Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Happy Halloween


We pimped our kid out for candy tonight.

She wasn’t sure what to think at first but once she figured out there was candy to be had she was all for it.

Tessa stayed home with Daddy and showed off her Steelers pride while handing out candy.

posted under family | 10 Comments »



I’m tired people.

You can all send my mom of the year award to my home address.  I took Sabrina to a Halloween party hosted by my mom’s club yesterday afternoon.  The invite didn’t say anything about costumes so I didn’t dress her up.  Someone working on more hours of sleep might have deduced the appropriateness of costumes by the title of the invitation “HALLOWEEN PARTY” but not me.  So we show up sans costume.  My children were the only non-costumed children present.  I made the excuse that it was too cold for her to wear her costume rather than owning up to my mis-firing brain cells.

And after you mail out my mom of the year award, you can call children protective services to report me for being a dumbass.  While at said party, I took Tessa out of her carrier to hold her on my lap.  I put her back in her carrier (ie car seat) and covered her back up with a blanket so that I could play a game with Sabrina.  I then put the car seat back on the stroller and then put it back in the car.  I NEVER STRAPPED HER BACK IN IT.  We drove home with her just hanging out in her car seat with nary a strap to be seen around her tiny body.  Thankfully, we were less than 5 miles from home and arrived safely.  But seriously, I shouldn’t be allowed to operate heavy machinery or care for small children right now.  I can’t believe I did that.

Sabrina is reassuring Tessa that she will have her back when Mommy does stupid stuff:

posted under parenting | 27 Comments »

Charge to 200…Clear!


Steve managed to revive my laptop again.  I’m hoping it is feline because we are on life #3 or 4 here.


Tessa was one unhappy baby yesterday and Sabrina never. stopped. talking. all. damn. day.  I might have teetered on the edge a little in the evening.


I think I need to go buy more Halloween candy today to pass out.  Someone has put a dent in ours.  In my defense, I didn’t open it because I knew better.  But once it was opened, I couldn’t keep my hand out of the bag.


It only took me 3 hours to buy a new car.  I asked no one about it.  I did very little research.  I found one I liked from a maker I trusted and bought it.  It has taken me 8 months to decide on a double stroller.  I have accosted women in the park to ask them about their strollers.  I have read every review site I could find.  I have talked to dozens of people. I have asked on message boards.  I finally decided on 1.  Then changed my mind.  Then found the one I wanted $80 off because the color is being discontinued.

It is one heavy mother…but it rides and pushes like a dream.  And I feel like such a MOM pushing it around.  The single stroller didn’t scream MOM to me quite the same way.  And how sad is it that my car only has 2 cup holders but my new stroller has 6?


If we ever decide to adopt again (calm down grandmas…the possibility is very very very remote), I think I’ll attach this photo to our homestudy under “childcare”:


Who?  Me?  Grumpy?  I don’t know what you are talking about!  And I resent the accusation.



‘Nuff said.

Laptop on the fritz again…hope to return tomorrow.

posted under humor | 3 Comments »



I woke up this morning thinking about traveling which led me to think of one of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen:

Meteora, Greece is breath-taking.  All of these amazing monasteries built on sheer cliffs.

And thoughts of Greece led me to thoughts of baklava:

Anyone who knows me or has been reading here for awhile isn’t surprised that any thought I have can lead me back to food.  Baklava just makes me happy.  While I was in Greece, I ate baklava just about every where we stopped. I had no idea how many varieties there are – and rarely did I meet a baklava I didn’t like.  And don’t get me started on the feta and olives.

Okay.  We now return to the reality of this cold, rainy day in Nashville (I can’t even get the dog to go outside).

I think Sabrina is practicing to be on Top Chef.

That would be Muenster cheese layered with a chip of dried banana, raisins, and peanuts reserved for garnish.  Mmm mmm good.

Reality ain’t so bad but baklava in Greece sounds like a good day too.

posted under Misc. | 12 Comments »

Can’t. Find. Mommy. Flask.


Tessa has decided sleep is for suckers.  Sleeping through the night is a thing of the past.  Our hubris is coming back to bite us.

