Friday, April 29, 2011

Artistic Differences

I care about how a house looks.
I want every room to have a balance of polished and rugged, old and new, rustic and refined.
I placed a few shells on top of my glass living room table to help me decide exactly what I wanted to stage there. They were place holders.

But apparently, my daughters both noticed, and apparently, they disagreed with my artistic vision. My sense of proportion must have been off, because the next day I found my little vignette magically embellished.

To be honest, I barely noticed at that point.
But then fast forward twenty four hours to this:

The Artist pointed it out and said, "What is up with all the shells?"
And then tonight, the Artist and I really had a laugh over it.

I think they are adhering to the school of thought that more is more- push the envelope- and make a space look lived in.

I, myself, tend to more conservative principles of minimalism.

This is not a mess.

This is an artistic difference of opinion.

Or so I say.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday Thank You Notes

Dear Tigress,

Some people you grow into. You get used to them. You adapt.
And a few people you love from first sight. You love the sound of their voice. You love the clothes they wear. You love the way they gesture and laugh and think.
You are one of those few for me.
The first time we ever spoke you came up to me after a harrowing hour of church in a new ward. The Cowgirl has always been a.... free range child. She felt it her right to wander wherever her fat, toddler legs could take her. Up and down aisles. In and out of pews. Dancing to the more stirring hymns. I was red with embarrassment when you came up to me, chuckling like we were old friends, and said, "We are going to be good friends if your daughter keeps that up. She entertained me the whole time."
Good bye, embarrassed blush.
Good bye, frustration.
Hello, new friend.
You were so right. The more I've come to know you over the last seven years the more true those first words ring. You let me into your heart before I had a chance to earn it or deserve it.
I smile when I think of you. But that's nothing special. Everyone does. I have to step behind a whole queue of people who are lined up to be your best friend. Because you are so full of life.
I love your complaints just as much as I love your compliments. You just lay it out there. As pleasant and blunt and hilarious as you please.
Maybe after successfully raising five awesome children you don't have many reservations left. You've been there. You've done that. You've earned the right to say it. And when you say it, people listen. And if they don't, you truly don't care. I aspire to not care.
I just wanted you to know that I honestly admire your creativity, your resilience, your honesty, your courage, your strength, and your warmth.
Thanks for rooting through bargain bins with me. Thanks for leaving a place in your heart for me. Thanks for knowing that I would need you as a friend.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Three Things I Am Looking Forward To:

When it comes to the Dancer, I thank my lucky stars. She is adorable. She is wonderful. She cracks me up. And sometimes she completely does me in.

Here are three things I am truly looking forward to, because I think they will be definite improvements to a pretty cool kid.

1. The concept of directional hearing. Dolphins are born with it. Bats get it. My child has no clue that you can use sound to gauge direction. As soon as I move from her line of sight I hear a shrill "Mama! Mama!"
I'm right here, I will tell her. As in right there. Five yards to her left.
She commences spinning in frantic circles. "Where?" She looks at the ceiling as if I finally confirmed her worst fear and morphed into a matter-less being that floats invisibly around the house.
Mother sigh.
Still waiting for that concept to grow in.

2. Accurate animal sounds. Sounds weird, I know, but right now she can't get the cat sound right. Instead of saying "Meow" she screeches, "Now! Now! Now!" all over the house. It is a very high, drawn out "Now!" that sounds like angry orphans are holding a strike.

Yep, that's her. Mid-"Now!" When I really can't stand it longer I always suggest we play bunnies.
Mmm hmmm. Bunnies. The cute, soundless critters.

3. Fashion sense.
Enough said.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday: Do It Tapper Style!

Before you read a single word, let me make it plain that this is all coming from a woman who's dining room looks like this:(I can't put my under sink stuff back until the new faucet is in)

And whose chaotic desk is currently spawning butterflies ( I hope. They are currently four days overdue)So full disclosures aside this is how I De-Clutter Tapper-Style.

First Mantra: The more stuff you have, the less happy you will be.
I have no idea why this is true. It just is. To a point. I could grab a can of tuna and live in a loincloth in the wilderness and I would not be digging it. So let's say once you've met basic needs for comfort and beauty, the more you acquire, the unhappier you are. You must decide what your personal "basic needs" are.

