Tuesday, August 20

rocky mountain high, part i

i might have already mentioned that i had a new appreciation for the western mountains while we were in utah.  (i might have mentioned it. i'm too lazy to go back and read my own blog right now.)

living in a totally different climate and environment for almost five years, i really noticed the rocky mountains for what felt like the first time in my life. i mean, we have mountains here in the south. mountains that are ancient, worn, and quiet. mountains that are rolling and gradual. mountains that are even full of human history.
but the mountains in utah are towering. they're imposing. they're breathtaking. they are wild. it doesn't hurt that you can see them from wherever you are. 
and we were able to go high up into their meadows and peaks and explore. 
more than once. 
it was beautiful.

we spent a day in the uinta mountains at the spot where our family and friends camp and hunt deer in the fall. it was a perfect day and the perfect time of year. the mountain breeze, wildflowers, blue skies... it was the best. the girls loved it and ellie asked every day to go back.
(i would have loved to spend a week there. never enough time.)

addie lou spends a lot of time up there with her mom and dad, her other grandparents and their family. she was right at home and we loved that she and aunt erynn could come with us. 

 she looks mad, but she's folding her arms to pray. 

them too. ready to pray.

uncle noah was a real sport in a car full of little girls. not many 16-year-olds would have the patience for all the diaper/potty stops and crazy singing that he put up with from us. love you, uncle noah!

 we didn't get a lot of pictures of grammie, i guess because she was spending as much time chasing kids as i was! 

above picture = story of my life. grammie took this one.

grampa on "the pipe" with the girls. 
(this is where addie lou's mommy and daddy got engaged! aw.)

gosh, mountains! and family! we miss you. 
good thing i have about a million more pictures.

Friday, August 16

happy birthday from me.

happy birthday week to myself, from myself. 

enjoy these terrible photobooth pictures! 

(i know, how did i ever find the time to be so weird?!)

Wednesday, August 14

i like my birthdays.

 i took this incredibly dorky picture of myself in utah. 
i almost peed my pants when i saw it.

it was my birthday monday and i'm 27 now
(debate over whether this is mid- or late-twenties still continues).

we had a quiet but busy day.
jumped with friends at our indoor bouncy house spot in the morning,
ran a couple of errands (including aldi for some european chocolate),
enjoyed a delicious (& surprisingly well-behaved) dinner out with the girls,
watched two of my favorite shows before bed (project runway!!),
and kids that went to sleep without any fuss at all.

this hole-in-the-wall place has this fried quesadilla that is amazing. i dream about it. and, of course, the pupusas. so good.
ellie wouldn't try anything - both she and poppy were content eating the ice from their drinks at first. poppy got adventurous and even tried the shrimp, but not ellie. we finally gave her a plain tortilla and she said "now THAT'S better," took two bites, and was done. sigh.
they were so sweet and gave the girls otter pops (oh my gosh OTTER POPS!) when we were leaving. such a great place, and we even took home enough food for me to eat the whole next day.

and i'll have you know what a miracle it is to have both kids go to sleep with no fight, discussion, or tears. it was definitely their gift to me. really, they were so good all day. ellie was even worried about me because of the lack of cake on my birthday, but i convinced her that we'll be partying more this weekend so it's okay.

what will this new year bring? i'm excited to find out.

p.s. - happy birthday to uncle johnny today! we are so excited to party on saturday.

Friday, August 9

back to school. sort of.

well, we aren't really going back to school.

but these girls aren't really hitting any more "baby milestones" and i have no real excuse to blog about the little details of their lives, so i thought i would do a little update on each one as the summer ends and while my girls are seeming to change and grow so fast that it makes me dizzy.

eleanor marie
age 3 and a half (exactly)

favorite toys to play with: 
anything, she can have fun with anything. she especially loves her princesses and jungle animals right now.

favorite movies/shows:
she claims lion king as "her best movie." she also loves brave, mulan, madagascar, wild kratts, magic schoolbus, and man vs wild (or "the climbing man show" with her favorite, bear grylls). she's not really picky, though. she likes being a couch potato.

favorite foods:
fries, cereal, yogurt, pizza, chocolate milk, soft pretzels, popcorn, ham, and anything sweet - especially chocolate.

