Friday, April 30, 2010

Academy Awards at the Prom

The centerpiece disco balls and film reels were on loan, and each golden trophy was engraved for one of the Seniors.
Before dinner, everyone could vote for their prediction about each senior. The "Most Likely to..." awards were presented Academy Award style. The future looks bright--Everyone is a star in my book! To see all the photos go to our web album.

Prom Night Pictures

This was the first year that we had a dance at the Homeschool Spring Formal. Dorito impressed Meggar with his swing style. Meggar said after, "It finally feels like we are normal teenagers since we have been to a dance."

Meggar and Brent were so well matched with his green tie, and they had a great evening talking and dancing with everyone. Hannah and her fun date posed on the red carpet under the twinkle lights. She was a great help to the decorating committee.

Decorating for Prom Night

The "Hollywood Nights" theme turned out to be easier to decorate than I thought. We rented a red carpet for tonight's Homeschool Prom, and created 15 silver stars as a Walk of Fame for the seniors. Our photographer will be taking everyone's picture in front of the Hollywood Hill backdrop (which was created by Hannah and Meggar with a little paint in our garage). Thanks to our good construction crew (Mason's family fueled by soda), it was secured and illuminated with a pair of spotlights. Reels and film strips have been strewn across each dinner table. The lights are twinkling and sparkling grape juice is ready for pouring into the champagne tower.

A Joke for Prom

As a joke, we rented a Camouflage tuxedo for Dorito. Thought you would like to see! Hard to believe, but I fell for the text message from Captain.

Chocolates from the Nuns

The benefit of playing the organ for the First Communion Mass was a box of homemade chocolates from the School Sisters of Christ the King. Amazing! Half of them were coconut cream (my top choice of confections) and the other half were peanut butter truffles (which some certain boys will devour). It will be a heavenly treat for the Easter season--though I doubt I can make them last the whole season.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rachmaninoff and the Russians

Last weekend, our family attended the "Russians Are Coming" season finale of the St. Joseph Symphony. We knew it was going to be something special -- and it was Amazing! The Tchaikovsy love theme from "Romeo and Juliet" nearly made me cry during the first set. But we were eager to see Dr. Matthew Edwards perform on the piano after the intermission. He's the new director of keyboard studies at Missouri Western. He is not Russian, but he plays the piano with fingers that are on fire! I like Rachmaninoff already, so the "Piano Concerto No. 2" was destined to be a new favorite of mine. Bright and brilliant, his playing makes you want to come home and practice more. In fact, I think all my children practiced longer in the days following the concert. We were treated to very good seats, compliments of Dorito's door prize at the Suzuki Workshop. We even had a spare ticket and brought along Vee, our adopted great aunt. Everyone was glad to dress up and enjoy a truly elegant evening! I think this will be a springtime of piano music we never forget.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pi Beta Phi Founder's Day

Today is the actual anniversary of my college sorority, and I am planning a luncheon for Friday to honor two "Golden Arrows." These ladies have been members in good standing for 50 years, and it will be my pleasure to listen to their stories about train rides to college with only one trunk.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Romancing Miss Bronte" is Released Today

Rainy Day Books hosted an author talk at the KC Plaza Library tonight. Juliet Gael is a native Kansan and makes everyone want to know more about Charlotte Bronte's life. Meggar and I enjoyed this educational outing with Constance and Becka.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lily of the Valley

Maribeth gave me some Lily of the Valley last fall, and I put it in a pot and promptly forgot about it. But in early spring, I lined up my flower pots by the back fence to make plans for filling them with flowers -- and after a spell of warm weather, I had a most delicate set of white blooms! They smell great and will come up every year. If I manage it just right, they may also spread! How lucky is that? Wikipedia notes that it may be a difficult flower to contain or to get rid of it (shocking problem!) Maribeth has been a flower-splitter-and-sharer for years. Since the time she lived 3 blocks from me in St. Joseph. My garden is blessed and so am I!
The flower is also known as Our Lady's tears, since legend states that Mary's tears turned to lily of the valley when she cried at the crucifixion of Jesus. According to another legend, lilies of the valley also sprang from the blood of Saint Leonard of Noblac during his battles with a dragon. The lily of the valley has often been a symbol of humility in religious paintings and is used as a sign of Christ's second coming.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Scorekeeping is our Religion

