Then on Wednesday night, I picked up Kasee and Molly from the Oakland airport and then we three roadtripped together down to the Veater Ranch on Thursday morning for our first ever friend reunion.
The seven of us (Jessica, Kasee, Molly, Ellen, Erin, Susan and me) became friends during our freshmen year at BYU and by the end of that year we really were inseparable. We went on to live with each other during our sophomore year but pretty soon we started going in all directions--marriages, missions, graduations, study abroads and major interstate and intercontinental moves.
Before we all split off in our separate directions, we got together in December 2008 over an Olive Garden dinner and swore we would have a reunion in 5 years. We even made a video that night predicting where we would each be in 5 years.
Over these past 4 1/2 years, we have kept in touch and occasionally gotten to meet up in smaller groups of two's and three's, but nothing really is quite the same as sitting all together and talking face to face.
So we made it happen! We all flew in from our various locations across the country (Massachusetts, Nebraska, Texas, Washington D.C., North Carolina and Utah) and met up at Jessica's beautiful family ranch just outside of Yosemite. Thank you so much Kara and George Veater for hosting us!!!
The first night we were there, half of us went on a drive around the ranch and returned to the sweetest surprise baby shower for me! I was genuinely taken off guard and so touched by the thoughtfulness.
We spent plenty of time in the pool just soaking up the views and talking.
Jess kindly chauffeured us around town, taking us to her local hangouts (carne asade tacos and frosties! and antique shopping too :))
A major highlight was riding the horses around the ranch at sunset and then ending in the arena where we got to trot/gallop to our hearts content.
And after our horse back riding, we ended up at the local Mexican restuarant/Karaoke bar still wearing our cowboy boots and dusty clothes.
We let George and Kara Veater talk us into doing a karoake number and naturally it was a country song. I felt like we were one with the people of Coarsegold.
On Saturday, the Veaters treated us to the most delicious and gorgeous dinner at the Elderberry House in Oakhurst.
And our last night together looked like this picture below. Kasee whipped out her computer that had all of our freshmen year pictures on it and we sat and reminisced for hours.
We even found the video from Olive Garden where we predicted where we would be in five years from then. Surprisingly, we were all pretty on target with what we thought we would be doing. I just couldn't get over how much younger we all looked though!
And our last morning was spent reenacting our most cheesy posed pictures from freshmen year followed by attending church together.
^^Then and now. I like how some of us are coincidentally wearing similar colors.
I don't know if we will be able to keep recreating this photo though when we are 60 year olds...^^
^^Why are our hands on each other's bums, you ask? Good. question. I wish I had the before picture from freshmen year to show you on this one because it was the cheesiest of all cheesiness--we thought we were so cool then in our matching outfits of jeans and black tops. So yes, this is a re-enactment. I think we felt sufficiently awkward doing it now^^
I know that was an overload of pictures but it really was a weekend worth documenting for us. It felt good to the soul to be with my dear friends again. I love our conversations that come so easily because we know each other all so well. We've been there for each other's successes, challenges, weddings, babies, etc. etc. The good and the bad will continue to come and I'm grateful I have good friends to lean on through it all.
We had teary eyes saying goodbye but I just can't wait until our next reunion!
*We handed around cameras throughout the course of the weekend and then shared pictures afterwards so photos above were taken at various points by Jess, Molly, Susan, me and Kara Veater. Thanks guys!