Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Car for the Captain

Captain has been considering a new car and has been looking around car lots and on the Internet.  He decided to buy a silver-colored Suburban in Michigan, so we talked Aunt Sherry into flying up there and driving it back for us.  The boys are excited because the new DVD player works better. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bunco Party Over Here

A few friends came over for appetizers, desserts, and Bunco.  I love talking and eating.  The game is easy to play so it allows for plenty of socializing.  Let's face it--moms need a break once in a while!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

EDGE Youth Group

My fledgling efforts at starting a junior high youth group brought together more than 15 students from St. James and St. Marys.  We are going to call it the EDGE Youth Group, because they are on the edge of high school and we're on the edge between two parishes.  Tonight, we studied the four marks of the Church, and I correlated it to the four colors on the Twister game.  I'm encouraged by the good turnout and helpful parents.

Junior Golf Tournament

The twins wanted to enter an area junior golf tournament to see how good they could do, especially since it was being held two days at the St. Joseph Country Club.  Mrs. Young will die when she finds out how much the entry fee was--and we paid it twice!  But Polar Bear and Winger rose to the challenge. They finished in the middle of 23 golfers in a division for 12-and-13-year olds from the three-state area. 

We were impressed!  Most adults can't shoot that well on this course.  My twins shot 179 and 180 over two days, which finished them 17th and 18th.  The winning golfer shot a 69 and a 73 to win first place--as a 12 year old!!?! No kidding!  The top six golfers scored under 80 both rounds, including our hockey friend (James Henderson)! It was fun to see the level of competition and the twins' concentration.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

He Made the Team

Dorito tried out for a traveling team for high school hockey.  He was nervous. We were nervous.  Hooray--he was offered a spot on the new team!  KC Jr. Outlaws will have a JV and Varsity team, and so far Dorito is the third tallest player and one of the others is a goalie.  So his size will help him contribute.  He's proud of himself, and that's worth a lot.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Celebrating 100 Years of Mother Teresa

Benedictine College is starting a nursing degree program, and today named their renovated health building after Mother Teresa.  It would have been her 100th birthday.  Grandma Judy wanted to attend the mass and special ceremonies so we met up with her and Gr. Gerald in Atchison this morning.  "Grandma knows lots of nuns," Winger quipped as we walked in the chapel.  Three Missionaries of Charity came for the day with a relic containing a drop of Mother Teresa's blood, which we were allowed to venerate after Mass.  Such a special moment for me, who chose Teresa as my confirmation name in honor of the living saint.  I admire her heroic lifestyle (battling with depression), humility (accepting few honors), and concise comments (especially to an abortion-funding president).  Today's theme was "Do Something Beautiful for God." My dad leaned over and said he remembered that I put a Mother Teresa quote in my Graduation speech.  Do you think I can get the Mother Teresa stamp at my local post office?  I have assigned the twins a "Current Events" report based on the newspaper articles leading up this event.  Grandma says she wants to see a copy of what they write. Afterwards, we all treated Andrew to lunch at Marigold's to let him in on a Schmidling tradition!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sonata Music in TV Commercial

Because beautiful music needs expression in the mainstream media... especially piano music!  We don't even have TV, but Meggar said this commercial is so good it almost makes her want to buy a Sonata.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Science in the Backyard

We found five Monarch caterpillars on our parsley!  Throughout the day, I noticed each boy checking on them between studies (sometimes we worked outdoors on the patio table).  We love Monarchs and have been tagging them for years.  I always secretly hope that ours make it to Mexico for the winter.  Did you know that scientists only discovered the winter nesting grounds of Monarchs in 1974?

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day of School

No pictures. It wasn't pretty.  I cleared a path through the rubble and found enough books and supplies to start homeschooling 7th and 10th grades.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Water Olympics for Youth Group

We filled 400+ water balloons and welcomed 21 kids to our first Youth Group!  It started with a cookout, then the games began:  spoon relay, volleyball, towel-toss, blind-folded squirt-gun battles, long launcher, frozen T-shirt contest, then a free-for-all water fight. 
Fr. Matthew Benjamin (former Marine) won first place with the launcher after hitting the neighbor's garage, which was a block away!  Then he blessed holy water jars for each of the youth to take home.  Good message! Good fun!

Calling Home for the First Time

I was lost today in my own house.  Wandered around.  Felt restless.  Finally about 2:30 pm my daughter called from college!!  Best 17 minutes of my life!  It was a relief to hear her voice and find out she is doing better with her cold.  Meggar said she was enjoying her roommates, and she liked the welcome-week activities.  She went to Mass and said it was packed at the Newman Center (good sign). 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Leaving for College Today

Meggar's got a fever so she went back to bed while I finished loading both cars.  The boys were sweet with lots of hugs.  I asked Becca to drive one car so Megan could rest.  I was surprisingly teary-eyed the whole way there!  I didn't cry at graduation, so why am I crying now?  She has made a good decision and there's every reason to be calm and proud.  But I'm weepy. 

Campus was swarming; we met the suite mates, and got everything moved in--except the fridge.  (We decided their suite doesn't need three of them.)  Saying "Good-bye" was harder than I expected--I am going to miss the other girl in this family.  I held it together until my car was pulling away.  Then it hit me.  I have to drive away?!  Lots of tears on the way home.  There's a hole inside of me. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mom to the Rescue

I'm home again. Helping Meggar pack.  Her whole room is a disaster of piles, and I'm wondering how all this will fit in the car--let alone her dorm room!?!  Deep breaths.  Do you have an extension cord?  Did you pack a pillow? Should you take that?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Kids At the Lake

Meggar got a break from babysitting today and took the boys to Smithville Lake with Aunt Kathy and Uncle Terry.  They have a boat and jet ski, which everybody loves!  They did this last summer when I was out-of-town, too.  Polar Bear says now they want to make it an annual tradition.  I think they joke around a lot, as evidenced by Meggar's post on Facebook that next day:

After a long day on the lake, the boys decided to take float out on the tube and relax in the sun. When my Aunt Kathy yelled out that we were going to untie them, they took us seriously! David is in front, saving his sunglasses. And Ben is coming in the back, saving the Pringles. Really!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Olive Oils and Hollywood Stars

We drove to Sonoma today for an olive oil tasting.  Captain and I usually do wine tastings, and we wanted to switch things up this year.  Very interesting flavors--we chose Hudson Vineyards Carneros Olive Oil. The gift shop also sold flavored salts--there were so many to pick from.  We bought the Applewood Salt and Australian Pink Salt. After taste-testing them, of course.  Then we ate lunch at the famous El Dorado Kitchen.  Despite the long wait, the fresh heirloom tomatoes really made my Brie-L-T taste like something from out of this world.  Maybe it was the outdoor dining and pleasantly mild California weather. 

We drove back across the valley for a special appointment at the winery of Francis Ford Coppola (yes, we saw him).  Maybe he has an airplane that some other company was thinking of buying.  That's why Captain knows the chief pilot, who gave us a pass into the back room for a premier tasting of their top tier wines (over $100 per bottle each).  And we liked them all!  So we bought several bottles thinking we could have a "Godfather" movie and wine party back in St. Joe.  They insisted on giving us a discount, plus they wouldn't let us pay for the tour or the tasting!  Even for the birthday boy, this was very special treatment.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Taking a Wrong Turn

I overslept.  (The alarm was set for 6:30 pm?) Then I got off at the wrong airport. (Who calls a direct flight stopping in Los Angeles for other passengers?)  Finally made it to Sacramento by late afternoon.  This was my annual trip to meet Captain wherever he is working.  It is his birthday tomorrow, plus he is staying all week in Napa Valley.  I'd say that I picked a good time to catch up with him.  We have been here twice before, so we knew which restaurant to start with.  Dinner at Brix.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Thank Heavens for AAA

We didn't make it far when Uncle Carey had car trouble.  Thankfully, TripleA came for the tow and I took everyone else to a nearby hotel last night.  We had only made it 3-4 hours away from Cleveland. That left 10 hours for our road trip today!  Meggar napped and then took a turn driving into St. Louis.  We were happy to make it to our own beds tonight.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rollercoasters After the Wedding

