Highlights of 2020

 Hi y'all and Happy New Year!!!

I promise my blog isn't only a "highlights of the year" blog, since all I've posted the last few years is just that....... I have a bunch of different post ideas and one of my goals for this year is to post something once a month 🥴 Maybe I should start with once a quarter, at least then I can have some small wins. Gotta start somewhere!

I've had this blog since the start of my online journey and to some degree, it feels like a very public diary. So sorry blog and blog readers for not being as diligent here. But New Year, new opportunity to get back on track.

I'm trying to think what will be meaningful for me to read about in 5 years, to summarize 2020. Obviously, 2020 was a rough year - for the entire globe and I am grateful that parts of my life were "unaffected" by the pandemic. I kept my job but was constantly on edge that I would lose it. I recognize that a large part of my self-worth, I put into work and whether I feel I'm doing well at it or not. A lot of the time, I feel like I could have done something more, I could have performed better, etc. 

But this year, I had to be more gentle with myself and acknowledge that 2020 was a year of craziness, of unprecedented times (hehe). Perhaps I was performing at the best I could give, given the situations, the lack of resources, the need to be agile, my personal life, not being around many people other than Mike and Juicy, etc. 

If you've been following along my journey on YouTube or Instagram, you'll know some of the personal life challenges from this year. In a nutshell, my stepdad lost both of his siblings to COVID this year. My papa and stepmom got COVID but luckily they both have recovered, although it is very scary when family has to be hospitalized. We aren't able to visit them in hospital so it's a very stressful time.

Also, this past year, Juicy's health has taken a small dip. Her tracheal collapse got worse earlier this year so she now takes cough medicine regularly and we have a little homemade oxygen bed to help her through her tougher episodes (much cheaper than rushing to the ER, which I did many times in the beginning). She also has lost most of her eyesight so needs more help getting around. It's been challenging but the silver lining is that it happened once I started working from home, so I am grateful to be here with her. Who knows if it was happening before but since I'm home with her, I see it much more. More on this topic later in the highlights.

Even through the tough times, there have been highlights of the year and those are the ones I'd like to remember most. Life will always have tougher moments but they make the good moments more meaningful.

Our Only Trip in 2020

Orlando for Mike's annual work banquet. Crazy to think that 2021 we won't be having one.

Embracing a Lower Maintenance Routine

I went back to brunette-ish, I got caramel balayage vs my normal blonde. Also I've been loving the natural lash life and have put much more into my skincare routine since I hardly ever wear makeup (wfh life)

Updates to the House

Since I started working from home in March, making progress around my house has been so fun. But certain rooms that I was originally prioritizing (my dressing room) were put on the back burner in lieu of setting up my office and home gym. We did make some progress in the dressing room but honestly I haven't unpacked any boxes 🥴 I've literally been reaching for a handful of clothes so now I'm thinking..... do I really need all my other clothes? One of my goals in 2021 is to edit down my clothing, I even bought The Home Edit's books to help me part ways with things. I hold a lot of sentimental value in things and that's something I'm trying to work on.

Finally made some progress on our entryway. I just need to find the right lighting. I also found a great runner (not pictured).

Before and after of my office. My office was pretty cluttered at the beginning of 2020 but since I'm in there all day every day now, I needed the space to be organized and nice to look at. While it's not fully done just yet. At the beginning of this month, we added a gallery wall above the credenza. I need to find a light to replace my builder grade n*pple one, I have just such a hard time deciding on what I want. It has to just jump out and speak to me like my dressing room chandelier did.

Progress photos of my dressing room. We added hanging space and shoe shelves to the other side of the room. I saw this chandelier and immediately fell in love. However, I had Mike mount it a little too low 🤦🏻‍♀️ so I'm not trying to figure out how to shorten the chain without having to undo everything.

My home gym is nearly finished now. I just need to add mirrors, which has been a pain getting someone to measure and quote for EXACTLY what I want and not trying to get as much money out of me as possible grrr. Having the home gym has been my literal mental savior this past year. I've become more strong this year, which has been a goal of mine since a horrific experience traveling from Germany to Netherlands (I hate feeling helpless with lifting things). In 2020 I was able to meet my goal of military pressing 50 lbs, the same weight of my heavy a$$ luggage lol.... I learned to do compound movements like squats and deadlifts with my personal trainer (I do virtual sessions). I did have an injury to my low right back/glutes that I'm working through now. If you'd like to see my workouts, you can see on my fit journey highlights on Instagram.

Reconnecting with the hermana and fam was a huge highlight for 2020. Also, welcoming miss MJ to the world.

Made friendships at work and was probably in the best work environment I've ever had in my professional career.... pre-COVID happy hours were always a highlight.

