The Tale of A Horel Family Visit

To say we were anxious would be a drastic understatement.  Come Sunday morning we were all asking, "when?".  The Horels were in Wisconsin and before during and after Thing 4's footie games we were all asking the same question.  Maybe for dinner?  Possibly after?  Would the girls be awake?  Yes and yes.  When we finally received the call that they'd be here right around dinner time the squeals of excitement could not be contained.  House guests.  Cousins.  Siblings.  Woo hoo! 
The week started off just like so many of our nights together in TN had, all ten of us now, crowded around the dinner table.  A place I love to be.  There was the passing of dishes, homemade salad dressing by Thing 1, stories of water parks and friends from the littlest visitors and there were smiles.  Lots and lots of smiles.  Myself included. 
Then came the planning for the week ahead.  Day one.  Lake Calhoun, Wild Rumpus book store, Auntie's favorite, and some lake beach time.  Husband Jared would be at work and we were all left to our own vices.  Which meant I had to navigate our visitors and find parking and remember directions.  Not my cup of tea.  No, I'm more the ride in front, stare at the surroundings and not pay any attention to North, South, East or West.  I put my big girl panties on and made a go of  it.  Providing a tour of stunning neighborhoods for our guests and even finding a decent parking spot for both the family vans. 
Wild Rumpus book store is independently owned and just so quaint I can hardly stand it.  The smell of books mixed with the live animals that call this place home intrigues me.  From the smallish purple door to the murals covering the walls I love it all.  The day we visited happened to be story time and there was no shortage of Moms and strollers.  We did our best to scooch around them while introducing Autumn and Gemma to the lizard and rooster, ferrets and chinchillas.  Autumn was not a fan of the rooster.  Fair to say I don't think he was a fan of us either.  Oh well.  The kiddos all unearthed some book treasures and we left happily to find the bakery I adore, in the same neighborhood. 
One Ms. Autumn leaving Wild Rumpus,
cousins following close behind.
Since it was such a lovely day out the lake beach was a logical choice for six kiddos to unleash some energy.  Lake Calhoun was our next destination.  Hold the phone right here.  The parking can be a bit challenging at times here. I was giving myself a pep talk the entire mile and a half drive there.  Anyone who knows me is well aware of my parking abilities, or lack thereof.  Let me divulge a little secret here.  My sixteen year old Thing taught me, yes me, how to parallel park this very day.  It was so easy.  And every time I cringed because I didn't think I had enough room, she rolled her eyes and said, "Mama, you're fine", "just keep going".  Yes, yes she did.  I was so proud of the both of us.  There was no yelling, gnashing of teeth or otherwise unsuitable quality.  When we were finished and the car was most beautifully situated into the space she proceeded to text Husband Jared and share her accomplishment. 
When we had all gotten over the parking incident we dined at the Tin Fish.  The line was not at all intimidating and once we ordered the cousins explored the area.  Finding ducks and seagulls and boats and more boats.  The fish tacos were divine.  Our faces were stuffed and we walked to the sandy area, affectionately referred to as, the lake beach.  We splashed and swam and laughed and watched and soaked up the sunshine.
Lunch time
Cousins at the lake
Those were the highlights of our first day together.  Of course when we were at the homestead there was playing and dog walking and craft time and even some mo-mos, (movies).  And we all went to bed tired and happy.  Like we had worked a good long day, only we hadn't really worked, we had fun!

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