Sunday, May 31, 2009

Homeschoolers Graduate

Fathers and sons celebrated 8th grade graduation in style at Galvin's Steakhouse last night. The famous fried chicken and KC strip steaks did not disappoint! Captain reported that he relished the conversations, which ranged from college to jobs to politics to the role these young men will have to play in society as good fathers and husbands in a few years. He gave Dorito a diploma and Bible verse encouragement (along with a special watch).

Relatives from the Schmidling side of the family gathered to honor Dorito: Tony and Mary, Gr. Elizabeth, and Aunt Kathy. Of course, the Violin Concerto was more impressive than the cake. :-) Pleasant afternoon!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Retro Dress for the Party

Meggar wore this dress from the 60s for today's graduation ceremony and reception with the Homeschool Seniors. I should have a photo of her and the graduates, but someone forgot the camera! The graduation speeches and slide show were very impressive! But this is a blog about my kids and the stuff we do together anyway. Now she is officially a senior...

This dress belonged to Gr. Judy when she went to a fraternity dance at K-State with Gr. Gerald in 1962. She was So-ooo Skinny! It was also worn for her engagement photo in 1963 (she shortened it). Wonderful soft fabric and hip colors. It fits Meggar's style perfectly!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ashokan Farewell

Dorito mastered "Ashokan Farewell" as his 8th Grade Graduation piece. I think Gr. Judy liked it as much as Meggar! (They are both kind of mushy.) Even though we were all straight out of the pool, it was nice to be serenaded by a mellow, 87-year-old violin.

Today, the Fiddler Three wore tuxedoes and played classical songs for the Ladies of Charity tea party and mass at St. Francis parish.

Twin Bodies

The twins are very proud of their Human Body projects this year (part of 5th grade Science). This week, we are taking the California Achievement Tests (it's comical when they make identical mistakes). Tomorrow we will be finished for the Summer!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Servers with Bells

Winger never likes to serve on the bell side at Mass. But today, I talked him into it. Polar Bear always takes the bell side because he likes it better than the book side. On the way to 7:30 am mass, he was giving Winger instructions for when to ring and how to ring. "Watch Father, and when he lifts the Body up to the top, then you ring three times. And again when he drinks the Blood. Make it firm." They practiced in the back seat with Polar Bear elevating an invisible host and chalice. (I'm so glad they believe in the Real Presence.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Take a Ride in the Sky

Dorito rode in the jump seat all the way to St. Louis! It's a shame that's only 30 minutes in the Challenger Jet when Captain is "driving" in the left seat. The Herzog jet's annual inspection is being done at Mid-Coast Aviation, so Dorito went along for the ride. He learned that pre-flights at 0600 come pretty early. And the low clouds made for conditions that require instrument flying. They broke out above the clouds for a while to see the sunrise! On the ground, Dorito listened to the mechanic and the service dept. manager discuss the week-long schedule of repairs. He wants to work in this field some day soon. The twins were green with envy.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day at the K

Grandpa Gerald treated all of us to the Royals game in honor of Dorito's 8th grade graduation. We were lucky that Brendan stayed all weekend. He proved himself at Ultimate Frisbee, too.
The rain held off until the 8th inning, and then we left because the Tigers were leading by 9 runs already. There must be something about Detroit this week because the Red Wings are also leading.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

8th Grade Graduation

Meggar baked the cake, and decorated it with sugar sprinkles and raspberries.
Everyone helped in the kitchen all weekend, and we enjoyed lots of tasty dishes including Mrs. Jungbluth's baked taco dip and Junior League's raspberry brisket.

