On Saturday morning we loaded up our car with an ungodly amount of baby gear and headed south to Portland – Juliette’s first road trip!  Given her distaste for her car seat, we had our qualms about this little getaway; I considered calling Mitch late Friday night and telling him we simply weren’t ready to wreak that kind of havoc on our eardrums.  But I summoned my “adventurous” spirit and we pressed on with our plans, hitting the road right at naptime on Saturday and praying that Jules would fall asleep with little fuss.  And I’ll be danged, it actually worked.  She wailed for about 10 minutes around Tukwila (10 miles south of Seattle), but just as I started to cry along with her, longing to scoop her up into my arms and assure her we weren’t intentionally neglecting her, she conked out and hardly stirred the rest of the way to Portland – we made it to Mitch and Kathryn’s in record time, sanity still intact.

We spent most of the weekend just lazing around the house, enjoying Morgan and Elise as they enjoyed Juliette – it was a veritable cousin love-fest.  Morgan has adored her baby dolls for as long as I can remember, carrying them with her to bed and to the store and to the dining room table.  So you can imagine her enthusiasm over the chance to play with a real, live baby doll – she was immediately smitten with Juliette and had great fun tucking her in with her favorite blankie and her stuffed bunny, helping me with diaper changes and jammie time, tagging along when I went to get Juliette up from her naps.

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Goodness, I can’t believe how much Morgan has changed in the four months since I’ve seen her.  Her hair is longer, her legs have lost that precious baby chub, and her will is stronger than ever.  She’s stubborn and sensitive and incredibly sweet (when she wants to be).

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Elise also doted on Jules, with serenades on the guitar and cuddle sessions on the couch, but seeing as how she’s five, she’s very much into her big-girl stuff as well.  She started kindergarten this year and loves to play school; it turns out she is the strictest teacher on the planet, and Shane spent much of Saturday afternoon in time out for his refusal to properly follow directions.  She’s a chatterbox and a total riot – sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.  Mitch and I were discussing Christmas plans on Sunday when Elise announced that she wanted a “diarrhea”.  I raised my eyebrows at Mitch as he shrugged his shoulders and asked for clarification.

“What was that, Elise?”

“I want a diarrhea book.”

I bowed my head and stifled a giggle as Mitch delved deeper:  “You want a book about diarrhea?”

“Noooooo, Daddy, I want a diarrhea.  To write stuff in.  Karma has one.”

“Oh, you mean a diary?”

“Yeah, a diarrhea.”

By this point, I was breathless and red-faced with the effort of not laughing out loud.  Kids do say the darnedest things.

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Shane and I sighed with relief and gratitude as we pulled back into our driveway on Monday afternoon – the weekend had been a smashing success.  Juliette traveled well, slept great, and soaked in some serious love from the Jarrell clan.  She’ll never have a big sister, but I suspect that these two will be pretty good surrogates.

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