Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Trip to Oriental -By Kayden

When we got back to our Dayma's house after my Dad's meetings, we went to sleep. When we woke up we had breakfast and all that.  Then we had a bonfire because there was so much cardboard, boxes, and sticks to burn for Dayma. My dad soaked everything with gasoline and it exploded faster than you can light a candle. Before we had the fire, my daddy went to the gas station and I had the idea to get honey grams to make s'mores. 

It was snowing during the fire - like being in a snow globe. But with the flakes and black ashes flying everywhere, it was like a black and white flash back. 

The next day I was the last one to wake up. When I came down we had breakfast. Then we had everything packed. We were all waiting and my momma didn't know so she sat there drinking coffee. 

Once she realized we were waiting for her, she got in the car, we took off, and had lunch and dinner. And when the sun was setting there was a patch of deer every few miles. We even saw a deer passed out on the side of the road. 

By the way, my Dad has a big old beard (sometimes).  -art by Kayden

We are at a hotel now, we had dinner, then we decided to go to the pool but when we put our foot in the pool it was cold as a polar vortex. 

So we went swimming in the bathtub instead. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Windy City

Every year Gunar's company puts on a conference, and sometimes we are lucky enough to tag along.  It is a special chance for us to feel included in the part of his life that we miss out on, as Gunar's office is a roving commercial vessel.  The company recognizes our sacrifice and takes very good care of us.

This years events were held in downtown Chicago.  Part of the festivities included a trip to the Field Museum.  All of the families with children stuck together as we viewed treasures galore from gems and meteorites to mummies and dinosaur bones.  

We hiked around to experience the city a bit but found it over rated.  After a multi block trek in the drizzle to spot the latest Lego kit and American Girl doll, our true joy was found riding escalators all the way up and then all the way down in the Watertower Mall.  Apparently, we are not big shoppers.  

Friday, February 14, 2014

Get Your Shine On

JL-  I never really cared much for Valentine's Day growing up.  As school let out all those years ago, girls came bounding down the hallways with boquets of carnations spilling out of the crook of their arms.  Some genius (seeping sarcasm) ran a carnation sale as a fundraiser in the cafeteria and delivered them during study hall in a grand manner.  I prayed no one would notice my empty hands as I crept by stealthily trying to blend in with the lockers.   Year after year after year.   Pretty dreadful for a shy girl. 

However... times have changed... And I have the bestest valentine ever and three mini 'tines.   I guess I am not so shy either.  

In pondering how to make the day meaningful for homeschooled kids, it made sense to compile valentines for the nursing home we have been spending a lot of time in.  It was a perfect chance to express love to those that could really use it while enjoying the valentine tradition.  

We went around to nearly eighty residents with our poppa and the activity director of the home.  The joy that spread across the faces of these precious people was indescribable as they received a valentine from the kids and a chance to pet the pup (if they were interested).  It was incredibly moving.  You could FEEL the love of the moment, as many of these people were unable to verbally communicate. 

Poppa was the perfect escort in his special valentine tie and ballon decorated chair.  Dayma helped us plan the whole thing. 

We left on cloud nine.  Doing good for others is such a booster.  Even at dinner, hours later, Dayma (grandma) reported that many were still clutching the valentine.  Pretty powerful stuff.

Spread the love.  Let your light shine. 

Ice Ice Baby...

Chicago, aka the Windy City, is off in the distance in this shot which was taken from Lake Michigan. I got a bit of a break from my normal duties and hopped on a small tug heading North for some ice breaking work. Where the Coast Guard Breakers wimp out, private enterprise steps in. The ice in this picture was 8" to 10" inches thick with some 2 foot ridges as we rammed through at 10 MPH.  And no, we don't need bubblers. 

In the last two days, out on the lake, I've seen a number of different wild life as well as, wild deceased. On two occasions some coyotes ran across my bow. Unfortunately I do not have pictures. I watched as a flying duck suddenly dropped to the ice. I told myself it fainted from seeing a 110 foot tugboat crashing up on its serene environment. I also saw another bird 'asleep' on the ice which either had to be a very big canadian goose or a bald eagle. It was hard to tell but I'm sticking with the eagle because it's more rad. And finally I watched as a large snowy owl flew across my bow pursuing one of the thousands of ducks. Its wingspan was at least four feet. Unusual to see them near a major city let alone in the broad daylight. 

I looked up omens for coyotes crossing your path and the spirit message was to not take life so seriously. When I read the totem of the white owl I got a whole array of things from I'm about to be shipwrecked to abducted by aliens. None of it was very good. So I took the middle ground and decided not to take alien abductions so seriously. 

Here we are steaming along in 40 to 50 knots of apparent wind. It was actually sustained at 38 knots true on the beam with gusts to 45. Perfect sailing conditions if you're crazy generous. The guys at NOAA who guess the weather forecasted 13 foot seas but that's not a concern when the water is a solid. 

