Christmas Card Update 2020

The mother of all years! A big one for many. It’s difficult to find silver linings amid a pandemic (or “pandamic” as Wes innocently calls it, and I don’t correct him!), but we have a few things to share since I never really had the interest to blog in 2020.

Steven‘s office has been closed since March, and there aren’t immediate plans to open, so he worked from home for several months before going into a still-empty office building. Given the increased number of webinars he’s either presenting or moderating, it’s been easier for him to hold down the fort at Bloomerang while we conduct virtual school at home.

HE WROTE A BOOK. Oh my goodness, yes! It’s probably the biggest news of our year — or maybe lifetime. “Robots Make Bad Fundraisers” is a culmination of (both of our) experiences in not-for-profit fundraising, Steven’s past blog posts and conference sessions. It’s amazing work, and he deserves all the credit he’s received!

Wes helped design the cover artwork.

Wesley, 9, started third grade as a virtual learner, and while not ideal, we’ve made the best of it. As of 2 weeks ago, the rest of the school district joined him for mandatory e-learning until mid-January (at least). Taekwondo is on indefinite hold, but he’s remained active by running around with his fellow masked neighborhood friends. Wes enjoys reading comic books, building creations with blocks and LEGOs, playing anything with Maisie, and solving RPGs with Steven. He still wishes to be an artist when he grows up. Wes looks much older now that he has a new set of braces on his teeth — and Steven got a matching set of his own a few weeks ago!

Maisie, 2, is speaking nearly in sentences these days. She still jabbers and makes up her own words to replace those she can’t say or doesn’t know, but we understand about 80 percent of what comes out of her mouth. This is a big change since just a month ago. Maisie, a nurturer, enjoys taking care of dolls, and our dog, Lucy. Lately we find Baby Jesus from various nativities and puzzles in random places because she loves to carry him around or stuff him in pockets. Her hair is finally growing in, and on days she lets me, I can round up enough hair to make the smallest pony tails.

Jake, our old Italian Greyhound, died in February. His death was hardest on Lucy, who loved that dog more than any of us! She spent a few lonely, depressed weeks sulking around the house, and then the stay-at-home order was mandated. She’s been happy ever since! We have spoiled her terribly with table scraps, mid-day walks, and furniture naps.

In August I left my part-time WFH job to better assist Wesley’s at-home learning. His teacher is phenomenal and deserves a major pay raise for instructing 56 8- and 9-year-olds online every day! Admittedly it was initially difficult for me to adjust to “just mom” status, but I’ve better grown into the role. Some days Maisie and I have lots of craft and play time during Wesley’s Zoom classes. Sometimes I squeeze in a workout. Maybe I’ll even clean something other than laundry or dishes. Most days are free from computer issues or napless afternoons, but we do have those, too.

Honestly, the kids have been SO GOOD and resilient during this chaos. They’ve managed to find joy in each other and play well together. They love being “stuck at home” with their sibling, which I know is a super blessing! Yes, there’s issues with sharing toys and honoring each other’s space, but the tears have been minimum. The age gap between them makes a big difference. (We’ll see how long this lasts through the winter, however.)

Summer plans to visit Cape Cod were obviously canceled; instead we took a road trip west to the Badlands, Devil’s Tower, and Black Hills. To break up long hours in the car, Steven surprised us with stops at famous movie sets along the way. Truly, it was one of our best vacations yet!

Like most others, we’ve spent the majority of our quarantine year outside. Once we felt comfortable enough to do so, we have hiked various trails, biked further from home than ever before, met more neighbors, and hosted porch visits with my parents. The porch is freshly painted, and the paver walkway is no longer crooked. There are multiple new flower beds and shrubs in our yard from my increasing interest in gardening. (I may regret it next year!)

I miss having people over — like, inside our house, without masks. Birthdays, Thanksgiving, and upcoming Christmas holidays are weird and lonely over Zoom. I can’t wait to rejoin our YMCA and regularly attend classes and swim with the kids. Hugging my sister.

Wishing you a better year, whatever that may look like, and especially JOY during these anticipated holiday weeks. Take care of yourself, make smart, healthy decisions, and please stay safe!

XOXO, Leah and Team

Posted: December 8th, 2020
Categories: Leah
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