Our new kitchen is great, it gives us all sorts of room for us to both be in the kitchen at the same time. I don’t feel like I am constantly bumping into Lindsey when we cook together now. One major complaint that Lindsey and I had was that it was dark under the cabinets. There really is no use having all of that wonderful counter space if you can’t see what you are doing. One option was to get a snake-light, quick easy light you cant point anywhere. This idea was quickly vetoed by my better half.
So, we went to the “big box” hardware stores and figured that we could install under cabinet lighting for about $450. That’s a lot of money for a military family to spend on lighting so we researched other options. We ended up finding ordering the following LED set from Amazon.com
So when it got here I was pretty skeptical, how good could this be for only $150? The lights were not big and bulky like I found at the hardware stores, instead they were thin flimsy strips of LEDs that were connected with tiny power cords. But, they are going under the cabinets so the object is to not see them anyway. So I got to work on the installation.
Here is everything I got in the box. Minus the drill of course(I ordered a few extra cords to go over the microwave and a dimmer too)
Since I have an over the range microwave installation was extra easy, I just plugged the included 2 amp power supply into the open socket above the microwave, ran it down the left side of the cabinet.
Then I used the included screws to run the off/on switch and the dimmer.
While under the cabinets I realized that I missed painting the underside edges of the cabinets, there were always be pink to haunt me!
I then installed the strip lights with the tiny included screws. Then ran the power cord all of the way BACK over the microwave to the other cabinets. Everything is run in series, one light plugged into the back of another.
The strips also came with double stick tape in case you don’t want to screw into your cabinets or lack the elite crew chief training of using a screw driver. However, I didn’t want them suddenly falling off into a tub of BBQ sauce so I decided to stick with the screws. Some staples took care of some of the extra cord to keep things tidy.
We were pleasantly surprised with the light intensity, it can be dialed way down for a nice ambient nightlight, and since they are LEDs running all of them on low is probably more efficient than running the nightlight on the microwave.
So let me start off by saying that Lindsey and I LOVE our new home. Its a great size, its in a great location, its got a great floor-plan, a great backyard, a decent garage. This house is exactly what we wanted…….except for the pink.
I was just a kid in the early 1990s, I remember my parents doing a remodel of their home. They chose grey, cream, mauve, and light blue for their color scheme. In today’s homes you wouldn’t see those colors as much but at least it was a MIX of colors. Whoever decorated our house in the 90s, must have LOVED pink. Every wall in the house is pink, the ceilings were pink, the tile floor is pink, the toilet is pink, the tub is pink, the sinks are pink, it is absolutely blinding. Here is a picture of the kitchen to give you an idea of the pink-a-palooza.
Look at it, feast your eyes on the pinkness. Everything is so pink you just don’t even appreciate how pink the ceiling is, or the walls. Its like this in the laundry room and the bathrooms too.
Why? What would drive someone to this level of pink? I would imagine that there was a man in living in this house who was unable to say no to his wife. The reasons will remain unknown, but we had to do something about this big pink mess.
Painted the lower cabinets chocolate with chocolate backs and installed child locks of course
Installed stainless steel appliances
Painted the upper cabinets chocolate with cream backs
Painted the ceiling white and the walls cream
Installed cabinet knobs and door pulls (this house went 22 years without cabinet knobs?? Seriously?)
The tile floor will take a lot more work/money and it is high on our-to do list, but with Lindsey being pregnant and tile floor being labor intensive, I’m not real excited to tackle a tile project of this magnitude on my own and I’m to cheap to hire it done.
For the dining area we:
continued the cream around the top portion of the room
installed chair rail
Painted the bottom bright red to tone down the pink floor just a smidge.
Hung GIANT Jack Vettriano painting
Next on the list of things to do are:
New lighting fixtures
New tile flooring (not PINK)
Under cabinet lighting
Possibly get some solid surface counter tops but we have a lot of counter space so that could be VERY expensive.
