Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve

For the sixth year in a row we took the Heinisch children to Pokagon State Park to go tobogganing.  Cal and Brett didn't join us, but this year Kaitlin did.  The first two trips were the best as it wasn't crowded yet.  The last one took over twenty minutes, so they decided to call it after the third time down.  We stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch and were home in the early afternoon.  We took Kaitlin home and everyone started on the final round of Christmas Take Down.  Meg and Cam tackled the basement with Doug's help.  He worked on the outside as well and I finished the ornament sorting and tree.  By the time my parents came over to play games we had everything put away and all of the snowmen out for winter.  We also swept and rearranged the living room.  It felt wonderful to be done.

Cal went to Aubrey's tonight and Meg went to Gabby's for a party.  Before they left I gave the four of them the Star Wars pillow slips that I had made complete with new pillows.  Everyone seemed to like them and I was proud of myself for making them.  Brett and Cam stayed home with us and played games most of the evening.  Mom and Dad came up at 7 to join us.  Doug made several appetizers and Mom brought black eyed peas and cornbread.  It was a wonderful way to finish 2015.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Take Down

We left this morning for piano and talked Brett into going with us.  Our caveat was stopping at Olympia for lunch.  He enjoyed catching up with Mrs. Meek and we all liked the new chair that her children got her for Christmas.  I used the time to work on organizing the Christmas ornaments.  I brought both tubs and finished just as they completed their lesson.  We picked out music to work on next week - Cam found four Willie Wonka songs and Meg wanted Lord of the Dance and Beauty and the Beast.

After piano we stopped to pick up the calendars.  They looked very good.  I am glad that the power came on last night so that I could finish it.  Unfortunately, our luck struck out with Olympia again.  They were closed and do not plan to reopen until the New Year.  Brett and Meg decided that they would eat at Maria's instead and Cam and I picked Penguin Point.

Once I got back from lunch I started taking down the Christmas.  Brett was disappointed, but I usually start on the 26th.  It is such a long process that I hate prolonging it.  I took a break to take Meg to tennis.  She hit well and has really improved in the six weeks that she has been taking lessons.  Team tennis starts on the 9th.  She is looking forward to that.

Doug decided to make a couple of recipes tonight from the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival book that we bought him at Disney World this fall.  One was from Germany and the other Morocco.  They were both delicious.  He brought home Little Caesars for everyone else.  Kaitlin came over after tennis to spend the night. Cal and Stephen went to the Notre Dame girls Game with Hannah-Marie's and Aubrey's families.  They had a lot of fun.  Since our plan was to stay in I worked the rest of the evening on the Christmas.  I still have a lot to do, but made a good dent this evening on it all.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Ice Storm + Neighbors Tree = No Power for 24 Hours

Doug left this morning and we were still without power.  By the time I went home to get clothes to take a shower, REMC had arrived.  Unfortunately, to fix the pole we would have to sacrifice one of our pine trees.  I was sad as we had planted those and they provided a great fence to the neighbors yard.  Their plan was to work all afternoon and hopefully we would have power by early in the evening.

Meg and I showered at Mom's and then drove to South Bend.  She had gift cards to spend and it was the perfect day to do so.  We had lunch at Noodles & Company before shopping at Kohl's.  While she spent her gift cards we also looked for a dress for semi-formal.  She picked out a navy blue one that looked wonderful on her.  After Kohl's we headed to the mall.  Meg spent all of her money at Hollister and American Eagle, but decided to save her Journey's money until Spring.  We stopped at Shoe Carnival on the way home, but did not have any luck finding navy blue shoes.

Dad and Cal spent the day in South Bend as well.  They had afternoon tickets for the ND vs. Liberty men's basketball game.  The game time was changed, however, so they had an extra couple of hours to kill while waiting.  They went to dinner, toured campus and checked out the bookstore.  They both had a great time and ND won easily.

Once Meg and I got home we were pleased to find out that we had power!!  We picked up our clothes and such from Mom's and everyone headed home.  Brett and Cam spent the day there.  Brett made headway on his job searches and Cam played the Wii.  We talked Doug into going to dinner and stopped at Target on the way.  Meg found her blue shoes and the boys found video games and accessories.  Dinner was long tonight as it took quite awhile to be seated and to get our food.  We had fun, however.  Cal was home when we got here and much to our surprise the internet was even working.  What a great evening it was!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Ice Storm, Downed Tree & No Power

This morning we woke up to an ice storm.  Doug said that it really started after he got into work, so he had no problem getting there.  Cal left Cameron's around 9 a.m. which was also before the roads became icy.  It took me awhile to get to the Brower's as North Webster was worse than Syracuse by the time I left.  We grabbed Meg on the way home as well and I decided to cancel piano.  Everyone was disappointed as they really wanted to go to that and Olympia for lunch, but they understood as it was not nice outside at the time.

Around 12:30 I sat down to work on my photo calendar and realized that the internet was out.  I was disappointed as I had set aside time to do so today, but that didn't compare to the next outage that we encountered.  Around 1:30 Cal, Meg and Cam heard a loud crash and realized that the tree in the yard diagonally from us had come down in the ice storm.  We were floored that it fell as it was one large tree.  Unfortunately when it did it also took out the power lines with it.  The weight of it all broke the utility pole in our backyard in half as well.  Thus, our power outage began.

I called Kosciusko REMC right away, but I knew that this was going to be a bigger project than just a downed wire.  Our neighbors hoped that since it was a live wire that we would move up on the priority list, but as the afternoon wore on I became more skeptical.  Cal and Brett stayed here while I went to North Webster for Meg's haircut.  We thought about cancelling, but the roads weren't too bad.  Cam headed over to my Mom's and by 4:30 Brett, Meg and I had joined him.  I took all of our portable chargers and the laptop also in case we were going to be out of power for awhile.

Doug took Meg to tennis tonight and exercised there.  I folded laundry in the dark, which wasn't too bad until I had to match socks.  Cal and Hannah Marie went bowling as it was one of the few places open.  I had a library board meeting this evening.  We had to transfer money before the 1st of January and our director was going to be unavailable the next three days.  We were nervous for awhile that we would not have a quorum, but thankfully Randy drove in from Fort Wayne especially to be at it.

Once the evening became dark we realized that we were not getting power tonight.  The Heinisch children all ate at Mom's, and Doug and I went to Huntington's along with everyone else who was without power.  We played cards at Mom's until ten and then Doug returned to stay at our house.  He had showered at the racket club and we left the fireplace on, so staying here wasn't too bad.  The rest of us spent the night at Mom's.  We were thankful that they had electricity and did not mind the company.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Quiet Day

Yesterday was exhausting, but it was nice to have a quiet day at home.  I spent it working on a sewing project and starting on the laundry.  The one positive about teaching FACS is that I have learned how to sew.  I haven't tried anything elaborate yet, but maybe next year.

Meg went to Preston's for the day and then to Kaitlin's to spend the night.  Cam was invited to spend the night at Evan's tomorrow night, but Mary asked if they could change to this evening.  Cal dropped him off on his way to spend the night at Cameron Adams.  Brett spent the day playing his new PS4.  Therefore with everyone occupied we decided to head to Fort Wayne in the late afternoon.  We found the candles I was looking for and calendars for everyone.  Chop's is closed on Sundays so we tried Biggi's for dinner.  It was packed, but we found a table and enjoyed a nice meal. I was very thankful tonight that we were able to visit DeKalb and still enjoy a nice quiet end to the wonderful four day weekend we have had.  

Saturday, December 26, 2015


Brett, Meg, Cam, Doug and I left at 8:45 a.m. for the Art Institute in Chicago.  We visited there a year ago and I was happy that they picked to go back this year.  Cam once again grabbed the program which gave him twelve different pieces of art to find on his journey through the museum.  He had a lot of fun looking for all of them.  It stated that they could be found in an hour, but we took a little longer than that.  My favorite section as always is The Impressionists.  Everyone else seemed to like it as well.  Brett's main focus was the religious section.  We definitely found the paintings there fascinating.  After a trip to the "gift museum" to buy Cam a book, and several Impressionists items, we left for Naperville.

We met Carl and a friend of his at Maggiano's.  We had a nice visit and a delicious lunch.  Cam gave him the gift basket of chocolates with a description of his adventures at The South Bend Chocolate Company.  Carl appreciated the photo album that we made complete with pictures of Jeanette and the Heinisch children.

Our last stop of the night was the Montavon home.  All of the Montavon and Heinisch children had a great night together playing Just Dance and going laser tagging.  We hung out with Kevin and Alexia while they were gone and finished the evening with dinner for everyone from Portillo's.  We left South Elgin at 8:30 Illinois time and had a quiet ride home filled with Christmas movies.  It was a long day, but everyone was happy to have spent it together in Illinois.

Friday, December 25, 2015


We had a wonderful day celebrating Christmas with the Heinisch children.  We talked Cameron into letting everyone sleep in until 9 a.m. which was much appreciated.  Cam did not let anyone make it to 9:01 as he woke everyone up and came flying down the stairs.  There were a lot of gifts to open highlighted by a PS4 for Brett, NBA Pass/Shaq jersey for Cal, Gift Cards for a day of Shopping to Meg, and a Wii U for Cam.  I loved my new sewing basket, sweaters and Renoir puzzle.  Doug did not ask for anything this year, so we had to had to come up with our own ideas - I believe he was happy with his Goldeneye DVD, fitbit, Race for Your Life Charlie Brown, Penn State shirt and Ice Breaker book.