The wedding guests attended feast day mass with Fr. Fred, then...
We were off to Cedar Point, the largest rollercoaster park on the planet and the second oldest in North America! Uncle Carey and Aunt Barbara took all the cousins since Captain had to fly back home for work.  My boys first went on the "Millennium Force" which was built in 2000 as the tallest (310 feet) and fastest (93 mph) "giga-coaster."  It has now dropped to second place due to Six Flags' newer rollercoaster. Winger said, "I almost peed my pants!" Brendan was just glad that he didn't throw up (he has a history of that supposedly). 
Mean- while, Meggar and I went in search of a French Creperie that was featured in "Mid- west Living" magazine.  Le Petit Triangle Cafe had a quaint and continental style decor...plus a large variety of crepes.  Meggar chose nutella filling with coconut.  I chose apricot jam and almonds. Delicieux! The French press coffee was a perfect compliment to our conversation.  Now for the long drive home!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Wedding Party--The Dance

Meggar is shown dancing with Winger, but she also took a spin around the dance floor with a cute college-aged waiter. I wonder who saw that coming?!

We will also remember Garrison and his break-dancing!
We lasted longer than half the couples during the Anniversary Dance with our 20-years.

Gr. Judy and Gr. Gerald were the very last ones out there with 46 years of marriage--horray!

The Wedding Party--The Parents

For both families, this was their last wedding of their children.  A happy occasion!
To have and to hold.

the Wedding Party--My Family

My kids performed classical music as people arrived at the wedding reception and waited in the receiving line.  It was a heavenly sound, if I do say so myself.  They have been playing fiddle shows most often this summer, so I was surprised (again) how nice the Bach Minuets and church music can sound when it's played in 3 parts. And, it's such a nice way to contribute our gifts to the newly-weds!

I sang the Responsorial Psalm (thanks to a cough drop), then later Captain and I helped carry up the offertory gifts.

The Wedding Party--Carey's Family

Uncle Carey waits for photos in the shady park. Rebecca was excited to have such an important job as flower girl!
Little sister Hannah said she was also a flower girl because she got to carry up a flower to Mary at the dedication prayers. Barbara said that was enough to please Hannah. 
Brendan enjoyed the dance with his siblings Kathy, Ashlan, and Andy.  His other two sisters, Lauren and Kristie, couldn't come on this trip but it's always fun having so many cousins!

The Wedding Party--Chad's Family

Uncle Chad and Grace looked sharp in the official wedding colors.  Aunt Lori kept the three little ones (Gunnar, Giana, and Gannon) at home this weekend.
Grace and Garrison were working hard to pass out programs.
Meanwhile, Grant was lighting the candles on the altar.

The Wedding of Uncle Clint and Kathryn

Our family had the privilege of participating fully in the Sacramental Mass of Matrimony today.  The boys were acolytes with cousin Grant.  The Church of St. Angela Merici is beautiful, and this is where Kathryn's parents and godparents both were married!
Polar Bear likes to do the incensor.  So reverent and solemn.  Meggar likes the new camera and has a knack for capturing the best wedding moments for all family memebers and our scrapbook.
Gr. Judy wore her favorite color (blue) and had a French braid just like for the other weddings in the family.  Meggar found her pink dress at a vintage clothing store.  The twins had new black suit coats and shoes for the wedding, which were purchased in time for Meggar's Graduation recital, too.  Uncle Carey and Uncle Chad were groomsmen. Rebecca was the flower girl with flower petals in her hem and a Tiffany-box blue sash.  Lovely!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rehearsal Dinner "Leonard Style"

The Ohioans seemed to like the pulled pork and fried chicken on the menu for the Leonard's rehearsal dinner.  The Kansas theme was also carried out with blue-checked tableclohs and sunflowers/wildflowers in canning jars.  Megan's idea for a clothesline with black and white photos from childhood made a perfect focal point on the hearth ledge. Each sibling of Clint and Kathryn were invited to give advice or tell stories on the Bride and Groom.  I spoke about having a favorite little brother to babysit and take to storytime at the library.  Chad told how Clint was in his freshman Algebra class, as a sixth grader.  Carey teased Clint for being so picky when he was choosing dates. 
Gr. Gerald told a great joke about Kathryn's delayed flight to meet our family:  "The problem was she flew on Delta, which stands for Doesn't Ever Leave The Airport."  Winger bravely gave a toast at the end of the speeches, saying how he remembers Uncle Clint taking a photo with him at the top of the peak they hiked, and "I am happy that he is getting married to Kathryn."  Winger was the only one of Clint's godchildren who was able to attend so that made it extra special.

