Monday, December 28, 2015

The Schmidt resemblance

The girls are always asking "Who do I look like?" The blond twin is clearly Daddy's child. From the time she was little, she looked just like Daddy -- without his beard and mustache of course. 

The brunette twin has always slid back and forth between Momma's family and Daddy's family. When she's with my side of the family I think she looks like Sami. When she's with Daddy's side of the family I think she looks like Jenny.

With their Schmidt Happens t-shirts on, Clark, Brooke, Jenny and the girls sat on the fireplace hearth for a group photo. When I looked at the photo, I saw clearly the Schmidt family resemblance. The five of them could have been siblings or cousins. If I didn't know that they were cousins, I would have believed that they were a family with five children ranging from mid-twenties to tweens. Looking at them all together you could see that they shared family features that bonded them as a group.

The girls were thrilled to see the family resemblance. Sometimes they don't know where they fit because they are so much younger than their cousins. The group photo put them firmly in the mix, much to their delight.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Schmidt happens

We were settling in for dessert when Aunt Debbie came in with an arm full of t-shirts. We all laughed when we saw the shirts. She had t-shirts made that said, "Schmidt Happens."

She handed them out, making sure that everyone tried on their shirts. At one point Brooke, Clark, Jenny and our girls took a picture with their Schmidt Happens shirts.

The blond twin said she wanted to wear the shirt to school. Daddy said it might not be such a good idea. She repeated that she wanted to wear it and asked why she would get in trouble.

Several people tried to explain that Schmidt Happens sounded like something else that people say. The blond twin stared blankly. It was clear she didn't understand. 

I looked at her and said, "Sh!t happens. Schmidt happens. Get it"

She still stared blankly. I repeated it so she would make the connection. When she understood, her eyes grew wide and she laughed nervously. Then she said, "Mom, don't say that."

I wish I could have captured the look on her face when it all clicked. She looked like someone who just realized she was being let in on a big secret, even if it was something everyone else understood without explanation.

We decided that she could wear the shirt most places, but definitely not school. Now that she's in on the word play, she'll wear it with family pride -- and a sly smirk.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Maybe next horse

A couple of weeks went by before I finally called about Shawnee. Her owner was looking for someone to share board. She was too busy to take care of her daughter's horse. Her daughter was in college, so she wasn't in town any more. Shawnee needed some attention.

Our girls have been begging us for a horse. We told them over and over again that we were not going to buy a horse. Share boarding was a definite possibility, though. When you share board a horse you pay a set amount to be responsible for the horse for one or more days. In our case we want to share board a horse for one day a week. The reality is we do not have time to do more than that. 

It all sounded good. The owner kept Shawnee in her backyard during the warm weather. When the weather turned colder, she moved Shawnee to the barn. 

We arrived at the barn early. Our girls were so excited they could hardly contain themselves. They were dressed to ride, with their helmets in hand. We met her owner and walked to her stall. Shawnee let the girls brush her and pick her hooves. She let the girls saddle her. They walked her into the arena.

Everything turned the minute we were in the arena. Shawnee wouldn't let the girls get into the saddle. She bucked when her owner tried to keep her still so the brunette twin could ride her. Shawnee wouldn't let her owner walk her around or try to lead her. 

The owner was clearly upset. She kept saying, "She doesn't normally act like this." She finally just gave up and put Shawnee back in her stall.

Daddy and I talked about our visit before deciding that Shawnee wasn't the right horse to share board. The girls were both sad and relieved. While they really wanted a horse, they were a bit afraid of Shawnee after her terrible arena behavior. It was hard to tell them that we were going to keep looking, but we are going to keep looking. The right horse is out there. We're willing to wait for the right fit.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas competition

We didn't see it coming, but somehow we ended up in a Wii bowling tournament Christmas afternoon. We all met at Grammie's for lunch, opened gifts and sat around talking. When Josh started writing names on pieces of paper he said, "Do you think Gramma will play?" We said no and kept chatting.

A few minutes later Grammie was pulling names for Josh's brackets. At this point we started paying attention. Josh said, "Ok, the brackets are set. Get ready to play Wii bowling."

The funny thing was that this wasn't the first time Josh organized a family tournament without actually asking us if we want to participate. We've watched him do this on both sides of his family. At his brother's high school graduation party several years ago Josh walked around asking people for five dollars. Everyone opened their wallets. At one point I said, "Why is Josh asking for $5." His twenty-something cousin said, "I don't know. He's probably organizing something." 

I laughed because Josh was in middle school at the time. He walked around asking for money and no one questioned whether they should give it to him or not. He used his personality to organize that tournament and get the whole family playing bean bags. He set-up brackets, pulled names to create teams and kept the tournament going.

He used these same skills to get us organized. It was laugh-out-loud fun for everyone. Some of us had never touched a Wii remote. At one point the blond twin played for Uncle Steve when he stepped out to take a phone call. When he came back he didn't want to take the remote back as she was doing quite well. 

Josh was out in the first round when Aunt Reenie beat him. The loss went down in family history as Josh bowls frequently. Aunt Reenie had never touched a Wii remote before the bowling tournament. When he pulled her name while creating the brackets, I'm sure he thought it was an easy route to the second round. 

