Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Christmas through a sugary haze


We had such a wonderful time visiting family last week.

The drive north wasn’t too bad.  The girls were pretty good.  Tessa slept most of the drive and Sabrina talked for 1o solid hours.  We spent a day and a half in Ohio.  Uncle Mikey loves to feed Sabrina sugar.  Sabrina eats pretty healthy food outside of our trips home so I don’t get too uptight about it.  She enjoyed a mini donut while waiting for her eggs (and surprisingly Uncle Mikey didn’t have anything to do with it).


It is probably a good thing that Uncle Mikey and Aunt Rusty live so far away.  Aunt Rusty ran out to buy Sabrina a play cell phone after discovering we hadn’t brought hers and Uncle Mikey ignored our determination that it wasn’t time to open gifts yet.  But I guess that is why being an aunt or uncle is fun.  The girls enjoyed their time with them and with “Grandma Freedebt” as Sabrina called Grandma Freida.

Aunt Rusty and Tessa:


The girls with Grandma Freedebt:


And Sabrina discovered her love of kitties while we were home.  She loved Aunt Rusty’s kitty and our friends’ cat, Frankie (easily the coolest cat ever), and wanted to love my in-laws’ cats but they weren’t having any part of her.


Then we headed to Pennsylvania for a couple of days.  We hung out with family and spent a few hours with friends.  It was just 48+ hours of warm and fuzzy togetherness – we could have made a damned Hallmark commerical.  Or Folgers because they used to make some tear jerkers – remember the guy who came home from college to surprise his mom and then his little sister snuck down the steps while he was making coffee?  “Peter’s home!”  Gawd.  Anywhooo…

Tessa in her cute Christmas outfit:


The girls with Pap-pap:


Tessa spent 2 1/2 days napping on Pap-pap’s chest and now wants nothing to do with napping in her swing/bassinet/bouncy chair/crib.  And Sabrina had a large and adoring audience for 5 straight days.  She is having trouble adjusting to life as something other than a rock star.

My favorite photo from the week:


Spending the week up north made us home sick.  It also made us sad that everyone else is missing out on being part of our girls’ daily lives and that our girls won’t be surrounded by family and friends except on holidays and trips.  But despite the fact that those things suck, no matter how we turn things around in our heads, the economy in our home states is far worse than it is here.  We couldn’t go home again even if we wanted too.  That sad note aside, we had a wonderful holiday.  I hope each of you did as well.  I can’t wait to get caught up on my blog reading and see everyone’s holiday photos.

posted under family | 9 Comments »

A teaser


I missed you all!  I’m tired.  We spent a little over 11 hours in the car today.  Sabrina started throwing up around hour 2.5 and didn’t stop until hour 8.  She has never been sick before and I felt awful that we had to keep strapping her back into her car seat.  And 9 hours in the car o’vomit wasn’t exactly lemony fresh.  But we made it home.  More about our holidays tomorrow but I had to throw up a few photos because I’m in blog withdrawal.

We made it to Primanti’s.  Ahhh…pastrami, cheese, cole slaw, fries, and hot sauce on italian bread.

I obviously had to drag Steve there kicking and screaming.

The most kid pleasing Christmas lights display we saw this holiday season:

Thanks to BurghBaby for directing me that way.

This was Sabrina about 20 minutes before The Great Puke of Aught Eight began:

We decided the official theme song for our trip home today was The Glamorous Life by Sheila E because is there anything more glamorous than cleaning up a puke covered 2 yr old in a McDonald’s parking lot?

My favorite bill board – “Tattoo Charlie’s…While you wait” in Louisville.

posted under family | 12 Comments »

Happy Holidays


Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.  Good tiding to those of you who celebrate other things or nothing.  We are headed north to spend Christmas with our families.  Ohio for a couple days and then PA for a couple days.  I will probably check once or twice but will be off line for most of the week.  I truly wish you all a joyous holiday.

This was the photo on our cards for those not on my list:

Merry Christmas from Steve, Michelle, Sabrina & Tessa.

My other Christmas wish is that this road trip is less traumatic than our last trip north.

posted under family | 10 Comments »



First – go see MizFit and leave her a comment.  For every comment between now and Christmas Eve she is donating to her local Domestic Violence Shelter.  That’s good stuff people.

Okay now on with my rambling for the day.  I went to a cookie exchange last night.  It was a moms club event scheduled late enough so as to discourage the attendance of children.  I returned home with this:

There are some yummy things on that plate.  Chocolate cookies with Andes chips?  Better than Thin Mints! Something called dirty snow balls that involve oreos and cream cheese and taste much better than they sound.  Mandel bread which is apparently a Jewish Biscotti and quite yummy because it is softer than traditional biscotti.  And one of my favorites: snickerdoodles.

But last night did more than provide us with better cookies than I can bake myself.  I’ve been feeling a little out of sorts.  I guess it was because I haven’t been getting out enough.  I haven’t been able to get the kids schedules coordinated enough to make it to many of the moms club events.  For various reasons, I’ve missed my book club every month since June.  I was starting to feel like a big old mom blob.  Last night, I laughed and joked and talked with other grown ups about things other than poop.  It was lovely.  It felt like a little infusion of the old me.  And yet again I will say I need to do that more often.

posted under nashville | 8 Comments »

Frig art


I love that Christmas makes going to the mailbox fun again! Usually it is just bills, junk, and a glimmer of hope for a magazine.  But this month I get something fun every day!

