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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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!
As I look forward to 2018 and all that we have planned I wanted to step back in time and do a review of 2017 as we had a great year.
January started with us in a small-town east of Tallahassee, Florida called Quincy. We were staying at a campground right next to Lake Talquin. It was quiet and serene, and we could see the lake right out our front door. We loved that we could walk down to the marina, climb into our boat parked in the boat slip and take a ride out on the water. Sometimes we were greeted by an alligator or two, but if you didn’t bother them, they didn’t bother you. I caught several bream and Greg was always good for a bass or two on each trip out.
This month marked my 50th birthday. Not a birthday I was really looking forward to, but the alternative would have been much worse, so I took turning the big 5-0 in strive and kept right on going. In addition, Greg had surgery this month which required a stay in the hospital for several days.
This month brought us a brand-new baby and little Miss Ryan was born on the 28th in Louisiana. We left Florida around the 20th to make the trip towards LA to be there for the birth and for me to stay a few weeks after to help if Momma needed help. It was great being there and seeing that sweet baby so soon after she was born. It’s always an experience seeing the birth of a newborn baby.
After the baby’s birth, the plan was for us to move to Texas so about three weeks into April we headed for the Lake Fork area in Alba. It’s a very small town in the middle of no where land of BFE as some people would call it. We found an RV/Tiny House park right on the water. Unfortunately, our lot was not right on the water as you had to own a tiny house to live right on the water and we had our big rig, so we stayed in the middle section. It was always quiet and nice being that close to the lake.
This month meant going back to work to earn a little money for me as I decided to go back to work for a little while. I had to drive a little over an hour one way to each day and it didn’t take long for that to get old.
We spent as much time as we could around the rain on the lake enjoying the fishing. Other than that, the month of June was not very exciting.
I took a trip to Louisiana this month to see the new baby and to be in attendance for her christening. The weekend also marked the third birthday for Jackson, so I was able to do things in one month on the same weekend. The drive there and back was long, but so worth it to be able to hold my babies again.
This year seems to be the year for surgery and hospitals for Greg as he had hernia surgery this month. While he was in the hospital I worked from my hotel room in between visits to the hospital and Greg’s parents came to the house to babysit the fur babies for us as the hospital was an hour and a half from home and too much to drive back and forth every day. He was there for about 5 days.
Greg came home, but ended up back in the hospital with complications twice before we finally got him on the right track and healing. He ended up with a wound vac that would take him seven or eight weeks before he would heal. With all that was going on with Greg’s medical issues and issues at work, I ended up quitting my job this month.
We spent the entire month with a home health nurse visiting three days a week to replace the wound vac and make sure Greg healed correctly. We couldn’t do any fishing and the weather was mostly either windy or rainy so even if Greg had been feeling like it, fishing wouldn’t have been possible.
Time to celebrate turkey day and we did just that. We had ham, turkey & dressing and all the trimmings. It was a nice celebration. Greg finally got healed and got released from the surgeons’ care. We have a lot to be thankful for and grateful that he made it through this year.
Wow we made it to the last month of the year and boy was this month a busy one. I took one weekend to go visit the grandbabies in Louisiana and celebrate Christmas with them. Greg road with me so I wouldn’t have to do all the driving myself and give me company. We also took the fur babies. Then I took a weekend and flew to Florida to be with two other grandbabies to celebrate with them. It was go, go, go. The week after I returned from FL we drive to Tennessee to put our boat in storage and within a week of getting back we were loading up the fifth wheel and heading to Tennessee to start a new chapter in our life.
Neither of us were happy with life in Texas and it just never felt like we could make that home, so we decided to move back to Tennessee where it all started for us back in 2014 in Nashville. Although we didn’t settle in the city of Nashville, we are only about 45 minutes away in Clarksville. Greg lived here back in the 80’s and late 90’s when he was stationed at Fort Campbell, so to him it feels like he’s returning home. I’m looking forward to going back to work and then buying a house. We are putting our RV back on the market and hoping that someone will want to buy a great rig and give it the proper road time it so deserves.
Here’s to 2018 and all that it has to offer.
Another Christmas has come and gone and this one was much different from last year. Last year we were in Florida and it was around 60-65 degrees; however, this year we are in Texas and it never reached 40 all day.
