As Promised, Feedback From My Commercial Fishing Peeps.

A couple of weeks ago, I published a post that included four of the more recent and interesting search queries that landed people at this blog. I thought about addressing each of the queries myself, but to my surprise, it was easier said than done. I quickly discovered that my thoughts on some of the topics were scattered and even unkind.

Therefore, I decided it would be a better idea (and more fun!) to open up the dialogue and invite you, the readers, to reply instead. I wrote that I might publish your replies in the form of a blog post or in the comments, and that you could remain anonymous.

To refresh your memory, here are the four search queries for which I solicited replies:

1. What are some neat things about commercial fishing?

2. What can we do about commercial fishing?

3. Why do women leave their husbands when they are commercial fishermen?

4. What do commercial fishermen do when they are away from their wives?

At long last, I’ve selected responses from three very different readers: A commercial fisherman, an experienced fishing wife, and a new fishing wife.

I gave the option for readers to stay anonymous (not everyone enjoys a public platform), and so I am honoring the wish of the commercial fisherman to remain so. And in case you’re wondering; no, the anonymous fisherman is not my husband, G! It is, however, a man within the same age-range and a university graduate who comes from a fishing family.

The “experienced fishing wife” is Lori French, from The Faces of California Fishing. The “new fishing wife” is the author of the blog, The Fisherman’s Wife (aka “The Fish Wifey”). The Fish Wifey has an interesting take on some aspects of commercial fishing culture; you may use the link she’s provided at the end of this post to read more. Oh—and when The Fish Wifey references her husband by the initial, “-G-“, it is not the same G as my G!

Got all that? :)

I hope you enjoy the different perspectives of these replies. I wholeheartedly agree with some of what was written, and strongly disagree with some of what was written. Give all of the responses a read and see what you think.

Here we go:

What are some neat things about commercial fishing?

The Commercial Fisherman:

Freedom to make choices of how you fish, where you fish, who you fish with, what kind of fish you fish for. Every day is different with new challenges and highs and lows. Each set, tow, pot, or shackle writes its own story and has the ability to save the day or completely destroy it. Being on the water is pretty cool but has drawbacks as well. At the end of it all, it is a job with no grey area you either love or enjoy doing, or you don’t. It is not a job that you keep unless you are passionate and willing to make sacrifices to keep doing it.

Lori:

Our freedom to do things our way…..most of the time.

The Fish Wifey:

I asked my husband his opinion for this one:

  • Witnessing some of the most beautiful sights on the planet. Unbelievable sunrises and breathtaking sunsets.
  • Having fun with your best friends.
  • Experiencing the power of mother nature.
  • The “fisherman’s high” when it all goes perfect.
  • BIG MONEY and fast cash.
  • Pushing your body to its limits and knowing just how powerful you truly are.
  • You never stop learning, everyday is different.
  • Getting to eat REAL seafood! Can’t get any better than straight off the boat.

What can we do about commercial fishing?

The Commercial Fisherman:

Don’t get me started…. There is nothing we can do about commercial fishing, nor should anything be done. Commercial fishing provides access to a food source which benefits millions of people all over the world. Fishing is regulated, scrutinized, and then regulated some more.

Scientific uncertainty in the stock assessments is addressed by taking less fish and not more. Education about commercial fishing is essential because, in addition to the general public, today’s regulatory bodies and many involved in the regulatory process don’t have intimate knowledge of the fisheries they regulate.

The environmental movement is no longer a movement, it is an industry. They need to make money and keep their jobs the same as anyone and they do it by making statements, press releases, and filing lawsuits to generate publicity which scares the public, who have no intimate knowledge of fisheries, into writing donation checks to solve a problem which does not exist in an attempt to save something that does not need saving.

Again, the public does not know the real story and don’t realize they are being preyed upon by these groups. They should be furious and hopefully will clue in and put their money toward a nice plate of seafood and a glass of wine at their local restaurant and relax a little bit.

Lori:

I’m just going to assume that the question is “What can we do to help commercial fishing?”
Because if the question asker (my own word) means it in a negative way, well, then there is no PG reply.

