Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What can you make with glue, paper, and ribbon?

So yes, I am a bit creative, craft freak would be a better description, I guess. I love to do paper crafts. My most recent creative spurt resulted in three different designs of baby shower invites, four thank you cards, two birthday cards, and one anniversary card. Sometimes I do these types of activities just to relax, or other times I have an order or need to send somene a card. I try to create things I would want to get in the mail.  I even created a card box, fully decorated, and filled with cards as a Mother's Day gift for my Mom last year. Card making hasn't always been my vice, I started with scrapbooking, even before it became popular.
When I was pregnant with my son in 1997 & 98, I started documenting not only my pregnancy, but family life as well. This was before all the stores carried a do-dad for every occasion in every color. Page decorations were all hand made, no word stickers were available, and I searched several stores to finally locate acid-free markers. But today, I have accumulated a large collection of craft supplies from paper to clay and everything in between. I always tell my friends that if they are feeling crafty, before they purchase something, call me because I have probably collected it over the last 12 years. It is amazing that my collection of acid free items has multiplied from a simple stack on my dresser to consuming an entire bedroom. Yes, I have a craftroom. Not that it is clean or neat, the intention was there, but creativity seems to strike me when things are in dissaray instead of being straight and orderly.  

I was gifted a Cricut from Provo Craft about two years ago. I'm glad my mom had trouble sleeping that night because paper crafting has never been easier. I fell in love with the machine, with one exception, the machine did not handle full sized paper, only 6x12. I envied the full sized machine for about 8 months until I had saved up enough pennies to purchase it. I felt like a million bucks when I walked out the door of Wal*Mart with my new Cricut in hand. The old one did not go to waste though, I gave it to my step-daughter-in-law when this passed November.

Since then I have been addicted to the machine, using it to create some of the neatest crafts ever. I even created a storybook scene for a very special little girl's first birthday. The scene included not only a fairytale castle, but a knight in shining armor on his white horse, a unicorn, a dragon, and the princess herself. The scene was amazing. (If my computer hadn't died I would load the photo).

Paper crafting was big during the depression, hand made gifts, cards, and goodies were popular because they are fairly inexpensive. Similar circumstances have affected our current economy and we all need to tighten our belts a bit. Paper crafting is one of those things that show you care, send someone a little love, a note, tell them you care. Those are the things that matter, not if you searched through hundreds or thousands of pre-made cards to see if someone else wrote down your feelings.

We are not a family privilaged with wealth, but if you receive a card from this house, it will be hand made and filled with nothing but love.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Alex and Betty Crocker

So I think Alex learned his lesson about germs today. The entire thing started yesterday. The night before I baked a lemon cake and it was sitting on the counter, minus two pieces, which Craig and Alex enjoyed the night before when it was warm from the oven. Yesterday, when he came home I was busy doing laundry in the basement so I was not at the door to greet him. He decided he wanted cake. Just as every 11 year old would I guess, but Alex decided to just pick at the cake with his fingers; his dirty, unwashed, germy fingers. Alex does have trouble asking for food, he would rather sneak it and lie about eating or taking it.

When I came upstairs to say hi to him, I noticed the cake plate was moved just a bit. Upon further inspection I noticed the center of the cake appeared to have been picked at. I asked him about it and at first he denied it, as usual. But he has an amazing tell when he lies and he has no chance of pulling one over on his ol’ mom. I reminded him that lying was not favorable and that he should just confess up. He finally did, after repeated denials, but he did admit it. Then I asked if he picked at the cake with his fingers. Yep, he sure did. I asked if he had washed his hands after he got home from school. He said he had, but I being the sleuthy mother I am decided to check the sinks for… well… evidence of water. Drier than the desert during a drought! Reminding him again that lying was not ideal for his situation; he again fessed up to his lack of cleanliness. I know, I know, you’re saying, he’s 11, cut him some slack. But this is a rerun that happens in our home at least once a week. Anyway, back to the story. After determining he dug his sticky, germy fingers into the cake, I decided to explain germs. I told him that germs were everywhere to which he promptly replied. “I know” (Oh boy I can’t wait for the days when he knows everything… just a few years until he’s a teenage genius)… Reminding him that if he hadn’t washed his hands since he used the restroom at school, he had touched his locker, his backpack, the van doors, the van seats, and anything else he could possibly come into contact with.

At this point he started to look like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming auto, and he decided he should remove the germs and wash his hands. Later that evening, after dinner, he asked if he could have a piece of cake. I decided the only way he will truly learn about germs and their utter domination of the human body, was to make him eat the altered, germy cake. So I sliced a thin slice across the cake and removed the damaged portion, plopped it on a plate, pulled out a fork, and stood there while he ate every germy bite. I know this may sound harsh, but harsh would have been physical punishment, not this, this was a lesson. So tonight he is coughing, sniffling, and he even threw up. I’m not happy he isn’t feeling good and his body has been invaded by these alien forms we call germs, but I am happy he is learning a lesson. Who knew a piece of cake could change someone’s life? Maybe Betty Crocker!

Stealing the American Dream or Chasing it?

