Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Memo Monday



To the gaggle of 17 yr olds hanging out at Sonic Saturday night and looking at me like I was old beyond comprehension:

I was shocked and horrified to see the girl run in front of my car wearing the exact same outfit I wore in the 80’s. Honey, trust me, you will be so embarrassed when photos of yourself in the oversized t-shirt/dress, with the really big belt and the ankle boots (where do you find suede ankle boots without a time machine to take you back to the making of any 80’s Pat Benetar video?) surface later in your life. Admittedly, you don’t have the really big hair and really black eye liner to cringe over but I promise the belt and the boots will be cringe-worthy enough.

And someday? You will be the “old” woman driving around in a sedan with an empty car seat picking up a late night treat for your hubby. You will chuckle at some girl wearing exactly what you wore 20 years ago. You will feel very old for a moment and then you will simply be amused because you are happy with your life. But it will remind you to go home and hide those photos from the 80’s a little deeper so your daughter doesn’t find them easily. And a small piece of you might say “I like totally looked bitchin’ in that outfit dude.”

posted under humor | 10 Comments »

If you pray…


If you are a prayer, please send prayers for those in Guatemala fostering their children and for the babies at CQ which was raided last week. If you aren’t someone who prays, send some positive, hopeful thoughts their way. This is a scary time for those adopting from Guatemala. I hope things calm down after the elections next month. I am worried for my friends in Antigua. I am thankful that it isn’t us but feel guilty that Cheri and Erin and many others are still there. I can’t imagine how lonely and scary Antigua would be under the current circumstances.

posted under adoption | 14 Comments »

I just want to point out 2 things


First…Daddy dressed our little hillbilly this morning. Apparently moving to the south has made him favor the redneck look.


This picture cracks my ass up.


The second thing I want to point out is that she could obviously feed herself if she wanted to.

Exhibit A – part of a Papa John’s coupon going in her mouth:


Exhibit B – Her ball would be in her mouth if it fit:


posted under family | 5 Comments »

So cute it hurts


I honestly can’t get over how gorgeous my child is.  If I had some DNA in the mix it might feel a little egotistical but since I don’t, I can gush.  Here is a little Sabrina cuteness to tide the grandmas over.  It is supposed to remain in the 105 degree vicinity all weekend so I don’t imagine we’ll be getting out much.


Can we say ham?  But this shot shows off her new teeth.  Only one of the 2 on top has broken through but the other is close.


She has abandoned the pamphlet for toys.


And apparently Angus was feeling a little left out.  Sabrina is behind his head – I was taking a picture of her and he popped up.  So I told him I would include him in the photos today.


posted under family | 11 Comments »

Wild and Crazy Gal**


It felt bizarre – I left the house tonight with no diaper bag, no car seat, no baby! It was rather liberating to realize that Sabrina isn’t actually attached to my hip. I had another blind date tonight – but this one was sans babies. In fact, I believe I was the only woman in the room with a child.

Steve came home and took over. I went to my first chick lit book club meeting. Discussion of the book consisted of – did you read it and if so did you like it? Then we drank wine, munched on goodies, and chatted. I had a fabulous time. No one asked me what agency I used. No one asked about PGN or previos. No one asked how Sabrina was sleeping or eating or pooping. No one even knew I was a mom until I mentioned it an hour into the gathering. As proud as I am to have the title “Mom”, it is wonderful to be seen as a person outside of that role sometimes. It would be so easy to lose myself, my identity, in this stay at home mom role. Tonight reminded me it is so important not to.

**Edited to add: I found the book club through www.meetup.com – enter your zip code and you can search for different types of groups. Some cities have more activity than others.

The book? This is a chick lit book club so the books are really fluffy (and not really worthy of discussion – hence our largely ignoring it. It was a book called Cyber Cinderella. And no, I wouldn’t recommend it.

posted under nashville | 12 Comments »

Monday Cuteness


A couple of months ago, I won an e-bay gift certificate from Tricia’s giveaways.  With moving and all, I hadn’t had a chance to use it yet.  I finally used part of it to get some sleepers for Sabrina.  Everyone said I needed to post photos of whatever I bought…and frankly sleepers aren’t all that exciting so I’ll just post some Sabrina cuteness – she just happens to be modeling one of the sleepers.



