Monday, September 18, 2017

A Rare Night Off

Tonight was a rare night off from soccer.  Meg and Cam both had practice, but no games.  Cam enjoyed a quiet night at home.  Meg used her free time to hangout at Izzy's studying for a history test.  Izzy was in Meg's second grade class.  They were friends then and were happy to become reacquainted once again. The workload at Bethany has been quite a bit more than her time at Wawasee, but Meg has gotten used to it and still maintains awesome grades.  The best part, however, has been watching her transform into the happy, confident Meg that we knew from her middle school.

I was off from school this afternoon to go meet with Dr. Cutteback at Goshen Orthopedic.  He reviewed the MRI with me and then gave me two options - injections or surgery.  I talked to him about it for awhile and after our discussion he agreed to let me try physical therapy instead.  I have to wear the boot half days for a week or so and stay on the medication that Dr. Mohr prescribed.  I have to return to see him on October 16th.  I also scheduled an appointment with Joan's office and should start physical therapy a week from Friday.  It felt great to have a plan of action.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

BMW Classic

Cam and Doug were out the door before either Meg or I were up this morning.  They had tickets to the BMW Classic in Chicago.  It was a beautiful day for a golf tournament and they spent six hours following the best that the tour had to offer including Phil, Sergio, Spieth, Day and more.  They also had access to a suite by the fifteenth hole.  There was plenty of food for them to enjoy and a great view of a 350 yard par four that most tried to drive, but few succeeded.  They left by 4:00 happy with their day of golf.

I had hoped to go with them, but my ankle wasn't up for the walking.  That worked out fine for Meg as I decided that we would try shopping again.  We dropped her friends off in Goshen before lunch and then headed to South Bend.  I wasn't able to do quite as much as I did before, but we still made it to Kohl's, Shoe Carnival, Target, and Yankee Candle.  Meg was able to shop in a couple of other stores while we were at the mall and also pick her favorite lunch spot - Noodles & Company.  It wasn't the day we had originally planned, but a wonderful one for all four of us.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

A Morning of Soccer & An Afternoon of Fun

This morning both Cam and Meg had home soccer games.  That worked out well for us as we could sit in-between the two and watch both.  Cam played the majority of the game that ended with a tie.  He was proud to report that he had several shots on goal.  Meg's team had no problem with Culver Community Schools.  Meg played center midfield for a good portion of the second half and had several nice shots on goal converting on a perfect one.

The rest of the afternoon was fun for both.  Meg hung out with her friends at the boys game and then went with a group to Hacienda.  Jackie and McKinsy came back to Syracuse with her.  They hung out here for awhile and then tried Chubbie's for dinner.  They met up with Aaron at Syracuse Beach before getting ice cream at Joe's.  Netflix was on the agenda for the rest of the evening.  While Meg was having fun with her friends, Cam was at the golf course playing his own big cup tourney with Grandma and Grandpa.  They had a great time and Cam was able to redeem himself from the devastating score he had on number 16 last year.  Doug and I enjoyed a quiet dinner at home while everyone was out.  It was made even better knowing that the Heinisch children had such a spectacular  day.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Camp Friedenswald

Cameron left yesterday morning for Camp Friedenswald with the 6th and 7th grade at Bethany.  He couldn't wait to get there especially since the two hour delay changed their schedule a little.  Tonight when I picked him up he was all smiles and couldn't wait to tell me about all of the activities that he had participated in during the two day event.  While there they went orienteering, tied with the 6th grade at capture the flag, learned a new game called carnivores, herbivores and omnivores, played ultimate frisbee and took a turn at frisbee golf.  Cameron said that the food was excellent and he really enjoyed the ghost stories around the bonfire and the night hike on Thursday night.  Mr. Willems was his cabin chaperone and Cam got a kick out of how many times he heard him say, "Who's showering next?"

Doug and I really enjoyed listening to Cam talk.  A large part of the reason that Bethany takes these trips so early in the school year is to build camaraderie among classmates.  The seventh grade definitely walked away with a lot of shared memories and stories to tell.  When we decided to switch to Bethany we did not know about activities like Camp Friedenswald.  What a wonderful addition to his educational experience.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Hug Says a Thousand Words




Watching Bethany beat Elkhart Memorial in a close game was fun. Seeing Meg score was awesome. Watching her jump into the arms of her newfound friends and teammates made my heart smile!!  I was so happy that Doug, myself and my parents were all there to see it.  We have all been so proud of how well Meg has done with the transition to Bethany.  When we meet with Wawasee's administration to build a case for Meg to be allowed to play sports at Bethany it was never about Meg scoring at soccer or being on a winning team.  Both of those could be fun, but the best part of high school sports has always been the friendships that are made.  We were so glad to see that Meg has finally found a team that she has bounded with and that have supported her through this new endeavor.  



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Long Week

I am not sure why, but this week feels very long at school.  A couple of other teachers had said the same thing.  Last summer at IU's freshmen orientation they said the fourth week of school was always the toughest to get through.  Maybe it's the same with middle school.

As my week felt long I decided that Cal's may have as well.  Although not a freshmen, he was still an undergraduate.  Thus, I decided to get a package ready to send him.  It wasn't full of much, but it did have several of his favorites including Sour Patch Kids.  I also spent a portion of the evening helping Cam get ready for his camping trip with the seventh grade.  Those two activities brought my spirits back and by the end of the evening I was ready to face another day.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

More Than Just Wins & Loses

Tonight Doug, Mom, Dad and I met at Elkhart Christian Academy for Cameron's game tonight.  It was an easy win of the boys and Cameron played almost all of the second half.  He did well at fullback, made a lot of nice plays during the game and had fun along the way.  Meg also had a great evening with soccer.  After practice they went to a teammates home for dinner and then were off to the boys' game at Goshen.  Meg didn't get home until close to nine and had homework to do.  She didn't mind, though, as she had had a lot of fun as well.

My favorite part of the evening, however, occurred when Cam and Meg were talking to me for a brief moment before they headed upstairs.  Cam chimed into the conversation with "Hey, Mom, did I tell you that Samuel broke his thumb?"  Before I could answer, Meg replied, "I heard that.  Gabby told me."  From there they took turns relaying the entire incident first from Samuel's side and then from his sister's.  Of all of the benefits of going to Bethany that I had thought of for Meg, the best one never even occurred to me until recently.  Cam and Meg at the same school again has been the best part of the switch.  They have created shared memories and have become even closer than they were before.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Finally, A Plan

This afternoon I met with the ankle orthopedic specialist.  He was positive that my tarsal nerve was fine and that the pain I was feeling was from the old break and the scar tissue it left. The ankle along with the tendonitis in my achilles tendon were what he felt needed to be addressed.  The first options he suggested were injections or surgery.  After a thorough examination of my foot, however, he decided to let me try physical therapy instead.  I was glad to hear that as I have had really good luck with it in the past.  I will have to stay on my medication for the next month as well.  I will then meet with him again to reevaluate my progress.  I was so happy to have a plan that I drove right over to Joan's and made an appointment with her to get started with the physical therapy.

Meg was almost home by the time I got there as her practice was cancelled tonight.  She was very happy to have a break.  Even getting her meningitis shot didn't detour her mood.  I was glad that she was able to make it to the doctor as we have been trying for several weeks to get her in.  Practice and school had made that almost impossible.  After the doctor's Meg decided to drive with me to get my haircut.  I was excited to finally get it cut.  Although Meg wouldn't agree, my hair was pretty long for me.  It looked great in the end and we had fun catching up with Amanda as well.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Gorgeous Fall Day

The weather today was absolutely beautiful for a Fall day in September.  The sun was shining for most of the day and the temperatures reached the mid-70's by afternoon.  I didn't spend as much time outside as I did yesterday, but I still enjoyed feeding the birds and watching Cameron water my flowers.  I noticed today that the birds have gotten a lot fatter than they were a month ago.  The squirrel feeders have also gone untouched since Friday.  That has left me wondering if we are in for an early winter.  I guess time will tell on that one.

Doug spent time outside working on the yard and Meg was in and out as well.  She cleaned out her truck in between homework breaks.  She also met Gabby at Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner and ice cream at Joe's.  They had a great time and ran into one of their camp counselors there.  Cameron spent the most time enjoying the sunshine.  He had a golf tournament in Michigan that my parents took him to.  He lost his match, but enjoyed playing and felt he did well.  Couldn't ask for more than that.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Happy Birthday CrapPa

Today would have been my Grandpa's 95th birthday.  We celebrated his last birthday on this Earth ten years ago.  I think about my Grandfather almost daily and try not to dwell on his death.  He meant the world to me.  I spent half of my youth following him around learning how to fix anything and everything.  The stories he told while we were in his garage or finishing a project were always fascinating to me.  His youth and adventures in World War II were a constant topic and I could never get enough of them.

My grandpa taught me much more about life than just how to fix items.  He taught me to be patient and kind.  From him I learned that doing a job meant doing it correctly.  He stressed that understanding was imperative in all situations and hard work was a must.  These lessons have served me well in life.  The values he taught me helped me choose a husband and to raise the Heinisch children.

I wish that all children had a CrapPa in their life, a friend in their corner and a crutch to lean on.  Today I cried the same tears that I shed so many years ago when I heard he had died.  They were selfish tears. He had lived a good life and his body could no longer fight the cancer that ravaged inside of him.  Still I couldn't help but think that the stories had stopped.  The week before he died he had told me one about a baseball game in his army unit that I had never heard before.  As my tears dried and we headed out the door to a day of Heinisch children events I realized that the stories never really stopped.  My Grandpa's blood may have never run through my veins, but his love was ever in my heart and as long as I was alive his memories would be shared for years to come.

