Sunday, April 3, 2011

And now we're back to this.

24 hours ago, it was 85 degrees outside!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Have you missed me?

A few things have happened since we last spoke.  Just a few tiny little inconsequential things.  No big deal, really.  Let's take it in chronological order, shall we?

1. We sold one house and bought another on December 15.
2. We moved into the new house the next day.
3. Four days later, we left for Virginia and were gone for eleven days.
4. We remodeled yet another kitchen.
5. We have painted five rooms, one closet, one pantry, and one two-story stairwell.  We're about a quarter of the way through with the painting.
6. We are slowly "tricking out" our new backyard, as the kids across the street like to tell us.
7. B took the gifted & talented test and scored scary-high on verbal skills.  No surprise there.  The perennial debate gains importance with this new evidence though:  how to channel the genius toward good, not evil?

The key element in the "tricking out" of the backyard

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Vote for QiuQiu!

Maia's lovely QiuQiu is among 10 finalists to be on the July 2011 cover of Babiekins Magazine.  Let's help make it happen!

Vote for QiuQiu

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The great kitchen remodel

I'm still not sure what possessed us to do this, but we decided to try to sell our house and move.  Our neighborhood has always seemed like it was teetering right on the line -- it could get better & our property value could skyrocket, or it could turn into the 'hood and property value could plummet. 

When the house across the street went into foreclosure and the house next door became vacant, we decided it had finally tipped in the wrong direction.  We figured it couldn't hurt to try to sell.  Probably our house would sit on the market for a month or so, then we'd take it off for the holidays and put it back on in the spring.  We expected it would be six months or so before anything happened. 

Oh, and before I forget:  we chose to do this at the end of October.  I work in a job related to elections, and M's annual sales meeting started the Saturday after the election, so it is absolutely THE busiest time of the year for both of us at work.  Like I said, I really don't know what we were thinking.

Anyhoo, our house is nice.  We like it.  It has good "house karma."  But besides being annoyed by the ill-kept houses around ours, we also knew that it was only a matter of time before this house was too small for our family.  We have only one full bath, shared by all four of us, and I would really like to have a master bath before the kids get much older.  Z's bedroom is a floor below ours and B's, which is far from ideal.  And the storage situation is bleak:  no basement, no attic, and a very basic, not-at-all-oversized garage.  Kids come with a lot of stuff, and the stuff seems to multiply when you're not looking.  It was starting to feel cramped.  And there are a couple of major expenses that are looming -- the roof needs new shingles, and the gas boiler will need replacing before too long.  These are not expenses we want to absorb for a house that we know we're not going to stay in for the long haul.

So we (perhaps foolishly) thought:  why not try selling?  It's a great time to buy a house, if we can just unload this one first.  There are screaming deals to be had, and interest rates will probably never be this low again.  First though, our realtors advised us, we needed to remodel the kitchen.  Nearly everything else is updated, so the original 1967 kitchen stood out.  M has tried for years to convince me that the formica countertops with swirls of gold were not ugly but "vintage," but I just never bought it.  So we spent a mere $2,000, and now have a lovely kitchen.  Which sadly I'll be moving away from in three weeks, into a newer, larger house in a better neighborhood, but a house that has its original 1975 kitchen.  Sigh.  At least we have experience remodeling a kitchen now.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that our house sold on the 11th day on the market?  For 97% of our asking price, which we purposely set a little bit high?  And that day happened to be the day after the election, when I want nothing but sleep, having pulled an all-nighter the night before?  Our lives have been a tornado of paperwork and packing ever since.  I'll show you the new house in another post.  Meanwhile, here are pictures of the kitchen, in before & after pairs:

By the way, when I say "we" remodeled our kitchen, I really mean "M" remodeled our kitchen.  He did 95% of the work, and truly did a fantastic job.  I pretty much designed it, picked out materials, painted things, and followed him around with a dustpan and brush.  That was pretty much the extent of my contribution.  He installed the floors, the new cabinets, the countertops, and the gorgeous glass tile backsplash. 

It's the best $2,000 we ever spent, I swear.  It's bigger, brighter, and cleaner.  There's a place for everything, so the clutter is gone.  There's so much more counter space I don't know what to do with it all.  Really, I just love it.  I'd say that we should have done it years ago, but there's a good reason why we didn't:  we were waiting for Ikea to open a store in Denver so that we could do our "dream kitchen."  Well, Ikea opens next fall, and we now have another kitchen to remodel.  I have a feeling the next one will cost significantly more than $2,000...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Knight and the Tooth Fairy

Happy Halloween

Costume pictures to come later....Here are some pumpkin-carving pics to tide you over:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Corn maze & pumpkin patch

So it turned out the corn maze didn't open until noon (we got there at 10:30ish), and all the pumpkins froze overnight & turned to mush, but it was still a good time.  And an excellent day to take pictures.
B built this fort with the help of some other kids:
Children of the corn?
Too cool to smile for a photo:
Until his dad says "poop."
Where's B?
She's part monkey:
But always glamorous:
A couple parting shots that I just couldn't pass up -- a storm moving in over the Rockies, and a perfect rural farm scene.