Thursday, July 31, 2008

Conquering the Links - Final Day

Third round at Fairview Golf Course started out in fog. Polar Bear pulled ahead of everyone! but took a second place finish! when Trent sank a 35-foot putt to beat him! Amazing for this age!! Polar Bear took home the 2nd place trophy (for the 2nd year in a row) and has made friends with his rival, Trent. Photos to come! Winger shot 41, which returned him to a respectable finish of 4th place overall. Dorito shot 48 and held a spot in the middle of his age group, which is tough to do after three days of golf in one week. Surprisingly, they all want to play again tomorrow at Grandpa's.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Conquering the Links - Day 2

Winger had a terrible second round, and he finished with 59 at Moila. What happened?! Obviously, his confidence did not carry over from Monday. Polar Bear was very pleased with his 47-stroke finish. Dorito stayed strong at the Country Club and shot a 56. Very hot and humid conditions today, but fun to see all their golfing buddies.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

French and Italian

Dinners in Denver have been the best part of my trip. The Italian Restaurant gave me the largest helping of Eggplant Parmesan I'd ever seen. The asparagus was a plate of beauty. At the French Restaurant, we had mussels for an appetizer, Lobster Thermador for an entree, and peach gateau for dessert. We also discovered the Paradise Bakery for Yummy breakfast and lunch. Especially the Saffire Earl Gray tea with blue malva flowers! Another Marvin Gaye song was playing and Captain sang to me: "Ain't no woman like the one I got!"

Monday, July 28, 2008

Conquering the Links - Day 1

First day of the City Golf Tournament:
The twins moved up to the 10/11 division and started at 8:00 a.m. at the Golf Club. Winger, last year's 10-year-old champion, was paired up with Trent, the 11-year-old champion. Despite his initial dread, Winger shot the best score of his life: 38! Winger boasted yesterday that he can't wait to raise the trophy cup again. A little confidence obviously went a long way (6 strokes less than Trent and Ben).
Polar Bear shot a 44, which is a good score! He was hindered by the fact today's course is short, and it's his least favorite in our city, AND he was paired with one of his good friends, Sam, which made him a little self-conscious. He told Captain, "I wasn't nervous." But that's his attempt at conquering his fears. He will do better on a longer course.
Dorito had a late morning tee time, and he was eager to put his new set of clubs to the test. He shot a 54 at Moila. Good start for the 13/14 division.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Marvin Gaye on the Highway

After riding with Gr. Elizabeth for two days, I rented a sleek black Mercury Sable at the Colorado Springs airport and made my way toward Denver to meet the Captain (whose job duties have landed him there for several days). With a cold vanilla Frappuccino on my right side and the majestic Rockies on my left side, I was cruising along and singing with some 70s radio station. Life was good! I think I needed a mini-vacation. The Lord even provided a late Mass service near my hotel -- at St. Thomas More parish! I am starting to feel refreshed...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Grandma Is Moving On

After her birthday, Gr. Elizabeth decided to make some changes so she is moving back to Colorado Springs today. She has a widow friend who needs a roommate and her old job will use her part-time so that encouraged her. She has been loving toward our children, helpful around our house, and careful not to step on any toes. It was not as bad as the phrase "living with your mother-in-law all summer." For my part, I sometimes felt like I was living in a Jane Austen book these past three months. Considering how in the 1800s women's lives were confined mostly indoors and included long hours together in the parlor, I could not complain when Gr. Elizabeth wanted to linger at the table after lunch and supper. Those extra half-hours were her time to chat or vent and drink tea. I learned more family history than Captain ever told me (probably because he's the only boy in a family of five sisters and was oblivious to some of the emotional ups and downs). I saw her grow spiritually under our roof. And she grew in self-confidence by having the time to reflect on her past decisions. Of course, the lack of TV in our house lends itself to contemplative time. She also spent a fair amount of time outdoors (which was healing!) and in the pool (which was good exercise!). I am praying for her to stay close to the Lord in this next phase of her life.

