Friday, July 29, 2011

~this moment~ her tribe

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. Don't forget to enter the Alphabet Glue giveaway until tomorrow morning. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

slices of summer

:: little bare feet ::

:: boys and their toys ::

:: outdoor creative time ::

:: indoor escapes from the heat ::

:: blanket & book time ::

I hope you are savoring the season wherever you may be....

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

GIVE AWAY - Alphabet Glue!!

I am so pleased to introduce you all to Annie. She is the force behind the fabulous Alphabet Glue, a quarterly, downloadable magazine for families who love books. She fills each issue with ideas, book lists, crafts, games, and printables that you can use to get those creative story telling/ reading/ crafting juices flowing.

I adore the reading lists in each issue, packed with old favorites and several new stories we can't wait to check out. And the activities are so beautifully open ended they can be adapted to many age levels for all of the kids in your family. It's clear that Annie really pours her heart into each issue and I am so looking forward to upcoming editions.

The Spring and Summer issues are already out and the Fall issue will be available in early September. Annie is generously offering 5 lucky winners the issue of their choice. Please leave a comment here and tell us about some favorite stories or books in your family. Also please go to Alphabet Glue's Facebook page and like them there too for an extra entry.  And you can always buy copies of Alphabet Glue here.

Thank you so much to Anne from Alphabet Glue!

p.s. sorry I forgot to mention I will leave the giveawya open to entries until Saturday morning. Thanks!

Our 5 lucky winners are:  ASHLEY, VICTORIA, JOY, MAMA BEE, & SUSANNA
Thank you!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

tell me a story

Tell me a story, tell me a story” is a refrain my husband and I hear from Zach at least 3 times a day. Story telling has become not just a bed time thing, but an integral part of our daily rhythm and our family relations. We’re not talking about reciting the Three Little Pigs, I mean original off the top of your head stories.
I know what you’re thinking… “But I CAN’T make up stories, I am so (insert excuse here)!” Let me be very clear about one thing, whatever you think your shortcomings are, your littles not only have no idea but they also think you are fabulous!

My husband is the perfect case to prove this point. He’s a tech guy. He spends all day in a cold, windowless server room surrounded by chirping computers. Let’s just say he does not get any daily opportunity to flex his creative muscles nor did he usually want to before Zach. But now he is the King Story Teller of our family (especially funny since I am the one who makes stories for a living!) Through the years he and Zach together have created a cast of characters. Mango Man, Cloud Man, Mr. Moth, and some other not-so-original ones my husband sprinkled in there like The Ghostbusters (oh honey you are aging yourself!) Doug usually tells stories in the serial manner, picking up where they left off each time and stretching it out.
I am less a chapter book story teller and more the picture book kind, if you know what I mean. Short and cute. My characters revolve around our family which is something Zach really pushed for. Since we only see our family once a year or less and many died before Zach was born, they are all sort of like characters to him. He likes stories about Tio (my brother) and Martha (my mom who died 10 years ago) and Ruthie (my hilarious step-grandma who also died before Zach was born) and our beloved deceased Schooner-dog.

We often don't have to worry about coming up with material because he likes to call the shots. “Tell me a story about the time Tio and I and Schooner-dog went into the candy cane volcano and Ruthie saved us from the evil trolls.” And the real pay off is the way he has started to regale us with his stories lately, his most recent tales are of a naughty nine armed octopus.

Some days I am brain dead, you know they way we moms get. And my stories are weak fillers around the frame he laid out. And other days we create long winding gems with all kinds of twists and turns. Sometimes I find myself stealing from popular culture stories or books I have read that he’s not been exposed to yet because I feel like I can’t come up with something original. And that’s ok. The point is not so much the story itself. The point is you are giving your child your completely undivided attention. You’re not thinking of what you have to get done that day, you’re not making lunch, you’re not checking your email. You are looking each other in the eye, exchanging ideas, creating a memory.

