2021 Jalosky Family Wrap Up
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Here we are at the end of another year. It’s been a crazy one for sure. It was my most profitable year of business ever! I photographed 5 weddings, 3 engagement sessions, 18 family sessions, and 5 other portrait sessions! I also helped a friend with a couple of weddings this year. I’m hoping to catch up on the blog this winter while I take a break from shooting. I took a couple thousand photos for our own family this year and about half of those are still waiting to be edited. It has been a great year for business! Thank you all for supporting me! Each time you book a session, read my blog, like a post or tell me how much you love seeing my kids in my insta-stories, it keeps me going! (And if you don’t follow me yet, you can on instagram here, and facebook here.)
I’ll be honest, when the wreck of 2020 happened, I wasn’t sure what the future would hold. But the Lord certainly has been good to me! A little pivoting here and there, and I only had to reschedule twice due to illness. I don’t know if you can imagine the stress of trying to not get sick in any way – shape – or form, for a wedding, but it is intense. I used to tell people when they booked me that I would show up for their wedding, even if that meant getting out of a hospital bed. It is that important to me! But quite frankly, that just can’t be true anymore! Geez. Thanks 2020.
So let’s go back a ways to the beginning of the year. Jonathan and I celebrated 4 years of marriage in January! It’s so crazy to think that in just a few weeks, we’ll be celebrating our 5th anniversary. How have we been married for 5 years already? At the same time, now we know what 5 years feels like…and it feels wonderful. 🙂 All of those “Where will you be in 5 years?” quizzes could have never predicted our lives now. While it’s been a fairly “calm” year for us, it certainly has been filled with so many wonderful adventures. I still can’t imagine life without Jonathan. I haven’t gotten sick of him after 5 years. Haha. I still miss him when he’s at work (or when I’m at away for work) and look forward to every moment we are together.
Our beautiful girls have grown so much this year, in every way. Layla turned 1 at the beginning of March, and Alethea turned 3 at the end of March. Layla continues to be a crazy sleeper. While she finally sleeps through the night (about 90% of the time), she wakes up at a different time every single day. This throws me off so much! She must be a light sleeper because she frequently wakes up when Jonathan goes to work, between 4:30 and 5. Once she’s awake, she doesn’t go back to sleep! This has led to a lot of sleepiness on my part. Haha. Why on earth can’t all kids sleep in every day? I guess not all kids can be perfect like I was…right mom? Haha.
I have been homeschooling Alethea for preschool over the last 5 months or so. She has been so eager to learn! So eager, in fact, that she already completed her entire preschool workbook. We only have a few books left to read on her entire book list as well! We’ve been using the library a lot this year and it has been so fun! Alethea can write her first and middle name extremely well. We’ll be working on Jalosky real soon. She loves to show people how she can sing the days of the week and the months of the year! Alethea got a clock for Christmas to learn how to tell time, and she has already figured out how to set the current time when she asks what time it is! Alethea is incredible at learning new things. She catches on instantly. I am thinking that I will start teaching her how to read in 2022! If you have ever heard her speak, you know she is quite the conversationalist. And I don’t just mean for a 3 year old. She speaks better than most kids we know. When she had her most recent checkup, the doctor told me whatever I did for her, make sure I do with Layla too! No pressure. So far, Layla speaks about as well as Alethea did at her age. I think it’s working.
Layla has started speaking full sentences. We can understand most of what she says too. We work on correct pronunciation of words often, and she catches on super fast! She certainly brings much joy to our lives. Her giggles are contagious and she thinks that so many things are hilarious. If you didn’t know, Layla has red hair. And if you’d like to know where it came from, like every single person we pass at the grocery store, it came from God. Haha. Layla loves foxes. She has a few as stuffed animals and a cozy fox chair in the living room. We may have decided that would be her animal when we realized she had red hair. Haha. But she got a stuffed red panda from the zoo this summer and it is her absolute favorite.
Speaking of the zoo, we purchased a family membership this year and it has been the BEST! We’ve gone to the zoo about 5 or 6 times since May. It was definitely a worthwhile investment for this year! We can’t wait to go a few more times this winter! The animals seem to be super active on colder days. Our last visit was amazing! It felt like we were the only people in the entire zoo.
Both of our girls bring us so much joy each day. It is so sweet to watch them both grow and learn new things. They love playing together and are each other’s best friend. Though lately, they have taken to wrestling each other on the living room floor. I thought only boys did that, but, apparently, I was wrong. Haha.
