As Travis was in attendance watching Thursday's night's Duck basketball win over Washington State, he was full of enthusiasm Friday night to convince John and Brayden that they should all get tickets to go to the game today against Washington. The Duck basketball team is definitely a "work in progress", but it seems being in the brand new Matt Arena has brought some extra spark to their game.
So, that's where the boys spent their afternoon - and had a phenomenal time as the Ducks did indeed beat the Washington Huskies. They had the lead throughout the game, but it was a close enough score to keep everything very interesting and a little nerve-wracking in the final seconds.
Meanwhile, Stephie and I hung out with Mikayla at our house - and for a change, spent the entire time talking. I say "for a change" because, with Stephie, it's like being with Michele - a "sister" - in the sense that just being together is enough - and often we co-exist by doing our favorite cozy things together, reading, thumbing through magazines or watching tv, but that to often means we aren't actually hitting the deep subjects. Today, we made up for lost time, and it was totally rewarding.
When I went through my past blog posts, I looked for one that I could use to define in a general sense who Travis and Stephanie are. They are referred to in practically every other post as they are a constant in our lives, but I couldn't find a post that explained the relationship.
Long story short - they are our extended/adopted family. John and Travis met before I even knew John - he was a person who came to John when John owned his own stereo/alarm installation business to have a system put in his vehicle. I came into the picture and then when John began working for Rosen Products (the company that first created the tv screens that go in vehicles), Stephanie worked as a secretary there (Travis and Steph were already a couple at that point). Our paths started crossing over bit by bit, but it wasn't until Brayden was born that we really started hanging out. They fell in love with our little man - and their love and affection towards him had us loving their company and them that much more. Pretty soon, we were hanging out nearly every weekend, spending time on the boat that Travis (through his dad) had, and planning upcoming vacations together....including their honeymoon....
YES, you read that right, THEIR honeymoon. Travis and Steph had originally planned to do a destination wedding in Hawaii. However, that idea went a bit by the wayside, but they still wanted to go there for their honeymoon - and wanted us (as their best man and matron of honor) to go with them. Unfortunately, we were limited by Marriott and United as to where we could afford to go. At that point, John was traveling constantly, and had amassed a lot of points to stay and fly through those vendors. But.....United couldn't take us to Hawaii. Travis and Steph's response...."Well, where can you go through United?" Not only were we influencing their honeymoon destination location, but we ended up determining WHEN they got married based on when the points would work. Nutty, huh? That's the story of how they ended up with a St. Patrick's anniversary and we all ended up in Aruba for a week together ten years ago. (Our gift to them was to upgrade all of us to first class, and to give them certificates in order to stay for significantly less price at the Hyatt (we stayed in a nearby Marriott)).
As the years have gone on, they've become our brother and sister - and "second parents" to Brayden and Mikayla. They still have not chosen to have kids - so our kids get extra special attention and love as we share them with the Whites.
I think all of the posts referencing their names and pictures showing us together probably illustrate more than any definition I could give of just how important they are in our lives. Our vacations are made brighter by them, our marriages are all made stronger by each others' words of counsel and encouragement (not to mention correction!), and for sure, our kids are more spoiled, er, I mean loved on, because of them. I know this friendship and mutual appreciation of one another is rare indeed, so we don't take it for granted - especially when you throw the Schillings (my twin sis' family) into the mix and find that all three of our families coexist happily too.
So, while today, in itself, wasn't anything - above and beyond - memorable in comparison to all of the other memories we've shared, I figured I'd take the time to pay tribute to Travis and Steph - as they are indeed priceless in our lives.