Our annual trip to Ocean City was, by far, the best yet! Kaden was at the perfect age to enjoy all "The Shore" has to offer. From the beach to the boardwalk, Kaden took to it all like an old pro and had the time of his life!
Pop picked up a special delivery at the Philadelphia Airport
A colossal house was being built next to the home we rented. Kaden got a front row seat most every morning to watch the contractors at work. He even offered to help once or twice!
This year, Kaden got adventurous and rode several more of the rides at Wonderland. He even ventured out of "Kiddie Land" and rode some of the bigger rides. The biggest of these was the Log Ride, which we tried at Aunt Liz's suggestion. As soon as Teddy, Aunt Liz, Kaden, and I stepped on the ride, Liz and I realized that we'd probably made a poor parenting decision. With no belts and a giant drop, the anxiety built as we chugged up the mountain. On the way down, I'm not sure who was most terrified, the moms or the kids. I have to say that both the boys were super brave! When we stepped off Kaden looked at me and said, "Mommy, you made a mistake. That ride is for big kids." Maybe we'll try again next year?
Of course, a ride on a construction truck is a must
Kaden got a bang (literally) out of riding the bumper cars
Not yet three and already he has a cute girl in his ride
Enjoying a ride with daddy and a spin on the "humongous" ferris wheel
The "GIANT" slide
Gammi and Kaden on the caterpillar roller coaster
During the Farmer's Market, the Ocean City Fire Department opens its doors to the public. We joined a very informative tour by Fireman Vito which concluded with photos of the big red engines.
Lucy the Elephant:
One not so sunny day, we took a morning trip to Margate to visit Lucy the Elephant. Built in 1881, Lucy is a National Historic Landmark and is now open for tours. Yes, it is strange, an enormous elephant that one can walk through. She has a long history about her, but we went for the tradition of it. It was something I did as a kid and wanted Kaden to experience too.
During the tour they show a short video about how Lucy was built, how she fell into disrepair, and how she was restored. Kaden was very upset about her falling into disrepair. I told him that sort of thing happens when things get old and aren't well taken care of. He spent the rest of the day asking if his toys would get old, if we would get old, if he would get old... My little guy has a sensitive soul.
Living in California, Kaden is used to the beach. Right away, he took to playing in the sand. However, since the Pacific Ocean is always ice cold and the waves at our beach are made for professional surfers, it took him a while to warm up to the water. Once he did, he loved it - he surfed, he splashed, he jumped, but mostly he carried. Back and forth and back and forth, we carried buckets of water to his spot on the sand so that he could make "drip castles." Several times during our visit Kaden pointed out differences between the "California beach" and the "Ocean City beach." He also noted that, in his book, the Ocean City beach was the clear winner.
One of our favorite aspects of visiting Ocean City is that we are almost guaranteed a visit with Aunt Mimi and Lila. Unfortunately, most years, this is the only visit we have with them. So as not to disappoint Kaden (or his Mommy), Miriam once again made the effort to drive in from Brooklyn. And we are so happy that she did. Kaden and Lila were a perfect match - she told him what to do and, for the most part, without question or hesitation, he did it. His pet name for her has become, "Bossy Yiya." The two had a great time together and made for the cutest couple at the Shore!
Life of a Lifeguard:
This year, Kaden was obsessed with the lifeguards. I'm not sure if it was because two of the lifeguards were pretty young women who entertained his flirtations, or if it is just another life-saving occupation (i.e., firemen, policemen, EMTs) that fascinates him. Every morning, he would walk over to the lifeguard stand and bid them good morning. He also helped them move the flags, blow the whistle, and call people in from the water. For all this help, he was paid in smiles and hugs and, on occasion, a lollipop. A few afternoons, Kaden even asked if he could buy them a water ice (Erin's favorite was mango, so that quickly became Kaden's favorite too). At the end of the trip, Pop purchased Kaden his very own Ocean City Lifeguard shirt and whistle and, to this day, it is one of his favorite dress-up games.
Family, the reason we go to Ocean City year after year. Normally, it is just our family and Pop's brother's family (Pop Rich, Grammi Vic, Uncle Rick and Aunt Liz, Cousins Teddy and Sam, and Uncle D). This year was extra special though, Pop's cousin's family (JoAnn, Igor, Jenna and her son, Boris, and Leslie and her son, Lee) made it for a week also. Kaden, Teddy, Lee, and Boris are within six months of each other and are at the age where they made great playmates. The cuteness was almost unbearable!
Kaden with Boris and Lee at the beach and in their darling initial shirts given to them by JoAnn
Kaden and Lee doing their best to suffer through a boring adult dinner
Kaden and Teddy making a racket with the radio
The cousins making popsicles
Kaden had such a good time having Teddy across the street. Every morning he would wake up and, after a quick bike ride, would ask whether Teddy was up and available to play. It's too bad the boys don't live closer to one another, I think they would grow up to be the best of friends. Maybe, with continued trips to the Shore, they'll still have that opportunity. Kaden also really liked meeting his new cousin, "baby Sam." Most every day he would ask Liz if he could touch Sam's toes. Once or twice I even caught him trying to sneak a cuddle or introducing a toy to Sam. Maybe this is what kicked off his new fixation on babies?
Kevin was able to plan it so that he traveled the East Coast for work during the week and was able to spend the weekends with us. This gave us some very greatly needed family time. I have many of theses same photos from Kaden's first visit to Ocean City when he was not even one. Where does the time go? Too fast, for certain.
Kaden absolutely adores his Gammi and Pop. I am fairly certain that I could have dropped him off in Ocean City with them and he would have been perfectly content. Hmmm...there's an idea for the future. I know Gammi and Pop would welcome the opportunity. Both sides can't get enough of the other. Almost every morning of our trip, Kaden would wake up and tooddle into Gammi and Pop's room. They would quickly whisk him off on a boardwalk bike ride while Mommy and Daddy slept in. This suited all parties perfectly! Along with the bike rides, Kaden relished playing with Gammi and Pop on the beach. He had them both wrapped around his little finger and was treated to a water ice practically every day! They reminded me that this is what being a grandparent is all about. Plus, since we live so far apart and see one another so rarely, they were making up for lost time. This trip made both Kaden and I a little homesick - maybe not for Lexington, but most certainly for family! Oh what it would be like to live a hop, skip, and jump away from Gammi, Pop, and Uncle Paul! Then again, the spoiling could get out of control!!!
The Shore 2012