Monday, May 13, 2013

April 2013

Children's Museum while Audrey is in tutoring

  Movie Nights
Jane Goodall lecures with the older girls and Swing Dancing in the aisles to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy for Ben and I.
  Funny faces and Fundraisers
Flying Kites
Morning walks and reading in the backyard

March 2013

Renaissance Days
Rainstorms and fall
Rock shops, pajama parties, and black eyes
Cooking, renters, having fun with Tristan
 and Easter. And that's what March is all about!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I always know I need to stay more up to date on our blog!! So as not to bombard you too much with pictures I thought I would attempt to make collages. Our day to day stuff over the past few months have been pretty normal. Sickness still reined supreme for a bit but I finally think we have all caught the last of it. The girls started up piano again and Dad went out of town for a bit (see his last post) which always means a girl's night in our house! Eliora got to dress up as Nancy Drew for school and has enjoyed pajama days, pizza days, and getting ready for their Renaissance Festival. Her at home project has been Queen Elizabeth. After Ben's rock trip he has spent more time at the rock shop, a place where there are 'free' sodas and candy and a big pile of dirt out back. Of course, this means the girls beg to go with him and after going once myself I can start to see the appeal. It is cool to cut open a rock and realize they are beautiful inside!! The weather is warming slightly and which means more time hula hooping, riding bikes, enjoying play grounds, and burning leaves with magnifying glasses! (the pic of the statue in the sunroom is a whole other story...just don't blink!)
Abby turned 5 this year celebrating with two friends who were celebrating in the same week! They had a Brave party with balloon games, cake, and ice cream. She got her super fancy boots for a present!

Ben also turned 36. He got a pillow (the guy is obsessed with pillows) and this cool poster the girls made. Can you tell what it says? Valentine's Day was a big surprise when Ben woke me up with earrings. Audrey was with him when they bought them but neither of them had said a word or dropped a hint. Eliora got to pass out Valentine cards (pop rocks that said 'You Rock Valentine!') and we had our fancy dinner with the kids.

Another fun adventure was visiting Alpine, Texas. A cute little town about 2 hours away. I have no idea why we don't have a picture of the hotel we stayed at. It was adorable! Ben drove out with the girls to meet Andrew (who flew) and Audrey and I hitched a ride later with Debi and Mary. We got there in time for dinner and spent the rest of the evening around a bonfire sharing stories with a newly married couple from Latvia (I think...might have to ask Ben about that). I had to drive back early the next day (Ben flew back with Andrew) but not before seeing the quaint shops and listening to the frequent trains going by.

Sadie is turning 7 today and besides a dinner tonight and a party this weekend we also got to visit Lubbock and go to Circus Gatti with Jeff, Anna, and Tristan. I am so glad Anna found out about it and urged us to go! The circus is one of those events where I always wonder why the seats aren't more crowded. It was awesome! Sadie got a pony ride from Jeff and Anna at intermission and Eliora was chosen out of the audience to be the clown's (pretending to be a magician) assistant!

Last weekend was a quick trip to Lake Henry with our good friends Andrew, Debi, and Mary. It was beautiful and windy!! After a night of watching our tent blow away Ben and I are scouting craigslist for a pop up camper!

Sunday was so beautiful (after temperatures dropping again) that we decided to check out the Sibley Nature Preserve. We recieved some great counsel at Stake Conference from Pres. Richard G. Scott, Sister ...dang it, I forgot her name!, and Pres. Eyring. All were uplifting and caused Ben and I to talk about reorganizing our priorities and simplifying a little. After a rocky start 2013 is underway and looking up!