Friday, September 8, 2017

A Night Out With Grandparents

Cam asked my Dad if he could take him golfing after practice tonight.  Cam was invited to play in a golf tournament on Sunday and wanted to at least chip and putt before then.  My Dad agreed to meet him there and they were able to get in several practice holes before it got dark.  He said he didn't play his best, but had a lot of fun and felt good about Sunday.  After golf he and my Dad went to eat at Chubbie's and he enjoyed that as well.

Meg decided that since Cam was doing something with Grandpa that she would see if Grandma was available to go to dinner.  They thought about going to Hacienda, but decided on Steak N Shake.  Meg had a lot of fun visiting with her Grandma.  She also said that she ate a ton.  They stopped by Walmart afterward to buy some school supplies.  Meg had as much fun as Cameron did.  I was happy that they were able to hang out with their grandparents.  School and soccer have kept them busy, so they haven't been able to do that as much.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

More Tests, More Answers

I started the morning early at the rheumatologist.  He was friendly and nice as usual and provided me with quite a bit of information.  He read the left knee x-ray to me which revealed that I had cartilage missing on the interior side.  With therapy, medication and injections the pain should improve, but it would always be an issue.  He strongly recommended using an elliptical or a bike once I was able to exercise again.  My wrist x-ray was normal so I won't need anymore follow up on that.  He felt that there wasn't a fracture in the ankle and that the main concern was the tendonitis, fluid and ligament damage.  He strongly recommended therapy for that along with the knee.  He was fearful that the orthopedic doctor would push surgery and he did not want me to have that.  We agreed to stay on the medication he prescribed and meet again in six weeks.  He was very hopeful that I would start physical therapy by then and see some positive results by then.

My next stop of the day was Dr. Szynal.  Joan had to perform nerve testing on my leg to check to see if the tarsal nerve was trapped in the ankle tendon tunnel.  I was so glad that she was doing the test.  We've know Joan since we moved here nineteen years ago and we had a lot to talk about.  That kept my mind off how painful the test was.  In the end she was able to inform me that the nerve was not trapped and instead we talked about therapy.  She agreed with Dr. Mohr that the ankle was severely damaged, but surgery would not be the best option.  I was relieved.

My last doctor's appointment of the day was with the dentist.  For this one I got to pick up Cameron at Bethany and take him with me.  We both needed a cleaning and once again good news was heard - no cavities.  Cam made it back to school in time for Bible and soccer practice - two of his favorites.  Meg had a game at South Bend Riley tonight.  With all of the driving I did today - South Bend to Goshen to Syracuse to Goshen to Syracuse again - I opted out of going to the game.  The weather deterred me as well.  It rained most of the day and only made it to the upper 50's.  Doug texted me several times from the game to give me updates.  Meg played wing for over half of the game had an assist.  The girls won 3-0 which puts them at 6-1.  Meg was pretty happy when she arrived home which was nice to see.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hurricane Season

Last week Texas was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey.  Although the storm was terrible in its own right, the flooding that occurred afterward was absolutely devastating.  The storm did not affect us personally, but it did touch close to home.  Mr. Woodard was to return to Houston for chemotherapy on the day the hospital flooded.  As he had been diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of cancer we were all concerned that this delay would drastically change his prognosis.  Fortunately, he was able to get in today and started treatments immediately.  We were glad to hear that the delay did not change his health status and will continue to send good thoughts his way.

This week another hurricane has made the news.  This one followed the alphabet to I and was named Irma.  It should leave Houston along this time, but threatens to make landfall on several Caribbean Islands, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.  Mass evacuations of Miami have already started and Meg said that one of her camp counselors has already made it from Southern Florida to Orlando to ride out the storm.  Bethany participated in a Hurricane Harvey drive this week.  Cam took in our diapers, cleaners, blanket and canned goods today.  I wouldn't be surprised if there was another drive next week for Irma.  The news reported that this could be the most horrific hurricane in United States history.  Hopefully, this will not be the case.  Thankful that they have had so much warning and with Hurricane Harvey fresh on everyone's mind I know that most in the path of the storm should take it seriously.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Feels Like Fall

It started storming yesterday afternoon which added to the somber mood of the end of a great weekend.  The rain also brought cool weather that lasted through today.  Sitting at Meg's soccer game tonight I even had to use a blanket to keep warm.  I didn't mind the lower temperatures as the heat and humidity bother my ankle and make the boot I have to wear feel even warmer.  It was strange, however, to be wrapped in a blanket on September 5th.

The wind has also kept the bees away.  I was worried about them in late August as we had more of them swarming our back deck this year than in the past.  We haven't seen any this week, but that may also be because the deck is no longer covered in sap from the cherry trees.  I had never seen that before either.  I scrubbed it clean many times in the month of August as well as the table and chairs that we use for dining outside. As sticky as it was I am sure that the bees were enjoying it.  Thus, I will be thankful for the cool, windy weather for a few days.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day Blues

Doug wanted to be on the road by 10 a.m. and we were up and out the door by then.  He had to mow the yard and get some work done in the afternoon.  Brett and Cal had plans to work on homework, so they were alright with us leaving early.  Meg got a lot of homework done on Saturday and Sunday, but still had quite a bit to do once we got home.  Cam was able to take it easy and play some golf with Grandpa Cutes.  He had played with Doug yesterday at Cascades as well and was glad for the chance to go out again.  It had been a fantastic weekend together as a family and it was hard coming home knowing that all that was left of the holiday was laundry.  Happy for the time together, however, no matter how sad the thought of it being over was.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Ninth Year and Counting

On the way to Bloomington we spent a lot of time contemplating how many years we had visited it for Labor Day weekend.  Fortunately, Facebook had several memories for me to look back on these past few days and we were finally able to figure out that we had been there nine years in a row.  Some of our activities had changed over the years (no more creek sliding), but each time we have come down we have had a wonderful time together as a family.  

Today's activity revolved around Garlic Fest.  We listened to reggae music and did some shopping at the art booths while Doug and Parce tried several different types of beers.  There were food booths, but we had had lunch at the winery again, so no one was too hungry.  Cam and I did check out the reptiles on display including a beaded dragon and several different types of snakes and turtles.  All told we spent about two hours there and were proud to claim that we had attended each and every one of the six Garlic Fests that Bloomington had put on.  

Hannah-Marie had never been to the Kroger by the mall and we wanted her to experience the cadillac of grocery stores.  Thus, we went there next.  Brett and Cal needed some groceries as well, so it worked out well.  She was impressed with the chocolate waterfall and the sushi bar.  Afterward she and Cal took Doug and Cam on in tennis.  Meg stayed at Brett's to work on homework while I rested and he organized his bookshelf.  It was Harry Potter weekend on Freeform, so I didn't mind taking a break at all.

After tennis we tried one of Cal's favorite restaurants in Bloomington - Aver's.  They had a pizza and salad buffet and Parce even agreed to meet us there.  Once dinner was over Brett got ready for mass and Doug, Cam and Meg decided to go to the IU soccer game.  The Hoosiers were ranked in the top ten in the nation and the game was packed.  I dropped them off and then took Brett to church.  He was once again the 9 p.m. mass coordinator.  I stopped at Parce's to visit with him for awhile since everyone was busy.  It was nice listening to his thoughts on class reunions and to get the itinerary for his upcoming cruise to Cuba.

After the game and mass we tried to get ice cream at Hartzell's.  The line was out the door.  Instead we stopped at McDonald's for sundaes and McFlurries.  It wasn't quite as good, but we saved a lot of time.  Cal and HM stopped by a friend of his before heading to Brett's.  The rest of us split up once again for the evening with Cam and Doug sleeping at Parce's.  It was another wonderful day and tthe weather even cooperated with temperatures in the 80's with sunshine.  We couldn't ask for anything more.  

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Bloomington

We left last night for Bloomington.  Both Hannah-Marie and Meg had practice. so we didn't get on the road until after six.  That wasn't a problem as traffic was light and we were in B-Town easily by 9:40.  Cal wanted to eat dinner at Scotty's Brewhouse so that was our plans for the evening.  He picked up Brett and they met us there.  It was awesome seeing everyone together and listening to their conversation.  Brett and Cal have started off well this semester and we excited to have a three day weekend to relax.

After dinner we went to Brett's apartment.  Cal, HM, Meg and I all slept there.  Once we got the blow up mattresses set up, Doug and Cam headed over to Parce's.  He was in bed by the time they got there, but was up in the morning to talk with them before he headed to Gavin's game.  We didn't see him until the end of the day as he got back late from that and a trip to Columbus.  We spent the morning at the Farmer's Market.  We were impressed with how low the prices were and how many vegetables were available for purchase.  Doug picked up some peppers for home and got a cantaloupe for Parce.  The rest of us headed to the bakery booths for breakfast.  I got a big cookie for Meg as she decided to sleep in.

After the farmer's market we headed back to the Honda dealer.  The Civic's airbags were recalled and we wanted to get them fixed before the boys drove home again.  Our next stop was Cal's house.  He and HM decided that they wanted to do lunch on their own.  I had never been in his house, so we got a tour before leaving them.  It was a lot larger than I would have guessed, complete with four bedrooms and two living areas.  There was even a back patio area.  Cal's only complaint was that raccoons had gotten into their garbage one night.

