Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

I’m a sheep


Okay, I hate to be predictable but there is a reason everyone does it:  the obligatory year in review post.

2007 has been one hell of a ride.

January – March I spent working at a job I hated and fretting that Sabrina was getting older everyday and would never come home.

April – early June I spent living in Guatemala with Sabrina.

The remainder of June was spent packing up our house in Pittsburgh.

July – October I spent adjusting to TN and enjoying being part of a 2 parent family as well as adjusting to being a stay at home mom.

November & December my world turned a bit upside down with the discovery that I am pregnant.  Bed rest and life style changes followed.

We started the year with no children in our home and are ending it with the hope of adding a second.  I spent a couple of months away from my husband living in a foreign country.  I quit my job and became a stay at home mom.  We moved far away from friends and family.  The only thing in my life that hasn’t completely changed this year is Steve – he is probably the reason I can handle all of the other changes without going batshit crazy.

Bizarre, bizarre, bizarre – but all in a good way.

Here is a picture of Miss Sabrina in January of this year and a picture of her yesterday with Abuela.



Happy New Year to you all!  I hope 2008 bring all of the blessings you desire to your lives.  If you are going out to celebrate tonight, be safe!

posted under family | 13 Comments »

Christmas Wrap Up


Our trip home was wonderful.  I miss being near our friends and family – I think even more now that Sabrina is home.  We had dinner with my BFF and her husband.  We had met up with a group of Steve’s friends.  We spent a day in Ohio with my family and a couple of days in PA with Steve’s family.  Sabrina loved being the center of attention and seeing all of the new faces again.

Sabrina was a huge fan of Pap-Pap.


She wasn’t sure what to make of the wrapped gifts but had fun digging things out of her stocking.


She wasn’t a fan of her new hat but the grown ups loved it.


We also thought her new ducky slippers were adorable.


Aunt Lulu was pretty smitten with little Sabrina.


Grandma had fun hanging out with Miss Sabrina too.


And Sabrina thought Uncle Pat was a hoot.


I’ve been cheating a bit on my bed rest the past couple of days.  I picked my mom up at the airport yesterday and we went to Whole Foods today to pick up some fun stuff for dinner.  I think I might even sneak out to a movie with my husband with this weekend (I’ll be sitting – does it matter if it is at home or in a theater with a big tub of popcorn?).  I saw the doctor again today.  Everything still looks fine.  I had a moment of panic when I didn’t see the heartbeat on the ultrasound but my doctor magnified and pointed it out.

posted under family | 15 Comments »

Abuela is coming! Abuela is coming!


Here is our Christmas card photo since I promised to post it after most people received it.


If I promised you one and you haven’t received it yet…well don’t give up hope.  It might still be on its way.  I have a couple of cards on my table that need to go in the mail still.

Sabrina slept last night – thank goodness!  We have had to fight and struggle to get to her to bed every night since we left.  But as soon as we put her in her own bed, all was well with her world.  Momma slept last night too – for the most part.

Sabrina and I are heading out to pick up my mom at the airport in about an hour.  We’ve only been home for 12 hours and I’ve been on bedrest for 3 weeks.  Wanna guess how wrecked my house is?

posted under family | 8 Comments »

Road Weary


Long day on the road today but we are finally home.  We will all be quite happy to sleep in our own beds tonight.  We had a lovely holiday and a lovely visit with friends and family.  A few photos to tide everyone over – more tomorrow.

An older man who lives about 2 blocks from my step-mother starts decorating in September.  I believe you might be able to see his yard from space.  Not only does he decorate, he then sits outside in a sleigh in the evenings dressed as Santa.  He gives out candy canes and accepts letters for Santa.  He even has a white board where he lets kids write their names if they should be on the “nice” list.


My step-mom has one of those singing Hallmark things with a couple of penguins and a snowman.  Sabrina was obsessed with it and made everyone press the button for her a dozen times.


Sabrina playing with Grandma Freida.


Uncle Mikey spent the day feeding Sabrina all kinds of sugar and other crap.  The thing she liked best?  Eating a lemon – didn’t even make the sour face.  Go figure.


