Friday, June 24, 2011

A typical Friday morning with Tapper and Company

1. Wake Up

2. Take a shower:

3. Fix hair:

4. Go to Walmart:
I wish I could write "Atypical Friday morning with Tapper and Company", but sorry - this is pretty much textbook for us.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursday Thank You Notes

Dear Mr. Trivia, (aka Dad)
I always give the Artist all the credit around Father's Day because he is still down in the trenches, but I should take the time to tell you how grateful I am all you've done for me, even if you aren't on the parenting front lines anymore.

I am grateful that you never told me I was better at something than I was. Stung a few times, but in the end, I could trust every word out of your mouth. If you said, "well done", I could take it to heart, no question asked.

I am grateful that you treated me like a person and not a little kid. You told me how you felt about everything in your own words. I always felt like you were trusting me to be mature and understand complex ideas. It helped me grow into a more articulate and thoughtful adult.

I am grateful that you read the boring books. I would walk into your room and see you with another history book and roll my eyes and walk back out. If you happened to have an astronomy or science book in your lap I would look at the pictures and then move on. But you taught to me to keep teaching myself, even when no one was looking. I'm reading a biography of John Adams right now and loving it. Maybe some day my girls will roll their eyes at me.

I am grateful that I got to live with someone so naturally optimistic. I have never met anyone who had such a natural faith and hope in the future. You kept your childlike enthusiasm through life. I've never seen any situation get the best of you.

I am grateful that you are so humble. Everyone I know has an ego. Except you. You have never tried to impress anyone. You have never worried if someone didn't like you. If the King of Spain asked you where you'd like to eat you'd say, "Golden Corral!" If you were a millionaire you would drive the same car and love it just as much. You have no need for anything ostentatious or showy. You are yourself, at all times and all places.

Thanks for laughing when the golf ball dented your new car. Thanks for laughing when they drove your new car through a glass door. Thanks for being so sweet when I rear-ended a new car. (Wow- you have bad luck with new cars!)
Thanks for being a dad who I can call with any question any time. (remember when I called at 9:30 that night and said, "Hi, dad. Why did they shoot Bobby Kennedy?" and you launched into every theory without pausing?)
I love that about you.
I love a lot of things about you.
Happy Father's Day.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday Tutorial- Do It Tapper Style

Make your bed and love it!

I am a self-admitted linen addict. I try to restrain myself, but I think a beautiful bed transforms four walls from a room to an environment.

So how do I keep it easy and affordable?

I start with a blank canvas.
I love white because it looks so clean and inviting. (and is so darn bleach-able)
I use white sheets and found a white quilt and shams on Overstock for $50.
It is a great way to get started.
But, boring right?
So enter some easy layers.
I put a duvet cover over a down comforter and fold it at the end of the bed along with shams.

Getting better, but still lacking, right?
Layer #3 is some non-matching, but complimentary, pillows and a throw.
I emphasized non-matching, because that starts to feel boring. Mix things up.

So, it's no Martha Stewart, but it feels pretty good to see it every time I walk into my room.
But what about the days when I need a change and the Artist would sell me to the highest bidder if I started all over and wasted all that money when the bed looked "perfectly fine as it was"?
Well, I take a shortcut and just buy a new duvet cover on major sale.
Then I keep the bones, and just change one thing and Wa La!
Like magic, new bed, new room! Tapper-Style.
And no one sells me to the highest bidder. So we are all happy.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Jolly Good Fellow

We celebrated Father's Day from the moment we woke up on Saturday until we went to bed on Sunday.
One day is just not enough to express how great our man is, so it was a weekend in honor of the guy we love best around here.
After a breakfast full of sausage and bacon and pancakes at IHOP (very manly) we spent Saturday morning at the World War I museum in downtown Kansas City.
The girls did a scavenger hunt and loved looking at the recreated trenches.
We had a beautiful view from the top of the Liberty Memorial.

We took him to a motorcycle shop where he fitted the Cowgirl for her own helmet (Heaven help me) and then out for ice cream.

When we got home we attended a baptism and came home to meet our babysitter.
Then I whisked the artist away to dinner and a movie on the Plaza.
It's nice to get him all to myself now and then.

