How did you decide to move out to Morrison from the east side of Denver?
Mauro: “We found out Leticia got pregnant. Guiliana was kind of the whoops baby, a big whoops for sure. We were staying in the basement at my mom’s house because we had just sold Leticia’s house in Montbello. They offered for us to live there so we could save money. We’d help them out with a little bit of rent. Leticia had just gone back to school so we stayed there until she finished her bachelor’s.
I’d spend a lot of time with Abel, our son (who is now grown, not in shown in photos), but when we found out Leticia was pregnant with Guiliana, I thought, ‘we gotta get a house now!’ Once we found that out, I was grinding hard for three months. I was working with two other companies that were our customers, getting them concrete jobs, and they’d take care of me. I’d work my job all day, skip lunch some days, then leave to go to Castle Rock to hustle these extra jobs. I had a Nike shoe box that I’d throw my cash in every night when I got back. In those three months, we saved up over $20K for a downpayment.
We always wanted to come out this way because growing up, part of my life up here in Jefferson County was playing sports. I was the only one in my family that liked snowboarding, skating and BMX. Growing up where I did, we didn’t have that. It was only basketball, football, normal stuff. If you wanted to do any of the other stuff like BMX, you had to come up this way. So we loved it up here, plus it was closer to Leticia’s job.
The first weekend we were here, Abel had met some little kids from school and they came to the house to pick him up.”
Leticia: “They came and knocked on our door and we were like, ‘oh my God, there’s a kid here!’ There were three of them! Three boys!”
Mauro: “So three little kids show up here while we’re eating breakfast on a Saturday morning, asking if Abel could come out to ride bikes.”
Leticia: “We’re like, ‘Abel, do you know them?’ He said, ‘yeah, I met them on the bus, they live down the street!’ It was so cool. It was just a whole different dynamic. We just couldn’t even believe there were kids that would come to your house. It was the coolest thing for our family to experience that.”
How’s it been having the girls here?
Mauro: “Amazing. That’s why we don’t want to leave because the cul-de-sac is amazing. We have parties where we’ll block off the street. We’ll have Fourth of July barbecues. My neighbor will set up his projector outside his garage so we can watch movies in the summer and we’ll have wine and charcuterie while all the kids are playing. It’s super family oriented. The little ones love it because the trails are right behind our house so they can go ride their bikes and scooters.”
Where are you at right now with the house? I know you’ve thought of leaving but really don’t want to because you love the house so much.
Mauro: “I love the house but we need more space. I don’t even park my new 40 ft camper here. I‘ll store that somewhere else so we can keep this all open. I love the house, we made it home. When we bought it, we didn’t like the outside, so I fixed that. I ripped out the old, rock driveway and poured a 22 yard driveway. We poured a whole new, stamped patio. New, custom railings out in the front, all new paint, took off all the siding, made it look more modern, new extended deck, and brought in new dirt and grass. After doing that, we could call this home but we’ve outgrown it.”
Leticia: “I love our neighbors so much. I feel like it wold be a betrayal if we left. I treasure the memories like Abel having his first sleep over and his first friend coming over to pick him up. I don’t want to walk away from this. All the girls were born here. As much as I complain about the space, I love it here. If we were to move, it would have to be something that had everything we wanted. I don’t know that I would change anything other than just adding more space to our bedroom and maybe another bedroom for the girls. I feel like two of them are always going to be sharing.”
Tell me about this time of year at the house because obviously what you do is very special.
Leticia: “We love it. As soon as Halloween is over, Mauro brings up all the inside decorations and we just start decorating because we try to have it done by Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is his Griswold Day. We all go outside and that’s when he turns on the lights.”
Do you and the girls help or he does the whole thing and you come out to a big surprise?
Leticia: “I’ve been pregnant, nursing, or had a newborn baby every year so I’ve never been able to help. This is the first year that I’ve actually been able to help because the girls are a little bit older. Now that Abel is back home, he was helping Mauro. I set up the entire inside this year because normally Mauro does that too.
I love making Christmas special when they’re so into it. The Elf on the Shelf does crazy things everyday. We do the lights and the Christmas parade in Evergreen. We always go to that one because we stick to that Mr. and Mrs. Claus. They’re the only ones that we’ve ever taken pictures with. Guiliana’s birthday is on December 15th, so we always have a Christmas themed birthday party for her and they come every year. We have the kids write letters to Santa and he writes every single kid back, every single one. We do little crafts like little ornaments and we decorate cookies. We’ve even caught Santa under the tree on Guiliana’s iPad. It’s just awesome that they still believe, it’s magical. I asked Guiliana because now is about the time that other kids start telling them it’s not true. I asked her yesterday if she still believes and she said ‘yeah, but one of the girls in my class said that she doesn’t believe but I told her he’s real.’ Yeah, that’s right, he still is.
Santa leaves footprints every time he’s here so the kids wake up to that. Their one gift from Santa is wrapped like none of the others. Each of the kids gets their own wrapping paper so we don’t even use name tags. Santa goes all out with special gold wrapping with etching so that gift is really special. He’s followed us everywhere we go, even at the cabin! I just love making it magical. Mauro spends all this time outside, doing all the lights for the kids, and I do all the crafts and extra special touches in here.”
Thanks for letting us come over, this really is so special.
Leticia: “Sometimes Mauro thinks it’s just too much but then we get the cards. People will leave us cards. There’s a house behind us where dementia patients live and the lights are the one thing that they remember. I told him ‘you can’t stop, you have to think about them. This is what they look forward to every year.’ So we’ll have so many cars coming through from people who know this is what we do.
There’s a family nearby that does a Christmas party and they didn’t do it for two years because I think the husband died. Now, they always bring their Christmas party here and come caroling. It’s so cool. Those are the things I don’t want to leave!
We do more things with the neighbors than we do with family sometimes, because they’re here, they’re closer. Christmas is our favorite but we go all out for every holiday; Easter, Halloween. The neighbors will come and we’ll have pizza and all go trick-or-treating together. I can’t see us leaving that and starting over with new neighbors. Those are the things that outweigh wanting his & hers closets. It’s more meaningful to me that the kids love it here. I would love a newer house so that’s why we’ve done the few updates. If we’re not moving, let’s at least spend the money that we’d be spending buying a new house to make this home more comfortable.”
Your kitchen is fabulous now! It would be hard to leave a kitchen with all this counter and cabinet space!
Leticia: “That’s why we extended the kitchen to have more counter space because we host Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas. We host all holidays. We need it since we have 30 people come, if not more. That’s just immediate family and any friends that don’t have family in town. We’ll just invite whoever doesn’t have anywhere to go. This is where they come.”
Photography by: Jordan Facin