Wednesday - November 30

I'm HOME and it's COLD out there!    Very early morning for Mark and I as we were up at 3:45 AM and he took me to the West Palm airport for 5:45 flight.   Anne had the day off and picked me up and we caught up on all the goings on around here.   Nice to have the house decorated, shopping pretty much done and wrapped, etc.

Mark had another big day with Catrina and then tonight he, Philip and Annette met his brother Jim and Lydia for dinner in Pompano Beach.   Jim and Lydia are vacationing in Florida, so glad they could get together (and sorry I missed out)!   But, it's good to be home.

I had lunch with Exchange Club and then wrapped presents this afternoon with my Monday Night Friends for Adopt-a-Family, followed by supper at CJ's. 

Good-bye Novenber and welcome December with lots of holiday fun!!!

Tuesday - November 29

Cloudy and cooler in the morning....Mark left before 8 for Stuart and boat jobs, Philip and Annette were off to work and I hung out at home all day with our grand cats (Carlos and Julio).   Did the laundry, some fertilizing of landscaping, read, packed and just enjoyed a nice quiet day (did have the Christmas tunes playing, though).
Carlos (front); Julio (back)

Sun came out in the afternoon and I walked around the neighborhood - fun to see all the nice homes, their holiday decor, etc.   

Mark got a haircut and had a productive day on Catrina. 

Tomorrow I fly home (5:45 AM) so getting out the long pants, sweater, socks, and fleece jacket to brave the chilly temps and possible snow flurries waiting at home.  Mark is staying till Saturday.

Annette and I went to Target and then picked up a pizza from Sal's...back home and enjoyed the pizza, salad and wine and then played dominoes with Mark.   Annette was the Queen!!!

Can't believe we've been here a week already.... Philip and Annette really rolled out the red carpet with their hospitality and sharing their new home for lots of family fun!

Monday - November 28

Mark and I left at 8 for Stuart (45 minutes north) and got some things done on Catrina.    We got one of the air conditioner trays replaced (icky poo job) and then the guys came and had Catrina lifted out for more maintenance.   Mark took me to downtown Stuart (another favorite FL town) and I shopped all the specialty "cutsie" stores and had lunch at the coffee cafe.  It rained a little but warm and sunny in the afternoon.   

Back to Lake Worth at 5 and nice relaxing evening with Annette - had Brooke's corn chowder for supper.   Philip is working late again...

Today was the funeral in Omaha, Nebraska for Mark's Aunt Sally who died Friday.    She was such a dear lady and would have been 98 on December 22nd.   Our thoughts and prayers are with Mark's 4 cousins and
their families.
Philip and Annette's new home

Sunday - November 27

Started our Sunday off with 9:30 Mass at St. Therese de Lisieux - a very neat experience - great priest and phenomenal choir (WOW)!!!!   Music was truly special!    Went to breakfast at "I'm Greek Today" and then browsed a few shops.   Stopped at the Cupcake Cottage and brought home more treats (Susie....several different flavors today).  Philip went into work around 1:30.   Annette and I played rummikube, went for a walk in the neighborhood, and then Mark, Annette and I played 3-handed euchre and dominoes.

More leftovers for supper and still delicious!    Tomorrow, Mark and I are off to Stuart and get some things crossed off the Catrina job list (hopefully)?   Have a great week!

Saturday - November 26

Philip left very early for work this morning, Mark and Brady exercised and after breakfast, we got the NC van packed up.   Hugs, kisses, a few more camera poses and they were on their way at 8:20 AM.     We had so much fun together and sure will miss them all till we meet again....
Grandpa and Brady lifting weights

Michael, Brooke, Brady, Drew and Davis

And then....Mark and I left for the West Palm Beach airport to get a rental car for him to drive this week.   I brought the car back here while he took off in Philip's truck for Stuart and start tackling his Catrina job list.

Annette and I tidied up the house and got the washer and dryer going full speed.    All the decorations were brought out and then she turned on the Christmas music, fixed us a cup of hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps and the decorating began (had to "pretend" it was cold outside to get in the spirit) while wearing shorts and sandals....but house looks great and here's the tree all decked out!

Beautiful Christmas tree

Mark, Annette and I played 3-handed euchre and then Annette and I played rummikube.   Ended the day with a nice relaxing 45 minutes in the hot tub.    Michael and all have arrived home safely.   Philip is putting in a long day but on his way home.

Friday - November 25

It's Black Friday, but everyone in this household is choosing NOT to go out and about for any bargains!!!!    Sure have heard and read about all the crazies out there, though!   HA!

