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.