We try to make it out to Jersey once or twice a year to see Steve's grandparents. It worked out for us all to get together a few weekends ago. Steve's parents flew in from Colorado, his brother from California, his sister from Ohio and his brother-in-law flew in from Europe (he had been away on business for several weeks).
We bought the cheapest plane tickets we could find. We flew a small airline (Spirit) that your ticket only buys you a seat on the plane. If you want to take luggage, pick your seats, or drink/food for you flight, you have to pay for each addition. They allow you 1 free carryon item like a backpack (12"x14"x16"). Since Bean is under 2, she was a lap baby. I took on the challenge of packing an entire weekend's worth of items into 2 small bags. Challenge accepted!
(I got all over our clothes - including swim gear and flip flops - and toiletries into into my carryon.)
(I made a smaller entertainment bag for Bean and was able to put that bag into my carryon as well.)
(My carryon with all our items. Steve had his computer, new camera, and our rain jackets in his backpack. Our bags were heavy, but they were small!)
We left on Wednesday night after I was done babysitting. We loaded up the car and headed to Detroit. We stopped for dinner at our favorite restuarant in Toledo -- Maumee Bay Brew Pub. We didn't get there until almost 7 and had to wait for a table. Bean did great and the food was well worth the wait. We got back on the road just after 8:30 and still had about an hour to get to our hotel. Once we got there (to the right one, went to the wrong one first, haha), Bean and I got ready for bed and we hit the hay! She slept in between Steve & I in a king bed. We all pretty much slept great (I kept hearing people in the hall and even banging on our door) and woke up by 6am. We got ready, got to the airport, and ready for our flight at 8:30!
(While waiting to board the plane, Steve took Bean around the airport to let her run off some energy. They had a little play room for kids. Bean loved playing with the airplane!)
(Bean slept on the plane! It was a perfect flight! The guy that was supposed to be in our row got moved to a different seat, so we had the row to ourselves. We had space to stretch out and Bean was able to sleep the whole time.)
We got to Nanny/Poppy's before everyone else. We were at there house by 11 am. Since Bean got a small nap in the morning, we decided to eat some lunch then take her to a nearby zoo. The Cape May Zoo is free (but they suggest a donation) so we figured even if we were there for 20 min, it would be worth it. The zoo was neat, but it was also packed with people! I was surprised how busy it was for a Thursday morning.
(Some of the animals were hard for Bean to see. There were boardwalks that you walked over and near some of the animals, and she couldn't see them from her stroller. Our favorite animals were the bears and giraffes!)
Even though she couldn't see all the animals, she still enjoyed the trip and we headed back in time for her to fall asleep in the car. We stopped at a store on the way back so that she could sleep and I could pick up the necessities that didn't make the cut in our luggage - diapers, sunscreen, etc.
Steve's dad, brother, sister and brother-in-law all arrived in the afternoon and evening. We enjoyed catching up with everyone and of course watching Bean be crazy. Bean slept in a pack'n'play in our bedroom. Well, that was the plan. She would go to sleep in it fine, but would wake up in the middle of the night. I'd just throw her up in bed with us and she'd fall right to sleep. I had a little fear that her sleeping with us at the hotel and then again in Jersey would take us back to where we were a few months ago when she'd only sleep in bed with me. But that fear was silly. She went right back to her normal sleeping when we got home.
On Friday morning, we made up lunches and headed to the beach. Just as we got in the car, it started to sprinkle. The forecast all week called for torrential rain on Friday, but by Thursday it just said a 15% chance. We took the risk and lost. It was cold and rainy when we got to the beach. We still went ahead and set up thinking it could clear up. Bean was miserable and hateful. She just sat on my lap and wouldn't do anything. I can't blame her. I'm not a fan of rain and the wind made it cold. She usually loves playing in the rain, but I think the wind is what upset her.
(Ashley did her best to try and get Bean to chill out. It didn't work. After a few minutes, she would just cry for me.)
(We were the only crazies at the beach! Steve's mom arrived Friday morning. She came straight from the airport to meet up with us. We ate our lunch on the beach and then we called it quits. Since the weather wasn't clearing up, I wanted to get Bean back to the house so she could take a good nap. Just Steve, Bean and I left, everyone else stuck it out. They were rewarded with the sun and warmth later in the day.)
(Steve's cousins who live nearby came and stayed the night while we were there. Bean loved having the extra attention and playmates!)
(Playing on the golf course with Benjamin in the evening! Mommom and Poppy chaperoned and chased after the kids. Mommom even helped Bean find a golf ball!)
(It took entirely too long to try to coordinate this picture. This was the best I came up with after bribing Bean with chocolate.)
(On Saturday, we headed back to the beach! Poppop, Steve, Bean and I got there first. Bean was less than thrilled to be back at the beach. However, she at least stood on the sand this time. She stood in this spot for a good 15 min and wouldn't move.)
