I can't believe this year is finally coming to an end. Is anyone else feeliing slightly in the Twilight Zone about this whole endeavor? When I look back over the last 12 months, it seems like I've lived entire lifetimes since January.
We started the year with a trip up to visit our best friends and be there for their daughter's baptism. Covid wasn't even really on the radar yet, we had heard about it but it was a China only ordeal at that point. Then we moved through the wildfires of Australia that devasted the country and lost a lot of the wildlife there. We thought that was the defining point of the year.
March came. Covid came with a ferocity we didn't expect or know how to manage. We all experienced some level of stay at home order or quarantine to try to save lives. Then Covid became political instead of a public health issue and everything went downhill from there. Masks became a freedom statement, and more lives lost. The U.S. leads the world in Covid related deaths because people have forgotten how to love one another. Conspiracy theories run rampant and take away from the real science and progess being made.
May brought on the biggest racial justice movement in as very long time. People finally saw the travesty our Black brothers and sisters have been dealing with for generations. Many are still dealing with these issues and we HAVE to fix that. This treatment should never have happened. There are many reparations to be made and we need to start making them as a country, as a people, as a human movement.
We went through summer like people in a haze. School hadn't even been in since March so gearing up for a new school year was rough to say the least. We came up with our family motto for the year - "Just stay alive - that would be enough" - thank you to Lin-Manuel Miranda for those inspiring words from Hamilton. Grades wouldn't be very important to us, the goal is to survive the year. Thankfully through virtual, hybrid and in person learning road bumps we have made it through the first semester.
In October we celebrated Rory's decision to be baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We were able to have less than 30 family members and close friends come and share that glorious day with her. It was a day of crazy funny stress but also so rewarding to see her take that step and be happy. Watching her start glowing as she walked towards her dad and then after getting confirmed by him as well just made my heart swell. She will never forget that day and the people we were able to share it with. I wish we could have had everyone come to celebrate but this year posed the health protocols, so maybe next year we can have a big bash to make up for it.
All 4 of us had our birthdays happen during a quarantine/stay at home order time. We are very lucky that we have such amazing family and friends that still made it special for us. Drop offs and video chats and singing videos made it better to be stuck together for so long. Andrew has been working from home since March and with no end in sight yet. So I've given up my office for him to be able to close a door to keep us loud girls out of his literal business while he works hahaha The girls have loved having him home all the time and all the extra perks of not having to wait for him to drive home. I've enjoyed having him here for the most part hahaha I think he would agree that it's awesome when it's been just the two of us here working together in the same space but it would also be fun to have our own spaces back hahaha
This year we have become closer as a family whether we wanted to or not hahaha I think this year has helped us see each other in different ways and helped us learn each other's strengths. We recently bought a new fire pit and have been trying to do one every weekend because it makes the kids so happy to just talk around the campfire and be outside watching the fire burn - and throwing all of their school papers we don't need right into it hahahaha Jade tells the funniest stories and Rory loves to dance around and tell us all about her aspirations. They are both dreamers like their mama and are mischievous like their dad.
We celebrated 10 years of marriage this December! Seems so long and yet so fast! We ate Panda for lunch to commemorate our poor newlywed stage, watched TV with the kids and then Andrew made a delicious pasta dinner for us while we watched Terminator: Dark Fate because we both wanted something mndless and unimportant to watch hahaha Normally it's Ratatouille we watch but this year we were both exhausted already so mindless violence won hahaha Happy as ever to be married to Andrew. As cliche as it may sound he really is my person. He's the one I count on and the one I know counts on me. I'm grateful that I found him and that we got over our initial teenage impressions of each other to form this amazing life we have.
This year has been trying for my faith. My faith in humanity. My faith in my church organization. My faith in many institutions I thought were correct and true. In my over 30 years of life I have not felt this heavy, disappointed, vulnerable, or misunderstood as I have this year. My faith in my Heavenly Parents and Christ is unshakable. I know They love me and are there for me whenever I need Them to be. I find peace in temple attendance and teaching/learning with others. But my trust has been broken with the contention and anger that I both feel and have been a recipient of in regards to many things this year. It's hard to "be one in Christ" when those around you call you names or say you must be this terrible thing just because you have different political beliefs than they do. Differences make the world go round, yes, but there is a trust that comes with gathering together that has been breached for me. It's going to take time and processing to build that trust up again and to heal from the many hurts/wrongs that have been thrust upon me for my beliefs/opinions.