Praying for the Bride & Groom

Notre Dame is right on the way to Cleveland, so we stopped there, too.  It was a beautiful day to walk across campus and visit the Grotto.  The 12 of us filled up the kneelers as we prayed the last day of Clint & Kathryn's wedding novena together.  Despite its recent anti-Catholic leanings, Notre Dame is still a beautiful campus with a long tradition of prayer and fidelity.

Penny Log

I have not been putting all the discoveries here on my blog, but it is fun when I remember to write about them.  Here are the latest two:  Yesterday, there was a Lincoln head penny in the floor tile at the center of the Museum (shown).  Today I found a dime, a nickel, and a penny in the hotel/restaurant parking lot.  They were lying along the curb with the leaves and trash as if they had blown there.  It always reminds me to think about "In God We Trust."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Halfway There: Lincoln Museum in Illinois

It's been on our wish list for four years, and we finally visited the Lincoln Museum! Luckily, Meggar can join us for this last "full family" educational vacation. Last year was the 200th birthday of Lincoln and we heard about the Museum's upgrades for the celebration. We were not disappointed!  It is an impressive Museum with 500 volunteers.  Here are the Leonard and Schmidling families meeting the Lincolns in front of the White House. We learned a great deal in each of the four multi-media sections of the Museum. First off, Winger was touched to hear that Lincoln has a lazy eye, too.  It was pointed out by the painter of this portrait.
Winger also noticed the background music in the log cabin was "Irish Washerwoman."  Meggar liked Mary Todd Lincoln's tea pot with lavendar scrolls on the edging. Purple was reputedly her favorite color.  The little girls loved the dress up room and the First Lady ball gowns.  Captain and Carey liked the Civil War history with its holographic interviews with soldiers.  Finally, we made four pressed pennies to add to our collection, of course.

Afterwards, we stopped along Route 66 at the Cozy Dog, home of the first corn dog.  Dorito said he needed an after-lunch snack to fill him up before we went on further down the road.  Great atmosphere and prices, though not 15 cents like on the old placemat from 1950s.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Countdown to the Wedding and College

So many last-minute details that I hope I don't forget anything!  Meggar and I have made several lists and shopping trips this summer to get all the must-haves for her dorm life. We also are preparing to go to my brother's wedding, which means a 14-hour drive to Cleveland, that starts tomorrow.  Tonight, my brother Carey's family arrives in St. Joe so we can start out bright and early tomorrow with our caravan. We are going half-way the first day.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Book Club with a British Butler

The selection for this month was better as a book than a movie--yet it is one of my favorite movies!  "The Remains of the Day" starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson is incredibly well-acted, with many opportunities for tear-jerking whenever the Butler puts his duty over opportunities for affection.  The book also has missed-romance scenes, but it is moreover a witty narrative of a British butler's life with its dignified image of serving many years in the grand house of Lord Darlington. Stevens is the consummate butler who aims for perfection with chore schedules, controlled responses to bantering, and an efficient use of spare moments at the end of the day.  The author has seamlessly woven in foreshadowing, the sprinkling of real political figures and World War II intrigue, as well as several reserved British characters themselves to make the book an Anglophile's gem.  Although the love is unrequited, the humanity of each character is truly believable and touches the heart of the reader.  I loved it!

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Correlation with Marriage

In my Mary Vitamin email today came a prayer that goes perfectly with yesterday's "Fireproof" movie theme. From St. Josemaria Escriva:  "Sweet Lady Mary, may Love not be in us a flash in the pan, or a will-o'-the-wisp, such as decomposing corpses sometimes produce. May it be a true devouring fire, which sets alight and burns everything it touches." (The Forge, #57)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fireproofing Your Marriage

