Monday, October 31, 2011

All Saints in Costume

The Catholic homeschoolers got together last night for our annual potluck supper and Saint-Guessing Game.
Polar Bear went as one of the four original doctors of the church--dressed like a doctor, with a Bible (St. Jerome).

Winger went as the twin brother saints who cured patients for free--dressed in Roman toga (St. Cosmas and Damian).

And I wore my Hawaiian shirt and lei to portray the priestly saint who served the leper colony in Hawaii (St. Damian Molokai).

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Candies

Nothing says Halloween like candy corn.

And my good friend Alison bought me a bag of the newest M&Ms! (because they are only available at Wal-mart and for a limited time!)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Eagle Scout Invitations Ready

I had fun being a "desktop publisher" again.  I designed and printed out these invitations for Dorito's Eagle Scout ceremony.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Costumes Complete

Meggar sent pictures from her social life:  Groovy Jams 60s party with Emily (new AGD)

and home-made Taco Bell sauce packets for Halloween.

I made hers and she made Erin's.  I love the yellow and green hair bows, girls!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Another Dorm Decoration

Meggar rearranged her room. So down came the sheer curtain with white lights behind it. Similar to this first picture.
Now she has hung a few clotheslines behind her bed with pastel-colored flowers that match her Liberty bedding. (Thanks to Constance for the shaped puncher.) Spaced throughout are photos of friends with a "Polaroid" border effect. Maybe over the break, we can decoupage the clothespins to match. Pinterest beware!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Secret Spooks

Dorito is free from his regular Wednesday after-school robotics club. So wanted to do something fun--but all his pals were busy. So he settled for a date with Mom to iHop.  Nothing like all-you-can-eat-pancakes to cheer you up. His Twitter message: "Last time I was here, people were singing to me and giving me Sweet 16 kisses" drew some smiley-faced replies. Afterwards, he drug his brothers out to "spook" some friends. But they got caught at the Brooke's house!! and had a close call at Rich's house!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Trivia Night for Adults

After all the studying with the high school scholar bowl team, I decided to enter the Trivia Contest at Missouri Western State University with my adult friends.  All of them are intelligent and well read, but as these things go--the questions were mostly movie-related. I'm not into pop culture at the trivial level (and that's a good play on words in more ways than one), but we scored 44 out of 60 correct. And we had fun giving each other better questions between rounds. For instance, I knew that "Miracle on Ice" was made about the 1980 Olympic hockey team. But they did not ask (and I knew this answer) that Dion DiMucci who wrote "Runaround Sue" and "The Wanderer" had flipped a coin for a seat on Buddy Holly's fated plane ride and lost (or won, rather) and was recently interviewed about his return to his Catholic roots.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Newest Eagle Scout

Sunday night was the biggest event of his life--Dorito wore his full class A uniform to go and interview with eight adults for his Eagle Scout Board of Review. It was a LONG 65 minutes, but in the end, he passed! We are so proud of this son and his journey to reach this award.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Family Campout

Yes, it was chilly overnight. But I survived the Fall Family Campout with Troop 216. Wallace State Park is beautiful this time of year. Wish I had taken a camera for the view of trees around the lake. We had about 60 people total, once we arrived with Dorito in the afternoon. Supper was yummy with chili and several batches of cornbread made by the twins' patrol. Plus cobbler in the cast-iron Dutch ovens. Campfire singing (led by Dorito and the older Scouts) was hilarious, and we all followed with a serious flag-retirement ceremony. The boys ran off to play "Capture the Flag" in the dark and we retired early. Sleeping on cots was better than sleeping on a ground pad. Heard a few noises in the night, but nothing too scary. A big breakfast was our reward, and we were finished in time to get back for late mass.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Robotics Competition

The B.E.S.T. state robotics competition made a huge impression on Dorito and his teammates. They drove to Sedalia on Friday night for the opening ceremonies (and ordered pizza from their hotel rooms). Early on Saturday, they were given three time trials. Their robot struggled because the obstacle course was on carpet (and they had no idea to expect that). This was their first year to enter BEST. While 17 teams enrolled with a start-up kit, only 10 teams actually finished their robot in the 6-week time period and brought it to the competition. Although Hillyards didn't place in the top five, Dorito was pleased how many  compliments were made about their design (an octagon-shaped base that fit into the 23-inch dimensional limits). They were also glad about the friendliness of the other teams in the display booth area (lights and give-aways? Wow. One school brought their cheerleaders and mascot to cheer their robotics team.)

