Monday, February 22, 2016

Frugal Kitchen Reno: The Beginning

From the very first day we stepped foot in this home I disliked this kitchen. The black cabinets, old stove and fridge, DIY nook in the kitchen, light fixture, and more than anything that white squares counter/backsplash. I couldn't stand it!!! Although after much hate I did learn to like it and make use of it as my background for food photos :) still, there was something about it I didn't like.

It wasn't what I envisioned for my dream kitchen. However, one thing I can admit to is that our kitchen is big. Bigger than anyone's we know, there's definitely space to work with.

Four years later after I finally got used to it hubby tells me that his mom wants to sell us her current home and that he really wants to buy it. I wasn't too pleased with the idea because as much as I love the location of her home and how much she had done to it I didnt like her kitchen. It's about a quarter of our kitchen now. How could we go from a five bedroom and huge kitchen to a three bedroom with a small kitchen :-/. Her lower level did make up for it though with two additional bedrooms, extra kitchen, full bathroom, and living room. It didn't take long before I startef envisioning all the possibilities that her home had and how I could make it our own by doing some simple changes like adding a barn door to the big closet area in the living room. My visions were short lived when hubby tells me, two weeks later, that she decided not to sell. What the freak! 

I was very disappointed to say the least. Finally I stopped dwelling on it and after a talk with the hubby about what we expected to do and accomplish within the next two years we decided to do some upgrades to this house, beginning with the kitchen. Now we all know that kitchen reno are not cheap. In cabinets along you can spend up to $10,000 if not more and that was not an amount we were willing to pay considering we would only stick around another two years or so. I started to do some research and comparing on the different kinds of kitchens reno. 

I came across several upgrades using ikea products. "Ummm I thought. That just might work". I looked more into it reading reviews and blogs from actual contractors that have done ikea kitchens and found some good stuff. It was all a matter of comparing prices and seeing if they carried something we liked that was not in white. Definitely not in white! 


I mean look at these kitchens! Not bad right?





I wouldn't know the first thing about taking down cabinets or installing them so I went to the person who knows best, step FIL. I asked him to come by because I wanted his opinion on some projects I wanted to do. We got to talking and we told him about our plans and he was all for it except that he wasn't too convinced about using ikea products. For starters the nearest ikea was an hour away, if anything was to go wrong he'd have to stop the Reno and take a drive there. And secondly he had never installed ikea cabinets and he wasn't too sure about it either. He did some research of his own and told us that he worked out a quote using Home Depot Hampton Bay cabinets. We met over at the Home Depot and checked them out and to our surprise they looked really nice. He had done a kitchen a while back using this brand line and it looked great. I wasn't too sure on the light color of the ones he showed us but after noticing the different shades available I was sold and so was the hubby. 

A week later, today, I met up with step FIL at Home Depot to purchase the cabinets. We went with the Hampton Bay Cognac. I can't believe we're actually going through with this, we always say we want to do/fix something around the house and a year or longer goes by before we actually do it. :)



It supposedly takes 3 weeks for the cabinets to come in but rumor has it that it only takes about ten days so step FIL asked me to clear out the kitchen so that he can start removing the cabinets, fixing the wall and doing some electrical changes, etc that needs to be done before installing the cabinets. We're also changing the floor tiles and backsplash, getting granite counters, adding a microwave stand on top of the stove, making room for a dishwasher (yaayyy!), changing the location of the sink and making it s corner sink, and most exciting thing yet we're adding an island!!!! Our Kitcken is so big and for 4 years I've had trouble utilizing all that space and now I'm finally going to have more counter and storage space, a place for the kids to eat breakfast/snack/do homework, and a better layout.  

I'm really excited to get this project started and get all the boring stuff over and done with. I want to see it finished already. I'm so impatient I know but I'm just sooo excited! I emptied all the current cabinet and it all feels so empty. It's actually bittersweet knowing that by the end of this week everything in there will be gone, gone for good. 



Stay tuned for more on our frugal kitchen Reno and the total cost of it all ;) 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

My Story: Daddy's Girl

I was, I am, and I will always be a daddy's girl. Now, you might think "how could she say that if she bearly spent time with her dad", but trust and believe me that little bit of time I had with him was enough time to turn me into a daddy's girl.

