In my late elementary days, probably around 5th or 6th grade, I really used to be into fingernail polish. I had a ridiculous amount of the stuff, and I loved the bright, fun colors the best. One of my clearest and most favorite memories in the whole world involves two bottles of pastel blue and pink polish, and my Grandpa Blessing.
You see, I had developed this technique in which you swirled the two colors together (a very scientific and professional method) on each nail, and came out with this goopy bubblegum blob that I swore was so cool.
Now, I don’t remember the events that let up to this, but the scene in my head is one of my Grandpa patiently watching and chatting with me while I globbed baby pink and blue swirls all over his weathered, manly-man fingernails.
I can see the wood-paneled walls of the kitchen, and I can see the pretty little glass of whiskey (bourbon? I don’t know my brown liquors very well) and cola sitting on the table next to an ashtray. Vices? Of course, but I didn’t care. I was painting my Grandpa’s fingernails.
I don’t know what we talked about . . . probably the fake rival “magazines” that another girl and I were creating. (Seriously. We would draw pictures of nailpolish bottles and clothing and hand them around to people. [Mine was totally better. I’m sure Grandpa agreed.])
I painted and talked, and Grandpa listened and talked back to me. He sipped his drink and I sipped my Fresca and turned my head every once in a while to see if there was a squirrel perched on the corn cob feeder out in the yard. It was a nice summer day and the hot breeze was trickling in through the door screen. There was probably a football game going on in the living room that looked like a perfectly-preserved vintage time-capsule. I can promise you that there was a line of big, fat, ripe tomatoes from Grandpa’s garden lined up on the windowsill above the sink.
If you wanted, I could tell you what was in all of those cupboards, and that there was most definitely a box of Neapolitan ice cream in the freezer, waiting for Grandpa to make the most amazing malts in the whole world. The cupboard on the wall between the stove and the sink housed a container of Carnation malted milk, and it was just waiting to meet its frosty destiny in the pit of my sister’s and my stomachs.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve last seen my Grandpa, and I sometimes find myself quietly wishing to be painting his nails again, and to talk to him about things that are much more important than a fake fashion magazine and the fact that my parents won’t let me see the most recent Brad Pitt movie.
I can’t, though. All I have are my memories, and this one is one of my favorites.
Lucy shares the same birthday as Grandpa Blessing, and I think she’s inherited his twinkle . . . the warning twinkle in her eye that lets you know she’s about to give you a little hell. . . but with as much love as possible. The most good-hearted elbow-jab you can get.
I don’t think she could have gotten a more perfect birthday gift from her great grandpa.
Pardon the picture quality… I’m not so awesome with the iPhone yet.
I took Charlie to his first play on Tuesday.
It was surreal, holding his little hand as we walked up to the Orpheum doors with him asking “Where’s the picture of the elf? Where’s the picture of the elf?” As we sat in the seats, waiting for the show to begin, Charlie’s eyes were huge and a little scared, and you could see that, despite the fact that his bedtime had already come and gone, he could barely even handle how excited he was.
I remember feeling the exact same way when my parents took me to see Peter Pan at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. UNK had brought in some people from Vegas (I think? Correct me if I’m wrong!) to help with the fly system, and I remembering it just being magic.I only have a few vivid images of a scene with Tigerlily, and the scene where Tinkerbell drinks the poison . . . and also meeting the woman who played Tigerlily after the show, but I hope I never lose those memories. I’m not going to get all sappy and say that “That was the moment in which I knew I would love Theatre,” because I think that having two Theatre majors as parents and hanging out with all the cool high school kids during many nights of my dad’s play rehearsals might have had something to do with that. All I know is that I was so excited I almost couldn’t take it, and, after it was over, all I wanted to do was fly.
Charlie did surprisingly well for a little kid with more daily energy than I’ve had in the last three years combined. The music was a little too loud, but once the show got going and he saw SANTA! he seemed to settle in. He spent most of the first act on my lap, and then, after the offer of a snack, he sat pleasantly in his seat until Buddy’s angry dad made him cry right before intermission.
