I’ve learned to pack some extras before going on a drive anywhere out of our city and this week I am very thankful for that predisposition. We loaded up yesterday morning to adventure down to Seward and the SeaLife Center for the day…and then come back home…right?!
Wrong! Can you hear Mother Nature laughing?! She likes to do that type of thing to us (aka triplets!…).
We started the day with quite a snowy and windy drive out of town. It was close to questionable if we should call it and head home, but our group is tough and headed along with eleven kids and five adults spanning three cars. We eventually made it to a wet and more breakup looking Seward- a TON of snacks were eaten and movie clips and songs played; we managed to get there without too much grumpiness. Having Grandma and/or Daddy in the very backseat, feeding the food into the tiny minions hands definitely helped.
We unloaded and hustled the kiddos through the wind and inside to see the sea lions! as the girls quoted the whole drive down. All the kids did great checking out the exhibits and actually returning when called. As you might imagine, it is not easy to smoothly move through anywhere with a headcount of ELEVEN kids under age eight…but hey, we like a challenge and it went really well! They really enjoyed the large sea lion exhibit, looking at the different types of fish and the temporary touch tank (since the normal one is under renovation). There were a lot of little hands touching the sea urchins and star fish with great enthusiasm as well as the comments about the cold water. The kids lasted a little longer than our visit last summer but we still went through the whole thing faster than preferable. Everyone picked out a stuffed animal at the gift shop (three black bear requestes were vetoed since we already have them!) and Emerie ended up leaving with a cute, green turtle, Harper grabbed a red octopus, and Reagan a spotted grey seal. Reagan keeps asking me to hold her seal so her sisters can’t take it. Silly kids.
Instead of sitting down at a restaurant and eating lunch, we dressed everyone in full snow gear and pushed them out of the vehicle to play at Seward’s awesome toddler park. It was windy and very icy and met with great enthusiasm from the whole bunch. I cannot wait for summer when we can visit again under more pleasant conditions. This outdoor activity inspired half the kids to demand use of the portable potty chair we brought and several clothing changes. By the third kid we were ready to load up and head back home.
I do have to mention one of my favorite moments from this adventure. Two of the kiddos in our group were chatting and one noted to the other that she was related to the triplets. She proceeded to say that she can’t tell them apart so she calls them Strawberry (Harper), Grape (Emerie) and Blueberry (Reagan). I love seeing how other kids view the girls when they indeed look identical unless you are constantly around them and can distinguish by personalities or small differential traits like chipped teeth. This makes me want to design them cute fruit shirts!!
Cue a change in background music…because little did we know the real adventure for the day was just beginning. The roads appeared clearer than the way in, with the temperature finally above freezing and the roads more wet than icy, making us feel confident and optimistic on a faster drive home than that morning. This thought was shattered when our speed demon driver of the group, Heather, called about the time we arrived in Moose Pass with a warning the highway was closed from an avalanche, making the road impassable.
We managed to meet up at the pull off ahead of it with our whole kid entourage. More snacks were consumed and we made the executive decision to head to Kenai and see if the road would clear in a few hours. At this point I wasn’t sure how well the girls would do with more time in the car, especially after a busy morning and no one napping yet; overall they handled it really well. I should also mention avalanche news inspired us to open the wrapped presents from Cousin Jamie and crew, because why not? The singing baby sharks greatly assisted in keeping toddler moods pleasant as we detoured an unplanned direction.
After hitting up the Soldotna Fred Meyer for more snacks (of course), melatonin and changes of clothes for the rest of the group (we had enough for us due to our forethought!), we sat down for a nice dinner in the backroom of a restaurant in Kenai (the name is already escaping me). The whole evening adventure worked out well for two reasons, 1) we have a great group of kiddos and parents that help each other, and 2) the backroom allowed for said hyper children to run circles, snack on some dinner, run more circles, and repeat. By the time we finished dinner, it was already past the girls’ normal bedtime and yet we weren’t completely immersed in meltdowns. This was both surprising and glorious, and shows that when given the chance, kids can adapt to things. We haven’t tested this theory very much in the past three years, since the triplet bubble remains tight and regimented, so it is really great to know when a wrench gets thrown in your plans, it is survivable!