Well, it looks like we didn’t learn the first time. During all of the spare time we had during our move we ended up getting pregnant again. This one is due in late February so we have a bit of time to prep. I’m sure Lindsey will pick up on the pregnancy blog again once she gets the motivation. It looks like we are going to have a boy this time, so I guess we can quit after that. Two kids in diapers, two screaming/crying children to keep us up all night, two hungry mouths, four hands worth of little fingers to stick in places where they are not supposed to be………..it looks like we are going to have our hands full. This reminds me of an Unknown Hinson song
Amazing artist by the way, there are some really off the wall and funny messages sandwiched inside of some really good country music. I saw him live, he is like the cross between Elvis, a vampire, and James Dean. His music is amazing. This stuff is for crew chiefs!
So here we are, settled into sunny Alamogordo NM. When it was my time to PCS, the military gave us 8 choices of places to go. We racked and stacked them in the order of where we wanted to go. When assignments were released I found out I was going to Tinker AFB in Oklahoma, my number 7 choice. It could have been worse. So I called up my new boss at Tinker to introduce myself. We talked for a bit and he was surprised that there was a fighter crew-chief inbound to his squadron of AWACs. I was a bit surprised to find out there was nothing for me to do there. So I called up AFPC and asked……….1 day later my #7 choice of assignments had been canceled only to be replaced by my #8 choice, Holloman AFB in Alamogordo New Mexico.
So, lesson learned on that one, maybe next time I will keep my mouth shut. Story of my life. Lindsey and I were pretty apprehensive about the area, but so far we have been pleasantly surprised. The high desert is great, its not nearly as warm in the summer as I thought it would be. The real estate market is relatively stable, we got a great four bedroom house at a decent price that is right on the edge of town. There are a lot of outdoor activities to partake in if that is your “thing”. However, if the nightlife is your “thing” you will be very disappointed in Alamogordo.
Ok, so I have been really quiet lately. Truth is Lindsey, Aria and I have been pretty damn busy with life. We have PCS’d (permanent change of station) from our home in Aviano Italy to Holloman AFB NM, living in the great town/village/watering hole of Alamogordo NM. New job, new home, upcoming new addition to the family. I start telling you all about it soon.
This month Aria has another tooth on the bottom, she spent her last month in Italy, had to get used to an empty house and she got to experience her first month with just mom. She is also crawling all over the place and getting into everything and trying very hard to pull up and stand on her own.
Well, we are fully in the moving process now. We have just a couple more weeks in the house and then into a hotel for a couple of weeks before we head back stateside. Our house is completely empty now. Aria’s “room” is now the downstairs closet. Shes picky about too much light shining in so we had to find someplace out of the way and that was completely dark. Well the closet is her only option now. We are all living downstairs now and leaving just her in her room upstairs would be such a pain to have to go up and get tend to her at night. So closet and pack n play it is. Honestly she doesn’t care as long as she has her white noise machine and it is dark. Other than that she’ll sleep pretty much where ever.
She is very happy to not be confined in her cage anymore. The cage is now surrounding the tv stand so that she doesn’t get a hold of that. There is nothing else in the house other than our lended temporary furniture so there is really nothing she can get into.
It’s not as fun now for her with nothing to get into and do. She’s really not into toys yet so she tries to find as much to get into as she can. On days when its nice we’ll go outside and play on the back porch and once a week we do the play group. I think she may be getting bored with just me though. I don’t think she really notices that John is gone, I think she has the mental capacity of a dog right now. They have no concept of time and are excited to see you whether its been and hour or three days. But she does seem to get more and more crazy as the days wear on. Or maybe that’s just me having to deal with her everyday by myself…
She is trying very hard to pull up on the couch and scoot along the edge of it. She is still having issues with foot placement though. It’s like she can make it up there but then she doesn’t know what to do next. That part hasn’t kicked in yet or something. So she’ll stand there hanging on, one foot hovering in midair with her hands trying to grab as much of the couch as possible so she doesn’t fall. I figure she’ll eventually get it. She’s doing much better on the temporary furniture than on ours. I guess since they are lower she has more to grab onto and feels more secure. Not really looking forward to her walking right now since we’re on the move, and she’s going to want to be too. Once she figures out how to go she isn’t going to want to stop and that isn’t going to bode well for our very long flight and road trip across the U.S.
