Saturday, April 30, 2011


Evidence that even the most reasonable members of my family are not so reasonable at 10:30 p.m.

This is why Olivia couldn't sleep in her *pink* room last night and had to sleep on the couch.

You know, Liv, if pink really makes you so sad, your life in this family is going to be pretty pathetic.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Our Favorite YouTube Video

We love all the "Walk on the Wild Side" YouTube videos.  LOVE them.  But we have one particular favorite, which we not only replay on the computer, but also re-enact at the dinner table, in the living room on family night, and all over the yard.

Watch the video.  And look for this face at 1:01. . .

. . . and this one at 1:32.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Easy Way to Sew Easter Dresses*

*If you are determined to sew them, which I am.  Just so nobody thinks I'm a loony, I do realize it would be easier to buy Easter dresses.  I just like making them.

Step 1:  Shop for Easter dress fabric in March 2010, while still in a state of pregnancy super-fatigue and find sheer green fabric with simple daisy print that is just perfect for three little dresses.  Delusionally determine that one has plenty of energy for the task of sewing three dresses.

Step 2:  Cut out pieces for three dresses.  Watch Easter come and go.  Over the next two months, sew the dresses completely together except for the neck bands.  

 Step 3:  Hide the semi-finished dresses in the sewing room closet. Ignore their mocking "finish me" glances.

Step 4:  Have a baby.

Step 5:  Wait until March and start thinking about Easter dresses for 2011.  Have Mom come to visit. She will bribe you (even offer to do all the ironing required) to finish the dresses.  Sew the neckbands and add the elastic to the sleeves, finishing all three dresses in one night.
 Step 6:  Rejoice.

Step 7:  Realize that the baby born in step 4 will also require a dress.
 Step 8:  Look in the fabric stash and realize that all the fabric purchased in 2010 was used in the dresses for the three original dresses.

Step 9:  Panic.
 Step 10:  Go to Jo-Ann Fabric.  Find exact same fabric.  Purchase 1/2 a yard (babies are small).  Cut out pieces for baby dress.  Sew all the bodice pieces together.

Step 11:  Tuck baby dress into sewing room closet.  Ignore mocking "finish-me" glances from dress for a month, until day before Easter.

Step 12:  Try the Big Three dresses on the Big Three girls.  Realize Dress #3 will not fit over the head of child #3.  Panic.
Step 13:  Stay up WAY too late the night before Easter making a keyhole neck in back of Dress #3 and putting the skirt onto Baby Dress.

Step 14:  Smile the next day to see all four of those crazy Wells babies in their green dresses.

Do you think I ought to start working now on next year's dresses?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Oh, I love that guy.

Sunday morning, I was finished my hair beautification ritual with a very minimal amount of backcombing at my crown.  When John came in, he asked, "What are you doing?"
I answered, "Volumizing."
John said, "Oh.  Yeah.  Your head looks WAY bigger."


Thanks, honey.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Party in the Windy City

My dad was in Chicago last week for a judicial conference at Northwestern.  We decided to go over and meet him there on Friday.  Since John's schedule didn't coincide with the South Shore schedule (and who wants two cars in Chicago?), the girls and I rode the train over and then walked up to meet my dad at the hotel.
The big girls were doing great walking through downtown until we got stopped on the sidewalk to wait for the Obama motorcade.  For 30 minutes.  It nearly killed Olivia, and after that, she lost the spirit of walking adventure.  She kept looking across the street to determine if that side was going to be let loose any earlier than our side.
The babies (although Bella would object to that term) did great.  However, only those who have walked with a double stroller (and a total of four children) through downtown Chicago can understand how conspicuous I was.  C.O.N.S.P.I.C.U.O.U.S.  I think I drew every glance for a mile.
We headed to Navy Pier with my dad, where we ate, of all places, at McDonald's, by the children's request.  They probably could have gone back to the hotel with their Happy Meal watches and been pleased with the outcome of the day.
This is Bonny Bunny, who was performing with those crazy actors that roam around Navy Pier.  (One actor, dressed as a Louis XIV-style king, asked Mimi for the time, and when she gave it to him, he said, "Thank you, young lady."  Best part of Mimi's day, hands down.)  Bella thought this enormous bunny was fun from a distance, but terrifying at this range.
We visited the Children's Museum, which was super fun.  (I especially love the skyscraper project, although building a skyscraper was a challenge with Maddie in the backpack and Bella putting plastic bolts in each and every hole in our structure.  There is a reason that construction crews normally contain no two-year olds.)

