Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

My husband is a saint


Reason # 423

Conversation in our kitchen yesterday.

Me: We need to find a cord so we can put more songs on Sabrina’s MP3 player.  The pre-loaded ones are diving me crazy.

Steve: I have one.  It is a universal USB cord.

Me: But you threw away the one that came with it!

Steve:  I know.  It is a universal USB cord.  Don’t worry, I have several.

Me:  But it had a thing on 1 end that looked like my cell phone charger and the other end was the computer plug in thingy.

Steve: I know what it looks like.  It is a universal USB cord.

Me: But this is a USB cord [holding up camera cord] and it doesn’t look like that.

Steve: Well not everything uses the universal one.

Me: Then it isn’t exactly universal, now is it?  They should call it the Prevelant USB cord then.

Steve: [muttering something under his breath as he walks away]


Reason #19

Most things in our house bring to mind a song for at least one of us.

In bed 2 nights ago, Steve finished writing in his journal and was shutting off his light.

Steve: I used the word “day” a dozen times in one paragraph!

Instead of asking the obvious question “What were you writing about that required the use of “day” a dozen times in one paragraph?”, I looked at him blankly for a moment and then:

Day, me say day-ay-ay-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Thankfully he thought it was pretty damn funny.

posted under family | 11 Comments »

Ash Wednesday


Alternative title: Further proof that I am an idiot.

Setting: Jefferson Hall cafeteria, Ash Wednesday 1991, with my peeps from the 4th floor. We all sit down with our trays of food.

Me: Um, Lisa?  You have some schmutz on your forehead.

Lisa: Silence waiting for me to laugh at my own joke.

Jen (who happens to be Jewish): You moron.  It’s Ash Wednesday.

Me: Wha?

Once Lisa stopped laughing she explained it to me.  18 years later I still feel like an idiot and laugh at myself every Ash Wednesday.  Hi Lisa, where ever you are!

ashweds I’m obviously not Catholic but I did grow up going to church.  I even went to confirmation camp for a week so that I could bond with my confirmation class and memorize all of the relevant stuff I needed to know to be confirmed as a member of the church.  But we United Church of Christ goers are apparently pretty liberal and far left from the Catholics because I had made it 19 years never hearing of having ashes on your forehead on Ash Wednesday.  Even my Jewish pal knew about it.  Yep, I do my momma proud.

posted under humor | 13 Comments »

Tessa Tuesday Take Two


Miss Tessa is sitting up.  She still falls over if she tries to turn or reaches to far for something but she is very proud of herself.


Here she is showing off one of her new consignment sale outfits sans bib.


She has a tooth on top and 2 on bottom that are threatening to come in so she drools and chews like it is her job.


And she started crawling a little bit this weekend.  Backwards.  She kept trying to reach for a ball that was in front of her and ending up under the coffee table.  She didn’t think it was nearly as funny as we did.


After the last Tessa Tuesday, someone suggested I do Sabrina Sunday.  I do realize that Sabrina pictures are a little sparse these days.  But it is for good reason.  Behold my attempt to get a photo of her in this cute sweater she received for Christmas – I thought I would send it to Aunt Iveta so she could see Sabrina looked darling in it.





After 23 tries, this was the best photo – and only 1 of 2 that I could actually see the sweater.


But the Dyson sure looks snazzy in the background, doesn’t it?  Proof that I clean.  Or that I never put the vacuum away.  Whatever.

So that my friends is why there won’t be a Sabrina Sunday anytime soon.

posted under family | 8 Comments »

Holy Consignment Sale Batman!


Memo to Consignment Sale Czar:

Props to you for figuring out how to put your children through college  because you have to be raking in an assload of cash.  You charged each person consigning items $12 then took an additional 30% off the top of each sale.  You rented a huge empty store front for the week and staffed the sale with volunteers.  The volunteers actually want to work so they can earn the privilege of getting first crack at buying other people’s cast offs.  Those who don’t consign or volunteer, stand in line for hours to purchase other people’s stuff and are glad to do so (the purchasing, not the line-standing) because they feel frugal.  In return for your mad organizational skills and planning and big picture vision, you are likely taking home pockets full of cash.  Seriously, kudos to you for creating a win-win-win situation.


