Today is New Year's Eve. 2020 is almost over, and I can't help but reflect on this year that has been so different than I expected. Since I'm sure many of you have similar thoughts and emotions at the end of the year, I wanted to take a moment to share what's been on my mind.
In an effort to organize what I'm thinking, I've broken down this post into 4 main sections: the challenges, the highlights, what I've learned, and moving forward.
I'll start with the most obvious challenge that we've all been facing: the Covid-19 pandemic. I want to acknowledge that compared to many others, my difficulties have been minimal. So many people have lost loved ones, lost jobs, struggled financially, and more. However, I still want to share my experiences, because I know there are others who can relate to my story.
To be honest, being pregnant and giving birth during a pandemic was really hard. Looking back, I am so grateful that Carter and I remained healthy throughout my pregnancy and his birth. But in the months leading to his arrival, there were so many unknowns. We didn't know how the virus could affect pregnant women and unborn children. I didn't know what would happen if I tested positive for Covid-19 when Carter was born. Hospital visitor policies were constantly changing, and I wondered if my husband would be allowed to be there for Carter's birth.
I grieved the fact that Pierce wouldn't be allowed to come meet his brother at the hospital. I was so sad that I wouldn't get to "show off" my new baby to all of my friends and family after he was born. I went to every single doctor's appointment alone.
After Carter was born, I found myself alone with two children all day every day. All of my usual social outlets weren't there, and I was learning to care for a toddler and a newborn without any breaks. I'm grateful for my amazing husband, who definitely stepped up and helped out with the boys so much.
As far as challenges that faced my business, this year I faced disappointment that all of my annual in-person craft fairs were cancelled. I was worried that my sales wouldn't be as high as the year before. I genuinely missed getting to connect with customers and other vendors face-to-face.
This year has been challenging in so many ways. But there have also been a lot of good memories too. I want to encourage you to look back over this year and write down the positives.
Pierce got his new play kitchen, which helped keep him busy every day this year
We announced that we were expecting Baby #2
I took a trip to Texas to visit my college roommate
My husband and I attended a marriage conference over Valentine's Day weekend (our first kid-free weekend since Pierce was born, thanks to a visit from my in-laws!)
We found out that Baby #2 was another boy
My mom came to Colorado to visit us
David started working from home, and Pierce and I enjoyed having him around
Pierce and I enjoyed going on lots of walks together around our neighborhood
I went on a baking spree and made some yummy goodies (as well as some epically disastrous macarons)
We celebrated David's 25th birthday at home by grilling steaks and making cheesecake
Our family got dressed up and celebrated Easter from home. We also put together a little Easter egg hunt for Pierce around our house. The eggs were filled with his favorite snacks (goldfish, yogurt melts, chocolate chips, etc).
The weather was warm more consistently, and Pierce and I enjoyed many mornings playing with water outside
We set up an airplane-themed nursery for our new baby
We planted some pretty flowers outside, and I actually managed to keep them alive most of the summer
David and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary
My in-laws drove out to visit for a few days
Carter was born! He has truly been the biggest blessing to come from 2020
I really enjoyed watching Pierce become a big brother. I'm so proud of how well he adjusted to having a little sibling
We celebrated Pierce's second birthday. My parents and sister were able to come and celebrate with us
My mother-in-law drove out to visit us and meet Carter
We had a couple of fun visits to our local zoo
We drove back to the midwest to visit both sides of the family and introduce Carter (from a distance!)
I turned 25! Woohoo!
The boys had a blast dressing up for Halloween
I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner and my husband and I made our first turkey
Living Vertical had record-breaking sales during Black Friday weekend
We celebrated our first Christmas in Colorado. My parents and sister came to stay with us, and we had a wonderful holiday.
What I've Learned
One of the biggest things I've learned this year is to be content in all circumstances. This year has brought difficulties, yet I've learned to adapt and reframe my expectations. This year is not what I hoped and dreamed it would be. But God has been good and faithful through it all.
I learned that while you don't have to physically be with people to have community, you have to be more intentional. I've now spent more hours on FaceTime than I can even count. My husband and I have "gathered" with our church family via Zoom. Playdates have all been outside so we can be socially distanced. It's not impossible to stay connected to people, but it takes a lot more work.
My family and friends know that I'm very outgoing and love to be out and about. I get stir crazy really quickly. But this year has taught me to appreciate the chance to take things slow. I've learned new ways to pass the time with little kids at home all day. We have a routine that I've come to love, and I've learned how to make home more fun and exciting for all of us.
During 2020, I learned to be more intentional about Living Vertical's online presence. I began posting more consistently on social media and I officially launched my website! Customers continued to shop handmade, and even without attending my usual craft fairs I had a record-breaking year in sales.
Dear 2021, I sincerely hope that you are a better year than 2020. But whatever this next year holds, I remain confident that God is in control.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post! I hope that my words can bring you some encouragement today, and I genuinely want to wish you all a Happy New Year!