Saturday, October 30, 2010

Eureka! aww poop.

Eureka!, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

After contemplating the girls berth and the much needed baby containment device for more time than one would imagine, I finally came up with a workable design. The good news? It is workable, doable and easily removable once the need for a baby berth has passed. The bad news? The design all hinges on a part that is apparently non existant.

See that handy bit of pvc there? That is essentially the shape I need, except I need all 3 openings to be 1.5 inches. As you can see, this one has 2 openings the correct size but the third is much too small. I have searched for this to no avail. It does not exist at Home Depot, Lowe's, Ace Hardware, Sears Hardware, Tractor Supply or Ewings Plumbing. Surely I can not be the only person who needs something like this?

This feels very much like shoe shopping. For years I would have the perfect shoe in mind before I set out only to not be able to find what I want. I always find "something close" but not close enough. This is probably why I will be selling a metric butt load of barely worn shoes before we move aboard. Sorry for the digression there...

Anyway, a big thanks to the Bumfuzzles for hipping me to where to find fabric for the enclosure and mounting brackets. I'd like to send a big thank you out to someone for finding me the above pictured piece, except with all 3 opening being either 1.5 inches or 2 inches. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Maura perplexed by the plethora of plumbing

The sign queries whether we need help. That my friends, is what we call an understatement.

Cupcake Friday

Cupcake, originally uploaded by CidnieC.
One of the advantages of not giving your kids sweets on a regular basis is that you can take your girls out for a cupcake at your favorite bakery and because they aren't inundated with sweets- it becomes an event. The weather was gorgeous and I couldn't get anything else useful done for the day so the girls and I headed out for cupcakes and conversation. We all had a great time.

That is a seriously big cupcake for a small person!

Fiona's first bit of cake

kids 055, originally uploaded by CidnieC.
Kitty had her first little taste of cake- vanilla infused with Tequila and lime zest. She dug it. Rather than hear how awful a parent I am for letting her sample a tiny bit of cake, I think we should focus on the personal growth demonstrated by me. I will give you the shirt off my back, my last dollar but I will not share my dessert. I shared with Kitty. See how I am growing?


Cupcake, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

Nothing is better than an Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake as big as your head.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Debunking the boat

While Maura was at school having her little head crammed full of knowledge, Kitty and I went to the boat to give her a bit of a wash and ponder the sleeping arrangements. We scrubbed her down quickly enough- and by we I mean me with baby on my back- and spent a good hour measuring berths, cabins and wondering how exactly to make this work. I don't know that we've made much progress but I think I've come up with the only reasonable solution.

 My first thought was to spit the aft cabin so each girl would have her own space. Then I measured it out and realized each girl would have a tiny, narrow berth. Then there is the issue of the cockpit seat which gives the cabin top over the berth an awkward shape guaranteed to cause head injury on a daily basis.

 My next thought was to block off the pilot berth for the baby. At anchor, there won't be enough ventilation and that electrical panel would prove far too tempting for little fingers. If put the cloth far enough back to prevent little fingers from flipping switches, Kitty would be essentially sleeping in a drawer. A dark, noisy, unventilated drawer.

I briefly considered giving the girls the fore cabin. It is wide enough to split down the middle, then add a cloth enclosure to keep Kitty in her bunk. Then I remembered the one time that Mark and I slept in the aft cabin and how that didn't work. I admit to being a bit of a princess with a pea when it comes to sleeping accomodations. I slept much better in the fore cabin, even with the extra motion.

The only workable solution is to give the girls the aft cabin with no divider down the middle. I told Maura I was really sorry, but she would have to share. I reminded her that they have solo bunks at Ursuline Academy*. She felt that she would be ok sharing with her little sister, so long as she was allowed to use the pilot berth should she so choose from time to time. I assured her this was fine.