Making Connections with the Pastor

Dorito's graduation dinner included Father Totton, Gr. Judy, and Gr. Gerald. After a delicious dinner, the twins respectfully retired to the hearth room couch to play GameBoy while the adults lingered over glasses of wine and stories at the table. Father started a childhood story about riding bikes: “I grew up in Detroit...” and Polar Bear's head jerks up! “What?!” He is so impressed that Father is from Hockey Town! And Polar Bear made sure to tell me I could blog his enthusiastic comments.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Track Meet with the Cousins

Brendan ran the 800m in 2:32, which is good for his first AAU track meet. He receives water from Uncle Carey and a hug from Ashlan.
Dorito, Polar Bear, and Winger helped with the high jump (Ashlan's specialty) for six hours. Needless to say, they were tired and sunburned.
Even Rebecca entered the 100 m race! Then she stayed in the shade.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Field Trip to the Field and Stream

Field trips with the Conservation Dept. are always a good time. We found snails, dragonfly larvae, pond shrimp, and tadpoles.
Polar Bear only fell in once!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Flappers at the Wine Tasting

The monthly "Wine Tasting at the Art Museum" focused on The Great Gatsby book, in sync with other activities around St. Joseph this month. As you can see, I took the costume contest seriously. It was actually pretty easy: I started with the red dress, reminiscent of Daisy's dress described in the book; I added a flapper
headband and white feather from a sorority party in the 80s; Meggar's feather boa; and my mother's dress up shoes from the 60s. Can you believe the red velvet heels?! I loved them, and I loved dressing up. (It's not just for little girls, you know.) Prizes were offered to all six of the brave women who came in period attire! And Angela and I both sipped on the bourbon and found another thing we have in common.
From our study of World War II, we have three movies to recommend:

"Saints and Soldiers" is based upon the actual events of the Malmedy Massacre, five Allied soldiers are trapped behind enemy lines and are desperately trying to get intelligence information delivered. Beautiful cinematography--especially when you learn that this was an independent film (made with 1/140th of a regular budget by using World War II re-enactors who volunteered to be extras and equipment/props from private military collections). Winger and Polar Bear disagreed when guessing who are the "saints" and who are the "soldiers" in this movie. War is ugly in its realities, and there are "good guys" on both sides. Especially compelling is the character nicknamed "Deacon" for his Bible reading and hope of heaven. If the true measure of love is "to lay down one's life for one's friends," than this movie is authentically Catholic.
"In Love and War" (Hallmark version) is more of a love story with the War as a backdrop. Meggar loved it, while Dorito didn't even want to watch it to the end. Some romance, some comedy as an injured British soldier has trouble after his escape from a POW camp because of a foot injury. With the help of the local villagers, he hides from the Nazis, learns some Italian, and falls in love.

"The Miracle at Moreaux" The nuns running a French boarding school are trying to protect the children from the politics and racism of the War. Superb story line as the children must own up to their own stereotypes when confronted with Jewish children under the threat of Nazi genocide. Endearing and witty Christmas scene at the end. A nice story for families with young children who want to get a glimpse of soldiers and Holocaust sufferers.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Splash into Summer

Captain is home and the pool chemicals are finally regulated. The three boys jumped in although the water was only 75' F so far. Captain says we can leave the heater running overnight. Now, I have to enforce the rule that swimming is only allowed after school-work is done for the day!! What a mean Mommy. What a nice Daddy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bound for the Continent

Meggar got a confirmation email today that she can participate in a summer youth exchange with a girl from Paris. She is a cousin to Claire de Loynes, who works with the FOCUS team in Colorado. Domitille Frechet is 15 and will arrive in Missouri on June 10. Then both girls will go to France from July 11-Aug. 13. We are excitedly making plans!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Braces Come Off!

Dorito had been counting down the days. He got his braces off on Monday morning at 8:20 a.m.

He has a great looking smile!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Big Read -- The Great Gatsby

Schieber's hosted a book discussion for "The Big Read" going on this month in St. Joseph. We had a great time discussing whether Jay Gatsby was great or not. (The wine certainly helped.) And... what does the book cover mean? Is Daisy crying over the truth? Nobody in this book really faces the truth.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dreams and Inventions

What do you dream of? I mean literally. Meggar will often wake up in the morning and tell me she dreamed of a great pair of shoes or a new skirt! (for serious!) And she dreams in color and can tell me all the design details.

