(Un)popular Opinion: I hate Valentine’s Day.

I can hear you now. “Not another bitter, single woman’s rant.” Well hang on a second, because it’s not. I don’t dislike it because I’m jealous. I dislike it because it shows just how out of whack our romantic priorities are.

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We all know Valentine’s Day in grade school was the bomb. We were all in it together. We agonized over the perfect valentine cards for our friends, ensuring that our girlfriends got the best ones, that the cutest one went to the cutest boy and we didn’t send anything too sappy to the other boys so as to not make them think we like them when we don’t. Come on, I know that wasn’t just me. You gave a valentine to everyone and knew you’d be receiving one from each of you classmates. The room moms (looking at you, mom, Mrs. Norris and Mrs. Mundo!)  would come in the afternoon, help you wrap your shoe box to turn it into your Valentine’s Day mailbox and that’s when the party started. I never saw more red, pink and white in my life than I did during a grade school Valentine’s Day party and my favorite color used to be pink! There were sweets galore and I don’t know about you, but we always used Twizzlers with the ends bitten off to drink our cherry Sprite. If I still enjoyed sweets, you bet I’d be drinking cherry Sprite with a Twizzler straw next week. We always played cheesy games like “Pin the Arrow on Cupid” or whatever our mom’s came up with in our pre-Google childhood. Literally the best.

bernie-dancing

And then you get older and suddenly you’re qualifying your worth based on whether or not you have a Valentine. WHY?! I remember seeing girls show off or cry in high school over what their boyfriend did or didn’t do for Valentine’s Day. WHY?! I watch my peers actively mope AS ADULTS over the fact that they aren’t doing anything for Valentine’s Day. WHY?! I honestly don’t get it.

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I’m sure some of you are questioning what my Valentine’s Days have looked like since grade school. Perhaps that would give us a clue as to why the flipping out and sadness does not compute to me. Well I’ll tell you. I’ve never had a super over-the-top romantic Valentine’s Day and I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I did. Receiving gifts is my last love language. It’s weird. It’s like having “Happy Birthday” sung to you. What do you do during the 20 seconds everyone’s whaling at you? I just stare into the candles, smile uncomfortably and pretend to think of a wish.
High school: I vaguely remember exchanging candy with friends over lunch. I always brought boxes of Conversation Hearts. Forever my favorite. RIP sweet tooth.
Freshman year: Couldn’t tell ya.
Sophomore year: Nada. Gab might have been in town.
Junior year: This one I remember. The guy I was dating at the time and I agreed not to make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day. I bought him a funny card and I think I gave him candy? Maybe it was something Batman? He made me a card with TSwift lyrics and bought me a singing Valentine. I still have the card in a box of important things from college. I appreciate effort.
Senior year: Gab, Becca, Cat, Carrie and I went to dinner at Italian Village. Seriously so fun.
2014: I think I gave my students some candy that I probably got in trouble for.
2015: Crickets. The day before, Lisa, Colleen and I had gone to Howl at the Moon’s Love Sux party to which we didn’t have to pay cover if we brought in a defaced picture of an ex.
2016: Spent Valentine’s weekend visiting my sister with my mom. Saturday, Sam drove up from Tampa to spend the day with me and Sunday we had breakfast with Abbey and her mom.
2017: It’s a Tuesday night so I’ll likely be on my couch eating takeout with mom and watching Dance Mom’s like we do every Tuesday.

aint-even-mand

Valentine’s Day is just weird, people. I don’t know why I’m supposed to feel less than because I’m not sharing it with a significant other. I’ve always been a huge proponent of BYOB: Be Your Own Bae and that isn’t going to stop now. Huge gestures freak me out. I can watch the scariest of movies and laugh hysterically but big Valentine’s Day plans are honestly terrifying. So you all can have your dozens of roses, decadent dinners and extravagant gifts. I have a date with the ALDC.

shrug-3

It’s just another Tuesday,
Chellie ❤

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“Wait, so how’d you lose the weight?”

