Monday, September 3, 2018

Our New Home

Our house. Front yard.We are still in the process of settling down, so it is still hard to find the time and energy to actually sit down, write things up and prepare pictures. Things are changing in the house on the daily basis as we’re making it cozier and homier.

Back yard from the far edge.The house that we ended up buying is located in Ridgefield, not Redding. We are quite happy that it worked out this way in the end.

Back yard. Flat grassy area.The schools are stellar. Ridgefield has a lot of nice benefits for residents, including a decently priced pass for a town lake and all year round access to town pools among other things. It has a great, big, modern library. The schools are simply excellent — from elementary to middle to high. All are rated 9 and higher. Really top notch schools.

From the side. Our garages.A small aside — all the pictures were taken in our first days in the house, so nothing is close to done or orderly. It’s a complete mess. And there are a lot of places for improvement — giving an evil look to the closet. But hopefully future posts will illustrate more and more transformations as we get settled in. It is already looking very different as I write this post since we have put our personal touch on things.

Our driveway.We’re located centrally between the centers of Ridgefield, Redding and Bethel, although I think Redding doesn’t really have much of a downtown of any kind. Town lake and beach is a 2 minute drive from our house. The lake is situated in between the mountains and is very picturesque.

Patio.The house itself has 4 bedrooms — this was one of our requirements. One for us, two for kids and a guest bedroom — so our parents could come and stay as long as they wanted. It also gives us an ability to host people with overnight stays. In addition to that there is a lot extra space for inflatable mattresses and such.

Covered porch.Out all the houses that we have seen this was the only one that actually had both — a covered porch and a nice patio. We’ve been eating a lot on our porch. Not going to get a lot of use during the winter, but during summer month it’s been very pleasant to dine in the open air. And just several days ago we acquired a nice wood-burning fire-pit that kids cooked marshmallows on.

Covered, screened porch.Even though bedroom are on a smaller size it has three large living, family rooms. We decided to use the fireplace room for our main TV watching air. Our bottom living room is going to be a playroom for the kids and will house our Peloton. And we’re not quite sure what to do with the last one yet.

Grill on the uncovered part of the porch.The house has a huge kitchen — at least compared to what we’re used to — with a nice L shaped bar stand that we can eat at as a family. Alёna can be doing stuff in the kitchen and be with us all at the same time — this is a great feature.

Empty family room with a wood-burning fireplace.As I said, our very first purchase for the house was a grill. We opted in for Weber Genesis II propane grill for the easy of use as opposed to coal. In fact in our month and a half here we’ve used up a full tank of propane already and are on our second one now. It has actually been a pleasure to host friends and family for full weekends with sleepovers — something that we never could do before.

Our kitchen with granite counter tops.First major project that we did was replace the whole septic system. It took a week — we had a full crew of people working from 7 to 4 daily. The new system has a life time of 40 years. Full concrete install with leaching field being built right on the edge of the woods.

Bar top kitchen counter and living room.That’s one thing that we won’t have to worry about ever, hopefully. They did dig up pretty much most of our front yard and backyard. Grass seeds were placed after the work was done, so our yards are still recovering, although new grass did come in fairly quickly.

Bottom floor, right after the move.The photos in the post have been taken right after our move, so a lot of stuff is in a complete disarray. But since then we’ve made a lot of progress in settling in a getting things in order. So I have a lot of material for future posts.

Bottom floor living room -- play room for the kids.Also as I mentioned the house has both a patio and a covered porch. There is also an uncovered portion of the porch for the grill, which is a very nice touch — something that we haven’t seen at other houses we looked at. It’s nice to be able to cook and talk to the people at the same time — not being far away with the grill.

Main bathroom.When we originally looked at this property it had a built into concrete basketball ring and it had a trampoline in the back yard with a hole under it. Although trampoline had a rip in it, which I thought might not be fixable. But we still were excited that our kids will get to play with all that.

Our brand new trampoline. Kids love it.The basketball ring is still there, but we discovered right before the closing that the trampoline is gone and a hole is completed filled in.

Front of the house.So soon after our move we ordered a brand new 15″ trampoline1. Although we had to wait for quite a bit for all the septic work to be done. But now it is constructed and kids and their friends enjoy it very much.

Master closet. Original form. Separate post for transformation is coming.Another surprising thing was how all the neighbors started coming over and introducing themselves. We have amassed a collection of wine from all these visits. It was very unusual having come from Brooklyn to experience it. We seem to be surrounded by nice people.

Arosha's room. Original form.So having been here for a month and a half we’re enjoying it very much. I keep saying that we live in “a vacation” kind of deal. Obviously there are more things to deal with as opposed to an apartment, but I think we’re adapting nicely, so far.

Hallway to the bedroom. Fairly ugly staircase light, before we replaced it.

  1. Skywalker 15-feet round trampoline and enclosure with spring pad — $329.99. []
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Monday, September 1, 2014

Anna — 11 Months

In Marine Park.Our little Anechka is 11 months old today! She is such a delightful baby — very serious, but at the same time easily amused. She is so curious about the world around her. Anna loves picking up everything from the ground — be it twigs, stones, candy wrappers or empty water bottles and other garbage.

Anechka adores dogs. Every time she sees one, she stops whatever she is doing, and rashes towards it. She then squeals in excitement, and tries to touch a dog, although she is kind of being cautious at the same time and not really touches it. Anюta also makes high pitched “aaa-aaa” sound when she sees a dog — very similar to what Arosha did at her age. And of course the smaller the dog, the more she likes it. Big ones, even though still very interesting, are more scary. Which makes perfect sense, you know.

