Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Shiny, Happy People

We didn't take vacations when I was a kid. I can recall one trip. It was to visit my aunt's house in California. My mom, three brothers and I rode with my grandparents in their small car. Twelve hours, across the desert with that crew.

"Mo-om. He's touching me!"

"She won't stop looking at me!"

"Are we there yet?"

Good Christ, what a scene. I can still remember the backs of my sweaty thighs sticking to the vinyl seats in Grandpa's Chevy Nova. Every few miles I'd peel them off and they'd make a schluuup! sound. Grandpa was a stickler for no feet on the seats and keeping the A/C off to conserve gas so it was a shoulder to shoulder, feet on the floor kind of journey. No music, no radio, no nothing. About as brutal as it gets but, dammit, we were going to California! Land of movie stars, sunshine, beaches and Disneyland! It was worth every sweaty second.

Serge and I have taken the kids to the Jersey Shore for the past two summers. Last year we stayed with some relatives but this year we decided to rent our own place next to some friends of ours who go every year. At least three times a day I'd take a mental snapshot and thrill over the fact that we were making memories for our kids right that second! I didn't see the ocean until I was eight or nine, I think, but my kids are already well acquainted with the spray of sea water on their faces, jumping into waves, digging in the sand and falling asleep almost the second your head hits the pillow at night.

It makes me so damn happy to be able to offer this life in the country to Violet and Henry while creating traditions like vacations at the beach and fall weekends in New York City. So yeah. The Jersey Shore. Seven full days of solidifying friendships we hope last a lifetime and watching Violet and Henry really and truly playing with each other, forging a sibling relationship that takes my breath away with each new sweet interaction.

Imagine me pulling the curtains, setting up a vacation slide projector and excitedly patting the spot next to me on the couch with an eager smile. Brace yourselves...

Reader Comments (20)

You have such a great eye, these images are fantastic! I LOVE the shore so much. What a great time it looks like you had. xoxx

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle

Oh my god, these are fantastic! Several of these made me gasp, they are so lovely. Your kids (and you) are lucky indeed.

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Gorgeous! Looks like so much fun.

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaula

i love ocean / sea so much, these photos are wonderful, oh gosh I wanna vacation now :)

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteranajo

Some of those photos are really stunning--the second to last my favorite. What are you shooting with? Glad you got to be in such a beautiful place...

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterE.

@E - Thanks! Just a Canon point & shoot. A "PowerShot ELPH110HS" to be exact.

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who...

These are so amazing, lovely shots all of them. Memories indeed. You have an eye for capturing really special moments.

I didn't comment on the last post, wasn't sure where to weigh in...I love that you accept life is not all roses, because it surely isn't. Some really crappy stuff happens to everyone and denying it is useless. I didn't quite get the humour of the last post didn't click til I read the comments and it was pointed out. Either way I loved it and I love your unabashed outlook on life, real life. There is no scaring of this reader.

On a less dramatic note, I have wanted to go to the Jersey Shore with the fam forever...we have family in Long Island but I have no idea what place to pick...would you divulge what town you were in? Please.

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen

gorgeous shots - you have an eye

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMiriam

@Jen - Thanks! We stayed in Stone Harbor. It's an awesome little town with great shops and parks and a nearby zoo and the beach is super family friendly.

June 19, 2013 | Registered CommenterMonica

What lovely photos... the beach is the perfect family bonding place. I am so glad you love the country life. I must confess, it's not my cup of tea, but that's why the suburbs were invented!

Thanks for sharing your trip.

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGiGi

I love the pictures. We live near the beach and sometimes I can't seem to appreciate the beauty of it. It is in blog/pictures like this that I am reminded how lucky I am to live here. And I can't wait to see how my kids will have that sibling relationship you are talking about. My eldest really adores his little baby brother but I can't wait to see how they will be 2 or 3 years from now.

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterImadylle

Great to see Violet and Henry having so much fun playing on the beach! Bet they loved it and can't wait to go back. x

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersara

Thanks to check out Stone Harbor.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen

@Jen - If it helps, we rented through this agency and had a really good experience:

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who...

These pictures are great! I love Stone Harbor too. I live about an hour away from there.

But my comment is really about your bathing suit--I adore it! Would you mind sharing where you got it? I'm on the hunt for a new suit. I decided that after giving birth last summer, this will be the summer I rock a one-piece!

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

I have kinda been waiting to see the pics from the trip since you mentioned it! Thanks for sharing, and I am so jealous! Looks like an amazing time!

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Great suit - very glam!!

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGreenInOC

These photos are stunning. The kids are just so cute. I live in Jersey and I'm so glad the shore is back. Glad you had what looks like an excellent time!

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

As Richelle already said, you have a definite eye for photography, m'dear! Big time! Whooooole lotta beautiful shots up there and YOU ALL look beautiful. Here's to making memories and to many more awesome summer vacations like this!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPretzel Thief

What great vacation pictures. Love your family!

June 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDianaP

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