Wednesday - November 30

Fun 1st day back in Fort Myers.....Beth and I went for a walk around their subdivision, "Brandywine" which is lovely with lots of Christmas décor.    John, Beth, and their friends Connie and Spence, and I had a wonderful afternoon with a great kick-off to the Christmas season.   We went to the Broadway Palm Theater for a luncheon (delicious) and matinee performance of "White Christmas".   
 It was sooo entertaining!
Ryan and crew had a short jaunt to Naples today and are anchored out in front of the multi-million dollar mansions!    Terraphobic is all decked out with Christmas lights - alternating white or blinking colors.  
Philip, Annette, Luke and Maeve arrived home this afternoon.    Here are the little darlins'

 Tonight Mark is having dinner with his sister Doris who is driving to Bloomington from Chicago.    She has been such a great sister treating each of her 11 siblings to lunch or dinner on or close to their birthday all year long!

Just heard from my Monday Night Friends that because of bad weather in Atlanta, they are not flying to Fort Myers till tomorrow morning......bummer but safety first!    We'll make up for it once we are all together!!!

John, Beth and I are enjoying the Rockefeller Christmas show tonight - a very relaxing evening

Pat and Beth
what a dear friend!!!

Can't believe tomorrow is December 1st.    Let this festive month and the real
"Reason for the Season" begin!


Tuesday - November 29

Rainy, dreary day in NC.....Brooke and I took Blair to school and then off to the Charlotte airport.   I had a good flight to Fort Myers and what a nice warm sunny welcome - 85!   
Mark arrived in Bloomington before noon and is settled at Eastland Suites. 
I got a rental car and drove to John and Beth Grooms where I'm staying for the next 2 nights.    So good to see them and appreciate their hospitality.    
Ryan and his Aunt Theresa and Uncle Mike are on the boat at the Edison/Ford Marina.    Beth and I drove over to say "Hi" and wish them a safe journey as they leave tomorrow for the next leg of getting Terraphobic to DC.
Ryan, Theresa and Mike
Wishing them bon voyage and a safe journey with good weather and fair seas
Beth and I had dinner at the University Grille - delicious and so fun to catch up.    John is recovering from shoulder surgery 1 week ago after a terrible fall when the dock collapsed as he, Beth and friends were walking in Cape Coral.
Beth and John
So sad about the tragic fires in Gatlinburg - my oh my.....
when are these wildfires going to end and is the cause arson?
Makes me sick if that's the case.....
So many happy memories from 2007 when our family all gathered in the Smoky Mountains (Gatlinburg) in a big log home for a week of fun in such a magnificent setting.
It's really good to be back in Fort Myers......

Monday - November 28

It was Cyber Monday and along with running errands after Brooke and I took Blair to school, we were both busy clicking away at our laptops ordering Christmas gifts!
I wrapped a few gifts that were sent here.....on a roll with my shopping!
Michael flew to Indianapolis till Thursday.   It was a gloomy chilly day.....Mark got Daisy stored away and he's in Georgetown, KY tonight!
Brady and his project for the Science Fair on Friday
Wanted a pic wearing her cute Elsa jammies, but this girl is just too fast for me!
Tomorrow...I'm off to Fort Myers and girlfriend fun for 6 days!

Thanksgiving Weekend - 2016

It's Sunday night and we are winding down and just chillin' after the big weekend of heavy eating and enjoying all our family + Brooke's parents, brother and family, Annette's parents. and Ryan's girl friend, Brooke.
Thanksgiving and Friday were just perfect weather wise with sunshine, no wind and 70ish!   We had family pictures taken, the kids played outdoors, we all stuffed ourselves silly, went on boat rides, and played lots of card games (euchre and poker)....along with football! 
What a joy to cook in Brooke's big kitchen!
Friday we celebrated Maeve's baptism at St. Charles Borromeo in Morganton.   
Sweet Maeve and Luke
Maeve and her Godparents (Anne and Ryan), Mommy, Daddy and Luke

The grandparents with our new little Catholic baby and family
Annette, Pat,, Mark, Philip, Maeve, Dave, Judy and Luke

Our kids....
Michael, Anne, Philip and Ryan
Unfortunately, Michael was in bed all day Saturday with some bug or food poisoning (not sure as no one else got sick)?
More memories
Miss Blair wearing her new reindeer dress

Brady wrapping rubber bands around watermelon and then watching it explode
Fun activity with Grandpa and the boys

The boys took turns putting 10 bands on at a time (700 total) as some of us watched from the beach (normally under water - lake is low)

Connor loves babies and Maeve got a lot of his attention
Patrick and the boys playing football