We had another fun day in the sun and in the afternoon Mark and I picked up our friend, Susie (former neighbor) who now lives in Wellington.     We came back to Philip and Annette's and had a delightful visit, watching the kids play bean bag toss, the YouTube video of Ryan, drank cranberry champagne cocktails and just so fun to be together.    Susie's daughter, Amy came to pick her up and good to see her again.
Susie and Pat with delicious treats from The Cupcake Cottage
Susie and Amy

Enjoyed all the yummy leftovers for supper and then to the hot tub!
Pat and Annette
Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Annette with the boys

Thanksgiving - 2011

We hope you had a very special holiday with your families and an abundance of good eating and camaraderie.  What a wonderful day to celebrate and be thankful  - Mark and I are with 1/2 our family and talked to Anne and boys and e-mailed back and forth with Ryan.    We played games, watched football, enjoyed the pool and snacked off and on till the bountiful feast began.   We ate outdoors and what a treat that was.   

Grandma, Grandpa and Brady
Our Host and Hostess
Ready to chow down....
Michael, Davis, Brady, Mark, Philip, Brooke, Annette, Pat and Drew
Michael and his little buddy

Wednesday - November 23

Pretty day in FL, and I got in the spirit of the season (despite everyone walking around in shorts and sandals).   Mark took me to Wellington Green Mall and he went onto Stuart to check on some Catrina stuff.    I got a manicure/pedicure and browsed around.    Sooo many people out shopping, Christmas music playing, Santa was there, and the mall was beautifully decorated.
Beautiful poinsettias in Florida

 But, let's first enjoy Thanksgiving and count our many blessings.

Pool time fun in the afternoon and a bean bag toss tournament followed by delicious corn chowder (Brooke's specialty) and fresh marinated shrimp.  
Pool volleyball
3 men in the hot tub

  The girls played dominoes with Brady and Davis (Annette was the winner) and the guys watched some movies.

Happy Thanksgiving and wishing you all a wonderful holiday with family and friends!

Tuesday - November 22

Hello from Lake Worth and Philip and Annette's new home!    Here's how our last day of cruising on this go'round went.   Mark and I left with 3 boys sound asleep at 6:20 AM from Fort Pierce.    We traveled 35 miles  with lots of meandering to get to Stuart up the St. Lucie River and on up the channel to the marina
 (a good 15 miles).
Davis cruising on the St. Lucie River

We are leaving Catrina in Stuart for a liftout and some maintenance.   
The Lighthouse at Stuart Yacht Harbor and "The Boys"

Michael met us and we loaded up our stuff and off to Lake Worth for family fun and Thanksgiving!     We had a great afternoon in the warm sunshine in the pool and hot tub and chatting away.  The boys were in their glory! 

Fun in the pool

After a delicious steak dinner....
Mark and his boys are "chillin" with I-pads, wine, and TV
The girls played 3-handed euchre

Monday - November 21

Can't beat this warm, sunny Florida weather!    No sign of any holiday decor in these parts and hard to believe Thanksgiving is just a few days away and then Christmas!!!   Tonight we are in Fort Pierce and what a nice marina (municipal) with great bike riding for the boys.   Brooke and Brady arrived around 2:45 and Brady is staying overnight with us.   She went back to Lake we have a trio of brothers here - lively times on Catrina! 

Fort Pierce Municipal Marina

We started at 6:20 this morning (boys slept in again) and along the way we had a very enjoyable dolphin show as they swam alongside Catrina - our friend, Nancy said to attract them and get some pictures, make a lot of noise (NOT a problem with the boys and Grandma yelling and clapping with some "woo hoos" over and over)!
Our little friend who just followed us along...
 Playing with their I-pods 
All the guys out for a ride in the dinghy
Cobb's Landing here at the marina - good dinner
Back to Catrina for 1 1/2 games of dominoes both won by "Grandma" - tah dah!!!!

We traveled 75 miles today - all on the Indian River

Sunday - November 20

Today was just ideal weather for boating.....warm sunshine and we drove the boat from the upper deck off and on!   AWESOME!    Did run thru some rough stuff and beam seas for about 1/2 hour on the Indian River.    Played rummikube along the way and read (boys have their assignments to keep up with).    We went 95 miles and are now settled in the Harbortown Marina off Merritt Island (near Cape Canaveral).  

