2016 in Review

It’s that time of year again, when I look back over the past 12 months, and try to summarize all of our family’s activities. There’s no denying that 2016 was a difficult year for many people in various ways, but there were also many good times for our family.

January began with the first of many trips to the St. Louis Zoo, where we had a membership for the year. We also visited the St. Louis Art Museum in Forest Park, to see the St. Louis Modern exhibit before it closed. The day we took down all the Christmas decorations turned into something much bigger, and resulted in massive furniture rearranging across almost all rooms of the house, and the purchase of some new pieces of furniture, as well.

In February, I completely lost my mind, and decided to paint the children’s bathroom while Ryan was out-of-town. We also painted Ryan’s new office, and finished rearranging the furniture…that one bookshelf that sparked the decision to move things around when we took the Christmas tree down in January certainly had a domino effect!  We celebrated the Chinese New Year and Mardi Gras back-to-back. I got my first new pair of glasses in several years…I fell in love with their vintage vibe! We made several trips to visit the Orchid Show at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

As is usually the case, March was a busy month. Ryan and I finally finished building my Christmas present from the children…my dream Lego set, the Brick Bank. We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, and then the following day, woke up to discover we had a teenager living in our house! Ladybug was confirmed on Palm Sunday, and two days after that, Chickadee turned four. The following week, we celebrated Easter.

April was, mercifully, a fairly quiet month. A new season of Cardinals baseball began, and we enjoyed our standard Opening Day baseball dinner. We visited Forest Park to see all the beautiful spring flowers. The Missouri History Museum debuted a new exhibit about the history of the Little Black Dress, and we toured it for the first of several times. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 90th birthday, and we had a tea party in her honor.

May was a very busy month. Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug received choir awards on Ascension Day. Ladybug turned nine. We attended Zoo Friends Day for the first time. Art on the Square was fun, as always. Ryan and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. Moose completed fourth grade. We took a Memorial Day weekend trip to Chicago for Combo Breaker. While we were there, we visited the Shedd Aquarium and the Art Institute, rode the escalators all the way to the top of Marshall Field’s (of blessed memory), and took in all the sights…the Tribune Tower, the “Bean,” Buckingham Fountain, the lakefront, and all of the architecture.

Our busyness continued throughout the month of June. Turkey and Bunny completed seventh grade, and Ladybug completed fourth. Bunny attended a volleyball camp at Western Kentucky University. While we were in Bowling Green, we also visited the Historic Railpark at the former L&N Depot, Aviation Heritage Park, and Chaney’s Dairy Barn. When we got home, “The Bigs” attended Kantorei Kamp at Hope Lutheran Church in St. Louis for the second summer.

July was a bit less crazy. We celebrated Independence Day. The new Route 66 exhibit at the Missouri History Museum opened, and we toured it for the first of many times. Bunny turned 12. We spent a busy week at church for Vacation Bible School. Turkey spent a week at an RSCM choir camp, and even got to sing at the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis!

In August, we visited the St. Louis Public Library’s Central Library for the very first time, to tour the building and see the Fantasy Maps on display there. After that, it was all Olympics, all the time, for over two weeks, as we watched as many of the events from Rio as we could. We also ate Brazilian food, held our once-every-four-years family Olympics, and sat on the edges of our seats for Michael Phelps’ final race. Moose began fifth grade, and a few days later, we had our first day of the homeschool year, with Turkey and Bunny beginning eighth grade, Ladybug starting fourth, and Chickadee entering the world of Pre-K! I took a morning for myself at the end of the month to visit the traveling Baseball Hall of Fame exhibit, which stopped at Ballpark Village across from Busch Stadium.

September was very quiet, possibly in part due to a bad streak of car trouble. We were also busy with school and trying to get back into our regular routines. We did visit the Flags of Valor installation on Art Hill in Forest Park, which was a sobering sight indeed. We picked apples and pumpkins at Eckert’s. Mostly, we just waited and hoped for cooler weather to arrive!

We continued to wait for fall to arrive in October. While we were waiting, the children and I took a walk across the Eads Bridge. We celebrated 10 years living in our house. The Missouri History Museum had a “Homeschool Day” that focused on the Route 66 exhibit. We reached the breaking point with our car problems, and said goodbye to our Volkswagen, and hello to a new Dodge Grand Caravan. Historic St. Charles, MO held their inaugural “Legends and Lanterns” festival, and we were there. We finally made our yearly visit to Grant’s Farm…just before they closed for the season!

November saw things ramping up, as the holidays approached. First, though, we participated in Extra Life 2016. Moose celebrated his 11th birthday. After another field trip to the Missouri History Museum, we spent a beautiful fall afternoon in Forest Park. We attended the Garden Glow at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Our annual Thanksgiving feast was enjoyed by everyone. We participated in one of our very favorite events of the year…Christmas Traditions in St. Charles, MO.

And finally, December. We visited the Gingerbread Walk in downtown Belleville more than once. I was worried that we might miss our annual Santa Lucia celebration, as Chickadee was sick the day before, but she felt better the morning of the 13th, and none of her siblings fell ill. We went to see the holiday lights at the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis. I upped my Christmas fashion game. And we had our traditional family Christmas celebration.

There are other things about this year I’d rather forget (or pretend never happened in the first place!), and those are best left in the past. Mostly, I’m looking forward to a fresh start in 2017, and excited to see what kind of adventures our family will have in the coming year!

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