Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Last Weekend of September


We went to an art festival yesterday. I love love love art festivals. I have a pottery fetish but love the glass and jewelry and photography and other funky wares too. It was a bit on the hot side walking around in the sun – definitely a different feel than this time of year in Pittsburgh. The festival was held in the park with the Parthenon. Yes, you heard correctly – the Parthenon. Did you know we have a full size replica here in Nashville? I had no idea either. It is kind of cool looking but one of this things that makes me cock my head and say “huh?”


Me on the acropolis near the real Parthenon many moons ago:


A private Sabrina and Daddy moment (guess it sopped being private when I snapped a photo and then posted it on the net?)



Mommy and Sabrina dancing to Def Leopard – can anyone not want to dance when Pour Some Sugar On Me comes on the radio?


Today?  I have no plans beyond doing some laundry and wandering out to get a Sunday paper and peach smoothie from Sonic.  Do you have Sonic near you?  The food generally sucks but the drinks are awesome.  Right now they have the peach smoothies.  If you haven’t tried one, run – now – and get one.  Nirvana for your mouth.

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Social Butterfly


I’ve been a little social butterfly this week.  Now that it isn’t a scorching 105 degrees outside, I feel much more sociable (trust me…no one wants to be around me when it is 105).  I’ve been to 2 mommy groups, 2 mom’s nights out (sans kiddos), and 1 mommy blind date (yes Julie, that is MOMMY blind date hehe).  Is it strange that I am actually a little bit proud of myself?  It is so much easier not to put myself out there but I really don’t want to be a complete hermit.  Since we have no pre-existing friends or family here, I’m afraid 2 years could pass and no one outside of Steve’s office would even know we exist here.  I think we will be staying here so I feel the need to start planting some roots through relationships.

Today, we had a little play date at a park and this evening another mommy group had a mom’s night out at a paint your own pottery place.  It was a fun day.

Now some photos for those friends and family who are far away and don’t have the joy of seeing Sabrina regularly.

She loves the swings.


Waiting for the sugar to kick in after having a bit of ice cream at the park.


Our apartment complex doesn’t have baby swings so Sabrina settled for swinging with daddy.


She is so funny.  Steve will put her down on the tennis court surface to crawl around (all of the dogs use the grass as their toilets so we don’t like to put her in the grass).  She does this funny crawl on the tennis court up on her hands and feet.


She loves leaves, sticks and pine cones.  Seriously, why do we buy this kid toys?


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I’m having a hard time with the newest crisis in Guatemalan adoptions. There were several during our process and I eventually became immune to them. I couldn’t get on that roller coaster every time something happened so I just waited them out. Yep, call me an ostrich. But this one feels more real than the others. Yes, my beautiful daughter is home. Our adoption is complete. Selfishly, I would like adoptions to continue so that we can have the option of Guatemala when we are ready to adopt again. But I have friends who are not home. And I know that many strangers are doing everything in their power not to curl up in a ball and sob out of fear and frustration. I know there are many of you out there having this panic hit home. I honestly can’t wrap my brain around the horrible things that could happen if Berger does his thing and the US DOS sits back and says “we warned you” without trying to help these families. Please, everyone, write, call, fax, email your senators, the president, DOS, and anyone else you think might listen. Sign the online petition. 5000 hearts out there waiting for their children to come home are breaking.


Okay, it seems odd to continue with my stupid chattering about normal life in the face of that but I will do so anyway.

Yesterday, I had a blind date with another mom (a friend of a stranger friend) who just moved to Nashville. I wasn’t sure what to expect but we had a perfectly lovely lunch! I was pleasantly surprised (not because I doubted her…just because the whole blind date thing can be uncomfortable). We are talking about having dinner with men and children sometime in the next month or so. THEN (yes, my social calendar was full – I had actually triple booked my morning and had to cancel 2 other things), one of the mommy groups had a mommy night out (sans children and husbands). I got to leave the house without the diaper bag. I drank 2 margaritas and ate yummy mexican food without having to share with a little one frantically signing “more” to me – all while talking about a variety of topics (okay, yes poopy diapers did come up but we talked about other stuff too).

I only have 1 photo for you today. Sabrina’s favorite new thing is to stand or kneel next to her high chair and shake it furiously while laughing. I trimmed her bangs a little because Steve kept complaining they were in her eyes…doesn’t she look like a Romulan now? (Yes, that is a Star Trek reference…give me a break, I’m married to a geek.)


Want to help? ** updated


I’ve got a challenge for all of you out there. Most of us in adoption world are aware of Cheri and Erin – stuck in the bureaucracy of Guatemalan adoption and living in Antigua for the better part of a year already with no end in sight. We all say how horrible it is. We silently thank God or the fates or some other higher power that we aren’t stuck like that. We all wish there is something we could do.

Right now, this moment, this is something helpful you can do. The Department of State has been somewhat not supportive of Guatemalan adoptions (my theory is that they cause a little more work for them than other countries). The DOS issued a statement yesterday indicating that they are basically going to hang the families in process out to dry at the end of the year. This is our government stating they aren’t going to intervene on behalf of American citizens who entered into a good faith agreement with another country. Cheri explains the impact on her and other in process families on her blog.

So go read Cheri’s words. Write your senator. Call the DOS. Write the White House. Cheri provides all of the contact information on her blog. Don’t think that your 1 letter or call can’t make a difference – if this is important to you, SPEAK UP NOW.

According to several individuals on adoption.com, Gerry Fuller is the person assigned to the Guatemalan situation.  His email is: fullergw@state.gov

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Blog? What Blog?


