2020 Recap… A Year in Review

2020 has been the year I don’t think any of us expected it to be. I certainly didn’t. We’re leaving 2020 behind, and I know many of us are eager for a new year and hopefully a fresh outlook.

The year started out with an abundance of visitors at The Lodge. It felt like we had a different family with us every weekend last winter. I just loved seeing all of the life and joy inside our house and having the opportunity to share our home with our friends and family.

Ben powered through his first year of ski school and absolutely loved it! By the end of the season he was comfortable taking the chairlift and was just starting to show us that he might be ready to ski more independently.

We spent as much time as possible in the mountains last winter. Since Ben was only in school three half days a week I’d usually take the kids up after he finished school on Thursdays and we’d return on Monday afternoons. It was so wonderful, but honestly, so freaking exhausting and just crazy.

It was very hard on us all to be changing houses every 3-4 days. We never felt settled. It felt so worth it, though, to be able to go break away from the darkest winter on record in Seattle and be in the snowy Cascade mountains. The winter was so, so, so, so good, but so, so draining and just tough, too.

Just after Valentine’s Day {Ben’s and my favorite holiday!} Alex’s family came for a visit. We had been SO excited to host our nephews, and of course Alex’s sister, our brother in-law and Alex’s parents, and have our first big family gathering with the kids. I have such fond memories of Ben, Nico and Hannah playing together.

We all know what came next. The pandemic. We live in Seattle, so we were a week or two ahead of much of the rest of the country in the start of the initial coronavirus scare. It was terrifying at the onset with how little we knew about the virus.

Alex’s family was still with us when the first coronavirus death was announced in Kirkland, Washington. Just a few days after they departed, overnight we decided to pull Ben out of school and hunker down in the mountains and ride things out there. Alex’s employer was one of the first major companies to announce work-from-home orders, which Alex is still under, so it seemed like the best choice was to get out of the city.

The kids and I had the absolute best time exploring in nature all spring. I vacillated between being quite anxious about the uncertainty of the pandemic to being so amazingly grateful for all that we have. We baked. The kids painted rainbows to hang in the window to remind us “everything will be okay.” Ben learned how to ride his two-wheeler. We did all the things. At home.

Every morning I took the kids for a walk. I’d share all the things I was feeling grateful for that morning. We’d pay attention to the branches of the trees and watch for buds or other signs of spring. For seven weeks the kids and I never got into a car.

Ben developed the sweetest, most profound love of widlflowers and nature this spring.

As the spring went on, my Achilles injury healed, Alex did physical therapy for his knee injury and we were able to get moving again. He bought a mountain bike and I made friends with a neighbor who happens to be a fantastic mountain running buddy.

The summer was spent outside. Once things started opening up in May we felt comfortable venturing out for little adventures here and there. We found new hiking trails, discovered off-the-beaten-path beaches, and started to really feel more like locals.

Around the time Ben turned four, Alex realized he needed to make a job change. He is still with his company and in the same role, just jumped over to a new team. The impact has been significant. Most days I find myself pausing to listen to my husband play with our children at a time when pre-pandemic he would have otherwise been at work. His present job has allowed him a much better balance of work and family life.

Most afternoons were spent in our yard, running through the sprinklers and the splash pad, picking cherry tomatoes for the lizard who lives near the swing set in our yard, watering the dahlia plants that never grew, or playing at “the beach” – the big sandy area near my garden. Mid-summer Hannah turned two and rounded out our last “quarantine birthday” for the family.

Alex’s parents came to stay for about five weeks at the tail end of our extended time at The Lodge. The time with them was so unbelievably special and I’m so fortunate for all of us that we had that amount of time together. We did so much hiking, had a ton of beach mornings and the kids had a chance to just play with their grandparents for weeks on end.

We took a few regional day-trips during the summer. During Ben’s birthday week we ventured out to Chelan and had a really fun beach day. For Hannah’s birthday we drove out to Winthrop and got to explore the charming town. To close out the summer we went to Whidbey Island so the kids could explore the ocean a bit.

September came and we moved back to Seattle so Ben could begin pre-kindergarten in person. We’re so unbelievably thankful he has been able to be at school in person this year. He absolutely loves school, his teacher and his friends. He’s also a pro at mask-wearing.

Hannah started co-op preschool online this fall. I was really skeptical about how it would work and, while it took a few weeks, she adores her school time too. It breaks my heart that she’s really never had in-person playtime with other kids, but I’m going to hold onto what she does have right now.

We spent as many weekends as possible at The Lodge this fall.

Given the circumstances, our fall has been pretty good. Hannah and I have been getting out more and more on little adventures locally and we’ve all settled into a routine. We’re continuing to feel claustrophobic and like we’re constantly tripping over each other at our house in Seattle.

The holidays have been filled with mixed emotions. This year one of the strongest emotions I’ve felt regularly is an overwhelming sense of gratitude. We’re missing our family and friends terribly, but finding creative ways to connect has brought us tremendous joy.

Our Christmas was extra special and filled with love and memory making.

We’re closing out 2020 with a bunch of skiing! The kids are loving it, so excited and doing amazing at our local ski hill.

2020 has been a year to remember. It’s been a year filled with challenges for us all, my family is no different. It’s also been a year filled with hidden blessings. Alex being able to work remotely has been one of the biggest gifts to our family. It is so heartwarming, helpful and special to have him home and involved with the kids during the day. The family time we’ve had this last year has led to the sweetest, most loving bond between Ben and Hannah. 2020 will go down as the year we completely re-imagined our life, our family and our future. Happy New Year!!!

I LOVE going back to look at our previous year-end recaps. It’s funny how much I forget from year-to-year. It’s also fascinating to see the transition change from 2015 to 2016 when we started having kids. Man, these first few years of parenthood are filled with joy and are so brutally hard at the same time. All the feels.