Best of 2020

Another year over. I know it's very hip to say that 2020 was awful or whatever, which it certainly was for a lot of people, but I also laugh a little bit when I hear it from people who basically had a normal year. Like me, for instance. 2020 was a pretty dang good year and I'm not going to take away from the folks who had actual hardships by complaining about any minor inconveniences I faced as if they're somehow equal. They're not. Some people lost their jobs. Some people are separated from their family. Some people got very sick. I had to wear a mask and sometimes wait in line to walk into a store. That was the worst of it for me and so I am not here to complain or say that 2020 was hard at all. 

I got supremely lucky this year and for that, I am so grateful. I can read the dang room though and so I do feel a little weird saying this -- 2020 was easily one of the best years of my life. 

The Highlights 

Best of 2020 |


Started the year foolishly optimistic. We came in to 2020 with secret plans brewing for a long road trip, but it didn't yet feel real, so mostly things were very business as usual. COVID was a thing happening somewhere else, vaguely on my radar, but mostly I was still just thinking about what I would cook for dinner. 

Somewhere near the end of the month, I finally hit the winter wall and got dead sick of being at home all the time (ha! If we'd only known!) I took Duke to see a movie in a theatre for the very first time, where we saw Frozen 2. 

My Favorite post from January | Best Quotes for 2020


Celebrated Ryan's stepmom's birthday by going to an 80's cover band concert. Remember concerts?! I screamed hairband lyrics all night and got drunk enough to tip the bartender $100 for a water. 10 out of 10, would do it again. It was a blast.

A week later I obsessed over getting my wisdom teeth removed and like pretty much everything in the world, it wasn't nearly as bad as I imagined. 


I went on vacation to California, feeling very anxious for my first time flying alone. I was nervous, but I was also fine. Weird to think I left the office for that vacation and then I never went back. The world exploded with the pandemic while I wandered around San Francisco and down the PCH and by the time I arrived back in Michigan, we were all working from home. 

Flying to California |

California Coast |

It was the confused part of the pandemic, when we knew something bad was happening, but didn't really know what to do about it. We were still dining indoors, everyone was watching Tiger King, and some people were wearing masks because they wanted to. 

My Favorite post from March | Three Days in San Francisco


Duke and I became co-workers. I resumed work, albeit from a former spare bedroom turned makeshift office. Duke capitalized on the general lack of supervision by touching everything he's not supposed to. Ask me about the permanent marker on my walls that I still haven't painted over. Later, I learned that I did not get a position at work that I'd been interviewing for and it felt like a signal from the universe. I knew if I got that role, I'd have to postpone our trip for a year or two. Things happen exactly the way they're supposed to, so instead, Ryan and I committed to moving forward on our road trip immediately. Or more like immediately-ish. We thought we'd wait for things to calm down and I could just laugh forever  - 8 months in the future - now that I know how far fetched this idea was. We'd still be waiting. 

In the meantime, we went into mandated lockdown, bought masks, and invested in fancy olives and exciting mixers to help make quarantine Fridays feel like happy hour. 


Summer came in fast and furious and we tried to enjoy as much Northern Michigan summer as we could squeeze in before we took off on our road trip. 

Lake Michigan Sunset |

Ryan stained the house while I did important things like picking out new cabinet hardware and a rug for our camper. I also started the keto diet, which I haven't really talked about here, but I feel like it was a positive that really impacted my year, so I'm making a note of it. I lost 17lbs and I just feel like my pre-pregnancy self again, which is nice. That pregnancy? It was almost five years ago, so I think I can quit calling it pregnancy weight and call it what it is: I like cheese and wine. 


Duke learned to ride a bike without training wheels and reminded us constantly to clap. Things progressed quickly. He eventually got an electric bike "with a real throttle!" and then swiftly moved on to an actual dirt bike while I aggressively shopped for helmets. 

This was extra special because Aunt Carlee and Grandma Deb just happened to be visiting when Duke took the two-wheeler leap, so he had a full audience of clappers. 

Riding a Two-Wheeler |

I put in my two weeks notice at the beginning of the month and manically started writing to-do lists and packing lists and budget lists on napkins and on the back of receipts, which I'm still finding in the pockets of my jeans and sweatshirts. 

It worked out that I had about a week and a half between my last day of work and leaving on our road trip, so we beached and boated and just totally maximized on our short summer at home. 

Summertime Swimming |

My Favorite posts from June | Moving On | What Are You Guys Doing? |


Finally, after a year of planning, we stuffed our duffel bags in the tiny camper closet and hit the road. Fun fact: we only broke down once and it was five hours into the trip. A quick two-day layover with friends gave Ryan the space and time to make the fix and then we hit it for real. I mentioned this to Ryan just a day or two ago and he verbally patted himself on the back. "This is not a coincidence. I did a lot of preventative maintenance." 

We covered a lot of miles in July, beelining it for Yellowstone and traveling north through Montana, Washington, and Oregon. If you ever find yourself in the Cascades, Diablo Lake is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. It's truly stunning. 

