2009 was a bad year for the economy. More people were losing jobs and the unemployment rates skyrocketed. I was still unemployed but instead of worrying about how we would make ends meet, I pretty much left that in God's hands and I think he did a great job taking care of our family this year. I got news yesterday that I will be starting a new temp job on Monday.
This totally goes along with my silly theory that I always start jobs around holidays (4th of July, Halloween, Christmas is Friday and the day I start is my Dad's birthday...) I know it's a funny theory, but it's never let me down. I'm truly grateful that this happened, though. Charlie will be 19 months old when he starts daycare. I am happy that we were able to spend the first year and a half of his life together having Mommy and Charlie time. I was able to provide him with all he needed to grow and become healthy including breastfeeding him till he decided he was done with it at almost a year, making him his baby foods from scratch and not dealing with strange additives or preservatives or food allergies, cloth diapering him saving hundreds of dollars in diapers (although he will need to go to disposables when he starts daycare.) Plus we had lots of fantastic play dates, made lots of great friends (both him and me), and we always found something interesting to do in town that ranged from free to cheap like going to fairs, parades, the Lavender Festival, pug meet ups, parks, and so many other things. Anyway, I just feel like He had a plan for our family that included me being able to raise our son and Jesse being able to explore new opportunities.
There is a very great chance he will be deploying to Iraq for a contract job as an armorer for a private company that has a government contract supplying guns to the military. Anyway, while there's that whole issue of danger and the sadness of him being gone, it is a chance for him to do something he loves that will have such a huge positive impact for us financially. He has a few more things to do and after that, to my understanding, he goes into the rotation for deployment.
Aside from financial blessings, we had a lot of strange winnings. In June, Charlie, Lulu and I participated in the NV Humane Society's fun walk fund raiser. We won second place in the pet look-alike contest and Lulu received a goodie bag full of pug dog treats and toys along with a fun ribbon. Then, I won one of the three grand prize packages of a getaway to Lake Tahoe with a hotel stay and show. Jesse and I finally went on Sunday and came home yesterday. It was truly beautiful. Our room had a lovely view of the lake, the strip and the parking garage (where most people would probably scoff, but we could see the Oldsmobile so it was a treat!) The drive out there was gorgeous and on our way home, it started to drizzle and we saw a huge rainbow that peeked out from the clouds overhead and reached down to the farmlands where cows looked confused at the strange colors touching the ground around them. It was so huge and amazing and the children in us both questioned whether there was a pot of gold at the end. I said if there was, the cows had dibs on it! The most amazing thing, though, was driving under it, as it arced over the highway and followed us to Reno. While Tahoe was a splendid time all in all, I still am more moved by the rainbow.
Other prizes of the year included another award winning pie at the NV State Fair. I got second place again for my Upside Down Dutch Apple Pie. I joked with my mom that after two consecutive years of second place pies, I believe I will be retiring from the pie circuit. I like the idea of leaving while I'm on top and not getting greedy. Next year we'll go to the fair, it'll just be for rides and the animals. I love the fair!
For Halloween, Lulu won second place at Petco's Howl-a-ween costume contest with her Grandma costume. Charlie dressed up as the Little Bad Wolf and I was Big Red Riding Hood. They looked so cute together! Lulu was such a proud little pug with her prize. I felt really happy, too, because I made both their costumes. The funny thing was that my mom made my Red Riding Hood cape when I was little and it still fits, it just doesn't go to my knees, now it comes to my butt.
Speaking of Halloween, Charlie did his first ever trick-or-treating. We went out when it was dark with some of his friends. He absolutely loved it. I will never forget his excitement and smile he had as he ran from door to door holding my hand and how his voice bounced going ah-ah-ah-ah-ah from each step he took. He loved it. And I know next year is going to be even more fun for him.
Charlie loves holidays in general. Easter was fun for him. He loved all the candies he got as well as playing with the plastic eggs.
Charlie got a new room for his birthday. Around the time he turned one, we managed to go to LA for his birthday and celebrate with family and friends, and when we returned, we were rapping up moving into the rental house. He no longer had to sleep in the living room in his crib. Part of this new room included a new big man bed.
While there have been issues with the house in the past, everything is coming along nicely now and getting to a better place with landlords and things of the sort. We grew a lovely garden this summer and I look forward to doing it again next summer.
We have been fortunate enough to have visited friends and family as well as have them visit us. We've been able to do lots of great things and all without breaking the bank. So, in a strange way, 2009 was actually a wonderful year for us.
In conclusion, I say if you can afford to give to a charity, do so. If you can spare time to volunteer, do so. If you can offer advice or lend a hand, do so. There is no right or wrong way when it comes to helping. Everything in life is appreciated. Don't stress things you have no control over. Enjoy the little things. And it's never wrong to count your blessings. On that note, I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas this Friday and a Happy New Year. Happy Hannukah to those who celebrated it. Happy holidays to everyone and may 2010 bring you great joy, happiness, and hopefully the economy gets better so that those who need work get it, and those who have it get raises they might not have got and deserve. Cheers!