Here’s to 2021

Did anyone else think 2020 was going to last forever or was it just me?

To be completely honest, 2020 wasn’t all that awful in our household. There were so many victories that are worth celebrating. I’m so close to reaching my goals and last year was a big step towards those.

Of course, there were troubles. Besides the obvious ones everyone went through, my personal issues were hard to get through. I’m glad I did and I know with them in the past, the future is so bright for my family. Will there be future hiccups? Of course, but I’m doing the very best I can to prepare.

Anyway, I thought I’d check in today to again wish everyone a happy new year and I hope this first week back from post-holiday madness is going smoothly.

Last year, I tried to come up with a word for the year. It failed miserably because I can’t even remember the word. For 2021, I wanted to come up with a word I could really get behind and stick with. Something that would be relevant to all my life’s situations and wouldn’t be too out of grasp.

My word of 2021 is…

Heal.

I know. It’s simple. But with the chaos of the last five years of my life, it’s the only word that felt right. In every aspect of my life, i could use a little healing. That’s why it’s my word for 2021.

Honestly, I have no idea what this year holds; besides healing and growing. I’m hoping the world will calm down a little so we can go to the beach. It holds my last semester of college (for now) and maybe a new job at the beginning of the next school year. For writing, I hope I can get back to feeling comfortable about sharing certain things. Maybe that will be a post for the near future.

Jensen will turn five. Yeah, year five feels really big, but here we are. It’s sort of scary knowing he’s been gone for half a decade. This grief journey has been… so many things. I’d like to explore that more this year since I’ve lacked the ability to do it the last two years.

Mila will be three and will most likely start preschool in the fall. I know we’ll continue doing all our activities and I’d like to write a little ahead of time to help others who follow along with our activities.

And me… I’ll be healing and trying to figure out this part of the journey.

Do you choose a word for the year? If so, let me know what yours is in the comments.

Toddler Activity: Fireworks Before Midnight Experiment

Let’s first start this off by saying… HAPPY NEW YEAR! We’re not quite there yet, but oh so close.

Mila and I did fireworks at noon, in case she doesn’t stay up. Its a little science experiment that I thought I’d share here. We did it a few times, if that gives you a time estimate.

It was fun and Mila loved helping too!

Here’s what you’ll need…

  • Jar
  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • Oil

Yes! It’s that easy.

All you do is fill up the jar with water. Put the food coloring in the oil. Then, slowly pour it in.

The food coloring escapes the oil and creates ‘fireworks.’ Mila thought they looked like different things. It made me smile to know she’s connecting so many different things.

I took a video of our experiment and wanted to post it here.

Again, Mila and I hope you have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve!

Toddler Activity: NYE Firework Painting

If you enjoyed last weeks Christmas activities, I have a few New Years ones too!

This first one is a firework painting. Mila loves to paint and experiment with how brushes work. That makes these DIY paint brushes even more interesting for her and toddlers.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Toilet paper or paper towel tubes
  • Scissors (kid and adult)
  • Paint
  • Canvas
  • Paper plates

I had all of these supplies at home, but most everything can be easily purchased. Feel free to use whatever color of paint. Mila just picked these three and I added the silver in.

First, you’ll want to cut the paper tubes to make the brush. If your child is learning how to use scissors, guide and help them with this. You can also get this step done beforehand.

We did three different firework shapes to get different looks.

Then, we put our paint on paper plates. Mila poured the red, which might have been a mistake. One recommendation is to spread the paint around. This way when your child pushes down with their brushes, all the bristles get paint on it.

After you get all your desired paint ready, it’s time to start painting.

I let Mila know we were making fireworks because that’s how we celebrate the new year. She’s seen fireworks before, so she understood what they were.

Of course she doesn’t grasp the concept of a new year, but it’s fun to begin those conversations with her.

I did have to show her how to push down on the brush. She got the hang of it pretty quick!

It helped when I really pushed the bristles down to make them more flexible. They are quite stiff at first!

