Thursday, October 31, 2013

Welcome Home

Doug spent the last two days and nights in Arizona for business.  He used to travel monthly, but with his current position he is away overnight only a couple of times a year.  When the Heinisch children were younger they would have a slumber party in my room when he was gone.  They seemed to really enjoy it and I tried to make it fun as they hated Doug being gone.  Now I only have one or two of them sleeping on my floor when Doug is away.

Doug remarked when he got back that we seemed to do pretty well without him.  There were no calls of panic or questions of frustration about homework, practice or the house as there used to be.  We have become more self sufficient, but that doesn't mean that we miss him any less.  The Heinisch children have grown older and their needs are less.  Thus, one parent for three works pretty well.  We are glad that he is home, however.  He is an important part of our family.  Luckily, trick or treating has been changed to tomorrow evening, so he will be here for all of that or to take Cal to his event if need be.  So, welcome home Doug.  We are glad that you made it back safe and sound.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Big Brandon

A neighbor of my Mom's had a grandson named Brandon that visited her every summer.  We all called him Big Brandon.  This nickname was not in regards to his size or the fact that he was older than Brett, but because my Mom had another neighbor with a grandson also named Brandon that was Cal's age.  Every summer Brett looked forward to Brandon's visits.  They shared a lot of the same interests in the world of Yugi-Oh, Pokemon and video games.  Brandon loved to swim in the lake at his Grandma's and Brett would join along.  There were also many times that we went with him and his Grandma to her son's condo to enjoy their pool.  

My favorite memories of Brett and Brandon were at our family garage sales.  We had one yearly at my Mom's and the Heinisch children sold not only some of their toys, but also cookies, pop and one year hot dogs.  Brandon could be counted on to be the first customer of the day.  He also had been known to help them with their sales.  I don't know if Brandon's Grandmother enjoyed our garage sales as much.  I am sure she spent more than she bargained for there, but the boys had such a great time together it would have been hard for her to say no to the new purchases or the "just one more cookie" plea.

As life moved on and Brandon and his grandparents aged, the summer trips to the lake shortened.  Brandon worked at his father's family business during his high school years and his Grandparents' health declined.  By the time Brett finished middle school, his Grandmother died and her children put the house on the market.  Although we hadn't seen Brandon in a couple of years, the reality that he was never coming back always tugged a little at my heart strings.

Today my Mom found out that Brandon died over the weekend.  I didn't quite believe it at first, figuring it was just some incorrect gossip that one of the neighbor ladies had heard.  Unfortunately, she was correct. As I watched the video tribute online that the funeral home posted, I began to cry.  Although I realized awhile ago that we would probably never cross his path again, there was always the thought that we could.  Brandon was a good friend to Brett and I appreciated that about him.  Twenty-two is young to leave this world.  I hope that he is reunited with his beloved Grandmother and they are enjoying their lake house in the sky.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Morning Basketball Once Again

"Mom, can you take me in early tomorrow?  I want to shoot before school."  I wanted to jump for joy when Cal asked me this question, but I calmly said, "Sure, what time?"  Today is the five week anniversary of his injury and Cal has put a lot of time and energy into the healing process.  Although, he still has work to do, it had to feel great to him to be able to go in and shoot once again.  Before September 24th, he had only missed two days of early morning basketball since the beginning of 2013.  He not only loves to play, but has made a lot of great friendships during this time.  I am sure that it has been hard sitting on the sidelines watching, but to Cal's credit he never complained once.

I did talk with the trainer at school last night.  He definitely has a plan of recovery for Cal and has been working with him at least four days a week for the past three weeks.  He is the one who gave Cal the go ahead to resume ball handling drills and free throws.  I do not know where Cal's high school basketball career will take him, but it is a great feeling knowing that he can participate.  I will never again complain (even jokingly) about waking up early to take him to school.  Lack of sleep is nothing compared to an injured child.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Phase 2

Our cabinet maker arrived early this morning to begin phase 2 of our kitchen remodeling process.  I didn't get home until late in the afternoon and all I could say was "Wow!"  He did such a wonderful job on them.  They completely transform our kitchen as well as our entire house.  We not only gained some space, but somehow they seemed to make our first level look a lot bigger.

I arrived home a little after 8 p.m. this evening from my library board meeting and Meg's basketball practice.  I was exhausted and hungry, but ready to put those cabinets to good use.  As I mulled over where to put the plates, glasses, pans, silverware and food in their new home, the boys headed down to play a game of pool and Meg to the computer,  all muttering about what a nerd I was for being so excited to organize my cabinets.  I realize that they will never share my enthusiasm for the new kitchen and that is alright.  They will, however, benefit from the added space and storage.  I appreciate Doug working with the contractor, cabinetmaker and granite shop.  I couldn't be more pleased.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

And Then There Were Two . . .

Cameron, Meg and I spent the afternoon at Fashion Farm.  Every year they showcase hundreds of decorated pumpkins all according to the theme of choice.  This year it was Zoo Time.  As we circled through the bales of hay and cornstalks surrounding the pumpkins, I realized that I was now down to just two with me.  Cal gave up on this adventure last year, but Brett definitely was still willing to venture along.  Obviously, he wasn't able to join us this time, so reality struck -  this is how it will probably be from now.  It doesn't make the fun any less enjoyable, just different (and maybe a little quieter.)

We did enjoy the pumpkins.  Cam's favorite was the mandrill monkey.  Meg was appalled at the sight of the Dolly Parton one.  It said it was back as a fan favorite, but I don't remember ever liking that one either.  We then hit the three mazes (Meg was too tall for one.)  The wagon/hay ride was a nice one through the pumpkin patch.  We ended our venture by picking out pumpkins.  The only rule I had was that they had to be able to lift it to bring it home.  Cam's was just over 27 pounds and Meg's topped the scales well over 30.  We carefully packed them into the van, grabbed our snacks of pumpkin ice cream and popcorn and headed back to Syracuse.

The rest of the day was spent carving their Jack O'Lanterns.  Meg designed a head hunter on hers and after quite a bit of deliberation, Cam picked a cat.  It took a while for them to scoop out the guts and carve them, but they did an awesome job.  We took pictures on the stairs, candles and all.  Until Thursday, the pumpkins will be kept in a secure location on the back porch.  Years ago, some neighbor kids took ours off the front porch before Halloween and smashed them.  We learned a hard lesson that year, but haven't had any problems since.

It was a great way to end Fall Break.  I realized that our life has changed a lot in the last year.  Although we may not always be a group of six anymore, we can definitely still have fun.  Today was a perfect example of that!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Count My Blessings

Doug, my Mom and Jody have had to hear me cry about Cal's ankle several times during the month he was out of commission.  I felt incredibly guilty and was sure that I had somehow brought this upon him.  I was mad at myself for driving him to practice at 5:45 a.m. that morning, and mad that I didn't tell him he couldn't play basketball during tennis NLC's and/or sectional.  I was even upset with myself for jokingly complaining that I had to get up early to take him to pre-dawn workouts.  I am sure Doug, Mom and Jody were frustrated with me, but they just patiently listened.  I think I took Cal's injury more to heart than he did.

Today, however, I realized how ignorant I was.  A mom of one of Cal's golf teammates (who also plays football) posted her son's picture on Facebook, sitting on a gurney, waiting for surgery after last night's game.  There was one of him semi-smiling wearing the lovely hospital gown and hat, one of his legs still in football pants and another of the x-ray of his arm.  His surgery would repair his broken radius and dislocated ulnar with a plate and screws.  His mother wrote that he would be in the hospital until Sunday and his spirits were high, but it would be a long road to recovery.

As I watched Cal return to almost a normal walk this weekend, the first time since his injury, I couldn't believe how worried I had been.  His prognosis from the start had come to full fruition - four weeks in a boot, ankle brace for support and physical therapy.  All should lead to a complete recovery for basketball season - just a blip in his high school athletic career.  Tonight as I listen to Cal and Alex plan the college games that they want to go to this winter around their practice schedule (I think they are joking about trying to make the North Dakota State vs. Oregon game, but you never know), I thank God for watching over the Heinisch children and pray that Cal's friend recovers as quickly and easily.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Heinisch Reunion Minus One

This morning we met Brett for a walk through campus and some shopping at the bookstores that we didn't check out yesterday.  Meg was still sure she needed $100 striped IU pants.  Cam found IUopoly and felt that it should make the journey home with us.  We settled, however, for putting both on their Christmas list.  Cam did go home with a "Hoosier Brother" shirt and Meg split the cost of IU headphones, so they were happy.  Brett picked up a Buffa Louies shirt  - fitting as we always make at least one stop there while in B-town.

After our campus tour, we talked the Heinisch children into lunch at Nick's.  They had not been there in since we saw two guys pass out in a booth next to us (not college students as you might think, but two locals who had obviously spent a lot of time "tanning" that day!)  We were the first ones at the restaurant this morning, so no fear of a repeat of last time.  Lunch was enjoyable and over all too soon.  We walked Brett back to Ballantine Hall for his last class of the week.  Although our trip was short, it was wonderful to catch up with him and reunite the Heinisch siblings.  He had a lot of plans for this weekend, so visiting on a Thursday night was the perfect fit.

One of the siblings was missing from the Heinisch family reunion.  Cal asked Wednesday night if he could sit this trip out.  At first we said no, but as time passed and he explained his reasonings (volleyball sectionals were Thursday night and he was a key part of the student section, he wanted to work on his ankle, and the confinement of the car trip was a little more than he could take right now) we decided to let him stay home.  There were stipulations to his decision and we talked with him about three key items that we would like him to work on.  He agreed and Mom told him he could stay with them, so all was set.

Parce and Brett were surprised, yet not, that Cal didn't make the trek.  They called him a chump several times, but then we all got busy having fun.  I was at peace with our decisions, even more so after I read the local paper online.  There at the top of the article about the volleyball team's loss was a picture of the front row of the student section.  Cal was there with his buddies, all wearing pink volleyball jerseys, enthusiastically cheering on their team.  I had to laugh.  Of course he wouldn't have wanted to miss that.  They were having a lot of fun - one of those times that you remember all through your high school days.  Thus, Cal will catch up with Brett over Thanksgiving break and we will enjoy listening to their "heated discussions" then.  Four short weeks and the Heinisch reunion will commence once again - can't wait!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Siblings Reunite

We were up early this morning on the road to Bloomington.  We made it to Oliver Winery before our expected 11:30 a.m. arrival.  Parce picked Brett up for us and we all met up for a fantastic picnic.  The weather wasn't the greatest as it was in the 40s with rain.  The porch, however, had plenty of space and the crowd was relatively light.  Thus, we enjoyed lunch under a heat lamp.  Eventually, the rain turned to snow, but the weather did not dampen our spirits.  Meg and Cam spent their time catching up with Brett and all three had fun giving Parce a hard time.  Before we knew it, lunch was over and it was time to take Brett to class.  Parce was heading to the recycling center, so we parted ways in the parking lot.  We all enjoyed Parce's stories of his neighbors and his rendition of their monkey dance.

Brett headed to Spanish and we walked to one of the bookstores.  Cameron and Doug picked out shirts that they wanted.  Meg finally found an IU soccer ball.  She has been looking for one for several years.  We met back up with Brett and headed to the mall.  There were a lot of stores to browse plus a Target and Barnes and Noble.  Everyone was exhausted when we left, but in a good mood.  Cameron and Meg got into one of their famous arguments while we were waiting for Doug.  Brett looked at me and said, "Can you believe that I actually missed this!!"

