down the shore
We spent nearly two weeks in July “down the shore” — which is Jersey speak for “at the Jersey Shore”. Here are a million pictures. The shore is beautiful and I just couldn’t really resist getting out the camera and taking 3.2 million pictures of the girls.
We drove, the 14 hour trip was fine. Somehow on the way back we ended up only stopping twice. TWICE! Which was, in fact, probably a small miracle. The girls were GREAT in the car both ways, and I was surprised that I didn’t really have to break out any of the toys from the emergency oh-crap-this-is-terrible toy stash.
Jason’s parents rented a sweet house just a few blocks from the beach, and it was really a perfect size for all of us! And so close to Jason’s aunt, cousins, etc, so there was much socializing with family that we don’t get to see very often. Jason’s college-aged cousins Lauren and Emily were a HUGE help to us, and Lilly and Elli loooovvveeeeeddd their big girl cousins. It was also cool to see Lilly play with her cousin Maezie. They were pretty sweet running around playing “long long long hair” with shoelaces tied around their heads and trailing behind them, blowing bubbles on the porch, or digging in the sand and splashing in the water. The two girls got along really well, and that made the week so enjoyable.
My kiddos loved the beach. I’m not sure that my pre-child self could have sat at the beach for 10 days in a row, but since “sitting at the beach” with kids = not at all sitting, unless Eleanor is nursing or sleeping on me, this was a welcome break. I actually managed to finish an entire book while E slept on me — and it’s been an embarrassingly long time since I’ve actually read an entire book without losing interest or being interrupted by other activities.
I will say that I hit my limit on sand a few times… there’s nothing like a completely sand-covered baby snuggling up to you, getting sand all over you… in your bathing suit when you nurse her, on your face as her little sandy hands grab at your cheek. Ugh. It sounds sweet when I type it here, and I never thought I was really like that, but ugh. SAND EVERYWHERE is just more than I can do.
The girls LOVED the sand, though. Elli P loved crawling in it, eating it, just running her fingers through it. And she especially loved it when we’d bring her buckets of water to splash in and pour over herself. I don’t think she was as sure of the water – unless someone was sitting in front of her to block/ease the waves, she seemed a little nervous about it. Understandably.
Lilly had fun building in the sand with cousins – or actually she had fun SMASHING whatever castle you’d try to make. And of course digging in the sand is great, especially when the cousins dig GIANT holes that are bigger than you! So fun to climb in!
One evening, we dressed the girls in white and took them to the beach for pictures. They posed politely for a few pictures, and then it somehow turned into a trash-the-dress shoot, with Lilly and Maezie running into the ocean in their dresses. And actually those pictures are even better than the posed ones — there’s something about the unleashed JOY of these kids when they’re doing something so very fun.
We also visited the boardwalk a few times for pizza (mine without cheese — I think El has a dairy allergy/sensitivity/thing), caramel popcorn, ice cream, etc. I was so SO surprised that Lilly went on some of the rides at the boardwalk – she is usually a very hesitant kid, especially when something is new or involves motion. Her aunt & cousin were kind enough to take her on some of the rides, and she seemed to really love it! She even braved her first rollercoaster, daddy by her side! I’m so very proud of her for trying something new!
Our friends visited from Philly for a day, and that was great. Our girls played together really nicely, and though it was overcast and a bit cold, we had a great time at the beach and boardwalk! It’s always nice to see friends that we’ve had such a history with (Jason has known them since high school!), and fun to see friends turn into parents, little ones playing sweetly together.
Jason and I also managed to escape by ourselves a few times. It’s really strange to suddenly be able to eat a meal without interruption, or to not worry about whether anyone else has to use the bathroom while you’re out. Of course, we end up talking about the girls the entire time. They are so sweet and happy and wonderful that I sometimes feel guilty for feeling like I need a break. But! Having family around is a great excuse to leave the kids with loved ones and to shower/use the bathroom alone. And, hey, if I can work in a morning or two of sleep, that is like a trifecta of wonderfulness. Certainly traveling anywhere with little ones is more work than just being home, but it’s worth it to see the relationships that the girls are building with family, and to grab any of these little breaks as they come. We are so glad that we had the opportunity to spend time with family this summer, and the location (the beach!) really couldn’t have been beat. Just a perfect location for the ages/interests of our girls right now!