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.