Brett asked us to drive him to the comic book store in the center of town.  He wanted to take a picture of himself in his Michael Myers costume outside of their window.  Meg was the photographer and the photo turned out well.  We definitely gave those walking by a good laugh.  Dinner followed at Buffalouies complete with orange push pops.  We then headed to the Union for bowling, pool and pinball.  We all had a wonderful time and Meg was the overall champion for the first time ever.

We ended the evening in our hotel room.  Three orders of breadsticks were quickly devoured before bedtime.  Brett headed home for the night and we watched some Full House before calling it a night.  We had an awesome day with Brett.  So much fun reuniting the siblings - lots of laughter and constant chatter.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall Break

I hadn't given Fall Break much thought.  We have been so busy and I have spent most afternoons at school that I didn't allow myself to think about it.  Today at 3:40 it dawned on me that Fall Break is actually going to happen, and I don't have any school work to do!  Getting to that point took a lot of work.  I graded over sixty sewing projects, made lesson plans for the next week, and completely cleaned my room.

Meg and I hung out after school talking with Mr. Larson while waiting for chess club to end.  Meg promised to bring back a spreadsheet on who likes who in the 7th grade, so he can keep up with Milford's hot romances.  After chess club we stopped by the Mishler's to drop off a gift for Julie.  She had her tonsils out today.  We hadn't seen them in awhile, so Cam and Meg wanted to check out the guinea pigs.

Tonight we ate dinner at Mom's as Doug had to work late.  We then packed for Bloomington. There was even time to play a couple of games of backgammon, a new one called Five Second rule, and Scrabble.  So glad to have some time to enjoy the Heinisch Home.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Goodbye Boot!!

Cal received great news from the doctor today.  He no longer has to wear the boot on his right ankle.  The doctor said that it will still be sore and may hurt, but Cal can move on to an ankle brace.  Cal still has to meet with the athletic trainer at school for therapy and will have to take it slow coming back, but he can start shooting again at practice.  Even the bone chip that was most apparent in the x-ray has now healed.

The doctor's biggest concern was Cal's lack of flexibility.  He couldn't get his ankle to return to the normal walking position, but when he pushed the other one up it didn't move much further.  Ultimately, Doug and I think that might be the Heinisch gene in him more than his injury.  The doctor suggested yoga as well as the ankle brace, but Cal wasn't interested in that.

Conditioning has started this week for basketball, so the timing works out well for Cal.  He won't be able to do much this week, but hopefully, soon he will be back on the court where he wants to be.  Can't wait for that to happen.  My Mom said on the way home, "Wow, that has been a fast month."  Don't know if Cal agreed or not, but it seemed like forever to me.  It was nice to see him walk into the high school with two shoes on!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

No Turning Back

This is day one of the kitchen remodeling and I believe we survived.  It is amazing to me how much room there is now without the cabinets, appliances and the counter tops.  Only two problems arose when they tore out the soffit.  The first affects Meg's bathroom.  The soffit was hiding the duct to her bathroom vent.  Luckily, her bathroom is small, so not having air conditioning and heat won't affect it as long as she keeps the door open when she is not using it.  The second problem stems from the pipes to the boys bathroom.  We will still be able to vent the microwave, but our contractor will have to cut a smaller hole.  Thus,  I feel overall that it was pretty good news.  Our home was built over 20 years ago and we expected a few glitches.

Doug was inventive with dinner.  He grilled bratwurst and sausage.  We have one burner on the side of the grill, so he was still able to make pasta.  With all of that he, Cal and I were satisfied.  Meg was content with left over rice and there was enough taco meet for two soft tacos for Cameron.  Tomorrow night we will eat out and we are hoping to try a few crock pot recipes next week.  Hopefully, we will only be without a stove for a month, so we should be able to survive.  In all honesty it is the sink that I will miss the most.  Washing dishes at the bathroom vanity will be a challenge, but we will make do.  Always wanted to be a pioneer, so guess I will just have to learn to "rough" it.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ready for the Week

Doug and I spent the day getting ready for the week.  Tomorrow begins the kitchen construction project.  Thus, Doug spent quite a bit of time clearing out the cabinets and rearranging the mud room to fit our refrigerator.  I then cleaned up the appliances and counter tops, so I think we are ready for this adventure.  Can't wait to see what it looks like in the end.  It will be nice to have the added cabinet space as well.

We also had time to get a lot of other things done around the house, which will make our week run a lot smoother.  I graded everything that has been turned into me so far - a four hour commitment that I am thrilled to be done with.  I finally got all of the laundry put away that I washed on Friday.  Doug mowed, jogged, ran to the grocery, finished paperwork for Renegade and surprised Cal and I with homemade macaroni and cheese.  It will be a lot harder to cook once the stove is taken out, so we enjoyed having it today.  In making space for the new cabinets we gave my Mom our hutch.  It matches her kitchen table and she already is putting it to good use.  She told me that this counts as her birthday and Christmas gift, but we'll see.

Cal was able to catch up on some homework.  Cameron went golfing with Grandma Jane.  Meg thoroughly enjoyed her first youth group meeting and Brett called to talk about the plans for our upcoming visit.  Overall a very productive day that will hopefully leave us ready for the week to come.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Knight's Duel and the winner is . . .

Photo: What a great day, even if it was spent in West LaFayette!  Cam wins 1st place in the Knight's Duel Chess Tournament!

