Believe in the sun, even when it's not shining

In love, even when you're alone

In God, even when He is silent.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

Thanks, Court, for showing me how to change the date...much better this way...

Two minutes after you opened your eyes on the day you turn five...MaKenzie from your swim class gave you a present yesterday. Although it has almost killed you (and me), you were so happy and filled with real anticipation to open it this morning - they couldn't have done better - you love your new pony doll (so fitting since we're having a petting zoo and pony ride party at the house this Saturday)!

This afternoon after you returned from preschool - you have new Magnatiles...a set of see-through ones and the set of vehicles. You're in true Magna-Tile Heaven now!
After dinner at home, we headed for Chiles because you love their Molten Lava cake.
After Chiles, you got your "Grand Finale" present...your first bike. After realizing you have to put some effort into pushing the pedals, you were off like a champ...

You finally stopped long enough for us to put on your helmet - here, you're really boogeying now!
I had a book made for you - "The Wonder Years...Birth to Five" - the back cover
the front cover
inside front page
a few sample pages...

Gracie, you constantly crack your mama up - sometimes to pieces. As I write this, I can't believe we're embarking on a new year. Our baby girl is 5! You have come through many stages...

One - Learner - everything is new and I want to soak every speck of it up

Two - Warrior - everything is mine, and more importantly, you must ask very nicely if you want me to share

Three - Jabberwocky - I want to know everything and I want to share it with you

Four - Protector - "The world is my oyster"...let me explore, empathize with and nurture whatever or whomever comes my way

...and it's my personal opinion that this one is next...

Five - Negotiator - "Mommy, if I clean my room real good, can I go live with Hannah Montana?"

You continue to surprise and amaze us every day. You fill our days with hugs and laughter - even in the most recent days, when things haven't been so easy. Thank you. We love you!
You guys, please pray for no more rain - you can see the water standing...(yes, our pool has been reformed and now has gunite, so we shouldn't have any more problems, but we need the rain to stop so that the contractors can finish -)

the pony may need floaties to give the children their rides if things don't improve by Saturday -

Like I always say, "it's always an adventure" here at the Tarpleys!

Last but not least, thanks for all the well wishes, prayers and sympathy. Your thoughts are appreciated during this tough time of transition.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Whole Week

my mom, MiMi & PaPa
MiMi and PaPa at the deer lease for Thanksgiving
At my graduation ceremony for my Masters

PaPa with Gracie at a week and again at a year
Mom, PaPa, Lindsey, Patrick, Daddy, Jack, and Gracie at Landry's in Kemah - I think this was bout a year ago right ata bout this time of year
This is blurry, but this is about two weeks before Hurricane Ike last Fall. We were at Topwater Grill in San Leon - after Ike, no Topwater.

In the last couple of days, I have been wanting to write this post, but didn't know what I was going to say. I still don't. Aunt Mary, this is for you - for writing me and encouraging me.

A week ago today, at 5:15 am, we lost PaPa. He lived in the same house for all of my life, tended the same garden, raised the same beautiful daylilies, hunted, fished (and, trust me, you have never eaten a better piece of fried catfish - mercy, he could cook those catfish!) and loved all of us immensely - the kind of love you don't have to wonder about. My daughter had a great-grandfather for almost five years and given her tendency to "vacation" in Orange about once a month, she formed a strong bond with him in their brief time together...a true blessing. I didn't think she would understand much, but I was wrong. Not one day has passed that she hasn't mentioned him, so I know he is heavy on her mind, too.

I don't know how to really express the deep sadness that we're all feeling now because he was such a good PaPa and such a constant in a world that seems to get more circusy by the day. There are many firsts that will be hard on us all - his birthday is just ten days after Grace's, Father's Day, the holidays, etc. It will just be hard - no doubt about it. I'm at a point now where I simply don't have any more tears. I'm just trying to focus on the fact that after ten years, he is again with my grandmother, MiMi, and they're just having a big ol' time in Heaven. Some of you may know the song by Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton "When I get To Where I'm Going"...well, the thought just keeps coming to me that they're "riding a drop of rain". Maybe that's beacuse it won't quit raining around here - I have no idea. I know that a lot of people loved him and respected him and he was smart and funny and loved dogs just like me. He was an encourager and a stock market whiz. You're just gonna have to take my word for it - he was the best PaPa ever.

