The Extreme Family Blending Experiment 2 |Nontraditional Parents Unite

It was last May that I published the first Extreme Family Blending Experiment post.  The fact that it has taken me ten months to post an update is a little embarrassing.  But lets see it as an indicator of success on the family blending front.  We have been busy.  Busy having fun, and busy getting to know one another.  In consideration of all the changes required when you instantly squeeze five people and a dog into a 50′ sailboat; I would say we did REALLY good.

After a summer of cruising, it took about a month of living at the dock and falling into a “routine life” of catching the bus at the end of the dock and having a pilothouse exploded with 200 pounds of pacific northwest foul weather layering, to realize that we better get a house for the winter.


When you live on a boat, you have three options:

1 Cruise: the best lifestyle on Planet Earth.

2 Tie up in a marina: its like joining a small neighborhood of ‘colorful’ neighbors (nevertheless a faithful group of friends that seem to never work and always want to chat) mixed with a handful of weekend vacationers who are as entertaining as they are annoying.

3 Live on the hook: anchoring out in the bay for free next to the marina in #2 because you REALLY don’t want to work.


Laura foresaw the inevitable issues of spending a PNW winter with our 3 special kids on a 350 sq ft boat in a bay that sees 50knots of wind and driving rain every few weeks.  Yes, each kid may have their own “stateroom” but lets not forget that they are about 7 cubic feet each divided by bedsheets.  When she suggested a rental house for the winter, I said…………(three days of sighs and deep breaths later)…………”OK.”

It was a great decision.  Cruising is one thing where everyday a new adventure awaits each child’s eager mind.  Where the Natural World and new cultures are more fun than annoying your sibling. But combining families is complicated, and other commitments have us visiting Oregon regularly.  So, the Pacific Northwest it is for now. Yes, we could probably have continued this ‘honeymoon’ of an adventure forever but the kids needed a place to stretch their legs while they hunkered down for a long cold wet winter and Lopez Island and School brought that.  Like a referee coming into break up two boxers.  Even the parents got a break from parenting out of the deal. A large 4 bedroom beachfront home and some regular school hours brought that space right at the perfect time. We have been so impressed with how the kids have blossomed this year and how well WE have kept our sanity.  This truly is one of the greatest communities to raise a kid.  I love Lopez.

So anyways, here’s a post of me trying to play catch up with all the amazing experiences we’ve been having.  Our plan is working.  We are happy.  Exhausted but happy. The below images are pulled from June and July last year.  If you haven’t seen some of these before, its because you don’t follow us on  Instagram. @slappinhalyards (or for even more pics of the kids and such try Laura’s @bettycole, she’s really WAY more on top of taking pictures than I am.)

I promise to follow this up with our family blending cruise to Canada and Desolation Sound soon!  Peace out.

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blended family on a boat


What happened next?  Read PART THREE

Wait? What about PART ONE?

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