Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sunday - A Day of Rest?

Sunday wasn't quite a day of rest for the Heinisch family, but it was a little less jammed packed than Friday and Saturday.  Brett and Doug started their morning at 8 a.m. mass before taking Cam to religion.  Next Meg, Cam, Brett, Cal and HM all joined my parents at their church for a Thanksgiving  luncheon.  They enjoyed the food and then headed their separate ways.  Cal and HM went to Fort Wayne to shop at Costco.  Meg and Cam had to clean the guinea pigs and Brett needed to work on his budgeting paper.  Doug and I kept busy with laundry and yard work throughout most of the afternoon.

I did get out of the house to watch the Bethany play.  It was a good as Meg said that it would be.  Brett, Cam and I all enjoyed it.  Doug had dinner ready when we got home.  We really appreciated it as he tried something new - two different chicken dishes.  Both were delicious.  We ended the evening watching Shawshank Redemption with Brett while catching up on computer work.  It was a nice weekend with our family, but definitely a busy one.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

It's Just Not My Thing

Cameron had a basketball tournament at Central Noble this morning that Doug and I both went to.  His team ended up finishing fourth out of the four teams.  He wasn't disappointed as their last game was extremely close.  The A team faired better finishing as tournament runner-ups.  Cam stayed to watch them play while we headed home.  We had a couple of hours to work on laundry and leaves before we left for Meg's game in South Bend.  Brett offered to spend the evening with Cam after he picked him up at Bethany.  They ate dinner at their favorite fish place in town and played games until we got back.  Cal was busy with his friends and HM's game.  Meg did very well tonight.  She had several opportunities to score and made some great passes.  It was a varsity only contest and she played well over ten minutes.

I was happy that Cam and Meg had the opportunity to participate in today's games.  They have enjoyed being a part of basketball this season and that has been fun to watch.  Overall, however, I realized today that being a sports mom just isn't my thing.  I felt guilty coming to that conclusion, but after Doug and I talked I felt a lot better.  From what we discussed it made sense that I wouldn't love sitting in the stands of a sporting event.  First of all, I loved playing sports as a child, but I don't live vicariously through my own as they play.  Second, I haven't been as social since I started working again.  I get a lot of interactions with students and teachers everyday, so I do not look for more social activities in the evening.  Most of all, however, the negativity that occurs at the games has been more than I can handle.  So for now Doug and I came up with a solution that should work for our family for the time being.

Friday, November 17, 2017

New Strategies

This trimester I have implemented some new teaching and behavior strategies in my classroom for my afternoon classes.  Today we put one of those into place and I felt it was a success.  I was exhausted, however, after school from standing for three hours.  We had plans this evening, so I wasn't able to rest at home after such a long day.  I was able to sit down, however, as Cam had a ball game at 4:30 at Bethany.  Brett rode along to keep me company.  Doug agreed to stay for the A game after Cam's.  He likes hanging out with his friends while watching.  Doug, Cam and Cal then went to dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Brett and I ate at home and then went to Wawasee High School to watch "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe."  Gabrielle had a main role and I wanted to see her in it.  She did a nice job and I knew several of the other students in the play as well.  

Meg did not go with us as she went with Jackie after practice to see Bethany's play.  It was an original  written about a Holocaust survivor.  The play write and the survivor both came to Bethany to meet the cast members and to speak to the student body last week.  Meg was impressed with the performance and had a lot of fun with Jackie.  They even went to dinner and did some shopping beforehand.  It was fun catching up with her when she got home.  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

They're Home

Tonight Brett and Cal arrived home from Bloomington.  They were both glad to be home.  Cal missed his last class of the day to beat traffic.  He heard later from friends that many of them were stuck on 37 for well over an hour, so he was pleased with his choice.  Cam had a game at Wawasee Middle.  Once he and I got home from that we all ate dinner together including Hannah-Marie who stopped by after practice.  Everyone talked non-stop and it was wonderful to hear.  There were shared memories going around the table as well as some new stories.  I could have listened to them talk all night long.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Forty-Nine and Counting

Today was my forty-ninth birthday.  Turning a year old has never bothered me, so I enjoyed the students asking me how old I was and trying to figure out which teachers were older.  I wasn't at school long today to answer their questions, however.  I had to leave during team time for physical therapy.  It was there that I received my first birthday present of the day - I was released from therapy.  They gave me a lot of exercises to do at home and reviewed them with me.  It will be awhile before I can do walking lunges, but I will keep working at them.  It was amazing to think about how far I have come in just two months.  This summer I never thought that I would walk normally.  I was thrilled to be proved wrong.

I spent the rest of the afternoon at a high ability math meeting.  It went well and we accomplished a lot.  I came home to a quiet house.  Meg did not have practice tonight.  She decided to use the time to go to Milford school and visit Mr. Larson.  I called her at 4:45 to remind her to head home.  She had talked for one hour!!  Cam had practice.  Doug picked him up and the four of us left for Bella Vitale in Warsaw around 6 p.m.  The food was excellent and we enjoyed visiting together.  My parents met us back at our home afterward for dessert and gifts.  My Mom brought two of my favorites - chocolate cake and cookie dough ice cream.

I enjoyed my presents this year.  Meg gave me a print of "Jugglers at the Circus Fernando."  Cam's gift was a blu-ray copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  Doug scored points with a sweater, pajamas and a butterfly necklace from Morocco in EPCOT.  My parents found some nice kitchen towels for me along with orange slices and my Dad's favorites - circus peanuts.  Cam opened them immediately.  Cal had told us earlier in the week that the flavor of circus peanuts was banana and Cam wanted to check to see if that was true.  He confirmed that Cal's information was correct.  Even with the rain and 40 degree weather I had a wonderful birthday and felt blessed beyond belief.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

There's No Way to Make Bleachers Comfortable

Tonight I sat on the bleachers at Bethany for over four hours.  Cam had a game against Lakeland and Meg had two against Central Noble.  No matter what I tried there was just no way to make those seats comfortable.  The ones in the middle school gym were the worst.  They were made out of plastic and just don't sit well.  I have noticed that a lot of schools have switch to those from wood ones.  I definitely was not a fan.  Fortunately, the majority of the night was spent in the main gym with the old style bleacher seats.  Both Meg and Cam's team came up on the short end tonight in the win column.  Meg earned high point honors for the junior varsity this evening, however.  It definitely reminded me of her middle school days.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Teacher Day

Friday was the end of the trimester, so today was a teacher work day.  I started at a math meeting at Wawasee High School.  It was supposed to be a vertical planning session, but it didn't feel overly productive.  Our group tried to stay on task, but others decided to follow their own agenda.  It helped to ask our 7th and 8th grade teachers questions about their standards and rules in their classroom, but I was glad when the meeting was over.

I spent the afternoon working in my classroom. This year has been challenging because of the number of students in 6th grade.  We have over 80 right now and this has typically been the time of year when we get a lot of move-ins.  I have found it difficult to manage that many students and continue to hep them grow academically.  I appreciate that my own children do not have to be in classrooms of this size.  Cam's entire grade was only 29 students to start the year and they have two of sections for each subject.  Thus, he rarely has more than 15 in a class.  Meg's class sizes have pretty much been the same as well.  All educational studies have shown that the best way to improve education would be to reduce class size.  Most agree that twenty-two should be the maximum a teacher should have to run a classroom effectively.  I would love to see that implemented in our district.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Leaves and More Leaves

Today Doug spent the majority of the day working on the yard.  It looked as though most of the leaves were down and he made a huge dent in them today.  I wish I could have been more helpful, but I have never been great at the leaves.   Without soccer I thought he would have more time, but his workload at Renegade has picked up tremendously since August.  I did appreciate what he got done today as the yard looked a lot better.

I spent my day working on laundry, giving haircuts and cleaning the kitchen.  Lately, I have felt that I overwhelmed with our daily schedule.  Basketball has added quite a bit to our plate.  My classes at school are the largest that I have ever taught.  Those two items combined along have made it a lot more challenging for me to keep up with it all.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Can't Win Them All

Cam spent his morning and early afternoon at Bremen elementary playing in a chess tournament.  He started off slower than normal and ended up finishing in the middle of the pack.  He was disappointed with his first loss, but overall was glad to have the experience.  Evan and JJ were there and Cam enjoyed hanging out with them.  He even joined in the Brower family gin rummy game.

Meg had a tough day on the basketball court as well but didn't take that to heart either.  West Noble had beaten up on them since she was in 6th grade AAU.  She knew it would be a difficult game.  She did get to play a lot and did well when she was on the court.  She said that a lot of the girls were upset after the game, but she was just happy to be a part of a supportive team.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Another Day, Another Game

Today was the last day of trimester one at Milford.  It was a long week as my students had tests to finish and I had grades to put in the grade book.  I was able to finish it all by 4 p.m. today which I was very thankful for.  Today was also our Veteran's Day program at school.  It was one of our better ones as the speaker was one of Milford's former PE teachers.  I never make it through the white table ceremony without tearing up and today was no exception.

