New Year's Eve

Cold and dreary start to the day....Brooke and I went for manicures/pedicures and then got groceries (Daisy's fridge is all stocked up)!

Home for lunch and Brady and Grandma took a nap in Daisy.   Beautiful out late afternoon  - sunshine and 50+.

Ready to ring in 2011
Grandpa and the boys talking to Connor and Liam on the webcam
Davis, Brady and Drew ready to party... 

The boys are staying overnight on Daisy and we are having sparkling white grape juice, party favors and all


Thursday, December 30

We left Knoxville at 8:20......stopped at Lake James where Michael, boys and friend, Thomas met us.   Mark and Michael were deciding where to put anchors for mooring balls he wants to install on their property.   Water level is really down...

Drew, Thomas, Brady and Davis
Mark and Michael

  Sure saw lots of snow coming this way - most we've ever seen on our visits to NC.   Had lunch at Roma's - very good and then on to Hickory.   Daisy was waiting in the driveway for us - most snow she's experienced (8" here on Christmas Day).

The boys showed us their Santa gifts and Brady is just so excited with all his new toys!    Mark and I did our exercises and Brooke came home from shopping with friends in Blowing Rock!

Had delicious Chinese for dinner and then played euchre with Brooke and I beating the guys 4 out of 6 games!   FUN!!!
M and B ready to deal up the cards!

Wednesday, December 29

While Mark winterized the house, I went to Meijer's and picked up a few piddlies, and then sat at Starbucks with my skinny peppermint mocha and blueberry coffeecake (fat-free) till he called me to come on home.    I guess he has this "closing up the house" bit down to a science as it  took him just 1 hour to drain the pipes and hot water heater, put pink anti-freeze in toilets, sink drains and basement drains (drains can dry out and let sewer gas come into house).  This is all done in case the furnace goes out which happened a few years ago!.   At 8:00 we were backing out of the driveway and on our way!

Beautiful bright sunny skies most of the morning and then..............very dreary and off and on drizzle, but we were at 41 degrees.   Seeing several RV's heading south and majority from Michigan!

I've been taking a few cat naps and reading very good book "A Land Remembered",  along with texting on my new phone and checking e-mails on my laptop!   

We are in Knoxville tonight - last 50 miles had lots of traffic and all stop 'n go!   Good supper of comfort food at Cracker Barrel!

Tuesday, December 28

Busy day of finishing packing Christmas 2010 away and then gather up our stuff for the winter in Florida!    We already had a LOT on Daisy, but just keep finding more things to take - sure hope the weather is warmer than last winter and all that's been going on so far in December?

Ryan left around 9:00 - what fun having him with us this past week!  
Ryan off again...

Donna Rae and Ed stopped by with their traditional travel treat of homemade chocolate chip cookies.    Every time we leave on a trip, she gives us a big bag of cookies which we savor (limit to 1 per day so
 they s t r e t c h out)!    Thanks again DR.....

Donna Rae giving Mark her yummy cookies

So, the house is back in order and somewhat clean, laundry is caught up, packing is done and tomorrow, the plan is to be up early.   Mark usually takes around 2 hours to winterize the house, so I shall disappear for a bit (have some errands), then come home to pick him up and we'll be outta here....

Anne and boys stopped over to pick up some food from fridge and freezer.    We will sure miss them!

We are traveling to NC to see our kids and kiddies and party with the boys New Year's Eve.   Saturday....head south with Miss Daisy!

Monday, December 27

Busy, busy day around here gathering all the snowmen, Santas, candles, stockings and on and on and on.   After packing away all the treasures,  Ryan carried box after box and bin after bin to basement and Mark put in place.    Tah dah....95% of it is tucked away for another year.   But we still managed to go exercise AND, stopped and looked at Christmas trees and................bought a beautiful 9' slim-line pre-lit tree (50% off).    We'll put in family room next year.   