Her favorite new thing – when she is excited (usually while she is eating) she will scrunch up her face and breath really deeply and loudly through her nose.



She has 2 top teeth coming in right now so these smiles are caught between a lot of whining.

posted under family | 17 Comments »

White Chicken Chili



Maybe not a meal that makes the most sense on a 100 degree day – but I had a yen. When I want to make something, I normally go to allrecipes or google it. I look at a variety of recipes and pull what I like from each then start cooking. As a result, none of my recipes are set in stone – feel free to play around with ingredients and amounts.

4 pieces chicken breast cooked and cut up into bite size pieces (I boiled them in water until cooked through so they would stay moist then cut them up)

1 white onion

1 can 4 oz green chiles (if you like heat, also add 1 can chopped jalapeņos – if not, leave them out)

3 cloves of garlic

generous hand full of fresh cilantro leaves

2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper (adjust according to taste…less if you don’t like heat)

5 – 6 cups of chicken broth (1 large can or 3 small cans)

3 cans 15oz great northern white beans – drained

1 can of corn

1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used colby jack…but any mild cheese would be fine)

Throw the onion, garlic, peppers, cilantro, cumin and cayenne pepper in the food processor. Pulse to finely chop. Throw it in the bottom of your soup pan with a little bit of olive oil and saute for a couple of minutes.

Take 1 can of the white beans and puree in the food processor until smooth. Add to the soup pan (this will thicken the soup base). Slowly add the chicken broth. Add the chicken chunks, can of corn (drained), and other 2 cans of beans. Simmer for 20 minutes. After the chili is done, add a cup of shredded cheese and stir until melted. Reserve the other 1/2 cup for garnish. A dollop of sour cream would also be nice on top of each bowl.

posted under food | 13 Comments »

