I really wasn’t expecting it to be this way, it was supposed to be a normal New Jersey trip, filled with too many people to see, and the kids out of their element and clinging to me. But as luck would have it, a few things worked in my favor this time around. The main one being that my husband had a business trip the week before we left. Since it was on the East Coast, he flew directly to New Jersey a few days early. Since I was a single parent for more than a week before hand, this resulted in a few things.
- Being a single parent left me no time to call all our friends and set our usual tetris of a schedule to try and squeeze everyone in,
- The kids had missed their Dad and spent most of the time clinging to him, and
- I racked up a lot of solo parents points and was able to cash in on them.
A few visits and events has been set up prior to my husbands departure, but after that, nothing got set up, so it turned into a nice relaxing me-time trip.
Dress Shopping and Lunch
My sister had come down for the reunion, so we took the opportunity to do a wedding dress shopping girl day.
First up were Mani-Pedis in town. Always a fun girl experience, and my feet and nails were in desperate need. Afterward we went bridal gown shopping with my mom and her maid of honor. We visited The Curvey Bride in Manalapan, NJ, a shop that specializes in beautiful gowns for plus sized women. I can’t post any pictures because her fiancé is a reader, but I will say that she looked beautiful and many a tears were shed. If you are over a size 10 (like most American Women), I highly recommend the shop. Dresses of excellent quality in all sizes, you can truly see how you will look in the dress, and don’t have to settle for holding the small sample size up to you and guessing, rude shop owners telling you to loose weight, and open dressing rooms so you have to change next to a skinny bride. A wonderful experience and I have never seen my sister look so beautiful and happy.
Afterward, we went to a girls lunch at the Metropolitan Cafe in Freehold. Lovely sandwiches, nice drinks, and outdoor dinning, it was a perfect finish to the day.
One evening, after the kids were put to bed, my future brother in law had a great idea, Friendly’s! Feeling like high schoolers, we went to Friendly’s for late night ice cream sundaes. It was great to have a mini-couples date night, and indulge in treats I haven’t had in a long time.
I always insist on the beach in the summer in NJ. My sister, her fiancé, her bridesmaid and her boyfriend, my dad and his girlfriend, and my crew all went as one big group. Big group meant lots of extra hands to help with the two little ones. There was lots of sand castle building, wave jumping, and general beach fun. But my dad and husband took the kids for a while to the playground and sprinkler water park, which meant I got to actually enjoy some of my favorite beach activities: suntanning, napping and reading a book. Novel concept, but I was actually relaxed after this trip.
I had the wonderful opportunity to visit a dear friend, who had moved away from California a year ago to travel the world and do some self-discovery. Recently, her mother had some heath issues, causing her to come back to her home town in New Jersey to help in the recovery. While I worry for her, I was super excited to get the chance to be close enough to meet up. We drove up to Princeton to have lunch. My mom, who happened to be free that day, came along. We got sandwiches and salads, and went to Princeton’s beautiful campus to find a bench and eat. The kids, after spending an hour in the car, were wired up, so we let them loose running around the lawn in between bites. My mom ended up keeping an eye on them as I got the chance to reconnect with one of my dearest friends. 1 year apart, but in two minutes it was like we had never separated. I was sad when it became obvious that the kids really were ready for nap, and we had to say good-bye. I gave her a long hug, and we left knowing that distance can not affect a friendship like this. The kids slept the whole ride home.
My husband and I took advantage of the willing free sitters, and went out for a long and needed date night. We went and had an outrageous dinner at Just. We went all out; pre-dinner cocktails, appetizers, entrees, two desserts, and wine with dinner. Each dish was better than the last, and we waddled out to our car. Keen to take full advantage of the free care, we decided to see a movie. We drove to a near by theater to catch a showing of Maleficent in 3D. We discovered this wasn’t just any theater. This was one of those theaters with recliners instead of standard seats. We each took our recliner laid out, and enjoyed our 3D movie reclined with our feet up. That’s the way to do a movie. 🙂
Shopping With a Bestie
Having realized that my childhood best friend and I had not done girl time since the birth of her first child (7+ years ago), we decided to rectify that. We ditched, I mean left, the kids with their respective grandmas, and we went for lunch and some shopping at a local mall. It could have been high school again, except this time we had much more disposable income and credit cards. It was dangerous how much we found to buy. However, on the bright side I did managed to find all the outfits I was looking for for a baptism in a few weeks. (And with no sales tax, thank you New Jersey!) After several hours, we resisted the urge to shop more, as we were both fairly tired and had children we needed to get back too. But I will have to make sure we do that again in the future. 🙂
My last day was truly a bonus. We had a flight that evening, and I planned to spend the day relaxing, getting the energy out of the kids, and enjoying some time with the family. Then my dad’s girlfriend, who is a beautician, mentioned she had no customers and was free. Wasn’t I saying I needed my hair cut, did I want to come down? The kids were napping and my mom said I could use her car. Yeah! She works in a salon that specializes in the hair of Hispanic women. Most don’t realize but my hair is super curly, but I flat iron it straight so it’s manageable. Because of the thickness, curly, and length, salons in California charge a fortune, and not being used to my hair in the area I live, it often takes 2+ hours. My dad’s girlfriend blows out curly Latina hair all day long, she was able to blow out and flat iron my hair in an hour. She gave me a much needed trim and added some lovely face framing layers. Being my dad’s girlfriend, she only charged me next to nothing and refused my tip. I saved a fortune and I got so many compliments on my new hair style once I returned to work.
While I’m sad that I didn’t get to see and do everything I wanted to, it honestly was one of the more relaxing trips to New Jersey I’ve had in a long time. Even thought I had to work a few nights, I still managed to come home more relaxed then I had been in a long long time. Somethings, you really just need some time to concentrate on yourself. The universe clearly heard my body screaming for it and answered. Thank you universe, I truly appreciated every minute of it.