Monday, September 30, 2013

Fog days, Dr's. and High School Conferences

Today was an interesting day all around.  It started with a much anticipated and celebrated fog delay.  By 8:30 a.m. school was cancelled because of fog.  Wow!  So we enjoyed an unexpected three day weekend.  Meg, Cam and I spent the morning playing a game of MouseTrap.  I, of course, was caught first and therefore the loser.  We then headed to Subway for lunch and played a game of Hearts at Grandma Jane's.  Meg is not a big fan of the game, so only Cal, Cam, Grandma and I joined in the fun.  Cal ended up losing that game, but not without Cameron becoming extremely frustrated with him, throwing his cards down and vowing to never play again.  Everyone was so busy trying to play the Queen of Spades on each other, that Grandma slid by beating us all easily.

As the afternoon wore on, Cameron and Grandma headed to the golf course.  Meg hung out at home and I took Cal to see our family doctor about his ankle.  I had made an appointment at the orthopedic doctors, just in case and was glad that I did.  Cal had met with the trainer for some exercises late last week.  The trainer thought that he'd be in the boot one more week and then ready for an ankle brace and physical therapy.  Thus, the family doctor threw us for a loop when he said four more weeks in the boot and Cal would be lucky to play basketball this year.  I looked at him and said "for a sprained ankle?"  The doctor said that he really didn't know for sure, but wanted us to be cautious and get the orthopedic's opinion.  Thankful I had already made the appointment, Cal and I left the office a little unsure.

I dropped Cal off and made sure everyone had dinner.  I then met Doug at the high school for conferences.  Cal had all A's at midterm except for pre-calculus in which he has a high B.  Hard for us to complain, especially with how busy he has been.  The teachers all had great reports to give us about his time in their classes and a few study tips.  The football coach told us not to despair about the family doctor's report.  He tells all of his boys to go to the orthopedic first.  It is their job to get you healed and back on the playing field.   I felt better about that.

Doug and I headed to dinner afterward.  A strange day, but overall a pretty good one.  Now we can only hope for a fog delay tomorrow as well!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Girls Day Out

The best part of having a daughter is that there is someone in the house who loves to shop as much as I do.  Today Meg and I spent the afternoon at Kohl's picking out a new fall wardrobe for her.  Meg has physically changed quite a bit in the last year.  She needed new jeans and long sleeve shirts to keep up with her growing body.  It was easy to pick out clothes with her.  Meg knows exactly what she wants and fits into almost anything.  I really like what she bought.  She has grown into a beautiful young girl.

Meg and I also spent an hour or so sewing this afternoon.  I am trying to find a couple of new projects for my classes.  So far we have created a pillow ship and a draw string bag.  As we finished up before dinner, Meg said, "I think that I am just going to sew all afternoon tomorrow."  What a great idea!!

We ended the evening going to see "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2."  We let Cameron join us on this adventure and I think he enjoyed the movie the best.  It was nice to hang out with Meg today and Cameron this evening.  I don't get a chance to do that often.  Hopefully, now that soccer is almost over we will have a lot more family time like today.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

College Life

Brett called today, happy as he has been since his first weekend at IU.  Today he ventured out to find a place to get a haircut.  He tried several different shops, before he settled on one.  He was pleased and also found it interesting that they used scissors as well as the hair clippers that I only use.

Yesterday, Brett had texted about the correct setting for washing towels.  Earlier in the week he posted about the dinner he enjoyed with IU's Young Republican Club.  I am thrilled that he has adjusted to college life so well.  He and his roommate get along well.  He has met a lot of different people, both male and female.  He also has dined with old friends from Wawasee.  Even the amount of homework, reading, writing and studying that he has had to do hasn't dampened his spirits.

Can't wait to see him next weekend and hear more about this great life he has started.  Proud of how he has adjusted.  Glad that college is all that he wanted it to be.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Night Lights

I know that many adults in our community love Friday nights in the fall and the excitement that a good football rivalry brings.  There was even a television series entitled "Friday Night Lights" that perfectly describes the love of high school  football.    Tonight was another of those nights as Wawasee had a home football game.  Meg loves going to the games and I feel that one of us should be there as she runs around with her friends.  Cal normally goes as well, but chose to stay at home this week to keep his ankle iced and elevated.  Cameron shares my disdain for the high school game, so he stayed home as well.  I am probably  in the minority, but I cannot stand watching football.

Tonight I sat there, mostly by myself, for the first quarter.  None of the regulars that I normally sit with were there.  Doug was home painting and hanging out with the boys.  Meg's middle school band played the Star Spangled Banner and the fight song before kickoff.  I enjoyed that, but honestly not much else.  The games always seem to drag on forever.  This one had a double digit number of flags thrown that delayed the game even further.

Doug did come for halftime.  He had planned to watch Meg in the halftime show, but we were all misinformed.  The middle school band only watched the high schoolers participate.  Meg didn't mind as she enjoyed hanging out with her friends.  I felt bad, though, as many families including my parents came to watch their children (grandchildren) not participate.  By the end of the evening I was huddled with several of my friends hoping for the cowbells to stop ringing and the final whistle to blow.

The last game is in two weeks.  It is homecoming, so that will make it a little more exciting.  I know that the ceremony will make the game longer, but the students have big plans for that week.  It should add some excitement to it all.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Stellar Week

This will be a week that I will be very thankful to have behind us.  As I backed out of the garage this morning I wrecked the van.  A multitude of reasons contributed to this disaster.  The bikes had fallen, so Doug pulled in further to the left.  He parked the van in the garage last night at an angle, so I didn't realize that I wasn't pulling out straight.  Cal's ankle was extremely swollen this morning, so we rushed around to get him some ice and a plan for him to stay home part of the day.  Doug was calling to apologize for a misunderstanding from last night and I was hurrying out to get to a meeting at school.