Sleeping In

Sometimes I like to post about what thoughts are rumbling around in my head. Sleep is on my mind. Surprisingly, Meggar did not sleep in a single day of her fall break last weekend. She got up at a regular time all four days! One day, she met Captain at the airport for breakfast. Next day, she was up for Zumba and walking on the Parkway with Hannah. Of course, it was easy to wake up early on Saturday to go shopping in KC. We also went to early mass on Sunday so we could be at the fabric store and start sewing her Halloween costume: Taco Bell sauce packet (yellow). I concluded that Meggar is keeping herself more organized this year compared to her freshman year. They do grow up and mature (!) in small steps.
For myself, this year has been a consistently early start since I wake up early with Dorito to make him breakfast and juice and dispense his vitamins and meds before he leaves at 7:30 am. No exceptions. No time for afternoon naps. Late night hockey practices two days in a row. So I went back to bed yesterday and slept another hour--Shew!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Co-op Art Class

This month, I led the Catholic homeschooler co-op in a watercolor class using pumpkins and gourds for our still life.  It was FUN for me, too--my attempt at an acorn squash and crooked neck squash is smaller than the students' works. Dorito chose a black background and Polar Bear did a watery-gray background. Winger wasn't finished by the end of the hour... Happily, the beautiful results from my three sons are displayed in our kitchen window for these first weeks of autumn.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

We Back the 'Cats

Dorito and I went to the annual alumni dinner sponsored by St. Joseph Catbackers. I wore my K-State sweatshirt from 1988, and he wore his purple plaid button-down. In past years, they allowed all juniors and seniors to enter the scholarship drawing. But this year, it was only open to seniors. So we bought some raffle tickets instead. And after dinner, Dorito won the first prize basket! He was excited to see it was full of purple loot: stadium blanket, coffee mugs, baseball cap, stocking cap, cell phone case, and Powercat garden rock. We enjoyed President Kirk Shultz, the K-State ambassador, and sitting by Brent Hill from Scouts. "I'm going to K-State for sure now!" was Dorito's conclusion.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Dorito went to the local Catholic high school to take the PSAT last week. He is used to getting up early. But the surprise came when only 5 other students took the exam -- and they were all girls! That's not distracting?! I expected a greater number, since their class enrollment averages 60 students per grade.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Book Club for Halloween

We read "The Turn of the Screw" for our October book club, and it was scary. Granted, it was written in 1798 by Henry James, but the theme is just as troubling in today's world. A governess who comes to care for a 10-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl sees the ghosts of a former butler and maid who have done "something" terrible. We tempered our chilling book discussion with a little craft project of Cynthia's recycling tastes: origami pyramid of tea bags.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Book Club

I forgot to post about last month's book club (on Sept. 20) when we discussed "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde. Laura wanted to read this author after her trip to Ireland, but I don't think she expected a moralizing tale because he is known for his witty comedies.  This book also had satire and irony, but it is not humorous. I read it years ago and knew Dorian sold his soul to the devil, so that the painting would age instead of himself. The "horror" is looking at the effects of his sinful life every time he saw the painting. It gave a view better than looking in the mirror! For me, I was trouble that several members of our book club know good from evil but don't think it matters (i.e. they are anti-religious). These attitudes skew the discussion of such a tale. But it was challenging nonetheless.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pro-Life Forum for 19 Years

It wasn't my idea originally, but I did help Courtney when she started up the 8th Grade Pro-life Forum for KCK diocese in 1992. Meggar was an infant as we printed and stuffed the first folders for each student with pro-life stickers, fact sheets, and bookmarks. Then I attended with Meggar when she was an 8th grader (2006), and Captain attended with Dorito when he was an 8th grader (2009).  This year, we both attended with the twins for their 8th grade year. I was so pleased to hear the lobbyist, priest, and adoptive couple tell of their joys and successes. We also heard from two women and a man who regret their abortion involvement, as well as some facts about STDs.  Best of all was the questions and discussion afterward on our way home.  No, the best part was this story -- from the adoptive father about their 4-year-old coming back to the pew after the communion line. "Daddy, can I smell your breath?" (He's wondering about this request, but complies, and then asks, "Why?") "I wanted to see what Jesus smells like."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hockey Results are Good

Polar Bear has a streak going -- where he scores the first goal of the first game every weekend they are playing hockey!  He is proud and so are we. Especially since they beat the #7 team from Madison, Wisconsin once and tied once today. The play-by-play from Captain allowed me to share in the excitement.
Meggar and Dorito stayed home.  There was work at the golf course, robotics-building sessions, and major shoe shopping with coupons involved!

Friday, October 14, 2011

S'Mores and Apples

Meggar wanted to make S'mores packets for her AGD friends. They will be so excited to see this treat on their dorm doors. (She printed her own topper with an AGD squirrel and polka dots, but I forgot to take a picture).
In the afternoon, we met the Riordan children for apple picking and a run through the corn and hay mazes.  Great fall weather!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tea with Friends

I'm so glad that my tea party tradition continues. Meggar played a "Nocturne" by Grieg to cap off our lively discussions of books, professors, coupons, and college roommates. We had chocolate/almond cookies from Lesa, Paris vanilla tea from Alison, and Meggar made these Nutella meringues to add to our loaded tea table. We served 19 hearts and souls... so many dear friends!

That's not counting baby Regina, only snuggled on Meggar's shoulder and didn't eat.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Welcome Home, Meggar

The fall break has begun! Meggar was home in time for appetizers and wine before my special Beef Stroganoff supper with chocolate fondue for dessert. Of course, Hannah was here--she is like part of our St. Joseph family now.
Also, we send "Happy Birthday" wishes to Domitille in Paris!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Visiting the Rotary Club

In an effort to raise support for the One-room Schoolhouse, I went to the East Side Rotary luncheon today. We still need furnishings for the interior, such as slates and maps and an old dictionary. (Yes, they had Webster's before 1860.) Visiting Rotary clubs and giving a speech/slideshow takes me back to 1989 in London. For my first speaking engagement then, I took the wrong train. And in the days before cell phones, that was not easily remedied. Rotarians are resourceful and so are Rotary scholars.  I was fetched before the pudding, so everything ended well.  Going to Rotary meetings is always interesting because they are witty, and this club was no exception. Mr. Sergeant-at-Arms hid his napkin in the bell so the president had trouble calling the meeting to order. Then he led a trivia game after lunch in order to increase the fines he could levy. Overall, my report was well received, so I am hopeful for donation$ to increase.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Price Points

I just want to report that in my shopping for "Sweet Stix," I compared Hy-Vee with Sam's Club and Wal-mart. Although my philosophy is not to shop at Wal-mart, I wanted to investigate ahead of time because this was going to be a fundraiser for my Boy Scout. Also I am consistently "told" that I will find huge price differences because Hy-Vee is too fancy or upscale. For the past several years, I have loved and supported  Hy-Vee because it is employee owned, it is clean, it is always well stocked, and the staff are actually friendly and volunteer in our community. (Secretly, I acknowledged that I was probably paying slightly higher prices for this luxury.) WRONG! Hy-Vee was cheaper on apples, caramel dip, graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate coating. The only thing I had to buy at Sam's Club was the plastic nacho trays, because Hy-Vee doesn't stock that item.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Concession Stand

Dorito had a concession stand at PumpkinFest this weekend to earn the remaining money needed for his Eagle Scout service project.  His "Sweet Stix" booth sold 103 caramel apples and 121 jumbo s'mores. By borrowing the tent from Robertsons and a few supplies from other friends, he learned quickly about profits, salesmanship, and economics through this experience. Friday included set-up with the twins while I was at a meeting.  The wind gusts were terrible but concrete blocks and duct tape seemed to hold everything down.
Dorito worked until 10 pm with Andrew and Jacob helping out. Of course, Saturday was a long day, but the pleasant weather made for steady crowds.  Today was slowest of all, but it was only open from noon-5:00 pm.  Then clean-up -- and eating the remaining chocolate marshmallows with their own choice of toppings!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Skating for Money

Captain hopes it doesn't ruin their amateur status--the twins were paid to skate one-on-one for a TV commercial this week. It's not even a hockey product, per se. The info-mercial is showcasing Penguin Pads, a non-slip traction pad you stick on the bottom of your shoes for icy days. The feature starts close-up with a couple of ballroom dancers and when the camera pans wider you see they are dancing on ice -- and two hockey players whiz passed in the background.

The twins liked battling for the puck in front of the filming crew! and getting out of school work for an hour.

Friday, October 7, 2011

St. Augustine Teaches Us

What better way to study peer pressure than refer to St. Augustine's theft of pears in The Confessions. As a youth, Augustine was very swayed by a bad group of friends. They picked many pears off a farmer's tree (not to eat and not because they were hungry) for the sheer thrill of the theft. Then they fed them to the pigs! The farmer never found them out, and later in life Augustine is still remorseful that he wasn't able to apologize or make amends for this sin. Whenever I try to talk about peer pressure, my teens think I'm a little out of touch. I can see in their eyes that I am "old." So using an outside expert can be helpful. The beauty of parenting is repeating yourself over and over and watching for when it sinks in. Dorito is writing a paper about this incident today and expanding his own thoughts on peer pressure.
The other benefit is purely selfish--I love teaching from a classical curriculum in high school. It is very rewarding, like when Uncle Harold is sitting beside me at hockey games in St. Louis and asks what we are reading for junior year. Then he pipes up and offers his favorite translator of The Confessions and why Sr. Maria Boulding's interpretation of the Latin is so thoughtful.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Death of Steve Jobs

We are an Apple family over here. Especially Dorito. He prayed for Steve Jobs at bedtime last night. So sweet. Then I got this message, which is pro-life and I never want to miss a chance to evangelize for life.

In 1954, she was a young unmarried college student who discovered that she was pregnant. In the 1950s, her options were limited. She could have had an abortion – but the procedure was both dangerous and illegal. She could have gotten married, but she wasn’t ready and didn’t want to interrupt her education. Joanne Schiebel opted, instead, to give birth to the baby and put it up for adoption.
And so it was that in 1955, a California couple named Paul and Clara Jobs adopted a baby boy, born out of wedlock, that they named Steven.
We know him today… as Steve Jobs.
It would not be overstating things to say that Steve Jobs is my generation’s Thomas Edison. As one observer put it, he knew what the world wanted before the world knew that it wanted it.
If you have an iPhone or an iPad or an iPod, or anything remotely resembling them, you can thank Steve Jobs.
If your world has been transformed by the ability to hear a symphony, send a letter, pay a bill, deposit a check, read a book and then buy theater tickets on something roughly the size of a credit card… you can thank Steve Jobs.
And you can thank Joanne Schiebel.
If you want to know how much one life can matter, there is just one example.
But -- imagine if that life had never happened.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Living in a Fantasy World

The twins and their teammates are playing Fantasy Hockey.  Dane set up the league, and he only invited players from the '98 team.  I wasn't sure about it at first, but I can see how that makes it more of a team-building activity. (And I love that they are not interested in girls nearly as much as this league!) Tonight was the draft, and it was SERIOUS. The computer ranks all NHL players and each boy had 2 minutes to make his selection. They felt as high as real team owners as they tried to anticipate which good players would be available each round. Plus they could open chat the whole while. Polar Bear kept texting, "Go Caleb" so it would move along faster. Winger got a couple of players who are injured and he didn't know it. Lucas wasn't home, so the computer automatically picked for him, but he got Sidney Crosby who is still out with a concussion. The first games are this weekend, and they will receive points for how well their players do in real life. FUN!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Paperwork is Finished

Dorito completed all the necessary paperwork for his Eagle Scout rank application and turned it in today (the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi).  Final hurdle was the "Life Purpose Paper."  He is so relieved, and we were proud of his efforts.  We'll hear back in a couple of weeks.

