For Christmas this year, my parents decided that in lieu of a physical gift, they would give my family and my brother’s family the gift of a weekend at the Ocean with them.
Time together. Memories made. A mid-winter break.
An ideal gift! I'll take it over a new pot or pan any day….course, I could have used a new camera lens for better photos…*wink
Two weekends ago, we loaded up our 4 children and met my parents at the Ocean for the weekend. My brother, his wife and their three children joined us as well. We stayed at a hotel on the boardwalk with a lovely indoor pool. The suite was a great set up so that everyone was comfortable and there was plenty of space.
We arrived around 3 PM, just in time for a “before dinner” swim. The pool wasn’t as hot as I would have liked, but that didn’t stop the kids! After a brief swim, we had dinner in the hotel restaurant.
This was the only “challenging” time period of the weekend. C, age 19 months, was EXHAUSTED from a very brief nap in the car, even though the drive is 3 hours. He was NOT happy about leaving the pool and even less happy to sit quietly in a high chair while waiting for everyone to order and get our food. This time period involved crying, screaming, a child laying on the floor, a lot of whining, and the eventually disappearance of the culprit child and his daddy….to go play in the elevator until food arrived.
After this meal, we learned to have Eric keep the boys entertained elsewhere while we all ordered food and got situated. Once food arrived, I would call Eric on my cell phone and he would join us at the meal. This worked MUCH better for the rest of the weekend.
That evening we played in the room, watched a movie, and got everyone settled in bed by 9 PM. After alternating sessions in the lovely fitness center, even Eric and I crashed out at 10:20, early for us.
We had a quick breakfast in the hotel and headed out to play putt-putt. The kids LOVED this. There was an indoor putt putt place and everyone enjoyed an 18 hole round.
C and Grandma just walked around watching everyone, playing with arcade games, and taking in the sights. He enjoyed the atmosphere and stayed in a wonderful mood.
D loved his first experience putt putting! He did a great job following the rules, waiting for other players, and having a BLAST trying to get his ball in the hole!
Recognizing the need for the kids to run around, we headed to the boardwalk for a little while.
We were so fortunate that, although it was cold, the sun was out strong in the afternoon! The kids ran around on the boardwalk and played in the very cold sand. I mean the sand was FREEZING! D put his shoes back on immediately!
But the girls didn’t care at all!
Then we grabbed some pizza at the ONLY place open on the boardwalk.
We headed back to the hotel for little C to take a nap while the other kids played in the pool. They also had time to play outside again before C woke up…just in time for dinner.
We decided to be adventurous and head OUT for dinner, meaning OUT of the hotel. About 7 minutes up the road was a Japanese Steakhouse, Sakura. My kids have never been to a Japanese Steakhouse, so I knew they were in for a rare treat! Following our new “peaceful” meal plan, Eric remained back at the hotel with the boys while the rest of us headed out. As soon as soup and salads were served, I called Eric. He and the boys arrived at the EXACT moment that the cook arrived at our table.
The first round of BIG FIRE…
T broke into gleeful giggles. K, realizing this was supposed to be cool, hesitantly tried to enjoy it over her cautious reservations. D backed up in his chair, completely panicked, shaking. C stared in wonder and when it was done exclaimed, “Whoa.”
The volcano that the cook created with onion rings was more thrilling to our kids because they knew what to expect and were ready to relax and enjoy it. Overall, our cook was amazing! He was a wonderful balance of entertainment and skillful. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was fun!
The boys did a great job. While D didn’t eat a bite, he sure did enjoy feeling C with chopsticks! C enjoyed eating up everything and playing in the soup.
Of course, we learned that T loves shrimp!
We also learned that T is allergic to shrimp.
An itchy outbreak of hives all over her body was followed by a large dose of Benedryl and bedtime. She was all better in the morning!
After breakfast, a quick swim and check out, we headed to laser tag. This turned out to be the FAVORITE activity for everyone. I had an absolute blast watching my little D’s eyes light up at the chance to go in a dark room and shoot people with a gun!
He exclaimed, “I want a gun!”
Then, when he saw the vest he was going to have to wear, he began to cry a bit. As soon as he realized he had to wear it if he wanted a gun, he let us put it right on him.
He had a BALL!!! During our second round of free play (every man for himself), he had five hits! The girls had a ball as well. I have a feeling our family is in for more rounds of laser tag in our future!
After a quick bite at McD’s, we headed home, exhausted from a wonderful weekend.
Thanks Mom and Dad for a wonderful gift!