Now all I've got to do is figure out how to enclose the end of the berth to keep the little one in. The berth has a shelf and storage area which means the cloth "gate" will have to have an odd shape and multiple attachment points to keep her safely contained. I've got a bit more thinking to do on that...

You can see the shelf area on the left, otherwise
known as "baby escape hatch"
*(Ursuline Academy is the convent boarding school Maura gets threatened with when she doesn't like my rules. I remind her that I love her, but the nuns don't!)


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hey, that's not a picture of a boat.

You noticed. I thought I might distract you from the lack of refit photos by a cute baby photo. Ah well. Fiona is here modeling a shirt with my favorite motto 'Keep Calm and Carry On'. That IS boat related. That is my little mantra whether it be for encountering sailing situations that make me nervous or Murphy moving into our fore cabin and delaying progress on the refit.

Mark's work load has once again prevented progress. I could try to sort out the bulkheads on my own but I feel that my typical MacGyver chewing gum + duct tape + velcro approach is best not tried on something as important as structural repairs. Best to leave something so important in the capable hands of Mark, even if those hands are otherwise preoccupied.

I'm planning on sorting out the sleeping arrangements this week and hope to begin construction of the baby berth by next week. I've still got a few issues to think on and sort out but we will get there. I'm looking forward to my first real sewing attempt. This should at least be entertaining as the last time I tried sewing was when I was 9 and tried to make some clothes for my Barbies. If you want to know how well that turned out, you should know that my Barbies wore clothes fashioned out of fabric, scotch tape and staples for the rest of their lives.

Here's a photo of Maura taken at the Faire.  We like to point out 'key skills learned' with tongue firmly in cheek to her whenever one of us tries something new or something mundane to make it more interesting. Cleaning your closet? Key skill- organization. Not taking 30 minute showers or running the water non stop while brushing teeth? Key skill- water conservation. Having your mom reassure you while you scream in terror while you ae strapped into a harness, hoisted 30 feet in the air and told to bounce on a trampoline? Key skill learned- conquering that fear of heights which is handy when your parents need to send you up the mast. Don't worry, after the inital Bungee Bounce attempt and its screams, Maura declared it "awesome".

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

All I want for Christmas is an extra pair of hands

Kitty was something less than impressed with the Faire
On Saturday, with Mark being offshore for work and Maura off with her grandparents competing in a soccer competition, I thought I'd take Kitty out for a day at the Renaissance Festival. I have so many friends who are artists and performers who work the show I thought it would be a great opportunity to see old friends, introduce Kitty to everyone and take some photos in my ever on going quest to learn to use my camera.

HA! Kitty was less than impressed by the crowds. They were noisy and they kept sticking their faces into hers, trying to elicit a smile. Kitty stared at them as if there were something seriously wrong with them. She liked exactly 3 people. Everyone else was given the silent treatment. She was not a fan of the noise. She did not enjoy her stroller and instead insisted on riding in the sling on her mama's hip. All. Day. Long. So much for me getting photos. Its tough to operate a camera one handed.

So did I see any shows? Nope. Did I get to peruse the shops? Nope. What exactly did I do all day? I rocked a baby. And rocked. And rocked. Still, it wasn't a complete waste of time. I did get to see friends and say hello. I did manage to go to my favorite shoe seller and procure a pair of warm baby shoes for winter that will actually stay on Kitty's tiny feet. We had beautiful weather and got to spend the day outside. That is the sum total of our grand adventure together. I've promised Maura that I would take her out before the show ends. Perhaps I'll manage to get some photos the next time.

This is one of the few photos I actually got.
Very fitting as this is what I felt like for thinking things would go as planned.

Monday, October 18, 2010

To sleep, perchance to dream...

 The issue I am currently wrestling with is where to put the baby. See Kitty in the photo above? She is laughing at us and our feeble attempts to both get her to sleep in her own bed for an entire night and to figure out where to put her bed on the boat.

