Monday, September 30, 2013

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

It started with a wish by Gr. Don over the phone. So Captain said it could come true for much cheaper if Dorito found a college kid wanting to sell an iPad to get the cash instead. Dorito handled the bargaining and gave us the goods. Polar Bear and Winger set up the apps (like Checkers and NetFlix and the daily newspaper). Captain took the like-new-iPad2 down to Basehor and did some quick instruction. I'm glad to see Grandpa taking to new technology. He has never had a computer or email or anything. I love using my iPad especially since I don't want to haul the desktop back and forth from Nashville. The past few days we have looked up:  biology microscope slides, Latin translations not in our book, recipes with 5 ingredients or less (from Lesa), verifying the top of a Boy Scout merit badege so I can sew them all on the proper direction (OK, winger?), and of course the MapQuest options for finding our way to hockey venues while seeing special people en route! I predict Gr. Don's brain will get more of a workout than simply watching TV, except when maybe Dorothy wants to borrow it. She should probably get one of her own. Somebody call Dorito again to look on Craigslist! 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Referee Advances

Dorito is ready for Level 4 USA Hockey referee certification. This is the highest you can go. There are not many Level 4 referees, and there are not many clinics where you can complete the assessment. Unfortunately, he missed the only one held in Kansas City because his car broke down. So Captain signed him up for one in Wisconsin. Yes, that is the closest destination which is not being held the same day as a home K-State football game (Dorito has priorities!). So, we made a beautiful drive north to Madison, and I am enjoying a book on tape from my literary friend, Constance. The connection here is that the story is written with a 15-year-old autistic boy as the narrator. He is just like my friend, Eli! (I'm so glad that I get the humor.) And in the story, Christopher is trying to relate to Sherlock Holmes in "The Hound of the Baskervilles." Brenda might or might not like this story! But I am still on my Sherlock-kick, and this is a great way to pass the time while driving.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Discernment and Big Heart of Pope Francis

I spent the past couple of weekends reading the first and only interview with Pope Francis. It was conducted by America (Jesuit journal) editor Father Antonio Spadaro in three meetings during August in Rome. The National Catholic Register has the best overview. It is a beautiful glimpse of a holy man who relates his identity on earth to a Caravaggio painting. But it was his explanation of the Jesuit model of discernment which resonated with me most. He describes how St. Ignatius struggled to know the Lord and follow him more closely. He noted that discernment takes TIME. I am not supposed to quote the interview without infringing on copyright, so I will paraphrase and encourage you to read the real interview yourself. Pope Francis said that humans want to jump to the first decision that comes to mind, especially because it appears to be a great and strong idea. But it is usually the wrong thing. It is necessary to wait and assess, to look deeply into your own self to find the appropriate means that God intends to use. I know how powerfully difficult this is from day to day. Even for months at a time. I am praying for Captain and Spencer and Meggar and Kristen and Jorge and Dorito and the twins as they look at their "jobs" and office situations with hope that the Holy Spirit has something GRAND in store--soon, Lord! (I'm working on patience.) Deus semper maior 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

But Owen is Not the Meany

I wonder why John Irving chose to name his leading man Owen Meany? Our book club met tonight and Brenda led the discussion of "A Prayer for Owen Meany." How fortunate that my break enabled attendance for book club night! The book was an autobiographical-type novel about the narrator, John Wheelwright. And his friend Owen is not evil or mean-spirited, just small -- probably dwarvish. I agree that God uses the weak to lead the strong. But that is just one layer of this Protest-the-Vietnam-War story line. It meandered through all the muck of the 60s, which I didn't enjoy, and it sounds very elitist in terms of smart academic males who rebel against the norms and traditions of society just for the sake of originality. No thought to the long-term consequences of their actions and words.
But book club is always an opportunity to learn and expand my horizons. And eat terrific appetizers. I made cinnamon rolls, which may not be as 60s-kitsch as Bonnie's peach cobbler, but they were yummy.

First Field Trip

Erin is a great Catholic homeschool mom who juggles seven kids and a husband with his own business. She heard that the local branch of the Russian Orthodox Church had flown in professional icon painters to adorn their new sanctuary. So she organized a field trip (she is such a natural leader who wants the best for everybody). We went for a peek before we started our drive back to Missouri! Beautiful imagery, going as far back at the Roman Catholic Church too.

