Thursday, May 24, 2012

Depression Sucks

Vincent van Gogh Sorrowing old man "At Eternity's Gate"1890

I feel this man's pain. I've been trying to pull myself out of this for a while now. Isolated and alone crying in a corner with little hope and much despair. Feeling deeply saddened and enraged at the same time. Burdened and ashamed of painful thoughts he can't put into words. Depression sucks. I was diagnosed with post partum depression (PPD) when the girls were 10 months old. I began treatment, but stopped because I thought I was pregnant again. (I know, what was I thinking!) Anti-depressants and babies don't mix. I didn't go back on because I honestly felt better and I really did not like the side effects of Prozac. A few months later it was evident that I needed to get back on medication. I went to see a psychiatrist as my counselor suggested and now I'm on Lexapro. The psychologist also said I have pre-menstrual disphoric disorder (PMDD). It was my first time seeing a psychologist and I was very uncomfortable being there, but I knew I had to get help. It's been 3 days and I've already noticed a difference in my mood. I feel like a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders and I can finally take in a deep breath. The negative thoughts and anxiety were really closing in on me. I couldn't keep it together anymore. I hope I don't have to be on medication long term, but this time I'm not coming off of them until I know I can function without them. I don't want to go back to that awful place again.

With the help of medication and my counselor I, I now know that depression doesn't own me and I have power over it. I will have victory over it. If you or someone you know is suffering from any form of depression, please surround yourself or that person with support and get the help you need. You cannot "shake it off". You do not need to carry on with a smile on your face while you rot away and die inside. I've been there and I'm not going back. I want to enjoy my life, my family and friends. I want to be myself again. I'm not there yet, but I will be.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day: A Tribute To All The Moms In My Life

On April 26, 1997 my mother died very suddenly when I was 10 years old. It was just a month and a half from my 11th birthday. I only remember snippets of that day. Fifteen years later I still miss her very much, but I have also healed very much. It hasn't been easy to live my life without her. To continue accomplishing goals and overcoming obstacles without her by my side. But I know that I will see her again.
This is exactly how a remember her. She was an amazing woman and a perfect mother to me and my younger sister, Chanelle. Once she put together a block party to raise money for cameras to be put up in our building. Her cooking was amazing and she loved to dance. Oh, how she loved to dance! She took ballet when she was a girl, I have pictures of her in her tutu and leotard. She was loved by many people. 

Even though I have lost my biological mother, God has placed a few very special women in my life. Although they can't ever replace what has been lost, they have, in their own ways, poured into my life just as any mother would for their child.
Leida, posing here with her daughter and one of my closest friends Diana, has been instrumental in keeping me rooted in my culture and heritage. She has shown me over the years what a strong Hispanic woman does for her family. No matter what happens we stick together and we move forward. I know that she is always there for me when I need her. She keeps it real and she always feeds me when I come over (Yummy!). And she is always so happy!! I was never away from home when I was with her and her family. Thank you, Leida, for your love, support, encouragement, and welcoming me into your family as one of your own.
Aimee has mothered me since we met in my Freshman year of college. Her daughter, Emily, is also one of my closest friends. Aimee has taught me many things and opened my eyes to a world I didn't know of growing up in the Bronx. She showered me in tender love that I didn't receive after my mother died. There are things she told me about years ago that I still do today. I was such a wild child when we met, but she loved me anyway.  The last piece of advice she gave me that I still hold on to is "Be in the moment". She didn't want me to wish the girls into another age or stage. She wants me to be with them right where they are. Thank you, Aimee, for the countless talks, encouragement, love, and welcoming me into your family as one of your own.
Enid has been my step-mother since I was 12 years old. We didn't always see eye-to-eye, but she has made the biggest impact in my life. She taught me how to be a wife and mother on a daily basis. She taught me how to have grace and patience while dealing with an extremely rude teenager, aka me. She taught me how to cook and clean. She was mediator between my father and I. We has some rough patches, but I'm happy to say that today we have a very good relationship and I know I can come to her with anything. Thank you, Enid, for being brave enough to take two girls on as your own to raise and for being strong enough to never give up on me. Thank you for joining our family.

All of these women have shown me love and kindness over the years and I am so blessed to have them in my life. Thank you for being there for me when my mother couldn't be.

