Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve

We were up bright and early for our annual trip to Pokagon State Park for some tobogganing.  This year only Cam and Meg wanted to make the trip, but we all still had fun.  It was quite cold, but they were able to get in four trips before we called it a day.  I got some great pictures as they came down the run.  I have only gone once or twice.  It is a little rough on my back, so I have been designated driver the last few years.  I drop them off at the top of the run and drive down to the bottom to wait.  It saves Doug from having to carry the toboggan all the way back up the hill.  Today they also were able to warm up on the drive.

Doug and I went to lunch once we got back.  Then he and Brett went to see the movie "Grudge Match."  I had just enough time to run Cal to Meghan's and then to the grocery before they got back.  They really liked the movie - kind of an old man's Rocky.  We had meatballs, chili con queso, cocktail wieners and guacamole for dinner.  Cal was in early by 9 p.m. or so.  We asked him not to stay out late because of the snow and drivers on the road.  The four of us played Qwirkle and then watched more of the Scy Fy channel's marathon of Twilight Zone episodes until the ball dropped at midnight.

Meg and Cameron spent the night at Grandma's.  The confetti came flying at 12 a.m. sharp.  They have a lot of fun with that activity.  I sure would hate to clean it up!!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Shopping

Brett, Meg and I spent the day shopping in South Bend.  Our first stop was to Pier One in search of throw pillows for the living room.  We found some great pillows, although a little smaller than I was thinking.  In the process I believe that we traumatized Brett.  Pier One is not Brett's kind of store, but he survived.  We agreed to let him sit in the van for the next stop, Petco.  

After that we all went to the University Park Mall.  Brett picked the lunch stop - Chik Fil A.  Meg had money to spend at Hollister thanks to Godmother Jeannette.  She found a really cute pair of jeans and shirt.  We stopped at Barnes and Noble, Yankee Candle, JC Penney, the Disney Store and Go Calendars.  Brett did a lot of window shopping, but decided to hold onto his money until our next trip. 

Even without buying anything Brett said that he had a great time.  We listened to music, talked about movies and just enjoyed spending time together.  We stopped at Grandma's on the way home to pick up Cal and Cameron.  Cam does not like shopping and Cal had practice today.  Meg showed off her new green Nike basketball shoes.  Brett and Grandpa made plans for lunch tomorrow.  A quiet evening at home topped off a wonderful day.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

ND

Today Doug, Cam, Cal and I went with Cal's girlfriends family to a Notre Dame basketball game.  Didn't know what to expect as Notre Dame lost their best player over Christmas break due to academic issues.  It turned out to be a lot of fun.  We first stopped at the Notre Dame bookstore.  There were a lot of great items to pick from and I love what Cameron found.  The first was a Notre Dame hat to add to his "hat collection."  The second made the outfit perfect - a hairy green wig to wear under the hat.

We headed to the game with our new Notre Dame "muppet" in tow.  We had excellent seats and were there in plenty of time to watch them warm up.  We thought the game would be a blowout as they were playing Canisius State.  Instead it turned out to be extremely exciting.  The opposing team had two really good players, and it was close until the very last second as Notre Dame pulled out a one basket victory.

Cameron said on the way home that he enjoyed the game a lot more than he thought he would.  I believe that is how everyone else felt as well.  We stopped for dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings and listened to the story of how Cal and Meghan started dating.  They seem to really enjoy doing things together.

Brett and Meg had a great day as well.  They went to see Frozen with Grandpa Cutes.  Brett said that it was even better the second time.  Only one more week of break and it is going by way too fast.  Glad that all of the Heinisch children are enjoying it to the fullest.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Game Night

Brett worked BINGO for the Knight's this evening and Cal decided to go to Meghan's to watch movies.  Thus, the four of us were left at home.  We had already spent the day putting away the Christmas and picking up the house.  No one was interested in cleaning anymore.  We went shopping and to dinner on Thursday night, so that was out.  Therefore, we decided to have a family, fun game night and invite my parents to join in the festivities.

Uno was the first game chosen.  Grandma and Meg were the big winners in that game.  We then introduced Grandma and Grandpa to Five Second Rule.  Grandpa was sure that we were going to throw food on the floor and give him five seconds to eat it.  That was a good idea, but we actually played the board game and enjoyed listening to everyone try to beat the clock with fun categories like "Name 3 Hair Bands of the 1980s" in five seconds.  This lead to discussion on one of the games Meg received several years ago called "Don't Say It."  We split in to teams of boys vs. girls.  One person tried to get the rest of the team to guess the word on the card without saying the four forbidden cards.  It was a lot of fun with the games ending in a tie.

Doug's favorite card game of all time is Hearts and my Dad is always willing to play that.  Thus, Cam, Grandpa, Doug and I started a game. Cameron needed to take a break for awhile so Grandma stepped in just in time for Doug to run it on the last hand and beat us all.  All of the games were a lot of fun, but the last game was probably the best of the evening.  Most families call this particular card game "Pass the Ace", but our family has always called it "Up Your Yinnie."  Not sure what a Yinnie is, but it is a lot of fun.  For this game we pulled out the big bucks and Meg was top winner with $4.25 and Cameron second with $1.50.

Glad that we decided to stay in tonight.  Everyone had a great time.  Nothing is more fun than ganging up on my dad or Doug in a friendly game of cards or flipping over a King and saying, "Up Your Yinnie."

Friday, December 27, 2013

Saving Mr. Banks

Meg, Brett and I decided to try the movie "Saving Mr. Banks" this afternoon, and we all walked out in awe of the story.  Having loved Mary Poppins and a fan of Walt Disney, I am not surprised that we all felt this way.  We just couldn't stop talking about what a great story the movie told.

Not to be a spoiler, I will only give out the premise as is told in the trailer.  The movie retells Walt's twenty year struggle to buy the rights to Mary Poppins, and the difficulties the Disney creators had in working with author P.L. Traverse while writing the screenplay.  There is a backstory that tells of Mrs. Traverse's sad childhood that brought a tear to both Meg and I, but made the story of Mary Poppins even more magical.  Tom Hanks is a great Walt Disney and Emma Thompson portrays the uppity author of the beloved book perfectly.  Even the small roles in this movie, (the limo driver and the songwriters) become memorable characters for all of those watching.  Kudos to Walt for the fortitude to bringing this story to life and a big thank you to Helen Goff for sharing the Banks family with the rest of the world.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

It's OK, we're Heinisch's

We arrived at church fifteen minutes early on Christmas Eve to ensure that we had a seat for the children's mass.  Brett decided to use the restroom before the service began, so he quietly tried to slip out of the pew.  Somehow his feet got caught up and the next thing we knew he landed in the middle of the aisle face first with a big thud.  I looked down at Cal and he just shrugged his shoulders.  Brett let us know that he was alright and headed on out.  Meg whispered to me, "I think everyone is looking at us, but don't worry, it's OK, we're Heinisch's."  

I had to laugh at that. It is not the first time one of my children have said those words to me.  In fact Brett was the first.  That is the way it works in our family.  The Heinisch's are for the most part a confident bunch, loud everywhere we go, trying to get all we can out of life, and at times creating a scene.  That is just who this family is and that is what makes it so fun.  

I know some people do not understand this, and think that we are obnoxious or snobs.  I don't believe that is true of us at all. There are those, though, that seem to share in our enthusiasm for life.  This was definitely the case with the security guard at the Pacer's game Sunday night.  As we started to walk through the metal detector, the first guard said, "Empty your pockets."  The rest of us understood that he meant to hold out our phones, cameras, etc.  Cameron, however, pulled out of his pockets every kleenex he had used that day  along with a dozen or so Hershey Kisses wrappers, all while wearing his springy Santa hat.  Of course the metal in the hat set off the alarm, so they sent him to the second security guard, the official one with the wand.  The guy must have been a Heinisch at heart.  He looked right at Cameron, laughed, and said, "You're good!"  

So, if you get stuck behind us in line at a Pacer's game or in the pew in front of us at church, know that we can be a lot of fun.  If you are the type, though, who would rather move to the back for a more peaceful, quiet spot, we understand.  You won't be the first.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

For the first time in 18 Christmas' in the Heinisch home we actually slept until 8 a.m. on Christmas morning. Cameron's siblings told him that they were not getting up until 8:30, so there was no reason to rise early.  As is the tradition on Christmas morning, the stockings filled with candy and iTunes gift cards were opened first.  They each used to have a CD in their stockings, but the invention of iPods changed that several years ago.

Once the stockings were emptied, Santa gifts were opened next.  Three for each child to match the number of gifts given to baby Jesus many years ago. The Heinisch children then had a gift to open from each of their siblings and parents.  This year's highlights were the book The Great Deformation for Brett, an Oladipo jersey for Cal, Just Dance 2014 for Meg and a bouncy chair for Cameron.  I was thrilled with my multitude of purple and yellow kitchenware, and Doug scored big time with a new wine refrigerator.  Morning clean up started around 10 a.m., Grandparents were called to wish a Merry Christmas to, and several rounds of Just Dance were played before 1 p.m. rolled around.

