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16 Weeks

We’re soaring through our 16th week with gratitude for every moment as our little one continues to grow and develop.

I felt the first flutters of movement this week and it was another one of those moments where I’m like, “Is this real?” And it is. It is real and amazing and scary and thrilling all at the same time. It’s surreal to think about this avocado-sized person floating around inside me. Here are a few more points on our progress.

  • 1 trimester down, 2 to go
  • 5 pregnancy/parenting books on the nightstand
  • 0 of those books read (though several started)
  • 6 ultrasounds
  • 1200 (give or take a couple) trips to bathroom
  • 8 names seriously considered
  • 6 names seriously eliminated
  • 4 brands of prenatal vitamins tried (still looking for THE one)
  • 1 prenatal massage enjoyed immensely (thank you, Crystal!)
  • 1 bizarre pregnancy dream
  • 5 months till we get to meet the little one in person

 

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12 Week Snapshot

We’re starting to round out our first trimester!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This week’s check-up fell on the day after Valentine’s Day. We couldn’t have asked for a more heartwarming gift than to hear our little one’s healthy heartbeat (160 bpm) and see lots of growth since our last ultrasound. Baby Butcher is looking a lot more like a baby these days and less like a frog/bat child from the last image.

While I can’t feel its movement yet, the doctor had quite the challenge in getting still images for measurements (and a healthy dose of entertainment) as this kiddo had LOTS of energy, squirming about and flailing its arms around during the ultrasound. Definitely our child.

Now that we’re 12 weeks along, we’re feeling more comfortable/ready to share with the family. Should be fun to see their reactions.

Once the family knows, we’ll start sharing with more friends in a few weeks.

 

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8.5 Weeks And Counting

Healthy 8 and 1/2 week check-up

We had a GREAT and reassuring appointment today. Heartbeat is strong, measurements on track, and we could even see the little sea monkey already squirming around during the ultrasound (though I can’t feel it quite yet).

God is SO GOOD. We’re still taking it a week at a time and are looking forward to sharing our news soon.

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Jeremiah 1:5

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Our Misdiagnosed Miscarriage

Yes, we’re expecting and are so very grateful for our little blessing!

BUT, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing as we’ve had to navigate some highs and lows through a pretty rough start.

 A healthy baby heartbeat in a miscarriage pre-op?!

Soon after the digital “PREGNANT” confirmation, a call to our OB-GYN was made and the first appointment set up. At the appointment the doctor was unable to hear a heartbeat. And with little else for confirmation (a round of bloodwork to test hormone levels), she diagnosed a miscarriage. Christie was given options for physically processing the miscarriage, some that would yield immediate results, but she elected to go home to try and “pass” it naturally. An experience that was explained to be incredibly painful and emotionally challenging to say the least.

Our hearts were heavy. We prayed and we waited. We were somewhat grateful that we had waited to share any news with our family for fear of getting their hopes up only to just as quickly dash them. But with a need for support, we turned to a few close friends and prayer warriors. And their prayers were fiercely powerful, as we’d come to find out.

After a week and half of dread and anxiety, Christie wasn’t able to miscarry naturally so it seemed that she needed to go forward with a medically assisted option. Sigh.  A D&C was recommended (though we didn’t like the idea of any surgery, it was the best option at this point).

With a brave heart Christie went in for the pre-op the day before surgery. She listened, read and completed the detailed paperwork about all the horrible things that could go wrong, and numbingly signed her name. Draped in the gown that was as revealing as the emotion she felt inside, she slid onto the tissue paper covered table in silence. Another ultrasound, “just to confirm”, was performed and (our now most favorite) nurse said “Honey, you can not have this surgery … you have a healthy baby heartbeat.” Too shocked to truly react and confusing the baby’s heartbeat (now thumping rapidly through the sono machine) with her own, she sat waiting for the OB.

The medical explanation: Despite their apparent surprise, the doctor said they must have been off with the timing (testing too early for a heartbeat). Well, alrighty then. Let’s try to get that a little more precise in the future, please. (Or, better yet – how about simply having us return the following week for another check-in.)

Needless to say, we were a little dumbfounded and worn out from it all but praised the Lord for His protection and provision. We have no doubts that the prayer warriors in our life met up with God for some miraculous work. Words seem anemic in trying to show our gratitude for it all but our hearts and little trooper are thriving in thanksgiving.

A little hello to the captain

We now have a new OB. And are looking forward to welcoming our little sea monkey in late August.

 

 

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2012: A New Year, A New Adventure!

Looks like it will be another year of adventure as we are expecting our first little sailor this fall.

 

We welcomed the new year with a quiet celebration in Austin. A canoe trip on the lake, reflections and gratitude for an amazing 2011, lobster dinner on NYE, snow cones on a wonderfully warm Texas winter day, and constant wonder about parenthood.

We’ll remain ashore for awhile but time on the water will continue to be a big priority to help the little one gain its sea legs for our next cruising chapter. Until then, we are rejoicing in each moment of this season of life.

 


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Volvo Ocean Race – The First 40 Years

If you’re determined to be in the sailing game, you have to do this Race.

- Sir Peter Blake, a famous VOR skipper

We may pass on all other major sports but we wouldn’t miss a moment of this nine month RACE AROUND THE WORLD!

Considered the “Everest of Sailing”, the Volvo Ocean Race is a sport in a league of its own. It’s the world’s premier offshore race, an exceptional test of sailing prowess and human endeavour, which started almost 40 years ago as the Whitbread Round the World Race.

This video is a compelling history of the race. It features dramatic footage from rounding Cape Horn 20 years ago to the Volvo Open 70’s that slice through the water today. It’s a little less than an hour long and if you’re even remotely into sailing, we bet you’ll be hooked after the first few minutes (be sure to watch in full screen mode).

And just as some people anticipate their favorite teams progressing toward the Super Bowl, we’re already counting down the days until we’re on the water welcoming the boats’ arrival from Itajai into Miami in May!

 

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Whether afloat or ashore, we wish you and your loved ones a joyful Christmas.

Looking back at the blog post we shared around this time last year, we are reminded of how richly blessed we’ve been and are truly grateful.

Where will you celebrate the greatest gift of Christmas this year?

By the power of technology, YOU can join an engaging Christmas service at your convenience (why not now?) at LiveChurch.tv. Our prayer this season is that you know the true joy of Christmas, that God is with us – in answered promises, realized dreams, and refreshed hope. When you have a moment, explore the songs born from the joy that Christ has entered the world through the Carols Christmas series at LiveChurch.tv.

Merry Christmas, friends!

 

Great Gifts for Sailors

If you’re not a sailor, then picking out a great gift for one can be puzzling.

 

It may seem like we speak a foreign language when you hear terms like sheets when referring to ropes and the head when talking about the toilet. So, to make shopping for a sailor (i.e., you) a little easier, check out this list for potential ideas to share with someone who may have you on their list.

We can vouch for all the tools and gear below as we’ve used them while cruising aboard Kaleo.