So step one: Throw stuff away.

Second Mantra: If I have to think about when I might need it, I won't need it.

Step two: Throw stuff away.

Third Mantra: I will not be skinny enough to wear it. If I ever am, I will celebrate by buying something better.

Step three: Give reminders of skinniness away.

Fourth Mantra: This toy/accessory/ broken piece/ scrap of paper/unidentified object does not deserve my love and attention any longer.

Step Four: Throw stuff away.

Fifth Mantra: I am not destitute. If I need something in the future, I will most likely be able to save and obtain it. I do not need to store and hoard for future contingencies.

Step Five: Throw stuff away.

Sixth Mantra: I am not doing the world a favor by saving my old crappola. It is not wasteful to get rid of things I don't need.

Step Six: Throw the stuff away.

And my favorite, favorite
mantra invented by Jungle Jane, herself --
A uncluttered house may not always be clean, but it is never far from being clean.
There is nothing more appealing, more lovely, or more liberating than simplicity.
All you need to de-clutter Tapper Style is a very, very big trash can and a lot of mantras. Cookies also help. Not sure why, but it is proven. I think.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Artist saves the day... or half the day.

When I screeched last night in realization that I forgot to take pictures of the girls in their Easter dresses, the Artist grabbed the cowgirl right before she put on her pajamas and got some great shots in about thirty seconds.
That's why I call him the Artist.
Unfortunately, it was too late for the Dancer. She was already showing off her Dora nightgown.
So for your enjoyment:
The Cowgirl in her Easter dress and the Dancer in her.... nightgown.
One out of two isn't so bad, right?
P.S. Hey, Mama- look what happens when we eat four chocolate bunnies!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Oh my goodness golly...

I am the worst blogger ever!
As I was crawling into my pajamas (It's technically 6 o'clock and that technically counts for evening, which is close to night time so pajamas count, so shush) when I realized that I forgot to document everything today! I forgot to take pictures of the girls in their Easter dresses. Close to criminal.
Take my word for it that they looked very cute and vintage-y. Too bad the most important accessory is a smile. And too bad the Cowgirl was sick last week and missed rehearsal for the song the primary sang in church today. Too bad when they got to the second verse I saw this terrified pallor cross her face that clearly screamed "I had no idea there was a second verse." Too bad she was front and center and speechless. And too bad she broke into furious tears as soon as she got back to our pew and refused to raise her cute, crimped-hair head for the rest of sacrament meeting.
But after church we all relaxed for our traditional Easter dinner. We started the tradition three years ago of preparing a dinner with foods that are mentioned in the New Testament to remind us of the Savior's life and death. Instead of a spiral, honey ham (I've got nothing against spiral honey hams, by the way. You can send me one any old time) we prepared fish, flatbread, oil, vinegar, honey, grapes, grape juice, corn and two little cornish hens to remind of us of the two turtle doves that Mary and Joseph offered at the temple when Jesus was born.
We drape the table in a white cloth and use white cloth napkins and white dishes and as we eat we talk about the places in the scriptures where each food is mentioned. It is a special way to take the focus off the bunny and put it back on the Savior. (Our Easter bunny comes on Saturday and takes the Sabbath off to go to church). The Life Raft and her daughters came over to join us and we had a very nice afternoon.
Too bad I completely forgot to take a picture of our table or our meal. I got so distracted with hosting that I forgot about blogging. Will you take my word for it that it was simple and special?
And will you take my word for it that I have been in a pleasant mood all weekend and did not grumble all day yesterday?
I didn't think so.
We know each other so well.
Dang it.

But despite female hormones and ordinary life set-backs and bad moods, let me say in all honesty that I am very grateful for the Resurrection and the miracle of Easter.
It is a testament to Easter that the spirit of this special day can break through even my crustiest mood and touch the crustiest part of my heart.
It is impossible to stay selfish and grumpy when talking to your friends and children about the Savior's life. Impossible.
Happy Easter, friends.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Unveiling!

