(Four)ces of Nature

For this year’s birthday blog I want to compare and contrast the differences and similarities to my three little minions, who are no longer toddlers and full on preschoolers (that’s for you Sara!). I have to continually resist the urge to keep calling them toddlers, probably because my brain still can’t agree so much time has passed into parenthood.

And while I can’t recall half of the major events and milestones we accomplished this past year, there are certainly a few that are easy to remember.

Age Three Changes

Bye bye binkies

I can’t decide if this or the toddler bed transition was the most significant change in age three. It was definitely a major stresser last spring when we cornered ourselves into taking them away under a deadline. Reagan needed her front tooth pulled and that meant cutting them off for all three, especially considering Reagan was our #1 binkie fan. If you’ll remember, we did an elaborate “binkie fairy” scheme over the span of a week and slowly required the girls to give them away to other babies in need. Looking back this went better than expected and after a month or so they stopped asking for them. The first week or two was a bit rough but we made it through!


Big girl beds

We pulled off this change last August and decimated our wonderful nap time in the process. The girls were very excited to have big girl beds, even trying to help Dad build them out in the garage, but once reality set in, they only slept uninterrupted (all three) maybe two nights since then.


We miss you naps!

The girls were (mostly) fantastic throughout age two at giving us a nap from 1:30 to 3:30 time frame, sometimes stretched to 4:00 but no later than that or bedtime was rough. I believe we earned those longer naps, since they barely gave us any stretch in the earlier days. Age two nap success only occurred when one parent sat in the nursery arm chair, which was okay because it gained two hours of greatly appreciated silence and a strong mental reset for the adults each day.

I remember wondering how we would survive the loss of the afternoon nap and now that it’s happened, it just means grumpier girls in the late afternoon and early evening and longer days, but not the end of the world.

The girls still nap at school, although not as long. We decided pushing it at home wasn’t worth the stress when they wouldn’t settle down and that was a good call, And we still get the occasional afternoon car nap on a busy day- which is amazing- but most afternoon quiet time looks more like this (picture).


New Preschool!

As you all know, we were not drama free on childcare for the girls. We rolled into age three without one altogether, with Craig and I both working full time from home at the same time and Grandma Sue popping in and out from Juneau to keep us all alive and sane. We transitioned to a new place in early July and it has been truly wonderful. The girls adore their teacher and teacher aides and school setting, they feel comfortable and excel at their activities and in the atmosphere, and Craig and I can rest assured that they are treated well and loved while we are at work.


Weekend trips!

I was so excited to do a couple weekend trips last summer and finally felt they might be survivable and (while stressful) fun for the whole family. I undoubtedly looked like a complete basket case (or lunatic) preparing for the multi-day trips (and packing for them), but I am very glad we went and made the memories. The first trip meant set net fishing down in Kasilof for one weekend, with lots of playtime on the beach, fresh air and kiddo avoidance of the questionable “icky” fish. The second went into backcountry Alaska by four wheeler, adventuring to an off-the-beaten-path cabin sans electricity. Everyone made it back in one piece and we will definitely attempt more trips this summer!

Other Mentionables!

Car seat buckling

The girls all buckle themselves into their car seats now. It doesn’t sound like a major life skill, but it’s such a timesaver when loading three kids into the car constantly. This life skill can be contributed to lollipop “encouragement” at daycare pickup every afternoon, but nonetheless is a win in my book! We have come a HUGE way on getting to the car without any random parking lot running and minimal meltdowns in the past year and it’s amazing! Those lollipops also greatly helped in learning our colors…


Surgeries, Patching & a Tooth Pull

As noted above, Reagan had her front tooth pulled back in May and was a rock star throughout the whole procedure, even proclaiming her love for the pediatric dentist who freed her broken tooth. The donut she demanded afterwards indicated her pain tolerance is pretty great for a kid!

Emerie had two Botox eye procedures over the past year, one in June and another last month. As usual she was a total trooper and came out of anesthesia like such a big girl; it’s really nice it’s easier as she gets older! She also continues to proclaim her love for Dr. Winkle and Harper and Reagan both jealously demand to attend her visits. Morning patching continues to be a bit of a fight but overall she cooperates greatly and is such a strong girl.


