Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone! I hope you had a chance to relax or have some fun or do what ever you like to do on your free days off from work.
We decided to take the kids out to the beach for the first time this season. I don’t think they had been to the beach since about June of last year.
I really hadn’t been out to the beach in almost a year as well, except for a glorious time or two when I only could spare minute.
Our visit was ideal and instantly reminded me of vacations and beach visits from the past…
It really was a wonderful day. Even Mom remarked on how perfect everything was; the water was crystal clear, the air temp, the wind, the crowds. It made for a nice escape.
Like I said, even given it was a holiday, a 4-day weekend, the beaches were not too crowded.
Of course we did leave our house at 10:15 to avoid the beach swarm to the coast.
But we had our usual good time. The girls were a little slow to embrace the beach, forgetting where they left off at last summer. They quickly found themselves at home in the tidal pool. They made a few friends there. Poor Skylar, she had to lug around her inner tube swimmie all through out the 8 inch deep tidal pool; kinda like her purse. It was too funny!
We arrived as the tide was going out. The vacated sand made for a nice wide, flat beach. There weren’t many waves due to the low tide so you could just wade out and keep going. Eventually I lured Dylan out to go for a swim with her ol’ dad. As you can see, she really didn’t care for that too much…
The girls had a good time playing in the water and ocean again.
I had a great time acting like a kid in the ocean again. It was fun. It was relaxing. A great time for some little pondering with the Big guy. It was a nice escape. And it felt good to be in my old beach chair again.
Here is a brief look at our day on the ‘Isle Of Palms‘. Thanks for taking time out of your hectic Memorial Day to drop by my beach here in 3D.
To all those Veterans, who helped secure our country and way of living so that we could enjoy a purrfect 3 day weekend (and get paid for it) I want to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!
This past weekend there was a lot of excitement at our house as the time is drawing near for our summer vacation. We are opting to take the girls back to my favorite childhood resort, Ocean City, New Jersey.
Ocean City, New Jersey likes to call itself “America’s Greatest Family Resort“. And with good reason. This barrier island is designed to be conducive to families and kids. They do this to the extent that no alcohol is sold on the island; not in stores, in restaurants, gas stations, nowhere. Coming from a restaurant background I have a feeling for what kinds of revenues this city sacrifices in order to keep it ‘family friendly’.
If you must have a beer or a cocktail there are plenty of stores on the other side of the bridge before you enter Ocean City. Or, if you are feeling lucky, Atlantic City is on the other side of the north bridge leaving Ocean City. But in town, this nostalgic ocean community, there is no booze. And the tourists that frequent this resort town are the type that appreciate this!
The Urban Dictionary has an entry that describes OCNJ simply like this: Dry town with Liqour stores 10 seconds over the bridge. Every guy in town either plays basketball or surfs, usually both and every girl lives in bikinis and their only job is to work on their tan. ~ Does that remind you of any highfaluting’ resort town? Ocean City is simple. Its laid back and it caters to kids and families. And it has all the fun a kid can ask for!
While their are plenty of the typical coastal amenities to do, the main focus of Ocean City is its 2.5 mile long boardwalk. Among the many attractions of this famed and nostalgic boardwalk are two amusement piers, with rides (mostly) designed for the younger kids, a music pier, all sorts of gift shops and beach stores as well as ANY sort of junk food imaginable!
This includes, fresh, warm, made to order donuts, hot caramel corn, the best soft ice cream custard, fudge shops and much, much more! The sweet smells of the boardwalk alone are worth the trip! It may not be zip lines and bungee dives. Its good, old fashioned fun tried and true over the ages.
Riding the train through the park
I tried to introduce my family to Ocean City, New Jersey OCNJ) two years ago as I was eager for them to enjoy it like I had. The trouble was our girls were about 3.5 years old and 18 months. For the most part they were to small to get on the rides. Add to that our youngest got an ear infection the first few days we were there, that ended in a 102 fever. She was not a happy camper for most of the trip!
But that doesn’t dull the excitement of returning. We are looking forward to riding the rides, “hot, fresh, made to order Browns Donuts” on the boardwalk for breakfast and then riding bikes on the boards to wake up, the beach, did I mention the rides, the great junk food there along with all the smiles and laughter of kids that goes along with it.
