Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Years Eve

We had a wonderful dinner at Leslie and John's last night. It was so nice to see Claire play with a few of her cousins. Its also great to have Granny and Bozena so nearby. I don't have any pictures to post, I think some of the only photos taken were with a Polaroid camera for use as Christmas Tree ornaments, but I'm sure you can imagine the warm atmosphere and delicious food that goes with dinner at Leslie and John's.

I also got my camera cords back so I was able to load more pictures. And, Claire got one more Christmas present from Bapa, a desktop computer. She loves it and has been playing games we got from the library all morning. Speaking of camera cords and Christmas, the pictures I finally got to see are worth checking out. And there are a few must mentions. One of the highlights of Christmas with my family was the (for lack of a better name) Foam Disk War Game. My mom got everybody one of those guns that flings foam disks across the room, and of course, we turned it into a girls against the guys game. Claire was mostly a neutral party, but seemed confused about who were alleys and enemies. And of course, Claire received a bunch of really nice stuff, but anyone who has ever had a 2 year old, or been around a 2 year old, can look at this picture and identify what was played with most. You can see the entire set of our Christmas pictures here.

Today is New Years Eve. Our plan for tonight is to celebrate with James and Elissa, and their kids. It will be a low-key and quiet start to a very busy January, and what promises to be a very big and exciting year for us Halbergs.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Home after the Holidays

What fun! We really had a great time this year. On Christmas Eve, Mike created the mother of all scavenger hunts, and then laughed at me and took pictures as I struggled to find clues. There were probably six clues (all taped to a toy jack) I had to find and it took me SIX hours. I did get help from time to time, but I can honestly say that from 10am until about 4:30pm I searched every single corner of Nana and Bapa's house. At the end, I found...a rake. So I brought my big prize upstairs and the room exploded into ooohs and aahhhs. HA! Good joke. The real present is fabulous, a trip to Brazil to see my friend Ana. Mike and I have been racing to get our papers in order, we leave at the end of January! I can't even tell you how excited I am.
We spent Christmas Day lounging around until it was time to leave for the Packer game. It was great, even though they lost. Just seeing the clash of Packer and Bear fans was fun. The weather was great. I actually ended up not needing a few of the layers I put on, which is not what you'd expect at a Packer game in December, but welcome nonetheless. Then we spent a few days with my family. Claire woke up the next morning at 5am ready to open presents. She wouldn't go back to sleep, but I was able to hold her off until about 7:00, no easy feat. It was a great time, and I think Mike may have found a new favorite game. Its called Pass the Pig. Its basically a dice game, but the dice are little pigs and you get points (or lose them) based on how they land. All weekend long, you could hear shouts of "Pig Out!!" "Its a leaning jowler!" "Oh man! A double snouter!" "Thats an Oinker! Ha!". It is very fun, and I actually found a place you can play it online. Definitely more fun 'in real life' though.

So then we've been home for a few days, settling down a bit. I'm looking forward to dinner at Leslie's this week and what sounds like a New Year's Eve with the Kinsella's. I think Mike has some interviews coming up as well. Back to normal!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Originally uploaded by shalberg.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Turning the Tables

I was re-reading my last post, and re-living the morning when some of FaveAuntCarrie's words came to me: 'You should put your child in a situation that is uncomfortable once a day'. For us, usually this means an obstacle course in the living room, or walking through deep snow without help, or even standing in her path in the hallway. But while reading my post, I realized that Claire also puts me in an uncomfortable situation on a regular basis, and its just as good for me as it is for Claire. Looking at it that way sure did make me feel a bit better about a difficult morning.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Its only 10:43 AM?

Its just been one of those days. Here is a list of Reasons Why Claire Has Thrown a Fit This Morning - in order:

1. I would not buy her a bag of gummie bears.
2. I would not buy her a spool of thread.
3. I would not let her throw spools of thread down the aisle OR pull bolts of fabric down onto the floor.
4. She wanted to walk (when she was in the cart).
5. She wanted to be in the cart (after I took her out so she could walk).
6. She wanted to stay in the car once we got to the store.
7. She wanted to stay in the store after we checked out.
8. Two fingers were in the thumb hole of her mittens.
9. She had two owies.
10. She wanted chocolate milk (when we were in the car).
11. She ate all the cereal I brought along for her.
12. She threw her hat on the floor and then decided she wanted it back.
13. I would not let her put quarters in her mouth (completely unreasonable, I know).
14. (My favorite) "Tears fell on my coat".
15. She didn't like the song on the radio.
16. I was singing along to the radio.
17. The radio was too soft. Then too loud. Then she didn't want Christmas music.
18. She couldn't find her blanket.
19. She fell down (or more accurately, threw herself down when I told her she had to say please for the blanket).
20. She got another owie from the fall.
21. Her feelings got hurt.
22. And right now, as I type, she is crying because I wouldn't let her play games on the computer.

