This is my sixth year writing a “Year in Review” blog post…
What. A. Year… and a half 😉
Oh, and by the way, here are links to my previous “Year in Review” posts:
2020 Year in Review: Transformative Beginnings and Trial Endings
2019 Year in Review: Transitional Hallway Phases and New Beginnings
2018 Year in Review: Reflections and Revamped Spirits
2017 Year in Review: First Occupational Therapist Job, New Last Name
2016 Year in Review: Reflecting on the End of My Occupational Role as Student and Recharging for New Role as Fiancée and OT Practitioner
Let’s get to it. Spoiler alert: 2021 was the year of weddings and getting back into traveling to see others!!!
Year 2022 is the year for change!
January included a trip to Birmingham, AL to celebrate our friends Anna and Gavin getting married, a trip to Destin, FL to bachelorette it up for bride to be Ashley, and a weekend trip to decompress at our favorite beach and bike riding place – Gulf Shores.
Gulf Shores is also the city that has my favorite indie book store – so many great books for a fair price! January also marked the opportunity to get vaccinated! And to round out January included a baby shower for baby McKee!
February equaled lots of Gravy cuddles and modified (thanks Covid) Mardi Gras celebrations (PLEASE COME BACK MARDI GRAS IN 2022), fun with friends… Also FYI it is the city of Mobile, AL – not New Orleans, LA – where Mardi Gras was first originated#factcheck ! February summary: beignets, berries, beers, birthdays, and more. Lots of working in between!
March reveled in another weekend return to Gulf Shores, St. Patrick’s Day celebrating scrub style, smiling ear to ear after receiving my Purpose Therapy Box, another trip to Destin, FL to Hawaiian style / Let’s Flamingle bachelorette it up for bride to be Ashton where I got to re-wear my mom’s old Hawaiian dress… and more!
April included leading and facilitating another #ABCsofOT challenge, celebrating Easter with family, finding joys in the small things like sunflowers and masks with humanistic sayings, appreciating and enjoying night dates out to local restaurants, helping to create a neighborhood Little Free Library sign, margarita beach walks in Point Clear, AL, and making quick trips to Biloxi, MS.
In May the day I turned 28 I got a fun phone call offering me the part-time position at my alma mater (I was already a sporadic adjunct) to teach a 3 credit hour 1x/weekly undergraduate (freshmen – through senior) Introduction to Occupational Therapy class starting in August for Fall semester 2021 and Spring semester 2022 and onward (spoiler- I definitely said yes! ).
Also in May while James was working the ICU and rounding out his last rotation of his 2nd year of medical residency my mom was my wedding date to my dear friend Kassie’s wedding near Birmingham, Alabama. Kassie was my first student to shadow me as an OT. And the story gets better – cause she got into OT school and met and married another OT.
May also was filled with Gravy cuddles, baby cuddles, working a lot (not pictured haha), neighbor nights with our 79 year old besties, Mother’s Day fun, and celebrating the Mayo wedding in Dothan, Alabama. We ended May on a high note – took an extended weekend vacay to St. Augustine, Florida – let me tell you – we will be back!!! No surprise to anyone but I found a great indie bookstore while we were there, too! It was very hot and we definitely should have applied more sunscreen, but there was great joy too. Finally, we rounded out May with a quick trip to MS to visit family.
June brought family fun time, much needed yard work to add charm to our dear first home in Mobile, dog sitting car dates (mainly me dog-sitting and bringing James smoothies while he was on night shift), Father’s Day celebrations, spending time with family, friend dinner dates, puppy cuddles, cheering for James’s residency intramural basketball team, and also the strange yet exciting but for real – strange – experience of attending my 10 year Biloxi High School Reunion.
I also in June started on a 4 week intensive training mini-short course to prepare myself in my novel teaching role. This course was HARD! (Prior to Fall 2021, I had taught lectures or assisted in labs with the OT department in a secondary adjunct role but this would be a new challenge as I would be responsible for all of the planning, course design, adapting, lesson building, etc that goes along in teaching a college course)…
July started with a bang on the 4th with friends and family on Biloxi beach; Dillen made the best ribs as always! Family from TX and CO visited in MS and I got major nostalgia in roller skating with my cousin in the rink I adored when I was in middle school (Ps. I can still skate backwards but unfortunately can no longer safely do the Limbo whilst on roller skates).
James and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary in Fairhope, AL at a quaint restaurant. And James began his 3rd and final year of Internal Medicine residency – meaning that he was a) closer to his goal for applying to fellowship and b) in a new leadership role! I finalized and re-finalized and only slightly panicked as I geared up for my new part-time teaching endeavor (on top of working full-time clinically.)…
August encompassed the start of my new part-time job as a professor teaching OT 201: Introduction to Occupational Therapy. I taught this weekly on Monday nights during the Fall 2021 semester and what a whirlwind! In my second week teaching a hurricane hit and so I learned (quickly, but not perfectly) how to adapt and include video on your own lectures!
