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Showing posts from January, 2018

Center Hallway Improvements

As is common in these lovely old apartments, our front entry is a long, wide, central hallway with doors into the kitchen, living room, dining room and water closet. It's the lovely main artery of the flat with tons of vintage molding. And when once we moved in, it looked like this:
I was planning for this hallway, of course, so I made sure to pack the navy Flor tiles from our foyer (and I'm so grateful we did), as well as the white Ikea benches. They look almost custom to the space and both are super-useful. The little shelf is also handy to hold keys, socks, grocery sacks and whatever else ends up there.

So really, there was just a few things that I needed to do to complete the hallway so it was most practical: hang coat hooks, buy inexpensive light fixtures and accessorize with some art.

We picked up some GREAT stainless steel lights from Ikea that were very inexpensive. And this weekend we finally got them installed.



The wiring must be bad in the ceiling because …

How Are the Girls Doing?

"How are the girls doing?" We're constantly being asked from family and friends at home. The answer ...

They. Are. Great.

First, they both LOVE school. They got buddies their first day to show them around and they quickly made them best friends. Their teachers have been supportive and, with the exception of French which they find very difficult, they've been getting very involved in their classes.

Alice's school is within two blocks, and she loves to scooter there. Leah is further away, and she's looking forward to commuting with friends -- we're working up to it. Both are such suburban kids; they have no idea how to safely cross a street. Yet. We're learning.

Other than school, the girls finally got the cell phones we promised them and they're freaking out over being able to call and text. While at the mall Sunday, I got a call from Alice from the other side of the store. They jumped to set up (private) Instagram accounts. So now we're teach…

Poop, Smokers and Drizzle

We’re in our fourth week as Parisians and I can tell you there are three things we're all trying really hard to get used to: Poop, smokers and all this rain!

First, the poop … Paris dog owners (of which there are a lot) do not clean up after their dogs. It's gross. On any walk we're all quick to point out different sizes, shapes, colors and locations. "Don't step there!" "Watch out for that one!" "Ew! What are they feeding that dog?!" We had dogs, and it's really not that difficult to pick it up. But here, little poo bombs are just everywhere.

Speaking of gross, smokers! Ugh! It’s Europe so we knew smoking was going to be an issue, but it’s still so nasty. You can’t walk into a bistro without passing the patrons smoking on outside chairs, drinking their espressos and talking dramatically with friends. Not appetizing. The smokers stand outside shops and metro stations. They walk along the street puffing away. Pushing strollers, even. B…

New Home - Our Current Status

We're almost there.

When we moved in last Monday night, we were surrounded by boxes, the kitchen had new appliances except for the oven, which is disconnected and sitting on the floor, and our internet wasn't hooked up. There was no hot water yet (something with the furnace/boiler not resetting) and only a few lights.  The bedrooms were completely dark. It felt like camping indoors.

We did discover this ... somehow, unbeknown to any of us, our apartment has Eiffel Tour views. Seriously.

I nearly fainted.

Over the last week we got the hot water fixed (and all took showers!). Our internet was connected (Netflix, hooray!) and we've been filling the kitchen with food staples.

We hit Ikea on Saturday for Leah's dresser, some rugs, room lighting, and other necessities. And I even got an Amazon order! Which is exciting because I do love my Amazon.

What's left? Getting that oven installed. And installing the chandeliers in the hallway and dining room. And hanging the curt…

Finally Wifi

Wifi, cable and internet and all that handy stuff is now set up in the new apartment.

All we need is a working thermostat (heat is working fine, just can't tune it) and an oven, and we should be rolling!

Stay tuned for new posts coming soon!

Little Oddities From the Temporary Apartment

Although we have some experience with the quirkiness of a European apartment, it's a whole other thing to inhabit one for a few weeks. Not difficult, just a few things to get used to.

For example, the kitchens are closed off and, in the case of our temporary apartment, a bit far from the family rooms. I'm getting used being in my own quiet space when I sort the dishes or grab a snack. And I'm digging not having to look at dirty dishes from my sofa.

Also, the toilets get their own rooms, called water closets. I won't go in to more detail (and no photos). It's just odd, especially for the girls. No bidet here, so we didn't have to have that conversation with them.

My favorite thing, though, is the "maid's entrance" in all the kitchens. Back when these building were constructed, the servants entered through a twisty, narrow back staircase that lead from basement all the way up to the attics, where their bedrooms would have been located. Nowadays, the…

Setting Up a Kitchen In a Foreign Land

We ended up with an unequipped kitchen by chance and by default.

While we would have preferred to have a completed kitchen, we eventually decided buying new appliances for our kitchen here wouldn't be a deal-breaker.

As it happened, we saw a ton more apartment than we originally thought and, once time ran out, we went with the best apartment for us, location and space-wise. And it ended up not having any appliances. So there we are. 
A Darty, the French Best Buy, just happens to be located down the street from our apartment and once we had measurements and pictures of the spaces, we hit the store and hoped we'd find a salesperson who spoke a little English. With luck we did (limited, but he was patient) and we quickly bought a set of the necessary items. 
The upside is, they're new and modern. They'll be easy for us to figure out (not like the ancient washing machine in our temporary flat) and we know who to contact if they breakdown. The downside, our language skills…

Little Treasures From the Temporary Apartment

While it's not home, this temporary apartment has been comfortable and full of little treasures and oddities. One day, while the girls were watching Barbie Life in the Dream House episodes on NetFlix (I name the show because I want to embarrass them as teenagers), I took some pictures around the apartment.

