Sunday, July 23, 2017

Reno Part 1

We've hated this kitchen since before we moved in and it's time to say goodbye! Yesterday was demo day and it was exhausting and fabulous. And there's no going back now. So, here we begin our renovation journey. I'll refer to the previous owners as "They" since I don't have anything nice to say about them. It will keep me civil. ;)

To review, this kitchen featured floor tile slapped on every surface They could think of. 

None of the countertops were level.

They painted the cabinets this horrible color - we're convinced it was a can of "oops" paint they got real cheap. They didn't do a good job with the paint either and didn't even bother to paint all the sides of the doors.

The laminate flooring was coming apart in several locations and They never even bothered to put flooring under the refrigerator.

Here we have what we called the "pretend pantry" because the door is so narrow that adults, even skinny ones, had to reach in sideways to retrieve things.

Oh - the carpet! The carpet in the dining room. It was full of holes and was filthy when we moved in.

You see, They had to put carpet in the dining room because They added a rounded step. That covered half of the heat vent. And served no purpose. And now it's gone. Yay!

Eek! See the original color of the nasty carpet? We really did try to clean it and this was the best we could get. Gag!

The fun began at 8am with Dad, Nick, Becky, Josh, Tiernan and Mia helping us out. Later our friends Nick and Brandie came by to help as well.

See the pure joy on Dave's face? I might also point out that you can see on the back of this tile that They only used a little glue to adhere the tiles. Which might explain why they were falling off.

More sheer joy...

If you look closely you can see the masterful craftsmanship that went into this tile work. 

The kids were all hard workers - in fact, I think if they could destroy things every time they had chores they'd be much happier about doing chores.

We were all excited to take a swing at the pretend pantry:

That was just way too fun to miss out on. Dave and Becky had to work pretty hard to get the ceiling of the pantry down. I think the builders used every spare nail they had in their toolbox on that ceiling. 

The kids got to use a box cutter and then, with Papa's help, the sawzall to destroy the couch. No shortage of smiles there! (The couch has given many years of service and it's time to say goodbye and what better time than where there's a big dumpster on the driveway?)

As we were removing the sink from the bathroom we learned that They painted over the wallpaper instead of removing it. We had no idea so we painted the walls when we moved in too. For some reason this really ticked me off. I mean, I shouldn't be surprised - this is called the House of Wonders after all but it just really annoyed me that They did that. And it's one more thing we have to fix. We were planning on touching up paint but now we have to remove wallpaper and paint the whole room.

We also were reminded why women live longer than men:

All day long Tiernan kept asking "is there anything else we can destroy?" Destroy was the word of the day and they had a blast! And I'm happy to report that almost every piece of tile has been removed from this house. Just one little area is left that will be a project for another day.

Everyone worked so hard and we are so very appreciative of all the help! What a blessing to have such wonderful family and friends!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Salida & Buena Vista

Our first mountain trip of the year was to Salida and Buena Vista. BV seems to be more popular, or rather more chic, but we preferred Salida. Salida is much cuter and there's a lot more to see and better places to eat. 

We started the trip with a visit to the Jumpin' Good Goat Dairy in Buena Vista.  We didn't know what to expect but thought we'd give it a go and it was great!  

First they take you on a little tour of the farm and dairy and we got to meet the goats and other animals. 

Then they took us out to the pen with the "teenage" goats who are a few months old so that we could feed them. They were hilarious! They would jump over each other to try to get to the food and they made so much noise!

After that they took us to the pen with the babies who were darling. We were walking around amongst them and they tried to eat my purse and some ladies skirt.

And this little guy kept trying to eat Dave's shoe.

After that we were going to see the Llamas - they have guard llamas! I had no idea there was such a thing but there are llamas that are bred to be guard animals and they will protect these goats. Sadly, a storm was coming in and it was freezing(!) and we didn't have our jackets with us (still trying to remember that Memorial weekend is NOT quite summer yet in mountains) so they ended the tour a little early. They took the group into the shop so we could sample the various goat cheeses they make. It really was a fun little stop and would be loads of fun to come in the spring with kids so they can see the baby goats!

