Our Ocean City, NJ Vacation and Why You Should Visit

Ocean City, NJ Vacation

This year for vacation we went to a local spot and one of my favorite places: Ocean City, NJ. This is my absolute favorite beach! We stayed here once before when the boys were around one and it was a fun experience! When I was thinking of places to vacation I wanted to stay local and have a stress free vacation. Ocean City, NJ for us was a no-brainer. We are only about 45 minutes away and yet it feels like a world away. We rented the same beach house we stayed at before and it was AWESOME.

What’s the point of vacation, after all? For my family, it’s pure relaxation. We are the kind of family that likes to breathe and not run from one place to another. You know how some people like to hit every attraction? Yeah, not us. We are lazy vacationers at best, but I’d have it no other way and this year was no exception.

From the time I was a preteen, Ocean City, NJ has held a really special place in my heart! I used to vacation here with my best friend and her family during my preteen into teen years. I have so many warm fuzzy memories. Long walks around Ocean City, the bay area, beautiful neighborhoods with a Vanilla Pepsi in hand talking about our hopes, dreams, and crushes. When I think back to my teen years, my OC vacations with my best friend and her family are a clear highlight. We always said we wanted our children to love the beach and Ocean City as much as we did and we succeeded.

See, when your life feels like it’s going about a million miles a minute regularly it’s so beautiful to take a week where all of that is on pause. My husband and I literally said we aren’t going to talk work, business, church…anything. We aren’t going to stress or worry. We are going to relax. That’s pretty much what we did as much as possible, except for hubs doing some real estate work (which I have found is practically unavoidable – since he’s become a realtor we’ve never had a trip where he didn’t have to work a little). It was fantastic and we are likely going to do at least one beach vacay a year we are thinking.

If you’re not from the South Jersey Area and aren’t familiar with Ocean City, I’m going to give you some reasons why you should consider an Ocean City, NJ vacation.

Reasons you should consider an ocean city, nj vacation:

  1. It’s family friendly.

    Ocean City - Gillian's Pier

Where we vacationed, the people below us were parents of triplet girls. If you go to the boardwalk or to the beach, you’ll see families galore. There are tons of things to do including Gillians Wonderland Pier, mini golfing, bike riding on the boardwalk, and more. Also, Ocean City is a dry town and smoking is prohibited on the boardwalk.  It’s just so family oriented and you feel it!

2. It’s a Close walk to the beach.

Ocean City, NJ Boardwalk

Ocean City has a fantastic boardwalk that’s really close to its beach. You can walk right off the boardwalk and the next thing you know, you’re on the beach and don’t have to go far to find yourself in the water.  I don’t want to feel like I’m trekking across the great unknown to have my feet touch the water. I love the fact that everything is in close proximity. Let’s face it, the boardwalk food is 95% of the reason I even go to the beach, who am I kidding?

3. It has an Awesome boardwalk with tons to do.


Mini-Golf, Escape Rooms, Rides, Bumper Carts and all of your essential boardwalk activities are available. I never get tired of walking the boardwalk because there’s always something new to do or something new to see. During the summer on Thursday nights, they have ‘Family Night’ where there is tons of live music and a lively atmosphere. My favorite nights of the summer!

4. it’s Budget Friendly.


Some people might scoff at that, but an Ocean City vacation can be quite affordable actually. Here are a few tips: go in with another family or another person on a beach house. When you do that, you can split the cost. So if a beach house will cost you $1250 for the week, divide that by two and you get the idea. What we did was we ate breakfast at the house, usually grabbed lunch on the boardwalk, ate dinner at the beach house and went to the boardwalk for desserts or any snacks we wanted. If you hit the grocery stores and cook half of your meals, you’ll save a fortune. When it comes to the rides, Gillians Wonderland  Pier offers different specials throughout the week. If you hit the rides during the three ticket ride days/hours, you will get more bang for your book. This helped me as a mom of multiples! We bought one book of 150 tickets for $100 and that was enough to last us throughout the entire week with a few tickets left over.

5. fantastic places to eat.

My absolute favorite part of the boardwalk is the food. I don’t care what anyone tells me, it’s the best part of the boardwalk! I’ve had friends try to convince me to go to other beaches and the first question I have is: are there good places to eat? If the answer is no, I’m not interested. I’m not talking about high-end places if you want that go to Atlantic City. I’m talking about simple food that just tastes good in my belly. I have favorites and you can check them out below.

 My Favorite Places to Eat In Ocean City:

  1. Brown’s Donuts. [Expect a line but it’s worth it!]Brown's Donuts - Ocean City, NJ
  2. Prep’s Pizza. [Just as good as Manco and Manco’s but with better seating and they give the kids dough to play with.]Prep's Pizza in Ocean City, NJ
  3. Piccini’s Wood Fire Pizza. [Fab Italian food!]
  4. The Hula Grill. [Probably my favorite! Hawaiin food – yum!]The Hula Grill in Ocean City, NJ
  5. OC Surf Cafe [New spot for me, great for breakfast or brunch!]

My Favorite Boardwalk Food:

  1. Polish Water Ice.
  2. Shriver’s Gelato – THE CREPES ARE LIFE CHANGING.
  3. Monkey Bread.
  4. George’s Ice Cream.
  5. Johnson’s Popcorn.

6. Insanely relaxing.


Have you ever been on a vacation that was so jam packed you needed a vacation after it to decompress? I feel like beach vacations are so relaxing and a vacation in Ocean City, NJ  is no exception. As mentioned for us, we would wake up, head to the beach for a bit, come back to the beach house for a nap, and then head to the boardwalk for the evening if we felt like it. We also incorporated date nights, courtesy of having my mom with us, movie nights, and mini golf nights. No pressure, no time constraints, and a go at your own pace vibe. The epitome of relaxation.

Overall, an Ocean City, NJ vacation was the perfect vacation for us! We had an amazing time, as evidenced by the smiles!

What are your favorite family friendly vacation spots? Share below! We are always looking for new places to visit! 

Expectation vs. Reality – Christmas Pics 2016

Christmas pictures. When some people hear this phrase they feel excited as they anticipate taking family pictures and choosing from a variety of lovely photos. When I hear this phrase, I feel…slight dread. You see, I am a twin mom of two toddler boys. Getting two energetic little guys to stay still, smile, and pose for an indefinite amount of time is nothing short of mission impossible.

Still, I put my best foot forward and decided to do a portrait studio this year if only for time’s sake. My favorite picture takers are my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, who typically take our Christmas pics but I decided to give them a break since my SIL is preggers. So, off we went.

On the way up, JoJo was in a bit of a mood. “This was a bad idea, wasn’t it?” I asked my husband as we drove along, regret lacing my tone. He shrugged in resignation and sighed, “We’ll see.” When we got to the place, all was going well it seemed. Both boys were playing with some of the toys left out and having a good time. TOO good of a time, I started to notice.

“Um, do you think it’s going to be easy to get them out of this section to take pics?” I asked my husband nervously.

“I don’t know…” his voice trailed off unsure. Uh-oh.

So off I went in search of reinforcements. I.E. bribery tools, I.E. candy. After I purchased some favorites, it was our turn. Immediately, Josiah wasn’t having it. He started to cry and my hopes of an easy picture session were dashed. The more we tried to get him to smile, the worse it became. I went in for the reinforcements, grabbing the jelly beans and offering them up as a token of peace in exchange for pictures. Here’s the thing – Josiah didn’t want to let go of the jelly beans. So he didn’t. So they were in literally the majority of our pictures because we’ve learned early what battles to fight and knew this wasn’t one of them.

Josiah – One.

Parents – Zero.

Meanwhile, Micah was striking a pose like he was David Beckham, being a complete ham for the camera.

Nonetheless, the pictures appropriately captured what being a twin parent of three years old is like and overall, I’m happy.  We did get some pretty good ones! But I had to laugh because of expectations vs. reality. Here’s what I expected….

Here’s what actually happened:

Here were my expectations…

Here’s what reality delivered.

Thank goodness we can laugh about it! Here’s to another Christmas session checked off the list.

And here are some of the solid ones:

Until we meet again, photographers.

How a Vacationless Summer Became the Best Summer of My Life.

This summer has been the best summer I’ve had so far. We are into August now, and I can see the end of the season very clearly. I’m a teacher and the kind of teacher that starts to think about school, her classroom, what the year will look like starting in August. It’s also caused me to reflect on my summer. I’ve come to a conclusion.

