Winter, Dance and Those Wild Children

So far 2023 started off without anything too significant or exciting happening. Lots of winter, snow, working hours and wild children. The kittens continue to grow and change each day, and it’s prompting a lot of old memories for this mom on life “back in the day” with three rambunctious babies. That day was only a few years ago, but it feels like a whole lifetime with how much things have changed!

For example, the girls’ unique personalities became evident even before they were speaking, and each had a slightly different attitude on things throughout development, and it’s still true today. Harper refused to roll over, adamantly indicating that was a skill not worthy of her time, and yet she was the first of the three to walk, with Reagan right behind her. The similarities are pretty funny in the kittens, because one kitten slowly started walking forward, with the second observing closely, and the third less interested at first. Within an hour, the first was walking, the second was mimicking the first at a slower pace, and the following day number three gained the skill and joined the club. In our case, Harper was the first to take her steps forward unassisted, with Reagan carefully watching and learning immediately after, and then Emerie not long after that.

When it comes to containment, you might remember the full “cage” that spanned our entire living room for quite a long time, from crawling to climbing to walking and until escaping. And the baby gates, which blocked off each level of the house and the loft. One kitten (named Wallace) was the first to figure out how to escape out of totes and boxes if he used a sibling as a step stool. The girls did this exact thing, figuring out how to boost one another out of their fenced in play area and into freedom, before mom and dad fully baby proofed the rest of the house and blocked off the stairs. Persistence is key!

Back in the day – caged off

Personalities are also similar. One kitten is the “wild child” of the three, has a need for speed, was the first to take steps, and always instigates the troublemaking with the siblings. Doesn’t that sound like one Miss Harper? Another kitten (named Wesley although it might be Winston now?) is far more timid than his brother, but will pay close attention to the activities at hand, holding out the longest before participating. He’s a sweet soul. Does that sound like Miss Reagan, especially when she was smaller and more shy? The smallest kitten (Winnifred, i.e. Winnie Rose- because the girls insisted she had to have a middle name!), is also shy, needs one of her eyes scrubbed off occasionally so it’s not shut with goobers (i.e. eye issues), her siblings gang up on her a bit because they are bigger than her, and she loves to cuddle and be rescued from the chaos. Sounds like Miss Emerie to me!

It is also funny to watch Molly and her obvious annoyance and frustration at her three littles running in three directions. I greatly understand her sentiments and still live in that today, although nothing like it was two years ago. She will take naps up high on her climber, where she can keep an eye on the crowd, knowing they can’t reach her!

For the most part the girls are pretty aware of the kittens wandering the house, and if not there is my constant “don’t step on the kitten!” reminders. I’ve only caught them a couple times with compromised kittens. The first time all three were downstairs in the bathroom, with a paper shoebox full of water in the sink, trying to give Winnie a bath. As you would guess, she was not impressed; and luckily I caught them before she was fully submerged. The second time all the kids were jumping on Grandma Sue’s bed (I.e. the guest room bed) with two very terrified kittens trying not to die. No kittens were harmed in either incident!

On the non-kitten front- you may all be shocked to learn the love for the song Shake It Off has finally depleted. In fact, I now get demands to NOT play it, after several years of constant replaying more than any one person wants to hear it. We definitely had some really cute memories (and videos) of the littles shaking their bald heads and tiny butts to it. Uncle William is now educating everyone on other songs by the songstress and pushing us into a new era of music. Different music videos are also quite the hit; of course they don’t follow the intricate meanings behind the scripts and scenes, but they all excitedly love her outfits, shoes, and sparkling wonders. Some of the most exciting parts are the funniest things, such as her dress changing from white into red and her fancy shoe choices!

A new session of dance started last weekend. Since age three’s dance class was so very miserable for us parents, with the tantrums, not listening, and times dragging all three out kicking and screaming in front of throngs of disbelieving singleton parents, we held off for a full year before trying again, and this time with a new tactic: dividing them up. This is the first time we’ve tried this method for any activity, although we talked about it when transitioning into the four year old daycare class, and ended up keeping them together, which has worked out so far. In efforts to maintain some parental sanity, Emerie and Reagan are in gymnastics at 11:15 on Saturdays while Harper starts dance class at 11:30, with the younger group until she turns five in March. The parent area is in between the two rooms, so we can see both sides easily and provide stern looks through the window when they act out.

Last year Harper did the best by far, in terms of listening and behavior and actual participation,while Emerie and Reagan fed off each other and missed half the classes due to needed intervention to minimize disruptions. All three strongly desired to climb all the mats and swing on the equipment when everyone else was listening and out on the dance floor. It was a disaster and the most money I’ve probably ever spent to be so miserable!

