Researching Boats


Wow.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the variation in boats, but boy are there a lot of different options out there.  And I don’t know anything about any of them.  And because I don’t know anything about any of them, how am I supposed to know what I should be looking for?  I don’t even know the difference between a boat and a ship… but there seems to be some disagreement there.  There is no right answer to what I should be looking for, but I turned to an expert for some advice.

Christa Prows and her husband sold their farm in Utah back in 1997 and moved their family of 7 onto a Catamaran and have spent lived on it in the Caribbean ever since.  The Deseret News had an article about them last summer that I came across on day 1 of my research.  I reached out to the author of the article and he put me in touch with Christa herself.

Now I’ve never met her, but she seems like a wonderful person.  Very gracious and encouraging.   We’ve exchanged a few emails where she gave me some advice, waylaid some fears/concerns, and has answer many questions.  She game me her number and said to call any time, but I told her until I know enough to know what questions I SHOULD be asking, I’d stick to email and hopefully avoid coming across as a fool.

Christa’s recommendation regarding a boat for a family our size was a Catamaran between 40-55 feet long.  That seemed as good a place to start as any… so I went out looking.  Now if you followed that link, you’ll probably notice the first thing that I noticed… Boats are expensive!  Now I didn’t expect to pick one up for my pocket change, but I didn’t know for sure what to expect.   What I found is pretty close to what I expected.  If you are going to buy a boat large enough to use as a house, then expect to pay about what you would for a house.

But I also wanted to look at other options.  Turns out the prices for traditional mono-hull sailboats are about as expensive as Catamarans/Mulit-hull boats, or possibly a little less.   But who said we have to have sails? Something like this would seem nice and I wouldn’t need to learn to sail.  However, further research tells me that I NEED to learn to sail… the power yachts are about the same price as those with sails, but they only travel about one nautical mile per gallon of fuel.  Which means that I’d be able to live on it, but almost certainly wouldn’t be able to afford to move it.  And since we’d like to move around… sails it is.

But what type? The answer to that depends largely on what we want to do with it, and we don’t really have an answer to that yet.  I’d love to sail the world, Julie would love me to forget it all together, and the kids just don’t want to be eaten by sharks (Kristie).   I think for at least a few years we’d be content to just putter around the gulf coast and Caribbean/Bahamas with possibly an excursion or two up the East Coast.   The biggest concern we have is safety, and so we’d hold to sheltered waters until we felt real comfortable, and the Atlantic (and Pacific) don’t really fit that description just yet.

So what will we do?  Not a clue.   I guess you’ll have to just keep checking back to find out.



Housefire and Insurance info… Since you all ask.

Because you all love us soooo much, we get lots of questions about what is happening regarding our housefire(s) and the insurance. So here is a post to give you all the info. That way you’ll all be up to date when we post about developments.

We own a 120 acre farm in southern Missouri. It doesn’t generate any money, just gives us something to do with our time and provides opportunities for learning for us and the kiddos.

Over the summer, sometime in June I think, we had a new wood-burning stove professionally installed in our living room. We knew that new stoves stink terribly for the first several fires that are in them and so sometime during the previous week Julie and I had decided that since the weather had been so nice (mid -70’s, we hadn’t closed a window in weeks) that on Sunday, Oct 23, we would build our first fire before church. That way the smell could dissipate while we were away and hopefully be gone by the time we returned.

So that morning we did just that, we started a fire in the fireplace and tended to it a bit, and left for church. When we got home we found a house full of smoke and that the chair and piano which were near the stove had burned up. We called 911 and a great group of volunteers showed up and put out hotspots remaining in the walls, ceiling, and kitchen cabinets.

For the next two weeks the entire family lived in three Quality Inn hotel rooms in West Plains, MO while we met with insurance persons, talked to fire investigators, looked for a decent rental, and just tried to keep ourselves alive. Living in a hotel with a family our size, and for that period of time, wasn’t easy on any of us. Because we couldn’t find any rentals in WP or anywhere nearby that had more than 3 bedrooms we decided we’d move across the country to stay with family in Utah until the insurance was settled and we knew what we were doing. So Julie took the kids and left while I stayed behind to meet with several contractors to get bids for repairs.

