Friday, October 26, 2012

The Post of Links

I wrote my first post on December 18th, 2011. Of course, not at A Tea-Tray in the Sky. That first step into the darkside of blogging was somewhere else. I debate linking to old posts all the time. Even though it was only four months, Alice was excellent blog fodder, and I wrote a shit ton of stories about the trials and tribulations of raising her. But ultimately, I decide against it. I don't need my cover to be blown. So, to you fine readers that were fortunate enough to follow along back when Alice wasn't Alice and to the rest of you that have joined in along the way, I say thanks for coming on this journey with me. We've cried. We've laughed. We've drank a lot.

You know when you're watching Young and the Restless and the day's episode is like a wedding or a funeral. You know you're going to spend the whole hour watching a montage of memories. Nothing new is going to happen. You debate not even watching it, why waste an hour of your day, only you do watch it and it sucks. Just like you predicted. It's definitely not a Friday episode where they leave you with a cliffhanger of a car accident, a murder, someone falling through the ice at the lake, and an affair being consummated.

Today's post is kinda like that, a wedding episode. Nothing new, just a bunch of updates.

I love my car. Keyless entry kicks ass. It was everything I'd hoped it would be. And more. You know you've really made it in the world when you can push a button and your car doors unlock. If you happen to be one of those people that can start your car with a push of a button, please just shush. Let me bask in the glory for a little longer. Did I tell you I have heated seats? I warm my ass every chance I get. The hierarchy in my car is quite obvious. Check your ass, if it's cold on the ride to school your ranking in the family is not quite as high as mine.

Remember how I was struggling to get into my book and I wanted to quit but you guys convinced me that giving up was the wrong thing to do? You encouraged me to keep reading and I finally got hooked on Bossypants. Well. I downloaded a book to my iPad the other day. Hangs head in shame. I'm still only 111 pages into Tina Fey's book and I temporarily gave up. I bought Reflected in You by Sylvia Day. Apparently I truly am addicted to trashy novels. I heard the faintest Crossfire chatter on twitter and I was logged into my Amazon account within minutes. Just like that I succumbed to the glorified porn temptation.

As preschool room mom, I'm in charge of the Halloween party. I can't for the life of me understand how I signed up to be room mom, how I agreed to plan parties. I detest planning parties. What was I thinking?! But here I am, planning the hell out of what will be forever known as the best Halloween party the Sprout class ever had. And the Rainbow Potluck Dinner? The Sprout families will be bringing the most purple-est purple food* the school has ever seen. We will put the rest of the classes to shame!

Remember my moss? It's still a sad plot of dirt with random patches of lush green moss. People are not impressed. Oh, but mark my word, they will be. Give it time. Maybe in 2015 people will be impressed. But now, they are all laughing at me. "Crazy Nelly, weeding the dirt again." I'll update you with a new pic so you can have a good laugh as soon as I weed the dirt.

In the northeast we are heading into cold weather. Not there yet, and I'm not rushing it along. But I know with every leaf that falls we are getting a degree closer to cold and snow and ice. He still can't find his coat. And he better not think his absentmindedness gives him the excuse to buy a new one. He's going to have to grin and bear it with lots of layers. Natural consequences of life.

Today marks the fourth day since Alice has had a bath. That's right. She had a bath after swimming class on Monday and she hasn't had one since. Today's Friday. I've noticed paint and yogurt in her hair and it hasn't bothered me one bit. This morning I was finally forced to brush it, the mats were making parts for pigtails impossible. She isn't stinky, yet. I'm sure by tomorrow she will be. You see, it's not a school night so I have no pressing reason to bathe her tonight. It can wait till tomorrow. I guess it's fairly obvious the regular baths I boasted about were just a fad, a novelty to make myself feel like a stellar mom. Really, I'm just average. I still cry there's not enough time in the day.

So there you have it. The wedding episode. A glorious montage of A Tea-Tray in the Sky memories.


