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DIY Rainbow Mason Jar Organizer

A finished project is always a thing of beauty, no?

Finally found the time to hem those curtains!

We live in a 320sq ft studio, so maximizing space creatively is a must. Since this was going to hang in the girls' room, (aka, the closet,) I wanted it to reflect their bright personalities.

The inspiration for the rainbow stripes? The Ikea pillowcase you see in the photo below:

Cora always looks fabulous when she plays dress up.

Lowes will let you get little sample jars of any of their paint for $2.99, so we hunted around until we found the perfect shade to match each stripe.

And then we marked out the stripes and we painted.

Cora and I worked together on this for days and days. We'd only do one or two stripes at a time and then wait until another day when Lyra was napping and the stars were perfectly aligned for more painting. I've now decided that Cora needs to see Karate Kid so she'll understand why I kept saying, "long strokes, up....down."

Lyra wanted to help but her best work was simply doing an impression of me holding a pencil or marker as I measured things.

I initially marked all the hose clamps so the tightener would be right in the center of each jar, but neither Eric nor I could drill a pilot hole directly through the metal. Maybe we are weaklings? Maybe we needed something other than a cobalt bit?

My mark in red versus where Eric ended up drilling.

Instead we shifted the hole to the little gratings nearby. That meant that the hose clamps screwed shut off center, but I like the look and it got the project moving again.

Huge thanks to Eric for having delicious muscles and helping me with this part. Crafty projects are not normally his forte but he helped without a peep of protest. Gracias, amor.

Once I marked out where I wanted each jar, I drilled pilot holes in the wood as well. Super handy to have stripes on the wood (a reclaimed piece of wood that cost us zero dollars, score). The stripes made it easy to line everything up.

Helping husband for the win.

He also screwed the finished piece directly into the wood in the closet. It fit perfectly.

(Land projects are soooo easy to nail the first time.)

Almost all of these jars were hand-me-downs from friends. I made a Facebook post several weeks back asking if anyone had glass jars they didn't want and voilà, a conglomeration of pickle jars, jelly jars, and Mason jars for your viewing pleasure. Thank you, friends!

Because this is hanging in the girls' room, I had to make sure that the lower jars only held things that were safe for our little ones to have access to. Cora has been asking for a mirror so she can do her own hair. The lowest jar holds their hair brush and comb, and the left quadrant has a mirror from Ikea; color choice for the mirror was decided by, you guessed it, Miss Cora.

Up close the mirror is a little low for Cora, but when she stands back, it works. It's a little high for Lyra, but she'll get there. Both of the girls love the 'rainbow wood organizer.'

I'm calling this project a total win. It was something we all participated in, it was easy on the budget, and it added some visually gratifying storage.

 More Mason jar cleverness to come! 


Eric Turns 36 | It has been a helluva year

I may be biased, but my gods, I think this man is handsome.

And today he turned 36. 

'Dem forearms.

Okay, fine, yes, I'm just posting random pictures highlighting Eric's forearms.

I made him a paleo watermelon cake with coconut cream frosting.

And I gotta tell you,

I think I nailed it.

Pro-tip. If you decide to make one too, take the recipe advice of mixing the cream for five minutes seriously. Go the distance and make sure you do five minutes, there is a definite change during the fourth and fifth minute. Crazy people, those paleos, but they know their coconut cream.

The watermelon was too unwieldy to make into one cake, so I made two. Because the only thing better than one birthday cake, is two. Obviously.

And now we have an entire second watermelon cake taking up the top shelf of our fridge. It shall be served for breakfast.

Trick candles always make things more interesting.

Cora drew Eric several pictures as presents:

Rainbow and Storm




Birthday card from Lyra (and Cora)

And my personal fave, Cora drew this picture of Eric and asked me to write down the things she loves about him. As dicated to me by Cora, I give you:

Happy 36th, Eric. It has been a hell of a year, a hell of a month, and a helluva day. I'm glad I had you beside me.


