Friday, July 30, 2010

~this moment~ catch & release

A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - via soulemama

Thursday, July 29, 2010

For Grandma

A little something Zach and I made together to comfort a special Grandma during a tough time. Filled with love and lavender and laughter, I hope this little hand brings some comfort.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

our village

Life has a way of knocking you on your ass some weeks. This has been one of those weeks. Bad things are getting worse. We feel shocked and helpless. We are sad and outraged. People we love dearly are hurting and there's nothing we can do. But the thing about this little floating trailer park we have here is that we're never alone. One of our boat neighbors and dear friend is in a bad way at the moment. And we're all still processing what's going down with her. But in the haze of bad news dripping in like an IV, I am awe struck by the amazing strength we have in the tight community loosely tied off to these splintering pilings. We're all outside, sharing information, sharing wine and chocolate, sharing hugs and tears, holding each other when the wind is knocked out of our sails. I can't imagine going through times like this alone inside of four walls and a locked door. I am scared and pissed off and exhausted but so grateful. So, so grateful.

Houses, are but badly built boats, so firmly aground that you cannot think of moving them. They are definitely inferior things, belonging to the vegetable not the animal world, rooted and stationary, incapable of gay transition... The desire to build a house is the tired wish of a man content thenceforward with a single anchorage. The desire to build a boat is the desire of youth, unwilling yet to accept the idea of a final resting-place.
-Arthur Ransome

Messing about in boats

It's not just sailing. No, we're not purists by any stretch. We'll happily jump aboard and mess about on just about any vessel. Thankfully we live in a town and hang out in a community where there are no shortage of opportunities to have some fun afloat.

This was a new one for all of us. Stand up paddle boarding is common out in Hawaii. Zach and I would see folks in Hilo Harbor paddling along, dog on their bow, looking as relaxed and royal all at once. But it was always from a distance. Until now.

Jane is my husband's boss and a native Hawaiian. She may be here on the mainland, but she's not giving up on the island fun. She brought her paddle board over and invited Zach out for a little lesson.

Hesistantly at first, he just went along for the ride.
And by the time they came back, he was standing there paddling like a little ali'i. So now in addition to the catamaran, our dinghy, and the kayak... Zach would like to add a stand up paddle board to the armada.
I think we tend to channel Kenneth Grahame on this philosphy: (oh yes, I am getting all quotey this week, look out!)

"Is it so nice as all that?" asked the mole, shyly...

"Nice? It's the only thing," said the Water Rat Solemnly, as he leaned forward for his stroke. "Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."

"Simply messing...about in boats -- or with boats... In or out of 'em it doesn't matter. Nothing seems to matter, that's the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not."

Monday, July 26, 2010

To sail and sail and sail!

This was to be the summer. This was the summer the boy would take tiller in hand and be the captain of his own little sailing vessel. With a few trial runs here and there, this was the time when Mommy's Sailing School would start in earnest. And then I went and got pregnant.

So reluctantly I handed over the tiller and the joy of teaching my boy to sail on his own to our local sailing camp. I wasn't sure how either of us would like it, but in the end he had a grand time and they helped him learn all he needed to know and then some.
From points of sail to parts of the boat. From proper knot tying to man overboard drills. From folding sails to reading wind, the boy soaked it all in. It was weird for me, sitting on the sidelines wathcing him head out on his own. The first day I sat and squinted at the horizon, trying to make out which of the swarm of little camp boats was his. Then I wised up, sat back, and enjoyed the quiet outside time and a good book.
But to see this little guy, hand firmly on the tiller, instructor on the bow, other kids trusting his know-how... sailing full speed back towards the sailing school dock... it made my heart glow. He jumped off and breathlessly said, "Mommy, I was the captain! I sailed that boat all by myself. I am so proud!"
Uncle Walt said it best:

O to sail to sea in a ship!
To leave this steady unendurable land,
To leave the tiresome sameness of the streets, the sidewalks and the houses,
To leave you O you solid motionless land, and entering a ship,
To sail and sail and sail!

- Walt Whitman
A Song of Joys (1891)
Leaves of Grass

Friday, July 23, 2010

this moment ~ epic battle~

* What's your drawing all about?
* The red guys are the good blood cells and the brown guys are the bad cancer germs.
* Ohhhhh.
* The red guys just have to win, they just HAVE to.

(Drawn this week by Zach in honor of grandma G, our dear friend L, and one special dog in our lives)

A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - via soulemama

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thank you King Neptune

It's addicting really. This need to walk along long stretches of beach and pluck the ocean's treasures from the sand. Our eyes scanning carefully, our pockets bursting, our hearts hoping for that perfect shell.
But why? My husband often looks at our bags full of shells and says, "What on earth are you going to do with all of those shells?"
A legitimate question. Zach loves to gift them to his friends. Carefully picked out for someone or other and wrapped up. A handful of them always end up on our summer nature table. The ones with little holes eventually become our Christmas tree decor or jewelry made by little hands.
But what about all of these...?
(And this doesn't even include the sea glass collection. Or the ones from Hawaii... or...)

