Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve

For the third year in a row Brett headed to the movie theater for New Year's Eve.  The first year he and I saw Sherlock Holmes, last year he went to see The Grudge Match with Doug, and this year he, Cal and my parents watched The Gambler.  It was the first free day that we had to see The Night at the Museum 3, so Cam, Meg and I decided to meet him there when The Gambler finished.  The movie theater was mostly full and I am sure that we are not the only ones who think of seeing a movie on New Year's Eve.  Everyone who went enjoyed the movies, although Brett felt The Gambler was the better of the two.

Once we got home Meg and Cameron headed to Grandma Jane's for their shredded paper confetti tradition.  They had fun playing Drop Guts and pelting each other with confetti.  Cal had his friends over - Alex, Jayce, Parker, Harry and Stephen.  They played NBA2K15, knee basketball, poker, pool and a game of horse in the driveway.  Brett, Doug and I enjoyed the Twilight Zone marathon as well as playing games.  Doug made some awesome appetizers and my Mom sent cookies.  The food was appreciated by all staying in the basement as well as us.  I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the roar from the pool room when the ball dropped at midnight.

Overall, it was a great New Year's Eve.  We gave up going out long ago and have enjoyed the memories that the Heinisch children have created here and at my parents.  This year we even get to look forward to the four day weekend Doug gets starting tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A New Year - A New Library

When I think of how many changes have happened at the library during the past six months it seems almost overwhelming.  Our director unexpectedly retired, one board member moved, two board members had strokes, we started a large redecorating project and our bookkeeper quit this week and refused to help in any manner.  After last nigh'ts board meeting, however, I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  We have a new, enthusiastic director starting January 5th, I will be the new treasurer and more involved in our bookkeeping, we have a full board, and the builders agreed to fix the children's department circulation desk and come up with plans for a new one upstairs.

It has definitely been a lot of work on mine and Gisela's part, and I am learning that there was some animosity toward the board from the former director that I did not know about.  We have, however, weathered the storm and seem to be heading for calmer waters.  I know we still have a lot to do, but we will get there.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Open Gym

Today started the official season for 8th grade girls basketball as we had open gym in the morning.  I thought we had a pretty decent turnout for the first day and this year we had 6th and 7th graders also.  Meg felt a little rusty, but she did a nice job.  One of the players Dad's is coaching 7th grade.  He was the boys' favorite Spanish teacher and I really liked having an extra person there.  I don't know how good we will be and I hate that we play Wawasee Middle School the first week, but other than that we should have a lot of fun and improve along the way.  Those are always the goals for me.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

No Luck

Today Meg, Cameron and I shopped all over Goshen looking for affordable fleece that we would like to make pajamas out of.  We had absolutely no luck.  JoAnn Fabrics had some great characters for their pants, but at $15 a yard it would have cost me $90 for three pairs of pajama pants.  We came home empty handed, but Cameron was able to buy some Pokemon cards, so he was happy.

Doug and Cal had no better luck while we were gone.  They decided to go to Wawasee to play golf.  The weather has been extremely balmy and Dad has played almost everyday this week.  The wind, however, picked up and they only made it four holes before they decided that they had had enough.  They had as much fun as we did shopping, so the day was not a total loss.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Windy City

Five of us left for Chicago this morning.  Our first stop was the Magnificent Mile.  Cam and Meg were sure that we could live in the Crate and Barrel store.  I totally agreed with them on that one.  We also checked out the Disney Store and the Lego Store before heading to lunch.  Doug wanted to try Gino's East.  Everyone really liked it.  Brett and Cam even tried deep dish pizza.  We had fun looking at all of the famous people who had eaten in their restaurant.  As we walked out we really appreciated the fact that we got there right when it opened.  There was a line to get in and it was only noon Chicago time.

We walked about a mile from lunch to the Art Museum.  We stopped at Niketown and to take pictures along the way.  It was windy and a little chilly, but for late December the weather was great.  I was nervous walking across the river, but we made it just fine.  The Art Museum was also packed, but we were able to navigate through it well.  We picked up a brochure that gave us the top twelve items to see and we made sure we hit all of them.  By far Brett and I enjoyed the Impressionist paintings the best.  We had saved them for last and they were worth it.  Everyone was pretty tired when we finished our tour, but we all enjoyed it.  We hadn't been to this museum in at least four years.

