Holiday season is officially here, ushered in with a cozy Thanksgiving weekend in Portland with my brother and his family.  We rolled up to their house Thursday around lunchtime and settled right in.  Morgan and Elise, how I’ve missed you!

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Jules was also thrilled to be reunited with her cousins, hardly leaving their sides for the duration of our stay and whining, “I want to see Morgan and Eliiiiiiiise, mama!” when it was time to head downstairs for nap or bedtime.

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While Mitch and Kathryn slaved away in the kitchen on Thursday afternoon, Shane and I gladly took on kid-duty, bundling up the girls and running around with them in the backyard.

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I love you, Jules.

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The wind picked up and froze our fingers and noses, so we headed inside to drink tea and paint turkeys.

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We feasted that night on beef stew and turkey and stuffing and roasted veggies.  We took turns saying what we’re most thankful for, and family topped the list for each one of us.  Actually, Morgan might have said cookies, but I’m sure family was a close second!

Friday morning was chilly but sunny, so Kathryn and I jetted out for a trail run while Shane held down the fort at home.

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We came home to a house of stir-crazy girls, so we all headed over to a nearby playground to get the wiggles out.

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Ahhhhhhh, that sun!

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Sufficiently dosed with fresh air and vitamin D, we were all content to spend the afternoon inside, doing puzzles and reading by the fire.

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We went out for dinner that night at a nearby brewpub, threw the kids in the tub, promptly tucked them into bed, and then opened up a bottle of Port to commemorate a day well spent.

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Saturday was another gorgeous day, but we got a slow start and let the girls hang out in their comfy polka dot footie pajamas until mid-morning.

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Finally, we rallied and drove over to George Rogers Park to check out the beach.

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Who says you can’t play in the lake at the end of November?

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I think Juliette was wearing thin by this point, a little fatigued by trying to keep up with the big kids.

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Luckily, I had a magic fruit snack in my pocket!

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Morgan was insistent that we check out the playground, which turned out to be an excellent call, as it was a sunny spot stocked with beautiful new play equipment.

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They even had Twister!

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Elise and Morgan took turns riding in the back of our car as we went to and fro, and Jules loved having a backseat buddy.

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We spent another quiet afternoon back at the house, again curled up by the fire for a book/puzzle/board game bonanza.

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We said our good-byes and hit the road to Seattle on Saturday night.  Juliette chattered and sang until finally letting her eyelids fall shut around 9:30, when we were just 20 minutes from home.  Luckily, she hardly protested when I moved her from the car to her crib, too tired to put up much of a fight.  We’d all played hard over the past couple days.  We had run, swung, climbed, skipped rocks, laughed, done that dang monkey puzzle 87 times.  We had found much to be thankful for.