Future Ballerinas

Now it’s anyone’s guess what part of the girls’ DNA contains a skill in dancing, but right now we are definitely on a I want to be a ballerina life train. With that in mind, we’ve been eyeing dance classes around town, trying to figure out where to go amidst the current COVID chaos and finally landed on a three-year-old ballet and jazz dancing class by our house that occurs once a week.

To no one’s surprise, I already purchased matching pink, purple and teal sequin leotards off Amazon that fit just right, with a plan to purchase ballet slippers and tap shoes once we went to class (super cute ones here!). The girls begged for ballet slippers for a couple of weeks and randomly start dancing around the house or demanded for the fancy tutus so they can embody said ballerinas. Apparently crowns are an important part of the outfit too, according to them.

Class the first week went well overall, with one of the three teachers noting afterwards they did great for their first hour long class, especially with three of them to distract one another. The shy newbies resisted venturing into the gym full of fun, gymnastic equipment for about five minutes and then curiosity won the fight. In no time all three were climbing on the bars, swinging on the rings and walking across the balance beam excitedly.

After a few minutes of open gym time, all the little dancers gathered on the hardwood floor, with teachers showing them dance moves and other fun coordinated steps, moving with hoola hoops, running to music and using bean bags to assist the effort.

Overall I’d say Reagan participated the very most the first week, only coming over to me once and going right back when I told her she’d get a treat for staying with the group. Emerie rejected her glasses immediately, which we didn’t push, and definitely enjoyed the free time more than the structured. Harper was a bit in the middle, enjoying some of the dance moves and swinging on the bars. There is much anticipation regarding tap shoes, since we didn’t have them yet and she really wanted to march with the other glittery tots.


Week two was much improved. After a cold, a windy park visit and three very grumpy, continually bickering toddlers for the morning, everyone joined in on their second dance class without any adult intervention…for an entire hour! We tried to stay out of sight and keep them from that distraction and it worked quite well. A few times over the hour one would wander off and sit on the fun padding along the wall or hang from the bars, sometimes convincing a sister to join; after some convincing by a teacher, they all rejoined on their own!

The tap portion of the class was definitely a huge hit, especially with the little, black tap shoes! Lots of big smiles and running across the dance floor resulted in much happy discussion on the way home.

The ballet shoes were finally ready for purchase at the start of the third week of class (since it’s very hard to get three pairs in the same size from a small, family business and they ordered more for us!). The girls all sat quietly while one of the kind employees helped me put them on. This week I hauled everyone solo- it started off fine; fine as I’m no one ran off from the car or threw a fit in the waiting room, and proceeded to go downhill from there.

The end of the third dance class….

It went as out as smooth as I expected on the first week. All three rotated running off to the mats, not listening and needing to come sit in the waiting room to calm down, and then back to running off and climbing on mats they weren’t supposed to. The teachers were very patient chasing them (one, then two, then three). If I only had one kid to get complaint, making them sit in the sidelines and watch is doable because I can keep them still. Trying to keep three kids? Not so doable. Sorry of my life. If every week goes like this one, dance class will be very short-lived memory in their lives.

I’ll end on a sweeter note, that the girls claim they LOVE dance class and ask when they get to go throughout the week. They love their dance leotards and tap shoes and seem to really enjoy the balance beam. If we can get them to listen better, I’m sure more and more dance moves will emerge in our living room as we move into more indoor activities for the winter.

Allergies and Veggies

The past several weeks have tested the parent patience levels like no other. While I won’t completely speak for Craig on that, by I personally feel incredibly burned out from the fighting, sickness, and overall day to day, more so than other times of hardship with the kiddos.

Good thing they are cute!!

The girls are still allergy ridden and not sleeping well overnight, after probably six months of decent sleeping in their room. We believe Reagan might be having some form of night terror or bad dream, as she will wake up fully screaming for us and then not remotely let us settle her back in her bed. Once in our room, she’s asleep in seconds, indicating maybe she wasn’t entirely awake for the episode. She also has no desire to go to sleep in her bed and has hour long meltdowns as we try to convince her to lay down and fall asleep, especially in days she is so overtired and her sisters are already asleep.

