October 24-30

 Whew another busy week packed in with lots of fun....

Monday, we met the neighbors for breakfast and then drove to East Peoria and checked out the new Bass Pro Shop – wow! Met our friends, Allie, Owen and Cheryl for delicious lunch at Granite City Pub and Grille and then to Allie and Owen's home for great visit and awesome pineapple cake. They have a lovely home in a very pretty woodsy setting – the weather was glorious with clear blue skies and all that luscious fall color!

Owen and Allie
Allie, Pat, Cheryl
Good friends from business school many years ago

I met 7 of the Monday Night Friends at Outback for dinner and chatter. Pigged out big time today!

Tuesday, Mark left early for Chicago and onto Norfolk and reunited with Catrina. I worked out with Larry, then dermatologist appointment and full-body skin check-up – all is good! Liam and Connor stayed with me a few hours after school and Anne joined us for supper.

Wednesday was yucky weather with rain and cold. I wrapped some gifts, ran some errands, had lunch with Exchange Club and enjoyed a cup of tea with Donna Rae and good visit in the afternoon. The Sublettians went to The Water Street Pub and Grill for dinner and lots of laughs (14 of us). Mark returned home at 8:00 – he enjoyed his boat and the nice warm, sunny weather.

Thursday, I did my weight lifting at Larry's, picked the boys up at 11:45 (they are off for a long weekend cause of conferences). We visited our friends Bob and Martha (the boys played with neat toys in the “playroom”.)  Bob was in a very serious bike accident a few weeks ago and now home recovering – was good to see him and wish him all the best as he heals. Anne came for chili and took her little darlins' home.

Friday – we had the boys all day and spent several hours at the new Bass Pro Shop starting with bowling (my cousin and Sublettian friend, Jane, joined us and so fun to be with her) lunch and then browsing this big, wonderful, awesome store. Jane and I each bought a cute pair of Mary Jane shoes. The boys were in awe and picked out several things they would like Santa to bring????

Jane, Connor, Liam with Mr. Bear
In front of the nice warm fire at Bass Pro Shop

Saturday – whoaaaa, Grandpa and I are very sore from all that bowling! It was fun at the time, but muscles are hurting today! Our long-time boating friend, Fran is in town visiting from Sturgeon Bay – fun to get together for lunch at Panera with Kathy and Barb. We sat and gabbed for almost 3 hours, then said our good-byes and I was off to Meijer's for a few groceries.

Sunday – cloudy and rainy...went to 10:00 Mass, ran a few errands and Anne and boys came over. We worked on “saint” costumes for “All-Saints Day” Tuesday. Both boys will be St. Patrick.

The Colors of Fall


October 18-23

Busy fall days continue.....since I last blogged, I went to Wisconsin with Kathy and Claire for 3 days of fun "girl-time" shopping, eating, etc.....Started our trip with a stop in Racine where we met Claire's twin grandsons, 4-month old Paul and Alex!   They are such sweet babies (Emily and Philip went all thru grade/high school together).    We had a fun visit with cuddles and delicious lunch and then we girls were
 off to Cedarburg.

Mike and Alex; Emily and Paul

We stayed at the Washington House Inn (charming old inn that was established in 1846).    We had dinner at Morton's (a neat tavern just behind our inn that was in a quaint neighborhood).    Started off Wednesday with a yummy breakfast and then hit the shops - several cute gift/home decor places and at least 3 coffee cafes.    We left mid afternoon in the rain and cold.....ugly trip thru Milwaukee and onto Racine where we shopped at Milaeger's, O-H Bakery and Borzynsky's.   Then to the Radisson in Kenosha and felt so good to be warm and cozy and out of the elements!   Had a nice dinner at The Chancery.

Thursday was chilly, but no rain - we hit the outlet mall across the street from hotel and by 1:30 we were on our way home....
The weary shoppers with just a "fraction" of their packages
Pat, Kathy and Claire

We were in Mendota and Dixon this past weekend visiting Dad and then our niece's wedding on an absolutely perfect autumn day!
Nora and Pat
Mark's parents
Three of the six bridesmaids.   The girl on the right sang Ave Maria - BEAUTIFUL!!!!
Pat and Nora

  Mark is going to Norfolk, VA for a few days to get Catrina ready for launching later this week.   I have plenty to keep me busy while he's gone and looking forward to having Liam and Connor Thursday afternoon and all day Friday (off school cause of conferences).   Back atcha later....

