Let the battle begin…

Playing in Christmas clothes – Harper, Emerie, Reagan

Welp, it appears that I lost the battle. Technically it’s not a competition, but who are we kidding? Everyone wants to win the first baby sound battle (here is Reagan- ignore my epic food in mouth spill).

Craig claims to be the winner with all three…I am still disputing. The “dadadadada” sounds constantly coming out of Emerie, then Harper, then Reagan, are simply a sound, not an acknowledgement of a person. My PIC professional Amy backs me up on this thought!Either way, it is very cute, and they like to yell it at us at random times and in loud voices. Reagan is a bit more timid in her sound while Harper and Emerie just yell at you.

We are practicing sitting time each day to strengthen those back and ab muscles. The girls have greatly improved over the past several weeks. Reagan is a pro and by far the strongest (that hasn’t changed since birth), Harper sits well but likes to stretch back against the boppy when she can or we aren’t paying close attention, and Emerie is a bit more floppy and always seems to end up on her belly, angry, but is improving.

Everyone is teething majorly and everyone has at least one, or two, teeth poking through the gums.

Emerie’s tooth is no longer afraid of her gums and re-presented itself.

Harper’s are also coming in full force (two of them!), and she is none to pleased about it. Lots of Tylenol for her…and little sleep for us…

Reagan’s bottom one is popping and she seems a little less enraged than her sisters. Lots of chewing on everything and frozen teethers.

So, we should have sitting, teeth showing, chatting babies by Christmas. Where has the time gone?!

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth?

Let the teething begin…again?

After the departure of Emerie’s first tooth, we had a month hiatus of any tooth viewings. That worked great considering we obtained a cold, and snuffles AND cranky teethers cannot possibly coexist (I’m in denial, let me have this one).

With the distraction of the cold, Thanksgiving, and a 7.0 earthquake, needless to say we haven’t been monitoring the girls toothless situation that closely. The past few days the girls have been chewing on things more, now that they aren’t all stuffy, but when we actually checked their mouths, everyone has progressed!

Everyone is drooling and loving the frozen teethers. We are improving on baby food and they become little starving baby birds when we get out the spoons and food.

We caved and purchased amber necklaces and that seems to be helping a lot with the drooling. Plus they just look so adorable in them.

Harper has one cut on her bottom left, Emerie also on her bottom (the same one that wussed out earlier), and Reagan has two bumps on the bottom and top that are very close to peeking. Very exciting!

All they want for Christmas is their two front teeth…right?

We attempted to get photos of their little mouths, but they did not agree to it and don’t hold still! Still don’t have one of Emerie!

Harper says what are you doing!?

Miss Reagan

I firmly believe everyone’s teeth started appearing after Grandma Sue’s Thanksgiving dinner. They want to enjoy it too!

On a scale of 1-10…how about a 7.0?!

The past 48 hours have been very eventful. As most of the country knows, a 7.0 earthquake with an epicenter about 16 miles from my front door hit Anchorage at 8:29 Friday morning. The depth of 25 miles meant it was pretty close to the surface overall.

Typically I would be at work at that time, but luckily it was my Friday off and instead of being home alone with the girls, the in laws were here visiting.

On a normal off day I would have been up and quickly showering, but instead was ahead of the game, in part because Emerie refused to go back to bed after the morning feed. She had one on one mom snuggles for a little while and then I handed her off to Grandma and went back upstairs to pump before the other two awoke. About eight minutes in the room started shaking. I paused for about 10 seconds, figuring that it would stop and we’d continue on with our day, typical Alaska style. But after 10 seconds, it accelerated and everything started crashing down and the sound of the house groaning and creaking became SO loud. The sound of a big earthquake is difficult to explain. It’s very eerie and you can often hear the whoosh right beforehand, as it builds in power before the first jolt. I immediately dove off my bed, ripped off my pumping gear off and threw it across the bedroom, running like a bat out of hell into the nursery for Reagan and Harper, knowing Emerie was okay downstairs with Grandma.

Both girls were in their cribs, calm, but eyes open. I scooped up Reagan and put her in the crib next to Harper. What else can you do? I just stood over them while the earth quaked. It was loud and eerie, listening to my house creek and shift and “roll” from the vibrations. I could hear the in laws and animals downstairs reacting similarly to myself and the crashes of falling objects and pictures nearby.

I’m not sure how long the actual quake lasted, but being from Alaska recognized a decent aftershock would occur. Grandma brought Emerie up and put her in the crib with the sisters and we chatted about what to do next.

