Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve

Last night Doug and I went to Kelly Jae's to celebrate all of his hard work these past few months.  It was nice to spend the evening with him and talk about 2017.  We originally talked about taking the Heinisch children shopping and out to dinner.  Those plans fell through when our sink in the kitchen dropped from the granite.  Doug called a plumber, but he wasn't able to fix it.  He was able to take care of our toilet upstairs that would not flush properly, however.  Doug tried the granite company next, but they only had a recorded message.  Syl told him to call Dale.  I was so glad that Doug did.  Dale agreed to stop by on his way home from Plymouth.  He was able to reattach four of the clips and showed Doug how to do the last two.  It was well worth the wait as the sink was fully usable by 6 p.m. last night.

Today we left for Fort Wayne around 11:15.  Cal decided to hang out with HM instead, but the rest of us were ready for a day of shopping.  Doug wanted to go to Jefferson Point Mall.  It was a beautiful day to be outside, but very windy.  We had lunch at Biaggi's which was delicious.  Brett has become a lot more adventurous and tried crab stuffed haddock.  The rest of us had pasta dishes without any complaint.

Once we finished lunch we scoured the mall for GameStop.  Luckily, Brett was just there a couple of weeks ago and could find it for us.  Cam had a gift card to spend and Brett wanted to trade in some games.  The line was long, but it moved quickly.  Once we finished there we headed to Barnes and Noble.  I had given Cal the book Carrie for Christmas, but he already had it as a short story inside another Stephen King book.  Instead he wanted Misery and we were able to purchase the last copy.
I wanted to stop at Yankee Candle as they were having a huge year end sale.  I picked out six candles that should work well this Spring.  We also had time to stop at Kohl's before heading home. Meg had a gift card to spend and Brett needed dress clothes.  Target was our last stop before heading back.

As it was still the afternoon we decided to try Tippy Creek Winery.  Brett had gotten Doug a bottle of wine from there for Christmas and wanted to go back.  We had fun trying some wines and were able to play Outburst while hanging out.  Meg, Cam and I gave them a good run, but Doug and Brett were the winners.  The video of their animal sounds was a favorite of Meg's.

Hannah-Marie and Cal drove in shortly after we got home.  She had a gift for me that I greatly appreciated - two winter Yankee Candles.  It was perfect timing as two of mine were almost at the end.  They finished off our leftovers while I ran Cam over to Evan's.  Gabrielle had texted Meg while we were at the winery and invited her over as well.  We all played games here for the rest of the evening.  Cal and HM joined us until he left for a class of 2016 reunion at Caleb Glon's.  Brett decided to give up on the games after beating Doug and I at Sequence.  Dad, Mom, Doug and I then played Euchre.  I forgot home much I loved playing that game.

Brett rejoined us at 11:30.  We had to wrestle the remote from Doug as he fell asleep ten minutes before the ball dropped.  He did wake up in time to switch it for us.  It was a nice end to 2016 even if it was quieter than normal.

Friday, December 30, 2016

A Done Deal

It's official!  Doug's company has been sold.  He was more than pleased this afternoon when he got home from work.  He was the only one who had to go in as there were a lot of accounting details to finish up and money to transfer.  He didn't mind as the the purchase should benefit him as well.  It also sounds as though Doug's title many change, but his duties and such will remain the same.

Doug has now been at Renegade RV longer than anywhere else he worked except for PVC.  It has been a good fit for him and works well with his soccer schedule.  He also is able to help take or pick up Cameron as he drives right by Bethany on his way to Bristol.  Life works in mysterious ways.  Early this Spring Doug had an interview with Pollywood.  We thought that would be a nice fit as it would have been close to home.  In the end staying at Renegade was the best option.  My Mom always says that everything happens for a reason.  She was more than correct in this instance.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Friends & More

So much fun at the Heinisch home this break.  Today was more of the same.  Around 4 we picked up Cade and Preston to hang out for the day.  Doug had to work, but on his way home he was to pick up pizza for everyone.  Aaron stopped by after practice.  He, Meg and Preston had planned on going out to a movie, but we had to cancel that as a snow storm was predicted for later in the evening.  They had fun anyway playing ghost and the graveyard with the boys and laughing non-stop.  Cade and Cameron spent a good deal of time trying to complete the water bottle challenge on the stairs and playing Wii U.

Jody and I were able to connect tonight as well.  We had wanted to go out over break and this was the only night that I didn't have a family commitment.  We caught up on life and enjoyed talking.  It has been a sad week reflecting on the Conrad's accident.  It was nice to talk to someone who understood exactly how I felt.

We were home early and I was glad to see that Cal and Brett were here as well.  The snowstorm prediction had come to fruition and the roads were slippery.  Brett tried to go to a prayer vigil, but the weather detoured him.  Aaron and Preston had to leave early because of the weather, but were still here until close to ten.  Cade planned on spending the night, so that worked out well.  While I was out Doug had time to exercise, work and clean up some of the Christmas.  I greatly appreciated that as I had started on a lot of it, but also had laundry to catch up on.  It may not have sounded like the best day ever in the Heinisch family, but it was an enjoyable one for all of those involved.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


We made it to Newman Center by 9:30 this morning.  The wedding was at 10 and Doug wanted us there early.  It was almost surreal when we walked into the church.  We had not been to mass there since Jeanette's funeral and a flood of instant memories returned.  There were definitely differences, however, from that August afternoon in 2014.  Poinsettias decorated the church instead of peace lilies and a photographer was busy taking pictures.

We greeted Maury and Emey before taking a family photo.  Pictures of the grandchildren were taken next as well as one of Carl and the boys.  We met the priest and Brett practiced his readings.  As we took our seats in the pews behind Carl the pianist started Cannon in D for the processional.  I watched Marina walk down the aisle and then turned to Meg.  It was at that time that I saw the tears rolling down Meg's cheeks.  I soon joined her with tears of my own as did her Aunt and cousins.  I thought of the two little girls running through the house last night looking for their beloved "football" poster.  It dawned on me as we sat in that church watching their Grandpa get remarried, that they weren't really looking for their poster or crafts or even photographs.  They were looking for their Grandma at least in spirit.

The girls had found her spirit in mass today and that was when the tears started.   I couldn't blame them for crying as memories of my own beloved Grandfather came back to me and the tears I shed at his funeral.  It was the shared conversations, the stories he told, the support that he showed me and my family, his love  - that was what I was crying for.  It was what the Heinisch grandchildren felt today even though they did not all show it with tears.

The wedding mass continued with the priest giving a nice homily talking about family and never forgetting the past.  Carl talked of the spiritual connection that he felt with Marina and the hole in his heart that she helped fill.  He also talked of joy and the commitment of marriage.  Tears came down even harder at that point for some.  As we headed to the luncheon afterward Doug, Cal and Cam talked about their favorite memories of Grandma Heinisch.  Meg and I still had tears to dry before we were ready to join in.  Brett had done such a wonderful job with the readings today,  I finally asked him how he could stay composed through it all.  He summed up the feelings of the day perfectly with "I am truly happy for Grandpa Heinisch.  Until today, however, I did not realized how much I missed Grandma Heinisch."  Being happy for one person while your own heart is breaking, that is the true definition of bittersweet.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

You Can Go Home Again!

It was a very busy day for all of us.  We had to make it to piano, oboe and pack for DeKalb.  Doug wanted to leave as soon as he got home from work and we did our best to be ready.  He ended up staying a little longer than he thought, but we had everything done by the time he pulled in and were on the road by 5 p.m.

Traffic was light on the way to DeKalb.  Our plan was to make it there by 7:30 central time so that we could join Phil, Carl, Marina and Dan's family for dinner.  We had no problem making it there on time.   It had been over 2 years since the last time all of the Heinisch boys and their families were together at Carl's home.  I didn't really think about that until we sat around the table eating pizza and sharing stories.  So many shared memories - not all remembered by each member of the family, but fun to hear just the same.

The guys headed to the basement to play pool after we ate.  Addie and Meg spent the rest of the evening searching through the house looking for crafts that they worked on when they were last together.  They were sad to find none of them - especially a beloved "football" game that they drew on poster board with their feet and toes as stencils with Grandma.  The bonus for them though was the photographs that they found from Dan, Phil and Doug's childhood.

After several hours of catching up and a lot of laughter (and trash talking from Uncle Dan), we headed to the Hampton Inn on the other side of DeKalb.  Carl had paid for two rooms for us, which Meg and I really appreciated.  Cal tried the fitness room, Doug ironed, and Brett, Meg, Cam and I played Oregon Trail.  Meg talked about her Grandma Heinisch a lot once the boys went to their room.  She found it sad being in the house, but was happy that everyone was together again.  Jeanette would have loved knowing that all of the Heinisch grandchildren were measured on her wall and we got each and every one of them to smile in the picture on the stairs - priceless.