August was a slower rotation for James and so we enjoyed a special lunch with family at Dauphins and a brewery double date with our friends (I still do not like beer, bleh!). James and I also enjoyed (and sweated our butts off) helping new Jaguar undergraduate students move in during the Week of Welcome for the 2021-2022 school year. What a moment as ten years prior to this I moved into these very same dorms my freshman year of college… and we may have shared our first kiss in the dorms next to these many years ago, too!
September was still hot, but with the tiniest hint of fall quickly approaching (although let’s be real there is no such thing as fall in the South). I got to meet an amazing person – the Dr. Wendy Hildenbrand – who at the time was the AOTA President; she was the keynote speaker at the Alabama Fall OT Conference. Wendy is a real deal person and I appreciated the opportunity to both fan-girl over her and have a conversation with her. It was a joy to be around a close knit group of Alabama OT practitioners and students and to room with my dearest friend Ashton! Since the conference was in Gulf Shores I definitely stopped at my favorite indie bookstore (again) to restock!
September equaled football tailgates at the beautiful stadium at South with colleagues and neighbors. Also – on an aside my grandpa reached VIP level at the Scarlet Pearl casino and I had the pleasure of being his guest during cocktail hour followed by coffee with Grandma afterward!
October included (quietly) cheering James on during his Zoom fellowship interviews – thanks to Covid there was no opportunity to physically interview in person. He is such a good sport and kept his charm even through a screen to screen interview format. We enjoyed a night at one of our most favorite hotels in New Orleans where James did another Zoom interview the next morning while I enjoyed rooftop views and beignets (James eventually had some beignets, too) before we took a flight from LA to TX to witness my cousin marry his love.
Later on in October we went to a super cool but not very well known speakeasy in Mobile called Las Floriditas with our super cool neighbors. They have yummy snacks, fun drinks, delicious Cuban coffee, live music —- just a whole vibe.
More football and South Alabama Homecoming! I was so proud that one of my students made Homecoming court:)
My therapy colleagues and I dressed as the 7 dwarves…but we dwindled to only 4 on the actual day (#oops – thanks Covid), then James and I made a quick, makeshift Hawaiian couple and ventured to our neighborhood Halloween party. October also included day dates with friends and a boat ride.
Friendsgiving season hosted by our friends Audrey and Will, I prepared several fall prevention lectures, enjoyed mimosas with Grandpa, cheered on more basketball, relished in lazy fall nights with Gravy and James, and experienced or rather admired my mom’s amazing power-washing skills.
James and I hosted Thanksgiving for our family and started the tradition that we hope to do annually of a Christmas tree ornament dirty Santa.
HOLY SPIRIT ACTIVATE. At exactly 11:02 central (12:02 eastern) AM James called me while I was working… (I preemptively excused myself to the bathroom to be able to receive this call… fellowship match is more low – key than residency match so its the norm for spouses / families to NOT be with their fellowship applicant)… and we FOUND OUT he matched at our top pick for his hematology/oncology 3 years of training at Ochsner Main Campus in New Orleans. This amazing hospital system has the type of training James really dreamed of as well as has bone marrow teams which is something he is interested in…. Anyways, we both were so shocked, but so grateful and yet also in a bittersweet way sad as this meant we would be saying bye to the place where we first met and where we returned for residency and bought our first home. What a treat it was to celebrate!
I wished my awesome students farewell and ended that semester feeling invigorated by the academic setting as well as humbled by the different learning styles and their feedback.
We travelled to River Fawn, Georgia and celebrated our friends Brett and Ashley getting married; it was especially special in that we were both in the wedding and so we walked down the aisle together ^insert kiss emoji here.
James’s 29th birthday, Christmas celebrations, visit from my friend Ruth, and rounded out the year 2021 with bringing in the New Year at an Atlanta wedding to celebrate James’s cousin and his beautiful bride.
I told you. 2021 was the year of weddings!!
Gravy was shaved (was a necessity) by hist vet (poor fellah). We celebrated my aunt’s 50th birthday a few days late. I returned to part-time professor land with a new cohort of students for my Intro to OT night class -this time feeling a lot more prepared as well as funnily enough – with more realization that less content scheduled in class is actually more.
We enjoyed time with friends out and about. I got way too excited over Mardi Gras pillow covers and we attended a super fun 30th birthday…. 90s style:)
I interviewed team OT student prospects (much more fun being the interviewer than the interviewee) at South, attended the Reese’s Senior Bowl, cheered on my favorite basketball team, and enjoyed modeling Jawsome scrubs.
My mom hosted a Super Bowl hangout party. February also included Mardi Gras fun including parades, balls, and shenanigans and my mom’s birthday weekend celebrations, yeehaw.
Mardi Gras celebrations continued. James and I went on our first of multiple rounds of serious house-looking trips to New Orleans. James excitedly standing afar from his future training hospital where he will have to opportunity to hone his skills to become an hematologist / oncologist.
I think March was the pivotal time where we realized we were actually moving away – this anticipatory time felt much different than when we moved from Auburn to Mobile for the transition of his medical school to residency. We spent time with friends and I took a cycling class with my student.
I got to take an entire week off of work (which was the most time I had consecutively off in over 3 years #notokay ).
Anna took beautiful photos to commemorate James and my first home.
March ended with starting the AOTA annual INSPIRE conference held in San Antonio, TX.