Check in tomorrow for a fun story telling give away you won't want to miss...

Friday, July 22, 2011

~this moment~

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 21, 2011

baby talk

No, she's not talking. But she communicates insanely well. And it's making me stop and really take in her every glance and hand gesture and facial change. With Zach being my first, I focused so much on verbal language. Here is my baby, I will talk to him and eventually he will talk as well. And he did. Insanely early and non-stop and very, very clearly with a huge vocabulary. But I am wise enough to know that Naia is not Zach and she will find her voice on her own terms in her own time. Yet somehow at the end of the day I feel like I can turn to my husband and tell him everything she said, even though she hasn't "said" a thing.
First of all, that punim. The looks she gives could stop a bear in its tracks. When she is not interested in something the eyes say it all. Be gone commoners, the Queen has spoken! (The commoners in these scenarios are usually Zach and I.) When she's sad, it's all lower lip and eyebrows. They both dip down and quiver just before the waterworks. Her wee little mouth lights up in a wide open grin when her brother makes her laugh or mama plays "eat the baby". She crawls across the floor examining every piece of lint on the way as if it's her life's work (and it is!) She paws through her books with equal parts dainty and awkward, trying to get the darn things exactly the way she wants them and often turning the sturdy cardboard pages with her long slender toes. And those feet! We call them happy feet because she manages to balace on her tush and kick them up and down at a rapid fire pace when she's extra excited about something.
All day long she tells me what she likes, what she needs, what she wants, what's not working for her, when she needs to rest, when she needs to nurse, that she's not ready for trying food yet, and she would very much like to be walking now because truly crawling is for babies.
(check me out I'm standing!)
(oh crud. I WAS standing.)

She tells me that certain people make her happy while others make her uneasy, that dogs are amazing and cats are a mystery to be solved. She whispers that trees are magical and wind confuses her. She declares to the world that her brother is the funniest person on planet Earth. She would really like to know the mechanical engineering behind seat belts. And she confides that she's only barely tolerating life jackets with the promise of a day when they are not a full body experience.  
Dolls, baby toys... forget them! Plugs, wires, hair brushes, paint brushes, sun glasses, car keys, rope, bottle caps -- yes! This is a girl who knows what she likes and will not be lured in by sparkles and fluff.
I am filled with wonder at the end of each day, as she lets me know that she would please very much like to nurse to sleep now and I look at her snuggled next to me in bed and marvel at her silence when she in reality has not uttered a word all day. And with one last sleepy glance from her long lashes she reminds me that she doesn't prefer bedtime poems or songs like her brother, no thank you, but if you could stroke my hair and not say a word that will get me on the fast track to dream land.
I am savoring this intimate time, when her language is mine to unlock and interpret. I am loving this brief spell of magical conversations that float invisibly from her heart to mine.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

spoiled rotten duck

It's that time of year again. It starts with a bowl shape imprint in the soil of our dockside "garden". Zach saw the imprint first and came running breathlessly to announce that we were once again selected by the local female Mallards as a nesting site. The pattern goes that each night an egg is laid and by morning mom is gone and just the eggs remain. This is the pattern for about 3-4 days at which point she sits non-stop on her nest leaving only for the rare sunset swim. And there she'll sit for about 28 days.
Zach is naming this one Bandito because he says she has a mask on her face.
It's really no wonder why we have so many ducks nesting on our finger pier because the truth is we pamper our mamas to be. Bread crusts are left at her side most mornings. Zach places a dock cart across the pier when we go out with a sign he made declaring "No Dogs." And in the heat of the day we water our duck. Yes, we turn on the hose and from far enough away so she doesn't feel threatened we sprinkle a cooling rain shower on her so she may have a drink (which she does with glee) and cool off.
It's an interesting cross section between wild animal and pet. She likes it best when we pretend she's invisible, but I also know she's come to expect her crusts and water. And she showed an amazing display of mama-bear instincts when we witnessed her full on attacking a very started neighbor dog who made the grave error of sniffing in the general direction of her nest. The pooch (who is supposed to be a hunting breed, ahem) was completely startled and beaten. Go Bandito!
(Zach took this shot.)