  • Platypus PlusBottles – Great for toting water on the go. Clips on a backpack and rolls down when empty.
  • Waterproof backpack – Inexpensive and great for packing a change of clothes or the laptop on a wet dinghy ride
  • Sailor Bags – These bags are sturdy, fully collapsible, water resistant and guaranteed for life making them ideal for anyone active on and off the water
  • Clear dome umbrella – An easy way to stay dry on a wet dinghy ride while still being able to see in front of you
  • Jump drive – for sharing photos and other resources with fellow cruisers
  • MSR Packtowels Personal XL – Ultrasoft, compact, quick-drying and Anti-Microbial towels make drying off easy in humid environments
  • Canon Powershot D10 Waterproof Camera – known as “the cruiser’s camera”, it takes beautiful shots and stands up to the hard life of living in saltwater
  • Lock & Lock Food-Storage Containers – airtight, watertight, durable polypropylene storage containers that seal in freshness of provisions like baking supplies (flours, sugars, etc.), rice, pastas, cereal, crackers, cookies, etc.
  • Adventure Medical Marine 1000 Kit – the ideal cruisers’ first aid kit designed for short offshore adventures. Well stocked to tend to the crew if medical care is 12 – 24 hours away.
  • Bullet 2HP WiFi booster – Internet access on the boat when there are unlocked signals within about five miles
  • Hawaiian sling – a slingshot type of device used for spearfishing
  • Lookie Bucket – a clear bottom bucket used for checking the anchor or looking at reefs without getting wet
  • Mr. Heater Buddy – an indoor-safe propane heater for those cold nights we encountered when headed for tropical cruising grounds
  • Iris 50 Hand bearing compass – an effective well-made compass for taking bearings when navigating close to shore or tracking a massive freighter’s direction when they’re too close for comfort
  • Picquic Mariner – a rustproof fullsize 7-in-1 multibit screwdriver with custom ordered bits to fit the square head screws used on Kaleo (most Canadian-built boats)
  • POWER8 Workshop – the most common power wood working tools combined into one flexible unit that packs into a small case and is battery powered, meaning it can be used in remote anchorages or when away from a power source
  • Mvelopes Online Money Management – in our opinion, the best way to manage day-to-day finances and save for living your dreams.

What are other ideas that YOU’D add to this list? Share with us in the comments as we’d love to hear what’s on your wishlist this year!

 

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Sail Gear For Sale

Since we’re land based sailors for the time being, we thought we’d release some cruising gear that should be put to good use rather than being stored in our home.

 

If you’re interested in anything below, would like to see more pictures or have questions, please let us know. (We will arrange sale and shipping via PayPal.)

Hope you all enjoyed a restful weekend.

 

Kaleo Has A New Captain

Our beloved Kaleo officially has officially sold.

Enjoying life aboard Kaleo in the Southern Bahamas

She is now under the command of a wonderful new captain who will immediately continue her adventures.

It’s certainly a bittersweet feeling, as we love Kaleo and the journey she took us on. But we’re grateful that she’ll be used as designed, rather than floating alongside a dock somewhere while we’re land-based sailors for awhile.

With the final signature, we reflected on the little ship that carried, protected, and taught us so much. It was a blessing to sail aboard our floating home, build lifelong relationships, and see part of the world in such a unique way.

This blog will live on as we share more about our cruising reflections, thoughts for fellow dreamers, and plans for the next adventure.

 

Adding To The Fleet

The “Texas Navy” is gaining strength and we’ve made some great new friends.

Peaceful evening sail aboard s/v Lonestar

We’ve finally met up with fellow DFW sailors and soon-to-be-cruisers, Katie and Dean, of s/v Our Way Too!. Their boat is berthed in Kemah and they’re all too familiar with the same 4.5 hour drive (each way) that we made while preparing Kaleo for cruising. As we discovered over dinner recently, that isn’t the only thing we have in common as the guys talked boat projects and cruising plans while the gals chatted about staying connected and provisioning. And, as great cruising conversations go, the night (and restaurant) closed on us before we were ready to say goodbye so we made plans to meet up again soon.

The crews of Our Way Too and Kaleo at dinner

Fortunately, soon came quickly (just a couple of days later) and included the addition of new friends, Chris and Staci of s/v Lonestar. Chris and Staci are also fellow sailors who keep Lonestar on Eagle Mountain Lake near Fort Worth. All of us had been trying to meet up individually, but we have Katie to thank for bringing the whole group together.

Chris and Staci graciously hosted us for an evening sail on the beautiful Lonestar and then for a delish dinner at the Fort Worth Boat Club. As one of the oldest yacht clubs in Texas, the FWBC was established in 1929 by a group of businessmen who simply wanted to sail. Now that’s something we can relate to!

 The crew heading out for a sail

After a beautiful beam reach down a few lengths of the lake, we glided back to the yacht club for dinner. And to make the evening even sweeter, Katie and Dean brought a birthday cake to celebrate Christie. Chocolate, of course! We look forward to sailing more together soon!