I went to Biaggi's with Anita, Kathy and Claire celebrating Kathy's birthday which is Thursday.    Great visiting with these gals and then ran a few more errarnds and back home to keep plugging' away.    Mark and I went to Donna Rae and Ed's to try to get wireless internet for her new NOOK, but no luck.    Then to Anne and Patrick's for supper.......played Wii bowling and then said our teary good byes.

Lots to do tomorrow before we leave, but at least the Christmas stuff is almost all gone.

The Day After...

Mark , Ryan and I went to 8:30 Mass and met Anne, Patrick and boys and then we were off to Starved Rock for my-side-of-the-family Christmas!    There were 17 of us, including Dad who seemed to enjoy it all After we ate, we gathered around the tree for pictures and then visited, opened gifts, etc.

Ryan took Philip to O'Hare and we rode home with Anne and family.    And now we are in the midst of a major mess taking down Christmas - stuff is everywhere, but it does come down much faster than it goes up.   I just have so darn MUCH!    so, now in the process of packing it all way.    Lots to do before we leave on Wednesday morning!

Patrick, Anne, Connor and Liam
Great Grandpa Pete with 2 of his 7 great grandchildren
Jennifer, Annette, Philip, Bob, Linda, Pat, Jason, Todd, Mark, Ryan, David, Anne, Ashley, Patrick
Grandpa, Connor, Liam

Christmas Day

 What a wonderful Christmas Day.  We got 7" of snow yesterday and last night and after sleeping in a bit, woke up to sooo much beauty!!!     Ryan, Mark and I had breakfast and then the guys went out to shovel and use the snow blower.   Talked to our parents, Michael, Brooke and Philip.
The tree, stockings, presents and fire all waiting....

Anne and family arrived about 11 and we gathered 'round the tree to open presents which the boys handed out - such fun to see their joy and excitement!   
Grandpa with favorites - grandsons and chivas!!!
Anne and her new sweatshirt from Ryan

While the boys napped, we played 5-handed euchre!   And then Uncle Ryan and boys set out to build some snowmen...
Ryan on a mission
and tah dah...
Connor and cute Frosty
Liam and his creation
Patrick reads his boys "Curious George" as they snuggle with their new blankies and pillow pets

Our neighbor, Candy came over at 4:30 and we visited, had dinner and exchanged gifts
Candy got a blanket, wine and muchies to get her thru the winter!!!

After dessert, we gathered 'round the piano and sang carols with Patrick playing.
Connor, Mark, Pat, Anne, Liam, Patrick and Ryan

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Christmas Eve

It's a  winter wonderland outdoors this Christmas Eve............started snowing about 11 and really heavy at times throughout the afternoon and evening.  We probably have around 5".   Donna Rae and Ed stopped by with their traditional peanut brittle (alway a wonderful Christmastime treat) and visited with Ryan. 

Church was packed and what a beautiful Mass.    Afterwards, Ryan, Anne, Patrick, Liam and Connor came for hors d'oeuvres and soup and lots of good family visiting.

The boys are so excited and been tracking Santa and his route (last they checked, he was flying over Ireland).    Amazing what this technology can do!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful day with your families!
God Bless....

Thursday, December23

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Dad!!!!    He's 93 today and what an enjoyable day we spent with him.    Mark, Ryan, Liam, Connor and I left at 7:45 this morning.   Met Bob and Dad at the doctor office in Ottawa.   I stayed with them and Mark and crew went on.    Doctor visit went well and then back to the nursing home where we all partied...    

Connor, Grandpa, Liam
Annette, Pat, Ryan, Linda, Mark, Jason, Bob and Jennifer

We had lunch, visited, played cards (euchre, 500 and war).   Opened presents, and enjoyed red velvet cake and peppermint ice cream.   Dad found out he's going to be moving to a new room much closer to the dining room.   The room has been freshly painted and is larger than where he's at now!
Frosty landscape as we traveled this morning
Great Grandpa Pete and boys enjoying leprakuchen cookies which Jason made and always a treat that
GG (Mom)  made each Christmas
Brotherly Love

We got home at 5 and our good friends from Florida (Patty and Doug) came over to visit.   They are spending the holidays with family,.   Great to see them and look forward to being together in FL in March
Patty and Doug

No doubt about having a "White Christmas" - all white now and more coming tonight/tomorrow!
Hope you all "have it together" with your holiday shopping, wrapping, baking, cooking and any other final preparations! 

