Wednesday - November 29

DAY 3 - another fast-moving, fun-filled day first waking up to the news that Matt Lauer had been fired by the Today show.    We'll always remember where we were when we heard that news!!!   We left the hotel around 9:45 and headed to the Big Bus Tour (hop on and hop off).    We were on a 3+ hour trip around lower Manhattan (downtown).    Very enjoyable riding on the top deck in the sunshine and learning about the various architecture, neighborhoods, buildings, and other history.    The weather has been just perfect and today was 64 degrees and each day has those deep blue skies. 

Great New York style hot dogs
Big ornaments behind us on our way to the show...
We got off the bus at 1ish, bought hot dogs from a street vendor, scarfed them down and onto the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.    This was my 3rd time to see them and each time it gets better and better.    This year was exceptional with the magnificent sets and décor on the ceilings, costumes, orchestra, nativity story and on and on.   
 What a magical, wonderful performance.
Waiting for the Rockettes to perform - we all were given Santa hats compliments of
Party City
Now is when it got CRAZY.......we joined all the throngs on the street and headed towards Rockefeller Center first going thru security.   There were police everywhere, some with hands on their big guns!     People, people so many people and police and other security.    We finally got a few blocks and came to a standstill - could not go further cause of barricades and crunched in with all the people.   The time is 4:00, the concert is not starting till 7 and the lighting of the tree is 9.     We decided there was no way we were going to stand that long with claustrophobia setting in and just a scary feeling about it all.
So......we left and ended up taking the subway (another new experience) to Times Square (lots of people there, too,) but NOTHING like by the tree.
Got our picture taken with several Disney characters
We walked around Times Square, had drinks at the Knickerbocker Hotel which is where the martini was invented!!!    Then great dinner at Frankie and Johnnie's (thanks Claire) and ubered back to hotel.
3 very tired gals but oh what fun.    Frankie and Johnnie's had the Rockefeller Christmas show on which we could easily watch the entertainment while we ate.    We stayed till the grand lighting of the tree and then were out of there!   Can't imagine the madhouse of all those people leaving after the tree was lit.
Till tomorrow....

Tuesday - November 28

Day 2 -   we are 4 very tired but happy girls tonight as we sit around our hotel rooms in our jammies rehashing our wonderful day in the Big Apple.  
After breakfast at the hotel, we took Uber to Ground Zero.   What a sobering several hours of reflecting back on that horrible day 9-11-01.    We had a wonderful tour guide, Daniel.    On that fateful day, Daniel was on his way to classes (his senior year) at New York University.    He was so very interesting and shared his experiences along with taking us on a walking tour (90 minutes) starting at St. Paul's Chapel, Ground Zero, the reflecting pools with all the names and oh-so-many stories.    We then did the 911 Museum which was outstanding.    Words cannot describe all we saw and read today reliving the horror of 16 years ago.  
St. Paul's Chapel which was so close to the twin towers at the World Trade Center but miraculously,
sustained no damage
Daniel was outstanding 
1 World Trade Center (aka The Freedom Tower)
Had lunch at the 911 Museum Café and then saw more exhibits.    Took Uber to Saks 5th Avenue, went into St. Patrick's Cathedral, , Rockefeller Plaza (setting up for the big lighting of the Christmas tree tomorrow night) and just oohed and aahed at the beautiful holiday décor and all the lights.    After a great dinner at Del Frisco Grille, we walked back to Saks for their awesome laser light show.   WOW!!!   Also enjoyed all the beautiful windows at Saks with the
 Snow White theme.
Saks laser light show
The crèche at St. Patrick's
At Del Frisco's Grille
Connie and Sharon

Sue and Pat
Walked back to hotel (1.1 miles) enjoying all the sights and sounds!
What a day and night!    So happy to be here and sharing this with 3 dear friends for their
1st visit
 Mark had a good visit to Brewerton and got everything checked out on Catrina that he wanted checked out!    Tonight as he was waiting in Rochester for his flight to O'Hare, lo and behold, my cousin Barb and husband Chris from Grand Junction, CO were there.    They had a nice visit and Barb and Chris flew onto NYC where they have a condo and will stay a month.    Barb and I have been texting tonight and trying to make a plan to get together!    Sure hope this works!!!

