Monday, August 1

one year here.

we've been back in the beehive state for a whole year now. 

um, it's weird. the good kind of weird.

we miss georgia like CRAZY but luckily a lot of our georgia friends have reason to visit utah and so we've had chances to see a few of our favorite people. (if you're ever in the area, hit us up!)

the girls love it. we love it. and even though not quite everything has gone exactly according to plan, we're moving forward and checking off goals left and right. life has been good (and ridiculously busy) for us. well, mostly for the husband. he is my number one hero right now. he's working so hard and we love him more than ever for it. 

 here's to many more adventures, big & small, in our next year!

also, i'm pretty sure google photos is going to save this blog. finally i don't have to upload and then download and then upload again to get pictures on here. that has always been the most frustrating part and now it's a suh-nap! 

it even does this ^^^ for me, which is super rad.

Tuesday, April 26

when our life got flip-turned-upside down and it all turned out okay.

out in the backyard in athens.

this is a bit of a ramble. it's an explanation. i have a lot (like a LOT) more feelings about all of these things. this a brief summary of everything that happened during the time i was m.i.a. from the blog, so y'all can catch up if you want.

my pregnancy with evangeline was one of the reasons i didn't blog for so long. man, it was rough. i can't complain too much, because i know many (many) people out there are struggling to have families, BUT. we had a completely different experience. we barely talked about having another baby and immediately got what we wanted. i mean, i expected to get pregnant but i also expected some time to try to get pregnant and to get ready (as ready as anybody can be, i guess). i thought maybe i'd have time to have everything in my life a little more organized. i imagined a spring baby. so when a couple of weeks after we decided to work on little no. three, ellie told me: "mommy, i'm going to have a little sister and she's going to be born before christmas" i laughed it off. i was still laughing a couple of weeks later when i discovered she was right.

at the end of april, i got sick. then sicker. it all started with a stomach bug, which i mistook for morning sickness until the rest of the family got just as sick as i did. that was a weekend to remember. we moved from bed to couch to bathroom, barely awake. i couldn't keep anything down and almost ended up getting an iv for dehydration. after a week everyone started getting better, but i stayed pretty sick. i spent two months just surviving, constantly in a fog of misery. i couldn't stand the smell of the stove or oven getting hot, so even just boiling water sent me running for the toilet. i had to put all of the spices in the garage because i couldn't go in the kitchen if i could smell them. even the smell of bread made me gag! every time i went into a grocery store i literally prayed that i would be able to manage the sights and the smells without ending up on the floor. once i even vomited so hard i scratched my throat bloody and had petechial hemorrhages around my eyes. i would just barely make it through the day, then another, then another.

 how i survived morning sickness: sitting on the beach while the girls played.

i was really thankful for people who brought food and helped us out, because i was living off whatever sounded good (which was mainly gatorade, cheetos, and soft pretzels). around mid-june i started feeling better, but only just. i still feel like i lost weeks of my life during that time. as the summer began, i slowly came out of the haze. i could cook and eat again for the most part, but i still had almost no energy. every once in a while it would hit me all over again out of nowhere. at the same time it started getting easier physically, though, it started getting much harder emotionally.

several of our close friends experienced major, devastating changes in their lives during that summer. it was heartbreaking to watch families that we loved so much simply fall apart. i was so grateful for my boring, sweet, imperfect life. then, suddenly, our life decided to get not-so-boring after all.

in the fall, we learned that the house we lived in in athens needed to be sold. everything lined up just right for a really difficult transition. we didn't want to move when i was super pregnant or with a newborn, and we needed some time to make new plans, so we made the choice to move in with the husband's parents for a little while. it all happened in a matter of days. ellie had to leave her pre-k class after only two months. we had to say goodbye to our home after six years, the only home my babies had ever known. it was only 45 minutes away, but it felt like a whole other world.
pretty babies saying goodbye to the athens house.