Diablo Lake |

I say it every time I post this picture, but it still knocks my socks right off: this is not edited or filtered or anything. It's a totally non-fancy iPhone picture, which you know never does it justice. 

I turned 32 in the Hoh rainforest. Read a lot. Swam in a lake that is named for me (ha!) and drank tequila in the Tetons. Obviously I accommodated Duke every time he asked to go to the ocean. And the best part -- a couple of our friends joined us in Washington near the end of the month, making our camper feel like a total party bus for a week. 

Swimming in the Pacific |


August took me back to California, but mostly inland before heading west, using the month to wander into Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. Easily my favorite stops of the trip, and we loved Colorado so much, we stayed for almost a week even though the entire GD state was on fire and smelled like smoke. A happy coincidence brought us to Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri where we met up with my three best friends.  

Wild West |

One night we made it to Lake Powell around 6pm and it was so stifling hot, all I could think about was getting the camper parked and getting in the lake. I packed a backpack full of seltzers, put the dog on a leash, and we hoofed it straight to the water. Relief has never felt so good. 

Lake Powell |

My Favorite posts from August | Postcard from California | Postcard from Nevada |  Postcard from Colorado |  Postcard from the Ozarks


After spending the summer on the road, I was ready to come home for a full shower and access to my washer and dryer for a couple weeks. We made it back just in time for Labor Day weekend, another winner of a weekend in Michigan. Ryan's birthday and Duke's birthday are just a few days apart, so we celebrated those two turkeys and I tried my hand at a carwash cake. 

We caught up with friends and family, found my new favorite local place to go for a drink, and invested in the cutest pair of pink suspenders for a little ring bearer

Carlee's Wedding |

Officially we came home for a wedding. My sister got married and Duke barked, dinosaur stomped, and danced his booty off through the entire ceremony. Here's hoping they still like us after they see the wedding photos!

My Favorite posts from September | Best of Summer 2020 | Happy Birthday Duke! | Postcard from HomeWhat's Next? |


On the road again, but this time we were east bound and down. The weather was beautiful and warm for the first week, but quickly transitioned into full on fall the deeper we ventured into New England. Colder and more colorful. 

Summer to Fall Transition |

We saw a giant boot, ate Ben & Jerrys in its home state, climbed around a gorge in New York, and stood on red rocks overlooking the Atlantic

Finally, near the end of the month, we came home for good. We sold the camper and I happily went back to work at my old job. I also made a bird eating spider costume, a halloween special order from Duke. 

My Favorite posts from October | What I Read in October | Postcard from New England Pt 1 | Postcard from New England Pt 2


Set back up in the "office" I had made out of a bedroom back in April, it was business as usual around here. And man, did it feel good to be back to normal. Ying and yang, baby. 

We geared up for our first COVID holiday season and enjoyed a relatively quiet Thanksgiving. My mother-in-law broke her whole dang leg, so I made Thanksgiving dinner and nobody died from food poisoning, for which we were all grateful, indeed. 

Around this time, I got very into puzzles and I'm not over this obsession yet. 

Harry Potter Puzzle |

My Favorite post from November | Thanksgiving Playlist


COVID got a little too close for comfort, touching a few of our family members, so we resigned ourselves to staying home. Admittedly, I held off 'til the last minute because I really hoped we'd be able to make cookies together and that I would cheers hot mulled wine with Ryan's sisters, but alas, I finally popped Christmas gifts in the mail and scheduled Zoom calls for Christmas Day. In the meantime, Duke and I drove around every night, looking for the best, most bonkers Christmas lights displays and called Santa a couple times a day. 

Christmas at Home |

I cooked Christmas dinner, much less successfully though. I learned a couple lessons this year - the first of which is do not buy dried beans ever again. The second is to calm down with the garlic. 

My Favorite post from December | Christmas


Now for a little brevity. Less words, more pictures. A few of my favorite snaps from this year - 

Ryan really had to talk me into this, but I'm glad he did. We had so much fun zipping around a mountain pass all the way up to an old abandoned mining town. 

Mt. Rainier |

Glacier NPS  |

Fishing in Washington  |

Crater Lake  |

Crater Lake is another one of those places where the iPhone picture is cool, but trust me, not even close to doing the actual view any kind of justice. 

Bonfire Fridays |

Quarantine Fridays, and basically every night because when there's nowhere to go, there's nothing nicer than a drink around the fire. 

George looking so handsome |

Los Angeles at Night |

Colorado |

Frankfort, Michigan |

For all the beautiful places we saw this year, Michigan holds her own. Beautiful Frankfort will always have 99% of my heart. 


Happy New Year, you guys. Thanks for reading along. Every time you click over to my blog, you make me feel like a real writer and for that, I am so grateful. I have no delusions of grandeur, but writing words that someone else wants to read is everything I ever wanted, so thank you. I hope 2021 rocks and comes with more sleeping in, less uncomfortable conversations, and margaritas and queso for everyone. 


No comments:

Powered by Blogger.