decade in review

Some may argue that the decade doesn’t end until NEXT New Years, but whatever. In my mind, I say that each decade starts with a number ending in ‘0’ (I mean, isn’t 1990 in the 90’s??) so let’s have a look back at how my life has changed in the last ten years. (Thanks to Laura for the idea!)

2000: I was a junior in college at Grove City, studying biology. I was busy with cheerleading and spent a lot of time being a goofball with my roommate in our microscopic dorm room that had all the furniture bolted to the ground. We also did quite a bit of partying that winter/spring when a friend of ours graduated early and got an apartment off campus so HELLO PARTIES WITH BEER (dry campuses are boring. heh) I started my first blog. That summer I worked two different jobs- one was an internship at a research lab in Pittsburgh, and the other was at TCBY (yes, the frozen yogurt place) I started my senior year of college in the fall and Dan proposed in December.

2001: GRADUATION! I landed a job about a month before graduation and bought my first car the week after graduation. Someone bashed the front headlight in the parking lot and drove away, and of course didn’t leave a note. There went my first paycheck, to fix a car that was less than 2 weeks old. It wasn’t long before I started HATING my job- I did absolutely nothing for 8 hours every day and it drove me insane. I found a new job quickly though, and was able to quit the crappy one after just 2 months. I started working in the Pharmacology Department at the University of Pittsburgh in August. Both Dan and I still lived at home with our parents, so we spent our evenings and weekends at each others’ houses, grossing everyone out with how in love we were. I made my a mission to stop biting my fingernails for my upcoming wedding.

2002: Wedding planning was in full swing, as well as finding a place to live after we were married. Dan moved into our apartment in May, and we got married on June 8. We honeymooned in the Outer Banks and it was perfect. We spent the summer adjusting to married life, working, and settling into our apartment.

2003: When we got married, I weighed about 20 pounds more than was healthy for my body type, so I started trying to lose weight. Dan had just started graduate school (while also working full-time), so while he was busy at class or studying most nights, I did Tae-Bo (BILLY BLANKS!) and started keep track of my calories (thank you, FitDay!) It worked, because by May, just in time for my friend’s wedding, I had lost 13 pounds. And by the end of the year, I had lost a total of 23 pounds and something like 15 inches off of my body. That summer, we took a vacation with Dan’s parents to Deep Creek, Maryland.

2004: More of the same- me working, Dan going to school and working. Dan had his 5 year review at work and it came with a nice pay raise, so we started house-hunting and after a month of obsessive searching (probably more me than him) we found a house! We moved into our first home at the end of March, and thus began a summer of painting and measuring and renovating and I daresay, I actually enjoyed it. We went on vacation and when we returned, we adopted two kittens from the shelter and named them Scotty and Gracie. On the work-front, I was becoming rather dissatisfied with my job after only 3 years, and I started trying to figure out a new plan. I didn’t want to go to graduate school just for the sake of Doing Something Else, but I also knew that the semi-dead-end job I had at the time was not what I wanted to do forever. After sending out resumes to every company and institution in Pittsburgh even REMOTELY related to science or biology and getting nowhere, I expanded my thinking to what my dream job might be. Specifically, web design. I had been playing around on the internet for 7 years for free… what if people would PAY me for it? It was a crazy concept, but I took some time and put together a (pathetic) portfolio website and crossed my fingers. I started making local business contacts, and slowly but surely, my freelancing business began to grow.

2005: Once I made the decision to switch careers completely, I toyed with the idea of going back to school. I enrolled in a design class at the local community college to test the waters. That, plus my full-time job, plus the few freelance projects I had going kept me quite busy. In the spring, I took a weekend road trip to Charleston, South Carolina with my college roommate to see another college friend of ours. It was SO much fun! A week after that, Dan and I flew to Texas with his family to watch his sister graduate from Army Airborne Medic training. Talk about a whirlwind couple of weeks! I was also in the midst of planning a bridal shower for my sister’s upcoming wedding. Then, out of nowhere, a call came about a web designer position at a local internet provider. I interviewed, was offered the job, and resigned from my job at Pitt. I was officially Switching Careers, OMG. That fall was basically me adjusting to the new job (also, scrapping the whole Going Back To School Idea because DUDE! I GOT A JOB!) and Dan finishing his last semester of graduate school. I also shut down my old blog and started this one-

2006: Dan was FINALLY finished with school! To celebrate, we decided we’d take a trip- a BIG one. After quite a bit of research, we settled on Italy. We spent a week in Rome, with some day-trips to Florence and Pompeii. It was the trip of a lifetime, and I cried at my first glimpse of the Colosseum on the way in from the airport. We also decided it was time to start thinking about having a baby, so we… ‘removed the barriers’, so to speak ;) That summer, things were getting incredibly busy for me with my web design business, so I made the leap and quit my full-time job. NO MORE STEADY PAYCHECK. A week later, GUESS WHO’S PREGNANT?! The rest of that fall is a bit of a blur, due to pregnancy nausea and me getting fat. ha

2007: We became parents. The first few months of the year were filled with preparing the baby’s room, me getting EVEN FATTER, and ice cream (probably partly why I got so darn fat.) Margaret Elise was born in March, so pretty much from then until now, life has changed. Looking back, I don’t remember very much from those early weeks, other than sore nipples and not being able to stop peeing on command, and oh yeah, not sleeping. But eventually we emerged from the New Parents Haze and life with a baby became something we enjoyed quite a bit. Dan started a new job when Maggie was just a couple of weeks old, so that made things even more interesting (read: stressful because he got home later than usual and I WAS ALLLLL ALONNNE! with a new baby and hormonal.) For me, I started back to work very slowly- a benefit to being self-employed that I am incredibly thankful for- and when she was 10 weeks old, Maggie started going to daycare one day each week. By the end of the year, she was crawling and had teeth! Hooray for us! But this also meant she was growing and becoming more active- which means Mama Gets Nothing Done, OMG- so we increased the daycare to two days a week. Life was getting busy!