Now to answer “What can we do to help commercial fishing?” We can help by promoting our husband’s products and our lifestyle by educating the general public. I see a growing trend of Facebook and the internet of blogs, stories, newspaper columns and editorials by women taking the bull by the horns and doing such things. It’s very gratifying and I think we are a force to be reckoned with. Start in the schools, talk at the grocery store, spread the word that USA Wild Caught is the BEST.

The Fish Wifey:

Not totally sure how to interpret this question but I’m gonna say… continue to explore new technologies/equipment which insure the safety of our fisherman. As far as the environmental standpoint, hopefully the future will provide fisherman with eco-friendly options and advancements for the industry.

Why do women leave their husbands when they are commercial fishermen?

The Commercial Fisherman:

Divorce happens to a huge percentage of people in our country. I don’t think the rate is much higher for fishing families. I know people in the industry who have been married forever and raised families either with some or all of them on the boat, as well as just the fathers leaving to go fishing for months at a time. “You’re so miserable without me it’s almost like I’m here.”

Fishing is not “vanilla” and the business is changing all the time with many ups and downs. Everyone sees you buy the new pick-up truck but they don’t stay around to watch you drive it for the next 15 years until you can afford another one.

Women likely leave their husbands because to be a fisherman you have to love what you do and it would appear on the surface that the fisherman loves his job more than his wife, but there is much more to it than that….

Lori:

I don’t know. We’ve been happily married for almost 28 years. One of the nicest things my fisherman ever said was, “I know if something happens to me, you are strong enough to make it.” When we were in college, it was one of the first things that attracted me to him (besides his Foothill t shirt, the one where the Foothill was well placed) was the fact that he was hard-working and putting himself through school.

I flat-out tell our boys all the time if they are half as honest and hardworking as their dad, I will be happy.

The Fish Wifey:

Why does any woman leave her husband? There is always a “good” or “valid” reason, I suppose. But personally I can’t really answer this question.

I can tell you why I stay… because I vowed to stay…forever. That’s it! NO reasons required. When I ask -G- “Why do you love me?” His reply every single time is “Because I said so.”

Sure, there are reasons why we love each other, but it’s our promise and not our “reasons” which keep our marriage alive.

What do commercial fishermen do when they are away from their wives?

The Commercial Fisherman:

All fishermen think about when they are gone is their families and how to get back to them as quickly and as safely as possible. We love to catch fish but it is a means to an end, supporting our families, enjoying the fruits of our labors and sacrifices together.

Lori:

I’ve never had any worries about other women.

One time my husband came home so flustered. I asked him what was wrong and he said, “The woman at the gas station was flirting with me, and I had Lorrin with me.” (Lorrin is our oldest son, he was about 2 -3 at the time.)

“Why would she do that? I can’t go back there.” He was dead serious. I had to point out to him that he is/was rather nice looking and doesn’t wear a wedding ring. He never did go back to that gas station, which was pretty hard in our small town.

I know when he’s gone he takes his metal detector with him for those times when they are in. And I know for a fact that the boat gets more ESPN than we do at home so he is a happy camper. Oh and the fact that when they are gone THEY WORK!

The Fish Wifey:

Here is my personal experience in regards to this question. My commercial fishing husband and I were separated for three years. In one of my recent blog posts, “You’re not the man I married,” I share how he compensated for lack of intimacy in our marriage and the effects it had on our relationship once reunited. Below is a segment from that post:

“I’m married to a man who thinks he is still a bachelor. I suppose I can’t blame him…we did live on separate coasts the last three years. The only way he’s been able to deal with loneliness is by frequenting strip clubs and browsing internet porn. These bachelor tendencies are very much ingrained into the fisherman culture and plus he is a MAN after all. Now that marital sex is back on the table, somewhere along the line -G- has come to the conclusion that I’m a stripper or porn star myself. SORRY TO DISAPPOINT HUBBY! This is not the case. Nowhere in my repertoire of clothing will you find 6′ plastic heals and cheap perfume. When it comes to the bedroom I’m fairly traditional as I have always been. No I’m not a prude but I do have my limits. I suppose I’m flattered and even glad he is very much attracted to me. But let me remind you, I DO NOT want a stripper pole in our bedroom…just saying. Furry handcuffs, sure…whips and chains… I think I’ll pass.”

