A week at the shore

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?

15 thoughts on “A week at the shore

  1. Welcome back, and glad to hear you and your family had an awesome week away. I checked your blog for posts throughout the week but figured that something had gone amiss with the archived posts–it would take WAY more than a week of not posting to make us go away! So glad you’re back–One of your loyal readers

    1. @Linda- thank you so much! I have no idea what happened in WordPress, but oh well. I’m happy to be back and posting again.

  2. Glad you enjoyed the best place in the world.
    The New Jersey beach towns! (We don’t use the term Jersey Shore anymore for obvious reasons)

    There’s a lot happening in Asbury Park that goes beyond luxury condos and Korean fusion taco stands. There’s a great spray park right on the boardwalk for young kids and a pinball museum that’s great fun for families and older kids. They have machines from the 1920s.

    I don’t know if you made it to Cookman Avenue which can be a nice walk from Ocean Grove across the bridge over Wesley Lake, but they have great coffee and tea shops and a lot of fantastic locally owned restaurants. If you go next year, it’s great walk on a cool morning.

    Asbury has really evolved into a year round creative community and there are lots of great small creative and arts-based businesses in the community that supports all this great stuff year round. It’s nit just a tourist town.

    BTW, I just started using the 168 hours spreadsheet last week and absolutely love it.

    1. @Jack- it really is a special place! I’m looking for some examples of places that really show how economies can change and grow over time, and I’m wondering if Asbury Park may be a good one to feature…

      1. Yes. The creative and small business community has really built on the foundation laid by the LBGT community. The unfinished high-rises tied up in ownership disputes by the beach obscure the year-round vibrancy of the place. there’s a lot of work still to be done, especially west of the tracks but it has a come a very long way in a decade. I can give you same names to talk to if you like.

  3. Definitely missed you last week, however you won’t lose me as a reader that easily.

    I had to get my daily dose of Laura so I ended up ordering Success Before Breakfast *and* re-reading 168 Hours last week.

    Did you know that Karen Thompson Walker author of Age of Miracles wrote her debut book in the morning before work? I thought that was really inspiring.

    1. @Arden – wow, I’m thrilled to be that addictive 🙂 Thanks for ordering the ebook and rereading 168 Hours. I really appreciate it.

      1. @Laura – sorry, now re-reading it my post sounds stalkerish. 🙂 Actually I’m just in an improvement phase of my life and trying to squeak out all the time I can find!

        1. @Arden- I’m in an improvement phase of my life myself… trying to stay on top of things. Maybe I’ll re-read my own book.

  4. I have a rental property at Ocean Grove that actually still maintains the cottage -idea of the town — town was founded as a retreat for protestants — the whole vacation concept actually I think started in America in this way– folks would go on religious retreats… I have two modernized cottages… and am always looking for summer renters ! Or even folks who want to try the lovely town in September and May or at Christmas time or over Valentine’s weekend… if you are interested in Ocean Grove rental or know anyone who is email me: [email protected] — and put Ocean Grove in subject line… We wer in Cape May Saturday night and Cape May is way way too crowded on a Sat. night in July ! The whale watching and dolphins are great but the town is not as nice as OCEAN GROVE!

  5. We’re just back from our own week at the shore. Yes, yes, and yes to this list, but especially to balcony brainstorming time (and a glass of wine at noon)! I enjoyed both last week.

  6. And here are some of my favorite memories:

    Making brownies with your 5 year old and then observing him drawing out step by step recipes with his paper and crayons.

    Sitting in the rocking chair on the deck and singing to your 9 month old and watching her relax and go to sleep for the next hour.

    Listening to your 2 year old pronounce words in the Lord’s Prayer like “temptation” and “evil.”

    Eating and drinking and eating and drinking!

    1. @Mom- it is pretty funny to hear a 2-year-old say temptation. They have no idea what most of it means, of course, but they have it memorized nonetheless…

  7. Sounds like an awesome vacation, full of happy memories for all. Cousins are the best! Our niece and nephew have always been great at entertaining our son whenever our families get together. Glad to have you back, hopefully refreshed!

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