Friday, September 23, 2011

As promised...

The Dancer's first year of preschool, Part II:
I told you I would confess the truths behind picture day.
True to my word- here goes:

I want to show you a school picture of the Dancer.
She picked out a vintage-y fall dress and we did two inches of braided pigtails.
There were ribbons. There was cuteness.
She was all ready for her big moment to say "cheese."
First school pictures are a big deal and I want to show you.

But I can't.

Because she never got her picture taken.
(Yes, I remembered to pay for them. Seriously, some of you have no faith in me at all. You know me too well.) This time it really wasn't me.

She stood up, and just as they said the magic words "cheese", her little brain heard the command, "PEE!"

And like the obedient soul that she is, she did.

Audience, outfit, big moment, and all.

That's a keeper....

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I might have forgot to mention...

We are more than a month into the school year and I need to report on the Dancer's first foray into the world of education. So, if you are so inclined, rewind five weeks and I will start at the beginning.

The First Day of School.

The smell of sharpened pencils and and new tennis shoes in the air.
We were off to a great start.
We crimped the hair (hard to do with three inches of hair, by the by) and got the outfit.

She picked out her most important accessory- the tacky backpack. (the tackier the better, Moms)
We took the first day of school pictures on the porch.

She was literally doing the first day of school boogie dance in all of her precious excitement.

Then mommy took her to school. Mommy walked her to her classroom.
Mommy was very surprised we were the first ones there.
The teacher was surprised we were there, too.
The teacher very kindly said, "School starts tomorrow."

Wow, Tapper.
Even for you- really? Really??!

When I managed to stop laughing and the Dancer managed to stop crying, I announced it a dress rehearsal and we showed up the next day for the big performance.

(First day of school- Take Two)

Lets all take a moment and have a guess at who they were talking about in the teacher's lounge that day....
(please insert my bemused face here)
I bet they were really hopeful when they saw my name signed up for room parent. I bet that sweet teacher is sweating bullets. Please let her have the class party on the right day... please let her have the class party on the right day.... I can hear her  thoughts all the way from my desk.

And that is how we roll Tapper-style.
Tune in tomorrow to find out how we do Picture Day around here. (Or hint- try to do picture day, but don't really.)
The fun just never stops.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Birthdays and Big Sisters

Today is a special day. Four years ago we welcomed the Dancer to our home and our family and our hearts forever. So we celebrated this weekend with her first ever "friend" party. I worried over this one. Her friends are three and four.

Think about this.

Three and four.

So that little lobe in my brain that reserves brilliant ideas for moments of dire need kicked into overdrive and I had a real thunderbolt of inspiration. We had a big sis/little sis party. All the three and four year old girls brought their big sisters along to help them, play with them and keep them from panicking.
Because there might be frosting they don't like.
Or a balloon the wrong color.
Serious stuff that only a big sister can handle.

And it worked. The princesses all arrived at ten in the morning and thanks to the big sisters the party was a complete ruffly, pink success!

We did the cake thing, of course. The Dancer picked her own cake, and we served them with ice cream cones. (umm, sorry for the shameless kitchen picture in the middle of the party fun, but seriously, doesn't this look like a pretty little girl party kitchen?)

And instead of party games that incite screaming (please take a moment to remember once more- three and four!) we did crafts while I played Disney princess songs. I have honestly never seen twelve little girls so calm or quiet. I guess Jasmine put them into a mini coma, but I was totally good with that.
We made each girl's initials out of butterflies on a painted canvas and royal pony scepters. (Sometimes you just work around whatever is on sale at Michaels and make it fit, right?)

A few minutes of playtime and a few gift bags later, it was all over.
In the end, the Dancer was very happy, my home was still intact when the last guest left and for a woman who doesn't do parties, I think I faked it okay once again.

Happy Birthday, Dancer. You are the wish I made that keeps coming true!

