Wednesday-New Years' Eve - December 30-31

Wow....the last day of 2015!    Where-oh-there did this year go!
We've been having a nice relaxing time in NC - more rain yesterday but fun indoors playing lots of euchre with Bob and Judy (Brooke's parents).   We played 4 handed with Drew and then the adults played 3 games of 6-handed and Michael, Bob and I got shellacked by Judy, Brooke and Mark.  
Big thanks to Judy for bringing delicious appetizer and then navy bean soup and cornbread!
The boys enjoying their "electronic toys" under their warm comfy fleece blankets!
This morning, Mark and I left at 7:30 for Asheville and had a great visit with Patty and Paul.    Patty and Mark had worked together and she recently retired and they moved to Asheville this fall.    They have a lovely home in the mountains.   We had a delicious breakfast and super fun visit catching up!   They are 1 hour from Lake James.   Mark and I went to Biltmore Village for a short time, but traffic was unreal +++ they were power washing and/or shoveling off mud on the sidewalks and in parking lots - sooo much rain!
Patty and Paul
This afternoon we finished organizing Daisy,, put bikes back on Toad and we'll be ready to roll out of here tomorrow morning ( anxious as we are to get settled in FL, always hate good-byes).   
Tom and Andi (friends of Michael and Brooke) and their boys, Shepherd and Charles came for dinner - they actually brought some of the dinner including delicious smoked pork (in the cooker 14 hours), cornbread, etc.    After dinner, everyone, except Blair, Grandma and Grandpa went to a big party for adults and kids!
Dessert tonight
Tonight's sunset - our last for awhile... 
Grandpa and our Sweet Pea before going night night

Sweet cuddles with Grandma


Monday-Tuesday, December 28-29

Hello from Lake James.....arrived here late Monday afternoon.   Drove thru a bunch of rain but thankful we left Sunday after hearing all the tales of bad ice storm at home.   This Christmas week weather has wrecked havoc all around the country!    Prayers for all the victims and their families.    I mentioned on Sunday about all the water (lakes) we saw as we traveled thru southern IL from major flooding.   Yesterday we heard that a family of 5 died when their car was swept away near
Marion, IL.    
The boys and Blair showed off their new Christmas gifts and we played doctor, beauty shop, and many other new toys - sooo much neat stuff out there these days!   Enjoyed some delicious steak nachos for dinner.
Tearing into presents with Grandpa
This morning Mark drove to Newton to get Daisy and bring her to the lake.   We'll spend some time getting Toad unloaded, Daisy organized and ready for trip to FL (taking gifts, and other stuff to Luke and family).   But till then, going to settle in and enjoy our NC kiddies!
In fact, this morning Grandma crawled into the princess castle (tent) and played with the Velcro vegetables (another cute gift).   Not sure how many times Grandma will be going in and out of the castle, but once inside, we had so much fun!    Worst part is getting out and back on my feet!   Ha....not exactly designed for grandmas and grandpas!!!
The Castle
The stockings

All of us except Grandpa went to Camp Lake James for lunch, the boys played soccer and Michael and friends wen for a boat ride - December 29h!!!   Got a bunch of stuff unloaded from Toad and Daisy - still a ways to go to get organized but there's always tomorrow.
Michael and Brooke went to "happy hour" with friends and Grandpa and I held down the fort!
The 2016 Blue Angel pilots
Jeff, (6) Ryan, (5) Andy, (4) Lance, (3) Matt, (2) Ryan (1 - Boss)      
Sunset at Lake James
Blair and Brady watching Peppa Pig

