Friday, October 26, 2012

Getting Settled In (part 1)

So, as most of you know, Ava and I finally joined Dan in Belgium.  We actually came over a month earlier than expected, because our stuff arrived MUCH earlier than we had anticipated.  We have been very busy unpacking, trying to decorate (more on that later), hitting up IKEA (much to Dan’s dismay) and learning our way around. 

We found a great house very close to SHAPE.  Dan is actually not working at SHAPE, but at the AFB which is still only about 15 minutes away from our house.  We live in a semi-attached house with great American neighbors right next door.  They have a daughter a few months older than Ava, so Ava has a new friend already (and so does Mommy). 

Here are a few pictures of the house from when we arrived…

The before…

DSC_1341  DSC_1337

Those stairs are a little frightening, but you should have seen the top railing.  Basically, Ava could have crawled to a very bad fall from the top landing.  Dan fixed that and I will post a picture of that in a later post.  The kitchen did not have much to offer.  The cabinets that you see are all there were.  There was about 1 square foot of useable counter space, and that is not an exaggeration. 

DSC_1336   DSC_1335

Here is the living room, Ava’s play area, and the dining area. l I wish we brought our dining room set, because it would have looked really nice in that space.  The wood stove would be awesome if we did not have a 10 month old that gets into everything!  I am trying to figure out a way to baby proof it a little more, any suggestions?


Here is Dan’s office.  We also have futon in here for overflow guests (we also have a guest bedroom:)  The only thing we really did to this room was buy a new desk and hang some blinds.  This room will still need some TLC.

For some reason, I didn’t take any “before” photos of the upstairs, but in part 2 of this post, I will show the “after” pictures for upstairs.

Here are some downstairs “after” shots. 


Here is the front entrance.  Nothing special, just a place to walk in the door:) We did find a cute coat tree from IKEA.  The lack of closets makes storage very interesting.  You definitely have to find ways to be creative.  Wait until you see what we did in our bedroom. 


Here are Bob and Manny hanging out in Ava’s play area / dining area.   Check out the incredible view we have in the backyard. 

Dan and I really wanted to paint this room (and the living room- it is all one big room) until we saw the price of paint in Belgium.  That’s right, the equivalent of about a gallon of paint costs about 55 Euro (which is about 75 US dollars).  This room is HUGE, so it would have cost us a fortune to paint someone else’s house…never mind, white will do.  Also, we had to be pretty selective about what to hang on the walls.  Many of my favorite things are boxed up in the attic.  The walls here are made up of a super thin layer of plaster with brick behind the plaster.  If you try and nail a nail thicker than a pin (literally a sewing pin) into the wall, the walls will crumble.  So, you hang light items with a pin that you nail in almost parallel to the wall.  For heavier items you have to drill through the brick.  As you can imagine, Dan was thrilled every time I asked him to hang something else up.

I mentioned the beautiful view from our back window.  Here are some shots from our backyard:


The wire you see is our back fence.  About twice a day the cows come right up to the fence.  Bob and Manny go crazy running back and forth and barking.  The cows just stare them down.  I like to take Ava out here so she can get a good look at them.  Here are a few more cow shots.

cows in the backyard (2)   cows in the backyard

In the next post, I will show some more after pictures of the rest of the house.  I will also so some pictures from our journeys so far, which is not much yet:(

Here are a few pictures that everyone REALLY wants to see…(I couldn’t blame you either). 

DSC_1463 sporty vest baby stroller time crawling DSC_1441 DSC_1442

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