I have so many memories of Christmas’ past and the traditions that I shared not only with my children when they were growing up, but also from my own childhood. I can still remember getting my Baby Alive! And playing with her for hours and hours and getting Barbie dolls and make up dolls, an Easy Bake Oven and more. One of the items I remember the most is all of us kids getting a go-cart when I was only five years old. My siblings were nine and eleven, so they could control the pedal and steering better. Within the first week I had already hit the side of the brick house and broke the go-cart to the point that dad had to get it welded back together. That would not be the only time I done that. Once I got it down pat how to drive it, it was a blast especially driving through the cow field trying to avoid cow patties.
Our family tradition was waking up very early and opening presents. Us kids were always up by 5:00 am and we were done within the hour. Some years we were up even earlier, and Mom would try to make us go back to sleep. Yea right! They only one who went back to sleep was her and dad as us kids always started playing without toys.
Once we got up we were off to Granny and Pops house to spend the holiday with all the cousins and aunts and uncles. It was always fun to play with our cousins and every year we got the same thing from my Granny…handmade panties for the girls, socks for the boys and handmade silky pillowcases for the parents. It never failed that the panties would be too big, but we never said anything as it was special for Granny to have made them. All the family drew names, so we could exchange gifts and only have to buy for how many was in our own family, so we always had to buy for five.
When I had my kids, I tried to instill some of the same traditions with them along with a few of my own. The one thing I always insisted on was getting each child the same number of gifts and making them open them one at a time, so I could see what they got and from who and, so I could take pictures. I was always a big picture person long before I got into being an amateur photographer about ten years ago.
The one tradition I miss the most is all of us being together for Christmas. It meant so much to me as a child to spend the holidays with my extended family and I done that with my kids until their father passed away and then it seemed like Christmas was never the same. In the last ten years I have not once had all three of my kids home for the holidays and it really hurts that the one tradition I wanted to carry on forever for my kids and grandkids will never take place. There is too much hurt feelings and family issues to keep this from ever happening.
If you have traditions that you share with your children, try to keep them alive as much and as long as possible.
I did get to see my grandkids for Christmas, but it required me traveling to each of their homes this year. I drove to Louisiana the first weekend of December to spend time with Jackson and Ryan. They were so adorable as always and I couldn’t believe how much they are both growing up. I made thirty-six-inch pillows for each of them, so they would have pillows to lay on the floor. His had dinosaurs and each side and hers was made of navy blue on the top and bottom and pink and white chevron around the edges. I added HTV vinyl that said, “little princess” to one side. Other than the pillows, they each received clothes and he got some sea animals. I usually leave the toys to mommy and daddy to get. I made cookies with Jackson while I was there and got as many kisses as I could from Miss Ryan. It was an enjoyable visit and as always, I look forward to seeing them all again soon.
Nana with Ryan (L) and Jackson (R)
The third week of December involved a plane ride to Florida. I flew out of DFW in Dallas to Tallahassee. It was a straight flight, so it didn’t take too long. This visit was to see Colby and Madison. I couldn’t believe it when I walked in a saw Colby. He’s a couple weeks shy of being 14 and he has sprouted up in the last few months. He’s taller than his mom, almost as tall as his dad and way taller than me. Miss Madison is a little firecracker. She was full of energy and played with me more in three days than she has in her entire life. They both received clothes and then Madison got a baby doll and Colby got headphones and a necklace. We went shopping, had pedicures, a great family night out and much more. It was hard to leave, but I was ready to get back home.
Nana with Colby and Madison
I made it back home on the 18th and I was ready to see my babies, which happen to have fur. Daddy said they missed me because every time they heard a noise they ran to the door to see if I was coming home. I always love my visits to see the kids, but I miss being at home as well. I’m hoping I can get everyone to my house next year (if we have a house bought by then), but it might mean having one for a few days and then the other for the next few days. Time will tell as we have a whole year to figure it out.
If you have family traditions, please share especially if they involve adult children and how you celebrate the holidays with them.
In the next few days we will be headed to Tennessee as Greg and I move our home on wheels to a new location. We’ll be in the town of Clarksville, which is about 45 minutes from Nashville where we met three years ago. Life will be changing once again as not only are we moving, but I will be going back to work as well. Wish me luck on that one as I must find a job.
