I tend to look ahead far more often than I look back, so I took some time today to look at 2009 and all that it has brought me (and Mike!). It has been a year of change and blessings, but also some minor freaking out. Blogging is wonderful for many reasons, but being able to look back is one of my favorites. Tomorrow I'll work on some resolutions (using this guide), but today? I'm just counting my blessings. You are one of them, you know.
I started off the year gushing about how happy I am that my family is awesome and lives close to me (what else is new?) Then one cold January night, in hopes I'd start my freelance design business, I bought my beloved MacBook and Adobe Creative Suite CS4. And I got my first freelance design project that month, designing a research poster for a graduate student at Harvard. I also quit Twitter that month, talked about how easy composting is, kicked off my 101 in 1001 list, and found our president's children quite adorable. We also visited our good friend Tim in Ithaca in the dead cold of winter in a place that is colder than Cleveland.
I committed to spending money on Etsy or locally instead of at Target this month, and encouraged others to join me (and they awesomely did). Mike and I video blogged together for the first time, which was ridiculously fun. Actually, I video blogged twice that month, apparently. Lord help us all. I reflected on the frustrations of growing old as I saw through Mike's grandmothers and visited one of them for the last time. I got a new passport and promised to travel more in 2009 than I did in 2008. I talked about why I want to have kids, and finished up my FAQ series with questions mostly about Mike and marriage.
The month started with a very important discussion about eyebrows. Then, I declared no more Made in China purchases, and promptly failed the next day. I continued anguishing over my career direction (and have subsequently decided this angst will be a permanent fixture in my life). I designed my first blog header for someone else and took college students to a conference in Washington D.C. I also traveled to El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico that month - which was happily warmer than Ohio. I saw some adorable singing children there (and some less adorable military guys with HUGE guns.) (This was also the beginning of Googlers being disappointed that "Mexican Cuties" pointed them to a video of children singing about Jesus.) Oh, and a random guy hit on me in Target, which is exciting for a married woman.
The sewing obsession took full force this month and I created the pattern for the hobo bags for my Etsy shop. I also made some amazing peanut butter filled chocolate cupcakes topped with chocolate ganache icing and declared myself officially in love with peanut butter and chocolate. (And also: this cookbook.) I showed you my favorite fabric, how to make a cooking product work with curly hair, and ran away from the internets in need of a break. (I tend to get overwhelmed, in case you missed that.)
That blog break didn't last too long. I pondered what success means, and began the Great Job Search of '09. I got an interview and a job offer right away, but didn't know if I should take it. So, I asked you guys. I went with my gut and turned down a job during a recession (without having another job offer. Because I am crazy.) The day I turned down the job, I jetted off to El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico for a week. This time, to take students on a trip to learn about the border. It. Was. Amazing.
A week-long trip to the beach was a fabulous opportunity to catch up on relaxation and get an awful sunburn (I still shuder when I think about it.) I got a second interview and a job offer at two schools. I confessed I wear cheap clothes and that I'm scared of committment. I continued training for the 10K, went to a Switchfoot concert, and my cousin's fabulous wedding. (The second of three weddings that month.) I also shared a story of my bathing suit top coming off in Hawaii. The month ended with my wonderful friend Katie getting married (and running a 5K that morning.Booyah!)
In a nutshell, July 2009 was possibly one of the BEST months of my life. It started out with getting my nose pierced, then running a 10K (third in my age group!), and moving to a duplex in a fun neighborhood. (With great recycling services!) We tried an amazingly delicious restaurant, I bought a Canon Rebel with my Etsy profits, and we planned the Great Road Trip of 09. Words cannot suffice to explain this road trip. Surreal. It was an amazing way to see the country and so wonderful to experience with Mike. I'm really glad I decided to blog about it, because looking back is fun (and makes me a bit wistful, but all good trips do that, right?) We danced to Beyonce in the car while driving to Iowa City, ate at amazing restaurants in Omaha and Denver, camped around Colorado for a few days (where an ant bit my butt at 2am), then drove over to (the insanely! gorgeous!) Zion National Park in Utah before heading to Las Vegas for a day. Vegas was a lot to take in. We stayed in Los Angeles for a few days and I explained how a trip to North Caroline morphed into a cross-country road trip from Ohio to LA. It was in LA I met some of the coolest people (eh, bloggers) ever and fell in love with In-n-Out animal-style fries. We ended the trip by hiking in the Grand Canyon and traveling through New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and St. Louis. Oh, how I loved this month.
I started my new job this month, which I was pretty nervous about. It was a great beginning though and I fell in love with the girls right away. We took a quick trip to Chicago for our second anniversary and a Phish concert before the school year started. Many of you commiserated with me about looking younger than we are, and I experienced my first week of high school for the second time in my life.
Labor Day came and went and summer ended this month. It was sad. About a month after I started my job, I crumbled under the stress, writing several posts basically saying: "Help! How do I get it all done! Must clean, exercise, commute, work, blog, craft, ahhhh. Collapse onto floor and do nothing." I shared about Mike's birthday present and our trip to Ann Arbor. I also started taking another graphic design class. We talked about how couples fight. Get over it. Mike and I don't have a TV, and I told everyone about it. Most of you thought it was cool, a few of you probably think I'm crazy. It's cool. I probably am. My nose piercing was driving me cra-azy this month, but I stuck with it. (Might have been that whole crazy part?) The newest member of my family was born near the end of the month, and I got to visit her when she was only 12-hours-old.
I whined a little more about searching desperately for that illusive work-life balance, we found mice in our house, I took my sisters on a fabulous photo shoot (wherein I felt like a total photographer, it was a happy feeling), and I gave away Sharpies for my 25th birthday. I went on a retreat with high school girls from work on my birthday (in a ridiculously gorgeous park). I got tons of chocolate and cookbooks for my birthday. I also began a four-month commitment to only buying second-hand clothing. I dressed up as Hermione for Halloween and Mike took the GRE at the end of the month and rocked it. Hard.
Since I was participating in NaBloPoMo, I had time share a LOT about myself. Like how I explored my creativity in the form of lots of new products for my Etsy shop, cried at work, met a man who stole my heart, and that food is my splurge item (and won $100 from Alice.com for it. You know I spent it on food, there, right?). I decided I still liked being near my family and did another photo shoot. I found out what is really in non-dairy creamer and vowed to never touch it again. I mused about religion and shared a few recipes. I was overwhelmed again (see a theme here?) and went down to Georgia with my school to protest the teaching of torture. While I was gone, a few of my favorites guest blogged here, including my sister (!), Tam, Amy, and Dana. Mike learned Falling Slowly for me over Thanksgiving break and the two of us video blogged for the second time together.
December has been a nice, quiet month - as tends to happen when we have two weeks off work to merely laze about and eat fudge. It's delightful, really. The most exciting thing was getting a new domain and spinning on the off ramp of a highway. Just thrilling. I mused some more about careers and passion and had a really great day filled with coffee and cousins. I set some goals I failed to keep and did a bit of shopping. Lots of baking and sister-time, too. And a dance party on Christmas Day. Which I haven't told you about yet, but OH I so will.