Dieting is legitimately the worst. You know what’s also the worst? The fact that it’s cheaper to eat like shit than it is to eat healthy. At one point McDonald’s was marketing their Happy Meals as “$1.99 Family Time.” Two dollar dinner? Check. Done. But when I go to the store for groceries to make lunch for A WEEK for ONE PERSON and I’m spending $70 on veggies, fruit, meat and yogurt, something is wrong. And so we don’t eat like we should. Sure, there are an abundance of other factors that go into weight than just the food: eating at the same time every day, working out, getting enough sleep, limiting stress, increasing your water intake, etc…. But if you can do all of that consistently, I want to meet you. Seriously tell me your secrets because even though my resolution is to get my shit together, I don’t think I could ever be that together.

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Growing up, I tried every sport under the sun. I was always running around, goofing off, never stopped moving unless it was to read. I could eat LITERALLY whatever I wanted and I wouldn’t gain weight. It was the best. My thighs were a little bigger than some of my peers and they did “the thing” when I sat down, but I never really worried about it. My metabolism remained unchanged until senior year of college when my eating habits and all of the other factors finally caught up to me. Feeling 22 kicked my butt. I was taking 18 credit hours both semesters, writing my capstone paper, working 40 hours per week across three jobs, involved in four student organizations, trying to find a job after graduation, attempting to maintain personal and professional relationships…. I could go on and on. I could never eat at the same time every day.  When I could eat, it was usually greasy sandwiches/subpar pizza from the Cyber or my friends and I would go get dinner at 10:00 PM because we realized we hadn’t eaten since breakfast. I honestly don’t know when I’d sleep…a few hour naps here and there between 2:00-4:00 AM in the reading room and then having to rewrite the last paragraph of whatever I was working on because It likely made no sense and usually had a “adf;ljk;e4rh rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr” at the end from falling asleep on the keyboard.

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Fast forward. I got an interview, bought a suit, landed a job, moved away, found myself in the midst of what I thought was my dream job. As most of you who’ve followed this blog since the beginning know…it was not. I moved three hours away from my family (yes, I know that’s not far), I knew a total of one person in the place that I moved and I lived alone. Not the most ideal of situations. My days were so draining physically, mentally and emotionally, that after an unhealthy school cafeteria lunch, I’d come home and eat popcorn for dinner because I would rarely have the energy to cook anything. One night a week, I’d go to lunch with a friend and it was usually cheeseburgers or too many tacos. Such was life. My boss even pointed out in a meeting that I’d put on a lot of weight that year. Yikes! Not my finest hour.

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I came home, worked three part time jobs and all but lived in my car because I was either driving to work, driving for work, or driving home from work. Too many unhealthy and quick lunches on those drives. And then I found the job I have now. It’s been a constant ebb and flow as to whether I pack a lunch for a while and then go out for a while. At this time last year, in an effort to shed some of my many extra pounds, I wasn’t eating carbs and working out a ton. I increased my water intake and limited my “extracurriculars” in an effort to get more sleep. It didn’t help. The weight would not budge. And then I got sick…

I found myself victim to a bout of tonsillitis that would not go away. How annoying! I mean, life could be so much worse, but whoomp there it is. I stopped working out because I couldn’t breathe and my throat hurt so much that surely it was going to kill me. Nothing quite like choking on your own exhales, am I right?

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So I made an appointment with an ENT and we decided that the best course of action was to remove the tonsils and the adenoid (did you know there’s only actually one? I didn’t) for good measure as that was likely the reason I couldn’t exhale properly. In order to avoid missing work, I had them removed the day before Thanksgiving. For the first 24 hours post-op, I couldn’t have been doing better. I was up, spending time with my sister who’d flown in from Florida, eating a few bites of macaroni and cheese. The queen of the comeback. I was ready to return to work Monday and prove everyone wrong that said I was going to need more time. But as Thanksgiving wore on, my body (without my permission) shifted into reverse. I got up from the table, leaving my barely picked at mashed potatoes behind, and took up residency on the couch. My family, the never ending teasers that they are, had all kinds of things to say about my attempts to rest but I didn’t have the energy to give it right back. My throat had never hurt so much. The small sips of water I could manage were so excruciating, I thought my throat was shredded and that I must be bleeding out.

not-fair

By 6:00 the next morning, I couldn’t even get my medicine down. It already tasted terrible and cutting it with water didn’t make the process any more manageable. I had commitments I needed to honor that morning but asked mom to take me to the ER after I’d finished. Apparently I looked as bad as I felt and mom knew I knew something was wrong if I was asking to be taken to the ER, but obviously I wasn’t quite aware of the severity as I wasn’t putting the ER ahead of things I’d promised to do. So off to the ER we went. I had no more voice and needed mom to explain to everyone what was wrong. I knew I was dehydrated and expected a banana bag (not to be confused with a banana hammock. It was in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Season two, episode six. “Into You Like a Train.” Educate yourselves.), some anti-inflammatories and to be sent on my way, freeing up the bed for someone who really needed medical attention.

Much to my surprise, they admitted me. To the peeds wing no less. Actually that wasn’t the tough part at all. I had my own room with my own nurse, I was one of three people on the floor and it was quiet, not that one gets any actual rest in the hospital. I expected to be there overnight for observation and go home in the morning. Surprise again, I stayed for three nights. I choked down a few bites of cream of wheat and strained soup (yum—not), watched my former students play for the state title, played games on my iPad and cried (not surprisingly) because I was still in copious amounts of pain. By day three of my four day stint in peeds, I noticed that I looked different, smaller slightly. When I got home from the hospital, I got on the scale. I’d lost 29 pounds.

tinkerbell

It must have been water weight…but do you really have that much? Even though I’d escaped my pediatric prison, I still couldn’t swallow without immense difficulty. I was still on a liquid diet. What did that look like? Lots of water for hydration + Starbucks for calories. By the weekend, I was willing to try soft foods so mom and I headed to my favorite breakfast place for blueberry pancakes. Much to my chagrin, they were not in the least bit palatable. I’d never tasted blueberries so “off” in my life. I knew they weren’t REALLY off as the texture was as it should be. What a disappointment. One thing I could choke down was chicken nuggets. Not just any chicken nuggets, however, but Wendy’s nuggets got me through. Mom bought some home for me with a Coke, the greatest of all carbonated beverages. One sip later I was handing it back to my mom. It tasted awful so it must have been mom’s Diet Coke. In disbelief, she handed me hers. It tasted exactly the same so she sampled mine. After repeatedly assuring me mine was, in fact, regular, I ended up throwing it away. So what’s the tally now? Fruit tastes old (I had tangerines and strawberries that tasted as poorly as the blueberries) and pop tastes diet. What else could have been done to my palate? Let me tell you. Chocolate tastes like wax, Jell-o tastes like dirt, I don’t even know how to describe bacon other than bad, ice cream tastes like sadness.

crying

According to my ENT, all of this is normal and should come back eventually. Sure that sounds great when I think about the fact that I’m 60 pounds down from when I went to the ER, but all I’ve wanted for two months straight is a root beer float. All of my clothes are too big, which is cool until you realize what it costs to recreate your wardrobe. Additionally, my stomach must have shrunk while I couldn’t eat because now eating three full meals makes me sick. I’m lucky if I can eat two. Maybe I’ve stopped boredom snacking. But when I’m hungry I eat. What do I eat? Meat, veggies, cheese and bread mostly. I force myself to eat fruits because while they taste icky, I know I still need them. Everything else? Bye! Mom says I’ll eat sweets again once they taste good. I disagree, well not regularly anyway. Do you know how hilarious it is to explain how I lost this weight to people? I’ve literally done NOTHING. I still eat when I’m hungry, I just don’t eat things that taste like shit to me now.

