Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A conversation from last week that still makes me laugh

HIM: Now tell me again where you're going?

ME: I'm going to a cookie exchange.

HIM: What exactly is a cookie exchange?

ME: Well, dear, as the name implies, everyone shows up with cookies, and we exchange them with each other. You know, a cookie EXCHANGE?

HIM: So, does that mean you'll be bringing other people's cookies home with you?

ME: That is the general idea.

HIM: Why would I want to eat anyone else's cookies? That's like having an affair with a really ugly woman.

[By the way, he did end up eating other people's cookies. Should I be on the lookout for an ugly girlfriend now?]

Monday, December 29, 2008

The 13-day hiatus comes to an end

Oh, hello there little blog. My, how I've missed you. Is anyone still here? Anyone? Anyone?

I am sorry to have been away for so long, but for the first time in several long months, I have actually had a husband around.

While for most of you this is an everyday occurrence -- in my world, it is not. It is a rare treat, and one which I have enjoyed to the fullest. We have spent every waking second together for the last two weeks. And guess what we discovered? We actually like each other.

I know, right?

While the Husband is not heading back to work just yet, I am finally ready to return to you, my other true love.

I'm kidding.

You know my other true love will always be Mr. Darcy.

Anyhoo, semi-regular posting will resume shortly. That is, if any of you are left to read the drivel that gets churned out here at Stie's Thoughts.

And sadly, taking a hiatus doesn't make me any funnier. I apologize in advance for the disappointment. But dang, it feels good to be back.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My love affair with the mailbox

One of my favorite things about the month of December is the good mail.

- The samplings so far this year -

Instead of the usual bills, home refinance offers, bills, realtor advertisements, and bills (did I mention the bills?), my mailbox brings me love in card form.

As I have said in the past, I love to send them. But I love even more to receive them.

I savor that half-hour after the mail comes, reading each card over and over. I study the pictures of long lost friends. I smile, as I notice just how much their kids have grown since last year. I read the Christmas letters. Yes, every. single. word.

I love them.

But I had to laugh when the mailbox yielded a few unexpected cards this year:
Looks innocent enough, right? When you open the inside, you see this:

Yes, our trash man left us a card this year.

How nice of him. Now when I see him dumping our gigantic piles of waste into the garbage truck, I will feel just a tad bit guilty. I'll think, "Sorry, Terron, for the gigantic piles of waste." Instead of my usual thought of, "Oh, there's the trash man."

I hate feeling guilty.

The other card that made me laugh came from some of the Husband's closest, best, and most special friends. The outside looked like this:

And the inside looked like this:

You know you are traveling WAY too much when one of the many hotels you frequent sends you a Christmas card.

And what's worse? He actually knows most of the people who signed it. Me thinks it might be time to stay home for a while. Get to know some of the actual people who live in Missouri.


How about you, internets? Gotten any unexpected cards in the post this year?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rock star

This chick has serious 80s rock star hair every morning at the breakfast table. It goes well with her nightly concoction of mismatched pajamas and a summer swim dress -- which is best worn over the jammies. I mean, duh. How else would one wear a swim dress in the middle of winter while one is sleeping?

I have given up creative control when it comes to her wardrobe, and that includes the night time. She is far too stubborn for me to ever win anyway, and I decided I would save that battle for another day. Like if she ever tries to peg her jeans and wear her bangs straight up, six inches higher than her forehead.

Which I totally know is going to happen someday. That kind of bad stuff has a way of repeating itself.

She is definitely not a morning person (wonder where she gets that from?), and usually spends a good half hour in silence, with a look on her face like this one:

Don't worry, girlfriend. I can totally relate.

But eventually she warms up to us, and starts talking. Once the talking starts, it doesn't stop until her tiny head hits the pillow at night. Which is where the hair magic happens all over again.

Dang, I love this little girl something fierce.

Still, she will probably kill me when she sees these pictures.

And if that happens, remind the Husband that I forbid him from ever marrying anyone who doesn't outweigh me by at least double.

And no, dear husband, I do not weigh a mere 55 pounds.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why he may now always request to sit by old, ugly, very large men

Last night, the Husband got home from a business trip. He had a funny little experience on the plane, and I feel that I must share it with you here, in the event that any of your loved ones travel, and could benefit from this valuable lesson.

Due to the high frequency of the Husband's business trips, he is one of those annoying people in the "more special than you/able to sit in the front of the plane/and board early" group. If there is room, he is automatically upgraded to first class. He has a special waiting room at the airport which has comfortable seating, drinks, snacks, and free WiFi.

I know. I never even knew that room existed, nor have I seen the inside of it.

Anyway, he was seated semi-comfortably in coach on a completely full flight. There were two empty seats left on the plane, and one of them was next to him.

