Well, having never run a marathon, I can’t really say that it feels the same, but it’s got to be close! We have survived another December and frenzied holiday season. We’ve shopped for hours for just the right gifts. We’ve cooked our fingers to the bone and eaten much more than we needed. We’ve finished off mounds of leftovers and then gone out to eat just so that we don’t have to have leftover (insert Christmas dish here) AGAIN for the 6th day! We’ve laughed with family and friends, sharing gifts, wine, and stories. We’ve attended Christmas plays and singings, and given thanks for the greatest gift…the birth of the Son, reminding ourselves and our children that He is the reason for the season. Finally, we’ve welcomed in the New Year with celebrations, big and small.

Whew!! I don’t know about you, but I’m TIRED! In fact, my big welcome for 2019 was snoring! That’s right…I was happily asleep when 2019 was born. This year I have been a little off my game. I’m usually the crazy woman who has her decorations (including several trees) up right after Halloween, has gifts bought and wrapped before Thanksgiving, mails out Christmas cards the beginning of December, and spends the rest of the month singing Christmas carols and admiring the lights. This year, though, I just wasn’t in the mood. Decorations did not go up in early November when we returned from the big trip. When they finally did after my birthday in December, it was only the tree that our daughter Amber, Missy Booger, and Angel Booger help me with every year and the porch stuff. Christmas shopping wasn’t completed until mid-December, and wrapping did not get finished up until – gasp – December 23! We even had to dig through the boxes of Christmas decorations to find the stockings on Christmas Eve. I know…ridiculous!!

Admittedly, there has been a LOT going on. After being gone for two months, there was stuff to catch up on. I even had some (gasp) work to get done. We were away again for our annual vacation with Mom and Larry (this time in Franklin, North Carolina), enjoyed Thanksgiving in Georgia, and took care of some Tennessee chores. There were birthday celebrations for Missy Booger, our son Ryan, and me. We had to mourn Navy’s loss to Army. There was also the great Petunia negotiation and subsequent purchase, followed by a quick shakedown cruise. Add to all of that stress about all of the upcoming steps to becoming full-timers: selling/renting our house, figuring out what to do with our stuff, setting up the RV site in Tennessee, and making sure that YaYa still gets time with all of the Boogers, not to mention their parents. I’m not boo-hooing (yet), but I will admit to feelings of nostalgia as I walk through this home we’ve been in for 15 years. (That’s actually the longest I have ever lived anywhere.) I know that the change will bring new adventures, but it does come with a certain amount of worry.

Then there’s the weather. I think it has been snowing or raining in North Carolina for at least 4 months. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but seriously, it’s a LOT! Flash flood warnings, tornado warnings…this is WINTER for gosh sakes! The weather was horrible in North Carolina in the weeks leading up to Christmas. (Well, in all honesty I liked the 15 inches of snow.) We traveled to Helen, Georgia and Huntsville, Alabama, where we were met with more rain. As I write this guess what…it’s raining, and the forecast says it will for the next couple of days. The rivers in North Georgia were overflowing their banks last week. Ditches were too full and flowing across roads. Lakes were at capacity. The farm fields in Alabama were under water. Aside from being a downer for a good portion of the population after so much time, it’s a MESS! And today it was 65 degrees! Stop, please.

Despite it all, though, there was fun. We had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner with Amber, Angel Booger, and Missy Booger after which we watched “The Christmas Chronicles” (highly recommended) and baked cookies (delicious). Christmas morning was stockings and gifts, followed by dinner later with my BFF Tina and her family. We were blessed to spend a couple of days in Helen with the Florida Jones Crew, people that you cannot be around without laughing out loud. (I always walk away from our visits with sound bites that become a part of my everyday language. Taylor, if you are reading this, you know what it is this year.) Then we added a couple of days with the Alabama Jones Crew in Huntsville, another fun time with lots of great food, watching a tennis match, catching up, and a New Year’s Eve steak. Our last celebration is yet to come: we are heading home to have an “after Christmas” dinner with our son Ryan and his gang since they have been out of town, which will include Amber’s and Tina’s families, too.

As for the RV part of the trip, all has gone well. Petunia has been outfitted with a high-arched faucet in the bathroom, built-in drawer dividers, a spice rack, and a backsplash in the last couple of weeks. After having the leak fixed before leaving town, we are thankful that there have been no other issues. I am loving the larger interior, and MW is getting better at maneuvering with every outing. I think she was a good fit for us.

We stayed at a few neat RV parks on this trip, too. First was Unicoi State Park outside of Helen, Georgia. It is very wooded with lots to do including zip lining, fishing, and hiking. The sites are close together but not right on top of each other, and the bathrooms were clean. It was a good deal at just over $20 per night for electric and water. Next there was the US Space and Rocket Center RV Campground in Huntsville, Alabama. This is a small, older campground right next to the rocket center. The bathrooms were clean, but the roads need some work. Sites are right next to each other with some pull-throughs available. It’s the best deal we’ve had, though, with full-hookups for $20 per night. Because of the location, I’d imagine reservations far in advance might be necessary during the summer months. Finally, our current location is the FD Roosevelt State Park near Columbus, Georgia. This is a very large park, in fact the largest state park in Georgia. It has plenty of campsites in multiple areas, hiking trails, a swimming pool, and a lake for fishing. Spacing is nice for a little privacy, and there are a lot of pull-throughs. Facilities are clean, and it has been pretty quiet so far. It is a bit pricier at $35 for electric and water, though. We will be here for a couple of days before heading home for the final family celebration of this season.

As we wrap up our festivities, I will start to focus on the craziness of TAX SEASON! Before that, though, let me wish you a wonderful 2019 filled with health and all of the things that are important to you. Maybe that will include some time seeing the country in your RV. If you pass us, honk and wave!!

More to come…change is good!!!