We started the morning with what I'm hoping will be a tradition every year - a morning ride on the boardwalk in a surrey bike! We rode twelve blocks each way. The weather was picture perfect and we had so much fun.
Brian was excited to sit with us this year - last year he sat in the basket with Hope.
But I'm pretty sure Princess Hope had the best seat in the house!
When we got back to the house we dressed for the beach. Hope was psyched!
She was quite the explorer all day. She took a walk with Brian...
...woke up her cousin, Brendan, for a quick chat...
...investigated the sand...
...tried to push Daddy into the big hole...
...strutted around in her mermaid suit...
...tried to steal her cousin, Claire's, water bottle...
...begged for food...
...and basically looked beautiful as the ocean wind blew her growing hair.
Hope turned 19 months on this trip!
This month brought a ton of changes. She has some new words (baby, pee pee, Bean - as in Aunt Bean, Ian - for Brian and ho - as in "hello") and is very chatty all day long.
She is still a very easy baby - eats anything, follows direction, goes down for naps and bed easily and is happy! She can be challenging for me, though, because she is constant motion. She's climbing on this or opening that drawer or emptying a cabinet or climbing on that - I'll rescue her from one situation (or rescue our things from her!) just to turn around and have to rescue again. I am typically exhausted by bedtime! Ha!
On this trip, she had a bit of a sleep regression. Okay, a HUGE sleep regression. I know now that it's typical between 18-20 months to go through this, but in the beginning I was in panic mode. Was it night terrors? Molars? What?? She woke up in the night screaming (not like her) and with people renting the floor above us I would feel a lot of anxiety to calm her before she woke up them...and the rest of the block. It happened every night and lasted about an hour - sometimes more. And it's still happening now that we're home. When I looked back in my records, Brian went through the same thing. I always remind myself that everything is a phase - nothing lasts forever - and this will blow over soon. With all the new developmental milestones she's had - I'm sure her body has been hard at work and overwhelmed! Poor Hope.
Brian had the best beach day! He had fun playing in the sand...
...and had fun that day playing on his boogie board.
But he had a BLAST playing on it with his cousins, Shannon and Claire!!
Brian was determined to stand up and "surf" and, as you can imagine...
The water was the perfect temperature and we all had fun jumping the waves and splashing around.
We waved to the cool new baby in the family...
...baby William!! He and his Mommy (my niece, Emily) looked super cool on the beach (and off) every day.
And so did William's "Nana!" (my sister, Meg)
Brian was so sweet wanting to help Hope learn how to jump over the waves.
He was making me laugh so hard with his "teaching points."
Hope and I decided it might be best to step back and watch the master at work...
...and boy, did he put on a show!! I love this series of jumping shots!
After another great family dinner where I got to snuggle with my "great nephew"... gosh, he is so cute...
...we went up for some more boardwalk fun. This was the night we decided to go to Gillian's Wonderland Pier - our favorite place. The home of Gavin's firetruck!! And this is where I have a sad story to tell.
Gillian's approached me a few months ago and asked if I would like to be part of their "Magical Monday" event again this year. If you remember, last year they had us and it was a great turnout. On "Magical Mondays" you buy a wristband for $25.00 between 1-4pm. Half of the proceeds go to a different charity every week. Last year I had the money go towards "Gavin's Playground Project." So, when they asked if I wanted to participate again this year I was thrilled!! They gave me a date and, unfortunately, it was not a date I could be there. I asked if there was any way they could change my date to the week that we would be there on vacation. They worked with the other charity and switched the dates - I was so grateful. This time I wanted the proceeds to go to "Gavin's Trust Project" which benefits children like Gavin that get services from the Chester County Intermediate Unit. You can read more about Gavin's Trust Project HERE.
Long story short - I somehow totally screwed it all up. I don't know what happened, but the dates got confused. I was planning to invite all of you for the Monday we were there - and on the day I was writing up the post - they were having my Magical Monday without me. At the end of the day, everyone who went to Gillian's and bought wristbands contributed to this charity in Gavin's memory - whether they knew it or not. But I feel just AWFUL and ashamed that I messed it up. I'm sure I would have gotten a bigger crowd to show that day! Gillian's has been wonderful to our family and we adore everyone there - which made me feel worse. The were great about the mixup. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. I was really looking forward to it - and I think I'll always feel awful about messing things up. Ugh.
We were excited to get to Gillian's and go on the rides. Our first stop was, of course, Gavin's Firetruck. We couldn't WAIT to see if Hope wanted to ride it! It would be her first solo ride.
This was Gavin's first ride - on that exact number 8 firetruck - which is the reason Gillian's put his name on it after he died. Brian had his first solo ride on the firetrucks, too! Brian was excited when I told him that Gavin was with him for HIS first ride and now HE would be with Hope for HER first ride. He took his big brother job very seriously and was extra protective of her.
There were only three kids on the ride - Brian, Hope and that little boy in the truck behind them. I tried to find his Mom or Dad after the ride - but missed them. I wanted so badly to tell them what a sweet little boy they had! Before the ride started, he was happily ringing his bell - which is one of the highlights of the whole ride. Hope was obsessed with his bell and spent much of the ride turning around and trying to touch it.
This adorable, sweet child stopped ringing his bell and held it in the up position every time Hope turned around so she could reach it. Can you imagine? I'm not sure I'll ever forget this little guy and I wish I had had the chance to tell his parents.
See how the bell behind Hope is still up?
Brian was so happy to see Hope so happy - and kept turning around to check on her.
Hope also got to experience her first Gillian's Carousel ride on a horse by herself!
Daddy and Brian were right behind us and it was such a fun "family ride."
Hope took the ride very seriously. Daddy and Brian? Not so much...
The kids and I took a train ride above the entire park - which, in 45 years, was a first for me! At least that I remember!
Silly me wore a dress that day so I had to send Daddy to ride on the swings with Brian. It took him all night to recover. Pretty sure he won't do that again. Mommy is the "go to" parent for rides - unless it's the Merry Go Round and that's even a rare event!
It's a bummer because the rides are such a blast! Brian and I have made some seriously hysterical memories holding on for dear life on many rides!!
Wait until you see all the crazy rides we went on in the next journal entry!!