Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Branson Missouri

About nine months ago, my mother and I were talking about going on vacation with the family. We decided to go to Branson, Missouri because they are suppose to have a beautiful Christmas display. We got a 2000 sq ft condo for the week for $515, fully furnished.

Noel and I knew that we would do better if we drove through the night on the way there. So we left at midnight and the "safari" slept until about 6:30 in the morning. After we checked in we relaxed and moved-in.

Day 1: relax
Day 2: swimming, playground
Day 3: downtown
Day 4: indoor golf
Day 5: Silver Dollar City
Day 6: Silver Dollar City
Day 7: Dinasour Museum, and Butterfly Palace
Day 8: Drove home

We made sure that we did not pack our days with activities but actually enjoyed our vacation. The "safari" loved the swimming pool; I thought it was funny that we got all dressed up and went to the indoor pool and then stripped down and swam. The "safari" liked playing indoor golf and they got better as we went. The good thing is that almost everywhere we went the triplets and Hannah were free.

Noel and I sat through a "travel" program to get a discount on our Silver Dollar City tickets. Also mom and dad sat through a time share program to get the Dinasour and Butterfly Palace for free. Also mom and dad got to see a show for free and sat on the second row. We thought it was a great vacation.

The "safari" did really well being in a new place and we kept most of their schedule. We laughed a lot. We taught the "safari" how to play GO FISH. The hardest thing was to get them to keep their cards a secret. Joshua told Jacob 'go fish' and Jacob picked a card and told everyone what it was. The adults had a good laugh and the "safari" had a blast. The adults enjoyed our time as well. Noel and dad played a lot of golf on the Wii and one night we all played bowling.

Also the "safari" rode their first amuzement rides, I have adventureous children. I see a lot of roller coasters in my future. We want to thank mom for being brave and riding the amuzement rides even though she hates them. Thank you for being a team player.

If you have not been to Branson you should go during the Christmas season. Silver Dollar City is amazing and has 4 million lights.

We are already looking to see where we are going next year.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Noel started going to a bible study this semester and there was a lady there that works for a bank who was talking about mortgages and the interest rates. Noel filled out some paperwork and when it came back we were approved for 4.125% on a 20 yr loan. This means that we pay our house off 5 years earlier and the interest rate goes down. Also because we are refinancing our property taxes are in the refinancing; which is an answer to prayer with all the events that have happened to us this year. God is good.

Because we were close to the 20% in equity that you need to refinance an appraiser had to come into our house and appraise it. This was fine except that our master bathroom was not finished and some other small projects needed to get done before the appraiser could come in. That sounds good except that in the middle of everything Noel was out of town for a week taking a class in Houston.

Here was the list that we made and finished.
**Finish that master bathroom: fix the ceiling, put Sheetrock on the walls, texture the walls, paint the walls, cover the hole in the floor, put laminate and carpet in the bathroom, patch the hole in the ceiling from the wall to the old shower, fix the recessed lighting.
** Finish the molding downstairs: Paint over the nail holes, caulk the baseboards, touch up paint
** Mount the speakers in the TV room
** Clean and make the game room into a game/TV room, move all bookshelves from master to game room, move the couch into the game room
** Clean the garage: Get the Firebird out of the garage and clean the garage that has not been cleaned in over 2 years if not longer
** Cut the grass, and fix a few boards on the fence
** Fix the Attic hole with new molding

It does seem a little crazy when I type it out. Well Noel put the Sheetrock up and put the laminate on the floor before he left for Houston. While he was gone, I put the joint tape up and smoothed the walls the best that I could, I fixed the ceiling. That sounded too easy though, I had to cut the Sheetrock out of the ceiling to both sides of the studs. After I did that I realized that there was no way I was going to get a new piece of Sheetrock up there without some help. So Tim Conroy came over and helped me for a couple hours. That was the first time that I had actually been in our attic. Then I textured the walls and painted them.

When Noel got back we did the touch up on the walls that needed to be done, we put popcorn back on the ceiling, because we did not have time or energy to scrape the ceilings, and we put carpet in the master bathroom. We used the rest of the laminate from the stairs and a piece of the new carpet from downstairs with the memory pad as well. Noel then made the moldings for the doorways, because the hardware store wanted to charge over $30 for a piece of molding. Noel and I had never laid carpet but I think we did an excellent job with seam tape and making sure to pull the carpet as much as possible. We did the rest of the list as well. We made an appointment to have the appraiser over on a Wednesday morning. Well on Tuesday Noel and I stayed up all night and morning to finish the list, which meant that neither of us got any sleep that night. I did get a nap that afternoon though, sorry babe. The appraiser came and did his thing and we are closing soon.

Noel and I were shocked to hear what our house was appraised at. We were appraised at 209,000. Now we did not pay that for our house but Noel and I have put a lot of work into our house with our own hands and we would not sell our house for 209,000 but with the economy and what people are selling their houses for that is what our house appraised for.

So here is a little slideshow of the transformation of our master bathroom.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

Last year Noel and I wanted to get the "safari" looking towards missions. So we packed two boxes for Operation Christmas Child, one for a girl and one for a boy. This year Noel and I thought that each of our children would like to make their own box.

