December 31, 2021

Top 21 of 2021

This is a post I've written every year. You can find all of the previous years' posts here:

Top 11 of 2011
Top 12 of 2012
Top 13 of 2013
Top 14 of 2014
Top 15 of 2015
Top 16 of 2016
Top 17 of 2017
Top 18 of 2018
Top 19 of 2019
Top 20 of 2020

It's a lot, I know. But I think I'll go through them when I get some time and look at all these highlights of my life from the past 10 years. I like that I started doing Friday Night Photos sometime this year because it kind of recaps my week (when I remember to take photos). And then these posts on December 31st each year are the most significant things (in my eyes) that happened that year.

When I told Jerry what my post was going to be today, he said, "That's beyond difficult, because 2021 sucked ass." Yep! That about sums it up, haha.

So here goes... my Top 21 of 2021. (In no particular order...)

1. Jerry and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary; and the 22nd anniversary of our first date! He's still my most favorite person.

2. I splurged on myself after saving up some money and bought my dream miter saw: a Dewalt Dual-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw. Haha! I have LOVED using it.

3. Eli got his braces off! And a few months later, we paid them off in full. This is a VERY expensive smile, but totally worth it! ;)  (He had braces at age three because he used to choke on his food--his molars wouldn't come together. Then he needed them again as a teenager.)

4. I got to witness my new nephew (to be born in April) be transferred from tube to his home for what we hoped would be the next nine months; he was just an embryo, and then Laura asked me to go with her to her appointment for the embryo transplant. I was SO interested and excited about it. I watched on an ultrasound while they "deposited" the embryo into Laura's uterus. How many people get to witness something as cool as that?! We didn't know if it would actually work (I forget what the odds are of the transplant being successful) but we learned a few weeks later that it worked and Laura was, in fact, pregnant. And recently, we discovered that it's a boy--his name will be Hunter.

5. In July, my entire family--Nathan, Shawn, Jeanie, Dad, Mom, Luke (up top), Brian (holding Luke), Becky, Riley, me, Jerry, Eli, and Noah--had family photos taken at my sister's cabin up north. We celebrated my parents' 50th wedding anniversary.

6. I completed one of my most favorite projects to date: making over these two pieces of Pottery Barn furniture. (These were VERY expensive if bought from Pottery Barn; I bought the set on Facebook Marketplace for $100!). I LOVE how they turned out!

7. I made a German Chocolate Cake from scratch for Jerry's birthday. It's his favorite cake and they are a bitch to make from scratch, so I'd only ever done it once before. I surprised him by making one this year and it turned out to be AWESOME.

8. I started the Heritage Recipe Collection on my blog and it's been super fun--not only to make old recipes (this one below was definitely an interesting one)--but because I've learned a ton about my own family and the people who lived in the small town where I grew up.

9. My friend Allison visited from Seattle (we were next-door neighbors all through high school, but I've only seen her a handful of times since). Our friend Jenni came over as well--it was a fun little reunion!

10. My little Duckling is totally back to normal after his emergency surgery and then his subsequent virus and bacterial infections. He ate a piece of yarn and that stupid piece of yarn ended up costing about $3,000 in vet bills this month, and a WHOLE LOT of tears. I was miserable while he was staying overnight at the vet for several days. I'm just so glad that he's home and back to normal. The other cats (who got the virus Duck had) are all doing well now.

11. I got to shoot my brother's something-or-other rifle (I know NOTHING about guns) while I was up north, and for some reason, I just find it so fun when I get to do this! We lined up a bunch of cans on the other side of the pond and I used the scope to snipe them one-by-one, hahaha. I was actually really good at it! (It's hard not to be when you have the special scope/gun/whatever that Nathan has.)

12. I finally made the three-hour drive across Michigan to visit my friend Emily! I've been wanting to do this for way too long, but my anxiety kept from actually doing it. It was nice to see where she lives and to meet her "baby" (I put that in quotes because he's not really a baby anymore--he'll be one in a couple of weeks!)

13. I made fresh-squeezed lemonade with Luke. I've always wanted to make fresh-squeezed lemonade and one day he asked me about making it. I decided to have him come over on his own so just the two of us could do it. It turned out delicious! (Clearly he worked hard to get the lemon juice out.)