Friday, July 25, 2008

40th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae

Pope Paul IV took pen in hand against the modern culture of 1968. My husband and I read his encyclical which is celebrated today, Humanae Vitae, during our engagement -- but we were brainwashed before that. I grew up with Catholic parents who were some of the first to learn from Drs. John and Evelyn Billings. For years, I babysit my brothers downstairs while an NFP class was being taught upstairs. Of course, we overheard bits and pieces. In my teen years, I caught the beauty of the message by listening to Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul the Great. In our married vocation, we know some of the fruits of living the way God designed for man and woman. We find freedom comes from doing the right thing, especially in regard to the Church's teaching on married love and the regulation of birth. "It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships," Pope Paul wrote as he addressed his flock with compassion. We salute his courage and feel blessed by his wisdom.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hpnotiqed by the Breeze

It might be more fun because of the glow stick, but the flavors are tropical and relaxing. "Hpnotiq" is a French liqueur made of vodka, cognac, and tropical fruit juice. I was introduced to this delicacy recently at The Bonefish Grill.

Here is a recipe for Beach Water
6 oz. Hpnotiq liqueur
4 oz. coconut rum
3 oz. Sprite

and Hpnotiq Breeze
1.5 oz. Hpnotiq liqueur
1 oz. coconut rum
2 oz. pineapple juice

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Stimulus Check

We must be the last people in the country, but we *still* haven't received our stimulus check yet. I confess, I already spent it (like the majority of Americans). But I already have a savings account (unlike the majority of Americans). We bought a new deep freezer because the old one had stopped cooling. It had lived forever -- almost. Great-Grandma Tollner had it since pre-1980, we think. She gave it up after she moved into a retirement apartment. We inherited it in 1995 with our first home. Best of all: It had a built-in ice cream freezer. What a bonus! I was the proud housewife who kept the freezer full of hormone-free beef raised on the prairie near Seneca and frozen fruits and vegetables from the organic co-op.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Birthday Girl

Grandma Elizabeth had a bit of surprise during her birthday supper -- Aunt Kathy and Terry dropped in to help celebrate! (We cannot mention her age, but she is two years older than John McCain.) She loved that sesame chicken which Captain does so well on the grill, the chocolate brownies from Panera, and had no room for another bite.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Nineteen years ago, I was waiting for the Captain to pop the question. Eighteen years ago, I wore white and walked down the aisle. Today, he brought me 18 roses, and I gave him this poem. He was worth waiting for!

"True Love"
He offers me no palace, no name of high degree;
Bright fortune's golden chalice he does not bring to me;
But he has won my hand, and he has gained my heart;
more than palace grand, all gold can impart
Is his true love for me!
Is his true love for me!
By many a tender token, by many a winning word,
I know with love unbroken his heart for me is stirred;
For this I give my hand, and yield my trusting heart,
for more than title grand, or aught wealth can impart,
Is a true heart to me!
Is a true heart to me!
Bright are the halls of pleasure, and grand is fashion's train,
But far more do I treasure a home without a stain!
Rank may not always charm, nor fortune always bless;
But love the heart will warm, and bring true happiness!
Then a bright home for me!
Truth, love, and home for me!
(author unknown)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Chef School

We are pleased to announce that Alyx has been accepted to Culinary School in Kansas City!

We also discovered that our pastor has quite the flair in the kitchen, too! The highest bidders were treated to a gourmet feast tonight of four courses. With proper china and several good vintages, I might add. Not only can he preach about hot topics like Humanae Vitae, but he isn't afraid to work up a sweat in his apron!

