Christmas 2020

In some ways this Christmas season proves more fun than last year; it is nicer that more activities are doable- especially when extra hands cannot visit. A few things are a real hit this time around, such as cookie and ornament decorating and getting out and about in the snow, whether that is by sled behind the four wheeler downhill at the park or simply swinging in the backyard.

Being home more this winter means I can enjoy all the snowfall from the comfort of my own house. While that is amazing and I’m quite enjoying it, it also means there are no Christmas parties to attend, no fun dinners out with friends and family, outings with Christmas lights to see on the way home, and less opportunity to socialize with anyone during the standard crafts and cooking. We haven’t come up with anything crazy to do this year, but we are slowly working toward build some family traditions to continue in years to come, such as an annual ornament to hang on the tree and holiday goodies to try. Hopefully these things will get a bit easier with age!

The girls had a holiday party at daycare last Friday; all the older kids and teachers enjoyed a pajama day while we matched the girls in red and green outfits. They had a small gift exchange, with each kiddo bringing a present in for another. Harper and Emerie came home with stuffed animals as their gift and Reagan a craft set that she really wanted to open! The girls also took cute photos with the snowman everyone built, and we were informed that Miss Harper was in timeout less that day than earlier in the week.

The word of the week is ballerina

Ornament decorating is a very well liked activity this year. So much that I ordered a large set of random, pre-made ones so we can add them to the decor. The tree is mostly bare other than lights; partly because they love pulling their creations down and examining them and partly because it’s so much effort to unpack all the normal ornaments and put them up. Each kiddo’s ornament this year is a variation of Rapunzel from Tangled. The movie isn’t on replay as much as past months but certainly still a favorite. Everyone pauses to watch any song that pops up from the movie.

So far the polar bear decorations are still hanging on the tree as well as the one we received after visiting Cabela’s Santa Claus. By the end of the month we should have a number of new displays, mostly colored in brown and black. We are still attempting to convince the ladies that Christmas colors are red and green and they don’t seem to care. Everyone also demands the addition of their name, just so they can color over it or try to “mimic” the writing. The activity has a lot of name!! Name! My name! requests throughout. I’ve been working on spelling each name out letter by letter, but whenever they join in, it always ends up being a, b, c instead of R-e-a etc. We will get there. At least they like the concept of spelling their names!

We finally put presents out about three days prior to the big day; partly because they were hidden and still unwrapped and partly because I wasn’t sure how smart it was to make them visible for curious little eyes and hands. The girls immediately wanted to know what the hanging stockings were and went to pull out the gifts wrapped in Olaf paper. At first they were convinced the stockings were from Papa Cliff and not Grandma Anne’s handiwork! After explanations and a few times demanding the boxes be returned under the tree again, they haven’t really bothered them. Every night we say how many sleeps are left until we can open them and that seems to satisfy the questions.

The first attempt at cookie decorating earlier in the month resulted in three toddlers that resembled the cookie monster and ran around energetically afterwards. After a little discouragement on my part, we gave it another go and it went much better, this time using already iced gingerbread (that took me two weeks to actually bake) and letting the girls choose the shapes to masterpiece. My theory behind shape choices was small sizes and recognizable things, such as stars, trees, snowmen, polar bears and little gingerbread people…I also threw a few airplanes in the mix for me!

I expected Harper to excel at this the most, given her love of coloring and ornament decorating, but Reagan ended up really loving the craft. Harper decorated and was happy to accept additional cookies to do…like a machine, always speeding through! Emerie pretty much sat there and sampled one sprinkle at a time until the plate was mostly empty, then started licking the frosting off the cookies. Reagan concentrated and wanted to perfect her two star cookies- she insisted mommy not finished anytime I tried to add more. It took a few days before anyone trusted that the cookies were edible but eventually they started snacking on them and not just licking off the frosting.

We also frosted upside down ice cream cones into fancy little Christmas trees, which was thoroughly enjoyable and cute! this is a fantastic little craft to try with the littles, just remember to frost the bottom with some “snow” so they don’t fall over. They are still sitting on the counter, cute as can be.

And yes, if you are wondering, I did not label their photos below wrong- Harper and Reagan are wearing opposite of the normal colors, but both Frozen themed! I was highly impressed how clean the end result was; I expected icing and sprinkles everywhere and it wasn’t too bad overall. Definitely acceptable!

Our visit with Santa this year was unexpectedly smooth and without any tears. I thoroughly enjoyed the screaming rage (and photo) last year so I was a little disappointed, but I’m guessing if placed on Santa’s actual lap they wouldn’t have liked it. COVID rules enforced sitting in front of clear plexiglass with Santa safely behind, so no scary contact was required. Excluding the fact they only wanted to look at was the flashing ceiling lights after every flash, they did pretty well. Afterwards we looked at the fish; an activity far more impactful on discussions that afternoon about our day. It also cracks me up that two years in a row we’ve been in line behind our same twin friends, completely coincidentally!

We cleaned out the garage (again) to make more space to move around and brought the foot pedaling and auto ones out. We haven’t driven the push button ones since snow stuck in October, after only five minutes the girls already displayed their increased skill and directional awareness! Throughout the fall all three would venture down the street, excited with their newfound button power, but they hardly ever concentrated on what they drove toward. Now they turn and pay more attention to obstacles in front of them. After a few days the circle was discovered and eventually all three followed each other around excitedly.

With the Christmas season returns the love of our good friend Tay Tay (Taylor Swift). Out of the blue the other morning everyone wanted to listen to Shake It Off and are now continuously asking to play it in the car, on the way to school and for a dance party in the evenings. Harper even specifically asks for a dance party!

Our big outing this holiday season was venturing downtown on Christmas Eve for a run through the Captain Cook Hotel and gingerbread village. Unsure how well they would behave, we broke out the strollers and let them run after we’d wandered a bit (and visited the bathroom times three). If I’ve never mentioned it, we almost always make a toddler bathroom stop if we actual go somewhere indoors and the girls are extremely afraid of the loud, automatic toilets. Anyone else have this issue??

We looked at the fancy village and the girls interacted with the pretend Santa and beautiful Christmas trees and we attempted to do a family photo (keyword attempted). One of the nice ladies in the lobby made five hot chocolates and gave everyone a tiny, snowman cookie. The snack was enjoyed by all and then we watched five toddlers sprint down the halls, giggling and burning energy. I’ll also note they did a GREAT job wearing their masks, something we have practiced very little since we barely go to any public (indoor) places, AND all climbed back into the strollers when asked to do so.

We played with some friends up until nap time and colored a few more ornaments. It was easier to not venture out in the evening and attempt a Christmas Eve church service, especially after the battle of dinner eating, and opted to open a single Christmas present and watch a Christmas kids show. They understood the present opening concept quickly and did really well. The tiny, yarn dollies were a hit, carried around for the rest of the evening and snuggled in bed overnight.

A few gifts were strategically placed in the living room as the girls wrestled going to bed. Everyone was tired from a very interactive day and ended up going to bed a bit early, after watching a cute show with three (pink, blue and yellow) kittens. Everything in threes!


Christmas Day

Christmas Day started at about 8 AM, which anymore is quite a win. Everyone started off the morning with a mini jump fest on our bed, a first for them, and we made our way downstairs to see what Santa had in store. It was nothing too crazy, but still some fun, new things to enjoy throughout the winter. Harper immediately noticed the new princess doll dresses and picked up Emerie and Reagan’s dolls and hand delivered them to each of her sisters before picking up her own, commenting so pretty! Craig set up the new doll high chairs from Grandma Sue and Papa Lon at the kitchen table, putting a Cabbage Patch doll in each, and those entertained for a good part of the free play morning. Those chairs are now attached to the kid kitchen with some form of a furry friend eating off a plate.

My best attempt at a pre-gift opening photo

The girls excitedly wanted to open gifts, so after a cup of coffee was poured, they pulled everything out from under the tree and into a pile. I attempted to wrap things in threes, since most gifts had a small variation for each kiddo, whether that was in their colors or similar toys. The theory was to convince the tiny minions to simultaneously open the similar gifts and minimize the fighting and arguing. Of course I forgot to label whose was whose on the big, Frozen wrapped ones they’ve been asking to open all week, so we deferred them until a little later into the activity.

Overall they did a great job ripping open the paper and checking out new toys. I mean it’s clearly a natural kid skill that requires no explanation. There was almost no fighting throughout, which was surprising, and they especially liked the Moana, Elsa and Rapunzel dolls, the pink makeup kits (x3) from Aunt Jenny and Uncle Keegan, and wearing my new Xtra Tuff books around the room. Emerie carried the wooden lipstick around for the rest of the day, with Reagan helping her zip it into a coat pocket when we went outside. Harper happily played with the new dolls and snuggled on the couch to some Cocomelon while Reagan played with a little of everything.

Driving toddlers!

We ventured outside twice that morning, first to drive the auto cars down the smooth, iced street and later to loop the neighborhood on the four wheeler with our neighbor kids and deliver some decorated ornaments. It took a few minutes to get out of the house but once outside, everyone listened well and had fun. I pulled out one of the stocking stuffers early (since we didn’t get to them yet) and gave each kiddo a new hat, a yellow for Emerie, teal/greenish for Reagan (although I have a second purple one for her later since she likes it) and a solid black for Harper. Everyone rocked their hats for our outdoor fun.

The cars did decently on the flat, icy areas, but required a little bit of adult foot muscle whenever the road became rougher. We made it about six houses before we turned back, and in true parenting style, walked the end carrying the cars while the children laughed and ran full blast.

After a good nap everyone turned up the grumpiness scale, meaning a quick dinner (delivered by our amazing neighbors!) with toddlers not participating and a grumpy evening overall. Harper refused not only the entire meal but even the sparkling grape juice for the occasion, while the other two only wanted to drink that and not eat anything. Reagan snacked on the lumpia and that was about it. The past week or so the girls seem to eat a huge breakfast and decent lunch but then are uninterested in anything at dinnertime. Hopefully it’s just a phase because they are clearly continuing to grow!

The girls kept saying I want a bido later in the afternoon and it took me a bit to figure out what in the world they meant. Cousin Tyler taught them how to wrap themselves up in blankets like burritos, hence the “bido”. I got three June and January blankets for them for Christmas, two purple and a pink for Harper, and the stretchy material inspired their excited for burrito wrapping (see Emie below!). We also opened stockings and played with those toys a bit but decided to hold on the remaining few presents that remained under the tree.

While I assume this particular grumpines stems from a busy two days and a lot of excitement from presents, we did get a few minutes of couch snuggles before bedtime. The girls continued to tell us Christmas was over after the presents, not understanding it is more than that. They also seem to believe it is limited to the living room, where the decorations and tree live- we are working on that. It was a pretty uneventful day, but all-in-all pretty decent for 2020 and the girls enjoyed themselves. While I’m disappointed to make it all day without a good picture with all three girls, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Hopefully next year we can celebrate with more family and social visits.

Merry Christmas everyone! ❤

October Memories

I’m continuing to really enjoy the random, silly things that the girls surprise us with each day. You just never know exactly what it will entail; I think that is part of the fun. Something crazy or hilarious is always right around the corner, you just have to take the time to appreciate and remember it, or in my case, write it down before my brain erases that it ever happened. Other small maturities help make our daily lives a bit easier and are most appreciated. For example, Craig and I walked our normal 1.5 mile loop around the house last night, but instead of keeping the girls in the strollers the entire time, we let them walk the wooded portion and look for sticks and pine cones. Over the summer freedom to walk was only prompted if friends walked with us and outnumbered them (imagine herding cats to walk on a trail- that is a similar…); this was the first time we did it solo and they did AMAZING. At the end of the trail Harper and Emerie voluntarily climbed back into their seats and puled the blanket up; we have a little more work with Miss Reagan, who tried to outrun Daddy and didn’t want to sit back down. This sounds like a small step forward but really, this improvement is soooo nice.

