Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Cabin Fever


I have been stuck in the house since Thursday – and I only left then to go to the doctor.  I am hoping things have settled down out there so I can get Tessa to her 18 month check up tomorrow.  Those in the north rolling your eyes – yes, 4 inches of snow and 1/2″ of ice have kept us in all weekend.  But remember, there is NO snow removal and no salt here so it stays on the road until it melts and it hasn’t been above freezing.   Tomorrow afternoon it is supposed to be in the 40’s but hoping it gets warm enough in the morning that we can get to the pediatrician.  I’m getting stir crazy!

There is a thick layer of ice over everything.  Our 50 lb dog doesn’t even sink in the yard – he can walk on top of the icy snow.



And having nothing to do with anything – Sabrina loves her new Princess and the Frog dress.  I picked up a few items on clearance at Target while my MIL was in town (including 2 matching Christmas dresses for next year for $4.50 each).  This one was an instant hit with Sabrina.  She ranks her clothing based on the twirl factor (how well she can twirl in it).



Snow! (No, really this time)


We mock with love but we just can’t stop laughing when Nashville cancels school at the prediction of snow.  Earlier this month, they closed school for 2 days and we ended up getting 1/2 an inch of snow.  So when they called off school for Friday before a flake had fallen, we chuckled.  We woke up Friday morning to our normal brown and green January landscape.  Steve left for work.  Then around 10:30 am it started.  A real snow storm.  Up north this amount of snow wouldn’t close schools most likely but without plows and salt, it closed down the entire area.  It took Steve over 2 hours to get home (23 miles).  The mall closed.  Area businesses closed.  A friend’s son hurt himself and she found that all medical clinics in our town were closed and she would have to take him to the hospital 15 miles north or hope he would be okay until everyone reopened.  It also brought out the entire neighborhood to play.  Parents and kids – there were no fewer than a 15 people playing in front of our house yesterday afternoon. It was quite exciting.  Sabrina had a ball.


Tessa was pouting that she didn’t get to go out and play.  (I don’t have boots for her and she has a runny nose.)


posted under family, nashville | 1 Comment »

Specifically yours truly…


I snapped these with my phone while browsing Valentine’s Day cards at the pharmacy today.  (Filling my prescription for yet another antibiotic.  Yep. Strep. Again.  The doctor was impressed with how swollen and “beefy” my tonsils and throat looked.  He positively swooned over the number of pustules in my throat. Sexy, no?)

For the guy who wants to make it REALLY clear that the “L” word is not in play yet:


For the woman who will scare the bejeesus out of the guy above…she’s pushing for the “L” word to make an appearance and wants to start marking firsts together  (really if your first “holiday” together is Valentine’s Day that means you weren’t together 6 weeks ago at Christmas so quiet down that biological clock honey):


posted under humor | 4 Comments »

Please Stand-by


tv-sign-offSorry for the unintended hiatus.  And I’m only checking in now so that people don’t think I’m trapped under something heavy.  First we had family in town and now I’m sick.  I have strep again (or still?).  Doctor tomorrow.

I have things I want to rant talk about (anyone want to guess which non profit whose name has been in the news regarding Haiti that I might want to rant about?).  I have a project I’m being drawn into which excites and scares me (exciting because it is something I care about…scary because it is something where failure is not an option and my brain cells are pretty scarce these days).  I could share how I turned some of my recipes gluten free for my MIL’s visit…but not sure that is particularly relevant to many of my readers – but I was pretty impressed by how painless it was.  And I should really take some photos of my cute kiddos.  So blogging will resume.  Soonish.

***Remember back in the day when you would get a test pattern instead of infomercials if you turned the TV on in the middle of the night?

posted under Misc. | 6 Comments »

We interrupt this blog for fun with Grandma


Sorry for the absence…Grandma is here.  We’ve been having fun playing with her.




posted under family | 5 Comments »

Good news about BRESMA


That’s Church released a statement from the families of the women running the orphanage in Haiti – one women and the children are safely back in Pittsburgh with the other woman soon to follow.  Thank you to everyone who got involved – even if just through spreading the word and praying.

posted under adoption | 2 Comments »



The situation with the orphanage in Haiti that I’ve posted about is changing often.  Their situation is being worked on by many and you can stay up to date by visiting Virginia at That’s Church – she is directly in contact with the families of the women running the orphanage and posts only confirmed information from the family after the family has given permission for it to be shared.  (Many of the links in my previous posts no longer work because she is trying to keep things up to date.)


August 28, 1963

The text from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech.