http://thefishermanswife.me/2012/04/26/you-are-not-the-man-i-married/

Jen:

Here are my two cents, based on my experience, about what fishermen do when they are away from their wives:

They are fixing and repairing complicated engines on vessels worth anywhere from $40,000 to $4 million and hooking up new and updated satellite services so they can communicate with their loved ones while they’re at sea. They are staying busy keeping detailed log books and staying current on the ever-changing and convoluted fishery rules, changes, and requirements. In town, they’re shopping for souvenirs from various ports to send to their children and wondering how their families are doing at home.

They’re feeling bad for missing so much family life and wondering (worrying) how the fishing season will shape up and end up. If it’s been a great season, they might be thinking about where to take their family on vacation. If it’s a bad season, they might be wondering how they will pay for the next year of soccer lessons for the kids.

They are calling around from sea to different markets on land to find out where the best price for their catch will be and determining where to deliver. They’re working smart and hard so they come home safely and alive to their families. They’re reading books in the galley, watching movies in the wheelhouse, sleeping in their bunks, having a barbecue on the back deck, taking a walk in town, or having a well-deserved drink and dinner with the rest of the crew.

I may address the question of why women leave their commercial fishing husbands at a later date…the question is relevant and tempting, yet difficult to answer.

Happy Mother’s Day!

What a great Mother’s Day. I knew the kids and I would be alone on this day, and I hoped that we would have a nice time. The good news is that we had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend together!

I am thankful for the preschool and kindergarten teachers of Eva and Vincent; they facilitated the making of Mother’s Day cards and thumb print keychains, threw a party, and helped the kids write stories and draw pictures of and about Mom that broke my heart, made my day, and made me smile.

The stories and pictures about Mom also made me panic! I’ve learned just this year that it is unnerving to have your children answer questions for their teachers about Mom for their Mother’s Day gifts. Whoa. I froze for a moment when I saw the questions Vincent filled in about Mom for his card and pictures. I froze again when I read the card and questions Eva filled out!

“What is your mom’s favorite thing to drink? How old is Mom? What do you love about Mom? What is Mom’s favorite thing to do?”

Eeks! Well, in an edited summary…according to Vincent, I’m nine years old. My favorite things to eat are chicken legs and shrimp. He loves me because I teach him how to write and “I’m good at writing.”

According to Eva, I “let her help take care of the baby.” Her favorite thing is when I cuddle with her.

To celebrate Mother’s Day, Eva and I got pedicures while I held little Valerie. Then, the four of us (Eva, Vincent, Valerie, and me) went to church and then to the pool, where we enjoyed a rare May Pacific Northwest sun.

George wasn’t home (he’s in King Cove, Alaska, where it’s 30-degrees and water hoses are frozen). I didn’t get time off from being “Mom”, no flowers came to my doorstep, no dishes or laundry or dinner were done for me.

But I enjoyed the greatest Mother’s Day gift ever—time with my children. The little ones put extra effort into getting along and behaving, were excited to present me with their gifts, and we all enjoyed an afternoon of warmth, love, and fun.

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

What Do You All Think? Looking For Feedback From My Commercial Fishing Peeps.

You all know that one of my favorite parts about writing and maintaining this blog is reviewing the search terms that lead people here. Some people land here by mistake, others find what they’re looking for, and still others are looking for answers to topics I have not yet addressed in posts or comments.

Some of the latter can include the most interesting and relevant of inquiries.

The past couple of months have brought a few unique search terms my way that have made me chuckle or raise my eyebrows. I have thoughts on each of them, but I would like to do something different this time and open up the questions to all of you. Commercial fishermen, wives, girlfriends, please send me your feedback and/or experience as it pertains to one or all of these inquiries!

I may publish your replies in the form of a blog post or in the comments. You CAN remain anonymous.