As I write this, Mark is almost back at Eastland Suites!!!


   New York City - Day 1....

We left Bloomington at 6:45 AM with Mark as our chauffeur.    Said good bye to him at Delta terminal and he was on his way to park truck and then flew to Rochester.    He's staying in Cicero tonight and will be hanging out with Catrina tomorrow in Brewerton.
Good flight to LaGuardia and took bus to another terminal to meet up with Connie who flew in from Fort Myers.    Yeah....we are all together and let the fun begin!    Took Uber to our hotel, got settled in and then off to "Print" for dinner.   We were all tired and didn't want to walk far- Print was rated #56 out of 14,144 restaurants in the city!    It was only 1 block from our hotel and a nice evening for a short jaunt.   Excellent choice for drinks, meals and dessert and beautiful ambiance1
Here are a few pics from today.
Beautiful view coming into Midtown in rush hour 
Sharon, Connie and Sue holding a suitcase as we were packed in!

Meanwhile in North Carolina...
Cool-hand Luke 
Sweet Miss Maeve 
Getting ready for Christmas...
 Tomorrow....Ground Zero

Saturday - Sunday, November 25-26

Saturday - It's a beautiful day for a wedding.....sunny skies, breezy and 53 degrees!
I ran a few errands after breakfast and wrapped a few more gifts.    Then it was time to get gussied up for Phillip and Taylor's wedding.    Phillip is the son of Ruth and Gerry, long-time friends and Ruth is one of my Monday Night Friends.    The wedding was in Gibson City at 2:30.    We went to 4:00 Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes in Mahomet and then onto the reception at the Hilton Garden Inn in Champaign.
Fun evening with my Monday Night Friends but missed Brenda and Sue (both hubbies were sick).    The meal was delicious, beautiful wedding and great visiting.    Mark and I stayed over at the Hilton.
Phillip and Taylor
Sunday - Another gorgeous day (5 straight days of sunshine with more on the way - love it)!    We slept in, checked out of hotel and stopped in Mahomet for breakfast at the Mahomet Family Restaurant.    On back to Bloomington, unpacked, Mark ran some errands and I did 2 loads of laundry.    We went for a walk in the afternoon outdoors! 

Tomorrow I am off to NYC with Connie, Sharon and Sue!    We plan to pack in as much fun as possible and enjoy all the holiday hoopla.

Mark is taking us to O'Hare and then flying to Syracuse, NY and check on a few Catrina things.
Maeve seems to have misplaced her slice of cheese!

Black Friday - November 24

I  cannot believe I went to the mall today with all the other crazies!    It was such a lovely day - 63 and sunny!   Wow.....Mark and I ran some errands in the morning, went to the Campbell's for lunch (awesome leftovers from yesterday's feast) and then took the boys with us to the mall.
They wanted to do the Wacky Bounce House which officially opened today and did the
 Battle Orbs.   
The boys are each in an orb somewhere?   
I took off for Kohls and got some great deals, but the crowds were unbelievable with long lines.    They opened last evening at 5:00 PM (Thanksgiving) and will close at midnight tonight (non-stop).
The guys got some drinks at Gloria Jeans and picked me up with my packages.    Went to their house for a basketball and then to GE Park and they ran off more energy shooting some hoops.
Anne and Patrick went to see "Wonder" and loved it and cried...
The boys have a sleepover at their friends Jack and Drew for Jack's birthday.   
Thinking of the family from near Dixon, IL (Mark's hometown) who lost their lives in a tragic fire early Tuesday morning.....Mom, Dad, and children 17, 15, 12 and 11.   The oldest was one of Mark's sister Karen's students.     So very sad....

