We got back from Malibu on Monday and left for Chicago that Thursday. Pretty quick laundry turn-around! We went up for a leadership retreat weekend for the Summer Academy. It was a great time. We got to meet the kids from last year that came back to day hello and also spend time with the returners that are coming back to be student leaders this year with us. It was a real encouraging time to see how much the Academy meant to them and really fostered some excitement for this year. It's gonna be sweet to be a part of something so special. We had some classroom brainstorming sessions, played soccer tennis (ugh, the first of many soccer activities for me this summer), went out to eat, played games at the McKinleys, etc. It seems like a great group of college kids and we can't wait for them to get in town! Two weeks from today they'll be here!
The following weekend we had a visit from the Kellers! It was great to get some time with them and play games like we love to do. Unfortuantely I quickly became the most hated member of the family when I won most of the games (Dutch Blitz and Settlers)...and then they all accused me of rediculous things because they were losing. Finally, I started losing (in Family Feud) and all was well in the world again. We got to take them to McAlisters and Sonic, both requests of Amy. They also got to meet the Koontz and the Ross' which was fun to connect the two worlds like that.
Then, a week later, we went to a Carrie Underwood/Keith Urban concert! I must say, as someone that doesn't like country music, I loved it! Keith Urban was amazing and it was a great time. We went with Klotz and the Casey's and Nate.
The day after that my parents came down. And in Dad's true fashion, he did something for our house. We put a screen of the back door! As the Faro kids well know, the gift of cross breeze is unmatched. Aaron basically wanted to keep the back door open continuously until we left for Chicago. Apparently this should've been a present a long time ago. For the guy nobody can buy for, this idea should've hit me earlier I guess. Next on the agenda is to put one on the kitchen door that goes to the garage so we can have that door open when the game room in in action. Sadly, we weren't able to spend much time with my parents because of work and getting ready to leave again...
Aaron and I went to Tampa for the St. Anthony's Triathlon the next weekend. We signed him up for this in December because apparently it's a big deal...and it was! It was unreal. I'll describe a little bit but you won't really get a good enough picture of it. We drove down two days early and stayed with the Faraci grandparents the day or so before. They are adorable. We got many tours of the neighborhood and were VERY well fed. Of course. We drove the rest of the way to Tampa and met up with Buck and Ally the day before the race. Had to check in and drop off your stuff in the transition area. There were 4500 people in this race...it was an unbelievable spectacle. There were vendors all over and so many people walking around in their Lance outfits (good old tri gear). This race had some serious contenders...like the guys that won the olympic trials, and the world championships...so I guess thats why you need to sign up months in advance. He raced with the big boys this time.
There are few groups to register in...professional, elite, and age groups. We took a chance and registered him elite even though the competition was pretty serious. His goal was to prove that he belonged in the elite category and to beat one professional. And he did it! He placed in the middle of the elite group and beat a few pros! He came in 75th place overall out of 4500 and finished in 2 hours and 6 minutes. Buck did well with a personal best time too! I made the mistake of trying to take video insread of pictures for this race so there's not much to show cause I was pretty bad at it. Now, he needs to figure out if this hobby is gonna be around for a while....I'm not sure I'm ready for this...and neither is he (he almost missed the start of his wave of the race cause he took too long to set up in the morning...seriously, he ran to the starting point and just had enough time to take his clothes off and grab the goggles...nothing like preparing for months to almost miss the race!)
And we got back from the race with a week and half to pack up the house and leave for Chicago! It was a whirwind week for sure. My school was finishing up, I had to finish out my clients, I had all my "last hangout" dates, we had to pack up our stuff for three months, and get the house ready for other people to live in it till we get back. Craziness. Aaron had the brilliant idea of going to the mountains for a few days on the way up to relax and catch our breath before the next wave of the summer hits full force.
It was a great time...we had a day or so to relax and get ourselves connected which was apparently very necessary. I didn't even know how worked up I was till we got there and I had time to think. Then Brian, Lani, Andy and Lauren came up for Saturday and Sunday. That was so much fun. We went on hikes, played games, and jumped into freezing cold water :-) Lani has recently broken her ankle was such a trooper the whole weekend!!!! She went on all the outings and crutched her way around, or the boys carried her. She did not let that hot pink cast slow her down! We had a good time of sharing and prayer too before we left which was awesome. It was a really sweet time of getting to know eachother on a deeper level and praying for good friends. I really love our friends!
Highlight of the weekend....no question...Lauren jumping into the base of the waterfall without any warning. We went to this water fall that people jump off of. We talked about jumping and realized we were all too scared cause its high and you can't see where you're jumping to and the water is freezing right now. So we walk down to the base of the water fall and Aaron is talking about want to go swimming. Lauren walks down and says "I think I'll just feel the water". And then she proceeds to jump in with her clothes on! And it took all of 5 seconds for the Aaron, Brian, and I to do the same things after she did it. And the water was FREEZING! Andy and Lani stayed nice and warm on the rocks watching us all act like fools in the cold water. Good times.
After they left Aaron and I had one more night there before the 11.5 hour drive up here. The drive actually wasn't too bad (says the girl that drove less than 3 hours of it). We got up about dinner time, had dinner at Rick's house and then went to our host family's house. They live about 25 minutes from the office here. A bit of a drive but they are awesome people and the set up there is good. They are in their late 60's with all grown kids. We basically have the whole downstairs floor of the house which has our bedroom, bathroom, and den with a tv, and even a tiny kitchen! Not bad considering I was preparing myself to live in a tiny bedroom right next to someone's 3 year old screaming kid. Pleasantly blessed!
So far we've been getting organized here in the office, helped out with the annual golf fundraiser yesterday, and are getting our visa applications out. Please pray for that process as it is never smooth and we are concerned our's won't get back in time. Probably not a good thing to have the leaders stay home without visas for Brazil! We overnighted it today and hope it all works out well!
Other random info...I got all A's in school last semester (not sure its worth it, I might shoot for B's next time), we've had time at night to relax and play tennis and take long bike rides which has been nice. There are tons of nice trails and parks here. Umm, a board member heard me talking about wanting a summer gym membership and bought me one at the auction. How nice is that?!?! He redeemed it at pick up and turned around and gave it right back to me. What a blessing to have that for the summer! What else...I think that's it for now! Thank you for all your prayers for the summer and keep them coming. We have lots ot do and not a lot of time to do it (true Eagles fashion). And for all you blog stalkers out there...there is a new blog to stalk. We made one for the summer for all the families to check so we'll be putting pictures and stories up for the summer. So you can check that one to keep up to date on what we're doing with the Academy! The website is http://chicagoacademy08.blogspot.com/
Things to pray for...
- safe travel for the kids here
- visa applications
- the boys staying at my house...and hopefully actually cleaning it!