Friday, June 27, 2008

True or False: Vacation edition

Time seems to be slipping away from me here on this seemingly never-ending vacation. I cannot believe it's...wait. What day is it?

Anyway, I am now here in sunny cloudy San Diego with the Husband, while the children are spending a few days being spoiled by their grandparents. His firm has an annual conference every summer, and spouses and children are invited strongly encouraged to attend. I have spent the last 12 hours answering the question of "BUT WHERE ARE YOUR KIDS?" until I am blue in the face. I think I'll make a sign and put it around my neck that says, "WE HAVE JUST SPENT 14 DAYS IN THE CAR WITH OUR CHILDREN. 'NUFF SAID."

Subtle, yes? I think so.

Anyway, to catch you up on my doings for the last week or so, I thought I'd make up a little quiz. Every answer is true or false, and you get to decide which is which. I realize you have no way of knowing which outlandish tale is true and which is not, but that's all part of the fun, right?

And the first person to get every answer right will receive a surprise in the mail when I get home (that is, if I ever do get home).

  1. As I write this, I am lying in my bed, gorging myself on pancakes instead of socializing with the other wives at the company breakfast.
  2. I have read six books in the last two weeks.
  3. I have exercised only four times.
  4. I did the Zip Line, Alpine Slide, and Alpine Coaster in Park City, and LOVED every second of it.
  5. I sat down next to a blind man at the airport and he pulled out a laptop and started typing. You know, kind of interesting because HE CAN'T ACTUALLY SEE HIS COMPUTER.
  6. I was hit on by a non-handicapped man.
  7. I have not bought myself one new item of clothing.
  8. One of my children has already been sick twice on this trip (and one of those sicknesses turned out to be strep, which we found out after a maddening three-hour hunt to find a doctor that would take our insurance).
  9. I went white water river rafting down the Colorado River and did not fall in, as I had feared.
  10. One of my children became tangled in their seat belt and I was unable to get them out. In a panic, I cut the seat belt, seeing no other option. That's right, I CUT THE SEAT BELT, as in, irreparable severing of a much-needed safety device in our car.
  11. The Husband was so relieved that the child was safe that he didn't care at all about the damage done to our car, and didn't once wonder what it was going to cost to repair.
  12. I ordered a virgin pina colada, only to find it non-virgin when it arrived. I drank it anyway.
  13. I am taking the Husband for his-and-hers pedicures today, and he is excited about it.
  14. I have refused to wear sunscreen even once, and now sport a lovely, cancerous shade of red all over my body.
  15. At this typing, I have not read one single blog since we left home (but plan to rectify that very soon).

Good luck, if there are any of you even still checking this blog. Happy guessing!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Heat, heights, and my ever-expanding thighs

We are now at Lake Powell. I am sitting in the hotel lobby on a borrowed computer because nobody out here in the desert seems to have heard of WiFi. I only have time to get in a quick post, as there is a line waiting for this one precious computer, and some bratty teenager (probably missing her MySpace page) is sighing deep breaths and tapping her foot impatiently next to me.

Should I hurry?

Right now, it is 5,698 degrees outside. And do you know what? Lake Powell doesn't have any trees. I'M. NOT. KIDDING. I had all this ambition to go for a quick evening run once we got here. Ambition that was bred out of six hours in the car and lots of sugary snacks at my feet.

But now those sweet sugary snacks that were once at my feet will reside permanently on my thighs.

Stupid thighs. Stupid heat.

Anyway, the drive here was anything but boring. The Husband decided to take a "shortcut" on an unpaved, windy mountain road for 75 miles. He neglected to mention anything to me other than he found out about a shortcut. I was excited at first.

But me and heights? We get along about as well as me and sheer terror. I'm talking white-knuckled, heart pounding, I'm-going-to-die-at-any-moment-type of terror. It was not a pretty sight.

I'm hoping tomorrow that he redeems himself when we're out on the lake on a boat - cruising along leisurely like the 80-year-old woman inside me wants to do, and not barreling through the water like the 17-year-old boy inside of him wants to do.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Travel Tips from Zion

Greetings, internets, from Zion National Park.