The next morning I got up early, whipped up some eggs benedict and we made him breakfast in bed and gave him his gifts and a homemade poster card before church.
Let me take a keyboard breath- this was a marathon weekend.
huff huff***

Okay, so then after church it was marinaded strip steaks and corn on the cob hot off the grill and then my dad came over to visit and then the Artist's dad.

And now it is Monday and I have to do the laundry.
But it was fun while it lasted.
I'm glad we could give him a couple happy days because he makes every day wonderful for us.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thursday Thank You Notes

I am really grateful that today was horse back riding night for the Cowgirl.
I wasn't happy about it for most of the day.
We spent three hours before Princess Camp cleaning the house. (I cleaned- they complained).
Then we had friends over and I was so tired.
Then I made dinner. Still tired.
Then the girls got in a fight when the Dancer kept throwing safety glasses at her sister.
I don't know.
So I told the Dancer she couldn't come to the barn.
She went off on a bike with the Artist and I headed out (still tired) with the Cowgirl.

Then we got to the barn and the air was fresh and crisp after the day's rain.
I didn't have to keep one hand on the toddler, reminding her that we go around the horses, not under them.
I didn't have to tell her not to rub a cat's belly.
All I had to do was the task at hand.
What a glorious feeling for a perpetual multi-tasker.

I bridled the horse, letting him lean his hot muzzle into my arm and felt his warm breath against the back of my hand.
I sat out on the wind-washed, rain-washed hill and watched the horses hooves beat into the soft dirt.
I watched the Cowgirl's golden ponytail hop against her shoulders.
I slid out of my shoes and felt the cool, rotting wood of the bleachers under my feet.

And I felt right again.
The Artist shakes his head and says, "What is it with girls and their horses?"
I don't know.
But I know.
It just is.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Not my finest hour

Summer brings out the best and the worst in me.

There is Here-Is-Your-Ice-Cream-Cone-Let's-Take-A-Walk Mom and If-You-Don't-Give-Me-Some-Room-I-Will-Start-Yelling Mom.

I hate yelling Mom. I detest her. She is vile.
But she always shows up when Nice Mom just can't get the job done.
She elbows Nice Mom out of the way in a very buxom, Brittish Nanny type of way and says, "You can't get it done like that, Dear."

So today I locked my children out of the house.
In my defense they had thirty four warnings.
When they all went unheeded, I pointed to the back door, said "My house is for people who love each other," marched them outside and locked the door.

Stunned silence.
A few knocks to test my resolve.
A few tears.
Then complaints.
It's hot.
I don't have shoes.

I nicely deposited shoes and cold water bottles on the step.

More stunned silence.

Then they ran around the house to the Artist's office and begged entry.

The Artist came upstairs chuckling at their fate.

I did eventually allow re-entry.
I also made it very clear that the first person to show disrespect to another family member better feel like getting a suntan.
Or having a camp out.
I am not kidding.

I am sure I saw this somewhere in Love and Logic. (NOT!)
Or maybe it was the Dog Whisperer.
Either way, I'm just trying for a little obedience.
If they sit and stay in the bargain, I'm good.

Not at all nice.
But good.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday Tutorial- Do It Tapper Style

How to balance it all- Tapper Style.

Well, I don't balance it all.
Yesterday I truly and honestly went after my children with a dish towel screeching, "Out of my kitchen. Scat!"
It was the most Italian moment of my life.
I can't balance the grocery shopping with the laundry with piano lessons and princess camp.

*ahem* Yes there is such thing as princess camp. And yes the Dancer is attending. Aren't you glad I give you so many reasons to mock me?

Anyhoo- I just try to pick it all up at once until I collapse and go into hibernation mode. (Pretend mommy isn't here and I can't hear you. Better yet, pretend you can't talk at all. Then wake me up on Thursday.)
But I do aspire to balance. I start with small things.
One laundry basket in each hand, for instance.
And then I try it out on my home decor. Because we have strong industrial leanings over here I'm always looking for a way to make steel and machinery feel a little homier.
My favorite way to balance industrial pieces is with natural pieces like plants, rocks, fur or wood.

