Kaela has been dropping hints for a while, so when she finally announced that she'd be moving to Portland this summer, we weren't entirely surprised, but, of course, we were disappointed.
Kaela has touched the life of so many, many people. She's lived in Eugene for seven years - and has encouraged hundreds of people with her propensity for enduring friendships. I know that Facebook isn't the best determination of friendships - but I think it says something that she has over 1200 "friends" on Facebook. So, it was a pretty obvious consideration for us to throw a party on her behalf.
Kaela is all about photography - not only for other people, but for preserving her own memories and history. (Something we definitely have in common). So, I pulled pics of her with the friends that were invited off of Kaela's Facebook albums and strung them with clothespins and put them atop tables via Pinterest inspirations. John was actually in the process of taking pics of the set-up when Kaela arrived a bit early, so it was particularly special capturing these moments of her savoring all of the moments she's captured over the years.
The other picture of this chalkboard obscured the "m" of missed....I had to clarify what "issed" word it was that Kaela will be.... ;)
Elaina, Jacob, Drew, and Kaela were all there a little early to prepare the last-minute fruit cutting.
In an effort to keep things simple - and not knowing what else might be "supplemented" in terms of side dishes brought by others (as it turned out, very little)- we cooked up mini burgers (sliders), Costco polish dogs, fruit, and chips.
We've actually had a rainy week, so it was a glorious thing to have the sunshine and temps in the low 70's for this event.
Before the crowds started to arrive, we took the opportunity for an pre-party pic.
The Whites showed up next.
Elaina got a taste of just how much Whitley LOVES bouncing. She could go forever, laughing and giggling...but let me tell you from experience, your arms sure can't go forever lifting her 22 pounds up and down. By the end of these pics, Elaina was dying =)
Next to arrive, Heather.
On to a slew of pics of the guests that started pouring in right and left. I'm pretty sure we had about 35 people show up to celebrate Kaela.
Volleyball was a big draw for entertainment. The game actually got quite competitive...
This picture just cracks me up. Olivia is an EXTRAORDINARY dancer - will probably pursue it professionally. So, check out the pointed toes and even height she gets on a basic bump pass.
Huddling up to prepare for the win.
Nice height on that spike Heather!
It got chilly pretty quickly once the sun set - so we pulled out the full arsenal of blankets.
Kaela got behind the camera for some of these, proving John was in attendance.
Heather then prompted us to gather on the side patio to spend some time sharing memories and things we admired about Kaela. Great idea, even if it absolutely put Kaela in the center of attention, something she's very uncomfortable with having have happen.
A funny story about Kaela attempting to run down a sand dune started the sharing time.
Heather was a great moderator - throwing out insights and stories when things got quiet.
And, adding in a lot of laughter.
And, then more heartfelt sentiments like when Alysha shared.
We ended the time with the group of us praying for Kaela and her future before folks started to pose for departure shots.
Another crack-up at Olivia's attempt - we divvied up almost all of the leftovers into bags and disposable containers so that it wouldn't get wasted on our family of four (and we wouldn't be tempted by the desserts!). In this pic, it looks like Olivia cares more about the goodie plate than she does the hug good-bye with Kaela.... ;)
Loving on one of our favorite "honorary Riley" members...
And, Kaela with her man...
Par-tay over....with every goal we had hoped for in terms of seeing Kaela honored absolutely accomplished - but, unfortunately, I don't think we succeeded in terms of getting her to change her mind to stay. :(