A Fall Filled With Adventure!

Back in Michigan, fall was always a time of adventure for us.  Our last year there, we took a cruise on the S.S. Badger for my birthday, then went camping for Halloween (and first started discussing living aboard–we thought we would move to Lake Michigan in 2 years!).  In Texas, however, daily life has been adventure enough.  We’ve been learning our way around Houston, and getting settled into a succession of new homes.  Our only trip was visiting the cabin at Canyon Lake for Thanksgiving (which we will do again this year!).

But now that we’re living comfortably on the S/V Morning Mist, the adventure bug is biting us once again.  Until recently, it had been 3 years since we’d cruised.  We’re all thinking that it’s time to make life interesting again!

And interesting it will be.  We have so much planned for October and November, that I’ve had to set up a Google calendar!  We’re visiting San Antonio next weekend, and a highlight of our trip will be a special needs amusement park.  After that, Rob and I are attending a moped rally in New Orleans.  The week after Halloween, Beanie will have her first competitive cheer competition!  And then it’s off to Canyon Lake two weeks later!

And all that excitement is in addition to our adventures this weekend and last weekend.

“Rockstars!  Rockstars!  Rah Rah Rah!”

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Living in an urban area has had many advantages for us, and one of these advantages has been the number of “mommies'” groups available to join.  I joined Moms of Galveston Country, which lead me to two other special needs groups on Facebook.  It was through these groups that I first heard about Rockstar “Special Stars” Cheer.

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Beanie has always had kind of a “cheerleader” personality, especially with her pigtails!  So a free, special needs competitive cheer group seemed to be right up her ally.  The group has kids ranging from age 8 to high school, so the older kids help keep an eye on their younger “buddies.”

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From her first rehearsal, Beanie was in love!  The parents get to watch the practices on monitors in the waiting room, and it is a delight to watch, as I get to know the other mommies.  And don’t let the “special needs” part fool you–there are some talented tumblers in this group!

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Beanie’s first performance with the Rockstars was last weekend, at the Down Syndrome walk in our town.  They don’t have their uniforms yet, but their t-shirts coordinated.

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The fun began with dancing, and of course Beanie attracted attention!

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She immediately fell in with some local junior high cheerleaders.

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Who let her borrow their pom poms!

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Finally, the Rockstars had the stage.

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Beanie gains some altitude as a part of their routine!

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And this is my favorite picture of her cheering!  It’s definitely a fun, low-pressure group, with some talented athletes!

Setting Sail Once Again

Grandma and Grandpa took Beanie home from the cheering event, and Rob and I headed over to the S/V Reprieve, three slips down from us.

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My friend, Deanna, greeted me with a birthday bouquet.  We piled onto their boat with two other couples.

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We rounded Clear Lake Shores island.

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And then the reason for my flowers was revealed, as we made our departure, past the Kemah Boardwalk.

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The whole “flock” of sailboats was out on Galveston bay!

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We were quite well-fed on our journey!

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I was a little exhausted…

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And while I was getting sunburned, this is what passed us…

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Meanwhile, this is why I have blisters on my back…

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And then I woke up in Galveston!

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We arrived in Galveston in time for dinner (it was a 6-hour nap…I mean sail!).  The marina we stayed at was near the Strand, which is the shopping/tourist district.  So we walked into town, hit the shops (the three of us ladies bought $10 dresses!) and enjoyed dinner at a shrimp restaurant.  Two of us had been wearing our bathing suits under our clothes, so we spontaneously jumped into the marina pool, before retiring to our various beds on the boat.

In the morning, we had some company in the marina.

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We headed out at a leisurely pace, stopping for lunch and swimming at Red Fish Island.

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Underway once again, there was no wind, so we motored back toward the bridge that led the way home.

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It was a fun, wonderful trip, and now we’re eager to get our boat up and running, so that we can cruise next summer!

The Cardboard Challenge

This weekend, it was all about cardboard.  Beanie had the opportunity to create something out of garbage, for her school’s “Cardboard Challenge.”  She eagerly went to work on a Pokemon stage, which she displayed at school this morning.

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Of course, Beanie’s favorite part was exploring the other creations!  She spent a lot of time in the Tardis.

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October has been a great month so far, and we look forward to sharing our upcoming fall adventures with you!

