Cole turned 4 in October. He loves green and he loves sprinkles, so I saw a cake on pinterest and kind of went from there. I threw the purple layer in for Lyla. It was prettier in my head but he still loved it.
His smile at the end of this video is priceless.
Of course we had the annual Trunk or Treat at church. Lyla saw a picture I had pinned of a tutu outfit for Elmo and kept asking for it so she was Elmo for Halloween and Cole picked out a Veggie Tales - Bob the Tomato. I didn't get any good pictures of Cole's outfit but he loved it. Since last Halloween they often talk of what they will be for the next. They are both so into dress up and pretend play right now that they think every day is Halloween.
Cole and Lyla are such goofs and such good friends. It is so fun to watch them play together and how protective they are of each other. I love this cuddle shot - gum and all. :-)
Rick traveled to North Carolina for a job interview at The Club at Longview and was able to stay with his family and enjoy a dinner at the Trump National Golf Club in Mooresville.
Of course, this is the job he ended up accepting which lead us to North Carolina. Longview is a really pretty club with an Old English European theme to it and all the houses surrounding it.
So we prepared to leave Miramont Country Club in College Station, TX but before doing so had some really fun outings.
Papa and Grandma Rees took us to Sea World in San Antonio. None of us had been there before and it was a great place for little kids.
Unfortunately, we didn't get many pictures. I guess we were too involved in what there was to see. But I did snap this reaction to Cole seeing Shamu the Whale!
And while watching the dolphin show we ran into my cousin Angela and her family whom I had not seen since she and her husband Jeremy got engaged. As you can see that was a long time ago! Thanks Kylene for actually taking pictures. :-) What are sisters for?
We made another trip to the Houston Children's Museum where Lyla was thrilled to be allowed to color on her face.
They love all the different stations in the science section and could stay hours baking in the little restaurant.
They are getting big for this now if we were to go back now, but the upstairs level has a padded outdoor area to drive cars with miniature road signs and lots of different cars. They usually spend the most time here.
Well that and the water and outdoor play area downstairs. Cole loves filling up the big bowl and runs away before it dumps out. They had a maze set up as well for the Halloween season. Cole wanted to see how fast he could make it through.
They discovered the older kids area where they can surf or snow ski. Cole and Lyla tried it sitting, laying down, standing, sliding or whatever way they could think until the big kids showed up.
Oh yes, and lets not forget the grocery store. Lyla wears all the name tags and collects all the money.
We went to a pumpkin patch that also had a maze, farm machines, and of course, lots of pumpkins.
The TAMU sponsored Children's Barnyard is always so fun. They can pick up baby chicks, see horses, cows, sheep, pigs and a large tractor all up close and personal.
Daddy took them on the Austin Steam Train again. This is definitely a favorite activity of theirs. They usually go downtown and play at the Austin Children's museum.
We had our family pictures taken by the lovely and talented Lauren Bertoldo, of course, they have left TX now too. Omaha, take care of the Bertoldos! Here are a few of our favs. There were SO MANY great ones. (Lyla was being a stinker and doing her fake smile - lower jaw sticking out - or none at all.)
Oh yes, and we must have SPOONS frozen yogurt!!!
But we still had more adventures in Texas. Dad started working in NC in November but we stayed until after Christmas before leaving the big state of TX.
And I am back! I don't know how I got so far behind. Wait. Yes I do. We moved and I haven't been the same since. But here I am again making an effort to document our family and all the wonderful and fun things we get to experience. I started going to through all the pictures we have taken in the past year and got so sad that my babies have grown so much. Some pictures I probably wouldn't have even posted a year ago, but looking back I see how the picture radiates their little personality and makes it special.
First let me post some yummy pics I found on Rick's phone from our NY trip in August of 2012 (which was the last posting).
This space cow can be seen in the Houston airport and my kids love it and remember it and ASK for it when we go to an airport. Love things they always remember.
At Aunt Kaitlyn's graduation party, Lyla received some jewelry and a crown. She loved it even though this picture might not show it. However, I had to post this because this face is SO Lyla when she is determined and stubborn. I don't remember why but I sure know that was what she was feeling.
