This year brought a lot of reflection and humbleness. It was a year of great change with the pandemic, social injustice, wildfires, and many other things among the introspection. The hardest personal part was having this gap year – it’s a gap year where family is paused and memories of baseball, school memories, Japan and other travels, family… and hugging family, hanging out with friends, and meeting with people have been put on hold.  We’re waiting until it’s safe. And it could be worse. People living in war zones have it incomprehensible harder. But, that doesn’t mean, it still wasn’t easy. 2021 will be a brighter place after we get through this.

Here’s our 2020 milestones:

  Time Together
If one thing that 2020 did bring was more time with the kids. It wasn’t forced; it wasn’t easy; it was appreciated. There was a lot of stress trying to be Nixon’s teacher while also trying to meet the demands of work. There was a lot of anxiety with keeping Lyla entertained while also trying to meet deadlines.  We got through it. The lines of weekends and after-hours blended all together. And I think we had a bit of fun when we could. And we were one unit, from at least March through May, we battled, learned, and got better.
1100 Miles and Running
Running was an outlet. This was my place to challenge myself physically and let worries run through. I had a lot of goals that I made on the way, and tackled them. I wanted to run 10 half-marathons. Done. I wanted to run Peavine from my house. 17 miles later, I did it. I then got to 1,000 miles, but then Jason wanted to run another half in Joshua Tree National Park, so that made me that much closer to 1,100 miles, so we did that too. I don’t know what next year will bring, but I sure enjoyed the runs, the stories I listened to, and the continual ability to keep healthy and exhausting and challenging my body.
Also, side note, what’s with this family and exercising? Nixon wanted to do a 20 mile bike ride for his birthday, Opa wanted to run his age 7.1 miles, Jason wanted to run the half in Joshua Tree National Park, I wanted to run my age in a week.
This year was Shed-dy
We had an idea to build a real shed. But we also had this idea of making an awesome fort for the kids. So, there came “the fort, which was the shed”. We had a few plans that we crafted up. We removed our old shed. We poured cement; we used our stimulus to buy wood. We went high up; we built a deck; we built stairs; we built the second floor. We had a window; We bought a slide, and then returned it for a better slide; we moved our slide entrance over; we put up the siding; we painted; we sanded; we put on the roof; we overthought how to seal it; we put in a railing; and we then hopes that it stood winter and the winds. So far; so good. It was a great summer project that was more expensive and took more time than we thought, but I’d do again in a heartbeat.
The Mac Attack Mackay
We brought a new member to the family. Okay, we also brought our fish, Frank home. But, Mackay requires way more attention. The kids had been asking us for quite some time to get a puppy. Bridget and I then found the perfect pup. And while our adventure is just beginning, we got him only two weeks ago, he’s already changed our lives for the better in that time. He’s brought a lot of smiles, despite the biting, pooping, peeing, and midnight wake up calls. He’s a teddy bear, and he’s a lot of fun. And he’s a much-needed step to give the kids more responsibility. They need him, and he needs them.
Change and Pivot
This year was really an appreciation of how things can change. It’s a statement of mortality. So much has changed – people continually say “the new normal”. Things like sanitization.  Since March it’s a thing that we had to do every time we went to the real world. Before our canceled trip to Japan, I learned that wearing masks was a sign of respect in Asia when we were about to visit. And now, it’s mandatory; it’s common. Toilet paper – people hoarded it and it was valuable. We had drive-by birthday parties; we had Little League canceled among major sports. Schools were all digital. Less traffic was nice. So much is different for better and worse. And since then, over 300k American lives have been taken. And just how scared I am for others: my parents who have their own separate thoughts on exposure; my kiddos who are distant learning; and people are so tired of being quarantined and now go out despite the regulations. And yet there’s light at the end of the tunnel with a vaccine.

Honorable Mentions: Palm Springs, Donner Weekend, Donner Train Tunnels, Home Schooling,