Her flight came in at 10pm in Portland, but by the time her and Nic secured a rental vehicle and got their luggage, it was about 1:30am by the time they made it to our home. There were lots of hugs and love shared - and then bedtime. I could stay up to see her, but conversation at that point was going to be pretty pointless...
Despite the LATE bedtime, we couldn't resist leaving the house by 8am on Saturday to get to Hideaway Bakery in South Eugene. It was one of Julie's favorites when she lived in that neighborhood "back in the day" and nothing but a "Potato Doughnut" would suffice for breakfast. Thankfully, despite seeing none in the case, they were available. WHEW! (Brayden opted to sleep in - good choice all around, that kid doesn't get enough sleep as it is, and had he come, well, it wouldn't have been as "restful") ;)
After breakfast, John gave Nic the tour of all things "University of Oregon" - showing off some of the improvements made (particularly the sports venues) even since Julie's seen it last. Nic is originally from North Carolina and his experience in Oregon has been limited to just a few days in Astoria - one of the northern most coastal towns. Originally for this visit, we had wanted to take them out on the boat, but between the dramatic cool down of the weather (which included a forecast of rain) and John's shoulder being thrown out, we nixed that. I had wanted to give them the Sahalie/Koosah Falls experience, but I knew that I was kind of in the minority for putting in that much energy and travel time in such a short visit. So, in the end, we opted to just have them hang out at the house, with the Oregon Spring Football Game (and later the Oregon Softball Game) on in the background.
Mikayla enticed Julie to join her on the trampoline =)
And, blessedly, Nic joined Brayden out on the court to play lacrosse (a sport Nic played). Brayden had been a little hyper upon our return and was needing to work off some energy. Okay, Nic, that alone earned our vote of approval!!!
It also gave Julie and I some much needed time to do some one-on-one catching up. We had already covered a lot of subjects in the back seat of the rig during our college tour, but we needed to be out of Nic's earshot to talk about some stuff ;) (And, yes, that's the fire going, cozy behind us - something Julie was "jonesing for" - along with the beanbags and Syd...)
We weren't ready to eat again until after 2:30 as Hideaway had filled us up so much - it was good that we waited because we had a ton to indulge in. The first bar-b-q of the season (and first on our new Weber bbq - the previous one didn't survive the winter) and oh, was it tasty. Heather (Julie's college roommate) showed up just in time, too. There was definitely no shortage of food to share with her!
YUMMY! And, that corn on the cob from Safeway - delicious!
Travis and Steph showed up just as we were finishing up with dinner - we shared a bit of our remainders with Whitley...
I posted this in video version on my Instagram - oh so cute listening to Whitley cackle in laughter as her mommy tickles her!
Julie got some fun interaction too.
This is a favorite pic. I had asked Julie before they left Hawaii, if they happened to see a cheap ukelele, to bring one with them as Whitley loves the ones that the kids had acquired, but they were down to one string each. They are in sad shape. However, Julie didn't find any. She had mentioned that Nic might be able to string them, then sure enough, he asked to stop in to the Guitar Center located right next to the Starbucks we went to on the way home to get some strings. He spent a decent chunk of time restringing both ukeleles and even creating grooves for the strings to lay in and then tuning them. So, of course, when Whitley arrived, it was essential that he play something for her on them. She was very enchanted. Actually, in general, she was intrigued by Nic. She had a great time flirting with him, but was a little shy...it was adorable. I suspect girls of all ages could easily feel the same way around a guy that looks like him!
We tried to get Sydney to pose with them, but she was too interested in getting to know Nic too. =)
Heather and Julie did some posing too - Nic had them take "awkward prom photo" shots. It was just another motivation to smile and laugh - something we'd been doing non-stop since the additional guests arrived. The morning hours were focused on the get-to-know-you/deep conversations - but, then, once you throw the extra "family members" in - we really get a taste of how Nic will fit in to this group.
And, let it just be said, we all came away from our day together being strongly "Team Nic". I have to be careful to not freak Julie out by "marrying them off already" - but from everything we saw, and all we talked about - (and all I've heard about who he is in the last 18 months he's been "in the scene" of Julie's life), we are all wildly impressed with this guy. They are an outstanding compliment to each other's personalities and I have no doubt God would make each of them even stronger were they to continue on in a relationship. He's extremely likeable, fun, humble, engaging, and - yes, talented.
Right before they left, Julie pressed on him enough to get him to sing and play his guitar. (In Hawaii he's a lieutenant in the Coast Guard and is a worship leader). He played "Wanted" by Hunter Hayes based on our first request - as I'd heard all about the beach date he'd carefully planned for Julie in which he sang that next to an ocean teaming with dolphins ready to play. (So, yes, "romantic" is definitely among the list of adjectives). It was outstanding and created this perfect picture moment, but it was the song he'd written himself that he played after that touched our hearts even more. A song poignant about how much he needs and loves the Lord - with a guitar-beat acapella refrain in the middle that left us all enraptured.
There's something to be said about someone so special that you are able to pick up right where you left off when you see them - even when the time has lapsed over months or even years. (The last visit I'd had with Julie was horrendous as I was practically incapacitated with a migraine during the entire time she was here, so that visit hardly counts). I guess that's why we refer to her as "family". And, of course, it's why it's so hard to say good-bye, knowing how long it will be until the "next time"...