Thanksgiving - 2017

Hope you all had a great holiday with too much good eating and so much to be thankful for!
We had a wonderful day starting with 9:00 Mass at Historic St. Pat's, then breakfast at Bob Evans.    We had planned to walk at the mall, but it was closed and LONG line waiting to get into Bergner's door buster opening at 11.    Good grief, now the stores are opening on Thanksgiving to get all those bargains. thank you!    The employees can't even get one day off to be with their families?
We went to Anne and Patrick's at noon - nice afternoon of relaxing, euchre (the guys beat Anne and me 3 out of 5.)   Then the bountiful feast of turkey and all the trimmings!    Everything was sooo good and again, we counted our blessings.
Let all that settle and pie (pumpkin and blueberry) came after.   Anne and I played 2-handed euchre and we did facetime with all the NC kids and kiddies (including Ryan).     Mark and I left around 7 for home with tummies full and smiles for a great day of family fun!
Some nice memories from Thanksgiving 2017


Wednesday - November 22

Beautiful day.....bright sunshine and very little wind - just delightful to be out and about!
Mark took the boys to the dining room for breakfast.    Then I took the boys to run some errands, including storage, the mall (they enjoyed chillers and  I had a "sleigh ride" latte at Gloria Jean's).    Few more errands and back to our suite.    The boys played video games (via phone) with friends. 
Sleepy heads

   Gloria Jean makes a mean cookie crumble/peppermint chiller
Mark, boys and I had wanted to have lunch at The Fort Jesse Café but long wait, so we went to Uptown Normal and ate at Windy City Wieners which was very good - lots of food choices and Mark and my 1st time.     The boys have eaten here several times.     We each drove separately so Mark took boys back to Eastland and I ran more errands and then got a manicure.
Patrick picked the boys up at 2:30 - sure enjoyed having them stay with us!
We went to see "Wonder" (1st movie for us in a long time).    It was soooo good and highly recommend it.   We can see why Corpus Christi wants the kids to see it!    Great message and bring plenty of Kleenex!
Had a yummy dinner at Mandarin Garden and on home.   
Tonight is Thanksgiving Eve.....looking forward to tomorrow's feast with Anne, Patrick, Liam and Connor with so many blessings to be thankful for!
Wishing you and yours a beautiful and

Tuesday - November 21

A blustery day with cold, biting winds and no sun and some snow flurries this afternoon!  
  We all slept in....yeah!     Then breakfast and off to the mall.    The plan had been for this morning, hang out at the mall and the boys to play at Wacky (new bouncy area where MC Sporting Goods used to be).    But, it is not officially open till Friday, so.....while the guys did their thing, I picked up a few more gifts.
The plan this afternoon was to go see "Wonder" the movie that just came out Friday with great reviews.    But, the boys 6th, 7th and 8th grade classes are going to see it on November 30th.    So, Grandpa took them to Busy Corner for lunch and onto Peoria and visit the Caterpillar Museum.     They had great fun checking all the machinery, using the simulator, etc.

I did laundry while they were gone and then wrapped more gifts.   My phone totally froze up and couldn't do anything including shutting down and then restarting.    I went to AT&T which is close by and a very nice guy fixed me up in no time.   It had frozen apparently from too many internet pages opened (184).    Holy Moly.....was not familiar with how to get rid of all those, but now I know! about panic setting in!    Our phones are certainly a BIG part of our lives for so many things!
Connor beat me in RummiKube, the boys played video games and we had a nice quiet evening here. 
We had nachos, leftovers from Chipotle and pie, of course!
The boys went swimming later on....

Monday - November 20

Another pretty day in central IL - windy and cold, but sunny!   
I had lab work done at 8:40 for upcoming physical.     Had breakfast with the Monday morning bunch and then met Claire and we were off to Eureka and Scottwood Floral for a bit of holiday shopping (sooo many pretties).   We also stopped at The Flower Basket and onto Busy Corner.    This was Claire's first time here and lunch was yummy followed by a shared piece of lemon meringue pie and some pie-to-go!!!

One of the waitresses told us they had orders for 550 pies for Thanksgiving (they are closed that day) and expecting many more; they had 750 last year!!!
Mark picked the boys up at 11:30 and they came here to change clothes and then lunch at Chipotle.    They spent a few hours at their friends, Jack and Drew's home.   Mark picked them up at 3:30.
 Mark took the boys to the 7th and 8th grade basketball games (2 wins) and Anne, Patrick and Connor went for his conference with all his teachers.    Connor got a good report and both boys made the honor roll!!!

