Whose Child Is This?

Lately I've noticed my kids doing some weird things.

Since I know that my personality contains NO weirdness whatsoever, I can only assume they get these things from their father.

What? I'm not weird.

Shut up.

Case in point: Child number one

This boy leaves for school at the unholy hour of 6:40 a.m. every day. He likes to wake up at 5:40 a.m., shower, eat breakfast, and sit for an hour -- waiting until it's time to go. I have tried sneaking in and setting his alarm back a bit, but he always catches me and resets it. I cannot convince him that the extra sleep in the morning is better than staring off into space for an hour. Because I feel guilty sleeping while he is all alone downstairs, I drag my bleary-eyed self down every morning and stare off into space with him.

He has also figured out that he can ask me for things and get a yes because I'm too tired to really process the information. Like this morning when he asked to have cookies for breakfast and I nodded? Totally thought he was asking for something else.

While I love and adore this child to no end, I really could use some extra sleep in the morning.

Child Number Two:

This child has recently become obsessed with J.R.R Tolkien's, The Hobbit, and has spent every waking minute reading it. When he's not devouring the book, he's following me around the house giving me a play-by-play of the latest chapter. He took great delight in sharing an excruciatingly detailed account of the giant spider that wraps people up in cocoons.

I love him, but really could do with a little less giant spider/cocoon detail in my life.

Child Number Three:

This girl has recently decided she is in charge of styling her own hair in the morning. I reluctantly gave up that creative control on the weekdays, and have tried to look the other way when she walks out the door sporting very creative buns or funky barrette placement (and usually a combination of the two). Today was Crazy Hair Day at school, and, honestly, I could not tell a difference from her regular hair days.

I love her and want her to be able to express her individuality while learning to master her own hair, but would it be wrong to send a note to the teacher explaining that I'm not in charge of her hair anymore?

Yes, I think we can safely blame the husband for all of these quirks.

Keep quiet, Mom. You know my hair always looked good. Especially those giant waterfall bangs.

Helping you poor, sad souls

I am a weird person.

I know, right? You had absolutely NO IDEA.

Shut up.

I think the quirk that is most annoying to the Husband is my unflinching, urgent need to have our family Christmas card done before Halloween.

Yes. You read that right.

I seriously start to panic and will sit bolt-upright in bed in a cold sweat if it's not done and in my hot little hands. I am not sure why, but it is something I have accepted and made peace with after years of struggling in vain to wait.

The Husband is now trying to work through the issue in therapy, however.

But since it is, after all, ALMOST HALLOWEEN, I thought I would offer my services to the rest of you (as my own cards have been done since before Labor Day). I have been designing some Christmas cards and am now offering them as part of my photography packages (click over for the full line). I've been very busy doing family fall portraits and figured this was the perfect compliment to that.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, are a few samples that I have put together:
(Yes, this is what I do with my free time. Judge not. My kids have been home sick for two weeks.)

If you're interested in working with any of these designs or have ideas of your own, email me at stiesthoughts at gmail dot com and I will be more than happy to help you out.

Because, really, if you don't at least have the picture for your card yet? You had better get crackin. Halloween is in, like, two weeks, people!

[Insert the sound of me breathing in and out slowly into a paper bag for you here]

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.

Will the real time please stand up?

Hi, my name is Christie, and I am obsessive-compulsive. (Hi, Christie).

Bet you didn't know that.

Lately, I have been thinking about another facet of my ever-so-slight OCD (stop laughing). It is definitely not the worst of my many quirks, but is still something that drives the Husband a little batty. And that is the fact that I am incapable of showing up late to ANYTHING.

I think my eye just started twitching thinking about it.

It literally pains me if I am late to anything. Pains me. I just cannot be late. The Husband moans and groans every Sunday when we arrive 20 minutes early to church. But I cannot, and will not, sit in the back, so early we must be.

I have developed a bad habit of moving the time ahead on our clocks in order to trick my family into thinking they are late, thus making them rush a little more to get out the door. Imagine their delight when we get into the car, and surprise! We're not late at all. We're early. (Some in our family don't find this to be a good surprise. Cough*husband*cough).

