A Visit From Papa

Just last week our Papa made a slight detour and came to the great white North for a pit stop.  It was a short visit, just one day, but the Things made the most of their Papa time.  There was holee board to be played, Just Dance competitions and ping pong tournaments of course.

Papa and Thing 4 during their game

After all the excitement and game playing we shared a meal together.  My favorite part.  Always sharing of stories and highs and lows, there is something special about family time around the table.

Dinner time

There was card playing after the meal and more talking and it was just a sweet time of togetherness.  We are so grateful that Papa and Linda came our way for a day. 




Thankful Thursday #98

Autumn with some sass for the camera, seriously,
how could you resist that face?  This Auntie can't!

923. anticipation of upcoming travels
924. quiet time on the balcony
925. tomatoes from the mini garden
926. long conversations with a fellow rock star Mama
927. a sweet visit with Papa
928. rainy summer days
929. bike rides to the pool
930. laughter around the dinner table
931. ice cream after dinner
932. lazy, sleepy mornings

USA Cup

This last week had this family at the football pitch from just about sun up to sun down Tuesday through Saturday.  No joke.  Thing 4 and his team competed in the Schwan's Cup, AKA, USA Cup in Blaine, MN.  Wow.  I have not been witness to a tournament of this scale in many years.  It really was an International exhibition with teams from Japan, Mexico, Sweden, Colombia, Costa Rica, Uganda and Brazil.  I may have missed a few countries.  Our boys' final placement was not the best but the experience of the week was definitely worth it.

Tuesday kicked off the tournament in Olympic style fashion.  We had a match in the morning, team lunch, watched our U15 boys play a squad from Norway and then had opening ceremonies.  All of the teams were announced by country, carrying their flag into the NSC Stars stadium amidst chants and cheering from the stands. 

Brazilian squads entering the stadium and proudly displaying their flag

 Thing 4 and teammates

The US National Amputee Team, they played short sided games against participants
in the "fun" area of the campus, there was always quite the crowd 


Once the entirety of players had entered the stadium and the pitch was filled like a can of sardines the ceremony began.  The Star Spangled Banner was sung and a torch lit.  Gave this Mama goosebumps.


 Flags flying

The torch, we were rather far away

After all this, there were still two musical performances and fireworks.  Yet another highlight that set the tone for the week. 



And then there were many more matches, more picnics, and more fun.  The boys had pins to trade, a game room with a photo booth, ping pong, foosball, a Puma store, sand footie and so much more.  Our boys took part in it all and Thing 4 said it was one of the best weeks of his life. 





Thankful Thursday #97

* door from the Hermitage, TN

 913. family road trips
914. sibling Things taking care of each other
 915. revelations from a 10 year old boy
916. Things reading the greatest book EVER before bed
917. sunshiney days at the lake
918. crossing to do's off our summer list
919. grilling in the driveway on summer nights
920. brave friend and her daughter serving a big God 
921.  the library with shelves of possibility
922. still flirting after almost 15 years

A Long Time

 Let's recap, it's been about two weeks since I have posted and so much has happened.  We took a family road trip, Husband Jared and I snuck away for a few days to New Orleans, all the Things spent time with friends, including a lake trip and then we returned, had a few state qualifier footie matches for Thing 4 and a bout with a virus which I'm almost positive came home with us from TN.  Good times.  And here we are.  Let's start with the road trip. 

Our Things are fairly decent travelers.  They are aware of the expectation, stops for gas, meals on the road and sleep as much as possible.  So when we woke them early on our departure day they were prepared.  We drove for hours and when it seemed like we couldn't continue we were in St. Louis at Park Avenue Coffee.  Mandatory stop for this family, discovered last summer on our trek to the great white North.  You would never know it from this photo but it was about 115 degrees outside and these Things were none too pleased with their Mama for making them pose in the heat.  To which I said, too bad, so sad!  Smile please.  Then we jumped back in the car, devoured our ooey gooey butter bars and arrived in Tennessee in no time!  Really about five hours later. 


The kick off to our week began with worship at our home church with our dearest friends then the Euro cup final match and family dinner at the grandparents house.  Although Italy proved to be quite disappointing we soaked up the Horel girls, two of the Things had a peach pie lesson from Mema and we explained more football rules to Gpa.  A great day.

