Driving Naps, Outings & Princesses

About to head inside with the girls and their future BFF Paris

This past weekend I took the girls to the local library and met up with a few friends (mine and theirs!). We played and played and explored the new space. The toddler area accommodated noise (thank goodness) and is mostly enclosed, with only one, easily monitored entrance in and out (the girls didn’t discover it until at least an hour into the adventure). I am appreciative that I had extra hands from my bestie Janelle to keep everyone safe and allow for brief diaper change breaks. Two-and-a-half year old Paris also helped keep the girls in check! Conveniently the kids’ area bathroom is very equipped for kiddos and located close to the playpen. This will be a great place to visit during the potty training phase next year when we visit the facilities 1000x each hour haha.

I’m not quite certain how to achieve bathroom breaks if I went alone, but otherwise think it would be possible to play for a bit with everyone contained. At some point we will try out this adventure solo! It was also great to have some of our twin friends come and play and get out of the house too! By the time I unloaded everyone from the stroller, there were a ton of kids in addition to ours.

As standard to all public outings where I take the whole house out and about…during the beginning of the visit I was pestered ton the usual things, being asked to overshare. Once people overcome the omg triplets concept, they often come up with the standard list of questions:

  • How many weeks did you make it?
  • How long were you in the NICU?
  • Are they all girls?
  • Are they all identical?
  • Do twins run in your family?
  • Do triplets run in your family?
  • Where did you get your stroller from!?
  • Can I take a picture of them?

And so on- the usual life of a public outing. If one overlooks all the personal questions, the visit wasn’t so bad and they behaved great! It doesn’t bother me that much to answer questions, as people aren’t intending to be rude or nosy (okay maybe a little nosy) and are genuinely curious most of the time. It’s a little weird when I’m asked if they can take a photo, but other than that…not so bad.

We had no meltdowns at all (including myself!) and lots of exploring and testing out new toys. After a bit people let up on my interrogation and everyone settled into playtime. Harper spent the majority of the visit sitting on top of the big kid table, playing with a shopping basket full of fake food, while Emerie and Reagan explored around the room a bit more and delivered new toys to their sister. Reagan managed to put an entire fake cracker in her mouth at once, which was pretty cute. Even though it was a library visit, I don’t think we looked at even one book!

Instead of trying to keep everyone awake through the drive home and lunchtime, I gave them a quick snack in the stroller, grabbed a cookie and latte, and loaded everyone up in the car with a wubbanub binkie and snuggly blanket from Grandma Anne. With nap times consistently inconsistent the past two months, sometimes a long car ride does the trick and guarantees at least a full hour of sleep for everyone…especially on a dreary/rainy day that I’m home by myself.

Car naps = sanity

As I exited Anchorage and headed down the highway toward Girdwood (about 35 miles away), it occurred to me how beautiful this drive really is. A scenic byway really is the truth! Not every mom who is out driving around, trying to get the kids to sleep so she can have a moment of peace and quiet, gets to enjoy such a pristine and gorgeous view for an hour (or more). Sometimes I have to remind myself I’m driving precious cargo and not just looking at the galloping grey inlet and huge rolling mountains, with trees slowly shifting over from summer green to fall yellows, oranges, and reds. My favorite colors of the year and each napping drive displays the brilliance more vividly. Last year I was too busy with six month olds and work to enjoy any of the crisp, fall weather that I treasure; the year before I was too nauseous to go out and do anything in it.

The girls kindly slept for two hours after the library, making the drive quite enjoyable for me and a nice break to sit and sip my coffee in quiet. I repeated this the entire weekend and achieved great naps for all in the midst of many outings and visitors and life. Sometimes the driving nap is worth it just to lessen my inner anxiety. It is extremely rare for everyone to nap more than an hour in their cribs- some days two will do two hours and one an hour, other days everyone freaks out after 30 minutes and are grumpy the rest of the day. I find my highest point of anxiety during the day is usually prior to nap time because I never know if it’s going to go smoothly or be a total disaster and no amount of small changes or routine seems to solve it. Since the scale tips toward disaster more than success, my anxiety of not getting any baby break during the day makes me stressed.

