Friday, January 01, 2010

2009: Year in Review

Each year since about 2001, I've written up a brief summary of the year, mainly so I can remember which trips we took to visit which family--because we take so many of them it gets hard to keep "The year we froze our you-know-whats off over 4th of July in Maine" separate from "The year I fell in the Nantahala River while whitewater rafting over 4th of July in North Carolina."

While my review will not even come close to being as entertaining as Dave Barry's 2009 Year in Review, it will at least not contain as much depressing stuff either. Here's last year's review, in which I also referenced that frozen Maine 4th of July. (In which year did we do that anyway?!?!?!?!)

Also, I usually choose an overarching theme for the year. 2001 was The Year of the Bunny (because we bunny-sat for my brother-in-law while he traveled around the world for eight months). 2002 was The Year of the Baby. I can't recall what the themes for 2003 and 2004 were (I'll dig around in my old pre-blog files for that information). 2005 was The Year of the Baby Girl. 2006 was The Year of the Potty (oh yes it was!), and 2007 was The Year of the Cabin. And last year was The Year of the Other Baby Boy.

Sometimes, choosing a theme is pretty straightforward, such as when there's a baby coming. But sometimes I have to be creative and find some thing or project or quality that seemed to touch our lives for a good part of that particular year. I've thought and thought about 2009, and I've finally hit on it. So, without further ado, I give you:

2009: The Year of the Blog

  • After ringing in the New Year quietly at home, we had a huge weekend-long party at the cabin with a whole bunch of friends for another friend's birthday.
  • Ryan earned his yellow belt in Taekwondo.
  • We saw the King Tut exhibit with good friends. It was so cool.
  • I began writing on the blog about parenting philosophy in earnest. In wordy earnest.
  • Homeschool and kid activities kept us pretty busy, as per our usual.

  • We hosted a rather raucous Super Bowl party, and then I canceled our satellite service the next day (the two events were not correlated, however).
  • We had Parent's Day at Morgan's ballet class and it was Cute.
  • We attended the first Tea Party in Atlanta (IN THE POURING RAIN!), and accidentally attracted some attention to ourselves (both good, in that Michelle Malkin entitled a blog post after a sign Morgan was holding, and not-so-good, in that some disagreed with our bringing our kids to such an event and allowing them to hold signs).
  • I kept on writing about parenting, accidentally attracting even more attention to myself.
  • I have to admit that I started getting really nervous about all of this attention I was attracting (the good and the not-so-good), and then decided that since I was going to do my own thing anyway, I might as well write about it on the blog.
  • I got an iPhone (the better to tweet you with, my dear!)

  • I kept writing about parenting and politics on the blog. And Jane Nelsen, author of many Positive Discipline books (and I think she coined the term) even commented on one of my parenting posts!
  • Sean was rapidly transforming from a helpless little baby into a mobile destructive toddler. With reddish blonde hair. (Still such a smoochable boy!)
  • Brendan's brothers and mother and future step-father and aunt all came to town to celebrate Morgan's 4th birthday. She had a puppy birthday party and received an enormous stuffed dog as a gift.
  • Because of Twitter and writing about the Tea Party experience on the blog, I sort of got to know a couple of the local (soon-to-be national) Tea Party organizers.

  • There was a little incident with pink paint and carpet.
  • We went to DC to visit my parents over Easter. We also got to meet Amy and her family--another bloggy connection, since she and I had become semi-frequent commenters on each other's blogs.
  • One of the local (soon-to-be national) Tea Party organizers invited ME to record a statement to be broadcast at the Atlanta Tax Day Tea Party. Amazingly, I did (and I remember getting good Tweet Vibes from Diana, among others, on the day of the recording--knowing I had some people rooting for me really helped steady my nerves).
  • I got to meet John (of John and Ansley fame) in person at the Tea Party, and Ansley and their son shortly afterward. All of these bloggy/internet contacts were materializing into actual people! Pretty cool.
  • Ryan managed to turn seven years old, and I still can't for the life of me figure out how on earth he got to be that old.

