Friday, April 24, 2015

Kitty

This week a little girl shaped hole formed in my heart. My friend Cidnie's daughter Kitty drowned in the blink of an eye in a tragic accident. I have held this beautiful child in my arms, I have looked into her sparkling eyes, and her mama and I share how our babies are so alike (and so much more) as often as we can. I literally have no words. I barely have breath.


Please read my friend Behan's post, for she beautifully explains what's going on in a way I could never hope to mirror.

http://www.sailingtotem.com/2015/04/some-good-must-come-from-this-tragedy.html

And my friend Laureen perfectly states how I feel, how we all feel, if you are so inclined to make any negative statements in my space about this tragedy.

http://theexcellentadventure.com/ea/2015/04/23/sheltering-from-the-wind/

And Anne beautifully describes trying to make sense of it.  http://frompinetopalm.com/

And Brittany bares the grief we all feel so raw and close to the surface. http://www.windtraveler.net/2015/04/the-world-lost-bright-light.html


I am grateful my boat mama tribe is strong enough to create words and thoughts. All I can manage right now are expletives and sobs.

Cidnie, baby Naia, and baby Kitty.


Please help them get through this difficult time by donating here.  http://www.gofundme.com/sqr4a4

Saturday, April 18, 2015

pony run

If you've ever read the book Misty of Chincoteague you probably have romantic notions about the wild ponies of Assateague Island. It's only about 2 hours from us, so with my horse loving boy we go about once a year. The big deal out there is the annual pony run in July. They round up the wild ponies from the island and swim them across to the other island where some are sold, and then the remaining ones are swum back to roam free another year. You can watch all of this, if you want to stand around in the mosquito infested heat and humidity with 10-thousand other human beings.

No thank you. That's why we have YouTube.

However, my friend Serena called and told me there was a spring and fall pony run, and did we want to meet them there? It was on a weekend with cool wet weather, during the school year, and before the heat and mozzies set in. Sounds like a winner.


(6 year old horse loving V with her daddy Tig.)

 (Naia and O are the same age. She used to scare him when they were little, now they adore each other.)


So we packed the car, drove over the Chesapeake Bay bridge, and headed east to the barrier islands that rim Virginia and Maryland in the Atlantic ocean. Overall, the trip was fabulous and low key. Of course any time we hang out with Tig and Serena it's all good, but this time our horse loving big kids got to bask in the glow of pony run on a cool misty day with only about 100 other people. I did get separated from Zach during the actual action of the event, but he's old enough that I didn't worry about it. Naia was a trooper, especially considering she could really care less about horses. She was a bit cold, and a bit bored, until she figure out the mud bank we were standing in had wee crabs and snails to play with and then all was right in her world.  The ponies were rounded up by the local saltwater cowboys (who are all part of the volunteer fire department) into a pen where they spend the next day getting vet checks before being led back into the wild.





(My horse photos are a little blurry because a little monkey girl insisted on being on my back.)











So this is going to be our little secret, if you want to see the ponies without the crowds, go in spring or fall. But don't tell the other 10-thousand people, ok?

(Check out our other trips to Chincoteague and Assateague in 2011, 2012, and 2013)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

scientisting

We finally had a weather window to take the plastic shrink wrap off the boat for the season. It's always such a relief to have the shrink wrap put on in early winter, protecting us from the elements. But then it's also such a relief to rip it off again, when we're feeling cooped up. I do think this is the latest in the season we have ever taken the wrap off, another long winter.

I thought I would try to get the kids involved in a meaningful way. Zach was easy, he grabbed his trusty machete that he bought with his own money and his own Spanish bargaining skills in Nicaragua, and had a ball hacking away at the plastic. He was also extremely helpful in ferrying dock cart after dock cart full of plastic trash to the recycling dumpster.





Naia was given a kid sized pair of scissors and told to cut away at the lower portions of the plastic bubble.


