On Friday morning we picked up our rental car and drove like banshees to Turlock, knowing that Juliette’s back seat nap would only last so long.  I was so, so excited to reconnect with Amanda and baby Sadie, who was only 4 weeks old when I saw her in April of last year.  Amanda and I picked up right where we left off, as we always do, but my goodness, where was that newborn I had cradled in my arms 16 months ago?!

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Sadie is the sweetest, kindest toddler I’ve ever met.  She took an immediate liking to Juliette, lavishing her with hugs…

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And “helping” to rinse her hair during bathtime.

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We spent much of the weekend just hanging out at Amanda and Josh’s – Juliette was thrilled to roam so freely and play with such a variety of toys after five days in a hotel room with a water bottle and a single Hot Wheels car.  But there were a few people on our must-see list, so we scheduled a park date with Steve on Saturday morning…

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And then grabbed lunch with Marco and Lisa in the afternoon.

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Amanda invited a few of our friends over for dinner on Saturday night.  Shane picked up a heaping load of tacos from his favorite taco truck and we all hung out in the backyard while a tornado of children swirled around us.  I snapped this photo just as C (up front) was giving orders that Shane would play the part of Ursula in their game of The Little Mermaid.  Shane is amazing with kids, but she really had him stumped on this one!

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These two got along so splendidly…

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This was my first time meeting chill baby Kate, who snoozed so peacefully in the midst of all the mayhem.

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Hey ladies!

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Sunday morning came all too fast and it was time for us to pack up our things and head home.  It’s always hard for me to say good-bye to Amanda, but this farewell felt especially tough, and I know how much we’ll miss watching each other’s daughters grow.

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We made it to the airport in record time while Juliette snoozed in the car.  Check-in went smoothly, we boarded on time, and we were Seattle-bound!  Jules was a little squirmy at first, but eventually fell asleep in my arms.  Praise Jesus.

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I know, worst family photo ever, but it tells an important story:  traveling with a baby is exhausting!  We look so much worse for the wear after our “time off” than we did before it.

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Home sweet home was sweeter than ever – Juliette slept for 13 hours on Sunday night in the comfort of her crib and napped for a solid four hours on Monday.  I’m still trying to kick my dang cold and am happy to have my favorite tea and my coziest blanket at my fingertips.  Am I glad we made the trip?  Absolutely.  But I believe our frequent flyer days are behind us – it might be awhile before we have the energy for another vacation!