How to do Countertops Tapper-Style

Day 1

1. An old truck pulls up looking like it has some scrap and trash in the back.

2. Men of few words silicone scrap pieces on our countertops. (Silicone makes entire house smell like vinegar) Men of Few words weight down scraps with our food storage until Silicone cures. (Hope food storage will not taste like vinegar)

3. Men of few words and old truck drive away and leave my kitchen looking like this:
Day 2

1. The Artist and I haul twenty boxes of beans and rice back down to the basement.

2. We pull and pry very sticky paper off of what looked like scraps in the truck.

3. We buff and shine new stainless steel counters.

4. We high five over our awesome originality. (not really, but in spirit)

5. We drool a little over the sink we got to design ourselves.

6. We install pretty faucet that doesn't spray.

7. We order new faucet. (It's in the mail.)

8. We start cleaning the fingerprints. ( this battle will never, ever end as long as we live here. We accept the challenge)

9. We imagine the finished product when the cabinets are white and glass and the backsplash is stone.

10. We realize that there is more work ahead of us than behind us.

11. I buy a groupon for smoothies and decide to take a bath.
P.S. I miss my microwave!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday Thank You Notes

Dear Mother Nature,

I've got a few bones to pick with you. You have been in a foul mood lately. It is cold and dreary in Kansas.
There are floods and earthquakes and tsunamis and tornadoes and we are getting suspicious that you have it in for us.
You knocked our roof apart with hail stones three weeks ago. It won't stoop drizzling, which is much more depressing than outright rain.
But I have to tell you something. I'm realizing that when I review my favorite parts of life, you will be there in nearly all of them.
Like that hail- not very nice.
But very amazing.
Even when you are trying to break my windows, I just stare and think how incredible you are.
And the way the lightning started as one thin streak and then webbed into a cage of light that captured the entire sky.
Some of your best work.
And the way it felt on the first hot day of the year to put my hands in the dirt and look at the centipedes slide through the roots.
And that scrubby bush that we tried to prune, pry and poison, but comes back every year. I hate that bush.
I admire that bush.
I could write for the rest of my life and say what it feels like to look up and watch snow drifting into my eyes or summer nights when the sky grows still and dark and stars lift off from the grass and I have to remind myself that they are just bugs.
I think some of my last thoughts will be my daughters splashing in rain puddles and heavy afternoon light resting on the side of an old barn and the scuttle of leaves across pavement when the Artist and I fell in love.
You are entwined into every best moment I've had.
And even your worst moods (like that storm that dropped sixteen inches of snow in one night on my last day of finals in college) become my favorite memories. The Artist and I trudged for a mile in that snow. We took our finals. We are so glad that we can tell our children that we walked to school uphill in the snow. So worth it.

I still think you might have it in for us. I still wish you would put up a suggestion box and listen to us when we request more 76 degree days. I still wish we could knock February and August off the calendar completely.
But I'm thankful for your variety, your details, your exquisiteness, your spontaneity, and your surprises.
Just maybe knock off the whole winter thing and let spring come now, okay?

My love and gratitude,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

So American!

I have been through renovations on two homes.
I've lived through base boards, painting, tiling, plumbing, wood work, electrical work, cement work and landscaping.
We've pushed up our sleeves and tried a little bit of all of it.
So why, oh why, oh why, do I think I can do a home improvement project and have it all go well?
Where does this inner-Pollyanna come from?
Somebody should grab her blond curls and smack some sense into her.

We got the counters in today.
I think they are beautiful.
They are still wrapped in paper while they "cure" for 24 hours.
The Artist put our new European faucet in tonight.
It's a piece of art.
Apparently Europeans don't get egg crust on their plates because the advertised "powerful spray" looks more like aerated drip.
Maybe this has something to do with the strict European rules for water.
No ice.
No pressure.

No Way.

I'm too dang American. Might have to send back that super sleek piece of art and get a....
That sprays.

It wouldn't have been a real project unless a monkey got in the wrench, right?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

And the Bribey goes to.....