  • We started May with a garage sale and generally enjoying the nice weather, if I recall. Little did we know that it would begin to change and we'd have the rainiest year in 50 years.
  • I participated in the first Twitter party for #foodallergy tweeps, and got to know even MORE people via Twitter!
  • We celebrated five years of Ryan being anaphylaxis-free.
  • Brendan managed to have a birthday in which nobody tried to kill him by using the remote on his insulin pump (that happened one year), or ended up in the hospital with anaphylaxis (that happened another year), or nearly had a car accident. Good times.
  • My other grandfather passed away on May 19. That was three grandparents Brendan and I lost in 14 months.
  • Ryan finished up another successful Chess class at our homeschool co-op program.
  • We ended the month watching a Beatles tribute band play a concert at Marietta Square.

  • Sean and I traveled out to California for my grandfather's memorial service. When we returned, Brendan and the kids, under the competent direction of my friend Kelly, had completely redone our front flower beds. That was so nice.
  • Ryan earned his green belt in taekwondo!
  • Morgan had her dance recital and it was SO cute. I was the backstage mom, which I was nervous about, but I managed to do it with the help of a friend. It was fun to be the backstage mom, but I was glad when it was over!
  • My parents came down for Morgan's recital and Sean's birthday, which we celebrated that same weekend.
  • Sean turned 1 on the 20th! We celebrated with a pool party and lots of cake and many friends. He celebrated by learning to walk two days after his birthday.
  • I joined Jane Nelsen's Positive Discipline Ning group. And kept a-writing!
  • I had an LTE printed in the AJC about health care, thus proving that I'm capable of writing about something other than my children.

  • All of the other Objectivists in the world except for me and my local friends attended OCON in Boston. Well, not really, but it felt that way. :o) My good friend, C. August, attended and gave me lots of good scoop about the conference and lectures he attended, and all of the cool kids he got to meet in person.
  • The kids finally got to participate in the neighborhood's 4th of July parade, an event marred only by the EXTREME heat, the non-safe food at the party, and the fact that too many people mistook Ryan for a pirate instead of the Minuteman he clearly was.
  • We skipped the local Atlanta tea party protests, partly because of the heat, and mostly because it was really disorganized. Haven't been back to one yet.
  • My mother-in-law came for a visit, and we all partied like crazy. Well, we did go to a tea shop with Morgan. :o)
  • Somewhere along the way, I got to meet another Objectivist blogger in person, Dan Edge.
  • Ryan and Morgan learned how to work the washing machine, and there was much rejoicing!

  • Our extracurricular activities started up (homeschool co-op, that is), and this time Morgan got to take a class!
  • And yet, Ryan did not start 2nd grade at the local government school. :o)
  • We went to the Outer Banks with friends, as we are wont to do.
  • I became one of the administrators for a new Diana OList: OGrownups! We are currently at 176 members and counting!
  • The cabin rented like crazy all summer, which was a surprise to me. I had been expecting lower rental rates due to the sucky economy. Turns out that our proximity to Atlanta and reasonable prices for a weekend getaway (especially if split among more than one family) makes for an inexpensive vacation option.
  • I bequeathed the Living with Food Allergies blog carnival to a fellow food allergy blogger, and despite some bumps with Blog Carnival, it's still underway.
  • I began learning how to become a Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator. The trick is to take the classes, which I have yet to do because they are not often offered in my area. But I am signed up for one with March.
  • Brendan's big enormous project FINALLY wound up, necessitating a contract/job search.

  • One of Brendan's friends recommended that he interview for a full-time position at the company he works for. While not especially looking for a full-time position, Brendan went on the interview and wowed the peopleguys there. Given how hard it was to find contract work, and that much of our investments went poof! in the stock market over the previous 12 months, he accepted the position and would begin in October.
  • Homeschool co-op was off to a rip-roaring start. Ryan also began listening to pre-recorded Ancient History lectures at History at our House, and LOVED it.
  • Brendan and the kids worked on clearing out the basement (and we even had a rental dumpster for the occasion), to make room for the stuff at his old office, which he would no longer need now that he had another job. Red Top Software is still in business, only it's become a second job for him, and one that he manages from home, just like in the olden days.
  • We headed to Walt Disney World at the end of the month to meet up with my parents, who were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary (Sept 13). We had fun.