Here are some of the random happenings in the Douglets household as we wrap up our fall season and head (excitedly) into wintertime.

2.5 Year Update

Toddler Conversations

The children are starting to become conversationalists on a number of new topics, emotions and opinions. The leader of the communication pack (at this moment) is Harper, who is growing increasingly good at stringing together full sentences and phrases and throwing adjectives in with it! She commonly states things like I want to go potty, Mom, I want to wash my hands, or my current favorite regarding her sisters, saying she touched me Mom. Mom she touched me! Mooooommmm. She will repeat that sentence over and over until you acknowledge her complaint. Emerie is part of the politeness police, ensuring she says please and (more often) thank you, or responding with no thank you to anything she doesn’t want. She likes to randomly whisper to us that someone farted, usually followed up with a farted like daddy (which is hilarious!!). What beautiful memories. Her constant response of yeah is now replaced with an affirming yes when you ask her something. She is also the one that reminds her sisters to bring the forgotten teddyor stuffed animal downstairs, and will adamantly DEMAND they take it or she will insist on bringing it herself. While Reagan may not be as much of a conversationalist as either of her sisters, she is definitely a singer and randomly breaks out into song throughout the day. This rule does not apply upon request; if you ask her to sing she might do a bar but then goes quiet; it has to be on her terms! She is also exceptional at telling us when she needs to potty and has those bodily functions down! The other day she also asked if she could do something for two more minutes– it cracks me up she is now negotiating with the adults in her life, which I know is only going to happen more and more as time goes on. She will also tell you who her boyfriend is if you ask, but I’ll leave that new for her to tell you.

We are working on the trading concept now- when Emerie’s precious monkey is taken by Reagan, she can trade another stuffed animal to get it back without a full on sibling disagreement and often without adult intervention. It doesn’t always work, but it is a noticeable change that they somewhat understand the concept and apply it when they want something in their sister’s possession. Progress. They also encourage each other to cleanup (Emerie usually instigates but Harper and Ray are starting to do it more), singing the song the entire time. We are making GREAT progress in this area.

Craig drops the girls off at daycare each morning, as it is on his way to work and I’m still working from home. After loading in the car seats, Emerie always requests a goodbye kiss; the other two recently picked up on the idea and now ask for it as well. We seem to load them the same each morning, with Craig taking Harper out first and putting her in the middle seat while I keep coats on the other two, then he puts Em in the seat behind him (it’s easier to patch her eye on this side when he arrives at the school), and I load Reagan up on “her side.” Reagan receives her kiss as she comments that they are going to school to see Madi and Dina (Diana, both their teachers) and I have to go around and plant one on Emerie or she gets demanding. She will then remind me to climb up and give one to Harper.

We went out to dinner at Red Robin the other night (just the five of us!). My more observant children excitedly shrieked through the restaurant at the “monkey” (actually the robin) standing in the restaurant lobby (we didn’t argue semantics here) and the carousel horse mounted across the room by another table, who they decided was Max from Tangled because he was white with a fancy saddle. Throughout dinner all three kept pointing at the “monkey” and telling us he was wearing shoes. Monkey shoes! Monkey shoes off? No shoes, monkey. It was pretty hilarious to hear this in between french fry munching and apple juice sipping. They also randomly re-noticed Max’s presence and shrieked that information out to all the tables on our side of the restaurant.

And the last gem on the new, toddler conversations in our house- Auntie Megan, who we play with constantly because the girls adore her boys, taught the girls about some new body parts that differ from theirs. This happened out of a diaper change, because every toddler in the house must participate in them and provide their inputs; she explained that boys have a penis and girls have a “gina”. Well, if you must know, this is a very hot topic in our household now that is randomly brought up day-to-day. One of those random times happened to be while we were at Fred Meyer last weekend and to my dismay (and delight, not sure?), all three were chanting daddy-penis, mommy-penis, rather loudly I might add, across the store. I could see the smiles and chuckles of passer-bys through their masks, as we headed for the checkout line at a bit faster pace! At some point they might accept that mommy does not have that equipment, similarly neither do they, but apparently that is not for my age two beauties. Silver lining of that shopping trip…we made it through the whole shopping experience without any diapers on or accidents!

Coloring

The girls bring home random “art displays” a couple of days each week from school. Since they are in two different classes, they don’t always come home with the same thing or on the same days. I noticed the other day that all three happened to color the same sheet; it made me chuckle how different they all look. See for yourself:

They all ask to color more often now, with Reagan seemingly the most lately, followed by Emerie and Harper. And yet, with that methodology and looking at the pages above, you would think Harper would be asking the most, as she was definitely the most dedicated to coloring that animal and this is not the first time. It’s interesting to see the differences between the three; after all, they are all individuals!

Also, if you wanted to know, Harper is going through the color black phase, just like I apparently did as a toddler. She wants black bows in her hair, the black crayon; she keeps asking for black! When given the choice of silverware color at dinner, she always asks for the blue one (occasionally her pink color), but I am certain if I had a black option she would pick it. Emerie likes her purple more so than anything else and doesn’t like the others to wear her coats and hats; Reagan often wants to take the purple from Emerie! I’m pretty sure purple is her favorite color at this snapshot in time, although she also likes green and orange colored jellybeans.

