Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Short Post!

They finally removed my registration hold this evening. I've already registered for Topics in Literature: Lyrics of Bob Dylan (English Literature credit), as well as Free Expression in a Democratic Society (Peace and Justice Studies credit) for Spring semester. I'm starting to get excited. Of course I have piles of red tape to untangle so they won't drop my classes, but I'm working feverishly to prevent that.

I realized my blog posts have been insufferably long, so I'll keep this one short.

Good night.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I was on my way to to see how I could add a playlist of my favorite Christmas songs to my blogspot when my browser somehow became corrupted and I found myself without access to the Internet for a few days. Mike had his weeknight with the kids tonight and helped me troubleshoot the problem while he gave Nate a trombone lesson. It's great to be back!

Last year I received a couple of $500 scholarships based on my brilliant essays, academic merit, and of course need. I chose to have one sent to the UVU bookstore and spent it down over the course of Fall and Spring semester for books and supplies. Several weeks ago I found out they misdirected that one to my student account and it was released to me as part of a tuition disbursment which I spent on repairs when my car didn't pass inspection last spring. While I was grateful to remain mobile, it means I now owe the bookstore $500 and merit a registration hold. After much negotiation (begging, groveling, outright weeping) they've allowed me to make my first monthly $10 payment (first they wanted $75 per month, then $20) and removed the registration hold. Now I'll be working with a finaid counselor to obtain funding to wipe the rest of it out so I won't have to endure the additional burden on my meagre budget. 

So I met with my new Voc Rehab counselor yesterday, as well as the district manager who was training her (it was her first day on the job) in the absence of her direct supervisor. It looks like things will fall into place (okay, more like be replaced with superhuman effort on my part and a little help from the powers that be) for my return to school in January. I was doubtful it were possible, but now I have hope that I'll manage to untangle miles of red tape in time to register for whatever classes are left that might be applied to my major or minor. Of course said red tape includes completing this academic year's FAFSA, which I abandoned when I decided I was taking Fall semester off this year to take care of personal business because it was so confusing in my state of marital/income tax limbo. In any case, I'm gonna be one busy little girl for the next few weeks as I iron out all these wrinkles! Ultimately an optimist, I think it looks like I'm going back to school. Yay!

I actually have mixed emotions about returning to school next month. I've missed my studies, meaningful work, stimulting campus life, classmates, professors, colleagues, etc. But I have so treasured the unhurried time I've had to spend with my kids. If there is any consolation, however, it's that I'm unlikely to be awarded work study (as desperately as I need the exempt income) this late in the year, so I'll at least only have to divide my attention between the kids and my homework for a while.

I got a call today from our Sub-for-Santa sponsor, the Catholic church. They apparently serve a lot of families, so we've been given the opportunity to come pick up their gifts on the 17th. I'm so grateful for their generosity. This has been a particularly difficult month, the first since our separation nearly 15 months ago that I haven't been able to pay all of my bills in full. I haven't figured that out yet, nor how I'll celebrate Cass and Gabe's birthdays the week before Christmas, but between the Catholic church (for the boys) and Mike (for Cass), we've got Christmas covered! That's a huge relief.

We finally made our gingerbread men and decorated our tree. There's just something magical about those little white lights, real candy canes, and homemade gingerbread men that have come to be part of our tradition. Each of the ornaments have their own significance as well, and each of us have certain ornaments which nobody else would take the liberty of hanging because of what they signify to that particular family member. Mike was here this year to hang our Mike & Cammie ornament and give me a big hug. I love to sit in the dark living room at night, after the kids are asleep, and stare at the tree while the christmas tunes drift softly from the boom box in the kitchen. So many memories come back to me like Christmas gifts from years past during this quiet time, and I find myself becoming teary eyed.

One of our most significant Christmas traditions surrounds The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans and The Angel Monument at the center of the story. It has become our tradition to honor Alissabeth Anne by reading the book, just six short chapters, during the first week of December and attending the candle light vigil at The Angel Monument on December 6th at 7:00 p.m. each year. Nate and his twin sister were born January 30th of 1997. Alissa lived only two bittersweet hours. I was very pregnant when we attended our first vigil at the Angel Monument aproximately ten months later. Less than two weeks after that our youngest, Gabe, was born. The following year we attended the vigil with the boys--nate several weeks short of two years old and Gabe a week short of one year--in umberella strollers. The vigil is matter of fact to the boys; they had never known a December without an angel of hope, white flowers, and glowing candles until last year. But I think of our children, the vigil is most poignant for Cass, who remembers holding her only sister in her arms and kissing her sweetly on the cheek while she still lived.

I was particularly grateful to return to the Angel Monument this year as a whole family, after missing the vigil for the first time after our separation last year. I'm grateful that Michael and I are not only getting along, but rediscovering our friendship and learning to coparent in new ways this year. Our divorce is almost final and we have no intentions of calling it off, but we can still be a family in significant ways. I reject the implication that our family is broken just because we don't all live together in one house anymore. In fact, I assert that our family is mending because of our new arrangements. We've come a long way in the last year and we've healed many painful parts of our past together by daring to reinvent our family in new and healthy ways. I think Alissabeth would understand better than anybody, and support us in our efforts to give our children parents who are kind to each other and endeavor to lead a whole family even though they can't be part of a whole marriage. Anyway, this reunion made being together for Alissabeth's vigil extra meaningful this year.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Low Cost Christmas

This is the information comes from a "Low Cost Gift Ideas" handout I received from the Sub-for-Santa program. I can't imagine they wouldn't want this information to be shared freely, so here it is:

Make a family matching game out of cardboard or cut cards out of plywood or chipboard. Glue pictures of your family or friends on them.

Print photos for cheap at

101 reasons (or less if you want) "Why I love you." Take 101 kisses and attach 101 reaasons why you love the person.

Sew an apron. It is very easy plus you can get great deals on fabrics. Fnd a large variety of patterns at:

Buy a blank calendar or dowload one from the internet. Decorate it with personal or cute photos for someone you love.

Compile a history by gathering cool stories, historical accounts and photographs from grandparents, ancestors and other cherished family memories.

Give the gift of warmth by putting hot chocolate packets into a cool mug with a candy cane to stir. Wrapt it in cellophane and tie it closed with a ribbon.

Give a cupon book of activities you can do together or make service vouchers like a car wash.

Take a big matchbox and blue a photo on it. Buy a pretty candle and wrap it with the matchbox.

Make a picture frame out of a cereal box or other cardboard, cut it into a square with a square center removed. Cover it with your favorite paper or fabric and put a picture behind it.


Hmm....some of these actually sound more expensive than just buying a modest store-bought gift. But you know, it's the thought and effort that counts, not the price, if you can afford the project. LOL