Reading Time: 2 minutes
January, February, and March are exceedingly tedious months in northwestern Pennsylvania. Cold temperatures and snowfall leading up to Christmas and New Year are acceptable, but after the holidays, the bitter cold and long, gray days start to all meld together and it feels as though we’ll never see the sun again. There’s not much to do but stock up on your vitamin-D supplements and trudge through.
Normally this would be the time of year my oldest son, Ben, looks forward to skiing and snowboarding. This year he went on opening night to our local, small ski resort and had a great time snowboarding. He was invited back the next day by his friend whose father is on the ski patrol there. We got a call about an hour after he left to inform us that he had fallen and was injured. After a trip to the ER by ambulance (which we had to wait over an hour for, thanks to our poor health-workers being so overloaded these days), we found out that Ben had indeed broken his left humerus. Thus ended his ski/snowboard season. This is his second broken bone from skiing/snowboarding; it makes one wonder if perhaps he should take up another winter sport.
We had our first major snowfall earlier this week. We got about 12-14″ at our house, but others just a few miles north of us got quite a lot more. Mike has yet to even test to see if our snowblower will run, instead subscribing to his mantra of “just drive over it–the truck can handle it.” Thankfully whatever brilliant person engineered our driveway built it in such a way that the snowdrifts OFF of it, for the most part, leaving only a few spots that get rather deep. So yes, we can drive through/over it. But the delivery people who bring my packages are NOT appreciative.
On top of that, our mailbox got wiped out by a PENNDOT plow again. This will be our third new mailbox in the six years we have lived here. The first time they took it out completely, pole and all. The second time, and this time, they just knocked the box off the pole. Argh.
On the upside, the days are getting longer and the additional sunlight (no matter how little it is) has substantially helped my mood and energy level. I’m anticipating every day to get just a little better incrementally as the days grow longer. (One can hope…) I also have lots to look forward to: Mike’s birthday, my birthday (the big 4-0, so perhaps not so much to look forward to after all?), Myles’ birthday, summer soccer for the kids, 4-H resuming (with Emily and I leading our club – eek!), and baby goats being born. Spring is MY SEASON and I keep telling myself that it is just around the corner. Just gotta keep on keepin’ on till then.
Reading Time: 5 minutes
1. What did you do in 2021 that you’d never done before?
Gave birth to a daughter. Supported my son through cyber school. Successfully assisted a goat with a breech birth.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t really do resolutions, but I do set financial goals for my freelance work. Though I didn’t hit them (I set them pie-in-the-sky high this year), I did make more this past year than any year prior – so I still see that as a big win! I usually write down goals for home improvement and with the farm, but a lot of those went out the window this year with having a newborn baby midway through the year … so I’m just rolling with it.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Me! Our friend Kim also had a baby boy.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
My friends Dave and Jan, and a very good family friend, Billy.
5. What countries did you visit?
Travel isn’t a thing in my life with having a farm and a baby.
6. What would you like to have in 2022 that you lacked in 2021?
An end to the COVID pandemic. Better health. A more organized home.
7. What dates from 2021 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
July 7 – the day my daughter was born.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Being recognized at work for my contributions. It was nice to feel seen.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I let a lot slide with the housework this year because first I was sick through my pregnancy, then busy with a new baby, work, and home/cyber school. I need to get on top of things and create some new systems that work with the busy life we have now! I also probably overspent a lot in 2021 and need to buckle down to some better budgeting in 2022.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Mercifully, no. Unless you count childbirth. That’s always a trip.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Technically a gift, but I’ve very much enjoyed my larger, 8-quart Instant Pot! It gets a LOT of use.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Mike. He adapted to being a stay-at-home dad of three, supporting me while I pursued my career and hobbies.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Those who are anti-mask, anti-vaccine, anti-BLM, anti-LGBTQIA+, etc.
14. Where did most of your money go?
I have no data to support this, but I feel like it was mostly (a) groceries, (b) Christmas gifts, and (c) COFFEE. Lots and lots of coffee. I should own a Dunkin franchise by now.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
One of my biggest surprises that made us SO happy and excited was to find out we were having a baby GIRL. And obviously, we were very excited when she was born in July!
16. What song will always remind you of 2020?
I feel like I never listen to new music anymore, so probably Mike’s band (Northbound Soul) because I listen to them play/practice a lot or perhaps Walker Hayes – Fancy Like (thanks to TikTok).
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? It varies.
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner! I dropped a LOT of weight after Helena was born (I was very sick through most of my pregnancy and didn’t put much on)
c) richer or poorer? Probably about the same? Maybe a little poorer because we’re right at the cusp of having to make some major expenditures (some home repairs and a new vehicle). Bleh.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Travel and activities with my kids. Every day I feel like they’re slipping away and I only have so many more weeks/months/years to enjoy their company.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Stress. But would I be me if I wasn’t constantly filled with anxiety?
20. How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas day was at our house with my parents, Mike’s dad, and Mike’s brother and sister-in-law. We opened gifts in the morning with the kids. My parents arrived around 1pm and we did another round of gift-opening. After that, Dan and Caroline arrived for round 3 of gifts. Then Dennis came and we all had a ham dinner together. The next day we went to Dennis’ house for breakfast and so the kids could open their gifts from him.
21. Did you fall in love in 2021?
I don’t think Mike would like it very much if I fell in love with someone new – haha. But our love grew to include one more child in our lives!
22. What was your favorite tv show?
2021 was the year of catching up on PBS shows that I came way late to the game on. First, it was “Call the Midwife” and then “Downton Abbey”, both of which I LOVED.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No. My extreme dislike of a few certain people remains the same, though there was one pretty good argument that put a period at the end of a long saga.
24. What was the best book you read?
I’m ashamed to admit I don’t think I finished a single book in 2021. I started several… but…
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Nothing new. Honestly, in 2021 I listened to a LOT of 70s rock.
26. What did you want and get?
27. What did you want and not get?
A new pair of winter/barn boots. A new MacBook Pro or iMac for work. A few hundred million dollars.
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I don’t remember the last time I went to the theater to see a movie.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 39 last year *cringe* – you know what that means. I honestly don’t remember how we celebrated. (Isn’t that terrible?)
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
The end of the pandemic and feeling comfortable enough to send my kids back to school full-time and allow them to socialize and participate in all the sports and activities they want without worrying constantly.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2021?
The first half of the year: Oversized pajamas and maternity clothes.
The second half of the year: Tight jeans because -omg- I could finally fit into “normal” (not plus size) clothes and buying things in the NORMAL section of the store was SO GRATIFYING.
32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Kevin Smith. He’s my hero.
And Betty White. 😢
33. What political issue stirred you the most?
Showing loyalty to your political affiliation being more important than public health and caring about the people in your community.
34. Who did you miss?
My grandma and great-grandma. They’d love to meet their new (great) granddaughter.
35. Who was the best new person you met?
I didn’t meet them in 2021, but I feel like I got to know Mike’s friends Kyle and Chelsea a lot better this past year, and I’m SO glad that I did.
36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2021.
I’m not a teenager or twenty-something anymore. I can’t mistreat my body and neglect my health and expect to keep going every day without repercussions. I need to put more care and more work in to keep myself healthy and strong.
37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.