The End of a Decade

First, I want to address the big changes in 2019 as it has been a whirlwind of a year once July creeped around. In July I started a new job, October we sold our house and moved back into the RV and in November I started taking care of me. I’ll expand on all of this in a minute. In the meantime, let’s look back on the last decade.

In December 2009 I moved to Nashville to start a new journey. I received my bachelors degree the day before I made the move. My children were all grown and had left home doing their own thing, my husband had passed away 22 months prior and I needed a new start. I moved hoping I could find myself and learn to live on my own terms. This would be my first time ever being on my own with no one to care for but myself. I was scared and thrilled all at the same time. People thought I was crazy to walk away from the only life I had known and start over with so many unknowns.

Bachelor Degree Graduation, 2009

The years following brought 3 new grandbabies, 2 marriages (one of which was my own), 2 new homes (one in 2013 and one in 2018), several jobs and a lot of traveling. My life was turned upside down and right side up many times over through the years that followed and subsequently ending a decade of my life in 2019.

GRANDBABIES

My first granddaughter, Madison Grace, was born in 2013. I wasn’t able to make her birth like I did the first grandchild in 2004, but it didn’t make her arrival any less eventful. Nana arrived about 3 days after she got here and was thrilled to finally have a little girl to shower my love and attention on. I handmade several outfits and have continued to make clothes and purses and other things for her throughout her first six years of life. She likes gymnastics, loves to read and is finally coming out of her shell.

Madison Grace, 2013

In 2014 and 2017 I gained two more grandchildren, a boy, Jackson Brian, and a girl, Ryan Mackenzie (brother and sister). One was born in Nashville and the other in Louisiana. I was fortunate to be there when they were born and love every minute I get to see them. Jackson is the most laid back child I have ever seen. He is very well mannered and loves animals. Ryan is a spitball and full of shit and vinegar (a saying my mother use to use back in the day). Both are loved by many and missed by their Nana more than they will ever know.

Jackson Brian, 2014

Ryan Mackenzie, 2017

MARRIAGES

In 2014 we had two weddings, mine and my daughter, Christine. The timing might not have been the best, as we were married exactly one week apart, but we made the best of it and both had the wedding we wanted. She got married in a church and I got married in a little chapel, both here in Nashville. My mom was able to attend Christine’s wedding which helped make up for those that weren’t here. It was hard to get through the day without her dad. No daughter should have to get married without their daddy walking them down the aisle.

Christine’s Wedding, 2014

My Wedding, 2014

JOBS

I started and ended the decade working at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Unfortunately, I did not work there the entire decade. Instead I had several jobs in between as we traveled the country from 2015 – 2017, which didn’t allow for a steady job. I took jobs to feel in the gaps and provide a little play money along the way. During my many jobs I have made friends with some wonderful people with whom I will always be grateful I have in my life.

MEMORIES

One of my fondest memories is from 2010 when I went to karaoke at the Maxwell Millennium Hotel. It was always a thrill to get up there and sing even when I picked the wrong song and sounded like a doofus. The memories made will last a lifetime.

Going through online studies for my masters degree made a lot of memories that I would rather forget. The late nights studying and the aggravation made me question my sanity sometimes, but in the end it was worth all the headaches when I received that degree.

Masters Degree Graduation, 2012

The one thing about memories is they are always in our memory bank and there is no way I could ever express all the memories I have made in the last 10 years. I am so grateful for all the people with whom I have met and shared this last decade with.

HOUSING

In 2012 my daughter Christine moved to Nashville and for about a year we lived with each other, but then we decided it was time to get our own places, so I decided it was time to buy a house. I was excited because I had never bought a house on my own. I closed on the house in July 2013. It was an older house that needed some renovating, but because I love a good DIY project, I was looking forward to making it a HOME. I would stay in this house until December 2014, when we sold it for the RV life instead.

My First Home, 2013

In the summer of 2018, we started looking to buy a house. I had gone to work full-time and we both thought we wanted something different for a change. We closed on our house in October and put the RV in storage. By October of the next year we were closing on the sale of the house and moving back into the RV.

Our New House, 2018

TRAVEL

Other than trips back and forth from Tennessee to Florida, there wasn’t much traveling until 2014 when FSU went to Pasadena, California to play in the National Championship against Auburn, which FSU won. I had only known Greg (now my husband) for about a month when he sprang this trip on me. Since he’s a Tennessee fan I was quite surprised when he wanted to go watch my team play. This was the first time I had ever been to California and one of the best trips I have ever had. Everything from the hotel to the stadium to the beach and boardwalk, it was just magical. I felt like a princess with her prince. It was truly a remarkable adventure and one that I will never forget.

