Tuesday, August 29, 2017

33 is fun to say

Sup, girl.

It's your birthday again! You've got this down to an art. McDs Diet Coke, free gift from Ulta, take out, and guilt-free indulgence with something good on TV. This year is especially good because Lars started school (finally! *celebratory dance*) and with Amos napping... uninterrupted chill. 

This year has been weird. You are lonely. It's amazingly difficult to cultivate and nurture new, in person, relationships as an adult. Your family and friends lives keep happening without you (rude). Your wonderful, funny, best friend of a husband works hard, long hours and travels. This, combined with the invisible nature of motherhood, can make a girl feel insignificant. To be the whole world to herd of small humans and simultaneously be wholly under-appreciated is depleting, exhausting. None of this is a new story. In fact, it's the same ol' story. You really are the most basic. You'd like to submit the following evidence to support this theory- you rely heavily on Diet Coke, freaking love Target, cope with your husband's extensive work hours by shopping online, and buy quality makeup but rarely wear it because who has time with a clamoring toddler at your feet? Basically you have become the most typical of stay-at-home stereotypes. And it's only a little depressing. 

Then there's the fact that your last baby turned one this year. This gave you a major existential crises. If you are not making babies what are you doing? You know a woman's worth is not tied up in making babies. It's not about that. It's about what you spent your entire 20s doing and now you can't see what road to take. Were you supposed to develop a hobby or skill along the way?! Because besides being able to change a diaper without gagging and unload a dishwasher in under 5 min, you forgot to do that.

But man, is it good to take the bad and ride it out, still appreciating the good. Genuine happiness built into every day. Being in your 30s is cool like that. You may not know what all the latest acronyms or hippest abbreviations are, but you also don't have to worry about caring *too* much about running errands in my house dress. You can also scream silently in your head while simultaneously troubleshooting your toddlers latest tantrum, so.

You are middleish-age. Young enough to take selfies and old enough to know better than to post *too* many. Young enough to watch E! News but old enough to only know about half of who the celebrities are. Young enough to know how to work a DVR and old enough to pay for cable. It's really not a bad place to be. 

Happy Birthday, you! 


Monday, August 29, 2016


dear chelsea, 

in the weeks leading up to your birthday you start to think about this letter. phrases form and words bob to the surface of the vast splashing chaos that is your mind these days. you dust off the mental typewriter and ping plunk click out a few ideas. does it even matter? does anybody read this any more? yet, it's something you look forward to. and so, you continue. 

there are so many things going on at any given moment that the stress, worry, joy, discontent, gratitude have just become one in the same. white noise is the soundtrack to your life. you had a baby. a son. he has brought with him light and sweetness. and in the same breath exhaustion, depression, deafening anxiety. how can both be true? everything is tangled. you understand more now than you ever have. how can both be true? it's a strange place to sit in. to look at what you don't know and make a place for it. and wait. wait until it becomes clear or unimportant. 

you are 32 and it feels very good. you are 32 and it seems impossible. there is something hilarious in the bizarre fact that the world has kept turning and there is a generation of people who do not understand where you came from. it's like a secret you share with your contemporaries and you all get a good laugh out of "the kids these days." 

you are happy and unhappy. you are lonely and content. you are healthy and in pain. you love words yet sometimes think in emoji's. you are just the looniest, girl! 

the beauty of it all is that the more you accept these contradictions in yourself, the easier it is to accept them in others. and that's something. 

happy birthday, go watch and/or eat something. let's go with "and."


p.s. you have a massive crush on jeff. his greying temples are like {heart eye emoji}. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015


dear chelsea,

well shoot. has it been a year already? you are now 31. this birthday doesn't feel very big. I guess 30 feels big and then 31 is just ... 31. plus, as a grown up your birthdays are not that exciting. you asked for a clean house for your birthday and the family cleaning bath tubs and vacuuming together well, that will be quite satisfying actually. not very exciting, but satisfying. happy birthday to you!

you have been in fort collins for a year now, and you really like it here. you like your house, your neighborhood, your ward, the kids school ... all of it. you have easy access to target, costco and you recently got access to walmart grocery delivery which saved your summer. like, saved it. taking three kids to walmart once a week last summer was rough stuff. maybe that stuff seems petty but convenience is important to you and we have accepted that. we like to think that means you work smarter rather than harder but it probably just means you are a little lazy. oh well. living in fort collins we can take drives into the mountains and walks around the neighborhood in the cooler evenings. it is a beautiful and easy place to live and when it comes to raising your kids here you are quite happy with this place.

those kids of yours are something else. with the start of another school year suddenly they look so much older. they are learning so much it is difficult to keep up. they each have their "things" you worry and watch over. but they often surprise you with how capable they can be. oh, how you love them. it is a tricky balance, learning when to step in and when to step away. motherhood is thousands of small letting-gos and hundreds of little bonds built. and apologies. you hope your apologies make up for the missteps along the way because there have and will be many.

