one from the archives

I was going back through some old pics b/c I left my camera at my parents & have no new pics to blog. I found this one- which I will title: UNCLEHOOD IS NOT FOR WIMPS


The Worst Insult I Have Ever Received

I was in high school, in line at the mall food court. A man approached me and in a friendly manner asked, "Has anyone ever told you that you look like Tanya Harding?!?" Not until then, jerk.

Anniversaries, Miscarriages, Pregnancy and happy memories

Our Anniversary: We seem to forget our anniversary. We entirely forgot our 4 yr anniversary, luke called me the next day at work to tell me we'd missed it. This year we forgot until we got an email from Patty wishing us happy anniversary. Anyhow, we've been married 7 blissful years. And now our anniversary has a DOUBLE meaning- last year on our anniversary I surprised Luke with the news we were pregnant with Jo.
For your blog viewing pleasure, I set up a hidden camera when I told luke the news. Regretfully, the video cut off our heads and included a shot of a butt crack and a shirt inadvertently hiked up to show off a hairy belly (um, not mine, thanks.) So really the video would be to your amusement but in the spirit of marriage preservation I have elected NOT to post it.
When we hit the 8 week mark of our pregnancy w/Jo we surprised our families at Luke's 29th birthday party. Again, I videotaped it but the video is confusing & kinda lame. HOWEVER, I do have two pretty amazing videos to share. Before we got pregnant w/Jo, we had two miscarriages- one in February & May. Gosh- that really was awful. I remember laying on the bed with luke curled around me, sobbing in a raw and guttural way that I've never experienced before or since. I was only about 6 weeks along, but any mom will tell you that a few days or even moments are all it takes to fall in love with your baby. The second time we miscarried it happened after we had already told our families- which made it both harder and easier. This is an excerpt from an email I wrote the day after we lost the baby to my mother in law....
Things that suck about this...
1. It hurts physically. Not a lot, but it aches and that is salt in the wound.
2. having to “untell” people. But that has not actually been a bad experience, it turns out that everyone said such encouraging things and it wasn’t awkward or uncomfortable at all. I was dreading calling people, but then when I was actually doing it it was not bad. In fact it made me feel so, so loved.
3. Calling the dr and asking what to do, and then you have to leave your name & number with the woman so she can have a dr call you back, and then crying in the middle so that you cannot get through your own phone number
4. calling the dr back later to cancel the prenatal appts you’ve set up
5. having to go buy horse-saddle sized pads which you do not normally stock in your bathroom
6. tucking away the little baby gifts you'd received in the dresser for later
7. feeling pissed off that next time you get prego you will feel ZERO peace until much further along
8. “removing” your pregnancy on babycenter.com so you don’t get any more “congratulations, you’re in your 6th week!” emails L L
9. piling up the prego books by the door that you borrowed from the library and are NOT interested in reading any more!
10. not really knowing what to do with the journal you started for your baby to tell him all the wonderful things you were thinking about him as you first found out he existed! For the record, it is still by the bedside table. I’m keeping it, and I’m keeping all the videos we took of us surprising people because even though in a fit of rebellion I wanted to throw it away, I think I’ll want to watch them again later.
--On the flip side…here is how I licked my wounds last night:
1. I had a beer—and it was NOT o’douls!
2. chicken strips, potato chips, and pizza
3. watching grey’s anatomy & the office in bed with my dogger doo

Ok, so that was really sad. But we believe that a tiny little soul is created in God's image at the moment of conception- and this assures me that I've got two little angel babies up in heaven, just waiting to meet us someday.

So on to the happy memories part. Obviously we were blessed again with a strong and healthy pregnancy that resulted in our little Jo, the best thing we've got going in our lives. She's brought such unexplainable joy. My dad called me the other day to say that he was driving down the freeway, and found himself smiling. He realized it was because he was thinking of Jo, and that he thinks smiling definitely improves the quality of one's life. Gosh I love my dad- no wonder I turned out so great ;) Anyhow, even though the "surprise we're pregnant" videos with Jo didn't turn out to be blockbusters, we DID get video of us surprising our families when we got pregnant last May. The first video is us surprising my family. Mom doesn't 'get it' immediately. My dad smacks his hands together like he is so excited he doesn't know what to do with himself. And my dear sweet Granny is in there too, realizing she'll be a great-grandma for the first time. Sadly she passed away while I was pregnant with Jo, but she was so excited for her arrival. This is an awesome video.

