Thursday, April 30, 2009

Orchestra Performance

The Symphonic Youth Orchestra put on a superb show Thursday night on the college stage! Meggar's solo in "Boogie Woogie for Orchestra" was spot on. She has been practicing for WEEKS, and it keeps getting faster and faster at each rehearsal. I don't know how, but she managed to keep up!! The twins liked "The Great Gate and Hopak" while Dorito's favorite was "The Pink Panther." Such a fine concert that we all enjoyed--even Captain was in town and could attend! Meggar's friend Ellie came, too, though it was nearly past her bedtime by the end.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Notre Dame Scandal

It is a scandal -- in every sense of the word. I've been following the events at Notre Dame closely as we know Patrick-the-eldest-Henebry who graduates in May. Patrick's mom decided she loved her son more than her distaste for the ceremony planned by Father John Jenkins. I am praying for their trip and wondering how it will turn out in the end? It's not that I blame Obama for everything that has gone wrong in his first 100 days, but I certainly don't have trouble saying he has already lived up to his label as the "most radically pro-abortion and anti-life president in the history of our nation. " For him to be invited to speak at Notre Dame's commencement and receive an honorary law degree is scandalous. It's a good Catholic word, so I'm going to use it. It doesn't reflect on Patrick or the Henebry family or the pro-life protesters. I suspect lots of letters will be written to ND by faithful bishops and the faithful alike.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chemathon Contest

Meggar and Becca entered the Chemathon at Missouri Western State University today. Everyone took an individual test, then competed in oral team competitions. After lunch, students could view a variety of Chemistry experiments and displays by college students. Becca won a 3rd place medal! Meggar said she did better on the test than she anticipated, but the judges lost her paper (and a few others!) so we don't really know her results. The overall result was a good experience!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

CU Sunday -- Creighton Univ.

Another college visit at another open house. This time in Omaha at Creighton University. Meggar is getting a good comparison, and she is leaning towards majoring in English or Classics and Education. Good start for my literature-crazed girl. We ate lunch with Kelsey (a homeschooler from Neb.) that we met at Benedictine's tour. So nice to compare notes with other parents and students.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Truman State University

Meggar attended the Open House at Truman State University today (in Kirksville). We enjoyed the "True Men" acapella choir, campus tour, and presentation by the Classics Dept. Talk about individual attention! The school is known to be highly selective and focused on liberal arts. Lots of renovation going on inside the architecturally beautiful buildings!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Silhouettes in Jane Austen Style

We tried the spotlight against a wall first. Then, Hannah Mason had the brilliant idea to take close-up photos of each guest. By cutting them out of black paper, we could achieve small but accurate silhouettes for our Spring Formal Banquet. Here are Dorito and Meggar's finished silhouettes! I'm so excited how easy it was - yet how realistic they look. Just like 1803 British masterpieces! Only 45 teens are signed up, so we should have them done in no time.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Grand Finale Night

Our spring homeschool classes ended tonight with a Grand Finale. Meggar was in Band and Choir. The boys received recognition for their Chess awards. It was also the final chance to buy tickets for the Spring Formal Banquet. Hannah Mason set up this pretty display to advertise "A Night at Netherfield Hall"!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Gospel of Life Conference

Last Saturday, I was fortunate enough to hear two of my favorite Catholic speakers: Bishop Robert Finn and Dr. Janet Smith. The event was diocesan-wide for the second year in a row. As eloquent as ever, Bishop Finn spoke about his passion for protecting the unborn as well as those at the end of life, too. His former years as a journalist are evidenced in his meaningful choice of words whenever he speaks. (I'm sure the full text of his address was all over the Internet by that afternoon.) Everyone rejoiced when he predicted the firing of Fr. Jenkins at Notre Dame over the Obama invitation and honorary degree. Of course, I should have known that he would not mince words. He congratulated us on being part of the 2.5 million red envelopes that flooded the White House after the January anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Finn received several standing ovations--a sure sign that this crowd loves affirmation from a true leader. "Don't worry about your number of supporters," he said. "Think about the remnant God used over and over in the Old Testament. That way, He shows that He is fighting the battle."

Dr. Janet Smith has been long-time friends with my parents, so I spoke to her privately before her talk. She praised Mercedes Wilson and Drs. John and Evelyn Billings for carrying the torch so energetically for so many years, claiming she now feels like one of the "old ones" in pro-life and NFP work. After teaching at U.D. (where Meggar wants to attend college), Smith moved to the major seminary in Detroit. Still teaching, but now helping form future teachers/priests. Dr. Smith announced that she wants to create a new bumper sticker that reads: "Best Chastity Education=Learn to Cook!" She said if more young people knew how to cook, they would have the skills needed to live chaste lives: shopping, cooking, and eating together is an authentic way to build a relationship with honesty and conversation. :-) sounds familiar!