"I'm hungry" was a common phrase we heard off and on today - all this fresh air makes these boys wanna eat, eat, eat!
Drew at the controls
Cool Dude

After settling in, the boys rode bikes and then hosed off the boat - got these little slaves
 "swabbin' the deck"!
Our "deck swabbers"

We went to Nautical Spirits for supper here at the marina and then back to Catrina for dominoes won by Grandpa!    Ryan sent a video (on YouTube) of his squadron and what they're doing and he's in it - so neat and made his Mama so PROUD!

Saturday - November 19

Left Fernandina Beach at 6:40 AM and heading to our kids/kiddies in Jacksonville Beach. Arrived there at 9:45. Our “welcoming” crew were waiting on the dock. Good to see them all – transferred stuff to their car and/or onto boat and Brooke and I took off in the car and the guys started cruising with St. Augustine as our destination. We stopped at Publix for a few groceries (ahhh, to be back in a Publix – my favorite grocery store).

NC bunch waiting for us at Palm Cove Marina in Jacksonville Beach 

We girls had a wonderful lunch and wine at LaPalenta eating outside in the courtyard.
Pat and Brooke

This town was a'hoppin' with lots of people there in preparation for tonight's big lighting ceremony – many restaurants and shops along with the city park will turn on the Christmas lights tonight! Would love to see that! We strolled down the streets, but didn't make a dent in all there's to see in America's oldest city (1565). The guys arrived at the Comanche Marina at 1:15, traded crews and we left with Drew and Davis. Michael, Brooke and Brady are headed to Lake Worth (about 4 hours) and Philip and Annette's.

Arrived at Hammock Beach Resort/Marina in Palm Coast (WOW.....very nice) at 4:00.  We went 88 miles today.
Davis and Drew and a fish sculpture

 Boys rode bikes and then we took shuttle to the resort - walked around, had nice dinner at the Atlantic Bar and Grille (overlooking the ocean) and then Mark and boys swam.   Big day.. Nite nite!

Friday - November 18

Whew was it ever windy today!!!!     We left at 6:35 AM from our anchorage and had a good trip to Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island (remember this town from March of '09 with Daisy).   We did 91 miles and all went well except coming thru St. Andrew Sound (south of Jekyll Island) where we had 1/2 hour of UGLY!!!    Glad to get out of that sound.  

One other tidbit I've been dying to get off my chest that's been happening off and on past few days....well, today was the clincher.....most boaters are very courteous and when traveling thru the ICW, they call on the radio and ask permission to pass on port or starboard side, slow down or speed up, etc.    That's how the sailboats and trawlers are; however, a big percentage of the big power boaters are so rude (never call) and 4x now they have come roaring up behind us and leave a HUGE wake and we are rocking all over the place - today was the "icing on the cake" when one of our wine glasses flew off the shelf and broke the stem!  I was not a happy camper/boater!!!!!   The next large power boat that passed us was run by a delivery captain and he was very cautious.

Life goes settled at Fernandina Harbor and I took off for the shops (very nice shopping) and then back to hose off the salt and gave Catrina a good cleaning inside.    Mark got his exercising done (I did mine along the way) and got his paperwork all caught up!

Mark and I went to Brett's Waterway Cafe for drinks and appetizer (delicious calamari with peanut cole slaw) and then met our nephew, Tim for dinner at Espana - on my.....the traditional flavors of Spain and Portugal - very good!    And great fun chatting with Tim and catching up!

Mark, Pat and Tim

So, it's good to be in Florida, but it's chilly (wearing my fleece jacket)  and tomorrow we meet Michael, Brooke and the boys at Palm Cove Marina in Jacksonville Beach.    Michael and boys will cruise with Mark to St. Augustine and Brooke and I will drive there in the car and shop till the guys arrive!

Thursday, November 17

It's one week ago today that we started this trip and after a 95-mile day, we are anchored out on the Wahoo River (½ way between Savannah and Brunswick). It was a pretty day of sunshine, wind and 73 degrees.   The storms went north and south of Beaufort last night but we did get quite a bit of rain.

Can't beat the peacefulness and calm of anchoring out – there are 4 other boats nearby in the middle of marshland. Mark grilled out chicken and now plotting tomorrow's trip. We are excited about Michael, Brooke and boys meeting us somewhere (still to be determined) on Saturday. Drew and Davis will cruise with us for 4 days and we'll all gather in Lake Worth with Philip and Annette next Tuesday.

So, another state (SC) under our belts....Florida, here we come!

