Playing catch up

Last night, about 11 p.m., as I was dozing off to the high brow intelligence that is the programming on E!, I received a concerned text from none other than my biggest heckler brother Dan.

He was concerned that something was wrong.

You know, because I haven't blogged in about eleventy billion days.

I told him that I've been extremely busy lately, but all of it has been boring. Nothing exciting has happened and I can't imagine writing about any of it.

He suggested a post in tribute to his fine self, and I thought about that for all of two seconds. Then I reasoned that my boring was WAY more interesting for all of us than that.

Sorry, Dan.

Prepare to be astounded. It's been all kinds of awesome around here.

Like, for instance, when I took the kids for a nutritious meal at the Panda and Chase found this fortune inside a cookie:


Truer words have never been spoken. Man I love that kid.

Also of note was turning the corner while shopping at an electronics store last week and finding this smart aleck with his nose buried studiously in what I can only assume by his expression is the most awesome book ever written:


But where I've most enjoyed spending my time is the Pinterest.

Okay, fine, yes, I admit it. Pinterest is about the greatest thing that has ever happened to mankind, not counting the advent of diet coke. I eat every bad word I ever said about it and invite you to come find me on there. My boards? They pretty much rock.

An especially fantastic Pinterest find was the sock bun curls tutorial, which I promptly tried out on my skeptical, yet willing, daughter. The before photo:


And the after:


Which, yes, I realize is not very focused and taken with a crappy iphone camera, but whatever. I also enjoy using the Instagram, and invite you all to come join me there. It's highly addictive, but oh so fun. I am @clhalverson. Come see more of my everyday drivel, won't you?

A gorgeous photo shoot I've been playing with that was taken with a FAR better camera was with these lovelies, who surprised us by visiting over Christmas. While I still haven't taken off the weight I gained from that week alone, it was fabulously wonderful to spend time with them:


And, that, dear friends, is a faithful narrative of all my dealings for the past few weeks. Not pictured is the many lunches, diet cokes, chats with friends, and hot cups of tea sipped while snuggled under a blanket with a good book. January is treating me rather well, I'd say. And coupled with the fact that today is going to be in the 60s, I just might declare it my favorite St. Louis winter yet.

I'll try to be better about posting. Not just for the three of you who still check every day, but for me. So I don't forget the fabulously boring and incredibly, wonderfully ordinary life I am living.

I love it.


A few days ago, I had a meltdown of epic proportions.

Tears, crying, and, oh, did I mention the tears?

I was decorating my umpteenth batch of holiday cookies for the neighbors. I was simultaneously also preparing a dish to take to the Husband's holiday work lunch the next day. I had been up really late the night before working on client orders and was exhausted. I had laundry literally exploding out of the mudroom, crawling on its dirty hands and knees towards me, begging to be dealt with. I had kids to shuffle to baptisms at the temple. And there had been workmen in my house all day long.

I was almost at my breaking point.

With the timing of a hurtling bomb, a boy reminded me of something he needed at school the next day. Which meant yet another trip to Hades The Target.

Hiding in the bathroom, I dried my tears and took a deep breath. Gritting my teeth, and stifling every urge of protest my feet made, I grabbed my purse and we headed out.

I glared at everyone in my path. I felt no love for the season and wondered why in heaven's name all these people come out of their holes this time of year. I hurried through the store, grabbed what we needed, and headed to the checkout. Shifting my weight from foot to foot, I sighed with impatience. Mentally counting out all that I still had to do this week, I felt the irritation seep out of my every pore.

Finally it came time to pay, and I gratefully prepared to leave.

As I was digging in my purse for my keys, I glanced up and noticed the girl in line behind me. She was short on money and was having to decide which items to take out of her bag.

Instantly, all my irritation melted away and I actually looked at her with kinder, softer eyes. Instead of seeing her worn coat and thin sweater, nails chewed down to the nub -- I saw something else. I saw a sister, younger than me, struggling to pay for her Christmas gifts. Gifts, it appeared, that were for young children. Having been there once myself, compassion flooded over my body like a warm blanket.