Wednesday, December 22

We were "supposed" to have sun today, but very dreay, windy and cold!    Anne brought the boys (and donuts) before work (they are staying with us today and tomorrow).   Mark went to exercise, I did some laundry and I had a conference call with the Lutheran Home (care meeting for Dad).   Then off to lunch with Exchange Club and our carol sing-a-long led by Dean and accompanied by Ruth

Ruth and Dean
Fellow Exchangites
Back:  Martha, Don, Fred, Don, David, Dale, Pat, Bill, Denny, Mike and Earl
Front:  Jack, Walt, Lou and Ruth

I came home and the boys were up already!   Short nap (they are just a little excited these days), and as  I was going out the door to Larry and lift some weights, Grandpa and boys were bundled up and going out the door to build some snow "sculptures"   Here's what they came up with:
"Garbage Can" Sculpture

Ryan is home!!!   Boys were so excited to see him (as we were).    He always loved legos and set to work in the family room with the boys building away...
A mountain of legos - "possibilites" are endless!!!

Enjoyed Monicals' for supper

Uncle Ryan and buddies

Tuesday, December 21

Dreary day, but low 30's so that felt good!    I had 5 gals for breakfast (BBB Friends) - we missed Ruth, who lives in the country and roads were slippery!    Each brought a delicious treat so we had quite an array of goodies.   We ate, drank mimosas, chatted and all shared a special Christmas memory from the past.   Before leaving, we exchanged books so lots of good reading coming up this winter and until we meet again in April.

Cathy, Karen, Holly, Sue, Sharon, Pat

This afternoon, Mark and I met Anne at Liam's school and enjoyed his Nativity program starring the 2 kindergarten classess.  It was a very nice production of singing and acting.   Liam was a Wise man....

Sweet "King" Liam

We have a new great nephew, Michael Robert born yesterday to Alison (niece) and Bob.    Michael is Mark's sister, Nancy's first grandbaby.   Congratulations to all!
Michael Robert

Nice to be home tonight reading and just hanging out!

Monday, December 20

Dreary day with snow starting arouond about an inch but lots of cruddy-sounding stuff is coming - sleet, freezing rain and heavy snow later this week....ugh!!!!!!   No doubts about having a "White" Christmas this year!

Mark and I went to breakfast for about 15 minutes and good ole Santa appeared with lottery tickets for all (I had a winner) and Sue sat on his lap asking for a new shiny red car parked in her driveway Christmas morning.

Sue and Santa (Ken)

Busy morning - left breakfast and off to get a haircut - we have just the car (Toad)  as Mark's folks will be using our truck with 4-wheel drive this winter.  Then I had an eye check-up to see if those yellow thingies are still in my right eye.    Since the tests (TB and blood work) for Sarcoidosis were all negative, doctor is not concerned (I sure don't know they are in there), so unless I notice a change, I'll go back in one year!

Mark picked me up and off we went (everything blurry with all the dilation) to CJ's to meet our friends, John and Heather from Tennessee who are visiting family in town.    Good lunch and visit!

Heather and John

Now a confession.......Mark started going to Larry, (personal trainer) in October to lift weights and get back in shape.   Good ole Philip had mentioned that "Mom should be doing the same" and... get some good strengthening for the shoulder.   We really like Larry and the individual time he gives us, plus what a difference in my shoulder.   He knows "my story" and I can't believe how much better it feels and how much more I can do.    As long as we were doing this exercise bit, I said "how about some help with the tummy, hips and thighs, sooooo.    We also have a plan of our weight lifting (I'm up to 8# and 12# for Mark - actually 16 and 24#)) when we're away from home.   We had a trial run in NC at Thanksgiving.  So 3x a week, we're doing "our thing" and enjoying it very much.   