We'll keep you posted on any sighting of ducklings which should be another 10 days or so...

Monday, July 18, 2011

why winter stinks

I am not a winter person. No surprise statement there for the folks who know me. I really have a hard time loving on the snow and ice. And part of the reason is all of this.

There is just too much to love about summer. Crabbing and fishing and dinghy rides and stand up paddle boarding and catching fireflies and eating outdoors. Critters everywhere, free range kids with filthy feet, sun kissed cheeks, and popsicle faces.
Our marina always has people outside at all hours, sharing meals, sharing wine, helping with each other's kids, playing music, chatting the day away.
There is just too much goodness going on to even fathom things like clothes or shoveling or heaters or darkness.
I so understand the yearning for an endless summer.

Friday, July 15, 2011

~this moment~ following the leader

(she's officially a woman on the go now...)

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 14, 2011

variations on a square

I wanted to share some of my summer sewing projects. No wait, don't click away! You have the right blog, really. Yeah, this is the sailing chick who doesn't know basting from serging and swears a lot at her sewing machine. But my son told me it's not nice to talk to mechanical equipment that way, and suggested I "try my hardest" (where on earth did he learn that old line). So I made a few things that are basically no-pattern-required, just sew a few striaght-ish lines, slap-em-together, variations on the sqaure.

First some warm clothing for our fenders. No really, for those not on boats, fender covers are a silly little luxury that serve a small purpose. Since our boat is fresh from the haul out yard with a nice summer wax job, we didn't want to let our funky old fenders rub against the shiny hull. (Wanna here a fun fact? We did not buy one fender for this boat. They have all floated to us after various storms. We just pluck them out of the water and put them to work.) So some basic polar fleece (it was on sale this summer!) sewn into little sausage sacks means when our fneders rub, they are also buffing the hull instead of marking it.

Next up... some more paper notebooks. Sewing paper is a little tricky for me, but super satisfying. Zach picked out images from various magazines and catalogs and we recycled some mostly blank sheets to go inside. I also made him a little felt notebook too using this tutorial.

And finally, Miss Naia's mat.
I got this small piece of Etsuko Furuya oil cloth on etsy and knew what I wanted to do. Paired up with some dark purple terry cloth I once again amazed myself by sewing a square-ish thing. I managed to get the two pieces together, turn in right side out, and then as I wanted to sew a border and close it the machine protested and revolted. Super Jen was busy (damn her for supporting her family) but I found another neighborhood sewing master to help me finish the last bit on her sturdy machine (hey Jen, bet you can't guess who?)

The idea is that if Naia ever decides to, oh I don't know, taste something other than the one blueberry she ate on Zach's birthday (yep that's all she's ever had in the food department) then the mat will be ready to catch her mess. But thus far, food like these tantilizing bits of fresh mango are met with a mix of scientific curiosity (what is this strange stuff and why are you giving it to me?)...

...and regal disgust (what is this strange stuff and why are you giving it to me?)
But there is a pretty mat there to squish it all on.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

