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Posted on Apr 29, 2014 | 2 comments

Ready for Liftoff

Mangrove hedges on the beach

We’re heading into unknown territory.

5…4…3…2…1…   We are now in the final week before moving to Florida. The stress and excitement are mingled into a crazy jumble of emotions as we prepare to leave our friends and family and also embark on the next stage of our adventure. I think the mix is the most evident in Carter, who asks every morning “are we going to the beach today Mommy?” but then has been in a rotten mood the last few days, overly concerned that we’ll forget his toys. We’ll be glad to have everything settle down again in a few weeks (hopefully!)

To be completely honest, I think all the hustle has obscured the reality of what’s happening. Knowing how hard and long we’ve worked towards this goal means that I logically see how great it’s going to be for our family, so I just keep telling myself that as I’m sorting through huge piles of junk that have accumulated after being together for 10 years.

We have tried to make a conscious effort to be present in the last few days we’re here, not just stressed, grateful for the path that has brought us this far. We know that everything will work itself out in time, but once these days are gone we can’t get them back. Because our families will be far away, this is most likely our true “sending off” even though we won’t be casting the dock lines for a few more months. We are blessed that our families are so supportive of our dream, even though we know they aren’t happy to see us leave.

Thanks to everyone for the well wishes as we get ready to head South. We hope some of you will look us up the next time you are in Palm Beach!

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Posted on Jan 8, 2014 | 0 comments

To All a Good Night

Christmas isn’t about the gifts, it’s about the people giving them. Knowing that this holiday season could be the last we spend at home with family for a while, we made a particularly strong effort this year to try to get to as many events as we could. Although we weren’t able to get everywhere, we did have a great Christmas with both sides of our family.

This is the first year Carter has had a full understanding of Christmas and man was it fun!

Opening the First Present

Excited Carter

I think he likes it!

Little Snorkel Boy


Snorkeler at our house, Train Conductor at Grandma’s: major score with the little boy!

Cookie Decorating


Christmas cookies


This year we also had the opportunity to celebrate New Year’s with some new friends of ours, Daler and Marta. They moved to the US only a few years ago from Tajikistan, but they feel like family after only knowing them for a few months. They were able to join us for Thanksgiving and Christmas at the Penning house and then put on a fabulous party for New Year’s in Tajik style!

Dinner at Daler and Marta\'s

These were just the appetizers!

Party getting started


Stephanie at the table





We hope you had a great holiday with family and friends. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!




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Posted on Nov 27, 2013 | 0 comments

When Did That Happen?

Carter and his number 3 candle

He was definitely more concerned with the cupcake than the candle!

Something about time changes when you have a child. As soon as we started telling people that I was pregnant, other parents began the warnings: “Watch out, he’ll be graduating high school before you know it” and “My baby just had a baby” and “Don’t blink, you might miss it.” While we did believe those people and tried to take their advice to heart, I don’t think that anyone can truly appreciate the speed at which a child changes until you have experienced it for yourself.

Carter turned three years old today and it has taken me somewhat by surprise. Suddenly, I don’t have a baby any more but a little boy with an active imagination, active feet, and a very active opinion. I truly don’t miss the “baby stage” (especially the diapers, yay for potty training!) but I have a much greater appreciation for what a precious commodity his childhood truly is for us. It also gives me a stronger sense of urgency to get out of the daily grind so Dan and I can fully experience this time with Carter. Not many families will have the opportunity to have both parents home full time with their child and it is a privilege we are working very hard toward.

In the next few months we are planning to wrap up our loose ends at home and start the very serious business of finding a boat for our adventure. We are hoping to be ready for full time cruising by the end of next year’s hurricane season and while 11-12 months sounds like a long time to some, we know better. We have a relatively short time to get a lot done, but we are so ready for the challenge. The wait is finally nearing an end and for that we are truly thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and a Happy Birthday to our little boy!


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Posted on May 30, 2013 | 2 comments

Catching Up

Where we wish we were now

Where we wish we were now

I have been told that there are people in the world that enjoy getting home after a vacation. I am not one of them. Nothing says “Welcome Home” like rainy weather, heaps of laundry, and a busy week at work. We’ve got some great stories and plans from vacation to share in the next few weeks, but those will have to wait until I can shake the drowsiness caused by no sunlight. For today we have a little business to catch up on.

First of all, congratulations again to our book winner Dyce! Dyce is currently from Wisconsin and sails a Pearson Ensign on Lake Michigan at home. He is planning to go cruising in the future, but is still in the early stages of the preparation. Best of luck to you Dyce and we hope to meet you someday on the open ocean.

Secondly, you may have noticed that the site has undergone a fairly major transformation. We recently decided to upgrade our WordPress theme with a product called Elegant Themes, which we think looks a little cleaner and works better on tablets and cell phones. Dan also brushed off his graphic design hat and designed a new logo for us which I absolutely love, but I may be a little biased. We hope you like it too.

Here is a sampling of our lengthy design process.

Here is a sampling of our lengthy design process.

Finally on a more personal note, today is our 5th wedding anniversary. Some days those 5 years feel like they’ve flown by and other days I can’t believe it’s only been 5 (though to be fair we have been inseparable for more like 9), but everyday I feel truly blessed to be part of the beautiful relationship that we have worked so hard to foster and grow. I look forward to many more years of this amazing adventure with the one who holds my heart. Happy Anniversary, Honey!

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Posted on May 8, 2013 | 0 comments

Happiness Is…

Just one of the stunning views we enjoyed on our hike

Just one of the stunning views we enjoyed on our hike

If someone asked you what was the happiest day of your life, what would you answer? Most people would probably respond with things like “the day my child was born” or “my wedding day”. These days are very special to us as a culture and as individuals because they hold such precious meaning to the rest of our lives. But what if ordinary days could be filled with more joy than the ones surrounded by all the fanfare? Instead of our happiest days being milestones in the past, being able to look forward to them today.

Dan and I had such a day just a week or two ago. We both took a Friday off of work and had nothing planned. There is something amazingly refreshing about warm sunlight on your face gently calling you into consciousness and having time to talk to your spouse over morning coffee while the baby is still sleeping. When Carter finally woke up, we all had a delicious breakfast of omelets before heading out on a bike ride and walk at the park. Our “walk” on the park’s trail quickly turned into a beautiful hike through the woods taking us over hills and valleys where we saw a family of deer, a field of wildflowers, and some amazing views just a few miles from our home. The day was absolutely beautiful.

After miles of hiking and a visit to the local nature center, we finally made our way back to our bikes with our worn out toddler on our backs and made our way home after stopping for lunch. That afternoon, Carter napped for 3 hours during which we did nothing but relax. No housework, no yard work, no rentals, just total relaxation sitting in our backyard. We finished our lovely day with dinner and a movie at home, reading, playing with Carter, and all of us falling asleep together in our bed. Just a perfect day and certainly one of the happiest I’ve ever had.

I think it’s best said by this verse of “Happiness Is…” from the musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown:

Happiness is being alone every now and then.
And happiness is coming home again.
Happiness is morning and evening,
Daytime and night time too.
For happiness is anyone and anything at all
That’s loved by you.

P.S. Thanks everyone for participating in our first contest! We will be emailing the winner today to get your shipping information, so keep an eye out for it! Once the winner has confirmed we will do a special post announcing the winner.

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