Ice Ice Baby

The entrance of spring means we can finally practice more front yard and driveway playing without running into the street. The girls greatly enjoy chopping ice and helping mommy and daddy prep the front yard for summer. Beach buckets and a shovel equals hours of entertainment with the melting snow. Considering it took us so long to improve parking lot etiquette and we aren’t completely there yet with all three, I am pleasantly surprised how well they maintain the yard bubble without running out into the street. Not to say they are perfect this past week, but I am certain by mid summer they will be pros and I’ll be slightly less stressed ensuring to watch them.

Other impending spring activities include cleaning out all the unused toys that helped us survive winter indoors, clearing the back deck of snow to play, and breaking out the rain boots and warmer coats. It means keeping an eye out on good spring cleaning finds for sale, which led us to a super cute, new playhouse project that could use a little TLC and paint and last a few summers and a number of new toddler-sized household tools, including mini rakes, shovels and gardening tools.

Actual gardening has not yet occurred but we are interested to see what the girls think of the activity this summer. Once the ground thaws and we can start planting, it will be fun to see which one loves to help grandma out in the garden. All will be happy to eat any new discoveries once they are ripe and thriving.

The drive-able kid cars are already out and used for jots down the street and back. So far we haven’t had to carry them back like last year, which is a great improvement, and steering is much better too. Four wheeler rides are still requested upon occasion and Craig can load up to five kids on it at once. Reagan really enjoys just sitting on it and pretending to drive.

Bowling babes!

Several firsts also occurred this month. After my eye procedure Craig and Grandma Sue took the girls for their first bowling experience and it was quite the hit. The girls talked about it for a couple of days and we ended up going again later that week. They enjoyed pushing the ball down the metal helper until they realize they could throw it with the help of daddy and that new method quickly took over. It feels really nice to get out of the house and survive a few new activities, since the past three years we have been home so much. The girls maturing a bit allows us to try small activities and see how they do, without a ton of stress or constant toddler chasing.

Over the past three years we have excitedly dreamed and talked about putting the girls in different activity classes such as dance, ice-skating, gymnastics, and of course other sports we played as kids like soccer and basketball. The girls will all be tall so I fully believe everyone will end up playing volleyball or basketball to use their height advantage, not to mention the whole triplet matching faces can toy with your opponents in amazing ways concept. I hope at least one, if not all, enjoy playing soccer as they grow up; it was definitely my sport of choice and I enjoyed many Alaska summers under the bright sun for tournaments, practices and games.

So no, we didn’t start soccer yet but that will hopefully happen this summer. We had our first two ice-skating lessons at the Dimond Mall and they went pretty decently. The first session occurred with two out of three cooperating for almost the whole 30 minutes. Harper, our speed demon, really took to it with the help of her teacher; she managed a few solo moments balancing and still maintaining composure. You can tell while watching that she wants to go faster and her legs and balance aren’t quite ready to comply yet. Reagan also did really well going back-and-forth and following the stuffed beanie that the teachers used to encourage the kids to go forward. Many of the activities are similar to “drills” we ran when we coached soccer and it’s a fun comparison. The whole goal of kid activities is to teach balance, understanding, patience and coordination; not so much the actual sport, at least not at first. And it has to be fun…or else why would they want to continue doing it?! That brings me to the one who did not consider ice skating fun., Emerie. She made it a whole two minutes out on the ice before she was laying down crying and screaming I don’t want to do this! The poor teacher brought her back over to us and she watched her sisters for a little while, went back out on the ice one more time and didn’t want to be there, and ended the first class with Craig skating over to the teacher to get her sticker.

I personally thought it was fun to watch from the sidelines (albeit a screaming Emerie for part of it) and not be a part of the actual session. The whole operation went very smoothly for the seven, three-year-olds and a handful of teachers guiding the kiddos as they shuffled across the ice, teaching them to stand back up the correct way on a slippery surface, and making sure that they were safe while having fun.

We’ve asked them several times that day if they liked their first ice-skating lesson, especially because they were so excited that morning before we left. Emerie is consistently giving the answer no I don’t like it while Harper claims the same but we know enjoyed it, and Reagan smiles and asks to go again. The second lesson went even better, with Emerie lasting a lot longer. This was likely because Craig donned his skates and intervened when needed, which they all seemed to enjoy, and everyone was extremely excited for their panda sticker at the end.