This month Aria is crawling, pulling up and she got to visit Paris!
This month has been a bit busy for us here. We are in the process of moving back state side so all of our photo equipment has been packed up, as well John is gone for a couple of weeks. So that means that taking her monthly picture this month was a bit of a challenge. Its hard enough to take a picture of her in general. Now that she is on the move, she doesn’t want to sit still for longer than about three seconds. Since it’s just me, trying to put her back on the sheet, put the blocks that she has scattered back in place and take a picture at the same time, just
doesn’t seem to be happening.
Thankfully, all of our stuff being in the process of packed up means we wont have to baby proof the house. I’m dreading that since we have nothing in here now and she is still finding stuff to get into. We aren’t going to be able to get into any thing once we move since we are going to have locks on everything. At the moment Aria is subject of the baby cage. I got it for her so that she couldn’t get into anything while I organized and started the packing process. She isn’t a big fan of it but , honestly she really has no choice. She cant get out and I have no problem turning up the radio if she gets mad and starts screaming to get out if I’m working. Id rather she scream than break another of my bowls.
Aria decided she was going to crawl and pull up at about the same time. So before you know it shell be walking and then we’ll really be in trouble. Now that she is really on the go she has no intention of stopping or even thinking of slowing down.
Took Aria to the Park the other day for the first time and she loved the swing. She wasn’t a big fan of the slide. I think it was still a little big for her and kind of scared her a little.
Aria did very well on her trip to Paris. She didn’t sleep on the flight there but she was good which was all that mattered. At least we weren’t that couple. You know the one with the baby that everyone sees getting on board and hopes and prays they don’t have to be near that crying infant the whole flight.Paris is surprisingly not very baby friendly By that I mean don’t even consider taking a stroller anywhere, especially the Louvre as it is all stairs. We really didn’t even see that many babies out. By the time our trip was done we realized that there was a reason for that. One it was cold. Two its a lot of walking with a baby in tow. Three leaving them with a sitter just makes more sense in the crowded not very child friendly restaurants.
Aria slept pretty decent in the hotel. They provided a pack and play that she started the night in but then usually ended up in the bed with us since she’s such a tosser and turner that she would wake herself up and be unable to sleep. She was also pretty well behaved most of the trip. Her only melt down was after we had been walking in the Louvre for about 4 hours and she was tired needed a nap and wanted down since she was tired of being carried. She started to scream loudly. Of course we are in the atrium and it just starts to echo off the ceiling. So we let her down for a couple of minutes but since she decides she want to climb to statues, back up she goes. John ends up shaking her to sleep while carrying her in his arms in a most unconformable position. So she slept like that for a couple of hours while we finished up the museum.
The flight back was equally uneventful as our flight there thankfully. Aria fell asleep as soon as we got started and slept the whole way. I guess our adventures of the past three days just wore her out since she slept very well that night . But alas, nothing good can last and she has been back to her usual sleep habits since then. By which I mean getting up at least once a night still, twice on a really good night…(can you feel my sarcasm)
So the Filberts went to see Fabulous Paris. We started the vacation off the night before by making fish tacos and having a few margaritas to celebrate vacation start. Come to find out, tequila was actually a bad idea since our plane left at 0700 from Venice and we had to be out the door by 4am. We failed to set an alarm, woke up because Aria was crying and had a mad rush out the door…….we didn’t do too bad overall, the only thing we ended up forgetting was our jackets. Turns out that was a bigger deal than we thought.
We got through the airport with no other real issues. We had an 1.5 hour flight and Aria was up the whole time (not crying, just playing). We took the train into town to get to our hotel. Three things were learned about the Paris train system:
It’s not stroller/luggage friendly.
It is crowded and dirty.
I don’t want to ride the train in Paris with my family……ever.