Six of the Monday Night Friends met at Famous Dave's - main focus of chatter was upcoming wedding this Saturday for Phillip (Ruth's son) which we all plan to attend!


Sunday - November 19

Cold and windy, but SUNNY all day long!!!    LOVE when the sun shines and makes me happy!
We were off for the boys hockey game which they won 8-6 (Liam scored 2 goals and 1 for Connor).and then to 9:00 Mass at St. Mary's.   Stopped at The Coffee Hound for treats and then ran a few errands (storage and HyVee).
Went to the mall and walked - it's past time to get back at some exercise (Mark does his weights 3x a week, but I've really been slacking off).
Nice quiet few hours (including a nap for me) at home and then we went to the Campbell's for a belated birthday celebration for Mark.    Anne fixed a delicious roast beef  in crock pot (with the 3 seasoning packets) and all the trimmings.    Good night of comfort food and conversation!
Grandpa opening his presents
Patrick and Liam in front of "Touchdown Jesus" at Notre Dame
Mark and I enjoyed hearing about their big day yesterday!
We are looking forward to having the boys stay with us
 tomorrow (1/2 day, and all day Tuesday and Wednesday) for Thanksgiving break!

Saturday - November 18

Very yucky day with heavy rain, thunder, lightning, wind and cold!!!    Weather alerts on the phone went off 2x for flash flood warning till 2 PM.     And then around 1:00, it changed to snow!
Connor got a text from his dad at 6 AM.......Dr. Lee had an extra ticket for Notre Dame/Navy game today.   "Do you want to go"?    Connor had been asked to be the team manager for his 6th grade basketball team and there was a game this morning.    So, he chose to fulfill his commitment and stay in town!   Proud of him!   Hopefully, some day he will be able to see the Irish play!
The  Corpus Christi Saints new team manager sitting on the bench....the Saints won 50-4.
Connor chose Bob Evans for breakfast and then we went to Farm 'n Fleet - he and Grandpa were looking at toy possibilities for his little cousins.   No decisions yet...
Back to our suite for Connor to change clothes and off to the game.    Anne picked him up later.
We stopped at Dollar Store, CVS and storage and back home.
There's almost always a daily event at some sort here at the Eastland Suites Conference Center - breakfasts, luncheons, meetings, etc.    Today it was the Tupperware folks and they were meeting most of the day.    You just don't hear much about Tupperware these days?
Notre Dame wins 24-17!    Great game!

Friday - November 17

COLD and WINDY and DREARY!    Had some occasional sleet/rain.    But Bob (brother) and Linda came for the day and we gals made some serious waves all around town.
We had great luck, stopped at Coffee Hound for lattes and shared a scone and then on our way again.    Met the guys for lunch at Medici's (they were out and about picking up a few things, too).
It was a very fun, productive day and now more gifts to wrap!   😑😊😊

Connor is spending the night with us......tomorrow, Patrick and Liam are off to the Notre Dame/Navy game in South Bend.    They are so excited (3rd time for Liam; 1st for Patrick)!

2 little sweeties out for a stroll on a pretty day in North Carolina

Thursday - November 16

Cold and dreary day although my phone said "sunshine" all day long!    Boy, were they wrong.    I left at 8:30 for Edwards (near Peoria) and met friends Allie and Jane.    Said "hello" and "bye" to Owen (Allie's hubby) and we girls were off to Galesburg.
We shopped a little, met our friend Barb who drove from Moline (we all went to Midstate College many years ago.)    We 4 had not been together since October 27, 2015.    We had a delicious lunch at the Landmark Café and Creperie and sat and yakked and yakked.   This is our tradition to eat here where the food is always good and as always, lots to chat about!

Jane, Allie, Barb, Pat

The sun came out as we were leaving with hugs and good byes......Barb went on her way and we 3 returned to Allie's.   More hugs and good byes and I was on my way. 