The five of us decided that we wanted to have lunch at the winery.  We stopped at Noodles & Company for to go orders to take with us.  Doug also picked up some cheese and salami to go with it.  The bees wouldn't leave Meg alone, but other than that it was a perfect picnic.  Brett tried some apple pie wine that was delicious.  After lunch we met back up with Cal and HM for the 4th street art festival.  I bought a ceramic vase that I am going to enjoy arranging flowers in.  From the art fair we walked up Kirkwood checking out the IU stores and Urban Outfitters before driving to the mall.  Target had everything that we needed to get for Brett's apartment - extra towels, a long cable and a swifter jet.  Yankee Candle, Barnes & Noble and Best Buy were also on our agenda.

Cal and HM wanted to try dinner at Forest Quad before heading to his fantasy football draft, so we split up after shopping.   Doug and Cam played tennis near Brett's while I helped him set up his cable and Meg did homework.  Dinner was at Mother Bear's.  Doug tried a new pizza that was very good.  We stopped by Parce's after we ate.  He was watching football.  After catching up on his day Doug got breadsticks for the rest of us.  Cal and HM were back at Brett's by the time Doug dropped us off.  It was a wonderful day, but exhausting.  Everyone was ready for bed well before midnight especially since the Alabama game was a blowout.

Friday, September 1, 2017

She Shoots, She Scores!

Cameron had a soccer game at Lakeland yesterday and Meg had one at Whitko.  Cam was in charge of drinks for his game and Meg was scheduled for food.  It was a commitment to get the food and drinks all packed up and in coolers before the bus left, so I was glad that I had taken a half day off to go to the doctor yesterday.  It allowed me time to also get the food and drinks ready and drop them off at Bethany before my appointment time.

Doug and my parents wanted to go to Meg's game, so I told Cam I would be at his game as soon as my doctor's visit was over.  I was worried about being late to Lakeland, but made it just as the game started.  Cam's team defended  well at fullback and got to play almost the entire second half.  His team easily won 5-0.  My favorite part was listening to the Lakers coach yell at their own goalie "What were you doing?" when Allen put in a phenomenal shot early in the second half.  I knew what he was doing - watching one heck of a play.  Cam said his favorite moment was when five guys were guarding Allen and their coach yelled, "There are five of you defending him.  Someone take the ball!"  That made both of us laugh.  I asked Cam if there were enough drinks for everyone.  I put in extras as I wasn't exactly sure how many he would need.  Our grocery store had had a sale on the large size Powerades and he said the boys enjoyed them.  Some of them enjoyed them too quickly and at halftime needed to run behind the hill by the field.  That could only happen in a middle school boys sporting event.

I called Doug several times during Cam's game.  Whitko proved to be an easy opponent for Bethany and the girls jumped out to an early lead.  Doug said that Meg played very well and was in for over half of the game.  She had several shots on goal and finally put in a beauty with her left foot.  I was so happy for her.  I knew that if I didn't make it to her game that she would score.  That's happened so many times in the past.  Glad that she kept the tradition alive.  Maybe I should sit out the rest of her season.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Finally, Answers!

Today I finally got answers to the problem with my left ankle.  I met with Dr. Nelson at Goshen Orthopedic and he was able to analyze the MRI and explain why I have been in so much pain.  I would love to say that it should be an easy fix, but unfortunately, that was not the case.  I had an old fraction near the small bone on the inside of my ankle with a part of the bone missing.  This has caused a bone spur.  On the outside of my ankle there was a lesion filled with fluid under the bone.  Tendonitis had also inflamed all the tendons surrounding my left ankle as well as the achilles heal.  There was also concern that I had a nerved trapped below my achilles heal which would explain the sharp pains in the ball of my foot and traveling up my leg.

I was bummed when Dr. Nelson said that it was serious damage, but felt encouraged by his compassion and plan for action.  The office scheduled nerve testing to be done next Thursday and a followup appointment with Goshen Orthopedics' foot and ankle specialist.  Until then he asked me not to walk on it.  I explained that I could not promise that and continue to teach.  He then decided that a boot would provide support, so I could teach next week. The medication that Dr. Mohr prescribed had helped with the tendonitis, so I will continue to take that  until I see the foot specialist.  The boot was uncomfortable to walk in, but I was so happy to find out that my pain wasn't all in my head that I won't even complain.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

WIT

When Meg transferred to Bethany we talked to the guidance counselor about yearbook.  Meg had taken it at Wawasee and had attended the class with Rachel on visit day last February.  I encouraged Meg to try it as I thought it would be a great way to meet students that weren't in athletics.  The class does not have a scheduled block time during the week, so they meet on Wednesdays at 7 a.m.  Meg asked me to take her as she doesn't want to drive that early yet.  Although it does mean that we have all been up earlier on that day, so far it hasn't been a problem.  Some of the other WIT (yearbook) students have siblings there early in the morning, so Cam always has someone to play ping pong with.  I don't mind it either as I get to school by 7:10 a.m. which is helpful on Smart Start day.  I have about twenty minutes to get my lesson plans on the board and unpack my papers before our meeting.  WIT will add to Meg's workload, but so far it has worked out well.  She has met more students and has been able to spend time with Rachel.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Educators Are All-Stars

Tonight was thank an educator night at the girls soccer game at Bethany Christian.  There were several teachers that Meg considered inviting from Wawasee, but in the end she decided to ask her Spanish teacher from Bethany.  Meg transferred in without a strong foundation in the Spanish language.  The class was intimidating at first as Meg wasn't used to speaking Spanish in front of students.  Meg put a lot of work into catching up and feels more confident in it now.  Nina has been very helpful and supportive of Meg throughout this process and Meg wanted to honor her tonight.  As a teacher I loved the idea.  It brought teachers to the game to cheer on their students and also let the teachers know that they were a valued member of the girls' lives.

Doug, Cam, Mom, Dad, Aaron and I were all in attendance tonight cheering Meg on.  She played absolutely fantastic in the first half and had several opportunities to score throughout the game.  The girls beat West Noble which added to the festivities of the night.  Doug, Cam and I left after the game, but Aaron stayed to watch the boys' game with Meg.  They didn't make it through all of the game as Meg needed to work on homework tonight as well.  It was a lot of fun listening to her talk when she returned home.  She has thoroughly enjoyed Bethany and has made a lot of friends.  We couldn't ask for anything more.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Monday

It was harder than normal getting back into the swing of things today even for a Monday.  Cam and Meg got to sleep in as Monday was their late start.  Thus, they were still in bed when I left.  I did get their lunch ready for them, however, before I headed out.  Although it began slow I was able to make it through the day.   I even had enough energy in the end to meet Doug at Cam's soccer game against Concord.  The game was a tough one.  Bethany led for much of the game, but in the suffered defeat 3-2.  Cam was disappointed, but we were proud of him.  Concord was four time the size of Bethany and the boys held their own and fought tough.  Even with the loss it was a nice way to end the day, cheering on my favorite fullback.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Getting Caught Up

Now that school has begun for all of us Sunday has once again become catch up on housework and homework day for the four of us. Today was no exception.   For me that meant laundry and general picking up.  Doug spent his time mowing and doing yard work.  Cam and Meg had time for mass and homework as well with Cam even squeezing in a round of golf.  I really appreciated Doug's commitment to cleaning and organizing the basement last weekend.  Not only was it wonderful to finish a large project, but it allowed Cam to have his friends over last night as well.  It also left us time to focus this Sunday on having an organized, clean house to start the week.  I know that not everyone else may agree, but for me that makes my life so much easier.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Game Night

Today Meg had a soccer game at Central Noble in the afternoon.  My parents, Cam, Doug and I all drove over to watch her play.  She did well and had several shots on goal.  Bethany got a quick lead to start and although the Cougars were able to score early in the second half, the Bruins held on to win 4-2.  It was fun being back at Central Noble.  The last time I was at the school was for Cal's tennis match senior year.  Today reminded me of that match as the soccer field was just up the hill from the tennis courts and Cam and I sat right beside it while watching Cal and Tim play doubles.  It was a memorable match as the boys had a huge lead and were about to close out when Cam decided to pack up his  chair.  At that moment Central Noble upped their play and almost won a set.  Thankfully, Cam set his chair back down and after a couple more games Cal and Tim held on to win.  Central Noble's rebound in Meg's game couldn't be blamed on Cam this time.  He left his chair set up by the fired the entire game.

After the game, we brought Samuel home with us.  Cam had invited he, JJ and Avery for game night at our house.  All of the boys had played Coo Rebellion before and Cam was glad to have those more knowledgeable to play with instead of Meg, Doug and I.  The boys played other games as well and also spent a considerable amount of time on the badminton court.  Doug ordered pizza for everyone and the night according to Cam was a complete success.  I was so glad that it worked out for him to have everyone over as they were a great group of friends for him to spend the evening with.


Friday, August 25, 2017

More Doctors & More Tests

I spent the morning at the South Bend Clinic meeting with Mom's rheumatologist.  The blood work that Dr. Clouse had ordered in early August showed that my rheumatoid factor was high.  With my Mom's history of rheumatoid arthritis the doctor wanted an experienced opinion on the treatment for the pain in my joints.  Dr. Mohr spent time asking me questions and looking at each joint that was inflamed.  From his observation and looking at my blood levels he felt that my problem might be a soft tissue issue and not necessarily RA.  He ordered x-rays of my left wrist and left knee and was interested in hearing how the MRI of my left ankle went.  He prescribed a strong anti-inflammatory that I will have to take twice a day.   I have a follow-up appointment with him in two weeks to reevaluate the pain and see if I was able to tolerate the medication.

The doctor's visit and x-rays took several hours, so it was lunchtime when I left South Bend.  I was happy to see a Chix-Fil-A on my way out of town.  It was a different experience than our local fast food restaurants.  The staff was friendly and the service was quick.  I wish we had one closer to Syracuse.  After I ate I drove to Goshen to do some shopping.  I needed several items from Target and Petco.  After getting the necessities I still had enough time to stop in at Pier 1.  I hadn't been there in quite some time and enjoyed looking around.  I was glad to find bowls to match the purple plates that Doug game me and I finally found a yellow cookie jar.  It was shaped like a beehive and had bees buzzing around it.  It definitely fit the color scheme of our kitchen.

I spent the rest of the afternoon at the hospital.  My MRI was scheduled for 3:25 and I arrived early in case they needed any paperwork from me.  Check in was easy as I had pre-registered earlier in the week.  I was taken back in the room quickly and met with one of the techs.  She had to ask a lot of questions and instantly alleviated my fear of having to be put inside the tube.  She explained that I would only have to be placed halfway through it since they only needed to take images of my left ankle.  The test took about forty minutes and they gave me headphones with quiet music to listen to.  During the test I was not allowed to move.  That wasn't a problem, except that I kept falling asleep.  Every time I did I would jerk a little.  It must not have been an issue as they did not have to redo any of the tests.  On the way out the tech told me to expect a call on Monday from my doctor and to make a follow up appointment with her.  From that conversation I was pretty sure that they saw something.  I know that the x-ray was abnormal, so I am guessing the MRI was concerning to them.  I decided not to worry about it as I will be finding out soon enough.  

Thursday, August 24, 2017

An Intense Evening

Tonight Meg had to play against Wawasee.  Fortunately, the game was at Bethany which made it a little better.  She was nervous all day about it and was emotionally drained by the end.  Bethany did hold on to win 2-0 and Doug said that Meg started and played well.  I was happy for her and her team.  People from both schools had talked about the game and there was a lot of pressure to do well on both sides.  We found out later that several of the girls in the junior class had talked about getting a yellow card in the game for hurting Meg.  Thankfully, it was just all talk.  There was a red card, however, when a Wawasee player popped a Bethany girl in the jaw.

While Dad and Doug were at the Bethany v. Wawasee game, Mom and I went to Northridge to watch Cam play.  It was an A and a B game.  Thus, Cam only played in the second one.  The A team won easily while the B team struggled.  They definitely improved as the game progressed and everyone felt pretty good about it in the end. It was late by the time Cam and I got home and Meg was absolutely wiped out when we got there.  I was glad that she would not have to play her former teammates again this year.  It was a drama filled two years and we were glad to have it behind us.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Solar Eclipse

Monday was a much anticipated event throughout the United States.  The media had been posting about it for months and everyone that I spoke with talked of nothing else.  The solar eclipse of 2017 was expected to be spectacular.  There were news reports warning that animals would believe that it was night time and driving would not be advised during its peak time of 2:22 p.m.  Meg's physic class planned on tracking the eclipse's progress and all students at Bethany would be outside in time with proper eye wear to witness this historic event.

The students and teachers at Milford school were anxious as so many reports were in the news warning of the permanent eye damage that a solar eclipse could cause.  We weren't sure at first that everyone would be able to participate, but in the end there were enough glasses for all who needed them.  After spending a half hour outside on Monday witnessing the solar eclipse I have to say that I was actually let down.  It never became much more dark than a normal cloudy afternoon.  The crescent of sun that shown past the moon was neat the first time I looked through my eclipse glasses, but after that the uniqueness kind of wore off.  I believe that the media had blown this event so out of proportion that the expectations of what we were to witness never matched the actual solar eclipse that occurred.

Cam and Meg said that they enjoyed going out to see if.  My parents and Doug said that it got darker where they were.  Brett report that he looked at it briefly through another person's glasses and Cal posted his thoughts about the media hype.  It wasn't quite what any of us expected, but we had stories to share afterward.  I did get a headache later in the day and had spots floating in front of my eyes once we came back inside.  I was sure that would have happened with or without the eclipse.  The sun was bright and that has always bothered me.  Meg said that she had the same issues.  As far as I have read and heard no one suffered from the permanent eye damage that we were frequently warned about these past few weeks.  It looks as though the United States survived the eclipse of 2017.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

One Clean Basement

The only nice part of Brett and Cal both being out of the house was that we were able to give them a lot of furniture out of our basement.  We had talked all summer about what we would do with less furniture.  This past Sunday we finally had time to try out some of our ideas.  We spent quite a bit of time dusting, vacuuming, picking up and rearranging each room of the lower part of our house.  Doug had already worked on it throughout the week and I was amazed at how quickly the basement all came together by the end of the day.

We were able to bring back the red chair from my Mom's and put that in the toy room along with the rocking chair.  It made for great seating for the XBOX 360 that we added to the room.  We moved the poker table and bar into the main basement area which left a lot more space for the pool table and air hockey table.  Cam had been asking for a game night with his friends.  I told him that he could have it as soon as we got the basement cleaned out.  I really thought that it would be after Labor Day before it happened, but I was happy to tell him tonight that he could text his friends that this coming weekend would work.  He was glad to report that everyone was available for Saturday night.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Seven Games in Seventy-Two Hours

Cameron's soccer team was back in action tonight.  That makes seven games in just seventy-two hours.  Once again Bethany proved to be the better team defeating Wawasee Middle School 7-1.  Cam did well at full back once again and it was fun to see them all play well.  It was strange, however, sitting on the sidelines listening to the Wawasee parents talk about what they could have done better to beat Bethany.  I realized that there wasn't much they could do.  Bethany had more experience, was advanced in skill and overall had a better coach.  Being a parent of child on a dominant team has been a new feeling for Doug and I as we were used to picking up the pieces after being on the wrong side of a lopsided win.  Instead my goal tonight was to just sit quietly, enjoy Cam having a good time with his friends and figure out where to order the after game pizza from.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

And Then There Were Three

Last night Meg had plans with Aaron after her game.  She was so happy that he came to watch her play at Northwood.  Even though Bethany lost, they still wanted to celebrate her success at starting at a new school and his completion of the first week at Wawasee without her.  While they were out Doug and I invited Cameron to go to dinner with us.  He was reluctant at first as he thought that it wouldn't be fun with only the three of us.  Doug mentioned Kelly Jae's and he changed his mind.  He hadn't eaten there in quite awhile and was soon dressed and ready to go.  Doug and Cam picked out several small dishes to try and we enjoyed each one.  We talked about getting dessert there, but decided instead to stop at Joe's on the way home.  Even though it was only the three of us, we had a great time and loved listening to Cam talk about everything going on in the seventh grade.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Soccer and More Soccer

What a day of soccer today with five games total.  Doug and I started at Cam's tournament at Lakeland Christian Academy.  There were eight teams total in the tourney with two pools.  Each team had to play three games and the winners from each pool then met in the championship game.  Cam's team played very well winning all of their pool games easily.  Cam's team jumped out to a big lead in all three games and he got to play in each one.  The last of the pool games was against LCA and Cam played almost 25 minutes of the 30 minute game.

After the pool games the team had a 45 minute break.  Doug left for Meg's game at Northwood and I ran to Arby's for a sandwich for Cam and I.  I took the opportunity to use the restroom there as well.  The LCA soccer field was pretty basic and I decided when I got there that I wasn't interested in using the port-a-potty they had available.  Cam told me that I made a good choice.  His game started at 1:30.  They played West Noble who had destroyed everyone in their pool games.  It was a lot tougher match than any of the previous games that Bethany played and they soon found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-0 score.  Even though they lost, it was fun watching the boys play.  They all seem to get along very well.

Meg's team played Northwood today.  It was a tough game, but Doug thought that it might be.  The Panthers were pretty good last year and by the time Cam and I arrived Bethany was down 3-0 which proved to be the final score.  Meg played forward when she was in the game.  We are not sure how much she will play this year as it seems that he has her slotted for about half the game.  The best part, however, was that everyone was nice to her and included her.  That was different than years past and should make it a lot more fun.  

Friday, August 18, 2017

The A Team

Tonight the A soccer team played against Argos at home.  Argos has notoriously had a fantastic soccer program for both boys and girls.  They are a small school, not much bigger than Bethany.  As they also do not have a football program their fall emphasis tends to be on soccer.  We weren't sure what to think going into the first game.  We realized that Cam may not play much if at all.  It started off well for Bethany.  Cam's team has three eighth graders that are some of the best that we have seen for their age.  The goalie is not only excellent as a keeper, but he is also six feet tall.  Bethany scored early and took a 1-0.  We were impressed that the coach then started putting in his subs. Cameron definitely got to play and did a nice job at fullback.  It was fun to see how much he had improved from last year.  Although not the focus, it was also nice that the boys won 2-0.

Meg stopped by the soccer game to check how it was going before she headed to a party.  One of the boys were having a group over and she was glad to be invited.  She said that it was a lot of fun.  They rode around in a golf cart and hung out.  She made it home by 10 p.m. which gave her plenty of time to relax and share stories with us before she headed to bed.  It was awesome listening to her talk.  She has only been in school a couple of weeks, and she has already made quite a few friends.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Swing Team

Cameron found out today that he will be on the swing team for soccer this year.  He had been worried about it, so we were glad that he made it.  His friends are all on the team with him which makes it a lot more fun.  As he will now have to be at both A and B games it will add a lot more soccer games to our schedule.  That will work out fine for our family.  Doug is excited to just be a parent this year.  His job has become extremely busy this summer and his workload has increased incredibly with the addition of Midwest.  Watching Meg and Cam play will be a nice break for  him from budget reports and month end.  I am going to enjoy having him to sit with at games, although at first we will probably be going two different directions as they have games at different venues a lot of the nights.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Summer Vacation is Officially Over

Summer vacation officially ended today for all of the Heinisch family as school started for me and Cal headed back to Bloomington.  My day was long as we had meetings in the morning until 11 a.m. and then had to stay in our rooms until 6:15 for the open house.  Meg didn't have practice tonight, so she at least was glad that we had to be there so late.  She visited with several of her middle school teachers and also found some of her friends from last year to hang out with.