Covid & Quarantine

It might be fair to say those two weeks were the toughest for the whole year (until I remember working full time with no daycare for five months), although the intense sicknesses around Christmas might be a close second. Timing worked out nicely for our brush with the pandemic, meaning it was deep into fall but not winter and we could play out in the yard while stuck at home. Craig and my symptoms also managed to be a few days apart and that helped tremendously with keeping kiddos entertained (and survival). And, of course, it’s no surprise to say we were thrilled the girls had mild symptoms and felt okay.


More Cousin Visits

The last thing to note is the more frequent visits from the cousins, now that Tyler and Jaren are in easier proximity to Anchorage. The girls adore their cousins and while they can’t seem to ever call them the right names, they constantly request them to come play, pretend call them and talk, draw pictures for their fridges, and carry their photos around the house (and fight over them).

And in case you need me to decipher who is who….Tyler is Tyler, Jaren is Tyler, and Chatum is Jaren. Someday they might get it right….

Tell me about the girls!

Keep in mind that while they are all the same age and mentality, they are all very different. Their likes and dislikes, while constantly changing at this age, greatly vary between the three. It highlights that they are individuals while also sharing many other things together. Here’s are some individual details for each kiddo!

Harper Anne

Harper is an easy going girl that loves to be on the go, speeding on her bike or adventuring around town. She appoints herself the boss a lot and can be stubborn when she thinks she is right on something. She excels at sleeping in her bed, always wants to wear shorts and dresses, and has a love for her ballet flats.

Height/Weight: 42.25″, 37.6 pounds

Favorite Activities: riding balance bikes (speeding around on them really), dance class, anything relating to princesses, and playing dress up. She loves to spend her day in dresses, fancy shoes and a crown and making silly faces for pictures.

Dislikes: anything that moves slowly, the fact she has to wear pants ever, and being woken up abruptly when in her bed. She hilariously dragssssss herself out of bed, limbs not working and mouth sassing.

Favorite movies/shows/music: Fancy Nancy, Rapunzel’s Adventures, and pretty much any princess movie. Her favorite song is “Northwind” from Frozen II, that the mom sings to Anna and Elsa at the beginning of the movie.

Favorite Princess: Aurora and Belle

Favorite Color: black, then pink

Favorite Food: black olives, steak and french fries (pretty sure this is close to my favorites too)

Favorite Animal: When asked, her favorite animals are animals with stripes. In reality, she adores her Little Seal and Big Seal (because we somehow bought the same stuffed animal in two sizes!). She also loves petting her kitties, who have warmed up to her presence after four years.

When asked what she wants to be, she responded instantly, a ballerina!


Emerie Faye

Emerie is our go getter that constantly sings let it goooo or demands we don’t talk about Bruno! She can be introverted and enjoys independent play, being at home and spending her days in Elsa dresses. She adopted the guest bedroom and gets up in the middle of every night to relocate to it, promptly going back to sleep.

Height/Weight: 41.75″, 34.2 pounds

Favorite Activities: Independent play in general, collecting and carrying tiny things around, any water activities (and drowning our bathrooms constantly), building magnatiles, dress up, and watching/coloring anything relating to Elsa and Anna from Frozen. She is a homebody and enjoys staying home and playing, often requesting to go home to play when we are out and about.

Dislikes: wearing her glasses all the time and eye patching in the mornings, wearing socks with her shoes, sleeping in her toddler bed, being outside in the cold, hair bows (usually), and black olives and pizza.

Favorite movies/shows/music: She also loves Frozen I and II and pretty much all princess movies; if she had to choose a favorite to watch, Cinderella and Snow White are towards the top. Hands down her favorite song is Let It Go, which she calls the castle song! PJ Masks is also an up and coming favorite, as well as Encanto and Cinderella II.

Favorite Princess: Elsa and Aurora

Favorite Color: purple, duh! She also has a purple unicorn dress she wants to wear everyday.

Favorite Food: Cheese quesadillas with sour cream. She would eat them every day if allowed.

Favorite Animal: When asked she claimed caterpillars and raccoons (surprisingly), but I would also claim her beloved “Monk” monkey and her stuffed owl are on that list.

When asked what she wants to be, she responded a purple Elsa! Who am I to deny that creativity?!


Reagan Jean

Reagan is our shyest of the three and more emotional than her sisters. She adores all crafting, painting, coloring and cooking and excels at staying in the lines on her creations. She also loves Daddy’s four wheeler and bringing her stuffed pandas everywhere.