Each box contained:
*socks (2 pair)
*washcloth (2)
*toothbrush and toothpaste
*bar of soap
*crayons and coloring book with stickers
*a bouncing ball that lights up
*boys: trucks girls: chaulk and jacks

The "safari" was excited to put the lids on and pray over them. We continue to pray for the boxes until Christmas. Next year I think that we will track where our boxes go to show the "safari" how far they actually go. Noel and I have a great time and it is nice to see our mission oriented "safari" coming alive.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Halloween 2010

Halloween was great this year, because the "safari" was one year older and they were really excited about the candy part of Halloween this year. They were the Wizard of Oz again this year because I worked so hard on their costumes last year that I wanted to get two years out of them. Pops came up to help us with the "safari." We carved our pumpkin in the early evening and the "safari" was okay with that but really could have cared less. I think that Noel and I had more fun then the "safari" did.

We ate dinner and then got ready to go Trick or Treating. It was dark when we started and the "safari" was more than excited. Noel and I tried cover all the rules of Trick or Treating with the "safari." You only ring the doorbell once: they took that as each of them got to ring the doorbell once. You say thank you when you receive your candy: they took that as say thank you and ask for more candy. If no one answers then no one is home: Jacob took that as try the door to make sure they are not hiding. We were out for about 1.5 hours and the "safari" got more candy then I thought they would. We had to send Noel back to the house to get a book bag because the "safari's" buckets were so heavy they could not carry them. Everyone had fun and they are already talking about next year. I think that we are going to be the 7 dwarfs from Snow White, Sneezy and Dopey will stay home in bed. It is great to have our "safari" at the age where they enjoy activities.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Stupid Geniuses

I have come to the conclusion that when you put any two or more of my toddlers together in a room that they become stupid geniuses. I have several examples of this just based on all the modifications that we have had to make to the rooms that our "safari" sleep in. Here is a short list:

**Took all pictures off the walls so that they could no longer through their pillows to see if they could knock it down.
**Had to take the wheels off their cribs so they would not play roller derby with them.
**Had to nail their curtains into 1X1 into the studs in the wall because they were hanging from them
**Had to take the closet doors off because they were trying to slam their fingers off.
**Had to play team match to see who could be in the same room together. That took a couple of months.
**Had to put locks on the outside of the doors because they were playing exchange student with each other.
**Had to take the mattresses away from Elijah, Esther and Jacob because they figured out that you could lean it against the wall and climb up into the closet. That is how Jacob broke his collar bone. Now Elijah and Joshua have a bed that Noel and I have a hard time moving.
**Had to take the closet shelf out because Elijah and Esther Mae climbed onto the end of the bunk bed and climbed up into the closet and then were jumping back into the bed. Esther Mae taught Elijah how to use the wall to get into the closet.

I am sure there are more that I have forgotten, but that gives you an idea of the stupid genius acts that Noel and I have witnessed. Now the roommate assignments are as follows. Joshua and Elijah are roommates. Esther Mae and Hannah sleep together in a twin bed and Jacob sleeps in a twin bed in the other room. The third room is a guest room.

I thought I would leave you with a recent picture of my stupid geniuses.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It Is Alive

After replacing the compressor, putting new tires on, draining the bad gas, putting a new battery in, Noel decided to start and drive the Firebird out of the garage. Mind you the last time he drove the Firebird was about 3 years ago. Noel and I had to push the Firebird into the garage the last time.

I was very proud of Noel for all the hard work that him and Dominic put into the car the last month, that I wanted to video the great accomplishment. Mind you the Firebird sounds horrible, but that is because the car still had some bad gas and all the new fluids had not run through yet. I was very excited as you can tell by my commentary.

Noel still has some work to do on the Firebird but it is close to being ready. We are more than grateful to the Gilbert's for letting us borrow their vehicle while Noel has made his Firebird come to life. You are amazing and wonderful friends.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mad Scientists

After the accident, Noel decided that financially we could not afford another car payment so he decided to revive the Firebird; that had been sitting in the garage for 2.5 years.

It needed new tires, new battery, fluids, fix the A/C, brakes, and miscellaneous things. Tires, battery, fluid were pretty easy things to fix. The A/C is not so easy to fix. The last time that Noel worked on his A/C he had to take the engine out to get to the A/C. Well to take the engine out there are 48 steps and each of those steps have other steps within that step. Dominic convinced Noel that they did not need to take the engine out because Noel has some extra parts from the last time that he worked on the A/C.

This is where it gets scary. Dominic and Noel decided that they could run the A/C dye to tell them where the leak was from the table saw. Yeah you read that right. Noel and Dominic strapped the compressor from the A/C to the table saw and ran the belt from the compressor to the compressor of the table saw and then gave it all power from the battery in the Honda. Sounds mad scientist right? That is what I thought and that is why I had to video tape this because if something blew up I was going to win America's Funniest Home Video Contest. Watch the video and see the lights dim when they turn everything on. Enjoy the video.

Noel and Dominic ran their test and found out that the compressor was bad and so they had to replace the compressor.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Future Posts

I know that some of you think that we have fallen off the Earth, but we have not. I have lots of posts to do, but Noel and I are refinancing our house right now and we are trying to finish are bathroom. So stay with us and hopefully I can post some of the great things we have done soon. We love you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Medical Update

So here is a recap of the adventures in our house in the last couple of weeks. So two weeks ago, I got in a car accident and totaled the car. Then the following Friday, Jacob decided that he was going to jump of the highest spot in the room. On the following Tuesday he started to have blood in his stool. Of course, Noel was out of town and I was grateful that my mother was in town for some support.

On that Tuesday I took Jacob to see Art Cheng and he wanted me to collect his stool for three days and then back with him. Jacob was acting like a 3 year old and had no color change and he was not bleeding from his eyes, or ears. Also he was not complaining of any pain. The next day I called our pediatrician and she stated that she wanted to see him on Friday to make sure everything was okay and to see if she thought he needed to get tests. On Friday, I took him to Dr. Ranny and she stated that she thought he had a tare in his rectum. So Jacob is on stool softners and if he starts to bleed again after a week then we need to run some tests.