Had a session with Larry at 2:00 and then home.   Still have squeaky voice and sneezing and coughing and blowing my nose - this is a real doozy and we keep hearing about a lot of this stuff going on!    Wishing you all a HEALTHY holiday!

Saturday and Sunday, December 18 and 19

Saturday.....busy weekend.....up and going on a pretty sunny cold morning   We stopped to see Dad who was sitting in the sun reading the Lutheran Home newsletter.    Having some issues with lost sweatpants (2 pairs, including brand new ones), so the hunt is on.....

Onto the family Christmas - big lunch at the folks (Mark's Mom is doing really well after her surgery) and then checked into the Comfort Inn.    We all went to 4:30 Mass and then the bountiful feast of a huge spread of wonderful food.    There were 80 in attendance this year - some friends, a fiance' and fiancee' with Mark's Dad being the oldest at 89 and Riley, the youngest at 3 weeks.    After dinner we had the gift exchange, sat around and visited and then back to the hotel for more partying.    Sooo good to have Ryan with us!

Here are some highlights...

Little ones anxiously waiting their turn to open gifts
Doris with her beautifully wrapped package from Sue

Our nephew and Godchild, Tommy turned 21 on the 15th, so his cousins and family surprised him wearing matching shirts with "Tommy" on front and "21" on back.
Tommy and family....Colleen, Dan, Tommy, Janet, Mike and Bridget
The Birthday Boy
Mark and brothers, Jim and Tom
Precious Baby Riley

Sunday.....sunny most of the morning and then lots of clouds.   We had breakfast at the hotel, visited Mark's parents and several other family members stopped by and then said our good-byes and Merry Christmas wishes to all...

Stopped to visit Dad just before he went to lunch.    Back home, unpacked and got  supper ready.  Our neighbor, Marty and son, Fred came for soup and sandwiches and lots of good gabbing!

Marty and Fred

My laryngitis has now turned into a good old-fashioned COLD!   Sure could use a new head!

Friday, December 17

Cloudy start to the day and then lots of sunshine with a high of 21.   Had 3 dear friends for breakfast and so enjoyed our visiting and just being together this special time of year!

Kathy, Claire, Pat, Anita

And then as each departed on their way, had to capture them all bundled up  in their pretty scarves!
Claire, Anita, Kathy

My foot is a little better, but the voice is going....starts out raspy and squeaky in the morning and getting worse as the day goes on!    Hard for me not to talk (imagine that)!

We went to "Kicks on 66" for supper with Paul, Kathy, Barb and Roger - good time catching up and good food.   First time for all of us to try this spot!
Kathy, Paul, Barb, Roger, Mark, Pat

Off to see my Dad in the morning and then big Christmas celebration with Mark's family.   Ryan flies in from California!    YEAH!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 16

Cloudy day and not so cold, but 3" of fresh snow overnight!    Mark was up to shovel and use the snowblower and snowblade by 7..   Anne came with the boys (and donuts) at 7:20 as she had to be at work early.   After breakfast and a little playtime with their favorite (for the moment) legos, Grandpa took them to school.   I did some things in the kitchen along with making another batch of white chocolate popcorn which has certainly been a big hit this holiday season.

Mark and I took off at 1:00 and ran several errands, got some groceries and while I was getting a manicure, he ran more errands!    Errands, errands, sooooooo many errands!

Yesterday and today really brought in a bunch of Christmas cards - we sure enjoy all the notes and pictures from family and friends!

My foot is still hurting, but not slowing me down!    And my voice comes and goes - gotta stop talking!   HA!

Our neighbors across the street, Beth and Bob came over for a nice visit and talk about Alaska.    They will be retiring June 1st and are in the early planning stages to "do" sharing our experiences, pictures, etc.

