Halloween - 2016

Hazy sunshiny day with temps reaching into the 60s.     We had breakfast with the Monday morning bunch and then ran a few errands.    I had my yearly check-up at 11 (all is well) and Mark had a few more errands.    At 11:40, we were on our way and the first leg of our long trek to Florida.   
Good day for traveling (I drove 3 hours).   
We arrived in Paducah, KY  around 4 - it was 81 and after checking in to our hotel, we went for a good hike.    My doctor gave me a good pep talk about more cardio activity - we have NOT been walking, biking or lifting weights.......this crazy lifestyle has made it hard to do all this stuff (excuses...excuses)!     But he is a fanatic on exercise and heathy eating.    Another issue we need to discuss - our lack of healthy eating but eating so much nonetheless!!!  
Aarrgghhhh....a vicious battle.   
 Went to Best Buy and I got a new fitbit (Ulta).    My old one was not holding the charge.
We walked across the street to Texas Roadhouse for their yummy rolls and salads.
Waiting for pics to come in of the grandchildren and how they looked tonight out trick or treating....
Here's Connor...
The Gangster
Liam went to a friend's house to pass out the candy.  
Ahhhh, here come the North Carolina bunch....
Brady the convict, out with a friend, but not feeling very good (upper respiratory infection)!

Big brother Davis escorting Queen Elsa around the neighborhood!

Sunday - October 30

We all went to Connor's 9:20 hockey scrimmage and then to 11:00 Mass at St. Mary's.    It was mostly cloudy all day cool and windy.  
We did some cleaning, including the garage and I did 2 loads of laundry. 

Carving the pumpkins

Finished projects

This picture of our little doll was taken by brother Luke (3)!
Good job!!!
Tomorrow we nomads are back "on the road again" heading to Florida.
Have a great week and

Saturday - October 29

Just a grand day with warm temps (70's) and some sunshine.    Felt so good to be out and about without a sweater, jacket, etc.  
We've been on the go all day long starting with a 7 AM hockey game for Liam.   His team won 7-5 and he scored 2 goals!
Then we were off to Mendota and visited my Aunt Marian
Sweet Aunt Marian
then to see my cousin Jim
Cousins Jim and Pat
Onto Walton and Mark's sister Sue and Tom's home and delicious lunch of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, home-grown sweet corn, fresh fruit, rolls and 3-layer chocolate chip cookie cake (each a different flavor) with butter cream frosting!   
Oh my......we practically rolled out the door!      
 Sue, Tom, their daughter Katy, her baby Oliver, Karen and Marilyn (sisters), Mark and I pigged out on this feast!
Great Auntie Karen and Oliver 
Onto Mendota and visited with my brother Bob and Linda.   
  They will be off to FL Monday for 3 weeks.    We'll see them in December for our
Annual Dinges Christmas gathering!
Back to Bloomington and tonight we are hanging out with Liam, Connor and their friend, Blaise.    Anne and Blaise's parents are at a Halloween party and Patrick has a gig in Danville.
We enjoyed Monical's pizza and then watched the Cubbies.
Wonderful home cooking, great visiting with family and cuddling Oliver made for a really enjoyable Saturday! 
 3 Goobers
Connor - Blaise - Liam

Friday - October 28

Nice day....some sun and some clouds but up to 65.    We went to 8:00 Mass (Liam served).    After breakfast, we went to our storage unit to get more stuff out and put other things away.
Off to Goodfield with stops in Carlock and Congerville and then to the Busy Corner for lunch with Allie ad Owen, Jane and Joe.    Sooooo fun to be together with these 4, laugh, carry on and visit over our lunch and pie!!!
Jane, Allie, Pat
Joe, Owen, Mark
 Mark and Connor ran some errands after school.    I did some yard work....pulling up the dead flowers, some weeds, etc.    It was so nice working outdoors.

GOOOOO Cubbies!!!

