Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Final Days

On Tuesday evening, when we heard the wet forecast for Wednesday, Miss Dottie was put on red alert. (Miss Dottie is my sil's mom who vacations with us. She is also an elementary school teacher who comes with LOTS of crafty ideas. So over the years, she has been put in charge of any unplanned lengthy blocks of time. What a BLESSING! I highly recommend that everyone travel with a Craft Director! This could possibly be even better than a nanny...)

So. Back to Wednesday. It rained all morning and then miraculously cleared in the afternoon. So after a morning of craftiness, we were all able to salvage a beautiful few hours on the beach!

When rain struck again on Thursday and the forecast was for precipitation all day, we knew that even Miss Dottie's crafts wouldn't suffice. My other sil suggested a trip to the Atlantic City Aquarium, which ended up being just the diversion we needed! By departure time, Ellie was mid-meltdown. After 13 days away from home and normalcy, she was just plain done! Jim offered to stay back with her so I could go with Benjamin and the Czyzyks (my sil's family) to the aquarium. I think his rationale was something like, "You always enjoy those things more than I do..." In other words, "PLEASE! Don't make me go into a crowded, noisy, educational place with a child that I have to worry about losing!!!!!" :-) Yep. He actually chose staying home with Irrational Girl instead of going to see fish.

So off we went. Ben and Corey really enjoyed it! It was in fact crowded, noisy, and educational. But that didn't stop them. Since Ben is a Master Question-Asker, places such as this are right up his alley. He could've easily stood at each individual tank for 15-20 minutes if I had let him!

Louden was a bit taken aback by the larger fish and perhaps the noisy crowd. Amy (sil) pointed out that Ellie would never have lasted in that environment considering she wasn't "on her game" already. Point well-taken. 'Twas a Good Thing we left her with Daddy!

Don't you just love this smile?!? This is Ben's "I'm so proud of myself" smile. He had just touched a horseshoe crab and I missed it with my camera!!! Get a load of Corey's expression behind him! It's as if she's thinking, "I'm not puttin' my hand in there!"

Since I missed the first one, of course I had to ask him to do it again... Pretty cool!

All in all, the aquarium was a hit and definitely worth the trip.

We returned to the beach house and somehow managed to fill the rest of the rainy day. That evening, just after we put the kids to bed, we got The Phone Call. This put in motion our decision to leave in the morning and head home a day early to deal with the wet basement.

So Friday morning, Jim took the kids to the beach while I speed-packed. When I finished, I walked down to the beach to gather everyone up. I found Corey and Ellie practicing their cartwheels together. Too cute...

And I just love this one of Corey. Doesn't she have wonderful "beach hair?" :-)

We had to drag Ben off the beach sobbing, literally. Ellie was of course thrilled by the prospect of going HOME! We showered the kids together, then I fed them lunch while Jim showered and packed the remaining items. Here's another bird's eye view...Jim partaking in his absolute favorite vacation activity one last time. :-)

As we descended from the third floor kitchen, I just had to take a picture of everyone in the house elevator. Riding in it was easily one of the highlights of the week for the kids! The novelty never wore off. Lucky us.

Throughout the week, Jim really enjoyed sitting out on the third floor balcony to read, have his coffee, check e-mail, etc. He found it very calming. He said to me a few times, "You have to get a picture of this before we leave." I would always chuckle, because I knew that the view/feel would never translate in a picture. So here, dear. Here's your lovely view from our deck. Power lines, signs, trashcans, a transformer, oh and beyond is the lovely beach. :-)

Homeward Bound!! Ellie was asleep before were off the island.

And Ben succumbed to sleep soon after. Of course neither of them slept through the stop-n-go torture better known as the Schuylkill (not-so) "Expressway" in Phillie...

Goodbye, Brigantine! See you in 2010.

And we all lived happily ever after.

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