Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Loop Ice Carnival

One of the wintertime festivals for St. Louis is the Ice Carnival, which is held on the Delmar Loop.  We went today, to see what it was all about.  The weather was dreary, although it has actually been above freezing during the day for the past few days.  But the sunshine definitely would have made the ice sculptures glitter more!  It turned out that many of the ice sculptures were little more than commercial logos of the stores, but some of them were pretty creative.  We enjoyed a nice stroll down the Delmar and back before heading to Home Depot to get closet repair supplies!

The Mighty FROZEN Mississippi!

Two weeks ago was a brutally cold week here in St. Louis, as it was in most of the country.  We heard news reports that the Mississippi was frozen over, so of course we had to go check it out.  We drove North on the Illinois side up the Great River Road to Pere Marquette State Park.  Along the way the scenery was just incredible, the river was frozen solid in some places, frozen into big chunks in others due to the current, or the barges that were trying to push their way through.  We also went eagle watching because this is the time of year that they are supposed to be nesting in the area, and feeding on the fish in the river.  We were not nearly as successful finding eagles as we were finding ice, but we figured out that part of problem may have been that we waited till too late in the day.  We plan to try it again some weekend soon and get a very early start.  When we drove back down the River Road, we went to the Migratory Bird Sanctuary which is located near one of the locks on the river.  Since the locks were blocking the ice, there were plenty of birds fishing below them, and we spotted several eagles there.  We also saw a flock of trumpeter swans that were just hanging out on the frozen ice of the river, and a few of them flew over us.  We had a great afternoon of "being earthy" as one of my friends called it!

I Finally Did It!

Moving in with Mark has had some difficult moments...most of them have been when I have entered the closet.  This is a house for a single woman would have ever purchased this house due to the lack of closet space.  My out of season clothes live in a storage unit that is 50 miles from here, and my in season clothes are distributed into the master closet and a closet in the basement.  It is a struggle each and every time I enter the master closet.  I moved from a house with four bedrooms, and my clothes in at least three of the bedroom closets.  I downsized tremendously when I move up here, but is a struggle!  Mark bought a huge oak armoire for all his clothes and gave me the entire closet, and from the day I moved in, he has been predicted that one day I would tear the clothes rod shelf off the wall.  Wednesday night it happened, ironically while I was trying to take clothes OUT for school the next day.   Mark was at a faculty dinner, so I sat and stewed about how mad he would be when he saw the damage.  In typical Mark fashion, it didn't surprise or upset him at all, his only comment was now we knew what we would be doing this weekend.'s the lovely picture of the downed clothes shelf!  We decided to just remount this with additional supports, as well as put a shelf underneath it so there will now be twice the room to hang clothes.  151 more days till we should be in our new home (not that I'm counting or anything....)!!

Porch Posts

In the planning stages of our house, we decided that we would provide the porch posts from cedars cut off the property.  Mark, the builder and myself all felt that this would add character to the house.  So...Mark figured out what sizes we needed, then decided that bigger would be better.  He also figured out the number that we needed, and again, decided that a few extra would be nice.  It ended up being a monumental task between the size of our tractor, our lack of experience in having ever done this, our decision to cut the trees down on the opposite side of the property from where the house will be located, and some yucky weather conditions along the way.  I've learned that chainsawing aggravates my long ago resolved (I thought!) tennis elbow and  I earned a cortisone shot along the way.  Finally, finally, finally....they are all out on the field airing out and drying to be placed on the porch when the time is right.  These guys are massive!!

Here's Lucy modeling one of the smaller trunks after being cut.

One of the larger trees that were cut.

Picking up a log to place it on the wagon.

Mark with one of the logs as it was going on the pile in the field.

And the logs all neatly (sort of) piled on the field for drying.

Here's the first truckload of the cedar logs that will be the exterior of the house finally arriving from Maine. we are no officially in building mode!

Friday, January 15, 2010


While in Simpsonville, we played cards, ate, watched UGA football, ate, went to the park, ate, and just had a great time being lazy and watching Emery.  Ryan's parents, Donny and Nancy, came up to visit with us for New Year's Eve, and it was great to get to see them again.  We also enjoyed ourselves at The Bonefish Grill, although the waiter that had to clean up after Emery was probably wishing we had stayed at home!  She loves the finger foods, but isn't quite adept at it quite yet.  It was a wonderful week, and of course it was hard to leave.  I'm already planning the next trip!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Greenville Zoo

After Christmas I drove to Simpsonville, SC to visit with family and Mark flew in a few days later.  My parents, Toby and Whitie, came up to visit, and Austin made it there as well.  We had a great few days visiting, playing cards, talking, watching the UGA game,  and eating, of course!  The first day we all went to the Greenville Zoo, which is pretty good for a town of that size.  Ryan and Austin had fun playing with my camera and telephoto lens, which makes it impossible to take a bad picture.  Since most of the zoo pictures were theirs, I'm not sharing many of them, or people would decide it really is the camera, not me, that has the talent!

Here's a group shot that Ryan captured....the trouble with being the photographer is you are never in the picture, and I wish we'd had someone take a group photo of all of us, including Ryan!

Emery and her Uncle Austin

And here's a great shot that Austin caught of a giraffe chewing!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Disney World

Every five years the National MPS Society holds their conference in Disney World, and 2009 was the year. We had talked with Austin before he left for Iraq about how much fun it would be to meet up there after he got back, and then he started dating Megan, who is a chef at Disney World, so it worked out perfectly! Mark was giving a talk during the conference, so he headed down a few days before me. I missed the conference because of school, but I still got the opportunity to catch up with some friends.  My visit was short, but very sweet. I had the chance to connect with many families that I haven't seen in awhile, visit with Austin and Megan, and soak up some semi warm Florida sunshine! Since Megan is a "castmember" of Disney, she got us tickets for free!  We spent a day in Hollywood Studios, and a short day in Animal Kingdom before we headed back home. Megan was a treasuer trove of inside knowledge about Disney and acted as our tour guide while we were there.