Friday, January 10, 2020

Five on Friday - An Ode to 2019

2019 was a roller coaster.  It started out great, went waaaayyyy downhill very early on, and fluctuated between high highs and low lows for the last few months, and then ended on yet another low note.  It was exhausting.  I recap the good and the bad for each year here on the blog, and as always, I’m going to start with the bad so we can end on the good note.  :o)

The Bad…

It was the year that my Nana (daddy’s mom) began to decline rapidly.  She went totally blind, moved into a nursing home, and dementia stole most of her waking moments from her for the rest of the year.  It broke my heart to see her that way, and it broke my heart even more for my sweet Daddy who cared for her day in and day out. 

It was the year that my Papa John (Nana’s companion of 25+ years and basically my grandfather even though not technically by marriage) had a stroke and had to be moved to an assisted living facility where he passed away a couple months later. 

It was the year that we went through a very tough situation with someone who we love dearly.  I didn’t talk about it on the blog for the privacy of others, but it was the main event that rocked my world and sent my anxiety into a tailspin. 

It was the year that a massive tornado ripped through our city, hitting just 1/2 mile from our home.  Fortunately it was on the ground so long that we had just enough time to grab the bare necessities and get out and drive to my parents’ house.  My brother called and told us it was heading straight for our house and to GET OUT.  We drove in the pouring rain and thunder and lightning while the tornado sirens were going off and it was the scariest drive of my entire life.  Thankfully, it missed our house, but it left a massive path of destruction for 30+ miles, hitting just down the street from us.  2019 could have been so much worse for us, but fortunately we were spared.  Unfortunately, it resulted in some PTSD for me and was the cause of much of my anxiety for the rest of the year.  Every time we had severe weather here (which is fairly often since we live in the south), my anxiety went through the roof, but I’m learning to manage it now.

It was the year that Brian sprained his ankle while playing tennis.  Fortunately, it didn’t require surgery or anything like that, but it happened right in the midst of all of the other crap and it just added to our beating this year.  When it rains it pours, right?

It was the year that my Daddy’s cousin passed away from brain cancer.

It was the year that I thought I was having a heart attack and had to be taken to the hospital via ambulance.  I spent the next 24 hours there being poked and prodded and tested and they never found anything.  The verdict was that I had an esophageal spasm, but there’s no way that we’ll ever know for sure.  Some doctors are now speculating that it was a panic attack although they specifically checked for that when it was occurring and they didn’t think it was the case.  It was one of the scariest moments of my whole life, though, and it set me up for a doozy of a rest of the year. 

It was the year that I thought my allergies/reflux/asthma flared to an all-time high.  We’re talking daily issues for THE ENTIRE YEAR.  I only recently discovered that what’s been plaguing me all year is likely anxiety due to the crappy first couple of months we had.  According to my testing, my allergies and asthma are very well managed and it’s looking like I never even had reflux at all…

It was the year that the snakes were out in full-force in our yard/neighborhood.  Yes, I know this sounds ridiculous and minor compared to everything else, but again, even minor things = scary when you’re already suffering from anxiety.  After finding a four-footer in our back yard + another one a few days later I was DONE.  Not to mention lots of our neighbors posted loads of pictures of rattle snakes and copperheads and other snakes that they’d seen in their back yards on our neighborhood Facebook page all year.  It made me terrified to even let the kids and Maui go outside.  I hate snakes, y’all.  HATE them.     

It was the year that Brian’s longtime employer was acquired by a larger company and we were worried about him losing his job.  His company is very large but it’s homegrown right here in our hometown, so to say we were blindsided and shocked is a huge understatement.  We are praying that B’s job is safe, but with buy-outs you just never know, and it’s something that we may have to worry about from here on out as they’ve had ongoing “restructuring” AKA downsizing since the merger. 

It was the year that one of Brian’s tennis teammates was killed in a car accident due to some nasty weather on the way to their state tournament… the same tournament B was supposed to attend.  She has two kids at our school and we’re just so heart-broken for them.  I’m just so thankful that B had waited to go until the next day.  It ended up getting canceled (as you can probably imagine) so he never left the house.

It was the year that Jacob got a stomach virus on the first day of school and he missed his first day of school ever.  (Minor, but so fitting for this year.)

It was the year that my parents had to put their dog of 11 years down.