All of these combined led to a disaster.  The van door was stuck in the open position and I was a mess.  We switched over to Brett's truck and Doug headed for home to take care of the van.  By the time we got there twenty minutes late, I was in tears.  I didn't try to catch the end of the meeting.  I needed some time to get myself together.  One of my autistic students was getting off of the bus in a horrible mood and I knew I couldn't greet him without taking a moment to catch my breath.

So the day went on.  It was commercial day in my classroom as we have been studying the differences between store brand and name brand products (costs - especially from the advertising.)  We all laughed at the top Dorito commercials of all time.  Everyone was in a better mood than when the day started.

Thus, the Heinisch family survived.  Meg had her eye doctor appointment in the afternoon.  Cameron used our mishap this morning as a story in writer's workshop.  Cal made it to school by 10 a.m. Doug was able to get the van to the body shop.  Although, we will have to take it back to be fixed correctly, for now the door closes.  My parents, Cameron and I all saw Meg play a great soccer game.  Cal rode along to NLC to cheer on his tennis team and Doug coached one more soccer game.

When I ran into the AD at the high school, I apologized for missing his speech in the morning about social media.  I explained that I had wrecked the van and didn't get in on time.  He looked at me and said, "Man, you're having one stellar week."  I smiled and agreed, hoping to never have a week like this anytime soon.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Blink of an Eye

The last 24 hours in the Heinisch Home have been a blur.  Taking care of Cal has become a priority.  Mom has had to come up to get him to school.  We have all had to learn to wrap his ankle, help him put on a boot, fill bags of ice and keep his ankle elevated.

As I returned to school this morning, many thoughts crossed my mind.  First and foremost was how life can change in the blink of an eye.  We were riding a big high Monday night as the tennis team won its first NLC match.  Tuesday night they were more than likely going to win their second and ride a big wave of success into the NLC tourney.  All of that changed with a rebound, ten seconds of a basketball game.

I was sad and disappointed.  Sounds silly, but I have been really enjoying Cal's tennis success and watching him develop some great friendships over the season.  Although the season would have more than likely ended next week at sectionals, I wasn't quite prepared for the abrupt change.

This morning I explained to my students why I had missed the day before and showed them a picture of Cal after the emergency room visit.  As they marveled at the size of the boot that he has to wear (those size 13s look even bigger in boot form), one of them asked me if Cal was a senior.  When I told her that he is only a sophomore, she said, "Then it's OK, Mrs. Heinisch.  He still has two more years to be part of the team."

She is totally correct.  This is only a minor set back in the grand scheme of life.  Soon it will be just a memory.  Thankful that our life was not permanently altered on that fateful morning.  Cannot imagine the despair that some families receive when the phone rings with more life changing news.  Hope that the Heinisch children remain the happy, healthy four that they are.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Almost twelve years ago I went to a "friend's" house for play group.  Brett and Cal were little and I was pregnant with Meg.  That "friend" proved to not be much of a friend in the end, but by knowing her I was able to meet Jody.  She is one of the funniest, most supportive people that I have ever met.  Over the past decade as our friendship has grown I have been known to call her in tears, crying over something minor to everyone else in the world, but a big deal to this Heinisch mom.

Yesterday was one of those days.  Cal had called first thing in the morning, before school started to let me know that he had injured his ankle during basketball.  When the phone rang, my stomach dropped.  I knew that it was not good news.  Cal's tennis coach had been extremely worried that this would happen.  We knew it was a possibility as well, but Cal was determined to play basketball and we knew that barring him from it would only cause him to give up tennis.  So, the worst happened and we spent the rest of the morning at the ER.  Cal was a really good sport about it all.  He found out that he chipped a couple of small bones and sprained his ankle.  He went home with a boot and two types of medication.

I spent the early part of the afternoon getting him ice, lunch and a comfortable place for his ankle to rest.  By 1:30, Cal decided that he wanted to go to school.  He had a chemistry test last period that he didn't want to have to make up, and he really wanted to go to his team's tennis match to support those playing.  I helped get him into school, talked to several of the adults questioning his injuries and our decision to let him play, and finally, co-ordinated with Tammy, Cal's ability to go to tennis with the team.

As I headed for home, I realized that I was on overload.  I began to cry.  I felt horribly guilty for allowing him to play basketball.  His tennis coach was so disappointed when I called him to let him know that Cal's out for the foreseeable future.  Doug was busy in a meeting at work and I just couldn't resolve the situation.  I decided at that time that I needed to call Jody.  I was so glad that I did.  Within ten minutes I was laughing as she told me stories of her day subbing in kindergarten complete with "accidental" haircuts and bathroom incidents.  I knew that Cal's injury was not the end of the world, but just telling someone that I was really disappointed that he wasn't going to be able to play in sectional and NLC made it a lot easier to digest.  She didn't judge me or criticize me.  I hung up and was ready to face the world again.

It's great to have a friend like Jody.  I hope that everyone does - someone to help you laugh at yourself, someone to understand that you are not perfect and neither are your children, someone with a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen. The Heinisch life would still go on without Jody, but she sure makes it a lot more fun!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Get Busy Living . . .

"Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying!"  That has to be my favorite quote of all time.  If you haven't seen the movie "Shawshank Redemption" or read the short story by Stephen King that it is based on, then the quote may not mean a lot to you.  The character Red states it as he contemplates suicide or breaking parole to search for his friend Andy in Mexico.  In the end he chooses Andy.  I love watching them meet on the beach knowing that Red, even after a hard life, chose to "get busy living."

