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Entries in holidays (18)


Apparently, this matters. Also, Christmas decor, 2014.

Remember when I made those awesome custom mattresses, mattress covers, waterproof sheets, and custom bed sheets for the girls' bed in our studio apartment? 

The girls loved that bed, and so did we. It was the perfect way to give them their own space in a tiny-living footprint. But, apparently people were genuinely concerned when they heard we had moved to a new house. I got six private messages, two emails, and half a dozen people who asked me in person about why we moved.

The gist of their concern, "but you spent so much time making their beds!"

I'm a bit flummoxed, I have to admit. I love sewing for our girls, and at the time I worked on their bed, we weren't sure we'd be moving into a new space. Doesn't everyone want to make the place they are living in feel comfortable for their family? Even if you plan on moving later? We had had enough uncertainty for the year. The last thing I wanted to do was throw some blankets down and tell the girls, 'hey, stick with that for awhile. We might move again..." 

Plus, I love sewing and creating things. Especially unique, custom jobs like their little bedroom.

Our new place has more room for me to spread out and work for Sew Sew Sew Your Boat.

It also has a safe, enclosed yard for the girls to play outside in, and it is small enough so we can keep our minimalist life style alive and kicking.

While the bed project at the old studio was time-consuming, I can't imagine using the work I put into the bed as a reason to not move to a place with a safe yard and a floor plan that lets me do canvas work.

Lo, if you were one of many of the concerned, be ye not worried any longer. Yay, for I have gone forth and conquered our new space and I shall present you with a multitude of images that showeth this abundance.

Damn, I'm good with scripture talk. (Ye can take the girl out of the Mormon, but you can't take the Mormon out of... the girl?)

Also, the mattresses I made for their bed are now temporary "couches" for us until we get around to making a custom couch.



I think.

We are keeping things simple, as always, chez Kaufman. 

When we first moved in, a friend gave us an old, dirty ladder. 


The girls and I cleaned it up and used it to make this:

Bonus? When Christmas is over we have a nice, clean ladder for use around the house.

I'm so enamored with the ladder tree that I think I may never go back to a regular tree again. It's the magic and warmth of the lights that really makes it work. Plus, no pine needles, no dead tree to dispose of afterwards, and I can move the ladder around if I need access to that space.

When we moved on board, years ago, I gave my older brother my large-bulb, vintage-style Christmas lights. He kept them. And this season, he gave them back to me. He also kept my box of Christopher Radko ornaments too.

My brother, Rich, is awesome.


My attempts at taking Christmas photos of the girls reinforced how much I love professional photographers, and how useless I am at doing anything even remotely professional-looking when it comes to kids and photos.

I turned my back for a second and she had found Scotch tape and was using it to wrap up everything.


See those stockings? They are custom-made for us by Good Wishes Quilts

We can officially not have any more kids, because, custom stockings, folks: the next kid would be totally left out of the fun!

See that painting? Anyone recognize the image? (Hint: Cora, circa Christmas 2012).

That is an original oil painting in board by Kelly Paige Standard. One of my next blog posts will be about that painting, and the other work I have commissioned from her. Needless to say, to have that painting as an addition to our home this Christmas season is a true gift.

We are happily surrounding ourselves with handmade gifts from friends like that Rudolf, from our friends Renee and Dan.

And we're using the Christmas cards sent from friends to make the whole house merry. Thank you, friends.

For whatever holiday you celebrate (or don't) this season, I wish you a happy December full or love and hygge.  


A Very Kaufman Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2013 | Dinner and dancing at Philo's Bar in La Cruz

Last year for Thanksgiving we had just sailed across the Sea of Cortez and attended the cruiser's potluck Thanksgiving at Philo's Bar in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Mexico.

And the year before that? Well, for Thanksgiving 2012 I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico on a modified bed rest and about 12 hours away from a kidney stone attack while in my second trimester of pregnancy with Lyra.

Eric at the impromptu cruiser's 2012 Thanksgiving ashore in Turtle Bay, Mexico.

And Eric was in Turtle Bay waiting for a good weather window to continue solo sailing our boat from Ensenada to La Cruz, Mexico.


Now it is 2014; it feels like a lifetime since our time in Mexico, and since we lost our Rebel Heart. We are in San Diego, and regrouping, still. How long does it take to regroup after something like what we experienced? I'll tell you later, like 20 years from now.

While the East Coast braces for a freezing Nor'easter, my children don sun hats and kick their feet in warm, California waters. Day before Thanksgiving 2014.

If you follow our Facebook, then you know we recently moved out of our darling studio apartment. More on that to come, but I give you now the snapshots from our land-based Kaufman Thanksgiving 2014.

Eric knocked his portion of the cooking out in the morning. He peeled and cut all of the sweet potatoes. He is awesome. (I hate both of those jobs and he has an incredible love for sweet potatoes, so this really works out for us both.)

