Technically, we bar-b-qued when Nic and Julie were here, but there was no outdoor dining that went with it. So, Alexa and John Luke get the honor of being the first 2014 Riley Outdoor Dining guests.
A little back story to this evening. 1) I eluded to it in a previous post, but John is an injured guy these days. He pinched a nerve in his back - which has led to a ton of pain in his T-1 vertebrae, shoulder blade, forearm and upper arm. Like he wants to cut off his arm discomfort. (For the record, I've recommended this not be a solution...) He's seen our doctor, seen my mom multiple times, and is currently finding the most relief from "Bolt Tape" - the kind of tape seen on athletes at the Olympics. (Very cool!). As a result, we ended up paying some folks to help us get our yard up to par for the summer season, and they've done a tremendous job with both the front yard and back ivy (which is competing with the waterfall flowers to completely overtake our property....). =)
2) I got hit with a pretty hunky dory headache on Wednesday. I've been letting John monopolize Mom's time, so I've tried to hang in there without seeing her for a while. Bad idea. She "rescued" me on Wednesday, but even on Thursday I was still feeling "wonky" (fortunately, Steph had planned to be home Thursday and Friday so Whitley was not a concern). So, as we had these two over, I was not in my "right place"...
Thankfully, Mikayla has become the most incredible helper and preparer in the last several months. I didn't mention it in the blog about Heather's party, but she was by my side doing half the prep herself - oh, that girl SOOOOO knows my love language (and hopefully, I'm passing on some tips and techniques she'll someday be able to use herself).
This was the couple we had over. I got cocky when I took this pic and only took one, not realizing John Luke (or John as he prefers to be called) - was blinking.
Does Alexa look familiar? She's our softball star friend - the catcher for the #1 Nationally Ranked UO Softball Team (that just went 3-0 this weekend to reach the Super Regionals). She's had quite a tremendous couple months - she played for the #1 team in the nation, they became Pac 12 Champions, she had her birthday, she has her image on a huge banner on Mac Court, she got drafted on one of the four professional softball teams in the nation, and....she GOT ENGAGED!
We both happened on to these two at an exciting time in their lives. John had actually talked to and met with John (Luke) before even knowing his connection with Alexa - and while Alexa and I have yet to have any one on one time, we've had some fun with our ongoing text dialogue since "officially meeting" with Whitley at the Trinity House earlier this spring.
So, upon hearing their news, we asked if we could have them over to celebrate and hear the "story". John was definitely willing to oblige -that is one "twitterpated" guy who's been head over heals for Alexa pretty much since the day they met.
Their story will definitely be a unique one, if not challenging - as John is a pre-med student with several years to go here at UO, while Alexa will be reporting to her team in Florida just as soon as Oregon completes their post season run (hopefully going all the way). In the fall, she'll take a coaching position somewhere in the US, and then the following fall she'll enroll in post graduate studies in Texas. Eventually, John wants to be a doctor in the Dominican Republic. So, they have a three year plan before they tie the knot, but for now, she wears the ring he gave her - as a promise for what's to come. I was so glad that John (Luke) was so willing to share and talk, as I was not doing good during the meal, and as soon as they left (which was a quick visit due to a night class), I went immediately to bed.
Blessedly, on Friday, I woke up feeling "normal" again - and let me just say, it puts you in such a stellar mood to just feel "normal" after 48+ hours of "yuck". Happy Friday!!! I went to Target and strolled around sans toddler - 4 different associates asked me if I needed help as I was strolling at such a snail's pace just doing my own thing. (I wanted to say, "You don't understand....well, maybe you do if you were the one that had to clean up the nail polish in the beauty aisle....;)" )
Eventually the day led to Brayden's last lacrosse game - and it was a good game to end the season. Brayden has improved a ton in just this season and has even found himself starting for the team and playing a majority of the time. But, it couldn't have ended soon enough as far as his well-being is concerned. He's also "injured". He has Osgood Schlatter's Disease in his left knee that's been quite painful for him. It's a positive thing in that it means he's not sedentary and that he is growing (it's caused by excessive exercise during a time of rapid growth) - in fact, we think he's put on three inches since Christmas (he's kind of turned into a "man" before our eyes in the last couple of months). However, the cure for this is to lay off the exercise. It's definitely a positive that he's done with football, because if he wants to continue playing lacrosse, he might need to take it easy for a long stretch of time. (Personally, I'm loving this as an excuse - no need to stress over summer conditioning practices...he can use the Rebounder on our court for technique skills, but that's about it). More time to dedicate to Harlow and savoring one of the few summers as a "kid" he still has left.
After the game, we all changed clothes to attend CCF's Annual Talent Show. They've done this since we've been helping the ministry as a way to raise money for the mission trips, this time to Belarus and Bolivia. It was a great turn-out with very quality entertainment - made even more special in that our head pastor, Ben, sang and played the guitar, and we had two Daddy-Daughter acts with Dave and Ali, and Matt and Emily. Another guy John meets with, Sam Seno, did a stand-up comedy act that was great - and it even involved a special invite to Trinity Formal by Dave's other daughter, Natalie, to Cully - our buddy. So sweet that we got to witness that.