The allergies continue to plague our household, with a number of different nights resulting in a kiddo coughing so hard they throw up all over their bed, or our bed. After numerous doctor visits for a variety of different ailments, we continue to try new methods to help the girls feel better. The two, double ear infections for Harper and Reagan are insistent and want to stick around, with Harper on her second round of medicine and Reagan on her third!! We’ve also tried a steroid for all three to help with the throat cough, that all doctors visits have assured us is not remotely sitting in their lungs, and while it didn’t seem to make a difference right away; it appears to help a little on day two.

We’ve rotated ailments between kiddos enough that each one has been home without sisters at least a time or two this summer. I have to say it: one toddler at a time is WAY EASIER…even a sick one!! I tried to do something special with each when sisters are not around to disrupt, whether that’s playing with a fun toy and not having to guard it, getting a yummy lunch, or just having one-on-one time. If I am being honest, I find a little hardship in knowing that one three-year-old at a time would be so much more fun and enjoyable, allowing me to better appreciate moments and handle the fits and maturing, than daily trying to do so with all three, which is often less than enjoyable and stressful.

Harper was greatly enthused to go to the doctor by herself the first time, since 90% of our one-kid doctor visits over the past three years were for Reagan or Emerie. Reagan seems to be the toughest patient of the three, likely because she despises her ears getting cleaned out (I mean no one enjoys that…). Emerie is always excited to see Doctor Winkle for her eye and enjoyed seeing Doctor Magnesun for her broken nail in the door. Enjoyed might be a tad strong of a word for that visit, but she chatted throughout her appointment and didn’t shed a tear for the clean out. She did give lots of smiles for the stickers and paper bag with her name on it full of gauze and sterile water.

Another beautiful thing about kiddos close in age, or ones that have the same birthday: insurance! When more than one kiddo requires a medication but receives them a day or two apart, insurance responds in the “mind blown” shock that no, we cannot pick up two of the same medicine and the prescription is already filled. Craig has argued several times now that the second prescription is for a DIFFERENT kid and I’m guessing this denial will continue in the years to come. Just another thing to deal with…

While nights over the past month are long, with upset littles and tired parents, we do have shiny, daytime moments worth documenting!

For example, we’ve greatly improved on the please and thank you responses this summer. Occasionally we even hear a please may I, although that is rarely between the I wants and I need demands that normally transpire.

The toddler discussions are turning into fun banter. I really enjoy picking them up from daycare and chatting with everyone on the 10 minute drive home. Here’s a sample of some of the toddler thoughts:

Playing with sand

Me: so where do you guys work? Can you tell me?

Emerie (without missing a beat): I work at Costco!

Me: Oh yeah? What do you do at Costco? Drive a forklift?

Emerie: No, I have a cart and I take things off the shelf and put them in it.

Me: Oh, like a personal shopper!

Reagan: I work at Daddy’s work. I work there. I throw things in the trash can.

Harper: I work at Daddy’s work too. I color on paper.

Another drive home centered around dinner options:

Harper, “I want vanilla pasta with blue and raspberries for dinner!”

Emerie and Reagan: “and chocolate for taste!”

I still don’t know what “blue” tastes like but apparently it’s delicious. We have other chuckling moments at home, such as Reagan randomly exclaiming from the living room, “Guys, are you kidding me? Are you KIDDING ME!?” and turns to look at me with a “they took ALL the blankets. Those guys.” So dramatic!

There are other typical kid moments, Emerie is especially good at their delivery. One evening she had a good sized booger gravitating down her top lip; she looks up and says, “I picking it. I don’t need a tissue; I wipe it on my pants.”

The girls now fight over boogers and throw total fits when a sister wipes that mess on another. This seems to happen mostly during car rides and occasionally at home. Thanks to this summer’s allergies, everyone has excelled at blowing their noses and demanding tissues throughout the days.

