We spent the weekend before Christmas down in Marietta visiting Cindy's folks. Saturday was a gorgeous day (at least for a December day in Ohio), and both Josh and Marie enjoyed riding one of the four-wheelers. Sunday morning came fairly early as Josh bounced out of bed in anticipation of a Christmas morning with his grandparents. The mound of presents were a bit overwhelming- even for Josh- but he, Sarah, and Marie managed to make the morning last for a fair amount of time. By far, one of Josh's favorite gifts was his scooter, and Ms. Sarah simply adored her baby doll that her grandma had bought for her.
Watching my son interact with his Grandpa Gerber is a real treat for me. Here's a man who truly enjoys his grand-kids. It's obvious that Fred cherishes the time that he gets to spend with his grandson- evidenced by the time that he spends on the floor playing Lego's/ games with Josh; taking him outside to ride on the four-wheeler/ trekking up the hillside for an afternoon walk with the little guy; or just taking in all the energy (and conversation) that Josh has to offer. Josh is constantly asking me when the next time will be that he'll get to spend time with his Grandpa Gerber...and I'm guessing Fred feels the same way.
We just finished up the Christmas concerts this evening...even with the cruddy weather, we had a fairly large crowd at the 7:00 performance. Like last year, I was simply blown away at the talent level of our singers. Kenton and Emily did a phenomenal job of pulling this whole thing together; I am so incredibly proud to be part of this 100+ ensemble of singers, orchestra/ praise band players. Many of them are like family to me, and I feel incredibly privileged to be able to worship with them each Sunday.
It's hard to believe, though, that after all the individual practicing and group rehearsals, it's all over. This year, we had a Celtic flavor to the concerts- complete with a group of young Irish dancers who accompanied a few of our songs. I think the pivotal song of the entire concert was a tune entitled How Many Kings. A follow-up message by our pastor answered the question, How many kings would give up their thrones for us? The answer? Just one, and his birthday is in about two weeks.
Well, not exactly. We checked into the Kalahari Wednesday morning around 11:00, and stayed through Friday afternoon. The entire resort is undergoing a major addition which will eventually double the size of the water park. Still, the kids had a fantastic time, and were pretty much water-logged by the end of each day. Even little Sarah got in on the action as she was able to play in the toddler water-slide/ swing section as well as accompany me on the lazy river…well, at least until Wednesday evening.
Coming out of the hot-tub with my son, I lost my footing and in the process sliced my foot on the ceramic tile. Not very graceful, mind you. Anyway, I didn't even realize what I had done until I had started walking towards the locker rooms and heard my son scream. What must have appeared like a really bad scene in a low budget horror flick, I looked down only to see my entire foot covered in blood. Long story short, I went to the first aid station and got the thing bandaged up. They told me that I should probably go to the nearest hospital for stitches, but spending the eve of Thanksgiving in an emergency room did not appeal to me all that much. I figured I’d go on Friday when we got back to town. (Note: after a 24 hour period, one usually can’t get stitches due to the risk of infection…as I found out on Friday at the Urgent Care in Green)
Thankfully, Marie was with us so Josh was able to hang with his big sis the rest of the weekend while Cindy and I resided in the kiddie area with Sarah- with my aching foot well out of reach from any water.
The original game plan was to go out to eat on Thursday, but our room was equipped with a full kitchen and dining room table. So- God love Wal-Mart- Thursday morning I made a quick trip to the store to buy a turkey and all the trimmings so that we could cook inside. Since Sarah is still taking naps (and is not all that keen on dining out these days), it worked out perfectly. She slept, and I cooked and watched a good portion of the Lions game while Cindy, Josh, and Marie enjoyed the park. I often thought what kind of pathetic person would actually go grocery shopping for EVERYTHING on Thanksgiving morning…you’re looking at him.
Having politicked for a number of weeks now to his teacher for what equates to the Holy Grail of St. Matthew's kindergarten class, Josh finally brought home Behavior Pooh from school- a prestigious award for the youngster who demonstrates commendable behavior. Each student is then asked to complete a page in the class scrapbook documenting the adventures that they share with the little guy.
40,000 cans is the goal this year- a pretty ambitious number for a bunch of teenagers whom many would label as self absorbed and indifferent towards the plight of the poor, right? Well- to date, our kids have brought in almost 35,000 with one more weekend to go- an impressive number considering the fact that we only have about 900 kids in the building. Each year, friendly class competitions have served as the needed motivation to fill the central hallway with food for neighboring soup kitchens and hunger centers.
The kids produced an extremely entertaining video to kick off this service project, and so far, the response has been incredible. As an added incentive, students who brought in 5 cans this morning were permitted to wear OSU or Michigan game day jerseys/ t-shirts to school. (Why anyone would want to wear the Wolverine blue and gold is beyond my comprehension) Pictured here is a portion of this morning's collection of food.
Marie, the "cheerleader" and Josh, aka Power Ranger- Operation Overdrive, made the trek through the neighborhood tonight to fill their Halloween bags while little Sarah and I stayed at home to pass out candy to the trick or treaters. We probably had around 50 kids stop by; the weather no doubt was a factor to the small turnout considering it was drizzling/ 55 degrees.