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Geology POW WOW in Arizona

I took a trip to Quartzsite, Arizona for the famous Pow Wow rock convention. The usual sleepy town of 3,000 balloons to the 3rd largest city in Arizona as rock hounds, hippy rock healers, lapidary tradesman, and collectors descend to the middle of nowhere to trade, bargain, and collect. It’s like a mecca for rock enthusiasts. I confess that I fit that bill. So with permission of our wonderful wives, Ira and I set off for the 15 hour drive in his Jeep Liberty. Ira, a geologist by day and a very enthusiastic agate collector all other times, gave me a Rick Steve’s style look into the gritty (due to all the rocks) underworld of lapidary rough. Rough is uncut rock. We had a great drive out, we stopped for lunch and Andele’s in Las Crusas, which is awesome Mexican food, and then spent the night at my good friend Kent’s domicile. Kent and Carly were excellent host and Carly cooked a fantastic dinner with some kind of home-made bread was insane, I had like 5 pieces. We left at 6:45 am from Chandler to get through Phoenix, I’m a big supporter of HOV lanes, and to get to Quartzsite by opening time. Ira had planned on meeting some of his lapidary rough connections and legends in the business. It has taken Ira several years to get in with some of these guys, and for them to sell him the “good stuff”. My first impression of Quartzsite was it didn’t exist, there was nothing. And then, across the horizon you see a sea of white, miles of RVs organized and unorganized into miniature suburbs. They were endless. The only permanent structures were gas stations and a LDS chapel. We went down main street checking out the vendors selling BBQ and Emu oil. We found a spot at the premier show for raw rocks. Other shows sold less collectable rock, flea market paraphernalia, and RVs. Ira met up with a legend Tom Lane, from Oregon, who sold Ira two pieces of Morrisonite from Oregon. Beautiful jasper slabs with subtle blues and browns, broken into shards and then healed geologically. Very collectable. Tom had been going to the Pow Wow since the 1960’s, where he’d hitch hike down and wheel and deal, leaving with more money and more rock. The show was on 10 acres of parking lot, with open air booths selling rough, slabs, finished cabs, dinosaur bones, slabs of bones, and lapidary equipment. The really nice rocks where often shown by invitation only, you had to either know the vendor like Ira did, or really show you are willing to be a passionate collector. All agates and rough come really from a handful of localities; vendor and collectors alike know what the agates look like from each. Many of the localities are mined out, off limits, or where known by one guy who mined it and then died without telling anyone anything ever. I got a chunk of agate from Bullon Mountains in California that was last mined in 1950 and is now a military base. There are laguna agates, condor agates, baker thunder eggs, coymito agates, and then all varieties of jasper. Personalities abound in the lapidary world. There was Gabe, from Mexico, and his son Martin who mine the laguna and Mexican lace from Northern Mexico and from whom Ira got some great rough and made it into the coveted uhaul to cherry-pick through the new stuff. Alan, from Florida and proudly Jewish, who has been working on getting a world class collection of dinosaur bones, fossilized plants, and some agates. He had some great advice on getting a top notch collection, “Mexican lace agate is like a margarita, but sometimes you like a fine scotch”. Each with a fascinating story that is underlined by a common attribute, the rocks just grabbed their attention and won’t let go. We spent a day and half wondering around, scouting out deals, looking at rocks, going back several times and then buying, and skipping lunch because there was just too many cool rocks. One can get a feeling of an ADHD kid on caffeine in a candy store. We headed back earlier than expected, mostly due to the fact that we ran out of money. We stopped by Deming, NM to seeing Bill Anderson’s world class collection of Baker thunder eggs. By world class, I mean you see his 1,500 square foot house and wonder how the foundation isn’t warped down by all the rocks. All the best specimens were collected by Bill, cut and polished by Bill, and on display at Bill’s house. It was a very impressive collection. Bill and his son Will collect from their claim 3 days a week and cut and polish the other 3 days. We were fortunate to see such a museum quality collection and Bill and his son were very hospitable. Bill spent 30 years in Alaska as a mining engineer hunting for gold, and was apparently very good at it. Strung across his property are piles of rough agates from various mines and digs, he shares his find with Tim and his wife who run the rock shop by the Rock Hound State Park in New Mexico. We stopped there to check out their collection and to see Brutus, the English Bull Mastiff. Brutus fortunately didn’t eat me but I thought that he might I can still see his red eyes staring at me. Our final adventure was an attempt to access Kilburn hole to collect perdiot xenoliths but some rancher blocked all the county roads. So to console our bad luck we dined at Rudy’s in El Paso and high-tailed it home. Great trip made more exciting by Ira, Ira’s colleagues in the agate world, and some cool looking rocks. I now have a lot of slabs for Christmas presents, so get your request in early!
Typical setup for a booth
Ira, Alan, Hanus looking a condor agates from Argentina
Larger specimens from Bill Anderson's collection
Brutus to Bull Mastiff watching over the rock shop.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Awesomeness and Blogs

The other day on facebook I read this awesome post by a mommy blogger.

