Charting our own course...

In days of old, sailors would keep a journal while at sea to chronicle their lives as they travelled the world in search of adventure... and perhaps an ounce or two of treasure. In this spirit, our family has also set its own course. My husband's career as a naval aviator keeps us travelling to distant shores... adventures await with every new 'port 'o call' we visit! Because of our nomadic lifestyle we have also embarked upon the adventure of homeschooling our twin boys, age 6 (aka: The Crew). The Crew started their 2nd grade work on 06 Aug 2012. I hope you'll enjoy our story as we chart our own course thru life and set sail on new adventures... gathering our stories and treasure along the way.

Fair Winds and Following Seas my friends!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A new bottle bobs among the waves….

Sand castles, seashells, strawberry fields, first roller coaster rides, tire swings, firecrackers, flip flops, sunblock, ice cream cones, moving vans, bubble wrap, sad good-byes, hopeful greetings, green swimming pools with frogs, playgrounds, zoo trips, s’mores, glow sticks, campfires, leaf collections and the sound of rain on our tent.  These memories (and so many more) I will cherish when I look back at the Summer of ‘09.  As I toss yet another bottle out into the swirling currents of our wake, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my life and how rich it has become.  I am so thankful everyday for my loved ones and the joy they bring to my life.  It’s been a great summer… and now I turn toward the future with great anticipation.  Fall arrives today at 5:18pm EST, and on the horizon I can catch glimpses of all the wonderful memories that have yet to be made.  My favorite time of the year is upon us…  Let the fun begin!

Monday, September 7, 2009

She put the "labor" in Labor Day….

“You’ve got this… You’ve got this… You’ve GOT to GET this!” I muttered to myself as I stood amidst a field of camping paraphenalia that I had hauled from our perfectly good, air conditioned home a few hours before.  In a moment that I can only describe as INSANITY, I had assured my husband that it would be “no problem” to set out early on Friday with two small children and a minivan of necessities to our campsite at Lake Martin while he finished up his classes and lectures.  I would set up everything, play with the kids a while and see him in the late afternoon… no problem!  Fast forward to the present where the sounds, smells, and creatures of the woods were surrounding me… indeed were very nearly eating me alive as I clenched the instructions to our eight man tent in my sweating hand and swatted the air with the other.  Several indistinguishable nylon mounds were strewn about, along with a couple of dozen poles of various lengths.  One could only assume that they were vital to the actual construction of said tent…. The crew sat on a nearby picnic table eyeing me dubiously as I threw what I hoped was a cheerful “Mommy will put the tent up, and then after that we’ll have fun, fun, FUN!”  I cringed as I heard the  desperation from the last word still hanging in the air, and threw a quick glance over my shoulder to see if I had fooled The Crew…. from the look of alarm on their faces, I could see that I had not. 
Two hours, four packs of fruit chews, two juice boxes, several coats of bug spray (12 hours protection my ass!), and one potential deal made with the Devil as he passed thru on his way to Georgia later, I stood back… scraped the sweat laden hair from my eyes, and admired my work.  This small patch of Alabama dirt… had become mine. I had conquered the Alabama wilderness and built my family… well, maybe “home” was a stretch… but a definite zone..yes, "Zone of Comfort”!  Channeling Tom Hanks from the movie “Castaway” I danced around thumping my chest and declaring to the emptiness “I… I have made SHELTER!”  It was a heady moment to say the least.  The Crew who had abandoned all hope and retired down by the lake to throw rocks, and most likely discuss their current chances of survival, came running back and immediately inquired “Are we having fun now?”   Well, I know what our answer to that question is…. now you be the judge!! Happy Labor Day!

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Exploring our new Habitat…

This week our science lesson was about habitats and how every animal, insect, and plant has a “home” in which they feel the most comfortable and thrive.  The Crew pondered this and then proceeded to discuss amongst themselves the different perks of the many “habitats” they have known. 
“I like our new habitat in Alabama because it has a pool!” said one to the other.
“I like this habitat because it has nice doors and windows” the other said to the first.
“Our Virginia habitat had fun rides though (Busch Gardens)”  said the one.
“Ya, but our next habitat in Florida is where Mickey Mouse lives!” the other countered.
Okay, not quite what I was hoping for… So off we went to our local zoo to explore the idea of animals and their habitats a little deeper!
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We wandered for several hours and the boys even found a “habitat” of their very own… the zoo playground!
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All in all it was a good week here.  We closed out our third week of homeschooling, and made good progress on our reading.  The boys are each reading their BOB books with very little assistance and are also doing well with their handwriting practice.  We are trying to get additional crafts made each week to coincide with our science “theme”.  This week we made a jellyfish family!  They had fun “stinging” their toy fish in the tentacles of the jellyfish and we all had fun getting messy with markers!
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Poster Children….