I have a feeling there will be an early naptime today.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Claire, in the bathroom with me: Oh wow! Good job going potty on the big toilet, Mama!

Me, just now, in the kitchen: See you later, alligator.
Claire: No mama. I not alligator. I'm me.
Me: Oh. See you later, Claire.
Claire: That's better.

Monday Night Football. Blech.

We were watching a bit of the game last night, when the score was a still-reasonable 3-21, and Mike asked Claire who was on tv (it was Brett Favre). Claire said, "Thats Grandma playing football". I'm not sure exactly where that came from, but when I checked the score this morning, I figure that Grandma might have been able to do a better job.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Annual VanLaanen Christmas Party

Packer Santa Hats
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
A great time was had by all. I think this picture is my favorite, and I posted a few more below. Or you can click here and see a bunch on our flickr page.

Uncle Phil

Originally uploaded by shalberg.

Telling Secrets?

Originally uploaded by shalberg.

Originally uploaded by shalberg.

Trying to guess the present.

Originally uploaded by shalberg.

Friday, December 16, 2005

I hope THEY don't tell Sheela what I am getting her for Christmas!

"THEY can turn on the system and find out where you are at any time as long as you have your cell phone on you"

-Sheela Halberg


-Mike Halberg

"We need a call tracer buster, buster, buster, buster"

-Some dude in a movie that I don't remember but I do remember laughing at.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ready Already!

ready already!
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Come on! Lets go play!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Cat and Christmas.

the other cat
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Christmas decorations are up at Nana and Bapa's house. And the porch is never complete without the cat.

Starting Early.

start her early.
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
We had Claire do her own Christmas shopping this year. Mike and I are about finished. We are mostly just waiting for stuff to show up in the mail. We did a lot of online shopping this year.

In the picture, Claire is actually playing some free online Dora games. I am really surprised how well she does. They are great. She needs her own computer!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Win Number Three

The Packers won tonight on some great heroics by Samkon Gado. This is the running back they picked up from the KC Chiefs' practice squad a few weeks back. He is from Nigeria and during the game they showed his mother bundled up in the freezing weather giving the crazy Green Bay fans high fives. The anouncers said that Gado tried out for the NFL thinking he could play a few seasons of special teams and make enough money to attend medical school! What fun. I can't wait to go to the Christmas day game with my Mom, Dad, Jim, Monnie and Sheela!!!


Saturday, December 10, 2005

Can't Trick Me!

Nana and Bapa are kitty-sitting for Granny. Claire loves the cat, and surprisingly, the cat seems to really like Claire as well. This morning Bapa was asking Claire questions about the cat.

Bapa: How many ears does the cat have?
Claire: 1..2 2 Ears!

Bapa: How many feet does the cat have?
Claire: 1...2...3...4 4 Ears!

Bapa: How many tails does the cat have?
Claire 1!

Bapa: How many tails do you have, Claire?
Claire: Hm. Only a butt.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Claire got her wish!

No more Overbay. She's been asking for it all season, and now its official.

Dave, Jimmer, is this a good thing??

Flyer and My mittens

I went to a private ER today to put in a shift. One of the nurses had the newspaper and was looking at an advertisement. I leaned over and casually said, "Oh, there is my wife." She was impressed and said, "You are married to a model?" I just played it cool and then rushed home after my shift to show Sheela!!!

We took a trip to see Grandpa John yesterday. He is in a nice place that is just down the block from John and Leslie. Good to see him, and he even recognized me! When we walked in I started showing off my mittens that Sheela knit me. He tried them on and said, "Nice and soft, I think I will keep these." He turned to Sheela and said, "Yes, I think I should keep these." She agreed and so now I wipe the snow off of my car with cold hands. The Packers are 2-10 and I don't have any mittens in December. Who'd a thunk?


