Sunday, August 26, 2012

Jersey Shore Beach Baby

The Atlantic Ocean
There is one thing that Colt loves, loves, loves and that's water!  The kid is a maniac in the bathtub and loves splashing in our apartment complex pool.  But we weren't sure how our Aqua Baby would fare at the beach...after all, it comes with sand.  A lot of sand.

Sea Girt, NJ
We stopped at a beautiful town named Sea Girt on our way back to New York from our Atlantic City adventures.  The beaches in Monmouth County were really nice, offering clean, safe areas of stunning white sand.  With full-time lifeguards on duty, we thought it would be a good place to test the waters.  Sea Girt's boardwalk also offer a pretty incredible panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean. The Jersey Shore is actually a pretty beautiful place!

Many beaches, especially in the smaller towns of New Jersey, require beach badges for admission.  The money collected is used to offset the costs of staffing and maintaining their beaches.  The parking, if you can find it, is free, but to access the beach will cost 'ya.  We looked online before we loaded up to hit the sand and read that admission was $6 per person.  Apparently, we had old information because the price had gone up to $9 a person!  It seemed a little high, but what do you do?  Thankfully, kids under 12 could frolic in the sand for free.

Oh, and did our kid frolic!

Colt thought the ocean and the sand were wonderful!  In fact, he thought the sand was so great that he tried to eat it by the handful.  Not good.  He We also managed to get it everywhere!  Fortunately, Heather stumbled across a little tip on Pinterest on using baby powder to remove sand.  Guess what?  It worked like a charm!

We (wisely) invested in a beach umbrella that went all Mary Poppins on us a few times, but helped keep the kiddo under cover.  Paired with his Pea-Pod, Colt's fun in the sun was really in the shade.  Which was a good thing since babies can't wear sunscreen until they're six months old...but they can wear Deet at two months.  Weird, right?

Grandpa Mr. Ed didn't need the sunscreen because he was the only person at the beach wearing long sleeves and jeans.  His blood thinners he takes from his recent heart attack make him incredibly cold, so even at 88 degrees and in more clothes than all of us combined, he was comfortable.  He's also petrified of water, so even sticking his toes in the ocean were out of the question.  The man firmly believes a shark will bite off his foot if he even gets near the water!

Mimi had no problems with the sun, sand, or the water for that matter.  She made sure Colt was lookin' stylish in his pirate beach hat & monkey sunglasses.  Notice we can barely get the strap around his chins.

The last time we took Colt to the see the ocean, it didn't work out so well, he slept through the whole trip.  This time, the kid was ready to roll!  He loved splashing his feet in the water as the waves rolled in.  There were strong under currents so we were afraid to walk out with him, but Colt didn't mind sittin' in the sand.  Plus, he learned how to write his name!

With a smile as big as this, we're pretty sure we'll be headed back to the surf & sand of the Jersey Shore again soon!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Atlantic City Adventures

Exit for fun!
For the past two years, Heather has been bugging Brett to take a road trip to the Jersey Shore.  Yes, we watch the MTV show like a train wreck that hit livestock.  It is glorious, mindless entertainment.  And it's also in our backyard.  Seaside Heights, where the show is filmed, is only about four hours south of us.  With babysitters Grandpa Mr. Ed & Mimi in tow, we loaded up Colt and hit the road.

Our plan was to hit the Shore the weekend before Labor Day in order to avoid costly hotels and parking.  We saved big by avoiding the holiday rush and decided to park it in Atlantic City West.  Brett nabbed us a great hotel on Priceline just minutes from the casinos of Atlantic City.  Most of the rooms we looked at were booked in Seaside and we're sort of passed the clubbing at Karma days anyway. Oh, well.

Traffic & bottle stops pushed our drive back to around five hours so by the time we got to the AC, things were in full force.  Grandpa Mr. Ed opted to stay at the hotel with Colt and the rest of us went exploring.  There were plenty of bright lights and boardwalk to go around!