The Crew is big into dress up these days… We have a basket that can fully outfit two small children (and sometimes one adult, but that’s another post!) into brave knights, fierce pirates, brave firemen, and explorers of the savannah.  On any given day you can find me escorting a pair of superheroes into the local library, and as recently as this morning I found myself transporting two fully masked transformer robots who sat calmly in their booster seats contemplating the passing scenery as we headed to the YMCA.  I have to say though, as commonplace as this pastime has become around the harbour, one particular dress up session really stands out as a personal favorite…. Enjoy!
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Friday, August 14, 2009

The school bell rings…

Well, our first week of our homeschooling adventure has come to a close…. and it was amazing!!  The boys and I both learned so much!  It was a week of discovery, learning, and adjusting to our new rhythm.  From a strictly academic point of view we learned our vowels, and the “short” sound that each makes.  We memorized a 10 line verse about the vowels and will have our final recitation this evening for Dad.  On the math front we discussed like objects and whether they were the same or similar, did pattern recognition exercises, counting games, and some manipulative play.  And of course there was reading, reading, reading and more reading!  Add in a dash of art, cooking, science and a field trip to the library, and you will get a sense of the fun that was had.  The boys have been great and really have a great time “doing school”.  I have also gained great insight to their independent personalities and really enjoyed seeing their eyes light up with interest in various subjects.  We even made it a point to take our first “school” pictures and our class photo!  The boys love their new shirts with our school name and logo applied… Harbour Lights Academy is officially open!!DSC_1624 DSC_1629DSC_1619

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Catching up….

As promised it is time for another quick update from the harbour…. We have been busy settling into life here in Alabama for the past several weeks.  The days have been a series of “orientation” for us as we explore the area and find our new spots for shopping, learning and fun. 
On the shopping front I have had my first experiences on an Air Force base vs Naval Air Station and/or Naval Shipyard.  Often times the AF equivalent is named differently than what I have grown accustomed to in my “Navy” life.  For instance if I were to ask someone where the NEX was, they would look at me with a puzzled expression.  (For those who don’t know it is the “BX” on an Air Force base… and for those of you still confused, that is a grocery store on a military base!). 
As for the learning and fun portion, we have discovered our local library and already have visited it several times.  The boys enjoy picking out their books for the week and enjoying the great playground located directly behind the library and right on the banks of the Talapoosa River.  Also, last weekend we traveled about 45 mins. Northeast to a great fresh water lake called Lake Martin.  It had a wonderful sandy beach and clear water that the boys could play in to their hearts content.  We plan on attempting our first overnight camping trip to the lake sometime this October…
I have also been very busy organizing and preparing to start our homeschooling adventure with the boys.  Today we set up their “learning” area, and I have received the majority of the curriculum we decided upon in the mail.  Although every day is a learning day, we plan on officially “starting school” this week.  For their pre-school year I plan on keeping things pretty casual (as is recommended) and working toward establishing basic reading, writing, and math skills.  We are all excited to begin, and really look forward to having this experience together.
Sorry this is such a bulletin list today… Just wanted to get a quick update out!  Much more to come I promise!!
Fair Winds!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Y’all c’mon over for some Sweet Tea!