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my friend Susie in Florida....also Mark's sister, Marilyn!!!

Fall fun with the grandsons - October 12-16

It's been “Grandson Central” at our house since last Wednesday when Brooke and the boys arrived from NC. The 5 cousins had so much fun together and we kept on the go non-stop.

Highlights of our week included a day trip to Mendota/Dixon to visit their great grandparents and Great Aunt Linda; ice cream treats at Emack and Bolio's (thanks Anne and Patrick), and then outings to the Rader Pumpkin Patch, Ropp Dairy Farm and Upper Limits. Michael arrived late Friday afternoon. Anne had the boys for pizza and a sleepover and Michael, Brooke, Mark and I had pizza and played euchre with the guys winning 3 out of 4.

Saturday, Mark and Michael visited the grandparents. Brooke, Anne, Patrick and I took the boys to the Sugar Grove Nature Center and they ran and ran in the fresh, windy air!  We all went to 4:00 Mass and then Mark and I took the boys to a wiener roast and hayride in the country. After the kiddies were in bed, we 4 played euchre with Brooke and I winning 2 of 3. 

Sunday......the little darlin's flew back home, but nice to know we'll be seeing them at Thanksgiving in Florida.

 So, it was a very fun, busy week and really flew by.  Today was breakfast with the neighbors, manicure/pedicure, lunch with Patty who is visiting from Florida and then Mark and I gave blood at the Red Cross.

Tomorrow, I'm off to Wisconsin for 3 days of shopping with Kathy and Claire and meet Claire's 4-month old twin grandsons!

Hope you're all having a great fall - weather sure has turned chilly!    Bye for now....

I took a jillion pictures last week, but here's a few to share!

The boys with the Great Grandma Ruth and Great Grandpa Harland
Great Grandpa Pete and boys
Brady, Drew and Davis at the Rader Pumpkin Patch
Cute shirts from Uncle Phil (parts of the plane)
Drew and Liam climbing away at Upper Limits
In the corncrib at Sugar Grove Nature Center
Liam, Drew, Davis, Brady and Connor
Anne, Patrick and Brooke "trying" to stay warm
BFF - Connor and Brady
Grandma and her boys

Late September - October 12

Busy, busy fall and an absolutely beautiful one with warm temps and brilliant color. Appreciate all the nice comments about missing the blog. Here's what we've been up to and after we resume our Catrina travels (November 9th), I will update daily.

Our 18th Annual Sisters Weekend (Mark's sisters) gathered at Starved Rock on September 30-October 2 for lots of laughs, hiking, eating, wine drinking, water aerobics, game playing (hand 'n foot) and just enjoying 11 of us “sisters” hanging out.

The Sisters at Starved Rock
Pat, Theresa, Doris, Lydia, Marilyn, Joan, Janet, Sue, Sharon, Beth and Karen

We had 2 separate lunches and lots of good visiting with friends from TN – first, with John and Heather and then, Bill and Nancy.   Mark and I were guests of my Aunt Marian for a cookout at Stonecroft in Mendota and I've visited Dad every week.

Liam and Connor just enjoyed a 4-day weekend and Grandma and Grandpa got to share 2 of the days    jam packed with FUN!  We took them to Chicago on the train last Friday (10/7) and walked those little legs all over the place – we did Lego Land, Navy Pier, Children's Museum, Disney Store, DuSable Marina (for ice cream) and then “walked” all the way back to the train station. And then on Monday (10/10) after breakfast with the neighbors, we went to Starved Rock for a day of hiking, climbing and just enjoying this perfect autumn day.

Creative juices were flowing in their design at the children's museum (with Grandpa's help)
Memorial to Steve Jobs outside the Apple store on Michigan Avenue
The guys take a break along Wacker Drive
Resting those little legs on the train trip home

Starved Rock
Taking a break with Grandpa
Enjoying all the rock formations
Brilliant color
Connor and Liam were enthralled with the stories of Lovers Leap and Starved Rock
Almost to the end of our long hike

I drove to Mendota on Tuesday morning to see Dad and then brought my Aunt Marian back for cataract surgery. She's spending the night with us. Anne, Patrick and boys came for a visit and Anne and I are exchanging cars for a few days. We need her van to transport the grandsons....because....tonight our NC boys and their Mama are coming for a few days! YEAH........we are so excited and can't wait to have the 5 cousins together! Let the fun begin! I'll be back in touch next week!