Saturday, April 30, 2016

One Miserable Day

It started raining this morning around 10:30 and never let up.  Cal had a golf tournament at South Shore and by the time I was able to get umbrellas to them it was cold and miserable.  I would love to say that it got better or that the weather didn't affect Cal's play, but it definitely made golfing difficult for him.  I am glad that Doug stayed out with him the entire round.  Doug really has been enjoying walking along.  He said today wasn't about watching Cal play as much as it was about watching him interact with his teammates.  They are a close group of friends and seeing them support one another is just priceless.  They don't judge each other on the score at the end of a round, but more on the stories they have to share.  Cal had a fantastic one today as his tee ball on 16 landed in a tree.  After a lot of debate it was deemed out of bounds, but it made for one great picture.

Friday, April 29, 2016


Cam asked if he could have JJ and Caleb over this evening for a bonfire and to hang out.  This is the first time he has asked for an evening with friends and they were exclusively from Bethany.  I was very happy to hear that.  I like his Milford friends, but am so glad that he has transitioned as well as he has to life at Bethany Christian.  We quickly agreed to having them here and promised him a sleepover this summer where he can invite more than just the two of them.

I picked the boys up after school and they were ready for a light saber duel as soon as they got out of the van.  After that they played outside running in and out as they remembered different things that they had planned for the evening. Doug started a bonfire and I was glad that it caught fire.  It has been very wet the past couple of days and I wasn't sure they'd be able to cook their hot dogs and s'mores.  The boys kept busy until 9 p.m. when Doug had to break the bad news that it was time for him to take everyone home.  Cam hugged me several times after he got back and told me that he had a great time.   Can't wait for more get togethers at our house with his Bethany friends.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


Cal rebounded well from Tuesday night and finished as medalist in tonight's three way match.  He played very well.  One bad bounce into a tree cost him a double bogey or he would have tied his season low.  The team won both matches and everyone felt very good about their chances at the tournament at South Shore on Saturday.

Neither Doug nor I were able to attend Cal's match, but Dad was there from start to finish.  Doug had to work late and I was at Meg's tennis match in Warsaw.  The girls were delayed an hour due to rain.  Warsaw won all courts, but Meg did play very well.  She is working on placing the ball a lot better.  Next up on her list is attacking the net.  Most of all she is having fun.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

It's Tough to be a Heinisch

Conformity - a type of social influence involving a change of belief or behavior in order to fit in with a group.  The aforementioned definition does not in anyway shape or form describe the Heinisch children.  Because of that they have taken their lumps over the years.  In general the criticism that they have received has not been from their peers.  Those who know them best realize that all of the Heinisch children march to their own drum.  Choosing that path has not always made them popular with their teachers, however

In the Heinisch home everyone is entitled to an opinion and may question the rules or the validity of a decision Doug or I have made.  In general we talk through differences and explain our position and listen to theirs.  I have never once asked any of my children to "be a leader" or criticized them for a decision they made.  They are not perfect by any means, but they shouldn't be.  They are all learning and maturing.  Mistakes are made, consequences felt, but harping and belittling does not occur in the Heinisch home.

I've come to realize that our way of parenting is not always appreciated by others.  Countless times they have been told to step up and be a leader when all that person is really saying is "Do what I want you to do."  This is in direct contrast to what we believe - "Be who you want to be."  When those two factions collide it leaves frustration on both sides.  I wish I could tell those who do not appreciate the Heinisch children's unique style of leading to back off.  No amount of lecturing will ever get a child to change what he or she believes.  Life will do that soon enough.  Help them grow, learn and mature,  and  most of all include them in this process.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Tough Start to the Week

Last night Cal had a tough night at golf.  It wasn't his best round, but we realize that happens with golf.  It started off slow from the beginning with all four JV groups teeing off in front of him.  He managed the wind and slow play the best that he could, but the trees did him in.  He was disappointed with his score and the fact that they lost to Fairfield, a team they had beaten earlier in the season.  I know that Thursday will be a better day for him.  We've watched enough golf to know that there are ups and downs - good days and bad ones - career lows and career highs.  It's taken four years for me to realize that, but it helps put perspective on today.

Meg had a tough start to her sports week as well.  She played very well against Northridge tonight, but still ended up losing 6-0, 6-0.  The NLC has a lot of good tennis players and it made be challenging to secure more wins, but she is learning and growing each match.  Doug hadn't seen her play since the Westview match and he was impressed with how well she played and how much she improved.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Off to Massachusettes

I talked to Brett several times today.  All of his classes but one are ending this week with either a final or a paper.  He said he spent most of the weekend studying.  He was also excited to give us the news of his next adventure.  He was offered a job with Right to Work several months ago, but this week they finalized where he will be stationed and when he will need to leave.  His work will take him to New Hampshire for a home base with many travel spots throughout the East Coast.  We are very excited for him and this adventure and are also glad that we will have a great place to visit this summer.

