It’s the last week of 2021 and looking at this site, I haven’t updated since January. That seems like a metaphor for the year – the promise of a better one after the hot mess of 2020. But it didn’t take long to realize it could be worse, then better, then worse again. At least on a global scale.
We have our health, our family and friends. All of that makes us blessed. But all around us, there is so much challenge. Vaccines and a new administration were high points, then there was a resurgence of COVID after it seemed like things were getting better.
Here’s our year in review.
The New Year started out challenging – we watched the insurrection play out on television. It was sad and scary. It was tough to process as an adult but also for kids.
It felt like forever between when the Capital insurrection happened and the Inauguration. My school was remote from Thanksgiving until the week of the Inauguration to help everyone stay healthy (a good decision since we had seven cases while remote). Wednesday we are always remote so everyone was able to watch it on TV. What a day. It was the first hopeful day in a while.
Chris continued his health journey in January participating in the Winter Warrior challenge. He ran half marathons the five Sundays in January! He also walked every night. So proud of him!
Part of Chris’ health journey has been starting yoga! Years of bugging him to join me finally paid off! He started with a few home virtual classes last month but we are back in the studio and he seems to be getting the hang of it!
The kids have decided to remain home for remote learning. It’s been really hard but ultimately the safest way to keep everyone around us healthy. Vaccines are coming – but not soon enough.
March was a BIG month.
First – we have a 16 year old. How? This may have been his toughest trip around the sun but he is doing good and we are so proud of him. We’ve made the decision to repeat 10th grade which means the rest of this school year is much less stressful. It also means music lessons (remote) and more free time. I can’t imagine how hard this is to be a high school student and be cut off from a social outlet and all the things that are normal. Here’s to hoping this next trip around the sun is brighter.
Jenney also celebrated a birthday. Last year the week of her birthday was when the world shut down so she never really “celebrated.” So this year she got a cake for 35 and a cake for 36. Aidan also took a lot of pictures we collected to make a giant collage of a picture of her – it was really cool. But part of celebrating Jenney was sneaking out to her place and decorating her car as a surprise the next day. She brings a lot of joy to others with birthday surprises and so it was our turn for her! She didn’t even guess it was us at first!
VACCINATIONS!!!! Chris and I got our first shots! The day it was announced that school personnel could sign up, I went to the CVS site. Massachusetts had not even started their sign ups. But I got an appointment for the next day. Chris came with me and they didn’t want to waste any of their supply – so he got his too! One step closer to normal!
We made two big “we got vaccinated” decisions – first is to plan a trip. We booked Aruba for just after school ends. It will be a celebration of finishing the school year that happens to fall at the same time at Chris’ parents anniversary, Father’s Day and Bren’s birthday. Can’t wait. And second, all the running and yoga Chris has been doing is going to be channeled into a new goal – running the LA Marathon in November. He starts officially training in May. So proud.
Bren was accepted to BAA!! This has been his dream for years. We are so excited for what high school will be like for him!!
At work, we have been trying to find ways to make this school year normal. The Prom Fashion Show is a fun tradition and was canceled last year. We did our best to come up with an alternative – and it came out great! The girls shot it on a weekend in an almost empty gym. It was edited and presented online. It even crashed the website when it premiered! It’s been a rough year for all of them and I’m hopeful that as more vaccinations happen, things will get better.
At the end of March, the school announced a decision on a new head of school. The transition will begin in the coming months. I have loved this job but the timing with my family has been so hard. I am very excited for the next chapter and looking forward to Jillian’s enthusiasm and leadership!
Easter was as traditional as other years – very different from last year! We colored eggs, watched Mass on TV and enjoyed food with family.
Since the kids were little we have had a Melissa and Doug magnetic calendar hanging in the kitchen. Magnets have gone missing and there’s been less interest from the kids. The calendar fell off the wall and I finally decided to replace it – with another Melissa and Doug magnetic calendar. It’s a bit more updated – and has all its magnets – but it has its place where the other one was. Do we need it? No. Are the kids maybe too old for this. Definitely. But I love it and it reminds me of them as little kids helping on the first of the month to “set up” the month ahead. Traditions are important and memories are cherished.
The first day of April vacation was the first day kids 16 and up could be vaccinated. So that’s where Aidan was! Another step to normal.
And speaking of normal – we went on our first “trip.” For school vacation week went for a couple nights to the Cape Codder. There were lots of precautions and some nervous-ness from the kids but it was successful and everyone stayed healthy. It made us realize how sheltered the kids have been for the last year. Re-socializing them will be challenging.
It’s been a year since Chris gave himself a Mohawk and it seems like it is here to stay! Marathon training is officially underway too!
We bought a new car! There are now two cars I can drive and should Aidan decide to get his license, he will have an option too. The new car, is of course, a Subaru.
Bren got his vaccination! This will mean he will be fully vaccinated for our trip!
The Class of 2021 graduated from school. What a year. First time back in the Chapel for the Mass.
The end of the school year! Bren graduated from 8th grade! After 10 years our time at the Condon has come to an end. It was a tough few weeks finishing up school online but he did it. It was a really nice ceremony. Even though so many things couldn’t happen – I’m proud that there is some closure to the year and our time there.
I needed some help at school and called in some resources – Aidan and my mom. What a fun day having them there! We ended the school year with a fun day (barn animals, inflatables, water fun, cookout, ice cream truck!) and the Prom. So many things lost but the end of the year made us all feel hopeful.