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So in recap, if you really want to lose weight without doing anything:
–Have your tonsils removed**
–Be admitted to the hospital for four days for dehydration**
–Consume only water + eggnog lattes for ten days**
–Only eat meat, veggies, cheese and bread FOREVER**

**I in no way actually recommend this diet for anyone. This was crazy extreme and isn’t fun. I’m not even running yet.

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But there you have it. The story of how I got to the point where I could lose that much weight by cutting out sweets and literally doing nothing else and not wasting away to nothing.

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“Pics or it didn’t happen!”
My face is still chubby and I still don’t know how to do hair but there ya go.

Sixty pounds and counting,
Chellie ❤

 

I Resolve…

resolution

I don’t remember the last time I made a resolution for New Years. If I had to offer my best guess, I’d have to say it was easily in elementary school. It was probably written on a piece of paper accompanied by a poor-quality drawing that attempted to capture my forced goal for the year, hung on a classroom wall and probably stuck for about a week…or as long as I could see it in class reminding me that I said I was going to do whatever it was.

This year I’ve somewhat made a resolution…after reading a ton of others’ resolutions. Is it cheating? I don’t think so. I’m calling it “resolution research.” I didn’t even realize that’s what I was doing. I came across some interesting and oddly specific resolutions this year during my involuntary resolution research across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and several blogs I follow. Some of my personal favorites:

  • Run a 5K without dying (I feel you!)
  • Read one book a week (I honestly wish I had the time to do that)
  • Save $5,342.62 (I found this goal, though not always so specific, across several resolution lists. Seems legit, right? However most of these individuals don’t pay for their own housing or student loans. Think of the money one could save without needing to pay for that first…)
  • Eat less bacon
  • Stop overthinking (best of luck, my friend!)
  • Increase my relationship status from Forever Alone to Slightly Desperate (ooookay)
  • Learn how to clone Nutella (but why? So you don’t have to pay for it?)

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I could go on and on, but I won’t. Just know that I thoroughly enjoyed all of these and wish you so much luck as you embark on these. I don’t think I actively made my resolution. I think it was a split second decision which I rarely ever make. When I make a decision, it takes a while. Pros and cons have been weighed. I’ve consulted the wisest sources at my disposal. But there it was scrolling through my head like a stock ticker on CNN…”Get your shit together.”

carol

But it was a statement, not an exclamation. I’m not even sure what this means for me yet. A lot of my shit is together. *insert sassy/customer service emoji girl here* I have a fantastic job, I pay my student loan bills on time, I have fantastic friends that I see on a semi-regular basis, I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight recently, I don’t eat sweets, water is my go-to beverage, I can travel whenever I want. What more could a girl want?

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So in my quest to “get my shit together,” I’m packing my lunch three to four days a week, I lay out my outfit including shoes and accessories the night before, I don’t eat when I’m bored (you’d be surprised how “not hungry” you actually are), I do my hair and makeup before work, I refill my 20 fl oz Kate Spade tumbler with ice water AT LEAST three times per day, I focus on learning at least one new thing each day (which is greatly helped by my Italian language calendar. Today I learned L’Italia ha venti regioni or that Italy has twenty regions. It bolsters my knowledge of Italian language plus it’s a fact that I didn’t know prior to tearing off yesterday’s sentence at 8:15 this morning).

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So I don’t really know where this is going. It’s a work in progress. But I’m hoping my packed lunches, pre-planned outfits, styled hair, made up face, increased hydration and intentional hydration don’t fizzle out by the middle of next week. Sure, it’s easy not to eat sweets when they no longer taste delicious (though I miss the frothy goodness of a good root beer float), but re-trigger the bored eating and even too much veggies and hummus could pack the pounds on anyone. I’m feeling much less stressed because I’m focusing my energy on these little things. Every day I come home from work,pack my lunch for the next day and figure out what I’m going to wear. I check in with myself to see if I’m actually hungry or I just think I should be eating while watching Corrine embarrass herself and all of us on The Bachelor. I take my cup to the kitchen as my computer boots up so I can boot up my hydration game alongside my caffeine breakfast. I change my calendar in hopes of being offered a new piece of knowledge in case I ever find myself on Jeopardy and because I just love learning. We’ll see how this goes…