I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: “For Whites Only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Spreading the word


Social media has been furiously working on getting the BRESMA children to the states.  I was amazed that every time I looked today there were new developments being reports.  I sadly have no political or wealthy contacts to offer so I offer my personal connection with all of you.  Currently, they are trying to reach out to the families who are adopting from BRESMA. Do you know anyone?  Or know anyone who knows someone?  I posted this on the Haiti board at adoption.com as well as a couple of Haitian adoption blogs and facebook.  But if you can think of other places, spread the word.  We adoption bloggers are a community so we should be able to help them find these folks – they need information from them quickly.

Visit the main link for That’s Church for the latest – the above link will take you to the  post about wanting to reach adopting families.

Sabrina twirls


p1020150 Sabrina received this outfit for Christmas (complete with a sparkly pink headband but I’m not sure where she put it).  She was so excited when she saw it on top of the clean laundry basket this morning (those laundry fairies that appear and make thing magically clean while you sleep ROCK!).  She wanted to wear it and happily pulled up the skirt (she really needs another couple of pounds to make it stay up well).  When we came downstairs, she glowed at her Daddy.  She started twirling (her favorite form of dance).  Then demanded a song to accompany her twirling.

Sabrina has been supremely 3 this week.  We had several mornings that began with uber time-outs (the ones that escalate into her going back to bed to calm down) before breakfast even got started.  She has tested my patience at every turn this week.  Her new favorite response to any request (things like “let go of your sister) is “No, I can’t!”  And she will respond with escalating volume and intensity with each request made.  Followed by yells of “No, I can’t!” when she is then directed to go to time-out.

p1020151Eating isn’t the issue it used to be – but only because we’ve chosen not to make it one.  She still eats incredibly slowly.  She knows when dinner is over that we take her plate.  Some nights she eats, others she does not.

She has decided she doesn’t like anything lately.  The things she does like change hourly.  One night she might love the BBQ chicken and ask for seconds and thirds, but the next day when it is offered to her, she will declare she does not like it and refuse to eat it.

We have figured out a method to get her to eat most things.  You can’t make a big deal out of trying something new and yummy.  You can’t act like it is no big deal and just put it on her plate.  You must put it on your own plate and not offer her any.  When she asks what you are eating, you must be evasive and simply tell her she won’t like it.  She will then insist that she does like it.  You must again refuse so that she says she likes it and wants some.  Then you may offer to share a bite with her.  At this point, it could be just about anything and she will insist she likes it and request a second and third bite.

You can not deviate from the process or it will fail.  Yesterday at snack time, I gave her a snack while I started to eat a clementine.  I deviated from the script – I didn’t tell her she wouldn’t like it and I allowed her a bite before her second request.  When I put her bite down on her plate, without touching it, she declared she didn’t like it.  I made her taste it and she begged to spit it out.  This morning, I peeled 2 clementines and sat next to her on the couch to eat them.  I followed the script and she ended up eating most of one – declaring it “delicious”.

As maddening as she can be, she is also the sweetest thing ever.  While I was sick (did I tell you it was strep? Not something I recommend as an adult), she would sing “Twinkle twinkle little star” to make me feel better and offer to kiss my throat.

posted under family | 13 Comments »

Anyone out there have any real connections?


Most of my readers are fellow adoptive parents.  You all remember that helpless feeling when something happened in Guatemala (or whatever country you adopted from)?  The earthquake near Guatemala City?  The hogar raided?  The birthmoms who were terrorized for giving up their babies?  We were besides ourselves because these babies, our children, were beyond the scope of our arms.  We couldn’t make sure they were safe.  We couldn’t protect them.

Now imagine you are in the process of adopting from Haiti.  Made your heart stop for a second didn’t it?  I’m sure there are millions of heart breaking stories about amazing individuals who need assistance in the aftermath of the earthquakes.  I can’t imagine the need.  But there is a specific situation that has been given a face (figuratively) for me.  My heart is breaking.  Go read about it at That’s Church (formerly PittGirl). The American women running that orphanage need help.  They need a private plane to get them and the babies (who have adoptive parents here waiting for them) out.  Without help, the babies will not survive.  Can you help?

Update: My understanding is now they might be able to physically get the children out, but they need some powerful political strings pulled to grant these children refugee status until their adoptions can be finalized.  Any political strings out there that you can pull?  I can’t bear that red tape is the cause of these children not surviving the aftermath of this earthquake.

Update #2: Members of Congress have become aware of the situation and are working with the White House to find a solution.  @JanePitt said on twitter that CNN was made aware and their crew on the ground in Haiti was checking on the women and children to make sure their immediate needs were met – she also said lots of important people were getting involved.  It seems that social media does have use and value when used for good.  Let’s hope there is a resolution quickly.

And if you are interested, there is a Facebook page for the cause with almost a thousand members.

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