living with the grandparents (and a bonus uncle) was hard. and fun. and crazy. and frustrating. and stressful. and beautiful. we were really, really lucky. our family is too good. the kids and the grandparents were so happy together and i love that my girls had that special time there. it was nice to have that extra support through the end of that rough pregnancy, then again with a brand new baby, and some unexpected medical issues with poppy. we made really great friends, spent a lot of time as a family, and i think it made us all stronger.

it also pushed us in an entirely new direction. the husband had been doing school online for a while, but with all the changes we wondered if it might be the time to go back to a campus to finish (or start?) school. as we looked into our options, it all started coming together. he applied and was accepted into school back in utah. it was a huge, exciting, terrifying leap. knowing that we wouldn't be able to see our georgia family for a while, the time we spent living together was all the more precious. we had to make a lot of tough decisions, including what would happen to our sweet old boy judge. he wasn't doing so well physically. we were able to get him into a rescue program but it was really hard to say goodbye to our friend after eight years. it was hard to say goodbye to all of our friends and family in georgia. we had made such a wonderful life there and it broke my heart to go, but this new opportunity was the best thing for us.

poppy taking a leap of faith into grammie's pool.

my sister flew out and she and i drove across the country with the kids in july (which is a whole other story). the husband stayed for a few more weeks, then joined us in utah. everything fit together like a puzzle: jobs worked out, hand-me-down furniture magically became available, and we were able to rent the most perfect little house. our friends and family were so helpful and made the move easy. now that we've finished the first year of this school adventure (with high grades might i add!), i know that everything that happened was working to get us to this point. we're busy and happy and we're working hard to get where we want to be as a family.

hopefully that's enough of an update to explain the past two years. life has been hard to us but sweet to us. so far, i've found that life just gets harder but it also gets so much sweeter -- and i'm ready for it.

Thursday, April 7

coupla quotes.

some kid quotes from the past few weeks.
(i know, i'm way excited about them, too!)

ellie is 6. poppy is almost 4 1/2. evie just hit 16 months. just for reference.

so we had almost finished reading the first harry potter book, with just two chapters left to go.

ellie: i wonder what that thing in the forest was. the one that killed the unicorn. is it a monster?
daddy: or is it he who must not be named?
mommy: you think it was voldemort in the woods?
ellie: don't say his name! it didn't have any fangs. it might be a monster.
daddy: i don't remember about this book. he's back, right? did he have help?
mommy: they think snape is helping voldemort.
ellie: aaaaaaahhh! stop saying voldemort!

and when we finally got ready to watch the movie after we finished...

poppy: ooooo, i can't WAIT to see what hermione granger looks like!

about these tiny chicks we found at the craft store (see below) --
poppy: "eeek! they scare me. let's buy them."

we bought some jelly beans. not the spiced kind, or the fancy kind. the regular kind. 

poppy: ugh! the white ones taste like socks!
me: what?! they're good!
poppy: no! they taste like socks!
me: how do you even know what socks taste like?
poppy: remember back when i was three and i was so silly? that's when i tasted socks.

leaving storytime at the library.

poppy: there was another boy in there. he kept coughing and "bless-you-ing [sneezing]." he had a LOT of bubbles in his nose. i think maybe he was sick.
me: yeah, sounds like it. [um, GAG!]

ellie: except when i go to college, i'm going to be the smartest one in the class and all the boys will want to hug me!

the other day we had a late snow storm.

poppy: i hate this! it's supposed to be summer!

ellie loves to wake poppy up in the morning for what they call "secret playtime." we were laying in bed listening to them in the hallway and overheard this:

ellie: come on poppy!
poppy: but my legs are tired.
ellie: don't fake.
poppy: no, ellie! my real legs are tired!
ellie: you're faking! let's go!

ellie, after an existential conversation about the end of the world: so THAT'S what's going to happen when the world ends. i always thought some maniacs were going to come smash it into pieces.

listening to one direction in the van.

