I’ve written a year review on my blog almost every year since starting my blog in 2010. But as I prepared to write this and absorbed the headlines and local news here in Cleveland, Ohio I felt like this year didn’t seem much different or special compared to the year before, and a far cry from 2019. This is my 2021 Year Review.
However, it’s been a tradition for me for many years now to write a year end recap on the blog. Despite feeling a bit melancholy on the last day of 2021, and maybe, for much of this year, I wanted to still document the year. Let’s see how it goes…
2021 Year Review
More About My Year
We did more this year, and took advantage of “re-openings” and opportunities to do some of the activities we used to do before the pandemic. But as we entered winter again at the end of this year, to me it felt eerily the same as a year ago. I tried to be more social in 2021 but I still struggled a bit.
After removing nearly everything from our schedules, adding back on proved to be a challenge for me. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself, so I tried to ease up a bit, mostly in the area of work and parenting. If I was parenting I kept my focus on that. This included most of the summer and any time off, such as now, when I’m writing as we wrap up winter break.
This year was my 11th year blogging. I finished the year publishing 70 blog posts, of those, about 10 percent were brand new content. The rest were reworked and revamped for today’s algorithms.
My income was almost the same as that of 2020, which I’m not too disappointed in given traffic to my blog took a big hit. Pinterest used to be a large source of traffic for myself and most bloggers, however, the social media platform did a complete 180, with a shift to showcase online shopping, and by 2021 bloggers saw their Pinterest traffic do the same.
Following this change I spent most of the year focusing heavily on SEO and have seen improvements with impressions, clicks and page rank. Because of the drastic change in traffic I was happy with income, which showed conversions were even stronger among readers.
I did not attend any in person blog conferences or events in 2021. I also started tracking more metrics including RPM and In-View Rate for ads, and I hope this proves beneficial in the long term. I did not purchase any new courses or materials but I did devote time and resources to upgrading my technology.
These updates included: iPhone 13, new cords and chargers, two new external hard drives to back up data, a new modem and router (well, only because ours took a dive!) and, most exciting, an upgrade to the 2021 MacBook Pro. Now let’s move onto my month by month recap…
I started the year with a smaller version of the favorite planner, the Day Designer Mini Flagship. This planner worked out well as I made an effort to simplify a bit more. I also roasted a duck for the first time on New Year’s Day. Following the holidays I put together winter arrangements with evergreens to brighten our home.
Our daughter returned to school after 2020 winter break only to quickly have a second “winter break” due to a class imposed quarantine after a case of COVID-19. Our daughter was attending Pre-K at this time. It was a long break but somehow we survived! At this time I was still doing Zoom video chats with friends and “attended” a Zoom wedding.
Our church was still offering pick up kits with kids activities and we were taking part in those via curbside service. We were also still attending virtual church at this time. On the blog front I enjoyed a partnership with an energy education website and wrote a sponsored blog post for them.
On the blog:
I made a note on my calendar we had a snow day on February 16. These are so much fun again now that we have a child. Any time we get a big snow we take advantage of playing outside, sledding and shoveling as a family. I also was reading all about the Jack Bogle investing philosophy.
School continued in person three days a week. During school time I devote myself to work. We were also continuing our winter CSA share at this time. I completed a lot of my annual medical appointments in February, which is normal for me to do. I prefer to have them during the winter so I can enjoy the summer. At this time in person routine medical had resumed.
On the blog:
As of March 2021, we were one year into the pandemic… at least as far as how it impacted the state of Ohio. So a year later what were we doing? Our local recreation department announced they would begin offering swim lessons again for the first time in a year.
We signed our daughter up. Around the same time, however, we also canceled our family membership due to lack of child care, lack of programming and offerings and ever changing COVID-19 rules. We took part in open swim every week or two until membership ended, which was a nice way to spend time in the winter.
At this time we were still only getting take out from local restaurants for the occasional meal “out.” March also marked the beginning of spring and a bit of hope.
On the blog:
For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic we attended church in person. It was not our church, but it was nice to go to Easter service. We also had spring break this month. As temperatures warmed, case numbers lowered and vaccination became available to anyone who was interested. We started our return to normal.
This included going to to dinner at Mellow Mushroom, our first in person dining experience as a family in one year. We hit up the driving range, visited family and played our first round of golf of the year. I also made note we had a large snowfall on April 21 which left snow on many spring blooms. It was one of the latest snowfalls in Cleveland history.
This is always my favorite month between Mother’s Day and my birthday, however, it fell a bit flat as this was my second birthday with statewide pandemic restrictions still in place. Honestly, I don’t remember much outside of running a 5K race on my birthday.
I decided to run the May in Bay, which I had previously run I believe in 2018. Road racing had returned, which was great. I did minimal training and ran mostly for fun and fitness. The day of the race it was cold and very windy. Frankly, I was freezing at the race start! But the terrible weather lended a decent race time as I ran so fast I just wanted the 5K to be over with!
