Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Jake, pretending to be a Knight.

We’ve been here in Atlanta a few days and I’m sorry to say I don’t have many pictures to show for it.  Jake has been on a whirlwind with his cousins.  I think he might be driving Carter a little crazy, but true to form, Carter just takes it in stride and does whatever Jake wants.  Caitie has played hostess and made Jake dinner and she’s made him muffins twice for breakfast.  They are great kids and it’s been really fun to get to know them a little better.

Carter had a baseball tournament this weekend (and won!) so we spent a little time at the ball park but we also took some of that time to visit a really close friend of mine and her family.  Jake took to her oldest son the minute we got there and they had a blast.

Seeing Cayce reminded me of one of the things I miss most being out cruising…girlfriends.  Don’t get me wrong or read too much into this, I love my family.  Every time we come home, that’s who I want to see.  But if you think about it, we haven’t lived near our family in 15 years (for Andy, longer).  I guess you could say that we’re kind of used to missing them and having to make time to visit and go see family.  But friends, well, you always have friends wherever you move…you have neighbors, work friends, other parents, etc. that you talk to day in and day out.  THAT is what I miss on the boat.  Not just people in general, but people you really like and chose to be with.

After going to a potluck with a ton of cruisers one day, we got back to the boat and I started to “debrief” Andy J.  He said to me, “wow, you’ve gotten caddy!”

“No, I haven’t ‘gotten’ caddy….I’ve always been caddy.  I just had girlfriends to be caddy with.  You didn’t have to hear about it.  Congratulations!  Now you have to be my girlfriend too. “
While this was all done in good fun, it was true.  We each have to play new roles with each other that we may or may not have thought through before hand.  With all that said, Andy and I are closer than ever and I wouldn’t trade it for the world….just something to think about if you’re considering embarking on a similar journey.

Here's what Andy misses the most...
our Big Green Egg (lovingly being taken care
of by Cayce and Mike)

Here are some pictures of Jake and his new friends getting to know each other.  I'm not sure they could have packed any more fun into one day.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Busy Busy Busy

We’ve been keeping busy here in California while visiting Papa and Gigi.  We’ve gone to the Heritage Gardens, visited some boating friends in Thousand Oaks and yesterday we went to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.  Now you might think that we get enough of the water animals but the fact is, Jake and I (and Andy) love aquariums.  This one was pretty cool as aquariums go.  We were able to pet sharks, stingrays and bat rays…see some penguins and show Papa and Gigi all the fish we get to see on a regular basis on our snorkeling adventures.  We also got to see a lot of the sea life from Australia…something we’re really looking forward to seeing in person.  It's nice to keep busy but when you're used to the slow pace of life that we are, it can be exhausting too!

The Cactus Garden was Jake's favorite

Jake, Papa and Gigi stopping to cool off...it was a hot day.

We make our much anticipated journey to Georgia later this week - our third flight since leaving Pohnpei.  It’s been two years since we’ve seen my brother and his family so I think we’re all pretty excited!  Georgia is also where I grew up and went to college so I have a list of friends I hope to catch up with.  I'm not telling Jake because I don't want him to be disappointed if it doesn't work out, but I think his boat friends from Mexico, Christian and Abby are there as well...  It should be a fun filled trip with lots of kids for Jake to play with.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Staying in Shape

One of the cruising myths out there is that you will lose weight while cruising.  If you're overweight to start with, love fast food and don't ever exercise, then you probably will.  But if you're in decent shape, watch what you eat and run the occasional mile, odds are, you're going to be constantly looking for ways to stay in shape.  OR....do what I did and completely forget about it, resulting in 10 pounds of jiggle.