Cal left before any of us got home.  He visited Mom and Dad in the morning, spent the afternoon with Hannah-Marie and still made it to his house by 7 p.m.  He tweeted shortly after arriving that one hour in his house made him hate living in the dorm even more.  He spent the evening working on his room and getting something to eat.  His plan before classes started on Monday was to go to a couple of the welcome week events and also look for a job.

I was definitely sad this morning thinking about summer coming to an end.  We had such a wonderful time together as a family.  There was adventure in traveling, new friends made going to camp, a multitude of rounds of golf and still time just to relax.  I know that my birds and squirrels will miss me and the house won't be as clean, but as the saying goes, "All good things must come to an end."

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Celebrating Cal

We have had a great summer having Cal home.  It sure seemed that he has enjoyed it as well.  He remarked time and time again on how much he liked working at Tippy.  He also was able to finish an economics class and still have time to hang out with Hannah-Marie and his friends.  We have even gotten to spend a lot of time with him.  Today he and I had breakfast with my Mom and Dad and her siblings and then went grocery shopping at Meijer.  He was enthusiastic when talking about his sophomore year and may even look for a job once he returns.

It didn't dawn on me until a week ago that one perk of Cam and Meg starting school so much earlier than I was that I would get to spend so much time with Cal.  He was here most days while I was cleaning and always had a story to share.  Through his encouragement I have officially become an "Impractical Jokers" fan and have watched more of the gameshow network than I would have thought possible.  We will miss him as he heads back to Bloomington tomorrow and were glad that he suggested one last meal together at Chubbie's to celebrate such a wonderful summer.  It will be strangely quiet once he leaves, but thankfully we know that he has become a great communicator.  We are already looking forward to visiting him over Labor Day weekend.

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Quick Trip to Bloomington

Meg and Cam had late start today and didn't have to leave until after 8 a.m.  I took Brett to the dentist and was back just before they left.  I barely had time to get ready before he called to say he was done.  Brett had finished packing the van this morning before his appointment, so once I picked him up we started our journey to Bloomington.  Traffic was light, but there were a few road closers.  They didn't delay us too much and we made it to Oliver winery before noon.  Brett picked up a bottle of wine and a bottle of cider for his apartment and I did the same for home.  

Our next stop was Brett's apartment.  It was a lot bigger than Doug had described.  We started immediately unpacking everything we had brought down and also the items that he did not have time to sort through on Friday.  We rearranged a couple of items, hung clothes in his closet and fit everything in his apartment with plenty of room to spare.  We believe that we shall even be able to fit the brown chair in a corner of his living room now.  We just have to see if we can fit it in the van on our next trip down.  

Brett wanted to eat lunch at an Indian restaurant on fourth street.  I was glad that he suggested it.  The food was delicious.  After we ate we walked over to CVS to get Brett batteries.  He then stopped at the comic book store while I got the van.  It was hot today and he appreciated a ride to the union.  I left for home after I dropped him off with the hope of being home by 7 p.m.  I would have stayed longer, but with school starting on Wednesday and Cal leaving for IU I knew that I would need to get home.  I enjoyed my day with Brett.  He talked a lot about several different topics ranging from his masters programs to social issues of the day to video games.  It was great to hear his opinion and bounce some of my ideas off of him as well.  

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Guys and Dolls

Once I figured out that Brett was coming home this weekend, I reserved tickets at Amish Acres for Guys and Dolls.  Brett had seen it at IU years ago and really enjoyed it.  Therefore, he was up for another viewing.  My Dad also wanted to go, so we all caught the matinee this afternoon.  I did not know what to expect from the musical and thought the first half was a little slow.  Cam agreed with me, but Meg, Dad and Brett really liked it.  The second half picked up and we all thoroughly enjoyed how it ended.  Our next reservations are for Sister Act in October during Brett's fall break.  Doug may even join us for that one.

After we got home Doug, Cam, Cal and my Dad left for Tippy.  They had plans to play nine holes before dinner.  While they were gone Brett sorted through all of his clothes downstairs still in tubs and the miscellaneous items he had stored.  He then packed for his trip back to IU tomorrow.  Our plan is to leave after his dentist appointment at 8 a.m.  I am hoping to help him unpack and have dinner before leaving at 3.

My Mom and Dad joined us for dinner tonight after golf.  The guys had had a great time with Cam almost beating my Dad.  Doug said he started off slow, but had a very respectable round in the end.  Cal topped them with a 38.  Dinner was delicious and we all enjoyed spending the evening together.  It has been wonderful having everyone home for the weekend.  So glad that Brett will be at IU this year.  It will be great to see him more often.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Miles Lab

Cal had been asking all summer if we could go to Miles Lab, but every time we had planned it something had come up and we hadn't been able to go.  Tonight, however, we all decided to make it a priority.  Cal had to work until 5 and didn't get home until 5:30.  We had left before that to take Meg to a soccer get together in Elkhart.  Thus, he drove over separately.  While Meg was at her function and Cal was heading over we took Brett shopping.  He needed a new pair of dress shoes.  He and Doug found them at Kohl's, while Cameron and I were at Target getting groceries.  The four of us finished up by 7:30 and we were able to pick Meg up by 7:45.  She had fun at the get together.  They also spent time going over the scrimmage with Concord from today.

The party was close to Miles Lab.  Therefore we beat Cal and HM to Miles Lab.  They arrived just in time to order appetizers.  Everyone then picked something new to try off of the menu for dinner.  Cam and HM went for the gusto ordering a hamburger sandwiched in between two grilled cheeses.  Brett was the only one who stayed away from the hamburgers and instead tried their fish and chips.  Between my and Cam's sandwiches Cal will have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow.   The food was delicious, but the best part of the evening was listening to everyone talk.  I so appreciated that they all wanted to be together and that they chose to have dinner with us.    

Friday, August 11, 2017

Home Again

I talked to Doug several times throughout the day.  Their trip to Bloomington was an easy one.  Doug drove the U-Haul and Cal took the CR-V.  They stopped at Cal's house first.  He did not remember how big it was and they were thrilled that all of the furniture fit without a problem.  Cal and Jayce have two bedrooms on one side of the house.  There are two more on the other side.  In-between are a living room, a kitchen and a den.  Austin and Jayce had worked on the outside deck this past week.  Cal said it was the perfect backyard.  They may even buy some outdoor furniture.

Once they unpacked at Cal's they headed over to Brett's apartment to unload his furniture.  It was also roomier than Doug remembered and we may even bring down the brown chair that matches the couch.  While Doug and Cal went to lunch Brett waited for the internet service to arrive.  They were at his apartment and had it set up before Doug and Cal were back with Brett's breadsticks from Mother's Bears.  Everyone was excited to be on the road before 2:30.  Friday traffic was expected to be thick and they were glad to miss it.

While Doug was in Bloomington I spent the afternoon at the doctor and hospital.  They took several tubes of blood with the hope of finding out exactly what has been creating the joint and muscle pain.  I also had to go to the hospital and have an x-ray of my left ankle.  It has definitely gotten worse in the past few weeks.  I am planning on taking a break from walking until I find out what is causing the pain.  I appreciate that Dr. Clouse and her CMA spent a lot of time with me.  I just haven't been feeling the best.  Hopefully, I will have some answers soon.

Doug, Brett and Cal arrived home before Meg, Cam and I finished at the Bethany School Kick Off.  Meg and Cam had a great time hanging out with their friends.  Meg was going to go bowling with a group of them, but we said no as she was the only girl that could make it.  She didn't mind, however as she had more time to catch up with Brett that way.  Doug had dinner ready for everyone once we got back.  It was very nice to have our entire family together again.  The laughter and the conversation were priceless.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

U-Haul

Doug rented a U-Haul today to take all the boys' furniture to Bloomington tomorrow.  Luckily, Meg did not have practice tonight so she could ride with me to the truck rental place in Goshen and bring Doug's car back to Syracuse.  Cam decided to sit out of practice tonight as well.  His weren't mandatory this week and his knee was killing him.  I didn't mind him missing as it made our evening a little easier.  We iced his knee when he got home and encouraged him to take Ibuprofen before practice tomorrow.

Once Doug got the truck home we started loading the furniture.  It all fit easily with a little room to spare.  I didn't think that they would be able to get the couches out of the basement in one piece, but they did.   Doug said that there were piles of Cheez-Its that fell out of the couch when he moved it, which meant some extra cleaning in the basement.  It was well worth it, however, as we were ready to free up some of our living space.  They also took a few lamps, tables and dressers out of our house as well.  Now I am hoping that it all fits in Brett's apartment and Cal's house.  Guess we'll find out tomorrow afternoon.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

New Record

I finished cleaning the main level this morning at home.  I was glad to get it all done.  The house looks great.  Since I was able to finish the cleaning I had time to get to school this afternoon and work on my room.  I wasn't thrilled to be there, but was excited to set a new record for myself.  I had my room completely ready in five hours.  In years past I had spent at least four times that much time working at school during August.  I could have finished even quicker except that my new teacher desk arrived yesterday and I had to move all or my supplies and reorganize everything.  I also had to set up my computer replugging everything in through the tiny holes in the desk.  I was proud to have figured it out without help.

