Settling in. Or at least trying to

Our container with all our stuff arrived last Wednesday from New Zealand. It’s great to have our things again, but also very odd. It all seems so out of place. The furniture looks about as comfortable in our apartment as a fat girl in a skinny girl’s clothes. Not that the furniture doesn’t fit — there’s plenty of room, it just seems a little wrong. But maybe the wrong is just in my head. Actually, I’m sure it’s just in my head. Lack of sleep might have something to do with it too. The lack of sleep isn’t just Laurelin’s fault (in fact, she’s had quite a few nights of sleeping through recently), but the neighbors upstaris share in the blame too. I think they have no idea how thin the insulation between us and them is, and so I’ve become well acquianted with when they flush the toilet, when they play, when they open and shut drawers, when they walk/run, when they fight, when they shower… and I’m not even one of those nosy-neighbor types — I just hear it all!

Anyway, enough of that, here are some photos of move-in day.

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You wouldn’t believe it, but on the weekend we had enjoyed warm weather and Ben took the girls to the park. On Wednesday morning we woke to about half an inch of snow, in the middle of spring. The poor movers — it was so, so cold!

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The piano coming out of its crate. It stayed in tune pretty well, the only damage is about 3 stuck keys which will be fixed soon. Good thing we had insurance!

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Boxes everywhere. But slowly, slowly things are taking shape to a more sane kind of living.

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On Good Friday I left the mess just like that and dyed eggs with the girls. I wanted to make hot cross buns, but had no yeast, so we made hot cross banana chocolate chip muffins instead. :-)

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We’ve moved in!

Just a quick note to let you all know that we’ve moved into our new apartment where we hope to be for the next year (or more) in Jersey City Heights. We moved in on Monday and it’s been a bit of a shambles around here that is slowly turning into order. We don’t have much in the way of furniture until our container from New Zealand arrives, but on Friday our new living room set was delivered. How wonderful it felt to sit on soft chairs again! We had Ben’s cousin Hannah staying with us Wednesday and Thursday nights for a lovely quick visit, and I think she appreciated sitting on our new couches for about an hour too and having a break from sitting on the floor!

Now we eagerly wait for our container to arrive — it’s ETA in the country is on the 7th of this month, but then it could be 1-4 weeks until we get it depending on how long it is in quarantine and whether or not it has to go through some sort of customs exam. I really hope for sooner rather than later!

The apartment is a really great size. We have two floors, ground level and a first storey. Downstairs is the laundry, a bathroom and one big open room that I’m planning on turning into a playroom/schoolroom/guestroom. Upstairs are the bedrooms, two more bathrooms (who needs 3 bathrooms?!) and the living area. We also get a parking space, which is wonderful. Unfortunately there is no yard to speak of, but there is a really nice big park about 10 minutes walk away where Ben has taken the kids this morning.

It’s been nice to get out a bit more with the weather warming up a teensy bit. We’re looking forward to being able to go out again without multiple layers!

Life in limbo

Since the last time I posted, we’ve moved into our temporary apartment for the month of March, settled into a daily routine with homeschooling in the mornings, and all of us have gotten sick. New climate, new bugs — it was to be expected!

The apartment we’re in is nice and spacious, with 3 bedrooms and a big dining table where we spend a lot of time each day.

The best thing about this apartment would have to be the view. We can look out the living room window or our bedroom window, or go out on the porch and see Midtown Manhattan right across the river. It never gets old.

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The kids looking out the window, waiting for Ben to come home on the bus.

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However, while this place is very comfortable and meets all our needs, the interior decorating is not quite our style. I like art (though, not necessarily this painting), but I’m not sure that the size of this picture in the dining room is quite appropriate for the size of the room. 

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There are a few more …interesting… pictures in our bedroom, which in the beginning I found a little intimidating, but now I don’t notice them anymore. Well, I manage to ignore them most of the time.

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There are many more glitzy decor touches that I just don’t quite go for:

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Mirrors on the beds. (??)

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Fake flowers are an abomination and should be banned from all existence on this earth.

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The house has all these attempts at glamour, and yet the maintenance is a bit shabby, like the chandelier with only a few working light bulbs.

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I’ve saved the best for last. In the dining room, there is a throne. Yes, a throne. I ceremoniously placed all our school books on it. We call it The Seat of Education.

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We started homeschooling in earnest last week. I’m using Rod and Staff for Esther, and the Logos 2nd Grade curriculum for Marica. So far I’m very happy with it. The workload seems good and the work is at just the right difficulty for both of them. I aim to be done by lunchtime every day so that they can use the afternoon for playing.

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We also have signed the lease for an apartment for a year, starting in April. We’ll be living in the Heights section of Jersey City in a 3-bedroom duplex. It has a great big open space downstairs which I hope to turn into a playroom/schoolroom, which will double as a guest room when we have guests. I look forward to settling in there — I’m getting a little tired of being in so many temporary places! We’ll post pictures of the new place when we’re there. :-)

Marica got some Lego this past weekend as a belated birthday present from me. We went to ToysRUs and got totally overwhelmed with the selection but she’s happy with the one we ended up with. Man, Lego is much cheaper here than in New Zealand!

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There is no plug for the bath, so the kids have been taking showers, and Laurelin’s been having baths in the kitchen sink. This cutie melts my heart, and has her sisters twisted around her little finger!

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Packing up, cleaning out, giving away, selling…

That’s what I’m doing a lot of at the moment. And I’m seriously worried about this 4 suitcase limit. I’m just praying that our rental car can fit more than that because just our family’s clothing takes up 3 suitcases! That’s summer and winter clothing for 4 people after I’ve given away and pared down all I can. We’re very willing to pay for an extra few suitcases for going on the plane, but the challenge is fitting things into the rental car for the two months before we get to the plane!

On Saturday we hope to have a Stoop Sale (that’s what it’s called here in Brooklyn because people don’t have yards or garages). I’m so thankful that Lillian and Jeremy are going to be here this weekend to help out with that and with bits and pieces that need to be done.

Ben’s last day at work is on Tuesday. Despite interviewing a bunch of people, they still haven’t found a replacement for his position, and I think that has him leaving with a bit of a bad feeling. But that’s unfortunately the state of things.

We sold our bed on Monday, so since then we’ve been sleeping on the floor in our room. The kids think this is great because now they can rough and tumble all the more on our bed without the risk of falling off! Someone’s coming to look at the couch tonight, so hopefully we can sell that too!

I have so many things I want to share here on the blog about things we’ve done recently and people we’ve caught up with, but I’m lacking in time! I’ll see if I can do a bit of a summary post before we leave.

We’ve been having some really precious times with friends over the last few weeks, with memories I’ll treasure for years to come. We’ve got some more get-togethers planned that I’m really looking forward to, and at church this Sunday (our last Sunday at MeRF, <sigh>) they’re putting on a farewell lunch for us. I feel so humbled by people’s generosity and kindness to us not only recently but in the last 2 years. They have made our two years here so much more special, and have blessed us with friendships we will cherish for the rest of our lives.