Cameron talked all week of his upcoming chess tournament - the Knight's Duel.  Being held on Purdue University's campus only added to the excitement.  He told his teacher several times that he wasn't sure he wanted to go since it was at his least favorite school!!!  As the week wore on he was confident that he had a good chance of winning since he was going to be one of the oldest in his bracket of K-3rd graders.  

We were there early and met up with Cameron's friend, Evan.  His mother, Mary, and sister, Deea, came, so Meg, Doug and I had a great group to chat with while we waited in between matches.  The boys brought their chess boards and used their free time to practice.  Cameron won his first match easily.  He was feeling pretty positive about his chances as we headed to the Union for lunch.  Meg spent her time talking with me about the differences between IU and Purdue.  She shares the Heinisch opinion that West Lafayette does not hold a candle to Bloomington.  Doug wore his IU soccer shirt and received some good-natured ribbing while we were ordering our food.

After lunch Meg and I headed to the mall.  We knew that our stamina for being chess spectators would fade quickly if we didn't take a break.  We found Dick's Sporting Goods and she left with a pair of green and gold sliders and socks plus the knowledge that we had ordered her indoor cleats.  I found something I just had to have from Yankee Candle - Bone White and the seven spooks.  Cam called just as we turned back on to campus.  He had won his second match in less than 3 minutes and just completed his third with the W as well.  

We walked around campus and headed back for the fourth and final round.  Cam was ranked second and was playing for first.  Evan was ranked sixth and playing for one of the coveted top five spots.  Cam headed to the players room knowing that we were proud of him no matter the outcome.  As he met his opponent, the competitors' siblings said, "This guy is going to destroy you."  Cameron did win relatively easily.  He was all smiles as he came back into the parents' room.  Evan's match ended in a stalemate, which unfortunately knocked him out of contention for a trophy.  

Cameron, Evan, Meg and Deea talked Mary into touring the building.  All came back with fun stories of their adventures and the boys ability of using the force to open elevator doors.  Shortly after 4 p.m. the awards were announced.  Cameron was the overall champion for his age bracket.  He was proud of his accomplishment and respectful of the fact that Evan was not feeling as excited about his end result.  The boys did very well, however, and even finished in third place for the team competition.  That was a great feat as they only had a team of two!

We stopped for dinner at Bruno's Pizza, a local favorite.  Brett called to congratulate Cameron.  Cal had stayed back to attend the fish fry at Grandma and Grandpa's church.  Watched Something Wicked This Way Comes - a Halloween favorite - on the way home.  What a wonderful family day!  


Friday, October 18, 2013


I am sure that there are some people out there that think that I am anti-social.  Tonight I was invited to go to dinner with two different groups.  It was nice to be included, but I declined.  I have had several meetings this week and I feel like I never get to see my family and just enjoy them.

Thus, instead of joining in on the social activities I met Meg after school and helped her clean out her locker.  Forty minutes later we carried out 8 sweatshirts, 1 t-shirt, 1 bag, two lunch boxes and three bags of paper.  Probably not fun to most, but we both felt a strong sense of accomplishment as we headed to the van.  From there we stopped at Casey's for our Friday after school ritual.  Cam was thrilled to have a donut and slushie for his weeks accomplishment and Meg held tight to her bag of Starbursts for hers.

We then headed straight home to catch up with Cal.  He and Jayce made plans to go to the football game in Goshen with Doug Hapner.  They had to be on the road by 5 as Doug wanted to go to dinner.  I enjoyed listening to Jayce and Cal talk about their week, playing their favorite song of the week and being a part of their exuberance for a short while.

Doug and I decided to go to dinner in town once he arrived home from work.  Meg was content to stay at home and text some friends.  Cam visited his grandparents to practice his putting.  Once the four of us were back together again, we played a round of Mario Kart on the Wii.  It was quickly decided that my skills have deteriorated over the years, but we all enjoyed the activity.

Now we sit and wait to hear from Cal.  Doug's sorting papers from work, Meg's getting ready for her eye exercises and Cam's planning his strategy for tomorrow's chess tournament.  On nights like these I can't imagine being anywhere else.  So, I hope that no one sees me as anti-social.  I really am not.  I get a ton of social interaction during the day at school.  I save my precious free time for the Heinisch family.  I realize that in a few short years they will all be off doing their own thing.  For now I will just enjoy the ride!

Thursday, October 17, 2013


I believe that nothing hurts a student's ability to learn more than interruptions.  Every time the learning process is interrupted a little bit of the lesson is lost.  Today I decided to try and end the interruptions.  I cannot control announcements or adults in and out of the room, but I can stop the student interruptions.  Thus, on my smart board this rule was posted:

#1 "There will be no interruptions today.  If you need help, then please sign up on the whiteboard.  Any student who interrupts will be written up."

A write up in our school is equal to a lunch detention.  I do not give many a trimester, maybe one or two.  Thus, the students knew I was serious.  I explained to them that they are sabotaging the entire class' education every time they interrupt a lesson, directions or concentration. I will not let that happen in my class.

The students did very well with the new rule (plus the 4 others that I typed up.)  When I was helping a student and one of the notorious #1 rule breakers walked up, I would say quietly, "reread rule one on the smart board and rethink your decision."  I only had to say that once and the interruptions stopped.  I was thrilled.  We accomplished a lot, finished many projects and actually had the room cleaned up by the time the bell rang all four class periods.  Fingers crossed that it continues tomorrow!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


The last few days have been spent trying to figure out which granite we would like for our counter tops and which company to use.  Our contractor was very high on one that is less than a mile from our house.  We met with them and picked something out.  Our cabinet maker likes a different company from Fort Wayne.  That is an hour drive for us, so I was against it.  However, Doug decided to go ahead and talk with the one the furthest away, because they could promise to have the granite installed within two weeks of the template date and he had many favorable reviews from them when he worked at Grabill.  The company a mile away, said that it would be at least a month out and our contractor's contact quit working there.

