We’ve made it an annual tradition to get out of town with our community group for a weekend every summer.  We’ve done camping trips galore, we’ve rented a floating house on the Willamette River, we’ve spent a weekend hanging out on the porch of a beautiful house on Vashon Island.  This year Adrienne scored us a booking at a huge house in Stevens Pass, big enough for 13 adults and 6 kiddos.  We were thrilled to be keeping tradition alive, even with all these babies in the mix.  Thrilled, and…a little bit anxious.  We were having dinner with Jack and La Verne a week before the trip, and there was a moment when one of us asked, “do you think next weekend is going to be a total disaster?”  We were all silent as we pictured the worst.  What if the walls of the house were really thin and one of the babies didn’t sleep well (meaning none of us would sleep well)?  What if the place wasn’t as big as it looked in the photos, and we spent much of the weekend just looking for a spot to sit down while mayhem swirled around us?  What if Juliette was sick or cranky or just a general buzzkill?

But we hopped in the car on Friday afternoon and hoped for the best.  And the minute we stepped in the front door and looked out the huge windows over the porch to the mountains and the river and the fire pit below, we were so glad we’d made the trip.

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And then there was the sweet sight of Jules playing on the floor with her best little buddies – we pushed some of the furniture together to create a little kiddie corral where these three could happily crawl and play and pass their slobbery toys back and forth.  La Verne termed it the “village daycare”.

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The house’s porch was incredible – we ate most of our meals out there.  This girl loves her some outdoor dining, chowing down on her scrambled eggs and zucchini/pear puree for dinner on Friday.

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And then breakfasting with Nico al fresco on Saturday morning.

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During naptime, I sat back in one of the porch’s lounge chairs with my sunglasses and a book and took in the view.  Shane, ever the introvert, found a quiet spot to relax on a rock down in the river.

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I removed myself from said chair for a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon to check out a little swimming hole down the road.  Jason played mountain goat / dare devil and scaled a nearby rock wall before taking a giant leap.

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I was happy to hang out on a blanket in the sun, occasionally dipping my toes in the icy water.

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We headed back to the house for afternoon naptime – the grown-ups played a rousing game of Uno while the kiddos slept.

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As is always the case when we get together with this gang, we ate and we ate well.  The look on Juliette’s face after chowing down on Nicole’s homemade spaghetti sauce says it all…I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!

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And s’mores for dessert for the older kids (sorry, Jules!  blueberries for you!).

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Those mallows left Gryffin and Isaiah with some energy to burn.  Shane was quick to volunteer as playmate.

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Juliette cheered from the sidelines.

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And was pretty dang stoked when she got in on the action.  We’re buying this girl her own soccer ball!

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We snapped a few group pics before putting the little ones to bed.

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And then the kids were tucked in, the wine was brought out, and it was time really kick back.

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Adrienne got a raging inferno going in the firepit and we circled up to talk and laugh and roast marshmallows.  Every year brings a new s’more creation – this year, mallows were topped with potato chips, “hand crumbled to activate the saturated fats” a la Jack.

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Jon disappeared for a few minutes and I assumed he’d headed inside to check on the kids – turns out he was setting up his camera and tripod to snap a photo of the group.  Guy’s got serious skills:

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We ate our breakfast sandwiches on the porch Sunday morning, and then it was time to pack up and hit the road.  The house, the view, Juliette’s mood, and the time with friends had wildly exceeded my expectations.  And those s’mores!  Oh, those s’mores…

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