After a morning of unwrapping and setting up new gifts, my parents came over for a second Christmas celebration.  Each of the Heinisch children received games, pajamas and money.  They had gifts for my parents as well with the main prize of two tickets to see Johnny Mathis in May.  We spent the rest of the afternoon playing games and eating a delicious ham dinner.  I definitely was exhausted by the time they left in the early evening.  It has taken a lot this year to get ready for Christmas, but it was a lovely day.  We topped it off by watching Meet Me in St. Louis and enjoying a quiet evening..

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

As Cam walked around the house singing "One More Sleep 'til Christmas" I thought about how precious Christmas Eve has been to the Heinisch family.  From making Christmas cookies with Doug to Children's Mass to opening gifts from Godparents and watching "It's a Wonderful Life," not much has changed at our home on this blessed Eve in over a decade.  I appreciate this year that all of the Heinisch children participated in each and every one of these activities.  I realize that in years to come our family dynamics will probably change.  That is why each time Doug cooked with Meg and Cam or Cal started a sentence with "Hey, Dad, did you know . . ." I smiled.  Brett will more than likely be in a new home next year and Cal's adventure in adulthood will have just begun.  Christmas Eve may be spent with others, but I won't worry about that just yet.  I believe that the memories that we have created on Christmas Eve will stay with the Heinisch children forever.  Even if all they can talk about in years to come is Brett face planting at Children's mass, Cam splitting his pants while taking the picture around the tree, Meg's years of putting Baby Jesus in the manger or Cal giving Brett his favorite Christmas movie - "Christmas with the Kranks" it has been a wonderful life and I will forever smile when I think of Christmas Eve. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Oh, the Weather Outside Is . . .

The weather this week has reminded me of the years that we spent Christmas in Florida.  Some days were rainy and others hot, but most were in the 60's.  Because the weather has been so mild it hasn't really felt like Christmas.  We have been trying, however, to make it seem so with days of wrapping presents, making crafts, and watching Christmas movies.  Today Cam and Meg even made a gingerbread train.  I loved listening to them debate about who was doing what and where each piece of gingerbread and candy would go.

This evening Doug and I went to Chops for dinner and to buy one last gift.  I am happy he is off of work for the next four days.  I know everyone else is too as Cal kept asking when he would be home.  After we got back Cam and I finished his table runner and stocking for Apollo.  I even decided to make a gift for each of the Heinisch children for Christmas Eve.  It has definitely been a busy week, but a fun one.  I hope it is a Christmas they will long remember.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Gathering of Friends & Family

Once I got through working at the library and Meg's doctor appointment, today became all about family and friends.  Cam started it off by having Cade Beer over.  It had been quite awhile since they had seen each other and the boys seemed to have a great time hanging out, talking, playing games, watching Garfield and learning magic tricks.  By dinner time they were the same old friends they had always been.

Meg went to Kaitlin's after her appointment to spend the night.  They had plans to go to the boys' basketball game together and meet up with Gabby.  She came home with them afterward and from the brief FaceTime call I got I believe the three of them were having fun.  Cal also went to the game.  Hannah Marie went with him and they came back for here for pizza afterward.  Once he took her home he decided to meet up with Jayce at Jeremy's to play cards.  I appreciated the fact that he was home by 1 a.m. and let me know when he was on his way.  Brett went to see the movie Krampus with my Dad.  I am not sure that either thought it would be any good, but they ended up enjoying it and being scared at the same time.

Jody and Paula came over after the game.  We had pizza, appetizers, wine and a lot of catching up.  I don't go out much, so it was nice to visit with them.  There was a lot of discussion, mostly about our children, but there were also a lot of laughs as well.  Doug decided that it would be a perfect night for him to wrap gifts.  Although I think that most of us were up until 1 a.m. I know we each enjoyed our night with friends and family.

Monday, December 21, 2015

I've Got a Golden Ticket

Meg had a private tennis lesson this morning.  Afterward we met Brett and Cam in Milford and headed to South Bend.  Cam wanted us all to tour The South Bend Chocolate Company with him as he thoroughly enjoyed it when he went with his class.  Once we figured out where to go we all enjoyed the tour very much.  We were able to see how they made the chocolates and taste some samples.  The movie at the end was kind of corny, but otherwise we had a great time.  After the tour we used our "Golden Ticket" to shop in the candy store.  We bought several items to share with Doug and Cal and some gifts for others as well.

From the Chocolate Company we headed to the mall.  I was about out of candles and still had coupons to use at Yankee Candle.  Meg helped me there and the boys went to Game Stop and Barnes and Noble.  Meg found a gift for my Dad at the bookstore and I was able to use my 30% off.  We went grocery shopping at Target afterward and met Doug and Godmother Jeannette at Noodles & Company.  Meg had a small gift for her and she had Meg's to open on Christmas Eve.  We had a very nice visit with her.  She is 14 weeks pregnant and we are all praying for a happy, healthy delivery in June.

From Noodles & Company Meg, Brett and I went home.  Doug took Cam to the Notre Dame basketball game.  Cal spent the day with Hannah Marie in Warsaw.  She opened her giant dolphin and he said she really liked it.  The rest of the evening went by quickly as Meg and I wrapped gifts, finished her crafts and watched A White Christmas.  Brett worked on job applications.  He has already heard back form one Republican party that is interested in his resume.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Today was an exciting day for everyone.  First Meg got to play indoor soccer against the second Wawasee team.  She had been interested in doing so since she found out there would be two teams.  Meg played very well, scoring two goals in the first half and making some fantastic stops as goalie in the second half.  Her team won 7-1.  This was the first game that I had stayed and watched.  I was impressed with how much the girls have improved.  Doug did not care who won or lost.  He was just happy that he had enough for two teams.  The more girls that work in the off season at soccer, the better his team will be in the fall.

While we were at soccer, Cam and Brett went bowling at the alley next door.  They were able to get in three games in an hour.  Cam is interested in having his birthday party there after trying it out.  It would be great place since he wants to invite both his friends from Milford and Bethany Christian.  After soccer the five of us went to see the much anticipated "Star Wars:  The Force Awakens."  Everyone has been talking about it and the reviews have been positive.

We all liked it, but one key part was extremely disappointing to me, Meg and Cam.  That skewed our opinion a little.  Cal went to see it with Jayce and Alex tonight as well.  The three of them had watched Star Wars movies most of the night last night and also were looking forward to it.  Cal loved the movie.  The part that I did not care for he felt was necessary for the story line.  I know he is right, but sure didn't like it.  The best part of the movie for me was the tie in to the original - A New Hope.  All of the characters were back along with answers to what happened to everyone after Return of the Jedi.  The ending of The Force Awakens definitely has me highly interested in the next one.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas Wrapping

Today was all about wrapping Christmas presents, making Christmas crafts, and waiting for Brett to get home.  I'd love to say that we are finished wrapping, but we're not quite there yet.  As we were organizing and wrapping I realized that I was several gifts short as well.  That made me a little anxious, but we still have six days and I should be able to get it all done.  We did make headway on the crafts and I am confident that those will be finished well in time for Christmas.

Brett made it home without too much traffic.  I-65 was the only slow spot.  He enjoyed his week at Bloomington and is looking forward to being home.  Last night he saw Mary Poppins again.  Cal and Doug spent the day in Indy.  Doug's boss bought tickets for them to go the the Crossroads Classic.  They saw an awesome IU vs. ND game.  IU was down most of the game, but made an amazing comeback and ended up winning.  Cal was thrilled as the ND fan behind him was obnoxious.  He quieted down once IU came back.  Butler beat Purdue, so all in all it was a good day for them.  They were home around 9:45 tonight.  It was nice to have everyone all together again.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas Break has Arrived!!

It's official.  We are now on Christmas break!!  The day was an easy one as far as school was concerned.  A lot of my students wanted to go to the gym and watch a basketball tournament.  The rest of us made gingerbread houses and played games.  I found R2-D2 cookies at Lance's and bought some for each class.  Those were a big hit as the movie opened last night.  My math class finished their required work for Algebra 1A, so we celebrated by eating snacks and watching Elf.

Cam got out at 2:30 this afternoon.  Mom and Dad were in Goshen meeting Dad's sisters for lunch, so they picked him up for me.  Meg and I went back to Milford so that she could say hello to Mr. Troyer and give Mr. Larson his Christmas gift.  It was a nice way to end the day and I couldn't have been happier to have made it through a busy, hectic week.

Doug and I went to dinner when he got home.  Mom and Dad then came up to play cards with Cam, Doug and I.  Preston was over for awhile.  He and Meg watched movies and played cards with us as well.  Cal went with Hannah Marie to the basketball game in Warsaw and was home early.  All in all it was a fantastic way to kick off break!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

No Sleep Til Break

Last night I was up at 3 a.m.  This is becoming routine for me through the week as I have been averaging 4 to 5 hours a night on school nights and then having horrible migraines on the weekend.  I realize that I cannot keep doing that.  Today I decided to go ahead and get up at 4 as I did not want to stay in bed hoping I would fall asleep.  That was only making me more and more anxious.

Thus, I did get a lot done.  I was able to catch up on my blog, transfer pictures to my new computer and complete all of the Christmas cards.  I also had a busy day at school making food with my students, shopping for my class, finishing pillows with my Warrior Time and reviewing math concepts with my algebra class.  At nine tonight I told Doug that I was exhausted, but I sure got a lot done.  He said, "I would too if I had been up for almost 20 hours."  That was reality for me.  This has to stop or my body will wear out.  I am hoping that Christmas break will bring me a lot of rest, so that the second half of the year is a lot more peaceful.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Intern

Cal has an internship at the high school as one of his classes this trimester.  We found out yesterday that he may have too much down time during it and would benefit from being busier.  Since a lot of his friends have internships during the same class period, some of the teachers and the LRC staff have complained about them being loud in the copy room or distracting others.