THIS SUMMER HAS BEEN THE BEST SUMMER EVER.

And guess what? We didn’t even go on vacation or do anything spectacular to be quite honest. In fact, this year we purposely decided we weren’t going to go on vacation so we could spend money and save money for house projects. We wanted to paint the house (mission accomplished), and we are going to be getting our basement waterproofed in a few weeks. We decided that because of this, we wouldn’t go anywhere crazy or do a big vacation this year. And…

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But really though, I have gotten to spend so much quality time with my boys, doing whatever our hearts feel like and it’s been soooo good. We have been able to bond in such a special way, and I know this year it will be the hardest when it comes to going back to work. So let me share with you some of the reasons I thought this was our best summer yet.

Why My Vacationless Summer Became the Best Summer Ever:

  1. We saved money.

This was key. Normally when we go on vacation, there is the expense of actually paying for the vacation (even if you pay for it in advance, it’s still money) and also the cost of spending money while on vacation, which can add up quite a bit. Because we weren’t spending a ton on a big vacation, we were able to save money and put it towards things we wanted/needed.

2. We didn’t stress.

Because we didn’t have anything major going on, we could relax, let our hair down and just embrace the present and each day. There wasn’t any significant planning to be done or anything like that. I am not one of those ultra and amazing #momgoals kind of moms who loves to plan/organize. I would prefer to drink a rootbeer float while in my fuzzy pajamas with a book in my hand. So the fact that there wasn’t much to be planned was wonderful.3. We went to the beach a billion times.

3. We went to the beach a billion times.

And by a billion times, I probably mean a trillion times. No, truly we have been at the beach AT least once a week and likely twice a week, sometimes three times a week. This has been glorious on all levels. Minimal clothing for all, shoes optional. I can live like that.

4. Completed and are in the process of completing house projects.

We set some goals for ourselves this summer. We wanted to complete two projects. The first was painting the house; the second was waterproofing the basement. The first we completed, the second we should have completed by the end of this month. When we decided to opt out of a major vacation this summer, completing some house projects played into this.

5. Took tons of day trips.

Storybook Land. Beach every week. Cape May Zoo. Philadelphia Zoo. Shopping here and there. Hung out with my mom on her days off and went out and about. The benefit of these is that at the end of the day, we went home. Boys slept in their own beds and still felt a semblance of their routine.

6. Had a laid back summer.

Being a mom of twins, two toddlers who are the exact same age and are very active boys, I welcomed the opportunity to have a very relaxed summer.

After saying all of that, next year, we have decided we will definitely take a vacation. We are in the talks of actually taking two, one local and one out of states. The older the boys get, the more fun it is because we can see their reactions, what they like, how they are enjoying it. Summer 2016, you have been good to us. And I still have a few weeks left to enjoy.

Most of all, I’m so grateful that God has given me this special time to enjoy with my babies who are now little boys, and not so much babies anymore.  Here are a few pictures from our vacationless summer.

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Vacation Bible School was a great way to kick off the summer fun!

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Masterpieces. Obviously.

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They have nothing on my hula skills.

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Birthday fun at Ocean City! The last week of July, literally everyone from our family has something to celebrate. What a FUN week!

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Even Josiah would agree. The summer has been pretty legit so far.

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Beach day…again, with some of my favorites! The #lopeztwinsies aunts!

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When your husband isn’t as photo-ready as you are but you still make him take a picture anyway. We had a date day at the beach. Ocean City.

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Fourth of July last-minute decision to go to the beach…again!

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Fourth of July after party with their favorite cousin. It wouldn’t be the 4th without a little BBQ. Even the rain can’t drown out the fun.

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My sweet little guy has been coming out of his shell lately. This summer he has become bolder and less shy.

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Cousin hangtime.

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Celebrated our seven year anniversary!

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Lots of Rita’s water ice and Ocean City beach time.

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And more beach time. This was supposed to be boardwalk time that turned into beach time. Hence, the full clothing.

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Babe.

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Sunkissed. They like to wade in the water, JoJo prefers to be held. Of course. And he’s the heaviest.

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We planned to just hit the boardwalk, but the kids wanted to “see the sand.” Which basically means, they want to go on the beach.

