Thursday, October 31, 2013

Best Halloween Ever-- and we didn't even celebrate Halloween

Dictionary Day-- Our annual Junior High even that asks every student and teacher to dress up as the definition of a word. I LOVE this day. The halls are filled with crazy costumes and every one is so happy when they're doing something out of the ordinary. I had to find my friends KCraig and Trulock upstairs. KCraig was "whimsy" because she said she felt whimsical like me when she woke up this morning. "Arid" Trulock wore dryer sheets and gray and black.

8th graders Liz "Renovation" Huston, Ellie "Jubilation" Gerstner and I all rocked the overalls today. We think we should wear overalls everyday because they're just comfortable and fashion forward.

Gru made an appearance today on his birthday and I met "Progeny" in the lunch line.

Milly wanted to dress up as me and a Young Life leader today so she found a word that would work for that. Then we were twinning in our tie-dye, overalls and snapbacks. She rocked the crocs and my YL fanny pack too. Trick-or-treating was moved in Fishers but that didn't stop us from dressing up today.

Friendship Bracelet Club played Human Ladder this afternoon, one of our all time favorite games. Two teams race against one another to build their human ladder down the hall, around the loop and back to the start.With the rest of the school empty, we can be this crazy.

We learned the 3-braid bracelet today which is taking our skills up a level. In lieu of Halloween we listened to our favorite Christmas tunes to get ready for Wyld Life Club. Everyone loves Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas," Justin Bieber's "Mistletoe," and N'Sync's "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays."

Usually our attendance numbers have fallen by this time in the year, but we're still filling up the whole LGI room every week with all of these girls and boys. Thankful for hanging out with Lucy and Victoria, for getting to know the 7th graders and for having Hope, Katy, Caitlin and Rachel all come back to visit.

The FBC may have been one of my greatest ideas when I became a teacher. Can't wait for this year's sweatshirt design to be announced!

Next I picked up Brooke, Haley and Emily Lorch from the HS in the pouring rain. We went to the dollar store to get balloons, streamers, silly string and accessories to surprise Haleigh Devoe for her birthday. We filled Hannah's car with balloons and then went inside Devau's to watch the end of the Varsity cheerleader's practice.

We kidnapped Haleigh with the help of Hannah and Butler and took her to Wild Ginger for birthday sushi. These girls are recently obsessed with sushi and they were all excited to pick out which rolls we would share.

This birthday caper was a pretty spontaneous plan and I'm glad I got to be part of it all. I love these YL girls. Haleigh is such a compassionate, fiercely loyal, enthusiastic girl and I admire her character and faith.

Our waitress surprised Haleigh with banana tempura with ice cream for her birthday and we ate it YL camp style with everyone digging in all at once.

Wyld Life Club was up next and I drove to the Indy Yacht Club to meet the rest of my team. This Halloween we're celebrating Christmas because... why not? Santa even made an appearance! He's not usually booked this early in the season so he was happy to show up.

As the kids arrived they all got to take a picture on Santa's knee too.

These 8th grade guys are some of the best. Because trick-or-treating was moved we packed the Yacht Club with SO many kids. I love these kids-- their enthusiasm makes Club so fun every time.

Do you remember the scene from Buddy the Elf when he eat spaghetti topped with pop tarts, marshmallows, candy and syrup for breakfast? Tonight we decided to try it out.

Andrew, T Rensch, Brittany and Riley stepped up to the challenge, a little weary of what all of that would taste like together.

Their friends cheered them on as they ate Buddy's favorite dish, probably thankful that they weren't the ones up there eating it.

It was a general consensus that Buddy's spaghetti was disgusting and that they never want to eat it again. Glad we figured that out.

We played a "Name that Christmas Carol" game in groups. My 7th grade girls dominated at figuring out the riddles.
  1. Everyone who is loyal can approach
  2. Ecstasy toward the orb
  3. Give attention to the melodious celestial beings

4. Hey, miniscule urban area southeast of Jerusalem
5. Quiescent nocturnal period
6. Monarchial triad

7. The primary carol
8. Embellish the corridors
9. I’m fantasizing concerning a bleached yuletide
10. I apprehended my maternal parent osculating with a corpulent unshaven male in crimson disguise
11. The slight percussionist lad
12. Red man en route to borough
13. Seraphim we aurally detected in the stratosphere

Everyone loves opening presents on Christmas morning. Mia, Natalie, Lydia and Ben got to race in unwrapping these gifts but they had to wear mittens while they did it. Inside the present they found another wrapped box. Inside the second box they found a gift bag filled with presents.