This year, as the past time, we are renting a house where my whole family can stay (us, Mom, Dad, and the great Aunt Sue). That in itself was loads of fun last time. It was a block off the beach. We had our bikes. We had our beach gear rented in a wagon. Dylan even found a scooter that matched hers back home the owners of the house left for us. It was nice
Look how little she is in this!
And by the end of the week even lil ol’ Skylar could manage a smile…
Our kids (and Mom) got their first experience on the boardwalk. There were so many things to see and do, rides, eat, bike, eat, shop, eat. We caught a parade on the boardwalk as they seem to find a reason to have one most every week in the summer.
Its just a festive place. The local theater group even put on a kid sized play at the historic Music Pier on the boardwalk, ‘Schoolhouse Rock!’ and all our the favorite hits from that old Saturday morning series. Can you remember ‘Conjunction Junction‘?
And, of course, their was the Atlantic Ocean amenity their too, with waves big enough to satisfy anyBeach Bum!
Future Beach Bums!
This beach bum body surfer found himself in heaven with the size of these waves!
Waiting to catch a big one…
Its all about picking the right wave!
Of course I was having some fun in the waves with my girls too!
And while Skylar was a bit too small for the surf (when she was feeling well) she did enjoy playing sand castles with Aunt Sue. She had a big wet beach, a sand castle to protect, her own moat, even her own pond to play in. It was her first sand castle to build and swim in and protect. She loved it!
There were dozens of other “firsts” for our girls on this past trip to Ocean City as well. But since I see I am running on here, again, I thought I would leave you with my Top Ten of favorite other ‘firsts ‘we experienced on this first trip to Ocean City.
While we may be heading back up to OCNJ again this summer we’ll never have these same ‘firsts’ with our growing girls.
TOP TEN FIRSTS AT OCEAN CITY:
10) First time our 18 month’er had soft ice cream…. on a warm summer evening
She was a wet mess!
9) First time one of my girls went down a Giant Slide
8) First time Ms. Fearless went down a Giant Slide with out a mat, her daddy, waiting for instructions, anything!
7) First time she beat daddy in a race.
6) First time our girls played miniature golf, simply known as ‘Golf Balls’ from that day forth.
There was more than one shark on that putt-putt course….
I saved the kids from the shark….cause that’s what daddies do
5) First time one of our girls was spun out of control in a whirlie-whirl kinda ride.
4) First time I gave my girls my debit card.
3) First time our girls got to experience all the sights and sounds and smells and excitement of exploring the boardwalk.
2) The first time our girls were too tired to walk all the way home after a night on the boardwalk.
#1) The first time our girls got to eat hot, fresh (made to order) donuts in front of the ocean before touring the length of the boardwalk on bicycles, just to start their day.
Bonus First: First time my 3 year old filmed me as I changed her pull-up!
PS: we’re hiring nannies right now. If you think you could kid-wrangle my crew get your resume in today!
She’s fearless and it does Dad’s heart good to hear her come up just laughing and giggling like she was being tickled.
I threw her and caught her. I helped her jump the big waves.
Pretended to let the big waves sweep her away.
And then just let her be herself as I tried to catch some waves before the tide turned.
It was a beautiful day. Did you see these blue skies? The water was actually warmer than the air temperature and that is saying something in South Carolina! I caught a few wave rides. I hated to come out.
Mommy and Skylar had their own quality time!
OK, maybe I stayed in the water a bit too long.
In the end, these girl’s could just walk all over me with these feet!
PS: speaking a ‘love for water knows no boundaries‘ Heather and Reto we are taking the girls to Ocean City, NJ in late July. If its not too late for one or both of you to join us bring Lillya and Laylani and we can all swim in the ocean and ride some rides! Dangge!Bis spöter…
Another weekend has come and is going. We made it to the beach again despite Andrea’s attempts to keep us in all weekend. Our weekend plans were hastily rekindled as the news of Andrea hit the road and was a quick blur up the coast.