It is all about drops of awesome. It's a good read and I had to laugh since my husband, for the last year, has repeatedly said he only has 3 rules in his life.

1. Don't eat or drink after anyone.
2. Keep the Commandments
3. Be Awesome

My kids hear these all the time so last night we did a family home evening on being awesome. I modified it slightly from the blogger post to fit our family right now. I got out our whiteboard and asked the kids to list everything they were suppose to do in life. They knew this was FHE so things like prayers, scriptures, and church attendance got on first. I asked for more. Abby, who has been working on personal hygiene, said they had to wash our hands after we go to the bathroom. The other snickered but saw me write it down. The list grew, it had things like waking up, sleeping, brushing our teeth, doing homework, and remembering to not pick our noses (at least in public). Wow, big list and we ran out of room. Then I talked about how we can get down on ourselves because we often view life as a big list that we are not getting all done or can't get done. We talked about we sometimes don't feel smart or pretty or spiritual enough but that those thoughts come from Satan and not our Heavenly Father. He thinks we are awesome.  I didn't have a dropper but had a leftover bottle filled with water. We went around the table twice and got to put in a squeeze for each awesome thing we did that day. Then we looked in the bowl. We talked about how if we kept putting in squeezes or 'drops of awesome' we could eventually fill the bowl but sometimes we need more then that. It is during these times when we need to view ourselves as our father sees us. When we think of how awesome he knows we are it's like filling the bowl with a pitcher instead of a bottle. This is where we overflowed the bowl all at once. Then we sang I am a Child of God (going along nicely with this year's Primary theme). All today we have been commenting on each other's drops of awesome.
 Sadie made her bed. Awwwesooome!
Eliora had all her homework done for school. Awwesooome!
Audrey read books to her little sister. Awwesooome!
Abby hair looked super cute today. Awwwesooome!
See, drops of awesome can be anything.

On a total sidenote, I started my own 'journal' blog about a year ago, blogged for six months and stopped. Today I went back and looked at it. Not sure why I decided to start a separate one or use my 'give out on surveys email address' but I thought I would put it on my blogroll. Maybe it will help me remember to keep it up. I actually think some of my earlier posts are kinda funny. I might just switch them to here one day.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy Birthday Abigail!

 My beautiful girl turned 5 on January 13, 2013. Aunt Anna and Uncle Jeff were over and we all decided to have a brunch before church started. The menu for the 'tea party' was eggs, bacon, english muffins with honey or jam, cinnamon cresent rolls, pears, blueberry tea and to top it all off a red velvet cake.  The cake was tricky. The candles kept relighting and it took a lot to blow them out. Abby thought they were very funny.
Abby's 5 year old survery:
Her favorite color is purple, light purple, blue and red mixed together to make purple
Her favorite book is her American Girls book, Celine, that she got for Christmas.
Her favorite movie is Snow White
Her favorite food is cake
Her favorite food for dinner is hamburger soup that we had for leftovers today
Her favorite toy is all of them. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013 Gets A Time Out

Ahhh, 2013. We started with such high hopes. We set goals. We broke those down into smaller goals. We envisioned great things. Then you had to go and mess it all up.
I have enough kids 2013, I don't need more messes.

I don't even remember all the stuff that has gone awry over the past two weeks. I am sleep deprived. My brain has stopped functioning. Ben and I have gotten about 4 hours of sleep in the last 3 days. I bet if I called my BF though she could remind me. I have most likely spent enough time on the phone complaining to her. The highlights for the past few days have been.....
Ben and Andrew taking out the old water heater
  • Had the hot water heater go out. There are two in the house so this isn't the tragedy it could have been. We did discover that the guy who put in the AC/furnace didn't leave enough room for the water heater (which is older than the furnace). That's been fun. It does mean less showers. Don't come over. We all smell.
  • After my hubby and his friend figured out the water heater the furnace broke. At first I thought it was something they had done (sorry for the doubts honey), but no, the nice fix it man said it was just really old. He can fix it temporarily but in the next year we will need a new one. If we want one now he could make room so we could get that hot water heater in and out easily and maybe go bigger on the gallons. Except we just bought the new one.....which got scratched going in.......and can't be returned.

