North Bound

(this was a paved hi-way, made for a long day of driving)
We headed off Saturday morning to my mom’s family Christmas north of Mason City. We got the car and kids loaded and found out our the sliding door latch on our van had sprung so the door would not stay shut (and thus we could not shift the car into drive). After some consideration we borrowed Jared’s family Jeep and left our van at the mechanics (again, our Iowa trips are getting expensive). The roads were less-than spectacular so in the end it was good we had a vehicle with full 4WD.

We spent the next to days at my aunt Julies having a blast. We played lots of spoons and catch phrase and just caught up on old times. Sunday afternoon we drove across the state to my parents. Its was a long trip with the roads. I was really surprised how expansive Iowa’s wind turbine farm have grown since leaving five years. We saw hundreds of turbines in north central Iowa. We finally arrived in NE Iowa Sunday evening.

(A Norwegian clothes-line)
(Erin with her hand-made bear from Great Aunt Julie)

Iowa - Week one - Into Des Moines

So far our vacation has been a bit crazy but we’ve had fun. We drove 19 hours straight through to Des Moines. Our intention was to stay overnight in Kansas City, but there was bad weather on the radar and Erin got car sick just south of KC so we pushed it through to Jared parents.

The weather was a bit crazy, for days they forecasted what sounded like an Armageddon storm so the big family Christmas was canceled and we sat around for three days waiting for it to hit and it didn’t do much. Some ice and 6 inches of snow. It was enough to make us shovel Christmas Morning but that was it. It did make driving across the state not-so great.
Christmas Eve The girls acted out the Christmas Story out of Luke. Erin got into it, Eliza just looked mortified that she had a towel wrapped around her head. We sang Christmas songs around the piano, played some games and called it a night. Jared youngest sister Heather got engaged on Christmas Morning. Most of the week we just relaxed with family and it was so nice to see everyone.


Merry Christmas!

This is as close as we could get for a Christmas Eve photo with all three kiddos

As we reflect on the past year during this Christmas Season we are thankful for the many blessings in our lives including the birth of our son Isaac Nathanial. This year marks five years living in Houston.

This is our 2009 synopsis:

Last spring we put our pride on the shelf and did something we promised ourselves we would never do… We purchased a minivan. Not only a minivan, but we went all the way and got a gold Kia minivan. In Renshaw fashion we scored a deal we couldn’t refuse, so laugh all you want…and then go pay your car payment.

In April we took our first family vacation outside of Iowa. We took the girls to SeaWorld San Antonio. Minus we spent most of the first day walking around in a monsoon (of course the drought ends when Renshaw’s decide to go on vacation) we had a great time. The girls loved Shamu and Jared even talked Erin into going onto the Journey of Atlantis ride. She had a blast until she realized she was at the top of a hundred- foot drop. Needless to say dad’s definition of fun did not coincide with Erin’s.

We traveled back to Iowa in September for Emmaly’s brother’s wedding and enjoyed a couple weeks of a beautiful Midwest fall and also came back for Christmas.

Jared: spent most of the year in his cubical or in meetings. He is still working for United Space Alliance as a Flight Design Manager for the shuttle. NASA had a successful year of flight and Jared worked in Mission Control for several flights. He continues to work on his Masters in Engineeering Management through University of Colorado and serves as the ward clerk at church. Jared has been saving his pennies since we have been married and finally had enough saved up for his plasma TV, now if he only found time to watch it. The highlight of his day is being greeted at the door by his girls (and frazzled wife).

Emmaly: spent most of the spring freelancing graphic design and then closed the last project by early summer. The highlight of her summer was hand delivering her new baby boy solo (not planned but an amazing experience). She has adjusted well to having three kids (although some days are more successful than others). In true mother fashion she has found herself saying things such as “if you’re going to break your leg do it tonight because I am not making two trips to the ER” or “we don’t stab people with forks at the dinner table”. With all the craziness of having three kids in five years she loves the commotion of a very busy household. Emmaly is still serving as young women president and loves working with teenage girls (reasoning with a 15 year old is much easier than any toddler, at least that is what she thinks now).

Erin: tuned five in November. She is the upcoming intellect of the family. She loves preschool, is grasping the concept of reading, and loves anything art or space related. Typically Erin can be found in her room reading or drawing. She is very mild mannered except when she is drawing. We often hear the phrase “it’s not pretty enough” as she rips up her most recent masterpiece (Can’t imagine who she gets that from). Erin is a great big sister and loves to help mom keep the house from burning to the ground.