From the Art Museum we walked to the Bean and Millenium Park.  The Bean makes for some fantastic photo opportunities.  We stopped at Garrett's Popcorn and Dylan's Candy Store on the way back to the van.  We didn't have as far to walk back which was nice as everyone's legs were sore from standing.  We enjoyed seeing the Christmas lights and marveled at the amount of people on the sidewalks.

Our trip home was pretty uneventful.  We did stop at Portillo's for dinner in Merrillville.  Everyone spent time relaxing this evening.  Cal had Jayce, Alex and Korey over and they all had a lot of fun playing pool and poker.  Meg has made great use of her new iPhone and spent quite a bit of time on it tonight snapchatting, trying trivia challenges and watching Simpsons videos.  Brett, Doug and I watched Enemy of the State as he had never seen it and we all love Will Smith.  It was a great day for all in the Heinisch family.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Night with Books

Today we spent all afternoon taking down the Christmas and cleaning the house.  The Heinisch children would have preferred that we leave it up, but both Doug and I were ready.  We did get out the snowmen, so it looks a little festive in our home.  Jeanette had given me some ceramic polar bears and a small white tree a few years ago that looks great on our hearth this time of year.  That will have to suffice their desire for decorations for now.

After we cleaned the house Doug and I headed to Elkhart to look for a new Christmas tree for next year.  We couldn't find anything that we wanted, but all was not lost as we had a great evening out sharing desserts and appetizers at Lucheese's.  Once we got back we all headed to bed.  Cam and Meg decided to sleep in my room.  Brett gave me a book of Washington Irving's short stories for Christmas.  It has been so long since I could concentrate enough to read that I have been really enjoying it.  I was able to finish almost a hundred pages in it tonight.  Cam and Meg decided to read as well.  They took turns with the Peanuts collection that I just finished and Jughead.  Those were also both from Brett and we all enjoyed their humor.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Memories

Today Meg asked me if Halloween was still my favorite holiday.  After a Christmas like today I could understand her question.  I tried to explain to her why I favored Halloween as a child, but Meg could never comprehend my feelings and I hope she never does.  Christmas at our house growing up ceased to be magical after my brother died.  It was through no fault of my parents, grandparents or me.  We all tried to carry on, but Christmas was the one holiday that I always missed my brother the most.  I am sure that my parents and grandparents felt the same way, but I never asked them about it.  Once my grandparents moved to Florida we spent all of our Christmas breaks with them.  It helped, but I still remember Christmas as a lonely holiday.  I spent a lot of Christmas Eves praying that God would make our Christmas happy once again - a time where we would all laugh and our family would feel whole again.

Time marched on and many Christmas days passed.  My prayers had changed drastically over the years, and I spent Christmas Eve thanking the Lord for another year of health and happiness in our family.  I had actually forgotten that I had asked God for happy Christmas Days until last year at children's mass.  All of a sudden the prayer returned in my head and I realized that God had answered it long ago.  Our Christmas days were happy once again and even though my brother was still missing we had worked hard to build our own family traditions that included both Heinisch and Musser family memories.  This year when Meg said this is the best Christmas ever I realized that she is right.  Christmas is now once again my favorite holiday and I have thoroughly enjoyed it this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Twas the Night Before Christmas . . .

Twas the Night Before Christmas and all through the Heinisch home we were decorating gingerbread house, attending children's mass, opening Godparent gifts and watching our favorite Christmas movies.  This has been our family tradition for as many years as I can remember and no one has grown tired of it yet.  We did skip Christmas light viewing as the last two years they have become fewer and farther between.  We added delivering Christmas cakes to our neighbors today, playing Christmas Kahoot and making homemade pizzas complete with anchovies.  All have become family favorites (well, maybe not the anchovies.)  Brett was glad to have broken his tradition of face planting in the middle of the aisle at mass and Cal starting something new by watching Star Wars Revenge of the Sith with us.  All in all it has been one perfect Christmas Eve.  I can truly say that "It is a Wonderful Life."

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Eve Eve

According to Cameron today is Christmas Eve Eve and we took full advantage of it.  Brett, Meg, Cam and I finished our Christmas shopping after we picked her up from the Fitzgeralds and had lunch at Steak N Shake.  We were successful in purchasing the rest of our gifts and all of the food that we will need for the next few days.  Although it wasn't on our Christmas to do list we even took advantage of the 50 degree weather to get the van washed.

