Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Sunday

He is Risen indeed, Alleluia! The weather is glorious and makes the spring colors feel "warm."

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Belated Birthday Wishes

The twins finally celebrated their birthday this week. They had spring break on Thursday and Friday, which worked out well for a paintball outing and slumber party.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday (joke)

Dr. Edward Mulholland writes for "The Gregorian Institute" at Benedictine College:
Here’s a moment any Catholic parent can cry over. Two years ago, Johnny (then 9) tells Joe (then 6) a joke:
“So I said to Joseph of Arimathea, ‘Pretty awesome of you to give Jesus your own tomb!’”
“What did he say?”
“He said, ‘ No biggie. He only needed it for the weekend!’”
He had me at “Arimathea.”

I laughed through my tears. Maybe you will want to
read the whole article and get more good bits!
Wish I had thought of it.
One of the best parts of homeschooling
is that it is never too late to "add in"
to the learning pool and the Catholic traditions.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sign Me Up

Dorito has made another decision about college. He signed the bid card for the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity at K-State. He is so-oooo excited for his future! Here are some famous Phi Kaps--plus Meggar's beau!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fraud Alert #2

Do NOT use Accent Appraisal nor Jerry Underwood.
He came an hour late. He spent less than 10 minutes at my house, quickly shooting phone pictures and racing through the house. He did not listen to the upgrades I was explaining. He even admitted his wife was waiting in the car, and they were going to Kansas City to babysit grandchildren. His appraisal came back $200,000 below what we paid for the home!
I tried to find a Better Business Bureau. I tried to contact Chamber of Commerce. I will use the power of my blog knowing this will come up whenever anyone *searches* his name. Someday I will notify the local banks and lending offices who have him in their rotation and complain about his easy-money approach :-/

Monday, March 25, 2013

A 2-Month Odyssey

Dorito has been writing a program for the Mitsubishi robot with articulated arm these past two months at Hillyard Technical School. He is so PROUD of himself for a successful finish. And he got several compliments from Mr. Sharp! (even better) He remembers starting on January 25, and been working on it most days at his morning class, which lasts three hours.
The end result was 730 lines of code, including entering the the coordinates of each "arm" and "wrist" positions.

The robot's job was to build a spark plug using three components: square block base, screw, and lug nut. First, the robot moves the square to the tool pallet. Then it picks up a screw and screws it into the lug. Next, it picks up that lug set and centers it into the square block. Last, the spark plugs are placed on the yellow conveyor belt.
Once the laser sensors read six spark plugs, they convey them to the other end, where another laser sensor stops the belt. Each one is picked up and placed into an unloading pallet.

We are SO-OOOO impressed and hope to have a video uploaded soon.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday

I love the red vestments.

I love the "All Glory, Laud and Honor" hymn.
We held blessed palsm, read the Passion, and thus begins Holy Week.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Slower Saturday

my husband is home
my boys are home
there is not a 3-hour drive for hockey practice
nor an 8-hour drive
my head is not spinning with schedules
the campout has been canceled
we all went to stations of the cross
i ate dinner two nights in a row with my husband
sitting down with wine
we talked
about hockey (some) and about the new Pope
and about DD, DS, TSs (twin sons)
the budget was analyzed
the future was pondered
we sifted through fragments of conversations that were interrupted by cell phones during the week

It is so healthy/helpful to dig a little deeper into the week that just passed. Another one that just seemed to fly by/drag on and on/both at the same time. I love the chance to meditate on the past week. Digging and sifting is where I start to harvest the grace meant for my vocations of motherhood and marriage. I sometimes only manage to get in one deep breath. Sometimes I find only one moment of "LIGHT" where I know the hand of God was working and knitting and healing and creating something special.

my efforts may seem small and ordinary
until I sift out my ambitions
and say, "I Trust in Thee"

Friday, March 22, 2013

March Madness

Captain and Dorito went to the Sprint Center to watch K-state men's basketball play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. (There were only two tickets in the Suite so the twins and I did campout grocery shopping instead!) Unfortunately, the Cats lost to LaSalle. The purple Wildcats were behind by 18 points at half-time! Then they stormed back to the lead outscoring their opponent by 31-12. The final two minutes were nail-biters as the game was lost with free throws 61-63.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mr. Bach!

