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Friday, December 31, 2021

Year In Review 2021

2021.... What a year it's been. I can say for certain that 2021 will be a year I never forget. It was filled with some of the most rewarding moments of my life yet, but also some of the hardest. It was another year of the pandemic and navigating this new way of life. We also had our son early in the year and shifted a bit into a different lifestyle - one where keeping him healthy and safe was our number one priority.

Despite the challenges the pandemic brought, we had an amazing year. We made so many memories together, finished some projects on the house, and watched Whitney steal everyone's hearts. This is my 8th year writing this review (you can see 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014) and it's still my favorite post I write all year.


January was about one thing - trying to get through the end of this pregnancy. The holidays were over and they were certainly a bust with the pandemic. New Years Eve was uneventful and at this point, I was no longer riding. January was a quiet life of walks with the dogs in the preserve and waiting for his due date. Pre pandemic, we talked about doing a babymoon in England or Ireland but we had to switch gears a bit. Instead, we packed the car and grabbed the dogs and drove south to Virginia. We went to Shenandoah National Park and hiked around Virginia and visited the caverns. It was nice to get away (safely) in an Airbnb, enjoying a very empty National Park in the off-season. 


February was a month of anticipation. I knew he could come anytime after 38 weeks and I hoped every day was "it". I spent the first half of the month hibernating, hiking in the preserve, and counting down the days. You can read about it in my March 2021 blog posts... but the worst thing and one of our biggest fears came true. 5 days before his due date, Adam contracted COVID, I contracted COVID, and ended up delivering our son into the world via emergency c-section by myself. It was traumatic and impossible, and one of the hardest things I have ever done, but we had a healthy baby boy to bring home 2 days later. 


March was all about adapting. We were recovering from COVID and learning how to live our lives around a newborn. We spent 10 days in double masks and that is how our son met us in this world. My mom met him through the door and life was anything but normal. Adam only took a week and a half off work and then it was back to the grind. The transition to solo days didn't bother me after being in the hospital alone, I was so thankful for his help and company after work. We didn't do much, just hid away from the world with our little boy and celebrated his first month with us. I was finally able to ride (comfortably) again and looked forward to a summer with my horse. 


April was the same as March.... hiding away waiting for warmer weather and waiting for the newborn stage to pass. It wasn't my favorite and I knew life was going to get a bit easier once he hit the 3 month mark. We spent time hiking in the preserve and a lot of time on the couch in front of the TV with Whitney. We made a trip to Fall River and Whitney met his Great Grandmother for the first time and some of his great aunts. 


May was the first promise of a return to normal(ish) life. Insanely warm weather brought us to the beach before memorial day. We had our first real date night out in a while and watched our little boy hit the glorious 3-month mark. We moved him out of our room and for the first time, experienced the joy of a baby who sleeps through the night. I also celebrated my first mother's day and we took off for a day trip to Newport where we basically carried his stroller across Cliff Walk. We also went full send into the landscaping projects around the house, starting with the retaining wall. 


June was a promise of warm weather. We headed to the beach, into the trails, and had fun enjoying summer in Old Saybrook. We made it to concerts on the green and weekends outside with family and friends. Whitney and I met my parents in Jamestown, Rhode Island and spent a few days enjoying the sunshine and ocean. Adam and I brought the whole family north to Vermont, hiking around Stowe and walking around Burlington together. 


July is "officially" summer here on the Connecticut shoreline. We spent lazy afternoons playing mini-golf, we did a day trip over to the Salmon River to go swimming with the dogs, and of course, spent a lot of time working on the yard. We did escape for a summer New England weekend getaway to Lincoln, New Hampshire with my parents. We hiked to Lonesome Lake, took the gondola to the top of Loop Ski Mountain, and of course, played more mini-golf. 


August started off with our first overnight trip away from Whitney. We headed to Lake Placid in the Adirondacks of New York to celebrate our first anniversary.  There, we rode mountain coasters down the old Olympic bobsled track, went to The Wild Center, and hiked Jay Mountain Ridgeline. At the end of the month, we headed to Long Beach Island, New Jersey to spend a few days on the beach with friends. 