The first week of round two went much better. There was discussion on who was in gymnastics and who was in dance, and of course major disagreement with our plan, but once class started, it went well! Emerie is definitely meant to tumble and climb on things, and it greatly impresses me when she runs across the balance beam, knowing she has a a bifocal and weaker eye sight than her peers. Reagan also seemed to enjoy the class, only having one moment of the pure pouty face, which I did not help with by taking photos and saying I sent them to Grandma Sue. Harper, across the hall, had a wonderful first class and didn’t need any intervention. She wore her princess heels as her tap shoes, and seemed to really enjoy herself. The roughest part of the whole activity was when Reagan and Emerie were done and waiting for Harper’s class to wrap up. Reagan threw down to go into the room to “watch” her sister, and managed to throw a fit in front of everyone when she didn’t get her way.

Every day in between the two classes the girls asked what day it was and what day dance and gymnastics falls on. What’s funny is how they define the days of the week at this point in their lives:

  • Sunday – means no school and some fun activity with cousins or the boys
  • Monday – ugh school. I’m tiiiiiired!
  • Tuesday – no one ever asks about this day
  • Wednesday – this is school pizza day
  • Thursday – no one ever asks about this day or “is it the weekend yet?”
  • Friday – chocolate milk and show-and-tell day at school!
  • Saturday – the weekend and now dance day

Week two went well also, and I’m hoping the trend will continue. The gymnastics teacher told me after class that she split Reagan and Emerie into separate groups for their breakout activities after she heard one encouraging the other not listen. Emerie started the class out a bit feisty and not wanting to be there, but pretty quickly started having fun. She’s great at tumbling and always pops up with a big smile. Reagan constantly comes over to ensure our eyes are glued to her body as she participates. She proudly flipped over one of the bars (assisted) and after a few tries could almost do it by herself. Harper happily tapped around in her new tap shoes and black sheer sleeved leotard. It cracked me up she was in black from head to toe- black leotard, black tights, black ballet slippers, and a black sheer skirt. Oh and don’t forget the black scrunchie, accessories!

Speaking of accessories, the last week or so Harper is constantly wearing her Mirabel glasses. They have no glass so they don’t get smudged and dirty; she seems to think she looks like Emerie in them. The funniest part is that I constantly call her Emerie when looking out the of the corner of my eye, even tho she doesn’t have green glasses!

I swear the last few days must have a full moon, because the crazy cabin fever from the kids is ROUGH. They’ve impressively trashed the house several times, drowned the downstairs bathroom with toilet water (and who knows what else), worn a dozen outfits a day, gone through clothing drawers and closets they’ve never opened before and dumping things out, and been wildly crazy with the back talking, fighting and not listening. Guys- we are so tired. I’m not sure if this shift can be attributed to the dead of winter, an impending development shift or sickness, my working longer hours than normal at work, or something else, but they are wild. New name calling popped up as well; Reagan’s insult of choice is now you spit-head. That, and you-toilet-water-poop-spit. I’m pretty sure she’s not going for “shit head”, since I have no idea where she would have heard that from (yeah yeah but really we don’t say that), so I believe she really means spit. And reminds us spit is gross, so she thinks it’s quite the insult. Such fun.

This month’s theme songs are from the live action Aladdin film, where Disney added a new song by Jasmine that the girls adore called Speechless. It’s girl empowerment and she takes down her enemies in song and the girls think it’s just amazing. It’s a pretty song in my opinion too! Every drive includes it and all three love singing along. Harper has her own lyrics to the melody and it’s hilarious, with SPEECHLEEEEESS three times louder at the end of each relevant line. They also like the songs by the genie guy and when Aladdin and Jasmine are running (first seen). It’s really nice to be able to watch another live action movie besides Maleficent, which is much darker! And little do they know one of their birthday presents is fancy Jasmine dresses that I bought during after Christmas sales. You ain’t never had a friend like meeee!

I can’t believe we are almost a month into the new year, but here we are. Kittens are growing everyday and so are my little ladies. While I look forward to spring just around the corner (quite optimistically I might add), I’m also excited for them to celebrate my birthday this year and Valentine’s Day. After that they’ll be turning half a decade, which I am NOT ready for.

Wonders of Christmas

This is a little late, but better than never. I’m happy to report our December went off without a hitch heath wise! The girls counted down to the big day, asking how many sleeps remain each afternoon and over and over when Christmas will arrive. That, and when summer will get here, which is a bit farther away considering we just had winter solstice.

The preschool class had a Christmas party the Friday before the big day and cookie decorating was quite the hit, according to the teacher. Emerie decorated her one, completely covered cookie while Harper and Reagan had platefuls of beauties to bring home and display. After a two weeks, they are still sitting on the counter in all their glory, as we attempt to keep sugar to a minimum (since we have sooo many cookies!).