Today is Bach's Birthday (under the old calendar, so that's where I keep it).
It is good to "note" that Dorito is working very, very hard on "Concerto No. 1 in A Minor" by Bach for his Senior Violin Recital. I am struggling with the accompaniment, but Meggar will be there for the actual performance. It's full of accidentals and extremely high notes and 32nd-notes and Baroque harmonies (which are odd to the ear). The twins and he are also polishing three movements of a Vivaldi concerto. Besides rehearsals, the pressing matter for me is to get a concert-dress photo of my son to print up the invites to the big celebration!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Feast of St. Joseph of the House of David

St. Joseph is an important feast day for our family. Both because we live in St. Joseph and because it is the middle name and confirmation patron of our youngest son. In years past, we have created our own "Saint Joseph's Table" with braided fancy breads (always a fun homeschool afternoon project). This year, we prayed the Litany (another annual tradition).
We also spent time studying the papal coat of arms of our new Pope Francis. He put St. Joseph on the blue shield using the symbol of a spikenard flower. Wikipedia tells us many interesting tidbits of the motto and symbols that were chosen. The three charges represent Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. We are more familiar with the lily to represent St. Joseph in statues of the saint. Hispanic tradition, however, shows St. Joseph holding a branch of spikenard. This flower was used by Jewish people to make aromatic oil/perfume, and so its connection points to historical Judaism overall. St. Joseph was the "last"  important Jew in the Old Testament. He helped fulfill all the prophesies by adopting Jesus into the house and lineage of David.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Leadership Continues

Both twins are following in Dorito's foot steps--being appointed as Troop Guides for the new "first years" who "crossed over" from Cub Scouts this week. How can 11-year-olds look so short compared to 14-year-olds? The nine little guys are go-getters, including Jamison's brother! They prepped for a camp-out this weekend. Aren't you glad that hockey is over?

Looking for Good News

The twins and their R.S. team are hanging up their skates for this season. Unfortunately, they lost all three games this weekend in Wisconsin, and all three games the outing before that to Des Moines. Certainly, it was a big deal to make it to the Central District Tournament, but they felt disappointed because they like to win when playing that hard. (Some were 1-point losses...) We prayed tonight a prayer of thanksgiving, glad they didn't miss any games due to injuries (since two teammates had broken bones this season). Our final record was 21-26-4 with a ranking of #22 in the country. We are incredibly proud of the strength, scoring, and speed of the Schmids! My stats show Polar Bear in the lead with 35 goals and 34 assists, and Winger was in 4th place for scoring with 13 goals and 19 assists total.
Note: My analysis--That means Polar Bear scored 20% of all the team's goals. And together the twins accounted for 30% of their team's goals: 1 in 3 is pretty often. Of course, Polar Bear's starting line scored 58% of the goals. But those top three boys must play against the best defense/starters of the other team when they are trying to score. Unlike other sports, the hockey starting line is only rotated on the ice 1/3 of the time, and the other team has the puck half of those minutes! So their scoring 58% of the goals happened in only 6% (12 minutes) of each game! And more importantly, my twins made the set-up passes which gave their teammates the opportunity to score 54 times (or 34% of the goals). If the Schmids scored 30% of goals and assisted on 34% of the goals, they were obviously GREAT contributors to the team's offense. They are not perfect players and rarely get compliments from coaches, players, or spectators. They trash talk and lots of times Polar Bear is told he should skate harder than he does. But I like what the numbers say. And Harvey says, "You don't see the twins make mistakes." Nice job, boys!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Food

I have all the fixings for Reuben Sandwiches when the boys return home. And green lemonade. Then, I expect Captain and I will enjoy some Bailey's Irish Cream at bedtime. At Mass, I played the song of St. Patrick's Breastplate prayer:
Christ be beside me

Christ be with me, 
Christ be before me,
Christ be behind me, 
Christ in me,
Christ be beneath me, 
Christ be above me,
Christ on my right hand, 
Christ on my left hand,
Christ in breadth and length and height.
Christ be in the hearts of all who think of me,
Christ be in the mouths of all who speak of me. 
Christ be in every eye that sees me. 
Christ in every ear that hears me. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Birthday Boys

The twins shared a birthday with each other last Sunday... and also with Confirmation and with the Year of Faith pilgrimage to your baptistry. So there was not time to squeeze in candles. But the gifts started arriving on Monday: Meggar and Spencer gave them Blues shirts--Tarasenko for Winger, Oshe for Polar Bear, and Halak for Dorito. (Unfortunately we couldn't use the tickets for Thursday's game in St. Louis because of District hockey games in Wisconsin). But the good news about the long drive to Wisconsin is the opportunity to add hours to their permit drivers' log. There was also driving to violin and dental appointments and hockey practice--as if there was any question that a Schmidling wouldn't get enough driving practice in the first 6 months.
Other gifts: Dorito ordered totems for their Mic-o-Say claws. Very cool since they didn't believe we could find a winged foot (Swift Spirit) and wheat shock (Prairie Spirit).
Captain bought them new tennis shoes (Asics for Winger and Nike for Polar Bear). So they look individually cool now!

