Monday, April 28, 2008

Things I will miss about Toledo, Part III: Black Swamp Art Festival

Every September (usually the first weekend) there is a big art festival in Bowling Green. They block off part of Main Street and set up booths for artists down the middle of the road for about 2 blocks. Another entire block is devoted to art projects (mostly free) for kids. It is a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, because we are ill-prepared, we have yet to make it to the festival with our camera, although we've gone every year. So these pictures are all of the products our children have made, but not of the process itself.
They usually make some sort of large paper hat. These brown paper versions are especially nice to steal from the children when it is hot and sunny during the festival. I wore a feather- and glitter-bedecked version the entire day in 2006. And doesn't Olivia's expression in the top picture remind you of Matthew Lau? Those round-headed babies are sober kids, I guess.

This watercolor/coffee-filter version of the hat is from last year. Much more colorful, but not nearly as functional. Especially because you can't wear them while they are drying.
And these tribal masks are from last year too.

Besides craftiness, the Black Swamp festival also boasts a delicious kettle-corn stand with samples galore, a woman who is there every year selling clothes for those crazy front-yard geese (sorry, Ohio, but I just can't get on this trend), and a book sale at the Bowling Green library where the Wells family has picked up more treasures than our bookcases can hold over the past four years.

I'm going to miss you, Black Swamp.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Crash and Burn

Olivia would like you to see our last expedition over to campus on the bicycle. It started out happily enough, with the bike basket filled to overflowing with dandelions and smiles all around.
I wanted to video her favorite part of the campus ride. There is a little hill and a bridge, and she zooms down it, screaming in delight (I promise it is delight) over and over again whenever we ride over. Of course, the one time I am there with a camera to capture her enthusiasm, this is what happens.
She was fine, for the most part. You could see how she landed, facefirst, in the grass, but her only injury was a small fat lip.

Things I Am Going to Miss About Toledo, Part II: Free Internet

In posting this, I feel somewhat embarrassed. For the past three-and-a-half years, this is how we have connected to the internet. The little cable is a wireless antenna. It helps us pick up the public wireless signal from the medical school. I don't feel guilty, since John is a medical student, and the signal is for the use of students, but I feel a little (all right--WAY) on the cheap side to admit our willingness to work this hard to get free internet. It's fast, when it works at all, and it is quite susceptible to the vagaries of the weather, but it's free. And now I'm going to have to start paying an internet bill. So very, very sad.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Thing I am Going to Miss About Toledo, Part I: Campus

In considering my rapidly approaching move, I have been thinking and regretting all the things that I am going to miss about Toledo. (Now, this is not to say that I am unhappy about South Bend. I am delighted about South Bend. This is also not to say that Toledo could be defined as "Heaven on Earth"--certainly not.) I would like to chronicle at least some of the wonderful things that we have enjoyed here in our almost-four years.

Favorite thing (place?) #1: UT HSC/MUO/MCO campus
Despite the many and frequent name changes of the school John attends, having it practically as my front yard has had so many advantages. The first and foremost is that John has been able to have lunch and dinner with us much more often than if we had lived farther away. During his first year, he could run home after morning lectures and grab Olivia so she could go with him to a noon conference, complete with pizza and soda. She thought those little daddy-daughter dates were heaven. (What more could a toddler ask?) Also, it was easy to complete the first two years with only one vehicle in the Wells family fleet.
The third, and most fun, advantage has been that the campus is practically our front yard. We have used it as a yard, finding all the fun spots to play hide-and-seek, pushing the handicapped door buttons, and riding tricycles and bicycles along the miles of sidewalk. Sure, we've been a spectacle. There are not very many other small girls on campus (especially when bedecked with tutus and fairy wands), but it has been lovely. If I couldn't actually have a yard, I've had the next best thing.