One night while watching Snow White- the part with the mean queen and the impending poison apple- Harper comments “she not very nice! Daddy needs to lock her in the closet.” Can you tell we’ve watch Tangled recently, when Rapunzel locks Flynn in the closet in the beginning? Other “ass-whipping” comments occur on a number of less than nice Disney villains as well. Harper still reminds us when a fellow sister needs one.

Not all drives from daycare have the happy chats- some days we get reports of naughtiness that result in no beloved lollipop. Harper learned this detriment one day after a note she bit her sister for the second or third day in a row! (No idea wtf was going on with her that week!). The brutality of it all, that mom wouldn’t give her a celebratory lollipop to enjoy on the way home like both her sisters. The screaming, throw-your-hands-in-the-air attitude was definitely over the top on her part, but you know what? She hasn’t had a bad report since that day so it made a decent impact.

Not a happy Harper.

The daycare was closed for three days this past week to prepare for the coming school year and get a deep clean. Grandma Sue came up to save us from the long, five day weekend with minimal napping, allergy ridden, grumpy toddlers.

The first day we took advantage of the break in rain and ventured out to the valley to the “you pick” farm for some veggies. It was two years ago since we last came out, and what a difference! Toting one year olds around last time meant the wagon, which was also full of picked vegetables and goodies, and resulted in the littles running all directions whenever released. This time around, with our three and two bonus friends, everyone mostly explored the place and ran around, following directions pretty well for the most part and helping pull peas off the vines and potatoes from the dirt.

Some battles occurred over the big zucchini’s and every HAD to have a picture with their own. In their defense, they are half a batch of zucchini bread I made the next day, so it was worth it.

The wind picked up after a while but luckily no rain. The kids stayed warm by continuously running across the fields and they really enjoyed playing with the farm animals . The goats and pigs were very friendly and more than happy to give kisses and run in circles. It was a good trip, minus the triple fighting on the drive both directions!

The second day off was spent with friends, running errands and visiting the trash man and much of day three at home playing with a new tea set, kinetic sand and a lot of Duplo block construction. No naps for all three days and we somehow managed to survive!

Next adventure is berry picking, which we put off from this past week because of torrential downpours. We hope to get at least one afternoon in before fall arrives.

The Potty Saga

When people ask someone where they typically spend most of their time at home, one usually responds with the garage (which would be a Douglas boys response!), the kitchen cooking, or maybe the family room spending time with family…but theoretically the answer isn’t usually “the bathroom” (well I hope not anyway!). We can, in fact, say this is where we spent a great deal of our mornings, afternoons and evenings over the past year. Why, you may ask? Two words.

Potty. Training.

This blog is a very long time coming and I can happily report that this household only uses one nightly pull-up (for one!) and NONE during the day!! Huge milestone? Absolutely? Huge money saver? YES. Not buying multiple diaper boxes and tons of wipes on every Costco run is very much appreciated by my wallet.

It’s been a number of months now since the original claim that we are a potty trained household, which occurred sometime over the winter. The girls greatly excelled at their new skill by November/December of last winter, with the potty training saga beginning for real in September when they went off to their first daycare experience.

So how did we get here? It’s definitely been a process, one that I expected to be so much worse than it actually was. I agonized and dreaded the thought of teaching all three at once and spending all day long doing nothing but potty and repeat, potty and repeat; but once we found the groove, it moved along quite well. Large credit goes to my three littles who caught on very quickly!

I have a number of fellow toddler moms with kiddos that seem to fear the idea of potty training or clearly dislike behind pushed to do it. My potty training mindset was similar at this time last year, more of a horrific and dreaded nightmare when musing about it, much of the time before the girls went to off to daycare in the fall. We knew a new and difficult period was upon us, as often happens while raising young kiddos, and planned to push the pain out a few more months until we believed everyone would be more ready. In reality, it was more so we as parents weren’t quite ready to tackle the consistent potty training period and needed more time to mentally strategize and prepare.

