Sunday-Monday, December 30-31

Hello from Okeechobee where we arrived Sunday afternoon around 12:15     Very poor internet service so no blog last night.    Mark is working on it as we hate when we are not connected!!!

Sunday -  we were up early and went to 6:45 Mass followed by a trip to Publix.  Back to our lot and got Flo ready for departure.    2-hour trip over here to Water's Edge and so good to be back.    Lots of nice changes since we were here last January.     Good to see old friends and meet new ones from Myrtle Beach and Des Moines. 

Settled Flo in her new spot from where we had Daisy.    Went for a bike ride, Mark put new weight bench together and then it was Happy Hour time under the tiki hut.    Fun catching up with everyone and planning our NY Eve party tonight starting at 4.

A bank had taken over a few years ago as previous owners went bankrupt.    And then, the bank went bankrupt!!!!!    So, this summer, 2 guys bought it and have made some great changes......all new mulch around all the shrubs, palm trees, etc. pretty colored umbrellas around the pool, painted furniture outside club house, nice picnic tables here and there, hammock, etc.   +++ a brand new water system throughout the park. 

New Year's Eve - breakfast and exercised with new weight bench on our patio,    Rode my bike around the park (much smaller than Cypress Trail) and late morning we went into town and picked up a few goodies for tonight's NY Eve party.

Anne and Connor were Salvation Army bell ringers in December and recently pictured in the Pantagraph - unfortunately, the Salvation Army did not meet their goal this year.

Anne is ringing the bell and Connor is holding the bucket

A big "thank you for your service" to Ryan today as he completes his military career with the Navy.   He served almost 13 years.   Very proud of you, Ryan!

Mark and I have many happy memories and experiences including his winging ceremony in 2006 in Kingsville, TX, the Tiger Cruise trip on the USS Stennis in 2012 and all the thrills of watching Ryan narrate and then fly #6 and #5 as a Blue Angel.    We'll forever cherish all the friends we met along the way....

On this last day of 2018, Mark put our annual stats together for our travels this past year and a breakdown of where we stayed each night:

Daisy/Flo - 212 
Hotels - 43
Family/friends - 30
Boat slips - 78
At anchor - 2
We had a fun New Year's Eve party at the clubhouse with lots of yummy appetizers and desserts.     So neat meeting new folks and seeing more old friends.    As usual, though, the party broke up well before midnight but included a few fireworks to add a festive touch!

H A P P Y   N E W   Y E A R
to all my faithful blogger fans.  
 May you be blessed with a very happy, healthy 2019

Saturday - December 29

Foggy and very high humidity with everything soaking wet!    But the fog went away, sun came out and it was a very nice day in southwest FL.

Mark worked on several projects in the shed again  - he's been a real do-it-yourself-guy and getting my "she" shed and his "man" cave all up and operating.     So thankful and happy he's so handy!

Today he installed wall hook-up for my new Dyson vacuum cleaner, towel holder and Gracie who has been in storage for almost 4 years.    She used to hang on our porch on Jackson Street.
 Gracie is now a Florida Girl
Shopping for the "fun" stuff - new floor mat

We ran some errands late morning and came home with more "Mark projects"!    We started this whole shed project back in March when we ordered shed, hired a contractor and started the permit process.    Here we are on December 29th and ALLELUIA -  we can say we are finally done!!!   

Final project

Tomorrow we are taking Flo to Okeechobee at Water's Edge RV Resort for the month of January.    Our friends, Bill and Charmaine will be parking their motor coach on our lot and welcome to use all our new stuff!!!

We had paid the deposit last January in Okeechobee (not knowing we would be buying a lot in Fort Myers).    We really enjoy the friends we've met there and love going to Stuart for shopping, eating, etc.   This will be our last year to spend January there, but looking forward to seeing all the Water's Edge gang again!

Friday - December 28

Warm sunny day - thinking of our kiddos in Bloomington and North Carolina and all the rain the past few days.

   It was a good productive day here at Lot #102.    We just kept plugging away with Mark installing the add-on-blinds to shed doors and shelving unit.   I got all the clothes organized in closets, bins, etc. and did the first load of laundry!    LOVE it!!!   We made a trip to Lowes and happy to be coming down the home stretch!

New patio set - still need umbrella
My new laundry room 
Shelves ready and waiting for our stuff
We went to The Hut for dinner....great shrimp and maple/bourbon glazed salmon.    Then to Target, Home Depot and Lowes (again).

The 3 littles went to a play and art center in Morganton
Blair, Luke, Maeve
Have a great weekend!

