December 31, 2020

My Top 20 of 2020

Yikes--as we all can probably agree, 2020 has not been the greatest year. It's been extremely new--dealing with a pandemic by lockdowns, wearing masks, virtual learning for schools, social distancing, having doctor's appointments via Zoom, missing out on holidays with the family, etc.

I write a list every year of my "Top XX" of whatever year it is. In this case, it's "20" for 2020. I almost considered not doing the list this year, because could I even think of 20 great things from the last 366 days?

Once I started going through photos on my computer, however, I found so many things that brought me some joy despite all the stuff happening around us. So yes, this post is worth something! 

My Top 20 of 2020 (in no particular order)...

1. I built a corner desk for Noah to his request--no drawers or shelves, just a modern-looking corner desk to fit in a particular corner of his bedroom. I was really excited to work on this! It looks very simple, but it did cause me some frustration when I cut the 45-degree angle on the desk top. All in all, though, I think it turned out great. And more importantly, so does Noah!

2. We adopted two black kittens (a long-haired and short-haired) from a local rescue. I was always against getting kittens because they are much easier to find homes for than adult cats. But my family wanted kittens so badly, and I compromised. They had to come from a rescue and they had to be black. The woman who runs the rescue said that black kittens are very hard to find homes for. 

We named them Chick and Duck (to stick with our Friends theme). They have provided us with hours of entertainment this year! They have the funnest personalities. I adore them!

3. My dad did one of the most random things ever, but it was so funny that it remained pretty memorable. He asked me one day if I had any yellow poster board or yellow paint. I told him no, I didn't. A couple of days later, I learned why he wanted them. There was no reason for him to do this--just having fun during the lockdown, I guess! Hahahaha.

4. We had an earthquake in August--which was crazy! It was very close to our house and the people around here all wondered what was happening. They thought that the nearby nuclear power plant had an explosion or something. I was at my brother's house at the time, probably 15 miles away, and it was felt even at his house. 

Jerry sent me a text while I was at Brian's (see below) and I thought it was hilarious. I had just finished remodeling our garage at the time! And the earthquake was kind of a joke around here, because it most definitely wasn't serious but it was kind of a big deal.

5. The night before Easter, my younger brother Nathan and his girlfriend decided to drive around and plant Easter eggs for the kids (mine and Brian's). In the morning, there were dozens of Easter eggs in the yard. I spotted a squirrel eating something odd and I had no idea what it was... until I looked closer and saw that he'd gotten into an Easter egg! He chewed through the plastic and was eating the chocolate inside. It was so funny!

6. Eli competed in his first Rubik's Cube tournament! We went to the University of Michigan and watched him compete in several different categories. I was crazy-impressed with all the kids there, and Eli did great! I was really proud of him for competing.

7. Eli caught a monster musky in the lake... from SHORE. That's ridiculously difficult to do. It was his dream fish and I was so thrilled for him. The local newspaper even wrote a whole story about it. You can read about it here

8. I've been DYING for a new front porch (i.e. stoop--we've just always called it a porch around where I live). Ours was 17 years old and in shambles, as you can see from the picture. I planned to do a concrete porch but we couldn't find anyone to come out and pour the concrete. So I decided to build one.

Unfortunately, the price of lumber shot up to three times what it was last year. Instead of building it as big as I would like, I just made one that we can use to get by until spring. In the spring, I'm going to extend it out much farther to the right so we can put a couple of chairs on there. We also tore out all of the landscaping and plan to start fresh in the spring.

9. The biggest project I've ever taken on... I insulated and drywalled our garage. ALL BY MYSELF. Every single screw was put in with my own hands (and a drill). When Jerry offered to help, I declined--I wanted this to be my own project. I spent four months working on it and I LOVE how it turned out! I build a wall of shelves, which you can see in the other pictures. Here is the post with the other photos.

10. We drove up north to my sister's cabin in the summer. It was just Jeanie, Shawn, and my family, which was perfect. I never get to spend time alone with them! On the way, we stopped in Mackinaw and I took Joey for a walk (as part of my 75 Hard program). We came upon this park with the perfect view of the Mackinac Bridge! (It connects the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan)

11. I got a new car! I can't say I was thrilled about doing this--I thought I would have my previous one for the next 10 years--but we had a mechanical problem that nobody could diagnose without having to take the whole thing apart, which would cost a fortune. So we just traded it in (they gave us a great trade-in offer). And I left the lot with the same model of car (a Jeep Renegade) only it was orange instead of yellow and four years newer.

12. We had a few Zoom game nights with our friends, which was super fun! We played Wits & Wagers, which worked out well as a game that you have to do from a distance.

13. Emily came over and we built a little free library. She's been wanting to build one but didn't know how, so I helped her. It wasn't done when she left--she wanted to paint it, so we didn't attach the plexiglass or the door yet. Emily got to try power tools for the first time, which was fun :)

14. Luke and Riley stayed the night and we had so much fun! The kids are at the PERFECT age. I can't get over how smart they are! And they're hilarious. Riley calls Luke "Lukester", haha. We made popcorn with the "special" popcorn maker (and I gave one to Luke for Christmas).

15. I made over 100 masks to give away to people who needed them. It wasn't nearly enough but I just couldn't think about making any more! They're very comfortable, though, so I made a few for myself and that's what I wear when I go out. Despite being tedious, I really enjoyed this project!