Much of the month, with the crazy shift in weather, was spent staying busy doing all kinds of activities inside. By crazy weather, I mean the close to 70 mile per hour winds in town, to crazy snow drifts blasting off the massive snow piles, and then a dip into negative temperatures; all this equals the girls not wanting to play outside (and who can blame them?!). Since sledding was off the table until conditions improved, we continued to hit up the jump park, visited the play coffeehouse and created coloring masterpieces and art projects at home, almost daily. A number of ornaments were painted, hung on the tree by yours truly, then removed from the tree to become play toys. We attempted Color Me Mine for the first time since last winter and it was a completely different experience than going when they were all three years old. Everyone picked out the same llama planter to decorate and instructed Craig on their color choices. Everyone wanted at least one stamp to spruce up their look. Overall it went quite well; even Emerie took her time and had fun! They finished off the activity with candy cane ornaments- Harper’s became a mesh of green and red, Emerie created a design and Reagan attempt red, white and green stripes. I can’t wait to remake them next year and see what they look like! And, for the next few days, everyone asked me several times a day if their creations were ready for pick up. Silly kids.

Auntie Megan brought over a “pie in the face” whip cream game that was quite the hit with all five kiddos one afternoon. By the end everyone wanted to lose and put far less effort into the battle, knowing the result produced delicious whip cream to sample and spread everywhere. We will definitely have to get another game and continue the kid torture in the future. I’m certain everyone will want to push some whip cream into the faces of several grandparents and uncles!

We spent much of December dressing up, with all three strongly demanding that shirts and pants are unacceptable forms of clothing. At this point in their lives, I’m not exactly sure why I even have a drawer full of shirts, as it becomes a huge task to even suggest they wear anything other than a dress. Luckily it worked out with my overspending on the Christmas outfits, so they had tutu dresses, their fancy “concert dresses” (as they say), princess themed ones and all the normal twirlies to choose from, as well as the festive boots and red ballet slipper flats. Their teachers were told we have HUNDREDS of Christmas jammies to wear, at least according to Harper, after their pajama party at school. It’s not really hundreds, but more than I should probably admit….

The girls visited Santa at Cabela’s and he took time to individually talk to each kiddo, answering questions and smiling for photos. I may have mentioned they needed instruction to sleep overnight in their beds, which he helped me out with! The girls questioned why presents were under the tree mid month- yes, because I’m THAT mom that wants things prepped ahead of time, especially knowing sickness hits our house so quickly- so they learned that only some presents come from Santa on Christmas Eve and others come from mom, dad and grandparents. My theory panned out last year when we wouldn’t have opened any presents otherwise, due to the pneumonia that ran through the adults in the house. Next year I plan to take each kid shopping individually to choose a gift for each sibling. I didn’t try this year, assuming they would pick something they wanted and then lose their minds when it went to someone else.

It doesn’t seem like many kid Christmas shows and movies are a hit in our household, with the exception of the Muppet Christmas, Polar Express and one random Netflix hit that hey, has three tiny kittens in it. We did a week of watching one of the three each night; and the girls were seriously annoyed that the kids in Polar Express don’t actually have names. It’s funny how much this irritates them.

We swapped presents with Auntie Megan and crew on Christmas Eve and as usual, Megan outdid herself for each kiddo. The hit of the afternoon was certainly the color changing barbies, that dunk into water and turn from solid teal to a typical barbie, with skin tones and hair colors. They were thoroughly excited to check them out; Reagan so much she peeled much of the paint off with her nails while sitting at the table.

The girls were wired on Christmas Eve night, especially after opening stockings (stuffed to the brim with randoms I collected over the past few months) and one present. It took a bit to coax them into sleeping, especially so Craig and I could finish the final touches of Santa’s visit and put out a few more of the big presents. Craig spent the afternoon locked in the garage, building the Barbie dream house (Costco!) that had sooo many pieces and I had the presents hidden and waiting for their morning debut. We then filled the dreamhouse with princesses and accessories from when I was a kid (barbie sets from the 90s are way better than now!) and enjoyed a quiet house for a little while, basking in the Christmas ambiance that I truly enjoy every winter.

The girls woke up at a decent hour on Christmas and we somehow convinced the early risers to wait until everyone was up to start. They were thrilled to see bites out of the three cookies, courtesy of Santa. This year presents were far more fun to watch, as less intervention was needed to help open presents. Except when taking apart doll packaging, which takes an army of scissors and patience to pry everything open while excited preschoolers oversee in excitement and demand you to go faster. The girls did quite well playing most of the day, with new toys and with each other, and didn’t even notice the dollhouse downstairs until after lunch. This year’s theme was very girly (shocking), and included mermaids, (pretend) makeup, dance lessons and leotards and new 18″ dolls, with a few other goodies in between. Each kiddo received their own custom music box: Harper a pink ballerina one, Emerie a purple unicorn one, and Reagan a pink and teal mermaid one. This gift might have backfired a bit, as the three separate tunes played allllll afternoon on repeat, and they even managed to remove the windup pins in record time. The boxes now reside in their bedrooms and are not yet filled with treasures, because the music was by the far the most exciting attribute to watch. As soon as presents were opened for the morning, the questions on when is it going to be our birthday and when will summer be here started again, since they know both things occur post Christmas time. I will also say, the kitten (Molly) very much enjoyed the girls opening presents and jumping through all the paper.