Unfortunately, we don't have any photos to show you just how exciting the boardwalk & casinos in Atlantic City are at night.  But if you're fans of Jersey Shore, then you might understand this analogy:  the girls we saw out on the town made Snooki & Jwow look as though they borrow their club clothes from Mother Theresa.  There were lots of heinys hanging out of the shortest skirts/dressed you've ever seen!  Plus everyone was about three sheets to the wind.

Things were a little different the next morning (aren't they always?) when the sun was up and the birds were chirping.  Atlantic City was quiet charming!

Did you know that the properties and streets used in the board game Monopoly are named after locations in Atlantic City? Yup, true story.

The city also has a Tanger Outlet Mall (just like in Branson for all our MO folks) with plenty of shops full of bargains.  A block past the stores is a row of casinos that stretch alongside the boardwalk.  We had to have a couple of photos snapped at Caesars.

The Atlantic City Boardwalk is probably the most famous walkway on the East Coast.  Originally built to help keep the sand out of the hotels, it was constructed in 1870.  The famed Boardwalk only cost about $5,000 to build and was pieced in 10 feet wide in sections of 12 feet.  No commerce of any kind was allowed within thirty feet of the walk, and at the end of each summer season for many years, the Boardwalk was actually taken apart and stored for the winter months.

Stores started popping up on the Boardwalk in 1883 after the AC city council commissioned a new one built to replace the wear and tear of the previous one.  An 1889 hurricane brought about a new, improved and nearly final Boardwalk. It was all about bigger and better:  24-feet wide, 10 feet high, nearly 4 miles long and railings on both sides.  1916 finally saw the design of the present herringbone board pattern, supportive steel pilings, and forty-foot steel beams, making it the Boardwalk it is today.

In 1921, Atlantic City and it's Boardwalk were home to the very first Miss America beauty pageant.  But it wasn't until 1978 before all bets were off and casino gaming emerged on the AC scene.  These days, you'll find 13 casinos in Atlantic City and another one expected to open in 2014.  It's arguable that the Jersey Shore coastline wouldn't be what it is without the nearly six miles of Boardwalk in Atlantic City.  

We really enjoyed the sights, sounds and smells of the Boardwalk!  There was so much to see and do there, it felt like we really didn't have enough time to soak it all in.  Guess that's a good reason to go back again!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Late Arrival

Guess who's in New York?

Southwest routed Mimi & Grandpa Mr. Ed through Tampa this time with a 20 minute layover...that turned into a two hour stop.  Baby Colt was so excited when they finally made it to Albany!

We're pretty sure they were happy to be here too!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Drive-In vs. Hard Drive

With Brett out of town for the evening, Andy and Heather were on our own for entertainment.  We packed up and headed North of Clifton Park to make the short drive to Queensbury, NY... only about 45 minutes away.  The area has a nice outlet mall and a pretty good Six Flags theme park, plus an indoor water park.  Remember the commercial we shot there?

We shopped 'till we dropped.  Andy worked on picking up the Yankee hotties by pushing Colt's stroller around the outlets...seriously, you wouldn't believe what kind of chick magnets babies are for guys! ...Unless they have dirty diapers.  In that case, it's an immediate return to sender!

Take him back NOW, please!!

We decided hitting the drive-in would be a lot of fun; Andy really wanted to see something, anything at the drive-in.  It's just not something you get to do much back home in the South.  There are a few in the general areas of Arkansas and Missouri where Heather lived, but with permanently suffocating summer temperatures and the swarms of mosquitoes that have been know to carry off small dogs, it's not really much fun, plus none are close by either.

Going to the movies in the summer is so much fun in Upstate New York!  It seems like every little town has a drive-in that brings you right back to their hay-day.  We went to the Glen Drive In Theater, which has been in business since 1958.  They even had the old time speakers that you hooked up to your window and heaping piles of funnel cakes at their concession stand.

