My 2020 in 20 Photos

by Michael

So I’ve seen a few different people with ‘2020 in 20 photos’ posts and was inspired to join in on the fun.  I won’t sit here and admit how long I’ve scrolled through my Google Photos for this year.  The year itself has felt like a decade, but through all the chaos it has had some great moments, and it’s crazy the things I had forgotten already. (Again, it has felt like a decade!)

Scrolling through all my photos, I admit I cried, I smiled, I scrolled past photos quickly so I wouldn’t cry again. When I started, I thought it would be a task to pull out 20 meaningful photos, but in the end, it was harder to cut it down to just this 20.  It was fun reliving things though.  I’d recommend it, and likely will duplicate this next year.

drumroll

Now, onto the photos!!

1. Fighting off the inevitable

 

My 2020 started off with physical therapy and hooked up to a traction machine to help relieve pain and pressure from a few herniated discs and degenerative disc disease.  I’ve been trying to stay ahead of this and avoid any type of back surgery for easily the last 15+ years.  This year was the closest I’ve come to having to go under the knife, and the year started off with me thinking I might have to accept my fate by the end of it.  Thankfully after a few weeks of visiting this machine, along with physical therapy and stretching, I’ve gotten by for another year.  I’ve managed to reach 40 without surgery, can I put it off until 50?!

2. The Dead South

 

We’re fans of the Saskatchewan folk-bluegrass band The Dead South.  This was our second time seeing them together and was the only concert we were able to see in 2020.  After a great concert, unable to get into our Airbnb, and having a midnight breakfast at Denny’s we just decided to drive home.  We didn’t get into bad until after 3:30 am that night. This really was just another one of our random adventures that we ended up finding ourselves in, but in the end, we got to sleep in our bed, and saw one hell of a show!

3. Waterfall Hiking

 

Speaking of adventures; with everything that we on during the year, we only managed to get in 1 hike and waterfall visit in 2020. Thankfully the one we managed was special as it was a new waterfall that we searched out hiking through the woods for as a group of 3.  Before it’s always been just my wife and me, or her and her Dad that went waterfalling. This was the first waterfall we’ve all hike to together. So 2020 included an adventure with my (as of yet at this point) father-in-law.

4. A Birthday Trumpet

 

To celebrate Jenna’s birthday, we went up to her parents where one of her siblings dug out this trumpet, which then lead to hours(!) of bad trumpet playing and hysterical laughter as Jenna and all her sisters attempted to play.  (If I close my eyes I can still hear the cringing trumpeting that sounded like the death bellows of a dying moose).  If I never see this metal menace again, I won’t be upset.

5. Farming Adventures

 

This was a gorgeous Saturday afternoon and we felt froggy, so we went up to my Dad’s farm and walked around the fields and nearby woods for a few hours, just checking out the area.  Penny was worn out by the end of it, but she soaked up all the air and sun while she never took her eye off the cows. (her true and lifelong nemesis)

 

6. Gym Time (one last time)

 

Back in the days when my old gym was open and I was getting back into things after getting through my physical therapy. I had started feeling better and decided to start pushing myself to get into hella-shape before my 40th birthday.  Well, COVID proved to have other plans and this was a gym selfie I managed to take on the last day I would be able to step foot into this gym, back the first week of March.

 

7. Marriage License

 

We felt like we could see the writing on the wall with how the pandemic was ramping up, and we knew we wanted to be married.  So what do you do when you’re getting married?  You go out and get yourself a marriage license!  Going with an unintentional theme here, but the day we took this was the last day that our county clerk’s office would be open without an appointment for the next few months.

 

8. Never Again!

 

So I’ve been shaving my head for the past few years.  I started before Jenna and I ever started dating.  Well with work grounding me and not letting us out to visit offices, I was just sitting at home, not being seen by anyone but on a random Zoom or WebEx call.  So I got curious and quit shaving my head for a few weeks.  I think I went about 3 weeks before I couldn’t take it anymore.  After seeing what I look like when I don’t shave my head, I’m pretty sure I need to just invest in Harry’s Razors stock because I’m never letting it look like this again! (The beard, however?  We’ll see)

 

9. Marriage Time

 

Yeah, we managed to get married in the middle of the pandemic. Thankfully when two of your favorite people happen to be ordained and a wedding photographer, throwing together a quick socially distant, drive-in wedding with just immediate family becomes a possibility!  I can never thank these two gentlemen enough for agreeing to help us out on our day. In a continued pattern of perfect timing, we managed to get our wedding in on the same day our Governor set a mandate of gathering sizes of no more than 10.  While our parents and siblings all sat in their cars while we went through the quickest ceremony ever (under 5 minutes!) it was still the perfect wedding for us!

 

10. Gaining Co-workers

 

Working from home during summer break means working from home with the kids, something I hadn’t faced during the first few months of the pandemic. If getting accustomed to working from home was a challenge, getting accustomed to working from home with the kids once I had my routine set, was a whole other beast.  I couldn’t help but love it though, especially moments like this when Abby would come and just draw while she was hanging out with me.

 

11. Local Entertainment

 

Speaking of working from home, living so close to the woods meant there were plenty of days where the local entertainment of birds or the cat playing with a chipmunk were the highlights of the afternoon.  Here is Penny keeping an eye on a chipmunk that had found its way onto the porch and was hiding out under the push mover that was sitting there as it waited for a part to be delivered.  This was about the time she started doing this grunt growl noise that sounds like someone trying to do a bad Chewbacca impression.  If you look at the window you can also see all her nose and slobber prints we were constantly having to clean off.  Having that huge window in the living room was nice at times, and essentially gave Penny a giant big-screen TV.