Our last game was a "Name That Christmas Movie" race between Matt, Sydney and Katie. Chad would show a scene from a movie up on the screen and then the three kids raced to find the Santa head before they could answer. We had them running all over the room and their friends shouting out the answers to them.

Ryan gave the Club Talk tonight and then we broke up into small groups to talk about our identity and who Christ wants us to become. We're all in the process of becoming someone. I hope we can encourage each other to become the best version of ourselves, the person Christ created us to be.

It's a funny thing-- when you wear Christmas clothes, put up Christmas decorations, sing Christmas carols, talk about Christmas movies and say, "Merry Christmas!" enough it really does feel like Christmas. I'm going to be confused when I wake up tomorrow and it's only November 1st.

It's safe to say this was the most fun Halloween I've ever had and it had nothing to do with Halloween at all.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"I just got those butterflies in my stomach cause I'm filled with so much excitement I could scream and cry and laugh all at the same time."

We were together. I forget the rest.  -Walt Whitman
Top 10 Favorite Traditions:
1. Queso, bible study and top 10 lists with Alex, Katy and Rachel on Wednesdays
2. Stockings then breakfast than tree presents on Christmas morning
3. CILT reunions (dance party, Whitetail sleepover, love tanks, newlywed game, theme dinner, giant devotion and being more excited than any other day of the year)
4. Reading "Puppies" to girls on the last night of Tecumseh or YL camp
5. The rock devotion week 1 and "Touch someone who" after closing campfire
6. SIBs at Hope (NME, chapel together, the Phelps table with the Emmys, trads, coffee dates, Kletz lunch Thursday, prayers and praises in the basement)
7. Old Chick Flick Sundays with Emel, Colleen and Molly
8. Christmas Quilt Camp with Mom, the Hot Chocolate Club and a different friend every year
9. Thanksgiving in MI and a midnight trip to J. Crew with Katie
10. Weekends at camp with Smooncat of writing PLs, eating our favorite foods, sleeping in and just being best friends

Highs- MY CAMERA CAME BACK TODAY, weekly fiesta with Alex, Katy and Rachel, SO many fun things are happening tomorrow I can't even begin to tell you, starting a new book

The new Tecumseh Tales, a quarterly newsletter from Camp Tecumseh, is out. Mike Lang has done an incredible job with this issue and I urge you to check it out. Even if you're not connected to Camp Tecumseh, the article titled Vagabond about my friend Ricky is one you've just got to read.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

John Green and dumpster diving

Tonight I went on an adventure with Meg, Julia, Kate and Mitch. All avid readers of the author John Green, these Young Life kids and I were on a mission to meet him at Butler. We talked about his books and his history series Crash Course and his You Tube channel the Vlog brothers in the car on the way to Broad Ripple. They were all so excited they could hardly stand it.

John Green is the author of several well-known books-- Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines and The Fault In Our Stars. It seems as though at least half the students have read The Fault In Our Stars and I've yet to find a person who didn't love it and shed at least one tear.

The five of us ate dinner at Pei Wei, one of my favorite restaurants that they'd never been too. It's the Asian version of a Noodles & Co and I made everyone eat with chopsticks for at least a little while. Hanging out with these kids was so fun because it was such an eclectic group. We were anxious to meet John Green and decided to get there early.

We parked on campus, found Clowes Hall and get inside a minute before they opened the doors to the theatre. Luckily we are speedy and Kate snagged five seats for us in the second row right in front of the podium. Commence freaking out level two. Only an hour until the program began.

Two seconds later I realized that the girl sitting behind me was Lauren from Session 1 of CILTs. Then just down from us in the front row was Jamie McDougall, an old camp counselor from when I was in middle school. She works at Orchard and had brought two John-Green-fanatic students and one of them is a Tecumseh kid. As I was talking to them Katie Swanton, Session 3 CILTs, tapped me on the shoulder and then we freaked out. After she went back to her seat I spotted Audrey Gleason, a Carmel Young Life leader and talked to her for awhile. Then Abby Bien, a Camp T counselor, buzzed in and I got to say hi to her before she sat with her roommate. Right behind her was Monica, a CILT of 2012, and she squealed when we got to see each other. Then we saw Kaelyn, and HSE YL girl, who had come with her mom. Who knew the John Green reading would be such a reunion?