Sunday - December 27

Whew.....we've seen a ton of lakes today as we traveled south....actually BIG bodies of water completely covering fields overflowing creeks and rivers in southern IL.   Unbelievable after they got 5" of rain in past 24 hours.   Been raining most of the day, but traffic has not been too bad.   Thinking we would have heavy traffic this holiday weekend, the 1st real sign of that was when we stopped at a Loves truck stop and there was a long line for the women's restroom!      
We went to 9:00 Mass at St. Mary's, quick stop at Starbucks for breakfast (love my new app on phone to pay for my treats just like I see so many other customers use)!    We loaded up more stuff,  took few more things to storage, got the bikes attached to Toad and left around 11:15.
I drove almost 2 hours and we stopped in Paducah, KY around 5 - neither of us like driving in the dark, plus with all the rain and gloomy weather, we were ready!
We've eaten some awesome meals in Paducah - love this city; however, our favorites were not open this Sunday night; so thru Trip Advisor and the hotel clerk's recommendation, we went to
Flamingo Row....funky place with neat décor and very good food!
The tree was WOW! 
Many flamingoes
Pretty tropical decor
Good to be back in our room and out of the rain and wind!    Lots of weird, scary weather coming
tomorrow compliments of "Goliath"!
Be safe....and have a good last week of December!

Saturday - December 26

Rainy, windy Saturday...we were off to walk at the mall.   It wasn't too busy when we first got there (8:15), but the shoppers were coming and getting busier when we left to make their exchanges and returns, spend their cash and gift cards!   
Really enjoying our new I-phones (6s).   Mark got everything downloaded and transferred from old phones and we are in business - love them and our new covers we bought today.
Today was all about packing up our stuff here in the suite - made 2 trips to storage and getting Toad loaded up for things we need in FL and other things to be left behind.   We'll load up the bikes tomorrow and after church, be on our way.    Had planned to leave Monday morning (going to NC - Lake James to see the kids/kiddies for a few days and pick up Daisy) - then leaving for Florida January 1, 2016.    Change in plans as the weather is calling for ice pellets and nasty weather on Monday, so....time to get outta here!
Cleaned out the fridge for lunch and supper - Mark is savoring the mincemeat pie Anne made for him  yesterday - a real treat for him and happy memories when his Mom always made this.
So, this is our last night at Eastland Suites - we have really enjoyed our stay here -
perfect location, very nice accommodations and excellent, friendly staff!

Christmas - 2015

We had an absolutely wonderful Christmas Eve and Day at Anne, Patrick, Liam and Connor's home!   4:30 Mass at Holy Trinity was jam packed but what a beautiful celebration with the stunning decorations, fantastic musicians and inspiring liturgy.
Enjoyed yummy appetizers afterwards, watched "Elf" and then got the boys off to dreamland.
Santa and reindeer getting mid-air refueling from Blue Angel jet!
Christmas Day was beautiful - temps in the upper 40's with all sunshine!    Boys were up by 6:30ish and then wearing our jammies and robes, and enjoying mugs of coffee, tea and hot chocolate, we gathered around the beautiful tree and the dismantling, mayhem and fun began!!!
Before the unwrapping...
Connor in full goalie gear
Liam in his Notre Dame apparel and funky socks
After the gifts were open, we had a delicious breakfast followed by the boys playing with their gifts....."what shall I play with first"????
We adults played several games of euchre, snacked in the afternoon and then a big ham dinner with all the trimmings.    After dinner we did face time with all the kiddos in NC and FL.  
Said our good byes and big thanks for a great Christmas 2015. 
Some final pics before we left
 Hope you all had a very happy day and Santa treated you well!
The Princess in her darling Christmas outfit admiring her new Nativity set with that perplexing look?
Luke and Daddy out cruising on Uncle Ryan's boat
Happy Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!

Christmas Eve - 2015

TAH DAH.....Bells were ringing and lots of clapping and shouting (the usual routine when someone finally finishes weeks/months of therapy)    That was the case for me this morning after my 7 AM final session with Lee.   4.5 months worth!
I will continue taking the Gabapentin and do therapy once a day at home.   Not sure for how long, but the neck will let me know whether I need to do it or things are good without!
I will really miss Lee, Donna, Jim and their assistants, Nick and Derek - what a GREAT bunch!!!
Met Mark at 8:15 in the dining room for breakfast and then we walked at the mall.   Lots of men doing their last-minute shopping, along with dads and their kids.
We ran a few errands and then to storage to pick up all the presents for tomorrow.   Delivered to Anne's and the boys eagerly and very excitedly put under the tree checking each and every tag!!!
We are meeting the Campbell's at 4:30 Mass and then will have hors d'oeuvres and spend the night at their house.   Tomorrow, we'll celebrate Jesus' birthday and looking forward to a fun family day!
Wishing you all a very

