The Death of Comedy

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….a small, blue planet teemed with life. The planet was inhabited by bipedal creatures called human beings. Human beings possessed remarkable intelligence. They harnessed the power of fire, and they invented the wheel. They created a series of complex languages, so they could communicate with one another. They turned these spoken languages into a system of symbols, a written language. They wrote books in thanksgiving of their Creator. They wrote books about the world around them. They wrote books to entertain and convey emotion. They also created music. They created music in thanksgiving of their Creator. They created music about the world around them. They created music to entertain and convey emotion. Emotion was important to human beings because they viewed love and loss as a distinctly human condition. They laughed. They cried. They took pleasure in irony, and they labeled this gift humor. They prized humor because it facilitated laughter.

Until, one day, someone wrote a book called This Is What Offends Me. The book contained a list of topics deemed too sensitive for humorous discussion, like religion, race, and political beliefs. Not all religions were deemed sensitive, only some. Not all races were deemed sensitive, only some. Not all political beliefs were deemed sensitive, only some. The human beings who didn’t find their religions, races, and political beliefs in the book became offended. They suggested the book shouldn’t exist, but they were rebuffed. Since their arguments against the book fell on deaf ears, they decided to add their religions, races, and political beliefs to the book as well. Other topics were added to the book. Diseases. Cultures. Foods that represented cultures. Colors. Genders. Sexual orientation. The book grew…and grew…and the book grew some more.

Some time later, a funny human being walked across the stage to a microphone. The funny human being had never read the book. He began to tell jokes about religion, race, and political beliefs. He even told a joke about a disease called cancer. A few human beings, who hadn’t read the book either, began to laugh. The rest of the human beings in the audience were silent, except one. He jumped into the air and shouted, “Religion is no laughing matter. Race is no laughing matter. Political beliefs are no laughing matter. Cancer, certainly, is no laughing matter. Do you honestly think this is funny?” The funny man didn’t know what to say. No, he didn’t think these topics were funny. He never did, and they never were. That wasn’t the point. The human beings had forgotten that humor was intended to give comfort during the uncomfortable, power to the powerless. The world was a scary, cold, dark place. Humor allowed human beings to laugh during times of sorrow and face the scary world together, despite their petty differences. 

The funny man told a few more jokes. The human beings, who hadn’t read the book either, were too afraid to laugh. The room was silent once again. One by one, the human beings in the audience left. The funny man was alone, so he returned to his home. For the funny man, this was a sad day because he never told another joke.

Then, on the saddest day of all the sad days…a priest, a rabbi, and a minister walked into a bar and didn’t speak.

Archiving

Okay, I’ll admit it, I like to scrapbook. I like to write books, I like to archive, I like to keep memories organized. When I found out I was pregnant, I nested like many moms, but I also started doing the Pinterest thing about how to organize children’s massive amount of memories.

My name is Stella, and I’m a storage solution junkie. I wanted to make sure I had a way to keep all of the things that moms keep for their children, but to do it in a way that had meaning and “a place” in our home. I made myself a resolution that I would properly record those items that I’m keeping and why, so that one day when my son gets his own home, and he takes his things, that he understand the meaning of them.

So all those little overalls, or blankies, and now first birthday party knick-knacks – I’ve taken the time to write them down in small batches rather than waiting until he gets older and trying to tackle the task. I try to find an hour sit down and make sure that I don’t become overrun with all of the wee guy’s stuff.

Once a month I take all of the “special items” and take quick photographs of them. This doesn’t have to be crazy professional. I had a leftover 16×20 canvas from a pack that I’d bought – I put that plain white background on the floor and start putting things on it, and taking pictures. Then I download them and start using my favorite online-anything-of-all-time, Mixbook.

They aren’t paying me or anything to say this: I love Mixbook. GO THERE: NOW. Www.Mixbook.com  (Wait, finish reading this post first, k?)

Yep, it’s takes a little bit of time out of my day – but I schedule my Monday lunch time at work each week to take the photos from the month, upload them to Mixbook and write a paragraph about what the object is and why it’s special.

