It has been months since I have seen my parents and children. My trip to Louisiana was canceled back in March due to COVID-19 and I was at the point that I needed a break from all the bullshit and was ready to take a trip. Because we live in our RV full-time we are able to take our house with us, so on Thursday, May 14th we headed to Florida. We only drove to the other side of Montgomery as we usually only drive around 4-5 hours before we stop. We don’t like doing 8-9 hour drives. We thought the worse roads we had ever been on were in Louisiana, but going through Birmingham about beat us to death. It hasn’t been that long since we drove through there, but the first time in several years since we drove with the RV attached. It makes a big difference.
We stayed at the first park we stayed in back in 2015 when we began our RV journey the first time in full-time travel mode, Montgomery South RV Park. The park has expanded since 2015 as they have installed several more lots. It was nice to get a pull-through, which all their sites are and it was long enough that we didn’t have to unhook as we would be back on the road before 8:00 am Friday morning. We only drove about two exits before getting off on Exit 142 at Priester’s Pecans. I had ordered some pecans in the mail back in April, but my mom talked about wanting some, so I stopped to get her a 5 pound bag. It would have been cheaper to order online and have them shipped. Found out the sister runs the physical store while a brother runs the online shop and since they don’t get along too well, there is more competition to see who can make more money than they other.
Once we were back on interstate, it wasn’t long before we were pulling into my parents house, arriving around 11:00 am. We only have electric hook up there, but our holding tanks hold the waste and we dump once we’re back on interstate in Alabama. Unfortunately only one daughter was able to join us and she only had 1 kid with her, but we made the most of our time together. On Friday night, we grilled steaks and had everybody over in the RV. I had to do a makeshift table to sit at, but we made it work. One thing I forgot about traveling in the RV is how much it takes to set up and take down each time you move it. I will have to get used to that again if we make too many more trips as it took a lot more time than I remember it taking to complete those tasks.
On Saturday, us girls went for a much needed pedicure while the guys worked on our A/C’s that are not functioning the way they should be. They needed some freon added and 1 of them needs a new mother board. Still having trouble finding the replacement part, but not giving up. We also went to Kohl’s to do some shopping and I’m happy to report that the clothes I bought fit perfectly when I got home. Due to COVID they won’t allow people to try on clothes, so I was taking a chance with all the weightloss as to what size to get. I picked this one correctly. After some shopping we ended up at Joe Patti Seafood to get some shrimp, not only for dinner, but also for me to put in my freezer for the future. Nothing better than fresh ocean shrimp. I also got the hubby some oysters, which he got to enjoy when we got back home.
We were supposed to split our return trip into Sunday and Monday, but we decided we would do the entire drive back on Sunday. I didn’t do any of the driving, but was extremely exhausted by the time we got home around 6:00 pm. It took a few tries to get the RV back in its spot, but without either of us killing each other, we got it done.
Just about every time I am around my Florida child, she wants a photo shoot of either the family or the kids and this trip was no different. She only wanted pics of Madi done, which I was more than happy to do, as she is a gem to photograph and is changing and growing up so fast that I want to have the memories of her childhood as much as her Momma does, if not more.
My 3 favorite poses are below. I can’t believe she is almost 7 years old. She is not a little baby anymore, instead she’s becoming a little girl who is growing up way too fast. She’ll be in second grade next year.
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
March 2nd marked a year ago that we started our RV journey that would take us from Tennessee to Florida and back several times before setting down in Tallahassee back in October. During those first few months we had some very memorable moments. Some of which we have been reminiscing about these past few days, so I decided I would share those moments with all of you.
1. March 15th. We drove all the way to Mississippi to pick up our eight week old fur baby, Oscar. He was born with beautiful blue eyes (they changed as he got older) and milk chocolate fur. I don’t know what we were thinking at the time in getting a dog, a puppy none the less when we were just starting our adventure. Looking back now, I’m glad we did, because he has been a big blessing for Greg. Pets are just like children in the fact that you make whatever sacrifices you need to make them happy and healthy.
On the way home!
2. March 27th – April 10th. We were staying in Moore Haven which was about a 15- 20 minute drive from Lake Okeechobee, which meant fishing. There’s just something about being on the water, the calmness and serenity of it makes life so much easier to deal with.