The Clueless Northerner who never dreamed she would be standing in line for over an hour to pay for her consignment finds and therefore didn’t bring drink, snacks, or diapers for her 2 increasingly cranky children.

PS Just a little pointer.  If you have your sale featured on the local TV talk show…telling the viewers 4 times that it is in “the old Trees N Trends store” doesn’t help those of us who feel proud that we sort of know where the current Trees N Trends store is.  An address is always appreciated.

Open letter to my fellow consignment shoppers:

Yes, the amount of clothing to be rummaged pawed sorted throughwas overwhelming.  Yes, there were WAY more people there than any of us would have dreamed.  Yes, the line was long enough that we all felt like we should have brought sleeping bags and received Springsteen [or insert cooler/more relevant band here] tickets at the end.  But you couldn’t miss the line when you entered – it snaked around most of the store and up and down a few aisles.  To stand in line for a few minutes and then throw your items on the floor and leave in disgust is without excuse.  The neverending line was either a signal that the organizer needs to recruit more volunteers next time or the price you pay to save a bunch of money on clothing for your children.  It isn’t Macy’s or Target – you can’t expect to have a retail store experience.  All you can do is decide if the amount of money you will save is worth the amount of time you will spend in line.  If the math works, get in line and shut up.  If not, place your clothing on a rack and walk away.  And be nice to the volunteers.


The Momma who was impressed by how well most kids held it together in the neverending line.

Memo to Consigners:

I understand that you are trying to get a little something back from these clothes.  And I know that you paid $12 for the privilege of selling your clothes and you only get to take home 70% of what you charge.  Really, I get it.  But please give some thought to your pricing.  I had conversations with several moms at the sale.  We all agreed that unless it was something extraordinary, $5 was our threshold (for babies and toddlers).  There were a lot of very cute outfits for $8 or $10 or $12.  But I can go to a sale and buy clothing new for that price.  So unless it is a boutique and higher end name brand (I mean Ralph Lauren not Gap), think twice before you price it over $5.  And leave the stuff with stains at home.  Yes, we even see the faint ones.

Mmm’kay? Thanks.


The Momma who was very happy with obtaining 12 outfits for Sabrina and 16 for Tessa and 2 toys for $100.  Add sandals and swimsuits and spring/summer is pretty much covered.

posted under nashville | 19 Comments »

Taming the beasts


I just wanted to share a few things that keep the wee ones happy these days.  Not solicited reviews, just things that the kiddos enjoy.  I’ve ranted several times about how all toys have to light up and make noise these days – some of these do that.  But these are a few toys the kids love and I don’t hate. (Click the photo see the items for sale on Amazon.  Beware…I found many cheaper elsewhere but Amazon was the 1 place I could find everything and I’m a lazy linker.)

First, Tessa.  She received this Mozart Music Cube for Christmas and is fascinated by it.  Sabrina loves it too but that might just be because it doesn’t belong to her.  I think it is kind of fun to play with too.


My only criticism is that it is a bit louder than it needs to be – but aren’t all kids toys?  But if I have to have music and flashing lights?  I’ll take Mozart.

Sabrina LOVES her “radio”.  It is actually a Blue Hat Kids MP3 she received for Christmas.  It came pre-loaded with 20 (annoying but not horribly so) songs BUT you can download whatever music you want to it.  We are going to put some bubble-gummy 50’s songs that she thinks are fun so that she can enjoy the music and mommy doesn’t have to hide her radio.  And we can change the music as she grows.  It is pretty cool.


*Beware.  Shop around for this one.  When I initially looked on Amazon it listed the price as $150.  Looking at some of the stores that sell it through Amazon I found it under $40.

Okay, onto quieter things.

I love the Fisher Price Flip Flop Egg Drop.  It entertains me at length.  Oh and Sabrina likes it too.  It is often her favorite toy of the day.  I love that it doesn’t require batteries.  And it teaches hand eye coordination.


Don’t buy this from Amazon.  I paid $8 for it at Toys R Us (might have been on sale).  Google and find it for less elsewhere – it shouldn’t cost more than $10.