*Not me. I'm bringing wine. I'm too lazy to cook.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Only Alice

Hand in hand, I lifted the latch and we entered the tot lot. All around were tricycles, plastic ride on cars, balls, plastic playhouses, and a small playground. I saw the tooth fairy, a bat, Snow White, Anakin Skywalker, a super hero, a baseball player, and numerous other children dressed in their favorite costume. They were all having fun, riding and running, laughing and shrieking. Orange, purple, and black balloons tied to the gazebo greeted us as we walked in. It looked and sounded like a fun birthday party.

Alice, dressed as the most adorable version of one of our favorite characters in Alice in Wonderland, clung to me for dear life. To her the party looked intimidating. Everyone already in play mode, after a long crying fit at home, we were walking in thirty minutes late. After several attempts to ease my daughter out of her shell, I stopped trying. I socialized with the other parents, periodically trying to pry itty bitty fingers from my own. Looking around, all the other children were behaving like "normal" children at a birthday party. Adults were standing around, children were playing together. Not Alice. She bounced from my leg to Hatta's leg, holding tight. Her friends from school called to her.

"Alice! Alice! Come play!"

I encouraged her to play. I reminded her we arrived late and the party would be over before she knew it. I walked with her to the playhouse where her friends were climbing and chatting together. She ignored them and hid further behind my leg. I talked to her friends, hoping she would see me having fun with them and join in. That plan was not successful. Finally as a last ditch effort, I took Alice aside.

"Alice. You know how I tell you that sometimes it's okay to be stubborn and sometimes it's not? How sometimes it gets in the way of you having fun? This is one of those times. You're being stubborn, refusing to play, just because. You know that if you just allow yourself to play you will have fun. These are your friends. You play with them everyday at school. So stop being stubborn and let's play or we are going to have to leave the party early."

I walked with her, holding her hand so she had no choice, to the playground. I made us walk up the steps to the top. And there I encouraged her to go down the slide, promising I would go down right behind her. And finally, just like that, she did it and all was right in the world again. She ran to the steps, climbed to the top, and happily slid down the slide again. She was playing. Upon her insistence, I took my turn down the slide and waited for her at the bottom.

I'm hoping this is what the rest of the party goers saw. My adorable child finally allowing herself to have a good time. You wanna know what I saw?! Naked four year old vagina.

OH! EM! EFFING! GEE! My daughter was dressed head to toe in sparkly tulle, sliding down the slide on her naked ass. I swear, only my child would be devasted because her black bow headband wasn't completely centered on her head but could care less that she was out on the town with her naked parts out there for the world to see. In her crying fit of rage at home, we had neglected underwear. You may remember how my daughter has a fondness for going commando. She wasn't wearing underwear when I helped her dress into her costume and I, just wanting to get out of the house, completely forgot.

Luckily I'm a prepared mom and I had a skort in my bag. I grabbed her hand and walked a bit out of the way of the party, all the while scolding Alice for going out in a dress without underwear. She's four. She has to be aware of these things. I can't possibly be in charge of everything! With the skort slipped discreetly under her costume, Alice was free to run and play.

I have to say, I am a teeny bit worried about Alice's naked vagina showing up in some unsuspecting mother's photo stream. There was this one mom that was blasting her iPhone like she was the paparazzi. Please say my daughter is not on the Lindsay Lohan track.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Strength in Numbers

In everyone's life there are usually a few moments when they feel they can not possibly make it, they can't go on, they just can't do it.

For me, the birth of my daughter comes to mind. By hour twenty I wanted to give up. I didn't think it was humanly possible for me to continue. I didn't know how I was going to endure any more pain, exert any more effort, push any longer. I wanted to quit. I was begging for help. I wanted the doctor to save me from my hell by insisting a caesarean was necessary. I didn't say it out loud, but I wanted to. I imagine many first time marathon runners experience a similar feeling at some point during the race. That point at which you don't think it's even possible to take one more step.

In every scenario it ultimately goes one way or another. Either you take one more step, push one more time or you don't. You either will you body, your mind to go on or you stop.