The only problem is that now I have no idea what the real time is because I've moved every clock around by so many minutes. I have become terrified I will actually BE late when going somewhere, and so I combat that by moving the clocks MORE ahead.

I know, I need help.

Next spring, at daylight savings, do not be surprised if our clocks don't have to change at all.

Do any of you do this? Or am I standing all alone out here on my big crazy platform?

Probably. But that's all right.

At least I won't be late for all those therapy sessions I'm going to need.

Pride Cometh Before the Poor House

I have an issue that I'd like to complain about today.

School picture day.


There is something so cheesy, so tacky to me about the faded blue/gray background and posed child with a fake smile. It is the same no matter where you go. Granted, the school photographers are shooting anywhere from 500 to 600 kids in a day and, therefore, my kids only get one shot to look their best in the photo. I understand they're not going to spend the time it takes to get that one perfect shot.

Believe me, that task is next to impossible. I've spent the time it takes.

I have had to beg, demand, cajole, and even resort to paying my children in order to have them pose for me. I usually shoot about a hundred pictures, and will be lucky to get one or two that I like. There is no way the best of my children will be captured by the school photographer in one shot.

And yet, I feel compelled to purchase a package each and every time (which is twice a year in our current school). Not compelled because I want a collection of these ugly, stiff pictures, but because I refuse to have my child be the one child in their class who doesn't buy a package. I will not have them look longingly at their friends' ugly pictures and wonder why they don't have an ugly picture of their own. I will not have teachers and classmates think we cannot afford to buy a photo package. And that pride leads to us to spend a large amount of money every year on pictures that look ridiculous.

Here are just a few from my hidden collection:

I ABSOLUTELY KNOW that my children are the most beautiful children ever created, but these photos do not remotely capture anything other than stiff, awkward, serial-killer like expressions. I hate them. I don't send them to grandparents. I most certainly do not put them up on the wall.

You must be asking yourself then what pictures I do deem worthy of putting up on the wall? I am a photo snob, and I'll admit it. Here are some of my favorites, taken by me, of them:

See? You see what I mean now, don't you. Here is a picture of our photo wall with my favorite shots blown up.

And so, next week when I enclose a check in the Tacky-Photos-R-Us envelope for Hannah's ballet pictures, please know that I do it very begrudgingly. But I'd rather waste money than appear as though I have none.

Please tell me there is someone out there like me. I can't imagine that I'm all alone in my insanity. Right? RIGHT?

His and Hers Perceptions

The Husband is generally not around during the week as he travels a lot for work. He's not privy to my daily routine, and I am not privy to his. I'm sure he has his own ideas about what happens around here.

Here's what I think his perceptions are of how I spend a typical day:

7:00 a.m. The alarm goes off. Yell at the kids to get out of bed, then fall right back asleep.

7:50 a.m. Rush out of bed and shove the kids out the front door for school. When they ask about lunches, tell them to just share what the kid next to them brings for lunch. Feel good for teaching them how to share.

7:51 a.m. Eat my own hearty breakfast of donuts, brownies, and chocolate milk.

7:55 a.m. Scratch rear end with long poking stick.

7:59 a.m. Yawn. Consider taking a shower. Go back to bed instead.

11:45 a.m. Wake up and shove Hannah out the door for the kindergarten bus pick-up. Remember her need for lunch and throw a pop-tart at the bus in the hope that she catches it.

12:01 p.m. Go through McDonald's drive-thru and order a Big Mac, three orders of fries, and a large milkshake for lunch. For myself.

12:12 p.m. Rush home to watch several soap operas while gorging on McD's.

2:00 p.m. Take a much-needed nap.

3:20 p.m. Greet the children at the front door with strict instructions not to disturb my second afternoon nap. Tell them to do their own homework.

5:00 p.m. Wake up from nap, order a pizza, and ignore the large pile of dishes in the sink.