The movie Fireproof is about saving a marriage which is at risk of burning to the ground.  It's a modern tale with a Christian foundation, and we hosted a couple's night at our parish for its viewing.  I was pleased that Captain could attend with me. It also helped that we brought cranberry martinis to serve with the popcorn.  I liked the movie a lot -- especially its premise that no marriage is "fireproof."  But that prayer, communication, and forgiveness go a long way toward protecting it.  The Love Dare challenge is available in a book version and requires 40 days of commitment based upon the verses found in 1 Cor. 13.  So Day 1 challenges you to relearn "Love is Patient," and Day 2 "Love is Kind," then "Love is Not Selfish," "Love is Not Easily Irritable," etc.  Further discussion topics are found on study guides at the "Fireproof" website. Fundamental stuff, but with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can all grow in unexpected ways.... to borrow another Catholic company's slogan: What have you done for your marriage today?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Prayer Request

Dale's oldest sister is battling cancer. Linda lives far away in Alaska, and I know she reads my blog sometimes.  I just wanted to reassure her that we are offering our Rosary every Tuesday for her health and comfort.  Here's a photo of all six siblings last Christmas. Captain is the tall one, Gr. Don is in the middle, and Linda is just to the right of him.  Providentially, Linda came back to Kansas for the first time in eight years.  It was even more special as she discovered her cancer soon after that, and she was glad she had made the effort to see everyone.  The sisters have been trying to support each other.  Psalm 145:18-19 "The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them."

Friday, August 6, 2010

New Appliances

Angela invited me to her church's garage sale, and I love finding bargains.  I got an ice cream maker!  We Schmids have been without one since 2007, and I have been wanting to make homemade ice cream to go with the peach cobbler lately.  Also bought a toaster for Meggar's dorm room (as I don't think she will get up early enough for breakfast in the cafeteria because it is in the neighboring dorm).  "She might want to toast a bagel instead," I thought in my Mommy head.  But Truman doesn't allow toasters because of the fire risk.  I checked their online list once I got home.  Oops!  Her new fridge does meet the Truman guidelines, however, and it was a bargain from CraigsList.  Plus I have a new juicer that I got for free. I want to use it like Dan showed us for making Mint Mojito drinks.  And for healthier athletes, too.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Summer Sports

Here's an update on the boys and their athletic activities over the summer:  Golf has captured our attention about twice a week.  Dorito has gone slightly less often than the twins because of his Scout trips.  They all seem happy to see their scores improving.  At the Gallatin tournament, Winger took 1st place and Polar Bear took 2nd.  Then in Cameron, Polar Bear won 1st place and Winger dropped to 3rd place. I'm glad they carry their bags (good exercise), and I'm thrilled how they enjoy playing together.  Today they spotted some KC Chiefs players at the public course talking with the golf pro--that was very exciting!  Hockey:  Dorito played in a high school scrimmage league and contributed his fair share of goals. I hope he can pass the tryouts for the travel team later this month.  The twins played three tournaments in Minnesota.  Overall, Polar Bear was the team's leading scorer and Winger finished in 3rd place for his number of goals.  We were not surprised with their contribution as much as we were by the poor showing from the other teams they played.  Soccer:  Mr. Sommers' camp was outstanding and has inspired many pick-up games in the empty lot.  Maybe more friends will join in when the weather is less hot and humid.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

High Adventure in Canada

Here are some photos from Dorito's High Adventure with his Scout Troop last month.  I know he had a great time with some great friends.  And there was great scenery, only a bit of bad weather, and a vast quietness.  They didn't anyone outside of their group for 5 full days.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Election Day Coverage

I got up at 5 a.m. so the polls could open at 6:00, which seems unnecessary to me.  If you have to vote before 7 a.m. then why not get an absentee ballot sent to your house?  Meggar and I voted one day early, and it was fun to go to the Courthouse together and do our duty to the democracy.  Working at the polls gave me a nice opportunity to see several neighbors.  But with only 30% turnout at my precinct, that means 7 out of 10 didn't get out of their air-conditioned house to go vote.  I've also never paid attention to how much elections cost until this primary.  There were 8 election judges, and we each made slightly more than $120 for the day.  Of course, 4 were Republican and 4 were Democrats to keep it fair.  But we didn't actually need 8 people to handle only 631 voters who came through in those 13 hours.  What a waste.  Plus the cost of the ballots and equipment.  I suspect it's $3 per vote--not counting the Co. Clerk's staffing.  I'm just frustrated because DeStefano lost to Schaaf in the state senate race.