New Year's Eve - 2011

We left shortly after 7 this morning from Jacksonville (after another yummy cinnamon roll at Holiday Inn Express).    Drove to Daytona Beach Shores and visited my Aunt Dee - great to see her in her lovely 21st floor condo and enjoy fruit, cheese, crackers and tea and a super visit!  

Aunt Dee and Pat

On to Lantana and arrived around 2:15 meeting Philip and Annette on Catrina.    We unloaded the car with our stuff and took off for an anchorage close by.   Beautiful day - 82 and all sunshine.    We had drinks and hors d'oeuvres on Catrina's upper deck.

Annette and Philip

Later, we took Tigger (dinghy) to The Old Key Lime House for yummy dinner outdoors. good to be back on the water!

Back to Catrina and played 3 rounds of dominoes with Annette winning 2 and one for me.   Also, enjoyed fireworks going all around us.    We are tired, so going to bed without ringing in the new year at midnight!

Bye bye was a very good year!


Friday - December 30

Our big day of travel started at 7 when we left Franklin, TN (after breakfast at Holiday Inn Express and one of their yummy warm cinnamon rolls for me - Mark had his favorite biscuits and gravy).   We had sunshine most of the day as the temps kept climbing (75 was the high) - feels sooo good.

Mark did all the driving again which is fine with me as traffic was really heavy at times (lots of RV's heading south).   I read, did e-mails, texts, long chat with my Aunt Marian (dad's sister) and a few little cat naps.

Stopped in Troy, AL for quick lunch and tonight we're in Jacksonville, FL.    Had very good dinner at Cracker Barrel near our hotel (another Holiday Inn Express) and now getting ready to lift weights.   Both stiff from all the sitting so time to do some serious stretching.  We have about 330 miles to Catrina....

Thursday - December 29

Hello from Franklin, TN.    We had a busy morning (especially Mark) loading up the car (he's thee BEST packer), getting the house winterized, etc.   Patrick and the boys stopped by for more hugs (sure gonna miss these sweet little guys and their Mommy and Daddy).   I got out of the way by having a very yummy lunch with my dear friends, Kathy and Claire at Biaggi's - we were celebrating Kathy's birthday which is tomorrow.    So fun to catch up on what we all did for Christmas.     And can't wait to hang out with these gals in Florida this winter.

Claire and Kathy (The Birthday Girl)

Mark picked me up at 1:00 at Biaggi's and we were off - such a pretty day for traveling with lots of sunshine and 50+ degrees!  

We stopped in Cadiz, KY at Cracker Barrel for supper, but very busy and long wait, so....kept on truckin' on down the road.    Amazing that it's only 12/29 and already the Valentine decor and Easter bunnies are out!   Had quick supper in Clarksville, TN and now settled here in Franklin.
Nite nite

Wednesday - December 28

Lots of teary good-byes today......Anne brought Liam and Connor over this morning and we left for Mendota/Dixon to see our parents.    Had a care meeting for Dad at the Lutheran Home which went well - his comfort is top priority and I know he's in good hands with their care and concern.    Judi, our cousin and retired nurse will be our advocate for Dad while my brothers and I are gone this winter.    She came to the meeting also....we are so blessed to have her and she is extremely diligent in her concern for Dad's needs.

The boys in front of the tree at the Lutheran Home

Philip, Annette, Bob and Linda were also there this morning.....then to Dixon and had lunch with Mark's parents at Sandy's and good chat.   Please keep Mark's Mom in your prayers as she will be having serious back/spine surgery on January 3rd.
Liam, Connor and their Great Grandma Ruth

Great Grandpa Harland and 2 of his great grandsons

Took the boys home and said our good-byes and lots of hugs for them and Patrick!

So, tomorrow we will be off to Florida (leaving around 1:00).

Tuesday - December 27

Two little elves came today and boy-oh-boy, what good doobies they were.   Anne brought the boys over about 8:15, along with their hockey gear, hot chocolate AND whoopie pies from Starbucks.   Liam and Connor helped carry boxes to basement and Grandpa put away (countless trips up and down the stairs past 2 days).   We vacuumed, swiffered, dusted, etc.    Grandma was so appreciative and paid them for their efforts!

