Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A little post-boards fun.

Granny gave us a 1994 Plymouth Acclaim. Jim was able to drive it from Ironwood to Ripon. Tonight, we went to get it and bring it back to Milwaukee, and we had an adventure! We stopped at a gas station in Ripon to fill up, and as we were leaving, Mike noticed a loud and horrible noise coming from the front right tire. He decided at first that maybe it was okay to drive since Jim had just driven it all the way from Ironwood with no problem, but after a very short time, he figured he'd better turn around and go back to the gas station. I was following him in my car thinking that maybe he forgot which way to go (I was helpful by flashing my lights at him and putting my turn signal on where we were suppose to turn. He ignored me.). Back at the gas station, neither one of us could really see much under the car, being 9:00pm and all, so we borrowed Claire's flashlight. The flashlight is shaped like a big blue hippo, the light coming out of his mouth, and when you turn it on it laughs a loud dopey laugh. I felt very grown up. But even with the flashlight, we couldn't see anything. Still the noise was so bad and horrible it sounded like the tire might be falling off, or maybe when we weren't watching, a bunch of kids came and replaced our perfectly good circular tire with a square one. We both were stunned that we couldn't see a thing wrong, even with our levels of expertise, given the noise. Finally after calling our dads, we decide to drive it back to Russel Manor rather than drive it home, and decide the next step later. As I'm following Mike out of the parking lot, I noticed sparks coming from under the car and then right in the middle of the street, the wheel actually did fall off. Because he was turning, it kind of turned around backwards and got pushed up against the wheel well. Twenty minutes later a tow truck showed up, and I was surprised to see a large puddle under the broken tire. The truck driver told us that when the tire fell off, it pulled the whole axel with it, making a large puddle of transmission fluid. So, I guess thats that.

But we finally made it home. I think Claire had a really good time hanging out in the gas station for about 45 minutes while we talked on the phone, pretended to make decisions, and then finally sat and waited for the tow truck. We really didn't talk about the situation then, but on the way home, we were able to laugh about it. Like the part when I noticed the wheel fell off, and the first thing I thought to do was flash my brights at Mike. The horn would probably have worked better, but in reality, as the driver, HE NOTICED the wheel had stopped functioning. Or the part when Mike got out of the car, looked at the wheel and then tried to push it back to its correct spot. Or Claire's perfectly concise summary: That blue car is broken. In the end, we were pretty lucky the whole thing didn't happen on the highway, or any other place not as convenient as directly in front of a gas station. And anyway, we'll worry about it when we get back!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Love for Uncle Jimmer

See Jimmer?
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Claire and I were chatting and eating lunch today:

Claire: Who will take care of me?
Me: Who do you think will take care of you?
Claire: Jim.
Me: Why will Uncle Jim take care of you?
Claire: Uncle Jim lives at Monnie's house. Monnie lives at the rainbow. Jim and Monnie and me slide down the rainbow. See my daddy.
Me: Uncle Jim is going to take you to slide down the rainbow?
Claire: Yes. Jim funny. (laugh)

So there it is. No pressure, Jim, but your only niece is really counting on you sliding down the rainbow with her.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

winter is back!

Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Who would have thought we'd get snow again in January? I was kind of getting used to those 40 degree days. What a crazy winter. It was a wonderful surprise to look out the window and see the snow falling. Claire and I wasted no time getting outside to enjoy it, and then went back out yesterday for more. It was beautiful, not very cold, and everything was covered in a layer of snow. It was one of those days that after you come back inside you can't see anything because it was so bright outside. We had a lot of fun, and I took a lot of pictures.

Other than that, today is Boards-Eve, and thats big news. We're also getting very close to Leaving For Brazil Day, and I can hardly contain myself I'm so excited. A vacation! And one that does not include interviews!! Wheee!

Friday, January 20, 2006

dress up

Originally uploaded by

All the cool princesses wear their crowns backwards.

Doesn't feel like a Friday.

Congratulations to James, he matched in ophthalmology at Madison. He and Elissa (and the kids) sound very excited about living there. I'm very jealous they already know. Our Match Day is March 16, still about eight weeks away. Eight weeks too long, in my opinion.

There is not much to blog about. Mike takes Step2 on Monday and he's using his time to study. Claire and I are hanging around at home for today and tomorrow since we don't have a car. Mike's is getting a new ignition module after an providing an unpredictable drive to Motocross last week. It is kind of nice to not have a choice but to be at home. January sure has been busy. I think February will be slower, and a nice change.

Boy did I have a hard time getting out of bed this morning. Claire was jumping on the bed, all excited for the day. "Mom! Lets paint! Lets make cupcakes! Lets go to the library! Lets play computer games! Lets spin around until we are too dizzy to stand, and then run in circles for an hour!" Ugh. "Lets go back to sleep until noon" was my compromise, but it was NOT accepted. I got up and we painted. I guess I can't win them all.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Mama told me.

Claire was in the store with my mom today, and they had this conversation:

Claire: Grandma. Mama told me.
Grandma: Mama told you what?
Claire: Mama told me buy some chocolate.

I of course didn't tell Claire to buy some chocolate, and when my mom told me about it, Claire wouldn't even meet my eye. She sure is crafty.

The Bachelor in Paris

I have not watched any of this season yet, and honestly, I don't think I will. I've heard enough from other 'medical spouses' to completely turn me off. The bachelor is an ER resident, but from what I've heard that little tidbit about still being in training somehow fails to be mentioned. And all the girls comment on his doctor hands, and get really excited when they hear he is a doctor because he is their type all of a sudden, and so on. I wasn't even thinking of posting about this, but then I found an idea another med spouse had, and I love it:

The show should have a "Joe Millionaire" twist. The ending would go something like this: You have just won the heart of a doctor...in training! He makes $30,000 a year. He has over $200,000 in student loan debt. He will consistently work 100 hours a week and, when home, have the mental capacity of a drunk! CONGRATULATIONS!

