Easter happenings

I’m a family girl and moving to the midwest has been an adjustment mostly because my closest family member now is my brother, 5 hours away in Chicago. The move has also meant missing out on some family traditions that I am usually a part of, such as the Anspach family Easter party that is always held the Saturday before Easter at my parent’s house. I was excited this year to spend Easter out here with Nick and make some of our own traditions and memories. On Saturday, we realized the temp was headed into the 70’s and we should be out enjoying it. We headed to Forest Park in the city, where the zoo is to start our day. From there, we drove into the city to check out Ballpark Village–a combo bar/restaurant hangout spot next to the St. Louis Cardinals baseball stadium. “Checking it out” turned into 3 hours of watching a playoff hockey game and getting pretty into it. Then we ventured to the rooftop bar “360” for the view. Throughout all of this, I knew that my family was gathered back in PA celebrating Easter together. I was sad to be missing a family gathering and holiday, but even more so I was extremely grateful for the incredibly fun weekend that I had with Nick. I called home a few times to see how everyone was doing and to let them know I missed them. But mostly, I really enjoyed my day Saturday. The new spots that we visited and the time spent with someone who makes me laugh and makes everyday an adventure, made for a pretty special Saturday. Holidays are best spent with family and are usually laced with tradition. My Easter this year was different, but it was good. Another great weekend and more great memories mostly caught on camera below.

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We had trouble finding parking and ended up pretty far away from the zoo (we thought). Until we found this charming wooded trail that actually brought us right to the zoo!
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Eye contact with a chimp. Loved this guy!
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Chimps were one of the first stops. This guy was sitting and watching us all like we were the animals in the zoo. How cool is he?
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Lions nap for up to 20 hours a day. No kidding? He looked comfy as can be lounging in the sun.
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Usually the giraffes are outside and far away, but on Saturday they were inside for feedings. Their intricate fur designs and height were shocking to me! I guess I have never been so close to a giraffe before. Got to see the black tongues as well.
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Inside of the giant bird cage! Blue skies and life all around.
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Elephants! There were 2 babies in this exhibit as well. 
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These guys were just hanging out in the water. They blew water out through their nostrils a few times which was really loud. So cool to see them from under the water, too.
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We watched these guys for awhile. That baby monkey held onto his mother’s fur as she swung around. They also housed a ton of lettuce while we were watching. Spring time at the zoo is a fun time to see baby animals!
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Snapped a pic at the Ballpark Village. We stopped in to check it out and ended up spending 3 hours there watching the St. Louis Blues hockey playoff game. What an exciting and energetic atmosphere!
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Inside Ballpark Village
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white peach sangria at 360 bar! Much deserved after our long day of exploring 🙂
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My partner in crime for the day. Chicken skewers and Angry Orchard.
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Coolest part of 360 is the view of the city and the view into the Cardinals stadium.
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Days like this just keep getting better and better.
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Back to Ballpark Village and the Drunken Fish for some sushi and sake.
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After sushi, we both agreed it was time to head home. Leaving St. Louis, I turned around in the passenger seat to a beautiful sunset over the city.

 

 

 

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Vacuums and Vino

“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.” -Philippians 1:3

Mama Anspach and Grandma Welsh decided to fly out and visit me in Missouri this past weekend. They traveled by every mode of transportation (car, plane, subway, train), except for a plane, on Friday to get to me. I took an extended lunch break Friday to pick them up in the next city over and PHEW, what a relief to see two of my favorite people in the world. Grandma embraces these adventures to visit her grandchildren with such energy and excitement. She hugged me like she hadn’t seen me in years! And even though I talk to my Mom almost daily, it is so refreshing to be with her in person.

Friday night we stayed in town and tried a small family owned Italian restaurant for dinner. Then we spent 2+ hours in Target. How does that happen?? Our main purchases were a new vacuum cleaner and a foam mattress pad for my bed. I acted like I didn’t need these things but Mom insisted and what a difference. No more springs poking you in the back from my bed and I can actually use the vacuum attachment to get to all of the corners of my apartment. (I must secretly enjoy cleaning?)

On Saturday, we went to Washington and walked around at the Farmer’s Market and BBQ Bluesfest. It was a gorgeous, sunny, breezy day. We then drove to one of the many wineries in Missouri wine country- Noboleis Winery. Free wine tasting and a gorgeous view! The wine tasting man insisted that I might not be 21 and carded me. I’ll take it. We tried about 8 wines before we bought a bottle and sat on the patio to people watch and chat. Love this photo and Grandma’s look of pure joy.

mom1Next we came back to my townhouse and crashed HARD. A bottle of wine will do that. Nick arrived and we went to dinner at a Mexican place in town and then saw the movie, “Noah.” It was interesting, although after watching the movie, we came back to my place and read the story out of the Bible as a refresher because it was clear that the director took some creative licensure when making the film.

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On Sunday, Nick made us eggs and then we headed to Palm Sunday church. We were going to stay at my townhouse and cook some lunch before taking Mom and Grandma to the airport, but decided last minute to make the most of the afternoon. We headed to the Delmar Loop in St. Louis and to Fitz’s Brewery for freshly brewed root beers. Then we drove around Forest Park and hit up the Starbucks. The best parts of the weekend were the conversations we had and the laughs we shared. I will see Mom and Grandma a decent amount over the summer but this little visit gave me an oomph to finish the remainder of the school year. The verse above from Philippians is so true when referring to these two women. They are truly blessings in my life!

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Heaven on Earth=Lazy Sunday afternoons

After I survived 11 snow days, I thought I had seen the worst of Missouri weather. Then April rolled in and it became ‘storm’ season. Last week was a little scary with thunder, lightning, hail, wind, rain and funnel clouds in the area. Here is a picture of the worst of the storm as it quickly rolled into my development last Thursday night. Our track meet was cancelled due to the weather so I was safely inside my townhouse when this all touched down.

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Our track meet was rescheduled for Friday night. After the meet, I finally headed in Nick’s direction for a weekend of freedom. Nick had his heart set on seeing the new ‘Captain America’ movie. I had my heart set on feeding the ducks in his pond, a run and cooking up a new recipe. With an entire Saturday and Sunday to ourselves, all of these things were accomplished. Saturday, we met up with a few of Nick’s friends for dinner, pool and then the movie. If I was on my own, Captain America would not be my first choice in movies, but with Nick and his enthusiasm for the Marvel series sitting next to me, it made for a pretty awesome flick. I visited the mall for an hour on Saturday to do some shopping and stumbled across these superhero leggings. Almost bought them to wear to theatre just to make Nick laugh (almost).

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Amazing how fun it is to meet people through other people on the weekends. We went to the movie with Nick’s good buddy from work, who is dating a girl that is getting her Master’s in social work. What I thought was going to be a ‘night with the guys’ actually turned into some interesting conversation with this girl who I had a lot in common with. Nick and I posed for a pic mid-pool game with the group.

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Finally on Sunday, we went to church, got Thai food, fed the ducks and took cat naps. Heaven on Earth= Lazy Sunday afternoons. I wanted to make us a hearty Sunday meal that required little prep and would leave leftovers for the week for both Nick and I. I have been on a Mexican kick lately so this recipe I stumbled across online was just what I was looking for.

Mexican Skillet Pasta (One Pot Wonder) 

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb ground turkey –  1 (15 oz) can of tomato sauce – 2 cups salsa (your choice on type used) – 2 cups of pasta (we used the vegetable tri-color rotini) – 1 cup corn – 1 cup black beans (make sure to rinse) – shredded cheddar cheese (1/2 cup to a cup based on preference) – avocado or guacamole

DIRECTIONS: 

Cook pasta. Brown and drain turkey in large skillet. Add tomato sauce and salsa  to meat and stir well. Then mix cooked pasta, corn, beans into skillet. Stir in cheese (preferred amount) to thicken the sauce. Serve and add sliced avocado or guac on top. Enjoy!

HELPFUL HINTS: 

Make sure to use a large enough skillet. Mine was overflowing!

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Days with Little Guys

Most days I go to work and it’s pretty normal. Other days I go to work and it’s anything but normal and I just have to chuckle at the hilarious things that the kids say and the strange things I got to do that day. Below are 5 things that all happened today….

1. Little guy #1 is in my room playing with cars and having a great time when all of sudden he is inconsolable and screaming and I don’t know what to do. It takes a full 2.5 minutes until I look down and realize he peed his pants and it made a little puddle on the ground.

2. Little guy #2 is dismissed from language therapy. Progress made! Good luck in Kindergarten little friend!

3. Little guy #3: Tells me that he has a “dito” (mosquito) bite on his leg but that, “They don’t hurt as much to me cause I’m a man.” Had to hold in my laughter for that one.

4. Little guy #4: My last kiddo of the day who without fail talks about “biduhman” (Spiderman) every time I see him, tells me that next year for Halloween, he is going to be “Spiderman.” (I already knew this, but he used his S sound for the first time ever without me prompting him!!) What a way to end my day 🙂

5. About 20 little guys around 2:15 PM: Severe t-storms hit the area this afternoon and a lightning bolt struck down close to our school. It caused our fire alarms to go off, which included bright flashing lights and ear piercing sirens. Plan of action was to coral all the kids together and hover in the kid’s bathrooms and sit on the floor close to the walls to stay safe. This ensued a 15 minute stretch of singing “Wheels on the Bus,” “Twinkle, Twinkle” and “Jingle Bells” to keep all the little guys distracted and happy.

It was a good day.