2020 Personal Review & 2021 Goals

February 9, 2021

Oh 2020, where to begin! For the past couple of years I’ve been putting together a personal review of the year, kind of as an online scrapbook for myself of the past year. Since I’m beyond behind in scrapbooking or making a photo album with physical pictures, I thought I’d continue the tradition and do a 2020 personal review. Maybe one day when I get around to actually making photo albums I can pull pictures from this blog post!

You can see last year’s review post here if you want to catch up with where 2019 ended.

We all know 2020 was rough, but it was rough from the 1st of January for me. It started with me needing an upper cervical spine surgery for a herniated disc. It was actually my second herniated disc! During Christmas I was having problems with pain running down my arm into my fingers, I knew it was a disc problem and an MRI confirmed it. I had my first surgery for the C5-6 disc (the upper disc) and I my second surgery for the C6-7 disc (the lower disc) 5 years and 1 day later. They put in titanium discs (as you can see on the x-ray) that are basically like spacers and let me still keep my full range of motion (during this surgery the spacer actually made me just a tad taller which stretched out my muscles). Luckily I had the same surgeon (who I love) and Dr. Peris was even able to use the same scar so I don’t have multiple scars on my neck. The reason I have the scar on the front of my neck is because it’s safer & easier for the surgeon to go in from the front, move my throat over and then work on my spine. Crazy!

Ben was so adamant that I get my surgery in January, and I wasn’t sure why since it cut it close with photographing a wedding I had in February. But now I know it was God orchestrating it all so I could have the surgery before Covid when all surgeries were basically shut down.

One of the very positive things that happened in 2020 was my younger sister (the middle sister), Maddy, was pregnant! It was definitely a miracle that we were all beyond excited about! In February we went home to Pittsburgh for the gender reveal! Almost all of us were pretty sure she was having a girl, as you can see there was a lot of pink!

My Aunt Karen made the cutest Mickey cake!

They lit fireworks and they ended up being blue! They were having a boy!!

Ben’s birthday is also in February and we celebrated with an ice cream cake with our community group. Back when we could still get together in person for community group! (This is also back when people blew out candles on the cake! haha)

We also went and visited Ben’s family for his birthday because he shares the same birthday as with our niece, Katelyn.

Our friend and my roomie from college got married on leap day in 2020! Ben and I went and photographed it! We kind of all teased her husband for picking their wedding date as February 29th, but it ended up being the best decision because I think the next weekend we were in quarantine! Carrie, Ben and I were all close in college. Carrie’s maiden name is Adams so her and Ben use to joke at Penn State they were related. Then when I married Ben, I could joke that I was related to Carrie. πŸ™‚ The picture on the left is at her parents’ house underneath their A for Adams, right before her last name changed.

And then Covid hit New York and we were officially in quarantine. Our friend & pastor, Dave, of Awaken church began posting his sermons on YouTube. I’m not going to lie, I was a little burnt out from volunteering so much and I enjoyed eating my breakfast and drinking my coffee as we watched the sermon in sweatpants.

I became a master at using Zoom! Spark started meeting online which meant I could attend almost every week. They normally meet in person in New Jersey and it’s over an hour away for me.

It honestly was so good for me to be able to meet with these girls almost every week. We would all ask how each other were getting through the pandemic both personally and with our businesses. There were was so much we all had to consider as photography business owners and there being so many (necessary) restrictions! We even had a Zoom baby shower for two of our friends that were due just weeks apart!

Ben started working from home thanks to Covid… I didn’t mind one bit! The top of our coffee table picks up into a table so that’s where he works from. He was part of opening a new lab so he did have to go back to work part time sooner than most people. That meant weekly Covid testing where as Ben would say, “they swabbed his brains out.”

Since coffee shops were closed for a bit, Ben got me a milk frother so I could try my hand at making lattes. I did my best with my Keurig and milk frother and even tried latte art. Ben also got me two wall mug racks from Pottery Barn so I could see almost all of my mugs. I have quite the collection of Cinderella mugs with a couple Disney mugs, plus a few other important mugs. I love having my little coffee area, it makes me so happy to wake up to it in the morning and look at all my mugs and choose which one I want! It’s the little things!

