2020 – what a year you were! Despite the way it turned all of our lives upside down with a mixed bag of ups and downs, it ended up being one of my favorite years of all time. I’ve learned so much this year about myself and those I choose to surround myself with, not to mention every possible video conferencing app ever created.

Sure, there were some truly awful spots – specifically the loss of friends and their family members to the horrible COVID virus, as well as the virus of toxicity that settled into our overheated, overly-divisive political environment. I pray for healing for those families and our country.

But there were also some personal highlights that might not have occurred otherwise. First of all, we were given a chance to slow down and break the cycle of urgency, over-programming and always needing to be doing something. We were allowed to just be. And, as I say on my daily Cooped Up Live show (another big highlight of the year), we could finally stop “should’ing ourselves to death.”

Most importantly, in a year when we were discouraged from gathering with our friends and family, those relationships have become deeper and more meaningful.

In the nearly 22 years that Todd and I have been together, I’ve never spent so much time with him. Same goes for the kids. It’s truly a gift that we’ve been able to enjoy this year together before we careen towards the tween and teen years that aren’t always the best for parent-child relationships.

And I’ve deepened my relationships with my sister Monica, reconnected with my mom after a long rough patch between us, formed new friendships through my social media shenanigans and strengthened my ties to old friends. (I’m looking at you, Kerrie and Eric!)

Thumbs Up:

  • Claire’s first concert (in the before times)
  • Learning from Oprah
  • Talking to you every day via Cooped Up Live!
  • RV Adventures: 19 states over 7+ weeks on the road
  • Buying a new campus for the kids’ school
  • Walking 2-3 miles most days
  • Socially-distanced drone shows!

Thumbs Down:

  • My 100-year old grandfather’s shitty virtual funeral
  • I introduced the kids to Hamburger Helper (what was I thinking?!)
  • My natural hair color returns…and it’s long!
  • My waistline (and liver) have expanded.

I hope you enjoy these photo highlights of the year’s top moments for us.

YOU ARE LOVED!

Claire’s First Concert: In the “before times,” I surprised Claire with her very first big concert: Celine Dion at American Airlines Center with my friends Kerrie, Mark, Erin and Mari. She felt so grown up being able to hang with us!
When The World Stopped: We were in the Panhandle of Florida for Spring Break when the pandemic was declared. I’ve never seen the beach so empty. Only folks staying directly on the beach were allowed to access it and no one was allowed in the water.
First Day of (Home) School: What seemed like a cute, quirky moment in the time ultimately led to months of at-home learning for the kids. Fortunately, our school rose to the occasion and excelled, despite the challenges of changing the way children have been educated for generations.
Culinary Misstep: I mistakenly introduced the kids to one of my childhood staples, Hamburger Helper. It’s become their special request on the regular.
Cooped Up Live: Sh!t Cooper Says: I’m not sure I’d have survived the pandemic without having an outlet for my tremendously-extroverted personality. After nearly 200 episodes (weekdays at 4:30!), it’s been a mental health lifeline…and proof that I can talk extemporaneously about anything for 30 minutes.
A New Future for Our School: Perhaps the most significant thing I’ve this year was finding and purchasing a new campus for my kids’ school. It’s one of the proudest accomplishments of my life.
Cooper

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