Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jersey Shore

As previously noted, we headed back to the Jersey Shore this year for a week. It is a vacation that I long for even the moment I step back off the island.

I grew up a mile from the ocean on a peninsula between two rivers. Our childhood summers revolved around going to the beach and biking or walking to get ice cream. My favorite childhood memory is of my dad coming after work to join us at the beach. By that time, most of the people had gone home for the day. The sun was getting lower in the sky and it would cool off enough to warrant a long sleeved t-shirt. My dad drove a delivery van for a sausage company in those days and would bring Kielbasa with him which we would proceed to BBQ, hibachi style, right there on the beach.

The smell of the charcoal, the memory of the salt in our hair and the sand on our skin. It makes me want to be at the beach at any chance I can get. Fortunately, my sister feels the same way, so we now make it a goal to go to the beach for a week every summer so our kids can get a taste of the summers we had growing up.

This year, we headed to the beach with my mom, my sister and her son, Cousin W, and our good friend, Songbird, and her daughter, L and we stayed further North up the island. It is more residential the further North you get, and less crowded...but it isn't as easy to bike around as some of the places on the Southern end of the island. But the beach is wiiiiiiiide and beautiful and uncrowded. The other benefit, was that our beach house was 'ocean side' and only four houses away from the walkway over the dunes, so it was easy to quickly go back to the house for forgotten items or lunch or the bathroom.

When we first got there on Sunday late afternoon, we headed out to the beach to take a look. The waves were CRAZY!! Apparently there was a hurricane WAY off shore and it was making super crazy waves. The break was right on the beach and since it was high tide, they were crashing into a mini-cliff of sand and then retreating and crashing again. Little G got really scared and wanted to leave the beach immediately. That was a bit disappointing for us since we knew he liked the beach so much the year prior.

The next morning, we headed out when the tide was lower and even though Little G still wanted nothing to do with being near the waves, he did let my husband carry him along the shore line.

(A great shot of just how wide the beach was. I can only hope that after this week's hurricane that the dunes did what they are designed for and protected this amazingly beautiful place)

For most of the first two days we were there, Little G played up on the sand with a bucket of water and only rarely ventured near the water.

A couple of days into our trip, we took this great picture of Little G and his Cousin W in their super-cute matching swim suits and rash guards that my mom had gotten for them. I'm such a sucker for kids in matching clothes!

Later that afternoon there was a BIG discovery! A CRICKET!! Rather, a locust...hundreds of them! The night before, there had been a big thunderstorm and from what we have heard, the locusts were lifted up from where they usually stay in the Pine Lands, and deposited on the beach. Little G and Cousin W had the time of their lives torturing playing with one particular locust. (Don't worry...they never hurt the locust...he was just probably very. tired. after playing with our boys for over an hour!)

After that excitement, we had dinner and then headed out to get ice cream.

I think Cousin W has a very appropriate shirt on considering the potential mess his double chocolate chocolate chip in a waffle cone was.

Sadly, Little G ate all of my husband's ice cream. Whoops.

I really love the picture of my mom, above, because you can see the joy in her eyes. It's true...I just don't think there IS anything more joyful than ice cream with your grandkids after a day at the beach!

When we got home it was time for a story and then time to get in our jammies.

This year, my mom brought a puzzle to the beach house and we spent most of the week working on it. We allllllmost finished it at the beach!

Another day at the beach we had an indoor lobster bake! My husband's aunt and uncle have a home at the Jersey Shore only about a mile from where we were staying, so we had his aunt over to share in the spoils with us. Before dinner, Songbird took some time to read a bit to Little G and Cousin W.

And here you can sort-of see the yummy dinner. Lobsters, steamers, red potatoes, kielbasa and corn-on-the-cob...YUM!!

By halfway through our trip, Little G was no longer afraid of the fact, he would stand on the sand just where the waves would barely reach and yell at the water, "Come on water!! COME ON!!!", begging it to come closer. It was beyond cute. And just like last year, he LOVED being held by daddy and lifted up as the waves came closer. Unlike last year, he weighs 30 lbs, so this was much harder on our backs!

We headed out on our last morning at the beach to take some pics of the boys together. But for a little bit of's a pic of the two of them from last summer...

...compared with a picture from this summer. I can't believe how much they've BOTH grown!!

We even got a rare picture of the three of us together thanks to my sister's willingness to take control of the camera :)

Everyone had a great time body surfing...

...and playing in the sand...
...before it was time to pack our things and go home.

Funny story about packing up our things. The night before our last day at the beach, there had been another HUGE thunderstorm. It had, once again, deposited some locusts on the beach...except that this time there were THOUSANDS of them. Everywhere. They jump on you, and then stick to you with their little grippy legs...and then they don't go away when you flick them. I'm ok with a few locusts...but I don't like swarms of anything, not to mention swarms of things that don't go away when you swat at them. Ick.

To make matters even worse, the last day we were at the beach, the wind had shifted from the land which means one thing. Flies. Lots of them. So there were flies and locusts. AND...the water got warmer which meant jellyfish! Flies. Locusts. was finally time to acquiesce and just go. But we decided to come out and get our wind-shelter after we had dinner. Apparently it was a good thing that I let Songbird and my sister go out there, because by that time, our little shelter was cooooooooovered in locusts. Ew. It took quite a bit of shaking and running and shaking some more to get them all off tent and even then I think we must have brought a few home with us.

Of course, all of this happened on our very last afternoon of what had been an amazing week at the beach. But it was pretty funny how quickly the conditions at the beach changed. I can only imagine what we would have thought had that been our FIRST day at the beach!

Anyway...for any of you who have made yourself all the way down to the end of this post, I leave you with a short video of Little G and my husband on our last morning at the beach...clearly, Little G had gotten over his fear of the waves at this point!

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