Luckily, after a bathroom break and some leg stretching, the musical number that opened Act II was fun enough that the show was, I think, redeemed for him. When the Santas stopped dancing, however, I could see his little head start to droop, and he snuggled his Buddy the Elf doll just a little tighter . . . and then he was out light a light. I thought about taking him home so he could sleep more comfortably, but, then I realized I would get to sit through an actual Broadway show without worrying about anyone but myself and the little sleeping face that was drooling on my arm . . . so, yeah, we stayed. The show was so enjoyable, and I had one of my favorite nights ever with one of my favorite guys ever. It was absolutely a win all around.
I really want to thank Kim, Omaha Performing Arts, and Elf for the tickets and gift package. Charlie’s been carrying around that doll like crazy, and has also been using his Etch-a-Sketch in the car as a map-drawer to help me find my way to places we need to go. Obviously, I don’t know how we navigated Omaha without it. Lucy sneaks some time with Buddy the Elf when Charlie’s not looking . . . but that never lasts long.
I don’t know if Charlie’s going to be a Theatre guy when he gets older. At this rate, it looks like he will be pursuing a career in couch cushion gymnastics, but who knows? He may love it, he may not, but I think this was the perfect way to dip his toes in the water.
There’s a little lady in our house who got a lot of attention on the blog about 9 months ago, and hasn’t really gotten her own blog post since.
She’s so cute you can’t even hardly take it. She weighs almost as much as some of my friends’ 2-year-old children, and she’s already crawling up a storm. She has started biting me on the shoulder and, let me tell you, that is one of the most horrible things ever. You know how they say “The ones you love always hurt you the most?” I’m pretty sure that quote was specifically regarding being bitten by your offspring.
Lucy is doing everything fast. I remember, with Charlie, life was pretty relaxed. We just played around on the carpet and watched Bones, and he was content to be a little worm on the floor for a good 10 or 11 months. Lucy’s been crawling since about 8 months, and way beyond pulling herself up. I caught her letting go of the table for a couple seconds and balancing on her feet the other morning. I am so not ready for that.
Miss Lucille is feisty. Like, feisty. In public, she gives off a very convincing, very chill vibe. When there’s plenty to distract her, she’ll just sit in the sling and look around, barely making a peep. At home, however, she has no problem making her feelings known. If she wants something, she will crawl to it. If you take it from her, you will pay. Probably by being bitten. Or at least by getting your eardrums screamed out. Also, she has learned how to morph herself into a steel beam already. You know, when you’re trying to put a small child into a carseat, and somehow they find a way to stiffen their entire body, making strapping them in nearly impossible? She’s nearing expert levels at this skill.
She’s also got the sweetest little grin, and a hilarious giggle. It’s the best when she first wakes up in the morning, all warm and fuzzy from sleeping. Her face is bright and her smile is almost as big as her cute, bald head.
Feisty and irresistible . . . this world better watch out.
All of the sudden, I feel like I’ve popped my head out of the sludgy water of a giant swamp. Not my whole head, mind you, just enough to get my nose out of the liquid. I feel like I can breathe. Like I can breathe and can finally see a way out of the swamp.
I have to be honest. The past three months have felt like I’ve been treading water in a pond of sludge. It’s hard for me to say that, because the sludge has been the most beautiful sludge I could ever hope to swim in.
Having two kids is hard . . . at least at first. I can’t speak for the future, as I haven’t been there yet. Now, there might be some people shaking their heads out there, thinking, “Child, please. Try having 8.” Well, it’s been hard for me, and that makes me feel guilty. I’m a woman, right? I should just naturally have the ability to nurture a growing three year old with my right hand, clean the house with my left hand, take care of the bills and shopping with my left toes, tend to my husband with my right toes, and do all of this while having an infant hanging from my chest, right? Right?
I don’t know, but that seems like a lot to deal with. And, yet, I know that there are ladies out there who do this with seeming ease and flair. Their houses are spotless, their kids can write out the alphabet in calligraphy, and they never get snappy with their spouses.
At least that’s what it looks like to me, anyway.
Finally, though, things are starting to look a little easier. I can see the end of this semester for Paul, and it’s getting closer. I know that means that finals week is coming, which is definitely not easier, but then it will be over for the summer. He still has a lot of work to do before graduating at the end of this year, so I know the summer won’t consist solely of family frolicking, but there will way more frolicking going on than there was this winter. I’m crazy-excited to get to spend more time with my handsome husband.