Continuing with the Zoom meetings, we also met with my mom’s side of the family every Saturday for a few months. We’re all over the country so this was the most that I saw my family! My Aunt Karen was great at organizing games that we could play over Zoom. My grandma isn’t in this picture, but my mom sent her an old web camera my dad had and then I helped her get it all figured out so she could eventually join all the family too. I think we need to start these up again, I’ve missed seeing them, especially since we didn’t go on vacation to Florida or spend Thanksgiving together.

I was also able to get a PSU Girls Zoom hangout together! We need to do this again too!

For Easter we didn’t visit family and the church service was through YouTube. So those who were able got together for a bit on Zoom to see each other for Easter.

Ben was so sweet and we tried to make it feel like Easter as much as possible with dying easter Eggs and having an Easter lunch.

We also Zoom called with Ben’s family and then with my family while they ate.

The one thing that really helped me get through quarantine was my garden. I was chomping at the bit waiting until I could start planting and planning my garden.

Every single flower made me so happy!

For the first year in 4 years my peonies that I started from root got big and tall! They had buds on them, but there was a late frost in May and I think it killed the buds. Otherwise, I think we would have had some blooms this year. Here’s hoping for 2021!

We also tried some new plants this year. We eventually visited Ben’s family for the day and he got some strawberry plants. Ben bought me a hydrangea and we tried red peppers (we got 1 red pepper).

My sister’s baby shower kept getting pushed back because of Covid and the regulations with restaurants. The day that was the original baby shower date my mom threw a little tea party for my sister with her and my other sister. Since I couldn’t make it I Zoom video called in and even made a “tea party hat” out of one of my beach hats!

When I did eventually go home for my sister’s real baby shower I was shocked to find that my parents had decided to put in a pool! (They had said nothing about it for months!!)Β  We had an above ground pool all while I was in school and it was one of my parents best days the day that they tore it down. So you can imagine how shocked I was that they were putting in another pool!

In stead of having Maddy’s baby shower at a restaurant, we decided to throw her a “drive by” baby shower.Β 

My best friend Chelsy and her family stopped by, it was the first time I had seen her since Christmas!!

Ben and I sewed our future nephew, Ford, a Mickey quilt.

I’ve sewn quilts for my 3 best friends’ kids so of course I was going to sew my nephew a quilt. (I never did them for Ben’s side of the family because by the time we got married we already had nieces and nephews and I didn’t want some to get quilts from us and the older kids not to.)

As you’ll see we actually sewed 5 quilts this year! This was the first one!

Ben and I have sort of rhythm now with quilts. I sew and he does all the cutting, measuring, ironing and pinning. There’s no way I could get a quilt done without him! He’s as meticulous and detailed as I am so we work well together.

This year we also started pancake Saturday where Ben makes me Mickey pancakes and I decorate them with fruit. While we were in Pittsburgh for Maddy’s baby shower, we also celebrated my Aunt Karen’s 50th birthday! I guess the new way to blow out candles is to “wave” them out. haha

My grandma in Pittsburgh was quarantined in her house with just her and her dog, she didn’t leave for months.Β  And while on the phone she would say how she of course missed seeing people, but she really missed hugs. I saw this idea on Instagram and Ben helped me build a hugging curtain! She can push it to the side so she can use the door, but she can pull it out when someone visits her so she can get a hug πŸ™‚ That’s her hugging me on the right, Ben used the sleeves from a Tyvek suit for us to put our arms in.

On the way back from Pittsburgh we stopped to meet our newest niece, Evelyn, photograph some family newborn pictures and give out birthday presents. This is the 3rd girl for Ben’s brother Matt and our sister-in-law, Laura. Laura comes from a family of 3 girls like me so it’s fun to see them with three girls now!

These are just some of the blooms from my garden! I saved some of my Zinnia seeds from the previous year and we got what I decided to call “Unicorn Zinnias” haha. The middle flower is a Unicorn Zinnia, instead of the petals just being one color, they’re multiple colors!

I have 3 rose bushes and they did wonderfully this year!

Our first year we had a garden we had so many zucchinis we didn’t know what to do with them all. However, ever since we’ve been struggling to get the same result. This year we at least got a couple!

