Thursday, December 31, 2020

I have been reflecting a lot lately on my 2020. I have told many people that I feel like a different person in some ways. I have learned so much and grown so much. To read over this is a bit surreal.

Grab a coffee and read if you are able! What are your takeaways from 2020? Do you feel like the same person?

January – the year turned to 2020 and I couldn’t believe my senior twins’ graduation year had already arrived. That’s all I really remember!

February– thoroughly enjoyed Jack in Pride and Prejudice as Mr. Collins. He was so funny and even got a mention in a local arts review (bragging a bit – but give me that because it would be the only live performance we would get to see of him or anyone in 2020!)! WE also got to watch Mason’s final academic team competition. Both kids did quick recall from 5th-9th grade and then Mason came back to it for senior year and it was so fun to watch. He shined (again, give me this, o.k.?) and our team was good – and coached by one of my teacher friends. It was just fun. February was a fun month for our family.

March – crunch time for college decisions. Acceptances were all in, scholarship offers were on the table, but it was time to decide. I was starting to stress and I know I was annoying my kids. Then, March 13th happened and life as we knew it came to a halt. We were off of school for two weeks and then one more for Spring Break. Those three weeks were stressful – lots of Zoom meetings for me and wondering how? why? when? where? At this point, we thought it would be a short break.

I didn’t have any masks and therefore really only went out in the neighborhood.

I was already doing Kroger Clicklist so I kept doing that. This was the wipe everything down before bringing it in the house stage.

This was the bake homemade bread stage and the Dalgona iced coffee stage. I also started using Dinnerly meal prep for 3 meals a week. I continued this for a couple of months.

April – started back to school virtually for boys and teaching for me. It was weird. Attendance to live classes was not mandated. There was no set schedule. It was b-a-n-a-n-a-s. I was still trying to get my students prepared for the Spanish AP exam. Jack and Mason were falling into bad sleeping patterns. The weather started warming up and I sat outside a lot. I had lots of happy hours while talking on the phone to friends.

May– I couldn’t wait to be done with the school year. I need to get that monkey off of my back as I said repeatedly. I had masks and started going out to some stores. The end of May brought the re-opening of our restaurants! We thought summer would bring normalcy. I really thought the virus would run its course when the heat came.

June – celebrated Tom’s birthday, Father’s Day, visited my mom with one of my sisters in my hometown, lots of boating. The boys mostly hung out together. There was lots of sleeping in. I started saying they were on second shift. I started becoming obsessed with red sandals and bought clogs and sandals.

July – had a fun day with my sister and BIL on the river. They journeyed down river by boat from our hometown. We celebrated our 20th anniversary with take out from Outback. We had a small family grad party in the yard.

August – Lots of Amazon arrivals and shopping for college supplies. I was shocked that the boys were really able to move in on campus. I was sad and dinner and the evenings were hardest at first. But, I worked for two weeks to get ready for real virtual school this time. So, I was really busy and that helped to make the transition to an empty nest easier.

September- busy, busy with school and learning our new schedule. Tried desperately to learn new names and faces – for those who would turn cameras on in live classes! Settled into a new empty nest normal with Tom. Still boating! Lots of socially distant outdoors social time with friends. My sisters and I met in my hometown for a girl’s day with my mom. That was really fun.

I made apple butter in the crockpot! I embraced lots of things apple and made my first apple cider sangria of the season.

October – Still learning routine, still boating, still socializing, kind of liking only being responsible for myself – and Ernie! I embraced all things pumpkin! We went out to eat on a patio a couple of Saturday nights a month.

November – celebrated my 49th birthday at an outdoor restaurant with my two besties and their husbands. Moved my college kids home November 20 and had a small and kinda sad but safe Thanksgiving. Put boat up after a super warm second weekend of November! We lived it up with 3 days in a row of boating one weekend.

