Happy New Year

champagne-pop-closeFirstly Happy New Year.  This is a somewhat belated post, but I wanted to make sure it didn’t get stuck in the Christmas / New Year post traffic.

2009 gave us a challenging year financially, but at the same time it gave us many wonderful experiences.  These experiences probably brought us closer together as a family and we have a lot more more adventures to talk about.  Our kids are still mentioning things they saw in 2009 and our son has progressed so much after starting in his new play school.

It is often easier to only look at the negative experiences, which can cause frustration and silly arguments.  The recession was something outside our control, so we simply had to deal with it.  I’m still convinced that, despite how hard it might sound, the recession has been a good thing for Ireland.  The Irish economy has been bloated for years, people have bought expensive luxury goods, travelled the World and changed house or car at least once in the past 10 years. Well,  cars probably changed every second year.  Prices have as a result been inflated and we paid for them, so now these are being critically reviewed and assessed by consumers.  Everybody is trying to save a bit of money now.

We should instead focus on and appreciate the positive moments.  And, we had plenty of these in 2009.

Of course we had to, as so many other families, make some minor financial adjustments to make sure we could continue our lives without worries. In theory, it is just a matter of cutting out the unnecessary expenditures and luxury purchases.

I believe that despite the unpleasant experiences encountered in our workplaces, increases of taxes, decrease in salaries, lost jobs, etc. we learnt some other valuable skills that made our lives better in some way.  Sure, we didn’t get  the usual exotic holidays to Central America or Disney World, but we had some truly wonderful holidays in Ireland.

We re-discovered Ireland and all the magical places (and some not so magical) to visit.  Spent hours in the car laughing, listening to music and watched Kung Fu Panda 40 times.  Our patience as parents was tested and the rewards have been absolutely fantastic.  How many families can say that their son was toilet trained in a car, between Dublin and the Giant’s Causeway.  The isle of Ireland was explored; North and South of the border.

Instead of taking off weeks, I took of Fridays and Mondays, giving us a lot of long weekends together, which we spent in and around the house.  The kids had their own room maker-overs. We also gave the dogs + garden a make-over.

The tighter economy forced us to look at other activities, and how to save money.  So we planted a vegetable and herb garden.  Our daughter started horseback riding and our son started a new play school.

All in all, we had a fantastic 2009, despite the worries we had about money.  The kids really enjoyed themselves and that’s what matters for us.

What did you learn from the year that went?

– the obvious one for me is that I learnt how to blog.  If I’m successful or not, that doesn’t matter. I enjoy it.

happynewyearOn top of that, I’m still getting older and fatter and I’m still loving life.  The famous mid-life crisis is lurking around the next corner, even if I have nothing to worry about.  In honesty, I do wonder where all the years went and how fast times flies when you have kids.

– I even gave up smoking. Any regrets?  Not here.

Again, I wish you a fantastic New Year.  Try to do something different this year and do a stay-cation (vacation at home).  Discover the country or region you live in.  It is too easy to escape to far far away shores, when you can have just as much fun at home.

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