Sabrina has just enough words in her vocabulary to narrate my entire day in triplicate.  “Mommy coffee.  Mommy coffee.  Ooooo Mommy coffee.”  “Tessa crying.  Tessa crying.  Tessa crying.”


Two public service announcements.

Cheri, Tricia and some other wonderful Guatmamas are heading to Guatemala in December to provide assistance to the country that bore our beautiful children.  They are hoping to provide help for a medical clinic, a veterinary clinic, and some computer supplies to the Mayan Families organization.  Visit their site and see if you can help with items they are collecting.

Also a reminder that the Mid Tennessee Adoptive Families Picnic is this Saturday, October 25, 2-6p at River Park in Brentwood.  Join us if you can!


The time Sabrina is most jealous of Tessa?  When I am taking photos.  If I point the camera at Tessa, Sabrina begins to whine “Nina! Nina!” (She calls herself Nina.)  She then tries to either jump in the frame or put one of her toys in the frame.  It is much cuter when I’m not so tired.

Sabrina has decided she loves Tessa’s bumbo seat and squeezes herself into it when ever she can.

Sabrina is heavily into imitating me right now.  She tries to burp us when she hugs us.  She wants to “help” me change Tessa’s diapers.  And she is taking care of her stuffed animals.  She carried this little bear around all day yesterday wrapped up in a burp cloth.  She tried to swaddle it, put it in the bumbo, put it in her booster, and in Tessa’s swing.  I haven’t seen her beating her head on the wall or sneaking drinks from a pretend flask so at least she is seeing my more positive mommy behaviors.

posted under family | 14 Comments »

Safe Haven Shrinkage


Do you ever start talking to someone mid-conversation?  Once you start talking you realize you’ve been carrying on the conversation in your head and the other person has no idea what you are talking about?  Yeah, that was what yesterday’s post was.  So let’s just pretend that is part of my quirky charm and move on.


Safe Haven laws have popped up in many states in the past 15 years.  The law is meant to allow a parent to leave an infant at a hospital (or firehouse or police station) without any legal repercussions.  Basically it is legal child abandonment.  The law came into vogue after a trend of dangerous abandonments and deaths of infants (babies found in trash bags, dumpsters, closets, etc).  Lawmakers hoped to give parents options other than abortion or putting a newborn into harms way.

Laws differ from state to state.  In some states the babies end up in the foster system in other states they are available for adoption.  Some states have specific parameters for how old the baby can be to qualify for drop off.  Other states aren’t as strict.  Nebraska wrote their law in such a way that people have been dropping off children of all ages – even teens – when they feel they can’t care for the child any longer.  Their child protective system is feeling the strain and lawmakers are drafting a bill to close the loophole.  They will now only accept babies up to 3 days old making it one of the strictest Safe Haven Laws in the country.

I’m struggling with my feelings on this.  I used to work in the system and there are never enough resources or money to go around.  I can understand the concern about straining an already stretched tight system.  I also have issues with allowing these parents to walk away with no personal responsibility for their children and the trauma of being abandoned at age3, 5 or 12.  But isn’t it better to allow these parents to drop their kids off before they inflict harm on them?  If a parent is on the edge and sees no way out that stress may lead to abuse.  Offering the parents an alternative to reaching the breaking point can’t be a bad thing.  I just have to think that no matter the consequences to our budgets, it has to be better to get a child out of a potentially volatile situation.

Discuss in comments. I’m curious to hear what others think.  Respectful disagreement is always welcome.

posted under political | 16 Comments »

Lessons Learned


Things Blissdom ’08 taught me

Edited to add: Blissdom 08 was a blogging conference hosted by Blissfully Domestic.  The lovely bloggers speaking talked about marketing, making money, branding, etc – it was all about how to maximize your blogging efforts if you are looking to take blogging to the next level.  It was born after BlogHer cancelled their Nashville stop.

* Despite my tendency to not act like a “normal” girl, I do have girlie moments as evidenced by my husband suggesting that my outfit would be fine with different pants and the resulting meltdown over my not having any other pants that fit my post-partum ass self and my rejection of the suggestion that we go buy some because I don’t want to acknowledge that this current body of mine might be sticking around long enough to make purchases for it.  That was the longest run on sentence in the history of sentences.