poppy: i had another dream that i met this guy.
me: the one singing?
poppy: yeah. i'm sure they know i'm a fan.

poppy: it's elmo's birthday!
me: how old is he?
poppy: i don't know. six, probally. (shrugs)

ellie had a substitute teacher at school. historically, that does not go well. i asked about how it went...

ellie: it was great! well, actually, it was embarrassing. i don't want to talk about it.
 later, more of the story develops...
ellie: the new teacher told us to color on the empty spaces. i told her that was wrong and she's not even our real teacher!
hours later, we learn what the real embarrassing part was...
ellie: today... the teacher... the teacher called me... PAM.
me: (laughing SO HARD.)
ellie: it's not funny. that's NOT my name.
me: sorry! you just don't look like a pam to me.

evie doesn't say much of anything yet, but she does do a couple of little things that i love.

first, all of her animal sounds are the same noise and it's like a really throaty (and honestly, a little bit scary) "gwaaaccc, gwaaaaaccc." we hear it a lot.

also, when she asks for something, she opens her hand and says "uh?" and if i say no, she just keeps asking. something like:

evie: uh?
me: no.
evie: uuuuh?
me: no.
evie: uh?
me: no.
evie: uuuuuh?
me: no.
evie: UH?
me: no.
evie: uuuuuuh?

and she could go on all day.

she also shrieks (like, the most piercing shriek) with happiness often (ie, finding her baby doll, getting a cookie, etc). she also says "wow wow" really softly when she's impressed. most recently, ikea really wowed her.

she's obsessed with cookies and will smack her lips if she wants one, saying "mumm mumm!" we think she can talk but won't, because she already gets whatever she wants without saying a word.

until next time, love from the three best frenemies!

Thursday, February 25

my tiger girl.

she will fight me, because this is the nature of two tigers. but i will win and give her my spirit, 
because this is the way a mother loves her daughter.

- amy tan, the joy luck club

i read the joy luck club a few years back. it was perfect timing. have you ever done that? have you ever read a book at the exact perfect moment in your life? it has only happened for me a handful of times. when i read gone with the wind a few years after i moved to the south -- that was perfect timing. if i had read it without knowing the places and the people i would have completely missed the feeling of it. if i had read the joy luck club before i had a daughter of my own, it would have been a nice book and an enjoyable read, but it would have been a completely different experience. honestly, i've forgotten most of the details of the story, but there was one theme that stuck. and it overwhelmed me. the mother, ying-ying, and her daughter, lena, are both tigers according to the chinese zodiac. it's a defining element of their relationship. tigers are mainly solitary creatures. they're cunning and fearless. they can be competitive, stubborn, and intense. and of course, two tigers will fight each other because that is their nature.

i started the joy luck club after ellie was born, when she was just starting to show her personality (i almost described it as her "little personality" but i had to correct myself - there is nothing "little" about it). after some calculations, i realized that ellie and i are also both tigers. one week earlier and she would have been an ox, but here we are: two tigers. i'm not generally invested in anything to do with the zodiac (i have a hard enough time remembering birthdates, much less signs and symbols), but i found this news so interesting. i think about it often. as i watch ellie grow, i see more and more tiger in her -- and in myself.

my little tiger turned six this week. she's fierce, more fierce than anyone i've ever known. she's passionate, about everything from her feelings on religious topics to the way her peanut butter and jelly sandwich is made. from the minute she wakes up, she's going. she has plans and projects and the rest of us have no say in the matter. we're all just characters in her play and she's a regular shakespeare. she inspires me and frustrates me and sometimes (most of the time) i don't know whether to laugh or scream or cry.

when she turned five, she decided she was old enough to pour her milk by herself. lately she makes quite a few of her meals herself -- cereal and sandwiches mostly, but still. she's starting to read and she's doing very well. her stories are elaborate. her drawings are amazing. she wants to be an astronaut, a dancer, a teacher, and an engineer (one that creates her own brand of motor vehicles called the arrow straight). she's beyond independent. she's so independent that sometimes i feel like she doesn't need me at all.