 

Summertime Changes

It has been a long time since I’ve given you an update on our daily life.  I’ve been busy preparing for my Simple Living Basics E-Course, tying up loose ends during the hectic end of the school year, and putting together a wonder eighth birthday party for the Bean.  We weathered a crazy storm that led to flooding all over Houston.  (We were unaffected by the flooding, but it did get me a day off of work!)

Otherwise, it’s been daily life as usual aboard Breaking Tradition.  That is, it was life as usual until we unexpectedly had the opportunity to purchase Morning Mist, an Irwin 37 center cockpit.

While we’ve been happy living aboard, sometimes living in under 200 square feet can be a little TOO cozy.  We’re glad that we did live in that small of a space, and we’ve learned a great deal from it.  But, man, when we first stepped onto that Irwin, we were smitten!

Now we’re enjoying such luxuries as a small oven (with a rotisserie!), a larger bedroom for Beanie, a bedroom for us outside of the main salon, a proper dinette, more floor space, and a larger fridge!  Being able to stretch out on an almost-full-sized mattress at night led to the most restful night’s sleep I’ve ever had.

Would you like a tour of our almost 300 square foot palace?  Here are some pictures of our new home:

Beanie packed up her favorite toys to take on our first trek to the west pier.  (We will be moving Morning Mist to our slip, after we move Breaking Tradition).

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She’s definitely not as pretty on the outside as Breaking Tradition.

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But, wait until you step inside!

A kitchen with actual counter space, and a place to eat…

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The aft cabin has a sign that says “Captain’s Quarters” over the doorway, and Beanie was excited to claim this as her bedroom.

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The Bean has been talking about wanting a “tiny office” in her bedroom, so she was very pleased to see that the Captain’s Quarters came with a desk.

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This is definitely an upgrade, space-wise.

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We’ve got two heads with showers.

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Our bedroom is a very spacious v-berth.

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We had a guest outside, watching us move in…

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There is still a great deal of work to be done, but we are enjoying our new home.  Last night we had our first rain storm on Morning Mist. There were some definite leaks, but overall we stayed pretty dry!

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Snowball Fight in Adventure Field

Sometimes, we just have fun.

We’ve got a structured evening routine, here on Breaking Tradition, but it does leave room for fun and games.

For example, yesterday, I came home and read with Beanie while dinner cooked.  Then, after I ate, I got her started on “homework,” which meant writing a letter to a friend in Michigan. Then, after piano practice time, we played rhyme Dominoes.

After that, we had an hour until shower time.  What were a mother and daughter to do?

Well, we headed out to “Adventure Field.”  There are two good-sized grassy areas in the marina, and Beanie has named them Adventure Field and Chaos Field.  Last night, she wanted to go to Adventure Field.

We couldn’t find her ball, so we brought a bag of cloth “snowballs,” made by one of our friends in Michigan.   A fun (and funny!) evening ensued.

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I hope your October is treating you equally as well!

 

Our New Life–A Long-Awaited Update

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Never in my life have I worked as hard as I have over the past two weeks.

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Day in and day out, we worked from 10 to 7, turning Breaking Tradition into a home and emptying our apartment.  The walls needed to be painted, carpet needed to be installed, cushions needed to be purchased, and the holding tank needed to be replaced.  And that was just the interior!

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Outside, there were decks to clean and plenty to teak to be restored.  Underneath, there was a bilge to clean, and an air-conditioning unit to install (which required breaching the hull twice—talk about nerve-wracking!).

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We had to take a couple of days off from working on the boat, so that we could attend to the bittersweet business of emptying our apartment.  Two days was all it really took to complete the Great Purge #3.  Two days instead of two months.  Our last night there, we drank a toast out on our balcony.  We enjoyed our time in Lakeshire Place, although we are excited about our new adventures.

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After emptying the apartment on the 31st, Beanie headed over to Grandma and Grandpa’s home, while Rob and I went to work on Breaking Tradition, which was still in a slip in someone’s yard.  We worked relentlessly, with no showers and using Home Depot’s restrooms.

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On Sunday, August 3, we finally deemed the boat worthy of making the journey to Legend Point marina.  This is a very nice, privately owned marina, similar to our former home port in Bay City, only without the dry storage.  Sunday night Beanie joined us and spent her first night in her new bedroom.

