Thursday, July 10, 2014


In Ian's fortieth week of life, we went to the beach!! Pretty neat way to celebrate 40 weeks (exactly) in and 40 weeks out! Not that this was the reason we were there, but he was certainly the center of attention!!

After being in our new home for barely a week, we hit the road for Brigantine Beach. After going back and forth, hashing out details until midnight every night, we finally figured out how to get Jim to the beach for some time with us. The Friday before, we packed two adults, one baby, Leif, and all of our beach gear into our Ford Focus. Yep, our two-doored car! You read that right... two doors. Our Passat is sadly without AC for the time-being.

Anyhow, we hit the road for a dinner stop with my parents and brother at Roma's (YUM and thank you, Mom & Dad!!) and then made it to my dear friends Matt & Kristin's home around 2 AM. Yeesh. The next morning we enjoyed breakfast with them, saw Erin & Russ' new home for the first time, and then booked it to the beach.

Our beach home was beautiful. You'll just have to trust me on that... I didn't take any pictures of it! Ian's favorite part of the home was the stairs. Much of his awake time while he was in the home was spent climbing up those stairs. Fortunately, there were many willing adults on hand to spot him each time he made an ascent. Thank you, Kim, Erin, Russ, & Christine, for your help and excellent spotting!!

As you can see in this photo, Ian loved checking behind him to see his fan club! The living room was right next to the stairs, so there was normally someone cheering for him from behind each time he'd go up the stairs. We all enjoyed listening to him babble to himself the entire time he was climbing. He'd give himself quite dynamic pep talks as he ascended the stairs. A joy for all who were listening.

In the beginning of the week Ian was carefully bringing one knee up to the stop of a step before hoisting the rest of his body up with him. By the end of the week, he would occasionally bring his whole foot up instead of his knee. Quick learner, that boy!

Oh, the fun Ian had playing with his family! Aunt Erin read him book after book and played peek-a-boo. I love this little sequence.

Kim read and played peek-a-boo around the furniture. Ian loved going under the coffee table and peering at her on the opposite side! How fun to explore a whole new house with many new nooks and crannies!! Perhaps his favorite thing was to play with the "ba!" Balls are his new favorite toys these days. And he even says "ba" now, when playing with them. Bouncing the ball, racing after it, throwing it for Leif... there are so many ways to play with a ball. He's finding every one of them that he can!

Ian wanted to incorporate the ball and other toys into his stair-climbing activities, but we tried to encourage focusing on climbing the stairs instead. The toy was always waiting for when he was done!

Aunt Christine came mid-week and was a great source of interest to Ian. In the picture below, she had just come in the door for the first time. He could not stop staring at her just like this. And he didn't really stop watching her for the rest of the week! Sometimes we'd be eating dinner and Ian would just stare at her in fascination.

This picture will forever be one of my favorites for the story that goes behind it. Jim brought us to the beach, stayed one night, and then had to head home. (Side note: we learned the hard way that there is actually an option to avoid ferries on the GPS... setting us back $40. Oh well! Good story!) He was only home for a few days of residency orientation before he was able to come back and enjoy the last 2.5 days of the beach with us.

He had a full day on Wednesday and had to drive late in to the night to get to us in New Jersey. Instead of waking us up, he slept on the sofa downstairs. In the morning, Ian was playing in the living room for a while and had a diaper change. I don't remember if we were snapping him up or if we had just let it go, but all of a sudden he noticed that Papa was on the bed in the den next door. He crawled as fast as he could, ecstatically grunting and squealing, to the futon couch and pulled himself up. Here is his first look at his papa in three days. Complete adoration.
Christine pulled out all of her essential oils one night!! It was really fun to learn from her and see her in action. We made some RC blends, one for adults and a milder one for babies. And then we also made some lotions. Thank you for letting us try it out!! We're excited for Christine as she plans to attend pharmaceutical school starting in August.

Much of our days were spent on the beach! It's not often that I get to spend time at the beach, so when I do... I love having my feet in the sand, the sea breeze in my face, and the sound of the waves beating the shore is the perfect white noise. Ian takes great naps in the BOB stroller, so I tried to time our outings so that he'd be content to go for a while!

One day it was just the two of us for a walk on the beach in the morning. Ian was asleep and I was content to just enjoy watching the waves while sitting next to the stroller. Soon a crowd was forming and I looked up to find a sea turtle riding on top of the waves. I watched and watched, excited and fascinated. A kayaker went out and paddled around him. Everyone was fascinated. Eventually a woman who had been observing and talking to the kayaker came down past me and told me that they weren't sure if it was alive or dead. How sad. Until then I hadn't even considered that it might be deceased. Soon Ian was up and we went back to the house for lunch. I never did hear what became of the dear turtle.

The newlyweds! The day after our beach week they had their first anniversary! Happy Anniversary, you two!

Below you'll find Ian in his chariot. Thank goodness for this wonderful stroller! He actually doesn't mind sitting in it too much, takes great naps, AND it has wonderful sun shade!!! Plus, it was a great way for me to transport our gear out to the beach. Water cooler and diaper stuff in the bottom, canopy and mat on the top, plus towels, etc.

Brigantine Beach was a great spot. The weather was fairly mild, the beach wasn't too crowded, and the sand was beautiful. Down one side of the beach you could see the huge hotels of Atlantic city, but Brigantine was mostly residential and quiet.

Here's our set-up. You could find us like this every day. Not too shabby.
The water was chilly, but refreshing, and the waves weren't too strong.
Ian enjoyed the sand and the gentle waves. A couple waves surprised us and came up a bit too strong for his liking, making him a bit timid. The sand didn't phase him at all. He was content to play in it non-stop. Most of the time he stayed under the canopy, especially since he got sunblock in his eyes a couple of times from rubbing his tired eyes shortly after the sunblock application. The last day we didn't even put sunblock on his face at all, keeping him under the canopy. That red-headed lad needs to be protected from the sun!

Between swims and walks, we enjoyed the shade of the canopies while we chatted, read, and napped.

And we tried to keep Ian's water buckets filled... our boy loves playing with water!
And he really loves stealing glasses....

And playing games!
What's not to love about this boy?
One night we all headed to the beach for a family photo opp!
Erin & Russ
John & Kim
The whole family!

There was one section of the beach on which dogs were allowed. Jim, John, and Christine all took Leif down there multiple times. John & Christine took care of Leif during the time while Jim was gone--Thank you, John & Christine!!! We're very grateful... and Leif certainly enjoyed it!!

On our last night there, Christine, Ian, and I went down and met Jim, John and Leif on this section. It was a beautiful night and a great way to say goodbye to the beach.

While there, we met a Great Dane puppy...
They had so much fun.

The beach. What a wonderful way to enjoy time with family. This was the first time we've done this with Jim's family and everyone wants to go back! We hope to see you again next year, Brigantine!

Happy 40 weeks, Surfer Dude!!!
How fun to enjoy the beach, waves, and sand with you!

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