i forget that she's just a baby, really, until we're in the middle of an argument about which shoes she should be wearing and how to fix her bunched up socks and that she's late for school again and she breaks down and says "mommy, i just need a HUG." i forget that she's full of feelings that are too big for her mind. she's a giant tiger inside a little girl body. and i understand because i've been that tiger, too.

i see so much of myself in her actions. it's difficult for me to try and guide her through the hard things: the consequences of being stubborn and impulsive, the exhaustion of putting your passion into the wrong things, the loneliness of trying to do everything all by yourself and the humbling pain of having to ask for help. i want her to be kind and compassionate, but not submissive; intelligent and confident, but not conceited; brave and persistent, but not reckless.

there's one other thing that she wants to do when she grows up. she wants to be a mom. in all of her many little writings, the words she writes most often are "i love my mom." the first entry in her little diary: "monday. i love my mom." despite my temper, my pride, and my stubbornness; despite my many, many flaws, she still wants to be like me. she can see past my shortcomings to my tiger spirit and she wants to have that for herself. i want to give her that gift, even when she fights it. i can try my best to help the spirit that is already inside of her grow stronger and wiser, and help the spirit inside me grow stronger and wiser for her. i will win, i will make myself stronger and wiser, and i will give her my spirit.

she loves me fiercely because she knows that i love her fiercely.

because that is the way a mother loves her daughter. 

happy sixth birthday, my wild little eleanor.

Wednesday, February 17

back in the saddle.

yeah, it has been a long time.
like, two years.

i'm not sure that blogging is really "in" these days but i miss it.
and now that we've moved all the way back across the country (surprise!) i thought i'd start it up again to help share a little bit of our family with our loved ones who are far away.

let me explain.
no, there is too much. let me sum up.

i stopped posting right about the time i got pregnant with little evie in spring 2014.
yep, a whole person appeared during my absence (surprise again!).
anyway, i was so, so sick with her. the worst sick. not-even-functioning-sick. then, in the fall, things got really crazy when we moved in with my husband's parents for an indefinite amount of time. our time there was fun and hard and stressful and happy and we'll never forget it. between the living arrangement and the newborn baby, i kinda went into survival mode.
in the spring we got an idea. it was pretty out there, but we decided to go for it. the husband went back to school full-time and that meant moving back to where it all started, in utah valley. we were pretty nervous because, well, we're old and have a lot of kids and what were we even thinking?! but now we're in the second semester and things are working out better than we even imagined.

it's starting to feel as normal and calm as life with three little girls will ever be, so here i am. i'm ready to post some stuff for my benefit and for yours; because i will not remember my babies if i don't write it down and i think y'all might just be interested in our little fowlers, too.

plus i'm a nerd who likes writing. 

we can be friends on instagram if we aren't already (because it can kinda be like a micro-blog, i've found, and it's a lot easier to maintain). if you're here solely for the pictures, that's your spot. on the blog i'm going to add a bunch of words and i can't promise it won't get super cheesy.
fair warning & welcome back.

Wednesday, March 26

& some quotes.

and now
(drumroll please)
for the quotes.
with random pictures, as usual.
i know it's the only reason y'all still read this, to hear the crazy things my kids say. 

poppy is starting to assert her independence, and she likes to pick her clothes and dress herself. if i try to help she says "i need a turn! give me a turn! i do it!" most of the time, if i ask her if she needs help she'll say "i'm fine, mom! i'm fine!" like some kind of fifteen-year-old kid.

ellie gave her first talk in primary. it was about Jesus. we were asking her what she knows about Jesus (a lot) and she told us this fact: "he helps santa claus deliver all the presents on christmas eve!"