We have finally settled into our new home here in Alabama, and I have to say that it feels so good to be “home”!  (Although, as I was unpacking each box, I was very aware of the fact that in 10 months I would be re-packing everything once more…bizarre! ) 
So I have a whole shelf of bottles waiting to be tossed your way, but I wanted to give you an idea of what will soon be washing ashore… So much will be happening in the coming months and I can’t wait to share our adventures with you!
First, after four years of weighing the pros and cons tirelessly, we are beginning one of our grandest adventures yet… homeschooling!  Yes, you read that right!  I am so excited to have this opportunity for our boys and look forward to sharing our learning adventure with you as well! 
Second, I am still on my own journey of a total health overhaul.  Clean eating is amazing, and has done amazing things for my health, energy, and overall fitness goals.  I run three 5k’s a week at our local Y, and combine it with three to four weightlifting sessions per week.  Outside of the gym I run around after the Crew and swim in our new pool!  I am amazed at how eating well affects all aspects of my life and feel awakened and energized! 
Third, life in Alabama is a constant discovery and I can’t wait to share our daily comings and goings with you so you can enjoy a bit of life south of the Mason Dixon line!
Keep an eye to the horizon as I plan on tossing these out at a much more rapid pace then I have been up to now!  Today we are off to the local farmer’s market!  Have a great Saturday!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sweet Home.... Alabama?

If someone had asked me to predict the places I would live while being a military spouse, I would have placed Alabama somewhere below Dorothy’s farm in Kansas and slightly above that of the “free thinking, American loving” country of North Korea. It’s not that I would have thought it impossible (because really, in this lifestyle I have learned that nothing can ever be entirely ruled out), but I would have thought it to be highly improbable. Once again that crazy Uncle Sam of mine is enjoying a hearty laugh at my lack of foresight!

So in a little over two weeks, I will (for the eighth time in almost eleven years) watch a large semi-trailer with all of our worldly possessions packed tightly within a few hundred cardboard boxes pull away from “our” driveway and head down the road and out of sight. We will then walk back into an empty house, pack the remainder of our possessions in our U-haul and minivan, take one last look around at the house we have called "home" for the last 22 months, reminisce a little, laugh a little, and maybe even cry a little. I will place the key on the kitchen counter, close the front door behind us, and move on down the road to the next chapter in our lives. It is a process that has become second nature to me, and is now becoming routine for The Crew as well. In true “military brat” form, Alabama will be the fourth state they have lived in… in as many years.

Our Captain (well Lt.Cmdr. actually) of this rag-tag crew will be embarking on the task of obtaining his Masters Degree (or two) from the Air War College out of Maxwell AFB as well as completing his JPME... also a requirement as one progresses thru a career as an officer in the Navy. All in all it is a really great deal for him to take a year as a “student” and have the Navy flip the bill for the degree(s). Not to mention a great deal for us as a family, as we will not have to forfeit him on the weekends, evenings, or longer seperations for an entire year! (Whose laughing now, eh Uncle Sam?)

We will keep you updated as the tides shift and we pull anchor for our new port-o-call. But for now, I will spend my time trying to find the bubble wrap and packing tape that I know I stashed around here somewhere!

Fair Winds!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Bottle Washes Ashore... With Tales from the Harbour

The Hunters Emerge Victorious.
Summertime has finally arrived. The local splash pool has opened, the parks beckon us to come & play, and the strawberries are ripe. Nothing tastes sweeter than one of these beauties picked straight from the vine and popped directly into the mouth. The crew & I ventured out and met some friends for a little strawberry “hunting” at a local U-pick field. Those strawberries never stood a chance against this group of seasoned hunters… Check out the fruits of our labor!

A Mom Falls in Love… Again.

White fluffy towel wrapped around his face… skin flushed and smelling of the coconut lime soap I had just used to wash him from head to toe… hair clumped in thick, damp spikes all over his head, he looks up at me and asks, “Do you know why I love you sooo much Mom?”

“No” I reply as I dab the towel over his skin and look into a pair of eyes with THE most impossibly long eyelashes, “Why do you love me so much?”

“Because you are so beautiful” he whispers and leans in with a grin to give me a soft damp kiss on my cheek.

The ladies of the world are in so much trouble.
She Leaps Tall Buildings in a Single Bound.. What Good is That?
“Time for bed kiddo!” I say as I follow his brother into the room fresh from bath time.

“Mom” he says to me as he hops into his big boy bed and arranges his medley of friends that include a yellow cat (with bow), dalmation puppy, green trout, brown monkey, and pink boa constrictor, “I’m not a ‘kiddo’ … I’m Z STRAP!” (Z strap being a superhero from the free comic book that came with his new shoes today, not the pre-k version of an adult male undergarment).

