Monday, July 21, 2014

The Newest Members of the Ocean City Beach Patrol...

Friday was our last day in Ocean City and we gave Brian a choice.  We asked him if he wanted to spend the day at the beach playing in the sand and water... or on the boardwalk playing games and going on rides.  I am not going to lie... I was so happy (and surprised!!) when he chose the boardwalk.  Don't get me wrong, I love the Ocean City Beach (and that my iPhone can take cool panoramic pictures like this!!)
 But it's no secret that I'm not a beach girl!

So off to the boardwalk we went - and the four of us had so much fun!  
Brian and I hit the bumper cars (no pun intended - ha ha!) and I let him drive.  He told me that his cousin Brendan taught him everything he knew about driving - I was impressed with his skills!!
And we made it out of there in one piece!
We went on the swings together, too.  They were different swings than the ones at Wonderland.  These swings had single AND double seats - so we got to sit next to each other, which was really fun.  
Check us out!

Brian's next request of me (I'm the main ride parent!) was... the LOG FLUME.  There was NO way I was going on that.  I have a thing against log flumes - the water part just grosses me out.  But lucky for me (and Brian) - Daddy saved the day!  Daddy also lost his hat when it blew off on the way down the flume!!
Back at the ranch, Hope had another "first!"  I decided to let her practice trying to feed herself with those little dissolvable "puffs."  They are easy to pick up (well, easier than - say - a slippery piece of banana or yam) and I don't have to worry about her choking.  And they force her to "chew" which is good practice!  She took to it right away...
This little girl loves to eat!
On Friday evening after dinner, I decided on a whim to take the kids to the beach for photographs.  Earlier in the day (okay - pretty much every day of our vacation) I was in an adorable store on the boardwalk called "Bangles n Bows."  I went on a bit of a shopping spree for Hope and Brian and had so much fun!  The owners of the store were so kind and friendly - and one of them gifted Hope with a flowered headband made of twine and silk flowers!  I brought it to the beach with me - along with a red headband I bought there, too.  It was bedtime so I really expected this little impromptu photo session to not go well at all.  I was wrong.  The children were angels and I ended up capturing some of my favorite photos of them.  Take a look...
My favorite shot of Brian...
You'll need to prepare yourself for the next series - it's over the top cuteness... 

The newest members of the Ocean City Beach Patrol!  
How could you not feel safe with those little faces watching you?
Our little princess in the sand.  The next day she would turn 33 weeks!
Here she is with her flowered headband.  I think she looks like she could be a royal flower girl!
If the pictures make it look like Hope idolizes Brian...
...and that Brian adores Hope...
That's because it's true.  They do.

Saturday morning came and it was time to head home.  My sister, Bean, and the triplets met us at "Uncle Bill's Pancake House" - a place I have always heard so much about, but have never been.  We had a bit of a wait outside... but it was worth it!!  One word:  Scrapple!!  (If you're from the Pennsylvania area, you are smiling.)
Today was super-busy.  I did about ten loads of laundry... Brian had Science Camp at the YMCA (he loved it!!)... and he started his first "Swim Fast" lessons this evening.  They are strict that the parents need to wait in the lobby, but lucky for me - they have two windows covered with venetian blinds.  I am not against spying through those blinds!  Near the end of the class, we were all allowed in (yay!) and I was able to snap one picture.  He's learning how to float on his back without help.  Lessons will be every night for two weeks straight.
Tomorrow is a big day!  Brian and I are going to get him fitted for his school uniform.  I can't believe my little boy is headed for Kindergarten.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Making Memories in Ocean City...

Thursday morning we woke up to beautiful sunshine and knew it was going to be a great day for the beach.  (Under my umbrella, of course!)  But first, we had an important outing.  Ed had discovered a new place within walking distance of our house called "The Fractured Prune!"  They make homemade donuts there and you get to pick your own toppings!  

We had Brian at donut...
After our delicious treat, we made our way to the beach to meet the family!  Brian got right to work doing his favorite thing:  digging a giant hole in the sand.  He was quickly joined by his cousin, Shannon, who helped him fetch water to fill the hole...
At one point, Brian came running up the beach to where I was sitting and burst into tears.  His favorite green bucket had been swept out to sea.  
After a long hug and a conversation about the power of the sea and how "things" are just that... "things," he was back to his happy self.  Ed slipped away to the boardwalk and bought him a new $5.00 green bucket.  Brian was surprised and thanked his Daddy and promptly hid the bucket behind our beach bags under the umbrella.  For safe keeping, of course.
Brian and I took off for some shell collecting a little while later.  We had so much fun together.  I love when I can spend one on one time with my children.