When I was in 6th grade, I was allowed to keep stats for my dad's high school basketball team. I must have been pretty good because I was promoted the next year to "head statistician." (It was an honor I treasured and a good title to know how to spell.) So when the job came open for scorekeeping at the adult hockey tournament, we signed up all the Schmidling family--including the 6th grade twins. Winger was the most prepared, bringing an extra pen and a list of penalties so he could spell them correctly. Dorito brought his iPod for playing hockey music between periods. Polar Bear made sure I got cash from the ATM for snacks. We finished off the day at Buffalo Wild Wings watching the NHL playoffs. It's the only time our family enjoys yelling "Hawks Win!" meaning the Chicago Blackhawks, of course, not that KU team. Let's keep it straight: Winger is pulling for the Blackhawks, Polar Bear still likes the Red Wings, and Dorito is true to the Capitals because of Ovechkin. In case you are starting to question our Sunday devotion to hockey, I will mention that we always attend mass somehow, and today was a beautiful First Communion at St. James. We took balloons for Miss Emma.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friends Together--From Good Friday

I was having trouble with my digital camera, but my friend Dee sent me this photo from Good Friday mass. The twins (left) specifically asked if they could serve with Brooks (center) for this mass! They love the pageantry and extra tasks for acolytes during Holy Week. I love our pastor and the relationship he builds with his helpers. Good Friday is always important for another reason--it's the anniversary of my cancer "cure." That day marked the end of treatments in 2004, and I could hug my kids again!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Some Giant Tears Will Fall

My friend Lisa has a perfect post on her blog.... our daughters started "homeschooling" together at age 3 with giant alphabet letters. She writes:

On a daily basis, Judith Anne comes up to me and says, “Mommy, when Elizabeth goes to college, I will cry.” And I reply, “Me too, but we will hug each other and write her letters, and she will come home again.”

Today Judith asked, “Mommy? Is college real?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“But giants are just pretend, right?”

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dance Practice

Dorito and Hannah held an impromptu practice for Prom in my hearth room. Any time a Michael Buble song is heard, you just have to dance!

Another couple was doing a few twirls. Captain just wanted to show them how it's done!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spring Prep

The pool is full--and the basement is not! That is the story of our spring preparations, with Meggar's Graduation parties only a couple of weeks away. A few plumbing issues, but we are tackling them with teamwork instead of fear. The guests will like the hostas along the front walk and the flowers in the backyard will look so pretty.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Book Club is Enchanting

Our discussions of "The Enchanted April" at book club were light and easy--like the novel. It is my favorite thing to read this time of year. It's particularly good during a rainy spell, as Elizabeth van Arnim tells the sotry of four British women who rent a castle in Italy for the month of April to escape the horrid weather and their dreary lives. Soon enough, the sunny landscape works its magic and warms their hearts. Witty and full of wafts from the wisteria. Winning all the way through. That's the power of Love. National Review says it "is a book about two unselfish women with a great sense of humor and two selfish women with no sense of humor." Quite right.
Let's hope for more sunshine here in St. Joseph, too. I put myself in Rose Arbuthnot's character, a bit too controlling and prone to talking in her head. And Meggar likes to quote Lady Caroline Dester: "You don't take your clothes to a party--they take you." This weekend, we will try to have our annual viewing of the movie version.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Not saying Meggar has a case of senioritis--but perhaps her mother does. Having a senior in high school is like having a newborn—middle of the night feedings, clumsy bumps and bruises, howls, buying a hundred gadgets and outfits… Except there's no collection of sippy cups about the house. Instead, I'm forever finding water bottles and coffee cups in various rooms and in every car's cup holders.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Boy Scout Camporee

Dorito didn't hang out long with his patrol today as he was busy helping with the Regional Camporee. Our theme was "Wild, Wild West" and included pioneering skills, whittling, furs, footprints, and Pony Express re-enactors. I helped by bringing a table of artifacts from 1860s for Show-and-Tell. There was also a Pioneer Trivia Contest at my table, where the top five winners were awarded Buffalo Beef Jerky. It included a campfire popcorn popper, brick of tea, quilts, and a jar full of antique buttons. This evening will include a Mic-o-Say dance which qualifies "Northern Spirit" to earn his blue coup. Only he and Alexander have ever earned the blue coup in their first year as a Brave! Good job.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Grand Finale

It was the last performance for Homeschool Seniors at our Enrichment Class "Grand Finale." Meggar looked especially smart in her black dress for the Band and Choir performances. We are fortunate to have co-op teachers for these classes all through the years. The twins wanted to videotape since Captain was out of town. Our traditional stop for ice cream afterwards made it a sweet deal for everyone!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Royal Weather

Would you believe I had already blown through $40 by the third inning? Meggar got cheese fries, Dorito picked a frozen lemonade, Polar Bear got peanuts to shell with Grandpa Gerald, and Winger wanted a chocolate malt. My kids are so predictable! The front row seats at Royals Stadium meant we REALLY enjoyed the spring sunshine :-) Too bad the team fell apart in the end. I think KC always loses to Detroit.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday Meal

The Zacher's family joined us for an Easter feast around our carved
"Last Supper" statue. They came into the Catholic Church four years ago at Easter. Good conversations followed by a beautiful English Trifle that Lynette made for dessert. Later, we had an exhausting game of Family Ultimate Frisbee in the empty lot. A true sabbath celebration.