With Resolve,
Chellie ❤

Letters to Me|Ages 12-15

Where do I even begin? Well if I were to divide my life into stages, these four years would be in a class if their own. Junior high + freshman year of high school. It sounds dramatic, but honestly they were the four worst years of my life. After spending six years at Holy Ghost in a class where everyone got along and had each other’s backs, mom + dad pulled my sister + I out of our “home.” That fall we started at Our Lady of Grace which was the exact opposite.

Junior high is such a formative period in a person’s life. You’d hope this is everyone’s awkward phase and we’d metaphorically pat each other on the head and move along. But that wasn’t the case. It was my awkward phase for sure. I was an average height, glasses-wearing nerd who played sports and couldn’t figure out how to shave her legs without them looking like they’d gone through a paper shredder. Not to mention I desperately wanted to be Lizzie McGuire.

No one at school wanted to be my friend. Quite the contrary. I’d get my homework + gym clothes stolen, mean notes were left in my desk + sent online, Mean Girls-esque three-way calling attacks happened weekly, chewed gum was thrown at me on field trips kickballs were thrown at me at recess…. My favorite was having my lunch (half a sandwich, carrots fruit + milk) made fun of. I’ve never been a stick, but I did have toned muscle from all the sports I played. A six pack and quads are not normal for a sixth grade girl. So I started eating my lunch in the bathroom before I eventually stopped eating lunch all together. Kids are brutal. I’m terrified of having them in fear of this happening to them or worse…them doing this to someone else.

By the time I got to Marian,  I’d withdrawn so far into myself that I didn’t really know how to make friends + felt so distant from my old friends who were now at Marian with me. Sure I still talked to people but I had so many walls up that none of the connections were genuine. Nothing like three years of being told you’re not good enough and not worth anything to make you believe that you’re not worthy of having people in your life who care about you. And so that miserable year came and went without any real positive memories.

By the end of the year, I was sure I was not going to continue my high school education there. One of the local public schools was slowing out of district students to pay to attend. My dad said he’d pay for me to go there if I wanted. Even out of district, it would still have been cheaper than Marian. It came down to me signing a paper and I’d be attending a new school, but in the end I couldn’t do it. Starting over is hard and I’d already done or twice. Who could say that this would be any better? I decided to stick to the known evil. Years later I can say it ended up working in my favor but then it was a different story of course. That said…

Dear Shellie/Chellie (I “officially” changed the spelling of my name about a month into my freshman year),

I would say happy 15th year, but I know it isn’t particularly happy. You haven’t thrown a party since your 12th birthday. I know it was a bummer that you, Katie, Stacy + Emily all grew apart. It’s tough to maintain friendships when you attend different schools, are part of different teams + don’t drive yet. The time you hung out with Katie this year felt so foreign. She’d made new friends after you left. You were hoping you’d pick up right where you left off, but you’re both different people now.

I know you feel alone every day at school. I know you wish you were homeschooled. I know not making the cheerleading team was devastating. I know you like a boy who doesn’t like you back + he’s very mean to you about it. It sucks + I’m really sorry you have to go through this. It sounds so silly + I know you won’t believe me, but I swear it’ll get better. I know you’re thinking about transferring, but you’re not actually going to go through with it. And that’s okay!