Here are the four search inquiries for which I’d love your response:

1. What are some neat things about commercial fishing?

2. What can we do about commercial fishing?

3. Why do women leave their husbands when they are commercial fishermen?

4. What do commercial fishermen do when they are away from their wives?

Shoot me a word, a sentence, a paragraph, or several paragraphs in response. I would love to read and possibly publish your comments! Again, you may remain anonymous. With regard to Inquiry #2….I assume that was from an anti-commercial fishing reader, but I don’t know for sure. I reserve the right to not publish any comments that denigrate our industry.

That said, please send me your thoughts. Have fun!

Finally, a Phone Call From Sand Point. Ten Days Down…

One thing about me that bugs George to no end is my rather untimely way of getting to the bills. It wasn’t always this way; having a touch of OCD and understanding the importance of responsible finances, I always made sure I knew how much was in my accounts and each penny was accounted for. I also sent in my bills on time, for I didn’t want to put even the slightest dent in my good credit.

As the years have gone by, though, I’ve become increasingly slower and less interested in getting to the bills and balancing the household checkbook. (Never mind the business accounts; George doesn’t let me NEAR those!) I don’t know; I think it’s the limited amount of time I have to sit at my desk and open envelopes, review their contents, write checks, seal and stamp envelopes.

Having three children, including one infant, doesn’t leave one with much desk time. Oh, and when I do find time to sit at my desk, there are other things I’d rather do, like Facebook…and this blog…maybe a little Twitter thrown in for fun. Ha.

George has put as many bills as he can on autopay and when he’s home, he just takes over all the accounts to make sure everything is done on time. So when it is time for him to leave home, he gets a little nervous about leaving me in charge of the remaining bills.

“Please pay the bills on time while I’m gone,” he said before he left for this year’s blackcod and halibut season. “Please!”

George doesn’t ask too much of me, so I said I would definitely try to stay on top of it.

Valerie slept this morning for a bit, so I took the opportunity to get to those bills. When I opened the checkbook, I discovered a sticky note George left for me with instructions on which bills to pay and out of which checkbook. Lol! That’s my guy. Well, he needn’t worry; I managed to pay all the bills this morning and even balanced the checkbook. One month of bills down, two or three more to go.

Now that I’m truly the only parent on duty, I’ve started having ridiculous mom nightmares each night. Terrible dreams that don’t even make sense, like I can’t remember where to pick up my children or at what time. Or dreams in which I have a child with me one minute, and then I turn around and she’s gone.

I had one ludicrous nightmare already this week in which I’d become a loser mom who spent an entire day at the local casino, won $100 and was so excited that I lost all track of time and never made it back to town to pick up my children from school. Okay—now, I don’t even gamble (we work too hard for our money to throw it away!) and I obviously would never waste an entire day at a casino or forget about my children! For Pete’s sake.

These nightmares scare me because I am the exact opposite. I check on my children multiple times when they’re playing in our own backyard. I know exactly where they are, what they’re doing, and who they’re with at all times during the day. I get up and check on them several times during the night. And when I’m the sole parent on duty, I’m hyper vigilant. This is my subconscious rearing its ugly head while I’m asleep, and I don’t really appreciate it.

I finally got a chance to talk to G yesterday. I hadn’t heard from him in over ten days and was starting to worry a bit, but I abide by the saying that no news is good news. I didn’t know if he was going to start out in Southeast Alaska, the Gulf, or head all the way out west, so I just waited. Turns out he’s starting out west which takes a long time to get to, and he called me once they made it to Sand Point. He said the weather was good so they were going to get right out and get to it.

Here’s hoping they get on the fish quickly and wrap up that part of it sooner rather than later. Fishing out west is no fun; I’ll feel better once they move into the Gulf and then Southeast. It was good to hear his voice, though, and now maybe my subconscious will settle down a bit.

A Sunny Departure to Longline Season 2012

Well, Siri is going to help me out again with composing a blog post. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to sit down and type, but it isn’t going to happen. So, here I am again, holding baby Valerie, talking at my iPhone!

George and the crew got underway to Alaska last Saturday evening. They steamed out of the harbor underneath a beautiful spring evening sun.

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They have a lot of halibut and blackcod to catch, so I hope they get on the fish quickly and get it caught before too long into summer. I am so looking forward to summertime and George being here for most of it!