Four minutes later, at 8:33 and then 8:35, two aftershocks followed (a 4.8 followed by a 5.7). At this point our phones alerted to a tsunami warning to seek higher ground. We live close to the coastline and while we are above the bluffs, we are still only a mile or two from them and would not benefit from hanging around for a possible tsunami. My phone pinpointed the quake was north of us and across the inlet from Anchorage, meaning any possible water movement would take a tad bit longer to reach us.

My neighbors thought the same thing! We all got dressed, put the girls down in the living room in their car seats, sleep sacks and all, and quickly threw a few necessities together and started the car.

We loaded everything up and were out of the house in exactly 20 minutes, with the in laws behind me with the dogs. The phone lines were still working at that point and I briefly checked in with Craig and then called a friend on the hillside to see if we could come up.

It was as if the city sprang to life. Everyone was on the roads. The main roads toward hillside were jam packed with red taillights as everyone tried to drive up the mountainside. We took the back Old Seward route to Rabbit Creek, gambling that we could get across the (hopefully) usable bridge and up the mountain before any possible tsunami.

The girls greatly cooperated, throughout the entire 30 minutes or so before we made it to Joni’s house, they were calm and chatting, no crying. They would normally be hanging out in the living room, starting their day and getting ready for breakfast while announcing to me they are hungry.

All of hillside was out of power, which was not surprising. Joni’s house included, but it was still warm and that worked out great. Once settled in on her living room floor and unpacking the girls and changing diapers, we realized we were missing one of the main parts to all the bottles, meaning I had plenty of milk ready to go but no usable bottles. We tried one out from Joni that Emerie was mostly okay with, but the other two wouldn’t drink. We managed to get a text through to Craig to go get bottles when he made it out of downtown, since the tsunami was unlikely but no official word yet.

Eventually we had Craig, bottles, and good company who made coffee with their generator!

And lots of babies to entertain and play with, taking our minds off the aftershocks and stress of the morning.

We drove around a little on the way home, around 11:30, because the girls fell asleep and we wanted to ensure a decent nap in lieu of such a chaotic morning. Making sure to go around any major bridges or roadways we heard were damaged, we wandered the southeast neighborhoods for a few minutes.

Cracked ice at Lake Hood by my work.

Top left shows an intersection crack and the middle has a big (new) dip.

Once getting home, the aftershocks continued, which definitely contributed to continual stressed out nerves, although the babies didn’t seem too concerned. Snuggling a baby helps with that, and we had plenty to go around!

That night we had a decent aftershock in the evening, right after the girls were settled, and made the decision to bring them all in our room for the night in case another large one hit. Every little creak and shift in the house kept me wide eyed all night, but the girls slept pretty well. I think Reagan either gets nervous from the quakes or can feel our stress, because she did some shrieking after a few of the bigger ones overnight.

As I write this, I can feel another small aftershock, kinda of like I’m swaying but I’m not. This weekend has been very eerie (I can’t think of a better word than that) and I try to stay close to the girls in case I need to epically move them out of harms way again.

I’m very thankful to have had extra hands that morning, for good friends who opened their home to us, and for the safety of all our friends and family up here. Ask to the crew working to fix the damaged roads, bridges, highways, water systems, and electricity! Our city is definitely working together in the face of something scary.

Since the initial quake there have been five aftershocks over a 5.0, and hundreds smaller. It’s like being on a mini roller coaster that you didn’t ask to ride, and at random times throughout the day with no warning. I don’t even like roller coasters.

What did I learn from this experience as a mom? A lot of things I didn’t initially consider beforehand:

  1. Have a PLAN: earthquakes are common here (not ones that big tho) so we should have a preset plan in place.
  2. If you have to evacuate, knowing phones will likely go out, leave a note for other family members who might come home to an empty house! Or have a planned rendezvous place.
  3. Have the car seats ready to go in the car! This helped immensely and would have taken a lot of time had this happened when I was home alone.
  4. Make sure all the most important necessities are collected if there is time, like bottles, milk, and Random things like grabbing my pumping gear in case we were gone a long time. Water and food for adults is also important and something we forgot as we focused on the babies’ needs.
  5. How would I have gotten all three immediately out of the house if I had to? Efficient answer…a laundry basket. Entirely doable to put three littles in it with a blanket and run out the door. It feels good to know that now, as in the moment I committed to staying put because I didn’t have any other ideas in mind.
  6. Consider what things can fall and where they are in proximity to babies. Pictures, plants, shelving, etc.
  7. Material possessions mean nothing! Make sure the ones you love are safe and accounted for, fur babies included.

Hopefully the aftershocks will stop soon, for now we all have Monday off of work until our buildings are cleared as safe and repaired. Time for more snuggles.

