Christmas photos!

can you believe that all these good looks occured in a single family!?!
aunt amanda & katie!
tired christmas baby
christina, chris & reina
some of the girls
allll the girls!
sexy beast

you can barely tell, but we were standing in the snow...

mom made ashley a stained glass window & dad made the frame! (she tends to get the best gifts....)

PS: I would like to say that I DID in fact get my cheese making kit for Christmas! Dreams really do come true.


my christmas wish list

This is a picture of quiet brakes. Or is the singular version "brake"? Either way, my husband and 3 mechanics (2 les schwab & 1 independent) have inspected my brakes and eliminated brake dust but we cannot seem to get rid of the GRINDING and SCREECHING that comes from my brakes. It is highly annoying. People can't hear me coming but they can sure hear me stopping.

I know this is hard to see b/c it is blurry, but I would like another woman in my household. The kind that cleans. We have a [sorely felt] lack of ladies of this persuasion in my house.

This is an indoor dog shower, for all your dog bathing needs (of which I have many). As it stands, my dear brother, "Plumber Jack," installed an outdoor water spickett (sp?) which has hot and cold water off the back of the house. This has greatly improved the frequency at which I bathe rucker and subsequently, his smell.

Sadly I don't think anyone is getting me the cheese making kit I asked for. At first glance this woman looks suspiciously like...

but it is not the same person. I would not buy cheese or a cheese making kit from richard simmons.




Some of my blog fans (ok, rephrase: "my blog fan, Mom,") may be wondering:
How did your Christmas sweater go over at the exchange?
Answer: without due pomp & circumstance.
Solution: Sent the following email to my co-workers:

Since I didn’t get the accolades I deserved for hand making my gift-exchange Christmas sweater, I am assuming it’s because you didn’t get a chance to see the craftsmanship that went into it.

For your convenience (since the sweater has now left the country….though I’m not sure it will pass customs…) I have attached a picture below. If you were secretly upset that you did not choose this gift, or if you would like to give a similar sweater to your loved ones, I can be commissioned for a small fee of $139.99 for “basic” holiday sweaters or $179.99 for the “deluxe*” version. My hand made sweaters are all made by hand [!] and each is uniquely crafted boasting such embellishments as:
1.customizable puff painted phrases
2. individually glued sequins in holiday colors
3. hand cut and sewn felt Christmas trees
4. giant bows on the backside
5. small bells affixed to festive red bows
6. floral sprays
7. *DELUXE version includes artist’s signature “MM” and production number (1 of 1) for those who prefer to collect & display these sweaters as an alternative to the more common use: sporting them to work, holiday parties, weddings, and in some cases: funerals, baptisms, and other such sacred events where you might like to either lighten the mood or steal the spot light.
As of yet, there have been no orders placed.


Ho. Ho. Ho.

I can laugh at myself. You may think this is because I make an effort not to take myself too seriously, but you're giving me too much credit. I laugh at myself because I'M FUNNY. Here's why:

tomorrow is my work christmas party. we're doing a $10 white elephant exchange. I was feeling lots of pressure to bring funny gifts. My idea: $10 worth of twinkies, ding dongs, and ho-ho's plus some slim fast. hee hee. But I couldn't think of anything else, so I called my brother for advice. After a few suggestions that i didn't think would "go over real well" with my boss and co-workers, he suggested a tacky value village christmas sweater. Even better: I MADE one. It took hours. It is going to be MVP of the white elephant exchange. I signed it: MM 1/1. this means it is the first of a series of....one.

Is 27 still "mid-20's?"

I am 27 now. I had a relatively uneventful birthday. In fact, due to some jet lag I was asleep by 8pm. I am worried because:
a) in 3 years i will be 30
b) my mom had 2 kids by 27
c) i feel like i cannot honestly say i'm in my "mid" 20's anymore
d) it doesn't mean i won't say it. But in fact I really never say "mid" anything, so i will probably just respond "27" when people ask my age. sigh.

The best part of my birthday:
the day after my bday I went to macadam's grill (which is such a nice, low key place that is close and i love) with my girlfriends. I put $3 in a video poker machine and KAZAAAM! I won $56. Winning $53 is a very nice thing. But I PROMISE you that I got more than $53 of enjoyment out of the experience. I am still happy thinking of it now. In fact, this experience was the entire reason i blogged about my birthday.


ELVIS the giant bird that lives in a restaurant in the train station.
this is an especially artistic photo. Notice the hydrangea is mostly brown and dead except for the one blue bloom. It is highly symbolic, though of what I'm not sure. with photo skills like this i may open my own studio. "Meaningful Art by Michelle Middlebrooks." Move over bunch & budz. There's a new sheriff in town.

