Monday, April 29

love monsters.

man, do these girls give me a hard time.

we had a rough experience at the grocery store the other day. it was mostly my fault, because i took them to a somewhat inappropriate grocery store (one that doesn't furnish double-seater shopping carts, one where you bag your own groceries) and it was cutting it pretty close to nap time. then i decided to try and buy a super cheap steal of a wagon and it was in a gigantic box, so i was pushing the cart and balancing the box on top while holding a squirming poppy and trying to keep ellie from running wild through the store... it was possibly the longest thirty minutes of my life since childbirth.

and we ended up spending almost as long in the parking lot just making sure everyone had clean drawers and the groceries were loaded carefully and the massive box was squeezed in there somehow. i am not above bribes, so when we finally pulled out of the parking lot they were both happily making a mess of some soft sugar cookies. poppy finished hers quickly and then fell asleep, covered in sprinkles and frosting.

we got home and i was exhausted, but i still had to unload all the groceries and put them away while the girls napped and snuggled. there are no naps for me these days and i was looking forward to an evening of forcing them to eat delicious, healthy food (or giving in to the demands for pb&js) followed by grumpiness and screaming from two kids that sure seem to hate to sleep at night. daunting.

we have lots of evenings like that and lots of long, long nights. i know it's part of the gig, but it does get old sometimes.

and then they pull stuff like this:

that's right, a calm moment during bedtime that was not prompted by me and not involving the (marvelous, magical) television. i caught ellie reading poppy her favorite book. poppy was making all the animal noises and ellie was remembering the words the best she could (she remembers them pretty well).

oh, my heart.

they can spend all day biting and smacking each other, throwing dirt from the potted plants on the floor,   screaming outside the bathroom door while i shower, having tantrums in public places and then, for about five minutes, they can be the sweetest little girls you've ever seen.

i love these little monsters all day long, even when they are genuinely being monsters.

(and i may love them a little extra when they are sleeping. shhh.)

(p.s. - dear poppy's hair: feel free to show up any time now. i think we've waited long enough.)

Friday, April 26

goodbye, old friend.

last night, we said goodbye to an old friend.
someone who had been with us since the beginning.
someone beloved by all in this house.

ellie, one year old


we had tried a few times before to let it go, but it was just too difficult (and nobody was getting any sleep). it helped her through the change from crib to bed. there was a new baby and then she was potty training and i kept thinking "after the next transition, then we can be done."

poppy never did care about a pacifier. once in a while she will take one and kind of chew on it, but i think that has more to do with teething than anything. however, poppy knows all too well about paci. it was one of her first words because of ellie. poppy would bring the prized possession to her sister lovingly, saying "patchi, patchi!"

newborn ellie

for ellie it was different... for ellie it was love at first sight. i remember when she was brand new and we spent hours holding that thing in her mouth because she would scream without it. it was huge, almost as big as her face. i remember how we celebrated when she could keep it her mouth, and when she could put it in herself it was heaven. how many times in the past three years have i gotten up in the middle of the night to search for it while she cried in bed? how many times have i pulled it out from between the mattress and the wall or rescued it from deep under the bed? probably millions. and how many have we gone through because she preferred only the one kind? it was the bounciest kind of all; always rolling far away at the worst moments, sometimes never to be seen again.

she turned three. it seemed like she was just getting more and more attached. she would try to convince me she was tired just so she could have it. she would spot it on the counter, climb up and snatch it and hide with it. sometimes at night she would sleep with one in her mouth and another in her hand. love, i tell you.

then we went to target yesterday. we walked through the aisles of toys and she pointed out all the ones she wanted, which included almost everything - from dolls to dump trucks. after hearing ideas/stories from some friends, i decided to ask her the big question.
"ellie, would you like to come pick a toy from this store?"
"yes!" (duh, obviously, of course)
"well, i was thinking we could go home and get your paci and then we could bring it here and trade it for a toy here. would you want to do that?"
"are you sure? because when we leave it here we will never, ever see it again. you will have to be a big girl. can you do that?"
"yes. i think i can give it a try." (honestly, her words.)

so we waited until daddy came home, then we rounded up the paci and we all went to the store.

ellie got her paci as soon as we walked in and it was in her mouth immediately. i wasn't sure this plan was going to work. we checked out some clothes while she had some time with it (and we tried on a couple of bras together, little lady of mine).