Height/Weight: 42.25″, 37.4 pounds

Favorite Activities: Coloring daily, painting, dancing to music (she’s a booty shaker, what can I say!), creating with play dough, cooking with Grandma Sue and taste testing the flour, playing dress up and playing pretend with her stuffed animals. Now that it’s light outside after preschool, she really enjoys playing by herself on the back deck.

Dislikes: sleeping in her bed overnight or being left alone, getting her hair brushed, and her socks not fitting right!

Favorite movies/shows/music: While Reagan likes princess movies, her absolutely favorite is the movie Abominable, about her beloved Everest, the yeti. Sleeping Beauty is likely her favorite princess movie if she had to choose, and she’s also a fan of PJ Masks. Her favorite song is Pink’s Cover Me in Sunshine, which is renamed Grandma’s Song.

Favorite Princess: Elsa and Aurora

Favorite Color: blue, then green, then white!

Favorite Food: Her favorite food right now is hash browns, which she wants each day for breakfast; otherwise cheeseburgers and apples top the list.

Favorite Animal: Without question, this girlie is panda everything. She sleeps with two stuffed pandas every night. When asked her favorite, she responded pandas and bunnies.

When asked what she wants to be, she immediately answered a painter! Given her creativity and artistic ability we already see at age three, this could be pretty realistic.


And some other fun questions to ask, just for memories’ sake!

What are some similarities all three share? What are the biggest differences? Of the three, Harper is the most outgoing by far, Emerie is the most stubborn (if I had to choose one!) and Reagan is the most in touch with her feelings. Harper adamantly wants to go fast ALL the time while Emerie wants the opposite, and Reagan goes back and forth depending on the day. Reagan extensively enjoys coloring in the lines while Harper and Emerie continue their “eclectic toddler style” creations. All three enjoy cooking and baking, but when it comes to decorating things, Emerie is speedy and done in five minutes, Harper goes back and forth depending on her mood, and Reagan will insist you leave her alone until the masterpiece is completed, which may be a while.

What is the biggest personality difference? Emerie is a homebody and loves to stay home. The other two are more up for adventuring. Harper seems best at going with the flow while the other two often whine about things.

Who is the best sleeper? Worst? Harper maintains her status as the best sleeper of the group, which is nothing new for the last few years. She loves sleeping in her bed and being cozy, unlike Reagan and Emerie, who want parents nearby or prefer to wander into the guestroom to finish their night of sleep.

Who is Team Mom and Team Dad? Harper seems to still be on the mom train, while Reagan shifted alliances over the past year from Dad back to me. Emerie, on the other hand, is a complete daddy’s girl now. Everyone continues to be completely enthralled by Papa Lon and adore their Grandma Sue and Papa Cliff. Grandma Anne visited twice last year and the girls still ask about more tea parties. And of course you can’t forget about Auntie Megan weekends, Auntie Janelle visits, and all the new friends that were made this year.

If you ask them who is the boss…who is it?! 100% of the time the answer is Grandma (Sue) is the boss! followed by Mom and Dad and Miss Tawni. We’ve got this down!

Who is the cutest? Um, silly question there, it’s ALL OF THEM.

And I’ll end our fourth birthday post on that fun note. I still can’t believe they are so cute. And four. FOUR! What?!

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!! ❤

No Worse for (Winter) Wear

All in all early January was pretty subdued and without too much excitement (good or bad!). The high point of winter means dark days, various illnesses, busy work hours, and a lot of entertaining the littles indoors since the cold air seems to make them cough more.

Craig and I took all three to the doctor this week just to ensure we aren’t missing something on the prolonged coughing fits. It’s been a bit since a triple pediatrician visit and it started out super strong, with all three hanging out and “reading” their mini princess books and cooperating with each other; by the end of the visit they were climbing the walls of the waiting area and ready to go. They all did unusually well at obeying the doctor, who checked lungs, ears, nose and mouth with great cooperation. The pediatrician confirmed everyone just has a viral cough, not croup, not COVID, not RSV, not pneumonia from me (thank goodness), just a mild, fever-less cough. Good news I guess!