“Right” I say, as I smooth the quilt and sheet down. I bend over to give him a final good night kiss and my foot comes to rest on said comic book tucked purposefully under his bed. I reach down and pick it up while I give my boy a sideway glance… “What’s this doing here Z Strap?” I inquire.

“I didn’t want you to see that” he whispers with a little pout.

I find that I do not have the heart to take the comic book away, but instead tuck it in next to his menagerie of animals with the instructions that he is to go straight to sleep.

As I close their door for the night, I realize that in this last two weeks before they turn four, that they are truly “big boys” now. We are officially in the comic book and superhero phase. I close my eyes and try to mentally will time to go slower… but unfortunately that particular gift is not in my arsenal of “super powers”.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Spring Cleaning....

And i don't mean for my house... although, now that you mention it, a little dusting wouldn't hurt! Nope, I mean in terms of my health. I have "discovered" (and by that I mean that a friend found it, read it, and recommended it to me... ere go, I discovered it!) a great new lifestyle in the world of diet and excercise! In today's wording it basically means that I am eating foods that are natural, not processed. Our grandparent's would have just called it "eating right".

So, in a nutshell the lifestyle goes something like this: Eat things in as close to their natural state as possible and omit all processed items entirely. i.e. Oatmeal that you cook... not instant oatmeal. fruits, veggies, lean meats, nuts, some dairy, whole wheats. No white flour, white sugar, or refined sugars. No pre-packaged foods of any kind. I used to think... "No way is that possible! You wouldn't be able to eat ANYTHING!" Seriously~ How can you cut out processing in this day and age?? In all honesty, you would really be surprised at how many options you really do have once you kick that mindset. Let me just say, I have been doing this for just a short time.... but I have seen amazing things in that short time! My energy is thru the roof! I am satisfied and full (although I still have the habit of a snack in the evening, it is now on healthy items so I feel much better about it now!) and I can see the hard work I've been putting in at the gym for the last year finally being revealed... and I really like what I'm seeing! So just a warning... you may be getting posts from time to time as I relay my journey (and by proxy my family's journey... 'cause let's face it, Momma does the shopping!) into the world of "Clean Eating"... Warning! This could change the way you eat too!

Now if I could just find a way to get that other spring cleaning done.....

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Trash or Treasure?

Craigslist is a wonderful thing. For those of you not in the "know" basically you post an ad online to get rid of some junk... whoops!... rather "high quality but gently used" merchandise that your children have either outgrown, become bored with, or have annoyed you with to the point that you army crawl past their sleeping forms in the dead of night (doing your best impersonation of the Grinch as he steals little Cindy Lou Who's candy cane) and while they innocently slumber away, you scurry downstairs to the computer and post your ad for all to see. Once the ad is placed (and you've hid the evidence) you wait for an interested party to contact you via email, (no worries there... people love a bargain!) come to your home and view the "great deal" you are offering, exclaim with delight and hand you a fist full of cash as they haul away their junk (hey! it's not mine anymore right?) into their car and out of your sight! Like I said... wonderful thing!

So I had an appointment for a woman to come and view a few things that I was interested in parting with... she has twin 11 month old boys and she was coming from a meeting "downtown" and would it be "okay if we met at say 3:30'ish?". I in turn checked my blackberry to see if I had a small opening in my appointment filled day... (those that know me well, should be sensing a healthy dose of sarcasm here...) and as luck would have it... that worked out just fine for me! Now I have to admit that this particular day I was not at my best... or even at my normal. I had a lovely sinus infection that had me laying on the sofa the better part of the day while shouting encouragement to my children to "not climb so high on that bookshelf" and "try not to play with the really sharp knives!" but I made an effort to tidy myself and the house up a bit before "3:30'ish" (which basically consisted of zipping up the front of my velour tracksuit and blowing my nose once more at about 3:15) when one of the Crew announces from the bathroom that he has "made a mistake"... Right... So I begrudgingly leave the confines of my sofa (or as I like to call it, my corner office) and make my way to the bathroom... and step directly into a lake of pee. Great. As I don my bio-hazard suit my front bell rings. (Apparently her meeting let out early... how marvelous) and I open the door... And this is where two worlds collide.