Thus, I asked Cal if he would rather come to Milford and intern for the second half of the trimester.  I wasn't sure that he would be interested, but he was more than ready to give it a try.  I know Cal likes to keep busy and feel productive.  Mrs. Blauvelt said that she would take him on as his intern and several teachers said that they could use his help.  I know I always have items for him to do, so we will give it a try and see how it goes.  At least our LRC staff will not complain about him as Mrs. Haines loves his personality.  I am thankful that he has this opportunity and appreciate the my co-workers supporting him in this endeavor.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


I had an appointment today, so I took the day off from school.  I spent several hours of it still working on school related items - shopping for my class, taking groceries in to school and grading papers - but it was nice to get a lot of Heinisch family items accomplished also.  My favorite part of the day was taking Cameron to school.  I do not get to do this often and I love his enthusiasm for his new surroundings.  He has definitely been a lot happier this year.

I also came up with a plan of how to handle the rest of this school year and thoughts for next.  The five classes and two Warrior times have been challenging to stay on top of.  I feel better today about the second half of the year and have hope for changes for next year.  Since I was already off for my doctor's appointment I was able to get in and get a haircut as well.  I had two inches cut off.  I am not sure it is noticeable, but it feels healthier.

In between grocery shopping, the doctor's visit and my haircut I was also able to clean Cal's room, put laundry away, wash towels and change bedding.  I have been working on pictures and got a lot accomplished there as well.  Cameron came home with a large red spot on the white portion of his eye.  Since it was close to his iris and was concerning him I called the doctor.  They were able to work him in at the end of the day.  I appreciate Meg going with us to keep us entertained.  Cam's eye is a product of the cold he has and should be fine.  Doug and I were sure that would be the result, but felt better having someone confirm that for us.  I realized today that teaching and being a support to the Heinisch family is challenging.  I definitely hope to change that situation next year and for now will focus on one day at a time.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Mean Girls

I have never understood why some girls can be incredibly mean to each other and not care that they are hurting others.  Even more fascinating to me is how these girls have friends.  I understand not liking everyone, but the name calling, backstabbing and gossiping that some girls spend their energy on is amazing to me.  My Mom would tell me that they do it because they are jealous or insecure.  She may be right.  My goal would be to raise a generation that does not feel threatened by one another and accepts others for who they are.  I know there are people out there like that and I believe Doug and I have raised the Heinisch children to feel confident and secure in who they are.  Maybe the majority of people are nice, caring and excepting of others.  It could be that the mean girls just get a lot more attention.  It could also be that I am more sensitive to it.  I do realize that boys are not always nice, but it just feels different with girls.  My hope is that all children feel good inside and grow up to be productive, positive members of our society.  It may be a tall order, but Christmas seems like the perfect time to make this wish.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Senior Year Semester 1 is Done

Brett finished the first semester of his senior year this week.  It has been a busy one for him as he not only had several challenging classes he also had an internship three days a week.  Brett made it through, however, and was glad that all of his professors decided to end a week early.  He turned in his last paper on Friday and hopes to earn a 3.5 this semester.

He spent this weekend doing what he loves best - meeting for dinner with friends, going to mass and watching movies.  He also planned a haircut and some housecleaning.  This coming week he will finish his internship, start the job search process and have time for Straight No Chaser, dinner with Parce and Mary Poppins.  He definitely is not in a hurry to come home as last I heard he was staying until the dorm closes Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Chess Champ

Cam finished first in the 5th grade division of the Goshen chess tournament today.  He also placed third in the 4th-6th grade section of the tourney.  His two friends, Kayden and J.J., also placed in the top ten.  Thus, Bethany Christian, was well represented as there were over 50 players in their age group.  Doug remarked afterward that he was very impressed with the amount of knowledge that Cam has gained this year in chess.  He realizes that this is a direct result of Cam having a chess coach at Bethany to teach him strategy and provide resources for him as well.  Cam also pushes his other classmates by challenging them to matches. has been a great tool also.  Since Cam is only 10 we have no idea what his interests will be later on, but for now Doug is enjoying being the "nerd chess Dad" that watches every move Cam makes.

Friday, December 11, 2015

White Elephant Party

Tonight Meg had her squad, fam, cliche, friend group over for a White Elephant Party.  Doug made meatballs and nachos for them and Mom made desserts and deviled eggs.  Everyone said the food was great and from the laughter that was coming from the basement it sure sounded like they had a lot of fun.  The gifts included a Minnie Mouse bath set, candy, a stuffed Emoji "ice cream" and Kaitlin even regifted Meg's white elephant present from last year - a framed ornament with a baby picture of Meg.

I am so glad that Meg has found a fun group to hang out with that support her.  Kaitlin and Meg have been together a lot lately and have developed a wonderful friendship.  Meg has been friends with Caleb since preschool.  I am glad that they have reconnected in high school.  Meg and Aaron have been friends since their early days of religion class.  Even though the church dissolved the high school group this year, they still make time to be involved in one another's lives.  Meg has been friends with Gabby the longest and shares so many wonderful memories from camp, school and many nights of sleepovers.  As I sorted through pictures this weekend to download to our new computer I believe that Meg has spent the most time with Preston over the past three years.  What an awesome group she has connected with.  I hope there are many more nights like tonight over the next four years.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Winter Arts Festival

Tonight was the Winter Arts Festival at Milford.  Somehow it was decided that we should have two festivals in the same school year which meant a lot of extra work for me.  I had to tag and have judged all of the projects from 1st and 2nd trimester in a short period of time.  I did have help from several students and Mrs. Horsmon, but it was still a lot of work.  The comments from parents and students were positive, however, as the pillows made a great impression on everyone.  I had one student made a life size pillow out of pajama pants and a t-shirt.  I also had one go above and beyond on his pajama pants.  It was nice to showcase all of their work.  I am just overwhelmed thinking about doing this again in May.

Meg and Preston had fun at the festival bothering Mrs. Skow and the band students.  They made it about ten minutes or so before she kicked them out.  Asking her to take a selfie with them was the final straw.  They stayed and watched the band play and then were helpful carrying pillows back to my room.  Doug was also able to help as his county council meeting was over early.  I appreciated him stopping by very much.  I was thankful that Mom and Dad could take Cam and Meg to tennis tonight.  I appreciate everyone chipping in on such a stressful evening.  I also was able to get an hour of math papers graded and updated while sitting in the cafeteria which put me ahead for tomorrow, all the while singing "One Day More" in my head!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Brett Meets the Governor

Today Brett had the most exciting experience of his internship career.  The office took him and several other interns to an opening ceremony of the I-69 addition.  While there he was able to meet Governor Pence and have his picture taken with him.  Brett said that no one enjoyed a celebration of a road opening more than he did today.  He has wanted to meet the Governor these past three years and has been close several times.  What a great way to end a gruelling semester of classes coupled with an internship.  He has gained so much knowledge and made wonderful memories as well.  We are very proud of him and his accomplishments.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Oboe Soli

Cam had his first band concert tonight and we were thoroughly impressed with how well he did.  He had a soli (a two measure solo) in the middle of Good King Wenceslas.  The beginning band played about six songs and Cam was front and center.  He has worked very hard on learning the oboe and is already talking about taking lessons in the summer to further his musical knowledge.  

We also heard the beginning orchestra, and intermediate band and orchestra tonight.  All played well.  Each child was dressed in white shirts, black pants and black shoes. They looked very nice.  Cam loved performing and we celebrated by having dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Mom and Dad drove us over and we met Doug at the concert, so we could come home together.  I was glad that Meg decided to go as well.  We had fun picking out the differences between her band experience at Milford and Cam's at Bethany.  We were definitely all impressed.  

Monday, December 7, 2015

Three Hour Delay

Today we woke up to what seemed to be good news - a two hour delay.  Cameron did not have one, however, but it was late start for him.  Thus, he did not mind going in.  It wasn't foggy at all in Goshen, so the trip over was no problem.  On the way, however, I received a text stating that we would now have a three hour delay.  This was the first one we have had since they were implemented in August.  I wasn't quite sure why one was called, but a lot of other schools cancelled and I definitely didn't want that.  It must have been worse in other locations.

I had a meeting at school at 10:30 a.m. so I made sure I left early.  I had no problem getting there, but the rest of the day was not as easy.  The delay changed the schedule greatly for the students and they just couldn't adjust to it.  By the time school started they were extremely hyper and never could seem to calm down.  The newness of the delay system and the fact that they would have to be in school until 4 p.m. reeked havoc in their brains.  Thus, it was hard to accomplish much.  We did get a lot done, but I spent most of the day feeling as though I had drank 10 cups of coffee.  By the time 3 o'clock rolled around I was more than ready to get Cameron and calm down a little bit.  Meg and Cal said that the high school was pretty much the same.  As chaotic as it was I would much rather have gone to school today than make it up later.  This is the third day we have had fog.  Guess we will see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Pictures and Memories

Yesterday was Jeanette's birthday.  She would have been 71 years old.  It was fitting on that day that I worked on the photo album from 2014 that featured her in quite a few of the pictures.  Cam looked at the book to help review it for me and said, "It doesn't make me as sad as it used to to look at pictures of Grandma Heinisch, but I still miss her a lot."  I know he speaks for all of his sibings in that statement.  Doug and Meg have both noted that it will never be the same in the Heinisch family without her.  I couldn't agree with them more.  Glad that I was able to finish the book.  We picked it up today after soccer.  It looks fantastic and will provide our family with a lot of wonderful memories of their time with her.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

West Lafayette

Cal asked us on Tuesday if he could go to West Lafayette to watch a Purdue basketball game with Hannah Marie today.  We waited to make sure that the weather was going to be alright and once we saw it would be close to 50 degrees we ordered them tickets.  They left around 10:15 this morning and made it there in plenty of time for the 2:15 game.  They parked at the library and walked around campus before they went to Mackey Arena.  Cal said that Purdue started off slow, but won easily in the end.  They had milkshakes close to campus before heading back home.