Here's another exciting ice shot as we plow through it. If you can imagine trying to sleep in a 50 gallon drum while twenty lunatics swing on it with golf clubs then you will know what it's like to live aboard an ice breaker at work. Then imagine a giant kid picking up the drum and shaking vigorously. 

And here you can see the red assist tug clearing yet more ice for the ship as we approach our dock. One of many benefits of Great Lakes winter shipping is you no longer have to dye your hair grey. 

In a week or so the fun will be over.  We'll be back in a semi-warmer climate making a mad dash to Florida while sipping piƱa coladas on the poop deck. And with a new puppy, poop deck is literal. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Preparing Some Love

With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, we have been heavily crafting.  We have something special planned for the residents of a local nursing home.  More details to come...

We also seized an opportunity to attend a Valentine's Day Skate Party sponsored by local Girl Scout troops.   Good fun for a good cause.  The kids roller hockey experience came shining through as they zoomed effortlessly around the rink.  Good times.  

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Chop the Mop

  One thing I am not fond of or even very skilled at is putting much time into my look.  I am what I am.  I have a husband who loves me, disheveled locks and all...  what more could I ask for.  There is barely enough time in the day to tend to the necessities so putting a ton of energy into my outer "mask" does not appeal to me.  Again, I am what I am. 

  With that said, I went and chopped my hair today.  My Other Mother was around to watch the little people and my husband's annual work meeting was quickly approaching so I had a good reason to spruce up.  An appointment was available immediately.  It was synergistic.  

  Alls well that ends well.  Lord knows I have had my fair share of salon nightmare experiences, but I will save those for another day.  The new look is fitting and I feel pretty fancy.  Time will tell if I can keep it up.  

While at the salon, there was a group of ladies chatting away.  As my story entered the mix, one particular lady's ears perked.   Her daughter is embarking on a cruising journey in the near future and mom (the lady) was deeply worried about her.  I expressed to her the beauty, the safety, and the growth opportunites of this particular life path as they had surfaced for us, thus far.  Through doing so, I apparently alieveated her concerns without really trying.  As she left, she thanked me for my words.  This conversation meant more than simple parlor talk.  Our paths crossed for a reason, and I was happy to help the universe give another soul a sense of peace.   

The universe is pretty amazing.  It will always provide answers in one way or another.  You just need to watch for the signs and trust.  The right message will come when you need it.  Even at a hair salon, such things are possible.  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Choose Wellness

It's amazing what one is capable of once he sets his mind to something.  If only we all realized how thoughts create our reality.  

Our Poppa grew exhausted of being a prisoner to illness and has decided to be well.  Over night, he started walking again and is getting his groove back, much to the amazement of his caregivers. 

 Think it and it shall be so. 

A gaggle of children to cheer one on and produce walls full of colorful pictures baring well wishes most certainly helps, too.  More family came to visit just as the healing occurred.  

With cousins in town, it was a PARTY!  

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Shall We Sail

  Today I honor my precious husband for providing me with a life worth living.  

  I was a college student trying to figure out my life's purpose.  Truth be told, I was lost.  

  Then along came Gunar.  We worked together... he was the new guy.  Girls were fighting for his attention.  I stood by on the sidelines and watched, certain I was not his type.  I was wrong.  I won the heart of a prince.  

  On this day about a decade and a half ago, we became a pair.  On this day, my life became magical.  

Our first real date (we worked A LOT and were still taking heavy course loads) occured Valentine's Day with a fancy dinner out.  With no time spared he posed the question, "would you be willing to sail around the world with me someday?"  Um... Yeah... I didn't hesitate to sign on dreamily.  All of a sudden, there was more to life then I ever thought possible. 

  Years passed.  Life happened.  We were married and blessed with three amazing souls.  It was time to check out of the rat race with my prompting.  It was time to live the life G originally imagined.   

  That is the brief version of what brought us to here.  

  Thank you Gunar for daring to take the road less traveled with me.  It has made all the difference.  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Need For Speed

For kids who have not experienced a genuine winter since their toddler years, these guys sure are making up for lost time. 

The kids Finnish ancestory has surfaced and they are comfortable even in the most chilly conditions with a smile.  Their temporary winter wardrobe involves rain boats and snow pants many sizes too big.  

They take on steep slopes along the shores of Lake Erie like seasoned pros and blast down inclines without hesitation.

Bring on the snow!  

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Long and Winding Road

It is a beautiful feeling to spend hours on end traveling in a car with little people and not have to endure a single "are we there yet".  As we try to live life to the fullest, which entails a fair amount of time on the road, we have all settled into a pretty great travel groove.  

The frequent trips to Miami from Key West while the kids were heavily modeling definitely helped us to find car Zen. 

 We rock out to tunes, play games, read, craft, and dream.  

We rotate Pipa around and even potty her on the move.  The perks of a litter box trained pup.  

 After all, it isn't just about the destination- the journey matters too.