Oh dear. Yes, what about these. First order of business was to clean them. After sitting in a bag in the cockpit locker for who knows how long, they STUNK! A little fresh water and dish soap soak.
And now... now what? Well, we're working on it. Glue gun at the ready, little minds with big ideas, something shelly is emerging. We'll keep you posted.
What do you do with your shell collections?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

little harvest

No raised garden beds or rows of greens for us boat dwellers. Just our wee container of tomatoes and basil. These are the ones the fellas started back in spring and have nurtured and cared for ever since. The same ones Mrs. Quackers made her nest in not long ago. And now they are providing us some fabulous, dock grown (and duck fertilized) food.
But our dockside tomatoes are not our only source, we have a secret garden. Or rather Zach does. There is a spot on the marina where some boater some time ago must have started a small patch of pear tomatoes. They are sort of wild and free and nobody in particular cares for them, and as such they have thrived. Zach checks this secret tomato patch every few days and always totes home a little golden harvest.
Then it's time to dig in. One of the things I love about gardening, even on a microscopic scale like we are, is the way kids take complete ownership of the food. Zach never cared for tomatoes before, but once he started growing them HIMSELF, well -- now they are his favorite afternoon snack. I don't think our tomatoes are especially sweet or different, it's just the taste of accomplishment.
This time of year this is about all we need for a quick dinner. A baguette, some garlic scape pesto from our CSA farmer (drool!), and our little handful of tomatoes becomes a scrumptious summer meal.
Now if only we had some fresh caught fish to go along with this...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

big problems, little helping hands

Some of the world's woes are hard to avoid with little ones. Even without a TV, people talk, the radio plays in the car, headlines hollar from the newspaper racks at the store. I am sure if your little ones have also heard about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, they too have asked why? And they too have drawn pictures and imagined fantastic ways of stopping the oil that could only come from the mind of a child.

And so it seems to have stopped. For now. But the toxic goo floats on. And what can a little person, or any one individual do to help out and also stop that feeling of helplessness?

Here's one easy, truly useful way we found through the wonderful folks at Craft Hope. Wildlife covered in oil needs to be cleaned. Kids can understand that. And the folks who are out there helping the wipe down the turtles, birds, dolphins, and other wildlife impacted by the oil spill need rags to do the cleaning.

You don't even have to know how to sew to participate with this project (though you certainly CAN crochet, knit, or sew for this too). Just find any cotton items that can be repurposed and cut them down in to 10 inch by 10 inch sqaures. Old t-shirts, fabric scraps, towels, whatever you have around your home.
(Of course Z wanted to send pirate fabric left over from a project we attempted earlier in the year. "Pirates will scare off that yucky oil," he declares.)

The donations don't have to be anything fancy. If anything, the towels and rags will be used two to three times and will have to be disposed of because they'll be ruined by the toxic oil residue.
They're also asking for donations of Dawn liquid soap. (Here is the lowdown on why they use Dawn, but in short it breaks down the greasy oil while being gentle on feathers, fur, and skin.)
Donations will be accepted until the end of August and can be mailed to:

Kimberly Davion

c/o IMMS Oil Spill Relief
1700 East La Rua Street
Pensacola, Florida 32501

Go to Craft Hope's page on this project HERE for more information and details. And check out the FLICKR page for the project HERE for some inspiration and ideas. And please feel free to share any other conservation or volunteer projects in the comments that you've done with your little ones that you'd like to spread the word about. Or if you've already participated in this effort, post a link to your blog.

Now get to it!

Friday, July 16, 2010

this moment ~community~

A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - via soulemama

p.s. check out etsydotmom for some new finds!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

unforseen problem

So when we were out sailing the other weekend and I took the helm, I realized I had a bit of a problem. I just BARELY fit between the seat and the helm. I can't sit because I am too short to see over the cabin top. And while standing the wheel is brushing against my big pregnant belly with every turn. And then a power boat goes by and wakes us and... oh dear. I fear one morning I will wake up and find I can not sneak past the engine compartments in the hulls and be stuck in the cabin until I give birth. This is getting interesting.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

comet ball tutorial

Whenever something easy enough for me to pull off comes along, I feel compelled to share. Zach loves playing catch with these comet balls because they flow so smoothly through the air and with the long tail, there is a better chance of actually catching it. That's why these make fabulous gifts for little ones who can't seem to get enough of tossing them around.

