Friday, November 18, 2011

Join the club ( a bit raw and personal)

It's not a club you'd want to join. First we joined the Unemployment Club. I would have thought that we would fall apart. But we're standing strong. In a way, I feel that things have never been better. Not financially of course, but we're spending more time as a family and we're happy. It's kind of weird. Shouldn't we feel depressed or in despair? Well we don't. Sure, it's a bit scary at times, but I guess we know that it won't last. We've all had to step up a little and it feels good.

Here is a chance for new opportunities. John and I had talked about donating plasma before and we just never did. Well now we're going as often as we can. It's nice to bring in a little extra money and spend time together doing something to help others. John is working on going back to school. I think it's awesome. He has wonderful benfefits to use from being in the military. As a homeschooling family I know that this will be great for us. It will teach our kids a lot and leave a big impression. Heck, it might even teach me a thing or two.   ;-)

I've mentioned before that money has been tight since John got out of the Navy. We had carefully planned it out, but some things didn't happen like they were supposed to, which meant that we didn't have as much income. About a month or two before he got laid off, we started talking about short selling our home.

There were multiple reasons:
  • Our income was about $1100 less than when we qualified for the home in 2006
  • Even though our income shrank, the bills weren't getting any smaller
  • We were extremely upside down (our home is worth $70,000 less than what we paid for and we've refinanced a few times)
  • The commute was getting to us (we live a good hour and a half round-trip from anywhere or civilization as I call it)
  • Because of the commute, we were spending a good amount of money on gas (and putting plenty of miles on our vehicles)
  • It was all wearing on us, we were getting tired on the drives home
  • We felt like we were getting nowhere, struggling just to get by
  • When we first moved out here, part of the reason was because we couldn't afford to stay in the same county as we were before. Now that houses have gone down, we feel that we have a chance to get back to where we came from. (eventually)

Then my husband got laid off in October, so we really had no choice but to join the short sale club. We could barely get by before, how could we get by with even less money coming in? We're surprised that we've been able to stay here this long. Over the last 2-3 years we have watched our neighborhood disintegrate as our neighbors have moved out up and down and all around our street. So here we are next on the list.

Please know that we do LOVE our house, our neighborhood, our neighbors and our community. It's just our time to go. It has been awesome and we'll miss it, but we are ready to move on to our new chapter in life.

Our kids are definitely learning life skills right now.
  • Coping Skills
  • Problem Solving
  • The power of laughter
  • The importance of a good sense of humor
  • Working together as a team

Our home is a decent size. Including the partially finished basement, we have about 3200 square feet. Well we have gotten pretty darn comfortable here. Yet, I doubt our next home will be the same size. I'm pretty sure we're going to have to downsize. Besides, I know we have too much stuff.  We have all been working our butts off to get this house ready to show to people. And they have been filing in left and right. Our lives are chaotic and crazy right now. We still have plenty of stuff to do, but it seems doable. I'm looking at this as a fresh start. I'm usually pretty positive and easy going, but I'm surprised at just how well I'm handling all this. I've been pleasantly surprised that my husband is reacting in the same way. When we heard that John might got laid off, I thought I'd cry when it actually happened. Then I thought I'd cry if we had to sell the house. Yet I keep getting through it all without a tear. We'll come out of this better than ever.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veterans Day 2011

Here is my shy, but honest little attempt to VLOG on Veterans Day!

Thank you for your service past and present! 

And here are some pictures of our family today showing our military fashion and Navy Pride!

And how about a Veteran planking?

And then he remembered to point his toes!  :)

My Hero:

My love and my life:

Yes, I do look pretty dang cute in his cruise jacket, thank you!  

An ornery sailor, trying to smile and a serious sailor trying not to:

What I had to say about Veterans Day last year:

And the year before: 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pregnancy Battle Scars Guest Post

Combating Pregnancy "Battle Scars:" 3 ways to Prevent Stretch Marks
Becoming a surrogate mother is a magical thing. You get the opportunity to grant someone with a gift that they've longer for their whole lives—a child. But bearing children can take a heavy toll on your body and you can end up getting a gift of your own—deep red cracked lines around your belly. We're talking about stretch marks. According to statistics, more than 75 % of all pregnant women get stretch marks. While some cases are not preventable due to genetics, there are some common ways to help prevent or at least reduce the appearance of some stretch marks. To learn how, continue reading below.
1. Keep Weight on Track. While you're going to gain weight during your pregnancy (it's natural) you want to make sure that you don't gain too much—not only will your skin's elasticity be challenged (which causes the stretch marks) but gaining excess pregnancy weight can be detrimental to the unborn baby. If a surrogate eats poorly and does not exercise, she risks developing gestational diabetes. This disease causes the baby to have an abnormally large head which may cause complications during pregnancy and may cause complications in the child's life as he or she grows older. For example, the child may be more susceptible to becoming obese and acquire high blood pressure. So work to maintain a good diet (this includes drinking tons of water) and exercise plan while you're carrying the child. Both your body and the unborn child will be forever grateful.
2. Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate. The act of exfoliation won't help get rid of stretch marks if you already have them, but it can help prevent them from deeply setting into your skin. This is because exfoliation removes the dead, dry skin cells from your body and makes way for fresh skin to grow. Therefore the stretch marks don't get as much as an opportunity to penetrate into your epidermis. While there are tons of exfoliation creams and body scrubs available on the market, it's recommended that your look for one made with natural products such as salt, oatmeal or sugar like our homemade body scrub recipe: (The areas you typically get stretch marks are really sensitive and you don’t want to risk inflammation). 
·         ¼ white sugar
·         ½ of unscented body lotion
Directions: pour lotion in a large bowl. Using a spoon, slowly stir in sugar until the mixture turns into a thick paste. If the mixture is too runny, add more sugar. Slather mixture onto areas where you do not want to get stretch marks and rub in. Rinse clean for fresh skin.
*extra note: loofa sponges and pumice stones are excellent at exfoliating too
3. Moisturize & Keep Skin Supple. For years beauty experts have vowed that cocoa butter is the key to maintain a stretch mark free body—rubbing it on your stomach two to three times a day throughout pregnancy is suppose to create wonders. While it hasn't been proven that cocoa butter specifically contains a magical ingredient that reduces/prevents the appearance of stretch marks, what is certain however, is that typically those who have moisturized skin will experience less damage than those with extremely dry skin. This is because moisturized skin creates elasticity which helps when your stomach starts expanding. So no matter whether it's cocoa butter, coconut oil, or your regular mill body lotion, keep your stomach moisturized and supple.
Do note that while the tips mentioned above are designed to prevent stretch marks, if you do develop them over time they should fade and reduce their bright color. So don't let their initial appearance consume you.
Author Bio:
This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at onlinecollege about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @