This year I want to give a shout out to all the great, hard working and dedicated moms in my life. I have many ladies that I consider adoptive moms, and growing up I was luckily to have each of them for a multitude of reasons. My biological mom, of course raised me, taught to me walk and talk, excel at school and manage money intelligently, and be independent, in addition to doing that as a single mom for what I would say are the tougher years in a kids life (teenage), and coming out alive afterwards. I was an angel…for most of it. My mother-in-law, who raised a kind, sarcastic, supportive man that I would eventually meet, marry, and survive triplets with; is a tough woman who is always up for a new activity or challenges, handles my kids like they are easy to handle (a feat in itself), and whose “never sit still” attitude is quite the blessing.
On the non-blood related side, mothers are trickled throughout different stages of my life. It’s fun to think back that one of these ladies (Anne, i.e. “Mom Burge” in my phone) first knew me and my life long best friend (Janelle) when we were still bumps in utero, and I love that she she now gets to enjoy watching her granddaughter and mine grow up together! Of course we can’t forget my teenage adoptive mother, Shelly, who I spent countless hours with over many years, cooking and talk to about boys; she always welcomed me into her home and let me crash anytime. Some of my fondest memories to date are at her house, surrounded by a group full of friends, delicious cooking, and boisterous game nights. Looking back, I also can’t forget the mom (Cheryl) who had me over for more sleepovers than probably anyone else in my childhood, disciplined me when I wasn’t obeying (and probably needed to haha), and let me grow up feeling like I had a sister.
Now not to get all mushy on this holiday, but I will say Mother’s Day takes on a whole new meaning when you become a mother. It is an excruciating amount of work by the day- and the night- to keep three littles successful, thriving, happy, and not completely burning your house and/or sanity down; it’s still not a job I’d trade for anything. A lot of days are hard, juggling a busy, full time job, household, and life, but when you have a supportive and exemplary partner, it goes a looooong way in my success. In fact, I easily admit my life would be so much more chaotic and difficult if I didn’t have Craig in it, who is also a rock star (he can wait to have his praises sung until Father’s Day next month!)! It is only fair we have a day committed to us, after all the puking, pooping, breast milk shenanigans, lack of personal space, lack of sleep, total household messes, and complete change from life before kids. But with that also comes the joy of watching them grow up, the love and snuggles, the dependence of a tiny human on you, and the fun watching them morph into their own, unique personalities. It is quite the experience for sure.
I asked the girls on the drive home from school what their favorite thing about me is, and their responses were:
Harper: my favorite thing about mom is when she sits in my room while I sleep. Sounds creepy sure, but that just tells me that she feels safest and coziest when I’m close by, so I’ll take it as a compliment!
Emerie: my favorite things about mom is sitting with her and listening to Elsa together. She said listening, not watching, and it’s likely because we listen to Let It Go multiple times, every single day of our lives, and that is love right??
Reagan: my favorite thing about mom is playing with her. This is a good reminder to remember sometimes chores can wait. Go be present and play while they still want you to!
The preschool class worked hard on a flowerpot hand print artwork project this week. When Harper tried to show it to me early, her teacher convinced her to wait until it was done and ready on Friday pickup. After a few mind games of close your eyes, look at this, don’t look at it yet! I read through their synopses of me and a few produced some chuckling (order is Harper, Emerie, Reagan):
My mom’s name is: Rebecca
My mom is: 26 / 16 /23 years old.
My mom looks beautiful when: it’s summer / she wears a dress / it’s girls night
My mom laughs when: it’s Christmas time / we wrestle / we do silly stuff
My mom is really good at: cooking / soccer / painting
When I am at school, my mom: works / working at the airport / is at the airport
The best thing my mom cooks is: chicken nuggets / pasta / mac n cheese
My favorite thing to with my mom is: play with her / play hairdresser / making cookies
If I would by my mom a gift, I would buy her: a drink / a toy Elsa / a bracelet
I love my mom more than: playing outside / Elsa / pancakes
They are all clearly informed on what I am doing while they are at school each day, and like all the kid food cooked for them. Craig is much more exciting on the cooking aspect of our lives, so it’s funny they claim I am a good cook! Reagan picked up on the fact I actually put makeup on to attend girls night, while I don’t believe I’ve worn a dress even once for Emerie’s entire life! And Harper would buy me a drink…words of wisdom. I then asked everyone their favorite things about both of their grandmothers, and here are their responses.
Favorite thing about Grandma Sue:
Harper: ummmmmmm, playing with her when I was a baby, and playing with her when I go to her house. When she cooks yummy food.
Emerie: washing dishes with her and reading books with her (I tried to clarify if washing dishes meant cooking and she said no, washing dishes!)
Reagan: making donuts and eating the dough with her when she makes it
Favorite thing about Grandma Anne:
Harper: playing and finding treasure with her.
Emerie: only playing with her.
Reagan: playing with games with her and when we were babies and played with her.
This year I woke up to a wide-awake Emerie, holding a nightlight in my face and yelling, get up mom, we want to go to breakfast! Best part about that was it was 8 AM, which is quite rarely a morning wake up time in my life. It also didn’t phase the sleeping child next to me (Reagan), who was not as excited to move from her cozy sleeping spot and head out to breakfast. We enjoyed a day of sun and playing. Summer is finally here!
