It's March, which means a couple of things.
For one, my birthday is only a couple weeks away. That's right, the big 3-3.
But, for another, it means we can expect some warmer weather to start coming our way.
Now, I know there still is the chance for a winter storm or two to hit the Ohio Valley. It's not unheard of for us to get blizzards in March or even April.
But the daffodils are starting to pop up and the birds are tweeting every morning, so I'm holding onto some hope.
I probably like this time of year more than any other. The grasses start turning a brighter green, flowers bloom and leaves reappear on the trees everywhere we look.
Along with all that, though, there are many events and activities which start to pop up all over the Ohio Valley.
The Wheeling Celtic Festival was this weekend. I visited once several years ago, and really enjoyed myself.
With a variety of items to purchase, food, music and dancing, it always seems like a great time for anyone who is a fan of the culture.
In a couple of weeks, we'll have the Tri-State Home and Garden Show in Weirton. It gives area residents a chance to start getting ideas for those home improvement projects or gardening plans they've been working on during the winter months.
Our area is known for a variety of outdoor events during the spring and summer.
The new Cove Event Center should be ready for activities in the next couple of months, and before too much longer we'll be hearing about plans for the Fourth of July with its parades, fireworks and other celebrations.
I'm sure we'll be seeing many of our residents starting to get outside a little more with the warmer weather.
Kids will be playing, maybe some of the grown-ups will go out and plant some flowers, bringing a little extra touch of color to their neighborhoods.
I like to see all those different colors from the flowers blooming in the spring. We have several types in the yard and I've always enjoyed walking around outside looking at each one, maybe seeing a few butterflies floating from bloom to bloom.
People will be going for walks or riding their bicycles along our local recreational trails.
While stopping at one of our local post offices the other day, a guy pulled in on his motorcycle. You definitely don't see much of that unless people are sure winter is about over.
Personally, I can't wait to be able to walk outside without putting on the heavy coat and gloves, especially when I'm going out to my car well before sunrise.
I'd like to be able to sit outside in a T-shirt and maybe even some shorts while reading a book, listening to the birds sing and the insects buzz as the sun warms the air.
Maybe this will be the year I'll get those tires fixed on my bicycle and go for a little ride every once in a while.
I have friends who are out running a couple times a week now, whether it's just for their own enjoyment or they are training for a race.
Spring training is starting this week too, which means Pirates (or Indians) fever will be sweeping our area.
Baseball is always a sure sign of warmer weather. Although I've never been athletically inclined myself, I enjoy watching a game or two every once in a while.
There's just something about sitting down to watch a ball game, whether it's at PNC Park or in your living room. Maybe you've grilled up some hot dogs to help set the mood as you cheer on your favorite team.
There are so many things to do in our area when the weather gets a little warmer.
Our parks are great places for families to have picnics on a weekend afternoon. Maybe you would like to take a nice walk around a pond or sit down for a little bit of fishing or just watching nature.
I've seen plenty of deer walking around the house lately, and even a few rabbits.
Yep, we're definitely starting to see more signs of spring. It's almost time to break out those shorts. I can't wait.
(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)