Spring Surprise

I walked outside and was surprised to see all three Bradford Pear Trees blooming in unison. Each time I popped around the corner from our garage, I was forced to smile at the fluffly blossoms... makes me remember when I would set all my little ones on a blanket and take the first photo of spring under the tree's white umbrella.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Honors Piano Recital

Meggar scored a "1" rating at the SJMTA Spring Evaluations yesterday and was invited to play for the Honors Recital this afternoon. She played "Invention No. 8" by Bach, but the "Valse" by Chopin is her favorite of the two. She has memorized 6 pieces already this year and has quite a repertoire!

Civil War Re-enactment

On the banks of the Missouri River, over 300 soldiers portrayed battle scenes from the Civil War for a full crowd Sunday afternoon. Of course, I had to explain that the guns and cannons were real, but only loaded with powder and not shot. Someone "died" right behind a row of parked minivans! We took the Jungbluth boys along with us -- and managed to find silverware engraved with a "B" for Ben and Brooks as a souvenir. Polar Bear also purchased a cap gun for himself and Owen with his own money. Dorito bought kettle corn and proceeded to eat most of it as we snaked through traffic trying to leave the scene. Teenage boys are always thinking of food.

Scout Cooking

Since Dorito is the Troop Guide for the first-year Scouts, he was very conscientious in choosing the menu for Saturday and Sunday's campout. We scoured the Scout Cookbook and online recipes, finally deciding on BBQ chicken and apple cobbler. He even bought all the groceries ahead of time. But when the chore time came, he couldn't get anyone to help do the cooking for 15 people. So he made pancakes, sausage, and hashbrowns for breakfast; hamburgers and homemade fries for lunch (they forgot the watermelon); then BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, and apple cobbler for supper. He ran out of coals before the cobbler was fully cooked -- so they didn't win the Golden Skillet Award for taste, but I think he deserved it for effort alone!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Twins Take a Few Rounds of Chess

The twins were sad to miss Supernationals last week (due to hockey try-outs). Today they dived into the local chess tournament, but Tommy Palmer got the best of Polar Bear. Both he and Winger still finished in the top 10 overall for their age group. They were more excited about the "Bughouse" tournament, where 4 players work simultaneously on 2 chess boards. They had worked out secret passwords: 1 = queen, 2 = rook, 3 = knight, 4 = bishop, 5 = pawn. (How clever!) They could have been in the championship, but Polar Bear failed to notice his opponent's clock ran out just before Winger got stuck in a check-mate. Good effort -- which got them a 3rd place medal!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Easter Week Art Tour

I arranged a tour of the Medieval and Renaissance galleries at the Nelson Adkins Museum of Art for the Catholic homeschoolers hoping that many would want to come on their "Easter break." We were fortunate enough to have a wonderful tour guide, who knew the history and symbolism in the art works. They have installed a full-size cloister from 1400s France, an altar piece from Italy 1400s, and this famous "John the Baptist" of 1605 by Caravaggio.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Seniors and Wheelchairs

Some of "The Fiddlers Three" didn't want to wake up early for the Savannah Senior Center's Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast, but they liked eating doughnuts once we were all set up. The audience included more than 75 people, and they moved us up to the top of their agenda based on recent publicity in the local newspaper! Winger talks between most of the songs and made an embarrassing comment about why his twin is an HOUR older than he is. Kids say the darnedest things.

The next evening, the kids had a show right after Orchestra Rehearsal for the people at Living Communities. Then, we helped wheel residents back to their different floors and rooms.

F3 also was asked to fill in as entertainment for the Laura Ingalls Wilder homeschool history class on their last day. The group plays three of the songs mentioned in the "Little House in the Big Woods" book. This was our 10th show of the year! It's very fun to see how God's talents can bring the joy of live music into people lives.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

TEA Party Tax Protest

Meggar and I squeezed in a visit to the TEA Party at Liberty Memorial after piano and before hockey. Our local teen Joseph Bridgman was one of the main speakers! He did an excellent job in a short time slot. It's great to see young people who are educating themselves.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Book was Bad

I always enjoy Tuesday Night Book Club, even if the book is bad. But this one was really bad. Such a waste of time. Poorly developed characters and dialogue. Ugh! "The Heroines" by Eileen Favorite is a fictional tale of a bed-and-breakfast where classic heroines appear from literary works. I like Scarlett O'Hara and Madame Bovary and Catherine/Heathcliff -- but in their true form, not an adaptation. It makes me long for our "Jane Austen" days. The regular members brought lovely snacks for tea time, however, and we shall look forward to "Alice in Wonderland" for next month.