At this time Grandma Jane and Grandpa Cutes arrived with a van full of presents and several food dishes to enjoy with our Christmas dinner.  The Heinisch children thoroughly enjoyed their IU gifts - an IU blanket for Brett, an IU basketball encyclopedia for Cal, candy striped pants for Meg and IUopoly for Cameron.  Doug now has an electric griddle of his own, and I loved my frame preschool picture of Zip the monkey and I from years ago.  Doug made a wonderful ham with his famous jalapeno corn dish.  Mom supplied the relishes and desserts.  Games of pool, Just Dance, Jenga and IUopoly were enjoyed before the evening came to an end.
As we watched Despicable Me 2 late into the evening, Meg said, "This has been the best Christmas ever."  I couldn't agree more. 


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve Traditions

I love the Christmas Eve traditions that we have established with the Heinisch children.  The morning is filled with baking Christmas cookies with Doug.  Candy cane cookies are a family favorite much as when I was a child.  Our afternoon is taken up with last minute shopping in town for any gifts or food needed for the big day.  Meg and I fulfilled this roll today.  It was nice having her along.  Of course that meant the guinea pigs now have Santa beards to wear for tomorrow, but we couldn't resist.  Cal and Cam took care of the last minute wrapping that needed down.  This is the first year that Cal has wrapped his gifts for everyone.  He was impressed with his wrapping skills.

At 4:30 p.m. we all gather for a picture by the Christmas tree.  I love looking back at all of these pictures to see how much the children have changed over the years.  Meg can no longer stand in front of Brett as she has gotten quite a bit taller this year.  We all then head to children's mass at 5 p.m.  For several years Meg carried the baby Jesus to the manger at the altar in the processional.  Now we just admire the little girl in that role.  During the homily Father calls up the children of the church to discuss the birth of the Christ child.  This is the first year that none of the Heinisch children made the trip up.  We all enjoyed the homily just the same.

After mass we drive around the lake to look at Christmas lights and decorations.  The past few years there have been less and less, but one neighborhood nears us still delivers and we save the best for last.  Once we return home, Godparent gifts are opened and more pictures are taken.  Doug then gets out the salami and cheese for a light dinner.  We pick a Christmas movie to watch.  In years past it has been A Christmas Story, but this year, we changed it up and chose It's a Wonderful Life.  Cookies, milk and carrots are left out for Santa and his reindeer.  The baby Jesus on our handmade Advent calendar is placed carefully in his pocket and the Heinisch family is off to bed.  This year I feel blessed that they all chose to spend Christmas Eve in our traditional manner.  I do not know how many more years this will occur, but for now I feel blessed to be part of this wonderful family.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Heinisch Christmas Gathering

We officially kicked off the Christmas season today with Carl and Jeanette.  They were able to make the trip out and this afternoon we enjoyed a lovely dinner featuring steak, southwest chicken, and pork kabobs from Inboden's plus Doug's famous macaroni and cheese and Grandma Jane's desserts.  What a great way to start the holidays.

After dinner gifts were disbursed and the Heinisch children started unwrapping.  Each was blessed with a handmade treasure box from Grandpa Heinisch and a hand carved Santa from Grandma Heinisch both of which they will cherish for years to come.  They each had a $2 bill and $25 to spend plus new pajamas for Brett and Meg, an NIU shirt for Cal and a Jimmy Butler Bulls shirt for Cameron.  Brett surprised his grandparents by picking out a gift for them from IU - 100 best grilling recipes - which they really appreciated.  Cameron, Meg and Cal had purchased the new John Grisham novel for their Grandma.  With all of these wonderful gifts, however, I think Grandpa Heinisch's from the trio may have gotten the most discussion - a fighting Illini temperature garden gnome and rain gage.  Just what every University of Illinois graduate needs!!

So glad that the Heinisch family was able to celebrate together this Christmas season.  Lots of great food, conversation and pictures were shared today.  Bellies are full and hearts are happy tonight just as it should be this time of year!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

First NBA Game

The first weekend of Christmas break can definitely be called a success!  To start our vacation Meg went to her friends' for a sleepover, Brett completed all his requirements for semester one, Cal and some of the basketball boys went to IPFW to watch a game and back to our house for a competitive round of Scrabble with Cam, Doug and I went to dinner, and Grandma and Grandpa came over for game night.  With all of those great things going on, I have to say the best part, however, has been our trip to Indy.  All six of us together eating at Hard Rock Cafe and then enjoying the Pacers vs Celtics game has been priceless.  Well worth the overpriced popcorn, nosebleed seats and three hour drive just to listen to the Heinisch children conversations.  Cam, Meg and Brett can also now make the claim that they have been to an NBA game!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Life of a Mom with a Teenage Boy

I am happy to announce that after three years, I am now fluent in two languages.  Obviously, the first one is English.  My second language may not be as beneficial to those who know Spanish, French or German, but to a mother of a teenage boy it is a must.  Today I realized that I am officially fluent in the language of "mumble."

Cal wasn't always a mumbler.  In fact he used to talk all of the time.  Some time during 8th grade I noticed that his answers to my questions had become shorter.  His voice had also started to change around this time, so I thought that maybe that was the reason I could no longer understand his response.  It dawned on me after a couple of months of asking him to repeat himself, he was really telling me to stop asking him so many questions.  So, I did.

There were many mornings I drove him to the middle school (a six minute drive) with neither of us speaking until I said, "Have a great day!" as he exited the vehicle.  He always mumbled something in return, but I wasn't quite sure what it was.  That is the way our life continued for several years.  I limited the amount of questions I asked him, making sure they were ones that I really needed answers to - "What time do you need picked up?"  "How did you do on your test?"  "Do you need money?"  "Will their parents be there?"  I didn't need to know who was dating whom or what offense they were practicing in basketball, so I didn't bother him with those.  Long gone were the days when I knew what he ate at lunch, who he sat with and which team won the football game at recess.  We did find common ground on several topics - especially IU basketball, golf and the NBA.  

Today I am proud to say that Cal does talk in our house again and even lets us know where he is going and when he will be returning.  First thing this morning he asked if he could go with Alex to the high school swim meet, then to IPFW for a basketball and out for dinner.  I knew I pushed the envelope when I asked, "Who else is going?"  This time, however, when he mumbled two names that would have been inaudible to most humans, I knew exactly who they were!!  

After three years of trying to track his code, I finally did it.   After he left,  I looked on Google translate to see if "Mumble" was an official langue yet.  It wasn't, but if they ever add it, I will be the first to apply for the job.  Of course, the only words that I am extremely confident in are "OK", "Fine", "Not much" and "Jayce".  I do know, however, if I keep trying I will probably have a vocab of at least 50 words by the time he graduates.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Break

WooHoo!  Today is the official start of Christmas break!  It began with a bang as we had a two hour delay because of fog!  The beginning of school rushed by with a staff breakfast and Cam and Meg handing out gifts.  My 7th and 8th grade classes went by relatively easily as we decorated Christmas cakes and watched The Grinch with Jim Carey.  Sixth and fifth grade was a blur.  It was pancake day and I should have postponed it until after break as we only had thirty minute classes.  We tried it and in the end did pretty well.  Four fifth graders didn't get pancakes, but will on the day after break along with a Warrior award for being patient!

I stuck around for the rest of the afternoon to clean my room and help one of my students finish a gift for his Grandma.  The middle school was really rocking by 2:30 as there was a convocation to announce the extreme Christmas winners and the annual mad dash for cash involving the top sellers of this year's fundraiser.  By the time I met Cam and we headed home, I was ready for bed!

I did take Meg to Brooklyn and Avery's to spend the night, made it to dinner with Brett, Cam and Doug, and even made it up to greet Cal after the basketball game.  A crazy start to our holiday vacation.  Looking forward to rest, relaxation and a lot of family time!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Semester One is in the Bag

Brett called several times yesterday to tell us 1) that he only got three hours of sleep the night before as he was writing a paper and 2) he was more than ready to come home.  His first two finals were challenging.  I don't remember ever walking out of a final and thinking that it was a breeze, so I think his assessment is probably correct.  He has two papers due Friday night at 9 p.m. that he can submit online.  He finished one at 4 a.m. yesterday morning.  That left him time to pack, study for his Thursday final and write one more paper, before Grandma and Grandpa picked him up this afternoon.

I am proud of how hard he has worked this semester and impressed with how well he has adjusted to being on his own.  This week he met several of his friends for dinner and survived selling back his books in the long lines of the IU bookstore.  All new adventures that he didn't ask advice on, just attempted himself.  I wasn't sure how it would be for him this year, but so far so good.  Can't wait to spend three weeks with him before he starts semester two.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hump Day

At the beginning of the year all of the students would yell, "What day is it?" down the hall every Wednesday.  Inevitably someone would reply "Hump Day!!" mimicking their favorite new commercial.  The thrill of hump day has worn off by now and Wednesdays have once again returned to the least favorite day of the week.

For teachers it is the day that we have an hour long meeting.  I struggle with any type of meeting, so it is hard for me to sit through them.  It also shortens the school day just enough to make the classes shorter.  In FACS we only have 40 minutes to accomplish what we need to for the day.  The 8th grade was able to make their Christmas cakes, however, in the allotted time.  Although I had to take them out of the oven for them, I was glad that they were able to accomplish the given task.  In my class the students are the makers with me there to provide a couple of suggestions.  For the most part by now they can take over and conquer the kitchen.  I love watching them put their learned skills to task.  Can't wait to see how the cakes taste.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Program #3

It was a busy day for the Heinisch family.  Cameron was a lot better, but still not quite ready for a full day.  He stayed at Mom's once again and came in around lunch time.  Cal had a makeup basketball game at Whitko.  He is still on the injured list, but spent the evening helping the stats guys and supporting the team.