Wednesday - November 16

We departed at 6:48 AM (getting light later as we head south).   Had some fog off and on (HATE fog) and as one other boater said over his VHF radio "Fog takes all the fun out of it"....AMEN!!!

We went 70 miles today and are in another favorite port of mine - Beaufort, SC .....BEAUTIFUL Buuufort as compared to Beaufort (Bowfort), NC.    Some call this "Little Charleston" as it is very quaint and charming with wonderful little specialty shops, great restaurants, galleries, etc.    Unfortunately, the sign of the times is evident here, too, with some empty stores.

I overheard one of the sales clerks commenting that business was a little slow today cause of the funeral?    In another store, I asked about a funeral.....turns out that Joe Frazier, the world-famous boxer who died a week or so ago, is a native of Beaufort and today, many turned out for his memorial service along the waterfront.

So, I helped their economy with a little shopping and then we had dinner at The Wren which was phenomenal......we shared fried green tomatoes and I had sea grits - oh my oh my!!!!!!!   Mark had lasagna and loved it!   If you ever get to Beaufort.......................The Wren is a "must" stop!  Of course, all the charming carriage rides are so fun, too, and hearing all about the history of this town.    We did this 4 years ago.    Strong storms are predicted for tonight in this area with winds of 70 mph possible!   We are hunkered down in Catrina with all the hatches battened down!

Stay safe, healthy and happy......

Tuesday - November 15

It's sooo good to be back in the land of palm trees and wonderful fresh seafood, shrimp and grits, hush puppies, she crab soup, pecan pralines and on and on all here in Charleston!    Arrived in one of my favorite cities around 4 and as soon as Catrina was tied up to the dock at the Maritime Center, we hoofed it to downtown. 
Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge in Charleston

Our 6:30 departure (our favorite time to leave at first light) started out sunny, then fog and even threatening skies along the way, but overall, warm (73) and balmy.    When we started this trip last Thursday, we had 900+ miles to traverse from Norfolk to West Palm Beach (final destination) before flying home.   We have now passed the 1/2 way mark!    Most of today's travel (95 miles) was thru marsh land with just a few houses here and there!   The highlight of our day was a phone call from Ryan.   He was in port in Dubai for a few days and we had a great connection and chat!

After checking in at the office, we walked to the heart of historic Charleston and it was neat as ever (we were here exactly 4 years ago).    Mark stopped in a pub for a beer and met a nice couple from Ann Arbor, MI who were on their way to FL in their RV.    Turns out they stay at the same RV park in Fort Myers Beach (Ebb Tide) where we had Daisy last year!    Small world....

So, while Mark visited I was out hitting the shops - fun, fun!!!!   We met up after an hour and walked and walked - beautiful evening for 11/14 and we had a wonderful dinner at "Amen Street"!    My sisters-in-law, Linda and Vicki and I are talking about a trip here in 2013 (we're long-range planners) - I know they would absolutely love everything about this charming, southern city!   Till tomorrow...

Monday - November 14

A great day on the water with sunshiny skies and 73!   And another awesome sunrise to start our day...

Just south of Wrightsville Beach, NC
Passing Myrtle Beach, these gondola rides were right in front of us - think it was some sort of amusement park?
Lots and lots of cypress trees in the water in SC
Remember I told you about the Dismal Swamp or ICW "mustache"?    Well, here it is - on the boat behind us tonight- yellowish discoloration of the hull from the water color.

 All went well and tonight we are at the Osprey Marina about 20 miles south of Myrtle Beach, SC.    Two states down and 3 to go....

I exercised along the way and Mark did his after we settled in - also went for a walk and I hosed down Catrina.   This is a very pretty area with lots of cypress trees and the marina is really tucked back in from the intracoastal.   They gave us a nice welcome bag full of cheese and crackers (tonight's appetizer), pecan/cinnamon rolls (tomorrow's breakfast), shampoo, conditioner, soap, key ring w/whistle, cozie holder, candy and more!!!     The restaurant (The Osprey Inn) is closed for the season, but there's lots of boats here and the folks are just so friendly.

We traveled 90 miles today and while there are many boats heading south for the winter, it's amazing how there will be a big bunch together (usually waiting for a bridge to open) and then these wide-open spaces of just us!     Did lots of oohing and aahing over all the homes again today!

Hope all is good wherever you are?

Sunday - November 13

 Ahhhhh the joys and adventures of's how our Sunday unfolded...

The winds died down overnight and we left Morehead City at 6:30 with a beautiful sunrise and calm waters.

