From 7th grade until 2004 we had a house in Stone Harbor, NJ and spent many holidays at that house too. For the past two years, to be close to Judy & her family who live in Somers Point, we have rented a cousins house in Avalon (I have the number if you need it, beach block with ocean views). First thing I did when we landed on 15th Street was to see how the beach did after the Nor’easter the other week. Not so good. I will now refer this beach as the Avalon Cliffs.
But there was good shell hunting to be had. (Not pictured, my brother in laws fishing every night, after a few beers, on that slippery jetty in the background. No Stripers were hurt in the process.)I took the girls to one of my favorite places down the shore, the Cape May Zoo
It’s open everyday, but Christmas.Hello
(I saw Judy for a brief time during her birthday on 11/24, but then spent the next 4 days waiting to see her again. She never made it to the house for Thanksgiving, and that was heartbreaking. I knew that her time was limited as she would never miss a holiday with the family.)
One rainy day I brought the kids to the toy store and told them to pick out their Christmas gifts. Kevin wanted a Lego Pirate Castle. Nicole got magic tricks, Kelsey make-up, Dillon a kite, hmm I guess I owe a few more gifts. TJ was nice enough to put the Lego Pirate Castle together for Kevin. Even I couldn’t figure it out.
Llama ready for my close-up
Back at the house, Crista and her family arrived. L-R bro-in-law Frank, sister #3 Margaret, Michael Bateman Jr, who calls me Uncle Chewey, and sister #5 Crista
Niece Nicole and Ella, Nephew Timmy, and Kevin. Nicole is amazingly smart. When we were at the zoo she knew all the technical terms for the animals, and their species. Ella she’s precocious.
Between Nov/Dec there are about 6 peeps in the family that have bdays. This Wegman’s cupcake cake was delicious. The two guys are bro-in-law Joe and brother #2 Ray. I’m #1. (Not pictured: us all going to bed at 9PM)
The day after Thanksgiving, The Batemans and I traveled to Flyertown Railroad. You have to to go there, great train sets, towns and toys for sale. Only $3 Fun times. Here we attempt a Bateman Holiday Card. Don’t worry this isn’t in. Couldn’t get everyone to look up at the same time.
Flyertown is one of those little “undiscovered” gems of neat places to visit. Whether you are a model railroad enthusiast or just want a fun place to take the kids and watch their jaws drop in awe, Flyertown Toy Train Museum and Operating Model Railroad. 2044 Route 9 just north of the intersection of Routes 9 and 83, in Clermont, New Jersey. (Near Avalon, NJ)
Then it was to Cape May and the Lobster House. I took Michael, Jr into the fish market so he could see the lobsters in their tank, just like my dad did with me when I was a kid. Then we ate one.
Mom’s wondering how many people can she feed is she bought a 37lb lobster. (I had the best lobster/crab cake at the Crab Trap in Somers Point on Sunday.)
Almost every evening my sisters and/or mom would go see Judy and help where needed. We did catch some good movies the Tom Hanks Devils movie (watched it twice, I’m slow), Wedding Crashers, The Break-up and Thomas the Tank. On Saturday I was excited to take the kids to the Wetlands Institute, just outside Stone Harbor. I spend a lot of time here when I am down the shore, looking at the exhibits, and exploring the wetlands.
Santa Claus, Tommie the Train and other North Pole friends are just a few of the scheduled activities for the Wetlands Institute’s annual Holiday Hoopla – Saturday, November 28th from 9:30AM to 4:00PM. L-R Ella, Kelsey, Dillon & Timmy
The kids on the train, they are waving to me. If you squint your eyes you can see our house in Stone Harbor on the bay.
Face Painting. (Not Pictured: A sad looking Dillon who could not get face painted green/white for the Eagles game he was going to the next day. He had to settle for a shark.)
The kids had a good time petting the star fish and sea urchins.
I prefer to just look at my sea creaturesThen I took the girls to my favorite beach on 7 Mile Island, The Point. You may have seen my sunshine pictures from here before. Here’s Ella looking adorable. The Atlantic Ocean is flat as a lake cause the wind coming off the land was about 25 – 35MPH and really laid those waves out.
Kelsey wanted to stick her feet in the water. She’s crazy, but makes a good model. What you can’t see is Stone Harbor suffers the same fate as Avalon, and the cliffs are just as high here. (Not Pictured: Ella jumping into the water with her new Uggs and Skinny Jeans, then traipsing thru the sand. Her mom is probably mad at me.)
Finally caught the sunset after 3 days of clouds and drizzle.
Saturday night was the famed Stone Harbor Holiday Parade.
Thanks to Diller & Fisher for keeping us feed and warm with hot chocolate, hot dogs, candy canes and popcorn.
Talking about food, I did not go hungry this weekend, that was a problem. Everyone loved the turkey, left overs, the abundance of food mom brought, and the MANNA baked pies. I bought 4. We still had some pecan left when we left on Sunday.
Behind Thomas Tank is Polly’s Place and Peace of Pizza. Two of my fav places in Stone Harbor. Besides Fred’s Tavern where my sister Margaret worked during her summers in SH. Tracy worked at the Stardust in Wildwood, another fav spot. Marg & Janine worked at Papagallos, and Crista at Hennys.
Shrek on the Wildwood Firetruck
By 8:45PM the kids were freezing and it was time to go. We didn’t get to see Santa, but we did write him a letter and drop it off at the Post Office.
Avalon on a beautiful sunny day. Of course it was Sunday and we were outta there. But the whole reason our family gathered there was to be close to Judy.
Finally I got the OK to visit, and I had the most extraordinary visit with her. I was able to say the things I wanted to say, she responded and I am at peace.
It’s just a matter of days until she is at peace.