Overall, I am excited for the rest of the sessions in the weeks to come and hopeful that Emerie will get a little more excited about it. Maybe this isn’t her sport, or maybe she just doesn’t like wearing a mask, glasses and a helmet, which we can’t really blame her for. Either way will be trying out other activities after this wanted to see which one everyone enjoys.

I should also mention a couple cute arguments between sisters. Vocabularies and sentence structure continue to grow and improve, but it’s not only that; their thought process and comprehension seems to expand by the day! We will randomly here someone call to someone else to show something super cool look at this! Even though they fight tooth and nail about everythingggggg, they also seem to want to be all together and will ask you a million times if one is out of sight. I assume they also want to ensure they aren’t missing out on anything exciting that #3 might be sneakily doing.

A discussion I heard the other day at bedtime, which was similar to a car conversation a few days prior, went something like this:

Reagan: I’m Harper Anne right now.

Harper: Mom! Reagan not Harper Anne! She Reagan!

Reagan: No! I Harper Anne!!

Emerie: No, you Reagan Jean and I’m Emerie Faye.

Harper: You’re name is poop.

I mean really, the arguments over here are outstanding to hear. As soon as that wrapped, they moved onto who they like the best and are arguing over who is right and can get the last word in. One says Tyler, another says Chatum, then everyone argues over Papa Lon and Papa Cliff and it goes from there. Apparently it’s all about the boys in this family. It’s also interesting to see when someone is randomly thinking about someone else.

Another interesting turn of conversation involves the girls calling me by my actual name if I don’t immediately answer the “mom call.” I have no idea where this originated, and while it is funny, I am not about to have three tiny tots calling Becca! when they immediately want something. Hopefully I’ve succeeded at breaking this one easily, as I explained I will not answer to that because I am Mommy to them. That argument seemed to work for the time being.

All in all, we are excited for spring! We are excited to rediscover toys hidden in the shed all winter, to scream there’s a spider in here Mom! all over the place, and to spend the summer outside on some new adventures.

Eye Can Do It

Several people have asked me to jot down my LASIK eye experience so I thought it would be useful to document it on here!

Growing up here in Alaska means dealing with contacts on the day to day can be irritating for a number of reasons. For one, it is very dry up here and while I’m pretty used to it, combining that and cold conditions, especially when you want to be outside, can create irritations. Wearing them while camping, fishing and exploring the great outdoors sometimes prompts issues or a concern if you lose a contact while you are out and about. None of these reasons require corrective eye surgery, but it sure would be nice to roll out of bed in the middle of the night for the kid and be able to see everything!

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a fear of anything near my eyes, happening to them or seeing someone else (real or on tv!) have a major eye injury. This irrational phobia, if you will, has been in my mind for so long that I don’t recall its origination. It could be the chicken pox I had in my eyelids as a young kiddo, since I vaguely recall being held down for the drops that helped take them away, or it could just be a weird quirk in my lovely personality.

The phobia presents itself in different ways on occasion; from increased heartbeat panic to actual nausea from time to time. It survived through getting glasses as a pre-teen, where I spent a year or two purposely not able to see because I didn’t want to wear them, to a frustrating few weeks of getting used to wearing contacts every day, to adulthood’s avoidance of the eye doctor until I HAD to go and get more contacts. Sitting in the waiting room of an eye doctor is right up there with birthing triplets. I mean seriously, no one needs to see a 3D eyeball sitting on a shelf and I certainly don’t need to see the inside of my own!

In junior high my best friend slipped in the parking lot, resulting in a pretty decent cut on her forehead. When she looked up at me from the ground, my first instinct was “oh no eyes” and running away from her as the blood dripped down her face. It would be great to say that I helped her up like a good friend; but no, I ran! Calm down, friends, at least I went for help! That and stayed far away from the eye in question. (Love you friend!)

So not surprisingly the concept of LASIK eye surgery scares the ever living hell out of me. My emotions scream no while the rational side of my brain tries to calmly explain (in my head) that my quality of life will greatly improve with a simple and very quick procedure, that yes, cuts my cornea but will be over in a flash (a laser flash!).

