Chickadee Thursday

At some point soon, I intend to get back to my regular schedule, but for now, here’s a picture from last Saturday’s rally at the Gateway Arch celebrating the St. Louis Blues first-ever Stanley Cup championship!

Update: We went to the Butterfly House this morning, so here’s a picture that’s actually from today!

A St. Louis Celebration

I, the Queen of the Wild Hair, decided that even though Ryan is currently in London for work, the Fab Five and I should go downtown today, for the rally celebrating the St. Louis Blues first Stanley Cup championship. So we got on the train. And even though our stop is pretty early in the line, we had to stand. And as the train got closer to the city, more and more Blues fans got on, until it reached maximum capacity, something I had never previously experienced. But everyone was in a good mood, and it was a fun ride!

We headed for Kiener Plaza, and then the Arch grounds, when we arrived, so we could hang out with several hundred thousand of our closest friends. We didn’t plan on seeing the parade, and we couldn’t stay for the whole rally, but we wanted to be there, and see at least part of it. And we definitely weren’t disappointed!

Some of my favorite moments included stumbling across a musician playing “Gloria,” hearing the Charles Glenn Group perform many different numbers (including Don’t Stop Believin’, with a St. Louis twist that I’m sure would annoy Detroit Redwings fans), and hearing a barge tow on the Mississippi River get the “Let’s Go Blues” chant going (as did pretty much every car stuck in gridlock downtown). And I’m almost certain that at this point, the city of St. Louis is out of beer, because if the Blues players didn’t drink it all, their fans did, but it was an affable crowd, and no one was belligerent or rude…everyone was in a festive mood, and having a great time! I definitely hope we get to do this again sometime, but I doubt anything will come close to matching the energy of that first championship!

2018-19 School Year–Week One

We are back to work in our 11th year of homeschooling!

Monday was basically a fun day, with all of our traditional 1st Day of School activities…getting all the new books organized, opening the schultüte, and building a new Lego set.

After that we, dove right in. Turkey and Bunny are studying algebra 2 in 10th grade this year, so they began by reviewing exponents, absolute value, factoring, and order of operations. To go along with algebra 2, they’re also studying chemistry, and they practiced converting from one set of units to another to begin that text. They also started their creative writing books and the first chapter of their medieval history book. They only thing they really haven’t gotten into yet is their first literature study of the year, which is Romeo and Juliet.

Ladybug is excited, because her 6th grade year is somewhat horse-themed. She dove right into her equine science lessons, learning about the anatomy of the horse, and the differences in a few different breeds. She’ll begin her horse literature next week with White Stallion of Lipizza. She also worked on some review in math, focusing mainly on place value and equivalent fractions.

Chickadee is very excited about being in first grade! Her reading skills have improved tremendously over the summer, which is weird, because we didn’t practice too much. Her math skills also improved, which is no surprise, because she’s very numbers-oriented. She no longer needs any help counting to 100 or counting by fives! She’s already enjoying reading through In Grandma’s Attic (and I think her siblings are enjoying hearing those stories again, too!).

We also almost always go on a field trip the first week of school. This year, I had a few options, but I decided we should check out the new museum at the Gateway Arch. It’s very well done!

Picking the museum downtown turned out to be a good option, because we discovered that Fredbird was making an appearance at Kiener Plaza, and we always love an excuse to stop and say “hi” to him!

Next week, we’ll pick up the few remaining subjects we haven’t already started, and really get down to the business of learning!

2015-16 School Year–Week Nine

This has been kind of a weird week.

We started out strong on Monday. Turkey and Bunny had their first quarterly exam in math, at which they both excelled. And they (and Ladybug), kept up with the rest of their lessons this week, without too much trouble. There were a few new concepts, but nothing earth-shattering.

And then there was writing. Turkey and Bunny had to write their first big essay this week. They’ve written essays before, but using pre-researched materials. This week, they had to find books, do the research, and then write a 500 (or more) word paper. Turkey chose the Oort Cloud, and Bunny picked the Protestant Reformation. They both did an excellent job…I was quite impressed with their essays, and learned something from each! This was a huge project, though, and we didn’t get very much science done because of it.