First you need a bundle of wool roving. You can get all shades of roving on I got much of mine at our local Sheep & Wool fest this spring. There are so many cool craft uses for roving, I always try to have some around.

Have some scissors, an old sock or old cut up pair of tights, and a big bowl of hot soapy water (you can use the sink too). I just use our regular dish soap.
Start wrapping your wool into a ball and dip it into the hot soapy water as you go. There are loads of tutorials on making wool felt balls. There's no right or wrong way. Just keep wetting and rubbing between your hands as you wrap layers of wool. The friction along with the hot soapy water binds the wool together.
We try to use odds and ends or colors we don't want for the bulk of the ball as you won't see any of it on the inside.
It's the last layer that counts.
For this ball we used a bright rainbow roving for the last layer, carefully wrapping it so all of the colors showed. We've also made "fire balls" all in reds/ yellows/ oranges and "ocean balls" in blues & greens. You get the idea.
Next, I pop the ball in a pair of old tight and toss it in the washer/ dryer. I do both the washer and the dryer just to give it that extra round of water and motion to really make it felt.
When it's all finished, find a tail. We used some tie dyed silks from our big tie dye session last summer. Here I am using the 11x60 inch silk from Dharma Trading, but I cut it in half getting two tails (11x30 inches each) per silk. Using the full 60 inches seems to be way too long. You could experiment with using other light weight colorful fabrics as well. You don't want the tail to weigh down the ball, but rather help it soar. You can get dyes at Dharma Trading or just simple tie dye kits at Michael's or other craft stores.
Pin the silk around the equator of the ball to hold it in place...
... and start stiching it on. Here I used rainbow twine but you can use embroidery thread too. I used a blanket stitch, I am sure any stitch would do. I also stich together a little of the tail from the ball down a few inches too to make it stronger (less likely to tear when you catch it).
And voila!
Seriously, these are fun for all ages and the best part is making all of the crazy colors and sizes you want. It's the sort of project where it makes more sense doing a bunch all at once rather than one at a time and it all goes faster than you think (especially when you have your own washer and dryer and don't have to wait for the marina laundry room to free up).

Now go play some catch!

Monday, July 12, 2010

creative caving

There is something magical about having your own little cave to hide away in when you're small. In a traditional house, there's the under the table blanket fort, or the swanky wooden playstands, the over the top play tents. But none of those work afloat. Never daunted, my boy finds a way. His love for knot tying combined with our large supply of blankets, quilts, and play silks means that a fort , cave, or tent is always possible.
I love watching his industrious nature as he creates his own space, and I love watching him pack up his special stuff to move into that space. Books, flashlight, pillows, dolls, and random bits of rock and shell seem to always make their way into the forts.
Each time it's a different creation held together with string and clips and belts and rubber bands and will power. He stays there as the sky darkens. He asks for his dinner and toothbrush in the fort. Sometimes talking endlessly to himself, sometimes uncharacteristic quiet.
Often undone by the wind, or a cranky mama who would really like to get the groceries in the boat, or the wake of a dinghy speeding by. Blankets are folded away, silks are put into their baggie, pillows go back on the bed, bits of string go back into the myterious crevices from which they came. But never for long.
We don't have a playroom. The whole boat is our playroom, and of course the great outdoors. We don't have an expensive playstand or a pop up castle. But truly, does it look like we need it? All that's needed is the freedom to let their little imaginations go wild.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

in the news

We were packing to leave town and the alarm was sounded.

"MOMMY! Mrs. Quackers is hatching her babies!!!" (for the background, look here)
The sun was setting, the temperatures were (finally!) cooling, and she puffed her body up in a protective manner and little heads started peeking out.
"Mrs. Quackers looks so proud," my boy declared. Indeed she did. We didn't catch more than a glimpse as we left town the next morning to go see the in-laws, and I gently explained that when we got back she would have likely left the nest with her babes. Thankfully, without any drama or tears, he understood. On the way out early that morning he whispered to her, "Feel welcome to come back next year and have your babies at our dock again." Hopefully we'll get a glimpse of her swimming around our marina sometime this week with the ducklings.
In other news... not long after arriving at the inlaws, I grabbed my things and ran away for the evening without the boys to go have coffee and desert with my pal Joy. We chatted the night away and probably could have gone on longer if the cafe didn't kick us out so they could close. It's so nice when bloggy aquaintences become real life friends you can have a night out with.
And finally--- in case the "moment" from a week ago was too subtle a reference... yes, it seems official that the wee baby growing inside me is indeed a girl. It doesn't change much around here except needing to narrow down names (there are SO many pretty girl names!) and needing to make sure the little lass has something to wear when she arrives. Perhaps another round wrestling the sewing the machine is in order sometime soon?
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