Having kids taught me two things that helped me decide to take my main fear in life and meet it eye to eye (get it!?). One, with my littlest triplet having a significant eye issue, it was something we had to address and could not avoid dealing with. Being a parent means you have to trudge on through, even when inside you are completely panicking. You can’t tell a one-year-old that you can’t handle their situation…it just doesn’t work. I would say I’ve gained great perspective in that area and managed to retrain my brain to handle it.

Secondly, having an instant family taught me to take the easy way if it’s a possibility. My life is hard, stressful, and so busy and the outcome of one stressful morning will improve it and make it easier. How could I not consider it?

The morning of the procedure I woke up from a decent night sleep, which of course involved all sorts of crazy dreams and images relating to the upcoming event. That being said, I focused on the positives, the fact that it will be over pretty quickly and be worth it in the end. It almost feels like the same mental conversation I had with myself the day of my c-section; that mirrors this concept as I worked to process my internal fear, excitement and realistic anticipation of the day.

This corrective surgery has a pretty quick recovery, with documentation noting I should be feeling pretty back to normal after a week or so, with fluctuations in my vision for up to three months. It also notes I shouldn’t play with kiddos OR drink caffeine for the first three days, so that will definitely be interesting.

I have to say, the overall almost two-hour process was not nearly as terrifying as the images in my head. The only “oh hell no” portion of the morning happened while I sat in the waiting room, after reading all of the what-ifs and signing consent, when I was sure my nervousness made me imagine an earthquake. Suffice to say, it was not my imagination and ended with the ceiling lights swaying across the room and a few comments from the front desk ladies. I commented this was definitely something in my previous nightmares, and the quake ended up being a 5.7 jolt from up north. NOT OKAY.

Harper modeling my safety glasses

The Valium I was promptly handed back in the pre-check room greatly helped with the jitters. I don’t recall if I’ve ever had it before and it definitely smoothed out my nervousness. The whole procedure took about 15 minutes and I still can’t believe it. The whirring of the laser machine and the minor burning smell accompanied only lasted a few seconds on each eye. The scariest moment for me was likely when you go from the normal blurry vision to complete grey. After the laser part, which I might add was kind of cool since it highlighted all the colors across the spectrum against the grey, vision-less backdrop of my eye. This was comparable to my vision changes when a migraine hits and I can see crazy, sparkly colors for a time. My vision then reappeared as if I was flying through a big, cumulus cloud without the ability to see very definitively. Repeat with the next eye and I was done.

My largest surprise through this whole experience was the lack of pain. Other than taking an Advil once on my way home, my eyes didn’t feel painful or in need of pain medication, just somewhat dry. A good nap away from the kids that afternoon and lounging a bit in the evening while Craig and Grandma Sue kept them fed and entertained helped a lot. By the next morning my vision was definitely not crystal clear yet, but distance was doable. The post-procedure visit that morning noted one eye was 20/15 and the other 20/20, even through the semi-cloudy haze. Each day my vision has changed a bit, with outside and distance easier to see than close up inside and computer screens.

While I’m still nervous that it isn’t perfectly clear yet, the fluctuations are expected and just something to get through one day at a time. It is odd to have a harder time reading the computer screen than seeing down the street; I’m holding out that the close up will continue to improve and eventually I won’t even notice it being off. It also feels very strange to not put contacts in each morning or take them out each night, since that process has lasted over the past two decades and the majority of my life.

I’ll also add the girls kept noting mommy has an owie in her eye and were very interested in my daytime construction safety glasses. So far I managed to keep them from headbutting, smacking or bumping my eyes as they heal, with only one minor foot to the face on day three. Not only am I excited to see additional improvement and very thankful this is all over with, but I’m also proud that I tackled something that gives me major anxiety and came out the other side even better.

