Monday, August 31, 2009


Al had a 3-day weekend so we decided to take the opportunity and head to Paris for the long weekend! We drove, as it was only 4 1/2 hours away and the hotel we chose had parking. We didn't try to jam-pack the weekend because Paris is close enough that we know we'll be back. We arrived Friday late afternoon and started our "weekend in Paris" ....

Friday Night: We walked from our hotel along Champs Elysees to the Arc De Triomphe. We didn't "go in", just viewed it from the exterior. Then we took a nice stroll toward the Eiffel Tower and found a playground along the way for Kelty to burn off some energy. Our first view of the Eiffel Tower was from Trocadero Square. We grabbed a hot dog for dinner and chased Kelty around the grass; took a ride on a carousel and then headed to the Eiffel Tower for a view from the second level ... we didn't go to the top ... we took advice that the best views were from the 2nd level so we were content with that. We were on the Eiffel when they lit it up for the night ... it was amazing! Around 9:30pm we left and took the metro back to the hotel, found a market that was open, grabbed a sandwhich and salad for dinner and sat on our hotel room balcony and ate dinner with a view of the Eiffel.

Arc de Triomphe

View of the Eiffel Tower from Trocadero Square

Well, you HAVE to kiss in front of the Eiffel Tower when in Paris!

Kelty drinking his milk and daddy eating his hot dog

Saturday: We started off our morning with a Metro ride to Notre Dame. Again, we didn't go in but we hung out in the square for a while ... Kelty fed the pigeons and Al and I did our best to avoid the plethora of gypsies begging for money. After our brief visit we walked to Luxembourg Garden so Kelty could run and play for a bit. Al and I grabbed sandwhiches and chased Kelty (again). The park was huge and also had a dedicated children's play area. After a couple hours we headed back to the hotel for Kelty's nap ... he slept for 3 hours! After his nap we headed out to Pompidou Center where Kelty got a kick out of the "street acts". He met a little girl who was 2 days older then him and ran around the square while Al and I took turns drinking wine/beer and following him around. After our little break we took an evening walk around the Louvre ... Paris at night was amazing and the favorite part of our trip.

Too many gypsies around to trust anyone with the camera in front of Notre Dame ... extend the arm .. smile ... click!

Cimbing in the children's play area in Luxembourg Gardens

Fun on the slide ....

Kicking leaves and getting dirty

Popping bubbles near Pompidou Center

Kelty gave the little French girl his teddy bear to push in her stroller ... awww ... he's already trying to romance the little girls!

The Louvre at night ... it was nothing short of breathtaking! The camera had a hard time capturing pictures at night ... especially with Kelty moving so fast! This is the best we could get; Al had to pretend to point out a bug on the ground to get Kelty to stop moving!

The Louvre was larger that we could have imagined ... it seemed to go on forever. We spent about an hour that evening just walking through the courtyard. At one point we came across a man playing his violin in a dark corner under one of the arches ... it radiated throughout the courtyard ... just a musician doing his thing but it really added to the experience.

Sunday: Because of Kelty's 3-hour nap on Saturday, we weren't able to tour the inside of the Louvre that afternoon. Instead we decided to stop by and see what we could on Sunday before we left. By Sunday morning Kelty really had enough of sitting in his stroller ... and really ... the Louvre is not child friendly (as you can imagine). So Al and I navigated our way straight to Venus de Milo (Aphrodite) and Mona Lisa. Without a child the Louvre was overwhelming ... with a child it was near impossible ... but we were happy to see what we did and decided that we'll see the Louvre again maybe when ... (uh hum, grandparents visit and Al and I can sneak away for a couple hours).

The Mona Lisa! You can't get close and you have to fight your way throught he crowd to get a good look ... but it was truly amazing.
And that's a wrap on this trip to Paris. Kelty is sick with a cold ... you can only keep a child so clean with wet wipes and hand sanitizer ... public bathrooms ... clean public batrhooms are not easy to come by in Paris. I paid 2 Euro just to change Kelty's diaper in bathroom!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Chasing the Garbage Man ...

It's 6am, Al and I hear the "Bio Truck" coming up the hill ...

Jaime: "Al, did you take the Bio out last night?"

Al: "No!"

Jaime: "S**t!"
I proceed to run down 3 flights of stairs in my PJ's (which is an adult romper, onesie ... by the way) and of course bra-less and sprint outside .... they already passed us! I grab the bio bin and starting running up the hill ... Al runs out, chases down the truck and .... they make a special stop and take it! Thank-you German Bio Trash Guys! In case you're wondering why it was so important ... Bio only gets picked up twice a month. This Bio bin contains ALL food scraps, used napkins, biodegradable stuff and yard waste. Trust me ... you don't want food scraps hanging out in this bin longer than neccessary!