Lots to Blog about today.

First of all, last night we went to visit Grandpa at South Shore Manor. It was really nice to see him, and to be so close to be able to just drop in. After, we stopped by Uncle John and Aunt Leslie's for a bit. It was so nice to see everyone, and now with Granny and Bozena in town, I'm sure we'll be seeing them a lot more as well.

This morning, Claire and I woke up to find our furnace not working. As Mike and I are on the brink of residency, there has been much talk about buying a house or not buying a house. I am definitely going to keep in mind how easy it was to call the landlord and say "the furnace is not working", and then not worry about it because its not my problem anymore! Yay! The landlord was here within 15 minutes, but unfortunately he couldn't fix it, so he has someone coming over later today. Its just nice to not have that kind of responsibility, especially at a time when fixing a furnace could break the bank.

And (drum roll) here is the results of my first ever photo shoot I posted about a while back. Scroll down to the Santa Stock Up ad, and I'm on page 21. I completely forgot about it until Mike called to remind me from work. What fun!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Mo-wa. (more)

Mo-wa. (more)
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Mo-wa presents. Claire really enjoyed St. Nick's Day today. Here she is making sure there aren't anymore little presents hidden in the bottom of her stocking.

A bit much, I think.

Costumes for your iPod?? I just don't get it. Most of the costumes look like they make using the iPod impossible. And they are $40? I can definitely think of something better to spend $40 on. Why would you want to dress up your iPod anyway? I really just don't get it.

Monday, December 05, 2005

701 E. Ayer

701 E. Ayer
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Maighie inspired me to post a few of my favorite Ironwood pictures. She has the most beautiful post about the house and its memories.


Originally uploaded by shalberg.

a rare moment alone in the kitchen.

Originally uploaded by shalberg.

bathroom door

Originally uploaded by shalberg.

Two Claire Quotes.

1. Mike to Claire: "Is Mama cool or what?"
Claire: "What."

2. One morning a few days ago, as she was waking up with a cold: "Mama, my nose broken. Fix it."

Friday, December 02, 2005


Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Claire was able to part with one silver star.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Also, a picture.

Portland Headlight
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
This is the Portland Headlight. A while back, Mike posted a winter picture of it taken by one of the doctors he worked with. This one was taken at sunrise while I was there, and here is a picture of me standing at its base. It looks cold, doesn't it? Well, it was colder than it looks. I love the perspective of it. And though we didn't get to see a sunrise that day, I saw a beautiful one from the window of the plane while flying from Green Bay to Chicago. There are also a few more pictures on our flickr page, nothing too exciting, but a good way to use up a few minutes.


Mike is home!

Claire was very excited all morning long (which amounted to about an hour, since his flight got in so early). She would run around the house shouting "See my daddy now! So happy!". At the airport a woman asked Claire who she was waiting for and Claire said, "Me waiting for Daddy" in a very mature way, and then jumped up and down clapping and laughing, much to the delight of everyone within earshot. Finally, we could see Mike and Claire sprinted across the concourse to get to him. And if that wasn't enough, he had a present for her! And me too! We are such lucky girls.

On the way home we all were so involved with talking and laughing that I missed two exits I was suppose to take. I think Mike is as glad to be home as we are to have him home.

Now Mike is trying to catch up on some sleep while Claire is trying to play hide'n'seek with him. Things seem like they are back to normal already. It sure didn't take long.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Moment of Truth

Mike and I were trying to find the apartment of a friend in Philadelphia at 2am, after driving for 6 hours. After much looking, we got to what we thought was the right area, and let me tell you, this was one bad area to be in, especially while lost at 2am. After much circling and not finding the exact address, we parked in a dingy alley and had this conversation:

Me: What are you doing? Why are you parking?

Mike: Well, I'm going to go look and see if I can find it.

Me: What? You mean you are going to walk around and look for it, like, on foot?

Mike: Yeah.

Me: You are NOT leaving me alone in this car.

Mike: Then come with me.

Me: There is no way I am getting out of this car.

Mike: (angry now) Well what do you want to do then?

Me: Drive around and find it, with the car doors locked. Because if this apartment is within walking distance, we are finding a hotel. In a different neighborhood.