Zach and I were busy team working huge swaths of plastic, and at one point I was up on the boom crawling around to pull the plastic from the solar panels, when  noticed the silence. You know that silence if you're a parent. The dread filled my heart as I hopped off the boom and called her name. "I'm in my room," she said meekly.

I dashed down and saw the wisps of blonde hair on the floor, and the impish looking girl with scissors in her hand. "Are you angry? Are you angry I cut my hair?" I couldn't help but laugh. It's like a rite of passage with kids, the self hair cut. My oldest brother has an epic Kindergarten portrait with his self styled bangs.

"No baby, I'm not angry you cut your hair," I said trying not to laugh. "But we will have to go to a barber shop and have it evened out, ok?"

She agreed and got up to hug me. That's when I saw it. OHNOYOUDIDNT! She didn't just cut her hair, she also cut her winter jacket into bits. I was only up on the boom for like 15 minutes! She watched my eyes grow big.

Now I was angry.

Oh Naia, how could you?! Your jacket? It's still cold-ish out. Kiddo, why on earth would you cut up your jacket?

"I wanted to see how it worked inside. I always saw feathers come out of your jacket, and I wanted to see what was inside mine. I was scientisting mama!"

And that was the end of that.  How could I be angry in the name of science? I learned my lesson that I need to stay one step ahead of this girl, at ALL times.

We celebrated the bubble coming off by setting up the swing. I made sure to put the scissors away first, because you know, science.








Tuesday, April 07, 2015

her little journey

Naia is not a hiker. Not yet anyhow. Despite this, the little lass logged many, many kilometers while we were in Nicaragua. Through the towns, on trails, up volcanoes, down volcanoes, in the heat, on slippery rocks, along crowded roads, she on her own little legs walked, and hiked, and walked.

It was hard. She bitched and moaned a lot. She was tired and hungry and pissed off that her friend was getting carried and she wasn't.  It was hard on me because traveling alone with 2 kids I was not in a position to fling her on my back. She's too big for carriers anymore, and I was already carrying so much drinking water, snacks, sunscreen, bug spray, journals, camera gear, changes of clothes and such that I was unable to carry her too. It was exhausting not just physically, but also  mentally feeling that my daughter was slowing down others every time we went somewhere in a group. The others would be blocks or kilometers ahead of Naia and I, and she would look at me and say, "Where did everyone go? Why won't they walk with us?" I didn't know what to tell her.

But when I stopped worrying about getting from Point A to Point B or keeping up with other people with other agendas and started to forget about worrying and just follow her lead, it finally felt easier. I realized a couple of weeks in that it wasn't that she didn't want to walk places or walk long distances, it's just she didn't want to walk at a grown up pace. And who could blame her?

She wanted to scamper up and down every set of stairs on the street. She found beetles everywhere and wanted to played with them. If a butterfly crossed her path (and many did) she wanted to meander off and see where it went because it might lead her where the fairies live. She made a point to stop and actually smell the flowers.

On a really difficult hike up Maderas Volcano to the San Ramon Waterfall, she and I were all alone on the trail, slowly making out way uphill. The others were all long gone. She was crying because she was frustrated and exhausted and angry that we were alone. We sat to have our 317th water break and she pointed out a spider to me. A bright green spider that had these crazy looking legs with fuzzy frilly hairs coming off of them, almost like a Muppet spider.

"Mama look! If we weren't going slow, we would have never seen this spider. Nobody else got to see it because they went too fast."

We sat and watched the green lynx spider slowly make his way around a huge leaf. He stopped here and there, not really going anywhere. Sort of like us. And he wasn't the only one. We met an iguana, and loads of beautiful blue Morpho butterflies. And we listened to the howler monkeys and hooted back at them.

She reminded me that despite what everyone else around you is doing, you need to focus on what's right for you. And that it really is about the journey. It's about doing your own thing and appreciating what's around you, rather than pushing forward and checking things off your list.