So in the last two weeks I have been in the emergency room, see the urgent care place, an orthopedic, and two pediatricians. I think we have had our share of medical treatment for a while.

I would like to thank Art Cheng for being such a great pediatrician. He called me several times through out the week to see how Jacob was doing. I love that kind of medical care we received, personal. If you are looking for a pediatrician I would recommend Art Cheng with Austin Regional Clinic.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Safari Got Mail!

I do not know about you, but I love to get mail, but I love to receive packages even more. The "safari" got a box yesterday. I participated in a Halloween Swap that involved our children and not me. I got a family in New York and they got us. We filled out a questionnaire and gave the other family things that my "safari" like. The "safari" and I filled our box and Noel mailed it. Yesterday we got a ring at our doorbell from the mailman. Our box had arrived.....

The "safari" loved the box and as soon as it was opened they found the candy. You know every kid can smell candy from at least 50 yards away. The box had really neat things in it. We got books, bags, candy, stickers, peeps, and a game. We want to thank Mind Games for our wonderful box and the "safari" loved everything that was in the box. We hope that you have a wonderful Halloween and that you enjoy our box as much as we enjoyed yours. Here is a picture of everything that was in our box.

Happy Halloween! Thank you very much C& J for our box, have fun this holiday!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

When It Rains, It Pours!

Have you ever noticed that when something is going on in your life that is not so good that other things happen at the same time? For instance, when one person gets sick everyone gets sick. Well, it is no different in our house.

Like most of you know, last Friday I demolished Noel's car and then this Friday Jacob tried to trump me. Noel came home at lunch so that I could go clean a house and he was downstairs when he heard a thud. He knew that something bad happened because soon after the thud was the screams of Jacob. He goes upstairs to see Jacob rolling around on the floor screaming in pain.

Elijah, Esther Mae, and Jacob thought it would be good idea to put one of their mattresses up against the closet wall and climb up the mattress and then jump off. Well, we assume that Jacob was the sacrificial lamb in this endeavour. Jacob climbed up the mattress and grab a toddler rocking chair from the top shelf, when he jumped he landed wrong on his shoulder. After everyone was disciplined Noel brought Jacob downstairs and he slept on Noel's chest during nap time.

After some discussion we removed all the mattresses that where hard enough to be used as a climbing ladder and moved Jacob in the room with Joshua and Hannah; leaving the evil minds in the room together. You see, Hannah and Joshua are mellow enough together that there is hardly any trouble with them. So Jacob was given some Motrin and we let him sleep in the room with Hannah and Joshua.

This morning he woke up about 4:30 this morning crying because he was in pain. Jacob slept with Noel and I for the rest of the morning and then we decided to take him to urgent care when he could not get out of our bed. Noel took Esther Mae, Joshua and Elijah to T-ball and I went to Urgent Care with Hannah and Jacob.

Jacob has a fracture in his clavicle and has to see an orthopedic because of an AC might be torn. So on Monday I have to get him an appointment, to see what is going on and what we will have to do. Also did I mention that Noel is leaving on Sunday for Tennessee for the week because he is taking a class? I am thankful for my family that is close so I can take Jacob to his appointment. Please pray that we get seen soon in the week and that Jacob will understand that he cannot play as hard with his arm. Have you ever has to tell a 3 year old boy that he cannot move his arm and that he has to keep it in the sling and not play too hard? Let me tell you that it is hard.

Thank you for everyone that is praying for our family. We are doing well, considering we are healing and working hard to get the Firebird running so that Noel has a vehicle for travel season. Please pray that Noel and Dominic get the car up and running. Thank you Rob and Kimber for allowing us to use your vehicle while we get the Firebird running; you are great friends.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


It has almost been a week since the accident and I am now getting a chance to really look at the car pictures and the pictures of my bruises from day 3. It is a hard reality to know that most people would not have made it out of the car accident that I was in. I know that God protected me and the way the accident went and where everyone was is the reason that I am alive. I might make that another post, but who knows.

Every day since the accident I have seen and felt my bruises. Getting dressed and taking a shower there is a visual reminder of how thankful I am that I am still alive. Also the "safari" and all the questions about daddy's car. My favorite goes like this....
safari: "mommy did you break daddy's car?"
me: "yes, I did",
safari: "can you fix daddy's car?"
me: "no, it is really broken and I cannot fix it."
safari: "can you fix it later?"
me: "no, daddy's car is destroyed."
safari: "mommy did you get hurt?"
me: "yes, but God protected me."
safari: "well can God fix daddy's car?"

It is nice to have the thoughts of a toddler just so honest and precise. I love those moments. I am sitting here still struck to the core of how God is wonderful and how I am grateful that I am alive. Noel and I are grateful to be together and to be able to live through experience together instead of one of us in the ground while the other raises our children.

Noel and I are grateful for all the warm wishes and the prayers that we have received from lots of people that we know and people that we do not know. We are grateful to have family that loves us and that is there for us. We would just ask that you continue to pray for my healing, that the instant replay would go away, and that we could get the firebird up and running before travel season begins for Noel.

So without further delay here are what my bruises looked liked after day 3. I know that they look bad but actually that look even worse of day 5, and now there are starting to turn yellow, which is a great sign.

Friday, October 8, 2010

What does your car look like?

I think we should play a game called "what does your car look like?"

