I’ve learned to pack some extras before going on a drive anywhere out of our city and this week I am very thankful for that predisposition. We loaded up yesterday morning to adventure down to Seward and the SeaLife Center for the day…and then come back home…right?!
Wrong! Can you hear Mother Nature laughing?! She likes to do that type of thing to us (aka triplets!…).
We started the day with quite a snowy and windy drive out of town. It was close to questionable if we should call it and head home, but our group is tough and headed along with eleven kids and five adults spanning three cars. We eventually made it to a wet and more breakup looking Seward- a TON of snacks were eaten and movie clips and songs played; we managed to get there without too much grumpiness. Having Grandma and/or Daddy in the very backseat, feeding the food into the tiny minions hands definitely helped.
We unloaded and hustled the kiddos through the wind and inside to see the sea lions! as the girls quoted the whole drive down. All the kids did great checking out the exhibits and actually returning when called. As you might imagine, it is not easy to smoothly move through anywhere with a headcount of ELEVEN kids under age eight…but hey, we like a challenge and it went really well! They really enjoyed the large sea lion exhibit, looking at the different types of fish and the temporary touch tank (since the normal one is under renovation). There were a lot of little hands touching the sea urchins and star fish with great enthusiasm as well as the comments about the cold water. The kids lasted a little longer than our visit last summer but we still went through the whole thing faster than preferable. Everyone picked out a stuffed animal at the gift shop (three black bear requestes were vetoed since we already have them!) and Emerie ended up leaving with a cute, green turtle, Harper grabbed a red octopus, and Reagan a spotted grey seal. Reagan keeps asking me to hold her seal so her sisters can’t take it. Silly kids.
Instead of sitting down at a restaurant and eating lunch, we dressed everyone in full snow gear and pushed them out of the vehicle to play at Seward’s awesome toddler park. It was windy and very icy and met with great enthusiasm from the whole bunch. I cannot wait for summer when we can visit again under more pleasant conditions. This outdoor activity inspired half the kids to demand use of the portable potty chair we brought and several clothing changes. By the third kid we were ready to load up and head back home.
I do have to mention one of my favorite moments from this adventure. Two of the kiddos in our group were chatting and one noted to the other that she was related to the triplets. She proceeded to say that she can’t tell them apart so she calls them Strawberry (Harper), Grape (Emerie) and Blueberry (Reagan). I love seeing how other kids view the girls when they indeed look identical unless you are constantly around them and can distinguish by personalities or small differential traits like chipped teeth. This makes me want to design them cute fruit shirts!!
Cue a change in background music…because little did we know the real adventure for the day was just beginning. The roads appeared clearer than the way in, with the temperature finally above freezing and the roads more wet than icy, making us feel confident and optimistic on a faster drive home than that morning. This thought was shattered when our speed demon driver of the group, Heather, called about the time we arrived in Moose Pass with a warning the highway was closed from an avalanche, making the road impassable.
We managed to meet up at the pull off ahead of it with our whole kid entourage. More snacks were consumed and we made the executive decision to head to Kenai and see if the road would clear in a few hours. At this point I wasn’t sure how well the girls would do with more time in the car, especially after a busy morning and no one napping yet; overall they handled it really well. I should also mention avalanche news inspired us to open the wrapped presents from Cousin Jamie and crew, because why not? The singing baby sharks greatly assisted in keeping toddler moods pleasant as we detoured an unplanned direction.
After hitting up the Soldotna Fred Meyer for more snacks (of course), melatonin and changes of clothes for the rest of the group (we had enough for us due to our forethought!), we sat down for a nice dinner in the backroom of a restaurant in Kenai (the name is already escaping me). The whole evening adventure worked out well for two reasons, 1) we have a great group of kiddos and parents that help each other, and 2) the backroom allowed for said hyper children to run circles, snack on some dinner, run more circles, and repeat. By the time we finished dinner, it was already past the girls’ normal bedtime and yet we weren’t completely immersed in meltdowns. This was both surprising and glorious, and shows that when given the chance, kids can adapt to things. We haven’t tested this theory very much in the past three years, since the triplet bubble remains tight and regimented, so it is really great to know when a wrench gets thrown in your plans, it is survivable!
