New Years Eve - 2014

Happy New Year's Eve to's a beautiful day in North Carolina - the sun is shining on the water with the mountains in the background and all that fresh air!
Mark and I went to the camp to work out, then home to some yummy breakfast sandwiches Brooke made.   Did some laundry and just chit chatted with Brooke while the boys played outdoors and Mark and Michael resumed their lumberjack duties (Michael would like his Dad to stay around for a few days longer to finish this big project - "Just can't see why you have to leave for Florida"???   HA!!!

Bob and Judy (Brooke's parents) came in the afternoon - fun playing euchre, visiting and then enjoying delicious steaks Michael grilled on the Green Egg.
Wishing you all a happy, safe New Year's Eve

Monday/Tuesday - December 29-30

Monday - Rainy day at Lake James.....Michael took the boys back to Hickory for various things and Drew's basketball practice.    Mark and I went to Camp Lake James and used their state of the art fitness center, showers, etc.    Then to Elliott's Diner for breakfast....
Played with Blair and enjoying all her new toys - just a nice and relaxing day, snuggled under fleece throws with books, laptops, etc.

Miss Priss

We went to "Lowcountry" for dinner in Marion - good food, but they were out of several entrees? 
Home for some good games of euchre with the guys beating Brooke and me 3 out of 4 games.  UGH!

Tuesday - Another rainy day and the lumberjacks (Mark and Michael) were hard at it cutting up some fallen trees and carrying to a pile for firewood.    Brooke and Drew went into town for basketball practice and groceries.    I did several loads of laundry and Davis rolled out gingerbread cookies and also formed some in balls, then sugar.

Blair and Brady in the doghouse

Silly Blair has the giggles as Brady looks on

Blair and Daddy enjoying a refreshing afternoon beverage
Davis decorating his gingerbread cookies
Late this afternoon when Blair got up from her nap, we all went to Tom and Andi's home.    Grandpa and I had a drink, some cheese and crackers and I got a tour of their lovely rustic home.    The boys were watching football and around 6ish, Grandpa, Blair and I came on home for her supper, our supper (pizza) and nighty night time for our sweet girl.
Davis decorated a #6 cookie for Uncle Ryan

Our time is winding down here at Lake James, but one more day (New Year's Eve) to pack in more fun and cuddles!


Sunday - December 28

Miserable morning for travel – we left the hotel at 8:00 and drove thru rain (heavy for a big chunk of the day) and nasty fog.    Arrived in Asheville around 12:45 and what a nice warm welcome, as the sun came out!!!   We had a delicious lunch at the Red Stag in the Grand Bohemian Hotel (where Linda, Vicki and I stayed in September).   
We got to Lake James and the grandchildren at 2:40 and greeted at the door by Michael and a smiling sweet Blair.    Let the fun begin..    LOVE coming here but this was our first visit in the wintertime.    The lake was like glass – just a beautiful afternoon with sunshine, no wind and 61 degrees.   Gotta love this NC weather (their gas prices were much higher though- $2.45 compared to the $1.89 we paid yesterday in Indiana).
After all the hugs and settling in, we heard all about their gifts and 1st Christmas at Lake James.
Today was the big Panthers vs Falcons game and friends of the kids, Tom, Andi and boys, Shepherd and Charles came to watch the game.   We had lots of hors d’oeuvres and then chili and hamburger or turkey sliders.    And the Panthers won 34-3… the NC folks are happy, happy!
After the game, the guys sat around the roaring fire outdoors - hard to believe it's December 28th .
Grandma and her little girl

Davis and his new Lego set - 4,295 pieces for age 16+ (he is 12)!
We have no doubts that he will succeed with this project!