I prepped for our weekend-excursion to Paris yesterday and therefore stayed home all day. Kelty and I spent a good chunk of time outside in the yard ... we've been working pretty hard lately to get our yard and koi pond in shape for Kelty .. this includes me going on "poop patrol" daily to pick up the dog poo so it doesn't end up on our shoes ... one more thing on my "to do" list during Kelty's nap time.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The New Digs!

Check out our new digs!

So .... I came across April Showers Blog Designs back in Feb when we were mid-PCS! I fell in love with her portfolio ... especially the custom illustrations ... plus I really got a kick out of her posts (she's got quite the sense of humor) ... I don't know whether to add her site to "Great Sites I Visit" or "Blogs to Make You Laugh"! Finally after getting settled in Germany and watching in horror as her "wait list" grew and grew and grew ... I finally submitted a request for a blog makeover. After waiting 2 months for "my turn", April and I started coordinating on a blog design. I sent her pictures of Al and I, Kelty, Pogo and Piper and a description of what I was hoping for ... think "The Sound of Music". Her first draft was pretty spot-on but also inspired a few changes, like the grapevines (we live in the heart of the wine region) and I decided to add the menu bar to expand my blog and keep it organized! April is finishing up our "button" and then we'll be set!

I'm in love with the cartoon illustration of the family ... and Pogo and Piper are super cute! Kelty loves to look at the blog and point us all out separately ... he actually identifies Pogo from Piper!

Speaking of April and her blog designs ... she is hosting a FREE GIVEAWAY for a Custom Blog Layout! Follow the photo link and read her "Finally A Giveaway" post ... just add a comment and you'll be entered!

Keep your eyes peeled as I continue to tweak and build-up the "secondary" pages ... I've already started: they are formatted and have little descriptions of the pages along the right column .... the left columns will remain consistent throughout each page for ease of navigation and "cleanliness".

I also think I know why I am addicted to blogging now .... besides the fact that it keeps family and friends across the globe updated on our lives ... it's also my way of staying connected to the "outside world"! Building a network of friends in a foreign country has proven to be a bit more challenging than I anticipated ...

P.S. We are heading to Paris tomorrow! Wish us luck on the 4-hour car ride with Kelty! I hope the 2-years of French I took, ummmm ... 15-years ago ... gets us through the trip!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Stay Tuned .....

As you can see ... our blog is going through some AWESOME changes. Please stay tuned while April over at April Showers Blog Design finishes up our new layout! Whoot whoot! I'll tell you all about my journey with April and the blog makeover once it's all been tweaked. It's almost 11pm here so I'm excited to see what I'll wake up to in the morning!

11 Years and Counting

Yesterday Al and I celebrated 11 years of marriage! We spent a low-key but really nice day together. After a pancake breakfast we loaded Kelty up in his hiking carrier and headed for a nature/wildpark hike by the house. After we got back Kelty took an AWESOME 3-hour nap while Al and I did some work around the house. At 7pm our babysitter took over "Kelty duty" and Al and I walked down to our village for a quiet dinner. That's a wrap on our 11-year anniversary!

I'm sure our military friends will understand when I say our life is broken down by duty locations ... it's how we group phases in our life. We were discussing the places we lived and Texas came up ... Al lived in Texas for almost a year ... I never did! How crazy is it that while we were married, my spouse held a residence somewhere I've never lived. We spent a lot of time seperated early in our marriage when I was also active duty ... the joint spouse thing never really worked for us and our duty locations. Mostly do to the fact that both our career fields required extensive training in the beginning ... Al was a Navigator and I was an Air Traffic Controller ... both these fields require training in designated places. Despite being seperated a cumulative period of 3 years during our first 5 years of marriage ... I think we've done GREAT! Our first year-long seperation came after we had only been married 6-months ... we were still "babies" in our marriage. Al and I both agree that our marriage had to be built on "communication and trust" in order to survive our long and frequent seperations. Now we've added "patience" into that mix. :o) With a high demands on Al and his career and the blessing we call "Kelty", patience is neccessary! Of course it's all built on love too! So that's my take on our success!

This was a field of deer ... you can't really see them in this picture. On our way back past the field we fed them wild blackberries.

Horses ... of course

Ostrich's ... these little guys were sticking their necks out soooo far through the fence!

Balance the camera on the other couch, set the timer, run into the picture and SNAP ... after our anniversary dinner. This was actually the first anniversary we spent together in 4-years!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'll Regret This In The Morning ......

It's almost midnight ... I'm tired but overcome with guilt for not posting in a week .... so here is my "late-night" blog post for your enjoyment. Please overlook any grammatical errors, as I'm in a bit of a fog.

It's been normal day-to-day stuff around here for the last week. Everyday I wake up with hopes of having at least one fun outing with Kelty but for whatever reason I find myself "pooped-out" ... I've started taking a multi-vitamin ... let's kick-start mommy in the morning!