A mother’s love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.
Over the past few weeks we’ve had some grumps rummaging around our house, not wanting to settle down for bedtime and acting crazy; and the fighting! But we’ve also had girls mostly sleeping overnight in their new bedroom setup; which is in fact, a miracle. Harper and Emerie haven’t missed a single night since it was built, with Harper waking once or twice and going back to sleep with a bit of coaxing and Emerie getting up and using the restroom, then going back to her room and back to sleep without any assistance. Other than the one potty incident that required her (and me apparently) to sleep in Reagan’s empty bed, she’s been a rock star!
The guestroom bed remains untouched after three weeks and it might be a record, or should I say in “record time.” Reagan, on the other hand, is now more vocal in her snarky comments to sleep in your bed forever, and is entirely against any other options. She claims she doesn’t like to be alone in her bed– at this point we remind her both sisters are in the same room overnight, every night…After watching her sisters both get a tiny, stuffed bunny reward for 10+ days in their bed; she is now concerned she won’t get one and has compromised (in her mind) and given us a few kid free nights. Either way, it’s definitely progress and so far the new bed isn’t broken yet.
A few nights ago was a rough evening, from daycare pickup to bedtime, the girls kept talking back, arguing, throwing fits: being downright unkind to each other. The prior bedtime was late and everyone was clearly running short on a full night of sleep. At one point in the evening Reagan pointedly informed us that Grandma Sue is the smartest person we know, and that it wasn’t either of her parents with a huff. She followed that up with a teenage type comment that she knows everything about HER life. It’s good to know we are already hitting the teenage attitude at age five and looking forward to what a decade from now will be like.
Then no one wanted to get in their beds and settle down. During all the arguments and excuses times three, Emerie was whining my legs are soooo tired and that she couldn’t climb the FOUR stairs up into her new bed, so Craig did his dadly duty and shuffled her up there in one fell swoop. In that moment, she turned to him with unwavering, confident eye contact and said daaaad, I wanted to climb the stairs MYSELF! Parents are not kidding when they say that most kid fight outcomes don’t involve winning, when all options somehow equal a loss for the adult, no matter what choice you choose. In that moment Craig and I both cracked a smile and she knew she wasn’t in trouble and laughed too. Kids can be so silly and so fickle sometimes!
Winter colds finally caught up with us Easter week and somehow Craig and I both contracted strep throat. It’s been over a decade since I’ve had the pleasure, and somehow none of the kids caught it, but likely shared it with us somehow. On day three of my soar throat, Harper began barking orders because Mom’s sick, which meant trying to bring me a Pedialyte popsicle, a warm blanket and telling me to relax and take a nap on the couch. When I refused the popsicle offer, she informed me that is what she gets when she is sick and I should comply. Quite the little nurse when she wants to be.
Easter this year was pretty chill. With the multiple inches of snow falling over the weekend, it still doesn’t feel like spring is around the corner, but we tried to do a few things anyway. Once Craig and I were feeling a bit better we took them to see the Easter bunny, and it was quite a different experience than last year. They immediately ran straight to said bunny, asked him a bunch of questions all at the same time, and Harper instantly snuggled up next to him and provided hugs. Needless to say, snapping an insanely cute photo took about thirty seconds.
I should also share that it was about twenty degrees outside and yet all three demanded to wear the dresses we wore to the daddy/daughter night. Oh and when can we do that again? If you look closely, each dress has bunny ears and, of course, rainbow styled tutus. No, we had the pleasure of carrying their coats around the store because they wouldn’t wear (or carry) them; and yes, they wore dress up heels out in public in the winter. But excluding all of that, the picture sure turned out great and we all survived.
We didn’t let the falling snow stop some easter egg fun. Since the jump park was closed, Craig entertained the tiny humans for an hour at the fast food play-land while I somehow conned older cousin Corbin to hide the eggs in the frigidly cold and snowy backyard. My original plan to toss them off the deck seemed less efficient than convincing an eight-year-old to do my dirty work, and he willingly went out into the cold and hid them. In reality, everyone spent maaaaaybe five minutes out there in coats and gloves, and we will probably find the rest of eggs later this year once the huge snow drifts melts.
Jenny and I hid the rest of the eggs around the entire house while Corbin worked to make them a bit harder to find- those ones we found throughout the rest of the day. The girls started out sharing with each other, and somehow Emerie managed to convince Corbin to collect for her and fill her basket up. Everyone shared their colors with each other until I convinced them they could choose any color. This year’s eggs were filled with chocolate kisses, M&Ms, pennies, gum balls and smarties-pretty much anything I could find in the cabinet.
Everyone devoured their Easter baskets and nibbled on their hollow chocolate bunnies for a few days. It was a sugar filled day, and yet by the time it all wore off, they were so tired and ready to go to bed that they requested it. This was also the snowiest easter for the past several years, meaning we spent most of the weekend continuing indoor winter activities to avoid the lack of spring outside.
Hopefully by my next post we will be out of the eternal winter and into spring, breakup and a lot less snow. The girls consider to hold the parents personally responsible for the lack of warm weather and summer- not quite sure how we can solve that for them- but hopefully we are getting close to some outdoor adventures. We are so ready!!
