Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Getting Settled

Phew! We've made it this far! Our household goods came in two shipments last Wednesday and Thursday. We are living in the midst of boxes and packing paper but we are SO HAPPY to be in our new house! From here on out I should be able to start making regular blog posts again.

It appears most of our household goods arrived in good condition with the exception of a few things ... when the packers nailed our crates shut some of the nails punctured our wooden furniture that was placed along the edge of the crate ... go figure. Al's lawnmower also had some damage and is currently in the repair shop. Our large bedroom mirror was also shattered but all in all things have been worse in the past so we're not to upset over these damages.

The house has been slow to come together. Our biggest obstacle has been dealing with no closets. German homes don't have closets, instead they buy "shrunks"; they are stand-alone wardrobes. The military issues us 4 shrunks; 1 for each of us and then 1 for Al's military gear. At first we were like "no biggie" but then as you start to unpack boxes and you have no place to put shoes or linens or towels or random things you stash in closets it's like "whoa"! Our storage and shrunks will have it's own blog in the future ... as well as a whole bunch of other unique things we're adapting to. :o)

Al's parents left yesterday after receiving the sad news that Al's grandfather passed away. It was a rough trip for Al's parents. Al's dad spent a large portion of their stay in the hospital here with a few medical issues that arose and then finishing the trip with the death of Al's grandpa wrapped up the trip on a sad note. Please send your prayers to his family.

I'll wrap up the blog with some photo's and a video of Kelty that I adore! Here we go!

Kelty checking himself out in the window while we were waiting for our shipment to arrive

Fun in his box!

Same box but with Daddy's extra touch!

Al and I stopped by a little place to pick up lunch one day. A lot of bratwurst and a little bun!

Kelty and I were outside the house looking at flowers when I heard"clip clop clip clop", this is actually not that uncommon! A horse-drawn wagon is a mode of travel here. Cool!

We walked down the hill to a little grocery store. I bough some wine, fresh pretzels and cake from the bakery. You bring your own basket or bags while shopping here ... otherwise you'll be carrying your purchase piece by piece in your arms. I actually saw a guy riding his bike the other day and his bike basket was filled with fresh produce ... so cool!

The other day we stopped by a bakery/cafe in our town of Otterberg. After taking a seat the lady brought Kelty a soft pretzel ... he chewed the heck out of the pretzel and it kept him content for at least 1/2 hour! I bought him another pretzel at the bakery and he ate it while we walked back home. Since his gums/teeth have been bothering him lately ... this is a great teether!

Kelty's room was the first room done in the house. We wanted to get him settled so he new this was home and we were done bouncing him all over the place. I love his reaction to his room ... it made me so happy!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Things are getting stale around here ......

Here is just a filler blog entry to hold you all over until we move into our house and get internet ... I almost forgot my blogger password it's been so long!

We are plugging along here ... anxious to move into the house on the 22nd and get our house set-up. I'm anxious to getting blogging "for real" again and actually have an opportunity to share some of the unique things we've been experiencing. It's strange how the normal day-to-day things are even different here! Like fuel rations and the process of getting fuel on base, coffee rations, setting up utilities and dealing with VAT (valued added tax) ... I'll cover these in future blogs.

Al found a good car on the lemon lot on base .... of course it's BMW, Mercedes, and VW's galore ... everyone drives them. Al found a '98 BMW, 5-series to beat around in for the next few years. It's old but it drives well and is pretty comfortable! You should see the looks we get driving the Acadia around ... it's so "American" and really makes us stick out like a sore thumb! Parking it in the NARROW parking spots has become quite a challenge and makes it almost impossible to get out of the car.

Here is cute video of Kelty at the Easter Egg Hunt on base last weekend. They have a huge amount of youth activites on-base which I think will be great ... as soon as we get our household goods and dig out our bathing suites we're going to hit the indoor water park. Enjoy the video!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Photo Recap of Events

So much has happened and there is so much to tell that I can only attempt to catch-up this blog with a photo recap! Here are the highlights of our departure from the U.S., our arrival in Germany, and our first 1 1/2 weeks in country!
Al, Kelty and I drove from MI to ME to pick up the dogs, drop off the Jeep and rendevous with Al's pareents. We stayed with his parents overnight before Al, Kelty, myself, Pogo and Piper hit the road for Baltimore while Al's parents drove to VT to drop of their dog with Al's brother. We met up again in D.C. while waiting to catch our hop out of Baltimore. Our first flight ended up getting cancelled and we spent an extra day in D.C. waiting to fly out (again). Of course with a military hop you don't know it's cancelled until you show up ... unload the vehicle, load 18 pieces of luggage onto luggage carts, wrangle a toddler and 3 luggage carts into the airport, return the rental car ... and oh! "you're flight is cancelled"!

In front of the Washington Monument

The Lincoln Memorial

My reflection standing at the Vietman Memorial ... I was thinking of your service Dad, thank-you

Arlington National Cemetary

Wheel's up!

Kelty was ready too! I sat next to Kelty and had Pogo under the seat in front of Kelty. Kelty was GREAT! He slept all but 1 1/2 hours of the 7+ hour flight! Pogo on the other hand cried and yelped the first half of the flight until we gave him a double dose of his travel meds! We handed out candy bars to to the passengers around us before the flight and apologized in advance for any disruption we may cause!

It took Kelty about 4 nights to adjust to the time change but it was really pretty painless. Al and I and Al's parents play Spades at night ... Kelty was up playing with us!

Playing with his rainboots ... thanks Nana! He LOVES them!

We hit the ground running pretty hard and after the first week needed a bit of a break. We decided to drive about 1 1/2 hours to see the castle ruins in Heidelburg. This is the inside courtyard.

The castle had beautiful gardens and grounds ... Kelty loved the grass and the flowers.

Picking flowers ... before his temper tantrum that ended up with us leaving hastily!

Playing at the park near our TLF

Finally! Our rental house! The search for a rental home was exhausting to put mildly. This is not a high PCS season so there is not a lot out there right now ... we were soooo fortunate to get this house especially after some miscommunication with the non-English speaking owner/landlord. We move-in on April 22nd .. the house is in Otterberg, Germany which is about 20 minutes from base. We live about 2 minutes away from the Doerr's (a couple that Al knew from Macdill who are also stationed here). The house is about a 10 minute walk from the town center where they have bakeries, cafe's, shops and a little grocery store. I'll dedicate another post to the house once we get some good interior pics, etc.

The view from our 2nd story patio! We have flower boxes!!! The main floor opens up onto a huge patio that almost doubles the size of the living area ... it's also safe for Kelty to explore. i have visions of the doors being open on a crisp summer day, Kelty playing in his little sandbox and Pogo and Piper sunbathing. :o)

More to come ... at least I got a start with this post. :o)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

We Have Arrived!

Sorry for the quick note but I wanted to let you all know we have arrived! I'll give you the details and photos next post.

We do not have phone or internet in our TLF and this is the first internet access I've had since last Friday when we arrived in country.

We are here ... we are well ... we are trying to find a house.

I'll try to do a real post tomorrow ... we have a lot to share!

Oh ... and the internet and blogger buttons, etc are all in German so it took me forever just to figure out how to log in!
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