We both spent quite a bit of time on the phone with the companies, looking at pictures of granite and sinks.  We decided that it was too big of a price to take it lightly, so we drove the hour trip up to look at full slabs of granite.  Doug kept gravitating to one that he really liked.  The one I picked out was quite a bit more money, so we went with his.  We brought a small piece home and it will look great.  In all honesty, I would have been happy with anything.  I am ready to get rid of our laminate and get this process going.  Next week construction starts and we should be finished by November 12th, in plenty of time for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hoosier Hysteria

We have two middle schools in our corporation, which is unique for a community of our size.  The one in Milford is quite a bit smaller than the one at Wawasee.  No one really talks about consolidating them.  In 1992 when the Wawasee Middle School was opened, Milford still had a relatively new building and taxpayers did not want to see it go to waste.  Students can choose to go to either school, and Milford does get about 6-8 students per grade from Syracuse or North Webster Elementary Schools at the beginning of 6th grade.  Almost that many from Milford make Wawasee their choice, so the student population in the buildings does not change much from year to year.  Milford still has the small time feel of yesteryear with an average of 70 students per grade.

Time has marched on and there hasn't been a lot of controversy until this fall.  The athletic department at the high school wrote a proposal for the school board to consolidate the 7th and 8th grade basketball programs.  This has been talked about for the past several years by both the girls and boys head basketball coaches, but I don't believe anyone in the public ever thought it would happen.  There was quite a bit of discussion at the board meeting, but they did agree to a pilot year of combining the two programs.  

Six of our other middle school sports have consolidated over the past few years and there were some who complained, but overall it has gone very well.  All of that changed tonight.  The athletic director had a meeting at Wawasee Middle School to explain the decision and give his vision of the future of basketball in our community.  After his initial explanation, several of the 8th grade Wawasee parents became irate.  They did not want their children's chances of winning middle school games to be compromised by combining with the Milford teams.  They also loudly criticized last year's boys head basketball coach while blaming Milford school and their lack of athletic interest in causing this change.

Doug sat there dumbfounded.  It was small town, small mindedness at its best.  As he told me the story, we kept laughing thinking of the movie "Hoosiers."  An angry mob mentality occurs at a meeting in that movie much like ours tonight.  One of the boys stops it when he says, "Coach stays, I play."  Changed everyone's opinion as he was their superstar.  I wish Jimmy Chitwood would have showed up tonight and ended the arguing.  Nothing hurts a program more than a group of parents bad mouthing it.  Kudos to our athletic director for initiating change.  It may not affect our high school teams' records, but it is worth trying.  

Monday, October 14, 2013


Today I spent several hours completing our 2012 photo album.  It has 90 pages in it and over 650 photographs.  I had a lot of fun making it, and it gave me time to reflect on last year.  It was a busy one in the life of the Heinisch family.  Brett was actively involved in several plays, band and academic superbowl.  Cal's life revolved around basketball, golf and soccer.  Cam and Meg both played basketball and soccer while she added in volleyball and he joined chess club.  We took several family trips - St. Louis, Bloomington, Illinois and North Carolina all had visits from the Heinisch crew.

Working on the album also made me realize how much I miss Brett being a part of the day to day activities in the Heinisch home.  His role as Joe Scales was priceless in Cheaper By the Dozen and he was a constant figure at the home basketball games - top row with a baritone and a book.  Life changes and I am happy for the new one that he has created in Bloomington.  I will, however, enjoy Thanksgiving break even more this year as we catch up with him, and he is once again a fixture in our home.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Meg came home from Olivia's yesterday morning with a great story to tell.  She said that they were outside after the football game playing.  It was around 11 p.m. and they were having an awesome time, which was highlighted by Olivia's screams.  All of a sudden a big flashlight shone on the group and everyone went silent.  The police had been on a call at a home nearby when they heard the screaming.  They thought that they would check to make sure that everyone was ok.  Meg, of course, spoke right up to let them know that they were in a heated game of kick the can and all was well.  The police explained that they wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't check and for the girls to continue on (maybe a little quieter, however.)

I laughed when Meg told me this story.  We have had the girls are at our home several times and yes, they can get quite loud.  I was proud of Meg, however, when she said that everyone else froze and she had to be the spokesman for the group.  It takes courage to speak up in those situations and not be intimated.  It proves to me that Meg is capable of asking for help when it is needed and respectful of those in a position of authority.

Meg also got a chance to show that she is a leader today at mass.  The middle school was in charge of the readings and Meg was the first one to volunteer to be a lector.  Her reading was challenging with a few tough names to pronounce.  She did a wonderful job.  The art of public speaking is an important one, and I am glad that she is learning that skill early.

As Meg hung out with Brooklyn and Avery this afternoon, I thought of how much she has grown up in the last year or so.  I loved the little girly girl that she started out as, and I enjoyed the tomboy age.  This new stage of her young teenage life, however, is a lot of fun.  I can't wait to see where life takes her!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Change of Season

I just love fall.  It has to be the best season of the year.  The colors are beautiful and the weather is usually wonderful.  This fall has been great as far as the weather is concerned.  We did not have one freezing cold soccer Saturday.  I was able to wear shorts a couple of days this week and capris are still part of my teaching wardrobe so far.  Who can complain when Halloween is right around the corner.  Cam and Meg have already planned this year's costume selection with Brooklyn and Avery.  Fall break is only a week and a half away with a planned trip to Bloomington.  The only two drawbacks to fall are the impending arrival of winter and all of the leaves that it creates in our backyard - a small price to pay, however, for all of nature's beauty right now.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Tonight was the homecoming football game and the accumulation of a week's worth of activities.  The King and Queen were announced at halftime, their class signs were on display, students wore their class t-shirts, the total of the week's competition between the grades was revealed and the student section was on fire.  Cal had a great time with his friends.  They cheered loudly and when the football team won, they all rushed the field after the school fight song was sung by the players.  After the game, Cal went with his friends to a bonfire at the AD's house.  He has a daughter in the same grade as Cal.

Meg was at the game as well with her friends in the middle school section.  They loved the football being dropped from the helicopter and watching the convertibles driving the queen candidates around the field.  After the game she went with her friends for a girls soccer slumber party at Olivia's.

I am glad that the Heinisch children enjoyed the game and homecoming week.  Both were at the talent show with friends as well.  I had to laugh, however, when another Mom posted on Facebook - "I just love participating in all of the activities of homecoming week."  I do not romanticize about the years of high school and would never want to go back no matter how many homecoming weeks there are.  For all of the fun times and bonds that are created, they can be pretty rough years, full of insecurities and difficulties.  So, I will leave the festivities to the teens that they are created for.  I will be happy for the students that are participating in the activities and watch from afar.  My children would prefer it that way and so would we.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The End of Soccer Season

Tonight Meg and I went with our friends Gabby and Paula to the soccer sectional match in Plymouth.  Paula's daughter, Alex, is a freshmen varsity starter.  The girls had drawn Warsaw as their first game.  Although they had beaten us earlier in the season, the team was enthusiastic about the game and hopeful about their chance of winning.  They had played them tough during the season and have been practicing very well this week.

As the game carried on, it was obvious that this wasn't meant to be their night.  They played well, but couldn't overcome Warsaw's attacking offense and lost 5-0.   I enjoyed sitting at the game with Paula.  I tease her about being my "cheerleader friend."  Paula was a cheerleader all four of our high school years together and she is still a supportive fan of the Wawasee teams today.  As Meg told her, "you are the only person I know who could yell out "You suck!" and it would still sound positive."  I totally agree with Meg.

After the game, one of the older parents said to Paula, "This has been a long season."  Paula looked at her funny and said, "No, it's been great.  The girls have really improved and tonight they were attacking on offense and communicating.  They couldn't do that in August."  Paula is totally right and I hear this from Doug as well.  Thus, if there ever was a coach or a team mom to have on an 0-17 soccer team, then they would be the two to have.  They can find the positive in any situation.  It makes it so much easier to be around them and helps the girls learn a very valuable lesson in life - Sometimes in life you will lose and it won't be fun.  It is how you handle those loses that make all of the difference.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Yesterday I had to go to Wal-Mart and buy the supplies for our sewing unit.  Sewing is actually not a standard that is required in FACS anymore, but many of my students love to try their hand at sewing or making a tie pillow, etc.  Thus, I have set aside close to three weeks for our classes to work on these projects. All sixth graders have to learn to sew a button in my class, so I start out by showing them a couple of examples of our felt/button projects from last year.  Then then have to pick from one of three projects:  a fleece tie pillow, a fleece tie and sew pillow or a table runner.  This year's group had seen many of these from last year and the excitement started as they chose what they wanted to make and spent time deciding on whether they wanted to purchase their own supplies or buy from the "FACS stores."

This year's seventh and eighth grade classes were given the option of choosing from any of the projects that they we did last year or one of the three new ones that I introduced this year - a t-shirt cinch bag, a t-shirt pillow, or a pillowcase.  This year they also had the opportunity to come up with their own projects.  In order for it to work, they had to find the directions on how to make their project and a supply list.  Thus, one of my eighth graders is making a dress and three of the boys are making hacky sacks.

My favorite student inspired project, however, is a ghillie suit.  When the seventh grader, who is making it, emailed me with his idea, I had never heard of a ghillie suit.  I had to Google the definition to find out that a ghillie suit, also known as a yowie suit, or camo tent, is a type of camouflage clothing designed to resemble heavy foliage.  I am not much of a hunter, so I would have had no idea what it was.  My first reaction was - "There is no way we can pull this off."  However, this young man has a mother with breast cancer and his world has been filled with anxiety this past month, so I decided why not try.  It would give him something else to focus on these next few weeks.

He and I talked with his mother at conferences and she was ok with us trying it, knowing the supplies would be $15 (normally our projects cost closer to $6.)  He gave me his supply list and I was off and running.  I wasn't sure that our Wal-Mart would carry burlap and netting, but much to my surprise they had exactly what he needed.  The woman working in the fabric department had not only heard of a ghillie suit, but could direct me exactly to where I could find the materials and called someone up from hardware to locate the twine.  I do not know where this project will take him or how it will look in the end, but I drove home proud of my students for taking a risk and trying something new.  That is the best part of being a teacher.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My Brother

Today would have been my brother's 50th birthday.  Wow!  Fifty years!!  That seems so old, but yet I guess it is true as I will be 45 in November.  I have written before that I worshiped my brother and followed him everywhere.  I know I drove him crazy, but I wouldn't change a thing.  I had so much fun with him those eight short years.

Tonight Meg asked me what I thought our lives would be like if Bunk was still alive.  I told her that it would be different, but I really can't say how.  I don't know if we would have ever moved to Syracuse from Nappanee.  Maybe I wouldn't have gone to IU or even met Doug.  Bunk could have seven children by now or be a teacher at their school.  I do know that Cameron and Cal would have had another uncle to play golf with, and I am sure that he would have attended all of the basketball games, musical programs and plays of theirs that he could.  I could see him hanging out with Parce or visiting LaMarr in Raleigh for some fun tailgating opportunities.  I wonder if he would have liked watching the Heinisch children play soccer.  That wasn't a sport that was much discussed when he was alive in the 1970s.  Everything seemed to revolve around football back then.  I always was curious to know his thoughts on the OJ Simpson trial.  He thought the world of him in the NFL.  Amazing how much can change in a lifetime.   I asked Meg what she thought, and she said that he probably would have moved away to get away from us.  Too funny!

