Daddy’s Home!

This blog is about sailing and living aboard, but it is also about military life too, and how sometimes, it can all be really, REALLY hard.

Conor deployed a week after our baby was born. He’s back now, and was only gone a month, but it was still a rather sudden and unexpected departure. The possibility of the training exercise had been tossed around since September, and had been definitively called off around Thanksgiving. We had both breathed a huge sigh of relief, until halfway through December when all of the sudden it was back on. It threw us for a loop and added so much stress on top of, you know, having a baby. I am so thankful he was there for the birth, as I know many other spouses are not so lucky, but it was SO hard to see him go and say goodbye to our little one.

This was the reason I had rotating help with my parents, who both flew across the country to be with me for two weeks. My sister also came out for a long weekend. Boat life added another layer of complication to the situation, but at least I had babysitters! At three weeks post-partum, I did a pumpout and dragged the cart down the docks, through the snow, and up the parking lot hill. Our water tanks had to be filled, and because of the freezing weather, hoses had to be connected from the dockhouse and run all the way back to our slip. This was all doable with an extra set of hands to watch the baby while I did it all, and set us up for the next two weeks while baby and I were mostly on our own.

All told, Baby and I were alone for ten days total while Conor was gone. I learned to never leave the boat for just one thing. If I was going through the effort of loading baby up in the stroller or wrapping her in the babywear wrap, I needed to get stuff done. I’m sure I made quite a sight stomping around the marina, baby strapped to my chest, bag of laundry in one hand, and leash in the other. Or pushing the stroller, all of our PO box mail shoved into the diaper bag, dragging a dock cart full of groceries behind me.

Respect to all military moms, and moms in general. You work hard and get sh*t done, all while being the adult in charge of keeping one of Earth’s newest members alive. I am proud to join your ranks.

Conor’s homecoming was one of the sweetest moments I’d ever witnessed. We are very happy to have him back. We survived January!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

dads home

An Interview With My Parents

The title says it all. Both my parents visited for a week to live on the boat and help out with the new baby. They tag-teamed it–my dad came out first (during that horrific freeze), and then basically high-fived my mom at the airport as she started her week-long shift. I am so, so grateful for all of their help. They dove right into caring for their grandchild and the boat life all at once. I thought readers might be interested to hear their perspective on the whole experience:

What was the most surprising thing about living aboard for a week?

Dad: How cozy it all is.

Mom: It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be! It was roomier than expected and light–a pleasant surprise!

What were the hardest challenges for you?

Dad: Navigating in such a small space. I’m sure it takes awhile to get into a good groove. Also, in the dead of winter, it’s too dark.

Mom: Water! Using it, conserving it, disposing it, and refilling it.

What were your major likes and dislikes about marina life?

Dad: Chilling up in the cockpit is amazing. I could stay out there all day, as there is lots of activity, critters, and craft to look at. The only thing better would be doing it from a moving boat! However, when the river is frozen, it is BAC (butt-ass cold), and since there’s nowhere to go, it is sometimes a little too cozy.

Mom: Had it been warm enough to spend a lot of time outside, it is a stunning, relaxing environment. Marina people are the best ever! It is a family that takes care of each other. However, in 28 degree temperatures and 35 mph wind, you had to walk to shower, do laundry, and even use the bathroom!

How did it feel to return to your house?

Dad: Like I was in some resort. Everything is sooooo far away. The trek from the fridge to the sink took about an hour and a half. It was also great to sleep in my own bed.

Mom: CONVENIENT!

What did you miss about the boat after returning home?

Dad: This one is easy. No Tay or Miss [W] are at home.

Mom: Miss [W]

What did you learn during your week here?

Dad: That I’m so proud of both of you. You are really forward-thinking and also way out of the box. Plus you really nailed the grandkid-o-meter.

Mom: That there is value in living with less.

Any additional thoughts?

Mom: There is something so nice about being rocked to sleep. There is something not so nice about being blown heavily around at night, lines squeaking and wind howling. Oh yeah, and never take a sleeping pill offered by your child!

 

Major kudos to my parents for embracing everything in the middle of winter. To be honest, there were a few times these past weeks where I questioned our sanity for doing this. It is SO much harder when the weather won’t cooperate. But, the other 10 months out of the year, there is nowhere else I’d rather be! I’m so happy that my family got to experience a little slice of our life. And, btw, they ROCK as grandparents! Thanks YaYa and Padre!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

winter

Happy New Year!

