Thursday, January 1, 2009

Reflections and Predictions - Ready or not, it's 2009

First of all, Jamie & I had a lovely New Year's Eve last night. We celebrated with a relatively low key, late dinner at The Melting Pot with our friends, Matt & Nicole. Fabulous fondue feast, great conversation, and a champagne toast - and back home in time to ring in the New Year with the boys. It was absolutely perfect. I'm so glad we were joined by Matt & Nicole. Elise celebrated the New Year with Grandma & PaPa, who graciously babysat during our adult evening out. I think the only thing that could have made it any more perfect would have been if we had kissed Elise at midnight.

Who would think a fondue pot could create so much steam?

Matt & Nicole

My personal reflections on 2008:

For me, 2008 was a very average year. Jamie would tell you it was an *awesome* year, but he's thinking of things from a professional standpoint. And I have to agree - the year was amazing for us in that respect. From my perspective, it was a trying year in many ways, but not a terrible year by any means. I remain concerned about the economy and what 2009 may bring. Also, another year has passed without any success in expanding our family...and honestly, no real progress in that direction either. I guess that is the most disheartening part for me. Nonetheless, when we woke up this morning, Jamie said that he hopes 2009 will be just as good as 2008 and pointed out all the ways in which we are blessed. We were all healthy all year long, we have a nice home, we have each other. So truly, it was not a bad year after all.

So here are some of my more non-personal reflections on 2008:

*We experienced both a hurricane and snow in 2008. That is pretty remarkable!

*It was a good year for girl power in the music industry. A few of my favorites - Take A Bow by Rihanna, So What by Pink, and I Kissed A Girl by Katy Perry. They are all iPod worthy.

*The year's biggest and most shocking entertainment story (in my opinion, of course) - Heath Ledger's tragic death.

*This reminds me of my favorite movies of 2008 - The Dark Knight, Mamma Mia, Wanted, and Iron Man.

*Polar Bears were designated as a threatened species and are now protected by the Endangered Species Act.

*The Summer Olympic Games in Beijing - The sports highlight of 2008 (as far as I am concerned) was Michael Phelps winning 8 gold medals. The conflict in Georgia somewhat overshadowed the Olympic Games, especially for the Russian athletes. The head US mens' volleyball coach suffered tragedy during the games as well when his father in law was murdered in China. May & Walsh won the Gold - Walsh went on to get pregnant (a dream of hers), and May tore her Achilles tendon while competing on Dancing With The Stars.

*Hurricane Ike ravaged the Gulf Coast.

*Danica Patrick won the Indy Japan 300, becoming the first female to win an IndyCar race.

*2008 was one of the most heated election years that I can remember. We elected Barack Obama as our first black President.

*California began performing same sex marriages in June, only to vote for a proposition later in November that would ban same sex marriage. California also banned trans fats in restaurants. What the heck are they doing over there anyway???

*It wasn't only an election year in the US. Pakistan's Parliament approved a new Prime Minister, Ireland elected a new Prime Minister, and Taiwan, Russia & Zimbabwe elected new Presidents.

*The war in Iraq & Afghanistan continued, and violence continued to escalate in the Middle East. President Bush nominated General David Petraeus to take over Central Command. Of particular concern to me at the moment is the recent escalation of violence in Gaza. I've been reading a lot about what is going on over there lately, and it is all very disturbing to say the least.

*The bailouts...where to even begin. We've seen the US banking industry virtually collapse before our eyes. It's something I never thought I'd witness in my lifetime. Other industries have followed (most prominently, the auto companies), and everyone is looking for a bailout. We fired up the printing presses, and I'm keeping my eye out for some potentially HUGE inflation numbers in 2009. It's scary stuff. I feel like we are living in troubled times, and it makes me angry that Elise and her children will still be working to pay off the debts we are incurring now.

I really don't know what to expect in 2009. I don't think I've ever been this uncertain at the beginning of a year. I hope & pray for the best and try to prepare for the worst.

Elise will celebrate a milestone birthday in July when she turns 5. She will also begin Kindergarten in the fall of 2009 - I can't believe my baby is going off to school this year. Jamie is busy applying for new jobs (promotions), so we will wait and see if anything comes of that. I am not sure what to expect in my own professional life. I really want to find a new job and eliminate my commute, but with recent developments in the economy, I am almost afraid to make any changes now. I do have one thing in the works, but I will probably postpone any major moves for the near future. I am a bit disappointed about that, but I know everything will work out for the best.

We've committed to skipping our annual vacation this year in lieu of doing some minor home improvement projects. I want to get some color on our walls. I am not sure about our ability to paint our living room/bedroom due to the high, vaulted ceilings. Unfortunately those are the 2 rooms I want to paint the most! I may try to hire someone, depending on the cost. We're also strongly considering re-carpeting the upstairs. We really need to do that and have been putting it off for quite some time. Jamie wants to do some landscaping in the yard.

I have some scrapbook projects in mind for 2009. I have all the materials to do our Hawaii book, so I am determined to do that this year. I need to get Elise's book caught up, but I think I will most likely convert exclusively to digital scrapbooking for her books. I never seem to have the time to spread out all my supplies and create pages the traditional way anymore, and some of the books you can create online are very nice. I would love to look into purchasing some scrapbooking software eventually. I would really love to get Photoshop, but I am intimidated by how difficult I hear it is to use. I am not the most technologically savvy person!

So, I actually have a resolution this year! I never make them, because it seems silly to decide to begin losing weight, working out, ect just because it is January 1st. I generally believe that we should do that type of stuff year round. But I feel like having a resolution can be a good thing, because it makes you accountable to actually follow through with the things that you say you are going to do. So, here it is...the things I WILL do in 2009:

  1. Paint at least 2 rooms in the house.
  2. Complete our Hawaii scrapbook and have Elise's books totally caught up by the end of the year.

I'm interested to see what 2009 will bring. Jamie, Elise, and I wish all of our family and friends love & prosperity in the New Year.