Jane Austen Outdoor Tea Party

Sunday afternoon so we took a drive -- Meggar and I took Jenny to the Kansas City meeting of the Jane Austen Book Club (with our best hats). Julienne hosted the gathering at her quaint, Prairie Village home. Because of the stifling heat, however, the outdoor tea party was fortuitously moved indoors. Happily, several large windows allowed us to gaze upon the garden while enjoying our tea and treats! Lesley's cold raspberry soup was a favorite. And a last-minute Google search proved a gem when I shared how the P&P novel places each awful marriage proposal indoors but the interactions which will bring Elizabeth the most happiness all take place outdoors. Hmmm... clever! Lastly, Meggar delighted the whole group with 2 musical selections on the pianoforte. "Play something a little less mournful, dearest." Everyone was daydreaming of Marianne, I'm sure.

Family Reunion

Dorito is finally back home!! Already we've heard about the double rainbow, bald eagles, and standing under the waterfall during the Scout's "High Adventure" in Canada. I know we haven't seen him for 10 days, but he looks so much older and more mature. When I pressured him to step on the scale, he had gained 10 pounds! All muscle, no doubt, from portaging an 85-pound pack or big canoe upwards of half a mile. No accidents, lots of laughs written into his journal, and an experience he will never forget!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

"Hang Loose" with Hawaiian Gifts

Captain came home from Hawaii with tasty treats and T-shirts for the whole family! Everyone raved over the pineapple iced tea I made, and they keep sneaking chocolate covered macadamia nuts off the coffee table!

Preferring Courtship Over Dating

These discussions have intensified at our home with Meggar turning 16 and Grandma having "friends" who call. The boys clearly are paying attention. Winger said, "She can't marry __(name withheld by request)_, because he doesn't play hockey!" Polar Bear quipped: "The girls will have to chase me because I'll be too busy golfing."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Text Messages from World Youth Day

The Pope is in Australia celebrating with Catholic youth from all over the world. I love the logo, which combines the flame of the Holy Spirit with the skyline of the Sydney Opera House. I also love the daily text messages which pilgrims are receiving from Pope Benedict: "The spirit impels us 4ward 2wards others; the fire of his love makes us missionaries of God's charity. See u tomorrow nite - BXVI," it read. We will watch some of the online footage today and talk about the courage to be missionaries in our own family, our church, our community, and the world.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fire Trucks

We took Elijah and Aunt Denise to the St. Joseph Fire Museum. Elijah loves fire trucks and spent his time climbing all over this retired-for-parades-only No. 7 truck. Polar Bear and Winger saw the bunk house, sliding pole, and crank siren, too. Free admission and photo opportunities!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sweet 16

Dear Meggar - Happy Birthday to You!! She woke up to having presents and sweets for breakfast. Then she was on to her normal/busy day. She did pass the driver's test and now has a "real" license. But she still had to go to work at Pony Express Camp, and then to a piano lesson in Kansas City. Tonight she is having a fancy dinner!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's the Clothes That Make the Man

Winger portrayed "Bronco Charlie" today in front of 50 students at Pony Express Camp. He loves wearing the fringed vest and pulling out the knife! Bronco Charlie was only 11 years old when he rode for the Pony Express, so he was too young to pack a pistol. The bugle was carried to alert the station master that a rider was coming in for a fresh horse.
History Camp: This is the best way to learn!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Pony Express Camp

To kickoff the week-long Pony Express Camp, the Museum recruited our family as tour guides. Standing by our prairie schooner, Polar Bear and Winger helped their "Ma" unpack our treasures: tea brick, bull whip, bubble-bath maker, popcorn popper, quill pen, and wooden toy.
Our family history is actually German immigrants. Maternal great-great-grandfather Joachim Herman Oeding came through Ellis Island from Altenberge. He settled in Iowa originally, and later in Willowdale, Kansas. Our kids' paternal great-great-grandfather Cyril Schmidling came from Alsace-Lorraine to settle in Missouri in 1860, the same year as the Pony Express!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Twins Show their Feelings

