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Audrey is eleven years old!

Audrey is growing into a beautiful young lady.  She loves to raise butterflies.  She has two Painted Lady caterpillars that she is raising, and she hopes to find Monarchs soon.  She tries hard at school and soccer. She smiles a lot and loves to make others smile too.

Happy Birthday, beautiful girl!  I love you very much.


Naomi Shalom

Naomi bw

Michelle asked if I would take some pregnancy/family pictures of the family.  She was hoping to get some family pictures and some special ones because Jonah was turning one and Phil was having a birthday also.

We headed over to the park and we were able to get some really sweet family pictures. Jonah loved the bubbles and was introduced to the slide.  He had a great time playing with everyone too.

When their little one was born, we went to meet her.  We spent some time getting to know Naomi and playing with Jonah. I was able to update their family pictures and get a few new born pictures of Naomi also.

Today, Naomi is one month old.  Happy one month birthday Naomi!

Starting off at Thomasville

When talking to others about our trip, we knew that the first part of the river would be the toughest.  It is closed for part of the year and the river is narrower and harder to navigate than the rest of the trip we had planned.

PackedThe kids had been in canoes before; had learned how to paddle and how to steer some.  But they had never HAD to do it for hours at a time. So, when we were dropped off at the Thomasville access site, we understood it probably would be the most challenging part of our trip.

However, we had talked with a few different people and they said that the river would be fine for novices. We went into the trip with the encouragement of others who had canoed it before.

We figured that we would need about an hour to paddle two or three miles.  We wanted to enjoy each day, but we also wanted to get to a nice place for the evening.  We knew that there were float camps available, but were not sure Canoeswhat to expect.  So we planned to travel around 10 miles each day.

We left just after 9:30 with Megan and Adrian with Allan and me, while the bigger three were in their own canoe.  The scenery was gorgeous and we enjoyed watching for animals and how the area was always changing.

It did not take long for the kids to learn how to maneuver the canoe properly and they did a super job.  Mark always stayed in the back to steer and the girls swapped being in the front seat watching for obstacles and paddling. They spent the week learning new techniques and becoming stronger canoeists.

Our trip was starting out wonderfully!




A few years ago, Allan found an article about a canoe trip down the Eleven Point River in Missouri.  He cut it out, thinking it sounded like a great idea.  When we starting talking about what to do for vacation this year, he remembered the article and we started researching it more.

The kids thought canoing sounded like fun.  Allan and I knew it would also be challenging.  Five days on canoes with everything we needed in backpacks.  We would need to filter all our water.  Bathrooms would be scarce. We would sleep in tentsSet up PackingSmoresno matter the weather.  There would be bugs and “scary” animals.

We planned for months.  We dehydrated meals.  We made gorp and biltong.  We got the kids ready the best we could.

The day arrived, it was time to go.  Allan got off work early and we left as soon as we could.  The next day we got up and drove some more.

Finally we arrived!  We spent the night at our chosen outfitters.  We double checked our supplies and repacked our bags.  We asked more questions.

After a good night sleep, we loaded all of our needs into a van.  We were driven to our chosen starting point and then dropped off.  It was time to officially start our canoing trip!



Mark Twain National Forest

SignWe are back from a wonderful vacation!  Our week flew by and even though everyone was exhausted near the end, we all would happily go back and enjoy another week canoing.

We all laughed at this picture. In the other pictures, kids are blinking, making strange faces and Megan’s hair kept getting in her face.  In this one, the sun was bothering Mark and he was having a hard time not to squint, but everyone else looks great. I tease him that he did not have to look so serious!

I will post more pictures as we have time.