Have you ever been here? It is so beautiful. Sheer, towering cliffs of red rock, hot desert air, and wildlife abound. We have spent two days hiking, shopping, swimming, and hunting reptiles. I have observed some very interesting things down here, and thought I'd share a few with you.

Because nothing is better than reading about someone else's vacation, right?

I know. Sorry.

Anyhoo, it has come to my attention that there are a lot of women in the world who, for reasons unknown to me, do not shave. ANYWHERE. It is all I can do to not hand out disposable Bic razors to every hippie/European/granola girl I meet. I'd also like to take them for an eyebrow wax and shoe store visit, but first things first. ARMPITS, girls. It's just plain disgusting.

If my waitress/restaurant cashier is literally 10 years old, I will not blindly trust her skills when she rings up my dinner bill to $80 for a few cheeseburgers. It is a good idea to have her re-check the math before paying.

Hiking in 100 plus degree temperatures will bring the poor little princess Hannah to tears. She will proclaim today as the worst day of her entire life, and resign herself to laying down and dying there on the trail.

This fervent declaration will still not produce enough guilt to entice me to carry her sorry self up the steep mountain, much to her chagrin.

She will survive the mountain hike, but find herself terrified of the man-eating squirrel that will decide to take a bite out of the Husband's finger for no apparent reason. The man-eating squirrel does not carry mad squirrel disease, of this I am sure. But if the Husband starts foaming at the mouth anytime soon, I might need some help from Dr. Google on how to treat rabies.

If there is a "fossil and gem" store, DO. NOT. STOP. Stopping will have Chase suddenly finding every item that his heart has now, or ever will, desire, and I will have to spend an hour talking to the kindly owner of the store while Chase peruses the crap for sale merchandise. I will find myself unable to concentrate on anything but the man's lack of teeth.

How does a person not have teeth in this day and age? I just don't get it.

And lastly, watching people argue in another language is really funny.

Until they stop their argument to stare at you. Then it's not so funny. It's just embarrassing.

But as I walk away red-faced, I will not lose heart. For although I may be a rude, staring American, at least my armpit hair isn't longer than my husband's.

And that, internets, is enough to let me sleep well at night.

Monday, June 16, 2008

On the road again

Oh, hello there.

It's me.

No, I have not forgotten you, little blog. I got so busy before we headed out of town that I neglected to let you know that I was leaving.

Well, now it's too late because I've already left. We are taking a little time away as a family. Seeing some old friends, family, and taking our kids to places they've never been before. So far, we have:

-Spent 18 hours together in the car.

-Killed 9,345 bugs with our windshield.

-Slept in the same room for two (going on three) nights. Yes. All five of us, including the incredibly-loud snoring princess who, for reasons I cannot fathom, feels compelled to sleep within three inches of my face, with one of her arms touching me AT. ALL. TIMES.

Which isn't annoying at all.

-We celebrated the Husband's birthday and Father's Day.

-We watched as Chase caught and released two reptiles, and tried not to laugh at Uncle Micah, who squealed like a little girl when he saw them.

-We made our traditional pilgrimage to eat devour the delicious perfection that is a hamburger at Hires.

-We witnessed a drug bust on the Utah State Capitol grounds, which involved a lot of policemen wielding very large weapons firearms.

-We said our final farewell to the mohawk.

-And we ate our weight in red velvet cake. If the red velvet cake and Hires are any indication, I'd say it's shaping up to be an excellent vacation.

I don't know that I'll get any pictures uploaded before we get home, but I'll definitely be back to fill you in as we go. The Husband has promised his laptop in exchange for my cooperation on jet skis, river rafting trips, motorcycles, and long hikes.

What he doesn't know yet is that it will also require lots of extra shopping, pedicures, and napping. We won't tell him that part today though.

We'll wait until the time is right. Like when he's in the middle of all his manly fun.