After that experience was over we started the 1.5 mile walk to our hotel to find out that one of the wheels on our suitcase had gone bad. I drug it all of the way to the hotel leaving a solid black plastic rub mark from the train station to the Annex Hotel. It wasn’t check in time so I left our crippled luggage in the baggage room at the hotel and Lindsey, Aria and I went for a walk. We walked down by the Louvre and around Notre Dame, took some pics, had lunch, and hiked it back for a well needed nap before trying dinner……(Hold on Aria wants to type you something on the blog: fgadfl; ufg jk mn ib ) Okay, back to the Paris story now. For dinner we decided to go to a discrete Fondue place close to the hotel. Paris turned out to be quite the learning experience, as this was a Chinese fondue, we found out some stuff here too:
Babies and pots of boiling broth/raw meat do not go well together.
Aria is thankfully Not allergic to shellfish (she is amazingly quick at grabbing things like raw shrimp and stuffing them in her mouth)
Aria does NOT appreciate being fed a noodle that was boiled in super spicy broth….she is not even slightly appreciative.
The other customers were not pleased with our irate child. I’m not sure if they were cussing in Chinese or French, but I got the hint. We ended dinner early and went back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.
Day 2 proved a little better. We did the Hop-on-hop off tour bus to save us some walking. We had learned the day prior that Paris is not stroller/kid friendly at all so we carried her and left the stroller at the hotel. We got to hit all of the major sites, took a bunch of pictures and just strolled all day through Paris. The weather was great and Aria was well behaved. Dinner that evening was excellent at a place called “The Harbor” We had some beer, escargot, and lamb, it was excellent. Our feet were pretty damn sore from all of the walking that day….that was a bad thing since the next day we were headed to the Lourve.
We had bought our tickets to the Lourve the day before and found out that there were a LOT of stairs in the Lourve. It was not crowded in most spots(since it was a Wednesday) and coupled with some fast walking we saw most all of it in one day. I’m sure we could have spent more time in a few places but there are only so many pictures of the baby Jesus and displays of pottery that one family needs to see in a day. We got to see all the important stuff though, Venus de Milo, the winged Victory, the Egyptian wing, and the Mona Lisa. Well, we saw the crowd surrounding the Mona Lisa and about half her face and decided we had seen enough. Unlike most people I simply was not willing to muscle my way to the front of the pack to take a 3 megapixel picture of a priceless painting with my camera phone. That just seems wrong.
It was getting pretty damn cold out (and we had no jackets) so we figured we would do some shopping and see if we could pick up a nice jacket. We walked to the Galleries Lafyette. On the way there Aria got attacked (kissed) by a crack head who had apparently never seen a baby before. The toothless wonder surprised us with her speed and agility (think fast zombie). I learned that as a father it is not only my job to defend my family against the evil, but also against the overly friendly. Hopefully the only thing Aria gets out of that experience was the kiss, no blood born parasites, mono, herpes, etc. I think I went through 5 baby wipes and a bottle of Purrell cleaning her mouth off. Lesson learned. The whole walk was a waste anyway, only 1 store was selling coats and they were around 900 euro…nobody buys coats in April, even in France. Since we are nobody, we didn’t either.
After another full day of walking and carrying Aria, my feet were killing me. We walked back to the hotel, cleaned up and hit up a nice restaurant close by. We had a bottle of wine and some beef medallions and slept in until late the next morning. We took a private shuttle to the airport (no train this time). Aria fell asleep as soon as we boarded the plane and didn’t wake up until we were almost to the baggage claim. I guess one thing went right for us.
We got home with no issues, we were greeted by two excited dogs and had to clean the remnants of a margarita fueled fish-taco-paloza that littered our home.
This month Aria is all over the place. She’s learned to scoot backwards while on her stomach and is attempting to get into everything she can find. She also loves to scream, scare other babies, and has a constant look of surprise on her face.