Tonight Doug made Christmas cookies with the Heinisch children.  Afterward I helped Cameron sew a Grinch t-shirt pillow.  He used it the rest of the night.  Meg and I also worked on her gift to Grandma.  It looked very nice.  We spent the rest of the evening watching Fred Claus and playing Christmas Kahoot.  Brett was pretty frustrated with us as we kept beating him at Kahoot.  He turned it around, however, and won the final round.  

Cal spent the day getting ready for Christmas in his own way.  He ate lunch at Mom's, played basketball at the community center all afternoon and went with a group of his friends to Columbia City for the high school game.  His Christmas Eve Eve was a little different in ours, but he enjoyed it just as much as we did.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Never Jump On a Moving Car

Today's life lesson for the Heinisch children was "never jump on a moving car."  No, none of them tried it and no one was hurt, but they sure talked about it all day.  The note of caution was from Alex as he told the story to Meg and Cameron involving Jayce, Sam and a moving car.  They got a good laugh out of it which I am sure was the intent.  I am glad that no one was hurt and everyone agreed not to repeat the maneuver.  

That is what I love about being the Mom of boys - so much laughter and fun to be had.  Today was one of those days.  Alex and Jayce were here as soon as practice ended and the boys were instantly in the basement playing pool, trash talking one another and swapping stories.  Meg and I hurried out to get everyone lunch while Cam and Jayce took Alex and Cal in pool.  

Cal had a doctor's appointment in town and I told the boys they were welcome to stay as we would be back soon.  Thus, I was not surprised when I got back to find Alex's car still in the driveway.  Meg warned us not to go in the toy room as Jayce was napping.  Alex was in the fridge finishing off leftovers as Cal headed to the basement challenging everyone to another round of pool.  

I realize that God made the Mom of boys because I get it - food a place to sleep and someone to laugh at their antics is all they really need.  There's hardly ever any drama and most of their activities are harmless.  I realize it is not the life for everyone, but Doug and I seem tailor made for it.  Therefore when Doug came home to find the cottage cheese he was saving to use in the macaroni and cheese tonight was half eaten he laughed and said, "Has Alex been here?  Next time I guess I will have to buy double."  

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Meet Me in St. Louis

Today Meg and I finished the movie "Meet Me in St. Louis."  It has always been one of my favorites and she enjoyed it as well.  I teared up in the middle of it.  Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas tends to do that to me and Meg playing with Apollo made me miss Cosmo even more.  Overall, however, I am so much happier today than I have been in quite awhile.  It used to be that I couldn't watch movies or read much as I was so anxious that my mind I couldn't settle done enough to concentrate.  That is a horrible feeling and I do not wish it on anyone.  Thus, I have been watching as many movies as I can and plan to finish two books over break.

I also realize that I feel a lot better about Cal quitting basketball than I ever dreamed I would.  Everyone that has approached me about Cal quitting has been nothing more than supportive.  All that we have talked to realize that he really was getting treated poorly and they are proud of him for saying, "Enough."  Even his friends at school and other players have been extremely open about their opinions and not one of them have supported his coach or the program.  I also have noticed that Cal is so much happier than he has been in a long time.  The rest of the Heinisch children have always been happy and confident.  It is great that he has joined them as well.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Great Day First Day

Brett, Meg, Cam and I had tickets to see Shrek the Musical at the Round Barn Theater this afternoon.  We had great seats and really enjoyed the production.  We made it home just in time to pick up Doug for 5 p.m. mass.  It was a small crowd and a short service.  Afterward we went to Warsaw so that Brett could stop at the comic book store before it closed.  Dinner was at Mad Anthony's and we all enjoyed the conversation.  On the way home we drove through Center Lake Park to see their annual Christmas decorations and topped the evening off with a viewing of The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Cal did not join us on our adventures tonight.  Instead he spent the day hanging out with Grandpa and Doug.  He then headed to Fort Wayne to see IPFW play Valparaiso with Alex, Jayce and Cameron Adams.  I know that they will have a lot of fun.  He has a neat group of friends and we enjoy hearing about all of their escapades.

Friday, December 19, 2014

It's Here

We finally made it!  It's finally here . . . Christmas Vacation and we are all thrilled!!  Meg said it was one of the best last days before break ever.  Mrs. Collins subbed in her band class, she made gingerbread houses in my class, had a paper in third block, a Subway party with seven of her friends in my classroom during lunch, played foosball all of seventh block and ended the day with a celebration in Language.  She and her friends passed out gifts and said, "Goodbye until next year!"