I'm sure my daddy was not perfect and that he had his flaws but the memories I have of him in my head makes it really hard to see him as a bad guy. I remember him being loving, caring, and full of life. His eyes. His nose. His smile. His tall and slim figure. His semi bold head. But mainly his eyes. I remember nothing but good things in his eyes. If only I can look into his eyes one more time. 

But I do. Almost daily. You see, I have his eyes. Almond shape, dark brown, kinda deep in between the nose. That's my favorite feature, is the best gift he could have ever given me, to see him within me every time I look in a mirror. The resemblance is almost scary yet breathtaking at the same time because deep down I feel and believe that he's still with me. Call me crazy but that's how I keep sane. Sometimes I sit in my car staring at myself in the mirror having a one way conversation with my dad. Ok so there's nothing sane about that but you know what I mean, right? :) 

How does one even become a daddy's or mama's girl? Is it a mental thing? Where you have more memories of one parent making you feel like you love that parent more than the other but you will never admit to it? Or is it because you feel more loved from one parent over the other? 

I honestly don't know how that happens but in my case I can relate to both scenarios. My mom doesn't show love easily, she's not affectionate at all from what I remember and even now but my dad, my dad was all about hugs and kisses, he would get excited simply by walking thru the door after work. Geezz, he wouldn't even wait to get near the door. He would whistle, a distinct whistle that he had that sounded a bit like "fuiufui" hahahaha (go ahead and laugh), from around the corner and a block up the street to announce his nearing to the house and with my mom's permission we would run out the door and race to him. I remember many times we would all run to him (I don't know how my sister made it to him being that she was under one. I assume my mother would go with us to greet him) and he would put my brother on his back, hold my sister on his side, and I would hang from one leg and he would have to make it home with us in that position hahaha. 

I don't recall my dad ever being mad or angry with us. He was always happy. And anyone who ever knew him have only ever said good things about him. They even call him a hero, my daddy was a Hero! He saved a girl from drowning during a hurricane in DR months before he died. Again, I'm sure he had his flaws but I don't have any memories of them and I want to keep it that way. I don't want to know anything that will taint the image I have of him, especially because he's not around to defend himself. 

More things I remember about my daddy is that he was a welder. His dad had his own welding business in DR and his sons worked with him. Some days my dad would pick me up from school and we would walk to his place of work. There he would entrust me to his brother's girlfriend or the wife of the owner of the colmado and I would hang around snacking on food till it was time to go home. 

He was well known and well liked. People would always come out to meet "la hija de Andrés/Andrés's daughter". Even today at my age when I'm being introduced to a friend of the family I get  referred to as "la hija de Andrés". I don't know what it was about my dad but when people talk about him they make him sound like a great man. 

His life on earth was cut short. He was only 38 years old when he passed away but he must have redeemed himself pretty well after his time in prison and I will not hold my tongue on saying that I am proud to be call his daughter. I am proud to have had him as my father. And I am proud to carry his last name. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

4/52

So, not even a month into this little project and I'm already falling behind. Oh Pammy, what am I going to do with you?! At least my weeks are typed up, it's just a matter of adding some pictures to them and I hope to catch up with them by this weekend. *fingers crossed*

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What an ugly Monday it was outside. After all the anticipated snow there was nothing but chaos left on the roads. Cars stranded all over the streets, no sidewalks, school closed for the entire week, it was bad yet life had to continue on. In our case hubby had to take a trip over to his moms to dig out his truck from under all the snow while I had an appointment at a new daycare location for Adrian. As much as I love his current daycare and all the staff the high payments are starting to leave a hole in my pockets. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother working if the majority of my earnings goes to paying someone to watch my child while I work to earn the money they deserve to care for my child. Did I lose you? Ha! It's fun how this world works right? hahaha. Anyways, the hubby took the boys with him and I went ahead to the scheduled appointment. After an hour of filling out paperwork and getting information on this place AJ qualified to start in September of this year. Plan was to keep him at his current daycare till June and have him off for the summer since he hardly goes all 5 days over the summer anyways. However, with my current news of being accepted into the nursing program things have changed a bit and we're still deciding which route we will go in terms of keeping AJ in daycare till June, taking him out in April, and who will watch him in the mean time.