A few fun outings have happened in the past two weeks. I ventured out to the valley with Megan and the boys, getting a solid driving nap on our way out, and spent a full afternoon and evening at the play center in Wasilla. It was our first visit and the girls loved the climbing area, spending a lot of time going up and down and chasing each other. At some point Reagan went down the big slide at the top so Emerie followed her, which resulted in a tearful discussion of I went down the REALLY big slide and it was scary. It hurt me! Needless to say, she only went down it once.

We devoured snacks, rode the tiny train and spinner rides multiple times, and played a few games. The girls all enjoyed the basketball one and even made some hoops; watching all three play at once is definitely a good source of entertainment. In several cases the ball hit the rim and immediately ricochet straight into someone’s face- causing quite the moment of laughter. Calm down, the balls were much softer than real basketballs….which aren’t so fun when colliding with your nose. The girls enjoyed any game that involved whacking things and tested out their fruit ninja skills with Oaki. Toward the end of the night we watched a few friends race around the track on the other side of the center, with five very excited littles watching. I did not plan to be out until after 8 on a school night (who are we kidding, any night), but the visit went so well the time passed quickly.

It was wonderful to feel more like what I assume “normal” parents feel like during outings. I wasn’t chasing the kids around the whole time to not lose them, wasn’t stressed out and hoping for time to be over so we could go home; I was actually enjoying an afternoon with my girls and not feeling impending stress. Everyone was clearly tired as we loaded up about the time we’d normally be settling down for bedtime, and managed to keep them awake and entertained (annoyed) the entire hour drive with all the favorite Disney tunes…Frozen, Encanto, Home, and so on. And of course, more snacks.

Outings over the past month or two continue to be stroller-less, which is quite the change over the past three years. I should say, stroller-less AND survivable, for the most part. The snow plays a small factor is containment as we walk into a store or the jump park, but overall we are just getting better at it. Excluding the few horrible times that are sprinkled throughout the good trips, it is wonderful to be able to walk from the car to the destination and not haul a thousand things. Not all times are smooth or wonderful, like the other day when I picked up the girls at preschool. They proceeded to run from the gym across the whole school lobby and to the front door with their dresses pulled down to their waists, shoes littering the floor and bare chests on display, and would not listen or come back to me. Those are the beautiful memories to hold onto when they are older…right? The jump park is another spot that one parent can easily take all three and keep the damage to a minimum and it’s really nice.

The girls are currently all on a dress up kick, and while you’d assume Harper would be leading that charge with her love of all things pink, black and princessery, Emerie is currently the one obsessed with her Snow White two piece outfit from Uncle William at Christmas. The past few weeks she’s worn it to school over her clothes a number of times and every night the battle of convincing her it isn’t pajamas occurs. Harper is more into the tutus, dress up heels and crown headbands while Reagan occasionally accepts an article of clothing, especially when delivered by her sisters; overall her favorite “dress-up” article of clothing is the plain green hat from June and January, which she constantly wears and carts around. The other evening Reagan was wearing a pink princess cloak and Harper called her out, claiming she can’t wear pink, you’re Reagan and you wear blue! It’s funny to say, but we definitely hit the nail on the head on who correlates to what color, since we didn’t make the call based on personality at birth. Harper loves girly and pink things, Emerie likes purple (also blue but not the point) and Reagan appears to be the tomboy and prefers teal and blue when given the option.

Snoozing on the way to the valley’s play center.

And then, when you take away the color from a picture, it’s VERY hard to tell who is who, even more so with eyes shut and sans glasses! Don’t you think?!

We have returned to the question phase about my name, with the constant why do we call you mom but Kaden calls you Becca? Can we call you Becca? Daddy’s name is Craig; my mom’s name is Becca, but we don’t call her Becca. So many complicated thoughts to work out.

Many other kiddo musings are fun to interpret and not often understand unless one is paying attention. These types of things must contribute to mom brain, since the lack of understanding their intent often results in rage and meltdowns…so one must store these jewels in their mind until the kid moves onto the next one. I enjoy writing them down, since it shows their quirks and what things they enjoy and latch onto!