Cam's day was equally as fun.  They had a Polar Express day complete with movie viewing, hot chocolate, games and plenty of food.  He even gave me a cup of hot chocolate to enjoy.  Cal headed to school ready for his last day as well.  When we got back home Alex, Gage, Aaron and Reider were all here playing pool.  When they left for the Warsaw vs. Wawasee basketball game he was dressed in a Santa suit complete with hat and beard.

Brett arrived around 6 p.m.  My parents left this morning to pick him up.  He had a great night at Straight No Chaser last night and was packed and ready when they got there.  They had lunch at Village Deli with Parce and hit the comic book store before heading home.  To no one's surprise his first stop was not our house, but the library.  He spent the rest of the evening after dinner catching up on some much needed Super Mario 64.

Doug was wiped out tonight as he had to get up at 3:20 a.m. this morning for inventory.  They were able to wrap up by 4:30 this evening.  He made it up through Rudolph with Cam and I and most of White Christmas.  I was so happy today.  On Monday I wasn't sure I could make it through the week, but I did.  It was definitely a busy one and I cut out some of the things on my schedule to shorten the to do list.  At 3 p.m. my room was cleaned, electronics were unplugged and I was ready for two weeks of very little commitments.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

It's Inevitable

Today Meg and the girls in her eighth grade class visited the high school in the morning.  The guidance department wanted them to see the career and technology education classrooms before they choose their class schedule for next fall.  Meg enjoyed seeing all of the different classes that the high school had to offer.  Her focus for electives were mainly in the culinary arts program.  While she was there Cal passed her in the hallway.  They didn't talk, but she thought that was great.

At lunch Alex Clark stopped by Milford school.  I was happy that he came into my room to say hi, although his deep voice gave me a start in the middle of the chaos of Christmas craft day in the 5th grade.  Meg and her friends saw him as well which got them all talking about high school and next year.  Her friends enjoy giving Meg a hard time about having a "crush" on Alex although she doesn't.

Tonight Meg had a band concert at the high school.  They combined with the high school and middle school.  She rode the bus over after school and hung out with her friends until rehearsal at 5.  The concert was pretty good and Meg really enjoyed playing "Do You Hear What I Hear?"  It's one of my favorites as well.

As we drove home tonight I realized that Meg will be a high school student before I know it.  I  have enjoyed her middle school days.  She has had a lot of success, met some great friends and had a lot of fun.  I hope that continues for her next year.  Either way it is inevitable, so I will just enjoy these last few months together at Milford School.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Straight No Chaser

Tomorrow night Brett gets to see Straight No Chaser at the IU auditorium.  They are an a cappella group of IU men singers that became a sensation in the late 1990s.  They tour the US and most of their concerts are sold out.  We became a fan of theirs many years ago when we saw their live version of "12 Days of Christmas."  It starts off as a normal holiday song and turns into a comedic medley of Christmas tunes.  The first time we saw it we couldn't stop laughing.

I have showed the video to all of my classes several times over the past few years.  We try to name all of the songs in their medley.  So far we have been able to recognize eight.  Knowing that Brett is going to the show tomorrow night makes me a little bit jealous.  I would love to go with him and see in person what we have watched online for years.  Excited that he gets to be a part of it.  Can't wait to hear all about the show.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pajama Day

Tomorrow is pajama day at Milford school and Meg really wanted to wear the new pajamas she made in FACS class.  They were made out of Minion fleece and matched her shirt perfectly.  We realized, however, to do so we would need to work on them last night as there was a problem when she was sewing her inseam.  Thus, we pulled out the ripper at 4 p.m. and went to work.  We also cut out an extra piece to put down the side as they were a little snug and by dinner time she had them all sewn back together and tried on.  The waist was the next issue, so we called Mom to see if she could help.  Meg also needed to study for the spelling bee and her Geometry test and Cameron really wanted to make a pair of pajama pants for himself as well.  I had found the coolest "Olaf" fleece at Wal-Mart and knew it would be perfect for him.