How can it be that my youngest is 15?!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Who knew that the Pope would be Catholic?

Amid all the surprises yesterday, I find humor in the reports of the mainstream media (who are not even Protestant but are trying to interpret the Catholic Church's future?). I find consolation in the truth we already know about Pope Francis--he has spoken against abortion, homosexual marriage and adoption, euthanasia, and contraception. He stood on the balcony yesterday evening in humble acknowledgement of the huge task before him. And he said blithely: You all know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother Cardinals have gone almost to the ends of the earth to get him … but here we are.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam!

The new Pope was announced today -- Pope Francis I (formerly Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina). After four votes: a Jesuit, age 76. May God bless him with many years, peace, and insight. We were able to watch the balcony scene via live streaming before we had to leave for afternoon violin lessons.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Why We Like Atchison

Spring break, and it was time for dental cleanings. We always try to make the most of our time at the dentist, who is located in the little town of Atchison, Kansas.  Meggar and I perused "Nell Hills" to see its spring and Easter decor. We took Polar Bear and Spencer to the "Marigold Bakery & Cafe" for soup and sandwiches too. Could have used more shopping time, but it was a yummy day.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Last Day - Lost & Found

After some songs on the piano,

we made a short visit to the hangar to see all of Captain's fleet. Meggar was heading to KC for a piano lesson with her former teacher and to visit Melanie, who's in the hospital awaiting more test results. Then we got ready to say our good-byes to Uncle Clint and Aunt Kathryn and little Ana (who even slept in the toddler bed we placed in her parent's room). But Kathryn couldn't find her wallet and I.D. First, we turned the car inside out and checked all over the house. Then we started calling the restaurant and church to see if it was in lost and found. We had finally given up and they were closing the door to the van when Meggar noticed she and Kathryn have the exact same trench coat from Old Navy, and she had grabbed the wrong one. Sure enough, the one in the closet had the wallet in its pocket. Still made it to the airport on time!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sacrament of Confirmation

Polar Bear
(St. Christ- opher)
(St. Joseph)
 Bishop Finn

 Proud Captain

 Sponsor: Spencer Rusch

 Sponsor: Uncle Clint
Confirmation was a glorious day here!
Beautiful ceremony and music. I made a huge meal prior to the afternoon mass to feed Carey's family, Clint's family and my own. We had red charger plates to make a fancy table with china and crystal. The feast was rosemary pork loin, stuffing, cheesy potatoes, strawberry salad, sweet green beans, grilled asparagus, rolls, wine (note the red elements as symbolic of the Holy Spirit). 
Afterwards, our Bishop Finn and his deacon came over for sandwiches, hors d'oeuvres, and desserts buffet. It was great to compare notes on the events in Rome last week and to speculate about the coming days! We hosted the Schiebers (Alison was the confirmation sponsor of Meggar), the Leonards (Uncle Carey was confirmation sponsor for Reid), and the Bridgewaters (almost part of the family). I must say that I also enjoyed the food: croissant sandwiches, taco dip, hummus dip, artichoke dip, deviled eggs, stuffed mushrooms, BLT bites (cherry tomatoes stuffed with mayo/bacon/green onion), veggie tray, fruit tray (blackberries, pears, strawberries) cheese cake, cranberry cake, red velvet cupcakes, and almond/coconut cake (in shape of a cross).

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Fruit of the Spirit #9

(Confirmation Prep) -- Faithfulness
We know the importance of loyalty in many situations: with friends, with sports teams, with coaches -- even when the people on the other side of an issue may not "deserve" your loyalty. But in a GREATER way, we are called to stand faithfully by our Catholic doctrine -- in our faith, hope, and love for God -- no matter what.
1 Samuel 12:24--“Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.”  
We see throughout the Old Testament how God was faithful to the Hebrew people and renewed his covenant again and again with them. Those old stories tell us the great things He did for them to show they were the Chosen People! In a similar way, God has done great things for Christians through the ages, which we read about in saint stories. And he has blessed our own family with miracles. I know you will continue to serve God and see what blessings he brings to you!
The flip side of faithfulness is being ready to Evangelize. We walked door-to-door this year so you know what that is like. It is important to talk proudly about your Catholic lifestyle to other people/friends. Believe me, people notice when you go to mass on hockey weekends. Plus the world is interested to know the details of our Catholic culture, especially this month as the cardinals meet in Conclave to elect a new Pope! All the rituals, vestments, songs, and liturgical seasons enrich our life and keep us in closer relationship with Jesus. Remember it's not only by the things you say when you talk about church, but by your living example that you can evangelize our American society, who has wandered far away from Christ. Being confirmed means you are making a firm choice to remain Faithful all your life.