2008: I met my first Blog Friend in real life. Maggie turned a year old in March and we celebrated with a party involving pink balloons and birthday cake. Also a sappy video! We took a family trip to the beach that summer where Maggie hated the sand but loved the pool and took a 3 hour nap every afternoon. Wahoo! We spent most of the year watching our daughter grow from a baby into a kid- talking, running, playing, TALKING. After agonizing for several months over the decision, we found new homes for Scotty and Gracie. The year ended with us getting 6,289 stomach bugs. I LOVE YOU, GROUP DAYCARE.

2009: Dan started a new job in February. Maggie finally finished teething. It’s no coincidence that immediately after that, she started sleeping with absolutely no problems. Damn teeth. I turned THIRTY and bought myself a lover a Canon Rebel XSi. I took a trip to Washington DC with Melissa to meet Janet. In March, we started house-hunting- JUST LOOKING! WE SWEAR!- and by mid-May, we found a house we absolutely loved. Our house went on the market and I had to keep it Show-Ready for 4 weeks. (You people who have your houses on the market for months? You are my HEROES.) We went to the beach again, and this time Grandma came with us and THIS time, Maggie liked the sand and loooovvveed the pool. Our house sold 2 days before our agreement on the new house expired, and we were at the beach, so we spent the last day of vacation at the UPS Store, faxing agreements back and forth with our agent. Good times! We moved into the new house in August. In October, Maggie went on her first plane trip when we went to Florida with my mom and sister to surprise some relatives. EDITED TO ADD: OMG Sam is going to beat me up. I totally forgot to mention the awesome trip I took to Chicago! To meet her! And eat pizza! And play with a Wii Fit! We had our first Christmas where we could use the SANTA IS WATCHING YOU! threat and also the first where Maggie knew what was coming, so it was tons of fun. I reached an exciting financial milestone with my web design business. We ended the decade with the house! to! ourselves! when Maggie spent the night at Grandma’s house. We had a lovely dinner out and came home to watch a movie and welcomed in the New Year the next morning in our pajamas playing video games.

Here’s hoping the next ten years are as amazing as the last ten have been.


  1. Stefanie

    January 2, 2010 9:21 pm

    Wow! You have accomplished so much. I feel like I am stuck and going nowhere.
    .-= Stefanie’s last blog post: Saying good-bye instead of welcoming another year. =-.

    • Jen

      January 2, 2010 9:31 pm

      Well keep in mind that I’ve got 5 extra years on you ;) At 25, I was busy having my quarter-life crisis of hating my job and wanting to switch careers. So you’ve got time to have a crazy life! LOL

  2. Sandy

    January 2, 2010 10:08 pm

    Holy crap, I’ve been reading your blog for that long? I remember Dan proposing (and the video of it!), and I know I was reading way before then. Seriously? I swear you were blogging more than 10 years ago.

    What a decade! What an experience-filled life, you’ve gotta be proud of yourself. :)
    .-= Sandy’s last blog post: ponderings on escapism =-.

    • Jen

      January 2, 2010 10:15 pm

      Yup, I started my blog at in May 2000. But Muted was around for a year and a half before that- I bought the domain in January 1999. Blogs were just starting to become a Thing around then.

      I feel so OLD thinking back, LOL

  3. Melissa

    January 2, 2010 10:32 pm

    I was just saying to George on New Years Eve, “Remember when it was New Years Eve 1999, and everyone was talking about Y2K? I can’t believe that was TEN YEARS AGO! We are ooollldd!” lol!

    You have certainly accomplished a lot and celebrated many happy events over the past 10 years! Wishing you & your family the best for the next 10 years. :)
    .-= Melissa’s last blog post: 2009: good night, and good luck =-.

  4. laura

    January 2, 2010 10:39 pm

    wow, lots of details! i had a hard time remembering anything from a couple of those years, lol. happy next 10!

  5. Sarah Wells

    January 2, 2010 11:50 pm

    OK, so I LOVED reading your decade in review. So much has happened, hasn’t it? Doesn’t it just feel like yesterday when we were just a bunch of geeky biology students with weeks highlighted by ER night? I’m so proud of how awesome you’ve done in your business! Congrats! If I ever need a web designer you know you are my go-to-girl. Also, SO excited your visit to me down here in old Charleston made your list. That was an awesome time!! Gee remember how tiny my little apartment was back then?
    .-= Sarah Wells’s last blog post: Polly No More =-.

    • Jen

      January 3, 2010 7:15 am

      It is funny to think back to those TV Nights :) And of course Charleston made the list, it was a fun trip! Your apartment WAS tiny, holy cow. But you had a great view!

  6. Pei

    January 4, 2010 5:27 am

    oh my GOD i’ve been reading you for 9 years!!! it’s been a wonderful journey btw :)
    .-= Pei’s last blog post: From Twitter 12-29-2009 =-.

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