Thursday, December 31, 2020

Year In Review


Happy New Year's Eve! Twenty twenty was absolutely an unprecedented year and one that none of us saw coming when we welcomed it in almost a year ago. And while it wasn't the year we had thought it would be we found many blessings amidst the chaos of life during a global pandemic. 

Our year began with dance and skiing and, in February, a wonderful trip to Jay Peak in Vermont (I would have stayed there forever if we could have). February also saw Emma turning twelve (one of the last birthday celebrations before Covid turned everything into car parades). 

Of course, if I am being honest, not a whole lot changed for us when the pandemic began. Being a homeschool family for years already we did not have to adjust to the "school at home" piece that so many of our friends did when the world shut down in March.  We were grateful to be able to offer wisdom and support for all that found themselves thrust into the world of pandemic schooling.  The biggest adjustment for us was our home being turned into a dance studio when the girls classes all went virtual (that ballet barre Dave's parents gave the girls at Christmas clearly was a bit of foreshadowing). 

The end of March saw dance competitions being postponed (even though we knew they would end up canceled) and the same held true for April. What everyone thought would be a two week "stay at home" order turned into longer and we found ourselves celebrating Pam Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday from our living room. 

May brought May Day and Mother's Day and some much wished for chicks(!) right before my quarantine birthday (the first one in our family).  May also was when I applied for a job that was recommended to me by my graduate school mentor. 

June brought with it more canceled plans (a much looked forward to dance intensive for Grace) and a job interview (and offer) for me. I didn't see myself retuning to full time paid work this year and can't say I was really ready for it but alas that's adulting for you. The chicks got bigger and moved out into their coop (and I didn't sleep the first few nights) . 

July brought with it a return to the dance studio (with Covid precautions in place) and more delayed dance competitions (and us wondering what was taking so long to cancel) and two more quarantine birthdays - David's and Grace's- and everyone realizing that quarantine birthdays really are pretty fab! 

We continued to wonder how we were going to juggle me working full time and homeschooling the girls (and there were many anxious tears shed knowing that the weeks were flying by).  Thankfully our prayers were answered in the form of Seasons of Seven Virtual (Waldorf) School. The timing of that truly couldn't have been better! The stars clearly had aligned for us and we couldn't be more grateful! 

August saw more canceled plans, more cancelled dance competitions but alas one ended up happening! Of course, as luck would have it that one took place after I was officially back at work. Training for work was a long two weeks. It's hard to learn a new job while having to social distance and wear a mask ALL. DAY. LONG.  August was also our anniversary and when school began for the girls and when the dance recital finally took place. Sadly, August was also when my 102 year old grandfather passed. He was born during a pandemic and died during a pandemic. A full circle moment indeed. 

September, October and November were a whirlwind of adjusting to life with both of us working and the girls in school. Or driving to dance and getting back to the gym. Of planning virtual youth group meetings and of trying to figure out what the holiday would look like. It's all kind of a blurr but in the end all worked out. 

Our December was different in that we didn't have a quiet month of crafting and elving and creating but rather a month of lessons and work. Presents were not wrapped until Christmas Eve and cinnamon rolls weren't baked until Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We did still manage to celebrate Saint Nicholas Day at the beginning of the month, though Saint Lucia got lost in the shuffle (sadly, as it's one of our faves). Our Christmas Day was small and lovely. The  most looked forward to day in December was absolutely earlier today when Emma received her first pair of pointe shoes! 

There were tears from me as a grieved my "old life" while I adjusted to the new. I miss the way things were, though I am grateful to work from home four days a week and to work with such kind people. It is nice to put my two degrees in Special Education to good use again. I am so grateful that I got to spend fourteen solid years home with my sweet girls. It's hard to leave that part of my life behind as it was truly the job that I was made to do and one that I knew I was good at. I am not sure I will ever find a job that I love as much as I loved being home with the girls for the past fourteen years. And yes, they were ready for more and have more than risen (and impressed us). I just wish I had known that last lesson year was my last at the helm. Their teachers, Ms. Jaia and Mr. Donovan have been such a blessing and such perfect teachers for them! We love that they still get to be home while having a Waldorf school experience! 

One of the biggest blessings of this pandemic has been having David home so much. In almost nineteen years of marriage this is the most he has ever been home. Yes, he continued to see patients, and yes many have had Covid (and clearly the PPE works as he has not yet contracted it). We ended 2019 with a lot of truth being learned and entered 2020 with much uncertainty and much work to do and this pandemic has allowed us the gift of time and the gift of reconnection and reconciliation and for that I am eternally grateful. 