And this video is pretty amazing too. Katie & I got pregnant at the same time- our babies were due within 1 day of each other!!! Katie had already told her parents, but not the kids in the Middlebrooks family. So we decided we'd set up a scenario where we surprised the kids to tell them Katie was prego, and then surprised everyone by telling them we were pregnant too. Sara says, "one of these beautiful ladies has a baby growing in her tummy" and then Katie raises her hand to show she is the pregnant girl in the line up. Then she tells everyone her baby is going to have a little cousin too! Watch my mother in law's face- it still gives me goose bumps to watch this. Oh- and forgive Chris' expletives in the middle of the video ;)

These are some of our most happy, beautiful memories.

Video for the grandparents

This is a full minute of jo singing and cooing. Not interesting unless you're one of jo's grandparents! I don't know how a little thing makes such a HIGH pitched noise!

Gettin' down like white girls do

I Looooove the song she's dancing too. I'm not vouching for the words or anything the lyrics say except my favorite part: I KNOW ONE THING, THAT I LOVE YOU!

Jokes on me

I remember when I was prego I thought, "when I have this baby, my blog will NOT become another boring blog about how cute my baby is." Oops. Well- in my defense I didn't have a clue how cute my baby would be!!!

She says, "joke's on YOU mom!"


Luke & I went to see the pre-season seattle vs denver game Saturday. We had fun...but they lost. We had GREAT seats too- right on the 50 yard line! We did body paint & orange mo-hawk wigs, but I didn't get any pics of that.

Bad Ass Runner

It is hard to run 6 days a week. I don't go very far, and I certainly don't go fast, but I do it. Unlike the euphoric work out addicts I am surrounded by at Nike, I don't LOVE to run. I run to eat. I eat brownies, and ice cream, potato chips and pizza. I run to eat. And I do love it, when I am DONE with it. But anyhow, in effort to keep motivated I affirm myself frequently in regards to running. Mostly I tell myself, "Michelle- you are SO amazing." or "Michelle, you look HOT in spandex." Someday, "Michelle, everyone else in the world is laying on their couch like sloths, but not you. You are out here, braving the conditions, burning calories and generally impressing everyone who drives by." Oh- and it is REALLY gratifying when people I know see me running- they honk or wave & I think to myself, "they must be floored by my fortitude." Bonus points when I'm pushing Jo's tiny toosh up a hill in a stroller. ANYHOW, this has gone on much longer than I intended. My point is that I got a new pair of shoes which have torn up my feet. I did take two days off at the worst of the blistering, but for the most part, I endured. I just run through the pain. Because I am a bad ass runner.
This is much improved obviously, but you should have seen it when it was a blister surrounded by a blood blister. OUCH.

This blister on my 2nd toe is a perma-blister. It is just always there. Blister upon blister. It doesn't even hurt actually. (the other one above hurt BAD!)

Baby Jo

Monday marks my first day back at work. Yikes. I will miss this little girl, but she'll be with her two most amazing grandma's, so I will rest easy knowing she is being held and snuggled and loved on ALL DAY LONG. Thanks to both of our mom's, so loving, so selfless, and such amazing examples of what it means to be a momma.