Tonight both Cam and Meg had games.  Cam's was at Elkhart Christian Academy while Meg's was at home against two different schools.  Since it started at 5:30 p.m. and Meg's was at 6, we decided to split up.  Doug went to Cam's game and I went to Meg's.  We thought that Cam's would be an easy win, but that was not to be.  ECA had a player who was taller than Doug.  Bethany lost by quite a bit and Cam was pretty frustrated.  He felt better by the time he got back to school especially after watching the A team win by double digits.

Meg played on both the JV and Varsity tonight.  The JV played Goshen's 9th grade.  Doug was able to make it to the second half of the game.  The girls started slow and at halftime found themselves down 15-1.  The break must have regenerated them and the girls put on an impressive comeback losing 21-19 in the end.  Meg played the majority of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarter.  She has definitely improved and looked a lot more comfortable on the court.  The Varsity played ECA and controlled the game from the beginning.  Meg also played in that game coming off the bench for seven to eight minutes in the second half.  We didn't get to talk to her much as she went to Jackie's after the game to spend the night.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Bethany vs. Milford

Tonight was Cam's game against his former classmates at Milford.  When I left school several of the Milford players asked me who I would be cheering for.  I told them Bethany.  They gave me the raspberries and I made sure to "boo" them as well.  I did enjoy watching the game as I know all of the boys playing.  Cam guarded Ryden most of the game and held his own.  Bethany did not win, but the game was close for the first three quarters and I was impressed with how much the Bruins had improved since last year.  It wasn't the overwhelming defeat that we suffered then.  Cam even scored the first basket of the day on a put back offensive rebound.  He also dressed for the A game tonight, but he never got in the game.  Cam was more than ok with that as the teams were big.  Milford won that one as well, but not as easily.  I was pleased with how well Bethany did against the 8th grade especially since they had to play a 6th grader at point guard and two seventh graders on the wing.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Physical Therapy

Today I was able to go back to physical therapy for my ankle.  I had to miss last week because of my wrist.  It was a little more challenging as I was afraid of falling.  He gave me a walking stick to hold.  That helped a lot.  I exercised on the bike, did lunges and worked on balance.  My ankle has not hurt in ten days.  I do not feel as though I need to go to therapy anymore for my ankle.  The PT wants me to go one more time next week just to make sure.  I never thought that my ankle would stop hurting.  I know that I will always have to do exercises to keep it painfree.  I don't mind, however, as I have gone from cringing with every step to hardly noticing any difference between my left and right foot.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

First Varsity Point, First Varsity Win

Tonight Meg had a game at Jimtown.  My parents drove Cam and I to it.  He had had practice after school, so we had to hustle to make it on time.  Doug met us there.  Jimtown was young and showed it in the first quarter.  Bethany got up to a 13 point lead quickly and held on from there.  Meg got to play a lot in this game and it was fun watching her.  In the fourth quarter she had an awesome move to the basket that just rolled off the rim.  She was fouled on the way up and earned two shots at the charity stripe.  The first one also rolled around and fell out.  Meg took her time on the second attempt and was pleased to have finally scored her first Varsity point.  

Meg rode home with us after the game.  My parents picked up the truck at Bethany for her.  We stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner.  I enjoyed listening to Meg talk about the game.  She was proud of the point she scored and was happy with her decision to play basketball this year.  We were pleased that she has taken advantage of all that Bethany has to offer.  It has helped her make friends and to connect to her new school.

Monday, November 6, 2017

On to Northwood

Cam had a game at Northwood tonight.  I had never been to their middle school before.  It was in Wakarusa, so I decided to stay at school and drive from there.  Our 7th grade played their 7th grade B team.  It was a good game for the first half, but then size won out.  Cam didn't feel that he played his best.  He said that his back was hurting.  Even though he felt that way he still played the majority of the game and had a lot of great rebounds.  He enjoyed playing defense the most.  He said that was easier as he didn't have to think as much.  No matter the score I had fun watching him.  It was a long day at school and it was a nice break from that.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sleeping In

Last night Jackie and Macensy spent the night with Meg.  They walked in around 10:30 p.m. laughing and carrying a pizza from Little Caesar's.  They had a lot of fun and were able to sleep in until 10 or so.  The girls then went with Meg to 11 a.m. mass.  Cam slept in as well.  He was exhausted from his trip to Bloomington yesterday and was glad that religion had been canceled this morning.  I also slept in but was still up by 7:45.  Today was daylight savings time and we had set the clocks back an hour last night.  It felt good to have that extra hour of sleep especially after such a busy Saturday.  Doug appreciated it as well even though he had to get up and got to work this morning.  He originally thought he'd have to work all day at Renegade, but by 1 p.m. he was able to finish up what he needed there and could come home to work.

I really appreciated having him here as we had had a very heavy rainfall.  We had standing water in our backyard and flowing water through the front ravine.  The neighbor's driveway was completely flooded and we had water come in through the toy room and one small part of the pool room.  Doug did a great job soaking it up and I kept the towels dry and ready to be used.  It stopped after a couple of hours and the rain ended.  The flooding did change Meg's plans for the afternoon.  She was supposed to meet a group of friends at Maria's in North Webster.  Doug followed her to South Shore golf course to evaluate that road.  Once they got there they realized that it state road 13 was impassable.  Thus, Aaron stayed in North Webster and had lunch with one of their friends there, and   Meg and Izzy went to Chubby's.  It wasn't quite what she planned, but she enjoyed it just the same.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Saturday is Here

Doug and Cam left this morning at 6 a.m. for Bloomington.  They made it to Brett's apartment at 9:30 this morning.  They talked to him for about an hour and then headed over to the game.  It was misting a little when they got there so Cam sported a Maid of the Mist poncho for awhile.  They had a great game to watch at least for three quarters.  IU even led for awhile.  During the last ten minutes the Badgers pulled ahead and never looked back.  They met Brett at Mother Bear's for dinner afterward.  It was a pretty good walk to the restaurant from the stadium and the place was packed, but the pizza was delicious and they enjoyed visiting with Brett again.

While Doug and Cam were gone I caught up on school work.  Cal kept me company while I was working in my room.  He even watching Dirty Dancing with me.  He had never seen it before.  HM came over at lunch time.  She had taken the SAT this morning.  Meg and I went shopping in Goshen once they left.  We ate a late lunch at Hacienda and then bought Meg a new coat at Kohl's and some better boots for me.  We had time to stop at Target before I had to drop her off at Bethany.  I then came home to finish a few items on my to do list before leaving for Argos.

Cal had stopped by to say goodbye to my parents before he left for Purdue.  He planned on spending the night at Cameron's before going back to Bloomington.  Monteith had replaced the starter in the Civic so he had no problems driving it.  Mom, Dad and I drove to Argos for Meg's first official basketball game.  Meg dressed for both JV and Varsity.  She played well for her first game.  The JV struggle against the Argos defense, but the Varsity did very well.  In fact they almost came back to win losing 33-35 in the last few seconds.  By the time we got home Doug and Cam were already there.  It was a busy day for all, but a lot of fun.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Not Much Better

I was able to work the last two days with the splint on, but my wrist and thumb still hurt tremendously.  I didn't realize how much that I used my left thumb until I injured it.  The hand is still swollen and now is black and blue.  It was hard to type at school, but I made it work.  I kept using ice and it did help  I was glad for the weekend so that I could rest it.  

I went to AK Hare after school for a much needed haircut.  It had been awhile, so I had her trim it more than usual.  It was short, but Doug thought it looked nice.  Earlier in the day Doug had said that he and Cam were going to leave for Bloomington tonight.  IU was to play Wisconsin tomorrow and they wanted to see the game.  Since they were busy, I invited Cal, Meg and HM to go to dinner with me.  They all agreed and by the time we got ready to go Doug and Cam had changed their minds.  They decided to go out to dinner with all of us tonight and then travel to Bloomington in the morning.  We appreciated their change in plans, but let them know several times that they weren't on the original invitation list.  

Mad Anthony's was the eatery of choice and we were surprised to get seated as quickly as we did as it was First Friday's in downtown Warsaw.  The food was great and there were a lot of laughs around the table.  Cal probably got picked on the most.  He had decided to order jambalia shrimp pasta.  The waitress had told him that it would be hot, but he was sure he could handle it.  It was just as promised and about half way through he had to ask for a to go box.  We did not let him forget it the rest of the evening.  

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Cam's Season Opener

Tonight was the season opener for the Bethany boys middle school basketball.  Cam is playing on the B team this year.  He started in tonight's game and played the majority of it.  We were impressed with his improvement in defense and rebounding.  The boys struggled against the size and speed of Concord, but they did hang in there for the first half.  Cam stayed to watch the A game while Mom and I went shopping at Aldi's and Target.  We picked him up at Bethany afterward.  He was happy with how he did.

The best part of the game was sitting by Cal.  He had come home last night and thought it'd be fun to tag along with Dad to the game.  It had been awhile since he had seen a middle school game and his commentary was hilarious.  Every time Cam had the ball he'd yell, "Get a haircut!"  Another time one of Concord's less skilled players traveled down the lane.  Cal helped the refs by shouting out, "He's walking."  He and my Dad left after the B game.  They wanted to catch Hannah-Marie's season opener as well.  Dad said he was just as funny there.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Nasty Fall

Yesterday at school I took a nasty fall.  I was walking from Betsy's room to mine and the carpet by the front doors tripped me up.   The corner of it was upturned and caught my left foot completely knocking me to the ground.  In catching my fall I injured both of my wrists and thumbs.  They both hurt immensely but the left one would not stop throbbing especially the thumb.  I talked to the nurse at school and showed her where it hurt.  She thought that it could be broken.  I kept ice on it for four hours while I finished out the day at school.  Once I got home and showed it to my Mom and Doug my hand had become extremely swollen.