Thursday - October 27

Chilly with no sun today!     I met Sharon for breakfast at Panera.    We had so much fun catching up and talking about our families, travels, Florida and our love of reading and sharing new books.

I ran a few errands and then met Brenda at Destihl for a long, leisurely lunch - great food and more good visiting!   Love these one-on-one chats.

Brenda and Destihl's delicious brussels sprouts salad w/chicken

And this phenomenal banana cream pie with caramelized bananas (so unusual and delectable)!

She brought me home and I wrapped the last of the Christmas gifts for now.    Mark got a haircut and ran several errands.

Anne and Patrick had a date night (dinner at Rosie's).    The boys chose to eat at Olive Garden and we all had a good time!

Waiting for our table and checking our phones!!!

It was a great day!   


Wednesday - October 26

Dreary, chilly, windy day with some heavy rain, thunder and lightning around noontime!     Mark ran some errands, came back and I was off to have blood work done and then picked up Donna Rae.    She had 2 places to shop/browse (Hobby Lobby and our new Home Goods store).    It was so fun to be with her and catch up - been a really hard time since Ed died in July.   We had lunch at Jim's Steakhouse and enjoyed our long-time favorite - Petite Maurice Salads.
Donna Rae and the Petite Maurice (sooo good)
Good afternoon to hunker down with a good book, do a load of laundry and even wrapped a few gifts.
We have another engagement in the family.    Our niece, Nicole and Jason......that's 3 weddings next year....so far!
Queen Elsa

Happy Maeve
Keep forgetting to share this story.    When Mark was in SC with Catrina, he heard about the heavy damage on Dataw Island (15 miles away).    Boats were either washed away or sunk and there was major damage to the docks and marina.    This picture kind of says it all.....water took it away and then ended up on the runway of an airport.
Catamaran on runway
Anne took the boys to dentist appts. (last night they had hockey practice).  
We had KFC for supper with all the sides - chowed down and then 
Watched the Cubbies
Mark, Patrick, Liam, Connor, Anne

Tuesday - October 25

Cool and cloudy today with just little bits of sun.    Mark caught up on paper work all morning    I got a mammogram, ran a bunch of errands and met Linda (sister-in-law) and 2 friends, Sue and Juanita for delicious lunch at Biaggi's.    Fun to visit with all of them
Ran a few more errands and then back to Anne's - cleaned the porch and about ready to put the cushions away and cover the furniture for the season!
Mark got the car detailed in the afternoon, ran some errands and picked up Connor from school.
Some dead bananas were hanging out, so took care of them by making 2 loaves of banana nut bread!
We met Barb and Roger at The Lake Road Inn for dinner - great catching up with them!
Watching the Cubbies.....ugh...not so good tonight! 

Monday - October 24

Beautiful sunny fall day.....Mark took the boys to school and Anne went with Patrick (colonoscopy) and then out for breakfast.   
Mark and I met Pat, Brenda, Sue Jerry, Sigrunn, Ken, Donna Rae and Marty (our breakfast buddies) at 8:45 along with Bev and Gary , a new couple who have joined the group.    So fun to a be together and catch up!
Went to our storage unit and sorted thru stuff and spent part of the morning going thru our clothes at Anne's - bins, bins and more bins!    Stuff to go to Catrina, Daisy, keep with us or back to storage!    We're sooo organized!    Ha!!!    NOT a favorite job of mine!
Anne gave blood this afternoon, Mark picked Connor up from school.    Anne and I walked around the lake - it is an absolutely beautiful day!    Mark and Patrick fiddled with car battery on Toad and I made sweet 'n sour meatloaf for Mark and the Campbell's.
Jody entertained the Monday Night Friends (only 6 of us) and what a fun evening sitting in her gorgeous backyard around a roaring fire chatting drinking hot cranberry tea and then roasting hot dogs with all the extras, chili and apple crisp/ice cream!!!     Excellent!!!
Anne and pretty burning bush

Friday-Sunday, October 21-23

It was a perfect fall weekend with lots of sunshine and crisp temps!    And what a weekend it was with the Chamberlain Sisters all gathering in Springfield for our annual getaway AND the
World Series, here we come!!!
Friday afternoon I rode with Doris and Theresa to the Inn at 835 (huge 3-story B and B ).    The sisters trickled in late afternoon and evening and after all 12 were there, we gathered in the big living area for some awesome food, wine, and yakked the night away, played some games etc.    
The Inn at 835
Saturday, we all enjoyed a big breakfast and then some went shopping, others played games, some read and just relaxed.   We went to 4:30 Mass at Blessed Sacrament and then to Maldaner's for a wonderful dinner.    Back to the B and B for cards and more games.
Saturday night dinner
Left:   Lydia, Beth, Sharon, Pat, Theresa, Marilyn
Right:   Joan, Karen, Doris, Nancy, Sue, Janet
Some of the girls were up early and left for home.    Most of us stayed for another delicious breakfast
Blueberry French Toast, bacon, cheesy eggs and fresh fruit
I rode home with Sue and Marilyn.   We stopped in Mt. Zion to see Sue's new grandson, Oliver
(6 weeks) and a good visit with Katy (niece)
 My first time to meet my sweet great nephew! - Oliver Thomas
Today is Marilyn's birthday - Katy served us delicious specialty cupcakes!
Happy Birthday, Marilyn
Onto Bloomington with quick stop at McDonalds and Starbucks and then to Anne's.    Catching up on our weekend - the Campbell's' were camping, the Cubbies BIG win, etc.
Mark left the boat Friday and spent that night with Brooke, Davis, Brady and Blair.   Michael and Drew were in Iowa all weekend for college visit and football game yesterday.
Saturday night, he was in Georgetown KY and stopped to visit his brother Tom in Danville this afternoon.    He's had 2 1/2 big days of travel!
The boys had friends over for football this afternoon and Grandpa arrived at 4:30.    Picked up Chinese from Mandarin Garden - one of our favorites and yummy as always!
Big weekend - going to bed early!!!
Have a great week!

Thursday - October 20

I'm growing up so fast!   My Nana (Mommy's Mommy) shares a birthday with me today!
Happy Birthday, Nana
I had a good day leaving at 7:45 AM with my list and a bunch of errands.   I borrowed Patrick's car and away I went - good to be back in town but a chilly, windy, misty rainy day was not the best to be out and about!      Ended the afternoon with a manicure/pedicure.
Not much fall color here in central IL.
Back "home" (Anne's) at 2, picked Connor up at 3:15 and ready to hibernate with the boys.     I made tacos for supper and bought some apples/caramel, apple cider, apple and pumpkin donuts......
tis the season!!!
Anne had a school club meeting and Patrick had some errands, so Grandma held down the fort getting the boys at their homework and packing for weekend camping trip
(last one in Elsie for the year)!!!
Mark is happy tonight as Catrina had a really good sea trial today - all went well and just a few little things for Anthony to take care of.    She was lifted out of the water and will stay in Rockville till after Christmas!
Tomorrow I'm off to Chamberlain Sisters Weekend - 12 of us sisters (9 sisters and 2 in-laws) will be staying at a B and B in Springfield!    Looking forward to catching up, enjoying some good wine, food and best of all, chatter, chatter and more chatter!
Mark will begin the long trek to Bloomington after he finishes a few more jobs on Catrina.   
Taking a little break from the blog and hope to be back at it on Sunday!
Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday - October 19

Up early to say our good-byes and take Davis to school.    He and Drew are taking the PSAT tests today!     Wishing them GOOD LUCK!!!
Mark took me to Charlotte airport and he went on to SC - 4 hour drive to Catrina.   