New Friends

As we continue subliminal binky weaning, which are now confined to the bedroom for sleep activities now, I feel as though I’ve been “stuffing” stuffed animals down their throats (see what I did there?) as a replacement. We are making great strides in this area, and the girls are allowed to take one animal of their choosing to daycare each day, mostly for snuggle time during their nap. Their preference varies each day for Harper and Reagan; Emerie brings the same one every time. For a couple of months this meant the stuffed pink bear for Harper and the white one for Reagan that I received at my work baby shower. The third animal was a soft elephant- not the one Emerie wanted because she wanted a bear like her sisters. This led to buying three new teddy bears that were a combination of pink/purple/teal, which lasted a little while, but the girls never loved on them as much as their original bears. Emerie then latched onto a pink “beany boo” piggie with big, purple eyes, so much that we had to buy a second one because Harper was quite insistent a pink pig should be hers. Fast forward a few more weeks and Emerie discovered her newest and most treasured companion, the purple tie-dye “beany boo” monkey. Monkey goes everywhere with her and has replaced any stuffed pig or teddy bear in her heart. It helps her flush the toilet, eat dinner, sit in the car, snuggle at bedtime and do all the other playtime toddler activities. I am currently trying to find two other similar, small stuffed animals to keep the other two from stealing her precious playmate.

Monkey goes everywhere with Em, including the potty!

Other preferred companions consist of the pig and chicken from Moana, a few soft, black teddy bears from Cousin Gabe, a stuffed sloth, and new Cabbage Patch dolls, whose names are CiCi, Stella, and Sadi according to their labels. It’s adorable to hear the girls yell where is Cici!? hi Cici. Sadi in time-out. Stella, no. They are working on potty training the dolls. I will often turn around to all three instructing their “kiddos” on the potty chairs in the living room, which sometimes results in cleaning them in the washer…

Reagan likes to snuggle with all of Emerie’s purple animals and has a very demanding regiment each night that often ends in toddler rage if she can’t get it exactly how she wants. It usually ends with a blanket wrapped fully around her body and over her head like a hood; then she HAS to either sit on the couch with Craig or I or sit at Craig’s feet on the floor. Harper is happy snuggling under a blanket with me and watching whatever movie is on, while Emerie rotates between her parents on who she feels like snuggling with that night. Everyone munches on apple pieces and explains whatever we are watching. It is by far the girls’ calmest moment of the day and one of my favorite parts.

Toddler Adventures

Another memorable moment from this month- Emerie managed to lock herself in the upstairs bathroom as I was putting the other two in their cribs for bed. We learned in this moment that neither of us know how to pick this type of lock; after about five minutes of a stressed out and crying two year old on the other side of the door, she managed to flip the lock back herself. Thank God!! A little YouTubing by Craig and now we know how to unlock it. Even more than a week later, Harper and Reagan still comment that Emi locked the door, Emi pushed the “button”, and so on. Apparently it was quite memorable for them too.

Harper’s latest thing is sipping juice or taking a bite of food and then spitting it back out onto the table. Then, in true toddler style, she will sip that juice off the table and repeat the process. Have I mentioned lately that toddlers are gross?

We went swimming for the first time since March’s quarantine and took the girls for their first visit to H2Oasis. Going right at opening meant we had the place to ourselves, which was great. We discovered that Emerie is our main water baby now (it was Reagan when they were little in the bath), so much so she even floated the river on her own (with arm floaties on) without us holding onto her. Harper was holding onto an adult for dear life and Reagan was happy to sit in the inter-tube and collect the rubber duckies. they were all a bit hesitant to go down the small water slides unless sitting on your lap but all enjoyed walking around the shallow areas. We also made 200+ trips to the bathroom throughout the two hour visit, because they HAD to pee in the regular potty and not in their swim diapers. Overall it was a great visit that resulted in some happy toddlers; we will have to go again.

Pumpkin Carving

One night Nanny came over for dinner, playtime and some pumpkin carving. Reagan received a little one-on-one time while we took the other two for their flu shots (she already had hers). Extremely excited toddlers shrieked as much as the dog at her arrival and were mostly cooperative for the pumpkin crafting. We gave them markers to “draw” faces on their mini pumpkins, which really meant slightly marking the pumpkins and majorly drawing on themselves. It came off…eventually.

We put up a few fall decorations this year, which was more than I can say for the last two years. Craig put the Halloween pillowcases on and Reagan was quite impressed, telling us new pillows over and over for a couple of days. I believe the orange lights hung on the fireplace finally prompted the learning of the color orange, which is not a key color in this house so they’ve ignored it to date. Now Harper and Reagan always seem to want the orange jellybean when given a choice of color.

All in all, the pumpkins turned out pretty cute and the girls willingly participated in a photo on the porch. Most of that credit can be given to Craig and Nanny for their knife skills.

Dentist Take Over

We had our first triple dentist visit, figuring it would be more time efficient to take all three simultaneously than by individual appointments. We opted to take the double stroller in and carry kid number three; this way two were strapped in and accounted for while the third had teeth checked. We let them run on the way out of the office and they were more than excited for that.

The car ride over consisted of discussion about showing our teeth to the dentist, smiling and opening your mouth wide, but that wasn’t enough for them to cooperate and do that at the appointment. Emerie went first, figuring she would be cooperative because she’s a pro at her eye doctor visits. Unfortunately, she was not having it and screamed and fought it every moment. Her turn was very quick! Second up was Reagan, who remained chill and let him look in her mouth AND brush her teeth and everything. This is a pretty typical doctor visit attitude for her, unless you are messing with her ears. Harper went last, since she is typically the most anti-doctor (and goes to the doctor the least so that’s good) and because she hated the last dentist visit after chipping two teeth. Surprisingly she did great and smiled and let him brush her teeth without too much attitude. Kudos to the Libby Group for surviving a triplet appointment with minimal meltdowns from the children or adults!

We are looking forward to our last fall adventure for this year, Halloween, and jumping into the holiday season. While I already want to put Christmas lights up, rest assured I will at least hold out until Thanksgiving!

