The Fourth in Franklin

It seems as though every post I write lately is a catch up piece on the latest and greatest happenings. I'm determined for this post to be different.  There are no guarantees however. 
First, the youngest Thing was retrieved early from JAM camp in order to make the trek to Chi-town for a football tournament.  Husband Jared and said Thing left early the next morning for said tournament and I had the privilege of cheering on a sweet friend's daughter at the Special Olympics in Stillwater.  I can not even tell you the joy I experienced being witness to the events.  There was an Olympic Village, medal stand and crowds of supporters.  And given that the meet was in close proximity we celebrated the Olympian with none other than Nelson's Ice cream.  An iconic establishment that offers servings larger than my head.  I enjoyed my treat immensely.  As evidenced in the photo below.  Things 1 and 3 arrived a day later and we had quite the girls weekend.  Reality check.  They spent the entire weekend recovering from a week of late nights, studying the Word, swimming and all manner of camp shenanigans.  Thing 4 played well, had a field trip to the ER in Libertyville, thanks to an elbow to the head which left him with a concussion and unable to play in Sunday's matches.  Poor boy.  It was rough for this Mama not to be there.  He was in excellent care with Dad and they returned home the next day, thankfully.  The girl Things and I managed a trip to the food truck fest in Uptown where we sampled the fare and enjoyed some rather interesting people watching. 
Tough kiddo...
Gorgeous July day at the Food Truck Festival
Yes, that is one "small", it's all relative!
As a disclaimer I could not even finish the small cup.
So after that weekend Thing 1 jumped on a plane to LAX, well San Diego in all honesty, for her two week jaunt with the fam bam and the four remaining Hansons jumped in Sven and drove South to Franklin for the Fourth.  Which brings us almost current.  With the exception of the four hundred photos I have to share from Reggae Wednesday at the Shroom, Thing 4's lake excursion with his best buddy and our 4th of July celebration at Pappo and Grammy's house.  Here we go, buckle up or run and hide.  Your choice and don't say you weren't warned. 
Eden Prairie, MN to Summertown, TN.  Somewhere between Pickwick and civilization was the drop off for Thing 4.  We delivered the goods, kissed, gave firm instructions as to our boy's limitations with his recent concussion and high tailed it to Franklin.  There were nieces to see and Reggae Wednesday to experience.  An audible sigh filled the air as we exited the car and breathed the Franklin air in deep. 
Every Wednesday night at one of our favorite pizza joints on Main St. there is a reggae band and niece Gemma is quite the dancer.  Gpa, Mema and Uncle RJ (he was visiting from Cali) joined us as well.  Needless to say we indulged and danced the night away, filling our bellies and our hearts.
Auntie Leanna and Gemma

Autumn and her Daddy

Uncle Jared and Autumn
Uncle Jeff and Aunt Natalie
The following day began our resort style stay in the "Outhouse" at the Horels.  Pappo and Grammy welcomed us all and the pool side fun began. We picked fruit and veg in the garden, which has actually become more farm like each year, there were pool floats to test out and nieces to play with.  A fantastic start to the weekend.  Dining was strictly al fresco and the only rule was to have fun! 
Thing 3 and Gemma trying out the hammock
Husband Jared losing the battle with the swan float

The garden, where most of our meals came from while here!
The festivities continued throughout the next day, which was actually the Fourth of July.  Us adults went on an early morning walk together while the littles and Thing 3 rested up.  Preparations for the days' meals began shortly after breakfast, there were football matches, hello World Cup!, bocce ball tournaments, volleyball in the pool, family and sunning. 
Autumn checking out the bocce ball set up.

Gemma trying to catch butterflies

4th of July family dinner, Natalie's infamous ribs
Horels, Reeves and Hansons, (all related parties not in attendance)

Bocce Ball challenge

Playing in the pool
And then as soon as the sun set firework set up commenced.  Our light show is no joke.  Complete with a saw horse stand, mortars, and more pyrotechnics than I could dream of. It was fabulous until something went awry and all of a sudden there were sparks whizzing past us.  Game over.  Fire doused and all of us went safely inside.  Lights out. 

Gemma was quite mesmerized by the fire

Autumn's first go at sparklers

Crowd Control

Thing 3's first attempt at bottle rockets
Thing 3's fun with sparklers!
Kissing Sisters!
While us adults were looking forward to another pool day, more lounging, and some football viewing before preparing for the drive back up North, Thing 3 and her cousins were surprised with an impromptu painting session by none other than the resident artist, Pappo. Two hours later Thing 3 immersed from the studio with this masterpiece.

To say we were all impressed would be an understatement.  Under the careful instruction Thing 3 painted an incredible beach scene, which is now sitting proudly on our mantle. 
I just can't leave out this photo of Thing 4 and his buddies at the lake.  It does not feel like a stretch to say that he looks as though he was having a great time too!
Jake, Blake and Thing 4, just chillin'!
In the blink of an eye it was over.  Husband Jared and I reluctantly packed up, leaving behind Thing 3 and hitting the road solo.  Thirteen short hours later we were home.  And this was waiting for us.  One very sad dog who was missing his Things.  I feel you Polo, this Mama was missing them too.  Although I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was excited as well to have the house to ourselves for a week. 



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