Wednesday - December 23

Happy Birthday to my Dad who would have been 98 today!   I'm sure he is celebrating his
4th "Heavenly" birthday!    
Very stormy day here with fog earlier when I left to walk at the mall and then the thunder, lightning, winds and heavy rain came!    Really nasty!  
I visited Donna Rae and Ed....took her a Peppermint Mocha and so enjoyed our time together.    She gave me all the scoop on her granddaughter, Lauren's wedding this past Saturday!
Beautiful Christmas celebration!
Teary-eyed hugs and good-byes as I won't see her till next spring.
Mark walked at the mall and got a  haircut.   His barber, Brandon has graciously offered for us to keep the truck in his new storage shed over the winter.    So, left the truck with him and I picked Mark up and we stopped at Fresh Market, lunch at Mandarin Garden (needed 1 more fix on our yummy favorite Chinese place) and then a stop at Binny's to stock up on wine.
I have been enjoying chatting with Patti (receptionist at therapy) about her new triplet grandchildren (2 boys and 1 girl) born December 10th and all doing well.    When the babies were born at Edwards Hospital in Naperville, there were SEVEN sets of twins in the nursery!  
Yikes...what was going on 9 months ago?   Ha....
Good afternoon/evening to hunker down and stay indoors.  
 Just a miserable day.....quiet here without the boys.  
 Such strange weather around the country with golf courses thriving and ski resorts closing.   As they said a few days ago, ZERO chance of  a White Christmas for us!    There's even a tornado watch out for areas near us today.   And then at 3:00, the sun came out! 
Philip, Annette and Luke traveled to Pensacola today and will spend Christmas with Ryan on "Terraphobic".
So sad to hear the news today that a Sublettian friend, Carole lost her daughter, Sherry (51) to brain cancer this morning (same glioblastoma that my cousin, Clarine had and another cousin, Karen has battled for almost 3 years).   
The house just up the road from Kamp Komfort was destroyed by fire this afternoon - how tragic for the family especially at Christmas time  
Heard today (via Michael) that Ryan and the Blues are doing a flyover for the Super Bowl on February 7th in Santa Clara, CA.   And the team will be staying for the game!!!
I did 2 loads of laundry late this afternoon and Mark went to AT and T and bought our Christmas gifts to each 6S I-phones!    Boy-oh-boy....these should be FUN!
He came back and there was still some drying time left, so....we went to Happy Hour upstairs (last time - did a total of 3 this month).   They had all kinds of pretty decorated cookies, eggnog and other yummy treats + the full bar.
Can't believe all the tornadoes in Mississippi - December 23rd!!!  
So very sad to hear about the loss of life (4 at this point) and so much devastation.
The winds are howling tonight but weather has cleared here from any of the bad stuff.
I won 2 out of 3 games of 2-handed euchre against Mark.... rarity!

Tuesday - December 22

Cold, windy and no sun today - NOT what was predicted (sunshine and upper 40's)!  
 Oh well
...we had a fun  day with the boys and kept them busy!
Started off with me having an 8 AM eye appointment (cataracts are developing slowly, so maybe another 5 years till I need to have them taken care of)!   The guys picked me up as eyes were heavily dilated.    We did some things on the home front, including lots of 2-handed euchre with Connor.    We all went to Garcia's for pizza and then back home to enjoy the fire, Christmas music, more euchre, etc.
Late this afternoon when the boys were getting antsy (and bouncing off the walls), we all went to the mall - meandered thru the crowds, went into a few stores and just enjoyed some time away.   Patrick was there doing some last-minute shopping, too.
3 men on a mission
Best buds
We had a "clean out the fridge" night for supper and then went to Reconciliation Service at Holy Trinity.   Met Anne and Patrick there and then they took their little darlins' home!
Twice recently I have been out and about and ready to go home and took the route to Jackson Street.....Mark did the same tonight!    Well, after 40+ years, it seems strange to not go those very familiar routes.