Monday, December 26, 2016

No Words

Yesterday was a wonderful Christmas.  Everyone seemed to really enjoy their gifts and had a lot of fun playing games.  Once Cal left for the Lamles, Doug, Mom, Cam and Brett decided to play Hearts.  Before Meg and I headed to the basement for a round of Missile Command on my Atari I decided to open the kitchen window.  The weather was warm for Christmas Day and our house had heated up from all of the afternoon cooking.  With the windows open our house began to cool off, which I appreciated, but it also brought an unsettling sound - sirens.  I remember telling Doug that it didn't sound good.  I even said, "I hope it's a fire."  That may sound insensitive, but over the years there have been a lot of accidents on Bowser road.  From past experience I have come to realize that those can be quite serious.

As the night wore on we continued the game playing trying out Grandpa's new Wheel of Fortune board game and Meg's Oregon Trail card game.  I noticed that several hours had gone by and the sirens continued.  At that point I became more nervous.  Cal had left just before they started.  I texted him and he answered almost immediately.  I was glad to hear that Hannah-Marie loved her moose complete with hunting cap.  I was also relieved to know that he made it there safely.  At that point Mom and Dad headed for home and the rest of us grabbed the Wii remotes for a game of Mario Kart.  Mom did text me to let me know that it was as I feared, a bad accident.  Bowser road was closed.  I then decided to put my phone down and just focus on the game.

I left my phone on the table for the next couple of hours.  After my normal defeat at Mario Kart, Doug and I started the 1950s version of A Christmas Carol.  I decided to text Cal back as it was past 10 p.m. to see his plans for the rest of the evening.  He had already sent me a message.  I read it over and over, before I shared it with Doug - "Stephen and Kim Conrad died."  I felt like someone kicked me in the stomach.  I had just spent the week teaching with Kim.  She filled in for one of the 6th grade teachers who was out on an extended leave.  We had talked and taught together just like when I volunteered in her room or subbed at Syracuse elementary so many years ago.  Kim went Christmas caroling with our students at the nursing home on Tuesday and listened to their research presentations giving positive feedback all along the way.  In between class periods she let me know that she really had to get on one of the classes.  I wasn't surprised knowing the dynamics of the class, but enjoyed listening to her demonstrate her teaching style with even the most challenging students.  I spent the rest of the night sitting in disbelief thinking of our conversations over the past week.

Cal must have felt the same way as he came home shortly after Doug called him to get the details - someone drag racing came up the hill at Crazy Corners in the wrong lane and hit the Conrad car head-on.  I couldn't imagine a worse way for their family to end Christmas Day.  As the evening turned into a new day Brett, Cal and Meg shared stories and memories from that time period.  It was nice to hear them talk.  Some of the memories they shared were familiar, some were new.  Meg stayed up talking to me the longest.  It was well after midnight when she looked at me and said, "Mom, I've been thinking.  That could have been any of us."  She was right.  Life can change in a blink of an eye - what a tragic reminder.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Day

Now that none of the Heinisch children believe in Santa, we can actually set a rule that no one gets up before 9 a.m.  Everyone seemed to appreciate that this morning.  Cam did set his alarm so he didn't sleep too late and it only took Doug ten minutes or so to get Cal out of bed.  The Heinisch children always start with their stockings and enjoyed the candy and oranges that were left for them.  Cam was the elf this year making sure that everyone had a gift to open at the same time.  "Santa" gifts were first this year and much appreciated - iPhones for Brett and Meg, a Star Wars Lego for Cam and a BB-8 drone for Cal.

The Heinisch children enjoyed opening the rest of their gifts as well especially the ones from their siblings.  Cal and Brett insisted on buying their own this year with their own money.  I went out on a limb and got Doug new outside running clothes for cold weather and a popcorn popper.  He liked them even more than I thought he would.  He hadn't given me many ideas, so I was glad.  Doug and the Heinisch children scored points with their gifts to me - a Fantastic Beast plush blanket, a book about real princesses, a sweater, crochet set, pajamas, a FitBit and more.  I appreciated their thoughtfulness.

Mom and Dad came over around 1.  My parents enjoy giving everyone money and hiding it in their gift.  They did a great job with Cal's as it took a hint from me to help him find it.  After gifts we had a delicious ham dinner made by Doug and desserts baked by Grandma Jane.  The rest of the afternoon was spent playing pool, watching NBA and trying out the new board games.  Cal left for HM's late in the day and Mom and Dad went home around 8 p.m. or so.  It was a wonderful day to enjoy with family and celebrate the birth of Christ.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

A New Tradition

On Christmas Eve there are so many traditions that the Heinisch family has come to enjoy.  The morning always starts off with cookie baking with Doug.  After that there are usually last minute gifts to wrap and then time to get ready for children's mass.  We have a new priest this year, but mass remained the same with the children gathered around the nativity.  After mass we open Godparent gifts.  Following the gifts we start a light dinner of summer sausage, cheese and crackers while watching It's a Wonderful Life.

Today was followed the same pattern of Christmas Eves of the past except for the one new tradition Cameron started.  While demonstrating a baseball stance in Super Mario he leaned back a little too far and took out the Christmas tree.  That ended the game for awhile, but thankfully only a couple of branches were damaged and no gifts were lost.  After thinking about it, this actually may not have been a new tradition.  Brett face planted at Christmas Eve mass a couple of years ago and Cam ripped his pants while kneeling for a picture by the tree last year.  Maybe falling down is a Heinisch family comedy tradition.  No matter what it made the day even more memorable.  All too soon they will be off with their own family making their own traditions.  Therefore I will enjoy this day all the better.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Miles Lab

Doug had the day off today and wanted all of us to try a restaurant that he had been hearing a lot of positive reviews for - Miles Lab.  It was in Elkhart close to NIBCO field where Meg plays 7 on 7.  The decor reminded me of Maria's in North Webster, but the menu was different.  Everyone at Doug's work raves about their hamburgers, so three of us decided to try one.  Doug's had a fried egg and bacon on his.  Mine was more traditional with just bacon and cheese.  Cal was the most adventurous trying fried egg and peanut butter!!  We were all three happy with our choices as were Meg, Brett and Cam.  She had the grilled cheese, Cam the grilled chicken and Brett had the best fish he has had since returning  from New England.  My favorite part of lunch was listening to the Heinisch children remininse about Christmas gifts over the years.

After lunch we all stopped at Target for some last minute shopping.  We made it home just as the drizzling freezing rain started.  I was glad that we were in town for the rest of the night.  Doug made dinner for everyone and Cam, Meg Brett, and Cal watched Rugrats Santa Experience and Garfield's Christmas.  Afterward Cal headed over to HM's.  I still had laundry to finish, but we even put a Christmas flair on that as Meg and I watched "Meet Me in Saint Louis."  Later in the evening Brett, Cam and I played Blockus and Sequence.  Doug tried to make it up through A Christmas Carol, but only I did.  Cal was home before it was over and he and Cam enjoyed more Mario Super Sluggers.  What an enjoyable way to spend the day before Christmas Eve.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Day One is A Lot of Fun

Cal took advantage of Hannah-Marie's first day of vacation by taking a trip with her, her niece and Alex to Chicago.  It was the first time he had taken the train and he said it worked well even though he was out the door before the rest of us were up.  Doug did have to work today and had a productive day.  He had inventory yesterday and tied up a lot of loose ends today.

Meg and I went to Amanda's to get our haircut after lunch.  I have gotten a lot of nice compliments on it since I have cut it shorter.  The only downside was that I have to get it cut more often.  After our haircuts I dropped Meg off at the bowling alley for a surprise birthday party for one of her friends.  I spent the rest of the afternoon playing games with Brett and Cam.  Cam and I finally figured out how to beat balance boat expert level.  The three of us also finished my favorite Christmas special - A Year Without a Santa Claus while playing Jedi Unleashed.  

Doug picked Meg up on his way home from work.  She had a great time, but wanted to go to tennis tonight.  Her foot was a lot better.  She couldn't run sprints, but she could do tennis drills without a problem.  Doug and I went to the new Italian restaurant in Warsaw while she was at her lesson.  It was very nice and we enjoyed the change of pace.  Brett and Cam picked up Meg at tennis and then went to Steak and Shake for dinner.  They had a lot of fun.

We all beat Cal home but not by much.  He had a fantastic time.  They went to the Bean, ate lunch at Gino's and did some shopping.  He was pretty proud of his new Space Jam shirt.  I was glad that they had fun and made it home safely. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Home Sweet Home

Christmas Break officially started at 3:20 today and I couldn't be happier.  The school day went well with a breakfast in the morning and Christmas math through the day.  Now, however, the entire Heinisch family can spend some family time together and relax.  We began our vacation by finishing our Christmas shopping.  I still needed one more gift for Brett and Cam, Meg and I found it pretty easily.  Meg and I then bought food for the weekend while Cam was at tennis lessons.  I had time while he finished up to grade the last of my papers for the week.  I do not plan on doing anything for school before January 3rd.  That was a nice feeling.

