Monday, March 31, 2014


I am back to tutoring Honors Geometry this trimester.  Every year I say that I will never tutor that subject again, but I always end up doing it.  I know that it is a challenging subject and not one that most parents can help with.  Plus I really like the two girls that I am tutoring right now, so that does make it easier.  They are eager learners who just need some help figuring out which concept goes with which problem. 

Of all of the math classes that I have tutored for, Geometry probably is the one they will use most in life.  I know that is hard for them to see right now.  Geometry is everywhere.  It is used in construction, but also in art and other math subjects.  It helps students learn to not only solve problems, but to prove their answers and apply their knowledge.  I don't expect everyone to like math or Geometry, but as long as I can, I will try and help those gain a better appreciation of it.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


Tonight we celebrated my Dad's 71st birthday.  The 27th was his actual big day, but with Meg's swim meet we decided to wait until today.  The Heinisch children provided him with the typical Grandpa gifts - candy (which they opened immediately and started eating), a book about serial killers and a "Learn to Juggle" activity set.  Cal spent the rest of the evening working on his juggling skills with the claim that he would be the first to master the art.  Grandma Jane made Grandpa one of his favorites - a Texas cake.  We all enjoyed a piece of that.

As I later reflected upon my Dad's birthday, I thought about his role as Grandpa Cutes.  From the first time Brett called him that until now, the Heinisch children have just loved hanging out with their Grandpa.  Each one took a turn charging him for swearing, and made at least $20 a piece on that endeavor.  They have gone to the movies with him, played games, watched TV and spent hours golfing, fishing and swimming with him.  He is an important part of their life no matter their age.  As we drove away from my parents home yesterday, Cal summed up their feelings the best by exclaiming, "Man, I just love Grandpa.  He is so funny, even when he doesn't mean to be."

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Visit DeKalb

Cam, Meg and Doug journeyed to DeKalb today to visit Jeanette.  They wanted to see her before we leave for Disney World.  Cal and I were unable to make it, but plan to return with them on Easter.  Those in DeKalb all had a great time.  Dan's family was able to visit for part of their stay.  Cameron and Addie had a wonderful time playing States Sequence with Carl.  Once again lunch was ordered from Portillo's.  That has become a family favorite.

I know that it was a long trip for them, but I am glad that they were able to make it.  Doug was able to catch up with his Mom on some of the logistics of the next couple of months.  He even found out that she met Grace Kelly when she toured Europe after college.  Cameron and Meg always love visiting Jeanette.   Her spirits are high when they are there.  I know this will be a rough couple of months, but unfortunately there is no easy way to say goodbye to someone you love, especially one who has been such an important part of your life.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Night Fun

Cameron could not wait for Friday night.  He had invited his friend Braxton over for an evening of fun.  Every day he reminded me of how many days were left until Friday.  They met me by my door at the end of the day eager for some fun.  We had threatened to leave Braxton in Milford if he wore Purdue attire, but decided he could still come along even though he had his Boilermaker jersey on.  Meg talked everyone into stopping at Scoops, so they ate ice cream and listened to the music on the way home.

Braxton and Cam played cowboys and indians, the XBOX and soccer outside.  Meg had Lauren over as well and they joined in the activities outside.  Doug ordered Pizza Hut, and I believe that everyone had a great evening.  Cal did decide that there were too many young people in our home, so he headed over to Mom's for awhile.  By ten o'clock everyone returned to their rightful home, happy with a successful evening.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Swim Season

Swim season came to an end this evening with a meet at Wabash.  Meg had a great time this year being a part of the team.  A lot of her friends swim and I enjoy watching her interact with them almost as much as watching her swim.  She improved her times this year and swam an awesome leg on her relay teams.  She was enthusiastic in cheering on her teammates and always had a smile on her face.