George had one week off in between fishing seasons, but that one week occurred at the same time as the kids’ spring break, so that worked out well. I was able to get in a much–needed hair appointment while he was here, and I even got a pedicure. There was not any time for a massage, but that will leave me something to look forward to when he comes back!

Eva and Vincent have done very well regarding their dad’s departure. I think watching Daddy leave in the sun helped. It’s not as dreary or depressing as watching him depart underneath dark clouds and pouring rain, like during crab season.

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We had a little Easter celebration the morning George left. The Fisherman Bunny came early and the kids had a great time searching for eggs, not to mention the fun they had coloring them the day before. They decorated eggs with our friend and babysitter, Hailey, and they also decorated some with me. The eggs they colored with Hailey were a lot cuter than mine!

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Each day for the kids and me is incredibly full. We move from one task to the next until about 8 o’clock at night, at which point all books are put away, teeth are brushed, everything stops, and we all go to bed. Even Mom!

Eva is a great little helper and she gives me a small break each evening when she holds Valerie so I can get up and do a couple of things like empty the dishwasher or put laundry away.

I think we have a pretty good system going for now. If we can just keep it up for the next three months and nothing throws a wrench into our routine, we will be good to go.

 

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The May Issue of National Fisherman: Recognize That Guy On The Cover?

There was plenty of excitement around here for a commercial fishing mommy and her ducklings when the May issue of National Fisherman magazine showed up in the mail yesterday. Hey, that’s Daddy on the cover!

This was a photo of George taken by David Hills in the Gulf of Alaska during the blackcod/halibut season a couple of years ago. David has gone out a couple of times with the boat; once to take pictures during the longline season and once during Dungeneness crab season. I’m excited that his shot made the cover!

Ironically, if you look on page four of the magazine underneath the section “10 Years Ago,” you’ll see a cover shot and profile that I wrote a decade ago on my old stomping grounds of Ketchikan, Alaska. It boggles my mind that I am seeing my cover shots and stories in that section more and more. Ten years ago…before homes, dogs, children, boats…when I traveled up and down the West Coast and Alaska taking pictures and writing stories.

Fortunately, even if I’m currently unable to travel, the Internet has made it possible for me to keep writing and to expand into my current niche as a writer about commercial fishing families. You’ve got to be able to transition and grow and expand as a writer!

Also included in the May issue of National Fisherman are two shots taken by Zed Blue, the husband of my friend and fellow writer, Robin, who blogs about her fishing family at The Fishing Blues.  Zed took the photo on pages 18-19 of the Bering Sea crabbers, and the photo on page 20 of longlining for blackcod.

It was perfect timing that this issue, with a picture of G on the cover during the blackcod/halibut season, arrived just yesterday, because he is heading north in two days to do the same exact thing. Cool send-off for the boat—and maybe, a sign of good luck and a great season ahead.

G gaffing a blackcod during the Alaska blackcod and halibut season. Photo by David Hills (www.fishingpix.net).

I Love My Crew of Three

Bye bye, Dungeness crab pots. See you in another seven months!

Our Dungeness crab season 2012 has come to an end. The season picked up midway through, so G and the crew ended up fishing longer than we all expected.  Upon their return, the sun came out for a couple of days which was perfect for all the gear work they do to wrap up the crab season and get ready for the halibut and blackcod longline season.

The kids love nothing more than to go visit with Daddy and the gang down at the harbor, so we spent some time down there and G let the kids ride along with him on the forklift, putting the crab pots away and bringing out the longlining tubs.

The switch into the next commercial fishing season is going to be quick; G will have one week at home before leaving for Alaska. Once he goes, we won’t see him again until summer. That’s over three months that I will have alone as a mother of two young children and one infant.

Pizza with the crew.

Crab pots put away, longline tubs come out.

I am a little nervous about the months ahead of me, but I managed to make it through the crab season pretty much the same way (solo) so I’ll just take it one day at a time like I always do and not look too far ahead. I’m hoping the sun will come out and that it won’t rain for the next three months, because that would really help things.

