Christmas Eve 2015

This year, our daughter, Shantel, asked if she could “host” Christmas Eve at her apartment. Of course Bill and I were excited to pass the torch of “hosting” Christmas Eve for family and friends to Shantel… What we didn’t realize when we jumped at the chance to pass the hosting torch to Shantel was that her definition of “hosting” and ours were very different… Yes, what she meant when she said “I want to host Christmas Eve at my house,” was that she wanted everyone to come to her house for Christmas Eve but because “she can’t afford to pay for the food, drinks, etc. She wanted us to “sponsor” the event, meaning she gave us the menu (Honey Baked Ham, scalloped potatoes, and Costco rolls) and we bought and or made everything and brought it to her house… and of course she wanted Papa, aka, Bill, to come to her home and bake cookies the week before Christmas and naturally she wanted to know if we could bring some of the ingredients for that too… which of course, we did…, because that’s our girl.. 🙂

Now you have to know that Shantel lives in a small, one bedroom apartment with only a sofa, coffee table, bed, and dresser. We tried to give her our dining room table or Pub table when we moved out of our house to become full-time RVers but she didn’t want any of that. So her apartment is pretty sparse.

In fact, the only decorations Shantel wants in her apartment are her two framed college degrees, and of course, her TV so she can listen to her favorite shows.




So for Christmas Eve, of course, we had to have a table and chairs for the people that were invited to attend. What to do… ? Well, our dear friends, Holly and Chuck, came to the rescue. They brought over a long fold-up table and chairs and a Christmas tablecloth so everyone would have a place to sit and eat Christmas Eve dinner. Shantel was very happy about that.


And, Shantel was happy and proud to share the Christmas cookies Bill and Shantel, and Shantel’s best friend, Jaz made.



Because it is an hour and half drive from where we are to Shantel’s home, Bill and I packed our queen-size air mattress, sheets, pillows, blankets, and everything we needed to take a shower in the morning. Because in the morning, we were taking Shantel with us to Holly and Chuck’s son’s house to enjoy Christmas Day dinner with them in Buckeye which is about another hour from Shantel’s home…


So now, at the end of a very long day (we worked until 1:00) imagine you just helped your daughter “host” her first Christmas Eve in her apartment… and clean up after the event… and your tired, so you set up your air mattress etc. and as you are crawling into bed for what you think is going to be blissful slumber… your precious daughter says “oh yeah, good luck sleeping because the neighbors upstairs stay up all night and make all kinds of noise…

As we were getting into our bed, I said to Bill, ” oh it will be fine don’t you think?” He said , “it will be different.” OMG, we thought they were putting dead bodies in trunks and dragging the trunks across the floor all night… Not a wink of sleep for us. I even had ear plugs in and couldn’t sleep. In the morning, I rolled over and said to Bill, “DIFFERENT!”  and we laughed and laughed… 🙂 🙂

But all-in-all, we had a wonderful Christmas Eve at Shantel’s home. Our daughter, Katie, and our grandson Marcus, joined us as well, and Shantel’s best friend, Jaz, and of course our dear, dear, friends, my sister by another mother, Holly and Chuck were there as always…

Shantel told us that next year she wants to put up a Christmas Tree… Did I mention she could have had anything we had from our home… gotta love it!

Wishing all of you a very Happy New Year!

Stay Tuned!




Christmas Smiles

Now that Bill and I are back in Arizona for the winter months, and are living at San Tan Regional Mountain Park which is an hour away from the care center where my mother lives, I only go to visit my mother once a week. For the last couple of weeks my mother has not been doing well. She has been very paranoid and fearful of everything. It got so bad that she wouldn’t leave her room for fear that someone was going to “kill” her in the hallway’s, dining room, or activity room…. I spoke to her doctor and requested that they either increase her medication that is supposed to reduce her anxiety and fearfulness, or give her something to sedate her and calm her down without putting her in a coma like state. Her doctor said she had “a lot of room” to increase her anxiety medication and ordered it increased and gave instructions to continue to increase it weekly until my mother showed signs of improvement. I don’t understand why they didn’t just increase her medication when mom first started showing signs of the severe anxiety/fearfulness. I don’t know what they would have done if I had not requested they do something to relieve her anxiety and fearfulness. I mean anyone that spends any amount of time with my mother, and actually listened to what she is saying, would know that her talking about people trying to kill her in the hallway, dining room, etc. is not normal, and something should be done to help relieve her fearfulness/anxiety…

Last week when I visited my mother she had not shown any signs of improvement even though her medication had been increased for the past two weeks… It’s very difficult to watch anyone go through so much agony within their own mind when your helpless to do anything to relieve their pain… All I could do was speak to her doctor and watch and pray for my mother to get some peace in her day’s… I don’t know how anyone can watch someone in that state of mind and not do something to help them. God help those who don’t have anyone looking in on them and speaking on their behalf. I’m not knocking the nursing staff at all. I know they do the best they can, but they are overworked, and the doctor only comes once a week.  So if your problem is “all in your head”, and you sit in your room, in your own little personal HELL,  and don’t cause any problems…you just don’t get all the attention you need…

Finally, today, after three weeks of watching her suffer through her paranoid state of mind… when I went to visit my mother she actually smiled at me, and even sang some Christmas songs when I took her to the activity room for the Christmas music entertainment. She even smiled when I took her to lunch, keep in mind she has advanced Parkinson’s which makes it difficult for her to show facial expressions, and she actually ate all her lunch, something she rarely does. I decided that was a Christmas gift from her to me… a “Christmas smile.” I’ll take it!