I find that quote popping into my head on days that I feel most exhausted.  The Heinisch Home could be described as hectic most days.  It may not seem like it, but those are the days that I appreciate life the most.  So, bring on the three hour tennis matches or the afternoons spent practicing soccer.  We may all be tired, but happy and healthy - glad for the new day that awaits us and thankful that there is a new adventure to seek.  

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Meg and I spent the afternoon at my Goddaughter's (and her Godsister) 3rd birthday party.  It was a fun time that can only come from a Minnie Mouse cake and a princess castle bounce house.  While we were gone, Doug was able to repaint the dining room.  Here is the new color - Cassel Berry!  Doug did a great job painting it.  Meg said that he lost some of his manhood today, but I sure love it.  When I went back to Ace Hardware to buy the second gallon, the young girl who waited on me thoroughly appreciated my enthusiasm for the color.  I can't wait until next weekend to see it matched with the honey pot yellow we picked out for the kitchen.  I do disagree with Meg, however.  Gotta love a guy who is manly enough to try something new and bold.  We did mention pink, but Doug wasn't quite ready to go that far.  Maybe when we redo Meg's room in the Spring.  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Day with Doug - A Rareity

Today I was fortunate enough to spend the day with Doug.  It was the first Saturday in quite awhile that he did not have a soccer game.  He gave the girls the day off from practice as well, so that he could be a Dad and husband.  I loved it.

We started bright and early at Cameron's soccer game.  Doug coached them to a 2-2 tie.  We agreed at the end that we were thrilled to tie.  The other team had at least 20 shots on goal and only converted on one.  The second goal came on a penalty kick when one of our players tackled an opponent in the goal box. Our team only took three shots on goal and converted on two.  We usually come out on the short end of that stick, so we were extremely happy with the outcome.

As soon as that was over we hustled to the van for the two hour trip to Merrillville.  The tennis team had an invitational today.  We pulled in as Cal was starting the second set in his first match.  The two players battled back and forth for the next hour.  Cal came up a little short, losing the first set in a tie breaker and again in the second 4-6.  He played well, however, and we were glad to watch a good portion of it.

The boys were given about a half hour break between the matches.  We visited with several of the other parents and watched several other matches start before Cal played again.  Cal started off slow in the second match and was down early.  He was clearly the better player, but just couldn't get his game going.  That changed quickly when his opponent started yelling at him about the score of the game (Cal was correct.)  Cal had to win an extra point to win the game, but it seemed to wake him up and he proceeded to win the next four games.  This only frustrated his opponent more.  He called several of Cal's shots out that we felt were good.  Cal questioned him, but he wouldn't budge.  It all seemed to work in Cal's favor and he was able to win in an exciting third set super tiebreak.

This win put Cal in the bracket for fourth place.  He played well, but came up a little short.  Doug and I were proud of his play and enjoyed watching it together.  As we drove home I told Doug that I was glad that he coached high school girls soccer.  I know he has made a difference as his girls have improved and he has started a middle school program.  Overall, however, I have really missed having him home.  It was nice to spend the day with him watching our sons games.

Friday, September 20, 2013


Today I had my second year evaluation with the building principal.  I know that a lot of people hate being evaluated, but I actually enjoy it.  As a teacher I am constantly reflecting on what my class is learning, how I am teaching it and what I could do better.  I love having someone else give me their opinion, especially someone with a lot of experience and observations of other teaching styles.

When I had my end of the year evaluation last May, Cindy suggested that I meet with another teacher to find out more about inquiry based learning.  I had sat in on meetings before on the same topic.  I thought it might work in my class, but wasn't sure.  Mary gave me a lot of good advice and showed me what has worked for her over the years.  I decided to make that my goal this year.

Thus, the seventh and eighth grade now have an inquiry based FACS class and I have to say I believe that we all love it.  I have been impressed with their knowledge of the scientific process.  The first lesson that we tried this with was "What boils water the fastest - microwave, pan on the stove or tea kettle?"  We studied the difference between microwaves and stoves and even learned a little about open hearth cooking.  They had to come up with a hypothesis, data, a conclusion and a reflection.

Since that first lesson we have worked on "Homemade vs. Store Bought" and have moved on to "Name Brand vs. Store Brand."  Mary had said that it is a great way to provide students with a differentiated education as those who are high ability can follow their own path to what they want to discover.  She is exactly right.  It also allows me to spend a lot of one on one time with students and help those that are struggling.  I have mixed in several standards in their data work, such as measurements equivalences, abbreviations and measuring tips.

So, if you would like to stop by and observe one day, please feel free.  My classroom will seem chaotic to you, but I promise you we are all learning. I welcome all suggestions, just try to throw in a few positive comments as well!

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Tennis was cancelled tonight, so Cal was home for the evening. That is a rarity here in the Heinisch home.  About 8 p.m. he asked me to cut his hair.  It was a great idea as Cameron was in need of one too!  So I brought out the clippers, set them at 3/8 inch for the sides and 1/2 inch on the top, and cut away.

As I swept up the hair on the floor, two thoughts came to mind.  First, I couldn't tell which hair was Cal's and which was Cameron's.  Right now it is the same color and texture.  Brett's hair used to be the same.  Much to his dismay, it all changed when he hit twelve years old.  The color was still brown, but he went from thick, straight hair to a head full of curls.  The only one more in shock than him was me.  I didn't know that your hair could change that drastically.  The hairdresser assured me that it was normal.  I guess he must have inherited his Uncle Dan's hair as he was the only one on both sides of the family with curly hair.  It was a challenge at first, but I did learn to cut curly hair.  Brett still doesn't like the "new" curls, but he has adapted and as long as they do not grow into his ears, he is OK with it.