We bought the boat with the intention of having 3 people living aboard. It was fairly easy and straight forward. Maura would take the rear double cabin, which was too cramped for Mark and I and we would use the pilot berth (which doubles as the nav station seat) on passages and take the front v-berth when at anchor. Then along came Kitty who is a joy and a treasure but is completely disrupting our perfect plans for accomodations on the boat.

At this point in time, Kitty starts out the evening in her pack in play in Mark's and my room. After she wakes up for the third or fourth time in the night to eat, I bring her into bed with us in a desperate attempt to get some sleep. I'd just keep her in bed with us full time if it Mark's sleep wasn't disrupted so much by the wee one and her need for late night snacking. I am hopeful that evenutally she will sleep through the night and I very much hope it happens before she is off to college.

Here in lies the rub on the boat. While she could bunk in the back cabin with Maura, I am well aware that Maura is 10-almost 11 and her needs are different than Kitty's. We could put Kitty in the pilot berth and just bunk on a settee during passages but Kitty is a very light sleeper and being so close to the nav station and the noise from the communications station is guaranteed to keep her awake. We could put her in the salon on one of the settees with a lee cloth, but then we would have to tiptoe around the salon at far too early an hour. The v-berth would work with a bunk board while at anchor for the girls but then we would be scrambling for a place for them to sleep during passages and Mark and I would be too cramped in the rear cabin. *sigh*

I'm not sure what the solution is at this point in time and would love to hear how others have managed with kids with such a large difference in ages. I never, ever thought I would say this but boy does a catamaran look appealing just now.

The girls in a moment of togetherness

Friday, October 15, 2010

In the Galley

One of the toughest jobs on a boat is provisioning. You not only have to deal with issues such as refrigeration or the lack there of, but often you have issues with product accessibility and storage space.

Then you have the issue of a very picky kid who raises her eyebrows at anything which looks unfamiliar. Maura usually comes around, but if I present new foods in a familiar format she is more likely to try it.

I'm still working out the kinks while we are land based in order to make the move easier. We won't be able to run to the market anytime we like and we are rather limited on space. Due to the space limitations, pantry items that serve multiple uses are key.

Our current loved item? Rice Krispies. In a bowl with some milk- breakfast. Scattered on the Bumbo tray- a baby friendly nibble. Mixed with marshmallow fluff and butter? Delicious Rice Krispie treats. It also makes a tasty coating for fish or chicken.

I've been working on recipes that are kid friendly in hopes of making the switch to full time liveaboard cruiser a bit easier for the kids. I'm not a chef, I wouldn't even consider myself a good cook, but I can fake it fairly well. Here's how we make oven baked fish nuggets. You would do the same for chicken but fish are much more plentiful along the water than chickens are!

Place a cup or two of Rice Krispies in a Ziploc bag. Add garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.
Close the bag and give it to the kid. Tell them to crush the Rice Krispies. Do not worry if your kid pounds the bag with their fist, you were smart and got the double seal bags.
Pat the fish or chicken dry with a paper or dish towel.
Cut your fish or chicken into nugget sized pieces. For fish, cut the nuggets a bit thicker.
Put a beaten egg or egg beaters in a  bag, put in your protein and shake until coated.
Place the egg washed nuggets into the bag of seasoned, crushed Rice Krispies.
Give it to the kid and shake until the nuggets are coated.
Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet in a 350 degree oven and bake. Fish will take about 10 minutes, chicken closer to 15-20 depending on the size of the nuggets.

Voila! You have tricked your kid into thinking you are serving them fast food.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Year One Refit

A look back on our first year of life with Ceol Mor. Good thing we love her so!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday- not so much a day of rest

I think that all of our refitting photos should be in black and white or sepia. This way, once we are actually sailing again we can post photos in COLOR. It will be just like Dorothy leaving Kansas and arriving in Oz in technicolor. Just like the Wizard of Oz except we have fewer Munchkins and ours don't tend to wear flower pots on their heads.