One thing that has helped me tremendously through the last year has been my friends. We’ve had a group chat with 7 of us ongoing throughout the pandemic. Funny stories, stressful stories, random texts, all of it. And we finally were able to all get together! Normal is coming!!!!
Emilee had her first dance recital – so adorable!
Aruba was AMAZING. We enjoyed the beach, pool, food and drinks. Masks and tests but it was FUN. The day we left all four of us were fully vaccinated. We celebrated Nana and Papa’s 50th, Father’s Day, Bren’s birthday (fireworks on the cake!) and the end of the school year. We even took special family pictures to mark the occasion! (Chris also ran 10 miles at 4am to keep up with his marathon training!!)
June 29th marked 30 years Chris and I have been friends – another thing to celebrate with our Aruba trip. What an adventure.
Last year Bren was supposed to go away for summer camp. It had been discussed and planned since November 2019. When everything was canceled, we moved his application to this summer. It did not disappoint. We barely heard from Bren the three weeks he was away. He loved all the things he got to try. He was picked to perform in Mary Poppins. It was the first time in 20 months that he had been on stage. He loved spending time with his friend Cam and meeting lots of new people. He finished his time by saying he couldn’t wait to go back for two sessions next summer!
While Bren was away and Aidan was working again at American Provisions, Chris and I had time to have some of our own fun. We went to a Red Sox game, caught up with friends, went paddle boarding (and bought our own) and enjoyed lazy summer days. Aidan and I went to Canobie Lake for the day together too. It was fun to hang out with just the two of us!
At the end of the month, as we were looking for something in the dining room, Aidan found something very interesting – the last Easter egg we couldn’t find during the Easter egg hunt this year!
For the first time in a bunch of years, the kids and I were able to go to York Beach for a few days for Dad’s birthday. We had fun at the beach and pool and spent time with family. And once again, took special pictures for the occasion (which was harder since Emilee is 3).
Bren is getting ready for high school. He came home practically floating and saying how excited he is. He is very ready to be back in person and start the next chapter of school. This summer he participated in the Leadership Program at the Neighborhood House again. His internship was at a senior center – not as fun as last year and with complications because of COVID (cases are climbing again). But he did enjoy time at the neighborhood house and hanging with friends.
For my birthday – second covid birthday – we had the ice cream truck come again. Jenney brought water guns, but Tracy managed to soak Jenney! Chris and I got tattoos for my birthday – mine had music notes and theater masks for the kids. Chris’ says “and so it goes”.
Also this month – I started my new job working at the Provincial House. It is a much different pace but I love staying on the campus and visiting the school when I can.
It’s a new school year! We are back to early wake ups, packing lunches, taking buses and homework! It’s been a bit of an adjustment but a good one. Best of all – no more uniforms! We are hoping for a smooth year all things considered.
In May of 2020 we were supposed to travel to Germany to see Frank Turner’s music festival. This year it is being held in London. So with an easier job, I was able to travel with Chris (and Maureen) for a long weekend in London. Lots of covid tests and mask wearing was necessary but we had a great time getting away for a few days. And since Chris is still marathon training – he also ran 20 miles there too!
When I finished up my role at school, one thing I asked for was to be able to present one of my favorite teachers with a special award honoring her service. Even though things are getting tricky again with covid, we were still able to have the Gala. It was great to see everyone.
Chris is not the only one who has been training for a marathon – Jenney has as well! Jenney ran the Boston Marathon! We had a great time going to the route to see her and watching her accomplish a goal that she set for herself.
I had an opportunity to hang out with friends this month too – we went ax throwing! It was so fun to try something new and hang out with friends!
Emilee turned 4! She had a costume party with her friends. Aidan and Brendan were such great sports and had their own costumes- Frog and Toad from the Arnold Lobel books. Bren’s school costume was from Mean Girls.
It’s Marathon time! Chris flew out to California early for a work project and then drove the Pacific Coast Highway to LA. I flew out and met him there. We stayed close to the finish line. Matt met us to pick up Chris’ number and then they went together to the start line. Chris did an awesome job! We are all so proud of him!! And then the next day he signed up for the lottery for another marathon!!
Booster shots have started – Chris and I were both able to schedule ours. New variants are being discovered and this virus is not over.
I was finally able to take Emilee out for her birthday. And she saw Santa! Tracy wasn’t so happy Emi wasn’t dressed up but it was a very cute picture!
We had a pretty typical Thanksgiving for which I realize how lucky we are. Traveling is still difficult for many people. We continued our night before Thanksgiving tradition of mailing out our Christmas cards! And then the weekend after Thanksgiving we decorated to get ready for my favorite time of the year!
Aidan has been enjoying playing all his instruments and is using his talents in a new way – by playing at 4th Church’s kids show. Ironically the show is Newsies – his first show there!
Bren was back on stage at Wheelock – in an Edgar Allen Poe show. It was really great show and it was awesome to see Bren back on stage!
This year’s Christmas card was inspired by Love Actually. We had signs in the doorway and Chris titled the card. We had Christmas clothes, glasses and hats. We had a lot of fun!
We had a family day at the Enchanted Village – its so great to get back to old traditions that we really missed last year.
We are back to an in person Christmas pageant – and Emilee gets to be an angel! She’s waited a whole year – watching the video all the time – for this!
Unfortunately Aidan’s concert was not in person. It was recorded and we were able to watch later. Aidan was in all six bands playing the trombone and had a piano solo in Dues band. It was very cool to watch.
Christmas Eve and Day were very fun – Bren got a Dunkin’ onesie, Aidan got a banjo. We loved the surprises!