I felt like absolute crap. I had been whining and complaining over what, in the right perspective, are no real problems at all. I had momentarily gotten caught up in the material needs of the season and forgotten the meaning behind it.

With tears in my eyes, I reached into my purse, pulled out all the cash I had, and slid it across the counter towards her.

Merry Christmas, I said, and then walked away.

Much happier and more grateful than when I had come.

[I tell you this story not to brag of my good deeds or seek your praise. I tell you in case you, like me, needed a reminder of the good that can be done if we will just look. Look through different eyes at those around us. There just may be some that we can help. ]

Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving

I have decided to invent a new holiday.

One that I'm positive can't offend all the First Americans Indians.

But first? A little back story.

Yesterday I received a letter from a blog reader who has become a friend. Reading through this letter, I had tears streaming down my face and joy in my soul. I won't share the private contents of the letter here, but I will tell you this: This girl is an absolute rock star. She, who is all kinds of awesome herself, was thanking me.

It got me thinking about the new type of friendship that the Internet has given birth to: The Internet friend.

And I'm definitely not talking about the kind of Internet friend who wants to meet you at your house and then is surprised when Dateline: To Catch a Predator is there.

No one should have any of those kinds of Internet friends.

I'm talking about the friend who is in the motherhood trenches, the same as you. The friend whose blog you might read on your lunch hour, clear across the country, or even across the world. The ones you have met in real life; and the ones you have yet to meet. The people who tune in every day to blogs, hoping there are snippets from what you are sure is no ordinary life.

These are the people who get you. And the people whose words touch your heart, make you laugh, or tell you that you are not alone. The people who make our day a little bit better with their stories, photos, and wit.

So what I am proposing is this: Let's start a Thanksgiving revolution today. Think of someone you know (or don't know) whose blog you read. Send them a simple note, letting them know what their words have meant to you. Or simply thank them for continuing to entertain you. It doesn't need to take long - just a few minutes to type a note.

Imagine what that thoughtfulness will mean to someone. Their day is going to no doubt be hectic today; maybe they are traveling. Maybe they are cooking for inlaws. Maybe they are all alone. But to inboxes across the world, let's spread a little love.

We'll call it Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving.

I know what my letter meant to me. Imagine if every single one of you gave that feeling to someone else.

Just think of all the love flying around the Internet today.

It'll be amazing.

And just like the old adage that it's better to give than receive, imagine how great all of US will feel in return.

Go, internets. Fly out to the world with your good deeds. Then return and bring us word.

The power of prayer

Image via

This week, some friends and I threw a bridal shower for the daughter of another friend. Monday night, we got together at my house to make the party favors.

We laughed, we talked, we got it done.

The next morning, I received a call from one of my friends asking if she had left her rings behind. I hadn't noticed them, but searched the kitchen and living rooms to no avail. A few hours went by, a few more frantic calls, and I searched again.

What she was missing was her gorgeous diamond wedding ring (in and of itself a hugely valuable treasure), and a diamond ring that had been her grandmother's. One, mind you, that she had just been given at her mother's death a few weeks before.

I was sick. She was sick. I gladly went through disgusting trash bags and looked in every nook and cranny I could think of. Still no rings.

All day yesterday, I worried and fretted about them. I was devastated at the possibility that these beautiful treasures would be lost. The monetary value alone was enough to make one weep, but the sentimental value was irreplaceable.

And last night as I slept, I had a dream. In this dream, something came to my mind and I knew exactly where the rings were. I sat bolt upright in bed and instantly knew that she had slipped them off while we were working and put them in the pocket of the apron she had been wearing.

Baffled, I laid back down and went to sleep. After all, there were no pockets on that apron that I knew of. I figured my mind was reaching for any solution to this problem.

But when I woke up this morning, I felt compelled to at least check. I rifled through the laundry basket in the mud room where I had tossed our dirty aprons Monday night.

And lo and behold, tucked safely in the pocket of the apron, were the rings.

I immediately called my friend and felt her relief and joy reach out through the phone. She had spent the last few days tearing her own house apart, searching her yard, retracing every step. Heartsick, she prayed fervently to find them. She hoped that her sweet mother would whisper from heaven and help lead her to the rings.