While Doug helped Meg study, Mom worked on a waist band for Meg's pants and I started in on Cameron's pants.  By 8:30 p.m. Meg had strung her drawstring and I finished hemming Cam's pants.  Everyone was well fitted for bed and pajama day.  It definitely was a project, but we had a great time working on them together.  I was almost as proud as the Heinisch children.  The pants may not have been perfect, but they fit, they were warm and they will be great for tomorrow.  Meg and I even talked about making Brett a pair for his birthday!

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Sad Day in the Heinisch Home

Today started off bad and just kept getting worse.  First my keys ended up in Bristol with Doug, so we had to scramble in the morning.  We were late to school and my to do list for the morning was gone.  Then we realized that the only way to salvage Meg's pajama pants that she had spent so much time on these past ten days was to start over.  Nothing, however, compared to the news of the afternoon.

We had spent the last week feeding Cosmo baby food with a syringe and giving him his antibiotic twice daily.  For awhile we were sure it was working, but last night Meg started to realize that maybe he wasn't getting better.  I asked Mom to come up in the morning so he could get his medicine and to see what her opinion was.  She called the veterinarian and they could see him this afternoon.  We hoped he wouldn't need to go, but by the time Mom got back for his noon feeding she felt that he had gone from bad to worse.

Thus, she wrapped Cosmo in a towel and headed to the vet's office.  Even the terrible accident blocking State Road 13 didn't deter her and she was able to get him there.  They took him back immediately, but it was too late.  Cosmo had died on Mom's lap in the van.  We tried our best, but we couldn't save him.

I met Meg after to school to break the news to her.  She was very sad. We postponed our trip to buy more material to rush home to see Cosmo.  I don't think any of us were prepared for how sad he looked.  Cam, Meg and I all started crying.  They pet him several times and said goodbye.  The veterinarian had wrapped him in a blanket and put him in a nice box for us.  Meg also put in it his Santa hat and the rubber guinea pig that we bought at the zoo for Cosmo years ago.  He loved chewing it's ears.  We secured the box with Snowman duct tape and then Cameron and Meg decorated his "casket" with words of caring.  I don't know if I liked "squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeakers" or "Cosmooooooooooooooo!"  better.

I know he was just a guinea pig, but he was our guinea pig and we loved having him as part of the Heinisch family.  Meg hugged Apollo a little tighter tonight and we fed him some extra carrots.  Mom said that he kept looking in Cosmo's cage for his best friend to greet him when Cosmo was at his sickest.  Cosmo couldn't muster the energy to meet him.  I will miss the "squeaking" for carrots or watching Meg dress him as Santa.  Rest in peace little buddy!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas Fun

Today we all shared in some Christmas fun.  First we all wrapped gifts for one another and started filling the space under the tree.  Cam cannot wait to see what "The Grinch" got him in the big box he saw.  Meg is sure she is getting an iPhone, but we'll have to wait and see.  Brett wanted to know which items we selected from his list of suggestions.  Cal didn't wrap, but he did pick out gifts for his siblings for me to finish up for him.

We spent some time after Meg's soccer game completing our shopping list and besides a very long checkout at Kohl's we had a lot of success.  Cal skipped out our adventure and instead went Christmas caroling at Miller Merry Manor with his friends.  He looked festive in his "ugly Bulls Christmas sweater" and elf hat.  I am so glad that Paula captured the moment on film to share on Facebook.

Last night I was able to get a good jump on the Christmas cards.  Today we got all of the gifts that need mailed ready to ship.  On Friday night I was worried that we wouldn't be able to get all of the Christmas to do list done, but tonight I feel a lot better about it.  This week will be a lot of work at school , but once Friday hits we should be able to relax and enjoy our break.  I have a stack of books to read and a list of movies to watch.  Brett will be here to enjoy it with us.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

End of an Era

This week Cal said goodbye to basketball.  He had definitely given this a great deal of thought and did not make this decision lightly.  Basketball has been a love of Cal's since he was in kindergarten and teamed up with "Onion Johnson" to beat Reggie Miller and I almost daily.  He loved playing on his LYC teams and took those games as seriously as any player ever could.  I still remember the time he and his team won the league championship tourney.  Once we got home he put his trophy on the shelf and brought me all of the other ribbons, medals and trophies he had ever received.  He said, "Mom, I don't want a thank you for participating award.  I want to earn all of my awards from now on."

