Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Living the dream, Christmas Break style

I returned to Indy with a little less than a week left of Christmas break. These days have been filled with conversations with old friends, shared meals, adventures of all kinds, and late night talks. This is my favorite way to spend a day, to finish out a year, to begin a new one. I love being able to overlap with different people that I care about and giving so much time to these friends.

I planned to have New Year's Eve breakfast with Heather and Hannah and then Sar showed up to surprise. Heather's casual "Oh hey Sarah," and Hannah's shocked face were unexpected reactions.

I like that we all ordered the exact same thing.

I missed these girls over break and it was so good to sit there catching up with people we really love.

We made a quick stop over at the Perkin's home to deliver a surprise baby quilt Sar and I had made together earlier this year. Kyle and Jenna are going to be such great parents.

I got to watch my first ever Butler basketball game in Hinkle stadium.

The frisbee dog team during half time was definitely a highlight.

Ben, Sarah, Michelle, David and I operated as a unit most of the day. We had to make a trip to Mash to stock up on supplies for appetizers.

Yes, we cooked. I found out where we store so many things in our kitchen that I've never used. In a flurry of activity we simultaneously made skyline layered dip, skyline crockpot dip, fruit almond pastries, and mini deep dish pizzas. I bet you can guess which one was my idea.

New Year's Eve is more commonly known as Nick Houghton's birthday.

 He always hosts the biggest parties. This year he turned 3- but not until after he ate his cake.

I love this night at the Houghton's, it's always such a random and fun assortment of people. We gathered around to sing and watch Nick blow out the candle on the Thomas cake Maddy made for him.

 We played SO many games. Come on 6 number and winter wear styles, the say the common word from the last pair of words and try to say the same word as your partner game, fishbowl, and three random facts,

I got to fulfill my life goal of playing 4 on a couch. It was as much fun as I had anticipated.

Kylie got so excited she was in tears from laughing so hard.

The kids gave us a fashion show. This dress is just so fun.

It's a tradition that we always start a new year standing on our hands so we can have a new perspective. We stretched out and practiced.

And when 12 rolled around we were waiting upside down.

The night brought more cheers, a collective mass clean-up, a top 10 list of moments of 2012 and Jon's famous reflective questions.

Sunday morning I got to go to Common Ground with Sar and Ben before they left to return to Chicago. It was so cool to hear from people in the congregation about how God has worked in their lives this year. I pray that in this coming year I will be able to trust in God's plan and timing, that I will be intentional at going deeper in my faith and making my heart more like the heart of Christ.

Coll was ready to start the new year off with a bang. My gift of Tahitian Treat, the nectar of the Gods, was just the icing on the cake.

We organized a lunch with resident counselors that would be in town for the day but was happily surprised when Molly, Kelsey, and Colleen showed up too.

It was so fun being with friends that are usually spread out all over the country.

Didn't even plan it, great minds think alike.

We got to be lazy most of the afternoon until Rachel, Emily and I decided to go on a walk to see their favorite Christmas lights. I was so glad this house hadn't taken them all down yet.

I got to play Catch Phrase with Molly, her mom Mindy and sister McKenzie. I loved laughing with them until we were crying and couldn't breathe.

Molls and I got to watch Pretty Woman, one of the movies on the list of top 5 chick flicks ever. We want a fairy tale just like Vivian. I love that we know all of the songs and the words to the whole thing.

Monday morning I met Allison for breakfast at Einstein's. She is one of those people I feel like I can just never have enough time with. We sat and talked about life and school and friends and passions and the past year and faith and when I finally looked at my watch it was two and a half hours later. Time flies.

I love that Al is so honest and that she values being vulnerable, honest and genuine. God is up to something in her life and her heart and I'm so glad that on days like this I get to witness some of that.

I went right to lunch with Steph, Mac, Coop, Kayla, Hannah and Emily. In their last day of break they were full of stories of the past two weeks. Ridiculous, hilarious, brave, adventurous and fun these girls have become such a big part of my life here. I can't believe they have just a semester left at Carmel.

I got to rescue Rach, McSoley, Emily and Paige from their winter walk that nearly froze them to death and then hang out for a bit out at their house where Mary joined us. I had to leave pretty quick for one of the best adventures I'd had all of break- Skyzone.


We jumped for an hour and the whole time we just kept yelling, "THIS IS SO COOL!" I ran into students and camp kids, we played spelling games, jumped off the walls (literally), screamed the lyrics of the songs, crumped in the air, and ran-bounced across the whole room. SO cool.

Molly, Emily, Avery, Alli, Natalie and I had a blast and the best workout ever. These girls are so fun and now we want to come back with more camp friends, the FBC and everyone we know.

I think every kids dreams of a room or a house entirely made out of trampolines--who knew that could ever actually happen? I'm ready to go again- who wants to come?

After a dinner of surprises and hilarious quotes from Alli Kenney, Molls and I went home to watch the Pretty Little Liars premiere. While we waited for her parents to finish watching their shows we made some lists-- Top 10 main characters of 2011, hope for 2012, things we'd buy with a million dollars, and things we want that money can't buy.

I got to spend the rest of the night with Rachel and Colleen. I love heart to hearts with friends and staying up way later than I should because I don't have school the next day. I'm so thankful for this pair that value their friendships, their families and their relationship with Christ--they challenge me to be a better person.

I slept in late on my last day of vacation before meeting up with Ellyn and Keef for lunch at Mellow Mushroom. This duo is as hilarious as ever and it's crazy that they're halfway through their freshmen year at IU. It was fun getting to catch up with them and hear about what's been going on in their lives.

After an afternoon of resting up for the rest of the week I went to meet CILT girls for dinner. Sarah Desautel brilliantly suggested a dinner before we all headed back to school. Amanda, Maddie, Helen, Sarah, Kelsey, Kaylin, Erin and Emma all showed up and it was fun to hear about their breaks and everyone's thoughts about returning TV shows and to see how excited they are to find out about Day Camp staff in the next couple of days.

One dinner finished and I got to scoot across town to another Chipotle where camp friends were all meeting. It's just so much fun having everyone around all the time. I love it.

They practiced smiling with their eyes and planning their outfits for a wedding next summer and I just love all of them and wish they didn't have to go back to their schools in a couple days.

The end of break has finally arrived and I'm going to miss making up my own schedule, meals that don't have to end and staying up late talking with friends just because we can. I'm going back to a 10:00 curfew, waking up early, lunch trays, hallway passes, commuting to work, operating off of lesson plans and calendars and teacher clothes. But I think it's going to be great.

This new semester means new students that will fill the desks in my classroom, trips to visit friends and family all across the Midwest, more adventures with Young Life and camp friends, more heart to hearts and so many things that will just happen that I can't predict. I have a good feeling. The best is yet to come.

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