This year we ate Christmas dinner instead of throwing it into the freezer for when everyone was healthy again; and Craig’s beef wellington was delicious as usual! Jenny, Keegan and the boy cousins as well as Uncle William brought other goodies and it was a really nice day. The cousins exchanged presents and ran around wild, enjoying the day. The pink, purple and blue sequined stockings were put to work as mermaid tails and are still randomly around the house. It’s wonderful to have cousins close in age that now live close by!

At bedtime that night I asked everyone to share their favorite thing(s) about the day and their most beloved gift. I will point out by this time everyone was way overstimulated and tired, and definitely a bit on the grumpier side of the happy scale.

Reagan (who is definitely long winded like her Grandmother and had all kinds of thoughts about the day- so this is paraphrased…): My favorite thing was opening presents and doing Mom and Dad’s hair and makeup. My favorite present was my mermaid music box, makeup, the dollhouse and new dress shoes from Grandma Sue.

PS. If you allow your “hair and makeup” to be done by your local preschool professional, you can sometimes receive a head massage and nice hair brushing. Not too tough on the sanity and they demand you sit still and not get off the couch. Well played…right?

Emerie (who was extremely ready to go to sleep, covered in her stuff animals and wanting to listen to Elsa on my phone): My favorite thing was opening presents and listening to my music box. AND wearing Pan’s hair headband (a long, flowered braid headband). AND playing with my mom and dad and sisters. My favorite present was the big turtle from Papa Cliff and the big, barbie dollhouse.

Harper (who was past any form of cooperation and crazy raged over still being awake): My favorite thing is nothing! (after further mother harassment she answered better). My favorite thing was playing with the flowers from Aunt Jenny, playing with my new music box and just opening presents. My favorite present was the high heels from Grandma Sue and wearing the black dance leotard.

If I had to choose their favorite items over the past week, the flower set from Aunt Jenny is definitely the winner. They all continue to build custom gardens (and fight over them) and make flower food, flower decor, and anything else they can dream up. The dollhouse has a few visits a day and everyone continues to stomp around the house in their new dress heels (you can guess how thrilled Craig is about that!) while rocking their princess braided headbands. Everyone has already worn the new sparkle pants from Grandma Anne in the next size (sob!). Harper adores her new doll, named Babela (like her last one) and insists on carting her around everywhere and sleeping with her at night. Emerie is now a flower garden queen and always toting a few around. Reagan often wanders downstairs for an hour and pretend plays with the barbie set up.

However busy and dark the dead of winter is, I enjoyed the Christmas season this year. While I am excited for the light on the horizon (for a few more seconds each day!), I find a special place in my heart and mind for the cold, snowy season full of Christmas lights, goodies, friends and family. Maybe that’s the Alaskan in my blood, but who knows. Cheers to a new year!

Back to School Big Girls

I am way behind on providing updates on our current every day lives and I fully blame the crazy work deadlines that the last month have held for the job I’m covering. So let’s go backwards a little, to the end of August, when I started writing this blog right after the girls’ shift to the pre-K classroom at school.

We started out the school year in typical fashion- the first week meant the stomach flu for all three kiddos, each about a day apart, and an ear infection for Harper. On Friday Emerie made it a whole 20 minutes at school before getting the phone call that she was throwing up again. While the puking derailed our plans to visit the fair later that day, the decent weather the following day ultimately worked out for a better overall visit. And I’m happy to say that both parents managed to avoid the stomach flu, which was greatly appreciated!

After sitting in the eternal, never moving line of cars waiting to park at the fair, we opted to bring the rolling wagon with us and stop at a few of the easy booths right inside the door. The girls sat on top of the big, stuffed moose and took a photo with it, munched on some fancy donuts on a stick, and didn’t immediately run off into the abyss of people. We went to the rides pretty early into our visit, presuming the excitement might make grumpy preschoolers appear before we were ready to be done for the day.

I wasn’t sure what rides everyone would like to go on, since Reagan and Emerie are often timid on a lot of things, while Harper usually sticks to her wild side and the great need for speed. The first ride of the day was a roller coaster, because why not go big to start. We hadn’t walked over to the younger kid rights at that point, and just went for it. Craig and I both went on with them; side note- I definitely forgot how hard it is to fit my knees behind a kid roller coaster seat! Emerie insistently opted to ride behind me and all by herself, while Harper and Reagan each plopped down with an adult. All three shrieked in excitement and actually loved it; even Miss Independent Em. But I will say, the second roller coaster did not meet that same sentiment for Reagan, who hid in Papa Cliff’s lap for all the loops and refused to go on any more coasters for the rest of the day. The favorite rides for the day turned out to be the airplane spinning rides and the construction truck driving; all went multiple times. We finished out all the rides with the big slide in the sky, and then did everyone really wants to do at the fair…EAT. So much food, and in usual fashion the girls wanted french fries. I enjoyed a delicious turkey leg with Grandma Sue, since the girls wouldn’t touch it. Surprisingly enough, they all liked William’s crab fritters and wanted more of that!