Over the next few years Cal had some triumphs and setbacks in basketball.  Our entire family thoroughly enjoyed the weekend trips across the state when he played on his MBA team.  We also felt the sting of watching him deal with some "Bobby Knight" type coaches.  Through it all, the ups and the downs, Cal's love for basketball never wavered until this past year.  He hung in there longer than most and made some great friendships along the way, but Tuesday night Cal said, "Enough is enough."  The boy who played every day for nine months straight before he broke his ankle was done and we support him in making that decision.

I am proud of Cal for sticking it out as long as he did.  He has talked this past month of his interest in Physics and maybe even breaking family tradition and going to Purdue.  There's so much more to him than just being an athlete.  We always knew it, but are glad that he is realizing it as well.  When he left for soccer open gym Thursday night I thought of the quote below.  Cal has lived by it since he first heard it many years ago.  Thus, if you see him at tonight's game sitting in the student section cheering on his two best friends don't feel sorry for him and definitely don't chastise him.  Cal is not quitting he is just moving forward.

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward."

Friday, December 12, 2014

Field Trips of All Field Trips

Today I was able to go with Cameron on his fourth field trip of the year.  He was very excited to go and I enjoyed spending time with him and his classmates.  For me it was the field trips of all field trips.  We first went to see the second act of The Nutcracker ballet.  It was nice.

After that we headed to the Glenbrook Mall.  All students brought their own money and were able to order from any place in the food court.  I had Braxton and Cameron in my group and they both picked Chick fil-a.  We had fun eating, talking about the ballet and watching the people.  Once lunch was over we went to the carousel.  They each picked an animal on the top row and Braxton's zebra beat Cameron's gorilla by a nose.

Our next stop was the candy store and Toys R Us.  We toured all through the mall stopping occasionally to throw coins in the fountain or check out the quarter machines.  On our way back to the meeting place we checked out the candy store once more.  They each picked out their favorite Jelly Belly candies and filled a bag.

I had a great time today as I know Cameron did as well.  It was fun to spend time with him as I do not get a lot of alone time with him.  It was also nice to see him with his friends.  The next trip is the circus and I don't believe that either Doug or I are going to that one.  I definitely got to go to the best two so far.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Kindred Spirits

About a month ago one of my students asked if he could come down and help me with any projects during recess.  I hadn't asked for volunteers and didn't have anything to do that day, but I told him if he still wanted to come down the next day I would let him.  I have had students in my room at recess before, but most want to come in groups or come in to work on their projects.  I never lack for volunteers when I need help, but this time I was caught off guard as it was the beginning of the trimester and these students didn't know that I would let them come in if they wanted to.

So, the next day I thought of a few small projects.  We are cleaning out the last of the sewing cabinets and still had some small items to sort.  I left some for him to do and sure enough he was ready to help.  The student didn't talk much at first.  I'd ask a few questions, but mostly we listened to music and sorted pins and needles.

Over the next few weeks I noticed that he came down more and more, so I came up with more and more projects for us to do.  I had asked him if he ever wanted to bring a friend down and play a game as he could do that as well, but he didn't have an interest in that.  The more he came down the more he began to talk about the vacations he took a couple of years ago, the cousins he liked and didn't like and his Christmas wish list.

One day I asked him if he knew that I had an older brother that died at thirteen just like him.  He said he didn't, and we didn't dwell on that fact, but it gave me an opportunity to tell him how much I missed my brother and wondered what he missed as well.  He knew exactly what he missed and loved telling me all about the time he spent with his brother.  It was fun listening to his stories and seeing his eyes light up when he talked.

I do not know how this little guy knew to ask me if he could come to my room that day, but I am sure glad that he did.  Although we do not talk about the sadness of losing a brother, I sure understand how he feels.  One day your life changes on a dime and after that there is always a part of you that just isn't whole.  I know that for him it feels great to tell someone about all of the fun you had being a younger sibling of a beloved brother.  Someday I know that he will no longer need to visit my room at recess.  Until then I will give up a part of my lunch hour to do projects with him.  It is the best way I know to honor both of our brothers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


If you have never suffered from anxiety you are lucky.  It is a horrible feeling - like you had triple the amount of caffeine in a Five Hour Energy drink.  Your mind starts racing and your whole body goes into a panic.  Usually, you know what is bothering you but not always.  Those are the worst times. You feel like a caged animal with no hope of ever getting out.  

Most outsiders don't have a clue that you feel this way, but those closest to you do.   You smile and carry on as those life is grand everywhere else, but at home your family walks around on eggshells worrying that at any minute your are going to break down.  Nothing they say makes it better.  You just pray it goes away.