Meg did not stay for tennis tonight.  Her foot is better, but not well enough to run on it.  She actually has had to walk on the side of her foot which has bothered her ankle.  Today she fell down the stairs in school because of it.  Without tennis she was able to join Brett, Cam, Doug and I at the bowling alley for trivia night.  My parents met us there as well.  It was a lot of fun playing together.  The questions all revolved around Christmas categories.  We had the lead going into the final question.  We were positive about our final answer - the hometown for A Christmas Story.  Doug picked Gary and we were sure that was it, but it actually ended up being Hammond.  It made sense when we heard it.  None of us were too disappointed, however, as we still finished 3rd and received a $5 gift certificate and more plastic cups.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

One Day More

One more day until Christmas break and I am definitely ready.  It is hard getting ready for Christmas and still have school.  We've done pretty well with it and Meg and Cam helped finish up the rest of the shopping tonight after piano.  Their reward was a Ben's Pretzel.  As a Christmas bonus the employee gave them an extra one in addition to the one they bought for Brett.  Cal wasn't up for pretzels as he and HM decided to go see Rogue One tonight.  They thought it just as good as Brett and Cam did.  I can't wait to see it.  Another good reason for Christmas break to hurry up and get here.  One Day More!!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Snow Day

Today was technically a snow day, but it was really called for extreme cold weather.  The actual temperature set a record low and the window chill doubled it.  Cameron already had the day off as his Christmas break started on Friday.  I had taken the day off to get Meg to a doctor's appointment, so it didn't make much of a difference to me.  Meg appreciated getting to sleep in, but she actually only wanted a two hour delay.  She had a vocab test in English and a quiz in Chemistry that she just wanted to get over with.  In the end, however, she was glad for an extra day to rest.

Cal spent his afternoon lifting, eating lunch at Grandma's and playing basketball with his friends.  Meg, Cam, Brett and I went for a late breakfast/early lunch at Maria's.  I was afraid it would be closed, because of the weather, but it was actually packed.  The food was good and we enjoyed hanging out together.  On the way home we stopped at CVS for a few items.

Meg's doctor's appointment was at 3.  We ended up being there close to an hour and a half, but we got a lot resolved.  Dr. Clouse increased Meg' iron tablet to 65 mg.  She also took a look in the ears that have still been bothering her.  She said they were plugged, so the nurse did a treatment on them.  Each one had a part of an ear plug stuck in them.  The water washed them out without damage and instantly Meg could hear better.  We had taken her in before for the same problem, but they were sure that it was an ear infection.  Glad to have that problem resolved.  She also treated Meg's Planter's Warts on her foot.  They have increased over the past year and it was time to take action.  She put medicine on them to freeze them off.  By the end of the evening Meg's foot was in a lot of pain, but hopefully this will work.

Doug had to work at home tonight, but he was still able to join us for dinner.  Brett, Cam and I played a game of Pay Day while he was working.  We all then watched the Judy Garland movie - "In the Good Ole Summertime."  It was based on A Shop Around the Corner.  It wasn't quite as good, but worth a try.  It will be hard going back to school tomorrow, but at least there are only two days left.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Friends Weekend Continutes

Last night we got home to find Cal, Alex, Jayce and Cameron Adams hanging out at our house.  Cal had texted earlier to see if it was alright with us.  I appreciated the text but that group is always welcome here.  They have been hanging out here for years and we just really enjoy that group and their friendship.  Meg called me earlier in the night to fill me in on all of their antics - the boys picking on Alex, Cameron wanting Grandma's number to have her make monster cookies, a loud game of pool, etc.  She enjoyed listening to them and was sure that they were louder than her friends (not possible).

By the end of the night Nick LeCount had joined the group.  For old times sake Cal had him park in the new neighbor's driveway.  The boys never got their cookies, but Doug did make Chex Mix and Jayce was happy to find strawberry milk in our fridge.  Cam stayed up with them until midnight and Brett even joined them for awhile.  Glad that they boys have remained friends over the years and that they still enjoy hanging out here.  They definitely keep the Heinisch Home full of life and I hope they continue to meet here for many Christmas' to come.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Crossroads Classic

I went with Doug to Indy today to watch the Crossroads Classic.  We weren't sure we would be able to go because of the weather.  It started snowing last night and central Indiana had an ice storm.
I-465 was shut down and motorist had been stranded for over 8 hours.  As the forecast called for warmer weather this afternoon we thought we would try it.  It wasn't as bad as we had expected.  It was slow going until US 30, but after that it was definitely better.  We made it to Indy in less than 3 hours and were able to park right next to Bankers Life Fieldhouse.  We were in our seats before Purdue and Notre Dame tipped off.

I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy this game, but the second half was very exciting.  ND was up by 14 at half.  Purdue came back to take the lead late in the game.  It went back and forth, but Purdue finally was able to put the game away.  I also enjoyed watching Caleb Swannigan play.  Cal played against him in 8th grade.  What a neat experience.

We walked around in between the IU and Butler game.  The Fieldhouse was very nice.  We stayed for only the first half of the IU game as we were nervous about the roads.  We were both glad that we made this decision.  By the time we got to Kosciusko County the roads were covered and the temperature was dropping.  We were able to listen to the game on the way home.  IU was down at half by double digits and made it a game in the end.

It was wonderful to spend the day with Doug.  Cal has gone with him the past two years.  I offered him my ticket this year, but he said he was ok letting me go.  I am sure that soon enough Cam will want to go along too.

Friday, December 16, 2016

White Elephant Party

Tonight was Meg's annual White Elephant Party complete with ugly Christmas sweaters.  She invited her best friends - Kaitlin, Gabby, Preston, Graham and Aaron.  Genieve was the only one who wasn't able to make it.  They at pizza and told their favorite stories.  Afterward they retired to the basement and from the sounds I could hear I know they had a lot of fun especially playing truth pong.  There was an incident on the stairs and a snow challenge complete with short shorts, but all in good fun.  After the party Meg showed me the White Elephant gift that she received from Preston.  He found a hodge podge of items from his house including his 7th grade agenda.  She said that it was her favorite night of Sophomore year.  Glad to hear it went well.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

End of Season Party

Tonight was the end of season party for Cam's basketball team.  They celebrated with a carry in dinner after the A and B game.  Cam really enjoyed it and we appreciated Mr. Willems' positive remarks at the end.  I am glad that Cam has had fun this season.  I still find it hard to watch middle school basketball.  Cal's career did not end the way he wanted it to nor did Meg's.  They both were part of unsupportive programs.  Meg enjoyed basketball, but adjusted to her decision to quit pretty quickly.  Cal put a lot of time into the sport and the program.  It was very difficult to watch him being mistreated.  It is one of those memories that I will probably never resolve.  I usually do not think about it, but watching Cam made me realize how fresh that wound still is.

In saying that I am happy for Cam.  He has worked hard and has improved.  There will be open gyms for him to attend if he wants to this winter.  My favorite part, however, was watching him interact with his friends before and after the game.  It was the same this evening.  It is also nice to know that Cal is back playing with his friends and enjoying all of the intramural opportunities at IU.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Semester 1 is Done with a 3.72

Cal finished his first semester at IU with a bang.  He had two A+'s, two A's, an A- and a B+ which gave him the GPA of 3.72.  I am incredibly proud of how hard he has worked.  I know it wasn't easy.  The Kelley business school is tough and he made a commitment to himself to do well.  Even this tweet couldn't dampen my mood.  I will gladly do all of his laundry with the success he had.    He has second semester planned and is ready to relax.  Happy to have him home for Christmas break.  Our family is now whole again.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Cam had a game against Stanley Clark today and it was definitely close. They ended up losing by 2, but had a chance in the end.  Cam scored and definitely has showed improvement.  He wanted to stay for the B and A game.  It was Silent Night, which actually ends up being the opposite.  He said he had to leave the gym for awhile as it was too loud.  When it was over Mr. Miller read the Christmas Story to all the students.  What a neat experience.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Two Hour Delay Days

Two Hour Delay Days are absolutely crazy at school.  I don't know if it is because students get to sleep in or because their schedule is different, but they are definitely more hyper.  I know on those days I usually come home exhausted.  I also do not have much of a prep time, so I am working at a lot faster pace to get everything done.  

Both Meg and Cam had activities cancelled this evening.  Meg's tennis lesson and Cam's basketball were tragedies of the weather.  Meg had a lot of homework, so she didn't mind.  Cam's game was rescheduled for tomorrow so he was ok with it as well.  