Dorito is too quiet to talk much about his dreams, but he hopes to be an airplane mechanic or engineer some day.

Polar Bear blurted out that he would like to be lawyer (?) when he grows up. Last night, he dreamed that I got a new mini-van, but I am not parting with my Previa.

And Winger is consistently the dreamer/inventor. He has had 3-4 inventions since Christmas! First there was a wooden tree for drying hockey gear, then shelves for his closet, then dividers for the shelf in his closet, which he painted white to match. He even tried to make a Pass-Master that he saw in the "USA Hockey" magazine. In the end, we ordered a replacement rubberband from the company and asked Mr. Bruce to construct the Pass-Master. The concept is like a pitch-back, but for hockey pucks. Here's the photo of the twins using it! Captain told Mr. Bruce that when the twins make it to the NHL they will first give credit to his homemade Pass-Master of 2009.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Book club this month was a bit of a challenge. I finally read all of "Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass." I had tried to read it a few years back, when it was all the craze among classical homeschoolers. Too much nonsense. This time, however, I found a few enjoyable bits. I really like the Mock Turtle chapter for its play on words. What did he learn in school? Reeling and Writhing... Laughing and Grief... and don't forget they make shoes out of Soles and Eels! Lovely :-) Because of my twins, I was hoping for more humor in TweedleDee and TweedleDum. Lewis Carroll must not have known any authentic twins to write about. Ah well. Laura gave great insights about the book's background, which helped me to understand the nonsense of that mathematics professor much better -- if not clearly. Can we get back to Jane Austen? I did share all the Prom photos with the ladies!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Uncle Chad's Construction

Early this morning, we met Uncle Chad in Atchison to see the finished construction of a 36-unit apartment complex for seniors. Very contemporary and adds a nice touch to the neighborhood. We also treated ourselves to breakfast at the Marigold Bakery, our favorite cafe in the world!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hugs for Mother

I love Mother's Day. Never mind that my children aren't in school where an artsy teacher prepares a card craft they can bring home. Winger made a homemade card with stamps (of course) and even wrote the whole sentiment in cursive.

Polar Bear stole both ideas and got me another Starbucks gift card.

Dorito sponsored a family outing to play nine holes of golf. I shot a 61 for my first time out this year--beating Captain on the first hole. Dorito has a powerful drive and scored par twice, so I was a bit jealous.

Meggar rented a movie to watch with me. Girls time! Great idea after the golfing.

Mother's Day Homily

Dear Father Totton,
I liked your homily humor today, and since Mother’s Day is next Sunday--I offer this revision:

A “perfect” mom preaches for only 15 minutes.
She works from 1 a.m. until Midnight at her family’s cozy home.
She makes $50 a week worth of cookies, meals, and snacks for school functions, sports teams, and neighbors with a new baby or recent hospitalization.
She gives 50 hours of service to several Catholic charities -- locally and internationally.
Her hair is always well groomed, despite having only 6 minutes of privacy in the bathroom.
She wears modest clothing, drives a used minivan, and is proud of her handbag bargain from a garage sale.
She is always out of earshot when called upon, but never loses patience with those who yell for her.
She has a burning passion to work with teenagers, but spends all her time with nursing infants.
She only cooks foods that are your favorite, while maintaining high nutritional standards for her middle-aged/high cholesterol husband.
If you too have a less-than-perfect mom, then send this letter to six other families and bundle her off to be exchanged for a more “perfect” fit. In a week, you are sure to find 976 moms who have disappeared to a beach in Barbados.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Harry S. Truman turns 125 Today

Along with the Rich's family, we celebrated the 125th birthday of President Harry S. Truman at his library in Independence, Mo, and the cake was 125-feet long!! The impersonator was quite humorous, and one of the docents was old enough to have met the president and his family back in the day. Good stories!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Christmas Concert in May

"Jingle Bells" was obligatory even if out-of-place in this mild month of May. The "Fiddlers Three" had been snowed out in December, so we returned to play to a full crowd of Senior Partners from Commerce Bank. The turkey-and-stuffing luncheon was delicious, and the compliments were just as hearty!

