It’s getaway season!  The Schnell clan hit the road again last Friday, loading up the car for a weekend on Whidbey Island with the gang.  It was raining cats and dogs when we pulled up to our waterfront rental – waves roared and crashed just 50 feet from the living room windows while Nico and Jules pounded on the sliding glass door and shouted “Wa-wa!  Wa-wa!”.  But just as I cranked up the heat and poured myself a hot cup of tea, the clouds parted and the sun shone – suddenly it was rock-throwing weather!

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Isaiah was particularly excited to dip his toes in the water.

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We wolfed down a couple of pizzas for dinner and then whisked all of the kiddos upstairs for bedtime.  La Verne and I caught an amazing sunset together while Jack and Shane got the little ones to sleep.  The sound of the smooth, polished rocks clicking against each other as the waves receded was the stuff of dreams.

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Juliette heard the ocean calling her name at 6:30 the next morning – Shane took her out on our bedroom’s deck to enjoy the dawn while I took my time crawling out from under the covers.

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We ate a leisurely breakfast while the kids colored, stacked Legos, and played trains.

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But the mid-morning stir-crazies inevitably set in, so we headed into Coupeville to check out the (tiny) farmer’s market and walk the pier.

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We went back to the house around lunchtime, where Nico and Jules each waged epic naptime battles against La Verne and me.  Once all was quiet upstairs, I poured myself a cup of coffee and went outside to happily recline in one of the porch’s Adirondacks.

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Shane used his “quiet time” to build a tide marker with the boys.  Thick as thieves, these three.

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And Jason went for a spin in the kayak that was propped against the side of the house.  I, on the other hand, sat some more.

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Juliette sensed there was fun being had without her and only slept an hour – she was eager to get out on the rocks with Gryff.

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Such mutual adoration!

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My Mother Goose moment:

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This sweet kid can’t resist jumping into a family photo (even if it’s not his family!).

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Jules and I sat on the rocks together for a solid thirty minutes, looking for birds and watching the boys play while we chatted and snuggled.  I forgive you for those pre-nap hysterics, baby.

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We eventually made our way to the porch for snacktime and happy hour.

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Juliette compared her grapes with Nico’s and ultimately decided his were more desirable, though they came from the same bag.  Figures.

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We drank champagne, munched on steamed mussels, and caught the day’s final rays before throwing the kids in the tub and tucking them into bed.

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Jack made his famous spaghetti alle vongole for dinner and then we stayed up late, drinking and talking and asking increasingly personal questions as the night wore on.  Felt good to really get real with these folks, without the distraction of kids under foot.  It had been too long.

Gryffin’s first comment when we all stumbled downstairs on Sunday morning was, “Oh.  Looks like you haven’t had time to brush Baby Jules’ hair!”  ‘Fraid not.

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Jason took Isaiah out for a spin on the kayak while Nance baked breakfast scones.  Shane put our favorite praise playlist on the speakers and as I sipped my coffee and looked out at the incredible view, I took a deep breath, filling my heart with the smells and sounds and sights of all God’s goodness.  I missed being part of our church’s Easter service, but in that moment, I was still so acutely aware that He Is Risen.

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“Hey kids!  Smile for the camera!”  Nailed it.

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Once the scones had been devoured and the eggs had been found and the cars had been loaded, it was time to hang up the ol’ kayak and say Sayonara to our beachfront abode.

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But first, one last hug!

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We drove through Skagit Valley tulip country on the way home and when we heard that the flowers were in full bloom, we decided to brave the crowds and take a peek.  Gryffin and Isaiah showed Jules the way.

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And ho-ly tulips, Batman!  It was gorgeous.

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I’m not sure where Juliette picked up the concept of flower-sniffing, but she couldn’t help herself.

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A final good-bye to our friends and we were back on the road.  It had been an atypical Easter Sunday, but no less joyous than any year past.  Thanks be to God.

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