Saturday, January 30, 2016

New windows

Our windows were wood-framed windows that were original to the house. The seal had broken on almost every single one of them, so they were nearly all foggy between panes, so we could hardly see through some of them. And when condensation would form on the inside during the winter, it would drip down and the wood would get all black and mildewy, then when the kids would look out the living room window, they would come away with black in their fingernails. In addition to that, the hardware on some of them was broken so several of them couldn't even be opened. They had to go.

So in May we learned how put in new windows. The first task was getting the old ones out, which turned out to be pretty easily done because they weren't even nailed into the frame of the house--they were only held in by the exterior trim, with just a few nails attaching it to the siding. It's sort of amazing the windows all stayed in place for 30+ years.

I figured out the two downstairs back windows on my own because they're fairly inconspicuous and at ground level, but enlisted the help of others for the upstairs windows...

...especially the large, 3 pane window in our living room.

We invited some friends and neighbors over for pizza, and the women and children played outside while the rest of us got to work.

Here we are watching the sun go down at around 10 pm. The room felt so light and open without windows, so it sort of felt like a shame to have to put some back in. But it is Alaska, after all, so windows are pretty useful for keeping out snow and mosquitoes.

Getting the old windows out and the new ones in was actually pretty quick and easy. It took some brute force but didn't take very long. It was the trimming that took forever. I spent hours and hours on ladders outside sawing, nailing and caulking.

Caleb tried to give me a hand, but we only let him help on the ground-floor windows (and even then he wasn't much help, being a toddler and all).

Luckily we had fantastic weather the whole time we were replacing windows. It was sunny the whole time, and then the day after I finished the exterior trim of the last window, it rained.

While I was up a ladder for hours at a time, Marel was in the garage painting all the trim.

Finally after a few weeks we got both interior and exterior trim finished, and the rooms are so much brighter after replacing the old dark wood windows with white vinyl ones. They aren't moldy, we can open them, and we can actually see through them, which is a big plus for windows!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Last Spring

We had quite a busy 2015, and now that it's over we can start blogging about it. Here is a brief recap of what happened in April and May last year.

Caleb became much more mobile, but still small enough to sit on the dishwasher without breaking it. It was a very dry winter last year--lowest snowfall on record--but we did get a late snow in April. The girls relished a last chance to play in the snow after having almost none to play in all winter, and Caleb liked watching them from the window, saying "no! no!" which is how he says "snow." (It also means "more" as well as the obvious "no.") 

He also started using anything soft as a blanket and sucking his thumb like Linus from Peanuts, and he loved trying to unlock the car.

He also became interested in TV and always sits in his rocking chair to watch it.

With no snow, the grass and driveway cleared up much faster than usual once the weather started getting nice, so we played outside a lot. Caleb and Sabrina enjoyed their matching hoodies.

There is a dip on the edge of the driveway where a puddle forms, and even by the end of the summer Caleb hadn't learned not to sit down in it.

Celia's new obsession was monkey bars. She laments the fact that she can't do them in the winter because she can't hold on with her gloves on.

Sabrina took a gymnastics class. Every week there was a different theme. This week was superhero day, so here she is dressed as Michelangelo the Ninja Turtle.

She's very proud of the medal she got at the end of the class.

We started family bike rides a little earlier this year than we meant to one day when both our cars ended up in the shop at the same time. Celia still needed to make it to school, and since it was a drizzly day, we stuffed her in the bike trailer to stay clean on the way to school. The next week was bike to school day, and since it was a nice sunny day, Celia got to ride behind me.

Caleb became very shaggy around this time--he was starting to look like Doc from Back to the Future, so we gave him a trim. He looked much more sophisticated afterwards.

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