Hello, hello and Happy New Year! Boldog Új Évet Kívánok!
Can you believe we are in 2022? I sent my kids off to school this morning and I’m back at work for the first time in the new year. I still can’t believe the holidays have already come and gone. I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season! We had a lovely Christmas and a wonderful time at my parent’s annual New Year’s Eve pajama party! We are looking forward to all of our adventures in the coming year, but I though it might be fun to look back at some of the highs and lows of 2021.
We celebrated milestone birthdays
David and I both turned the big 4-0 last year. I always imagined that we would have a big party when we turned 40, but then Covid hit and plans changed. We ushered in a new decade of life with quiet celebrations at home with family. One of my biggest personal highlights last year was surprising David with donuts on his birthday. This may not seem like a big deal to most but it was huge in our house. I am not at all a morning person – at all. David has always been up before me and he is such a light sleeper that it is nearly impossible to even move in bed without waking him up, let alone sneak out of the room and leave the house! When I told the kids my plan the night before, they all said that they wanted to come too. At that point, I was sure that all hope of surprising David was lost, but I decided to give it a go. David’s favorite donuts are from a shop that is about twenty minutes from our house. They opened at 5, so I wanted to leave the house by 4:30 just to be safe. I set an alarm on my apple watch and prayed that I wouldn’t hit the snooze and go back to sleep.
When I got up, both boys were already in the hall waiting for me and my daughter woke up easier than she ever has in her life. We managed to leave the house without David noticing! It was a miracle. It probably helped that he had a head cold and had taken NyQuil the night before, so he was in an unusually deep sleep. It was pitch black driving to the donut shop and all three kids giggled the entire way. When we got home (before the sun had come up), David was still asleep and, to this day, he cannot believe we pulled it off. It was a truly happy day.
We said goodbye to an old friend.
After 17 ½ years, we lost our chihuahua, Solo. It was hard on everyone. Much harder than I even expected. We knew it was coming for a long time. Just before he turned 15 his vet told us that he was in the end stages of renal disease and only had weeks to live. Weeks turned into months and months turned into years. In February of last year, we knew his time on this Earth was coming to an end and we did everything we could to make his last days as comfortable as possible. In his last month, he enjoyed all of his favorite foods, particularly In N Out fries, and lots of cuddles from all of his favorite people. He died at home at the beginning of March. He lived a good life and we had many adventures together. As sad as we were to lose him, we found joy in all of the extra time we got to spend with him.
We spent Spring Break in Colorado
My parents were already staying at their cabin in Colorado, so we decided to join them for the boys’ spring break. It was our first time traveling since Covid hit and it was a much needed escape for everyone. It was also our first road trip since the pandemic and it felt good to be out on the open road again (although we went through more bottles of hand sanitizer than I care to admit). We had a wonderful time visiting family, hiking, sledding and even hunting for Easter eggs in the snow. It was such a fun trip with only one visit to the emergency room (after a sledding mishap).
We went to Hungary during the summer
We were supposed to go to Hungary in the summer of 2020, but, of course, that was canceled. I honestly didn’t even think it would happen last year until I was seated on the plane and on the way to our layover in Munich. Hungary had closed its borders and was only letting Hungarian citizens into the country, except on special circumstances. Since I am not a Hungarian citizen, I had to get permission from the government in order to visit and we didn’t know until about a week before we traveled if I would get it. Then, we realized, almost too late, that the boys passports had expired. Even though we expedited them, the new passports did not come until two days before we were scheduled to fly.
Once we were in Hungary, we had to get special cards from the Hungarian government proving our vaccination status, then we were (mostly) free to move about the country. It was our first trip to Hungary where we didn’t have any planned side trips and we had the best time. We were able to focus all of our time an energy on visiting with friends and family. David took the boys to see Hungary’s national soccer team play in two Euro matches (against Portugal and France). We also got to take the kids to a lot of fun destinations that are usually overwhelmed with tourists in the summer but were nearly deserted while we were there. Our last two days in Hungary, they opened the country back up to travelers, but by then, we had done pretty much everything that we wanted to do.