Egging Us On

Typical Easter routines this year are changed for many families across the country (and world), due to quarantining at home. We spent this time last year at home almost exactly as this year will play out, doing a basic egg hunt for our (then) just starting to walk toddlers, and of course munching on some candies and doing crafts! This year is far more exciting to me, because egg hunting will be a much more exciting experience for the girls.

I purchased Easter basket goodies the same time I bought all the birthday decorations, not suspecting all events would be canceled shortly after. The best part about the girls having a March birthday? All the Easter and spring inspired decorations and cute spring clothing are pink, purple, and teal pastels. Finding things for each color is very easy, including perfect dresses party favors, and gifts for their baskets.

Week three of quarantine slanted toward the calmer side of week one…thankfully. Feeling a little more like my pre-kiddo self- for those of you that don’t know me that means a little more cooking and crafting than I’ve done the past two years- and trying to come up with fun things to do while also accomplishing things around the house (my life goal each day is to stay caught up with laundry and go to bed with an empty kitchen sink). This included fancy brownies (that means with icing), a few new crafts to try, actual cooked meals (usually I defer to Craig, he’s better at it), and getting small household things like vacuuming under the cribs and cleaning up the moose poop in the front yard.

Working from home allows me to hear some of the fun, inner workings of a typical day with “nanny.” At one point I heard Emerie playing along with Chris as she sang the ABC song; each time she paused Emerie would say the next letter. Craig tried that later on that night and she wouldn’t do it for us! Reagan will sing along to the song and Harper is starting to hum different theme songs and she’s pretty good at Baby Shark.

We are working on our numbers at bedtime, reading the same book on repeat, that counts from ten to one with animals and stars. Emerie is convinced all numbers are nine, Harper continues to just throw crib toys at me, and Reagan yells nigh night on the last page. They all love page six, which has the monkeys.

The celebrity items for the week are 1) nanny’s truck, 2) stars (on the nightlight projector, 3) the word “no”, 4) Tay Tay music and 5) chalk. Off and on all day you hear nanny truck! with pointing outside.

A few new house rules, according to the girls, are: 1) Craig is the bottle holder during evening routine, 2) I must sit with them as they drink (these days are numbered, as we should already be off that pre-bed time feed), 3) boots can be worn throughout the day and should never require socks, 4) coats/hats must immediately be removed in the house or total, triple meltdowns, 5) every bath time should involve suction cups or crayons, 6) Baby Shark must be played multiple times, and 7) anything visible on the back deck, gross or otherwise, is fair game to taste test. Yes, this included the frozen dog puke, which they all tried to lick and cried when I stopped them!

A few implemented parent rules? 1) Everyone gets to nap, whether they cooperate or not, they are staying in bed for at least an hour, 2) if dinner plates are picked up, the food is taken away, and 3) daily outside time is required. Harper has not napped well the past two weeks, but will begrudgingly stay in her crib while Emerie sleeps through the whining. We are also working on hand holding, especially walking around with them as opposed to carrying them. Harper does not like this unless she’s walking across snow, but the other two are pretty decent with it. Emerie likes to insist you hold hands so she can lead you places.

Harper singing

Another fun thing to note from this week; the girls are starting to understand their singing voices; this includes humming random songs like Twinkle Twinkle and Baby Shark. Harper is really coming in her element and singing along after songs on television, but when we try to sing ABC with her, she literally says no after every. single. letter. A- no! B- no! C- no! and repeat. All three will sing parts of Baby Shark and the do do dos and then demand we play the actual song. They are also starting to pick up on the shark motions and do them.

In the past week, we’ve had two successful nights at potty training. Do not mistake the level of effort on this…in fact, because life is completely centralized at home (100% for me and the girls and just work outside the house for Craig), we are taking no drastic measures to change anything that could disrupt the routine that keeps us functioning. That being said, why not dabble a little here and there with the impending potty chairs and underwear and get comfortable with it without a bunch of pressure? So two nights in a row, after bath time, Harper wowed us by sitting on the potty until she went (five plus minutes each night!). Emerie ran around a bit, sat for a moment and went once! She was very proud to receive the M&M. Reagan was much too busy with the nearby sound machine to sit still and try it, but is still the most vocal of the three about a dirty diaper.

One thing I really wish we could do more of with the kiddos, because we see our singleton friends doing it and I always imagined it with my own kiddos, is cooking and baking. We are a very baking friendly household, both Craig and I grew up making things from scratch. With three, close proximity or sitting on the counter usually results in fighting over things, grabbing something that is breakable or inedible, or making food preparation very difficult when everyone wants to “help.” So we haven’t done this very much. One morning over the weekend Craig put all three small and very messy helpers on the counter while making breakfast. They thoroughly enjoyed watching the pancakes cook on the stove, out of arm’s reach of course, and tried to touch everything on the counter. They loved the new opportunity…until it was time to get down and eat breakfast, that is!

Easter Day x 3

We started off the morning with bright eyed girls who slept in long enough for me to set up the egg hunt for later that morning. I pulled out the fancy toddler table and chair set, the one we can’t leave out because they insist on climbing and standing on it, and prepped the Easter baskets. Not only did the girls actually sit at the table and explore their baskets, but they even ate a small portion of the breakfast we ordered from Southside Grill. There was definitely a great amount of “sit down on your chair” and “get down!” throughout the meal; I still call that progress.

The baskets consisted of little Target knick knacks, color coordinated eggs filled with scented play dough and stencils, a pair of flip flops, and tiny chicks that peep (that they did not find interesting at all!). Everyone immediately hated the flip flops on their feet so those will be saved for later this summer. The play dough was used several times over the course of the day, with everyone enthusiastically watching us cut them into shapes and mashing them together. I’m pretty sure there are bits of dough beaten into the floor all over the living room, but at least they had fun!