The cousins and their electronics...Connor, Brady, Liam
Brooke on the pontoon - it was fun having her with us!
BIG thanks to Michael and Brooke for hosting our big clan....
Very thankful that those traveling yesterday and today have arrived safely home (Ryan and Brooke back to FL, Anne and family to IL).    Ryan is on his boat in Fort Myers and will be taking off in a few days continuing the long journey to DC.
Mark is putting Daisy in storage tomorrow for almost 4 months and will then drive Toad back to Bloomington.    Philip and family are at Lake James till Tuesday and then will head back to FL and Dave and Judy will drive to IL.
I'm with Michael, Brooke and kids now in Newton.   Tuesday, I fly from Charlotte to Fort Myers.   I'm staying with friends, John and Beth for 2 days and then the Monday Night Friends (7) are coming to town for 4 days of girl fun!!!
Crazy girl

Wednesday - November 23

Twas the night before Thanksgiving and lots of hustle, bustle and running around of the cousins here at Lake James!     So thankful that our kids/grandkids are all here safe 'n sound!
The Campbell's arrived at 2:30 and several went to Camp Lake James.   Mark, Annette, Philip and I played euchre and others filled in and then the snacks started coming out and more card games and kids running here and there!   Wild fun times!
Delicious dinner of pork sandwiches (Philip did on the Green Egg grill) and all the sides!
Brooke gave Blair a mani/pedi as Brady watched!
Brooke and Maeve bonding
Wow.....magnificent sunset
Taking a break from the blog for a few days.....but want to send the very
Happiest of Thanksgiving wishes to each of you!    We have so many blessings and much to be thankful for!!!
Life is GOOD!!!
God Bless America !

Tuesday - November 22

Nice to wake up to 2 mph winds!   After 3 straight days of strong winds, this is much better, however, the smoky air and visibility re really bad today.
Another day of folks scattering here and there.   Philip and Annette left early to spend a big part of the day picking out things for their new floor plans, cabinetry, lighting, granite, etc., etc.   (overwhelming in my book)!!!    So excited for them!
Ryan left to run several errands and pick up Brooke who is flying in from Pensacola. this afternoon.

Michael and the boys arrived around 3:30 and Ryan and Brooke rolled in around 4:15.   Thinking of Anne and family traveling tonight and arriving tomorrow afternoon!!! 

Dave and Judy (Annette's parents) Mark and I held down the fort tonight while the kids had a date.....Michael and Brooke, Philip and Annette and Ryan and Brooke.   They all had dinner at Wisteria in Morganton and rest of us enjoyed pizza and Stromboli from Roma's (carry-out)

Blair helps Mommy change Maeve's diaper.

My sweet girls 
 Davis is tickling Maeve's toes 
Brady and Maeve

Grandpa and the 3-year olds before bedtime all giggly


Monday - November 21

Another windy day, but sunny and chilly.    Everyone scattered here and there going out for breakfast (Ryan and Philip), getting a haircut (Mark), one "final" trip to grocery store, (Brooke) and the guys working on Philip's new dock.     And Annette and her Mom (Shmoo) took the 3 little ones for a walk with Maeve all bundled up in her stroller.
I tackled Daisy and got our clothes organized that are going back to Bloomington, going to Catrina, or going with me to Fort Myers next week!
Happiness is having a place for everything and everything in its place!!!    Especially when you're living in a small space!
The NC fires continue to be a big concern - the latest is just 6 miles from Lake James - the smoke off in the distance is getting worse each day - let's hope the winds die down.  No rain till next week.
Delicious dinner of chicken enchiladas,  chicken parmesan and salad - thank you Annette.   
Euchre (4-handed) with Ryan/Brooke and me as winners and then Mark winning  the 5-handed game.
So sorry to hear about the tragedy in Chattanooga today with the school bus accident.
North Carolina's oldest resident, Miss Ruby Clodfelter, died today at age 111.    She was quite a stylish lady who dressed very nicely and had beautiful white hair.    Reminds me of "Aunt" Ginny who lived to 103 and died just 1 year ago.

Maeve loves Clifford and Sophie

Pretty flowers still blooming November 21st.
Maeve is all sweet 'n clean before bedtime

Sunday - November 20

Happy 4 months, Maeve
Our sweetie is growing up so fast...
A busy morning of finishing the laundry, packing, etc., Michael left for the lake with a truck full of food.    He'll be back to stay with the boys till Tuesday after school and then they'll come to the lake.
Brooke, Blair and I got to the lake around 12:30, more unloading as I grabbed the sweet birthday girl and enjoyed some cuddles.

It is very chilly and windy today and we can see all the smoke in the distance......but the fall colors and the sun shining on those spectacular trees made for quite an awesome afternoon
of oohing and aahing!

Mark and Daisy arrived around 3:30.   Ryan came at 5.
Driving Daisy the past two days (especially yesterday) was the worst for Mark EVER.   No fun driving an RV in such very strong winds!