Meg had her second music program and the third Heinisch one overall.  This one combined with the high school and middle school bands and the orchestras.  There main song was the Ukranian Bell Carol.  It sounded great.  Doug was able to make this one and Meg said that she had a lot of fun hanging out with her friends.  She wished Brett could be there to hear her, but finals got in the way.

Doug and I went to dinner after the program and before Cal got home.  It was a day that started early and ended late, but a fun day for the Heinisch children. It left us all anxious for Christmas break to begin.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Snow Delay

Last night we were blessed with the knowledge that we would be having a snow delay today.  It didn't surprise us as the roads were terrible driving to Ligonier last night and the wind was still howling late into the evening.  It was our first delay of the year, so the Heinisch family was excited.

Cameron, unfortunately, did not get to share in the excitement.  He started running a fever yesterday afternoon and was out for the count early in the evening.  Mom and Dad kept him so he didn't have to get up to take Cal to school.  Even with the delay, Cameron still wouldn't have been ready as he slept until 10:10 a.m.  He thought about coming to school for the afternoon as he loves swimming, but getting dressed was about all he could do.  Hopefully, we will have another delay tomorrow, so he can enjoy it as well.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

7th Grade AAU

Today was the final weekend of Meg's AAU girls basketball season.  They have played every Sunday since the beginning of November.  Meg has been on the fence as to whether she likes it or not.  She is also playing with the high school girls soccer team in an indoor league on Sundays as well, so there are some weekends that she is exhausted by Sunday night.

Last Sunday was my coaching debut as the 7th grade girls coach.  When I offered to coach at Milford this year, I didn't realize that it would also include this league.  Since I had to be there anyway and had helped at a practice and in a couple of games, I didn't mind.  After last week's games, however, it took all I had to go back this week.  Our first game was against a very talented, well practiced Warsaw team.  We were completely overmatched and the score stated that.  I wasn't discouraged.  This team had beaten everyone else by wide margins except for the first place team.  From powers beyond my control we had not had a practice since late October and the girls had not played in two weeks.

After that first game we talked about what we needed to work on before we met our next opponent - help defense, communicate better, etc.  As they headed off to get a snack I was completely taken aback by several of the parents.  One was screaming at her daughter for not rebounding, and another let her daughter know that they were not running the offense and that cost us the game.  While several of the girls were hanging out with me, one of the Dad's even took the other six girls into a side gym to teach them a new offense.  By the time I caught wind of it and headed in to see what he was going on, it was almost time for our second game.

At first I was embarrassed and then I was frustrated.  Both my Dad and Doug had said several times that there was nothing that we could have done to change the outcome of the game.  We played a more equal opponent in our second game and won by two.  Still didn't run our offense, but we did help on defense, press and communicate better.

It really did take all I had to go back today.  I was very anxious, but I tried to remember that no matter how much I didn't like what that Dad did, his daughter was the one who had to really hate it.  Thus, we met as a team and talked about the offense before the game, and more importantly started off with a positive attitude.  It was a win or go home tourney, and I am proud to say that the girls listened, worked on what we needed to, played aggressively and we won our first two games.  One of the refs even told me that he thought I did a great job with the girls.  We did eventually lose in the semi-finals by three, but when we were down, we never gave up and almost pulled out the win.

I realize that it is never about winning or losing at this age.  It is about gaining experience.  On my team all ten girls played equally, all felt that they were an important part of the team and eventually just ignored the jerk sitting in the front row screaming at them throughout the game.  Life is a learning experience and I hope that they learned this season that it isn't always about winning or losing.  Sometimes improvement and being a team player is the goal.  I do wish, however, that I could follow that Dad around at his work tomorrow and scream at him every time I think he screws up or doesn't make the right decision.  Maybe then he could understand how his daughter or her teammates felt.  Proud of the girls for playing hard and getting a couple of wins under their belt, and even more proud of myself for keeping my mouth shut and doing what is best for the girls no matter the criticism.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Snowstorms and Boys

Last night Jayce, Alex and Sam all spent the night at our home.  The boys had a lot of fun playing pool, eating monster cookies and just hanging out.  Doug and I are alway impressed with how well that group includes Cameron.  He flows in and out of whatever they are doing with ease.  They even started calling him Cam Daddy.

This morning the boys were scheduled to go to a basketball breakfast at Sam's, but the weather put a wrench into their plans.  We didn't mind, however, as they spent all morning and most of the afternoon here.  They played chess, checkers and ping pong.  I loved listening to their conversations - it all revolves around sports and trash talking one another.  Jayce filled us in on the details of his accident and Sam tried to prove he could compete in Meg's upcoming spelling bee.

My favorite part of the day, however, occurred before lunch.  I realized that they were all at the window looking at our driveway.  The first part I caught was Cal saying, "Wow, Alex it must have been really windy last night," and Jayce chiming in with "Or the snowplow came through."  Eventually noticing that Brett's truck did not look like an igloo, Alex's response was, "Alright, you two are helping me clean that off."  To which Cal replied, "No way, it's not my car."  They all headed back down to the basement laughing, so I took a peak out the window myself.  There was Alex's car completely covered in snow with only the side mirrors sticking out.  At first I thought that maybe it was really windy or the snowplow did create the mess.  Then I realized that it must have been Cal and Jayce.  Doug confirmed my suspicions as he saw them heading out when he came in.

We laughed all day about the car and after lunch the boys did go "help" Alex dig out.  I think that turned into a huge snow fight, where even Cameron was covered.  Doug did finally get involved and by three all of the boys were on their way home (or to the doctor to have their stitches removed.)  What a great day for all of them.  I am sure that they will talk about their antics all week.  They didn't even seem to mind that their game was postponed until Tuesday.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Finished - Finally

I was a little stressed out when I left school today at 12:45.  I have been staying late helping students finish their projects and providing a place for Meg and her friends to hang out during the cold days of recess.  Because my afternoons have been booked and our nights have been busy with Heinisch children activities, I haven't had time to finish my Christmas shopping or wrap gifts.  Normally, I am done by now, but with Thanksgiving being late I lost a week.

I hurried home from school today and spent the next two hours picking up the house and cleaning.  Cal had invited several of his friends to spend the night and I wanted to make sure we were ready for the visit.  Meg and Cam had piano after school, and I really wanted to go shopping with Doug tonight, so I rushed around like a mad woman.  My Mom had stopped by this morning and made the Heinisch children's beds and picked up their rooms.  That was a pleasant surprise and a big help.  It also saved me at least an hour, so I was able to fly through the rest.

I dashed out at 2:50 to pick up Meg and Cam with only the floor left to sweep.  While they played the piano, I ran to Kroger for groceries.  By the time I got home, Doug was there sweeping for me.  Cam and Meg decided to grab pizza and hang out at Grandma's, so Doug and I headed out to finish up our shopping.  The snow held off and we were able to come up with some great gifts.  We even had time to stop for dinner at Hacienda.  Thus, I can feel a little more relaxed, at least about the shopping part.  Now all we have to do is get busy wrapping!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Program #2

Tonight it was Meg's turn to have a Christmas program.  The weather was cold, but the band was not.  Meg is the only clarinet in the 7th and 8th grade, so she has to work harder to be heard.  She did a fantastic job, however, and I enjoyed listening to her preform.  Choir, guitars and other various musical groups also played this evening, but Meg's band closed out the show with "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."  What a great way to end a holiday show, and I hope that everyone has a merry little Christmas.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Family Christmas Shopping

As soon as Doug got home from work the five of us loaded up the van and headed to South Bend.  It had snowed today and we weren't sure if the weather would hold out, but overall it was not too bad.  Our first stop was the mall and we had a lot of luck at Barnes and Noble.  After that we headed to Target.  Doug worked with Cal on his gift buying spree, and I took the younger two.  It took some time and crafty ways to hide gifts from each other, but we managed pretty well.  Brett bought his gifts for everyone in Bloomington, so as of right now all of the Heinisch children have finished their Christmas shopping.

On the way home we stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner.  It was late and Wednesday night, but we figured there might still be a line when we got there.  Fortunately, we had the place to ourselves.  I really enjoyed dinner tonight.  It is rare that Cal is with us, so it made it a lot more fun. I appreciate the time we get with him now as all to soon he will be off to college as well.  The only dark spot of the evening was when the three of them decided that Biz Markie's "Just a Friend" rap song was better than any other song of the 80s or 90s that Doug and I played.  We listened to them sing off key right along with Biz most of the way home -   really missing the one Heinisch who seems to have any sense among the four.  At least Brett would admit that "Just a Friend" was the garbage song of the 90s.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dad's Night

Tonight was Dad's night at the basketball game.  This is a new Wawasee tradition for the boys.  During the game the Dads were invited to sit behind the bench to show support for their sons.  Originally, the Dads were supposed to wear the boys' warm up jackets.  I think that tradition was pushed aside when everyone realized that Doug was one of the few that could fit into his son's clothes.

Doug said that he enjoyed sitting there.  It was good for him to hear what the coaches had to say and what their expectations are.  Cal, of course, had to sit out.  We didn't realize until game time that Jayce also would miss tonight's action.  During strength training a couple of the boys were goofing around and a bar hit Jayce in the head.  He ended up with eight stitches and a possible concussion.  He wasn't allowed to come to the game, so Cal was all alone at the end of the bench tonight.