So, we took a mid-morning break and had milk and whoopie pies (red velvet).    When we were in Lancaster County, PA this summer, that was the big treat from Amish country.   We gave the boys a special pan to make whoopie pies at home along with recipes.   After lunch, it was all about having FUN!    We put a big safari floor puzzle together (Connor's gift from us) - haven't done a puzzle in eons - fun!!!

Awesome job, boys!

Along with the puzzle, we played crazy 8 and dominoes with Liam the winner.  

Grandma and her hockey boys all wearing "Life is Good" shirts

 Daddy came at 2:45 to pick them up.     FUN day and tomorrow, they'll be back and we'll spend the day with their great grandparents.

Nice to have the house all back in order, spic 'n span and now packing and getting our stuff ready for Florida.    Planning to leave Thursday.........22 hours from here to Catrina.

Woke up to snow this morning - surprise!!!!    Been dreary, foggy, windy and cold all day.   Mark is more than ready to "get outta here"  and head SOUTH!

Love this picture....
Brady and his Daddy

The day after.....

Up and going this sunny "day after Christmas" with Mark bringing up all the plastic bins, boxes, etc., and I dug in taking down ornaments from family room tree (snowmen, patriotic and nautical) and packing all my treasures away - BIG job, but what a nice surprise to have 2 little elves stop by and help - that would be Philip and Annette.    They had spent last night with Anne and Patrick and Philip wanted his Dad to go with him to Farm and Fleet (not a place you would have to twist Mark's arm to shop at)!    HA!   So, Annette said she would take all the ornaments off the big tree in living room and pack away - that's a job!!!!!     I was extremely grateful for her help.....even Philip got in the act...

Ahhhh...thanks for changing my snowman switch plates!
Annette "untrimming" the tree

The kids all met at Pub II for lunch (Philip, Annette, Anne, Patrick, Liam and Connor).    Can't believe that we all missed phone calls from Ryan today (Anne, Philip and us) - ugh!!!!!!!!!!    Darn, darn...he will  probably be heading back to the ship and out to sea very soon!    He had said earlier he was enjoying his time in Dubai but VERY expensive!

We did facetime with Michael and all yesterday from North Carolina - fun, fun, fun!    Sounds like they had a great Christmas, too, and of course, love "seeing" and "chatting" with all of them!

So it was a good day of packing up and storing away most of the stuff - tomorrow, we'll finish up and also enjoy Liam and Connor who are staying with us the next 2 days!    The house looks bare and dark tonight without all the pretty lights, but big day behind us and onward to tomorrow!

Mark and I ran a few errands late afternoon and got some "real-deal-after-Christmas bargains"!!!    We then met friends, Bill and Charmaine at Panera.    They used to live here and were back from Georgia visiting their daughter and family.   Fun catching up with them!

Bill and Charmaine

Nasty out there tonight - rain, sleet, etc.....

Christmas - 2011

Merry Christmas and hope you've all had a wonderful day!!!

Mark and I are back home after a very nice day with family.    We went to 9:00 Mass, (while we were in church, we missed a call from Ryan - darn)!!!     Came home to load up Toad with food and presents and then off to Anne and Patrick's.   We settled in to see what the boys got from Santa - oh my....sooooooo much excitement!    We opened all our gifts, Philip and Annette arrived with more gifts.    Annette's parents, Dave and Judy and Dave's Mom, Dottie came about 1 hour later. 

The afternoon was spent enjoying the boys and all their toys, visiting, eating, drinking and being so merry!

We had our big feast (ham and all the trimmings) at 4:00 and later, pie (pecan and apple) with ice cream.   Just a very fun day to all be together and celebrate Christmas with family and the real "reason for the season"  Jesus' birthday!

Here are a few highlights:

The boys helping Grandpa open his big box?
Anne with her very favorite hot chocolate from Tim Horton's, but watch out....
 Liam has his eye on those!!!
Connor and his legos from Uncle Ryan
Annette, her Grandma Dottie and the boys playing cards
 (boys are wearing their new Blackhawk jerseys)
Annette, Philip. Patrick, Dave, Judy, Mark Pat
Anne, Connor, Liam, Dottie
THANKS, Anne, Patrick, Liam and Connor for a memorable Christmas 2011...