I guess the twins are missing Dorito... They didn't want to play with each other anymore this afternoon. "After 10 years of being together all the time, I don't want to play with him any more!" Polar Bear explained about Winger. Luckily, their friend Trey called and invited them to come over and swim (with Grant, too). Boys have so much energy!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Birthday Plans

Meggar is enjoying the preparations that come before a "BIG" birthday. She will be Sweet 16 on the 16th of this month. That constitutes her GOLDEN Birthday. She looked through several cakes online and chose one with pink polka dots for Alyx to create. She bought plates and paraphernalia at Hobby Lobby (with pink polka dots). She designed invitations herself (with pink polka dots, of course) for an evening of games and snacks with her friends this weekend. Can I handle both girls and *boys* being invited? Of course. It's the Captain who has to face the boys anyway.

Friday, July 11, 2008

"The Great Debaters" Movie

Althought it's rated PG-13, I allowed my whole family (aged 10 and up) to watch "The Great Debaters" last night. I was glad we did. Based on the true story of the first African-American college debate team, the drama revolves around Melvin Tolson and his Wiley College students. I was impressed how Tolson taught his debate team to stand up for themselves and use their God-given intelligence. I was impressed how James Farmer, Jr. attended college at age 14. I was impressed that he quoted from Saint Augustine in his final rebuttal agains the Harvard University national champions. But Texas in the late 1930s is still mired in Jim Crow rules and blatant racism.

*Spoilers* We skipped the bedroom scene between the Wiley College sweethearts. But I was able to narrate in whispers through the lynching scene. The car-load from Wiley accidentally comes upon a mob who has just lynched a black man, and they narrowly escape back down the dirt road.

The special features include a live interview with the living members of the Wiley College debate team and Denzel Washington. An inspirational drama produced by Oprah Winfrey.

Happily, this movie shows that people of all colors can be very smart and very stupid. It opened the door for a good discussion of slavery and would work well as a follow up to a Civil War unit study. We also watched "Black Ulysses" which is an episode in "The Young Riders" DVD #2 about the underground railroad helping slaves escape in 1961.

Gone Fishin'

Dorito left early this morning with a sack lunch and high hopes! He's going on the "high Adventure" with the Boy Scouts to canoe and fish in the Boundary Waters of Canada. The outfitter will guide the 10 boys and 6 adult leaders through 6 days of crystal-clear lakes, wildlife up-close, and beautiful scenery all-round.
We miss him already! Meggar says Dorito is "the glue that holds the family together." Captain got choked up telling me how hard it was to say good-bye: "He waved at me three times!"

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Fiddling for Friends

This evening "The Fiddlers Three" played for the summer picnic of the Southside Business Women's Club. Unlike other concerts, this one was casual and the kids felt like they were interacting with their friends (many ladies they knew from our church). Mary Francis gave Meggar the extra tub of ice cream as an "early birthday present." As we were going home, Julia Rupp gave them an unexpected stipend!

Women Just Want to Share

Several Catholic homeschoolers gathered around Alison's family room to do what we like best: share stories about curriculum. Not that it will warp your children to use a "bad" textbook/workbook/writing program -- but it's the idea that "something better" could be out there. Once you find it, never let it go!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

See a Penny, Pick It Up And...

...All day long, you'll have good luck!
I've been able to find a penny on the ground at least once a week for the past year or so (i.e. "extra lucky"). Other Schmidling stories about pennies:

1. We *always* give the kids pennies to throw in a fountain, which are usually collected for charitable causes;

2. I *never* hold coins in my teeth when my hands are full (UGH! imagine where that money's been?!?)

3. The kids are surprised how many pennies I've actually found, and I remind them that great scientists all paid attention and kept their eyes open!

4. We sort through the Captain's change jar and collect pennies that are from our birth year or more than 40 years old. Once, we found a wheat cent still in circulation.

5. The Congress just passed a resolution that pennies could be made of steel in the future (the cost of copper is more than the coin is worth).