The favorite purchase of the day for me was the girls getting Alaska Chick hoodies in their colors (which are huge and put away for this winter). If you asked them what their favorite thing was, I imagine everyone would respond the super cool butterfly wings they wore the rest of the visit. They attached to their shoulders and wrists and resulted in three, happy girls running through the crowd as butterflies. Did I mention this made them so much easier to spot as well? And of course, adorable. I’m happy to say the day sits in the good memories and successful activities side of my brain, and I’m glad we made the effort to go.

We finished out the busy weekend by going berry picking in Whittier, which is now going to be an annual family event, or so I hope. Anchorage weather was very crummy this year; once we trekked through the tunnel and into Whittier, the sun was out and the weather just gorgeous. We spent the afternoon picking blueberries and playing along the water, the kids heaping and hollering about the dead fish in the water. It turned out to be a great day.

It’s like a postcard! Beautiful view.

Later in the month we went on a family hike to Thunderbird Falls, which is maaaaaybe a mile total, and ends on an overlook to the waterfall. Reagan and Harper took to it much better than their sister, who kept asking when we were going to turn back and go home, insisted on holding an adult’s hand pretty much the entire length of the trip. In fact, she seemed quite nervous to explore and walk through the mud or up or down the hills, but some of this is likely attributed to her post surgery eye situation. We climbed down to the water on the way back and all the kids enjoyed throwing sticks and rocks into the water and trying to climb up and explore steep hills. It was another unusually beautiful day, but we had to leave Anchorage to see the actual sunlight.

Another fall favorite activity, something we’ve missed since the girls were 18 months old, is the annual Trick or Treat in the Heat event. The past two years canceled due to COVID, meaning this year’s event was met with excitement and a ton of people, and on a decent weather day! I stashed a few new costumes in the closet in anticipation of an outdoor event that wasn’t freezing cold and luckily this year only required long sleeves and pants underneath- I don’t think I heard one complaint about being cold. Mind you, there were about five million complaints of being tired, feet hurting, wanting to eat a snack or piece of candy, but not for being cold.

The fighting was minimal on who wore which costume, and just like last year, everyone switched out on colors (for the most part). Harper was Tinkerbell, including fancy wings, a headband and a butterfly wand; Reagan was a flamingo, which included an adorable flamingo head hat and polka dots; and Emerie was…any guesses?? Of course, Emerie opted to be Elsa for the third year in a row. A new style of dress, but still Elsa (thanks Costco!).

We did a LOT of walking that evening, and eventually made it home with bags of candy and picked up some pizza to sit down and eat. Excluding the whininess, I think it went pretty well, but next year we should definitely bring the wagon to avoid the overly tired, woah-is-me attitudes that were shared the second half of the evening. Luckily neighborhood trick-or-treat is not quite so extensive, and the dark usually helps push the kiddos to wanting to head back home.


After a little over a month of new pre-kindergarden school activities and crafts, I already see incredible improvement in the girls coloring and writing skills. In fact, Reagan has already written her own name, without tracing any letters, and it proudly displays on the wall at school that shows the classroom lettering crafts. All three really enjoy tracing books now and do a great job following the lettering. They also constantly ask for white paper, meaning paper with nothing to color, so they can expand their ideas without any distractions. Needless to say, we go through a lot of paper. The other day Reagan looked at me and said, “do I look like a crazy maniac?! No! I draw within the lines!” when I asked her about her coloring. Silly girl. We’ve also seen the first little people drawings from Reagan, which I am SO excited about. They are all head and legs and it’s adorably cute- now she is starting to tell you which people they are and draw scenery around them. We definitely have an artist in the family! Harper continues to draw rainbows on everything and Emerie is more willing to sit and color now, than in previous months.

Many discussions now center around, what letter does this word start with? What letter does THIS word start with? And you pretty much have to explain every letter start in the English alphabet. And we are only on letter “e” at school so far! All three know what their names start with, what Craig and my name starts with- Reagan keeps asking me why both our names start with an “r”. Such questions. They are also very defensive about sharing “their” letter with others, and seem to think they own it, similar to how they act with their pink, purple and teal color associations. For letter “e” show and tell, Emerie informed me her sisters didn’t need to attend the day, since it was her letter and her day.

Each day brings a new randomly taught skill. One Friday they came home and quoted me the entire pledge of allegiance, all three of them! They informed us afterwards that they do it at school a lot; it’s cute to see them repeat words that have absolutely no meaning to them yet. Other days they are questioning which side is right and which is left, and can now pick up the correct foot or arm if you ask.