On the day I was going to leave, Nov 11, their was a second fire that consumed the rest of the house. After meeting with the fire crews and being assured there was nothing else I could do, I left for Utah late that night.

We were told by insurance that they wanted to investigate this second fire before making a decision about anything. We’ve been waiting in limbo since then. They’ve hired somebody here in Utah to come ask us questions  and we’ve turned over the few records they’ve asked for. But it’s basically been a waiting game since December. At some point we think they’ll want to talk to us again or make some other statement, which we’re ready to do at any time. But until they are ready to make some sort of decision, we just wait.

The frustrating part is just the not being able to plan the future. We thought we’d be in Utah until school was out (which would give us time to rebuild) but now we don’t know if the insurance is going to cover the house at all. So we don’t know if we should be planning a life in Missouri or if we’ll be stuck here in Utah for a lack of housing in MO. We don’t know where the kids will be for school next year, or where they should be planning summer camps, or what to do with the animals that others are so generously taking care of for us. We can’t even tell those who are helping us out when their help might no longer be required.

We’re just frustrated.

So if you are one of those helping us out, please know we love and appreciate you! We’re doing our best, and are trying to be a light burden! Trust us, as soon as we know what is happening, so will you. And now, when we do let you know of any changes that have taken place, you’ll be up to date.

Just keep running, just keep running, running running

Couch High School back in Missouri didn’t have a running track.  That is one of the features we are taking advantage of during our stay here in Utah.   We’ve also gotten us a family pass to the Rec Center.

As a family we’ve been using either the High School track or the indoor track at the Rec Center on a fairly consistent basis.  We’ve tried to get to one or the other twice a week for “training” and then again on Saturday for “evaluation”.

For “training” we’ve done a number of different things.  One of those was 15-30’s.   After stretching everyone (except me – I can’t run anymore) alternates between 15 seconds of an all-out sprint, and 30 seconds of a light jog.   About 10 minutes of this is about a much as any of them can handle.  It is meant to help build stamina for high speeds (If alone a reasonably close alternative is to sprint the straight away’s and jog the curves).

Another one that everyone seems to like is Catepillar.   We let Julie (our weakest runner) set a nice easy jogging pace.  They continue at this pace for a stretch to let everyone get the feel for it and get into a comfortable stride.   When Julie thinks that has happened she passes a baton that she is carrying to the person behind her.  That person passes it back, and so forth, until it reaches the last person.   When the last person gets it they then sprint to the front of the line, assume the jogging pace, and pass the baton back.

The pace tends to be a little slow for Joshua (our strongest runner) but it keeps everyone together as a group.  Because of the group it becomes easy (fun even?) to run farther than any individual would do on their own.   So this one we run for 2 full miles and even Nikki (6) can go that long.   The group encouragement is always there, and the negative self talk is eliminated telling her (and everyone else!) that they need to stop.  This might be our favorite training game.

For our “evaluation” we use the indoor track at the Rec Center.  Rather than time how fast they can run a certain distance, we track how far they can run in a 12 minute timespan.    I choose this because that we some don’t finish and then sit around waiting for the rest, but everyone finishes at the same time.  We’ve only been doing this for about 4 weeks, but it is amazing how much everyone has improved in that short time.  They have all gotten better at pacing, breathing, and have inceased stamina.  I think they’ve all found greater confidence in seeing how they can do hard things and by seeing the improvement they’ve made.

For our running on Monday evening we went to the track at the high school.  The track has some good sized bleachers on each side (home and visitor).  Each set of bleachers has 4 sets of stairs with handrails.  Today’s running was perhaps everyone’s least favorite.  4 times around the track and going up each set of stairs and then down the same set.   Each lap had 8 sets of stairs.