This is what a 16 year old water heater looks like.

  • Then my baby girl (alright she's two but she is still the baby) started acting funny yesterday. Her eyes were not focusing, her balance was off, and she kept trying to grab things that weren't there. When she had what looked to me like a seizure I called Ben and he rushed her to the ER. They said it looked like poisoning. I looked around and discovered that she had gotten into and drank a half bottle of Benadryl. 4 ounces. If you think that doesn't sound like much then remember that kids under 6 should never have Benadryl and that kids above 6 only get 1 teaspoon. In a nutshell, I had drugged her by leaving out the Benadryl. (inset massive guilt) She was wired and trippin until 3am.

My poor baby in the hospital. Ben got a lot of blood on his clothes from them  inserting an IV

  • We discovered that our bank account has been hacked. There was not a lot missing but lots of little charges that amounted to a lot. At the same time Ben's work credit card ended up with a lot of weird charges.
  • We had to file a claim for a damaged door. It's a long story but it involves lots of calls, emails, a mean salvage yard guy and it basically means we are either out by $550 dollars or around $200 dollars depending on how it goes. This has been going on for 2 months but it hit it's climax this week. The truck is still not street legal.
So 2013, you have been put in time out. We have had words. I hope you think of  what you have done and how it effects the people around you. I am letting you out of time out now but I expect you to behave!
Our welcome home Hannah cupcake party

As always, our trials are usually ones of incovenience and life is actually pretty good. This a view from Andrew's plane. Ben took the picture. Our house is opposite the cul de sac with the two white cars. If you look really really hard you can see me and the kids waving hi from the street.
Another sky high pic of Midland. I love the plane pics, they are so beautiful. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Recap

2012 was a whirlwind year and ended on a better note than predicted by Mayans. The girls got to start the year camping in 19 degree weather in Cap Rock Canyon  State Park, where we chase wild pigs, hung with buffalo, and caught fish. I finally bought Tonia the wedding ring she deserves.
February we went to Fort Davis and stayed above a soda shop for Sadie's birthday, where her present was a 3-mile piggy back ride. I got an excellent "surprise" birthday party, that was a total surprise.
Girls build pinewood derby, had BBQ at friend's, and Sadie learned to sleep upside down.
April showers brought drought. Drove to Houston for Horst's baby blessing. Tonia got surprised by our great friends the Beebes. While here visiting Texas they experience a west Texas rodeo, Brisket, the hill country where they got a new transmission, Inks Lake State park, and a temperpedic.
Easter we hung out on the Frio in a tree house, died Easter eggs, played games, went tubing down rapids, and named the local cattle T-Bone and Rib-eye.
May flooded our local pond and a great tree broke in half. School was wrapping up, and basic life kept us busy.
Summer in West Texas, at 117 degrees, we camped under stars because I "forgot" to pack a tent, and then we went into hibernation in the AC. We had Avery, Storey, and Rush (cousins) came to visit while their family globe trotted to China and barely made it back. They got to see life in small town west Texas and see sand dunes. They enjoyed a capitalistic venture of a lemonade stand, banking some cash for Chucky-cheese, while Mars eclipsed the sun. The girls made swim team, ran their first triathlon, and celebrate the London games with British cuisine.
We cheered our independence in Lubbock by swimming, setting off fireworks, and watching Captain America. But the heat turned on in August, Audrey's birthday party was a cup cake war party. Summer officially ended with Eliora enrolling and starting at Midland Classical Academy.
The fall fell fast with our visa fiasco, immunization shots, and a broken washer. We got to go China and see some amazing history under the guidance of our "local" Grandparents living there.Aunt Anna partied with little ones in Lubbock, Hannah still does "guns up" unfortunately. As if going around the world wasn't enough traveling for Thanksgiving we drove to Utah, and Central Texas for Christmas. We won tickets to Beauty and the Beast, got serenaded by the Rebel high school band, and Ben got a geology trip to Big Bend.
Not quite a Dave Barry, but a quick reflection on how wonderful a year it was and how blessed we are to have a great family!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's Beginning To Feel A Lot Like Christmas!!

