Monday, July 18, 2011

So much better than soccer!

There is an absolute fascination about putting kids on soccer teams.
Whatever happened to baseball and lacrosse and badminton?
No offense to soccer- it's a total bummer about the women's world cup- but if I have to sit outside for an hour and melt, this is waaaayyy more entertaining to watch.
It's true that nobody scores any points, but that's the only similarity.
For all you horse enthusiasts, I present the Cowgirl on her Saturday morning ride.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I found out two days ago that I am speaking in church Sunday, so every time I wanted to stop and blog out all my troubles this week I had to stop and say "No, I should be working on my talk."
See, I try to be good.
And right now- I should be working on my talk. But I just have to hit a few of the highlights of the week. And by highlights I mean lowlights.
I have this vision that at any moment some big bosommed lady is going to call at my door and demand I hand in my mommy badge. And for four and half seconds I would be really relieved to see her. Then I would realize that I actually would miss my girls. Almost completely.
So first things first- this might look like the dancer just woke up.
Wrong on two accounts. She always looks at us like that.
And two- she wears her nightgown all day now.
Because I told her to wear shorts. Or a skirt with attached, hidden shorts. Because I am sick of dresses. And we are now locked in an insane battle of wills. She will not put on the clothes I want her to. I will not give her the dresses she cries for. She will outgrow that nightgown eventually. In the meantime, get used to seeing it.

Secondly, it was over a hundred degrees too many times this week. And on one fatefully hot day the girls refused to stop fighting in the car. Even though I had just bought them lunch and taken them to a movie. So when we reached our neighborhood, I pulled over, opened their door, told them to stay together, hold hands, be careful and walk home. I didn't really want them to have a heat stroke, but if they stayed in the car I might have suffered an aneurysm. Sometimes you have to make a call.

Thirdly, last night the Dancer decided to protest the Artist telling her not to use twelve pounds of toothpaste at one time by pulling down her towel holder and breaking our wall.
So, what I am really saying is, who wants to babysit two delightful children?

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Friday something really wonderful happened.
A small thing.
You would have missed it if you had been watching me.
You wouldn't have written it down if you had seen it.
So unremarkable.
And so wonderful.

I took the girls swimming in the intense heat of the Kansas afternoon. We splashed and jumped and paddled (how do mother's keep their hair dry? No really - how?!)
And we went home exhausted.
I think I'm drooling but I'm too tired to do anything about it exhausted.
Glazed eyes.
A little pink from the sun.
And the Dancer dropped off to sleep sitting in her chair.
I eyed her carefully and decided to give it a try...
I scooped her up and resettled on the couch, her hot, heavy body snuggled up to mine.
And it worked!
She nestled in and slept in my arms- rosy cheeks, sweaty head and all.
I flipped on the t.v. and laid there in mother heaven.
All was quiet.
I had a perfect excuse not to get up and clean or cook or call anyone.
I was doing my job as I breathed in and out and tried to see if our beating hearts would match rhythms.
She is almost four.
Every time she sleeps in my arms- really sleeps- and I can kiss her head that smells like cut grass and sunshine, I count it a wonderful blessing.
I am all too aware that every time (and they are few and far between now) could be the absolute last time I rock my own sleeping baby.
For all the thousands of reasons I love to see my children grow up, this is one reason I am sad they cannot stay small.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Confessions! Up and Down

It has been so long since I did a confession and that is sort of the point of the blog. It's 20% what-the-heck-is-she-doing and 80% what-the-heck-is-she-thinking.
So, getting back to my roots, I'm answering today's question.

What gets you down?

Can I clarify that? Because the answer changes depending on when I am. (How's that for some fun English?)
Some days it feels like nothing can get me down. Extra load of laundry? Bring it on. Family drama? Child's play. Grumpy children? Watch my magic. Guests for dinner? I was born to host.
You know those days, right? I love those days!
But there are other days. There are days like yesterday when this misty, little cloud settles right on my shoulders and blurs everything. Makes everything feel a little colder and harder.
Do you know those days, too?
On days like that almost anything can send a tiny needle through my heart. Less like "slings and arrows" and more like stings and scratches. But continual ones.
The sting of feeling like I should be accomplishing more (that one makes me so restless) and the sting of realizing that very few things in this world stay right-side-up. Really bad things turn into mostly okay things. Good things turn into old-fashioned things. Bad people turn into adored people. Good people turn into foolish people. Days like yesterday I shouldn't turn on the news.
There are the lick-your-wounds days and the hide-your-head-in-the-sand days and the cry-it-all-out days.
And then there are the healing days. The ones where your shoulders feel just a bit lighter. The ones where your courage gets just a bit brighter. The days when your soul wakes up and is just a bit pluckier. A bit sassier. A bit more here. In the game.
One of the greatest lessons I have learned since being a child is to trust the cycle of all things. When you are young the bad is forever. The good is eternal. So when things change you faceplant a brick wall at 88 miles per hour. (Do you always say it like Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future? 88 MILES PER HOUR!!! Ahem. Me, neither.)
Now the bad days tap me on the shoulder, give me a warning. I hear them shuffling up behind me. And I know they are short house guests. They will pack their bags of tears and move on.
So what gets me down?
Most of the miscellaneous in-between.
What keeps me down?
And the truth of that makes me feel a little better already.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday Tutorial- Do It Tapper Style

How to Survive Branson Twice in One Month:

Everyone has a little hillbilly deep inside. Some deeper than others. We've been excavating for eleven years and I haven't quite found the Artist's inner hillbilly, but I believe it is there.
The Cowgirl doesn't have to search at all. Her hillbilly is easy to access.
Bugs. Horses. Overalls. Southern accents.
She's in.
When we found out that we would be doing Branson (it just doesn't get hill-billier) twice in one month, the Artist and I clasped hands, looked in each other's eyes, took a deep breath and said, "We will make it through this!"
The truth is we had a lot of fun. Having older children who enjoy the thrill of go-carts and bumper boats and like to watch me hyperventilate when they climb on roller coasters that look suspiciously like death traps keeps it lively.
As always, while other girls were giggling about boys or worrying about their hair or wondering if they looked like a princess (the Dancer has exhausted my supply of princess indulgence! She insists on riding mechanical horses side saddle!) the Cowgirl could be found digging in mud to find millipedes or braving the Missouri underbrush in search of critters.
Side Saddle:


See what I mean?

So how do we have fun with our inner-hillbilly without having him or her overwhelm us?

We DO:
get wet
(Please insert bumper boat war image here- we were too busy fighting to get evidence)
explore caves

stay up late playing (our traditional midnight doughnut run)

get a little silly


eat buffalo jerky

get an old-time photo taken

have anything engraved with our names including wooden plaques, spoons, or quilts

And that is how we roll Tapper-Style in the Ozarks.

Ya'll come back now, ya hear?