Monday, September 12, 2011

10 years after 9/11

Yesterday was hard.
Yesterday was surreal.
Yesterday was sacred.
Yesterday was a beautiful clear day so we took our girls to feed ducks before church and for a moonlit walk before bed.
And my head couldn't make sense of such beautiful, peaceful moments on the Sabbath day next to the desperate pictures of suffering on the television.
And after 10 years I still can't believe my own eyes when I watch the towers fall.
I still can't stop crying.
The Artist and I watched the footage in silence after we put the girls in bed.
We held on tight to each other, just like we did that horrible day.

I was in college that day. My last semester. My hardest classes. I had a Spanish test at 10 o'clock. I almost hit my teacher when she said we still had to take it. I threw down my answers angrily and stormed from class, as if getting back to the television would somehow make things better. I went to my history class and put my head on my arms and wept. Not cried. Not dripped. Wept. I never looked up. I remember a hand on my shoulder from a class mate and how he slipped a tissue into my hand and patted my back. My teacher spoke a few words, but ancient Chinese history just didn't seem important anymore. We all left.
Down in the lobby we watched the televisions as the pentagon smoked and people ran from the capital building. One boy threw down his back pack and punched the marble column.
I walked home, not even sure I was breathing. Not caring if I kept breathing. And I walked into the Artist's arms and cried all day. Yelled and paced and screamed at the television.
We never slept that night. I was too scared I would miss a rescue. I needed to see someone else alive. They never came out alive. I tried to swap. I told God I would lay down dead if he would bring just one more person out alive.
It wasn't my swap to make. That wasn't my privilege.
And now, all these years later, I count that day as one of the most important and formative days of my life. Somewhere in that chaos, smoke and rubble I learned how to love a stranger. Not abstractly, but in a very personal way. And as ashamed as I am that it took a tragedy of that magnitude to learn that lesson, I will forever be grateful for the examples of brotherly love that changed my heart forever.
I lost no one.
I've never been to New York.
I didn't even know anything about the World Trade Centers on September 10th.
But I still count it one of the largest trial of my life because even though it didn't happen to me,
it really did.
I didn't breath the dust, but I was choking.
It didn't cut my flesh, but my heart was bleeding.
It didn't take my family, but it made them seem so fragile.
I didn't hold up a missing person flyer, but I was searching for something lost.
I didn't pick up the rubble and clean the mess, but I had to sort through the debris of anger and fear.
We all fell on 9/11.
We all had to learn to stand again.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wave the white flag of surrender

I'm having a moment over here.

And I just want to say 4 little words:

Dear Spandex,
You win.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Big Kitchen Reveal!

So it is finally that time.
We have excavated the kitchen out from under layers of dust and debris and it is now fit for
human viewing.

But first, please take a little journey back to this spring when it looked like this:

It wasn't hideous...

Actually, no comment.
I cannot tell blog lies so I will say nothing at all.

But it just didn't give any evidence that we lived here. We hadn't made our mark yet.

And now, all these months later, I think this feels a lot more like our home:

And just for old time's sake, let's take a peek at the journey getting here. (unfortunately no one snapped a picture of me going vampire-bat crazy, but you can imagine.)
And for all that work, and all those hard decisions, and all that $$$, really, it's still a kitchen.
I love it. I think it's beautiful. I think it feels personal.
But still mostly just a kitchen.
It didn't change my life- just the color of a room.
It didn't make me a better person- it just made me a person who knows how to remodel a kitchen.
It didn't make me a happier person.
Okay, well, maybe just a smidge happier.
Because pretty things make me happier.
But just a smidge.
But in the end, our stuff just isn't important.
It might be pretty.
But it will never be important.
And that's the way it should be.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday Thank You Notes

Dear Cotton Growers of America,

Thank you for learning how to spin spandex and cotton together to make it super stretchy. And then thank you for figuring out to make it very lightweight and thin.

You will keep me thin (ish) forever because I now have a real reason to keep working out.

When I pack on a few extra pounds of flub and flab I have a two step program to help motivate me to lace up my jogging shoes.

1. Try on a super thin, super stretchy cotton/spandex T-shirt.

2. Look in the mirror.

So even though cotton is not an edible crop, I think your harvest is going to help a lot of people lose weight.

My jogging shoes thank you.
The rest of me sort of totally hates you.
But thanks anyway.