With their finished project, you can either write over top of it or just leave it. Mila ended up making two. The canvas will have ‘2021’ written on it and the paper version will be untouched.

I’ll update this post with a finished picture after her artwork is all dried.

This activity is pretty quick, but a lot of fun. Toddlers and young kids will love making their own brushes. Plus, what kid doesn’t like fireworks without all the noise.

If you try this activity out, let me know in the comments below!

Goodbye, 2016.

Well in all my efforts to stop this day from coming, its here. The last day of 2016. Jensen’s year has come to an end and I’m being thrown into a new year. I don’t think it’s completely hit me yet, but when the clock hits midnight I’ll be numb.

As I said in my last post, it’s terrifying to leave the year without Jensen. There’s so much unknown in the future and I don’t know how much more hurt I can take. I read and hear this next year will be a better one and good things are coming. With each of their words I just want to scream out, they don’t know that for sure. The same things were being said to me last year, right smack dab in the middle of my pregnancy. This past year was supposed to hold all those things and even more, but we all know it didn’t turn out the way anyone thought it would. And yet, it doesn’t make this such a horrible year.

Just yesterday, someone told me this next year would hold better things for me. Almost immediately I thought, 2016 holds so many good things. There’s no part of me that wants to ‘try for a better year.’ No other year in this history of the world will ever have had Jensen physically in it. I know everyone sees the tears and loss I’ve had. It’s strong and it’s very uncomfortable. I get it. But there has been so much love, strength, and support I never have had before. Jensen has impacted so many people in the past (almost) nine months. He’s made me smile everyday and most of the times through tears. Maybe that means I’m comfortable in my grief, but I would beg to differ.

Honestly, I can’t say that 2016 was this perfect year. My son died. That is so life changing. His dad left, which has brought good and bad to my life. There are times where all I could do was lay in bed. I’ve cried enough tears to fill an ocean. Friends have left and people sometimes look at me in the craziest of ways. A pain I never knew existed was introduced to me. This year was my ground zero and I have to leave it without Jensen. Those are the bad things that’s went on. Looking back on those brings me to tears, so maybe I could fill two oceans instead of one.

Yet, through this pain, I’m still holding on to it. But why am I?

Mostly, it’s my fear that Jensen will be forgotten. It’s knowing that his first birthday will come and he won’t be there to smash his cake. I’ll be a mama to a one year old that’s not here anymore. Will anyone know what April fifth is when it comes but me? Then there’s outside pressures of people wanting to put a timeline on my grief. I’m so afraid that I’ll get to his birthday and everyone will be so impatient with it. They won’t understand why I’m still so sad. I’m terrified that I’m going to be more alone in this. Somehow? Deep down I know some of these are just really out there, but this is grief. This is what it does to one’s mind.

In all reality, I don’t want anyone to forget Jensen. I want people to tell me “Happy Birthday to Jensen” on his birthday. I want to smash his cake for him. I don’t want people to be impatient with me. I know a lot of people don’t understand this complex grief, but I want them to be okay with it. I want patience. I want people to say his name to me. I don’t want them to be afraid. I want them to know these tears aren’t toxic, they’re sometimes the only way I can show my love for him. I want people to see me as the mom I am. I want people to know that I won’t let them forget Jensen. I want them to know I’m terrified of the future, but I’m trying my very best.

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-1-59-14-pm

A part of me wants to say, “let me take on 2017.” Let me show the world even more of Jensen and try to do greater things in his honor. Another huge part is saying, stay here forever. There’s a lot of things I wasn’t ready for this year and I grew stronger through them. Maybe that’s what the stroke do for me. Make me an even stronger mom to Jensen and give an even louder voice.


For all of you grieving this New Years Eve, know you are not alone. I am here for you and feel the pain and fear of going into the next year without a loved one. Yet, they’re always with you and you will you carry them in your heart forever. For where there is love, their memory cannot truly die.