This morning I tried to get into Dr. Allen's office to have someone look at my thumb, but they didn't have any appointments before ten a.m.  They also did not have a way to x-ray it.  As it was a workman's comp claim, the school had to be involved in deciding who I could or could not see.   They did finally agree that I could go to MedStat instead.  They were able to get me in at 8 a.m. and had an x-ray tech on staff.  By 9:30 I was on my way out the door with a splint for my wrist and directions to follow.  It was not broken, but severely sprained.  I will not be able to use it at all for the next five days and it will take up to 5 weeks to fully heal.  I spent the majority of the day resting.  It didn't feel much better, but at least I had a plan of action.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween

It was a cold Halloween night but a fun one for Cameron.  He invited Evan to go trick or treating with him.  Cam dressed as a Panda and Evan was a soldier.  They made it through every house in our neighborhood and all of those in Fox Run.  They came back with their bags full and a lot of stories to share.  Several of the homes they stopped at thought that Evan was actually a hunter pursuing Cam, the panda.  Cam said that he forgot his gloves, so Dr. Edington gave him a pair.  They were gone for over an hour and a half, but still had time to play a game of chess before Evan had to leave.  

It was a busy night for trick or treaters at our house.  I really didn't think that we would get very many as it was cold and Halloween was on a school night.  I was definitely wrong as the doorbell rang all night.  I was solo for the evening as Meg and Doug went to the Bethany Fall sports award.  It was long, but Meg seemed to have a good time.  Doug was proud of the awards that she won.  Meg earned her letter and also a certificate for being named to the Indiana High School Soccer Coaches' All-Academic team.  What an awesome accomplishment for her first year as a transfer student. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Basketball Scrimmage

Tonight was the girls basketball scrimmage against Goshen.  Meg played in both sessions.  It was a lot of fun seeing her back on the court.  She was nervous, but we know the more that she plays, the more confident she will become.  We have told her many times over the past month that we do not care if she plays a minute or the entire game, we just want her to enjoy herself on the court once again.  That was taken away from her at Wawasee because of the treatment she received by the coaches at the high school.  Although it wasn't quite the same situation that Cal faced it took away her self esteem.  It was nice to know that the effects of that were not permanent.  My favorite part of the night occurred when I realized that she had chosen to wear the number 42.  It was Cal's number.  What a wonderful way to keep the Heinisch basketball tradition alive and to honor her favorite player.  

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Fashion Farm

This morning Brett, Meg, Cam and I headed to Fashion Farm after religion was over.  The three of them debated the entire drive about the theory of having religion for one hour and forty-five minutes. It definitely seems like a long time to me.  Cam doesn't enjoy it as much as he used to in past years.  I can't really blame him for feeling that way.

It was cold at Fashion Farm, but we still had fun.  Fantasyland was decorated with "monster" pumpkins.  Brett, Meg and Cam tried several of the mazes, but were disappointed with the tunnel one.  It was no longer dark as the top was taken off.  We picked out two large pumpkins and some gourds to take home.  We also bought some pumpkin donuts and pumpkin ice cream. We decided while we were driving home that this might be our last trip to Fashion Farm.  It just wasn't what it once was.

After lunch we started on our way to Amish Acres.  We had tickets to see Mousetrap, an Agatha Christie play.  Brett was going to follow us there, but when he went to start the Civic, it wouldn't turn over.  Cal had had problems with it earlier and so did Brett, but they were always able to get it started.  Doug tried for awhile as well, but decided the best course of action was for Brett to take the CR-V and for us to get the Civic fixed.  Cal was planning on coming home on Wednesday, so it would work out just fine.

Knowing that problem was solved we left for Amish Acres where we all enjoyed Mousetrap.  It was a murder mystery and each time I thought I had it figured out something would change.  In the end Meg was the closet to figuring out the murderer.  After the play Brett left for Bloomington.  He had enjoyed his week.  Meg and Cam spent the night carving their pumpkins while we watched "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."  Both pumpkins turned out well. It was the perfect end to a wonderful weekend.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Chess Champion

Cam had his first chess tournament of the year.  The home court advantage must have helped as Cam finished tied for first in the reserve section of the Bethany Chess Tourney.  He had told us going in to the day that he was going to win.  He obviously felt confident.  Due to the tiebreak system he brought home the second place trophy, but he didn't mind at all.  Cam was just glad to have performed well.

Tonight we all went to mass.  Cam was a server.  Doug was supposed to lector, but had to cancel as he got a call at 4:15 stating that one of the buildings at Renegade was on fire.  He left for Bristol and thankfully, Brett was able to step in for him.  After mass Meg left to hang out with Aaron.  Cam and Brett went uptown to watch "IT."  This was the third time that Brett had watched it and the first for Cam.  I was nervous that Cam would be too scared to make it through the movie, but he did just fine.  He said that it was scary, but he could handle it.  Brett enjoyed listening to Cam's comments throughout the movie, especially when he would say, "Don't do it!  Don't go in there."

Doug stayed at the fire for several hours.  It was a fairly decent size one.  He will have follow up work to do, but was able to make it home for dinner.

Friday, October 27, 2017


Today was the day that Brett had been waiting for for quite some time.  He had always wanted to see a Broadway musical and tonight we were able to make his dream come true by taking him to a performance of Wicked.  Brett and I had wanted to see it for years, but hadn't been able to.  We talked about going to it in Chicago over Christmas break, but the prices were outrageous - $129 a ticket for the last row in the balcony.  I did some investigating and found that it was going to be in Grand Rapids this weekend for quite a bit less.  The timing was perfect because it coordinated perfectly with Brett's trip to Chicago.  All we had to do was make sure that Brett caught the noon train back to South Bend.  I was worried at first as his conference got over 11 a.m. and that didn't give him a lot of time to get to Millennium Station.  Thankfully, it was not a problem as the event ended early and Brett was there before Burger King even started selling lunch.

I had bought four tickets for tonight's performance thinking that Meg would be able to go.  The Bethany Fish fry was tonight, however, and it was mandatory that all students work.  She didn't mind missing the musical with us as she had a chance to hang out with her classmates.  Doug was glad to step into her spot.  He was even more happy when he realized that we had enough time after we picked Brett up to stop by his favorite restaurant in Grand Rapids - Founder's Brewery.

Even stopping for dinner we were still at the musical plenty early.  We were glad as there was a long line to get into the parking garage.  Our seats were in the balcony but everyone could see the stage very well.  All four of us really enjoyed the performance.  The storyline was fantastic and coincided with the plot of Wizard of Oz perfectly.  We each had a different favorite character and song and we talked about the musical most of the way home.  I was so happy that we finally were able to make Brett's dream come true.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

More Progress

I took the afternoon off today to go to physical therapy and the rheumatologist.  Both went very well. I do not have to go back to the rheumatologist anytime soon which I was happy to hear.  He was a great doctor to visit, but the clinic was in South Bend.  He released me to my family doctor for now.  

I picked Cam up from practice after the doctor's.  Doug had to go to Decatur for work, so he was home later than usual.  His workload has really picked up this fall.  Meg had practice again this evening and so far feels good about it all.  She has been practicing with the JV and sometimes with the Varsity.  Brett texted several times from Chicago.  He made it on the 6 a.m. train without incident.  He stayed at the same hotel as the conference which was convenient.  Today they met with employers and also went to a dinner put on by IU SPEA alumni.  He felt it was extremely beneficial.  That was awesome to hear.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Brett's Home

As soon as I got home today I finished putting away of the rest of Cam and Meg's laundry.  There was quite a bit of it, but I watched The Chase to keep me company.  It felt good to finally have everything from our trip back in place.  Brett made it home just as I was finishing.  He had a SPEA conference in Chicago on Thursday and Friday.  Doug decided to take all of us out to dinner once he got here.  Brett hadn't been to Sleepy Owl in quite some time, so we thought we would try it tonight.  The food was delicious.  Doug and I had pizza as it was half price night.  Brett tried the shrimp scampi while Cam had the spaghetti and meatballs.  Meg couldn't join us as she had too much homework, but she did enjoy the spaghetti we brought back.  We enjoyed catching up with Brett.  He has had a busy couple of weeks at school.  Since Brett and Doug had to make it to the South Shore for the first train tomorrow and Cam had bell ringers everyone went to bed early tonight.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Basketball Parent Meetings

Tonight both Meg and Cam had parent basketball meetings.  Cam's was first starting at 5:30.  Doug was able to attend that one.  Cam was pretty upset by the time Doug got there.  Someone had taken his phone and he couldn't find it.  After the meeting Cam went back to the locker room and they finally figured out where it was.  Cam had left it in his pants and someone had picked up his pants off of the locker room floor.  Cam was relieved to be reunited with it.  Other than the phone incident the meeting went well.  The boys have new shooting shirts this season and Doug was able to sign up for snacks.

