Monday, June 29, 2009

Don't hate her because she's beautiful

Last week, I was lucky enough to get my hands on this gorgeous girl for a photo shoot. I'd had it on the books for a few weeks, and I was dying to get her in front of my camera.

And do you want to know the best part? She has no idea just how absolutely beautiful she is.

Which makes her just about the nicest girl you'll ever meet.

I know, right? I took about 450 pictures and spent four hours whittling them down to the top 100. They were all THAT GOOD. It had absolutely nothing to do with my photography skills, and was attributable entirely to her gorgeous self. She couldn't take a bad picture if she tried.

I like to call this one her sexy look.

Which kind of annoyed and grossed her out.

It's almost unfair - someone having skin this flawless. There was nary a freckle or a blemish to be found. In my next life, I demand to look exactly like this.

Thanks, Rachel. You are a darling girl and as nice as they come. I had a blast taking pictures of you.

Oh, and stay away from all the boys this fall at BYU. You might not realize your charm, my dear, but they most certainly will.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Breakfast in bed

A few days ago, I heard some clattering down in the kitchen. I flopped over and groggily looked at the clock, then immediately rolled over and went back to sleep.

I mean, if those kids of mine want to wake up at the crack of dawn and forage for their own breakfast? Have at it.

About an hour later, all three of them appeared eagerly at the foot of my bed, a tray balancing precariously in the hands of my youngest. I sat up, put my glasses on, and tried to graciously receive their thoughtful gesture.

There was a browning apple, cut and arranged into the shape of a flower, most happily by my oldest son. He practically burst with pride while he told me of the great effort it was to cut it up without slicing off any of his fingers.

I silently thanked their guardian angels for THAT small help.

There was also a (now) cold cup of what appeared to be hot chocolate. A quick stir brought up the many spoonfuls of hot cocoa mix that were residing on the bottom. My middle child noted with great joy how he successfully managed to boil the water and pour it into the cup without burning himself or anyone else.

I then not only thanked their guardian angels, but I began to see the whole morning as nothing short of miraculous.

And, lastly, there was a bowl of my favorite cereal, and I only know this because it was pointed out to me by my youngest child. It was pretty much unrecognizable as anything other than brown mush.

Her hazel eyes shone as she told me how she poured the milk ALL. BY. HERSELF. She then went on to say how she finished her part of my breakfast first and had to wait (somewhat impatiently) for the boys to finish theirs.

Translation: My cold cereal had been sitting in milk for about an hour.

I tell you this - it took everything I had to eat that cereal in front of their happy faces. I tried to disguise my gagging, and with each soggy bite it grew more difficult. I made it about halfway through and then convinced them that we should all go downstairs and eat together.

Somehow, magically, the cereal was gone before I made it downstairs.

I think the toilet really liked it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Week of Josh

Last week, as we do every year, we celebrated the Husband's birthday and Father's Day - all within a few days of each other.

He has dubbed it, "The Week of Josh," and makes demands for cakes, presents, and celebratory honor all week long.

I roll my eyes each and every year, groaning out loud, and wondering when it will ever be the Week of Stie. The children, however, jump with glee at the mere possibility of getting cake every day, and immediately start making homespun presents from clay, sticks, and rocks.

Which everyone totally wants for their birthday.

This year, however, the week of Josh was doomed from the start.

Business took him out of town on his birthday and the evening of Father's Day, something no man should ever have to do.

A search for the one present he actually wanted this year ended in disappointment as we discovered it will be back ordered for several weeks. (I have consented on this gift for a few reasons, one of them being that he'll just go out and buy it anyway, and the other because it just so happens to be the weapon of choice for my imaginary boyfriend, James Bond. Nothing wrong with bringing your fantasies to life, right?)

And just a few days shy of his actual birthday, his loving wife accidentally uploaded a system-crippling virus onto the family computer. Doing this resulted in hundreds of dollars shelled out to Geek Squad, and the eventual purchase of a new computer. A computer which everyone but the Husband will realistically use.

Top that off with the trip made to the Apple store wherein the loving wife was also purchased an i-phone. Ahem.

