Monday, December 31, 2007

Winter Fun

Maine has gotten a ton of snow this year. When I am up before five trying to rush to work it is annoying to shovel and hope my car will start but when I am off the snow is sweet and I can't wait to go ski or snowshoe or make a snowfort for Claire - like today. Here are some pics.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas from Maine

Its what you'd expect. Surfing during the day (not us, but fun to watch anyway), and a lobster dinner at night.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A few more days.

Christmas always sneaks up on me. Obviously I'm aware its coming, but it goes from two weeks away to two days away overnight it seems. I don't know how it happens. We have three countdown-type decorations in the house, and Claire asks every day how many days are left. But it is a busy time of the year, and December always flies past.

We are finished with our shopping, and have been for a while now. Everything has been shipped out as well, so we haven't had to go out for retail reasons lately. From what I hear, that is a good thing. Battling the crowds isn't something I enjoy doing. However, I am hoping to get out and walk around downtown after dark to look at the lights. Maybe with a hot chocolate.

Also, in even more exciting news, I'm an Aunt for the first time. Jim and Monnie had their little boy, Henry, on the 19th. We are very excited to meet the little guy. There are a lot of pictures on Jim's webpage. Take a look, he is very sweet. Henry, that is.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

And the Finished Product

We finished the tree, and we put up a few other decorations...

I was also able to make a stocking for myself, and hang it with the others on an actual fireplace for the first time. Claire and Mike have had a stocking for the past few years, but I never got around to mine. We missed St. Nicks night, which was on December 5th, but we're planning on making it up this weekend. Our tradition is that each person puts a small present in everyone else's stocking. Usually its something hand made or some candies. Claire is old enough this year to handle it herself. It will be fun to see what she comes up with.

Completely unrelated, I've been using the side bar on the blog as a place to put stuff I've been looking at online. I'll probably keep four or so things up, and just rotate the oldest ones off. I also have a poll about the color of lights on your tree. We've always had clear. A lot of people I've talked to have a definite opinion, and it made me curious. So please vote, if you will. Its only for my own entertainment.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Decorating Day

We brought our tree home yesterday. We went out meaning to cut our own, as we did last year, but we never found the tree farm we were looking for. We finally reached our limit for driving around and settled for a real, but pre-cut tree. 'Settled' is probably the wrong word. Its a beautiful tree and it smells really nice, we were just looking forward to the process of cutting our own. However, we were guaranteed that its one of the best trees in Maine, and honestly, having someone net the tree an then put it on our car was pretty nice. But either way, today is decorating day. Claire and I are really looking forward to it. It won't look like this for long:

Friday, December 07, 2007

Winter is here.

Its cold in Maine, relatively speaking. Ask anyone out here, and they'll tell you that December has been frigid. I'd probably agree with them, if I hadn't just been in Wisconsin, where it actually IS cold. Maine is balmy by comparison. People don't always believe me when I tell them what the weather is like in Wisconsin.

The first big storm of the winter last weekend started as rain and then ended with snow. All summer long I'll wish we had gutters on our house, but in the winter I'm glad we don't. Without gutters, we get some of the prettiest icicles.

Its snowing again tonight, and another storm should be here on Tuesday. I'm really hoping we get completely buried in snow this winter. Its been a good start. I'd love to see six feet in the back yard, which I've heard isn't uncommon in Maine.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wisconsin Visit

Our flight home to Maine landed just in time last weekend. We left Wisconsin as the snow was ending there, and landed in Maine just before it started here. Our trip was pretty smooth (other than the actual flights, which were quite bumpy), given the circumstances. There were many people in Detroit who were not as lucky, trying to find a way out on already over-crowded flights. Our timing worked out to be perfect.

The trip was wonderful. It started out exactly as I wanted with a Packer game and Thanksgiving dinner at John and Leslie's house. A few weeks before our trip, Mike asked me what I wanted to do for Thanksgiving, and I told him that if I could do anything, it would be to have dinner at John and Leslie's, even though that wasn't an option at the time. I enjoy dinner there more than almost any other place. Its all so warm and happy, with all the best people in each room. I was very glad that in the end, thats exactly what we did.

We saw a huge number of people this trip, from the Fitzgerald Thanksgiving at the very beginning to Grandpa Halberg's funeral at the very end, and friends and my family between the two. I feel very caught up. We were able to spend a lot of time with Jim and Monnie as well, and that was really nice. Its kind of funny to think the next time we see them they'll be parents. And I'll be an Aunt for the first time. Claire has been giving me some 'lessons' on how to be a good Aunt, just like Monnie.
"An Aunt is like a Mom, except she doesn't live at your house with you. She gives you hugs. An Aunt plays with you and takes care of you and bakes cookies with you. Or bread. Or cake. An Aunt also sends you letters and packages, like a box of dominoes, or some candy and stickers. Or a dollar or two or three."
Sounds like I better start saving up my dollars. Its going to be fun.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Camden, Maine

Last week we drove up to Camden for a bit of hiking. Lucky for us, we were able to borrow a kid carrying backpack that Claire actually fit in, letting us finish a hike we wouldn't otherwise be able to. The carrier worked out perfectly, Claire slept just about the entire hike, and then woke up at the summit.