By the time dinner was over the highway was not yet clear and open. Instead of chancing driving that distance again and not getting through with very tired toddlers in the car, in the dark on icy road conditions, we opted to hit up a hotel for the night and take our chances with convincing the girls to sleep somewhere new.
As we drove to the hotel, the toddler questions in the backseat eventually ended with a we are going on an “venture” and met with acceptance, even though they had no idea what that meant.
It was close to dark and way past standard bedtime by the time we made it back to Soldotna’s hotel and the girls (and adults) were definitely losing steam. First things first, everyone HAD to check out the bathroom, test to see if the potty is loud (which it wasn’t), open the mini fridge, push microwave buttons until it turned on, and jump on the beds. No pajamas meant the girls slept in their dresses from the day, but luckily had their normal bedtime stuffies and a single binkie we packed for each. Within an hour or so everyone was snuggled in a bed and asleep; Emerie snoring quietly next to me while holding her monkey, Harper cuddled with Craig on the second bed, and Reagan sound asleep next to Grandma Sue on the pull out sofa bed. And everyone slept WELL and extra pillows meant no one fell off the sides!
There isn’t much to tell about the ride home, with the avalanche cleared and no snow falling or potty stops needed, but I will readily admit I am really excited for summer conditions to get here already so we can try out more planned out-of-town adventures. Three years mostly confined to this city is a long time and we are lucky to live in a central location with many fun places within a few, short hours. It is nice to know it might be doable to try new places out and let the girls see other parts of Alaska that we grew up enjoying. Things should go fine as long as there are enough snacks, an overnight bag in the car just in case, extra hands and lots of car ride activities!
As we round up to age three, the girls all know their colors, numbers up to about fifteen, most of their shapes and a TON of vocabulary. Life skills include mostly dressing themselves, running away given the opportunity, potty training pros, teeth brushing, baking, tower construction, coloring and drawing, and so much more!
But just because the girls were born together, look similar and hit most of their milestones together does not mean they are always the same. In fact, it continues to get easier to answer some of the differences between them as they grow and learn new things. Here are a few for the current stage of toddlerhood as we round up to age THREE!
Popcorn is prepared in the same pot, in the same heat, in the same oil and yet…the kernels do not POP at the same time. Don’t compare your child to others. Their turn to pop is coming!
Harper Anne – the strong willed one
Height: 39” (90% in height)
Weight: 32.2 pounds! (66% in weight)
Harper is all about her pink color and anything princess related. I’m unsure which Disney princess is her favorite, as she will randomly ask for Cinderella (and Gus Gus the mouse), Mulan, Snow White, Pan (Rapunzel), Ana and Elsa. She also loves to color everything black and always requests the black marker when given a choice. In fact, this little girl will color an entire page, making sure to fill up the color every where; if black isn’t available she opts for brown or pink. I’m sure this is just a phase! She dislikes water the most of the three and is very nervous going around the floating river at H2Oasis; she will not do it unless she has a tight grownup safety net the entire way around.
Harper is the hugger of the group and the only one that will really voluntarily give one to a sibling! She is also very expressive about her feelings and will tell you when she likes/dislikes something, or when she wants to love on it. I want to kiss it is a common term that applies to a variety of things such as the trash man, the forklift driver at Costco, and Daddy’s four wheeler. She is a cuddler and most nights will snuggle up with me and watch a show before we go up to bed. That is worth noting because as an infant she resisted cuddling the most of the three!
We shifted “top diva status” in the past year, with Harper taking the title as we round out age two. This is likely because she’s a girl that knows what she wants (and doesn’t want!) and has no qualms about throwing a full out, pouty tantrum over it. Her grumpy face is adorable in my opinion, which is surely not her intent when giving it to me, and her strong willed attitude combined with the face is one for the memory books. She also provides the entertainment of a silent tantrum and will lay face down on the floor and wait for you to react. It’s hilarious!
Favorite word/phrase:I love it, I kiss it, I hug it (about everything!) and I tired! when she’s not happy about something.
Favorite food: Harper enjoys meat more than the other two, liked plain chicken, bacon and, of course, hot dogs! She also LOVES black olives and would eat an entire can if given the opportunity.
Favorite book: Llama Llama Nighty Night (referred to as the “Potty Book”); she can quote the whole board book by memory now but will only do it when she feels like it.