One of the things that brightened my day was keeping flowers in my office and around the apartment. Our garden produced a lot of flowers from June to October and I cherished each one! The orange and pink Zinnia on the right is what I would call another Unicorn Zinnia.

In the beginning of June we went home to Pittsburgh for a long weekend because my mom had a knee replacement and I wanted to be there for her for a couple days after her surgery to help. (I won’t post any pictures as I’m sure she does not want anyone to see them.) It was also the week before Maddy’s 30th birthday and I wanted to throw her a little party. I did all the research, but Ben helped me make this balloon swag for her. (The key is an air compressor, a needle and clear fishing line, and a low temperature glue gun.)

We surprised Maddy and she even wore the perfect shirt!

She loves Friends and donuts so that’s what I went with! This was also the last time we saw her before she had our nephew!

I’m just throwing in here and there some of the things that kept us sane through the pandemic. Friends of ours have a pool so we would go over there in the middle of the day so I could work on my tan and pretend I was on vacation. We also would go walking in some of the parks and reserves around us so we could get out of the apartment. Our neighborhood is full of families with kids so it was fun to also walk around our neighborhood and just see other people.

Our church eventually started holding outdoor services. Everyone wore masks (except for when the worship team sang and Dave preached) and we all stayed 6 feet apart.

Some people even tailgated or sat in or by their cars.

It was so good to see friends in person! We also had community group once a week over Zoom. Our friend who had moved back to China was even able to join in!

Ford was born on June 30th and we all met him over Zoom! (I think I caught one of his first smiles on the right.) I felt bad that my parents couldn’t be in the hospital, but at least Steve was able to be there with Maddy. And I liked that we all got to see him for the first time together. My parents and my sister and her husband still got to meet Ford in person before Ben and I, but you better believe I got there as soon as I could!

On the way down to Pittsburgh to meet Ford we stopped and saw my best friend Kate who had recently moved back to states. I loved seeing her and her family, plus I photographed a socially distanced family maternity session for them.

FORD! He was born right before when we normally go on our family Florida trip. So Ben and I decided to do a week long staycation at my parents’ house so could use the new pool and get as much time in with Ford as possible. Plus I had to photograph a newborn session of Ford! πŸ™‚

We also delivered quilt #2 to my best friend Jess’s son Paul. This was one of three quilts that I was behind on from last year. Since last year was so hard on me both mentally and physically I didn’t have the energy to make any quilts. But I was doing much better this year so I wanted to get caught up on all my quilts. Our dining room table became my sewing machine’s home.

You couldn’t see it up close on Ford’s quilt, but on each quilt I sew a heart on the back with either the initial of their last or first name (I hand stitch the initial), it depends on if I know the name a head of time. Lucy has her own quilt and since I didn’t know her name ahead of time I did a “W” for their last name. So I continued the tradition of a “W” for Paul. Jess sent me a picture later of both Lucy and Paul using the quilt. It brings me such joy when I get these pictures because I want the quilts to be used!!

The concrete was poured just in time for our staycation at my parents and we thoroughly enjoyed the pool!

We also celebrated my birthday while we were in Pittsburgh! A Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A is the perfect poolside birthday lunch!

Last year I started using Color Street on my nails, they’re basically stickers for your nails so you don’t have to wait for nail polish to dry. They normally last around 2 weeks, but I get mine to stay on for 3 weeks by applying a clear coat of Essie Gel Setter. Obviously we didn’t go many places this year, but I still did my nails because it made me happy every time I looked down and saw cute nails! Also the glitters are my favorite, but I put on pineapples for our staycation!

Shuggy loves the water and swimming in it and I love watching her swim in it! Maddy and Steve had a little outdoor bassinet for Ford. It was in the 90’s so they brought him out sparingly. Look how small he was!

On my birthday Ben made me a cake covered in sprinkles on the inside and out and he made my favorite icing from Magnolia Bakery in NYC.

I got in as many snuggles with Ford as I could!

We stopped by my in-law’s where I got to snuggle baby Evy and my mother-in-law made one of my favorite cakes for my birthday. It’s a chocolate heath crunch cake with a chocolate ganache on top!

Our little deck came together and I really enjoyed it over the summer. Ben also has a fire pit that we bring out sometimes to eat dinner around and make s’mores. It was our little “getaway” during the pandemic.