It didn't take long before Andy was all set up to watch the movie (ParaNorman) and answer a few emails put out some fires for his company.  You have to admit, working is a little bit cooler under the stars, right?

Oh, and keep a watchful eye on his wingman.  Can this guy do it all or what?!?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Little Lucky Charm

Sometimes you're at the right place at the right time.  And if that's Upstate New York from late July to Labor Day, then you have to be at the Saratoga Race Track!  The big days are usually over the weekends, especially if there's a giveaway.

Why, Thank You!
Our pal Andy Whitaker was in town and only had a few days to hang with us, so we knew we needed to step up our something fun.   After all, the man does bring us a box of Georgetown Cupcakes whenever he visits!

We went to the track on a Monday, not expecting many folks to be there.  We were surprised!  It wasn't overflowing with folks like it was during our first Traver's Stakes, but there were certainly a healthy amount of degenerates gamblers waiting to part with their pocket books.

We think our best bud Andy must really like New York because he holds the record for most visits to see us!  It also helps that his work sends him to Washington, D.C. often and it's just a hop, skip and a jump away to NY via plane or train!

He was dying to see the ponies in action and really, who were we to say no?

Oh, you mean real ponies?  OK, OK. We've got that too.

Happy Andy!
Since there was a slight chance of rain in the forecast, we didn't go all out with our traditional picnic fare this time.  Just a cooler with drinks and formula--really, it's all you need, right?  Brett set up his mobile Snap-On office and never missed a minute...that boy is such a multi-tasker!

With a ton less people at the track during the week, we actually found front row seats rather effortlessly. We were so close, the field crew's water trucks would spray our feet if you were standing by the fence when they drove by.  Which worked out well since Colt tends to chew on his feet and gets them all gross.

Thankfully, we had the cast of Two and a Half Men holding down the fort and placing our bets.

'Cause this guy says he knows how to pick 'em!

Colt picked up his mother's Coke and held it like it was his own child.  He didn't drink it, just liked holding the bottle in a death grip.  We nearly had to wrestle it away from him!

A few afternoon sprinkles sent us inside for cover.  Our losing luck changed when we stumbled across a place that sold Montreal Poutine!  It's a favorite for us ever since the Brett-Heather-Andy trio first tried it on our trip to Montreal.

This guy loves him some poutine like nobody's business.
There was a point when we got a little worried about all that caffeinated Coke Colt had been clutching onto for so long...

Thankfully, he calmed down a little to help us pick our first winning ticket ever!

See...told ya he was a little Lucky Charm!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Such a Boy

Colt just thinks it is hi-larious when you make farting noises...

This kid is going to be a real guy's guy isn't he?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sink or Swim: Schuylerville Cardboard Boat Races

Summer in the South sucks.  Summer in the North is the most amazing thing you will ever experience!  Not too hot and certainly not humid!  We are constantly looking for reasons to be outside while the sun is out up here.  New Yorkers are pretty outdoorsy folks and rightfully so...this place is amazing!

When Brett saw a sign for the Schuylerville Cardboard Boat Races, we were totally in.  Schuylerville (pronounced Skler-ville) is about 30 minutes north of us.  The event is part of the annual Canal Splash, which celebrate the state's canal systems.  The races take place on the bank of the Champlain Canal on the Hudson River.  A rain delay pushed the event back from Saturday to Sunday.

This year folks had to build their boats around the "Birds of a Feather" theme.  Pretty creative stuff made out of cardboard and duct tape, huh??

Not sure what Mello Yello has to do with birds, but we liked their boat.

While we were there, we got to see the kid's compete.  There were plenty of moms and dads on hand to help launch their kids.  

Thankfully, there were lifeboats standing by to help those going down faster than the Titanic.

This guy wasn't sure exactly what to think...

After all, this boat had feathers.

We think Colt liked it though!