I have three books that I do this for. I keep one for his artwork – I don’t usually write in this one, I just take pictures of all the art, and will end up weeding the “less special ones” out later, but this way I can keep them all somewhere! Then I keep one for our Christmas ornaments. As we’ve only been married a few years, I know the origin of most of our family ornaments. Assuming one day that we’ll pass these down to my son, I like to have a story of where we got it and why it’s on our Christmas tree.  Finally, the one that takes most of my lunch hour is the “special things” – these are the onesies that I can’t bear to donate, the teddy bears or toys that are beyond recognition after being loved to death, the first birthday candle that I’ve preserved. That way, as I pack these items away in storage, I can include their reasons in a book that I can print later.

I also use Mixbook for our yearly photo albums, travel books and doing some of my own picture books that I’ve put together for my kiddo. It’s very simple to use and they have many sales that make sure the books don’t break my budget. The platform is extremely simple to use, and it’s great to keep a log without having to pull out all of the scissors, glue, tape, stickers and machines that I used to do when I was younger, and had more energy, and time, and naps…yeah, you know, my youth.

So please enjoy this site, make your memories, and then use this to make sure you pass them on!

 

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First Birthday Party Lessons Learned

by Stella Forth

Yep, he turned 1. I know I’m supposed to say “Where did time go?”, but it really feels more like “Wow, we survived and did pretty darn good to have this somewhat well rounded really happy and healthy kid.”

But as a mom, you know it, you plan things. You get the perfect picture and put together the printed invitation and then you send it to everyone and hope for RSVPs. Then you have to find the cake – or cupcakes. This was actually quite the discussion between myself and my husband. Do we get a smash cake and a big cake? Or do we get a small smash cake for him and many cupcakes. Then we found a bakery that does minicupcakes. Now we have mini cupcakes, big cake, cupcakes or small cakes to choose from. Seriously? So then we debated mini cupcakes vs. regular cupcakes – would parents be offended if their 4 year old had a mini cupcake allotted for him rather than a regular cupcake and what if we ran out? Then, what if we had hot dogs and sausages and hot dogs for kids and sausages for adults but then if adults ate hot dogs, and should we have a vegetarian or gluten free option? (For the record, we love to host, but I despise not being able to have options for those folks who need or want them) Then you have to have a banner and cupcake toothpick decoration thingys (what are those called Etsy!?) and then you have a 1st birthday candle (and OMG, will he try and touch the flame?) and how to do you time said events on the day of? and dear Lord husband did you put extra TP in the guest bathroom? Then you go on Pinterest AGAIN just so you can feel inadequate at adulting.

So the day of you get up, the husband gets up, and you are so thankful that the object of celebration slept in an hour extra, because now you’ve arranged flowers (yes. you did.) and sent the hubster out for ice, cupcakes, more sausage (yes, his birthday was a sausage fest). Then you make sure candles are lit, dogs have peed (because kids are afraid of big dogs and must be kenneled during the festivities!) and then you have to…I don’t know…whiz some make up and a comb through your hair and pretend like this all came together effortlessly despite having lost weight during the morning alone of sweating it out over boil hot dogs and cooking up sausages and making sure you can fit 4 boxes worth of cupcakes and cake into your fridge while making sure the potato salad gets made and stays salmonella free during the preparations.

Then you party. We threw parties. Yep, you saw that, plural. Because you have the kid party – you know the download of all the friends who have small children to gather round and bring all the toys together to the center of a room for some sort of mosh pit celebration and then you rip your kid out, put him in a high chair and let him squeeze buttercream through his paws until it makes a trendy chocolate facial on his face and then everyone goes “awh!” and then you awkwardly sit in the middle and open up his gifts for him because he’s so excited about the truck that you bought him weeks ago that he just now noticed instead of the amazing cars and books and things that his friend’s parents have gone out on their own crazy busy schedule to buy so you can celebrate the coming of age numero uno that your kid has no idea what it means or why these people are all up in his kool aid and don’t know the flavor….and by the way (run on sentence, don’t care), what the heck is kool aid he wonders.