Due to the typical lack of sleep, the battle of my inner monologue keeps me awake for the drive. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in your brain when given the opportunity for quiet with minimal distractions. It’s also relatively rare to sit in one spot (even in a car) for a period of time, since that hasn’t happened at home in over a year. My thoughts vary, of course, from ridiculous notions like “why does the lane I’m driving appear larger than the one the other way?” (Hint: it’s all in my head…they are the same) to the minor paranoia that comes with fast approaching traffic a little too close to the center line for my liking. And, of course, other random things like upcoming events to plan for and thoughts regarding work and daily life.

In between the car napping this weekend were numerous adventures for the girls. We explored a new park on hillside with some friends, played outside in the dirt, and went trick or treating for the first time. This park was better designed for toddler age and assisted with the logic that each park visit gets a little easier…because my little adventurers increase their climbing skills and become braver each time we go. They now go down some of the slides without assistance!

Rain gear is a bit big

We put everyone in their new rain gear and they were swimming in it (pun intended!). The instructions to size up might be a little untrue- they were really big, even over their wind breakers. Wearing them lasted all of five minutes before we just let “operation let’s get wet and dirty” commenced! They were having a hard time moving around with the excess material…but boy were they adorable in the little “space suits”, fall boots and hoods. Emerie was also a good sport and wore her glasses and her patch for part of the time. After a while we took it off so she could better enjoy the time and use her improved balance.

Once everyone could adequately wiggle and move minus the suits, adventure was ON. Emerie went down the small enclosed slide a bunch of times while Harper and Reagan attempted the larger, open one (Em did too later). Emerie attempted to climb up and down the climbing wall- which she definitely needs assistance on still- and Reagan started the whole gang running around on the grass, outside the fence. Reagan continues to put the most stuff in her mouth, including all the wood chips from the ground. Her face and teeth were covered in dirt after a while, but she was so happy about it. They all found big rocks to carry around; thankfully too big to try to eat! Emerie was the only one to enjoy the bobble toy and sat on it and rocked back and forth. Harper and Reagan did not want to be contained and had no interest in sitting on it.


We wrapped up our busy weekend with Trick or Treat in the Heat. This event is a neighborhood-wide early Halloween celebration and a fundraiser for Hospice of Anchorage, Make a Wish Foundation, and Ronald McDonald House Charities. In 2005, an impromptu block party was created at the request of the family of a little boy named Ian Robbins, who wanted to trick or treat before he succumbed to his terminal illness. He and all participants enjoyed it so much that a new annual event began. Here is the local news coverage from the original Trick or Treat in the Heat if you are curious.

The weather held out long enough to be perfect, with raindrops coming afterwards. The event was well planned, organized and a lot of fun with a big turnout. We saw a number of friends with their kiddos and walked around with BFF Janelle and Paris. Typically we don’t do outings around dinner time to stay in routine, but figured we’d venture out and try it. Gotta live a little right?! The girls were super grumpy on the way home and at home for a quick dinner before bedtime. Overall they were pretty good and it was worth it to get out and about.

In true Disney themed style, everyone was a princess for the night. I ordered costumes from Little Adventures, an online shop recommended to me by another mom. I am still thoroughly impressed with both the quality of the costumes and the large selection for little girls. There are some boys outfits too, but not near the selection. The smallest size aims toward 1-3 year olds, so I knew they were going to be large on everyone. Not surprisingly, the dresses touched the floor but didn’t drag on it- that’s pretty good though for how large they are! We safety pinned the backs a little so they wouldn’t trip as much and I stuck to the girls’ colors for this year. At some point we will do whatever colors they want to wear (I really want to get the Belle and Snow White outfits!), but figured this year having three classic princess dresses that matched their colors would be cute. We will definitely be using these for another year or two. I certainly see some tea parties in our future with everyone decked out in their princess dresses.