Two people were in the aisles, heading to the last two seats. One of them looked like this:

And one of them looked like this:

He swears that merely for the comfort factor, he was silently praying for the attractive woman to have the seat next to his.

Yeah, right. On what planet are we expected to believe that one, Husband? Pffftt, puhhleease.

As [my] luck would have it, the woman was NOT seated next to him, and proceeded to take her seat a few rows back. The male passenger squeezed into the middle seat, right next to the Husband.

Within 30 minutes of take-off, there was a loud retching sound heard a few rows back. Further investigation revealed that the attractive woman had gotten sick mid-flight and thrown up ALL OVER EVERYONE in her row.

Let me repeat that in case you're not clear.


And had the Husband gotten his secret wish, she would have puked all over him, his laptop, and any remaining shred of his manhood.

And so, let that be a lesson to you, dear Husband. Sitting by attractive women on your flights will only result in BAD things.

VERY, VERY bad things. 'Nuff said.

I just love it when life lessons are handed out in neat little packages like that, don't you?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Last week, my friend Annie did a post in which she revisited the ghosts of Christmas past -- in card form. It was so fun to walk down memory lane with her.

And since there are no gorgeous, half-nekkid, singing men to post about today, I thought I'd take you on a walk down our family's memory lane. On seeing these old cards, I found myself full of emotion. Some of them made me laugh, and some made me cringe. But most of them simply made me smile, and I caught myself wiping a tear or two away, as I wistfully noticed just how big my babies have gotten lately.

First up is our Christmas card from 1999. In this picture, McKay was about 21 months old, and Chase was probably two months old. The Husband traveled out of town every week, Monday through Friday, for a year-and-a-half during this period of time. It was tough. It was definitely the first test of my independence as a wife and mother.

I must have fared rather well, as he is still traveling up a storm today, and I don't find it nearly as hard.

Please note that a child ABSOLUTELY had to be placed in front of my body, as I was not yet recovered from the pregnancy weight gain and looked like a bloated cream puff, held up by thighs the size of tree trunks.

I also had really bad hair. Kind of like right now.

The next card is from 2000. This photo was actually taken in Seattle, right before we moved to Boston. McKay was two, and Chase was not yet one. This angelic photo was just weeks before THE INCIDENT. Oh, if we only could travel back in time. What we'd tell ourselves, no?

And, at this time, I was still quite the porker, and couldn't risk long-distance friends and family seeing that.

Just in time for Christmas of 2001, I was five months pregnant with Hannah. That fact alone explains away the absence of a family picture. Do you sense a theme here? [Quit judging. You know you do it, too.]

This was also our way of announcing the impending arrival:

[Please note her due date. Her actual birthday is April 25th. Why couldn't my babies be born on-time? WHY? Was that simple request too much to ask? UGH.]

In 2002, I was finally part of the picture again. Not because I was trim and slim, but because it had been so many years, and I worried people would think I had run off with the mailman.

Which, I'll be honest, I considered at times. Having three kids in four years will do that to you.

Skipping ahead to 2005. Here, we sent our first "top ten list." I kept a journal handy and wrote down funny things the kids said throughout the year, and we had them printed on the inside of our card.

It's become a tradition we still do today. The funniness factor, I think, was maxed out two years ago, in 2006, when some of our top ten items were:

"Dad, if you get pulled over one more time, you're getting a van." (Chase)

"But I just can't find a man to fall in love with." (Hannah)
"The directions don't tell you a damn thing!" (McKay)
"Be a peacemaker or I will stab you." (Chase)
"You should never get mad at me because I am so pretty." (Hannah)

Yeah, we'll totally never top that. Best top ten list ever.

So stay tuned next week, internets, and I'll post our card from this year. I just mailed my last big stack today, and I don't want to ruin the surprise for anyone who hasn't gotten theirs.

Play along, won't you? Let's see some of your Christmas card ghosts.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

In which his words come back to haunt him, beat him, and kick him where it counts

Today we were driving to church, and the familiar banter between siblings filled the air. Elbows were dug jovially into rib cages. Treasures were held out just slightly farther than little hands could reach. Shoving ensued, and was promptly followed by the unavoidable, yet completely annoying, tattle.


All this before we were even out of our neighborhood.

So, in an attempt to find a little peace in my heart on the sabbath, I put on a CD, and declared that the car was now a talking-free zone. The Husband raised his eyebrows quizzically when the opening number of Joseph filled the air.

I shrugged my shoulders, and proceeded to lose myself in Donny's melodic, "Any Dream Will Do."

Then, in a flash of brilliance, I announced that we would be watching Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat tonight for family night.

Groans immediately filled the air.

[And they all came from the Husband.]

His protests were naturally matched by those of his boys. I was preparing to dig in my heels for battle, when suddenly, from the back seat, a tiny little girl voice spoke up.

"But, Dad, aren't we supposed to be flexible and try new things?"