Monday - December 21

Rainy day with occasional downpours!   Mark left early for eye check-up.   The boys and I went to McDonalds for breakfast with the Monday morning bunch + 2 of Pat and Brenda's granddaughters.    Said our good byes to these dear friends (we'll see some in FL and others, not till next spring)!
I brought the boys back home after Mark was finished with his appt (all is good) and then I met Claire for lunch and last hurrah till we meet in February in Florida.    We had a great lunch as always at Baiggi's complete with wine and shared their decadent chocolate cake with cappuccino gelato!
Pat and Claire
From there I went to therapy with Donna and finally a 3:00 haircut.    Mark and the boys in for most of the afternoon, but did venture to Culver's for lunch and then the mall for some shopping.
We all played euchre and blitz and did face time with Luke.    That was fun as always!
Around 5:30 we were off to check out Christmas lights around town (wow....some really awesome displays - some tuned to radio stations).    We had supper at Chick-Filet which opened this fall and Mark and my first trip there.    2x a different guy came around asking if everything was ok, did we need any more drinks,, etc., etc.!!!   WOW....nice!
Picture from Saturday lunch at the Uptown Grill in LaSalle
Mark, Linda, Mary, Dick, Bob, Gary, Pat

The boys just hanging out with their electronics!

MAYBE....tomorrow, I can get some real pics of these two???

Saturday-Sunday, December 19-20

Hope you all had a good weekend as we wind down the last few days till Christmas?   We were on the go all weekend long.    After breakfast on a gorgeous Saturday morning, we were off to LaSalle and met brother Bob and Linda, cousin Dick and Mary and cousin Gary at the beautiful newly remodeled Uptown Grill.   Lunch was wonderful.    Then we all drove to St. Bede Academy in Peru for the Mass and memorial service for Clarine, my cousin who died of brain cancer on
November 24th.  
Clarine's husband Bert was there from Roanoke, VA (their home), along with her siblings, Steve and Geri and other family members and friends.    After Mass and all the eulogies, we watched a video of Clarine she had done after her cancer diagnosis and another one of her modeling at a cancer benefit and doing the hula hoop as she walked around the stage.    Clarine was a big hula hoop fan since her high school days and she was GOOD!
Mark and I had to leave early (just as they were doing a Chardonnay toast) and drive to Dixon in time for 4:30 Mass with all the Chamberlains.    The usual big celebration with so much awesome food, opening of gifts, visiting (Annette's parents came) and just a great family affair.    Later we went back to the party room at the Comfort Inn for lots of cards, games and more chatter.
 3 darling great nieces:
Sophie, Maddie, Brooklyn
Sunday was very windy and partly sunny.    Our niece, Cory is expecting her first baby (boy) in March.    Her sister, Katy had a baby shower for her at the hotel and what fun with a delicious brunch, darling baby gifts and so fun oohing and aahing!
Part of the sweet baby decor

Cory oohing and aahing

"Mom" with her girls....
Back...Janet, Beth, Karen, Marilyn, Nancy, Doris, "Cory" and Sue (new Grandma-to-Be)
Front:  Pat, Mom, Theresa
After the shower, Mark and I stopped in to see Karen's home (where his Mom used to live before going into assisted living).   Good visit with Auntie and then on our way...
Stopped in Mendota to see Aunt Marian...just briefly visited with her yesterday at the memorial service, so good to see her for a little longer visit.    Then to see my cousin, Jim at the Lutheran Home but he was at a chapel service, so didn't get to see him....did leave some Reese's candy bars (his favorite).
Picked up Liam and Connor around 4....they are staying with us till Tuesday afternoon.   I did some laundry, they ordered pizza/salad from Monical's and just hunkered down in our suite this still very windy night. 