In Marine Park.Anechka still is very weary about strangers. She even refuses ice-cream and toys from the children on the playground which are not familiar to her. She does not like when adults other than family pick her up or touch her. I think it’s not so bad, especially for a girl. Arosha was different — more open, less cautious. He is still a conversation starter with anyone who can understand him (who speaks Russian that is).

Anechka’s vocabulary still consists of two words — mama and “dai” (give). I wonder if she’ll be an early talker like her brother was.

She can play by herself for a pretty long periods of time. Enough time for me to do things around the house oftentimes, like start cooking something, vacuum, etc. When she gets bored by herself, she likes to follow Arosha and tries to play with him. Sometimes he does, sometimes he does not. You should hear how those two laugh and/or squeal together sometimes. Their favorite place to do this is the elevator. OH MY GOD! I have to cover my ears sometimes because of how loud they get.

Ready to go.On playground people often comment on how independent she is.

Arosha is starting pre-K next week. I can’t believe it! He is such a big boy already. I hope it will go well. I am so curious to see how he’ll handle being away from me for such long periods of time. I am so curious to see how long it will take him to start speaking English. I hope he’ll get a good teacher and nice classmates.

I think we’re finally done celebrating his birthday. He was lucky this year and got 3 cakes! The first one was on his actual birthday, the 8th. Just the three of us (Anюta was asleep) celebrated. It was funny when during the birthday song he said — “enough already” (he really wanted to blow out the candles). I don’t think he realized that it was a little rude, so we just laughed and finished singing.

There is no fence we miss.The second celebration was with some of his and our friends — Alisa and her parents, Emma and her parents and Misha. Danya’s parents were away on vacation. I did not cook — just made two salads, and the rest we ordered from the Uzbek restaurant “1001 Nights”. This was definitely Arosha’s favorite party. Every time he has kids over, especially Alisa, he has a blast. He proclaimed on numerous occasions that he’ll marry her when he grows up. Alisa said that she does not mind. Those kids are too funny! By the way, when we ask Arosha why he wants to get married, he tells us that he needs a good wife to have children with.

Arosha's guests.Arosha got LEGO sets, school game and money for ice-cream (I say, we got all summer worth of ice-cream covered by the generous Misha) as gifts. Danya helped him to assemble some of the lego things already. I think you can never have too much of those.

Anюta seemed to enjoy all the birthday activities too! She ate well together with everybody and then followed children around and played with balloons and new toys (Ignat and Vika bought her a present too).

Playing.I was pretty tired by the end — Anюta got up really early that day and I did not have a chance to get any rest during the day. I even had to do laundry after putting Anюta down for the night (I wash cloth diapers every other day). Still, I was very glad how the party turned out. I honestly think that at this age celebrating at home with 1-2 friends is much more enjoyable for children than going to childrens’ gyms or a restaurant with a large group of kids for 2-3 hours.

And the last party to celebrate Arosha’s birthday was with his grandparents and aunt Lina and uncle Lenya. We also invited Misha again — he lives just a few minutes away from us and we thought that it’ll be more fun for everyone if he comes. I cooked wine-brased beef and garlic potatoes and a few salads. Danya said that he liked the food more than shish-kebabs from the restaurant that we had a week before.

Our guests.I am not sure how much fun Arosha had without children, but I liked his party still. And the cake, which we don’t have a picture of, was the best from all three. It had lots of berries and a very light cream inside the thin crust.

I am not sure how we’ll be celebrating Anюta’s birthday in a month, but I hope that we’ll contain it to just one party.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Aroshka’s First Birthday Parties

All our guests of day one.We wanted to post a bunch of Aroshka’s birthday party pictures for a while, but things like spending the night in emergency room kept getting in the way. I have to say — if I could switch places with Aroshka and be the one with the laceration on my eyebrow, I would do so in a heartbeat.

Our little family unit. Shublik didn't participate.But anyhow, we celebrated his First Birthday recently, and here are some pictures to remember the event by.

The musical trio.This year Aroshka lucked out — he had two Birthday Parties!

Arosha and Alisa.We wanted to invite over 20 people, but it turns out our apartment is not made out of rubber after all, so we either had to go to some kind of restaurant (which I always though is not what we’ll do for his first birthday), or to invite people in two batches.

Arosha and AudreySo for party number 1 we invited our friends and their kids to our place, and for party number two our family gathered at Danya’s parents’ apartment.

Aunt Lilya, Arsen, Lena and Vitalik.Both events went great. Aroshka’s grandma cooked meat pie, funchoza and some other things, and we ordered shish-kebab from a local Uzbek place. We also got a fruit sponge cake from a Chinese bakery. The food was plentiful and delicious!

Zhanna and Marat.Aroshka got some cool toys and money as gifts. I think our whole apartment is slowly turning into one big toys storage place, so I often wish we had a basement or something like that to store all the stuff that we don’t currently use. One day…

Lina and Lenny.Aroshka is very social, so he liked interacting with children and adults alike. I am really happy that Alisa and Audrey were able to come — I think they had fun too!

Grandparents with their grandson.We sang a “Happy Birthday” song to Aroshka, and I blew out the candle for him. I tried to teach him the fine art of blowing candles out beforehand, but he did not master it just yet. Maybe next year it will be a different story.

Birthday cake. The excitement. Blowing out the candles.Since Arosha’s birthday happens to be in the middle of the summer, maybe we’ll be able to celebrate his future birthdays in a park somewhere, as a BBQ event.

Birthday cake.All in all, we had fun and I am very grateful to everyone who came to wish our little man a Happy First Birthday!

Arosha and uncle Lenny.
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