My dad reserved rooms for both of us at the Inn of Chicago, right on the Magnificent Mile.  It was the perfect location.  (Thank you, Dad!)  We were able to walk anywhere we wanted to go for entertainment or food.  The lobby is super fancy, and my girls showed their delight at the fanciness by bouncing into each and every wingback chair while I was trying to check in.  (Again, conspicuous.)

When we got up to our rooms, it was obvious that this was an old hotel that had been renovated. The rooms were still really small.  My stroller could not fit through the narrow passageway that led from the room door, past the bathroom, to the beds.  But still, delighted with the shiny marble and sparkling chandeliers that had greeted us in the lobby, Olivia plopped herself onto the double bed, ignoring the cracking paint and the window AC unit, and declared, "This is the fanciest hotel EVER."  Then she stated her intention of slipping into her swimsuit and going for a swim.  I said that I didn't think they had a swimming pool.  She immediately sat both upright, disgusted, "WHAT?!  No pool?!  And they call this a fancy hotel."

Mimi and Bella (as well as my dad, ahem) were easily entertained once they realized that the drawers in the TV console were roomy enough to serve as spots for hide-and-seek.

John joined us that night.  All my girls decided they would rather be in the hotel room with "Big Grandpa" (which differentiates him from Great-Grandpa Anderson, a.k.a. "Little Grandpa") than with Mom and Dad.  With only Maddie in our room, John and I slept like logs.  I don't have room for the story here, but suffice it to say, my dad was not nearly so fortunate.

In the morning, we headed down to Millennium Park, where we showed my dad The Bean, which is a favorite of my girls.
And again, as you can see, even in this Picasso-esque perspective, the Ergo carrier keeps the smallest one perfectly happy.  (I heartily recommend it.  Heartily.  Everyone should have one of these.)
Trips like these make me so sad to move away.  I love Chicago!  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Because Mom needs the house to stay clean

This one was sick.  . . 
And we were having a showing of our house in the evening (honest quote from me:  "If you guys mess anything up, I'm either going to kill you or myself."  I'm such a good mom.), so these two played together outside all afternoon, without their usual Mimi buffer.
This was their house, under the big pine trees in the backyard.

 Someone was the queen and someone was the servant.  From the snatches of conversation I overheard, I couldn't be quite sure who was who.  I'm not sure that they knew who was who.
 Pinecones were the food.
 And a wagon and a kiddie pool are fantastic beds for sleeping outside.  Bella was looking for a pillow, so Liv found that incredibly comfortable soccer ball.  :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I'm 32!

Here's what I love about having kids.  Who else is so worried about my birthday?  No one.  But my girls?  Yeah, they're pretty much determined to make it my best birthday ever EVERY YEAR!

So this year, I woke up to Maddie (who is too young and needy to have caught the spirit of making mom's birthday the best day of her life), who was fed, and then showed her affection for me by agreeing to poke her dad up the nostrils and pull his hair until he got up out of bed with her and I could go back to sleep.  Which I did, until 9:30, people.  9:30!!  That right there was the highlight of my life.

Then I was treated to these three cards.  Olivia's letters are currently full of questions.  I was to answer these questions on the back of the card.
 This is a birthday cake, a la Bella.
 Naomi labeled Bella's card.  I wasn't clear how to indicate the birthday after my 31st, but it appears the correct term is "32th."

