Base Housing Problems

An interesting article caught my attention while browsing Reddit the other day: Military Survey Finds Deep Dissatisfaction With Family Housing on U.S. Bases. It just reiterated all the reasons we chose NOT to live in on-base housing in Camp Lejeune, and think outside the box instead.

I can’t say I’m surprised with what this article had to say: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-military-survey/military-survey-finds-deep-dissatisfaction-with-family-housing-on-u-s-bases-idUSKCN1Q21GR . While we had a fairly decent set up in Pendleton in our 3 bdr 2.5 bath house, we ran into so many issues with the Lincoln Military Housing Office. Everything broke down and repairs were always done in the cheapest way possible, but only after making 3+ calls to get a service person out to fix the problem.

One evening, I noticed a puddle in our laundry room under the water heater. I immediately called and (for once) the office sent someone out ASAP. Come to find out, it was because 10 other water heaters in our neighborhood had burst THAT SAME DAY and flooded homes. We were just lucky enough to catch it before the seam busted.

When my dishwasher was leaking, I had the repair people out twice, only for them to tell me I was just using the wrong dish soap (I was not) and it was basically all in my head. I went out of town for the weekend and came back to a waterbed underneath laminate floors that rippled where I walked. Cue mold specialists, industrial fans, and ruined furniture that all could have been avoided.

Those were small issues compared to what this article lists. Families are living in environmentally dangerous conditions with mold, poor water quality, lead-based paint, and faulty electrical wiring. But what is the alternative to base housing if renting or buying off-base is scarce/costly, and families need the security of base while spouses are deployed?

We chose boat life for myriad reasons—minimalism, future plans, love of sailing—but a BIG perk is being able to live on base without living in atrocious base housing. If boat life isn’t for you, I know a few families and retired military who live in an RV/camper and park it on base campgrounds. All the amenities like the commissary, hospital, and schools, but while living in your OWN home you can take with you when you PCS!

Please share your base housing experiences below, and what you’ve done to problem-solve. Military families are anything if resourceful! But when it comes to homes, we shouldn’t have to  be.

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The day we said a final farewell to base housing!

 

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

 

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Winter Blues

This blog is about living aboard a sailboat. Currently, baby and I are still up in Washington with my parents. Therefore, it is incredibly difficult to write insightful or interesting posts about sailboat life when we are staying in a house! Hence the blog hiatus these past few weeks. My apologies. Winter has just been so long and boring! I can’t wait until spring.

So without a boat to worry about or work on, what have I been up to? Here’s a visual:

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Minus the sleeping part. W is over a year old and STILL getting up 2+ times per night. I have to have faith that one day I will have my sleep and my sanity back. This can’t last forever, can it? Parents who have been there, please post your tips for getting baby to sleep through the night and nap for more than 45 minutes at a time.

In other exciting news, I am close to a release date on my second book! I’m working with my editor at Wild Rose Press right now to finalize Sonder Village and get the blurb/cover/date details to post here soon. Insane person that I am, I also decided that now would be a good time to start on a third book. I figure the more work I do now, the more time I’ll have for sailing come spring and summer! In between novel projects, I’m also doing content writing for extra $ to pay off the boat quicker.

W and I are really missing Conor and trying to stay busy. This should be the last long-haul separation before Conor leaves the Marine Corps, and I can’t say I’ll miss this aspect of our lives. I can’t remember a time in the last eight years when we haven’t had a training/trip/deployment hanging over our heads. Other military wives, you know what I’m talking about! I’m just daydreaming about cruising to the Caribbean one day to get through these next few weeks!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Are You ‘Tidying Up’?

“Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix has everybody talking. Thrift stores nation wide have seen a huge surge in donations since January 1st, which I find kind of ironic, considering the madness that is Black Friday in November and the huge push for gift-giving during the December holiday season. BUT I am excited that people are starting to embrace the idea that less is more and stuff doesn’t equal happiness!

So to go along with this theme, we are doing a little throwback post in honor of Throwback Thursday! I’ll take you back to the very beginning of this blog and show you how we downsized from a 3-bedroom house to a 38-ft boat.

Here is where I talk about embracing minimalism.

Here is about our downsizing process.

Here is how we organized our never-ending lists and processes.

Here is when we were living in an almost-empty house!

Here is all about packing tips and being comfortable with the uncomfortable.

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Throwback pic to our first night on a sailboat, via AirBNB. This is when the planning started…

How have you simplified your life lately? How does it make you feel?