Daily Entertainment

A number of friends checked in the past week or so to see how we are holding up without daycare; first off, we appreciate the love and secondly, we are hanging in strong so far! Throughout the day I can’t help myself but chuckle when one of them does something related to an unreasonable write up by the daycare last month. This often includes throwing a tantrum (which allllll kids do!), eating snow outside (which I’m not discouraging unless it’s colored haha), or even letting Reagan walk a few paces down the street with one barefoot, refusing to put her sock and shoe on. Guess what?? She learned after about five steps that walking barefoot on snow is really cold and then wanted to put her sock and boot back on immediately (in between all the whining that is). So yes, we are surviving. The girls seem to learn something new everyday and have their moments of individual play and kindness.

Staying home again means rediscovering some of the fun experiences one misses when out of the house. Old, forgotten toys are re-emerging as favorites as we recycle through the toy bins that aren’t sitting out everyday. Other extremely exciting moments occur throughout the week too. For example, trash truck Thursday is incredibly exciting and the girls will hoot and holler as soon as the truck is noticed down the street. They congregate at the front windows, dog included, and watch the magic of their trash man take trash to the dump? To see Wreck It Ralph?! Trash all gone?! On those lucky days, the girls might notice the second run, as trash is picked up on the opposite side of the street, causing a second stir of excitement and exclamation.

Another equally exciting event, that seems to land during lunch or at the start of nap, are the municipal plow trucks clearing snow off the street. This is extremely magical according to our tiny tots. They love to watch out the windows or quickly don a coat and boots for a better front porch view. This same rule applies when out and about, with muscled enthusiasm when spotting a plow from the car window. The other day I turned around to everyone wearing their winter coats and boots (inside) and authoritatively pushing their doll strollers around the room. When asked, they responded the strollers were snow plows and they were pushing snow. How very creative! We are raising kids who love big vehicles (which should thrill at least half of our family!), with semi-trucks, snow plows, and excavators topping the favorite list. I called an excavator a grader the other day, not trying to be specific, and I was quickly corrected that it was an excavator, NOT a grader. Kids these days… This summer we will have to go visit my M&O team at work and bring some treats so the girls can climb in a few big ones. They would LOVE it.

Other events are less exciting for adults but plenty fun shenanigans for the toddlers. One prime example occurred on a grumpy evening, with kiddos overtired and ready for sleep, when everyone decided to dump their popped popcorn treat down the toilet. If I haven’t mentioned it, we removed the gate from the downstairs bathroom to be freely used for its actual activity- you know, as a bathroom- so the girls now go in and out as needed. This goes well most of the time, other than nights when they dump popcorn down it!! I walked in and demanded they scoop out everything and deposit it in the trash (thank goodness it was at least clean of any #1 or #2!); my snarky toddlers complied by scooping some in the trash and some in their mouth! SO. GROSS.

Pizza making with Grandma

Let’s move on to something less disgusting…the girls are thrilled with all the cooking and baking activities Grandma Sue continues to inspire in our household during her visit! In addition to all the valentine treats and goodies like donuts, cinnamon rolls and pecan bars, everyone “helped” create their own mini pizzas to enjoy for dinner one night. Clearly they enjoyed the creating part more than eating the final product; that and eating the dough, flour, black olives and as much cheese as possible before it was “shared” with the actual pizza. It’s rather impressive how quickly they can shovel handfuls of food into those food traps when they really want to!

Dinner turned out great that night, but I can credit that to Grandma more than my little ones. It’s amazing the activities that can happen when you have one more set of hands (and a good vacuum!).

The word of the week is “silly.” The girls are calling all kinds of things so silly, or will randomly say that moose is so silly! Or daddy is silly. Extensive discussion occurs about the neighborhood moose; why he is silly, where he is at, what he is doing, who he is with. That poor moose has no idea how hot a topic he is! The girls endeared him with a name- Carrot- because he enjoys eating them and because Olaf the snowman is outside and has a carrot for a nose. See the connection there? Not sure I do…but the kids can explain if you need to know more details haha. Everyone has a differing opinion on what he is up when out of sight (and not in our yard); Reagan usually answers that he’s sleeping, Emerie will comment he’s with his Momma, and Harper explains he wants a carrot and he’s cold. I tell you, having random moose visits causes quite the stir in this household, especially when they venture up to the front windows and are close enough to touch (with a window divide).