I had a good flight to Chicago and then a 3-hour layover till I flew into Bloomington where Patrick and Connor were waiting for me!    Raining/1

I settled in and when Anne got home from work, we all went to Caffe Italia for some good Italian fare!

"Doctor" Blair got her school pics back today.....miss her!!!

Annette and kiddies out for a warm evening stroll


Tuesday - October 18

We had a great day with more spectacular weather....Michael left for Chicago, Mark took Brady to school and Davis spent the day there, too, doing community service.     Blair, Mark and I went to Lake James - sooo pretty with the calm water and fall colors!
Davis and Brady

Daddy and his best girl
Friends from IL (good friends of my brother Bob and Linda) have been vacationing in Asheville and drove over to the lake.    We had a great visit and then took the pontoon to Camp Lake James for lunch.    So good to see Dan and Sue and share more of beautiful North Carolina with them.
Now they re on their way to Florida and their winter home!
Sue and Dan
Back home with Blair taking a short cat nap along the way.    Brooke and Drew had a very good visit  to Georgia Tech.    Mark and I enjoyed hearing all about it!
Who is this crazy girl?

Mark and I are so fortunate that in the past week we have seen all 8 of our grandchildren!    Tomorrow I'm flying to Bloomington and staying with Anne and family.  
Mark will be driving to SC and do the sea trial on Catrina!

Brady, Brooke, Drew and I played euchre...Brooke and I won!

Great visit here in North Carolina and can't wait to be together again in 3 weeks in Pensacola!


Monday - October 17

A  glorious day in North Carolina.....Drew and Davis are on Fall Break today and tomorrow.     So...Grandpa took Brady to school, Drew and Brooke were off to Georgia Tech in Atlanta for college visit (home tomorrow afternoon).     Davis enjoyed sleeping in and Michael is working from home today and had dentist appt this morning.   Blair and I stayed home and after she decided on a sundress to wear (going to be in the low 80s), along with plenty of necklaces and bows, she was ready for breakfast and take on the day!
Mom and Son off to Georgia Tech - can't believe Drew is at this exciting point in his life!

Drew and Grandpa - been on a mission to see who will be tallest?
A tie at this point, I would say!
Blair had so much fun "dressing" very girlie today - all her choices!
She has been Princess Blair for quite a long time, but now has decided she's
Doctor Blair - the imaginations of these little 3-year olds is priceless.
I did our laundry this morning and wrapped some Christmas gifts on the porch this beautiful October afternoon.   Mark took Davis to the DMV for a vision test.   He's in the first phase of getting his license!    They start early here and drive with someone an entire year.   Davis won't be 16 until March of 2018.
Michael, Mark, Davis, Blair and I went to Brady's 4:00 soccer game.    Not a pretty outcome with Concordia losing 8-0.    Bob and Judy (Brooke's parents) were there and we all went to The Blue Moon Tavern for dinner afterwards!    Good food and visiting!
Back home for baths/showers and dreamland!
Luke is considering his options on what to be for Halloween - pilot, pirate, dinosaur, pumpkin, astronaut or hot dog???
Tried this on at Target - cute!
Either a Blue Angel pilot or this hot dog gets my vote

Sunday - October 16

Beautiful Sunday....we left the hotel at 7 AM and rode the elevator with BA #3, Lance who was going on his morning run.     What a fun time we had in the "Charm City" with absolutely gorgeous weather!
Stopped in Woodstock VA for 10:00 Mass at St. John Bosco.    They had a visiting priest from India - very warm and friendly along with a fabulous choir in this little town of 4,000.

Despite the pretty day for traveling, traffic was very heavy on I-81.     
 Had some pretty color in the higher elevations, but overall, still a lot of green trees.

We arrived at Michael and Brooke's at 4:45.     Great to be here as it's been several months for me (Mark was here in August)!

Had delicious dinner on the porch and then settled in to watch the Cubbies!

Cuddling under the Cubbie blanket!