Next year you’re going to meet your best friend. She’s going to understand you better than anyone else ever has up until this point. You’re going to gain so many opportunities by staying at Marian. It’s going to be great. It will take you to Mexico on a service trip , affect your college decision + major choice + bring you a fantastic circle of friends. But more on that later…

Because you went to OLG, you’re going to meet two boys. I know your first kiss was AWFUL and that you’re hoping your next is better. I’m going to tell you right now: neither is “the one.” One of them is just a general butthead who probably will never know what he missed out on but that’s okay. I think he’s found his way + that he’s happy. That’s all that matters. The other is really going to mess you up. Like really. The on again off again friendship/friends with benefits cycle you find yourself in between breakups is annoying + stressful but you put up with it because you care and genuinely believe him when he says he’s going to marry you one day. Well you’re not getting married. The way things finally end for you is going to make wanting to be in a relationship again the furthest thing from your mind. But you needed these two and I wouldn’t ever tell you to avoid them because the lessons they taught me are invaluable. At 25 you’ll meet someone, but it’s not going to work out. Among everything, he’s not ready. It’s a major bummer and it’s going to hurt. A lot. But you care about him deeply and want whatever makes him happy, even if it’s not you. What I know at a month into 26 is that everyone is mostly the same but with different faces.

There are exceptions to this rule. Let me tell you about my weekend. Thursday I took a half day and boarded a plane with four other girls and met a sixth at our destination airport. After several months of planning, I’m on vacation at Disney with some of my favorite people + closest friends. These girls truly are the best. They’re not just the girls you party with. They’re the ones you spend two hours laughing + talking over pizza about anything + everything. When they ask me how I am or how a situation is going, they genuinely care + want to hear my honest answer even if it’s not pretty or happy. They all give me something I need to balance out each part of me. One of them (I’ll let you discover for yourself who) is always going to tell me like it is in the bluntest way and I appreciate it more than she’ll ever know. They all bring out the best in me to the point I’m able to enjoy this trip without travel or “outsider” anxieties or bringing the stress of a situation happening at home on vacation with me.

There’s nothing more valuable than a good group of girlfriends that will always have your back. You’ve always had good individual friends but this circle is something else. If this is what adult friendships are supposed to be like, then I am all about it.

I’m somewhat sorry I can’t tell you I’m a married kindergarten teacher with a kid already just because I know how badly you wanted that for me. I’ve gotten to a point where I feel like “I guess I’m just going to be by myself.” I’m not exactly thrilled about it but to be perfectly honest, as long as the people I care about are in happy + healthy relationships, I’m okay being alone. It is what it is. Some people have to be alone. Every wedding has a bitter single person. I’m down with taking on that role. But it’s good. I’m good. You’re good. We’re good. Hang in there, baby. It doesn’t just  get better..it gets AMAZING!!!!!!!

Love,

Chellie ❤️

This is the Last Time We’re Talking About This.

I thought I’d made this clear. I thought we were done with this. I blogged about this back in May. But the last few weeks have proved that people are not hearing me. At. All. For the very last time…

I DON’T TEACH ANYMORE.

I’m serious. I don’t want to hear about how I “don’t know what the future will bring.” I don’t want to be told “something could still come up.” No, I don’t know what the future will bring. I didn’t know that two years ago either. When I left the school I taught it, I still wanted to teach. But guess what? That’s not in the cards for me anymore. And…

THAT’S OKAY.

I didn’t choose the insurance life. It chose me. And even when I started here, I thought I’d still go back to teaching. I told my boss and my coworkers that in the interview. And that was okay. But a year ago yesterday I was offered this job, and I came to find that it was a blessing in disguise. Next Wednesday I’ll celebrate my first year as a BCS employee. And…

I’M REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THIS.

So I’d REALLY appreciate it if you could:

  • Stop asking when I’m going to start looking at schools again.
  • Stop asking if I still work in insurance.
  • Stop suggesting grad schools.
  • Stop questioning if I’m really being fulfilled.
  • Stop telling me I’ve let you down.
  • Stop telling me you expected more from me.
  • Stop telling me I’m making a huge mistake.

SERIOUSLY GUYS. JUST STOP. 

I stressed myself into a nosebleed yesterday. The last time I had a nosebleed, I took a soccer ball to the face in Miss Fred’s gym class when I was nine. Thank God our gym uniforms were red. Yesterday I had a white shirt on. Not cool. Are we good now? I’m not having this discussion with you again.