Eliza: is 2 ½ and her sheer strength is amazing. She will climb anything that is scalable and loves anything that involves a ball. Eliza has tubes in her ears last spring to help correct temporary hearing loss and now does speech therapy once a week. She is in constant motion and is passionate about play-doh. Jared finally got his sports fanatic and Eliza loves to watch football with dad. She loves to antagonize Erin and loves her baby brother (sometimes it’s tough love).

Isaac: was born on July 5th at 8lbs after being a week overdue. He decided to make a fast entrance and came into the world bright-eyed and happy. He must have felt a bit guilty about the drama surrounding his birth because Ike is the BEST BABY EVER. He is very incredibly well natured. We would like to think we are just amazing parents, but I’m sure the Lord knew that is all we could handle. Isaac means “he who laugheth” and as his character matures, his name sake is a perfect fit. This little guy is full of constant smiles and laughter (partly due to the three-ring circus provided by his sisters).

We hope this finds you all well and happy. May your Christmas be full of joy of family and friends.


Ikes First Food

mmmmm. This rice cereal is spoon-licking good. I am a happy man.
I have a concerned sense of an odd presence behind me

Oh no, not them! I’m so stunned I can’t shriek but my excessively big eyes scream Help Me!

*Sigh* Dad rescued me from my burley sisters.

Worst. Week. Ever.

Okay probably not ever, no one died but it was what I would consider a sucktastic seven days. After a wonderful week I was walking home from the mail box thumbing through the letters to see what looked like a red-light ticket. Mentally paging back through the week I thought to myself I have not ran any red lights. Unlike all natural born Houstonians I make it a point not to blow through on red. Sure enough there was a $75.00 fine and citation waiting for me. Still confused how I got it, I watched the video online and it all came back to me. I didn’t exactly run a red light…. I didn’t stop behind the white line when making a right-hand turn. Erin had an asthma attack that day and I found myself without her inhaler and was racing time to get home. So a Renshaw confession that little right hand turn was the least of my traffic violations that day trying to get home. To say the least I was miffed, more at myself than anything. So I wrote a letter to the mayor to make me feel better. All I can say is Merry freaken Christmas to me….so much for new running shoes I have been saving up for.

Wednesday we spent most of the day at the ENT with Eliza and by the time we left I started feeling achy and chilled. I came home and took a nap, turning my household over to a five-year old. By that night I was feeling really cruddy so I made the mistake of taking some heavy duty cold medicine. I slept great; Jared woke me up about 6:45 to help get Erin ready for school. I was making Erin’s lunch when I thought to myself I really don’t feel good. Next thing I knew I woke up on our tile kitchen floor clutching a piece of bread watching the ceiling spin. I must have lost consciousness somewhere between the ham and mayo and slammed my nose on our granite counter on the way down. Over the course of our marriage it has happened enough that Jared just drags me back to bed. Jared stayed home and I slept most of the day and had to spend the rest of the week explaining to people the black and blue nose and black eye.

By Friday night I was feeling a little better. Friday we had snow flurries and the City of Houston completely shut down. Toys R US had a sale until midnight. At 11 pm I figured all the crazies who don’t know how to drive on ice were in bed so I headed out. I got my load at the toy store and headed home. On Bay area I hit something big because my tire went flat to the rim so I pulled into the vacant Office Depot parking lot. We have free roadside assistance so I called and they said they would be out in 45 minutes…great. Nothing like being a single woman in a deserted parking lot at midnight….and then my car died…great now I am a solo woman with a flat tire and a dead battery in 20 degree weather…..and then my phone died….are you freaking kidding me? Is like some kind of bad horror flick? Now it was past midnight so NOTHING was open. So I sat there clutching my mace waiting for the first mass-murder to come along. Really it was more like a couple of stray dogs and someone making a weird midnight delivery to Party City in an unmarked truck.

So the tow guy finally came, plumber crack and all and changed my tire AND jump started my van. And to complete the night my spare was also flat. So I finally made it home around 1 am, glad to be home safe. And went to bed thinking it was all over….Jared came home from the tire shop the next morning with a new $125 tire and just said “I hope your trip was worth it.” It kind of belittled the $40.00 I saved the night before.
Spent most of Saturday and Sunday still not feeling well. So I was happy to see a new week, hopefully this one is a lot less expensive.