To go back a bit farther, we gently eased into the idea at around 18 months old by buying three matching, lady bug potty seats. The first few days the girls carried them around the living room and sat on them, without any diapers coming off, just to get them used to the “new” thing and take the pressure off (no pun intended?!). This moved into a post-bath potty chair time- once the girls were dried off, one by one, we introduced them to the idea of peeing on the potty chair before getting dressed in their bedroom. This processed occurred each night for a number of months and slowly all three would go pee in the seats. At the very beginning everyone received a treat for sitting for a period of time on said potty, with this eventually stretching to only when they went pee. The girls found it quite exciting to sit on them in their bedroom and talk and giggle. It didn’t take too long before they could actually go, even just a little drop, letting us know they were ready to move forward to bigger potty training steps.

The original reward for this monumental act of control meant an M&M was handed to the achiever. This treat was found to leave messy, melted chocolate on our freshly bathed babes and was quickly replaced with jelly beans. Side note, using jelly beans also allows the toddler to choose colors and learn both at the same time while giving them an opportunity to make their own choice on something. This is quite the hit in our household, even a year later. Not only do they love them, but they excitedly focus on what color to pick each and every time. There are still constant demands of Mommy, I need two “lelli beans” for pooping! Emerie seems the most concerned, to date, on receiving the reward for her efforts; the other two occasionally remember now and ask for them.

Joint flushing time

I’ll also note by the time we started the post-bath potty time, all three girls were showing great signs of interest in the concept, with Reagan leading the charge. Had Reagan been the only toddler in our house at the time, she would have been potty trained by her second birthday! She was very ready and able to trudge forward on this new skill and bring her sisters along for the ride.

Most of last summer was this minimal process after bathing- we did not actively practice potty training throughout the day. The girls started telling us when they had dirty diapers and wanted a change, which shifted into diaper changes based on when they noticed something was amuck “down there!”

The girls were rock stars right off the bat when it came to number one, with Reagan leading the pack and able to hold it, go about her day and remember when she needed to go, and nap in big girl undies early on! She did that last step all on her own and Harper was right behind her on nap holding. It took another couple of months before Emerie was dry during nap time; the daycare ended up noting that she didn’t wear diapers at nap when we were still putting them on when at home. I learned from that experience that each kiddo more-or-less showed us when they were ready for the next step and could hold it through nap time, and eventually overnight.

Number two was a little more (or a lot more) effort, especially when it comes to three. They have moments of all collaborating and going at the same time in their undies, and then insisted on tagging along together for the bathroom experience, which can take forever. Who knew how tight a half-bath could feel when you have one adult and three children together! It often seems if one had an accident, for whatever reason the others follow suit, even when we know they recently went. I’m not sure if that is a multiples thing or just kids being kids thing, but they still do it even now.

By this past spring, the much used diaper changing stations for the past two years were converted to just bins of wipes and big-girl underwear. Since we live in a split level home, it’s highly useful to have clean underwear within hands’ reach no matter where you are, making it easier to swap out dirty for clean when spending all that time in the bathroom with three littles. The main floor of our house does not have a bathroom, so the three ladybug potty chairs reside against the wall in the dining room. Even now, with all three fully trained with minimal accidents, everyone still uses them throughout the week. This is often because they don’t want to trek downstairs to go, they want you to go with them and you are doing something at the moment, or it’s a #2 emergency and it’s the closest option. As we round out this winter, I hope to take them away in lieu of using actual facilities going forward. One very important word of advice when emptying said portable potties. Do NOT, under any circumstance, lean over the toilet as you empty the contents in. Trust me on this…

Over the past year or so the girls put their new skills into their creative play. All three went through a phase of constantly “play” scolding their dolls, claiming they pooped or peed in their pants, stripping off their clothes, and using play doll diapers and real wipes. The phrase you not getting a jelly bean for peeing and a finger wiggle was likely uttered AT LEAST million times. The poor baby dolls ended up in constant time out for accidents, something we do NOT promote and I’m not sure why they initiated that but it was a little funny to witness.

