Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Go see


It looks like Tricia is giving away one of the shirts from Pilarina’s Boutique.  Go check it out if you are interested!

1 year


One year ago today, we were traveling home with our daughter Sabrina.  We spent the day on planes and in airports.


I remember feeling overwhelmed with emotion both when our plane left Guatemalan soil as well when we touched down on U.S. soil.  By the time we reached home, I thought I was too tired to feel much else and then I saw this banner (“Welcome Home, Sabrina and Mommy”) hanging in my foyer:


And the next morning, I woke up and saw this:


My little family fast asleep in our own home (okay we didn’t really live there any more but we still paid the mortgage every month and most of our stuff was still there).

I can’t believe it has been a year and that it has only been a year.  I can’t imagine our lives without Sabrina.  I’m one blessed momma.

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Help a momma out?


Farrah is working on adopting a little one from Thailand.  She is selling some darling clothes at this site (including raffling off a cute outfit every Monday) – so check that out if you are interested.  She is also putting together a cookbook as a fundraiser.  She has asked if anyone out there in blog land has any yummy recipes to contribute.  Send recipes to:  adoptingmom29 at yahoo dot com (removing the spaces and at = @ dot = .)   Thanks!

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Guat Picnic


Yesterday, we gathered together 14 families from the area for a picnic at the park. Despite the fact that no one really wanted to be in charge (I seriously don’t have the brain power to be put in charge of anything right now), the hastily thrown together picnic was a success. All of the families were wonderfully nice and the children (Guat and home grown) were beautiful. I had a great time chatting with everyone and admiring the darling kids running around.

I’m not sure who traveled the farthest…I think I heard someone say they were from the Memphis area and that person would get the prize. But Kristi came from Alabama (a little over an hour) and even if she didn’t make the longest trip, she gets props for getting herself permanently banned from adoption.com. I love fellow rebel-rousers.

We hope to make it a bi-annual event – once in May and once in October so we that can avoid the heat. My uber geek hubby will set up a password protected site to display the photos from the picnic and a group email thread for updates on upcoming picnics or events – so if you are in the Middle Tennessee area leave me a comment that you would like to attend in the future and we can get you added.

And because some of the attendees don’t like having their faces or their children’s faces splashed across the internet, even on my quiet little blog, I will stick strictly to Sabrina cuteness.

A little rocking chair just her size at Cracker Barrel (Steve guessed that perhaps some breakfast goodness might cheer me up after the consignment sale gone wrong). She is currently enchanted with chairs her size:


Showing daddy her treasures – a paperplate she found on the ground and a ball she stole from another family:


She was amazed that another mommy brought picnic supplies to a picnic! Her mommy certainly didn’t so she had to check them out.  She hasn’t experienced this phenomenon called preparedness:


Pimpin’ for my peeps


Guatoberfest planning is underway. The location has been moved to Myrtle Beach, SC and it will be held the 2nd weekend of October. Unfortunately, the venue change means I can’t attend this year – but I’m sure it will be a fabulous time despite the absence of the beautiful Miss Sabrina. It is open to all adoptive families, not just those who adopted from Guatemala. Check out the new website to stay up to date on the info.

A little closer to home, we will be having a Guat Picnic here in Nashville on May 3rd. I am posting this here because there are a few of you out there who I had email addresses for but lost them in the Great Laptop Crash of ’08. (Julie – are you reading this?) Leave me a comment if you are in middle TN and would like to join us. The picnic is open to any adoptive family, not just Guatemala, and those in process if they would like to come. It looks like we have about 15 – 20 families interested in attending already so I look forward to meeting new faces!


Sabrina and I spent yesterday hanging out in our new empty house waiting for the washer and dryer to be delivered.  Of course they came at the tail end of their 4 hour window so we were there all afternoon but they are installed and ready for use.

I remember the first washer and dryer I bought – knowing that I didn’t have to go to the laundromat anymore – it was almost as exciting as my first car.  This time?  Not exactly exciting but a nice detail to have taken care of before we move in.  And buying a new set (even the almost cheapest set in the store) definitely gave us a little sticker shock.  But we were hoarding some Christmas and birthday gift cards that took some of the sting out of it.  (Thanks mom, M & I, and C & J.)

Sabrina got to check out her new yard.  She was fascinated with peeking through the fence so Steve let her see over it.



And I can tell already that we will battle many times each day about staying off the steps.  I have to find a gate that will work despite the rounded banister – which probably means something permanently drilled in.  (They make gates for that kind of thing, right?)  I hate to do that in a rental but we’ll just have to putty the holes before we leave.  I will lose my mind if I have to tell her to get off the stpes 492 times every day.


1 year ago


A year ago today was my first full day as Sabrina’s mom. April 12th I moved to Antigua. Steve spent a couple of days with us while we settled in and then returned home. Being away from him was really difficult as was being a first time mom solo – but I remember my time in Antigua fondly.

I can’t believe how much she has grown and how much our lives have changed in 12 months.


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Good news in adoption land


Many of you are following Cheri’s story and have already read the good news.  But for those of you who only check in periodically or those who have helped financially when blogland did a fund raiser, I want to direct everyone to Cheri’s blog for the news she has been waiting to announce for over 17 months.  She is going home!

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Something cool


I was doing a little blog surfing while Sabrina ate her lunch today (the child can turn a piece of cheese, some peaches, and some green beans into a 45 minute meal). And after following some links, I came across this very cool necklace – proceeds benefit the family’s Guatemalan adoption. She has several cool Guatemalan themed pieces but also some representing Africa and China. Not in my budget today…but I’m keeping my eye on that necklace and wishing that family well in this uncertain time in Guatemalan adoptions. If you are looking for neat gift for yourself or a friend who has adopted – go check her site out.

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Coming out of my self absorbed state for a minute


The ever lovely and ever generous Julia approached me earlier this week with a fabulous idea.

Matt, Jenny & Eliana are about to bring home 2 new daughters! I had the pleasure of meeting this lovely family after my return from Guatemala. They are such wonderful, funny, warm people! Last year they brought Eliana home from Guatemala and soon two more beautiful girls will be joining their family! Obviously this means big and wonderful changes for their family so we thought we would throw a blog shower for them!

You can bless this family four different ways!

1. You can click on the Pay Pal button and donate money directly to the family’s Pay Pal account. (MONEY – every one’s Favorite Gift!) You can give as little or as much as you choose.

2. You can participate in our book drive for them (Nikki’s amazing idea!)You can give the gift of a book for a child ages 2-7 and mail it to the family at:

Whoa Bebe

47 Washington Avenue #143

Wheeling WV 26003

(A Secure PO Box)

3. You can email them an encouraging word, prayer, good thought at:


(there is an underscore_ between whoo and yeah)

4. You can take the “JuJu Challenge” and do all three:)

How cool would it be for this family to have all three from everyone that comes across this blog for a week??????

Thank you – even if all you do is send good thoughts their way. They are a wonderful family who deserve lots of love and happiness.

Thanks in advance for being part of This Incredible Gift Giving Opportunity!



and Nikki

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Amazing news from Antigua!


Cheri got the OUT call today!  After living in Antigua for over a year, being kicked out of PGN for months on end with no progress on the case, Cheri and Eliana will finally be heading home soon!  I can’t even begin to express what an incredible help Cheri was to me when I fostered in Antigua – from finding my house to getting water delivery set up to helping me find groceries.  And she has maintained such an incredible attitude through out all of this.  She is one strong woman.

Now we just need to get good news for Erin and both of our life boat girls will be on their way home!

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