Here is what our car looks like:

I totaled the Mazda this morning. I was traveling on 183 north after Cedar Park and before Liberty Hill. It was still dark outside, I was traveling behind a BMC Lumber Supply truck when a box fell off the back of his truck. After changing lanes I decided that I would stay in a different lane then the truck. I was going with the flow of traffic when in a split second decision the car in front of me decided to change lanes without braking or using his signal. As soon as he/she changed lanes I saw the car at a complete stop trying to turn into the Summerlyn subdivision and knew that my day was not what I had planned for it. I hit that car and it pushed me into the lane with the BMC truck that swerved and rolled on its side and shot me into oncoming traffic where the passenger side of the car got hit. I was able to get out of the car and wait for the rescue crews.

For the damage that you see in the pictures I did not break anything and the only thing that I have is bruises. It was not my time to go and God knew that I was needed here on Earth. So I stopped traffic on 183 this morning going to Liberty Hill and all the people that were coming into the Austin Area. My mother even got my traffic when she was coming into town. I am grateful that I am alive and that the other people that were involved did not have serious injuries.

I appreciate all the prayers and the calls that we have received. For those of you wondering, yes I am still going to Arlington in the morning to see the A&M vs. Arkansas game. WHOOP!

Monday, October 4, 2010

What does 1100 Servings look like?

This last month, we did our normal monthly cooking. I started to ask the normal people that do the monthly cooking. So this was the breakdown. I wanted a half share, my mother wanted a half share, my sister wanted a full share, Katherine wanted one and a half shares, my brother wanted a full share, Kimber wanted a full share and Koby wanted a half share. A half share is 4 servings, and a full share is 7 servings. So that comes to 1100 servings.

The menu is as follows:

Beef Stroganoff
Beer Butt Chicken
Carolina shredded Chicken
Cheeseburger Meatloaf
Chicken Pot Pie
Chicken Tandoori
Chili Lime Kabobs
Chinese 5 Spice Chicken
Cordon Bleu
Creamy Chuck Roast
Dr. Thunder Ribs
Jalapeno Blue Cheese Burgers
Kansas City Hot Wings
Lemon Herb Chicken
Peach Glazed Pork Chops
Pork Chops w/ Applesauce
Pork Tacos w/ Pineapple Salsa
Potato Soup
Sausage Lasagna
Shepards Pie
Shredded Pork Tacos
Spicy Beef Kabobs
Spicy Turkey Burgers
Tex Mex burgers
Tomato Soup

Katherine and I have been thinking about teaching people how to do this from the menu making, the shopping, and all aspects of this program. Each time that we talk to people and every time that my mother and I talk to people they seem to be interested. So we are thinking about a webpage where you sign up for a monthly menu that would include shopping list, menu, labels, etc. Who knows what will come of it, but it is an idea.

I hope that you enjoyed my picture. That was half of the food that was made. My counters were full of food as well as the island, and my dining room table.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Weekend at the Lake House!

Noel and I took the "safari" to the lake house this month to make sure that they got to swim before the weather changes. Nana and Poppy Bobby came to the lake house as well.

We arrived on Friday afternoon and the "safari" got to swim in a kids pool and just hanging out. Then Nana made hamburgers and hotdogs for dinner. The "safari" got to watch lot of TV and then got to sleep on a queen air mattress. On Saturday we rode on the boat to the sandbar. Then we had lunch and rest time before we went fishing. Everyone fell asleep for at least an hour. In the pictures you will see that everyone decided to sleep on the couch with momma except for Jacob. After nap we went fishing off the dock at the lake house. Now Poppy Bobby has learned that it is more fun for a kid if they actually get to catch the fish, so he has a fish feeder. Elijah, Jacob and Esther Mae fished and caught something. The other two did not want anything to do with the fishing, but wanted to touch the fish that were caught. Jacob caught the biggest fish with a 2 pound catfish. We had dinner and then watched some more football before coming home.

The funniest thing was that at the lake house there are not so many rules as the house. For example: there is no diet when you are at the lake house, there is no certain bedtime and you can pee on trees because there is only family at the lake house.

Enjoy the pictures.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

We have a guest bedroom!

Noel and I have wanted to have a room for people who come and visit us that was just theirs. Our guest bedroom for the longest time was the open game room on the second floor. I am sure that there were no complaints, but there was no privacy and no closet.

The boys moved into one room together and the girls were in another room. Noel and I decided to fix the fourth room into our guest room/sewing room. Of course with me I knew that we were going to paint the room and I wanted to try stripes. Now I have never done stripes and so I did my research and Noel was a trooper.

Here is the room before:


Here is the room after Noel and I spent 6 hours putting up paint tape on the walls.

Here is the room after we painted it.

I think that the room turned out nice. The closet doors were put back on and the blinds are back up in the windows. It actually looks like a normal room in our crazy house. I would like to thank Noel and Katherine for helping me with the room and for the support that I was not crazy.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

T-Ball Anyone?

Elijah, Joshua, Esther Mae, and Jacob are all playing T-Ball this season. The triplets are on the 3 year old team and Elijah is on the 4 year T-ball team. They got to practice only once before their first game because it rained on Tuesday. I think that they did outstanding.

I put their last name on their jerseys so they would look nice. Also we were lucky to be able to pick our numbers for the triplets. Noel picked 2,3,and 4. So I made sure that Joshua, Esther Mae, and Jacob got the number that went with their birth order. Noel told us that we should make them wear numbers all the time.

