Our dear friend and neighbor SuperJen has a new dog. His name is Buddy.
Jen and I share a couple of heart wrenching things in common, one of which is having to put down a furry family member and explain it to our kids. We decided in our family that as much as our hearts ache for another dog, there is just no way we're willing to head out cruising with a dog again. Been there, done that. And while we don't have the proverbial t-shirt, we do have lots of sweet photos of our dearly departed salty mutt Schooner the wonder dog.
(Schooner "on watch")
(Schooner at Warderick Wells, Bahamas with our old boat Neshamah in the background)
("family portrait" circa 2002, Exumas)
It was a blast at the time. But it was hard work. And it was before kids, and before a few more grains of common sense. We were in our 20's, what the hell did we know? A little wiser now and with the casting off date on the next year's calendar, we've held off on our many, many urges to get another dog. But thankfully SuperJen is holding down the land fort at World Headquarters (as we call her home) and snagged the opportunity to rescue this sweet, sweet piece of pup. Her sweet, sweet little daughter Alex is on could nine.
(can you dig it?)
And we're secretly doing the happy dance over here too. Now we get to love all over Buddy whenever we want. So if you see his little wet nose in a photo here and there you'll know what we have not broken down and become dog owners again. But we're sure glad to be dog neighbors again :)
In years past, to celebrate the first day of spring, I have surprised Zach by waking up early and hiding small goodies around the marina for him to find from the root children who are busy preparing the earth for the coming season.
This morning we had a thunderstorm. And I got about 2 hours of sleep thanks to a little girly who thinks it's fun to practice her Irish step dancing in the middle of the night while refusing to nurse (it's like she KNOWS it will put her to sleep, little stinker). And half of the little odds and ends I had tucked away for him I just couldn't remember where I'd put them especially with all of that stuff piled around the boat from painting. So we took a rain check on our root children hunt. And he was just fine and dandy with that, especially with a mouth full of equinox cookies (half black half white for the 12 hours of day and night. i'd give you the recipe but alas whole foods didn't print one on the package ;)
So I gave him the handful of surprises I did manage to unearth from the depths of my closet (flowering tea, an exploding frog bath bomb from this etsy shop, a beautiful egg from mamaroots, and some magic beans) and that was plenty. The sun came out, daddy played hookie from work, we spent the day on the beach and chatting with neighbors, and that was the best way to celebrate the vernal equinox. Since it's a day all about balance anyhow, this was the most balanced I've felt in a long time. Family time, no place to be, no schedules to keep, toes in the sand, friends all around. It was the perfect way to celebrate coming out of winter hibernation. And those root children can try again next year.
We're big fans of the family bed aboard our little boat. But unfortunately this family has outgrown the bed and there is no way for the bed to grow too. We had some success transitioning Zach into his own room while I was pregnant, but when Naia came home it all changed. Zach's room was abandoned for the winter. The fellas made a man-cave out of the guest cabin and the little lady and I nested in the master cabin. Spring is in the air now and we're trying to make a change. I really, truly wish we could all be in one cabin, but it's not physically possible. So here's the new plan. We're tricking out Z's cabin with the hopes that he'll gleefully spend his nights there and then Daddy and I will nest with Naia in the master and the guest cabin will once again be open for busines as the summer friends start flocking in.
Step one was unloading. Every single thing had to come out of the room. My boy has a lot of things. A lot of little odds and ends and bits and pieces. To the untrained eye they may seem like rubbish, but he knows they are treasures. And of course clothes and stuffed animals and blankets. It's all loaded up to the ceiling here in the book nook.
And the mattress is there in the bath tub. Look for the green thing way back there. Now the room looks like this.
Zach has been telling us with great drama and vigor that he can NOT tolerate a plain white room. How very dull mother. And we have been trying to convince him with equal passion that painting the walls purple and green will make his room look like a dark eggplant cavern. Light is the key my boy. So we have some tricks up our sleeves to honor his color quest while whitewashing the walls too.
It may be a week or so before we have this all together, but if we can make our vision actually come to life it should be pretty darn cool. Even for a boat.
I feel like I have many loose ends to tie up... so without further ado...
(1) I was so thrilled and honored when my pal Lucia asked if she could interview me for The Magnifying Glass - a site I admire so much! Click on over and check out the interview and explore the site, they are FULL of inspiration.
(we almost needed a magnifying glass when we found this abandoned little guy)
(2) I am also crazy excited to be a part of the Karma Krewe over at Soul-Flower.com. I'll be doing reviews on their blog along with my fellow Krewe-mates throughout the year. If you don't know about Soul Flower's funky, earth friendly clothes you're missing out. Have a look! And I will post a link when my first review is up and ready.
(oooo mama, I love these outfits!)
(3) I can not thank you ALL enough for helping out with our bid to win free running rigging from Dyneema. I was so heartened when I put out the call and within 24 hours more than a hundred of you clicked over and voted. All those names, all that support was fabulous! And guess what -- we WON! We are over the moon to be part of the Dyneema Experience Team along with a whole crew of other sailors around the world. I'll keep you posted as we get the new line and take them through the paces of some test sails this summer. THANK YOU ALL! I quite literally could not have done it without you. So if you're in the Chesapeake, I owe you a sail. But one at a time, ok? :)
There are so many ways to frame what we did this afternoon. We killed some time between activities. We set up a spiffy homeschool science experiment. We got soaking wet and laughed a lot. We made a big mess. To the folks passing by on the dock asking what we were up to, the short answer was, "We're making a tsunami."