Last year the main example of this related to listening to or watching Pan, more commonly known as Tangled or Rapunzel to everyone else on earthy, and they still call her that to this day, but others are definitely popping up into every day conversation. Like when Emerie asks me to play the castle song or the horse song in the car, can you guess those ones from Frozen? She’s referring to Let It Go, the song where Elsa builds the castle while she sings and the song in Frozen II when she wrangles the horse. Reagan is now a huge Rihanna fan, insisting each night that I play the shadow song, which refers to one of Rihanna’s songs from the movie Home, where she sings about the sun and a shadow. Reagan constantly sings that chorus or hums it to herself. Everyone requests the bubble song from the same movie, referring to the main opening scene when all the Boov people come to earth in their bubbles. As mentioned in a previous blog, my favorite interpretation to anything are the requests for the crack house movie (Encanto).

Who knows what requests will be next, but I can’t wait to see. We are gaining five minutes of daylight a day, everyone is starting to get healthier from their coughs, and I can sit and write this on my long-awaited, new living room couch; things are already starting to look up!

Christmas Stars

Fancy shoes and dresses!

The preschool Christmas show this week was nestled between my two very grumpy, “potato sack” (flailing toddler) hauling events. I cringed at the thought the Christmas concert might be a total disaster after the previous night’s fits and downright disobedience from all three but was pleasantly surprised with how it went. They didn’t run off stage or totally melt down during their performance of two Christmas songs.

Everyone cooperated with their Christmas dresses, bows, tights and fancy black boots and while rushing out the door, still managed to get a few princess twirls in and declare they were beautiful! I always question why so many sleeveless Christmas dresses exist (since Christmas = winter in my brain), and while these Costco beauties came with soft black shawls, I still added another long sleeve layer to accommodate for the cold.

Of course, we Douglas’ know how to make an entrance, and it must be in their DNA (is that me or Craig?! Great question!). Of course we had the typical like-their-mother-trip-over-the-camera-on-the-walk-to-the-stage moment, as Emerie turned to look at us and toppled right over. No meltdown though; she just popped right back up!

The Ladybugs class, of which 30% is us, was first up and did two songs. More than anything there was nervous rocking, shout outs to parents and grandparents and a few hand motions here and there- of course all very cute. I’m sure their morning rehearsal had more participation, since they weren’t in front of a gym full of people for it! Reagan ended up making faces at the audience and her classmates and hopping in and out on the rehearsed hand motions. After one part that all three felt inspired to participate on, Harper turned to Emerie and covered her mouth with a laugh. The audience seemed to chuckle at that one.

An actual family photo

Each class took turns performing their two songs, with a curtain and superstar switch out in between each. Everyone then gathered on stage for the finale of Joy to the World. Overall, it was one of the first nights that I really felt like a normal parent, sitting kid-less in a row of chairs, able to relax and talk to other parents without kid interruptions, chasing someone or the constant tripleting (which I now believe is very much a real verb!). It felt almost normal, being able to watch my offspring participate with everyone else, so very grown up in their three years, and laugh and take photos like everyone else without the constant chaos. These moment are few and far between since we became parents, some due to less socializing during the pandemic, some because the girls are still pretty young, and some because it seems like every time we try to plan or do something nice, it ends up being a total triplet shit show, and it’s frustrating.

But I’m not complaining (ish). While this has not been a great week, it was a nice and appreciated 45 minutes of actual life enjoyment, and I’ll take what I can get.

Now please pray the girls get out of the funk that picked right back up Saturday morning and that we are able to enjoy some of planned events and activities this month. Because I’ll tell you, my brain is fried from a disastrous preschool pick up followed by another mess of a dance class, and I don’t have enough wine or sanity for this. I will say the general mom public that witnesses the meltdowns and my attempts to haul three rage monsters in the car without completely losing my head (or my mouth) has been pretty supportive, with a few nice strangers sharing encouragement in the heat of the moment and it is much appreciated. Now if only we could stop having these fun events…

Please enjoy this short clip of the mini beasts at their Christmas show, goofing off to the crowd and each other, in true Douglas (Sykes!) style.

Merry Christmas ❤

Coughs and Yawns

Well folks, after twenty months living in a global pandemic, it finally caught up to our household through the girls’ preschool class.

Reagan and Emerie had low grade fevers as an indicator early on, something we’ve dealt with more often than not over the last three months; fevers that seem to indicate ear infections or allergies. Unfortunately for this one, it turns out both girls tested positive on their rapid Covid-19 tests at the pediatrician’s office. Harper’s test came back negative, which aligns to the usual order of kiddos getting any type of sickness.