That was me six months ago.  Through a lot of work and help from my family and friends my life is so much better.  I still have episodes of anxiety, but they are fewer and farther between.  I know now what to do and not to do.  I am much happier as I do not live in fear of having another panic attack.  I do not even have to say I hope it continues, because I know it will.  It's taken a lot of work to get here and sure don't ever want to go back.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


I have heard many people talk about forgiveness.  Over the years I believe that it has been one of the hardest things for me to do.  A priest told me once many years ago that I was one who had a book on the shelf in my mind for each and every person who had ever wronged me.  At anytime I could take a book off of the shelf and recite exactly why I was mad at someone and why that person did not deserve my forgiveness.  It sounded harsh, but he was exactly right.

As I have grown and changed over time I realized that these books were not about hate or forgiveness they were a shield for me.  It was my way of protecting myself from ever getting hurt again.  It wasn't that I couldn't forgive, I just didn't want to forget.

It has taken a lot of work these past six months, but I no longer have books filled with those who have wronged me.  Instead I have books in my mind filled with the goodness of others and at times even myself.  It hasn't been easy, but I am so glad that I have been able to do what my priest wanted me to do so long ago - forgive and forget. That is why I always loved this priest.  He told you exactly what you needed to hear and gave you ways to heal.

Monday, December 8, 2014


Mom realized that Cosmo hadn't been eating much of anything the last two days.  Even his beloved green peppers sat untouched.  Last night Meg brought him to me and said, "Mom, look how thin Cosmo is."  We hoped that maybe bringing him back to our house would pep up his spirits and his appetite, but this afternoon when I checked on him his hay bowl was still full from last nights feeding.  

I decided that we may as well try the veterinarian and see what they thought.  They had an appointment at 5 p.m., so Mom took him and we met them there after piano.  He was thoroughly checked and the vet decided that it must be an infected tooth causing him the problem.  They prescribed an antibiotic and baby food until he could eat normally once again.  

We gave him his first dose tonight and he took it pretty well.  It had all been measured in syringes, so that made it a lot easier.  We also had a syringe for the baby food.  He didn't take to it right away and Meg wore a lot of it, but after awhile we were able to get a syringe full into him.  Hopefully, he will feel better quickly and the chubby guy in this Santa hat will regain his stature.  

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas Shopping

Today after Meg's soccer game Doug and I went Christmas shopping.  We have been picking some items up here and there since my birthday and weren't sure what we needed and for whom.  My Mom also wanted us to get gifts for the Heinisch children from her.  Since we were going to South Bend we had time to get our lists organized and plan our shopping excursion.

Our first stop was Target and we were able to find some great stocking stuffers.  We then headed to the mall.  Doug got some fun gifts from his Dad for everyone.  I also found the perfect gift for Meg and Morgan.  The Footlocker was having a sale and we stopped there next.  Then it was off to Hollister to return Meg's pants and look there as well.  When we left the mall we realized that we were pretty much done shopping except for a few odds and ends.  We also had gifts for my Mom to give them.  Cal is always the hardest to buy for as his list is short.  I feel that we even have him covered now.

Doug and I decided to try out Evil Czech Brewery.  Doug really liked it and I did as well.  We will have to bring Meg and Cam there next time we are in South Bend. It was the perfect shopping day!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Getting Caught Up

I tried to catch up on all that has been going on this week.  Yesterday I was able to finish my grading which was a relief.  Today was the last day for 75% off all photo albums.  I finally finished our last one for 2013.  There were so many events that year with Brett' graduation, Cam's first communion, visits with Jeanette, a trip to Boston and the start of college that I had to make it into three different albums to fit all of the pictures in.  This one was the easiest as there were less activities and more holidays.

Meg and I finished watching Diary of Anne Frank today also.  It is such a sad story, but a beautiful one as well.  I finally have made peace with the fact that she dies knowing that if she did not the story would have never been told.

I also wrote our Christmas letter to add to our Christmas cards.  I thought that both looked good this year.  After Cal's game Doug, Cam and I were able to go grocery shopping.  That was much needed as well.  I would love to think that next week will not be as crazy as this one, but it seems like it always is.  At least I can say that we are never bored!