Saturday - October 15

Another very fun beautiful day in Baltimore....we left around 10 for a breakfast spot.....Miss Shirley's (the original) was packed; Panera had folks coming out the door waiting; Corner Bakery closed?    WHAT?     Can't figure that out as so many people were out and about but possibly cause of the big race/going on.    Many streets were closed cause of the thousands running a 5K, 1/2 or full marathon.   Maybe their employees where running with the throngs?    At any rate, we decided to go to Barnes and Noble and eat at Starbucks, plus check out the new books!  
Maeve broke her record last night - slept 12.5 hours!!!!!!!!
We had thought we would take the water taxi part way to Fort McHenry and then walk but long lines so we decided to walk again all the way.    It was such a pretty day and we took our time.    Lots of folks were doing the same thing and eventually we were walking down the street (all closed to traffic) and finally onto the grounds of Fort McHenry.    Enormous crowds !!!
Fort McHenry
before all the massive crowds
Enjoyed visiting with the Blues families and then our nephew and Godchild, Tom arrived with his fiancée, Samm. 
After the show, we all walked back to the Tiki Barge and had orange crushes (Mark had beers) - so fun to sit and chat on the water with lots of boat traffic leaving the show.    Got the scoop on all the wedding plans (next July 24th in Milwaukee).
 Enjoying our orange crushes - Samm, Tom, Pat

Tom and Samm with Baltimore skyline
We rode with Tom and Samm to Dalesio's Italian Restaurant (where we ate with Ryan last night.   It was sooo good, Tom and Samm love Italian, so.....a no-brainer - let's do it again!) 
Wonderful again - food, wine, chatter!
Back in our room tonight - tired, happy, and stuffed!   It was a great end to our time in Baltimore1
View from our room...
Tomorrow we are off to North Carolina and see our kids/kiddies!    Can't wait.....

Friday - October 14

Totally spectacular day.....blue skies and 65.    We walked across the street for a quick breakfast at Starbucks (a nippy 49 degrees but quickly warmed up).  We had a leisurely stroll (3 miles) to Fort McHenry, site of the air show practice.    Half way had a nice break to have lunch at Little Havana, a favorite Cuban restaurant on the water from when Philip lived aboard his boat in the  Inner harbor - 2000 (hard to believe that's 16 years ago....wow)!!!
Lunch was delicious and then on to the show.   Along the way, we walked past so many lovely row houses and many had their fall décor out much to this nomad's enjoyment! 

 Fort McHenry
  What a great site for viewing and so good to catch up with the Blues and family members. 
We started the long trek back, stopped at The Tiki Barge (Harborview Marina where Philip lived) and had a drink.    Sooooo pretty out sitting by the water in mid October....
Mark decided his legs needed a break, (mine, too), so we called Uber and just like that (despite heavy traffic) and an $8 ride, we were back at the Marriott!

Another small world story, this one from Philip......yesterday and today he was training Nick from AZ.    Nick and Philip discovered they were both originally from IL AND then that Nick and I both went to Amboy High School (we were Clippers but of course, many years apart) AND that Nick is married to my cousin, Jennifer from Sublette (my hometown)!    Also Nick's family owns the Long Branch in Amboy and my Aunt Dee worked there many years ago!

We had dinner with Ryan at Dalesio's in Little Italy which was delicious and topped off with chocolate lava cake!!!   

Back to the hotel for drinks and visited with some of the Blues families.

A great day in Baltimore!!!


