Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Well, it was our first Christmas on the boat and I LOVED IT! Katreina was, of course, up before the sun. Heck, I hardly slept all night because I was so excited! She immediately started picking out which presents were hers, but I made her wait for her brother.

Katreina was very excited to see how many presents were under the tree!

Once they were both up it all went pretty quick! They got some great gifts and seemed to be very thrilled with their presents from Santa--a baby doll (with all the accessories!) for Katreina and a pirate ship for Trent.

The kids tear into their presents from Brandi and Nathan.

Trent practices aiming cannons right at Mommy.

After a little breakfast and the first round with all the new toys, we headed to the island to explore and geocache. It was such a beautiful day and the kids handled the really long hike reasonably well. Frank and I got a heck of a workout carrying them! We were back to the boat in time for a late lunch and some well-earned naps for the kids.

Then we got underway and sailed around Blake Island under a cloudless sky. The day was just perfect and the sailing was nice. The kids were pretty well entertained with their new toys, too, so I managed to get some time up on deck! We had the full push of the tide against us through Rich Pass but still managed to drop the anchor in Poulsbo right at sunset. From there I headed in to put the finishing touches on our big Christmas dinner. The ham didn't exactly fit in the oven, but with some reconfiguration of the rack I somehow wedged it in. And everyone seemed to like it!

The Christmas feast--ham, potatoes, green bean casserole, pineapple, and rolls. Nothing too fancy, but everything we like!

This was a most wonderful day. I miss seeing our families, but at the same time I really loved enjoying a relaxing day with just our little family. It's tough--I want it all!

Friday, December 25, 2009

"Then one foggy Christmas eve..."

What a day! After heading out for one last trip to the post office (where I got berated by the not-so-helpful clerk), a bag of ice, a horn, and some lattes, we were off! Destination--Blake Island State Park, which is just south of west of Seattle.

The first big excitement was that I drove us away from the dock! I'm usually the line handler, but today I took to the wheel and surprisingly got us underway without any problem. I drove us out of the marina before handing it back over to Frank. Then after a quick check on the kids, I headed to the bow to be a lookout as it was CRAZY foggy out. We were even compelled to use our fog signals. The real joy was hearing a large vessel report its underway from Everett, SOA 17kts, heading the same direction we were. We heard him, once very close, and could not see him at all! Then there was there were the ferries...we decided to go close to their piers at Clinton to try to minimize how many times we'd run across them. Well, just as we got there we heard the loud blast of their horn--close! And I couldn't see a damn thing. Frank saw the ferry briefly, but then nothing but white. I won't lie, it was scary! We could only see the coast off our starboard beam when we were like 200yds away from it. We decided to drop the anchor before getting to Possession Point and assess the situation...

After the kids got lunch and were down for naps, we decided we should go out a bit and see if it improved. I also installed the AIS app on my iPhone and we got a glimpse of the big traffic out in the sound. Seeing it was pretty light for traffic we headed out and I'm glad we did! Shortly after passing Possession Point we were out of the fog bank and were treated to a beautiful day! We could clearly see Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainier, the Olympics, the Cascades, Seattle...a truly glorious day!

Frank quickly got us moving and we had a great afternoon cruise. After the kids got up we made some cookies for Santa and watched Polar Express. We moored to a mooring ball for the first time ever, which I can say wasn't bad, but wasn't wicked easy either. Whatever, it was sunset on a beautiful night and we were one of 2 boats moored on that side of Blake Island.

Our home for Christmas Eve.

We made a call to the family in IL and got to hear some of the excitement there as our nieces and nephew opened their gifts. After dinner we let the kids open one present from us and exchange their presents from each other. Trent was very happy with his singing Thomas train car and Katreina loved her Silvermist doll! Then we lowered the table to make a fun place for Christmas morning, wrote a note to Santa, and left him some treats!

"We're ready for Santa and the reindeer!"

With the kids all snug in their beds we had a new to get all this stuff "under" the tree without waking them up! Somehow we pulled it off!

Our bathroom became the hiding spot for all the gifts!

Monday, December 21, 2009

What deployment really means:

As we get ready for Christmas on the boat, I've become all too aware of what next year will bring for me and the family. Due to deployment, I will miss Thanksgiving, Trent's 3rd birthday, my anniversay, Christmas, Frank's birthday, and Katreina's 5th birthday. 5th birthday! Ugh, to miss such a big one! And that's just from the deployment. I'll miss a lot more as we get busy with work-ups. I knew this was coming. We knew it before we even took the orders. But now, after celebrating Trent's birthday and getting set for the holidays, I'm just getting pretty down. I'm mom. I'm supposed to be here for these things! I think I may have gone a little overboard on gifts this year and this may be part of it.

Everyone seemed to be a little sick this weekend, so we didn't do much. Probably gave me too much time to think! This weekend should be better...will Santa visit us at anchor??? :)