Sunday, March 25, 2012

Peoria Adventure: My little guy... The man wants me... You win some, you lose some...

After three and a half hours, two Diet Cokes and singing songs with Molly until our iPod died, we pulled up to Mag's house in Peoria. We've been planning this trip for weeks--to surprise two friends at their play and be reunited with a handful of other camp people.

We had a fan club going to the play together, but they didn't all know that Molls and I would be part of it.  After screaming and hugging every time someone arrived, the Mooney sisters, Jocele, Natalie, Ally, Katie, Molly, Karson, Mags and I all caravaned to Richwoods.

MaryClaire was Kim, a HS president of the Conrad Birdie fan club, and Abby was one of the other HS girls in the group.

We all sat up a bit straighter whenever they came on stage, so excited to see our friends sing and dance. They were fantastic and I'm so glad we got watch them in this show they've been working on for so long.

We stood out in the hallway waiting for them after the final curtain went down. MaryClaire and Abby came out expecting to be greeted by their home friends but went into shock, screaming and crying when they saw Molls and I standing there. We love surprises. The looks on their faces were priceless.

Everyone went to Sweet Cece's, Peoria frozen yogurt, for dessert and then had a dance party in the empty parking lot. It was the start to a weekend of celebration.

A small group of the girls came back to Maggie's to play the game of things, hang out and spend the night.

It felt like a night back at Tecumseh with a cabin full of great friends.

I love how MaryClaire makes everything about cats and Katie Dixon never stops laughing and Peanut's comments are the best and Mags is so glad everyone is together.

After breakfast Saturday morning, Molls and I went to meet up with Sarah and Michelle while Mags went to a wedding shower. The Mooneys took us on a tour of Peoria, with Peanut's unending history lessons all along the way.

We went downtown to the waterfront docks where the Mooney's took their family pictures and took some of our own.

It might have smelled a bit like dead, rotting fish but the sunshine made up for it. I hadn't know that Sarah Mooney was going to be here this weekend and it was such a great surprise to get to spend so much time together. She was in Teton with me back in 2007 when we first declared we were twins. We are still finding that we are similar in so many ways and I loved getting to hang out with her. She is a beautiful soul.

These girls are good at adventures, at having fun, at singing loudly in public, at taking lots of pictures, at being creative.

One of my only requests for the day was that we eat pizza for lunch, so we picked up Monical's and McDonald's Diet Coke. Peanut drove us to our picnic site-- the WMBD, aka Granview Drive, aka World's Most Beautiful Drive which was nicknamed by the one and only Theodore Roosevelt when he visited here.

Eating outside with friends is one of my favorite things.

There were so many people walking by with their dogs that tried to snag some of our pizza. We finished it quickly and then devoted plenty of time to just living the dream.

Mags reunited with us here after she finished at the shower. She really missed us while she was gone.

Our next stop was an ice-cream place called The Spotted Cow to meet up with Maggie's friends Mia and Sydney. I've heard so many stories about both of them and I was really excited to finally meet them in person. We finished our ice-cream and went outside to geo-cache. We'd all given up finding the container except for Sarah and in a few minutes she found it--impressive. Sar signed her name to the log and then put it back in it's hiding spot.

I suggested we go on a scavenger hunt in Peoria. We quickly broke into two random teams and created lists of things to find.

I got to be with both Sarah and Michelle Mooney and Mia. #winning We found a baby, a dog, a gnome, a red head, a cross, a swing, 10 high-fives, John Winkler's autograph, a grape, a fountain, and another body of water before the time was up.

Neither team could find a speed limit sign that didn't end with a 5 or 0... so we tied.

Maggie planned a camp dinner at Flap Top so we could see our favorite camp people some more.

We were joined by Hadley, JACK MCGEE! Mia, Katie, Michelle, Ally, Jocele and Sar. I love that we all talk the whole time, that everyone answers meal questions, that all of these people are somehow connected by camp and it creates this instant bond of friendship even if they hadn't met before this night.

Jack and Maggie made some friends, everyone played the scenerio picture game, we tried to find two more geo-cache sites, and talked in cliches and song titles.

It's so easy to have fun with camp friends. Being a counselor for so many summers has been the biggest blessing of my life and created friendships and connections with so many people. Weekends like this remind me that joy and love and kindness are found when you give those things to other people. It's really that easy.

Another item on my Peoria bucket list was "having Oreo's and milk with Bubba" like Maggie does at the end of everyday. We checked that off the list Saturday night. I loved getting to spend time with both of her parents this weekend. They are hilarious, welcoming, smart, kind and it's easy to see that they love Maggie so much.

This morning Molls, Mags and I went to Le Peep for breakfast. We have the same restaurant in Indy but never before had we eaten a gooey bun. Besides our own breakfasts, we all shared the English Muffin topped with cinnamon, butter, sugar and cream cheese and I almost died of bliss.

One of my favorite parts of today was just sitting on the couch watching Spanglish together when we got back to the house. It's fun running around doing all of these special things, but I love doing really regular things together that we normally can't because we're so far away.

Our last visit was from Maggie and Ellie Pearl and Jocele. We thought we wouldn't get to see each other this weekend, but with a turn of events we ended up overlapping. It was so good to see El after so long and to watch all of these girls be goofy together. They're all lucky to have each other.

Weekends like this remind me why I started blogging in the first place. I wanted to document all of the different people that my life overlaps with. I wanted to be able to share how incredible my friends, campers, YL girls and fellow leaders, family, and students are. I wanted to make relationships a priority.

All of that is still true and it's why I'm still blogging. And the almost two years I've been writing this have made me so much more intentional about investing in people. I want to keep doing that because I'm continually seeing that it's what really matters.

Ellie has a spirit of perseverance and a joy about her that is so incredible. Molly makes me laugh and makes me think, she is bold and speaks her mind. Michelle, aka Peanut, encourages me to live a life I'm proud of even if it's difficult along the way and to be intentional about creating joy. MaryClaire is creative and loves her friends so much. Maggie is ridiculously loyal and always knows just how to make people feel included and important. Sar is patient, wise, embraces what inspires her, knows how to live life to the full and seeks after God's heart. Katie listens so well to people and lets you know that she's so excited just to be with you. Jocele has spunk and people naturally just want to be around her because she is a great friend. Jack is humble and wise, he cares about bringing joy to other people and he doesn't even know when he's inspiring people all around him. Ally wants to hear people's stories and she recognizes what makes people special. I love these friends.


  1. So Jealous you went geocaching! I really, really want to do that some time. How do you know where to look? Also, it is kind of weird how you all look identical from the waist down in that first picture. And from the waist up really isn't that different either. And I really like your sweater!

  2. In traditional geocaching I think you just get coordinates and then use a compass and a map. Now they have apps you can download with a map and they tell you how many miles/ feet you are away. Really cool except when it keeps changing its mind and you haven't moved at all. Yeah... we kind of dress the same.