Saturday - December 27

Glad we got out of IL before the snow and sleet started coming down this afternoon!    I picked up some Grove Street Bakery pastries and took to Anne and Patrick's - enjoyed breakfast with the troops and said my good byes   (I HATE good-byes).   Mark was winterizing the house and always wants me out of there, so.....he was ready to go at 8:30, so I picked him up and we were off.    Had some rain off and on with temps in the 40's and saw best gas price at $1.89 - yeah!!!
We had a big lunch (actually late breakfast) in Shelbyville, IN, and arrived in Georgetown, KY around 3:30, checked into our hotel and drove 8 miles (between Georgetown and White Sulphur) to St. Francis de Sales (little brick church in the country) for 4:00 Mass.    Such a pretty drive thru rolling hills with lots of black fences for the horse farms and large beautiful homes set far apart from their neighbors.   Also, the barns were all painted black?   We googled that tonight and these tobacco drying barns are black because they absorb heat and make it hotter inside to dry out the tobacco.   As for the fences, black paint lasts longer and needs repainting every 5 years whereas, white chips and needs to be painted every 2 years!!!   So, there's your trivia for the day!
We weren't really hungry tonight and it was drizzling again, so we opted for the popcorn and warm chocolate chip cookies in the hotel lobby along with some wine we had with us!  
 Not bad for a Saturday night dinner!!!
We are 340 miles from Lake James and the NC grandchildren....

Friday - December 26

Another pretty balmy day - sunny and 53.     We exercised and finished the packing, cleaned out the fridge and Mark loaded the car.    Visited Donna Rae and Ed.....she gave us (Mark) a gift card to Tony Roma's for all the help with getting her new mini I-pad set up.    I got a manicure in the afternoon and later in the afternoon we used the gift card and had a great dinner at Tony Roma's.    THANKS Donna Rae....
So tomorrow we will be outta here heading to NC and 4 days with Michael, Brooke, the boys and  our little Princess at Lake James....can't wait.   We'll arrive on Sunday.
I've got my passy and working on a puzzle -  Life is Good

Christmas Day - 2014

Hope you've all had a great holiday as we celebrated Jesus' birth, gave thanks for our many blessings and enjoyed the warmth and love with our families.
We had a wonderful day with the sun shining all day long and 49 degrees!!!    The boys were up at 5 AM.....Grandpa and I went to their house at 11:30.   We opened presents, took pictures, snacked, played games and just had a jolly good time.     Very good ham dinner with all the yummy sides was enjoyed around 3:00.  After a big win by Connor at dominoes, we had dessert (candy cane or apple pie)!    Grandpa and I rolled out the door at 6:40.
Thanks so much for a very fun, memorable Christmas,
Anne, Patrick, Liam and Connor
Our Christmas Eve and Day hosts
Grandpa and Connor trying to get the new Lego project started (helicopter)
We did face time with Luke and his Mommy and Daddy and talked to Ryan, Michael and Great Grandma (Mark's Mom)  
Sweet Princess in her Christmas jammies

Luke hanging out on the patio ready to play bean bag toss
Delicious candy cane pie
Mark and I are so blessed and here are
two of our very special blessings!


Christmas Eve - 2014

Happy Christmas Eve to all...we've had a good day of packing away all the decorations, cleaning upstairs and I made a salad and other treats to take tonight and tomorrow to Anne's.
Not going to have a White Christmas - yesterday, the forecast was anywhere from a light dusting to up to 5".    But all went east of us, so....just a dreary day with a few sprinkles as we went to church.
There's just nothing quite like Christmas Eve Mass at Holy Trinity - we got there at 3:25 for 4:30 Mass - as usual, it was packed, the church was beautifully decorated with 12 trees lit up and many gorgeous red and white poinsettias   The choir was superb along with trumpets and other brass instruments.   WOW...... they sang and played from 3:30 on.
Mass lasted till 6:00 and then Connor came home with us to pick up food and presents.   We had chili and hors d'oeuvres, played dominoes (Patrick won) and just a very nice family gathering.
Our handsome grandsons with Mom and Dad

 ...and with Grandma and Grandpa

The beautiful tree
The boys are just a tad excited.... imagine they are in bed now with visions of sugarplums
dancing in their heads?

Tuesday - December 23

Another busy, but very productive day.    Connor slept in till 9:30 - way to go, Connor!     We got all kinds of Christmas décor and other clutter and "stuff" cleared away, laundry caught up and house looks good (at least the first level)   Grandpa and Liam ran several errands and Connor made more rollo treats and later, we had magic marshmallow crescents.
Lunch time brought on another round of dominoes won by Grandma.....we had a bit of downtime at 2:00 - just winding down and relaxing - Grandma and Grandpa even took a little snooze. 
 Played 2 more games of dominoes, both won by Grandpa, but Grandma had the best score overall in the 5 games we played.    Good time!  
Anne picked the boys up shortly after 5 - all is calm and quiet, but we sure enjoyed them and big thanks for all their hard work.
Chowin' down on pizza last night at Monical's
Serious domino time
Thinking of my Dad today and what would have been his 97th birthday.....his 3rd celebration in heaven!!!

Monday - December 22

Bah Humbug, Scrooge, etc., etc....that's probably what some would call me today as the boys and I (Grandpa helped, too) put away some of the Christmas decorations.    Trying to keep ahead of the game with all there's to do before we leave Saturday. who loves Christmas sooooo much taking things down on December 22nd????
We exercised this morning and then I had 8:20 eye check-up (all good).   Mark took the boys to McDonalds to meet the Monday morning group and then picked me up at 9:15 (eyes were dilated) and we had another 45 minutes to sit and chat with everyone.    We won't see these folks till next spring, except for Sue and Jerry in FL.
It has been raining all day - just a nasty Monday.    After breakfast Grandpa was our chauffeur and Liam and I dropped off some winter coats and toiletries at the St. Vincent de Paul Society.    Home to make waves with the Christmas décor and Grandpa ran a few more errands,    We took a break after lunch and played our 2nd round of dominoes with Liam, the winner.   
Good day to be indoors making rollo/pretzel/m and m treats and the boys and Grandpa played rummy.  
While we're in the rain, cold and gloom, here's Uncle Ryan and Luke basking in the warm
 Florida sunshine....
The Sunbirds
The boys chose Steak 'n Shake for supper, but we never got seated - 3 people were in front of us and we stood there and waited and man who was seated, got up and walked out and said "I've been waiting 20 minutes to be waited on" and out the door he went!    So, we left, too....went to Monicals (2nd choice) and enjoyed good pizza, salad and mac and cheese (Connor).
As the rain continued to come down, we drove around town (east side and west side) to look at Christmas lights - wow....some folks really go all out (BIG time gaudy), but fun to see it all.   Stopped at Meijers for a few groceries and on home for another round of dominoes won by
 Grandma - tah dah!!!!!    The stiff competition  continues...
Come on, Connor....your turn!

Saturday - Sunday, December 20-21

We were off Saturday morning at 8:30 for the big Christmas celebration with Mark's family.    Visited his Mom at her new home and got the grand tour - very nice facility.    Then we were off to the church hall for delicious lunch with several of the family, played games (dominoes, cards, etc.)   We all went to 4:30 Mass at St. Pat's and then enjoyed a bountiful feast and gift exchange.    Annette's parents joined us, too for a total of 82 (31 family members missing).   Great time was had by all with some big
We celebrated Adam's college graduation and wish him all the
best as he pursues a physician's assistant career.
Adam and family - Sarah, Darrell and Sharon (Mark's sister)
Two birthdays - Bridget is 30 and Michael is 4
Moms and their birthday children
Alison (niece) and Michael; Janet (Mark's sister) and Bridget
And the big news that Lisa and Joey have set their wedding date - October 10, 2015
Back to the hotel for lots of games and cards....
Sunday, after breakfast, Mark took me to his Mom's and he winterized her house which will go on the market March 1st.   Yesterday, several of the kids and grandkids came to pick up their treasures from Grandma's house.
Mark and his Mom
We said our good-byes to Mom and off to Mendota to visit Bob and Linda.    Then to the Elks to meet my cousin Dick and Mary and enjoy Bloody Mary's'   
My kind of Bloody Mary with all the fixin's.
Bob, Linda, Mary, Dick
 Good to catch up with all of them.    Bob, Linda, Mark and I went to the Chinese restaurant and enjoyed a great late lunch.    We had planned to stop and visit my cousin, Jim at the Lutheran Home, but they are under quarantine with several cases of the flu.    On home, unpacked and Anne brought Liam and Connor who are staying with us till Tuesday evening!   Got lots of projects for these little guys the next few days!
We started a domino tournament tonight - Grandpa won the first game!   Back at it tomorrow
As you wind down these last few hectic days, never forget the
"Reason for the Season" !    


Friday - December 19

The SUN was SHINING all day long - it was wonderful!!!!!    Thank you God!!!  
 Everyone was lovin' it!
I exercised and then off to Claire's in the country for a lovely tea, with mimosas, delicious pastries and fruit in front of their beautiful tree.   So fun to just sit and chat the morning away.    Then I was off to Brenda's for another spot 'o tea and see her new décor (paint and furniture) - beautiful and so different from what she had.

