A Few 2020 Wishes



Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe it’s January again- a new month, year…DECADE! I’m wishing everyone the best year ever! ! 2020 is going to be a memorable one for our family…

The holidays were gone in a flash…I blinked, and POOF! It’s a new year. Our holiday season 2019 was good; we hosted our annual Christmas party, visited with friends, and went to see the classic holiday film at our town hall theater (this year’s flick was The Shop Around the Corner, with Jimmy Stewart, 1940 – such a cute movie). It was also my turn to hostess a holiday meal on Christmas Eve with my best friend’s family.

The Christensen family, Dec. 2019

The Christensen family, Dec. 2019

We “lost” a few days with a snowstorm followed by an earlier-than-usual icestorm, but managed to pull off Christmas despite the weather (thank you, Amazon)!



Snow, ice, and fox prints at the henhouse, oh my!

Snow, ice, and fox prints at the henhouse, oh my!

I burned too much midnight oil (staying up to 2:30 AM Christmas Eve to finish a knitting project I wanted to go under the tree). My daughter caught a cold that turned into a bad sinus infection, and I’m currently under my favorite quilt, nursing a nasty monster of a cold, fever, and cough, but getting better every day.

Actual photo of me, after the holidays

Actual photo of me, after the holidays

We also have a sick kitty. In the midst of the busiest holiday weekend, our little indoor-only cat became ill suddenly. Several vet visits, special food, and three medicines later, he’s improved, but please keep your fingers crossed and say a little prayer for our good boy. Male kitties are prone to UTI’s, and things can go downhill quickly.



Despite 2020 starting on a less-than-ideal note, we’ve much to be thankful for and to look forward to. November 2020 will mark TEN years that I’ve written the Suburban Farmgirl Blog for MaryJanesFarm. It’s hard to believe, as it seems like yesterday I wrote that first post. Finding the happy world of MaryJanesFarm was like finding “home”. I’m grateful for each and every Farmgirl friend made through the chat room and here through the blog. You’ve all shared so much with me; the world seems smaller and cozier. 

MaryJane, with me and Audrey, shortly before I started writing the blog for MJF.

MaryJane, me and Audrey, shortly before I started writing the blog for MJF.

2020 brings a big event for our family: our daughter will graduate from high school in June. When I started writing here, she was only seven. Dear readers, you’ve watched her grow up! I can’t begin to tell you what a PROUD MAMA I AM!

My daughter is the light of my life!  Spending time with her makes me a happy mama.

My daughter is the light of my life! Spending time with her makes me a happy mama.

My beautiful inside-and-out daughter makes straight A’s, takes high honors classes, plays violin in the school orchestra, bass guitar in the school jazz-improv-band, and is a Girl Scout, about to finish and receive her Gold Award- the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve. She’s the President of her school’s Tech Club (and the first female president of the club, to boot). My “little buddy” has morphed like a butterfly into this amazing, smart, talented young woman. 

Having a high school senior makes life so busy! Kids (and their parents) have much more stress than previous generations. There’s immense pressure to do well in school, there’s ACT and SAT tests, college visits, college applications (confusingly done online now), and the pressure to decide if and where they want to go, all while having to deal with the harsh realities of what awful things can happen in life (our town unfortunately experienced this first-hand). 

There’s heavy worry as a parent that really kicks in at this age. Watching the school bus leave that first day for kindergarten is awful, but what’s worse? Watching your teenager drive away the first time, knowing there’s more distracted drivers on the roads now than ever before. We spent last summer getting my daughter her license, and while it gives the “mom taxi” more freedom, it is also brings me a new batch of potent, dye-resistant grey hair.

Proud mama with my girl who got her license on the first try, scoring perfectly. Way to go!

Proud mama with my girl who got her license on the first try, scoring perfectly. Way to go!

Then there’s the college visits, scary but exciting. We’re so proud of our girl for knowing what she wants to do in life, and where she wants to go. 

On a college tour.

On a college tour.

When I was pregnant, all anyone talked to me about was being pregnant, with this advice, and that advice, not always delivered in a friendly way. I remember getting a manicure in my ninth month. A stranger at the drying table asked when I was due and if I’d have a “natural” birth. When I answered that I had to have a planned c-section because my daughter was breech (we both would have died otherwise, there was no alternative), the woman became angry and berated me for it. (Trust me, there was nothing “convenient” about a c-section).

