As much as I wanted 2017 to be an improvement over 2016, in many ways, it was just as difficult a year as its predecessor. No matter what is going on in the world around us, though, we always manage to have fun times and make happy family memories!
January was a pretty quiet month. I got to attend the One Nation Classic at Busch Stadium, after Ryan was there for the first ever St. Louis Winter Classic on January 2nd. It was so cold, I was certain my feet were going to snap off before the end of the day, but it was also a lot of fun, and a unique way to view the ballpark! We also had fun visiting the snowy Missouri Botanical Garden, the Missouri History Museum, and especially the St. Louis Science Center, where we had a membership for the year.
In February, the children and I took the train downtown to visit the NHL Centennial Fan Arena, which was held outside the St. Louis Public Library Central Library…and they were hosting a special exhibition called “50 Years of Blood, Sweat and Cheers” in honor of the Blues 50th season in St. Louis. We attended the Orchid Show at the Missouri Botanical Garden, which is always a nice bright spot in the middle of the winter. Bunny got a major hair cut, and donated what was cut off to charity. We celebrated our fourth annual “Seamus Day,” which is one of the most delicious days of the year!
March is always a busy month. Our new refrigerator was welcomed with much excitement after the unexpected demise of the old one. We visited the Butterfly House. We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, and then Turkey’s birthday. Right after that, it was time for Chickadee’s 5th birthday, just proving how time flies!
April was a very exciting month. Moose was confirmed! Spring in St. Louis is always beautiful. April finally had that baby giraffe! We celebrated Easter. We visited the St. Louis Art Museum and saw both art and hats.
I’ve come to realize that May rivals November/December in busyness! The American Kantorei performed their last concert at Concordia Seminary. Ladybug celebrated her 10th birthday! Twitch ran a Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood marathon, and we all fell in love with Fred Rogers and all his neighbors all over again. We wrapped up our ninth year of homeschooling, which included Turkey and Bunny completing the eighth grade!!! Ryan and I celebrated our 16th anniversary. We attended Art on the Square. The Missouri Botanical Garden opened their outstanding “Garden of Glass” exhibit. The four oldest children received choir awards again on Ascension Day. We attended Combo Breaker for the second year, and while we were in Chicago, we also visited Medieval Times, the Naper Settlement, and the Museum of Science and Industry.
We traveled to Bowling Green, KY, in June so Bunny could attend volleyball camp at Western Kentucky University. While we were there, we drove to Nashville, TN, and used our reciprocal membership through the St. Louis Science Center to visit the Adventure Science Center. Right after we returned home, the four oldest children attended Kantorei Kamp.
July was another busy month. The Magic House was hosting a Clifford the Big Red Dog exhibit, so we went to see it for the second time in just over 10 years. We had a German July 4th. We visited Purina Farms for the very first time. Our air conditioner broke down on one of the hottest days of the summer during Vacation Bible School. We had summer school field trips to the Lewis and Clark Confluence Towers, Camp River Dubois, and Faust Park Historic Village. I found out I was an honorable mention winner in the “PUG Changed My Life” contest. Bunny became a teenager! Turkey attended his second summer of RSCM camp. We visited the St. Louis Carousel on National Carousel Day.
Things didn’t slow down in August. While Ryan was out-of-town for work, the Fab Five and I had a tea party, went roller skating, and had dinner at IKEA…and our air conditioner broke down again. We saw the Wienermobile, and all of the children received Weenie Whistles, which may have been a bad life choice on the part of their mother. We visited the “Dressing Downton” exhibit at Cheekwood Estate and Gardens in Nashville. While we were in town, we also visited the Parthenon! We had our 11th first day of homeschool, and Moose started sixth grade!!! We all really enjoyed the Great American Solar Eclipse.
September was a month of firsts. We attended the Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden for the first time, and it was AMAZING! We went to the Great Forest Park Balloon Race for the first time, too, and even though it started late, it was a lot of fun. I entered a St. Louis Post-Dispatch recipe contest for the first time, and I came in second place!
I guess we kind of had a chance to catch our breath in October. Turkey, Bunny, and I went all in on Hogwarts’ House fashions. We attended the second season of Legends and Lanterns in St. Charles, MO, and visited the most sincere pumpkin patch in Belleville. We discovered how difficult it is to be a Ninja Warrior. We celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, with Bunny, Moose, and Ladybug participating in a mass children’s choir at Concordia Seminary on Reformation Day.
As always, things really picked up in November. The American Kantorei, in a never-say-die movement, had a concert at St. Paul, Des Peres for Bach at NOT the Sem. We visited Creve Coeur Park, and took a walk around the lake. Moose turned twelve! We went on our annual field trip to Cahokia Mounds, where we saw lots of deer! We attended the Conference USA volleyball tournament at Western Kentucky University, and the girls posed with Big Red. We celebrated the Platinum Wedding Anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh with a tea party. I made all of the pies for our traditional Thanksgiving dinner. We visited the Missouri Botanical Garden’s “Garden Glow,” which is one of our favorite Christmas activities of the year!
And that brings us to December, which is always the busiest month of the year! Way too much of this month was taken up by various family members having what I have to assume was some strain of influenza, but we made the best of the time we had. Christmas Traditions in St. Charles, MO, is always one of our favorite events of the whole year, and this year was no exception, even if it was one of the coldest visits we’ve had! Our St. Lucia celebration was as fun as always. We visited nativity scenes from around the world at Belleville’s Cathedral Basilica, learned about Hanukkah, and rang the Salvation Army bell. IKEA has an annual Swedish Julbord dinner, and we attended for the first time. We enjoyed a traditional Belleville Main Street Christmas. And our Markel Family Christmas celebration was a big, three-day event this year!
Of course, no year is perfect. This seemed especially true this year, because there has been so much bad news everywhere you look. But we hang together, and find our own joy in the everyday, as well as special events, and what more can you ask of family? It’s us against whatever part of the world tries to interrupt our happiness!