Point Pleasant NJ Family Vacation 2017

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Day 1 🌞🚙🌤️🍕

Thank you Mom, Dad, Tori and Barry for making this all happen!

We’ve been waiting for this kind of vacation a long time! And the family was waiting for this reunion for 12 years! That was the last time they were all together as a family. So this was super special. The ride there was beautiful. And you’ll hear that word thrown around a lot in this blog post 😄 So we drove from Virginia Beach to the Jersey Shore (Point Pleasant NJ/Beach) and we had great weather for the drive and very few stops. We were just excited to get there.

 

When we arrived, not everyone was there yet and wouldn’t be until Tuesday. We stayed at the Sand Pebble Motor Lodge in the Victorian. We were upstairs in a three bedroom suite (which was in itself two floors). We stayed with Keith’s parents, his brother Barry, sis-in-law Tori and their two littles (kids). The place was HUGE. His brother and fam was on the second floor of our suite, they had a massive bedroom with a king size bed, a huge bathroom with tub and a HUGE walk in closet that was actually used as the kids playroom, yeah it was that big. We think it may have originally been a small bedroom that they converted into a massive walk in closet. We were downstairs, where there were two bedrooms and a HUGE bathroom and kitchen. The living room was pretty big too. The kitchen was fully equipped and stocked with utensils, pots, pans, dishes, etc…. Keith’s big brother stayed downstairs in another suite (the steps in the first pic below show the entrance to their suite, we were on floor 2). Their suite was also roomy, a big two bedroom with large kitchen. 

We arrived around dinner time and so we just had pizza and enjoyed time with family. After dinner we took a walk down to the boardwalk (which was open till midnight) to walk around and get some desert.

 

 

Day 2 ☀️⛱👙🌊 🚂

Sunshine and blue skies! Time to hit the beach!!! The beach was nice. When staying at the Sand Pebble you can get a discount for tickets to Jenkinson’s Beach. Now this was something I had never heard of, people owning parts of the beach and you paying to get on their beach. Here is VB we don’t have that. We either have public beaches or private beaches that you can only access if you are staying someplace on that beach. 

The beach ended up being $2 a day per person after the lodge discount. Not bad I suppose. It pays for having a clean beach, and lifeguards everywhere. You feel pretty safe at this beach. It was beautiful!!

We went our own way for a bit and ended up at a cozy diner, Beach Diner and had a quick dinner while watching the trains go by. 

Afterwards we headed back down to the boardwalk for the kids to all ride rides (lots of good ones for the kids), play carny games and get desert at the The Black Anchor Coffee House, which was delicious!!!!

 

Day 3 🌤️📷🥗

Most of this day was just very family oriented. We took family photo’s and just spent time reconnecting and connecting. The day before Aunt Kate (Keith’s Mom’s sister) and her hubby Uncle Mike also came down and joined us and took family photo’s for us. 

 

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Aunt Kate & Uncle Mike

We all went out to dinner at Frankie’s. I had a salad and was disappointed they didn’t even have bread sticks let alone bread. But my salad was good! And everyone just enjoyed spending time with each other. After all, for some it had been 12 years since they last saw each other. Keith (my hubby) had not seen his oldest brother Scott in 12 years! Scott and Nauko’s oldest was just a baby boy when he last saw them. And I had never met them. They live all the way in Washington State. So this really was a special time for all of us!

 

Day 4 🌥️📷🐸🦉🐧🐢🐠🐡🦐🐍🌦️⛈️

Jenkinson’s Aquarium was how we spent most of the day. It was a pretty laid back day with a few raindrops. And the start of some thunderstorms. It was a good day for an indoor experience. 

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To be honest, I really thought the aquarium was just going to be a roadside afterthought kind of place. I was even worried I would see mistreatment,neglect or bad conditions here. But it was the complete opposite. They were cleaning all the time, the animals looked happy and well fed. And happily I found this place to be very conscientious about animal welfare and sustainability. They had displays everywhere for conservation, animal protection, rescue, preservation and keeping the waterways clean of debris. I was pretty impressed with this little aquarium. They care a lot about their residents and the animal world. 

ps….their seal, Luseal wasn’t always alone here. Luseal is a rescue and so was the other resident seal. Sadly Luseal’s companion passed away recently. From what they said they are hoping to be able to take in another rescued seal.

