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.