I am relinquishing the fun parent award (otherwise known as the Bribey) to the Artist. Maybe forever.
He trumped me.
He stomped me.
He left me in the drywall dust.
He called the girls away from their squabbling to give our countertops a final farewell before the workers arrive tomorrow to help push our kitchen into the 21st century.
As a loving tribute to our formica laminate, the Artist dealt out big, fat sharpies and set my children loose.
Forget the ice cream truck.
Forget amusement parks.
Forget glow in the dark stickers.
You wanna see joy?
This is what joy looks like!

In the Cowgirl's own words:

And the Bribey goes to......
The smiling man with black marker all over his fingers!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Messiness is next to Crankiness

It's official.

My mood is directly linked to the cleanliness of my home.

I am usually adept at stopping all screams somewhere at the bottom of my neck.
I try not to let them out.
Because they are ugly.

But today three of escaped, the little buggers!
Granted, the Cowgirl was home sick with an ear infection that hurt her until precisely 8:47 this morning, when a miraculous healing left her free to rile up her little sister all. day. long.
I could justify that I was too tired to climb two staircases and tell my children in gentle tones to stop cannibalizing each other, but I don't think that's a good excuse.

The truth is that everything in my cupboards has a new home on my counters, my counters are showered in drywall dust and my appliances are pulled out.

I am hoping that my better nature asserts itself when I can put my life back in order.
See- I don't clean to have my home look pretty.
It is a survival mechanism.
You don't want to see ugly house Tapper.
She's a pill. She's a cranky gammer. She is about to go to sleep and dream about running through a field of little yellow flowers.
Because a field is never messy.
A field has no laundry.
Yep, moms- let's all head for the fields.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I know I have not been a great blogger this week.
Medium/deep apologies.
I have been unusually exhausted. It happens every few months. I must run out of some vitamin/mineral/antibody/free radical/ pro biotic/ thing because my body just stutters to a halt. The first few times I was certain I had some rare cancer/thyroid/degenerative disease. Now I just roll with it and sleep nine hours a night and wait for it to pass. It always passes.
In the meantime, I fall asleep at weird moments (all throughout the day) and at night I sleep like a dead rock.
Today I fell asleep in the same room that that the Artist was weilding a lethal weapon/tool/ destructionator. The noise didn't bother me a bit.
What is bothering me is the fact that my house is going to look like this for a while:

Maybe this is a good time for me to be sleepwalking through life. Can someone please wake me up when my house looks stunning/fabulous/clean?
And P.S. if you know whatever rare Indonesian fruit/root/herb/animal part is missing in my diet that would perk me back up, don't hold back.
Unless the answer is caffeine and vodka.
Can't do it.
Tempted.... but no.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Shakespeare illustrated

In honor of the bard, I flipped through this week's pictures and selected a few favorites to illustrate some of Shakespeare's more brilliant moments.

"A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!

"Her infinite variety"
"neither rhyme nor reason"

"That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

"flaming youth"

"what the dickens"

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday Thank You Notes

Dear Page Turner,
That is the perfect name for you because everyone wants to see exactly what you will do next.
And, oh, do you keep us guessing!
Yours is one of the few friendship from high school that I packed up along with my diploma and pictures of bad hair and tacky dances and took with me. Because it was too valuable to leave behind.
I wish I had a picture to post of our years together, but that was before digital.
(I feel so old all of a sudden.)
You are about as vivacious as they come. Whenever I saw your blond curls bouncing through the hallway crowds I smiled in advance. Because I knew you would amuse me. Or shock me. Or just plain-out entertain me.
You were a year older, a size skinnier, a decibel louder, a laugh funnier and a whole lot prettier than me. But you never seemed to notice that. You didn't mind that I never could be quite as outrageous or daring or glamorous. You let me bask in your limelight.
And what a light it is! Grab some popcorn, pull up a beanbag and just enjoy the show because here comes the Page Turner. I think that's how we all felt.
We popped gummy bears in the back of the auditorium, went out with boys who ended up being gay (how did that always happen?!!), cast our bets on how people would turn out and laughed a lot.
Because under that wacky, gorgeous, outrageous facade, is an incredible heart brimming and overflowing with love and compassion. I always knew that. I knew it from the first time you took a little brunette under your wings and trained me to be a little louder. A little funnier. A little more me.
You got me to dance on tables. Umm, but not that kind of dancing.
You got me to ride in a convertible... On. In. Potayto. Potahto.
You knew that I wanted to break a few rules- but not break any real, bonafide commandments.
You let me be silly, but respected all my morals and boundaries. I always loved that about you.
I have always felt your love for me. Not just believed it- felt it. Because you are special that way. You don't hold back.
And I will never stop laughing about your first day as a florist or the way you shake your thang to Mario Cart.
I'm still not going to let you pierce my daughter's belly button when she turns sixteen.
But I will let you keep teasing me about it.
Because I love you, too.
Always and always, my friend.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Confessions! Ask forgiveness, not permission.