In addition to letters and writing, basic math is just around the corner. Many car rides home from school involve how many fingers is this and then this? What is this hand and this hand…is it ten? These types of questions are the very foundation of math and I can’t believe it’s already starting. They seem to pick it up pretty quickly too, as you talk through the answers.

One morning I caved into the requests and let everyone use the glass markers to create intricate and wild creations on the backdoor. Reagan drew the first people I have seen her attempt and they are completely adorable, with the big heads and bodies and tiny legs and arms. The wild hair seems to indicate that maybe they are drawing Grandma Sue, but that has not been confirmed to date. Harper continues to enjoy making dozens of rainbows on everything she draws. This also reminds me she had a little too much creativity when one of our mountain art designs from the wall was set down on a table and within reach. I fully planned to blame one of the visiting boys for the writing on it, until I discovered the red letter “H” across the middle…and I don’t think she can deny that one and get away with it…

One night after school we took the girls to get fancy nails. In normal color fashion, all three selected shades of their colors (after talking Harper out of the sparkle one that wouldn’t show very well) and proceeded to entertain much of the salon as their hands and feet were beautified. Harper was last to go and did a great job waiting patiently, while Reagan and Emerie could barely contain themselves sitting for their turn and wiggled all over the place. Emerie continues to be the wiggle worm of the three for these types of activities, and hilariously laughed when they filed her toe nails, as if it was the most hilarious thing in the world. Harper sat like a statue for her turn, watching the beautification process with appreciation. It’s fun to start doing these types of things now, as long as you bring lots of snacks and don’t wait too long to go.

And to round out our busy lives and much overdue update, is Harper’s latest life quote, with the words… this is difficult! Everything is difficult! It’s difficult! And there you have it folks, an accurate, one phrase depiction of current life events in the Douglas household. Good thing they are so adorably cute… here is one of my favorite photos from this fall, captured by yours truly on an afternoon excursion (ahem photo op) to the park by our house.

Kickin Off the Summer

The Douglas household was fully embracing summer by the middle of May. A little optimistic, maybe, but also a nice break from the dreary and cold winter and spring. Harper’s obsession of shorts and dresses has passed to the other two and everyone now strongly demands such attire each day, regardless of the weather outlook. Fancy dresses were worn during gardening and throughout the long, sunny weekend.

The neighborhood will often witness three princesses biking down the street, in full-length princess dresses, heels (although they are learning heels are hard to bike in!) and bike helmets. Harper led the charge on the peddle bikes and training wheels and had the process completely down in about two days. For the most part her understanding of breaking is learned, other than when stressing down a “big” hill, freaking out and slamming into a curb. Reagan was right behind her and picked up the peddling a few days later. Her stuffed panda is mandatory for all rides. Emerie has no desire to climb on the bigger bike and races around her sisters on the pink balance bike. Occasionally Reagan will opt to ride hers and fly down the street with her legs out, balancing! We plan to let Emerie decide when she wants to transition to peddles, especially considering her balance is still off a bit from her recent surgery.

In addition to the almost daily neighborhood bike rides, we are back to the constant water play. With dandelions in bloom, custom versions of dandelion soup and tea are the hits of the house. Every time you turn around you find dandelion parts, water, and flower petals. The girls designed some great food off the fallen petals on the floor of Bells Nursery this week. And those are free! A number of bouquet deliveries have also occurred and I can confidently say that our lot has no growing dandelions at the moment.

Another really cute moment during a bike ride last week; Emerie found a field of seeding dandelions on a nearby neighbor’s lot and abandoned her bike to collect them. By the time we caught up to her, she was hollering she found a bunch of wishes! So cute.

Reagan already mastered the art of swinging and while she knows how to do it, she still wants to be pushed sometimes. Harper and Emerie study their sister’s new skill and are starting to do it themselves too. New types of swings continue to pop up on our property thanks to Craig’s creativity and we now have a front tire swing and normal swing, and three regular swings, a trapeze bar and a fancy sun seat in the backyard. This week the girls all learned how to do a back flip holding the trapeze and are so thrilled to show it to everyone.

The Douglas family is also growing again (calm down, not THAT) with the arrival of baby chicks. As shouted at me when arriving home from work to them, we got Easter eggs! We briefly tried adopting some last year but quickly learned the girls weren’t quite ready to be gentle with them (and I might have threatened Craig’s life if we kept them). This time around is going much better. Craig told me he showed all three how to gently help the babies drink water while I was at work; Emerie’s first attempt was more like a shove-the-entire-chick-into-the-water type of “help,” but she will learn. Reagan and Harper are quite gentle with them but enjoy petting their heads more than feeling the scaly feet on their hands. A few have definitely tried to learn to fly in the moment from getting thrown by a stressed out preschooler; none of them have died yet either! When asked what everyone is named, the quick consensus was all names starting with ballerina (Ballerina Emerie, Ballerina Harper, Ballerina Grandma, Ballerina Tyler) or Ling-Fong. Yes, we will work on better names as they get bigger.