During the pandemic Ben baked a decent amount, chocolate turtle cookies were one of my favorite recipes he found. And we also started enjoying his margaritas with dinner!

We planted a ton of green beans this year and also tried pole beans and the longer and skinnier english cucumbers. (The right picture is our first harvest from the garden.)

Ben bought me pink Zinnia seeds kind of last minute and I put them in front of the rose bush. After the rose bush was finished blooming the Zinnias went crazy! Some of the flower heads were almost the size of my hand!

This was our harvest from the garden when we came back from our Pittsburgh staycation. I was giving veggies to everyone at church!

Ben bought me what were supposed to be mini Cosmos that only got around a foot tall, as you can see they’re as tall as Ben at 6’1″.

I’ve been saying since I bought Colby the Cobalt right out of college that I was going to get him to 200,000 miles. And 2020 was the year it happened, although Ben did have to do some work on him and even take it in to get some work done. I’m so thankful to have a patient husband who is willing to put in the time and work, and get a little dirty all for his wife’s crazy “dream” .

We of course had to visit Ford again!

Look at him already getting big in his outdoor bassinet. There’s no way he would fit in it now! He could sit in it and use it as a play pen. lol

Ford likes being outdoors and actually didn’t mid the water that much.

Our first family picture that includes Ford!

It was so cute how Ford would hold onto your shirt when you held him.

Before we left Pittsburgh we stopped to see my best friends Jess and Chelsy and all their kiddos! It was so wonderful to be reunited with them. We haven’t all been together since that time in July. πŸ™ I better get to see all of them in 2021!

We visited my best friend Kate, her husband Jordan and their 3 boys so we could meet their new son, Max. I also photographed a family newborn session with all of them.

Our garden became a jungle in 2020 because we had so many plans (mainly beans), it actually stressed me out to have it so unkempt.

The Dahlias and the Sunflowers started blooming at the same time and it made me so happy!

One tradition we were able to keep this year was going sailing in Stamford, CT with our friends Tricia and George.

More Color Street nails!

This is the front of our house where I grow Dahlias and even more Zinnias, they only get about 2 feet tall, which is what I prefer.

In August we went to visit Ben’s family and celebrate August birthdays.

I went to take some pictures of my nieces and nephew on a flower farm and of course I had to pick some flowers!

My oldest niece is officially taller me! And we gave everyone their own cupcake so they could blow out their candle and be Covid friendly.

Updated cousins picture!

Ben built trellises for the pole beans and cucumbers to climb. Once the cucumbers were done the pole beans took over that trellis.

Like a lot of people I got into “The Home Edit” on Netflix.Β  I plan on still scrapbooking pictures and stuff that I’ve saved one day, but I knew I had so much extra stuffΒ  that I was saving that could be thrown away. Ben and I ended up going to Michael’s to buy a lot of storage bins, all of which we used. It feel so good to have thrown so much away and to be saving only what I really want to save.Β 

We continued to go to church out doors and were so thankful to have our church meeting when so many churches weren’t meeting in person.

We also enjoyed having friends over after church so that we could hang out socially distanced.

Once it started getting colder, I started going to Starbucks before church so that I could keep warm with some coffee… and maybe a snack πŸ™‚

Ben and I also went to two different flea markets in Connecticut. It was a nice way to get out of the house and it’s always fun to look around for treasure. I ended up with some clear glass vases (to put my flowers in around the apartment) and a pretty pink cake plate with 4 matching ice cream glasses.

Oh Nala, I love having her come up to my office and hang out with me, I just don’t get much work done.

She’s our downstairs neighbors’ dog and I love to hang out with her! Especially since we still haven’t got our own dog yet.

This pink cart is in my office and I loved filling it with flowers!

This year we grew “Mini Jack” pumpkins! They were so little on the vine and I loved looking for them!

One of our good friends, Janelle, turned 30 this year and we had so much fun surprising her at one of her work friend’s house. She was totally surprised!

We were trying to get miles on Colby to get him to that 200,000 mile mark so we drove him back to Pittsburgh. He hasn’t been back home in a long time so of course I had to take a picture.