* I’m breaking all of the rules for successful blogging and not in a cool rebel kind of way – more of a clueless doofus kind of way.

* Keep it short.  Ha.  See above for longest sentence ever.  I’m incapable of keeping it short.

* Twitter.  I’ve been ignoring it despite everyone talking about it.  I jumped.  I have no idea if I will use it much or not but you can find me as MichelleSmiles on Twitter.  So what – email is too slow now?  But all of the cool kids at Blissdom 08 love it so I’ll give it a try.

* People who make money at this gig work hard to do so.  Really hard.

* Remember to respect the brand – don’t think of yourself as “just” a mommy blogger.  You have the power to communicate to an audience.  Don’t underestimate the value of that power.  (“Because I’m strong enough and smart enough and dog-gone-it people like me.” Sorry…channeling Stuart Smiley for a moment there.)

* I don’t blog to make money (good thing considering I don’t).  I don’t want to turn my blog into a job or obligation.  I blog because it lets me connect with all of you on days when I might not leave the House of Poop and Whine.  It is cathartic and fun.  But I like hearing what others are doing – maybe some day I’ll have an idea for another kind of blogging gig where I might make a buck or two.  And if not, I still get to meet all of these great blogging queens.

* I have a girl crush on Megan after hearing her talk all day.  She acts out loud like I do in my head.  Love her.  Yet didn’t speak to her – I’m a dork.

* Swag bags rock!  Does anyone know what to do with a soap nut?  Now that I know they didn’t put turds in my swag  bag I’m trying to figure out what to do with them.

* My husband and children can survive 9 hours without me.  My blouse, however, doesn’t fair as well when I go that long without nursing.

* Epson made it possible for this fabulous free event.  They sent some of the Epson Artisan 800 printers to the event so pictures were being printed all day long.  I have to tell you that the pictures were great!  And it prints 8x10s – not just the little 4×6.

posted under blog | 14 Comments »



At Sabrina’s 2 year check up, they asked if we had started potty training yet.  I felt slightly defensive when I said no.  There were no disapproving looks but from what I hear potty training starts on the day that kids turn 2 in most families (sometimes before).  I say that Sabrina isn’t ready yet – but maybe it is me that isn’t ready.  Potty training scares the bejesus out of me.  I don’t want to be held hostage by her pea-sized bladder for the next 6 months.

Sabrina has in the past 2 months started indicating when she needs her diaper changed.  She will say “Nina diaper” when she has gone to the bathroom.  But she never shows any signs prior to going potty – I don’t think she knows when she is about to go.  She is showing a little bit of interest in what we are doing in the bathroom (because you know we can’t go to the bathroom alone) but mostly just so she can announce “Mommy pee” when we pass a bathroom in public.

Tell me oh wise internets…what signs should I look for to indicate she is ready?  I’m in no rush.  Yes it will be nice to have half the number of diapers to change a day but I would rather change diapers than wash endless pairs of wet pants.

The cutie in question has been practicing her fine motor skills by peeling the crust off her toast each morning:

The cutie who will benefit from the mistakes I make when potty training her big sister:

And I add this because I was mocked endlessly via email about the after photo I posted of my hair cut.  Okay T – I don’t look nearly as drugged and derranged in this photo so let it go!

I do, however, look rather like a soccer mom.

posted under parenting | 34 Comments »

Bring me your bagels


I only buy bagels once a year despite my undying love for them.  The one time allow myself to have these carby treats in the house is when Einstein Bagel brings out the fall Pumpkin Shmear.  I’m not big on pumpkin flavored items but this is heaven on a bagel (isn’t that redundant?)  It doesn’t last very long – mid October to Thanksgiving I think – so go find some.  We don’t have an Einstein’s here in my area but my Super Target carries Einstein bagels in the bakery along with the smear.  It is pricey but you won’t regret treating yourself.


That is all my brain can handle today.  Tessa decided that the doctor’s declaration of colic meant she should live up to it and we had a rough evening/night/morning around here.  I’m going to go see if I can find a way to hook an IV straight from my coffee maker to my veins.

posted under Misc. | 16 Comments »
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