  • We returned from Florida only to turn around and head up to Wisconsin for my mother-in-law's wedding! Talk about climate shock. But, yay for them!
  • I vowed never to travel again, and so far have managed to keep that vow. The only trip on the horizon for 2010 is our August journey to OBX.
  • Brendan started his new job. It was a bit of an adjustment for all of us, especially for him, having to wake up super early and be across town at an ungodly hour (8:30). But we're managing! The steady paycheck is nice, and so are paid holidays (like today!).
  • We also started moving Brendan out of his RTS office. Super fun.
  • Ryan earned his purple belt in taekwondo!
  • I got to meet some other Objectivists, one who specifically asked to meet me because he was going to be in town. How cool is that? I'm sort of famous!
  • Our Halloween party was rocking, as usual. And we had a visit to the pumpkin farm for the first time. Kinda peanutty, but fun.
  • The cabin was still renting like crazy!

  • This month was pretty routine, which was a nice change of pace from our non-routine traveling thing. We did some homeschool stuff--did I mention that both big kids are emerging as strong readers? Well, they are!
  • Brendan's new job was going well. While it's not spectacularly interesting, we're not complaining! Especially with how the economy has been going.
  • We finally got the rest of Brendan's stuff moved out of his office, and are now using that money previously spent on renting it for other things. Like bills, and food.
  • I got to spend my birthday at the cabin with my family and closest friends. We decorated for Christmas and drank way too much champagne. It's hard to believe I'm only 29. ;)
  • We hosted Thanksgiving here with our friends.

  • Everyone started to get hyper excited for Christmas, and asked me approximately 27 times a day if it was Christmas yet.
  • My brother-in-law paid us a visit in mid-December, ostensibly to celebrate his birthday--it's hard to believe he's only 29. ;p .
  • I was determined to have a low-stress holiday season, and I'm happy to say that I accomplished that goal! It was LOVELY.
  • My sister, her husband, brother, and his girlfriend joined us for the Christmas stretch and we had a great time!
  • My brother, due to his personal proximity to my uncle's house, brought me the grandfather clock made by our maternal grandfather (who passed away in November 2008). It's such a great heirloom. Now if I can only figure out how to make it work!
  • We spent New Year's Eve with a movie marathon and a slumber party on the family room floor. Well, I went and slept in my bed, because 29 is too old to be sleeping on a floor. And I brought Seanie with me, because 18 months is too young to be allowed to wander the house unsupervised. But everyone else passed out on the floor. We're all recovering from a cold, so we're saving the champagne for when we're back to 100%.

And that's that! This was the Year of the Blog, because I had many opportunities open up to me because of this blog. I met new people, got to speak at a big tea party, and got to e-know a little better some people I respect (for example, Diana in the Objectivist bloggy realm, Jane Nelsen in the parenting realm). I have some other opportunities, too, but I'm saving them for later, mostly because I haven't had a chance to pursue them fully yet.

I have also gained something over the past couple of years: perspective. In my mom's family, people usually refer to "perspective" as "old age" but really, it's "perspective." :o) I'm clear about my values: my family, my work (raising my kids and writing), my health.

In the last couple of years, I've witnessed a few destructive mid-life crises, that happened partly because the people involved did not have their values clear and straight. I've seen a high school friend battling deadly cancer. Another high school friend unexpectedly lost a dear family member before the holidays. A local mommy blogger suffered a stroke (she's 35) before Thanksgiving. Perspective is a Good Thing.

Life is precious, and finite. Live yours to the utmost, and try to squeeze all of the enjoyment out of each moment that you can. Get your priorities straight and chase your values passionately!

Here's to an amazing 2010!

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