Home to make some salads for the weekend, finish packing and getting other things done around the house.     I visited Margie in the afternoon and took her some of the yummy ham and cheese buns   We had such a good visit.    Home for a bit and Mark and I went  to Mandarin Garden for delicious Chinese.   Home to do face time with Luke - happy little guy before bedtime.

Tomorrow we are going to Dixon for Mark's family Christmas - also cleaning out his Mom's house with the kids/grandkids taking furniture and furnishings.   Can't wait to see her new home!


Thursday - December 18

Had a nice morning with my friend, Anita - we have not seen one another in over a year and met at the Coffee Hound for hot drinks and delicious peppermint chocolate biscotti.   So enjoyed hearing what's all going on in her life.
This afternoon I met Anne at school for 2:15 Mass (pre-school thru 8th in the gym presided over by 4 priests).   Liam read 2 of the petitions.
Mark ran some errands this morning and afternoon!   Saw just a little sun today!

Marty came for dinner tonight - chili and ham/cheese buns (new recipe that is delish)!!!   Such a nice evening just sitting and yakkin' away, reminiscing, etc.    He is the best neighbor and friend!!! week from tonight, Christmas will almost be over....

Nighty night....

Wednesday - December 17

We were promised some sun today....didn't happen!     Did have a few snow flurries!    Exercised this morning and got the pictures pretty much organized and have bags for my brothers and some for our kids!    Got a few groceries, had lunch with Exchange and said good-bye to these great friends till next spring!    We'll see a few of them in Florida.
Dotty, our realtor came thus afternoon to talk about the house going back on the market March 1st.   
Cleaned out the ole junk drawer and my utensil drawer this afternoon - jobs I keep putting off and now, so glad to be done!
Tonight we went to Liam and Connor's Christmas program - grades K-5.    Their Dad did all the sound and lights - awesome!!!    Very enjoyable!
Our handsome dudes did a great job tonight!
And a few pics of all the lights (also had stars on the ceiling)


Tuesday - December 16

Anne took the boys to school and came to pick me up and we were off on a "Mother/Daughter" shopping venture    It was raining and nasty, but in the 40's......first stop was Starbucks and then we hit the shops and covered a lot of tracks!    The temps started dropping and wind picked up, but we just kept on - lots of fun!
We had lunch at A. Renee and then on home.
After a busy morning of shopping....nothing like a great glass of wine and lunch!
Took Mark to the eye doctor for yearly check-up, got some groceries, picked him up (dilated eyes) and home we went to stay put all thru the night!

Monday - December 15

Up and exercising this rainy, gloomy Monday and then off to breakfast with neighbors and friends.    Mark brought me home and he went onto Donna Rae's to help set up her mini I-pad (early Christmas gift from her family).    He was there almost 5 hours, so.... hoping she will enjoy
and figure it all out.   
I worked on Christmas cards and other computer stuff, made lists, did laundry, sipped on some hot tea, enjoyed the Christmas music and watched the rain come down.
But the morning was made brighter by getting these pics of our sweet Luke and Blair which their Mommies sent via text...
First up.....
The Princess in her tartan plaid and pigtails ready to tackle breakfast

And the little man out and about on a sunny FL morning at the playground
And on Saturday... 
On the slide with Daddy

Enjoyed a nice visit from long-time friend (and fellow boater), Carolyn who came to town with her 95-year old Mother.    Carolyn's husband, John passed away this fall....
Sooo good to see these dear ladies!

Good night for Mark and I to hunker down with a glass of wine and I "reluctantly" got back at looking at and sorting thru old pictures which I keep putting off (these were my parents and so many are unmarked).    But I'm almost finished, so bound and determined to get this task done in the next day or so!


Sunday - December 14

Our day was off and running as we went to Liam's hockey game at 8:10 - what a very exciting game with Jury's Out (Liam's team) winning 9-8 AND Liam scoring 6 goals!!!    Very fun!!!
Mark and I picked up a few groceries and then we all went to 10:00 Mass.   Home to work on the cards and prepare dinner for tonight.    Anne and family came at 4 and after a game of 6-handed euchre (with Grandpa and the boys creaming Anne, Patrick and myself 15-0), Anne opened her presents.   My awful card luck continues!   
The gifts are waiting

The hockey "star" helps Mommy untangle the bow
 Had birthday dinner and assorted mini desserts - boys were extremely lively tonight!   
  Must be the season???
Had a long chat with my buddy, Kathy in Texas this afternoon!   
 So good to hear her voice and catch up!
Have a great week!

