Monday - October 28

Our buttons are still popping after this very exciting weekend and hearing all the wonderful comments of how neat it was to be there (landing or take-off) and see Ryan soar in the Blue Angel jet.    Friends have shared some great video coverage and pictures!     And so awesome he was able to fly into Hickory, too and spend time with Michael and family!   He's back in Pensacola and now getting ready to visit 34 cities to do the "behind the scenes work" where the Blues will be perform in 2014.
Had breakfast with the neighbors, home for more packing and finish laundry and other piddlies to wrap up on the home front.
I had a relaxing afternoon - new haircut, manicure and pedicure!   I am ready.....
We won't be home for Halloween but wanted to share some of our family and their early dress up costumes for a sneak peek?
Tuxedo Morph (Liam) and Morph (Connor)

The Black-eyed Peas - partying in North Carolina Saturday night!
So tomorrow we are off to Chicago, then Newark and finally Lisbon where we'll be for a day; we fly to Barcelona and stay 2 days and then board the Wind Spirit (4-masted sailboat with 148 passengers) for 8 days cruising the Mediterranean thru the straits of Gibraltar into the Atlantic and on up to Lisbon.    We will be stopping at several ports in Spain along the way!
Probably not able to do much blogging, so....if and when I can, will check in; otherwise, we'll be back in the good ole USA on November 12th.
Mark helped with the boating class tonight.   I had dinner with 6 of the Monday Night Friends at Avanti's and then stopped in to say bye-bye and get some good hugs from Anne, Patrick and the Morphs!!!
Take care and stay healthy, safe and happy!

Sunday - October 27

We went to 8:00 Mass and then headed north for the day with family visits with  Mark's Mom, my Aunt Marian and sister-in-law, Linda (Bob was working in the field).   Grandma prepared a great dinner - she has NOT lost her touch since she's not doing much cooking since Grandpa passed away.
Did some more packing tonight - our big trip is coming soon.....we leave Tuesday morning for Windstar Cruise (Barcelona to Lisbon).
Have a great week!

Saturday - October 26

I can't describe the thrills, chills, emotions, tears, pride and joy that Mark and I experienced these past few days!     We were up early and at the airport as the day dawned - beautiful clear skies and so nice to have more friends come out and see the take-off.     He soared straight up to the roar of those powerful engines!    Just incredible!  

Mark and I watching as Ryan prepares for take-off

And there he goes....

 Two of the couples who came to watch the take-off asked us to join them for breakfast at CJ.s, and nice visit!
And now he's in Hickory, NC (45 minute flight) with Michael and family.    He had a nice welcome waiting for him at the airport, few pics and off to the soccer game!    Brady's team won 2-1 !!!!  Yeah!!!      Ryan did face time with us and we could enjoy the game from the warm confines of home.   Amazing!

Ryan with his North Carolina family (minus Blair who was in out of the cold)
Our little soccer star in the front!

Annette's parents came for a visit and we enjoyed lunch at Famous Dave's, and stops at
 Farm and Fleet and the Great Escape.  

Luke's Grandmas and Grandpas enjoying yummy ice cream treats at Culver's

Tomorrow we are off to visit Mark's Mom.....


Friday - October 25

Spectacular day with beautiful sunny, clear blue skies!     Mark, Ryan and I went to Panera and then I had dermatologist appointment.    Anne brought the boys over (no school today for conferences)   Ryan did an interview on one of our radio stations.   If you would like to listen, it is and then click on podcasts and then interviews.   This was a really good one!

Anne and Patrick met Ryan at the airport and had pictures taken with the jet. 
After lunch, Anne went shopping, Mark and Ryan worked in the garages (insulation project) and the 
boys and I went for a bike ride - very invigorating with all this fresh air.
Sweet Blair all bundled in pink for morning stroll with Mommy
Luke had sweet potatoes for the 1st time today - loved 'em
Ryan is leaving early in the morning and heading to Hickory, NC to visit Michael and family.    He especially wants to be at his nephew and Godchild, Brady's soccer game as they are playing for the championship.     Because of the shutdown, there was no flying, so now catching up with some cross country training and coincides with family visits!
Had Chinese for supper (all favorites of Ryan's this weekend) and then we played euchre with Mark and Anne beating Ryan and I 3 our of 4!!!   AARRGGHHH!!!!!     Patrick has a gig tonight!
Saying bye bye to Uncle Ryan
Sibling love
Our time with Ryan has flown by but sure enjoyed every minute!