The only drawback to his new job is that he will have to leave May 10th which means he will only be home about a week before he starts.  Therefore, I changed our tickets to Amish Acre's "Forever Plaid" to include a date when he will be here.  He will also be here to vote and wants to get a selfie with Cal when he goes.  It will be a busy week getting him unpacked and repacked, but we will get it done.  I am thrilled for him.  He won't be able to make it to Cal's graduation since it is on a Sunday, but both boys seem alright with that.   Brett keeps in contact very well with all of us.  Thus, even when he is many states away he still feels close to home.  Proud of him and can't wait to hear about all that he sees and does.

Graduation Grows Near

Doug and I have started spending Sundays working on items for graduation.  He has focused mostly on the house so far and I have started Cal's news binder and sorted through pictures for his DVD slideshow.  It takes a lot of work to get ready, but it is fun seeing all of the pictures and remembering all that he has done during his time at school.  I am only halfway through each, but there are a lot of good memories in there so far.  I am excited that this time I can put all of Cal's pictures on an SD card and just plug it into our TV.  That will save a lot of time. 

Brett's graduation is right around the corner and although we do not have to do as much for that we are still making plans and getting ready.  He will be here on Monday before his graduation and then we will all leave for Bloomington on Friday May 6th.  His large group ceremony is in the morning at Memorial Stadium and then there is a separate one complete with a luncheon for political science majors.  Our plan is to take pictures afterward and then head to Oliver Winery for the rest of the afternoon.  I ordered the cake and am looking forward to having him home for a very short time before he leaves for the East coast.

I think my biggest accomplishment so far was recovering the seats of our dining room chairs.  I found some yellow striped material that I just love and bought plenty in case there are spills or such.  It took me several hours, but I was able to get all of the chairs done and even recovered the bench in our room.  They are not perfect, but they look so much better.  It is the first time that I have recovered the seats without Jeanette.  That was bittersweet for me.  I am sad that she won't be here to see them, but so proud of myself for doing it. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

One Successful Day

Doug and Dad followed Cal at the Whitko Invite most of the day.  He didn't tee off until 10:30, so they didn't have to leave quite as early.  Cal worked with Dad for awhile last night and it helped him to a 4th place finish individually and earning him a place on the all tournament team.  Jeffrey tied him with an 80 and the team finished in 3rd place.  We were all proud of his accomplishments today.  Cal said he didn't chip and putt as well as he usually does until the last four holes.  I am glad that Doug has been able go to golf this spring.  This is the first year that he hasn't coached LYC soccer in a long time as Meg and Cam both have tennis.

Meg and I spent the afternoon at Wal-Mart, but we also were successful as well.  Meg was able to find a new pair of glasses and new lenses for her current favorite pair all for under $100.  We then picked up some supplies for school and necessities for home and were back well before Doug texted to give us the good news from golf.

Kaitlin came over this evening to hang out and Cal and Cam played games at Mom's.  Doug and I went uptown to eat at Huntington's.  Afterward we had a bonfire in the backyard.  We talked about watching Rope, but everyone was too tired.  The girls were up quite a bit later than the rest of us on FaceTime and playing ping pong.  They also seemed to enjoy critiquing Meg, Graham and Jared's PSA for English.  They worked on it Friday night and did a great job.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Fish Fry and Merry Lea

Cam had a big day today.  His class went to Merry Lea for their Earth Day field trip.  Merry Lea is owned by Goshen College and provides an outdoor learning classroom for area schools.  Bethany students do a lot of research there and Cam was proud to say that he tried onion grass and mustard seed all growing naturally.  He also caught a shrimp when they were skimming the pond with strainers.

Tonight once Doug got home the three of us went to the Bethany Christian fish fry.  We were told that it is the biggest one in the area and after going we totally believe that.  We stood in line for a half hour before we made it into the gym.  The juniors had made posters with trivia facts and that kept us occupied for most of the time.  The food was good and there was plenty of it.  All of it was student run and we were impressed by how well it went. We brought a to-go order home for Cal as he was still out practicing golf until dark.  That along with the Nelson's chicken barbecue we bought from Hannah Marie will keep us with leftovers for the weekend.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Surprise Night Out

Meg had a tennis match at home against Manchester tonight.  I got to the courts at 4:45 just in time to hear the thunder and see the lightening.  They delayed the mandatory half hour, but before that was up it poured and more lightening was seen.  Thus, we ended up having a free evening.  Everyone wanted to go to Buffalo Wild Wings, so we headed over around 6.  The weather must have scared a lot of people off as it was the least crowded that we have seen it in awhile.

