Saturday, September 20, 2014

Apple Picking in Steinsel

I love apple picking! Our wedding party even picked apples as our reception favors eleven years ago! So I was very excited to find an apple orchard near our house in Luxembourg to keep up our annual tradition. We drove the windy, steep roads up to a charming village called Steinsel, overlooking a gorgeous valley, and spent the morning picking fruit, taking wheel-barrow rides and eating apple cakes. An absolutely perfect morning!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Christmas in September!

At last, the delayed sea shipment arrived and we began the process of putting together our new home. It's interesting to think the same container traveled more than 4200 miles from our driveway in Wisconsin, through customs in Belguim, to our quiet street in Luxembourg City.

At 8am sharp, the rental company arrived to pack up the temporary furniture, bedding and kitchenware we'd been using. Just a few minutes later, the moving company pulled in to unload. Nine fellas firing off rapid-fire questions in French, all with little three-year-old John darting between their legs (the big kids were in school). We were off to the races....

Rental truck loading. Sea shipment unloading
At our request, the crew took everything out of boxes and neatly stacked their contents on the floor, taking the cardboard away at the end of the second day. Then our work began.....and still continues every day almost eight weeks later. We've been extra motivated to feel settled before the new baby girl arrives. Some people (me) might even say it's like "Nesting on Crack."

We're thrilled to have our things and be settling into our new home on rue des Lavandes (Lavender Street).
John napped in his new room right through the commotion

Monday, September 1, 2014

Our New Home (Pre-Sea Shipment)

After seeing just five homes during our house-hunting trip in June, we selected a house in Strassen, about five minutes outside of Luxembourg City's historic downtown. It came down to a hard decision between two places -- location (walkable to the kids' school) verses space. With three active kids and another on the way, we decided to go with the larger house that has a bedroom for every child, a guest suite, a playroom and a fabulous yard.

We were thrilled to meet our new Italian neighbors. Monica works in the recruiting office at the International School, and her husband works three weeks of the month in Bahrain; their 5th and 8th graders, Alberto and Emma, are delightful. "Steeeetch," they call out the front door to their dog, Stitch. Our neighbor to the other side is a giant ongoing construction project, which will actually double the population of Strassen (thankfully, no traffic will come through our subdivision). Charlie chose the bedroom that overlooks the site....a little boy's dream. In fact, during an early morning soccer game before Rob left for work, a construction worker tossed the ball back over our hedge.

Our sea shipment will arrive soon (we literally can't wait), but until then, we've been living with rental furniture: two black pleather love seats, a bare bones kitchen arsenal (one 10-inch frying pan, a pot to boil water, and some basic glassware and cutlery), a hammock the owners left us, and a bed for our heads. Not sure exactly what happened, but we only recieved two twin-sized comforters for the five of us, so I bought each of the kids a fleece blanket from IKEA. The kids have been real troopers; we created a makeshift playroom with a roll-able wardrobe and a few books someone donated to the American Women's Club of Luxembourg. We've added a few toys over the month, and after weeks of media silence, we starting running cartoons off of YouTube. But the house is far from silent; It's all wood, stone and tile, and with no rugs or furnishings, the noise level is off the charts (as I mentioned before, we literally can't wait for the sea shipment).

The kids "playroom"on a rented wardrobe
We're renting the house from a wonderful couple who built it to raise their three teenage boys -- he's a Brazilian neurosurgeon and she's German, with a spartan sense of style. The house is ultra modern and has an open floorplan.
I decorated from a floorplan (after converting cm to ft)
There is a lovely path running behind the house, which is lined with apples, pears and mirabelle (a fruit that's brand new to us....a cross between a plum and a Rainier Cherry). It leads to a park, with a brand new playground (in fact, it's still being built) and best of all, a Piste de Petanque -- like bolles that the old men play in the South of France.

Roosters walking distance from our house
There are two ponies near one of our neighborhood playgrounds
Still under construction...