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After the appointment I drove over to MIL where hubby was working on shoveling out his truck with BIL and his mom's husband. By dinner time we were still there so Steph and I took it upon ourselves to order Pizza and have the guys pick it up which they did reluctantly. All in all it was a snowed in day playing with Abel and watching movies while the older kids played in the snow and tried building a snowman and the hubbies shoveled. Around 7pm we headed home to get the kids ready for bed and prep for work the next day. Good thing about having AJ attend the daycare at the hospital is that I don't have to drive out of my way to take him there so it's one simple drive to work via the highway with no stops in between, I'm sure going to miss that.


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Tuesday and Wednesday were both work days for me and hubby. AJ attended daycare and Steven and Lito stayed home with my sister. After this two days I concluded that my sister is not as mature as I was when I was her age and was left to babysit. And if someone tells me that maybe I wasn't as mature as I think I was and I was just like her then wow I had one irresponsible mother for leaving me home with three kids because wow my sister sucks at baby sitting and let me just leave it at that in case she happens to start reading this blog of mine. I don't need both of my sister to not speak to me.

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Thursday was AJ's 3 years old well visit.My little guy is all grown up!He got his blood pressure taken for the first time and he got an eye exam. And let me just say that my baby left me speechless. The nurse had him cover one eye at a time and tell her the shapes across the room and he got them all correct from the biggest sizes to the tiniest little one all the way at the bottom of the chart. What had me laughing the entire time was that he would say the shape and then give an example of it like for example he would say star like in the sky, flag like race car, and my favorite heart like in the ER" ER what does he mean ER? I thought to myself and then quickly realized that he meant to say hospital hahaha. Where does this child get this stuff?! I was seriously laughing out loud.

During his time with the doctor the doctor heard an irregular heart rhythm which she said could be nothing but she rather be sure then overlook it and be wrong so she asked that I take him to the main hospital across the street to get an EKG. That pretty much took our entire afternoon. I was worried so so I headed over right away and since no appointment was needed the only thing we would lose was a few minutes of waiting. After checking in we waited almost an hour before being taken back and all who knows what an EKG is knows that it's pretty much done in 5 minutes or less. But whatever, we got it done and had to deal with the weekend before we heard back from the doctor on Monday who again said "it could be nothing but I prefer if he is seen by a pediatric cardiologist". So now we are scheduled to to meet with a Peds Cardiologist on the18th.

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The rest of that day consisted of cleaning cooking and a nice glass of wine, maybe two or three. All I know is that I needed it and it helped me relax a bit before going back to work the next day.

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Friday = work day. This is my week of 4 so you already know I was beat. I was actually suppose to be off this day but ended up switching days with a co worker. She worked my Saturday and I worked her Friday which was really nice because I haven't had a Saturday off since the beginning of the month and that felt like an eternity. 


Saturday started off pretty smooth. I woke up at 7:03am just like I had fallen asleep, on hubby's chest. We stood in bed awhile and around 8 he got up to use the restroom. I wanted to go to the salon this morning and get a trim, well more than a trim I wanted to get rid of most of my layers but keep a decent length plus have a different look. I heard AJ and knew for a fact that hubby went to kiss him and woke him in the process. I got up myself and use the restroom. I requested coffee which hints the hubby to get downstairs first. After finishing up in the bathroom and brushing AJs teeth we followed him. I started on pancakes. I wanted something quick since I wanted to head out soon but there wasn't enough milk and I had already told AJ I would make him pancakes. Hubby leaves to go to the gym and after breakfast we headed over to the salon. I got a call from my mom, she's pretty much calling to see if I was picking her up at the airport and I made it clear that I would not. I work both Wednesday and Thursday and I'm not going to drive 4 hours between my time off. Plus I'm still upset with her for changing her return flight twice on me. She knows I count on her with the older kids especially the last week since there was no school due to snow. She wasn't too happy but she kind of expected it.