Basketball season hasn't quite been what the boys thought it would be this summer.  I am proud of how hard Cal has worked to stay a part of the team.  He is the JV captain, and although I know he would rather be playing, he hasn't mentioned giving up.  Life lessons are hard, but I guess that is what this is turning out to be.  Patience will be a virtue that he will have mastered by the end of the season.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Ankle Injury #2

Doug called on his way home from work to let me know that the trainer from the high school had contacted him.  Cal injured his ankle once again, this time while going up for a shot during a drill.  Unfortunately, it will knock him out of tomorrow's lineup, and he will be heading in for physical therapy right after school again.

I asked Doug if his heart sank when he saw Nick's number show up on his phone.  He said that it didn't.  Doug was a little anxious before he called me.  He realized that I would probably be upset.  However, after watching Cal play on Saturday night, I realized that the ankle was not fully recovered.  The injury also isn't as severe, so the time Cal has to sit out should be less.  The goal now is to make sure he is 100% by golf season.

The phone call reminded Doug of the time many years ago when my Dad lost Cal at Blizzard Beach.  Cal was only seven and they were on the lazy river.  Once Cal got ahead of my Dad, he stopped and got out to go looking for him.  My Dad thought Cal was ahead of him, so he kept on floating down the river.  The rest of us were unaware that he was missing.  When we reached my Dad, he said, "Now don't panic, but I've lost Cal."  Those words seem funny now, but at the time I was extremely panicked.  Luckily, Cal could figure out where we had put our towels and made it back to me, but not without being lost for forty-five minutes.

So all in all, this ankle injury has not been fun, but Cal is handling it very well.  I hate watching him sit out from playing a sport that he loves.  Overall, I would much rather get the message that his ankle is hurt again, than he is missing.  My favorite quote of the night actually came from Cal this time.  When he limped in the back door, he said, "Mom, I injured my ankle again.  Now you can't be mad at me about my precalculus grade!!"  Love the humor of a fifteen year old boy.



Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas Movies

Doug has stated that he is already tired of Christmas music, thankfully the same does not apply to Christmas movies.  We have a list lined up of ones to get through this holiday season.  Most we have seen many times before, but have never grown tired of.  Christmas in Connecticut is playing right now, and we have Scrooge next up in our queue.  

White Christmas by far is my favorite.  I could listen to Bing Crosby sing Christmas music all day long, and Danny Kaye plays the part of a goofball so well in the movie.  As always I am partial to happy endings and what could be better than two couples singing White Christmas as the movie ends, professing their love to one another.  

Early in the week we even rented the best of Bing Crosby's Christmas specials.  What a fun way to start the holiday season.  By the end of December I will probably wear Doug out of Christmas movies as I did with the music of the season.  For now I will enjoy our time together and the joys of the season.   

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Laura Ingalls Wilder and Louisa May Alcott

Meg finished These Happy golden years written by Laura Ingalls Wilder last week and is now reading Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.  These are two of my favorite books, written by two of my favorite childhood authors.  I am so glad that Meg has been enjoying these stories as much as I did.  I love talking about the characters with her.

Much as I did Meg identifies with Jo, the main character of Little Women - a headstrong tomboy who is also very creative and a wonderful story teller.  (She does not know that we strongly considered naming her Josephine before deciding on Margaret.)  Meg also really enjoys reading about Laura's love interest and eventual husband, Almonzo.  It was also my favorite part of the series.

I hope that one day Meg also shares my love of Jane Austen as well.  My assumption is that she will.  Austen's stories have many dynamic characters and I have to believe Meg will be just as intrigued with Elizabeth and Darcy's relationship as I was.  No matter where her love of reading takes her next, I am just so happy that all of her hard work with the eye exercises have paid off.  She can now read an unlimited time headache free.  It was music to my ears when she said, "Mom, I hate finishing a series.  I just never want it to end."

Friday, December 6, 2013

Early Night

I was always a night owl growing up.  I loved to stay up late reading.  I would sneak a flashlight to bed and hide under the covers until all hours of the night.  Of course that meant that it was very hard to wake me up in the morning, but the pattern continued for many years.

I can say, however, this past year has finally broken me of the longtime habit.  Part time teaching and being a full time mother have physically gotten the better of me.  By Friday night I am more than ready for an early bedtime.  This week was even more exhausting than most with three of my classes working on their sewing projects and the fourth publishing fantasy stories.

My class workload coupled with basketball games and Christmas programs have left me dead on my feet.  All four of my children will be up well past me this evening and for the first time in a long time, so will Doug.  Hopefully, a full night's rest will start the weekend off right and help rejuvenate me for the week to come.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Program #1

Tonight was the first Heinisch Christmas program of the season and Cameron did not disappoint.   I had several teachers stop me after the matinee performance to let me know that we were in for a treat.  He had worked hard to learn the songs and dance moves and it showed.  I could see why he was nervous driving back to the school tonight.  This was serious business for a third grader.

It was hard to video tape, watch and chuckle a little without moving the video camera, but the images I was able to capture were priceless.  Cameron put every ounce of effort that he could into his dance moves.  I am sure that a lot of parents wondered if he was the son of a music teacher not a FACS teacher.


I realize that it wouldn't matter what I did for a living, Cameron is enthusiastic about everything he does.  I do not know if that is because he is the fourth child in an active family or it is just his personality.  No matter the reason it is a lot of fun going through life with him.  His excitement for whatever he is doing - chess, basketball, golf, math, music, etc. - is catchy.  I can't help but smile watching him.  I hope he never changes.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

FACS injury

So far I have been fortunate not to have any serious accidents in my classroom.  I feel blessed as there are gas stoves, knives, small appliances and sewing machines abound.  Now that we are focused on students learning 21st century skills and working more independently, I am always watchful and careful when any of the aforementioned are used.  I did have one minor incident several weeks ago.  I was carefully putting away my brand new Ninja blender when the extremely sharp blade cut my finger.  My students felt bad at first when they saw the blood, but as I walked around with my bandaged finger above my head, their sympathy turned to laughter.

Thus, there was no way I was going to tell any of them about my second FACS injury.  Feeling elated about getting a great deal on fleece material and the fact that I wouldn't have to spend any of my own money on this trimester's projects, it didn't dawn on me how long it would take me to trim and cut it for all of their pillows.  Yesterday as I wrapped up my second straight hour of cutting with my new gadget (basically, a pizza cutter for material), I felt great that all students would now be able to start on their pillows.  About 7 p.m. last night, however, it dawned on me that I might have wanted to take a little break between cutting or leave some for today.  My thumb had cramped to an unusual state and a sharp pain was shooting from my wrist to my elbow.  Luckily, I had a wrist brace from when I had carpal tunnel syndrome many years ago.  That and Ibuprofen helped get me through the night.

Today as I helped a student trim his pillow to a more manageable size, he said, "Mrs. Heinisch, your cutter is not working as well today as it did yesterday."  He was correct, but I didn't tell him that it wasn't working as well, because I could barely grip the handle.  I made it through the day, however, with no one the wiser.  I did put my brace on as soon as I left the building.  Tomorrow there should be no cutting left to do, so I think I survived my first major FACS injury.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Shop til We Drop

Last night Cal threw me for a loop.  He asked me when I was going to take him Christmas shopping.  I am not sure when the last time I took him holiday shopping, but if memory serves me well there must have been some complaining during that adventure.  All I know is that I haven't even offered in quite some time.  

I am happy that he is interested in going, however.  I have done a pretty good job keeping up with Brett, Cam and Meg's lists, but since Cal hasn't given me one, I am starting to panic about ideas for him.  So maybe on our shopping excursion, he will inadvertently point out a few items that he is interested in as well.  

Monday, December 2, 2013

Just Another Cyber Monday

Today is one of my favorite shopping days of the year - Cyber Monday.  I don't know who started the term or if there really are better deals on the Monday after Thanksgiving, but I thought I did pretty well.  I didn't get to log on until late Monday night, but the nice thing about online shopping is that it never closes and I can wear my pajamas as I browse the stores.  Now all I have to do is be nice to the UPS delivery person, or pretend I am not home and just pick up the packages off of the porch after he drives away.  I love holiday shopping!!



Sunday, December 1, 2013

Back to IU

Doug and Brett were up early this morning to take him back to Bloomington.  I was glad that they were able to spend time together.  Brett talks to me a lot, but doesn't get as much time with his Dad.  They listened to each other's songs, talked about movies and politics and came up with a plan for Brett for finals week.  The weather in Southern Indiana was gorgeous today, which made the trip even better.  Brett called me at 1 p.m. to let me know that he was already in his room and unpacking.  

We all really enjoyed having Brett home for the week.  Time was spent playing games, watching movies, shopping, eating Thanksgiving dinner and just catching up.  Brett was nervous as he headed back today.  Finals and paper writing will take up a good portion of his time during the next three weeks.  I am confident that he will do well and in 18 short days, he will be back to join us for the Christmas holidays.  Can't wait!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Joys of Being a Mother

The last two days have reminded me of how much I love being a Mom.  Yesterday afternoon Brett, Cam, Meg and I spent the afternoon together.  Our first stop was the pet store as Cosmo and Apollo were both in need of having their nails trimmed.  The pigs may not have enjoyed the adventure, but it was fun listening to the Heinisch children talk about their many adventures pets in tow.  There was also the typical arguing about songs, movies and televisions shows.  No one ever wins these debates, but they sure make a lot of noise trying.  We were able to check out the black Friday comic book store sales before heading back.  All seemed happy with their purchases.  Even trying to find a car wash become a comical adventure for the four of us.

Today the four of us continued our adventures as we went to the matinee performance of the new Disney movie, Frozen.  I had my doubts about the movie, but fortunately I was wrong.  The movie was a great family film, and all of us were glad that we took the time to see it before Brett heads back to IU.  When we got home, Brett's friend Michael was here to visit with him for a couple of hours.  It is always nice to have the boys' friends here. Someone is always laughing.

Tonight we witnessed Cal make his debut on the basketball court after two months of rehab.  He was only in for two and a half minutes, but it was wonderful to see him be able to run again.  He even touched the ball a couple of times and got a shot off before the coach replaced him.  Definitely starting to move again - not quite a 100%, but closer.  Although I do not think I took a breath the entire time he was in, it was a nice moment to end a great couple of Mom days.



Friday, November 29, 2013

Date Night

Doug and I try to go out alone once or twice a week for a couple of hours to catch up on all that is happening in the Heinisch Home.  Sometimes we stop for dinner, other times we go shopping, and in warm weather we always try to include a walk.  Tonight, however, date night took on a whole new meaning.  On this trip Cal asked us if we could take him and his girlfriend to a movie.  I was a little surprised, not that he wanted to go with her to the movie, but that he was alright with us taking them.  He is definitely the least likely to share personal information with us, but that seems to be getting a little easier for him this year.

We happily agreed to take them.  Although neither were extremely chatty on the way to "Catching Fire," we did get to hear a little about what they have been up to - Black Friday shopping, books they like, etc.  Her mom wanted to pick them up from the movie and take them to dinner, so our time together was limited to twenty minutes or so.  No matter the time, it was nice to be included, and Doug and I enjoyed our own date night out for dinner.  

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Black Friday - A Day Early

Since we had the traditional turkey dinner on Sunday with Doug's parents, we decided to make lasagna the staple on this Thanksgiving day.  This seemed fine with my Dad as he claimed several times that 90% of all Americans hate turkey anyway.  I stayed out of the conversation as I had hit my limits in turkey eating sixteen years ago when I was pregnant with Cal.  Something about the fat on the turkey turned my off that day and I have not been able to stomach it since.  Cal and Brett, however, did point out to my Dad that turkey sandwiches are offered everyday on their high school cafeteria lunch, so someone has to like turkey.  I think then someone mention that 79% of stair accidents happen on the stairs and the conversation ended in laughter.

We had an enjoyable afternoon.  Brett was able to take a few Michael Myers pictures revolving around the Thanksgiving table.  Cal worked on an IU puzzle and joined in several games of pool.  I talked everyone into playing Pit - a new family favorite.  Meg spent time on the computer.  My Dad retold a story that I had heard many times over about a cat, flea powder and a pillowcase that does not end well for the cat.  I didn't realize that the rest of the Heinisch family had not heard the story.  Even Doug had a hard time composing himself after that one.

The late afternoon conversation revolved around our plans for the rest of the day.  Some wanted to see a movie - Frozen.  Others wanted to hangout at Grandma's and Meg and I desperately wanted to join in the Thanksgiving Day - Black Friday shopping that was beginning at 8 p.m.  After a lot of deliberation, a plan was made - Cal and Cam were going to hang out at Grandma's playing Uno with them.  Doug, Brett, Meg and I were going to head to University Park Mall.

Don't know what was more fun, watching Cal carry his puzzle over to his Grandma's or watching all of the people at the mall.  Either way it ended up being a great evening.  Meg was able to find some awesome clothes and headphones at Hollister's all of which were 50% off, plus, Chilly, the snowman, on sale at the Disney Store.  I absolutely love what I bought at Yankee Candle, all on sale as well.  Brett, of course, bought a book, and with Doug's 20% off, also got a great deal.  The only disappointment of the night was the lack of restaurants open on this busy evening.  Luckily, leftovers a plenty awaited us at home.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Break

Cameron couldn't wait for Thanksgiving break to start today.  He even told his teacher that he might get picked up early this afternoon.  I hated to burst his bubble, but he made it through the day and jumped in my van at 3:05.  Meg was even glad to have a break from school.  She finished "Little Town on the Prairie" and wanted to have some time to read "These Happy Golden Years."  I couldn't blame her for that.  Although all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books are great reads, those two are definitely the best.

We made our end of the week stop at Casey's for drinks and snacks.  The next hour was spent in everyone's least favorite way - picking up.  They house, however, looked fabulous when Doug got home at 5:15.  I even had time to polish the granite countertops.  There was a caveat at the end of our quick cleaning session - Cal had promised to bring home some of the Varsity basketball players for a game of Risk with Cam, Brett and even Doug if they needed a sixth.  Cam could think of nothing else.

Cal did not disappoint him.  At 6 p.m. four of Cal's friends stopped by the Heinisch Home for a night of game playing.  Unfortunately, Sam didn't check with his Mom first, so when he called home, she informed him that there was a houseful of Clarks awaiting his return.  Thus, his stay was short lived.  That still left David, Jayce and Cal to battle Brett, Cam and Doug in a game of total world domination.

Meg and I had decided to sit out the game playing by reading and catching up on bill paying.  We took breaks several times to watch a movie or chat about Laura and Almanzo.  Doug ordered pizza for all and dinner seemed to be well appreciated.  Unfortunately for Cam, he was the first one out.  According to him he had the worst Risk strategy ever.  David was the next one out but made it quite a bit longer.  Definitely the quiet one of the bunch, we appreciated his politeness as he thanked us several times for including him.

While the game playing in the basement continued, Meg, Cam and I were able to get in a few rounds of UNO.  Cam kicked our butts, but we didn't complain to loudly.  During this time we received several updates from the Risk group.  Brett finally gave up as he felt it was leading to a stalemate.  Cal was the next one out and by ten o'clock Doug and Jayce agreed to call it a draw, but not without a lot of loud banter seeping through the Heinisch walls.

Overall, it was a lot of fun.  Definitely, a great way to start our Thanksgiving vacation.  I can see now why Cam wanted to day to start early.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Birthday Grandma Jane!

Today is Grandma Jane's 70th birthday.  We celebrated with her on Sunday and gave her a gift (a photo album recaping a year in the Heinisch home.)  Today Brett and I took lunch over to her and played Qwirkle with her and Grandpa Cutes.  It was a lot of fun, even though Grandpa won.  According to Cal that hasn't happened since 2012.

My Mom spent her birthday evening at a high school ball game.  Cal wasn't able to play in the JV game because of his ankle, but they went to support him and his teammates.  On the way back they stopped to pick up Cameron.  Another Tuesday night means another night at Grandma's.

I have to believe that it was a great day for her.  She got to spend time with her grandchildren.  They love doing things with her and she feels the same way.  We appreciate her help with our daily routine.  She may complain about getting old, and Cameron may tease her about being 74, but no matter her age she is an important part of the Heinisch children's lives.  Happy Birthday Grandma Jane!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hanging Out With Brett

I hustled home from school today at 11:30 a.m. to catch up with Brett.  We decided to head to Wal-Mart and see what was on sale there.  Before we shopped, however, we stopped at Burger King for lunch.  I hadn't been to that particular one since the oldest Heinisch two were small enough to have fun in the play place.  Unlike those trips many years ago, our topics of conversation today ranged from the hundreds of pop choices now offered at this particular restaurant, to religion, and then on to politics.  I love talking with Brett and picking his brain on several hot button issues.  He definitely has some strong opinions and I have to keep current on the news or I can't even began to follow along. The trip to the store ended mostly with food purchases for our house and for school tomorrow.  Nothing too eventful, but I did find a new doorbell for the basement and Brett enjoyed browsing the electronic section.

After the library board meeting tonight, Brett, Cam, Doug and I headed to the table for several rounds of pit.  What a fun game to play, but unlike most card games, there is too much trading and shuffling of hands to talk much.  Brett was able, however, to fill us in our everything else going on at IU and in the news in between hands.  It has been so much fun having him home.  Tomorrow night we have a hot game of Monopoly planned after the JV basketball game.  I had better start strategizing  now or I will never have a chance with Brett and Cam both playing.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

OK, so it isn't technically Thanksgiving, but we had a wonderful time celebrating today.  Carl and Jeanette were able to make it out for a visit which made our dinner even better.  There was a lot of food - turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, etc, courtesy of Doug and Carl.  My Mom added in some great finger foods, noodles and desserts.  Besides our family and parents, Aunt Jan and Uncle Lee were even able to make it down to join in the festivities.

We all had a great time catching up and sharing stories before dinner.  The after dinner activities revolved around games of pool for the active and the movie Robin Hood for the resting.  It was fun to use our china.  With the new glass hutch part of our kitchen now, I hope to use it quite a bit more for family get togethers.

Doug had purchased the game Pit when we were shopping a couple of weeks ago.  He hadn't played in years, and I am not sure that I really ever knew how to play, although I remember ringing the bell.  Brett, Dad, Doug, Cam and I tested it out after cleanup and had a great time.  Doug, of course was the big winner, but it made for lots of laughs.

The guests started to trickle out one by one until only Cal's friend, Sam, was left.  He didn't technically come over for the Thanksgiving celebration, but to work on a Lord of the Flies project with Cal.  We enjoyed their banter and stories of their weekend adventures as they finished off the pumpkin pie.

As we now watch the movie "The Shining" with Brett - his new tradition horror movies for Thanksgiving break, I can't help but feel blessed.  It was a great day, full of festivities, conversation and lots of laughs.  Who could ask for anything more during this time of year?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Semi Formal

Tonight Cal went to his first semi formal dance.  He and his date were color coordinated in navy, and actually let us take their pictures before they left.  I am sure they were both uncomfortable, but I know that her mother and I were happy to have the photos as keepsakes.  The pictures were taken in our home as her parents drove them.  She is only a freshmen and Cal is nowhere near getting his license yet.  The rest of the Heinisch family hid out in the basement.  We figured that it was enough that they let us be part of their night.  Adding spectators would definitely make it more challenging.

Part of me is surprised at his new found interest in dances and a girlfriend.  Another part of me is not.  It seems all to be a normal part of high school life.  Too bad it is commented on by so many others.  I hope they had a great time this evening.  I don't know if we will ever hear much about his night.  That's alright.  The semi formal is for high school students.  We will leave the festivities to them.

Friday, November 22, 2013

There's No Place Like Home

Brett arrived at 2:30 this afternoon for Thanksgiving break.  To commemorate his return he dressed in full tie and suspenders attire.  I was thrilled to see him.  I sure have missed talking to him.  He was happy to be home and filled me in on his adventures with his grandparents the past few days.  He brought me a birthday gift and four loads of laundry.  Both were great to me.

After we caught up for an hour or so he headed down to check out his XBOX 360.  He hadn't played video games in three months and enjoyed getting back at some of his favorite ones.  Meg and Cam headed straight to the basement upon their return from school.  I heard a lot of laughter and chorus of song.

Once Doug made it home from work, we all loaded the van for South Bend.  Brett had asked to make a trip to Barnes & Noble and we were glad to oblige.  We were even able to shop at Super Target and a couple of stores at the mall.  The radio was filled with songs that Brett had recently downloaded and some of his favorites.  Brett hadn't been to Buffalo Wild Wings since he left, so we stopped there for dinner on the way home.  The fifteen minute wait didn't bother any of us as we were still catching up.  Brett and I had a lot of fun at the expense of the mayor of Toronto - a true "Canadian idiot."

As Meg and Cameron argued at Target and Brett stepped in to tell them politely to "knock it off,"  I asked him if he missed all of this.  He said, "Believe it or not, I did."  I know he will be ready to head back by next weekend - a week will be enough, but for today it was a lot of fun listening to him with his siblings watching TV, arguing or just listening to music.  What a great week it will be!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cleaning, Cleaning and More Cleaning

We have spent the last couple of days catching up on all of the cleaning in our home.  Now that the remodeling is done we don't have to worry about contractors, plumbers, carpet layers, etc. invading our space.  Three of us cleaned the upstairs yesterday.  Meg's room is a project in itself, so she spent her evening in there.  Cameron dusted his side of the room and then offered to dust Cal's side and Brett's room for a small fee.  I took him up on it as he does a great job and I had four loads of laundry to complete.  Doug tackled the basement, vacuumed and dusted the rest of the house.

Today was filled with more laundry, bathrooms and the wood floor.  Cameron was not needed so he spent the evening reading "Encyclopedia Brown" books - favorites of ours from childhood.  Meg and Cal ditched us for activities with their friends.  Both revolved around basketball as one would expect knowing them.  It is an awesome feeling to be done with the housework.  Now we can enjoy our time with Brett, Thanksgiving with Doug's and my parents, and just hanging out in the Heinisch Home.  Let the festivities begin!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bloomington

My parents left early this morning to drive to Bloomington to see Brett.  They intend to spend a couple of days there and then bring him back on Friday.  They were extremely happy to see him tonight after his 7 p.m. class.  It has been thirteen weeks since he left and this is their first visit.  The three of them walked to dinner and spent several hours catching up.  My Mom was thrilled at how well Brett has adjusted to college life.  Brett and my Dad were happy to catch up.

Tomorrow they will take him to his usual Thursday afternoon stops - the comic bookstore and the library.  Parce will be joining them for this adventure.  Glad that they have this time to spend with just Brett.  Thankful that they are able to bring him home.  Friday will be a fun day in the Heinisch Home!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday Nights

Tuesday nights have become Cameron's favorite night of the week.  Because I have to be at school an hour earlier than he does, Cameron gets to spend the night with Grandma Jane and Grandpa Cutes.  Meg used to stay as well, but she likes going in early with me and hanging out with her friend Graham.  Thus, Cameron gets his grandparents all to himself.  They play Uno, Monopoly, Liar's Poker, Qwirkle or any other game that Cameron wants.  Grandma also makes the dinner of Cameron's choice along with an ice cream snack or cookie for dessert.

Last night Cal decided to join in the action.  Along with playing cards, Cal decided to spend some time getting under Cameron's skin.  Cal's good at that, and Cameron reacts quite well.  The topic this Tuesday night that really got Cameron going was Cal announcement that he was going with Grandma and Grandpa to Bloomington for a couple of days to pick up Brett.  Cameron yelled, pouted and than proclaimed Cal a cheater for skipping school.  Of course Cal was not going and even though Grandma explained this to Cam, he still sulked when Cal walked out the door saying, "See you Friday, Cam!"

I laughed all the way home.  As the second born, I can appreciate Cal's affinity for bothering his siblings and definitely have more patience for it than my parents, Doug or his siblings.  Cam didn't let Cal ruin his evening, however, and had a great night at his grandparents.  The best part of having Cal as a sibling is the amount of tolerance for others that Brett, Meg and Cam have learned.  A skill that has come in handy as Brett started college.

Monday, November 18, 2013

CSI

Last summer I was complaining one day about all of the housework there is to do in a day, especially in the laundry room.  Brett listened for awhile and didn't say much.  As I headed back to sort another load, he quietly followed me in.  This is pretty common for him as he knows that he has my full attention on laundry day.  On this particular day, however, he didn't want to talk about politics or movie reviews, instead he had some great words of advice for me.  "Mom, I have to believe that doing laundry is pretty mundane work.  I have a suggestion for you on how to at least make it bearable."  Brett had my full attention at this point.  Could it be that there was a laundry secret that I didn't know about that would make it easier?  Or maybe he was going to volunteer himself or one of his siblings to help.  Either way, I was curious.

Brett continued, "Whenever I have something really boring to do or just don't want to do, I find something on Hulu to watch.  It makes the time pass quicker and my disdain for the task lessens."  He then suggested that I might enjoy the television series "CSI: Miami."  I thought about it for a little while and decided why not give it a try.  It couldn't make laundry less fun.

Since July I have now washed, dried and folded dozens of loads of Heinisch laundry, and I pleased to say that Brett's idea did work.  Now when I head to the laundry room I grab the iPad or laptop and I am good to go - season seven, episode four of CSI: Miami, and I am really enjoying the show (OK, maybe not the blood, but definitely the crime solving detectives.)  Characters have come and gone and crimes have been solved, but the hours of dreading a task have melted away.  With Brett returning this week for Thanksgiving break and his chats during laundry time increase, I know that my CSI watching time will vanish.  That is alright with me.  I am really looking forward to catching up with him.  Horatio Cain will have to wait until December for me to help solve another murder mystery in Miami.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Lights Out

All of the hype about today's storms actually came to fruition.  Normally I ignore most severe weather forecasts.  Instead I buy into Brett's philosophy that all meteorologists are quacks.  Today, however, they proved both of us wrong.  The storms raged through Illinois causing a several hour delay of the Bears football game.  Tornado sirens rang out in both Syracuse and Bloomington causing the Heinisch family to scurry to the basement.

When it was all said and done, there were a multitude of trees fallen and debris on the roads.  We had spent the bulk of the time in a high school gym watching Meg's AAU basketball team play.  The storms were not as severe in Goshen, so we did not have to use the locker rooms for safety as suggested by the athletic director.

The biggest inconvenience for us was the loss of power.  Cal called toward the end of Meg's second game to tell us that the power had been out for an hour or so.  He and Cam had weathered the storm by playing pool.  By the time we got home they had been nearly two and a half hours without electricity.  Doug bought the ingredients for home made mac and cheese earlier in the day, but by 6:30 we decided to head back to Goshen for dinner.  We were not the only ones who had that idea.  We saw other families from Syracuse at Wings, etc.  It was a nice family dinner and the first time the youngest two had eaten at that particular restaurant.

Luckily, when we returned all of the lights were on in the house and our home returned to normal.  Brett called to check in with all of us.  He had retreated to the lowest level of his dorm when the warnings were posted on campus.  Thus, we were all relieved and a little more mindful of our local meteorologists.  Next time we might even pay attention when the warning texts are sent.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tying Up Loose Ends

Today was a day for tying up loose ends on our month long remodeling project.  Doug sold the cabinets on Craig's List.  The man who purchased them picked them up at 1:30 this afternoon.  Our garage is now free and both cars fit in it once again.  Doug also spent a lot of time raking and burning leaves.   A huge fall commitment that is winding down.

