The Top Five–Photos of 2019

Time to take a look back at my five favorite photos from 2019! Notable this year is that a lot of my pictures were taken (or cropped) in “square” mode, since I’m using Instagram more than ever.

First, a picture from early in the year, when we enjoyed a snowy day in the Japanese Garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden:

Another winter picture, this time of two snow leopards at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago:

A spring photo featuring cherry blossoms in the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Japanese Garden:

The Red Arrows in flight!

Fall at Forest Park’s Pagoda Circle:

And an honorable mention…a photo taken at the holiday flower and train show at the Missouri Botanical Garden just a few days ago!

Obviously, I have my favorite places to take pictures, but I like that I’m constantly finding new ways to highlight them!

2019 in Review

Here we are, not only at the end of another year, but also a decade. I feel like I should have something profound to say, some great insights into the last ten years, but all I have is a look back at another year of Markel family fun.

January was a pleasant month. We started our “Great Star Trek Project,” an effort to watch through all of Star Trek from Enterprise through Voyager, including the movies and even the animated series, chronologically (at present, we’re watching Deep Space Nine). We went up to Chicago, where we got to experience a good, old-fashioned, Chicago snowstorm. While we were there, I took the Fab Five to Brookfield Zoo for the first time, and even though it was a winter day, it was one of our best zoo visits ever! At the end of the month, Turkey won a Lego building contest!!!

In all honesty, it’s hard to find much to say about February. It’s always a pretty quiet (and dare I say, boring), month, and this February was no exception. We had a lot of poor weather, including ice, but we did start playing tennis on some of the nicer days, which was fun. Turkey, Bunny, and I went to see The Lego Movie 2, which we really enjoyed.

March is always a favorite month, with so many things to look forward to, including St. Patrick’s Day. Turkey turned sixteen in March, which I still can’t believe, and Chickadee celebrated her seventh birthday. We got new dishes, which really brighten up our table!

At the beginning of April, we had a new roof put on the house…quite an expensive project! We were excited about the start of another season of St. Louis Cardinals baseball. The Missouri Botanical Garden stayed open late for cherry blossom viewing, which was a rare treat. Our Easter celebration was a lot of fun! We all went to see Avengers: Endgame in the theater opening night, and some of us cried all the way home.

May is always one of the busiest months of the year for us. We celebrated Ladybug’s twelfth birthday. Another year of homeschooling wrapped up. Moose received a choir award we didn’t even know he was getting! At the end of the month, we went up to Chicago for Combo Breaker. While we were there, we visited the Lincoln Park Zoo, a special Lego exhibit at Brookfield Zoo, and made the journey to the top of the Sears Tower.

June‘s schedule was unusually packed. We took a trip to Michigan, which included visiting Frankenmuth, Michigan’s “Little Bavaria” enjoying a wonderful meal at the Bavarian Inn, and shopping at Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, which was a dream come true for me. Bunny and Ladybug attended volleyball camp at WKU. The St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup for the first time ever, and we went downtown for the rally! We saw Superman. I celebrated my 40th birthday in a rather epic way. Kantorei Kamp week was a lot of fun!

The busyness continued into July. Ladybug earned a very special choir award. While she, Bunny, and Turkey were at RSCM camp, Moose, Chickadee, and I took a ride on the St. Louis Metro Link. We celebrated the anniversary of the moon landing. Bunny turned 15! Chickadee got her ears pierced. We had the privilege of participating in the rededication of the sanctuary at Hope Lutheran Church. We celebrated Christmas in July with a European twist.

We wrapped up our Rick Steves’ Europe themed summer school in August, and then turned around and got ready to begin a new year of homeschooling (and Moose started eighth grade!). We enjoyed another Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden. After how busy the summer was, it was a relief to have a more quiet month!

September was a very exciting month! We started it off by attending the St. Louis Greek Festival at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. I received a Post-It note tweet from Alton Brown! We saw the Red Arrows perform at the Spirt of St. Louis Air Show!!! Moose was named Student of the Month at his school! The girls and I went to see the Downton Abbey movie. We celebrated Friends Day.” The Fab Five and I went to “Garden Party Lights” at the Missouri Botanical Garden. We had our traditional Oktoberfest celebration.

We got to see the Stanley Cup in October! Our school acquired a mascot. We attended the fourth year of Legends and Lanterns, and saw some of the STC250 dogs while we were in St. Charles. We picked not just one, but two pumpkins. Moose got to play in the band at a high school football game.

We put up our brand-new (and quite tall!) Christmas tree earlier than ever in November, to make sure it was up in time for Moose’s 14th birthday! The girls and I went to see Frozen 2 opening night…it was a very movie-heavy year for me! We attended one of our favorite events of the year: Garden Glow at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Our three-day Thanksgiving celebration was just as much fun as always!

And just like that, we made it to December. The Fab Five worked on a project throughout Advent…they built the 6,020-piece Lego Hogwarts Castle. We celebrated St. Nicholas Day, St. Lucia Day, and an unexpected snow day following a fairly large snowstorm. We attended Christmas Traditions, and for the first time in several years, Christmas on the Hill. I went to a movie’s opening night for the fifth time of the year when we saw Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (for the record, I liked it!). We had our standard, huge Christmas celebration…one of the best ones ever, I think! We finally made it the holiday flower and train show at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and I’m glad we did, because it was lovely!

2019 was a busy year, and I expect 2020 to be more of the same. There are lots of things to look forward to, not just in the next year, but also in the next decade. I’m going to do my best not to think too far ahead, though, lest I realize how old the children will be at the end of another 10 years, and I start feeling old myself!