Archive for May 2009

A Race to the Finish

This past weekend could not be beat. Our town always puts on two full days of Memorial Day weekend festivities, and this year, my family tacked on two more. As a result, we all enjoyed four full days of parades, parties, barbecues, festivals, music, family, and friends.

Two additional items made the weekend even better; the fact that the sun was out in full force the entire time, and George was home for the festivities for the first time in five years. This past Memorial Day holiday will go down as one of the best!

Here are a couple of pictures from the weekend:

Vincent at the parade

Vincent at the parade

Eva at the parade

Eva at the parade

Ryan and George. What are they doing?

Ryan and George. What are they doing?

The Fam'

The Fam'

In other news, George is hard at work on a couple of projects—getting the boat and gear ready for the upcoming seine season, and building a fence for the backyard. George and my dad have been hard at work every day on the boat, and in his free time, George works on our yard.

In the interest of saving money, George likes to do all projects himself, no matter what they are. He’s a talented and capable guy who can do most anything and because I’ve seen him build fences from scratch before, I know he can do it.

It’s the amount of time we have available that worries me, since we don’t have the luxury of a full summer available. We also want to go to my parents’ beach house for a few days, and George is flying across the country to visit his family. All in the next three weeks. I’ll keep you posted!

Favorites of the Week

My friend, Kim, recently started a blog about her days parenting a baby and a toddler. It’s a fun blog, and it has a cool feature on the sidebar called “Favorites of the Week,” in which Kim compiles a weekly list of five things that stood out as interesting, fun, or important. I’ve always thought it was a bummer that my blog didn’t have that neat feature, because the list seemed fun to put together.

It occurred to me recently that I could simply make my own list and publish it once a week as a blog post.

So…here’s my first official posting for “Jen’s Favorites of the Week.”

  1. Snuggling with Eva on the couch for three hours this afternoon while Vincent took an especially long nap;
  2. Kenny Chesney’s most recent CD, “Lucky Old Sun”;
  3. The new Jazzercise instructor DVD R2-09 and all of the fun cardio and strength routines I get to teach;
  4. Hanging out with Steph and Ryan for a couple of days following their return from Hawaii;
  5. George coming home for dinner each evening after working on the boat.

That was fun. I may have to post lists more than once a week. There are plenty more “favorites” where those came from!

Our First Mother’s Day Together

Last Sunday was one great Mother’s Day. For the first time since I became a mother (only three years ago), George was home to celebrate the day with me in person.

I was treated very well from start to finish and enjoyed myself tremendously. George presented me with gifts from Seward, Alaska, and set up a spa appointment. He also helped out a lot with the little ones and made sure I had quiet time during the day. We finished up the afternoon with a family picnic at Mom and Dad’s. The day couldn’t have been better!

The transition time from sea to shore has gone surprisingly quick this time. By “transition,” I mean the time that it takes for George to get adjusted to home life and the time it takes for me to get used to having him home.

Some years, it seems like it takes his entire time off to get “adjusted,” and then as soon as we get there, he’s off to sea again! Since he’s finished up this last halibut and blackcod season, though, the transition been smooth and only taken a few days. Extending extra courtesy and giving each other space has helped a lot!

I want to give a shout-out and a big congratulations to my longtime friend, Apryl, on the birth of her first baby, a tiny little girl (and future soccer star!). The baby arrived just yesterday morning. Apryl is a great gal who never forgets a birthday, organizes all gatherings, attends all functions, and makes the biggest and most sincere effort towards her friends than anyone I know. I am thrilled for Apryl (and her husband, Travis) for their Mother’s Day miracle!

Transitions Then and Now

Every so often I like to read from the 1998 Oregon Sea Grant publication on the lifestyle of the commercial fishing family. I relate to so much of it (actually, all of it!) as a daughter, wife, mother, and former crew member in our fishing family. I’ve found the information helpful and relevant at every stage of our fishing family as we continue to transition and evolve.

I found the following two quotes from the article The Ebb and Flow of Fishing Family Life to be of particular interest this time around:

“So, although wives often feel great joy about their husbands’ homecoming, they also are concerned about how to assimilate husbands back into the family.”

“As they come closer to home, many fishing husbands feel happy to return, but also…concerned about fitting back into family patterns.”

When I first met George and he was flying back and forth to Dutch Harbor and the Bering Sea, our time together at home was pretty easy. It consisted of vacations in Florida, going to movies, shopping for and reading books, and setting up chairs on the balcony of his beachfront condo to drink glasses of wine at 4 p.m. every summer afternoon.

The livin’ was pretty easy, so the issue of “transition” was never an issue at all.

Flash forward almost a decade, and transition takes on a whole new meaning!  While my husband has been gone, I’ve had our household running like a tight ship in which everyone and everything has its place. George has his own ship in which everyone and everything has its place. Being able to assimilate and integrate the two–our life together–upon his arrival home takes time, space, and patience.

I’ve learned that the less “comments” we make, the better. Here’s a random sampling of comments from last week:

 “So, the kids are allowed to throw toys around now?”

 “I wouldn’t have given a time out for that.”

“So…at what point are you going to stop working on the boat?”

“I have to get this done now. I don’t have any time.”

“Why are you grumpy?”

“I pulled my back yesterday and I can’t move it.”

Ahh. I’m actually smiling to myself. Like I said, the best idea is to give everyone the space and time they need to adjust to being together as a family, and take it easy. Time off and sunshine still await. And nothing in the world can beat the excitement of an (almost) two and three-year-old when they first lay eyes on the daddy they’ve waited for so long to come home, or the weeklong celebration of friends, family, and crew.

It’s a good time!