Cal did not join us.  The golf team was able to get practice in before the rain and decided to eat at Chubbie's, the new bowling alley restaurant.  Thursday night is $2 hamburger evening and Cal was proud to say that he finished a quad.  We were home by 8 which was plenty of time for everyone to get ready for tomorrow.  Cam has a field trip and Meg needed to repack her tennis bag and finish some homework.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

NBA Playoffs

The NBA playoffs have started and Doug and Cal have been trading basketball facts back and forth all week.  Cam has started watching as well.  The hype really began earlier this month as the Golden State Warriors closed in on the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls record breaking season of 72 wins and 10 loses.  Golden State accomplished that at the last game of the season setting the new mark at 73-9.

I am not sure that Cal or Doug wanted them to break it, but they enjoyed watching all of the games that led up to it.  Before the playoffs started there was also a fascinating 30 for 30 on ESPN about the Orlando Magic team that Shaq played on many years ago.  I even liked that one as it talked about local Plymouth basketball player, Scott Skiles.  He was one of three basketball stars from the NLC that played in the NBA in the mid 1980s and early 1990s.

I don't know if I'll watch much of the playoffs this year, but I am glad that the guys enjoy it.  It gives them a lot to talk about and after the first round usually a lot of good games.  Haven't asked them yet who they want to win the championship, but I did hear Cameron talk about making a bracket.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Cal - Our Superstar

Tonight while Cam, Mom and I were at tennis watching Meg's team lose to a very talented Concord squad and Dad and Doug were watching Cal's golf team easily defeat Central Noble, WANE-TV in Fort Wayne was airing the high school team of the week.  For the first time ever it was a Wawasee team and I am proud to say that it was Cal's Varsity squad.  They earned the honor for their performance at the Northrop Invitational.  The seniors had to give up half of the senior skip day on Monday to participate and I am so glad that they did.

The video began with an interview of Coach Coverstone.  He talked about their victory and the work they still needed to do.  It then showed team members practicing.  It ended with a putt off between Cal and Jeffrey.  They had to make as many putts as possible from ten feet in thirty seconds.  Cal was the winner and was promptly interviewed by the reporter.  His answers were enthusiastic about his personal victory of the day and the team's over the weekend.  He also talked of what they needed to do to improve.

Mom, Cam and I were able to watch the video on my phone.  It was priceless.  The TV station provided a link to it on their website, so Cal, Dad and Doug were also able to watch it later in the evening.  It was the highlight of the night only to be topped by the score Cal shot at Cobblestone.  He signed for a 38 and was medalist for the match.  We couldn't have asked for a better evening of golf.  What a great way to start the season.

Monday, April 18, 2016

A Trip to Michigan

Brett spent the weekend in Michigan.  He stopped here Thursday night and headed to a suburb of Lansing Friday evening.  He spent his time attending a leadership institute for young conservatives.  This is the second one that he has gone to and he said that he learned a lot.  It was definitely long in time, but gave him some campaigning tips geared toward the youth vote that he plans to use in the current campaigns that he is helping with.

Brett left at 8 p.m. Sunday night for Bloomington.  He had roughly a 5 hour drive with stops and such.  I was a little worried about him traveling alone late at night.  Doug reminded me that Brett is used to staying up late, so that wouldn't be a problem.  An added bonus was the small amount of traffic on the road.  Thus, he could take I-69 to I-465 to I-37 which would be a lot quicker than his usual route.  I called him several times on his way back mostly to keep him company.  I stayed awake by folding laundry, sewing Cam's shirt and finishing Cal's last scholarship.  Once I knew that Brett had navigated the confusing I-465 South exit I told him I was going to go to bed.  He only had an hour left in his trip and was doing well.  I went to bed around 12:30 and shortly after that my Mom called Brett to check on him.  She was able to let me know that he made it safely back and was in bed by 1:30 a.m.  That would enable Brett to be on time for his morning class.  I know that was important to him.

I was really proud of Brett this weekend.  He has grown so much in the past three years.  He was able to set up this training, find his hotel, and make it home safely all while learning about something important to him.  College is about so much more than an education. The life skills that one learns are equally valuable.  I am so glad that Brett has taken advantage of all of the opportunities that he has been given.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Baby Showers Galore

I haven't been to a baby shower in quite some time and now I've been to two this Spring.  Today's was special as it was for Godmother Jeannette.  Meg and I took Mom with us and everyone had a very nice time.  It was held at Papa Vino's in Mishawaka.  The food was great and we had a lot of fun playing the games.  Meg won a small AVON basket for knowing Jeannette the best.  We were able to stay for cake and the beginning of the gift opening.  Preston was coming over and we had to leave by 3 or so to meet him.