Last fall we started looking and preparing for the next bedroom upgrade, from toddler beds to kid beds. A whole five minutes ago we were in three, tiny cribs and popping in and out all night long to keep them there. The girls live in the high percentage for height and while their toddler beds looked huge in comparison to their little bodies when they were three and a half, now they stretch out and their feet nearly hit the bottom rail.
Completing the next bedroom upgrade has proved to be a saga in our triplet led life. After looking around locally and finding no options, I began the online shopping for a more customized triple bunk bed with storage. I scanned a number of different models and types; deciding three vertically stacked was too high up for my comfort level, and probably the bedroom ceiling, and that two directly above a big one would result in some head bonking. So two above and one below made the most sense for the room size and for more open floor space for bookshelves or other kiddo activities.
After careful review I eventually selected two twin mattresses on the top at a ninety degree angle and a full bed below one of the twins. Top access included a kid sized stairway on one side, decked out with great storage access and drawers, and the other top bunk had a ladder and open space below it. Three, large drawers also fit under the full mattress. Measurements indicated the new furniture would take up most of their bedroom and leave little space for anything else, but that’s what a bedroom is for…right?!
Here is where it gets more interesting. Wayfair does indeed ship to Alaska, but wanted $750 to do just that. Instead, I shipped the selected merchandise to Aunt Tami and Uncle Jeff in California, which only took a couple of days after ordering (doesn’t that sound nice!). Then Papa Cliff picked up the three big boxes, loaded them in his truck and trailer, and hauled it up the Alcan Highway to get it here a little while after Christmas. Knowing it would take a bit to get it here, I ordered during Black Friday sales, even though we weren’t planning on assembling it for a few more months. Once Papa Cliff dropped it off, it sat for two more months in the family room as we pushed the girls to sleep in their beds overnight, which Harper and Emerie did a great job with and Reagan is still a work in progress. During the month of March we made this a competition to see who would end up getting which spot, knowing that no matter what, they would all fight and argue where ever they ended up and we needed to somehow avoid that drama.
Harper and Emerie were both up for the challenge, noting pretty early on they both wanted a top bunk. Reagan claimed the same, but also reminds me that she will sleep in Mom and Dad’s bed forever because she doesn’t want to sleep in her bed. To her credit, at least she is honest! Reagan acquired the big, full bottom bed by process of elimination and while she scoffed at the decision being made for her, I think she will like having all the extra space. She also commented that the bigger bed was better for her because she has the most stuffies; at least, she sleeps with the most, like four pandas, a bunny, an abominable snowman, a huge hamster, sometimes a doll, and many other things. The parents’ made the call which kid would go in each top bunk, and planned for Emerie to use the staircase and railing, due to ensuring her safety at night without her glasses on, while Harper could use the ladder. Harper also gets out of her bed the least overnight, so it makes sense she will have the ladder access.
This weekend Craig and I ran to midtown and picked up three mattresses at Mattress Ranch. At home we searched for the bed directions and of course that was in the final box we opened, after combing through all the pieces. I took the grandmas and girls to dance and gymnastics while he organized everything and discovered the box with all the bed slats was filled with mold and much of the woodwork was not salvageable. In addition, a number of the pieces were labeled incorrectly or not at all, and we were missing a whole bag of screws. All in all, it’s quite impressive that Craig was even able to understand and comprehend directions with missing pieces and get it built.
We figured out the mattresses purchased earlier in the day were going to be too tall for Harper to safely sleep against the rails and defy gravity. Before calling it a day we ran back to the store and swapped them all out for a shorter version, and set up the full sized bed. Knowing that all the upper bed slats were moldy and unusable, we had the girls sleep horizontally on the bottom bed for the first night, which is how we did it at Becky’s house last summer and while in Juneau. Little did we know the lower mattresses would also allow the girls to just barely stand up straight and not hit the ceiling. That won’t be the case in another month; and I’m guessing we will see the tears from it until they remember to crouch down.
Who knew it would be so fun to leave the top bunks open. Once the side stairs were assembled and attached, the room briefly became a trampoline park full of giggling five-year-olds. Thank goodness most of the bottom bed slats touched the floor; we did have to fix a few broken ones before completing the entire task the next day.
Once Craig found replacement screws and purchased lumber to make more slats, the girls were beyond excited for this project to be done already. Grandma Sue and I took the girls to pick out new sheets and massive Frozen pillows and then assembled the sleeping quarters with the final touches, including a lot of stuffed animals, sheets and princess comforters.
I was surprised that the first real night of the new bed setup provided some emotion for me; I did not expect it. It feels as though our baby era is really over and we now have three beautiful, little girls, climbing up into their big girl beds and somewhat sleeping through the night (well two out of three isn’t terrible). It is very surreal and feels like yesterday we were in bringing them home to cribs and later toddler beds. My Facebook memories this week reminded me they had their first bath five years ago this week in the NICU, and I still can’t comprehend so much has happened so quickly! I’m not sure I’m quite ready for this advancement, but if you can depend on anything, it’s that time will continue to pass. And after the wildness and excitement of the first night passed, everyone settled in and eventually went to sleep. Reagan was the only one that insisted she missed the old bed and wanted it back; Harper and Emerie seem quite pleased with their new spots. And no, Reagan did not sleep through the first two nights in there!