Thursday - December 27

We are happy campers tonight back on Flo and busy little beavers settling in!    It was 81 with lots of sunshine!

 Good trip from Macon leaving at 6 AM arriving here at 2.   We unloaded a bunch of stuff from truck you probably wonder why we were so loaded down.............well, we sure did have a bit of everything...(clothes, things for the "she" shed, Mark's Craftsman tool chest, clothes, Christmas gifts, clothes, and of course, just more "stuff').    We love our stuff!   Ha....

But the big news is that Mark has my new washer and dryer installed!   Yeah.....

We kept on chugging away till almost dark, got everything carried inside Flo or shed and then went to The Mix Grill for supper.    When we came out, it was raining....another quick little FL shower.

Driving back home, we drove around the park and saw lots of holiday decor on RV's, sheds, trees, etc.

Tomorrow we will get rest of our stuff put away - "a place for everything (hopefully?) and everything in its place"!!!

Wednesday - December 26

Hello from Macon, Georgia.....LONG day of travel as we left our Eastland Suite and Bloomington at 3:50 AM (central time).     2 big days of travel and wanted to put in a really big day today (not our thing, but glad we did - 750 miles with 500 more to go)!    Arrived in Macon at 6;00 PM (eastern time).

Most of the day was sunny, traffic was heavy and I drove about 1 1/2 hours - had planned to share more of the driving, but.....with the heavy traffic, Mark said he would keep on truckin'.    What a guy!   Neither of us like to drive in the dark, but he doesn't mind the early morning hours, so....

We are excited to get back to Flo, unload our stuff and have several items on the job list for our new shed "she" shed.....and part "man" cave!    Till tomorrow...

Our North Carolina grandchildren..
.Drew, Davis, Brady
Blair, Luke, Maeve

Christmas - 2018


We hope you've had a memorable Christmas Day with your families!    We are back at Eastland after a very enjoyable day with Anne, Patrick, Liam and Connor.     We all had breakfast at 9:15 hashbrown, sausage, cheese casserole, magic marshmallow crescents and poinsettia mimosas!   All delish and then off to open presents.    Loved all our special gifts from our kids/grandkids!    So fun and so blessed!
Connor with "Miracle on Ice" hockey shirt 
Checking in with friends OR playing games? 
Liam and new monogrammed blanket 

We adults played euchre in the afternoon while the boys enjoyed the outdoors with new hockey equipment.   Anne and I were up 2-0 winning and the guys came back and won 3 straight....arghhh! It was 47 and sunny....same temp as North Carolina.   Did face time with the NC kids/kiddos while they were on the boat - burrr...later did face time with Davis and Brady who wisely stayed indoors!   
Rudolph (aka Ryan) and Santa (aka Philip) out on the boat Christmas Day

Delicious ham dinner with all the trimmings (scalloped potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, orange fluff salad, rolls, pumpkin and apple pies).    We said our good byes with lots of hugs but nice to know we'll see them (weather permitting) in late January.
The cooks whipping up an awesome Christmas dinner
Thanks for a great day - bye bye boys!

Mark finished packing up last of our stuff - the plan is to leave very early tomorrow - "Fort Myers, here we come"!!!

So.....again, Merry Christmas and nighty night!!!!

Christmas Eve - 2018

Happy Christmas Eve 

Its been a busy Christmas Eve for the nomads but all our work is done and now ready to party and celebrate the birth of our Savior.

We exercised and Patrick came over to pick up all the gifts we've been storing for their family and our gifts to them. 

We packed up all our stuff here at Eastland Suites (winter clothes, Christmas decor, etc.) and took to storage.     Our 10x20 unit is now empty waiting for someone else's treasures.   We have 2 smaller units to hold furniture and rest of our stuff.  

Feels good to have downsized so much and proud of ourselves that we did it!!!

So 2 trips to storage, truck fully packed for Florida (amazed how Mark fit it all in)!    He's the best when it comes to packing a truck or car and so far, have never had to tie stuff to the top like the Clampetts'.   Ha!

Although we will not have a White Christmas, the weather is sure mild with temps in the 40's and lots of sunshine. 

So grateful to Linda, Barb, Martha, Rhea and Judy for the delicious homemade goodies they gave us this month!    Very much appreciated and enjoyed!

Made some tortilla soup and around 4, we went to the Campbell's for soup, appetizers, wine, etc.    We all went to 7:00 Mass at St. Mary's!

The Campbell's


M E R R Y   C H R I S T M A S
to all
and to all a GOOD NIGHT !!!