Christmas Eve 2011

Happy Christmas Eve - hope you are all geared and gussied up to spend tonight and tomorrow with your families and give praise for the birth of our Lord Jesus!!!!!!

Our day started off on a happy note with a phone call from Ryan.   He's in Dubai on shore leave and sounded good!!!!    Praying for his safe return and for all our military that NEXT year they will be "HOME FOR CHRISTMAS"

Been in the kitchen off and on today preparing goodies for our gatherings.    Mark ran some errands and even hit the grocery store one last time (hopefully) with all the other last-minute shoppers.   Enjoyed another very mild, sunny day!

Anne, Patrick, Liam and Connor came for supper (stromboli and soup) after 4:30 Mass.    The boys are just a tad bit excited - ha!!!!!

May visions of sugar plums be dancing in these little guys heads all night long...
Sweet dreams!
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care....

Mark and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!!

Friday - December 23

94 years young!!!

We partied in Mendota with Dad today.   Linda and I brought in lunch and we enjoyed the day celebrating this big milestone for Dad.    He especially enjoyed his red velvet cake and peppermint ice cream.

Liam and Connor (2 of Great Grandpa Pete's 8 great grandchildren)
The birthday cake with "PETE" candles
Back:  Linda, Jason, Mark, Jennifer, Pat and Bob
Front:   Jim (cousin), Liam, Dad, Connor, Patrick

Michael did facetime on his I-Phone with Grandpa so he could see the clan from North Carolina and they could see him.

It was very pretty and sunny out!    Dad was so tired at the end of his big day, so hoping he was able to take a good nap after we all left.    Wished everyone Merry Christmas greetings and on home.

Had a good chat with Mark's parents on our way.   Hope your Christmas preparations are under control!    Happy Christmas Eve.....

Thursday - December 22

It's snowing out tonight - not supposed to have any accumulation and no White Christmas predicted!   

We ran some errands this morning and went to nursing home to visit Mary, Patrick's Mom but she was in a very deep sleep.    Then we were off to Panera and met long-time friends Wayne and Myrna for lunch and good catch-up visit.

Myrna and Wayne

Took Liam and Connor to see "Chipwrecked" (Chipmunk movie) this afternoon - cute!    Then to our house for a while and took them home at 5:30 and enjoyed pizza with Anne and Patrick.

Wednesday - December 21

Another dreary day (now they say some sun on Friday)?   Oh well, with all the pretty lights, decorations and music, it's still very festive!

We exercised first thing this morning and I got a manicure.    Came home and did some laundry before lunch with Exchange Club.....sang carols with Ruth accompanying us on the piano.

Back:  Joe, Bill, Jack, Lou, Denny, Don, Dale, Jim, Lloyd, Earl, Jeremy and David
Front:  Dick, Mike, Pat and Ruth

Mark and I went to Connor's Advent Service and Live Nativity with the 2 kindergarten classes.   It was so well done and so proud of Connor as he thanked everyone for coming and then "Please join us in singing Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus".

Connor and Mrs. Nelson

Went to Swinger's for dinner with Barb, Roger, Paul and Kathy - fun time with good food and lots of chatter.

We have our forms filled out (mainly medical) and airline tickets for the Navy Tiger Cruise in February.    We'll be cruising on the USS Stennis with Ryan and shipmates on February 21-27th from Honolulu to
 San Diego.    Very excited about this as we had to cancel in March, 2010 because of our accident in
St. Pete, FL

Tuesday - December 20

A miserable day of cold, damp drizzle all day long!     Met Claire and Kathy at 8:00 Mass and then 2-hour breakfast and chatter at Coffee Hound.   Kathy and I then took dinner to a long-time friend, Cathy, who is recovering from surgery.    It was so good to see her and that she's doing well.

Home for a bit; and what a surprise to come into the kitchen and see food sitting all over the place.   Saturday night at Mark's family Christmas, he was talking to his brother, Tom about expiration dates on food and what can happen.   Tom told about a recent story of a little boy who had pancakes and unknown to the family, the date on the pancake box had expired and the little boy became very ill and almost died. The doctor told the family to always follow expiration dates.    So.........Mark decided to go thru all the cupboards, pantry, etc. and check all dates (most all cans and packaged food items have a date) - we were shocked at how much had expired.   We are gone so much and things just kind of accumulate, get pushed to the back, etc.   We threw out a bunch and will try and control this.   Just wanted to share this!