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Snow In

I don't know if we were officially snowed in today, but we decided to count it as one.  Doug's soccer team wasn't able to play because of the weather and by the time the evening rolled around a two hour delay was already called.  I was glad for a day at home to work on laundry, Christmas cards and gift buying online.

Yesterday Brett, Meg and I finished a lot of the Christmas shopping together by taking a trip to the Glenbrook Mall.  I couldn't believe all of the shoppers, but except for the line at Hollister we weren't slowed down too much.  We also were able to eat lunch at Chik-Fil-A and stop at Kohl's and Dick's too.  I had a lot of fun going with Meg and Brett.  They too were able to finish their Christmas lists.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Big Couple of Days for Cam

Yesterday was Christmas craft day in the 6th grade at Bethany Christian.  It was a wonderful event in which Cam made practical Christmas gifts and learned a few skills along the way.  My favorite was the hot chocolate mix.  Students had to measure the ingredients and put them in a canning jar layer by layer.  It will make a great gift and taught the students how to measure and follow a recipe.

Cam also had a basketball game last night.  The C team played Lakeland Christian Academy's 7th and 8th grade team.  It was a good game and Cameron scored.  The boys definitely have improved over the season.  We used his Culver's gift card for dinner to celebrate his success.

Today Cameron played in his third chess tournament of the season and finished 1st in the under 600 rated section.  He had really been working on his chess this past week and it paid off.  Doug said that the two that beat Cam were ranked higher.  One won overall and the other won his division.  What a great couple of days for Cam.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Company Christmas Party

Last night was Doug's company Christmas Party.  It was held at Elcona Country Club.  Some of those attending were the same as in the past, but the group has definitely changed over the years.  The conversation at dinner revolved around RV's, hunting and snowmobiling.  Those are not my usual topics, but I did get a kick out of the debate about the best restaurant to eat gizzards.  I couldn't join in on that subject either, but it did make for a lively debate.  We were home a little later than I thought we would be.  Snow started falling so we drove a little slower.  It was a nice evening.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

More Basketball & Tennis

Meg had tennis and Cam had basketball last night.  Fortunately, Doug was able to pick up Cam and then take Meg which I really appreciated.  He worked out while Meg played.  The competition she was playing against was pretty tough.  That will really help her in the long run.

I had planned on working on Christmas but instead did school work.  I like teaching math, but the workload has been overwhelming.  I spent at least three hours last night writing plans and grading papers.  I have't figured out yet how I am going to change that. I know I can't keep that pace up long term.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Chess, Piano, Band, Wow!

Yesterday I dropped Meg off at piano lessons at 4:45 and then ran to Bethany Christian to pick up Cameron from chess.  He has been playing more and said that it is helping.  Basketball and soccer have eaten into his chess time, but that should change soon.  Cameron had his piano lesson after Meg.  They have both enjoyed playing Christmas music.

Once the lessons were over the three of us stopped in at Ben's Pretzels.  There wasn't a lot of time for dinner, so the pretzels made for a good snack.  I was sure that I could eat two of the pretzel breadsticks this time, but only made it through one.  

Our next activity of the evening was Cam's band concert.  He moved up to middle school band this year and they start a little later.  Cameron's group sounded nice.  My favorite song was "Do You Hear What I Hear?"  We also stayed for the orchestra.  That was a little long, but they also played well.  Brett, Doug, Mom and Dad were able to meet us at the concert too.  Glad that everyone could make it.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Goodbye Apollo - You Will Be Missed

It was a sad day in the Heinisch home as Apollo died this morning.  We knew that he had stopped eating a week ago, but were hopeful that he would rebound.  Cam wanted to take him to the vet, but Doug said that Apollo was getting old and that a vet visit probably wouldn't change much.  I knew he was right as that was the way with Cosmo, but it was very hard watching him dying.

It really wasn't too many days ago that Apollo was still squeaking for carrots.  Once he stopped I had become worried.  Last night he had a raspy voice.  I was hoping that meant he had a cold, but I guess not.  I did give him some hay and he actually crawled over and ate it before he died.

Cam took the news pretty well.  I had covered him up in the morning with a towel.  He lifted it to check and make sure, but Apollo was already gone.  Meg said that she could have cried if she would have let herself.  I felt the same way.  We will bury him this weekend.  Sad to see him go.  It was a great five years.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Tennis Starts

Tennis starts this week at the racquet club for both Meg and Cameron.  We have decided because of this that we will step out of the lessons in Middlebury with Meg's tennis coach.  It was a longer drive and right after school which made it difficult for us to do.  She went tonight and has one more lesson.

Cameron joined the Monday tennis group this week in Warsaw.  Normally, he will go on Wednesdays, but this week he had basketball.  He said afterward that he really liked it.  I watched him for awhile after I got back from Walmart.  It looked like a good group for him to play against.  We got home before Meg and Doug left for soccer.  He had picked her up from tennis first.  Unfortunately, no one else showed up at soccer.  Therefore, Meg and Doug worked out for awhile before heading home.  Doug is cancelling the next two Monday nights and will try and resume after Christmas break.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sunday! Sunday!

So glad that we went to Chicago yesterday.  The weather wasn't as great today.  It definitely would have been cold walking through the zoo today.  We did have a productive day.  Cam made it to religion after he, Doug and Brett went to mass.  I did laundry and started on the Christmas cards.  I also had school work to do.

Meg had an indoor soccer game in Elkhart.  It was the first one they have had in quite awhile as many of the girls have been cancelling.  After soccer she went to youth group.  There weren't a lot of students at that either, but she had fun with Aaron and Andrew.  She has really enjoyed having Father Andrew be involved with their group.  He has been a nice addition to our church.  

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Chicago for the Holidays

Our first stop in Chicago this morning was the Field Museum.  I had wanted to take everyone to see the Terra-cotta Warriors ever since I heard they were exhibited there.  The display was even more impressive than the one Cam and I saw at the Children's Museum several years ago.  There were many more Warriors and a lot more information on the Qin dynasty.  We also toured the Underground Adventure, the dinosaur timeline, a 3-D movie on Egypt and the mummy's tomb while at the museum.

Afterward we headed to Superior Street for Chicago deep dish pizza.  Gino's had a line out the door, so we decided to try Giordano's.  They were busy as well with an hour wait, but their system allowed us to head to Michigan Street to do some shopping at the Hershey store and the Disney Store before they texted us to come back.  As we had already ordered our pizza, the wait time at the table was minimal.

We drove to Lincoln Park once lunch was over.  We had time to go to the Chicago History Museum before it closed.  Doug had wanted to visit there and we just haven't been able to find the time.  Everyone enjoyed the history of Chicago especially the exhibits on the Chicago fire and the stockyards.  Our last stop of the day was right next door - the Lincoln Park Zoo.  We hadn't planned on going when we headed out this morning, but at the museum I remembered they were opened at night to display their Christmas lights.  It was fantastic.  The entire zoo was lit up with traditional lights and ones featuring animals.  They even had chimpanzee lights swinging through the trees.  It was a little chilly walking, but there was a hot chocolate stand that we all appreciated very much.  What a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Oboe Lessons

Cam was able to reconnect with his oboe instructor tonight.  Mr. French was impressed with how much he had improved since his last lesson three weeks ago.  Cam’s oboe had been out for repair and it helped quite a bit to have it fixed and returned.  He has also been practicing a lot.  They have a band concert next Tuesday and the songs have been challenging.  Cam feels good about where he is at now.  He also purchased a tuner which should make practicing a lot easier for him.  Music has been a great experience for him at Bethany and we are glad that he is taking advantage of all that is offered to the students.  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Night at Home

Tonight was a rare night at home without commitments.  Doug had time to exercise and made chicken curry.  As a special twist he even made turkey curry.  I did not try it, but Brett said it was delicious.  Meg spent the evening studying and Cam unlocked Funky Kong on Mario Kart.  I enjoyed time at home and was able to get a good start on the laundry and Christmas cards.  I really like our card this year.  It was a very eventful 2016 and our card reflects that.  Hopefully, 2017 will be just as wonderful.  

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Catching Up With Old Friends

Tonight I was finally able to go out with Jen Jorczak.  We last went out in August and made plans to get together in November.  This was the best night for both of us and we made our November deadline.  She picked the place this time.  It was a new Italian restaurant in Warsaw.  The food was very good.  I tried the cheese ravioli, but had a hard time choosing as their were a lot of delicious pasta dishes on the menu.  Jen and I spent several hours talking and catching up.  It sounds like her daughter, Grace, is going to go to IU next year so I was able to fill her in on our experiences.  Jen and I have been friends for a long time and I am very glad that we have found time to reconnect.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Night at Bethany Christian

What a busy night for the Heinisch family at Bethany Christian.  First Cameron had a basketball game against Milford.  There was a mixup as it was supposed to be a B game only, but Milford never got the message.  At halftime I had Meg go in the locker room and tell Mr. Voirol.  Bethany agreed to a 5 quarter running clock and all of the boys played at least a quarter and a half.  Cam played very well and the whole team improved from their last meeting.