So for the first time ever I present our newly designed living room. This is my attempt at design balance. I will work on inner balance soon. That one's a lot harder.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fancy visual effects and the garage

not exactly truthful.
I don't really have special effects.
But I am going to do a real enactment for you, which is totally breaking new blogging ground for me. That's fancy, right?

So, in case I haven't laughed with you about it yet, I present the
Dancer's Date with the Garage Door.
You'll laugh, you'll cry (not really), you'll wonder what exactly goes on at Tapper's house.
It's a wild ride.

It all begins on a normal Monday morning. I have errands to run with the Dancer. I tell her to hop into the car and then I hit the garage door opener and turn around to grab my purse.
Two seconds later I hear a scream.
In a nanosecond my brain starts processing the sound.
(I never said she was a good actress)
Too loud, too protracted, too panicked.
Not quite pain. Maybe it's a bug scream (the tiniest gnats get those around here). But it's still going on.
Bee? Wasp? I run as fast as I can to the garage and I am completely befuddled to see my child hanging from the ceiling.
I lose one more nanosecond trying to process the sight and then rush to her and get there just as she looses her grip and falls to the garage floor. Luckily I dampen the crash.
(Because no children were harmed during this re-enactment and I do not own a cable suspension system, just pretend the Artist is not there.)

So the way it all plays out is this: The Dancer had the toddler urge to grab onto that fun moving door. While doing so she is unexpectedly hoisted into the air. She begins screaming, increasing her pitch and intensity, until she is suspended from the ceiling, at which time she falls into her mother's very surprised arms.

And that's a wrap.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Coming Soon! Sneak Peek!

So what kind of people take a perfectly fine living room wall and tear it down for no good reason?
Who rips out their pretty mantle and covers their home in dust and debris?
Let me tell you- people who are addicted to projects.
Namely an artist and a home designer. Dangerous combination.
We can never say "that is nice. Let's leave it alone."

Our conversations go something like this:
Have you seen those new glass tiles?
-Corregated or marble integrated?
Ooh, I never thought about marble.
-Do you think the bathroom...
The back wall or front?
Seriously cool.
-Where's the hammer?

We really shouldn't egg each other on like this.
But I have to go because we are visiting a gas fireplace store.
I didn't even know they had those.
I know.
We'll stop tomorrow.
Is there a 12 step program for renovators?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Why Do I Exercise?

Summer is back, which means that I make an effort to rise from my bed, lace up my shoes and go running.
And by running I mean jogging and walking.
So why?
We all have our many and varied reasons.
I can tell you right now it is not to "feel the burn" or experience "weakness leaving my body" in the form of pain.
It is not because it "feels so good" or I "just couldn't live without it."
I can totally live without kicking myself down the sidewalk.
I do it for two reasons really.

1. I get to run away from home. Literally.
When the girls are screaming (when are they not?) and fighting (ditto) and I feel like my head is going to swell and pop like a balloon on a hot day, I lace up my shoes, say I feel really out of shape, and run away.
Jog away. Walk. Whatever.
You know what I mean.
And I can keep running until I can't hear the screams or the fights and my head slowly starts deflating until I feel like I will survive to see the next day.
And instead of getting upset at me for abandoning him in the middle of a toddler wrestling smack down, the Artist cheers me on.

Which brings me to my second reason.

2. I am trying to look good for my handsome husband.
This is purely psychological because no matter how long I exercise I never look any different. I don't lose weight. I don't gain it. I have come to terms with this.
But he disagrees. He thinks I look better when I am out there killing myself.
People believe what they want to believe.
But I am going to run with it and let him think that every time I come home sweaty and de-stressed that I am lookin' like some hot stuff.
If you squint.

Yesterday I left the house in the middle of one of the Dancer's tirades. The Cowgirl wanted to come with me so we took a leisurely walk instead of a jog. When I came home I was greeted a few blocks from my home by this: A girl who knows that flowers and chocolates really do fix most female problems.
We all have our coping mechanisms, right?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Going Hillbilly Tapper-Style!

(the Artist caught the sun in the act of frying me alive. I am literally a redneck now.)