I was able to time at one of her meets this year.  I found that to be a lot of fun (and a little wet.)  For the most part the parents on the swim team were supportive of one another.  I found this to be a breath of fresh air from the long nights at the basketball games listening to the parents and fans complain or criticize.  I was glad that Meg chose to swim.  I will have no problem supporting her in high school if she chooses to swim instead of playing basketball.  It has been a great experience so far.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Last night was Cameron's Spring music performance and once again he did not disappoint.  This year's theme was "A Night at the Movies" and I thought it was their best one yet to date.  Cameron definitely practiced for the performance and was very animated as usual on stage.  For the matinee show he wore his sweater vest and my parents said he looked great.  At the evening event he decided to step it up a notch and wear a tie.  He looked very nice.

The music selections were from movies such as Stand By Me, Frozen, and the Muppet Movie.  The students even walked out to the Star Wars theme.  My favorite song was "You Can't Stop the Beat" as Cameron got to be a student leader.  I wondered if he was the only one in the group that had seen the movie Hair Spray.  Meg and I made him watch that on multiple car trips.  Cameron took his role seriously and did a fantastic job.  I enjoy each one of his performances as I never know when he will decide that giving it his all at the musicals isn't "cool" anymore.  Until then I will videotape every one of his performance.  They will make one great graduation video

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Life of a Teenage Boy

This afternoon one of Cal's teacher's called.  After school she witnessed him rough housing in the hallway.  She felt his behavior was dangerous as Jayce was shoved into the lockers.  She also wanted me to know that she believes that he is hanging out with the wrong friends and is very obnoxious this year.  I listened to her and asked a couple of questions.  I assured her that we would talk to Cal about his behavior.

Once I hung up the phone I had to laugh to myself.  I was just thinking about how much happier Cal has been these past few weeks and how much fun he had at the Pow Wow with his friends.  I called Doug to let him know that called had earned a detention, and then I called Jody to see what she thought.  My thoughts were the same as theirs - he's not drinking, doing drugs or going from girl to girl.  He and his friends can be obnoxious, but he doesn't even swear.  They are nice to Meg, Cameron and Brett.  He knows right from wrong.  He has all A's right now and is in the honors classes.  I am grateful that his teacher called and gave me her opinion.  I will definitely keep it in mind.  But for now we can't see punishing him further.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Day Off

Today was the first day that I took off from school since October 22nd.  I was very grateful for it.  Cam and Meg were too as they didn't have to get up as early.  I was able to catch up on a lot of much needed housework.  I also tutored, went to Meg's swim meet and the library board.  I can honestly say that it felt good to just be Mom today.  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Back Home Again in Indiana

We left early this morning to take Brett back to Bloomington.  He was a little apprehensive as he has a test on Monday, quiz on Thursday and a speech due Friday.  Seems like a lot for the first week back after Spring Break, but I know that he will do well.  

Brett wanted to watch Magnolia on the way down.  I didn't know much about the movie, but it ended up being the perfect fit.  The movie was three hours long and held all of our interest.  As Brett said when it was over, "I wouldn't want to see it again, but am glad that I can now say I saw it."  I would agree with him.  The movie was strange, but interesting.

We stopped for lunch at Oliver Winery.  Brett decided that he didn't need to go anywhere else, so we took him to his dorm after that.  Doug helped Brett take his belongings to his room.  Brett agreed with him that it definitely needed cleaned out.  He told me he was going to work on that this afternoon.  He also had some more studying to do and was scheduled to serve at 9 p.m. mass.  

Doug and I took a walk around campus after Brett left.  It was a beautiful day.  There was hardly any snow left in Bloomington and with the sun out the campus was gorgeous.  I am so proud of Brett.  He has really adjusted to college life well.  We thoroughly enjoyed having him home.  He brings back a sense of normalcy when he is here.  

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Happy 13th Birthday, Meg!!

Thirteen years ago today, God blessed us with a beautiful baby girl.  I never thought I would have a girl, but am so glad that we did.  Meg adds so much energy to our family.  She is constantly telling us of her adventures of the day.  She has developed some awesome friendships and tends to be the life of the party wherever she goes.  As much as her days revolve around her social life, I am ever impressed with her drive to succeed in school.

