Road Trip Wrap-Up in the Time of COVID-19

Our travels this summer might not yet be back to what they were in pre-COVID times, but we did actually go somewhere this year! Since we weren’t quite as busy as we have been on previous vacations, I’m just going to take a look at the whole trip instead of going day-by-day.

On Monday, we left for a short trip to Bowling Green, KY. Any visit to Bowling Green includes a meal from Zaxby’s. Fortunately, we have always done carryout, so that wasn’t even any different from our usual dinner.

On Tuesday morning, we drove into Nashville to visit Cheekwood Estate and Gardens and see the Nature Pop! Lego exhibition by Sean Kenney. Both the sculptures and the estate were breathtaking!

We also drove down to the Cumberland riverfront to get a look at the Nashville skyline.

We were going to get lunch at Hattie B’s, one of the locations in Nashville known for hot chicken, but the line was unbelievably long, so we went to Chaney’s Dairy Barn and had ice cream for lunch instead!

Our day ended with a beautiful double rainbow!

On Wednesday, Bunny and I went with her grandparents to tour Western Kentucky University, where she is planning on attending after she finishes at community college:

And on Thursday, we visited the Aviation Heritage Park in Bowling Green, where we saw not only an authorized replica of Marine One, but also an aircraft flown by every astronaut who walked on the moon!

We also had an early birthday celebration for Bunny that night:

We were up early on Friday morning to head home, but we did stop for donuts at the Donut Bank on the way:

It was a little challenging coming up with fun things to do outside in the summer heat, (I wanted to go to a Bowling Green Hot Rods game, but between the temperatures and the fact that I’m still a little hesitant to be in a big crowd, even outdoors, made me table that for the time being), but we found something to do every day, and it was so nice to get away for a bit!

Chickadee Thursday

We actually went somewhere more than 90 minutes from home!

On Tuesday, we visited Cheekwood Estate and Gardens to see the Nature Pop! Lego exhibition by Sean Kenney. We also stopped by the Riverfront Landing so we could get a good view of the Nashville skyline.

It was so nice to get away from home for a few days!

Sartorial Saturday…On A Sunday–Fashion for the Fourth

It’s been a while since I shared an Independence Day outfit! I’m really happy with the look I put together today, featuring a red Harley top and blue harlequin circle skirt from Pinup Girl Clothing and a red, white, and blue Splendette duchess bangles stack. The Starlite necklace from Meteor Jewelry and star brooch from Erstwilder are also a perfect fit, and let’s not forget a bright blue mask, because there’s still a pandemic going on. My favorite part of the outfit, however, might just be the red and blue PUG hair flowers I added to my Unique Vintage bonnet.

Happy Fourth of July!

Chickadee Thursday

This morning, Chickadee had braces put on! Just on the front four teeth on top for now, and it’s just the first phase of orthodontia she’s going to need, but it’s a start! She looks so much older to me!

She also has a nice souvenir of having braces during a pandemic:

This is definitely new for us…none of her siblings needed braces while they still had baby teeth, so she is in uncharted territory!

A Masked King

Since we’ve stayed home for so much of the last 15 months, I haven’t had the chance to see many of the masked statues in and around St. Louis. I did finally catch a glimpse of King Louis IX in a St. Louis city flag mask when Bunny and I went to the Art Museum last week, though!

Grant’s Farm in the Time of COVID-19

It’s been a long time since we’ve been to Grant’s Farm!

Last week, the day before they announced the opening of the park to regular guests, we took a private “Deer Park Adventure” tour. We’ve been on a private expedition at Grant’s Farm once before, but it was before Chickadee was born, and long enough ago that Moose and Ladybug really didn’t remember it. I decided we needed a special end-of-the-school-year activity, especially after the last 15 months of staying home and missing all of our usual (not to mention spontaneous!) field trips. The tour was very much like I remembered it from last time…we got to ride in a safari van with a great driver and narrator who made the experience amazing, and go on trails not taken by the normal trams, and see the grounds up close and personal! Of course, some things were different, from temperature checks and masks to being pretty much the only visitors in the park, and not getting to see some familiar things like the Tiergarten and the Clydesdales, but such is life during COVID-19.

