Thursday - November 29

Sunny, but windy day.....and fun!    Met Bob and Linda at the retina center (Bob had laser procedure for slight retina tear) at 8:45.    Linda and I yakked and caught up and then off to shop.   Mark and Bob enjoyed goodies at Panera and visited.    So much fun checking out all the darling baby things and Christmas pretties.
I met Claire and Margie at the country club for delicious lunch in such an lovely Christmas setting.   Great to catch up with each other.   Ran some errands and then home!    Got a bunch of piddly things done and ready to be up and going early in the morning.....Anne and I are taking the train to Chicago for the day and enjoy some good Mom/Daughter "Girl" time!

Wednesday - November 28

Oh the hustle and bustle in going strong around here!    Past few days have been taking advantage of the nice weather (sunny and pleasant temps in the 40-50's) to be out and about shopping, running errands, etc.   We saw the first flurries of the season on Monday!
I picked Donna Rae up this morning and we were off to Farm and Fleet, stopped at The Coffee Hound for eggnog lattes and then to Decorator's Grocery (to buy the makings for some sweet treats).    Lunch with Exchange Club - our Santa letter campaign is going strong!
Got my nails done this afternoon and happy to be home with hubby tonight!   Working on my lists and Christmas cards!   The Fed Ex and UPS trucks are coming frequently - ordered several gifts online - it's like Christmas everyday!!!

Sunday - November 25

One month from today is Christmas!!!!    Hard to believe the Thanksgiving weekend is behind us and now pushing full speed ahead for the next 4 weeks!    Finished decorating the tree tonight......happy with how our house looks and when Mama is happy, everyone is happy!    HA!!!

 Mark and I were up early this morning and off to 7:30 Mass, breakfast at Bob Evans and ran several errands.   Spent the afternoon wrapping a few more gifts and other piddly jobs around the house and making lists.    Always have several lists going....
Yesterday when we were trimming the tree, Liam established an "emergency room" for disabled ornaments on the kitchen table.    They were in need of new ribbon/cord for hanging and somehow, over the past year, looked a bit forlorn from long age.   Grandma is happy to report tonight that,only one had to be thrown out and the others are back on the tree for at least one more year!    Love the imagination of these little ones!
Have a great week!

Saturday - November 24

Doorbell rings at 8 AM and in comes two excited little boys wearing their new Santa hats carrying a box of donuts from Krispy Kreme + a Peppermint Mocha (skinny) for Grandma from Starbucks!    Thanks so much for these yummy treats, kind of visitors!    Anne and Patrick both had to work today, so.......we had the little elves and what a busy day it was!
One tree is completely decorated; the other one is 75% done (Grandma ran out of steam)!    We also made 2 loaves of banana nut bread, a jello salad and chocolate pudding.       They say the cutest things.....Connor was up and down, up and down the small step stool hanging ornaments and finally he said "whew, I'm getting too old for this"!!!!!     WONDER where he heard that????   

 AND.....while Grandpa and boys were outdoors putting up garland across the flower box, they wanted me to help with the ribbon and lights.     It was chilly out, but no wind, so we all got out the rakes and started cleaning out the new landscaping and last of the leaves (we HOPE) and yard looks great!    A very invigorating hour of work!!!
Here's some highlights of our day...
Writing and pondering over their Christmas lists
Thank you silly little elves for all your help today!
Our 3 sons
The boys at Lake James this afternoon

Friday - November 23

Hope you all had a great holiday and stuffed yourself good!    Ha.....that's what it's all about.    We had a great day with Mark's family and oh-so-much delicious food.    Rained on our way home for a while, but the die hards were camped out in their tents outside Best Buy.    Imagine those early birds are happy with all their bargains last night/today!
Mark and I had a good day of decorating - after many years of putting a large wreath on front of our house (2nd story) with floodlights shining on it, he decided he was getting too old and it was too dangerous to be climbing around on ladders and the roof, so......big wreath is now hanging in front of garage and looks good.   
The two big trees are waiting for their ornaments and tomorrow morning, our little elves return to help Grandma finish up and "maybe" put up a few outdoor lights with Grandpa!  
 House is looking mighty festive!