Breathtaking skies over Morehead City

We've been cruising thru eastern North Carolina's intracoastal waterway this beautiful Sunday passing neat beach towns, low sand dunes (compared to the biggies on Lake Michigan), and dolphins frolicking along Catrina. Apparently these little rascals are camera shy or perhaps the photographer is not quick enough???

Just a little ole beach house with matching lighthouse along the way
The Tar Heel state has the largest expanse of inland waters on the Eastern seaboard. Much of the shore remains undeveloped retaining its natural charm.

So as we were cruising along, all of a sudden (around 11:10 AM), we hit bottom and went aground with a very sandy bottom Yikes....sand is better than rocks; however, how are we going to get free? We have insurance with both Sea Tow and Tow Boat US, but the latter was closer to come to our rescue, so within 20 minutes the guy came and worked his magic (tied Catrina's stern to his boat with first a long line and revved up his 2 big engines stirring up mud and sand to make a well) He then shortened the rope 2 more times. He did the same thing with the bow and finally, we were free and he pulled us to deeper water. The big concern was low tide and we could've been “stuck” till 8 AM tomorrow morning! After it was all over and done, the tow boat captain said he wasn't sure he was going to free us with 2 hulls! So, that cost us about 2 hours! UGH! But we are safe, Catrina appears to be ok and tomorrow is a brand new day! We are not ready for any more adventures!!!!! Mark was in the channel when this happened.....he had just dodged a crab pot, but all happened so fast and amazing how many calls we heard over the radio throughout the day asking for tows. In fact, our captain had just freed another boat an hour earlier. Thank goodness the towing insurance provides full coverage....the captain said this was around a $1,000 job.

Our Rescue Angel
Tonight we are in Wrightsville Beach, NC – arrived here at 4:00 and good to get off the boat and walk and stretch our legs! We went 78 miles today. Coming into this area, the homes (mansions) just blew us away with their size and splendor. They looked more like hotels – lots of $$$ around these parts!

The dock hand recommended some restaurants and pizza sounded good – so off to The Mellow Mushroom where we sat outside (YES!!!!) and VERY good pizza it was!

One more tidbit on the Dismal Swamp – the water color is unlike anything I've seen – a coppery, rusty, caramel color? Some boats end up with the “ditch or ICW mustache” cause it leaves a discoloration on the hull due to tannic acid in the water!

Yesterday I finished reading “Killing Lincoln” - excellent book that both Mark and I would highly recommend.   That's the latest from the “Adventuresome Nomads”!!!

Saturday - November 12

Today started out calm, sunny and we headed out of Dowry Marina in Belhaven at 6:30 AM.    Three miles out we had some problems with the bilge pump on port, we headed back to Dowry and my mechanic hubby with all his tools, a spare pump, etc......went to work and 2.5 hours later, we were on our way!!

We traveled 78 miles today and arrived in Morehead City at 2:30 with strong winds!   My first time off the boat since we left Norfolk Thursday morning - I walked downtown to some shops, found a mailbox and bakery!    Gave Catrina a good scrubbing to get off the salt and then......enjoyed our friends Mark and Barbara's visit.   They drove from New Bern and we sat and chattered non-stop over wine before going to "The Ruddy Duck" for very good dinner - My Mark and I were so excited to have some fresh seafood again!!!    Mark and Barbara were our dockmates on E-12 for several years in Racine and retired to New Bern in 2005.    Really enjoyed seeing them and plan to get together in February in Florida.

Mark and Barbara

Friday - 11-11-11

 A big THANK YOU to all our veterans today – past, present and future for giving us freedom and keeping us safe! God bless you all…..and on this patriotic day of 11-11-11, Catrina and crew traveled 111 miles from Arbuckle Landing to Dowry Creek Marina near Belhaven, NC. It was sure nippy this morning (42) but bright and sunny and with the generator we were warm and toasty. We went thru our 2nd and final lock leaving the Dismal Swamp Canal at South Mills, NC. We so enjoyed all the beauty of this man-made canal and the entire 22 mile trip was straight on except for one very slight left bend. The speed thru the canal is only 5 mph. While the colors were so picture perfect yesterday with leaves falling on Catrina, today was very little color and most of the leaves had already fallen.