 

Day 5 ⛈️☔💦🥙🚂

Rain, thunder, lightening, downpours! But it was still a pretty awesome day. We hung around the house for a while and hung out with family and then met with one of Keith’s old friends and her hubby for dinner. We had met once before and have been Facebook friends, but I haven’t seen her since Keith and I first got together! She even got married since then and moved out of Jersey to PA and then back to Jersey. So it was time to catch up! Unfortunately for whatever reason, we completely forgot to snap any pictures. But it was a fun evening playing catch up at Beach Diner with good friends we don’t get to see often enough!

And we did make tentative plans to get together some time during the holidays! And next time, we will take pictures!!

 

Day 6 Headed Home….☀️😢🌊⛴

All good things I suppose have an ending, or at least a, till next time. And we’ve already decided there will be a next time. We have solo trip plans and plans that involve group vacations back to Point Pleasant. We also determined that we can’t let so much time go by with us not seeing the littles. Keith is godfather to the two littlest niece and nephew and since they are in New Jersey and us in Virginia, we decided we need to start meeting at some half way points, even if only for weekends here and there so we can all see each other. Time slips away and we may ourselves eventually move further away so we have to find the time and take the time to spend with family while we can!

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Look close, there be a dolphin swimming! We saw dolphin pods and I saw a whale!!

We grew closer to family who are in Washington State too and we may even move there one day soon, who knows. It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to live and Keith’s job could potentially come up with a transfer there.  But either way we have to make it happen that we see each other more. Kids need family bonds and although it’s hard when people are so transient now and tend to live in other states, or even countries, to make the effort to remember that kids needs to know family.

We all had a quick lunch together back at Frankie’s and then a quick run back down to the boardwalk for us to grab this massive apple (we had at the beginning of the trip, soooo good!) and some taffy, as well as a new wall hanging for our ocean(esq) living room!

It was especially nice for Keith, Scott and Barry’s parents to see us all, and see us all together. Time keeps moving and before you know it, 12 years have gone by.  I think we all learned a valuable lesson while having a beautiful and memorable family vacation!

💙Till next we meet….

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Trading ego for true power

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When we get out of the glass bottles of our ego,
and when we escape like squirrels turning in the
cages of our personality
and get into the forests again,
we shall shiver with cold and fright
but things will happen to us
so that we don’t know ourselves.
Cool, unlying life will rush in,
and passion will make our bodies taut with power,
we shall stamp our feet with new power
and old things will fall down,
we shall laugh, and institutions will curl up like
burnt paper.

– D.H. Lawrence

Be Alive!

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We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive.<<<

Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

Yoga and a long beautiful walk through the Botanical Gardens…

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Saturday the hubby and I had a morning yoga session at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. The gardens host quite a few different community projects as well as certificate programs in Floral Design. It was a gorgeous cool spring day and a perfect way to spend Saturday morning together! The class was very beginner friendly and the instructor, Charlotte was amazing! She also teaches Yin Yoga at the The Space Above Yoga Center

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After yoga, we received free admission with the cost of the yoga class. What a beautiful way to spend a Saturday morning, yoga to restore surrounded with nature’s beauty. It was a magical day! 

 

It was peaceful and kind of meditative at times. Even though we’ve live in this area nearly 9 years, my hubby’s never been to the Botanical Gardens before. So this made the day extra special.

 

 

I’ve been to the Gardens with visiting friends during the height of tourist season and it was beautiful. But it was hot and can get crowded. I’ve always recommended people travel here during off season. No lines, hotels are less expensive, and events are less crowded. So plan two trips to the area. One for relaxing and one to take in all the tourist vibe events! 

 

So now come take a walk with us as we explore the

Norfolk Botanical Gardens

 

“There is unspeakable beauty and potential to be found in nature. It entices me and is an invitation I just have to accept.”  ~Jil Ashton-Leigh 

 

 

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
~Albert Einstein

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“It is no longer sufficient to describe the world of nature. The point is to defend it.” ~Edward Abbey

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more”
~George Gordon Byron

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“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

“‘Is the spring coming?’ he said. ‘What is it like?’ …

‘It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine, and things pushing up and working under the earth.'”

~Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

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“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. … There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”

~Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

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“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

~John Muir, Our National Parks

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“I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling.”

~Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

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“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”  

~Henry David Thoreau

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“Whoever loves and understands a garden will find contentment within.”

~Chinese proverb

 

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As we walked through the Enchanted Forest, the birds became hyper aware and greeted us as we passed by! It was magical!

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“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

~ Lao Tzu

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Sadly it was closed, the Butterfly House is a summer event.

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But the Butterfly Garden was blooming!