September was the start of fall - my favorite time of year. As the months ticked by and Whitney got older, everything just got easier. He was this happy smiling little boy I could throw in the car, in the stroller, or in my hiking pack and set off for adventure. The weather was perfect and we did some local hiking at Chatfield Hollow in Killingworth and Wadsworth Falls in Middletown. We made it to Fall River to see my grandmother and also made a stop in nearby Portsmouth to see the Green Animals Topiary Garden. Adam and I snuck out to kayak on a perfect September evening and were very thankful to have nearby babysitters (Grandmas) all summer long. Towards the end of the month, we took Whitney to his first fair, the Durham Fair. We ended the month with a trip to New York, stopping in Saratoga Spa State Park to hike and Lake George to see the Adirondack Balloon Festival. It was a busy month enjoying the season and despite all the traveling, the highlight was finally finishing the walkway, retaiing walls, and seeding the front yard. 


October is my favorite month. The world turns into shades of gold and orange, red and yellow, and the warm days end in cool nights. After the yard was finally graded and seeded, we ripped out and repaved the driveway - finishing off our landscaping extravaganza. We went to Bishops Orchard to pick apples and pumpkins for Whitney's first Halloween. Whitney and I headed to northwest Connecticut early in the month and hiked Macricostas Preserve in Washington Depot. We also stopped by to see the Henry David Thoreau footbridge. It was a long leaf season here in New England and we enjoyed every second of it  We went out for an end-of-season boat ride with our neighbors and enjoyed some serious New England leaf-peeping. We ended our fall trip season with one last jaunt up north, this time to Litchfield, Connecticut and Goshen Connecticut, the Catskills of New York, and the Berkshires of Massachusetts


November is always an uneventful month. The leaves are gone, the snow is still a little way out, and it's "stick season". We took Christmas card photos, enjoyed nights on the porch with the firepit, hosted book club, and did some trail riding. I hosted my first book club, my first Thanksgiving, and we took Whitney to cut down his first Christmas tree. I met old friends for our annual Turkey Trot Thanksgiving run and just enjoyed being outside as much as I could.


December was all about enjoying Whitney's first holiday season - well, trying to with COVID running rampant again. Right after Thanksgiving, we decorated the tree and the mantle, hung wintery photos, ran garland up the banisters, put candles in our windows and hung wreaths on the front of the house. I wanted to build a home that was filled with tradition and memories for Whitney every Christmas. I sponsored a family in need and recruited friends and family to help me fulfill the Christmas list of a special family. We took a day trip to Stonington to see the lobster trap tree and have lunch at Noahs. We went to the torchlight parade in town and went full swing into another home project - this time the basement/playroom and the gear wall in the garage. Towards the end of the month, I stopped putting on the news and we rearranged our Christmas plans on a daily basis, depending who had the sniffles and who had a positive test. We stopped at my sisters for a quick outdoor Christmas eve with my immediate family and then headed to Fall River for the evening with a few aunts/uncles. We spent Christmas Day with Adam's immediate family in Norwalk. We ended the year with a low key New Years Eve celebration with our neighbors and said goodbye to my parents as they headed west for the winter. 

2021 Mileage Count

Throughout the months, I logged all of my walls, hikes and runs on strava. It's one of the ways I stay motivated.... Keeping a monthly log of my mileage. I count any miles that were walked, run, or hiked and keep a monthly tab.

Truth be told, Whitney gets credit for a lot of these miles too. Its very motivating to have a goal to compare to or "beat other months" and I strive for on average, 50 miles a month.  I had some months I passed my goal and some months I just missed the mark but either way, having this log is a great way to hold myself accountable and compare the years. 
January                 70
February         48
March                 61
April                 50
May                 50
June                 53
July                 52
August                 50
September         60
October             56
November         53
December         49

2021 was a whirlwind of a year. It was such a hard year with the traumatic birth of our son. It was such a beautiful year because of the birth of our son. We did the best we could with another year of the virus and made sure to take care of ourselves and this insanely wonderful little human we call Whitney. I have no idea what is in store for the next 12 months but I know I'm going to spend as much time as I can putting out the best version of myself, trying to be a better wife, mom, business owner, sister, daughter, and friend. 

Happy New Year and cheers to 2022

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