Again, I can’t speak for the future, but right now, my house is kind of clean. I woke up this morning (before everyone else) to a clean house and a coffee pot that I had set to brew at 6:00. I actually got to sit here and work on a blog post while drinking a cup of coffee. I consider that a huge win.
I’m not naïve enough to think that I’ve left this beautiful sludge forever. Life is like one of those little red and white fishing bobbers, right? You’ve got to bob down a few times to catch the good stuff . . . and I think this beautiful swamp is the only place in which I want to be bobbing.
Also, would life be just a little more awesome if it were appropriate to end sentences with prepositions?
This time three years ago, I was probably sitting in that green glider we have in the corner now. There’s a good chance that I had a dish full of dried pineapple and almonds, and that I was watching Northern Exposure. OrFriends.
I probably wasn’t actually watching it, though. When I think of the time when you were born, what sticks out the most in my mind are the hours I spent staring at your face. I had gone my whole life just assuming that I’d have babies and have a family and it would be cool, the end. I had no idea what that actually meant. I had no idea that I would get this automatic companion . . . someone who would see me all day, every day for the next few years of my life. When I get frustrated and yell, you forgive me every time. When I think something is funny, you laugh right along with me, even though you have no idea what I’m laughing at. You tell me I’m pretty when I come home from a facial.
I could go on and on with the sappy stuff, but what it all boils down to is that I love you. I love you so much that it randomly hurts for no reason at all. These are some of the things you say and do right now, because I don’t ever want to forget them:
You like to cook “termato” soup. You also like to play games on the “kerpeeter.”
You love love love playing with your “fwiends.”
You love to get all up in Lucy’s business and say “Hi Looser Gooser. HI LOOSERGOOSER!”
Last week you said, “I wuv snuggling daddy. I wuv him.”
Sometimes you hold my hand when you watch cartoons. Sometimes.
For a while there, you liked to snuggle “Zelda” when you sleep. (It’s actually a Link doll, but it’s close enough.)
You will take anything you have in your hands (pretzels, blocks, bowling pins) and play imagination games with them. You make the little things walk around and say, “Where my fwiend?” “I right here!”
Five is the biggest number in the whole world to you. When I ask you if you want a treat, you say “Five uh um!”
Sometimes you fart and make yourself cry. That, I’m telling you, is hilarious. You’ll appreciate the humor in that someday, I swear.
Lately, instead of saying yes to something, you say, “Yep sir, yep sir.”
You still pretty much only eat carbs and cheese. And yogurt tubes. Remember that one time you ate celery? Just the one time?
You love your grandmas and grandpas like CRAZY.
You like to give your daddy “butt bombs.” Those look like crazy pro-wrestler moves, and I’m glad you give them to him and not me.
I know there are about a bajillion more things I could write here, but I think that’s enough for now. I’ll be back with more Charlie-isms in the future.
I love you, little dude. Three looks good on ya.
We’ve been living under Quarantine over here.
At first, holy crap a month ago,Lucy got a cold. Said cold then turned into sinus infection. Sinus infection went away with antibiotics, and then Charlie got a super-high fever and stomach bug. Two days of not being sick later, and Charlie and Lucy both get a cold. I then get a cold. Lucy then barfs all over me and decides a trip to the ER would be just the ticket.
Also, our computer was in the shop for two weeks. (She’s back now, yaaaaaay!)
I could definitely complain for about four more pages, but I think I’d rather show you guys some pictures of what we’ve been doing while in quarantine. I have a hard time keeping Charlie occupied as it is, and we used to be having playdates a couple times a week. Now, of course, we’re all going stir-crazy, but I think I’ve done an okay job of coming up with fun stuff to do.
Indoor snow, food coloring, water, bottles, and cups.
Shaving cream, food coloring, splattering, and a little bit of cleaning up.
Portable disc golf basket, and a tarp to protect the window.
Sink play with yet even more food coloring, bottles, cups, and a ladle.
Cloud dough. This didn’t look nearly as messy on Pinterest.
Shapes bowling with some marbles found in the creepy storage space upstairs.
All in all, Quarantine hasn’t been quite as bad as I thought it would be, but I’m here to tell you, Charlie and I miss our friends. Next week (providing we’re all healthy), I’m going to do my best not to look too desperate when I show up on my friends’ doorsteps.