Doug had a church meeting to go to after the basketball one, so he dropped Cam off at my parents before he left.  I passed them on the way to Meg's basketball parent meeting.  A lot of information was given out and there was a dinner sign up for her team as well.  I was so impressed with her coach.  KP talked a lot about building a stronger team this year, not only in basketball, but also in life.    She even had a book study planned for the girls about overcoming adversity.  It should be a wonderful learning experience for Meg with a lot of team and coach support.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Laundry, Shopping and More

Cam and Meg headed back to school this morning.  They said that they weren't as tired as they thought that they would be.  They were glad to see their friends and enjoyed basketball practice.  Doug went back to work as well although he did sleep in until 6:30.  I still had a day left on my Fall Break and I put it to good use.  I made laundry my first priority.  Once that started I read through the mail taking care of any bills that arrived while we were gone.  I had a doctor's appointment with  Goshen Orthopedics.  He said that my ankle and knee were progressing well.  He schedule 6 to 8 more physical therapy appointments.  After those I do not have to go back to Dr. Cutteback unless I want to.

I went to physical therapy after the doctor's.  It went well as always.  Even though my ankle still had some swelling I no longer have to wear the tape.  I have been amazed at how much the swelling has gone done over the past month.  From therapy I went to Wal-Mart.  As Doug would say, "We were down to our last can of Whoo Hash," so it was time to stock up.  It took quite awhile to put everything away, but by the time I was done we were ready for the week.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

One Last Day

We slept until 7:30 this morning and it felt like noon.  Meg said that she woke up at five and took her shoes off and went back to bed.  She enjoyed her pizza for breakfast.  Doug and I spent time packing.  I am always sad to go home but it was nice knowing that we still had a day at the park left on this trip.  We dropped our luggage off at the airline check-in at the Boardwalk.  The valet kept our carry-ons.  We had to catch the Magical Express at 2:30 p.m. so we we had time to spend at Hollywood Studios.

Hollywood Studios had been under construction the last few times that we had visited it and today was no exception.  We did get to see the new layout for the new Toy Story Land set to open next summer.  It will add a great deal to the park and when Star Wars Land opens in 2019 the park will be fantastic.  Our hope is to bring everyone back then.

While there we were able to ride Toy Story Mania and Star Tours.  We walked through Walt Disney One Man, One Dream and enjoyed the history lesson once again.  Cam and I had fast passes for Twilight Tower of Terror, so we headed there around 10 a.m.  The ride was listed as closed, but they did still have two elevators running for fast pass holders.  It took a half hour, but we were able to get on.  It was scary as always, but a lot of fun.  We felt thankful for making it on as the ride closed completely later in the day.  Doug and Meg watched the Beauty and the Beast live show while we were in line.  Meg said it wasn't very good, but it gave them something to do while they were waiting for us.  We all met at The Muppet Show 3-D.  It was a great way to end our time at the park as we all really enjoyed the show.

We ate at EPCOT for lunch before making our way back to the Boardwalk to catch our bus.  I was sad to leave, but we had had a wonderful time.  Our trip to the airport and our flight home were quick.  There was a lot of turbulence on the plane but nothing we couldn't handle.  Meg and I both watched the live Beauty and the Beast movie and Cam enjoyed The Lego Movie.  Our luggage was some of the first off of the flight and we were ready for Doug before he got to the car.  The trip home was an easy one and it was nice to head to our own beds tonight.

Saturday, October 21, 2017


We were up early again this morning ready for a day at Animal Kingdom.  In May a new area of the park had opened called Pandora.  It was several years in the making and was based on the movie Avatar.  Since its opening it had received a lot of praise from those who have visited it, especially the ride called Flight of Avatar.  We had tried as soon as we were allowed (sixty days from our hotel reservation) to get fast passes for it, but there were none available for the week.  We knew the only chance we had of riding it was to get there when the park opened for Extra Magic hours.  We decided to ensure that we beat most of the other Disney resort guests there by renting a Minnie van for our early morning trip.  The van arrived at the Boardwalk within three minutes of our request.  Our driver was pleasant and we arrived at the park in no time without all of the extra stops that a normal trip to Animal Kingdom takes.  

We definitely beat the majority of the crowd to the park entrance.  They walked us all to the land of Pandora at 7:30 and by 7:45 a.m. they had started letting guests onto the ride.  We waited only 15 minutes in line before we were strapped onto the Banshee.  The ride was different from any other that I had ever been on.  We flew through the land of Pandora over the trees and mountains enjoying all of the beautiful sights.  As much as we loved the ride and were thrilled to get through the queue so quickly, there was one drawback.  The ride made Doug extremely sick.  He made a beeline for the bathroom as soon as we got off the ride.  It was a good thing he did as Meg never would have let him forget it if he didn't "make it to a trash can or a toilet," especially after all of the lectures he had given her over the years about the correct way to vomit.  Even with Doug's motion sickness kicking in, we all really enjoyed the ride.  We were flabbergasted that the line was already 185 minutes long by the time we were done.  From there we headed to several other of our favorites - Dinosaur, Na'vi River Ride, The Lion King Show, Kilimanjaro Safari and It's Tough to Be a Bug.  Cam and I really enjoyed the safari after our time with the elephants on Wednesday.  

After our time at Animal Kingdom we decided to eat lunch on the Boardwalk at The Big River Brewing Company.  The food was delicious and the view was beautiful.  From lunch we walked to Fantasia Mini-golf.  It was a lot of fun even though Doug won once again.  We decided to try the new ice cream parlor on the Boardwalk when we got back.  We tried last night, but it was packed.  We got in with no problem today and really enjoyed the treat.  

We ate dinner in the lounge before heading to Magic Kingdom for the night.  It was crowded as usual, but we were all able to ride some of our favorites once again.  We even did some shopping on Mainstreet USA before heading back to our hotel.  The bus ride took longer than usual, but we still made it to the hotel just before midnight.  Everyone was starving, so Doug ran down there when he got off the bus to order before the pizza window closed.  The three of us headed to the room to wait.  Meg stretched out on her bed was sound asleep fully dressed immediately.  Cam and I waited for Doug.  He had a story to tell once he got in as there was a fight outside the pizza window and security had to be called.  Luckily, he stayed out of the mix and arrived unharmed with pizza for everyone.  Meg never woke up so we put hers in the fridge for breakfast.  It was a late night, but a fun filled day.  

Friday, October 20, 2017

Rope Drop

We decided last night that we were going to be at Magic Kingdom when it opened at 7 a.m. today.  That was a tall order as we were tired from our previous three days of park hopping.  Doug knew he'd be up and ready, but wasn't sure the rest of us could make it.  We surprised him when we got up with  the alarm at 5:30 a.m. and caught the first bus of the day to Magic Kingdom.  It was still dark when we got there, but when the rope dropped at 7 a.m. for Fantasyland we were one of the first to get in line for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride.  It was fun as usual and we were even pleased to make it on to Peter Pan before the lines became unbearable.

We spent the rest of the morning enjoying all that Magic Kingdom had to offer including the Jungle Cruise, Big Thundermountain and our favorite new show - Great Moments in History featuring the Muppets.  Our next stop of the day was EPCOT.  Everyone wanted to enjoy the food and wine festival for lunch.  Cam and I were finally able to try the chocolate pudding cake from Ireland.  It was by far my favorite food of the week.  We also did some shopping and found some great gifts for everyone at home.

The rest of the afternoon was spent enjoying the pool at the Boardwalk.  It was by far the hottest day of the week with temperatures close to ninety and the heat index even higher.  We were fortunate to get fast passes for Rock N Roller coaster in the late afternoon.  Doug and I opted out and let Cam and Meg enjoy it.  I really like the ride, but it's just too jerky for me anymore.  After the ride we did some shopping and then headed to Fantasmic.  We were there plenty early and got great seats.  The pre-entertainment was a lot of fun, especially the sing-a-longs.  The real show was just as good as always.

While we were at the show Doug walked through the countries of EPCOT once again.  He met us on the Boardwalk and we enjoyed the street performers together.  Meg and Cam took a turn on the flipping lobster game and Meg finally scored one for the Heinisch family earning a stuffed animal for her efforts.  Desserts in the lounge were open until ten and we tried several before going to bed.  Cam and Meg had been watching Mickey cartoons all week and caught some of their favorites before falling asleep.  Our plan was to get up early again tomorrow and everyone wanted to be ready.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Doug's Vacation

Doug was able to finish everything that he needed to do these past two days and was finally able to meet up with us and start his vacation.  We were all sound asleep when he arrived last night, but we were glad to have him with us this morning.  As this was his first day we decided to spend it at his favorite places - EPCOT and the Boardwalk.  Before the countries opened we were able to spend time in Future World riding Test Track and Spaceship Earth.  Meg split off from us for awhile to hang out with her friends from Bethany.  Doug, Cam and I toured the island countries trying different food and drinks from several areas.  They each got a passport so they could keep track of their favorites.  I talked Doug into riding Living with the Land while Meg and Cam met backup to ride Mission Space. When the ride was over we ran into Cameron's teacher, Mr. Hurst.  He was the chaperone for the Bethany trip to Disney.  We thanked him for letting Meg tag along with his group.