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There is still a lot of work to do, but we are slowing the pace now that we are here.  One task per day is enough.  Eventually, we will have Velcro on the cushions, a new countertop in the bathroom, a working water system, and more than one working outlet.

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Life here is slower.  We’re getting to know the other live-aboards (we are definitely the youngest, and the only family!).  We enjoy evening walks, and trips to the pool during the day.

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It amazes me how quickly it all came back to me, everything I learned on Moonraker.  I wake up just before sunrise, so that I can take my walk to the end of our pier.  Sometimes I take pictures, other times I just sit and watch the new day begin around me.

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I’ll never lose those mornings.  There will be no “back to reality” this time.

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This is reality.

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I’ve reorganized my kitchen, and meals have become incredibly simple.  Just like on Moonraker—bagels for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and sandwiches or whatever will fit on the grill for dinner. We begin the day with coffee and always have a pitcher of sun tea.

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Housework takes place during the first 5 minutes of our morning, and the rest of the day is ours to enjoy.  The cat and fish have joined us, and they are settling in nicely.

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In the evenings, I take Beanie swimming before her shower.  Then, she puts herself to bed like a “big girl,” while Rob and I head out to the cockpit to take in the sunset.

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Almost exactly two years ago we left Moonraker in Grand Haven and returned to reality.  “But the thing we’ve noticed is that we’ve changed,” I wrote, “And we have yet to discover exactly how profound that change is.”

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I should have known.

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Adventure Updates

Happy Sunday, folks!

I figured it was high time that I gave you an update on all of our adventures.  The beginning of the week was slow going, because I had to go to a 4-day-long training.  But since Friday, we have made up for lost time!  The interior work on Breaking Tradition is about halfway completed, so it looks like we will be able to move to our slip at the marina at the beginning of August.  We’ve cleared out the cluttered places in the apartment, so we will be able to empty it out over the course of a very LONG day, by the end of July.

Here are some more details on our progress:

A Place to Call Home

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I have mentioned that Breaking Tradition is in the town of Clear Lake Shores, which is some distance from the marina where we keep Kiwi.  What I didn’t tell you is that, when we drove into this town, it was love at first sight.  Clear Lake Shores is mainly located on a man-made island, where everybody drives golf carts to the park to watch the sunset on Saturday nights.  Clear Lake Shores is the yachting capital of Texas and boasts having more boat slips than people.  Breaking Tradition is currently at a rental slip at a private residence.

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Clear Lake Shores is a duck sanctuary as well!

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Since we were smitten, and since it would be very difficult to move Breaking Tradition to Kiwi’s marina, we decided to try to find a slip in Clear Lake Shores.  That led us to Legend Point marina, the closest marina with facilities, to the boat’s current location.  We looked at the marina and loved it–it’s secure, has a lot of grass, and has two pools and hot tubs as well as a clubhouse.  It seemed perfect for us!

We thought it might be a longshot, since they do a credit check.  (Our house will be on our credit report for one more year).  But we tried, and we negotiated.  And we can move in August 1!

Great Purge #3

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Earlier in the week, I worked on decluttering in the apartment, after my training sessions for work.  We emptied out the walk-in closet and are now using it as a staging area, for items that will go to the boat.  We emptied our closet and got our bedroom down to just furniture (to be donated right before we leave).  The dining room, living room, and bathroom are down to just furniture, and and we have made progress on Beanie’s room and the kitchen.

The challenge in Beanie’s room has been the toys.  We gave her the master bedroom, so that she could have room for all her toys!  To pare down, we divided her toys into three piles: toys to keep at the boat, toys to donate, and toys to take to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Grandma and Grandpa have offered to have a “toy library” for Beanie, so that we can keep some of her toys at their apartment, and she can exchange toys when she visits.  We thought this was a great way to meet Beanie’s desire for novelty, and to allow Grandma and Grandpa to “give” her “new” toys, without buying and adding to her collection.

As far as the kitchen is concerned, we are preparing to have very limited cupboard space and only a small dorm fridge.  A lot of our storage containers have been purged, and we will eventually downsize to a smaller (however better) pressure cooker.  Our slow cooker and blender will stay.  We do plan to splurge and have etched “Breaking Tradition” flutes made!