After breakfast, everyone received pig tails (refusing the bows I pulled from the baskets) and dressed in their Easter outfits, which remained relaxed since we had no plans to go anywhere and it isn’t actually spring here yet. That means June and January polka dot dresses over warm onesies, purchased so long ago I can’t remember when I did it, and adorable gingham printed capris (from primary.com) and booties.

The egg hunt was quite the success! The emptied Easter baskets were refilled down in the family room, with the girls picking up on the activity pretty quickly and enthusiastically running around the room and climbing under things to find them. Overall the fighting was minimal and only a few times did someone take eggs from another’s basket. No one realized goodies were inside the eggs until all were picked up and we “cracked” open the first one, highlighting a goldfish! The next few minutes were filled with exciting toddlers wanting ALL the eggs opened immediately and stuffing their faces. Since I assumed this is what would happen, eggs only contained a small treat, a goldfish or a marshmallow. All in all, we had very satisfied customers!

The rest of the day progressed pretty uneventfully. We all played and played…with the eggs, the play dough and stencils, around the house and outside. It was nice and relaxed and laid back, despite the dreary weather.

Uncle William came over to enjoy some steak at dinner and the girls happily repeated Uncle for the rest of the evening. They also “showed” him how to use the play dough at their little table and how to mash different colors together. That activity lasted quite a long time; once they started standing on it, back to the garage it went for another day! We all ate at the dinner table like grown ups, although the girls weren’t that into the food. They were, however, very much willing to eat their entire mini chocolate bunny and cover their hands and faces in a full layer of chocolate. Even Harper, who likes sweets the least, went all in and devoured the entire thing.

I hope everyone had a wonderful and cozy Easter, spending time at home with their loved ones!

Hunker Down: Week 2

How can those adorable faces be so mischievous?!

This week is all about my toddlers living their best toddler life. And by that, I mean major shenanigans, tiny adventures, learning how to be mischievous, and everything in between.

Harper and Reagan are now talking a lot more and expanding their vocabularies; Emerie continues to mimic all the words you give her. The main word for this week is no and mermaid. Do you a want timeout? No! Do you want more food? No! Do you want to come inside? No! Do you want your diaper changed? No! (but it really means yes but they still want to run from you)

Saying her words!

They now call William Uncle, it’s really cute; and are finally starting to say Grandma after months of coaxing. It has taken much convincing!

Bedtime routine consists of sister chatting, reading the bedtime book while they throw stuff animals at us and then snuggle down in bed, and using the new nightlight from their birthday. It has multiple projector settings with a swirl of colorful stars! Different settings seem to interest them greatly, but we’ve found that settling is more difficult for Reagan when they are shifting around the room in red and blue. White, not-rotating stars seem to be accommodate going to sleep.

I can sum this week up with two words: mischievous and wild. More personality traits are emerging in each and they are maturing into sensitive, high energy, smarty pants toddlers. For example, Emerie is now mischievously sneaking off to places out of sight (like the play castle or caterpillar, and taking the time to pull of her glasses and patch before re-emerging like nothing ever happened. She’s started doing this for just her glasses as well; but is slowly learning if a stern voice threatens her with timeout, she will go find said glasses and try to put them back on. It’s quite a lot of effort to keep track of them (and I don’t mean the kids on this one haha). We’ve also taken to small rewards when she does obey, find the glasses, and put them back on her face. She especially enjoys an M&M or a marshmallow.

On my solo Friday off, mischievous Reagan showed Emerie how to climb out of her crib as I brought Harper downstairs. I found both of them standing on the changing pad area of the crib, looking out the bedroom window and giggling. Luckily she hasn’t tried it again, but I’m sure she’s saving that for another day. On the flip side, a post bath time Reagan climbed back into Emerie’s crib and lost her mind that she was again contained, even when she put herself there. Toddlers…

Mischievous Harper keeps finding the dog food…no matter where we put it! I guess there are some healthy elements in it and, as typical, she goes at it 100%, grabbing full handfuls. On the table, back porch, stairs…she b-lines straight to it at every opportunity.

Other fun mischievous things for the week: climbing out of the bathtub without permission, running out the front door and toward the street, pulling off diapers and running around, and yes, poop… Bolting the front door is now a necessity and we probably need to invest in another lock to add- all three have dashed out the front at one point; luckily a parent was close by or they were running out to welcome Daddy home.

It’s been a while since a poop incident…so I guess we were overdue. While working away on my laptop, upstairs and out of sight of children, I hear some commotion downstairs regarding diapers. Apparently, our almost-ready-to-potty-train Reagan removed her pants and diaper and proceeded to take a nice #2 bathroom break on the floor behind the play castle. The area is out of view and private from most of the room and between the castle and front living room windows, making it the perfect spot to be up to no good! Now, of course, when you have three toddlers and one of them is doing something they shouldn’t, it’s a given that the other two will get in on it. So both Emerie and Harper walked through it; thankfully they had socks on, but gross! Harper also had it all over her hands and kept repeating yucky! And Emerie? Well, she was walking around, repeating oh shit, oh shit later that afternoon. I mean, we knew that would happen eventually…right? I choose to blame that one on Craig. Anyway, it was quite the commotion to get Reagan’s diaper back on. Oh so fun. Poor Nanny.

The girls now try to participate during diaper changes and often point at their sister and repeat yucky. They wish to help facilitate the change, grabbing diapers, any and all accessible wipes, pulling on sisters’ clothes, climbing on the parent, all of it. That help also means taking a diaper, opening it and holding it up to their sister, and giggling. With the changing area open to the whole room now, the girls try to beat on the sister that’s momentarily immobile…or the occasional rare moment where I can convince all three to give kisses. That’s only happened once and I wish I had captured it on film, but I didn’t have my phone handy.

To continue the potty theme, after coloring in the shower for a few that evening, on a whim I put everyone on potty chairs. Knowing ahead of time this usually ends messily, we let them run around in the nursery before pajama time. Two successfully peed on/next to the potty (well kinda- missed mostly but they were sitting on it!) and one went right on the floor…her trend for the day (and I’m sure you can guess who). So yes, enough if that. And I didn’t take any photos…you’re welcome.