And finally, I forgot to mention that Papa Poling drove up to NY from Ohio to visit the kids for the afternoon. Rick took a couple of pictures on his phone that are too, too cute. (And again, Lyla with her serious faces...she went through a very long phase of a determined effort not to smile for pictures. I think she is just now coming out of it...one year later.)
So some other fun shots from Daddy's phone:
Daddy and Lyla love to make funny faces together. The kids also love to dance to daddy's music after his showers and especially anything sung by the Chipmunks.They also like to do the Oompa Loompa dance from the more recent Willy Wonka movie. But I'll save those videos for another day.
I'll leave this post with one video from a neighbor's swing in NY during Kaitlyn's party. So sweet - Lyla and Daddy.
We were fortunate enough to have two summer vacations this year. We spent a week in New York with the Solotes clan. It was so much fun taking up every inch of George & Yvette's home just to sleep! Cole calls them Big Papa and Grandma. As we were driving to their home from the airport, Cole got very quiet. I wasn't sure if he was falling asleep or what. Then all of the sudden he burst out "Grandma has a birdie clock!" And then proceeded to tell other things in their home. He was sitting there trying to recall memories of the year prior I guess and succeeded! So, of course, all he and Lyla wanted to do when we got there was watch the birdie come out of the cuckoo clock. They were kind enough to track such a clock down for Lyla and Cole and sent it our way. They are still elated every hour the bird announces the time and are sad if they realize we just missed him.
Cole and Lyla had awesome airbeds on the floor besides Grandma and Papa Solotes. They had never slept in the same room since the year prior, much less right beside each other so I was unsure how this was going to turn out. Well, it went beautifully, and they wanted to sleep together even after we returned home. So we moved their beds in the same room and it has eased bedtime routines and they both sleep better. Guess they were lonely in their own rooms!
We went to New York primarily because two of Rick's closest friends growing up were getting married a week apart from each other. So we dropped the kids off with grandparents and headed to Canandaigua/Rochester area to attend Aaron Ronk's wedding. We stayed two nights in the Brookwood Inn, where Rick was first introduced to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some girls shared with him a copy of the Book of Mormon, explained they were visiting historical sights of the church there and encouraged him to read the book and see the sights himself. So he did! And the rest is history...anyway, it was so fun to be there with him for a couple of days. He looked dashing in his tux and we really had a fun time chatting with his high school comrades.
The first night is when Rick was finally able to get some New York pizza. This started his week long pizza extravaganza. He literally had pizza everyday, sometimes twice! He was obsessed! But still, it was so adorable to see how happy a simple NY pizza can make him.
Cole was ultra excited to get back on Big Papa's tractor and dig up some real dirt. I think Papa brought in some dirt or already dug some up just for that purpose. Again, thanks for making our little man's wishes come true!
Lyla watched Cole and Big Papa and cheered them on.
We tried to take the kids to do something fun every day. Although we probably didn't need to because they were happy just to play hide and seek in the big yard with big trees and bushes, cars and garages to hide around. Cole also dreamed up a tree house. Big Papa drew up some plans and then Cole imagined it being built in the tree in front of the house. There is a round driveway around the tree so Aunt Natalie helped him draw a picture of it on the driveway. Cole went and "watered" his tree house and helped build it every day. He still talks about the tree house and completely expects it to really be there the next visit. Better get on that one! (Sidenote: As I am writing this we are planning a move to Charlotte, North Carolina. Cole isn't always excited about change so I try to think of some fun things about NC to get him excited. I told him there are LOTS of trees there and maybe we could buy a house with a lot of trees in the backyard. He instantly asked if we could put a latter on one and a tree house. :-)
We went to the Buffalo Zoo. They hadn't ever been to any zoo so I think they were especially amazed by seeing the animals so close.
The gorillas just laying around
Lyla really thought the Polar Bears were awesome.
Her looking back to tell me the real bears were sleeping.
(Oh yea, love all those bows? That was Lyla's request.)
Cole running across the bridge in the rain forest exhibit. I think this was his favorite part.