The second thought that crossed my mind was the length of time I have been cutting the boys' hair.  It all started when Doug decided that it was too challenging to get into the barber here.  He was busy with work and being a father.  There just didn't seem to be time to fit one more thing in.  We also realized that with he and Brett needing a haircut monthly we could save almost $300 a year if I would learn to do so.  Thus, I asked my cousin Jackie to give me a how to with Brett and I have been cutting the Heinisch men's hair for almost 15 years.

Tonight I once again donned the role of barber and enjoyed the time I spent with Cal.  He is at an age where hanging out with your Mom isn't that exciting.  It was nice to catch up with him.  Cameron was the reluctant "customer", but he looks so much better!  Maybe his teacher will think she has a new student tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


One of the hardest things for me to do as a parent is to watch my children play goalie in soccer.  I love that they have the confidence to play that position.  They enjoy the pressure that it brings.  As a Mom, however, I cringe the entire time they are keeper - afraid of an injury, thinking of all of the positive things I can say if a ball gets by them, and hopeful that we have a strong fullback line.

Meg and Cameron do not feel this way.  They play the position with confidence and I think they secretly enjoy the attention the role brings to them.  I am sure that nothing feels better on a soccer field than stopping a goal kick, unless it is scoring one.

Tonight Meg was goalie on her middle school team.  She did well.  She couldn't stop every shot, but made some awesome saves.  Doug has told me over and over that once the offense gets past the defense, it is about a 50-50 chance that the goalie will be able to stop the ball.   One of the secretaries at school had a daughter who also played keeper.  She reminds me that the ball has to get by 10 other players before they can score.  Her daughter was a great goalie, so I will keep telling myself as I sit on the edge of my seat at their games.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Asleep on the Couch

It is ten o'clock and Doug is asleep on the couch.  This has become our typical routine since soccer started.  Doug changed his work schedule and his day know begins at Renegade at 6 a.m.  Thus, he has to be up at 5 every morning to be in on time.  Doug has soccer practice beginning at 4 p.m.  The girls know to start stretching and are ready when he arrives.  I watched his practice the other night and realize that he runs their sprints with them and participates in many of the drills.  On days like today, he hustles out of soccer practice to catch part of a tennis match and then heads off to coach Cameron's youth center soccer team.

Therefore, I do not say much when he zonks out early.  I know that once he sits down it is hard to stay awake.  I appreciate his hard work.  The one nice thing about him falling asleep so early is that I can turn the TV off.  I don't mind learning about Puerto Rico on PBS, but sometimes it is nice just to have some quiet time.  Soccer will end soon enough, so I will not wish time away.  I am glad that he has enjoyed it.  I also realize that once it is over, he will move on to the next project.  I wonder what it will be.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Heinisch Debate Team

Tonight I got a kick out of a Facebook post that Brett commented on.  Two of his long time friends from high school and drama were in a debate about the invention of electricity.  One was supporting the theory that it was Nickolai Tesla and the other, Albert Einstein.  Brett had his own thoughts and stated his opinions (big fan of Tesla.)  The debate continued with several other boys commenting as well.  The evening ended with David admitting that he only started the debate to get James going.  

I laughed out loud when I read that.  I have learned over the years that boys will debate anything and everything.  Another of Brett's friends posted that they had a huge debate at dinner over what flavor the Jello they were eating was.  I do not understand the need to debate.  I grew up most of my life without a sibling and didn't develop the needed argumentative skills that the Heinisch children have. 

Brett will argue about most anything political, movie or song related.  He has learned to walk away from a debate if need be.  He believes in his opinions and isn't easily swayed, but can agree to disagree.  Cal, on the other hand, believes in arguing to the end and never gives in.  He finally admitted this fall that sometimes he takes the opposite side just to get someone's goat, much as David had in the electricity debate.  I believe that is typical of the second born.  They are usually not as well informed, but want to be part of the action, so they just pick a side and go with it.

I used to think that debating was only for boys as I have heard Doug and his brothers argue about anything and everything.  Meg, however, has shown that she can keep up with the best of them.  I have heard her debate with Brett over the smallest of things - characters on a television show or in a comic book, songs, friends, musicals, etc.  Cameron joins in the Heinisch debates as well, but gives in a little easier.  I love it when one of his siblings tries to draw him in an argument and he just looks at them and says, "What's your point?"

Thus, if you happen to see the Heinisch children out and about or read their posts on Facebook, realize that they love to argue, if you engage them.  Do not take them seriously, instead enjoy practicing your debate skills.  Also, you may want to remember the Heinisch theme that ends most heated discussions in our home, "Did you know that 70% of all statistics are made up!" 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The best laid plans . . .

This morning began bright and early.  We had breakfast at the hotel and then headed to Carl and Jeanette's.  Meg was to spend the day with them while we took the boys to the BMW Classic Golf Championships an hour or so away.  Meg had bought two different types of fleece and planned to make a blanket with Jeanette.  Carl said that he would meet us in Oakbrook when the tournament was over, so we could head out from there.

It seemed that we had planned for everything.  We ordered the tickets early, brought clothes for cool weather, started out early, and even had umbrellas just in case.  The just in case is exactly what happened.  It rained all the way to the golf course, but we were hopeful as they never called for thunderstorms.  It was muddy when we parked, but according to the website and live updates, golfers were on the course and several were almost finished with their early morning rounds.

Our hopes were quickly dashed as we walked to the bus pick up area.  A volunteer informed us that play was suspended and the course was closed.  We could stand in the rain or wait in our cars, but the earliest they would start again would be in an hour.  We discussed it and decided that the best decision would be to return to DeKalb and wait and see what would happen.

