Taking in Life Around Me 2022..... #Sundaystills....theme: 2021 in your rearview mirror

This #sundaystills challenge is hosted by Terrie from Second Wind LeisureI've also been loving visiting the blogs of the other participants and being inspired by their interpretations of the theme.

I'm excited for this new year and all that it will entail. I really want to get out and photograph more. This weeks theme for #sundaystills is "2021 in your rear-view mirror"

What a year it was. Full of joy, heartbreak, loss, gains. Things I did, things I didn't do, things I wish I'd done. But all that is behind us and we get a new year to start over. I'm looking forward to it. As I reflect back on 2021 the photos I share are more for the reflection rather than great photos...haha. Some I didn't even take, but they speak to me about the year. 


In January we celebrated a virtual baby shower for my oldest daughter. She was living in Texas and due in February. We decorated, I planned some games and then they FB lived the shower from Texas. It was so fun.
In 2020, I joined an online class put on by my naturapath where we grew Calendula flowers with the purpose of making our own calendula salve. You can read about it here and at the beginning of 2021 I made my first batch. It was so fun. It was also fun to play with taking photos of the process. I had bought a few flat lays because I've been wanting to play with food photography more (redo some of my recipes), etc. Unfortunately I didn't do this as much as I would've liked. I hope to do more this year, to be more intentional and put in the effort. Last year I had the idea of perhaps adding to my VA portfolio of offering to re-create and photographing blog recipes. Maybe I'll still do that or maybe I'll do it just for myself.  
Since 2020 I'd been playing with making sourdough. This was my first cinnamon raisin sourdough loaf. I was happy with the results. 


February found us under about a foot of snow. Thankfully it didn't interfere too much with work as it happened over the weekend and by Monday we were back to normal. Sadly I could only enjoy looking at it since I threw my back out and moving around wasn't easy. It was so beautiful. 

February was the month we welcomed our granddaughter Pepper. Her brother was (and still is) quite smitten with her. They had a crazy February because in Texas they got hit with some serious and had to move in with family for almost a week. 


March found us in Texas for the second time (we visiting in November 2020) to visit and meet miss Pepper. Such an enjoyable trip. My second visit to Magnolia, and just an all around great time. We missed our little buddy so much! 
We took a day trip to celebrate our youngest daughter's 22nd birthday! 


April found me on a 24 hour quick trip to Texas. The kids were moving back and I flew there to fly back with my daughter and the two kids while her hubby drove the U-haul back. 

They both did so good. Pepper was only 2 months at the time and Indy (2 1/2) was such a trooper. 


I again played with some food photography. Mostly to try and update my own recipes on the blog. I just realized I took photos and never updated the blog...haha! Story of my life. 

I tried to really take time to pause, rest, not feel like I had to do anything so I spent some time in the hammock reading. We had a few warm days and that was nice. 


I looked back on this photo and am amazed at where we are now compared to when I took this photo in June. Wow. Making great headway on finishing our house. 
I tried to be intentional when I could about going out and taking some photos. This area of farmland in our town is called "The Bottoms" it runs along the Columbia and Lewis rivers. The wheat or whatever this is, is always so pretty! Especially as the sun starts to set. 


July was celebratory and heart breaking. It would bring new perspective, and a journey of processing loss, of life and broken relationship. It would start a time of healing, of trying to process and understand (I'm not totally there yet). We celebrated my grandson turning 3 and the following week, I lost my dad somewhat unexpectedly. His health hadn't been good, but I hadn't been expecting this. While I didn't get to see him often, we talked almost daily. I will miss those times immensely. 

I didn't have any pictures of my dad from 2021, but this was one in 2020 and he was looking good here. He loved face timing Indy (his first great grandson) and hearing of all his antics.

Celebrated Indiana's 3rd birthday..All things motorcycles and Dinosaurs! I highly recommend grandchildren, they're so much fun. 

August took to us on a few trips we had planned earlier in the year. The first was a trip to Orcas Island in the San Juans, just my hubby and I, about 1 week after. my dad passed away. It was a relaxing time, no agenda, I spent some time on the deck enjoying the view, reading, pondering, writing my dads obituary. I needed this time. 