After the game Doug, Meg and I drove back home to drop off the CR-V and pick up Brett.  He had an interview at 3:30, so he wasn’t able to go with us to the game.  We also wanted to have only one vehicle in Goshen.  Cam stayed at Bethany to change for his choir concert and to practice with Mr. Thomas.  Mom and Dad stayed in Goshen in case he needed anything.  We were back by 6:45 just as the doors opened.  The auditorium was packed by the time the concert started.  The Agape Bell Ringers were first.  We were impressed with their playing.  It has been a wonderful experience for Cam.  The sixth grade was next and they did a great job as well, finishing with the Dum Dum song, a crowd favorite.  After the concert we went to dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.  We hadn’t gone in awhile.  It was a wonderful way to celebrate Cam and his achievements.

Monday, November 28, 2016


It was hard getting back into the swing of school, but we all survived.  Cal texted me around 10:30 last night to let me know that he made it.  He did have to take an alternate route, but overall it wasn’t too bad.  Brett spent his day working on applications.  I left as soon as school ended so that I could get Meg to tennis.  Mom picked up Cam for me.  I then met them at Walmart.  Cam wanted to purchase his items for the Bethany Food & Toy Drive.  

Once we loaded up the van, Cam, Brett and I went to see the movie Trolls.  It was a lot better than I thought it would be.  I knew nothing about it going in except that it had gotten good reviews and Parce liked it.  The three of us were the only ones in the movie theater.  That was a lot of fun.  We got home well before Doug and Meg.  After tennis they had soccer at the middle school.  It has been a disappointing year for indoor soccer as very few girls come to open gym and they have had to cancel the last two games because of lack of attendance.  Hopefully, that will change soon.  

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Last Day of Thanksgiving Break

We spent today finishing the Christmas decorations, helping Cal pack and setting up the last of the tv stands.  By the end of the day the house looked wonderful and we even got in a few rounds of Mario Kart.  The sad part was getting Cal out the door.  We all enjoyed having him home and look forward to him coming back at Christmas break.  He was dreading the drive with all of the construction, but made pretty good time.  The weeks will go by quickly, but they will be challenging ones for him.

Meg told me today that she was not looking forward to going back.  I don’t blame her.  We have a strange winter break this year as we go to school until the 22nd and get out on a Wednesday.  We then go back on a Thursday.  Cameron will be out three full days before we are.  It will be a tough 18 days to keep students motivated, but it too shall go by quickly.  At least now we can play Mario on the big screen to help pass the time.  

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Happy Birthday Grandma Jane!

Today was Grandma Jane’s birthday, so we decided to all go and see A Christmas Story at the Round Barn Theater.  It was actually a lot better than I thought it would be and a good one for the holiday season.  I couldn’t envision it as a musical, but it worked and we all had fun.

After the musical Cam had to serve at mass.  Doug was a lector so he went ahead of us as we weren’t quite sure what time the play would let out.  We all made it, however, and Cam did a great job serving by himself.  He was supposed to work with one of the younger servers, but she never showed up.  

Meg went to Kaitlin’s after mass.  They each made a dish to share and she spent the night with her.  Meg made mac and cheese from her culinary arts class recipe book.  The rest of us ordered Chinese.  Most of the leftovers from Thanksgiving were gone except for the turkey, so we were ready for something else.  Mom and Dad came over after dinner for cake, ice cream and pie.  Mom liked her gift card and Christmas sweater.  We spent the rest of the evening playing Trumpet and Sequence.  It was a nice way to celebrate.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Oh Christmas Tree!

Doug and I were both up early.  We hadn't planned that, but it worked out well as we had a lot that we wanted to get done today.  Most of it revolved around getting out the Christmas decorations.  He had the tree ready to decorate before Meg and Cam got up and I put all of the Thanksgiving away and dusted before lunch.  We spent most of the afternoon decorating as well.  Meg and Cam helped with the ornaments on the tree.  Brett missed out on most of it as he went to lunch, bowling and a movie with his friend, Seth.  Cal was also in and out most of the day as HM came over after practice and they then went to Warsaw to see the Christmas lights at Center Lake.

Doug and I decided to take a break around 4 to try the Tippy Winery.  We hadn't been there since the summer and both enjoyed it.  When we got back Brett was home and Preston and Aaron were here.  It was loud in our home, but everyone was having fun.  Brett and Cam decided to go to Grandma's Jane for dinner and to play games.  We dropped Meg, Preston and Aaron off at the movie uptown.  We then headed to Target to pick up two new TV stands.

Cam and Brett were home by the time we got back.  Cam couldn't believe what we had with us - a purple tinsel hippo.  He and I added it to our collection of lighted figures in the front yard.  I know that it wasn't Doug's favorite purchase, but the rest of us thought it was a great find.  We had a mishap with the TV stands, but once we figured that out we came up with a plan for tomorrow's projects.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Doug spent the morning in the kitchen making all of our favorite Thanksgiving foods.  Although I am not a fan of turkey or oyster dressing, the mashed potatoes went well with Grandma Jane's noodles.  We also enjoyed green bean casserole, corn, homemade bread and plenty of desserts.  Renegade provides us with a turkey every year and this was the biggest one yet - 15 pounds.

Before dinner Cal, Meg, Brett, Cam and I watched A Garfield's Thanksgiving.  Not sure Doug appreciated it as much as we did, but it set the mood for lunch.  Once we were done eating the guys all headed to the basement for pool.  Mom and I were able to get the kitchen cleaned up by the time they were done.  We offered to play games, but they wanted to head to Shopko for Thanksgiving Day specials.  Instead we played a couple of rounds of Mario Kart before heading out on our own shopping spree.

Our first stop of the night was Target.  We were about fifteen minutes early and there wasn't much of a line.  We took time to study the maps before entering.  Our plan was to pickup a new TV for the living room and one for Brett.  Doug and Brett found his 32 inch easily and were happy with the price. The rest of us were on a quest to get a 55 inch 4K ultra definition TV.  We saw on the map that there were deals in the store not listed on the Black Friday flyer.  At first we thought we had scored big - a Polaroid 55 inch for less than $400.  As we were tracking down Doug I happened across an even better deal - a Westinghouse for less than $350.  It even had all of the bells and whistles that we were looking for.  As I waited for Doug to move over to where I was standing another customer asked me where I found the TV.  Before I could tell him one of the Target employees mentioned to him that I got the only one in the store.  I was even more thrilled when I heard that.  Before we left we also found a Blu Ray Player on sale and several gifts for Christmas.

From Target we drove to University Park Mall.  Forever 21 and Hollister had some great sales going on.  Brett and Cam toured the mall checking out a few stores while Meg and I were shopping.  It was absolutely packed.  We decided to head out after stopping in Yankee Candle.  We were home by 9 p.m. and started on the TV set up.  It took quite awhile, but Doug did get the new TV connected in the living room and moved our bedroom TV to Meg's room and the old living room TV to our bedroom.  We even got Brett's set up in the basement all before 1 a.m.  Cal was home from his own Black Friday excursion well before we were done.  He took Alex, Jayce, David and Brian Clark to Fort Wayne.  He said they had a great time and he was happy with all that he found including a new pair of Darth Vader socks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Best Dinner Ever!

What a great first day of Thanksgiving break.  All of us kept busy, enjoyed the day and even got some work done.  Brett made it to the dentist, which probably wasn't the highlight for him, but at least it was uneventful.  He then met Mrs. Dixon and Andrew Anchor for lunch in North Webster.  He hadn't seen either in quite some time and thoroughly enjoyed his visit with them.  Once he got home Cam and I talked him into a game of Pay Day and for the first time since he arrived from the East Coast he actually lost at a board game.  It was close, but I was able to keep my undefeated streak at Pay Day alive.

Cal invited HM over to hang out.  Since Brett was out for lunch and doesn't care that much for Subway, I thought that it would be the best day to try it.  Meg went with me and we were also able to pick up supplies to fix our coat shelf that fell off the wall last night.  It definitely created a loud boom when it came down at 1:45 a.m.  Brett and I were sure that someone had knocked over a large piece of furniture or even hit the garage door because it was that loud.  Once we finally found the cooler lid in the kitchen we were able to follow the trail of coats to the culprit.  Doug, Meg and Cam slept through it all.  Brett and I laughed about that all day today.  We were sure that the house could have exploded and they never would have known.

