Category: Home Improvement

The First Half of Mother’s Day

Tues., May 5th – I got the boys ready for school and stayed awake to search online for the perfect new upgrade to my Kodak Z650. Mario had been trying since Christmas to get me to find myself a new camera but I just felt way too guilty. Since Mother’s Day was coming up he told me, again, to pick out a camera for him to buy me. He said this time he wasn’t going to stop bugging until I got one so I said fine, if you insist, heh.

I originally wanted a 12MP Kodak with 15x zoom like Noelia and Andy’s (I forget what the actual name was), but I found an even more awesome one searching through! The Kodak Easyshare Z980. I fell in love. 12MP with 24x optical zoom?? Heaven!

Even though I shouldn’t have, I applied for the Walmart credit card because I’d feel better (i.e. not guilty for buying myself something so extravagant) giving monthly payments on it (with no interest!) than just slapping $400 on the counter in the store. Mario pushed me to get next-day shipping, which added $14 to the final purchase of $400.16. I loved the reviews I read all over the web about this camera; people compared it to Nikons and Canons that cost $1,000 more!

Emily was kind of grouchy that day and wouldn’t stay with Mom for anything. I don’t know what it is about Mom, or if it’s just that she is that attached to me, but she just doesn’t like Mom sometimes LOL.

Since it was Mario’s day off I went with him to Home Depot to get a few more “final” things for the living room; this time the materials for the doors. How many times have I said that already; that we’re getting the final things? LOL It’s never-ending with home improvement projects. Anyway, Mario was having a fit because he couldn’t find the proper door jambs and thresholds we needed for the doors. His way to do things is: if you can’t do/find something, you give up and stop/leave. That’s not how I roll. I searched and searched until I found the right parts, even though he kept threatening to leave me. Grr.

As for the potty training, Alaethia did somewhat okay. I feared leaving her behind with Mom while we went to Home Depot because I was afraid Mom would be too busy with Emily and Alaethia would have an accident. I sort of banned her from the living room because I was afraid she pee/poop on the sofa or rug LOL. She did have a few accidents, about 2 while we were at Home Depot and 1 poo accident. She left a nice dollop next to her potty chair. Lovely.

I spent that night updating my entries from the first week of April (right now, it’s July 9th and I’m barely updating for May, ha!) so I went to sleep pretty late. It was becoming the norm to sleep late, though. I’m just glad the girls are on my schedule and that Emily’s a pretty darn good sleeper for being 2 1/2 months!

Wed., May 6th – At this point I don’t even remember if I even got up to make Mario breakfast before he left to work that morning, but I do know for sure that I slept in till around 11am. I only woke up at that time because Elvira, my old co-worker and good friend, called my cell telling me she was driving around La Joya looking for my house. I literally sprang out of bed and washed up, brushed my teeth and hair, put on some decent clothes and frantically picked up toys and clothes and flung them into my bedroom. My dishes from the night before were in the sink and the floor wasn’t mopped. Why do I always get company when the house looks like hell, yet when I clean no one bothers to come over?!

Anyway, I apologized for my mess and was so glad for her company. We caught up on goings-on at work, I told her about labor/delivery and how wonderful Emily is and she told me about her daughter’s appointment in Houston about her seizures. Unfortunately the news wasn’t what they’d hoped for, so Sabrina would have to continue with her meds, which Elvira wasn’t happy about giving her since there are so many. I have to say, I admire Elvira; she has so much on her plate yet she’s always doing for everyone else and is always cheerful.

Elvira visited for 2 hours and left back to work so she could pick up Sabrina on time. Alaethia was well-behaved during the visit and even hammed it up and took pictures with Elvira and Emily.

She had two pee-pee accidents that morning. I didn’t know what to do to get her to stop peeing everywhere. I even went so far as to read back my old entries from when I was potty-training Eenan and Jaylen to see if I could get any ideas! I tried being patient with her, but oh my gosh, I was boiling inside. I didn’t know what to do!

