The Forever Optimist — A Family Beach Staycation

Free Family Fun for the New Year!

Forty Something Parents

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We moved to the island last year…on a wing and a prayer; hoping we could make it work, blind to the struggles we would face.  Because of many financial hardships and our rather modest (to put it nicely) means, we’ve learned to become quite creative with how we entertain our toddler.  Free family fun is the norm for us; a very simplistic way of island life.  It has made us better people and parents…all-the-more.

Now, with the holidays behind us, we have welcomed our first new year as full-time Islanders.  And because we love the ocean and the beach so…we felt compelled to go shelling at one of our favorite family-friendly spots along the coast.   This particular stretch of Galveston Beach is a place we have come-to-call ‘Nixi’s Pirate Play Park’.  In our opinion, and Baby’s, it is the best little park on the island!  We highly recommend it to…

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Sailing Club Work Party

Here’s a little something I put together for the LWSC–to remind us of the good times!

Many more to come!!  Fair winds and see you at the club!

.V..

Sunday Mornings At The Club

Another Sunday morning…waking up at the Sailing Club, and all is peacefully quiet in this lakeside world we only-just discovered a little more than a month ago.  It is here, in this place, where I feel most alive; having felt a bit numb for the past year we’ve spent within the confines of the dungeon we are soon to vacate.  Not soon enough–I might add.  I am so happy to be waking up here…and not there.

This little ‘escape in the city’ is a pure joy to us.  Nico loves tinkering with Peniki II (our newly aquired San Juan 24 sailboat), and I love making coffee the ‘more primitive’ way with my campstove; enjoying the view from atop the peninsula as I stir…then sip.  “Aaaaah!  This place is a pure gem.”  I feel a rush of blessings as I turn toward Peniki (our trusty old VW Camper Van) to see that Nico and Baby are still sound asleep inside.  ‘Wow!  I really do love this.’  I tell myself.

The sun casts a glow over the port side of my face, as I realize this moment will soon end and day will overtake morning.  But that’s alright with me, since we’ll be heading back down to the docks to work some more on Peniki II, while I work a bit on my tan (to cover my forty-something flaws…no doubt).

I sip my coffee…I look around just to make sure I’m not dreaming.  I tell myself that this is my new reality, and I am thankful even more this minute than I was just a moment ago.  Looking over at Blanca–our little schnauzer–I see she’s been playing in the briar patch again, and has sticker-burs dotting her fir to prove it.  I have to laugh when I think back to yesterday, remembering when me and Baby went for a short swim and how Blanca swam out to us…only to discover that she couldn’t touch bottom.  Not only did I have a toddler clinging to me, but also a little white ‘scaredy dog’.  *heh um*

The music of birds chirping is now being joined by the morning stirs of Baby in the van, waking up and looking for Mom.  My time for ‘me’ is fast-coming to an end–this I know.  I hear her cries–it’s time to wrap it up.  To whomever takes the time to read my words, I bid you Happy Sunday.  May yours be magical too.

.V..

It’ll All Come Out In The Wash

My mom used to say “It’ll all come out in the wash.”, if ever I had a problem I couldn’t seem to solve.  Well, this week has been riddled with life’s little adversities…but it has all worked itself out in the end.

One challenge I faced was over this past weekend when we went camping; Baby didn’t take quite so well to sleeping in the van fold-out bed.  It’s been almost a year since we set up camp in Peniki (our old VW Westfalia) and it seems she’s forgotten the drill.  Last year when we were out there on the road, giving in to wanderlust, Baby was much smaller and was easily managed by placing her in her play-pen and giving her some toys and such.

This year…?  It’s a whole different ballgame!  She is our little explorer (she comes by that rather honestly) and she wants to see and be seen, hear and be heard…even in the middle of the night.  Which gets me to the root of the problem: she didn’t sleep…at all!  She screamed, kicked, and thrusted about the camper van like a rabid rag doll.  Needless to say, Mom and Dad did NOT sleep at all either!  Instead, we ducked and guarded ourselves against Baby’s kicks and jabs; I got it a few times, and I have the bruises to prove it!

So…we ‘somehow’ made it through the night–Baby finally went to sleep after I rocked her in my arms, while I was half-asleep…standing up…in the drive-away tent.  Then came the dawn on Father’s Day.  Here we go again…!

Just as the sun was about to make a grand entrance to our lovely, peacefully quiet, and breezy cool morning…Baby began to stir around, then came the screaming!  ‘Why me…?!’  I wondered silently.

Before long, Nico was awake and we were once again being punched and kicked by a half-awake toddler with a really bad temper.  Ugh!!!  I was fast losing my cool, so I enlisted the help of a much more ‘patient’ soul than I myself.  Daddy to the rescue!!!  Yippee!  I didn’t want to land Baby in Nico’s lap on the dawn of Father’s Day, but it was my only choice.

So…that was the start of our Sunday, and I won’t go into details exactly…but I finally had to take over again and enforce a bit of discipline once I ‘knew’ Baby was aware of her behavior, she wasn’t hurting, nor was she still asleep.  A Mom’s gotta do what a Mom’s gotta do sometimes.  And, just as my Mom & Dad would’ve done, I nipped it in the bud.

The crying stopped, I received good morning hugs and lubbings from the very same little girl who’d been kicking me just minutes before, and all was right with our Father’s Day.  We got through the rest of the day without incident, visited with our sailing club friends, worked on our boat a bit, and baby took her very first nap on our new/old sailing yacht ‘Peniki II’ while the rain drizzled lightly outside the stern hatch.

We invited a few club friends onboard Peniki II, had a few margaritas from what was left of the mix that’d been enjoyed the day before, rolled up camp then headed back to the city.  I look forward to doing it again…soon!

*Taking the good with the bad*

Traveling With Baby in a VW Camper Van

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