I am very happy for Jeannette and Mike.  I was worried about them after they lost the twins.  This baby won't replace them, but will bring so much joy to their family.  As it is to be a boy it will also bring a lot of energy.  I am sure they are ready for that change in their home.  After today they will have lots of clothes, toys, books and such to welcome him home.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

PROM 2016

PROM 2016 was held tonight at Oakwood Resort for Wawasee's seniors and their dates.  It was several weeks earlier than normal, but the weather couldn't have been better than if they held it in the middle of summer.  Cal and Hannah-Marie looked stunning in their matching yellow.  Pictures were on the point by her house.  It made for a lovely setting.  We took a lot of pictures of them.  The one above is a definite favorite.  We also took some photos with Robyn, Mike, Doug and I and also with their friends.  I loved the one with them and Flower.  She loved being part of the evening.

Earlier in the day Cal and Cameron Adams were nervous that they wouldn't be able to pull off a golf tournament in Fort Wayne and be home for pictures.  They had no problem, however, and were happy to report that they took first place making their day even brighter and giving them a great photo op with their medals and tuxes.  Doug and Dad also made the journey to Fort Wayne to be a part of the Wawasee gallery.  They enjoyed the day as well.

After pictures the PROM group headed to La Troje for dinner.  They made it to PROM just as it started.  Doug and I also went to dinner when they left although we went the opposite direction for a quiet evening at Kelly Jae's in Goshen.  I received a lot of very nice comments about Cal and Hannah-Marie's pictures on Facebook.  They did look wonderful and from what Cal said when he got home they had a fantastic time.  After PROM for them was at Cameron's.  I am happy that they enjoyed the evening.  It was one for the memory books.

Friday, April 15, 2016

A Quick Visit & Schools Rule

Brett came home last night for a quick visit on his way to Michigan.  I was home sick today with allergy issues, but once I was able to get up and get moving Brett and I went to a late lunch at the root beer stand.  We discussed a lot of political happenings in the world and in the state of Indiana.  We then decided to tour the area to see what political signs were out and about.  We were surprised that there were very few.  Most were for county council or county commissioners.  The biggest surprise to both of us, however, were the amount of Kip Tom signs.  He is running in district 3 for the House and we are district 2, Jackie Walorski territory.  We thought that was strange.  He must have a lot of friends in the area that want to get his name out even though they cannot vote for him.

Once Doug got home from work and Cam from piano we took Brett to the Channel Marker for dinner.  There were several waitresses there that had graduated with Brett that greeted him.   We all enjoyed the conversation around the table.  Cam filled us in on his day at Bethany Christian.  It started at 4:30 this morning when he and Doug got up for Cam's participation in Schools Rule at Bethany.  All students were invited to be there at 5:15 to be part of the taping of the Schools Rule segment on WNDU.  Students who arrived early were treated to donut holes while they waited to be on television.  I recorded the event and absolutely loved it.  The school was highlighted and praised for its devotion to the arts and the eloquence of the student speakers.  I did see Cameron in one of the segments and it looked like he was having a lot of fun.  After the event they all received a pancake breakfast and Cam told us tonight that his class won a pizza party for having the highest percentage of students in attendance.  Since over 80% of all of the students came to the event the high schoolers even got to dye the principal's hair blue.

After dinner we returned home so that Brett could catch up with Cal and Meg before he headed to Michigan.  It was definitely nice to see him.  Only three weeks are left until graduation.  That should be a great weekend as well.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

An Awesome Performance

Meg capped off three nights of tennis with a spectacular win tonight.  Her grueling two hour and fifteen minute match had a lot of rallies especially in the first set.  She started out playing very well and quickly took a 4-1 lead, but the Goshen player came back tying the set at 4-4.  Meg had several set points, but ended the first set with a 6 all tie pushing the set into a tiebreak.  Fortunately Meg came out on fire winning all but one of the eight tiebreak points giving her set a 1-0 set advantage.

The second set started after most of the other matches had ended theirs.  Meg was not aware of the team score, but Goshen and Wawasee were tied at 2-2 with Wawasee's #1 and #2 doubles teams winning both of their matches.  If Meg could win then her team would score their first NLC victory in almost a decade.  Two of the managers told me that they were sure that she knew the pressure was on.  Meg said afterward that she was glad that she did not know.  She was anxious enough on her own.