The kids and I have settled into a pretty good routine that works well if nothing else is added to it, like an outside obligation or a sickness. Being the only parent on hand and in charge of all medications, laundry, meals, clean up, activities, and school stuff  for three children 24/7  is doable, but only if I pace myself. For the next three months, I will attempt to not take on other obligations other than the most important one right in front of me; being a strong and happy mother of three children while Daddy is gone. We’ve done well so far and I’m proud of all of us, so I know we will do just fine in the weeks and months ahead.

I actually love having three children! I laugh to myself quite often, especially in the car, when I have all three of them with me. It feels surreal; like I’m driving a small bus full of little people, and it cracks me up. And at home, there is always somebody doing something, or saying something, or drawing something, that either warms my heart or makes me laugh. There’s a warm little baby for me to hold, three little ones around for me to hug and smother with kisses, and say “I love you!” to.

So, we will enjoy this last week with G, and then it’s onward and upward. The children and I will get by with a little help from our friends…and my parents…and my sisters…and my blog friends…and my Facebook friends…and sunshine…and…knowing we’ll have the summer ahead to spend with Dad!

Happy Two Months, Valerie!

A Commercial Fishing Family’s Worst Nightmare.

One subject I don’t spend a lot of time writing about on this blog, although it’s a blog about fishing families, is the ever–looming threat to fishing families of deaths and disaster at sea.

You may have heard by now about the Lady Cecelia, a trawler out of Oregon, that went down (sank) in a matter of seconds seventeen miles off the coast of southern Washington, taking all four crewmembers with her. Unless you have a direct tie to commercial fishing and fishermen, you may have shrugged off the story and the catastrophe as just another boat, just another crew, just another run of bad luck in the industry.

But when you are profoundly connected to the industry and you look at a picture like the one included in the article, you stop. You stare. You look intently into the face of one of the men that was lost and you see your own husband, your dad, your brother. If you are a fisherman, perhaps you halt for a moment, seeing yourself.

You continue to look at the picture and see the two-year old boy, dressed just like his daddy in Xtra Tuffs and orange rain gear, sitting on Daddy’s lap on the boat. Your heart overflows with grief and sorrow that this daddy, whom the child clearly adores, is now lost. Maybe in the little boy you see your own little son or daughter, your grandchild, or your nephew.

One reason I don’t write much about the potential for and reality of tragedy in our profession—one of the world’s most deadly professions—is because I can’t. The thought is always in my mind as I go about my day and drift off to sleep at night. Having already lost my brother-in-law fifteen years ago to the sea during an Alaska crab season (you can read a bit about him here), the memory of that horror and disbelief lives on in my heart. I don’t like to bring it to the forefront by writing often about it.

As a grandchild, child, wife, sister, and mother in a fishing family, and as someone who has actually fished, I have to get distance from the risks and possibilities. I can’t dwell on the “what ifs”. I have to stay focused on the day-to-day; my children to care for, a household to maintain, pets to feed. I stay busy with my children, my activities, my friends, and family.

Sometimes, though, I wonder. What would I do if I received word that George was lost? If one of the crew was lost? If the entire boat was gone? How would I tell our children? What would I tell them? How would we ever continue?

I think of the practical aspects. Would I keep this house and find comfort in the memories and familiarity of it, or would I find it too large, too sad, and decide to sell it? What would I do about the business-end of things? Our operation is rather involved and complicated, especially for a family fishing operation. Would I understand how to handle the IFQs? What do I do with hundreds of crab pots, a locker full of longline tubs, lines, seine nets, gear, permits, documents, and loans? Besides family, who would I trust to understand and help me in these matters?

I was in my early 20s when my brother-in-law, Danny, died. He and my sister had recently been married and they did not have children. All these years later, I still remember the way well-meaning family and friends, all who’d come to lovingly offer us comfort and condolence, spoke quietly among themselves. I remember one comment I heard again and again.

“At least they didn’t have children.”

As I heard this repeatedly over the days and weeks following the accident, I wondered about it. I’ve continued to wonder about it through the years, going over the comment in my mind and looking at both sides.

“At least they didn’t have children.”

What would be worse, I’ve wondered? Having to look into the precious faces of your young ones and tell them they no longer have a living father? Would it be better to not suffer that grief? Or is it better to have a living piece of your spouse still in the world in the form of little ones with his laugh, his expressions, perhaps even his character?