We were all lucky to have just spent Easter with him the weekend before. How quickly things can change...I can't believe it has been a week since he has been gone. I can still feel his little arthritic fingers in mine. I know he was almost 82, but it still feels too soon -

We will always love you, PaPa.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

awwwwww man

Not only did we get rained out of Gracie's riding lesson...this is what happened to our pool...this is yesterday evening after what I now know was the calm before the storm...just a little water at the far end - no biggie...

Just after Jack arrived home from work - I guess about 7 pm - Gator started going nuts and this is why - the earth gave way - so much for that cement stabilization -
This is 24 hours and nine inches of rain later - my poor little orange tree is suspended in the air just above the water line -

The rebar, the wood, everything will have to be re-done...and then the left side gave way, too...

like I said....awwwww man....we're gonna have some very unhappy pool builders...none of us are too excited either.
Jack and two of our neighbors worked all day throughout the wind and rain to try and get the 646 property ready for the auction next weekend and we had so much rain, it looks like a lake. They set most all of the merchandise on pallets, but we're in for nasty work ahead if it doesn't dry up quickly...

Friday, April 17, 2009


*warning: this might be the cutest, cow poop-filled post ever!*

When I was a little girl, PaPa had a hunting dog named Patches - she was some kind of spaniel, white with lots of liver-colored spots. I used to love walking back to her pen to help him feed her and I loved calling her just had a certain ring to it. Well, now, I have Matches. He looks just like a match stick - his grayish white little body with a red head. This is the smallest bull calf we've ever had. He is such a cutie patootie!

You can tell he's ours cuz he sticks his tongue out just like Gracie when he's concentratin'...

Then again, maybe he just gets it from his mama.

Is he not just the dag-blasted cutest thing you've ever seen? Look at that little hump?

The markings on his ears make him look like he already has horns! awwwww

...and then to top it all off, he has this little handlebar mustache thing going. I guess he thinks it makes him look older and more studly...

...although I don't have a clue why he's worried about that because it looks like his protectors (l to r: Daddy, Dallas; sister, Cloudy; Matches; Mama, Stormy; and Aunt, Zsa Zsa) have him circled.

Now, for another perfect match for our family...hark, is that a hole I see in our backyard? Yesiree, Bob. You thought I was fibbin' all this time that we were gonna get a pool, huh? Well, there she be - just as purty as any hole in the ground I've ever seen.

That little redhead of ours squeals every time she walks through the back door and catches a glimpse of it - this morning before we left for school, she told me she was gonna have to go tell her pool "bye" before we left. Oh, mercy me!

Yesterday, they were trowling cement onto the dirt _ I guess to stabilize it before the rains come today and tomorrow??? I have no idea, but that sounds good anyway - it looks like the guy up top got the better end of the deal! :)

Then, I guess his friend got grouchy, so he decided to help - it still took them all day.

As far as tomorrow goes, the Saddle-Up post is iffy at best with all of the rain we're expecting. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, April 13, 2009

My get up and go and has done got up and went -

It is always busy - you'd think I'd get used to it - that we all would - but when tired sneaks up on ya, there's just no gettin' around it!

Last Thursday, after Grace's swimming lesson, I came home and ventured into the kitchen to make my very first layer cake. By the time all was said and done, three hours had passed, lots of egg whites had been folded this way and thata way, one layer met file 13, and my dreamy meringuey frosting looked more like dog snot than anything else...oh, and I had about two dishwasher loads of dishes and pans to deal with - no wonder I've never tried that before! Goodness me, when everything shakes out - just give me a warm chop chip-pecan cookie and a glass of milk and I'm good - that lesson taught me to appreciate the simple things in life and not try meringue on a hot and humid day. It was a hard-won lesson. The cake was actually not bad - it just wasn't so pretty, but I don't think I'll be doing the Aunt Lottie Lane cake again any time soon - whew wee, Mr. McGee! No siree!