I got nothing people. I had a little mommy meet up yesterday that was nice and then I took Sabrina to see Daddy at work so he could show her off a bit. It feels like July rather than late September here – in the 90s this week. I’m looking forward to some cool fall weather. Since I’ve got nothing interesting to blog about, I’ll just throw a little Sabrina cuteness at you.

Showing off her mad self feeding skills


She’s had a cold for the past 10 days or so…she has a little boo-boo on her nose from me wiping it constantly.




She isn’t leaning on the table here. She will get excited with a toy in both hands and wave them around without thinking about the fact she is standing by herself.


Steve and I were working with her on walking this weekend. After about 20 minutes, we looked at each other and said “Why are we encouraging her to do this?”

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Weekend Edition


Nothing of any import to share.  Saturday we checked out the big mall – Opry Mills.  No one told me it was an outlet mall!  Children’s Place outlet was having some great sales so Sabrina got some new fall clothes for next to nothing.  Momma got a couple of pairs of jeans that Daddy declared the best fit ever (I only owned 1 pair…figured the stay at home mom gig called for more of those).  Daddy got some work clothes.  Today, the Steelers game was broadcast on Fox so we got to root them on.  (They won – woohoo!)  Sabrina turned into Miss McWhineyPants today – hopefully that will pass soon.  Hope everyone had a good weekend.

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I used to look forward to weekends for different reasons.  Now?  Because Daddy can step up and take on a portion of the Sabrina duties.  I love her to pieces but seriously need a break sometimes.  Some mornings I wake up and think “I don’t want to be the mommy today.”  Am I the only one?  The thought usually disappears when I see her smile at me from her crib.  My newest crankiness is meal times.  Seriously, how does one little person manage to spend more than 2 hours a day eating or drinking?  Good thing she is so cute!dsc04253.JPG

Can you tell she spends a lot of time hanging on the coffee table?  The background doesn’t change much.


I’m not sure if this is a bad hair day or if she was channeling Pat Benatar.


This is her first big girl outfit – a friend sent it to her.  Her first jeans that aren’t overalls and a cute little t-shirt.  I don’t think I like that she looks like such a big girl.


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Another good thing about being a SAHM


I can use nap time to write long emails expressing my displeasure with whoever has pissed me off currently. I had a post called I heart NPR a few months ago. Well, I’m not hearting NPR today (as usual I am a couple of days behind everyone else and just listened to the story). They did an incredibly lopsided story, basically only representing UNICEF’s views, on Guatemalan adoptions the other day on All Things Considered (you can find it here…there is a button to listen to the audio).  I am livid after hearing it.  I immediately sat down and wrote a very long email expressing my displeasure.

My main complaints? First, the UNICEF guy said that basically all you need to do is plop down $25 – 30K and you get a baby without any one looking at the family adopting or the family relinquishing.  Really?  Then what the f*ck was I doing with homestudies and gathering papers for 3 months and why did Sabrina not come home until she was 9 months old?  If all we have to do is write a check, why are Cheri and Erin still in limbo living in Antigua now?  I am sure they would be happy to write a check to get themselves home.  Second, there is no infrastructure in Guatemala to support these children (or the families if they would choose to keep them rather than putting them up for adoption) if they aren’t adopted. There is no public foster care system. The publicly funded hogars are as poverty stricken as the families who gave up the children. If UNICEF would quit mucking around in politics and help Guatemala put the infrastructure in place to keep these children in the country then I will applaud their efforts. Okay, I am preaching to the choir here so I’ll jump down from my soapbox.

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Mommy and Michelle


First, the mommy side – some Sabrina cuteness.  I am constantly telling her and the dog to leave each other alone.  This morning I found Angus giving Sabrina a tongue bath.  He had his head in her lap and they were just hanging out.  It was so cute I snapped a photo before I told him to stop licking her.  (I also have to yell at the dog to stop playing with her toys.  The ones the sing when moved, he will nudge with his nose so that they make noise.  It is funny the first couple of times but the 7th time it starts getting on my nerves.)


And Miss Sabrina playing her favorite game.




Okay, for the Michelle portion of the post.  I left the house again tonight without a diaper bag or baby on my hip.  I miss her when I go but I feel so free to be able to just walk around with out all of the baby gear.  Tonight was my second chick lit book club meeting.  Again, the book wasn’t really discussed but we all had a great time eating and drinking and chatting (about! things! other! than! children!).  I’m curious about our next book and looking forward to reading it.  It is written by another blogger and I love the title:  Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Ego-maniacal , Self-Centered Smart Ass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office.

I also talked a little bit about blogs and mommy blogs with another mom at the group tonight (Hi L if you remembered the name of my blog).   I don’t feel the same sense of community in the mommy blog world that I do in the adoption blog world so it was funny to find that we read couple of the same blogs.  Almost like we had friends in common.  I’ve been blogging for 1 1/2 years but I still find blog world odd when you take it off the net.

Making something old new again


Or why this stay at home mom needs a part time job.

I have wanted to throw away this awful fake flaking brass lamp since I moved in with my husband.


We don’t have a lot of ceiling lights in the apartment (which is fine because I detest ceiling lights) so we really do need all of the lamps we own.  My current frugality won’t allow me to throw this lamp away and go buy another.  So it became today’s project.  A can of spray paint, some wire and some beads (I have another lamp that I love with the beads and wire on the shade) and voila.   New(ish) lamp.



This shade doesn’t look as good as the store bought version on my other lamp – but it works.

In other news, Sabrina has figured out the self-feeding thing.


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