Meg stayed with her friends the rest of the afternoon.  They had a lot of fun together shopping, walking through the countries, and riding rides.  Doug, Cam and I enjoyed our afternoon as well.  We finally finished the American Experience show that was cut short on Tuesday due to a child getting stuck in a chair and the fire department having to come to get him out.  We spent part of our time at the Boardwalk.  Cam and Doug went swimming and we ate dinner in the lounge.  It was a great day to swim as it was hot and the food in the lounge was delicious.  We met Meg back at EPCOT in the early evening.  She had had a wonderful time with her friends, but they had to leave and she wanted to ride Soarin' with us.

For the first time in a long time we were able to ride Soarin' without a fast pass.  The total wait time was less than fifteen minutes.  We were excited about that.  Once the ride was over we headed to the different countries again.  Cam and I had found all of the Remy's earlier in the day and earned our key chain.  Therefore we decided this trip around we would just enjoy the food.  We took Doug on the Gran Fiesta and then found a spot for Illuminations.  It was just as great as usual and we were able to get back to the hotel while the desserts were being served.  We talked about walking on the Boardwalk, but decided instead to go to bed early.  We all wanted to catch the first bus to Magic Kingdom in the morning.  The park opened at 7 a.m. and we wanted to be there for the rope drop.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Caring for Giants

We all decided to sleep in this morning.  Yesterday was a lot of fun, but definitely exhausting.  I was up in time to get breakfast in the lounge.  I brought back milk for Cam and Meg and got them up and ready for the day.  I let them pick our late morning activity and they chose Disney Springs.  It was the perfect day to go as it wasn't crowded at all.  Disney Springs has really expanded over the past few years.  There are so many more stores to explore and a lot more food stops.  We spent the majority of our time in the World of Disney, Pin Traders and Goofy's Candy Store.  We bought some souvenirs for ourselves and several for those not on the trip with us.  Cam checked out the Lego store, but didn't find anything in his price range.  We found a new store that featured only Star Wars items that we all enjoyed.

It poured for a little while as we were shopping, but not enough to change anyone's plans.  We went to the hotel after Disney Springs, so Cam and Meg could eat pizza on the Boardwalk.  From there Cam and I headed to Animal Kingdom.  We had a 3 p.m. tour called "Caring for Giants" and we wanted to make sure that we were at the check in point plenty early.  Thankfully the bus was on time and we even had time to walk through Gorilla Falls before our tour began.  I brought a digital camera and Cam enjoyed taking pictures of the animals.  We also did some bird watching.  The hippos weren't in their pool, but other than that it was a wonderful walk.

Several weeks ago Cam and I had decided that we wanted to try a Disney tour.  As he tends to enjoy science and learning I thought Caring for Giants would be the one to sign up for.  Cam and I were taken to the backstage area of Animal Kingdom to board a van to meet the elephants in their habitat.  Along the way we got to see the cell phone tower that they disguised as a tree.  We never would have know it was a tower if we hadn't been told.  As interesting as the backstage area was, the elephant portion of the tour was absolutely fantastic.  We learned a lot about the individual animals on the Savannah and even got to see the newest elephant family member, Stella.  We found out how to tell the elephants apart and were able to look at the bees and elephant project that has helped keep the elephants in Africa from destroying the farm crops.  Cam and I both took many pictures and thoroughly enjoyed our tour.  We even got to keep our name tags that were made form elephant dung.

After our tour we headed to Pandora to try the new river ride.  Meg met us there and we were glad that we had fast passes as the wait was well over an hour.  The ride was peaceful and Pandora was beautiful.  I believe that we may have enjoyed it even more if we had seen the movie.  While we were at Animal Kingdom we decided to ride Dinosaur and Expedition Everest and then catch the River of Lights show.  We were one of the first groups in line and were able to sit in the front row.  We loved it.

Magic Kingdom was open until 1 a.m. this evening so we decided after the River of Lights show that we would head there.  We caught the bus immediately and were there by 9 p.m.  The park was crowded, but towards the end of the evening it started to thin out.  I talked everyone into riding Dumbo.  It was the first time that I had ridden it in years.  We were able to catch every ride that we wanted to except for the Jungle Cruise and Monsters Laugh Floor.  We left those for later in the week.  We averted one disaster.  Meg's phone fell out of Cam's pocket on Space Mountain, but thankfully we had find my phone turned on and it was returned to them.  Although, we didn't quite make it until 1, but it was well after that time when we got back to our room.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

This is Halloween

We were up by 4 a.m. this morning to catch the first flight of the day from Midway to Orlando.  The flight was sold out, but we were able to get seats together at the front of the plane.  There were a lot of screaming toddlers, but everyone calmed down once we took off.  We had to wait awhile for the ride to the Boardwalk, but we were still able to walk into EPCOT before 11 a.m.

The weather was a lot hotter than was originally forecasted which we enjoyed.  Our first ride as always was The Gran Fiesta starring Donald Duck in Mexico.  It was not crowded, but Future World definitely was.  The only other ride we were able to get on easily was Spaceship Earth.  After that Meg wanted German pretzels for lunch and Cam and I wanted to start our "Remy" scavenger hunt.  Throughout the country there were hidden statues of Remy from Ratatouille.  Each had a different ingredient with Remy and we vowed to find all of them this trip to earn a prize.  Meg had to help us with the first one as we weren't quite sure where to look or how big the Remy would be.

Once Meg got us started she split off and headed to Disney's Hollywood Studios.  Several of her friends from Bethany were in Florida for a school fall break trip and she wanted to catch up with them.  While Meg was having fun with her friends, Cam and I toured the countries of EPCOT.  We tried some awesome food and found seven of the ingredients for Remy's soup.  Cam's favorite food of the day was a lamb meatball.  I enjoyed the shrimp with berries the best.

Meg wasn't ready to head to Magic Kingdom for our first Fast Passes, so Cam and I went back to our room.  Our luggage had arrived and I spent some time getting our room organized.  Meg and I had bought a pedestal fan to bring along.  We put the pieces in several suitcases and I was happy that all arrived safely.  I was able to put it together while Cam and I rested.

Meg called to say that she wanted to meet us at the bus stop at 4:30 p.m.  The bus took awhile, but we were still able to arrive at Magic Kingdom in time to use their fast pass on Space Mountain.  After that we were happy to find out that the fast passes for Peter Pan that we missed while Meg was with her friends would still be honored by the cast member working the ride.  We had a lot of fun on the ride.  Right before we got in line for the ride we saw a couple dressed up as Tinker Bell and Smee.  As the man was very thin and had brown hair he actually looked a lot more like "Where's Waldo."  We had fun looking for Smee/Waldo throughout the Peter Pan flight.  Afterward we stopped for dinner at Meg's favorite eatery in Magic Kingdom - Cosmic Rays.  Sonny Eclipse was just as entertaining as always and we decided to take pictures before we left.  Our last fast pass before Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party started was Big Thunder Mountain.  We all enjoyed the roller coaster ride and then grabbed our bags for trick or treating.

Our first stop of the Halloween party was the Hocus Pocus show at Cinderella's castle.  Last year's performance had to be cancelled and we wanted to make sure that we saw the first showing of the night.  We all enjoyed it and were ready for several rides afterward.  Along the way we stopped at several trick or treat stations.  Our bags were quickly filled as the cast members were generous with their treats.  We arrived early for the "Boo to You" parade.  It started off with the Headless Horseman eerily trotted up the street.  The songs were great as were the characters, dancing and floats.  We stayed until after 11 p.m. enjoying several more rides including Goofy's Barnstormer and the Little Mermaid.  We were able to watch the Halloween fireworks before catching the bus back to the Boardwalk.  By the time we arrived at our room we had been up for over 20 hours.  We were all ready for bed, but thrilled with our first day in Florida.

Monday, October 16, 2017

On Our Way

We left tonight for Chicago once Doug got home.  I had the afternoon off to visit the doctor and to go to physical therapy, so it was no problem getting the last minute items packed.  Meg and Cam were home because of fall break.  Thus, they were more than ready to go before I got back from Goshen.  The trip to Chicago was easy as traffic was light for rush hour.  We took a different route than normal to avoid construction on the toll road and were at Giordano's by 7 p.m. Chicago time.

Dinner was delicious.  We do not get Chicago style pizza often, so when we do it is highly appreciated by all.  Our hotel was a block from the restaurant and all of us were ready for bed when we got there.  We even had the television turned off by 9 p.m.  We knew that 3 a.m. was going to come early and we wanted to be ready for the big day ahead.  Meg even brought a fan to drown out Doug's snoring.  Cam said that it can get too loud for him, but overall it has made a difference when we stay in a hotel room.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Thankful for Yesterday

We woke up this morning to rain and 60s.  The further we drove north the colder it became.  We remarked several times on the way home how thankful we were for the 80s and sun that we had yesterday.  It made the day so much more enjoyable.  Doug and Cam still would have gone to the game, they would have just dressed a lot warmer.  Brett, Meg and I would have worked in shopping, but maybe not all of the walking that we did.  I definitely would have missed the tailgate if the weather had been 60 degrees with rain and wind.