The game is only 2 innings. Each player gets to hit the ball and then run to first base and then the last batter for that team gets to bat and run all the bases. Then you switch and do that for 2 innings. I was very proud of the "safari" because they played the entire game and did not quit.

Also we used our first porta potty. We survived and I am sure that we will survive it the next time that we have to use them.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Who Doesn't Like Mail

My friend, Dianna, saw this blog and thought it was a great idea. I think so as well. You get to swap your favorite things that you do with your kids with someone else. Then you get a package in the mail from someone else. I know I love getting mail and the "safari" will enjoy filling their box and receiving a box. If you want just click on the button and sign up to get on the list for this swap.

Monday, September 13, 2010

WOW! Who doesn't have a PR campaign?

Noel and I were driving to church yesterday and spotted this billboard. We were shocked and upset at the same time. It is one thing to come into a new mother's room and try to get her to breastfeed because it seems to be the natural thing to do, but some women cannot breastfeed even after trying. For example I could not breastfeed because my milk was tested and it came back mostly water, like my mother.

When I was born my mother breastfed me and I was not getting enough so I wanted to nurse on the hour. My mother nursed me every hour until my wise grandmother came and noticed that I was starving and gave me her own formula that she made. I drank it and slept for 8 hours. You see my mother was breastfeeding because she was told there were no other options if she wanted to be a good mother.

After finding out that I could not breastfeed I realized that my son would be just fine and that he would still be normal and smart no matter what. When I gave birth the triplets the lactation consultant came into my room and tried to tell me that I was being a horrible mother because I was not breastfeeding even after I told her that my milk was more water than anything else. She told me that I was going to hinder my children from being smart.

When we had Hannah the lactation consultant came in and I told her that I was not going to breastfeed because of my milk and because I had 4 toddlers at home. She got the hint and left me alone.

I understand that there are benefits to breastfeeding and that if you are able to breastfeed then you should until you and your baby no longer desire it. There are some out there that cannot breastfeed and we should not be told we are horrible mothers because we cannot. It is a sad day when we are telling new mothers that they are going to hinder their children from day one; what a message is that?

As Noel and I saw this billboard we came up with some things that were just as ridiculous.

"If we had breastfed Elijah he would already have chest hair"
"If we had breastfed our triplets they would be calculus instead of addition"
"If we had breastfed Hannah she would be the Secretary of state."

From our point of view we are going to put our trust in God and ask Him to lead us in raising our children and that they would be what God wants them to be. If that is a rocket scientist or a housewife that our children would love God and be a light into this world.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Safari Birthday Party

Noel and I have decided that having one birthday party makes more sense then trying to have three in three months. Also our "safari" all have the same friends. So this year we decided that school supplies/art supplies was going to be our theme, since we are getting ready to start homeschooling activities this year.

We also decided that having the party in the evening was better since our backyard is mostly shaded in the early evening. Our good friends Kimber and Rob Gilbert brought their lawn furniture and the canopy so the bounce house would be covered. The kids had a great time. We had to come inside because everyone wad red-faced. We ate dinner, we had spaghetti, fruit salad, and bread. The kids also got cupcakes and normal cake. I tried to make a bee-hive cake and it turned out pretty nice.

Rob Gilbert came over and showed everyone his police car. The kids thought that was great and got to sit in the driver's seat while the lights were flashing. I think all and all everyone had a great time.

The parents told me the next day that their children slept pretty well after being at our house and running them into the ground.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Noel and I believe that everyone has a choice to do one thing or another. Now each choice can lead to a consequence, either good or bad. Noel and I were given a choice by Pops. A puppy or a fish tank. Now think about what you would choose.

We chose a fish tank, no hesitation. The only thing is that we did not get to choose the fish tank. We gave Pops some options that we liked and we sent him fish tanks that would be good for the "safari." Like we wanted one that was big enough so that everyone could see the fish without fighting.

Pops called and stated that he got the fish tank and that he wanted to come down that day. So he came from San Antonio to help set up the fish tank. He should up and showed us that he decided on 90 gallons. The fish tank is great.

Pops took the "safari" to PetSmart and let them pick up some accessories for the fish tank. Elijah picked a dinosaur, and the others just wanted to see the fish.

So here is a picture of the fish tank.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Swim Lessons

A couple of months ago we started our carpet experience and we had some trouble with people showing up on time and we were given some compensation for those mistakes. That meant that we could pay for the "safari", minus Hannah, to have swim lessons.

The lessons were Monday through Thursday for two weeks. The "safari" thought it was great and they loves their swim instructor, Stephanie. They were excited every day to go and even enjoyed the shower after the swim lessons. The kids got to "talk to the fish" and learned to swim and jump into the water. Stephanie was wonderful and she enjoyed the "safari."

Now Hannah was too young to start swim lessons at the YMCA so she swam with daddy while the others had swim lessons. Hannah enjoyed the quality time with daddy.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My "safari" say the funniest things in public!!!

Pops came to our house a couple of weeks ago to give the "safari" their birthday present; a 90 gallon fish tank. After shopping with the "safari" and letting them pick the decorations for the fish tank, Pops took us all out to dinner.

We were eating and Elijah decided that he needed to go potty. He wanted Pops to take him and Pops was more than willing to go. So they walk to the bathroom to find that the stalls are both full and the only thing that is left is the urinal. Now Elijah at first was not that excited about that. Given the choice of waiting for one of the stalls to open or peeing right then; he was okay with the urinal.