Because I'm just a good and thoughtful wife that way.

What? Shut up.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Little boy heaven

Well, I survived cub scout day camp. Or what I will now refer to as the long-lost-wannabe-branch-of-the-military-camp.

Have you ever met a professional scouter?

This is one hard-core group of men who take their jobs at scout camp very seriously. They run a pretty tight ship. They are in favor of sharp commands and crisp salutes.

They will definitely yell when necessary.

They are very pro-NRA and did not stop short of recruiting me and my absent husband to sign ourselves right up.

They do not like you to refer to a BB gun as a weapon. It is a firearm, thankyouverymuch. [Won't make that mistake again. No, siree.]

And they are unaware that they are not actually generals in the Army. Believe me when I tell you, I so wanted to be the person to tell them.

But I didn't. I behaved and followed the rules.

I asked for permission to enter the range (where we shot beans from sling shots). I wore my large, ugly protective eye wear to prevent any stray beans from causing me blindness. I was absolutely still and silent during the BB gun shooting so as not to distract the cub scout shooters who were engaging their wimpy powerful firearms.

Yes, because when holding a firearm, all an eight-year-old boy really wants to focus on is his mother. Not the fact that he has an actual gun in his hands that he has been given permission to use.


And I even stood a safe distance outside of the live missile zone in the archery area. Unlike Mr. Scouting General, Sir! that you see in the background here:

But the boys? Best week of their lives (their words, not mine). All of the guys in our group had a good time. No one died on my watch. No one shot their eye out. No one was kicked out or had their firearm taken away.

And no one joined the NRA that I am aware of.

I'd say that makes it a roaring success. Hoo-rah!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A recipe for success? Not very likely

What happens when you combine the following ingredients?
  • Me
  • P.M.S
  • 90+ degree temperatures
  • humidity
  • 10 cub scouts at day camp
  • BB guns, catapults, sling shots, and archery
  • total exhaustion
Stay tuned. The answers are coming...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A simple reminder

Last night, I had something happen which confirms to me what I know, but sometimes choose to forget.

I should preface this story by telling you about my sleep habits. I am a deep sleeper. I know as a mother, that is usually an oxymoron. Mothers are not deep sleepers. Mothers will wake at the sound of a slight cough, while Fathers will sleep through the earthquakes and thunderstorms.

It hasn't always been this way for me. When my babies were small, all it took was a little stirring in the newborn crib, and I was up, rushing to their side. If someone so much as sighed in their sleep, it woke me up.

Not so much anymore.

I find that when my head hits the pillow, I am OUT. I often barely wake as the Husband is heading out the door for early morning flights or going into the office (a fact which does annoy him to no end). I love my sleep. I NEED my sleep.

Me and the sunrise? Not good friends. We've never actually met.

And it is that fact which makes this experience all the more amazing to me.

Last night, probably around two or three in the morning, I sat bolt upright in bed. I was awake and conscious, but was not sure what had woken me up. I then felt the strong need to go into my boys' bedroom.

There, in the middle of my two sleeping sons, I saw that their lamp was on, and the shade was tilted, resting on the hot light bulb. There was smoke rising from the lamp, as the heat from the light was burning a hole in the side of the lampshade. I immediately went over and pulled the smoldering shade off, and unplugged the lamp. Not even recognizing the significance then, I went back to bed. Even as I crawled back under the covers, the what-ifs still had not hit me. Like a lug, I was back to sleep in an instant.

It was only when my eyes first opened this morning that I realized and thought about what might have been. What could have happened, had I not been pulled from a deep sleep, and directed into their room. Today, in the light of day, I have a pit in my stomach as my imagination has run wild with the horrible what-ifs.

I know that lamp was off when we went to bed. We always tuck the kids in, turn off their lights, and pry books out from under their heavy arms. Always. The only thing I can think of is that one of the boys must have gotten up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and turned on the bedside lamp in the process.

So, why did I wake up? There were no smoke alarms going off, no bright lights in my eyes. No noise from stumbling kids. Why?