Mark and I spent the afternoon glassing in the deck core repair above the bulkhead. This would not have been possible without the assistance of Maura as babyminder. I have become a pro at mixing epoxy, hardner and collodial silica and many variations there of.
This is what one side of my garage has become, a supply store.

Mark and his mad professor hair. With precious little time to do any work, haircuts are low on the priority list.

We have far more intimate knowledge of our chain plates than is decent.

Mixing, mixing, hurry up and mix again.

Mix some more...

My Sunday afternoon vista. For a very large portion of Sunday.

Bonus baby shot- Kitty with her beloved Manky Bunny.

We are finished with recoring the small part of the deck that was soft. Now we are ready to move down to the chain plates. Mark shall be going solo for a bit until he is ready for my mad mixology skills.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Highlights of the Blog Roll

So what do I do while taking care of the muchkins while Mark completes the non-couple friendly aspects of the refit? I read blogs. I read them a LOT. Mostly because I'm not one to watch television and that's about the only other thing you can do when you have a baby who insists on nursing all the time yet eschews Mama doing any other activities while she eats. So here are a few of my favorites.

Eric and Charlotte and their little baby girl Cora are liveaboards who are preparing themselves and their boat for some cruising. Sound familiar? Yeah. Eric's blog is full of handy refit and maintenance tips, while Charlotte's blog focuses more on living aboard with a baby. Charlotte has the crafty gene and I enjoy seeing her handy work, mostly because I lack the crafty gene. Also, their baby is really cute so you get lots of cute baby photos. I like cute baby photos in the morning with my coffee.

Amanda is a new liveaboard with her husband Marc. Its enjoyable to follow along as they figure out the whole living aboard thing. Boats are sort of like houses, but not really. They are expecting their first baby very, very soon. Amanda has a bit of hippy, free spiritedness within her which I can both relate to and which I love. She is also a bee keeper. Those of you who know about my bee fetish will understand why she is at the top o' my list of blogs to check.

I found this blog a long time ago due to some scuttlebutt on a sailing forum. Apparently, even though they've sailed around the world (literally) there are some in the sailing community who frown upon them. For what reason I've yet to discover. Maybe they didn't grow up racing Lasers and maybe they don't know every knot in the Annapolis Book of Seamanship. Who the heck cares? They are obviously very capable and more importantly to me-they are so NORMAL. These are people you could share a basket of tortilla chips, some salsa and a few beers with and not feel as if you were speaking a different language. They are also refitting their new to them boat while living life with their super adorable baby girl Ouest. Notice a theme here? Babies + Boat= something I can relate to.

                                                                           Zach Aboard
Another live aboard family who I can relate to. I found Cindy's blog a year or so ago. The adventures of Zach, his mom and dad and his soon to arrive baby sister make a compelling argument for living aboard. This is the blog I send the naysayers to when they voice concerns about us taking the girls out to live on a boat. I figure if those who worry overly much can see that  yes, kids can thrive without the latest and greatest video game, cable tv and all the other "stuff" that so many people put a value on they will be less likely to freak when we are posting photos of us with our kids out in the middle of the sea. Bonus is the beautiful photography on this blog. Even if you aren't interested in a cruiser/liveaboard lifestyle if you like pretty photos, this blog has plenty.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Our Duck

Our Duck, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

Now here's a birdie neighbor that we do not mind having around. We call her Jemima Puddleduck. She enjoys whole grain crusts but does not like to have her photo taken. I have lots of photos of her scurrying away. Hopefully next time I can convince her to stick around and enjoy her breakfast while my shutter fires away.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Here, there and everywhere

Mark said something that absolutely sent shudders down my spine. While discussing the work load, I offered to take up the portion of refitting that I know I can do without screwing it up too badly- getting the salon cushions redone. Mark said that aesthetics were low on the list of priorities because he would be working on the boat "for years" and that aesthetics could wait. I wasn't upset by keeping aesthetics at the back of the list, but more so that Mark seems convinced that Ceol Mor will require years of refitting. That is not an acceptable answer.