I have grown accustomed to being an only child.  However, that doesn't mean that I wouldn't take him back in a heartbeat. There are times that I realize that I do not understand adult sibling relationships, because we never made it to that stage.  I used to feel cheated.  I have come to realize, however, that I was actually lucky to have known him.  He shaped who I was as a young child and made me realize how precious life really is.

Monday, October 7, 2013

"Teachers are apathetic . . . "

"Teachers are apathetic, if they don't care then why would the students."  This is the statement that I was greeted with this afternoon while helping the Sophomore class decorate their sign for homecoming.  I don't think the person stating it realized that I am a teacher or maybe she didn't care.  She also didn't understand why the seniors couldn't put "Save the HOOTERS" on their sign supporting breast cancer.  I listened to her rant and rave for 45 minutes about the lack of involvement by the staff in the Homecoming festivities this week.  I tried briefly to explain to her that I thought that it was actually a miscommunication between the athletic department and the class sponsors, but I realized that it was a losing battle so I stopped.

I have heard this from other parents as well, and the statement always blows me away.  I know that there are teachers who are apathetic, but most that I know spend hours of their own time planning lessons, tutoring, etc. to help students succeed.   I really wanted to ask her how much time she had spent in her child's education.  I didn't, however.  Instead I kept working away, spending a lot more time on this project than I had intended - all the while knowing that I had two classrooms of students counting on me to be ready for our Tide vs. OxiClean experiment tomorrow and to buy supplies for their sewing projects this week.  I also hadn't seen my own children either since early in the morning.

When I told Doug about all of the negativity, he said, "empty barrels make loud noises."  He is right and I will think of that every time I have to deal with someone who is anti-teacher.  No matter what is said I will still put every ounce of effort I can into helping students learn, making up challenging yet engaging lessons plans and fostering a love oof learning in my classroom.  That's what most teachers do.  I wish more people could see that.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A College Visit

Doug and I were on the road to Bloomington at 6:20 a.m. to visit Brett.  Sunday morning is definitely the day to travel as there were very few cars on the road.  It rained a lot and by the time we got there at 10 a.m. the weather was down right dreary.  It didn't dampen our spirits, however.  Brett was right outside his dorm waiting on us with a big grin on his face and his new "mustache."  I gave him a hard time about it, but he was expecting that.  Once he jumped in the van we off on our adventure.

The first stop was Target for a few essentials and then to Barnes and Noble.  Brett found three books that he was interested in.  We tried our luck at costume shopping.  The one costume store that we knew of is closed on Sundays.  We tried a few other places with no luck, so we decided to head to Oliver Winery for lunch.  We were not the only ones with that idea.  I was surprised with all of the rain at how many groups were visiting.  It is one our favorite stops, so we definitely weren't going to pass it up.  Instead Doug brought in a table from out of the rain, we dried it off, and squeezed into a spot on the patio.  The food was good, but it was the conversation that made the lunch great.  My favorite was when Brett asked who we thought sang "Goober Peas" better, Burl Ives or Tennessee Ernie Ford.

After we wrapped up lunched we headed for the Union and the IU bookstore.  We found an IU sweatshirt and stocking cap for Brett plus a t-shirt for Cal and an IU golf ball with tee for Cameron.  We had already scored big for Meg when we found pink Nike breast cancer soccer at Dick's.  Once our shopping was done, we took a walking tour of Kirkwood and then up to Showwalter Fountain.  Brett showed us the new IU cinema that is hosting unique horror movies for the Halloween season.  He plans to check out a couple of those after midterms.  The theater is only a block from his dorm.

I then talked Doug and Brett into taking one last trip out to the college mall to search for a Michael Myers mask.  We stopped at a couple of places.  Doug was sure we were on a wild goose chase, but low and behold there it was at Hot Topics - one Michael Myers mask!!  Brett put it on and talked of all of the places he was going to wear it!!  After this success we decided to celebrate with dinner at Buff-a-Louie's.  We then headed back to Brett's dorm to say goodbye until we see him again in two and a half weeks.  This time the Heinisch children will be joining us on the trip.

It was wonderful to catch up with Brett in person.  I have really missed him and his conversations.  I am proud of how well he seems to have adjusted to college life.  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Soccer Saturday

Doug had a JV girls soccer tournament this morning, so I had to coach Cam's U-9 soccer team.  I have filled in for Doug several other times, but this was the first this season.  I was a little nervous.  We were facing a team that Cam really wanted to beat or at least do well against.  One of the players on the opposing squad has cousins that are outstanding players on the high school team.  Thus the name Camargo is soccer royalty around here.

The other reason that I was apprehensive had to do with a teammate of Cam's.  He has been a behavior challenge from the very first practice.  He doesn't listen or follow directions, so I was worried I wouldn't be able to handle him.  

All in all I thought it went pretty well.  Cade's Mom sat near me for moral support.  I loved her comment, "Just yell some names out with directions.  No one knows what your talking about, and it makes you look good!"  I used my teacher voice a couple of times , so there wasn't any behavior problems.  Cameron had an awesome game in goal with double digit saves.  Cade stuck to Rueben like glue and at the end of the first half we were actually up 1-0.  In the end, however, I was handed my first defeat as fill in coach.

Cam and I were not disappointed.  We knew that everyone had played well.  The coach from the opposing team came over to tell me that I did a nice job.  The ref on the field beside us, who is a family friend a little older than Brett, stopped by to see how it went.  I said that it was a 2-1 loss, but they had a Camargo.  He congratulated me for holding them to only 2 goals.