By the time dinner was over the highway was not yet clear and open. Instead of chancing driving that distance again and not getting through with very tired toddlers in the car, in the dark on icy road conditions, we opted to hit up a hotel for the night and take our chances with convincing the girls to sleep somewhere new.
As we drove to the hotel, the toddler questions in the backseat eventually ended with a we are going on an “venture” and met with acceptance, even though they had no idea what that meant.
It was close to dark and way past standard bedtime by the time we made it back to Soldotna’s hotel and the girls (and adults) were definitely losing steam. First things first, everyone HAD to check out the bathroom, test to see if the potty is loud (which it wasn’t), open the mini fridge, push microwave buttons until it turned on, and jump on the beds. No pajamas meant the girls slept in their dresses from the day, but luckily had their normal bedtime stuffies and a single binkie we packed for each. Within an hour or so everyone was snuggled in a bed and asleep; Emerie snoring quietly next to me while holding her monkey, Harper cuddled with Craig on the second bed, and Reagan sound asleep next to Grandma Sue on the pull out sofa bed. And everyone slept WELL and extra pillows meant no one fell off the sides!
There isn’t much to tell about the ride home, with the avalanche cleared and no snow falling or potty stops needed, but I will readily admit I am really excited for summer conditions to get here already so we can try out more planned out-of-town adventures. Three years mostly confined to this city is a long time and we are lucky to live in a central location with many fun places within a few, short hours. It is nice to know it might be doable to try new places out and let the girls see other parts of Alaska that we grew up enjoying. Things should go fine as long as there are enough snacks, an overnight bag in the car just in case, extra hands and lots of car ride activities!
Everyone that knows me knows I am a fan of taking pictures of everything. This “problem” has grown exponentially since having children and more and more I’m trying to resist the effort to snap a photo versus being in the moment and enjoying it. All these photos do pay off at the end of each year when I can look over the fun adventures and challenges we’ve faced as a family, as a parent, as a society; and recognize the happy and fun parts in the midst of a very interesting age two.
Here are my favorite family snapshots from March 2020 through March 2021:
The Anchorage Zoo is always a fun stop; I’m unsure if I prefer it in the summer or winter more! The summer time brings warmth and less gear to drag around, but the snow makes the experience so gorgeous on a sunny day and allows us to go without a stroller (in other words, they can’t outrun us in their snow gear!).
Best friend play dates occurred so much over this year and I owe Aunt Janelle a ton of credit for keeping me sane throughout the chaos of 2020. This is one of the few photos I have of everyone a good sport at the same time!
Grandma Sue was here for the 4th of July this year, where we went to the wildlife preserve and made a few exploration stops along the Seward Highway. It was a beautiful day to see live bears and moose and check out the mountain views. Grandma rode in the back seat and entertained the tiny minions on the drive down and back and they loved it.
I didn’t realize until looking back how very tan our household was from spending every day outside for the whole summer. The girls loved playing on the back play sets, “riding” their tricycles on the back deck and sporting swimming suits through the sprinkler pad and small pool. Maybe this summer they’ll stop yelling about the cold water! and allow us to stop dragging hot water buckets out to fill the pool.
Fun morning adventure out to the local sand dunes. Easy trek to it with three littles and a beautiful, cool but sunny day. The girls enjoyed walking in the sand without their shoes and exploring up the big hill.
Yay for neighborhood walks all spring, summer and fall. We are blessed to live in a neighborhood with multiple playgrounds, a gravel walking trail and a creek! It has gotten us through many grumpy baby days and allowed us to get some fresh air, sanity and a lot of mosquito bites.