So, for his 37th year, the Husband generously shelled out a large sum of money to make others happy, put his own birthday wishes aside, and cheerfully ate a large slice of the driest birthday cake in history.

While the many layers seem enticing and delicious, it was, in fact, not.

Happy Week of Josh, baby. In spite of indications otherwise, you are extremely loved. It is the generosity of your spirit, your soul without guile, and your constant thought of others that makes you who you are.

And, um, here's hoping I do a little better next year.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


We are thick in the throws of summer around here (though you'd hardly recognize it with all the thunderstorms plaguing the land) and I have had a few epiphanies.

The most important being: I really like my kids.

I know that should not come as a new realization, but should be a natural, ever-present thought in a mother's mind.

And it is.

But sometimes it's hard to remember when you're constantly surrounded by the noise, nagging, and needs of three little ones.

This morning (and on several of the mornings lately) I have had the company of my oldest son on my runs. He's eagerly laced up his shoes and we've hit the streets together in the early hours. I was selfishly worried that the quality of my workout would suffer as a result of my young companion (I do eat all that cookie dough, you know), but that has not been the case at all.

This kid can really hold his own.

No one ever told me the elated sense of pleasure I would feel, having this little person suddenly big enough to physically keep up with me. Easy conversation, the back and forth between us is as natural as can be. He talks to me. Tells me things he's feeling and working on in his little 11-year-old world.

As the miles between us and home build up, I realize the distance between he and I shrinks drastically.

Back at home, the others have made strides of their own, as well.

Last night, the light beneath a door led to me discover Chase, still awake and reading. So wrapped up in his book, that all sense of time was lost. The urgent desire to see how it all ends was keeping him from sleep. His tired eyes sparkled as he told me of the book he just could not put down. I smiled as I shut the door, and left him to his happy ending.

This boy, the one who struggled and cried when he was learning to read. His letters constantly transposed and his eyes tired from the strain - often he was left in a puddle of anguish. And often I was left in a sea of worry.

I'll tell you what - I'll let him have that late night of reading any day.

And let us not forget the princess. She, who is sometimes the neediest and most loud voice of all. The girl who has been self-appointed as a one-woman tattling machine has lately been less consumed with what others are or are not doing, and more interested in her own pursuits.

I cherish the sleepy, rock star hair that strolls into my bedroom for an early morning cuddle under the covers. I love the sound of her voice, soft and scratchy, as she tells me of her hopes and dreams for the day.

She plans big, this one.

Always wanting to grab life by the horns, and so impatient when there are trifles like breakfast and showers standing in her way.

But I have also caught her watching me lately. Observing the way I perform this little job called Mom, and forming her own ideas of the way she'll do it herself one day. Makes me stand a little taller and strive to be that much better. To be more patient. To love more, and be cross less. To cherish, instead of just tolerate. To teach, and not just discipline.

Life is a series of peaks and valleys. And right now, I feel sheer gratitude for the mountain top I've been standing on. Here's hoping I get to stay here for a while.

Because I really like the view.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More baby love

A few weeks ago, I had the absolute pleasure of shooting this little pumpkin:

Meet baby Maya. All eyes and smiles, this one. She cooed, babbled, grinned, and was more cooperative than all three of my children combined.

All that while she was needing a nap.

I know, right?

It must be impossible to get anything done around the house with such a gorgeous girl emitting the baby love. If she lived here, I know I'd probably just sit and stare at her all day. But since I can't, I enjoyed her as long as I could, and fully bonded with her mama, Melissa, who is my newly adopted sister.

I love adopting myself into other people's families. It's so fun for me.

Posting may be a little bit sparse this week, as Hotel Stie is busy hosting the parents. We're trying to squeeze in a little fun in between all the chores I've had my dad doing this week.

Don't you just wish you could come visit me now? Come only if you have skillz or babies.

Or if you like Yanni.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Identity theft, i-tunes style

Dear i-tunes Hacker,

While I am sure you think that you are completely clever for hacking into our i-tunes account, let me burst your bubble -- clever, you are not.

It is beyond annoying, my program writing friend, that you changed our password so that we were unable to access our own account. And the genius level intelligence you possess must have helped you come up with the idea of giving us a new fake email address so that we would not receive notifications of your stolen purchases.