We also had a very felicitous moment when our readings in Mr. Pipes and Psalms and Hymns of the Reformation (about Philipp Nicolai, Johann Heermann, and Paul Gerhardt), converged with a church commemoration (for those three hymn writers), and our history lessons (the 30 Years’ War). These moments don’t happen often, and you really can’t plan them, but when they do occur, it really drives home the point!

We also learned about Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, and Charles II and the great fire of London in history this week. Talk about an intense period of time! I love teaching British history even more than American history, so this was a very exciting week for me. We had a great discussion about how Charles I and Cromwell were very similar, and we also talked about the sadness of the crown jewels being destroyed.

We also had a field trip day this week. The Gateway Arch, the most recognizable icon in St. Louis, celebrated its 50th birthday on Wednesday. To acknowledge this event, tickets to the Arch were available at throwback pricing of $1 a person. Of course I couldn’t resist, especially when I learned we would also receive pins and certificates commemorating our “Journey to the Top!” There was also an Air Force band, a flag raising, speeches, and free cupcakes as part of the celebration, and adding in our visits to the Old Cathedral and the Old Courthouse (as well as Citygarden and the KSDK building), it was a full day event!

Next week is our fall break. I considered just going through to Thanksgiving week, but I need some time to be just mom, and not teacher, too!

Celebrating a Monumental Milestone

Today the Gateway Arch, the tallest monument in the United States, celebrated its 50th birthday. I decided that this was the perfect opportunity for a field trip!

There was a band from Scott Air Force Base:


And a crowd of well-wishers:


A flag raising ceremony:


There were even (free!!!) cupcakes from a few cupcake trucks!

We spent a good deal of time walking around downtown, and admiring the view of the Arch:

But of course the main purpose for our visit was the “Journey to the Top,” which was only a dollar a person today, in honor of the original ticket price. Nothing beats that view!

We also received commemorative pins and certificates, to show we had been there on this historic day.

The Arch grounds are kind of a mess right now, but it’s going to look amazing when it’s done!

We had a great time looking at the metro area from every possible viewpoint!



Back on the ground, we had to get one last picture of St. Louis’ most famous landmark:


Happy Birthday Gateway Arch!

Arch Memories

The Gateway Arch is now officially 50 years old! Hard to believe, I know…it doesn’t look a day over 20! Even though we first “journeyed to the top” only last year (to coincide with St. Louis’ 250th birthday!), the Arch has dominated how we see St. Louis for the 14+ years we’ve lived here (and it was even partly responsible for the purchase of our home!). So, in honor of the big day, here are a few of my favorite Gateway Arch photos:

I think we’ve seen the Arch from pretty much every angle imaginable (including seeing its shadow on the ground when we were at the top!), and we’ve built our own replica more than one time at the St. Louis Science Center. No matter how we look at it, though, the Gateway Arch always means “home” to us!

Fall at the Gateway Arch

I spent some time walking around the Gateway Arch grounds yesterday, just to see the fall color.

It’s funny…there are places in the park where you would never guess you’re downtown in a big city. It seems a lot like any other big park in the area, with nice paths, people walking, and plenty of foliage. And, you know, a giant monument looming over it all. OK, I guess it is a little different from any other park in the area.

Yet another thing to love about St. Louis!

Journey to the Top

Today, after all these years living in St. Louis, we finally made the “Journey to the Top” of the Arch!


It’s an interesting experience. Even with having pre-ordered tickets, we did a lot of waiting in line. Fortunately, there are things to look at while you wait:

There were even a few hands-on activities…the children really loved challenging each other on this giant hanging scale:


Then you get down to the tram boarding area…I couldn’t believe how small the doors were!


Which makes sense, since the doors lead to a tiny car just like this (yes, five people have to cram in there)!


When you get to the top, they remind you just how high up you are:


We looked across the Mississippi River to see our home state of Illinois first:


Everything below looks so small when you’re 630 feet up!


There’s even a step up that allows you to angle yourself to look STRAIGHT DOWN:


And on the other side, you see downtown St. Louis:

Nothing rivals the view that’s straight ahead, though!


Of course, once you’re back on solid ground, you have to look up, and marvel at where you were!


And check out the “Cakeway to the West” installation, as long as you’re there!


I’m so glad we finally made this trip…I just can’t figure out what took us so long!