Brett was also in West Lafayette today as he had a meeting with the IU YAL and Purdue YAL group.  Brett is the documentarian this coming semester and went along to learn his position and meet with others.  Once he returned he ushered at the auditorium for Chimes of Christmas.  He said that it was very good and enjoyed both events today.

Doug and I went to Fort Wayne after mass tonight.  He had to lector and Cam and Meg served.  We both love going to 5 p.m. mass.  There were not a lot of people there, but more than 8 a.m.  Cam spent the night at my Mom's.  He and Grandpa Cutes got out the Christmas train and worked on magic tricks.  Meg ate dinner with them and then went to Kaitlin's for the night.  Doug and I stopped at the Jefferson Pointe mall before having dinner at Chop's.  We have discovered eggnog cheesecake.  It is fantastic.  We were back by ten, so Doug could watch the Big Ten Championship football game between Iowa and Michigan State.  I fell asleep, but he said it was a good one with MSU winning on a last second play.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Sewing and More Sewing

Today Mrs. Horsmon came in to judge the projects for the Winter Arts Festival.  The office needed the names a lot earlier than normal and we have missed several days of class due to students being pulled out for different programs and such.  Thus, today was a flurry of sewing and tying and tagging for the Festival.  I am happy to say that we completed a lot more than I envisioned that we would.  I believe I stood for five hours straight, but by the end of lunch we had every project tagged and judged.  I was even able to take Rachel to Subway as a small token of my appreciation of her help.

I found out at the FACS meeting Monday night that I am the only one in the corporation sewing with students.  I was pretty proud of that fact and felt that we have some great projects to show at the festival next week.  It was exhausting, however, and I spent a good portion of math class working on problems while sitting as much as I could.  I was thrilled when 2 p.m. rolled around today.

Ryden came over after school today to spend the night with Cameron.  They had a lot of fun playing Nerf guns, learning magic tricks and watching We Bare Bears.  Meg went to the basketball game with Kaitlin and Gabby.  She texted around nine and wanted to spend the night at the Fiscus'.  Doug took her over for me.  Cal went to the game with Hannah Marie.  Not sure what the theme was, but he left he wearing a Woopie Cushion costume.  Glad that everyone had a good time.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Junior Tennis

Cam started back taking tennis lessons tonight.  We were very fortunate as they are at the exact same time as Meg's.  I was able to drop all of them off and look for printer ink as we ran out last night just as Meg was printing her project for Honors Algebra 2.  By the time I got back Doug had finished exercising and we were able to watch them end their lessons.  Meg has really improved her serve and has been working on her footwork and net play.  Cam worked hard as well and only had one minor incident when he tried to kick a ball.  In a split second he was flat on his back with a banged up elbow.  He said that it didn't feel the best, but it was funny.

We went to dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings after tennis.  Tonight was boneless Thursday.  We brought Cal home some as well.  We also stopped at Shoe Carnival on the way back.  Meg needed a new pair of boots.  They had a sale - Buy One Get One Half Off, so I bought a new pair as well - black fur lined ones, so my feet do not freeze in winter.  We finished off the evening by completing the cereal puzzle we had been working on.  It was one of the more challenging ones I have ever done.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Wednesdays have become quite busy days for all of us.  Cal starts off his afternoon by playing basketball at the community center.  Tonight Rieder came home with him to get ready.  They have decided to get up a team for the Sunday league starting in January.  Cameron is also busy right after school as he has chess club.  He has started to play more students than just his classmates and is enjoying it very much.

While Cam is at chess I take Meg to piano and then pick him up for his turn.  They are both working on Christmas songs right now and have put a lot of effort into them.  I love listening to them play during this time of the year.  Once piano is over we head home for dinner and then Doug and Meg take off for tennis.  It's worked out very well so far as he exercises while she is there and Cam and I watch television or work on a puzzle or such.  Wednesdays are definitely one of the most tiring days of the week, but everyone seems to really enjoy their activities.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

What an Awesome Surprise!

Today Cam got into the van to give us his three positives of the day.  I knew he would be happy as his teacher, Mrs. H was back from her Thanksgiving trip, but there was even more to his day.  She surprised them by taking the class to the South Bend Chocolate Company for a tour and some chocolate treats.  They have been reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and this was a great tie in with the story.  Cam loved it and couldn't stop telling us all that he had done.  He even brought home his hairnet to show everyone.  I didn't know he was going, so I was surprised as well.  I love all that they are doing in his class.  Sending him to Bethany was one of the best decisions we have ever made.  Today was proof of it.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Long Day Back

Today was a long day back for everyone.  No matter how many days our break is, it just never feels long enough.  I did not sleep very much last night and neither did Meg.  That made the day even longer.  We both made it through the day and even our night commitments.  Meg had soccer and I had a FACS meeting at the high school.  Both went well, but we were more than ready for bed this evening.

Brett said he felt the same way as he had a full day with his internship and presentation in his Monday class.  Cal, Cam and Doug seemed to handle the transition better than the rest of us.  Cam has late start on Mondays, so that definitely helped.  The first day back is always the hardest, so hopefully tomorrow is an easier day.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Ready for Christmas

For the last three days Doug, Brett, Meg, Cam and I have been working on putting up the Christmas.  We bought a new tree this year and focused on that the first day.  The last two days we have been getting the rest of the tubs unloaded and by 1 p.m. today we were finally done.  The house looks really nice and it feels great to have it all finished.

Brett left this morning around 10 a.m.  He had a group meeting concerning a presentation for a class.  He felt a lot more relaxed than when he got here last Friday and is looking forward to being done in two weeks.  This afternoon Cam and I with Meg and Doug to Elkhart for soccer.  We went shopping while they were at the Rec Center.  Afterward we all had a late lunch/early dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.

Tonight Cam, Meg and I went to see Mr. Leininger's talk about his trip to Israel and Turkey.  It was very interesting.  They tried some traditional Middle Eastern food afterward.  As the evening wound down we worked on the Puzzle and watched some old movies on television.  We have had such a wonderful vacation and a relaxing break.  I cannot believe that it is over, but am glad that we were able to spend so much time together as a family.  Only fifteen more school days until Christmas break.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Mary Poppins

This afternoon Brett, Meg, Kaitlin, Cam, Mom, Dad, and I went to see Mary Poppins at Amish Acres.  It was by far their best show of the season, although I did really enjoy Smoke on the Mountain.  The play followed the book closely and Cam decided to start reading it when we got home.  Brett said he hadn't teared up that much at a musical since he saw Little Women for the first time.  I was impressed with how well they performed it and am looking forward to next season.

Tonight Doug and I drove to Fort Wayne to do some more Christmas shopping.  We were able to stop at Chop's for dinner as well.  Brett finished up his homework while Cam and Meg hung out here.  Mom and Dad stopped by to let us know that Cal won a Pat's Chicago Dogs gift certificate at the boys game when he hit a three at halftime.  He, Hannah Marie, Stephen, and Aubrey came over to play ping pong after the game.  Once they left Jayce, Alex and Gage stopped by until 1 a.m. or so.  It was fun listening to all of them banter back and forth. 

Friday, November 27, 2015


Doug couldn't wait to go see the new Rocky movie "Creed."  Today was the first that we were able to go see it and after spending the day working on Christmas decorations we were all ready for a break.  The movie was a lot better than I thought it would be.  I can't believe that they can still keep coming up with storylines, but they have.  Doug said this one was one of his favorites of the seven.  Cam didn't feel that it could really be called a Rocky movie as it was about Apollo Creed's son, but we did.
After the movie we stopped at Target to return some Christmas gifts we bought a couple of weeks ago.  They were a lot cheaper on Thanksgiving day and we appreciated the extra $200 we saved.  Everyone wanted wings so we ordered from Buffalo Wild Wings to bring home.  Cal spent the day with Hannah Marie Christmas shopping, but was here when we got back.  Kaitlin also came over after the movie and the girls enjoyed dancing and talking.  Mom and Dad came back over tonight to play Trumpet and Hearts.  Brett wanted to join in this evening.  He made it most of the way through Hearts and I took over from there.  Doug won this evening, but I won on a last second play at Trumpet.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving & Happy Birthday Grandma Jane

Today was a double celebration with Thanksgiving and my Mom's birthday.  Doug made a delicious traditional turkey dinner.  Although I do not eat turkey, I did find the mashed potatoes, noodles, stuffing and green bean casserole to be delicious.  Doug was the only one who enjoyed oyster dressing, but his carrot cake was a big hit.

After we cleaned up from dinner, we gave Mom her birthday gift.  Cam and Meg picked it out at Lowe's last week - a light up deer.  We originally thought about a flamingo, but the deer was a big hit.  My Mom has live deer that hang out in her yard throughout the fall, so the Heinisch children thought they would like having a friend.

The boys all played pool most of the afternoon.  We left around 4:45 for South Bend for some early Black Friday shopping.  The TV that I wanted to look at wasn't at Target, but we got saved over $200 on some Christmas gifts.  We stopped at the mall as well.  Brett and Doug were just along for the ride, but Meg found some great deals at Hollister.  I stopped at Yankee Candle and picked up a few gifts.  Cam made his big purchase at the Splat Ball cart coming home with a light bulb and strawberry.

Once we got home my parents came back over to play Hearts.  Cam beat us all before the night was over.  Cal got home later than we did.  He went to Fort Wayne with Alex and Jayce to go shopping.  He found a pair of Shaq socks on his trip.  It definitely was a traditional Thanksgiving in the Heinisch home.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

You're a Good Man Charlie Brown

Today Brett, Doug, Meg, Cam and I went to see the Peanuts movie.  We had heard good reviews and were not disappointed.  Charlie Brown was the focus and it stayed true to the original Peanut comic strips.  Kaitlin went with us and hung out here afterward playing Just Dance 2015 with Meg. They also found the High School Musical sing along game.  That brought back a lot of memories to me. Meg and I both had fun with that when she was in early elementary.