While I was at school the custodians stopped in.  The new student furniture hadn't arrived, but they had tables that my class could use.  We had broken several of the small ones last year and they were glad to give us something newer.  I was happy that they were able to deliver them today.  I knew that  I wouldn't be able to get back in my classroom before next Wednesday, so it was nice to get so much accomplished.  Doug and I went out to dinner tonight to celebrate.  It was wonderful to sit down and relax.  The last three days had been filled with many hours of cleaning and rearranging.  I was definitely ready for a break and enjoyed the company very much.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Raccoon Run is a Wrap



Today Cam completed the junior golf tour at Raccoon Run.  He had one match left to play which ended in a tie.  That gave him third place overall in match play.  He received a trophy for that and also was awarded first place for stroke play earning even more hardware.  The boys were treated to pizza and Cam was named a captain for the day.  His responsibilities included verifying and recording all of the boys' scores.  It was a great way to end the tour.  Cam has learned a great deal from the program and has had a lot of fun along the way meeting and playing with a lot of other junior golfers.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Let the Cleaning Begin

When I found out that our school would start a lot later than Meg and Cameron's I decided to use that time to thoroughly clean the house.  We had had a wonderful summer with everyone and I was sad to see it go, but the thought of having a clean house gave me something to focus on in their absence.  I began with the upstairs today.  My plan was to dust, pick up, wash windows and scrub the bathrooms.  I did pretty well and by 8:00 p.m tonight I had everyone's bedding washed and even cleaned their doors.  Doug said he'd vacuum for me, but once he started it quit.   That will have to be a project for another day.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

All Boxed Up

Meg, Cam and I decided to go to 11 a.m. mass this morning.  We had talked about going last night, but realized that the garage sale was going to run past 5 p.m. so we couldn't.  Doug arrived from Bloomington before we left.  He didn't join us, however, as he had work to do.  I was surprised at how few parishioners were at mass.  In summers past the late mass was always packed.  Doug has remarked several times how small the lake crowd has been this summer.

We spent some time this afternoon boxing up all of the garage sale items.  The majority was earmarked for donations.  I did keep a couple items to either put on Ebay or use in my classroom.  It took a couple of hours to get it all packed up.  I was glad to be done.  We do not plan on having anymore garage sales in the near future, so it was a relief to get rid of so many items.  We also made quite a bit more money than I had figured that we would.  That was a nice surprise.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Back Home Again in Indiana

Brett said goodbye to D.C. this morning and hello to Indiana.  It was a little tricky getting through baggage check as his suitcase was over the weight limit.  He moved the scale to his tote bag and wore his suit jacket on the plane and he had no problems after that.  No one even commented on the fact that he had a jacket on with his shorts and a t-shirt.  He said that he would have even wore a second jacket if he had too.  The flight was on time and except for lugging his suitcase to the van it was smooth sailing.

Doug left around 10 a.m. this morning.  I appreciated him being able to help us set up for the garage sale before he left.  He timed his trip perfectly as he got a parking space just as Brett walked out.  They made it to Bloomington by 2:30.  They picked up his key and had his bed set up before dinner time.  He won't have a lot of furniture this week, but that will come soon.  He and Doug met Parce for drinks and dinner.  They first went to Bear's Place and then Upland Brewing Company.  Brett and Doug ended the night with a walking tour of campus and breadsticks.

While Doug was busy with Brett I worked on the garage sale.  We actually did very well and had customers still coming at 5 p.m.  I packed up a lot of it afterward, but will have to finish the rest tomorrow.  Meg spent the day at the Dunes with the soccer team.  It was a lot of running, but they had fun as well.  Cameron and my Dad went golfing.  They were glad to get a chance to play.  Tonight the three of us went to Hacienda.  We hadn't been in quite awhile and enjoyed relaxing after a busy day.

Friday, August 4, 2017

New Year, New School

Today Meg and Cameron started their first day of junior year and 7th grade.  They were both dressed and ready to go well before they needed to leave.  Cam wore his flamingo shirt and Meg dressed conservatively with jeans.  Meg was nervous, but also very excited.  She had texted Rachel several times last night and felt a lot more comfortable.  She also finished Northanger Abbey which was a relief to her.  Cam said he was excited to see his friends, but not so much about starting class again.  I thought about both of them all day and was so happy when I got a text from Meg before practice stating "I had a very good day."  Dad picked up Cameron and he had the exact same sentiment.   How exciting for both of them.

While they were at school I spent my day working at the garage sale and helping Brett get organized for his trip to Bloomington.  He ended up having to throw out one pillow, but other than that he fit everything in his bags.  He was planning on leaving at 6:30 tomorrow morning to make sure he gets to the airport on time.  It was unseasonably cold today and I am not sure the temperature rose above 60. I was glad that the garage sale was still busy.  We definitely had less to take in at the end of the day.

Tonight was just as busy as the day.  Cam and Doug went golfing.  I took food over to Paula's for Debbi's retirement party and then came back to visit once Meg got home from practice.  Tonight was also the junior class get together.  It was at Rachel's.  Meg wanted me to take her, so after we visited with everyone at Paula's I took her to the party.  I spent the rest of the evening back at Paula's catching up with everyone and helping clean up.  Meg didn't call me until 9:45.  She had had a wonderful time and was glad to get to know some of her classmates better.  As soon as I got home Doug loaded the van.  I had brought most of Brett's items up from the basement and he already had some furniture in the garage.  He will leave around 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.  Hoping for a safe trip for Brett and Doug.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Last Day of Summer

Today was crazy being the last day of summer, but overall it went well.  Meg started her morning at Bethany.  The soccer team ran down to Goshen College and then played volleyball.  She enjoyed it and was glad to be done with two a days.  Cam slept in and was up by the time she got home.  I worked the garage sale until noon or so.  It took quite awhile to get everything set up and I appreciated Cal's help.  The morning was busy which we were happy to see as we have a lot to get rid of.

Meg, Cam and I left at noon for Goshen.  They wanted to eat at Olympia this summer and we hadn't had a chance to yet.  Glad that we could fit it in today.  We then walked down to the shoe store so that Meg could purchase a pair of Birkenstocks.  The workers were extremely helpful and she was excited  to find a pair that fit and that she liked the looks of.  I also bought a pair of shoes that will work well for school.

Once we were done shopping we stopped at The Chief.  We had been there this summer, but definitely wanted to go again.  We had piano afterward and while we were there it started raining.  I was worried about the garage sale, but knew there wasn't much I could do about it.  We found out later that Cal had gotten off work early and was able to carry a lot of the items back in for us.  By the time Cam and I arrived there were only a few items that we had to throw out.

Meg had pictures today and soccer practice.  She was glad to have received the number 11.  She really wanted it as she had worn it the past two years and it was special to her as Doug had the same number in high school.  Once Meg got home we left for Buffalo Wild Wings.  Our yearly tradition has been to take everyone out for dinner the night before school starts.  We had a lot of fun talking about the summer and their thoughts on the school year ahead.  I know that Meg was nervous, but we were so proud of her for taking on this new endeavor.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Nearing the End of Summer

Our director of curriculum called me on Monday to see if I would sit in on a Learn Zillion training session.  Our corporation has decided to use this program for our elementary math students and as a resource at the middle school level.  She said that I would then be a liaison for teachers in our building that would need help with the program.  I was proud to be asked and interested in learning more about Learn Zillion.  I had used it with my high ability students at the end of the school year and there were some questions that I had.  My only concern about agreeing to be a part of the training was the fact that Cameron had an appointment scheduled with Dr. Allen regarding his knee.  I called Doug to get his thoughts and he offered to take Cameron until I could get there at my lunch break.

Today was the training session and it went well.  We talked a lot about growth mindset at first which I felt that I had a handle on.  Late morning and the entire afternoon were spent on using Learn Zillion.  I really appreciated those sessions as I gained a lot of knowledge on their program and was able to have all of my questions answered.  Doug drove home from work and took Cam to the doctor.  Just as Dr. Allen got in the room, I arrived.  Cam definitely has Ogden Slaughter's disease in his left knee.  Besides ice and Ibuprofen there isn't much he can do about it.  It stems from growing quickly and playing sports. If it gets worse, then he will have to sit out a season.  Hopefully, that doesn't happen.  The good news was that he will outgrow it.

Meg had a great day with her friends.  She met Preston, Aaron, Graham and Clayton at Center Lake.  After they swam they all went to Steak and Shake together.  She made it back in time for practice.  Since Cam was golfing with my Dad I told her that I could drive her and walk while she was at Bethany.  Doug stayed late to finish up some work and Cal spent the day at Tippy.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

More Golf and More Soccer

Cameron was back at Raccoon Run for match play this morning.  I ran him over and then went back later to pick him up.  He did well, beating his opponent by one hole.  Next week is the final week and we have agreed to let him play.  School will have started, but it is the end of the season party and he doesn't want to miss it.

Meg has started two a days and they have been killers for her.  They do a lot of running.  She said that it is going alright for the most part.  She may have to play midfield, so the extra running will definitely help.  She is also getting to know more of the girls which will really benefit her when school starts.

Last night was the athletic parent meeting at Bethany.  We met with the soccer coach first and signed up for food and ticket taking.  After that we went to the auditorium for a large group meeting.  The one part that really stuck out with me was the fact that the athletic director never once mentioned drug and alcohol use among students.  It was different at Wawasee as those topics were a main focus of the evening.