Living Large in Milwaukie

I live in Milwaukie. There. I said it. In the last 6 years I've been exposed to more cultural diversity than a girl should ever have to endure. Now, before I go on, I'll pridefully remind you that my home is a nice little 1926 bungalow which we've taken good care of. The worst of our sins have been not mowing the lawn very regularly, once leaving a dead water heater in the driveway for over a month, and most currently, putting a broken box fan out in the drive way to decompose (takes longer than one might thing). But hey- we live in Milwaukie, right? It is our right to put all sorts of junk out on the front lawn. So a box fan & occasional water heater aren't so bad at all. A person in our neighborhood who shall remain nameless, had too much yard art tonight for me to NOT capture on my cell phone. The photo on the left is a toilet out on blocks in the yard. The photo on the right? Well that is the previously 30 foot tree the neighbor somehow "fell" singlehandedly. There are powerlines all over, so I am not sure how this tree came down without electrocuting someone, or significantly more dangerous, cutting off nascar to milwaukie's finest. But the tree came down, bit by bit. The tree took some serious abuse in the process though- if you look close you'll see the AX marks that mark an earlier failed attempt to cut down the tree. Eventually I think power tools were employed. For weeks and months a jagged 10 foot "stump" has been gracing this yard, visible clearly from our front picture windows. I felt sad for the poor dead tree every time I looked at it. But hope springs eternal and miracle of all miracles: The tree is growing back! Perseverance in the face of persecution! It is like the book, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Except in this case, the tree grows in Milwaukie next to a defunct motor home which serves in its second life as additional outdoor storage.


Rucker's Trick

I trained my brilliant dog to "check his baby." When I give him the command he runs to Jo & touches her with his nose. We're working on more advanced tricks like "change her diaper" and "rock her to sleep," but without much progress.

Lunatic Parenting Move #2,642: Camping with a baby

Ok, it really was pretty fun, despite...
1. dirt, dirt, everywhere you turn
2. ants eating a dead cricket in the showers
3. 29 degree night time temperatures. not conduscive to breastfeeding. brrr...

More than anything, it was a great 3 days with the people I love most. Luke (most infmaous non-camping Middlebrooks alive) even came down for a night! We've been back almost 24 hrs and Rucker is STILL lying comatose on the floor from all the fetch and swimming. And best of all, my semi-clean home feels like a spic and span palace in comparison to my campsite!

Honestly- the dog was more work camping than Jo was!

Boys vs girls paintballing- if you can believe it, this was the GIRLS' idea! I did not partake since I am the only viable food source for my daughter. Which is a flimsy excuse, but one I'll stick with.

Richard & Thomas loving life

hunka hunka burning love

Uncle Dave brought veggie straws, which are about the foulest food I've ever eaten- far worse than any vegetable is by itself. Gillian enjoyed them though, and Jo made a good tv tray.

Lexee, who exerts significantly more power and authority over Rucker & Dutch than Jack or I can manage...

Jack & Patty, practicing with Jo who is genetically very close to Jack & Patty's future offspring. FYI, we were at Denny's on the drive down- my campsite may have showers but it doesn't have whitewashed rock and and polyester covered booth seating.

Auntie Naomee & Jo, rocking the baby sunglasses


Hungry Hungry Hippo

Jo dressed up in one of Aunt Katie's favorites- the gray hippo jacket! Sadly...it barely buttoned. So it will be carefully buttoned, folded, and archived for the next baby.


Stacy & Davey's wedding

Long time Middlebrooks family friend, Stacy, got hitched this week. Here we are...


Oh boy. The makings of the wildest night I've had in a long time include...
1. a babysitter for Jo
2. a guest of honor, kimberly, who is leaving for 2 years to work as a missionary in South Africa

3. a theme party: dress up as an african animal (the girls in my family truly embrace themed parties)- i'm a cheetah

4. more eyeliner than i've worn over the last year in total

5. the thrill of the chase. Here's ash shot dead by her hunter fiance. Note the wild african scavenger dog trying to steal away the kill

6. lion dance

7. zebra dance

8. mean feline

9. black panther climbing a tree

10. being stalked by a fierce hunter in pink camo

11. lion attacking zebra

12. fresh zebra meat

13. sisters

14. african wildfire

15. liquor (as if at this point you hadn't suspected it...)

16. cheers to kimberly

17. more liquor

18. too much.

19. the first sister shots we've ever taken.
20. make that the first AND LAST sister shot

21. sister thumbs up

22. cheetah stalks hunter

23. african eyeball torture

24. sister hugs

25. two wild cats attacking a zebra

26. climbing a very tall tree for a realistic cheetah pose

27. then being trapped by the pink camo hunter

28. boys, who were WAY too cool to dress up and WAAAAY too cool to be involved in the lengthy photo shoot the girls staged. Really, 90% of the reason we dress up is for pictures. and the boys neither care nor appreciate that.

29. tribal fire dance to britney spears