And we were. We happen to have Naia's "bathtub" out in the cockpit through a rainstorm. So voila, we had an ocean. After lots of NPR'ing and clip viewing on the computer and science talking through the past several days I wanted to assure Zach that tsunamis were harmless to boats out sailing in the middle of the ocean (kind of an important little piece of info if you're a kid living on a boat). If you're in harbor and a warning is sent out, the safest place to be is out to sea.
Our little boat bobbed happily on the small waves we created by flopping an underwater tectonic plate (a plastic "Hundred Board").
Then it was time to create Japan. Ok, this WAS killing time as it kept Zach busy going back and forth to the marina garden collecting rocks and sand and such to create our little land mass thus giving me a period of quiet to get Naia to nap. Add some plastic citizens and some homemade playdough houses and voila!
Ok, so the people are like 30 times larger than the houses and we all know that Japan is not populated by hut dwelling elephants, giant seals, and dashing Muskateers but you get the idea. If we had some spiffy scientifically accurate way of making our tsunami I would give you all the details in a tutorial, but in truth, we were just creating a big wet mess.
We tried smashing tectonic plates together (cutting boards, hundred board, stones, wood blocks). We tried popping a balloon underwater. We stopped short of dragging cinderbocks from the parking lot to the cockpit of the boat. We made some big waves. He saw them hit the land mass and topple on to shore. The houses and our fine citizens of Japan went splash. Japan even shifted a couple of inches.
But in the end Zach just throttled a bottle of wool wash soap into our ocean like a meteor and took everything out.
Then he happily drove in a rescue truck, plucked the survivors from the frigid water with a net, and set up a triage. "I have to help them," he said matter of factly. "I want to be the rescuer now. I can search and rescue and save all these people."
I bit my lip, put away my camera, and helped him. It reminded me so much of 3 years ago when his best little buddy was in a traumatic boating incident. And then a few months later he was still working it out in his head and his heart. And beautifully through the magic of imagination and the alchemy of play he made it right again.
How wise these little people are in knowing how to heal, how to process, how to control the uncontrollable. We grown ups read books and filter media and sugar coat truths, but in the end I'm the one still reeling from this remote tragedy and he's already saved the world. It wasn't science or water play or a time suck, it was healing. Wet, wonderful, pure, joyful healing.
And then he asked how we can recreate a nuclear reactor meltdown. But we won't go there.
Our planet is going through some big changes. And people a world away are scared and hurting. It makes me more appreciative than ever of our little peaceful corner on earth and the little things I can safely savor each day.
Like welcoming Naia to the table (look at me sitting up in all of the action!)
And chocolate faces...
And spring flowers...
And silly costumes...
And a sleeping healthy baby...
Hug your loved ones. Be good to the Earth. Be good to each other.
You can still enter the Honeypot luminary giveaway here.
They're back! Creighton of Bee Natural was nice enough to offer up another honeypot giveaway! But I first want to tell you a little more about Creighton. He was cool enough to swing by the boat when he was in the area not long ago. We love having visitors, but visitors who bring old dead things for little boys to check out get extra bonus points.
Before becoming "the honeypot guy" Creighton worked with the Smithsonian doing marine mammals studies. He's still very involved in that field and likes nothing more than categorizing whale skulls.
Another cool thing about Bee Natural is that they are truly a family run business. His son helps collect the flowers that go into the honeypots and helps dad break up bulk beeswax to melt down. His wife presses flowers and keeps things humming along smoothly when Creighton is out swimming with the dolphins. Each honeypot is a handmade labor of love and a true family effort.
Finally, Creighton is just an all around nice guy and very generous. He carved this special honeypot just for our family which is in a permanent place of honor on the boat. One of the coolest things about carved ones is that they are shadow casters too.
Plus he's offering another generous giveaway. Leave a comment here for a chance at winning a large carved sky honeypot of your own like this one. Become a fan of Bee Natural on facebook for another entry.
Plus if you order any size honeypot from Bee Natural between now and the first day of spring (March 21, 2011) and enter in the code ZACH ABOARD in the comments section when you check out, Creighton will send you a FREE Mini Azelea Honeypot with your order. Thank you BEE NATURAL & Creighton for helping us welcome spring!
p.s. I am using "intense debate" now for comments, which is just a widgit that allows me to answer comments/ questions directly. It's new to me and I am still working out the bugs (in other words I have no idea what I am doing.) If you want to comment here or anywhere, just click on the title of the post for the day and that will open up the comments below. The rest should be fairly intuitive. Thanks for bearing with me.
Big excitement -- getting to spend an afternoon with his Tio (that's uncle to you gringos, he's my big brother).
(Tio jetted into town between meetings. Zach hasn't seen him in about a year and a half. You never saw a boy run so fast or jump so high into somebody's arms!)
(Tio taking a phone pis to send to Cousin Katie back home in Chicago. Zach is just a LITTLE excited, can you tell?)
(Boy bonding time... throwing stones into the water.)
Big dreams coming true -- Zach has wanted to take a fencing class since he was 4. Now he's finally old enough (well almost, we're fudging it a little). He was so serious about it, trying so hard. I wanted to snap a hundred photos, but I didn't want him to feel weird, so I controlled the shutter finger and kept my distance.
And Tio got a chance to get to know Naia...
(So little and SO big. Have I mentioned that my brother is 6'5" and I am 5'2". Yeah, so not fair.)
Big party time -- well big if you're a 6 year old. Some funny masks, some Zydeco music, and some ice cream. Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Now this mama needs some sleep. But really, what are the chances of that?