Tonight Meg and I were back at Bethany for new student orientation.  I enjoyed listening to the discussion even though I knew most of it from having Cameron as a student.  Meg was complaining that she already knew everything and didn't need to go.  Cam reminded her that Mr. Miller took his children and he was pretty sure that he already knew it all since he taught there.  Overall, it was nice to have the two meetings.  Even thought it was a reminder that summer was coming to a close, it was nice to hear about all of the academics that will be offered to Meg.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Partner Tourney

Today was the Lifestyle Junior Tour partner tourney at Elcona.  Cameron played with a friend of his from Nappanee named Earl.  They were the second ones off the tee at 7:50 a.m. so we were up and out the door by 6:30.  Cam spent some time putting and getting to know the greens before they teed off.  He had fun playing with Earl although Cam did not play his best.  We worked a lot of controlling    his anger and I saw progress by the end of the round.

I really enjoyed walking with Earl's mother.  She had the same philosophy as Doug and I did about junior golf.  She also thought the caddy idea was a detriment to the tour.  She felt that before the boys would interact more and enjoy the day.  It seemed to change with the addition of the caddy.  I agreed with her and also felt that it was unrealistic for the boys to have caddies as they will not have them in high school or at other junior tourneys.

All in all the day was a good one.  Cameron realized that his short game needed some work.  He hadn't played much because of camp and the accident and it showed.  I was just happy that he was out there competing and enjoying himself.  He and Earl didn't have much chance of beating the top two teams, but held their own for a respectable third place finish edging out the fourth place team by one stroke.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Day on the Lake

Doug and I spent a lot of the early afternoon at my Mom's setting up the garage sale.  We didn't have as much as we did in June, but there was still a lot.  Fortunately, I spent time organizing everything after the earlier sale and setting up was a lot easier.  I had planned on working most of the day, but while we were there Hannah-Marie had texted us to see if we wanted to come over to play tennis and go to dinner on the boat.  That sounded a lot better to Doug then working on the garage sale, so we decided to call it quits at 3.

Meg spent most of her afternoon at Preston's going away party.  A lot of their Milford friends were there and she enjoyed visiting with them all.  She made him a memorable gift and I stopped by before she left to wish him well.  Doug, Meg, Cameron and I then all left for the Lamle's.  Cameron had already spent a lot of the afternoon in the water.  Dad got his flamingo float blown up and he had fun with that by their pier.  He was excited to go to HM's, however, as she had a paddle board.  He had had really enjoyed that class at camp and couldn't wait to try it again.

I stayed with Cam while he was paddle boarding.  He was right next to the tennis courts, so I could watch everyone play and visit with those taking a break.  I decided not to play.  My ankle has not recovered this summer and until I find out from the doctor what I should do about it, I didn't want to hurt it even more.  I did have a lot of fun watching everyone and after awhile Meg decided to paddle board while Cam kayaked.

Cal got off work at 5.  Once he got home we loaded up the boat and headed to Oakwood.  Mike's sister and brother-in-law were visiting as well and we enjoyed the company.  We were seated a lot quicker than I thought we would be as we were such a large party.  The food was delicious.  We hadn't been this summer, so I was glad that Meg and Cam got to eat there before school started.  On the boat ride back, Hannah-Marie did some wake boarding.  Cam even decided to try.  It was tough, but he did alright once they changed it up for him.  The ride back was a lot of fun and we were so happy to be included on their day on the lake.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Mini Golf Season

Cameron played golf and Meg hung out with her friends this afternoon.  Afterward we decided to take them mini golfing.  We have played several times this month and no one had been able to beat Doug.  Today was my day, finally.  Not only did I win, I believe that I shot the best round of mini golf that I ever have finishing with a 38.  No matter how I did we were just all glad to have dethroned Doug.

After mini-golf we went to Target.  Cam needed some supplies for school and I had to pick up a new fan for Brett.  The mall was our next stop.  Meg wanted a pair of Birkenstocks.  We had looked in Goshen, but thought that Journey's would be less expensive then what we found.  They were cheaper, but they didn't have any in stock to try on.  We decided to move on.  We couldn't justify ordering a pair of shoes if we couldn't try them on.

Meg and Cam wanted to eat at Macri's.  We hadn't been there in quite some time.  We enjoyed dinner and they each picked out something on the menu that they would like to try the next time we're in South Bend.  We were home in time to start a bonfire before Cal arrived.  He had to work today.  He has definitely been putting in a lot of hours at Tippy this summer.  

Friday, July 28, 2017

Starting to Heal

Cameron's hand is still hurting, but it is getting better.   We have kept anti-bacterial cream on it and taped his hand, so it won't rub open.  He was able to play the piano today, but couldn't stretch his hand as far as normal.  That made some of the notes harder to play.  He also tried golf this evening.  With the tape and a golf glove he did alright.

I am glad that he is physically feeling better, but am more concerned about the mental aftermath of the accident.  He can remember every second of the crash and still sees the flying glass.  Glad that he has so many of us to talk to about it.  That has made it a lot easier.  We have even been able to make some jokes about what sound the glass made when it hit his hand.  Thankful that the outcome was just some bumps, bruises, cuts and bad memories.  It could have been so much worse.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Quiet Day of Rest

Today was a quieter day than the first part of the week.  Meg had conditioning fat 8 a.m. in the morning.  I drove her and then went for a walk.  Cam slept in and was up by the time we got home. Conditioning was easy for her this morning as they ran a mile or so and then had breakfast together at Olympia.

We hung out at home for most of the day.  We ran down to see Mom and take her a Diet Coke.  She got ahold of the doctor's office and they increased her pain medication.  Hopefully, that will bring her some relief.  The hospital told us that today would be the worst for being sore and so far that has proven correct.

Cam had soccer tonight.  We met Doug there and he and Meg ran three miles together.  Meg was proud of the fact that she kept up on with Doug and ran over four miles today.  While they were running and Cam was practicing I worked on the insurance claims for the accident.  Mom and Dad's insurance have been great.  They will pay for all of Cam's hospital bill and will even contact the hospital to let them know that they shouldn't bill our insurance.  After practice we went to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner.  Everyone enjoyed their food.  Cam even tried something new - a Buffalo Chicken Wrap.




Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Zoo Day

Every summer Cam, Meg and I take a trip to the Fort Wayne Zoo.  We had planned to go today, but with the accident we weren't sure that we would be able to make it.  Either way Meg first had to go to conditioning for soccer.  Once we arrived they drove from Bethany to Shanklin Park to work out.  Meg said it went well and she was starting to feel more comfortable with the girls on the team.  I went to Wal-Mart while she was there.  I had wanted to go last night when Cam was at soccer, but our plans changed abruptly after the accident.  On the way there I was able to set up appointments for both he and my Mom at our doctor's office for next week.

I was back before Meg finished and did some walking myself.  We called Cameron on the way home.  His hand was hurting, but his leg was better.  I taped him up when we arrived and then he and I went to my parents to check on them.  My Dad was sore, but was able to get up.  My Mom was still in a lot of pain.  Dad went with us to Bud's Body shop to remove everything from the Mercury that they would need.  Cam found his golf shoes right away and I squeezed his pull cart through the shattered window.  I had taken his golf clubs out the same way yesterday, but was careful this time not to cut my elbow.  We were amazed that they weren't broken in the wreck as they were hanging partially out of the back, but I believe that because they were still strapped to the pull cart, they couldn't come completely out the window.

After we cleaned out the car we took Dad to the insurance company so that he could start the claim process.  Cam and I ran to get him some Ibuprofen and he was just finishing up as we pulled in the parking lot.  I bought everyone lunch at Penguin Point and Meg and Cal each drove down to check on my parents.  After we ate and finished all that they needed to get done for today Cam, Meg and I decided to start on our zoo adventure.  The sun was shining, Cal had to work and Doug said he wouldn't be home early, so we were able to keep our plans.

We started in Africa as we always do.  Cam and Meg rode the safari sky lift before we toured the watering hole.  Most of the big cats were asleep, but we had fun watching the monkeys.  Cam even fed lettuce to a giraffe.  After Africa we strolled through Asia.  Although impressive to watch, we decided that the orangutans were creepy to look at.  We stopped by the otters and penguins after Asia and before moving on Australia.  Meg decided that if we would ever get a dog we would have to name him "Peeps," so we can yell my catch phrase "Hey, Peeps!"  Cameron also decided that we need four otters so we can name them Bubs, Chubs, Flubs and Scrubs.  Australia has always been one of my favorite stops as I love the log flume.  It's a great way to see the animals.  We rode the train afterward and each one of us picked out a Dippin' Dots flavor before heading to the van.

Even though we left later than usual we were still home before 6 p.m.  The zoo stayed open later this summer which we appreciated today.  Doug had to jog, order a new phone from Verizon and take Cal's car to Monteith, but after that we were finally able to play Cam's new game.  It was a little confusing at first, but once we got the hang of it we had a lot of fun.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

One Scary Ride

Today was the tournament of champions at Warren Golf Course in South Bend.  Cameron was excited to play and proud to qualify in the boys age 12-13 year old division.  He had to tee off at 10:15, so he and my parents left around 8:15 a.m.  Cam played well especially since they used different tees than were listed on the website adding at least five hundred extra yards.  Out of the champions he finished fourth shooting a 49.