Fundraiser for That Others May Live (TOML)

I'm re-posting Eric's blog post here to give it maximum exposure on our site.

Via Eric:

"I was genuinely honored when asked to participate in a fundraiser for That Others May Live. If you've followed our rescue and post-rescue world, you probably heard me mention that organization a couple of times. Simply put, the Air Force Pararescuemen (the folks that jumped out of a plane to help my daughter) have a dangerous job. 

The Air Force Pararescue motto is:

That Others May Live

Not "That we all might live", or "That we'll all get through this one together", but genuinely and truly they are working hard and putting their lives at risk for other people. If you're an adventurer, traveler, soldier, or otherwise a person who's out there in the thick of it and need help, these are most likely the people who are going to come for you.

And it's the only type of work they do. There are no risk-less assignments. There is no getting the cat out of the tree or helping old ladies across the street. These are M4 toting hard-asses with families of their own who put that aside to do a duty that is truly awe inspiring. 



In the course of their work, they get hurt. They're jumping out of planes, climbing over mountains, swimming in the ocean, and dealing with enemy forces in their combat search and rescue role. 

The TOML foundation (pronounced "Tom-ahl") helps out those rescuemen and their families. 

These guys are there for you right now. There is a C130 waiting on the runway, fueled up, with a dozen airborne medic-soldiers just waiting to come get your ass out of a jam: it's that real. It's what they train for, it's what they're the best at, and I'm proud to do whatever I can to help them.

If you have the resources, consider helping them as well. Your support goes directly to help people who can and will risk their own lives to help you and your family. " 


Things to do with Cora & Lyra: Trail Hikes

This past Sunday we met up with two other families, for a total of six adults, eight children, to do a 5k trail walk through Mission Trails.

Like a true boat kid, Cora buddied right up with the other kids and was almost immediately holding hands and chatting away.

Cora and Maya

Seriously, it is like they have been friends for ages.

Maya is the daughter of Sandee and Frankie. I've been friends with Sandee since 1997. We went to University together, traveled through Mexico together, I read at her wedding, and now, our kids hang out together.

Me, Frankie, Erin, and Sandee in Melaque, Jalisco, Mexico, July 1998.

Me and Sandee, both pregnant in San Diego, July 2010Sandee and Frankie and their two oldest kids went sailing with us on the day I went into labor with Cora. Three weeks later, their youngest son was born.

And four years later, here we are again in another July. I hope we get to spend a lot more Julys together as life continues:

Me and Sandee, NOT pregnant in San Diego, July 2014.Here are the two munchkins that Sandee and I were carrying in July 2010:

Augustin (Auggie) and Cora

Francisco (Tuti) and his brother Auggie.

Frankie, Sandee y su familia!

Then there is Sandee's awesome sister, Maria, or "Tita," and her husband Julio.

And their sweet kids, Sol, Citlali (Lali), and Noe:

There aren't a lot of people I know who you can call up and say, 'wanna meet me at 7:00am on a Sunday with all your kids, at a trail head, and walk a 5k?' And they'll say, 'you bet, see you then,' but Sandee, Frankie, Tita, and Julio are four of those people and their kids are the same. 

Sandee and Frankie started having kids before me and Eric and I watched how they parented and was always inspired by them. Having little kids never stopped them from traveling, hiking, camping, or adventuring. They kept doing what they loved as each kid joined their family and I used them as examples when trying to persuade Eric to have children. "Just look at Sandee and Frankie, they do EVERYTHING with their kids!"

So thanks you guys for convincing Eric that kids would not mean a lifetime sentence of boredom.

Anything but!

Tuti, Lali, Sol

Little Lyra is the youngest of the bunch and spent the morning alternating between wanting to be put down to walk, and picked up and carried.

We tried to take a family photo and this is what we got:

I have no idea how children's photographers do what they do. They all deserve awards.

Thanks for the wonderful day, friends.

Here's to more adventures to come!


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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