On the beach at Santa Monica Pier

Rose Bowl Stadium

A view from the stands!

Santa Monica Pier

Our next couple of trips would be to West Virginia and Gatlinburg. We didn’t go on a honeymoon other than to the Grand Ole Opry, so in May of 2014 we decided to join his family at their fishing camp in Hinton, West Virginia. Being on the river and seeing the beautiful scenery was great. We went back in July of the same year and ventured out to see the coal mines and back country roads. After a few days in WV, we headed to Gatlinburg to a cabin we had rented. The cabin was gorgeous along with the view and the hot tub and everything in the city. It was perfect in every way.

West Virginia, 2014

Gatlinburg, 2014

In March of 2015 we would embark on our RV journey that would take us through many states over the next three years. All of that is documented on the blog and can be found by doing a search of RV Life. I believe we visited a total of 20 states throughout the 3 years that we traveled in the RV. One day we will continue our journey and see many more.

In the summer of 2015, we took our grandson, Colby to Tennessee to visit Ripley’s Aquarium and Cades Cove. He got to see his first black bear in the wild. We joined him and his parents the following week at St. George Island, Florida for a week on the beach.

Ripley’s Aquarium, 2015

Black Bear in Cades Cove, 2015

RV LIFE

In August of 2014 we decided we wanted to start RVing full-time, which would require a lot of preparation. We had a house and lots of possessions to sell as we didn’t want to put everything in storage. It took several months to get this accomplished, but once the house went up for sale, we had a cash offer in a matter of two weeks and closed in December. We traded an RV that Greg had when we got married for a Heartland Gateway and took our first weekend trip in October. That weekend ended with the RV falling on the truck. By Thanksgiving we had both repaired and we were headed to Florida to see my parents. When we came back, we decided to stay in the RV since the closing on the house was only a couple weeks away. As they say, “the rest is history.” All of our adventures and mishaps can be read on the blog by searching for RV Life.

Heartland Gateway, “Homer”

In September 2016 we traded the Gateway for a Keystone Montana 3791RD with lots more storage and a couple extra feet in length. In 2018 I started remodeling it by painting the inside and changing out some of the furniture. At the end of the decade it is still a work in progress.

Keystone Montana

WEINER DOGS, aka Dachshunds

Starting a life traveling in the RV, just the two of us, wasn’t enough. We added a couple of companions on the way. Both are chocolate dachshunds and we wouldn’t trade either of them for anything. Oscar was born in January 2015 and we brought him home in March. Harley was born in May of 2015 and we brought her home in July. They are our constant companions. They have been in more states than most people and have really become accustomed to life on the road.

Bringing Home Oscar

Harley’s First Day in Her New Home

Oscar and Harley, 2019

WHAT A DECADE

The last decade has had many fun times, some sad times and times that will remain in my heart and mind forever. I have found love and laughter. I have discovered things about myself that I never knew and never would have found out if I had not been on this journey. I started a self-care program for myself in November of 2019 and I plan to continue that journey into 2020 taking myself to new heights, new adventures and new life.

For 2020 I hope my readership will grow as I strive to stay on task with my blog. Documenting the important things in life to share, not only with my readers, but my family is important to me as I want my children and grandchildren to see what my life was like and the adventures and endeavors I undertook.

My Top 3 goals for 2020:

Complete my weight loss program.

Stay on top with blogging.

Travel to new destinations.

Some of my favorites of us!

They became fast friends!

One of My Favorites of the Furbabies!

Time to Sell Our House Again

In the beginning August we decided we were going to sale our sticks and bricks house and move back into the RV. It has been less than a year since we bought this house and were afraid, we would never get what we needed out of it.  In the last couple weeks, a realtor came by asking if we would consider selling and my husband was like no we could never get enough money out of it to make a deal. He happened to have some comps for the area and said that the market was really booming in our community. I started looking into it and sure enough several houses were being sold for $10k more than what we had paid for our house less than a year before.

We didn’t really care if we made any money off the sale, but we had to get what we owed on it. I kept researching and because I have a background in real estate, I decided I would list the house myself as a For Sale by Owner. After more research I decided to go with an MLS Listing Broker who would list our house on the MLS to get us a better opportunity to get showings and get us listed in all the major publications. In addition, we wouldn’t have to pay a commission to a listing broker. Instead we just paid the MLS Listing broker a flat fee, which was only $499. Way cheaper than paying 3% commission.

Since the house was brand new when we moved in, there was nothing that had to be done except find a listing broker, do some staging, take pics and get it listed.

Trip to Florida for a birthday

Took a couple days off to make a trip to Florida to see my grandbabies. We were all coming together to celebrate Madison’s sixth birthday. I can’t believe how fast these kids are growing up. The trip was uneventful for the most part.