Favorite song: Cocomelon’s Itsy Bitsy Spider and Shake It Off is making a comeback. She’s also on a Little Bunny Fufu kick.
Favorite show/movie: A few months ago I would have said Wreck It Ralph replaced “Pan!” in her heart but more recently she is on a big Cocomelon, Netflix’s Leap (ballalina movie as she calls it), Cinderella and Mulan kick. She is also anti-Moana and doesn’t want to watch it.
Favorite toy: her dolls and all things princess related. She enjoys playing with the American Girls dolls and towing her favorite one around. She’s also on a Cinderella kick and really likes Gus Gus the mouse (and received a stuffed one for her birthday!)
Favorite activity: coloring or watching a show. She favors black and brown and will take the time to color the enjoy paper or ornament before she’s done; she’s also the most willing to sit and watch TV, much more than her siblings. She also loves to play pretend napping, with her dolls and sisters using blankets and pillows on the floor.
Hand dominance: right hand
Dislikes: sleeping by herself, some sweets and being cold
Favored Parent: she’s a Momma’s girl for sure!!
Emerie Faye – the helper
Height: 38.2” (76% in height)
Weight: still hovering around 30 pounds (37% in weight)
Our little Baby B has turned into quite the sweet little girl. Emerie is such a helper and very willing to share with her sisters (when asked and even on her own accord) as well as clean up toys and get dressed on her own. She loves playing with blocks and building things, her purple monkey (seemingly named “Monk”) and her cabbage patch doll Sadi and loves to play pretend with them. Her towers continue to grow in height and she insists she doesn’t need help on them.
Emerie is a complete water baby and would live in the bathtub if allowed. She often gets an attitude because she doesn’t want to share her water from the spout and will fight for it at all costs! One of her favorite things is floating the wavy river at H2Oasis, near an adult but freely by herself in the water!
Patching the past six months has greatly improved; now that she is older and better understands rewards and obedience, we are able to get more time each day than when she was younger. I find that she’s a little more timid when we go places wearing it, but for the most part will still run, climb and slide at the playground. Instead of pulling it off immediately, she will ask when it’s time to remove it and wait until we say yes, which is SO helpful. The past few weeks the patch’s new home seems to be on Grandma Sue’s leggings, while she is wearing them no less, after she takes it off herself. Silly girl.
Emerie loves to read the entire Llama Llama Nighty Night book from memory; she loops one of the pages twice and it’s very endearing. She can recite her own name as well as both her parents, Grandma Sue, Papa Cliff and Uncle Will and Aunt Manda. She likes to remind her sisters not to run in the parking lot and is the only one of the three we don’t have to worry about darting out in front of a car.
Favorite word/phrase:I do it myself! and I want to sit in the middle! of the car, where she is definitely the best behaved.
Favorite food: she always downs her berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.) and as many pickles as available. And does snow count as a food? Because she is always eating that too.
Favorite book: she seems to favor the That’s Not My Llama book and most other Llama Llama series books. She randomly likes to read “Tyler book” from Christmas.
Favorite song: Jesus Loves Me or Dave and Ava’s Lola the Cow
Favorite show/movie: Pan (Tangled) and Cocomelon
Favorite toy: it used to be her tiny monkey but lately monkey is getting a little less love while she plays with “my purple sloth” and stuffed Olaf. She enjoys building with the magna-blocks and making towers all by herself or adding a handful of Little People into them.
Favorite activity: building towers, reading books one-on-one with you and wrapping up her Cabbage Patch doll Sadi and carrying her around.
Hand dominance: right hand but sometimes left
Dislikes: she will plug her ears at loud noises and her patch. She’s also in a kick right now where she doesn’t want to feed herself and wants someone to scoop up the food for her.
Favored parent: she plays pretty evenly between both of us
Reagan Jean – the comforter
Height: 39” (90% in height)
Weight: 32.6 pounds (70% in weight)
Miss Reagan still appears to be the tomboy of three and I’m interested to see how that plays out. She isn’t a huge fan of dress up, other than the occasionally sparkly tutu, and really likes to “drive” the four wheeler with Daddy. She plays with her cars and construction equipment the most and went through a phase of always ensuring one was in her coat pocket. She LOVES play dough and can sit at the table for an hour making shapes. Her coloring masterpieces are getting fancier by the week and several are hanging on the fridge once she agrees they are finished. Reagan loves playing at the water park; or, you know, running away from you there. She is also a girl after her Dad and Grandma Sue’s heart and loves any and all sweets.
