Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

How do you work this thing?


I get requests from time to time that I dust off my old soap box here. More often, folks just tell me that they miss it rather than asking me to revive it. I think many of us got out of the habit of reading blogs around the same time we got out of the habit of writing them. I said more than once that Facebook killed blogging in my circle. Well that and Google Reader folding. (Wasn’t that the name of the blog reader we all used?) And then the one I migrated to folded too. From time to time, I check in on some friends who continue to blog but most often I see what the old gang is up to via Facebook. I miss the community we built when we all blogged. It got me through some rough times with adoption and some isolating times with infants. I also miss the cheap therapy. I read old posts and think damn I used to be witty and have all sorts of things to say. I no longer feel like I have much to share – until I go comment on someone else’s post on facebook then I ramble on and on and on. But Cass tagged me on a taking stock post and I thought what the hell. Why not? So here we go, I’ll see if I can remember how this blogging thing works. (Hey! I remembered how to link a post! Woohoo!)

Cooking: I’m not very adventurous with my cooking these days. I don’t try a lot of new recipes and fall back on the tried and true. But I’ve enjoyed cooking with fresh veggies from our tiny garden and our CSA this summer. Last night, I used some of the last of our summer tomatoes for spaghetti sauce. There are probably just enough left for a batch of salsa.

Drinking: I bought myself a Nespresso machine with milk frother last year. I LOVE it. It makes morning happy. My keurig services my husband and children (hot water for instant oatmeal) but I rarely touch it these days (other than to refill the water because apparently no one else is capable.) Other than my morning double shot latte, I mostly drink water. Although, I have discovered in my old(er) age that I really appreciate a good rum. This is my current favorite when I can find it.

Reading: I just finished a not so great book for a book club. Prior to that, I read The Hand That Feeds – I recommend that one.  My mom sent me a subscription to Cook’s Illustrated (which ironically isn’t particularly illustrated – no shiny photos). Despite my apathetic cooking, it is a cool cooking magazine. They talk through all of the testing of the recipe and the WHY for different ingredients. I appreciate how thoughtful it is and I have a couple of recipes I want to try.

Making: Pottery. Specifically Christmas ornaments today. Anyone who has been in contact with me the past couple of years is aware of my new obsession with pottery. I have a wheel and baby kiln at home. I’m getting really close to opening an Etsy shop. It is all very exciting. Making pottery feels like a super power. I take dirt and turn it into pretty things! I’m constantly learning.

Watching: I’m watching in amazement as my girls grow into people. I started this little blog before they existed. And now Sabrina is 10. Tessa is 8. And they have lives outside of us and are full of attitude and opinions and sass. Some days I am just gobsmacked by how fast it all seems to be going. And then I think a little more about it and I remember how long the days were when they were little. It was hard. I wasn’t a great mom to toddlers. But we all made it through and now I like the people they are becoming.

Lunching: Friends are harder to keep touch with expiration of my Mom’s Club membership. People are busy with school activities and part time jobs – older relationships sometimes fall down on the priority list as new ones are made. It is just life. And despite my introverted tendencies, I need people who make it (read: me) a priority. I have a little group who keep 1 date clear every month and we have a 3 cocktail lunch. It is delightful. We eat, drink, and are merry. I cherish that monthly date. It matters. Girlfriends are good for the soul.

Loving: My husband. Still. More. I don’t know how that is possible but he continues to be even more amazing. He supports my pottery obsession. He is unfazed by my complete lack of ability to say what comes next for me. There is a big question mark looming out there for my future. And he is okay with that as long as I am. He continues to be an amazing father and husband. And he has found his passion in his current job.

Dipping: For the first time since moving here, I’ve started dipping my toe into local politics. We moved here when Sabrina was less than a year old and then I got pregnant with Tessa and life just kind of took over. I just finally feel able to look up and see what is happening around me. And unfortunately, it was a school board gone mad. (You might have heard about us on the national news. The crazy folks who wanted to remove all mention of Islam from our social studies/history books because our 99% white, Christian teachers were obviously indoctrinating our children to become Muslims? Sigh. Yes. That’s us.) We live in this vanilla suburb because of the schools and there was no way we could let the crazy take over. A lot of parents agreed so grass roots style we got some sane folks elected to our school board this year. We still have a couple of questionable members but they are out numbered by reasonable people. I’ve also got a yard sign for a lovely woman running for our state house. (Perhaps you heard about the TN lawmaker whose office was moved to a separate building because he couldn’t stop harassing all of the women at the state house? Also us.)

Wishing: We have built a great life here in Tennessee. But I wish we were closer to home. I wish we were closer to family. I wish we were closer to my BFF who has had some rough patches and I’m too far away to support her with anything other than ridiculously silly phone conversations. Our life here is great and we have great friends but I do miss home and those connections. (And it is SO conservative here that it makes me a bit crazy.)

Dreaming: Steve and I dream of being able to travel together. We both traveled before we met but started down the kid path pretty soon after getting together (that happens when you don’t find The One until you are in  your 30s) so we never had a chance to do that together. We have a laundry list of place we want to go. Someday.

Laughing: I find it hilarious to think what my 20 year old self would think of my 44 year old self. I was passionate about changing the world, my date book ruled my life – the fuller the better, never wanted kids or a husband, suburban life sounded so DULL. I’m a stay at home mom in the suburbs of Nashville. My life is dull. But that is okay. I told Steve after years of change and upheaval, I wanted some boring. Now I have it. I prefer to think of it as roots. I want my girls to have roots. I need to feel settled. A series of small choices all led me here. To this place. To this life. And it looks nothing like I planned or envisioned. But it is perfectly imperfect for me. For us.

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