I felt crappy about pushing her and getting her into situations where she felt left out and maxed out. Even though in the moment was exhausting and even though I knew she was slowing down the group, I was still super proud of her.  Because regardless of how slow she went or who she was holding up or how much she whined, she did it.  She DID IT. She forged her own path, in her own time, her own way. She was not going to be forced into a grown up agenda, it was her little journey.

 (taking her time on the trail)

(why walk a trail when you can dance it?)

                            (little critters to play with along the way)




Sunday, April 05, 2015

Cover Kid

I always feel weird saying, look at me, check out what I did, look at what I wrote, memememe! You won't find selfies and hashtags. Nope. But this one little thing is just too good not to share. It's my sweet kiddo on the cover of Spinsheet Magazine! It's a shot I took last summer.


It was a surprise to both of us. I've been writing for Spinsheet for many years now, and I handed in my story and photos as always last month. I also tend to give them loads of extra photos, just in case they need a generic shot of happy sailing for something or other. The kids like to check the magazine each month and see if they can spot mommy's pictures or better yet spot themselves, depending on what I wrote about.  When I saw this cover shot online I gasped, I had no idea they were going to use the photo for the cover.

I knew Zach would be thrilled! I decided not to tell him, just let him discover it. He was walking to the fuel dock at the marina to get me some quarters for laundry, and the man delivering the magazines to the marina was just walking up and spotted him. "Hey are you the kid on the cover of Spinsheet this month?" Zach told me he just smiled casually and said, "Probably." Ha! He got a copy and came running home with it.

I was joking with a friend about how his legs are covered in mud in this photo (I guess we anchored somewhere funky that day?) And how raggedy and old our genoa is as well. Sigh. But our trusty Mantus Anchor looks sweet up there on the bow. And nothing beats his beautiful smile!

The funny thing is, this is his second cover for Spinsheet. This was the July 2011 cover, though the photo is PN, pre-Naia.


It's going to be a fun month for him being a little local celebrity.

That's it for now. I added some little icons over to the right to connect to the Facebook Page and Instagram. Sorry, no Twitter. I just have no desire to spend that much time plugged in.


Wednesday, April 01, 2015

woof

Two and a half years ago we dog sat for a friend. It was a fun week of playing dog owner, and we fell in love with the pooch. Ever since then, I persistently teased these friends about kidnapping the dog. Every time they would post a photo of him on Facebook or text me something about him, I'd say, "Hey, that's MY dog!"

And then they called me this winter and said, do you want him? I told them that it wasn't nice to tease. But they were serious. For various reasons it was decided that he needed a new family where he could be the only pet, and we jumped at the chance. So about a week ago we officially took ownership of 5 year old rat terrier Choo Choo. We joked that it was a good thing he came with a name, otherwise he may have ended up as Bilbo Longstocking.


He's just about the sweetest, easiest dog... ever. He's already trained, house broken, kid proofed, and all he needed was a lot of love. No problem! Zach is old enough now that he completely takes care of walking and food, and when we're not playing or cuddling him, he just likes to find a sunny corner to nap in. Very cat like. But in a dog sort of way.

He's tiny and agile. Hopefully he'll do ok when we're underway, we'll make a few safety adjustments on board the boat to keep him safe and happy. We're totally giddy and in love with the new little member of our crew.





Sunday, March 29, 2015

freeze and thaw

I am hiding behind memories of our lovely, warm, relaxing, warm, adventurous, did I mention warm trip to Nicaragua because I am still wearing my wool slippers here on the Chesapeake Bay.

We were iced in for a long time this winter. Too long. I thought a month away would somehow shorten winter, but I was wrong. Oh so wrong. Record low temps, frigid high winds, continuous clouds, plenty of snow, and our little boat packed solid in sea ice.

We're all thawed out and floating in liquid again now, but here's a peak at boat life on the ice and snow.




(pure ice on the docks with solid ice all around. makes leaving the boat a skating routine, so thankful for our Stabilicers!)











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