The famous Aunt Sue checked into our B&B on Friday. She comes down with her vacation already planned out. So it was good news to her Andrea didn’t get in her way. In fact, in typical carpei diem fashion she had our girls in bathing suits before I ever got out of bed on Saturday morning. And so in a blink…and a shower and a breakfast we were off…
It was a nice day again, a bit breezy as the dry backside of Andrea kept pushing her northward. The girls found their favorite tidal pool again, which was fine with dad as I just wanted to make up for the the 0-60 morning they put us through. And after a brief tumble in the waves I grabbed my hat and my shades and tried to become invisible and part of the chair.
I frequently talk about some of the incredible things that come out of Dylan’s mouth, both funny and perceptive in the DYLANism’s. Skylar, in her own way, is getting her own version of SKYLARism’s too. These are super cute things that come out of her mouth, and more so, the cute way she says them.
I can’t recapture in print the innocent tone of some of these but early SKYLARism‘s include:
“Yummy, Yummy, Yummy in my tummy, tummy, tummy“ which has morphed into her favorite tasting food simply becoming,
“Deee-wish-ous!“. Again, these seem to be her unique ideas and so adorable as the way a happy Skylar says them. But where did she get them from in the first place?
Now, somewhere, somehow, from somebody, she learned to “shake, shake, shake, like abigwetdog” when she gets out of the water to dry off.
Huh? Too cute, but where did this come from?
She reminds me what our past greyhound would do when he got out of laying in the tidal pools
Even though he had a super short coat you didn’t want to be around as he shook off surf and sand together.
But what Skylar does is sooo much cuter than Cloud.
Take a look…..but be ready, she’s fast…
That’s her version of drying off coming out of the surf!
...and then going back in again!
See any similarity?
She’s no stranger to sand…
The boy behind Cloudy liked to imitate him too…
Now before you start sending hate mail to me for me comparing the super cute little Skylar to a greyhound I am not doing that at all. I would never do that! We love our 2nd miracle child so much and these sayings just add to the adoration, although there are certain parallels. She is way too precious to be even in the same sentence with an animal.
As parents I think our three main responsibilities are to keep our kids safe, help them to grow up to be good citizens, and keep them happy. I think that last one is the thing that keeps us going sometimes, seeing the unbridled smiles on our kid’s faces. I mentioned in my prior post how Dylan really had a great time in the water on our vacation. She had a great time and it gave me a chance to really bond with her.
While we tried to take advantage of the nanny program with our wonderful nanny, Sharlene, Dylan still wanted to hang with Mom and Dad in the morning, instead of playing with our nanny, because we were going to the beach.
One particular morning she cried and cried as we tried to convince her she would have more fun playing with our nanny, as Mom and Dad were ‘all played out’. She cried and so we said come on.
Dylan and I played for about an hour in the ocean that morning then I told her I had to get out and rest.
She said, “OK Daddy, I’ll go to the Kid Zone with Skylar then and I won’t cry.” Atta way Dylan!
We went to a downstairs restroom where I could put some dry clothes on her. AFTER, I changed her she told me she had to go to the potty. I huffed and started to unpeel her play clothes. How dare her discomforts get in the way of my play time! 🙂
Dylan said, “Sorry Daddy. I didn’t want to pee in the ocean.” What a cool kid I thought. Even I don’t like the ocean THAT much.
When asked what Dylan wanted to do before we went on vacation without hesitation she would say ‘ride the big blue slide’. We viewed some videos of our resort on Youtube before we came down. Ol’ Miss Fearless wanted to have some fun combining a giant slide with her love for the water. Each day, we found out, I had to ask the lifeguards on duty to ‘turn on’ Big Blue, since the resort’s occupancy was so low. The lifeguard would give us a time for when Big Blue would be primed and ready. Once she got on the slide she would keep playing there until lunch. She would slide down and then I would pretend to race her in the water to steps at the other end. She loved it and never tired.
If you want to see what I mean, as well as some smiles and personality from Ms. DYLANism check out some of the fun on the video below.
But her love for the water and craziness was not restricted to Big Blue. As I mentioned earlier, each day she did something new and amazing in the water.
One day she finally held her nose and dove under the water. This had been a summer long project with no results. Now, finally, in the clear blue Caribbean, she said, “Watch this Daddy!”. Then she did it! No prompting. She just gave it a try.