We also went back to of course see Ford and go with him to his first pumpkin patch.

My parents might be a little obsessed with Ford πŸ™‚

Such a little pumpkin!

4 generations! I love how small Ford’s hand looks on my dad’s hand.

Once again Ford holding onto my clothes while I held him, it’s the sweetest.

Ford was also big enough for swings so we got to see his first run at my parents. We weren’t around for Halloween, but he was a baby shark… as was almost everyone else with kids.

This was my first year I put out a pumpkin display and we had to fight off the stupid crows getting the gourds!

We drove Colby to Ben’s parents for his Dad’s 70th birthday party and Ben timed it perfectly that we hit 200,000 right before we got to his parents. I did a little dance and threw confetti when Colby hit 200,000 miles πŸ™‚

To be Covid friendly and socially distance, we setup for Ben’s father’s 70th birthday party in the garage with the door open. I had the idea of decorating the garage and hiding all of the “garage stuff” with the plastic table cloths that come on a roll.

While Ben put up the table cloths, I used an air compressor to blow up balloons for another balloon swag! I had to use folding tables on their side to keep the balloons from going out the door.

We also had two tents outside so a family could be in each tent. It’s really amazing that that between all of Ben’s family they own 7 folding tables, 2 tents, enough chairs and his mom bought two outside heaters. As you’ll see we put it all to good use in 2020.

Ben’s sister Liz organized most of the party and her and her 3 kids helped Ben and I set up all the decorations. I also had to preform my aunt duties and braid Hailey’s hair for the first time! I used to braid my oldest nieces’ hair and now they can do it on their own!

We got a group picture for the Adams’ Christmas card since we didn’t know what would happen for Thanksgiving.

Ben’s parents with all the grandkids. We did our best to get them all to look, but there’s only so much you can do with so many younger kiddos involved and it being the end of the night.

I count my calories every day and this year I hit 1,000 days. I originally did it to loose 10 pounds, but now I do it just as maintenance. It really makes me aware of the portion size of my food. Believe me I still eat what I want, I just watch how much and when.

The final act to prep our garden for winter was to dig up the Dahlias’ roots. Their roots consist of “tubers” which is what the flower grows from.

As you can see some of the tubers are quite large. I labeled what type they were with washi tape as Ben dug them up and then we rinsed the dirt off and let them dry. I don’t have a picture, but the final step was putting them in a saw dust like substance for the winter. Ben checks on them every once in awhile and spritzes them with water. The hope is in the spring we can divide the tubers up and have even more dahlia plants!

Well my beach chair wasn’t used for the beach this year, but it got a lot of use for our outdoor church services.

We went back to Ben’s parents house for Thanksgiving. And like Mike’s 70th birthday party, we did a similar setup.

Ben always seems to be the one that smokes the turkey, he’s a professional now. And as you can see our tables were spaced out as we ate dinner without our masks.

I made these silly balloon turkeys for centerpieces that the kids ended up having fun with.

This may have been the last church service, it was a cold one. I was actually thankful to wear the mask because it kept my face warm.

Here’s quilt #3! This one was for Max! We were going back to Pittsburgh and stopped along the way to drop off this quilt (since I didn’t have it done the first time we met Max) and take a couple updated pictures.

I think he liked his quilt πŸ™‚

My winter nails!

For my dad’s 60th birthday my mom rented a house at a ski resort at the beginning of December. Ben and I got in a day early so I could hang out with Ford a little more.

It was so deceiving, the slopes had snow on them but not enough for skiing!

Give me a fireplace and I will find a way to take a nap in front of it!

The backyard of our house had a little slope so went out in the snow for a little bit.

I tried not to be a baby hog, but I just want to hold Ford all the time!

We celebrated my dad’s birthday with steak and he “waved” out the candles on the cake my mom made that he likes. And then later on he did one of his favorite things, fell asleep.

Once it got too cold our church stopped meeting outside and went back to YouTube. Since we couldn’t have an Awaken Christmas party my friend, Debbie, wanted to surprise everyone with cookies. A couple people made cookies and then she bagged them and dropped them off at everyone’s house. I of course made my sugar cookies.

I changed the Awaken logo to red and green for the tags and someone else wrote notes on the back of each one. I think in the end there were around 50 bags of cookies!