We spent the day much as Meg would have wanted, shopping at the mall and eating out.  She complained about having to go to her band contest this morning, but had a great time there as well.  Meg wanted only money and a rainbow loom.  Cal and Cam took care of the loom and the rest granted her other wish.  Brett bought Meg a book about the Catholic faith, and Uncle Phil supplied her with a set of pink tools.  All three of her brothers tried their hand at playing Happy Birthday on the piano with Brett earning the right to complete the song.

Meg has brought a lot of joy to our life.  She is a beautiful young woman with so much going for her.  She is ever confident and always empathetic.  Life in the Heinisch family would not be the same without her.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Pow Wow

Tonight was the second annual Wawasee High School Pow Wow.  It is an awesome event put on by the leadership committee at the high school that includes a multitude of games, prizes and food.  The participants are all high school students and the activities leading up to the event have been almost as fun as the night.  Cal and his friends had a great time dressing as "twins" on twin day (although theirs turned into septuplet day).  Pictures were taken on that day as well as the following two theme days - Hawaiian and Extreme Green and Gold.

Cal participated in a three on three basketball contest, dodge ball and co-ed volleyball in which they brought home the championship trophy.  Over 400 students participated in the events of the night.  Not only did they all have a wonderful time, they also raised money for one of their own classmates that is battling cystic fibrosis.

The rest of us stayed home and watched the movie Frozen with the Batistas.  We enjoyed the movie (Brett for the fourth time) and the company.  Alexandria and Jody had never seen it and liked it as much as we did the first time we saw it.  Overall, a great night for the Heinisch family.  Can't believe how fast this week went by.  We have all enjoyed having Brett home.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Brett had an interview today with the prosecuting attorney of Kosciusko County for an internship .  He felt that it went very well.  He had also interviewed in February with both Marlin Stutzman's office and Todd Young'd.  Brett was extremely optimistic that one of these three would turn into a position for him this summer.  I hope that it does.  I believe that he would thoroughly love working with a politician or lawyer during his break.  He should know by the first week of April if any of these would have opportunities for him.

Brett also talked about working, taking classes or going on a missions trip this summer if none of the internships come to fruition.  What an exciting time in his life.  Doug and I talked about it tonight and know that there are so many things that he could be doing.  I love talking about the possibilities with Brett.  He has such a neat personality and is ever optimistic.  Can't wait to see where life takes him this summer and beyond!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March Madness

March Madness is upon us once again with a little bit of disappointment this year.  No team from the state of Indiana, including our Hoosiers, made it to the Big Dance.  Thus, this year our brackets will have to revolve around teams from other states.  I did not filll out a bracket this year as I let Meg take my place in the Goshen News pool.  She did ask for my opinion on a couple of the games, and I was very impressed with her picks.

Everyone else put a bracket in the pool as well.  I am sure there will be a Heinisch prize for the winner in our family.  Cal usually has a pool going at school.  Haven't asked him yet, but I did pick his winner for my bulletin board at school - Louisville.  The students in my class are excited.  They each had the chance to pick a team and I will make a neat March Madness bulletin board comprised of their picks. tomorrow.  The winner or winners get a prize, but they don't know what it is yet.  Depends on the number of winners - right now Wichita State has the largest support with Florida not far behind.

I am not as big of a basketball fan as I used to be, but it is always fun to participate in the excitement of March Madness.  It helps the time before Spring Break pass quickly and I know I can always find something to watch on TV.  This will be the first year that Cal won't be home watching it.  With his new iPhone he can get updates at school whenever he wants.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Golf Season

Well, even though there is still quite a bit of snow on the ground, high school golf season has started.  Last night was the first official practice.  In it the players get to show off their knowledge of the rules.  Cal was on the victorious team for the second year in a row.  It did not surprise me as my Dad and high school coach were both sticklers for following the rules.  Thus, just as I did, Cal has a copy of the USGA rules in his bag, and both Dad and I expect him to know them.  Knowledge is power, especially in golf.

