Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Party With The Payne People

 This last weekend, we had a gift from Kansas - our beloved friends came for a visit, and we had so much fun. I met Laura in college. We became close friends and roommates, and she casually introduced me to James one day in passing. I must have made quite an impression during our five minute introduction, because James called me up out of the blue, we went out on what was basically a blind date, and we totally hit it off, so he called me again to go out - this time to a concert with all of his friends. I dragged Laura along with me, since I was a little intimidated by the "all of his friends" part, and she met James's best friend, Elliot. They started dating that night and are now married. Funny old life. Even funnier, Laura and Elliot have a three year old daughter with curly red hair. Little LJ made this weekend complete, delighting my children and adding to the general child cacophony around here. It was a total blast.

We only had a few days, so Laura and I had planned ahead for what we wanted to do while they were here. On Saturday, we had breakfast at Maggie's Buns, then went to our favorite pumpkin patch (Lakeview Farm). We hit Burgerville for pumpkin shakes and sweet potato fries, then came home to let the kids take naps. Later in the evening, we met some other Kansas expats for supper at Helvetia Tavern. 

On Sunday, we drove in to Portland for the best donuts in all the land at Blue Star. (Argue with me if you must. I will hold my ground.) Then, we drove out to Multnomah Falls. Miss V believes this is actually Paradise Falls from the movie Up. I don't correct her. The falls were gorgeous, as usual, the weather was great, and we enjoyed the easy little hikes up to Wahkeena and Multnomah.

In the evenings, after all the kids were in bed, the four of us got to sit up and be grown ups together. We talked and giggled and played a board game that had us rolling on the floor laughing until we were in tears. It's always so nice to be together.

On Monday, the J-bird had school, and James and Elliot headed out to Astoria and Cannon Beach. Laura and I had a leisurely day with our little curly haired baby girls. We went to BJs for coffee (cocoa for the babies), then drove around Forest Grove, then played at the park. It is a little surreal to be sitting around with my dear friend, feeling no different than we did at age 20, watching our three year old daughters playing and dancing and acting naughty together. Someday, we'll be watching them as adults and feeling the ground spin under our feet even more.

Laura, the girls, and I went to pick up the J-bird after school, and then the three kids got to paint the pumpkins they'd chosen at the farm on Saturday.

We had a fun last evening together, wringing every last drop of togetherness out of the visit.
And then, early this morning, the sad moment arrived, and they left to go on home.

We're always so grateful when people make the effort to come out to see us. It's a long way to travel with a small child - I know.  I SO appreciate the time and hassle it takes to come all this way for a weekend of our GLORIOUS company. Laura, Elliot, LJ, we love you so much! We'll see you soon.

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