Since our last visit to Portland at Christmas, Elise has turned 7, Morgan has traded in her training wheels for a big-girl bike, and Jules has officially left baby-hood behind and become a full-fledged toddler.  Time flies.  Thankfully, no matter how much has changed, it seems these kids pick up right where they last left off.  When we rolled into town on Friday afternoon, it took all of three minutes for the girls to start playing and laughing and carrying on together.

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I was a little skeptical on Friday evening as to whether or not all three of them would still fit in the bathtub together, but Elise and Morgan were willing to fold up their legs and give it a try!  Jules was thrilled.

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We got a slow start on Saturday morning, letting the girls run around the house until Juliette started doing her “outside?” chant.

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We headed down the street to the neighborhood playground, where I watched Juliette go down the slide that Morgan and Elise have traversed hundreds of times.  I’ve been snapping photos from this very same spot for years now!

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The playground has apparently lost its charm with the big kids, though – they’ve moved on to new adventures.

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After getting our wiggles out, Shane, Jules and I drove over to the Pearl District for an REI run and a stop at Barista for a perfect latte.

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And then we popped over to Portsmouth Park to watch Elise play soccer.  That girl’s got hustle.  And wow, she looks old here, huh?

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When Morgan and Juliette tired of sitting on the sidelines, they kept each other company on the playground.

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We napped for awhile in the afternoon and then soaked up some rays in the backyard before heading out once again, for a picnic dinner at Cathedral Park under the St. Johns bridge.

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We ate chicken wings and blew dandelion puffs and bubbles and ran races and stretched out on the grass in the late evening sun.  I’m so thankful for family.  And 70-degree weather!

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After waiting for nearly an hour for a train to pass and let us out of the parking lot (patience is a virtue, patience is a virtue, patience is a virtue), we jetted home to get the kids to bed, crack open a bottle of port, and do some distraction-free catching up with Mitch and Kathryn.

We found ourselves at the neighborhood playground again on Sunday morning, so that the girls could ride their bikes.  Or so that the boys could ride their bikes?

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We packed up our things and set out for the beach later that morning.  First, though, I wanted to snap a photo of the Jarrell clan in front of their house – they’re moving to the other side of Portland later this month, and while I’m super-excited for them to settle into their sweet new digs, I’ll miss this place!  We have a lot of memories here.

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No time for nostalgia, though, when you’ve got kids rearing to get to the beach.  Onward!

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As per usual, the sand and water seemed to imbue Juliette with an extra dose of already-plentiful energy.  The running!

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We said our goodbyes around lunchtime with hugs all around.  Morgan got an extra-long embrace from Jules – those two had been thick as thieves all weekend.

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No more of this more-than-4-months-between-visits business – see you in July, Jarrells!