Elijah pulls his pants down and Pops picks him up to pee in the urinal and that is when my funny man made his comment. He asked "Pops can you hold my penis?" Now you have to put in your head that the two stalls in the bathroom are full and they are not the only people at the urinals. So complete silence went to laughter. Pops was a little red.

As a mother I am proud that my son named his anatomy with the right term and that he made a couple of men laugh. Now that story was probably told to whomever they encountered that day. So that is a potential of a lot of laughter.

Friday, July 16, 2010


When we bought our house we did not know what trees and bushes we had in our backyard. So Noel decided to take a bush out that was next to the air conditioning unit because it was ugly. Well behind that bush there was a little tree/bush looking thing that Noel left alone. In this picture you have to look behind the bush and you can see the fig tree but it is only about 12-15" tall. Do you see it?

I hope that you saw it, because this is what our fig tree looks like today.

Now we love our fig tree. Last year we trimmed our fig tree so that it was not hanging over the A/C unit. It grew fantastically, so much that it grew about 18" in every direction this year. We have figs all over the tree. We pulled the first fig off and we were totally surprised at the size of the fig. I put it in my hand so that you could really understand the size of it. Now most people have not eaten a really fig, but just what they had in a fig newton. Those are two totally different tastes. Our "safari" love figs and Noel and them just eat them straight off the tree. It is great.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fireworks, Oh My!

Well it is that time again, heat, food, darkness and fireworks. This year we added the "safari" to that mix. Noel and I thought it was time for the "safari" to stay up late and see the fireworks. Usually they are in bed and asleep by the time all the festivities are going on.

We went to church and had a late lunch and made the "safari" take a nap so they would last until 9:15pm when the fireworks were going to start. We had company over for the festivities and that means there was food. We had the Gilbert's and my parents with my nephew Aiden. We had bbq chicken, spiral ham, green bean casserole, potato salad, salad, and my banana pudding. The banana pudding got Rob out of bed and over to the house before he had to go to work for APD. It was great food and lots of fun with all of us sitting and enjoying all the great food.

After that Rob put his Austin Police Uniform on and let the kids see the police car and hear the sirens and listen to Rob speak through the speaker. Rob grew a crowd of kids with all the commotion.

After that we all hung out until it was time for the fireworks. The great thing about our house is that we are close to the huge fireworks show at Milburn park in Cedar Park. We got to sit in our backyard and watch fireworks, and we did not have to travel anywhere. The "safari" had popcorn, kool-aide, and goldfish for the fireworks. As soon as the first firework went off Joshua jumped out of Nana's lap and ran inside. Jacob, Esther, Hannah, and Elijah were okay with the fireworks as long as they were sitting with someone. Hannah lasted the longest and only came in when she started to get eaten by the bugs. Hopefully the "safari" will grow to like all the noise and pretty lights. They slept really well.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Our "safari" love to ride on our backs. So Noel takes 3 and then I take 2, and then we switch. Now we have to be really strong to be able to do that and so we get tired and tell the "safari" that the ride is broken. The other day I decided that it would be fun to teach them to ride a "bull." (me being the bull)

This our video of them riding the bull. I love the fact that they fix my shirt before they climb on me and also they know they are suppose to only hold on with one hand, even though some think they can do it with no hands. Also there is a little pushing in the beginning because Joshua wanted a turn. It is so great to hear them laugh and see the huge smiles from this activity.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Our Secret

Noel and I have been keeping a secret for about 4 months and we decided that we could no longer keep it to ourselves, so we thought that we would share it......

NO WE ARE NOT PREGNANT!!! All of you that thought that are just wrong, why would you wish that on us?

No, we had to keep a secret from one of our friends, Kimber, for her birthday. In March Noel found out that Jeff Dunham was coming to Austin and he called the usual suspects to see they wanted to go. Last year my brother Ben and his wife, Tracy went with us, but this year Tracy was going to 9 months pregnant and so they passed. Noel was talking to Rob and he said "yes" because that would be a great surprise for Kimber's birthday. Kimber's birthday is June 28th. That is right I had to keep this secret for a long time.

So Rob decided to have dinner and then we would go and see Jeff Dunham. We went to Perry's. Noel and I had never been and so we were excited to try something new, and we do not get out much and so it was nice. The food was expensive for us on a budget. We loved the food but we would go on Monday night for their special or for lunch on Friday when their famous pork chop is $10.95 and not $30.00. The experience was great and we liked the atmosphere. The restraunt is in an old bank and looks fabulous.

Jeff Dunham was good and we loved his show. Kimber was totally surprised and she has no clue what was going on. Thank you mom for coming and watching the "safari" for the evening.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

First Movie Thearter Experience

Our "safari" love the movies Toy Story and Toy Story 2, so when Noel and I saw that they were going to come out with the third Toy Story we knew that would be the one that we would see in a movie theater.

We were going to go to San Antonio and see it on the triplet's birthday but Pops had to work and so we decided that it would be great to see it on a weekday in the late afternoon so there would not be so many people. So we saw Toy Story on Tuesday, at 4:20 in the afternoon. Here are a few pictures of the experience that we captured.

I brought bowls and their sippy cups for the movie. Pops bought popcorn, candy and Hi-C for the movie. Each of them were excited about the seats, and the darkness. All 5 of them sat through the entire movie and not one had a meltdown, and we did not have to leave the movie. Aunt Kim, Cousin Jake were in for vacation and they shared the experience with us.

I think that we are going to a movie person, we will be a $1 movie theater family. Thank you Pops for a wonderful experience we love you and will see you soon.

Monday, July 5, 2010

You are a WHAT?

