I Really Super Hate ISIS

Dear Future Stella,

I feel like the world has gone to hell in a handbasket. I tried to find the origin of that phrase for you but I could not, but from what I can gather- its not good. Every time I read the news it is so tragic. To be fair, I just started using this new feature on my iPhone that updates me with the top headlines, so before this week I really wasn’t reading the news BUT STILL, there is a lot of really crazy things happening out there! Recently, some terrorists have reeked havoc in Paris, randomly killing 130 people. I just can’t even. Its so fucked up. I know we were both taught to not use the word hate, but I can honestly say I hate ISIS. I don’t get it, and I am not going to pretend right now that I understand any of it because I don’t. I can say that amidst all the dark the light always shines through. Emerging from all these tragic stories are so many wonderful people doing extraordinary things for mankind. In the same Paris venue that stupid assholes opened fire on a group of young adults just trying to enjoy a live concert, other complete strangers came to their rescue. Within hours on social media I felt united with kind souls all over the globe who just wanted this madness to end. I remember this happening after 9/11 as well. So much sadness and horror, yet I had never felt so close and connected to fellow neighbors. I can’t help but feel hopeful that the good will triumph the bad. You tell me though, Future Stella, did we overcome those misinformed, shockingly ignorant terrorists? I am naive by nature and hopelessly optimistic so I am not the best person to ask about this. I do hope you stay informed with what is happening around you. Life can be such a pleasant little bubble and its so easy to be blissfully unaware about what is occurring just outside of your zone. Especially at age 25. Just some food for thought.

Speaking of food, we are approaching Thanksgiving. This year we are heading to your Grandma and Papa’s house. This is actually the only place Current Stella has ever spent Thanksgiving thus far. She has committed to eating turkey and green beans. She won’t try stuffing and she won’t try mashed potatoes (despite the fact that they were her first food) and she told me today that there is no way she will eat pie.

Thanksgiving has always been spent with your Dad’s family for the majority of our relationship. In fact, I remember when we were just dating and he invited me to go to Thanksgiving at your Great-grandma Stella’s house. Some of the most repulsive pictures were taken of me that day. I was in beauty school and experimenting with “chunky” highlights- a look that can bring me to blowing “chunks” faster than my last post.

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The woman you were named after referred to me as “The Skunk” from that day forward and I really can’t blame her. After she passed away, the holiday moved to your Grandma and Papa’s house. Your widowed Great-grandfather would show up for the meal (but mostly for the dessert) and then he would want to immediately return to the nursing home where he lived after Original Stella died. This was incredible for me to see because originally he had to be dragged there kicking and screaming. Your Grandma made sure to serve his pie on the same plate as his dinner immediately following his Thanksgiving meal because that is what Original Stella used to do for him. He needed his pie ASAP. He had been with Original Stella since they were teenagers and he had always had that pie on his plate right after he finished his turkey and gravy so your Grandma knew better than to switch things up at this point. Thanksgiving was so sweet with him and I really miss him being a part of it. He had the cutest smile, Future Stella. It was jovial and it just screamed the message, ‘I love pie and I couldn’t hurt a fly.” I wish those stupid terrorists could smile like that.

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Your Grandma really takes on a lot at Thanksgiving. She single handedly puts on the whole event from start to finish. If decorating, shopping, cooking, and cleaning for 20 people seem like a lot for one person to do, what if I told you she also hosts your Papa’s ex-wife on top of that? Yeah, she really does. She has somehow managed to set aside some very deeply personal issues for the greater good of her family. Terrorists, are you hearing this?? Sometimes you have to be in the presence of people who are fundamentally opposite of you and although not ideal, you might find yourself enjoying it.