This year was the first time Cora went with me on my annual Thanksgiving morning run. I've been going on a run like this for maybe 17 years now? There is something so comforting about jogging the streets of my neighborhood on Thanksgiving morning. The yards I pass by are quiet and sleepy, and the smells of cooking waft on the air, making me hungry and fueling my energy. "Run harder, run faster, eat more," I tell myself.

I asked Cora if she wanted to come along and she was thrilled. She chose her own jogging outfit (you can't see the leggings under her skirt, but they were there too). Who am I to tell someone what to run in? After our high-five photo she said, "How about a hug picture, mom?"

Don't have to ask me twice, sister.

And so we headed out. Only, our yard is very shady and our place is nice and cool. When we stepped out onto the street we had a rude awakening. It was HOT. Almost 90 degrees out, and Cora and I looked at each other and turned right back around. There was no way either of us were going running the way we were dressed.

I derail the story line to share this picture, because Lyra.

Annnndddddddddddddddd we're back:

Now we were ready for some seri0s business!

Do you have any idea how cool it is to go running with your kid? And Cora is really quite a good little runner. I was elated to share my tradition with her. I hope I get to do it with her, and Lyra, for many, many years to come.

Dancing to NPR's 2014 Thanksgiving playlist

After the run it was time to actually get cooking. I was already hot and sweaty; better to get all the cooking done like that and then shower before the guests arrived.

But not before....

Yes, not before our sink clogged and Eric had to fix it. I had to laugh at this. It wouldn't be a major holiday without something breaking or going wrong, and it made me ache for the boat, because boat life is just a continuous series of fixing things when you least want to. 

There was a lot of garlic to chop, and homemade vinaigrette to shake up (I make all of my own dressings. So.much.tastier.)

There were actually two pots like this; one for Eric and one for the rest of us.

I swear.

Farmer's Market Skillet | Recipe by Iowa Girl Eats

Our full 2014 Thanksgiving Menu included:

  1. Pre-cooked turkey breasts purchased from Trader Joe's. I have zero interest in cooking a bird.
  2. Trader Joe's turkey gravy (also zero interest in making gravy.)
  3. This mouth-watering Garlic Spaghetti Squash with Herbs via Pinch of Yum
  4. All-time family favorite, Farmer's Market Skillet via Iowa Girl Eats
  5. And sweet potatoes with butter and salt. Nothing else, thank you.

Then the guests arrived, and they brought dessert!!

Mele is the girls' godmother, and pretty much their favorite person because she does things like let them lick the spatula.

My brother, Rich, made some kind of ridiculously awesome peppermint chocolate, frozen pie thing. Mele made these mouth-watering coconut macaroon thumbprint cookies with raspberry chia seed jam via Oh She Glows. And I'm sincere when I say they are mouth-watering. I actually salivate when I think of them. TMI? Eh, try them. You will love me, and Mele, forever.

The girls sat at the kid table and yes, yes, Cora is wearing a pint-sized Home Depot apron to Thanksgiving Dinner.

Whatever floats your boat, kid.

Mele and Rich.

Rich and Jesse.

Me and Eric.

And that was it. It was a tiny Thanksgiving and it felt just right. A first holiday meal in our new home and a way to celebrate and give thanks for the abundance of things we feel grateful for right now.

Of course, we had to have that pie. Cora's face above is exemplary of her feelings about the pie.

"Can I have some more, please?

Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please?" 

Cora snapped this as we headed out for an after-dinner constitutional.

Our evening ended quietly after the walk, with coffee and amaze-balls cookies, oh, and introducing the girls to Animalia by Graeme Base.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends <3


Lee Greenwood Made Me Weep | Damn you, Fourth of July 2014

Lyra and Cora, somewhere on the Pacific Ocean, March 2014

There have been two things I haven't been able to do since the first few days after the rescue.

Item 1 - look at all the pictures from the trip. It has just been too painful.  

But for the last two days I've been forcing myself. I'm not sure if it is making my heartsickness better or worse. I keep clicking through them, over and over, wanting so badly to be back home. I see the topsides and can feel my feet walking on the teak deck, knowing assuredly where everything is located, where to hold on, and how to move with the boat. I imagine myself cooking dinner in the galley and not even the creature comforts of our studio like a refrigerator, a freezer, and hot running water, can make me wish I wasn't back on board.

Rebel Heart at the Port Captain courtesy dock, checking out of Mexico, March 2014.

Eric checking in on the nightly radio net. Also, hubba HUBBA.

Item 2 - I haven't been able to step foot on a sailboat again.

We've had many kind offers to go sailing since we got back and I haven't been able to accept a single one. I haven't been able to walk down a dock and to hear the creaking of lines under the constant tugging of the boats as they sway in their slips. I knew I wouldn't be able to look at people on their boats without crying but when we were down on Harbor Island on the fourth, I was able to first, get in the new jet boat that Eric is captaining in San Diego and then....

We couldn't go fast with kids onboard, but I went back the following day sans children to get the full power of the ride. Incredible!

And then lovely happenstance had us run into our friend Michelle whose 26' Bristol Channel Cutter was also at the marina. And she invited us over for a beer and a sandwich and I sat down in the shade of her dodger and almost started to hyperventilate. She handed me a beer and I ran the cold bottle across my forehead, then took a gigantic swig.