Friday - December 18

Fun, busy day running around in the brutal cold - sunny, but very windy!    burrrr.....but the cold stuff is not going to last long an the hopes of a White Christmas are not too good at the moment!
I met Claire at 8:00 Mass and then we went to the Coffee Hound for cranberry/orange scones, coffees and lots of chatter!    we each had our list to things we wanted to mention to each other (minds aren't what they used to be - ha)!    I went home for a bit, changed into my tennis and walked at the mall (5 rounds = 3 miles).    Lots of going around and in-between all the shoppers.    Mark walked earlier this morning.    I had therapy at 12:45 and finished up at 2.   Then off to visit Rose who had very serious back surgery (laminectomy) on 12/1.   She is recuperating, but a ways to go.   Really enjoyed visiting with she and Larry (BIG Blue Angel fans, too)!
Home at 3:30 and glad to be in our of the cold and wind.    Anne stopped by with gifts for the Chamberlain Christmas this weekend.
Nice quiet evening just catching up on e-mails, wrapping 2 more gifts, reading, etc.
   We are leaving in the morning for a family weekend (Mass and memorial for my cousin, Clarine who passed away a few weeks ago, Chamberlain Christmas, niece's baby shower, etc.)   
 Back to the blogging on Sunday!
Wishing you all a great weekend! 

Thursday - December 17

Cold, windy day with no sun!    I walked at the mall and then visited Brenda - she sent home some yummy cranberry muffins (I took her some red velvet pound cake from Fresh Market)!    Mark walked later after exercising - amazing how many folks we've seen out at the mall from long ago (sometimes it takes a while for their names to come to us).
 Ahhhhhhh, senior moments are coming too frequently!  
Two very special ladies who have worked at Kohl's forever are back working for the holidays.....Shirley and Dorothy are in their 80's and both man the cash registers.   They are just the sweetest ladies and always a treat to see them year after year!
I picked Mark up and we went to CJ's for lunch and met John and Linda (neighbors from many years ago).   We had not seen them in such a long time, so really fun to catch up on our families, travels, etc.     And we made a promise to get together again when we're back in town.   They also have an RV and said they would come out to Kamp Komfort and hang out with us!    Sounds like a fun plan! Linda sent home a wonderful tin of assorted homemade Christmas cookies.   What dear friends, along with the great selection, Linda (sister-in-law) brought us last week.   Our sweet "tooths" are happy!!!
Back home for a bit and off to Fresh Market (me) while Mark took my car thru the car wash and finally got home at 3:15 and ready to hibernate with a toasty fire going, cinnamon candle burning and of course, the Christmas tunes playing!

Wednesday - December 16

Rainy morning as Mark and I went out the door together before 7 - he was off to have breakfast with Henry, long time friend from work and I walked at the mall.    That is the best time to walk....Christmas lights are on, but otherwise limited lighting with Christmas tunes playing, the yummy smells coming from Mrs. Fields cookies and the walkers well spaced out thruout the mall.
I was surprised that Bergner's opens at 7.....Kohls, too, but they seem to be open 24/7 these days!
After breakfast at Carmela's and good visit with Henry, Mark went to the mall for his walk.   I stopped at Starbucks (my breakfast - a cinnamon dolce latte) and then off to therapy.    Lee took more measurements and did evaluation to send to Dr Naour for this afternoon's appt.    Picked Mark up and we were off to Mackinaw and the Garden Gate Tea Room and beautiful, wonderful shopping, especially with all the Christmas décor - it is quite the place.    Allie, Owen, Jane and Joe all came from Peoria and we had a wonderful lunch in the tea room (the guys were the only men there - jammed packed with the ladies), but they loved their meals, too.   As always, enjoyed lots of chatter and after our hugs and Merry Christmas wishes, we all parted ways with plans to meet in
Florida in February.   
My delicious lunch (and Allie)
Here we are....Allie and Owen, Pat and Mark, Jane and Joe
After we got back into town, we had several stops (very windy, but sunny) and then home.   One of our stops was to deliver baby clothes and $ donations to Birthright from the Sublettians.    They were extremely grateful and it was such a warm, fuzzy feeling we could do our little part in bringing joy and comfort to several Moms and babies

 I had appt. with Dr. Naour at 4:00 and he is very pleased with how I'm doing on the Gabapentin.    He suggests I keep doing the therapy at home and can eventually get off the Gabapentin gradually.    I'm scheduled for 5 more sessions of therapy, but will probably just do 3 since we are heading to FL and Lee said it wouldn't really make any difference at this point.    My main area of discomfort/pain is when I turn my neck from side to side (at stop signs), but that has improved, too.   So...happy with this report and if I feel the need for more professional therapy in FL, he will take care of writing up the orders.
Got home at 4:40, just sat for a bit till we were off for Connor's Christmas Choral concert at St. Pat's Church.   It was K-4th grades and put on a good variety of Christmas music.

Connor singing "Silver Bells" with his 4th grade classmates

Tuesday - December 15

My can it be December 15th already....10 days and counting!!!
Hope your days are merry and bright and you're on target to have all the shopping, baking, cards, partying, etc., etc...wrapped up in the next week or so!   Coming down the home stretch for the REAL
  REASON for the SEASON!!!
We had a good productive day starting with our walk at the mall.    Ran some errands together and had a nice lunch at A. Renee (one of my favorite spots and Mark's 1st time)!  
It was very dreary all day and chilly!    Colder weather is coming after several balmy days.
I do miss our house this time of year and all my Christmas décor.....the new folks have some outside holiday cheer and hope they are enjoying it as much as we did!
Pretty much got the cards done today and some wrapping, reading and checking our lists and making new ones!  
We hunkered down tonight and enjoyed being home - had our leftovers from last night at Medici including some awesome appetizers (their specialty) - sweet potato tater tots with 3 special sauces!    And also enjoying yummy homemade caramels that Barb gave us last night!

Monday - December 14

Strange weather today - very windy and rain off and on.    Sun would come out; then skies would get very dark and the rain would come; sun; dark skies; rain and on it went!
We went to breakfast with the Monday morning bunch.   I left for 10:15 therapy with Lee and Mark walked at the mall.    I did some Christmas cards and then walked - too many people!
Luke and Mommy went to a Grinchmas party today!
We had dinner at Medici tonight in beautiful Uptown Normal with Roger and Barb.    Always fun to be together and catch up before we all leave for FL for the winter!
Barb and Roger
Nighty night

Sunday - December 13

Very wet day....icky poo!    So, Mark went to the dining room for breakfast and then walked at the mall.    I left to pick up Ann and we were off to El Paso to meet Jane, Marilyn and Debbie.   Marilyn drove her "sleigh" and away we all went to the Senica Oak Ridge Country Club for our Sublettian Christmas brunch.   Here it is December fire in the fireplace today as it was another balmy 60 degrees.  We were 28 strong with 7 guys joining us!    What a fun afternoon at this beautiful place ....good food, wine, Bloody Mary's, and friends from waaaay back!  We brought baby clothes, gifts and $ to donate  to women's health clinics in Bloomington, Peoria and Mendota.    Nice to share these adorable outfits with so many in need.    We then had our white elephant exchange and as always, lots of fun with not one single stolen gift this year!
The Sublettians
Very heavy rain all the way home......thankful this isn't SNOW!
We went to Anne and Patrick's to celebrate Anne's birthday....she fixed the dinner - sweet 'n sour meatloaf, baked potatoes, corn, fruit salad and rolls.   All delish!!!
And then  presents and cake....
Mommy and her boys
Singing "Happy Birthday"

Red velvet cake with peppermint ice cream

Saturday - December 12

Happy Happy Birthday to Michael and Anne 
45 years young!!!
Very foggy this morning....we went to the dining room for breakfast and then waited a bit for the fog to lift.    We left around 9ish for Dixon and a visit with Mark's Mom....had some very dense fog along the way and then finally cleared south of Mendota!    Good lunch at the Galena Steak House and visit - also Karen (youngest sister) stopped by.   
Mom and Auntie Karen

 Mom...Grandma...Great Grandma
Chatted with the birthday folks and back home in time for 4:30 Mass.    More fog on the return trip....HATE fog but the temp got to 66 here.

Tonight we went to the Mid Illini Christmas party (boating friends) at Gerry and Linda's home.    Lots of good food and drinks and always fun to be with this group!    They had prizes for the best Christmas sweater, tie and socks.   Mark won for the best sox and got a bar of dark chocolate!    This is 2nd year running that he has won the prize for his sox (different pair than last year).

 Give me some sugar!

