2019 & 2020 in Review

Nature mandala we created our first week of remote learning March 2020

The past two years have brought some dark days as well as some memorable moments I want to celebrate. As with my 2017 & 2018 year-in-review posts, I have taken some nice pictures and haven't had a chance to sit down and write separate posts on here, so this post is basically a place to dump all those photos and try to remember what we've been up to the past couple of years.

January 2019

We got passes to the Pacific Science Center for Hunter's birthday December 2018, so we found ourselves in Seattle more often than not. Sometimes we'd just drive to a random park, even on a gray day, just to get out of the house. (Not much has changed there.)

February 2019

This month brought our first ever snow days, like no-school kind of snow days. We enjoyed sledding down our hill for the first time, checking out local restaurants, plus some more time with my kids during mid-winter break. Sunny days gave us an excuse to play at the beach.

March & April 2019

While we explored some more local parks, and I took my students on some cool field trips (stewardship at a local forest plus an overnight to Mt Rainier), we also lost Isaiah's mom on March 18, who had battled cancer for many years. We had planned a family trip to see her during spring break, but instead of canceling, we went anyway so we could spend some time with Isaiah's sister and her family. We went back to the Smithsonian museums and caught the tail end of the cherry blossom festivities.

May & June 2019

Paloma rode a pony for the first time, we explored some more parks, Paloma broke her arm, our dear friends moved away, and we went backpacking as a family for the first time.

July 2019

We spent the 4th of July with our neighbors again (just like in 2018), and it was as lovely as ever. After that, I was determined to continue to have a great summer with the kids so I planned lots of adventures for them. We went to the reptile museum, visited the central library branch down in Seattle, went camping at the Hood Canal, camping at Mt Rainier, and at the end of the month I took the kids to San Diego so they could meet their new baby cousin. Sadly, I also lost my friend to melanoma, a co-worker from my first classroom at our current school.

August & September 2019

Most of August sucked because I had 3 weeks of training and then 1 week of prep for the new school year, but September brought visitors, which always make the days brighter! First, our dear friends came from Munich with their two beautiful daughters. We hadn't seen each other for eight years, and so much had changed! Then, my dearest friend from college brought her husband and two darling daughters from the Bay Area to stay with us for the weekend.

October & November 2019

Paloma celebrated her 4th birthday at a local dance studio and went to Disney on Ice for the first time. We also visited Anacortes for the first time, went trick-or-treating at the town center we can walk to from our house, celebrated Dia de Muertos at the Seattle Center, and my mom came to visit us for Thanksgiving for a few days, which was just too short.

December 2019 & January 2020

Hunter had an awesome ninja-themed party at our house, and we attended a fun family art workshop at the Seattle Art Museum. I made Spitzbuben (Swiss cookies) by myself for the first time (the last time I had made them was assisting a friend in Switzerland), and it became a new tradition for us. We also continued traditions from previous years: decorating a gingerbread house (homemade this time!), each kid picking a new ornament for the tree, and finding treats in our pocket Advent calendar (lots of random things this time: Alter Eco truffles, erasers, poems, rhymes, quotes, riddles, barrettes for Paloma, and scavenger hunts that led to activity books for our upcoming trip as well as mini play silks). This was also the first year that I wrapped all the kids gifts in Sarah's play silks rather than wrapping paper. I haven't bought holiday wrapping paper in years, and I am not sad about it (which is saying a lot because I used to LOVE wrapping presents as a kid). Then, when school let out for winter break, we headed to southern California. My sister-in-law and her family met up with us in the Palm Springs area for Christmas, and then we rang in the new year in San Diego with my side of the family. January also brought some snow days! Not as many as 2019, but some good ones nevertheless.

February 2020

My dear friend Heather came to Seattle for a conference and made some time to see us! It was lovely to take her to "our" beloved Arboretum in Seattle and out for bagels in Bellevue. During mid-winter break I took the kids to an indoor gym class and a couple of play dates. Looking back on the photos on my phone from that month, it's strange to see us out and about in public so carefree right before the world changed forever.

March to June 2020

Well, you know the craziness. We switched to remote learning and found ourselves doing more crafting and bike riding and "practical life" activities like putting together furniture, organizing, spring cleaning, and participating in social media challenges.

July & August 2020

The highlights of July included swimming at the neighbor's house and camping out by the lake for our little friend's 6th birthday (same place we spent the last two 4th of July holidays). More of the same in August, including an early birthday party for Paloma. We also crammed in two camping trips: Third Beach and Mt. Baker. My mom also came for two weeks, and it was glorious.

September to November 2020

Life was insufferable in September because we were all working from home, save for a rare hike to the beach. October brought school in-person for the kids, which was a life changer. We celebrated Paloma's birthday with a small party at home with just the 4 of us and a Zoom call with my mom and sister. We had one family over for an outdoor Halloween party, and it felt so good to socialize and host friends. We also set up a lovely ofrenda for Dia de Muertos. November was pretty uneventful, except for the full-on Turkey dinner we made for just the 4 of us. 

December 2020

The week after Thanksgiving break, the whole school went remote because the Covid numbers in our area were so bad. When we got back to school, we had only 2 weeks left until winter break, the light at the end of the tunnel, which included a little day trip to Leavenworth. I did not have the bandwidth or motivation to a gingerbread house this year or make a big to-do with the kids' Advent calendar like I did in 2019, so I just bought and disassembled some LEGO calendars and shoved the little pouches in each of the pockets and made peace with my lack of motivation. The kids picked out a new ornament for the tree, as in previous years, but this time we did not use our artificial tree. We got a freshly cut tree for the first time in 7 years, and it made me so happy! I also made Spitzbuben (even setting some out for Santa), we watched an obscene amount of TV, including countless Christmas movies (new favorites: Klaus and Christmas Chronicles), and I stuck with my "want/need/wear/read" policy of holiday gifts for the kids (going strong for 7 years). Unfortunately, the day after Christmas we lost a beloved great aunt (Isaiah's Aunt JoAnn). Finally, we had a cheese fondue dinner on NYE with the kids, something we hadn't done since Switzerland, and we are thinking of making it a tradition!

If I could sum up the last two years, I'd say it was filled with some sadness and the loss of some beloved people, but it was also full of lots of love and creativity and so much crafting: Waldorf window stars, paper flower wreaths, embroidery, Shibori indigo dye projects, and more! Here's to more love and creativity and crafting in 2021! 

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