Beach, Beach, more Beach!

What a weekend! Jeff and I both agreed this morning that we needed an extra day to relax from all the fun we had. But alas, it’s Monday and back to the grind.

On Saturday morning we got on our bikes right away and headed to our favorite place: Coney Island! We made it to the ocean in an hour and fifteen minutes – not too bad for two middle aged folks riding two heavy bikes loaded with everything needed for a beach day. Oh, and two kids.

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We hung out on the beach for a few hours, ate watermelon, played in the water, and dug in the sand. The boys couldn’t care less that this isn’t the loveliest of beaches; they just have fun. And so did we.

Then we got hungry and needed hot dogs immediately. They were delicious.

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The rest of the afternoon was our typical Coney Island fun: Wonder Wheel, rides, ice cream.

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Then we rode back towards home. Right around Park Slope our legs were getting tired, so we decided to stop for dinner. We stumbled upon this lovely place, sat outside, and filled our bellies with meats & cheeses, pasta, and mussels. Arthur ate all my seafood, and I stole bites of his pasta. We were so happy and full – and very tired. We rode home as the sun was setting, showered, and fell into bed.

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On Sunday we decided we hadn’t had enough of the beach, so we headed to Rockaway. We wanted to try the new NYC Ferry, and so we rode the bikes to the Wall Street stop and took the ferry over. It was pretty smooth, but only because we got in line early. Many people who arrived after us had to wait for the next boat, which only comes every hour.

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We rode the bikes around Rockaway for a bit and then found us a nice spot on the beach. We stayed there all day, played in the waves, ate sandwiches, chips, watermelon. Beach life is simply the best. We all took naps, too. Delightful.

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Before we headed home we wanted to grab a quick dinner and randomly found this very strange place that has fast food and shakes on the menu – and an assortment of old toys in the yard.

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Hot dogs and shakes for life.

Then we made a mistake and rode our bikes around the boardwalk for a bit. It was so lovely out. Bands were playing, happy people everywhere. Except: When we arrived at the ferry dock, there were so many people in line already, and the ferries were so backed up that we had to wait for more than an hour. So that was fun. (Next time we’ll take the train again. The NYC Ferries are fun in theory, but so overcrowded it sucks the joy and convenience right out of it.)

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We killed time on the boat by drinking a beer, making silly hairdos, and playing games.

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We arrived home at 10pm. The kids were exhausted, although honestly not as much as we were. Today we all slept a little later, and even though I’m sure we’re all a bit tired still, we have made a bunch of unforgettable memories this weekend.

Down the Shore

We spent last week in Avalon at the beach for our annual Weston beach vacation. It was a wonderful week with family.

Highlights included…

The Beach! Obviously.

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The boys loooooved the beach. The sand, the ocean, the waves, all of it. We went to the beach every day, except one, and didn’t get tired of it. Each day we dug holes and pools and tunnels for the kids – and one day Uncle Ray created sand bowling. So that was hours of entertainment right there.

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Family Time.

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I especially love watching all the cousins together. Julian and Ben, born 9 hours apart, are thick as thieves.

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Arthur fell in love with his big cousin Amelia and spent most of his day following her around. “Melia? Melia?”

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Wildwood.

It’s no secret that we love Coney Island. So naturally, Wildwood is right up our alley. The kids hit all the rides.

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And towards the end, right before cotton candy and funnel cake pushed us over the edge, we won huge donuts playing whack-a-mole.

Donuts.

These, and the edible kind as well.

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Lazy Mornings.

No one slept in, of course, ever. Because even though it’s a vacation and no matter how tired children are, they still get up at completely unreasonable hours. But we had lovely breakfasts every morning, lots of coffee, and crazy kids who entertained each other. And a deck to sit on.

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Dates. Jeff and I got to sneak out a couple of times. We went on a bike ride through Avalon, and one night we strolled around the neighboring town of Stone Harbor and had drinks at a bar by the beach. Total highlight was a walk on the beach in the dark with an almost full moon and lightning far away on the ocean, turning the sky orange every other minute or so. It was magical.

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Non-highlights included this guy getting car sick on our way to Avalon…

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…and whatever it was that happened to that guy. Bug bite? We will never know. But the Rocky references and the “You should have seen the other guy” comments did not get old. Or did they?

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Until next time, Avalon.

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Coney Island on Memorial Day

We had considered going to Governor’s Island with some friends of ours for Memorial Day, but changed our minds after hearing about the long lines getting on the ferry the day prior. Turns out Memorial Day is crazy everywhere! So we decided to go to the place where crowds are welcomed and expected: Coney Island.