Besides fixing the coat shelf, I also caught up on my blog, did some laundry, graded the last of my students' work and got a haircut.  For the first time in a long time I actually cut 4 inches off the length of my hair.  It seemed the perfect time to do so and I really liked how it looked.  The day wasn't all about working, however.  Besides the board game we were also able to play Mario Kart.  I would love to say I won, but that would be unrealistic.   Doug did have to work today.  He said he didn't mind as there were not a lot of people in the office so he was able to catch up on several items.  They were allowed to leave at 3:30 today, so he was home pretty early.

We had asked the Heinisch children to pick a night to go out to dinner and they all said Wednesday.  Doug made reservations at Kelly Jae's in Goshen as Cal, Brett and Hannah-Marie had never been there.  We used Doug's approach for ordering and made it more of a buffet which each person choosing an item or two to share.  Although the food was delicious the best part of the dinner was spending time together.  There was so much lively conversation and plenty to catch up on.  I am truly thankful that everyone wanted to spend the evening together.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The End of the Week

Last year the Wawasee school board decided to add an extra day to our Thanksgiving break by giving us Wednesday before the holiday off.  I wasn't sure what I thought about it when it was first proposed, but this year it was much appreciated.  On Sunday I wasn't sure I could make it through these two days, but knowing that was all it was made it a lot easier.  It wasn't that I disliked my classes, but more than I was just ready to be home with my family.

Brett brought Meg to me after school so that we could go grocery shopping at Walmart.  It was also $2 Tuesdays at Ben's Pretzels, so we took advantage of that as well.  Cam stayed after school for basketball and chess.  He then went to the A and boys basketball games.   I picked him up afterward.  He had texted me "20 minutes" just as I dropped Meg off at the Wawasee boys game.

Cal went out with his friends tonight.  HM had to work concessions at the game.  It was dress as Thanksgiving tonight and she was my favorite - a Thanksgiving table complete with tablecloth and plates.  Brett and Cam stayed home and played Jenga and Life while Doug and I went to dinner.  We were home well before nine.  Doug had a church finance meeting, so we couldn't go out until that was over.  It was a great start to the Thanksgiving break.

Monday, November 21, 2016

My Three Sons

For the first time every I spent the evening out with just my three sons.  Cal had said that he wanted to do something with Brett and I while he was home and tonight was the perfect night for it as Doug and Meg were at tennis and soccer.  I let the boys pick what we did together and they all wanted to see the new Harry Potter movie "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them."  We really enjoyed the movie.  It didn't quite feel like a Harry Potter one, but it was still entertaining.

My favorite part of the evening, however, was not the movie.  It was actually just spending time with my boys.  They kept me laughing and all got along very well.  I learned this evening that it doesn't matter who calls shotgun once someone's "butt is in the seat."  I also found out that it is preferable to forget one's coat over drinking too much "soda."  So much fun!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Our Town

This afternoon Meg, Brett, Cam and I all went to see "Our Town" at Bethany Christian.  Meg was supposed to have soccer, but a majority of her team was unavailable today, so Doug had to postpone the match.  We were glad that she was able to join us.  We all really enjoyed the play.  I had seen it when I was in high school, but didn't remember a lot of it.  The first act was slow, but the second and third were really good.

After the play we dropped Meg off at youth group.   She was happy to go, but bummed that Aaron wouldn't be able to join them.  He has been ill and has missed a lot of school this trimester.  When he has been able to attend, he and Meg eat lunch together.  While Meg was at church we started "Dial M for Murder" with Cam.  It was one of my favorite Hitchcock movies and I had been wanting to watch it with Cam.  So far he has really liked it.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Christmas Shopping

Today Cam had a chess tournament in Warsaw.  He did well, but it has been rough moving up to the rated section.  He used to destroy everyone in his age group, but definitely has run into tougher competition this year.  It's been good for him from a learning aspect, but I feel bad that he did not bring home a trophy today.  He seemed to handle it very well and had fun with JJ and Kayden.

Tonight Doug and I went to Fort Wayne to start our Christmas shopping.  I also wanted to spend my birthday money.  I found a new pair of boots and several candles at Yankee Candle that I liked.  We didn't do as well on our Christmas list, but plan on going Black Friday shopping and will also join in on the cyber Monday craze.

We went to Chop's for dinner afterward.  It was very good.  I was disappointed to hear that the egg nog cheesecake will not be back on the menu this season, but almost everything they serve is delicious.  Thus, we were well pleased this evening.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Tonight Brett, Cam, Dad and I all went to see Wawasee's version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Meg went as well, but left earlier than we did so that she Graham and Preston could sit together.  Paula saved us a seat in the front row and we all enjoyed watching Gabby as an Oompa Lump-a and Alex as the narrator.  The play actually featured a lot of Milford students and we all enjoyed it especially the role of Willy Wonka.  The only thing missing was the Oompa Lump-a songs!

Cal made it home last night without problem.  He had plans to go to dinner with Jayce, but Jayce had car problems so they postponed it.  Instead Cal went over to HM's for a little while.  Tonight they went to dinner after she finished basketball practice.  Cal has talked of nothing else but Thanksgiving break since we saw him in October.  He was ready for a break and some time at home.  I know that he was a little stressed when he got here as he had just finished tests in Econ and Finite. He found out today that he has B's in both, so he felt a lot better.  He does plan to spend a lot of his time over break studying both as he would like to do well on his finals.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Milford vs Bethany Christian

For the first time in years Bethany Christian had enough 6th graders playing basketball to have a C team.  When I heard that they were working on scheduling games I instantly contacted Bethany's AD and Ryan at Milford in the hope that our 6th grade would be able to play Bethany.  Both schools were more than interested in a game against one another and tonight was the cumulation of this.  

It was a tough one for Bethany, but the boys all had fun.  Cam was a starter on the A team and played well.  He even scored a long two.  I was able to keep the book for Bethany and was glad to be a part of the evening.  I always enjoy supporting the Heinisch children, but I know that they Milford boys were appreciative of having me there as well.  I was most impressed with the two teams afterward as they were shaking hands.  All of the Milford boys congratulated Cam and said they were happy to see him.  It was a fun night to be a part of.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Christmas Music

Tonight Meg and Cam had piano after his basketball practice.  Mrs. Meek will be having surgery next week, so they decided to bring their Christmas music with them.  I love that they can play their favorite holiday songs on the piano.  Meg is working on several including "What Child is This."  Cam has also picked out several to try this year and is working on the same book as Meg.  What a joyous time of year.  I will enjoy listening to them practice.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Happy 48th or 49th, it's all the same!

Today was my 48th birthday.  Years do not make me sad.  I always appreciate the fact that I am one year older as there are plenty of people who do not make it into their 40's.  Therefore, I do not feel that I should ever moan about my age.  A couple of weeks ago I realized that when anyone asked me my age, I naturally said 48.  It wasn't until Cam said, "So you'll be 48, Mom, right?" that I realized that I actually was only 47 and would just be turning 48.  I kept thinking I would be 49, so I it's almost like I gained a year.

We decided to stay in tonight and have my favorite - Doug's spaghetti.  Mom came up later with dessert - angel food cake, ice cream and a big cookie.  As much as I enjoyed all of the delicious food, my favorite part of tonight might have been opening my gifts.  Brett gave me the book "Hunchback of Notre Dame."  I loved Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, so he knew I would love this as well.  Cam and Meg gave me some fun jewelry from Morocco in Epcot and Doug scored big with purple luggage.  I had been hinting that I need it for quite some time.  Now I will be able to travel in style.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Great News!

Meg texted me today that she had good news.  I am happy to say that she was totally correct.  Meg informed us that she found out today that she was ranked 3rd in her class!!  We were very happy for her.  She has worked hard in high school, especially last trimester as she had a really challenging core group of classes.  She continued her streak of all A's finishing with a 12.0.  This trimester may be different.  I am sure she will earn all A's, but most of her classes are not AP or Honors classes, so getting a 12.0 will be a lot more difficult.  No matter what we are extremely proud of her and her effort.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

He's Home!!

Brett called several times yesterday to let us know that he would be arriving home earlier than planned.  I was excited that he would be here, but wasn't expecting him until Tuesday.  I hadn't cleared a spot in the basement for him yet.  I had planned on spending Sunday doing that with Doug's help.  It worked out fine, however, as Meg didn't have much homework with the trimester just starting.  She and I cleaned and organized for about 3 hours Saturday afternoon finishing in plenty of time for Brett's arrival.  He was thrilled to be home and out of the car.  We were very happy to see him.

Today we started on the unpacking.  Brett didn't have as much with him as I remembered, so we could get through what he needed and saved some for tomorrow.  Laundry was the first priority and I spent quite a bit of time getting that done.  No complaints from me, however.  I was glad to help.  I know that he has been swamped these past few weeks with the election.  As he doesn't know what the future holds for him in Maine, he said he was going to start the job search process on Monday.  We know that it may take awhile to find exactly what he wants.

