It was a happy Thanksgiving for the Schnells and Jarrells as we gathered in Portland to feast and catch up and watch our girls run wild together.  Shane and I had originally planned on a long, quiet weekend at home, but then switched some plans around as we found ourselves really wanting to be with family.  We headed out on Wednesday afternoon and enjoyed an uneventful drive as Juliette snoozed in the backseat.  We were greeted with hugs from Morgan and Elise, followed by a rundown of all things Frozen.  I can see our future: bring on the sparkles and princesses.

My ideal holiday involves eating, napping, and very minimal physical activity, but I’m afraid Jules had other plans.  We were up early on Thursday, per usual, and Juliette was itching to get out by mid-morning.  The playground it is then, baby!

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The rain cut our time at the park short, but I was happy to grab some extra snuggle time on the couch with my favorite three year old.

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Cousins!  They got along splendidly – it was so much fun to watch them play together.  Last time we visited, Juliette was still very much a baby, but this time around she was (almost) able to keep up with the big girls.  And when she struggled to keep up, they were happy to grab her hands and pull her along.

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Once cuddles and building blocks lost their charm, we were back out the door for an afternoon walk.  Kathryn asked me to snap a few pics of the girls for their Christmas card – I asked for sweet smiles, and…this happened.  Funny kids.

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Elise was wonderful with Juliette, eliciting all kinds smiles and giggles with her silly dances and songs.  When she noticed Juliette’s tendency to fuss during diaper changes, Elise deemed herself the “diaper-changing fairy”, fluttering around with toys and books while I cleaned up Jules.  And it worked – not a single wiggle from my usually-squirmy baby!  Can’t wait till Elise is old enough to babysit – Juliette looks at her with such unbridled adoaration.

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We headed back indoors and I put Juliette down for a late nap.  I came upstairs to find these two snuggled up together with an episode of Arthur.  There’s that sweet photo I was going for earlier!

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Morgan has always been a little slow to warm up to me, but she and I had a really grand couple of days together, reading books and doing puzzles and playing horses.  Only took three years and eleven months, but I think I’ve won this girl over!

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We ate big for dinner on Thursday – ham and quiche and roasted veggies and butternut squash soup and salad and apple pie.  Gratitude (and red wine) flowed forth so easily as we sat around around the table together.  Much to be thankful for.

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Friday was rainy and cold, so we skipped our morning park run.  Kathryn and I headed out for a Barre3 class while Shane held down the fort at home, and we spent the rest of the day cozied up inside, snacking, reading, painting, dancing…repeat.  And repeat.  We eventually declared a jailbreak, grabbed our umbrellas, and walked over the library and coffee shop for a much-needed change of scenery.

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We came home and Elise and Juliette worked out their rainy day crazies with a little yoga.

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And then just got plain crazy again!  Babies being big girls, big girls being babies – it was mayhem.  Exhausting and loud and occasionally resulting in tears, but I still kind of loved it.

We saw that the forecast called for snow on Saturday morning and decided to beat the weather and head out Friday evening.  We put on Juliette’s pajamas, piled onto the couch for a bedtime story, and then hit the road.  Juliette fell asleep shortly after we got on the freeway, slept until we pulled into our garage, and then settled pretty quickly into her crib once we were home.  Now that’s how it’s done.  A fuss-free drive to and from Oregon?  Thankful, indeed.

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