Now that a couple of days have passed, we’ve seen some blood (Harper flipping over the stair railing and landing on her chin), stubbed toes, some fighting and jealousy over personal spaces, and continually excited tiny humans. The room feels very different and more mature, but otherwise not much in our day to day has changed other than my realization that my babies are continuing to grow up!
Once again, it’s time for the contrasting and comparison between the girls during age four. It’s been quite the busy year, and one that is much more back to normal post COVID, which has been wonderful. Timing wise the girls are much easier to handle, meaning we can do more things and be a bit more “normal”, or at least survive doing normal things without required extra hands. It was very hard to narrow down my favorite “triple photos,” as I call them, over the past 365 days. There are so many! I settled on this collage after unsuccessfully narrowing the count below three, and all are taken with beautiful nature back drops and big smiles; photos that highlight the personalities of my three little ladies during daily life adventures.
I’ve already blocked out half the things we accomplished or attended last year, so here is an overview of the highlights that my mom brain can remember as I write this out.
Age 4 Changes
Age four had less significant changes than age three, but mentionables nevertheless. It was our best year of sleep so far in the journey of parenting, with both Emerie and Harper trading off doing very well sleeping overnight in their toddler beds. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was great sleep, but definitely an improvement from years where the bar to improve started very low. More recently we created a healthy sibling competition, with the current prize whoever sleeps in their bed the most gets to choose their spot in the “big girl bunk beds,” and so far Harper is winning by a landslide, with Emerie in tow, and Reagan only two nights in her bed for the entire month of March.
New Preschool Class
Last August the girls aged up into the four year old preschool class at school. Initially they were quite dismayed at this required change, not wanting to leave their daily routine in beloved Miss Tawni’s class. The transition went quite well and we didn’t lose school naps from it- and over six months later, they still adore their previous teacher, and their current one. It’s very sweet. They are also almost all the way through the alphabet, love show and tell highlighting a letter each week, and getting to do crafts and play in the gym. While they haven’t said it in quite a while, I know they are also looking forward to playground time after the snow melts…whenever that actually happens.
First Remembered Airplane Trip!
As you all know, the whole family packed up and boarded the skies to Juneau for a work trip for Craig and I, and the girls did great during the whole experience. This is actually the second time the girls boarded a plane, with the last time around at fourteen months old, and under way more duress. This time around showed us that a longer trip might be doable this summer and to a farther distance, now that we don’t (usually) have to worry about them darting into traffic or getting completely lost when we blink. It is also wonderful to be out of the stroller phase and not need to lug that everywhere we go; before long we won’t even need to lug the car seats.
The girls are already asking for another trip, and while most this summer will be closer to home overnights, such as Homer, Seward, maybe even Fairbanks; it’s nice to know we can plan for another big adventure and both parents will survive it.
Sickness No Longer Equals the End of the World
This might sound silly to include in this list, but in reality, is a complete game changer. Prior to age four I dreaded every time a cough or sniffle started in the household, knowing that meant a week or two of very little sleep or relaxation was right around the corner. This past year the girls had RSV twice, a number of colds and coughs and ear infections, and while that still sucked, it wasn’t nearly as awful to make it through each one as the toddler stage. You can now tell the level of sickness by their willingness to sit and relax and watch movies, something short lived at younger ages.
Out of Town Sans Dad
This was a milestone for me- when Grandma Sue and I packed up the kiddos and trekked down to Kenai last summer and left Craig at home to finish the work week. This had to happen at some point, and while I was anxious that my tiny humans would freak out and want Craig toward bedtime, they were so worn out by all the excitement that is ultimately went fine!
That was also one of the first times we’ve been in the compromising position of a car breakdown while out of town, and are still so thankful that all of it played out safety and it didn’t ruin the experience, or the car!
Fairs and Festivals
It is a major accomplishment that we can now attend and ENJOY fairs and other outdoor, summer events. We opted out of the busy fair experience until this age, knowing it would be quite a long and stimulating day, and not wanting to be miserable throughout it or missing nap time. The girls loved their first Alaska Fair experience and we will certainly enjoy it again next year. We also accidentally attended the annual fair in Ninilchik and while the weather was cold and rainy, the face painting and fun made up for it.
Earlier in the summer we ventured to the valley for the Scottish Highland Games, and it was the first time we went somewhere unplanned and spent more than six hours exploring, eating and checking out the sights. Harper especially enjoyed watching the dance routines while Emerie and Reagan were more there for the treats. Everyone was quite a hit in their kilts and it was a gorgeous (hot!) day of sun.
Smoother, less routine schedules ended up as one of the biggest and best improvements across the past year. We were so regimented and inflexible from the newborn stage to the middle of age four, simply because it was the only way to survive each day. Even after dropping naps, quiet time in the afternoon was helpful but mornings could play out without as much planning, and being out and about during the day for activities became so much easier. I remember thinking we’d never survive the days once we lost nap time, and looking back, staying on schedule allowed us to make it through the tough toddler phase.