Monday, September 23, 2013

No Place Like Home

I guess it is because humans love "the familiar" and crave "to belong," because both twins were truly excited to head home from Nashville. We have a10-day break from hockey, and just want to relax at "home" with Dad. And they are longing to see Dorito and Meggar! The tone in Winger's voice tugged at my heart strings when he said, "I don't know why, but I just want to go home!"

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Taking Nothing For Granted

Dorito had a date for his first frat party last night. Not the girl he wanted to ask, but a friend from St Joe. She is from a great family of K-Staters, and there are not many of those in Missouri! He called from the grocery store where he was picking out nice cheese and crackers. Next day, he was also Tweeting with another Catholic girl at K-State, Miss Kansas. And standing by his football team despite a couple of losses. As the mom, I love getting to watch the way the puzzle pieces of character, conviction, and the Holy Spirit come together.
Today, I am driving the Nashville players to Huntsville for our practice weekend. Lots of conviction among the five characters in my back seat! And five smelly bags?! Don't ask. It is a privilege to take my turn driving, and I am mindful that others have offered to reciprocate, which is nothing to take for granted among hockey moms. Great families who are trying raise boys the right way are easy to admire for their hard work.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What Captain Knows...

...from his Dad, who was a machinist for 30 years at TWA: auto mechanics, carpentry, plumbing, sheetrocking, painting, hunting, fishing, and thousands of common sense ideals. Today, the mechanic's experience came in handy. Dorito had car trouble. It started on the way home from Saturday night's football game when his car overheated -- apparently on a massive scale. He drove it to the nearest parking lot, and next morning tried to add water to the radiator. It ended up in a puddle on the ground around the tire. That means there is a big hole! Captain rolled into money-saving mode: he called around for pricing, found a radiator in stock, took it Manhattan, towed Dorito's car back the frat, and changed out the radiator in less than two hours. Only problem was a bolt which broke off while still halfway in the thermostat. Captain knew to back-screw in another bolt from the parts store thus popping out the old one. (Or something like that). I'm not good with mechanics, but could tell from the joy in his voice that it worked!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Math That I Taught Myself

I wonder if x to the zero power was discovered? or invented? I tried a Google search but couldn't go deep enough to find an answer. Math formulas and proofs continually amaze me! I love how everything works together logically, but circles and slopes of lines are still quite complex in terms of all their properties. This is my third year teaching Saxon Algebra II to my homeschoolers, and I "get it" even better than before. Which is somewhat of a feat, considering that I taught myself Algebra II in high school. My dad was the principal, and he let me work independently through the book, as long as I turned the tests into the regular teacher for grading. I still like the challenge of mathematics!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Well I Heard She Got Pinned...

...I was hoping they would.
Meggar has been keeping a secret since her birthday (which was in July). Spencer planned a lovely set of surprises for her #21 day. Some alcoholic and some romantic. He took her to the place of their first St. Louis date, exact one year earlier. The location was a posh movie theatre with velvet couches. One year ago was the first time he said those three magic words, and they became "Facebook Official" with their "relationship." So it was hard to top all that! But the Phi Kap lavalier was the charm! (This is somewhere between promise ring and engagement ring I'm told). We are super pleased. And all the AGDs cried at the Candlelighting Ceremony last week. What a secret!

Monday, September 16, 2013

American Team Goes to Detroit

U16 Thunder American Team
(middle row: Winger=far left; and
Polar Bear=behind goalie on right)
Coach Marakhovski = from Latvia

They played five games in this first Super Series. Four wins plus one loss in overtime. Lots of Schmidling goals (yea!) including a hat trick for Polar Bear in the 4th game! Only one broken stick. Plus, I got two team dinners pulled together at the hotel's conference room. The players also experienced their first ice baths (to help speed the lactic acid out of your legs before a second game on the same day) which produced some shrieks and groans :-)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Birthday Treats

We stayed with friends from St. Joseph who now live in Detroit. The Verbicks had a few birthday surprises for me between the hockey games.
 Dim Sum lunch at P.F. Chang's
Italian cakes and tiramisu from local market

Shopping with Lesa at outdoor mall. Plus good suppers with red wine and lots of "catching up." So pleasant.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My #48 Birthday

The twins snuck in a bouquet which greeted me this morning on the breakfast counter.
(WE are driving 10 hours today to Detroit, and meeting Captain along the way in Indianapolis!)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Counting the Cost for Winners