We ate simply....watched movies, hiked, did some sight seeing, read. Just chilled. 
In the 40ish years that I've lived in Washington, I had never (but always wanted to) visit the San Juan Islands so this was a real treat. We stayed in a cute airbnb that had a beautiful view. It did rain a bit but we still enjoyed it, and hopped over to Friday Harbor as well. I'll be back. 
My dad always liked oysters and often talked about how when he was in the service, and stationed in Florida he and his buddies would go get a bucket and sit and eat them. I DO NOT like Oysters, but we happened upon an oyster farm and the food there was highly recommended so I decided in honor of him I'd order and eat some oysters. I managed 3 and they weren't entirely unpleasant but I don't think I'll eat them again anytime soon. 

We also took a 4 day trip to Sunriver with friends. Another relaxing time spent reading, bike riding, playing games, spending time outside. 

Having my family and grandkids has proven to be so good for navigating grief. In September we headed to a little dirt track near our daughter's home and watched Indy ride his Stacyc bike. He cruises on this thing. He knows so many of the motocross racers and I just love it. He kept telling me "I'm Barcia"...haha. 

We continued making progress on the house. In September we finalized our granite countertops for our addition. If you're interested in that journey you can look back on my Weekend Coffee Share posts, as that's where I've shown what's happening. I've also done some IG videos. 


October found us in Sunriver again on a family vacation. It was supposed to be all of us, but my daughter had just gotten back from there on a leaders retreat and her kiddos were sick so she stayed home. The rest of us went but my hubby was sick while we were there...we did what we could, when we could, but also spent a lot of time just chilling out, or he stayed home and the rest of us explored. 
October also meant working at the pumpkin patch my son in laws family owns on the weekends, so my month was either spent at work or at the pumpkin patch (which I love helping at). My grandson loved playing in the hay maze and was playing hide and seek with me. 


November brought on a busy Thanksgiving weekend filled with taking grandson to Jurassic Quest. What an awesome exhibit. He was in heaven and loved all the life like dinosaurs and rides and bounce houses. So worth the money spent on tickets. 
We accidentally matched on Thanksgiving and he thought that was pretty "epic". One of his favorite words. 
We also trekked out to a local tree farm to find our Christmas tree. It was a mellow month. Not too much happening. 

I also spent a day shopping fun upcycle boutiques in a nearby town. 


Oops, all these photos loaded backwards and I'm too tired to fix them. 
The day after Christmas brought us snow, which is very rare...normally snow doesn't show up til January or even February. We got about 8" total at our house. It was beautiful, but I couldn't get to work for 3 days. 
We attended the Christmas Eve Service at our daughter's church and took a quick photo (missing son in law and grand daughter).
December 9th was my birthday. I worked, so I stopped at the coffee shop where my daughter and friend work and got my birthday drink and free pastry. They wrote me a sweet note. 
We also had a Friendsgiving. It was so nice gathering with friends. We ate yummy food and my hubby had each person send him some photos that highlighted their year. He put them into a video and we each shared what each photo meant to us. 

If you made it this far, thanks. I'm looking forward to a new year and being a part of  #Sundaystills.  

With Joy Unquenchable,


  1. This is a spectacular photo essay showcasing your beautiful images and wonderful family, Kirstin! You are blessed with grandchildren (still working on mine, LOL), but we seem to have so much in common! I didn't realize your birthday is 5 days after mine! Yay! You have had a wonderful year and I can see your positive, blessed attitude shining through in everything you do. Awesome job on the food photos--not that easy to do! Happy New Year and stay healthy--that winter blast is coming through our state!

    1. Awww thank you so much Terri. Maybe someday we'll get to meet in person.

  2. What a beautiful post. I like your idea of sharing something special from each month. Enjoyed all of the photos. Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you Debby. I need to get back into the swing of posting and visiting everyone.

  3. What a joyful year you have shared. I love the photo of your daughter carrying the Christmas tree. That is an experience I have never had in Florida.

    1. Thank you Suzanne! We have always had real trees but they are getting so expensive that we are thinking of getting an artificial one.

  4. Kirstin, I loved reading this post, getting to know you and your family better, and hearing all about your year. You had a full year of wonderful experiences along with your huge loss. I bet you have an infectious laugh. I loved your October picture. Do you own a timeshare or home in Sun River? When I was twenty-one, I drove people from Portland to Sun River to hear a spiel about buying over there. I earned twenty-five dollars per trip. LOL I ran out of gas on the way home and my "client" and I had to hitchhike back to Portland from about Troutdale. I never drove anyone over there again. :)

    1. We don't own a timeshare, but have visited regularly and actually took our honeymoon there. We would love a house there but boy it's expensive. Oh my goodness...that's crazy about hitchhiking.


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