After Monday's practice, Cal and Tristen headed over to their coach's barn to hit golf balls.  Tonight they actually were able to go to the driving range.  The snow is slowly disappearing and today I could see yards that were 80% snow free.  Our shade trees that we love so much in the summer, unfortunately keep the snow from melting as fast at our home.  Pretty soon, however, Cal and Cam will be chipping in the back yard.

I know there are high expectations for the boys this year as three of the returning Varsity members have a lot of experience on the links already.  If a fourth emerges from the crowd, there is a strong possibility that the team can make it to regionals and maybe beyond.  For now, I will just enjoy the fact that they can once again be outside and have fun this Spring.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Staying Positive

I haven't really been enjoying school lately.  Too many reasons to discuss in a blog.  It was nice today after a rough morning to come home and get to spend time with Brett.  I let him pick the lunch spot and for the first time ever, I ate at the Wawasee Cafe.  I loved it as I could order breakfast even though it was well past noon.  I also enjoyed my conversation with Brett.  He likes to talk about so much more than just school.  I find it quite a nice change and it helped me forget the perils of the morning.  We tried to solve the problems of Ukraine and the missing Malaysian plane, but did more speculating than solving.

Meg, Cam, Brett and I then went to see the movie "Mr. Peabody and Sherman."  We were the only four there, but still had a great time.  I have had a hard time staying positive this winter, but with Brett around it is a lot easier.  I am very glad that he came home for a visit, even if it is just for a short while.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Today we celebrated St. Patrick's Day at the Knights of Columbus hall a day early.  It is an annual tradition on the Sunday before St. Patrick's Day.  We enjoyed the celebration even though only three of us ate the traditional corned beef and cabbage meal.  Brett was able to enjoy catching up with many of the families at our church that haven't seen him in awhile.  Cameron and Cal played several rounds of pool with Brett, Luke and Kyle.  We also visited with a few families before heading home.

Brett went to a political rally in the afternoon for Curt Nisley.  He is running against a local Syracuse woman for a seat in the Indiana house.  I took Cam and Meg to piano and Cal and Doug went driving.  The Heinisch children then spent the evening at Mom's.  It is their 51st anniversary today.  Not sure if Mom and Dad got any of the orange slices and circus peanuts that they brought down, but I know that my parents will use the Applebee's gift card they gave them.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Once Again . . . There's Always Something . . .

The last twenty four hours have once again been busy ones in the Heinisch home.  Brett arrived home last night.  Cal arrived shortly afterward with five of his friends.  They had spent the evening at Wawasee Bowl and Cal was the proud winner with a score of 138.  Four of them ended up spending the night here and spent most of it playing poker.  Meg, Cam and I hung out in my room and had a slumber party of our own. It was a great time to watch Winnie the Pooh to put us into a Disney mood as Spring Break is only three weeks away.  Brett spent some time on the XBOX and enjoyed joining on the conversations of the poker boys.

Saturday brought more fun as the sophomores all got together to play basketball.  Doug worked the biggest BINGO that we have ever seen.  That should benefit the golf team well.  Meg, Cam, Brett, Dad and I all went to the Wawasee High School production of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown."  Brett loved seeing his friends from the drama department as well as a few recent graduates.  Cameron thought the play was great.  Meg finally realized what we all figured out years ago.  She really is Lucy.  She laughed about it all night.  What a great first day home for Brett and a lot of fun for all in the Heinisch family.

Friday, March 14, 2014


My parents volunteered to pick up Brett for us today.  We really appreciated it.  I still had ISTEP tests to give and Doug has been busy at work.  Brett was very excited to come home.  He and Meg talked nonstop once he got here.  Cal and his friends were in late after a night of bowling and Brett had fun catching up with them as well.  We don't have a lot planned - dinner out, movies to watch, Meg's birthday, but it will be enough to keep Brett entertained and time for all of us to spend with him.  Should be a great week.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Meg's swim meet was cancelled tonight, so she was bummed.  With the tight schedule that they have, they won't be able to make it up.  She did have practice and pictures to keep her busy.  I can't believe how many events have had to be cancelled or postponed this winter.  Spring sports are also struggling to start.  We still have quite a bit of snow on the ground and this winter just doesn't seem to want to end.  It was below freezing again this morning.

