Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Why husbands cannot be trusted

I have resigned myself to the inevitable.

There are just certain things in my life that I have no say in, no matter how much I whine, beg, and plead.

I know it's shocking, as I am the queen of quite a lot around here. I run the schedules, bedtimes, shopping, budget, and even most of the home repairs. But sometimes, the Husband just has to step up and take control, leaving this plan-a-holic gasping for breath.

Oh, the nerve of that man.

Take, for instance, the case of my sweet, angelic boy. One could hardly look into these baby blues and find any trace of malice, misdeed, or negativity.

Now take a look at what happens to my sweet angel the MINUTE, I tell you, THE VERY MINUTE, his father gets a hold of him and takes him for a haircut:

Could it be...Satan?

Lucifer, out back practicing his sweet moves

In truth, I have simply accepted my fate. Every year, on the last week of school, my loving, sensitive middle child is going to always turn punk and sport a mohawk. (See here, and here for proof, if you don't believe me).

I tolerate it for maybe a week or two, and then the mohawk is replaced by a summer buzz cut.

Don't tell him, but secretly I love that he doesn't give a lick what people at school think or care at all if he stands out in the crowd.

His older brother, however, could not be more mortified.

So here's to embracing life fully, doing what feels good, and sporting your own kind of style. May we all find a way to do that in our own lives.

Just preferably not in the barber shop.

P.S. Courtesy of, the winner of the Yanni Voices tickets is Maren! Email me if you can go and I will turn your name in at the will-call box. Thanks, local peeps, for playing along. Maybe someday the sponsors will be generous enough to fly you ALL out here for a little show and a lot of Stie.

If only, right?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A weekend McKay will not likely forget

Our Memorial Day weekend was definitely, shall we say, a memorable one.

It started off with a literal bang when McKay crashed his bike on the street Friday afternoon, leaving (in his words) "a three-foot trail of blood and skin behind him."

He was wearing his helmet, which left his head in tip-top shape. We can't say the same thing for his knees and elbows, however.

Saturday was spent at a water park that masquerades as our city pool. It really is fantastic. Sometime I need to take my camera along with me so you can see what I mean. Giant water slides, a lazy river, diving pool, and watery playground. All within two minutes of our front door.

I'm pretty sure if they had beds there, our family would permanently move in every summer.

Sunday, the boys joined scout troops from all over Missouri to place flags on every soldier's grave at Jefferson Barracks. It was a profoundly patriotic experience for them both, despite McKay and a little incident involving vomit.

The poor kid really hasn't felt good all weekend, but we dragged him there anyway. Mostly to appease his brother, who was in tears that anyone would miss an opportunity to pay their respects to the veterans.

Have I mentioned that Chase LOVES the veterans? So much so, that he tried to donate the entire contents of my checking account to the Marine Corp veterans taking donations outside our grocery store on Saturday.

I had to help Chase see that a few dollars was good enough, though I am fairly confident he was not convinced.

Monday was spent at the movie theater seeing Night at the Museum, part two. (Our take: Not as funny as the original, but still made us laugh. Especially the Darth Vader/Oscar the Grouch part).

Poor Mack sat feverish and clammy through the entire show. I was prepared though, and brought a giant Ziploc bag, you know, just in case.

Luckily, we didn't need it.

Monday morning brought more vomiting, fevers, and a sharp pain in McKay's right side. Thus, Monday afternoon and evening was spent most memorably at the E.R. getting a CT scan to rule out appendicitis.

Scans came back negative (thank goodness) and after many hours spent watching Sponge Bob from a scratchy hospital chair, we were sent home with anti-nausea medicine and paperwork on gastroenteritis (which is really just a fancy word for stomach virus).

Stay tuned tomorrow for the concert tickets winner and pictures of a pretty exciting annual event around here involving Chase, the Husband, and a barber.

Heaven help me.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Calling all the local peeps

A little deliciousness for your Friday viewing pleasure:

I know, right?

Want to go see them?

Leave me a comment by midnight on Sunday, May 24th, and I will draw one lucky winner who will receive two tickets for the show. You will also receive passes for the meet and greet with the artists after the show, courtesy of the One2One Network. The show is Saturday, May 30th in St. Louis. Enter as many times as you'd like.

What can I say? I really liked getting all those comments.

I plan to be there with the fabulous Oma in tow. You might get to see me, too, if you're extra lucky.

I'll be the chubby one sneaking in M&Ms and diet coke in my gigantic purse.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How to be a rock star mom: Step-by-step instructions

Step One:
Have a good friend plugged in enough to the local literary scene that she alerts you to a book signing by your son's favorite author, Rick Riordan, creator of the brilliant Percy Jackson series.

Be sure to tell your oldest son about this as though it were your idea.