Then you have the adult party – where your adult friends get together on the actual day of your kids birth and you drink the margaritas and say “YAY! You have survived Parenthood: Year 1!” and you smash cake in your kids face again, because let’s be honest, that’s cute.

 

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A Boys’ Life

Two nights ago, I was sitting on the patio with my husband. My son shouted, “Look Mommy! A dead frog.” Words every mother yearns to hear. I looked to my left, just in time to see the petrified carcass of a frog hurtle through the air and skid across the patio to my feet. I must say that the body of the frog was remarkably well preserved. I briefly considered sending the frog to the Museum of Natural Science and History for their “Mummies of the World” exhibit. Needless to say, my son’s hands were scrubbed thoroughly before dinner.

The following night, I was cleaning up the kitchen after our meal. My husband burst through the back door and announced, “Honey, I need a plastic container for keeping worms.” Excuse me, come again? He began ransacking the Tupperware cabinet. Yes, that’s right. He fully intended to use the Tupperware, that I normally use for leftovers, as an earthworm receptacle. Luckily, we found a plastic container that once housed Crystal Light packets for the job. Then, both he and my son ventured into the yard to collect earthworms. After my husband had found a worm, my son excitedly exclaimed, “Good job, Daddy!” Sigh. Boys.

Why were they collecting earthworms? I asked myself that very question. Apparently, they had decided to go fishing the following day. The worms stayed in my refrigerator overnight, which was lovely. They loaded up the truck with their fishing poles and equipment. My husband looked at me and asked, “Honey, are you sure you don’t want to come with us?” Nope. I watched the truck reverse down the driveway. Then, I enjoyed about five hours of frog-free, worm-free peace and quiet.

My Baby turned One.

by Stella Forth

So a week or so ago, my kid turned one. Which we celebrated (post on that coming later), but I just wanted to take a selfish moment and say “Yay, I survived 365 days of Parenthood.”

I can’t believe it sometimes that I wasn’t a mom. That I had a life before picking up toys and making sure I bought goldfish and panicking when the teensiest fever showed up. Now I’m licking sippy cup tops and wiping cheeto dust and running around at playgrounds like a pro.

I learned how to be a Mom. While I had the advice of other parents and mentors to help, I’d like to think I did pretty well on my own. I had to make decisions and I had to take this mini-human through the first year of life on my own gut feel. For someone who has an inferiority-complex, that was daunting. What if I messed up? What if I just insured that my kid would be spending money on therapy in the future?

I may have messed up. In fact I’m sure I did. Many times. But this time, I’m learning that it’s okay, and that we’re learning together. This time it’s with this perfect little being who looks to me to help guide him to be the best version of him, not the version of him I want him to be. I love seeing who he’s becoming. I love that he started solids and didn’t like eggs, but liked eggs off of my plate with green onions, hoisin sauce, kimchi and sriracha. I mean, what kid does that?

My kid does. I don’t want to look back and say I have a miniature version of myself. I want to look back with him, and have him know that I listened twice as much as I spoke – even when he didn’t quite have the words to tell me yet.

I love how much more “human” he’s becoming. He has always been a fairly laid-back kid, but now more than ever, he’s starting to voice his opinion. He’s laughing and screaming spontaneously, and starting to use “words” when we’re doing something. He’s connecting the dots on cause and effect – when I open the car door, he knows we’re off on an adventure. He knows when he sees the big red circle sign we’re about to lose our wallet at the store (Okay, not really, but he knows Target has toys!) I love that he loves to play and hug and interact with others, and isn’t shy about stepping out on his own.

I know changes are coming, and this opinion of his may end up being a little tough to take at times. I know that finding the balance between parenting and letting him be his own person will be difficult. But I’m taking every day as is comes, realizing one day we won’t be “here”, and we’ll be somewhere else in our journey together.

Happy Birthday doodle.

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