 The happy birthday girl

 

Racer’s Reunion

A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to catch up with our dear sailing friends and racing mentors, Diann and Tim!

 The Gold Rush Regatta on Lake Grapevine a few years ago, 1st Place Finish!

Though we met at their house, the talk was all sailing! It was great to hear about their latest adventures chartering in the Caribbean and they quizzed us on the cruising life.

We also learned that the original Coquette (pictured) is now for sale. It’s the boat we first learned to sail on and she’s berthed on a nearby lake. Needless to say we’re considering a little Beneteau as we scout our next cruising boat.


Lakeside and Lovin’ It

The end of the Harvest Moon Regatta marked the beginning of a fun-filled weekend with part of our cruising family, Rusty and Linda, of Sea Yawl Later. We joined them at Sitton on the Lake, their retreat on the pristine shores of Toledo Bend Reservoir.

“Sitton on the Lake’s” patio view of peaceful shores

We rolled in to the secluded point just in time for a first-class fish fry, with over 80 fresh fillets, courtesy of Pappy (Rusty’s dad) and his fishing crew.  And it only got better from there as we:

  • Treasured the time visiting with our dear friends
  • Caught up on our lost sleep (from the long drive back after the HMR) on the most comfortable bed ever!
  • Enjoyed the lake view as the warm sun radiated through the overhead trees
  • Took a golf cart tour of the serene Piney Woods’ neighborhood
  • Got the golf cart stuck in a Texas sized mud-hole just off the beach

Unintentional Muddin’

  • Played with all kinds of R/C boats courtesy of neighbor, Larry. He may single-handedly have the best collection of “toys” among anyone we’ve ever met. Thanks for letting us play, Larry!
  • Indulged in Rusty’s famous “to die for” ribs, delish stand-up chicken, Linda’s juicy jambalaya, Granny’s creamed potatoes, and then some
  • Started planning for a “Texas Navy” cruiser’s reunion in 2012
  • Wound down the visit by winding up our adrenaline as we raced Larry’s mini-class dragster up and down the quiet country lane. But really, it can hardly be considered “mini-class” because that thing GOES. FAST. HEAD-SLAMMED-BACK-YELL-OUT-OF-SHEER-TERROR-AND-DELIGHT-FAST! Needless to say we ALL had a TON of fun!!

 Fast ride down a short road

Most of all, we kicked back, relaxed and enjoyed life with good friends. And, all agreed that life seems a lot more peaceful at the lake. Driving home on Sunday, we said a prayer of thanks for meeting, and ultimately, being so welcomed into the lives of Rusty, Linda and their family. We love you guys!

Harvest Moon Regatta

Living ashore has by no means left us landlocked.

Since our return to Texas, we’ve been welcomed aboard an armada of sailboats. For us, this has really helped bridge the distance between cruising and landlife. Through former marina neighbors, cruising connections and newfound friends from this blog, it seems there’s always a sailboat shoving off from a dock somewhere nearby.

So, last week, we headed to the coast with plans for Matt to crew in the Harvest Moon Regatta, a 150-mile offshore race from Galveston to Port Aransas, Texas.

The Curmudgeon II crew, Post-race

It turned into a mini-sailing reunion as Steve, from Anchor Management, joined him on the boat, Curmudgeon II, out of the Houston Yacht Club. The boat’s owner, Terry, welcomed the seasoned sailors and the guys jumped at the chance to spend a few days and nights afloat. Throw in a little competition, near perfect sailing weather, a glowing red Harvest Moon and, well, it just couldn’t get any better (unless, of course, they would have taken 1st place).

A sea full of spinnakers

After a solid start, the fleet hoisted spinnakers and the crew on Curmudgeon wasn’t about to be left behind. Once launched, the “kites” ballooned full of air and the boats were off! Little did they know, they would be flying the spinnaker for the next 31 hours. In fact, the spinnaker didn’t get dropped until after gliding across the finish line.

