Let's set the stage, shall we? Say what you will about New Jersey, but Cape May is fantastic. Not a high-rise condo in sight and the whole town is full of Victorian houses bordered by a clean, well-kept promenade that runs along the beach. Pretty much everything you might need is within walking distance. I went an entire week without having to load anyone into their car seats. It was a true vacation.
Naturally, when our family arrived in this peaceful little resort town, we had to shake things up a bit. The first morning of our stay, I was innocently frying some bacon. It got very, very hot and smokey, which then set off the fire alarm in our condo. This is not like when you are in your own house and you can jab the fire alarm and turn it off. This is a public-ish building and the fire alarm is connected to a main alarm, which will awaken everyone else in the building, which then summons the fire department. You see where this is going?
Two fire trucks and an ambulance later, we are standing on the front lawn of our converted Victorian, apologizing to all the other tenants for causing them to evacuate the building at 6:30 on a Sunday morning. As my children cavorted around my feet like puppies on the front lawn, they cheered, 'Yay!!! Fire trucks!!!! They are saving us!!!! We are rescued!! Yay!!!!" I tried to offer the firemen some slightly blackened bacon but they were not amused. I guess because most of Cape May is constructed from very old hardwood (our casa for the week was built in 1870), they take fire very seriously here. The whole place could go up in smoke.
This little incident resulted in my broiling the bacon in the oven each morning (we had brought 7 pounds with us for the week, and there was no way it was going to go to waste.) and my sister dutifully setting up a little fan next to the oven to blow smoke away from the smoke detector. Any beeping noise emanating from the kitchen, whether it be from the microwave or the oven, was enough to send me racing to the smoke detector and waving a towel, begging, "No, no, please...not again..." I'm still trying to recover.
Nonetheless, the beach is a glorious place to bring small children if you do it right. Necessary supplies include some sand toys and a kiddie pool. See, you park the kiddie pool right next to your blanket and make a husband or brother-in-law fill it with sea water.
Then, the children can do this
While you do this
There may be some moments of this
|you can forage for lunch while digging a(nother) hole in the sand for your toddler|
|and teach your children about wildlife|
But still, you are lounging on a sandy beach, smelling the fresh salt air, the ocean breeze riffling through your hair with the sound of waves crashing and your children laughing, so snuggling seems just right.
I seriously read three books while we were at the beach. It helped that Brad was willing to play Little Brown Bird with Gianna overandoverandover again, and that Dominic was content to shovel sand for hours on end. But I have saved the best for last. Being giantly pregnant at the beach and sporting a maternity swimsuit (Buzz's girlfriend WOOF) may seem unfavorable, but seriously....at the beach you can do this:
We made it through the week without setting anything else on fire, none of the children got sunburned, and Brad and I had a nice date night while my sister and brother-in-law graciously watched our progeny.
|our little slice of real estate...the right half of the verrrrry top floor|