Quote of the Day

I think after this winter, I have a new appreciation for this quote!

“The Vulcans say that the desert teaches men the meaning of endurance. But it’s the ice that forges real strength.” Jeffrey Combs as Commander Shran on Star Trek: Enterprise

Brookfield Zoo

Here’s a closer look at our winter visit to Brookfield Zoo!

There was a bit of snow on the ground when we walked around (there would have been a lot more if we had waited two days!), and it was just beautiful:

The best part of the trip, though, was our experience seeing the animals. I was really worried about this aspect, because I thought they might all be hiding indoors due to the cold. In reality, though, this was the best chance we’ve ever had at any zoo to observe the animals…they were unbelievably active! The big cats were probably our favorite (we especially enjoyed hearing the lion roar…he was LOUD!), but we also saw so many other animals in greater detail than we ever have before! (Not pictured: The sea lions we watched fight over position on a rock for at least 20 minutes…they were hilarious!)

In the end, we spent around five hours at the zoo…but we had so much fun, I really thought we had only been there for about two!

I’d like to go back and see everything in warmer weather at some point, but I have to admit, this special trip, where we pretty much had the place to ourselves, will be almost impossible to top!

Markel Family Winter Weekend Getaway–Day Three

Last Saturday we woke up to the winter storm that had been forecasted…in the early part of the day, even the highways were covered, and from what we could see from our eighth floor hotel room, it was rough going out there. I was a little concerned that we would have to spend the entire day in our room…

We did have fun watching even more Food Network, and I went out to clear off the car at one point, but eventually I got kind of restless, so we walked over to the Oak Brook Home Show, which was being held next door at the Drury Lane Theatre. The show was kind of a bust (I hate high pressure environments), but I did enjoy seeing the inside of Drury Lane for the first time since I was a child. We were especially impressed by the beautiful chandeliers and ornate ceiling:

Back in our room, we noticed a bit of winter drama down below. One of the hotel snowplows had managed to get stuck in a snowbank, and we rather enjoyed watching as first they attempted to plow it out, then tried with shovels, and finally gave up and towed the thing out.

The snow did finally stop, and at some point I realized that the cars in the parking lot down below were no longer spinning their tires and the highways looked pretty clear. So we decided to venture out. First we stopped at Mariano’s, which is a new grocery store chain from when I lived in the Chicago area. We were very impressed with it, and decided we’ll probably need to go back in May, if only to sample the offerings from their “mochi bar.”

Then we went to church at St. John, Wheaton:

We even managed to stop back in at Frosty Faustings one more time, where we caught a bit of the cosplay contest and took a few more pictures.

Once we were back at the hotel, we dug into the treat we picked up at Mariano’s…an Eli’s Cheesecake sampler! We really enjoyed the specialty from “Mama’s Little Bakery, Chicago, Illinois!”

More Food Network, plus some Friends on Nick at Nite before bed on our last night in the hotel. We went to sleep wondering if there was going to be more snow overnight, but at least I parked in the theatre’s parking garage this time!

Snowy Garden

Here are a few more pictures from my walk in the winter wonderland that was the Missouri Botanical Garden on Sunday. While the garden is beautiful in the spring with all the flowers blooming, I think this might be my favorite way to see it, covered in snow!

The English Woodland Garden–January, Part Two

I know I just shared a picture of this year’s “MoBot Through the Year” location last week, but St. Louis was lucky enough to be blanketed with 10 inches of snow this weekend, so of course I have to share another, this time including a frosty white blanket:

Winter at the Chicago Botanic Garden

When we were in Chicago two weeks ago, one of the things of the things I wanted to do was visit the Chicago Botanic Garden using the reciprocity that comes with our Missouri Botanical Garden membership. I’m so glad we had time to go!

The weather was actually very nice for Chicago in January, but there was still snow on the ground, which made our walk even more fun. Without question, our favorite part of the Garden was the Japanese Garden, Sansho-en. There were two islands we were allowed to visit (a third is visible, but not accessible), and the winding paths were lovely.

The rest of the snow-covered garden was beautiful, too. We saw as much of it as we could with the time we had.

We did eventually get cold (nice or not, it was still January!), so we enjoyed a walk through the greenhouses to warm up:

And we took a look at the bonsai trees  on display in the Regenstein Center. Don’t let their small size fool you…some of them are over 80 years old!

We loved our wintertime visit to the Chicago Botanic Garden, and I’m really hoping we’ll have a chance to go back in the spring.  know there is a lot more water throughout the Garden than it looked like because of all of the snow, and I really want to know how it  looks when you can see it all!

Winter and Spring

I knew when I saw the snow-covered flowering crabapple trees at the Missouri Botanical Garden back in January that I would have to take a comparison picture when they were actually flowering in the spring. I got my chance yesterday…I love how different, and how beautiful, both views are! There is truly no bad season in Shaw’s Garden!