 Mark picked the boys up from school and around 4:15, we were back settled in our suite. 
Sunshine did not last long as it was gloomy most of the way home!

Wednesday - November 15

Icky poo start to the day with rain and wind.    We went to storage and put stuff away and got more stuff out.   Then we parted ways as we each had errands.    I met Sue and Sharon at Fort Jesse Café for 2+ hour lunch to finalize our NYC plans (love the food here)!    God willing, 2 weeks from tonight we'll be amongst the throngs watching the lighting of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.
Back home and the sun was shining but still windy so felt cold. even though temps got to 50ish?
Mark picked up the boys from school and took them home.
The maintenance crew here at Eastland Suites are so nice and helpful always asking if there's anything we need.    Today a guy replaced our outside door treatment with a nice pleated shade.

Did some online shopping today and appreciate any and all gift ideas from our kids.


Tuesday - November 14

A chilly blustery day with very little sunshine!    Mark was off to run errands and I started wrapping some gifts.    Still a long ways to go with the shopping, but happy to get wrapped what I do have.
I ran some errands late morning and then met Mark at our favorite Chinese place - Mandarin Garden!
I came back "home" and did 2 loads of laundry - whooaaa - .75 per load.    What a deal as we usually pay $2.50 (average) but can be anywhere from $1.25 to $3.     Forgot about the good laundry price here at Eastland Suites.
Wrapped a few more gifts in the afternoon    Mark picked Liam and Connor up from school.   Anne and Patrick are in Chicago today.   The boys devoured apples and warm caramel for dipping, brownies and hot cider.   
Hungry boys
Anne picked up Liam and we took Connor to the 6th grade boys basketball game (against Epiphany) after a quick stop at McDonalds.    He cheered his team onto a 35-15 victory.    Connor and I had texted Brady earlier and found out that he won his game tonight scoring 14 points, 4 assists and 2 rebounds!
Way to go Brady!!!
Mark and I went to Starbucks and read, picked up Connor and on home.

Monday - November 13

Today was sunny (afternoon) and actually pretty pleasant for 40 degrees and no wind!
Mark exercised and then to breakfast with the Monday morning bunch.    Brenda brought cranberry/orange muffins with cranberry butter - yummy treats and much appreciated!
Mark and I had a bunch of errands to run afterwards and then settled in our suite with a nice fire, music and catching up with mail, computer stuff, etc.   Between our clothes and stuff, and another trip to storage, we are now nicely organized and ready for the next 6 weeks.
I had an appointment with Dr. Novotny (my orthopedic surgeon) this afternoon.    I've had left shoulder pain (shoulder from 2010 accident) and also some left hip pain.    They did x-rays and shoulder is tendonitis in the rotator cuff.    He feels some exercise with stretch bands which I have will help or later, he can always give me an injection.
The hip (he used some mighty long words) is nothing serious and again, can do an exercise and eventually, may want/need the injection.    No arthritis!!! 
6 of the Monday Night Friends met at Red Lobster for dinner.   Good time was had by all!
Sooo love and miss this sweet silly girl!
My grandma and grandpa are coming for Christmas - YEAH!!!!

Sunday - November 12

Mark and I are back together after 11 days apart!!!    He is all settled in at Eastland Suites and went to the boys hockey game this morning (lost 7-5), then to Mass with the Campbell's at St. Joseph Hospital and finally lunch at "That Burger Joint".  
Meanwhile up in Wisconsin, 4 of the sisters (Marilyn, Karen, Joan and Sue) left at 7:30 for home as the weather was turning nasty.    Rest of us played some games of hand 'n foot and then Janet and I left around 10:45.    We drove thru rain, sleet and snow.    Ugly day!    I took Janet to her high school in Rockton, IL (Hononegah) as she had bunches of papers to grade and then Michael (hubby) was picking her up.    I drove on back to Bloomington, met Mark here at our suite, unloaded the truck and then off to party with friends Martha and Bob at their home and celebrate Bob's 70th birthday at an open house.   His birthday is Tuesday (exactly 1 week behind Mark).
Good to be "home" together and catch up!
Ryan escorted Senator Marco Rubio from Washington, DC to Pensacola on Thursday.
They enjoyed watching the Blue Angels perform on Friday, the senator went on home to Miami and Ryan spent rest of the weekend with his BA buddies for "homecoming"
Ryan and Senator Marco Rubio

Saturday - November 11

 To all our Veterans for their service to our country - past and present!