Potty win: no idea when I took this video!

We have the method down for getting out-and-about. Demands are met for everyone to use the bathroom prior to loading up in the car, no matter if it’s a short trip to Target or a long drive to adventure. We had a few “lesson learned” experiences on park or play dates and soon after purchased potty chairs for each vehicle. This ultimately removed the big stress of trekking everyone into a public bathroom, venturing into a gross porta-potty or leaving a park to find somewhere to go and has saved us dozens of clothing changes. Prior to the portable potty chair, we had some…errr…interesting ways to handle a kiddo that HAD to go right then. Overall car seat accidents are rare; this is likely coupled with the thought that most major potty training occurred during the pandemic, meaning we weren’t spending time in indoor public places and not out and about nearly as often.

So what have I learned about the potty training process in triplicate? Well I’ve never potty trained a kid before this, I’m pretty sure Craig has which helped; here are the things I’ve noticed and learned:

  • Don’t push it. Take the pressure off and let them show you when they are ready to start.
  • While my three littles are the same age and gender, they are not all the same and advance at different rates for different skills.
  • Rewards are often and important, make them something that isn’t messy or melts everywhere.
  • High praise gets every one pumped up and then they encourage each other.
  • Make a huge deal when a successful #2 in the potty happens and make sure the siblings witness the excitement!
  • Get extra step stools so one can wash hands while the next one is on the toilet. As they start going more separately, we now use the extra steps for teeth brushing.
  • Find a way to lock the main bathroom door open while going through the training process. The girls, even now, enjoy locking the door or slamming it on sisters (and parents) and while less private, they don’t need the privacy while they are learning the skill!

In addition, you will find yourself uttering phrases you never thought possible from your own mouth! For example, I have demanded them to “not bite the toilet seat,” to “stop licking the toilet seat,” to “stop putting popcorn in the toilet,” to stop fighting over the toilet seat and step stool, and even to give sister back her underwear! Ah yes, such fun memories to share with them as teenagers.

What types of potty chairs?

I would not have this answered a year ago, but now I can easily say the built in kid potty chairs from your local home improvement stores are amazing. They are relatively expensive, but they are nice to have and only require a step stool for the kids to access the facility. We started out with three of the same portable (ladybug style) potty chair, one for each kiddo, and completely stand behind both for ease of use. The girls all excelled at using them together. During full on potty training mode, we purchased several foldable toilet seats with a built in step stool and handles to climb up on. This seat was great while they learned more balance and became acclimated with using the “big kid potty,” but eventually they tried to remove them from the room and we swapped out.

What if my kid is afraid of loud public toilets?

This is a major issue that we still deal with, especially with Emerie. Our best advise so far is the potty chair in the car when you really need it, since kiddos pick up quickly where places have “loud potties” (like Target and the jump park!). In addition, keep a small stack of sticky notes in your purse or kid bag. When using a family bathroom (or any really) stick one note onto the toilet sensor and it won’t automatically flush until you force it to. Amazing tip to keeping the littles from running out screaming!

So where are we now?

Teaching the dolls new skills

We are now entering the phase that tells me we should convert out of cribs soon, though I am sooo not ready. Here and there we get calls in the middle of the night to Mommy I go pee! and most of the time they go right back to sleep. It won’t be long before they can get up solo and then climb back into bed…we shall see. And Emerie is starting to wake up dry more mornings than in the past; we believe we are close to no more pulls ups!

Even at almost three and a half, we are still living on the post potty training high and are still enjoying the non-winter aspect of last minute “pee-ventures” that I know we will have later this year with full snow gear already on.

To any of you reading this who are in the midst of triplet potty training or thinking about starting- get some wine, lots of snacks and put piles of clean underwear everywhere across the house…and you’ll be okay. It’ll all be worth it once you get through it! I’m glad to have that stage over and done with and look forward to spending more time outside the bathroom.

