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!