2019 in Review


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Right about now, my Twitter feed is filling up with snarky tweets that #SumsUp2019. Was this year really so bad, or is it easy for people to focus on the things that didn’t go right at the year’s end? This year wasn’t always easy or enjoyable for me, but I think it is easier for me to find and reflect on all of the amazing things that happened this year as opposed to all of the bad things.

A New Start

2019 started with a new job– an accounting assistant position, which allows me to work remotely from home so I can raise my son. In 2018, when my maternity leave was coming to an end, I still hadn’t made any attempt to find child care for Oliver. I didn’t realize it at the moment, but I was avoiding the task because the thought of leaving Oliver in the care of someone else terrified me. This anxiety was not unique to me; I think most mothers, especially first-time mothers, are scared to leave their child in the care of someone else. But, also floating around my subconscious was the knowledge that I would be returning to hour-long commutes (each way), and a job that would require me to work upwards of 60 hours a week, leaving little time to raise my son. The moment I said out loud I wanted to stay home and raise my son, I had two potential job offers on the table. It was the best position I could be in– one made possible with all of the incredible experience I received at my previous job and my husband’s support because this meant taking a drastic pay cut since I would only be working part-time hours.


Because this new job lets me work from home, I had front row tickets to watching Oliver grow up this past year:

  • He tried solid foods for the first time, and now he loves spaghetti, avocados, watermelon, chicken and rice, grilled cheese and tomato soup, and yogurt.
  • I watched him roll over for the first time, and I watched him crawl for the first time.
  • I watched him take his first steps!
  • I heard him say his first words, which was “dada”, although now all he wants to say is “mama”.
  • He turned ONE.

Not everything has been easy on the child-rearing front though. We had some obstacles to overcome this year too, but again, the privilege of being able to work from home and raise him helped ease the anxiety.

  • Oliver was diagnosed with torticollis and plagiocephaly, so every Wednesday for three months, we spent an hour at physical therapy.
  • When physical therapy wasn’t enough to correct the plagiocephaly, we had to get an orthopedic helmet to correct his head shape. It was a commitment both in terms of time and finance, but the results were worth it.
  • Oliver was diagnosed with an egg allergy, and now we always have to have epi-pens nearby just in case.


Considering Jon and I are new parents, the fact that we were able to travel so often this year blows my mind! Sometimes we were even able to drop Oliver off with grandparents and steal away for much needed alone time!

Cleveland, Ohio

First, we took a long weekend and explored Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland probably isn’t on the top of anyone’s list for travel destinations, but it’s actually a cool city. We admired the view of Lake Erie. We watched a stand-up comedy show at Hilarities. We wandered through the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And coincidentally, the MLB All-Star games were taking place that week, so there was a baseball convention going on that had a lot of free and family-friendly activities.

Motor City Comic-Con

Jon, Oliver, and I spent a day exploring the Motor City Comic Con, and we left determined to make this an annual family event going forward. We spent most of the time exploring Artist Alley, and we purchased so much art that we have yet to display in the house. But, highlights also include seeing the top, left portion of David Tennant’s face, fangirling over Felica Day from afar, and this photo opportunity featuring baby Hulk meeting the real Hulk!

The Renaissance Festival

Jon unknowingly made my 5th-grade dream come true. Back in fifth grade, my class was supposed to go to the Renaissance Festival; however, my family moved away right before the trip was supposed to happen (this was actually a recurring theme in my youth– missing out on field trips because my family moved. I also missed out on the 6th-grade field trip to Washington DC as well as the senior field trip to Washington DC). But, I digress.

Jon, Oliver, and I found ourselves up in Holly, Michigan, and transported back in time. The Renaissance Festival was somehow better than I imagined. We feasted on smoked turkey legs, watched a Scottish Strongman Competition, saw a knight in shining armor preparing for a joust, and sipped a bloody mary from a little eatery called Bloody Mary Queen of Scots, haha.

Munich, Germany

We also jet-set across the Atlantic and spent a week in Bavaria. We spent most of our time wandering around in Munich, Germany, drinking beer, participating in and recovering from Oktoberfest, and tasting foods at the outdoor, weekend markets.

Salzburg, Austria

We also rode the train down and spent a day in Salzburg, Austria, which is quite possibly the most beautiful city I have ever visited. The elaborate, Baroque architecture was exquisite, and the buildings were so tall that I literally felt dizzy looking up at them. I even admired the sprawling Alps from a castle that was constructed back in the 1100s!