His very words to them less than 12 hours before, when a plate of foreign-looking food was placed in front of them, had now come back to haunt him. I smiled sweetly, awaiting his reply.

I'm pretty sure that grunt and roll of the eyes was his surrender.

And so tonight we all watched Joseph. Two of us loved it; three of us didn't. Any guesses who loved it?

Although, how anyone could not love this is beyond me:

[Note to self: Must stop posting pictures of half-nekkid men on the blog. Eh, maybe tomorrow. This is just too delicious. And it's about the Bible, after all. How wrong can that be?]

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Having my cake and eating it, too

On a post I wrote a few days ago, Calibosmom left me a comment that really got me thinking.

She wondered if it would be possible to have James Bond AND the chocolate cake together in one place.

I figured that was the epitome of having your cake and eating it, too. Which I am most fond of in any way, shape, or form.

So, I rolled over and asked James what he thought. This was his response:

Which we did.

After we burned down a hotel in the desert, and saved the water supply for Bolivian villages everywhere, of course. We spent a lovely few weeks on his yacht and private island together. He had called in sick to his boss, M, which basically left the entire world unprotected.

I didn't mind, though.

Because, as James said, I was looking a little too thin. What with four days of thanksgiving food fully packed with butter and sugar. I needed some tending to, you know, me practically wasting away and all.

But, alas, I had to leave James and go on a series of press junkets for my other movie.

Yes, it's been a busy year for the little Stie.
I know a lot of you didn't like it. But hopefully the next ones will be better for you. We're hoping to have a lot more money this time, and actually be able to pay someone to do our makeup. We had to do a bit of it ourselves, as you can see. But it's been great to be here with Edward. He doesn't like to let me leave his side for a moment. If I'm not right there with him, he sneaks into my bedroom at night and watches me sleep.

Which is not at all creepy. Or stalkerish.

Finally, after all my press conferences, interviews, and parties were over, I flew home to be with my one and only true love:

He missed me a lot.

Don't we make a handsome couple?

We get that all the time.

I know you're totally jealous. Don't be stealing my imaginary boyfriends now. As you can clearly see, they belong to me.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How to lose the Christmas spirit (before you've even really gotten it yet)

Step one: Annoy your husband by demanding he haul the extra large, extra heavy tree box up from the basement. Annoy him further when you ask in your nicest wifely voice if he will also bring up the two large bins of ornaments/decorations. Ignore his grunts and grumbles and be glad he is so strong.

Step two: Turn on the Christmas music that you burned onto your oldest son's i-pod (as your i-pod has recently died a slow and painful death). Smile sweetly when he complains about this. Think of his painfully difficult birth that was done without the use of an epidural, and decide he owes you this, at the very least.

Step three: Untangle multiple balls of mangled lights that you could have sworn were rolled neatly last January. Begin hanging the untangled lights on the tree.

Step four: Finish hanging the lights, go to plug them in, and realize (to your horror) that half of them are burned out. Begin searching for the bulbs that are burned out and suddenly realize you cannot see things up close. Wonder exactly when that happened, and blame it on your recent 35th birthday. Make a mental note to start shopping for cute bifocals. [Wonder briefly if that is an oxymoron.]

Step five: Give up searching for burned-out bulbs and remove all lights from the tree. Test another tangled ball of lights to make sure it works before hanging it on the tree. When lights appear, hang the second tangled ball of lights. Go to plug them in (and realize AGAIN to your horror) that half of them are burned out. Wonder exactly why the universe hates you. Decide you hate the universe, too.

Step six: Try hard not to lose heart, in spite of the universe hating you. Grab your purse, and head to Target for replacement lights. Sing loudly in the car on the way there. Be proud of yourself and your unusually positive attitude in a situation like this.

Step seven: Get home and call madly for the children to come back and help with the tree. Realize they have lost interest. Pull new lights out of the plastic Target bag and realize (TO YOUR SHOCK, HORROR, and SHEER FRUSTRATION) that you have purchased lights with white wiring, which will not look too good on your green tree. Momentarily consider hanging yourself with them.

Step eight: Decide against suicide, grab your purse, and head BACK to Target. Say lots of four-letter words out loud in the car instead of singing. Return white-wired lights and pick up new boxes of green-wired lights. Stand in line and try not to throw things at people in front of you.

Step nine: Come home yet again. Ignore the children who could now care less about the tree decorating. Silently curse that annoying Christmas music in the background. Hang the damn lights on the damn tree.

Step ten: Start hanging ornaments and have the children suddenly take an interest in the tree decorating.

Step eleven: Find your ice-cold heart of stone slowly melting. Finish decorating the tree. Stand back, sigh, and be mildly grateful for the season.

Step twelve: Angrily throw old lights into the trash. Vow to buy new lights next year before beginning this process. Turn off the lights on the tree. Go to bed.