The next morning, while we were swimming in the pool with “the red slide”, she uttered those same amazing words as she stood on the side of the pool: “Watchthis Daddy!” Then she took a leap from the side and did a flip into the water! I gasped and laughed at the same time.
Where did this come from? She popped up from beneath the water with a big smile on her face (so cool to see). I had to laugh. She took my laugh as winning approval for her stunt. She made her Dad smile. She enjoys that about as much as I do seeing the smiles on their faces. “Hey Mommy, did you see what your daughter can do?”
“No problom mon”
The next day we rode in the resort’s glass bottom boat to a reef about 15 minutes away. I wanted to show our kids the colorful fish in the water in hopes they would be interested in learning how to snorkel with mom and dad.
We got to our destination and the staff threw some food in to attract some fish. Then, two other vacationers in our boat jumped in the water to do some snorkeling themselves. After about 5 minutes of watching, Dylan told me she wanted to get in the water too.
We all had our life preservers on so I thought why not. I jumped in the sea and then Dylan jumped into my waiting arms. She swam and kicked around a bit and then just flipped over on her back to float. She was so at ease doing this and smiling at all times. And then it hit me. She was floating on her back about a half mile from land in about 40 feet of water and didn’t have one care in the world. Amazing! A four year old that loves the water this much. I wish I would have brought our camera as it was such a Kodak moment.
We stayed in the water about 10 minutes or so. Everyone had returned to the boat so we had to make our way back. The boat was anchored at the reef. I know. I wasn’t a big fan of dropping and dragging an anchor on a reef either. However, the wind and tide had carried us both about 20 yards from our boat. So in an attempt to get her out of the water I said, “Come on Dylan, I’ll race you to the boat.” And that girl paddled and kicked her way, into the wind and tide, all the way back to the boat. Again, four years old! It took her a lot more kicks, given her size, then it took me. And she did it with a smile on her face.
An international hot spot
One of the nice things about traveling is that you can meet some really nice people.This trip was no exception. On our first full day at FDR I saw a father playing with his two daughters in the big pool. I soon found the man had two daughters the same age as ours, ages 2 and 4. Both of his girls loved the water too.
They were from Switzerland. They had been to FDR before (yes, either brainwashed or magic). He and his wife knew how to play the nanny game. I could tell. Every morning, while they were off diving, Dylan got to play in the pool with their oldest, Lillya.
Both of these girls were shy at first. Reto, the father, said as much. But you could tell Lillya loved the water. And I think a mutual admiration quickly built. Lillya could do some things in the water Dylan couldn’t. And Dylan could do somethings Lillya wouldn’t dare.
That first morning they would watch each other after they came up from the water. At first, it seemed, they were watching to see what the other was doing. Later it was to see if the other was watching. If Dylan jumped in the water then Lillya would jump in from her side of the pool. If Lillya went down the slide then Dylan would. And both would show off with their Dads. It was cute to follow.
With the help of the Dads the girls were introduced. Then they played with each other in the pool every morning for the rest of the week. It didn’t matter that they could not communicate real well. Lillya did know some English. Lillya’s mother, Heather, was born and raised in the US. The girls mainly communicated by their love for the water and seeing and appreciating what the other could do. Dylan had met her match. They played all day in the pool that first day after the introduction. Then, as we walked back to the room at the end of the afternoon, Dylan looked up with the towel wrapped around her and said, “I think I made a new friend today.” You couldn’t help but be happy for her.
Take a look at some of Dylan’s and Lillya’s fun:
Both Heather and Reto were swimmers in college. And they educated their daughter(s) well in both English and swimming. She reminded me of Diane Lane with red hair. He looked like an Olympic swimmer. Both were special people and avid travelers. I am glad we all had a chance to meet. Once again I was happy for our daughter as she got to experience a little bit more of this big world with Lillya, although she couldn’t appreciate how far away and different the two girl’s lives actually were. Yet you could tell she did feel special for making friends with someone just a little bit different than the girls back home.
The last afternoon they played together. Reto tried to get his daughter out of the pool to get ready for dinner and so did I. Reto had trouble with his girl and then so did I. Dylan just kept swimming and playing in the water like she didn’t hear me. Finally, after my third attempt to get her out and my tone getting a little louder, Dylan yells back without looking up, “Princesses Rule!”