The Ottoman Garden–August

For the second year in a row, I’m abandoning my “Mobot Through the Year” photography project, because for the second month in a row, the Ottoman Garden has been closed to visitors, and the best I could do was sneak a photo of the construction from the side of the (wrong for my pictures) gate:

I’m really bummed about this. Last year, everything was messed up, and while I wasn’t happy about giving up my project, at least it was understandable. But this year is just annoying…I was really looking forward to capturing the beauty of this space as fall approaches. To be honest, I don’t know what I’m going to do next year. I definitely will not be hoping that the “third time’s the charm” with the Ottoman Garden, because I know a cursed endeavor when I see one. But after two completely disappointing years, I’m not sure I have the heart to try somewhere else, either. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens when 2022 dawns!

Summer School 2021

It seemed like the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics would never get here, and now they’ve already come and gone. Here’s a look back at our Japan-themed summer school.

We visited Origami in the Garden at the Missouri Botanical several times over the summer. The large-scale art installation was the perfect field trip to coincide with Tokyo 2020 (and was also postponed from last summer).

We also visited the Olympic Spectacular in St. Louis at Francis Field, home of the 1904 Summer Games:

I made a few fun treats for the Olympics…Olympics torches (white chocolate covered pretzels) and Team USA CHEERios treats.

We did a lot of cooking and tried a lot of Japanese foods. I worked really hard to find things we hadn’t had before, and used a variety of cooking methods and unfamiliar ingredients. We tried:

  • Spicy Ramen/Udon
  • Pork Gyoza
  • Coffee Jelly
  • Okonomiyaki
  • Matcha Mochi Cake
  • Vegetable Tempura
  • Potato Korokke
  • Fluffy Japanese Cheesecake
  • Kani Cream Korokke
  • Chicken Katsu Sandwich
  • Matcha Green Tea Cookies
  • Oyakodon

We were supposed to go out to a Japanese restaurant this summer, but COVID-19, so we got a party platter of sushi instead:

I’ve been holding on to the Lego Architecture Tokyo skyline since last year, and we finally got to build it!

Our American Girl dolls got into the Olympic spirit:

In between watching as much of the Olympics as we could, we also did some more traditional school work. We learned about Japanese history and culture, as well as the history of the Olympics. We read a lot of books…some I read out loud, and some were book basket choices. We also watched a selection of Olympic documentaries:

  • FirstLondon 2012
  • The Everlasting FlameBeijing 2008
  • Atlanta’s Olympic GloryAtlanta 1996
  • 16 Days of GloryLos Angeles 1984
  • Athens 2004: Stories of Olympic Glory
  • Seoul 1988

And we also did several crafts, including origami, paper lanterns, Koinobori (Japanese carp windsocks), pipe cleaner and tissue paper cherry blossom branches, and medals (of course!):

I’ve been holding on to Ticket to Ride: Japan since last year, and we finally had a chance to play! I really enjoyed the new game mechanics introduced in this edition, and it was fun to get to know the geography of the area a little bit better.

We updated our medal chart every evening…here’s a look at the final results…we were very excited that the US won the gold medal race and had the most medals overall!

And, better late than never, our Family Olympics, which was delayed due to heat. We only had four events this year (frisbee throw, broad jump, soccer kicks, and a running race), thanks to time constraints and a lack of basketball hoops on the backboards we normally use. Technically, Turkey came in first, but since we participate as a family, we all won gold!

This summer school was a long time coming. I think we all still have mixed feelings about the fact that the Olympics were held at this time, but we had to just accept that that was out of our control, and embrace the Olympics as we usually do. It’s always hard to say goodbye when they extinguish the flame, but the Winter Olympics are less than six months away, and we only have to wait three more years for Paris 2024!

The Ottoman Garden–July

My plan to photograph the Ottoman Garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden every month isn’t turning out so well (although I’m still doing way better this year than I did last year!).

Hopefully, they’ll finish whatever they’re working on in the next couple of weeks, and I’ll have some decent pictures in August!

Francis Olympic Field

Did you know that the Summer Olympic Games were once held in St. Louis?

The 1904 Olympics were supposed to be held in Chicago, but the organizers of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, also known as the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, were not thrilled about that idea. They actually began to plan their own international sports contest, forcing Pierre de Coubertin himself to step in and move the Summer Games to St. Louis. The central location for the 1904 Olympics was Francis Field, located on the campus of Washington University, and named for David R. Francis, a former governor of Missouri and president of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. (Other venues included Forest Park, Glen Echo Country Club, and Creve Coeur Lake.) Among the events contested at Francis Field in 1904 were wrestling, gymnastics, athletics, lacrosse, tug of war, and roque (the only time that sport has been an Olympic event!).

The stadium is a U.S. National Historic Landmark, but is also the current home of the Washington University Bears football team, as well as the track and field and soccer teams.

Adjacent to the field is the St. Louis Olympic Spectacular, which was unveiled in 2018:

Although there was controversy surrounding the 1904 Olympic Games (something we can definitely relate to today!), it’s still pretty cool knowing that St. Louis is one of only three U.S. cities to host the Summer Olympics!

A Rainy Morning at the Missouri Botanical Garden

We stopped at the Missouri Botanical Garden this morning so I could take the latest pictures in my “MoBot Through the Year” photo series of the Ottoman Garden. The whole visit kind of ended up being a comedy of errors, because we discovered the Ottoman Garden is temporarily closed for construction, and even though the weather was supposed to be clear, it started raining on us, and didn’t stop the whole time we were there. The rain did make for some good pictures, though!

The garden is really pretty in the rain…I just wish I had brought an umbrella!

Lafayette Square

I already shared a few photos of our trip to the Lafayette Square neighborhood of St. Louis on my birthday; now I’m going to take a closer look at some of my favorite features of the area.

There are a few historic sites in the park, including a trio of cannons from a British warship which was sunk in the harbor of Charleston during the Revolutionary War. There is a also a bronze casting of a famous statue of George Washington…the only one for which he posed!

The park itself is beautiful…our favorite location was this little area by the Grotto Bridge:

We saw many beautiful flowers in the park, including one of my favorites, the hydrangea:

The park house, which was originally a police station, is also lovely:

The streets surrounding the park are filled with gorgeous homes, some of which still have mounting blocks out front!

And the Lafayette Square Fountain is just down the street!

This is definitely one of my favorite neighborhoods in St. Louis, and I’m looking forward to going back as the seasons change so I can capture more beautiful moments!