we hit the toy section next. she tried out a lot of toys but when she found the shopping cart that was it. she pushed it all over the aisles until i was convinced of her choice and then i told her she had to hand over the paci.
"time to say goodbye," i said.
she put it in my hand and waved. "goodbye!"
"now ellie, you are going to get this shopping cart and we are going to leave this paci here. you won't get to have it again, do you understand?"
"yeah. i don't need it anymore. i'm a big girl."

i wanted to break down and cry.

she rolled that cart right up to the register and right out the door. as we left i reminded her one more time, made sure it was her choice and made sure she knew that the paci was too far away for her to get it back. she was sure.

she hasn't been taking naps for a couple of months now and that's partly why i had figured it was finally time. the no naps transition sometimes makes her grumpy (understatement! she's slightly insane.) and last night was rough. she stayed up too late. she was too tired to get in her jammies, too tired to relax. we usually let her sit in her room with her lamp on and she's allowed to read or play quietly so long as she doesn't come out.

at first, when we put her to bed, she was mad. she yelled and told me she didn't want the shopping cart, she wanted the paci. she also threatened to stay up all night. she cried "it's too hard! i can't sleep!" we let her cool off then i went in to check on her. she had unloaded all the food around her on her bed and told me all the things that she had: pie crusts, crackers, noodles, milk, eggs, ice cream, etc.
"do you want to clear these things off so you can sleep? we can put them in the cart."
so she did. then, she climbed up in my lap.
"mommy, i can't sleep. i want my paci," she said calmly.
"i know, but we left it at target, remember? you picked this new toy. you're a big girl."
"mommy, i don't want to be a big girl anymore," she said sadly.

she was breaking my heart.

i reminded her of all the fun things she can do because she's a big girl - go to dance class, swing on the big swings, draw beautiful pictures. she still wasn't quite sure.
"how about i rock you for a minute until you fall asleep?"
she smiled and nodded. we turned off the lights and i rocked her, then rubbed her back under the glow-in-the-dark stars until she finally fell asleep.

paci, you were a reliable, loyal, helpful friend. you'll be missed.
we'll take good care of this little woman that you left behind.
she just keeps getting better. we love her so much.

Wednesday, April 24

finding their babies.

friends & family, 

i don't know how many people read this blog or how far my "reach" extends but i know i have friends and readers in several states across the country and i have to get this out there. i know that many of you are parents and this story is important to me. 

everyone has a different path to parenthood. some become parents by accident, some become parents very easily and effortlessly, and some become parents after years of struggle and sacrifice.

my friends brian & julie are some of the most generous and kind people i know. they are smart and witty and creative. and their path to parenthood has been one of struggle and sacrifice. they have decided to choose adoption and i couldn't be more excited for them. 

these days, you know someone who knows someone who has a friend and that's how adoptions happen. there's social media and there are blog posts like this one to help prospective parents along the way. 

if you know anybody or can spread the word to help my friends find their babies, please do it. you might not know it now, but you may hold the key to helping this family come together. the babies are out there and these parents are waiting for them with open arms and open hearts. they just need help finding each other. 

just keep them in mind and who knows what might happen? 
miracles, that's what might happen.

for more about them and links to their adoption profile, you can go here: 

also, you really can help them by doing what you already do! 
if you use amazon for shopping or have a kindle or whatever, you can buy the things you already would buy but a tiny bit of the money goes to help their adoption funds. just go to this link: 
(in fact, just go ahead and bookmark it) and shop as usual. seriously, click on it! it doesn't look any different to you, does it? right?! but if you buy through this link you will be helping my friends become a the family of their dreams and you can feel even better about the new shoes or toys or books you just purchased. it's so easy. 

good luck to you, julie & brian. 
we can't wait to meet your babies.

Monday, April 22

some fresh quotes.

playing in the dirt

daddy: "poppy, i love you!"
poppy: "wuff you!"
daddy: "ellie, i love you!"
ellie: "daddy, i like you."
daddy: "what about love?"
ellie: "what about like?"

sunday skype storytime

the whole family watches project runway, a "mommy show." it's a competition for fashion designers and they show their different garments on the runway.
so the girls and i are at target...

e: "mommy, did somebody make that dress on the fashion show?"
me: "well, somebody made that dress, but not on the show."
e: "oh. mommy, can you be on the fashion show?"
me: "you mean i make the clothes or i walk on the runway?"
e: "you can walk on the runway, mommy, and daddy can make you a beautiful dress to wear."
me: "that sounds like a great idea."
e: "yes, and the losing team WILL BE OUT."