This apartment is privately-owned and rented out by a leasing agency. So while it's been comfortable, it still feels like living in someone else's home. We're looking forward to spreading out in our own space with our own stuff. Very soon.

Next up ... little oddities ...

Related posts:
More about our Paris move

Delirium Moves In

Week three of NO SCHOOL and the kids are officially crawling up the walls. And pushing us to the ends of our patience. Not having their toys, own spaces and the usual activities, with the addition of some sleep deprivation and the frustration of trying to find things in a different country ... and we're all losing our minds. A little.

Luckily, school orientation is on Tuesday, and they start back on Wednesday. HALLELUJAH!

Not to be a trader to my own children, but I'll get A LOT more done without them tagging along.

Plus, this is the state of my kitchen (in the permanent apartment) .... so, there's some work to be done ...

Related posts:
More about our Paris move

Our Slow First Week in Paris

Today marks one week in Paris! Cue the trumpets!

So ... what have we been doing here for the last week? Well, not a lot. You guys, it's still winter break and the kids are home and "bored." And we're in a temporary apartment. So, any semblence of a daily routine is not even possible.

Also, we're still combating "sleeping in a new time zone" syndrome. Which has some of us staying up way later than usual ... and some of us (me) sleeping until 10am! We're not groggy or sleep-deprived during the day, we're just all struggling to get to sleep or to stay asleep through the night.

Not to mention, we're all suburbanites, so these city and apartment noises take some getting used to. The kids are doing better than we thought with all the little noises, the creaking floors and the upstairs neighbors. Though, it's cutting into all of our uninterupted sleep.

In some way, our days are spent doing what we'd be doing in Illinois: going to playgroun…

Top Ten Posts of 2017

Let's look back at the top 10 posts of the year ...

1. My Paris Purse Predicament - read it here
I'm not a fashion blogger by any stretch of the imagination, but my Paris purse "crisis" was one of my most-viewed posts of the year.

2. The Fox on the Wall - read it here
There's something fun about documenting a funny craft project for a post. And this one turned out so cute. Was glad others thought so, too.

3. Cabinets Need Color - read it here
Our basement remodel was fun to document, as well. Though the big things happened in 2016, there were still some outstanding projects at the beginning of this year ... and, let's be honest, there's still a little punch list.

4. What I'm Digging at the End of January - read it here
5. and the June edition - read it here
I like putting together these roundups of my favorite things. They're an easy way to share all the

6. Packing for 7 Days in London - read it here
This post was inspired by Pinterest and all those really w…

Temporary Gypsy Family

After a week in a rental house in Florida for Christmas, and now a temporary apartment in Paris, we're feeling like a vagabond family. And we've got another week to go before we're settled into our permanent place.

On the one hand, it feels pretty good to be free of all our own stuff. Most of it is on a boat right now heading across the Atlantic. On the other hand, we don't have any rain gear and it's been drizzling in Paris since we landed. And we all miss our own pillows. Le sigh.

Our temp apartment is in the 6th district, it's large and comfortable and filled with interesting art, large trees, and antique furniture. We're trying to keep the kids from breaking something. It's a struggle.

We're suburbanites, so we're all adjusting to living in a city -- the lights, the noises, the walking, the stairs. I pity the people in the apartment below ours. Really. (Me: "Stop jumping!") But the views are pretty and the neighborhood is full of l…

A Few Words About Business Class

Dave wanted our Chicago - Paris flight to be comfortable, in case we were feeling any anxiety about the move (as it turned out, not at all), so he used miles to upgrade us all to Business Class.

Having flown trans-Atlantic several times in the last several years and always in "normal" class, Business Class was just as luxurious I had always imagined it would be while gawking through the curtain. 

We hit the Polaris Lounge on our way to the gate for some nibbles and a few bottles of water (gratis, of course), then spread out in our little business class pods on the airplane. I could stand, lay flat, or just lounge back like I was in my own Lazyboy recliner. For a 7-hour flight, it was pretty sweet.

I even think we were delayed on the ground for an hour. And I honestly didn't really notice. We had a nice four-course meal, watched a movie (and a few shows) and laid right on down for a five-hour nap.

We were in Paris and (mostly) rested for our journey from the airport into …

Chaos Was Eventually Managed

Going back a few days, I was feeling like the house was falling down around my ears in the early hours of moving day.

The kids were running around with way too much energy, Dave was doing errands that were taking longer than expected and there were SIX ginormous suitcases by the front door. Plus, EIGHT carry-on bags. That was a lot more baggage than expected and trying to figure out how everything will get into the airport and then into our Paris apartment was causing me stress.

However, by about 2, I had the house under control. The kids were watching a movie to slow them down. And we were kinda bored. Waiting for the car to pick us up.

So, in the end, we left the US feeling pretty darn good.