Sitting by the window looking out onto the sidewalk, Sarah got the biggest kick out of spotting all the trick or treaters and then placing the candy into the bags of our visitors...although, a couple of the costumes spooked her a bit, so I had to take over a couple of times in depositing the treats into the goodie bags.
Friends of mine at school all warned me…get through October, and the rest of the year should go relatively smooth. Well, I’m ½ way there, and having heeded the warning, I’m definitely looking forward to November 1.
October is THE recruiting month for our school…
2 Saturday Morning Placement Tests We’ll have over 500 kids take this. Information packets on financial aid and academic scholarships are distributed to all the kids after taking the test.
Sunday Open House Last week, we had over 65 families tour the school. Here again, I’ve always been just a participant in these. Planning them is somewhat more of a daunting task.
4 Information Nights @ Medina, West Akron, Coventry/ Barberton, and Fairlawn These are typically hosted by “influential” Hoban parents who in turn invite perspective families to their home to hear our story. So far, the turnouts have been fantastic!
Old Trail’s High School Fair 1500 Count Mailing for the Admissions Viewbook (cover is pictured here) I had no idea how much work went into this. We began composing the text/ assembling the photos over the summer, and then what seemed like an endless amount of proofs- finally sent it off to the printers at the beginning of September
1200 Count Mailing for Meet the Coaches Night (sponsored by Admissions) The school’s attempt to educate perspective students/ parents on OHSAA’s recruiting and student athlete bylaws.
Publication of Knight Lights (Hoban newsletter sent to kids in grades 6-8) I actually got to play a fairly significant role in not only the text, but also the layout design- which was definitely all un-chartered territory for me.
8th Grade Shadow Days Over 250 eighth graders will spend a day this fall with one of our Hoban kids. As we tell the parents who call to make these appointments, this truly is the best way to get a true sense of how the school operates between the hours of 8-3 p.m.
The Telephone Conversations This has perhaps been the most surprising part of my position. Still teaching 2-3 Microsoft Office classes a day, I'll arrive back to my office at times with 8-10 phone messages from perspective parents asking about placement tests, shadow days, registration procedures, general info on the school, or at times simply seeking encouragement that their child can succeed at Hoban, regardless of various learning disabilities/ financial situations...it's these conversations that can become quite involved.
Toss in those late night Tribe games, and I think I’ve quaffed (love that word) my fair share of Starbuck’s over the past couple of weeks. Am I enjoying this so far? Absolutely! It is so entirely different from what I have become accustomed to doing over the last 17 years, and the extra events are somewhat of a tradeoff for me no longer staying up till 11:00 each night planning lessons/ grading those beloved English essays.
Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale... . Marie and I traveled to Cleveland last night to celebrate her 13th birthday on the Nautica Queen. We left the dock around 7:30, and the ship meandered up and down through the Flats and then eventually headed out towards the lake enabling us to see the Cleveland skyline during a three hour dinner cruise. When I made these reservations about a month ago, I was expecting the worst in terms of weather, but we could not have asked for a more perfect October evening. We spent most of the evening on the upper deck after we finished our meal.
I think both Marie and I were amazed at all the suspension bridges that are located in the Flats. It's pretty spectacular to see these mechanical machines descend as the trains would go by and then rise for the water traffic. We had to stop at least on three different occasions for this to happen. Not to mention, most of the bridges in downtown Cleveland are all lit up with various colored lights, so it really was beautiful. The movie SpidermanIII actually shot some scenes from the Flats area...our city's claim to fame.
Speaking of claim to fame, by 10:00, "the ballgame" was still not over, and everyone aboard was anxiously awaiting the outcome. Finally word got out that Hafner had just singled home the winning run in the 11th inning. I'm kind of glad that I didn't watch the game because by the sound of it, it was a real nail-biter. Not to mention, how many times in life can you spend an entire evening with your little girl- whose not so little anymore- cruising the Cuyahoga River/ Lake Erie. . Happy Birthday, sweetheart.
Well, between the 5 of us, we were able to knock out 26 miles in about 4 1/2 hours...no problem at all. We had an absolutely picture perfect day- weather wise- and the marathon had a record number of participants, 7,000!
My leg started up by Fairlawn country club, and after meandering back towards Firestone High School and Stan Hywet, I began the last long stretch of Market Street from Highland Square back downtown to Canal Park. I also think that the number of folks who came out to cheer on the runners may have been a record too. This one house (mansion, actually) on Portage Path had rented 3 of those huge inflatables for the kids to play on while what looked to be around 5-6 different couples stood curbside and cheered on the runners with a ton of different signs, sound system, and free water bottles. All in all, I probably passed 2-3 different garage bands, a couple of DJ set-ups, two marching bands, and numerous "yard" parties for the 7 1/2 mile trek.
My Olympian caliber team-mates- Jeff, Mary Lou, Glen, and Maureen were awesome, and we all had a great time at the team dinner later last night. Can't wait till next year! Thanks again, gang, for running with me!
Nothing has been decided yet, but I'm trying to convince Jeff to split the Cleveland marathon in April with me. I'm pretty confident that we can do it, it's just those cold, winter evening runs in January that aren't overly appealing...we'll see.