Can’t complete a summer in Alaska without a trip to the Sealife Center. For our first, big roadtrip, it went really well! The girls loved the park along the water more than anything else other than maybe touching the starfish in the aquarium and the silly seal outside. They napped the whole way home and it was quite the fun (and tiring!) day.
This is one of my favorite photos from the whole year, the day the girls went berry picking up in Arctic Valley for the first time. We went a bit late and missed most of the wild blueberries, opting to pick a good amount of moss berries while the girls looked for any left over blueberries to eat. It was such a fun day and I can’t wait to go in 2021!
Random visits from Cousin Tyler are adored by the littles and you should see them fight over the phone for a moment to FaceTime with him.
While Halloween was a more unorthodox this year than most, we still took our little Aurora, Cinderella and Pan (Rapuzel) princesses around the neighborhood and were joined by Papa Cliff, Cousin Tyler and Uncle Will. It was cold but the the girls were good sports and enjoyed some candy at the end of the night.
Some winter days getting out of the house meant donning snow gear and heading to the dog park for a walk and snowy adventure. Most of these ended with french fries and a hot drink…
As you might imagine, it’s a rare moment to trap these four in a photo together, especially one that doesn’t include some form of flour or butter.
It didn’t take long for the girls to overcome their fear of the loud four wheeler and understand how much fun could be had on it! Constant four wheel trips around the neighborhood as well as seventeen houses down to our friends occurred throughout the winter. As their circle snow pile grew, so did the requests to visit Jessie and crew and her chickens!
Papa Cliff visits are loved by all and the girls constantly ask when he is coming to visit again. While FaceTiming almost nightly is a great way to stay in touch, they really love his visits and all want his attention and presents!
This is our only family photo on Christmas Day. We ended up shuffling the kids out the door after presents and breakfast and trekking around the neighborhood on the four wheeler and sled. Our neighbors were kind enough to snap a quick photo (note the donut trails on the ground behind us!)
Grandma Sue’s baking extravaganzas are always meant for the memory books! This includes pink donuts and pecan bars, homemade scones and dinners, mini toddler decorated pizzas, and a LOT of flour spread across the house on a daily basis. It also means some pretty great food for us to eat!
Cousin visits are the best and we love that most of Craig’s family is only a short plane ride away. Have to celebrate these times with some sweets and adventures around the city.
Walks at the nearby boardwalk, even on cold days, give the chance for the girls to search for their favorite moosie and get some fresh air. It wasn’t so long ago they were running down the plants as new runners, excited to see if they could outrun us. How fast it goes!
I will end on our Christmas village snapshot plus Kaden. Gingerbread villages, hot chocolate (and spilling it everywhere) and running around one of the local hotels turned out to be a fun morning.
Drop us a comment on any family photos you guys have over this past year that I haven’t included here!
It’s nothing new, but something I haven’t written a lot about over the past six months. The girls are venturing down the path of constant whining, and by this I mean the high pitched, drawl of a voice when asking for things or complaining about not getting their way. We are to the point that normal pitched voices get forgotten and we are stuck listening to the constant whining, even after correction. They play off each other and the issue gets exponentially worse. Anyone else in the thick of this??
We are to the point of not responding to those voices and reminding them that whining won’t result in what they are asking for, no matter what it is. Is this working? Not really sure yet; they sure are putting up a fight on it! I assume this is all a phase…and not an incredibly fun one…but one we will eventually get through and past.
Toddler tantrums are now a daily standard in this household; luckily they don’t happen too often when we are out and about (which means going to more places than we have over the whole winter). I’m still waiting for a triple tantrum (I’m excited to see this!) but for now the trend is they all continuously take turns. This is clearly so they can attempt to get the upper hand on the adults and something that will be ongoing for years to come. Harper is the queen of the tantrum and will wail and cry and give you the poutiest face possible, with cinched eyebrows, narrow eyes and a hard stare. It’s hilarious and she’s certainly perfecting her angry look at a young age. Reagan is more of an all out screamer and wants you to immediately console her no matter the reason for the outburst. Emerie still has the type of cry that you want to give in to, no matter if it’s a fit or not, and is great at outpouring the tears on command.