I'm an externally motivated person (meaning I need others to get my butt off the couch) so when I got home and started really paying attention to those around me, I decided to do something about it (not to say I wasn't fully aware of the jiggle before hand...just not motivated).  My high school friend, Kim, has just finished a triathlon.  One of my best friends, Jennie, just finished her second(?) marathon and is threatening me with 4am cross fit classes when I come visit in VA.  My college friend, Nikki, runs 8 miles uphill with a double jogging stroller on any given day.  And another friend from my college days, Ted, runs ultra marathons ...seriously.  All of these people have jobs and responsibilities and families so there is really no excuse I can come up for me with that would fly.

I've been running and walking for the past month, since we got home, and while I feel better, it hasn't done much for my physique.  AND I need to find something sustainable, meaning something I'll continue to do on the boat.  As much as I believe in a good jog, sometimes it's hard to make that work on these small islands.  I'll spare you my plethora of excuses (crazy drivers, running in a skirt?, dinghy troubles, rather drink beer with Andy...I have plenty) and move on to what I think might be a good supplement to my sporadic aerobics.

I ran across another cruiser's website back when we were in Samoa and learned a little about the TRX.  It was created by some navy seals to keep them in shape wherever they went.  This couple (Zero to Cruising) swears by the TRX and they look hot (and incidentally, are probably pretty healthy...those two things keep popping up together, huh?)  They make their living off of being fit and we all know by reading the last three paragraphs, that isn't me....but it looks like it has its merits...and most importantly, might be perfect for the boat (and both Andy and I).  So...I was walking with my mom the other night and we passed by a fitness place here in Redlands, CA - The Energy Lab - and I could see TRX straps hanging from the ceiling.... I decided to do a drop in class last night and see what all the hubbub was about.  To keep from looking like an idiot, I went all out, probably not the smartest idea seeing as I can barely walk today and typing this blog is taking a serious toll on my arms.  But I enjoyed it and think it might work.

It's a pricey little thing so I wanted to see if anyone out there has any experience with this...  I can see how  many of the exercises can be done without the TRX but I can also see that there is probably three times that many that you can do with it.  The possibilities are endless.  So I'm asking for your help.... a few questions...

1) Does anyone out there use this?  If so, what do you think?

2) Does anyone on a boat use this?  The folks on Zero to Cruising are on a catamaran as well, but in their pictures I see they have a trampoline that they can use as space to exercise.  We have nets...think hammocks, so it seems our space might be a bit smaller.  I was wondering what kind of space folks use for this.

3)It seems this is only as good as you make it and I haven't seen that many places showing types of exercises you can do.  Does anyone have a good source to go to for that?  I'm going to take another class just to get a broader scope, but I get bored easily....I need some additional material.
(NOTE:  ok, I went back and checked the TRX  website and of course they have tons of excercises...does anyone know where I can find some that are printable?  I won't be able to watch youtube on the boat)

Hopefully there's someone out there that can help here.

In the meantime, I'll keep running (well, trying to...I find I can't run up the mile long incline here at my parents house, but I can run downhill three miles...my friends tell me that still counts) and trying new things and you guys keep overachieving so I have something to look up to, ok?

By the way, as a side note, anyone in Redlands looking for a great place to work out - The Energy Lab was fantastic.  Jill is a very friendly, peppy little thing that could no doubt kick Andy's butt.  They have many more classes besides the TRX and if you were doing it by the month, looked to be fairly economical.  It's downtown on Citrus Ave.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


We’ve had a nice time settling in here in California.  The highlight so far has definitely been Legoland.  Jake declared it his “best time of my life!” 

I enjoyed it too!  Who couldn’t enjoy a place where your kid is on the biggest high he’s ever been on (and it wasn't crowded).  He went from ride to ride and activity to activity.  I don’t think there was anything he didn’t enjoy (down to his PB&J for lunch).  He rode his first (and second) roller coaster…. We were going down the first hill and he said “I don’t think I should have done this!!!!!”  You know how you can see the pictures of you at the end of the rides?  He looked absolutely TERRIFIED.  If it wasn’t so funny, it might have been sad.  But the second roller coaster (DRAGON) was more his speed.  We ended up riding it twice.

There were amazing lego sculptures (is that what you call them?  buildings? thingys?) like The White House, Star Wars scenes, whole cities (New York City!) with 100's of thousands of legos.  Jake got his “driver’s license” on the Volvo car ride…  His favorite game was shooting a bunch of nerf balls up in the air in this obnoxious overcrowded play pen thing.  He also enjoyed going through Pharoah’s tomb shooting things with a laser gun (do you see a theme here?).  He didn’t get to shoot the water guns from the big boat though because it was too cold.  I know, I know…you guys in CA are saying “what?”  But seriously, it was only 80 degrees and the wind was blowing…we just couldn’t handle adding water to those kind of conditions…can you say frost bite?

The Capital building was absolutely amazing.

I was a little surprised when both of my parents (aka Gigi and Papa) decided to ride the roller coasters with us.  Both survived and I actually think my dad was disappointed when Jake didn’t want to ride the dinosaur ride that twirled you around upside down.  All in all, I think they had a great time too.  They did everything with us and hung out all day (literally from opening to closing).  We left the house at 7:30 am and got home about 9:00 pm.  On the two hour ride home, Jake was talking a mile a minute…never even thought about falling asleep.  As soon as his head hit the pillow though….

It’s been nice to be busy and keep our minds off Andy being gone.  He left yesterday from his training in Indiana to Afghanistan (with a few hundred stops along the way).  If you’re the praying kind, we could use a few extras these days to make sure he comes home safe and sound (not trying to be melodramatic here but just to be on the safe side).  If not, wish on a star or something for us, would ya?

I’ll close with some pictures from yesterday…you’ll see a lot more of Jake in the upcoming months as this will be the primary way Andy keeps up with us too.


Silliness at the guillotine.

I was so proud of him when he said he wanted to do this.
He didn't get up very high but he sure did try hard!

VERY serious when he's driving.

Everyone loves standing in the bubble (at SEA LIFE).

More pictures from the days leading up to Legoland...

School was not the most fun thing to do this week...

The playground near Gigi and Papa's apartment.

Chocolate cake at the farmer's market.  I know, where's the veggies?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

On to Sunny California!

Luke, Jake, Jamie making "crystals"

Well, the tour bus has moved on…  we’ve left Oklahoma and made it to California.  In the meantime, we dropped off Andy for his weeklong training in Indiana and then ultimately, on to Afghanistan.  That was a bit emotional and harder than I expected, although I did have quite the déjà vu.  I assumed since I had sent him off many times before (pre retirement), this would be ok, but in hindsight, I guess it was never easy…  To be fair, Jake wasn’t six years old at the time either.  He understands what’s going on this time.  We took a trip to Target afterwards and he got the “mommy feels guilty and wants to cry too but please don’t be sad” present and all was better.

So here we are now, in sunny California, working on our tan!  My dad is a member of the YMCA here, so Jake and I were able to get a free week’s pass and we’ve been going to the pool every day.  It’s perfect for kids and lazy moms…it’s brand new and the deepest part is 4 feet (and it’s not crowded!).

While enjoying our next two weeks here I’m also trying to plan out the rest of the summer.  My plan was to rent a car in Atlanta and drive to Virginia, but when checking one way rental cars I’ve discovered that the rental car agencies have insane drop off fees ranging anywhere from $300 - $500!  I can get a car for $650/month but I will pay $700 in fees and taxes!  I will have to rent a car in both cities regardless so even if we fly, it only ends up being about $200 less, but the idea of paying a useless fee like that makes me crazy.  I’ve gotten used to walking up to a window at someone’s little house, renting a car for $35/day, MAYBE showing our drivers license, signing our name on a one page form and driving off (albeit with a car with an empty tank of gas).   Well Dorothy [Monica], you’re not in Kansas [the islands] anymore!

Regardless of what we decide, we are thoroughly excited to be here and are still having a great time.  I bought a new camera today (mine has been randomly deleting photos and running through batteries like crazy) so maybe I’ll get a little more inspired and take more pictures… stay tuned.