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At the salon the kids were driving me nuts. Mainly Adrian. He had way to many lollipops, wanted things his way, got loud and talked back to me and his brother. He was just on his worse behavior and I felt like my hands were tied because 1) I was under the dryer, and 2) there were way too many people. Hispanic people. My stylist kept telling me to relax and  breathe that we were almost done but that was the longest three hours I had experienced in a very long time. We were there from about 1030a to 1:15p but I got my cut and was well pleased with it and the price :) 

In the car I wanted to scream at the kids so bad but I got it together and relaxed. Again.  I realized it was a long time for them too to be sitting there with dead iPads and no toys or even without being able to move around much. Plus AJ was the one acting up most. I decided to take them to McDonald's for lunch. Not as a price but it could have been worse. 

After getting home the boys all played in the room and I sent the husband to run some errands for me while I went through the mail for the last two weeks. I can't never keep up with it, worse part of being an adult aside from paying bills. Why do we get so much junk mail? Meanwhile my cousin sends a group message cancelling our wine and cheese gathering. That messed me up bad. I was already in a bad mood because of the way the kids behaved in the salon and because the husband acted very selfish today by not picking them up after agreeing to do so after the gym. I couldn't go to the gym myself and my girls night was cancelled. I made plans with another cousin to go to her house instead, I just wanted to get out of the house, but then started to feel lazy and thinking of the late drive back home. By the time 6pm rolled around I decided to stay in. I thought that the husband was going to do the same since he said his boys weren't really getting back to him about hanging out but joke was on me. After dinner, we ended up ordering Chinese, he jumped in the shower and got ready for what seemed a night out in the town. That was the lighter that blew up my bomb and well, there goes the first argument of the year. 

I know that this is very petty to be mad about but it always happens. I make plans to go out, the plans get cancelled and he ends up going out instead which takes me back to my confession post. I seriously need more fun friends in my life ***Sigh*** Or do I? 

I sent him a message to clear the waters between us tomorrow and he responded with an emoji so I doubt the waters are clear.

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Weekly pictures of the boys 4/52

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

When your faith faith gets tested part 3&4

So it's been awhile since my last post in regards to this matter. A few more disappointments but I've managed to accept them for what they were.

October 1st was the deadline to apply to the nursing program a the community college I took all my pre reqs. I applied and all seemed well although I was a bit worried that my chemistry would cause problems again. And it did. In novemeber I recieved a letter informing me that I was not being considered to the program, it stated the reason why and what I could do that would allow me to reapply the following year and improve my chances. Even though this letter was another "rejection" letter it provided reasons and advice, something not done so by the other college I applied earlier in the year, which I greatly appreciated.

In the meantime I was working on plan C. Aplying to another nursing program. This school had two deadlines, October 1st and February 1st. I was somewhat hesitant on applying because I feared the worse and I did not want another rejection so soon so I missed the first deadline. 

Came January and I got on it. It was now or never. I had two plans, apply to this nursing program and also change my major to a Diagnostic Sonographer Assosiates degree. Both deadlines where February 1st. I thought, my luck cannot be that bad! Yet I had to remember that these programs are highly competitive. The nursing program only accepts 30 students while the sonographer accepts 10. Crazy right?

The week before the deadlines I made sure that every require document was submitted. I had to take yet another test for this nursing school as well and I was freaking out. Did I mention how much I hate tests? Especially when I cannot study for them. And when they are timed. Grrr! What's the point of of that anyways?! 


Monday February 1st I had to go in for the test. I was so nervous I ended up taking something for my nerves. #truestory Before leaving my house I said a prayer and put it all on his hands. I repeated many of the things I had said on previous prayers, I asked for his will to be done, and to help me accept whatever the outcome was.

The test went pretty well. I left feeling confident. Two hours later I was able to log in online to check my score and I pass! I wasn't sure what the numbers were so I texted a friend currently in that program so she can explained and she confirmed my excitement. I couldn't contain my excitement on my drive back home. I was so thankful! A little bit of light was breaking it's way in to my life :)

The next day I called the nursing school to inquire about my high school transcript and they said that they had yet to receive it. That got me upset because the secretary at my high school assured me that it would be delivered the same day. Later that day I got a message from the nursing coordinator stating that she had "miraculously" (her exact word) come across my high school transcript from 2013 when I first applied to their program. I couldn't believe it, this news made my day. 
The following day I received yet another email stating that I qualify to move on to the interview process. They offered various times for February 9th and I took the earliest because I just wanted to get it over and done. 


