We spent the first three weeks of August visiting family and friends in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. As always, it was great to see everyone, and thanks to my Mom and Dad for having us and for organizing so many nice get-togethers!
First up was dinner with the Krilov family — pictured here are Louis, Zara and Andrea, long time friends of the family. We missed Hannah who was off in Europe studying wine-making as part of her culinary degree — it sounds awesome!
We also celebrated Uncle Charlie’s 85th birthday:
Here are the boys with Grampa, Uncle Charlie and Uncle Doug:
Morgy and I traveled down to Toms River with Uncle Doug and “Gramma Arizona” for a few days at the beach. We were pretty lucky with the weather so enjoyed 4 full days of sun at Seaside Park, Island Beach State park and the boardwalk.
Mom, Dad, Jack and Joey joined us for a couple of those days which was really fun. Morgy loves hanging out with his cousins! Here are the boys in the water with Dad and Uncle Doug.
The waves were actually quite rough at times as the slope of the beach was quite steep in places. I should also mention that we spotted two sting rays coming in very close to shore one day which is something I’ve never seen at the Jersey Shore before. I love rays so was delighted but wasn’t sure if it was a good or a bad sign for the sting rays!
Here’s Gramma Arizona – still going strong at 87!
And here is Uncle Doug who was a keen helper in the quest to make volcano after volcano after volcano:
Later in the afternoons, we headed over to the boardwalk for some games and rides:
Temperatures were hovering just under 90 F plus humidity most days while we were down the shore. I absolutely love the heat (especially when there’s an ocean or pool nearby) but Aled would have melted instantly! Morgy was definitely slowing down a little in the heat but we kept them all hydrated and they had plenty of fun as you can see:
Here are Joey, Morgy and Jack in one of their favourite rides:
My cousin Kim came over for a visit one night and we had a good catch up over a game of Phase 10.
Back up in Wyckoff we got organized for the cousins get together. Aunt Carolyn and my Mom did a super job cooking and preparing for this event. Morgy loves to bake and we learned lots of great recipes and tricks from Aunt Carolyn, a baker extraordinaire:
It was fab to see so many cousins all at once. Pictured here are Rachel, me, Morgy, Jack, Anthony, Karen Joey, Eric, Viviana, Chris, Alejandro and Sonia!
No cousins gathering is complete without a game of foosball in the basement. Here’s Josh training up the next generation!
Then it was off to Mystic Seaport with Mom and Dad. Here we are in front of the whaling ship Charles W. Morgan:
I’ve been dying to get Morgan on a tall ship to expose him to some maritime history and give him a taste of my previous life as a tall ship sailor. Hopefully we can go sailing on one soon. Here we are raising a yard on the Joseph Conrad:
One of my favourite activities at Mystic was building this model boat with Morgan which we managed to bring home to Cardiff in one piece!
I also managed to catch up with an old sailing buddy who lives in New London. Her name is Krista and she owns a guesthouse in the area (pictured behind her in the photo below). She works on a research vessel in Antarctica for part of the year too and has been on some incredible adventures. She’s just gotten married to a nice guy named Phil who I met while I was there — congrats guys and thanks again for having us!
While we were in New London, we visited the USS Nautilus at the submarine museum which we were able to board and tour. It was the first nuclear submarine ever built.
Back in New Jersey, we practiced our swimming lots in Gramma and Grampa’s pool. Here is Morgy with Gramma:
And with Grampa swimming to “the island”:
During our last week, we went on some great day trips to various attractions in the area including Liberty Science Center:
… which had some fantastic activities for the kids:
…including this crazy climbing frame suspended 30 feet above the ground:
Here we are at Field Station Dinosaurs on another very warm day:
Morgy also loved the budgies at Van Saun park and zoo:
Morgy and I went up to visit Aunt Karen and Uncle Anthony in New York for a movie at the Palisades Park Mall:
And a ride in Jack and Joey’s mustang:
As ever, it was an action-packed trip! In between the family visits, I managed to catch up with a few old friends from high school and college but there’s never enough to time to see all of them and they’re all getting really busy with their jobs, kids, etc. Many of them are spread out all over the country by now too. Here I am with one of my oldest friends from Wyckoff, Avrum Joffe who I got to see for 15 whole minutes (he is a doctor after all!):
Here I am at Hilary Stevens’ house in central New Jersey for a quick visit with her two daughters and husband (as you can see not easy to get all the kids in this photo!):
I also managed to see Lisa Todisco, Laura Tillsley and the Vetrano family but I didn’t manage to get any good pictures of them Maybe next time
Let us not of course forget that Aled was slaving away at work in Cardiff while we were off gallivanting overseas! Here he is at Bute Park on his cycle ride home sending pics of the dinosaur exhibit over to Morgy via Whatsapp:
He took full advantage of his freedom and took a trip or two to Pembrokeshire. Here he is camping at Abermawr beach with his good friend Nic:
This is Aled’s favourite surf beach which looks beautiful on a sunny day:
Aled also managed to surprise Nanna and Taidi at Glan y Mor where honey extraction was in full swing! I hope we get to help with this process next year. Here is Taidi with one of Morgy’s cousins from Wokingham, Dylan:
So that was August folks! Actually not completely… for the bank holiday we headed up to North Wales but I will leave that for the next post. Thanks again to my parents for such a nice trip home!