New Life Skills
While accomplishments on the parenting side waned a bit this year, it was huge for the girls. All three continue to improve their handwriting and color skills, which occur daily; all three love glue stick crafts and using kid scissors. Last summer Harper and Reagan learned to pedal bike on big girl bikes (Emerie opted out and continued with her balance bike, her choice!), and can now decently steer their kid four wheelers. All three fight over who gets to use the tv remote and demand Alexa pause the movies for them during potty breaks.
Other skills include dressing themselves, especially in dress up gear, telling detailed stories, and proudly declaring when they unbuckle a car seat without help. They also clear dishes off the table, clean up the room after demands, brush their own teeth.
Age four saw a range of new animals joining the family. Craig brought eight baby chickens home last summer, seven who are still with us and providing eggs, and the girls experienced their growth and development throughout. Amazingly we had no accidental casualties from the girls stepping or smashing them, and while they are much less exciting now, the girls do enjoy feeding them upon occasion.
We also experienced death for the first time with Rafi, he received a flower burial that the girls will tell you all about, and don’t forget he now lives in heaven. Then we acquired a new kitten and she later gave us three unplanned kittens! The girls learned to be gentle with them and now walk around and play with lone Winston. That’s a few too many new animals in one year for my taste…
More Cousin Time
I am enjoying the trend of more family moving close by- last fall this meant that cousins Corbin and Elliot returned to the Alaska life after several years in Washington, and now I have a glimmer of insight into what quads are like, with Elliot the same age as the girls. The girls love to play at their house and it’s a nice break for Craig and I to have another hang out location, especially after the years of COVID, when people didn’t open up their houses for visitors, and certainly not for the triplet tornado. I should also say it’s nice to have Aunt Jenny AND my brother here too…but it’s really for the kids, right?
Cousins time on the Douglas side is also welcomed and the girls love Tyler visits, when Jaren and Savaya pop in for a hello, and when Chatum comes up to visit.
About the Girls – Age 4
This year Harper has really come into her own style. She is a fashionista, rocking all kinds of dresses but especially anything in black or pink, is a swing queen and can tower high above her sisters on the swing set, still has the need for speed on her training wheel bicycle, and knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to demand it. She loves having curly hair from we braids, putting on pretend makeup, and playing “mom and dads” with her sisters.
Height/Weight: 45 pounds, 45″ tall – she gained 7.4 pounds and grew 3″ in a year!
Favorite Activities: playing dress up and getting fancy. Lately she is more into coloring and also greatly enjoys gong to her dance and tap class each week.
Favorite Movie/Music/Show: She is a bit more fluid in her requests for television or movies, opting to pick different princesses that fit her mood, like Aurora, Cinderella, Tiana, then Pan or Leap (ballerina movie) and so on. She moved on from the Frozen music obsession and continues to adore Toward the Sun by Rihanna, from the soundtrack Home.
Favorite Princess/Character: When asked her favorite, she claims it is Aurora from Sleeping Beauty. This is likely because she is dressed in pink, as she greatly likes Rapunzel and Elsa also.
Favorite Color: pink, then black, and then orange, are her continued favorites.
Favorite Food: When asked, Harper’s immediate response was “candy.” Considering she liked sweets the least of the three as toddlers, she clearly got over that thought. After more discussion, she agreed she loves black olives, chicken nuggets, tater tots and french fries. I think her favorite food is actually ketchup.
Favorite Animal: Lately she is on a bunny kick, but also adores (all) her stuffed seals and her puppy dogs.
When Harper grows up, she wants to be: A ballerina is her most common answer.
Unique Personality Trait: Harper is our glitter and grease girl. She LOVES to be dressed up and fancy, almost constantly, but isn’t afraid to get dirty outside, in the kitchen, or out and about.
Major Dislikes: Harper’s dislikes are very similar to the list from age three, such as wearing anything other than dresses and that pants in general are the bane of her existence. She also dislikes being patient and slow, wanting to do things fast whenever she can, and getting frustrated when she can’t do something easily.
Of the Three, She is the Most: Social. She is happy to play with other kids the most, and doesn’t seem to love playing independently like either of her sisters. She’s definitely a social butterfly.
Favorite Quotes:I’m NEVER going to ….. or You’re NEVER going to let me …. for the rest of eternity. Dramatic much?
Emerie continues to be our ray of sunshine; she loves to learn new skills, collect and carry around tiny things, and spend time at home, which is her happy place. She loves to pretend nap, getting a bed all set up with her stuffies and “sleeping” with all the shades closed. She also enjoys scrolling through books and snuggling up on the couch. Gymnastics is proving to be a great activity for her and she constantly asks what day we go next. She doesn’t let daily patching hold her back from anything and remains a good sport about wearing it each day, which is huge! She had one eye surgery this past year and is now on her longest stint ever between doctor visits.
Height/Weight: 38.2 pounds, 43.5″ tall – she gained 4 pounds and grew 2.25″ in a year!
Favorite Activities: gymnastics, collecting beads and playing restaurant. She often asks how to spell food related words so she can make a menu and deliver you a meal.
Favorite Movie/Music/Show: As I’m sure you guessed, her favorite movie remains both Frozens, and not Encanto! She is also re-upping her love for Pan (Rapunzel) and the corresponding television series, Tangled Adventures. As far as music, Let It Go continues to live on as a daily (sometimes hourly) request, followed by what she calls Bring It In, which is Isabella singing Encanto’s What Else Can I Do.