Spring will arrive, however, we just have to be a little more patient.  Glad we picked this year to return to Florida for Spring Break.  It definitely has to be warmer there.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Another Snow Day

An unexpected snow day turned into a very productive day for me.  I was able to use the time to start and finish seven loads of laundry.  I also logged in receipts, paid bills, caught up on my blog, colored my hair, and finished Cameron's binder for trimester one and two.  It wasn't all work as I played Just Dance with Cam and Meg, which also counted for exercise time, and ended the evening losing horribly to everyone at Mario Kart.

The Heinisch children weren't thrilled about another snow day.  They are ready for the activities of Spring.  I believe in the end they all found some joy in it.  Cam and Meg played close to two hours of Just Dance.  Cal, who was most bummed by the snowfall, ended the evening on a high note by receiving a favorite on his tweet regarding one of the all time best players in Jeopardy history, Arthur Chu, from the man himself.  At least that brought a smile to his face.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Peeps vs. Marshmallows

Today our school principal stopped in my classroom.  The topic for the 7th and 8th grade's learning objective for the day had caught her eye, and she wondered what it was all about.  I guess it was a strange learning objective, but there it was  - "Peeps vs. Marshmallows."  I only had about ten seconds to explain to her that we were working on microwave experiments before the next wave of students walked into class clammering, "Hey, it smells likes S'Mores in here."

As I drove home from school today, I had to laugh thinking of our principal's bewildered look.  I get that a lot from teachers and other administrators that read the board outside my classroom.  Mr. Voirol and Mr. Larson have grown accustomed to the strange titles to our daily learning objects or the shrieks of laughter coming from my room.  Last year I even witnessed Roger run out of his room to break up what he thought was a fight, only to say "OK, you're just filming your recycling PSA for Mrs. Heinisch's room.  Carry on."

I wish I would have had the time to explain to Mrs. Kaiser all of the awesome learning that took place before the "Peeps vs. Marshmallow" objective.  Last year she had encouraged me to make my professional development goal "inquiry based learning."  I decided to try it and thanks to Mrs. Brower's help I have been able to add four inquiry based learning units to my curriculum.

The unit my 7th and 8th graders are just finishing starts with the question "What's the Quickest Way to Boil Water?  A tea kettle, a pan on the stove or a microwave.  In this unit the students are active learners in finding out the history of the microwave, the advantages of open hearth cooking, the evolution of the stove and eventually using a problem, hypothesis, experimental design and data to determine which boils water the fastest.  Their conclusion and reflection along with the aforementioned steps and notes are required to advance to the microwave experimental phase.

There are always some interesting suggestions of what they can try in the microwave.  First trimester they asked if they could dry a cat in the microwave.  Second trimester someone wanted to try jaw breakers.  Both of those ideas were vetoed by me.  This trimester, however, I was able to agree to their request of trying a Peep and a marshmallow in the microwave.  They wrote down their observations beforehand and were surprised with the outcome.

These experiments and the original question of boiling water always spawn more questions, i.e. what if the pan had a lid, what if the pans were different sizes, which one cools down the question, and why does a Peep get a lot bigger than a marshmallow in the microwave.  On Friday they will have a chance to try some of these extensions of the original learning objective before we move on to the Homemade vs. Store Brand unit.