It was the year that Olivia got the stomach virus.  (Again, minor in the scheme of things, but ugggghhhh.  The stomach virus gives me so much anxiety.  And we have been lucky in that our kiddos don’t really get it very often or very severely, knock on wood.)

It was the year that I spent the entire month of December sick as a dog – three of the weeks with a terrible cold that would NOT go away and one of the weeks with some weird stomach virus that caused me to feel awful – nausea, stomachaches, fatigue, and zero appetite for eight whole days.  I didn’t let it hold me back from attending all of the fun events during the week, but feeling that bad sure did put a damper on my favorite time of year.

And finally, it was the year that my Nana decided to leave this world… on Christmas Eve.


Y’all.  2019 was tough.  But I also know that it could have been so much worse, and we are grateful to have made it through healthy and strong (-ish… I gotta finish kicking this anxiety first) and pointed in the right direction to make 2020 an even better year!

Now that the bad things are out of the way, please, please let’s move on to all of the good things!

The Good…

It was the year that we celebrated Brian’s 41st birthday.

It was the year that we celebrated our jolly gal’s 5th birthday! 

It was the year that I celebrated four years of blogging!

It was the year that I celebrated my 37th birthday!

It was the year that Olivia danced in her first ballet recital... and I learned how to do a perfect ballet bun.  ;o)

It was the year that Olivia graduated from Pre-K4!

It was my second summer home with the kids and we had another great one together!

Week 2 (see beach recaps below)

It was the year that we celebrated Jacob’s eighth birthday.

It was the year that Jacob played in his first baseball season ever and their team TOOK HOME THE CHAMPIONSHIP!!!!  Not too shabby for a first season!

It was the year that we hosted some of B's family whom I'd never met and we got to spend some quality time with them and get to know them better.

It was the year that B and I celebrated our TWELFTH wedding anniversary.  Holy moly, where did the last decade go?

It was the year that we took an extended beach trip to our favorite place, 30A!  And it was one of my favorite trips there to date!

It was the year that we tried out a new mountain house in Blueridge, GA for fall break and went on some new adventures!

It was the year that we went on several day trips and weekend getaways.

It was the year that we went to 5 concerts and we collectively had some of the best seats we’ve ever had!

It was the year that we went to two Georgia games, one with friends and one as a family of four!

It was the year that B and I went on 12 dates yet again!  We always try to average one per month and we did it yet again for the third year in a row!

It was another year of wonderful holiday celebrations.

It was the year that I volunteered more than ever at the kids’ school and I’m just so thankful that I have the opportunity to do this now.  I wrapped up my first year as a room mom for Jacob’s second grade class and I started my second year as a room mom for his third grade class.  I also joined the Home and School Association for the current school year and I completed my second year on the fall carnival committee. 

It was the year that we connected with new friends at the school and I joined a bible study group with a terrific group of ladies.  I was also able to spend lots of quality time with my mom and cousins and girlfriends and the kids got to spend time with their friends as well. 

It was the year that I experienced the least amount of physical pain since Jacob’s birth.  I’ve had chronic back/pelvic issues from a traumatic birthing experience, and by the urging of my wonderful, amazing, angel of a physical therapist, I had injections to my SI joints in January of 2019 and have been virtually pain-free most days since then.  I never in a million years thought I would ever be this comfortable in my body again and I’m SO SO thankful to have found these wonderful ladies.  I am now free of physical therapy and other treatments for the first time in EIGHT YEARS and my injections have lasted longer than the average ones do… I’m praying they continue to keep me feeling great!

It was the year I shared a couple of new recipes with you here on the blog.

It was the year that I shared some fun organizing tips and DIY projects with you.

It was the year that I declared that I was going to get things DONE and, boy, did I ever!  We had our kitchen cabinets and entertainment center painted white, we upgraded Olivia to a big girl bedroom, we upgraded our bedding in our master bedroom, and I cleaned out and decorated every inch of our house to perfection.  I also whittled my massive Master To-Do List down by more than half, and I accomplished so many goals.  More on this soon when I share my 2019 New Year’s Goals recap next week.  ;o)

It was the year that I had yet another blog post go viral on Pinterest and that has been wonderful!  More on that below...

It was the year that I doubled my income from the previous year and made more money than I ever have on the blog!  I’m still a ways away from replacing my corporate salary, but I’m pleased that the income is on an upward trend. 