Question of the Day:

What do you give yourself permission to do?

Today, the answer is nothing. Literally. I am mostly doing nothing. I hit one of those walls that you eventually run into when you try to be more awesome than you actually are. Every woman out there has face-planted into that wall, right? Big brick-shaped bruises smooshed into your cheeks? Welp, I've got 'em. And the only remedy I ever found is to stop running and do nothing.
I used to back up a step and just keep slamming into the same wall, over and over until I knocked myself out. Now I eat brownies with a spoon for breakfast and pull out a favorite book.
Because I know the drill. I will bow out of the game for one day and come back swinging tomorrow.
So what else do I give myself permission to do?
thinking....thinking...staring out the window....still thinking...
I give myself permission to ask for help. If you haven't tried this little trick, give it a go. It is wonderful. I pull out a red flag, wave my SOS and say, "help!" My girlfriends always come flocking and do it better than I ever could have.
I give myself permission to scream and do the boogie dance if a stinging bug flies close to me - even if I am in public. Because I am nobody's pin cushion.
When I am jogging and my lungs start to split open from exertion (one mile....okay, half a mile.) I give myself permission to speed walk. Because that much pain can't be helping anything.
I give myself permission to let my toddler fend off my attempts to dress her and brush her hair because I don't like losing to a shrimp. And I always do. As a result I often look like I am being followed by an orphan.
I give myself permission to ask interesting questions about people's feelings. Because I am nosy. I mean curious. I mean concerned.
I give myself permission to rock out to country songs in the car with my girls. Because it is fun.
I give myself permission to keep trying to get myself right. Because I am a work in progress. Or a fixer-upper. But I have lots of "charm" and "potential."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday: Do It Tapper Style!

I am running so behind today. About three hours ago I apparently decided to have a bad day. I am just too tired to muster any real enthusiasm for anything and I am currently making brownies because I super duper need them.
But it is Tuesday and I thought I should tell you how to hang a picture Tapper Style.
This one might actually require a little innate skill.
I'm not sure everyone can do it my way.
Case in point-
This is how the Artist hangs a picture:

Actually, not true. This is how the Artist prepares to hang a picture. If he could invent any more steps, I truly think he would. Because measure, pencil, take a picture of paper on wall, measure again, take another picture and check to see that the walls are level and the floor is level just doesn't seem to reassure him that the picture will be perfectly straight.
I, on the other hand, have a slightly different approach.
I grab a random nail of any size and swing a hammer over my shoulder and go in search of some unsuspecting wall. I usually like to whistle tunelessly while holding my tools because that is how the seven dwarves do it.
This scared the daylights out of the Artist when we first got married. He got one whiff of my sight and swing method and developed a sixth sense about when I had a tool in my hand.
He would come bounding into a room before I even took my initial swing and with a strained smile say, "Whaccha doin' honey?"
Now, after a decade of togetherness, his eyes just follow me across the room, but he doesn't say anything. Maybe a plaintive whimper, but no words.
Because (and I'm sure it drives him crazy) it works! If I have to hang two things, I have learned all his level, measure and pencil tricks, but if it is just one picture, I eyeball, squint and swing.
And presto.
It looks awesome.
Because deep down we all have some little reservoir of awesomeness.
Mine just surfaces when I have a hammer in my hand.
So grab a nail, take a swing, and see if you can hang Tapper Style.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I wonder...