The winds were so bad the Bay Village Rockets Hot Dog Truck didn’t even show up for post-race fare! I enjoyed getting a Starbucks drink after the race and later we went to dinner at Boss Beer Chicken for my birthday dinner followed by a visit to Play in Bay playground. Pre-K also ended for our daughter this month.
We also enjoyed watching a mother robin raise her brood in a nest outside our kitchen window! We also made some improvements in our basement with a dehumidifier and added insulation.
At the beginning of June in the state of Ohio, pandemic restrictions were lifted on the statewide level. We returned to attending in person service at our church as well.
This month provided our family highlight of the year. My brother got married and our daughter was the flower girl in the wedding. This event felt very normal and was a welcome reprieve from what the last year had been. Spring swim lessons also wrapped up (it was a very long session!).
Our neighborhood garage sale was unfortunately postponed due to the pandemic and how the organizers felt. I really hope we can have our sale in 2022! We went to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, met up with friends living in the country and went to Cedar Point.
We celebrated Father’s Day, had our daughter attend a local VBS and an outdoors camp, and went swimming at the outdoor pool. I was thankful that summer children’s programming (mostly outdoors) had resumed in our area for 2021.
My husband ran a race himself this month, we also went to the Independence Day parade in Westlake which was incredibly fun. We went blueberry picking for the first time, and had another bible camp. I enjoyed a weekend in Sandusky with my girlfriends, beach time, wine and dining out.
We hit up the driving range, Jamie’s Flea Market and started outdoor swim lessons. I also ordered from The Peach Truck for the second year in a row. Looking back July felt very normal! This month my husband’s office also reopened for in person work for the first time since the start of the pandemic. This was a welcomed reprieve for our work/life balance.
I should add that I had a summer garden this year but I kept it very low key not recording much except a few snaps on my phone. Outdoor swim lessons wrapped up, our church held a mini VBS and we attended a very fun Touch A Truck event for the first time. We also went to the Cuyahoga County Fair which had been cancelled in 2020.
We attended a classic car show and my husband ran a 5K in North Ridgeville. We also hit up the splash pad, visited the marina and went swimming some more before school began for our daughter, kindergarten! We also went to the Memphis Kiddie Park which had reopened!
As an update on our gym membership lapse, I found a YouTube channel Juice & Toya and began doing their simple at home workouts with some weights I purchased from Five Below and Goodwill. I also returned to my yoga studio in person at some point but I’m not positive what date. This was not the best year for me for fitness.
This was another fun month with family time and a trip to Erie, PA. This was our highlight of our year in terms of any vacations or trips for our family. We also went apple picking. I roasted a full chicken for the second time in about 10 years, and then roasted two more!
Our daughter also started her first sport, fall outdoor soccer. With school in full swing, and five days a week for the first time ever, I also re-committed to a more structured work schedule and regime for fall. I attended outdoor yoga again in 2021 and wrapped up my final classes in September.
This is always a busy time for our family. We ended our golfing season with our first round of golf at Sweet Briar. My husband ran another 5K which coincided with our daughter’s last soccer game of the season – torrential rain out!
We went to Boo Thru again, Trick or Treating (which didn’t happen in 2020 for us) and pumpkin carving. It was also our daughter’s birth month, my gardening wrapped up, we had family photos taken and I signed us up for Murray Hill Farm CSA for the second fall/winter season in a row.
I once again selected the 20 week option which complements the end of my summer garden perfectly! I also started up a more serious anti-aging skin care regime, which is nice to do something for myself. We also found and hired a new contractor for some small work around the home.
Our rescue dog Lulu celebrated her 11th birthday and had a clean bill of health at the veterinarian. Thankfully I was able to request and was allowed inside the building this year for her exam. We roasted a turkey for Thanksgiving for the first time in several years. This one was 11.5 pounds and the smallest bird we could find for a small gathering.
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials (which started well in advance in 2021) I did a lot of shopping for both household items needing upgrade or replacement and for Christmas. We also started our typical Christmas traditions. I started watching the classic Disney movies with our daughter, one by one, starting with Snow White.
On the blog:
As this month comes to an end we have had a dusting or two of snow but no decent snowfall yet. We made our first (and possibly last? haha) gingerbread house as a family, we toured the Magic of Lights for the second year in a row and spent several evenings walking and looking at lights, as temperatures were mild.
Locally, many businesses had just temporarily closed or reimposed restrictions in our area, which is why December felt weird again to me. My husband’s office was also closed for a remodel so we felt a bit like we were right back at the beginning of the pandemic. For Christmas, I roasted a leg of lamb for the first time.
We enjoyed a laid back winter break, replaced a bunch of light bulbs in part to mitigate rising energy costs (riveting I know) and I started burning candles for the first time ever, really. This felt very cozy and a way to welcome winter. I am closing out 2021 by burning a Bayberry candle tonight.
We spent the last day of 2021 going swimming, taking a walk, making Chex Mix, eating Applebees take out for dinner and staying comfy at home. Wishing you and yours the best in the coming year.
2021 Year Review
Other Year in Review Posts: