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Homeshuling

ellabeachWe’ve actually been home for almost a week, but I’ve been having a hard time getting back to blogging. We had a fantastic vacation, visiting my mother at the Delaware shore, and part of the reason I’ve been reluctant to write is that I know I won’t be able to capture what made it so wonderful.
This was not a luxurious escape by most people’s standards. The four of us slept in one room – my husband and I in a double bed (whoever came up with that name surely slept alone), and the girls on air mattresses that flanked the bed and covered the entire surface of the floor. The effect was not unlike a 2-tiered bounce house, which, come to think of is, was probably quite luxurious from Ella and Zoe’s perspective. At one point in the trip there were 7 of us sharing a bathroom, and we did not dine out other than to celebrate our anniversary.
Nevertheless, it was the kind of vacation I fantasized about when we were starting our family out in Oregon, thousands of miles from any immediate family. Now, here we were, my mom, my brother Tom, my aunt Carole (who isn’t really my aunt) and my cousin Jill (who isn’t really my cousin) and her daughter Ilana (who really is her daughter), spending glorious “quality time” together. 
Tom and I took turns cooking dinner each night. We went grocery shopping together almost every day, and acted as each other’s sous chef for most meals. We pretended that we weren’t competing to create the best meal, but we were, and I’m sure he won. I did whip up some tasty cod-cakes, but his bison roast (bought at the kosher butcher in Baltimore for a small fortune by my mom) definitely topped the week.
The weather, for the most past, alternated between stiflingly hot and humid and pouring rain, and sometimes a combination of the two. While only a monsoon will keep my mother (and Ella) from the beach, there was still a lot of indoor time. Which, in the absence of wi-fi and dvr, and a self-imposed limit to the number of Pee Wee’s Playhouse episodes allowed on any given day, forced us to get creative. We filled quite a bit of time with jigsaw puzzles of every shape and size, including this one.

where's mike?

where's mike?

Also, lots of trips to the dollar store for more puzzles, and some other priceless investments which transformed the living room into a looping spool of the classic film “Princess Sits on a Whoopie Cushion.” The digital camera and the couch also provided the girls with hours of entertainment. couch1couch2couch3Tom, a fantastic singer-songwriter, entertained the girls with cheerful songs by Merle Haggard and Townes Van Zandt (har har) and they entertained him with songs they made up on the spot. (Here’s a clip of Tom from many years ago, but he’s still that cute. And single….a-hem.)YouTube Preview Image 
There were heaps of other highlights, including rides on the boardwalk, sunset walks on the beach (no, not the romantic kind), a trip on the Cape May Ferry, and dairy queen blizzards. But at the risk of sounding treacly, the best part really was just all the time together.
None of this vacation could have happened if it weren’t for the generosity of my mom, aka bubbe, who rents the house for three weeks for some much needed r&r, and then lets us fill it up with the exact opposite of r&r. But it looks like she doesn’t mind too much, don’t you think?beachgirls

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