Shane and I have been talking for awhile now about a little getaway sans Juliette, and this trip to La Pine felt like the perfect time to slip away for a night – we’d been wanting to spend some time in nearby Bend and knew that Juliette would be in great hands with Grandma and Grandpa.  We booked a room at a great hotel, made reservations at a fancy restaurant, and on Monday afternoon, we were off!  I shed a few tears as we pulled out of my mom and dad’s driveway, feeling equal parts anxiety and sadness over leaving our girl.  What if Juliette slept horribly and kept my parents up all night?  What if she felt confused and abandoned?  What if she missed me even half as much as I was already missing her?  Agh!  My poor, sweet baby – why in the world had I been so eager to get away?!  Shane and I both felt very much on edge and spent the drive to Bend bickering in the car over a silly misunderstanding – this romantic getaway was off to a less-than-ideal start.

But when we sat down for lunch we looked each other in the eyes, laid our worries out on the table, and then resolved to appreciate the fact that we were FREEEEEE!  And it really felt so good.  We savored our uninterrupted meal at Spork, popped next door for fro-yo on a whim (when was the last time we did something on a whim?!), and then set out to find a sunny spot near the water to spread out a blanket and relax.  After being chased away by demon mosquitos at Lava Island Falls, we ended up at Todd Lake, 20 miles west on the Cascade Lakes Highway.  It was just the oasis we were seeking – scenic, quiet, just breezy enough to lay in the sun without overheating.  Shane waded in the water and built himself a make-shift rock stool while I laid on the grass and read my book.  Lord have mercy, it was glorious!  Our life is rich with joy and fun these days, but it’s so short on stillness.  Those couple of hours by the lake were like taking a long, deep breath in the very freshest of air.

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We checked into our hotel later that afternoon and grabbed a quick snooze before heading out for dinner.  First, though, a quick drink at the Crux brewery, which had been highly recommended by a friend.  We tasted a few of their ales, declared their Saison our favorite, and then set out to make our 7:30 reservation at Zydeco.  We ordered the whole shebang – cocktails, appetizers, meaty mains, and after-dinner drinks.  We sat at our table for over two hours and used the luxury of time to let our conversation meander from politics to family to plans for the future.  Long time, no see, huh hon?

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We had big plans for sleeping in on Tuesday morning, but of course, I woke up at 6:15.  Still, it was pretty great to lay in bed and read for an hour, and then, as the ultimate kid-free indulgence, take a morning nap at 7:30 am!  We got rolling around 9:00 and headed to Sparrow for killer breakfast sandwiches out on the patio, grabbed a few things at the market, and then, by 10:30, we were itching to get back to La Pine and see Juliette.  The time away had been precious, but we missed that kid somethin’ fierce.

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We had a happy reunion at my mom and dad’s house and got the rundown:  she had spent much of Monday afternoon crying “mama go?  mama go?  mama goooooooo?”, but had eventually settled and had slept well, eaten well, and enjoyed a morning of playing in the dirt with Grandma.

We all spent the afternoon hanging out on an idyllic little stretch of river near McKay Falls.  We waded and threw rocks and cracked open cold brews.

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Together again!

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And the best part?  Schnell family vay-cay was only half over – four more days of mountains and water and family to go!

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