This wasn’t timed, and everyone was told to stop if they felt their legs were too tired to safely come down a set of stairs.  Joshua found this exercise quite easy.  He basically ran the entire 4 laps with stairs.  Kristie and Charlee were little machines who just never stopped even though they were much slower than their brother.  Julie finished 4 laps too.  Caitlin and Nikki did 3 full laps and Andrew did 2.  I was very impressed with every one of them.  They just kept going, and even though it was hard, they knew they could do more… they didn’t quit just because it was hard to do.

I wish I could do the same.

All I can say, is that my family is awesome and I love every one of them!


Hi, I’m Josh. I love to play sports. I cant remember a time when I was not playing sports. I used to be a big baseball fan until the season ended and I started basketball. Since then, I have been a die hard fan. I love to go to the Rec Center and play with my dad. I am a fairly good player, I would say. My favorite NBA team is the Golden State Warriors. it would be the thunder if they did not foul so much. I LOVE to watch basketball with my dad. We will go to the movie room and watch each game we have recorded. My shot is pretty good and my ball handling is kind of good (it is improving a lot). I am 5’6 so I’m pretty tall for twelve. That helps my game a lot. I am a very good defender and a great laugh. I am thankful my dad for all the ways he helps my game improve. He has a great effect on that. SPORTS ARE THE BEST!!!

Learning to Blog

As with all adventures, I find myself facing a whole lot of things that I know nothing about.  I’m sure that doesn’t surprise most of you.

As fantastic as I think it might be to document all the goings-on we have, such as the research I’m doing or the plans we make, I’m not sure I’m necessarily eager to share to much personal info.  While I doubt many strangers will follow along, there are a great many things that I am just not comfortable sharing about myself (especially regarding my health).   So we’ll play this by ear and see how it goes.

Today’s step toward boating was learning how to set up this blog site.  I have never done a blog before, nor has Julie, and so this has been quite educational.  I don’t know where to put the credit for the inspiration for starting this.  Perhaps it was divinely inspired (though I doubt HE cares), perhaps a memory prompted it, or maybe some subconscious vanity required me to seek the attention (let’s just agree to not acknowledge this one though, okay?).

I have no aspirations for this blog other than to keep people informed of where we are and what we are doing.   Even if we just end up back on the farm in MO, life there was filled with adventure and learning.   And while Facebook is a fine format, I thought something a little nicer (more formal ?) for sharing those adventures might be nice.

Julie and I talked over the idea and last night concluded (after not much consideration to be honest) that we liked the idea.  So today I jumped right in.   Just about all the credit goes for helping me get this up and running belongs to Amy Lynn Andrews from  She gave very easy to follow steps, including screen grabs, of how to make this happen.

On the off chance that we find a fantastic life full of adventure on the high-seas AND that we can capture that excitement on our blog, it is possible to make a little money by blogging.  And not wanting to waste the (very slight) chance we decided against a free blog that offers hosting but they keep all the profits from ads and such.  So we had to find a good hosting site.

It didn’t take too many web article to find out that BlueHost is the place to go for that.  If you are willing to make a 3 year commitment BlueHost will host your blog for $70 per year.   That is not pocket change for me, but seemed to be just about right to 1) not have me abandon the project, and 2) not bankrupt me either.  It felt like it was a happy medium between the two.  If it was free (or near to it) it would be easy to just stop.   Much more though and it would have felt prohibitive.

So after establishing an account at BlueHost (about a 10 minute process) we were next establishing one with  By all accounts WordPress is the premier blog creation software/site.  It was very easy to set up and finding advice for how to manage the blog is easy to find (I’m yet to determine if that advice is good).  I took much of my advice from the aforementioned Amy Lynn Andrews.

I’m know that there are things I don’t know.  I’m sure there are many things that I don’t know that I don’t know.  Hopefully that will come with time.

I’d say the process to get to this point (a blogsite that I can make posts on) was fairly easy.  If you’ve got a passion that you want to talk to the world about, but are hesitant about your computer skills, I say GO FOR IT!  It is simple to learn, and surprisingly exciting.