Tuesday, April 22, 2014

back out where we belong

We are not inside people. I know there are articles on nature deficit disorder and getting kids outside more and all that. For our family, this is the time of year we have to drag the kids inside. Yes you must eat at some point (though that often happens outside too.) You need to clean your room once in a while. And heaven forbid you need to come in and sleep.

This is the start of the long stretch of going back to a mostly outside life. This is the sweet spot. It's a downhill run from here to December 1.

It means lots of swinging.

And hoopin' (a fabulous way to tire them out before bed!)...

(Naia can't quite grasp the spinning motion, so she mostly throws it up in the air and tries not to get hit in the head by her own throw, or chases people around with it like a crazed warrior.)

(Or a little hoop yoga...)

And digging, and running, and riding, and walking, and collecting, and rolling, and fishing, and catching, and climbing, and pretending, and all that good stuff... outside!

Monday, April 14, 2014

her new cabin

So over the winter we slowly but surely managed The Great Cabin Switch of 2014. Or something like that.

BEFORE: (Zach's cabin)

AFTER: (Now Naia's cabin)

We basically emptied every. single. thing. out of the guest cabin in the port hull and either tossed it out, donated to charity, or re-homed it somewhere else in the boat. It was quite the chore because the guest cabin has become the convenient dumping ground for everyone's "stuff". Then we did the same routine for Zach's cabin. every little bit out. And my boy is quite the collector, so it was also no small task. All of the stuff sat in the bubbled in cockpit over winter so we could slowly go through it all. Dock cart after dock cart load went to the trash or the car to donating or recycling. I kid you not, when it was all said and done, our waterline raised 3 inches. Whoa. That's what a decade on the same boat + 2 kids will do.

Then we moved Zach into the larger former guest cabin. I would show you photos of his new room, but not only is it a typical little boy mess of Legos and stuffed animals and books, we really didn't do anything special in there. He really wasn't keen on any decoration or even new sheets, so it's the same old thing, only larger. And he didn't want me taking pictures of his "private space".

Doug and I got nostalgic that first night he slept in there. Doug looked at me and said, "He's in the other hull. He's away from us for the first time. It's kind of sad." But then we realized that although we have to walk through the boat and over to the other side to get to his room, he is actually sleeping head to head with us sharing a wall. So far away, but close. Zach loves his new bigger space, mostly because he gets his own bathroom and he's close to the fridge.
(This is the guest cabin. Imagine it with a plain blue bed spread and loads of toys scattered about. That's how it looks as Zach's room.)

All of this was of course to move Naia out of our cabin where she has been sleeping since birth and into her own big girl room. There was a little bit of damage done from 5 years of Zach living in there. Namely, that the chalkboard painted locker doors were trashed. They were pretty much beyond repair, so I came up with another solution which was to sew little cloth panels and hang them on elastic stretched between some eye bolts. Behind are her books in one spot, and toys in the other.


AFTER: (with curtain partially open)

The fabric matches her new quilt and pillow cases on the bed. Nautical, and light, and neutral... all good things.

I also sewed a new book sling to match everything as well. She loves having all of her favorite books right at her reach in bed.



The rest of the room is a work in progress still. I wanted to make it look pretty, but resisted doing too much because I realize as her personality emerges more and more she will want to make her own mark on her space.

(The print if from Theater Clouds by Elly MacKay on Etsy. The embroidery I made from a pattern from Sarah Jane Studio's Out To Sea collection)

(Another print from Theater Clouds.)

In the back room, which once upon a time was a head (toilet), and a storage space, and a little "office", and a Lego room... I created a little girl cave. Basically I sewed a bunch of extra large pillow cases that would hold 2 pillows long ways, and stuffed the floor with them to make it soft and cozy. Then i hung play silks all around and we plan on installing some LED twinkle lights in there too. Just a fun little space for her to hang out, and slowly make into her own little corner.

Now the only thing left... is to convince her to sleep in there. Actually she is willing to try most nights, and usually makes it about half way through the night before coming back in with us. And I manage to get her to nap in there when she graces us all with a nap.

The first night we had our bed to ourselves in a long, long, wow that's been a long time... Doug was so excited that once the kids were asleep he set this up just for kicks. It's not permanent of course, but it was fun for a night to watch an adult show on a big screen while in bed just like a land lubber. (excuse the bad camera phone shot.)

Lap top projector + a sheet = Sherlock on the big screen!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Welcome Home Friends!

I have been asked again and again over the past week why I haven't chimed in my opinions on the story about Rebel Heart. This is not a "story" to me, they are friends. And this is their life. And I frankly don't give a (insert expletive here) what others think of them or the sailing with kids thing. All I care about is that my friends are safe, and that they can get the love and support they need to move forward with their life.

WELCOME HOME!!!!!!!!!!! We love you!!!!!!!!!!! 

And if you're wondering about kids and sailing... have a look at this album. Sailing families from all over are contributing to it to. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this should out blab all of the haters.

Kids Boats Love Album

And PLEASE if you can spare a few dollars, please help by contributing to a fundraiser that was started by a group of friends. Their boat is on the bottom of the ocean with everything they owned on it. They need support to start over again and move onward. Thank you!


Friday, April 04, 2014

fish for the family

Zach has had a fish dream for a long time. First he just wanted to catch one. Then when catching became easy the new quest was to catch "an eating fish". He managed some small, bony but edible fish from the Chesapeake that offered nothing more than a few bites when it was all said and done. And then the quest became to catch a "fish that could feed the whole family."

Hello Pacific Ocean! We were lucky enough to be invited by our old friends Lisa and Todd and their sweet daughter Jessica for a day of ocean kayak fishing while we were in HAwaii last month. Well, I say we, but really it was Zach. They heard about his wish and really bent over backwards to make it happen. Todd is an experienced kayak fisherman and grew up in this very harbor. Mahukona is a funky little local hang out that used to be owned by a Hawaiian Princess. It was built up into a sugar cane port, where a small train transported cane from the mountain farms to the sea for export in the 1800's. War, storms, and the march of time closed the once bustling port down in the 1950's. Today it's a rag tag beach park mostly frequented by locals who like to swim, snorkel, and fish from the concrete pier.

(Naia hanging with the local boys, fishing from the pier.)

Zach and Todd headed out for some guy time in the kayaks on the dinner for the whole family quest. They started in the harbor, getting used to the whole feel of things. Zach is a confident kayaker, but ocean swells are totally different than the Chesapeake. And that day there was a good breeze, and swells, and some white caps out a bit too. When you muck up your paddling on the Chesapeake you end up on a muddy bank in the weeds or on a sandy shore. Here if you muck up, you get thrown by breaking waves on to lava rock. So some shuffling was done and Zach hopped into Todd's kayak for a tandem ride. Todd in charge of paddling, and Zach got to fish.

They were gone a long time. Like a really long time. Lisa could tell I was nervous as they paddled farther and farther and finally out of my sight all together. She reassured me and said, "Todd's going to keep going until Zach catches dinner. He will not come back empty handed."  And she was right. Smiling and worn out they returned with a bag full of fish and stories to tell. Most were little trophy fish that Todd let the kids put back in the ocean (he has a wet well in the kayak to keep them alive.) But two were eating fish, and one was large enough to feed the family. Mission accomplished.

(Zach and Jessica with their fish!)

The Hawaiian name for this fish is Uku, which is a grey snapper. Many locals ooooo-ed and ahhhh-ed as it's considered a premium fish that you could hand over to the seafood market up the road for a healthy payment. There was no way this boy was going to trade cold cash for a hot dinner.  The Uku came home and the next adventure was cutting it down into edible fillets.

I looked at my dad, "You know how to do this, right?" He shrugged, no. "I thought you could do it, you live on a sailboat!?" Yeah, but I am a weenie and I don't like cutting up animals dead or alive. I just like eating them once they no longer have a face. Hypocritical carnivore, that's me!  Zach had filleted a fish many times, but it was always under the supervision of someone who knew what they were doing. As we were pondering what to do, a truck rumbled up my dad's driveway and out stepped Gary, former charter fishing captain. Bingo!

Gary patiently and thoroughly filleted the fish, letting Zach step in where he could and handling the dirty work that nobody else wanted to touch.  He told stories of his days at sea, the big ones that got away, the time he got a large tip for filleting a fish for a 60's movie star, stories only a captain can tell with that far away twinkle in his eye. All the while his hands told the true story of a life working hard, steady and strong.

Zach sketched a picture of how he wanted his fish dinner presented and plated. I should have kept the sketch, honestly I tried to but in the chaos of packing up I can't find it. My dad studied the sketch and stayed true to the vision as he cooked up the meal. Zach was originally going to help cook, but we all opted for more beach time instead, leaving grandpa to rule the kitchen. In the end, it was a meal that was equal parts beautiful and delicious, and it fed the whole family.

Mahalo Lisa and Todd for creating such a special memory for Zach. And Mahalo Mr. Uku Fish for giving it up for my boy.
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