It’s been three years since our last trip to my mom and dad’s house in Central Oregon – I blame the rugrat.  But Friday we piled into the car with our boatload of “essentials” (Pack n Play, booster seat, stroller, king-sized bag of dried mangos) and hit the road.  Things got off to a shaky start, as we hit traffic 15 miles south of Seattle and spent an hour crawling toward Tacoma.  We hit traffic again near Portland and were all at our wit’s end when we finally rolled up to Mitch and Kathryn’s house after nearly five hours of driving.

Thankfully, a couple of glasses of Mitch’s home-brewed beer and a couple of hours of watching the cousins happily run free in the yard, and all was well again.

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We spent the night in Portland and took a morning stroll with the girls in their new neighborhood before undertaking the second leg of our journey.

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But first, a quick stop at the farmer’s market to eat donuts and Pine State Biscuit sandwiches with the Chens, who happened to be in Portland for a weekend getaway.  The kids ran circles in the lawn, shrieking with joy as Jack tossed them in the air.  We were glad to see Jules getting her wiggles out, as we had another four hours in the car ahead of us.

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This is the third or fourth time we’ve hung out with Jack and La Verne at this particular farmer’s market, and it seems that it just keeps getting better and better…

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Shane and I sighed anxiously as we said good-bye to the Chens and strapped Juliette into her carseat – she had refused to nap in the car the day before and had spent the last hour of the journey wailing “mama’s lap!  mama’s lap!”  We braced ourselves for another tension-filled few hours.  But…she was great!  She read to herself for awhile, sang songs, slept a bit.  Crisis averted!

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We arrived at my mom and dad’s house in La Pine mid-afternoon and quickly got settled – Juliette reacquainted herself with Grandma and Grandpa, ran in the sprinklers, ate watermelon on the back porch.  We took an evening walk and all crashed a little early that night, ready to fully slip into vacation mode.

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Shane went on a monster bike ride on Sunday morning while the rest of us went into Sunriver for coffee and some playground time.  We all spent the afternoon at North Twin Lake, wading in the water and eating a picnic dinner on the sandy shore.

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My mom and I slipped away for a walk around the lake and as we strolled along the forested trail, I was reminded that I am very much a mountains person – I love the roar of the ocean, but I’ll take the rustle of pine needles blowing in the wind any day.

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We were up and at ’em early on Monday and drove over to La Pine State Park to splash in the water and get some sun.  Juliette made a bee-line for the river, soaking her shoes and dress while ignoring my futile shouts of “wait!!!”

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I think she might be a mountains person, too?

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On Monday afternoon Shane and I left Juliette with Grandma and Grandpa and set off on our own little kid-free adventure.  Stay tuned.