In my story, the birth of beautiful, stubborn baby Alice was made possible by a wonderful support system. Left to my own devises, I would have quit. I would have waved the white flag insisting someone else do the work I couldn't. Thankfully I had the most supportive and powerful coach in my OB doctor. I can still, four years later, hear her booming voice demanding "Hard as you can! Hard as you can!" She was not allowing me to quit. My doula was at my side just about every minute of the twenty one hours. She made me feel so brave and strong. She showed complete faith in my ability to birth my daughter. Hatta was there, scared and unsure, but in awe of my strength. Together they told me how wonderful I was doing and what an amazing woman I was. I didn't believe them, if I had been doing so wonderful wouldn't she be out by now? But it was still the encouragement I needed to keep pushing. The marathon runner, I imagine if he had to run the race entirely alone completion would be unlikely. Even those that aren't running with friends find strength in the comrades running around them. Together a lot more is possible.

You may remember a few posts ago when I stated I was swimming in heavy, heart crushing thoughts. I'm still there, barely staying afloat. I was informed last night that not everyone enjoys my analogies, and if this is true for you, I really am so sorry, but I'm afraid I'm sticking with the swimming one. For, I am anchored in this pool. All around me, as far as my eye can see is heartache. And I am stuck. I don't know where to go, or even which direction is shortest. I remain where I am, treading water. I know I must swim soon. But where to? I could always swim back to the shallow end, I'll still be stuck in the pool, but at least I know I won't drown. Or I could take a leap and swim toward the edge and hope I make it. Hope I have the strength to swim.

I wish someone else could save me. I want someone to dive in and pull me to safety. End the pain I feel. If only it worked that way. Even though I don't want to, I have to do this on my own as hard is it may be.

What I hope more than anything, is that I have a few people poolside cheering me on, shouting words of encouragement when I need it most. I'm afraid once I start swimming, I may find the journey too treacherous. I may find it easier to quit, allow my head to sink beneath the waterline or swim back to the shallows. I pray that if this happens I have a friend who recognizes the distress I'm in and throw's me a life ring, if even just to momentarily hang on to until I can swim again. I know I will not make it alone.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

For the Love of a Good Book

I always thought I had fantastic followers. I've even bragged a time or two.

Then I go and ask you guys for a favor, a simple request. I needed YouTube help. But did you come to my rescue? No. Write about Alice and her love of bacon and you folks come running out of the woodwork to comment. I guess YouTube is just asking too much. I blame you, and you, but not you cause you did suggest that one video.

I received several responses to the affect of I don't really watch YouTube, don't have the time for it. Well my friends, let me share some facts straight from YouTube's site that make your claim a little shakey.

  • Each minute over 700 YouTube videos are shared on twitter
  • 500 years of YouTube videos are watched every day on Facebook
  • 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • In 2011, YouTube had more than 1 trillion views or around 140 views from every person on Earth
Suffice it to say, I'm not buying your story. I find it hard to believe you are all just like me, lord help the world if you are. I don't think the cosmos could handle another Nelly. I doubt you delete those YouTube forwards your best friend sends you. You likely click the link when the 140 characters catches your attention. And I'm sure you watched the pig saving the goat once it went viral.

My loyal readers you've left me no choice. You put me in a place I didn't want to be. I have been forced to read my book. It topped the New York Times Best Seller list 5 weeks in a row. It's sold over 1 million copies in the US alone. And yet, I am struggling to get into it. It's not one of those books that finds me in bed at one in the morning fully engrossed, still reading. I can't blame the mound of laundry on my good book. But I think it's on the upswing, page 96 and I'm hearing more mentions of Amy Poehler and Saturday Night Live.

Yes, my book is Tina Fey's, Bossypants. It was on my Christmas list in 2011 and I was quite pleased when my Mother In-law bought it for me. It's sat on the book shelf for, jeesh, 9 whole months begging me to read it. I always had fancied up porn other books that were on my must read list. Finally with the end of 2012 creeping up on me and my faithful followers being of no help in my efforts to procrastinate, I'm going to finish my book.

