We're back!! I can't believe that my last blog entry was Monday. I didn't intend to not write all week...but I did intend to not push myself to do anything just because I felt I "should." That includes writing, picture taking, going to the beach again - all of it. Shocking, right?
So now I'm overwhelmed. Miss Sarah is back today so I've come up to my bedroom for a little while to have some time alone while she plays with the boys downstairs. I'm trying to figure out how to summarize our trip and share the photos and videos without boring the crap out of all of you. Wish me luck with that. I've set aside 36 photos and videos. Can you handle it?? I can assure you that each one is worth it!!
First, I want to say thank you again (and again. and again. and then some more.) to our friends, Elayne and Geoff, for offering their beautiful home to us this week. We felt so pampered!! We were steps from the boardwalk (where we went every single night!) and the beach (where we did NOT go any other days this week, thank God.)
And we were so happy to have my Mom with us for this trip.
It was the longest she's ever spent with all three of my boys. I was so happy that she had time to really "get to know" Gavin and Brian and see their personalities.
And let's face it...I think every daughter wants their Mommy to see them "Mommying." She is my Mommy inspiration, so getting validation from her this week that I was doing a pretty okay job was the best feeling in the world.
At this point I don't even remember what day we did what...what days we were where...what my name is...and how to survive without night time boardwalk fun. But there are a few things I do remember. Here we go...
The rainy day cliffhanger.
I had lots of great suggestions of things to do on that rainy Monday. By the time we had a couple ideas we liked and got close to thinking about possibly planning something - BOOM - it was naptime. For all of us. Brian slept for four hours that day! That meant we were VERY rested for a fun night at the boardwalk. Up until that night, Brian was not at all interested in the rides. I wanted him to lead...and if he never went on a ride, that was okay. That evening we were standing inside one of the amusement areas when I felt a tug. "Mama, I want to go on that," as he pointed up into the sky. I didn't even look to see what it was...I just said "Ok - let's go!" It ended up to be a "Raiders of the Lost Ark" type of obstacle course. You can see their promotional video here. It started with a rope ramp that Brian was too afraid to climb. So I climbed this thing for both of us - lifting him up as I went. Then we had to contend with a blow up slide that I was sincerely worried I wouldn't fit in. Brian stood on the platform staring at it - refusing to get in.
We had few options. He had to either go down that slide...or I'd have to carry him back down that rope ladder. Or the fire department could send up a ladder (which was sounding really good at that moment). We let lots of kids go in front of us as we stood on that platform. Finally he announced that he was ready - but Mommy first. Oh boy. What if I went down...and he wouldn't follow me? I decided to take the chance and I bounced down (slowly). It literally felt like I was being squeezed out of the birth canal...definitely not for the claustrophobic types! The good news? Brian came bouncing down after me...laughing and smiling.
And when he got to the bottom he jumped up and down and said "I did it! I did it, Mama!!"
He ran across the rickety rope bridge.
He flew down the long (and very high!) slide.
And when he came out at the very end, he was SO full of himself...in the best way.
From that point...it was all over. He had found his confidence - and he remained that way for the rest of the week. Each day after - several times a day, actually - he'd remind me of that obstacle course and how he did it "all by himself." He was so proud. And so was I. Oh, and I made it all the way through, too. Barely!
I was so happy that he wanted to go on the cars with his brother after that. They had a great time on these cars over the whole week! As you'll see on the video, Gavin was THRILLED to have his personal driver back. His smile says it all...
The boys went on the Helicopters next with Daddy. There's nothing sweeter than seeing the Dad's cram themselves into a small ride with their little kids.
Brian announced that he wanted to go on the Helicopters by himself after that, which was such a big deal!
The next day I successfully distracted everyone from the whole beach idea (whew!) by suggesting we go to the Cape May County Zoo. I had heard it was a nice zoo...but I never expected it to be THIS nice! None of us did! It's absolutely a hidden treasure in New Jersey - and I learned that TripAdvisor named it the number 3 Zoo in the Country on their Top Ten list!!
We spent much of the day there and maybe got to see half of the zoo. We will definitely go back again - hopefully this summer! It was the most beautiful zoo (with lots of shade!) that I've ever been to. The boys enjoyed the animals and their picnic lunch there!
Brian was thrilled that they had a Toucan - one of his favorite animals!
And Gavin was excited to see the Goats - especially when they walked right up to where he was!
Brian was intrigued by the pigs - and wondering why they weren't green like they are on Angry Birds games.
Ed is giving Brian a better view of the Giraffes in the Safari section of the zoo.
After we left the zoo, we went further up the road to the town of Cape May. I had always wanted to see Cape May - and my Mom was happy to give me a tour. Cape May is a very sentimental place to her and my Father. My siblings and I used to gift our parents with a trip to Cape May to stay at "The Angel of the Sea" Bed and Breakfast. It was nice to see it in person!
We also went to Sunset Beach where my Dad would enjoy a moving flag ceremony at sunset. We had a late lunch and some ice cream at a beachside grille.
We looked out over the water - and a sunken ship - and I think we were all missing my Dad.
I had thought ahead and decided we should take two cars that day, and I'm glad we did. After we ate, Ed took the boys back to the house for naps...and my Mom and I went to a little town called Stone Harbor to do some shopping.
When we got home, I noticed that Gavin had sprouted a rash on his arm! Ed had said that the sheet we used to cover their rug (to shield Gavin from the dog hair) had moved and Gavin was laying there. We thought it was from the dog hair - but when it happened again when we were out in the heat, I thought it was something else. My body used to be covered (and I mean covered) in itchy welts like this when I'd go out in the sun. The combination of the sun and perspiration was the culprit. (It got me out of a lot of outdoor gym classes in school! Woot!) I think Gavin might be following in my footsteps - poor kid.
That evening we met up with my sister, brother in law and their triplets, Shannon, Brendan and Claire, on the boardwalk! They had come down the day before.
They watched the boys go on rides...and then I went on a ride with them. A very regrettable decision that had me feeling wobbly and nauseous the rest of the night. I went on THIS. Never, ever again.
We watched Shannon play some virtual soccer...
...and then watched Brendan play virtual football.
Brendan was sweet to let Brian come in and help him play soccer, which was really adorable.
Brian had fun playing arcade games with Ed - or was it the other way around? Ed LOVES arcades!!
Stay tuned for more tomorrow! I'll be writing about redemption, tradition and homecoming. And I'll fill you in on my current state. I think you've been overloaded with enough today.