Doug spent the afternoon making sure he had everything he needed for Thanksgiving.  He started the carrot cake and preparing the turkey.  We played Clue this evening and for the first time in a long time I won.  The Heinisch children started racing to the room.  I didn't know where the murder happened, but after that I joined in their race and beat them all there.  We also had time for a game of Sorry.  Meg said that was her favorite game.  We only have the Disney version, but it was fun just the same.  Brett played Clue with us, but sat out on Sorry.  He has a lot of homework this break and is spending a lot of his time finishing it.  He only has two weeks left after Thanksgiving and cannot wait to be done.  Alex and Jayce were over for awhile.  The boys decided that dinner at Wings, Etc. sounded good and spent the evening in Warsaw.  What a great first day!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

And So It Begins

Today was a great way to kick off Thanksgiving break as we had a nice surprise this morning with a two hour delay.  Cam did not, but he decided that he would still go in at the regular time.  Bethany's rule is that students can follow their districts delays and cancellations regardless of what Bethany is doing.  I was not surprised that Cam wanted to go in anyway as he has really been enjoying school.  Doug played basketball this morning, so he was able to take him for us.

I for one was more than ready for a break and I believe everyone else was as well.  Brett left this afternoon to spend the evening marching in a parade in Albion for Pam Galloway.  Meg and Cam ordered Pizza King.  Cal headed to Fairfield to watch the first WHS game of the season.  Doug and I went to dinner at Huntington St. and then came home to take Cam and Meg on in Mario Kart. They had a great time making fun of me, but I finished 3rd in one race which is pretty good for me.  I could have finished dead last in every race.  It wouldn't have mattered as I was too happy knowing that we were starting a five day vacation from school.

Monday, November 23, 2015

One Day More

Even though we only have a two day work and school week, it sure felt like a long day today.  It could be because everyone was busy, me with library board, Doug and Meg with soccer, Cam with Evan and chess and Cal with homework.  Knowing that all we have to do is make it through one more day does help, but it felt to me as though the day just drug on and on.  I was thrilled when I pulled into the house tonight at 8:30 p.m. with the Les Miserables song "One Day More" playing in my head.  Luckily, we do not have a revolution coming, just a much anticipated Thanksgiving break.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Nerd

Today Brett, Cam and I went to Bethany Christian to watch the play "The Nerd."  Cam had seen a clip of it earlier in the week and wanted to try it.  Brett is always up for a play or musical, so we invited him along.  The first act was a little long and we weren't sure how it would wrap up, but by the end we absolutely loved it.  The ending was perfect and we enjoyed the 1970's slide show at the beginning.  It definitely was a comedy and the students did a great job with it.  There was even disco dancing at intermission.

After the play we made some quick stops at Target, Kohl's and Petco.  Brett needed pants and dress shoes and found both.  We met Doug and Meg at Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner.  They had soccer so they could not go to the play.  Soccer went well and both of them were happy with how Meg played.  Dinner was good and there was plenty of lively conversation going on.  Doug took Brett's car over and Meg, Cam and Brett all rode home together.  According to Meg they laughed all of the way home.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Let It Cheese, Let It Cheese, Let it Cheese

Meg started playing Christmas music several weeks ago.  I told her it was too early, but she and Cam have enjoyed it. Lately, they have been making up their own words to the songs and my favorite so far has been their version of Let It Snow - "Oh the weather outside is Cheesy, but inside it's so deCheesy.  As long as you cheese me so, Let it Cheese, Let It Cheese, Let It Cheese."  Today they could sing the song all they wanted as it did snow all day long.  It didn't change our morning plans, but by the evening the girls basketball game was cancelled and we were all snowed in for the night.

The day was not a total loss, however, as Cam was still able to make it to his chess tournament in Warsaw.  He played well and finished second in the 5th grade category only losing once and to the eventual winner.  Evan was there as well as his friends J.J. and Kayden from Bethany.  The boys had fun hanging out together and playing speed chess and anti-chess.  Doug took him over and I met him there at noon.  I enjoyed talking with Mary while we waited for the rounds to start.

Doug and Cal made it to South Bend for the Notre Dame basketball game.  ND won easily and Doug and Cal enjoyed going.  The snow was heavier in South Bend, but they did alright driving up and back.  Cam and Brett went to my parents for an hour or so.  Brett introduced them to his new favorite serious - Gotham.  Meg and Doug made dinner for everyone.  She made her mac and cheese from culinary arts and he made his own recipe.  They were both delicious.

After dinner we all played Clue.  For the first time in a long time I actually won.  Brett, Meg and Cam were arguing about who would make it to the dining room first and I beat them all there.  Meg bowed out after Clue and Brett, Doug, Cam and I played Rummy.  I forgot how much I liked that game.  We finished the night watching Amityville Horror with Brett.  It was a little unrealistic, but still creepy.  Hopefully, I will be too tired for it to keep me up tonight.  At least it wasn't The Exorcist.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Under One Roof

Brett made it home at 10 p.m. tonight for Thanksgiving break.  He was more than happy to be here and we were glad to have him.  It has been three months since all of the Heinisch family were under one roof and we are all looking forward to the holiday and hanging out together.  Brett and Meg spent most of the night talking about what they would do this week.  Cam had to go to bed earlier than they did because of his chess tournament tomorrow morning, but he got to greet Brett before he headed up.  Cal came down for awhile to discuss politics with Brett before he headed back up as well.  They both find Trump fascinating, but do not expect him to get the Republican nomination.

Doug and I made it up until 11 p.m.  I was impressed as we both had been working hard this week and exhaustion had set in hours before.  This week will fly by quickly, I know, but I am so glad that we will all be able to celebrate together.  Tonight was a good start.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Start of the Christmas Season

Tonight was our first event of the holiday season - Doug's company Christmas party.  It was held at Villa Macri's in South Bend.  I was excited about it as I picked lobster ravioli for my main dish which is one of my favorites.  The conversation was interesting and for awhile revolved around processing deer and diapers for Amish horses.  Don't know how I felt about the topics, but Doug got a kick out of them.

Macri's is a little over an hour away, so it was after 9:30 when we got home.  I didn't feel the best as I am not used to eating such rich foods.  Cam was just getting ready to go to bed when we got here.  Dad and he had played games and watched We Bare Bears.  Meg had tennis and FFA.  Mom was able to take her to both.  Cal had HM over, so I think everyone had a good time.  The only complaint I heard was that Cam's arm hurt form his flu shot.  I would agree with him.  This year they hurt worse than normal.  I keep reminding him that it is better than getting the flu.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Math, Math and More Math

Mastery Algebra has taken on a life of its own at school.  Right now students have to retest and requiz on every standard until they have 75% correct or higher.  Once they get to 75% they can keep taking tests and quizzes until the earn a 100%.  It is great in theory, but it has become more work than I can handle.  I spend my lunch hour and prep grading papers, making copies and coming up with make up work for those who have not mastered the individual standards.  I am also afraid that some of my students have not tried their best on each and every test and quiz as they know they can take it again and again.  Our class average on our current quiz was lower than normal which means it will take a lot of work over the next few days to get everyone caught back up.

For the past month I have had students in my classroom at Warrior Time, Lunch and Success time trying to finish homework, take tests and quizzes.  I love teaching math, but I do not believe I can keep this pace going.  I hope the time off over Thanksgiving break will give me a much needed break.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Almost Like New

Cam decided over the weekend that he wanted to have a taco Tuesday.  Thus, Doug stopped at the grocery and picked up ground beef and chicken and everyone was able to make their favorite tacos.  He has been asking us for different ideas for dinner and this was a good one.  We even had homemade guacamole.

After dinner Doug and I thoroughly cleaned the outside of our kitchen cabinets, counter tops and appliances.  Once it was done Doug put Old English on the nicks in the cabinet doors and by the end of our evening our kitchen was looking new again.  I appreciate him helping me as it cuts my time in half.  It was nice also to do something that wasn't mentally taxing.

Monday, November 16, 2015

I'll Sue Ya

Cameron walked around the house tonight singing the Weird Al line "I'll sue ya, if you put your Christmas decorations up way out of season."  Yes, we became that family tonight.  Not trying to push Thanksgiving out of the way.  It's just that today was the last of the warm weather for awhile and I was hoping we could take advantage of it.  Doug was great at getting everything together and I was able to help as well.  The tinsel pig looked fantastic outside with the snowman and presents, although Doug could have been heard to exclaim, "So with three light up Christmas figures do we get a free mobile home?"  Maybe it looks that way, but I sure do like them as do Meg and Cameron.  At least we live in a town where these do not look out of place.  We also put up lights on the tree out back for the first time.  It looks nice as well.  Tomorrow I need to stop by Shopko and pick up timers for the lights and we should be set.

It wasn't all about the Christmas season tonight.  Cameron and I kept Halloween alive as well.  Once Doug and Meg left for soccer he and I watched Twilight Tower of Terror.  It was a scary movie based on the ride of the same name at Disney's Hollywood Studios.  We enjoyed it more than either of us thought that we would.  Next on our list will have to be A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.  Then we can celebrate all three season at once.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

My 47th Birthday



Today was my 47th birthday and I had a great time celebrating it.  I loved the gifts that everyone found with my personal favorite - the planner! Turning a year older has never bothered me.  I appreciate all of the time I have with this group.  It has been a wonderful year full of new experiences, several vacations, and a lot of family time.  I am looking forward to the year ahead and all that it has to offer.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Shopping, Shopping and More Shopping

Doug and I left for Fort Wayne early this afternoon for a day of Birthday and Christmas shopping.  I finally found a new winter jacket and some boots to match.  I had a lot of coupons to use, so we started at Target then went to Yankee Candle, Barnes and Noble, Kohl's, Dick's and Lowe's.  We got a good start on our Christmas list and will have a new tree this year.  Every place was crowded, but we navigated alright.  While at Jefferson Point Mall we stopped at Bagglio's for an appetizer and DeBrands for a truffle.  Everyone at the mall was waiting for Santa to arrive and the tree to be lit.