New York City

Most recently, I spent a day in New York City exploring Manhattan and doing all of the touristy things I never thought I would have the opportunity to do, like walk around in Central Park, see the Statue of Liberty in person, eat a slice of New York pizza, and experience the sensory overload that is Time Square. I also connected with one of my longtime pals, Bianca; she’s one of the only friends from high school I keep in contact with.

Books & Tea (and other things)

This year was terrible in terms of reading. I started a bunch of chapter books, but I only ever finished reading three (that’s one more than when I posted the other day). And, since once upon a time I considered myself a book blogger, it’s embarrassing to admit that! A lot of the time, I claimed I didn’t have the time to read, but even when I did find the time to read, I just wanted to decompress in front of the TV. You guys, I watched like eight seasons of Grey’s Anatomy this year. I’m almost current with the series. I did read a LOT of children’s picture books though.

My tea consumption increased drastically though! So did my tea collection even though I was on a tea buying ban. Weird how that works, right? And because I was drinking so much tea, I took the leap and started a youtube channel focusing on tea this year! I realize though I’m still pretty slow at posting content to my channel; the filming and editing process is very time-consuming. I might spend an hour filming, and then several hours more editing all of the material down to a coherent video that’s only 12 minutes long. It’s still a very satisfying and very rewarding process, and I love the small community I’m involved with on Youtube as well.

But, as much as I love Books & Tea, I realized the identity no longer suited me, so I took the leap and upgraded to a dot com. I also started working toward a writing routine at the end of the year, and this has improved my productivity and interestingly, my creativity too. I’m really hoping I can keep up this new routine so that my blog flourishes in 2020!

How was your 2019? Share with me some of the highlights of your year in the comments!

5 responses to “2019 in Review”

  1. ericarobyn Avatar

    I love this so much! What an amazing year you had filled with wonderful travels and events! Oliver is too precious! ❤

    I, too, was noticing how negative people have seemed to be recently. I was wondering if it's actually because 2019 was so rough, or because people tend to vent about the negatives like you said. That's something that I've been working on in my personal life, so I was also curious if it was just me being more aware of it… To cut down on negative things, I've avoided things in the blogging world like "My least favorite of the year" "biggest letdowns" and other such things. It's so much more exciting and uplifting to read the positives! ❤ I hope you have a wonderful 2020 as well!!


    1. Jackie A. Avatar
      Jackie A.

      I mean, I’m sure it’s a bit of both– actually having a rough year AND just wanting to vent. I think negativity begets negativity too, so that’s probably why I kept seeing it pop up on my feeds.

      I used to be very cynical and pessimistic, but I think I subconsciously shifted toward being more positive toward the end of my twenties. Now, whenever I express negativity it feels really jarring, so I try to find some redeeming quality about a negative experience. No clue what triggered the change, but I can confidently say most of my peers find it obnoxious, hah!


  2. theorangutanlibrarian Avatar

    I definitely agree with you that it’s worth focusing on the positives! 😀 And looks like you had an amazing year! Oliver is so cute! And it’s great you got to travel so much as well 😀


  3. raisingboyers Avatar

    My brother is allergic to eggs too – amongst other things – if you ever need any good substitutes or recipes where you don’t sacrifice the flavor I can give you some! 2020 will be so fun, I can’t wait to see the mischief Ollie gets into 😀


    1. Jackie A. Avatar
      Jackie A.

      I have zero experience with allergies, so it’s scary uncharted territory for me. Is your brother is STILL allergic to eggs? I hear this is a weird one where kids can grow out of it by their teens, so I keep hoping that happens for Ollie.

      Right now, Ollie’s favorite mischief making is dumping his milk all over the floor and smearing it around like finger paint (which makes me think i should just get him some finger paints). But like, WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE MILK?!


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Hello, my name is Jackie. I’m a thirty-something mother of a rambunctious toddler from a small town in Michigan. When I’m not toddler-wrangling, I’m often seeking refuge from life’s most chaotic moments in a cup of hot tea. I also love getting lost in stories—both in books and virtually. I enjoy speculative fiction the most, and I am especially eager to read fantasy novels and horror novels. When I’m feeling especially indulgent (usually after everyone in the house has gone to sleep), I like to dive into video games and explore the sprawling worlds in Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect.

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