My Ambitions And Life Purpose Paper
I am writing this paper to tell about my leadership and volunteer positions, plus I will explain my LIfe Purpose. I am 16 years old and a Junior at Saint Thomas More Homeschool, and I attend Hillyard Technical School where I take Electronic Technology (3-hour course) in the mornings.  I am a Firebuilder in the great tribe of Mic-o-say. I attend Saint James Catholic Church. I’m a part-time employee at Fairview Golf Course, where I wash carts and pick up range balls. I have been on four High-Adventures in the troop including: Canada (2008), Colorado (2009), Canada (2010), and Philmont Scout Ranch (2011). 
At Hillyard, I have shown leadership by being picked for a competition called B.E.S.T Robotics where your team builds a robot out of the materials that they give you. There are two competition this year. Districts will be in Sedalia, MO and regionals are in Tennessee. 
In school, I am part of the homeschool academic team that will compete at the quiz bowls at Truman Library, Highland Community College, and Maple Woods Community College. I am also in the homeschool choir and compete with the homeschool chess team. 
At church, I am an altar server and play my violin during mass with my mom sometimes. I have attended a lot of activities for our church such as: youth group, 2009 NCYC (National Catholic Youth Conference), 2010 KCYC (Kansas City Youth Conference), the March for Life (in Washington, D.C.), the first annual Pro-Life Boot Camp, helped with the South Side parade with the pro-life float, summer Totus Tuus, and much much more. I am in the New Generation Singers, which is a Christian choir that meets on Sunday nights and performs at various churches.
 I play two musical instruments: the Violin and Piano, which I am very talented at both. Mostly I play in a musical group called “The Fiddlers Three,” where we play classical, blue grass, fiddle, and pioneer songs. We have performed 30 shows per year at nursing homes in Saint Joseph, the Firefighters Union in Saint Joseph, the Loins Club, the Altar Society at our church, Trails West, PumpkinFest, and many more. My future goals in music is to teach some private lessons (I already have 2 weekly students), and hopefully to continue to play in college orchestra. 
I used to play sports before I got a concussion on November 6,  2010. I played varsity Ice Hockey, Soccer, and Golf. But because of that injury, I am not a llowed to play right now. I still enjoy playing golf and being a Hockey referee. 
In Mic-o-say, I have earned ribbons and awards. I have shown the dedication to earn the blue dance coup, which means I attended 16 dances and 16 dance practices, and wrote a short paper on a real Native American dance. I am currently working towards the goal of earning the orange dance coup which is after you attend 50 dances. I have won 2nd place at the 2010 Pow Wow for Warrior Fancy Dance, and 4th place at the 2011 Conclave Warrior Fancy Costume. Twice, I held a costuming meeting at my house for the fellow tribesmen in my Troop so they could work together on their costumes.   
My biggest leadership role in Scouts being a Troop Guide this year. That is what I am most famous for in my troop. Because I work great with the first years and my knowledge in Scouts is so great.  This is the second time I have been a troop guide in my scouting career. Some people have asked me if I will be a Troop Guide again when I am an Eagle Scout, I said that I would never turn down an opportunity to be a Troop Guide. Even if someone asks me. I will always be honored to be a troop guide for Troop 216.        
My life purpose is to live for our creator God and to obey my parents who He put to raise me, and to be a good Catholic. Also to live by the Scout Oath and Law in my everyday life. This was not easy when I first really tried to follow that rule in life. It never really hit me what the scout oath and law really meant until my second year in Scouts when I was in long enough to understand what it meant. Now I can do it with no problem. 
Just starting out, a Scout should first live by the Scout motto and the Scout slogan. The slogan is “Do a Good Turn Daily” and the motto is “Be Prepared”. The slogan can mean unload the dishwasher when you were not supposed to do it, or being helpful around the house, or something like that. Being prepared is even sometimes hard for me today. We all struggle with it a little. Be prepared for your upcoming campout or job interview--it could be used in any situation. Be ready for what could come your way every day. 