In the end, we realized we were in the wrong area. We found the right place, and let me tell you, ten blocks can make a HUGE difference. What an adventure.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Sesame Street Live

Sesame Street Live
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
We took Claire to see Sesame Street Live today. She really loved it, and even got a new toy. The kids sitting in the row in front of us probably spent as much time watching Claire play with it as they did watching the show. And after Claire went down for her nap, I got to play with it a bit myself.

Friday, November 18, 2005

the green hat

the green hat
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
I was very happy to find this hat today. I wore it all the time when I was about Claire's age.

If the picture of me cleaning out my toes looks familiar, maybe its because of this. I've heard there are toe-cleaners and non-toe-cleaners in this world. I think it might be a genetic thing.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Maine Lighthouse - Postcard Quality

The Portland Head Light is a light house in South Portland that was commissioned by George Washington, featured on the 18 cent stamp, and is flat out beautiful. The ocean waves crash onto the rocky shore and barges are often seen in the distance. This will definitely be a featured stop when Sheela comes to town in less than one week! Here are some pictures from Dr. Bowe who is an attending ED doctor and Wisconsin alumni. He is the lighthouse for students rotating through the Emergency Department who would have a hard time finding there way around here without him (I know, the symbolism is deep).

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

More Oz.

We have watched this move at least once a day since Claire first saw it on TV, thanks to Grandma picking up the DVD. And Claire loves to wear her 'princess clothes' when she watches. Here is a Wizard of Oz collage.

First Snow

'Oh wow, look at that!'
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Claire and I were both surprised to look out the window and find snow this morning. We had to go out and play in it right away.

Originally uploaded by shalberg.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

She's here.

Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Evidence there is a 2-year old in the house.

No see me.

A few days ago, Claire was smashing her cereal into the counter and making a big mess. She does this a lot, and I am always telling her to not play with her food. This time, she didn't know I was watching her, and when she realized I was, she put her hand up in my face, continued to smash cereal, and said "No see me, mama."

Monday, November 14, 2005


Originally uploaded by shalberg.

Sunset in Maine

Here are some of my recent pictures of the ocean/bay. I also went to a concert in Kennebunkport (Barbara Bush did not attend). The artist was Jon Nolan. He is featured on the "Greetings from area code 207" Cd which has 22 local artists. There is "wicked" local talent around here.

Ruby Slippers

ruby slippers
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Claire saw The Wizard of Oz for the first time last night. I was very surprised she wasn't scared. She would only say"Run faster guys!" or "Uh-oh, witch coming" during the parts I thought would have been scary for her. My mom loves The Wizard of Oz. And I think she loves the fact that Claire enjoyed the movie so much even more. Needless to say, Claire now has a pair of her own ruby slippers, which she hasn't taken off since finding them.

what a look

what a look
Originally uploaded by shalberg.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Rotten Trees

Well, we sure haven't been up to much lately. Not a whole lot to write about at all. So I think I am going to get to sleep. Claire is feeling pretty yucky with a cold, and I can hear her moving around on the baby monitor. I fear an early morning.

But first, we are suppose to be having some wicked (Mike said that all the cool kids in Maine use the word 'wicked') winds tonight and tomorrow. I thought this wind advisory was funny...


Friday, November 11, 2005

The Island

I went for a run today at an island just north of Portland. I didn't take my camera on the run, but I did get some pics on the way. It was perfectly timed so that I looked into the beautiful sunset for half of the run and then as I got back to my car it was dark and two barges were coming in with their lights on. Sheela loves barges, I can't wait to show her around these great sites!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Girls like guys with skilz

This afternoon the sun turned to cold rain, but I got some pics before it got bad. I did learn a new skill - rolling laudry so it won't wrinkle when I travel. Next I am going to learn to juggle while on a unicycle.

Also, here is a picture from Pete. Crazy story: Pete is an MCW student who is here in Maine doing a Cardiology rotation. We talked to each other just days before leaving on our trips not realizing that we were both destined for the same location! Here he is sweetly helping his wife with a Physics/Statistics class. Wow! Talk about a true test of marriage!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

More Maine Pics

I took a run tonight. Planned on 3 miles and ended up with a 5 mile run. Just beautiful. I will have to retrace my path with a camera ("the cove").

The Maine Event

Here are some great pictures from Maine. I will definitely post more.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

through the bars

through the bars
Originally uploaded by shalberg.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Claire looks like her mother?

