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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If We Were Having Coffee

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Health and living life to it’s fullest has been on my mind a lot lately. As well as self improvement and not being lazy about it.

Life is such a balancing act isn’t it?Like a huge puzzle that takes time to interlock all the right pieces to make us whole. Lately I’ve been trying to retrace steps that were effective and long lasting for my health. And to dabble in and experiment with new things to make life more alive, longer and more fun. I’m trying to  gain inner peace and add excitement to every day living.

It’s a goal I guess,  many of us have. Finding harmony between the, physical, emotional, personal and professional aspects of our lives. We all seek to enrich our lives and too often we fall back into the easy immediate gratification ways to do that. And more often than not, doing so knocks the harmony we are so eagerly trying to achieve, off balance.

I’ve thought that a doughnut will make me feel better. And yeah, it will for a moment. And while there may be nothing (fundamentally) wrong with having a doughnut once in a while, it’s going for that doughnut as gratification for something else that’s lacking. Now there’s where my problem is.

I’ve been one of those people. And more than once in my life. Let’s face it, life can be hard. Life can suck and it can kick your feet right out from under you once in a while. Life has moments of being unfair and ruthless. But I, we don’t have to let those moments defeat or define us.

We work with food and exercise to care for our physical selves. But we need to remember, to care for our emotional self. Meditation has been a life saver for me with this. Meditation calms me. Meditation awakens my mind to new ideas and ways of tackling challenges in life. I seem to get the most out of meditation when I am in nature,  near wildlife. Nature allows me to focus and exhale the crap from my mind.

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In this ever changing modern world filled with the latest technology it becomes increasingly important to unplug and not just go to nature but be a part of the whole experience. The more I focus on the intricacies of a tree, or moving stream, roar of the ocean, or habits of wildlife in their environment, the easier it is when it comes to narrowing down focus on my day to day matters. You’ve heard the phrase, “don’t sweat the small stuff”, haven’t you? Well, meditation reminds me what the small stuff is and allows me to focus on what matters most.

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To gain perspective….

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“There are so many joys to be gathered watching wildlife and one of the greatest is when we feel we have blended into the landscape and become part of the day, night, or ecosystem. Our pursuit of the little details of nature – a species of moth or a type of birdsong – are intrinsically pleasurable but they are also sense sharpers, that bring us alive to the possibilities in a landscape: the muntjac standing quietly behind us, the crackle of autumn leaves, the pong of the honey fungus.

They give us an excuse to loiter in a landscape, to stand still and simply be. They are a pathway to a much broader experience. On my nights out, I realised I was not really badger watching at all, I was dusk watching, listening to the creatures of the day as they were superseded by the creatures of the night, with their rustles and screams and unfathomable signals which I did not comprehend but could still savour.” ~ Patrick Barkham

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Being near the ocean is my favorite place to meditate, or just BE.  The sound of the waves, the ocean mist on my face, the sun warming my skin, just basking in the hugeness that is the vast ocean expanse. I feel re-charged and ready to tackle life after a day at the ocean and bit of meditation.

Meditation is kind of like a vacation re-boot for my inner well being. It’s so hard for people to shut off and out of technology these days our minds never stop thinking about a zillion things at once. Letting nature in and becoming a part of me levels the playing field and mentally refreshes me.

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In the past I’ve focused wayyyy to much on calories and DIEts! What what I need to focus on is loving myself enough to not want to injure my health with foods or really, non foods that are in no way adding to my longevity or health. We should all try and find a healthy relationship with real food. Over the years as consumers we’ve added more and more unnatural garbage into our diets. Fruit which is naturally sweet, to some doesn’t even taste sweet anymore because we are so used to manufactured cakes, deserts and artificial sweeteners. We lose sight of the fact that sugar is in everything that pre-packaged and mass produced and white sugar is as addictive as drugs if used often and in larger quantities.

I’m learning the process of mindful eating which is helping me so much in terms of combating the unhealthy relationships I’ve learned over the years. Learning to love myself with the food I put in my body instead of just comforting myself with food because of external stresses has been HUGE in permanent change in eating habits. Mindful eating makes me slow down and focus on why I do what I do and how it makes me feel. Usually your body will tell you if you ate something good for it, or something that would cause an adverse reaction. Here’s a better explanation of mindful eating if you’re interested in knowing more.

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I’ve also decided to go back to having a meal replacement shake and or green juice/smoothie daily.  I overeat at night because I don’t eat right during the day. I don’t get enough vitamins and minerals because I usually have little appetite during the day. A few years ago I tested out quite a few protein shakes. My favorite for flavor, texture, and overall health benefits is Vegan Shakeology. And I tried a zillion of them. So between that in the afternoon with a salad and vegetarian protein and juicing or acai bowl in the mornings I will be sure to get my dose of vitamins and minerals. And also will stop overeating at dinner and going to bed on a stuffed tummy!  Sometimes you have to re-learn your proven lessons more than once lol.  It’s all about finding out what works for you. What will keep you healthy, help you live longer and help you achieve whatever goals you set!

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I love rainy days! Sitting down with a cup of tea  (or coffee 😊☕) and pouring myself into a good book is an amazing day! I’m currently reading (finally Girl On a Train and after that I am doing Prince Lestat & Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis and them move onto The Wolf Gift. I’m a HUGE Anne Rice fan!  But I’m always looking for new reads so recommend a book to me and have a beautiful Sunday and fabulous week!

 

 

 

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World Oceans Day

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The ocean is the heart of our planet. Every June 8th we celebrate World Oceans Day to honor our ocean and do something to protect it!

How are you helping our planet’s blue heart?

From WorldsOceanDay.Org

HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?

Plan your event and submit it to the event listings

Find a planned event to attend

Spread the word about ocean conservation: Share it online

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