The most important word in the Scout law is, IS. It is that easy because it  means all of those things.  He is friendly, helpful, reverent. It does not matter which word in the Law, a Scout should be that thing. When I heard that for the first time that IS is the most important word in the Scout Law, I had to let it sink in for a few days before I really grasped it and really took that to heart for my everyday life. 
I feel that I have not found my true calling in life right now. It could change any day. As of right now, I would like to attend Kansas State University and study Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy. I would like to help people who have the same problems that I did when I got my concussion and back injury. Because I still go to a physical therapist to this day, it still interests me the most. I have also felt different things might be in my future--like being a Youth Group leader or going into Pro-Life work, or be a Rehab Doctor for people like me, or flying in Aviation like my Dad . It feels like my plan could change a lot. One day, God will show me which way to go. 
As my Dad says Scouting changes your life--and it does, I swear. I do not know where I would be today if it was not for Scouting. I would also not be here writing this paper if it was not for some great adult leaders and assistant Scoutmasters. I can’t thank them enough for all that they do in scouting, and for all they did nice for me these six years.
The ambitions in my life are not few. I have a lot of goals for the future. First was finishing my Eagle Scout, and now I am here, so I feel that I have accomplished this goal. I also have a goal to have all my boys, if I have any boys, to be in Mic-o-say and to work up to Eagle Scout rank.  I believe that Scouting is just the best program out there for any boy or young man. My goal in Mic-o-say is to achieve the paint station of Keeper of the Sacred Bundle, then I hope to get white paint over the years after that.
My goal for education is to finish high school then to go to a four-year university and get my master’s degree in whatever I study in college. After college, I would like to get a job, and coach a hockey team, and be a youth group director. I would be very good at teaching the faith. 
You can’t list all of your goals because that would take up too many pages, so I have listed some that are my main goals, and you always have more goals later in life. You just have not set them yet. 
In conclusion, I hope that you see a great person here typing this paper. A recent post on my Twitter account is @OUTLAWS1995:  “Some people these days take the easy path in life because they know that they can finish the job without doing anything hard. Be the over achiever”. This Tweet that I posted was meant so people can be encouraged to achieve more in life.  You could get more compliments and rewards if you just try a little harder when starting your next task. I have seen this in the groups and activities that I am in. I challenge all scouts to step out of their comfort zone to achieve more in life because before you know it, your chances might be taken away. 
Thank you for reading this. I hope it gives you a good idea on how I hope to live out the rest of my life as an Eagle Scout.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Seamstress for Hire

Meggar said she didn't mind sewing headbands for the AGD Lip Sync girls.  She said she needed some craft-time to balance out the papers and homework.  This is Homecoming Week and it gets very busy. Emma wanted gold and silver headbands for the dancers--I think they turned out terrific!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Top of the World

Seminarian Mark took us to the top of the bell tower at St. Joseph's parish in Josephville!  YIKES!  It was creepy and dark, with very narrow steps of old wood.  He is a great influence on my sons, and we just enjoyed being around him for lunch after the exciting hockey games.  (How can you call 3 minor penalties concurrently?)
Also, Dorito flew home with Captain in the Cessna 182 through the clouds. But I heard he slept half the trip.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Who's Famous Now?

First, all three boys talked on the radio during Meggar's show yesterday afternoon. (Wish I had a picture.)  Then, we beat the Indianapolis Ice AAA hockey team 7-5. (They were ranked #12 in the nation for '98s.) Lastly, we celebrated K-State beating Baylor in football. (via Reid's 3G coverage phone!)