Dear God, Thank you for college football weekends. Love, Lizzie.


Oh my gosh, Notre Dame-Miami weekend was the best. It was exhausting and exhilarating and everything in between. Michael, Ben, and I rendezvoused at O'Hare last Friday after a highly eventful day of travel involving flaming planes and Uber car accidents, hitting the road over an hour later than anticipated. As soon as we landed, I started getting snaps and texts from my family and Laura, Drew, and Haley, who were all already in South Bend. Could not wait to get there. We picked up our rental car, and I mayyyy or may not have driven 85 all the way from O'Hare to Exit 77. 

Our destination? Campus after dark. 2:15am, to be specific. Just us and the dozens of undergrads fleeing back to their dorms after parietals started, on Halloween Friday. Hilarity abounded, campers. 

As it was Ben's first time on campus, I wanted to make sure his introduction was as special as possible. It was a gorgeous night, and the Dome always looks beautiful lit up. Even better: 

Nothing beats the Grotto after dark, especially on a game weekend when every candle is lit. We stopped for a quick prayer, then headed to Library Quad and the stadium before looping back to the bookstore and off to the Reuvers' cabin. 

We all woke up a little slower than anticipated on Saturday...the three of us after a late night, the rest after a hard night at the Backer. (Well...crazy Michael got up and went running at 6am! Luckily, he crashed for another hour or so when he got back and we were all asleep.) All our grand plans for starting gameday at the crack of dawn? Yeah, right. Should've remembered that we always start slow on game Saturdays.

Fortunately, Paul Reuvers is a champ and knew the only way to start a gameday was by hopping right back on the horse...aka by heading to fulfill a classic Irish tradition at Knute Rockne's grave. I had never been before, so this was a new experience for all of us! 

Soon we returned to the cabin, where shenanigans abounded. 

While it may look like the boys dominated our lone game of beer pong, Laura and I sank both balls in the same cup to come back and win it all for Team Lady. 

Then things got silly, and we filled up our coffee cups to head back to campus for a day of Irish celebration! 

Not without a quick Schwegmanigans photo, though :) 

We cut across Stadium Lot, and paused to check out the new construction by daylight. I am NOT a fan, friends. From there, it was off to the Bookstore (where we bonded with half-naked water polo players), Player Walk (my first time ever!), and then to Bond Hall to see this guy: 

ROOMIE! (Disregard my blurry eyes. Drew brought me two four-packs of White Girl Rosé in honor of our INSANE shenanigans over Laura's birthday weekend, and yours truly may or may not have overindulged in classic basic white girl fashion. No apologies.)

This was the first time my parents had met Hal's, and I'm fairly sure it was love at first sight (much like their respective children). 

Along with enjoying our front row seats for Concert on the Steps, we met up with my darling former Candyland pseudo-roommate, Melissa, and her husband Jordan! From Concert on the Steps, it was a mad dash to Main Building for Trumpets in the Dome, where I shamelessly elbowed my way guessed it...the front. Don't come between this girl and her nerdy band traditions. 

Basic bitches take hugging photos in front of campus landmarks. So good to see Melissa - it had been since her wedding over a year ago! 

We parted ways and headed to the stadium, where I admired my view for pregame...

...and enjoyed the excellent company of Hal's family through a tumultuous game. Oh, Irish. Loving you has taken DECADES off my life at this point. 

After a nail-biter of a fourth quarter, and being right in the perfect position to witness our game-winning touchdown, the fun was just beginning. Michael, Ben, and I scored post-game field passes through Irish Upgrade, a new-to-me way to score cool behind-the-scenes or add-on experiences. We had unlimited access to the field and sidelines, in a group limited to just 40 people. It was my first time back on the field since my graduation day...needless to say, I was a bit nostalgic. The boys, on the other hand, were dying for a football. 

We made do, however, by running around like pros (them) and snapping close to a hundred photos (me). All while reveling in that Irish win up on the scoreboard, naturally. 

We slowly made our way out the Tunnel and back to the cabin, where a giant ribs-and-pasta feast awaited us courtesy of the Reuvers family. Riley lit a bonfire while my parents had us all in stitches around the picnic table...and I could have died and gone to heaven with general contentment. Three of my four Schwegs plus so many of my favorite friends, at my favorite place, after an Irish win? The only thing that could have made it better would have been mustering enough energy for the Backer. 

That's right. WE FAILED TO BACKER. Eternal shame is mine. (I'm just going to tell myself we had to leave something on the Notre Dame bucket list to get Ben back sometime soon!)

Sunday dawned soggy and drizzly, but we made the best of it after saying our goodbyes at the cabin. Ben left absurdly early for O'Hare, while my parents and Jonny headed off to Michigan to move him into his big-boy apartment! Michael and I went to Studebagels with Laura, then paid a visit to the Basilica...nominally for Mass, but mostly so I could lose my mind over the stunning new organ. 

All too soon, it was back in the car, back to O'Hare, and back on a plane to the Cities. Notre Dame weekends' only flaw is that they are never long enough! Saying goodbye to those blue, gray October skies is always hard, but knowing there will be more football victories and fantastic times with friends and family in my future makes it so much easier. 

Proudly in the heavens, gleams thy gold and blue, indeed. Go thee, Notre Dame!