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.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wherein the kids earn their keep

Then B got naughty:
In that one on the far-right, he's got a rubber band aimed at me & my camera. Sassy pants.  Speaking of sass, here is the Queen of Sass looking unbearably cute and innocent:

And yes, that's a for sale sign in the background. Our house went on the market yesterday. Nervous.  It's a long story that maybe I'll tell on another day.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Look what B can do!

Actually, he figured it out a few weeks ago, but I've been to busy to tend to the blog.  All he wants to do now is ride his bike.  He even goes with his dad on runs sometimes & rides alongside.  He did a six-mile ride a couple weeks ago!

Friday, August 27, 2010


This is Z and her friend E.  E and her brother live in the neighborhood, and happen to be about the same age as our kids.  And they go to the same charter school as our kids.  And they are even in the same classes as our kids!  How cool is that?  We're trading babysitting with their parents, which really works out just perfectly for everyone.  Obviously, tonight it's our turn to watch all four kids.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

No school!

The kids had a week off child care before school started.  One day, we went to Boulder to play at one of our favorite parks and have a picnic lunch.  M stole an hour away from work to join us.  This park has a big pile of rocks that's riddled with caves:
It also features a paved path all the way around it, the perfect place to scooter your heart out:
At least one of my kids still likes having her picture taken, and will actually smile for a photo:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Mexico

We headed to my aunt & uncle's place in New Mexico on Friday the 13th for a mini-family vacation.  They live in a beautiful little valley in the mountains, about halfway between Taos and Santa Fe on the High Road.  We stayed in the guest yurt:
The grownups slept in the bed, while the kids and the dog slept in a nest on the floor.  Speaking of dogs, Kenai went with us.  He ran with a pack of four other dogs while he was there, and never ran away or got lost even once.  Who knew he was smart enough to do that?!
We spent one day in Santa Fe, where we visited El Rancho de las Golindrinas, a Spanish colonial living history museum.  If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend it.  Our kids' attention span allowed us about an hour and a half there, but we could've spent the whole day.  It's huge, and a fascinating place.  We followed that up with lunch at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame and a little lounging time on the plaza in Santa Fe.  It happened to be the 400th birthday of Santa Fe this year, and we stumbled upon a celebratory procession at the Catholic church near the plaza.  Think dozens and dozens of priests, monks and bishops, some carrying crosses, a cacophony of bells, all preceded by palanquins bearing saints.

The next day, some friends of my aunt & uncle, who happen to have a daughter B's age, came for a picnic.  We loaded the coolers, kids, and dogs (in order of importance) into the trucks and drove up the fire road into the national forest that borders their property.  We parked across a stream from a lovely little glade and waded across, hauling all our gear.  The grownups spent several relaxing hours lounging in the shade, while the kids and dogs frolicked on the hillside bordering the glade.  Picnic pics:
"I want another cookie!"

Z all loaded up & ready to go:
and chilling with her dad:
while Sissy chilled in the chair next to them:
The only second B held still the entire day:
"What?  You want me to take a bath?!  But it's only been three days with me exploring the forest 16 hours a day without even a washcloth touching my skin!"

It was a lovely mini-vacation, and all of us, including Kiki, had a fabulous time.  I hope it's not another three years before we can go again!  At 5.5 hours away, it's so close, and yet so far.  Particularly with a three year-old and a six year-old in the back seat.  I'm not above bribing them with candy to keep the peace though!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Z does her own hair

Z got in a little trouble today and got sent to her room for awhile.  After she finished her hissy fit (note the pink & puffy eyes -- it was a doozy), it got veeeeeeerrrrrrry quiet in there.  When she came out, she had done her own hair.  She wore it like this all morning, and everyone at C0stco thought it was bootiful.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Happy birthday to the twinnadoes

My sister and her family were here to visit in early August.  I only got to see them once, thanks to my wackadoo travel schedule.  The twins turned one shortly after they left, so my mom seized the opportunity to throw a party. Here's my sister with one of the two cute patooties -- I think this one is S, but I can't say for sure (REALLY identical twins):
That one must be A if the one in the yellow baby speedo is S.  Or I could be totally wrong.  Apparently she doesn't feed them enough, because one tried to eat my lens cap and the pool toys:

But his dad distracted him with a Mike's (What?!  You're not supposed to give that to babies?  But it makes them sleepy!)
One more extremely cute baby picture before we move on to pictures of my own babies:
Sadly, you won't see any pictures of B in this post.  He doesn't much like having his picture taken anymore, and besides, he had a kajillion cousins to play with at this party, so the best I could've done would have been a B-tinted blur anyway.  Here's my bathing beauty Z:
Who can also be quite the ham:
She occasionally holds still for a picture:
But most of the time you have to put the camera in multiple-shot mode and hope for the best: