Happy Father's Day

We love you Dad!

The New Vessel

This is our new purchase, its either ingenious or completely idiotic...we'll find out in two weeks when the outfitter dumps us deep in Big Thicket National Preserve and say they'll see us two days later 20+ miles down stream.

I have been looking at tandem kayaks for some time and saving my pennies. However with all the uncertainty going on with the Space Program right now we are not sure where we will be come the fall. And the last thing we want to do is drag a 17' alumicraft across the US. Plus we have no basements here so storage is limited.

After doing some research we stumbled on the Sevylor Inflatable Colorado Canoe.
The more we read about the more it met our current needs. Its more of a kayak than a canoe, measuring only 10'6" and 40 pounds, but is built for two people and can carry 500 lbs.

Why an inflatable you ask?
1. Storage (or the lack thereof, our garage is hideous already).
2. You will never see it skidding down Interstate 45 at 60 mph in your rear view mirror becuase someone forgot the last strap.
3. You won't have to explain to your insurance company why your canoe became the new hood ornament on the BMW who was following you on I-45.
4. Its only 40 pounds so you can backpack it in.
5. No one ever got a hernia from attempting to load an inflatable canoe on the top rack of a trailer.

The cons.... Well we assume its not very alligator friendly (but does have multiple air chambers so if a gator does bite it we'll still have half of a boat right?).

So come July 1st is her Christening day. We would buy a bottle of champagne to break on the bow, but then there are just some things that you can't do with an inflatable canoe.

Now to name her, any ideas?


We went to the fire station last week for playgroup. Erin pouted the whole time becuase she was too mature for such childish things. However Eliza and Ike had a blast.
Ike is all boy, his favorite things were the tires, I think becuase the hubcaps were shiny. He had to check them out on all four trucks.


Someone asked why I don't freelance much anymore. I have three kids at home. Attempting to do a conference call can sound like a call from a bunker on Normandy Beach. And attempting to actually get work done...we'll that now looks something like this.... case and point.

Youth Conference 2010

League City Young Women (ages 14-17)

As a YW leader I LOVE Youth Conference. From a planning perspective our stake takes care of almost everything so its pretty relaxing for me. But that's not why I like it (although a great plus). I love how the church has instituted programs like this for the youth. Youth Conference is a three-day opportunity to make new friends from across the Houston SouthEast area, strengthen testimonies and a time for spiritual renewal and reflection on life goals.
Houston South Food Bank Service Project
They had wonderful speakers this year, great workshops, big community service projects and oh ya lots of dancing, dancing and more dancing. I am pretty sure there is some video floating around out there of my lam-o attempt to line dance, lets hope it never surfaces :)
(this was not a workshop, this was my car dying in the sweltering heat at Sonic and our attempt to revive it :)
Our ward also split last fall so it was great to see some of my old girls who are just not in another ward but now in another stake. And it was a good time to bond with the new girls that have moved into our ward. I am so thankful to work with such a wonderful group of Young Women. They are wonderful examples of living Christ-like lives and its been a privilege over the years to work with them.


Stop 3: Nauvoo

We drove four hours to Nauvoo ill arriving Thursday afternoon. The family is getting big enough we forwent the hotel rooms and rented a house on the Mississippi outside of Nauvoo. We stayed at a small house called the Riverside Retreat (which I would recommend to anyone). The place was quaint with a beautiful view of the sunset over the river. The girls were thrilled with the gigantic tree swing in the back yard and Jared was happy for wireless access to work on his school work.

Thursday afternoon we attended a session at the Nauvoo Temple followed by a family cookout. Friday morning we realized we had seven women staying at the house and no hairdryer, not a good situation for the morning of a wedding. Luckily we were all able to improvise thanks to several window ac units.

Heather and Skylar were sealed in the Nauvoo Temple on noon on Friday. Jared is the oldest of seven and so far all five who are married have been in Nauvoo. It’s been great to return time and time again as a family. We wish the new Mr. and Mrs. Huth the best as they begin their journey together.

Our trip was so short this time we didn’t even get to explore Old Nauvoo. We waited to congratulate the new couple and headed off for St. Louis. On our way we stopped with Grandma and Grandpa Fenton to race go-karts before the big drive home.

So in eight days we put on 2600 miles covering seven states full circle….I feel like I need a vacation from vacation.

Stop 2: The Point

My Hills

Erin hiked the deep crevasse of Devil's Backbone today for the first time, a rite of passage in NE Iowa. I remember being Erin’s age and my dad helping me over the giant boulders lodged between the two towering walls of moss-covered limestone and the steep passage from the top of the bluffs to the flats.

This was my playground growing up. I’ve hiked this narrow trail scores of time. For me the breathtaking views from the top of the lofty limestone bluff still bring a feeling of solidity and peace. It seems like each time I visit the park is more deserted as people find less time to enjoy the outdoors. I often wonder what becomes of a society who loses touch with nature. What inspires when we no longer study and reflect on the awe and wonderment of the Creation?

After hiking we grilled in the down pour in one of the old CCC built limestone pavilions. Erin and Eliza spent the two days playing in streams, running through soft grass, exploring Amish country, visiting with family and exploring Lock and Dam #10 on the Mississippi. And Isaac started standing on his own for several seconds.

The Great Whirlwind Vacation - Stop 1: Dallas Center

We managed to drive twenty hours without any auto problems or Erin puking all over the car so we consider our trip up a success. The kids did great on the drive up. We spent our first night in Oklahoma City with Amy and Derek and went out for our tradition dinner at the local Pizzeria. They have a son Noah who is Isaacs age.

We spent the first two days of our trip in Dallas Center at Jared’s parents. The Renshaw geek squad played several games chess, had heated discussions involving the validity of Jared’s dad new perpetual motion machine idea politics, astrophysics, and matrices. Those of us who married into the Renshaw clan bring the much needed normal social gene to the pool.

Between engineering lingo there were lots of laughter and good times with siblings, great grandparents, grandparents and cousins and tons of food. And who could miss participating in an Iowa fashion show? Erin would make a wonderful Dairy Princess.

We spent the first night all sitting on the upper deck of the Renshaw house looking at the stars. Living in the burbs our kids don’t see the stars. Erin was amazed as she watched several shooting stars from the blackened backdrop of the night. We spent the second night enjoying a good Midwest electrical storm. The house Jared’s family built has a lighting observation tower. Its cramp and still unfinished but we were able to take the girls up and watch the summer storm roll by with all it’s splendor.