 And apparently Picasa thinks the correct orientation for these card shots is portrait.
 As Naomi indicated, they "srved me brekfst."  Olivia made the pancakes, Naomi made the scrambled eggs, and Bella stirred my yogurt.
 Then. . . wait for it. . . they did dishes!
 I love these girls!  (And their dad, obviously, who encouraged and enabled this lovely show of birthday affection.)
Happy Birthday to me!

Monday, April 18, 2011

What I missed out on by having six brothers

 Family night tonight was a night for girly facials.  Avocado clay masks and cucumbers for eyes.
 Originally, I thought that Bella was way too young for his activity.  However, she surprised me.  She laid perfectly still and sober, desperately trying to prove how big she was.
 Olivia shunned the regulation spa headband for this avant garde shower cap.  She's been saving it from our last hotel trip for just the right occasion.
 Mimi kept delighting in how this was exactly something that Fancy Nancy would do.
 After I applied the mask to all my salon clientele, I joined them.  Don't we look fabulous?

 Just one of the fabulous things that happens when you have a house full of girls.

Friday, April 15, 2011

On the South Shore Line

Our conductor on the train to Chicago was female, but with a very short haircut. She was incredibly friendly and helpful and kept coming back to talk to us. And, every single time, Bella would say to her, "You're not a boy, you're a girl. A girl!  You're a doctor?  [conductor] Where is that other doctor?  I want that other doctor."  

Luckily, the woman never understood her.  She just kept smiling and nodding and responding happily to Bella's rants.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pincer Grasp

Alternate Title:  It's just so hard to be a baby.

Hmmm. . . what do I have in my hand?
 Did it come from the table?
 Well, I definitely need to keep hold of it in my death grip.  I'll have to use my other hand to get another one.
 Oh, but just look at the treasure trove I've found.  I'll use my raking grasp to get a handful of these.
 Oooh, oooh, I've got one.
 But I see a half-gnawed piece of cracker there that I'd hate to miss out on.
 Oh, and what is that black thing Mommy is pointing at me?  Maybe I want that too.
 This is another one of those delicious puffs that just seem to jump out of my hand at the last second before they make it to my mouth.  Maybe I'll have to sneak up on this one.
 Concentrate.  Concentrate.  Don't lose focus.
 Fail.  Try again.
The only time Maddie was able to get one of these puffs in her mouth is when she had accidentally slid it to the edge of the table and she was able to pounce on it with her mouth like a baby hawk.  We've got a lot of work to do on the pincer grasp.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Recipes You Need to Try

All right, friends.  I'm trying to get my act together and make myself a mini collection of the recipes my family loves and I am willing to make.  I find myself fighting the inner meal-planning battle every week, which I hate.  It's sad, really, because I actually love to cook, if what I'm making sounds exciting and delicious, rather than last-minute and yucky.  So--I've been putting some things together.  And because I'm generous like that, I'd love to share some of my favorites with all of you.  I'm linking to the recipe, rather than writing them all out here 'cause I don't want this post to look all messy.  :)

Tortilla Soup (a light and delicious version)
Peanut Wraps (my kids loved these, and they are usually skeptical of new "mixed-up" food)
Chicken Corn Chowder (not light, but absolutely amazing.  Thank you, Larissa!)
Creamy Baked Taquitos (serve with a salad and the lime cilantro dressing she recommends.  Perfect!)
Yummy Salad (infinitely changeable--make it how your family likes!)
Easy, Fresh, Tomato-ey Pasta and Pizza Sauce
Roasted Asparagus (goes with everything, tastes like spring)
Lemon Chicken with Roasted Vegetables (So. Stinkin. Fast.)
Sara's Chicken Salad (love it!)
Lemony Tortellini with Bacon and Peas
Bread Salad
Granola (not really for dinner, but it's fabulous anyway, and it's a great breakfast-for-dinner option)
Yogurt Parmesan Chicken (amazing!)
A Whole Darn Week's Worth of Recipes (you really should get Everyday Food--it's Awesome!)