14. This is my most favorite find on Facebook Marketplace! I had been wanting an orange leather sectional (which, as you can imagine, is hard to come by--especially without special ordering one). I would search Marketplace every so often, hoping to find what I was looking for. Finally, I found THIS: an orange Italian leather sectional (with the chaise on the right side, which was ideal for my living room set-up). Jerry and I took a road trip to go pick it up (we even rented a truck). This is a $6,000 sofa and I got it for $1,100! I was truly giddy with excitement. 

15. Jerry and I got a new Tempurpedic mattress. We had one for our entire marriage up until fall 2020; then we tried out a different brand (Saatva). After the initial newness of having springs wore off, I really didn't like it. Thankfully, I was able to get a refund for it and I bought a Tempurpedic for just about the same price. It's SO comfy!

16. I found an orange coat that is identical to my previous one that I had and loved so much (until Joey chewed it up right after we got him). You can read the full story of this coat and why it's such a big deal on this post. This picture is just showing how my weight loss has affected the fit. It felt too big, so I managed to find another in a size down on Poshmark for $10. I love this coat!

17. I bought a TON of fresh peaches from The Peach Truck! In Georgia, they pick the peaches super early in the morning and load them onto a truck--then they drive it to different locations, making stops to sell the boxes of peaches. I've always loved peaches, but THESE put every other peach to shame--I'm definitely going to buy more when the truck comes around again!

18. I got to experience some nostalgia when I babysat Luke and Riley early one morning and I made them poached eggs on toast--something my favorite aunt used to make for me every single day before school when I was a kid. It was fun getting to make it for Luke and Riley--who loved it just as much as I used to :)

19. I started running regularly again! (Although, it's been over a month since my last run; December has been a terrible month for me. I am at the point now where I can make it a priority since all the cats are healthy again.)

20. I managed to nurture this squirrel back to help with Ivermectin paste. I would dose a tiny bit on a walnut once a week and I loved seeing that it was working--his fur was growing back! The picture from January 31 was when I first saw him. After that, I read on the DNR website about Ivermectin and then started treating him. Now I call him patches, because his fur looks a little patchy in color!

21. I am so so so grateful that I was able to get vaccinated for COVID in May. My whole family got both doses, and I'm super thankful that none of us has gotten COVID (let's hope it stays that way). Jerry got his booster a couple of weeks ago, and then this past Monday, Noah and I went to get our boosters. (Eli can get his after he turns 16 next week.) After talking to my sister (and reading her guest post--if you haven't seen it, definitely check it out!) I feel confident that even if I do end up getting COVID despite the precautions I've taken, I'll probably only have mild symptoms. It gives me peace of mind; one less thing to have anxiety about, haha!

Even though I have to say that 2021 sucked (I think it was worse than 2020 in many ways), I was still able to find a lot of positives about it--I actually had to narrow down my pictures from 39 to 21! Yes, a lot of these are seemingly meaningless, but they were things that made my list because they made ME feel good.

Jerry and I took the plunge and joined a 6-month DietBet together. I was so unsure about it because at this weight, it'll be hard to drop 10%. But since I've gained some in December, I think it's very do-able. And it will help me get back to the habits I'd been doing before this whole month went to shit.

I can't believe how many people are participating in this DietBet! The last 6-month one that I did had 400-something participants and this one has nearly 2,500! (Here is the game that Jerry and I joined, if you're interested.) I'm really surprised at just how much it helped me to stay on track this year. Let's hope that by summertime, I'll be back down to my comfortable weight :)


  1. Wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2022! 💜

  2. Happy New Year! I have loved following your blog for several years now and I really enjoy your recap. Take care and here's to a better 2022 for you and all.

  3. This is a great recap! Wishing you and your family a great new year!!

  4. I agree that, for me, 2021 was actually worse in many ways than 2020 even though I was so sure that it couldn't get worse. Thank you for the reminder that I need to go back and look over 2021 with "fresh eyes" to remember all of the good that was still there between the "dumpster fire" moments.


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