The latest off-the-wall, random comment from all three girls notes they don’t like mommy’s boobs and they like daddy’s boobs! Do not ask me where this comes from because I do not know but they constantly remind us about this fact…Harper went as far as yelling she loves daddy’s boobs!! I mean we should encourage body image right?! I’ve learned all big cabinets are called refrigerators; which sounds like a smart observation to me. They are also excelling at understanding the concept of time, with the most popular last morning (which means yesterday) or saying they get to go somewhere after a night or two of “sleeps.” Tomorrow is another popular word they are starting to understand. Someone will put a dolly in a stroller and turn to say see you tomorrow! Some concepts they pick up catch me by surprise; I assumed some of these concepts wouldn’t be understood until they were older and yet here we are. The latest obsession is all things wall clocks, starting with Grandma’s fancy one through FaceTime and extending out to anyone else on the phone who might possess a hanging clock in the background during a conversation. It’s almost like a recreation of their ceiling fan love when they were infants, except now they can talk and DEMAND to see them.

The house is now filled with new conversations, showing great perceptiveness and often bring a smile or a chuckle from nearby adults:

Emerie: Harper, you have an owie? Do you need a bandaid?

Harper: Yes, but it’s getting better. Don’t touch it! And points to it.

Reagan: I have an owie too! I need a bandaid and will pull up her sleeve or pant leg, point to it and then ask you for a bandaid.

I could probably write an entire blog called “Life Advice from Harper.” This little girl is quite the wordsmith and excelling everyday on her grammar and descriptive sentences. Her exclaimed thoughts completely crack me up- we went to Lowe’s and purposely walked down the toilet display aisle to see their reactions. Harper immediately started with I want to see the potties! Momma, I want to pee in them! to which we explained they were display potties and not usable, which did not simmer her enthusiasm with a response of no, I want to pee in them. I want to pee in the display potties because I love them! I mean what do you even say to that!? She was the first one up the other morning and we were watching TV downstairs while the other two slept a bit longer. She looked at me and randomly said, Momma, if you touch fire, you just need to get Elsa and a bandaid. How’s that for words of wisdom from a two year old?!

Bandaids heal all things, don’t you know that? Apparently that AND scotch tape, according to the toddlers this week.

Lastly, nothing says family bonding like cramming five people in the tiny, downstairs bathroom and filling balloons with water and food coloring! In the middle of this Reagan announced she needed to use the bathroom and the activity proceeded with one on the potty and two mad they couldn’t stand on the toilet and see us fill the water. Memories, I tell you. We checked on the balloons the following day to discover they still weren’t fully frozen! The second day temperatures dipped and they were firm enough to cut off the balloons. They turned out really cool and you can see the pattern the water froze into ice crystals. Too bad it was too cold to stay and enjoy them, so we went back inside with three, cold fingered grumps. I did manage to get them set on the porch railing to enjoy from the heated side of the door. If anyone has any better suggestions on how to do this in the future, I’m all ears. The food coloring immediately covered hands and gloves and made a decent mess outside…but they are pretty!

I will close today’s blog out with a quote that appropriately sums up our current life status.

The funny thing about kids is- they are the reason we lose it AND the reason we hold it together.

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So, we are holding it together! And just like that we creep into our last month with two year olds! I cannot believe the big three is right around the corner already. The girls have grown SO much over the last year and learned so many new things. I can’t believe I will have three, three-year-olds in the blink of an eye!

My Little Valentines

Since we are home this year for our first valentine’s day that the girls can really participate in, I made some effort to figure out daily crafts to do for friends and family.

We started off the week of love with heart window clings, which finally don’t immediately submerge into their mouths with a well warranted “yucky” response. All three enjoyed sticking them on the windows and taking them away from each other; Emerie kept balling them up in her hands and running off while Reagan’s handful went on the floor, under her foot, while she added them one-by-one and tried to keep them away from Harper. Eventually they all ended up all over the house and were collected for the trash can. Maybe someday they will stay on the actual windows.

Our first craft went better than most of the ideas I come up with! I printed basic trees (solid trunk and branches) on pink paper and instructed everyone to buckle in at the table. Crafts go sooo much better when I’m not scolding the entire time with a get OFF the table! as they crowd around you and participate. The bag of puffy, heart shaped stickers was quite the hit and everyone decorated their trees without much assistance. In fact, they were peeling off the backs of the stickers without help after about five minutes. I have to say, stickers are a majorly awesome entertainer at this age. This craft is wall worthy and currently planned to hang up in admiration over the next week. What do you think!?