favorite things to do:
she loves playing, watching movies, going to the park, swimming, running, making new friends, doing puzzles, reading books and comic books, giving big dramatic hugs, and going to target.

some of my favorite things about her right now:
 - she is great for conversations. she has a lot to say and it is usually very interesting. she also has an incredible memory and a good vocabulary. it's the best when she comes into my bed in the morning to tell me about her dreams.
- she is learning more self control and is able to do tasks without being asked, like take her plate to the sink or clean up her toys. she's getting to be more responsible and much better at listening (and obeying), especially when we're out of the house. she also goes to bed with no fuss and stays in bed all night.
- she is a good big sister. she shows poppy how to do things, like go potty and climb into the fridge (yikes). she includes poppy when they play anywhere outside of the house (at home she likes her space more often than not). ellie also reads to her and helps her fall asleep at night.
- she is really interested in relationships. she loves to talk about who my parents and my grandparents are and who daddy's brothers and sisters are and how everyone is related to each other. and, of course, how they all should come visit her and how much they love her (and vice versa).

penelope elizabeth
age 21 months (can you believe ellie was this age when poppy was born?!)

favorite toys to play with:
she also likes any toys, but she loves animals and princesses as well. she especially loves tigers, "hahsees" (horses), "bearbears," "dinodohs" (dinosaurs), "merdah" (merida) and "wella" (cinderella).

favorite movies/shows:
"nahmo" (finding nemo), "mackah mose" (mickey mouse), "ehmo" (sesame street), the tigger movie and daniel tigers neighborhood (because they both have tigers). she doesn't get to pick often, though, so she usually just watches whatever ellie wants to watch without complaint.

favorite foods:
she's my more adventurous eater. she loves strawberries, edamame, chicken nuggets, cheese, tomatoes, pancakes, couscous... and that's just some highlights from last week. she also loves sweets (but that's in her blood).

favorite things to do:
she loves to play, go potty ("potty me!"), snuggle (especially in her blanket), give kisses, read stories, jump off of things, run and hop, dance, tickle everyone, get tickled, and spend alone time with mommy.

some of my favorite things about her right now:
- she is trying so hard to be grown up. she wants to do everything as if she is as big as ellie (or bigger). she doesn't want to be held in the parking lot, she wants to hold hands and walk. she doesn't want to sit in the booster seat, she wants a regular chair. she wants to do whatever it is the big kids are doing and she doesn't want help.
- the potty stuff. it's so hilarious. when she has to go she yells "potty me!" and then after she goes potty and she chants "ah did it! ah did it! ah did it! yeah! " with this tiny southern accent. she absolutely refuses diapers, screaming "no! potty me!" and she barely accepts putting on a pullup at night. we went out of the house today (and took the potty) and she had no accidents at all, so she's making progress. 
- she gets so excited about things and makes the best faces. the other day she asked for chocolate milk and when i said yes, she put both hands in the air, jumped up and down and said "YEAH!" like it was the best day of her life. when we hear a funny noise she whispers "what dat?!" and her eyes get big and she makes a weird grimace with her mouth like she's nervous. it kills me.
- she hates going to bed at night (that i don't like) but she loves being held and having her arms and back tickled until she goes to sleep. she'll try to give more and more hugs and kisses to avoid bedtime and says "no! nuggoh! nuggoh!" (snuggle). and even though it's annoying, she has the funniest yell when we put her in bed. imagine the most traumatized voice in the world yelling "daddyAHHHHHH! mommyAHHHHHHH!" the words and screams have no breath between them and, as pitiful as she sounds, it always makes me laugh. i guess she just can't live without us.

hope you enjoyed this little update on these girls as much as i am enjoying them in person.
they're just as darling as darling can be.

