Monday, December 28, 2015

merry and bright

So many gifts this season, but none the type with a bow or wrapping paper. I got to take a long, hot shower all by myself. Up in the marina facilities, I just let the hot water run and run and run, conditioning my hair over and over for the heck of it. For a boat mom, long hot showers without kids is a sweet gift indeed. I had time to sit in the sunny cockpit and practice guitar. We had meals with friends with laughter and music and kids happily playing. And of course the weather.

Temperatures in the 50's-60's and even 70's have made us all feel like spring is in the air while Christmas carols are playing. Birds are singing, flowers are popping up, and even the geese and ducks seems joyfully confused. Wet and warm, I'll take it. We've been short sleeved and barefoot and soaking it all in. Christmas Eve on the beach is a good thing.

Holidays home on the boat were mellow as always with just the 4 of us plus Choo Choo. We baked and made treats for friends and neighbors, we read our favorite holiday stories and watched some classic Christmas movies. And we made the boat cheerful for the season.

(Notice nearly all of the decorations are right on the bottom of the tree on one side. I would never dream of rearranging the 5 year old hanging scheme. Authenticity says so much more than a perfectly coiffed tree.)

(cell phone pic!)

Naia was very swept up in the magic of it all, such a perfect age at 5. And Zach was a dutiful big brother who played along and didn't spoil her fun. It's sweet seeing him teeter between rolling his eyes at some of the same old family traditions but also fiercely guard them if I forgot or did something wrong, reminding me of how we do it and wanting things to be just right for Naia.

I'm often asked "how" we celebrate the holidays on board the boat. It's not in the how though. Each family has their own traditions and special touches that make holidays special whether your home floats or not. Boat families all over the globe deck the halls in different ways (check out  great write up by my friends on Totem There is no right or wrong or must-do approach. For us it's just the doing itself. Being together, sharing sweetness, creating joy and magic, and bringing light into the darkness.

These two are my sweetness and light.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

wrapped for the season

It was difficult to get the motivation to shrink wrap the boat for the season. We've had the odd cold day here and there. And by cold I mean normal, average winter 40-something degrees. But on the whole it's been spring like and lovely and not at all like almost-Christmas.

But we finally made the call, and the local shrink wrap crew swooped in and got it done within a couple of hours.

Naia kept skipping around while they worked. She chirped, "Thank you!" over and over, so excited to see them close up our cockpit and salon with opaque thick plastic to help insulate for winter. It creates an extra sun room in the cockpit, and protects from heavy snows.

Choo Choo likes heading out there in peak sun to find the softest spot to have a dog nap. I kind of want his life some days.

Zach loves climbing up under the boom (we took the mainsail off for the winter and stowed it in the bow locker) and creating a little hang out.

I think back to the many, many winters Doug and I have gone through on our old boat and this boat before we were savvy to the benefits of shrink wrapping and I shiver. There was a lot of cold and wet and cabin fever. I wrote about living aboard our old boat in winter without shrink wrap several years back... you can read about it here...

(photos above are of our first liveaboard/ cruising boat which was a PDQ36. Side note: PDQ's are fabulous boats and our friends happen to be selling one right now... check it out here

We still get cold if the sun isn't shining. And cabin fever is always possible. But "the bubble" allows a whole different level of comfort. It's still a boat... in winter. Which for most people is like camping with running water. But we love our shrink wrap bubble and we're ready for real winter now. Ok, not really. That was a lie. Real winter can stay far away and never come back. But should it come our way, I'll be hiding in the bubble.

Monday, December 07, 2015

because december

Winter and I have a rocky relationship. There’s a lot of name calling, resentment, cold stares, and chilly silences between us. 

 But maybe, just maybe she’s trying to to offer an olive branch. It’s firmly mid-December and we’re still not wrapped in shrink wrap for the season. We’re still keeping hatches open. We’re still only in jackets some of the time, and even brave bare feet here and there.

 The 10 day forecast calls for mild with a chance of lovely. So why not? Why not accept the meteorological peace offering and take the boat out, even while I am writing holiday cards. Why not put a hat on and with those sunglasses and make the most of it. 

 We gathered whoever was walking by on the dock and some old, dear friends and pointed the bows towards the sunshine. Everyone else has run away to southern latitudes or gone into shrink wrapped hibernation, but we’re saying let’s do this. Let’s keep going until winter has a change of heart.

(Sparkles on the water, nature's tinsel.)

(Zach and Choo Choo hiding under a quilt.)

(These two have been friends for 9 years. Always warms my heart when they are together.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

and life goes on

Did you hear that exhale? That was me, finally able to breathe again when my tech whiz hubby said those magical 8 words. "I recovered your photos from the dead laptop."

It was all of 2015. All of it. Yeah, I should have been backing up. I get that. Lesson learned.

When I went to the past months of photos I was a little overwhelmed. Where do I start, how do I pick up where I left off? There was the annual camping trip with Joy and her fabulous family to Shenandoah National Park back in early September...

And then much of September and October was spent with boat friends from all over. Two boats from Europe both with boys Zach's age hung out for about 6 weeks. It was non-stop fun with the kids making constant mischief (both the good kind and the not so good kind at times.) And the moms all drinking wine together and marveling at the universal antics of the pre-teen boy. We had such fun showing them our crazy but colorful country and hoped they came away realizing we're all quite friendly here and not nearly as plastic as we may seem.

There was a lot of late nights, and laughing, and wine, and playing music. My little ukulele and friends with guitars and ukes made for many happy memories late summer and fall. There is nothing like music (and wine) to bring people together and create connections. Of course there aren't many photos of those wonderful moments, or any that are for public consumption.

And we got in our last chilly sails on the Bay before winter hibernation. Sunny crisp and beautiful as always.

And of course Halloween at the marina is always a treat (haha!) It's such a sweet little tribe of kids, both boat kids and local kids who merge into the tribe for the experience of dock trick-or-treating. Our neighbors as always got really into it making it fun for the kids.

And finally earlier this month I got to hop on a friend's boat for a delivery down the Bay for a few days. Sailing other people's boats is always fun... it's all new and exciting, but when something breaks it's not your worry! It was a beautiful little trip, a nice mama break from the daily homeschool grind. Though just after the trip I got sick sick sick. Still recovering slowly. Glad I stayed well enough to make the little get away. It really made me appreciate just how beautiful our Chesapeake Bay is, with sunsets and pelicans and dolphins and boats from all over the world.

There is no way to go back and truly rehash all of the living that's happened in the last 3 months since my laptop up and died. But that's ok. I have all of the precious moments etched in my heart and mind, making me smile and remember. Documented or not, life goes on, and how sweet it is.
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