We picked up every single broken piece of shell - each one a masterpiece.  We walked from where we were sitting all the way to Gavin's pier... talking and laughing and jumping around in the water.
Watching Brian's newfound love for the ocean brings me so much joy.  He has become quite fearless.
While we were at the beach, Hope and I spent most of our time under the huge umbrella we brought.  I'm so paranoid about the sun in general - but especially so with baby skin!  Hope seems to have inherited the same skin as me and Gavin (at least so far!) while Brian has his Daddy's skin that is more olive.  I obsessively slather zinc based sunscreen on everyone.  But as the sun goes down a little, we venture out.
I brought her down to the water where her Aunt Bean was sitting, enjoying a good book.  I think I remember that.  I think I remember books, too.  It's been a while.
As we watched Brian and Shannon playing in the water, it seemed like Hope was going to jump out of my arms! 
 I decided in that moment to see if she'd like to put her toes in the ocean!
She wasn't a big fan!  I think the water was just too cold.
That's okay.  I think she prefers the view from above, anyway.
I can't lie - I took this fake sleeping photo.  I always want to remember what it looks like and feels like to have a baby sleeping peacefully on your chest.  There's nothing like it - and it is such a short time in our lives that we can do this.
Spending the week with my Mom, my sisters, and their families was incredible.  
We are at different stages - I'm six and eight years younger than my sisters and their children are all much older than mine.  Yet this week, my nieces and nephews included Brian in a way that he will NEVER forget.  (He's still talking about each one of them!)
Our last night on the boardwalk together was a blast!!  Brian waited anxiously on the front steps.  Lucky for us, we rented a house that was within walking distance of the "boards."  So convenient!
We were ready for a night of fun!
First stop:  Family swing ride!
Everyone was in hysterics watching Brendan and Brian on the bumper cars.  Halfway through, Brendan turned the wheel over to Brian and he actually did a great job!!
I was grateful to Claire and Shannon for going on the "ultra-spinny" Hot Air Balloon ride.
You may have heard them laughing from wherever you were!!
Shannon and Brian mastered the obstacle course.
My favorite - the carousel.  I have so many wonderful memories with my children on this Merry Go Round.  But this time was extra special.  I was able to help Brian grab for the rings!  As it goes around, everyone on the outside edge reaches out to try to grab a silver ring.  The last ring is gold and if you are the lucky one to grab it, you get a free ride.  It was a favorite childhood memory of mine.
Making it even more special?  Emily sat right behind us with Hope!
We didn't get the golden ring, but Brian was SO excited that we got three silvers!!
We made a lot of great memories that night.  I think we were all sad to see it end.  The only thing that would have made this week better?  If Gavin had been there.
While we were in Ocean City, I got several comments and messages that I should "stop blogging" on our vacation.  They meant this in the nicest way - worried that I was worried about keeping my readers up to date.  They wanted me to relax and just enjoy.  I promise you - I don't consider this "blogging," whatever that means.  Sure, I have a big audience reading these posts... but what I really feel like I'm doing is chronicling our experiences.  Chasing Rainbows is like my own personal journal - or a huge baby book.  I'm so happy that my children will have the story of their lives (well, much of it anyway!) written down for them.  God forbid anything ever happen to me, I hope this journal will show them just how much they were adored and treasured... how much fun we had and how hard I tried to be a good Mom to them.  (Don't worry - I'm not planning on going anywhere ANYTIME.)

The very first night we got to Ocean City, we met photographer Kate Giovinco on the beach.  We're so grateful to her for capturing these beautiful photos for us at Gavin's pier!!  Here are the pictures she sent me...

Tomorrow I'll have some more Ocean City memories to share... and then it's back to the "real world!"  Tomorrow morning Brian starts his "Science Camp" at the YMCA.  He'll be there every Monday for the next month.  And tomorrow night he'll start his "Swim Fast" lessons!  After two weeks of lessons every day, I'm hoping he'll be able to swim unaided in the water.  Should be an interesting experience - especially for ME.  They've already told me that parents don't get to stay in the pool area.  That means no photos... videos... cute waving back and forth... ummm... it's starting to dawn on me why they have that policy.

Thanks for going on vacation with us!  It's so good to be home.

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