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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.
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I don’t really care for the term “resolution”, but I do like goal-setting. I guess it’s a very suble difference, but somehow goals seem more attainable to me–I can break them down and figure out tasks to work toward them. Whereas resolutions just seem like these theoretical wishes with no concrete steps or definition.
Anyway, in no real particular order, here’s a brain dump of things I want to do/work toward in 2021:
- Continue to learn new skills at my day job and expand what I can contribute to the company.
- Continue freelancing and work as much as possible through Q1 and Q2 this year so I can take a bit of a break in Q3. (Because –surprise!– we’re expecting baby #3 in early August!)
- Redo my business website. This always gets pushed aside, and I really need to do it. I need to better define myself as a business/freelancer/whatever, better explain my services, etc.
- Clean/organize the garage. How long has this been on the list? Ugh. But seriously, this has got to get done. Mike needs space for his workshop and tools, and I need to uncover some baby things that are boxed up from when Myles was little to see if they’re still in good shape to use with the new baby.
- Get the farm on autopilot as much as possible, again, in anticipation of the baby coming in August. Mike and Ben will absolutely help with the animals, but it’s a lot of hard work to ask of them when it’s mostly “my” thing.
- Fence more pasture. This was supposed to happen last year, and then (1) we had trouble finding someone to hire to do it, and (2) the guy we finally found got very ill and wasn’t able to finish the job. We hadn’t paid him yet, so we weren’t out any money, but he already bought the materials and I’m still hoping to get him over here in the spring as soon as the ground thaws to finish the job if possible.
- Help Myles develop more computer skills and use his new PC as a creative outlet and learning tool. He’s interested in learning to code mods for Minecraft, so I’d like to nurture that as much as possible.
- Get more active on social media. Move away from platforms that don’t serve me (*cough* Facebook) and get more active on the platforms that make sense. (This goal is partly just for fun and could also be business-related.)
I suppose maybe I’ll add to this list, but for now those are the major things on my mind. What are your goals for next year?
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What can you even say about the past year? We’ve been extremely fortunate, and I’ve been very grateful. At the end of 2019, the company I worked for was acquired and I started working remotely for our new parent company. By the time the pandemic hit and businesses started shutting down, I had already been working from home for almost three months. The only major adjustment was the kids moving to remote learning, but thankfully Mike has been able to stay home and help them with their studies.
I think the weirdest thing for us is how much hasn’t really changed. The most drastic change has been that the kids miss their activities and sports, and that makes me sad for them. We don’t go out to eat or shop, but a big part of me doesn’t really miss that. We still get takeout (primarily from local restaurants), and I do enjoy that. But I’m finding I don’t really miss shopping for the sake of shopping.
As a big homebody and introvert, though, the lack of social obligations has been a really welcome rest for me. It’s also made work on the farm a lot easier. Keeping a steady schedule milking the goats was much easier this year. I ended up milking till almost the end of October instead of stopping in mid-September this year.
I hope 2021 will start to shift back to being slightly more normal, but I also hope a lot of the things that changed in the last year – the slower pace, the family togetherness – stay the same.