Future Stella, I hope you always have an abundance of things to be thankful for. I read in a book once that if you ever stumble upon a full moon you should look right at it and say the next few things that come to mind out loud. On my way home tonight I turned a corner and almost ran smack into the full moon. I remembered this advice and without thinking I said “blessed, happy, lucky.” I am so grateful to be alive. I am so delighted to have a life that I find enjoyable. I am so incredible fortunate to have people like Current Stella in my life. Those terrorists would do just about anything to take away all the emotions I feel when I am looking at the moon. They can try all they want but they can’t destroy the moon and that means that they can never win this. There will always be people who can’t help but be overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for life when looking at that round ball of light and that will always trump the evil.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, you fell in love with a snow globe at a store this past week so I bought it for you. Inside the globe there was a mommy bear with a baby bear on her back. You broke it 24 hours later. It smashed in a zillion pieces on our hardwood floors. You were beside yourself and couldn’t comprehend the injustice. You were so pissed that it was filled with water. You thought it was really snow. You said, and I quote, “This isn’t fair. The snow globe was so special to me and I didn’t even get to show my babysitter. Why was it filled with water? Bears can’t live underwater. It doesn’t snow underwater. Mommy, do all snow globes have water in them?” I couldn’t really tell if you were more angry that the globe had broke or if you were feeling deceived by its design. I answered truthfully, that I had never actually broken a snow globe so while it makes sense that they are filled with water, I had never seen that before. You then requested your next globe to not be filled with water and to contain real snow. Yeah, ok.

Love,

Mom

Too Much Puke For One Week

Dear Future Stella,

For about a year now Current Stella has opted to go commando when going to bed. Her typical pajama fashion consists of legging-type bottoms, and a t-shirt or tank top. Her preference to forgo panties during sleep has always been ok with me, and frankly it is how I chose to sleep as a child myself. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when she got a brand new gown-style pajama dress from Disneyland. This nightgown was her one and only purchase she wanted while visiting the park. It is a teal blue color and has some cheesy stupid picture of Elsa on the chest. She has worn it to bed every night since we got home. It’s stained and smelly most nights because there is no way anyone can keep up the necessary laundry schedule it would take for it to remain clean for each and every night. Recently, Current Stella has started changing from her school uniform directly into her sleeping uniform at around 3pm. This not only dramatically reduces the potential cute factor at any given moment, it also means that she is without underwear for a good 4 hours before she actually goes to bed. This has resulted in waaaaay too many graphic up dress moments. Current Stella likes to sit indian style. She has also been really into practicing cartwheels lately. The other day I had a guest over and Current Stella was laying on the couch with her Dad reading a book in preparation for bedtime. She was laying on her side facing him with her top leg draped over his body. My guest and I were on the other side of the room with no choice but to be eye level with Current Stella’s lady parts. My favorite though, was the night she requested that her dad wheelbarrow her to bed. He made a conflicted face and looked at me like, “is this even allowed?” I don’t want to make it weird or shame her in any way but I am seriously so sick of seeing her tiny vagina all night long. I decided to make a new rule that she has to wear underwear until the moment she climbs up into the bunkbed. This has drastically reduced the inappropriate crotch shots. Which is why, on this past Sunday evening, I was caught off guard by a late night impromptu gynecologic exam.
I was sitting on the couch listening to a podcast when Current Stella climbed down from her bunkbed, opened her creaky door, teetered down the hallway and suddenly appeared right next to me. It scared the shit out of me because I had my headphones on so I didn’t hear all the usual sounds of a child aborting the bedtime routine. In her very famous dramatic whiny voice Current Stella says to me, “Mommy, I need to show you something.” She sat next to me and spread her legs apart as wide as they would go and then opened up her vagina equally as far. She then says, “Inside my pee pee I have this little pink thing.” I started sweating because I was certain she was referring to her clitoris and that we would have to have the worlds most awkward conversation. However, she skipped over the pleasure button and instead pointed at some flap of skin inside the vagina that I am pretty sure is totally normal but I don’t know because I am not a gynecologist. I told her that every girl has that and that it’s fine. I told her that I even have that. She seemed shocked and said, “You have that?” I answered that I do but I was wishing to God that she wouldn’t make me show her or something really foul like that. She wasn’t buying it though and said, “But Mommy, when you had a baby didn’t it get smashed?” I wanted to say, “no sweetheart, it got smashed way earlier than that during sexual activity” but I refrained and gave some horse shit of a lie answer about how the female body is amazing and nothing is harmed during childbirth. Now that you are older I can tell you that everything gets so fucked up when you have a kid. Nothing looks the same or feels the same after. Who knows where my flap of skin is anymore, probably up near my throat or down by my knee at this point. Just FYI.

Current Stella’s social calendar was jamming this past week. She had a Father/Daughter Dance at the Olympic Club and 2 unplanned back to back sleepovers. Current Stella’s first sleepover was with a new friend from school named Violet. Current Stella was invited to go to her house after school for a playdate. Violet’s parents told us to pick her up around 6pm and to plan on coming inside for a drink. The night before your Dad and I hit it a little hard at date night and I woke up feeling very hungover. Actually, extremely hungover. Its just weird because I didn’t drink more than normal and we were home by 8pm! I suppressed a vomit all day long at work. I really hate puking at work because it reminds me of being pregnant and I have so much PTSD in that department that I will do anything to avoid it. Instead, I just colored hair feeling seasick and looking green all day. I got home and released the biggest, most satisfying puke of my life. I had been holding it in for 8 hours and I had exactly 20 minutes until we were due to pick Current Stella up from her playdate. I really should have cancelled or just sent your Dad but these are new friends and I would have hated my first impression to be that I am a no-fun flake so I showed up and acted like I had not just emptied the contents of my stomach less than an hour prior. To make a long story short, these new friends had no intentions of us having a drink and then taking Stella home. No, these new friends wanted to party. These new friends have an actual bar inside their house that they failed to mention to us in their casual invite and they planned on us shutting it down. Your mom puked and then rallied that night. We stayed for 6 additional hours!! Needless to say, Current Stella had no choice but to sleep over- shit, we almost all slept over.

The next morning I felt even worse than the day before. I was so nauseous all day long at work to the point where I couldn’t eat a single thing. It was brutal and even though I look pretty lame arguing that it wasn’t the alcohol, it felt very different than a hangover. That night Current Stella and her Dad attended their first ever Father/Daughter dance and I took the night off from drinking. I would love to show you how adorable Current Stella looked at the dance but your Dad took exactly 0 good pictures. They were invited to this dance by her bestie Tyler and her Dad, which means this was more of a Tyler/Stella dance as opposed to a Father/Daughter event. In fact, she didn’t even dance with her Dad once! Here are the only pics he got.

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Current Stella ended up strong arming her Dad into letting her stay the night at Tyler’s house after the dance so I never even got to see her that night!

Shockingly, the next day I still felt horrible. The thought of eating disgusted me and I felt like I was on the verge of puking all day. In fact, the next two days after that were not much better. Occasionally, I would actually throw up but mostly I just felt sick and completely uninterested in food. It really felt like I was pregnant but thats not possible due to my absolute hatred of the concept.

Today Current Stella had to get a flu shot. She was really scared and she was being a giant vagina about it. She asked so many questions and begged to not go. I don’t know what I was thinking but I told her that it wasn’t going to be an actual shot and that its just something they put up her nose. I really think I remember hearing that somewhere but I couldn’t be sure, I just knew I needed her to stop freaking out about it. Well, it was not a nasal spray, it was your standard needle in the arm situation. Current Stella didnt even make a peep. She just sat there and took the shot and remained completely stoic. The nurse was like, what the fuck (she didnt actually use profanity). She said most 5 year olds are the worst because they usually freak out. She couldn’t believe it, and neither could we. It was so unbelievable. I told Current Stella that she was so brave and she said that she wasn’t being brave, it just didnt hurt. I was so proud and happy that I decided to take her to get a pedicure with me.

A few minutes into the the pedicure Current Stella turns and looks at me and says, “Look Mommy, I just lost my first tooth.” She was holding it in her hand and she had a fresh gaping hole in her smile. I got sort of emotional because to me, this is the beginning of the end. The next couple of years are going to be filled with strange smiles- especially when they start growing back in and they are all ridgy and giant, long limbs, and hairy legs. There might be a brief pause before puberty but not much of one, especially if braces are in the cards. Puberty is terrifying and even more gross, what with the acne and the tragic fashion. During the rest of my pedicure I mourned the loss of her babyish cuteness and braced myself for the awkwardness up ahead.