 

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JoJo is obsessed with his cousin, two peas in a pod.

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This picture melts my heart.

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First time to the Philadelphia Zoo for all boys in this fam, husband included.

And the summer isn’t over yet. I love summer.

Tantrums in Toddler-ville.

Let’s talk about toddler tantrums! The boys are 15 months old and have been testing out a new aspect of their personalities – tantrums! They don’t happen all the time, but when they do…are they a doozy! This morning, one little guy was particularly angry:

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If I take something away that they want, they get pretty angry. Micah in particular has been throwing down. This doesn’t happen all the time, but like I said…when it does…oh LORD. With Micah, it’s random. He will get really angry, throw himself on the floor, scream, the whole nine yards. My response is to ignore him. Sometimes he will follow me around screaming and as I continue to ignore him, he eventually stops. When he throws a tantrum in his crib though, it’s another story. He starts to jump up and down, scream, and sometimes accidentally hits himself on the railing. This happens once in awhile, but I’m not quite sure how to defuse him. Josiah sleeps through it all. Josiah has freak-out moments too of ear piercing screams, but they aren’t very often. I guess when these moments of craziness DO happen, it’s traumatic. 95% of the time though, they are happy little buggers.

I can’t get over how they don’t look like little babies anymore.

And here are some other pictures of life with twin boys:

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Not going to lie, I’m starting to enjoy baby boy “fashion.”

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This is what happens when BOTH babies want to hang with Mommy at the same time!

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Daddy comes home and this is the scene 🙂

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Playing together. LOVE.

My MIL has still been watching the boys for us for the majority of the time with my mom watching them about once a week. Hubs is pretty much completely full-time. It was supposed to be part-time but it blossomed into full-time and we just went with it! Other changes, we finally found a new church we both feel really excited and happy to be a part of. This Sunday we will start attending full-time and are super excited! Words to describe this church – humble, serving, passionate, real. Importantly, it’s very close to home!

Let’s talk Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving we will be together as a family. HUBS WILL NOT BE WORKING! This is amazing because he was involved in retail for over ten years and has pretty much worked the majority of the holidays. Last holiday I spent with one of my best friends but she lives in TX now. So this year our plan is to start our own family tradition. What traditions do you have for Thanksgiving? Keep in mind this Thanksgiving will be spent with just the hubs and my boys. It won’t be too big. Anyway, this is all for tonight. I need to catch up on reading some blogs. Xoxo!

 

Overwhelmed. Finding a balance.

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School has been absolutely kicking my butt this year! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been back and my life has been utterly dominated by work. I love my students, they are amazing…but the work load this year is intense! I’m teaching a new course and it’s a lot of prep work and homework for me. I don’t have to be at work until 8:15 and am “done” at 3:15, technically speaking. I’ve been going in at 7:30 am and leaving at 4:30 and sometimes even 5. Being an educator in NJ is NOT for the faint of heart! Teaching is for those who truly have a passion for it. It is the only way you will survive. Because I want to give my best in my job, I am consumed by lesson plans, grading, prep, creating things…it’s pretty hectic. There are times when I feel disheartened. I miss my babies SO much. I barely have time to call home and/or FaceTime when I’m at work. When I come home, I want nothing more than to just play with my babies and snuggle them…so that’s what I do. In September I will be doing an after school program…so at least I will be getting paid for the extra time that I stay there. But gosh, I miss my boys so much.

Nonetheless, my heart is filled with so much gratitude. What I’m loving right now –

  • Having my husband home with the babies. At least I know they are in the best hands.
  • Taking lovely evening strolls with my little family and enjoying the crisp air. Fall is here.
  • Pumpkin everything. Today I had the chance to eat pumpkin macaroons. LIFE CHANGING.
  • Married At First Sight – the fact that two of my favorite couples on the show are still together and are as happy as a clam.
  • Buying cute clothes/shoes on Ebay for a fraction of the price I would pay in a store.
  • Wearing my hair curly and embracing my “natural” self more.

This weekend is missionary weekend at the church we’ve been visiting. We will be focusing on India and the plight of women in that country. In the end, I’m grateful to have the freedom that I have here and the opportunity to work. I will learn to swim and hopefully balance it all…I have no choice 🙂

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