 Finally the event began. We soon discovered that we would actually hear multiple authors share their work. First was a slam poet that rocked. We would've happily listened to her read more of her work.

Then we met a quirky author named Ben Winters. We'd never heard of him before but immediately realized this guy was awesome. He talked as quickly as the Gilmore Girls as he excitedly told us, "The whole point of a novel, the point of art, is mystery. it makes you want to keep thinking about it. And then it makes you think about your life. You dig into the world that we live in. Then ponder about that."

Ben shared an excerpt from his novel "The Last Policeman" which is the first of a trilogy. "My friend told me it's pretty funny to publish a sequel to, "The Last..." anything. He said we should call the second book, "We found another Policeman!"

After the event Ben came out and the girls got a picture with him. We might not know his work yet but he could become one of their favorites and now they have a picture with him.

Next Susan Neville, another Butler professor in the creative writing department, shared a piece that she'd written several years ago. Julia and I both laughed out loud at, "My neighbor owns seven white dogs. Well... actually I'm not sure looking back. It might have only been two or three dogs that just kind of exploded into hundreds of little white dogs."

Then it was the moment we'd all been waiting for-- JOHN GREEN! He came on the stage greeted by a thunderous applause and then we all sat on the edge of our seats waiting to hear what he'd say. "I'm going to read from The Fault In Our Stars, something that I really like, then I'm going to read from something new, that I wrote yesterday, and this morning actually. I'm not sure if it's any good. Or even if it's in sentences. So this will be interesting."

He read the part of TFIOS where Hazel is sitting on the old swing set in the back yard when she starts crying and calls Gus who comes over right away so they can write an ad for that swing set so it won't make her cry anymore. Easily one of the most popular scenes in the novel, it was surreal to hear John Green reading those words, "I fell asleep, much the way that you fall in love. Slowly, then all at once." Julia turned to me and whispered, "It's crazy that my favorite stories were all just thought up in his head."

"Now I'm going to read you a chapter from the new book I'm working on. But I have to ask you not to record this in any way. And I'm not asking in a nice way, but because if you do my editor will kill me. And I really don't want to die."

Then he read a chapter and it was awesome and funny and I may have written down a couple lines but I can't sure them with you because I don't want John Green to die.

"Ok, now I'm just going to read the next chapter because I'm having fun. This is terrifying!"

Then he read another chapter and it had this awesome scene where you just think, "Gosh I want that to happen in real life!" and I wanted to give a fist pump for one of the characters and we laughed out loud and learned a new insult and it was just awesome.

Then just like that, it was over. Every one started to file out but we lingered near the stage because lingering seemed like a good idea. And what do you know but John Green reappeared just to say, "I'm so sorry but we can't do a book signing. I'm so sorry. I have to get home to my wife and my baby." But Julia was smart and said, "Can I shake your hand?" and then she, Meg and Kate all shook his hand. And then they cried tears of joy. Honest. I saw tears in all of their eyes.

It was finally time to go home but as soon as we got to my car we realized that I didn't have my water bottle. I had brought it into dinner and when I sat it down on the table I said, "Kate, don't let me forget this." So of course, I forgot it. I wasn't too stressed and figured we could swing by on the way home and pick it up.

We arrived and the door was locked but I knocked on the window until a lady answered it. I told her about the MIA water bottle and she said she'd check in the back. Nope, no water bottle back there. She told me they must have thrown it away. I was obviously sad but headed back out to tell the kids in my car.

Immediately they told me we should look through the trash to find it. "Seriously?!" I asked, "You'll do that?" All of them were pumped about the idea of looking through the trash so I went back inside to ask the manager. Needless to say, all of the employees inside thought I was insane. They lugged out two trash cans from the back and said it would be in one of them. I was thrilled because I thought we'd be looking in the dumpster outback.

I went back out to get the kids and discovered they had taken the initiative to already start looking through the dumpsters. Hilarious and so adventurous and disgusting of them. All five of us headed back in the restaurant and pulled on white rubber gloves to sift through the leftovers and trash. Miraculously, only a few seconds later Kate found the water bottle! A nice lady washed it off in the kitchen for me and we were on our way again.

After a quick drive-thru at McDonald's for ice-cream cones we were on our way back to Fishers. It was one of the most memorable nights we've had in awhile.