Saturday - December 13

Today was party day!    Started the day EARLY getting up at 6 AM for Liam and Connor to be off to Connor's hockey game.    Patrick picked them up at 6:30 - no problem getting up (they love their hockey)!     I exercised, Brenda picked me up at 9:20 and we (along with Sue and Tamara ) were off to Connie's beautiful home in the country for our Monday Night Friends Christmas brunch and gift exchange.    Connie's home is so lovely and gorgeous at Christmastime - food  and mimosas were outstanding, along with lots of chatter.   We revealed our Secret Pals and so enjoyed all the gifts and our LONG-time friendships.
Monday Night Friends
Back:  Marsha, Jody, Pat, Ruth, Sue, Brenda, Linda
Front:   Connie, Tamara, Nadine, Donna
Tamara gave me a spectacular handmade quilt that she made with very fun, colorful fabrics in a sailboat design along with hand quilting of flip flops, fish, seashells, etc.    WOW.....what talent!  
My beautifully wrapped package

Tamara and I had each other as Secret Pals this past year!
Friends since 1972

Our Grand Kitty, Ted out in NC apparently got caught in the Christmas tree this afternoon and couldn't get out!!!   Michael said he turned on the lights, Ted bit into the cord and WHOOAAAA....somehow got untangled and went flying out of the tree!   Now that would've been something to see!   Ha!!!

Enjoying all the Christmas cards, pictures and letters (last year we had quite a few less than usual and slower coming in this year - that darn .49 postage is a big culprit!)    Yesterday we got a unique
piece of paper (certificate) in a card from long-time boating friends.   We were on the same dock in Racine with Roger and Sandee for many years and they moved to Oceanside, CA probably 7-8 years ago.    The certificate stated that Roger was laid to rest at sea on July 14, 2014 with his ashes scattered over the waters of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California - it was quite something, giving the latitude and longitude, name of the ship, etc. 

Exciting family news:   Our niece, Lisa is engaged to Joey!    Yeah......Lisa is Mark's sister Joan and Joe's daughter!   

Tonight we went to Gerry and Linda's home for our annual Mid Illini party (boating friends)    So fun go be with these friends and enjoy a huge array of appetizers and desserts, plus wine and wassail.

Friday - December 12

Forty-four years ago today, Mark and I became the proud parents of Michael and Anne.......still so proud of them today and the fine adults they've become - happily married, great parents, successful in their careers, hard workers and volunteers
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our twins!
Love you bunches, oodles and gobs!
This afternoon I visited "Aunt" Ginny....

Tomorrow (12/13) , she will celebrate her 102nd birthday!
She was sitting by the window opening some of her many cards and enjoying her pretty roses
She is such a lovely lady and what an inspiration to all...
Also visited Ed and Donna Rae - Ed is now in the nursing home.    He slept most of the time and then went for therapy, but Donna Rae and I sure enjoyed our visit.
Picked the boys up from school, made pretzel treats and then to Firehouse Pizza for supper.  Home to  play euchre - trying to teach these two...Connor and Grandpa were partners and won!    Then Liam and Grandpa played and won!    Hmmmm....Grandma got terrible cards and was the big looooooser!
Nighty night - enjoy your weekend!    But before you leave this page, check out our little budding basketball star...
Let's see some moves, Luke...

Thursday - December 11

Exercised this Thursday morning first thing and then started in with sorting thru the remainder of my Christmas treasures (still have a lot) - things I will keep and others that will go bye bye to some lucky soul - ha!!!     Still have more to box up, but did make some good waves.   
Met Claire and Margie for lunch at Biaggi's - always a good time to catch up, enjoy a delicious lunch and share these special friendships!     Worked on Christmas cards in the afternoon with a cup of hot tea, the Christmas tunes playing, candle burning, etc.    Mark stayed put in his recliner drinking lots of water, taking his meds, etc.   
Tonight was the Exchange Club Christmas dinner at the Ozark House - fun being with these friends enjoying a wonderful meal and celebrating the holidays....
Love this "Throw Back Thursday" photo Patrick had on Facebook today...
Sweet little guys probably 6 years ago?