Harper became our Sleeping Beauty for the night. I opted for this dress in long sleeves since she typically runs colder than her sisters, like her mother. Maybe it will help her sleep better at night (kidding…not kidding?). She was so darn adorable and so shy around all the other kiddos.


Emerie dressed up as Rapunzel, minus the long hair. The dress went past her feet but that didn’t stop her from walking around with Grandma. She especially liked the suckers as well as all the other sugar Grandma Sue sneaked to her!



Reagan was our classic Cinderella, minus the glass slippers (she opted for tennis shoes). She didn’t show anyone her belly the whole event and while a little grumpier than her sisters, was mostly happy when being held by one of us and walked around.


Everyone liked grabbing candy out of people’s bowls without assistance, although we “helped” them grabbed the suckers and things they can try at some point. At the end the girls all received a tiny tattoo (you can see Reagan’s in her photo above and Emerie getting hers on) from Miss Sherri. I’m not sure they even noticed it on their arms but I know eventually we will have a lot of these speckled about on the girls.

We opted for the triple wagon instead of the stroller, figuring it would be a bit easier to maneuver with all the kids around. The girls walked some with Grandma Sue, enjoyed being pulled in the wagon by Papa Lon, their chauffeur, sitting on Craig’s shoulders, or held by me. I can’t wait until next year when they can really walk around and enjoy this!

Overall, the weekend was a success. I’m so glad Grandma Sue and Papa Lon tagged along with the adventures; extra hands were great and the girls loved it I’m sure. And what did we learn from trick or treating? If you give the girls a lollipop, don’t you dare take it back. EVER. They will be unforgiving and furious, screaming the whole drive home…and be angry AND sticky…


So friends, in closing and with today’s theme…something I hope the girls will learn as they grow older…

Who says that my dreams have to stay my dreams?

Ariel, The Little Mermaid

How many does it take…?

Prior to our expanded family, we accomplished all sorts of house projects after work each night or over long weekends. Craig and I are generally quite productive when given a big tasks to tackle, and we can look back and say we’ve installed all new windows on two houses, all new doors and trim, new flooring and several completely gutted bathrooms, and even accidentally flipped our first house (we weren’t planning on redoing everything and moving but it worked out that way). We both like to work on projects, with Craig tackling all kinds of tasks and solving issues. I especially like to see how much I can change a space from an “old” look to a new and updated one, even if that is simply repainting a room or changing up the trim style.

Some of the family working hard!

Fast forward to one year post triplets; obviously the fun and productive house projects are now at a minimum as day to day survival does not include extra projects. While I would love to complete something new, there just isn’t time in the day! Raising babies in the new, high priority in our lives, but that doesn’t mean we can’t attempt to accomplish other things, right? Refinishing the bottom kitchen cabinets took us close to six months to complete and that happened before the girls were mobile. I still need to start (and finish) the upper ones at some point. The new back deck turned out to be an impromptu (required) project earlier this summer because Craig put a foot through one of the rotten boards. Thankfully we had friends come help with that one.

This past weekend we attempted to construct a new shed in the backyard, having torn the old, rickety one down the summer we moved in. So the question is…how many people does it take to build a shed while keeping track of three high energy, mobile toddlers?

How many people does it take to build a shed?! A LOT.

The answer? A LOT. With two grandpas, a grandma and aunt, three cousins and a couple local friends and visiting ones in tow, we still don’t have a completed product yet…but are much farther than we were a week ago! Time is definitely limited when you must account for a midday nap time, have to keep to daily eating schedules for the girls in addition to keeping an eye on them the whole time, and can’t work late into the night because you must also account for bedtime and routine.

The Douglet household was definitely hopping this weekend; the girls greatly enjoyed seeing their older cousins and getting to play. It was fun to have family visit and get out and go to breakfast and also dinner with everyone- the girls are great in restaurants. We also made time for some backyard fun, climbing and sliding on the play set, running around and “flying” on the airplane teeter totter that is now quite the hit. We even had a dance party on the back deck.

With the bustle of daytime activity, you would think they would sleep well at night this past week, right? That’s what we thought too but unfortunately not…maybe we are just destined to not sleep for a while longer. It’s anybody’s guess! At least we have extra hands this week to help accommodate the grumpiness that comes with less sleep.

