Tuesday, December 29, 2020

2020 in 12 Photos

I almost feel responsible for the unexpected way 2020 went, because it was the first year that Phillip and I got our acts together enough to sit down on January 1st and plan out our entire year. We should've known that was asking for disaster.

We were going to travel! Use every one of his vacation days to the fullest! It was going to be such a great year!

And in a lot of ways, it was a wonderful year for our family — just not in any of the ways we were envisioning.

This year I blogged less than I have in any other year, probably because for the last nine months the kids have all been home 24/7. By the time I'm finished getting everyone snacks, it's about time to go to bed.

In January, I watched Cool Runnings with the kids, stayed up late reading a book about cadavers, and got a cold for the first and last time this year. (Turns out that when my kids aren't allowed to lick other kids at school they bring home way fewer germs. Weird.)

I wrote 56 practical tips for raising independent kids, my daughter chose an unusual violin mantra, our Christmas tree from 2019 just wouldn't die, and we went to the library and ended up watching a fire dancer.

I learned in February that if you've never seen 6 excited kids meeting 10 excited puppies, you don't know what chaos is. 

My 8-year-old got in trouble for running up a $200 tab on her school lunch account (guess it's all that independence I wrote about in January.) I tricked Phillip into making a triceratops cake and remembered why I was so exhausted when the kids were little and I had to drag them all to the store all the time.

We got new couches and I took a 90-minute dip in a sensory deprivation tank. I also took a shot at being wise and cobbled together 30 lessons I've learned from 15 years of parenting.

Watching everything grind to a halt in March felt like watching a car accident happen in slow motion. The kids were slightly disappointed when all their things were canceled, but we adapted. Having home church and spending so much time together ended up being a huge blessing.

Phillip finished his grow-a-beard experiment and ended it by trolling his parents into thinking he'd shaved it into a bushy 1980s mustache.

Lastly, an obscene amount of traffic suddenly started arriving at my post 20 Things to Do When You're Trapped Indoors with Tiny Humans, which unfortunately was a sarcastic post I'd written years ago that was no help whatsoever for beleaguered parents in quarantine, so I decided to write a real one.

Quarantine still felt like an excessive April Fool's joke, but we tried to make the best of it. Phillip made some serious progress on finishing the basement while the kids and I floated homemade boats in our driveway puddle and made up themed days of the week.

We watched General Conference and made one teensy visit to urgent care so the 6-year-old could get his head stapled shut. Apparently where there's a will there's a way, and kids can hurt themselves even when they aren't allowed to leave the house or see other children.

My blog joined Instagram but just between you and me, I think I'm about 10 years to old to even be on the platform. I have no idea what I'm doing there.

We called 911 when my 11-year-old fell and had a seizure, and in tamer moments, we made our own ice cream and I celebrated my 38th birthday.

After a full year of pleading from the 8-year-old, we finally caved and got two pet rats. Though we love Scout and Piper, both turned out to be pregnant and we lost both litters in the most traumatic way; none of us even want to talk about it.

We got in touch with nature and made birch beer floats from scratch (we boiled sticks from the woods and everything) and played with a mole we caught in the yard

On the blog, I published some musings on when you're done having babies as well as a roundup of 7 Zoom features I wish I could use in real life

In July we bought a van! Our old one was on its last legs and hardly made it to the dealership. I also wrote what reality shows would be like if parents wrote them.

With nothing else to do all summer, our calendar was wide open for our annual pretend trip around the world. Usually we have enough free time to cover 4 or 5 countries; this summer we covered 9. 

This month we lost our minds over falafel in Israel (in general it was a really good summer for international food), visited a butterfly garden in Mexico, and got totally confused about how Komodo dragons work in Indonesia.

In August, we took a family camping trip to the most beautiful campsite I've ever been to in my life... even if it did have pit toilets.

In our continuing fake trip around the world, we learned about MoroccoThailandSaudi ArabiaCuba, and Somalia (my favorite moment: when we sat down to watch a movie about Somali pirates and the standard pre-show warning came on that "piracy is not a victimless crime.")

In real life, we sourced two huge couches from Facebook Marketplace and put them stadium-style in the basement to watch movies, I fell in love with Alanis Morisette all over again, and the kids entertained themselves with a bag of rice and a package of balloons for an entire weekend.

Society hesitantly decided to try life again this month. My 14-year-old had a weird outdoor masked violin recital and the kids started hybrid school, which sure made for different "first day of school" pictures than in years past.

We met our friendly neighborhood black bear for the first time (but not the last one), my 9x13" pan shattered in the oven, and I was almost maimed by shards of glass from an exploding bottle

It was an exciting month.

I could not stop drooling over the fall colors in October. This unedited picture was taken with my about 15 minutes from my house. (I don't have a nice camera, I just live on the cover of a Hallmark card.)

I enjoyed the simple moments like watching a tree removal company at work with my little boys, and even when our town made the jerk move of cancelling trick-or-treating at the last minute we still had a great time at home

I got trapped in a giant hedge maze with a child who needed to pee and stayed up until 2 A.M. making a massive rainbow surprise birthday cake. On the blog, I suggested some new parenting-related dictionary entries for consideration by Merriam-Webster. 

In November, I started teaching my oldest how to drive, Phillip turned 40, and we took a quick couple's trip to a little artsy town on the coast while our kids held down the fort at home. 

A friend's teenager taught me how to use a record player and my 9-year-old talked us into letting her get a crayfish named Phredd. Phredd kind of creeps us all out, but it's not his fault. We're just not that into disgusting-looking crustaceans.

Since we didn't really go anywhere (remember all those plans we made at the beginning of the year? Pfft.) Phillip took all his vacation in a big chunk at Christmastime and got a ton of work done on the house. 

The kids drew names for "Secret Sibling" and told the secret immediately, but I guess it's the thought that counts. We also waited too long and couldn't find a Christmas tree anywhere, so we had to improvise and I actually loved the end result.

2020 was an unconventional year that called for bottomless reserves of adaptability, understanding, and resilience. Pretty much everything from March onward was either canceled or bore little resemblance to how it usually looks. 

But it was a year where my kids became better friends and our family scripture study became more regular and meaningful. I think we're all thriving, and a lot of it is directly due to the unique circumstances 2020 handed to us.

Happy New Year's, and see you in 2021!

(Want more? Never fear, you can still read the Evans family's "12 Photos" updates from 2019. 2018. 2017, 2016, and 2015!)

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1 comment:

PurpleSlob said...

These pictures are gorgeous! What a wonderful year!! Family time, growing closer, and more Scriptures- perfect!!