Boat Baby On The Move

We have reached a new milestone as W approaches her first birthday: climbing.

This child. Good lord. She isn’t walking yet, but has refused to allow her lack of bipedal mobility to slow her down. Capable of traversing the boat from v-berth to aft cabin in a mere 3 seconds, our speed crawler leaves a path of destruction in her wake. Nothing is safe on tables or settee couches. This week she figured out how to get up onto our bed, and already has her sights set on her next challenge: the stairs.

Favorite games this week include standing on couches and pulling her books down, emptying Mom’s closet, terrorizing the dog (who can no longer escape up high and out of reach), and knocking the fruit basket down.

To make the cockpit and deck a safe place to explore (and lower Mom’s blood pressure) we got this child sailing harness from West Marine. It gives her the freedom to move without us worrying about her going overboard. We haven’t used it sailing yet (and will probably use it in combination with a life jacket while we are underway) but it has been great at the dock for some outside playtime. My sister’s response when I sent this photo to my family: “Oh how cute. Is she a rescue?”

harness

Just as we figure out this stage, in a blink she will be walking! And with it a whole new set of challenges. We are loving every minute of it, though, and feel lucky to view the world through her curious eyes. Nothing holds this “Go Go Go” baby back!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

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Writer Life

While we are still quite a ways off from our cruising dreams, I feel like the next 18 months are going to fly by. We need to start thinking ahead and planning for the future, especially for our financial future. Active duty military life has been a safety net for us, but soon we will be out in the “real” world. So guess what I did? I got a job.

Well, two jobs really. Freelance writing and contracting gigs that I can do from the boat while W is asleep. I am a content creator for an athleisure wear company called DYI and write things like mailers, product description, and ad campaigns. My other job is working for a company called Elite Editing. I’m just doing some of their blog posts right now, but eventually will be editing manuscripts for people looking to self-publish novels and writing the accompanying blurbs/taglines.

Don’t get me wrong, writing novels is still my #1 passion. Actually, I couldn’t have gotten these other jobs without having “Traditionally published author” on my resume. The opportunities came up thanks to some wonderful friends who thought I would be a good fit and encouraged me to apply. Plus, the hours and schedule flexibility were just too good to pass up! As W gets older and more independent, I can increase my workload. Right now, it is great to squirrel away extra money for our cruising kitty.

I feel like I finally have my feet under me with regards to parenting and boat life, and it is time to slowly ease back into the workforce. My book, Cloaked, is still going strong and I have another book on the way (more to come on that soon!). Between writing novels, book promo, two freelance jobs, keeping up this blog, and raising a baby, my brain is always going 100 mph!

Writing, writing, writing, all day long. I never thought I would be able to write for a living, and now that dream is coming true. We will see how it all balances out, especially with the craziness of Marine Corps schedules, but for now I’m staying on top of it all. If anyone has any organizational tips, send them my way!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

As Seen On TV

And by that, I mean MY BOOK WAS ON TV!! It was featured in a holiday gift guide on the show Good Day Sacramento. Somebody pinch me!

tv
They are talking about Cloaked! 

Here’s the segment:

https://gooddaysacramento.cbslocal.com/video/3985330-out-of-the-box-gift-ideas/

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll just be here on my boat. Freaking out.

Love,

Taylor (and my greatest supporters, Conor and W)

Proud Fair-weather Sailors

We are fair-weather sailors and not ashamed to admit it. Though one day we aspire to be salty and experienced in all conditions, now is not the time to be reckless. We have a baby on board. Enough said.

I will admit it can be frustrating. In order for us to take the boat out, we have to work around nap schedules, military life, and weather windows. Basically, we have to sail on weekends, with decent temperatures, no storms or high winds in the 12-hour forecast, and be back at the dock in time for baby bedtime routine. This perfection only occurs about once or twice per month, sadly.

Before W came around, “good enough” conditions were just fine. It was a thrill to handle the unexpected, and learn on our toes. Now, it just isn’t worth sacrificing our family happiness to push ourselves to the limit on the boat. Stressed out Mama=stressed out baby, and that means lots of screaming. That is not my idea of quality family time!

So for now we are making the most of our easy sailing days, and focusing on making positive memories with our boat baby. We had an absolutely wonderful, easy sailing day this weekend with some good friends. Sunny, 7 mph winds, and 68 degrees. Conor and I actually got a few pictures together! Can you believe it’s November?

I’m hoping this won’t be our last sail of the season, but I have to accept that it may well be. Last year, temperatures dropped dramatically after Thanksgiving. If we are lucky enough to have good weather for the next few weeks, we will jump on our chance. But if there is any doubt…well, we still have springtime sailing to look forward to!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Unspoken Rules of Marina Liveaboards

We are SO lucky to be surrounded by conscientious and considerate boaters. Because our facilities at Gottschalk are shared by everyone with a slip, having kind liveaboard neighbors is a must. It is very different from having neighbors in an apartment or house! Here are some of the unspoken ‘rules’ of Gottschalk Marina that everyone seems to abide by. They make for a happy environment and a community that we are proud to be a part of.