We attempted this again another night and had one success! Harper got an M&M for it, wowed her audience (Emerie and Reagan), AND to commemorate the joyous achievement, threw the chair full of pee at Craig. So funny.

For the wild portion of the week, we make it a point to burn as much energy as physically possible during awake hours, especially being at home all the time. This has improved napping for the most part. Reagan has been sleeping on the guest room bed and we’re finding she takes a two hour nap when no one interrupts her in the middle of it. This means she actually likes sleep as long as it’s steady; something that’s been questioned the past year. It’s almost as if she’s flipped with Harper, who is having a harder time settling herself this month, waking up multiple times during a nap and having a hard time going back down. Emerie is a rock star, napping through Harper’s insistence to get up, AND for the most part sleeping all night! If she does awake in the midst of the night, she easily settles with a snuggle and sometimes a bottle, going right back to sleep after. The other night she even laid back down by instruction when we snagged the other (screaming) two.

Finding more ways to enjoy magnets!

My solo Friday went decently and the girls were in jolly moods- we played outside twice in the morning with the fresh, wet (April) snow. They made snowballs, played in their snow covered cars and “helped” me shovel the deck.

For the most part, the day went without a hitch until the mailman rang the doorbell twice, smack in the middle of nap time, waking up Harper. Emerie didn’t nap at all but was in her crib almost an hour and a half, with the doorbell going off the last straw. Very frustrating, since we have a sign that reminds visitors not to wake sleeping babies or ring the doorbell. Our typical mailman (mailwoman?) is great and never wakes the kids. It’s the small things that can have such a big impact on the day, you know? Ruining a nap may seem small, but it’s the only hour of sanity I get in the 12+ hours everyone is awake.

As most moms are, I’ve been scanning the internet for creative crafts and new activities to keep the kids interested and engaged throughout the day. I cooked mac and cheese again with all three colors this time and the girls liked to point out the differences. Emerie commented Harper for the pink noodles, and everyone is improving on repeating the real colors back to you.

I also attempted a Facebook craft video using empty rolls of toilet paper. It lasted all of five minutes before little hands tore it to shreds, but they were definitely entertained well into the afternoon just playing with the ping pong balls and toilet paper rolls. I think we will find a way to reinforce it so they can’t tear it down- that will provide a great deal more entertainment. Who knew gravity was so exciting?!

Other WILD traits for the week including running around the house with doll strollers and the driveway with chalk, riding tricycles, and dragging me around the main floor by my hands, which prompted a good twenty minutes of laughs and lots of steps for me. A few nights consisted of very grumpy toddlers, even after good naps and overall days, and overnight sleep is about the same.

All in all, this week was more chaotic than our first seven days in “hunker down” mode, which went pretty smoothly in terms of triplets, Here’s to hoping week three is calmer than this one; and if not, a few more glasses of wine and batches of no bake cookies should do the trick. We finished off the week with 30+ hours of triple grumpy toddlers, for no major reason that we could tell. Even with decent naps and some decent meals, they were all GRUMPS. So please, let spring show up so we can start spending hours outside in the sun and heat (warmth?!) to burn that energy and have some happier children.

Hunker Down: Week 1

Last week was my first week teleworking, at least since I was six months pregnant with the girls. My prior at-home working experience consisted of a quiet house, comfy armchair, minimal movement and my laptop and was a great two months, minus the lack of comfort of carrying three babies.

My work goal was to stay out of sight of the kiddos while the nanny kept them entertained and alive. All in all, that part went pretty great and was a nice break for me, since I could focus on work from the comfort of my own house!

With a few days warming up over forty degrees, we handled the cabin fever with afternoon walks and a couple stops at one of the hidden gem parks in our neighborhood. It was great to get out of the house and enjoy the sun while letting the girls burn some energy climbing the equipment and digging out the rocks that weren’t frozen. Even with the nice weather, the park was mostly empty of kids, which was great!

I was hopeful the warmth would continue for the weekend, but nope! The girls last about ten minutes outside on Saturday, having insisted they wanted to go by donning their boots and hats and trying unassisted to put on their coats before screaming in frustration. The cold wind won quickly, but not before this ADORABLE video of what I assume will be how Harper drives at age 16. I mean, after all, she is the sprinter of the house.

Other random things from our first week of solitude included toddler crafting, exploring new parts of the house and outside, and continuing to learn new life skills. Everyone is enthusiastically learning to put socks and pants on without help, but until the skill is mastered the frustrated rage continues. The girls saw their first house fly- a big one- and that meant several minutes watching it buzz against the window, with everyone trying to climb the armchair and catch it. Impressively enough, Harper eventually managed to catch grasp it in her hand!

With the living room no longer under toddler blockade, the front windows are now accessible and a whole new world of “ouwsi” (outside) is available to view. This includes the random moose visits, flocks of birds in the trees, people watching and hollering about any and all dog walking. It also apparently includes watching dinosaurs walk by- someone was pushing their kid and fully decked out as a t-Rex. The girls didn’t know how to feel about that one, but encouraged the dogs to whine and bark as it “danced” by.

Tricycles from Papa Cliff!

More outdoor toys warmed up in the house, such as the dormant tricycles from the garage and the play castle from the back porch. With the rug pulled up and the furniture out of the way, the main level gives a decent amount of space for movement. The pedal concept isn’t there quite yet (Emerie is close), but the scooting around and ringing the bells is providing much entertainment. For a while Reagan would only ride them backwards.

