You are Loved

It’s taken me a while to find the words I wanted to explain my thoughts and it ultimately boils down to a very simplistic idea. I have a daily reminder to myself, through the crying, fits, mischievous behavior and fighting, reminding me that “you will never be more loved that you are right now.”

This idea is pretty profound, right?? It’s also really true. Your toddlers are teetering on independence, learning boundaries while staying in the comfort and knowledge that Mom and Dad are nearby and will protect them and keep them safe. As they grow older and mature, that love will change and reshape; but for now it really is unconditional!

you will never be more loved that you are right now

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It certainly makes me think. Think about how hard it is to raise a kiddo, let alone more than one, in a busy society filled with uncertainty and pressure. Think about the different, difficult stages that seem to be on repeat, think how to process them AND get through them while still trying to enjoy the days. Think about the sleepless nights and crazy busy days.

Snack time

They go to you for injuries, comfort, to snuggle or show you a rock they’ve found, as well as all other daily wants and needs. There’s no question in their mind that you are the person able to fulfill them and they never doubt your ability to. You are the person they have meltdowns with, because they know you will fix it and make it better, and the person to share an abundance of emotion, good and bad, as those unrecognizable feelings rise to the surface and bubble over.

Reminding yourself that your kiddos have an unrequited and abundant love for you helps improve state of mind! At least it does for me. One must remember to enjoy all these different parts of parenthood, the easy parts as well as the detrimental ones, because the future teenage meltdowns will not result in easy forgiveness and a snuggle! I have to enjoy the constant demand for attention, the “mom! mom! mom!”, because it won’t always be this way and they won’t always be vying for my unlimited attention. Enjoy it. Embrace it.

Growing up happens really quickly, and I don’t think it is something you realize until you witness your kiddos age before your eyes. This is on my mind this month, as we’ve made some daily changes that only occur as the girls grow and mature from babies to toddlers to pre-school age.

For example, the beloved triplet table is now collecting dust in the garage. The past month or two the girls have fought us on sitting in it, regardless of the fact that they still fit in it, and the past six months we’ve left the middle seat empty and separated one out in a high chair due to the fighting, hair pulling and food stealing that occurs.

They’ve taken to the adult table really well, and by that I am referring to the eating part. Less food is thrown on the floor (in general) than at the triple table and they usually humor us and sit a little longer. They also like to climb up and buckle themselves in for meals and the occasional puzzle. You can definitely tell they try to mimic us and be “grownup.”

But don’t let that convince you they are behaved grownups; because, well, someday they will learn to sit at the table and not stand and dance on top of it. After two weeks, if you walk out of the room for five second, you return to everyone standing on it and trying to play with the TV, the remote, or anything they usually can’t reach. Many tears and timeouts continue to occur from this.

Another furniture change was getting rid of the baby slide I found at a garage sale early last summer when they were just starting to walk. It was probably the best $10 I’ve ever spent in my life and was used constantly for months! It used to be a big slide with little girls playing on it; now it’s a little slide with big girls playing on it! It started on the back deck, shifted to the family and living room for the winter, and now off to a new toddler to enjoy!

This past week we’ve let the minions run free at a few new spots, including two walks where they lollygagged down the trail freely and did surprisingly well. They picked flowers, collected rocks, shrieked at the mud puddles, and ran around ON THE TRAIL. I know, I can’t believe it either. Part of that is due to the extra hands that walked with us and partly due to the vegetation on either side being about their height.

Emerie walked most of the way holding my hand (her insistence, not mine!), accepting flowers handed to her by Harper and Reagan and putting rocks in my pockets. Harper ran up the trail and then back to us on a continual loop, screaming at birds and claiming to see piles of poop. Reagan collected flowers and shifted between the front of the group and holding our hands.

In case you are wondering why everyone is in hooded sweatshirts for a walk in the middle of June…I can confidently tell you the mosquitoes are out in force this year and while they like all three girls, they LOVE Harper. You can see that obvious love from the bites on her face. To keep that minimized (even with bug spray), we try to keep them covered when in the woods.

Another first for the girls was a trip to the zoo. It was a beautiful sunny day, with minimal mosquitoes joining us, and turned out to be a very nice morning of fun. Once again we let them out of the wagon after a while and they loved it, although we went from a tour of Alaskan animals to a tour of the trash cans at the zoo. There was a great deal of running and exploring and total meltdowns when we loaded up to leave. Who can blame them…the zoo is pretty fun!

We learned that visiting the zoo is doable with three, mobile toddlers…IF you bring extra hands to corral them the right direction. I’m not sure it would have worked out with just Craig and I. The girls adored that our friend Kimber “Kimmie!” pulled around the wagon and joined us on the trek as well as another fellow toddler friend. They constantly demanded her muscles to pull them, refused snacks from anyone but her, and all wanted to hold her hand. It was very cute.

Throughout the two hour trek, we were continually reminded that all large animals are moose! with a shriek of great enthusiasm. This included the coyotes, bears, musk oxen and alpacas. Harper especially disliked the musk ox and leaned as far the opposite way as she could as we rolled by. Emerie and Reagan weren’t even phased. Every especially liked the big kitties that looked at the girls like they were a potential snack and, of course, all of the different birds (eagles, owls, birds, etc.). The polar bear impressed them less than I was expecting; instead they much preferred ooooing over the coffee mug in the wagon than looking at the massive bear on the other side of the glass. We will get there…

Run run RUN!

We will certainly go visit the zoo again and hopefully the petting zoo part will be reopened soon because they will love it. Give us a shout if you want to go sometime and we’d love to join…as long as there are extra hands coming with us.

Once again, I am thankful that summer is here! I am thankful and appreciative of the tiny toddlers that brighten up my life and make it oh so interesting, even when they are driving me up a wall, and constantly reminding myself to enjoy this period of my life, enjoy the snuggles and the big smiles and the excited reactions to new experiences.

Hang in there, fellow parents. I’m still living in the denial that the next age is more pleasant than this one….just go with it…. ❤

First family trip to the zoo

Books and Water Fun, but not Together

While some of our toddler friends are now using full sentences and it mildly blows my mind, the girls are using multiple words relating to things but not quite stringing verbs yet. That doesn’t mean they don’t increasingly comprehend things, and new words pop up everyday.

In fact, all three are now singing the ABC song all the way through, and naming off the letters up to “K”. One will often start the song with a few letters, and the next will pick up where they stop. They seem to prefer the alphabet far more than the numeric system. Major credit goes to Nanny Chris here, whose been singing them the song for months now and it’s slowly and unknowingly seeping into their brains and out their mouths!

At the end of each weekday, I almost always have this conversation with Emerie:

(nanny walks out the door to her truck)

E: Nanny?

Me: Yeah, nanny is going home.

E: Buh-bye?

Me: Yeah, you will see her tomorrow!

E: Pricey?

Me. That’s right, she is going home to see Price (her husband).

E: Price… Nigh-night?

Me: Yes, she’s going home to see Price and go to sleep. You guys make her run around all day

E: Buh-bye (a little sadder)

I feel as if this interaction almost qualifies as sentences, or at least a fully comprehended conversation between myself and my two year old.

At the dinner table the other night we did a word quiz and surprisingly, they pay way more attention to your words than I even realize. I pointed at things all over the room and they knew all of them, such as TV, clock, fridge, window, outside, curtain, plate…and the list goes on. They are getting really good at knowing their foods, and will ask for mango, broccoli, avocado, or noodle! Any day now they will be stringing some verbs along with those nouns, and for now I will count my blessings that they haven’t learned the word “why” yet. Not sure how we will survive that one times three.


This past weekend the warm weather allowed us to break out the mini pool and toddler sprinkler. To date the girls haven’t experienced the frigid, cold Alaska water that we all grew up running through and swimming in. So far this summer and last we filled up everything with warm water from the sink or bathtub and lugged it outside. This especially works well on cold days, when warm water in the water table allows the girls to play with it but not have freezing little fingers and toes.

First sprinkler!

Interest was peaked when the sprinkler toy began to fill with water and shoot upwards, but they were unimpressed at the temperature and ran away, shrieking cold! After a few minutes and lower water pressure (so it wasn’t spraying above their heads), they entertained the idea of playing with it. Harper was the least excited to be cold and mostly stayed at the warm pool. Emerie and Reagan tackled the adventure eventually and stood in it after a bit. It was so cute though and in no time they will all be running through it like crazy kids, just like we did growing up.