Want a chance to redeem yourself? I'll need a new book soon enough. This time I want something good. Something so good it's obvious when you walk in my house and see the mayhem, I've been at the mercy of an enthralling read. I'm open to anything, kids hunting down kids, glorified porn, or maybe even something seems to be all the rage and I am in the dark.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Colliding Thoughts

Today is a thinking day. I'm not entirely sure why, but my brain refuses to do, only to think. I really wanted to write, help steer my thoughts into a focused direction...but sadly that doesn't appear to be happening. Instead, I find myself staring out the window thinking. I can hear Alice upstairs singing and playing, not napping like she should be. It's just background noise for my rambling thoughts.

Nothing monumental has happened to cause the obscure mood. My mind is like Alice's favorite DVD, "The Milkshake Band." It's scratched and will continuously play and replay certain clips until someone forces the DVD player to skip over the section. It will resume playing breifly until it hits another scratch, again it will loop around and around. The DVD is really useless at this point, but every now and again I give into Alice's insistent pleas and play it, knowing it won't be long until I'm forced to fast forward and skip the fickle disc. That's my thoughts today, worthless and continuously stuck on repeat.

I'm not getting anything accomplished. Before me sits three packages. Normally I love's like adult Christmas! But today the packages sit on the coffee table and I haven't even cared to open them. Amazon goodies and fall clothes for Alice. In time, I'll get to them.

My thoughts center around the usual pickle of a life I call my own, an email I received from a friend, and an uncalled for comment I made to someone who doesn't deserve it. Each sector running around my brain bumping into each other vying for the forefront. Meanwhile, these thoughts are competing with the standard operating thoughts...dinner, laundry, afternoon arts and crafts, dishes, etc. I need to lighten my brain's workload, cut the dead weight. It's clear to me now, I need to let the contents of the email lie. I do not need to analyze and process everything right now. Doing so will not change a thing, it will not set anything in motion, and honestly, nothing will be clearer. Second, I need to make right a wrong. I don't know what my intentions were in making the spiteful comment, but I know I was at fault. It didn't need to be said, and regardless of whether the person was offended, I need to apologize.

Phew...I already feel better. I do believe, now that I have that sorted, there will be more room for my thoughts to rotate in an orderly fashion. Look at that, writing did help me focus my thoughts after all. I didn't tell you a funny tale or talk about poop and pee, but, hey...everyday can't be a good story.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I need help y'all. Did I really just say y'all? I must be really desperate.

I need your YouTube playlist. I don't even know if it's called a playlist. I don't actually know much about YouTube. Generally, I only use it to watch episodes of Young and the Restless. When people email me YouTube links, I delete them. I'm too cool for YouTube. I've never understood the phenomenon of watching everyone else's homemade videos.

Until now.

It turns out, I'll watch anything. See, I have a window of time nearly everyday where I am stuck warming up on the elliptical for twenty minutes in order to run without my knees buckling, leaving me in a crying heap, sore and bitching for days after. I used to read during this time, until I committed myself to read a book I don't enjoy. Instead of admitting defeat, I looked around at what everyone else was doing. Listening to music...yeah, I really enjoy saving that for my run, reading, seems like cheating on my book, staring at hot girl's asses...nah, not really into that, watching videos on their phone...that's it!

I broke out my phone and set to work entertaining myself. I watched a few music videos before I became stuck. I had nothing to search for, I had no idea what to watch. Maybe this is why I never understood YouTube. What do you people do with it? Lost, I watched a very short clip of Justin Bieber vomiting on stage, a ten minute video of the Ohio State marching band, and footage of a fireball during a lightning storm. Before I knew it, my time was up and my knees were properly loosened. And I was in love with YouTube.

So fine followers, please, I beg of you, what do I need to watch? I want your recommendations. Anything good, leave it in the comments or tweet it to me. Remember, anything goes. If I watched the entire ten minutes of a marching band, I'll watch anything!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Have You Seen My (fill in the blank)

There's a person in my life that loses everything. I won't mention any names. I've already had to join the blogger protection program once before, not looking to do it again.

I don't even know how it's possible to lose some of the shit that disappears. Take for example a winter coat. How in world does a grown person lose a winter coat in your own home? It's only been a handful of months since it was last needed. Yet, it happened. How about a cell phone charger for the brand new iPhone 5? Mine hasn't even been delivered yet and somehow, in a matter of days, this person lost theirs. I could go on and on and on and on...sunglasses, debit cards, keys, concert tickets, shoes, et cetera, et cetera.