Last night, our children (Eva, 6, and Vincent, 4) overheard bits and pieces of George and I quietly discussing the tragedies of this week (a total of six fishermen in separate accidents who died at sea on the Washington and Oregon coasts). In particular, the children wanted to see the picture of the fisherman and his son; we did not show it to them.

We knew that if they saw the picture of the fisherman sitting on the boat with his little one in his lap, they would see their own daddy. They would see the other fisherman daddies they know and love; Bryan, and Brett, and Johnny, and Oscar. If they saw the picture of the little boy, they would see themselves and each other. And they would be scared, and they would cry, and they would worry.

But I’ve looked at the picture dozens of times. I choke back tears in silence away from the children, because only the mommies and the daddies should worry. We may keep that worry in the back of our minds or deep in our hearts, we may not talk about it, and we don’t often write about it, but we do. We worry.

All the time.

Baby Steps For Mommy and Baby

It’s become clear that I am not going to find a quiet moment to sit down at my computer, so I am using my iPhone for this blog post. Actually, what I’m really doing is walking around holding a swaddled infant while I talk at my phone using Siri.

I don’t know why I never thought to use Siri before to “write” a blog post. Although I feel pretty silly talking to myself, at least I can give some sort of a blog update this way!

Valerie is now seven weeks old. Although I am still very tired and get worn out easily, I am definitely doing a lot better. It’s not easy getting up for several nighttime feedings and then being awake and on point all day for all three children, but I am still getting a bit of help with transportation issues for the older two children, for which I am very grateful.

The other good thing is that at this point in the winter crab season, the weather can come up at any time. When the weather turns especially nasty and fishing is too dangerous, George can come home and help out until the weather calms down on the coast and he goes back out to run through the gear again.

The initial all–important push of the crab season is over and now the season consists mostly of turning through the gear and making deliveries. While there has not been tons of crab around, the price has been pretty good so that really helps!

I made my first trip out of town with Valerie a couple of weeks ago for the Jazzercise instructor district meeting. My friend, Amanda, who has a five-month-old, Violet, invited Valerie and I to drive with them to the meeting.

I had really wanted to attend the meeting but was nervous about going by myself, so Amanda’s offer to drive was an offer I could not refuse, and off we went with our little babies. All of the instructors on our Jazzercise team were fantastic help and they took turns holding Valerie almost the whole time!

I felt more confident after that event, so when our extended family trip to the Great Wolf Lodge came up this week, I felt pretty good about going. As usual, the Lodge was a good time and all three children were fantastic! Actually, make that four fantastic children, because my toddler niece was there as well!

Although I was scared I would not get much rest or sleep with a tiny baby in a new environment, the exact opposite happened. Valerie has never slept better than she did at the Lodge, so as a result, I got a little extra sleep as well.

The Great Wolf Lodge had a couple of interesting changes this year. Of particular interest and source of excitement for the adults in my family was the addition of a portable bar that was rolled into the lobby and positioned next to the clock tower each evening for happy hour, of all things!

My sister and dad happened to be in the lobby when the bartender and the bar surprisingly and suddenly appeared, and each of them sent me a text notifying me of this exciting development. George and I wasted no time getting back down to the lobby once we received the good word!

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Have three children, will travel.

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Hey, who said Vincent didn't fit in the bassinet?

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Baby Violet and Baby Valerie (JazzerVi and JazzerVal) at their first Jazzercise instructor district meeting.

In Search of a Pot of Crab Gold

George texted me a beautiful picture from Westport, Washington, of a rainbow off the stern of the f/v Vis, taken late afternoon today.

Actually, he sent it to our family texting group after I informed everyone in the group that it was National Margarita Day.

Not a tequila fan, myself, I’ll gladly settle for a glass or two of good red wine to end what has been a beautiful winter day.

Not to be outdone by a rainbow, however, is Miss Valerie, dressed in her Dungeness crab outfit. Val’s outfit is so cute, and the rainbow so beautiful, that I’m sure the pot of crab gold must surely be around the crab corner in good ole’ Westport.

Happy Margarita Day! Cheers.

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