Even though I am sleep deprived and beyond exhausted, I just couldn’t let today pass without acknowledging the New Year and what 2017 brought us. This has been the craziest adventure, and I can’t believe how much changed in just one year.

Last January 1st, we were living in a house in California, trying to figure out our next step. Conor didn’t have orders, we had no real plan, and were realllllyyyy ready to say goodbye to a difficult 2016. Since then, we’ve gotten rid of (almost) everything we owned, road-tripped across the country, embraced life on the east coast, bought a sailboat, learned how to live on it and sail it, made wonderful friends at two different marinas, Conor kicked butt at his new job, I finished my fourth novel, and we had a BABY!

So I sit here with the newest member of our family, in our own little boat, marveling how I got here. It took one year of pushing ourselves toward new things at every opportunity, and throwing fear out the window, but we did it. Gosh dang it, I’m proud of us.

2017 will be hard to top, but 2018 is already shaping up to be another incredible adventure—parenting! Baby W, Conor, Scout, and I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year. May you persevere and accomplish all your resolutions, dreams, and goals—we will be cheering you on!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

baby

V-berth for Baby

Though our nursery might not be Pinterest-worthy, I thought you all might like to take a peek at what we have planned for when Baby gets here! Because our space is so limited, our rules for baby gear were that it had to be compact, fold-able, dual-use, or travel-friendly. After a LOT of research, I was able to find the perfect stuff to fit our lifestyle (we hope, I’ll update once Baby gets here). I put brand names in the post so people can find these items if they are interested, but please know that I have no affiliation with any of these companies.

Here it is! So glamorous, right? Let’s start with the basics: the mattress. Any boater will tell you how difficult and frustrating it is to get sheets for a v-berth mattress. Nothing ever fits quite right, and forget about a mattress cover. Luckily, we have an amazing friend at our marina who runs a canvas shop who offered to take on the impossible task of custom bedding as our baby gift. We have an insert that completes the triangle, but we needed the bedding to have a special fit when it is removed in order to have easy access to the drawers underneath (read: lots of velcro). It won’t be used as a bed again for quite some time, but I’m happy that the mattress will be protected from poop/spit up in the coming months.

vberthfull

Turning around from here, to port is the in-room sink (handy for diaper changes) and starboard is the closet. I’ve used a shoe hanger over the back of the door for quick-access items (socks, hats, pacifiers, swaddle blankets).

Inside the closet are diaper supplies, clothes, and pump supplies:

closet

And we can’t forget about the books! The other side of the v-berth wall shelves will be for toys when Baby is old enough.

books

Now for our gear, starting with the stroller. We chose the Mountain Buggy Nano travel system, which is pretty much the lightest travel system on the market. The stroller is 13 lbs and can be folded up to fit in airplane overhead bins. The car seat is only 8 lbs and can accommodate a child up to 44 lbs.

carseat

Baby will sleep in our bedroom for the foreseeable future, and will be in the Summer Infant SwaddleMe bassinet right by our bed. This bassinet can also fold up flat for easy storage/travel. This is the setup:

bassinet

Once Baby is ready to transition to a crib, she will be in the Lotus travel crib by Guava Family. The crib is very easy to pop open, and stores super easily. It will be strapped down/secured onto one side of the v-berth mattress (how we accomplish this is TBD at the moment). This is it all folded up:

crib

For bath time, we have the Luxx baby folding bathtub which hangs in a small locker inside our shower.

For diapering, we have the Bumbo changing pad, which is easy to wipe down, portable, and heavy enough to stay put. I am already totally in love with our diaper backpack, which is by Bag Nation and has SO many pockets. It is currently our hospital “go bag”, which is why it looks so stuffed.

I can’t WAIT to use our high chair. It is a Phil&Teds lobster high chair that folds up so tiny when not in use. We also have a completely collapsible baby bottle drying rack that will come in handy.

bottlerack

Last but not least, have you ever seen a cuter life jacket?? If you’re looking for a life jacket for your little one, there are very few on the market that are certifiably safe for infants. This one is a Stohlquist Infant PFD for babies 8-30lbs.

lifevest

That’s all of the major stuff we’ve planned for. If anyone else has suggestions for baby gear in a tiny space, please share! Hopefully this was a fun insight into how we plan on making boat and baby work. Now we wait…

Love,

Taylor and Conor