I’m back from spending a week in Ocean Grove on the Jersey shore (a more relaxed, family-friendly part of the shore than depicted in the reality show). We rented a house that had once been a bed and breakfast and invited lots of family members to join us. Ten folks wound up coming through during the week, which was wonderful. I had scheduled blog posts to run while I was gone, but something happened in WordPress and they didn’t go up. At first I was upset. Then I realized that maintaining a personal blog is partly about the enjoyment of it. If I can’t be gone for a week, that’s kind of sad. Hopefully I haven’t lost all my readers! If you’re reading today, thanks for sticking around.
Vacations are never particularly relaxing when you have young kids. Nonetheless, I had a good time and we packed a lot into 168 hours. Here are some of my favorite memories:
Seeing my 10-month-old daughter try ice cream for the first time. She definitely preferred ice cream to strained peas mixed with rice cereal. I indulged in several diet Coke floats. The diet soda makes up for the ice cream, right? Regardless, there are few pleasures like walking through a seaside small town as a family on a breezy night to get a few cones.
Running on the boardwalk 5 times in a week. Lots of extended family means lots of babysitters, and I took advantage of it. My favorite route was to run north through Asbury Park. Once upon a time, this town had a flashy casino and arcade spanning the boardwalk, both of which have deteriorated over the years. But there are various interesting food stands and businesses coming back in (a Korean fusion taco stand comes to mind). New luxury condos have gone up, as one might imagine for a shore town about 90 minutes from New York and Philadelphia. I’m enjoying seeing what happens with this stretch of shore’s slow revival.
Building sandcastles. My boys have really gotten into digging, and we put together structures that included a castle that featured two lakes (with water) and a tunnel in between that you could send a boat through.
Cousins! My husband’s brother has three kids close to the same age as mine, and the four older ones managed to play together for long stretches of time in the house with little adult supervision (meaning the adults could sit downstairs and have a beer). This preschool horde would go up and down the stairs, play hide and seek even though they can’t all count or keep their eyes closed, and just sit in a circle in someone’s bedroom laughing their heads off at a joke we were never going to get. I can picture two years from now the babies will be old enough to play with them and beach trips are going to get even more fun.
An hour of strategic thinking time out on the porch. I got the baby down for a nap and everyone else went to the beach. I fixed myself pita chips with some nice cheese, had a glass of white wine and thought about book ideas. The cool part of vacation is that this was during the morning nap.
Getting one on one time with each kid. I spend a lot of time alone with the baby these days, just because she’s up early (and still nursing). But the older two tend to be together a lot, and seldom get to interact with their parents as if they were only children. With lots of extra hands, we could do some of that. I took the 5-year-old out for breakfast one morning, my husband and I took the 2-year-old to the grocery store, etc.
Topping the charts. It seems that What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast briefly became the top selling audio book at iTunes. See the screen shot. I’m beyond thrilled. What a nice thing to learn on vacation!
What’s on your agenda for your next bit of time off?