 
Footie talk
Great Grandma's peach pie

The week took off  and without so much as a second thought we were back into Franklin life.  Meaning, I played taxi driver, coordinated time for our Things to visit with friends, patio catch ups with dear friends and we spent as much time as possible with our nieces, and their parents.  There were a few days the sweet girls were not up to par and Husband Jared and I tried to help best we could and once again our memories were jogged for days when we had four under five and from sun up until sun down it was play time, moving from one room of the house to the other. 
For the fourth we spent sometime out at Grammy and Pappo's, Uncle Jeff's parents.  What a treat.  The only thing missing was Thing 4.  His lake trip was long awaited and when he left with his best buddy's family that morning he didn't even give Husband Jared and I a second glance.  Really.  I did receive one phone call update to share a fish story, something about a drum fish and he caught it and they went jet skiing and so on.  F, to the capital U-N. 


 

Give these Things a pool and we are all entertained for the day!  And even the night.  It was a fabulous day.  Thing 3 even learned how to dive.  Thanks Pappo and Grammy!  Then she mustered up all the courage she could and dove from the diving board for the very first time.  It was so exciting.  Of course there was delicious food, cooked by Grammy, which is why I don't have a photo of  her anywhere.  I'll get her next time.  Thing 1 had to have a picture of the blackberry cobbler though, made even more scrumptious because the blackberries were from their garden, which really is now a small farm. 

 
Uncle Jeff, Aunt Natalie, Autumn and Gemma

 Pappo, Uncle Jeff and the girlies
Grammy's blackberry cobbler

Husband Jared and I watching the action poolside

To say that the fourth and the following days were full would be an understatement.  They were some great days.  We did more swimming and then we were back in Fairview for some more Mema and Gpa time.  Our original plan had been to hit up our favorite fried chicken  and biscuit cafe, Loveless for breakfast and then head to the American Archeology museum, the new store from the show, American Pickers.  Breakfast  went according to plan, including the Adams girls who were there for the first time.

Things 1 and 2 and Reilly and Caroline

After breakfast we picked up Thing 3 from Kendall's house, her bestie, dropped R and C off and headed into Nashville.  Only thing we hadn't counted on was that the buzz from the show created quite a crowd at the American Archeology location and there was over an hour wait.  Outside in the heat.  No shade.  Not happening. We were able to sneak a look at their vehicle, as seen on the show, but that's about as close as we came. 


Quickly we re-routed and found our way to the Hermitage, home of Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of these United States.  Wow.  What an afternoon we had meandering around the property, acres upon acres of history at our disposal.  A tour of the house that was unmatched and artifacts that we just shook our heads at, including biographies of the slaves that had served the Jackson family and down the lineage.  Fascinating.  It even included ice cream for the girl Things and card playing on the dock with Mema and Gpa. 



The next day Husband Jared and I were off on a pre-anniversary trip planned all on his own by my super duper husband of almost fifteen years!  NOLA here we go!  That will be another post all on it's own.  Trust me you won't want to miss the food pictures we have.  They will leave you drooling.  For now let's continue with the fun that the Things had with Mema and Gpa all to themselves.  I know I don't need to state that all the typical rules are out the window as soon as Dad and Mom are gone.  With that said I don't think the Things were too upset to see us go.  Thing 4 was being picked up after his stay at the lake and he had stories to tell.  There was church and yet another fried chicken dinner, a surprise outing with Uncle Jeff and Aunt Natalie to the bowling alley, more cousin time and even a trip to the movies with Mema. 

Not to mention the record breaking fish that Thing 4 snagged right out of the pond.  Woo hoo!  Let the competition begin.  Gpa has some fishing ahead of him.

The fun didn't stop when we returned after our short get away.  Another family dinner was set and good bye's.  Which we all know how I feel about those.  Dinner was another Southern favorite, fried pork chops, green beans, probably cooked in pork fat, is there really any other way?, mashed potatoes with more cream and butter than you could imagine and corn bread, not the sweet stuff.  Oh my, heavenly.  Thanks Cool Cafe!


And then our time was over.  I had mentally prepared for the goodbyes that were inevitable and all was well until our sweet niece, Autumn, asked me to stay.  You see, we were having one fantastic dance party and we just didn't want it to end.  I was teaching her some new moves and she had me rolling and spinning and laughing.  So I kissed her forehead, squeezed her parents and ran to the car thinking I could make a speedy get away without anyone seeing my tears.  Only to find the Things were camped out in the driveway of our friends not wanting to leave.  I piled ALL the kiddos in the family van, blared the country music, rolled down the windows and pretended that I was taking them all  with me back to the frozen tundra!  If only.  Once our 4oo hour farewell was complete with more hugs and blown kisses than humanly possible we were back in Fairview for packing and preparing for another goodbye in the wee hours of the morning.  When sleepy time ended and the alarm woke us we loaded up, thanked Mema and Gpa for another exceptional visit and watched the Things groggily make their way to the family ride.  Fourteen hours on the road and then we were home.  Or at least geographically home.  I think we do leave little pieces of our hearts each time we leave Tennessee.  Until next time...