Off to Daycare

In the past year we’ve unexpectedly lost our daycare situation TWICE and had six months working from home whilst watching three toddlers.

How did we do it? I feel that I’ve been asked that question about 20 times in the past week and yet I’m not entirely sure of the answer.

We have…because we had to. This same answer applies to a lot of things you HAVE to do to raise triplets and really, just to raise any number of kids in general. My mom visited once for a few weeks to help and Craig’s mom gave us two long trips to keep us sane, allow me to get through spring grant season and Craig to get in meetings.

Without the escape of going to work and having kid free time for a full day, which is what I’ve considered my relaxation time for the past three years, it’s been really hard. I’m thankful the girls are much better about going places now and whenever routine gets off a bit, it’s not the end of the world like it was when they were smaller. They’ve learned many new skills this spring and are in the midst of an age where learning and excelling are an every day thing.

So I am very happy to report we just claimed three spots in one of the daycares we were waitlisted on for a handful of months. The three-year-old classroom is called the Ladybugs and one of the teacher helpers worked at the prior daycare- something that definitely helps the transition.

First day drop off produced no tears (from kids or parents) and at half day pickup the teacher noted they did great and were very well behaved. Now that COVID restrictions are more relaxed, no masks are required for walking in and parents can once again accompany their children into their classrooms. We didn’t get this option at all at the last place and I’m thrilled we won’t have to stand outside in the cold and wait. It is also wonderful to have more of a normal experience, since we never had a taste of it with the girls cared for at home prior to the pandemic.

Another big win of the first day is something easily overlooked. All three put their coats on and walked back to the car with me- no running away, no chase routine across the parking lot, no scolding- they climbed straight into the car. After this NEVER happening at the last place, six months of maturing and going out more really helps. It sounds small but man! It’s such a difference on my sanity. A second detail worth noting…we’ve had a handful of nights with complete overnight sleeping, without any fussing or intervening! We broke the current record of nights in a row, which I didn’t actually count but am aware happened… and I seem to wake up stiff in the morning from sleeping so much harder than the past three years. It’s glorious I tell you. A third big win of the first week- Emerie’s eye patching. We’ve done a decent job at it over the past six months but recognize that she does even better with it at daycare. We are reaching to six hours a day instead of the two or three hours throughout this spring and it’s fantastic! Her eyelid is slowly becoming less droopy (as expected) and her complaints more-or-less are fewer and far between. This is yet another daily routine win for us.

Drop off the next few days proved more as expected. Craig noted the second day all three were in full, crying tears when he left and Emerie chased him out to the car one morning. Toward the end of the week this was much improved, but I’m guessing we will have a few more tearful days until they get used to the new routine. Reagan, more so than the other two, states she doesn’t want to go to school and wants to stay home with you. In fact, she’s continuing to repeat this sentiment every day and not just as we get ready in the morning. It’s very sweet but hopefully her teachers and the fun activities will eventually win her over. As we start week two, she already shares the tears before even leaving the driveway while the other two remain in good spirits.

The first, full day proved a good one. I’m concerned how well the napping/quiet time in the afternoon will go after a lot of issues at the prior place, both attributed to kids’ attitudes AND facility accommodation, and day one went off without a hitch. Reagan and Emerie eventually settled down and fell asleep; no shut-eye for Harper but she was well behaved and quiet throughout, which we take as a win. And after all, we are now on the tail end of napping anyway- where the girls still benefit from it but are more resistant to cooperate for it. The loss of the binkies greatly impacted this success.

Eccentric smiles and happy hollers are accompanied with every afternoon pickup; they are excited to see me, go home and see Daddy and of course have a little lollipop on the car ride home for a good day. On Friday everyone had a scoop of ice cream from Coldstone as a reward for a good first week. It was the first time in half their lives that they were able to go in and choose preferred colors (flavors); Harper chose a marble one and Emerie and Reagan both wanted the blue cotton candy. Uncle Will joined us and everyone happily sucked down the afternoon treat.

