Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Three, trois, tres


Happy birthday to my dearest Tessa!  I can’t believe it has been 3 years since you were born but I can’t imagine life before you. You are the funniest, quirkiest, most stubborn, most difficult, sweetest, most cuddly 3 year old I’ve ever encountered.

You have this amazing ability to be incredibly laid back 75% of the time but the other 25 % of the time you can’t be pleased no matter what.

You are able to kick back and relax in a way that I rarely see toddlers do but when you are involved with something you have incredible focus for a 3 year old.

You still aren’t talking much but we are so curious to hear what you have to say!  Happy birthday my sweet girl.

posted under family | 6 Comments »

I take it back


Vacation? I had one. I know what I said but I didn’t take into account my amazing husband and wonderful in-laws. I’ll be back to tell you all about it but right now we are all doing this:

13 days, 2400+ miles in the car, 8 states, and 4 different beds takes a lot out of us! (And this one? She is 3 tomorrow. WTF?)

posted under family | 5 Comments »

If anyone needs me…


I’ll be here:

It may not be a vacation – but it is a trip I plan to enjoy. See ya!

posted under travel | 7 Comments »

Real Deal


I’m not sure when it happened but at some point I stopped being completely real here in this space. Everything I share is 100% authentic but I hold back a lot. I feel so lucky and blessed in so many ways that it seems really shitty to complain about my first world middle class “problems”. I feel like I have to disclaimer everything by acknowledging that I know I have a great life and I shouldn’t complain – so I just mostly quit doing it.  My blog used to be a real piece of me.  Now? It is cute photos of my kids and occasional recipes with a tiny bit of snarky commentary thrown in.  I’ve decided to say screw it.  I’m tired of being polite and apologetic.

One morning this week, at the ass crack of dawn, we leave.  I am driving the kids 10 hours to Pittsburgh.  We are staying a couple of days then leaving for the beach for a week.  You notice I don’t say “vacation”.  Because let’s be honest, mothers of young children (and maybe older children too – I don’t know, I’m not there yet) don’t get vacations.  We basically have to see into the future and pack up everything that any family member might want for the coming 2 weeks.  Plus Extra! Exciting! Items! to pass the 10 hour car trip (or in our case 10 hours then 12 hours then 12 hours back and then 10 hours back again).  Then we have to try and keep some semblance of a schedule in place so that meltdowns don’t occur every day at 4:12pm while well-meaning relatives feed our children copious amounts of sugar and allow our children to break all of the rules (because they don’t know the rules that keep things from falling apart).  While doing all of this, we must wash laundry daily because the kids wear every freaking outfit every freaking day, cook meals, apply sunscreen 337 times a day, and make sure no one has unsupervised access to a body of water (pool or ocean or hot tub – this makes me tense the entire time – I have nightmares so let’s not discuss).  All of this while building treasured family memories.  THEN when we get home, we have to spend 3 days doing laundry and a week deprogramming the kids by convincing them all previous rules have been reinstated and that they must again learn to entertain themselves because Uncle Pat isn’t here right now to play whammy with you.

None of that screams vacation to me.  My idea of a beach vacation is long, quiet walks on the beach and sitting in a beach chair while reading a trashy novel and admiring the waves.  A cabana boy bringing me fruity adult beverages would also be nice.  Then dinner out somewhere – preferably seafood and cocktails. Maybe a dip in the pool after dinner.  Some drinks and card/board games in the evening (shut up, I’m a dork and would rather do that than hit a club).

The girls love these beach trips.  They get to spend time with family and have so much fun. I love that and enjoy the time I get to spend with my husband, my girls, and my inlaws.  I married into a great family.  I’m looking forward to the trip for a lot of reasons.  Just don’t try and call it a vacation or I might punch you in the face.

Last year:

posted under Misc. | 17 Comments »

Curse and Blessing of Technology


My girls favorite time of the day right now is when Daddy calls on the computer.  We Skype almost every night.  Unfortunately, on those rare nights when we can get a hold of Daddy for some reason, it causes copious amounts of drama.  But most nights, they happily climb into the chair and talk to Daddy on the computer.  Sabrina reports what she did that day and asks Daddy what he had for dinner.  Tessa mostly makes silly faces and giggles when Daddy steals her nose.

We leave in 2 days to see Daddy so the girls are very excitedly helping me pack.

posted under family | 5 Comments »

On a jet plane…


Steve left Monday morning after a wonderful week at home with us.  The girls dealt with his return better than I did. I had insomnia when I suddenly had to share the bed again – they didn’t bat an eye.  The girls also handled his departure better than I did. Fortunately, we will see him in just over a week.  A few photos from the past week.

This just cracked me up.  Tessa brought me her swimsuit and insisted we put it on over her PJs. The child dances to the beat of her own drummer.

Apparently, running through a sprinkler on a hot day isn’t intuitive.  The girls had no idea what to do with this.  Sabrina eventually warmed up to it but Tessa wasn’t a fan.

Multiple folks in my neighborhood set off professional grade fireworks for the 4th of July.

I knew that Sabrina loved watching the fireworks last year but this was Tessa’s first year watching them.  I wasn’t sure how she was going to react.  She likes her sleep so the fact that they didn’t start until almost an hour after her usual bedtime seemed like we were already headed for disaster.  But I spread a blanket in our front yard and we settled in to watch.  We had a 360 view of fireworks for well over an hour.  I don’t think I have ever seen Tessa more excited about anything in her life.  She danced. She clapped.  She gasped. She cheered. She laughed. She asked for more. She was completely enchanted by the whole thing.  Watching the girls watch the fireworks was even better than the fireworks displays for me. One of the best nights of my year.

posted under family | 7 Comments »