The day of the interview came around super fast. I was nervous but not as nervous as test day. Something kept lingering in my head, a comment from a patient's family member. As I was caring for her mom she said, "you have a very pleasant face. Very pretty and appalling. You must hear that a lot because your face is not one you forget quickly". I don't know why I thought of this moments before my interview but I did and it only made me feel good. I thought, I shouldn't worry too much I should just be me and be honest. After all my face will not be forgotten quickly" ;) I know I know, I sound so full of myself but hey that patient's daughter was right. I get a lot of compliments day after day. Hence my post I want to see what people see. 


So. I showed up on time. Praise the good Lord. And the interview lasted about thirty minutes. I felt good. I thought I did well. And I left the building feeling excited for what was to happen. I was told acceptance emails/letters would go out February 21st which was like two weeks later. I keep saying these next few days will be the longest day of the year. I wish I would just know already. 


Meanwhile I kept working on plan D. The Sonographer program. I tried staying occupied to not think about the 21st too much and it was working but I would periodically check my email for any news regarding the nursing program. I had this feeling that those who did get accepted would hear back sooner than the 21st and I was right. 
Friday February 11th only 45 minutes before I left work I happened to check my email. I've been checking it all day and nothing so the last thing on my mind was expecting to hear from them. However, once my emails updated there it was. An email from the school of nursing with the subjrct easing Congratulations! 


I was in, I've been acceptance to the nursing program starting May 2016 with graduation set for December 2017. God is good! Boy is he good :) 


I'm going to be a nurse!!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

My Story: it wasn't always sweet as candy

Some days where cold and lonely. 

Disclaimer: This is only from the eyes of a preschooler. 

At one point in time only my mother and her younger sister remained in the Dominican Republic. All their other siblings and mother had migrated to the States and they were in the process of getting them two there too. But as that was happening the sisters had to survive on their own. 

My aunt ended up moving with her boyfriend at that time and my mom was left homeless with my brother and I. She was in her early 20s with no husband and to make matters worse the love of her life was in jail. You might wonder where was his family that she had no where to go but apparently they were at war with her. It must have been a pretty nasty war that they wouldn't even take the kids, their own niece, nephew, grandchildren, into their home but it's all good. For sometime as I was growing up and heard the stories I held grudges against them all. All of them. I couldn't understand how they would allow my mother to struggle the way she did with us. But with time I was able to forgive and move on. After all we all make mistakes. 

I'm sure that there were many instances of struggles for my mom but there is one in particular that I can't get rid of. The image of a young mother holding two young kids while sitting on a bench in front of a hospital across from a church. Yes, this is a true story and yes that young women was my mother, brother, and I. 

I don't know how many times this happened or how often but eventually my brother and I ended up moving in with our grandparents. Rumors say that my father heard of the injustice of his family towards my mother and put them all in their place. He couldn't believe that his own family had allowed such things to happen, especially knowing that we were his children. Eventually they did the right thing. 

My mom is a strong woman. She is not perfect, far from it if you ask me, but she is strong stronger then what she believes she is. She did whatever she had to do to make it and protect her children.  She managed to enroll me in a catholic school and even if she was a bit crazy for putting me on a public bus at age 5 all by myself to make it to said school (I find this hilarious!) she raised a God fearing woman who will forever love her and care for her till the end. 

I like to think that back in the day people were more trustworthy. Everyone was willing to help one another without expecting nothing in return. You know that saying "it takes a village to raise a child"? Well back when I was a kid this was the honest truth. Everyone was involved. Everyone helped. Neighbors were family. 

It surprises me beyond believe on the  many things that I can remember from my very young days. Because of this I try to make my children's memories as pleasant as possible. That it's not always the case of course because you know, we are not perfect but I believe that the good memories will outweigh the bad and if there are such bad I pray that my children will forgive me, us. Why? Because at the end of the day we are not perfect.