2019: A year in review

31 December 2019

Here we are at the end of another year — another decade! As always, there have been ups and downs in 2019, moments I wish I could live in forever and things I’m more than eager to leave behind. When you have children, the span of a year brings such dramatic change (see: little bald Shep just sitting up to the big boy we have now!). I find it necessary to pause periodically and soak it in, and so here we are.

These posts are such a treat for me to write, and always some of my favorites to look back on years later. I hope you enjoy this year’s recounting: some of our favorite moments of 2019, in our lives and on the blog.

I started the year on the blog by sharing my 2019 goals. They were a bit different than my usual, and I really enjoyed the change! June turned three (and had a cute/semi-disastrous birthday party) and John and I celebrated our fourteenth dativersary.

Shep was the star of the show in February, as I shared his birth story, newborn photos, and New England-inspired nursery (complete with sweet framed picture book pages). I also shared the complexities of having family close by and the opening of the years of making magic, as well as our rainbow valentines and valentine treats. Katie surprised me with a bounty of birthday daffodils at the end of the month, a sweet sunshine-y surprise.

March is one of my favorite months in North Carolina, not because it’s the warmest but because its warmth is still unexpected after the early spring drudgery of my New England upbringing. We celebrated with a downtown Raleigh scoot (one of my favorite memories of the year) and I shared two posts that get a lot of play in our home: board games for two and our favorite way to print Instagram photos. June also tried soccer for the first time, at a field we can walk to!

There were many slow months on the blog this year, and April was one of them, but it still held a few of my favorites from 2019: tips for finding the right daycare, our experience with a neighborhood meal swap, and the tales of 10 of my favorite purchases. It was a joy to celebrate Easter as a family (and we got to show June faith in action in a very tangible way, too!), we scooted west for a zoo trip with cousins, and June had her first itty bitty dance recital!

We celebrated Shep’s baptism on Mother’s Day and Memorial Day with a flag cake, took our inaugural family bike ride, and traveled to Nashville to visit my sister Kim! I started a book hashtag and we chatted about how we read. We splashed in the neighborhood pool and had lots of picnics.

In a scary turn of events, my sister Kate was diagnosed with a brain tumor in May. She had surgery to remove it and, praise God, it was benign. After a summer of recuperation, she is pretty much back to normal and the outlook is good. This was the most serious medical issue one of my nearest and dearest has faced, and it was a surreal and jarring part of my year. (That train photo above is from one of June’s and my trips to visit her, which was a bright spot.)

June learned the joy of paper chains as we counted down to a week in the Outer Banks with John’s family, giving us lots of material to work with for Volume 4! On the blog, I shared a new insight into one of my Dad’s maxims, and answered your questions about our transition from one to two kiddos in three parts: one, two, three.

July saw us in Maine for lots of cousin giggles and early morning walks. We celebrated three of the best birthdays — John, John Shepherd, and sweet America — and I hosted my first (annual?) book swap party!

After limping through the summer with a string of 2-3-post months, I was grateful to come back swinging in August. We discussed not wearing makeup, the best books we’ve ever read, and our new mortgage plan. John and I kicked up our bike rides to three per week as our race drew ever closer; August was a very sweaty month. A highlight was celebrating Shep’s birthday at Pullen Park with dear friends and family (and the cutest animal party hats!).

We crossed the finish line of our MS race in September, though not without a few twists and turns along the way. Our seventh camping trip almost did us in (but we saw a whole new side of Shep) and I headed to the mountains for work. In honor of our seventh wedding anniversary, John and I answered your relationship questions here, here, and here. I also shared a peek at a few toy storage solutions that have been helpful for us!

Lots of highlights in October! A family trip to Asheville, a quick trip to Connecticut for a friend’s wedding, June’s first ferris wheel ride, her ice cream cone debut at Halloween, and realizing that the changes we’d made to our living room had really made a difference. On the blog, we discussed being a patron and everything we read this year in Articles Club.

Katie struck again with the most darling DIY Thanksgiving banner, our mini session photos came back (!), and we tucked in around the table to celebrate with the Terhunes and my family. I shared one of our go-to recipes (and some thoughts on trade offs) as well as six things on my November holiday checklist and my ideas for helper gifts.

Finally, we had a really wonderful December, one that was full of magic but didn’t feel stuffed. June, it must be said, is a most appreciative audience for all of my magic-making attempts, which makes the holidays a joy. I would bottle her up and keep her here forever if I could.

But alas, I cannot — and so, I stop to appreciate what is and what was. I notice the good things, do my best to facilitate more of them, and remember to thank God for every delight (and for being with us in the struggles) along the way.

I’m about to wrap up my PowerSheets and am excited to share my 2020 goals with you soon. I’m building off of what worked last year and can’t wait to dig in to them little by little over the next many months.

I know I’ve said it before, but I am SO excited for what we’ll discuss here in 2020. Thank you for being here, and for sharing so generously with me! It’s one of the delights of my life. Wishing you a healthy, happy, and abundant new year. I’ll see you soon! :)

2018 year in review
2017 year in review
2016 year in review
2015 year in review
2014 year in review
2013 year in review
2012 year in review

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December 31, 2019 9:31 am

Happy New Year Emily! Your blog is one of my absolute favorites! Excited to read along for 2020!

December 31, 2019 12:30 pm

Thank you for sharing your beautiful little world with us throughout the year! How is it that I’ve read every post of yours, but still gain new and helpful insight from clicking back through my favorites? The sign of a truly wonderful writer :) looking forward to another year of EFM!

December 31, 2019 3:05 pm

Such a thoughtful post (as always) and one filled to the brim with memories, lessons, and love. Hoping to make your 2020 wrap up post and putting THAT on my goal list, friend! Happy new year, Em!

Kelly Strawberry
January 1, 2020 12:29 pm

I think we all need a Katie in our life…simple, sweet and so thoughtful! Happy New Year!!!

January 7, 2020 1:48 am

Loved everything about your 2019 year and your blog – it brings great joy and I love checking in and catching up on all your posts! May 2020 be just fabulous, Em x