Which, by the way, MORON, did you think we would not notice? We, the people who pour over our bank accounts and credit card statements anyway, because there are people like you out in the world?

I could say that I hope that you really make the most of those two-fifty dollar gift cards that you purchased illegally with our credit card, and the thousands of others you've done this to, but I am fairly confident you will not.

Geeks like you have terrible taste in music.

I have no doubt that you are doubled over in a fit of girly-like giggles over your cleverness. You will laugh, I am sure, while you wipe the cheese from your giant bag of Cheetos on your favorite Star Trek shirt, then yell up and ask your mother to bring you some more mountain dew. She probably will, but be assured she is fervently praying that you will get your fat 30-year-old self out of her basement one of these next years, and is utterly and completely sick of you.

So, ha ha, funny man. Laugh it up. You may not ever be caught for this little escapade, but know this: KARMA IS A @ITCH, and one day, she will come calling.

Angrily yours,


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Best. Night. Ever.

Me, pictured here with Oma's new Latin lover, Ender Thomas

Last Saturday, Oma and I headed downtown to attend the Yanni Voices concert. I had very few preconceived notions about this event, but was excited to go, given that I was handed free tickets. I remembered Yanni from the early 90s when one of my college roommates had a CD that would periodically be played around the apartment, and I always found his melodies soothing and peaceful.

All I thought I knew about Yanni changed less than a minute into the show.


It was absolutely one of the most phenomenal music experiences I've ever had. The 'voices' are artists that have put lyrics to Yanni's compositions. The songs vary; from melodic instrumentals, to Italian-sung perfection by soaring tenor, Nathan Pacheco, as well as Latin beats that got us out of our seats to dance. I was blown away at the sheer, raw talent on the stage; both in the singers and the musicians. It was haunting and sensual; the kind of music that you felt leave its mark on your soul.

I will never forget it.

After the show, we were invited backstage, where we got to meet Chloe, Leslie Mills, and Ender Thomas. They were gracious and charming, and just as beautiful up close as they were on the stage.

Which really isn't fair. I mean, beauty and talent? I must have been totally absorbed in pre-earth reality t.v. when god was handing those things out.

(me, Chloe, and my friend, Maren)

(Me and Leslie Mills)

I have become obsessed with the new Yanni Voices album, and would encourage all of you to get one and do the same.

And if you're lucky enough to have them come to your city, BUY A TICKET, MAN. I'll tell you what, if I could hear this live anytime soon? I'd be all over it in a heartbeat.

For your viewing pleasure: I leave you with my new boyfriend, Nathan Pacheco.

Seriously, does it get any more delicious than that?

Don't even think about stealing him. But please, go buy the CD. It's the only way I'll share him with you.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Weekend recap

This past weekend was absolutely spectacular.

Spectacular, if you don't count the vomit, fevers, and general plague that has inflicted two of my three children, that is.

Sort of like saying, "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"

Lucky for us, these visitors were patient and fun, in spite of our less-than-stellar state of health.

We loved having Oma and Opa come visit. There was a forced photo shoot (by me), a treasure hunt, a World War II war medal internet search, and plenty of embarrassing stories told about the Husband.

Because the best thing about his mother? She remembers absolutely EVERYTHING and the kids cannot get enough of it. Who can blame them, what with juicy nuggets like the infamous tale involving a very manly pink baby blanket? Or the one where the Husband's face was left looking like hamburger meat after a bike crash?

What they don't realize, however, is that someday I will be proudly telling stories to their children, too. I think it's only fitting that I begin with this one.

Maybe by then I will have forgiven them.

But we took advantage of the near-perfect weather and headed to the town pool, where we sat poolside for hours. Those that were unwell, sat pitifully in the shade of a large umbrella. Those that were well, did lots of this for their captive audience's viewing pleasure:

Those that were named Stie did lots of this, merely for her own pleasure:

We truly loved having them here. It was a fantastic few days, and we're already wishing for more.

Coming later this week: The Yanni concert review, which introduced the world (and Oma) to her new Latin lover, as well as identity theft, i-Tunes style.

Trust me, you don't want to miss it.