Therefore, I did not complain once today about the weather.  I was just incredibly thankful for the beautiful day we had to share with our entire family yesterday.  The Heinisch family must have felt the same way as both Meg and Cam thanked us on the way home for taking them to Bloomington.  Cal also texted me on our way out to say he appreciated our visit and that he loved us.  Brett then posted a beautiful thought on Facebook about what spending time with his family meant to him.  All of those warm thoughts kept the day sunny and bright for me even when the rain was falling.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

What a Gorgeous Day in Bloomington

We started our morning at the Bloomington Farmer's Market.  It was a sunny morning, just a little chilly.  We walked throw the art and crafts section before picking up scones for breakfast.  There were a lot of pumpkins and gourds to buy, but we decided to wait until later in the month to get ours.  From the farmer's market we walked up to the courthouse square to see the glass pumpkins.  We had gone last year and they were beautiful.  This year we chose just to look at them from afar.  The line to get up the courthouse steps was over a block long.  We weren't up for that as we knew we weren't going to buy any.  We found out last year that they were outside of our budget with the smallest ones priced at $50 a piece.

Since we had some extra time before the IU vs. Michigan game we stopped at the game store across from the courthouse.  Cam and Meg played chess and then Cam purchased a new version of Scattegories for us to try.  We also ran into the kitchen store.  Doug had dropped our pasta spoon and we needed a new one.  As a bonus we found a purple one to match our kitchen.  Doug drove us back to Brett's.  He and Cam walked to the game from there.  Doug texted me later to say that it took them fifteen minutes to get through the metal detectors and into their seats.  The game was a sellout and it showed everywhere around campus as all of Bloomington was packed.  Fortunately, they did get to see kickoff.

While they were at the game Meg, Brett and I hung out together.  Brett needed a haircut, so he walked there first.  We drove down and met him at T.I.S.  From there we went to Noodles & Company for lunch.  I wanted to run into Greetings to look around and we were amazed with how many people were on Kirkwood especially at the bars.  Our next stop was Target.  Brett needed a few items for his apartment and Meg and I always enjoy going to The College Mall.  We didn't purchase a lot, but I did find a few fall candles at Yankee Candle and Brett and Meg each found shirts that they liked.  Brett decided to wear his the rest of the day - a smiling face of Penny Wise the clown from IT.

Parce texted us when we got back to Brett's to let us know that they were still tailgating.  Cal had called me earlier to tell me that he was going to head there as well.  Doug and Cam never made it out of the game at halftime as security was too hard to get in and out of in ten minutes.  Brett, Meg and I decided that we would join the tailgate, however, and started walking to the stadium around 3 p.m.  We noticed while we were walking that a lot of fans were leaving the game.  Michigan was up 20-10 and they must have decided to give up.  By the time we got to Chokey's spot, IU had scored making it 20-17.  We visited with everyone for awhile and listened to the game.  With just seconds left IU made it to field goal range.  The kick was good and Cal decided to head in and watch the overtime.  We listened to the rest of the game at the tailgate.  Michigan scored right away and IU made it to the 2 yard line.  Unfortunately, they couldn't convert on a touchdown pass and lost in overtime.  We waited around for Cal, Doug and Cam to come out of the game.  They were disappointed, but happy to have the opportunity to go.

Cal and Doug took off shortly after the game ended.  They walked to Pizza Express to get all of us breadsticks.  Meg, Brett, Cam and I stayed awhile longer, visiting with Parce and Chokey.  The walk back was a tough one especially with the steep hill on 17th street.  Brett and Cam walked ahead talking about Kingdom Hearts and Batman.  Meg stayed with me which I appreciated as I walk quite a bit slower than everyone else right now.  She talked about school and her friends.  Doug and Cal beat us back to Brett's apartment.  We enjoyed the breadsticks as we hadn't eaten a lot throughout the day.

Once we rested we headed back to the College Mall.  Cam desperately needed new shoes.  His toe was coming out the side of his current pair.  It took him awhile to pick out a pair, but he did end up with a nice pair of red Nike Hyper Dunks.  We stopped at Barnes & Noble and Doug bought the new Dan Brown book.  Cal asked us to drop him off at his house.  He was tired and ready to lie down.  We picked up Parce and the guys all went bowling.  Meg and I went along, but I wasn't able to bowl because of my leg.  The guys all bowled well and Parce took bragging rights beating Brett by two pins in the final frame. We ate dinner at Opie Taylor's.  The food took awhile but we all enjoyed the conversation.  Parce walked home from the restaurant while Doug drove Brett, Meg and I back to Brett's apartment.  Meg spent time talking with her friends and Brett and I watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  Doug and Cam caught the end of the Cubs game with Parce.  Unfortunately, the Dodgers got the better of them in game 1.

Friday, October 13, 2017

On to Bloomington

Good news all around today.  The Cubs won 9-8 last night.  The game lasted longer than any other 9 inning playoff game in history finishing close to 2:30 in the morning.  My therapy sessions went well.  The swelling in my ankle was down 3 centimeters since I started therapy.  All of my students finished their tests today with many making significant improvement.  Best of all, we headed to Bloomington at 4:15 this afternoon.

Traffic was heavy on 37 and we had to stop once, but we were still able to make it to Brett's apartment by 8:30.  It was a beautiful night, so we walked to Mother Bear's.  I hadn't walked since August.  My leg did hurt, but it was nice to get some exercise.  There was a long line outside of the restaurant when we arrived, but we were seated within thirty minutes.  We used our time waiting to catch up with Brett.  We talked a lot about what he had been up to and also The Legend of Sleepy Hollow as we had just watched the Disney version on the way to Bloomington.  The food was delicious and the service was a lot quicker than we had expected.  The walk back to Brett's went well.  My leg was sore, but I was happy that I didn't hold anyone back too much.  Doug and Cam helped us blow up Meg's mattress and then headed to Parce's.  I was impressed that Doug made it up as long as he did.  He had stayed up until 1:30 a.m last night watching the Cubs and then got up at 5:30 a.m. to play basketball.  Meg, Brett and I watched the Harry Potter marathon on Freeform until we finally decided it was time for bed.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

One of Those Days

From start to finish today was just not the best day.  I know that it was because I had a lot to do and there just didn't feel like there was enough time in the day to accomplish everything.  I had work to do for school and then also needed to pack for Bloomington.  Meg had a paper that needed proof read and Doug had county council.  By the end of the night I was absolutely exhausted and in tears.  The bright spot of the day did occur once I sat down.  It looked like the Cubs were going to be eliminated, but a crazy fifth inning had them overcome a 4-1 deficit and take the lead 5-4.  I don't know if they can win the World Series again, but it would be nice to see them win their division.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Camp Friends

Meg and Cam were both dismissed at 2:30 again today.  It was so wonderful to know that Meg could just bring Cam home and that we wouldn't have to worry about picking him up early or making sure he had a ride.  We didn't encourage Meg to transfer to Bethany so that Cam would have a way to and from school or practice, but it has definitely been a benefit.

I got home around 3:40 and Cam was already there working on his math homework.  Math comes naturally to Cameron.  Because of that I was worried that he wouldn't be challenged this year.  From talking to his teacher and listening to Cam I do think that math class has been going well for him.  He has been digging deeper into the material and has also been working with some of his classmates to help them understand the standards better.  Educationally, I like that he isn't being pushed ahead and is instead gaining a greater depth of knowledge in a subject he enjoys.  That will definitely benefit him later in life.

Meg had a paper to work on tonight, but before she started on it she went to meet one of her camp friends for ice cream.  Kat's grandparents have a place on Wawasee and she decided to hang out here for Fall Break.  Meg had a great time visiting, sharing camp stories and catching up on all that has been going on since camp ended in July.  I love that Meg has been able to keep in contact with so many of her Camp Crosley friends.  House party has become a favorite hangout of theirs and they've been a great support to her over the years.  

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Parent Teacher Conferences

Tonight was parent teacher conferences at Bethany.  Because of that Cam and Meg got out at 2:30 today.  Meg used her time to go to piano lessons.  She hadn't been in quite awhile and was thankful to see Mrs. Meek.  Cameron stayed until four for chess club and she picked him up on her way home.

Doug and I both were able to go to their conferences this evening.  We were scheduled to meet with their teachers from 6:30 to 8:20.  It was a lot of time and a lot of talking, but we were both so incredibly pleased with their first quarter.  The teachers' all had wonderful statements to make about Cameron and Meg.  Many of them knew both.  They praised their work effort, their intelligence and their ability to make friends.  Bethany has become a second home to Cameron and Meg.  They have found friendships and have taken advantage of all that the school has to offer both academically and in extra curricular activities.   We couldn't be more proud of them.

Monday, October 9, 2017

A Great Season

Tonight ended a great season for the Bethany girls soccer team.  They held Westview scoreless in the session tonight, but couldn't overcome the two goals that the Warriors scored Saturday night before the rainout.  The game was the most intense one of the year as both teams became very physical on the field.  The referee did little to stop the pushing and shoving, but one of our players did eventually earn a yellow card for unsportsmanlike behavior.