As you can see, my tastes veer dramatically toward, chicken, soup, and salad, with a little bit of pasta thrown in.  I love to try new things, though, and if you have a recipe you want to recommend, I want to have it recommended.  Please share!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Viva Honduras

John went to Honduras for his favorite medical mission in March.  He went all four years in medical school, and he was able to go again this year with the same group from Toledo.  It was delightful.  Here is his report.  
Edited to add:  Some of the pictures below are a touch graphic.  Please be careful if you are, like me, sensitive to yucky medical stuff.
Here's the view from my room the first week.  That's mostly smoke from burning stuff with a little fog.  People cook with wood and burn trash so there's a lot of smoke.

Front of the Hospital in La Esperanza

The ambulance we donated when I was a 3rd year med student.  Well used with 270k miles.
The hallway looking from the ED entrance.  That's the table where ED blood draws are done using gloves for tourniquets.
The ED complete with intern.  It's really more like two office rooms with one exam table each.  No O2, no suction, no bed.  They want to remodel since they recognize the limitations of the current ED.
The other half of the ED room complete with exam table and Barbie curtain for privacy.

Drug reps look the same in any country.

The home behind the hospital women who live out of town move into when they get close to their due date.

Ovarian cyst and ovary. (the little white part in upper right is ovary).  This was taken out of a 17yr old.  I only saw two hondurans cry and it wasn't the machette/hatchet/gun shot wounds it was this girl and another girl that had a ruptured tubal pregnancy.  Did not see a single narcotic used in two weeks.  All tylenol, diclofenac (like ibuprofen), and ibuprofen. Even surgery patients got tylenol.  It was same in Bolivia though I did see narcotics used once there to put an elbow back in

Machete to the hand.

Rural Honduras....typical home.
Bull used in construction of adobe house.  Water hole is where mud for adobe blocks was taken from.

170 water filters pre assembly $4020 worth.

Univ Toledo team.  This was our work station/teachers desk.  We're usually in schools or churches.  Different town each day.

Sweet little 6 year old who has lost his two front teeth.....
.....because they along with a few others have rotted out of his head.  This is where Dave comes in a few years from now.  There was a dentist my first trip as a student in 2005 but hasn't been one since.  Dr. Paat says he hasn't been able to get one to go since then and he was the busiest guy there nonstop pulling teeth.  I wish this picture wasn't common but I'd say about 1/2 the people I saw kids included had at least a couple teeth that were completely rotted out.
Somethings not quite right with that right eye.

It's called ptergium and it's where the conjunctiva because of UV light and dust (irritation) grows over the iris.  I can become problematic if it grows too far.  Treatment is surgical removal.  We gave sunglasses to help with dust and UV light.
It was trial and error with random glasses from a box which included old prescription glasses (like those above) and a bunch of dollar store reading glasses.  I saw several people with cataracts too which glasses help very little and that need to have them removed.

As we were driving Satruday to the R&R location (a beach resort) we came across a three care accident two of which are pictured above.  What lucky people to have a bus full of gringo doctors be amongst the first on the scene.  Amongst whom are the chair of internal medicine at Mayo, the chair of peds at Mayo, a GI doc from Cleveland Clinic (all U. Toledo grads).  The wilderness life support course came in handy as I got a Honduran to cut us some sticks to splint the lady's very obviously dislocated knee (possibly broken too), and her husbands wrist.  An ICU nurse got the IV going on him.  We moved his wife using empty duffle bags since one of the cars (a pickup) involved was leaking diesel all over the road. Eventually we loaded both into a pickup and sent them to the hospital.

Over all the second week I was there which was the week with the team we saw a record 2247 people if you count the two on the highway and the one team member who passed out and was seen in clinic and transported to the hospital but was released shortly afterward.  

A big thanks to Susanne for coming out to take care of the ladies.