(maybe you have to watch the show to fully understand that one, but i am still cracking up about it. she sounded just like heidi klum. i'm also flattered that she considers me a runway model.)

being dangerous, at usual

eleanor always wants me to "announce" her.
"presenting the beautiful, talented, the amazing eleanooooor fowler!"
and she'll present poppy and me, too.

she is obsessed with this nature show and now has all kinds of animals facts in her back pocket.
"i know about basilisk lizards that walk on water!"
"i know about sperm whales!"
"i know about beavers! they have orange teeth!"
"is that an animal from south america? is it from africa? i think maybe it is from north america."

helping with shoes

on the pet aisle:
e: "look, kitty food. i think we should get a kitty. we could have a doggie and a kitty."
me: "well, we can't get a kitty, honey. they make daddy sneeze and sneeze, so they can't live in our house."
e: "well, when i get big i'm going to get my own kitty."
then at home, when we let judge out to go potty:
e: "don't close the door! i'm waiting for my kitty to come inside."

and poppy's first "quote"

poppy: "butt."
she loves to point at her own butt and ellie's butt.
truthfully, "butt" also means button and when she wants a bite of something it sounds like "butt", but she really does love to point out butts. and laugh.

Friday, April 19


(possibly my favorite picture ever of all time.)

i had heard rumors that three is so much harder than two.
(i mean the age of the children, not the amount. this is definitely not an announcement, my friends.)

for us, it's true. three is just full of drama. and tantrums. and the potty training! don't even get me started on the hell that potty training has been.

oh, the drama. you can rarely predict what is going to trigger it or where it is going happen.

however, i am starting to think that three is also when the real childhood begins.

she is doing things. amazing things. things that she might actually have a memory of someday.
she's telling me things. she's making up stories and using her imagination.
she's getting to be so independent. she knows what she wants and i am having to help her less and less every day. (i absolutely love when she actually asks for my help and we can do something together.)

and although she sometimes has a hard time knowing how to express them, she is having so many feelings. i love when she can find the words, because it is so interesting to hear her describe how she feels. 
today we were eating lunch outside and she observed that it was quiet, even though there were bird noises and insect noises and such. i had a chance to explain to the girls what it means to feel peaceful while they were actually experiencing it.

i barely recognize the tiny little baby i brought home from the hospital. she's 100% kid and she is more than happy to remind you of that fact.

ps --
recently she has really gotten the hang of using the potty.
all it took was a new pair of sparkly shoes and a lot of chocolate.
(like this girl wasn't high maintenance enough already.)

one more mombrag: working on letters :) 

Friday, April 12

poppy at 15 (okay, more like almost 17) months.

you guys, this girl!
she's so adorable.
i know i'm her mom and i'm supposed to think that, but she IS!
i can't get enough of her.
(except in the middle of the night. i think i could definitely use less poppy in the middle of the night. yeah, she still isn't sleeping very well. i blame the molars that are taking their sweet time.)

she is really becoming her own person with a whole lot of personality. maybe even extra personality...
she is right in the middle of the "no" phase. no means yes, no means no, no means i want to eat a bite of your cake and no means LET ME GO. actually, she yells OUCH! OUCH! when she wants me to let her go, which makes me feel like she is trying to make me look like a bad mom. she especially loves saying "no no" or "uh-oh" (and "uuuhhps!" for whoops) when she has done something naughty on purpose. in her defense, she also says no a lot because of a sister who frequently rips toys out of her hands or takes her food.

despite the fixation with no, her vocabulary is really extensive. she parrots a lot and it is getting easier to understand her little ewok language. she has mostly stopped crying in the night, instead she moans "mommy, mommy" so pathetically that i really can't ignore it.