And yes, you better believe they are all wearing princess crowns and water shoes for their water experience. Weirdly enough, three crowns came in the box with the sprinkler.

Kid BFF Paris and Mom BFF Janelle joined us for the fun and beautiful weather. Throughout the play session, Paris kept randomly dumping water over Emerie’s head and she made such angry faces in response, without a sound or cry. Not sure why Emerie was the main target for the day, but her reactions were priceless. Paris also managed to fling it at me as well, and a lot on herself! All in good fun and the entertainment lasted almost two hours.

Two things I want to note about visits from Aunt (Auntie!) Janelle and Paris. One, the girls swarm to her and Mom becomes a form of chopped liver. Personally I think this is fantastic, because the hundreds of hand!! demands are all directed at her, requiring hand holding down the slide, when jumping off the bottom step or the picnic table (safety first people), or for running around the yard. It might get a little difficult when all three insist on a hand immediately; and well, she only has two arms after all.

Secondly, it appears the mean streak is stretching out from simply torturing each other when tired and grumpy to trying to torture Paris. All three are picking up on how to push her buttons, much like an older/younger sibling relationship, and I’m not going to lie, it’s a little hilarious (if it wasn’t quite so mean). We are still working on not throwing toys at each other, and Paris realizes the threat of a toy lifted over a head probably means it’s coming for her face, and she reacts accordingly (I mean who can blame her?!). Well, now the girls, and by that I mean mostly Harper and Reagan, menacingly hold up a toy and will chase her with it, just to be upsetting and get a reaction. We are working on that one and some timeouts are in order as a result…because like it or not, they are going to grow up liking each other. And Paris shouldn’t have to wear a face mask or helmet at our house to keep herself safe…


Big girls!

I am excited to report we are finally entering the book stage of toddler hood. Both Craig and I like to read and considered it a hobby prior to kids. I grew up reading the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, Angelina Ballerina and Madeline, and am excited to raise my girls on them as well. I may or may not already have a large set of Nancy Drew books in a box for a few years from now… While we are obviously not to that level of reading yet, but it is a goal to get the girls interested in books so they will not only thrive at it when older, but enjoy it as well. This is a beautiful state to live in, where you can sit at your window and read a book, enjoying a beautiful view of the mountains and outdoors. I have a lot of memories doing this at the cabin growing up and hope to pass a similar experience down to my kiddos (might also need to find a cabin- not the point…).

Books in the Douglas household in the past two years have been used for many things but none of them for their actual intention. They’ve been paperweights, weapons, chew toys, and table stoppers, not readers! Until very recently, the girls wouldn’t even sit through three pages of a book, generally because one would steal it from you and run away, or smack her sister with it and induce crying, or get bored and wander off. The only successful story is at bedtime, with everyone crib captured, and even then they coached you through it the entire time or scream until you get to the monkey page.

Pre-dinner book time

I recently ordered a few cute books relating to hot topics in the house, specifically monkeys, ducks and puppies, and they are a hit. We are implementing book time at the dinner table while they are strapped into the boosters and we prep their plates, and for a few briefs moments they will flip through them and exclaim monkey! Or quack!

The other night everyone sat with me on the couch and we read an entire book about excavators and work trucks. An ENTIRE BOOK. It only took 27 months to get there…I’m excited and look forward to the many times we can cuddle up and enjoy a good book.


Other random updates so far this month? Emerie now has four bottom molars…no idea when the last two came in. Reagan and Harper are still working on theirs and Reagan’s chipped front tooth is still sensitive.

Harper has tread marks on the side of her face from falling off playground equipment and catching her face on the rope climber. She is also still resisting sleeping in her bed in the early morning. She is starting to love her baby dolls.

Reagan has two skinned knees, which reminded us to put band-aids in the diaper bag from now on. She handled it pretty well though! She still takes the longest to settle at night, but is sleeping great overnight. She is not afraid to pick up bugs and get dirty!

Emerie has made it through the past few weeks without injury, but will constantly remind you of her pinkie finger owie. At some point the nail will fall off. She is still sleeping like a CHAMP. She likes to carry around bags or purses or pots of things and show them to you.

Everyone likes to spend the days outside…including the Nanny!