Cam, Meg, Doug and I headed to Manchester this evening for Cal's basketball game.  We weren't sure how it would go with his foot.  On Wednesday he had a severe infection in a blood blister on the inside of his right foot.  It was nasty to look at and hurt horribly.  Dr. Mulry was able to drain it and put him on an antibiotic.  It is a lot better, and I was happy to see that he could run on it tonight.

I showed a picture of it to his golf coach at halftime.  Of course he said that as long as it is healed for golf that all will be well.  Glad Cal is on the mend and got to play tonight.  Hopefully, this will be the last foot injury for him.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Program #1

Today was Cameron's Christmas program at school and he did not disappoint.  He was as animated as he always is and did a great job on his reading.  Mom, Dad and I attended the afternoon performance and Meg and Doug went back for the evening.  This is his last elementary program at Milford and he said he was ready to be done.  He was tired of singing the same songs and practicing.  I never would have guessed that as he was dressed up, played the recorder and danced to every song they sang.  My personal favorite was when he impromptu danced like one of the Peanuts gang when the music from a Charlie Brown Christmas began.

We have a break from programs next week as Meg will have hers on the 18th.  Her band is combining with Wawasee Middle and High School for their performance.  She isn't excited about it, but I know she will also do well.  Meg plans to opt of band next year, so this will be her last Christmas program.  She would prefer to have it at Milford, but she has the Spring Arts Festival to look forward to there.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Absolutely Crazy

Today was an absolutely crazy day from start to finish.  I had an early morning meeting that was interrupted by a phone call from Cal.  He was really sick and needed help.  It took some maneuvering and help from my Mom, but by 10:15 a.m. he was at the doctor and getting the attention he needed.

Today was the beginning of sewing projects in three of my classes which is always exciting, but extremely tiring.  Everyone needs help all at once. The kids did great, however, and were patient.  That is a big improvement from last year.  As soon as my fourth block ended I had to race to the high school for a math meeting.  It was a lot of information, but I thought we accomplished some very important items.

I went from that back to Milford to check on Meg.  Cam was at chess club.  She helped me get my fourth block holiday research groups ready for tomorrow.  We headed home after that to check on Cal.  He was definitely better than this morning.  He should be able to return to school tomorrow.

I talked to Gisela at the library several times.  There were some issues with hours and the remodeling. We decided to look at those later this month.  I know she and I are both relieved that we will have a new director come January.

Doug was home at 5:45.  He has been swamped at work.  I spent three hours logging in receipts, paying bills and reconciling accounts for the Heinisch household while he made dinner and helped Meg with spelling words.  As I crossed off completed items in my new planner, Meg asked to see it.  I showed her that there was no room for anyone else to get sick.  The Heinisch children will have to schedule that in for some time next week or so!!  She laughed at me then asked if she could sleep in and have Grandma take her tomorrow because her throat hurt.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A New Heinisch Driver

Cal and Doug were at the BMV early this morning for his driver's test this in Albion.  He had been practicing parallel parking with Doug over the weekend and took some time to try a couple of more times this morning.  Most of the Wawasee students take their test in Albion as they find it to be the easiest to take and pass the test at.  Cal passed with flying colors although he felt his parking could have been better.  He and Doug were happy until they realized that they needed the last four digits of his social security number to get the license.  Some quick thinking on Doug's part got him the information he needed and they were off and running.

Cal drove to school and home from practice tonight.  As soon as he ate he was off to Grandma's for a Christmas sweater for Harry and then to the girls' basketball game at the high school.  I know that Cal is a good driver and will do fine.  This will be a new experience for us.  Two drivers and one truck.  It should be a fun ride.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Back At It

Today was a very busy day, but a good one.  There was a lot to accomplish at home, school and work.  Overall, everyone finished the night in a positive mood.  Cam finished some challenging homework, watched Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too with me and had time to defeat Mr. Sandman in Super Punch Out.  Meg cheered on Milford to a victory over Northwood and made it to soccer open gym.  Cal finished in first place in the American Legion Americanism test.  Brett was elected to a favored position in the Young Americans for Liberty.  Doug had a successful day at work and soccer and I was able to check a lot off of my to do list in my new planner.  I even made time to get Brett's white shirt ready to be mailed and help Cam with his homework.

I was not ready to go back to work or give up the fun of Thanksgiving.  Having Cyber Monday to look forward to tonight helped.  My shopping list is dwindling and I feel that we have gotten some pretty good deals so far.  I hope everyday in December goes as smoothly for the Heinisch family.