We went to Meijer's for a few groceries and other piddlies.    This evening we picked up 2 large pans of green beans and took to Safe Harbor to serve to the homeless (70) with my Exchange Club.   They had plenty of volunteers, so dropped off the food and came on home - always a humbling experience seeing these folks lining up to eat and very grateful for what may be their only meal of the day.

Still raining out - ugh!    Sunshine is to be back tomorrow!    December sure has been mild!

Monday - December 19

Dreary day but balmy with 51 degrees - rain is a'comin!

Met the neighbors for breakfast and then Mark and I got a few groceries at Schnucks.   Home to prepare some food items for tonight's dinner with neighbors on either side of us - Marty and Joe.   Great visit with these guys!

Joe and Marty

Missed our mailman with 2 last-minute cards, so took them to a mailbox near was stuffed to the brim with 2 hours till pick-up???    LOTS of cards going out today and that's just one box of many, many all over town!

Hope your countdown this week of Christmas is right on target!

Saturday - Sunday, December 17-18

Saturday - Mark made a quick run to Dunkin Donuts for treats before we took off for Dixon (he drove his truck which his Dad will use this winter) and I was in the car.    We were surprised to see about 2" of snow which had fallen overnight as we got closer to Mendota (nothing here at home).   Stopped to see Dad at nursing home - not having a good day....

Off to Dixon for family Christmas with Mark's clan.....good lunch and visiting, checked into the Comfort Inn, changed clothes and off to party.    All gathered for 4:30 Mass at St. Pat's followed by bountiful feast at Holloway Center.    Big crowd (including Annette's parents) with so much good food, chatter, presents, etc.    Several went back to hotel for games and more visiting.

Sunday - Bright sunny day.   Breakfast with several of the family; said our good-byes and Merry Christmas wishes.   Stopped to see Mark's folks and then to see Dad who was doing better today.    Met Bob and Linda for lunch at The China Buffet.   Bob and I went back to nursing home.   Mark and Linda went to the house to discuss their new IPhones.    Bob and I visited our cousin, Jim, too, and then back to house for delicious grasshopper pie.   We got home at 5:30.    FUN weekend!

Thursday - Friday, December 15-16

Thursday - Whoaaa...hang onto your hats today!   Very windy and cold out there!   Mark took the boys to school.   I picked up Sue and we visited her daughter Julie and girls in their new home.   It is lovely and Haley and McKenna (twins) proudly gave me the tour!   

McKenna and Haley
McKenna, Julie, Haley and Grandma Sue

I had lunch with Claire and Margie at Destihl - fun to catch up with these 2 good friends and can always count on a delicious lunch.   Good to be home out of the harsh wind.   Mark and I hunkered down with a hot cup of tea, Christmas music and our laptops.

Went to Ed and Donna Rae's for dominoes, wine, snacks; then to dinner at Westminster Village (their retirement home), followed by delightful singing by The Amazons (4 tall gals who are friends and have been singing together for 12 years).   Back to Ed and Donna Rae's apartment for more dominoes (I am Queen).

Friday -  Cold, but sunny.  We both exercised, Mark ran some errands for me (much appreciated).   We had some winter coats we no longer wear, so knew the mission would appreciate!   Did some laundry, packed for the weekend, and caught up on a bunch of computer things.    Patrick brought the boys over after school till Mommy comes from work.

Michael and boys did facetime on the new IPhone - what fun.   Michael carried the phone outdoors so we could ooh and aah at all their decorations.

Philip and Annette are anchored out near Boca Raton tonight on Catrina!   Lucky them!

Mark and I ran some errands and then had nice dinner at Caffe Italia (had planned to have friends, Wayne and Myrna join us, but unfortunately, Myrna is sick)!

Tomorrow we are off to Mark's family Christmas and also visit Dad....

