The very first thing Cole and Lyla did was ride on Great Papa Solotes' tractor. Cole asked to ride it every day and got very adept at it. Lyla even loved to ride it too. So Skip and Papa Solotes would take turns taking the kids for rides.
I was a little concerned with the tight sleeping conditions in George & Yvette's two bedroom home, but it all worked out wonderfully. The kids shared a room with Rick's parents. Cole slept on a twin air mattress on the floor. Lyla had a pack n play. Rick slept on the couch or floor and I slept on another air mattress or couch in the living room. Kaitlyn and Jillian either slept on the air mattress, at a friend's house or Natalie's apartment.
While Rick and I were at the wedding, Cole and Lyla went with the family to a party celebrating a cousin's graduation. They loved it and now Cole gets very excited at the mention of a party. After all, there was a lot to do in their backyard! We later joined them at the festivities.
We went to Darien Lake (an amusement park) one day thanks to Natalie who got free tickets for us from her work. Cole had a terrible allergy attack the night prior and was up until midnight, but we decided to go anyway. He was pretty good considering the circumstances. He rode many rides and enjoyed them but was also very scared in many too...notice the grip he has on Rick's shirt.
He got to ride his very own train! It was man powered so when it would run out of oomph from the initial push they would have to go push him again, but I thought he did great for never having "pedaled" with his hands (wait, or feet for that matter).
There was a mighty breakdown at one point that was finally resolved with daddy beating out little seven or eight year olds to win a cookie monster. Cole went on to ride the bumper carswith Cookie Monster. He did really well for never having driven by himself or pushed a pedal to drive!
All I have to say is "Thank Goodness for Cookie Monster!" I think he just needed a lovey and we hadn't brought his blanket. Since coming home he hasn't been all that thrilled with him other than to sing "C is for Cookie" and push a magnet shaped "C" into his mouth. Lyla finds him adorable and cuddles and lays with him, but calls him "Elmo" no matter how many times I correct her.
Cole got to see a Thomas & Friends show while Rick and I went on a roller coaster. He even participated which was rather shocking to me. (He is behind the "INA" sign.)
And even as tired as he was he wanted to ride motorcycles. I could tell he was afraid, but he held on and didn't get upset. That was a huge leap for him.
Little Princess was such a trooper too. She loved all the things to see and enjoyed the rides right along with Cole.
It was so great to spend time with the family and enjoy some cooler weather. Although it was unusually hot for Western NY, it was cooler than Texas. We'll take 85 - 90 degrees any day! Cole and Lyla really enjoyed playing in the shaded yard, going for walks with Grandma, playing in the water or going to the playground.
I would often find Cole talking with Great Grandma Solotes in the kitchen. He would go on and on and on. It was sooo sweet. There is a little TV in the kitchen and they would watch it together and talk about it. Or she would ask him lots of questions and he would give her the most detailed answers. Lyla captured Great Papa Solotes' heart right away. Of course he also bribed her with M&M's to sit with him. After that she would always want to sit with him in hopes of getting some chocolate.
We also visited Lake Ontario and went swimming at a friend's home where the girls surprised Cole with some Thomas toys and swimming trunks. You can see from his face he was delighted.
We were able to do so much, but at the same time have such a relaxed and lazy vacation.Okay, at least I was lazy. With so much help around I totally chilled. It was awesome.
And of course Rick had to eat at all the old stomping grounds. We even stopped at a the classic "Reids" for lunch and ice cream with the kids.
Overall, it was fabulous and it felt like leaving home again when it came time to actually go home. The only regret was we didn't make it to Rochester or Palmyra. Just not enough time in five days for all that we would want to do there. Hopefully it isn't another three years before we are able to return and see the Solotes clan!
And THANK YOU to Jillian for the majority of these pictures. Once again, I was a total slacker with the camera.