5:30 p.m. Feed the children. Eat remaining donuts from this morning when the children aren't looking. Laugh when the children ask for vegetables. Force them to eat greasy pizza instead.

6:00 p.m. Send the children to bed.

6:01 p.m. Begin five hour nighttime television marathon involving TIVO'd episodes of soap operas that I missed while napping.

6:30 p.m. Consume remaining eight slices of pizza. Wash it down with some diet coke and feel good about my low-calorie drink. Feel deep sense of satisfaction for making such a healthy choice.

11:00 p.m. Begin to get ready for bed, and realize I am still in my pajamas from the night before. Smile wickedly at that thought and crawl into the unmade bed.

11:01 p.m. Fall asleep while eating a bag of Doritos.


Oh, I wish. Here's how I REALLY spend my days:

6:28 a.m. Wake up. Hit the snooze button three times and wish it was a Saturday.

6:55 a.m. Get out of bed. Find two of the three children already awake. Wonder how I gave birth to such cheerful early risers.

7:00 a.m. Feed the children a breakfast of Eggo waffles, apples, peanut butter, and skim milk. Throw in the first of several loads of laundry. Pack lunches. Clean up breakfast dishes, kitchen, living room, and sun room. Vacuum entire first floor.

7:50 a.m. Hug and kiss the boys, and watch them walk to the bus stop. Wait for the bus to pass and wave them off to their day.

8:00 a.m. Hit the treadmill. Sweat and run to a re-run of Desperate Housewives. Silently be grateful there's a new Grey's Anatomy this week.

9:00 a.m. Read a few blogs.

9:20 a.m. Shower, blow dry hair, apply make-up, and get dressed. Change the laundry.

10:15 a.m. Assemble goodie bags for Hannah's birthday party this week. Play dollhouse with her. Listen to her excitedly describe YET AGAIN every character on High School Musical. Nod, and smile, and say, "Oh really, wow!" while secretly wanting to punch Sharpay and Troy. Go pick up dry cleaning.

11:30 a.m. Feed Hannah her favorite lunch of Spaghettios and goldfish. Force her to drink a glass of milk.

12:00 p.m. Watch for the bus with Hannah. Wave to her, even though she never looks or waves back.

12:01 p.m. Run to the grocery store, milk store, Target, and post office. Stop for a diet coke at McDonald's. Savor its absolute perfection.

1:30 p.m. Come home and unpack groceries. Change the laundry again. Go downstairs to office and transcribe three very long and boring files.

3:15 p.m. Greet children at the door and remind them to take off their shoes. Help McKay with his 4th grade math homework and find that it is too challenging for me. Try not to let him know this. Pretend to love math. Wonder when I lost so many brain cells.

4:00 p.m. Begin dinner. Remember laundry that is waiting and switch loads again.

5:00 p.m. Feed the children. Make them eat their vegetables. Feed self. Do the dishes. Re-vacuum entire first floor, most especially around Chase's spot, who wins the Messiest Eater Award every night at dinner.

5:45 p.m. Listen to Chase and Hannah read.

6:30 p.m. Fold more laundry. Put away laundry. Take out garbage.

7:30 p.m. Drive McKay to his baseball game. Cheer, yell, shout, and moan. All at the same time.

7:43 p.m. Take both Chase and Hannah to the bathroom, which is conveniently located about 14.8 miles from the field. Remind them AGAIN to go before we leave home.

9:45 p.m. Game ends. Congratulate McKay on his triple play. Avoid pointing out that it was errors and overthrows made by the other team. Be glad he is so happy about it. Take three tired kids home. Force them to shower against their will. Send them to bed.

10:30 p.m. Remove clothes, wash face, brush teeth, and climb exhausted into my neatly-made bed.

10:31 p.m. Fall fast asleep and dream about doing it all again tomorrow.


See, honey? I think we all know what REALLY happens around here, even you. I'd like to say that I'm living the first life, as it seems to involve lots of donuts and naps, but unfortunately, that is not my life. This one is.

And it's not so bad.

Gotta run though. I'm sure there's a donut somewhere with my name on it.