Thanksgiving 3.0

I was planning on writing a nice, warm and fuzzy Thanksgiving post this weekend to highlight the girls first Thanksgiving…

But! The entertainment factor of my day to day life is sometimes just more interesting, so…last night Reagan drank some milk down the wrong tube and was off and on coughing, trying to clear her throat. At one point her cough turned to a choke so I started burping her; and now I know what a full, partially digested bottle of milk feels like. Full circle I guess?!

So gross. Craig thought it was just so funny.

As for Thanksgiving, we had a good day. Stayed home and Grandma cooked a fantastic meal and the house smelled great. The girls “helped” and wore adorable matching first Thanksgiving shirts.

We did lots of playtime and snuggle time and are so close to everyone being able to sit up unassisted!

Celebrating Dad’s birthday in style. Craig forgot his leg warmers…

Emerie, Harper, and Reagan

Thanksgiving was the start of a minimal sleep weekend. At least one (or two) babies have slept in our room every night because they have total meltdowns sleeping on their backs with stuffy noses. We did manage to partake in a successful brunch for Craig’s birthday, with a ton of extra hands to entertain the kiddos.

Everyone sat in a real high chair for the first time too and they were so cute!

It has been quite a long, sleepless weekend, but a good thanksgiving overall and we have much to be thankful for this year. While we didn’t have the usual snow on the ground, the clear roads were great for getting in a few good naps and a relaxing drive for us.

A few exciting baby presents were found during my annual Black Friday shopping and now we are looking toward Christmas and I cannot wait!

A Day in the (Triplet)Life

We’ve been getting a lot of questions how we handle three babies all day (and night) long and not go crazy. I figure I should write this down before I forget or block it out entirely in the future. The first few months, with a very tight 3 hour round the clock schedule, are already blurred in my memory; although I attribute that to much more sleep deprivation than I have now.

Starting to look pretty alike!

Back in May and June, after the girls came home from the NICU, we did round the clock feedings every three hours for at least six weeks. That meant several short 1-1.5 hour naps each day was all the sleep we would get in a 24 hour period. Other triplet parents take shifts for feedings so one parent gets an extended length of sleep, but it worked well for us to tag team everything and then settle the girls back down.

Now that we are 8 months old, the day to day is dramatically easier, but in a different way than when they were younger. They can grab a toy or binkie and chew on it themselves, so self soothing is vastly improving, although the next leap teaches them awareness when Mom and Dad aren’t nearby (that’s gonna be fun…). Since they occasionally entertain themselves for moments, that allows for laundry to get collected and washed, dried, and folded, dishes and bottles to be washed, the occasional vacuuming and random household cleaning…but mostly, it’s babies babies babies or Craig or I are doing a household chore while holding one and keeping an eye on the other two.

The first feed of the day is at about 5:40 AM.  At this point, I’ve already been awake about an hour to pump and prep their bottles, and start to get ready for work or the day at home.  Typically someone will be waking up and ready for breakfast as soon as I flip the nursery light on, or Craig has gone in a few times to re-binkie to hold them off until I am ready. Everyone gets a diaper change and arms released from their sleep sack cocoons for the feed and everyone is propped on the nursery armchair.  We have this feeding down to a science and have everyone fed, happy, and back in their cribs to chat in about 30 minutes.  After a few minutes of sisterly chatter, all fall back asleep until nine or so. Sometimes one is up earlier or one sleeps until 9:30, but overall they are relatively consistent with the normal schedule.

On the weekends we often take a nap while the girls do, and get up about 8 AM to start our day (mind you we’ve already been up for the first feed!).  First thing in the morning is by far the happiest portion of the day. The girls wake up happy and relaxed, and hang out in their swings for a few minutes while we eat a quick breakfast.  Then we get everyone up and dressed for the day, and let the fun begin!

On an average day at home, we try to switch up activities when moods start going downhill.  Once we implemented a nap schedule, it was 1.5 hours of activity, feeding, etc. and then down for a quick nap. Now that they are a bit older, we are in the vicinity of 2 hours up.  The girls are not nappers; in fact, they believe 30 minutes several times per day is plenty of sleep, and rarely give me the satisfaction of an hour or more nap, and never all three at the same time for a long one!  We are nearly out of 3 naps a day, and don’t seem to be able to convince them it is important to have all three anymore.  I usually have just enough time to pump before someone is hollering to get back up.  If the nap is in the car, it stretches to about 45 minutes, and we’ve learned that driving from our house out to Indian and back is the perfect amount of time for them to wake up as we pull back into our neighborhood.