I thoroughly love teaching this way.  In true Montessori fashion I have become a facilitator of their learning.  I also have noticed that I have very little discipline problems with these units.  The students know that they have to be well behaved during the grunt work of the unit and turn in quality work before they are allowed to participate in the "fun microwave experiments" or the hot chocolate celebration at the end.  Even though this was a lot of work to set up this year, I have thoroughly loved the enthusiasm my students have for the units.  Can't wait to see what next year brings.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Keep Calm and ISTEP On

Tomorrow is the first day of ISTEP testing at our school.  Although I have never been a supporter of standardized testing, I do understand that the state feels that they are important.  Thus, the Heinisch family has always taken them seriously.  We use the days before to practice and talk about ways to score better.

This year our school has also taken the ISTEP testing seriously.  Not that they haven't before, but as the state now uses students' growth as one of its criteria in assigning grades to each individual school in the state, it has become important to all.  Several of the staff members decided to produce an ISTEP video for the students, encouraging rest, breakfast and relaxing before the test.  It ended up being a big hit with the students, and I know my classes watched it several times last week.

The 5th and 6th grade team also decided to start a competition between teachers (including the Encore group) promoting high growth with the winning team earning a pizza party at the end of the year.  I have to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of it.  My group came up with the motto "Keep Calm and ISTEP on."  Our name is an acronym "HHGHD" which cannot be revealed yet.  We talk about "kicking butt on the test and how smart we all are."  The students have really enjoyed the challenge.  I hope it helps with our school's scores, but at the very least it has made ISTEP week a little more fun!!

Sunday, March 9, 2014


Some Sundays just aren't that great.  Many times they end up being the only day of the week that we can catch up on laundry, homework and housework.  I am not a big fan of those days, but it does make the week easier if we can start off with a clean house and clean clothes.  Doug is always a big help when it comes to housework.  He never complains and is a lot stronger than I am, so many of the tasks he can finish in half the time it takes me.

Cal took advantage of this Sunday to spend it jogging with his friends.  They put in three miles before his friends needed to walk.  They ended their journey at my Mom's and called for a ride home.  Cal could have kept going, but his friends weren't quite ready for the challenge.

Meg and Cam hung out at Mom's later in the evening after spending a quiet day at home.  Meg passed out during adoration this morning, so we had her rest for awhile.  We believe it was the kneeling that did her in, but aren't quite sure.  She has never passed out before, so we will watch to see if it happens again.  We did decide that she is going to start on her eye exercises again.  She has been having headaches this week.  None of them have been severe, but enough that we wanted to start again.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Short Visit

Today we were finally able to visit Doug's Mom.  With the weather, Carl's back surgery and the Heinisch children's schedules it has been difficult to accomplish.  We made it out today, however, despite the early morning snowfall.  Jeanette is unable to leave the house now, so it was important for everyone to make the journey.  Her blood levels rose despite the chemotherapy, so she and her doctor decided to take the month off of treatments and see how she feels then.  Right now, she is confined to her bed and chair.  Carl has a contractor putting in a shower in the main level bathroom.  That should be done soon.  She is looking forward to using it that as the stairs are too much now.

Carl's back surgery went as well as could be expected.  He was pleased that their house in Arizona has a buyer.  The boys played State Capital Sequence with him and Meg visited with Jeanette.  Both Meg and Cam were able to play the piano.  Doug, Cal and I were able to make it to Inboden's, our favorite butcher shop, to stock up on meat.

All in all we were in DeKalb a total of five hours.  It was a long drive, but worth it.  Doug plans to return at the end of March for another short visit.  I know Cal and I won't be able to make the trip then.  The younger two are raring to go, and I know they will enjoy the trip.

Friday, March 7, 2014


Music is definitely important to the Heinisch family.  Each person has either an iPhone or an iPod.  We share music through iTunes and debate about the best songs of all time.  Cal likes harder music than the rest of the Heinisch children and would have fit in well during the heavy metal era.  He was the first to download one of our 1990s favorite, Metallica, and always has the latest Eminem song in his collection.

Brett's taste by far varies the most out of the six of us.  He loves show tunes, rap, country, civil war ballads and so much more.  We always know that when a song plays from Tennessee Ernie Ford that it must be Brett's.  Meg is more of the pop culture music listener and I really appreciate that.  I like a lot of what she downloads and it helps me relate better to me students.  Cam listens to just about anything we play.  He can sing along to John Mellencamp, the theme to Rocky and One Direction just to name a few.