Next stop was to St Elmo ghost town. St Elmo is but isn't a ghost town. The town never fully emptied and there are a handful of people who still live there. The general store is open for business and there's a hotel you can stay in. I was really excited to visit a ghost town so imagine my disappointment when we pulled up and saw this:

Why is the main street a dang parking lot!?!? It broke my heart because it really just takes away from the feeling of it and the experience. 

Nevertheless, we walked through and looked at the remains of the town and I do so love looking at the old buildings and trying to imagine what life was like in this remote mountain location all those years ago. They had to have been hearty souls to live up there!

Thankfully they do have this little street roped off for foot traffic only.

We went to read at a lake one morning. It was really cold (for which we weren't prepared - are you starting to see a theme here?) and the lake was sorta meh but it was nice to just relax. 

I decided we needed to go find another ghost town so we headed out to Turret. We traveled a long way on lonely, dusty dirt roads. At one point we were climbing a hill and you know when you're at the top of a roller coaster and you can't see what's coming at all? That's what it felt like! We were at the top of this hill and couldn't see what was coming at all but as soon as we crested the hill the panorama was just breathtaking! This picture doesn't do it justice at all but you can see that there are mountain ranges in all directions. It was majestic! 

We drove on for quite awhile longer and were wondering how in the world the miners got up here with horses, donkeys and wagons! It was quite a trip with our SUV. And this isn't even on the 4-wheel only map of ghost towns!

We found Turret and it turns out that it also never emptied out of people really but this town is interesting because people have built their new homes in such close proximity to the ruins. You can see someone's new home on the left in the background of this picture. Others were even closer - they could reach out the window and touch the old house. Apparently some of the residents are descendants of the original miners and setters.  

We wandered around Salida which was fun but it was also odd because it was like no one has told them that the summer season has started. Several of the shops were still closed. 

They have lots of beautiful old buildings. 

And some massive trees in the park by the river!

It was a much needed break and we were happy to be back in the mountains! Exploring the mountains with Dave may just be my favorite part of summer!

A Wild Christmas!

We were lucky to have so many of the Wilds in town for Christmas last year (What? It's June you say? Right....about that... Well, I figure that now we've started our summer adventures I'd better get caught up and the last I had posted was Thanksgiving. Oops!)

So, anyway, we had loads of fun with everyone. We had a German Christmas dinner to celebrate our German heritage. We tried lots of German food and even liked some of it.  We made a list of the ancestry we have to celebrate and we'll rotate and try new fun foods again in two years.

I made several kinds of cookies (mostly German) and Mia helped me finish off the Hausfreunde. Yum!

Cora was a big fan of the cookies! 

It was so nice to have so many of us together!

We had our Raclette dinner which is always fun. But not as fun as fondue. Per the boys. 
But still fun and delicious.

And we sneakily got a picture of Tyler.

And had a lovely Nativity pageant.

Even Bosky came to Christmas!

And then we made Ninjabread men. Some of them even included hairy armpits. 
And we'll just leave that right there. 

I'm not sure what's happening here but it looks a little fiendish... 
I think perhaps the kids thought this was Halloween instead of Christmas...  ;) 

If there's leftover frosting there's only one thing to do!

And then there was the epic Nerf gun war! Just in case you're wondering those little darts hurt! And boys who are under the age of 20 had way bigger and badder guns than the rest of us. I think we better start saving now for a Nerf bazookas for the next war. That way I'll have a fighting chance.

The girls had a fun sock exchange - the challenge was to find fun socks that aren't goofy, just enjoyable. I think we did pretty good:

The boys made a fort.

And we played games and laughed and had a great time wrapping up 2016!

We wrote down a few notes about 2016 and ideas for 2017. 

Can't wait to have a big ol' Wild party again! It's always so much fun!!