Wednesday - December 14

What a frightful day......rain, rain and more rain!   But the day started out very nicely when Anne stopped by to pick up some packages and brought me a peppermint mocha - what a sweetheart!    I exercised and had a 10:00 hair cut and oh my, the rain just didn't stop - we have a lake in our backyard, streets were flooded and can only imagine if this were all snow???    Also heard some loud cracks of thunder and lightning - very strange for December!

I sent out a bunch of  Christmas and "thinking of you" cards to our PEO shut-ins, went to lunch with Exchange Club and straightened up the basement.   Mark picked the boys up from school (in the pouring rain) and we are having a sleepover tonight - their Mommy and Daddy are going out for a nice dinner and then tackle the wrapping!

The boys and I got into our jammies, sat around the tree and read Christmas stories.
  Love these special times! 

 Ten days till Christmas Eve!

Tuesday - December 13

Woke up to fog, drizzle and a very dreary day!!!    I had a delightful 2-hour breakfast and chat with Martha at Panera and always fun to be with her!    Then home to finish the cards - yeah!!!!

Despite the gloomy weather, it's such a treat when the mailman, UPS or FedEx guys arrive with wonderful cards and pictures from family and friends and lots of packages (we're storing goodies for Anne, too).

Mark and I went to a surprise 99th birthday party for "Aunt" Ginny who is the "real" aunt of our friend, Pat.   We've always called her "Aunt" Ginny and what a dear she is.    Enjoyed her party and amazed at how great she's doing for 99 years young!

"Aunt" Ginny and Pat

We picked the boys up from school and went to Meijer's for a few groceries and other piddlies.   Home to play and then Anne came to pick them up.

Whoa Liam....riding "Sandy" at Meijer's

Mark and I went to St. Mary's reconciliation service at 7:00.    More than ever, during this Season of Advent, we think of all who are hurting so - serious health issues, marital, financial and oh-so-many-other matters.    May they find peace and comfort.    The prayer list seems to grow daily!

Monday - December 12

Happy Birthday Michael and Anne 

 Today was sunny and bright as we remember 41 years ago and the surprise birth and double blessing of two babies!

Mark had an 8:00 eye check-up (we are both finally finished with all doctor appointments) and then we met the neighbors for breakfast.   I worked on Christmas cards off and on.   Mark met his friend, Darrel for lunch.  Anne, Patrick and boys came for supper, presents, etc.   

Mark got his new I-phone today and we did face time with Michael who is in Denver tonight.   He got to see all of us and we could see him and chat - neat!   Gotta love this modern technology which continues
to amaze me!

Brooke called on her I-phone and we chatted with she, Drew and Davis!    Really cool!
Anne and her guys!

Saturday and Sunday - December 10 and 11

This party girl is winding down after a very busy weekend filled with lots of friends, food and fun!   

Saturday....Left home at 9:20 and picked up Ann and Debbi and we were off to Peoria for our Sublettian Christmas gathering.    Fifteen of us had a "graze and gab" day together at Marilyn's lovely home..   We oohed and aahed over her decor and as we each showed what we bought for Birthright (in lieu of a gift exchange).    Darling teeny, tiny baby sleepers, outfits, snowsuits, blankies, towels, diapers and other baby paraphernalia. much fun to shop for babies and such a good warm, fuzzy feeling to be giving to those in need.    We did our white elephant exchange, ate some more and said our good-byes several hours later.   What a fun day with perfect sunshiny weather and hanging out with long-time friends from our little ole hometown of Sublette!

Back:   Carole, Jane, Sally, Joyce, Mary, Ann, Judy, Paula and Anita
Front:   Pat, Eileen, Debbi, Rita, Ellen and Marilyn (our gracious hostess)

I got home at 4:45 and started in getting hors 'doeurve ready for next party and doing a few things around the house.    Mark had run a few errands and I know HE was ready to party once I got home - ha!   We had our Mid Illini Christmas party at Gerry and Linda's - more good friends, food and lots of chatter.    Always a good time when this group gets together.