Our grand adventure began at the one and only Silver Dollar City.
If you've been there- I don't need to say anything more.
If you haven't- I am not talented enough to describe this place.
It's amusement park meets old West meets barn dance meets historical reenactment meets craft fair. You pull out your inner hillbilly (however small and feeble he may be) and you just run with it.
We got there as the gates opened and didn't drag ourselves home (wet, tired, achy and happy) until it was dark. And then, because children are insane, we went back to the condo and went swimming.

This is a picture of the last ride of the day. Notice the two teenagers either falling asleep or praying for strength. I can't tell which.
Miraculously, we all managed to drag ourselves back out of bed the next morning and we headed over to the butterfly palace to play with some winged creatures.
And although I truly don't know what it has to do with butterflies, we climbed some fake coconut trees outside.
This came after the indoor mirror maze, which was undeniably entertaining.
So entertaining, however, that the Cowgirl took a flying leap into a mirror that she thought was a passageway and chipped her tooth.
A grown up tooth.
So she's got the hillbilly teeth going on. She blends right in with the natives.
Luckily it was a little chip and on we went on with the day. Back to Silver Dollar City and then to the real reason I go to Branson in spite of the hill-billyness of it all:
This year I had four new people to terrorize. It was great.
The Cowgirl showed off her brute strength on the rock wall. The tech holding her rope turned to us when she got to the top in under a minute and said That little girl is strong!
Yeah, we noticed.
Even the baby got some action because she now tips the scales at a whopping thirty pounds and they let her on the trampoline. (Thanks for ignoring the 40 pound limit. Super cool of you!)

But even the bumper boats didn't compare to the boat we took out the next morning.
Can you say FUN?
We spent almost five hours at the lake tubing and knee boarding (Cowgirl got up on her second try and rocked it!) and yes, roasting.
I am now well down and ready for some giant ghoul to eat me extra crispy.
It was the most non-stop vacation of my life. We barely gave ourselves time to breathe, but there was so much to cram into three days.
We walk away with sore bodies and lighter wallets, a few souvenirs, and memories that will light up our minds with laughter and friendship for the rest of our lives.
I am so grateful for friends to share these adventures with.
There is the gift of having a loving family.
And there is an added gift of finding extra family in the friends you collect along life's path.
I am so blessed to have both.
So pass on the moonshine, pass over the sasparilla and ya'll come he'e for a mighty great hug!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ow. Ow. Ouch and Ow.

Guess what happens when seven girls and one boy take a pontoon out for five hours on a 100 degree summer day?
No, just guess.
Yes, a whole lot of fun. (that's a given)
No, I'm not talking about the girl who lost her drawers when the tube went flipping.
(Oh good heavens- I will never stop laughing over that one)
I'm talking about the Sunburn!
And the aching muscles. (we all just had to learn how to kneeboard)
So today three adults, three teenagers and two little girls looked like we were rehearsing for geriatric school when we hobbled into church.
Eased ourselves into the pews.
Shifted slowly.
Jumped when the Dancer (who wore less sunscreen than all of us and still walked away without even getting a tiny bit pink) tried to climb onto our laps.
Lots of wincing.
Lots of slow movements.
Lots of smiles when we spontaneously remembered one teenager surfacing holding her bathing bottoms and laughing as hard as we were. (This is a PG post and a PG vacation. No one saw anything. But her predicament left me gasping for air)
You know, I always complain that my daughters are shaving years off my life.
Yesterday, I think one of my favorite girls put a solid year back on.
Thanks for the laughs, Gorgeous.
So tomorrow when I can sit here without making a full array of noises (ooohhh. ouch. yikes. yowee Batman...) I will fill in with pictures of our great Branson adventure.
I'm going to go get a little high on Aloe first.
Good times.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I'm BAAAACKKK (but away)

Cheers from the lovely land of the Ozarks. I woke up in Branson with seven of my favorite people this morning and we are heading out to Silver Dollar City in about an hour (if we can get the teenagers out of bed).
So even though I am away from home, I am officially back.
At nine o'clock last night in the corner of a Walmart parking lot in Springfield Mo, the Artist did some fine finageling and bought the nice laptop I am writing on now. I am almost positive it was entirely legal. Mostly.
So I am back.
But I have to go.
Ironic, huh?