2009 was a year of Ups and Downs.
Big Sis and I brought in the New Year at Disneyland on December 31, 2008. She made it to 11:00pm that night, and fell asleep on the ground near it's a small world. She wasn't the only child, either. It was so very foggy that neither set of fireworks, at 9:25pm and 12:00am, were visible. We had a good time, though, dancing to Family-Friendly music at Small World Mall.
On January 4, 2009, the girls and I finally accepted my dad's invitation to go to church. We went to Crossroads Church for the 10:30 service. Both girls were sitting in the service with me, and Big Sis and I both accepted Jesus into our lives. That was the biggest decision we made all year, and the best one of our lives.
I started my full-time position at the Elementary School on January 12. It was a transfer from the Middle School. I went from working 3.75 hours a day to 6.5 hours a day. Little Sis started going to the baby-sitter after she got out of preschool at 12:30. She was not very happy about it, but she knew it was for the better. At this time, I was still commuting from Hemet to Borrego Springs, which was a 1.5 hour trip each way.
In March, the student I was working one-on-one with moved from Borrego Springs to Nevada, prompting me to fear the loss of my job. I wouldn't have lost my job completely; I would have just moved back to the Middle School working 3.75 hours a day. This was not going to be a good thing if I was commuting almost 150 miles a day. The Superintendent, however, let me stay on at the Elementary school, where I was to help out in the afternoons with the large group of third grade Special Ed students (our SDC class is only half-day, then the kids go to their General Ed class after lunch). At this time, I realized I needed to live in Borrego Springs. With God's Grace, a friend, who was also commuting, found an apartment in Borrego Springs, but decided against it, so recommended me to the landlord. I was able to move in with a small deposit and no credit check. Thankfully, I had thought to save $1000 of my tax refund, for no particular reason. So, on March 25, I moved into my apartment, where the girls and I currently live.
School ended June 12, and brought summer in all it's blazing glory. The apartment complex where I live has a large swimming pool, so the girls and I swam practically every day. They took swimming lessons at the high school, and both overcame their fear of the water. Essentially, they turned into fish. I was working during the summer, tutoring one of our SDC kids. He was also taking swimming lessons, so I was able to work some of my required hours with him in the pool, which I used as time to build his gross-motor skills and multi-action movements (kick your feet and blow bubbles). He also turned into a fish, and he still asks the instructor when it's time for swimming lessons again!
On July 15, I ended up going on a date to see Harry Potter with my ex-boyfriend. We ended up "back together" which we thought was a good idea. More on that later.....
School started again on August 21, and I had my old position back! Only this time, I was working my afternoons with a group of 4th graders. I also became a one-on-one in the morning, thanks to the new SDC teacher who saw potential for conflict with that student and his one-on-one. So she and I tag-team him. I work mostly with him during the morning, and she has him in the afternoon. His behavior has improved exponentially since school started. I love the team we have working in the classroom this year.
On September 30, my former-ex-boyfriend lost his job...and his employee housing. So, I let him move in with the girls and me in our tiny one bedroom apartment (did I mention is was a one-bedroom? The girls have a bunk bed in the bedroom and I sleep on a futon in the living room). This was the beginning of the end.
The girls, the boyfriend, and I went to Disneyland October 5-9 for the girls' birthdays. It was a good time had by all. Little Sis rode Tower of Terror for the first time, and Big Sis rode (and LOVED!) California Screamin' for the first time. It's now her favorite ride, and is bummed when we have Little Sis with us and can't Baby Swap. The girls spent their Disney Fun Card, which they received because we are Annual Passholders. Big Sis bought a Jack Skellington jacket, and Little Sis bought a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, among other small little things that are probably lost by now.
On October 30, we went back to Disney's California Adventure for Mickey's Halloween Treat. We didn't get as much candy as we did in previous years, but because both girls had braved the bigger rides, we were able to have a little more fun. Little Sis actually chickened out of Tower of Terror, saying she had to "GO POTTY NOW!" as we were boarding the elevator. As we ran down Hollywood Blvd, we saw Handy Manny and the Little Einsteins. She loved that!!!
November brought many trials for me. The boyfriend and I were having more and more arguments over little things, and my grandma and dad finally hosted an intervention to get me to get him to move out. The girls were unhappy, and I was unhappy. So, he moved out. Things have been much better since.
Thanksgiving was yummy at my Dad's house. My brother-in-law was home from Japan, and my step-mom made her Sweet Potatoes. My sister, BIL, and I won at Pictionary Man (reigning champs!!) and we played a little Boggle. My BIL is very good at that game, yes, even better than me.
December brought in cold weather to the desert, as well as the LaughingPlace.com 10th Anniversary celebration at Disneyland. I met some great friends who I only knew through LaughingPlace.com and Facebook. I also saw some great friends I hadn't seen since July, or even since the previous December. Some friends were missed, including the one person around whom the meet had originally been planned. It was a nice kid-free weekend (well, my kids weren't there...others had their kids there), and we had a nice Girls Weekend in my friend's condo at Windham Worldmark. (And I had my first rum & Coke...OMG! Coconut rum in Coke is AMAZING!!!)
On December 13, the most dreaded day in my 20's happened....my 30th birthday. The girls and I went to Disneyland after church that day, and we had a pretty good time! Our friends, Gary and Kathy were there to help me celebrate in the morning. Kathy had a rough year; she was diagnosed with breast cancer in February, but received her clean bill of health in November! YAY! Thank the Lord for miracles...he really does answer prayers.
On December 15, I met a Christian man named Jeremy, who lives near my grandma. We made plans to meet, and we finally met on December 23.
December 18 was our last day of school before the holidays. Big Sis (who had received Student of the Month for November) reached the 100 AR Point Club for reading. So far, the only 3rd grader this year to do so! Little Sis was named Student of the Month for December for her Kindergarten class! This was one proud Mama!!! We had a sing-a-long in our jammies, and then the Kindergarteners went to have breakfast with Santa Claus at the firehouse. That night, we had our Girl Scout meeting, and made ornaments to take to the Assisted Living Facility, which we did on December 21.
On December 19, we were driving to my grandma's for the Holidays, and I turned a curve and saw a sign that said "Fresh Julian Pies." Then I saw a man holding a sign I thought said "Free pies!" Turned out it said "Free puppies!" I had stopped to get a pie, but when I saw the puppies, my heart melted. I insisted we couldn't have one, but when I picked up Midnight, she totally relaxed in my arms, and I knew she was mine. We have since changed her name to Rosy, and she's still so loving!!
That brings us to now. Christmas has come and gone. Presents have been unwrapped, turkey has been eaten, and the Starbucks card is empty (yes, already). I have two weeks left of Winter Break, but technically only one, since I have trainings all next week. I'm looking forward to what 2010 has to bring. Bring on the New Year's Eve Party....and the rum and coke! (Just kidding...I'll be driving that night!)
And I sincerely hope I didn't bore you. Really. If I did, I'll try and make 2010 more exciting.