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Back at the house Current Stella was preparing her tooth for the fairy while I made her dinner. All of a sudden she started whining and bitching about her stomach hurting. I reminded her of how brave she was earlier and that her stomach was probably just hurting because she was hungry. She reminded me that she isn’t brave and that the shot didn’t even hurt and this hurts. She refused to eat and I had to physically put her in the bathtub myself while she was whimpering. While I was drying her off to put her pajamas on she puked all over the both of us and her beloved pajamas. She was pissed about the pajamas. She was also pissed because the shot didn’t even work. The tooth fairy was going to meet her for the very first time and she wouldn’t even be wearing her favorite pajamas. I told her she should be more concerned about the vomit in her hair and also I am sure the tooth fairy would rather meet her with pants on as opposed to this sight.

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I am at a total loss about what all this casual vomit is all about in our house. Its so bizarre and so nasty. It needs to stop.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, the tooth fairy left you 2 dollars. We have a box of teeth in our house that either belonged to me or your dad but we don’t remember who. I thought about exchanging your tooth for one of our old teeth but at the last minute decided on 2 bucks.

Love,

Mom

Halloween, Disneyland, Academic Probation and G-ta!

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Dear Future Stella,

I have a very good reason for skipping last week’s letter and that was because we were at Disneyland. If you ever for one minute doubt that I am the best mom in the world then please refresh your memory on our first attempt to take Current Stella to Disneyland and then note that I agreed to go again. More on that later, but first something else happened since the last time I wrote to you and that thing was Halloween.

Current Stella dressed up as Gail the Puppy for Halloween so its not an exaggeration to say that it was the best day of my life. No question, no comparison, it was just dreamy.

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At a last minute attempt to come up with a costume, your Tia gave me the idea to be a dog handler from one of those creepy dog shows. One trip to the second hand store and, voilĂ .

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Current Stella let me walk her on a leash while we went trick-or-treating so that was kind of strange. She also only collected 16 pieces of candy (2 of which were boxes of raisins so therefore don’t count) so we need to work on her treat game for next year. Very disappointing.

Two Gails in one night- what a fantasy come true! Although I did such a great job of making Current Stella look like Gail the Puppy, there was one tiny detail I left out but you wouldn’t have been able to tell in pictures and that is her very distinct smell. Gail the Puppy smells like Fritos so I really wish I would have smeared some all over Current Stella to really make the whole costume complete. I thought this was something that was unique to Gail the Puppy, but according to Google, it must be more common than I thought because look what came up when I started typing….

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Apparently, its the 4th most common thing a dog can smell like. Here is what google says about dogs smelling like Fritos.

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Who knew?

Now, on to Disneyland. Current Stella didnt get sick this time so that was nice. In fact, nothing crazy or out of the ordinary really happened so all I have to show for it are some pictures of Current Stella enjoying herself. BORING!!!

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Highlights for Current Stella include Ariel’s ride, the Buzz Lightyear ride, Autotopia, hanging out with her cousins, cotton candy and finally, our hotel room. Our hotel room was at the very swanky Marriott Inn and Suites. This unbelievable room came stocked with 1 serving a coffee, a phonebook, and a thermostat that was permanently set to Bikram Yoga temperatures so I can see how this made it to her favorites list. She didn’t like the Matterhorn or Thunder Mountain. Probably my favorite quote of the trip was made by her little cousin, Katherine (age 3). She said that her favorite ride was the shuttle from the hotel to Disneyland. Even cuter, was that she says shovel instead of shuttle.

Thanks to your Gma and Grandpa for making your dreams come true at the Happiest Place on Earth. They really know how to spoil a kid, and I mean that seriously. They went above and beyond to make this redo trip a success.

When we got back we had our first Parent Teacher Conference at Current Stella’s new school. I have included a copy of her progress report which clearly shows her mediocre (at best) performance thus far. Just about as average as it gets. Its official, you can kiss Stanford goodbye. There is no way they will accept you with this kind of performance. Get your head out of your ass and learn how to count to 30 in Swahili like they want. Also, according to this report, Current Stella’s teachers think she needs to speak more clearly. I dare them to come hang out at our house for even just one hour. That girl probably covers every word in the dictionary at least once, if not twice and what a miracle it would be (for us) if it was any less clear.