I spent a good portion of today working on the inside on the house.  All laundry is now caught up and put away.  New Rubbermaid containers were bought and the Heinisch snacks now have a new home.  The bathroom is cleaned out and a new soap dispenser is in place.  Cameron's friend Cade will be happy as he was concerned on Thursday when he was here that we didn't have one.  The computer room is almost done with only a couple of items left to dust.

Cameron came home from a game of Uno at Mom's today with the statement, "Mom, I just have to say that I like this kitchen so much better than the one before."  I completely agree with the wisdom of an eight year old.  I didn't realize what a difference it would make in our entire home, but it sure has.  Thanks to Doug for all of his work to make this project a reality.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Birthday Fun

Celebrating my 45th birthday today was a lot of fun.  I started the day with a game of dodge ball with the 7th and 8th grade students.  It was their PBIS reward for zero write-ups in a trimester and we had an awesome time.  Even took a shot to the ear and survived.  Meg coordinated a serenade of Happy Birthday from the 7th grade girls to make the morning complete.

Doug took a half day off from work, so after school we spent the day together shopping.  Our first stop was lunch at Carraba's for lobster ravioli.  We were able to hit Dick's, Target, Pier One, the mall, Toys R Us and Kohl's before Doug wore out.  I was thrilled at spending time with him and shopping as they are two of my favorite things.  We were able to finish off all that we needed for the remodeling that we have done over the last month and get a start on our Christmas shopping.

We stopped for dinner at Main Street Grill on the way home.  Both of us were stuffed by the end of the meal and I didn't even have room for dessert.  Mom had dropped off a big cookie for my birthday celebration, so we were able to indulge later in the evening.  She also entertained Cal and Cameron with several games of UNO.  Cal was home by the time we were, but Cam spent the night at my parents.  Meg had a lot of fun with Gabby and the Fiscus women.  They went to see the play Robin Hood at the high school and hit McDonald's for a late night snack.

Forty-five years sounds old, but it sure doesn't feel it.  Spending the day with Doug and with Paula yesterday at lunch made me realize that age is just a number.  I love the wisdom that forty-five years on this Earth brings - a perfect day and and perfect way to celebrate!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Finally, We Are Done!



Finally, our kitchen project is complete and I. couldn't be happier.  It looks gorgeous and has created so much more cooking space.  Can't believe what a difference this has already made.  For the first time since we moved in, almost 16 years ago, we have room for all we need in our kitchen and dining room.  Ready in plenty of time for Thanksgiving dinner and, hopefully, many more celebrations to come in the Heinisch Home.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What a Difference a Week Makes

What a difference a week makes in the life of a teacher- all new trimester, all new students and a bright outlook for all.  Each of my four classes have so far run smoothly.  Meg and her friends are in my first block class - chatty, but enthusiastic about learning.  I have a para to help in second block, a much needed helping hand.  The sixth graders in third block are a lot of fun and my writing lab is full of willing participants.  All of this excitement has been catchy and I feel like we can tackle the FACS standards, incorporate the 21st century life skills into our learning process and have a little fun along the way.  


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lord Give Me Patience

I am not a very patient person, never have been.  I can wait in line, no problem, but ask me to wait out an unresolved situation and I am a wreck.  I try not to think about it, but something always brings me back to the point I left off worrying.  Doug handles this a lot better than I do.  I used to try and be more like him, but that only made it worse - I would not only be stressed, but also upset because I couldn't handle the situation as he was.  Thus, I have learned to embrace my impatience.  I don't like it, but it makes up who I am.

Tonight, it took all I had not to worry about a small incidence in our home.  One of the Heinisch children was obviously struggling with his/her emotions, but wouldn't tell us.  Part of me wanted to grab this child and shake it out of him/her.  Another part wanted to hug him/her and say, "Don't worry, all will be fine." (Definitely a stupid saying coming from me as I am Queen of the worriers in this house!)  Instead of doing either I waited - hoping this child would either resolve the issue or come to us for help.

I know this took a lot of patience on Doug's part.  Not only was he dealing with an upset, non talking child, but he also had to calm down a wife that was pacing the floors with worry.  I did pretty well, however.  I didn't let this child's mood ruin the evening.  As I am used to the moodiness of one, I decided that staying up all night frantic would not solve any of the problems in the Heinisch Home.  Tomorrow will be another day.  Sometimes a good nights sleep is all it takes for the issues of the day to dissolve.  If not, then we will work on it when the sun is shining and we can start anew.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day - the White Table






Today Meg was able to participate in the white table ceremony at her middle school program for Veteran's Day.  I was very proud of her when she put the black napkin on the white table symbolizing the sorrow of captivity.  Meg was happy to be chosen.  She understands the importance of Veteran's Day.  One of her best friends is the daughter of a fallen soldier.  He gave his life for our country in Afghanistan when the girls were little.  Although Meg never met Todd, she talks of him often with Gabby and has shared her thoughts with me many times.  Meg understands the struggles of raising a family once a parent is lost and stands in awe of Paula (as do I) knowing that she has to now fulfill the role of both mother and father in the Fiscus family.

My favorite veteran passed away six years ago and I still miss hearing his World War II stories.  My favorite one was the time they called all of the privates out into a line, told them to bring their glasses, put a shot of Vodka in it and said, "Happy New Year."  Paw Paw said that it was the best shot he had ever had.  Today as one of my autistic students complained about missing art to be at the program, I reminded him that many years ago, some soldiers missed their entire families for years to serve their country.

I am proud of those who have served, saddened on this day at the loss of so many, and hopeful that one day we will raise a generation that does not know war.  For now I will be content knowing that tomorrow when I ask my seventh graders to explain our quote of the week, "Freedom is not Free" all of their hands will go up as today they witnessed it firsthand by the ceremony of the white table.  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Meg

Today was a busy sports day for Meg.  She started with an indoor soccer game with Doug's high schoolers at noon.  Since only six soccer players from the same high school can be on a team, Meg and several of her middle school friends have been able to participate.  Overall, she has really enjoyed being part of the team.  Today, however, was extra nerve wracking for her.  The girl that normally plays goalie broke her finger during the game.  Meg was the backup goalie and was thrilled to say that she only gave up four goals!!  I think the broken finger got Doug's attention as the first thing he told me when they called was that we need to get Meg goalie gloves.  Hopefully, they will help Meg from breaking her own finger, but most of all she will love picking them out.

A break in the afternoon led to two basketball games for Meg tonight.  This time she is playing with the seventh graders.  The last two years she was on a combined team filled mostly with girls a year ahead of her.  She did very well tonight.  The team played a lot better than I expected.  They have only had two practices, so I didn't know what to expect.  They led the first game for the majority of it, but lost in overtime.  The second game was more challenging as they played one of the best teams in the league.  For the most part this was the first time that I enjoyed one of her games.  I helped coach in the first game and kept the book for the second, so I didn't have to deal with any of the complaining parents.

Meg said she wasn't tired after the games.  I sure thought she was, but didn't argue.  She definitely was hungry, but a quick stop at McDonald's solved that problem.  Overall, not to bad for day one of basketball season.  Only four more months to go.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Change is Not All Bad

As I have watched the Heinisch children grow over the years, I have learned to grow with them.  We are now in a new stage with one of them.  Friends and girlfriends are becoming the priority.  Time at home with Mom, Dad and the rest of the Heinisch siblings is not.  Although, this stage came on a little quicker than I thought it would, I do not dwell on the days gone by.  No one wants to stay a child forever and I believe it would be selfish of me to pine away wishing that they would all stay babes in arms.

This new found independence has led to some great conversations between Doug and I about our own youth - first dates, making the team, family time, and growing up.  We did not meet until we were college students (sometimes I forget that as it seems that we have always been together.)  Thus, there is a part of our youth that we do not share.  Even though Doug and I had very different high school lives, watching our children pass through the same experiences that we both did has brought us closer together.  It has also helped us parent the Heinisch children.

It was strange last night to drop Cal off at a girl's home.  It was for Meg and Cameron as well.  When Cam asked me where Cal was, I told him.  He looked at me and said, "No, seriously, is he with Jayce or Alex?"  Cameron could not sleep until he knew Cal was safe at home.  Not sure what he thought was going to happen, but I have come to realize that the older boys growing up has been harder on the younger two than anyone else.  Life happens, however, and I think the best way to handle the changes is to hold on and enjoy the ride.    

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Night

We are all enjoying a relaxing evening here in the Heinisch Home following a fun day off from school.  I did have to work until 11:30 this morning, but the meeting went well and good news followed.  The Heinisch children all checked their first trimester grades.  Meg earned all A's, including her first in a high school class, Algebra.  Cameron was more than satisfied with his A+ in several subjects, A's in most and one B+ in Language.  The big news of the day was Cal's Pre-Calculus grade - B on the final, which met B for the trimester.  Not too shabby for his first college class.

The afternoon followed with lunch from Subway and three of us on our way to Target.  We decided to get a jump on the youngest Heinisch children's Christmas list.  We had fun "window" shopping, although we almost gave Cameron a heart attack as he thought we were really shopping for windows.  Too many trips to Lowe's for the kitchen, lately, must have been a shock to his system.  Cal did not join us on our excursion.  Instead he headed over to Alex's to hang out with him, Jayce and Gage on their day off.

