Sunday, August 26, 2012


It's a long tale of woe, but the Cliff Notes go like this. Toddler chases big brother. Toddler trips and doesn't break her fall. Toddler splits chin open. Lots and lots of blood pour out. Toddler gets her first trip to the ER. Big brother nearly passes out watching baby sister get 8 stitches.
 Big brother calls her Frankenbaby. And less than 24 hours later she was trying to go down the slide at the park backwards and using toy trucks as roller skates. Mama plucks new grey hairs. We all need a rest.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

ode to joy

A couple of weeks ago I went out on a secret mission. While it may have looked like we were traveling down south to see the in-laws... I was actually out to raid Joy's larder. You see, she keeps posting on her blog about all of the delicious, fresh, homegrown yummies she's been canning and stashing. And little old kitchen impaired me can only read and drool.

But Joy lives just 3 miles from my in-laws and she was away at camp with her daughter when we came to town, so I decided to swoop in and help myself to her provisions.

It started with a lovely morning hanging out with her way-cool husband Paul and their 3 boys at the local park.

Then I managed to talk my way over to their place and move in for the kill. Paul was kind enough to offer, so I didn't miss a beat. Peach salsa? Blackberry jam? Tomato sauce? Yes, yes, yes please and thank you!

Even though we should be all Little House about it and save the harvest for those dark days of winter, we couldn't resist the call of that blackberry jam. It started off on toast, but Naia decided eating it straight from the jar with fingers was far more efficient and delicious. All the while she was jibber jabbering the words from the book Jamberry.

Thank you Joy! And we'll be back...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

mama hold you

This age is just too stinkin' cute. Pig tails and wide eyes and little earnest conversations. One of the things that melts me is when Naia feels scared about something (which is not very often, she is a tough cookie) she mumbles, "Mama's here, mama's here, mama's here." I love how she takes something I say all the time and uses it to comfort herself and give her confidence. Her other heart melting act is when she throws herself into my arms and says dramatically, "Mama hold you, mama hold you!" Pause for big snuggles.

Then when she's in busy toddler mode I watch her go through all kinds of mimicking, like nursing her toys (everything from turtles to hedgehogs to tea cups). Or when she grabs her keys and phone and heads to the door, "I going to work, bye bye".

Or she sees her brother head off fishing, and sets up her own fishing pond on the floor.

She still gets carried around in a Boba carrier, so she always asks, "Make pack-pack for my dollies pwease mama." So I tie a wee playsilk around her torso, and I stuff whatever little friends she requests back there. And it always amazes me how she'll spend half the day doing her thing with those babies on her back. I wonder where that comes from?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

wish for a fish

My boy is a sleeper. Doug and I always joke that we can tell already he will grow up to be a coffee drinker. He just has that coffee drinker's attitude toward mornings. Blah.

But something has him up and DRESSED at dawn each morning these days.
"I want to catch a fish big enough that it can be dinner for the whole family!" That's his goal. I don't have the heart to tell him that those big fish don't hang out at the end of the pier, and that the fish in marina waters are a little.. uh... yucky. All I can do is watch him go, every morning and every evening after dinner and smile.  He stays out until way past dark.

I ring the boat bell and signal him to come home. He regales me with stories about the big ones he caught and set free. I appropriately widen my eyes and ooooo and ahhhh.
And I think back to this little squirt and his first ever fishing trip with our pals Funny Scott and Lisa when he was exactly Naia's age.

Really, was he ever that small? So big fish of the Chesapeake, if you're reading this, please swim a little closer to our pier. He's getting up early just for you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

yelling fire

Still bleary eyed and not quite dressed yet we sat down to breakfast and my mama radar kicked into high gear. I smelled something burning and it wasn't my cooking this time.

Everybody off the boat, NOW! The kids waited on the dock while I scurried about the boat like a hound dog trying to track down what was burning. I knew the smell was electrical, it had that horrible, acrid, nostril twisting smell of wires on fire. But where, where, where was the offending connection?

The smell was the worst in the aft, port hull where one of our air conditioning units sits. I figured the unit was frying from working so hard all these weeks so I flipped that breaker first. The smell definitely got weaker, but my nose told me not to relax just yet. I brought the kids back on board and through a series of checks that most boaters know about after many years aboard I found the culprit.

We have a dedicated 30amp shore power cord just for our air conditioners and it decided to melt and char the receptacle on the boat too. I am sure glad I caught it at smoldering stage and was home before it possibly turned into flame stage.
(here's a lesson friends, black is not a conductive color)
A trip to the marine store and a couple of hundred dollars later and we were back in business. Doug came home early because installing the new electrical receptacle is a two person job when you have a toddler nipping at your heels. Doug hung out in the fresh air doing his end of the job.

Zach decided taking apart the charred electrical receptacle was the coolest thing ever.

And I got to hang out here.

Inside the dark, damp, stinky, airless aft steps where our rudder post is and where the back end of the electrical receptacle lives. "Mama what you do in dere?"  Sweating, my dear, sweating very heavily.  I hope the next time we smell burning, it's just the usual attempts at baking and dinner.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


No we haven't lost our minds by adding a four legged crew member to this floating circus. We're just dog sitting. Meet Choo-Choo, the sweetest, cuddliest, mellowest little rat terrier ever. He belongs to some long time friends who are now living in Texas and due to a tangle of circumstances ended up needing us to watch him as they traveled northeast. My boy is in heaven. He was old enough when our beloved Schooner died to remember what life with a dog is like, and he's loving every minute of it.