She was “my little buddy” right from the start.

My little buddy”,  right from the start, here at six months.

Later, as a toddler we took daily walks. I ended up changing my route because an overly-nosy stranger would always run over to give me a hard time that the baby was overdressed/underdressed/sunburned (she wasn’t, she was covered in spf-one-million-sunscreen and would turn red whenever it was warm). It seemed as though when I was a young mom all anyone would talk to me about was just that: being a mom. Everyone had advice and knew better than me, or so they spoke that way. 

The same thing happens as soon as your child becomes a senior in high school. My daughter is kind, thoughtful, and at 17 can hold a conversation better than some adults twice her age. She’s traveled around the world with and without her parents, and has seen a lot of the United States. She’s capable and independent, yet has a strong bond to family. As a high school senior, all anyone talks to her about anymore is college. She applied and was accepted to three universities. She has a path in mind (with a double major and a backup plan) of what she wants to do in school and in life. She has chosen to go to a state university nearby and commute. Adults, some she doesn’t even know, inquire where she is going to school/what she is going to do, only to knock her school choice or criticize her dreams when she answers. 

Which brings me to my second little request: please, give teenagers a chance. Be kind to them. Let them be the young adults they’re turning into. Let them dream, reach for their goals, and try. Congratulate them and let their parents guide them. From the minute our kids our able to walk and talk, they’re told they “can be anything they want to be”, only then to hear they’re going to fail when they try. There’s no promises that the paths we take will be easy in life. We were all young teens starting out once. Young adults need the chance to make their own path in life and to also make their own mistakes. We should be lifting them up, not knocking them down. I’m usually polite and try hard to let things roll off of me (“don’t sweat the small stuff”) but Mama Bear has noticed. I’ve seen less-than-kind actions happen to my daughter, and her friends, often by acquaintances or strangers. Not all teens are “Rebels Without A Cause” like James Dean, (love my old movies!); some are changing their world for the better. 

In this culture filled with oversharing, we sometimes forget manners and overstate opinions. If you start a sentence to a young adult (that isn’t your child) with “you should…”, then maybe you shouldn’t. My daughter’s been told everything from “You should go AWAY to college”, to “You won’t make a great salary in that industry,” (not true; we’ve researched and know those in that line of work. Anyway, she should do what makes her happy). Life will knock our kids about; that is a given. I’m thrilled my daughter is planning her life the way she is… I hope her dreams all come true. 


To the parents of young kiddos, cherish every second. Each stage goes so fast. It’s made more aware for mamas of “only” children- each milestone is the last. For our little family, the year will fly by. Whatever lays ahead for you and your family in 2020, I wish you the best, and a Happy New Year! Please leave me a comment and let me know you stopped by! Visit again for the next Suburban Farmgirl Blog, online February 11th.


Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole


  1. Denise says:

    Hi Nicole and a very happy new year to you and yours this year. It’s certainly an exciting year for you, yes it sure does fly by. It’s sad and exciting all at once when our children are finishing up a season in life. Your daughter sounds like she has a great balance of interests and has goals. I’m sure she will do well in whatever life decisions she goes with. Learning and growing through hard work, mistakes and following dreams and goals is life.
    It’s everyone’s stories in life. I don’t like others pointing out the negatives to me either, so not necessary when the decisions are ours alone to make. I’ve had to deal with the same over the year’s, everyone has an opinion and for some reason likes to share it when it none of their business anyway.
    Thank you for a lovely post as always, you look amazing by the way.
    Happy new year from Australia xx

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Denise! Thank you so much! Happy New Year to you!

      You are so right- “learning and growing through hard work, mistakes, and following dreams and goals is life.” So true. Everyone is entitled to an opinion – but not entitled to being negative just for the sake of it, especially when it comes to young adults. Many times, it seems the negative is the only things some people ever see, which is sad.

      On another note, I have been watching what is going on in Australia with the wildfires. Please know that all of our hearts over here in the USA are with you all.