Sunday - Another pretty day.   We went to 8:00 Mass, Dunkin Donuts and home to make major waves.   Mark was a big help getting house in order and setting up for party tonight.   But first, Liam and Connor arrived and Grandpa took them out and about for a few errands and then ice skating - they boys absolutely love this new sport!    Anne and I went to a cookie exchange benefiting the boys school - was in a spectacular home and the most incredible display of cookies I've ever seen.   We were each given a large white bakery box to go around and fill with 4 dozen cookies (we each brought 4 dozen cookies, too).    What a beautiful, delicious selection!

And then home to prepare for and entertain Exchange Club friends and spouses.   Good turnout and along with chatting and enjoying all the wonderful appetizers, wine, etc., the Bears game provided entertainment despite the outcome! 

Mark is snoozin' as I write this and I think I'll be off to dreamland very soon!    Busy week ahead but not as much as the past few days!    Whew.....lots of fun but ready for a slower pace!
Sweet dreams...

Friday - December 9

Woke up to our first snow this morning - the rooftops and grass were all white.    Liam and Mark were eating breakfast when I left at 7:15 - Connor was still snoozin'.    I drove to Mendota to spend the day.  Started out with yummy breads/cookies/tea at Bob and Linda's and oohed and aahed over their lovely decorations in their new home.    Then to see Dad who was sleepy, but talked a little bit.    While he was napping, I worked on the Christmas cards.    Met my Aunt Marian for lunch at "Regina Lane", new place that was very good.   Back to nursing home to work on cards and visit my cousin, Jim who is there recovering from hip surgery.

Aunt Marian came to visit Dad and Jim and I left around 2:45 to pick up my nephew, Todd at Bob and Linda's.   He's been there all week mudding, sanding and preparing garage walls for painting.   He rode back home with me.    We had supper at Mandarin Garden (Mark, too) and then took him to the train station and he's now on his way to St. Louis.

Good to be in tonight - supposed to get down to 11 degrees by morning. 

 Philip and friends delivered Catrina from Stuart to Lantana, FL and her new temporary home till we get there in January.   

Hope you all have a fun, productive weekend whatever you may be doing!

Thursday - December 8

BUSY day that went like this:

7:00 - Mass for Immaculate Conception (holy day)
8:55 - Eye check-up
10:00 - Home to exercise
11:00 - lunch with BBB (babies, books, bridge) friends at Central Station
1:30 - Manicure
3:00 - Mark picked up boys from school
3:30 - The boys and I were off to the theater to see Arthur Christmas (cute)
6:00 - Home to make some treats
6:45 - Dinner with Grandpa when he got home from church
7:45 - Bath time
8:00 - Nite nite
8:01 - Grandma collapses

BBB Friends
Back - Holly, Karen, Ruth, Pat and Sue
Front - Sharon

Grandma's little bakers
Silly little "Bear" boys

Wednesday, December 7

I met Claire at Panera for coffee and chatter (and yummy pastries).   Then ran some errands and home for a bit.    Mark was out and about, too....and the sun came out late morning!   Yeah!!!!

I had Exchange lunch and today we wrapped up our Santa letter campaign - another successful year and the letters are off to North Pole, Alaska for postmark and will be delivered to all the boys and girls around the country.

Donna Rae and Ed came for dinner and dominoes......Mark and Donna Rae were the domino winners.    Lots of fun and laughs on this chilly wintry night!

Tuesday - December 6

Saw the first snow flurries today....Mark and I were up early to exercise.   I made 2 chocolate cake rolls with peppermint ice cream and then off to the grocery store.    Mark ran some errands and then had appointment with his dermatologist.   He then went to check on Daisy who is doing well all tucked in for the winter out of the cold and snow!

I met the Mid Illini gals for lunch, but only 4 of us today at Jim's Steak House.   We had lots to catch up on and enjoyed an almost 2.5 hour leisurely lunch.

Ladies in Red
Judy, Pat, Jane and Carol

Last night as I was drifting off to sleep, I had visions of all the stuff I saw yesterday while Linda and I were shopping.....we were in 17 different stores all around town!    Hope your shopping is going well?

Monday - December 5

Met the neighbors for breakfast and then back home to meet Bob and Linda for a BIG day of "browsing" the shops for we girls.   We have our shopping done, so.........however, it always seems there a few little things to pick up here and there, stocking stuffers, and on and on and on....