Meg walked off the field with her head held high.  She had not been part of a winning soccer season since her days with LYC and it felt good to win eleven games this year.  Her playing time was less than the last two seasons, but her skills shone brightly every time she touched the ball.  We were ever impressed with her ability to pass and find the open teammate.  She missed having her Dad as a coach, but was thankful for the friendships that she made.  Soccer made her transition to Bethany so much easier and we couldn't be more proud of her.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Birthday Thoughts

Today was my brother's 54th birthday.  As I am going to be 49 in November it should not sound that old, but it just does.  I was eight when Bunk died and for me he is still the big brother that I knew.  I never think of him as an adult.  Meg asked me today how I thought it would be if Bunk was still alive.  I honestly have not given that much consideration over the years.  I told her that I couldn't even guess how it would be.  I know that it would be nice to have someone to talk about shared memories with.  Our stories I am sure would revolve around all of the time we spent with our grandparents.  We would also share stories about the different animals we had as pets and who they liked best.  My best friend and his best friends were brothers, so I know that the Stump boys would figure into our conversations.

Out of all of the things that I miss most about Bunk since he has been gone, it is definitely these conversations.  Although I can share the memories with Doug and the Heinisch children there isn't someone to corroborate or dispute what I have to say.  I listen to my four talk all the time about growing up together.  I would love to be able to do that especially today when we could celebrate his life.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Rain, Rain, Rain Came Down, Down, Down . . .

It was a beautiful afternoon here.  The sun shone brightly and the temperatures stayed in the low 80's. Doug and Cam took advantage of the nice weather to transplant some of our foliage and add some tulips to our landscaping.  Meg went with several of her friends to the Bethany vs. Central Noble boys sectional championship held at Westview High School.  The girls had a lot of fun and witnessed the boys bring home the trophy with a 6-0 victory.

As beautiful as the day was there were non-stop reports that a storm was brewing.  Hurricane Nate was to make landfall in Louisiana this afternoon which was predicted to bring heavy amounts of rain across the United States including our area.  The variety of college football games on the television seemed to confirm the forecast as the fans sitting in the stands were completely drenched.  I thought for awhile that they might move Meg's game up as it wasn't scheduled to start until 7 p.m., so they could avoid the storms  That was not to be the case, however.

Doug, Cam and I arrived at Bethany at 6:45 armed with umbrellas, jackets and blankets.  I was hopeful that the storms that were predicted would move past us.  For the first twenty minutes I held on to that belief.  I watched Meg and her teammates play against a talented Westview team positive that the weather would hold off.  Meg once again made some phenomenal passes at wing and had some great runs at goal.  She played aggressively and contained her mark well.  Bethany, however, struggled defensively against the Warriors allowing the first goal in at the nine minute mark with a header off a corner kick.  The second goal goal came at the twenty-five minute mark and by that time we realized that the storm that had been talked about all day was almost upon us.  The winds had picked up and the temperature had cooled off drastically.  Several fans started to exit the field about the same time that the ref saw lightening.  Play was instantly suspended and the team headed to the gym.  Doug, Cam and I made it to the van as the heavy rain hit.  Doug was hopeful that they would be able to wait it out and finish the tournament tonight, but after an hour the game was officially postponed until Monday night.  The girls should be able to rest and rejuvenate their spirits.  With the boys winning today, they definitely would like to have a dual championship at their school.  

Friday, October 6, 2017

End of Quarter 1

Today was the end of the first quarter for Cameron and Meg.  It's been a fast nine weeks for them, and  they both felt that it had been a successful one.  Meg was confident that she would end the quarter with all A's and a B+ in English.  Her physics and calculus grades were already posted at a 96% and 95% respectively.  We were happy to hear how positive she was about the classes and her grades.  We knew coming in that the rigor would be more challenging than what she had encountered at Wawasee.  It was an adjustment for her, but she took ownership of her learning and really rocked it.  Cameron was positive that he also had all A's and possibly a B in English.  The grades for English hadn't been updated and he was hopeful that once his reading grade was entered he would possibly end the quarter with all A's including a couple of A+'s.  As proud as we are of their hard work and grades this quarter we are even more proud of their ability to make Bethany their home.

Tonight we all gathered together at Cam's fall band concert.  Meg met us there as she had a team dinner after practice.  The band has a new director this year that both Meg and Cam really like.  He did a great job for his first concert as a teacher.  The songs they played were fantastic and we all enjoyed it.  After the concert we had dinner together at Sleepy Owl.  The food was delicious and it was nice to share a meal together to celebrate their first quarter success.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Moving On!

The Bethany girls soccer team had drawn the bye in the sectional tournament this year.  Thus, only Elkhart Christian academy stood in their way of making it to the championship game this weekend.  The teams played tonight at 7 p.m and fortunately for us, it was held at Bethany Christian.  Doug, Cam and my parents were able to be there for the start of the game.  I, however, was late due to the conferences at Milford.  Thankfully, Meg was just going in as I got there.  

I was happy that I made it to the game as this was the best that I have ever seen Meg play.  Her passes were spot on and she was extremely aggressive.  She even got flattened by ECA's sweeper and was able to rebound with only a sore shoulder.  Meg played over half of the game and ended with a beautiful assist to add to her stats sheet.  The girls ended up winning 4-0 which wasn't much of a surprise as Elkhart Christian started with ten players and ended with only nine as their goalie was injured late in the second half.  The Bruins will play again Saturday against Westview for the sectional championship.  That game will be more challenging than tonight's.  Meg would love to have a sectional win on her resume, but if not she was thrilled just to win tonight.  

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Trying to Play Catch Up

Tonight was a rare night off for both Doug and I.  My plan was to spend time relaxing, but that wasn't quite on the agenda.  Brett had called yesterday to say that he needed some help with a few upcoming opportunities through SPEA.  I spent a good portion of the evening deciphering with him what was important for him to attend and helping him prioritize those events.  We both felt good about the plan that we created by the end of the evening.

Next on my agenda was school work.  Tomorrow night will be the Student-Led Conferences at Milford and we needed some materials printed for the sixth grade parents.  It took me awhile to figure out exactly how to print what was needed, but in the end I was able to cross that task off of my list as well.

Cameron did enjoy the night of relaxing and doing what he wanted.  He had finished a quiz in history today and didn't have much homework as he was at the end of the quarter.  Doug had work to do, but was able to help me and get that finished as well.  Meg went with several of her friends on the soccer team to watch the boys play in the second round of the sectional tournament at Westview.  Bethany had tied the Warriors earlier in the year, but she was glad to report that they won fairly easily this time 3-1.  She was home by 8 p.m. ready to study for her tests this week.  Although it wasn't quite the night off that I planned, it was nice to be home.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A Shopping Spree

Tonight Cam had his first chess club meeting of the year.   Both Doug and I were there to pick him up afterward  and he was pleased to report that he had beaten several players while having fun along the way.  Our mission for the rest of the evening was to do a little shopping.  While trying on clothes for his band concert this coming Friday Cam had mentioned that his black pants no longer fit.  He then proceeded to show me all of his other pants that were too short as well.  They would have worked out great if we were wading in the river, but not for everyday use.

We stopped at Kohl's first to see what they had for him.   The racks were completely disorganized, so it was hard to find exactly what we wanted.  Thankfully, there were three of us to look through the piles.  Within no time we had a pair of black pants and five pairs of track pants.  With the buy one get one half off special on dress pants Doug was even able to find a pair for work.  Cam was extremely appreciative of the new pants.  It had been a long time since we had taken him shopping and he was glad to have gone.

After we finished our shopping we stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner.  Meg wasn't able to join us as she had to stay at the girls sectional and watch Central Noble play Westview.  Meg said that she had fun with her teammates, but the game got a little long.  The best part was that she got to talk to Lauren Starrett before the LCA v. Lakewood Park game.  We were sad that she couldn't be with us, but we did bring home a dozen wings for her.   It was nice to catch up with Cameron.  He talked about his chess club, the quiz he has in history tomorrow, and the continual knock-out game they play at recess.  Life of seventh grader is a busy one.

Monday, October 2, 2017

What a Sad Day

I awoke to a message this morning from Brett letting me know that they had made it back to Bloomington without any problems.  I was happy to see that it was before midnight as I know they both had items to unload and classes to attend to on Monday.  The next message that flashed across my phone, however, was not uplifting.  It stated that a shooting had occurred on the Las Vegas Strip and over 20 people had been killed.  I was shocked beyond belief.  I watched as much of the Today show as I could before I left for school hopeful that the news was in error.  It was not.

As I had therapy tonight after school I had not checked for updates about the shooting until after 4 p.m.  By that time the death toll had risen to almost sixty and the number injured was well into the 500s.  It was described as the worst shooting in United States history.  Someone in a hotel on the strip had opened fire on a country music concert held outdoors.  The stories described were heart wrenching and the motive was far from understood.  The physical therapist working with me was distraught and could talk of nothing else.  She had tried to order tickets to the concert, but they were sold out before she could buy them.  She had friends at the concert who were snapchating her through out the four day event.  Their last text was a black screen that said, "We're safe."

As horrifying as the event in Las Vegas was I was absolutely flabbergasted by the news that Cal texted me next, "Tom Petty has died."  I had hoped that it was a FaceBook hoax like so many before. Unfortunately, that was not the case.  He had suffered a massive coronary and did not survive.  Tom Petty was a family favorite and one of the best concerts that Doug and I had ever attended.  We were just talking about him on Saturday as we were listened to the musician at the winery.  He covered one of Tom Petty's songs and Cameron knew exactly who it was.  I was proud of that fact then and happy now that we have exposed the Heinisch children to a vast array of music over the years.  I am sad, however, to think that I will never have a chance to take them to one of his concerts.  For now I'll just enjoy his music channel on Sirius Radio.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

What a Wonderful Weekend!

