Once safely in Monmouth County, the S.O.P. goes back into effect – on day one, we planned nothing. The point of the NJ trip is relaxation, and I have learned the over-planning lesson! I had the kids riding bikes and scooters at the park down the street.
Of course, Kathryn and Duncan both wanted to use Kathryn’s roller skates at the same time and fought about it. I decided to let them alternate between skates and scooter. When Duncan insisted he could do the skates by himself and promptly fell, he decided it was time to be his turn on the scooter again (go figure) and that was that.
Day two (Wednesday) we started getting to our agenda. In Monmouth County, they have a particular playground with a free water play area they call a “sprayground” that Seamus and Duncan insist on visiting as often as possible. We spent several hours there, with the kids alternating between shrieking on their way through the wet area and going down the unique roller slide in the dry area over, and over, and over, and over.
Thursday we planned to hit the beach, but thunderstorms (with hail!) changed those plans quickly. Instead of the beach, we spent the day visiting with various local aunts, uncles and cousins at their homes and places of work. The boys particularly liked visiting Uncle Pat at a car dealership. Duncan kept running away and climbing into cars, and Seamus was fascinated by all the car-related toys in the parts department. Kathryn was a little
clingy there, but they all enjoyed the hot chocolate area!
Friday, we had big plans for the afternoon. After an early nap, we headed to my father’s house at about 2:00. My godmother, Aunt Marie, met us there and we all headed out to a local museum.
I had never been to the Monmouth Museum before, and was impressed with their kid-friendliness. They have two separate rooms for different age groups of children, and they have climbing stuff and slides and arts and crafts and a weather maze and a replica Apollo spacecraft – in short, a ton of cool stuff. The kids would have stayed the night if I’d let them. We had burgers out for dinner afterward.
Saturday was party day. Seamus and I pitched in helping to get ready, and Seamus was actually instrumental in a few key areas. I was very proud of the work he put in and how helpful he actually was, not like the “help” you get from younger children. We honestly wouldn’t have been ready in time without his contributions.
The party was scheduled to begin at 2:30, but some of the family arrived as early as 12:30 to help with setup. We were rolling along by 2:00, and had good vibes throughout the event.
The children adapted very well to the large group of people, most of whom they didn’t recognize. Seamus and Duncan had been exposed before, and Seamus even has favorite cousins to hang out with at this point, but Kathryn had never been around this much of the family at once. She was composed and gleeful through the whole event, using her “cute factor” to charm all her new friends and get spoiled. When bed time came for the little ones, they fell out with alacrity.
Duncan had his only “accident” of the trip that day – the bathroom was occupied and he didn’t know what to do. He initially took to potty training very well, but has regressed a bit lately – only one accident in the whole week was fantastic work for him.
Kathryn was not so good in that area. Starting Friday, she started taking her own diaper off basically whenever she felt like it. This led to memorable moments like Duncan hollering down the stairs at me “Kathryn’s pooping on the bed!” Not exactly our finest moment as guests – I thought they were still napping. She also wiped out a good portion of her clean clothes with pee during that maneuver, including her Sunday outfit.
Sunday we planned to go to my father’s house for a Father’s Day cookout. In attendance were of course my father and stepmother, also both of my stepsisters, and my step-brother-in-law (is that a thing?) Patrick. Patrick and Jessica’s daughter Jacquelyn recently turned a year old. Patrick’s parents were also there.
After we did all the Father’s Day stuff, we had a birthday cake and singing and gifts for Seamus (his birthday being June 19, Sunday being June 16). The kids spent most of their time at my dad’s chasing each other around the back yard and trying to climb trees, but they settled right down when it was time for cake!
Monday was our last day in Jersey. I was thinking of trying to squeeze in a beach trip and a visit to a fantastic arcade, but decided I was too tired to chase the kids around on the beach for three hours. We lazed around in the morning until naptime, and afterward hit Yestercades. Seamus’ grudge from not making it there last summer influenced that decision.
We had some pizza after the arcade, and left around 7:30. Luckily, the trip home was far easier than the trip out, and we made normal time back, arriving close to 1:00 a.m.
Tuesday morning, I brought the children back to their mother, and another summer vacation was in the books.
Seamus was upset that we didn’t make our usual trip to the Point Pleasant boardwalk, but hey, there’s always next year!