Definitively,
Chellie ❤

Letters to Me|Age 6

This is one of the first letters I wrote to myself, but not the very first. Before we get into the letter, let me tell you about six year old me. I was in Kindergarten at Holy Ghost. One could often find me in my red, white and green plaid school jumpers, Peter Pan-collared blouse, red cardigan, red cable knee socks and saddle shoes. That’s right ladies and gentlemen…saddle shoes. I wasn’t into fashion yet, but definitely putting on mom’s makeup and very well I might add. 

My two closest friends in class were Katie and Stacy. I knew Stacy before school started as we used to play together after mass at St. Jude. Katie and I met in Miss Madden’s class and became friends immediately. I remember being devastated that I couldn’t go to her birthday party at her tumbling gym that year because my cousins were celebrating their birthday that same weekend. But many a weekend was spent at one house or another talking about boys, school, once we argued about the words from the communion song we heard at all school mass that morning. #CatholicSchoolProblems. 

I was also a Kindergartener who could read before school started. I’m not talking sight words, people. Like give me The Foot Book and I’ll read the crap out of it to you. Miss Madden didn’t believe my mom when she told her. Boy, was she surprised. 

Being a half-dayer, playtime was super important to me. Katie, my frienemy Stephanie and whomever else wanted to play with us could always be found in the kitchen area. I’m sure due to my being the oldest, I was always the mom. But the boys never wanted to play so I was a single mom WITH A BOYFRIEND. I literally didn’t know a single single mother at the time so I’m not sure where that came from… But every day we’d use the pom-pons from the dress up box as feather dusters and “clean the house.” Then I’d call my “boyfriend” with the wooden phone and tell him I was coming over and that “when you see a black limo,” (that I drove myself apparently) “you’ll know it’s me.” And I would “drive” to see my boyfriend and leave my kids at home. What the actual ****?!

So now that you have this super bizarre picture of six-year-old me…
Dear Shelley, (Oh that’s the other thing. The beauty of a nickname is that you can change the spelling. I haven’t written my name like this since I was 9.)

Happy 6th year! I know you had a fabulous time celebrating at Chuck-E-Cheese even though you had to ask the party hostess to move you as far away from Chuck-E’s creepy band as possible and that she had the nerve to spell your name “Shelly.” Insulting. I know you cried on the first day of Kindergarten. As a 25 year old let me tell you, not cool. It’s okay though. Soon you’ll realize that with your last name, you’ll always be at the front when the school year starts! Team Table 1. I know you’re having a tough time adjusting to your scissors because you have to use right-handed ones. So difficult. But that’s Catholic school. Be glad you’re not being forced to write with your right hand, too. Your handwriting will get better, I promise.

One of your most (but not THE most) embarrassing moments happens this year. I’m sorry to tell you this but it’s better you know… You’re going to wet your pants in class. It’s just a normal day, the class just went to the bathroom a few minutes ago and you’re working on a math worksheet and suddenly…you know…you’ve gotta go. When you ask Miss Madden, she says no because you just went as a class. I’m pretty sure your name is probably on the board because you don’t know how to stop talking. Don’t worry. Eventually you’ll learn…somewhat. You’ll ask her two more times and then it’ll happen. It’s okay, I promise! No one laughs at you. Pinky promise! And for the rest of the year, Miss Madden always lets you go when you ask!

You also lose the most teeth out of all 22 of your classmates this year. That’s pretty cool. And you win an art contest. I promise that is the first and last time that’ll happen. Art is not one of our strengths but we like it anyway. You’ll get to take a really cool art class when your older. I don’t want to spoil the magic for you but…it’s not in this country! Just wait!