Noel came home the other day and he had a newspaper clipping on the counter. While I was finishing dinner I read the article on the counter. I was taken back at what the article stated. It stated that the appraisal firm that Noel works for is not really an appraisal firm but a lobbyist firm for industry. It called Noel's company a "fox in the hen house." It also stated that his company made more money then they really did on an account.

My first response was that I did not know that I was married to a lobbyist, and that he needed to ask for a raise if one county paid the appraisal firm $500,000 for their services.

I am no longer surprised at what is printed in the paper anymore. There is really no more journalism in the newspaper world when a paper can print an article and not check the facts. Now this article was written to the editor but apparently he did not check the facts before printing it. He thought that is was going to be a good bit of gossip on the county next to them. If you want to read the entire article you can find it here.

Now here are the facts:

The appraisal firm that Noel works for is hired by the county. They appraise property so that the county can send out tax bills like you get with personal property. They also go and defend that value if it is protested. They do not represent industry, those people are not called appraisers but agents.

For example: Lets say that Noel is in charge of appraising an oil refinery. He sets up an appointment with that company so that they can have their agent and their people there when he comes. He makes an appraisal of the company and sends the county that hired his firm what he thinks the value of the company is, now that value is not based on just what Noel thinks but what the property was valued last year and what changes to the company, industry, and economy has happened. The county sends the company a bill. Now 99.9% of the time the company does not agree with the value so they have their agent call Noel to try to lower the value. As Noel puts it "I am not a negotiator, I am an appraiser." If the agent can give Noel documentation and reasons why the company that the agent represents is lower in value then Noel looks at the information and talks to the county. If the value is not settled then Noel goes before a board and explains why he put that value on the company. Then then company can send their agent to explain to the board why they think the value should be lowered. The board makes a decision and then the agent has to talk to the company. Either they agree with the board or they have the option of suing the county.

That is why Noel travels is because he has to see the properties/companies and then he has to go and validate his value. I enjoy listening to all the drama and stupid reasons that people give for why they should not pay their tax bill. I am proud of my husband and the work that he does. He comes home and sleeps at night because he is an ethical and honest person in his personal and professional life.

I know that people have their opinions but when it tries to smear dirt on a company that has been family that is sad. I love Capital Appraisals and what they have meant for this family. We know the truth.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Pops's House in May (Yeah I am behind)

For the summer Noel and I wanted to make sure that we say all the grandparents on a regular basis. We try to get to Pop's house at least one weekend a month, even though he thinks that is not enough. The "safari" love Pops's and his dogs, named Yager and Bosco. Well the "safari" have renamed Yager to Lego, because that is easier to say. They do not want to be in the same room as the dogs or on the same side of the fence as the dogs but they love the dogs.

When we do see Pops we try to go to the park that is close to his house. Every time I have to remind myself that my "safari" is not normal and that they are going to climb on everything way too early and that I just need to put my trust in God that he is going to keep them safe and that my husband and Pops have good response time if something goes wrong. Hannah is no exception to that rule. As you see in the slideshow she is climbing up a ladder that is meant for "big" kids.

Pops also got the "safari" a inflatable pool along with a slip n slide. On Friday night the "safari" did really well and had a blast but on Saturday the girls decided that they were going to have a meltdown and so they did not swim in pool but were taken inside and the boys played with daddy and Pops. Hannah fell asleep inside.

On this trip we stayed two nights and we came up with new sleeping arrangements. In the past the girls have slept in pack n plays in the bathroom and the boys have slept on the king size bed. Well with the girls getting taller that is not working so well anymore so the new sleeping arrangement is that daddy and girls sleep in one bed and the boys and mommy sleep in another bed. Noel can have more room if he sleeps with the girls then with the boys because Jacob loves to sleep horizontally. It went really well and everyone got some sleep.

We look forward to seeing Pops twice in July since we did not get to see him in June because of schedule conflicts.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Lake House in May

In April Noel and I started to plan our summer weekends because we knew that we would have a full schedule with monthly cooking, Pops house, lake house and anything else that we had going on, like date night, etc. So we had a date for the lake house in May and we were totally excited to get the "safari" out to the lake house this year.

About a week before we were scheduled to go to the lake house I decided to watch a little girl so her mother could go and see her husband before he left for the middle east. We agreed that it would be okay to take her with us; she had never been to a lake house and all the adventure that goes with that. So on Friday I picked her up and we headed to the lake house. On Friday night we ate dinner and played outside for a little while, fished and then we went to bed. The girls slept in one room and the rest of us slept out in the living room.

Noel got sick in the middle of the night and was out of commission for the first part of Saturday. Noel's mother and step-father were there to have a blast. Now Papa Bobby bought Elijah a fishing pole about a month before this trip and we had been practicing throwing the line and getting the fish. You see, Papa Bobby decided that he was going to make fishing as easy as possible for his grand babies. So he has a fish feeder that feeds the fish three times a day so the fish stay close to the dock. So Elijah caught some fish and Jacob caught a fish and the rest of the "safari" just wanted to touch the fish in the bucket. On Saturday afternoon while everyone was sleeping Papa Bobby and I went fishing. We caught 16 fish in about an hour and one of them was a catfish and the other where blue gill. The fish were fantastic and I loved eating every single one of them.

The highlight of the trip for the "safari" was touching the fish, looking at the fish, getting rides on the riding lawn mower, and playing in the dog kennel in the house. We are glad that everyone had a great time and that the "safari" loves the lake house. We are going in July for another trip.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Nana

I thought it would be nice for Nana to hear from her grand kids on her birthday. They are so cute and just want to see the video camera, but it only took one shot to get them to all be in the same place at the same time, saying the same thing.