Meg did jump out quickly to a 5-0 lead in the second set.  Mr. Perek left as he was sure she  would win and let me know if she didn't she would be expelled.  The Goshen girl did rally and soon it was 5-2.  I heard one of the high school spectators ask one of the other players why Meg was on the court so long.  She said, "It's a Heinisch thing - last one of the court to pull out a spectacular win - just like Cal."  I am happy to say that she was right.  Meg did win 6-2 securing her first NLC win and the team's first in quite some time.  It was a lot of fun watching and made up for the previous two loses of the nights before.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Masters

We watched The Masters last weekend which has become a Spring Break ritual.  Once again someone fell apart in the last round and allowed someone else to win.  I listened to the announcers say afterward that it was one of the hardest collapses that they have ever watched.  I think they were just caught up in the moment as I am not even sure it was in the top ten.  I've watched a lot of golf over the years - both on the professional circuit and junior tour, and collapses in golf are a large part of the game.  Just last year one of Cal's teammates scored two double bogeys and a triple on the last three holes to cost them a trip to Regionals by one shot.  Cal himself hit four balls into the woods to score a 12 on the last hole of a tournament to demolish a career round.  This along with the disastrous results of PGA players like Greg Norman, Phil Mickelson and Tom Weiskopf have caused me to expect the unexpected.  It's what makes golf fascinating and challenging to be a fan of at the same time.

As Doug attended the high school parent meeting tonight and prepares to go to Cal's first tournament of the season on Saturday I know that there will be ups and downs this season as well.  No matter the skill level or the importance of the tournament there will always be a story of triumph and one of defeat.  I will hope for more of the first types of stories, but prepared for the days when there are ones of the second type.  Being a golf parent is not for the faint of heart, but it is fun and has provided for a lot of wonderful memories over the years.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


I started going through pictures I have set aside over the years.  My goal is to find enough to make a slide show for Cal's graduation and frames for the themes of his life - golf, tennis, friends, etc.  I had a lot of fun looking through them all and found a lot of great ones already.  The more I looked at pictures the more I realized how much Cam really does resemble Cal.  They even have the same facial expressions in a lot of the pictures.  One of my favorites was Cal with Jeanette and the turkey they had cooked for Thanksgiving.  I still have a couple of more areas to look through, but so far I am pleased with the success I have had.  This part of getting ready for graduation takes the most time, but it is the most fun.  We'll have cleaning to do later.  That is my least favorite part.  The food preparation is probably Doug's favorite.  Either way I am looking forward to Cal's open house and appreciate the hard work it has taken to get him there.

Monday, April 11, 2016


Meg has told me several times that I might like watching Glee.  She and Kaitlin finished the series this fall and thought it was entertaining.  As I had a lot of laundry to do this weekend I thought, "Why not?"  Now I am completely hooked.  I find it to be entertaining and a way to keep my mind occupied without becoming anxious.  With all that we have to do this Spring I definitely am struggling to keep the worry away.  I know everything will work out fine, but with two graduations, golf, two seasons of tennis, PROM, honors night, Brett's new job and on and on.  Listening to Sue Sylvester rant about having a holiday where unattractive people are not allowed to leave the house makes me laugh.  The drama on the show between the students and teacher is a nice distraction from all that has to be done and I can watch while I am working around the house.  I have already tackled one box of pictures, cleaned Cal's room and finished five loads of laundry.  I am tired, but at least I smile while I am working.  I always thought that it would be great if life was a musical, especially school.  Haven't been able to talk my students into that yet, but I believe there are a few teachers that would agree.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


When we left for Spring Break Hannah Marie asked Cal if he could watch her dog once we returned.  At first I laughed.  Doug loves dogs but does not want one right now.  I thought he'd say no, but Doug and I had met Flower before.  She was an older dog and seemed pretty in control.  Thus, we thought we'd give it a try.

Cal picked her up Wednesday morning and she was more then ready to leave the kennel.  Cal and my Dad said that she was the only one who wasn't barking.  The kennel was nice, just loaded with dogs from Spring Break travel.  Flower's first stop was my parents.  It was the first of many visits and they enjoyed her as much as we did.  Cameron and Meg were more than willing to take her out, feed her and play with her when Cal was busy.  We let Flower sleep in Cal's room on the floor.  She would have preferred the bed, but we didn't let her up on the furniture.  Doug originally thought we'd put her in the exercise room in the basement, but as easy going as she was she mostly hung out with us on the main level or in Cal's room.  Although she had plenty of dog food, she did want people food.  Cam, Meg and I bought her some treats and a couple of bones and she seemed fine with that when we were eating.  Mom let us borrow one of Samantha's leashes, so we did not have to worry about her running away.

Cal took Flower home this evening close to 11 p.m.  She said Flower was really happy to be home.  Cal and Meg are ready to have a dog after this adventure, especially if we can get one as easy going as Flower.  Cam was on the fence.  He liked having Flower, but would rather wait until Apollo is no longer with us.  Apollo was definitely scared of her.   Neither Doug or I are ready to commit to a dog yet, but it was a lot of fun. 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Devil in the White City

Since I really enjoyed reading "Close to Shore" over Christmas Break Doug and Brett suggested that I read "Devil in the White City" over Spring Break.  They said it had the same feel to it as the book about the shark attacks of the 1910s - history intertwined with tragedy.  Because of that they were sure that I would like it.  