As I was checking my e-mail I heard something on Headline News about Jon & Kate. I turned up the volume and couldn’t believe what I heard: he really was cheating! I followed this show from the first episode–no, from the first special they had about the sextuplets. I never really get into celebrity news, but I just love this show because it was sweet and it showed them doing regular family stuff and discipline (her kids actually stay in time out, what?!) so I was really heartbroken when I realized their marriage might just not make it with all the tabloid fodder and Jon’s behavior in general. See what I mean about getting into it? LOL

Anyway, upon checking my e-mail I noticed my camera would arrive sometime that afternoon! Woo! I took Emily with me to Mary’s house since I’d see the UPS truck better from over there and waited. Alaethia stayed here at home with Mom since her potty chair was in her room since she wasn’t making it all the way to the bathroom when it was in there. I was at Mary’s for about half an hour when I asked Mom to come over and wait with the girls (and the potty chair, heh) at Mary’s for the UPS guy because I had to pick up the boys. I asked Mom how Alaethia was doing and she said she’d gone in the potty each time she needed to pee and even pooped once! I guess she just needed a break from my “OH MY GOD!’s” when I’d find her drenched in her pee. Mom’s got a more gentle approach LOL.

I spent 2 hours perched on Mary’s sofa waiting for my package. I’d just tweeted at 5:59 about how impatient I was becoming and how I had to get dinner started when the UPS truck drove up at 6:01. I was so excited! My baby was here!


I couldn’t even walk the few feet it would take to get to my house; I opened everything up right then and there at Mary’s. Of course immediately after I stuffed everything back in the box and went straight to my room to start trying out the settings. This was shot from across my room, no joke. Look at how clear it looks!

Close Up From Across The Room

The macro feature was amazing, and even more-so because it’s got a macro x2 feature! And the video! It’s HD quality and you can zoom in and out WHILE filming!

OK, enough of that, heh.

I’d taken Alaethia’s potty chair into the bathroom to get her used to going in there. She’d been doing great that whole day, ever since she was with Mom in the afternoon. She got a little excited though and kept asking to go pee because she was liking flushing the toilet LOL.

We got some awesome news that night. Chris and Nancy, after 4 years of marriage and trying those 4 years, finally conceived!! I’m so so happy for them and wish them all the best. It’s going to be so cute when Nancy finally shows because she’s super tiny! She’s even shorter than I am and much thinner!

Before I went to bed that night I ordered more Re-Ment sets! My Mother’s Day gift from Mom. And of course she ordered some for herself LOL. I ordered the Strawberry Picnic set, Strawberry Breakfast set, Antique Japanese set and the Old Fashioned Tableware set. I can’t wait to get them!

Thrus., May 7th – I heard a noise in the middle of the night (well, around 4am, really) and saw Alaethia get up and very sleepily used her potty. I took the potty chair into my bedroom just in case, and thank God I did. She was so cute; she kinda swayed back and forth with her eyes closed while she sat on the toilet, did her business and stumbled back into bed. It was the cutest thing ever!

Who knows if I woke up and turned off the alarm and went back to bed or if it didn’t go off at all, but I woke Mario up late for work. I hate when that happens because he’s running around muttering under his breath and I just feel all guilty and uncomfortable. Then I’m worried that he’s going to speed to get to work on time and get into a wreck or something, God forbid. When I called him later, though, he said he was a minute late but nothing dramatic happened.

Alaethia woke up nice and dry, I’m so proud of her. She’s got the general idea of potty training already, which means that it only took her 3 days to become potty trained! Keep in mind that this was the third time teaching her, though LOL.

I picked the boys up from school and they gave me their handmade gifts :). Jaylen gave me a cute tea pot card with a Lipton tea packet (aw!) and this cute card:

Jaylen's Gift to Me :)

And Eenan gave me a poem with magnets on the back to put on the fridge and this awesome canvas painting!!

My Artist!

I need to find a nice frame for it and display it in the kitchen!

While I had all the kiddos there (the boys are hard to catch with the girls because they’re always outside playing) and took this picture with my new camera:

All My Children

I can’t even articulate how absolutely blessed I feel. I love my babies! And my husband! And just everyone!

Just as I suspected, when I uploaded pictures to Flickr, it took an eternity! I can only download 10 or so pictures at a time at 12MP compared to around 50 6MP from my old Z650 camera.

One of the times Alaethia had to go to the bathroom she opened up the vanity doors and started messing with stuff under there. Gotta remember to get some cabinet locks. She started screaming when I took my nail polish bag away from her. She crossed her arms and yelled, “I’m running away!” I watched her to see what she would do and she did indeed run away…to my in-laws’ next door just like Eenan did when he was almost 3 LOL. Hilarious.

I spent the rest of the night cleaning up my desk. It’s insane how much crap I have.

Potty Training, Finishing Up & Relatives

Fri., May 1st – I spent most of the day in my room sorting through bills and statements. I need to get a shredder for the bags upon bags of old documents that I can’t just toss in the trash bin. I took the time to “Go Green” with paperless statements online for most of my bills. I picked up the boys and then got to uploading pictures to Flickr. Although I’m really behind on blogging, I’m at least somewhat keeping up with Flickr!

I was uploading the 10MP pics from Mario’s camera and it was taking forever. I’d been looking for the perfect upgrade to my Kodak Z650, because that’s what Mario’s been trying to get me to buy for myself for a while already. He wanted to get me a new camera for Mother’s Day, and I’d fallen in love with a 12MP Kodak, 15x zoom like Andy and Noelia’s. I was sort of second-guessing getting it now, since I could only imagine how long it would take to upload those pictures!

Mario’s dad stayed home from work because his stomach wasn’t feeling too good and he started working on the ceramic tile in the nook. It looks so awesome!

Close-Up of Tile

Of course we still need the doors and trim. I can’t wait to see everything come together! We decided that when we’re done paying off our Home Depot card (again, for the 3rd time) we’re going to re-tile the whole house in ceramic tile. I loathe the commercial tile we brilliantly decided to use on the house back in the day. First, I’m not too keen on the greenish color in the old living room (now dining room) and we didn’t want to spend too much so we got that tile. Well now we’re going to spend money again to re-do it all in ceramic. I hate that no matter how much I sweep and mop, these floors never look clean because of the tile!

I’m not sure if I want the chocolate brown we used in the nook in the kitchen and dining room, because I want to keep the bright yellow in the kitchen, but we’ll see. Maybe I’ll go for a more taupe-y color.

It felt like we hadn’t seen Jorge and Maggie in forever (I felt like I’d broken up with a boyfriend LOL) and I was so glad that they’d come over. We had a mini-cookout and Maggie brought over her amazing Pico De Gallo (without the Pico…she doesn’t put Serrano peppers in it, which I’m grateful for LOL). We chit-chatted outside for a while, exchanging opinions about the whole Jon & Kate Plus 8 controversy, where Jon was spotted with that school teacher. I love that family and I couldn’t–or didn’t want to–believe that he was cheating on Kate and the kids. I know Kate’s a control freak, but I don’t think she deserves to be cheated on if that’s the case. She sort of reminds me of me, but I’m a little more tame and I’m not as organized as she is but I wish I was, heh! Anyway, I could go on and on about this whole thing, so I’ll stop now.

Alaethia had come inside to see what the boys were doing and when Mary’d come in to get a glass I hear her yell, “Oh my God!”

My heart sank, fearing the worst, and I ran inside to find Alaethia all sparkly in my makeup. My mouth hung open and she looked at me with her big eyes, waiting for me to get mad. I tell her, “Wait right here!” and grab my camera LOL. She looked so darn cute. She even recapped the mascara and lipsticks and only broke one LOL.

Look At the Camera!

Maggie and I came inside after that, I don’t remember why, but I told her about how I’d tried tracking down my grandfather two years ago and how I had the e-mail of a man with the same name, who just so happened to work in the same school district I used to work for. I just had a feeling that this man was my uncle–my Mom’s half-brother who had no idea we existed–but I didn’t know how to go about e-mailing him and telling him so. She encouraged me to just go ahead and do it, so at 1am that morning, we cut and pasted what sounded like quite an amazing e-mail to write to a stranger and I clicked on ‘Send’. I don’t think I could have ever done it without her here. It had already been 6 months that that e-mail had been sitting in my inbox. Now I just had to wait and see if something came out of it. I sure wished it did.

Sat., May 2nd – I received my Merry Strawberry Dresser Mirror that morning! Great way to start the day :).

#4 Strawberry Dresser

I’d originally ordered it a few days before, but the seller accidentally sent me the TV Set:

#9 Strawberry Television

Since she’d made a mistake she told me I could just send her the same amount I already had (the TV one she’d accidentally sent was $2 more than the other one) and she sent me a pack of cute stickers and candies for free!

I got all the kiddos in the car (well, except for Eenan, he went to McAllen with Mary) and Mom and we went to meet Mario at Jesse’s–Mom’s treat. The food was so good. I had cheese enchiladas. I love going there. We’ve been going for so long that the owners already know us and are always so nice to us.

When Mario had to get back to work we went to the thrift shop. I didn’t mean to stop there, but I saw the cutest vintage chair outside and stopped to ask how much it was. $5 I want to eventually decorate Alaethia and Emily’s room in vintage/shabby chic and that chair would be perfect, once it was painted and reupholstered of course. I rushed to the ATM since they don’t take debit and got the chair. I felt a silly surge of victory when I put the chair in the truck LOL.

I had my Garmin in the truck so we put in the directions for the other thrift shop since Mom wanted to go. I was all for it. On the way there Mom pointed out a whole new Thrift Shop, so we stopped there instead. It would have been a much better experience had Alaethia not been in a bad mood and the boys not been fighting and running throughout the store. Yes, Mary went and dropped Eenan off to me at the store LOL.

Alaethia got a perfect 80’s Puppy Brite for $2 and I bought an American Eagle bag for $4. It’s my new favorite bag LOL.

Our last stop was Home Depot, where I had to buy the track that goes between the tile and laminate wood. I prayed that I got the right one and also got a wet saw for my dad-in-law; a gift for his very generous hard work on the room and because he was using a small saw to cut the tiles. He won’t be using it too often, but he does love his home projects so it’s something else to add to his collection.

When we got home I unloaded the truck and then I get a call from Jorge, Mario’s Nino. He’d accidentally run over one of Kilala’s puppies. Eenan, of course, was inconsolable. Jorge buried the puppy while I tried to console Eenan, who was freaking out even more because the puppies were running down the driveway. I texted Mario to let him know what had happened and he came home immediately and began making a makeshift kennel for the remaining puppies. There was no way they’d be getting out of there now!

My dad-in-law worked on the rest of the ceramic tile (he loved the saw) and on the window trim and baseboards. Everything was coming along nicely!

It's All Coming Together

I got an e-mail from my “potential” uncle that night. He didn’t flat out reject me (like my grandfather did) nor was he even remotely rude. He was asking for more info and was really nice. I got started on a new e-mail and sent it out. I was keeping my fingers crossed that something great would come out of it all!

Sun., May 3rd – I got up and did all the housework that I didn’t do all weekend. Mario and his dad were working in the new living room and I changed and got started on helping them with the 2nd coat of paint and the touch-ups. It was seriously like 105° that day, probably hotter with the heat index. I was sweating buckets, so I came in to get some fresh air and cold water. As I’m sitting down on the sofa, with Emily in my lap in front of the computer I’d just perched on the ottoman, the lights go out. I heard a loud pop, then a sizzling sound and the boys were yelling outside. Of course I panicked. I ran outside and Mario shoos me and the kids back in. A power line had snapped in the alley and was laying on the ground. It was live and was sparking a fire on the very dry grass. I hand the baby over to my Mom and run to help Mario and his dad. I’m calling the PD to tell them to dispatch a fire truck and to call the light company and he said yes, they were already doing so. As I’m on the phone I grab the two small fire extinguishers we have in the trucks and take them to Mario. He was careful crossing over the hurricane fence and started putting out the fire. A few neighbors were already in the alley, watching in horror as the fire quickly slithered it’s way to the 2 story house. The owners didn’t seem to be there. Little did they know that if it weren’t for my husband, their house could have caught fire. It took the fire trucks and cops to get there 10-15 minutes after I called, and it took the light company about 25. I hate to think what would have happened if Mario hadn’t acted so quickly. One of the ladies who’d been spectating told one of the firemen, “Why’d you bother coming? The neighbor put out the fire 20 minutes ago!” It’s so true. I wanted to report how long they took but I didn’t even know where to call. I pray that we never have a fire with their lack of “action”.

Thanks to Mario

I had the kiddos stay inside in the last bits of cool air conditioning till the power came back on. Emily was completely oblivious to the heat and slept a good while. Elda came over a bit later (with some Smirnoffs, woo!) and she carried Emily around while I continued with the painting. I couldn’t wait for everything to be finished. The doors were the last thing that needed to go up, and it couldn’t happen fast enough; there were little bugs flying everywhere and sticking themselves to my walls, *hiss*.

