Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Weekend on the Coast

A few weeks ago, I took the kiddos out to the coast for a good friend's baby shower.  I spent a lot of time in Westport when I was little.  My father operated a 50' Delta Hull charter boat out of Westport until he was diagnosed with terminal cancer when I was eight.  My family has deep roots in Westport and we do not get down there nearly as often as we should (it had been five years since my last visit).  

Westport is a small fishing town on the Washington coast.  Usually the weather is mediocre (think depressing misty fog).  The weather while we were visiting was gorgeous!

I kept telling T (on the phone) that I we should be sailing down the Washington coastline in this weather.  I did a lot of daydreaming about cruising while we walked the beach and watched Kate play in the tide pools. 

Someday ((deep longing sigh)) ... I hope we will be out there on Ma'alahi ( Ma'alahi II... or something??).

What a gift. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Photo of the Week - How Lucky are We?

I LOVE taking photos!  Although I include photos in most of my posts, I am going to start posting photos (at least weekly) that move me in some way or that I think show the beauty in the place we call home. 

 It is so easy to fall into a routine and forget to be thankful for this beautiful place we live.  How lucky are we to be able drive 15 minutes and enjoy this park??

(San Juan County Park - looking toward Victoria, BC).

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Baby/Toddler Mobility

If there is one thing that am really neurotic about - it is researching baby products/gear.  I knew that, with a 15 month age difference between our children, we would need a sturdy double stroller.  I researched everything on the market - tandem strollers, double wide strollers, sit and stand strollers, three and four wheel strollers, etc.  

I ended up buying (used) the Phil & Teds Vibe stroller with doubles kit.  This stroller (made in New Zealand) retails for $930 - I got it gently used for $450 (including shipping) on eBay.  I have seen this model of stroller go for as little as $350 on eBay. 
 This stroller is perfect for our family for the following reasons:
  • It is not very heavy - weighing in at 22 lbs
  • You can fold it without un-installing the doubles kit (back seat)
  • It has three inflatable tires so it is easy to push on the dock (which is bumpy in places) 
  • You can set it up so that the newborn can lay flat (look at the phil & teds website for a picture)
  • The back seat can be removed when one kid outgrows the stroller.  
  • It packs away almost as compactly as my single stroller (I had the Bumbleride Indie (website) which is also an awesome option for only children)

I still need to purchase a few accessories to complete our travel system.  I am going to get the rain coat ($50) and am interested in the optional saddle bags (to store groceries in) - these clip on to both sides of the stroller (also $50... all the accessories for this stroller are $50-$100!! - ouch!).  

It is worth noting that, as liveaboards, you will be logging many miles on whatever stroller you choose (I walk about 1/3 of a mile just to get to the car).  I would not recommend cutting corners to save money on this type of purchase.  

Good Luck! 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sucia - Ma'alahi's First Trip!

We received M's passport book last Thursday (8/4).  T and I both got excited at the prospect of travel with our kids.  We decided that we should keep our first trip as simple as possible (although it was very tempting to head straight for Victoria).  

We untied from the dock at 8AM and were on an anchor buoy ($10/night) in Fossil Bay (Sucia Island) by 10:30AM. 

K's behavior was awesome during the trip - I occupied her with crayons (which I reserve for special times when I need her to be confined to her chair), read her stories, and gave her a special breakfast.  M slept most of the time - I think he found the sound and movement of the boat soothing.  

Bellow is the first side profile picture we have of the boat.  T and I both agreed that Ma'alahi looks a lot larger at anchor. 

The sun made an appearance as soon as we arrived.  We have a water baby!  (COLD!!)

 Seeing how much K loved the beach and exploring the area makes me confident that we are providing our kids with an adventurous, educational, and stimulating environment. 

I LOVED that we had our home with us.  Everything we could reasonably need was aboard with us.  The kids went to sleep easily because they were home.

T and I sat on the stern as it started to get dark and both agreed that all of the material and lifestyle sacrifices we have made are worth it for the ability to do things like this.  We are so lucky.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ma'alahi Tour - Living Room -

This is our living room, dining room, media room, etc.  The best decision that we made with this space is to remove the large table (see round table mounts in floor).  This allows for adequate playing/lounging space for our family.  We have also found the "marine leather" upholstery to be invaluable - it is easy to clean (think spit up).  

We have discussed purchasing a rug for this area to increase comfort.  We are holding off on that investment for a while because the floor is so easy to clean.

Facing Forward:
Note:  M's Clothing is stored inside the forward cabinet.  The children's books are stored in the cabinet just aft of M's cabinet.

Toy Storage & Baby Gate: 
Note - Baby gate blocks access to kitchen and companion way.  Toys are rotated out to provide K with variety. 

Port Settee:
TV, M's Bassinet, & K's high chair storage

Facing Starboard: 
This is where the table can be installed.  The table can drop down and convert to a double bed (the insert is stored under the master stateroom bed).

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Kiddos are not confined...

Establishing a routine has been a focus of mine since M's arrival.  When people hear that we are living aboard with kids they often express a concern for our kids ability to "run and play" in their home. 

So far, this has not been an issue AT ALL.  I make sure that K gets outside and plays at least once everyday.  Reflecting on our lifestyle before we moved aboard I know that she did not get outside daily.  Our whole family benefits from the deliberate act of getting outside.  I have been getting much more exercise since having M than I did after I had K due to the simple fact that I need to walk about 1/4 of a mile, up a hill, with the kids in the stroller, to simply get to the car.  Depending on what our plans are for the day, I will sometimes walk into town and keep the car parked all day.  Anyhow, the kids get a lot of fresh air and K gets plenty of exercise. 

We have found (and think that) kids are extremely adaptable to their environment.  I have not noticed anything different about K's personality or behavior since moving aboard (other than adjusting to the new baby).  K exceeds all of the motor skill benchmarks for her age range and is right on track verbally. 

My gut instinct is that she is thriving in our new living environment.  We are all happy. 

Here K is letting off a little steam in our "living room"...

 By the way... we have a smiling baby boy... (M - 10 weeks)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Our Background - Looking for Simplicity -

We moved to Friday Harbor, San Juan Island after getting married in 2007.  T and I grew up in suburban Seattle.  We loved visiting San Juan Island (we moored our first boat there) and decided that we could pursue a "simple" lifestyle by purchasing a large piece of land and attempt to have a hobby farm when we were not working.  

We purchased a gorgeous nine acre parcel in the center of the island.  Our property had multiple outbuildings, an orchard, pond, two large pastures, as well as a manufactured home that we had intended on replacing with traditional construction. 

We attempted to grow our own food (rather unsuccessfully) and raise egg laying hens and beef cattle.  After three years on the property, we started to grow very tired of the constant maintenance and mowing.  I developed serious allergies to hay/grass and was unable to help around the property.  

After a lot of reflection (and some research that I will write about in future posts), we decided to sell our property and look into purchasing a boat to live aboard.  This decision came shortly after we found out we were expecting our second baby.