Then, when I got back to our motorhome rig at the ranch… I found another “Christmas smile.” We have beautiful tile floors in our motorhome that I just love, love, love… IN THE SUMMERTIME.. but oh baby.. when it’s as cold outside as it has been lately, including today… I don’t love, love, love them near as much… If you think tile floors can be cold in a house… you haven’t begun to know how cold they can be in a motorhome that is on wheels so all that cold, cold, air gets to encircle the entire coach and I mean those tiles get COLD!!!

So, what to do? Everyone knows I’m not about to suffer through being cold in my own home… No, and our motorhome heater warms the motorhome real well but those tiles are always cold… So we went out and bought an electric space heater that heats up those tile floors, and the space you are sitting in, and makes everything comfy and cozy… That’s right, it’s so comfy and cozy that even our princess cat, Carmen, can’t resist getting in on some of it… She just loves taking a nap in front of the nice warm space heater, and that brought another “Christmas smile” to my face… 🙂


We’re real happy with our space heater but we never leave it on when we are not home. Our neighbor’s, and fellow co-hosts, leave their space heater on low in their fifth-wheel RV for their two little dogs when they are not home, but I’m too afraid that something would happen and burn our whole motorhome down if I did that… But I do so love turning it on when we are home… 🙂

Hoping all of you are finding your own little “Christmas smiles” during this beautiful Christmas season and all the year through… If I’ve learned nothing else as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that it is truly the little things in life that make me the happiest of all…

I want to take this opportunity to say a big thank-you to everyone for following my blog as I document our life journey, especially written for our daughter Shantel to treasure as a written family photo album, and for any family and friends that enjoy reading my writing’s…

Merry Christmas!




Majestic And Simple

Last Sunday Bill and I were invited to attend a Christmas Music Church Service with our dear friends, Jim and Karen Parmenter. The music and singing were just beautiful and very moving. When it came time for the Pastor to give his sermon, I was inspired by his description of what Christmas should be. His sermon was heartfelt and beautiful but his main message, and what I took home with me was, that Christmas should be both “Majestic and Simple.”  I so agree with that message and always try to keep Christmas “majestic”, according to my faith, and what I believe. And this year being our first year living in a tiny space… I’m learning how to keep Christmas “simple” as well…

I thought I would share a few examples of “majestic and simple” things I was blessed with this very week… Like this beautiful, majestic, sunrise right outside our motorhome. That, to me, is very majestic!


After we attended the church service with Karen and Jim, we were invited to their beautiful home for a wonderful brunch and fun afternoon of playing Jokers and Pegs, a game Bill and I never played before but loved it and will look forward to playing again. Thank you Karen and Jim for treating us to such a beautiful day.

As we were saying our good-bye’s to Karen and Jim, Karen gave me this lovely bottle of Merlot wine wrapped in a simple but cute little Christmas scarf and hat. I love it and I love that it also serves two purposes… I’m using it as part of my Christmas decorations in our tiny home, then after Christmas, I will of course need open and enjoy it… Thanks Karen and Jim!


And, lucky me, Karen also gave me this simple little box of Noel soap. It smells just divine and I just love it. It also is now part of our Christmas décor as it adorns our tiny bathroom sink bringing a touch of Christmas cheer there. Thank-you so much Karen.


How about this “simple” little wire Christmas Tree I was given at work this week. It even has little ornaments already on it… It was part of the Christmas decorations used in the Nature Center at San Tan over the years but they are trying to scale down some now and were putting together a donation box when I mentioned how cute I thought the tree was so our Supervisor said I could just have it! Works perfect in our tiny space, and it’s small, lightweight, unbreakable, and easy to pack away.. I love it! 🙂


These “simple”, but adorable, little stuffed Santa’s were on a table that was marked “yours for a donation to the critter fund”, They just spoke to me so I made a two dollar donation and now they are hanging in our motorhome. Again, small, unbreakable, and easy to pack away… Perfect for our tiny space… 🙂


I love everything about Christmas because I know the reason for the season, and for me, it’s celebrating the birth of Christ. What makes my Christmas special is trying to help others in any way I can, of course attending our church services, and cooking and sharing special meals with family and friends as we spend quality time together making memories…

I hope all of you have a “Majestic and Simple” Christmas..

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

P.S. I made it snow on my blog again this year for all my cold weather loving friends. You may need to give it a minute or two after you visit the blog before the snow begins to fall but it should be there.. xoxo

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