Daily baby activities now include lots of jumper time, for everyone, rotating who goes in which one as they all have different things to play with and chew on.  Sometimes we make 30 minutes with three happy babies, sometimes one adamantly refuses to jump at all and wants to be held, and sometimes no one is in the jumping mood, although that’s rare.  The bouncers are now liked (previously hated) and all three girls think it’s hilarious to pound their legs as hard as possible and pull on the dangly toys.  That results in a little enthusiasm as well.

Another activity is tummy/sit time on the floor with all three. They are getting much stronger at sitting up and can do it pretty well with only minimal assistance needed.  During this time, the girls are starting to steal each other’s toys and look around for anything fun around them. There is always a plethora of teethers to choose from.

While feeding schedule is a little less regimented than in prior months, we still do five feeds per day: the early morning, 3 main day feeds and a bedtime one at six o’clock.  If one gets a bottle, everyone gets a bottle!  During the day we prop them in their room and can have everyone fed relatively quickly when they focus. Other days no one wants to eat and it’s much more of a battle!  When we are out and about, they actually eat pretty decently in their stroller/car seats with direct supervision, but we don’t do that as often.

The girls side prop or can eat bottles straight on, and we are so close to them holding them outright!  They are definitely interested in the bottle and understand it is food when we hold one up.

Reagan licking her bottle. Not quite the right way yet lol

During the summer and fall we did a daily walk to get the pups energy out and everyone some fresh air. We have a great 1.3 mile loop by our house that is in the trees and feels almost like an easy hike! It’s secluded enough the pups can run off leash for a little bit and we don’t have to worry about vehicle traffic. Now that’s it’s older out, the girls get bundled up if we go. Sometimes, like earlier this week, we get stopped by a young neighborhood moose on the trail.

Mr. Moose trying to prevent our walk!

Matching bear hats (Em has one on with Dad!)

This is pretty much our daily routine. Feed, play, tummy/sit time, cuddles, maybe a walk or leave for an errand, nap time, and repeat. Somewhere in there we do one baby food feed in their sit-me-ups. Somewhere in their we eat, I pump, and we try to get a few household things done too. Here’s the girls eating blueberry and something else (I forget!). Emerie is the baby bird if the group although Harper and Reagan both liked this one too.

Nighttime routine can take anywhere from 30 minutes (our personal record) to 2 hours.  Starting at six, we put everyone in pajamas and start the feed. The girls eat a ton at night, Reagan more than 8 ounces now, and Harper and Emerie that much sometimes but not as consistently.  The fidgetier ones get swaddled mid-feed, and everyone gets to settle in their crib when they decide they are done eating.

Don’t get me wrong here, the bedtime feed is an epic battle every night.  Everyone wants to go to bed except the babies? We usually have one baby that goes down pretty easily (often Harper!) and then one who takes some coddling and one who refuses and tries to wake everyone else up. Emerie and Reagan vary on this day-to-day.  Once everyone is down, we sneak in and out of their room for mini cuddles sessions as needed or to re-binkie someone who sneezed, coughed, or spit theirs out. I tell you, baby binkies have been a life saver in our household. I also believe we get our exercise simply by running back and forth from our room to theirs…alllll night.

For the most part, everyone is asleep by 7:30. The past month or so we’ve been getting up 5-10 times per night to settle someone, and in the past couple weeks someone ends up in a rock and play in our bedroom, just to keep from waking the other two up due to the snuffles. But overall, the girls sleep quite well for their age and it’s quite a blessing.  We make it to bed by 9 PM, and other than our diving out of bed to quiet a screamer as fast as humanly possible, get to “sleep” until 4:30, when it all starts over again…

New M(emerie)s

Weekends are long.

I don’t just mean weekends with a holiday like this past one, but in general.

I love my babies, watching them grow, snuggling, and being a mom…but MAN. Weekends can be HARD.

The girls are still battling the stuffy noses and colds. It seemed to be improving and Monday night we couldn’t remotely convince Reagan to go to sleep on her back in her crib, so another night of fussiness in our room. Luckily Harper and Emerie slept decently in the nursery. Last night we convinced everyone to sleep in their cribs, but bedtime took about 2 hours!

While the weekend was long, with several coordinated car nap times and some wonderful extra hands visiting, the girls are continuing to grow and advance and it’s fun to see.

Each day we practice sitting up, eating baby food and hand eye coordination while playing with toys. We are just around the corner from them independently sitting up and playing, as they are getting pretty good at it (with mild help).