We decided to stay in a cabin on the lake in a campground that we stayed in when we lived in Tallahassee a couple years ago because my husband wanted to take the boat so he could do some fishing while I was visiting with the kids. I think he took the boat out of the slip one time and that was it. The weather was hot and humid. The cabin had the worse bed I have ever slept on and was only a full-size and we are used to sleeping on a king. There was not enough room for one of us much less all four (the dogs sleep with us). He slept on the couch one night and his chair the next and I slept on the bed one night and the couch the next. After that we decided we had had enough and left a day earlier than we had planned.

The trip wasn’t a total bust as I got to see four grandbabies and my daughters, plus my Mom. I can’t believe Madi is getting so big. Courtney had rented a bouncy house and water slide combo thing and the kids loved it. It was the perfect way to keep them cool. We played corn hole for the first time. She had a pinata filled with candy that the kids loved. She got way more stuff than she needed, but don’t most kids? The kids had treat bags, food, cake and so much fun which made everything else small in comparison.


All in all, it was a great trip and I enjoyed my time seeing everybody. Not sure when I will make it back to Florida as the next trip needs to be to Louisiana. Speaking of Louisiana, Jackson’s birthday was going to be the next month, so I took his presents with me and let him have an early birthday. That’s one thing about kids, they don’t care when they open presents as long as they get them.

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is my Mother’s birthday. She is 76 years old. I feel so blessed to still have my Mom in my life. She has been my rock and my strength through everything in my life. Her love for me is beyond measure. I never know what to get her for her birthday and this year I wanted to do something a little more special. I wanted to create something that would show her how much she means to me and express how I feel about her.

Several years ago, for Mother’s Day, one of my daughters give me a framed poem that I have held onto for many years. I wanted to use that quote on a gift for my Mom, so I used my Cricut to create the poem and then created paper flowers that were cut from cardstock and then rolled to look like roses. I chose two different shades of green as green is her favorite color. I bought a shadow box to put the roses in and applied the poem to the inside, so little hands couldn’t peel off all my hard work.

The poem reads:

Mom

You raised me, you praised me.

When I was at my worst

you forgave me.

You guided me with honesty,

you taught me faith and charity,

but most of all,

at least to me, you gave

your love unconditionally.

To me this poem sums up everything about my Mom. She is more special than she realizes and not only a rock to me, but a rock to my children and grandchildren. She exemplifies what a mother should be and sets an example for others on how to be one of the most loving, forgiving and supportive Mom’s you could be.

Happy Birthday, Mom!!!

Happy 4th Birthday, Oscar

I can’t believe my little man is 4 years old today. He brightens my day every day. It’s hard to believe how much a dog can impact someone’s life, but this little man has definitely impacted mine. I love his sweet kisses and the way he snuggles up to me in bed. He keeps me warm and watches over me. Although he is small in stature, he is still my protector. He will stand watch while I go to the bathroom and beg for me to play with him. His favorite toy is a blue ball that he wants you to throw so he can go fetch. While fetching he will take another toy with him and leave it where the ball landed. It looks like a tornado has gone through our house sometimes with all his toys all over the place. He has provided more love and comfort in his first four years than I ever thought possible.

Today as we celebrate his birthday, which he got to eat a cupcake or two which he shared with his sister because she will not be left out when it comes to food. We asked the little boy who lives next door, Max, if he wanted to come over for cupcakes and help celebrate because he loves to play with the dogs.  He brought him a little dog toy that only lasted about 30 minutes because it was one of those rubber squeaky things and he had it demolished in no time. For such a little dog, he can destroy more toys than you would think.

Happy Birthday little man….hope we have many more years together!

Happy Birthday to ME

Another birthday!!!

Today I am celebrating turning 51 and I’m really starting to feel my age. I’m grateful for another year to see my grandkids and spend with my family. I just wish my family would make a bigger deal out of my birthday’s, instead the day comes and goes as if it’s not that big of a deal. 

PRESENTS

My lovely husband started the day with donuts from Krispy Kreme. It was raining cats and dogs when we got up, but he didn’t hesitate to go get what I had asked for the night before. They were still soft and warm as the red light was on when he got there so they were fresh. Last weekend we went to a home show and he ended up buying me new pots and pans. I can’t remember the last time I had brand new pots. Hell it’s probably been close to 15 years or more.

DINNER and DESSERT

We’ll finish my day with going out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Red Lobster. I love their lobster pizza and will probably end up with crab legs and shrimp as well. We’ll probably skip dessert unless I get something to bring home to eat later.

Overall it will end up being another birthday pretty much like all the previous ones, just another day that comes and goes and when it’s over everybody goes on to whatever the next holiday, birthday, or anniversary that comes along.