6. It's not technically a "penny" in this country. It's a cent, one-hundredth of a dollar. Now, where is your piggy bank?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

Two naps before lunch and our Captain is back in the swing of family life: first, the rosary was said in gratefulness for a safe journey; then he helped the Boy Scout pack; and he listened to the twin's golf stories. Everyone will have sweet dreams tonight at the Schmidlings.

Update: I'm adding this stanza, from the patriotic poem which Alison learned by heart in her favorite professor's class at KU:
Breathes there the man with soul so dead
Who never to himself hath said,
'This is my own, my native land!'
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned
As home his footsteps he hath turned
From wandering on a foreign strand!
(by Sir Walter Scott)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Spending Birthday Money

Dorito went to Target to spend his birthday money. He chose plaid/tan shorts and a yellow shirt for golfing (they make him look "so 8th grade" to me). He is most excited about the new "Guitar Heroes on Tour" for the Gameboy DS. It came with a guitar grip and pick/stylus! Very cool. "All Star" and "Stray Cat Strut" seem to be the most requested songs so far!


We predict a tired Captain will arrive this evening at 5 pm after 19 hours of flying! We are all looking forward to his return.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


I was so proud of my flower boxes and planters, which I finally filled with purple and white annuals yesterday. But apparently, I did not get the faucet turned off tightly. (How do these happen when Captain is gone?!) This morning there is water in the basement, and I am running the shop-vac and trying not to curse under my breath because it IS the Sabbath. No use crying over spilled milk.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Happy Fourth of July!
We had the visiting missionary priest over for supper tonight and learned a thing or two about "real" freedom. Fr. Andrew is from Uganda, and Meggar's flag cheesecake was used to celebrate his 17th anniversary of Ordination (today coincidentally)! He is the only one of his 8 siblings to go to school past the 7th grade - because of poverty. He told stories about his high school, where he is now the principal. He lost 3 students last year to malaria, because they could not afford medicine/medical care. As my homeschool children listened, I hope they were thinking and about their own shelves and shelves of books. I was thinking we probably spent more on fireworks than most of his families earn in a year. (Everyone's favorite was shooting off the "Brouhaha" about 10:30 pm.)

Captain had a different view of freedom tonight, without fireworks. He walked over to Red Square for some photos with his co-pilots this afternoon. "It is a little tense over here on the streets with people watching every move you make," he wrote in today's email. "I brought some dark clothes to blend in and it has worked, to some degree, as a couple of waitresses asked for my order in Russian!" The cold war is long over by 2008, but the chilling truth is that Russia is not as westernized as our daily comforts that spoil us. Thank God for our freedom of education; our freedom of religion; and our freedom to vote. We are blessed to live and work in a democractic first-world country.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Early Fireworks

We were guests of the Jungbluth family and enjoyed the buffet and fireworks at the Country Club tonight. Meggar saw all her babysitting favorites. Owen was glued to Dorito. And Brooks told the twins they should tell everyone he was their triplet. Plus, anytime we see Cameron "the" golfer, it's a highlight for the boys!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

New Jobs

Gr. Elizabeth started her new job today, at Saffee's. Good "fit" for her since she is a classy dresser.

Dorito is away at God's Mountain Camp for the "Junior High Boys Week" where their only job is big boy adventures with BB guns, knife throwing, fire building, and whittling.

Polar Bear finally lowered his golf score to 42 and matches Winger's love of the links -- even when they are just by themselves.

Meggar survived the "Warped Tour" with Becca and received autographs from "We the Kings" and some Christian bands. The evening was cut short by thunderstorms, and then made longer with a fender-bender.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Basketball in Our Pool

No digital camera to take any photos but the twin's "summer jam" team came over to cool off after winning their outdoor basketball game last night. Wouldn't you know they formed teams in the pool and played MORE basketball??! Lots of fun. When there were too many fouls, I suggested a diving contest. Boys always like that. The parents liked the hard lemonade and enjoyed military stories from Greg and Todd until dark.