Chickadee Thursday

Yet another super busy day for Chickadee! I don’t know how she isn’t exhausted at the end of every day…I sure am!

She loves looking at the altar at Hope Lutheran in St. Louis, where her siblings are attending choir camp. Like me, she especially likes the imagery of the pelican on the front. While she was looking today, she knelt down, folded her hands, and started praying. My mommy heart nearly burst at that!

IMG_0868

Did you know that Wehrenberg Theatres has dollar movies on Thursdays? I didn’t before yesterday, but I sure am glad I checked on a whim. Chickadee and I went to see one of her favorite movies, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, for literally change I had in the car! Plus, air conditioning!

IMG_0823

We also stopped at the Lego Store. I wanted to drool over the new Big Ben set (so gorgeous…I can’t wait to buy it!), and Chickadee wanted to play at the Lego and Duplo table…because we don’t have enough Lego and Duplo bricks at home, right?

IMG_0848

After our day out in the heat at the zoo yesterday, it was nice to find some fun things to do indoors, where we could also enjoy the cool air!

More 2013 in Review

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 schoolroomagain…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!

Lego Store Grand Opening

Today was day two of the Lego Store Grand Opening celebration at West County Center in Des Peres, MO. If you’ve ever wondered what such an event is like, you’re in luck, because I took lots of pictures! It was quite an experience!

We got there shortly before the Lego Store was scheduled to open at 10, and the line was already incredibly long. I was worried that we’d be waiting for two-plus hours, and even briefly considered leaving, but in the end the wait was really just over an hour. No small feat with five children, but they were all extraordinarily patient, and Grandma came along to help out. Here’s part two of the line we waited in (part one, which was behind us, was about as long, but much more twisty):

P1260639

Part three of the line was in the mall itself…it was a relief to get out of that darkish, stuffy corridor!

P1260640

Part four of the line was immediately outside the store, and it was the fun part of the line. The employees were having a good time keeping the spirits of the crowd up, and being that close to the store made you feel like your wait was almost over…and really, it was! I was impressed with how efficiently they kept things moving.

P1260641

The children each had a “Lego Store allowance” that they received, plus a little extra money from Grandpa. They had a fun time choosing what they were going to buy. We entered another line to check out, and it, too, moved pretty quickly.

P1260644

We were lucky to be among the first 300 customers (which surprised me, based on the length of the line), and received this free limited-edition Lego Store set, as well. That one is for me!

P1260701

After making our purchases, we went down to the other end of the mall for the building event.

P1260688

Our store was building an eight-foot high Incredible Hulk (they have different builds at different stores)!

P1260674

It was cool how they were handling the building…there were tables set up with bins of Lego bricks, and cards showing how to make a large brick. The instructions were simple enough for even small children to participate.

P1260653

The children had fun making their bricks, which were later placed on The Hulk.

P1260651

P1260654

P1260662

After we finished there, we went back to the store (but not the line, thankfully!), so the children could get certificates showing they participated.

P1260707

We had to walk past the building event again on the way out of the mall. I thought we were just going to leave, but the Master Builder was doing some giveaways, so we stood around a bit, to see what that was all about.

P1260680

It’s a good thing we stayed, because Bunny answered one of the questions correctly, and won a Lego Friends set! It was something she had been wanting, but didn’t have enough money for, because it cost $40! She was so surprised that she won, she could hardly tell the Master Builder her name!

P1260685

When we got home, we checked out our haul (even with all this stuff, we managed to stay within our budget!):

P1260693

And then the children immediately got to work on their new sets.

P1260706

It was a long, exhausting morning, but it was also more fun than I had imagined. The children are looking forward to going back next May for the one-year anniversary celebration!

The Lego Store

We finally have a Lego Store in our area!

photo (8)

Even though it hasn’t “officially” opened yet, it sure is a busy place!

photo (7)

The “Build-your-own-Minifig” display was especially popular:

photo (3)

As was the “Pick-a-Brick” wall:

photo (1)

There are Lego scenes throughout the store, visible through porthole-like windows:

photo (2)

Turkey is over the moon…I’m sure we’ll be going back soon!