Friday-Sunday, December 21-23

Friday - Cold and windy with snow showers this morning.    I got a haircut, Mark took Liam to school and then ran some errands.   I finished packing and then got a mani-pedi.    We left for our weekend of family Christmas celebrations.    Since it was lunch time, we stopped at Green Gables by Lake Bloomington for some good ole cheeseburgers and cheese balls. yummy!

Stopped to visit my cousin Jim at the Mendota Lutheran Home.    Had a nice visit and hung up his latest Christmas cards. 
Cousins - Pat and Jim

Also got to see an old grade and high school classmate (Bugsie) 
Bugsie or Bugs

Then to Bob and Linda's.   Their son Jason is home for the holidays from Boston.    We picked up my Aunt Marian from Stonecroft and what a nice evening.    My cousin Dick and Mary stopped by.   We had some awesome soup and appetizers.    Dick and Mary went home after supper and rest of us played 6-handed euchre.   So much fun with the girls beating the guys 2 out of 2.   Chocolate/peppermint dessert finished off the evening!    What a special "Mini Dinges" Christmas

Mary, Jason, Bob, Pat, Dick, Linda
Aunt Marian (90 years young)

Saturday - dreary day but after breakfast, Mark and I were on our way to Dixon for the big Chamberlain Christmas - several gathered at the Holloway Center (connected to St. Pat's) for lunch and then played games.    The family just kept trickling in all afternoon.    We all went to 4:30 Mass and then had a bountiful feast.....100+ strong  with so many babies and toddlers.    The next generation took over some of the sibling duties from years past.    Big gift exchange followed dinner and then, the party broke up with some going home and most back to the hotel.    We played lots  more games, drank wine, nibbled on more goodies and made a memorable Christmas 2018 memory.

Sunday - Breakfast at the hotel with more visiting and then hugs and good byes as everyone went their merry way home with all the last-minute preparations for Christmas.    We drove to Princeton and had a nice visit with Annette's parents (Dave and Judy) at their lovely home in the country.    Walked around outdoors and saw some of the 58 new evergreen (different kinds) trees they planted this fall.     Back to Bloomngton, stopping at Menards and then "home" in our little suite for a few more days to start packing up our stuff and get ready for Florida....But Christmas Eve and Day coming up and looking forward to celebrating with the Campbell's.

Sweet Maeve wearing Santa hat and Reindeer antlers!

So sorry to hear this morning that Dr. Jim Zimmerman who was Ryan's pediatrician, passed away from glioblastoma (brain cancer).   He was such a wonderful man and doctor with such a gentle manner.    Dr. Z was only 71.  

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Dad.   He would've been 101 today!!!
Many happy memories of celebrating with you over the years...   

Thursday - December 20

Dreary day with rain coming.....we exercised with our new routine from Larry.   I took Liam to school as he has later start time today and tomorrow (algebra at the high school is finished for the semester).   Then to my last PT session - can't thank Tricia and Donna enough for making my shoulder
 feel sooo good! 

Back to Eastland and finished up laundry which Mark had started.     Met Martha and Bob at Garden of Paradise - yummy lunch and great visit.   Always fun to be together and yak about our families, travels, winter plans, etc....

Martha and Bob

Mark got a haircut in the afternoon.   Later we took more things to storage.  Nasty rainy afternoon and evening.    We were invited to our friends, Earl and Rhea's home for wine and appetizers.    What fun to be together again and catch up.   We had dinner at Mandarin Garden, a favorite of all.

Rhea and Earl

 I was in Exchange Club with Earl (Martha, too) and they have been big fans and supporters of Ryan and the Blue Angels.    Earl received the "Normal Citizen of the Year" award this summer.    Well deserved!!!

This completes the socializing for December here in Bloomington - sure have enjoyed all the breakfasts, lunches and dinners, but most of all, being with dear, long-time friends.  

Santa and Luke 
Maeve with Mommy - still not sure of the big guy in red!
Earlier this week, Luke's class had breakfast with Santa and then took a carriage ride (in their jammies) around downtown Morganton.

Tomorrow we are off to Mendota and then Dixon on Saturday for family Christmases.    So, taking a break from the blog!    Have a great weekend!

Wednesday - December 19

Blair was chosen to portray "Mary" in her school Christmas program this morning featuring the PS3, PK4 and kindergarten classes
"Mary" and her best friend, Maddie

Blair had a speaking part and did awesome!    Brooke sent a video - wish we could've been there.

Mark took our truck to Ford dealer this morning to have side mirror replaced.    When we were in NC for Thanksgiving, he had the oil changed and they accidentally hit the mirror on a pole moving it into building.     A new one was ordered, shipped to us and now having replaced.