Cam called when he finished to tell me that he had done.  He was excited to say that they were heading to Golden Coral for lunch.  He hadn't eaten there in years.  I followed them on Find My Phone several times as they headed home.  Just as I was starting to wonder if he would be stopping at Grandma's first or at my home the phone rang.  It was my Mom letting me know that they had been on an accident on Syracuse-Milford road.

I could hear my Dad asking Cameron if he was alright and thought I'd better head to the accident scene.  Meg went with me and we were there within minutes of  the first responders.  Both Meg and I were shocked by what we found.  Cameron was lying in the grass with his left hand and leg covered in blood.  The EMT was working with him.  My Dad was dazed, but walking around.  He looked the best.  My Mom's face was marked from flying glass and although she was upright, she wasn't quite making much sense.  The car was completely smashed in on the driver's side with all of the windows shattered.  Meg took one look at everyone and ran back to the van crying.

I walked with Cam to the ambulance.  They wrapped his hand and asked me if I wanted him to go to the hospital.  As his leg and knee were hurting a lot I thought it was best.  They said that I couldn't decide for my parents, but I could strongly encourage them to go.  I talked to my Dad and asked him to have he and Mom go as well as the airbags had deployed.  I had read that all accidents with airbag deployment are serious enough for a trip to the hospital.  Dad agreed.

They had to call another ambulance as they can only transfer two at a time.  Cameron rode with my Dad and Mom rode on her own.  Meg and I followed along and met them at the emergency room.  My Dad and Cameron were taken to one room and my Mom another.  My Dad's ribs were hurting a lot as was his neck and back.  My Mom's main pains were in her stomach, back and chest.  Within an hour of us arriving Cal, HM, Vicky and Doug had joined us in the ER as well.  The waiting game was long as Mom and Dad both had to have x-rays and CT scans.  Cameron only needed an x-ray on his left hand and leg.  The took those after they removed all of the glass and cleaned him up first.  That part was painful, but the good news was nothing was broken.  He would have to follow up with the doctor regarding the lump on his knee, but the doctor wasn't too concerned about it causing longterm problems.

Cameron was released by 6:15.  Cal, HM and Meg left just before he did.  Doug ran to Subway for me, which I appreciated.  He then took Cam home.  My Dad was the next to be released.  His scans and x-rays were clear.  They gave him some pain medication and sent him on his way.  My Mom took a lot longer to get released.  The pain in her back and chest were severe and she was having a hard time getting up out of bed.  Doug came back over to help get their medications filled before the pharmacy closed at 9.  He took Dad with him and I stayed with Mom.  Cal went to Aunt Vicky's to get her walk for Mom to use and I was able to get her home, changed and in the recliner by 9:30.

Dad said he'd sleep on the couch downstairs, so once Doug and I made sure they were situated we left to check on Cameron.  He was pretty shaken up and his hand and leg hurt, but overall Cam was doing well.  He was disappointed that we didn't get to play his new game - "Coo Rebellion,"  but we promised him to do so tomorrow night.  He decided to sleep in Meg's room in case he needed anything in the middle of the night and by 11 p.m. they were sound asleep.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Conditioning Week Begins

Meg started conditioning this morning with the Bethany soccer team.  It wasn't too rough and she felt pretty good afterward.  While she was at conditioning I spent time walking.  In an hour and a half I made it 8,000 steps which also felt pretty good.  Cameron slept in this morning.  He was worn out from yesterday and his week at camp.  Once he got up he and Mom went golfing.  He was proud to report that he shot an 82.  That was his lowest round at Maxwelton to date.

After lunch Meg invited Preston and Aaron over to hang out.  They spent the afternoon making friendship bracelets and talking about their past two weeks.  When Doug got home he set up the badminton net in the backyard.  We had fun playing against him.  Meg, Aaron and Preston even joined in after pizza.

Cal left this morning before six.  He and his friends decided to go to Cedar Point for the day.  He texted several times to say that he was having fun, but has definitely joined the majority of us in getting sick on the rides.  Cedar Point has some of the biggest and the fastest in the world, so I could see how that could happen.  They didn't stay as late as I thought they would and he was home before midnight.  I was worried that they would be too tired to drive, so I was glad that they had a good time and were still able to leave by 8:30 p.m.

While I was worrying about Cal's trip to Cedar Point, Brett texted that he was stuck in an elevator.  At first I thought he was joking, especially when he said that Rod Serling arrived and told them they were on their final drop.  Unfortunately, he wasn't joking.  The elevator in the Congressional offices had stopped and he and several others were trapped.  With that being one of my worst fears I told him that he didn't have to panic as I was already doing that for him.  They did call for help and after a half hour they were on their way out the door.  Brett even made it to his meeting on time.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Back to School Shopping

Meg and Cam slept in this morning.  When they got up they were greeted by Winston.  Hannah-Marie had brought him over for them to visit with.  He was just as sleepy as they were, but once he woke up he was ready to play.  Meg left after lunch to visit with Grandma Jane.  She wanted to share her camp stories with her.  Her mock rock this year was on the camp video.  She can't wait to show them "Titanic on a Budget."  It was clever.

Doug took Cam to a golf tournament at Blackthorn in South Bend.  Meg and I also headed to South Bend this afternoon.  She wanted to go back to school shopping and we thought this would be a great time to get it done.  We made a large dent in her list and even had time to stop at Noodles & Company.  We arrived at Blackthorn just as Cam was coming down the ninth hole.  He didn't have his best round, but was happy with his new irons and chipped well.  Doug said that it played long and with the heat it was pretty challenging.

Once we got back to Syracuse Cam and Meg then went to Mom's to eat noodles and catch up on their day.  Cal was there too.  He had played golf against Dad earlier in the day and then worked at Tippy.  Doug and I went to dinner at Huntington's.  It was a great four days.  Sad to see him go back to work tomorrow, but glad to have Meg and Cam home.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Glad to Be Home & Ready to Go Back

We picked up both Meg and Cam this morning at Camp Crosley.  They were excited to be home and had so many stories to share.  They each had a fantastic time and made a lot of new friends.  Cam said that this was the first year that he thought all of his counselors were fun.  One even brought board games for the boys to play during down time.  Meg had just as much fun as an LIT this week as last.  She was assigned a cabin and enjoyed helping the girls.  Both were glad to be home and ready for some rest, but would definitely go back in a heartbeat.

They did get some rest this afternoon while I worked on the laundry.  There was quite a bit of it, but I made a pretty good dent in it by the end of the day.  Meg's soccer coach had contacted her earlier in the week to see if she would play in their scrimmage today against Elkhart Christian.  We knew she would be tired, but thought it was important to be a part of it as she had missed two weeks of practice to be at camp.  Doug and I went to watch her.  She did well for as tired as she was.  Conditioning starts next week and she should be able to make it to all of those.

Cameron went golfing while we were at soccer.  We stopped by the course on our way back.  He and my Dad were on 11.  Cam said he was ready to quit.  He had played well, but was just to hot.  He really liked his new irons.  The four of us went to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner once we changed.  It was fun listening to all of their camp adventures.  Cam said that this was the best year ever.  After dinner Aaron and Preston came over as did one of Meg's friends from camp.  They then went to Gabby's to crash her theater party.  They even went tubbing with her.  Cam went to Mom's to go swimming.  He then stayed to play cards.  So happy to have them home.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Shawshank Redemption Trail

One of my favorite movies of all time was The Shawshank Redemption.  It was based on a Stephen King novel and was set in a prison.  I still remember the first time I saw it.  We were at the dollar theater in Naperville.  I didn't know what to expect at the time, but as it was a Morgan Freeman movie I definitely was interested when Doug mentioned going.  It was fantastic the first time I saw it and has been watched on the Heinisch television dozens of time since.  Cal and I even read the novela and enjoyed it just as much.

Thus, when I read that the Ohio State Reformatory was the setting for the movie and was open for tours I was highly interested.  The more I researched the sites from the movie the more I found to visit in central Ohio.  Doug was game for going and this morning we were the first ones in line for the 11 a.m. tour of the prison.  We were amazed at the enormity of the prison.  It was built at the turn of the century and was designed to look like a European castle.  It was impressive to say the least.

While there we were able to tour the rooms used during the movie including the warden's office and the staircase that was featured in several scenes.  One of the warden's personal rooms was transformed into the boarding house that Brooks and Red both stayed in when they were paroled.  Movie props were left for us to look through including the tunnel that Andy crawled to freedom through.  The only part missing was the courtyard and the back buildings which featured a lot of the outside scenes.  I have never visited a Hollywood set before and this was an amazing one to start with.

Along with the rooms used in the movie we were also able to visit the cells the prisoner lived in and several other parts of the reformatory.  It was pretty worn from years of use and lack of upkeep since it was closed in 1990.  Even though, it was extremely interesting to learn the history of the prison and walk its halls.  Later in the evening was to be a ghost tour and there were a lot of stories on the audio wand describing the sightings that had been claimed over the years.  Doug and I weren't as interested in the ghost stories, but we were impressed by all of the tourists that were already in attendance for the night festivities.

After our tour of the Ohio State Reformatory we headed for home.  Along the way we stopped at two more Shawshank movie sites.  Both were in the same town about 15 miles from the prison.  The first was the courthouse the Andy was convicted in and the second was the prisoners workshop.  We also found two different wineries along the way to stop at.  Doug enjoyed both of them and it was a nice break from driving.  Once we were backing Indiana we decided to stop at the Jefferson Pointe Mall.  We did some window shopping and I bought a few Yankee Candles.  Our last wine bar of the trips was Doug's favorite - Chop's.  It was fantastic way to end a fun few days.