over it all. OK, I guess it is a little different from any other park in the area.

Yet another thing to love about St. Louis!

Journey to the Top

Today, after all these years living in St. Louis, we finally made the “Journey to the Top” of the Arch!


It’s an interesting experience. Even with having pre-ordered tickets, we did a lot of waiting in line. Fortunately, there are things to look at while you wait:

There were even a few hands-on activities…the children really loved challenging each other on this giant hanging scale:


Then you get down to the tram boarding area…I couldn’t believe how small the doors were!


Which makes sense, since the doors lead to a tiny car just like this (yes, five people have to cram in there)!


When you get to the top, they remind you just how high up you are:


We looked across the Mississippi River to see our home state of Illinois first:


Everything below looks so small when you’re 630 feet up!


There’s even a step up that allows you to angle yourself to look STRAIGHT DOWN:


And on the other side, you see downtown St. Louis:

Nothing rivals the view that’s straight ahead, though!


Of course, once you’re back on solid ground, you have to look up, and marvel at where you were!


And check out the “Cakeway to the West” installation, as long as you’re there!


I’m so glad we finally made this trip…I just can’t figure out what took us so long!