This is the second time a positive case was announced in the girls’ classroom since school started in August, without any specifics times or details, as to keep the other kids anonymous (silly if you ask me!). We assume this is where it was transmitted and we had a very short window to get in the right headspace of spending ten days stuck at home with three rambunctious toddlers, who may be sick but clearly felt fine overall. Over the next few days, they definitely felt better than their parents as the infection slowly crept into our sinuses. Catching all sicknesses is part of being a parent…right? Or is it just part of being a mom? I can’t remember.

While it is fantastic news that the girls aren’t feeling all the effects of this bug, it also means it’s really hard to keep them busy and entertained throughout the day and keep the fighting and whining to a minimum. The first day out of the gate was consumed with all the things, coloring, magnet boards, stickers, some Frozen, Cocomelon and Abominable movie viewing, tons of snacks, magna-tile construction, and layering the house with the inch of snow outside on the deck. Did I also mention eight thousand outfit changes? From pajamas to Frozen princess dresses to shorts to hoodies to regular dresses to dance leotards. So. Many. Outfit. Changes.

And here’s how the quarantine period really went by, since it is not all sunshine and smooth sailing and one of my greatest fears of impending doom over the past thirty months…in case you were curious if you can survive house arrest with your children.

Quarantine Day One

Feeling strong. Feeling ambitious! We can do this! We have lots of things to entertain the tiny minions, a full fridge of food, great internet… I prepped and cooked a nice dinner; the girls played all day.

Twelve hours later…OMG, we can’t do this. I need some Netflix and SILENCE.

Day Two

Online Target and toy store orders begin, with entertainment going okay so far…other than the one hand slammed in the door, blood, waterworks, you know…the usual. Craig picked up a fun new ball rolling set and everyone played (mostly) nicely for a little while on it. A friend dropped off dinner and a couple kid activities on our doorstep; much appreciate as we started down a long path of being home.

Day Three

The toddler cabin fever sets in. Is that a real thing, you ask?! YES, IT IS. It’s like starting a week of full moon attitudes and you can’t escape it. The kids become crazy hyper from being cooped up at home when they aren’t really used to it, at least not at this level. By the end of the day, I found Emerie and Reagan emptying all the toilet paper rolls downstairs and Emerie standing on the back of the toilet. Later that night after bath time, I caught Emerie sucking down the kid toothpaste, straight out of the tube, resulting in a death match to pry it out from her extremely strong, but tiny, fingers. Help us.

I will note a nice thirty minutes decorating craft pumpkins and taping them up on the new living room wall happened. Reagan thrived at this activity while Harper and Emerie browsed by and helped in between other distractions.

Day Four

Creative entertainment means breaking out the top shelf doll strollers that cause instantaneous energy. I began feeling really crummy by now (as opposed to just slightly) with a fever and sore throat; but am feeling very lucky not to have the fatigue other people report having- Craig might be over the hump of his sickness or he’s toughing it out well, at least we hope so! And the girls did not get the memo they are actually sick, you would never know without the mild fevers and positive tests. By the end of the day, I completed a Target pickup order of Dayquil and Robitussin with no bra on…whose feeling empowered now…?!

I will not admit how much Frozen I and Frozen II has played in this house in the last few days…let it goooo…

Day Five

Craig felt inspired to make homemade cinnamon rolls with the girls, so clearly he’s feeling at least a bit better. The girls helped spread the dough, melted butter, and sugar and of course lather themselves in some of it too. Eating the finished product was a bit too much for them, so Craig and I enjoyed cinnamon rolls for breakfast for a couple of days. Everyone napped in the car that afternoon after seeming lethargic and tired all day (just enough to be noticeable), much like their parents! After a shower and hair brushing, Harper told me she liked my hair…clearly we need to get out more…

Reagan begins her major coloring kick. Whoever created mess-free coloring markers; you deserve a medal. Harper and Emerie both have marker stained faces from running out of sight with the Crayola marker set and you can tell! Reagan loves her sparkly, Frozen themed mess-free coloring and sits for a few minutes each hour and colors another one, mostly in the lines, to proudly display on the fridge.

Day Six

Today we are back to work (at home). We were very lucky to have a state holiday (Alaska Day) and a four day weekend (for me) while we are quarantined. We managed six months of juggling kids and work earlier this year, but it’s a different dynamic when your littles are grumpy from fevers, you are confined to your house and the parents have what feels like a bad cold. Fortunately we were both able to get a few work hours in here and there over the weekend to stay caught up.