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In a field of roses, she is a wildflower.

~Unknown

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“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” ~William Shakespeare

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“The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration.”

~Claude Monet

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The Rose Garden

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“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.”

~Dale Carnegie

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“Take time to smell the roses.”

~Proverb

Hope you enjoyed the tour of the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. We highly recommend it for a low key, long walk kind of day filled with beauty. 

💚

Susan & Keith

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The First Of May

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May Day
May Day is celebrated on May 1st. It’s primarily a northern hemisphere spring tradition and in many areas is a public holiday. Celebrated with spring festivals, decorated maypoles, spring flowers🌺 left for neighbors on their doorknobs, dancing and decorations in spring colors and blooms! In some countries kids go door to door giving flowers to the neighbors and toss pennies into wishing wells. In Germany they plant trees and in Hawaii May Day is transformed into Lei Day adorning each other with gorgeous lei’s🌸 and maybe even a kiss on the cheek 😘 
May Day to me is a celebration of springs approach and arrival and taking a moment to let the stress go, enjoy good company, good food and celebrate life!

Random Acts Of Kindness

 

 

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Fotor1227164335I’ve been a RAKtivist for a few years now. And I usually don’t publicize my random acts. Many of which are either through volunteer work, or donations but I think it’s a crucial piece of personal development and social development if we take part. Of course people do kind things all the time on their own without having a group, or movement to tell them to do so. But the act of “joining” in and of itself serves at that little reminder as we start to get bogged down with our own busy days to stop and take a moment to reach out in some small way, big or small, to make a positive impact in the world we share with one another.

 

 

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And stop by the Random Acts Of Kindness Website and see if you’d like to join, just click the button below!

 

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Down On The Boardwalk

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Beautiful but busy day! Headed down to the boardwalk for a quick run with the hubby in between the other plans and responsibilities we had to take care of today 💙 It gets so busy down at the boardwalk during tourist season, which is nearly here. So we decided to get in a beach run. It was already bustling with early vacationers and spring breakers. I admit I love the energy vibe down here during tourist season, but my other half, not so much lol.

 

 

 

 

A quick tip for anyone wanting to head to Virginia Beach for a vacation? The months of March, April, and October are usually less crowded and the hotels are at lower rates. But be warned, March & April the ocean may still be a bit chilly. October though you still have warm waters! Just no sign of lifeguards. Today though people were in the water! Swimmers, surfers and kids playing around. It was kinda awesome!

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The hubby did his thing and I did mine. We run at different paces and I do the whole run/walk/run so we went separate ways once we were there. But it was absolutely beautiful! Temps hit the 80’s, sunny with a nice cool breeze, perfect run weather!

 

 

 

 

 

17861843_10213001635735429_3508897361492808106_n (1)My legs are starting to gain strength and I’m pretty happy with the day. I’m not even worried about running right now. It’s all about building endurance and strengthening my legs. And of course conditioning these lungs of mine. Four packs of cigarettes a day does some serious damage. Quit NOW, if you smoke. That damage just increases as time goes by. So happy I quit and never going back.

Days like today make me so thankful I quit smoking. Breathing the fresh air, smoke free is profoundly different. And smelling the ocean breeze, yeah that’s good stuff!

 

 

Wise words from Kara Groucher

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“Well, here we stand.

On the starting line nonetheless. Maybe you’re facing your first 5k. Maybe it’s a ten. Maybe a half, or a marathon, or an ultra. Maybe you’re even running Boston.

Waiting on that starting line, you’re beginning to feel it. The anticipation, the doubt, the excitement, the energy. The definitiveness of what’s behind. The uncertainty of what’s ahead.

It hasn’t been easy. There have been workouts that tanked. Weeks with missed mileage. Tired legs. Hard sessions. The daily dance of life vs. the plan.

But there have been great moments too. The decision to race. The dedication to train. Miles where you felt like you could run forever. Even the bravery of this morning, where you put on your singlet, fought the crowds, and met your fate at the starting line.

And now it’s here. It is time. No more countdowns. No more workouts to nail. No more wondering, “Am I fit enough? Strong enough? Prepared for what’s ahead?”

This is what you have been waiting for. No doubt you are nervous, but know that you are ready. You earned this opportunity. And you were born to fly.

So, take a deep breath, look around you, and soak it all in. Relish where you are. Realize how far you’ve come.

You are ready. You are powerful. And you belong.

Now, go get it.

Head Up, Wings Out. “

Kara Groucher