And finally, 3 favorite books.  The book list could be much longer but I’ll just give you 3.

The Monster At The End of This Book was one of my favorites and I am so glad that Sabrina loves it to.


Not A Box was a gift this Christmas and Sabrina loves it.  It is very simple but fun.


And finally, I used to read How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight to some of the young kids I worked with back in the day. I bought it for the girls for Christmas this year.  Sabrina loves it and for the past 2 months wants to do dinosaur roars, dinosaur hugs, dinosaur kisses, etc.  Briefly it also helped her stop putting up a fight at bedtime when Steve would ask “Do dinosaurs cry when they go to sleep?”  She would say “no” and get quiet.  That only lasted a few weeks though so don’t hold your breath on it being a long term solution.  But it is fun.


So there you go, a small gift guide for the kiddos.

posted under parenting | 6 Comments »

Point of clarification


Thank you all for the support on my attachment post.  I just want to clarify.  I don’t think I’m a bad mom.  And I don’t think that the things I did (letting her play in exersaucer or highchair while I got some things done) were wrong or inappropriate.  They just weren’t working for Tessa.  It might be her personality – she tends to be slightly higher maintenance than Sabrina.  It might be that things changed too swiftly and make her feel insecure.  Whatever the reason, it wasn’t working.  It damaged her attachment to me.  And yes, I’ve been known to overreact all the damn time now and then.  But I trust both my clinical experience and my mommy radar – something is amiss.

Tessa has been physically attached to me for much of the past 48 hours.  I am already seeing some improvement in eye contact and less pulling away when I pick her up.  I will continue Attachment 101 until things feel right again.  And then I will find ways that work for Tessa to put her down a little more so that I can return to eating, exercising, and showering.

I also just want to assure all of you that while I don’t think I am a bad mom, I have no desire to be Super Mom or Uber Mom or Helicopter Mom.  I will never cheat during a pre-school game so that my child can win (someone Twittered about seeing another mom do this in her daughter’s class).  I will likely drop my kids off at pre-school wearing sweatpants and a baseball cap on many days (I can see some of my Southern readers nervously fingering their pearls over that declaration).  I will help my children pick out boxed Valentine’s at Target (they will be cute I swear but I’m not cutting up doilies to make the damned things).  I will encourage my children to try new activities but I will not sign them up for every class and lesson available (all that chauffeuring would likely cut into my internet time).  So yes, I worry about doing the right things and giving them the best foundation possible but I really have no aspirations to be perfect.  A little better than good enough?

posted under parenting | 10 Comments »

Broken Bond


Something about Tessa’s behavior has been ringing a little alarm in the back of my head for a week or so.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.  She seemed to be going out of her way to avoid eye contact some of the time.  While eating, she would rather stare at the ceiling than look at me.  When I picked her up, she no longer swung her arm over my shoulder and snuggled in.  She was twisting away instead.  Her behavior hadn’t changed otherwise.  If it wasn’t for my hyper awareness of attachment with Sabrina, I would have probably chalked it up to a bit of individuation (that’s right – I threw a little really mis-used Jung at you…I still owe about $1,538 worth grad school tuition for every one of the few facts that reside in the depths of my mommy brain so I should get some mileage out of them – by the time it is paid for I will have forgotten all of them).  But today it slammed into my brain – my baby isn’t so attached right now.

She used to be attached to the point of appendage.  But a variety of things have happened recently – the biggest being that she gave up nursing entirely after we had to start supplimenting with formula.  Within a couple of weeks, my supply was gone despite pumping.  That has had a snowball effect in many areas.  We no longer snuggle in bed in the morning because I’m not trying to catch a cat nap after nursing her at 5:30.  We don’t spend nearly as much time focused on each other because she eats more at each feeding and therefore has fewer feedings.  This new found freedom for me and growing independence for her has led to her spending time in her exersaucer or high chair while I do laundry or work out or do dishes or shower when I used to do these things mostly while she slept.  She is more mobile and therefore a little harder to hold onto while I do things with my free hand.  I haven’t been wearing her much because she gets pissed off – the Mei Tei forces her to have her face in my chest and she doesn’t like the sling/pouch.  And out of guilt for the attention that I’ve diverted from Sabrina, I’ve been working harder at spending time with Sabrina.  All of this has apparently added up to breaking down our bond.