Emerie showing Reagan her game
Papa Lon and the creamer game

One other cute little game that Emerie started, now Harper and Reagan have joined in, is with three Costco vanilla coffee creamer bottles (empty) and Tylenol syringes. Who needs actual toys right…Emerie discovered she can take the medicine syringes apart and plop them into the plastic container, dump them back out, and do it again. And repeat. We ended up trying to drink the last fridge creamer faster so that three empty bottles were available for use…otherwise everyone continued to fight over just two of them. Now it is quite the entertaining game. I often look over and see Emerie sitting in the lawn chair, quietly playing her game on the deck, fully entertained. It is so darn cute.

Oh and before I forget…maybe I should show a photo of the shed progress I’ve discussed this whole blog…here is it! I can’t wait to paint it next year to match the house. It’s going to look so great.

Progress!

There are definitely more adventures to be had this weekend. Hopefully that includes a few finishing touches on the shed in preparation for winter and some other play dates…but we will see. There is so much to do before the weather starts cooling off!

Busy Days and Eye Update

The past few weeks have proved to be busy and full of activity. With family (and extra hands) in town for a bit, the girls get to explore and adventure a little more than normal, whether that is out and about in Anchorage or simply playing out in the backyard.

A few other developments- we’ve implemented a mild time out time for hitting. At the moment Reagan is the champ on this, although prior to her it was Harper, so I believe it will continue to rotate. Even when you use the “mom voice” and scold, they will still go right back and hit again. We are working on that…I’m sure slow and steady will eventually win that race. That, or great patience and repetition!

The new backyard play place is a total hit. At first everyone was a bit hesitant about the big kid slide but that time has passed. Reagan will trust fall straight off of it if you aren’t looking, and while Harper and Emerie were a bit more timid on the solo sliding, they will occasionally keep you on your toes.

It impresses me how quickly they’ve mastered climbing it in such a short amount of time. They scramble up the smaller slide, climb onto it without help, and even slip off the older kiddo ladder back to the ground, higher than their feet can touch!

No more daytime bottles!

This is a big one. At seventeen months old, we finally broke the daytime bottle routine. It was quite the battle to implement sippy cups- we tried multiple different types before finding one that really clicked. For the longest time they just weren’t interested in them and wanted a bottle. Interestingly enough, we aren’t even on heavy flow for the bottles we still use, and only on a size 3 nipple. We tried to size up but they didn’t like it. This past week Grandma Sue and Papa Lon taught everyone how to use the straw type, and now we have two different sets that work. They also have a mild obsession with adult water bottles…if they find one, the screaming, rage fest begins over who gets to tow it around.

It feels quite odd not having bottles to wash alllll the time. After over a year of doing it constantly (and I mean constantly), it is strangely freeing. Once the girls get up in the morning, they get a regular breakfast and then sippy cups as they desire until lunch time. After lunch and naps they don’t even seem to notice that they no longer want a bottle, and sippy cups are out and used as needed. Now if we could be this successful on naps…we’d be doing great!

We are still doing bottles for bedtime routine, trying to get about 8oz (or more) of breast milk down everyone (they don’t want to drink the supplemental formula as much at nighttime). The 6am bottle will also continue for the foreseeable future; it is the only way everyone ends up back in their cribs until morning wake up. Since we still haven’t mastered everyone sleeping in their beds again, this reset is quite important for us to get ready for work, maybe get a short, kidless nap in before the day starts, or have a little quiet, adult (ahem…Netflix…) time.

Emerie Eye Update

At the last follow up appointment for Emerie, the doctor informed us that a second surgery will be necessary. It is less invasive as her first one and will tighten the eye muscles that control her wandering eye. While it is currently scheduled for early October, we are on the weight list for earlier if anything opens up in their schedule. Healing time should be less than the last one and be less painful.