I am happy to report that they were correct.  I picked up the book a couple of days before break started and finished it late tonight.  It was just under 400 pages, but a quick read with a lot of interesting facts about the World's Fair of 1893.  As it was set in Chicago it became even more fascinating.  There were historical references that I could follow along with having been to Chicago so many times.  I found out that Pabst Blue ribbon was introduced at the fair along with many other everyday items of today such as shredded wheat.  The concept of a midway was also a first at the fair as well as an iconic ride that still is a crowd favorite.  One of the surviving buildings of the fair even houses the Museum of Science & Industry - a family favorite.  

The book also told the story of H. H. Holmes one of Chicago's notorious serial killers of the same time period.  In a twist of fate he built his castle of horror just blocks away from the World's Fair.  It is not easy for me to read about serial killers or murder, especially when it involves children, but this book did not focus on the macabre.  It eluded to his evilness without going into a lot of detail until the very end.  

I've offered the book to Brett, my Dad and Doug to read next.  I don't know who will take me up on it, but I am interested in seeing if they like it as well as I did.  Next on my reading adventure is Les Miserables.  I will have to set reading goals with it as I did with Anna Karina.  It is over 1200 pages long, but one I have always wanted to tackle.  

Friday, April 8, 2016

One Week

It was one week ago today that we visited Graceland and our vacation really started.  The days have flown by and I cannot believe that Spring Break is almost over.  Today we took care of several items that we needed to - piano and the eye doctor.  Mrs. Meek enjoyed seeing the pictures of our trips, especially Graceland.  She had watched the game and thought of us all while we were there.  She was happy to hear that we had not left early.

We stopped at Target to pick up the new Star Wars movie.  It came out while we were gone.  We also bought some treats and a couple of bones for Flower.  Mom watched her while we were out.  Cal played about six holes.  It has been in the 30s since we have been back.  Meg said it was like that last year.  I don't remember, but it certainly hasn't been the best weather since we returned.  I took Meg to the eye doctor.  Her prescription has changed, but we couldn't find a pair of glasses that she liked.  We got a copy of her prescription and will try again another time.

Doug made spaghetti tonight and and my parents came down afterward for Sequence and Trumpet.  Meg is reading a new book, so she spent most of her time on that.  Cal finished the Texas puzzle he bought at the Bush Library.  It has been a very relaxing three days since we returned.  Doug remarked that it felt more like Christmas break than Spring Break, but either way we were glad for the break.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

A Relaxing Day

Today was all about getting caught up on the laundry, starting Driver's Ed, watching The Masters and hanging out with Flower.  Meg introduced me to a new show, Glee.  She loved the series and has been wanting me to start it as well.  I had a lot of time today as I folded laundry, so we tried it.  I absolutely loved it.  The adult characters in it were exaggerated and comical.  I made it through four episodes before we had to take a break.  She was able to start her Driver's Ed online class.  She wants to finish that before she gets her permit.  My parents came down to play Hearts.  Even Cal joined in.  I put away the Easter and dusted while they played.  Cal talked everyone into playing Yahtzee afterward.  That has always been one of my favorites.

The Heinisch children had fun with Flower today.  Mom had a leash which made it easier for Cam to take her out.  They all spent the night at Mom's last night and took Flower along with them.  She rides in the car well and really doesn't bark much.  She doesn't particularly like our hardwood floors, so she prefers to be in our room or on the purple carpet.  She also likes to beg for food, but other than that she has been pretty easy to watch.  Our lifestyle doesn't really make having a dog easy, but Flower fits in very well.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


It was still cold when we got up in the morning, but Doug had called Goshen Plumbing and Heating.  They promised to be here by noon.  None of us really minded.  We were all happy just to be home.  Doug made it to work for his meetings today and Cal and my Dad made it to the veterinarian's this morning.  Cal agreed to watch Hannah-Marie's dog, Flower, once we got back.  By lunch we had a dog and the heat back on, so everyone was happy.

Tonight Doug and I went to dinner at Huntington's Street.  Although we were together for five straight days we had never been alone.  Even the night we had two rooms, I stayed with Meg and he stayed with the boys.  Definitely not complaining as we had such an awesome time.  It was nice tonight, however, to catch up with just Doug.

Over dinner Doug thanked me.  When I asked him for what he said for choosing a vacation where we didn't just sit at a beach.  He knows a lot of families enjoy that style of vacation and he has no criticism of that, but he really likes to stay busy and our current Spring Break was perfect for him.  It took a lot of planning, and I appreciate Doug realizing that.  I did tell him that Meg and I had already talked about Heinisch family vacations.  We realize that our style of family vacations are not for the faint of heart.  Just in this trip alone we traveled 3000 miles in five days.  I am thrilled that the Heinisch children have taken on their Dad's philosophy of vacations.  Even our trips to Disney World are packed with activity from morning to night.  We have visited a lot of interesting places over the years and have loved every minute of it.  Glad that Doug is able to keep us going.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

End of a Great Vacation!