Our house at Christmas! We live on the top floor and you can vaguely see the lights in the windows. Our neighbors put up lights too which makes me happy.

This year I got this cute little tin box that we filled with fresh cut greenery. I love having the Christmas lights on at night and looking out the window, especially when there’s snow outside.

It took me awhile, but between our personal cards and the business cards and gifts, I sent out over 120 cards! I love doing it all and mailing everything!

In the middle is our little apartment with our tree, stockings (Ben’s mom cross-stitched for us), and most of the presents! We had to get the Adams side done earlier this year because we did Christmas early with them so we could leave some time before we saw my family (we even got a rapid test before we went to see my family just to make sure we were keeping everyone safe!).

I loved the wrapping paper that I got at Hobby Lobby and I designed and made the little holly name tags with my Cricut.

A couple of our Christmas card pictures! We bought the buffalo plaid masks from VistaPrint and then we bought a sheet of white vinyl (with the scrapbooking paper) and cut out Merry Christmas with my Cricut. Then Ben just stuck the words onto the masks. We wore them all throughout the Christmas season and the vinyl stayed on!

We had Adams’ Christmas early and Ben’s mom decorated the garage. We all wore masks and didn’t eat a meal. Instead the grandkids asked to ice cookies with grandma!

I got in there and helped too!

A bonus of the kiddos wearing masks, they can’t eat or lick their fingers while icing cookies! haha

It’s a good thing the kiddos were wearing their snow suits to keep warm, they were covered in icing.

The two oldest, Anna & Katelyn, were the last ones to finish icing… they reminded me of myself at their age. (My mom used to just start taking the icing away because I could take all night to ice cookies.) We had tables set outside too with heaters for social distancing.

It wasn’t planned, but the kids went sledding. Ben pulled out the baby pool to try and sled in. Oy!

After sledding we opened presents. Uncle Ben helped Hailey get her walkie talkies working!

Olivia loved the purple sparkle tutu that we got her and refused to take it off even when playing in the snow.

Later that night I got texted pictures of the kiddos playing with their toys! I love picking out the perfect gifts for our nieces and nephews!

Before we went to Pittsburgh we went back to NY. We had some more cookies to make. (Ben snuck some cucumbers in with the icing because he knew I’d snack on them if they were there.)

We also had 2 last quilts to make! As you can see I design the quilts out on my computer (in inDesign) and print them out for reference. I buy almost all my fabric on Etsy so I take a screenshot of the fabric so I can place it exactly where it’s going to go in the pattern. It’s a really great way to make sure that all the fabric is going to work together!

And here’s our 5th and last quilt for 2020! Both quilts were for two of my friend, Chelsy’s girlies. Izzy was adopted and Leonie was born in 2019 and like I said I was not physically strong enough because of neck troubles to make the quilts. We stopped to see Chelsy and her family through the glass door and give them the quilts.

We also gave them sugar cookie and wine (for the adults of course) and the kiddos dug right into the cookies! haha

My mom watches Ford whenever Maddy works and it was fun to have her send pictures of Ford all decked out in his Christmas clothes and pjs. (I’ve never seen a kid with so many Christmas outfits!)

My dad did a wonderful job decorating the house and I love that he puts up the shooting star. Their house is on top of a hill so as you drive up the hill you see the star in the sky πŸ™‚

My sisters’ husbands also do a wonderful job decorating their houses. We made sure to drive by them at night so I could see the lights.

Christmas morning! I love that I haven’t missed a Christmas morning with my family ever. (Kristina ended up getting the same wrapping paper as me, I think her ribbon and gift tags were cuter.)

We got a fresh layer of snow on Christmas morning to make it magical!

It was Ford’s first Christmas and he was happy about it! Or maybe he just liked not wearing any clothes!

Mimz and Pap really enjoyed Ford’s first Christmas.

He’s such a heartbreaker and by he, I mean Ford. lol

Ford was just 5 days shy of 6 months and he wanted to be a part of everything.

Someone got a cellphone and it may have been his favorite toy.

Unlike the past years, Christmas was no longer about the dogs haha.

He looks like a little elf in that outfit!

