2021 feels like a bit of a blur, it went fast! While the continued pandemic is frustrating and difficult, we are so thankful for many things. Time with family, time with friends, technology that connects us socially, spiritually, educationally, and professionally.
We are very settled into our weekly routines in a good way. Weekly Games with Gran online, weekly chats for the boys with Gran, Board Game Night, Movie Night, Games and Dinner with our friends, the Steenbergs, Church and lunch at Mom and Dad’s that includes Melissa’s sister and her family in Portland.
There wasn’t a lot of travel in our year and that is one of the hardest things for us about the pandemic. We look forward to once again making plans for travel in the years to come. We are so thankful though that we have our weekly in person times of connection with friends and family – both in person and online.
Also, after a year of struggling everyday with pain, some days barely able to walk, Melissa found a solution to her foot pain. In May, the plan was to get an MRI and then likely surgery, but a friend suggested deep tissue massage, so we tried that. There was immediate relief and then eventually complete relief from pain. This was after months of physical therapy, every gadget and shoe we could find. So amazing to be able to walk and hike with the family again.
We played a lot of games as a family, with friends, and online with Gran in New Zealand. How many games this year? 277 board games. We do love playing games!
Colin played keys a lot. He plays at our church, Westside, in both the main service and the bilingual service – pretty sure he’s learning Spanish just from all the songs they sing! He also plays at another church in Redmond – one town away from us. I love to hear him play!
So here’s a breakdown of the year that was 2021:
Celebrated the New Year with the Steenbergs. Spent some time in the desert with Mom and Dad.
Local schools went back to in person learning, but offered an online option which we took advantage of. It was a good call for the boys and they really enjoyed it.
Time with the Smiths and Stephens. Helped with a homeless care pack outreach through our church.
More family time with Smiths and Stephens. Beach time with the Steenbergs. Celebrated 22 years of marriage. Melissa’s Dad was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. This was a tough one. We are so thankful for modern medicine that is helping Dad to deal with this disease. You can learn more about his health journey here.
Celebrated Jesse’s birthday at a cabin in the woods. Celebrated Easter at Mom and Dad’s. Dad started cancer treatment. Jude turned 14.
Melissa’s Mom broke her ankle – not fun. Celebrated Mother’s Day with Melissa’s mom and sister. Mom had surgery and Steph and Jesse came to help out. Smiths came to town another time to help out and celebrate Memorial Day.
Jude finished 8th grade, Zane finished 6th grade. Celebrated the start of Summer and Father’s Day with the Smiths and Stephens.
4th of July – celebrated with friends and family at Mom and Dad’s, they have a great view of Pilot Butte. Went caving with friends. Melissa helped organize a free art camp for 1st-12th graders at the church. There were local artists teaching classes, group art projects, and lots of inspiration. Spent time with the Smiths in Gresham doing fun Portland stuff and just hanging out. Zane turned 12!
Westside held an outdoor Family Festival that was so fun to attend and help out at. Jude did balloon creations that were a real hit. Off to the coast with the Smiths and the Stephens – so good to be together. We had a Ready, Steady, Cook meal. We had the exterior of our house painted for the first time – probably since it was built. Melissa and the Boys went to Gresham for some time with the Smiths.
Rented a cabin at McKenzie Bridge with the Steenbergs – got some good hikes in, played lots of games, ate some great food.
Back to School camping trip at La Pine State Park. Back to School! The boys embarked on some new education experiences. Jude started high school at Oregon Family School – a mix of teacher-taught video classes, a couple of in person classes (one day a week), and some self-led classes. Zane started 7th grade through Connections Academy. Low key birthdays for Colin and Melissa. Dad’s Stem Cell Harvesting.
Went to the mobile Vietnam Memorial Wall with the Boys and Mom and Dad. Helped out at a Thanksgiving Outreach at Westside. Zane auditioned for and was accepted in the Central Oregon Youth Orchestra. He started playing stand up bass in 6th grade remotely, stuck with it on his own when he started online school not through his local school, then when he started at Connections, we rented a bass and he continued to practice on his own. Playing with COYO is first time he has played live with other musicians (besides Colin). He also hasn’t had any lessons yet, so that may happen sometime.
Did our own school photos again. Annual International Thanksgiving Meal – Middle Eastern.
Did our traditional Dad/Daughter shopping for Mom and lunch date. Carols in Discovery Park – Colin played keys. Christmas lights with Mom and Dad. Christmas with the Stephens and Smiths. Boxing Day movie at home with JJ.
So that’s a wrap on 2021. Lots of mini adventures, some tough times, so much to be grateful for. Praying that 2022 is full of more adventures, more opportunities to see beauty, to experience wonder, to be kind, and to learn and grow.