Baylor on the MOVE

Baylor started crawling a few weeks ago. Can't keep a good man down. This is a few weeks old- he is much faster now, and has taken a keen interest in all electrical cords, the (very metal) undercarriage of our BOB stroller, our printer, and absolutely anything that Johonna would not like him to touch, which is absolutely everything. And so it starts.

A legacy of Cheerios

Lexee, my sweet little sister, is famous for this picture of her as a baby eating (and wearing) Cheerios.

Baylor, 12 years later, also enjoys a good tray of Cheerios. I recreated the moment in honor of his auntie & the special affinity they share for breakfast cereal.


Baylor earned his "blue ribbon" at Swimbabes. This is a coveted achievement that takes months of practice for little babies. We let him go face down on the surface of the water (or just below) and he turns on to his back, comes to the top, and floats for 10 seconds on his own. I am so proud of him - he is such a laid back champion. He doesn't look very happy in this pic, but he really does love the water. He doesn't like the floating thing yet, but he'll get there.


In less than 3 years my parents have gone from zero grandkids to THREE!

PS: Jo says she liked it better when she was the only grandkid. No offense, Brooke or Baylor.


Peyton & Tonya

Last weekend Luke went out of town at the height of the Peyton Manning drama. The Middlebrooks household was on high alert for a possible Denver/Manning union, and distraught over what that might mean for our beloved Tebow. Not one to take things that mean absolutely nothing to me too seriously, I sent Luke a text that read,
"Denver just signed Manning, 4 yr $80 mil. No word on Tebow."
He called me back immediately & I lied about having seen it on ESPN (that should have been his first clue- like I'd watch ESPN of my own accord). After a few minutes he figured out I was totally lying and called back to tell me in an I-wish-you'd-grow-up/annoyed tone, "that wasn't funny." In retrospect, it was quite prophetic. Manning really did sign with Denver the next week. But I got no credit for my foresight.
As soon as Luke returned from his trip I started fishing for some acknowledgement of my comic prowess. Instead of accolades I was shut down & told, "You'll get it back. And you won't like it."

Ok, rewind about 15 years. I was in high school. I was at the food court at Pioneer Square. While minding my own business in line for some chinese food a man said to me,

"Has anyone ever told you that you look like Tonya Harding?"
There is really only one way to take that: like a bullet to your gut.
Now- if someone tells you that you remind them of Kirstie Alley, you might assume they mean Cheers-Kirstie
...not gain-100-lbs-then-lose-100-lbs-then-gain-150-lbs-Kirsti
If someone compares you to Lindsey Lohan, you can pretend they mean young, happy Lohan
Not time-in-the-slammer-Lindsey:
And if you're compared to Britney, you can bet they meant hot-Britney
Not crazy-bald-Britney:
But if you're told you look like Tonya Harding, there's no possible silver lining. Your options are:

Or too-much-rouge-broken-laces-ugly-cry-Tonya
Or worst of all, b-list-boxer-Tonya
So anyhow, over a decade later I'm still a little bent out of shape about the Tonya comparison.
What does that have to do with a teeny tiny Peyton prank?
Tonight I was out running errands and decided to pick up dinner to go. I asked Luke to call it in, and here's the text I get back- my payback for not being able to suppress my God given gift of wit and humor:
"I called in the order.
It's under Tonya Harding.


Why I'm the Most Efficient Person You Know

Some people are efficient so they can maximize their output. In general, I'm efficient so I can maximize the amount of time I am able to lounge on the couch sipping beer after the kids go to bed. My goal every day is to get to the point where I find myself swathed in elastic banded clothing sinking into the couch with the tv on, lights off, blue moon in one hand and plate of cookies in the other. That is the moment each day that I love my children the most, I am most grateful to God, and I am most content and peaceful.

People are always like, "Michelle. You're so amazing. Never a hair out of place (the advantage of a pony tail), nary a wrinkle in your clothes (cotton+dryer=never have to iron). How do you do it all? What are your secrets to success?" I get tired of having to answer that so often, so I thought I'd write it all out and just direct people who want to be more like me to my blog. (lest even ONE friend or family member overlook my sarcasm I'll be clear here: I'm joking. No one says this to me).