A cold dreary day in Wisconsin.    We gals sat around the kitchen table in our jammies drinking coffee, eating bagels, Kringle and fresh fruit, checking laptops, phones and chattering away.    Beth and Theresa went for a walk, Sue is knitting Santa hats for her grandsons, Beth and Sharon went to the outlet mall and and others played card and board games 

This is Homecoming weekend in Pensacola for the Blue Angels (end of their season) and so glad Ryan can be there to see his fellow BA's who he flew with last year for their last hurrah.    So many bittersweet memories from one year ago when our kids/grandkids and several of Mark's siblings were all together!

Congratulations to the Blue Angels for another awesome, successful season!

We all went to 4:30 Mass at St. Mary's in Burlington and then to Waterfront for dinner - excellent 
(I had walleye oscar)!

More games and then nighty night after a day of sister fun and laughs!

   Mark had lunch with his brother, Tom in Danville on his way back to Bloomington and now all settled at Eastland Suites.

Tonight he has Liam and Connor as our first guests for dinner, swim time and overnight stay!

The sisters...
Left:   Sue, Beth, Janet, Sharon, Karen, Theresa, Marilyn, Doris, Pat, Lydia, Joan

Wednesday-Friday, November 8-10

Wednesday - I left Bloomington at 7:50 and on my way to Mendota where I met sister-in-law Linda and friend Carol (we did crafts together for many years) at Cindy's for breakfast.    So good to catch up as I had not talked to Carol in years.    I'm staying at Bob and Linda's for a few days.   I decorated Linda's Christmas tree while listening to the holiday tunes.   I appreciate her asking me if I wanted to do the tree cause as a nomad I don't get to do that!!!    It was fun and here's the finished project (minus the star at the top which Blair pointed out right away when I sent a picture).

The tree without a star!

I visited my cousin Jim at the Lutheran Home in the afternoon and sat with him for the hour-long sing along led by Michelle playing the guitar.    22 of us sang all so many old timey songs!!!    My cousin Dick and Mary came for drinks and then we all went to The China House for their excellent buffet (always a treat when we come to Mendota).    Great fun visiting and eating!

Mark arrived in Newton, NC and staying with Brooke and the kids (Michael is in California).

Thursday - Linda and I left around 8:45 for Geneva and shopping at Little Traveler.   Oh what fun and the perfect way to get us in the spirit of the season,   This is just thee most wonderful huge house that is full of everything (clothing, gifts, holiday décor, toys and much more)!!!

We had a great day and then topped it off with my Aunt Marian coming over and along with Bob, Linda and me, we played 4-handed euchre, drank wine, ate pizza and apple pie alamode
.    Lots of fun!!!

Mark was off to Nebo to stay with Annette, Luke and Maeve (Philip is working in Florida).    He took Luke to his swim lesson in the afternoon after pre school.

Friday - Bob and Linda left for Glen Ellyn and a big shopping weekend with their daughter Jennifer.    I left for Rockford to pick up Janet (sister) and then to Panera to buy pastries for tomorrow's breakfast (my contribution).     So 11 of us are hanging out together (missing Nancy) at Doris' hone on Eagle Lake near Kansasville, WI. 
Mark took Luke to school and then how fortunate that he was there on just the right day for "Grandparents Day".    He thoroughly enjoyed the morning and then lunch with Luke at school.
Tonight he's in London, KY.

 Grandpa and Luke
6 of us played Hand 'n Foot in the afternoon and then 4 more rolled in around 5.    We had Mexican Spaghetti, Lydia's wonderful homemade egg rolls and lots more....oink oink!!!

Beth arrived around 9ish...and now we're all here and the fun continues!