By day six bike riding is allowed in the house, movie times involve blankets and laundry baskets, the garage is a new play room, railroad track cities span the entire living room- desperate times call for desperate measures! Reagan threw a toy and hit Emerie square in the nose, horizontally slicing from nostril to nostril and drawing a lot of blood and tears from her sister. After that fiasco we opted for a mandatory driving nap…which no one actually slept on. This was the worst day of quarantine so far!

By the end of day six, there are two options: either our fevers are going to break or our sanity is!!

Day Seven

Two of the three slept in until 8:45 today; clearly quite the record. Emerie awoke about 7:15 and laid on the floor by my desk with her owl and blanket while I had a nice hour of hot coffee, emails and silence. We finally managed to take a walk around the neighborhood and get some fresh air, which was much overdue!

Harper found a twirly pen at some point that morning and colored the entirety of both legs before we noticed. She is also quoting full phrases from Frozen at random. For example, I turned around to her standing on the coffee table, with a tutu and crown headband on and arms out, yelling “if you don’t want me to run into fire, then don’t run into fire!”

The girls were wildly hyper in the evening, which we believe stems from the protein drinks at dinner, since they don’t seem to want to eat actual food this week. At least today was a little better than the dreadful day six.

Day Eight

Another good sleep-in morning, with Emerie going for 12 hours of sleep and Harper and Reagan waking up after eight in the morning, a definite win for us.

Overall uneventful day, thank goodness! Emerie isn’t feeling better yet but Reagan is clearly on the mend and exploding with energy. She and Harper continue to run circles around each other while Emerie cuddled on the couch and avoided. An hour driving nap rewarded the parents with a little quiet and the post lunch walk a nice outing in the sun, although Emerie wasn’t really feeling it. Two more days!!

After the car nap Emerie and Reagan cuddled and played nicely together for nearly an hour while Harper “helped” me fold a couple loads of laundry at the kitchen table, I sucked down a bunch of hot tea for my cough, and Craig made dinner that neither of us could taste. It was a nice hour reprieve before the wildness repeated for the day, with no one wanting dinner and Harper and Reagan wildly wrestling and running around the house until bedtime.

Day Nine

It appears we rounded a bit of a corner in play time- when one kiddo finds self entertainment for a few minutes (kinetic sand, coloring, playing in the toy kitchen, etc.), the other two, no matter which two, actually play together for a bit. It is nice to see what ideas they create, whether it’s a blanket fort, playing nap time with their animals (and turning off ALL my lights and closing shades), or chasing each other up and down the stairs a hundred times. As the picture highlights, I also caught them red handed a few times making massive water messes in the downstairs bathroom…but having fantastic fun until they were caught!

Everyone wanted “Elsa braids” that morning and luckily don’t yet recognize the difference between a normal braid and Elsa’s. I will have to learn that skill in the near future though, since it’s unlikely Elsa, Anna, Sven and Kristof are going anywhere, any time soon (sorry Craig).

Day Ten

Miraculously, we made it to day ten and the girls are completely fever free! We took it upon ourselves to really leave the house; not out in public mind you, and ventured out to the valley for some good ‘ole outside fun. The girls rode with their cousins on the dirt bike, four wheelers and kid size John Deer tractor. You could easily tell they were thrilled to get out of the house, enjoy a smoothie on the ride out and run around a new spot. Even their driving (steering) skills are improving! It was a beautiful fall day and unusually warm for this time of October; Jaren, Emerie and I also picked a bunch of wild, high bush (I think) cranberries and Emerie collected about half a ziploc bag, all by herself! All in all, a nice afternoon now that everyone is feeling better and getting closer to back to normal.


Over the past year and a half we focused on not sharing the current world crisis with the girls, especially since they are so young, but can comprehend a lot more than one might think. They turned two the same day our city shut down for the first time and since then are used to seeing people wearing masks and social distancing. We made it through the first six months of pandemic without changing any of our daily routines (other than me working at home instead of the office), since the girls already spent workdays with the nanny at home and hand washing after going anywhere public is something you always do when caring for premature babies. We didn’t fully feel the impact until we started out-of-home unexpectedly daycare last fall, where we weren’t allowed to enter the facility and felt very cut off from the girls during the day. You all know that story already.