We had a nice moment for a family photo in front of Hardscrabble cabin before we took a peek inside the house built by Ulysses S. Grant:

Probably the best part of the private tour is getting up close to the animals:

We even got to hand-feed some of them, including elk, buffalo (a buffalo actually licked me!), and, of course, goats:

This was a fun and memorable activity, and I’m really glad we had the chance to do something special as a family before the school year ends. I’m looking forward to going back now that they’re open to the general public again, too!

Rosemary is for Remembrance

For as long as I’ve shopped with Erstwilder, they’ve had a remembrance collection featuring poppy pieces, which not only serves as a way to honor those who have lost their lives in the defense of freedom, but also supports RSL Victoria’s Poppy and ANZAC Appeals, which aids current and ex-service men and women and their families. This year, they added a brooch to the collection featuring rosemary, which has long been used as a symbol of fidelity and remembrance.

I purposefully chose to wear this brooch today, the day I received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, in memory of the many, many people around the world who lost their lives too soon to this horrible virus. May we never forget how quickly our lives can change, and may we remember them.

Sartorial Saturday–Floral Masks for Spring

Time for another look at this year’s hottest accessory…the mask! This time, I’m taking a look at some of my favorite floral-print masks for spring:

I really love these masks from Old Navy. I like the way they fit, I like that they have adjustable ear loops, and I love that there are so many colors and prints. If you had told me a year ago that I would have a preferred mask, and a whole bunch of variations of that favorite on top of it, I never would have believed you, but here we are…I like that I can still be fashionable and express myself even during a pandemic!

The First Day of the Rest of My Life

I have never before understood the phrase “Today is the first day of the rest of your life” like I did this morning upon receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but now I’m having a major moment.

Easter in the Time of COVID-19

Time for another look at a Markel Family holiday in the time of COVID-19!

Last year, I was all about keeping as many things as normal as possible for everyone. This year, I decided to embrace the new and different as much as I could. For starters, even though I’m now back to grocery shopping once a week instead of every two weeks, and could have bought hot cross buns from the bakery, I decided to make a batch again this year:

We went to our new church for the evening Maundy Thursday service to begin the Holy Triduum, and it was short, but very nice:

On Good Friday we were back at our new church for an equally moving (and equally short) Tenebrae service:

On Holy Saturday, we watched Rick Steves’ European Easter and made our Paschal candle for the year, as is our tradition. This one didn’t turn out so well, but it still gets the job done!

We attended the Great Vigil of Easter at our new church…I’m so glad they offer that service. More of it was spent outside than we are used to, and that was really nice!

After church, instead of getting sundaes from McDonald’s like we usually do, we got Frosty’s and fries at Wendy’s, and I introduced the Fab Five to the culinary experience that is dipping the fries in the Frosty:

We didn’t have a sunrise service this year, but I was still up early enough to see the sunrise:

And even though we didn’t need to leave the house super-early, I still bought our traditional Pop-Tarts:

It was a beautiful morning!

I took pictures of the Fab Five in the garden outside of church:

Since I couldn’t really take pictures of them inside the church (and especially by the baptismal font) like I usually do, I did that the day of Chickadee’s confirmation:

Our new church is beautiful!

After church, we came home and made Easter breakfast…eggs and sausage, English muffins, pomegranate juice, and every flavor of mini donut I could find…seven varieties. Maybe we’ll be able to go to Easter breakfast at church again in the future, but for now, it’s nice to have the meal at home!

I may have completed all of the Bunny Day goals in Animal Crossing: New Horizons last year, but I still checked in with Zipper T. Bunny:

We had fun watching some of our favorite Easter movies today, including My Big, Fat Greek Wedding, Easter Parade, and It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown. While we did that, I made sure the table looked pretty for dinner:

And made our Easter feast for dinner. I tried a new leg of lamb recipe in the crock-pot, which was both amazingly delicious and easy. We also had Greek potatoes, carrot fritters, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, breaded artichokes, cherry Jell-O, and popovers:

For dessert, I made carrot cake Oreo truffles:

No matter what stays the same or what is different from year to year, our reason for celebrating remains constant. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!!!