Progress on the Boat

We have had an extremely productive three days!

On Saturday I got to work painting the v-berth.

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And then we added carpet…

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Rob made a counter top and got to work on the galley.

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Today, we brought Beanie to the boat for the first time.  She enjoyed playing with her Pokemon toys in her new bedroom.

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We put up some of her posters.

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We brought her “Where the Wild Things Are” picture that was a part of her nursery before she was born, and has been a part of her room everywhere we’ve lived.  It started out in her room on the boat.

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Beanie decorated her space with stick on stars.  Tomorrow she will add dinosaur stickers.

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She definitely had a great time!

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Today, my goal was to finish the head.  On Breaking Tradition, the head takes up the entire hallway between the v-berth and the main salon.  The sink and cupboards are on one side, and this is where I found a perfect place for Beanie’s picture.  We will be putting in a new counter top tomorrow.

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The toilet is on the other side which, happily, didn’t require any painting.  We will be putting a picture over the rotten spot on the wall!

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Otherwise, the boat’s previous owner stopped by today and helped us with the electrical system.  Which is very exciting, because we’ve never had a boat with a 110 system before.  On Moonraker, everything ran off of an extension cord and power strip.

All in all, we’re making good progress, and I feel very optimistic about moving to our new marina at the beginning of the month!

Breaking Tradition

Rob and I have had some weird anniversaries.

At the conclusion of our first year of marriage, we had a wonderfully romantic time eating the top layer of our wedding cake, camping in the middle of the woods.  Much to our surprise, the top layer was banana…

On our fifth anniversary, we both had horrible colds and made a trip to the doctor together.  

After six years of putting up with each other, we got a baby-sitter and went for a moped ride, where I broke down 10 miles from home.

My dad had heart surgery on our tenth anniversary.  (Thankfully, it went well!)

We dragged anchor in Charlevoix on our eleventh anniversary.

Last year, instead of celebrating twelve years together, we dealt with the stress of emptying out a house, after ten years of living there.  At that time, we didn’t know if we would have a home in Houston, when we arrived.

This year, we figured we would celebrate our lucky 13th next weekend, with a must-find-a-boat trip to Louisiana.  There were some inexpensive boats there, in our price range.  We would buy one, then have an adventure down the Intercoastal Waterway, back to Clear Lake.  We would then dock the boat at Kiwi’s slip, and Beanie would attend the school in that area–I gave her teacher permission to give them her files already.

But life is what happens when you’re making other plans.

The day after the fourth of July, Rob did his daily check of Craig’s List, and something unusual was waiting for us.  It was a Ericson 35-1, from 1967, the same year that Moonraker was made.  It needed love and an engine, but it was a cutter rig with a furler, steering wheel, and a lot of other equipment we’ve never had the experience of owning, on a boat.  It even came with an inexpensive slip.

Its name was Breaking Tradition.

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When I first saw this boat, docked in the delightfully eccentric town of Clear Lake Shores, it was Moonraker all over again.  There is definitely room in my heart for two loves.  (Or three?  Sorry, Rob!)

 

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We will have our work cut out for us.  The interior will need new cushions, and there is a lot of cleaning to do.  It will be difficult to get this boat into our current marina, so we will need to find another.  (Or come up with a shower, if we keep the slip it’s in!)

Back where I belong!

Back where I belong!

We will need to repaint the interior, fix the galley.  And…yeah…come up with an engine!  Or find a tow to a marina…

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Beanie will be attending a different school.  We’ll need to research that, and make sure all of her paperwork finds its way there.

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The boat is 35 feet long, but at least 1/3 of that is cockpit.  We’re probably dealing with less than 300 square feet for Rob, Beanie, the cat, the fish, and me.  And right now, it has no fridge.  We will have some decluttering to do!

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But we’re excited about the boat.  It’s more than I could have possibly hoped for.  And we love Clear Lake Shores.

The boat is famous, by the way.  Its hull number is 7, and there are not very many, if any, more of its kind.  Google “Breaking Tradition Ericson 35-1” and you WILL find pictures of this boat.

It’s still crazy that we’re doing this.  As a family of 3, we’re doing this.  Not for 91 one days a year, but for 365.

Life has become an adventure again.  Stay tuned.

Texas Women Bloggers