I wonder why my grandmother always called her couch a divan. I wonder if I should start calling my couch a divan...

I wonder why I always crave raspberry hot chocolate at 4 in the morning.

I wonder why the Dancer's ultimate show of defiance is to unmake her bed and deposit her pillows and blankets at various and unexpected locations.

I wonder how people say "withdrawal." I've never gotten that word right.

I wonder if the Artist really thinks that raisins belong in cookies or he just likes fighting with me about it.

I wonder if my kitchen cabinets are sturdy enough to withstand the weight of three inch concrete countertops.

I wonder what we will remember more if we drive to Colorado with the girls: The majesty of nature or nearly killing each other after eleven hours in the car? Just finished wondering. That would be certain death.

I wonder - if Billy Mays never got me to break down and order something off T.V., who will?

I wonder if I should I buy those frilly pink heels even though I do not own a single pink item in my wardrobe.

I'm just wondering...

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I usually stick to church subjects on the Sabbath, but I just have to digress back to the weekend and tell you what happened yesterday.
I was wandering through a store when I made a sudden lunge between two large planter pots and threw a large item into my cart. What was it, you ask?

A stump.

Can I just mention that I have been shopping for this stump for THREE years. I saw a stump like this three years ago and thought I really love that. Love it. But what does one do with a stump? Do I need a stump? Have I budgeted for a stump? Under what part of my budget would a stump fall anyway?
Aren't I prudent? Aren't I responsible? Aren't I stupid?
I left the stump and returned to the store several days later (still undecided) to stare at my stump. It was nowhere to be found. Somewhere, someone in the world had less prudence and my stump.
And I thought of that stump.
I wanted that stump.
I kept my eye open for an affordable stump. For THREE years!
And LAAAAAA, (that is my choir voice) after all that waiting, there was my stump!
So I whisked it up and brought it home.
First word out of the Artist's mouth?
You found your stump.
I think he was happy for me. He showed proper enthusiasm.
But today we realized our little stump's true potential.
When the Dancer started a nice, big fit the Artist said:
Go sit on your stump and think about it.

Does that not have a ring to it?
So I didn't know exactly why I needed that beautiful chunk of wood. I didn't know exactly what I would do with it. Apparently some instinct drove me to continue my search.
This smacks of family legend.
Someday my great grandchildren will be sitting in Sunday school saying, "When anyone in my family misbehaved we had to sit on a stump and think about it."

The legend starts here. Today. On the stump.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

To my gardening friend

Dear Gardener,
Thank you for coming over with three children in tow to give me advice on my flower beds. You pity me for my black thumb; My touch of death that comes to all things with roots and leaves.
You taught me about Zincas. Which is cool because I had never heard of that flower and it is really fun to say. I am sincerely looking forward to walking into a plant nursery and asking where the zincas are. I will say it like I really know what I am talking about.
But what I really wanted to say is that you are a great gardener. Not just for things with roots and leaves. You have about the prettiest crop of children I've ever seen.
You keep all five of them pruned and bright and lovely. Which is a feat. And your newest bloom is the squishiest, most kissable little blossom ever. The Dancer wants me to ask if we can keep her. I told her we can't but we will try to steal her now and then.
And it is weird to say, but I just have to because anyone who keeps five little children clean and happy and educated has no right to look as polished and pretty as you do. You are as lovely as your children and your flowerbeds. We were standing in my yard talking about tillers and mulch and I was mostly thinking, "how did she get her hair to curl like that? Why doesn't she have any stress lines? Does she know how cute she looks with that grinning baby slung over her hip like a chic accessory?"
No one gives a mom a medal for holding it all together day after day, but consider this post a little honorable mention. You are hauling in a great harvest of achievements.
And your hair really was adorable.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Cowgirl and I have a deal - she makes her bed and practices her piano and I give her a dollar. That's how we do allowance.
And the piano thing really works. She doesn't complain about practicing and she's getting better.
The bed thing is just to teach her a lesson about work.
It doesn't really help me at all because I wait until she goes to school and remake it so it looks pretty.
She hasn't noticed yet. Which means my neurosis is not currently doing any harm. I think.
But this morning I asked her if she made her bed and she answered in the affirmative and I whisked her off to school.
When I got home I stepped in to "fix" it up a little. (I know- I am horrible that way. I have started a list of ways to defend myself when my children are complaining about me to a therapist. Not really. I'll probably push them off the couch and say, "so what is wrong with me?")
To my surprise, there was nothing to fix. Her bed looked like this:

And I did a little joyous hop and went on my way. Looks like my bed fixin' days are history.
The happy end.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Oh, the irony....

So you know that I hate spiders.
Hate, hate.
Like, I can't watch Charlotte's web because Charlotte gives me hives.

Isn't the universe a haha funny place.
The woman who hates hates spiders is raising one.

Meet Spidergirl.

If I hadn't seen the tutu, I might have had an involuntary reaction and flattened her with a shoe.
Addiction to tulle saves the day.

(Ever write a sentence and think, "what did I end up there?")

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Thursday Thank You Notes

Dear Mr. Packett,
When you are a high school teacher the crowds of students over decades of time must run through your memory like one huge blur.
I'm sure a few stand out for being exceptional. Exceptionally bad. Exceptionally brilliant. Downright ridiculous.
But students have it the other way. We get a handful of teachers and so they all matter. We remember them for being encouraging, mind-numbing, bumbling, inspiring or downright ridiculous.
I want to thank you today for being a teacher who was memorable in every way.
I loved your stories. I loved your knowledge. I loved the people we learned about.
I have a theory. I think historians are the voyeurs of the world. They want to know everything. Eavesdrop on every moment and conversation.
I know I got lazy in high school. A little sloppy. A lot distracted. But not in your class.
I went on to Missouri State University and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in History. I poured myself into every paper. I tortured myself over research. When a professor said it wasn't good enough I would rewrite it just for myself. Just to teach myself how. I was offered a full scholarship for a Master's in History. I turned it down. My bushy eyed professor literally growled at me when I said I was starting a family instead. He could not believe that anything could be as important as education.
But I learned a trick from being a student of history - it is not about the degrees or the papers.
It's about the people. It's about the blood and the whispered prayers and the bad weather and the bland food and the toothaches and canker and the laughter and the sound of their voices. I wasn't studying a discipline. I was finding humanity. In all its forms. And I didn't want to just study it. I wanted to be a part of it. And so I went and lived my life and brought a couple more people into this world.
And sometimes I think of you and your battle ax in the desk and I smile. You knew the secret to history all along. I just wanted you to know that you passed it on.
And sometimes I think of you brewing your own mead. And I still laugh about that.
And lastly, thank you for never screaming at me and throwing my books across the room. I might have dropped dead in my chair.
And that would have been one for the history books.
Thank you for your years of expertise and passion.
Thank you for helping to shape my dream of becoming a high school history teacher.
On bad days of diaper changing or ear infections I've imagined my future lesson plans.
I wonder how I can work in a battle ax....

Thank you!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday: Do It Tapper Style!

Bed Time
(also known as How to get your laundry in the toilet - Tapper Style.)

stick with me here for a minute, okay?

So we, like all of you, have a bedtime routine.
It starts with herding the children, and repeating orders with increasing threat levels until both of them are:

But lets admit - it gets hectic.
One is brushing and spitting while the other is tearing apart the closet looking for pajamas.
Or one is peeing while the other one is running for the laundry hampers like her life depends on it. (Maybe with the way I am scowling and pointing out that it took twenty three minutes to finish brushing, it does.)

And by the time we all manage to sit down for scripture reading and prayer- well ... we're working on it, okay?
But last night the Artist and I were tired with a capitol T. Family Home Evening almost killed us. So we all marched upstairs and I put the dancer in her nightgown and sent her to throw her clothes in the hamper and sent the Cowgirl to use the bathroom.

Can you see it now?

Are you getting there ahead of me?