Our puppy, d’Artagnan, came down with Lymes disease this year, but recovered well after a round of meds. He’s such a good dog and we are so grateful to have him.
We took a week of vacation in August and decided to not travel this year but do things nearby that we’ve wanted to do for a while! We went to Deep Creek for the weekend and visited the beach at Herrington Manor there. We did that in 2020 as well, and Alethea has told us several times that vacation means going to the beach to build sandcastles. So that was our first destination. On our way home that weekend, we stopped at Bear Run Nature Reserve for a hike to the spot where Jonathan proposed to me! It was so fun to take both of our kids there. We had a picnic at the overlook and saw NO SNAKES this time. Praise God! Haha.
The next day, we headed to Idlewild! And while it was such a fun time, we were disappointed that it stormed right as we headed to the soak zone, and it was closed for the rest of the day. But the girls rode pretty much every ride in the kid’s park, and Alethea got to ride some of the big kid rides as well! She and I rode the Howler, which is a flying, spinning tornado ride. I couldn’t believe she was tall enough! She had so much fun! Hopefully we can go back to Idlewild next year and it’ll be nicer weather so we can enjoy the water park!
After that day, Alethea got super sick. She ended up with an ear infection and so our fun week of vacation was cut a bit short. We spent the rest of the week at home, resting up. It’s been a tough year for Alethea as she has been sick about 7 or 8 times. Colds are just miserable, especially in the summer! But that’s what happens after a year of isolation and no exposure to germs! Hopefully her immune system will be super strong in 2022.
We went to Kennywood lights a few weeks ago with some of my family, and Alethea got to ride the Jack Rabbit (a full size roller coaster) for the first time! I couldn’t believe she was tall enough, especially since they raised the height requirements for it a few years ago. She loved and hated it at the same time. But it was cold and dark, so I have a feeling that if she rides it in the summer, she’ll enjoy it more!
In addition to wife, mom, teacher, and photographer, I also help as church pianist sometimes. Many things felt like a challenge for me this year, and I’ve had to say “no” to more things than I’ve wanted to. But I can only give my absolute best when I’m not doing too much. Maybe you can relate to that? It’s a tough realization to come to, but a good one for sure.
Jonathan and I had two things in mind for this year, that we’ve been saving for.
- A newer and bigger vehicle to replace my 2006 HHR
- Remodeling our bathroom
And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that the cost for both of those things went up significantly this year. Not just that, but availability for used vehicles and building supplies is scarce. The money we saved needed to be tripled for just one of those things to be done. And good luck trying to order a bathtub. HA. You might get it in 2023.
Nevertheless, both of those things were becoming necessities fast. After investigating options for both, we decided that we desperately needed a new vehicle first. So, we looked and looked, just waiting for a van in our price range to come into the used car market. In August, we finally found one that was in our budget & new enough for us out in South Hills. We went for a test drive and took our 2016 Kia Sedona home, about a week later. It has been amazing! However, the backup camera was super glitchy. After a few trips back out to the dealer, they determined they needed to replace it. In November, I went out for that repair. It was supposed to take an hour and a half and ended up taking almost 6 weeks. Yes, you read that right. They ended up needing to replace a few other parts. So just 3 weeks ago, we finally got our van back! Having a rental car for all that time was SO STRESSFUL! But all the repairs on our van were free, so I can’t complain. The dealership was so communicative every step of the way, and we appreciated everything they did for us. So, if you’re looking for a new or used vehicle, I highly suggest looking at South Hills Toyota. Their people are fantastic in the sales and service departments. In the end, we are so grateful that we decided to buy from them.
Maybe the bathroom remodel will happen in 2022. Fingers crossed!
Jonathan and I tried to be very intentional about going on dates this year, and we achieved 1 date almost every month. It has been wonderful. We are looking forward to going away for a few days for our 5th anniversary very soon. It’ll be the first time we’ve left both kids overnight, so that will be an adventure of its own, I’m sure.
We spent a lot of time at Deep Creek this year. It was delightful. We’re all looking forward to the day when we can be back again. We love having two places to call home, two church families, and two different ways of life.
I am so thankful for all that the Lord has provided for our family and look forward to the future as we continue to trust Him. His plans are so much better than ours. I pray that God will bless you and your families as well in 2022!
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
Love Deeply. Live Passionately.
<3 Ellen Jalosky
Our family photos were taken by my wonderful sister, Kara Abbey Photography