Easter Sunday Alleluia!

He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Faithful blog readers will notice this is my second year online, and I changed the profile picture to reflect my Easter joy.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sesquicentennial Showcases Something New

Here is the Blacksmith Shop, newly unveiled for the Sesqui- centennial Cele- bration this weekend! Cowboy even made the fire look real! There were 10,000 visitors today to the Museum. The Schmidlings were busy in the back room. At noon, we hosted a luncheon for 55 direct descendants of Pony Express riders and station keepers. They came from Ohio, Idaho, Utah, Kansas and Nebraska. And they brought grandchildren and scrapbooks and family trees. It was quite interesting to listen to their stories. We made copies of their ancestors' letters and read about memories of the Pony Express. Then we made our own memory. The Museum sold First Day Covers with a homemade stamp depicting a famous painting of the Pony Express. So I purchased four and enclosed a special letter to each of my children, and I sealed it with the words "Do not open until April 3, 2060." We'll see...

American Girls Tea Party

Our final event during the Sesquicentennial was an afternoon tea party for American Girls. It was so much better than I anticipated! Lots of girls and dolls and moms showed up--including my Pastor's Wife friend, her daughter, and granddaughter. Our tea table was spread with a pink tulip cloth and laden with four kinds of cookies, mini quiche, truffles, and sweet potato biscuits (can you guess where those came from?). The local doll club members brought calico shawls for everyone's doll. Best of all, our special speaker was Cheryl Harness, author of several children's history books including "They're Off" about the Pony Express. She told how she researched the guns and horses in her watercolor illustrations for the book. And she talked about becoming a writer and what she does every day. Then she had everyone join in the song she wrote for this important day, sung to the tune of "I Ride an Old Paint." Lastly, she played the refrain on her pioneer harmonica. It gave me goosebumps! Cheryl is a former Hallmark Cards artist who lives in nearby Independence, Missouri, and we have seen her at various book fairs before. But today she was glorious in her stories and funny remarks. History should always be this fun!

Chuckwagon Dinner

The boys' violin teacher (left) took the stage during the Chuckwagon Dinner. We love listening to "Fresh Cut Grass" every chance we get. And the barbecue was delicious! Several bottles of Sarsaparilla have been purchased this weekend to go with the warm weather, which is good for attendance at the PX Sesquicentennial. The boys also enjoyed watching the gun fights and train robberies all afternoon!

Summer Storms

At first we thought her windshield was struck by lightning. The glass blew out of (not into) the car. And flew on top of the roof. But her hatch-back was still latched?! It could have been a wind shear or low pressure area during the storm, according to the glass company. We're just glad it happened while she was in class and not in the vehicle!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

Our Eagle-bound Scout took his first step in an important project: organizing a Color Guard for the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the new One-Room Schoolhouse at the Pony Express National Museum. He will install a flagpole with an 1860s flag, bearing 33 stars like it did 150 years ago. Dorito is shown here with the rendering.
And shown here with a golden shovel. He was a member of the Teen Advisory group who helped set-up the Penny Drive for the Pony School (last month) and hosted the first ceremony of the Sesquicentennial. Although it's Easter weekend, we have already seen lots of visitors. I'm proud of Dorito's involvement and planning for the past 8 months.
The rainstorms held off just long enough for awards to be announced, and some 4th grade girls performed their jingle about the Pennies Fundraiser. (pioneer rhyme!) Then our crowd released more than 100 golden helium balloons to spread the news about the new Schoolhouse that will be finished this fall. Dorito and his group started filling the balloons at 7 a.m.! One farmer has sent back an email that he found a balloon string and note in his fields in Casey, Iowa. That's 156 miles from here! I guess the storms gave the balloons an extra push for that distance.

Passover Meal for Holy Thursday

Barbi and Dave invited us to their Passover Seder Meal. Dave was raised Jewish, so he knows all the Hebrew passages and prayers!
Holy Thursday was more meaningful to our whole family this way. The kosher wine and Matzo ball soup were the best! The bitter herbs and horseradish were strong--Dorito and Alexander said it blew their yamakas off!

Thursday, April 1, 2010