Polar Bear pulled a joke out of thin air between songs. I think Meggar has plans to get back at him tonight!

Jokes Among Fiddlers Three

Sure enough, Meggar got back at Polar Bear during our evening concert for the Christian Singles at Wyatt Park Baptist Church! Polar Bear doesn't like telling the history behind the "Irish Washerwoman" song, which Laura Ingalls mentions in her book about her Pa. He always tries to get out of it, but Meggar tricked him. I'm glad the F3 concerts are more spontaneous now. We never know what to expect between songs.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Kids Movies and Books

Does anyone else think that Mary Pope Osborn's terrific series of "Magic Tree House" books is quite similar to "Blue's Clues"? Minus the historical storytelling, of course. Jack always writes things in his notebook! Did she steal the notebook idea from Steve and Blue? I was chuckling because Winger and Polar Bear never caught onto the idea of writing Jack's observations in their own notebooks like Dorito did. But then Dorito was a faithful companion to Blue and had his own red thinking chair and green notebook. Good childhood memories with good literature!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Spring Break

Winger made a mistake and mowed over my hosta lilies! I had just divided them to help fill the long expanse of our front sidewalk -- now they look like they've got a crew cut. Candise's Crew was just trying to help catch up on lawn work after all the rain we'd had.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Violin Recitals

Lots of music programs are held in the spring, and today we celebrated the end of the violin semester. Our boys' teacher is Terry Brock, and they work very hard for him. Dorito memorized Concerto No. 5 by F. Seitz. Polar Bear played "Bouree," which is my favorite of the violin songs. Winger played "Waltz" just beautifully. Meggar was the accompanist for all three Schmidling sons plus Max Schieber--she gave as much to the performance as the boys did!

Monday, May 4, 2009

When a Scout Gets a "Life"

Advance- ments are a big deal among Scouts, and Dorito was elevated to "Life" rank at tonight's Court of Honor. He is among the first three of his patrol to complete all the requirements -- and the next rank is Eagle Scout. (So we have plenty of work ahead.) Dorito wanted to sit by Andrew during the dinner because they were so excited!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Piano Recital

Dorito was the only Schmidling in this year's recital with teacher Kathy Weeks. He played well on "Highland Jig" and we all laughed about "The Mad Hornet" song because of his recent (bad) encounters with wasps!

Spring AAA Hockey Champs

Polar Bear and Winger won their first tournament (undefeated) with the Minnesota Mavericks AAA team. We were so proud of them, especially among all '98 players. Polar Bear scored a hat trick in the first game! He had 8 points at the end of four games. Winger led the way with 7 assists (as usual) and had 2 goals.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Keeping an Eye on Palin's Progress

As a pro-life warrior, Sarah Palin is among my heroes! So I finally made time to watch her speech at last week's Indiana Right-to-Life Convention. (You Tube is better than network TV because you can watch the unfiltered version - without commercials.) Palin continues to be overwhelm audiences (and me) with her authentic style that mixes her love of mothering and politics. That's the sort of freedom America was founded upon.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Homeschool Spring Formal

Homeschoolers have Prom, too! "A Night at Netherfield Hall" was a magically elegant evening at the St. Joseph Country Club. The Jane Austen theme was carried out in silhouettes, music at the pianoforte, and fine British foods on the dinner menu. The prom committee was Hannah Mason and Megan Schmidling (gorgeous).

The junior girls are pictured altogether in their finery (below).

Friends made the evening more special -- Here's Meggar talking to Andrew Wallace (above). And Dorito spent time with Lizzy Reasons (below).