Comprehension

The shut command has been in our house for quite a while, but now they understand that objects can shut AND open, cabinets can shut AND open, doors can shut AND open and speak accordingly. The other day Emerie told me to unlock the baby gate for her! No idea when she learned that word. They also seem to understand when something is broken, whether that is a glass drinking glass they got off the counter and threw or a toy that has a part that is broken. They will give these broken objects kisses to make them better and its adorable.

They understand what owies are and are starting to say “sowwie” when they hurt you or each other. Often the one that didn’t cause the injury will volunteer the apology for their sister and repeat it to the one that is crying. Sometimes they will give you or sister a kiss to make it all better or say “hug!” and reach out and hug the injured party. It’s sweet because they assume that makes it all better and then go about their previous activity.

Vocabulary words are growing exponentially and it’s enjoyable to see the development. For example, baba (bottle) was a very common word around here for a long time and has now morphed into specifics, including mik, juice, waer and this week, coffee. They now point at our morning cups and the pot on the counter and let us know there is coffee in them with a coffeeeeeee, and remind us it is hot.

They know plate, spoon, fork (I won’t spell how this is pronounced haha), and cup, as well as the table and chairs they sit at. After dinner they understand the distinction between the bath and the shower, running into the correct bathroom (their bathroom has the soaker tub while ours has the enclosed shower) and yelling shower! Or bath time!

Other vocabulary expansions pertain to objects as opposed to actions. Everyone understands multiple shoe types and will go get the correct one to wear, whether it is boots, tennis shoes (they call those shoes) or sandals (sandalllls). They will grab Mom and Dad’s boots and deliver them upon request and distinguish between rain jacket, coat, and shirt. Right now we are working on lid versus hat and hood. They all love hats and wore their winter ones in the house for a while. When we are out and about, they understand their hood is on their hoodies and will pull them up when it’s cold or windy.

Another new concept is saying people’s names…they know so many more people, whether that is in person, through walls around the neighborhood, or through lots of FaceTime calls, and comprehend who they are. The top ones, of course, are mommy, daddy, nanny and papa; sometimes they say these back to back with a “nanny momma daddy” (or in other variations) and can repeat them very quickly! And of course variations of each others’ names: Harpa, Emmi and Ray Ray, especially when mad or wanting to share a snack! Other name nouns in the everyday vocabulary are Koda (dog), uncle (this one is repeated quite often and refers to Uncle Will), auntie for best friend Janelle, grandma, Pricey (nanny’s hubby) and, of course, mermaid, which sounds crystal clear when they want one of the dolls.

On the animal front, we scream for birds in flight and at anything monkey related, moo for cows and quack for ducks and chickens. The favored stuffed animals are their bears from my baby shower and their puppies. After meeting a chicken in real life, they would not remotely repeat the word but were willing to feed them grass through their cage.

Another big step this week was our slow shift to booster seats at the “adult table,” I.e. the dining set we’ve ignores for two years and used as a storage area. The boosters make them look so grown up and the couple meals have mostly been successes. The plan is to transition over to them and sell the wonderful triplet table. It was a game changer but now they push back on getting in it and the close proximity causes fighting and a lot of screaming. Our dining set only fits four, so clearly another upgrade for that is on the horizon too. But seriously, how cute are they…

Another new word, bug, was on repeat for a few minutes after Emerie has her first bee (or horse fly…not sure) sting on her thigh last weekend. She handled it like a pro, even when all red and presumably itchy, and kept pointing at her leg and saying bug. Luckily they haven’t figured out how to say mosquito yet…which will be adorable… Harper has polka dots all over her face and legs from park time and the other two a few spots as well. We played with a couple beetles in the yard and discovered the existence of worms after a rainfall. Reagan picked it right up and put it back on the dirt, while Emerie really wanted to smash the little guy and Harper was not about to hold it in her hand. It’s fun to see how different everyone’s reactions are to slimy, wiggly things outside. No fear!

As the girls continue to spout out more words and phrases, we will be over here enjoying the hot, sunny weather…in the toddler pool, with adorable swimsuits…and their bog boots. Because no mom was the response to no shoes required for the pool, so they slopped all that water all over the deck and the floor until I convinced them barefoot would be fun. Ah, the #momlife!

All of the Glamor

You know what’s hard? Parenting. Raising nice, obedient, intellectual children in a high pace, technological and diverse everyday environment. Making sure they are healthy, safe, and comforted each and every day, that they get enough attention and one-on-one time, and grow and thrive.