Celebrating Another Year of Life

Our First Thanksgiving at the House
Last year we spent Thanksgiving with our NH family and I made Sullivan Stuffin muffins (basically stuffing from scratch, baked in muffin tins hehe). We had a fried turkey, honestly the best way to eat turkey. 

Christmas: Our Favorite Time of Year

Time With Juicy

Probably the biggest highlight and also my biggest struggle this year has been time with Juicy. I am so grateful to be home with her, especially now. Somehow seemingly what feels like overnight she became very dependent on me for almost everything. She's lost her eyesight completely so bumps around a lot. To help prevent that, I've gotten her a bumper for blind dogs but she still needs help getting around. More often I carry her from place to place and have to keep a close eye on her when she goes potty otherwise she somehow finds herself bumping into a rain drain. 

She started having worse tracheal collapse symptoms this year and we've started giving her cough syrup daily to help prevent the goose honking. I also have to ensure the way she lays won't irritate her trachea, like if she had her paw curled up against her neck. She still has coughs but not as terrible as her first episode in March when we woke up to her goose honking and wrenching (I took her to the ER then). We try to keep her calm and avoid things that will trigger her coughing, like her  barking (like getting a sign to not knock on our door). She's also gotten picky where she doesn't want to drink regular water... so now I make her chicken broth and use it to "flavor" her water lol. Now when she smells anything chicken being cooked, she thinks it's for her.

I've always joked about being a stay at home dog mom.... now my wish came true.... except I'm a SAH working dog mom. Juggling work while caring for her has been such a struggle. I'll be on calls and she'll have a coughing episode, most of the time I just have to help her stay calm and it passes. Other times I have to put her in her oxygen bed to help get more air..... I don't mean to complain, I am just trying to explain what reality is these days. I have good days of feeling like I can juggle it all and other days I feel so down on myself and a stressed out mess...... y'allllll! If this is a glimpse of what it's like having human babies....... how do y'all do it?! I'm in awe of moms who can keep their sh*t together. As I'm writing this I've had a hard morning of trying to accomplish things I've been wanting to accomplish but only being able to do it in 30 minute intervals. I'm learning to adjust to the start stop start stop.... I don't feel like I have good focus time these days and I've been struggling to adjust myself to it. UGHHHHH

But despite everything, I keep reminding myself that she's still here. And what's most important is family and life, all the other stuff I want to get done are low priority in comparison. There is so much that I love about her and I'm so grateful for this time with her, even when it's been hard. When her tracheal collapse symptoms were at their worst, I was so scared of losing her and I'm so grateful that she's still here. She just needs some extra TLC. I love that when we wake up early together, she'll eat her breakfast and we'll take a little nap before her insulin. She loves snuggling right up against me and even though I have all these things on my list that I want to get done, I cherish those moments before the day gets going. 

She's still my little emotional support buddy too. One day I had busted my knee working out (yup that again lol) and was having a panic attack because it was bleeding and Mike wasn't here. I was in our master bathroom and cleaning it while trying not to pass out from the sight of it.... I laid down on the tile because I legit was having a cold sweat, about to pass out moment.... and there comes Juicy, making her blind way to me, bouncing from wall to wall but she made it 😂😭 She knew I needed her and she made her way off the couch (she needs me to take her on and off now), somehow figured out where I was probably from the crazy stressed out vibes lol..... but she got to me on her own.

One funny thing she's been doing now is she'll start howling if she thinks she's alone.... even if I'm just in the home gym working out, which she didn't do until the last couple months. Talk about separation anxiety 🤦🏻‍♀️ So now I try to schedule working out during her nap time. But we're so bonded to each other, I just have to remind myself that everything else is low priority compared to her health & Mike of course :) We also love sunbathing together, her favorite hobby!

Also we finally got her another teeth cleaning, this time with a dental specialist. If you've been a long-time reader, you know she has a hard time bouncing back from anesthesia in the past. I was so scared to get it done but knew she needed it, to help prolong her life. She ended up getting 16 extractions and she had no issues with eating or diarrhea post-op. She was very uncomfortable the first 2-3 days but her extraction sites healed well. We did some antibiotics and Cerenia for 2 weeks before her procedure so think that helped her not have complications from anesthesia, I am so grateful!! She did get her top front teeth extracted so we don't see her special smile anymore.... but now it's a bit more of a gummy smile hehe

Anyways, I just wanted to remind myself of these times.... yes it's been hard but the silver lining is all the memories I get to make with her. In 2021, I am striving to be more chill, to go with the flow and if I can't get certain things done, then letting it go with no negative feelings because there's more important things.

Thank you for listening to me vent - at the end of the day I'll do anything for my family. I just need to work on how I deal with the emotions internally. I hope you achieve all that you want to in 2021!

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