Month by Month Recap of 2020

 Like most people around the world, I'm ready to move on from 2020 and see what the next 365 days will have in store for us. While our family has come out of 2020 mostly unscathed in the way many Americans and people around the globe have been affected, we've had many trying moments throughout this year nonetheless. Our year had some really amazing highs, and as much as everyone wants to forget this year happened, there are many moments I hope to remember, even if they didn't turn out the way we hopped, planned, or expected. 

January 2020: In January of this year Derek and I took the kids on a trip to southern Utah. It was so fun to be outdoors in the warm air in the middle of winter. We enjoyed hiking, playing, eating at some of our favorite spots, motorcycle rides with friends, and so much more. It was an awesome way to kick off the year.

February 2020: After many hard months of Kyle struggling at school, we made the hard decision to pull him out of public school, and into a local Catholic school. The difference it made was night and day, but a few weeks in the kids both got pink eye, and then the flu, which left them out of school for a couple weeks. 

I flew to Columbus, Ohio to help with the launch and development of the #OnOurSleeves campaign with Nationwide Children's Hospital to help advocate for Children's Mental Health. While I was there people were buzzing about the incoming coronavirus. I placed a Walmart grocery order for a month's worth of food storage to be delivered to our home while Derek was with the kids. We never knew how much that would come in handy this year. 

March 2020: The world shut down. Derek started working from home. I started homeschooling our children, and we never would have imagined at that time that things would never be quite the same. Derek started living out of our walk in closet while I had kids setup in different corners of the house for school work and zoom meetings. We found peace being outside at local abandoned parks, driving in the mountains, or simply riding bikes in the parking lot of our townhome. 

April 2020: The two week break was much longer than we thought it would be. We got into a rhythm of school work, I managed to sign onto a new ad network for my site that dramatically increased my blog earnings each month, and Kinsley tipped over her massive tricycle and got her first concussion. The finest joys of being home all the time. We celebrated Easter at home with a small Sunday church service that had become routine by the time Easter came around. 

May 2020: Derek and I started evaluating what we wanted for our family long term as we knew we needed to find a new place to live come July. Our three story townhome was not conducive to a child who could not walk, and with an increase in rent for a new lease, it was no longer financially worth it to stay. We looked for so many single level rental homes that allowed a dog, but all of the available options were way out of our budget, and wouldn't allow for us to continue sending Kyle to his new private school.

We looked into building a home near where we were living and got locked out of the model home and took it as a sign to not continue down that path. Then we decided that Kyle needed to just go back to the same public school he went to for Kinder and first grade (not the same public school we pulled him out of in second). There were two single-level homes in our budget for sale in that boundary, but one that we thought was going to be removed from the boundary with the building of a new elementary school in our area. 

The other home that was in our budget was back in the same neighborhood we'd both rented and owned in previously. We felt sheepish about going back for a third round, and had inquired with some friends who owned lots to build in another neighborhood. They weren't going to have anything ready to move into until at least the fall, which didn't match up with our timeline, so we put in an offer on the house in our previous neighborhood and the rest was history. We had a 60 day close so that we could finish our lease and not pay double rent and mortgage and everything went smoothly. 

June 2020: We got a break from our normal day-to-day quarantine by going up to Idaho for a family reunion with Derek's brothers and sisters, and their families. The days were filled with games, a family 5k race, food, and welcomed company after long months of not seeing very many faces. 

July 2020: Derek and I closed on our new home, moved in, and almost immediately ditched the kids with Derek's siblings who graciously watched them while we headed down to Zion's National Park to celebrate our nine year wedding anniversary. It was our first kid free trip ever, and was so welcomed and necessary. It was another great way to break up the long days of being home and doing the same thing over and over again. 

August 2020: We celebrated most of the birthdays in our home. We had a family beach day to celebrate Kyle turning 8, Kinsley turned 6 and was spent quietly at home as I moved into a short lived role as a PE teacher at the same Catholic school mentioned above. I turned 29, and we spent the day taking Kinsley to her very first horse show which was probably one of the most magical moments in her little life. 

We also got into the world of remodeling our home which equated to us finishing Derek's new office (he's pretty happy to not be working in a closet anymore), our master bathroom, and Kyle's bedroom

September 2020: After teaching PE for several weeks, not being given the proper cleaning supplies to stay healthy during a pandemic, getting sick (not with covid), and a million other things that would make your head spin, I stepped away from my teaching position to help keep my family healthy, and to support my own personal sanity. Will I find myself in a classroom again? Time will tell. Question marks all over my entire future at this point. The kids also went back to school four days a week which was very welcomed after a long period of homeschooling and remote learning!

October 2020: Derek turned 32. I can't exactly remember how we celebrated but I think there was a chocolate cake involved, and Derek's sister babysat at some point for us to go out on a date night. We needed a miter saw to finish the remodel in our other bathroom, which Derek graciously accepted as a birthday gift. He also got to use said power saw for the good of the blog... seems like it might have actually been a gift for me and not for him, but he's a good sport about things. 

This was the month where Kinsley also had her final test to see if she qualified for a life changing surgery that could help her walk independently. It was a pretty low blow to find out that she didn't qualify, which left us with lots of questions about her future and the longevity of her ability to walk with her walker. Although the outcome wasn't what we expected and there was a fair amount of grieving that information, we also felt at peace with the situation because we understood that going through with the surgery would give her a poorer quality of life than she has now, and we ultimately want to keep moving forward and not backwards with her health.

This was a pretty defining moment for me that taught me to find peace in the unknown and that sometimes in life you aren't going to have all the answers you need immediately, but that sometimes your hopes and dreams change and shift with your available resources. This was the first time in Kinsley's life where I really accepted that she likely won't walk independently. She might be a walker/wheelchair user her entire life, and that's totally fine, but it's been a mind shift for sure since it feels like we've chased this goal for six years straight to ultimately realize it's not in the picture for the set of cards she's been dealt. 

November 2020: We spent Thanksgiving at home this year. Luckily that was mostly the plan pre-covid anyways since we did Thanksgiving in Idaho last year. I ran my first half marathon in two years, and we started a new tradition with a Thanksgiving piƱata. I still don't know if beating a fake turkey with a baseball bat was the healthiest activity for young children to partake in, but they had fun, got candy, and everyone was happy about it. 

December 2020: We finished out the year with lots of Christmas crafts, our annual Christmas service project, and a quiet and fun Christmas at home with the kids. We enjoyed board games and setting up our new basketball hoop and playing together as a family. We started a new tradition of making a birthday cake for baby Jesus, and really felt like we did a good job at marrying the balance between the fun of Christmas and the spirit of Christmas together. We had elaborate white board discussions about the true meaning of Christmas and what happened that one night two millennia ago with the children that always seems to put a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. It's been my tagline of the year, but despite all the things in life I don't know, I do know we have a Savior who knows us and loves us, and that's been enough to get me through some dark times in 2020. 

2020 has been a year of highs and lows for so many, my heart aches for those who have experienced loss of any kind at the hands of this pandemic or otherwise. I'm hoping that 2021 can bring all of us everything that 2020 did not, and that you can find love, peace, and happiness in your lives. I'm hoping the same for me too. 

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