So ten seconds later I hear, "WHAAAA," but it is not a I-hurt-myself whaaaa or a my-sister-took-my-toy whaaa. It is a whole new breed of whaaa. I am instantly interested and curious.
I stick my head into the hall and the Dancer comes to me spouting tears.
"What's wrong, babe?" I ask.
"I put my clothes in the potty!!!!"
Few things shock me as a parent anymore. I had to sit and process that. And then I burst out laughing and ran to see if it she really meant it.
Oh, she meant it.
In the confusion of running from sink to potty to closet to hampers she had deposited her clothes into my toilet.

At least she didn't pee in my hamper.....

So there you go -
Bed time Tapper Style.
I recommend you do not try this at home.

Monday, April 4, 2011

We have a Winner!

Wow. I'm impressed. I threw out the challenge for anyone who could spell chachskies. Or Chatskies. Or Chauctskies. You can see that I wasn't making any progress.
It is Alida who came through for us!
I would have never gotten there.
So what is the prize?
Well, it's not that sort of a blog, really.
I could scavenge my house for some weird elephant gift and then send it to you.
Or, you could take door number two.
What's that? You want whatever is behind door number two?
Excellent Choice!
Behind door number two we have a......

If you love my blog (or just like it as friends) you are going to LOVE Alida's blog at
She's smart. She's funny. She's half octopus. She has six kids and she's not 30 yet! You best just see for yourself.

If anyone else does something incredible on my blog, you too can have...
a picture of the Dancer holding a plug.
Lucky, lucky you.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Oh, hail!

We just got the most exciting thirty seconds of hail I've ever experienced. A few taps and then some solid clunks and then we had to shout as loud as we could to hear one another. Balls of ice ricocheted off our driveway several feet back into the air until we couldn't tell if the ice was shooting up from the ground or falling from the sky.
The girls panicked and covered their ears and screamed and ran pell mell up and down the stairs trying to decide which level felt safer.
I think they thought I was panicking, too, because I ran. There were five windows to close and even though I screamed, "I'm just closing windows!" they thought I was running for my life and leaving them behind. Trauma at Tapper's house.
But in less than a minute the skies grew quiet. The wind stopped lashing. The windows were closed. The children stopped crying.
And I felt it.
That feeling I get when I look at my life and know that I am blessed.
Blessed with safety. Blessed with screaming girls. Blessed with a good husband and a strong home to keep us safe.
And my heart swelled with gratitude. Gratitude that we are protected physically. And gratitude for the knowledge that when we are not protected physically - when the storm does blow away our house or our bodies lose their health or we are touched by the hand of death, we are still protected. We are children of God. We can listen the voice of prophets and apostles who live today and bear our trials courageously.
We can choose to believe.
We can choose to hope.
We can choose to serve
Now all is quiet but the purr of thunder in the distance, the echo of truth in my mind from the last two days of General Conference and the strumming in my heart saying, "All is well. All is well."

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Overheard in the Kitchen

The Artist: No, sweetie. The stem goes in the water, not the petals.
The Dancer: No! That is not the flower's mouth, papa.

The Cowgirl: Everybody watch out because I caught two spiders in this jar and now I can't find one.

Tapper: Is it time to pick up the babysitter yet?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Where are the .... books?

Okay, so Marie wants to know when my bookshelves looks like this:

Where exactly are the books?

Excellent question.
Books? I don't need no fancy books. I reckon I don't need no book learnin'.
Just kidding! We do own books.
We have built in shelves in our closets. Because I love books, but do not have a formal library where shelves of books look as beautiful as they are useful, I tuck my books out of view. Because you know what I do to my books, right? Remember? I love them to pieces. Like this:

Not exactly museum worthy.

In each of my daughter's closets I have hundreds of their favorite books for night time, and I've also put a chair in each closet to make a little book nook for when they want to be alone. Quiet. Thinking. Doesn't happen as often as I'd prefer, but I keep the option open.

So, the bookshelves get sculpture. The closet shelves get books. I know it begs the question. I can hear your brain from here, Jungle Jane.

If you keep books on your closet shelves, where do you keep your clothes?

- Clothes? We don't need no fancy clothes....