As I mentioned in my last post, my little brother came to visit us last weekend. Since he and Paul had to go fill their bellies with wings in Buffalo, I suggested that we continue on another 20 minutes northward and visit Niagara Falls while we were in the area. It was a hot, hot day and everyone was feeling a little sluggish after such a large and heavy lunch. But we made the short drive up to the city of Niagara Falls, found some free parking on one of the side streets, and then proceeded to apply sunscreen to one another shamelessly while standing on the corner of Main street. We must have looked ridiculous. But, since we're all Albinos, sunscreen is a must.
Once we were all greased up, we made the half mile walk to the entrance of Niagara Falls State Park. It is apparently America's oldest state park. I don't know how I missed that little tidbit during my last visit.
We had to walk a bit to find the bridge that would take us over to Goat Island where we could get a good look at Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls. As we crossed the bridge leading to Goat Island, Emma suddenly became very excited by her first glance of the water rapids as well as the Falls themselves! She kept pointing and hooting at me as if to say: "Look Mom! Don't you see this? Am I the only one noticing this awesomeness?!"
The Falls were absolutely gorgeous. I never get sick of looking at them. Matthew and Emma were both mesmerized by the sights. Matthew insisted on getting a better view through the large binoculars nearby. Uncle Raymond was kind enough to provide both the quarters and the boost necessary for our short little man to see. Since he's so freakishly tall, he should be helping the little midgets out.
After taking in the sights of the main falls, we continued on the walking path around Goat Island. The flowers were all in bloom and the scenery was simply gorgeous. We took the small bridge leading to Three Sisters Island where a couple bridal parties were taking pictures. We also took the opportunity to take a couple awkward family photos. Raymond was especially awkward. He couldn't quite figure out how to sit down for the picture. Awkward.
And then we attempted a family photo with Paul, the kids, and I. Raymond was successful in finally getting both kids to smile in the last take.
Shortly after leaving Three Sisters Island, Paul spotted a sign that he interpreted as meaning "no fat walkers allowed" and, with shame and despondency, glanced down at his protruding midsection. We took a photo commemorating his sadness. (In all reality, my hubby is nowhere near being fat despite his insistence that he has "issues" with his weight!)
As we continued the remaining two miles around the island and back to the main Visitor's Center, Matthew got really tired and requested a piggy back ride. Both Raymond and Paul threw out their backs giving the kid a lift, so we eventually resorted to strapping both kids into the stroller. This worked surprisingly well. I believe that Matthew tolerated Emma only because he wanted to avoid any reason to be ejected from the stroller and forced to walk on his own. So he put up with quite a few jabs and headbutts. Emma was happy as a clam being our little navigator for the remainder of the walk. She was obsessed with the map. Matthew tried to take it away from her several times, but quickly regretted his decision when she would scream at him. Emma has no problem standing up for herself around Matthew.
As we began making our way back to our parked car, we were crossing by some office buildings when Matthew suddenly, and with extreme urgency, began screaming that he had "to go potty". He always picks the best times to have a bathroom emergency - usually when we are nowhere near a restroom. He spied a small tree near one of the buildings that was fairly removed from pedestrian traffic so I took him over there and he quickly pulled down his pants and watered that tree. It was only shortly afterwards that we noticed a security camera right behind him that probably captured the whole scene. Just lovely.
After getting back to the car, we headed over to a little ice cream place called Da Dee's Dairy. They serve a ridiculous number of flavors of Perry's Ice Cream (my favorite!) and the serving sizes are gigantic. Emma ate so much ice cream, I became worried for her poor little tummy. Matthew also ate a gigantic serving of that nasty bubblegum-flavored "Superman" ice cream that all kids seem to love. Loading both kids up with sugar immediately prior to taking the long car trip home proved to be a big mistake. They were both so hyper and since I had lost the coin toss, I was sandwiched between them in the back seat while Paul and Ray were safe from their clawing fingers, high pitched shrieks, fighting, and endless chatter about NOTHING. I was so excited to put them to bed when we got home - and they both went to sleep immediately. That's the sign of a great day filled with food, family, fun, and (this is just for you, Ray) "toodling".
We love summer!