We ended up creating several versions of this upon request. Everyone kept asking for the heart stickers and then concentrated on their decorating.

I really enjoy noting the differences between each kiddo’s artwork. Janelle pointed out to me that their creations resemble each season, with Reagan’s showing all the leaves up in the tree (and nicely organized I might add- all done by herself!), Emerie’s with leaves beginning to fall and Harper’s covering full on fall all over the page. They aren’t to the point of comparing what the other is constructing so it’s great to see their free spirits roam and create. It will be interesting to see how their styles change as they grow and learn and then compare them to each other.

It took several nights tracing and cutting out hearts to do the next craft, heart shaped valentines in several different shapes. We typical color with crayons at least once a day but the girls weren’t really interested in drawing in more than a couple hearts before they wanted normal coloring sheets. I’ll be saving this idea for next year when attention spans are longer; for now we made enough to add to a few cards to send out.

We ventured into the messy paint a couple of times, using stencils and later decorating wooden hearts by hand. So much effort but the girls really love smearing the paint everywhere and it all ends up looking very brown (probably why Harper likes it haha!).

Aunt Janelle and Paris came over to help us celebrate Valentine’s Day and enjoy some homemade treats. The girls all boasted matching dresses AND polka dot tights and a rockin’ fancy hairstyle by Grandma. Much of the morning was spent making out favorite brownies and the girls help package them up for friends. I managed to sneak out and deliver a few throughout the day, even bring the girls with me for some and bribing good behavior with heart suckers.

The girls’ highlightable activity of the morning consisted of helping Grandma Sue make fresh, pink, heart shaped donuts. Needless to say, the room was quite a mess of flour and dough by the end of it, but it was hilarious to watch them mimic their instructor and try to knead the dough into shapes.

I can’t help but note some of the grossness that accompanied such an event. Harper went straight to eating it (just like she’s more into eating play dough than the other two) , laughing at our reactions as it dribbled out of her mouth. Reagan was all about getting flour everywhere and occasionally snacking on it; Emerie was happy to knead it and smear the flour on the paper. Paris did an awesome job with the little rolling pin and smoothing hers out, once the sticky factor was resolved with more flour.

After the initial dough work, Grandma got to work frying the deliciousness on the stove. One by one she and Craig had one little helper with the icing and, of course, you can’t forget about the sprinkles. Each kiddo had their turn putting the final touches on (some of) the treats and ensuring the flavor was up to par. We made enough for a small army so I hope everyone who had a plate enjoyed them! The girls sure did!

Today’s festivities needed some ground rules to abide by when cooking with Grandma, such as:

  1. The messier the floor, the better the food.
  2. Painting smocks are excellent at keeping flour off toddlers.
  3. Donut dough is for snacking on, not for cooking with.
  4. Flour should be licked directly off the table.
  5. Play dough tools work perfectly for dough rolling.
  6. “Heart” shapes made by little hands look more like bruised hearts that happy ones but taste the same.
  7. Sprinkles are like glitter; you find them everywhere and on everything but you still have to have them.

All of the sugar ensured that Reagan and Emerie refused to actually nap, with Harper out pretty quick and sleeping through most of the bedroom shenanigans until we finally gave up and got them back up. My sleepless two were dismayed that they couldn’t have a donut as a post-nap snack; Harper happily munched on hers during our usual wake up snuggle on the couch.

I can’t say today was altogether easy, that we didn’t have fighting and tantrums and toddler rage; but in between those moments were some enjoyable ones. Examples like watching the girls enthusiastically try to work the donut dough, play tea party with each other (and fight over all the little plates), request you to read a book, snuggle with Auntie, examine the flowers on the kitchen table from Daddy, sucking on the big lip suckers, enjoying some lumpia and ponset courtesy of the neighbors, or running around in their cooking aprons and hats. Valentine’s Day should be fun each year to come, when we can do more crafts and cooking under a little less toddler duress; for now it’s still pretty manageable and the girls seemed to have fun.

Happy hearts day!