Congratulations to Patrick and TWELVE years of sobriety today!!!!    Very proud of him!

Mark has been wearing Christmas socks every day in December for many years.    And now for the parade of socks (just some of them)....stripes, Santas, Gingerbread, tin soldiers, trees, ornaments, etc.

My sister-in-law Vicki had fluid drained from her lung this afternoon and now home resting.    She will get the results next Wednesday.   Thanks so much for the prayers....

We had dinner at Olive Garden and then settled in for the night with good books, TV, etc.   It was nice 'n sunny but very windy today, so felt much colder than the 50 degrees we reached!

Tuessday - December 18 all this central IL sunshine and another day in the upper 40's....not too shabby for December!!!     We were off to see Larry Strong at 8 for a final review of the new weights and other exercises he is having us do!     Then to Panera for a quick breakfast - I have a free bagel coming from them every day in December...what a deal.    Only taken advantage 2x but sure love those cinnamon crunch bagels.

We picked up a few groceries and on home.    We met Marty (or Mr. Marty as our grandkids called him).    Marty is a dear friend and former next-door neighbor and we had a great lunch at Jim's Steakhouse.   We caught up on our kids/grandkids and the Jackson Street neighbors. 
 So fun to be together!

Mr. Marty
The Petite Maurice with Brittany dressing - a LONG-time favorite at Jim's

We stocked up on wine at Binny's and then a nice relaxing afternoon of reading and catching up on e-mails.

Tonight we met Barb and Roger at the Ozark House - great food and fun evening with good friends.    We sat and almost closed the place down with lots of yakking and laughs.    And then Barb sent these beauties home with us - her assorted Christmas cookies including homemade caramels.

Great evening with Barb and Roger

And the cookies..

Monday - December 17

Another pretty sunny day....Mark had an 8:00 dentist appointment and then picked me up and off to breakfast with the Monday morning McDonalds group.

The guys
 Jerry, Mark, Darrel, Gary, Ken, Pat, Marty

The gals
Sigrunn, Bev, Brenda, Sue, Pat

Said our good byes as we won't see most of these friends till next spring.    Pat, Brenda, Sue and Jerry will be coming to FL in January, so more fun coming up!

Mark and I ran some errands and picked up lunch at McAlister's (great chicken salad) and brought it home.     I had noon appt. for therapy with Donna....1 more session to go.    The shoulder is doing great and so thankful for no pain and great range of motion!!!

We went to Sacrament of Reconciliation tonight at St. Patrick of Merna.    

Our sister-in-law, Vicki (Ron's wife) is back in the hospital with chest pains and shortness of breath.   They've run bunches of tests - no results yet.    Please pray.     She sounded so good when we talked a few days ago.....what is going on???

Sunday - December 16

Our day was off and running with early starts for hockey games, but nice that they played back-to-back.    Very exciting game for Liam and although they lost 9-7, he scored 4 goals.    Connor's team lost 7-2 and Connor scored the 2 goals.    So proud of these guys and their aggressiveness on the ice - they give it their ALL!!!


Back home after the games (around 10:20) and worked on the last of the bins.

Connor came over this afternoon and interviewed me - I will be his Confirmation sponsor in 2020 and the process has begun.   I am so honored that he asked me.

Mark took another load of bins to storage - other than our Christmas things here, we are officially DONE with bins (aren't you happy you don't have to hear that word again???    We sure are)!!!

A bright sunny day with temperature reaching 48 degrees!    We took Connor to the mall - first time for me to be out there.    We walked around 1 time - surprisingly, for as few stores with all the anchors gone (Macy's, Bergners, Sears, Penney's, MC Sporting Goods) there were lots of shoppers.    Connor had a treat at Mrs. Fields and then we all enjoyed some drinks at Gloria Jean's.

Took Connor home and spent the rest-of-the afternoon relaxing with good books by a nice fire listening to the Christmas tunes.

Michael and Ryan had so much fun at Jackson Hole.   Yesterday they skied almost 24 miles and today, 25 miles!    Whoaaa....their tired and achy bones...but maybe not and best thing is not many falls and no broken bones    On home tomorrow!
Ryan and Michael 

Great leftover Chinese for supper
Wishing you all a calmer last-week-before Christmas!

Saturday - December 15

Bright sunny day with lots of sunshine and brisk breeze.    We exercised using Larry's new routine - glad we're going in Tuesday for a refresher course as so much new stuff to remember!