I received another e-mail from my uncle, this time asking about my mom and Gramma and the relationship between my grandpa and Gramma. He mentioned how curious he was about all this new info and to send him whatever other info I could remember. I was so excited; I was getting somewhere!

Mon., May 4th – For the first time since she was born, I believe, Emily let me sleep 5 hours straight and then 4 more after that! She’s such an amazing baby, so easy to keep content! It’s awesome to have a baby who’s got a pattern at night and is happy after a simple diaper change, feeding and nap! The other three were a little more…challenging LOL. Either that, or it’s become unbelievably easier after 4 kids!

I was in such a great mood from getting a good night’s sleep that I decided that that would be the day I’d potty train Alaethia. This would be the 3rd time that I’d start potty training her again. I figured enough time had passed since Emily was born and since we moved her to her toddler bed (two things that I read were “big changes” and could be considered “traumatizing” so it’s advised not to potty train during those times).

Well, she peed 5 minutes after changing her into her training pants. And then again about 20 minutes later. When she asked me for a cup of milk I sat her on her potty 10 minutes later and had her sit there for a bit, so she could “feel” what it was like to pee in the potty. Then I heard the distinct audience “clapping” from her potty that meant she’d finally peed in there!

She had about 2 more accidents after that, and when we were on our 5th panty change I almost gave in to the diapers. I was starting to feel a bit sick (sore throat and ear infection) and was becoming even less willing to continue potty training but I kept telling myself I had to; I couldn’t give up!

At almost 7:30pm that night she did her first poopie in the potty chair! #2 went much better than I thought it would and I’m so glad. I had these horrible visions of finding a little dollop of poo on the rug, or something awful like that LOL. I was rewarding her with Skittles (2 for peeing in the potty, 4 for pooping) so I’m sure that had to do with her eagerness after that. I thank Kate (from Jon & Kate Plus 8 ) for the idea, though she used M&Ms.

Mario and his dad installed the baseboards that night. They left the east wall without the baseboard for the time being since Mario still had to finish up with the corner shelves.

I received another e-mail from my uncle, who by now was almost convinced that we were indeed blood. He told me the date he was born and it all added up: mom’s date of birth, my grandparents splitting up, his mom and dad meeting and getting married and then his birth. It was like something out of a movie! I told him I’d be visiting Gramma that weekend and would get more info from her. I actually had a list of things to ask her. I couldn’t help but wonder if I had any other cousins or aunts and uncles!

New Walmart, New Floors

Wed., Apr. 29th – I’d been anticipating the coming of April 29th probably even more than my birthday. On April 29th the Peñitas Walmart finally opened, which meant no more 30 minute trips to Sharyland for groceries or other necessities! It meant being able to go and buy milk, bread or any other things you may realize you need late at night. It meant faster trips and less headaches!

John and I’d made a date to go to the Grand Opening at 11:00am. Mom stayed with the girls while we went. (I can’t remember if I took Emily that morning or not.) There wasn’t much going on, so I figured we either missed everything or the events weren’t scheduled till later. We saw a few characters, like Elmo and Cookie Monster, the Twinkie guy, Hygeia Milk guy LOL, and a few others I can’t remember. We walked around, memorizing the new layout, trying out samples (we practically ate lunch there LOL) and of course, buying just a few things. They made a big ol’ deal about how this new Walmart was going to be a more “Hispanic” Walmart, which stirred up a bit of controversy of course, but the only big “Hispanic” difference was the new treat shop called “Flor de Michoacan”. They were supposedly going to be shipping Mexican products over here and selling them to keep business here instead of having people travel to Mexico, but I didn’t see any different products other than the few things in the “Latino” section LOL. It’s much brighter than the other Walmarts I’ve seen, the isles are much spacier, there’s an arcade (not that I’d let the boys wander off on their own), and the layout’s much more convenient. All toiletries, groceries, and cosmetics are on one side, while electronics, toys and housewares are on the other side. I really like it.

The New Walmart

John and I went home and when I picked the kids up from school Mom, all the kids and I made another trip to Walmart so they could all check it out. All the festivities were over by the time we took the kids, which sucked. The only character the kids got to see was Chester Cheetah, and Alaethia was terrified of him. She screamed, “No! That’s not the Cheeto kitty!” when I was coaxing her to calm down.