This procedure won’t really correct her eyesight, but it will help her eye focus straighter and potentially help with the dislike of her glasses. Eye patching is becoming more of a stress to her the past month, with Emerie trying to pull it off if you aren’t paying close attention, even with the tape on it. In true excellent Nanny Chris style, she came up with a solution to the glasses wearing during patch time- tape them on too! So far that is working relatively well (and better than no glasses time at all) and we are able to get a few hours in.

Miss Em un-enthusiastically looking at the camera

How does Emerie like it? I’ll let you decide…note the adorable bow over everything…

Thankfully she is a good sport most of the time. This past week Grandma Sue made it her mission to get those glasses to stay on her face; a hard mission but so far so good. She gets more one-on-one time and every kid needs that!

I’m not entirely sure how much of a difference this is all doing on her vision, since the eye is still wandering, but ensuring we patch each day is important and we try to make sure we get some time in. Only time will tell, or once she’s old enough to tell us whether she can see or not. And we aren’t too far from that…everyone is rapidly learning new words already.

Lastly, we may again be in the thick of teething. The past few days everyone is super drooling and grumpy, even with all the extra visitors coming to play. Each set of incoming teeth are consistent, with everyone having two molars in on the left side (top and bottom) and one in on the right with another peeking through the gums. So many teeth!

This long weekend’s mission is a new shed in the backyard and playtime for the kiddos. Fingers crossed the crazy smoke will lift and the air will clear for a more pleasant outside adventures.

New Activities!

We tried out a few new activities this week and some things went better than others; you just never know until you try! I am so excited to try out new things, especially related to food and arts and crafts. My saved Facebook videos are filling up with exciting new ideas to try as they get bigger. Now I just need them to, you know, BE bigger so we can try them.

The girls are big fans of the freeze dried yogurt bites (heck they are pretty good), so Craig made some test ones. He put dabs of blackberry yogurt on a cookie sheet and froze it, and they turned out pretty good. They definitely passed the toddler test. The main difference? Because they aren’t freeze dried, they melt immediately in your hand, so just eat them quickly!

The weekend’s windstorm (and now the intense forest fire smoke) prevented us from playing outside as much as the past two months. While the sun was out and it was gorgeous, the high winds certainly cooled it off and for the first time in a bit the girls wore pants and long sleeves! Now that fall is coming (triple yay!!), we will have to start coming up with more fun, indoor play activities before winter settles in.

First new activity? Coloring. It’s been a few months since we attempted it. Since the first unsuccessful time, I ordered the toddler “egg” crayons that are easier for little ones to hold. With everyone in the triplet table, we tried to do some coloring with wax paper. I was a huge fan of coloring as a good, and I am sure this household will be filled with many future hours of it, especially now that so many cool, colorable things are now available for purchase!

Will that be soon? Unfortunately, no. Harper immediately ripped the taped down wax paper, enjoying the crinkle sounds and teasing Reagan to help her out. Reagan took a huge bite out of the purple one (not sure if that is aimed at Emerie or not…) while Emerie attempted it a little and was quite interested in holding all of them. Needless to say, we are not yet into our coloring days, but they will someday be upon us. We will have to wait a couple more months before trying this again. The only visible improvement related to better hand grasping, but they don’t yet correlate the color can go down on the paper or that they can have control of that. Or maybe they just taste THAT delicious?

Another fun, indoor activity- I found a set of alphabet food letters in the Target dollar section a while back that are a hit! They don’t have any small magnets that can be swallowed (which are incredibly hard to find I’ve looked!) and are so cute. I’ve overcome the fact that the “f” doesn’t stand for French Fry (so disappointed…it is french toast) and the “r” is for radishes (yuck). The girls love that they can play at the fridge and not be in the way. Surprisingly the letters have stayed in that general area and not wandered all over the room, although I’m sure a few are missing by now. We are still working on pushing them onto the magnetic part, i.e. the fridge, and not on top of an already placed magnet, since that doesn’t hold as well. The girls will walk by and grab a letter, stick it to a different spot, and then continue to whatever toy they originally intended to get. This process occurred all weekend.

Now that toddler climbing is a central issue taking over our lives, we once again rearranged the playroom to better suit this developmental stage. By separating the sectional and putting half of it in the garage, no one can climb into the windowsill (temporarily anyway). The girls scramble up on the remaining couch piece and ottoman and climb over the side, flopping onto pillows below. Once again, for brief moments we can sit and relax downstairs without any impending injuries and they believe they’ve succeeded in being allowed to climb on things.

Back in the living room, baby jail has been reinstated for brief periods in the morning. They aren’t too concerned about their captivity for the first hour after waking up, and it gives us time to make breakfast, pop in some laundry, and clean. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when the kids are safely contained and playing nicely. It’s also amazing how quickly mundane but necessary tasks can be accomplished when you know the clock is ticking toward hungry toddlers.

Rearranged once again

Sunday morning they woke up at 6:52 AM, all three of them, and so their day started about 90 minutes earlier than normal. I really enjoy a silent house for that hour on the weekends, having “me” time is better than getting an extra hour of sleep, and I was snuggling with the cat and some Netflix when they decided the day needed to start. After the typical morning sleep feed (at about 6:00), Harper would not settle back down and woke everyone up with her. Once they committed to being awake this early, they nicely played in the playpen for long enough that I finished all dishes, de-cluttered the entire kitchen counter, started breakfast and laundry, AND cleaned out a few of the upper cabinets (tiny baby bottles are secretly trying to take over my house while I’m not looking).

After breakfast we normally open the playpen and block off the front of the living room so no one can climb on the furniture, but leave the rest of the room open for activities. If it is nice out, we open the backdoor to the deck too. This particular morning we finished breakfast, got everyone dressed, and headed on a Costco run. The girls sat in the carts for the first time (instead of their infant seats) and were so cute. The only random, stranger comment the entire shopping trip occurred as we grabbed diapers. An older gentleman smiled at us and said “this must be your favorite aisle.” Yes…so many diapers…

The Douglets “team” is continuing to learn together. It is now a team effort to push each other around on the walkers, especially on their little Minnie Mouse airplane (thanks Kimber!) and puppy dog (thanks Luke!). They help each other climb up on chairs, try to corner the cat together (they love the “kitties”), and full speed chase each other around the room. The endless energy is quite impressive.

Another new development involves the refrigerator. Harper now cries when I open the freezer door, because she knows there are fun things to hold within reach and we are preventing her from them. As you can see from the ice cream photo above, she quite enjoyed carting that around for a few minutes, proudly showing it off to her sisters…you know…until we put it back in the freezer.

In that same evening Reagan discovered the fridge produces water in the door. And she can just reach it. So there’s that…and no off button for toddler proofing. We will have to get creative; for now we just keep blocking her when she thinks about pushing the lever and that might work for a few more days. Nothing is easy!

This weekend Reagan discovered ball throwing. She figured out she can throw the plush soccer balls and thinks it is amazing when you throw them back to her. I still maintain that Harper will be my little soccer player; she’s the only one showing any interest in that area, and will kick them and giggle. Emerie joined in on the throwing fun too. The girls finally use the soccer/basketball/hockey toy gifted at their birthday, dunking the soccer ball in the hoop (Koda ate the basketball already) and tossing the plush soccer balls around. I can’t wait to be old enough for sports!!!

Another baby milestone? Everyone finally graduated from the infant car seats, meaning they will no longer fit in my car three across. We’ve actually stalled on this for a while because they are so much more convenient, portable, and we aren’t in the car that much. Their weight still isn’t even close to requiring the upgrade, but their height is the issue. How grown up do they look here??

I will leave you with the irony of Emerie’s glasses wearing. She will not keep them on for more than a few seconds at a time- we’ve tried all kinds of things and short of holding down her arms, she will not wear them. We have a follow up appointment with the eye doctor this week and will see what suggestions he has.

Another triplet dad suggested removing the bifocal and seeing if that improves her wearing time, and I think we might need to try it and will talk to the doctor about it in September. So what is the irony of it all? I turned around yesterday so find Emerie sans glasses and Reagan doing her very best to wear them. Sigh.