Saturday morning was day 2 of the weekend that would never end. We slept in and then introduced Smooney to Vitality Bowls. Because of allergies sometimes finding food is difficult, but this was a match made in heaven. I mixed up the ingredients of mine this time and it was easily my best experience I've had so far.
I cheered on HSE Volleyball in the first round of Sectionals in the afternoon. I've been watching these Seniors play since they were in 7th grade and have literally seen them grow up on and off the court. They've been ranked #1 in the State all season and have been predicted to win State. They fought hard for 5 matches but in the end they didn't come out with a victory. This was not what they had anticipated, but it doesn't erase all of the heart, dedication, sweat, teamwork and perseverance they've poured into this sport. I'm so proud of these girls.
Saturday night dreams came true. BEN RECTOR CAME TO TOWN! Smooney and I met up with Jamie and Kevin and the rest of the VIP ticket holders. We each got a chocolate chip cookie when we walked into the room and sat down on the ground around Ben Rector.
First Ben answered questions from the audience.
I asked, "You recently posted a funny video for Young Life's 75th anniversary. What's your connection to Young Life or one of you favorite YL stories?"
He said, "I don't have any connection to Young Life. My connection is that I live near to the two guys in that video. And everybody thinks I was involved in YL but I never was. Now I'm not against it, I just didn't have it. It just wasn't a big deal in Tulsa. It seems like an awesome thing though any time I'm around it."
Welp, now we know.
"You see like such kind people, like I think we'd be friends in real life."
He played Sailboat and Note To Self for us...
We were trying to think of something really fun to do for our Meet and Greet picture with Ben. I'm sure it's no surprise that we went with the camp counselor angle. Smoon, Jamie and I have worked together multiple summers at Tecumseh so we wore best friend necklaces, wooden name tags and made Ben his own set too. When we handed Ben the name tag he said, "Wow, this is a lot heavier than I expected."
Then we told him that our CILT hats are also a pretty big deal at Tecumseh. He said, "I've got to do this right," re-snapped the strap to make it bigger on the hat and then wore it facing forwards. #ThisIsSummer
Who knows if anything will happen, but we couldn't resist leaving a note on Ben's new name tag. Cross your fingers that Mama Kat will get a phone call from Ben Rector asking for Joel (one of Ben's biggest fans) in the near future.
Soon enough it was show time. Because of our VIP tickets and intense dedication we stood in the front row, center stage. Ben was everything you would hope for and more. I'm now also a huge fan of Cody Fry. Such a dynamic duo of best pals.
There's nothing like a concert when you know all the words to every song. After listening to songs dozens of times in your car it's pure magic to finally here them played live right in-front of you.
Tonight was one for the books. I also think everyone I knew was in that room: Sarah and Ben, MaryEllen and Coleman, Hannah and Riley, Anna Morgan and Mary Conrad, Caroline and Reagan, Mallory Cav and Madi Moll, Hools and Kegs with their moms, Genna and Alana, Abby and Caitlin and more. Twas such a party.
Smoon and I are all about making some crazy last minute moves so we headed north to Purdue to crash Dance Marathon. Kayla Bacon had been distressed since the middle of the summer that she would have to miss this concert so we wanted to surprise her. Lucky for us, we ran into all kinds of Camp T and HSE pals at Purdue. Each one was pretty confused about why were there.
Everyone was wearing matching outfits with someone for DM so Smoon and I fit right in with all the college kids. And of course we found Kayla being a rock star soon after she met her goal of raising $10,000.
Sunday morning we went to church with the Dewolf fam at Northview before getting our second Chipotle of the weekend for lunch. Then we were off to the pumpkin patch with Young Life friends. First we wandered the corn maze and found our pumpkin-selves with Tara and Caitlyn.
Later Smelko showed up with her freshmen gal pals. We tried out the slide, saw some pig racing and hopped on the wagon. Next adventure: Niagara Falls.
We visited KCraig and fam one more time before heading to the Halkyard's house for Maddie's birthday dinner. SO MANY GREAT HUMANS. I'm so thankful for conversations around dinner tables, rooms full of friends, laughing till I cried and feeling at home here.
Honorable Mention Blog Titles:
"We don't watch CNN student news cause my teacher's an immigrant."
"No, I actually have no connection to Young Life at all. People just always think that I do."
"Wow, this is heavier than I expected."
"Eat some cookies for strength--it's gonna be a long night."
"There was blood on my pillow after J busted his mouth."