I tell you fine readers this saga because it amuses me. It didn't always. It used to drive me batty. Worse than batty. Wars have been fought over this shit. But somewhere in the last few years, I let it go. I realized it wasn't my belongings that were being lost (most of the time,) so I got over it and started laughing more.

I'm not a vindictive bitch, I've tried helping this person rectify the problem. I've put into place systems, a place for everything, everything in its place. Except no matter how I suggest, prompt, or bitch nag things don't end up in their place. And then they disappear. Maybe I'm blaming the wrong person. Possibly, and I'm going out on a limb here, these items all get up and walk away. It's some kind of sick trick they're playing. I dunno. All I know is the misfortune of one is entertainment to another. I am allowed that privilege as compensation for putting up with it for so many years. Retribution, if you will.

I had a good laugh this morning. Remember that iPhone charger? Well, apparently the replacement that was purchased just yesterday, turned up missing. It was only MIA for a few moments, but for those moments I was peeing my pants laughing, in my head of course.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Not Exactly the Hostess with the Mostest

I'm a shitty hostess. I try hard, but when it's all said and done I'm just not cut out for the job. Some people, the Martha Stewart types, live for opportunities to show off their skills. My goal is just to make it through.

I have had overnight house guests for three weekends in a row. Frankly, I'm sick of it. See? That's the kind of statement that would never escape the lips of the hostess with the mostest. I've always suspected I'm a lousy host. Today I confirmed my suspicions.

My brother inlaw and his friend, let's call her Sally, arrived late last night from New York City. This morning I tried my damnedest to be a kick ass host. They were only going to be here for an hour and a half before they had to leave for an all day music concert at a nearby venue. I had ninety minutes to shine. I laid out fresh towels. I baked cinnamon buns. I brewed coffee. I even hand delivered them to Sally while she played with Alice. I was on a roll! When it was time for the duo to leave, I even gave Sally a travel mug for her coffee and sent them on their way. The entire day has now passed and it just occured to me, I served Sally her coffee black...the way I like it. I never offered milk or sugar. It never even crossed my mind. The poor girl, not wanting to trouble me I'm sure, never said a word. I have a very nice handmade sugar bowl and creamer pitcher. The pitcher I use as a vase and I gave the sugar bowl to Alice for her play kitchen. I can't even manage to serve proper coffee.

If this incident was a one time deal, I could forgive myself. But, my friends, it's not. I don't offer my guests a glass of water, even when I myself am drinking one. Most normal people ask, "Can I get you anything? Iced tea? Water?" Not me. It doesn't even enter my brain that my friends may be parched.

I think the saddest thing is that I front like I'm a decent hostess. If you come for Easter breakfast I'll have a kick ass fruit salad, fresh baked croissants, muffins, and mimosas. But if you come for a play date, it's fend for yourself. Don't expect me to offer you anything.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Congrats, I Hope You Like Pee

You know what I hate? Pee. I am sick to death of pee. Not mine of course. My pee is fine. I put it in the appropriate receptacle. I think the next time a friend exclaims in her zealously, novice voice she's pregnant, instead of the traditional congratulatory words, all I'm going to say is, "I hope you like pee."

From the moment you laboriously push the babe from your nether regions you are inundated with urine. I should have expected it. I'd heard the story countless times. The first moment my father held all 8lbs 7oz of beautiful baby me, I peed on him. All down his side and his leg. There's even a picture to prove it.

Alice was no different than any other baby. She peed nearly every time she had her diaper changed. Luckily, she was a she and her pee didn't, um, go anywhere. It still made a puddle to be cleaned.

Potty training brought new mess. Lucky for us, (is the sarcasm font working?) when Alice was 19 months old she wanted to be just like her slightly older best friend who just got an Elmo potty seat and Cookie Monster big boy underwear. Her body wasn't quite ready, but she had made up her stubborn, bullheaded mind. She was getting herself some Zoe big girl underwear and a Dora potty seat. I invested in large quantities of rug cleaner and away we went. We arrived at her two year well check up in said underwear.

