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December 2016 - France, USA

December 31, 2016

We've had a busy fun time in Minnesota with Patrick, Nicci Josie, Emma, and Allie. Christopher. Mary, Madison and Jack arrived from Tennessee for Christmas on Thursday. Justin's family planned to drive to MN but they got the flu bug so they were unable to come from Chicago. Friday we took the kids to the Mall of America to the Crayola Experience. Great fun was had by all and we enjoyed a lunch at the Rainforest Cafe.

Christmas Eve after mass we had our family celebration opening Grandma and Grandpa, Mommy and Daddy gifts. Christmas morning Santa gifts and stockings were opened. We drove to Maple Lake to Al's sister Connie and Steve's house for the Pribyl family celebration. We stayed overnight because our nephew Steve and Jamie invited us for Boxing Day celebration, games and horseback rides for all of the kids. Busy week playing with Santa gifts and some new Christmas games. Only put together one small puzzle.

December 18, 2016

Busy 10 days in Chicago with our son Justin, Chris, Sara and Lucy. It was extremely cold with below zero F temperatures and windchill. Al and I kept the girls home from daycare/nursery school and just enjoyed playing with the girls.

We visited the Chicago Science and Industry one day and visited Santa there. They also had a wonderful display of traditional Christmas Trees from around the World. Al and I had visited 35 of the countries represented there. Great museum and we only spent a couple of hours visiting areas of great interest to the little girls.

One evening we braved the cold and went to the fantastic Lincoln Park Zoo Christmas Lights display. Fortunately the African building was still open and heated so we could warm up mid-way through.

Sara had her 5 year old birthday party a week early so Grandma and Grandpa got to help with that. We did arts and crafts at "Michaels" and had birthday cake.

Yesterday we visited the Garfield Park Conservatory. Beautiful plants, flowers and decorated with poinsettas for the holidays.

December 6, 2016

We were busy this week preparing to go home. Al needed to winterize the engine and water systems on the boat just in case it's unusually cold winter. He also bought "Boat Command". This is a boat monitering system that allows him to check on battery levels, temp in the boat and outside, tells if and how many times the bilge has come on, highwater sensor, and if anyone has gained access to the boat. He can remotely by phone turn on the boat lights, heater, bilge pump.

We had breakfast with our Syrian neighbor and his visiting father. He has rented the boat until July. He is an International Affairs student and speaks fluent English and French after just one year. He also bartends at a restaurant on the left bank. Nice young man who feels fortunate that he and his family were able to leave Syria and relocate in France. The rest of his family is in Lyon.

I've been busy with laundry, packing and cleaning before we leave. Al and I have been asked to speak at the Great Lakes Cruising Associations Winter gathering in Roseville, Mn in January. So we've also been busy creating a Power Point presentation of The Adventures of Artemis from Port Superior Wisconsin 2005 to Paris France 2016. Excited to be fly to Chicago on Thursday.

France | Paris | Parc Monceau

France | Paris | Place de la Bastille| street Musicians

France | Paris | Institut Monde Arabe | traditional dhow for Ocean Explorers exhibition

December 4, 2016

Our last Sunday walk in Paris this year. We fly to Chicago on Thursday. We walked back to Bastille after church via Hausseman and the Christmas windows at Printemps thru Les Halles and then down along the River Seine. We visited market at Bastille then had lunch on Artemis. After lunch we went out for another 3.5 miles to hear an Orchestra Concert Romeo and Juliet, Hungarian Rhapsody -Liszt with excellent violin soloist...

December 1, 2016

We listened to a fabulous young 21yr. old pianist, Jean-Paul Gasparian play at the Petit Palais yesterday. Amazing artist and such stage presence. The music seemed to flow through his whole body and added to our listening experience. After the concert we walked the Christmas Market on the Champs Elysees and bought a sausage for lunch. The ferris wheel is back at Concord, the fountains in Tuilleres are frozen. The ducks are slip sliding as they search for food. We decided to walk through Palais Royal gardens today and down Rue Montorgueil, a pedestrian street lined with shops and restaurants and the Halles shopping area. Al bought a new hat as he left his in our rental car.

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