Step Two:
Take your oldest son and two of his friends to the book signing. Arrive two hours early in anticipation of the large crowds. Bring Subway sandwiches and a deck of cards to keep them busy.

Bask in the glow of their praise for your genius as you watch the line stretch out behind you for miles.

Step Three:
While waiting for the signing to start, steal your son's copy of the newest Percy Jackson saga, and ignore Radio Disney blasting from the speakers above your head. Pay no attention whatsoever to the ongoing pictionary game while reading said book. Look up momentarily to discover your son diving head first into the game and take a photograph of his thoughtful and artistic rendition of Medusa.

Smile, wave, and pretend you've been paying attention the whole time.

Step Four:
Laugh and shake your head when the crowd erupts in squeals and screams as Mr. Riordan enters the room. Be grateful your own son is above such hysterics.

Look over to find him hopelessly mooning over Mr. Riordan and basking in the sheer bliss of the moment.

Step Five:
Have your camera ready for the very moment when his peaceful bliss turns into utter delight as he realizes JUST. WHERE. HE. IS. RIGHT. NOW.

Feel very satisfied for making him so happy.

Step Six:
Text friends while waiting in a seemingly endless line for Mr. Riordan's signature.

Step Seven:
Be glad there is a former middle school teacher out there who decided to tell a bedtime story to his son. These actions, several years later, will cause your son to proclaim this day as, "THE BEST DAY OF HIS WHOLE LIFE."

Step Eight:
Drive home with a profound sense of satisfaction for, today, indeed, you were a great mom.

If any of you (or your children) have not read these books, I highly recommend picking up a copy of the first book in the series, "The Lightning Thief." We have all enjoyed them at our house, and look forward anxiously for the movie coming out next February. They are a fabulous way to get your kids excited about reading. My oldest has become a fanatic on Greek mythology and these books have led him to study this subject in depth. I might even venture out on a limb to say that I liked them better than the Harry Potters.

Don't hate me. Read them and judge for yourself.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Drumroll, please

And the winner of the tell-Christie-how-wonderful-she-is-contest is...


Email me your address, and a fabulous prize is headed your way.

For the rest of you, in addition to thanks from the bottom of my heart, I have a post or two coming your way this week.

I know, I'm like the gift that keeps on giving, aren't I?

Don't answer that.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Would you like to super size that ego?


For the first time ever, I am at a loss for words.

How much do I love you, my cute little internet peeps?

I would have logged on here sooner to tell you as much, but I couldn't fit my now-gigantic head through the front door, let alone squeeze it in and be able to sit down in front of the computer.

You have made my day. You have rocked my world. You have given me the will to live.

Well, that last part was maybe a bit dramatic.

But, still, I am humbly honored and thrilled to know you're all out there, somehow connecting with the stuff that gets churned out here at Stie's Thoughts. I love you all. I wish we could go to dinner sometime and have you tell me again how wonderful I am.

Okay. I'll stop now. Really.

I will be drawing a winning comment tonight, and will accept entries until 8 p.m., central time, for anybody coming late to what became the surprise party for Stie.

Thanks, friends.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Coaxing you all out of the closet

I realized recently that I have been doing this little blogging thing for almost two-and-a-half years now. And you know what? I still love it. It's still fun. It's therapeutic for me, and it's given me a permanent record of my everyday life.

Which, we all know, is extremely exciting, right?

I know Angelina must weep with envy at the fabulousness that is me. Me and my thighs made entirely out of cookie dough.

But I feel like you know me here. You get me. You come back to see what dumb things I've done lately. You laugh at my bad haircuts and roll your eyes when I strut my stuff for the handicapped men at the grocery store. I figure, if you're reading me with any regularity, you must find something here that you like.

And so I have decided that today it is time for me to meet all of you. Because I like you. And I think it's time we became friends.

So here's the deal: Leave me a comment saying hi. Maybe tell me how you found me or when you first started reading. I'm even willing to entertain your hate mail. I guess I'm stupid curious like that. But, please, just say SOMETHING.

Even if you've never said something before. Come of your lurking closet. Just this once. Then you can go back in and I will let you read this blog in peace.

I will then take all the lovely love notes from you, throw them into a proverbial hat, and pick a random winner. The winning comment will receive something from me at some point in the near future. Not sure what, but it will be fabulous.

So, come on. Say hi.

Because sometimes? A girl just needs a little validation from her internet peeps.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Channeling my inner June Cleaver

A few weeks ago, I made a bargain with my friend, Maren. I told her that if she would teach me how to make jam, I would teach her how to make homemade chicken noodle soup.

Gabi has posted about the four-generation family recipe for chicken noodle soup here, which I now consider to be a large portion of Hannah's future dowry. I might have married the Husband for this recipe alone, had I known.