We've made runs to "The Big Hill" (the hill around the campus Hilton hotel) in our pajamas (this picture is from October) to roll down the grass and put handfuls of gravel into the drain at the bottom of the hill. If it's warm enough, every child I have babysat makes an expedition with us over to campus. Zachary Marks and Jack Slater have been particularly engrossed with putting whatever fits down those drains. (If there is a flood on campus sometime after I leave, I will swear that everything we sent down the drain was biodegradable and it couldn't possibly have been our fault.)
And yesterday, we did one of our regular family expeditions as a Sunday walk. The small amphitheater between the Health Education Building and the hospital is the perfect place for a dance concert, and the girls will never pass up the chance to put on a show.
As excited as I am about my own yard, I'm going to be sad to give this up.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Blog Neglect

I haven't been checking anyone's blogs lately. I haven't even been checking my own blog lately, which is very unlike me. Why? Well:
1) The weather has been bee-YEW-tiful these past few days, beckoning the Wells girls outside with its siren call. (Despite that pesky melasma that necessitates frequent and copious applications of sunscreen on my face.)
2) I am working on a time-intensive computer-based project, which hogs up my normal blog time (nap time).
3) We've run into just a few (major? minor? who knows) snags in our home-buying process, which has taken the wind out of my sails just the tiniest bit.

Anyway, for this moment, I've been relegated to the bedroom with the computer while John and the girls wrap (or assemble? or hide?) my birthday presents for tomorrow. The sounds coming from the dining room are hilarious. The girls will say something (unintelligible from this distance), and John will immediately "SSSSHHHHH" them, and they will giggle. Then they'll say something else and be shushed again. Whereupon they will giggle again. It's the happiest, most charming, darling conversation, and I can't hear anything they are saying. I can't wait for tomorrow.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

So sad!

Chipotle has chosen this year to discontinue their "Free Burritos on Tax Day" tradition. I am very sad. I was so happy to have a month where three days had free stuff.

However, I have something (small) to offer in recompense for all of your disappointment. You can sign up at Cold Stone Creamery for their birthday club and get free ice cream on your birthday. (Baskin Robbins also has a birthday club). I hope you all sign up and think of me when you eat your delicious treat.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

My New House!

Here is my new house! (Well, almost my new house. Our offer has been accepted, and if the inspection goes well--there we are!) Isn't it lovely? And huge? I feel like my expectations were exceeded so incredibly that I'm being greedy. It is certainly an embarrassment of riches to have a four (4!!) bedroom house with two-and-a-half (2-1/2!!!!) bathrooms all to my own little family, especially considering this home has FOUR times the square footage of my current apartment.
Here is my entryway. (Why is this underlined? I don't know.)
Here is my dining room. (I guess, technically, all these rooms belong to both John and I. However, "my" carries my enthusiasm a little further.)
Here is the master bath. (Master bath!!) It has a shower--a shower that I will only have to share with John. And I won't have to move any tub toys. I'm so excited!
Here is the basement. It is currently decorated to reflect the owner's rabid interest in Notre Dame football. I have nothing against this, but it will probably look differently when I am done. For one, I have only one couch and one table, and there are other rooms that will take priority in the distribution of those rare and valuable pieces of furniture.

I love the house. I love the neighborhood. It is only 3/4 of a mile from Olivia's elementary school (which is a fabulous school with HALF-DAY kindergarten), and our house is right on the edge of the neighborhood before all the houses get ENORMOUS. So, I don't think our property values will go down. I am so happy and so incredibly blessed. Can you hear my sigh of contentment from clear over there?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

House Hunting

We are heading out tomorrow to South Bend to look at houses. There are several lovely choices in our price range, and it's so exciting, if a little scary.
What do you think of these options?
New and nice. Cute, lots of personality.
Very different, but the pictures of the inside of this one are fantastic.
Cookie cutter, of course, but a very nice house.

My main considerations are two toilets (no more dual-child emergencies), a dishwasher, washer/dryer hookups in my house (can you believe the genius of that idea?), and a garage (no more scraping windows). Everything else is simply a bonus.
Wish us luck!