Favorite Princess/Character: Emerie continues to be an all things Elsa (Frozen) girl, but now has a second character to love, Isabella from Encanto. You might think she’d latch onto the main Encanto character with glasses (Mirabel), but that lasted about five seconds until she saw Isabella’s purple, flowered dress. She is constantly dressed up as one of these two characters when playing at home.
Favorite Color: This remains unchanged from birth- team purple!
Favorite Food: Last year cheese quesadillas topped the list without question, but this year she is completely anti-dilla. Of the three, she has the most opinions about food. She likes macaroni and cheese, or really most pastas, and cheeseburgers (just the patty with cheese) and french fries.
Favorite Animal: Definitely a change from last year, her beloved monkey has retired to live a life confined to her toddler bed, while her “mommy and baby turtle” go to school each day and MUST be in her bed every night. The Mom turtle was a gift from Doctor Winkle before her last surgery, and she picked out the baby turtle at the toy store earlier this winter after a good amount of overnight sleep in her bed.
Unique Personality Trait: Emerie is a great friend. She picks up on other kids feelings and will reach out and offer to play with them. She’s very insightful!
Major Dislikes: Dislikes this year changed a bit from age three. For example, while she strongly dislikes black olives, pizza has grown on her a bit and she enjoys it once a week at school lunch. She also loves her bed compared to last year and is often the first to fall asleep in it each night. Age four dislikes include eye patching, although it’s now a more accepted practice, putting on socks and shoes, and playing outside any time it is cold, which is apparently extreme torture. I think she may just dislike being cold in general.
Of the Three, She is the Most: Stubborn and introverted. If she gets stuck on something, she really gets stuck on it and doesn’t want to back down. She enjoys independent play and will figure out something to do without the need of intervention.
When Emerie grows up, she wants to be: Elsa. This is her answer every single time I’ve asked her this question the past six months, and she is quite set on it.
Favorite Quotes:That’s DIScusting. Another fan favorite is her made up nonsense that one of her sisters kicked me in the face, which she claims quite constantly.
Reagan continues growing as our artsy girl. She adores coloring and crafts and will spend hours working on things. She gets grumpy if I forget any of the masterpieces at school each day- mind you sometimes a whole pile is waiting to come home- and loves to display them on the wall. Reagan is the most talkative of the three and into storytelling about her day. Ask her to tell you a princess story sometime- her depictions and the parts she highlights are completely hilarious. She can also put her hair in a ponytail and is so very proud of her new skill!
Height/Weight: 41.4 pounds, 44″ tall – she gained 4 pounds and grew 2.25″ in a year!
Favorite Activities: Definitely anything related to dresses, dressing up and getting fancy. Her younger days were quite the opposite and she disliked dresses; now it’s all she wants to wear. She also enjoys pretend play and is always asking her sisters to play swim girls or moms and dads or some kind of animal.
Favorite Movie/Music/Show: Aladdin is the current favorite, although a few other princess movies are sprinkled into to her random requests. Her favorite songs is unchanged from age three, Pink’s Cover Me In Sunshine, and she added two additional songs, You Can’t Stop the Girl by Bebe Rexha (from Maleficient), and Speechless, Jasmine’s song from the live action Aladdin.
Favorite Princess/Character: Reagan’s favorite princess is currently Jasmine from Aladdin, ever since watching the live action film, and is completely obsessed with her. Coincidentally, she is also dressed teal, her designated color. Another favorite character is Maleficent from the Sleeping Beauty story, which may seem a bit scary, but is very near and dear to her heart.
Favorite Color: Teal most of the time; once in a while blue or white.
Favorite Food: Right now maraschino cherries are her number one request, followed by cucumbers and ranch. She also answered she likes broccoli, chicken nuggets, mayonnaise sandwiches.
Favorite Animal: This is also unchanged from age three, and you will see pandas all over the house, and about six of them in her bed every night, ranging from teenie-tiny to decent size.
Unique Personality Trait: She loves to break out into song at random times throughout the day, and creates a wave sound with her voice as she serenades quietly to herself. She is the most talkative of the three by far, and can tell you some wicked stories about movies she’s seen or experiences she witness and school. If someone else is hurt, you will find her grabbing a random stuffed animal and sharing it with them to make them feel better; she is very empathetic, unless she has caused the issue!
Major Dislikes: While last year’s hair brushing doesn’t make the list for age four, she continues hating to sleep in her own bed the most of the three, ending up in ours about 90% of the time. She also dislikes wearing tights and shirts and only dresses are acceptable anymore.
Of the Three, She is the Most: Emotional. If one kid is randomly crying or pouting in the corner, she’s probably wearing teal.
When Reagan grows up, she wants to be: Her last answer was a teacher like Miss Tawni, or a painter.
Favorite Quotes:Mom. Mom! I want to tell you about my day. Myyyy day I played with Emie and Harper and had a great day….” It almost always starts with that exact phrase and goes into a long spiel detailing all the things she accomplished at school, getting louder as she gets into it.