Friday - December 11

Balmy day and great to be out and about.   I had therapy with Donna at 8:15 (amazing the different techniques each therapist uses).    The neck is definitely feeling better....just going to take time and patience!

Patti is the main receptionist at my therapy she was in Chicago for the birth of her triplet grandchildren (2 boys and 1 girl) born to her daughter and husband!   
Mark and I went to the storage unit to drop some things off.   He went onto the mall to walk and I picked up Donna Rae   She had her list and off we went to several shops for Christmas shopping and errands.    Had an excellent lunch at Destihl and took her home at 2:30.    Mark texted that he was at Barnes and Noble as the cleaning crew was at our place.    I met him there and then back home.   He picked Liam and Connor up from school.   I did 2 loads of laundry and Anne picked the boys up at 5.    Liam is still barking like a seal, but feels good, so...hope he's on the mend!
My dear friend, Donna Rae
83 years young and what a trooper!
Home tonight and got a bunch of stuff done (computer, wrapping a few gifts, etc.)
Have a great weekend!

Thursday - December 10

We have a barking seal at our place.....Liam has the croup!   Been to the doctor and on meds.   Hopefully he can go to school tomorrow as he's not had a fever.    The boys were to stay with us overnight as Anne had to work till 7 and Patrick is playing at a Christmas party.   Liam seems fine otherwise, but really clunked out early tonight (we have a hide-a-bed in our living room) at 6:40.
Very windy and chilly today although temps were in the 50's....blustery out there!   We ate breakfast in the dining room and then walked at the mall.   Got a bunch of stuff done (wrapped a few more gifts, worked on cards, and other piddly things).   
Met Jim and Nancy at Biaggi's for delicious lunch.    We have known them for many years and Mark and Jim used to work together (Jim has been retired 16 years).     So much fun catching up on our families (they have 7 great grandchildren with 3 new babies, including boy/girl twins coming next year), mutual friends, etc. 

 Nancy and Jim 
  Picked Liam up at home; Mark picked Connor up from school and the boys got their homework done.
Mark and Connor walked across the street to bring back KFC for supper (I had my leftovers from last night....wonder if Baxter's missed me tonight?    HA!)
Boys are settled in under the covers with the fire going, and soft music playing....sweet dreams and hopefully an uninterrupted night of good sleep for Liam especially!

Pretty tree and nice fire in our hotel lobby

Wednesday - December 9

It was a beautiful clear day in central IL with sunny skies and temps in the 50's.   I had therapy at 8 and my brother Bob and Linda arrived around 9:20 for a big day of shopping.... the guys hung out here in our room and went to the lobby.   They had lunch at Panera.   We girls hit the shops big time with Starbucks, shopping, lunch at Garlic Press, and more shopping.    Linda did very well!   
Tonight we had a great dinner at Baxter's and now they are on their way home.   
FUN day!
Can't believe this almost "balmy" weather will continue thru the weekend!

Tuesday - December 8

Another foggy morning but nothing like yesterday - didn't take long and the sun was shining!    But that didn't last too long either and we were back to a cloudy, windy day!    I went to 8:00 Mass for the feast day and then met Claire at Coffee Hound for pastries and peppermint lattes AND lots of chatter.    Never enough time to talk about all we have to talk about.....till next time!
Mark exercised, walked at the mall and got a haircut.   I came home after breakfast for a bit and then went to the mall for 4 rounds.    We both went to Barnes and Noble to browse, enjoy some drinks (cookie for Mark) while the cleaning crew was in our suite (they come Tuesdays and Fridays).
Back home and made waves with a bunch of piddly things to take care of, wrap a few more gifts and cross more stuff off my list!    Mark took a nap!
Love this pic of the boys into their new hockey season...
Liam and Connor
Tonight we had dinner at Baxter's with our former next-door neighbors (they moved from Jackson Street several years ago).   They are big Blue Angel fans and enjoyed the show this past August from their boat on Lake Michigan in Chicago.    We have not been together in many years so along with a wonderful dinner, we had many laughs, memories and catching up to do!
Many years ago when our Drew was visiting, he and George played in their hot tub....
Teresa, George, John