  2. Marlene Capelle says:

    My sister is going through the same thing you are. Her only child, a daughter, is a senior in high school. She, her daughter, has to do everything because it’s the last time she’ll ever have a chance in high school. I don’t know how my sister keeps up. And the knowledge that next fall she’ll be off to college is destroying my sister. I wish everyone going through this some peaceful joyful times together. But now you get to have an adult relationship and that’s a whole new gift. Happy New Year.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marlene, I am not feeling unhappy about my daughter graduating. I am thrilled that she has done so well and I am so excited that she picked where she is going and will still be close. We remain close, but I also keep plenty busy, too. In addition to being a “Farmgirl”, I spend a lot of time with my husband, have friends that I get together with frequently (girlfriends are very important), I have my home, dogs, cats, and chickens to take care of, I teach classes, blog, and am an Advanced Master Gardener. I am a Glamper with a vintage camper. Come summer, I will be gardening and that also takes an immense amount of time. I love crafts, knit and sew (so many projects!) and just joined a book club on top of it all. I loved having a small, little girl, but I also love that my daughter is now my best friend, too, and still needs me but not in the same way. It’s all good! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. Marlene Capelle says:

    And to Denise in Australia, love and prayers to everyone and every animal there.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Oh Marlene, I know! It just makes me cry. My mama and I were on the phone together today, and just talking about how awful and sad it is. Those poor animals. Godspeed to those fighting the fires and helping those poor wildlife creatures. Denise, much love your way! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Judy says:

    Dearest Mama Bear, I can’t believe I’ve been thru this child’s upbringing with you
    (sort of… I’ve missed a few steps). Hahaha Seriously though, I joined MJFarms about the same time as you. I lurked for a couple of years before I joined officially, but I remember when she was 7. Wow! Where HAS the time gone? I think you’ve done an amazing job(just saying) and you have every right to be proud! Whatever she chooses next in her dream path…I feel she’s ready. Good job/Well done Mama Bear
    *patpatpat* …giggle…

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Judy! Thank you, thank you for such a nice comment! Can you believe how fast time flies? I still can’t wrap my head around it. I remember the day I joined the Farmgirl Sisterhood, and marvel at all the wonderful things we Farmgirls have shared with each other! And as a parent, it is weird. All of a sudden, it’s the “last” time you step on a LEGO, but don’t realize it until you look back, but looking forward is so exciting, too! Thank you again, dear Farmgirl! Hugs right back to you, Nicole

  5. Martha Clausen says:

    Dearest Nicole and Audrey

    I would like to send an e-chin scritch to Norman. I have a soft spot for orange tabby cats . I really hope that he gets back to his normal self soon.

    When I raised a teenager many years ago the world was so different. That being said nosy, non-listening adults are still prevalent, even more so.

    Reading about the strong family that is behind Audrey and the fact that she knows who she is makes me smile. I feel she will succeed in her chosen field and I would love to meet you all.


    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Martha, Thank you!! I can’t wait for Audrey to read the wonderful comments today!

      As for Norman, he is doing okay. We are keeping a close watch and hope he recovers fully. He is just the sweetest lump of love ever! I wish you could hear him purr. It is the loudest purr.

      Thank you again for your kind words. Wishing you a very Happy New Year! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Nanette says:

    Happy New Year, Nicole. I began motherhood in my 30s and received lots of unsolicited advise too. I decided to take the best from everyone’s advise and forget the rest.
    This will be the best year yet. Senior year is so fun, especially with a daughter. Enjoy every minute of it. The hardest part of motherhood for me was when both my children moved three hours away the same month. Even in cold, snowy North Dakota I managed to see them every month until driving home in the worst February snowstorm brought me to my senses. Talk about a mama bear!!!
    Congratulations on raising such an accomplished daughter. Best wishes to her on whatever she chooses. Hope you’re feeling better by now. Nanette

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Happy New Year, Nanette! Thank you so much for your kind and wise words. So true. I can just see you driving through heavy snow to see your bear cubs! I hope you still get to see them often.

      We are all on the mend. Everyone I know around here has had some “creepy crud” virus of some sort. This week we really all feel better, almost 100 percent.

      Hope you have a nice winter, and thank you for reading and commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  7. Beverly Battaglia says:

    Great blog, Nicole. I am so proud of Audrey too! I cried when I saw her sweet baby picture. She was such a sweet and affectionate baby girl. I loved the pictures. I am proud of both of you and love you both.