Doug called his Dad to let him know that our plans had changed, and he said he'd cook more pork chops.  Thus, we made it back for lunch and to see Meg's completed blanket.  It looked great - purple with butterflies on one side and pink on the other.  We read on Twitter that the tournament was to start again at 1:30, but the boys decided that hanging out at Grandma and Grandpa's was much more fun.  So, we ate lunch, visited, watched "The Princess and the Frog" on one level and the Bears vs. the Vikings on the other.  Several games of pool were played and the three Heinisch children were measured on the wall chart as they are each visit.  Each had grown with the highlight being that Cal finally has topped Doug!!!

Thus, when we left everyone was in a great mood.  Although the golf tournament did resume, it was quickly postponed again and eventually suspended for the day.  We were sad that we didn't get to see many of our favorite players, but we were also very happy that our alternate plans were equally as fun.  A great visit, wonderful memories and to top it off  - a bear victory!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Time for a Visit

Doug's Dad called this week to fill him in on his Mother's visit to the doctor.  She had not been feeling well since before Labor Day.   At that time they found more fluid in her lungs and several small tumors.  She was having a hard time breathing and her cough was getting worse.  This week they also found out that there is fluid around her hear which is enlarged from the medicines that she has been taking.  Thus, she is extremely tired.  They found a hospital bed for her to use so she doesn't have to go upstairs and the doctor started her on oxygen.  We talked to her several times and she is feeling better, but we all decided that it was time for a visit to DeKalb.

We had to wait until after Doug's soccer game today at 1:30 to leave.  This gave me some time to finish laundry, get some work done and pack.  Meg completed her homework and played with Brooklyn and Avery.  Cameron and Cal watched golf and college football and chipped a little in the backyard.

We were all packed and in the van when Doug got home at 3:45.  The trip out was pretty uneventful.  We were able to pick up dinner and be at Carl and Jeanette's at 6:15 central time.  We had a great visit filled with games of pool, watching the Notre Dame/Purdue game, coloring and catching up.  Jeanette looked great.  She said that the oxygen has really helped as well as the heart medicine they have started her on.  Her heart was only working at about 33%, so that is where the fatigue was coming from.

We left for the hotel a little after nine.  Everyone had a wonderful night.  The only thing that could have made the evening better would have been a Purdue victory.

Friday, September 13, 2013


I really thought that today would be a very difficult one for me to get through.  I didn't sleep very well last night as I had a headache that just wouldn't go away.  I had to take Cal to basketball at 5:45 a.m., so I knew I would be pretty tired.

I was wrong, however.  My classes were great today.  The students responded well to several of the changes that I made in their routine that helped them complete assignments and start on a new project if ready.

The best news of the morning happened around 10 a.m.  Tammy emailed to say that the Northridge player forfeited his match to Cal.  I was thrilled as was Doug and Cal.  We planned on one of being at his match, but with the other things going on tonight it was going to be tight.  Plus, the win now makes Cal's record 7-3 at #3 Singles.  So proud of all that he has accomplished this fall season.

Before I left school I found out that the bookkeeper had $50 from the PTO for me to spend in my classroom and the school will also be ordering a new stove for my classroom.  I have three that are older, but one has a knob that turns too easily.  If a student bumps it accidentally, then it instantly sets at 500 degrees.  That is not safe, and I am constantly checking it.  Now I won't worry and I will have an oven that cooks evenly.

Tonight was packed with activities as Meg invited 11 friends over for a bonfire/cookout.  There were an even amount of boys and girls, but not your typical "boy/girl" activities.  No one was concerned about who was dating whom, only which team would win at dodge ball and who would be partners during the egg toss.  All in all the 7th graders had a great time, ate hamburgers and were ready for super hero night at the high school football game at 7 p.m.

Doug was home to help with the party after practice.  Everyone liked his hamburgers and he was a big help to the girls in dodge ball.  He left a little early as the soccer team was in charge of concessions at the football game.  A long time friend of mine and mother of twins at the party offered to drive the boys to the game for me.  Meg was sure they could all jam into my van, but I felt more comfortable with a second driver.

Cal wore his Aquaman shirt to the game and left with his Dad.  Once we got all of the middle schoolers in, they took off for their designated area in the end zone.  Kelly and I met up with a couple of other friends to sit in the parent section.  Although, I hate watching football, I did enjoy the company I had that evening.  We all had a lot to catch up on and enjoyed the "Super Hero Parade" at halftime.  Although we decided that a Ghostbuster and the StayPuff Marshmallow Man are really not Super Heros, we couldn't argue with them winning first and second place in the parade.

Thus, a hectic day that I thought would be very challenging to get through, actually turned out to be a lot of fun.  Cal won another match.  Doug had a successful night in the concession stands.  Meg and I had a great time with friends, and Cameron had a wonderful time playing in the Big Cup with his Grandparents.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Tonight was a night of patience for Cal and the rest of his tennis team.  As the match was scheduled to commence, a wind started blowing and the rain began to fall.  The heat of this past week had finally broken, but it came at an inopportune time for the young men ready to play.  Fortunately, senior night went off without a hitch.  There were some great posters, balloons and lots of support.

Cam and I were ready at 5 p.m. for the match to start.  That was about when the downpour started.  We were hopeful, but after 30 minutes, Cam gave up and left with Grandma.  Meg and Graham were planning to watch the match and finish Algebra homework.  That was quickly thwarted by the rain as well.  So, Meg went home, Cam went to the golf course with Grandma Jane and I watched Doug's soccer practice while waiting.  The rain did start to subside a little, so the coaches sent the JV players out to squeegee the courts.  Many of the father's ran home to get their leaf blowers and an array of towels showed up all in an effort to get the courts ready for play.