some of her best (ie my favorite) words:
"ap-oh" for apple, but really any food is ap-oh especially "daddy ap-oh" (whatever daddy is eating that she wants)
"JUUU!" for juice (or "ap-oh juu")
"show" when she wants to watch tv, usually at 3 am
"eh-ohoh" for eleanor
"doudee" for cookie
"SHOOOSSS" she always wants put on shoes and "sahz" socks
"pidee" for anything pretty, usually jewelry
"duh-dee" for judgie and "duhdge" for judge
"dahdee" doggie (she's obsessed)
"maow" for mouth, "no" for nose, "eyeee" for eye, "hed" for head
she also says "maow" for minnie & mickey mouse
and "wella" for cinderella
"hawt" for hot and "brrrr!" for cold
"hepah" for helper (she loves "helping")
and she never really has said much mama and dada, always "dadeeeeee" and "mommeeeeee"
she loves saying "hiieee" and "buh-bye-eee" like she's a one-baby welcoming committee (and her pageant wave is perfect)
she loves my phone and brings it to me saying "cheeeeeeeeedse!" and smiling like crazy

her voice is just so funny and cute. it's soft and low and breathy and, even when she yells, it sounds hilarious. everything she says is newsworthy to me.

she is really into dolls lately. she has to have her "babeh DAAHHWW" (baby doll, for some reason she always accentuates the "doll" part) to sleep at night and usually has an armful of babies that need liberating from her crib with her each morning. she loves to fall asleep with a dolly in each arm. she hugs and kisses, rocks and pats them. often when she's up in the night i will be snuggling poppy and poppy with be snuggling her baby doll in the same way. she loves all the dollies, even the barbies, and totes them around the house. she is always pushing them in my face for kisses yelling "mah! mah!" (her "muah" kiss noise). (as you might guess, she is even more excited about real babies.) she is well-balanced, like ellie, though, and loves "amimuhs" (animals) and "raaaaahhh!!!" dinosaurs and really freaks out about "chooo choooos!"

she loves to dance and sing. she tries to mimic ellie's ballet moves but also loves to rock. no really, she head-bangs. she makes up words to songs and loves to sing into the pretend microphone. she gets really into it, like american-idol-style.  not sure where she gets that. i really love her little singing voice, even if sometimes she sounds like the seagull from the little mermaid.

poppy loves trouble. she colors on walls and windows, she hides from me, she smacks me when i try to stop her from running away in the store, and so on. she is worse than ellie ever was at this age, i think. she sits on top of tables, she dances on chairs, she climbs everything and she has even escaped the house - she loves giving us all heart-attacks. she got staples a few weeks ago after she fell on the fireplace (while being a daredevil), and i can't even tell you how that didn't slow her down for a second. the other day, she even started saying "tru-buh" (trouble) in her best e.t. voice.

you really can't stay mad at this one, though. she's so funny even if she is literally exhausting. she's just an adorable little monster and i wouldn't have her any other way. i mean, i never did want a boring life. she's just trying to make my dreams come true.

love you little p! 

Wednesday, April 10


i love whenever these girls get really interested in something.

like books. they go nuts for books, but you already know that. when they are acting like little hooligans and they can't stop brawling with each other (and more than likely pulling hair), i need a giant sign in my house that says "get a book!" as a reminder because it almost always tames my little savage beasts. 

they love the library. they love when i take them to a thrift store and let them pick books to take home. they love reading to themselves and i could read to them all day without complaint. some nights (the best nights), ellie will quietly read herself to sleep.

(i did not pick this book for purchase. a sweet worker at goodwill suggested it to the girls and then i couldn't just put it back, you know? and for some reason ellie loves it - maybe because i've never actually shown her barney? just had to add that disclaimer.) 

i've been reading charlotte's web to ellie before bed. we read several chapters a night and she always wants more. you would not believe how quickly this stubborn little girl brushes her teeth and hops in bed when she knows it is time to read. she was a little bummed at first when she found out charlotte wasn't going to wrap wilbur up and eat him, but she seemed satisfied when she found out that at least charlotte drinks blood (morbid maybe?). she loves it.

i have amassed our own library of books to read to the girls and i'm so excited to pick our next one. i even have shelves and shelves of books that they won't enjoy for years but i still CAN'T WAIT for them to read them and know them and love them. 

i guess a love of reading is something they get honestly. :)

Thursday, April 4

spring cleaning and starting new.

i'm cleaning and organizing and starting new - starting again, really.
i'm announcing the official rebirth of the blog and writing and trying to capture those great little moments in the life of the fowler family.

so i may start skimping on the pictures sometimes, because they are always the frustrating part for me.
and i want to remember so many things and, let's not kid ourselves, i am not going to keep up with a personal journal anytime this decade.
(in fact, i'm laughing thinking about it.)

so hopefully this declaration makes it stick and you'll be seeing a lot more of us around here.
i'm doing okay this week, right?

