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We took a four day weekend at Memorial Day to go visit friends and Craig's family in Cincinnati. Since Isaac hates to travel, we haven't been getting away much. The 5 hour car ride there (we sat in traffic in Toledo for an hour) wasn't too bad. We listened to Isaac's new kids' CDs a gazillion times and read him his favorite books over and over and over again. He was a real trooper, happily going wherever we wanted him to. It wasn't until the last hour and a half of the drive home that he fell apart.
Grant & Andrea Smiley's on Friday Evening

Grant Smiley was one of Craig's best friends growing up. They met when Craig spilled chocolate milk all over Grant's white pants in middle school. Isaac followed the family trend by yakking up broccoli on Grant's white carpet (Mommy then put the blankie under him). Grant married Andrea the day after our 4th wedding anniversary. They both work for Procter and Gamble in Cincinnati and just moved into a beautiful house in West Chester. Good thing Andrea insisted on stainmaster carpeting!

Isaac finally mastered sitting on his own while we were visiting at the Smileys'. He also reached another milestone: "mine". Sidney Simpson was also visiting. She wanted to play with Isaac's toys, but whenever Isaac saw her pick one up, he tried to reach for it.

 

Grant is the man of every woman's dreams: he couldn't stop cleaning. When we first got to his house, he was lighting the grill. He decided the pristine deck was too dirty, so he got the broom to sweep it. But, first he had to wash off the broom. Ironically, the wet broom smeared the ash from the grill and left a dirt streak on the previously clean deck. Here is Grant hovering around the kitchen: cleaning.

Andrea, in the meantime, is getting some baby time. Andrea loves babies...

The Comisars on Saturday

We spent Saturday with Craig's family. Katie and Steph joined us for a trip to the Cincinnati zoo. In the evening, we all went to watch them play semi-pro soccer. Isaac was fascinated both with the toy soccer ball his Bubbe got him and watching the real soccer ball going back and forth on the field. Isaac hates applause. When the Lady Hawks scored their first goal three minutes before the end of the game, the crowd errupted, clapping, shouting and stopping the bleachers. Isaac cried and cried until Bubbe brought him to Mom. It was the first time Isaac had reached for Mom preferentially for comfort--for those of you non-parents out there, it is extremely gratifying when your kids first indicate an appreciatioin for all those long hours you've put in caring for them.

Isaac, Craig and the twins Aunt Kate and Aunt Steph.

The giraffe decides he wants a taste of oak leaves. The zoo keepers had cut all the branches within his neck's reach--they didn't count on the length of the tongue, though. Did you know a giraffe's tongue is long enough to clean its ears?

Aunt Steph carried Isaac in his new back-pack.

The polar bear takes a dip.

Bubbe and Isaac at the soccer game.

Blast from the Past

We went back to Clifton (where University of Cincinnati is located) for a trip down memory lane. It was our first time back to the campus in four years. The place was under construction when we were there and was notoriously ugly. The "master plan" is now complete, and though we were dubious during our tenure at the school, someone knew what they were doing. The campus is nearly unrecognizable and really nice! It will always be an urban campus with a hodge-podge of architecture, but everything blends together now really well.

Craig's best friend Trevor is currently living in Clifton, so we combined our visit to campus with a day with Trevor. We ate at Skyline Chili on Ludlow St. then had Graeter's ice cream up the street. The only thing different about Ludlow: the art house theater has had to go mainstream. They sensored some movies a few years ago and lost the trust of their art house patrons (of which we were two). Also, Uno's is gone (where Wendy celebrated her 19th birthday--she invited three friends whom she hasn't seen in years and opted not to invite the Jewish guy from West Chester she'd just met since that might be weird).

After visiting UC and watching a movie in Trevor's air conditioned apartment (the temperature was in the 90s), we ate dinner at a beer garden in Florence, KY. A new mutliplex entertainment pavillion was being built there the year we left Cincy. It has managed to draw what remained of Cincy's night life. Parking is easier, affordable, and it is much safer. We initially tried to eat at Wendy's favorite Cincy restaurant: Carrol's on Main, but it was gone!

