2021. It felt like a drawn out sequel to 2020 and left us missing 2019 with a deep ache. The Spring was blessed and beautiful with many gifts, but the fall was hard and heartbreaking.
We know in life we must stay in the present and look to the future, but with illness, suffered losses, new fears unearthed and old ones exposed, our fall + winter stretched us and wore us down quite a bit.
We are entering 2022 with a deeper faith, a higher appreciation for family, love, togetherness and life's beautiful moments. God was good through it all (isn't He always?) and showed us miracles both great and small that we will never forget.
I shared a bit on social media, but I'm finally sharing a real and raw recap of the highs (and lows) of our 2021 year and some of our favorite photos. I also am looking forward to 2022 with big visions and my word for 2022 - one that isn't about me but puts it all in His hands. As it always should be.
We entered 2021 hopeful and optimistic with a darling two-month old daughter and 4 year old son. We rang in the new year at home with our mother-in-law who renovated our farmhouse alongside us and lived with us. We took the kids to the zoo and played outside many days. It was a beautiful start to the year.
More outdoor adventures and Valentine's Day parties with friends. The newborn phase was so, so kind to us and my hormone and physical health felt incredible. I basked in the glow of that joy and I'll never forget that redemptive time in my life.
Lexi Kate turned four months old and Grey was now four and a half. Days were spent with close friends and lots of recipe creation at home with my little side kick, Grey.
In April we enjoyed a beautiful Easter with family. My sister-in-law hosted a Easter egg hunt and dinner. Doug bought Grey his first real worms to play with at the camp store. Lexi learned to eat real food and sit in a big girl high chair and we bought our first RV AND took our first trip in it to Lake Pleasant. Grey also graduated Pre-K and we had such a fun party for him at Luci's at the Orchard with our closest family and friends and it was a PERFECT day. Spring 2021 was a highlight for sure!
Miss Lexi turned 6 months old and we had a little party for her with cupcakes - which looking back I'm SO glad we did because my Mother In Law wouldn't be at her first birthday. Grey also started Kindergarten early, on May 30th because we just couldn't wait for fall! YAY for homeschool.
My 37th birthday and lots of adventures. I hosted a girls brunch for my birthday that was sweet, simple and so special. We visited LoLoMai Springs for 5 days and it was exceptionally beautiful and WeKoPa Resort in Fountain Hills hosted us for four days again. We enjoyed lots of yummy food and pool time.
We hosted a fun BBQ party for the fourth of July and everyone was so festive! It was a great way to break up the crazy hot summer. We took another trip in our RV up to Williams and enjoyed Route 66, Bearizona and our campsite. And we surprised Grey for his birthday early with a trip to DISNEYLAND! We took our niece Jillian along with us again - and it was Lexi's first trip to Disney! It was pretty perfect. So thankful we decided to do that trip.
Grey turned FIVE and it was his golden birthday! We had a fun Minecraft themed party with some of his best friends and our family.
In September Grey, Lexi and I joined a women's bible study with such a great group of women and Doug and celebrated ten wonderful, God blessed years married. We had dinner and dessert at home as a family. We ended up with the virus this month and things got scary for a while. Doug was quarantined away from us for two weeks and he got really sick. Thankful for the doctors who used a protocol to keep him here with us and ALL of God's miracles those couple of weeks. We also saw our friends be the hands and feet of Jesus for us and I will never forget how they helped me make it through some of those days. Being reunited with Doug after those 2 weeks showed us what we needed and what was truly important.
In October we unfortunately lost our sweet mother-in-law Sandi to the virus and my mom went into the ICU. It was a hard, sad time. We tried to keep the holidays festive for the kids - as Grey was grieving alongside us. For Halloween we took them trick or treating and decorated a spooky gingerbread house. We also found a local Police and Fire festival - which made his whole month. It was good to find pockets of joy where we could find them. The highlight was our sweet Lexi turning ONE. It was bittersweet as we couldn't give her a party or have our moms see her turn ONE but we made it as beautiful and special as we could for our darling girl with a day at the park, pizza, cake and a Peter Rabbit party at home.
In November my sister-in-law hosted a beautiful Thanksgiving at her home and it was the first official big holiday without Sandi. We felt her presence missing. We also did a balloon send off to heaven for her birthday and we held a beautiful memorial service at our church for her. We also decided to decorate the house for Christmas on November 1st because #joyseeking.
Another sad loss came with the sudden and terrible loss of our miniature schnauzer Charlie. He developed a rapidly spreading cancer that took him within hours of him going to the hospital. Our hearts needed to just lean into Jesus and the magic of the Christmas season to heal and breathe and seek joy. Christmas with our babies will always hold some of the most special memories throughout our lifetime. We went over the top to bless them this year. We made gingerbread houses, saw lights, showered them with love and gifts and magical moments. We also took off to the beach for a week and visited Sea World and Balboa Park. Although it was cold, it was perfect.
As I look back over the year - I can see all of God's mercies and his beautiful blessings and grace for us. He gave us miracle moments and provided in so many ways for us.
2021 may have had it's hard but it also had so much beautiful. And that's what I'm looking forward to in 2022. No matter what God has in our story this year - I'll continue to look for, and celebrate, the beautiful. If we've learned anything its that. To not take anything for granted. Don't take it all too seriously. Just LOVE, LAUGH, and LIVE.
In tradition of sharing my word of the year, its simply GOD. Letting Him lead. Everyday.
Friends, what were your highlights of 2021? Do you have a word for this year? Would love to have you share in the comments below!