Wednesday - November 21

Busy "day-before-turkey" day with errands for both Mark and me and visiting our friends/neighbors, Darrel and Norma (Norma is home from hospital recovering from a mini stroke.....sure keeping her in our prayers.  
We picked Liam and Connor up from school (out at 11:45); came home and after lunch, the little elves helped Grandpa carry up box after box after box - so many trips.   Got a lot done, but a long ways to go - house is a mess, but oh well....leaving it all and heading to Dixon in the morning with Anne, Patrick and boys for fun Thanksgiving with Mark's family (at least 40+).
Our boys are all together for the long weekend in North Carolina....we know they will have a great time!!!
Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving - we have so much to be thankful for!

Tuesday - November 20

Cloudy, but mild day (low 60's).    I met Claire at 8:00 Mass and then we enjoyed catching up over yummy peach/raspberry scones at The Coffee Hound!
I ran some errands, back home to do laundry and organized the basement somewhat to start getting out decorations tomorrow.    Liam and Connor are coming after school (1/2 day) and will help carry boxes upstairs and let the fun begin!!!    (No lights till after Thursday, though)!
Mark and I visited Ed and Donna Rae in the afternoon and then had a delightful evening with Father Doug (pastor) and Marty, next door neighbor.    Marty's late wife, Angie went all thru school with Father Doug,    Great evening with 2 great guys!
I have a recipe I'm going to share that has become very popular (thank you Jane)!!!!!
To-Die-For Roast Beef
3 lb. roast beef (sirloin tip)
1 envelope Italian dressing mix (like Good Seasons)
1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
1 envelope McCormick's brown gravy mix
Place the roast in crockpot, then sprinkle the 3 mixes on top and rub into meat.   Cook on low for 8-9 hours.    Do not add any liquid as there will be plenty from the meat and the au jus is excellent on mashed potatoes!!!
Hope your holiday preparations are underway - and keep the stress level to a minimum!!!

Monday - November 19

After a beautiful 7 straight days of sunshine, today was dreary, windy and more typical of November in IL.    Mark and I had breakfast with the neighbors, and I ran some errands, then dentist, more errands and home.
Amazing how many folks have their Christmas trees up and the lights burning brightly plus lots of outdoor decorations already........wish they would wait to light up till after Thanksgiving.   It just gets earlier every year.    Anne, Patrick and boys spent the weekend in Chicago and enjoyed the lighting on Michigan Avenue, parade and fireworks.
I went with the MNF's to Baxter's for dinner. 

Saturday-Sunday, November 17-18

It's been a busy, but productive weekend.    Wrapped a bunch of gifts, went to Connor's hockey game (he scored SIX goals) and got a lot of piddly jobs done around the house.    Mark and I had a nice dinner (Chinese) with boating friends Saturday night.
Went to Mass this morning, Bob Evans for breakfast and then a Wal-Mart run.    Mark worked in the garage and blew out and sucked up the leaves in the landscaping (hopefully for last time).    We took the truck to have some upholstery work done tomorrow and walked home (about  1.5 miles).  Weather has been superb with so much sunshine and temps in the 40-50's.
Just found out tonight that Michael and family are coming for a few days in December and will be here for the two family gatherings on the 22nd and 23rd.   Mark and I are sooo happy!!!!    Will be great to have all our kids together!   Now we have to pray for good traveling weather!
Here's to a good week - lots of sickness going around...

Friday - November 16

We've had an abundance of sunshine this week!   YEAH!!!   Very unusual for dreary IL Novembers.    I was off to stand in line (not too long) and got tickets for Carrie Underwood concert  next May 2nd.
I gave the program today for PEO friends on the Tiger Cruise. 