WIP - the floors

Our floors are embarrassing. The carpet that came with the boat have been through an aging dog and a potty training boy and everything in between. Not to mention that carpet on a boat is just wrong and gross. And the delaminating faux teak and holly in the rest of the boat is splintering and peeling and also just gross. We've tossed down throw rugs and replaced pieces of carpet in the cabins and steam cleaned and nothing seems to make it better. It's an especially sore point now since we have a family member who spends most of her time on this gross floor. But we've hesitated ti replace it partly because of the cost to do so and partly because we have hemmed and hawed about what to replace it with and can't really decide.
But then the other day I hit my breaking point with these floors. Naia was napping, I handed Zach some sharp tools and said, "Let's get this floor out of here." And we did. Or we are. It's a true work in progress.
We have been ripping up the laminate in the galley and the carpet in the work room and guest cabin are out. We ordered one box of a flooring we really like called Plynyl. It seems to be the perfect mix of nice looking, low maintenance, and boat friendly as an easy to install vinyle weave. It's just really expensive. So we found a place online selling it really cheap, and we ordered one box to try it out, and we love it, and we went back to order more... only to find out that was their close out sale. They won't be carrying it any more :(
(two samples of Plynyl flooring)
So we have a half ripped out floor, half the amount of flooring we need to replace it. If anyone has any awesome boat flooring ideas... we're all ears. :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

water baby p.s.a.

(Zach age 4 months)

Swimming is not a sport, or a pastime, or a summer thing. It's a life skill. But for some reason people spend more time and effort teaching their kids to ride a bike than swim. If your kid never learns to ride a bike, it's really no big deal. I don't ride. If your kid doesn't learn to swim, they could die. It's just that simple. Of course I have extra special interest in kids swimming because of this life we lead. I always joke that in our family you can learn to walk, talk, read, write all at your own pace. But you WILL be swimming by the time you're 2 years old. It's just how we roll here.
(Zach age 1 year)

I don't believe in "drown proofing" classes (in fact I think those are dangerously misleading.) I don't think there is any magic method to teaching a baby to swim. All it takes is 200% dedication on the part of the parents. When Zach was a tyke we did infant swim classes for about a year. Mostly because I hadn't a clue what I was doing. Once I got the hang of it (and "it" was just, repetition and fun like with learning anything) I just kept up on my own. We went to the pool EVERY week, 52 weeks a year, no matter what until he was about 3 years old. In the summer we swim every day. Once he was 3 I felt confident enough not to swim with him throughout the winter and that he would not lose any ground because of it. But we still went... a lot.
(Zach age 2 & Daddy in the ocean in Mexico)

Zach and his friends are like otters in the water, so natural and free flowing. And I have some opinions (take as you will) about how kids end up like this.
Aside from going and going and going, steer clear of floatation aids. Water wings, swim vests and the like are only useful when a parent is short handed with more than one little and needs to keep them safe. Other than that, the only thing they teach a kid is how to rely on something other than their own body for floatation. Babies and kids need to develop their core strength and figure out which parts of their little bodies need to work in order to keep their head above water. And finally... let go. The thing I see parents do more than anything is gently pass the little one from mom to dad like a delicate egg without ever letting the kid off anyone's hands. The great thing about pool is you can see the bottom. And you're usually teaching in 3-4 feet of water... let go. Just trust me on this one.

Ok, off the soap box and on to the cute pictures....
(yes she is underwater and dare I say smiling. she goes under all the time. from jumping in off the edge from a seated position to pushing off the steps to me about a foot away. it's perfectly natural for babies to kick and hold their breath. zach caught this shot while she was swimming to me.)

(Zach and Naia both love to play chase in the pool. Just one coo of "I'm gonna get the baby" or "Come and get big brother" and her chubby thighs start kicking like crazy.)

(cool splash made from Naia jumping in)
Naia is living up to her name (dolphin in Hawaiian and water sprite in various other languages) and she just adores the pool. We started her at 6 months, buying a pass to the local indoor pool unitl our marina pool opened. When our marina pool closes in September we'll buy a pass again and start our weekly trips all. year. long.
One more word on water safety. Even though Zach is a sea otter, we still require him to wear a PFD when playing on the docks or at anchor. And we always will. Nobody is a good swimmer when they fall in and on the way down hit their head, twist their leg, or bang up their arm. Safety first.

Now go swim with your kids.

p.s. all of the water pics were taken with a Fuji FinePix camera. correction, with Zach's Fuji FinePix camera. It also does video.
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