Doug spent his Sunday raking leaves.  It was a late fall and until this week we really did not have very many down.  I was impressed with how many piles he was able to burn.  His plan for now was to finish up on Wednesday as the weather should still be nice.  We ended the day by taking Brett, Meg and Cam to Buffalo Wild Wings.  It was a wonderful way to end a very busy weekend.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Semi Formal & Bloomington

Today Cam and Doug left for Bloomington at 6 a.m.  They wanted to beat the traffic for the IU football game and make it in plenty of time to tailgate with Parce and Chokey.  They had no problems driving down and were even able to Pokemon hunt before they met up with everyone.  IU played Penn State and the game was a close one with IU leading a good portion of it.  Despite the loss Cam and Doug enjoyed the experience.  They were even able to meet up with Cal for a little while.  They weren't sure if they would be able to as he had friends from Purdue and the University of Indy coming down.  They stopped at Pizza Express on the way back, so we could all enjoy late night breadsticks.

Originally, Meg and I were going to go with them and see White Christmas at the IU auditorium.  Meg found out a couple of weeks ago, however, that semi-formal was tonight and she didn't want to miss it.  Paula invited the girls to her home for appetizers before the dance and to take pictures.  Meg wore a black dress and looked lovely.  I am not great with braiding, so Paula took over once we got there.  Meg had a wonderful time with her friends.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Night Out

Tonight I went out with the teachers from Milford to celebrate the November birthdays in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade team.  Paula and I talked everyone into trying Kelly Jae's in Goshen.  We both loved it.  I'm not sure if everyone else thought it was as wonderful as we did, but it was nice to go.  I have not been on a girls night out since the summer.

Doug and Cam went to an oboe lesson while I was gone.  Cam hasn't been able to go because of soccer and basketball.  It really helped with his music for the December program.  Meg invited Preston over.  His family just arrived when I got home.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Awards Night

Last night was fall sports award night at the high school.  I decided to stay at home as Meg wasn't getting an award and Cameron did not want to go.  Meg and Doug enjoyed the event although they both thought the video was way too long this year.  The soccer girls were surprised by some awards and not by others.  I know that Doug always puts a lot of thought into the selection process.  They arrived home by 8 p.m. with good news.  Meg didn't win an award, but Hannah-Marie was name the Warrior Way Award winner for volleyball.  That was great to hear.

Tonight Doug had county council.  It was also Bethany night at Hacienda.  Thus, Cam, Meg and I decided to go there for dinner.  We hadn't been in awhile and everyone liked the food.  It was definitely packed with Bethany Christian families.  As we had gone shopping at Target and Kohl's beforehand we almost didn't beat Doug home.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Complete Upset!

Brett and Doug went to bed before I did last night.  I woke Doug up at 10:30 p.m. to let him know that it looked like Trump would win Ohio and Florida.  Neither of us expected him to carry both states, but Brett did.  Cam had been following the election all night.  We sent him to bed around 10:00 as he had Agape Bell Ringers in the morning.  He told me that he couldn't sleep so he came down at 11:30 p.m. and saw that Ohio had been called for Trump.  He had a good feeling about the election after that.  

Cam was right and Brett's prediction was spot on.  Trump won fairly easily and by the time I woke I had multiple texts from Cal declaring his excitement.  He was the only one of the Heinisch family that made it through the night watching the returns until 4 a.m.  Trump was officially declared at 2:30 and won Wisconsin and Pennsylvania which hadn't even been listed as swing states earlier in the week.  

All of the Heinisch family members were happy.  I did not realize how much I did not want Hillary to win until I thought that she might actually lose.  I was absolutely thrilled when I woke up and realized that she would not be our next president.  It was almost a relief.  I do not believe that she was the best candidate for the job and I am glad that the electoral college agreed with me.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day

It is finally here - election day!  It is all that everyone has been talking about and all that Brett has been working toward.  Doug voted at 6 a.m. and had to wait in line.  I got there around 6:45 and didn't have too long to wait.  There were a lot of other teachers and administrators there as well.  Talked to Brett late in the evening.  He and Cal had both voted by absentee ballot.  Today Brett spent nine hours outside a polling station supporting a candidate.  He was cold, tired and hungry by the end of the day, but happy to be a part of the process.

My students and I spent the day looking at the electoral college and their predictions for this year.  Most polls have Hillary winning, but Brett predicted last night that Trump would win.  Once we got home from piano all Cam and I did was watch the news.  By the time he went to bed only a few states had been called.  Trump was in the lead, but there were some key states still out.  I was absolutely wiped out so I decided to call it a night at 10:30.  Originally, I thought that Hillary would have already been declared President, but that was not the case.  In fact as I listened to the news Ohio and Florida were both looking as though they would go Trump's way.  That would be a huge discrepancy from the poll predictions.  I thought about staying awake to see what would happen, but it will be a long day tomorrow if I do.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Teacher Work Day

I returned to school on a teacher work day, so I had some time to catch up in my classroom before the new trimester started.  The morning was taken up with a tour of the CTE department at the high school.  It was long and I was more than ready to get back to my own agenda, but I made it through.  Meg and Preston came over in the afternoon to help in my class.  We got a lot done and I'm pretty much ready for students tomorrow.

After school we drove to Walmart to buy groceries.  We were glad we talked Preston into coming along as we needed help carrying the water and Little Hugs.  We dropped him off when we were done shopping and headed to North Webster.  Meg had been wanting a haircut and this was the first opportunity we've had to get her one.  She had about 3 inches cut off.  It will be hard for her friends to tell, but it was quite a bit of hair.

Doug and Meg had soccer tonight at the middle school.  Only five players showed up, but Doug reminded me that although the numbers are down it was more touches on ball for those that did show up.  They had their first indoor game last night in Elkhart.  Meg was excited as she scored a goal with five seconds left in the game.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Wonderful Experience

Today Doug and I were up early.  We wanted to get our luggage dropped off at the airline check-in before heading to Hollywood Studios.  I am so glad that we did.  There was a long line as a lot of other teachers were checking their luggage as well.  Doug waited while I put our carry on bags in a different area.  It went a lot quicker than either one of us expected it to.

Our luck with busses continued as the one to Hollywood Studios arrived 15 minutes ahead of schedule.  Therefore, we were able to make it to the park before it opened at 8 a.m.  We headed with the crowd to Toy Story Mania.  With all of the closings and additions coming to the park there isn't a lot of big ticket rides to go on and the crowd was heavy.  We made it on, however, with very little wait and were able to circle back and ride again before we left.  I was happy as it is one of my favorites and I found out that by riding with Doug I have a better chance at a high score (according to Meg.)

We ate lunch at the hotel while waiting for the Magical Express.  It was a beautiful day to sit by the lake and enjoy the sunshine.  The trip home was uneventful.  The plane was on time and the Magical Express was full so we did not have to stop at another resort before heading to the airport.  I spent the time catching up on several items for school and home.  I had quite a bit of time to reflect on my experience.  I learned so much while at the conference about teaching high ability students and parenting my own.  I hope to put both into practice.  I also learned that I can travel on my own with relatively no problems.  I was extremely proud of that as I do not believe that I could have done so several years ago.  Finally, it was wonderful to spend the time with Doug.  He was a great travel partner and made the trip even more special.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

NAGC Day 2

I knew after last night's social event that I would have no problem getting into the first session this morning as many teachers arrived back to the hotel pretty late tonight.  I was right and enjoyed listening to a speaker discussing Growth Mindset.  She had a lot of resources for us that I  gathered after the meeting.  The keynote speaker today was enthusiastic, but a little more generic.  I enjoyed listening to her, but appreciated the one from yesterday even more.  Today's speaker ended early and I was able to meet Doug for lunch by 11:15.  We headed straight to the pool as we knew that it would become packed soon.  We were glad that we did as we were the second one to order.

After lunch Doug caught the bus to EPCOT.  He wanted to tour the countries while I attended the afternoon sessions.  I had really been looking forward to my next session - high ability siblings.  The speaker was excellent and answered so many questions that I have had raising my own high ability children.  My favorite quote was "I'm not underachieving.  I'm just trying to prove that I'm not my sibling."  That summed up Cal's entire high school academic experience.  I felt validated as a parent by the time I left the session.  It has taken a lot of work to raise four high ability children while keeping their autonomy.

My next session was also interesting.  It was entitled "Pobody's Nerfect" and dealt with perfectionism in high ability students.  I appreciated the topic, but most of it I had read before.  I do now know, however, that I am a self-orientated perfectionist.  When I was finished with the afternoon sessions I caught a bus to EPCOT.  I was extremely lucky as the bus came within two minutes and we were at the park within ten minutes.