I get strength from my Heavenly Mother as I wrestle with feelings of inequality and dismissal. I get love and understanding from Her as I wonder how on earth to teach my girls how to not be afraid of their own strengths. That they don't need to be meek always, when we've been told that is the goal of the "perfect angel mother". They can be strong, independent women and still be just as important and just as valued. I, for one, would rather be a warrior mother than an angel one. (another time another post!) I find love from my Father as I teach my girls how to love their spouses. Andrew and I are a team and no one does more than the other. Our divine roles are separate from supposed gender roles. We team teach, team gift, team give joy, team discipline, TEAMWORK. In my Elder Brother I find someone to sit in the dark with me. I know He's there because He's felt what I feel, He's experienced the betrayal, doubt, and anger I feel inside. I feel love instead of solutions. I feel acceptance rather than awkwardness. I know I'm not alone and that He's with me through it all.
I've made so many friends through the internet this year. I've also become closer with online friends I already had. It's been a weird year to say the least but I can honestly say that without my core group of online and IRL friends this year would have been even harder for me. While we can't gather in person yet, I still feel such a connection with these amazing people - people can be so good. Even when it seems like everyone is on differing sides, people can be very good. Here's hoping 2021 can include a much deserved Disneyland trip for us all and a meet up with my amazing online tribe :)
2020 has been a rough year. We can all agree on that. 2021 is hopefully the beginning of beautiful things to come and changes being made that should have always been. The light is there at the end of the tunnel, and what a crappy awful tunnel this has been. So with the good and the bad, goodbye 2020 - I won't miss you.
Year in Review
Guys, tomorrow is 2013! Where did the year go??? I mean seriously?!
It's been one heck of a year for us here in the Mills' family ;) We've had some great times, some sad times, and one huge life-changing day ;) Here, let's re-live it in pictures shall we?? Hahahaha
Can you believe I started this year looking like this:
See that tiny bump thing? Yeah that bump is now six months old! Oh so little.....
Andrew and I went to see Toy Story 3 on Ice
Andrew, Trevor, and I went to see Wicked!
I chopped my hair cuz my pregnant self couldn't handle the length/heaviness
The kids called me Rapunzel (or just Tangled actually)
My work threw me a really nice baby shower
My mom and grandma threw me another baby shower
Andrew turned 23 on June 15th
He really wanted a baby for his birthday, but he had to wait 4 more days hahahaha
June 19th at 8:01 PM, I went from this:
Aurora Rose (Rory) She was so little!!
We got a 5 generation picture with my great-grandma before she passed away this past October
I got my first sewing machine, and am still learning the ropes, but I'm getting LOADS better
My brother Nick came home from his mission in Philadelphia
I chopped my hair yet again, this time because Rory kept pulling it
I turned 24 on October 29th
It was a Halloween thing ;)
Andrew and I went on a date to see a couple movies
Celebrated Rory's first holidays
LOVE this dress!
Rory turned 6 months! Holy cow!!
Andrew and I are officially celebrating our 2 year anniversary tomorrow with a movie and dinner (thanks Mom and Dad Bowler for watching the bug!)
What a year!!! I can't wait to see what 2013 brings! ;)
Year in Retrospect
I've been thinking about this past year,
and it's been a crazy one ;)
First few weeks of being a married couple
Got my old credit card stolen
Chopped my hair off to re-grow it out
Our first married couple dinner party
Got Andrew through this crazy year of school
Trying to make our apartments look like home
Learning to be crafty-ish
Went on two trips to Disneyland - one with my family and one with just my mom
Lost an angel
Got our callings as Sunbeam teachers ;)
Having random late night nice dinners
My Disney Store closed
Got our pictures taken thanks to Perla
Got hooked on Pinterest
Saw the end of an era with Harry Potter 7 part 2
Celebrated our birthdays
Found out we're going to have a baby!
Going together to the OBGYN for our baby appointments
Spent our first Thanksgiving together as a married couple
And now our second Christmas as a married couple
Here you will find love, magic, bookworm favorites, Disney tips, and a family on their journey to Happy Ever After!