We planned on doing a second hike that has been recommended by a few of our friends, but some serious looking rain clouds kept us from doing it. However, we found out we could just drive to the summit, so we decided to do that, and then cook lunch at the top. It worked out perfectly. We took our time and the rain held off until we left. I'm sure we'll be back for more next summer.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Carving the Pumpkins

Wednesday night is Trick-or-Treating night, and we have our pumpkins carved and ready. I didn't buy any candy, though. Claire will be out begging for the stuff herself (as Diego), and really I think one or less people will ring our doorbell. When I was younger we were never home to answer the door for the trick-or-treaters, so we'd put a big bowl of candy out with a "Happy Halloween, Take Some" sign. It was always empty when we got home, the entire thing dumped into the bag of the first kid to come by without supervision, I'm sure. We lived in a pretty rural area, with maybe eight kids to the neighborhood. Maybe I should just set out an empty bowl and tape a "Please Take One" sign to it. Just kidding. Kind of.

Anyway, the pumpkins. Claire was very excited about carving pumpkins all day. Then when we finally got down to business, she discovered that the process was messy, and by the look on her face, downright disgusting.

That scoop was as close as she got to touching any of the insides. So she compromised by just drawing what she wanted carved right on the pumpkin, and then supervised Mike and I. They turned out pretty well. Mine is the traditional Jack-o-lantern, Claire's is the 'guy with glasses', and Mike's is the tree and bird.

Then I roasted the seeds. I've never done it before, and it turned out to be pretty easy. I'll definitely buy a few more pumpkins just for the seeds next time around. The three we got this year didn't have very many, and I think they will be gone as soon as Mike discovers them.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Claire Opening Halloween Presents

Here is a video I uploaded to YouTube of Claire opening Halloween presents.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007


We had the ideal autumn weekend with peak fall colors, beautiful weather, and two batches of apple crisp. We spent as much time as possible out in the woods and up on hilltops to enjoy it all. There were many leaf collections started, many acorns planted, and big piles of leaves were raked, for the exclusive purpose of jumping into.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Its already been a week since we got back from Seattle. I've been meaning to post a few pictures for a while now. It was much more vacation for Claire and I than Mike, since he had a conference to attend, but we all had a great time. It was really nice to catch up with a lot of the West Coast family. Claire, Audrey and George had a great time playing together, and that was really fun to see, too.

Claire and I spent an entire day at the Pacific Science Center, and we probably could have stayed longer than we did. Yet another place our Children's Museum of Maine membership came in handy. I really really love that we are a part of the 'reciprocal' program. We've made good use of it all over the country. Anyway, we were able to catch two shows at the Pacific Science Center. The first was called 'SuperCold' and we watched a bunch of demonstrations showing how cool liquid nitrogen is. The second, 'Combustion' was about exploding things (like balloons filled up with hydrogen gas) and fire. These shows were my favorite part. Claire liked the bubble wall, which is really difficult to take a picture of.

We also found time while we were in Seattle to see the Ballard Locks, Pike Place, a beach, the Space Needle, and Mt. Rainier National Park. Mike and I even went out for dessert at a place where you order S'mores and get your own personal pot of fire to roast your marshmallows over. Very cool.

Some pictures (or click here for even more):

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Freedom Trail

Today is my birthday, but since Mike is on call, we did something fun to celebrate yesterday. We went to Boston and walked The Freedom Trail. Its a 2.5 mile walking tour though the city which hits a lot of the important historical sites. Conveniently, it also goes past some pretty cool places not a part of the tour, including Quincy Market and Haymarket. The tour can be totally self guided, you literally follow a red line, but we splurged and bought the audio tour. And just like at the Empire State Building, it was totally worth it. Here are a few pictures of the State House, Granary Burying Ground, Haymarket, the Bunker Hill Monument, and two photos of the line itself. I have more pictures, and a little more info to go with them if you want to follow this link.

Tonight, by coincidence, is a birthday party for a friend. Works out perfectly for me!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Matt's Wedding

A great time was had by all at Matt and Jennifer's wedding this past weekend! I had trouble sending the photos through the google group, so I'm posting them here instead. We enjoyed the beautiful celebration Friday evening followed by a gorgeous day on the lake Saturday. Thanks for the sail cruise Matt!

I'm also including a picture of our new cat George (that was his name at the shelter). He is very sweet and talkative and tends to make me smile which I appreciate.

Love you all,

Rangeley Weekend

This past weekend we went up to Rangeley, Maine for the annual Emergency Medicine resident retreat. I didn't come away with many pictures of the retreat itself which is probably for the best, but I think it safe to say everyone had a great time. Its a beautiful spot. The weather was kind of cold, dark and stormy Friday and Saturday, as the pictures show, but it didn't stop a few people from getting out on the lake with sunfish or to windsurf.

Sunday was sunny and just a little chilly, a perfect day for a hike. Mike, Claire and I went to Saddleback Mountain and spent about three hours exploring the woods. The mountain is by far most popular in the winter for skiing, but the hiking is great too. The trail Mike found was perfect for us. Claire was able to be our fearless leader most of the time, with just a little help over the bigger puddles. She did great, especially for such a long hike.