The beer helped.

Cora and Lyra sat still long enough to take a photo and then Cora immediately began climbing all over the topsides in a way that would make landlubbers freak out and that didn't even bring notice to boat parents who know their children know boats. Lyra danced about the cockpit pushing every button, tugged on every line, and tried to steal my beer, or my camera, intermittently. 

When Michelle walked us down the dock to the marina gate, THAT is when I started to cry. Thank you, Michelle, for letting me just be present on your beautiful boat (and home). For anyone still wondering if we will get a boat and go sailing again, wonder no more, it is all we dream of doing again.

(PSA - Michelle is moving north and her gorgeous boat is for sale, message me if you'd like to get in touch with her.)

Afterwards we headed up to the hill overlooking Point Loma to our friends' house. They invite people over for fireworks because, well, their view does not suck:

The sun set and the fireworks started and I swear to god, Lee Greenwood made me weep. We all know his stirringly patriotic rendition of God Bless the USA, don't we?

But who actually believes, when they sing along with him, that they'd ever have to do what he says he would?

If tomorrow all the things were gone, I'd worked for all my life.

And I had to start again, just my children and my wife.

I'd thank my lucky stars to be livin' here today.....

And the music swells and the song is all about the glory of America from that point forward. I only needed the first three stanzas, just thirty fives words, to make me weep anew that day.

While the fireworks soared, and Lyra oohed and ahhed at her very first experience with the 'sparkles' as Cora calls them, all I could do was choke back snot and hope nobody noticed. Eric noticed, and he held my hand, but I think it was dark enough, and loud enough that I was able to have some solitude in that one moment.

If tomorrow all things were gone, I'd worked for all my life.

Do you have any idea how many times I've sung that line? How many times have you sung along? Not until you have lost your dream does something like that really sink in and I'll never be so flippant about the way I toss around song lyrics again, and also, damn you, Lee Greenwood, for making me cry at one of the most classically cheesy Americana songs out there. 

All decked out in our Pacific Puddle Jump 2014 t-shirts.

We may have lost the dream, but only temporarily. We may have lost our floating home, but another one will come. 

And I am thanking my lucky stars that I have him:

And her:

And her:

And I don't care how long it takes us, we WILL be back on the water, and I'll get to prop my feet up on my own boat and cross some more oceans:


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Gingerbread House Smash | Christmas isn't over yet!

You want me to do what?

So, go over there and eat that thing?

You are sure?

I'm really gonna do this, ma'.

Not sure if serious.

Oh. Oh, that is good.

We should do this more often, ya'll!

And a big thanks to my adorable niece and nephews for providing their gingerbread houses for our amusement. 

And as the Christmas wrap up is almost complete, I give you Adorable Baby Wrapped in Lights.

Oh my baby. And here is my other baby, from Christmas 2012:

To see all of Cora's Christmas lights wrap up, click here!


9 Months of Joy

If I could go back and re-name Lyra, I would name her Joy. It is the first thing I feel when I see her and it seems to be her secret name, the one I call her inside my heart.

Joy, or in French, joie.

Lyra keeps her biggest smiles reserved for her family. In the photo above, she gets close, but it is still only about 75%. Strangers get wide-eyed looks, sometimes a hand outstretched in greeting and a crinkly-nosed guffaw, but her giant smiles are for our eyes only.

Just like her sister Cora, when she is on our backs, she sings.

If you have never heard the lyrical song of a word-less baby as they serenade you while you wear them, their crystalline little girl voice drifting up from your back and jingling in your ears, well, find a baby to borrow and start babywearing, because it is incredible.

When held in arms, Lyra prefers to snuggle facing out. She is not the type of baby to hug your or curl her head down on your shoulder when she is sleepy, but turn her outwards and her body melts into you like a comma, pausing to enjoy the moment.

I think she likes to face forward so she can have one hand free to suck her thumb, the other to hold her little white blanket. A tiny, female, boat-going Linus.

Lyra has met her physical development milestones much slower than her sister. I don't say that because it is bad; I say it to remember. At six months Cora had enough core strength to sit up in a grocery cart. It took almost to nine months for little Lyra. But the look of excitement was just the same on both girls' faces for their first ride.

The camera is now an enticement. Trying to get photos has become a logistical challenge.

In addition to riding in grocery carts and sitting up unassisted, Lyra has experienced many more firsts.

Her first time on the swings.

Her first time trying all kinds of new foods (so far she loves everything, but the look on her face when she tried mustard was priceless.)

Her first Halloween. Cora as a 'married princess.' Lyra as 'the pirate queen.' Outfits and names picked by big sister Cora.

Her first time being mobile. She started by butt-scooting but now, at nine months, I give you Lyra officially crawling!!


One of the benefits of having a second baby is you do realize how fleeting all these moments in the first year are. You soak them up, rejoice, and try to remember each one as they pass you by.

Thanks for bringing so much light to our lives little Lyra "Joy" Estrella Kaufman.