Just as we were coming into Elizabeth City and out of the canal, the Coast Guard came along and stopped us. Two of the men came onboard asking to see our life preservers, fire extinguishers, paper work and checked our bilge. They were on their way and we were soon on the Pasquotank River as we meandered around many twists and turns. That brought us to Albemarle Sound – the winds picked up and while they were behind us, the last hour of the 2-hour trip was pretty rough as we turned and had beam seas! Alligator River is very wide and was somewhat choppy but nothing like the Sound. Finally we were in the Alligator Pungo River Canal and that brought us to Dowry Creek. We had blinding sunlight for part of this afternoon making it really difficult to pick out buoys and markers! All in all….a good day on the water!

Tomorrow we’re off to Swansboro and planning to meet friends, Mark and Barbara for dinner.

Thursday - November 10

We have the first day of fall cruising under our belts traveling 45 miles - what a day!!!    Mark returned the rental car, we unpacked all our stuff and left Cobb's Marina at 10:00   It took us 2.5 hours to go around Norfolk, but saw so many Naval shipyards and ships.

The Dismal Swamp is the oldest operating artificial waterway in the US, completed in 1805 (12 years after it was started).   It's also rich in  history and folklore and after going thru Deep Creek Lock, we were officially in the Dismal Swamp and  for 22 miles we meandered down the canal to thee most spectacular fall scenery...non-stop brilliant orange, red, gold and bronze-leafed trees.    Fall in its prime with us here in Virginia's Dismal Swamp (dismal it was NOT)!!!   

November colors thru the Dismal Swamp

Mirror reflection

Tonight we are at Arbuckle Landing (Chesapeake, VA) - one dock (but a very nice dock) about 8 miles from the end of this beautiful journey.   It's just us and nature in all her glory!

Happy to be back cruisin'....

Wednesday - November 9

We are on Catrina!!!!!     Long day of travel leaving home at 9:30 and arriving on the boat at 8:30 in Norfolk!    Stopped for a $143 Wal-Mart run and now settling in!     Tomorrow, we are back cruising!

Night night!

Monday - November 7

Happy, Happy Birthday to Mark....

64 years "young"!

Mark started his day with a trip to the dentist and then breakfast with the neighbors/friends (I brought treats from the Grove Street Bakery).    I got a haircut and ran some errands.   

It wasn't a nice day weather-wise - very dreary and off and on rain, but balmy!     Anne, Patrick and boys came for birthday dinner (bar-b-que ribs) and the boys helped Grandpa open his presents followed by birthday cake and ice cream!    A fun time for all...

Ready to blow out the candles
Liam, Anne and Patrick

Wednesday we leave for Norfolk and Catrina.....I'll be back with daily blog updates!

Halloween - November 5

 What a spectacular fall we've had – gorgeous colors and pleasant temperatures. Halloween could not have been more ideal for all the little people out and about and they came in great numbers this year!

Our favorite trick or treaters..
Crypt Master (Liam) and Ninja (Connor)
I left Tuesday morning for Mendota to visit Dad and my cousin, Jim and then brought Aunt Marian back for her 2nd cataract surgery. She did great and spent the night and we celebrated her birthday which was the 4th.  Mark went to 8:15 Mass for All Saints Day and I went at 12:05. Liam and Connor were with us while their folks went out for dinner and then to church.
Liam and Connor with their Great Great Aunt Marian

Aunt Marian had follow-up visit with doctor at 10:30 on Thursday and then Mark took her back to Mendota, stopped in to see Dad and Jim and then to Dixon to see his parents and also visit with 2 of his sisters, Joan and Sue.

I started in with the decorating Wednesday afternoon (we'll be gone for 3 weeks and don't want all that to do when we return). So......made good waves Thursday and Friday and certainly looks Christmasy at our house. Bought a new 9' pre-lit slimline tree last year 2 days after Christmas, but 3 branches around the bottom would not light up! Arghhhhh....ALWAYS an issue at our house EVERY year with lights not working. They were just fine when put away, but apparently something happens to them over the spring/summer/fall and makes both of us crazy (especially me – Mark just says “throw 'em away”!!!!) Store where we bought the tree replaced the bottom section and we are good to go – they were baffled, too, as to why it wasn't all lit as their electronic volt meter did not show the problem??? Just a dud that is going back to the manufacturer.

Liam and Connor spent Friday night with us – they helped put some ornaments on and chose some to take home for their tree. This morning, we took the boys home and enjoyed breakfast with Anne and Patrick – pancakes, bacon and baked apples! Mark and I then headed for Farm and Fleet and Wal-Mart. Finished trimming the big tree in living room and about 95% done with the decorating (not turning on the lights). Still have some shopping to do, but rest is wrapped!   I'm on a roll...........
Grilled burgers out and enjoying a nice quiet evening at home sweet home!