Playing Catch Up...For Posterity's Sake

I am on my three week rotation for writing.  Supposedly I can blame it on summer and her gloriously long, lazy days.  Although around here the season has been anything but lazy.  Glorious, yes.  Lazy, no.  Again, here we go with a rather extensive photo dump and brief explanations of the who's and what's.  Oh sweet memories. 
The Horels were kind enough to offer up a road trip to bring Things 3 and 4 home after a two week stay in Tennessee.   Their days were filled with boating, friend visiting, working, yoga, ice cream and generally being spoiled to the nines.  It was good.  We left them after our fourth of July visit and came home to an empty house.  Well, other than Polo who was heart broken because his Things did not return with us.  Anyhow, Husband Jared and I had the house to ourselves.  Meaning we watched football, the remaining World Cup matches, ate crackers and olive dip for dinner on more than one night, visited several restaurants that were on our list to "try" sans Things and then we missed our Things.  While the time together was fantastic, the possibility of this being our life in not too many years was somewhat surreal.  And exciting.  And bittersweet.  I am grateful that we savored the time alone.  We kind of like each other.  Just a little. 

Shooting range in TN with Gpa and Uncle RJ

Surfing behind the Dreiman's boat at Pickwick, MS
These boys are teenagers now, man alive!

Fireworks on the lake with the best buds
Thing 4 and Autumn busting a move at Reggae Wednesday
 Thing 3 and Gemma, she was copying every face that Thing 3 made, this one might be my favorite

Thing 3 and Autumn

Thing 3 and Aunt Natalie went on a trail ride together

Thing 3 and Kendall, BFF's since 2006 when they started playing soccer together
I had to throw this photo in there because who do we take pictures of when the Things are gone?  Ourselves of course, oh and the dog.  Day date selfie.
And when the Things are gone I may or may not have shared my ice-cream with Polo.
While Things 3 and 4 were in Tennessee, Things 1 and 2 were in Cali, soaking up the sunshine and palm trees and family.  Actually they were working, or at least that's what they told us.  Thing 1 was invited to Pismo with the Stuck family to watch the girlies, she then spent some time with the Strand family babysitting their three lovelies and hanging out with Uncle Aaron and Aunt Maggie.  Thing 2 had her special week with Poppi and Nani in which there was camping at the beach, Disneyland and lunch with the Princesses, family dinner celebrations, fireworks and too many Starbucks trips to count.  She then nannied for the Strand family for a week.  I am so grateful the girls were able to love on their cousins and get to know their Uncles and Aunts.  I think they're all pretty fantastic and that Aunt/Uncle- Niece relationship is a special one, near and dear to my heart. 

Thing 1 with Uncle J and Aunt Corynn
Things 1 and 2 with Nani, at the beach of course.
Thing 2 and Cousin Tristin in Cali

Poppi, Nani and Thing 2 camping on the beach

A little shopping and a little dinner with Great Grandpa Sam, Great Grandma Sharon, Uncle J and Gianna and Olivia
Thing 2 and the Strand kiddos, play day at the sea
Thing 1 and Emme at Griffith Observatory

Snuggles with Emme and Colin

Once Things 1 and 2 returned from Cali and the Horels and Things 3 and 4 drove up North we were reunited and the fun began with another Horel summer week in Minnesnowta!  There were lake visits, fish tacos, hikes, a birthday to celebrate, crafts with Auntie Leanna and ice cream,
 lots of ice cream. In no particular order:

Ice cream at the Mom and Pop shop in Jordan

Painting Daddy's birthday cards

Birthday hike in the bluffs, the girls legs were tired

Visiting Thing 2 while she was still employed at Coldstone

Observing the waterfall in Jordan. 
We had originally planned on hiking around the waterfall but when we arrived in Jordan there was no hike.  It was more of a trail and observation deck.  No worries.  We made the most of the moment and had a picnic at the park, played on the playground, big and little kids alike, trekked into downtown Jordan and found a "vintage" baseball field that captivated me.  One of the groundskeepers was there and he filled our ears with stories and details and stats.  I wish I had taken a photo of the scoreboard and the green walls and the bleachers and all of it.  What a special place. 

Birthday boot at Rookery in Robbinsdale, tradition at it's finest!
Rookery is on mine and Husband Jared's favorites list here.  The restaurant itself is unassuming and the atmosphere welcoming and downright fun.  From the open kitchen to the wait staff and the songs and the food.  We knew it would be the perfect place to celebrate Uncle Jeff.  Especially when we saw the boot, here's the deal with that; You buy one for the staff to share and then they deliver you your very own boot.  Toe up please to avoid sloshing.  That's all I will say about that. 

Excelsior beach, debating on the jump style
We spent a day at Lake Minnetonka. It began with paddle boarding and kayaking.  Lunch at Lago Tacos, the best walleye tacos I've ever had, and then a walk around the lake all the way to Excelsior beach where we watched the clouds roll in, the water turn cold and all of us jumped off the make shift dock, cannonball style. 

Ready to kayak
Autumn and Gemma couldn't ride on our paddle boards so Uncle Jared and Thing 1 kayaked with them around the lake.  The girls were intent on using the oars.  We took advantage of the photo op and then left the oars on shore.  It was better that way. 
Thing 3 on the paddle board for the first time

Playground picnic in Jordan

Uncle Jeff paddle boarding on his birthday

Aunt Natalie

Gemma at Round Lake, ready for the water war!
When the Horels arrived the littles were full of energy and ready for some fun.  We headed to Round Lake and the splash pad.  They were back and forth from the pad and playground to the lake and then again.  I love watching them swim and splash in the water.  I tell their Mama that she might just have mermaids.
The family at the Odd Races
On our last full day together there were Odd races at Canterbury park, our horse track nearby.  Odd races include camels, zebras and ostriches.  The entire fam bam made the trip to the track and we all just shook our heads in disbelief as the jockeys attempted to stay on the ostriches.  What a sight! 

Blackberry cake for the birthday boy, make a wish!
Blackberry cake with lemon buttercream frosting for the birthday boy.  He blew out the candles and made a wish and we were all so grateful to have been able to celebrate with Uncle Jeff. 
A blip on the screen from the whirlwind summer we've had. Grateful for the memories made with family near and far.  It was good. 

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