We drove out to the Eerie County fair and arrived about 11am only to find it didn't open until 1pm. OOPS! So we drove another hour or so to Niagara Falls and went to the fair another day. It was kind of a bummer not to be able to go to the Canadian side (need passports now or a special license). The view from that side is amazing, but you get the splash on the American side of course.
(Oh wow! A picture of me! A rare find.)
We stopped to get some balloons made. Cole chose a green hat. Our boy loves green!
Lyla had to have a PURPLE flower...of course!
There is the cutest little shopping and park area in Olcott, NY right off Lake Ontario. They have kiddie amusement park rides for only 25 cents! We should have come earlier in the day rather than late afternoon because they would have stayed much longer. Cole played a game to win a magnifying glass and a mini camera. They have since broken but he randomly asks where they are "Because I need them to find things!!!" Cole showed he is growing up by riding all the rides without fear, just pure adrenaline and joy.
But we did make it to the Eerie County Fair and WOW what a fair! It was huge! Of course, we had some bumps in the road getting there. (Like somehow we left the house without Cole's shoes!) We were worried about being rained out but it turned out to be a beautiful day. I really enjoyed being with the kids and family there. I guess I had never been to a county fair that I can remember. I know I never saw such huge cattle in my life!! I would have felt my life was in jeopardy had it not been a cow. Towered above me. Probably the size of a small elephant! Anyway, the kids loved seeing all the animals and Cole had to ride as many rides as possible. Lyla is still small and more timid when it comes to rides but there were some she wanted to do. The kids also talk about the butterfly conservatory as well, which they enjoyed for quite some time with their Aunts.
By far, their favorite ride is the big, HUGE, slide. They rode it three times I believe and wanted to go again and again and again. Alas, it is also a very expensive ride. :-(
Lyla is always very attached to Daddy on vacations and in new places and the fair was no exception. But that's okay, because Daddy loves it, right?
They rode the firetrucks together and although Lyla doesn't look very happy in the picture, the video shows she got pretty into the drive, even teasing her brother.
The last time we tried to take the kids to a petting zoo they were terrified and screamed to leave, so I wasn't even going to attempt to take them to this one, but Cole said he wanted to see the animals so we gave it a go. (Maybe the zoo warmed him up?) I am so glad we did because they both loved having the goats eat out of their hands and didn't seem very afraid (A little bit is good though, after all, they do still have tiny hands - CHOMP!)
Cole also wanted to ride the ponies! I kept thinking, "Who is this brave boy and where did my shy, timid Cole go?" No more! Seriously, he is really branching out to do new adventurous things and very outgoing socially now too. All because of a couple vacations this summer, maybe?
We ended our trip back at the cows and pigs that were awaiting their shows or judgings, I don't know what they are called at the fair. It was hard to tear Lyla away.
I mean, look at these EYES - entranced.
They were definitely tuckered out by the days events and so were we! But on to more fun things...Rick and I had another wedding to attend, that of Tony Roman. Natalie and Joe watched the kids for us. Cole and Lyla were so excited to spend the evening with their aunt, watch movies and play with their robot and dog. Natalie made them hot dogs and they ate M&Ms so my kids were in heaven. So nice to have babysitters who actually do love your kids. Thank you! It was nice to get all dressed up again and have a quiet evening with Rick too.
And last, but not least, we had the family graduation party for Kaitlyn at Dan and Denise's home. Yay! Moving on to college. It is always fun to be with family and this evening did not fail. The food and company was excellent.
Daddy and kiddies eating hamburgers
The fun and adorable Aunt Margaret (who makes a killer salad and scrumptious cauliflower)! Rick and his parents treated her to an evening at the casinos during the week as well. She loves her slot machines!
Cole and Lyla definitely wore out Aunt Natalie. I think they tagged her as their permanent game of chase partner.
Here are some other fun pictures the aunts took during the trip too.
Lyla trying to put her face into the Cars Sign. Thought she was such a big girl since she could pull herself up.
The really HUGE slide!
Aunt Natalie entertaining the kids on the drive back home from the fair.
Super Model Aunt Kaitlyn, Aunt Natalie and Aunt Jillian
Aunt Jillian is so great about remembering to take pictures! Thank you Jillian for all the great photos! The kids love their aunts.