Thursday - October 24

Oh what a great and very proud moment for Mark and me when Ryan flew home in the Blue Angel jet with a nice welcome from friends and neighbors waiting at the airport this afternoon!   
It was very overcast, cloudy, windy and cold!    A friend from Exchange Club who works at the airport arranged for Mark, Liam, Connor and I to be in the control tower to watch Ryan land!    Sooo awesome (and warm)!    Adam then escorted us (driving across the runways as he talked to control tower) to where our friends were waiting and then hugs from Ryan and lots of pictures with him and the jet!  
The boys had 1/2 day school - Mark picked them up, took them to McDonalds and then met me at airport.   I had lunch with the BBB gals at Destihl.     All 7 of us were together for a great chat!
And more big news - Mark found my calendar this morning.   He was out and about in his truck (got a haircut and other errands).    Holy moly.....he did a quick speed-up and the momentum slid the calendar out from under this little compartment that we never use!    UNREAL......but I'm very happy and grateful he did that speed-up!   May never have found it!!!  As Mark, Ryan and some friends pointed out......"Why don't you use your phone (calendar)?    Guess I should do that?
Our Blue Angel coming in


Uncle Ryan, Liam and Connor
Ryan's favorite pizza is Monical's, so off we went for dinner with Anne and family
for some
 Family Pleasers and good visiting!

Good time at Monical's

Wednesday - October 23

Busy day starting with exercising, making a batch of pumpkin bars, running a few errands, lunch with Exchange club, more packing and going over our itinerary and tour plans with Mark.   He took Daisy back to inside storage for a few weeks (taking her to NC for Thanksgiving).
Some sun today, but mostly cloudy.....
Luke has been checking out cars today shopping with Daddy.
Grandma thinks this one should go on his wish list!!!
Met our new neighbors across the street - Fari and Mandy are from England although they've lived here for a while.   They have a 9-year old son - will be great for Liam and Connor to have someone to play with when they are here.   Love their English accents.
Picked Ed and Donna Rae up and off to Outback for delicious ribs.    Back to their apartment for a rousing game of dominoes with double 12's - it was a wacky, wild game with Mark the winner!
Cant wait to see our Blue Angel tomorrow!   

Tuesday - October 22 sure was a yucky day!     Although we had a lot of rain this afternoon and it's still coming down, north of us got snow!    So.....we shall not complain!   
Calendar is still missing.......Mark and I have gone thru the house and Daisy and trash over and over and have no clue!    Trying to remember as much as possible and put in my '14 calendar?  
 Oh boy.....I am sooooo baffled and befuddled, but too much to do to keep dwelling on this!   
Had a very productive morning of doing some housecleaning (sadly neglected with all our travels), laundry and packing (1 week from today we leave on our Windstar Cruise).   
We met with our insurance agent this afternoon for yearly review and then Mark picked the boys up from school and I picked up Anne and took her to eye check-up (floater).     Took them all home and we went to Farm and Fleet and did some Christmas shopping and then to Bob Evans for good hot soup.    Had a nice visit with Darrel and Tamara who were also eating there.

Ryan will be landing around 2 on Thursday!!!!

Monday - October 21 I've spent a BIG chunk of time looking, searching, hunting for my calendar!    How does one lose this very important bit of paperwork?    Had it on Daisy this weekend and remember bringing into house and that's all.   Driving me CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We've searched every nook and cranny and all our stuff we brought in from Daisy and zilch, zippo, nuthin!    Been praying to St. Anthony (for all things lost or misplaced)?
Mark exercised, went to breakfast with the neighbors and searched, too - what a guy!    He can't imagine what happened to it either?    Ha.......knowing me, it's hard to tell!   He helped teach a boating class (Seamanship) tonight.
Started the day exercising and then went to Galesburg with Kathy and Claire for a fun shopping venture.    Got some Christmas gifts and just enjoyed this pretty fall day, despite the chilly, windy conditions.     First time since very early June that we had all been together.
Enjoying a wonderful lunch at the Landmark Café and Creperie
Came home and started the search again......Brenda picked me up and we were off to Linda's with the Monday Night Friends (10 of us were together tonight - only missing Jody who is vacationing in FL).   Linda had a great chili supper with all the trimmings and then lots of extra side dishes.
Good to be home this COLD night (probably coldest of the year - 28 by morning) and still hunting and getting very frustrated....
Stayed tuned....
On a very happy note.....the Blue Angels have been given the okay to fly their full 2014 schedule!   Yeah.....hip hip hurray.....looking forward to attending several shows.

Saturday-Sunday, October 19-20

SATURDAY - What a fun weekend!    Today was chilly, but that did not deter the boys from running around the campground, playing on the playground, hiking, biking, sitting by the bonfire and on and on!     Connor and I played 5 rounds of dominoes, too.  We went into town for their hockey game (1st of the season) and then to a wiener roast in the country with our boating friends.
Climbing on the tree trunk
Patrick met us at the ice rink and got the boys all suited up - my oh my...lots of padding!
Anne came later and helped them get out of their gear and then we were on our way to
the wiener roast.    Lots of fun for the boys and Sophie, granddaughter of Bob and Kathy, our hosts.    Sooo much good food and visiting.

SUNDAY - after a good night's sleep and breakfast, we were off to Sacred Heart Church for 10:30 Mass in Farmer City.    Anne and Patrick came out this afternoon and we sat around the campfire, ate, hiked, etc.   Beautiful day - windy, but warmer than yesterday!
Grandma and boys taking a rest stop on their hike

Liam, Anne, Patrick, Connor

Monkeys in the tree
Ryan called this morning - he's flying here Thursday thru Saturday (will not be speaking at CCHS as there is no school Friday).    Can't wait to see him!    Been 3 months yesterday when we were in NC and Miss Blair arrived.
Speaking of our sweet baby girl, here she is.....
Ready for a stroll with Mommy 

Brady and Blair

Friday - October 18

Hello from Dawson Lake (Moraine View State Park) where we have Daisy and 2 lively boys onboard.    It'[s been a fun day with Liam and Connor starting with Grandparents Day at school all morning.    We had story time, bingo, craft project, prayer time, donuts/juice/coffee, a special project in their classroom and the bookfair.
Connor and Mrs. K
Liam and Mrs. B
I went to PEO dessert/meeting this afternoon and then met Mark and boys at the park.    They rode bikes, we had spaghetti for supper and then a nice fire and s'mores!   All this fresh air makes us sleepy (at least Grandpa and me)....boys are winding down, too!

Thursday - October 17

 Rainy morning - exercised, did laundry, cleaned inside Daisy and packed her up with all the essentials, clothes, food, etc., for our camping weekend.    Mark did all his stuff on Daisy to get her "ready to go"!
The afternoon cleared up and after school, we took the boys to the Rader Pumpkin Farm - such a fun place and more new activities this year!    The really exciting one was an  11-acre maze.   Unreal....
Even Grandpa was stumped on how to maneuver and find the clues and get out of there.   I told the boys we may be spending the night amongst the corn stalks!   It was quite something.
After enjoying apple and pumpkin donuts, apple fritters, and kettle corn +++ a delicious s'mores drink, and choosing the perfect pumpkins and 2+ hours later, we were on our way home!
Rader's is so much fun for kids of all ages.   You could easily spend the whole day here!!!
Here's just a few of the afternoon's highlights...
Choosing the perfect pumpkin
Lost in the maze?   Help!   Which way do we go?

Liam on the roller rats
Giddy up Cowboy

Wednesday - October 16

After a week of sunshine and mid 80's, we arrived in Chicago this morning where it was 52, gloomy, misty rain and windy!    Good to be home, but sure enjoyed our week with Luke!!!     As grandparents, it's so fun to spend time with the little ones and be entrusted with their care......but a good feeling to hand them back to their Mommy and Daddy safe 'n sound and all is well on our watch.   That goes for the critters, to.....Julio and Carlos (Luke's pals) and
Jerry Nibbles and Jinx belonging to the NC bunch!
We were up at 5 AM, good flight from Fort Lauderdale to Chicago and then stopped in Gridley to pick up Daisy.   We'll be getting her ready for a weekend camping trip with Liam and Connor.    Will be chilly, so some roaring campfires are in order along with plenty of hot chocolate, hot cider, etc.

Mark worked in Daisy this afternoon and then off to Panera for supper and Meijer's for groceries for our campout!


Tuesday - October 15

Luke had a great night - went down at 8:45 and got up at 7.     Every morning we hear happy little chirps around 5ish...but he goes back to sleep and this morning just played and was so happy till 8 and then it was "TIME to EAT"!!!!!
VaRoom, VaRoom.....I'm gonna be a jet pilot just like Daddy
New pair of jammies Grandma bought for me yesterday
I love to play in the morning before breakfast
 Mommy did face time and then Luke settled in for a nice long nap!   
Nothing more precious than a sleeping baby
 Grandma did more laundry (never ends) and prepared ribs for dinner.    We met Susie for lunch at First Watch - delicious (butternut squash soup/pecan chicken Dijon salad and other goodies).   Luke was really flirting with the waitresses (loves that tongue!!!).  
Susie 'n Luke
I love playing with the tools Liam and Connor gave me!
Check out these thighs, folks!
Philip, Annette and friends returned  home around 5 - they had a wonderful time in Cancun!   But oh how fun to see their boy again!
 Grandpa and I had a wonderful time with Luke
It was a WIN WIN situation for all!!!!!
Our last night with sweet Luke
Early flight tomorrow out of Fort Lauderdale to Chicago and
Home Sweet Home!   
Just 6 weeks till Thanksgiving and all our kids/grandchildren will be together in NC.....6 weeks means lots of changes coming for our babies, Blair and Luke.    So hard to say good-bye...