Some NBA star was going to show up to sign autographs and a band was setting up outside, but we were all tired and the boys were getting antsy. So we just went home.

When Mario got home we made another trip to Home Depot to get a few more odds and ends for the living room, like the door knobs and deadbolts. We tried looking for Germ-X and masks, but like Walmart, they were completely sold out, too. Everyone was truly panicking over the swine flu.

We got home and I spent time with the girlies while searching for Re-ment stuff on Ebay. Ever since I saw Rachel’s Re-ment pics on Flickr, I became somewhat obsessed LOL. I’d ordered the Merry Strawberry Fondue set and once I had it in my hands it was all downhill. I want them ALL!

#2 Much-loved Chocolate Fondue

Mario and I chilled out on the patio waiting for Jason. We kept debating whether we should buy a mallet and a hand saw since Mario was having a difficult time installing the laminate wood floors without them the night before. Mario spoke to Jason, who just so happened to be at Walmart and he was picking up a saw for us. Adan, Aide and Belle came over and lent us their rubber mallet and Mario and I got started on the floors. We decided that no matter what, we were going to finish that night.

My job, aside from making sure we didn’t have any repeating wood-grain patterns, was to figure out how to lay the actual planks. Mario was the muscle who installed them. It took me a while, but my math skills finally kicked in and I figured out how to lay the planks without cutting too much and wasting the wood. In some rows we didn’t even have to cut anything away. I’m a genius!

We started around 10:00pm and finished around 2am. Mom, bless her, stayed watching Emily and Alaethia while we worked. Alaethia, out of nowhere, started sniffling and was moody. She stayed awake till we were done. We went straight to bed when we were done. We were exhausted but it paid off!

All Done!

Right as I was tucking Alaethia into bed I remembered that I had laundry in the washing machine. I told her I’d be right back as she nodded off into sleep. I tossed the clothes into the dryer as quickly as possible because I had this weird feeling; a bad feeling. I ran inside and into my room and found poor Alaethia covered in vomit. I was thinking the worst: was this the dreaded swine flu? I wrapped up her sheets and placed a towel on her bed and the trash can next to it. I gave her a quick bath and I washed my hands and Lysoled everything. Just as I was wondering what the heck could have caused her to get sick, she started heaving again. I didn’t know what to do; she was so scared that she was swallowing desperately, trying not to throw up again. I couldn’t help but feel nauseous myself. I didn’t sleep very much that night worrying about her. She woke up two more times after that.

Thurs., Apr. 30th – Mario and I celebrated our 12-year “All Together Anniversary”. I couldn’t believe it’d been 12 years since that day he’d tried tricking me into telling him I liked him and he called me and asked, “Can I have a crush on you?” I still get all tingly thinking about it after all these years :).

I waited for the boys to get out of school and took Alaethia and Jaylen to the doctor. Alaethia hadn’t developed a fever, so that was good. Jaylen had a lingering cough and I didn’t know if it was allergies or not so I thought it best to take him in. I was so not looking forward to being at the doctor’s office for 3 hours like that last time, but it had to be done. At least I could start reading “Breaking Dawn”. That’s one thing I realized about being at the doctor’s office: that was when I’d actually get ahead in reading, I was there so long LOL.

I read while Jaylen and Alaethia played with the toys. I don’t usually like them to play with the toys there, because tons of other sick kids had been playing with them throughout the day, but I had an arsenal of antibacterial items since the whole Swine Flu thing.

Amazingly, we were only there for 40 minutes. Jaylen just had a slight cough and Alaethia didn’t have any type of flu (or cold or anything for that matter), so that was a big relief. I still wonder why she got sick, though?

Later that evening, Jason came over and I went with him and Mario (while Mom stayed with the girls, Mary had the boys) to the new Walmart. They got beer and munchies and I got some Jack Daniel’s Down Home Punch drinks. They were okay, but not as good as the watermelon ones. I can’t find those darn watermelon ones anywhere!

When we got back, we watched TV and I surfed the web while the girls slept. Then the guys (Mario, Jason, Adan) started playing Call of Duty 4, so that was my cue to go to bed LOL.