Sunday, July 6, 2008

Avalon 2008

Sorry for the lack of blogging lately, but we just returned from our annual trip to the Jersey shore. Why there you ask? Because my cousin has a beautiful home right on the beach, and the town of Avalon is so charming! We have used her home as an anchor and an excuse to gather my mother's side of the family annually for the past 6 or 7 years. Since our families continue to grow, our family rents one home and my cousin, Lisa, and her family and my aunt and uncle stay with Debbie and John. This year we had a five bedroom home practically across the street, so it was very convenient!

Since the beach thing was new to Bennett (she obviously didn't recall last year's trip when she was only 8 weeks old), we weren't sure how she would do with the sand. Surprisingly she didn't try to eat it too often, and loved playing in it with her cousins. Each day we would coat her with 30 SPF and just let her go. She was very timid around the freezing cold water (which was fine with us), but she loved people watching. The seagulls also provided endless amusement for her, as they swooped down to devour any food that the kids didn't finish.

Brian and Shannon purchased a baby pool for our deck too, just to offer them a break from the beach. Sometimes in the morning they would splash around in that before we made our way to the beach. We had the best weather (not a single day of rain), and lower humidity the whole week. So we all got terrific tans and came home well rested. It was the first time Bennett and Christian have spent so much time with one another, so it was fun to watch them interact. Now that Bennett is walking, they are closer to being on equal playing fields. Needless to say, this did cause some problems as neither one is accustomed to sharing and both thought every toy was just theirs. However, I think the fact that Christian is talking, helped make Bennett more vocal.

They also had a great time playing with Lisa's children (Jenna, Kurt and Grace). Jenna was a great little babysitter and loved entertaining them. Bennett just loved the interaction and attention. It was great to have so many extra hands. Debbie (my cousin) has three boys, although they are really men (15, 18 and 20 years old!), so she loves the little ones. It is amazing to watch her in action too. They all gather around her like she is Mary Poppins. Bennett really took to her and it was sweet to see her reach for her when we left to give her one of her signature open mouth kisses and hugs.

Overall a good time was had by all since we all love to eat and drink. Debbie had the whole week's menu organized by which family brought the signature drink of the night, the appetizer, the main dish and the dessert. That way one person wasn't responsible for the whole thing any one night. It worked out perfectly since we have such a large group of people (20), and eating out really is not conducive. We ate like champions every night, but tried to burn some calories by taking our morning walks on the beach. Steve and I rented a jogger with huge wheels that we could use on the sand, and it worked great!

Bennett with her daddy

The Bantas & Mizeranys

Nene & Poppy with grandchildren

Hovans, Blairs and Forreys

Surprisingly, the kids did pretty well on the airplane. Though the wait in the airports didn't go as smoothly. The traffic can be bad leaving the beach on Saturday mornings since renters are forced to leave by 10 am (they rent from Saturday to Saturday). Of course the traffic wasn't bad, so we had the challenge of trying to entertain the little ones in Philly for 2 hours. Brian got us into Delta's crown room, but that didn't go over very well. After being strapped in carseats for an hour and half, they were both ready to run around and exert some energy. However the other guests of the crown room didn't appreciate the chaos that we brought, so after many dirty looks and "shh's" from the staff in there....we left. Though the accommodations weren't as nice with the rest of the commoners, it served us better. After all of the running around, both kids slept during the flights (thank goodness!!).

Now we are home and just trying to get settled back into our routine and prepared to return to work. UGH! If only we could take a week off every month! Thank you Mom and Dad for a great vacation!

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