Reagan expects you to focus if she is speaking to you and after a year will still hold your face in her hands and speak nose to nose. She concentrates when explaining a story and thinks out what she wants to say. She has mastered the art of getting dressed and will put on pants, socks and shirts without needing much help. If the pants have back pockets she will put them on backwards so she can use them- how well thought out is that! Toward the end of every evening, becoming tired equals a burst of energy and she often wants to climb all over everything (us) and irritate her sisters as they are calming down for the night. In general it takes her the longest to fall asleep in her bed (or at least to settle) at naps and bedtime.
Reagan continues to be the spontaneous singer and dancer and will often break into both when it suits her mood. The maternal instinct is growing for Rher too, as she now babies her stuffed animals. You will find her walking around the living room with a teddy bear wrapped in a blanket, whispering loving words to it and shushing her sisters because it’s trying to go to sleep! She will tell you baby is tired or baby doesn’t feel good and console it; her new baby doll with matching binkie is quite the hit. She will also bring toys to her sisters when they are upset and pat them on the head when she has to apologize.
Favorite word:why! But it doesn’t sound like why, more like wwwhhhyyyyyyyy….? and daddy fix it.
Favorite food: she is the biggest sweet tooth of the three but also likes lettuce, celery and bananas! She also loves Craig’s sweet pancakes and will eat several of them in one sitting and inhale the neighbor’s homemade lumpia!
Favorite book: the kid Bible and bedtime llama llama books. She loves to recite them for you.
Favorite song: she likes Cocomelon nursery rhymes and sings the ABCs a lot. She is definitely quite the little singer and breaks out into song quite often
Favorite show/movie: Tangled, Cocomelon and Leap
Favorite toy: she favors playing with cars and little people and always has one handy in her pocket; she really likes Daddy’s four-wheeler and her musical “cell-phone”
Favorite activity: play dough, paint and coloring – she is always asking to color, use markers, or paint something. She also really likes to decorate cookies and pretend cook her cake and cupcakes.
Hand dominance: right hand
Dislikes: being told no, having a voice raised in her direction, tags on any of her clothing and dress up
Favored Parent: she’s a Daddy’s girl all the way
So how are they different?
A perfect example of how different they all are- look at their magnetic block creations! Reagan really likes to make flat, 2D puzzles and strategically choose which color goes where. Harper generally makes a big stack and then runs off with them or demands more help from an adult. Emerie will start with one 3D square and collect little people to add to her castle as she expands it across the table or up to the sky. At some point, if no one destroys the creations, they usually end up all connected in some way or in a huge pile on the floor.
When we first overcame the fear of the loud four wheeler, everyone fought over sitting on Daddy’s lap for an excursion around the neighborhood. Now Emerie prefers sitting backwards on the sled and look at me while Harper and Reagan both like to “drive.” Harper discovered it’s fun to sit on an adults lap on the back of the actual four wheeler and look out too.
Everyone responds a bit differently to discipline. Reagan will straighten up with a stern voice in her direction much more than the other two will, Harper often needs a time out to miss the current activity, and Emerie responds to a combination of time-out and spanking, although she ends up with both a lot less often than her sisters. All three respond really well to positive praise and a reward system.
But not everything is different- of course there are also similarities to raising three of the same age at the same time. Everyone likes to sit in the middle car seat and fight over it, with Emerie the best behaved of the three during rides around town. Favored activities include the trampoline park, sledding, playgrounds, neighborhood walks, swinging (yes it needs its own category), baking, play dough, arts and crafts, anything with buckets and scoopers and pretend play. Everyone loves to play in the bathtub and make a huge mess on the bathroom floor. They all LOVE trash truck and snowplow visits, seeing forklifts at the store and helping hold things in a shopping cart. Moose sightings are a huge deal and worth talking about for days. Everyone loves their designated colors and fully believes they should never have to share something that is “their” color, including silverware and dishware, clothing and any type of toy/stuff animal that is pink/purple/teal. All three love to FaceTime with family and hold the phone themselves, hogging it as much as the parents will allow and running off with it to hide.