Yes, we have been having major mortgage issues. Failure to meet the minimum payments, resulted in the mortgage company increasing our mortgage payments. They call this a forbearance plan but what it consists of is dividing the back payments equally among several regular payments, then requesting the balance late payable in 4 months. The plan would create a 20k deficit in our monthly budget, and as I've heard on a t.v. commercial, there is no budge in our budget. We hired an attorney to modify our mortgage and sent them the money, they did not fulfill the contractual services and closed up shop with our money in hand and disappeared. Then we received the forbearance agreement, in writing, in the mail. Upon further inspection we noticed the payments were ridiculous and the terms stated if we did not meet the payment arrangements foreclosure will continue. We were left with a major decision, fight and possibly lose, or just give in and let the house go.

If our situation would be any different, I would tell the mortgage company exactly where they could put the keys to our home, but this house was purchased majorly with the proceeds from a house my husband's mother left him when she passed away. Our home was also carefully picked because of the school system available for our son. He has friends here and he is excelling in school, so tearing him away from his life is not an option, so we continue to fight. Retaining a new attorney to hopefully lower our mortgage payments (which they claim could be as low as half of our current payment amount).

My husband's son (my step-son) recently became aware his wife had an unfaithful evening and has filed for divorce. This is an exceptionally uncomfortable situation for me because his wife and I have a fairly decent relationship and I do not want to bad mouth him nor her. Neither of them have had a great experience with marriage and have both come from dysfunctional divorced upbringings. They have learned from their experiences that when someone hurts you, you hurt them back twice as much. This has played out in their marriage for the last two years and the 2 or 3 years prior to their marriage. Our fear is that their inept communication skills will rub off on their son and he will endure a lifetime of poor communication skills.

More drama this week...I'm an online student and my wonderful PC was infected by a most destructive worm, rendering it dead. I was trying to submit homework via two different computers, completing homework on one PC which had the necessary programs and attaching via USB through another PC connected to the Internet but did not contain any of the Microsoft programs needed to actually do the homework. I did this for two days before I broke down and drove the hour to the closest electronics store to purchase a new laptop. Now that I am back up and running, I found out that some of my assignments did not attach. I turned them in late and now on top of the bill for the laptop I have a reduced grade to deal with.

We have also been battling infertility as well as a few other health issues. Finding out that my biological features are not working properly and that his biological functions are not functioning properly leaves us little option to have another child. On top of the emotional toll this plays both singularly and as a couple, the only options available to us are far from affordable. I believe it is a crime to regulate fertility treatments. Having children should not be only available to the rich. Some of the greatest individuals in our history have come from poor or moderate income backgrounds.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I can't afford it, so you make it more expensive?!?

I haven’t touched base on our mortgage dilemma yet, but we have been fighting for over 2 years so we can keep our home. The mortgage company’s solution is to raise our mortgage, which makes no sense to us. We were having trouble making the already inflated payments and now they are adding a few hundred dollars. Neither my husband nor I are lawyers, so we thought the next logical course of action was to hire someone educated in mortgage modification law. Well, we were wrong. The attorney was paid, all the paperwork was supplied, and then they closed their doors, turned off their phones and skipped town… with our money. We contacted the mortgage company to see where we were at because now this falls on our shoulders again. The attorney’s office did not supply the mortgage company with correct numbers or documents.

Believe it or not, hiring an attorney and having them skip town with your money is not a crime. Well that is according to the Tampa, FL police department.

We haven’t decided what option to choose of the three available to us. We can either pay the outrageous amount each month with little confidence we will still save our home, we can let our home go into foreclosure or live with the consequences, or we can sell our home via a short sale before the foreclosure date. Heavy options and we still aren’t sure what we will do.

Living here in this little community our son is benefiting from the small student centric school system (consisting of one school K4-12). Leaving this home leaves us little choice but to move from this community we have grown to call home.

There are many choices to make before we return to court on the 17th of March. We would love to keep our home, but if we lose it, we lose it. As long as we are together and we can stay warm, we will be fine.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Welcome to my 30- Something Life

I have never seen anyone’s first post on a blog, so I’m not sure how someone usually goes about putting their business out there. I’m a 30 year old mother and wife and my family has been severely affected by the downturn in the economy. Current options for better paying jobs are limited, so I decided to continue my education and add a few gold stars to my resume and future job applications, by obtaining a college degree. My husband and I own a home, or are trying to continue to own our home. We have been in a battle with our mortgage company for over two years, and are currently waiting to hear if the county judge takes away our address. The process has caused me to wonder exactly what dummy is running the show, but right now we are at his or her mercy.

Our family is more of a modern family. My husband and I have an 18 year gap in ages and we each bring a child to our marriage. He brings an adult son, who by the way is only a few years younger than I am, and I bring a pre-teen boy. We have been married since 2001 and have since added a daughter-in-law and a grandson. Yes, it does feel weird to have a grandson at the age of 30, but it felt odder when he was born and I was 26. My parents are just a few years older than my husband, and sometimes they communicate better with each other than they do with me. I was one of three growing up however one of my brothers chose the wrong path in life and he passed away in 1994.

I gave birth to my son in 1998 about 6 weeks after my 19th birthday. His father and I did not see eye to eye on many things in life including criminal activities. I was left to raise a baby, at 19, without his father’s assistance. Deciding to have the baby was something I would never change, but if my future would have imitated a straight road prior to having him, it has become a complicated interchange system since. I have grown up a lot over the last 11, almost 12, years and could consider myself an adult.

During my first 30 years I have learned many things. One thing is for sure: the more people and items in your life, the more drama in your days. I started this blog because so much is happening in our lives right now and having the possibility for someone with similar experiences to offer advice or support is a resource my family and I need.