Spring Blossoms

Polar Bear was such a helper this afternoon and eager to cut more branches of forsythia for our kitchen table. The warmer temps today coaxed the Japanese Quince Bush to join in the blooming of our backyard, so he snipped a few of those to put amidst the bright yellow blossoms. Such a bouquet. He didn't want to stop. So we made another vase with Rhododendron flowers from our side yard. It is a single, well-established bush that is likely as old as the 30-year-old house it ornaments. I'm just sorry that the violet-purple glory only last for two weeks.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Monday in the E.R.

Dorito wound up in the E.R. after lunch. He started telling me that his heart was beating fast and his chest hurt last night before bed. I made him drink a big glass of water, thinking it was indigestion. But the pains continued today even after breakfast and lunch. I didn't want to make the four-hour drive home without having him checked out, so we went to an urgent care clinic. They confirmed a heart rate of 104 and referred us to the emergency room. Once there, they acted quickly and confidently, hooking up an EKG. Lying still his heart rate was 107, and when the doctor asked him to stand, it went up to 124! I was beginning to get worried. Then the nurse asked us the pertinent questions about diet, rest, activity, etc. When he said, "Caffeine?" my brain clicked in to the truth. We had given up soda for Lent, so everyone chose a Coke at the Dunkin Donuts on Saturday night. Then on Sunday, the kids also chose Coke at the buffet lunch at Aunt Lori's house. I asked Dorito how many he drank, and he admitted, "Three or four." What?! Plus he had Dr. Pepper at Grandma's on Sunday evening! This was quite a shock to his system. I felt sorry for him, yet relieved. I hope Meggar sees that I was correct in keeping my growing children away from caffeine.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter in the Rain

Not a beautiful day outside, but we arrived in Wichita by noon to celebrate the baptism of Chad and Lori's #6. His name is Gannon John Paul (lovely!) and he is so long/tall. Very cute! Alleluia!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Vigil

All the Schmidlings participated in a beautiful Easter Vigil mass tonight with lots of candles and incense. Meggar and I played the organ (three responsorial psalms and the litany). The boys were amongst the 14 people on the altar: Dorito was a candlelighter, Polar Bear was a torch bearer and carried the holy water bucket during the sprinkling, and Winger held the books for Father Totton. There are certainly a lot of details to memorize when serving a 2.5 hour mass. Everyone did a wonderful job. Such a great opportunity for my sons to work in cooperation with three seminarians and one deacon. I was almost jealous. During this morning's practice, Fitzpatrick told them a story about his mistake at the Bishop's mass. :-) That set them all at ease. We witnessed three baptisms, and later, three new Catholics were confirmed. Afterwards, we were too excited to sleep, so we stopped at Dunkin Donuts to celebrate (about 11 pm).

The Masters

Captain is already in Augusta today, and he called me as he headed in to watch the Masters! What luck that the pilots were given tickets, too!! No cell phones are allowed, so we will wait for his update later tonight. The twins hit the links today, too. Any weather above 60' and they are begging for me to take them to the golf course. I wonder if Polar Bear or Winger is in the lead after the front nine? Dorito decided not to accompany them since he already did a 5-mile hike this morning with the Scouts.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Goodness of Good Friday

I told a friend that Good Friday was my favorite day of the year. It is such a dramatic point in the Church calendar and in salvation history: That day in which God answered millions of prayers--but not necessarily in the way anyone expected. In similar timing, God asked me to take up a cross of cancer and radiation treatment in 2004. There are always uncertainties when surgery is involved, yet I had a wonderful surgeon and supportive friends. Radiation made me very sick, but Captain took off work to be Mr. Mom. Then I was required to remain in seclusion for week while the isotopes lost their power. The end of my quarantine came at the Hour of Mercy -- 3:00 pm on Good Friday 2004. It was wonderful to feel the hugs of my children again! That evening, we went to Church services and I was particularly moved during the Veneration of the Cross. When I was a child, this custom of publicly kissing the feet of Christ was embarrassingly uncomfortable. When I was grown, I understood better the meaning of "Come, let us worship" at the foot of the cross with Mary and the disciple whom Jesus loved. But as a cancer survivor, I approached the wood of the cross with a powerful intimacy. I knew Jesus had been with me all along, and I could willingly choose to kiss the cross in love for my Savior. When we join our sufferings to His, we don't always find the answers but we feel certain we are headed in the right direction. The goodness of His love also brings us healing on many levels.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spring Break

While other students had an early out, the "Fiddlers Three" had an afternoon concert at one of the local nursing homes. Of course, all the wheelchair residents were punctually in place 15 minutes early, so we started a bit early for their sakes. It was a nice audience and the Activities Director paid the boys in cash. They each had plans for their $10 bill -- one wants to go golfing, one wants to buy fishing lures, and one is looking for more hockey cards on eBay. "I am a master at eBay," Winger announced triumphantly. He loves bidding, and he's found this is a cheaper way to buy his favorite hockey cards in sets.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Homeschool Prom