I was skeptical.  Tennis is not like any other sport.  A few drops of rain can easily suspend play.  Ankles and knees are easily twisted on a slick court.  I was wrong, however, and by 6:30, play was started.  Doug stopped by after his practice and before County Council to see how Cal was doing.  Although he got to see him warm up and play a couple of points, he had to leave before much action really took place.  As his meeting was a half hour away, I never dreamed that he would be able to make it back to see "the ending."

Cal's match this evening was against a conference foe.  They had only lost one match so far this year and it was to a state ranked team.  All four other courts were finished off fairly quickly and within the hour, Cal and the JV tennis players were the only ones still playing.  Cal had asked to play singles again as he did not like playing doubles on Tuesday.  Most non-tennis players do not realize that they are two different sports and most players prefer one over the other.  His coach told his that he'd let him play singles if he promised to hit the ball as hard as he does in practice.  Cal definitely listened and was winning pretty easily at first until the wind picked up.  It was a struggle to keep the ball in play.  The first set ended up going to a tie break with Cal finally winning 7-6.

The second set was a different story.  Most everyone was watching his match and Cal was struggling to get some quick points.  Close to 8:00 p.m. Doug called.  His meeting was over and he was wondering how Cal was doing.  I said, "Still going!"  He headed over and we watched for almost another half hour.  When Doug got there, Cal was down 1-4.  He rallied, however, with all of the support and closed the gap 3-4.  That is when the other player told his coach that he felt that it was too dark to continue.  Our team offered to have them move over a couple of courts as the light from the tennis hut was shining on that area.  Cal agreed, but the Northridge player did not.  Thus, play was suspended with Cal up one set.

Since it was a conference match, the coach did not want to forfeit.  He said he would bring his player back tomorrow after school for them to finish.  Cal would prefer to just be done, but we will see what tomorrow brings.  Tennis has definitely become a game of patience for him!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I was sick on September 11, 2001 with a kidney infection.  My Mom was very helpful and took Brett to first grade and Cal to preschool for me and watched Meg for the morning.  Thus, I was not awake when the attack on the twin towers occurred.  My Dad called me at 12:30 that day to let me know what was going on.  I was running a fever of 104, so I was slightly out of it when I answered.  It took awhile for me to process the information he was giving me, but once I did, I immediately turned the television on.  Obviously, every station was showing footage of the morning events and giving out information.  I was in shock.  It didn't seem real to me.

By the afternoon I was in the doctor's office receiving an antibiotic injection.  Therefore it was early evening before I could really grasp the reality of the events of the day.  What I remember most is the amount of emergency personnel that were running to the twin towers to help in the search and rescue efforts.  How devastating it was to find out later that there were not going to be a lot of survivors.  So many people searching for loved ones were going home with the horrible reality that they were not going to be reunited that day or any other.

Today I took time in each of my classes to talk about the attacks of 9/11 - why they happened and the after effects.  The students in our building that were alive that day were all toddlers or younger when it happened.  The majority had not been born.  They cannot fathom why someone would kill so many people.  The other image that seems to stick in all of their minds is that of people jumping from the burning buildings - realizing that they were not going to live, but wanting to take control in some matter.  It brings out some great discussion in our class and many questions are asked and answered.  Although I can never tell them why or promise them that it will never happen again, they do seem to understand that day changed the history of our country and made everyone a little more cautious.

As I reflect on the day 13 years ago, I am actually glad that I was sick.  I am not sure that I could have processed all that was going on and happy that I found out after the fact.  This Patriots Day I will pause to pray for the lives that were forever changed and hope that we never have to face a tragedy as vast as this again.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

So Hot You Can Fry an Egg

OK, so you cannot actually fry an egg on the sidewalk.  It's a fun way to describe how days like today feel outside, but in reality the sidewalk has to be 150 degrees for anything to fry on it.  This week has definitely been hot as we have had temperatures in the 90's, and tomorrow we are supposed to set a record high.  As I sat watching Cal's tennis match tonight and Meg's soccer game yesterday, I made a vow not to complain about the heat.  Soon enough it will cool down, and in a couple of short months we will see the white of winter.  It also seems to me that following an unseasonably cool, wet summer, we usually do have a few days in September and October with record highs.  For now I will enjoy wearing my shorts and sleeveless shirts just a little longer and bring plenty for everyone to drink at their sporting events.  However, when it does reach 150 degrees, I plan to have my students try the egg on the sidewalk experiment!!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Happy Birthday CrapPa!

Today would have been my Grandpa's 91st birthday.  He died almost six years ago.  My Grandpa was my hero growing up and even in my adult life.  He was a veteran of World War II and told us so many stories of his years of service.  I was always in awe of these adventures.  The way he told the stories, I felt like I was there.  My brother felt the same way.  We spent hours in his garage, watching him feed the squirrels, fixing or building something, and always absorbing all of the memories that made up his life.  He taught us many things as we sat on the stool patiently watching and listening.

What I miss the most about CrapPa (my nickname for him as I couldn't stay Grandpa as a toddler), however, is the constant teasing I would get from him.  He called every boy I ever liked Efram - "How's Efram today?  Where are you and Efram going", etc.  Once I met the man for me, he dropped the teasing about my love life and moved on to our choice of college.  If I needed help or Doug couldn't figure out the problem with one of his tools, we would get all of the help CrapPa had to give, as long as we admitted that a Purdue grad would have had no problem with our dilemma.

