Friday, January 29, 2010

Toddling through a Winter Wonderland

As January comes to a close, and I sit here typing aboard Sassy II on the coldest night of the year, I am reflecting on the winter aboard thus far.

It has been a very mild winter, all told, with very little snow and few really cold days. I think that's a blessing, as we really feel the difference when the temperature drops below about -15C. Last night I actually wore a toque in bed! Now I truly feel like a Canadian!! I think we may need another heater.

Henry and I continue to get out every day, even if only to walk to the grocery store a block away. I think it's really important to get a little fresh air and a change of scenery every day. Henry continues to amaze me. He is able to walk on his own now, and continues to climb on everything. Since he started walking he has really increased his talking. It's almost as though he has shifted gears from physical skills to verbal. He is way ahead physically and cognitively, following instructions, putting lids on bottles, putting shapes in his sorter, putting things away in the cupboards and closing the doors, but has lagged behind a little in speach. As of his first Birthday he had only said, "baba and mama", as those were his only consonents. Since then he has added 'g' and 'd', and says words that sound like 'this' and 'that'. I find it quite amazing to watch him develop.

I am still amazed that I have a son. I wasn't sure it would ever happen for me, and I savour every moment. Just this morning I was watching him nap and marvelling at how perfect he is. I know it's a mother's love that biases me, but I truly do think he's perfect. Motherhood has been an incredible journey so far.
I have gone off on a tangent. Winter. Henry and I have spent a lot of our weekends away in Peterborough or Kitchener visiting with my parents or Andy's. I think all of the visiting has kept us from feeling couped up on the boat. It's always nice to go away, and just as nice to come home again.

I've really enjoyed this lifestyle. It's amazing how little space a family actually needs. We live, all five of us if you include the furry ones, in a space as small as the average livingroom. (Andy didn't like my saying that our space is small, reminding me that it is 34'10" x 11'4", I think he has become a true sailor and has forgotten what it's like to live in a house!) Henry doesn't have all of the big toys, swings, highchairs, change tables and other paraphenalia that most new parents just have to have, and I think that has helped us to live a much simpler life. He has more toys than he can play with, they are just smaller. He has a portable chair that attaches to the table. And who needs a swing, walker, or other entertainment centre when you have a companionway to climb?

This lifestyle does make you realize what a necessity really is. Henry's Aunt Becky just bought him a 'Cadillac' of a stroller. Our little umbrella stroller purchased for $25 in Florida has seen more miles than you can imagine, and has the wear and tear to prove it. Our new jogging stroller is an unbelievable luxury! The tires are big inflatables, and I can push it with one finger! Henry really enjoys the snack tray. Thanks Aunt Becky!!

The highlights of our winter wonderland? We step out our door and feed the ducks, geese and swans that are swimming beside our dock. Our family is closer than we've ever been. We have hearty, home cooked meals that warm our tummies and our home. We get out every day to enjoy the biggest city in the country from it's most scenic location. Even though finances are tight, our simple life has made me the happiest I've ever been.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy Birthday, Henry!!

A whole year has come and gone since I gave birth to my little acorn. (My grandma calls him that because little acorns grow into big Oakes, right?)

It has been a wonderful, incredibly eventful year. We have certainly had our trials and tribulations, as every family with an infant has, but all in all it was a fantastic year.

When you have a new baby every day is special. There are always changes happening, and they do something new every time you turn around!

I think Henry is exceptionally bright, but I'm sure all mothers think that about their own children. :) He has reached all of the physical milestones early. He rolled over for the first time when he was just 12 days old! That was when we knew he'd be keeping us on our toes! Henry went on to sit alone at four months, pull himself to standing at five months, and crawled and cruised the furniture by six months! He's now walking on his own with a little encouragement, although he prefers to hold on to one of Mommy or Daddy's fingers for reassurance.

Today we went for a walk to the mall, and Henry walked for about 10 minutes, holding onto Mommy's hand, before he was ready to settle into his stroller for a ride. Such an independant little man! All of this activity is making him need two naps again, he had been having just one for several days. Mommy isn't ready to give up the second nap yet (my little bit of me time in my day!), so I'm glad Henry isn't ready to give it up yet either.

Looking back on the past year I remember it as one of the best ever. It's funny how the sleepless nights don't matter anymore. The fussy evenings pacing with our three month old seem like a very distant memory. What stands out are the smiles, the giggles, the new accomplishments, and lately, all of the hugs and kisses given freely without us even asking for them! Parenthood comes with its sacrifices and hard times, but the rewards are endless and priceless.

Thanks, Henry, for being the wonderful little man you are, and for enriching our lives more than you'll ever know. Here's to toddlerhood!

Happy Birthday.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!!

Another year has come and gone. They go so quickly, don't they?

2009 was a year of excitement, a year full of ups and downs, adventures and challenges. 2009 brought us Henry! We sailed 2400 miles. We sought adventure and found plenty! We also had a lot of pitfalls in the business and had to make a few sacrifices and changes of plan.
I think that when you look back on your life, though, it is the highlights that stand out. The hardships only make you smarter, stronger, and lead you on another path. Our trip was something that most people don't ever get to do, and we enjoyed four and a half months on the water together living our dream.

Our first year with Henry couldn't have been better. He is such a wonderful, charming little boy. We like to think that spending so much quality time with him, living this 'life less ordinary' has helped him to become the sweet, adventurous, boisterous little man that he is. I love him more than words can say.

The clock is ticking on whether or not Henry will officially walk before his first birthday! He will be one on January 14th. He is now walking between us at a fairly slow, controlled pace, up to 5 or 6 steps! He is so close, I think he just lacks the confidence to let go and be off! All in his own time, I'm sure.
Everyone we see these days is asking, 'How are you managing wintering on the boat?' The answer is that we keep the boat at a nearly tropical warmth, Henry and I get out for walks every day to stave off cabin fever, and my sea sickness has been cured! In short, life aboard is wonderful...even in the winter.

Christmas was good. Hectic as usual, visiting both families, with all of the travel that entails. But we had a nice, simple Christmas, enjoying the most important stuff...time with those we love, good food, and good cheer. We had Christmas Eve and Christmas morning on the boat, just the three of us (five if you count the furry ones!), then went on to Kitchener to see the Oakes' for a few days, then Peterborough to spend time with the Francey's. It was really nice.

On New Year's Eve we went out on our first date since Henry was born! We were more than due! Andy and I went to the annual party at the Heathcoat residence. It was great fun, as usual, with a live band, good company, and great food. Henry had a date with our wonderful neighbours, Deirdre and Bruce, who kept watch over him on our boat. He woke up and was quite upset to find us absent, but Deirdre worked her magic, and he was sound asleep again in no time! Thanks Dee!!

My New Year's Resolution? Same as everyone else's, probably...I want to lose a few pounds and a few inches. I'm going to cut out all of the desserts that we feasted on almost every night in 2009, and do daily sit-ups and push-ups to get back to my pre-pregnancy waist size! that I've told you, I will have to stick to it!

So what's next? Well, the maternity leave money has stopped coming, so off on the job hunt I go. I'm hoping to find something part time so that Andy can be with Henry when I'm not. We really don't want to put him into daycare.

I wish you all a happy, healthy and successful 2010! Follow your dreams, and great things will happen!