Out With It.

It's time to get real.

Mike and I have been through a lot these past few months, and we aren't sure where the light at the end of the tunnel is. We just know there is one. But I'm really, really tired of being strong all the time.

We do have a few things going for us...
  • Substitute teaching: As soon as Mike was laid off, I had started work. I'm able to work every school day for $100 per day. This can range from 16 days to 21 days each pay period, and I'm paid at the end of the month.
  • Tutoring: I tutor a senior in high school 2-3 hours per day after school.
  • Unemployment checks: What we do get, helps.
  • Firenzi: My craft business has been steady online.
  • MBKB Photos: Here and there we get a gig or two.
  • Food stamps: Haven't done this yet, but now considering it.
With these positives come the negatives.

If I look at the whole week all at once, I will start crying. I really, really can't look at the whole thing. I stay sane by taking one day at a time. I don't get "me-time" anymore. If anything, my "me-time" is a fitness class.
I've had to stick with this perspective because it keeps me focused. A few weeks ago, I was considered for an amazing job. My mistake was envisioning what life would be like if I had it: no more substituting at different schools every day, my own little cubicle, health care, Mike could finish school, etc. When I didn't get it, it was heartbreaking. It has taken me two weeks to get back to where I was, looking at one day at a time.

What is really ridiculous is that even with my educational degrees, I'm still not getting the work I'm qualified for. I'm settling for less because that's what I can get. 

Mike, understandably, feels this is his fault, like he isn't doing his husband-ly duty to bring home the bacon so I can bake it. No matter how many times I tell him it isn't his fault, it is to no avail. We made the decision to leave one company and go to a smaller one because we valued his personal happiness and wanted him out of the hell of his previous workplace. I think if we could do it again, we would. However, I see him carry this burden every day, and it isn't something I can fix. All I can do is be there and we both can stick together.

Future Kids?
It isn't easy seeing our friends from all ages have the joy of having a child. I am very, very glad for them. At the same time, I wonder when our time will be. If we had it our way, we wouldn't be so cautious, and just have a kid. But we both don't want to be stupid about it: we can barely afford to cover our own finances, so it isn't smart to pop out kids just because we want to. We love our two dogs, but obviously it isn't the same.

Emotional Roller Coaster
One moment, I'll be fine. Busy. Whatever. The next, angry. The next, crying in the car just because I love the song on the radio so much and blah blah blah.
Let me be blunt: I feel like a burden on my parents. I know, I know, they love us and they said they'd be here for us. But crap. We are grown. We should be able to cover everything, but we can't. I feel so guilty. I think this is my largest self-inflicted emotional wound.
Humility is a good thing. We have been blessed to have a lot of it lately. But this 2+ month burden is taxing, and I don't have a clue where we're going. It's almost like we have to be ignorant to be happy despite our worries.

I forget who, but someone said to me, "Well it's a good thing you guys have your photography business!" Yes, we have it. But if you don't hire us, what good does it do? None. If we booked one $1200 wedding a month, we would be fine. That's what so unbelievable to me. We make everyone happy with our photos, and yet more often than not, we are ignored.

There's my rant. Despite everything, I know there are much larger problems on other horizons. It's just scary to be so aware of them and not be in a position to change anything. We just keep avidly hunting for work, making sure to cover all of the bases, and pray for the best. I just hope one day I can wake up and this will have just been a bad dream.


Hilarity. You're Welcome.

Here are a few of our latest Youtube video finds that have made us literally laugh out loud. I HAD to post them. Enjoy.


Faith. And Sleep.

Gasp. I have time to update! Here we go.

We kind of hit an emotional wall last week. Work hours were (and still are) long, Mike and I didn't spend too much time together during the week, and his job prospects were absent. Here's a clip of what Mike said on a sleepless Saturday night:

"Too much on my mind, not enough peace to sleep. No job, no real prospects at the mom
ent, and I'm feeling devoid of all of the positive thoughts I've had motivating me through the last month. I feel like I'm doing everything I can to do whats right... but I look around at this world at people like this pot smoking jerk guy I'm trying to serve papers to, at celebrities who back presidential candidates because it's "the cool thing to do," at people my age that buy stupid political agendas from those same celebrities because it's the squeakiest wheel they can hear, at a world that supports employers who thrive off of lying to clients and short changing their employees in these economic hard times, at people that call good things bad and bad things good!

I'm fed up with all the rotten people. What sucks more is that I'm venting here... on Facebook, a place where proponents of moral debauchery shout so freely, a place I tried so hard to leave but had to come back to in order to maintain some insignificant "social web presence" so that potential employers in my field would trust that I'm "relevant" in some esoteric way. UGH!"

It can be a huge stumbling block when you dwell on the negative things everywhere. Often it feels like us versus the world. We hold on to our dreams and hopes while sometimes, patience is wearing thin. I really can only take one day at a time. If I look at the whole week, I'm overwhelmed. It's the little things that help keep me sane (as I've said before), like these two cuties.

I will say, after going through the motions, going to church and bearing our testimonies, being spiritually fed even more than usual because we were fasting and more humble, we got some peace. Thank goodness for the church, for God, for Jesus.

Mike had a phone interview today for a great game company. I have an in-person interview tomorrow to be a career services advisor, which I'd love. Prayers, good vibes, and luck sent our way, please!


Somethin' Pumpkin: Baked Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

Someday when I have free time (whatever that is), I'll update about what's going on with us. For now, it's this: work, work, boot camp class, work, sleep. Repeat. More to come later.

I finally got the chance to make somethin' pumpkin again when we had an impromptu potluck dinner with our friends tonight. I made easy fish tacos, and they made delicious vegetable pot pie (which I NEED the recipe for! so good). Of course we had to do something sweet afterward, so I dug into my Pinterest and found an easy treat.

I love how these had simple ingredients and tasted perfect. I liked not rounding mine into donut holes and instead opted to keep them as regular rounds, "hole" included. Yummmmm.

Baked Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts
(original recipe here)
Donut Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2  tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c. pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 c. low-fat milk
Coating Ingredients:
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 24-cup mini muffin tin with nonstick spray.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. In a separate large bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until smooth. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Be careful not to overmix the batter.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, about 1 tablespoon in each cup. (You will have batter left over for about another dozen.) Bake for 11 to 12 minutes or until passes the toothpick test.

Remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes, or until just cool enough to handle. With the melted butter in one bowl and the sugar and cinnamon combined in another, dip each muffin into the butter then roll in the cinnamon sugar to coat. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately.

Needless to say, they're all gone to the tummies of: me, Mike, Robert, Justina, and the missionaries.