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.