This has been a weird year. There were some major highs (especially our vacation to Orlando!), but there were also some maddening lows, mainly, I don’t know, everything in our house breaking…roof, dishwasher, garage door, hot water heater, my ankle… I’m actually not sure how I feel about it in the end…but I’m looking forward to starting fresh with 2019! Before that, however, a look back at 2018…
January kicked things off with a bang, as our dishwasher broke at the same time our town had a multiple day boil order. Talk about frustrating…I couldn’t even use the sanitize cycle to make sure things were really getting clean! Even with all that hassle, I managed my first attempt at Japanese cooking for Ryan’s birthday dinner…but I think I’m still recovering from cleaning up all those dishes! We also took a weekend trip to Chicago, where we visited the Adler Planetarium, the Legoland Discovery Center, the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Little Popcorn Store, and Portillo’s.
March is always a busy month, and this year was no exception. Chickadee lost her first tooth! We had our traditional St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Turkey turned fifteen!!! A few days later, Chickadee turned six! The Hofbräuhaus finally opened, but we wouldn’t make it there until the following month.
In April, we celebrated Easter, and then the Cardinals home opener. I won a Nintendo Switch?!? We attended Chinese Culture Days at the Missouri Botanical Garden. We finally enjoyed a meal at the Hofbräuhaus!
May is another busy month every year. I got to see my name in print as a published writer! We enjoyed a beautiful spring in Forest Park and Tower Grove Park. Ladybug celebrated her 11th birthday. Ryan and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with a tea party the day before the Royal Wedding. Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug received choir awards on Ascension Day. Pinup Girl Clothing sent me a box of Mary Blair print items which I joyfully reviewed. I had a very pleasant Mother’s Day. Turkey, Bunny, Ladybug, and Chickadee finished the 2017-18 school year, and then Moose finished elementary school! We went on what is now an annual Memorial Day weekend trip north for Combo Breaker, where the Fab Five and I spent a fun day in Chicago and took a Wendella boat tour. We also visited the Chicago Botanic Garden for the second time in the year, and had a Rainbow Cone.
And then June. It started off fairly calm, but that didn’t last long! We took a trip to Bowling Green, KY, where Bunny attended WKU’s volleyball camp. While we were there, I celebrated my first 39th birthday…we even went to Mammoth Cave! Back home, the children attended a very busy week of Kantorei Kamp…and that was the calm before the storm, because we had a big, Harry Potter-themed vacation up next! We headed to Orlando, where we visited Legoland, Universal Studios Florida, (including Diagon Alley), Islands of Adventure, (including Hogsmeade), and had a fun cabana day at Cabana Bay Beach Resort. We even saw a SpaceX launch (from a distance) early one morning..so many dreams came true on our trip!
Our vacation wrapped up in July…we even visited the ocean on our way home. It was the most amazing vacation ever! Bunny and Ladybug joined Turkey for a week of RSCM camp. While they were away, Moose, Chickadee, and I took a little train trip. Bunny celebrated her 14th birthday when she got home from camp.
In August, we finally made it to the special summer event at the Missouri Botanical Garden: Flora Borealis. Our summer school wrapped up. We got ready to begin another year of school…our first day of homeschooling for the 2018-19 school year saw Turkey and Bunny starting 10th grade, Ladybug starting 6th, and Chickadee starting 1st. Moose had his first day of junior high! Moose, Chickadee, and I went to a Cardinals game and hung out with Fredbird.
We were back at the Missouri Botanical Garden in September, this time for the Japanese Festival. The girls and I went to Art Hill to experience the Great Forest Park Balloon Race’s Balloon Glow for the first time. Bunny and I went to Powell Hall to watch Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on the big screen while the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra played the score.
In October, we finally got to see the much-awaited Olympic Spectacular in St. Louis. The Fab Five and I went to Braeutigum Orchards to pick pumpkins and baby porcupines, apparently. We headed west to St. Charles for the third year of Legends and Lanterns.
And then November. The month started out so promisingly, with our annual Extra Life for Kids fundraiser…which also turned out to be the day I broke my ankle. I was really afraid that would be the end of our fun for the year, but I was determined not to let it ruin things, so we eased into the celebratory season with Moose’s 13th birthday. Garden Glow was a bit of a challenge, but I was able to (slowly) make my way through the event. Thanksgiving was a scary proposition this year, but somehow, we got everything done, and had a nice dinner, even if I did overcook the turkey. We even made it to the Boar’s Head Festival for the first time since Chickadee was a baby!
December started with a Christmas Getaway north to St. Charles, IL and Pheasant Run. We got to experience a rainy Christmas in Chicago while we were there. We celebrated Santa Lucia Day. Moose and I got to go to Powell Hall and watch Home Alone on the big screen while the St. Louis Symphony played the score. We traveled west to St. Charles, MO, for Christmas Traditions. Our hot water heater died right before Christmas, but we pressed on and enjoyed a mostly typical Markel Family Christmas.
There was much about this year, and especially the last two months, that was difficult. But I found strength I didn’t know I had, and accomplished almost everything I set out to, and really, what more can you ask for? I hope that in 2019, I will continue to conquer every hurdle I face!