(She slowly transitioned from only standing to playing in the sand. She still wouldn't move her feet though! Once everyone else arrived, she got lost in the spirit of the beach and finally moved from her spot. I didn't catch a picture, but she spent a good while playing in the sand with Ashley & Ian! Bean also wouldn't take her shoes off. Mommom tried multiple times without success to get them off.)
(What a better beach selfie!)
(We ate lunch at the beach and then Bean crashed. She slept about an hour with me holding her. She probably would have slept longer, but the tide was coming in and a big wave brought the water close to my chair and I startled her with my reaction.)
Steve and I went for a walk and left Bean to play in the sand. When I got back, she realized I had been gone and got a little clingy to me. She wanted to go down and play in the water, but wanted ME to go with her. So I took her down until the water was just below her knee. When a wave would come, I'd pull her up and she'd "jump" the waves. She LOVED the water and didn't care that it made her cold. She would be shivering waiting for the waves, but she didn't care. She cried when I made her go back and warm up.
We stayed at the beach through the afternoon, and then headed back to the house to clean up and eat dinner. Once that got accomplished, we loaded up the cars again and headed to the boardwalk for the evening. It was cooler than we had prepared for, so I made good use of my rain jacket!
(Family photo on the boardwalk!)
(There was a lot going on and Bean loved to look at it all. She especially liked watching the pirate and parrot moving around. Everyone took turns pushing Bean in her stroller. Our boardwalk snack of choice this year was ice cream. We usually get funnel cake, but the birds were being crazy! And of course, no boardwalk stop is complete without a taffy purchase from Shriver's!)
(Even though it was past bedtime when we got back to the house, Bean was wound up. We let her stay up and torture uncle Ian for a little while. Once she tired out, Mommom read her stories for the night. She picked her books for the trip - a Sesame Street book, a Dora book, and a book about eating 5 fruits & veggies each day, haha.)
The weather on Sunday was beautiful and would have been the perfect beach day; however, since we were flying out later in the day, we didn't want to go to the beach in the same day. So everyone stayed around the house and got to enjoy some last minute Bean fun. Ashley brought down this little car from the toy room upstairs and Bean's eyes lit up. She couldn't wait for Ashley to get ready to take her out for a spin.
(Eagerly waiting Ashley to take her for a walk in the car!)
(Only issue was that there wasn't any place to put your feet. I think the idea was more for the kid to do all the moving, and the pole was to steer. However, Bean wanted to be pushed. I tried to make her sit with her feet up on the top, but she kept pulling them down -- of sliding off the seat, oops!)
(The walk in the car became quite the production. I just took a couple pictures, but didn't go with the posse. I gues they only made it about half the block before the turned back around. The whole issue with where to put her feet wasn't worth the walk!)
When they came back from their walk, Steve decided he wanted to go on a donut run. I never turn down a donut so I took orders -even though no one else wanted a donut. They were all saving room for Manco & Manco's pizza. So back to the donuts. Steve found a local bakery via Trip Advisor that was nearby. So Steve, Ian and I headed off for donuts!
(Chester's Pastry Pantry Bakery -- because a donut shop needs more than one name, haha.)
(Since Ashley stayed back to watch Bean, I told her I'd capture the ambiance of the shop. They sold all sorts of goodies - gingerbread cookies, sugar cookies, ice cream cakes, donuts, etc.)
(Ian wanted a picture with Chester. Okay, maybe that isn't the official Chester, but who was I to crush Ian's dream?!)
(A girl after my own heart! Those donuts were delicious!)
(The rest of the morning was spent in the backyard playing with the car! Bean could crawl in & out and push the car around on her own.)
(She would also get Ian to push/pull her around the yard. She would just let her feet rub in the grass.)
Scott & Ashley were the first to depart. They had to head out right after lunch. Our flight was later, so we were able to put Bean down for a nap. We were all packed up and ready to go when she got up. We said our goodbyes to everyone and headed to the airport with Nanny & Poppy. We flew in and out of Atlantic City, which is like 20 minutes from their house. Everyone else used the Philly airport, which was a couple hours away.
(On the way back, we had to share our row with a lady. She had the window and didn't seem bothered by Bean. Bean was a little crazy on this flight. Since it was in the evening, she wasn't tired. We entertained her with reading, coloring, and playing some Mickey and Dora apps on my phone. Thankfully, the flight was short - 1.5 hours. Too much longer and I would've gone crazy!)
We got to Detroit around 7 in the evening. We stopped at a Taco Bell (which ironically was the same one that we stopped at when we picked Steve up from Detroit after his China trip) and ate dinner. Bean was tired and cranky and just wanted to continue watching Dora in the car. So we obliged her crazy and let her zone out to Dora in the back. We didn't get home until almost 10! Bean went right to sleep and was obviously glad to be home (and reunited with big "bay"! We took her "little bay" with us leaving the bigger blanket she usually sleeps with at home). Another great weekend with family in the books!