December – Boys finished their classes at home and took online finals. I finished with school for 2020 on December 18 (again, I was ready to get that monkey off my back), frantic shopping (mostly online) for Christmas took place, lots of cooking, lots of dishes, visited my mom for our Christmas with her, Tom’s parents did a drive by Christmas. We watched some shows, movies, and played some games. I cooked a ton and there were so. many. dishes. again. I was so happy to have my boys home.

General Thoughts:

I will always be grateful for my home. It truly was as place of refuge. My outdoor space saved me. I gained another outdoor space with our new deck and we ordered furniture online that has worked out great.

I am so grateful for our renovation timing. We were able to move into the new bedroom and mudroom in March. I would’ve been so unhappy had we not been in the place we were.

From March-December I got two pedicures and no manicures. I learned that I don’t need to have those services.

I rarely got take out coffee and again, I love my coffee at home. It seemed like I only was doing the Starbucks because I was already out and it was just easy.

I never wanted to work from home but I have really enjoyed the respite from such a hard core structured school day. I didn’t miss the hall duty, behavior issues – even just asking kids to put phones away was getting really old, the lack of being able to go to the bathroom. I also have liked getting up at a more civilized hour. I do miss all the good things that come with teaching, of course!

My daily walks with Ernie have saved me and him. We had simply the best weather from September – November. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to be outside more.

I feel like I have slowed down. I haven’t been in a rush in I can’t remember how long. This has been so good for me. I have a tendency to be very Type A.

I tried so many homemade recipes – my own salad dressings, enchilada sauce, bread, coffee drinks, cocktails. I know I became a better home cook.

I feel like my friendships have never been better. Life was busy before March and It was hard to even make a phone call happen! At first I did a lot of – “I will call you at 4:00 and we will both sit outside with a cocktail at our own houses.” Then, I did some one on one happy hours on my patio, friends’ patios, restaurants. Almost all of my socializing was one on one – just me and another friend. Sometimes it’s harder to talk when there are more people so I feel that this really enabled us to grow closer. At first no one was eating anyone else’s food so it was very low pressure entertaining. My work friends Erica and Elizabeth, my friends Victoria, Sheila, Beth, and my college besties Heather and Heather helped me so much. I am a pretty social person. One social activity a week was my goal and it usually happened! My sister Kate and I talked on the phone a lot, too. My sister Molly was harder to talk to because she went back in person without missing much of a beat and has a very busy life with 4 kids and a long commute.

I am so grateful for Tom, Jack and Mason. You want to talk about people that adapted well without complaint? It’s them. Jack and Mason have always loved being home and they had each other. I think their bond was strengthened during this time, too.

And, finally, I was so grateful to have this blog. It was a lifeline between me and the friends I have made through blogging.

I know there is so much more I could say, but I think that is enough for now.

Thank you for sticking with me!


13 thoughts on “Lessons Learned from 2020

  1. I’m thankful for many of the same things – a comfortable home, a flexible family who tried to see the positive, and supportive friends – both in real life and online! Happy 2021!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the recap! It feels like this year went by quickly. In many ways this calmer life style suited me… Sweden was cool with restrictions so we continued to go out for a drink now and then and we all stayed healthy, so… The biggest change was of course to not travel! I live for my summers in Florida…!
    And I agree with you – family is everything! I’m so thankful for my little squad!


    1. It was fun to do and I love to reflect. It did go by quickly at times and more slowly at others. But, you were way busier with teaching in person. It seems like you were more normal for most of the year but I think you made the best of summer in Sweden and enjoyed it. Same to you!


      1. Yes, our Swedish summer was very nice! It’s no catastrophe if we can’t make it to Florida this summer. I have you to give me American flair!
        It’s 4 pm here, and I can hear fireworks somewhere… Soon it’s time to start prepare for the evening! I hope you’ll have a fantastic evening with a lot of good food and drinks! Maybe our families want to do a board game? And watch a movie? See you 2021!


  3. I love this recap! I hope to post one tomorrow. I hesitated to do so, but I also want to remember this time. Obviously it’s been a difficult year, but I have treasured this time with my family and working from home (although I do miss the busyness of the school building and students)

    Liked by 1 person

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