Phew. 2021 sure was a doozy, wasn’t it? Just like it was for so many people, 2021 was incredibly challenging for me. It was also a year of tremendous growth. I set my word for the year as “heal,” and as I sit here in the new year, reflecting, I can see that for the first time in a while my word of the year truly came to fruition.
Honestly, I look back at the last 12 months and have NO idea how I’m still standing. Of course, it’s because of God. Literally would not be where I am right now without my faith. I’ve healed so much over the last year, both mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Here are some of the big things that happened for me this year:
- I bought a new vehicle, a 2015 Honda CR-V that I absolutely love. I can’t even tell you how much peace of mind it brings me to have such a safe and reliable car! And it’s comfortable, and the speakers work. God had his hand all over that day when I bought this car, and for weeks afterward I was getting all the rejection letters from bank after bank from when I was looking for financing that day.
- In March, me, Lily and James all tested positive for Covid, a week before I was about to teach a 6-week chemistry course at the Cambridge school of Weston. It was damn near impossible to take care of two sick children while also being *so* sick myself. I’m grateful that our symptoms weren’t life threatening, but I was barely making it through. I’m so grateful for all the friends and family who stepped up and were regularly bringing over meals and food for us.
- Speaking of that chemistry course: I stepped in to teach at the Cambridge School of Weston after a friend of mine approached me about them being in a bit of a tough spot with staffing. For six weeks I juggled finding childcare for the kids so I could teach remotely from home for two classes a week, and then I would drive down to Weston (right outside of Boston) once a week on Wednesday, to stay overnight on campus with Lily and James and teach two classes in person on Thursday. It was an insane six weeks, but it reminded me how much I actually loved teaching.
- I shot 14 weddings and over 20 portrait sessions. In less than four months I put 12k miles on my car. I. Was. BUSY. This was *the best* year of business I’ve had in all of my ten years of shooting. But I reached burnout hardcore by the end of the season. I’ll be scaling back on the amount of work I take in 2022.
- I began teaching at Biddeford High School! I’m so beyond grateful for landing there. My department is amazing, my principal is awesome, and overall it’s just been a very positive vibe. Lily loves pre-k, and James is doing very well in daycare.
- I am finally divorced. That was an incredible amount of mental and emotional energy. I’ve gotten to the point where I truly forgive those who hurt me, and it wasn’t until my divorce was finalized that I actually realized that about myself. So much healing had to happen first!
- I started therapy in April and I absolutely love my therapist. I’ve made HUGE strides.
- Pelvic floor rehab was a part of my regular schedule until I started working full time again. I learned so much about my body during the process and understanding what it needs to remain strong in the pelvic floor area. Women tend to accept the damage that is done during labor and delivery, and it does NOT need to be a way of life!
- Before I even started my new job, I paid of $15k in credit card debt that I accumulated in the move back to Maine in 2020. I’m the most financially stable I’ve ever been in my life and I’m not living paycheck to paycheck. I’ll be sharing a post about that later this week, because it’s something I want to shout from the rooftops to help bring other people hope.
- Lily and James and I spent more time outside than we ever have before! It’s something I plan to do again for 2022.
- Lily turned FIVE and James turned ONE! I had to cancel James’ party because he was a close contact at daycare, but my sister and I celebrated with him anyway 🙂 My house was full to the brim for Lily’s sweet party. Lily and James are so so loved by so many people.
And here are the smaller things I want to remember:
- Seeing my grandfather over the summer when me, Krystle and the kids drove down to Maryland for a few days. Lily played mini golf for the first time while we were there and it was so fun! She also became so much more comfortable in the pool! I drove through the most intense storm I’ve ever driven through while we were on our way there. The whole time I kept thinking “it’s a really good thing Krystle isn’t driving!”
- James giggling and laughing over his favorite book “peek-a-who?”
- Lily’s teacher said that as they talked about their favorite sounds Lily said “my favorite sound is hearing my little brother laugh.”
- Lily and James have so much fun together and it’s so sweet watching them together.
- Creating a summer bucket list!
- Lily and James’ first time on a ferry!
- Having special Mama and Lily dates.
- Watching Lily’s friendships grow.
- The epic dance parties in my house.
- Spending an entire day at Balch Lake with friends!
- Building and maintaining our new veggie garden beds (and chasing off a huge groundhog that made it’s home under our shed).
- Watching James learn to sit up, then crawl, then stand, and now walk! He’s growing and changing so much. Seeing his big little personality develop brings me so much joy!
- Seeing Lily transition from a balance bike to a pedal bike and absolutely nail it!
- I started taking pole dancing classes. Over the holidays I had to slow down a lot around due to sitters and having one head cold after another, but I’m hoping to pick it up again soon!
- I read 21 books this year, which feels like a huge feat for myself!
- How many women I was able to help by sharing my journey with them. It’s such an honor when people invite me into their stories.
- I’ve gotten much better at asking for help.
Honestly, this whole post feels a bit like word vomit. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to fully and clearly articulate how this year absolutely stretched and transformed me. So, enjoy some of my favorite photos of our family during 2021!