Many of you have asked about the renovation. Yes, I owe you lots of updates on the renovation. Short version: the contractor is done, we officially have a new bedroom upstairs and a finished basement. We are happy with it. Very happy. It is a big improvement to the house, not just because we added a bedroom (or two, if you count the basement), but also because I think we managed to make the house more gracious and functional at the same time. At some point there was a lot of discussion about whether or not the plan needed to be as detailed and complicated as it was. Where exactly was the line between improvement and overkill? Couldn't we just build a wall or two? Did we really need to tear down walls? Did we really need to change the bathroom? Did we really need to convert halls to closets and closets to halls? For us, the answer was affirmative. And we don't have any regrets: we feel like we got to the place we wanted to be.
|The "new" bedroom|
But there's still work to do.
We thought we would do the painting ourselves. It seemed like a great idea when we discovered it would cut our contractor's bill by $5K. But it seems like less of a good idea now that we are almost 3 weeks after the completion date and still painting. Honestly, we'll be painting the basement for another 2 years; I'm not kidding. With any luck the upstairs will be finished within a week.
[photo of Noah painting]
I'm doing most of the painting. (Nevermind the photo above, which was an anomaly lasting about 2 minutes; although I do love the idea of the kids helping.) Lately, I paint in the one and a half hours that Trixie naps each afternoon and after the kids' bedtime. Fritz took a week off immediately after the construction. He took care of the kids while I painted and painted and painted from 6am to 10pm. I really enjoyed that week. But it wasn't nearly enough considering that I am rolling or brushing almost everything by hand (i.e., not using a fancy spray gun). And by everything, I do mean everything: ceilings, walls, trim, doors. I am sure I am doing a WAAAAY better job than a painting contractor, right? RIGHT!
|Not everyone loves my white walls as much as me, so this bathroom ended up minty-fresh.|
Also on our radar right now is an upcoming trip to Germany. My brother-in-law is getting married outside Hannover - in a castle. Well, it sounds dramatic to our American ears, but actually a lot of people get married in castles in Germany. What else are you going to do with a big, drafty building? Certainly not live in it. We haven't been to see Fritz's family in Germany in over 3 years. We feel guilty about this. I would like to think that everyone understands how expensive it is to fly across the sea as a family of five. (There goes our painting-savings!) I would also like to think everyone understands how traveling with little kids is a really huge undertaking. Finally, I prefer to think nobody holds any grudges against us for our absence. But I'm not really sure that's the case. Everyone in Fritz's family – and even many of our friends – have come to see us multiple times here in Denver. So off we go to Germany. We'll be gone for a whole month. And we'll stay a few days in Iceland enroute. I've always wanted to stop and visit Iceland; I love that the most affordable way to go to Europe is often through Iceland.
So, I have this trip on my mind: packing suitcases, transportation, accommodations, entertainment (and all of that with a 2 year-old), and finding clothes for the kids to wear. Noah will be a ring bearer in the wedding. Mattias and Trixie will be Blumenkinder (flower children). I want to design and make Trixie's dress myself, since there's no bridal party dress she has to wear. We shall see how it works. Below is a dress my MIL bought for Trixie. I vetoed it. Hopefully I haven't offended anyone but I REALLY dislike this dress to the point where I find it almost offensive. Also, I want to make one myself, in all my free time, you know.
|No thank you.|
Other things going on: it's spring, the other four members of the Wyse home all have their birthdays: Mattias and Noah last week, Fritz this week, Trixie in four weeks. We make a considerable effort to keep birthdays simple, but they are still one more thing to think about.
[photo of Mattias on Easter]
And there was Easter. We ducked some of our holiday responsibilities by convincing my aunt to host in her ever-gorgeous garden/yard. Spring break was last week for us (and it was mostly okay, although my painting efforts took a hit while the kids ate food constantly and created general messiness). Fritz is out of town on business, but coming back tonight. Hurray! Also upcoming: My parents will visit for four days before the trip to Germany.