So, In about ten days we are headed to Paris. I thought that we would take some pictures inspired by the trip. I have to say we have a bunch of these pictures that are just so cute with her in her ruffle romper and pearls. It’s almost hard to decide on one or two for the blog. I may end up having to post a gallery of the rest. She did very well taking the pictures and only one strand of pearls got broken in the process.
At the moment we try to keep her in as small an area as possible. Since she cant move that fast it keeps the amount of stuff she can get into to a minimum. If you turn your back for a second you never know what she will have.
Her new noise is screaming. Not because she is upset or sad, just because. She screams so loud and at such a high pitch it almost hurts your ears. There’s no stopping her either, she does it whether she is happy or sad. I’m hoping this is just a phase that she will quickly out grow.
I have started to take Aria to the wee ones play group. Its once a week and now that she is getting a little more mobile she seems to enjoy it a bit more. Since, we are living overseas there really weren’t that many other babies her age. In fact our entire stay at the hospital when she was born, we were the only one there. Go figure, I had heard about you having to be turned away sometimes due to them being full and we had the whole place to ourselves. So we go to the play group and it never fails she ends up making one of the other babies cry. She doesn’t really do anything to them either. She’s not a hitter or crier. She just gives them this look and they bust into tears. I cant figure it out but she’s done it twice now. Its a little creepy when your kid scares the others just by looking at them, its just screams Damien if you know what I mean.
Other than that the constant look of surprise that is stuck on her face is about the only other milestone this month. Not sure why but surprised is all she knows how to do. We cant seem to get the kid to close her mouth for some reason. I guess after something flies in there she’ll decide that isn’t something she wants to do any more.
Well, next month will be all about our Paris trip, maybe or we’ll just do Paris separate. Haven’t decided yet. Hopefully it isn’t horrible since this will be Aria’s first flight and flying with a baby never sounds like a good idea.
I couldn’t resist adding a Gallery of Aria’s Paris Shoot. So many cute Pictures.
This Month Aria started doing a backward catapillar crawl, cut her two bottom teeth, and visited Venice for the first time!
So remember last month when I was worried she wouldnt crawl because she hated being on her stomach. Well apparently she has decided that she doesnt need to be on her stomach to move around she can do that just fine ,… on her head. Yep, no hands needed, just leans back on her head, arches her back, pulls her feet towards her and scoots her head which ever way she wants to go, and then does it again. She looks like a catapillar crawling around like that. Thankfully she hasnt quite got the mechanics of it down yet, because if she did there’s no telling where she would end up. Most of the time I lay her on her stomach and turn around to find her on her back in the corner. Shes fully figured out how to flip herself over so that she can go where she wants, if not very gracefully.
This month she cut both her bottom teeth. At the same Time! Yep, one morning we got up and you could just see them poking through. The one on the
left was a little quicker about getting out but with in two days they were both out in all their glory. Thankfully she didn’t have too bad of a time with teething pain. Mainly at night right before she went to bed we would give her a bit of orajel to help her sleep. Otherwise she seems to be doing ok, I guess we just wait and see which set comes in next. She sure loves her chompers though, it helps her take bites out of her food now, so we have to watch and make sure she doesn’t bite off too much since she has a bad habit of doing that and then gagging since there is too much in her mouth.
This year Carnivale in Venice was a little early than in previous years. Since we had never been the entire time we lived here, we figured it was time we finally went. So Aria got to ride the train and go see Venice for the first time. She enjoyed riding on the train, and seeing everyone in their costumes. I think though that she enjoyed the pigeons in St Marks square more than anything. She was fascinated with those birds. She would try and watch them and would try to see around me as much as she could when they were no longer in her line of sight. Overall though it was a good day, and I’m glad we finally got to go down and see some of the revelry’s.
This month we also had our first snow of the season. I’m thinking it’ll probably be our last as well since it has already started to warm up. It was in the high 60s the other day so I’m thinking snow is a distant memory. Aria was not impressed by the snow though. She had a very unhappy look on her face that I made her go out in the cold just to look at some wet stuff. I’m sure once she get older it will be more entertaining to her, but at the moment she’s not very excited about the snow.