Tuesday - November 7

My man is "70" years young today!
Wish we were together to celebrate!
The Birthday Boy put Daisy in storage this morning and then
 drove Toad all day towards North Carolina arriving 
tomorrow at Michael and Brooke's.
I had several errands this morning and spent 3 hours running around in the cold and wind, but all good and now back settled in and catching up on computer stuff and packing for tomorrow....

Delicious dinner at Anne and Patrick's - sweet 'n sour meatloaf, baked potatoes and corn +++ s'mores ice cream pie!   Oh my...nothing like good comfort food on a cold night!

Gee whiz....3 homes on the kids block have their 
Christmas lights on!!!

Mark is in Yemassee, SC tonight and drove to Beaufort (a favorite of ours) and had dinner at Wren (another favorite).    He's had a good day and will be back on the road tomorrow.

I'm leaving in the morning for Mendota and spending a few days with Bob and Linda, followed by Sisters' Weekend in Dover, WI. 

Monday - November 6

Blustery day that started out sunny, but didn't last long and back to the dreary gray skies!    Anne took the boys to school, I loaded up rest of my stuff and was off to Grove Street Bakery to pick up breakfast pastries to celebrate Mark's birthday (tomorrow).     Enjoyed all the goodies and coffee, but especially visiting with Brenda, Bev and Sigrunn.    Missed Sue who is in Florida.
I went to Eastland Suites and checked into our "home" for the next 6 weeks.    We couldn't have the same suite we've had past 2 years, but have a similar one with a full-size closet (had an armoire before).    Anne (she took the day off) came and helped me (3 loads with luggage cart) move all the stuff from truck into room.   Really appreciate her help as the boys loaded the truck on Saturday.    Spent the afternoon unpacking and settling in!
Good to be back here.

I met the Monday Night Friends at Olive Garden (8 of us) - good food and lively conversation!

Sunday - Noember 5

Fog and rain and just a yucky day!    So damp....come on back sunshine.....PLEEZE!
We all enjoyed the extra hour of sleep and off to 10:00 Mass where we were greeters and gift bearers.    Stopped at Jewel for a few groceries and on home for about 40 minutes and off to hockey game!     This household is a whirlwind!!!
The boys won 5-0 with each scoring a goal!    Always exciting to watch them!
Patrick left at 3:30 for his adult hockey league game which they lost 10-1
Mark had a good afternoon visiting Ron and Vicki and friends Dan and Sue in Lakeland.
We had bbq chicken, sweet potato (Patrick and me), mac 'n cheese (boys) and cole slaw for supper.

Anne is home so all our kids/grandkids who have been traveling are back where they need to be!
Everyone enjoyed their weekend in AZ, IA, IN and FL.

Saturday - November 4

Woke up to fog and rain.....ugh!     We all slept in this morning and left for breakfast at Bob Evans at 9:30.    Then went our separate ways - the boys and I to storage and loaded up the truck with clothes and stuff we'll need at Eastland Suites where Mark and I will be staying the next 6 weeks.  I'm moving in on Monday!    Sure appreciate the manpower!

Patrick took off to get his trailer for band gig in Chicago tonight and then grocery shopping.  The boys and I went to the mall as they wanted to see the new I-phone X!    They were impressed....boys and their technology!!!

Wow....this is awesome!!!

We walked around the mall which is pitiful as so many stores are closed.    The holiday decorations are up but not many people out and about.    Just not in the holiday mood yet - the Christmas tunes are on the radio (started November 1st - not that I'm listening), but have done very little shopping!
Bought them a smoothie and chiller at Gloria Jeans + some marble pound cake.

The boys had friends over this afternoon - they played football and we all watched the Iowa Hawkeyes beat Ohio State 55-24 (big upset).    Was so hoping we would see the boys (Michael, Philip, Ryan, Drew, Davis, Brady) on ESPN but didn't happen!   
 They are beyond excited and thrilled!     67,669 in attendance today!

During the Hawkeyes home games at the end of the first quarter, the fans all turn around and wave at the children in the new hospital that overlooks Kinnick Stadium.    Such a neat tradition that was started this year!!!