The good news is the social aspect of COVID-19 hasn’t affected the girls, to their knowledge at least, as we continue having play dates with a number of folks in our little bubble. Spending a lot of time outside as they’ve grown bigger helps ease the cutoff-from-the-rest-of-society feeling, including small hikes, trail walks, playgrounds and walks around the neighborhood. It pains me to see friends with elementary aged kids that understand the world has changed and not for the better. I don’t want my kids to grow up in fear of people breathing around them, not being masked, having an occasional cough or cold and especially the sociological damage that results from it. Kid shouldn’t have to take on a lot of this responsibility and grow up fearful- they should be having fun, learning new things and maturing in a safe environment- and I intend to hold my family to that as best I can. It makes me so thankful all this is happening prior to school age, where we are the main influence on their lives and they aren’t stressing over missing school, seeing their friends or being stuck at home.

I live in a madhouse run by a tiny army I made myself.

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Throughout our quarantine the girls never questioned missing school and accepted the simple explanation of a cough and not feeling well. We received the occasional question about going or missing a teacher, but nothing more than that. Even better, they weren’t overly curious why we stayed home all day and weren’t out and about as much or going to the park, and only taking a car ride here and there. They especially disliked going to Target meant order pickup and not venturing inside; that’s about the biggest complaint so far. In another year I feel this would be a lot different! Throughout the week Harper kept telling me she has the coughs and yawns, which is more true for her sisters than her, but wouldn’t you say it is a fitting description for being sick? I definitely have that!

This week the girls started “calling” Grandma Sue on a play phone to tattle that a mean sister. The FaceTime calls with family and friends helped them stay connected and calmed the questions about seeing Oaki and Kaden, Papa and Grandma, or Tyler when they come up, but the fake calls are pretty humorous too. The cell phone tattling remains pretty random and doesn’t seem to follow a pattern when it’s “grandma worthy”, but it’s definitely hilarious to listen to such expressive thoughts!

A few friends have checked in over the course of the week, dropped off goodies and asked how we are feeling and how the virus presented to us. I find it really interesting that Craig and I had very different symptoms, with his cough showing up from day one and then improving, and my cough showing up about day five, gaining some momentum, and then improving. I presented with a fever and major sore throat, which progressed into a stuffy nose and sinus headache without the sore throat, and then stuffy nose with a cough. Emerie and Reagan are mildly stuffy off and on, maintained a 100 degree temperature prior to medicine for a handful of days, and coughed mostly at nighttime and a little throughout the day. Harper maintained no fever, stuffy nose or cough throughout the entire event!

So what has ten days in quarantine taught me about myself? Well first of all, it definitely reminded me that I can step up even more, even when it feels like you already do everyday with three kiddos, to get through a challenging time. It also reminded me to take things one day at a time, one hour at a time if needed. On a bad day (like day six!), getting through an hour at a time is less of a mind stress than constantly thinking how many more days you have to get through and all the stressful questions that come with those thoughts. Getting through one napless afternoon without focusing on the impending lack of nap in future days…really helps. It keeps the overwhelming anxiety a little more at bay, at least for a little while.

Feeling better and getting out of the house!

I fully admit if ten quarantine days occurred a year ago, I’m not sure how we would have survived it. The fact that the girls now play independently at least a little bit (in between the whining and fighting) is a major game changer in 24/7 house confinement. Reagan is fantastic at coloring and sitting for periods of time and focusing on it, Harper enjoys playing dress up and creating fancy outfits and riding her bike around, Emerie will construct a railroad track and play by herself for a little while. Everyone enjoyed trashing my house with kinetic sand a couple times and fort building and balance bike riding in the garage to burn energy. Television, while not the ideal answer but who are we kidding, is now watched and commented on with a longer attention span than last year. Current household favorites are Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, Abominable, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and Curious George. And lastly, a year ago we couldn’t easily go on a walk around the neighborhood without both parents; now they are “better” at staying close, stopping at the stop signs (with reminders) and completing a loop back home by foot or on wheels.

All in all, guys, we made it through!! The girls went back to preschool yesterday and everyone seems back to normal other than myself, with a mild, lingering cough and tastelessness holding on for a little longer.