Meee-OW! I wonder who feeds this little kitty on Sundays? And is he sad to sleep all alone with no owner? The routine of having a shop cat is new to me, and I'd like to embrace it, but my boss is advising me strongly against bringing my pet to work.
All the buildings LEAN!
Traveling companions - oliver & mike
canals are everywhere....and dirtier than the willamette
the restaurant in the hotel I stayed at-- we ate breakfast there each morning by candle light-it was beautiful! Interesting breakfast fare: lots of cheese, sketchy looking sliced meats, and sauteed mushrooms among other things. The cheese was very good!
the hotel

I went to Amsterdam for a week to work. It was my first time off the continent, and it was great! We flew in on a Sunday, and went to the Van Gogh museum. It was interesting....but it turns out I don't have much of an eye (or appreciation) for fine art. I stood next to a woman looking at a painting of sunflowers, and she was crying b/c she was so moved! When she looked over at me I faked an intense appreciation of the art and smiled back encouragingly. But I was totally faking it. :) It was pretty cool though! The rest of the week was work, good food, work work, more food and beer, work work work. The highlight of my trip was eating in restaurants with cats in them. In one pub a cat sat on my lap with his little paws on the table while I drank my beer. How cute!

When I came home after being gone 10 days, I returned to a spotless house! Luke cleaned and mopped and did laundry and dishes. What a great man I have! The cutest thing is the rainbow pack of napkins he bought. My rule of thumb is: no multicolored napkins. But Luke busted out with an orange/green/white variety pack. For some reason I get a big kick out of these neopolitan napkins. It is very "milwaukie" I think to have multicolored napkins.



my animals

when our cat & dog jump up on the bed or couch w/us luke likes to sing, "In the jungle, the mighty jungle..." it is very hard to get that out of your head....

Turkey Day

julia & jayden
luke & patty (his cousin & soon to be sister in law)libby & abby (my twin cousins)
me & lukecasey & jack
dad ash & chris



This weekend two very important things happened in my life. I will blog in the actual order of events:

1. My friend Kate had her baby! I was HONORED to be invited to attend the birth, which was done au natural in Kate's own house. She called me at 6:50 am and baby Aislinn was born at 8:50! I was the videographer, and let me tell you, it was the most amazing thing I have ever seen! Kate just stood up, and had that baby in between her bed and the dresser! That's right- she gave birth STANDING UP. What a woman! Aislinn was 8 lbs 15 oz, 21 inches long, and a red head just like her big sisters. I am in LOVE.

This is my favorite pic of the day- Kate's two sisters coached her through labor. Here's her oldest sis Rebekah holding the baby with Abi seated next to Kate. The midwife was saying something that they were smiling about- something about it "finally being over!" What a relief!

Three red heads: oh my!

Here's Aislinn just seconds after birth!

Meghan is warming up to big sister-hood, but I think she was a little unsure of it at first!

2. My brother Jack proposed to Luke's cousin Patty!!! They have been madly in love since 2 July's ago when I introduced them. It was a match made by ME, which according to tradition entitles me to: rite of godparentship to their future children, position of honor at the wedding ceremony (facing the audience in front of the priest and in between the bride and groom), and I believe I also win 30% of all their current savings and future income. That is why matchmaking is such a popular pastime. Well look- it worked! I am so excited for Patty to be my sister and Jack to be a married man! Congrats Patty & Jack!!!!!!! Oh- one more thing that is really cute: Jack drove up to Camas to get Patty's parents permission to marry her. Then on the way back to Stayton to propose, he got pulled over for speeding! Jack told the officer that he was on his way to propose and the cop asked to see the ring. When Jack showed him the ring, the officer told him he wouldn't ruin his night & did not give him a ticket! Here's Patty showing off her ice... :)

Eskimo update (THE DOG)

The Clackamas County Animal Control called- they gave me Sugar's momma's name. They barely cared their dog was in my laundry room (albeit spacious, cozy and adequately stocked with fresh water and dog biscuits for Sugar's enjoyment) all day. LAME.


Eskimo in my closet...

This morning after leaving my house I saw a little white dog running down 32nd, which I consider to be a busy road. I pulled over and captured him. He has a Clackamas County tag, but no name or phone number. Alas, I could not return him to his rightful owner. So he is in my laundry room at home right now, much to the dismay of my cat Annie who is totally disgusted and offended at this new thing that looks the size of a cat. In fact, she took a swipe at him (b1tch!) Rucker does not care about this intrusion. Still, the pets are sequestered today for their own safety. I have posted a FOUND dog ad with the Clackamas County Animal control, and left them two messages. I know you are not supposed to revel in your own good deeds, but I am feeling entirely pleased with my effort today. My husband = not too pleased, but this is really no skin off his nose so I cannot be bothered by his opinion. The reason he is bent out of shape is b/c 2 years ago I found a rat terrier (ew) that was under our care for 2 weeks before we finally gave him away after 2 failed attempts to adopt him out. No one ever bothered to claim him despite my efforts to find his distraught and grief-stricken family. I sincerely hope that this white dog’s family claims him soon. Otherwise he may become a Christmas gift for someone I choose at random.


Gill turns 12!

Birthday Girl, isn't she beautiful!? T-t-t-t-thomas
Lexee- Some people can touch their tongue to their nose, i think she's touching her ear!:)

Gill's bday was 10/28. She is one sassy cat!