we rode in an elevator at the mall, and poppy fell asleep in the car right after we left. when she woke up at home, she must have been having a nightmare about the elevator because she started yelling: "the bumping! the bumping! no no!" and reaching out to hold on to me. poor thing.

ellie: "i don't like t-rexes. they freak me out! they aren't meant to be liked, just like great white sharks aren't meant to be liked."

poppy's latest catchphrase is "whabout me?" (what about me?). she hates being left out. the other day i tried to leave her in the car with daddy while i got a couple of things in the store and she was wailing "whabout me?! whabout me?!" enough to break my heart. when i mentioned that daddy was there with her, she said, "not daddy!" (poor daddy.)

ellie misses her utah family a lot lately (so do the rest of us). some of the things she's said:
"i think we should go spend some time with your family. you know, in utah."
"can we go pick daddy up from work and get on a plane and go to utah?"
"what if we just drive to the airport and get on a plane to utah right now?"

poppy keeps telling everyone she is older than she is. "i'm poppy. i'm six!" and she likes to tell people "my birthday is PINK!" (because she had a pink birthday cake)

after the time change, ellie said: "it's not hard for me to wake up early. i do it every day! i always wake up early!"
she does. ugh. and she wakes poppy up, too. the other morning she told me "i have to go wake poppy up and make our plans for today." poppy wasn't ready to make plans, though, and i found her clutching her blanket and moaning "no, no!" while ellie tried to drag her out of bed.

poppy is very self-aware. we love to tease her. if you say "you're silly!" she always responds with, "i'm not silly! i'm poppy!" and if you try to say that you are poppy... "no! you not poppy, i'm poppy! i'm poppy!" it never gets old.

ellie couldn't sleep the other night, and daddy and i were up watching a movie. she came out of her room and declared "you guys are ruining my dreams!"

ellie: "this is what t-devils do to bones and carcasses. carcasses have bones inside of them."
(she was eating french fries)

we said goodbye to the mullet this month. happy & sad about that.

along with singing frozen songs at the top of their lungs (both of them, and they know most of the words), they often make up their own original songs. some of my favorite lyrics:
"happy birthday to you, our princess! we love you and we care about you!" - ellie
"golden saaaaaandals!" - poppy
a whole song about peanut butter & honey by ellie

oh, and ellie's re-imagined version of "do you want to build a snowman?"
 do you want to build a snowman?
"i do!"
come on let's go and play!
"here i come!"
i never see you anymore, come out the door, it's like you've gone away.
"i'm right here!"
 (kinda changes the entire movie, huh?)

yes, together ellie and poppy act out whole scenes from frozen and i love it so much.
and i guess if you haven't seen frozen, maybe you should. or come on over, we're probably watching it sometime today.

Tuesday, March 25

adventure girls.

we haven't been around the internet much because, as luck would have it, every single saturday of march (so far) has been absolutely perfect. a lot of the days between have been perfect, too. spring is springing here in the south. don't get jealous just yet, though. march here is so unpredictable. the morning is a lion, the afternoon is a lamb, and then all night it is pouring rain. i got my box of warm weather clothes out of the attic, but i can't yet put away the winter clothes. some days are sweatshirts with jackets and wool socks. other days are sandals and t-shirts and pants rolled up. most days you start bundled up and end up sunbathing by dinnertime. it's been that way for weeks.

i'm not complaining. i know we only have a short amount of time before it gets sweaty, sweaty hot. for now, we wait for the weather to be just right and then we get out and enjoy every minute. 

recently daddy and i were talking about our girls, and how they need adventure. lately i just can't get the quote out of my head that "all good things are wild and free." if there is anything that describes my girls, that would be it. wild and free. we came up with the "adventure girls" and since then we've been spending time trying to get out and let our adventure girls be as wild and as free as they please.

and, thanks to this weather, every saturday has been a new adventure. 
when we're not having big adventures, we are out finding worms and picking every dandelion in the backyard. 
life is pretty good.

i'll post some adventure pictures and some really great kid quotes later this week.