After the shopping was done we stopped at Chops for dinner.  I didn't particularly like the risotto or the mac and cheese, but the dessert was delicious and free as it was my birthday.  I enjoyed spending the day with Doug very much.  I know that shopping is not his first love, but I sure appreciate his company.  It was a wonderful way to celebrate my 47th birthday.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday the 13th

Cam invited his friends from Milford over for a Friday the 13th party tonight.  Everyone but Ryden was able to make it as he was home with a fever.  Cam had a lot of scary activities planned for the evening - Ghost in the Graveyard, a visit by Slappy the Dummy, Green Sleeves and even a We Bare Bears marathon.  They had a great time and the only casualty was Chuckie, who is now known as Nearly Headless Chuck!  

Meg had her "squad" over as well - Aaron, Preston, Caleb, Gabby and Kaitlin.  They joined in a lot of the Friday the 13th activities plus had fun playing truth pong.  They talked about goinging teepeeing, but we talked them out of it.  All of Cam's friends and Gabby and Kaitlin spent the night.  The boys made it up quite a bit longer than the girls entertaining themselves with a game of Apples to Apples.  They even found out that Jack the Ripper was "inspirational."  Glad that everyone had a lot of fun and that Mom made so many cupcakes.  Not one was left by morning.  

Thursday, November 12, 2015

From Soccer to Tennis

Since Meg has decided not to play basketball this year she has had time to focus on tennis and soccer.  Last night she had a private lesson with her coach and today they spent an hour practicing drills.  Meg seems to really like it and after Thanksgiving Cam will be taking lessons as well.  They are both talking about playing team tennis in January and February as well.

Soccer is on Sundays and Monday nights.  She has already earned a varsity letter in soccer and we are extremely proud of her for putting in the work for that.  Now if she can make the varsity tennis team she will earn her jacket as a freshmen.  Either way we are proud of her dedication to the two sports she really enjoys.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day

Today was Veteran's Day and as proud as I am of my Grandpa for serving in World War II, I just couldn't muster the energy to attend the school's program this morning.  Cal ended up with a headache too and missed the high school one as well.  I know everyone means well, but the programs seem long and forced.  Cameron's school instead discussed Veteran's Day and presented information on what it means to be a veteran.  I like that philosophy a lot more than listening to a choir sing or TAPS being badly played by a middle school band student.  Meg did say that her program had some excitement in it.  A boy three rows behind her threw up all over the students in front of him.  The choir didn't even notice and just kept on singing.  She also reminded me about the white table ceremony that Mrs. Fiscus always does with the students.  That is impressive.

I do like what the high school decided to do this week.  They set a goal of raising $400 to send a veteran's family member to DC with him/her to see the World War II, Vietnam or Korean War monument.  The money goes to a national organization that assists with this program.  I know that Paw Paw and Granny would have loved doing that.  The World War II monument was impressive and I wish it would have been built ten years before it was so that we could have taken him there.  Although he could not go so see it, I am proud that we took the Heinisch children to visit it and have retold the many stories about his time in the service.  You didn't have to know my Grandpa long before you realized how much the 52nd Engineer Corp meant to him.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

It Has Arrived!

This afternoon the new washer I picked out at Lowe's about a little over a week ago arrived.   My Mom asked me if I was excited.  More than anything I was nervous.  I have had so many problems with the old one these past six months that it was hard for me to believe that I would be able to wash clothes without everything leaking all over the floor or that it wouldn't stop mid cycle because it could no longer drain.  After I read the manual I did run a load of towels.  It worked well and fit a lot more towels in it than my previous one.  I will wash my bedding tomorrow and than I will know for sure how much I will like have the new washer.

Monday, November 9, 2015


Tonight was the fall sports awards program at the high school.  Doug and I were able to sit together during the opening ceremony before they split everyone up for individual team awards.  As we listened to the jacket and watch winners one category caught my eye.  Every season Wik gives out an academic achievement plaque to the team with the highest GPA.  As the teams were giving Mr. Perek their tropheys, I was counting the stars by the tennis team member names.  I realized that all but four of the players and managers on the tennis team were scholastic athletes.  There were other teams that had quite a few scholar athletes as well.  Thus, at the end of all of the other awards I sat on the edge of my seat waiting for Wik's announcements.  He started off letting everyone know that for the first time in the history of the award (10 seasons) a boys' team had finally won what he believed to be the highest team honor.  As he announced the tennis teams name all of the boys stood up and cheered.  I was incredibly proud of them.  I had always hoped that Cal would be on the first boys team to win this honor.  I have always felt that Cal was an underrated student.  This proved that there was so much more to him than just being an athlete or leader of the cheer block.

After the group awards Doug went to the annex gym with the soccer girls and I went to the library for the tennis awards.  Vince and Shane had a lot of wonderful thoughts to share about Cal and how much the team would miss him.  They felt that he was a great team leader and competitor and would be hard to replace next year.  It was nice that they also thanked me for help with the food and Doug and I for providing the banners.  The best part of the night, however, was yet to come when they gave out the awards.  Cal was voted MVP by his teammates and concurred by his coaches.  Once again I was as proud as could be.  Cal wasn't even sure he would play this year.  Instead he became a team leader and had the best season record for the third year in a row.  I don't know if he was as happy as I was, but he did let me take pictures of him with his teammates and also his coaches.  I will miss all of this next year.  It was awesome to be a part of this team and all of the energy that Cal brought to it.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Home Again

We left Parce's by 8 a.m. this morning.  Cal wanted to get home early.  Doug and Meg had indoor soccer and Brett was busy with classes.  Thus, we thought we'd get up and go.  Meg and I didn't even get out of our pajamas.  The trip was quiet and fairly easy.  I spent a good portion of the afternoon getting the laundry done and unpacking.  Doug decided to work on the leaves.  He got a lot of them raked and burned before we had to leave.

Cal spent the afternoon hanging out with Hannah Marie and then went to play basketball with Alex and Jayce.  Cam and I went Christmas shopping while Doug and Meg were at soccer.  We weren't planning on buying anything, but once we saw the great deals that were going on at Target, we went ahead and bought a couple of things.  We made it back to the last half of Meg's game.  Meg played well, although her team was over matched.  Once the game was over we had dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.  It was a nice way to end a fun weekend.  

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Game Day

We were all up early this morning.  Brett, Doug and Cam really wanted to see the new James Bond movie - Spectre - before the IU football game.  Meg and I went along with them while Cal stayed at Parce's and watched ESPN game day.  The movie was a little long, but still good, especially the opening scene.

After the movie we followed Parce to the stadium.  Cal was invited to the IU vs. Iowa football game by the IU Office of Admissions.  Everyone hung out at Parce and Chokey's tailgate before Cal and Doug headed to the IU one.  Pregame activities included some good food, tossing the football and playing ring toss.  I couldn't believe all of the Iowa fans that were there.  They are undefeated this season, so maybe that was the draw to come.  The game ended up being a good one and Cal and Doug enjoyed it.  IU dropped a fumble that could have put them in a place to time with less than two minutes to go.

Brett, Cam, Meg and I did not make it to the game.  Once it started we headed to the IU bookstore.  Meg and I bought "IU ugly Christmas sweaters" and Cam found a great deal on an IU t-shirt.  The mall was our next stop.  Meg and I picked out four large tumblers from Yankee Candle.  Brett and Cam did some shopping at Hot Topic.  After quite awhile they finally agreed on a Nightmare Before Christmas shirt for Brett and a dinosaur shirt for Cam.  Target was our final stop before we headed to the Union for bowling.  Brett had the best first round he has in a long run and almost doubled Cam and Meg's scores.

After the football game Cal and Doug walked through campus checking out the various dorms.  It sounds like a lot of the direct admit business students live in McNutt as it is close to the business school and also the rec center.  We picked them up at Mother Bears.  We were going to eat there, but it was packed.  Everyone wanted to try Bucceto's for pizza.  We got right in and it was very good.  Brett ran into several of his friends there.  We also saw Femi, IU's soccer great that graduated from Bethany Christian.

Cal went back to Parce's to watch the Alabama game while we went to Barnes and Noble.  We stopped for ice cream at Jiffy Treat on the way out.  After that we were all ready for bed.  It was a fantastic day, but totally exhausting.

Friday, November 6, 2015

End of the First Trimester

The end of the trimester did arrive yesterday leaving today as a teacher day.  I spent the afternoon getting my room ready for next trimester.  I did get a lot accomplished this week despite the stress of the workload.

I picked up Meg after I left school.  She spent the night at Kaitlin's.  They walked to McDonald's for lunch and then stopped by my Mom's.  Cal hung out here most of the day.  He went to the girls game last night.  He hasn't been feeling the best, but is relieved the trimester is over.  He ended up with an 11.0 which is the highest he has had in quite awhile.  Meg also finished well earning an 11.2 GPA.  I was thrilled with both of them.

We were ready to leave as soon as Doug got home.  The trip down was very easy until we got on 37 in Martinsville.  It has been under construction for quite some time and doesn't look to be anywhere close to finished.  It only slowed us up about ten minutes, however and we were at Buffalouies by 8:40.  Brett was already there waiting on us.  We found a table upstairs and everyone enjoyed visiting and catching up.  I appreciated the fact that all six of us were together for a meal.