Meg and I continued on our soccer Saturday tour by catching Doug's second tournament game.  I thanked her for being my assistant at Cam's game.  OK, she didn't even make it to kick off before she was watching her friends in a U-14 game.  That was alright as she enjoyed that game a lot more.  Luckily, Jay called and said he'd move Cam's tournament game on Thursday to Saturday, so Doug could be there.  Girls sectional is that day and he didn't want Doug to miss another of Cam's games.  We all really appreciated his gesture!  Cam didn't mind having me as coach, but is sure happy that his Dad will be there!

Friday, October 4, 2013


Last night was conference night at our elementary and middle school.  I had a great turn out from my student population.  I used the time to go over with the parents our upcoming sewing projects and I think everyone felt pretty good as they left the room.  Since neither Doug nor I could go with Meg, my Mom made the trek.  Meg had to take her from room to room showing her what she has accomplished this year.  That went well.

Meg stayed with me for the rest of the evening.  She and Gabby ran around hanging out with a lot of their seventh and eighth grade friends.  For awhile Gabby played her violin in my room while Meg did homework.  Her mom decided that she should start on her homework as well, so the serenade stopped.
Cameron used the time to go golfing with my Dad.  They played an alternate shot, which Cam just loved.  They shot an 83 and Cam had plenty of stories to share.  Doug's soccer game was cut short because of lightning.  The tennis team had a delay at sectionals as well, but they were able to finish tonight.  They all lost, but overall it was a positive season and we look forward to next year.

Tonight was busy, but fun.  Cal went to the football game with Kevin and Jayce.  It was against our rival school - close, but not quite for Wawasee.  Meg and Cam had piano after school.  By the time we got home Doug had painted the majority of the kitchen yellow.  I like it a lot more than I thought I would.  We took them to dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings afterward.  It was a great way to cap off a very busy week.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Good News

Cal, Doug and my Mom met with the orthopedic doctor this morning.  It is the same one who was a consultant when Cal broke his hip in 5th grade.  He scared Doug for a little while as he pulled out the x-ray of the hip from years ago.  Doug thought that somehow Cal had re-injured it.  The doctor, however, was only using it as a teaching tool for one of the nurses.

The doctor felt that Cal is progressing well in the ankle healing process.  It is a high ankle sprain and those take about 4 weeks to heal.  The bone chips are not a problem and he even felt that one of those was from an old injury.  Cal is to stay in the boot until he is ready to try and put more weight on it.  The big emphasis of the day is to make sure that he does not limp.  The doctor would rather Cal use crutches for a little while longer than to develop a limp.  Thus, he should be back for basketball conditioning (maybe on a more limited basis.)  He will need to continue meeting with the trainer at school, but overall this will not be a lifelong problem and he will return to basketball. I emailed the coach as soon as Doug told me.  He had nothing but wonderful comments about Cal, so overall I feel a lot better.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Too funny!

Meg came home last night with great news from the soccer party.  She was given the offensive player of the season award.  It came complete with a medal and a lot of praise and congratulations.  While she was at the party I emailed her friend Graham's mom to see if she could give Meg a ride home from school today, so she didn't have to wait on Cameron for chess club.  Jenny said that they were going grocery shopping, but Meg was welcome to ride along.

I proposed this to Meg, and told her that it probably made more sense for her to just wait in my room for a little while or Mrs. Brower's.  Meg looked at me and said, "You mean I can't go shopping with Graham.  That would be so much fun."  I don't remember her ever telling me how fun grocery shopping was, but I agreed to ask Jenny if she was serious.  She was, so today when I told Meg and Graham that Meg could go, they started high fiving.  Sounds like they had a great time and Culver's for dinner yet to boot!  Too funny!!

So, when I picked up Cameron from chess club, we talked about school, golf and all of the great happenings in the life of a third grader.  As we drove by the high school my mouth dropped.  There was Cal standing in his boot hitting tennis balls to the JV players.  Cam and I couldn't believe it, so we drove by the fence and it was him!  Scared me at first, but happy to see him out and about.  Last night he went to the volleyball game and dressed in a poncho for "random" night.  Thus, he seems to almost be back to himself.  That is a great feeling for this Mom.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Long Day

Being a part time teacher is a lot more work than I anticipated when I took the position.  I love the students and we have a lot of fun in my class.  Days like today, though, make me rethink my decision.  I do not have a prep period during the morning.  If we do not have meetings first thing, then I use the 30 minutes before class starts to get some work done.  This time, however, is mostly taken up with logging in grades or our plans for the week.  Thus, most of my lesson plans and grading are done at home on my own time.

Today, I had to stay at school to get my writing lab students papers posted to their blogs.  They weren't able to do it as there was a glitch in the process.  It took me almost an hour, but I did get it done.  I then had to laminate several pieces for a matching activity for 6th grade.  I graded their vitamin posters and changed the bulletin board outside my room to display their hard work.  I ran to the store to buy supplies for the upcoming sewing projects and spent quite a bit of time getting the instruction sheet and supply lists ready to hand out to students.  I wrapped up at school preparing student led conference scripts about the time I was to pick up Cameron.  Thus, I handed off Meg's pop and cookies for her soccer party to her and headed for home.

I would like to say the work ended there, but today was not one of those days.  Since Meg was at her party, Cal was at tennis and Cam went golfing, I used the time to plan a laundry unit for my seventh and eighth graders.  Doug was busy with soccer as they had away game.  By the time he called close to 9 p.m. I had finally finished for the evening.  I was exhausted and definitely questioning my decision to take on this new roll.  Thus, I cannot say that I always love working, but I do love the students and being a part of Meg's and Cam's school.  Tomorrow is always another day!