2019 – The Year In Review


2019 was a year of adjustments. I guess most years are in some way, but this one felt like a big one as Dolly and I settled into parenting. As it turns out, having a baby at home affects every aspect of life – sleep, free time, travel, worship, work, social life, and everything else. Because of that, this year doesn’t feel as flashy on the surface, although we did experience some awesome things as a family of three. Here are some of the highlights:

  • At the end of January, I “retired” from my part-time job on the Ethos Church tech team. I helped set up and tear down at The Cannery for nearly a decade, so it was bittersweet to see that chapter end. That said, I do not miss waking up at 5 AM on Sundays.
  • Truthfully, I don’t remember much from January, February, or March aside from caring for Blaise around the clock, and Dolly did more of that than I did.
  • For my birthday in early April, we traveled to Indianapolis and Indiana Dunes National Park. It was a nice getaway for the most part (except the weird Airbnb run by a Polish family), but also an eye-opening experience of what vacations will look like for a while.
  • Later that same month we all traveled to West Virginia where Dolly was shooting a wedding. It was another fun trip with a few bumps and blowouts.
  • May was mostly a whirlwind as we packed and prepared to move on Memorial Day weekend. We are so thankful for the year and a half we got to rent my sister’s family’s house (while they moved away for a job), and we are equally grateful they are back in Nashville so Blaise can be near more of his cousins. We are now renting my parents’ condo in Nashville as we continue to save up for a house.
  • June started off with a bang as we drove to Florida to visit Dolly’s family, and also to partake in Momocation 2019 (our family vacation planned by my mom). We got to spend time at Universal Studios and Legoland with the whole DeLong / Belville / Irvine crew of sixteen people – great memories and lots of sweat.
  • For July 4th we once again visited Ohio to see my grandma. It was good to spend a little bit of time with her, even if Blaise ate too much soft serve and puked in the parking lot of Chilly Willy’s, the local ice cream and burger place.
  • All year Dolly poured herself into her photography business. She did portraits for over fifty families, a number of weddings, and even a few branding sessions for local business owners. Her determination is impressive as she grows her business and juggles full-time motherhood.
  • On a related note, we did a Grow Class over the summer with Ethos which was focused on the practice of sabbath. Since then, we have been trying (with mixed results) to truly rest on Sundays and follow the rhythm of slowing down once a week.
  • In August we were counting down the days until we could escape the Nashville heat and go on our family trip to New England. At the end of the month we visited Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Highlights included Acadia National Park and a maple syrup farm in Vermont. Once again, heading north was just the thing to revive us from summer in the South.
  • In early fall, the opportunity fell in front of us to once again lead an Ethos house church and partner with Siloam Health to welcome a refugee family in Nashville. As everything lined up, we thought for sure it had to be God’s hand opening the door for us. To this point, things haven’t turned out quite how we had envisioned, but we’re hoping that rebooting in the new year may yield more fruit.
  • Late in September, we had to put my step-cat Bella to sleep due to a number of chronic health issues. She lived fourteen long years. A part of me was sad to see her quirky personality go, although I don’t miss cleaning her litter box or paying for her prescription food.
  • In October I was promoted to leading a small team in my job at Kindful. The team will focus on our API, partner integrations, and data services. We’ve been transitioning over the past couple of months to fully launch the new structure in January.
  • Fall with Blaise was a lot of fun – pumpkin patches, playing in leaves, trick-or-treating, and all the rest. I think it will be even more fun next year when he understands a little more of what’s going on.
  • I got to see a few great shows this year – Earth Groans and Oh, Sleeper at The End, August Burns Red at Marathon Music Works, and Empty, Comrades, and My Epic, also at The End. Going to shows always awakens a little part inside me that doesn’t stir much these hectic days.
  • In November we visited Dolly’s family in Florida once again, and Blaise turned one the day before Thanksgiving. He celebrated by downing unhealthy amounts of frosting and cake.
  • Looking back, I did not invest much in friendships this year, and I miss that. Working friendships into the life of a parent is another adjustment I will have to figure out in the year to come.
  • The holidays were similarly fun with Blaise in tow. Now that he has more of a personality, I really enjoy seeing him experience new things like Christmas lights, Santa, and hot chocolate.
  • Favorite books I read in 2019 were:
  • Favorite albums I discovered in 2019 were:

I’m certain that 2020 will be a year of even more adjustment as we figure out what life looks like with a toddler. We have been abundantly blessed by God in every way, so I pray that in the coming year we primarily find contentment with all we’ve been given, even in a culture that tells us to always strive for more.