Friday, March 8, 2013

All in the Family

Meggar is home for half of her spring break! And Spencer is here. Also, Uncle Clint and Aunt Kathryn have arrived from Phoenix for the Confirmation tomorrow. (Most people from Kansas City go to Phoenix during spring break, not the other way around!)
Toddler Ana is a hit with everyone: she walks, she talks, she giggles. And Winger found out how much she likes books!

Confirmation Prep

The twins and I went to Friday mass and confession. All set for Confirmation this weekend. Those who receive the sacrament in the state of grace will benefit from a more complete reception of the Holy Spirit!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Chess Memories

Meggar got these chess shoe laces for her "old" boyfriend, Edmund. He's too big for the kindergarten team now, so she wanted to wish him good luck at state this weekend :-) My boys have "outgrown" chess as well, but we have good memories of it. I actually hope to find the K-State chess set for Dorito (manufactured by a senior in engineering).

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fruit of the Spirit #8

Mildness -- Fruit of the Spirit #8 
(the Greek translates mildness as gentleness or meekness)
Mildness is having a gentle disposition and gracious behavior toward others. Your disposition is your internal emotions and what you think - starting with God, with yourself, and reflecting outward toward how gentle you are in return to others. Mildness of spirit is not having a weak spirit. Instead it is a gentle layer on top of convictions which are as strong as steel. It is NOT acting spineless in trying to find goodness or looking foolish for your faith or even giving up/surrendering to a passive position. Instead, mildness of spirit comes when we look at situations with maturity and realize whose side God is on. We can judge promptly and react reasonably because we know Christ is in control. We are so full of hope that we can live without resentment or seeking revenge. This Bible verse tells us that when we seek mildness through prayer and imitation of Christ, then God will use that time to refresh us! 
Matthew 11:28-30
“Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls. For my yoke is kindly and my load is light.” 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Brothers Karamazov

For two months now, my book club has been reading "The Brothers Karamazov" by Dostoyevsky. I am quite happy to have finished all 700 pages, but it was not all happy reading. Certainly, the whole point of free will is that man can choose which master he will serve. While anyone can attempt to fool the world with intelligent speeches and lofty philosophies, our integrity is what we are like when no one else is looking/listening. Overally, I really enjoyed this powerful apologetic by a clear-eyed religious man. As narrator, Dostoyevsky manages to illumine both sides of the drama -- over faith, reason, loyalty, family, ethics, and love. (I loved the irony of "The Grand Inquisitor" best of all.) Actually, the worries of "modern" Russians in 1880 were not that much different from my "post-modern" peers in 2013.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Found the Drivers Ed Book

Both twins are excited to study for their permit. Next Monday they become eligible "student drivers" of my Previa minivan. Oh joy! The cost-cutting government office only offers the study guide online, so I dug out the paperback from Dorito's file cabinet. Sometimes my organizational prowess amazes me! Other times, my obsession weighs me down with the impossibility of ever completely catching up.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Scout Sunday

My three sons were honored with a Catholic religious award at today's Scout Mass. The "Ad Altare Dei" emblem symbolizes a Catholic Scout's study of the sacraments, which are received "at the altar of God." This was a great accomplishment!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Senior Pictures

Meggar was home and was pressed into service as the main photographer for Dorito's senior pictures--They turned out great! 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Confirmation Novenas

We began our final preparations for Confirmation for the twins with much happiness and expectation!
Meggar found this novena to St. Christopher to pray with Spencer for Polar Bear (who has chosen the confirmation name of St. Christopher) --

Almighty and eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of Saint Christopher, in whose honor I make this novena, and following his example imitate, like him, the life of Thy divine Son. Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of this powerful Helper, the petition which through him I humbly place before Thee, devoutly saying, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of my soul. Amen.
We also began a novena for Winger (who has chosen the confirmation name of St. Joseph) to the Seven-fold Gifts of the Holy Spirit--
       O Holy Spirit, who on the day of Pentecost, didst with thy light enlighten and with heavenly fire didst inflame the disciples of  Christ: were there ever need of that light and fire that comes forth from thee, it is surely now when the darkenss of error blinds the mind, and the cold of indifference freezes the heart. We, therefore, O Eternal Love, because of our pressing need for thy help, have recourse to thy omnipotent goodness, and we implore thee to come as soon as possible to renew the face of the earth. Come, then, O Holy Spirit, and with they divine splendors illumine the many souls blinded by the false maxims of the world. Come, and with the fire of thy love, enkindle, and with fervor, fill so many frozen souls. Come, and with the outpouring of thy sevenfold gift, sanctify the redeemed. Come, come, demolish and scatter the kingdom of Satan; bring to be a new era of faith and grace, and make the holy kingdom of God triumph across the earth. Amen.