The day after Christmas my brother-in-law got my dad’s snowmobile out and him, Ben and my dad were out playing in the snow most of the day until it was dinner time.

They broke the saucer that they had been using with the snowmobile so the men all went out to buy an inner tube. And yes, that’s Ben waxing the inner tube.

The next day we all went outside!

Ford loves being outside, even if it doesn’t look like it.

Finn is part Bernese Mountain dog and Poodle so he loves the snow and will just lay down in it. The only way to get him inside sometimes is for Phil to carry him. Shuggy was sporting her argyle coat. lol

Then we all came in side and enjoyed warming up and being together.

I caught Ben playing with Ford when no one was watching πŸ™‚ And I love to give him his bottles! It’s the only time he’ll stay still now.

We stayed in Pittsburgh through the new year and my mom watched Ford while my sister went back to work. Maddy sent some cute outfits so I could get some cute 6 month pictures!

I think this is the 3rd or 4th year that we’ve gone to Kristina and Phil’s for New Years Eve.

Maddy, Steve and Ford came for dinner, but then left afterwards since Ford goes to bed just a little before midnight. πŸ˜‰ Ford started doing this thing where he was playing with his tongue and I’m so glad I got a picture of it!

I tried my first Old Fashioned thanks to bartender Phil, which I very much enjoyed. And we also played Quiplash, which I had never played, but was fun and it passed the time!

Happy New Year!

Normally we have to leave on New Year’s Day, but since it was a Friday we got to stay an extra day and celebrate New Year’s Day with my family. Can you tell my parents love Ford just a little?

My Santa slippers were looking pathetic after 3 years so I gave them to Finn, he loves slippers. And Ford loves the Christmas lights! It’s a good thing he couldn’t crawl yet!

Kind of like what I used to do with Sophie, one last selfie, but with Ford now, before we left.

We had one last sugar cookie delivery to make on our way out of Pittsburgh and we were greeted by Queen Elsa! Jess sent me a picture of the kiddos diving into the cookies right after we left.

So that was 2020 and the first 2 days of 2021! If you’ve made it all the way through I am thoroughly impressed and I would give you a sugar cookie if I could!

My word for 2020 was “hope” and what a year to need that! Although 2020 was at times scary and uncertain, I also realized early on that I was fortunate enough to kind of be set up for it since I already worked from home. If you’ve read my 2o19 review then you know 2019 was a really hard year personally. And thankfully I already knew what it was like to experience anxiety and panic and I already knew how to take it slower because I was forced to in 2019.

I wanted to focus on my health in 2020 and that’s really what I did. I had my neck surgery, got back into physical therapy (later than I would have like because of Covid), and finally found out some treatments to help my neck pain. I continued therapy, but through video chatting, and I continued video chatting with my psychiatrist in NYC. We are finally after 3 years, on the road to the right medication for my anxiety.

My psychiatrist suggested a 20 week DBT class that I just finished at the end of this January (2021). It just so happened that they had so switch to video class meetings because of Covid which worked out great for me because otherwise I would have had to drive into NYC once a week and I don’t know if I would have honestly done that. DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy and, “Its main goals are to teach people how to live in the moment, develop healthy ways to cope with stress, regulate their emotions, and improve their relationships with others.” I really took the class serious, like a college course. I took notes during the classes, did all the homework, participated during class, and I have noticed a big difference. The biggest difference is that it has helped regulate and minimize the seizures I was having due to stress and anxiety. This might sound funny, but it also taught me how to actually name my emotions. Instead of saying I felt “bad”, I now have a whole slew of words like: inadequate, frustrated, indignant, angry, and bitter. Don’t worry I have a whole new vocabulary for positive emotions as well!

I am no where near back to where I used to be, but I am learning to accept where I am and to be less judgmental and harsh on myself. For 2021 I’m again choosing the word “hope”. It’s not so I don’t think have to think of another word, it’s because I still need to have hope each day that I will get better, that this world will get better, that I will continue to make strides in my business and in relationships, and that Coronavirus will end sooner rather than later.

Here’s to 2021! Like last year, I Β have hope for 2021 and can’t wait to see what God has planned!

Westchester, New York, Wedding, Photographer, NYC, New York City, Cassady K Photography

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