Ocean City, NJ has been part of my life since I was a little girl. We spent every summer there with my Grandparents and many cousins. I love when our family can do that now, as adults. Having Brian and Hope spend time with their Aunts and Uncles and cousins...and get to live with Granny for a whole week...is such a great experience. We made so many lifelong memories on this vacation.
Our second beach day was awesome. We had a family "compound" of chairs and umbrellas and toys not far from the water. It was perfect!
Last year it was easy to keep Hope under our Sunbrella (best umbrella ever, in my opinion!) in the shade. No such luck this year! This year we barely used it! The kids were slathered head to toe in a zinc-based sunscreen and wore long sleeve rash guards with sun protection, but it was hopeless trying to keep a hat on Hope. She refused!
Thankfully, we were still able to protect her from even getting pink on her scalp! I'm always so worried about the sun - as you could probably gather by my "glow in the dark" appearance. Ha!
Brian got right to work digging to water - one of his favorite things to do at the beach.
We were so impressed with Brian's bravery in the ocean on this trip! He was jumping the waves like a boss!!
Hope watched and watched...
...but not for long! Soon Daddy came and scooped her up for a date in the ocean!
I know it meant a lot to him to take her into the water. He has shared many special moments over the years with Gavin and Brian doing the same thing. Watching them walk away with Gavin's pier in the distance brought tears to my eyes.
No surprise - Hope was fearless. And happy!!
She laughed and laughed as the waves crashed around them.
Meanwhile, Brian got a little more daring and tried body surfing ("Brian style")! I had brought a boogie board with us, but he was a little nervous to use it. Instead he let the waves roll him into shore.
It was hilarious to watch - and his giggles were infectious even to people walking by!
All week we had big family dinners together, which I LOVED. My sisters are great cooks, for sure. They asked me to make one meal which I'm sure was because they didn't want me to show them up with my incredible culinary skills. Yeah, that sounds accurate. (not)
After dinner one night, all the Grandchildren that were present in Ocean City were summoned to the beach by Granny. She had gifted everyone with matching, patriotic shirts so she could get a photo with them! It turned out super cute...
My Mom has 21 grandchildren - two of which are in Heaven - and one great grandchild. Eight of the 21 are in the picture and one "grandchild in law." We even had Gavin represented in the background.
After I took the group shots, I snapped some fun ones of the kids. Brian jumped right up into the lifeguard stand...
...and Hope followed right behind him! Lock up your sons, everyone! This beauty is on duty!!
I love taking photos of Brian. Can you blame me? He is such a happy, easygoing little guy.
We headed up to the boardwalk under a very bright moon. Brian was the first to notice it and wanted to be sure we captured it in a picture. (The apple doesn't fall far!!)
The first order of business on the boardwalk was, gulp, the ferris wheel.
I've been on the ferris wheel a few times with Brian but for some reason that night - I was TERRIFIED!! All these thoughts kept running through my head. Like, why don't they have seat belts on these things? What if something snaps and this thing, with us in it, goes rolling into the ocean? Do I really want to leave my children like this? So I just held onto Brian and calmed myself down by just listening to him. "Mom! Look over there!" "Mommy! You can see the whole town!" "Mom! Look at the people walking on the boardwalk - they look like ants!" It really was a lot of fun. Terrifying, but fun.
We went on several rides and Brian and Ed played some video games in the arcade before we made the walk home. Hope was pretty cranky and wanted to go back to the house, but it was nothing that a little monkey bread couldn't fix! After each tiny forkful that Ed fed her, she would dance around signing "more" with her hands. It was quite comical...
...and very effective!!
Stay tuned for more stories from our week in Ocean City!