I visited with Donna Rae at her Westminster Village apartment.    We sat and yakked over delicious French vanilla cappuccinos and then she took me on a tour of the new addition and all the big remodel.   It is just beautiful and so warm and homey decorated for Christmas.   I was so impressed!    We had lunch at the sandwich shop (very good chili and grilled cheese) and then we said our good byes till next spring.... 😢

Donna Rae making some yummy cappuccinos

Back to Eastland - finished the cards!!!    We went to 4:30 Mass at Holy Trinity and had a nice visit afterwards with Jim and Sherry.    Jim and Mark worked together many years ago.

Mandarin Garden for supper (our favorite Chinese) and on home!

Friday - December 14

Very foggy morning....we were off to Gridley and met Barb and Roger at the Common Grounds Cafe and Pie Shop.    This place opened in the past year and our first time to visit.    Dixie, the aunt of the owner has for years been known in the area for her delicious home-cooking, baking, etc.     Years ago, I visited her home several times with friends and enjoyed fabulous lunches.    I had not seen Dixie for a very long time....she is sweet as ever and so glad she was in the cafe this morning and had already made 12 pies!!!
Barb and Roger

Great seeing Barb and Roger over good coffee/latte and biscuits and gravy (Roger), breakfast casserole (Mark), quiche and caramel pecan roll (Barb) and quiche for me.    Sooo good and such a cute place that was a former gas station!   We brought treats home for breakfast tomorrow!

The fog was a little better when we left for Bloomington, but as the afternoon wore on, it got worse and just a very yucky day.   I did 3 loads of laundry and worked on the cards.   Had good chats with my 2 sisters-in-law (Linda and Vicki).    Vicki is doing well after her scary knee replacement episode!

Did a bit more sorting of bins - we are "ALMOST" done......getting giddy about this!!!

Tonight we met John and Teresa for dinner at Baxter's - we were neighbors on Jackson Street over 12 years ago.     What fun to catch up!   Teresa is the head swimming coach at IL Wesleyan and it's been 3 years since we were together.

Teresa, John, Pat, Mark

Michael and Ryan are in Jackson Hole this weekend skiing.    Ryan will start training on the 757 in January in Memphis.

Thursday - December 13

Foggy morning as we were off at 8 AM to meet with Larry Strong who was our personal trainer many years ago with weight lifting and strength endurance,.    He was sooo helpful after my shoulder incident and then gave us exercises to do while we're traveling.   We decided it was time for a refresher course and our doctor mentioned some things we should work on (lower body and balance) when we were there Monday for our physicals.

Great to see Larry again - been 6 years and also our friend, former neighbor and Monday morning breakfast buddy, Sigrunn who was there working out, too!    Larry wants to see us again 1 more time to make sure we've got this all figured out!

Quick stops at Panera and CVS and back to Eastland - I changed clothes and Claire picked me up at 9:45 and we had a fun outing shopping and then lunch at our favorite - Biaggi's (forgot a picture - duh!!!!!).     We will be together in Fort Myers this winter.....but till then, enjoyed some holiday cheer and catching up!     Claire dropped me off at therapy for 1:15 session with Donna (one of my favorite therapists from years ago).    We had a lot of yakkin to do while she worked with my shoulder and taught me new stuff.    Mark picked me up, back to Eastland for a bit and then I picked the boys up from school.   It is very yucky out this afternoon with drizzle and fog.    Patrick is playing a private party at Eastland Suites from 3-6.    We could just walk across the parking lot and crash it?    Love his keyboard playing and singing....oldies and Christmas tunes.

Forgot to mention yesterday that Mark had a dermatologist appt. and got a few spots zapped.   He has sold some of his bigger equipment in storage - air compressor and shop vac thru Facebook Marketplace.

I met 5 of my Monday Night Friends for happy hour at Baxter's - great fun over 2 bottles of wine and 4 appetizers!    A whole lot of chatter going on....
Jody, Ruth, Linda, Donna, Pat, Brenda 

Wednesday - December 12

H A P P Y    B I R T H D A Y
Michael and Anne
48 years young

Anne and I had a fun morning starting with treats from Starbucks.    She sorted thru more treasures and then we were off to shop in Uptown Normal followed by a delicious lunch at Destihl.   It was sunny today but very windy!
Fun birthday lunch and shopping

She brought me home and I went thru more pics and she went home to wrap gifts.

I had appt. with Alan, nurse practitioner and then home.

Tonight we met the Campbell's and celebrated with the birthday girl at Lucca....great food and company!

Here we are celebrating Anne and eating....again!

Sooo many memories from 48 years ago - especially the shock and absolute surprise of having 2 babies when we were only expecting one!     What a joy these 2 have been but where oh where have the years gone???