Claire looks like her mother.
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
People are always telling me that Claire looks so much like me.

I just don't see it.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

One more post tonight...

Originally uploaded by shalberg.
A picture of Claire.

Any iPod owners?

Put this on your Christmas wish list.

Its too bad they don't make one for Mike's Creative mp3 player, then he could wish he had one too!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Cable TV

Okay, am I the only one who watches the Home Shopping Channels for fun? Not that I get to often, we don't have cable at home, but I love to listen to people talk! up! a product! like its the best thing ever!! -- the uglier or more useless the product, the more I enjoy it. For example, right now, one channel is featuring 'Fairy Dolls'. The artist is on camera with a spokesman talking about how wonderful these Fairy Dolls (which remind me very much of porcelain dolls with wings) are and why everyone should have at least few of them.

Man: "And the skirt...its just magnificent. It is so full."

Woman: "Yes, it is actually four layers"

Man: "Four layers! My goodness. What quality. You know, I haven't mentioned this yet, but my favorite thing about this beautiful doll is right here. This silky satin ribbon attached right to the doll. Imagine hanging this doll from a chandelier. From the ceiling in a little girl's room, or any room for that matter. From a doorknob. Or, imagine this, hanging in a sunroom. How beautiful would that be?"

Woman: "Yes, this would really be the focal point anywhere in the house." (she's got that right)

Man: "Not to change the subject, but when I hold this it takes me back to my childhood. Once in a while you come across something that can bring you right back to your childhood. That is what this Fairy Doll will do, and there is nothing wrong with that!"

Then they both laugh knowingly.

I love this stuff. Its great. Why would anyone watch anything else when you can watch the home shopping channel and see what you can't live without?

Monday, October 31, 2005


big girl
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Halloween Night! Claire did very well. I had doubts whether or not she would want to go trick-or-treating after the first few groups of kids came through. They were pretty scary. But after a bit (when more princesses were out), she was really into it. She got the hang of the whole thing very quickly. She'd say "Trick-or-Treat", "Thank you", "Bye-Bye" and then "next house!". A real pro!

Kohler Design Center

Claire and I stopped at the Kohler Design Center today on our way to Green Bay. I absolutely love this place, and I stop every chance I get. Where else can you see a Wall of Toilets and lawn mowers hanging from the ceiling in one building? I don't think Mike understands why I enjoy this place so much, but I am happy to report that Claire thought it was every bit as fun as I did. I actually had to carry her out, she wanted to stay so badly. I think her favorite part was the bathtubs filled with water and lit up with different colored lights, all at just her level. She only tried to get in one of them, and I was very impressed with that. I did take a bunch of pictures, and you can see them all here.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Stare

There is a site I linked to, daily dose of imagery, and today's picture (Sunday, Oct. 30) is a great one. You should definitely follow the link on the right and check it out.

Or, now that its not Sunday anymore, click here to see it. I still chuckle when I see it. Its like the people caught the statue doing something bad.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

not much

Not a lot going on lately. We went to Sun Prairie for Friday and most of today. Michael got a great suit for his upcoming interviews. It is slick. He's going to look very nice, thats for sure. When we got home we had a surprise. For the past week our hot water has been smelling like rotton eggs. Very unpleasant. We were doing the dishes in cold water and Mike was taking showers at school. I would take showers here, but they were as cold as I could stand and quite short. So when we got home it was fixed! Hurray! Thank goodness for responsible/great landlords. And lastly, I stepped on and killed a big frog in Jim and Teresa's driveway. I can't seem to forget that gross feeling when I realized it wasn't a rock. Mike and I are going to watch a movie, so I guess I'll just leave you all with that.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Claire's First Movie EVER!!!

Sheela and I took Claire and her friend Jalyn to the movie theatre last night! It was a Wallace and Gromit flick called, "The Curse of the Were-Rabbit." Claire was pumped and kept telling Jalyn, "Look Jalyn, movie!" and "Uh, Oh Jalyn, Rabbit." Another first is that Claire can say her full name. This morning it is, "Me Hall-bert."

Lastly, uncle Jim is on Claire's mind today. When asked, "Who loves you Claire?" she promptly
signs uncle Jim and says, "Untle Jimmo." This is her response even if she is asked one hundred times!