My Grandpa fought a good fight against the cancer that ravaged his body the last six months of his life.  I was never more proud to be his Granddaughter than those days.  He gave it all that he had and was always in a great mood when the Heinisch family would visit.  I think of him often and have so many questions I would still love to ask him.  For now I have great memories and stories to share with my own children.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

New Cabinets

Tonight we met with the cabinet man.  We approved of his design and quote, so the next step was to pick out the color of the cabinets and the handles.  Can't wait to change up the house a little and add a little room to the place!!  Guess we are really going through with this!!  May even be able to refinish our table and chairs from Great-Grandma Heinisch!!  Always something happening in the Heinisch home - might as well add to the list!!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Summer Sun

For the first time all summer I finally have some color.  Normally, by September there is evidence that I spent my time away from school outside.  Over the years I have always picked on Doug for being "milk boy", but this year I was the one who started the school year white as a ghost.  I did not try to avoid the sun or wear layers of sunscreen.  I think my paleness is a direct result of the cool, wet summer we had.  The Heinisch children did a lot less swimming than they ever have, so I wasn't poolside to watch over them.  Cal played in golf tournaments, but didn't need me to walk along, and Cameron asked my Mom to follow him.  Thus, I believe that I could have rented my ghoulish face out to the haunted house that will soon become the primary attraction of the Halloween season.

That all changed yesterday as I headed outside bright and early for Cameron's soccer game.  Although, still a little cool, the sun was brightly shining and a warm day was promised.  After watching his team easily win the first game of the LYC fall season, I headed to the high school to become a spectator at the Wawasee Varisty Tennis Duals.  The sun did not disappoint me there, although, I am sure the boys were wishing that it would spend more time behind the clouds.  By the time I left after 3 p.m. I had raccoon eyes from my sunglasses and the warm glow of a day in the sun.

It was a great afternoon, not only for sun, but also for Wawasee tennis.  The boys finished second in the four team dual.  That is something that hasn't happened for quite awhile.  Cal won all three of his matches at number three singles.  He was the only Wawasee player to do so.  It was exciting to see him play and beat several worthy opponents.  The third match was the roughest for him as he showing signs of wear from the first two battles.  Doug's soccer games were over in time for him to see Cal emerge victorious.  His coaches and parents were very proud of his determination and hard work.

There is another all day tennis invitational in two weeks.  I am hopeful to once again add some color to my sun kissed face and watch some great matches.  The good news is that Doug will be there for that one.  The bad news is I still won't be able to gain in my quest to be the least pale.

Friday, September 6, 2013


One of my high school friends and fellow teachers brought me to tears today.  She didn't mean to and wasn't relaying anything sad.  Instead they were tears of pride.  Her oldest daughter plays on Doug's soccer team and her youngest plays with Meg.  She said that she really enjoyed watching the 7th graders last night.  It was great to see how well they played.  Doug was instrumental in starting boys and girls middle school teams.

She then said that when she picked up the high school girls that carpool with her last night, she saw Doug standing there waiting for the girls to head out.  It was well after nine and she turned to the girls in her car and said, "I hope you appreciate that man."  They looked at her kind of funny and she followed up with, "His son had a tennis match tonight and his daughter had a soccer game, but he was here with you giving you his best.  He has spent a lot of time away from his family in the hope to make you all a better team."  The girls quickly said that they do appreciate him and enjoy soccer.

She didn't have to tell me that and she certainly didn't have to say anything to the girls, but it sure made me feel proud of all of the hard work that he has put into the program.  Doug coaches because he loved playing soccer.  It made high school fun for him and created a lot of memories.  I know that he wants to pass that on to others.  Along the way he has been a wonderful role model for the students at our high school.  He works hard and appreciates their effort.  Much as a teacher in a classroom he is making a difference in our community.  The students here have had a rough couple of years.  I am proud of Doug for being a part of the solution.  It brought tears to my eyes that someone else recognizes it as well.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Those Crazy Days of Fall

What a crazy day it was, filled with a lot of activity.  It started out at school with a busy four classes.  Sixth and seventh grade were finishing up projects, and my writing lab class of 5th graders are really getting into their fantasy story writing.  The highlight of the morning, however, was in my 8th grade class.  It was Ramen Noodles day!!  That is always a lot of fun.  Once a trimester I let that group try their hand at one of their favorite snacks.  It coincided well with our microwave vs. stove vs. oven boiling water unit.  There is always one or two students who have never had Ramen Noodles before and lots of debate about the best way to cook them - seasoning in the water while cooking, microwave, boiling water on the stove first, etc.  I love doing this activity with them as it creates a great class bonding experience.  It also teaches some of our students in need how to make an inexpensive meal for them or their siblings.

The afternoon was busy with household duties and preparing for the evening.  Mom was able to pick up Cameron for me and we all met at Cal's tennis match.  It was home against a conference team.  I caught half of the first set before I had to leave for Meg's first middle school soccer game in Goshen.  Doug had a late varsity soccer match over an hour away.

When we met back up after 9:30 at night we hurriedly caught up on the activities of the night.  Cal played very well against his toughest opponent yet.  He lost in two sets, but had the lead in the second for quite awhile.  We were thrilled with his showing.  Mom was able to watch all of it and was impressed with how much he has improved in such a short period of time.  That speaks loudly of his work ethic and dedication.

Meg's soccer team also lost tonight, but looked very good for their first showing.  She stood out as a player that knew how to play.  She can trap, pass (although she prefers not to), talk strategy and encourage her teammates.  As the parents walked out of a 6-0 loss, all everyone could speak of is how great they looked and how wonderful it is for them to have a team!

Doug's team completed the trifecta of losses by playing well despite the outcome of the game.  He too can see a lot of improvement in his team.  Hopefully, there will be a win in there some time this season, but the goal is to build for the future.

So, a crazy day was had by the Heinisch family.  I think it will be one of many this fall.  Hopefully, we can stop to enjoy some of it along the way.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Joys of Being a Parent Part 2

Late last night Brett posted on Facebook that he was elected Governor of his house in the dorm.  I was thrilled to read that post.  Brett has adjusted to college life so much more quickly than I had ever imagined.  I know that other students were running for that position as well, so I realize that he has worked to meet people and establish himself as a leader already.