Choo sleeps with Zach. However he doesn't just lay at the foot of the bed, he burrows under the covers and snuggles in the crook of his legs and stays buried in there all night long. For a boy who still doesn't like to sleep alone, this is nirvana.

I have to admit that Doug and I are tickled to death having the pitter patter of little paws up on deck and seeing the familiar guard dog ears perk up as people walk up and down the dock. We really have to repeat to ourselves over and over, "This is just temporary. Dogs and travel do not mix. This is just temporary."
Naia adores Choo as well, but in that scary over bearing toddler way. She screeches his name in uncontrollable delight, she hugs him perhaps a little too tightly (and he takes it like a champ), and of course she is fascinated with his dog food. I mean what's not to like? It's little bit sized pieces, they're crunchy, they have a strong smell, and of course it's all right there at her level. How's a girl to resist?

"I cookin' for you Choo Choo," she declares as he passively observes her mixing kibble with water and offering it to him.

(and then the whole thing became a hat, water and kibble and all. of course.)

(am I a bad mom for snapping photos of her gnawing on his bone before taking the filthy thing out of her mouth? oh well.)

She flips out when Zach takes him off for a walk to to his business. "Where Choo Choo go? I want Choo Chooo again, pwease mama!!" Cue the tears. So it's going to have to be a very delicate maneuver when his owners show up and drive him back home to Texas later this week. We'll miss the Choo.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

sea legs

These lazy August days have been perfect for dinghy rides and sails on the good ship No Name. The weather is too hot for us weather wimps to unplug the big boat from the dockside air conditioning. Once it's below 90-something and have more than 5 knots of wind, we'll head out again. These slow days are perfect for Zach and his little boat. He still requires a chase boat when out on the sailboat, our creek is quite busy and he doesn't quite have the chops to negotiate the traffic yet. But he's been having fun finding his way and going out with more experienced friends while the paparazzi follows from a distance in case they need help.

(That pumpout boat weaves in and out of all the marinas on the creek, the smell should keep the boys clear of his path though.)
(Just one example of the busy boats on our waterway. This guy had his iPod headphones in, so I am not sure he was paying attention to other boaters all that much.)

Miss Naia confidently rides in the dinghy, walking about as if she were strolling on dirt. She sings and waves hi very enthusiastically to every passing boat and of course always wants to drive.

Sometimes I laugh thinking how most kids are learning to ride their bike through the neighborhood on their own. And most toddlers are learning balance by going to a My Gym class. And here we are with our own crazy version of childhood and growing up. Some people look at how we're choosing to raise our kids and asking why? I say, why not?

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

The $1.50 Sheets

We were rummaging around Goodwill for something or another and I saw the yellow. Sort of a late 1960's looking flowery pattern on a  queen sized fitted and flat sheet. $1.50? Yes, please!

All that yardage gave me the perfect chance share the thrifted bed linen love. So I started making wee little pants. One after another the little yellowy orange flower power pants rolled off the sewing machine and I sent them to my boat baby pals. You see, I have this fantabulous tribe of mamas who, like me, are raising their kiddos afloat. We're in different parts of the world and have different boats and have come to this life for different reasons, but we all have a connection that's strong and true. Some of these amazing mamas I have met in person and some are friends across email/blog/etc. We all have one other thing in common, our little girls.

Naia, Cora, Kitty, and Gabrielle are all about the same age and have all been boat babies since birth. We have shared tips and tricks, trials and tribulations, ideas and dreams. And now upcycled bed sheet clothes.

I sent some pants to Cora (which you can see here), Kitty, and Gabrielle (which you can see here) last month. It was too stinkin' hot to make pants for Naia so I took a second try at dress making and came up with this.

It's this super easy pattern from Leila and Ben (which I modified by not putting elastic on the end of the sleeves.) I also added two little pockets that I cut up from some vintage hankies.

One thing I love about working with a bed sheet set is that I am not worried about trying new patterns or ideas because I know I have plenty of fabric to spare and I am not wasting money if I mess up. It's very freeing. There is still a lot of sheet left. Naia may be wearing yellow flowers for a long while.

Friday, August 03, 2012


This was going to be a post singing the praises of the Junior Ranger Program and all of its amazing opportunities for kids and families. That will come. But a funny thing happened on the way to earning his latest Junior Ranger badge.

We were at Ft. McHenry in Baltimore and before heading out to explore the fort with our ranger booklets in hand we decided to find a spot of grass and shade to have some food. Of course, Zach and his companions G and L quickly got bored with lunch and went wandering and scratching in the dirt like a flock of chickens. Once again, we mamas heard the cry of, "Look, look we found something! Artifacts!" And once again I was guilty of brushing it off. I was hot. I was trying to feed and chase a toddler. I figured they'd found, ya know, rocks.

White. Shiny. Shard shaped. Hmmmm. Sure looks like pottery. Hey kids, stop digging. Let's go find a ranger. My friend K was fabulous about keeping the kids enthusiasm in check while also protecting the grounds of a national park. Long story short, the kids discovered a previously undiscovered archaeological site at Fort McHenry. The rangers talked about what they had found and what else might be in that spot, and reminded them gently the site should remain undisturbed until their park archaeologists can examine it.

Between the arrowhead, and some artifacts he found on Wye Island this summer, and this... he's got a pretty good head start with a life in archaeology. And even if he becomes a music teacher instead or a pro-surfer or a chef, he'll have a lifetime of memories from his childhood of digging in the dirt.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...