Post work playtime

They now grab nearby toys, even when dropped, which is quite the improvement. They grab at their bottles and open their mouths when we hold them up. Emerie has mastered spoon feeding and is very demanding, while Harper and Reagan now tolerate it pretty well. I’m pretty sure they know the word “jump” and when we say it to them in their jumpers…

One new baby fact we did learn this weekend…baby teeth can RECEDE.  Emerie’s tooth dot went from…well…a dot, to NOTHING.  She apparently scared it back into her gum line.  How is that even possible?!  She’s still as droolly and cranky as the norm the past month, but now with less of a tooth than last week.  We can’t even believe it…

Miss Emerie now tries to grab everything off the table.

Harper, as happy as ever (thankfully!), had her first legitimate face bonk, straight into Craig’s glasses.  She was not thrilled, nor was Craig, and now has a nice pink dot in the middle of her forehead.  They are definitely getting stronger and can now apparently use their heads as weapons? Wonderful.

Happy Miss Harper

Reagan, who still has no visible teeth or a bump on her forehead, is very over having a cold, but still learning new things everyday. She believes anything you are holding should be hers to chew on, and is very interested in everything.

Even with a scratched eye, Miss Reagan is so cute!

We are excited for the holidays to get here and have our first Thanksgiving with them. I am also excited for some Black Friday baby deals!! Holidays here we come! So many things to do for their first holiday season.

A Few More Firsts

The past week has been full of new “firsts”.  It was our first daylight savings time as parents, as their birthday was not long after the last one.  Reagan is now jumping in the jumper after six weeks of using it as only a place to stand, play with toys, or holler that she wants out.  I think my timid girl is getting a little braver.

She is so very cute getting comfortable in it.  I could absolutely sit and watch the three of them jump all day, if they’d let me.  We have moments where they remain entertained for 30+ minutes in them, as long as Craig or I are in view or close by.

Everybody JUMP, JUMP!

To add onto the little milestones, Harper rolled for the first time this week at Double Cuddles (mom group)!  She sneak attacked me and I wasn’t quite ready for it; she’s been rolling from her back onto her side for a while now, especially when trying to see something beside or behind her, but never fully commits to her stomach or from back to front.  She looked mildly shocked afterwards.

Craig participating in tummy time

A cold has hit the Douglas household… making it 7.5 months before one invaded the house is pretty good if you ask me.  I somehow managed to keep my July cold from the girls, with extensive hand washing and not breathing their general direction, but this one originated with Reagan and ended up catching all three- not sure from where. Nothing like starting out the first week of winter with a cold x3.

The first two nights were brutal. The first night we awoke to a massive scream fest from Harper and Emerie about ten minutes after Craig and I went to bed. Apparently being gunky and congested is reason enough to not sleep in their cribs (or flat on their backs). Thank goodness we still have the rock and plays, as they at least allowed everyone some sleep for the weekend.  Craig has Emerie next to him in our room and I had Harper next to me.  Reagan, on the other hand, slept fine in her crib, amidst all the stuffiness.

My happy Harper

It is funny how the different personalities come out in random things- like the snot sucker. Emerie and Harper don’t seem to mind it (we make sounds and chat with them while we do it), but Reagan just plain cries every time no matter how “fun” we try to make it.  I mean who can really blame her, I don’t like people sucking stuff out of my nose either, but it definitely helps them breathe!

Shifting around on the floor!

We’ve edited the bedtime routine this week to accommodate bathroom sauna time; i.e. running the water on HOT and letting the room steam up right before the nighttime feeding. Everyone gets to hang out in bouncer chairs and mostly enjoys it.  So far it seems to be helping.

Sauna time while Harper had bath time.

We have a few days left in the current developmental leap. The girls have greatly advanced with their toys and teethers and learned new observation skills. I have seen all three grabbing their pacifiers on the floor next to them, or chewing a teether, setting it down, and picking it back up to chew some more.  The other day Emerie was briefly sitting in the living room recliner chair and I watched her turn her head, scan the end table next to her, grab the TV remote and throw it on the floor.  Much more of that is coming!  Who knew her little arms could reach that already!

Reagan thinks silicone rings are a teething hit!

A quick weight update while I’m writing this. At Double Cuddles the girls were weighed:

  • Harper: 16 lb. 8.6 oz.
  • Emerie: 15 lb. 4 oz.
  • Reagan: 16 lb. 11.6 oz.

Tuesday was In & Out Day for me- in other words, the girls cooked for 33 weeks in my belly, and they’ve now been out in the real world for 33 weeks as well.

I can’t decide which is actually harder, carrying them and everything that goes with that, OR being so insanely busy each and every moment of the day as they grow and advance out in the world.  I lean toward it being easier post partum, but that is simply because I was so much sicker and immobile while they were growing before their birth!

I will leave you with this adorable video. I could watch it all day!