Connor, Drew, Liam, Jack watching the game

 Anne having fun in Phoenix

Luke's "Pa" built this dinosaur and here's Luke helping paint it.

So proud of the finished project!

Connor and I played more rummikube (close games and have a tally going). 
  We had Monicals' pizza for dinner!    

Friday - November 3

Ahhhh, the sunshine came my 3rd day back!    Ha!    Felt so good but will be short lived as next 2 days rain is in the forecast!!!
I took the boys to school and then to storage to get a few things and onto Panera to meet Sharon for breakfast.    We had so much to catch up on over our pastries/coffee/tea +++ finalize plans for our NYC trip coming in just a few weeks!    3 hours later, I drove back to Anne's and hung out till it was lunch time!!!     Picked Donna Rae up at Westminster and we were off to Olive Garden.    Also a quick stop at Barnes and Noble - I ran in to pick up the new "Chicken Soup for the Soul"
 Christmas book for her!
So, it was a fun day with 2 good friends, good food, etc.
Ran a few more errands and then picked Connor up from school and his friend Blaise.    Took Blaise home and Connor and I came on to his house.    Patrick had just gotten home and Liam went home with his friend Rem to work on a school project.   He'll be home later tonight.
Connor beat me in rummikube and then went to his friend Drew's house.

Patrick left to play a piano show at Lake Bloomington, so just hanging out with Connor!
Mark is in Lakeland for the next 3 nights and will be seeing my brother Ron and Vicki.    He continues to work on Daisy projects!

Thursday - November 2

Rainy and foggy this morning and dreary rest of the day but warmer - almost balmy out!!!     Anne took the boys to school and then she was off to Peoria for her flight to Mesa.   
I ran a bunch of errands (1st stop was to storage and get out some heavier coats, gloves, etc.) and then met Brenda at Los Portrillos for lunch and so fun to catch up.   She's doing well after her 2nd knee replacement surgery.
Came back to Anne and Patrick's and did a bunch of computer stuff and then picked the boys up at 3:15.
I was hoping to see some pretty fall color while back here in central IL, but kind of blah.....there is the occasional colorful tree, but still a lot of green!

Avanti's delivered us some yummy Italian for dinner!
Mark is in Lake City, FL tonight - he had a good day of travel and catching up on Daisy jobs!

Anne is with her friend, Sue in sunny, warm Arizona!

Wednesday - November 1

I'm back in Illinois, but not a very nice welcome!    Ha......cold, windy and raining!    Mark took me to Louis Armstrong International Airport this morning around 8ish.    Everything went well with my Southwest flight, but then crazy ridiculous long wait at the Hertz counter to get my rental car.    I was getting my bags at 12:40 but didn't leave airport till after 2:00!     UGH!
Oh well, it was all worth it to pull up in front of the Campbell's and Liam and Connor come running out to meet me and carry in bags.   Now that's my kind of "welcome"!!!     I turned in rental car at airport and now driving our truck which Anne left at airport.
Here are some little sweeties from last night...
Beautiful witch in North Carolina
Wonder Woman in Georgia

Airline pilot in Georgia
and today, ready to fly the jet out of Atlanta to his Nana and Pa's home in Illinois
 (Daddy was along for the ride)!

Luke in the Captain's seat
Our family is coming and going these next few days.....Mark, Daisy and Toad are in Bonifay, FL tonight (west of Tallahassee).   Philip and Luke flew to II,  I flew to IL, Anne is flying to Mesa, AZ tomorrow to visit a friend,  Patrick is going to Chicago tomorrow and Saturday, Michael is back from Boston, Annette and Maeve will be driving from GA to NC, Michael, his 3 boys and Ryan are flying to Iowa tomorrow and will meet Philip there for the big game between Iowa and Ohio State Saturday in Iowa City,    Brooke, Blair and sister-in-law, Leigh, are driving to Indianapolis tomorrow for weekend wedding!
I'm going to be with Liam and Connor - Patrick has several music commitments throughout the weekend so boys and I will "hold down the fort"!
Anne and Patrick went to 5:30 Mass and then brought home Popeyes for supper.    The boys had their All Saints Day mass at school and Liam served.