I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.  I’m going to bed.  I haven’t slept more than 4 hours at one time since we left here last week.

posted under family | 5 Comments »

I don’t think this one is the hormones


Grab a tissue…if this story doesn’t warm your heart, well I won’t call you cold but I would wonder a little.  I checked it out on snopes and they claim it is a true story.  I’ve seen it in a couple of places – most recently here.  I love stories that renew my faith in my fellow man – especially at the holidays.  Apparently this story was sent to the Dear Abby column.

A little girl’s dog dies.  The 4 year old asks mom to help her write a letter to God, so that God will know when Abbey, their dog, arrives in heaven.

Dear God,
Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.
Love, Meredith.

The mom and girl put the letter to God in the mailbox….which of course goes to the “dead letter” department of the post office, along with other letters to God, Santa and the Tooth Fairy.   They put a return address on the letter along with lots of stamps, since it was going all the way to heaven.  Then, the angels at the dead letter department stepped in.
Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, “To Meredith” in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, “When a Pet Dies.” Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. Abbey isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you.
I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.
By the way, I am wherever there is love.
Love, God

posted under Misc. | 19 Comments »

Outta here


I was so bummed out yesterday – no one in blog world seemed to be writing. My bloglines stayed stubbornly empty most of the day. This morning I had a plethora of reading – most of it from yesterday. Stupid bloglines.

This evening we leave to go home for the holidays. I’m quite excited for 3 reasons. First, it seems like forever since we’ve been home (only 3 1/2 months in reality). I miss the area and I miss our friends and family. Second, this bed resting lady is ready for a change of scenery – even if it is just a new couch from which to view it. I am tired of staring at my 4 walls and look forward to staring at some new walls. Third, I can’t wait for everyone to get the chance to enjoy Sabrina. She is such a joy and I feel a little selfish that we keep her all to ourselves since we live so far from home now.


I don’t know if I’ll be able to check in or not. My in-laws are the last hold outs – no internet at their house. I hope each of you has a fabulous Christmas (and those who celebrate Hanuka – a belated Happy Hanuka to you). Enjoy your beautiful kiddos if they are home and keep those who aren’t home yet in your hearts. Count your blessings and spread some joy!


posted under family, travel | 17 Comments »

All is well


I had another doctor appointment today.  We saw the heart beat again and all is well.  Steve got to see it too so that was exciting.  Unfortunately, bed rest continues but she didn’t object to our plans to head home for the holidays.  She wasn’t willing to tell me how long she wants me on bed rest – she wants me to see one of her colleagues who specializes in women with multiple pregnancy losses to get another opinion on how long to continue the progesterone and to check my other hormone levels.  After that appointment, I should get an idea of when she will let me resume normal life.

posted under family | 34 Comments »

New Coat


Steve and I have spent way too much time giggling over Sabrina in her new winter coat and hat.


Sabrina on the other hand isn’t nearly as amused by it as we are.


Makes me think of Ralphie’s brother in Christmas Story.

posted under family | 23 Comments »

Almost sugar free cheese cake


Okay, I managed to concoct an almost sugar free cheese cake-ish thing that mostly satisfied my yen for cheese cake.  It still isn’t the real thing but big points for very little effort required.

1 8oz box 1/3 less fat cream cheese

1 1/3 cup milk

1 cap full lemon extract (optional – could use vanilla if you prefer)

1 box (4 serving size) sugar free cheesecake flavor instant pudding

1 ready made pie crust – graham cracker or other (I used a granola one)

Let the cream cheese sit out and soften.  Put it into a bowl and beat it until creamy.  Slowly add milk.  Add lemon extract and cheesecake pudding mix – mix until smooth.  Pour into pie crust and chill.  It is almost sugar free because the crust will have sugar in it.


posted under food | 5 Comments »

Done with crawling


Miss Sabrina has decided in the past 3 or 4 days that she is pretty much done with crawling.  Up until now, she has been crawling when she wants speed.  Now, she is pretty walking exclusively.


Sabrina loves to watch Steve play Guitar Hero.  She loves music and likes the animation of the game.  This photo cracked me up.  Just look at her face while she is dancing.


posted under family | 15 Comments »
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