Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Curse of the Tie

A tie?! Three more times this weekend! The twins' hockey team faced off against the #4 team in the country, and tied with Affton Americans all THREE times. Saturday it was 3-3 in the afternoon and 3-3 in the evening. Sunday morning was our last chance, and they tied 1-1 by scoring near the very end of the game. Very good competition--we would have had to play a perfect 3 periods to beat them. I'm happy to report that we didn't make many mistakes. Overall, it puts the Stars Pee Wee team in 13th place nationally at the end of their season. Here's our final parting shot, with the front row wearing their matching hockey PJ pants.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hockey Trophies from Des Moines

Dorito and his Bantam team fell in the Championship game last weekend during Midwest League Finals in Des Moines. But what a good season! Taking 2nd place overall is such a Success!! Dorito was the third leading scorer for the season.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Remembering our First Son

It was 16 years ago that our first son was stillborn at 25 or 26 weeks. Odd that I cannot remember that detail now. It was a problematic pregnancy throughout, and I'd had a dream about his little face that night. Lisa came and drove me to the hospital, leaving Meggar with her stay-at-home neighbor. What are the chances of finding a stay-at-home neighbor these days?! My water had broken, but there was no heartbeat. Captain caught the next flight home. We named him Kendall Francis, after a friend who died in Desert Storm '92 (helicopter pilot). Kendall is buried at the foot of his great-grandparents in the Easton cemetery behind St. Joseph's of the Valley. I'm recalling all these details because Jodi lost her Michael last week, and my mom sent me a lovely website called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Such a powerful pro-life message! This web company offers volunteer photographers who come to make a memento when your baby is lost too young. We did not get to hold our Kendall, but a caring nurse at Olathe Medical gave us his footprints--about three-quarters of an inch long. We know he joins our family prayer circle each day from heaven along with Melissa ('91) and Amelia ('93). "There is no foot so small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chopin's Birthday

Today is the official date of Frederic Chopin's 200th birthday, according to Church baptismal records. The famous composer from Poland produced over 230 works, more which were not saved nor published. But we most admire his 21 nocturnes, and Meggar has learned "Nocturne-Opus 72, No. 1" plus "Valse-Opus 69, No. 1." She will play them for afternoon tea tomorrow. Meanwhile, here is a link for a coloring page of Chopin.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Our Own Olympic Games

The hockey team year-end party would not be complete without Candises's Cookies. One jersey cookie for each boy. You can tell by the number which one to eat, so nobody gets cheated. Except I think the dog ate Kerner's cookie because he was stuck playing in the net all night.
The tournament was played at "Hoehn's Winter Classic" rink. No kidding, right in their backyard is a 34x60 sheet of Canadian ice. Some boys thought this WAS the Olympics. They played 2 on 2 and of course, my twins were on the same line. Nobody wanted to stop and eat in the middle, nor did anybody want to leave at the end!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Piano Keys to Success

Meggar won the Truman State University Piano Competition today. Full tuition, plus the professor tacked on full room and board, too! We are so proud of her tenacity with piano lessons, and the blessing of Kathy Weeks in the younger years and Margie Cameron-Jarrett in high school years. It will be a blessing if she can drive home safely tomorrow with Becca as the snow is getting deeper.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Life on the Mississippi

What an adventure--sitting through the autobiographical play of young Sam Clemens! We went to the Coterie Theater in Crown Center for "Life on the Mississippi" with 30 other homeschoolers. The songs were fast, the Southern twang was thick, and the steamboat whistle blared authentically. An awesome set to showcase the talented actors who made Mark Twain, his younger brother, and his boss come to life before our eyes. Talking afterwards, we noticed that there are many similarities to being a riverboat pilot then and an airplane pilot now. Hope my boys will be "Cubs" soon.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Death of an Appliance

Must be the end of the warranty period, but lately we've had several things die. It started in January with one iron, then one printer, then the other iron, and the second printer died, too! Shortly afterward my curling iron stopped working, and today the hair trimmers stopped buzzing. We think the hot water heater is on its last leg, and one of the two heat pumps is grinding down (soon to halt). At least our marriage has lasted 20 years :-)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ashes to Ashes

The Feast of Ash Wednesday, more than any other, points out our human frailty at the beginning of Lent. Catholics are asked to abstain from meat and those older than 14 are asked to fast on this day. We managed to avoid snacks all day. But it made everyone very eager for supper to be on the table! I've never seen such an attack of digging in to my shrimp alfredo. The conversation also focused on food! Winger predicted he would have to set his alarm clock for midnight so he could get a bowl of cereal (his usual bedtime snack). Polar Bear and Dorito asked for seconds on shrimp alfredo and stuffed themselves with whatever else was left over (rolls, veggies, salad) so he wouldn't need a bedtime snack. This might sound cruel, but I was glad the boys could truly experience a sacrifice on Ash Wednesday. We all can learn greater discipline with our habits.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mardi Gras

We set out purple, green, and gold beads for Aunt Linda and Aunt Denise at lunch today. We wanted to celebrate Mardi Gras (which in French means "Fat Tuesday), and we wanted to celebrate this visit. Aunt Linda hasn't been "home" from Alaska for the past 10 years--so we were thrilled to see her! Captain has visited her twice in the interim during his work-related trips to Anchorage. But this was Polar Bear's and Winger's first time to meet her face-to-face. They know she has a son who plays hockey and that puts her high on their list for sending photos and email updates back and forth. I served salmon and white wine, which seemed even fancier because the twins set out the china, silver, and homemade name cards (by Winger) in Mardi Gras colors. For dessert, we served friendship bread with the King Cake baby hidden inside. We didn't have enough time to make a real King Cake, like we have done other years, but we still wanted to have the fun of the tradition. Winger was pleased when Captain won the honor of being our King for the day.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Nuns Playing Hockey

See the sticks sticking out of the snowbank?! This is a great hockey picture from a friend of Alison's blog--the nuns are Slaves of the Immaculate Heart (from the school where her sister teaches) in Still River, Massachusetts.

Hockey CHAMPS Again

The twins and their Stars Pee Wee AA team can be mightly proud of today's championship in Chicago. They beat the #6 team in the country after a 2-2 tie which Captain said was an "intense" game skated a "wicked pace" all the way through. They also beat the #36 and #37 teams in their division. I suppose they might deserve to be ranked higher than #15 now!

P.S. My Hockey Rankings has moved up the Stars to #13 spot the very next day!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hard to Believe

Is that?! a Target -- with a parking garage??!
We couldn't believe the 3-level Target store we found.
This was after our dead-end at the art museum. We went to visit the Mint Museum of Art, but it was closed because of the 1.5 inches of snow. Really?! We consoled ourselves with a bit of shopping.

Brontë: Like Sisters on Valentine's Day

We drove into Charlotte to find a bookshop that advertised its cafe under the quite clever literary title "Brontë: A Novel Bistro"--can you imagine?! We did not see Charlotte, Emily, Anne, nor Jane Eyre. The chain of Joseph-Beth Booksellers boasts of five locations in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky, and it's bistro/cafe was very pleasant. We had chicken salad, penne pasta, and a summer squash soup that was beyond our expectation. And tea, of course. And a Valentine's Day gift for my daughter titled "Letters to Juliet," which we shall both enjoy reading on the plane. It recounts the history of the tomb and Verona's attempts to employ correspondents, who answer the mail that arrives in stacks to the famous lover. Little secret: Go to I like to peruse their offerings when we are travelling out of town because when you enter the promotion code you can get a $25 gift certificate for $2!! Sometimes it's $4, which is still a bargain. The first time I forgot to type in the discount code, and another time I tried to use two coupons to total $50 but that's not allowable. Still a good bargain, which warms my heart!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Very Optimistic

Meggar interviewed today for a full tuition scholarship at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina. She met with Dr. Thuot, who manages the Honors Institute and seemed impressed by her college prep work through homeschooling with Kolbe Academy. "He said I could be very optimistic," Meggar reported to her host student, Lexi, with a big smile. Meggar also auditioned with the piano professor, went to daily mass, and visited the Adoration Chapel at the edge of the woods. This Benedictine campus had beautiful weather yesterday (photo) but was caught off guard by snow today.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Winter Olympics Begin

The opening ceremonies were wonderful, especially Wayne Gretzky, but I did a little searching around and found an intriguing Catholic connection to the Games. The Olympic Motto is "Citius, Altius, Fortius" from Father Henri Martin Didon, a Dominican priest at a college near Paris, who used the discipline of sport as a powerful educational tool. One day, following an inter-schools athletics meeting, he ended his speech with the three Latin words meaning swifter, higher, stronger. Baron Pierre de Coubertin decided to make this the Olympic motto "for people who dare to try to break records." De Coubertin is the founder of the modern Olympic Games.

The Olympic Creed: "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well." Pierre de Coubertin got the idea for the creed from a speech given by Bishop Ethelbert Talbot from Pennsylvania at a service for Olympic champions during the 1908 Olympic Games. The creed and motto were added in 1924 and meant to spur athletes to embrace the Olympic spirit and perform to the best of their abilities, but it is also fitting for all our athletes in Vancouver and at home today.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Meeting Clint's Future Wife

Meggar and I flew into Charlotte a day early so we could arrange to meet my brother's fiancé, Kathryn, for the first time. Dr. Clint has been a bachelor into his mid-30s, and it seems that Kathryn was worth the wait. She is a charming lady teaching at a Catholic school and leading missions work. Her intelligence and warmth won us over. We talked for hours at "Old Stone Steakhouse." I must comment on the wonderful flavor of the house salad dressing--Rosemary Ranch (can I make that?). The Lump Crab Cake came sitting on a bed of shredded Jicama, which went so well with my glass of Pinot Grigio. Meggar was in garlic heaven with her Shrimp Fettucini, and Kathryn said her Steak and Avacado Salad was also very good. Food and friends go great together.

Fiddling for the Principals

The Fiddlers Three would like to thank Sarah Cool for taking Meggar's place at piano today. They performed for the School Principals' Breakfast this morning at the college. Very early in the morning actually, since they don't get to bed until 11 pm on Wednesday nights after hockey practice. But Captain said they did very well, and the breakfast buffet was a welcome reward.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Speaking About France

Meggar gave two more talks about her exchange trip to France recently: at the Southside Rotary Club luncheon last week and at the St. James Girl Scouts last night. There's only one can of pate left -- and one chocolate bar! This is the time of year that applications are due for the Rotary International High School Summer Exchange. Check it out!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Boarders all Three

Last Tuesday, the twins met their friend Jarrett on the slopes at Snow Creek. Polar Bear is #16 and Winger is #19, you know. It was perfect weather (not too cold, not too windy). They found a good place to jump, and shared their sack lunches, and had non-stop fun from 2-9 p.m. This week, we couldn't miss chess class, so we might go skiing on Thursday instead.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Making a Basketball Snow Man

The snowfall in Wichita was light but sticky today, so we made a base then covered 2 basketballs with snow for the body and head!! Can you believe it?? My niece Rebecca had the day off school so she helped me (or rather I helped her). Followed by hot cocoa.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pro-Life Athlete Seen during Super Bowl

Of course, we made a little time to watch the SuperBowl, and waited to see the pro-life commercial with Tim Tebow and his mom Pam. Made by Focus on the Family, the commercial never says the "abortion" word but goes a long way toward showing the affection/devotion between mother and son. I loved the humor, too. In 1987, Tebow suffered from a dangerous infection during a mission trip to the Philippines, and doctors recommended that she terminate her pregnancy, fearing she might die in childbirth. But she carried Tim to term, and he went on to win the 2007 Heisman Trophy and two BCS championships with the Florida Gators. The NOW women were waving their "pro-choice" banners all week prior and were determined to censor this woman's right to celebrate her choice to go ahead with a difficult pregnancy. I like how Dave Andrusko at NRLC calls them "pro-aborts behaving badly" and I realize it gave extra publicity to this $2.3 million spot.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Weekend in Wichita

I'm spending the weekend in Wichita trying to help my brother's family. More prayers are needed.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Treasure Island

We finished the book about Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins and Doctor Livesey and Ben Gunn. So we treated ourselves to the movie--I had rented a BBC production but didn't realize that it was a musical. We will get back on NetFlix and try to find something "better."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Luckily, Lauren was found late last night. It's a long way from "over," but we are relieved. My thanks to all the prayer partners!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Teenage Niece is Missing

Sad news... my niece Lauren, an 8th grader at a Catholic school, ran away from home in the middle of the night Sunday and hasn't been located yet. The police and school officials are tracking the clues we have. Early this morning, her My Space page said she was tired and showerless. She has been upset with my brother, who won’t let her have a boyfriend or cell phone like her real mom allows. St. Michael the Archangel, protect us in battle against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cardinal Comes to Benedictine

Meggar was able to see Cardinal Schonburg yesterday afternoon at Benedictine College. He came to speak on the Church’s position on creation and evolution. Luckily we live close to Atchison, but the chapel was so full that Meggar had to watch from the screen in the gym. Cardinal Schonborn said, “I’m neither an evolutionist or a creationist,” he said. “I believe in creation.” “I think what we need today in our society is faith-committed Catholics who are able to give the deep reasons of their faith ... of their hope.” That's exactly what I said at the Science Fair on Friday night!