Small and slightly out of focus to protect the innocent.

And today is day 2 of the Festivus miracle!  Tessa slept from 7:30 – 7:00 this morning!  I’m hoping it is a new habit and not just because she seems to be catching a cold.

posted under Misc. | 6 Comments »

A Festivus Miracle!


Tessa slept through the night!  Not just sort of – all the way through.  She hasn’t done that in months.  Usually the best I can hope for is to wake her up when I go to bed to feed her one last time and then she’ll sleep until somewhere between 4:30 and 6:00.  Last night, she was out cold so I left her alone.  She slept from 8:00 until 6:30.

Sabrina on the other hand has been giving us trouble at bed time this week.

Good thing they are both cute!

Did you know you can buy a Festivus pole?

posted under family | 14 Comments »



At Starbuck’s – a boy around 10 with his mother who was my age.

You know about Guns ‘N Roses?! No way!”

I love those moments when kids get an inkling that their parents might have existed and had a life before they were born.

posted under humor | 12 Comments »



Tessa is 4 1/2 months old.  She sleeps in a bassinet next to my side of the bed.  This arrangement began because it made it easier for me to get up with her to nurse in the wee hours and it also allows easy access for me to reassure myself that she is still breathing.  The middle of the night nursing has lessened but not stopped.  Ditto for the breathing checks.

Steve is starting to make noises about moving her into her crib in her bedroom.  He makes a compelling case.  She is starting to get too big for the bassinet.  She still fits since she is a tiny thing but she wants more room to move about.  She is also a noisy roommate – she often wakes us during the night just making noises in her sleep.  And frankly, Steve is looking forward to life settling into something approximating normal which includes us being the only full time occupants of our bedroom.

The thought of her being in her own room sends me into a minor panic.  My problem is simply that her room is so far away.  Our bedroom is on the first floor but the girls’ rooms are upstairs.  This poses 2 problems.  First, I am lazy and I don’t really want to drag my chickenbus upstairs at 2am to feed and/or comfort her.  Second, how can I telepathically will her to keep breathing from so far away?  I am a bit more psychotic neurotic with Tessa than with Sabrina.  Sabrina was 7 months old and seemed less fragile when I got her.  I also think it stems from the fact that I never believed that my pregnancy would result in us having a baby so I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop. I am convinced something horrible is going to happen to take her away from me because I was never meant to have her to begin with.  I feel like by having her I snuck one by the universe and the universe is just waiting to swat me down in return.  (I am sure the universe has bigger fish to fry than me but hey, I admitted to being neurotic about it.)  And because I know I am a wee bit irrational about it, I’ve told Steve he is going to have to push me on some things.  He isn’t pushing yet but I’m definitely feeling some nudges.

He is letting me take baby steps.  We’ve discussed putting her in the pack n play to give her a little more room and putting it on his side of the bed to start putting some distance between her and I at night.  I’m trying to remember when I stopped checking to see if Sabrina was breathing at night but I can’t remember (and truth be told I still feel an urge to check every now and then).  She started sleeping in her own room about a month after we came home from Guatemala but it was right next door to our room in the apartment.  Any tips on making the move without making myself and Steve crazy?  Or has the crazy ship sailed?

posted under parenting | 33 Comments »

Snow day


We had a real snow fall on Thursday night – big fat flakes.  It is weird because there is no snow removal equipment so the snow just stays on the road until it melts.  There is no salt (apparently they use grit sometimes) pinging the undercarriage of the car.  And people here can’t drive in the snow.  We ventured about a mile from home and saw 4 cars in ditches.

Sabrina wasn’t sure what to think of her brief foray out in the snow.

The dog loves the snow.

Tessa was content to stay inside where is was warm.

Friday Tidbits


My guilty holiday pleasure? Bad holiday movies.  You’ll find me watching Lifetime or ABCFamily on the weekends to get my fill of cheese.  How many bastardized versions of The Christmas Carol do you suppose there are out there?  My vote for the worst stars Vanessa Williams.  I mock them because I love them.


Why do I buy low sodium soup and then add salt?


The thing that brings out my true Grinch this year? The UPS man comes almost daily because both Steve and I did our holiday shopping online.  The UPS insists on ringing the bell when he leaves a package on the porch.  This causes the dog to go nuts which wakes up the baby.  I even hung a sign on the door asking him not to ring the bell.  He rang it anyway.  I want to hunt down the UPS man and break his doorbell ringing finger.  Fa la la la la.


Sabrina only eats food because we won’t let her lick ketchup straight off the plate.  She uses all forms of food as ketchup delivery systems.  It is rather revolting to watch.  I refuse to give her ketchup at breakfast when she asks because I can’t bare to watch her dip her banana in it.


I am incapable of throwing away leftovers until they have sat in the refrigerator long enough to be considered inedible.  If we have leftovers after dinner that I know we will not eat, I still have to put them in the frig.  It just seems wrong to throw away perfectly good food.  But somehow it is less wrong to let it rot and then throw it away.


I got 1 leg shaved on Tuesday before a child began crying.  I had the 2nd one penciled in for Thursday – didn’t happen.  Now I have to start all over again and shave them both.  Sexy, no?

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