EPCOT was packed as we expected, but we were still able to tour the countries and sample many of the different treats.  My favorite was France as usual, but there were so many other good ones to try tonight.  Ireland had a delicious chocolate cake/pudding that I really enjoyed as well .  We also had time to do some shopping.  England and Germany had the best stores in the various countries, but China and Africa were fun to shop in as well.  We were going to ride Soarin', but the wait was over 90 minutes and neither of us were up for standing that long.

Instead we caught a ride on the monorail to the Polynesian.  They have several restaurants and we wanted to check them out.  It was absolutely packed.  We stayed for a little while and then headed to Magic Kingdom.  It was crowded, but fortunately we had Fast Passes to ride three of our favorites - Peter Pan, Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean.  Meg and Cam would have thought us lame, but we had fun.  We were also able to ride the Haunted Mansion without too long of a wait.  The park was beautiful tonight as they had already decorated for Christmas.  The Jungle Cruise had even changed to the "Jingle Cruise" complete with Christmas decorations, music and holiday jokes.

The park was open until 1 a.m. but we were too exhausted to stay that long.  Doug waited for me as I did some shopping and we were back at the hotel before 11:30 p.m.  Our luck with buses continued and we appreciated the short ride back.  Doug was still hungry so we stopped at the food market for a Chicken Caesar wrap.  It was a different experience without the Heinisch children, but we still had fun.

Friday, November 4, 2016

NAGC 2016 Conference Day 1

I was up early this morning to navigate the first session of the gifted children's conference.  I didn't know what to expect, but it was a lot more crowded than I imagined.  The first session I wanted to attend was on math and high ability.   It was absolutely packed, so I chose another one on resources for teachers.  There were some great ideas of what to do with a discovery room and also projects for students.  I arrived to the second session early and was able to get a seat without any problem.  It gave great ideas for conferring with students and helping with high ability social and emotional needs.  I came away with several good resources to use in the classroom.

My favorite part of the conference today occurred next.  We all met to listen to the keynote speaker and she did not disappoint.  Her husband was a member of the shuttle Challenger that was to carry the first civilian into space.  On take off the plane exploded and all members of the crew died including the teacher onboard.  The woman who spoke to us today started a Challenger education program for high ability students through NASA in honor of the crew.  As I remember that disaster well and we had just visited the training site and memorial in Houston last April, her story moved me to tears.

After lunch I attended sessions on identifying minority high ability students and supporting free and reduced students.  My favorite of the day was the last one which discussed math tools for high ability classrooms.  They had us solving math problems which was a lot of fun.  We only had about a half hour before our social event for the evening, so I hustled to the room to get ready.  I managed to get back in time to catch the bus with our group to EPCOT.  Disney threw a dessert party for the teachers which included a free night at the park, three food tickets for the Wine & Food Festival and a dessert/dance party.  I spent my time with Chris Noel, an 8th grade language teacher from WMS.  She had not been to EPCOT in quite awhile so I gave her a tour of the countries and then we rode Soarin'  It was a lot of fun.

We were at the dessert party early.  I was glad as it was packed as well.  Doug arrived in Orlando when we were at the park.  Once he got off the Magical Express he headed straight to EPCOT.  I was very happy to meet him in France at about 9:20.  Only once he got there did I realize that he ran all of the way there.  He had just missed the bus and didn't want to chance not making it.  I was impressed.  We had a great time touring the countries and watching Illuminations.  It was a wonderful way to end a very rewarding day.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

I Did It!

I don't believe that I could have done it two years ago, but today I boarded a plane by myself and flew to Orlando.  I was able to navigate the Magical Express and check into my room by myself.  It helped that we were just here two weeks ago and I knew the area well, but regardless I was pretty proud of myself.

To celebrate my achievement I hurried over to Animal Kingdom and spent the afternoon enjoying the animals in Africa.  I was able to ride the safari and also walk through Gorilla Falls.  We had never done that before and I really wanted to try it.  It was beautiful and there were a lot of animals to see.  My favorite was the Bongo as usually those are so deep in the forest that we can barely find it on the ride.  I also ate lunch and caught the Flights of Wonder bird show.  It may have been corny, but I enjoyed it.  My last stop of the day was It's Tough to Be a Bug - one of Meg's favorites.

I did not make it back to the conference in time for the keynote speaker as the bus ran late.  I heard later that the imagineer lacked public speaking skills.  I did check into the NAGC (National Association of Gifted Children) Conference.  I caught a bus with Dr. Edington and Jordan to Disney Springs to go shopping before our group dinner.  Once I arrived I caught up with other members of our entorage.  I didn't buy anything but enjoyed the atmosphere.

We ate dinner at Splitsville - a bowling alley/restaurant.  The food was very good and I enjoyed listening to the conversation of our group.  I headed back to the hotel after dinner as I was wiped out. I had been up since 4 a.m.  Before I went to bed I heard from everyone at home several times.  They were all doing well.  I loved how Cam started playing trivia crack with me as soon as I left.  I really did miss all of them.  It is rare that I am gone and they are all at home.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Fast Two Weeks

It was a whirlwind of a day at school getting sub plans ready and grades entered.  Since I will not be there on Thursday and Friday I told the students that I would end the trimester today.  Most took me up on the offer to turn in missing work and finish all past due assignments.  We even got the peer reviews of the students’ memoirs done.  Most of math class was focused on the election.  It was a perfect day for it as we had a lawyer come in to talk to the students about voting and politics.

Once I got home I finished the packing, put away the laundry and unloaded the dishwasher.  Meg filled me in on her day while I was getting ready.  She has had an exceptional trimester.  Her lowest grade right now is a 94.5%.  She still has finals to take in several classes, but should do well.  

Cam was excited when he got home.  He had basketball practice after school and that went well.  His big news, however, was his J-term permission slip.  He was excited to fill it out and rank his choices.  All of the classes looked interesting to me.  I had to sign off on it once he completed it.  I told Doug later that Cam and I definitely have different interests as his first pick was science related.  That would have been my last!!

Doug and I drove through a horrible downpour to get to our hotel near Midway.  It lasted for the majority of the trip and Doug was very happy to arrive at our destination.  We ate dinner at Giordano’s.  It was where we took Meg and Cam before we flew out in October.  It sure has been a fast two weeks.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Go Cubs Go!

It sure does not feel like November.  The weather today felt more like June - 74 and sunny.  I even wore capris to school.  Mom brought Meg to me after school so that she could visit with Mr. Larson.  She had a great time catching him up on her life and I know he enjoys keeping in touch with her.  I used the time to work in my classroom and then walked down to talk to them for a few minutes before we had to leave for piano.

Cam had chess after school, so once I dropped Meg off at Mrs. Meek’s I headed to Bethany to pick him up.  Piano went well and we set up a date for next week.  They want to bring Christmas music next week so they are ready for the holiday season.

We stopped at the store on the way home and then spent the rest of the night packing, folding laundry, putting away the Halloween and doing homework.  Doug had to take the investment banker to dinner so he did not get home until 8.  He made it in time to watch the Cubs play game six of the World Series.  They were down 3-1 and won the last game in Chicago to move the series back to Cleveland.  It has been an exciting World Series so far.  The cubs started off scoring early tonight and by the time we went to bed were up 7-1 with a grand slam.  

Monday, October 31, 2016

This is Halloween

 I don’t remember Halloween ever being on a Monday, but it was today.  I really thought they’d have Trick or Treat over the weekend, but most local towns decided to keep it on the 31st.  It worked out well for our family as both Meg and Cam had friends over to walk the neighborhood.  Meg invited Preston and Gabrielle and Chance and Evan joined Cam.

Both Meg and Cam decided to make their own costumes tonight.  Meg was a basketball hoop wearing her IU net hat.  Preston was the baller wearing Meg’s IU jersey and Cam’s IU crazy hat.  Gabby completed the trio by being the the overzealous fan complete with IU striped pants borrowed from Meg.  

Cam and his friends looked great as well.  Cam went as a detective complete with trench coat, magnifying glass, detective hat and pipe.  Evan was a wizard from Harry Potter and Chance was the Operation Man from the board game.  Doug walked with them, but said they will be fine to go on their own next year.  The boys were thrilled that they were also able to play Pokemon Go at the same time.  

We received a picture from Cal in his Halloween costume.  He enjoyed the weekend as Cheech Marin from Cheech and Chong.  His outfit was complete with suspenders, a mustache, cigar and yellow crop top.  I got a kick out seeing it.

Mom, Dad and I stayed at our house handing out candy.  We really didn’t have as many trick or treaters as I expected.  Sounds like other neighborhoods were packed, however.  Once the older three returned they asked Mom to take them to Dairy Queen for free cones.  Preston and the ice cream cone paper were the topic for the rest of the night.