Top 10 things that might drive this SAHM insane

  1. The soundtrack of mommy-hood. I always have some song rattling around in my head. It used to be AC/DC, James Taylor, or something else I heard on the radio. Now? The soundtrack of my days is a catchy little tune from Sabrina’s favorite toy of the day. Sung to the tune of Row Row Row Your Boat “Stir, stir, stir the soup…sing along with me…we can learn the alphabet, right from A to Z.” (Sound familiar Jenny? I know you have the same table in your living room.) Or in Winnie-the-Pooh’s voice “Rolling along, on our way, let’s learn together while we play…” (Sound familiar Amy?) Don’t get me wrong, we’ve worked hard to have the least annoying toys in our home – I don’t dislike any of them. I just can’t get them out of my freaking head!
  2. The whining. Oh. Dear. God. The. Whining. We have a beautiful daughter with an amazing disposition but some days? I want to poke sharp objects in my ears just to stop the whining. I start to wonder if she annoys herself sometimes because seriously – how could she not get tired of hearing it too?
  3. The same-ness of each day. Working in social work, the only thing that was predictable was that you couldn’t predict what would happen next. [Example – one morning, I had to return a stolen car to the dealership. That certainly wasn’t what I thought my day would look like when I got out of bed that morning. Again, Amy, sound familiar?] Sabrina thrives on routine. She isn’t rigid but our lives definitely go more smoothly when she can predict what will happen next. I don’t want her to bring home a stolen Camry but sometimes I want to do something a little different.
  4. The audience. Everywhere I go in the apartment, I have 2 faces staring up at me – the dog and Sabrina. I get something to drink – there they are. I start a load of laundry – there they are. I go to the bathroom – there they are. How many years until I get to pee by myself again? (They are 2 really cute faces…but…)
  5. Mommy Brain. I have always considered myself intelligent but lately I feel like I am shedding brain cells at an alarming rate. When Steve and I discuss something not related to Sabrina I find myself groping for the right words to convey my thoughts. I walk into rooms and have no memory of why I am there. I’ve joked about my neurotic list making but now they are a necessity. I say I want to make friends so I can talk about things other than poop and naps but I wonder if I still have the ability. Oh look, something shiny…
  6. Now that she is crawling, it is like having a small disapproving mother-in-law in the house. Every dog hair, scrap of paper, and crumb is discovered, picked up, and then handed to me. I have to vacuum every other day to come close to keeping up – and I should do it daily but I don’t.
  7. Dinner. I enjoy cooking most of the time. Now that I am staying at home, I feel like it is part of my job to cook dinner. This is totally something I put on myself – Steve doesn’t think that way (part of why I love him). But I hate coming up with ideas for dinner. I feel so uninspired – gee let’s have stuffed peppers again even though it is 99 degrees outside. I wish I was organized like Elle and made a weekly menu but I’ve come to terms with the fact that will never happen – just isn’t in my wiring. So Steve, don’t tell me you really like something unless you want to eat it weekly because I’m out of ideas.
  8. Being out of touch with the world. I don’t mean isolated in the sense of not seeing people whose butt I don’t have to wipe…I mean not knowing what is going on in the world. Is that little war still on in Iraq? Did I hear something about Lindsay being arrested again? When I worked, I always ate at my desk so I would read MSNBC or CNN during my lunch. I would listen to NPR on the way to and from work. I read Newsweek. Now? I don’t usually get a chance to read the news online. And I don’t want to watch the TV news while Sabrina is awake because she doesn’t need to see that ugliness (and I don’t want her to hear about the moron who is driving this bus *cough* W *cough*). By the night time news, I’m too tired to care what is going on outside of the fact that all is quiet in the nursery.
  9. Referring to myself in the third person. Why do we do this? It gave me a little thrill for awhile to refer to myself legitimately as mommy. Now I miss saying “I”, “me”, and “mine”. “Mommy will be right back.” “Mommy is right here.” “Don’t hit mommy.” “That is mommy’s flask, put it down.”
  10. Being ‘on’ all of the time. Sometimes I just want to sit quietly. I don’t want to expend the energy to make funny faces, talk in funny voices, clap at silly things, sing cute little songs, be a human jungle gym, cup my hand on a corner of the coffee table so no heads are bumped, or come up with a funny game to make anyone laugh. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of those things. I am thankful for each day that I get to spend at home with my daughter and wouldn’t trade it for the world. I would hate to sit in an office pretending a meeting was as important or as interesting as any of those things. But damn do I love nap time. Now where did Mommy’s flask go?
posted under humor | 29 Comments »

I heart Willis H. Carrier…


…inventor of the air conditioner.

Now some photos from our day for Daddy who didn’t get to see much of his princess today since he worked late.

Sabrina and her new BFF – she feeds him from her high chair so now Angus thinks she is the coolest thing ever.


This morning she found her “Life is too short to clean your own house” pamphlet (which if you didn’t guess is an ad for a cleaning service). She seriously didn’t let it go all day long. I had to take it from her before her bath.


No matter what else she did today, she had that pamphlet clutched in her little hand.


If you look at the first photo, please notice all of the toys available to her. But the pamphlet is what kept her entertained. Why do we buy toys for kids?


posted under family | 20 Comments »

Photo Tuesday


 I’ve been accused of slacking on the photo posting so here are a few from today.

The theme for the week (maybe the month?) is HOT…so we stayed in again today.  Cynthia came and hung out with us for awhile this afternoon – Sabrina loves seeing a face besides mommy’s and mommy enjoys talking to another grown up so it is a win-win for us that she likes to hang out with us.


Sabrina was working all day on trying to stand without holding on to anything.  She can do it very briefly but doesn’t quite have the balance thing down yet.


Cynthia and I both think she was doing the sign for “more” a couple of times today – not exactly in the right context (when she dropped a toy and wanted it picked up) but meaning that she wanted something so it is a start.


She was crawling around this evening with this pamphlet – she wouldn’t drop it even though it slowed her down.  The pamphlet cracks me up – the title is “Life is too short to clean your own house”.  I couldn’t agree more but no one will do it for free.


posted under family | 5 Comments »
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