I loved seeing everyone setting up for picnics and barbecues in Prospect Park in the morning as we were riding our bikes through the park and towards the ocean. We met our friends on the beach and let the kids play on the beach playground for a while before our picnic. And then we headed towards the water.

The boys ran in and out and screamed with pure delight. The water was cold! It was windy! They couldn’t have cared less. They laughed and ran and laughed some more…

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…until I bought them Italian ices, after which they promptly fell asleep.

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Arthur’s lips are still bright red from eating ice and cherries…IMG_0955

Here is our little group. All the kids were sleeping (Julian is under the towel). They slept for close to two hours. I took a little nap as well. It became increasingly windy as we were sitting there, and in the end we actually woke the boys up so we could finally do something other than sit in the wind with our sleeping children.

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So we ate some funnel cake.

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Even though the boys were heartbroken, we decided to skip waiting in line for the rides for all eternity. The crowds were insane. Instead we took our time riding home.

At night, as we were riding past Prospect Park again, the air was filled with smoke and smell of hamburgers and hot dogs. So naturally, we had hamburgers for dinner.

Life’s a Beach

At least our life was, for a week.

We spent a week in a beach rental in Avalon, NJ with family. There were six adults and five children five and under. So at least we were not out-numbered!

There were many magical moments this week, so why not do a good old list? Who doesn’t like lists, right?

Potty talk

Let’s just dive right in, shall we? The cousins got along great, and right away cousin Benjamin shared with Julian something he won’t soon forget: the beauty of potty talk. At night we could hear them in their beds next to each other talking and laughing for hours. The conversations would go like this, “Poopy butt!” Laughter from Julian. “Poopy on my head!” Laughter from Julian. And so on and so forth. Julian was a very captive, easy audience. Thanks for this valuable lesson, Benjamin.

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Sneaking away for dates:

When the kids napped, we napped. Because the beach makes everyone tired. But then we woke up, and the kids were still napping, so sometimes we snuck out on ice cream dates or I went for a run on the beach. Also several trips to the ice cream parlor and a bar at night while Grammy offered to babysit. Good times.

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Food:

Other than talking about poop and running away from our children, we ate non-stop. We woke up and started eating, and continued to eat until we went to bed. Scones, muffins, pancakes, bacon, eggs, bagels, fresh donuts, pizza, an assortment of grilled meats and fish. Whenever our bellies were full, our mouths would say, “MUST EAT MORE PRETZEL CHIPS NOW.” and “ONE ICE CREAM PER DAY IS NOT ENOUGH. GIMME MORE NOW.” And so we obliged.

The Beach:

When we took quick breaks from eating, we loved loved loved the beach. Of course I’m kidding. We brought coolers loaded with snacks and beer so we didn’t have to stop eating. One day we ordered pizza directly to the beach. Julian and especially Arthur were so in their element. Arthur just ran and ran and laughed and screamed at the ocean with pure delight. It was so beautiful to see them so free and happy. Blond hair all tangly from the salty air, hands sticky and sand all over. It was pretty much paradise. Except we were in New Jersey and not St. Lucia. I will never forget sitting with Arthur in my arms right by the ocean, nursing and cuddling my baby (He’s 15 months? SHUT UP.). And chasing waves and digging holes with Julian.

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The Cousins:

I loved spending so much time with our niece and nephews and watching the boys form friendships with their cousins. They all played so nicely together and took care of each other. There was hardly any fighting or bickering, except for who got to sit next to whom and too many hugs for Arthur and Baby Henry. Other than that: no complaints and much joy.

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Wildwood:

Totally the highlight of our trip for Julian. It’s like Coney Island, except so much bigger (and dare I say better?). The cousins went on all the rides. We ate (duh!) lots of good stuff and stayed out way past bedtime.

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Bonus:

Every morning I wanted to get up early and watch the sunrise at the beach. Of course I never did and then had instant regret when one of the kids would wake me up anyway 30 minutes after sunrise. Because that’s what kids do. Then Arthur came down with a cold and partied all night, and so on our last morning I got up with him at 5:30am and snuck out to the beach. We walked for about 30 minutes in the cool morning air and then sat down and snuggled and watched the sun rise on the horizon. I chased Arthur up and down the beach in his footie pajamas and then went back to the house for a cup of hot coffee. It was a perfect good-bye to a wonderful week at the beach.

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