Living so far away from family and friends can be a double edged sword. On the one hand, I miss out on pretty big events in my friends’ lives – bachelorette parties, weddings, babies, etc. But on the other hand, I get to have amazing reunions once we do all meet up again. Through some miracle, all my college friends were going to be in Western Washington at the same time so we decided a reunion was in order. We all met within our first few days at Pacific Lutheran University and have been mercilessly mocking each other ever since.
First up: Ashley and Carlee. I met Ashley in my very first college class which also happened to be September 11, 2001. As if starting college wasn’t emotional enough, we were also processing a major event in our nation’s history. She was this crazy, carefree California girl with gorgeous, long black hair and I immediately knew we’d be friends. She introduced me to her roommate, Carlee, a bubbly, girly, cheerleader from Vancouver, Washington, and the rest is history. We navigated the rather awkward young adult years together and the memories and photos from that time are priceless.
Being the social butterfly of our little trio, Ashley insisted we attend the freshman orientation dance. There we encountered Dino, Noah, Tyler and Dave. These four had been thrown together in the dorm across from us and were ready to mingle. Tyler had come from a small Mormon town in Utah and what he lacked in his dance abilities (I’m sure he’ll dispute that assessment) he certainly made up for in confidence. Dino hailed from Montana, had a permanent smile on his face and perpetually looked like he was up to no good which was usually true. Noah was along for the ride, showing off his moves and scoping the ladies while Dave somehow seemed to have just gotten roped into a bad situation he could only hope to escape from.
Over the course of four years, we were together through the good times and the bad. From break ups and make ups, prank wars, international travels and even some scary car accidents, we were all there for each other. Carlee and Tyler ended up getting married; Dino somehow convinced Chenda, one of the smartest girls in school, to marry him, and Dave stuck with his high school sweetheart, Ashley E., through it all. It came as no surprise that Ashley, Noah and myself were the last to get married but we all managed to find great partners and in just a few short months, we’ll all be parents of at least one child.
The weekend of July 26th, we descended on Dino and Chenda’s house traveling from England, California, Utah and other parts of Washington state. Oddly enough, Dino and Chenda settled in my hometown and found a beautiful home with amazing views of the Puget Sound. There were ten adults – three of us who were pregnant, seven kids and three dogs in total. I can’t possibly count the number of pack and plays and baby monitors in tow not to mention the various bottles, cups and baby food. Needless to say, it was a very different type of celebration than we used to enjoy.
Seeing my friends as parents was a bit surreal as this was my first time meeting everyone’s kids. Lena kicked off the weekend with a bang by falling face first down a hill and then cracking Dino’s daughter over the head with a plastic golf club. Within the first hour, I think all the kids cried at least once and someone may have even pooped their pants. It was awesome.
We spent the day listening to classy tunes by Guster, 50 Cent, and Yellowcard, among others, and reminiscing on how young and dumb we once were. As usual, Noah was teased mercilessly by Tyler and Dino though once Dave arrived, the mockery was a bit more spread out. Dave’s wife, Ashley, was a great sport to come hang out with all of us as she was having contractions by the minute and would end up giving birth just a few short days after our big get together.
We’re all a bit competitive so when someone suggested a left-handed throwing contest, it was game on. These pictures bring me so much joy. Despite appearances, this is a group of highly educated and successful individuals boasting jobs in healthcare, finance, and education with a few master’s degrees thrown in as well. I love my friends.
The first day of our Lute reunion was a great success filled with food, laughter, and monitoring baby cams.