After such a momentous achievement, I thought we were in the clear on the urine front. Nope. We still had the night time potty training task ahead of us. Many, many, MANY loads of laundry later and she was done. A bonafide kid. Not a baby. Not a toddler. A real kid.

So the next logical question is why, oh God, why am I still cleaning up pee?! She's four freakin years old! She's been at this for over two years now. It's not hard, really. YOU PUT YOUR MOTHER LOVIN PEE IN THE EFFING POTTY!! One would think, after awhile it would be second nature, like eating and breathing. Never am I tempted to pee in the recliner because I'm too engrossed in Pinterest to get up.

You can imagine my displeasure when Alice woke me up the other night.

"Mama. My shirt's wet."

"Alice. Your shirt's wet because you peed in my bed. You're soaked in pee. Alice. Get up. Go get clean clothes...Alice, please. Get out of my bed. I've got to change the sheets."

That's right she was in my bed. Operation "Big Girls Sleep In Big Girl Beds" has only partially worked. She starts the night out in her own bed and whenever she feels like it, she meanders into my bed. This night she decided to meander into my bed and pee. You know why crib mattresses have a waterproof top surface? Pee. You know who's mattress doesn't have a waterproof top surface? Mine. The next day, when I properly stripped the mattress down it's like a Picaso in pee. My mattress that I once loved so dearly, now belongs in a frat house. Do you know how many loads of laundry I have to do every time she pees in my bed? Four. That's right. The mattress pad, the sheets, the duvet, and finally the cover. I HATE PEE!!

Can you even guess what greeted me when I picked Alice up at school, after I had spent the entire morning trying to sanitize my mattress? A baggie with pee pants inside. She had her first accident at school. On one hand I felt for her. She's made real friends at school and I imagine she didn't enjoy wetting herself in front of them. On the other hand...ARE YOU FREAKIN KIDDING ME WITH THE PEE, CHILD!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cubby Time

"I had to sit in my cubby," she told me completely out of the blue.

"Yeah? What do you mean, you had to sit in your cubby?" I asked.

"I was naughty."

"When were you naughty? Today at school?"

"Uh huh. I had to sit in my cubby, at school," she informed me with the same lackadaisical attitude that started the conversation.

"Okay. Well. What did you do that was naughty?"

"I was carrying my chair around."

"You had to sit in your cubby cause you were carrying your chair around? Alice, I'm confused. Why where you carrying your chair around? What were you supposed to be doing?"

"Me and Forrest were carrying our chairs around on our back. I had to sit in my cubby and Forrest had to sit in Jude's cubby. Ricki was carrying her chair around too but Miss Sharon didn't see her so she didn't have to sit in her cubby."

I almost laughed at this part. Already, she senses the unfairness of life.

"Alice, why in the world were you carrying your chair around on your back?" I asked still trying to sort the story out.

"I dunno. I didn't want to clean up. It was funny. Forrest was doing it too."

When Alice told me this story last week I felt two completely different emotions, one was worry and the other was relief. Worry for Alice. She has a lot of strong willed, spirited, defiance in her and I think this initial cubby timeout is only the tip of the iceberg. I predict many incidents like this in her future, for it seems she's of the mindset that rules are made to be broken. While I felt worry, I couldn't help but feel relief. Finally I had the confirmation I needed. It wasn't just me. A little piece of me has always thought maybe her and I butt heads and this is the cause of her defiance. Maybe under someone else's leadership she would toe the line. Ha ha, not the case! It's her!

I was not surprised when we had this conversation in the car the following day.

"I didn't have to sit in my cubby today!" she told me with great exuberance.

"That's awesome Alice! I'm so proud of you! Great job following the rules."

"Oh, wait. I forgot. I did have to sit in my cubby a tiny bit."

"What for?"

"Hehehe...I don't even remember, Mama."


Before the questions begin, since the idea of sitting in her cubby seemed to confuse some family members. Their cubbies are not closets or lockers. They don't have to climb inside, there is no door. It's not cruel punishment and nothing like Harry Potter living in the closet under the stairs.