Monday, December 31, 2012


Captain was supposed to get two wisdom teeth extracted this morning, but he developed a nasty head cold over the weekend. The oral surgeon recommended he put it off a couple of weeks.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

6th Day of Christmas

We met up with the Schmidling side of the family for a holiday meal today. Happy Holidays Eating!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hunting at a New Spot

The twins are trying out their rifle skills this weekend, as it's the last youth deer hunt of the season. They have a new spot to try, thanks to a kind owner/renter of outlying property.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Baby It's Cold Outside

Poor Dorito -- he had to referee on the outdoor rink early this morning!  It's below freezing and a little breezy too.
He was originally scheduled to take five games today at the KCIC tournament (since many refs are out of town for the holidays). But he called to say he is staying for two more games since another ref didn't show up. He likes to come home and tell Captain about the penalties he called, the coaches who argued with him, and the players who chirped. He gave a game misconduct to a 9-year-old for using REALLY bad language directly in his face.
But secretly, he likes the authority of being a referee. The twins gave him this phone case which they customized: So-oooo Cool!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Trouble with Babies

The idea that a baby is a burden is so ironic during this Christmas season. As good Christians we are ever-prayerful about the HHS Mandate. Last week, Justice Sonya Sotomayor ruled that Hobby Lobby didn't have enough grounds to make an appeal. Currently there are 42 separate lawsuits challenging the Obama Administration's HHS Mandate. Hobby Lobby is the largest business to file such a lawsuit. It is also the only non-Catholic business to do so. Welcome to the ranks of Ave Maria University, Belmont Abbey College, and EWTN business.

(According to National Catholic Register) Hobby Lobby sought relief from enforcement of the mandate because as of Jan. 1, the company will face potential fines of $1.3 million per day if it declines to provide coverage of the so-called "morning after” and “week after” abortifacient drugs in its health insurance plan. Hobby Lobby appealed to the Supreme Court after the Tenth Circuit Court denied its request for relief from enforcement of the abortifacient mandate Dec. 20. The circuit court rejected the motion on the grounds that the religious burden to the Green family was “indirect and attenuated.”
While religious nonprofits are not required to comply with the mandate until Aug. 1, 2013, while the Obama administration works out the details of changes it has promised to make to the mandate to address their religious objections, other religious employers were required to begin providing co-pay-free contraceptives and related services by August 2012, or whenever they subsequently updated their health plans. A press release said, “the Green family’s religious convictions prohibit them from providing or paying for the abortion-inducing drugs, which would violate their most deeply held religious belief that life begins at conception.” This lawsuit acts to preserve the business's right to operate free from government coercion.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day Redux

First of all, we celebrated all week with food: herbed pork loin today, turkey and stuffing yesterday, cranberry roast at the Eagle Scout luncheon, chicken fricassee the day before. Winger made a big batch of puppy chow, Dorito made pumpkin pie, PolarBear helped with zucchini bread and banana muffins. Captain made eggnog waffles. Spencer brought a very good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon wine.

We also celebrated with traditions: showing Kathryn and Spencer about Christmas crackers and the toy prize inside.

Everyone wore their "3 Wise Men" crowns for the camera. Our other annual traditions: buy a real tree, decorate Captain's offices at the hangar, hang the mistletoe and stockings, adopt a couple of families from church.

Lastly, we celebrated with fun: Meggar played holiday duets with me at the piano, we adapted our own questions to "5 Second Rule," and we expanded "Bananagrams" to include a round-robin-style family contest on "Words with Friends."

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Mass

Merry Christmas!
My boys chose coordinating outfits (without my help!) and Meggar looked stylish (as usual).  I was warm in my newly-knitted shawl. We have a beautiful new altar and large Nativity scene to complete the sacredness of this holy night. Schmidlings all played music for Seven Dolors Church 7pm mass, and next Captain is going with me to St. Marys, where I will play midnight mass on their pipe organ.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Twins Receive their Eagle Award

Here's the beginning photo....

when the twins first joined Scouts 21 months ago.

Today, they received their Eagle Scout Awards and made us very proud!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

K-State Bball at Sprint Center

We snagged enough tickets in the Herzog Suite to take our kids (and Megan and Spencer) to the K-State v. Miami basketball game at the Sprint Center.
The full house of purple enjoyed the pep band, Willie the Wildcat, and a victory. (Spencer even got to watch the end of the MU game on the TV.)

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Hobbit Movie

Planning to go with the whole family (and Spencer) to get a real Christmas tree and see "The Hobbit" movie. We've all finished reading the book and expect good things!
Plus we have a nursing home concert and some Eagle ceremony preparations. Exciting day!
P.S.! Ugh-I suppose they are making it into its own triology, but I was unaware of that ahead of time. Overall, good acting and action and adherence to the book. We loved it save for the disappointment at the ending.