Doug doesn't seem to have progressed past the 1990s in his music selections.  He plays anything from Aerosmith to the Stones to Pearl Jam.  Meg likes a lot of his selections and even impressed him this evening by naming the Beastie Boys "Fight for Your Right" before an entire measure could be played.  My favorites vary and for right now I really enjoy Darius Rucker.  What I love the most, however, is that music brings us all together.  We enjoy listening to it on long trips where everyone takes a turn picking a tune or two.  Sometimes just for fun we listen to a song of Brett's, pretending he is in the van with us.  So if you see us singing along to "Story of My Life" or "Enter Sandman", feel free to join in.  We won't think anything of it.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Tonight was the final game of Milford's 7th grade girls basketball season. We lost in the opening round of the conference tournament.  As I talked to the girls in the locker room after the game, I found the moment to be very bittersweet.  I know I will be glad to have my afternoons back, but I will truly miss this group of girls.  I realize that we are not the most talented team, but I believe that very few teams had as much fun as we did.  From threatening to sacrifice Andrea's "sweet peas" if we lost, to showing off our best dance moves at practice, we did have a great time.

As much fun as we had, I am extremely proud of the girls for all of their hard work.  I could see such a difference in this week's games.  They could actually run plays, dribble with their heads up, and actually score. I knew Meg and a couple of the other girls could do all of that, but I never thought all of them would get there when we started two months ago.  This team encouraged each other and even welcomed back a player that decided to sit out for a couple of weeks while working out some family issues.  Before the game one of the players looked at me and said, "Mrs. Heinisch, you are like our friend, and I like that."  I like that too.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

He Made It

Cal finished up his sophomore year of basketball tonight by helping at the Wawasee sectional.  He embraced his role as leader of the JV team, holding the ropes, bossing the freshmen around, and overall having a great time.  He was able to watch the varsity play their best game of the year, nearly upsetting Tippy Valley, in a down to the wire loss.  As the evening drew to a close and my parents texted me that Cal was leading the group in the YMCA, I thought a lot about the past few months.

From the outside looking in, Cal's season had to seem pretty disappointing.  He spent more time in the gym than almost anyone else on the team getting ready for basketball in the hope of making a significant contribution to his team.  Instead he only played 13 minutes in the JV contests total.  He watched from the sidelines in practice for several weeks while rehabilitating his severely injured ankle.  There was even a point during the first week of February that we didn't know if he would finish out the season.

Thus, it would be very easy to focus on the negatives, but I will let that go.  Instead I will use Brett's top ten list once again to find the positive parts of this year's basketball season:

10)  Cal learned to be humble.
9)    Cal showed everyone his determination by rehabilitating an injury not once, but twice.
8)    Cal learned that life isn't always fair, but spending all of your time dwelling on that will get you nowhere.
7)    Cal never missed a practice.
6)    Cal learned how to communicate better.
5)    Cal learned how to ask for help.
4)    Cal learned how to work with those in an authoritative role.
3)    Cal got to see his face on a FatHead and hear his friends chant his name from the crowd.
2)    Cal was once again chosen Captain of this year's squad & learned how to lead even in times of      adversity.
1)    Cal developed some awesome friendships that helped him through an extremely challenging time in his life.

Couldn't be more proud of Cal's determination, patience and perseverance.  Next up - golf season!!


Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Cameron lives in the shadow of three older, high achieving siblings.  So far that role seems to fit him just fine.  I have been busy with Meg's basketball team, but Cameron doesn't mind.  He has a routine - getting picked up by Grandma, practicing putting, watching the Simpsons and playing washcloth tag with his Grandpa. On Wednesdays he takes a small break from this schedule to attend chess club and he did enjoy LYC basketball, but overall the last two months have been pretty quiet for him.