  8. Teresa Papadimitriou says:

    Hi, Fellow Mama Bear,
    You’re right. Time passes no matter what the day brings. I’ve turned around a few times and my one and only daughter is approaching 35. We all have better hindsight than foresight. Congratulations on your chick venturing from your nest. Best wishes to each of you as our new year unfolds.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Teresa, Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I bet though your daughter is 35, she is still your “baby chick”. I tell my daughter that all the time. A dear neighbor growing up used to make me giggle. She was well in her 90’s and used to write to me letters after I moved out of state. (She was like a grandmother to me growing up). She would write about what her daughter was up to, who was in her 70’s at the time, affectionately calling her “my baby” or “the baby” . I always loved that. Happy New Year to you and yours! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. Dinah says:

    So many truths written here. Here’s to 2020! Wishing your sweet girl all the happiness and success she so deserves!! Dinah

  10. Denise says:

    as usual I love reading your post. best of luck to your daughter and I hope she totally enjoys “her” choice of college and the path “she” has chosen to take!

  11. Ariel says:

    I’m so very happy that your daughter has grown into such a lovely young woman.
    I know how are it is to have a sick furry child. I’ve added him to my prayers.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Ariel, thank yo so much. Isn’t it difficult when the fur-babies are ill? They can’t tell us when something is wrong, but thankfully we are so in tune with our pets we knew something was “off”. Norman is such a sweet little kitty, and he is on the road to recovery. He is NOT happy about the special food, though, LOL! Thanks so much for the prayers. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  12. Marilyn says:

    Your daughter sounds like a lovely and well adjusted young lady. Good for her in wanting to go to a college near home. Why should any one tell her her choices are wrong. Your daughter obviously knows what is right for her. Wishing you and your family a blessed,happy and healthy 2020. God Bless.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marilyn, Thank you so much for saying such nice things. I am going to have my daughter read all of the wonderful comments. We have lived here in New England for over 25 years, but we have no family nearby. I am so thrilled she is choosing to stay nearby. 🙂

      Have a wonderful New Year! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  13. Pamela says:

    Sisters and Mothers are so wise, caring & thoughtful. First of all, sounds like you have done a great job as a mother with parenting your daughter with love and respect.
    Difficulties have always been a part of growing up. The problems are just different. I
    learned that from my own youth and in raising 3 sons in Massachusetts and Kansas.
    I still remember all the unwanted & critical advice even starting with my first born whom
    the nurse said would starve if I did not supplement formula with breastmilk! All my
    sons are kind, caring & responsible men today. They each chose a different path, but
    I love and respect them all. My advice to your daughter is to pursue her passion and
    just go for it. Loving your life work is the most important path. Thank you for taking the
    time to write – insightful, interesting and I so enjoy your posts.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Pamela, Thank you for such nice words. I love this comment. Isn’t it true, the saying, “Love what you do and it will never seem like work”. Whatever my daughter decides to do, I just want her to always be happy. Thanks for reading and commenting – it means a lot. Happy New Year to you! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  14. Judy says:

    The best of everything to your daughter!! Exciting times…the world is her oyster!!

  15. Brandy says:

    Good Day Nicole,
    May you and yours have a blessed New Year as well. I was blessed to read your blog today. We are parents of an only and yes the milestones are passing us by so fast. We are proud to give her the time to make her own decisions and we try to guide them the best we can. It isn’t always easy but necessary. We are grateful to know we are not alone in how we are raising our daughter. It sounds like you have done a wonderful job and we pray she loves what she does in life. That alone is half the battle. Thank you for the words of encouragement. I also wish people would be more supportive of others and their choices instead of trying to give them unwarranted advice. I have been known to let my momma bear out also when I do not like what someone expresses to my child. I pray one day God will give me the filter needed to let it go. 🙂 Once again thank you.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Dear Brandy, thank you so much for your nice and encouraging comment. It warms my heart to know thatI am not alone, either, in having an only child and raising her the way I have. May your daughter follow her heart and do what makes her happy in life, as well. Thank you again, and Happy New Year! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  16. Rebecca says:

    Such a thought provoking blog! I’m so happy for your daughter (and for you). She sounds amazing. It’s difficult to listen to advice that’s not welcome or even good. I wish the best for her in this next stage of life.

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