Today was the perfect end to a wonderful weekend.  The boys spent the afternoon hanging out with us in various ways.  Cal tuned into the NFL and updated scores for Doug as he finished his yard work.  Brett went to see Sister Act with Mom, Dad, Meg, Cam and I at Amish Acres.  The musical was excellent and all that went were glad they did.  By the time we got back Cal had taken a break from the NFL and was ready to play catch with HM and Cameron.  Doug once again made dinner and although he couldn't quite master the spaghetti pizza that I mistakenly promised Cal, everything was delicious.  Several games of corn hole were played during the early evening all in which Cam and I proved victorious.  Hannah-Marie's 18th birthday was a highlight of the night complete with turtle pie and the birthday song played on the piano by Meg.  She appreciated the Subway card that my parents gave her and the shirt and friendship bracelet string picked out by Meg and I.  Cal decided to take back a desk from Mom's and after spending some time playing Tetris with it and the Civic he finally fit the desk into the backseat.  There wasn't a lot of room left for all of the laundry and groceries, but Doug got them in as well.  The boys pulled out of the driveway a little after 8 p.m.  We were sad to see them go, but very appreciative of having them both home on the same weekend.  It was wonderful to spend quality time together as a family.  Looking forward to the next time we do it already.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

A Fantastic Saturday!

Doug, Brett and Cam met Carl and Marina at the Knights of Columbus for breakfast this morning.  Cal had to work and Meg and I decided to sleep in.  They enjoyed their time together and brought back some pancakes, eggs and sausage to share.  I had started on the laundry yesterday and got back to it as soon as I got up.  I had told the boys to bring their clothes, towels and bedding home.  They did, but  it wasn't as much as I thought it would be.  Cal also brought home some items that he didn't need at his house, so I organized those as well.  Brett went with Doug to the grocery to pick up supplies for the next couple of weeks as well.

Cam, Doug, and I accompanied Brett to the winery this afternoon.  He really enjoyed it and Cam and I got in some corn hole time.  It was the perfect afternoon break from the homework and housework that we were all trying to catch up on.  Carl and Marina met us back at our home after the winery.  Meg played the piano for them which we all enjoyed.  Cam had to serve tonight and Doug was an usher, so we all went to mass before dinner.  Meg made it to mass, but left from there for senior night at the boys' soccer game.

Cal made it back from work by the time we got home and my parents were able to join us as well.  Cam challenged Brett and my parents to a game of croquet while Carl and Doug were grilling steaks and pork chops.  Dinner was delicious with a lot of desserts to sample.  Hannah-Marie arrived after her volleyball tournament and there were several rounds of cards played before the evening came to an end.  Meg was back to hang out with us before bedtime.  She had had a great time with the junior class at the game even though Argos once again got the better of Bethany's soccer program.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Fun For All

It was a great first day home for Cal and Brett.  Cal got up early to play basketball with Doug and the teacher's at the high school.  Both Doug and Cal said that it was the best that they had ever seen Cal play.  It was a good thing for Doug that he was on Cal's team.  Cal then went golfing with my Dad.  They had a lot of fun together and were home in time to eat lunch.  Brett joined them there.  He had spent a good portion of his morning working on homework.  

After school Brett rode with me to Bethany to pick up Meg's truck.  I treated him and Cam to a Ben's pretzel before we headed for home.  Cal was there when we got back, but left shortly afterward to hang out with Hannah-Marie.  He wanted to take her to dinner for her upcoming 18th birthday.  They went to Cerulean's for sushi and both really liked it.  Brett wanted to see Ninjago while he was here and luckily it was playing uptown.  Dad, Cam and I all went with him and were surprised by how much we enjoyed the movie.  It was a lego version of the 1970s karate movies complete with Jackie Chan as Master Wu.

While we were all busy here Doug went to Argos to watch Meg's soccer game.  His Dad and Marina went with him.  The game was a close one and was tied at 0-0 until 20 minutes to go in the game.  Reminiscent of Cam's game on Thursday Argos scored and then turned around and scored again within a minute.  That was all they needed to get the W as Bethany was held to a shutout.  I met Doug in Milford so that he did not have to come all the way to Syracuse before taking his Dad back.  On the way home Meg told me that the game was pretty heated.  I was sorry to hear that.  It was their last game of the season.  They will play against Elkhart Christian on Thursday in the first round of the sectional.  Hopefully, that will be a little less tense.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Homeward Bound

We had a fantastic surprise at Cameron's game tonight.  Cal and Brett arrived to join our spectator group.  We knew that they were coming home this weekend, but didn't realize that they would make it to Bethany.  It was awesome having them there to support Cam's team and to catch up on their adventures at IU this past month.  They were full of stories and filled us in on their classes.  Both have been working very hard this semester and were proud of the grades they had earned.  Even the loss that Cam's team suffered didn't put a damper on the evening.  It did end Bethany's tournament run, but by the time we got to Chubbie's for $2 hamburger night he had already moved on.  Meg didn't get to see much of Cam's game as she had practice, but she did join us for dinner.  Everyone enjoyed their food, but the best part was listening to the converstations and knowing that we were all together again.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Some Times It's Hard

Today was disappointing.  I received some news in the morning that was frustrating and it took me all day to wrap my head around it.  Thankfully, I had Cam and Meg here after practice to keep me busy.  I had also texted Cal and Brett several times to check in about their plans for coming home tomorrow which helped me focus on something positive.  Later in the night Doug and I went out to dinner and before the end of the evening I was finally able to talk about my feelings.  I knew he would say something to make me feel better, but I had to be in the right frame of mind to hear it.  I couldn't get through life without his support or my children's love.  I am thankful for the five of them everyday and none more than today.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Cam's Last Game of the Season

Tonight was Cameron's last B game of the season.  He played a lot as a substitute on the A team this year, but was a starter on the B one and took several turns as captain.  Tonight's game was against Goshen and it was a tough one.  Their B team was good and Bethany had very few subs due to injuries.  Cam played the entire game at right fullback.  He did an awesome job and we were impressed with how much he had improved this season.  He has gotten faster, his stamina has increased, and his skills have greatly improved.  We watched him take several headers this year with one of his best ones occurring this evening.  Doug was impressed as he didn't start taking headers until he was in high school.  Although it was sad to see the regular season come to an end with a shutout loss, it was a great watching him play.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Senior Night

Tonight was senior night for the girls soccer team and the last home game of the regular season.  The girls played Lakeland in a close match.  Doug and I remarked several times that this was not the same team that Wawasee beat 7-2 last year.  The ball was back and forth the entire game and Lakeland had a goalie that was one of the best we had seen this year.  Meg played quite a bit at wing and did very well.  Her ability to find the open person and pass the ball to them was outstanding.  She held her position well and was in the right spot to get a rebound shot that sailed beautifully into the goal just out of the reach of the keeper.  Meg's goal would prove to be the only one of the evening for the Bruins which earned them a 1-1 tie with the Lakers.

After the game there was a potluck dinner in the cafeteria for the girls and the families.  It was nice and the girls seemed to really enjoy it.  We don't know a lot of people, but those that we have met have been very nice.  The best part of the evening for me was watching Meg interact with her teammates.  They laughed and shared stories the entire dinner.  We have been thrilled that her transition has gone so smoothly.  Being a part of the soccer team has definitely helped with that.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

A Good Night For Croquet

We spent the day getting caught up on laundry and outside work.  The tree beside our deck had left a residue on it that was sticky and hard to clean.  Doug spent quite a bit of the afternoon scrubbing it.  I appreciated his work.  I had cleaned it several times, but he was able to put more elbow grease into it and it looked fantastic in the end.  I know we were both worried that the tree had ruined the deck, but not after today.  We haven't decided what we are going to do with the tree.  We were hoping that this was a one time incident as it had never happened before.  We will see what next summer brings.

To celebrate all of our hard work around the house this weekend and to relax a little before Monday arrived we invited my parents up for dinner with the enticement of a game of croquet.  We hadn't played in awhile and everyone but Meg was ready for a game.  She had spent the day catching up on homework and still had some to finish.  We got started later than normal as Dad and Cam played golf in the afternoon.  Between the setting sun and the leaves on the croquet field it became pretty challenging to see.  Cam proved victorious in the end and everyone had a wonderful evening of fun.  

Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Fun Day For All

I picked Cameron up from Conner's at 10 this morning.  He had a fantastic time.  It was the perfect night for a pool party as this past week was in the 90s.  Cam said he went to bed around 2 a.m. so he did get some sleep.  He came home and rested before leaving for Evan's.  They had invited him over for the afternoon to go to lunch and play some chess.  He decided that he wanted to stay later than we originally talked about as Meg had a game that he didn't want to go to if he had other plans.  He made it home just before we did.

Meg's game was an easy one as they hosted the Westview JV.  Meg played a lot at center mid in the second half.  That was the perfect position for her as she was used to playing center forward for Doug.  She didn't score tonight, but she made some awesome passes.  Although it was disappointing to have to play a JV game, the girls rose to the occasion and ended up winning 7-0.