Mom, we love you and are very glad that you near. We hope that you enjoy your birthday even though we are not there with you. As the "safari" stated we will see you on Saturday.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

First Floor Remodel

I know that most of you have been waiting for this post, so here it is.

About a year ago our house plumbing line decided to get clogged and to flood the kitchen and parts of the playroom and dining room. After cleaning it up and replacing the wet carpet pad, Noel and I started planning for what we were going to do. Also the fact that my carpet went from beige to zebra kool-aide stripped carpet did help in the decision as well.

Noel and I decided that it was a good time to change the carpet. Then we decided that if we were going to change the carpet that we wanted to do some things to the first floor before the new carpet was put in. The list went like this:
1. Remove Popcorn ceiling
2. Paint walls
3. Tile the fireplace
4. Tile in front of french doors and fireplace
5. Replace the carpet on the stairs with laminate
6. Sand half-wall and triangle by stairs
7. Run wires through the ceiling for the surround sound, and the new speakers in the future.
8. Fix holes and bad patch jobs on the first floor.
9. Replace the ceiling fan in the playroom, move it to the kitchen
10. Replace ceiling fan in the TV room.
11. Paint column
12. Replace baseboards
13. Wire for future light fixture above the sink

We started with one thing, replacing the carpet and it turned into a huge task; which is not different than any other project that Noel and I have done to our home.

Scraping the ceilings was not that bad and we did that in about a week. Once the ceiling were scraped Noel and I started on our own projects. I was in charge of the painting and Noel was in charge of fixing holes, running wires, cutting cement board for the fireplace, tiling the fireplace and entry-way from the french doors, putting up molding, moving ceiling fans, running wire for future electrical needs, and doing the stairs.

I was motivated to get the painting done and I did. I even painted the electrical outlets. My arms hurt pretty bad after I painted the ceiling and all the walls, but my house was looking great.

Noel wanted to know what was under the half-wall landing. It was painted white but we thought that there was a nice wood underneath. After sanding it we found that the wood was fantastic and that we wanted to stain it to match the entertainment center. Noel also wanted to sand the wall that our projection screen beams on to a smooth surface. All the sanding caused a lot of dust to fly through my house. So every night while we were cleaning we just kept telling ourselves that when it was all done we would feel fantastic and it would look great. There was a lot of dusting and washing of all items. When we did the stairs we contained the dust for the most part but we had to disconnect the fire alarms because they were going off because of all the dust.

The demolition was the fun part. We got to destroy the fireplace Sheetrock and rip the marble off the fireplace. I had fun with the hammer, wonder bar and my hands. Then after the demolition then Noel cut the cement board for the fireplace and he started to tile. Now Noel has become a great tile man because of all the other tile jobs that we have done in our home. He impressed me greatly when he started cutting tiles at 45 degree angles for the edges of the fireplace. Also his tile work was great on the floor and the thought process that he went through to make sure that the floor was smooth and uniform. Also the "safari" helped by removing the tile spacers every morning after Noel tiled a section of the fireplace.

The hardest part for me was the holes in the ceiling. Noel thought it would be a great idea to run the wires for our surround sound through the ceiling instead of under the carpet. It sounded fine until he started to cut the holes in the ceiling. He promised me that he would fix the holes.

The stairs were a challenged. We were not going to do the stairs because we were not going to pay the installer of our carpet what they wanted to charge to do each stair and the laminate was not in our budget. When we went to pay for the carpet install there was laminate of clearance and the manager sold me each box for $15 if I took all nine boxes. SOLD. You see each box was normally $54 a box. The only thing was that there was underlayment on each piece that I had to scrape off so that we could lay it on our stairs, but the savings was worth the pain and suffering of scraping the underlayment off the laminate. Also we had to cut off the front sides of the stairs as well; so I got to use the router to get the fronts off and then Noel used a chisel to remove the remaining pieces off. Noel spent a lot of time cutting each piece to make sure that it worked and when we were finally done nailing in our final piece of the stairs and we looked up at our gorgeous stairs it was well worth the time, pain, suffering and energy we used.

The carpet is a wonderful color and we love that but we have some issues with the carpet that will be another post, and all the drama of that situation. Stay tuned.

All in all Noel and I had a great time with this project. We like to make our home better and we love to do it ourselves. I think we appreciate it more because we know how many late nights we stayed up to finish it. There are a few things that we still need to do, but we had to stop because Noel starts his travel season again and so we will pick up on weekends and do what we can. Please enjoy our slideshow. The first couple of pictures are when we first looked at the house and I was pregnant with Elijah.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Helping Daddy

Having children is a beautiful thing and it is a blast to see them grow and learn. But really it is great when they can help out around the house and outside. The "safari" has been learning more and more things lately that have helped Noel and I. Now if you really want to know it takes at least 3X more time to do the chore but the "safari" love to help.

The "safari" help by, setting the table with plates, spoons and glasses; then there is the undressing and dressing themselves and putting dirty clothes into the washing machine. They pick up their own toys and love to help with unloading the dishwasher. Trash day is fun, because the "safari" love to do the bulky items that we keep on top of the dryer until trash day.

Lately the "safari" has been helping outside with Noel more. They love to pick up rocks and put them in the rock pile, and they love to help him with branches. Noel and I feel that we are building character with each new learned task. We want out "safari" to know what it is like to work hard and that there is a payoff at the end of the task. I captured a picture of them all helping Noel in the backyard the other day that just made me smile.