Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Where Summer Rules

I've been talking about getting Michael down to the shore all summer long, but it wasn't until Karen did her post about the beach that I finally got things going. Karen and I both grew up at the Jersey Shore. Karen's a true Jersey girl and lived there year round. My grandmother had a small house on Long Beach Island, and I spent just about every weekend there in the summer. I know people from the southern beaches scoff at the Jersey Shore, but for me, that's where summer happens. While I doubt that I'll ever be able to get Michael down there as much as he would like, I'm going to work hard to make sure he grows up with the Jersey Shore as part of the summer ritual.

We didn't do much of anything while we were there. We didn't go to the small amusement park. We didn't go fishing or crabbing (maybe next summer). We simply relaxed and played.

My dad's house is right across from a school field, so we literally have a playground in our front yard. With a four year old, clearly there is no way to avoid spending time there.

They have a rock wall for climbing. Michael hasn't mastered this yet, but not from a lack of daddy trying.


He was laughing while Andy was helping him, but once Andy let go, he was a little more apprehensive.


Now the slide, on the other hand, is easy going.


Hey mom, look at me!

From the slide he wandered over to the swings. Michael doesn't entirely get swings yet. He gets the part where mommy or daddy pushes him, but I cannot teach him how to pump his legs and power himself. I sat back and watched him contemplate the situation.


He took the typical kid way out.


As I was snapping photos, I started to get some amazing lighting as the sun set. And then, the battery died in my camera, and I was forced to stop taking pictures. Instead, I spent the next 20 minutes pushing Michael on the swing.

The other big activity was swimming. Michael is a little fish and it doesn't matter if he's at a pool, the bay, or the ocean. He goes in. The water was a little rough in the ocean, but that didn't stop him from playing sandpiper with the surf.


I remember running in and out with the surf when I was his age, and it is very sweet to watch my own little boy do the same thing. He was so cute. He would pick up a clam shell and hang onto it while he ran back and forth.

He even hung onto it while he ventured into the water.


When the tied went out a little, I was able to get him into the ocean up to his waist. He showed no fear.

One thing about the beach is that it wears kids out. I mean exhausts them. The big problem with that is that it also tends to exhaust anyone who is playing with him. I got that job on Saturday, but on Sunday I was able to hand that off to his cousin for a little while. (They are Something like 4th cousins, but it's the closest family Michael has in his age range.) It's amazing what kids can do if you give them some shovels and pails.


Their "lounge" ended up with a big foot rest in the center and the walls were decorated with shells. Best of all, I got to sit for an hour while the boys did all the work. It was magic.

Speaking of magic, not only does the beach wear kids out, it also makes them HUNGRY. Not only did Michael eat a lot while we were there, he also tried several new foods and liked them. I don't expect him to ever eat those foods again, but it was nice to see just once.

On Monday morning, it was supposed to rain, so we planned on heading home after a pancake breakfast. Instead, the sun came out and we ended up spending the morning swimming and playing at the bay. I've never seen Michael so happy. After several hours, he finally headed for our beach chairs, wrapped himself in a blanket, and declared that he was tired.

Mission accomplished!

We headed home after lunch with some fond memories, and a zombified little boy. Next year, we'll definitely make an effort to make more trips to the Shore.

(And I hope by then Michael will sleep in a bedroom by himself. Sleeping in a queen sized bed with a four year old stuff between Andy and I really sucked!)


Mama Mia said...

Looks like you guys had a great time..You take great pictures!!

Mel said...

Sounds like a great vacation!

Maria said...

Looks like a blast! Yay for getting to watch the playing for a while.

Lindsay said...

What a treat for us to see so many pictures! Looks like a fabulous time.

Beth said...

Awesome pictures! I'm still trying to figure out how we can fit in beach time this summer. So glad you had an awesome and relaxing trip!

Karen said...

OK, now that you have made me nostalgic for the Jersey Shore, I am going to have to try to find some way to get down there at the end of the month.

So glad that you had a great time!!

LauraC said...

We've noticed the same about the beach and swimming, Super hungry.

Hey did you know I own a back up battery for my camera, as well as extra memory cards?

Love the pics, glad you had a good time!