Ever since I can remember Brett has wanted to be Governor of Indiana.  Maybe this is the first step towards that goal.  Or maybe he will find that being a servant to the people is not all that he thought it would be.  I have always envisioned him being a write or a professor.  This could push him in those directions or stay right on course.  No matter what the biggest joy so far of being a parent is watching them fly away, confident and ready to take on the world.  It is scary and I miss Brett everyday, but so proud of the young man that he is striving to be and the responsibilities that he is undertaking.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Joys of Parenting Part 1

Tonight was one of those evenings when the fruits of parenthood are obvious.  Cal had a tennis match against a rival non-conference school that proved to be well worth watching.  As the first set began it was obvious that he and his opponent were very evenly matched.  I watched mostly by myself for the first hour and a half.  The doubles court beside him finished early as did the number 1 and 2 singles.  All that was left was a heated match between the number two doubles and Cal's.

As the second hour of the contest began, so did the third set on Cal's court.  Two dubs, as they are commonly referred to, held on for a three set win and that left the overall team match at two-two.  Cal had to win for his team to persevere.  Both teams and their parents quickly gathered round this third set to support their teammates.  Cal had won the first set and his opponent had captured the second.  With all of the encouragement he was receiving, Cal quickly jumped out to a 4-0 lead.  I knew it wouldn't be easy to carry that momentum throughout the third set and with Whitko fans loudly cheering, Cal's opponent turned it on.  Several more games went to deuce until finally, Cal grabbed his racket to serve.  He was up 5-4 and finished 4 straight points to earn the victory for himself and most importantly his team.  It was an awesome feeling as a Mom to watch him succeed and hear the shouts of joy from his teammates.  Cal was interviewed later for our local paper and he said that once his coach had told him that he needed to win for their team to have a victory, he never felt nervous.  He knew his teammates would rally around him and that would be just the extra momentum that he needed to keep going.

As Cal came in the house late last night, he was all smiles.  Not a young man of many words he was eager to fill his Dad in on the match.  He was proud of himself and the interview with the reporter.  He had earlier asked to ride home with me in hopes of making the volleyball game.  That quickly changed as he looked to celebrate with his teammates and lead the charge to Taco Bell.  I am glad that he is coming into his own this year.  He has found success in a new sport, become a leader in the student cheer block at other sports, and is doing well academically.  Sometimes the joys of being a parent are not as obvious, but tonight surely was.

Monday, September 2, 2013


Doug and Cal were up early to play tennis across the street from the Union.  Cal had noticed last night that there was a never ending game of soccer, ultimate Frisbee, etc. on campus at anytime.  I know he would never run out of sports to play if he attended IU.  They got back to the room as we were finishing showering and packing.  We picked Brett up for breakfast and tried the Scholars Inn.  The food was delicious and they were busy!!

After breakfast we dropped Brett back off at the dorm.  Meg and I gave him a hug and he said that he enjoyed seeing us all.  As we drove home, I couldn't help but think about how proud I am of him.  Brett is a smart student and I don't really ever worry about his grades.  I didn't know how he would adjust to college life and if he would meet people very easily.  I was thrilled to hear from him how much he loves it.  He has found friends to eat with or meets new ones when he dines alone.  He even said to me that he would love to live there and work in the Governor's office one day.  He has obviously adopted Doug and my affection for Bloomington.  That is my music to my ears.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Great Day

Doug and Cal started early this morning at Cascades Golf Course.  We dropped them off to play nine and then headed to nearby Cascades Creek.  We stumbled upon this spot several years ago and Meg and Cam love it.  They sit in trash bags and slide down the embankment into the swirling creek.  Meg complained that it was cold, but as every day this week has been above 90, it was a refreshing journey.

Once they were done, we headed back to the Union for them to get dressed.  Brett met a friend for breakfast and was just finishing up as we arrived at his dorm.  Doug texted that they were on nine tee, so we headed back to pick he and Cal up.  They had  a great time together with several stories to tell.  We then met Parce at Oliver Winery for lunch.  Everyone was excited to see him and filled him in quickly on what they have been up to since we saw him several weeks ago.  We had a great picnic, listened to music, played football and bocce ball and discussed and debated as much as possible.

Once lunch ended I dropped Cal and Cam off at the Union.  They had a FedEx Cup Match to watch.  Meg and Doug braved the traffic and headed to the IU vs. UCLA soccer match.  The Bruins are staying on the same floor as we are this weekend.  Brett and I hit the comic book store to load up and all of the editions he had been eyeing this week.  He noticed a Plan 9 Film Emporium right next door that we got a kick out of.  He already has some great Christmas and birthday gift ideas for all of us and Anastasia.  We then ran to Target to get a tie for his job as volunteer usher.

Once everyone was back together we met up with Parce again for the 4th Street Art Fair and Garlic Fest.  The artwork was well out of our price range, but we got a kick out of the band that Parce wanted to see at Garlic Fest.  They were good, but the highlight was watching their crowd dance.  We had a great time laughing and Parce and Meg almost made it onto the "dance floor."  Dinner was at Buffalouies once again as Nick's was packed.

We met back up with Brett as he left us for mass and a picnic at his church.  Parce kicked our butts at bowling and for the first time in a long time Doug beat me!!  We dropped Parce off at his car, so he could head to back to Columbus.  Everyone had a great time seeing him.  Tried to get ice cream at Coldstone Creamery, but they were closed.  So, Jiffy Treat was the next best stop.  Brett headed back to the dorm after ice cream, and we went up to the room.  I think everyone was exhausted as I was the last one asleep and that was only at 10:35!!