Thursday, August 8

the year of the potty.

it's hard to believe that we got home from utah a month ago, especially since i've barely scratched the surface when it comes to sharing stories and pictures.

a lot has happened this month.
too much growing up has been happening.

i'm happy to report that miss eleanor is all the way 100% potty trained. no potty seats or potties in the back of the van or anything. no more fear of public restrooms. no pullups ever. at night included. she did it! in her own time and at her own pace, but she did it. i couldn't be more proud of her.

and then there's penelope. she must have a great sense of irony, because the same week that ellie really moved forward, poppy decided she wanted to start using the potty, too. i was surprised and thought she was just being silly at first, but she has kept it up. she cries when i try to put diapers on her and yells "no, potty me! me! potty me!" above all, she runs around the house in no clothes, just a little naked butt. it's hilarious. she's serious about her effort, though, because yesterday she used the potty all day with only one accident. i'm so proud of my big girl.

however proud, this mom is tired. tired of cleaning up pee-pee.
we started this journey at the beginning of the year and it is still going strong, no break.
in the end it will be worth it but the year of the potty is sure taking a toll on me.

i literally found white hairs last week. a few of them.

and i haven't even mentioned the stress of a car being in the shop for almost six weeks, two little girls who often have all-out brawls with each other (complete with actual punches thrown), some pretty obnoxious health issues, and, you know, the business of everyday life. luckily we've had lots of help and support.

but we're coming out the other end of the tunnel and ready to jump in to this fall headfirst. we have plans for preschooling and gymnastics and a lot of fun, we hope.

after all, halloween is coming and we all know how ellie feels about halloween.
yep, she's already talking about it.

Monday, August 5

sunday with the greats.

we spent a sunday afternoon with my grandparents (ellie and poppy's great-grandparents) in tooele, utah. it was so fun to see some cousins and let all the babies play. i think my girls really miss all the fun backyards they visited in utah - 
i know i do! 

the drive out there is always beautiful. 

i mean, seriously. how do you deal with this much cute?!
(and what you don't see is twice as many adults standing behind the camera making faces and yelling "yo gabba gabba!" just for a couple of smiles.)

somehow we all matched perfectly for this four generation picture, too.

but not all the pictures were winners... haha.

while we were there we got a display of ellie's bargaining skills.
she was collecting all of the ice-cream-cone-shaped bubbles after dinner (that's something that she loves to do, collect all of a certain thing and organize them). her little baby cousin, bence, had one. he was pretty interested in it, and we told ellie he wasn't going to give it up unless she had something to trade. someone suggested she go find another toy to trade. ellie looked around for another option.
"how about this old box?" she asked, holding up the box (trash) the the bubbles came in.
she really talked up that box, too. she made it sound pretty exciting. she tried the same thing on uncle noah, but he's a little older - less naive than an infant, anyway.
she's a pretty shrewd kid, i'd say.

i sure wish we could go back for another sunday dinner soon. it was a perfect evening with so many of the people we love.

Friday, August 2

goin' the zoo, part two.

we went to the atlanta zoo with all the little cousins just a few days before we left for utah.
then, in utah, we went to the hogle zoo with our other little cousin. 
both times were a total blast and the zoos are so different that there is no way we could have been bored. is it possible to get bored with all these animals? 

anyway, i present to you the second installment of
cousins at the zoo! 

we headed up to salt lake city with grandma, uncle noah, auntie erynn and addie lou (or, as poppy says it, "addaloooo!") on a bright sunny day. it was hot but perfect and the girls had a great time, so long as we didn't try to buckle them in or stop them from going wherever they pleased. it's a miracle we got any pictures at all because all three were little blurs running in opposite directions the entire time. they loved all the animals, but the carousel was a huge hit. 
they all conked out on the way home, of course. (and that's how these stories should always end.)
all the girls at the zoo!

it's hard to see, but poppy's face went back and forth from excitement to awe the entire time.

i have always loved the giraffes at the hogle zoo. we even saw a little baby! 

 we had two strollers and used neither of them for kids. all three girls are RUNNERS. luckily we had them outnumbered, but they still kept us on our toes.
what can i say? the girl loves gorillas.

poppy's peeking out at me.

mesmerized. (i was too.)

 don't feed the bears!

gotta have a lion-drinking-fountain picture.

and poppy (addie loved helping). 

ellie picked the cassowary on the carousel.

poppy said she wanted to ride the turkey in the background, but when she saw the mantis she changed her mind.

sweet mommy and baby. :)

 i wish i had a better picture of the joy on her face, but this one is as close as i got.