Well, I'm a dummy if I don't know why.

I do know why.

My Heavenly Father woke me up, directed me to their bedroom, and helped prevent anything bad from happening to my sweet boys.

Simple as that.

What is not so simple now is the overwhelming feeling of love and protection that I have in my heart today. In this great big world of ours, someone loves me. Someone loves my family. Someone is watching over us. He really is. Even in the middle of the night, when a simple lamp shade is turned too far the wrong way.

Today I am grateful. I am grateful to know that He loves me. That He is aware of me. He is watching over me, and my sleeping angels. Even though I swear sometimes. Even though I complain about having to go to church on really pretty Sunday afternoons. Even though I get annoyed with my kids. Even though I tend to tuck my spirituality away, and pretend it's not there. He still loves me. He still loves us.

I just wanted to share that with you, in case, like me, you had forgotten, too.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Show and Tell

My friend Annie tagged me for this meme. I've enjoyed seeing some of you play, and have probably been tagged before. I generally don't play along, but if Annie does something...well, then I'll definitely do it.

And no, I'm not easily influenced by friends. Not at all.

Unless you ask my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Yergensen, who wrote that very thing on my report card, the mean old witch.

I just wait for cool friends to do things before I do them. That way I'm sure things are cool, and I don't make the mistake of doing something un-cool. I like to think of it as having patience.

Anyhoo, here is my show-and-tell tour. The rules are that you may not tidy things up, just take the pictures as-is, and give the internet a peek into your life.

The only thing I allow on the outside of my fridge are these cute magnet letters made for me by the one and only Mique. They match my kitchen perfectly, and I think they're just darling. One of my best mail days ever.

The inside of my fridge? It is not so darling.

Let's just say that you can all sleep well at night knowing that there are parts of my life that remain very unorganized. The inside of the fridge is always one of those things. It will, however, never be without a large stash of diet coke. So come on over anytime, and we can chat over a cold one.

Next up is THE SINK. It, fortunately, will almost always be clean and dishes-free.

Don't hate me. I'm just annoying that way.

THE TOILET, and this is one I was unclear about. Do I take pictures of the entire bathroom or just the throne? I went with the throne in the master bath. Very boring, very toilet-like. (Have I just sunk to taking pictures of my toilet for the internet? Apparently so. Oy).

Moving on to THE LAUNDRY:
Tomorrow is laundry day, but that only means that our clothes are in our bedroom closets, in baskets with lids, waiting to be washed. Very uninteresting. But, I do have to take this moment and praise my dryer. As I mentioned before, scooting it out a few inches from the wall has miraculously reduced my drying time from about 1 1/2 hours to 37 minutes. And that's big loads of jeans, towels, you name it. This dryer is my new best friend.

And yes, I do realize that I am giving Daniel lots to make fun of here, what with all the pictures of toilets, laundry facilities, and sinks. But I like to live dangerously sometimes.


Don't tell the Husband. We just got home from the pool, it's 1,237 degrees outside, and I need a break. Sometimes Sponge Bob is my best friend. Most days not.

[Also, please ignore the multi-colored wainscoting/walls behind the couch. We just put it up and have yet to get it painted. It will look really good when it's done. But that's unfortunately not today.]


I know I have shown pictures of this room like a million times, but I do love it. It's our formal living room, and it's the place I like to curl up with a good book. I love the picture wall, the furniture, the colors. Everything. I feel that room is more me than any other room in the house. Or at least the me I want to be. A nice me. Who takes good pictures. And reads lots of novels. And hardly ever yells.


Yet another dark secret in the life of Stie. My closet does not look good, and today is no exception. This is a good reminder to straighten it up. Which I will do. As soon as I finish blogging about it.


Hello, lovelies. I got these shoes at Nine West two summers ago. I still get giddy for warm weather, because I can't wait to break them out. Sure, I don't really wear them anywhere but church or date nights (seeing as how they are the most uncomfortable shoes ever created), but they are oh, so pretty. And they show off a pedicure like a good pair of summer shoes should. And if we can't endure a little pain for a pretty shoe, then what good are we?


