Waiting for Spring

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!!

Egg-stravaganza and Hoppy Easter!

Easter this year meant more involved activities than in years past, including an egg hunt, egg dying, spring cookie decorating, a lot of nail polish, and a lot of sugar. The girls were good sports for the majority of activities and enthusiastically participated in all of it.

We accidentally went to the Cabela’s Easter bunny earlier in the month after looking at the animals and fish. After running Reagan to the bathroom, we spotted a white bunny rabbit strolling down the aisle and Reagan did a complete double-take. We quickly signed up for a photo session (which were by appointment only) and all three did far better than expected sitting in front of it. In fact, I would say they were less terrified of this creepy eared animal than of Santa Claus earlier this year, which is hilarious. It also helps that procedure was similar to Christmas time, with a clear glass separation, making the kids feel less threatened than sitting closely with them.

The sugar cookie decorating lasted for a little while, with five toddlers helping snack on the icing and sprinkles but also somewhat decorating them. No one wanted to share their completed cookies or let me put them up on the rack; they more so hoarded full plates until we demanded to take them away and replace them with empty canvases. Megan and crew brought more sprinkles to add to the mix, including a pack of tiny eyeballs that everyone wanted to use! I plan to make it a family tradition to make sugar cookies and decorate them in celebration of (impending) spring…that thing we are still waiting to see right now.

I was not feeling adventurous about outdoor egg hunting with a snow covered backyard, so the morning hunt stayed inside on our main level with a few more in our empty, under renovation family room. The girls wore matching bunny dresses and new, fancy shoes. Just like last year, they immediately picked up the concept and slung their baskets around as they peeked under furniture and opened cabinets in search of delicious treats. There are only so many places to hide plastic eggs, so the whole search wrapped up pretty quickly, with Reagan’s bucket about 3/4ths full, Emerie’s almost halfway, and Harper’s the least filled as she kept getting distracted with trying to open them. Once all were collected everyone sat down on pillows in the empty family room and sifted through their “booty” before I handed over their real Easter baskets. Harper’s first egg contained a spotted brown jelly bean, which she promptly threw on the carpet with a that’s a rock! comment. Hysterical, I tell you! Her excitement joined her sisters as she opened a few more and found mini marshmallows, other more deliciously colored jelly beans, and egg shaped tootsie rolls.

I enjoy seeing the different responses to new candies. Emerie ate her marshmallows speedily when usually she’s not a big fan of them, Reagan tried one tootsie roll egg and spit it out into my hand with a yucky, while Harper kept getting the gross flavored jelly beans (I guess it’s my fault for not picking better colors to add) and running to throw them into the trash. Harper was the only one of the three to really enjoy the egg tootsie roll treats. Reagan did manage to collect more tootsies and bring them upstairs to share, with one placed lovingly at each table setting and the last one on the couch for Daddy, along with her open sticker book. She demanded Grandma Sue guard that candy until Daddy came upstairs…how cute is that.

This year’s Easter baskets weren’t anything to rave about, just a chocolate bunny for each and a few knickknacks and bunny ears from Grandma Anne. The girls have been carrying the light up baby chicks around with them and I’m sure I will find the princess stickers around eventually. Strict instructions for consuming the chocolate bunnies meant everyone had to take a good nap; somehow orders were obeyed and they all woke up from nap with a I want my chocolate bunny, Momma! type exclamation. It took Harper 45 minutes to eat that tiny bunny, while Reagan scarfed it down and Emerie enjoyed pointing out what parts she ate (ears, then eyes, then mouth etc.).

Easter dinner meant a house of nine kiddos running around, which isn’t too out-of-the-ordinary these days, with the girls refusing once again to eat most of their dinner but the adults and visiting kiddos enjoying each bite!

The phrase of the week for the toddlers is I not can’t. Clearly we haven’t learned double negatives yet but they sure do know how to voice when they can’t do something! I not can’t handle it if they keep saying it like that!!

All in all, a good, relaxing holiday at home. ❤

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!

Spring into Easter

This week was our second Easter with the girls! Last year we were about 11 days into our NICU stay since the holiday fell so very early. In fact, this year’s Easter fell exactly a year after we brought everyone home for the first time!

Now that the girls are bigger, more mobile and observant, we participated in a few activities over the weekend. Everyone is coughing and super stuffy, so instead of spreading that around, we minimized play dates and socializing and had a nice weekend just the five of us.

On Saturday we opted for photos with a real bunny, instead of the big (and creepy) costume one. The girls thought it was really fun to pet the little guy (his name was Yatzhee!) and the bunny handled three sets of tiny hands quite well.

Luckily we made it right at opening and didn’t have to wait too long to see Mr. Bunny. For future reference, setting the girls in a wheel barrow works great for pictures with all three together. They didn’t even try to climb out, smiled and even looked at the camera.

After a quick run to Target, we spent the rest of the day playing at home and watching movies. When I say watching movies, the littles let us get through two whole movies in a single afternoon. It felt wonderful to sit on the couch and relax, snuggling with any baby that momentarily wandered over from playing with their toys. Harper was especially snuggly, probably because of her cold, and actually sat still for periods of time. Everyone played and played and played!

Easter plans consisted of chocolate bunnies (for breakfast!), finding Easter eggs, and playtime. The tiny chocolate bunnies became tiny, airborne bunnies at first, but eventually turned into food. Reagan went right to chewing on the ears while Harper and Reagan threw their around a bit first. Emerie eventually discovered the delicious chocolate taste while Harper was a bit more skeptical. After a few minutes everyone was chomping down with and eating a bit of chocolate.

After a quick breakfast at Ihop, with very well behaved kiddos, we came home to relax for the rest of the day. Spring tutus were added to outfits! I filled plastic eggs with treats, such as cheese puffs, yogurt melts, and crackers, and spread them around the family room. The girls were immediately curious. Filling them with something that made noise when shaken definitely worked to peak their interest. They enjoyed their snacks, making our first “egg hunt” a success!

I will leave you with these smiles!