Greg & Anna
It’s that time of year where we start buying Christmas gifts and with that comes the decision of what to buy for whom. Well I hope this list will help you to decide what to buy for those special people on your list. I’ve been scouring the internet trying to find the best ideas this year and have found some wonderful products for both the men and women on your list. I hope this helps you decide what to get for your favorite people.
This site may contain affiliate links, which means under certain circumstances I might receive a small amount of compensation.
Shiatsu Pillow Massager – Price: $40
Everybody enjoys a good massage. The pillow massager will help to:
- Relieve sore mucles
- Ergonomic and compact
- Convenient straps
Bamboo Bathtub Caddy – Price: $11
If she loves to soak in the tub for a little R&R, this caddy will be the perfect bathroom accessory. It comes with:
- A book prop, a wineglass holder and soap dish
- Made of natural bamboo, don’t have to worry about splitting or mold
- Expandable arms and folds down for compact storage
Soft Slippers – Price: $35 and Up
Available in eight different colors, these fleece-lined slippers are as comfortable as they are durable.
- Soft suede upper
- Thick foam-padded insole molds to your foot shape
- Polyester/acrylic fleece lining
- Flexible rubber outsole provides traction
Handwritten Bracelet – Price: $31 and up
Send the shop owner a close-up of your handwritten message and they’ll craft it into a personalized bracelet to worn year round.
- 100% 18k Gold Filled, Sterling Silver, or Rose Gold Filled
- All raw materials are USA and Italia sourced
- Personalized bracelet with actual handwriting / font
- Length: include chain and charm
Kindle Fire HD 8 – Price: $79.99
Ignite her passion for technology with the Kindle Fire HD 8. She will be able to instantly access books, movies, email and more! Instant gratification equals eternal gratitude, so you are going to earn major points with this gift.
- The next generation of our best-reviewed Fire tablet, with up to 12 hours of battery life, a vibrant 8″ HD display, a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, 1.5 GB of RAM, and Dolby Audio. More durable than the latest iPad.
- 16 or 32 GB of internal storage and a microSD slot for up to 256 GB of expandable storage
- Now with Alexa, for quick access to the information and entertainment you want.
- Enjoy millions of movies, TV shows, songs, Kindle eBooks, apps and games.
- Prime members get unlimited access to over a thousand books, magazines, songs, movies and TV episodes – at no additional cost
Vibram Running Shoes – prices: $ varies
Treat her toes to a heavenly experience by investing in these uniquely designed running shoes that cushion the soles and offer protection where the foot needs it most.
- Synthetic, Mesh
- Rubber sole
- Lace-up minimal running shoe built for medium-distance road running featuring signature FiveFingers toe box
- 0mm heel-to-toe drop
- Anti-microbial Drilex sockliner
- EVA foam midsole
- Vibram XS Run outsole
Envirosax Market Bag – Price: $ varies
These market bags are tote-ally rad! Colorful, exciting and environmentally friendly, they will instantly turn up the fun factor on your gal’s most mundane grocery store runs.
- Sold as a set of 2
- Easy tie-together handles allow the bag to be worn diagonally to rest on the hip and the handles can be adjusted to suit different body shapes
- The bag also has a hidden side pocket that is handy for your phone and keys
- Dimension: Approximately 17 inch width by 14 inch length
- Material: Polyester
Mahi Leather Bag – Price: $ varies
These bags feature the following:
- Made to order with full grain cow leather
- Personalized embroidery
- Cotton dust cover
- Up to 50% cheaper than high street prices
- $1.50 from every bag sold is donated to FRANK Water Charity
UGG Australia Women’s Classic Tall Boots – Price: $154.94 and Up
Who says comfortable can’t be chic? All women love a laidback pair of snug UGG Boots that are so easy to slip on and keep her feet warm in the stands. These are the perfect Christmas gift for the woman who just wants to be comfortable and cozy.
- Synthetic sole
- Shaft measures approximately 11.75″ from arch
- Platform measures approximately 0.75″
- Boot opening measures approximately 13″ around
- Decorative stitching
Kitchenaid Stand Mixer – Price: $199.99
Mix things up by purchasing this KitchenAid Stand Mixer. She will be whipping up delicious meals and treats in no time to thank you for such a unique and wonderful gift.