We hit the neat specialty shops around town - so much fun and definitely did more than "browse".   Bone-chilling, damp day,, it's COLD outside!     Met Bob and Mark at The Red Oak for some good comfort food at lunch time, said our good-byes and off we went for 5 more hours of "browsing"!    The guys did their bit, too, going to Farm and Fleet, post office to mail package to Ryan and few other stops.   And then home for naps!

The guys picked Todd (our nephew) up at the train station (came in from St. Louis) and we all had supper at Firehouse Pizza.   
Mark, Pat, Todd, Linda and Bob
Cleaned up our plates real good, eh?

 Then separated our bags and they left for home with Todd.   Mark and I are home and I'm thawing out, sorting thru my goodies and he's taking a nap!

Liam and Connor had supper tonight with Chuck E. Cheese.
Liam, "good ole Chuck" and Connor

Sunday - December 4

We went to 8:00 Mass and then Mark left for Mendota/Dixon to visit my Dad and his parents.   I was with my Monday Night Friends for our annual Christmas party - this year a catered brunch at Connie's lovely home in the country (12 deer came thru the yard while we were there)!    Always such a fun time with delicious food and drink, revealing our secret pals and then drawing for 2012.     This group of 11 gals have been going strong with 3 of us charter members dating back to 1972 which means next year will mark our 40th year of friendship and soooo much fun and laughs, tears and joy!    So, not sure what we'll do, but going to plan some sort of
 biggie event to celebrate!

Marsha, Jody, Ruth, Connie, Donna, Sue, Pat, Linda, Tamara, Brenda and Nadine
My very special MNF's

Mark and I were both home about an hour and then left for Anne and Patrick's for more good tummy is hurting......a really fun Sunday!   Although it was cold and dreary outdoors, so much warmth and happiness inside these homes today!

Saturday - December 3

Up early this morning and got lots done before Anne, Patrick and boys stopped by on their way to see Santa.

Best Buds

Grandchildren are so much fun and Mark and I enjoy our 5 grand "boys" so much.   After a very fun, busy week with the North Carolina guys, now a month of Liam and Connor!

I ran some errands and then picked Mark up at 11:30 at the airport.    We stopped at the Prairie Aviation Center where they were having a special "Top Gun" program.   Met some really neat folks.

David, Brad and Mark

It was supposed to rain off and on all day; but it was almost balmy (50's) and sunny.    We raked the last of the leaves (and a jillion gum balls with another jillion left to fall....ugh ugh ugh!!!)   Then got to the outdoor lights, big wreath, etc.    Looks good outside - still have to put the lights in all the windows.

Mark left West Palm early this morning and it was already 72 degrees - COLD weather and the "S" word in the forecast for us next week!    The rain has started!

Friday - December 2

A gloomy, dreary, blah, chilly day.   I sure miss the warm sunshine, but this cold air makes it seem more like Christmas.  People are out and about shopping (myself included), the mailbox is stuffed with catalogs and the cards are starting to trickle in.

I went to PEO this afternoon (meeting and dessert social) - good to see these gals as I've missed several gatherings this fall.    Wrapped a few gifts (caught up again) and just got a bunch of piddly stuff done around the house..............all in preparation for my hubby to come home tomorrow!!!!   YEAH!

Thursday - December 1

Twelve years ago today, Mark and I became grandparents for the first time with the birth of Andrew Michael (Drew) in North Carolina.    My oh my, how the years fly by...

Happy Birthday Sweetie!
Drew hanging out on Catrina with his I-pad

I spent most of today in Mendota with Dad - he was very sleepy, but enjoyed a piece of kringle and a small chocolate crunch bar (he loves his sweets).   I met my sister-in-law, Linda for lunch and good chat.  

Talked to Mark a few times and his boat jobs are pretty much done - going to hang out with Philip at home tomorrow.

Went to see Liam and Connor and their neat Christmas decorations in and outside.   Missed these little guys.   Anne, the boys and I went to Bob Evans for supper and then I ran a few errands.

Three weeks ago today, Mark and I started out with Catrina leaving Norfolk - 2 big weeks of boating and 1 week with Philip and Annette (with NC kids and kiddies in between) made for a fun fall getaway.   We packed in a lot of miles during that time!

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.