I was heart broken and a little panicky when I realized this today.  I felt like such a failure.  Being a mom is my job right now, how could I have not realized what was happening?

Knowing that fixing it was all that mattered, I immediately reverted to Attachment Parenting 101.  Of course, I can’t return to breastfeeding but I’m working on other things.  I wore her this afternoon in the Bjorn which I hate but she liked much better than the Mei Tei (which she loved up until very recently) and the sling.  Instead of working out, showering, and eating lunch which is my normal routine these days while Sabrina naps, I played and cuddled on the bed with Tessa.

I am desperate to restore our bond – and quickly.  Funny, I never dreamed this would be an issue with my biological child.  And I probably wouldn’t have recognized it if not for Sabrina.

posted under parenting | 14 Comments »



meatloafNo, no, not Meatloaf…meatloaf.  (Although Bat Out Of Hell is an awesome road trip album.)  I don’t have a photo of my meatloaf because let’s face it – it isn’t a pretty food.  It is a yummy comfort food and we love it no matter how it looks.  Everyone has their own meatloaf recipe.  I have 3 but this one is the go to recipe because it is quick and easy.  It is a melding of the other 2.


2 lbs ground lean beef (sometimes I like a pound of beef and a pound of ground pork)

1 box/bag herb seasoned croutons (5 or 6 ounces)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 can condensed tomato soup (I use about 3/4 of the can but you can use it all if you like your meatloaf really moist)

1 – 2 tsp ground chipolte pepper

Salt and pepper

Put the croutons into food processor and pulse until they are crumbs.  Pour into a metal or glass bowl with rest of ingredients.  Squish all of this together in a bowl.  Form into a loaf and put into a baking dish – 8×8 or 9×13 – whatever you have.


1/4 cup ketchup

1 Tablespoon honey

1 Tablespoon worchershire sauce

Couple of shakes of cumin

Couple of shakes of Cayenne Pepper sauce or ground cayenne pepper

Stir all of this together and pour over meatloaf.  Bake at 350 for an hour(ish).

Healthy?  Nope.  Just simple and oh so yummy when you need some comfort food.

posted under food | 4 Comments »

Putting baby in a corner


We are putting away infant items to make way for bigger baby stuff.  It is rather sad to me.  This weekend we had to find room for the high chair.  Well, first we had to find the high chair.

We knew exactly where the high chair and the cover were.  No they weren’t together – haven’t you been following along here? I’m not that organized.  We weren’t sure where the straps were – they weren’t with the seat or the cover.  But Steve located them in less than 10 minutes so I was impressed that after a year+ and 1 move we were able to locate all of the parts.  Well not all of the parts.  There is a clear plastic tray which snaps over the white tray.  No idea where that might be.  (If we hadn’t been living in an apartment, if we hadn’t moved, and if I hadn’t been very pregnant, I like to think all of those things would have been stowed away together.)

Look how tiny Tessa looks in this seat.


Sabrina has discovered the word cute.  She was drinking her milk and watching me edit these photos.  She declared herself “oh cute! Nina so cute!” in her Valentine’s dress.


And completely off topic, I ran out of Splenda and being cheap picked up a small box of Sweet N Low until I can get to Sam’s to get a big box of Splenda.  Sweet N Low tastes like ass in my coffee.  That is all.

PS Okay, that isn’t all.  White Trash Mom asked my blogging secret because all of you keep visiting her?!? How crazy is that?  The woman has a book out and wants to know how I have such great mind control influence over all of you that you click to go visit her!  I told her its cuz you all lurve me so much.  *Smooches* I adore you all too.

posted under family | 18 Comments »

Happy Valentines Day



Best Valentines Day card I’ve seen in ages!

Stolen from Ellie on Facebook who stole it from someone and so on and so on.

Happy Valentines Day!

posted under humor | 14 Comments »
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