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Cant just one week go by without someone who loves you having a birthday? Its getting a bit ridiculous! Thankfully, this week’s birthday is someone I heart so much that it makes writing yet another birthday tribute a little less painful. In fact, I heart her so much that I would trust her with Gail the Puppy if anything should ever happen to me. This person is your G-ta, who is my Tante, and your G-ma’s sister. Your name for her is perfect because according to the Urban Dictionary, calling someone a G is a title of endearment and its no secret that we adore her to absolute pieces. Your G-ta and I are very very close. She is someone that I strongly connect with and have always looked up to. One of my favorite things about her is that she remembers everything. Every. Single. Detail. Its kind of amazing. Anytime I need advice about Current Stella she can just pull up a memory of her own kids (who are grown adults now) and from that she can either recommend a solution, or at least commiserate with me. Its super handy. She also gives really thoughtful and unique gifts, often filling a void you didn’t even know you had. Waking up in her house and drinking coffee while she devours the newspaper is probably my personal definition of comfort. She is the one I attribute to your good sleep. She told me all her tricks when you were just a few days old and they worked like a charm! When you were 5 weeks old, we went on our first annual trip as a family to Oregon when I was still on maternity leave. It was on this trip that she helped me conquer the nightmare that was the 45 minute nap and successfully stretched them to 1.5 hours. It was also on this trip that one of my all-time favorite memories with G-ta was made. I will do my best to share my version, although I am certain mine will lack the details that she would no doubt remember with unbelievable clarity.

Your G-ta had saved the buggy that she used with her kids and it was in mint condition. It was a navy blue bassinet on top of a silver metal frame. The lining was blue and white striped and it had an oversized hood that created lots of protection. It looked like some vintage thing you would have found in London circa 1906. It was gorgeous and I was convinced that something within its fibers contained the secret to good sleep because as soon as we laid your big bald head in it, you would go right to sleep. As I am sure you remember, it gets really warm where your G-ta lives in the summertime and stays that way long into the night. This allowed for many evenings spent pushing you into their quaint little downtown area. Their town is considered historic and therefore all of the buildings fit perfectly with the era this buggy was intended to exist in. One night we pushed Newborn Stella into town to eat dinner at one of the nicer establishments. We were seated outside in a dreamy courtyard patio. There were lights strung above our head and the distant sound of a lazy fountain could be heard. We talked and laughed and ate and I remember feeling the best I had felt in weeks. I didn’t bounce right back physically after you were born and so it was a relief to finally sit through a meal without being in some sort of pain. Newborn Stella held up her part of the deal by sleeping all the way through dinner in that magical buggy. On the way home, your Dad was pushing Newborn Stella and the rest of us were following close behind. As we approached the street where G-ta and Guncle live, a skunk appeared from the fields that lined this particular street. It soon became quite clear that this skunk was not at all threatened by the presence of 4 adults and a buggy. We started to pick up the pace, as we had no choice but to pass it in order to get home. Then the craziest thing happened, this skunk began to chase the buggy. Your dad started sprinting down the road, pushing this vintage baby carriage at full speed with tiny, little Newborn Stella sound asleep inside it. As soon as we were safely in G-ta’s garage, we all just burst out laughing. Your G-ta has the most infectious, boisterous laugh. It starts out silent and she often has to double over and grab some nearby structure for support. I dare anyone to not just crack up when she does this. Its hilarious and it can last quite awhile. Her sense of humor is really random and silly and clean, yet she can find humor in the crudest of jokes. Its a very fun balance for me. She also goes to the grocery store no less than twice per day, makes her husband split a beer with her, and runs about an hour behind the rest of the people in her time zone. She always seems to check-in with me at just the right times and we are so super lucky to have her in our lives.

Here are some photos from that first memorable trip Newborn Stella took to visit G-ta (and family)

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And the one time she didn’t want to split a beer, she decided to shotgun it with her son.

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Here are just some standard G-ta memories

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Lastly, to prove that we both have the same random sense of humor, I have included the following photos. These were taken this past week in a Photo Booth here in San Francisco. I can almost guarantee nobody else will find these as funny as we do.

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Happy Birthday G-ta!!

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, you got in big trouble this past week for being a shit stain. You couldn’t even follow the most basic of instructions (don’t put rice in your water at a restaurant) and you even blatantly lied about brushing your teeth even though your dad’s forensic testing of the crime scene clearly showed that you did not. As a result we had to take your Cow Cow away for one night. You lost your shit but guess what? You have been a dream ever sense. Thank you.

Love,

Mom