Christmas has always been fun at Grammie's because there were always a lot of little kids running around with new toys. Now that all the grandchildren are a bit older, the fun morphed into family competitions. When Nick beat Jake to win the family title, you can bet Josh was working on next year's tournament game. Now, if only he'd give me some ideas so I can practice. I don't expect to win, but I'd rather not be at the bottom of the family bracket again.  

Sunday, December 20, 2015

You did what?

A couple hours after we admired the girls' gingerbread house, the brunette twin walked into the kitchen and said, "Where is the extra candy and frosting?"

Daddy replied, "We ate it."

She was horrified. The blond twin came running in saying, "We left that in case you wanted to add something to the back of the house. You ate it?"

The brunette twin chimed in with "We would have eaten it if we didn't want you to use it."

We told them the house was lovely just as designed. We told them that we thought they were done. They told us how they saved it so we could decorate the back of the house. They explained that we ruined their gingerbread house because now there wasn't anything on the back wall. They glared and told us to ask them next time before we eat the frosting and candies. It wasn't extra because they had plans for it.

We were both amused with their reaction. For just a moment we switched places. They were practicing their best "annoyed at you children" looks as they explained why we were wrong -- so very wrong.

To our credit, we waited until they were out of the room to laugh. It seemed like the best idea we had since eating the extra candies.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

We always do it with Daddy

We're navigating the tween world which means the girls alternately need our help and don't want us around. This morning the brunette twin decided today was the day the girls would work on our annual gingerbread house. We've had the kit sitting on the breakfast bar for probably two weeks now. We just haven't had time to put it together.

When they came home from church pageant practice, I told Daddy that the girls wanted to put together the gingerbread house with him. He thought they would want to do it be themselves since they were old enough to do that now. He was right, but when I said the same thing to the brunette twin, she said, "We always do it with Daddy."

The three of them sat at the breakfast bar to put the house together. They had to wait for a while to let the icing dry before they could decorate the house. During the time the icing dried, the girls decided to finish decorating it themselves while Daddy and I took care of some other chores. 

As the brunette twin said, "This way you'll be surprised when you see it."

The finished gingerbread house is lovely. They did a beautiful job putting icing and candy on the house, roof and lawn. It's their own creation, but Daddy helped them put it together. The tradition continues, which makes everyone happy.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Waiting for winter

The last two winters have been brutal, even by Chicago standards. The Polar Vortex pushed people to sell their houses and move some place that doesn't think -20 is a normal winter temperature. We were in Arches National Park last summer when we met two of those people. They were former Chicagoans who moved to Colorado. As the husband noted, he liked Chicago, but, oh, those winters.

I thought about this as I watched the local news a few nights ago. An annual religious pilgrimage to the local Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine was walked in 60 degree weather this year. Last year the same pilgrimage was held with a -6 degree temperature. It was nearly 70 degrees warmer this year.

Warmer than last year has become a common theme this year. Every day has been warmer than normal. We had one, brief accumulating snow. I do not know if we've gone below freezing yet.

I want to say how much I am enjoying this weather, but I have an uneasy feeling about it now. The weather forecasters keep talking about how El Nino will keep our winter warmer than normal. So far they have been right.

Maybe it's some kind of post-winter reaction from the past two brutal winters, but I'm starting to worry that we're being lulled into a false sense of security. I am starting to wonder when winter will show up and how bad it will be when it gets here. Surely we won't go all winter without the brutal cold of the last two years, will we? 

Tonight's weather forecast mentioned a lovely 50 degree temperature for Christmas. The forecaster said that it might be 45, but he really thought it would be warmer. If that's true, it's the best Christmas present Mother Nature has sent in years. We'll take it as her apology for the past few winters. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Prints on the mirror

The girls are obsessed with make-up all of a sudden. The brunette twin wants to wear eye shadow. The blond twin pretends she's not interested, but she's always asking questions.

Recently I found fingerprints on a bathroom mirror. It happens to cover a cabinet I use to store a few items, including some make-up. Underneath the mirror was some foundation that had dripped when one of the girls tried to use it. When I asked the girls, they both denied having been in the bathroom. I told them the foundation didn't drip on the floor by itself. They just stared at each other.

The funny thing is that they still haven't figured out that they need to clean-up their messes. If the girls hadn't left a trail of drips and finger prints, I wouldn't have known they were sneaking into our bathroom to play with my make-up.

I moved my foundation, which will annoy them - even though they will never, ever say anything. One of these days they will learn to cover their tracks. In the meantime, I'm enjoying their efforts to be grown-up girls. Their covert attempts make ensure I'll have plenty of stories to tell at their weddings.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Always Mom

Our Girl Scouts troop is working on their Leadership in Action Award. The biggest step is to find a Brownie troop and work on their Journey with them. Luckily for us, one of our Cadettes has a younger sister in a Brownie troop. We were able to schedule time when we could help that troop. 

We were waiting for the Brownie meeting to start when I heard someone say something that could have been "Mrs. Schmidt." I was writing notes in a loud school all purpose room and not really paying attention. I heard someone say, "Mom" and immediately turned around.

Sarah was trying to get my attention. She laughed and said, "You're not my Mom." I said, "Nope, but it got my attention. It doesn't matter who says it. Once you have kids you always respond to Mom."

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Cause and effect

Overheard at our house...

Mom:  "How long have you had a hole in the heel of your left boot?"

Brunette Twin:  "There's a hole in my boot? No wonder my foot was wet and cold yesterday."