2020 was not the year I expected. I really struggled to reconcile with everything that happened. Still, I know it's important to practice gratitude. And celebrate, big or little, every stinking good moment you can find.
It's easy to look at 2020 and feel like it was a wash of a year. That nothing worth celebrating happened. But as I truly look back and reflect on the year, I see there was more joy than I remembered. More growth than I could see at the moment. That it wasn't just tears, I truly laughed too.
And even though we were limited in the time and space we could enjoy with others. Our relationships grew deeply. We locked in our people. And were embraced and loved by others right where we were. The tender care of friendships feels like such a magical thing. And I'm extremely grateful for this gift last year.
I encourage you to write out your celebrations. Let's not be in denial of the hardships we faced in 2020. But let's choose to see the good things too. So, if you haven't already, take some time and list it all out. Pour a glass of wine, and make a toast to the good you experienced in 2020 and the good you hope to come in 2021. Celebrate your life!
So I'll go first, okay. Here's what else I'm celebrating from 2020.
We rang in 2020 with a 1920's murder mystery party. Little did we know the insanity we were entering into, but we had a BLAST with our friends. 10/10 recommend murder mystery parties, and they are perfect for NYE to help pass the time to midnight.
Karl and I snuck away to St. Petes for a winter vacay. We enjoyed the sandy beaches, warmer weather, endless seafood, and days of glorious sunshine. Since Karl just had his 30th birthday before our trip, I surprised Karl with a Tesla rental (one of his favorite cars). And we had so much fun driving along the coast feeling way cooler than we are.
Right before the stay-at-home orders were enacted. I was able to photograph an at-home birth. Sweet Lucienne is the second birth of this family I was able to capture and it was just so special to be there.
Quarantine consisted of a lot of afternoon walks, Netflix and movies, glasses of wine, takeout, church from home, embroidery, and virtual hangs with family and friends. And a lot of time with Karl. And one of my quarantine goals was to learn how to French Braid and I did it! It's been one of my favorite ways to wear my hair now that it's getting longer.
Annnddd all the extra kitty snuggles.
We also celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary in quarantine. And we had a pretty great time turning our living room into a lil BnB, tv fireplace and all! Karl made us breakfast in bed and I'm so thankful I get to do life with him.
I turned 30 in June and had the most wonderful day. With sweet gifts from Karl and friends, a walk to enjoy my favorite boba tea, afternoon reading, and a sushi dinner over candlelight on the balcony. Karl and I were able to visit a local winery and sip some wine while we watched the sunset and we were able to celebrate with a few friends with a backyard birthday bash. I'm so grateful I get to age. Each new year is such a gift. And I love getting to grow and keep becoming me.
The summer months brought warmer weather which allowed us to not feel so cooped up in our home. From camping, beach days, fishing, biking and wineries. We got creative with things we could do that were Covid friendly. We did not take for granted the gift of the outdoors so we could safely get together with friends. Campfires, balcony dinners, and waterfront picnics allowed us to be with others while still supporting our medical professionals and those at high risk.
I participated in another social media campaign and helped raise over $200,000 for human trafficking efforts in Nepal. And hosted a handful of outdoor youth events so our kids could have a bit of a normal summer? We did tye-dye, had a campfire, and booked the community pool for a day. We made the most of it, and I'm so glad we could have a bit of fun safely.
We had a low-key backyard 4th of July with my brother and his family. We loved being able to visit with my nephews and enjoy sparklers. And Karl is teaching them chess. And Hamilton on repeat!
After 5 months of not seeing my family, I was able to take a trip up north and go camping with my parents, sister, and nephews and enjoy my favorite lake views. And I was able to celebrate my little brother's 13th birthday. I cannot believe he's THIRTEEN!
We also got to take dear friends camping last summer and we loved being able to share our favorite thing with them!
In the fall I got Covid and couldn't taste for a month. So that wasn't fun. But I'm thankful for an eventual recovery. We voted in the November election. And went on more camping adventures with Karl. I'm really glad our favorite thing to do is Covid friendly. We had some great camping times this year.
After 8 months of staying at home, we escaped to the Smokies! I'm soo grateful for our little mountain getaway. And getting to connect with old and new friends, and my sister and her husband.
At the end of our trip, we were able to get our photos taken by Jennifer Christi Photography
We had so much fun together and are obsessed with our photos!
While the weather was starting to cool down we were able to continue many outdoor dates. Such as biking, look a the fall colors and pumpkin patches.
At the end of 2019, I joined the STP team as an Associate Photographer and in 2020 I photographed 2 weddings and a handful of engagement sessions. I absolutely loved the couples I was able to work with and cannot wait to continue as an associate for 2021!
upper left photo by Shaunae Teske Photography
I read 42 books in 2020. Could I take any more photos of books? I'm really not sure.
Here are just a few of my favorites from last year. For a full list of the books I read last year and my reviews, you can head on over to my good reads.
Dark Clouds Deep Mercy
So You Want to Talk About Race
The Sun and her flowers
To Shake the Sleeping Self
The Girl with 7 Names
The Midnight Library
I took a month off social, to unplug a bit and enjoy the Advent season. It felt really really good. So here are a few candid captures during the month. We picked out the perfect Christmas tree, binged on all the Hallmark movies, did a virtual gift exchange, made Christmas cookies (and ate them for breakfast), had a youth white elephant gift exchange, and visited my family for Christmas. We also went on a Christmas Eve sleigh ride. It was so lovely!
I took too many selfies of myself in my mask. What a weird year.
And we finally put a lid on 2020 and rang in the New Year with another couple from our quarantine pod and it was perfect.
Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021. Cheers!