Here is me in my master bathroom, Yes, still in my swim dress. Sometimes it's just too hot to wear real clothes.

And sometimes, after swimming with the kidlets, I'm just too darn lazy to get dressed again. No, I don't run around nekkid anymore. Lesson painfully learned.


I would say my dream vacation would be Paris and London. There are about a million other cities I want to visit, but those two are at the top of my list. Someday (hopefully next spring) I'll get there.

But I definitely won't be wearing my brown ballerina wedge shoes.


Consider yourself tagged, if you want to play along. It was surprisingly fun. And productive.

Now I've got to go clean out that closet.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

To my three babies

Here we are, in the second full week of our summer vacation. The first few days were a little rough on me, I'll admit. I have been so used to spending several hours a day all by myself - doing what I wanted, when I wanted. And then suddenly, here are you three little people.

Here. In my clean house.

And you are always hungry. ALWAYS leaving things out. And not the least bit concerned with the trail of crumbs behind you.

But in spite of this, I think we've found our rhythm, you and I. I'm looking at your cheerful faces across the table, listening to your chatter, and I find that my heart is full.

With each various stage of life that we've gone through together, it seemed to me that I would always remember. I'll be honest - sometimes, it felt like your less-desirable phases would never end. I can definitely think of at least one that is irrevocably seared into the recesses of my mind.

But there are so many more that I know I have forgotten.

Long ago, as I held your baby selves, smelling your sweet little necks, I promised myself I would never forget. That these moments, like the thousands of photos I've taken of you, would always be permanently etched in my mind. But now that a little time has passed, I find that I just can't quite recall your baby smells. I have all but forgotten the sounds of your newborn cries. And it hurts my heart to think that I won't ever again hear your bubbly toddler voices.

Only when I creep to your bedside at night do I see traces of the babies you once were. Even you, McKay, still sometimes purse your little lips together, making that all-too familiar puckered face. It's when you're in that angelic, dreamy state that it all comes back to me. And it brings a smile to my face every time.

Right now though, I want to freeze this. I don't want these days, and these people you are today, to be only a memory.

I want to remember how Hannah's voice sounds when she's just woken up and has a head full of morning hair. I want to remember the way Chase lights up when he talks about conservation or a new story he's written. I want to always see McKay's crooked smile, and feel the swell of pride when walking by him curled up, reading a book. Because I just love that he's a reader. Like me.

I am in love with the phase that you're all in. You've suddenly, and without warning, become very interesting people to be around. You're growing more independent every day. Your opinions are all your own, and not reflections of what you hear your dad and I say. You see that your life will not always be dictated by me, and you really like the idea of that.

You are doing what children should. You are doing what I want you to do. You are growing up.

I am just so afraid that I will forget.

And I probably will.

But if I've learned nothing else as a mother, it's this: I will always mourn each phase as it passes me by, leaving me standing on the sidelines. And although it leaves my arms a little more empty each time, it leaves my heart a whole lot more full.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Proving the nut and the tree theory

This morning, I stumbled upon a little list.

A Monday morning to-do list.

Written, unbeknownst to me, by my eight-year-old, Chase.

He had carefully laid out his plans and must-do tasks for the day. They are:
  1. Wake up (already done and crossed off)
  2. Eat breakfast
  3. Do jobs
  4. Do mathsheets
  5. Read Chet Gecko #3
  6. Play with McKay and Hannah?
  7. Eat lunch
  8. Specile [special] family outing
  9. Come home
  10. Eat dinner
  11. Read the Little House in the Big Woods?
  12. Go to sleep

What I love more than just the fact that he's actually written this list himself (which, I'll be honest, does make my heart go all a flutter), is that he put a question mark on playing with his brother and sister, and reading a book before bed.

Because one certainly cannot count on later wanting to do these items.

One must always leave room for changing one's mind.

I think we definitely got the right baby at the hospital. No doubt in my mind.