We continue to practice listening and stopping with direction when out at the store, the mall, on a trail, everywhere. Emerie is the most agreeable for all locations and actually prefers to hold your hand and walk most of the time. A little of this could be because it’s often morning so she is patched, but more so she likes to be close to you while exploring. Harper and Reagan alternate who runs away; some days they are responsive and obedient and other days they won’t listen worth anything and we have to head back to the car earlier than planned. Going to social, open spaces isn’t easy yet but the practice is slowly helping. Craig takes the girls to Get Air and they are doing well when he is solo. I’m hoping by the time snow is melted we will have better listeners and obeyers and can do more things without requiring extra hands to survive. The neighborhood walks (without a stroller) and other outside adventures across the city are a breath of fresh air as well as good practice. The random house pictured below is one of the hot spots around the neighborhood according to the children because it has a clock!! on the side of the garage. Other popular places, in addition to walking over to Jessie and crew, are the fans that blow in the wind at several places and the decorative, light up peacock at the end of the street.
They may not be those things all the time yet, but they are definitely talkers and conversationalists! Everyone is exceptional at using “you, me, and I;” they use them correctly most of the time. We aren’t quite as good with “he and she” but we are working on it. Harper will rattle off multiple sentences in a row and it blows my mind! Reagan will tell you a story with great enthusiasm and can recite a couple books by memory. Emerie also recites a few books and gets a few of the pages looped and it is so sweet to watch her be so excited about it.
All in all, a decent week. Now we shall go back to the whine o’clock, the more fun version of it anyway, the “wine” o’clock!
Week two, or should I say round two, of our unplanned family time has been the usual parenting adventure. The girls are starting to get in the groove of being at home again, probably enough that going back to daycare will reset the calm(ish) and create even more evening grumpiness. We were determined to keep the girls busy and occupied all week while downing a lot of coffee, getting a massive amount of fresh air, and attempting to enjoy each other’s company.
We kicked off Thanksgiving week really early- with Harper up and ready to take on the day before seven AM and Emerie and Reagan right behind her.
Craig worked while I got everyone up and running for the day, got dressed, did hair and vitamins, and ate a big bowl of cereal with some bananas and sausage. Every decided to go number two relatively early in the morning, and it quite cracked me up they would run downstairs to yell at Craig in the garage, daddy I pooped! Daaaadddyy I poooooooped! I’m sure his coworkers on the other end of the line were enjoying that entertainment.
After adventuring to the park with Nanny, Pricey and Miss Janet, it took about an hour for everyone to calm down enough to snooze in their cribs, after some back talking and promising of a birthday cupcake as snack if they went to sleep! I didn’t think it was going to happen and then they were out like a light.
They were all babbling in their beds before sleep took over and I heard Reagan say “Mommy, go take a shit- no jelly bean for you!” I kid you not…that phrase CLEARLY comes from their dad! Pretty funny that the other two joined in and noted I don’t get a treat. The teamwork has already begun.
After work Craig took them over to the neighborhood school to run around while I had an hour kid (wine!) break and cooked dinner. Everyone devoured their pasta salad, corn and chicken and received a peach yogurt for dessert. I turned my back for one moment to finish the dishes while Craig was upstairs starting the bathtub, and turned around to a full kitchen table of yogurt mosaics. Silly babies!
Emerie was the early riser today so we plopped down on the couch and watched a little Moana before the other two were up. I try to make early morning one-on-one time count, with lots of snuggles, knowing that the girls are always sharing our attention by one-third and don’t often get to relax without their siblings present or the normal excitement around young children. After breakfast everyone went to the playground to burn off energy and I pulled out their rolling, mini four wheelers to push around the living room after lunch. They are now saying four wheeler, since the real sized one is sitting in the front yard, but it comes out sounding more like a four la la or in the holiday spirit, fa lala. Pretty cute indeed once you know what they are saying. They attempted to push their dolls on the wheelers as well as their giant monkeys. It’s crazy to think the toys used to seem so big compared to the girls; now the long legs have to crunch to ride them.