Monday - October 14

Happy Columbus Day!    Luke's day started off on a happy note doing face time with
 Mommy and Daddy - their last day in Paradise!  
Luke was enthralled with Thomas the Train early this morning
  I exercised, did some laundry, and Mark worked on the sprinkler system - all is good!     He took us to the mall and Luke and I strolled around checking out baby departments and just browsing!    He was so good.....Grandma had a delicious treat at Teavana (pumpkin spice brulee hot tea).    Teavana is now owned by Starbucks   Bought Luke some cute things at Baby Gap - everything in the shop was 40% off today!  Yeah.....Grandma really enjoyed herself!
My little shopping buddy
Grandpa ran some errands while we shopped and then back home around 12:30.   Lunch, some cat naps for Luke but then slept during our outdoor stroll. 

The guys just hangin' out - Grandpa with his I-pad and Luke reading a book
Sweetie Pie
Busy evening.....went to Bonefish Grill for dinner (Luke was an angel and such yummy food, especially the Bang Bang shrimp)!     Stopped at Publix for a few things, came home and Mommy and Daddy did face time with Luke.    Then Nana and Grandpa Dave did face time and Great Grandma Ruth called.    Earlier we had talked to Uncle Ryan....
whew wee...a big day!    Sweet dreams time!

Sunday - October 13

Luke did face time with Mommy and Daddy early this morning from Cancun!   He was happy and smiley as usual.  Had thought about taking Luke to church today; however, he has squeals (happy) that are extremely loud, so thought we would go separately!    I went at 9:30 and Mark at 11:30.    I know I've said this before, but the choir at St. Therese de Lisieux is just thee very best!     The director, Dave and his wife, Molly have quite an extensive music education and between them and rest of the beautiful voices, makes for an extremely joyful celebration!!!
Just hangin' out with my farm friends on a Sunday morning
Mark worked on installing new pipes for the irrigation system in backyard.    Tomorrow will be the true test if everything is working properly.
Putting in new sprinkler pipes
Luke took some good naps, I did a few loads of laundry, read by the pool and then Luke and I did our daily walk around the neighborhood.
We did face time with Anne and family - Luke enjoyed his cousins and their silly faces!
When Philip and Annette told us they were expecting back in August, 2012, we were in Daisy on our way to Prince Edward Island.    Soon as I hit the shops I found this onesie and thought the baby should have a special little gift from where we were when we heard this exciting news!!!
This says it all!!!!

Saturday - October 12

Busy day here.....Grandpa exercised and did some electrical work (he's been tackling Philip's job list).    After lunch we left for Sunny Isles (1 hour south) to visit my cousin, Karen and friend, Marvin.    Before we left, we did face time with Luke's cousin, Leia - so cute!   Luke was a great traveler and good boy while we were at their lovely condo overlooking the ocean.

Karen and Luke
Marvin and "Cool-Hand Luke"
Grandma and her sweet boy
After a good nap on the way home, Luke woke up so happy
Luke's house all decorated for Halloween along with creepy crawlies hiding here and there
Karen has brain cancer (diagnosed in January) - after extensive chemo and radiation, she is now wearing a device called "NovaCare".    She wears it 20+ hours a day and batteries have to be changed about every 3 hours.    So far, so good.....last MRI shows tumor is shrinking!    Yesterday, the NovaCare folks (9) came to Karen's condo and spent the day documenting an average day in Karen's life since she is using this fairly new (7 years) device.    A video will be made from what was filmed yesterday, so Karen assured us we would get to see it via the internet.
Home and then Grandpa and I took Luke for our daily stroll in the neighborhood.    Came home to do face time with his Nana Shmoo (Annette's Mom aka Judy).  
 Had a nice warm bath, bottle and off to dreamland!
We enjoyed the hot tub and then ready for early bedtime, too!!!!

Friday - October 11

This household was up and going early with 8 adults and one baby doing their thing.   
The 3 vacationing couples left shortly after 7 for Fort Lauderdale and their flight to Cancun.  
 Bye bye Mommy and Daddy.   Have FUN!

Luke in his pumpkin jammies babbling to Mr. Bear
  I exercised and Mark watched Luke - he'll do his thing tomorrow!     Did some laundry, Luke took a good morning nap and then our friend, Susie came.....sooo fun as always to visit and catch up.
Miss Susie and Luke
Mark ran some errands, Luke and Grandma went for a stroll (he slept most of the outing).  
  Hot and sunny day....
I just LOVE playing with my tootsies
Grandma has me all bundled up in my soft Luke towel that her friend, Miss Barb made for me.
Wishing you a fun fall weekend full of family, friends,, football and food!   Enjoy...