Monday, December 24, 2012

No time to be schmoopy- ITS CHRISTMAS!!

I have not been neglecting the blog. I do try to keep is somewhat focused on the boat (with a healthy bit of kid thrown in. Hey, the title is OUR life and right now our life is pretty darned kidcentric) and there had not been a whole heck of a lot of progress on the boat this month. We aren't slacking, far from it but the truth of the situation is that when Mark is away, precious little ground is gained. If we thought October and November were busily pulling us away from the boat with work, December taught us that we didn't really KNOW what busy was.

December found Mark traveling for work to Florida for a week. No time for fun and sun, he flew back home for a less than 24 hour stay. Bright and early the next morning, he was on a flight to Bergen, Norway. He was so frazzled by the quick flight turn around, he forgot to bring his coat. Mark joyfully embracing the stereotype of the thrifty Scot refused to buy a new coat when he had a perfectly suitable in his car. In Houston. So he bravely kept up a crazy weeks work schedule in Bergen, Norway in December. With no coat. Dude. I appreciate not wasting money as much as the next guy bit getting frostbite will definitely slow your roll.

Anyway, he was able to fly to Scotland to visit with his mother, sister and brother in law for you guessed it- one day. Then it was off to Nuremberg, Germany for a week. While he worked long days, he did find time to enjoy the Christmas markets. His take is that there is no place on Earth that does Christmas better than the Germans and we have put Christmas in Germany on our bucket list. Wouldn't a photo be nice? Yeah. He never takes his camera with him. Its on the nav desk on the boat, far from any image you might want to capture. From Germany, it was back to Norway but this time he was in Stavanger. His time in Norway has put another post cruise option on our list of possible locations. He just loves it there. I never thought much about living in Norway. but it would be kind of neat to see where my mom's family is from and we do have friends there so who knows?

From Stavanger, it was fly home to Houston. Hang your hat for a couple of hours then back to Florida for a few days. And that my friends was all of December. The bad news is that Oct., Nov. and Dec. have managed to push our schedule back by 3 months so there is the very real possibility that our departure date will have to move. The good news is that Mark doesn't so these kinds of work heavy months for the fun of it- they pay him. So bad news, schedule off, good news more pennies in the cruising kitty. I am not going to be schmoopy about yet another possible delay because he is home, we are together and IT IS CHRISTMAS!!!

I unabashedly adore Christmas. Its not as if I undergo a complete personality transplant and suddenly become a cookie baking, light installing Martha Stewart type who creates wintry tablescapes out of twigs, marshmallow forest creatures and snow I created in my freezer but I appreciate the handiwork of all those who do. This is shaping up to be a great Christmas and the biggest single reason for this is having a 2 year old who is every bit as excited when she sees light displays and decorated trees as I do. Kitty is a fellow fan of Christmas and man, is it ever fun.

This girl is completely horse crazy.
We went to a community Christmas party where they not only brought in Santa Claus (Kitty loves the Claus in theory, not reality. No photo ops with Santa this year. She kept telling the kids behind her 'Its your turn'. ) but ponies (Kitty is seriously horse crazy), a train, bouncy castles and the mother of all wonders for kids raised in the subtropics- SNOW!! 

Kitty could not wait to throw herself into the snow. Once she did, she learned the hard, cold truth. (pun intended) Snow is damned cold. She turned around holding her hands up "Mama. I need glubs".

 Maura was excited by the snow until she realized that snow in 75 degree weather turns to ice and that stuff is slick. She looked like a geriatric tottering around on the ice but is wily enough to have plucked a candy cane decoration that was the perfect size to function as a walking cane and enjoyed the ice until her feet were too cold and then it was time for home. Who needs Disney World?

While Mark was off traveling the world for fun and profit, Maura and I got to work on a fun little project. My dear friend Steve Rees, formerly of Two O'Clock Courage was kind enough to record a little piece of Christmas music for Maura to sing. Steve is an incredibly tasty guitar player and I love what he did for her. We didn't tell him anything other than "Do your thing"and boy did he come up with a lovely arrangement for her. He's not only a fantastic musician, he has a place in his heart for young musicians. I think he was the perfect conspirator to work with Maura on her first ever recording.

 Cindy Pruitt of Smiley Face Records was a gem to work with as well. Even going into a small studio, doing a quick and easy vocal take without any bells and whistles or studio magic can be daunting to an inexperienced singer. Cindy was very warm, welcoming and put no pressure on Maura. I think Maura had a really great first studio experience which will serve her well when she is grown should she continue to want to sing. Thanks again to Cindy and Steve. We really place a high value on experiences over things and this was a great experience for her.

So here is Maura singing a song of the season with highlights of the past year. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. May this next year find you an abundance of laughter, joy, health, adventure and a great big horizon.

* When Mark heard this his comments where "ACK! It sounds so ENGLISH! Why did you pick something so slow and without a beat?!?! Because Mark, 'God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen' is my dad's favorite Christmas song and my dad is my number one Daddyo and since he is the bees knees, he gets his granddaughter singing his favorite.

Not to worry. Kitty shares your love of hard rocking Christmas music as evidenced here:

That's right. That's my baby singing The Kinks. That is how we roll. Merry Christmas everyone.


  1. Wow, way to go Maura, that was so beautiful! I am way impressed! And Kitty, you rocked out! Merry Christmas to your crew from ours with lots of love!

  2. Merry Christmas!! Love the video:D. Maura has a great voice. Geesh Mark is jet setting around the Globe for sure. He is no stranger to travel. Sorry to hear your departure may be pushed back, but life has a way of doing that. At least it is for reasons that also grow the kitty!

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful New Year as well.

  3. Its really amazing to see how much your children grew over the course of the year. Like if you look at the first photos then the last it stands out.

    Merry Christmas and happy new year!

    1. They are indeed growing so quickly. Happy Christmas Tate!!

  4. Christmas with kids is always a blessing. At 19 and 26, we still love having our kids to ourselves on Christmas Day. And yes, Germany totally knows how to do Christmas right. Some of our best family memories from my childhood are of Christmases in Germany.
    We loved the videos, with Maura's sweet voice and one of my favorite carols. Yes, VERY English in that rendition. I feel it in my bones. And of course, Kitty and The Kinks. Get that baby a drum set!
    So excellent that your kidlets got to experience snow, even if someone had to bring it in. "Glubs", indeed, are necessary to fully enjoy the cold stuff. Of course, to really get the whole 'snow' experience, mountains are without comparison. We have them if you ever get up this way. Tall ones that have snow all year round.
    Glad you had a very merry Christmas, and here's a toast to you and your lovely family for a fabulous New Year!

  5. With your ringing endorsement for Christmas in Germany, I will put a gold star next to that item on the lost. ;)Thanks Melissa and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  6. Oooh I can't wait until I have internet fast enough to listen to Maura's song! And yes, Christmas in Germany is beautiful!! It was gorgeous in the town of Rouen (France) as well. Paris is always lovely, but there is something about small European towns and there Christmas markets. Can't wait to show them to the kids one day.

  7. GRYMG is my favorite Christmas carol. Great job Maura!

    ( my world anyone who embraces haggis has no room to criticize the English - be it food or music)