I know these things take time, but just now I feel trapped between a rock, a hard place and yet another rock. I'm currently living in 2 different locations, about to add a third. Suburbs, bay and boat. Its a bit crazy to be living with one hand on the kids, the other clutching a suitcase. We can't live on the boat just yet as she's in too much disarray while Mark completes the structural work on the chain plates. I think this might be a blessing as I can't imagine adding yet a third home into the mix until things are sorted a bit more.

I'll keep reminding Mark that we are farther along than he thinks. The bottom is blister free and painted, the engine is in good working order so once we get the chain plates finished , the lights redone and the boat rerigged we will technically have everything we NEED, just maybe not everything we want.

I continue to downsize, get rid of stuff and make arrangements to vacate the suburbs at the end of the school year. I am hopeful Ceol Mor will be ready for us to move aboard shortly there after.

Look at Ceol Mor in her slip. Doesn't she look as if she is itching to head out?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sunrise on Galveston Bay

Sunrise on Galveston Bay, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

No fancy edits here. I lucked out andhappened to catch this on an early morning walk.

Coming in for a landing...

Coming in for a landing..., originally uploaded by CidnieC.

I love bees. I love bees because even though they should not be able to fly, they do it anyway. I love the audacity of bees. Taken on one of my morning walks along the bay...

Sunset on Ceol Mor

Sunset on Ceol Mor, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

My favorite view of all. Can not wait until she is ready to sail once again.

Captain KIdd

Captain KIdd, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

The Captain Kidd is a regular sight on our outings into the Bay. Other sailors seem to snicker at her because she is always overloaded with tourists, is perhaps not exactly in Bristol fashion and she usually has all of her red canvas up but barely creeps by.

I love her. I love her because when you are out sailing with little kids, the sight of a "pirate ship" with red sails off in the distance delights them. A pirate ship in the distance, binoculars and a cabin below to plot their defenses, these are the things that make sailing as a child more fun than it ever will be for an adult. Oh the stories this boat has inspired...

Pile of sea glass

Pile of sea glass, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

Maura's haul...

Maura glass

Maura glass, originally uploaded by CidnieC.

Maura with the seaglass she found. It made the scrapes she suffered all worth while. She even found a rare piece of red glass.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Kitty 060, originally uploaded by mabbity.

Its Kitty's turn for a b&w photo.

Maura in B&W

Piglet 056, originally uploaded by mabbity.

I love this photo. Maura is proudly displaying the scrapes on her legs and arms that she received because she did not believe me when I told her flip flops were no good for climbing rocks at low tide. Never mind, nothing soothes her wounded pride like a good book.

Maura's first sail

Maura, originally uploaded by mabbity.

This was taken 4 years ago. It was the first time Maura had been on sailboat. We went out on Moondance, a friend's Pearson 30. Maura was absolutely giddy the entire trip. I love that I have a photo of the day she fell in love with sailing.

Early morning birds

Early morning birds, originally uploaded by mabbity.

See? I like birds just fine so long as they are not pooping on my boat.

Mark and Kitty

Mark and Kitty, originally uploaded by mabbity.

Mark and Kitty

M&K, originally uploaded by mabbity.

Mark and Kitty on a Saturday evening at the Bay.

Maura by the bay

Maura at the bay, originally uploaded by mabbity.

A Sturday night, everyone had colds so we just hung out quietly along Galveston Bay.

Ah brightwork, you sit there neglected

Piglet 180, originally uploaded by mabbity.

Kitty and I taking a break from cleaning

to processupload 058, originally uploaded by mabbity.

Scrub a dub dub

to processupload 036, originally uploaded by mabbity.

Maura cleaning with a happy heart

to processupload 041, originally uploaded by mabbity.

Photos from our weekly bird poop removal. That bird has it out for us.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.