And so, while I know 2020 was a rough year on so many fronts (we pause to remember those lives lost to Covid and to give thanks to those working tirelessly on the frontlines of this pandemic) on the whole, for us, it brought with it many blessings We became even closer than we already were, we slowed down, we reconnected, we focused on what was most important to us, we read good books, listened to good music, got outside on many, many, many walks. We absolutely miss seeing our family members (who we have not seen since February) and going on out of state adventures but we have decided to isolate now so that when we gather later no one is missing. 

This brings my tenth year of blogging to a close. It's the least I have ever blogged due to #returningtopaidwork but at 177 posts still pretty good (and brings my post count to 2.647). I still have yet to print this blog in book format (and really should do that soon). I have no idea how much I will blog in the coming year. I am hoping to get anything that "feels important" up in this space but have a feeling posts may be few and far between. Thank you to anyone who has continued to read. 

I hope you found the blessings amidst the chaos too and that your 2021 is a happy and healthy one! Wishing you a sweet and lovely new year! xo 

A Special Ending To The Year

Today, Emma is officially "all grown up" in the dance world. 
Today she received her first pair of pointe shoes! 

She's a natural! 

And since we were going for Emma's fitting we figured we might as well get Grace a new pair too. Ever since the moment she had her first pair on she has made this look effortless. 
My babies are all grown up! 
It's like they were born to do this! 
Definitely the most special New Year's Eve we've ever had! xo

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

New Window Stars!

For the past few weeks I have been thinking that we really needed some new window stars, and yet, for one reason or another, it kept getting pushed to the bottom of the list. When an email arrived from a local Waldorf store saying that they were going to be hosting a window star class on Zoom over the holiday break I didn't have to think twice before I signed them up! 
Emma's first finished star (of the three they were making during class). 
We always have an orange and yellow one up (usually made during winter solstice). 
The class lasted close to an hour-and-a-half! It was absolutely wonderful and we all hope that it won't be the last Zoom class from Pinecones & Needles! What a perfect way to spend a cold, winter afternoon! xo 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

On Boxing Day


On Boxing Day the girls usually spend the day building whatever Lego kits they were given. Today, though, Emma spent the day building the jewelry box she received yesterday! It took all day but she was determined to finish it! She did such a great job! xo

Friday, December 25, 2020

On Christmas Day

Our Christmas morning began with a viewing of the Christmas Eve service from the night before. And while it felt a little strange to sing silent night at 8:00am, there was also something really special about it too.
Obligatory picture before we open presents! 

Opening her gift from Emma. 

Emma gave her three little hand made items (a mama and baby dolphin and a dove) that she bought at the Waldorf school's store.
And a silly page-a-day-calendar (that will surely be loved by all)! 
Opening her gifts from Grace. 
Grace gave her two outfits for her mice (that I did not take a picture of, evidently) and this beautiful journal that Emma really was hoping for (all from our wonderful trip to the Waldorf School's store). 
Santa gifts. The girls have outgrown this tradition, though the magic is still there (as is the Santa wrapping paper that has been used since Grace was just a few months old) so when I saw these I just knew that they would be the perfect gifts from Santa for them this year! 
Last New Year's Eve the girls saw their first Star Wars movie. Fast forward just about a year later and they have now watched all the movies in the Star Wars franchise plus both seasons of The Mandalorean. To say they are fans would be an understatement. These bobbleheads felt like the perfect way to commemorate this past year for them. 
Opening their something to wear gifts (new leos for dance). 
Opening their "something you need" gifts. 
New gloves for Emma, 
And new goggles for Grace. 
Something to read.
The Gift of the Magi has always been a favorite story, but with this being the year that Grace's class read and discussed it it seemed even more fitting for her to have her own copy. 
Opening her "something you want" gift. 
Both girls were hard to figure out their "something you want" gifts this year, as there was really nothing they wanted. Last week when we went to the Waldorf school store, Emma saw this and instantly was smitten. I knew that that would make the perfect gift for that part of the poem!
And, of course, Christmas morning wouldn't be Christmas morning without homemade cinnamon rolls (pre-icing)! 

Opening their gift from Gramma Terri and Grandpa Gene. 

I have wanted to own one of these since I first saw it in the school psychologist's office back in my teaching days at Mulready. I am so glad we have one now! Thanks mom and dad! 
David's gift from his parents is the Lego piano (I have no idea where it's going to live once it's built) and Emma is working on her treasure box.

Grace makes the final few batches of cinnamon rolls while dinner is cooking. 

It was indeed a lovely Christmas Day today. We would have much preferred a lovely snowstorm rather than the torrential rain we had but alas it's 2020 so rain it was! To all those celebrating today: we hope that your day was a lovely as ours and we wish you a joyous twelve days of Christmas! May all your Christmas wishes come true! 

To all those wo aren't celebrating today: we hope your day was lovely as well and we wish you a wonderful last week of 2020. May these last few days of this most unprecedented of years be a time of reflection and peace. xo