Playing for the Old Folks

The Browns and Schmidlings played at Saxton West. Such a huge crowd. Very fun to pass out jingle bells to everyone so they could participate in the "Silver Bells" and "Jingle Bells" sing-alongs.

Eli did such a nice job on the cello with us.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Snow Day = No School

We are snowed in. Lots of rain last night turned to ice and then was topped with 3 inches of snow! Don't know if Captain and Spencer will make it here later tonight, since the interstate was still closed at noon. Winger is scooping our driveway already (for cash). I made everyone cocoa and zucchini muffins for breakfast. I even broke out the china snowmen mugs which Jutta gave us when there were four  little snowmen around my table. Dorito is drinking from his Weisbaden mug and recalling that cocoa is a favorite of Fabian's. I'm sure the rest of the day will be spent with Meggar crafting Christmas presents.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Nutcracker Suite at Union Station

The "Nicholas Ensemble" performed nine parts of the Nutcracker Suite last night.

Dorito and Polar Bear were 2nd violins, and Winger was 3rd violin.

Lots of people came to Union Station to listen--including the Turley family from our hockey team.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Time Change

Went all day with my watch on Mountain Time. Ugh! Just now realized.

Twins Pull at Your Heart

There were twins in Kindergarten in Newtown, CT. The news told me today that little Noah was killed in the tragedy, but his twin sister was assigned to a different classroom and Arielle survived. How horrific! I watch my twins together everyday and marvel at their close connection.
Even the readings yesterday at Mass asked: "What shall we do?" (Luke 3:10-18) and the message of helping your neighbor was clear. I think that will help bring some happiness to our Advent.
The crowds asked John the Baptist,
"What should we do?"
He said to them in reply,
"Whoever has two cloaks
should share with the person who has none.
And whoever has food should do likewise."
Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him,
"Teacher, what should we do?"
He answered them,
"Stop collecting more than what is prescribed."
Soldiers also asked him,
"And what is it that we should do?"
He told them,
"Do not practice extortion,
do not falsely accuse anyone,
and be satisfied with your wages."

Sunday, December 16, 2012

More Wins

After a slow start on Friday (one loss and one tie), the twins' hockey team won the Denver Super Series by Sunday. They defeated #5 ranked Colorado Thunderbirds and #11 Dallas Stars in close and exciting games.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mile High Hockey

It's not whether we win or lose, it's how Polar Bear and Winger play the game. We face five opponents in Denver during this series, and the competition should be evenly matched. So it all depends on if our good players play better than their good players or our bad players do better/worse than their bad players! The hardest part is convincing my two Eagle Scouts to be selfish. All the other years we have preached teamwork and passing, instead of puck-hogging. But if my two are the fastest and strongest, than they may as well take the shots.
Winger scored the first goal of the first game! On a perfect pass from Polar Bear! And got tripped, but still hit in in! We credit the new stick, which was hand-delivered this morning from the Harrow Warehouse in downtown Denver this morning. Captain found a hardware store and bought a small hack-saw to cut it to the right length! These will be our fondest memories in 25 years, according to Aunt Mary. :-)
It is also difficult to teach the boys that a losing record doesn't reflect on them. Several Scouts are here this weekend. And I don't mean Boy Scouts. It's been a maturity process this first half-season, and I love seeing the twins develop. 
Meanwhile, Captain and I paid a little visit to the Capital Tea Room (still there from last year's visit). The early spring picked Darjeeling hit the spot for me. Captain was quite wfond of the pear and dark chocolate scones with butter and jam.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sweet 16

Captain is starting his 16th year as the Chief Pilot at Herzog. He spent everal days this week at the maintenance shop in St. Louis with jet #1. The negotiations over the six- or seven-figure repair and paint bill fall onto his plate. I remind him that the headaches these days are bigger, but fewer. He now has six co-workers in the flight department instead of one. When he and Clif did the work of seven people, I was probably justified when I grumbled a little bit about the overtime hours. Overall, we are grateful for a good employer and look forward to many more years of success.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Study Hard

Dorito managed to get through his second college final today--it was comprehensive and included two essay questions along with fill-in-the-blank and multiple choice. He and I are both relieved after a couple of late nights quizzing in preparation. (I decided to miss book club last night.) He is heading to the Newman Center tonight for a Christmas movie and pancake breakfast in "celebration."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Music

We will have several music shows in the next couple of weeks for Christmas. Today was our first outing--to Saxton Riverside Nursing Home. They are so friendly there!  And everyone likes when we pass out bells for ringing with "Silver Bells" and "Jingle Bells."

Monday, December 10, 2012

Scholarship App

Not a phone app. Something much more difficult. So far I've pulled my hair out helped Dorito with the transcripts and essays for three big scholarships: Mic-o-Say (Scouting goals), Wabash Cannonball (K-State goals), and KSU Civic Leadership (helping build the one-room schoolhouse at the Pony Express Museum). It's supposed to be fun to reminisce and see how far my senior son has come... but the deadlines give it a flavor of panic and knots in my stomach. Hope we all survive his senior year!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Best Scout Day Ever, Winger Said

Drove home 6 hours from Minnesota, got a quick shower, hemmed new Scout pants, and went to the Boards of Review for my twins. They were so excited! Polar Bear decided it was important to him to go second for the award ceremony so that meant he had to go first for the interviews.
The Board of Review consisted of seven men who asked them questions individually for an hour--about Scout rules, Scout knots, future goals, and past leadership. Whew! They passed! Two new Eagle Scouts in Troop 216! Two red coup beads from the Pony Express Council!
(Celebrated at Aspen Leaf with frozen yogurt.)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Playing At Shattuck

There is a famous prep school in Minnesota where Sidney Crosby spent his teenage years. And Jonathan Towes. The twins and their team played against Shattuck-St. Mary's School for three  friendship games this weekend. We didn't expect to win against the No. 3 team in our division. And we didn't. But the Russell Stover team played WELL - only losing 3-6 in the first game and 3-5 in the last game (when you might expect 2-10 or 1-13 score). In half of the periods, we scored more than they did! That meant we could keep up with a top team, even though I don't think we have as much talent among the players on our team. Hmm!
Winger broke another stick. But he scored on the Power Play with his back-up stick! Very thrilling for him to put in a slap shot from the blue line. The bad news was the dirty shots  taken by their players when they thought the referee wasn't looking. And the dirty hits given when the referee was looking, but he didn't care to call many penalties. For those of you who think my twins have no disappointments... we just try not to dwell on them.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Organist for Holy Day

It's nice when the priest works out the schedule with me. I like holy day masses to also have music. Especially Marian feast days like today's: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Captain reported that the three young men in his pew were singing energetically to "Immaculate Mary," "Sing of Mary," and "Hail Holy Queen."

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Advent Table

Happy St. Nicholas Day! Captain helped me put electric candles in  all the windows. And set up the Jesse Tree by the hearth. These are our Advent traditions. The kids usually get a movie and some candy set beside their shoes at the front door. (I gave Meggar her movie early this year.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Eagle Scout Invites

The twins have been approved by National BSA, so I've already mailed most of the invitations to their Eagle Scout Award ceremony. Don't tell their Scoutmaster! They haven't had their Boards of Review.
But barring a snow storm, or a trip for the Herzogs, we are planning a CELEBRATION! The homemade cards (shown front and inside) took most of my time over the last several days. Polar Bear and Winger chose the quote from Lord Baden Powell: "The most worthwhile thing is to try to put happiness into the lives of others." Very appropriate -- given their playground service project and for their life's purpose statement.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Senior Meetings

Dorito has monthly meetings with the Homeschool Senior Class to iron out the details for Graduation. It is a big group this year of 23 students, which will limit the ceremony in terms of their slide show length and voice-over comments. I'm not worried. So far, the easy details like choosing a tassel color and Bible verse are done. They have also chosen an Emcee and Keynote Speaker from the homeschool circle of parents. Mostly, Dorito is not concerned about those details (which saves me some drama). He is more focused on studying for the December ACT and applying for scholarships (3 big ones down, one more this month, and several others in the spring). Patience and Perseverance are his watch words.

Monday, December 3, 2012

College Orchestra

Dorito looked great in the front row of the violin section. His first performance with the MWSU Orchestra was very impressive!
They played "Water Music" by Handel (beautiful), "8th Symphony" of Beethoven (elegant), and "Prayer of Saint Gregory" (meditative). I enjoyed all the other numbers, including two performed alongside the Renaissance Singers. The venue was St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, with its vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows, which made it look and sound all the more wonderful. Even Captain was in town to go with me (instead of watching the video recording later). Plus Brenda, Eli, Constance, and Bill came to support Dorito. We are all aglow!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Advent is a Time for Prayer

... and for preparations. The amount of preparation foretells the outcome. So on this First Sunday of Advent, I am listing the suggestions from our pastor during his (continually) worthwhile homily. Fr. Benjamin recommended looking at the Seven Deadly Sins, from Proverbs 6:16, which may have crept into our lives:
and then practicing the virtues that replace them:
Pride Humility
Greed Charity
Lust Chastity
Anger Patience
Gluttony Temperance
Envy Kindness
Sloth Diligence

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Tea with Friends

Whenever Captain drives the twins to practice in Des Moines, I feel so spoiled. Sure I stay home and cook and clean (and check up on Dorito). But there is so-oooo much free time compared to what I am used to. Sheesh! I had tea yesterday with the new neighbor woman, tea this morning with Constance at the Brookdale Church Bazaar, and tea this afternoon with Dee. Catching up is a blessing.