Bob and Beth

Wednesday, December 15

Not so cold today - we ran some errands and then home for the rest of the day...finished the blanket and then enjoyed Ed and Donna Rae who came for supper (soup and sandwiches), followed by dominoes won by our guests!!!     Donna Rae bought delicious pound cake w/peppermint ice cream  for dessert.  It's snowing out!   We probably have 2-3" on the ground!

The Domino King and Queen

We had so much fun with these two great friends!

I fell coming up the basement steps this afternoon - "KLUTZ"   The side of my left foot really hurts!   Hope I didn't break any bones?   Always something!

My Dad is back at the nursing home on full-time oxygen.   Just want him comfortable, warm and cozy!

Tuesday, December 14

Bright sunny day, but very cold!   I have a very raspy voice, but otherwise, feel fine.   Mark and I went to Mendota to see Dad.   He was walking with his walker and 2 aides very slowly, but it's progress!    He's also eating his meals in the dining room.    He may be released tomorrow or Thursday.    Aunt Marian stopped by for a visit, too.

Had delicious lunch at China House with Bob and Linda, back to see Dad but it was naptime, so we left around 2:30.   Linda sent back some yummy cookies from her marathon cookie day - delivered some to Liam and Connor!    Mark visited Marty for a little bit taking him some chicken noodle soup and angel food cake.

We went to St. Mary's reconciliation service at night.

Monday, December13's sooo cold here!   Lots of cancellations, including school, so we had Liam and Connor today.   The sun is shining brightly, but it's BITTER out there!

The boys had fun playing with their new costumes.    Anne's friend bought them several different ones after Halloween for $1 apiece (what a deal) and they had a ball playing dress-up.   I cracked up when I saw them sitting on the steps "pretending" they were in a jet and flying.   I told them I would be really scared if my pilots looked like that and I wondered what their pilot uncles would think?   HA.....gotta love the imagination of these little ones.

Scary pilots flying their jet

Spent time with phone calls between the doctor, nursing home, hospital, etc.   Dad is now in the swing unit of the hospital where he will be getting dressed, eating in the dining room and doing some therapy.    We are going to visit him tomorrow.   Doctor said his lungs sound a little better.   Just the thought of taking him out in this dreadful weather.....well, let's hope it warms up SOON!

After lunch and naps, Patrick picked the boys up and Mark and I went to the Red Cross to donate blood (1st time for me).    Stopped and got a few groceries and then home cozy home!

Mark's Mom seems chipper and upbeat when we talk to her - she was given a list of restrictions when she left the hospital, so hopefully, she'll relax and take it easy.   The big family Christmas is coming up this Saturday night - want to make this as easy as possible for her!!!

Our neighbor Marty came home from the hospital this afternoon - yeah!    He had quite a time - a complicated gall bladder removal, but he's on the mend and know his kids will be giving him lots of TLC, along with neighbors and friends!

Sunday, December 12

40 years ago today we were blessed with the arrival of 2 babies.........
What a joy these 2 have been (we were only expecting one baby - Anne was an unexpected delight)!  And 40 years later, we are having blizzard conditions here.    Anne and Patrick have been in Las Vegas and we wondered if they would be able to fly home....wind gusts of 50 mph and off and on snow.   But they made it and the boys were so happy to see them and then "Let's Party"!!!

Making Mommy's birthday cake
Counting out 20 candles each to decorate the cake 

Mark took several pics of the boys "watching" by the backdoor for Mommy and Daddy to arrive.   This was cute one he captured with their arms around each other!
WHEN are they coming?
Mommy and her boys and their pretty cake with 40 pink candles
Helping the Birthday Girl open her presents
The boys with their presents from the M and M store in Las Vegas (shirts and plates)

And now for our Birthday Boy....
Happy 40th, Michael

Our house is very quiet here tonight, but the weather outside is frightful!    Sure was a fun weekend with Liam and Connor............hope everyone is safe and warm tonight wherever you are?