I truly believe that her prayers came true.

I am in awe at the turn of events. It was not simply a matter of our continued searching that led us to the rings. It was not even dumb luck. I was told specifically in a dream where to find the rings, and they were in a place I didn't even know existed.

It was a tender mercy from our Heavenly Father, I have no doubt about that.

It reinforces to me that our prayers, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, are heard and answered.

And I just wanted to share this story in the event that you, like me, sometimes need a reminder of that.

Finding myself again

I wake up, the bright sunshine streaming through my window. In spite of the migraine that is just beginning, I am ready to take the day on. I stretch my tired limbs. I am determined not to let Monday win. I intend to take her by the horns and throw her to the ground.

I ignore the scale today and walk downstairs, where my biggest boy is up and dressed. I chat quietly at the table with him, and laugh as he gives me one of his famous would you rathers. He heads out the door, but not before hugging his mama. I hug him right back, and make sure not to let go first.

I walk down the hall and wake the girl who makes the rockstar hair in her sleep. She does not rouse easily, and mumbles all the way to the breakfast table. She is quiet in the mornings, and is best left alone on these kinds of days. Sort of like her mama.

I call the early bird up from the basement, where he has already spent an hour watching a documentary on alligators. I shake my head and wonder how it is possible to wake up so cheerful so early in the morning. I smile, knowing he is sure to share some gory details over his bowl of cereal, much to his sister's dismay.

I pack lunches and pour milk. I remind them both to brush their teeth. Again. I comb her hair, and find that she has warmed up to the day. I listen as she chatters away. I hug them tight and send them out the door with I love yous. The boy, as he does every day, turns and waves. The girl, as she does every day, is busy talking with friends.

The trainer comes and I work out. Hard. I feel my body returning to a strength I once took for granted. I hydrate and thank god for letting me get better. For letting me heal. I put in some laundry and clear out my inbox. I start a couple loaves of bread and return a few phone calls. I shower and tackle a mess in the office. I edit pictures. I run errands.

I am busy. And it feels so damn good.

I feel myself returning to the person I used to be. Someone who was productive. And strong. And happy.

Tears fill my eyes as I remember the place I was in, even just a few months ago. A place of despair and sorrow. A place that, for me, was without hope.

I am so grateful.

I finally feel like me again.

Thanksgiving 2010 (Also known as: Gluttony is Awesome)

Guess what? So it turns out that there is this crazy thing called "The Internet." And on "The Internet" there are these wacky things called "Blogs" where people keep a record of their everyday lives, showcase their family activities, and post for all the world to see on a daily basis.

Did you know that?

Isn't that amazing?

(One would think I'd never heard of it, the way I've been posting around here. Or NOT been posting.)

Well, I am back. I had a most excellent Thanksgiving, and will now proceed to bore you (The Aforementioned Internet) with photos and updates of my goings on. Feel free to click off and hunt for free p@rn unless you are:

a) a relative (and even then I might understand)
b) one of the 16 people featured in the pictures
c) a stalker who can't get enough of me, no matter how boring my posts become

We had quite a crowd here for the holidays, and it made my heart sing with joy. There is nothing more fantastic than sharing the sacred gluttony that is Thanksgiving with people I love. We had two of the Husband's brothers, their families, and the in-laws come to stay (for a total of 16, ranging in age from 64 to 14 months).

There was much eating. A lot of card playing. A couple movie viewings. A little sleeping. And definitely some more eating.

(There was also a computer virus, a flood in the car, and a minor vehicular accident. But who's counting the bad things, anyway?)

The best thing I did all Thanksgiving day (besides eat my weight in coconut cake) was hand my camera off to a brother-in-law. I tend to find myself preoccupied on days like this with the cooking, and do not always remember to do the picture taking. I am so grateful.

What would my crazy stalkers have to look at otherwise?









It was the best weekend, and my house seems far too quiet without all of them here. Anyone ready to come back?

Best. Thanksgiving. Ever.