Once dinner was over Brett was ready to head back to the dorm.  He made plans to go to see Goosebumps later that evening and we were ready to get breadsticks and hang out with Parce.  He was up waiting for us and we all talked, unpacked and enjoyed Pizza Express.  Cam was the first one asleep.  I can't remember the last time that happened.  No one usually beats Doug to sleep.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Words cannot describe how stressful this week has been and to top it off today may have been the worst day of my adult life.  It should have been a celebration of the end of the trimester, but instead it ended with a lot of tears.  I cannot change today or the circumstances that led up to it.  All I can do is hope for a better tomorrow.  All that said, I have given a lot of thought to my plans for next year.  I do not know that I can return to teaching.  I know for sure that even if I do, I cannot teach FACS and math knowing that I have five different classes to prepare for and two Warrior Times to support.  I hope that I will be able to sleep tonight and that this weekend is the much needed time with family that I would very much enjoy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Meg started back at tennis tonight.  She will be taking lessons on Wednesday night from 8 to 9 and also on Thursday from 5:30 to 6:30.  Doug was able to take her this evening and both were very positive about the experience.  Cameron will start on Thursday at the same time after Thanksgiving.  Doug decided that we would get a family membership.  That way he can use the exercise equipment and also schedule court time to hit with Cam and Meg.

Wednesdays will be busy for us as Cam has chess after school and then they are taking piano lessons that night as well.  Both Cam and Meg say that they like it that way.  Neither like going straight to piano after school as they feel rushed.  I am impressed with their dedication to it.  Meg hasn't played in awhile because of soccer, but she just loves it.  Cam is into classical music and so far likes Beethoven the best.  He realizes that I am a Mozart fan, so he plays that as well.  We will see if we can keep up this schedule.  Night one was a good start!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

End of an Era

For the first time in fifteen years no one in the Heinisch family will be playing organized basketball this year.  There are times that I can't believe it and there are other times that I feel relieved.  It does make me sad that Cal will not be playing his senior year.  I can't help but blame the lack of support that he received from his coach for his decision not to return to the sport he loved.  It does make me feel better that he has found new avenues to play and enjoys those very much.  I am also thrilled that the coach that made his life miserable moved away.  I hated running into him as seeing him always left a bad taste in my mouth.

Meg also decided to move on from the sport that she had played since she was in kindergarten.  Her headaches and the commitment level required were more than she could handle this winter.  Eliminating one sport also gave her time for the two she really enjoys.  Doug and I were disappointed with the response we got from the coaching staff when he let them know that she would not be able to play.  She had worked hard at basketball and kept a program going at Milford when they didn't have much there for him just to dismiss her.  At least we know she made the right decision.

Cam was asked to play on the 6th grade team this year as a 5th grader at Bethany Christian.  He decided to pass on that this year and we were OK with that.  He has become involved in chess and will play tennis this winter and on their club team in the Spring.  We also thought with the extra time this winter we could take them skiing more often.  Cam may play next year, but for now we will enjoy a quiet basketball season and enjoy listening to Cal talk about IU basketball and his own intramural games.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Love This Weather

The weather this week is supposed to be beautiful, especially for this time of year. Meg and I decided to take advantage of it and go for a walk after school. It was the perfect night for it and we had a great time. I love catching up with all that she has going on and walking together is the perfect time to do that. We're both frustrated with the grade she has in Culinary arts.  Overall, this trimester however has gone a lot better then the last one in eighth grade.

Our walk was cut short tonight because of muscle spasms I have been having. Meg didn't mind however as she had soccer to get ready for and biology to study. Soccer went well for her and Doug.  There were 20 people there in total.  Cal had to work so Cameron and I were the only ones home. We watched some We Bare Bears and Simpsons Halloween.   The rest of the week looks as nice as today. We will enjoy that is all too soon it will be winter.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Leaf Season

This weekend Doug spent a great deal of time working on the leaves in our yard.  He cut down flowers and brought in a lot of the summer furniture as well.  Unfortunately for him, the leaf season at our house still has many more weeks to go.  We both love owning a wooded lot and having a multitude of trees on our property, but in the fall it does add a lot of work to his weekends.  I appreciate all that he was able to complete especially since he also had to cut up a tree that feel on Wednesday from our woods into the neighbors yard.  Fortunately, it did not produce any damage.

I spent a good portion of the day taking down the Halloween and putting out the Thanksgiving.  Jayce came out of the basement with Cal and said, "Oh man, that's sad."  Cam said the same thing when he saw the Halloween going into tubs.  We did not work all day.  I took Cam, Meg and Gabby to see Harvey at Amish Acres.  It was just like the one I remembered from Brett's high school days.  The girls had seen it back then as well, but didn't remember a lot.  They all really liked it although it got a little long.  Cam said that he was sure that Harvey was real.  Maybe he's right.

Cal let me take the rest of his senior pictures when I got back and before he left to play basketball at the elementary.  They looked great on my camera.  I haven't put them in the computer yet, but I know they will look nice.  Doug and I then went to Lowe's to look at washers.  We found the one I wanted with a built in sink.  I hope it works as well as I think it will.  They should deliver it next Tuesday and I won't have to fight with my current one anymore.  We stopped at Mad Anthony's for dinner.  It sure was dark on the way home, but well worth the time change as I will be able to drive to school in the light tomorrow.  I will appreciate that.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Trick or Treat

Today was the day that most children look forward to all year and the Heinisch children were no exception.  Meg and Cam had planned their costumes week before and made them on Thursday.  Cam has really been into the television show "We Bare Bears" lately.  Thus, he and Meg wanted to go as Grizz and Panda.  Cam bought a panda hat and bear gloves at Target.  They each got a new white t-shirt and used fabric paint to spell out "#Save Our Cave on the front.  They also made signs with the same slogan on Meg's and "This Cave, Our Cave" on Cam's.  It was an unique idea and I was proud of them for making their own.  Cal did go to Goodwill today to look for something new for himself, but decided to go with his standby the Woopie Cushion.

Brooklyn and Avery came over to trick or treat with Cam and Meg.  I do not know how many years they have gone together, but it has been a tradition for some time.  Brooklyn and Avery dressed as the Doctor and Marty McFly from Back to the Future.  Jayce, Cameron, and Harry all left with Cal at 5:30 to start their trick or treating even though it was earlier than the advertised time.  Cal had a white kitchen trash bag and said as he left "I'm not coming back until it's full."  Both groups did come back within an hour and a half happy with the candy they had already received.  Cal's group added Sam and took off for more.  Meg decided she was done.  It had rained and they had a full bucket of candy.  Cameron wanted to hand out candy and enjoyed that until the time for trick or treating ended.

Once Brooklyn and Avery came back over they played Five Nights of Freddy in the basement until Cal and his friends came back.  Doug made nachos for the boys and those were much appreciated.  The boys added Nick and Stephen before the night was over.  They watched football and hung out in the basement for most of the rest of the evening.  While the girls were reading Meg's writer's notebook and talking, Cam decided to watch Night of the Living Dead with Doug and I.  Cam made the movie a lot more enjoyable by mimicking the zombies as they "chased" the living and pointing out the flaws in the plans of those trying to escape from the undead. Earlier in the evening I heard one of the Heinisch children say, "This has been the best Halloween ever."  Glad that we could be a part of that.

Friday, October 30, 2015


Cam, Ryden, Preston and Meg all went to see the movie Goosebumps tonight.  Cam had already seen it with my Dad and liked it enough that he wanted to go again.  Preston had wanted to see it as well, so tonight they were finally able to make it to the uptown theater.  All of them really enjoyed it.  Meg said there were only about 20 people total at the movie.  I thought there would be a lot more as it is Halloween weekend.

While they were at the movie we went to dinner in town.  It was loud at Huntington's, but not as crowded as I thought it would be.  Cal had HM over to play Monopoly.  I think they had a good time until Cam and Ryden started playing Five Nights at Freddy's in the basement.  Preston scared them so much that Ryden screamed really loud.  Overall, everyone had a great night with friends.  Glad we could have them all here.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pumpkin Carving

Tonight Cam and Meg carved their pumpkins.  Meg made hers a cat and Cam picked one out of the book Godmother Jen sent us a long time ago.  Both did a nice job.  It always takes awhile, but each year it gets easier to finish them.  I bought a new spiral candle holder to put in them.  It worked even better than I thought it would.

Once we were finished Cam and I watched "It's a Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" and "Fat Albert's Halloween."  Meg is waiting for Saturday night when Brooklyn and Avery are over to watch them.  I love the scene in Charlie Brown when Linus says, "You didn't tell me you were going to kill it" when Lucy cuts into the pumpkin.  I also love the name they give Fat Albert on Halloween - Super Fats.  It always reminds me of Cal's fifth grade Up, Up and Away program when he wore his afro and red sweater.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Meg has been swamped with homework since we have been back and she only missed a day and a half.  She was actually glad that tennis was cancelled tonight because of the weather so that she could work on it.  Meg is a very conscientious student and prides herself on doing well in class.  Culinary Arts has been frustrating for her in this regard as it is a lot of paper work for an elective.  She has learned to try new foods, however, after taking the class.

Cameron only missed a couple of hours on Monday, so his work load wasn't much of anything.  He stayed after school today for chess club and had a lot of fun.  He played a 7th grader, and even though he got beat, he was proud of how he did.  Doug was able to pick him up for me as he was driving through Goshen at the time he was finishing.

Brett had to turn in his work before he left and only had one test to study for when he got back.  He has done very well academically this year and enjoys his 60's class a lot.  The Tsars class wasn't as exciting as he thought it would be, but he still has done well.  Brett likes to take the two and a half hour classes once a week.  I couldn't stay focused that long, but he said he does alright.