Tuesday, April 2

coloring eggs.

let's just pretend that i haven't been totally mia for a month and jump right in, okay? eventually we'll be up to date.

we colored easter eggs friday night.

we were outside in the evening before dinner and the girls were playing dinosaurs: eggs hatching and predators attacking. (poppy makes a great predator, in case you were wondering.) i gave them a five minute warning and told ellie we had to go inside and take a bath so that we could dye eggs.
"no!" she screamed and covered her nest of bouncy balls, "i don't want them to DIE i want them to LIVE!" and i am embarrassed to say that it took a minute for me to connect the dots and correct myself.
we were going to decorate eggs. color eggs. no eggs would be harmed (unless you are counting the hard boiling, i guess).

ellie had grabbed one of those cheap, tacky egg coloring kits while "driving" along in the car cart that week. at the time i was holding a whiny, teething poppy with one arm and grabbing groceries with the other, so i told her to toss it in and she could have it if she behaved the rest of the trip. i bribe. you would too, if you were shopping with them.

so friday night i boiled some eggs and we plopped the little tablets into some vinegar and watched the colors appear. poppy wanted to sample the "juice" so we set her up with some crayons at another table, which surprisingly worked for a minute (they are on a huge coloring kick).

i had some vague memories of last year and i know my ellie, so i gave up all ideas of control and possibly cute little pinterest eggs and let her at them. i think she dipped each egg in each color at least once, then i noticed that the colors weren't sticking very well. i added some food coloring to the colored vinegar and around that time, poppy got interested again and started trying to open the food coloring and squeeze it in the floor. ellie stopped trying to use the little wand that came with the kit and started plopping the eggs from cup to cup with her fingers. it was insanity. they love insanity.

in the end, the eggs ended up mostly brownish and acid-washed-looking (and so did ellie's hands), but ellie took a page right out of wreck-it ralph and declared them the most beautiful eggs in the world. i convinced them to let me "dry" the eggs and get a couple of pictures before they covered them with the nonsensical stickers (putting stickers of eggs ON eggs? and then random sports stickers? i don't know.). the paper towels we used for clean up ended up more vibrant than our eggs did.

i truly do love the eggs, even if they might be slightly embarrassing. they are all her and she was so proud. that's what matters, even if i am already trying to figure out how to remember to try and get out of dyeing (sorry, coloring) eggs next year.

after the pictures, poppy got her hands on an egg and smashed it in her hand. i was surprised it took that long, honestly. i told the girls we would go ahead and eat that one. instead of throwing a fit, which i expected, ellie wanted to crack one of hers open and eat it, too. i couldn't believe it. it was very UN-ellie-like behavior.

we cracked another, they ate most of the yolks and then suddenly they were totally over the whole activity. well, really i think they just wanted to smash all the eggs but i couldn't take that additional mess so we wrapped it up and called it a night.

i love my girls and their creativity and imagination. i love watching them smile with pride over what they've done, but at the same time it seems like they realize that enjoying themselves and expressing themselves matters so much more than the finished product. it's a reminder of what's really important.

and those eggs are so not important. those smiles are.

(one blurry smile, ten stained fingers)

Monday, April 1

making a fool out of mommy.

happy april fools, i guess?
i am really not a big fan of practical jokes, playing them or "receiving" them. silly stuff is fine, sure, but when it gets personal i start to dislike the jokes (if you can call them that). i'm too nervous and stressed out for stuff like that.

my girls played some "jokes" on me today that included running away as fast as they could (IN PUBLIC) several times and one frightening, life-threatening incident. i need a day off.

of course i love them, but they sure know how to make me feel like i'm not up to the challenge of motherhood. they give me a run for my money daily. they are what you might call "a handful."

on the flipside, we had a joint check-up today and they are both normal, healthy, perfect little girls. they were very well behaved, too, and there were no tears even though there were some shots. i guess all the practicing with the doctor's kit ellie got for her birthday prepared them for today.

as we walked in to see the doctor, ellie asked, "who's getting stitches today, mommy?"
"nobody!" i said, and i sure hope it stays that way for a while.