Trevor has complained many times that there are no photos of him on our site. After shutting Craig's finger in the car door, we had to take Craig to get a cup of ice at Arby's. So, Trevor finally appears in infamy.

Tangeman was completely gutted and has an ultra modern, sunny interior. The bell tower remains, but inside is a four-story open space with a glass ceiling. Balconies with seats/study areas/shops spiral up the four stories. A spiral staircase goes up the center to the tower.

The quadrangle in front of Baldwin (the engineering building). When we graduated, a temporary student union occupied the quadrangle. We referred to it as the bubble or the circus tent.

Some things never change...Dr. Kao's office as viewed from outside. Since we suspect he smokes in the office, this is a real fire hazard!

For those of you who went to UC but haven't been back, we'll try to describe the photo locations.

This is walking down between McMicken and Teacher's college. Dyer is the brick building. An old building attached to Dyer was razed our 3rd year. The ultramodern building on the left replaced it. The sculpture we are standing under on the "vacations" page is in the middleground.

TUC is gone, replaced by the building on the left. The right is the building we referred to above that replaced the older building next to Dyer. You can see the stadium in the background and the entrance to CCM just in front of the stadium.

The top of Zimmer auditorium is now a beautiful park!!

While visiting campus, we decided to walk through the chem. eng. department. Not surprisingly, Dr. Smirniotis was in (he was always there on Sunday evenings). He is now department chair, but was known to us as the evil professor. He went into unprovoked rages during class and threatened to have several members of our class (including Craig) expelled from the college--the reason why remained a mystery to all of us. Wendy decided to knock on his office door and tell him that we'd made it, despite our "low" gpa's. (His most famous quote was, "Don't worry if you don't have a 4.0. Sometimes even students with bad gpas like 3.8 or 3.7 can find jobs.") Not only did he remember us (including our names), he actually apologized for his behavior when he was our professor! He offered to write Craig a letter of recommendation and asked us to send our bios to him to include on the department web page. It was his 40th birthday--I guess you are never too old to change your ways.

 

And perhaps the most surreal part of our trip down memory lane...stopping by our old apartment on McCormick Pl. We lived on the first floor of a house built circa 1840. We absolutely loved the place: high ceilings, fire place, bay window. Our landlords Tim and Ruthie lived upstairs with their kids. When we moved in, Cecilia (back row center) was 3 and Elliott (orange shirt) was an infant. Ruthie was pregnant with Viviane (pink shirt, front). While we were there, Emory was born (blond curls behind Wendy). Ruthie had just found out she was pregnant with Mathias when we moved (hiding behind Tim). Sylvia has been born since we lived in Michigan (on Ruthie's lap).
When we pulled up, Viviane was on the front porch. We thought at first it was Cecilia, they looked so much alike, but realized Cecilia would be much older. We were amazed that Cecilia and Elliott remembered us and were excited to see us again. Elliott ran up to give Wendy a big hug. They have now taken over the entire house. Our bedroom is now the school room (they are home schooled). The dining room has a conference table with lined with chairs to accomodate everyone.

 

Going Home

As we said, Isaac was a real trooper until the very end. The trip home was more than he could take, though. We had to stop several times to feed him. On the second stop, Wendy noticed that he had a poohey diaper. She nursed him, then we got out of the car to go change him in the rest stop. We were greated with this sign:

But, the next rest area wasn't for 40 miles and it was the part of Ohio with nothing but cornfields. How bad could one poopy diaper be, after all? We had plenty of wipes.

Bad. Really bad. The poop stretched up to Isaac's shoulder blades. By the time we got the shirt off, it was all down his arms, on his ears, and Wendy's hands. We also, at the most critical time ran out of wipes. Wendy had to run to the car to rummage through our suitcases to find a new package.

While Wendy was searching for new wipes, Craig got an idea. He would wipe Isaac's bottom across the grass. There was a sign saying no pet poop, but it didn't say anything about babies! Wendy got back from the car to find Isaac with grass stuck all over his bum. "It seemed like a good idea at the time," Craig sheepishly admitted. Isaac was none the worse for his butt-naked romp through the rest area lawn. He even seemed to enjoy himself.