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

2018 Recap Video

 

Well guys, Conor is back in North Carolina to do Marine things. W and I are still hanging in WA because he is going to be so busy, but we miss him so much! Thank God for Skype.

To commemorate what a great year we had as a family, I put together a little recap video for 2018. Our 2017 video is here, and our 2018 one picks up right where that one left off! It is crazy to look back and see how tiny W used to be. This year consisted of sleepless nights, two cross-country trips to WA, boat work, long summer nights, great sailing as a family of 3, and more. I have to say, I’m pretty impressed that I was able to put this together just a week after New Year. The 2017 recap video didn’t get posted until March 2018. I think I’m more on top of it this year!

The song is ‘End of the World’ by the Dirty Heads. Thanks for following our journey!

 

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Taking on 2019!

2018 was an absolutely amazing year for our family. Our little girl turned 1 and is signing/talking up a storm. More importantly, WE survived our first year as parents! Conor kicked butt at work and got his JTAC-E certification. I published a book and signed the contract for another. We had some great sailing experiences and became friends with some awesome people. Here are a few highlights:

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I want to make 2019 as great as last year. I’m a big believer in goal setting, and do not limit it to New Year’s resolutions. Two or three times per year, Conor and I will sit down and write out a few goals we have for the near future. We keep everything in a running Word document, so it is fun to look back on and cross things off, whether it took us a few weeks or a few years to accomplish them.

One of the most important things with goal setting is being able to reflect and see evidence of your accomplishments. It is okay to celebrate! And in order for a goal or resolution to feel ‘complete’, I have to be as specific with my wording as possible. It helps to break it down from a vague idea to something that feels do-able. Otherwise, how can I judge if I’ve really done it? I’m coming up with new goals all the time. Some are a little easier, like “Tell my family I love them every day”, while others require a plan.

Here are a few of my plans for taking on 2019. See how they would look as a ‘resolution’ vs. a ‘goal’:

Resolution: Get healthy

Goal: Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. No more skipping meals because I feel too busy. My diet is just as important as the baby’s, and I need adequate calories to be the best parent I can be. Try to do yoga 2x per week.

Resolution: Be a better writer

Goal: Finish drafting another book this year and aim for 3-4 blog posts per month. Read 1-2 new books in the genre I’m writing to keep up with current trends/audiences.

Resolution: Sell more books

Goal: Work on my self-promotion and advertising with Cloaked. Come up with a better step-by-step marketing plan for Sonder Village this spring before the book is launched. Interact more on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram with readers. Actively seek out local author events. Try not to be so shy!

Resolution: Get better at sailing

Goal: Take the boat out at least every other weekend and practice more at the helm. Plan an anchor-out trip this spring. Participate in yacht club races. Get W more involved as she gets older and assign her little jobs to do while underway.

This is just the start. More goals are on the way!

How do you plan on tackling 2019? We would love to hear from you!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Holiday Travel

During my 2012 trip to Nicaragua from Costa Rica, I took one backpack with stuff to last a week. I packed a toothbrush, hairbrush, 1 swimsuit, a pair of shorts, 2 t-shirts, flip flops, and a sarong that served as a blanket/towel/cover up depending on the situation. My passport, camera, and cash were my only items of value. I didn’t even have a phone. I certainly don’t remember wearing sunscreen.

I thought of this trip as we checked our baggage at Raleigh airport. The crowds parted like the sea when they saw us coming—a suitcase each for me, W, and Conor, a diaper bag, backpack with electronics, W’s crib, a car seat, Lillibaby harness, stroller, and a pet carry-on case for Scout. We wheeled this teetering monstrosity on a luggage cart amid gazes of awe and pity. Holiday travel with children. Is there anything else like it? If any readers have tips for us, please post below!

There were some things that made the trip easier. Luckily, W had her own seat for the cross-country flight to Seattle. All of our checked bags made it to the other side in one piece. We avoided any meltdowns (both parents and baby). Still, 6 hours entertaining a 1 year old who won’t sleep isn’t easy, and I am not looking forward to our return trip. It is hard living so far away from family! But now that we are here, we are relishing time with family and friends for the holidays. Plane travel with kids will get easier, especially once we don’t need to haul car seats and strollers and diaper bags.

I know that the carefree trips of my college years are part of the past, and I am okay with that. Fulfilling Baby’s needs and comfort are the most important part of taking a family-friendly trip. For that, I will load up as many bags on my back as it takes.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

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Scout is rockin’ her Christmas sweater

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?”

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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