Tuesday, June 27, 2017

New Jersey 2017

Our journey began on a Sunday afternoon after church.  Things were going pretty smoothly until eastern Ohio when traffic came to a standstill. After about a half hour of not moving, I started to feel concerned that there was a major accident up ahead. Another traveler walked up to the front of the standstill - about a mile and a half up the road. On his walk back to his vehicle, he told us that it was construction. I'm not sure what happened up there, but we ended up stuck in that one spot for over and hour and a half! There must have been a hard deadline, because this was a Sunday and Memorial Day weekend.

We decided to use that time in traffic to move around and stretch a bit.
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The construction set us back quite a bit, so we didn't end up stopping for the night until after 11pm.
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We arrived at Mimi's house in the afternoon the following day. That's always the best feeling - arriving there and knowing that we have a whole week ahead of us.

Mimi had a craft prepared for the kids. They decorated jars with shells and then wrote different memories from the week on slips of paper that they put inside the jars.
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Each of the kids now have their memory jars on shelves in their rooms.
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The beginning of the week was a little overcast and chilly. That didn't stop these people from wanting to play in the water.
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While the weather was cooler, we spent some time at an indoor pool.
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The weather started to warm up a little, so we made our way back to the beach.
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The ocean and the sky kind of blended together that day.
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We went out to dinner one night and Graydon chose a cheeseburger on the children's menu. This thing was huge and looked like an adult-size burger. None of us thought that he would eat all of it, but when Mimi offered him $10 if he ate it all. . . well. . . challenge accepted!
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Nothing motivates this kid more than making money!
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Bananas are a hot item in our house right now, but we've never seen these cuties.
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Throughout the week, Curtis formed some plans for when he grows up. He is going to open a store where he sells tikis. He'll work there in the mornings. In the afternoons, he'll grab his guitar and donation jar and sit on the streets playing. Later, he will check his Batmas GPS to see if he needs to save the city. In the evening, he will work at his seafood restaurant. He's going to be a busy guy!

Mimi and the Conyerses each gave the kids some money to go shopping and Curtis ended up finding this ukulele. It seemed like a pretty perfect find for this kid. And look, he is already making money!
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Beautiful beach day!
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In her happy place.
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We bought the skim board in Graydon's hands just earlier that day. He got to play with it for about 10 minutes before the ocean waves took it away.
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I was trying to get a nice photo of the three kids in front of the water.
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What I got was a bunch of Daddy photo bombs! I don't think he realized he was in my shot!
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This kid spent a lot of time buried in the sand.
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Wherever there was an open patch of land, this girl was doing gymnastics.
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I love that he is flexing his muscles at the ocean. :)
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She's definitely a fishy. This girl loves the water.
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Graydon was inspired by Curtis; so he made a drum and, of course, put out his own money cup.
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Sunset over the bay. Mimi has this view from her porch every night!
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The next morning, Andy and Bella went to watch the sunrise over the ocean.
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A picture of our girl taking a picture of the sunrise. She's developing an interest in photography.
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Footprints in the sand.
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Mini golfing. Mimi was the winner - two years in a row!
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Andy's favorite restaurant on the island.
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Brothers. They nicknamed themselves the "Lettuce Musketeers" because they love to eat lettuce.
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Another afternoon at the beach.
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Wiffle ball!
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Hanging out with the Conyerses for a bit.
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Feeding the birds.
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Buying some sweets at "Oh Fudge."
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I think I like him with short hair better.
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Relaxing on our last night with Mimi.
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This was the morning that we left. Packing up and saying goodbye is always sad.
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When we left Mimi, we drove to Cinnaminson and visited with some old friends. First stop: the Krott family.
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Silly kids.
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These girls keep in touch through old-fashioned letter writing.
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It's always so nice to reconnect with friends.
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Then we got to spend a little bit of time with the Figiels and Popperts!
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And then we got to see the Pernos!
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These kids have been friends for years. It was fun to see them all together again.
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And finally, we made one last stop to our old house. It is empty right now, so we were even able to go inside. The tire swing that Andy put up on my birthday several years ago is still there.
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The kids are a bit heavier now, so it sagged more when two got on at the same time!
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We moved away just after Curtis turned four. During a dinner conversation one day, we discovered that Curtis didn't remember anything about our house. . . with the exception of these steps. It's funny the things that stick with us.
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Curtis's old room. It used to be green. They painted the house a neutral color and it really looks nice.
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Bella's old purple room.
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And her little closet!
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We even ventured up to the attic.
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Graydon in the room he shared with Curtis.
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And the kitchen has been updated! It looks great! Bella has been getting in to HGTV and fixer upper type shows, so she especially appreciated the new look.
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We didn't get on the road until 8pm that night, so we didn't get too far before having to stop for the night. But we had such a wonderful week and feel so blessed that we get to see Mimi and other friends each summer and enjoy a relaxing week at the ocean.

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