Cal changed his schedule for next trimester so that he could drop AP Biology.  He feels better about it as he will not get lower than a C in it, so he can be done with science.  He has an A- in AP Stats and a B in ACP English.  They have all been a lot of work, so next trimester should be a little easier.  He is also going to intern for Mr. Szynal next trimester.  He is excited about that.

Doug received good news today.  The project he has been working on that needs approval from the Canadian government finally was approved.  This has taken up a lot of his time over the last seven months.  I have been impressed with his patience in dealing with the situation.  My favorite moment was when he received a call about Canada while he was in the Canadian country in EPCOT.

I am almost completely caught up from being gone.  Next week is the end of the trimester and I have had to shop a lot for my class.  That has been time consuming, but at least there is no grading.  I should have some time on Friday to catch up even more as the 8th grade will be in jail.  Although it has been a lot of work for all of us this week getting caught up, it sure was a fun vacation and well worth it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Still Trying to Catch Up

I finally finished all of the laundry tonight and put away everything from the trip.  I bought a new wallet to match the purse I got last February.  Meg bought a lot less than she did on previous trips, but still found some nice shirts.  Cam bought the most and had fun showing all of his treasures to my Mom.  I let he and Meg sleep in yesterday morning as I knew it would be very hard for them to go to school on only a couple hours of sleep.  They were still tired today, but not as much as they would have been.  Meg was even able to make it to tennis last night and Cam went to Evan's and played chess.  We gave Cal his shirt and hat before he left for work last night.  He really like them.  I wish he would have gone with us, but I realize that it probably wouldn't have been as much fun for him.  I know he would have liked trying the food with Doug.  Maybe he will go next time.

Monday, October 26, 2015


After a short 5 and a half hours of sleep I was up getting ready for school.  It was definitely an exhausting day, but well worth it when I think of the wonderful time we had.  I made it through school alright and then had to go shopping for my class.  Mom picked Cam up for me and I really appreciated it.  I spent the time getting started on our laundry and unpacking.  I found that if I kept moving I did fine.

Unfortunately, I had a library board meeting tonight.  It ended up being two hours long.  Somehow that has to change or I am not going to be able to stay on the board.  I was in bed by ten tonight more than ready for a good night's sleep.  Still can't believe all that we did in a five day period.  Glad we got so many pictures.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Last Day

We had breakfast at the Innkeepers Club this morning before we left for Disney's Hollywood Studios.  We arrived at the park 15 minutes early and were glad that we did as they let everyone in before the park actually opened.  We were one of the first in line for Toy Story Mania and only had a short wait.  Brett decided not to join us and tried Rock N Roller Coaster one last time, but it was closed for the day.  Instead he rode Star Tours and then met Cam at Twilight Tower of Terror.  Meg and I went shopping at the Tatooine Traders.  We had been there earlier and saw a Storm Trooper ugly Christmas shirt that we knew would be perfect for Cal.  We also found a Boba Fett hat that we knew he would like.  Once we made our purchases and Cam and Brett rode Star Tours one last time we all headed back to the Boardwalk.

We finished our packing and marked our bags for the airline and those that we were going to use as carry-ons.  We ate lunch at EPCOT Food and Wine Festival one last time as well.  It was all delicious and everyone had their favorites one more time.  We decided that the Mexico ride should be our last one as it was our first one when we arrived.  Doug even joined us this time.  Meg and Cam really wanted to stop at the Innkeepers Club one more time, so we hung out there for a little while before we needed to catch the Magical Express.  Meg and Cam had spent the week watching their favorite Disney Classic Cartoon channel that they can only find at Disney World.  It wasn't on in the lounge today in lieu of football, but I think they had gotten their fill earlier.

The Magical Express was late, but we were all on the same one.  Orlando airport is very big and it always takes awhile to get through security.  We found a place to eat some dinner and then waited with Brett at his terminal as he flew out twenty-five minutes before we did.  His plane was over booked and I was afraid that it would be delayed, but it left five minutes early.  Our plane was completely full again, but left on time as well.  I tried to sleep, but it was too bumpy.  I never found myself scared, however.  Watching Pride and Prejudice really helped as well as being able to track our flight on my phone.

We were able find our luggage fairly quickly.  Luckily, Meg recognized one of the bags that had lost its green H duck tape mark.  We were extremely fortunate that our shuttle was parked outside the baggage claim area waiting on passengers.  We caught that quickly and were in our van within ten minutes.  The drive home was uneventful, just tiring.  We stopped in Westville for something to eat and pulled into our drive at 12:45 a.m.
We definitely maximized our fall vacation.  It was exhausting, but well worth it!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fantasia Mini Golf & Downtown Disney

We started the day at Fantasia mini-golf in the hope of beating the crowd.  Even though we were there shortly after the course opened we still had almost a twenty minute wait.  Everyone wanted to play the Gardens course as we played the Greens last time and they like the Gardens a lot better.  It was definitely hot, but we had a great time.  Everyone had one or more hole in ones and an equal amount of maximum stroke holes.

We walked back to the Boardwalk for snacks and then on to EPCOT.  Brett tried lamb in Morocco for lunch while the rest of us had samples from other countries.  Doug gave Meg some sushi.  I was impressed she took a bite, but it definitely was not her favorite.  Cam's new food was buttered chicken in Africa.  He also liked the egg rolls in China.  While we were searching for food, Brett spotted Daisy.  Cam did not have her signature yet and we waited only a short while for her.  We decided that we would try the Disney Visa character spot as well and were glad to find Pluto there.  Cam saved one last spot for Mickey Mouse on his hat.  Thankfully the line was short and we were able to meet him as well.

After EPCOT we rode the bus to Downtown Disney.  They made some changes to it, but our favorite stores were still open.  Because the bus ride takes awhile we only spent a little over an hour there, but found some great souvenirs and had time to visit Goofy's Candy Co. as well.

Our last adventure of the evening was Magic Kingdom.  It wasn't as crowded as the Halloween party, but there were definitely a lot of people at the park tonight.  Cam and Meg found LeFou's brew at Gaston's Tavern and we checked Jungle Cruise off our list.  Brett was happy to visit Philharmagic  one last time and we did some shopping at the Emporium on our way out.

I noticed that tonight we were all extremely tired, but we still made it out past midnight.  Cam and Meg have said several times that they are not ready to go back and I would agree with them.  It will be sad leaving tomorrow afternoon.  I am thankful that we have a late flight.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

We left for Animal Kingdom this morning early as it was open before the rest of the parks.  We really enjoy going to this park, but it definitely is only a half day experience for us.  Besides our favorite rides - Dinosaur, Expedition Everest, A Bug's Life, and Kilimanjaro Safaris we decided to give Festival of the Lion King a try.  We had not seen it in several years as they changed the venue and just reopened it.  It was as good as we remembered and left us ready for our last adventure - Kali River Rapid Ride.  For the first time in forever I joined in the fun.  Meg kept telling me that whoever sits with Cameron will get soaked.  I claimed that I wouldn't be the one and agreed to sit beside him.  I would love to say that Meg was wrong, but she was absolutely correct.   As the first drop started it looked like we would be in the clear, but a quick turn and we went down backwards and took the brunt of the wall of water that hit our boat.  We rode back to the Boardwalk soaked, but full of some great stories.

We stopped by the Innkeepers Club for snacks after we changed and then headed to EPCOT.  We have found that touring the countries for lunch is the best time to be there as the crowds are a lot smaller.  Once again we all found some delicious food to try although we skipped the Mexico ride this time as the line for that was the longest I have ever seen.  After lunch we wanted to rest at the hotel before our big adventure of the night.  Meg and Cam used the time to swim at the Luna Pool.  It is not as big as Storm-A-Long Bay, but it is a very nice pool and they enjoy the clown slide.

Tonight we had tickets for the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.  It had been at least ten years since we have attended.  Cam wore his Obi-Wan-Kenobi outfit and we were impressed with how many people young and old were dressed in their favorite Disney or Star Wars characters.  We rode several of our favorite rides while we were there, but for the most part we focused on the Halloween events.  We were able to trick or treat all over the park and eventually stopped as our bags were full.  The Halloween show was a bit hit of the evening.  It starred the women of Hocus Pocus and at first we weren't sure if we would like it, but once the Shadowman arrived we all knew it would be a great night.  Brett's favorite character, Oogie Boogie was the next to arrive and started off a list of villains that we all liked.

Once the show was over we made way to the parade.  Once again it was a wonderful event albeit a little slow moving.  The villains were a bit part of the parade as well as many other Disney characters.  I talked everyone into going to the Haunted Mansion after the parade.  It was as creepy as ever and afterward we took a family picture complete with ghosts.

As we walked through the park we ran into a long line for Sally and Jack Skeleton.  Cam didn't want to wait to meet them, but Brett did.  We knew it would be about an hour, so we split up and Cam and Meg rode Goofy's Barnstormer before we went on a one way treat trail to Tomorrowland.  They rode Space Mountain and then met Buzz Lightyear.  Cam was excited to get another signature on his hat.  From there we met back up with Brett.  He was thrilled to have met two of his favorite characters.  Meg and Brett split up from us and went to Big Thunder Mountain.  Cam then had his best character experience of the night.  He got to meet Cruella deVille.  She was my favorite of the evening as she was funny, flamboyant and larger than life.  Cam had a great time with her as well.

We met backup with Meg and Brett in Adventureland.  Before the night was over we also had pictures with the Genie and Jasmine.  The Genie is supposed to be one of the hardest characters in Disney to find.  We walked through the shops on the way out thrilled with our experiences of the night and happy that we made the decision to return to the party.