Back From Bend.

Well hey there – as expected, I am falling behind with summer, which is what always happens this time of year!  When I looked at our summer plans on paper, I knew they seemed a bit nutty.  Now that I’m actually IN it, I can confirm that it is total chaos, but in the best kind of way. 

The end of June kicked off what is a few weeks of back to back local travel, visitors from afar, and all sorts of other summer fun.  We’d been hoping to get back down to Bend, Oregon after our good buddies moved there last year (sob).  After a bit of back and forth and comparing calendars, we realized that if we were going to make it work it would have to be a mid-week trip.  Cullen is on a two week break from school, so it made sense to squeeze it in sooner than later!  And since Casey had to work, the boys and I borrowed the truck and hit the long road to Oregon for a quick adventure with friends!

We left on a Tuesday first thing in the morning.  Cullen spent the morning preparing our road trip list – all the things we would need to make our car trip complete!  I’m happy to report that we met every item on our list except for iPad – a road trip miracle!

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My kids are both obsessed with the High Five and Puzzle Buzz kids magazines and workbooks.  A few days before we left, I found a big stack of old magazines they hadn’t looked at in a long time, and stashed them for our trip.  I also put all new books in the basket between their car seats.  The ended up looking through books and magazines for the first THREE hours of our trip.  My mind was blown.

A little over halfway there, I decided to stop for a bathroom break.  We didn’t need gas, so I ended up stopping at a Target I spotted off the highway, since we only had minimal snacks packed.  I grabbed a few more snacks, a few other things I’d forgotten, and since both kids had been so good for so long, I let them each pick out a small lego set.  I grabbed two plastic document holder trays in the Dollar Days section as well, and we were back on the road.

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The trays and new legos kept the kids entertained for another THREE hours.  It was incredible!  They built and played, and I sang and soaked up all the incredible scenery driving through the Mt. Hood National Forest.

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We got to Bend in just under six hours, and after some happy hellos and a quick change, we were off to the neighborhood pool!  They have this amazing one foot-deep kids’ pool that our group just loved.  Perfect for young ages and non-swimmers!

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These kids have all been buddies since birth, and I love watching them pick things right up after being apart for so long.  We sure do miss them in Seattle, but we’re lucky to only be a car ride away!

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Scootering home from the pool in the sunshine.  Being in Bend made me want to move to the ‘burbs again.  Loved those wide sidewalks and empty streets. 

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We spent the rest of the afternoon at home – grilling out, catching up, and enjoying being with friends that we hadn’t seen in far too long.  The next morning we checked out item number one from the Bend bucket list – the ocean roll from Sparrow Bakery.  This thing is LIFE CHANGING!  One of the best baked treats ever. 

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After fueling up, we headed to a beautiful park outside of the city for a short hike to a waterfall.  Forever friends.  <3

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The scenery in Bend is just incredible.  All of the Northwest has incredible views and nature, but there was something so clean and colorful and magical out there – I absolutely loved it. 

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The kiddos loved running down the dirt trails, finding rocks and sticks, and giving us heart attacks every time we walked near a waterbank edge. 

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As we made our way along the trail, the peaceful river became a rocking rapid!  It was beautiful and terrifying. 

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I went on a rafting trip back when I was 26 or so, and while I loved being out on the water, I was absolutely petrified of the rafting experience.  I spent the entire time clutching my paddle to death and doing everything I could to not fall out of the raft.  We didn’t see any rafters on these particular rapids – perhaps too strong or rocky?

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After hiking all morning it was back home for naps.  Thankfully my kids were both worn out enough from all the sun, swimming, and activity that they napped pretty well while we were there.  We had dinner out that evening at Crux Brewery, which had an amazing outdoor space with cornhole, food trucks, plenty of shady trees, and great space for kids to run and play. 

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The boys and I shared a room, and it definitely helped that they are used to sleeping together now that they have bunk beds (still planning to do a shared room showcase in the next few weeks!).  Graham was supposed to sleep in his travel toddler bed, but we all ended up snuggled together by each morning. 

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While we were there, Cullen got to try out his buddy’s pedal bike, and I was really impressed by how quickly he picked it up.  I think he’s ready to move on from his balance bike, so I’m keeping my eyes peeled for a used one we can snag here in Seattle! 

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We spent one more morning at the pool celebrating miss Della’s second birthday!  That was a big reason for our visit, and I was so happy we could be there to see her turn two and be part of her big day. 

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That afternoon, the boys and I hit the road for the long trip home.  It ended up taking close to EIGHT hours on the way back, after spending much of the drive in torrential rain and horrible Portland traffic.  After a few more hours of legos and reading, we stopped for popcorn and juice, and I put on Finding Nemo.  The kids were total champs, and I was proud of them for being such seasoned travelers.  It’s so much easier to do things like this now that they are a bit older! 

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Back at home I had exactly ONE day to unpack, clean, and get ready for my inlaws arrival.  We had been looking forward to their visit for so long, and I was really excited for all the fun we had planned.  I snuck in six sunny miles around Greenlake early in the morning, and then it was time for family fun the rest of the weekend. 

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We checked out the new Aviation Pavilion at the Museum of Flight – very cool!  We will be back there a lot this coming year. 

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And we took advantage of some beautiful summer weather with some backyard pool time.  Of course as soon as I bought this our weather turned and it’s now 55 and cloudy, but it was fun for a day, right? 

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And the next day we hit the road again for another road trip to Lake Chelan with Mimi and Grandpa!  But I’ll save that for my next post, coming up soon (no really, I already wrote it!). 

A quick addition before I go wake Cullen up from his nap.  For my local friends, I’m hosting two barre3 classes at the brand new Ballard studio that is opening here in Seattle on July 11th (next Monday!).  One of those classes is TONIGHT (Tuesday, July 5th) at 7pm and has a handful of spots open.  The other class is Sunday July 10th at 11am, and has a few spots open as well.  If you are interested in joining me at a special preview class (taught by the studio owner!), I’d love to work out together.  Email me at emilybmalone (at) if you are interested.  Looking forward to it!

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Happy Monday, friends!