When asked what they wanted for dinner on their birthday, the overwhelming response from all three was cake!! In future years I plan to let each kiddo choose dinner one night over the course of the birthday week, but for now how can I refuse such an excited response! For the record, they didn’t each as much cake as you would have expected them to over birthday week! They did, however, pick the icing and berries off said cake.
Since you all know how smoothly the actually birthday went…we managed to finish prepping for a jump park birthday party last Sunday and it was pretty much a twin-fest up in the park for the morning. Later that night we attended our rescheduled dinner to Red Robin. The waiter and crew sang happy birthday Red Robin style and Harper, being a mini Becca, was super embarrassed, turned red and stuck her tongue out at everyone while Emerie and Reagan smiled and watched the charade with amusement. Everyone enjoyed the ice cream sundae and sprinkles.
We continue to open random presents we’ve forgotten about and it has really become a birthday week. I still can’t believe we are now in age three!!
Everyone that knows me knows I am a fan of taking pictures of everything. This “problem” has grown exponentially since having children and more and more I’m trying to resist the effort to snap a photo versus being in the moment and enjoying it. All these photos do pay off at the end of each year when I can look over the fun adventures and challenges we’ve faced as a family, as a parent, as a society; and recognize the happy and fun parts in the midst of a very interesting age two.
Here are my favorite family snapshots from March 2020 through March 2021:
The Anchorage Zoo is always a fun stop; I’m unsure if I prefer it in the summer or winter more! The summer time brings warmth and less gear to drag around, but the snow makes the experience so gorgeous on a sunny day and allows us to go without a stroller (in other words, they can’t outrun us in their snow gear!).
Best friend play dates occurred so much over this year and I owe Aunt Janelle a ton of credit for keeping me sane throughout the chaos of 2020. This is one of the few photos I have of everyone a good sport at the same time!
Grandma Sue was here for the 4th of July this year, where we went to the wildlife preserve and made a few exploration stops along the Seward Highway. It was a beautiful day to see live bears and moose and check out the mountain views. Grandma rode in the back seat and entertained the tiny minions on the drive down and back and they loved it.
I didn’t realize until looking back how very tan our household was from spending every day outside for the whole summer. The girls loved playing on the back play sets, “riding” their tricycles on the back deck and sporting swimming suits through the sprinkler pad and small pool. Maybe this summer they’ll stop yelling about the cold water! and allow us to stop dragging hot water buckets out to fill the pool.
Fun morning adventure out to the local sand dunes. Easy trek to it with three littles and a beautiful, cool but sunny day. The girls enjoyed walking in the sand without their shoes and exploring up the big hill.
Yay for neighborhood walks all spring, summer and fall. We are blessed to live in a neighborhood with multiple playgrounds, a gravel walking trail and a creek! It has gotten us through many grumpy baby days and allowed us to get some fresh air, sanity and a lot of mosquito bites.
Can’t complete a summer in Alaska without a trip to the Sealife Center. For our first, big roadtrip, it went really well! The girls loved the park along the water more than anything else other than maybe touching the starfish in the aquarium and the silly seal outside. They napped the whole way home and it was quite the fun (and tiring!) day.
This is one of my favorite photos from the whole year, the day the girls went berry picking up in Arctic Valley for the first time. We went a bit late and missed most of the wild blueberries, opting to pick a good amount of moss berries while the girls looked for any left over blueberries to eat. It was such a fun day and I can’t wait to go in 2021!
Random visits from Cousin Tyler are adored by the littles and you should see them fight over the phone for a moment to FaceTime with him.
While Halloween was a more unorthodox this year than most, we still took our little Aurora, Cinderella and Pan (Rapuzel) princesses around the neighborhood and were joined by Papa Cliff, Cousin Tyler and Uncle Will. It was cold but the the girls were good sports and enjoyed some candy at the end of the night.
Some winter days getting out of the house meant donning snow gear and heading to the dog park for a walk and snowy adventure. Most of these ended with french fries and a hot drink…
As you might imagine, it’s a rare moment to trap these four in a photo together, especially one that doesn’t include some form of flour or butter.
It didn’t take long for the girls to overcome their fear of the loud four wheeler and understand how much fun could be had on it! Constant four wheel trips around the neighborhood as well as seventeen houses down to our friends occurred throughout the winter. As their circle snow pile grew, so did the requests to visit Jessie and crew and her chickens!