I love you.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

DIY Semi-Custom Cabinets

Remember these?
 I bought these from my local Habitat for humanity ReStore for $6.36 total. These used to belong to a hotel and housed the mini fridge most hotel rooms have. I went with the intention of buying just one. A manager offered me another for just $1.00 more. I said "Sure! I don't know what I'll do with it, but I'll take it!" I didn't know what to do with it until my husband broought them up and stacked them on top of each other. TA-DA that's how I decided to made these semi-custom cabinets.
I'm so happy with the way it came out. First I had to make some adjustments to the bottom cabinet so the top one would sit on it more securely. I couldn't do it myself, so my knight in shining armor helped me out. He enjoyed taking a hammer to it.
 I painted them in Olympic One's "Bone White" and spray painted the front panel and knob in Valspar's Metallic "Aluminum". I never have a detailed plan of what I'm going to do, only a general one and I allow what ever mistakes or imperfections that happen to surprise me. With this project I used an old brush that was a little stiff from other projects. This left lines in the paint, which I liked. It left kind of a textured look instead of a smooth one. On the front panel, a little paint was lost when I removed the painters tape and allowed the original color to show through.

Lastly, since I'm not the strongest of people, I scraped some paint off while I was trying to set the top cabinet up. All these accidents only made the cabinets look a little more distressed and I like that look.
The "custom" part came in on the inside of the cabinets. I added shelves to store all the extras, like the printer and paper shredder. I bought 2 pieces of particle board at $7.04 a piece and had the strong men at Lowes cut it down for me. Here is were I made a mistake. I measured the selves to be the exact measurements of the interior sides of the cabinet. The problem with that is you can get the self in, it was too tight of a fit. So, I went back to Lowes, kids in tow, to shave off a bit from the sides. A few 1" x 1/2" "L" brackets to hold the self up and TA-DA
I totally didn't paint the inside because 1) you don't see it and 2) I was painting during the girls nap and I didn't know how much time I had before they woke up. The whole project cost me $45 and a couple of days. Now I have amazing storage for my office supplies and files. Awesome! Now on to the next project!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Down and Dirty Mud Run 2012!!

I still can't believe I did this! By the way, that was sculpted out of mud. That's talent! My sister in law, our friend Gabby, and I completed the Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run yesterday. It was awesome! It's a 5k that's peppered with obstacle courses and some had us going through the mud. I didn't know this existed until two weeks ago when my sister in law convinced me to go. I agreed to do it because I love her. That's how my mud run adventure started.
We didn't get to the mud right away. We did push-ups, carried a 5lbs. bag a short distance and climbed a wall. I think they do these things in the Army, but more intense. The real fun didn't come in until the end with all the mud. We went through a small pit we had to crawl though. No biggy, but our clothes and shoes were so heavy! Then came the rock climbing wall. Yes, I did the shorter wall. The last time I climbed a rock wall was in high school. I wasn't trying to kill myself. I'm at the bottom waiting for my sister in law to go over. Can you find me?
Then the rope wall which was slippery with soapy water.
And lastly the mud pit. We had to do a military crawl to get though. The rope lines were so low I thought I was going to eat the mud when I went under them. I was apparently pretty happy to be in the mud.
I was such a mess and I knew I would pay for it in the morning, but I had so much fun. I had two goals: 1) I was going to finish even if my sister in law had to roll me over the finish line 2) I wasn't going to lose my contact lenses. I accomplished both! I didn't prepare or train for this run at all, but in hindsight I definitely should have. I'm very happy I wasn't dieing for air at the end. 

If you're crazy like me and want to do the Mud Run check out their website. I had a blast and plan on doing it again next year. I'll be ready!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Motherhood Madness: Veering Off Schedule

Being a mother is no easy feat. It takes bravery, courage, wits, patience and a strong faith in the Lord to raise your children that will lead this world into the next generation. But before any world changing things happen, you have to deal with a whole lot of other stuff. Being a mother of twins has been hard since conception. Twenty-one months, 2 weeks and 5 days later it's still hard. Right now the most maddening part of caring for the girls is they don't want to stay on the same schedule. Having a schedule has been absolutely vital to how our house runs. The girls have always been on the same feeding and nap schedule since the NICU. But now they are starting to show differences in preference. Lets take nap time for example. Sakura needs more sleep than Akira does. She tires out more easily than Akira, Honestly, I think Akira could skip naps all together, which might help her go to sleep better at night and sleep in longer the next day, but that isn't happening anytime soon. I should've known this from the beginning. Here's Sakura sound asleep.
 Here's Akira wide awake.
The girls were around 5 or 6 months in these photos.

 Akira is always waking Sakura up or keeping her from going to sleep with her crying (always a maddening moment). Every mother knows that nap time is not only important for baby, but also for mommy. But what can I do? I guess that's what happens when your children get older. Here's a  perfect example taken at today's nap time. Akira ready to go at 2pm.
Sakura still asleep at 2:45. BTW can you believe the hair on her head? Me neither!

I love my girls and they are adorable, but they keep me busy and on my toes! More Motherhood Madness to come!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Girl's Room Is Finally Done!

Sakura and Akira's room is the only room done in the house. We've made lots of changes and I love how it turned out.

The cribs we used to have had to go. We took advantage of the Babies R Us Trade-In Event a few months ago. We got 25% off each crib plus another 10% off each crib with the twin discount. FYI: If you have twins (or more) Babies R Us will give you and extra 10% off of the big things including car seats, play pens, and strollers. These babies will convert from crib to toddler bed to day bed and finish at twin sized beds for the girls. Awesome!

The little table and chair set came from one of my favorite second had shops Decor Once More. I had my eyes on it for a while. It's hand painted and I believe it was handmade too. I decided to buy it when the store had a 15% storewide sale. I couldn't help myself I love a sale! I had every intention to paint it pink and girly, but once I brought it home I noticed the table was painted in 1989. I'm a sucker for old stuff and I couldn't bring myself to paint over something that someone lovingly decorated 23 years ago.
Akira was reading her book.
Another piece I got from Decor Once More made it into the girls room. I wanted to put up shelves and I also needed something to put the radio on the keep the girls from messing with it. When I saw this piece I had to have it.
 I love pieces that are old and a little beat up. If it gets a nick here and there from the girls it will only add more character. Again, I thought about painting this piece as well, but the warm original wood color ha grown on me. I think I'll buy some cool girly knobs for the drawers. 

This wall used to have a blanket hanging on it as decor, but I wanted to change it up. I made the girls a mini photo gallery out of frames I picked out at my local Goodwill and painted pink to match the room. 

It will be cool to rotate pictures out as they get older and add more frames as well.

I got these wall decals for a couple bucks on sale at target a while ago. I've moved them a couple times before setting them here. I hung these custom name plates made by my dearest friend Emily with the decals to personalize the room. 

The last piece I got was the rug. We installed the new floors a few months ago and I had to get something to protect them for whatever the girls threw and dragged across it. I don't know if you know this but rugs are EXPENSIVE!!! I mean it's ridiculous. I didn't want to get a cheap rug that wasn't soft and would fall apart in a couple months, but I also didn't want to spend $200 on a nice rug that I knew the girls would spill and draw on in the near future. So, I settled on this baby that magically appeared overnight at my local Goodwill.

I know what you're thinking, "EWWWW a used rug!" Hear me out. This rug had zero stains, no oder and it was a 5x7 for $40!! I will not be mad if anything happened to it. All it had was some wear from people walking on it. It went perfectly in the girls room, so I brought it home and cleaned it with some carpet cleaner before setting it in place.

I'm so happy that one of the rooms in our home is complete. Well, I'm sure I'll make some changes here and there. Is a home ever really done? 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What Have I Gotten Myself Into!

I may have taken on more than I can handle. I've started several projects at the same time. Opps! So far I have dining room table legs to paint,

8 dining chairs to paint and reupholster,

 2 old hotel refrigerator holders to paint and turn into cabinets,

custom frames to take apart and put back together,

paint the new office desk (Sorry no pic it's crazy messy at the moment), and paint the guest bedroom that is still blue.I know, what was I thinking, right? I had every intention to start this weekend, but Juan caught the flu. So, all plans to start any projects have been put on hold because I have to take care of my darling hubby. Juan has been so sick, he couldn't get out of bed until 2pm this afternoon. I haven't had the flu before so I can't relate, but I know it's no walk in the park. What I love about him is that even though he's feeling like crap he still can make me laugh my head off. He's such a clown! And he always tells me he's sorry because he knows I have to take care of my three babies (him included). Gotta love him! The girls are not sick, thank God! They have gotten their flu shots, but Juan is still staying away from them.

I will keep you posted as projects (eventually) get done. It's going to be interesting as I haven't done any of these projects before. That's right peeps! Total newbie to painting dining sets and reupholstering anything. I hope to not lose an eye or a finger in the process so start praying for me now! :)