Lake James sunset on November 20th

Blair and Luke sliding down the stairs giggling all the way

Luke loves Blair's Mr. Potato Head

Maeve and Uncle Ryan

We are all tired tonight - looking forward to a few days of downtime before rest of the crew arrive!


Saturday - November 19

Another day of running many errands!     Brooke and I took off with our lists and made some great headway with more things for Thanksgiving week and Christmas.   We got home at 4:15, changed clothes and off to 5:00 Mass at St. Joseph's and then dinner at The Club - excellent!    Michael, Brooke, Davis, Blair and Grandma.    Drew had a date and Brady was working on his science fair project with a friend and doing a sleepover.
Also did laundry which is a never ending task in this household!    Ha....
Really tired tonight - 3 straight days of heavy errands/shopping/cooking wears a girl out!!     Brooke and I have "reached our peak"!!!

Hanging out Saturday morning watching cartoons
And Fat Jerry hanging out, too..
Still a lot of fall beauty here in NC and this is right in our front yard!
Mark and Daisy traveled to Bainbridge, GA today.   Ryan is in Montgomery, AL.

Friday - November 18

Pretty day, but smoky and concerned about what tomorrow will bring as they are calling for very windy conditions.
We were up and going - boys and Blair off to school, Brooke to a meeting and Michael and Philip arriving home around 9.    They caught an early flight from Fort Myers to Charlotte.   I helped them load up the truck with bags of groceries and other stuff and they were off to the lake.
Brooke and I ran a bunch of errands and picked lunch up from Panera, got Blair from school and on home.    Spent the afternoon preparing more goodies - soups and appetizers.
Blair helped Grandma crush pretzels for the strawberry salad next week
(trying to get as much done beforehand).  

Miss Suzy Homemaker
Drew and Davis are at a swim meet in SC tonight - they left at 4.....
Had a nice chat with Michael over dinner hearing about the guys' adventures on the boat.
Mark and Ryan are in Pensacola tonight and will be leaving tomorrow - Ryan driving his truck and Mark in Miss Daisy.
Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday - November 17

Mark and the boys are safely settled in Fort Myers tonight - so thankful this journey was successful, pleasant and fun for them.   Now Terraphobic (fear of land) will remain for 10 days or so and then Ryan, his Uncle Mike and Aunt Theresa (Mark's sister) will continue the trek down the gulf.

The boaters hanging out in Fort Myers at the end of their trip
Another gorgeous day in NC, but the smoky smell is definitely in the air......NO rain in the forecast!

Brooke and I took Blair to school and then hit Wal Mart and Lowe's Foods.    Bags, bags and more bags ready to go to the lake and feed the masses!    Ha....
  tummy time
Brooke took Davis and Brady for haircuts and Blair and I played after her nap.   Brooke, Brady and I took Blair to her school Thanksgiving program - really cute with 1, 2, 3 and 4 year olds singing their little hearts out (well, not so much the 1 year olds)!    Ha!   They were pilgrims, Indians and turkeys.
Blair's class sang "My Country Tis of Thee" cute!
Indian Princess

Uncle Ryan and his nephews...
Liam, Connor, Brady, Drew, Davis

Wednesday - November 16

GREAT news.....Terraphobic and crew made it across the Gulf safely cruising all night long.    So pleased and thankful the weather continues to be good!

Tonight they are settled at Boca Grande and happy to be back on land!    Tomorrow, they will cruise 45 miles to Fort Myers, leave Terraphobic and eventually join us in NC. 
Brooke took Blair to school and then we each scattered to different grocery stores with long lists of goodies to feed our big crew coming next week!    Got everything put away, had lunch, I picked Blair up from school at 1, she took a good 2-hour nap while Brooke was off running errands. 
What a spectacular fall day with the sun shining on the trees making the golds, reds and oranges so vibrant and 68 degrees!
Luke is breaking ground this morning for his new house
Today she is Blair....Not Dr. Blair, or Princess Blair....just Blair
Playing with her I-pad before school
I sat out on the porch this afternoon and it was so pleasant; however definitely can smell smoke in the air from all the fires in NC    The pictures are so devastating with over 46,000 acres having burned in western NC.   Fire fighters have come from as far away as Alaska.    Sooo tragic and sooo many people have had to evacuate their homes.   Please pray for rain!!!
Blair's pretty new shoes

Our boys walking in Boca Grande this afternoon
Michael - Philip - Ryan
Anne and her boys at the show on Friday!
 After dinner tonight (pizza), Blair said to me "Grandma, let's do.... SOMETHING FUN" !  
She is so funny!
So....we played make-up
Sweet Maeve after her bath
And a squeaky clean Lukester