Now that we are in the three-year-old class, and mostly post pandemic rules, that means occasional field trips! The girls’ first trip out to Campbell Creek trail was a success. The teacher noted to me that afternoon that no one attempted to run off and they were very behaved, staying in line and listening to instruction. What a relief!! Let’s hope this trend continues.

Looking back at the past six months, while it was busy, difficult and very mentally and physically tiring for both Craig and I, it went pretty well overall. We incorporated new activities into our routine, with lots of park visits, playground playing, jump park bouncing, public outings and play dates to get out and about; I’m unsure we could have juggled all that two years back and been successful, especially with past sleep deprivation. We were also around to see the girls age and learn new things, something we would have missed working from the office all day.

All in all, glad to report things are going well!


Fourth of July Fun

After a full week of new daycare success, we were off for a long, holiday weekend playing with friends and spending time outside. It also meant our first Fourth of July parade with the kiddos. The weather cooperated and with the sun out, everyone stayed warm in their cute red, white and blue dresses and fancy hair clips. While most of the holiday activities weren’t slated toward toddler age, the girls did win a small, stuffed narwhal, were given flags to wave and enjoyed seeing all the trucks driving in the parade. After a lunch with friends and a good, solid afternoon nap, everyone spent the remainder of the day playing on the Little Tikes double water slide in the backyard.

I’ll have you know my little Alaska babies are not yet cooperative on water temperature. My age group grew up playing in the freezing cold hose water and glacial creeks and lakes for years; these girls? Not a chance. The warm water spicket installed on the back of the house this spring is now greatly appreciated by three little girls- three little girls who won’t use the water slide unless the water is warm and comfortable. As soon as the hot water tank is depleted, everyone immediately retreats to towels and complaining that the water is so cold.

Another successful weekend, albeit a very LONG one, with some adventure and fun play dates. I’ve already forgotten how we survive weekends in the winter and continue to enjoy spending as much time outside as possible with the three littles.

Alaska Beach Babies

This is the summer to finally test out Alaskan adventures with the three littles- why put it off any longer…until traveling is easier to handle? While going any distance away from home is minorly daunting, it is way more doable now than the prior few summers. I imagine it’s going to continue to get a bit easier each time and the more we go, the better the littles will do!

Our first (planned) family adventure and fishing trip is noted in the history books as a major success! So great, in fact, that we stayed a third night for more fun. The drive down had many comments of we’re going on a “venture!” and other exclamations of excitement; so much so that they didn’t really want to play at our brief park stop in Girdwood and we loaded back into the car quicker than expected. We brought down plenty of “in-car” entertainment- the girls colored with water pens (an amazing car activity!), played with toys on their lap seats, listened to music and commented on things out the window, watched a few TV shows, and ate their weight in snacks from their backseat snack provider, Grandma.

The first chuckle of the trip occurred prior to arrival. We pulled over at a lake for a quick bathroom break and the girls insisted on checking out these new potties, also known as a no electricity or water hut with a hole in the ground toilet (far better than outside!). All three were CONVINCED this weird bathroom set up had a loud potty, don’t flush it; even after my insistence that was not the case. It’s entertaining to see some of the toddler mentalities when it comes to exciting things like bathrooms! I will also mention the whole four days we only had one kiddo potty accident; which is AMAZING since we were out and about and on the go for most of the trip!

Overall weather for the whole weekend was perfect for both fishing and keeping littles happy and cozy while out in nature. Skies were overcast with brief sun peeking through, no breeze the first day and minimal the second meant hoodies sufficed for staying warm and the rain stayed at bay until we packed everything up the last day to go back to base camp. No bear or moose encounters happened the entire trip! A couple eagles flew overhead throughout the visit and we taught the girls how to chase the seagulls off the beach and fish lines- those are some very cute videos! Rain was timed well with evening and after fish activities and only mild on the return trip.