 

12. It’s Yoga Time

 

So working from home and not being able to get to the gym really took a toll on me, not only physically but mentally.  It took me a few months to find the motivation to really do anything.  My back was starting to bother me again, and one of the things the physical therapist had stressed was stretching, which I hadn’t been doing.  So I decided to try and tackle Yoga, doing a little bit during the day while it was just me.  I originally started it simply as a way to stretch and hope to relieve some of the pain in my back.  What happened was I ended up loving it and doing it daily (until life got extra busy!).  I miss it and plan on getting back to it once I have a space set up here in the new house. When I do get back to it, I’m sure I’ll have this same look of “this is going to kick my ass” that I had the first day I attempted it.

 

13. It’s Not THAT Funny!

 

So similar to not ever seeing me with hair on my head, Jenna had never seen me clean-shaven. Honestly, I couldn’t even remember the last time I was clean-shaven before this.  So, after being at home for months, boredom finally set in and despite having a glorious beard, I decided I was going to shave everything off!  Such an occasion required documentation, which I’ve shared in the past, but her look of pure uncontainable laughter was easily worth the time and effort.  Plus I learned a valuable lesson, similar to what I learned with I let my hair grow out: never again!

 

14. Taking Care of Seymour

 

Seymour is a unique and special philodendron.  Not only is he a houseplant that Jenna has managed to not kill yet, but he’s also a houseplant that doesn’t know when to stop growing!  When Jenna first bought this plant from a guy, it was only about half the size it was in this photo.  We had it draped over a doorway, and on this evening, we decided the plant needed some tending to.  Reinforcing it and tying it up stronger, we eventually braided the longer vines together to look like something Tarzan might try to swing on.  Now, Seymour is near twice this size, in a larger pot and we can only hope and pray he never decides to eat one of the pets or us.

 

15. The First Shaving

 

I wrote about this previously too, but this is easily one of my personal highlights of the year. This is one of those father-son moments I never thought I’d have the opportunity to have with Canaan. After catching a glimpse of a few of the wild hairs he had on his face, along with his peach-fuzzed baby boy mustache, I knew it was time.  He probably hasn’t thought twice about this moment, but it’s one of those unique and rare moments between us that I’ll forever cherish and hold onto.

16. Baby Surprise!

 

So this is what it looks like when your wife surprises you, while you’re in the middle of mowing the yard, that you’re going to be having a baby.  Excited, goofy laughter while you try your best to not ugly cry while she’s snapping photos.  There are times where it still doesn’t feel completely real.

17. Yoga-ing Pt. 2

 

I told you I was doing yoga nearly every day there for a while!  I’ve never been a very flexible person, going all the way back to football and track in high school.  So when I was able to get down into this pose in one of the DDP Yoga workouts, I considered it a true accomplishment.  At this point, I was feeling good, and getting that rush from working out.  If I had the time, I was doing an hour to an hour and a half of yoga a day at this point.  Was looking into getting a better yoga mat and was really planning on upping my game.  That is, until…

18. Tiny Kitchen

 

We knew that the house we were currently renting wasn’t going to be big enough for us once the baby boy was here. We knew we needed to try to find a bigger place and move sooner rather than later.  We were given an opportunity we couldn’t pass up, despite having some real reservations.  One of those being this tiny kitchen, which has proven to be the bane of my existence for the past few months as I try to update it and remodel it as cheaply as I can.  This is the first day we were walking through and I grabbed a photo. At the time, I had no clue how much time I would be putting into this home.  Painting and updating cabinets and replacing light fixtures and on and on. I knew we were in a time crunch with Jenna being pregnant, so when I wasn’t working the day job, I was working on the house, not getting it “move-in ready” but getting it “move-in acceptable”.  We’ve managed to move in, and I still have a to-do list a mile long, but the lack of making time to work out (with the exception of a few recent gym visits) has taken a bit of a toll on me.

 

19. If I sits, I fits

 

Oh, how I miss him!  This is the last picture I took of Marv being Marv before he started getting sick.  It’s still hard for me to even look at photos of him.  He was the main reason I’d quickly scroll through my photos at times while I was looking through everything.  He was an awesome cat, and I legit miss him every day.  He would have loved having this bigger house to run through, with the stairs to climb and places to hide.  He only ever knew one home though, and I do find peace in that.  He was never stressed and was also relaxed because he was at home.  Still miss him like crazy though.

 

20. Snow-Pei

 

Now living in town and away from the woods means there are a few visuals we no longer get to enjoy, like the beauty when the snow is sitting on the trees.  So I wasn’t upset that we were able to have one last quick snow at the old house on the first day of December, just a few weeks before we officially turned over the keys.  While the house we’re now is bigger and is in better shape than the one we were renting, I do miss it.  I miss being in the woods and away from the sounds of main roads and neighbors. I can’t help it, I enjoy my privacy!

It’s crazy to think what this time next year will be like.  What life will be like then compared to now?  2020 has been a crazy unique year, and while different, has had a ton of great moments to shine through all the chaos.  Here’s to 2021 and the adventures and moments to continue!

 

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