We are almost three weeks out from Emerie’s surgery and her eye is straightening nicely. Unfortunately this improvement is tied to a very droopy left eyelid (like her first procedure) and now that she’s a bit older, she has more opinions on it and tells people her eye is closed or that it won’t stay open. She asks to go to Dr. Winkle to fix it too. Her patching and wearing of glasses continues to be a daily battle; she is such a trooper while patched and distracted with an activity and while a bit less balanced, still works really hard to do everything her sisters do while wearing it. I’m thoroughly impressed at how well she handles her wobbles and continues having fun and try to give her credit and praise when it goes well.

A few more girls nights have occurred over the past month and I feel as though they are getting easier to navigate by myself. Maybe it’s because we are getting into a groove; more likely it’s due to the yummy food and ability to chow down on dinner with a movie in the living room, which we don’t do any other time. This week elevated temperatures resulted in a granted ice cream request to kick off girls night before dinner, and went really well.

The three day daycare closure and holiday weekend meant a solid six days with the kiddos home. While exhausting and very stimulating, the girls slept in later than normal due to efforts to tire them out all day, no naps and direct sun beaming down through most activities. Reagan even slept until 9:30 one morning! I’m guessing a growth spurt is right around the corner.

The majority of Memorial Day weekend was spent outside with lots of adventuring and activities. We played at the beach (an Alaskan beach with dry, cold sand!), played with the water slide and pool in the back yard, ran the sprinkler, destroyed the back deck with smashed orso balls, shopped for and planted flowers and vegetables, had play dates with friends, went to the park, explored Saturday market carnival rides, and so much more. The girls continue to be fearless and went down a three tiered slide for the first time. Emerie bonked her forehead on the second trip down and was less than impressed and Megan nearly broke her leg (again) at the same time. Everyone loved the carousel and boasted big smiles throughout several rides. All five kiddos joined Megan on a spinning apple ride and no tears or screaming occurred, much to my surprise. It is very likely all three will be fans of fair rides in the future and that state fair this year will probably cause us bankruptcy; here I was thinking they’d be nervous or hesitant (well Emerie and Reagan anyway- Harper has always had a need for speed!).

Now that summer is here, a few trips are in the planning stages and I look forward to trekking to a couple other towns on the road system this summer. I will certainly have three extremely tanned and super blonde girls in tow for most of it…and I can’t wait to see what shenanigans we get into.

Birthday Weekend

Birthday weekend was SO busy! In fact, I feel tired trying to remember all the things to complete a blog on it. I enjoyed all the festivities occurring over a weekend and allowing the girls to stay entertained with all kinds of activities centered around the celebration of their wild entrance into the world. How has it been FOUR years already?! How has it been four years since that wild c-section delivery and four years since Craig and I had a decent night’s sleep?! I don’t even know.

The weekend began with a daddy/daughter dance on Friday night. Grandma Sue arrived at the airport in mid-afternoon and daycare pickup was completed a little earlier than normal, ensuring enough time to “get fancy” and for the girls to get a few grandma snuggles and chats in. Everyone picked out a tutu dress from the closet and tights with barely worn ballet flats (I forgot about them!). They rarely wear any type of shoe that isn’t boots or tennis shoes, since we live in Alaska after all, and were thrilled to wear new accessories to both the dance and just at home throughout the evenings. Since spring is not yet upon us, they continue to ask why the new apparel isn’t worthy for outside in the snow and slush and are constantly asking about it.

Overall I’d say the evening was a success. Craig noted everyone was a bit wild (sounds about right) and danced together but overall had a good time. Grandma spent the free ninety-minutes making cupcakes while I melted icing and produced white, pink, purple and teal snowflake decorations and prepped goody bags. The girls returned home tired but enthusiastic for their new balloons and evening with Dad. All the special ladies received flower, light up hair crowns and Craig managed to get some cute photos of their adventure with Dad, Shiloh and his two girls.

Saturday was a busy day prepping birthday festivities and scooting the ladies out of the house for a little while to open up the living room for a big pre-birthday surprise in the afternoon. Papa Cliff’s fun present this year meant an in-person visit from two of their favorite princesses. Can you guess which two?!

If you guessed Frozen’s Elsa (okay that’s fair- she’s actually a queen) and Sleeping Beauty’s Aurora, then you are correct! I definitely went back and forth a few times on which two would win the contest, and after multiple kiddo inquiries, received the most responses for those two.

We shut all the front curtains and herded the kids and a couple friends downstairs to prepare for “the surprise.” As the visitors walked up the stairs and rang the doorbell, I pushed the three to answer the door, which was met by total silence and surprise to see two of their favorite characters on the porch. The first words uttered were my legs are cold, followed by a snappy Queen Elsa response of sorry, that is probably me!