Papa Cliff visits are loved by all and the girls constantly ask when he is coming to visit again. While FaceTiming almost nightly is a great way to stay in touch, they really love his visits and all want his attention and presents!
This is our only family photo on Christmas Day. We ended up shuffling the kids out the door after presents and breakfast and trekking around the neighborhood on the four wheeler and sled. Our neighbors were kind enough to snap a quick photo (note the donut trails on the ground behind us!)
Grandma Sue’s baking extravaganzas are always meant for the memory books! This includes pink donuts and pecan bars, homemade scones and dinners, mini toddler decorated pizzas, and a LOT of flour spread across the house on a daily basis. It also means some pretty great food for us to eat!
Cousin visits are the best and we love that most of Craig’s family is only a short plane ride away. Have to celebrate these times with some sweets and adventures around the city.
Walks at the nearby boardwalk, even on cold days, give the chance for the girls to search for their favorite moosie and get some fresh air. It wasn’t so long ago they were running down the plants as new runners, excited to see if they could outrun us. How fast it goes!
I will end on our Christmas village snapshot plus Kaden. Gingerbread villages, hot chocolate (and spilling it everywhere) and running around one of the local hotels turned out to be a fun morning.
Drop us a comment on any family photos you guys have over this past year that I haven’t included here!
Since the lovely quarantine kicked off right at their birthday last year, I thought it would be fun to do the top twelve photos of each kiddo at age 2, so here we go! This was originally a top ten, but of course I couldn’t decide which ones or possibly narrow it down to that number so top twelve it is.
So here are a few favorites throughout the year, in no particular order, for those of you that don’t get to see us all the time or don’t live locally. Lots of personality and attitude coming…
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
I couldn’t resist a side by side comparison of birthday # 2 with birthday #3. Check out the difference!!
It’s crazy to see how much smaller they were only a year ago, with so much less hair on their heads and words in their mouths. I can’t even imagine how many more changes we will have over the next year.
This is a year for the books. Whether that is good or bad, I will let you decide.
Looking back at photos from this time last holiday season, right before our impending 2020, the girls look SO much tinier. They advanced so much in the past twelve months, from personalities to everyday skills to talking up a storm! By the end of 2019 they were saying single words and pointing when they wanted an action, were pros at walking and running around, still ate in the triplet table and threw food constantly, started trying to use their clippy pillows and learn to buckle things, and were very unhappy to be stuffy with a cold.
This time last year we were dealing with constant ear infections, a month of colds and less than optimal sleeping habits, but also good things like play date outings with friends to pass the long mornings, littles that (for the most part) slept in until eight AM (I miss that!), and quality time with visiting family.
By the end of 2020, coordination and running full force is now easy, they climb into their dinner seats and buckle when asked (which we don’t have to do every night anymore either!), drink out of big girl cups (with lids) and use silverware, turn light switches on and off and shut doors, and go sit on the potty themselves. Our park adventures are much easier and they love to go down the slides, climb on everything and swing. While we see a lot more daily tantrums, they are also learning to ask for help when they can’t do something, tell us when they need to potty, and tell us tidbits about their day from the perspective of a toddler.
The girls etch-a-sketches from last Christmas are now replaced with coloring boards, where they ask you to help draw shapes and words. The tiny doll strollers that brought hours of enjoyment over the past year are replaced with fancier ones that boast more functions they continue to discover. The Little People houses are still used every few days; if you listen you can hear them talk to one another about the person on the potty or sitting in the chair or whatever little story they’ve conceived. Arts and crafts time is expanding to include more than just crayon eating and markers are beloved, even though they seem to always venture onto arms and legs. Requests for specific drawings is constant for whatever mood hits each day. The girls specifically ask to Facetime with Papa cliff or Lon or Grandma Sue and Anne, often demand I send a new drawing to cousin Tyler or Uncle Will, request to have park dates with friends and Auntie Janelle, and are always excited to see Oaki and Kaden, or Paris, Sage or Luca, and other adults such as “Kimmie,” or Megan and Alyssa, as much as possible. Anytime we see Nanny and Pricey everyone gets so excited. It’s a blessing we are able to maintain a small group to socialize with throughout all the craziness of the year.