The girls did FANTASTIC and crashed hard in the car as we drove back to our base camp both days. They acclimated to the concept of a burning fire immediately and relaxed on their lawn chairs around it, eating snacks, chatting and playing with rocks and sand. The sand buckets were a hit, more so the first day than the second, and lots of filled water buckets were toted from the shoreline back up to the play area. Sand throwing was kept to a minimum most of the time; here and there we had to wipe off sandy faces or rinse out angry mouthfuls, but overall they did pretty well. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the triplet wrestling match the second day, with everyone trying to drag each other down and (mostly) laughing.

The girls enjoyed riding on the pull behind trailer that could fit all the kids and two adults without getting stuck! A few joy rides were given and a circle track made- a loop the kids ended up chasing one another around on for a good amount of time. Emerie favored the rides the least (she appears to be more hesitant like me on some of the craziness) while Harper and Reagan enjoyed the bouncing and speed. They also played in the “poop hole,” as the men coined it; and could impressively climb out of it like nobody’s business. It’s handy to use the chest of a fellow sibling as leverage to push oneself up…I’m sure there are some fun toys buried in there for someone in the future to find.

I should mention that we did actually fish during this excursion, setting nets out in the water based on the tides and letting them do the work for us. Craig went down the first night to help the guys while Grandma Sue and I played with the kids, Grandma bathed them while I had quick jet-ski ride on the lake, and then everyone settled and went to bed. Sleeping arrangements went better than planned; likely due to Grandma herding the sleepy cattle into one big bed (after melatonin) and convincing everyone to sleep near each other without fighting. The next two mornings were spent on the beach, setting the nets and hanging out doing all things beach related. The girls did surprisingly well at entertaining themselves and tagging along to watch the boys accomplish actual fishing. The kids also threw rocks in the water and collected uniquely colored ones- the laundry later proved that. Tiny shells were also at random down the way; Emerie especially has a good eye for finding them. They helped pick up sticks for the fire and pulled grass to help get it going.

A reel expert can tackle anything

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The assembly line method worked quite well once the nets were pulled and fish were ready for “processing.” The girls wandered around, providing comments at the spectacle while each adult did their job of de-tangling the fish from the net, throwing them in the big trashcans, cutting fillets, washing off the fish cuts, or throwing them in the freezer. We had it down to a science in no time! The kids particularly enjoyed opening and closing the cooler lid as new cuts were thrown onto the ice.

Everyone was willing to poke at the fish, especially the eyeballs, but no one would hold one. The girls were very curious and watched the experience for a bit, not getting too close. Craig convinced Harper and Emerie to give the fishies a kiss; under no circumstance was Reagan about to do it.

All three kiddos helped chase the seagulls off at the end of each day and really enjoyed hollering at them to get off the beach. We walked down the beach and chased them away- something the girls thought was hilarious. An impressive amount of birds will congregate once any amount of fish guts are out and while a little daunting, they all bravely ran toward them and watched them fly off.

We ended up with a good amount of red salmon to stock up the freezer and send home with Grandma and have already decided another trip next year is absolutely warranted. Our first three night adventure taught us that A) the girls do pretty well out of normal routine when it’s planned, B) overnight set up is very important to the success of the trip and happy kiddos (and parents) and C), having fun is actually doable! We are so thankful for Becky, who opened her house to us and let the kiddos run wild and to my boss and his family for extending the fishing invitation, kids and all. It was a really great few days and I’m glad we ventured out to have some fun. Once the weather turned, we were able to have dinner and some jump park fun with family before we returned home and catch up too.

One of the other best parts of this past weekend? I forgot about the existence of COVID- in other words, we weren’t surrounded by masks, social distancing, and paranoia. We were able to enjoy nature, being outside in our beautiful state, and socializing with with others like we did prior to 2020 (and kids). It was refreshing to get back to how things should be and our new normal with kiddos in tow. Planning for more trips is already underway, now that we know we survival is plausible for a couple days away!