Thursday - October 13

Cloudy morning in Frederick, but had a delightful breakfast at the B and B and met some nice folks (Dick and Norma) from Hickory, NC (near Michael and Brooke).    Small world as Dick hired Brooke's Dad out of college at Drexel Heritage!    WOW.....really enjoyed our visit and maybe we can meet up in Hickory!    Also enjoyed visiting with Betty and Phil, the owners who are interested in getting an RV.
Just a 50-minute drive to Baltimore and arrived around 11, settled in our room at the Marriott Waterfront and then took off to walk the Inner Harbor.    The Blues were practicing, we had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory and then toured the USNS Carson City, a huge transport ship that was commissioned in January.    Very interesting!   The sun came out later in the afternoon, we stopped for drinks at "The Point" in Fells Point (when in MD, gotta have an orange crush - yum)!   Back to our hotel to rest a bit and put up the feet.   2 straight days, we've surpassed our 10,000+ steps.....been a long dry spell since we had done that!!!

Had dinner at Apropos and then met Ryan for drinks and good visit at hotel bar - hadn't seen him since Oceana (Virginia Beach) on September 9th.
We are all happy to be in Baltimore!


Wednesday - October 12

We had a fabulous day..........it all stated waking up and hearing that the Cubbies won the National League East Division in dramatic fashion - down by 3 going into the 9th inning and scoring 4 runs to win 6-5!!!!!   My Mom and Dad had to be watching from up above and soooo thrilled!

And we also loved getting this picture (and video) of this silly little Miss from NC.

It's Princess Blair
Can't wait to see her on Sunday!!1
After breakfast we were on our way around 9:15.   It was a spectacular day with sunny blue skies and mid 60's.   We drove to the Flight 93 Memorial near Shanksville, PA.    There were lots of people there up high in the hills of PA and what a sobering, emotional experience.     So hard to believe that 15 years have passed since this horrible tragedy.   But just reading and hearing what all happened that Tuesday morning, brought it all back and learned lots of info we did not know.

We were so impressed with how this landmark (now a national park of over 1,000 acres) was designed into such a wonderful remembrance for the men and women who gave their lives
on 9/11 in an empty field in the boonies of Pennsylvania.

If you are ever near this area, do stop and visit this incredible memorial.

This boulder marks the actual location of the crash and the surrounding grassy area is the final resting place for the victims.

Mark is walking down the Memorial Plaza listing the names of the 44 who died .
37 passengers, including the 4 hijackers and a crew of 7.
We drove into Stoysville for lunch at the Lincoln Café - very good and just a neat little spot that was full of visitors and locals.

Just a picture-perfect day for traveling thru Pennsylvania (one of our favorite states especially in the fall).    As we drove thru the Allegheny Mountains, oh my......down below in the lower elevations, it was mostly green, but in the mountains with the sunshine on all those orange, red and gold trees...
 oh my....magnificent!     From the mountains to the hills and valleys and farms tucked here and there, it is soooo picturesque!

We arrived in Frederick, MD around 4 and staying here tonight at the Hollerstown Hill B and B built in 1900.    Betty and Phil have owned this lovely home for 19 years and been running it as a B and B for 17 years.    We were given the tour and then took off down Market Street and the very neat historic district.  

Hollerstown Hill
Our "home" tonight 

State Farm used to have a regional office here in Frederick and we had heard it was a really neat town......and that it is!     Very charming with old architecture (the town dates back to 1745) and just full of restaurants, shops and quaintness.   We walked thru the Carroll Creek area with neat eateries,  along the water which was full of lily pads.  The area also had waterfalls, bridges, and great walking path.

Pretty lily pads at Carroll Creek

We had drinks at the WK (Wine Kitchen) sitting outdoors - looked like a very neat restaurant, too, but we were still full from lunch.    So, then we continued on down Market Street and also walked along Patrick Street.    Absolutely loved this area.

We decided we really weren't hungry but maybe dessert and take back to our room?    We came upon "Cakes to Die For" and we chose a mini chocolate pie, rocky road cheesecake and heath bar brownie!    All were excellent along with glass of wine provided at the B and B.
The perfect ending to this day!

Just one of many gorgeous trees we saw today!

The news on TV tonight showed the Blue Angels landing in Baltimore just 10 minutes earlier.

Maeve Kathryn
October 12, 2016
 Miss her sooo much!!!