Meggar and I are pleased to help the Mason's committee in planning the Homeschool Spring Formal Banquet! Of course, we have chosen a Jane Austen theme:
"A Night at Netherfield Hall"
I doubt Colin Firth will be able to attend. Some girls were asking about Regency attire, but I think they were joking.
We're excited about the setting of the Tudor Room at the St. Joseph Country Club. Our dinner will feature British specialties, i.e. Cornish game hen, roast potatoes with English lavendar and herbs, parsnips, crown rolls, English trifle, and a pot of tea. We have secured a special guest speaker from Britain, she's an ex-pat who works at our Downtown Library. Meanwhile, I am still negotiating with a caricature artist and a Shakespearean Comedy Troupe from the KC Renaissance Festival. Only 3.5 weeks remaining until the big night!
Meggar went shopping (again) and decided on the purple dress! (Maybe KSU is still in her future?!) She won't let me post the photo until after her debut. She and Hannah have an "Old English Table" every Tuesday to sell tickets after Homeschool Choir. We are hoping for 40 students.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Young Engineers

It was a scene from the future... My three sons are acting the part of engineers during an afternoon class called "Building Bridges" at the homeschool co-op. (It was adapted from a public school gifted program, and they love it!) This was week 5 of class: First, they discovered their bridge would not allow a boat to sail under it, so they had to take off their two deck pieces. One broke! So it cost $91,000 to buy a new one. But the accountant (Winger) wrote the check with a misspelled word, which resulted in a $2,000 fine from the bank! Then Polar Bear said they needed more lumber, but the store closed early. The "Herzog Contractors" company was struggling on Tuesday afternoon. (I tried not to laugh as they were all talking at the same time on our way home.) They have one more week to finish construction of their bridge--within a $1.5 million budget--before the weight-bearing competition amongst the 5 student companies. I predict one or two of them might truly become engineers!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Chess Champions

The 7-9th graders took 1st place in the un-rated division at Supernationals!! How wonderful for Dorito and his friends--the trophy is almost as tall as he is! (picture to come) Mr. Bird was very proud as they had 4 players finish in the top 15, too. Dorito keeps telling us stories of the HUGE Gaylord Opryland Convention Center with indoor waterfalls, bridges, and gardens.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dancing Queen

What fun to watch the "Mamma Mia!" movie and sing along with the ABBA songs. I knew more of the tunes that I expected to recognize. Hey, I like singing - even if the plot was silly. Plus you can't go wrong with Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, and Meryl Streep in the movie. With six other girls and plenty of good snacks, it was as better than going out.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Chess Tournament in Progress

Dorito is in Nashville--playing in the world's largest chess tournament along with 5,200 students from 45 states. Yesterday, he lost the first match and beat his second opponent. His St. Joe K-9 team is in 1st place after the first day!! Very exciting. It's also been fun to hear him talk about the chess inventions in the vendor area. "Pounder chess" lets you make one move as the piece you just captured. 3-D chess lets you move vertically up the side wall (built with shelves). And some version where the piece permanently is attached to the square, and you move them together each time. Crazy!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Kansas Abortions and Doctor's Conscience

I must comment on the doctors in the news lately. George Tiller, the infamous Wichita abortionist, was acquitted last Friday of 19 charges related to late-term abortions. Pity about the loop-holes. Tiller estimated that he performed 250 to 300 late-term abortions in 2003, each costing an average of $6,000. Out of his millions, he paid $300 in cash to Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus if she would provide a second opinion that these were "necessary" for the women's health. Tiller said he is one of only three doctors in the U.S. who currently perform late-term abortions. The others are in Boulder, Colo., and Los Angeles, he said. Sad situation in my home state, and we continue to pray for an end abortion.

On the national level, you may voice your opinion until April 9 on the proposed rescission of the doctor's conscience clause. One form can be found here to email HHS. suggests emailing directly. Since my brother has a pro-life Ob-Gyn practice, this hits close to home. If doctors do not have the rights of conscience, then neither will their patients.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools

This year, I didn't cook my usual April Fool's breakfast of meatloaf and mashed potatoes because Winger was throwing up. It was also a gloomy and blustery day outside. Needless to say, no one in the family played any tricks all day.

But I cannot resist a comment on Obama's nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. (She's fair game because I lived more years in Kansas than I have in Missouri.) She is the sixth appointee who was found to have made unintentional mistakes on their taxes. She explained the goof saying she deducted mortgage interest for a house she sold in 2006, and for deducting the interest of a similar second mortgage. No Fooling!?!