Thursday, January 6, 2022

2021 in 12 Photos

What a weird year. But time marches on and this recap always reminds me what we have to show for the last twelve months.

Just like in 20202019201820172016, and 2015, I distilled our life for the past year down to 12 photos and recapped our last year. 

The Evans family rang in the New Year like we always do, with the kids taking turns smashing their gingerbread houses with a meat tenderizer, They take this tradition very seriously. I had no idea what my 6-year-old's teacher thought when he drew this pictorial representation of it for school.

I discovered a library hack that allowed the kids to endure not being able to go to the library, found the no-slip solution for our sofas that I've been searching for all my life, and did our laundry at the neighbor's house while our washer was broken.

With the combination of the cold and COVID, there wasn't all that much to do, so the highlight of the 4-year-old's year was playing with the 35 feet of air pillows Amazon sent us with a case of toilet paper.

Never mind elaborate date nights, Phillip and I entertained ourselves by watching classic movies from the 40s and 50s at home or going to the fancy hipster grocery store and challenging each other to find something that wasn't kombucha.

I served the kids Benadryl-flavored treats for Valentine's Day and started taking pills the size of Jolly Ranchers for my discoid lupus, and wrote about the ridiculousness that is labor as portrayed in the movies and what a museum of my kids' messes would look like.

In March, we tricked the kids into going on a hike by calling it a "shamrock hunt" and the first grader dressed up as a 100-year-old man for virtual school. On the blog I got real about the challenges of having a big family, and since I'm still alive after a couple of years of raising teenagers, I wrote some expert advice about parenting them (arranged in alphabetical order for your convenience.)

I gave a talk in church about Christian discipleship this month in front of everyone, but by far my greatest success of this month was getting the policy of the city's art museum changed so my kids could visit without me. 

In April, the kids went back to in-person school full-time (up until now they'd done a hybrid that was at home three days a week.) I told them to clean out their backpacks and one child claimed, "There's really nothing in there." I knew better.

I discovered a minimalist YouTuber who changed my life, and to this day, our kitchen still stays clean for more than 3 seconds at a time. After a decade of picking the handtowel up off the floor every time I entered a bathroom in the house, I finally put snaps on the backs of ours and really couldn't decide what to do with all my new free time.

In the pursuit of a new and livable basement, Phillip temporarily disabled our stairs and worked on designing new ones. It was meant to be just for a weekend, but it stayed that way for 6 months.

This giant luna moth visited our house for the day and Phillip painted our KitchenAid for my birthday.  

When Phillip and I took a trip to Utah for his sister's wedding, we decided to explore our old college. I didn't see us as the old couple on campus, but all the teeny boppers walking around with their backpacks and AirPods sure did.

The last two months of massive decluttering resulted in an epic yard sale in June. We only made $670, but that's probably because we sold literally everything for $1 and gave it away free to anyone who asked. We didn't care about profit, we just wanted it gone.

With that out of the way, I started on home improvements I'd wanted to do for years but was too overwhelmed to start. First up was our kitchen broom area (which still looks great, thanks.) 

We realized this month that a cross-country family road trip is infinitely easier when everyone in the car is old enough to have full control of their bladders. 

On our way to Minnesota, we stopped in Chicago and Columbus, where we saw the sights, walked down memory lane, and the 5-year-old offended a lady by not knowing what her Pomeranians were.

Once we were home, I spent most of my time sifting through college junk mail for my 17-year-old and trying (and failing) to make appetizing snacks for my littles.

For the tenth year in a row, we dedicated most of July and August to learning about different countries of the world. 

We drew the Northern Lights in Iceland, tried some step dancing in Ireland (it did not go well), practiced writing in Khmer in Cambodia, had a canoe-building competition in Fiji, ate gelato in Italy, and were super-sad when Afghanistan fell to the Taliban just two weeks after we finished learning about it.

The kids had the time of their lives pet-sitting for our friend's dog Murphy, we went on our annual family camping trip, and the diamond flew out of my wedding ring and turned up the next day in the washing machine hose. It was an eventful month.

My youngest started kindergarten and my oldest started her senior year of high school. (WHAT IS EVEN GOING ON HERE?!

With all the kids in school, I threw myself into tackling the ugliest area in the house: our laundry closet. After painting the dryer and navigating some confusion in the home decor aisle at Target, it turned out beautifully.

I also scheduled my 17-year-old's wisdom tooth removal and wrote about some quick tricks to get young kids to listen. Sometimes they even work!

We made the 10-year-old laugh with a made-up cake for her birthday, got a new roof, and went to the county fair.

As a youth leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I walked a 12.5 mile religious pilgrimage with the teenagers which went way better than I thought it would.

Now that the kitchen was mostly staying clean, we decided that it had earned some new counters to replace the forest green formica that had been there since the 90s. Can't say I was that sorry to see it go.

I had a fun time driving 45 MPH on the freeway, the 10-year-old had to quarantine at home due to being a close contact of someone with COVID, and the 15-year-old's orchestra concert marked the first time I've sat in an auditorium with other people for a year and a half.

We ended the year by watching The Nutcracker ballet and blew all the leaves in the neighborhood. My favorite new discovery was using power tools to do housework, and I'll never go back. 

I've always loved Christmas, both as a religious holiday and just a fun family time to be together, but this year will go down as my favorite in history because of how highly simplified it was. The kids didn't even miss all the extra garbage, but my stress level was down 1,000%.

Happy New Year! As we move into 2022, I'm not going to lie: I have no idea what it's going to look like. But I'm optimistic. 

I love my kids, husband, and my faith in Jesus Christ. I'll probably need to hold on to those three things tighter than I ever have before, but you know what? That's a good thing.

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1 comment:

Amanda said...

Happy 2022 to your family! The kids are growing. I remember when you had 5 kids and now look! I hope it's starting off well. Lots of adventures for you, and all the best for the coming year :)