Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Whole Again


I almost didn’t post this because someone left a nasty comment last time I posted a photo like this. But I will not allow trolls to control what I post on my blog. You know who you are – if you have that much contempt for my family then please don’t visit my little corner of the world wide web again.

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When did this happen?


Do you notice anything in this photo?

It started over the weekend.  I had some people over for bunco on Friday night so I had taken away the chairs with the boosters on them.  In the morning, as I dragged my hungover self into the kitchen to make breakfast, Tessa immediately started dragging her chair the booster back to the table.  Sabrina, on the other hand, was delighted.  She hopped up into the chair and declared she didn’t want her booster seat anymore.  (It hasn’t had straps in ages – it was just for height.)  I was looking at her in her chair today and was struck by what a big girl she is.  She is starting to catch up in height even.  She wears 5T which is right where the fashion industry says she should be (big in the waist but needs the length).


Sunday night as we were reading bedtime books, she gazed out the window at the older kids still playing in our cul-de-sac. She wanted to know why they were still outside playing when she was headed to bed.  I told her that in a couple of years, when she was bigger and older, she would still be outside playing too.  She wistfully said “I want to big right now mommy.”  I told her that she would be big in the blink of an eye and not to rush it.

This dress seems to especially make her look taller and older to me. (Putting on another dance show for me.)

Modeling her swim suit cover up before her first swimming class:


Despite the fact that I’ve been slapped in the face all week with how big she is getting, the swimming lessons brought home that she is still not as big as she thinks.  At swimming lessons, she looked so small compared to the other kids (ages vary but she wasn’t the youngest).  They don’t allow parents down at the pool during the lessons but she was the only who came back in tears at the end of the hour.  They made her put her head under water.  She had gotten water up her nose and it scared her.  She really wanted me but I wasn’t right there.  I hated that I couldn’t be right there to scoop her up but then I know that is why they don’t allow parents at the pool. Today she is whining that she doesn’t want to go to her lessons if I can’t be right there watching.  So even though she wants very badly to be big, she still needs her mommy.  Which I kind of love.

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Be vewy, vewy quiet…


The girls got some surprise fun in the mail yesterday – a couple of books and binoculars from Grandma.  They immediately wanted to go outside and look for birds “like Ruby”. (Sad that instead of hunting rabbits a la Bugs Bunny they relate such things to Max & Ruby which must be the most boring cartoon ever made.)

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Quinoa Salad


At lunch yesterday, my friend Crystal served this quinoa salad. I loved it and asked for the recipe.  She directed me to the Faithful Provisions recipe.  I made it today and am really enjoying it. I know a lot of people aren’t sure what to do with quinoa but want to try it because it is such a nutritional powerhouse when compared to other grains. This is a great way to try it.

A few notes because you know I never stick to a recipe.  I used olive oil instead of vegetable oil.  I used only 1 Tbl of sesame oil.  I like sesame oil but thought 2 Tbl might be overpowering.  I used 4 green onions because I love the combo of green onions and craisins in salads.  I didn’t have any cilantro (stupid stuff won’t grow for me – it lives for a week and then all goes to seed) so I used fresh basil instead.  And I cooked my quinoa according to the package directions (including rinsing it) which was much shorter than the recipe’s direction so check your quinoa for cooking time.  Finally, mine might look a little different because I had a little bit of a box of red quinoa left over so I used some red and some white.  Make this.  It is a great lunch time thing to have in the frig.

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Come on in, the water is fine


It felt downright comfortable this afternoon at only 88 degrees.  The girls had a great time playing in their pool again.

After pool time came bath time and then an evening screening of Princess and the Frog.

For those who asked, I didn’t mean to imply that lessons don’t exist for Tessa’s age group.  But the place I am taking Sabrina has a hard rule that the kids must be 3 and she won’t turn 3 until after the lessons end for the summer.  Our rec center does offer classes that involve parent participation but I haven’t heard a lot of positive things about that program here and it would be difficult with Sabrina now that Steve is out of town. Tessa will definitely get lessons of her own soon(ish).

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Splish Splash


I’ve mentioned the heat – it has been in the mid 90’s here for the past 2 weeks.  I feel bad about the girls not getting to play outside much so early on in the summer so I’ve been trying to get them out in the late afternoon when our back yard is shaded.  I picked up a little plastic pool for them to cool off in.  I didn’t realize how tiny it was until they both got in it.  I might need to rethink it and get a little sprinkler instead.  But the girls had fun and stayed cool – that is what matters.  (I, on the other hand, was dying from the heat.)

Sabrina loves the water but is timid.  She doesn’t like to get her head wet even in the bathtub.  She is taking swimming lessons soon and I’m looking forward to seeing if they can convince her to go underwater.  She is firmly in the no-effing-way camp but I’ve heard a lot of success stories from this place she is taking her lessons.  Tessa is fearless which is almost worse because she makes me nervous.  She would likely jump right into a pool despite having no swimming skills. I’ll feel a little better when she is old enough for lessons.

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Summer days


My kids never drink soda.  My husband and I sometimes drink diet dr pepper or diet pepsi but we don’t want the girls to have the chemicals. They drink water or milk 99% of the time. Juice is a treat at parties.  The only form of soda they have ever had is a coke icee.  No, I’m not proud of the fact that they know and love coke in the icee form but we need a bribe to make them behave at Sam’s Club kids need to have some fun, right?  Today, we decided to try making coke icees at home.  We got out the little ice cream maker my mom sent us and gave it a whirl.

It was a long 10 minutes waiting for it to be done.

But it did turn out pretty slushy (just coke into an ice cream maker…nothing else added or done to it).

It wasn’t exactly like an icee – I think they add more air to give it a lighter texture.  But the girls enjoyed it.

It isn’t all fun and games. Sabrina’s writing skills are very weak (for the grandmas in the audience – kids are expected to enter kindergarten with second grade skills now including being able to write their names).  So I’m trying to work on her letters with her.  She really fights me on it so I’m trying very small periods – 10 minutes in the morning working on 1 worksheet and then we color together.

Tessa gets a coloring page with the same letter Sabrina is working on.  Let’s hope this approach will work because I don’t want it to turn into a battle with Sabrina so early but I also don’t want her to start out behind everyone else.

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Days until daddy comes home:

And some other random photos.

Double time out. BAM! BAM! Don’t mess with momma after too few hours of sleep and before coffee:

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Insert Title Here


It has been hot hot hot this week so not a lot of outside play time for the girls.  We are fortunate our back yard gets shade later in the afternoon so the girls can usually get out a little bit then.  My geraniums are quite happy with the heat.

The girls have been doing pretty well with not being able to play outside as much.  We went and bought a little $10 pool and hope to get that filled soon for some cooler play time outside. We try and plan our day during breakfast.  Sabrina always wants to know the agenda – even if I don’t have one yet.

Tessa wasn’t amused at being caught in a situation where she couldn’t immediately duck away from the camera.

I laughed when I uploaded these photos. Before kids, I always thought my kids would never have a lot of branded crap.  Then I discovered 1) how happy having a picture of Dora or princesses on a cup makes them 2) what great motivation a new cup or placemat might be when trying to get them to do a desired behavior and 3) how hard it can be to find crap without faces on it.

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