For some reason Christmas always starts at Thanksgiving for me. This year was Grandma and Grandpa Roundy's house.
The tree got moved to the living room this year. I like it in a room we go in more often. Our elf Herminckle also returned this year. He is a little more naughty this year. He keeps flirting with Audrey Hepburn, turned the milk green, moved Sadie out of her bed and into the babies crib, and toilet papered the girl's room. We had a talking with him though and he has been better - playing Jenga with the stuffed animals, reading his scriptures, and put candy canes on the Christmas tree. We were a bit worried when he was almost eaten by the alligator head but he seemed to come out unscathed.

We have put up lights, visited two Nativity collections (one in Lubbock, one in Midland - both with awesome music from the community), made crock pot hot chocolate, watched The Christmas Story, gone to the ward party, visited Santa Clause, been caroled by the Rebel High School Marching Band, gone to the Midland parade (Audrey went to the Nutcracker with a friend instead) and visited the Southwest Museum (shown above).

We have also been baking! We dropped our fudge on parchment instead of putting it in the pan. It was still edible enough to take to the Christmas party despite the whole extra cup of sugar that 'accidentally' got put in!!

We have also been doing lots of Christmas shopping. The girls are buying or making everyone presents this year and they have been awesome about earning money to do it! Can't wait for family to see what their ideas are!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Quick Updates

All the cameras just happen to need recharched at the moment but since it's a New Year's tradition to review our blog for the year I thought I would update a little.

Halloween was costumes, trick or treating, and activities like hearing ghost stories at the Sibley Nature Center around the fire. Eliora was Princess Leia, Audrey was an elf (LofRs), Sadie was a Longhorn witch, Abby was a rock star, and Hannah was tinkerbell. Dad went to the ward party as a greaser from the 50's.

Thanksgiving has come and gone with a trip to Utah. Highlights were seeing the family, friends, and mountains we miss, Eliora meeting Brandon Mull and turning 11. Audrey liked the trenches in Grandma's front yard and the pony that was next door. They also learned to play Worms and Halo 5 (thanks a lot Ryan and Dustin).

We have been decorating for Christmas. The lights in the yard are up and the tree is beautiful. Our elf has returned but has turned into a naughty elf this year. He has turned the milk green, put gel in the kid's hair at night, bought sugar cereal to eat, and toilet papered the rooms. I don't think he is getting a gift from Santa this year.

Everyone has been sick. Bleh.

Last Sunday we drove up to Lubbock to take family pictures. They are all on facebook (facebook is ruining my blogging) but here are a few favorites......

Mom, I'm thinking you need this one in your house. The door in the background kind of matches your decor!

Poor little Hannah was sick. She turned two this year and was a trooper all day! Anna has since photoshopped out the chapped lips but I actually think the original shots are still awesome. Anna takes amazing photos!

Look at my sparkly eyed girl! I can't believe she is 9!

6 year old Sadie. Loving the poses!

4 year old Abby just got bangs. I love them!

This is our album cover for when we tour the country

I love this shot. We did some of just silouettes that turned out pretty cool as well but I love that you can just see everyone.

I have fallen in love with West Texas. I love the cotton fields, the oil pumps, the general sense of work and friendship everyone has.

12 years and we still have the romance!

He is kissing the top of my head because I have a cold and he will not kiss a girl with a cold. Romance does not actually happen in flu season.

Eliora just turned 11. Every shot of the girls were so beautiful it was hard to pick on to put on the blog but I loved the sun tinting her hair in this one.

Ben and Anna had to climb the fire escape to get to the roof for this one. I had to carry the camera down. I almost had to carry Anna down. :)
I had to include this. It is not picture perfect but do you see Sadie mid flight! Hannah was not looking at the camera and Anna was asking her to look at the squeaky fish. Sadie overheard and took off running to get the squeaky fish for Hannah. This so sums up Sadie. Honestly, I laugh everytime I see it. She is the girl who is going to help. She is going to get you things. She is going to get that squeaky fish because her little sister needs it!!

Ben has always loved singing in the rain. Actually, being goofy sums up our family pretty well.