Now THAT would be a show I would watch.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Syracuse is Family!

I arrived in Syracuse today. I'm getting to hang out with family that I haven't seen in years (and they are GREAT). Tonight we saw my third cousin Steven's basketball game and also went to see Great Aunt Pat (and Ken, Ken and Tom). If you follow this you are one step ahead of me!!! What fun.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Motocross Adventure

Dave and I got FREE tickets to Motocross today!!! Tons of high flying motor bikes and more mullets than you can imagine. It was Dave's first tour of downtown Milwaukee so we walked around a bit and saw the sites. I leave tomorrow morning at 6:00am for upstate New York. Mary Hellen is taking me in (she is soooooo nice). We have been talking a lot lately about the big birthday bash in New York (I was like 8?). If you have any memories of this trip please leave comments because mine are fairly foggy (I am really hoping for a good Uncle John comment here!).

Here you go, Mom.

Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Claire and I were walking through the store yesterday, when she stopped and reached up to hand me something. "Here you go, Mom."

I couldn't really see what it was. "What is it, Claire?"

I took it, and found out it was a huge booger. "Its from my nose, mama."

But I had already taken it, so now it was my problem. I guess I should just be glad she didn't eat it.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Originally uploaded by shalberg.
What a great day today! Claire and I spent quite a big of time outside in the fifty degree weather, catching up on our vitamin D requirements. Its so nice to have a sunny day once in a while, and its like a super bonus when its sunny and warm in the winter. Usually such a bright clear day goes right along with 'too cold to play outside for long'. So we definitely took advantage of it.

I love this picture. Claire goes everywhere in those ruby slippers.


Claire and I have been visiting my parents for the week. Mike is doing his intense study for the boards routine, so Claire and I packed our bags and made our escape. We've actually been pretty busy. I submitted our applications for Brazilian visas, just in time I'm sure. Actually, we have yet to find out if they were submitted in time, but I got 'em in as soon as possible, so there really isn't much more I could do. The Brazilian Consulate "does not expedite tourist visas". So whatever. It took so long. They (the Brazilian Consulate) really wants to know a lot about your trip. Ana even had to write a letter stating how she knows us, what our purpose of visiting is, and a day-by-day itinerary. And then she had to have it notarized before she faxed to me. It seemed like every time I was ready to submit, they came up with one more thing for me to track down. But its finished.

I started and finished a blanket in record time. I used a blanket my cousin made, and my mom ended up with at the Annual VanLaanen Christmas Party, as a guide. I actually really liked the one my cousin made, and stole it from my mom. But I really didn't mean to steal it, I just put it out with all of our other stuff when leaving, intending my mom to see it and then it would be a joke. But the next thing I knew, we were home and so was the blanket. My mom did get it back, so I had to make one for myself. I used really soft flannel, and it ended up being the perfect size for Claire, or for your lap, but usually Claire has it. And with the blanket finished, I started knitting some socks for my mom. She bought some yarn for me, so I could make her a pair. I'm working them from the toe to the cuff, opposite of what I've done in the past, so I can make the leg as long as possible and not worry about running out of yarn before the foot is done. I like it, its fun to mix things up, and the yarn is great too.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

the good life

the good life
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Claire and I lived up when we were in Rochester. Mike was gone most of the time, so Claire and I ate M&M's, jumped on the bed, ran up and down the halls and rode in the elevators. And that was just at night. In the morning, we ate bagels in bed, watched back-to-back Dora episodes on cable, and then wandered the city (via some pretty incredible skywalks) stopping at toy stores, drinking some chocolate milk at Barnes and Noble, and playing computer games at the public library. We sure had a blast.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Claire and Gina

Claire and Gina
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Gina and Devon watched Claire for us one night so Mike and I could go to one of the applicant dinners. Looks like Claire behaved herself just fine.

All of Us

all of us
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
At the Mall of America. Claire thought it was great. It gave me a headache. We didn't buy anything, not even a ride on the merry-go-round, but we did get to see some cool and yummy things.

On The Trail Again.

Mike, Claire and I are spending the week in Minnesota. Mike is busy with some serious interviewing, while Claire and I are laying low and having some fun. We're staying with Devon and Gina, and they really couldn't be more welcoming. Its been so nice staying at their house.

Yesterday Claire and I spent some time at the Community Center. They had a preschool open gym that was a lot of fun, and they have something called The Blast. You know those tube and slide setups they have at Chuckie Cheese? Well, thats what this is, but times 100. There are all kinds of different climbing things and bridges, and there are a couple space ships mounted on big springs you can climb to and play in. Its two stories high, and there are a few slides that go from top to bottom. Claire had a lot of fun, and as soon as Mike got home, she wanted to go back. All three of us had a great time crawling around. Today I think we'll check out the Mall of America, depending on when the interview finishes up.

The other cool things are Devon and Gina's two dogs, Ohmy (I don't know how to spell it, but thats how you say it: Oh-My, and yes, it is a fitting name for this dog) and Vinny. Claire and the dogs get along so well. They jump up on her and lick her face and she loves it. She gives them kisses, and they don't seem to mind. And they follow her everywhere. Yesterday, I put Claire down for her nap and a few minutes after she went down, both dogs were in her room, sitting by the pack'n'play just watching her sleep. I really wish I would have had my camera, it would have been a great picture.

So we're having a great time and the interviews are going well too. I also have some pictures to post, but I haven't quite figured out how to get online with my own computer, so I will have to post them later.