While some hockey families send their boys off to be billeted for the U16 season, we decided that it was best if I continued to cook and clean and homeschool our twins. It has been a good transition, and we strongly believe they have what it takes to get to the next level! I have seen them working harder at school than ever before. Plus they love spending seven hours on the ice each week plus three hours in the workout room. Or more. They are excited to learn all the new systems from Coach Roman, meet new line mates, and take a leadership role within their new team. We decided this year to ask our friends and family to support their hockey and make an investment in these hard-working young men. And we had a terrific response! Polar Bear and Winger each had to get on the phone and sell 30 sweepstakes tickets, or else Captain would have to buy the rest. They did it all in just one week! Today, the $5000 Grand Prize actually went to a Nashville mom (who has 13-yr-old playing on younger team). And a lady from our church also won a small cash prize! So we were very grateful all the way around. We just want to say thanks for all the support!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Power Cookies

I began a new (volunteer) job of feeding the U16 American team. There is a budget for it, so I try to get the healthiest choices for the least money during practice and game weekends. Tonight I picked up carry-out chicken alfredo with peas, bread, and Caesar salad for 19 players, and we ate this tailgate-picnic in the parking lot.  Then after the late practice, each boy received two cartons of chocolate milk and two power cookies, which I had made at home. You gotta love protein after a hard work-out! (recipe from Coach Jennings' wife)
Chocolate Chip Power Cookies
1 c. peanut butter
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
2 T. applesauce
1/4 c. protein powder (I used chocolate)
1 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. sugar
1/8 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1/4-1/3 c. mini chocolate chips
Bake 8-10 minutes on greased cookie sheet at 350' F.
(small cookie has 7 grams protein; large cookie has 14 grams of protein)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sky Zone Extreme Dodgeball

The Sky Zone is not found in our home area, but Hockey Henry talked us into trying it. What else is there to do on Friday night in Atlanta?! For $16 per person, the boys enjoyed two solid hours of workout fun! The SkyZoneplay area is filled with huge trampoline courts: there is trampoline basketball, trampoline baseball, and trampoline dodgeball. The dodgeball arena is made with 24 trampolines side by side, plus another 18 trampolines angled around the edges so you can bounce off the walls! That's a lot of bouncing!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

That Girl - With the Pearl Earring

She is in Atlanta. Only through September. We are in Atlanta. Only through Sunday. So I drug took the twins to the High Museum of Art to see Vermeer's famous painting. She. was. stunning. Only about 15"x18" yet totally Gorgeous! The whole time I kept thinking how beautiful she was. And the technique that created her was so impressive--even to my amateur eyes. I immediately thought of that small Leonardo da Vinci painting in the National Gallery in D.C. The same fineness of features and brush strokes. She had a calming effect on me. I didn't burst into tears like I did at Monet's gallery in Giverny. But I was overcome. And so glad that I have made art an important part of our homeschooling culture.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Year of Faith

Pope Francis inherited the Year of Faith, set in motion by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. But it is serving him well as he calls the world to humility and peace. And it is serving me well in my daily prayer life. If I truly believe my faith, then I have to live like I trust Divine Mercy is working "all things together for good." Worrying only shows a waivering of my faith. Furthermore, it has occurred to me that I must always take the high road. With everyone. Always. Even when I am *working* my hardest to make certain events come together, *praying* my hardest for mercy for my loved ones, and *seeing* where I deserve justice... But still I have to stop and just Take the High Road.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Opening Hockey Weekend

Captain came for all three days of Labor Day weekend to see us in Nashville! Nice!
The twins started right in with two scrimmage games against Afton/St Louis. Polar Bear scored the first goal, and Winger scored the second, third, and fourth goals. One goal was called off becuase the ref was blind and didnt see it. But we were thrilled for our younger twin and two wins.. As you recall, his brother usually scores more often. In the next game, David scored *again* on a one-timer that looked textbook in execution! That kid was on fire! He later Tweeted how he was "living the dream" (a comment generally reserved for NHl players). I am just thrilled for him.
Next day, the team scrimmaged the Thunder "A team," and this time Polar Bear was on his game. He killed the penalty four times in a row. The coach blew the whistle, stepped on the ice, and yelled at his players in frustration! Maybe he will bump them up from the "B team."
The rest of the weekend included mass at St Philip, which we love; lunch with Luke & Liam, whom we love from youth group; and moving the bunk beds into our Brentwood rental. Guardian angels are working it all out for us.