It was the year that I worked with brands like Sam’s Club, Candytopia, Shutterfly, and so many more. 

And since this is technically a Five on Friday post, I’ll leave you with my top five most viewed posts that were written in 2019…

The majority of my posts get near 2K views, so there were probably 200 posts that were vying for the #5 spot, but this was the one that made the cut for 5th place at 1,935 views.

This post is at 4th place with 2,048 pageviews.  I have a feeling this one was popular because Amazon Prime Day was in July and everyone wanted to see what we purchased from the sale.  :o)

This post is currently in 3rd place at 2,344 views and still growing (slowly).  If you missed out on something you wanted really badly in the NSale this past year, check out this post… you may just find something similar!

This post was the follow-up to my How to Organize All of Your Child’s School Papers in Just One Box.  That post is now my all-time most viewed post with 252,847 views.  This post came in 2nd place for the year at 2,517 views.  I had hoped that it would take off on Pinterest and go viral, but no such luck yet!

And finally, this post was my most popular post written in 2019 by a landslide.  It is currently in 1st place with 55,384 views and growing daily.  This post is SUPER informative and I give very specific details of the daily, weekly, monthly, and master lists I keep, tasks that are on said lists, and how I use those lists in my every day life.  I’m still using this exact method and it’s still working just as well over a year later!

So the verdict for posts written in 2019 – I had one new post go viral in 2019 to add to the other ten or so from previous years that are still viral and generating the majority of my website traffic!

And just for kicks, my Top 9 most liked Instagram posts of 2019...

Apparently y'all like colorful, rainbow-y stuff as much as I do!

And finally some funnies.  Because it wouldn't be a Five on Friday post without them!  

Why oh why did they not make this happen?!

I swear this is true...

He definitely has my vote.

I do love a man in a suit.
We're gonna need a bigger garden.

I’ll be posting more on blog stats next week in my 2019 New Year’s Goals Recap so be sure to come back if you like that sort of thing! 

Okay, BYEEEE, 2019!! 

Heeeey, 2020!  How you doin’?

*Linking up with A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favoriteand Della Devoted for High Five for Friday.


  1. It really has been a year for you all! I feel like there is so much to say, but I am pretty sure we have already talked about it all, or will, haha. I will say am loving that last quote about making the tears from 2019 water the seeds for 2020. Cheers to that!

    My birthday is on Friday the 13th this year and I don't know if it is going to be lit, but I am pretty excited about it, haha! Also, SAME with 1980 being 20 years ago. How is it not?!

  2. I’m so thankful 2019 is behind us. Cheers to fresh, new pages, places and memories.

  3. Wow, 2019 was a year for you all - I am so sorry for the deaths and sadness it brought. So many wonderful memories were also made though! Life sure is a ride! Here's to 2020!

  4. WOW! What a year. Sorry for the loss of your loved ones. Prayers that 2020 will bring lots of happiness! And the Time Person of the Year - It's my favorite. That cat makes me laugh so much.

  5. 2019 wasn't a very good year when you look at all the sad and hard things that happened. I'm glad you found a lot of good too though. We may be starting with some of that bad luck - Zachary has a stomach virus right now. :( Also, I totally agree that 1980 was 20 years ago. I mean, really, I'm 41?

  6. A year with losses is never easy, but so many wonderful moments for you and your sweet family too! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  7. I'm so sorry there were some really tough moments for you throughout the year but I am so glad to also see the great milestone moments and family memories you created. I'm hoping 2020 is extra good to you all!

  8. With every sun, some rain must fall....
    Love how you did this post - it is good to finish up with the good though. Know its always there or coming back.
    FYI - we have spent MANYYYYY a trip to the ER because my hubby has had panic attacks that he has swore are heart attacks. Even when they tell him its that, he's still not convinced. Be your own advocate - you know your body the best. I'm sure that was horrifying for you.

  9. I just couldn't believe how the "bad" part of this post just kept going on and on. It was tough year for y'all!!! I think a lot of folks feel the same way, and many are ready to move on to the new year. I'm glad you also had lots of good parts of the year too. Way to go on the viral posts! I'm going to start pinning more to spread the word about your awesome blog. :)

  10. I still can't believe how much bad you guys had this year. I hope 2020 is a healthier, happier and a lot less death this year. I am sending you and your family lots of positive thoughts and you guys are in my prayers.


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