We sent all three kids to school
Our youngest started school for the first time this year, so my life changed pretty drastically in the last few months of last year. I am back to being able to work with David during the day again and then I turn into a taxi service for the children in the afternoon. The kids are all loving school. Being able to see their friends in person has been huge for all of them. Our daughter wasn’t able to attend preschool because of the shutdown, so she had been anticipating going to school for quite some time. This is the only year that she and our younger son will be at the same campus because he will move on to the junior high next year. Our oldest started high school this year and nothing has ever made me feel so old. David and I were only a little bit older than he is now when we started dating. That absolutely blows my mind.
We moved into our new house
We sold our previous house more than three years ago and had been searching for the right property ever since. Everything we found was either not quite right or we would like them but something would fall through. I was honestly beginning to lose all hope. Then the Covid shutdown hit and we lost an entire year of house hunting. There was literally nothing for sale that even came close to what we were looking for. Everyone told me to be patient and pray about it. Eventually the right thing would come along. I wasn’t sure I believed them, but then it did. Once we found our house, everything honestly happened so fast (yet so slow at the same time). We closed on the house at the beginning of October and moved in just before Halloween.
Our previous home had been a new build and this is an older house that comes with all sorts of quirks and eccentricities. David likes to say that our house has character. It also has a leaky roof and some plumbing issues. It needs a lot of work and some serious redecorating. We love it though, and have been slowly settling in. It is a bit more rural than anywhere we have lived before (the property actually came with a tractor), but we are still close to everything. Most importantly, we are still close enough for our kids to attend the school they have been at since our oldest was in preschool. Our house has a lot of the advantages of both suburban and rural life (and some of the disadvantages of both as well). We have had several frost advisories over the last couple of weeks, so we are getting well acquainted with sounds of the orchard frost fans from the neighboring farms. The first night I heard them, I thought there was a helicopter circling our house all night. I was amazed at how long it could fly without refueling. They’ve been running often enough that now I hardly notice them.
The Kids played sports again
Playing team sports again was huge. The kids all missed it and were so excited to get back. Our younger son was able to play a few weeks of basketball for his school’s team at the end of the last school year. Then David coached his soccer team for the first time (he had previously coached our older son) and they both loved the experience. Our daughter started soccer for the first time this year and was so excited that she got to be on the same team as her cousin. Our oldest is also playing soccer on the high school’s team and it has been a wonderful experience for him as well.
We Watched Live Music
I didn’t realize how much we missed live music until we started going to concerts again. You can read about some of our concerts here, here and here. Of everyone we saw live this year, my favorite concerts were those put on by our own children. Our youngest had her first Christmas concert and watching the little kids sing classic Christmas songs like “Silent Night” and “Hark! The Herold Angels Sing” was absolutely darling. Both of our sons are in their school bands and they had a combined band Christmas concert. Our younger son plays alto saxophone in the beginning band and our older son plays guitar and drums in the high school jazz band. Our older son also played with his band, StandBy, in a Battle of the Bands which was presented by the local teen center. They were the youngest band in the show and it was a great experience for everyone.
We Went to Disneyland… and then we went again… and again!
My cousin’s husband is in the Air Force and was about to be deployed, so they decided to come out, along with my aunt and uncle, to California for a Disney trip in July. We met them at the park for two days – one at Disneyland and one at California Adventure. The day we went to Disneyland, my parents tagged along as well. We had such a wonderful time both days, but I think we traumatized our daughter and I’m not sure if she will ever go on a roller coaster again. We did, however, discover some things that she loved (and that we had never done before) like paddling canoes around Tom Sawyer Island. When we got our tickets, it was cheaper to buy three-day passes, so we scheduled an additional day at Disneyland for just our family in September. We had so much fun. We split up for most of the day; David taking the boys on the big kid rides, and my daughter and I spending our time on the easy going rides in Fantasy Land and watching shows in the Tiki Room. We met up a few times for snacks and to go on rides, like Pirates, together.
This was just a small taste of our year. We had so many wonderful memories with friends and family that I could spend days reminiscing about all of them. As we head into this new year, I wish you all blessings, health and joy.