The evening only got better for the Heinisch children.  Cal and his group took off for Wings Etc. and Dairy Queen.  They are all in our basement right now watching basketball, playing X-Box and challenging Cameron to games of chess.  Meg had Gabby over and they have been enjoying the computer, cutting Barbie's hair and an occasional spying session on the guys.  Doug and I have caught up on laundry and computer work while watching one of our old black and white favorites - Witness for the Prosecution.

Talked to Brett a couple of times tonight.  Can't wait for him to come home.  Except for his absence, this has been a perfect day.  With basketball season just starting, I hope there are many more gatherings at our home this year.  Love the sound of laughter coming from all levels of the Heinisch abode.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Fresh Start

Today was the last day of trimester 1 for students.  Even though I will miss a lot of my them, I was ready for it to be over for many reasons.  This year I wrote a brand new curriculum for my seventh and eighth grade classes, had two of my four classes full of students with special education needs, went to countless meetings, watched Doug coach soccer, nursed Cal back from a pretty substantial injury, took four trips down and back to Bloomington, made it to Illinois for a weekend, remodeled our kitchen and was a spectator at numerous soccer games and tennis matches.  Needless to say, I am ready for a fresh start come Monday.

That doesn't mean that I dislike my students, teaching or life in the Heinisch home.  I just need to rest up.  Hopefully, I am on top of the new curriculum in my classroom.  That will make a big difference.  Doug is only involved in soccer two days a week right now.   I have  a whole new group of fresh faces coming into my classes, many of whom are excited to have FACS or start writing lab.  Their enthusiasm should carry me through second trimester, especially since Meg is one of those students along with a multitude of her friends

A three hour meeting and the anticipation of Cal's grade on his dual credit pre-calculus final are all that stand between me and a relaxing weekend.  Here's to a fresh start and a much needed break.  Glad to have made it through a pretty challenging couple of months.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The NBA

The NBA season has started once again and the three youngest Heinisch children and their father are already trashing talking each other.  Cameron and Meg are Miami Heat fans.  Cal is anything but.  Tonight Cal reminded Cam of who Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks beat to win a championship in 2010 (the Heat.)  He also tore apart Chris Bosch, Meg's favorite player.  Doug even joined in the teasing.  As Cam walked around predicting that the Pacers will end up 84-0 this season, Doug one upped that proclamation of with an announcement of his own - The Pacers will finish the next two season 168-0.

I love listening to their banter.  It is what makes them a family.  No one gets mad and they each spend quite a bit of time thinking of how to one up each other.  I know I will get my fill of basketball by the time the NBA playoffs begin in May, but for now I will try and keep up with it all.  When Brett was here I didn't have to worry about being the only one who didn't follow the NBA, but with his absence I had better start researching the teams and players.  If I am to join in the trash talk, I had better have my facts straight.  They are a tough crowd to fool.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Phase 3

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Phase 3 in our remodeling project is now complete.  When we began talking about changing the kitchen, the one item that I kept coming back to was our living room carpet.  The kitchen/dining room area leads into the living room.  With all new cabinets and counter tops, it would only make our nine year old carpet look even more worn.  Doug agreed and we added that into our budget.

Today we now have a new look to our living room and so far I have to say that I am thrilled.  Meg and Cameron weren't too sure at first, but now they realize that they can eat in the room they started to warm up to the idea.  I spent a couple of hours cleaning, dusting and rearranging, and once Meg and Doug got home from soccer they had to agree that it looked pretty good.  Meg still expressed a strong affection for the discarded carpet as it had been her "friend" for the past nine years.  I told her that Grandma Jane had taken a large piece for her garage, so anytime Meg was lonely she could cuddle up to it there!!  We both laughed.

Monday, November 4, 2013

High Ability

The Heinisch children are high ability students.  For the oldest two boys that always meant extra work and being placed in the honors classes through elementary and middle school.  They liked being part of the gifted and talented program and it kept them busy in school.  I am not sure, however, that they really learned how to study.  Both entered high school with a record of nearly straight A's and both found a class early that just threw them for a loop.

For Brett this class was chemistry.  His teacher pushed the students and expected them to study a lot.  That was alright with us.  He needed to learn how to study the proper way.  Brett thought he knew how, but he struggled with time management, organization, taking notes, and such.  At one point during the trimester he had a C+ and wasn't sure he could raise it.  He did, however, earn a B, but not without a lot of help from his teacher and Doug.  More importantly than receiving a B on his report card, Brett learned the basics of studying and how to succeed in a class that was challenging academically.

The same reality hit Cal tonight as well.  I checked his grades this morning and he had dropped 4% in Dual Credit Pre-Calculus.  It doesn't sound like much, but it put him at an 83% with only the final left.  As the final is 20% of his grade, I was a little more than concerned.  I talked with his teacher and we agreed that his study habits had also gotten him into this position.  Thus, tonight we sat down with Cal to get his side of the story.  Basically, he said he blew it.  The homework took forever to do, so he just wrote down the answers with no work.  Since he hadn't put time into the homework, a C on the test was about the best he could do.  Thus, he spent the next several hours in his bedroom working on the final review packet.  Hopefully, we will be able to help him also learn the rigors of true studying.  He has a great math teacher, so that is a step in the right direction.

Doug and I have also learned a valuable lesson from working with the first two.  The next two high ability Heinisch children will benefit from our experiences with Cal and Brett.  Getting straight A's in elementary and middle school is not the answer.  It is learning the importance of studying and how to do so that will make a difference in their high school career and lead to a brighter start to their future.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The World of Politics

Brett joined a group during his first couple of weeks at IU called Young Americans for Liberty.  It is a collection of IU students who believe, much as Brett does, that there has to be a better political answer than the U.S. has right now.  The majority of the members are Libertarian and so far Brett loves being part of this group.

In September members carpooled to Terre Haute and the Indiana State campus to hear Senator Ron Paul talk.  Although Brett felt that Ron Paul was a little full of himself, he thoroughly enjoyed the evening and the message that was conveyed.  This weekend's event, however, was even bigger.  IUPUI's group of Young Americans invited the Bloomington members for an evening of political speeches with a social hour to follow.  Brett attended too many speeches to list and had his picture taken with several influential politicians.  Once again the group carpooled to the event and I can just imagine the conversation on the way back to IU - full of the enthusiasm for change that so many young college students believe in, a hope for the future, and the energy to stand up for shared opinions.

Brett texted me when he was on the way home.  His exact words were "It was awesome!"  He posted his pictures.  I didn't know one of the speakers, but they were very important to Brett and I was so happy for him.  I called him today and he said he was taking it easy, studying for classes, catching up on some much needed sleep, and might even go to the movie "The Conjuring" later.  I told him that I ran into one his friends today.  She told me that she was so glad that Brett liked IU as much as he does and loves reading about all of his adventures.  I totally agree!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Chess, Chess & More Chess

Cameron participated in another chess tournament today.  This one was quite a bit closer, so only he and Doug made the journey.  Cam did well.  He played in an unrated section and his first opponent was a seventh grader.  Cameron finished the day at 3 wins and 3 loses.  That placed him as the overall third grade champion.  He received a trophy with a king on top for his efforts.

We celebrated with dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.  While there Cam filled us in on his matches.  He felt that he could have played better in the first two loses.  All three of his defeats were long drawn out games that could have gone either way. Once Cam finished his recap of the day, Doug gave us his version.  As he talked about the participants, he remarked on his in depth knowledge of Northern Indiana chess players.  He felt that the only thing that he knows better right now is local soccer talent.  I believe he is right.  He has definitely had his share of both over the past year and a half and has enjoyed every minute of it!

Friday, November 1, 2013

All Saint's Day and Trick or Treats


Trick or Treating on All Saints Day - can't beat it.  The weather didn't co-operate last night, so "Halloween" was moved to this evening.  What a great night for it!!  Meg and Cameron planned their hot dog and cheeseburger outfits months ago.  Our neighbor's granddaughter, Avery, rounded out the meal as a bottle of Ketchup!!  They had also planned out their trick or treat route awhile ago.  They first hit up our neighborhood and then headed to the one next to us.  The highlight each year in the Fox Run addition is the Goralczyk's cotton candy.  Mr. Goralczyk spends quite a bit of time and energy making up the bags.  Last night he posted that he had 600 ready to go.  It is the first treat the Heinisch children devour and has made for some great memories.  After the trick or treating was over the Heinisch children and Avery met up at our home to trade candy.  I loved listening to them decide which are the golden treats and which belong in the trash pile.  

Brett called this evening to fill us in on his Halloween adventures this week.  He had a lot of fun and there was a party at church where he got a great picture of "Michael Myers" and the priest.  Cal's friends stopped by this evening for treats, but he decided to head to a wrestling match at Manchester College.  One of Cal's friends has a brother on the team.  I saved him a bag of PayDays, so he will be happy with that.

I was glad that Halloween was moved to this evening.  Not only was the weather beautiful, but everyone could stay up late, enjoying their treats and Halloween movies.  I was also glad, because I didn't have the best day at school.  My mood instantly changed as I saw my own children having fun as well as so many of my current and former students.  Although I did not know each and every one of the 263 trick or treaters that we had this evening, they sure were a spirit lifter!!  I hope that everyone had as much fun as we did with Halloween this year.