The feelings of awe helped the girls behave a bit better than the normal wild activity of early afternoon. Aurora read everyone a story about all the Disney princesses and sang a song while all the kiddos excitedly watched from the couch. They were definitely too celebrity struck to sing along and just watched with wide eyes. Emerie volunteered that Let It Go is her favorite song and Elsa showed everyone some dance moves to it- everyone definitely hummed along to that one! A quick game of animal charades was played and all participated, which was very cute. The hour sped by and ended with a photo op,small gift bags for the birthday girls, and of course, hugs for everyone. All in all, it was quite the magical experience for the birthday girls!

Homemade princess dress cake

After such a busy day we opted to go out to dinner with Grandma Sue and Papa Cliff and ended up at Red Robin, one of the girls’ favorite spots (and their mother’s- because who doesn’t enjoy bottomless french fries!). Everyone was quite chill munching on and dipping their fries and let the adults actually eat warm food. At the end of the meal the serving staff sang Happy Birthday and announced a triplet birthday to the entire restaurant. This same experience happened as they turned three; that time everyone ducked into parents and hid from the noise- this year Reagan and Emerie hesitantly smiled at the chaos while Harper grinned cheek to cheek and danced in her chair to the music.

Sunday morning was spent finishing party prepping and decorating the cake while the girls had intermittent meltdowns and were whisked off to the jump park with Craig so we could finish things up. You’d think the grumpiness would be to a minimum on their birthday, especially given the fact that Craig made fancy pink and blue-ish colored crepes filled with whipped cream and sausage. Hard to resist such a delicious breakfast! Overall Harper had a great day and was not only in a good mood, she wasn’t whining or melting down like her womb mates. Reagan and Emerie both needed a nap by party time, but of course we powered on through and they did pretty well.

Cake preparation was quite the team effort and spanned the whole weekend- Grandma Sue baked the cupcakes and made the frosting, the girls organized them into the planned dress design, Megan strategically added said frosting into bags and decorated each cupcake, then I added the dress’s belt, necklace, ruffles and snowflakes for the finishing touch. Most importantly, Craig kept the kids from destroying the masterpiece and entertained everyone while we completed brought the masterpiece to life.

Ironically we did not consider attaching all the cupcakes onto the board base and now know better for the future. Car turns and unsecured cupcakes, however gorgeous, don’t mix very well…just ask Grandma Sue’s coat! Luckily disaster was averted enough to shove everything back together at the party…and they still tasted great!

The party, which was unsurprisingly Frozen themed, was a total success. Turnout of family and friends was great and for a few minutes, I forgot we are still stuck in a worldwide pandemic. You don’t even know the stress of hoping and praying everyone stayed healthy for their birthday weekend; I’m so glad it all worked out! It was great to see so many friendly faces and the kids were thrilled at their small guest list of friends. The kiddos (and a few dads) immediately vanished into the play center, ball pit and slide. So, allegedly, did an adult knife off a belt…but fear not! Crisis was averted when the missing knife was discovered in the car and not the play center, and said knife holder (ahem Russ…) was grounded….hahah kidding.

After depletion of most of the fruits, veggies and other delicious snack food, we gathered everyone together to devour the cake and then sugar everyone up further with a Frozen themed pinata. I always enjoy watching the littles take a bat to a pinata, questioning if they are really allowed to hit it hard. Harper, Emerie and Reagan all laughed throughout their turn and I assume all the adults enjoyed watching a couple of the boys hit it HARD (Arrow and his pre-school muscles…am I right?! and Kaden of course- since he was sharing HIS bat for this event!).

Birthday girls

The rest of the night consisted of opening presents and very tired adults and children. It was a good weekend, but also very exhausting and I still need another nap from it. Favorite birthday presents from family this year included fancy princess nightgowns from Grandma Anne, which everyone wants to wear to school, new princess costumes from Grandma Sue and Papa Lon (Reagan loves the Merida, Emerie another style of Elsa dress, and Harper a non-specific pink princess robe) and a few other small things here and there. If I’m being honest, we haven’t actually opened all our presents yet- a few are still sitting on the shelf, awaiting attention, but you can see the theme of princess and dress up is very strong in our house this year.

I cannot believe we’ve made it four years as triplet parents- some days I still find myself surprised that I am a parent, let alone one of three kiddos or almost school aged ones! Another blog will follow after this one with an update on everyone’s personalities, temperaments, and general variants throughout age three, since they are all their own persons, and it will note all the major milestones our household lived through this past yaer. If I had to choose a favorite moment from the three-nager stage (since that’s much harder to do than choosing disliked things for age three), I would say my favorite adventure was our family fishing trip last summer and my favorite change for this age is the ability to do more things now that they are older and can take better direction. And I will end with a photo of me and my girls, since I managed to get no photos of myself from this weekend.

Happy fourth birthday, Harper, Emerie and Reagan!! ❤