On Friday, I also made a Lemon Meringue pie and deviled eggs to bring to Moms on Saturday. Same thing happened with that meringue - oh dear. We took Grace to a riding lesson that evening since we would be out of town the next day. Ms. Robin, Kacey's Mom, was her instructor this time - she had a good time. It was the perfect night - cool, but not as windy as it has been.

Robin trying to coax Pal into a trot - he's getting old and cranky like me, I guess.

I can't belive Easter is over - tomorrow after swim, I'll spend the day putting up the Easter decor - Gracie will be so sad to see her personal things get put up. She received an early Easter package from Aunt Francie and has loved having her own space decorated, too.

This little craft project (a wooden flower on a stand), she colored all by herself - I wrote "Growing with Gracie's love", but she did the rest - pretty good, I'd say.

She had a really good time in Orange on Saturday. Popi gave her a pair of golf clubs -

she has one club in each hand "practicing her swing" - I think we need lessons.

After our dinner settled, it was time for some egg huntin'...looking, looking...

found one!
she's counting her loot - by the looks of things, her teeth are gonna fall out at any given moment!

The happy, tired family...

We also got to see some of the inhabitants of the birdhouse we gave PaPa two Christmases ago - his was toppled by Hurricane Rita and this one didn't give to Ike.

Finally, today is the 7th anniversary of Jack proposing to me on East Beach in Galveston. Last week, we visited, but it was so chilly, we didn't stay long, but this is it - where it all began.
Have a wonderful day - it's beautiful here - and PaPa received good news at the doctor's office this morning. He does have some blockage in some arteries around his heart, but he won't have to undergo surgery in Houston. They plan on putting in stints this Thursday or Friday, so please keep him in your prayers.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Can I get a wife please?

Since reading this, I've just been contemplating all of the stuff we, as moms, do and, seriously, it makes my head hurt. I can't imagine how Courtney feels, because I have one girl to her three and there are a lot of days I find myself praying for nightfall, so that I can finally put my head down - even if it's on a hard plastic toy hiding under my pillow at midnight. I NEED A WIFE - someone to clean my house, do my laundry, feed my animals, entertain my child so that I can take a shower alone, get food on the table, re-iron the little no-sew stars on my child's gym shirt for the millionth time so that everyone will know how accomplished she already is - oh Heavens...where's the Calgon? Hugs to all the Moms out there - we're in this together!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Another long Saturday, but we DID Saddle Up

"Cute little bird" sighting to start our day... Gracie named her Princess Opal.

After a quick stop to pick up kolaches for the riding lesson gang, Gracie got right to work on Pal-

Navigating him around the pasture all by herself -

They picked a bouquet of flowers for me on their run at the ditches -


Who's going the wrong way?

After a trip to Sams, dropping Daddy off at the stables and a short rest at home, it was time for Gracie's gym exhibition - this is building a bridge -

rock n' roll

Ms. Kennedy helping with a hand-stand.

zoom zoom

seal crawl

beautiful girl

Gracie's dance and gym teacher, Ms. Crystal.

making me dizzy -

getting her medal

Her medal pose
OK, now don't let me lose you - I told you - it was a busy day! We didn't breed any of our mares last year since we already have 19 and we need to scale down - but we did breed our friend's mare and this little guy was born yesterday. His Daddy is our Chief. The Mommy pictured here is owned by Cindy and Darryl and her name is Sable.

Yum-dinner! I marked him - can you see that "S" on his right cheek?
Can you see the peacock on his left side?

Check out the legs on this guy - he's gorgeous!
He's gonna be so flashy and is gonna look great under saddle!

The peacock again -
This is Pappy - he was born June 19, 2007.
This is Dallas - our bull and Pappy's Daddy. When Pappy's horns come in, he will be the mirror image of him (except for the little "milk drop" on his forehead) -
Anyway, this is Leo and Pappy - Darryl and Cindy have adopted two of our mini Brahmans - Leo shares Gracie's birthday, April 29, so he'll be turning two soon -
Y'all...this has been a long post - I'm tired, but I'm off to do some laundry - enjoy the rest of your weekend! :)