1. Whenever possible I blow dry my hair with two hair dryers at the gym. Efficiency gain: 100%
2. I have an extra tooth brush in the shower so I can brush my teeth in the morning while I shower. So smart.
3. I keep floss in the car for red lights.
4. Every night I pack my gym bag & prep the coffee machine for the next day. Not abnormally original, but it helps.
5. I ONLY fold my shirts & pants. If it is work out clothes, pj's, any athletic wear, socks, it goes in bins. This will make at least two of my sisters break out in hives.
6. I have had arguments with my running girls on this, but I swear I'm right. I let the clean laundry pile up in baskets until they're all full. Then I dump them all on the bed and fold in one giant massive whirlwind. I am convinced this is more efficient than small batches. You should see me sort. I do it with two hands. Then I fold.
7. My hold on the sock drawer used to be rather tenuous. I am not the type to pair socks and finding a match in the morning used to give me heartburn. I had an epiphany and bought a ton of the same women's & men's socks. I threw out any non-conformers. It felt SO good. Then earlier this week I saw something in the laundry basket that made me stop in my tracks. BLACK non-conforming sports socks. It might as well have been foreign female undergarments. I took the evidence and wagged it in Luke's face. "What is THIS?" He said, "Wolverine socks. They're good for your feet." "Not good for my sock drawer," I said. He pointed out that 8 black socks would hardly impede my ability to find two matching white socks. Technically he is right, but I'm feeling a lot of noise coming from my sock drawer and I am fighting the urge to eradicate these
non-conformers. Plus, what good can come of black tube socks??? Nothing. Best case is Luke keeps his black socks under his pants. Worst case scenario they accompany shorts. Thank goodness he doesn't own any sandals.
8. The other day it was pouring outside, the kids were with me in their jammies, and I desperately needed medicine at Fred Meyer. I carried Baylor in my arms, put my purse on my shoulder, and had Jo hang on my neck on my back. I staggered into the store and didn't drop anyone.
9. I do my best multi-tasking at work. I work 30 hours a week but I'm pretty sure I get more done in 30 than most do in 40.
10. I feed my dog and cat the same food.
11. I only watch TV that is dvr'd so I don't have to deal with commercials.

That's how I [efficiently] roll.


Barbara Walters & Johonna

Here's a riveting interview I did with Johonna Middlebrooks. She likes to pretend to be a baby bird (chirp chirp), and stays in character quite impressively.

Good Lookin'

From 2012-03-02

Babies and their Bones

My dad fed Jo her first turkey leg (she had previously been fed a strict and gentle diet of rice cereal and breast milk) at age 7 months.

And Baylor too has now been intiatied into the 7-month coming of age ritual. This time with slow smoked beef ribs.

Baby Brooklyn is HERE!

My little sister is amazing. She will blog about this all later (when she has some spare time, pfft) so I don't want to steal her thunder....but like every other sister I have so far, she did NOT have an epidural. That should probably not be the headline, but I'm a little impressed and a little envious. Ok, now for the more important details:
On Wednesday 2/29 (that's leap day, the birth day of my niece Christina!) Ash's water broke. 24 days early! She called. I had one job to do: video the birth/video the sweet few minutes when her & Chris finally met their daughter. She wasn't in active labor so I told her to call me when things got serious. She called at 4/5 cm at 2 am. I flew out of the house. I5 was shut down at Salem for ice & accidents, but it didn't matter- the girl gave birth less than an hour later. Chris said she pushed for only 10 minutes & out came Brooke! I'll let Ash fill you in on all the details, but I hear Ash tossed around some colorful language while in labor. We're all impressed...I mean Ash is the kinda girl who needs bendy straws when she's sick (so as not to strain her neck). But I guess farm life has rubbed off on her. She is one tough lady.

When I showed up, Brooke was about an hour old and a slight 5 lb 12 oz. Ash looked tired but happy, and Chris was busy checking in on his girls and simultaneously texting/updating the eager fan club of friends & family. Look at this sweet first family pic:

Baby Brooklyn Ann Ropp

Brooke's first home video (the grunting is due to gunk in her lungs, which cleared up later that day):

A few days later, Brooke's home & here's some more pics:

The Stephens grandbaby crew:

I have to say- I am SO proud of my little sister. She is tough, nurturing, strong, and loving. I'm even more proud of my brother in law- he is protective, proud, and more sensitive than is obvious to the untrained eye. He is a gem and they work so well as a team together! Go Ropp family!!!

Ash's Baby Shower

We better start here. Because the next post involves BIRTH!

Last Saturday we had a shower for Ash, 4 weeks prior to her due date. Which should be PLENTY of time in advance. Anyhow, it was a quaint shower at my parents house featuring Ash's favorite foods (cheez its were served). Here's a few pics of the glowing mom-to-be:

Ash had been suffering from swollen ankles & thought she might find a sympathizer in Baylor.

Linda & Nannie were there

Patty & her look alike niece

Jo & her Uncle-- that's right, my dad & jack attended the shower. They mostly stayed in the other room scoffing at us women, and then eating our food.

Cousin Jessica brought Julianna

And three Ellis side grandbabies born within 4 months of each other. Baylor is the oldest (7 months), then Julianna (5 months), and Xavier (4 months) - my Granny must be beaming in heaven, particularly over that red headed boy ;)

It was a beautiful shower. My little sis Lex put together a lovely slide show & a good time was had by all. JUST in the nick of time, too...