 It was so good to be home tonight - got a lot of odd jobs done, and ready to wrap more presents this weekend.    Mark took Liam and Connor to the IWU basketball games and also got to see see his alma mater, Loras College (Dubuque, IA) play and win!!!    They had a good time.
Have a fun weekend - weather sounds great, so get out and enjoy!!!

Thursday - November 15

Beautiful sunny day and I had sooo much fun.    Met my Midstate College friends in Galesburg (Allie and I came from Peoria and Barb from Moline).   We were so sorry Jane couldn't be with us - hope and pray that her hubby Joe recovers soon from his health issues.
We had a wonderful lunch at The Landmark Cafe and Creperie in an old historic building with brick walls, hardwood floors and tin ceilings - charming!    And the shops were really cute, ESPECIALLY "Mother Goosebumps" for babies!    Had to control myself now that we know "Luke David" is on the way!   Yup....that's his name and I love it!!!!    Baby Luke is due 5 months from today.
Allie, Pat, Barb
Nice to be home tonight and settle in - been a busy, exciting week!   Nite nite!

Wednesday - November 14

It's been a busy few days, including an out-of-town trip for a memorial mass for my Dad and all those who've died this past year at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Sublette.   It was wonderful!!!
And today......we heard the very exciting news that our 6th grandson is coming in April!   Yup....Philip and Annette are having a baby boy - so, "Let's hear it for the BOYS"!!!!!!!    We've had a little basketball team for the past 6 years and now starting a baseball team!   
My sister-in-law, Linda is doing well - with diet and exercise and taking it easy, she's very excited about her new granddaughter due 3 weeks before Annette.   
Been out to lunch and/or dinner with friends past few days - catching up with some gals I hadn't seen in a long while!    Never a lapse in the conversation!

 Ryan is doing extensive traveling with the Blue Angels November/December (34 cities where they will perform in 2013).   He was on the front page of the Rockford paper today and also on the Channel 13 news last night!

Friday-Sunday, November 9-11

HAPPY VETERANS DAY  and THANKS to the brave men and women in our military who have served or are serving our country.     God bless you all...

Sooo very proud of Ryan!
Off to Galena for the 20th annual sisters' weekend!    Eleven "sisters" traveled up to 5 hours and then enjoyed the weekend in a lovely 5-bedroom home with all the amenities.    Missed you, Sharon!   This area (Galena Territory and part of the Eagle Ridge Inn, Golf Resort and Spa) is sooo pretty with rolling hills, picturesque farms and then the quaint town of Galena with  shops, churches, wineries and much more.    The weather was warm and sunny (unbelievably so for November) and throngs were out strolling the sidewalks and getting a start on their Christmas shopping.
Along with non-stop chatter, good eating, wine drinking, playing cards and games, shopping, etc., it was the usual FUN FUN girls time away!   We all went to 5;30 mass at St. Michael's last night and then out for dinner at The Log Cabin.   
The Sisters
Back - Janet, Karen, Nancy, Pat, Marilyn and Theresa
Front:   Doris, Joan, Beth, Lydia and Sue
Mark enjoyed his brother, Jim who visited from St. Louis while Lydia was in Galena.   The weather has taken a drastic change - very windy today and now raining with snow showers possible and temps dropping......  

Thursday - November 8

Chilly and dreary till around 12:30 and then sun came out - what a treat!     Mark left at 6:40 AM to visit his parents.   I did laundry, wrapped a few presents and just got a lot of piddly things done around the house.
Liam is sick today and went to Dr. - earache and on antibiotic and ear drops.    I picked Connor up from school and stayed with the boys while Anne got a haircut.
Tomorrow afternoon I'm off to Galena with Beth and Lydia (sisters-in-law) for our annual "Sisters Weekend" - this is our 20th year!    There will be 12 of us and we are staying in a 5-bedroom home.    Can't wait for lots of good visiting, games, eating, wine drinking, etc.    Always a fun time!   Be back blogging Sunday night.    Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday - November 7