Miss Blair looks ready for a shopping jaunt - she's got her purse and probably just 
waiting for Grandma!


Wednesday - December 10

Another dreary, sunless day....but not going to talk about the weather!    It was a good day in several respects:
Anne stopped in this morning after taking the boys to school and once again, she treated her Mama to a Starbucks peppermint mocha (she's the best)!    I should add that these are "skinny" peppermint mochas!!!   Makes a difference ya know!   We sat and chatted around the kitchen table discussing our lists, our planned shopping trip/lunch date next Tuesday and on and on.     
Pretty Girl in her Christmassy Red
Mark and I ran a few errands and then off to Best Buy and I got a new laptop (Toshiba). 
Thank you Santa!!!  
I had lunch with Exchange and we had a very interesting speaker - Dr. Kathy Davis, our new county coroner.    Wow....very impressed with her credentials (she is a DNP - Doctor of Nursing Practice or Nurse Practitioner) and she has taught at both our colleges in their nursing programs.   Enjoyed hearing all about her career.
Mark is feeling better, but the cough is just wretched, so he decided to go back to his doctor's office and got in with a partner to check on the cough.    Lungs are clear, and just going to take a while!    So nice to have the peace of mind that it hasn't settled in and could've been pneumonia,
 bronchitis etc. 
I picked Liam and Connor up from school.    Anne is working till 6 and Patrick till 10.  

After Anne and the boys left, Tao (sister of Lisa, who does my nails) came by to look at the Christmas treasures and bought several things.   Tao loves to decorate (she bought many Halloween things at our garage sale).

Tonight was Brady's school Christmas program.....his Grand Bob was there and sent us the video of Brady singing a solo of Ave Maria!   Wow.....brought tears to his Grandma's eyes!    Beautiful!
Thanks again, Grand Bob!

Our Lake Worth family
Philip, Luke, Annette


Tuesday - December 9

Today was a very fun day.....after I got the exercising out of the way and Mark got a haircut, Bob and Linda came.   We girls took off for the shops and covered a lot of tracks!    The guys met us for lunch at Medici (delicious) and they (guys) went on home.   Linda and I hit a few more shops, rested at Garlic Press with our drinks and after Fresh Market, came on home.     They left around 4:30 and I collapsed in my chair!!! a few more gifts off the list and A L M O S T there!!! 

My shopping buddy and brother Bob

Monday - December 8

Mark has been laying low all day long and a good day to do just that with all the rain, drizzle, cold, etc.  He's feeling better tonight!
 I went to 8:00 Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and then met the neighbors for breakfast.  Came home, did some laundry and after lunch, went back out ran a few errands, got a manicure and picked up some groceries.   I picked Liam and Connor up after school as Anne was at the dentist.   Patrick had his colonoscopy today and all went well.  
Good night to stay in and catch up on computer work, start the Christmas cards and on and on it goes!!   Hope you're on top of all the holiday hoopla?

Sunday - December 7

Started the day with 8:00 Mass and then I was off to Ann's for carpooling and meeting 3 more Sublettians (Jane, Marilyn and Debbi) in ElPaso.    We left at 10:30 for the Senica Oak Ridge Golf Course and our annual Sublettian Christmas luncheon.   It was so much fun as always, although only 11 of us this year.
From the top:
Mary, Ann, Marilyn, Debbi, Jane, Sally, Eileen, Pat, Carole, Judy, Anita
Everyone was dressed so festive, food was very good and of course, all the laughter amongst these long-time friends made for a special day!    We each brought baby clothing, diapers, etc. to donate to little babies and Moms at 3 separate facilities in Bloomington, Mendota, and Peoria.
Just one of the many darling outfits displayed by Jane and Judy 
Enjoyed our white elephant gift exchange - always fun to see what these gals are recycling!
Mary loves her pretty new scarf (made by Judy) which matched her shirt perfectly as Ann looks on...
Mark had a low-key day taking a long nap this afternoon and "trying" to get over this latest go-round of sinus/cough issues.
Remembering Pearl Harbor - 73 years ago today