It is the same recipe I faithfully use, and it is truly amazing. My favorite part is actually using half an egg shell to measure the milk for the noodles. Something about that just seems so old-fashioned, so earthy.

What? I can be earthy. I can be old fashioned.

Shut up.

ANYway, I urge you to take advantage of the season, head out, and get yourself some strawberries, sugar, pectin, and jars. Because the joy of taking this:

While remembering to do a little bit of this:

And laughing with someone while they do this:

Will ultimately net you a large batch of this:

Pure, red, sugary heaven.

Which, by the way, I have had to ration. The little (and big) people around here seem to think they can have jam on just about everything. It's killing me how fast we're going through this stuff. I feel like I need to stash it safely away from their grubby mitts and growling stomachs.

I decided to hide the rest in the freezer under the vegetables. We all KNOW the children will never look there.

Neither will the Husband.

So, without further rambling on my part, I give you the recipe:

3 cups mashed berries
5 cups sugar (I know, don't even say it, Robyn)
1 cup water
1 box pectin

Wash and stem the berries. Mash by hand (or in a blender if you're lazy like us). Stir sugar into berries and let sit for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, add pectin to water and stir until dissolved. Bring water and pectin to a boil, and boil for one full minute. Add water and pectin to berry mixture; stir until combined. Pour into clean, dry jam jars, leaving a little head room at the top. Cover with lids. Let jam jars sit on your counter for 24 hours, then store in the freezer.

Or until your piggy little munchkins get a hold of some and practically eat it by the spoonfuls.

Also critical to the success of the recipe is having some warm, soft, homemade bread handy. It helps you ensure that your blood sugar will remain in a constant diabetic state for at least a week straight.

Which any good jam really ought to do.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

BYU's most eligible bachelor

A few weeks ago, one of my friends asked me to take senior pictures of her son. I was excited to practice taking pictures on someone willing and capable of sitting happily and smiling for me.

Unlike the people around here who would rather endure the dentist's drill than pose for their mother without the promise of cold, hard cash.

Dustan was a photographer's dream. He endured outfit changes, multiple locations, and more than an hour's worth of smiling at my camera. I think it was worth the effort and wanted to show you a few of my favorites.

Look out, ladies of BYU. This handsome fella is coming your way this fall:

Somehow, I don't remember the boys in my high school being nearly as cute or half as nice as Dustan is.
Grab him now, girls. He'll be going fast.

Monday, May 4, 2009

To my baby on her seventh

Dear Hannah,

I don't suppose you have even noticed that your birthday came and went without a letter from me here. What can I say? Such is the life of the youngest child. Time has gotten away from me the last month or so, but you have been ever present in my mind.

You have changed so much in the last year, little sis. You learned to ride your bike without training wheels. You started first grade, and went to school all. day. long, leaving me home by myself for the first time in 10 years. You began to assert your independence in so many ways.

And you began to pick your own clothes.

I have, for the most part, kept my mouth shut about your choices, even when I cringed as you left the house with brightly colored scarves around your neck and mismatched layered tees adorning your slim body. It was not until parent-teacher conference when your young, hip teacher exclaimed her delight at your keen fashion sense, that I began to wonder if I ought to have you picking out my clothes, too.

You've been trying to do that for a long time now anyway.

Hannah, of all the people in our family, you are probably the best sport. You are constantly dragged to baseball games or tae kwan do matches. You are outnumbered when it comes to movie picks, and are frequently forced to endure the war and action movies favored by your brothers. Week after week, and movie after movie, you cheerfully grab a coloring book and open it onto your lap - not wanting to be left out of the fun. It is your happy willingness to join in their games that melts my heart, even though I know you yearn for more girly companions a lot of the time.

The other day I was in the kitchen doing some baking. You had been helping me, and continued to keep me company with your chatter, even when the baking was through. I was washing the dishes, and I looked behind me to see you wiping the bar down with a wet towel. A smile on my face turned to a huge grin when I watched you grab the broom and start sweeping. You did this without any prompt on my part. It was such a big girl thing to do - to notice what needed to be done, and just do it.

I have no doubt this experience will never be repeated by your brothers, however.

All through our cleaning, you talked and talked, never once wanting to be anywhere else but by my side, and for a brief moment, I had a glimpse of what will be.

Of what has become, really.

No longer are you just the baby on the counter waiting to lick the spoon. Suddenly, and without warning, you have became my ally and companion in the kitchen. You have become my friend.

And sweets, I can't think of anything that I want more.

I love you deeper than you will ever know. There's a special place in my heart reserved solely for you.

You, the little baby who was sent to us quite on purpose when we were not looking. Tell me, what did we ever do without you?

I love you forever, little Chica.