We've spent most of our free-time working on various projects around the house ... those will be highlighted in a their own post. A LOT of yardwork, some craft projects and home improvement stuff.

Here are a few cute pics from the last few days ....

That's the best tastin' pickle I ever heard .....

Kelty loves the shower .... every once in a while we surprise him with a shower instead of a bath.

Luckily he hasn't turned the sprayer on us ..... I have a feeling it's only a matter of time.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Moments ...

Lately our days have been scattered with little "moments" with Kelty. I look at him and see a "little boy" ... where did my "baby" go? Yesterday Kelty gave me the most amazing hug ... he climbed on my lap, wrapped his arms around my neck and squeezed ... then he let go and planted me with a dozen little kisses! (Looking back, maybe he was strangling me? Ha) The other night Kelty awoke at 11:30 ... to be honest, I'd been looking for a reason to pick him up and hold him while he slept ... so I jumped out of bed and got him. I held him in my arms until almost 1 am, he was wide awake but stayed content in my arms while I "traced his face" with my hand, rubbed his feet and held his hand ... sigh.

Blowing bubbles on the deck

Matching up pictures

Catching bubbles in the park

Wasn't it just the other day when I used to hold him while sliding?

Kelty is not much of "swinger" ... he enjoys it for a bit is then ready to move on ... I caught him having fun though!

Monday, August 10, 2009

When in Rome (Part 2)

Oops ... sorry this took so long to post! I'm trying to write this post with Kelty bouncing on my legs so let's see how it turns out ...

Our excursion to Vatican City (St. Peter's Basilica, St. Peter's Square and the Vatican Museum) was amazing! Al and I both agreed we should have brushed up on our history and invested in the guided tour ... there was so much to see it was overwhelming! We started this outing with St. Peter's Basilica and St. Peter's Square ... we had read to go after 12:30 (after the tour groups and early morning tourists had come and gone) and I think that was good advice. We waited maybe 30 minutes to get into the Basilica. After that we walked to the entrance of the Vatican Museum which usuallly has a line up to 2 1/2 hours ... we went around 3pm and literally walked right in! Score! There is actually "one way" the traffic flows through the 4+ miles of the Vatican Museum ... however, in our attempt to find an elevator to take us up to the 2nd floor we ended up right in the Sistine Chapel! Someone had told Al to "take the exit to the right ... where the tour groups go" this ended up being "the exit" and we ended up skipping the ENTIRE MUSEUM! This "exit" dumped us out right into the Basilica where the tour groups transition into the 2nd portion of their tour! I guess that warrants a return trip to Rome! Onto the photo's ...

St. Peter's Square

Standing in St. Peter's Square looking at the St. Peter's Basilica

Kelty and Al walking in the Basilica

We had to "plug" Kelty as he thought the Basilica made a great echo chamber ... he also thought the chamber with the Popes' tombs made a great echo chamber!

The Tomb of Apostle Peter ... the Basilica is built up around the tomb. The steps down lead to the chamber with the others Popes' remains. On a side note ... if you watch the movie "Angels and Demons", you'll see all this too!

Sooo ... as I referenced above, we had to "plug" Kelty with his pacifier. The Basilica has these beautiful in-laid grates .... Kelty thought it would make a great resting place for his paci.

See it? Right there ... bottom center of the pic ... "O Holy Paci"! It is still there ... we couldn't get it out! Ha!

The Sistine Chapel ... to my dissapointment I only took 2 pictures! Al and I both stood there and just gazed at the ceiling. The frescoes actually looking like they are coming out at you ... something we didn't really expect.

There it is! "The Creation of Adam"

So bummed it turned out so dark. :o(

One last pic ....

Kelty had Al and I laughing hysterically at this ... taken during an attempt at lunch!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

When In Rome ..... (Part 1)

We spent 3 nights and 2 1/2 days in Rome ... we are still in disbelief that we visited some of the places we did ... things we've only studied about in school, read about in books, or seen on TV! Here we go .....

Trevi Fountain

Kelty threw in 2 coins ... one for "good luck" and one for a "return trip to Rome"

The Spanish Steps

Kelty walked up every one of them!

The Pantheon

Sitting on the steps of a fountain ... eating McDonalds ... while looking at the Pantheon (yup ... you read it right ... we ate McDonalds and it was the most relaxing meal we had with Kelty!)
Kelty sitting across from the Pantheon (I think his expression reads something like this ... "C'mon Mom, more pictures!"

The Colloseum!

Inside the Colloseum

I still can't believe we were there ...

Kelty running amongst the ruins of the Colloseum
Tomorrow: Vatican City, Roman Forum, various Piazza's, a few random Rome encounters and Lessons Learned! .....

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