  1. If you’re doing laundry, set a timer. We only have one working washer and dryer right now, so it is extra important to free up the machines for the next person to use ASAP! I try to work around W’s nap schedule so I don’t leave clothes for too long while we are stuck on the boat.
  2. Everyone takes their bagged trash all the way out to the dumpster in the parking lot. There is a small trashcan by the bathrooms, but we all go the extra mile to get it off the docks.
  3. Leave the bathroom nicer than when you arrived. Remarkably, there are very few bathroom complications for the amount of people sharing two bathrooms. I know I always close the shower curtain so it can dry, clean my hair out of the drain, replace the toilet paper, etc. All these little things take just a few seconds, but when everyone does them, they stay clean!
  4. Return the dock carts to the front when you are done using them. There are only two, so there needs to be at least one available for people hauling groceries, laundry, supplies, and more. I know I appreciate it because I already have my hands full with a baby!
  5. Rinse the pumpout caddy when you are done using it. Enough said.
  6. Always request permission to come aboard someone’s boat. Even if the part you’re stepping onto is technically outside, you are still basically stepping into someone’s living room uninvited if you don’t ask. As liveaboards, our boat is our home. I wouldn’t open your front door and barge in.

Anything you were surprised by? What are the ‘rules’ of your neighborhood or marina? Post questions or comments below!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

aerial
Just the cutest, cleanest little marina you ever did see!

 

Goodbye Summer, Hello Winter

I’m convinced that North Carolina only has two seasons: blazing hot and freezing cold. There is no in between. We seem to skip over fall and spring, leaving little time to say goodbye to summer before we are swallowed up by winter. To acknowledge this abrupt change, here is a list of some things I’ll miss, and what I’m looking forward to in the months to come.

Adios to:

  • shirtless boat work
  • the smell of sunscreen
  • coolers full of beer
  • long, hot dock walks
  • the sudden crack of lightning
  • cockpit sunsets
  • grilling
  • chirping crickets
  • humidity sticking to skin
  • fair-weather sailing
  • flip flop tan lines
  • a busy marina
  • cold showers

Can’t wait for:

  • comfort food
  • chilly nights wrapped in blankets
  • scented candles
  • holiday decorations
  • wine
  • sweaters and scarves
  • W’s first snow
  • coffee in the cockpit
  • sailing on an empty river
  • 4:00 moon rise
  • Conor’s holiday leave
  • seeing family
  • curling up by the heater with a good book

What are you sad to say goodbye to? What are you excited for?

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

bye summer

Cooking With Conor

Just because we are small on space doesn’t mean we are small on flavor. Welcome to a new segment of the blog: Cooking With Conor! I’m proud to say that my husband has mastered the art of cooking on the boat, and I want to share some of his favorite recipes with you all.

Cooking on the boat isn’t that much different than cooking in a small apartment. Our galley is surprisingly well-equipped. We have a three-burner propane stove, an oven, a microwave, a fridge, and a deep pantry cabinet. Our favorite part, though, is our little grill outside.

It hooks up to a stanchion, but Conor flipped it around so he could stand on the dock instead of hunched over in the cockpit. We use this little baby just about every day during the summer. When it gets up to 100 degrees out, we try to do everything we can to avoid heating up the inside of the boat! Plus, you can’t beat the evening view.

Here is one of our favorite ‘boat life’ adaptations: grilled pizza.

pizza1

pizza3
Dock boxes are great substitutes for kitchen counters

Looks amazing, right?? Super simple too. It’s a salt pizza dough, just find a recipe you like online and adapt it to taste. Roll it flat, coat with oil, and stick it straight onto your grill. Let it cook for a few minutes until firm, then add your toppings. For this pizza, he put tomato sauce, goat cheese, pancetta, and onions. Let the whole thing sit for about 5 more minutes. The key with grilled pizza is not to overload it with toppings. Keep it light so the dough is crispy!

This was another great one: tomato sauce, mozzarella chunks, and prosciutto. Add arugula after you remove it from heat.

pizza2

While Conor is a master chef, I am rather lazy when it comes to boat cooking. Especially when Conor is gone, the last thing I feel like doing after a long day is cooking an elaborate meal for one when W goes to bed. Here is the Tay style of boat cooking:

hot logic2

Hot Logic. Note: This is my personal opinion, I have no affiliation with Hot Logic. They have no idea me or my blog exists. This is just a tip for people with boats, offices, dorms, etc.

hot logic

Hot Logics are basically little lunchboxes that you can plug in to cook your food! At some point in the afternoon, I can toss in a frozen fish filet and some veggies into a pan, coat everything in olive oil and spices, and plug in the Hot Logic. When dinner time rolls around, my food is cooked, I have one dish to clean up, and I didn’t have to turn on the oven. Kinda like a crock-pot, but everything fits in our little oven when not in use! We have two mini ones and a big one. They are also great for keeping food warm when cooking for a lot of people in a small galley.

Anyone care to share your favorite cooking tips? What makes your life easier? Favorite recipes? Comment below!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W