As Matt said, this year’s Harvest Moon Regatta had all the makings of a great race:

  • Highs and lows (both wind and emotions)
  • Moments of intense sailing and hours of just slogging away at the miles
  • Debates about anchors, weather, and the best islands to visit
  • Stories shared about storms, fishing and past races (each most likely exaggerated)
  • And, most importantly, the camaraderie and teamwork that so quickly develop when miles from shore

My role in the race? While I would have loved to have been aboard, plans with family and the need for ground crew took priority.  So, I made the five hour drive from Houston down to Port Aransas (it’s a pretty big state) to pick up the worn out crew. After a bit of visiting, we pointed the 4-wheeled vessel’s bow north and crossed back into Houston around 4 o’clock the next morning.

Sunset on the last night of the regatta

Despite a middle-of-the pack finish, Matt relished the opportunity to watch the orange moon rise on a rolling ocean, feel the wind tousle his shaggy hair, and fall asleep to the creaking of the rigging when not on shift. All-in-all, a great way to spend a few days afloat.

 

From Sea Shores to Hardwood Floors

It feels good to be HOME.

Right now, we are …

- feeling blessed that we dreamed big and lived our big dream

reflecting on the courage it took to take the road less traveled

- unpacking a wealth of memories made in a year that will surely last a lifetime

acknowledging that this was not a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, but rather a spark of action to live a life of more adventure

bridging so many life lessons learned on the water into our new life on land

- passing on the frenetic pace of life that seemed inevitable before we went cruising

treasuring the tangible closeness with family and friends

- thankful that loved ones know no distance nor time away

- feeling the warmth of them near to heart and home

- missing folks who became family on the water

- adoring our new land home

stretching out within it with new found appreciation of space

refusing to fill it with meaningless “stuff”

- sharpening some forgotten skills, like driving at 70 mph!

- anticipating the crisp fall weather that blows closer each day

- fancifying wild pirate stories so as to not disappoint all those who ask

recalling the vividness of life’s colors while afloat

reminiscing of those lazy days at anchor

itching to be sailing again (good thing we’re heading to the coast this week for the Harvest Moon Regatta!)

hoping that Kaleo will be out cruising again soon

- praising God at our home church, Fellowship Church

- realizing just how incredibly blessed we are

- encouraging sailors who want to be cruisers

- sending our love to those out cruising now

– and ultimately, praying that everyone would know the joy of accomplishing their own dreams.

We’ve settled in but the adventure in us hasn’t settled down. We’ll keep you updated on happenings as they happen.

 

Thank you SouleMama for this “Right Now” idea.

Category: Inspiration  4 Comments
Kaleo is For Sale

We’ve reduced the price of Kaleo for the Annapolis boat show. She is currently on the hard 15 minutes south of Annapolis and ready for showing through Annapolis Yacht Sales.

Please see the Yacht World listing or call Paul Rosen at 410-703-7367.

Kaleo under sail along the southern tip of Long Island, Bahamas

Nearly two and a half years ago we invested in a capable Aloha 34 that would take us on adventures greater than we could imagine. She has safely and comfortably carried us over 3,000 miles from Kemah, Texas along the Gulf Coast, across the Gulf Stream and throughout the Bahamas as far south as the remote Jumentos, and up the East Coast.

We had initial plans for a six month cruise and have inevitably extended it to ten. What we’ve learned, accomplished, seen and experienced leaves us in awe, inspired and eternally grateful. Kaleo has served her purpose well.

For prospective buyers, please see our “Kaleo is For Sale” page for detailed information on all of its systems, equipment lists, and photos.

Asking Price: $49,500

 

How do Americans spend their days?

Basically, we sleep, eat, work, and watch TV. Repeat. At least that’s what a recently published “American Time Use Study” is reporting.

Call us Un-American, but this makes me even more grateful to have married such an adventurous man. We’ve scrapped the sedentary cycle of TV (why live vicariously through characters as your OWN LIFE passes you by) for a more active lifestyle.  I’m just sayin’.

My prayer for you today is that you are actively LIVING life. However that looks for you, may it bring you abundant JOY.

 

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