16. I finished up Nathan's bathroom. There wasn't a lot left to do to it (not pictured are the shelves that I built into this closet). He started working on it years ago and just didn't finish. I also removed his popcorn ceiling (you know how I feel about those). I still haven't been over there to sand and paint it! His girlfriend has been staying there and working from home during COVID, so I've been waiting until she goes back to work (the sander is loud and most definitely disturbing to someone trying to work).

17. Jerry and I got a new mattress. We'd had the same one since we got married! We were both getting aches and pains and not sleeping well, so we did a ton of research and we agreed on this one by Saatva. It's really comfy! 

18. Noah turned 16, got his driver's license, and bought his first car! I can't believe how fast he's growing. It's so odd that he doesn't have to rely on me to drive him places anymore. He's getting so independent!

19. While up north at my sister's cabin, Shawn (her husband) and I built shiplap in his pole barn. We both love woodworking. We got to use the planer that I'm dying to buy (it's in the top left corner of the pic). Seeing it in action made me really want to save up my allowance for it. Anyway, it really fun to spend the afternoon with him working on the boards for the shiplap.

20. Last but not least... I built a squirrel picnic table! After seeing a viral photo of one, I really wanted to make one, too. I put my own twist on it to make it look a little more authentic. And I'm shocked at how much traffic the post about how to build a squirrel picnic table gets. In the almost-10 years I've been writing on Runs for Cookies, it's one of the most viewed posts. Clearly, it's because I have the cutest squirrels ever ;)

See? I can definitely find lots of positives to come from this ridiculous year. I am hoping that things really turn around tomorrow!

Per tradition, I like to do the same "fun facts" every year on this post, so here goes:

I ran 28 miles this year, down from 182.6 miles last year. Yikes! I think it goes without saying that this is, by far, the fewest number of miles run in a year since I started running in 2010. However, I've logged a LOT of walking miles, so I'll focus on those. 

I walked 865.62 miles this year, with 846.65 of those miles being since July 20th when I started my 5+ miles per day walk streak.

The food I consumed the most of this year... this is a hard one! Usually this is an easy question for me, since I tend to go through cycles with food, eating the same thing for months and months at a time. I honestly couldn't say! I got really into Asian dishes and I made a lot of those. 

My most memorable meal was probably the Hello Fresh dinner my mom made for us. I have no idea how to pronounce it, but it's called Bibimbap. I've made it a couple of times since then, but mostly, I've used the ingredient combinations to make other dishes. This is when I finally understood the hype about sriracha.

My current favorite breakfast is... well, I don't eat breakfast anymore. Since I started intermittent fasting, I've been skipping breakfast. And I'm never even hungry for breakfast anymore.

My current favorite TV show is... well, these little facts just aren't very fun this year! Haha. I can't even think of my favorite TV show! Right now, I've been really into Grey's Anatomy because Jerry and I have been rewatching it. But it's definitely not my favorite show. I haven't started watching the new season of Shameless yet, but I'm sure that would be my favorite if I had!

My current favorite evening treat is potato chips or pretzels and hummus. Surprised? I have no idea why, but I just haven't been very into sweets this year. If I do want something sweet, it's usually a Milky Way.

What I am most looking forward to in 2021? Taking control of my health. I want to lose weight, sure, but I mostly want to feel in control again and to do what I can for my chronic pain as well as my mental health. I basically just want to focus on improving myself in all areas of my life. I've been writing a lot about it in my "Goal Crazy" journal/planner. (Amazon affiliate link) It took me a long time get it all set up (planning out my goals) but I'm ready for tomorrow :)

Happy New Year, Friends! I'll be toasting the new year in bed with a book and a cup of ice to chew. So fun! ;)


  1. We have tiny earthquakes here in GA every now and again and somebody always posts that meme. They're light enough that I didn't notice the last one because my feet were off the floor and I thought my husband was making it up until I saw it on the news, haha.

    1. Hahaha, yes--it was so odd that nobody knew what it was! And obviously very mild ;)

  2. Looks like a good year after all. Let's hope this new year turns out to be even better. I'm aiming to lose some (a lot of) weight this year, and people like you are the best motivation. Happy new year!

    1. Yeah, it wasn't great, but when I tried to find the positives, I was surprised at how many I could find! I actually had to narrow my list down from FORTY. Good luck with your weight loss goals--I'm right there with you! :)

  3. Katie, congratulations on completing your year of posting every day!! I almost never comment but have read every single post this year. What a huge accomplishment. I would love to read your reflections on your year of uninterrupted blogging in a future post.

    1. Thank you so much! And I'm impressed you've read every post. Some were SO boring because it was hard to think of things to write. And thank you for commenting :)

  4. This made me happy. This year obviously was tougher on all of us and some, much more than others. Being able to find the positive in 2020 a great thing to do because the year is more than the pandemic. Love ya and excited for your 2021 post.

    1. You played a huge part of my 2020 in several areas, and I love that. I saw you more this year than I had in the last five years combined! 75 Hard changed my thinking a LOT--even though I wasn't perfect, I did my best and it made me start a walking streak that is approaching half a year. Thanks, Friend! <3

  5. Ooh! Bibimbap (Bee-bim-bop) is so good! My husband doesn't like "Asian" food so I never make it because I'm the only one who would eat it, but it is SO good. Hands down my favorite Korean dish!


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