The past week has been more challenging than our normal triplet life and not something that is depicted on my usual cute and happy social media posts. Which brings me to a point of irritation for my week: social media. It is great to sharing your life and updating multiple people simultaneously and be able to look back on prior years’ activities, but it glamorizes so many things that realistically aren’t. For example, Facebook and Instagram posts that show smiling babies, cuddled up with one another, with clean houses in the backdrop and parents nicely dressed, with perfect hair, clothes and makeup…everyone is smiling.

This is more realistic!

Can I call BS on this for a moment?! Not that those moments don’t exist, but they are not the everyday norm, whether you have one kid or three or seventeen! In fact, I really do understand the effort it takes to get a cute photo of three toddlers together, with no one blurry or screaming or looking away, and it usually involves me as a sweating mess by the time they are all camera ready and cooperative.

Don’t get me wrong, I post more happy and uplifting things on my accounts than any of our hardships, since the happy memories are easier to carry in the long run and especially in hindsight. But sometimes I want to see the messy photos from people- because we are all going through things, especially now. I want to see the struggles and how they are overcome! That’s far more valuable to me than a bunch of perfect, unrealistic (but very cute!) photos. We should want to remember the treacherous and highly active life we are experiencing; someday we will look back on it proudly…because we made it through! Is that so wrong?

Raising children, let alone multiples, is not glamorous or for the weak of heart. It requires a ton of energy, patience, dedication and sacrificing hobbies, sleep, socializing and often your sanity to get through each day. It’s survival mode, with one task following the next all day long and sometimes no time to enjoy the good moments. It can be very lonely, with not enough time in the day to say hello how are you, even by text, to other people who don’t generally reach out to you to say it.

Grumpy Harper

Now I wouldn’t trade my life as it stands today, but I wouldn’t mind it being a tad easier from time to time and like any parent, sometimes need some support. It can be frustrating to see other’s “perfect” lives, or at least the ones they want to show, on display. Now I definitely have my moments and tend to provide others with my “highlight reel”, but who really wants to see what the chaos is really like? Anyone? Besides me?

My day to day optimism is running a bit low these days, and while I don’t agree that talking about difficulties is the same as complaining about it, I venture to say this is what raising three toddlers really looks like.

Someone is always upset…it’s rare to have three happy at once although it does happen occasionally (and I try to be camera ready for it!). Typically they rotate on the fits. Recently Harper, who was inconsolable the entire weekend and cried for about three days straight, is slowly starting to improve in mood. Crying, whining, more crying and a lot of wanting the opposite parent who is holding her, about 100% of the time.

We checked her ears, any potential new teeth, looked her over head to toe and asked her about any owies, and are now just guessing she is simply anxious or in a major developmental growth spurt and trying to figure out how to manage it. We initially thought it was 1) a fear of airplanes flying overhead, 2) loud noises like airplanes flying overhead, 3) the wind hitting her face/hair, and the current guess is 4) anxiety of parents out of sight or a fear of the dark.

A not-perfect photo that depicts my day perfectly.

Mid last week she started with running in the house, crying for some unknown reason and not wanting to be outside, to insisting on attention 1000% of the time or continuing the total meltdown, to refusing to stay in her crib and immediately climbing out unless you were within eyesight. Prior to last Friday, she had never climbed out of her crib or attempted to, even after seeing Emerie and Reagan do it, and enjoyed playing outside without any issues. The normal nap time routine meant setting Emerie and Harper in their cribs, turning out the light with the sound machine on, putting Reagan down in the guest room bed, and crossing your fingers they all blessed you with a full, two hour nap. Fast forward to this week- we are surviving nap time with Nanny Chris laying down and settling Reagan in the guest room and me taking my “lunch break” and sitting in their room until they both fall asleep. Harper will emotionally instruct me to “sit” on the sofa in the nursery, and then immediately falls asleep, knowing I am sitting there. She then continues to wake up hysterical and occasionally we can coax her back down, but not most of the time. Emerie, my sleeper, will chats herself to sleep and mostly nap through Harper’s outcries. The double adult method is not preferred, to say the least, but we haven’t been able to resolve her stresses.