We left Houston last night right after the game.  Originally, Doug thought we would be able to leave early as he really believed that North Carolina would open a lead like they did against Syracuse.  We were glad that he was wrong, however.  It was worth getting a later start to witness what ESPN was calling by morning the Game of the Century.  In the end leaving the game was a lot easier than we ever dreamed.  The ramps were packed on the walk down, but everyone was calm and the lines were orderly.  We reached the van in relatively no time and the trip out of the parking lot was very easy.  In fact Doug pointed out that we were only in the van nine minutes before we were on the interstate.

We drove for about two and a half hours and stopped for the night at Nacogdoches, Texas.  Everyone slept about six hours before we were on the road again.  We listened to the hype surrounding last night's game on ESPN for most of the morning.  We were all still amazed at the ending.  Only two final games have been won on a buzzer beater and this was the only one by jump shot.  I would put the NC State win over this one by a little bit as the hype surrounding the game going into the finals was a lot larger.  Either way we were all still happy to be a part of it.

We did enjoy more than just the game yesterday.  Beforehand we all went to College Station to visit the George Bush Presidential Library.  It was almost two hours away, but worth the drive.  They had quite a bit on his life, especially before and during his presidency.  The part regarding the death of his daughter was very sad.  With all of the hype concerning the current presidential race and the primaries the library brought back to mind that there have been good, moral characters leading our country.  I hope there will be again one day.

Once we left the Bush Library we took a walking tour of Texas A & M.  It was a gorgeous campus with a large student body population.   We left the bookstore and drove to Kemah Boardwalk on the gulf coast.  It was definitely a beautiful area.  We ate dinner on the water at Bubba Gump Shrimp.  We then walked along the boardwalk before we left for the game.

The drive home was long, but easy.  Traffic was light and we only had to stop a couple of times.  Besides listening to ESPN we watched several movies and also tuned in to the primary results from Wisconsin.  We were happy to hear that Cruz defeated Trump.  The most eventful part of the trip occurred when we got home.  The heat in our house was off and the fan was blowing cold air throughout each of the rooms.  The thermostat read 59, but it felt colder than that.  It was after midnight, and we couldn't fix it.  Thus, we grabbed a lot of extra blankets and headed to bed.

Monday, April 4, 2016

An Incredible Finish!

A year ago this week I started talking to Cal about Spring Break 2016.  Doug and I had decided many years ago that we'd let each of the Heinisch children pick the destination of our Spring Break trip their senior year.  I was a little hesitant to ask Cal.  In general he is not much for traveling, especially if we're driving.  I wasn't sure he'd have much interest.  We  had just returned from a successful visit to Purdue and IU, so it seemed like a good time to start thinking about it.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he did have a destination in mind - Memphis and a return trip to Graceland.  All of us were definitely on board for that. It was one of our favorite trips of long ago.  We started looking at places in Tennessee that we would also like to visit when I mentioned that Memphis was exactly halfway to Houston the site of the 2016 Final Four.  Cal said he'd be interested and I entered the lottery for tickets.  With all of the hype of the Wisconsin win over an undefeated Kentucky team in 2015 neither Doug nor I  thought we'd get tickets and were thrilled to find out in September that we were wrong.

Fast forward a year and the start of our trip.  I was incredibly nervous.  Cal loves basketball, but I wasn't sure how excited anyone was to see Oklahoma vs. Villanova and Syracuse vs. North Carolina.  The Saturday games proved to be lackluster especially during the second part of the second half of each game.  We did enjoy the experience more than I ever thought we would, however.  Cam was the one most disappointed that we did not see a close game.  Cal assured him that Monday would be different.  Doug was skeptical that Villanova had a chance, but Cal never waivered.  

As much fun as Saturday was Monday was in a league of its own.  There were fireworks to start the game and celebrity sightings all around with Michael Jordan drawing the biggest crowd.  I didn't ask Cal, but I assume he more enjoyed seeing his favorite player being introduced - Shaquille O'Neal.  

The game was a close one from the beginning.  No one left early and when Marcus Paige threw up an off balanced  three to tie the game with 4.7 seconds to go the Capital One seat cushions went flying throughout the stadium.  Overtime was on the mind of most in attendance.  Instead we watched Villanova perfectly execute a play that Cal called the Christian Watford.  The stadium erupted and we were witnesses to an incredible  finish.  Couldn't ask for a better way to spend our last Spring Break with Cal. I teared up when I took the picture below.  Watching Villanova's unbelievable run through some of basketballs toughest opponents reminded me of raising Cal.  He is the epitome of perseverance.  It has been a blessing to watch this child turn into a wonderful young man full of life and promise.  Thankful for the memories we made this week.  I will miss Cal next year, but he's ready to soar and I will not stand in his way. Unlike the game, this is just the beginning of something incredible

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Remember the Alamo

Yesterday we went to the Lyndon Johnson Space Center in Houston before the games.  We were able to visit the original mission control that was involved in all of the Apollo missions.  There were the seals from all of the Apollo trips and a US flag that flew on the moon in 1972.  We were able to see several rockets and walked through a space shuttle.  The reality hit home for all of the Heinisch children that not every astronaut made it home from their space mission and others like Gus Grissom never even started.

Today we traveled to San Antonio.  It was  two hours one way, but everyone was glad that Doug suggested it.  Our first stop was The Alamo and we all learned a lot about early Texas history.  Cal realized yesterday that there was a Ripley's Believe It or Not across the street from The Alamo and really wanted to visit it.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but we all really liked it.  From the bizarre to the items of torture there was a lot to see.  The three legged man really creeped Meg out, but overall it was very interesting.

We walked down to The Riverwalk from The Alamo area.  The river was small, but the area was very nice.  There were a lot of restaurants and shops.  We stopped at an Irish pub and ate outside along the river.  It was beautiful.

We left for Katy, Texas after The Riverwalk.  Everyone wanted to play mini golf and we found one close to our hotel.  Cal was the big winner of the evening.  I had a chance but choked.  Cam finished third by one stroke over Doug, so he was thrilled.  Meg accepted her last place finish without disappointment.  We ended the evening at dinner exhausted but happy.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Bucket List ✅

The Final Four - never thought we'd go, but so glad we made the trip!  The atmosphere outside the NRG stadium was electric filled with music, basketball games, the TNT guys, one high Ferris wheel, 3 pounds of crawfish and the longest beer line we have ever seen.  We had a lot of fun walking through the crowd soaking it all in.

Cal wanted to head in as soon as the gates opened.  The line was long, but we had no problems getting in.  The NCAA switched to digital tickets.  I was a little nervous about that, but it worked very well.  Our first stop was the merchandise tent for Cal and Cam to get shirts.  Cal's had all of the teams in the tournament on the back which included both Cal and IU.    Mg picked hers out later when she and I made a lap around the inside of the stadium.  Also came back with pretzels and popcorn for everyone.

Our seats were toward the top, but right at center court.  There were large screen TVs so we could catch all of the action.  Tried to get Meg and Cam's pictures on the big screen via Twitter, but no luck.  There were a lot of highlights of the tournament played before the first game. My favorite was IU beating Kentucky. 

Both games started out close, but by midway through the second half the winning teams exploded.  Villanova set a record beating Oklahoma by the biggest margin ever in a Final Four game.  North Carolina also set a record with most points scored in the paint as they defeated Syracuse. Looking forward to Monday night.  I know Doug, Cal and I will be cheering for Nova.  Meg and Cam both picked UNC in our family bracket, so they aren't sure yet who they'll be pulling for.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Walking in Memphis

Our first stop in Memphis this morning was Graceland.  It was our second visit and the first place Cal mentioned when I asked him about a Spring Break senior trip last April.  

As a child of the 1970s, stepping into the Graceland mansion is like stepping into the past.  The shag carpet on the ceiling, the glass peacocks on the doors, the stairway of mirrors and the bright yellow and blue TCB room are just a few of the highlights.  Meg said to me several times, "Mom, this is the perfect house for you.  Everything is gaudy just like you like it!"  As much as I love this historic site walking through it does tug at my heart.  The first person that I can remember dying was Elvis.  Little did I know that just two weeks later my brother would leave us as well.  

After our tour of Graceland we stopped at a few other Elvis exhibits as well.  The trophy room and memorial gardens were  definite highlights.  Everyone found something in the gift shop and a couple of items for friends and family back home.

We then went to Beale Street for lunch.  We found an Irish pub that served Po' Boys and BBQ.  Everyone got a kick out of the Irish Diving Goats.  The Lorraine Motel was only a couple of blocks away, so we stopped there before leaving.  It was the motel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated.  It is now an NAACP educational center.  It was filled with visitors and was a somber sight to behold. 

Our last stop of the day was The Memphis Zoo. Cam had mentioned last week that he really want to see Pandas at some time in his life.  He doesn't remember them from our trip to DC many years ago.  I couldn't believe when I Googled zoos with Pandas that there were ones at the Memphis Zoo.

The zoo was nice and reminded us of the one in Toledo.  The panda exhibit was as awesome as Cam hoped it would be.  One of the pandas was even enjoying bamboo.  We took a lot of pictures and picked up some souvenirs at the gift shop.  Our next two stops were the polar bears and the grizzlies.  As an avid fan of We Bare Bears Cam was happy we visited Griz, Ice Bear and his favorite Pan Pan!