Four Year Old FAQs
What are the biggest differences between the three? What are their similarities this year? While all three are definitely into the same types of things, such as princess everything, dress up, playing on bikes and swings and pretend, they all maintain attention on different things a bit. Emerie will sit and play with the Barbie dolls downstairs by herself for a while, while Reagan will sit and color and Harper will wander off with her baby doll. Reagan picks up newfound skills the quickest and with the least effort, while Harper gets flustered before putting in much effort. Emerie takes a bit longer to gain a new skill and you can see her kind methodically thinking out how it all works.
What is the biggest personality difference? Emerie loves to be at home more than anywhere we go, even to places she likes. I think she is like me in that way. Reagan is more like Grandma Sue and Craig and is the talker of the three; always with something to say! Harper is a social butterfly and always wants to play with friends, not so much on her own.
Who is now the best sleeper? Who is the worst? While this varied a bit throughout the year, Harper and Emerie traded places on best sleeper for much of the summer and fall, at least until we hit RSV season and coughing stressed them enough to wake them up. Reagan will continue to win the red lantern award for sleep, with no plans to stay in her bed. In fact, she constantly reminds me that she should be allowed to permanently sleep in my bed, and I should relocate to her room. Such fun. Now that I am tracking who stays in their room overnight, Harper leads by a land slide the past month, with Emerie about half her count, and Reagan a slight miracle if we have a whole night with her out of our bed.
Who is Team Mom and who is Team Dad? I mean realistically, everyone is Team Grandma Sue. Whenever the girls are mad at us, they always holler I want Grandma Sue. They also constantly remind us that Grandma Sue is the boss.
Alliances are pretty consistent from age three to age four. Harper is for the most part Team Mom, unless Dad goes to guys’ night, then she wants him every time. Reagan is completely Team Mom and no longer has one foot in each camp like last year, and Emerie is completely Team Dad, as she reminds me every night with a solace of I want my dad; I miss him.
What was my favorite memory of age four? There are a number to choose from, but I would say my favorite thing was getting out and about and finally taking the kids out of town for some fun. It feels like we are almost normal and can start having fun!
I’m sorry this has been a long one with so much to say! My happy five year olds are excelling and keeping every day interesting- Craig and I are constantly on our toes. Luckily that is nothing new from the past five years.
It seems like yesterday that we had the girls fourth birthday, and yet here we are, a full year later already! As expected, Grandma Sue and I attempted to create three masterpieces for the girls’ birthday cake again this year. Considering I believe last year’s accomplishment was quite grand for turning four, we upped our game for age five and added props. This year’s cakes took a lot of time, but it still felt easier than the prior one, simply because the girls are older now and don’t need as much constant attention so we could prep while they played and “helped.”
A couple days prior I started the flower melted icing molds, opting for pink, purple, teal, pink and white and making a number of sets. I ended up not prepping enough ahead of time and making more in the moment, and Craig added another version of teal at the end. Reagan helped me with a few teal sets and did a great job scooping it into the molds, all by herself.
Prior to Sue’s arrival, I quizzed the girls on their preference of princess and questioned their favorites to plan party decorations. Given that they all have their own preferences, it makes it impossible to theme just one doll or one color. I can’t quite tell if they made their choices based on the designated life theme colors, or if Aurora, Rapunzel (Pan) and Jasmine really are the favorites. Either way, by the time we purchased everything to begin the task, Emerie insisted she wanted Elsa and not Rapunzel, which she did not get!
Sue spent a good afternoon making the cake stacks for the main part of each dress. We ended up using a small bunt cake pan and a round cake pan and the girls had the pleasure of jamming, and I mean jamming, the dolls into the partial holes. I volunteered to cut the feet off each to fit better, but Sue wouldn’t let me…you know…that might bring up those traumatic life memories of poor Gecko the chicken last year, when he lost his head and then he lost his feet. No, we didn’t shove him in a cake….but tough times remember by all!
Reagan and Emerie went to school on Friday while Harper stayed home a second day with a high fever that diagnosed as an ear infection. Because of that, only she participated in cake decorating, as you will see by looking at Aurora versus the other two. I worked the morning while Sue prepped everything, rolled out the marshmallow fondant, and together we molded the icing over the cake cutouts. Usually you get better with practice and time right? I would say we progressively did worse throughout the six hour cake extravaganza, but mostly because the fondant seemed stickier with each attempt. Each dress had two overlaid layers and as it dripped or stretched from gravity, we reevaluated which side was the front. We added the doll after cutting out the middle hole of both layers and found we required another layer around her waist, since the dolls were about a half inch too tall (told you we should have chopped feet off!), and then used flowers to cover it.
Aurora turned out the most smoothest, and Rapunzel’s flowers covered her imperfections, which included a few random melts on her backside, to cover up the icing tearing. Jasmine’s fondant was the most difficult and resulted in an entire flower front to cover the dreadful imperfections we couldn’t undo. And those gold outlines? Those are unicorn horn sprinkles and stars, which worked great with Jasmine’s teal look. We initially tried to stick all the decorations using icing, which worked okay, but found it more efficient using a small paint brush and water and painting the dresses to restick to them.
In the end Harper decided Rapunzel was more decked out than Aurora, which was true after I added the pearl beading down the back, so she sat next to me on the table and added the bling for over an hour, while I finished the other two.