The play castle provides hours of entertainment; it has become an enclosed fort, a climbing tool and tower, an area to hide with stuffed animals, and of course contributed to the cycle “run, climb, slide, run, climb, slide.” Queen of the slide is quite the game, with some not-so-nice kicking if one is indeed at the top and defending their territory and kingdom. We are working on courtesy and nicely opening the castle door and letting a sister come in. This still results in the occasional door slamming on fingers and faces, creating total meltdowns; but in the kind moments one will knock on the door, another will open it and they both say “hellloooo!?” with a big smile. It’s ridiculously adorable.

Builder Emerie

In addition to creative play activities, we continue to rotate the common toys, bringing out unused items for a day or two, or even hour or two, and putting them out of sight. Building blocks sustain interest for a while and then become yet another toy you don’t want to step on in the midst of the mess. The girls took a turns building block towers over the weekend; Emerie putting in some solid effort unassisted, Harper and Reagan took turns sitting in my lap and designing. I can already tell as they grow, Emerie will be building the masterpieces and Harper and Reagan will try to steal them or knock them down.

The doll strollers and baby dolls are brought out for a bit and then re-hidden. There is great enthusiasm in pushing each other around in them, but are starting to get too big for it! In addition, the pushing becomes a way to go as fast as possible and slam straight into a table, or cabinet, or each other. Luckily it is mostly in good fun, and the rider doesn’t seem to mind the bruised knees. Sometimes it’s too girly to simply push the stuffed, singing animals around in the strollers (they are appropriately named Bear, Puppy, and Monkey, according to the girls). Harper started it and Emerie and Reagan followed suite- to push their soccer balls, strapped in mind you (safety first), around the main floor. I’m happy to see the love of soccer starting, even if it’s balls strapped into strollers.

Car racing is another new event. The girls are starting to understand some activities can be done with each other and not necessarily with parents. The wind-up cars provide this type of entertainment and they are starting to sit across from each other, legs spread out, and shoot the cars back and forth at one another. It’s very cute and creates a few minutes of giggles. A couple of times the cars are pointed toward the toddler trying to fling it away, resulting in it constantly returning to them. This is hilarious to watch; they think it’s hilarious.

Working from home results in minimal daily movement so walking in the afternoon is vital to ensuring some exercise. This pushes dinner behind the typical 5 PM the girls are accustomed to. Eating later and unassisted, with spoons/forks (as opposed to hands), seems to greatly improve moods and results in less food thrown on the floor. This week’s obsession is sautéed mushrooms, mac and cheese shapes (colored pasta was a hit!), and heaps of broccoli (it would be blueberries too if the stores had any!). The girls exclaim “all-da” (all done) when they are finished. If the unfinished plate isn’t immediately removed, it usually flies to the floor for the dogs; but sometimes they will nicely hand it to you. Emerie seems to think saying the phrase means she should be allowed to get down and play without delay, and will impatiently yell it at you.

Other random craft activities throughout the week included coloring and trying out play dough again. I’m hoping to get more creative on some crafts over the next week, but am waiting until I have a full list for the store before picking up a few miscellaneous things needed. This time they didn’t spend the whole time eating the play dough (other than a few exploratory licks) and were equally awed that it could transform from a heap of nothing into a ball to play with. We colored with markers in the bath tub, played with water cups in the shower, sat at the kitchen table with crayons and chalked up the driveway (they still suck on the chalk though…yuck). Reagan tried to make Craig’s car more beautiful in that moment, while Harper went for the garage door and Emerie the actual driveway! Harper also enjoyed some wind sprints, up and down the driveway, running at full force.

Everyone wanted to help Dad replace his spark plugs, including shouting at him out the window and running around the garage. That lasted a whopping five minutes before shattered glass ended the fun and herded everyone back inside.

A few cute moments have occurred throughout the week as well- Emerie accidentally smacked me right in the face with a book, stopped, and with a concerned look, gave me a kiss right where she hit me. So sweet! Harper has given a melting-down Reagan several hugs this week, and Emerie kisses the top of her sisters’ heads. In the nice moments they share toys and will bring an extra toy or snack to an upset sibling. Progress.

For the first time ever in the Douglas household, we had a nap time REQUEST. Miss Harper asked the nanny for early nap time with a “nigh night” and pointing upstairs. Crazy thing is, she and Emerie immediate went to sleep after going down a few minutes early. Now that is a first and it only happened once.

Helping make lunch

The color coding comprehension continues to expand. Harper brought the correct color boots to Reagan and Emerie several times this week while Emerie brought everyone their coats. Last summer’s plastic Adirondack chairs were intensely fought over because Harper took the teal one from Reagan, and then Reagan took the purple one from Emerie. So it seems the color battles are beginning…that should be interesting.

We even had a day with happy, post-nap babies. Typically, as in 100% of the time, all wake up in full rage from their nap and it takes several minutes snuggling to calm the masses. We had one day happy and chill, after TWO hours (for all three at once that’s highly uncommon), giving me time to prep dinner and get it in the oven before they awoke. Pretty amazing and productive! Productive for Craig too…who accidentally took a nice, long nap with Reagan.

I can barely do this anymore

We ended the week with a broken kitchen faucet. Craig ran to Lowe’s to grab a new one (it’s essential in this house!) and in the 20 minutes he was gone, all three babies were screaming, trying to strip their poopy diapers, AND I managed to get the faucet stuck turned on, creating a steady stream of water underneath the sink and across the countertop. Well, we survived. And now have a new faucet thanks to our plumber buddy down the street!

I will sum up this week of toddlerhood adventure and quarantine with Craig asking Emerie what color she learned over the weekend. Her response? “Taco!” Okay, so that is a great answer as an adult too…but she was actually trying to say “yellow.”

It feels like a lot happened in the past seven days, when really staying home is pretty normal in this household. We tried to avoid the flu and colds most of the winter, only going out strategically and hoping for the best. Hopefully we can cruise through another week in the same style…which would mean decent naps, busy busy days, lots of fighting and loving… also many requests for “Tay Tay” (Taylor Swift), dance parties, food fights, face-time calls with the grandparents, and everything in between.