- 275-watt, 10-speed mixer with tilt-up head
- 4-1/2-quart bowl holds dough for 2 loaves of bread
- Three handy accessories: flat beater, wire whip, and dough hook
- Includes a guide with instructions, mixing tips, and 67 recipes
- Measures 13-8/9 by 8-2/3 by 14 inches; 1-year warranty
The next best thing to a caffeine IV drip is finally here! With this single-cup home-brewing system, delicious coffee can be at her fingertips when she needs it most – which is all the time.
- COMPACT: Small and personal; great for small spaces and portable design goes anywhere.
- BREW SIZES: Brews your perfect amount, any cup size between 6-10 oz. Use the 6 oz. cup size for a bolder brew.
- WATER RESEVOIR: Single cup water reservoir for ultimate portability – just add fresh water for each brew.
- DRIP TRAY: Removable drip tray accommodates travel mugs up to 5.2” tall, and holds a full accidental brew for easy clean-up.
- ENERGY EFFICIENT: Automatic shut-off turns the brewer off after 90 seconds of inactivity, helping to save energy
- The Keurig K15 Coffee Maker brews all K-Cup pods. Choose from over 500 brands and varieties of K-Cup Pods. For the best quality be sure to look for the Keurig logo on each K-Cup Pod.
Baby Elephant Ring Holder – Price: $15.80
Want a surefire way to make something adorable? Make it miniature! This baby elephant ring holder does just that by combining practicality and unadulterated cuteness. Just like an elephant never forgets, she will never forget who gave her such a precious gift.
Garden Kneeler – Price: $23.99
How does her garden grow? With a whole lot of blood, sweat and dirty pant legs… until now. Save her slacks and her knee joints with this comfortable garden kneeler. Weeds don’t stand a chance!
Diamond Stud Earrings – Price: $199 & up
They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Introduce her to these two new pals and she will be eternally grateful. Not to mention she will look stunning. Grateful and stunning, now that’s a delightful combination.
Infinity Love Knot Pendant – Price: $75
Show her you’re “knot” joking when you say you will love her forever by giving her this dazzling and elegant pendant. She will follow you to infinity and beyond, all the while looking chic and sophisticated.
Lunch Bag Purse – Price – $24.97
This lunch bag is perfect for any girl who likes to make her own meals everyday. It has insulated pockets inside that keep food cold and safe to eat for up to 4 hours. It also has a divider pocket to make sure anything else in the purse doesn’t get wet or affected by any food or drinks.
Crusoe Mini Calendar – Price: $7.97
Who can resist the most adorable dachshund in the world? Not me and now you don’t have to miss out either as you can purchase one of several calendars that are now available for 2018.
Team Fiona – Price: $ varies
My favorite hippo is Miss Fiona at the Cincinnati Zoo who has been admired since her miraculous birth in January 2017. She has brightened the day of many people throughout the year. Now she can brighten your 2018 with calendars, shirts, coffee mugs and more.
Farmhouse Style Kitchen Sign – Price: $ varies
The kitchen is where the whole family gathers to enjoy mom’s cooking and spend time with each other. Hand-making a gift that she can proudly hang in the kitchen will make this space even more special.
In April we decided to move to Texas to live on Lake Fork. I also decided I would go back to work as sitting at home day in and day out is not my idea of fun and excitement. Living near the lake is great, but if I can’t be on the lake every day, then I need something to occupy my time and making a little money to add to the nest egg doesn’t hurt either.
We found this quiet little place to park the RV and in the beginning had planned on living in the RV, but after seeing the beautiful park model homes that the people living on the waterfront lots have it was easy to decide we wanted one of them as well. So we put the Montana up for sale and have been anxiously waiting for a buyer before all the good lots are taken. We thought we had found someone who really wanted the RV and our truck as well, but she is now just giving us the run around, which really aggravates me more than anything. I don’t like other people dictating what I can do with my life; but right now this person has us in a tailspin.
We’ve been out on the boat as much as possible, although I wish we could be out there more than we are, but we both have bad days where we just don’t want to do anything and then of course there’s the rain and wind to contend with some days as well. The lake is pretty, but is very stumpy in some areas, which makes it hard to get around, but we are figuring out the best places to go to avoid them. We’ve been thinking about hiring a guide to take us out so we can find out where the big ones are as my husband loves to bass fish. I tried the last time we were out, but I had no luck. I prefer fishing for bream anyway.
Here’s a few pics I’ve taken on the lake with my iPhone.