We completed the look by adding pink, purple and teal fondant to the chocolate (for Harper) and vanilla (for Emerie and Reagan) cupcakes and used the remaining flowers and leaves to finish each with a treat on top. We also learned our lesson from last year and put icing under the big cakes so they wouldn’t slide during the car ride over. Well, not completely learned our lesson, since we forgot until cake number two to actually secure it down. The cupcakes around the dolls are meant to be the train of the dresses and colors inter-weaved with one another. Overall I think it turned out quite well, even with the random holes and fronts covered in flowers.
5th Birthday Party Success
It was a busy two days of preparation for the big day. Prior to having kids, I always looked in disbelief at how much parents went all out for kid birthday parties, thinking I’d never make that much effort for a day. And yet here we are, making six+ hour cakes, ordering party bag goodies, birthday balloon bouqets, ordering party dresses, and going through all the motions. I also believe because the girls have to share their birthday for their entire lives, it’s only fair to at least make some effort to make it fun and everyone feel special. I mean, we only have eighteen birthdays with them in our household and each one should count!
Craig, Grandma Sue and Grandma Anne took all three to get fancy fingernails a couple hours before the party, while I finished up a few last preparations. Everyone returned with flowers on each finger, Grandma Sue a pretty teal color, and Craig completely decked out fingers to toes, very likely with colors chosen by each kid.
Birthday party number five left our previous covid-era parties in the dust. Over the past three years, we slowly increased the attendee list throughout our apocalyptic life experience (not sure if that reference is from covid or raising toddler triplets); age two was a family only party since the city shutdown on their birthday, their third birthday at the jump park allowed everyone to mostly separate but still celebrate, and their fourth birthday at the Alaska Club play center was a complete success of friends and loved ones- the girls still talk about it a year later. My end headcount for this year was 26 kids, plus our three birthday beauties, and a lot of adults and family enjoying fun (and noise?). We opted out of inviting the entire preschool class and let the girls choose the attendee list, snagging a class list after school one day and letting them choose. The list was mostly girls, sprinkled with a couple of boys, and Emerie insisted that my boyfriend Jude HAS to come. Talking to his mom at the party, Jude commented recently that not only are the kiddos dating, but Emerie informed him- not asked- that they would also be getting married. A girl that knows what she wants.
I ordered customized twirl dresses specifically for the party, and while they didn’t exactly align with the cakes, they matched the theme of princesses in general. The Sleeping Beauty dress wasn’t up to par, so I went with Harper’s second favorite color black, in the form of Anna from Frozen. Emerie was excited to see hers was Elsa, after wanting the cake changed to her preference and being told no. Reagan’s Jasmine dress is my favorite, with ruffles and super twirly.
In true triplet fashion, I held my breath up to the last second that someone would be sick and unable to enjoy the party, or something else would come up to cause issues. Harper was starting to feel better from her ear medicine and we would find out later that Reagan had one too and started feeling crummy. We miss so many things, especially in the winter, that relate to fevers, coughs and colds. On the drive over to the party I realized no one grabbed the candles off the counter and called Papa Cliff to pick some up, and as I unloaded the three at the Alaska Club, on super icy parking lot conditions, I grabbed the balloon bouquet and turned around to Reagan puking all over the ground. Another mom across the lot came over to see if she could help, and we managed to make it into the building. And to Reagan’s credit, she didn’t get a drop on her brand new dress. Great job little girl. After getting cleaned up by Grandma, she seemed to feel just fine and for the most part enjoyed playing at the party.
The kids ran around for a good ninety minutes in the play place, goofed off and played with cousins Tyler and Chatum and started ball pit wars, and snacked on Grandma Sue’s vegetable pizza and vege-platter. I also saw blurs of cousins Corbin and Elliot running and climbing, and finally put faces with names of their classmates and kids the girls talk about on the drive home each day. I caught Reagan snuggling with Aunt Janelle a few times, all three checked in and were thrilled to see Miss Tawni, Isabelle let Emerie borrow her Elsa wig to match her dress, Harper was a blur as she circled the play area over and over with her friends, and everyone lined up for a turn with the pinata, which made it through all the younger kids without breaking.
Cupcake time and singing created three blushing girls; also three girls that really wanted to eat their princess cakes, not a cupcake. Unfortunately for them, those cakes were to be saved for their actual birthday and in Seward. We ended up not making the trek down to the peninsula due to bad road conditions on the way down, so the cakes are still sitting on the counter.
All in all, great turnout. All three had similar answers on their favorite party moments, and all agreed Tyler coming was the biggest highlight, followed by Miss Tawni’s visit and presents. I’m pretty sure if we ask them in a six months what their favorite part of their fifth birthday was, it won’t be their awesome cakes OR presents- it will be the fact that Tyler attended and played with them. It’s sweet how much they love their cousin! The chaos of present opening in the moment meant we have no idea who brought what or for who….so we went through everything in the living room later and the girls especially liked the princess keurig coffee maker, the bath time crayons, Aunt Jenny’s mermaid swimsuits, and the fancy tutu dresses from Aunt Janelle and Paris, that immediately went to Tyler for a dress change mid-party.
I will save the official fifth birthday kid update for the next blog, with all the details of how my girls have grown and matured over the past 365 days.