Here’s a rundown on the biggest highlights for our family during 2020 (in my opinion!):
Word explosion is putting it mildly. Since the first big phrases in September 2019, we now have sentence structure, adjectives and multiple words for the same meaning. Everyone sings songs, all their ABCs and can count to 10. Harper leads the charge on sentences and the other two are on her tail.
This is a biggie. Shifting from at-home-all-day nanny care to a toddler classroom at daycare down the street was a scary mommy step for me. Luckily, the girls handled it so much better than I expected, are thriving every day, and love going to socialize and see their friends on a daily basis.
This is one of the major wins of the year! Credit is largely due to daycare initializing it and laying the foundation, since we weren’t quite ready to trigger it, and now Reagan is pretty much completely potty trained, Harper is very close to no accidents, and Emerie is getting there.
Over the past year the girls learned to color, build block towers, pretend play in their kitchen and with their dollies, go to the park without simply running off at every chance, walking to the car, swinging and going down the slides without help, swimming, driving powered cars, and putting on their own shoes and socks!
The shift to daycare was the largest routine interruption of the year, even more so than the initial pandemic shutdown last spring. While I readily admit I was NOT ready for it, overall it was a good change that allowed them out of the house when we are almost exclusively home and to socialize with a new group their age. We have made some new friends from the new experience and that must be treasured after a year like 2020! For the most part we’ve spent the past nine months without attending social engagements or mom/dad groups (that we really relied on the girls’ first year!), play dates or public kid spots like the jump park, library and recreational centers. It makes the year sound like a drag, but we made it work by testing out all the local elementary school playgrounds, finding new sledding hills, adventuring out into the wilderness and exploring creeks and trails.
Emerie had one eye surgery in June, the same week Craig was able to sneak off for two nights to have a little kid-free, much overdue four wheeling fun and we had a fun sleep over weekend with Aunt Janelle. We anticipate another surgery is right around the corner and will have an update for everyone on that in January. We survived all but the beginning and end month of the year without colds, which is impressive! We also managed to get the house and new shed painted, repaint the loft into more acceptable office colors, build a new garden bed filled with raspberries, and catch up on some minor, miscellaneous house to-dos. Hopefully a few new projects will expand in 2021; such as a kitchen update, more garden beds or a deck add-on, and maybe some new lighting. Can you tell we miss doing projects!!
It sounds silly, but my biggest change in 2020 was probably when I stopped pumping! After two years and GALLONS of milk later, it was a breath of fresh air to not have to continually worry about keeping supply up, when I could sneak in a glass of wine around my pumping schedule, and getting up earlier and staying up later to do it. I know I was very fortunate how well that whole process worked for us and the girls, but am very glad to be done. Craig’s major milestone of the year was probably getting a spot back at DPS, after several years spent in other departments. While we are both working from home a lot, it is wonderful to have job security, interesting work and coworkers we like!
Other highlights throughout the year that consist in the mind of a mother…the girls finally have HAIR!! Don’t laugh, it is a milestone after they went the first year with almost none! Looking back even a few months, it’s grown so quickly and braids are right around the corner. Another highlight is finding more time to cook meals we enjoy and bake goodies; this was on hold for 2018 and much of 2019. In fact, we (the adults anyway) skipped a lot of meals that involved any prep time when the girls were little, and it’s nice to have a little more time to commit to that. The girls are slowly starting to “help” with baking, although three sets of kid hands and an adult gets a bit cramped in the kitchen and usually ends in a fight. We will get there. The four wheeler now brings squeals of excitement rather than fear and the trashman, postman, plow and dump trucks and moose visitors are welcomed sights out the front window.
2020 has been a tough year for a variety of reasons, but then again, so was 2018 and 2019 (for us). There are plenty of parts to look back on and smile; it hasn’t all been a drag! I foresee 2021 giving us more FUN adventures, hopefully with more trips around the state to explore new activities with the girls, such as more camping, hiking, fishing, and everything in-between. It’s still going to be challenging with three in tow, but looks to be more doable than the past two years now that the girls are more grown up and occasionally listen to directions.
So happy new year to all of you who keep up to date on how we are doing! We look forward to being able to visit with many of you in-person next year…fingers crossed! And to everyone else near and far, feel free to Facetime us and let the girls see those faces and hear those voices. They love to socialize and if that is the best we can do for now…well then let’s do it!