We spent several days on the lake in our kayaks. I only caught one or two a day, but always caught the biggest. On what would be our last day on the water, Greg spotted an alligator about 5-6 feet from his kayak. I was probably about 15-20 feet away. He was not having any of that and we were out of that water real quick. Had we been in a boat, it wouldn’t have been as scary, but in a kayak, the last thing you want to encounter is an alligator. Plus he was not a little one, he was a BIG one.
3. June 3rd- 6th. A few days on Lake Guntersville in Alabama will help take all your worries away. This was absolutely the best place we have stayed at. Our site was right at the water’s edge and the sunsets and sunrises were beyond amazing. We were able to fish every morning and afternoon. Our Hobie kayaks were the paddle type so you just sit back paddle with your feet and use the steering handle to maneuver all around. It was amazing. Oscar loved sunning himself, looking over the edge or enjoying time in my lap. He truly does the water. The amount of fish we caught was not enough to get excited about, but the fact that we were on the water enjoying the beauty of nature was what made our time there memorable.
4. June 24-28th. We wanted to take our oldest grandson on a summer trip. We had originally wanted to go to Louisiana, but our plans had to be rearranged so TN it was. Our drive there included a flat tire which was a memory in itself that I don’t want to relive. The memorable moment was our trip to Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg. Our grandson loves animals, especially sea life so we thought this place would be a great destination.
Because we have to have a way to carry the kayaks we had a rack on top of the truck. The rack adds height and can be a problem when you park in a garage parking lot. I’m the guilty party doing the driving that day and not thinking I pulled into the parking garage. Luckily I found a spot on the top floor, which meant I didn’t have to drive down into the garage…for now. Thinking ahead we knew we would have to remove the rack in order to get out at the end of the day, but for now we planned to enjoy the aquarium. Once we viewed all the animals and enjoyed our visit, we headed down the strip to find lunch. Unbeknown to us the place we were headed to had closed so we had to find something else. By this time we had walked the entire strip. Now mind you my grandson is not athletic, never exercises and we are taking him way out of his comfort zone. We chose a place to eat, which was the worse place I’ve ever eaten at and the most expensive for what we ordered. The grandson wouldn’t even eat. While looking for a place to eat, we were also looking for a place that might sell a tool we could use to remove the rack, but had not spotted one, so I used my phone to search for an auto parts store.. The only thing we could find was Ace Hardware, which per the GPS was on our way back to where the truck was. So we walked and walked, but never saw ACE Hardware. I called them to confirm address, clerk confirmed and told me we were close so we kept walking. Eventually we were past where the truck was, so I called ACE again, spoke to another clerk and again was told they were just down from where we were. I guess what they didn’t understand was we were walking, not driving. After several more blocks we give up, went back to the garage we parked at and asked security for help. If only we had done that in the fist place we would have saved ourselves a lot of walking, but this memory wouldn’t have been as funny. Our grandson was so mad knowing that we could have saved all that walking and just gone back to the garage in the beginning. We thought it was funny and still laugh about it today.
5. July 9th. Having one furbaby wasn’t enough, as daddy Greg thought Oscar needed a playmate, so on this day we drove to Mississippi again, different breeder to pick up our baby girl, Harley. She is Hershey chocolate and a tubby tail now. Hard to believe considering how tiny she was the day we picked her up. It took a while for the two of them to get use to each other, but now they are inseparable.
There were many moments that were special to us, but these 5 ring out on top. We long to add to these memories and in time we will. Feel free to share a memorable moment you have had on your adventures in the comments below.
I can’t believe that 12 years ago today I was spending my morning in a hospital waiting for my first grandchild to be born. We already knew we were having a boy and we’re looking forward to this day for a long time. We had hoped for a normal delivery, but our little guy didn’t want to come and after two weeks past the due date, the doctor agreed to a c-section. So January 6th we were welcoming a new baby into the world. We had had it all worked out that I would be in the delivery room and was afraid that the doctor wouldn’t allow me in on a c-section delivery, but who was I kidding, my daughter wasn’t taken no for an answer. She was nineteen, her first child and scared to death and it didn’t matter that her husband would be with her, she wanted her mom too. Thank God I was able to go in and see the miraculous birth of my first grandchild.
I always thought giving birth was great, but getting to be on the other side of the screen was the most awesome experience I have ever had. Fast forward to today where we are celebrating that handsome baby boy turning 12 and I have to ask myself where has the time gone? I can’t wait for Saturday when he gets a surprise birthday party at his favorite restaurant that his Nana took him to on our first lunch date after we moved back to Tallahassee in October (pic above is from that day). He loves hot wings and come Saturday, he will get to eat as many as he wants.