The mood disruption also means once of us must sit in their room at night, until all are completely asleep, because you can’t get up and sneak out after an exhausted Harper falls asleep, since the other two sense your movement and want to go with you. The past two nights I’ve spent two-plus hours past 2 AM, sitting and reminding them I am nearby so they’ll go back to sleep in their own beds. Sufficive to say, sleep patterns are not going great in the Douglas household right now, in addition to upset babies during the day and our usual busy routine.

As we navigate through another unknown of toddler hood, and pray the other two don’t step into it with Harper, toddler beds are now on order (unfortunately) and we are slightly scrambling to determine what other baby proofing needs to occur. Closet doors need to be purchased, painted and installed, more baby gates to block off other not babyproofed rooms, decisions on how to rearrange nursery cameras out of reach, those types of details that must be solved while still handling one upset and needy toddler AND her two sisters; all during a global pandemic that almost completely limits any support from outside our household.

So yes, even writing this made me tired, and it isn’t exactly joyous and uplifting; but hey, this is real life. Saying it’s hard is okay, because life isn’t easy or perfect and parenting three can be chaotic. I would not agree if you told me that my life was chaos- in fact people have told me that before and I semi-take offense to it. Why? Because my life is routine, routine, routine. It is very regimented. The minor (and major) interruptions are what we have to get through, because it is just a phase and we will get through it. We just might be a bit more tired during it…

So please…take a nice nap for me on this long holiday weekend, and send some extra patience our way. I think we are going to need it.

Have to end on a cute photo at least- Emerie, Reagan, Harper

Two Year Eye Update!

Last week we took Emerie to her eye specialist visit, that was conveniently scheduled out far enough that it wasn’t canceled or postponed due to COVID-19 closures.

Such a big girl!

The doctor’s office required I wear a mask and only one parent accompany the child. The one-to-one ratio is pretty fantastic and when the kiddo is well behaved, it’s even better! Emerie was a pro and you can tell that she likes Dr. Winkle. Not only did she sit very still on my lap while he checked her eye, but he also managed to get a few smiles, almost chuckles, out of her with some animals sounds. She took out on of the tools on the eye machine and nicely handed him his “toy” upon request.

The good news. She was great at her appointment and the eye patching is strengthening her eye. The bad news? Her eye muscles will require another surgery later this spring. Typically the over correction of the eye muscles accommodates the loosening over time, so that the eye ends up looking nice and straight. Since October’s surgery, her eye still trends inward a little more than it should and by now it over correction should be fixed. Dr. Winkle noted he would decide once she’s in surgery if the inside muscle requires loosening or the outside should be tightened.

I am hopeful that much of this quarantining will be passed us before she goes in, so her immune system doesn’t have to fight off any other potential invaders. Current rules also state that only one person is allowed back with a kiddo and that can be tough with a very unsettled and in pain toddler.

Harper and Reagan received their two year eye checkups with the specialist this week, more-or-less to confirm that no strabismus issues are present like their sister. The doctor did not appreciate that they were dressed alike, but did think it was funny! Both passed with flying colors and no longer need specialist eye care. Going forward, unless something changes, we will just monitor their eyes at the pediatrician. Great news!

Not often her mood with the patch on, but big smiles for Em!

Harper did well with the dilation drops and didn’t fight the doctor for the visit. She sat still on my lap and he examined those beautiful blue eyes without too much effort. (Random fact: light colored eyes like blue react easier to dilation!). Reagan, on the other hand, feels the way Harper feels about the dentist. Screaming, crying, trying to hold those eyes shut. She did not appreciate the drops and had her eye exam with arms held firmly down by Craig and her eyelids pried open by the doctor. Maybe we should be more appreciative that Emerie doesn’t respond to all the doctor visits like this.

They both had dilated eyes for the rest of the afternoon, but still enjoyed playing out in the sun and going for a family walk.

Bright light didn’t stop afternoon playtime.

All in all, things are pretty good in terms of the Douglet eyeballs. We will continue to patch Emerie two to three hours per day and encourage use of her weaker eye, much to her dismay. The next plan is to purchase another pair of glasses with larger lenses and see if she likes them more than her current ones or if they improve her mood. We are also thinking outside the box…maybe getting a yellow pair instead of her usual purple! Either way, we know they will be cute on her.

Keep those prayers coming; and we will keep you all updated on her progress.