I don’t remember when you thought you might be married. I’m sorry about that. But I know you think you’ll go out on lots of dates because right now you have lots of “boy friends” and silly crushes on Neal, Casey and Matthew who’s older and totally crushes back. Well you actually don’t but that’s okay. I don’t really know what dating is. It does not look like it did on TV in 1996/1997. You’ve been on a grand total of two dates that were just dates, you didn’t continue to see the person. Let me tell you, they were both REALLY bad. One tries to push you to do something you don’t want to do. Don’t do it! Don’t worry, I didn’t. I’ve got your back, nugget. The other one is with a friend and it’s a rebound…it means you were dating someone else but you broke up and then went out with this guy too fast. To make matters worse, he’s one of your friends. It doesn’t turn out well and changes your friendship. It’s okay. We’re both doing well now. He has a baby now and is engaged–>yes it can actually happen “out of order” but you’ll learn that later.

I should tell you that I’m not married, I don’t have kids and I haven’t saved the world…yet. I promise I’m trying on the last part. The husband and kids? They’re a long way off. It’s okay. I know you’re freaking out. Mom was 28 when she got married but you’ll probably get married later if you do get married. One day after you learn a whole bunch of lessons about how silly boys are even when they’re grown ups, you’ll start to realize that being married isn’t the only thing you can work for. Life isn’t all peaches and cream right now but it’s pretty great. Yes there’s a boy kind of…. You’ll find out when you’re older. I’m still finding out so I can’t tell you yet!

When Grandma, Papa, Grammie and Poppy come for Grandparents’ Day, please hug them extra tight. Don’t pass up on any time with them. I know you love them but love them a little more for me, too. Be nice to your sister. She’s adorable and won’t always be so mean. I mean sometimes she still is. Silly Geminis. So weird. But she becomes your best friend and eventually moves away so make sure you make the most of the time you have. Keep kicking butt in school and enjoy being taller than all the boys. That won’t always be the case. They’re all gonna be taller than you by the fifth grade. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do or be something because you’re a girl. That’s simply not true. Keep singing your Disney songs and enjoy Kindergarten. You don’t get or need a second shot! 

Love,

Chellie ❤

Letters to Me|An Intoduction

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written and a few of the 14 of you who care about this blog have been asking when I’ll write again. Well surprise. I’ve actually been sort of working on this for almost a year. We’re 33 days shy of my 26th birthday (yikes!) and I’ve been thinking about this since my 25th. I’ve been reflecting recently, and today especially, how much my childhood dreams have come true in the most unexpected ways. Every time something comes up that I wished for as a kid, I want someone to take me back in a time machine and find little me yearning for what I have now and let little me know that it’s all going to be okay. 

For example, this morning I was stuck in traffic on my way to mass trying to stay awake as I was in full concert hangover mode. Last night I finally saw 98° and OTown for the first time. As a kid, I never got to go to concerts because mom HATES crowds–which I find incredibly ironic because now we go to Disney once a month, but that’s a story for another letter. I saw one RadioDisney show in the third grade and then didn’t go to my first real concert until Brittani and I saw Switchfoot and ReliantK in high school. Among the dreams that are coming true, I’m checking off my concert bucket list. I couldn’t help but smile through my exhaustion as I headed up I94 in my new-to-me car having a semi-decent hair day in my favorite summer dress driving to the city. Also Nick Lachey had his arm around me for our VIP picture. Don’t worry seven-year-old me, almost-26-year old me is almost cool. Almost. But she’s living your dreams. 

My life is literally as perfect as a middle-class, Midwestern 20-something’s life could be. There are some things I thought I wanted that I don’t have, but it’s okay. Really. Somethings could happen, but don’t need to happen as early as little Chellie wanted them to. Other things aren’t happening and I’m better for them. Sometimes doors need to be shut, locked and have their keys destroyed. And that’s okay. Living in Kindergarten Chellie’s world would be incredibly strange. Sure there are still things that I want (my grandparents to still be living, my friends all in the same city again, no traffic ever), but I’ve been focusing on what I do have and how fabulous it is over the past year and I couldn’t be happier. I’d give anything to ensure Little Chellie knows that. But without a time machine, I’ll settle for these letters I’ve been writing myself.

To Having the Perfect Life, 

Chellie ❤

Marie and I with 98°, OTown, Dream and Ryan Cabrera