Tonight, however, he started tennis lessons.  He loved the activity, especially once he saw it was indoors, and played pretty well.  He can't wait to go back next week.  Sometimes being the youngest can be a challenging spot in a large family, but so far Cameron has embraced his role in the Heinisch Home.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Top Ten

Brett started a daily list of the top ten positive things going on in his life.  I think it is a wonderful idea.  It is much easier in life at times to be consumed by the negative.  Thus, I have stolen his idea for this post.  This past trimester was one of the most challenging times in the life of the Heinisch family.  Even with all of the unfortunate events of the past few months, there have been some very positive ones as well.  In a little different manner than Brett's list, here are my top ten positive events of trimester two.

#10.     Even with all of the delays and cancellations, I did not miss a day of school during trimester two.
#9.       Meg and several of her friends were in my first period class.
#8.       Cameron had an awesome birthday party.
#7.       Doug and I were able to finally watch Little Miss Sunshine (and it was as great as everyone said
                 it would be.)
#6.       All four of our parents have weathered this treacherous winter.
#5.       I lost 8 pounds.
#4.       The five of us visited Bloomington for a wonderful weekend with Brett.
#3.       Brett was able to attend the Young Americans for Liberty Conference in Washington D.C.
#2.       Cal pulled his grade up from a low C to a B in Pre-Calculus while dealing with some pretty intense
                high school issues.
#1.       We have spent more time together as a family this winter since 2011.

Thanks for the idea Brett!!  It is a lot more fun thinking of the positive rather than focusing on the negative.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

"All You Are is Clean"

We were snowed in this morning again, so we decided to take on a project that I have been wanting to work on for quite some time - cleaning the boys' room.  With all that has been going on this winter, this was a project that we hadn't had time for.  Cam and Cal weren't thrilled about it, but the end product is awesome.  Cal is never hard to talk into getting rid of items that he no longer needs, but Cameron is my ever say "keep" boy.  Today I was proud of him.  He really took a good hard look at all that he has and put quite a few items in the garage sale pile.

Af first Cam was sure that he needed every book on his shelf, every stuffed animal in his room and all of the t-shirts jammed in his drawers.  Once Doug and I started pulling everything out and putting it in piles, he could see that there was just too much to keep it all.  Thus, after a couple of hours of hard work and a lot of dust, he and Cal can now sleep in a clean and organized room.  They may not be thrilled, but I sure am.  Now when Alex spends the night and decides that he wants to get away from the loud group in the basement, I will not be embarrassed to find him under a pile of laundry and water bottles in Cal and Cam's room.  I know that he, Cal and Cam don't mind, but I feel a lot better about it.  I don't mind running the Heinisch family frat house, but it's ok with me if it doesn't look like one.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Can't Sleep a Wink

At 1:40 a.m. two third graders came bursting through my door yelling, "I can't sleep a wink.  How am I supposed to sleep, when I can't sleep a wink?"  Took me a minute or two to fully wake up, but once I did there were two smiling faces looking at me.  I tried to give them some advice on how to get to sleep, but they weren't buying it from me.  Thus, they moved on to Doug.  He gave them a lot of the same advice, but they still weren't ready to try it.  So, when I mentioned the iPad and watching another movie, they were all in.

They headed back upstairs and I was sure that they would crash in a couple of minutes or so, but, boy, was I wrong.  Instead they played games, had mattresses wars and probably would have stayed up all night if Meg hadn't stepped in.  She let them know they were keeping her up and were expected to go to sleep immediately.  They finally gave in around 5 a.m

I thought they'd be out until at least 11 a.m., but the excitement of the day ahead must have gotten them the best of them.  They were ready to go at 9:30 a.m.  Luckily, Meg left for a ski trip or they would have heard from her once again.  Doug made them breakfast and they headed to the basement for a quick game of NBA2K14 before Cade headed home.

When Pam arrived at noon, we laughed about their enthusiasm for their first overnight adventure.  What a great friendship they have developed.  They were a nice reminder of how much fun life can be.