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sweetie on his big birthday!!!!    Chatted on the phone along the way with his parents and the kids.    We arrived home at 11:30, unpacked and put our stuff away, started laundry, returned rental car and endured the chilly, dreary, rainy day (miss that warm FL sunshine)
Enjoyed supper at McDonalds for McTeacher night benefiting the school with Liam, Connor, Anne and Patrick.   Back to their home for ice cream and presents!
65 years young with the Boys

Tuesday - November 6

Hello from Marion, IL where we are staying tonight after a long day on the road.   We had sun, misty rain, then a bit heavier rain and chilly temps; but overall, a very dreary day!   We left Pensacola at 7:15 after our good byes to Ryan and John!    Sure enjoyed this past week with them and now have more knowledge of the Blue Angels and how they make their 66-year old phenomenal show in the sky so successful and thrilling to millions each year! 
 Walked across the street to The Hideout for dinner and now settled in our room watching the election results???

Monday - November 5

Our last day in Pensacola was busy with running errands, fixing this 'n that, installing this 'n that and of course, always the never ending laundry!    
It's cool out tonight and raining, so Ryan has a nice fire going to take the chill off.   I fixed a roast beef dinner with mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and salad - early celebration for Mark's birthday (Wednesday) with chocolate cake and ice cream coming up!   We had a nice visit 'round the kitchen table with John over 2 bottles of wine with dinner.
Tomorrow we will be heading home.....such a fun time here helping with all the unpacking of Ryan's stuff, enjoying his new home and of course, the pride and emotion of the Blue Angels and what's ahead for Ryan in the next 3 years!


Friday-Sunday, November 2-4

It’s been a busy whirlwind weekend enjoying all the festivities for the Blue Angels Homecoming here in Pensacola.     We went to the practice show on Friday afternoon – wow!    Very awesome and lots of people there to clap and cheer on the Blues with camera and cell phones clicking away!    That night we went to a party at the Captain’s home and met the team, spouses and parents!
Saturday – we met John’s parents and friends when they stopped by to see the house.     Mark and I ran some errands and then off to the big air show and grand finale for 2012.    It was a beautiful day and thousands of people were on hand.    It was such a neat experience.    Unfortunately, Jackie who was to come for the weekend from New Orleans was not able to make it as her Dad is in the hospital.    We did get to meet her son just before the air show started.   Brandon is in training to be a Navy pilot.
Brandon and Mark
The Blue Angels
Blue Angel Moms - Chris (John's Mom) and Pat
Saturday night we went with family/friends to Seville Quarter for a party – lots of celebrating for a great 2012 season and welcoming the new 2013 team.    This same place is where Ryan and we partied 6 years ago this past July when he graduated from OCS school.

Sunday…..enjoyed the extra hour of sleep especially Ryan who’s been going, going, going all week long on very little sleep!
We all went to 9:00 Mass at St. Paul – love this parish with their beautiful new church, music and young priest.     Came back and more projects happening on the home front before we all gussied up and went to the “Change of Command” at 2:00.    This was held at the Naval Aviation Museum – we assembled in the large atrium with the Blue Angel jets overhead and sailors surrounding the balcony.   The US Navy band from New Orleans played beautiful patriotic music and along with the speeches and all the pomp and pageantry, it was an awesome experience – Ryan is officially a “Blue Angel”!     We went to a reception afterwards at the Squadron Hangar.   
Our Blue Angel
Proud Mom and Dad
 Ryan is now at a special recognition dinner for the 2012 team!     What a memorable weekend for us and Ryan is off and running for a very busy 3-year career with the Blue Angels!

Thursday - November 1

Very nice day - did more unpacking and laundry    Mark and I ran some errands (Home Depot and World Market) - also been making daily trips to Publix (love that store)!    We are really enjoying getting Ryan settled in, but not seeing too much of him as he and John are putting in long days with the Blues.
We had a nice dinner tonight at The Fish House (downtown) on the water.    Then to St. Paul's for All Saints Day Mass at 7:00.    Back home and settling in waiting for the boys to come home!