you aren't alone. your husband is here with you and he never let's you fall. he is a great dad and you guys make a good team. you are very grateful to have a partner in this parenting thing. it is a blessing you sometimes take for granted. making a life together, well, that is pretty romantic. someone who sees you at your most human and still smiles at you? that is the stuff, man. he also makes you laugh daily and the adage to marry your best friend is really some of the best advice out there. it is helpful that he is oh so very handsome. oh boy, is he attractive. it is a little annoying, how he gets better with age while you feel susceptible to the doubts that come with being a woman who is getting older. what is that about anyway? you know better, but somehow, sometimes, all the things you *should* be gets to you. maybe that will never change. maybe you will never appreciate fully who you are in the moment until it's passed. let's just appreciate thirty-one year old chelsea for who she is because people seem to like her okay and so should you. deal? deal.

here is to another year. may it be simple and happy and boring.

sincerely yours,
chelsea. r. stock

Friday, August 29, 2014

three decades

hey chels!

it is your biiiirthday. hey-o. big plans. big big plans today. pizza with the family because you, you are wild and crazy. you might even let the kids pick out their own dessert. what? calm down. you are a grown up now!

so, another year, another move. last year you had no idea where you were going to be on this birthday, and after a lot of thinking and exploring and praying, here we are. where is here? beautiful fort collins, colorado. and it is good. the people are good. the town is good. but the best part is your home. your home! you bought a home, never getting to visit it in person before you bought it. but it turned out just fine. more than fine. this home is perfect for where we are right now. it has a view of the distant front range mountains from your back window. the excellent elementary school is just a short walk from your door. go the other way and a Holy Temple is being built.  you have dreamed of owning your own home for so long. it is finally the time. you got to paint your walls white (a dream!) and now they sit waiting to be filled with the warmth of things you love. (no pressure?) you can't wait to show it too your family and welcome visitors. the best part of the location is it is a doable destination for your immediate family. you have missed them all these years and the idea that you could host them comfortably is a dream realized. they are such great company, and you are thrilled at the idea of returning some of the hospitality they have extended you over the years. you will do very well here. yes. very well indeed.

as much as you like where you have landed. it is hard not to shake the feeling that it could all be short lived. another move could be just around the corner. but as far as you can tell, you are here for the foreseeable future. so try not to think about it. your time in boston taught you to make the most of your time wherever you are. there are things to be learned in every culture,  every part of the country, every way of life. you think here it will be friendliness. fort collins is incredibly friendly. almost shockingly friendly. rilla fits right in.

you miss boston. you miss harvard business school. you just do. you miss those brick buildings and running along the charles. the east coast has a charm and feeling of belonging to an exclusive club. you have been having dreams of harvard square and downtown boston. sometimes as you drift off, instead of stepping off curbs, you are walking around campus. before you left you took many slow walks staring at your surroundings just to cement it in your mind. you are glad you did because you can picture the details with great fondness. it was a blessing of an experience. it changed you. your world view grew so much. you realized that good people value you. and you value those good people. oh, the friends you made. dear, good, people that you miss seeing on the daily. you will never let these friends go. they are important to you and you cant't wait to see what they do with their lives! what a great time it was and you will always be grateful for it.

speaking of friends, you got some good ones. the older you get, the more you can appreciate the women your childhood friends have become. these ladies are something else. strong, capable, hilarious, caring women. bah. thinking of them makes you teary, you big baby. what hard things they have all survived. more than survived. overcome. conquered. you love them so. plus they make the BEST dirty jokes, so, yah.

now let's talk about the number. thirty. you are thirty years old. you are thirty. years. old. ten years ago you were taking classes at mesa community college, working at pete's fish and chips, and hanging out with friends and jeff stock, not yet knowing that he was the one. so much has changed since then, mostly for the better. you are thirty years old with a husband you are in love with, three children you are also in love with, and a home. over all you are all happy and healthy. take that blessing in for a second. in this snapshot of time, all is well. all is well. life is never perfect, but this is pretty close. what an amazing birthday gift. (but seriously fool, appreciate it.)

how are you? still figuring things out, but getting more comfortable with the fact that you will probably never have it all figured out. you have long blonde hair, plenty of curves (like boomerangs or homing pigeons, they always find their way back) and the start of some wrinkles. so that is pretty cool, you guess. so maybe you've lost yourself a little bit too, though. you still don't really read any more, or write much. oops. keep trying to find that. study your religion more. it surrounds you, it is the reason for your truest happiness. shouldn't you make it your mission to know more? another benefit of boston was meeting passionate people of all religions. their passion inspired you. don't lose that momentum. on an unrelated note, you are also greatly looking forward to your favorite time of year, the fall premieres of all your favorite shows, and the new ones! of all the great things about this year, the very best just might be the tv with dvr in your bedroom that you can watch from your new king sized bed. sweet, sweet television time. by the way, you should probably eat more vegetables? just a thought maybe.

stay cool, kid.


and now a medley of selfies for your viewing pleasure!