Before me is The Professional Working Mother. Tailored, groomed, briefcase in one hand, and the other outstretched in greeting. Our eyes meet and I am sure I see a brief flash of regret in her eyes as I switch the mop I'm holding in my right hand to my left in order to shake her hand. I in turn flash her my best "Don't judge me sister, check out that diploma on the wall that I'm still paying for" smile and welcome her into our home. The boys come skipping down the stairs at this point and she being all manner of polite, inquires their age. They grin up at her and clearly state.. "Three!" But of course, being that these are my children, the boys decide that the newbie needs to be alerted to the current threat level of our home and they quickly inform her that "O just peed all over the floor so you better stay out of there or Mommy is going to make you clean it all up." ....Seriously?? "Oh, well... " I stammer "Let me just go ahead and show you the things you came for!".

In the course of our discussion, she informs me how lucky she has been to find a nanny whom she loves and trusts to take care of her children for her and how she often doesn't get home until nearly 8pm each day. In turn she asks how I like being a stay at home mom, and I reply that although it is hard to find time for myself that I cannot imagine life any other way. As she hands me the cash and I help her load the box of toys into her car we turn to each other, I see the curiosity I'm feeling towards her and the role of motherhood she has created for herself mirrored back to me in her own eyes. Just as I cannot imagine what it must be like to have a nanny and a full time job that kept me from home and family until early evening each day, I see the same curiosity in her eyes of how a college educated woman can find happiness spending her days with two three year old boys, and mopping up urine. We say our farewell and as she drives away I turn back toward the house and hear a small voice say "Uh oh Mommy..." and I honestly in that moment couldn't imagine life any other way. What's the old saying?

One person's junk... Another's treasure.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

What's that old saying??

I know that March is supposed to go in like a Lion and out like a Lamb, but in one weeks' time? The video of the boys in their first "snow" (no laughing from Michigan please) was taken on Monday morning... The video taken on the beach was taken yesterday (Saturday). The good news is that we are having a great time previewing Spring, but the bad news is that we will be back in our jeans and sweaters in less than 48 hours.... but really, who wants to focus on bad news when it's going to be 82 degrees today??

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

Spring Fever!

Today was a fantastic (but breezy) 60 degrees! The Crew and I have been outside all day taking advantage and daydreaming of when spring arrives for good! The whole neighborhood got in on the act and I was going to have some video for all of you to see... Until I realized the battery was dead and the memory card was full.... (hmm, what was that I said about good intentions?) So here is a quick sum-up to give you a mental video of how the day went down:

Bubble wands, sidewalk chalk, bikes, buggies and trikes scattered to the far corners of the neighborhood, soccer balls, golf clubs, tennis rackets and buckets of dirt (minus the prized worm found) with shovels hidden among the bushes and trees of the yard. Trampolines, forts, slides and a swarm of children age 2 to 5 running from yard to yard in blatant ownership of the 'burb. Dirty faces to wipe with hands to wash, and a pizza in the oven to feed two very hungry, windblown, and worn out boys for dinner... basically the perfect Spring preview! Mother Nature can be a cruel Lady however.... tomorrow's forecast?

44 and rainy.
No video planned.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Changes in Latitudes...

Well, you may have noticed a slight change to the "Harbour"... Welcome friends and loved ones to my new digs! When I first set up camp at my previous website, I had very little idea about how blogs worked or what I wanted in the way of "atmosphere"... after a few posts, it quickly became evident that it was just not quite what I had originally intended for my little piece of cyberspace, and so the winds of change blew and I decided to pull anchor and set sail for new horizons! I have all sorts of plans in store for this new locale and I hope you will come by often to roll your pants up, dig your toes in the sand, and spend some time hanging out with me and my beloved family (whom I've decided to refer to as "the crew" for various reasons such as maintaining privacy, past run-ins with the law, and a few other shady dealings I won't go into now...)

I hope to connect on at least a weekly basis with all of you and hope you will keep your eyes towards the horizon and a sharp eye out for the latest bottle to wash ashore... but as we all know, in paradise there are no clocks... and plenty of good intentions! If it's been awhile, then my advice to you is to mix another drink and relax... and really, isn't that the best advice of all??

Fair Winds....