"nothing says class like trash"


"i don't care if you are birthday selfie-ing, read me a dang story."

"what am I even doing right now?"

Thursday, August 29, 2013

nine and twenty!

dearest chelsea. 

oh girl. you are finally here. your GOLDEN birthday. turning 29 on august the 29th. you've been dreaming of this day since jade's twelfth golden birthday with the limousine. and your amazing, understanding husband hooked. you. up. a night away, alone, in downtown boston. right now you are chillin' in a giant hotel bed with no one but the voices in your head. it's exactly what you dreamed of all year long. your life is busy. and happy. and noisy. some quiet reflective solitude is a luxury without price. this city is dreamy and you get to explore some of it on your own! geez, this is a birthday for the ages. you are spoiled. 

moving on. let me see, what has happened this past year. Jeff completed his first year of business school, and it was busy. so busy. he had homework and projects and even took a two week school trip to south africa. then you picked up and moved go michigan for a summer internship. see? busy. but it also was a crazy amount of fun.  it surprised you, how fast you bonded with your new friends. but it was a good surprise. and although come spring you will all be scattered in wind, you have a few friends for life. and that feels good. 

speaking of spring, the thought of it brings both excitement and all sorts of anxiety. as of now, you have a few options of where you will be post school. none of which are mesa. this is a bit of a sting. you always knew the odds were low, but there was that part of you that hoped against hope that you would get to move home after school. but when it became clear that is not the case, you mourned. and then panicked. and now, you are sad, but have found peace. and maybe even a little bit of your very small adventurous side. after all, boston has turned out to be wonderful, right? right? it'll be okay. I promise. 

the older you get, and the more established your family gets, the more you realize your home is where they are. if jeff, petra, rilla, and lars are there, that's where you wanna be. (except for tonight, obvi. that's for you, girl!) jeff turned 30 this year, and isn't he just handsome. he works so hard for you. don't forget to recognize and appreciate that. petra is sweet and capable and often you forget how young she is. don't forget and don't rush her. rilla is hilarious and bold, but don't forget she is so very tender and if you say "I'm gonna just leave you here if you don't get your shoes on right his minute" she will believe you and crumble into a ball of tears. lars. oh lars. he's all boy, and ball with daddy is his favorite. don't forget to give him the attention he needs. he needs you to help him be gentle and soft. 

and what about you, oh chelsea? this year you pushed yourself to be social. and it paid off. you relearned the joy of summer vacation. you let you hair grow longer. you started practicing your make up skillz, and some days it actually looks pretty alright. you tried your best to nurture your family. spiritually and nutritionally. heads up, lots of room for improvement on both accounts. you realized how much fun your kids are to be around. you still like to workout, and you still like to eat. it's been a year of figuring out the balance of both. you love to be funny. someone tells you you're funny and you feel what you imagine to be fairly similar to how a puppy feels getting a pet on the head. jeff is still your favorite person to make laugh, because he is the hard get. but alas, you are seriously tired all the time, and making jokes requires brain cells. get some sleep and make more people laugh. 

enjoy the next year chels. you have some amazing things coming up, and it'll go by quickly. 

happy golden! birthday chels. you are actually really starting to like you. 

faithfully yours,

ha! look at you taking yourself so seriously. 

p.s. last years letter here -> http://cstockwrite.blogspot.com/2012/08/2122.html?m=1

Monday, February 4, 2013


I ordered some new workout leggings online. When they arrived I tried them on, and they were so wonderfully comfortable I decided to wear them for the rest of the day. Then I ate a cookie. Then I took a nap. I think they are broken.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

my so called life

I took Lars to his nine month well check a couple of days ago. The timing of his appointment worked out with Jeff's class schedule so that I could leave the girls and just take Lars. (small perk of living on campus for b.school) I packed him up and walked to Harvard Square for his appointment.

Now, I am not sure exactly what I was expecting, but when you hear Harvard University Health Services ... you know. It's Harvard! What I was not expecting was to walk in to 1994. The office was decorated in thin plastic gold frames pictures and teddy bear picnic wall decals. Fluorescent lights. I got a variety of photo copied hand outs. Some from books. From books! They had Sesame Street stickers. (Have they not heard of Yo Gabba Gabba??) The doctor was an older lady with her hair in a banana clip, wearing cream tights with cream loafers and a calf length floral dress. It was kind of hilarious. Luckily, she actually seemed to know what she was talking about and she personally administered his flu shot. She was pretty quick with the needle too. And I appreciated that.

The walk alone with my boy was lovely, but the time travel was even better.