I love my children to pieces but man, some days they really know how to drive a person crazy! The tantrums, fighting, biting, complaining. All. Of. It. Luckily a friend visited for dinner and helped us do a fun painting craft, which certainly helped burn up some time, but even so the girls still ran wild and continued to be mean to one another throughout the evening.
The craft will turn into “hand” turkeys once the paint dries and I cut them out (or several days later still be unfinished on the counter; that’s more likely). Harper went completely 100% in, her usual style, and looked like she had slaughtered a pig by the end of it. Reagan’s method was one finger at a time with minimal paint on the page, but was all for full hand prints painted on her hands by an adult. Emerie tried to splatter as much paint as possible and loved every second of it. After much scrubbing (of the table, chairs, floor AND children), everything is back to cleanliness.
After a little early morning snuggle with Harper, everyone was up with a bang. We had a very overdue twin play date at the house, where my girls didn’t want to play out in the snow and our visitors did, so eventually we came inside and played with our books and toys. This could be because we put the new swings in the garage to warm and straighten up and they were less than pleased at their absence. Once inside, everyone was calm and composed for about two hours…something quite unusually with FIVE toddlers sharing a play area.
We decided even without family visiting this year, we would try to get a little cooking done to enjoy. With the announcement of another “hunker down” for Anchorage for whole month of December, we might as well attempt some of our own holiday joy and Craig is quite a decent cook! He prepped as much as possible while the girls napped and throughout the evening, ready for our first solo holiday.
After a delicious breakfast of pancakes and bacon, which involved the adults eating the pancakes and the toddlers devouring yogurt and bacon, we loaded up and headed out to our favorite Eagle River park for some sledding and playground time. I can’t wait for the days when we can enjoy a quiet holiday at home, not have to trek out anywhere, and relax. This, however, is NOT how last year or this or even next year will go, but someday!
The wind was cold and for the first time the girls were enthusiastic to have their new face wraps on for warmth. All three were happy to chew on them and pull them down to “shovel” random snow in their mouths. The only glitch when they are pulled up to noses are the fogging of Emerie’s glasses, which frustrates her to no end. We are constantly wiping the lenses off a finger so she can see where she is going. Apparently it was also cold enough for cooperation on mitten wearing, and the fresh few inches of snow made sledding really fun.
The girls are continuing on their grumpy moods this week so the middle car seat was relocated into the back row for the drive home. Reagan begged to have the first ride…so I’m guessing she now believes that is her seat. The past few weeks the girls have been fighting over who sits in the middle, the spot no one wanted for the last year. This has more to do with being taken to the car first than sitting in that spot, and I’m guessing at some point everyone will have a designated seat instead of all switching around whenever we load them as we do now. We are still rear facing, even with those long legs in tow, because we are still far below the weight standard for forward facing and actively working on the height standard.
Emerie still managed to throw her glasses at Craig TWICE on the drive home and send some toys across the car at her sisters. But overall, it was less of a battle than with all three across and everyone snacked and sang songs until we made it home.
While the girls napped Craig worked on a multitude of dinner tasks and the amazing smell of turkey filled the house. Other deliciousness consisted of green bean and corn casserole, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, homemade stuffing and pumpkin pie. Unsurprisingly and a repeat of last year, the girls pretty much didn’t touch any of it at dinner…except for the amazing, homemade lumpia the neighbors dropped off for us that afternoon. Reagan ate at least two whole ones! Sounds about right; we couldn’t even convince them to eat sweet potatoes, i.e. SUGAR. Silly kids.
Everyone was so grumpy after dinner that we booted them all outside for some swing time and playing in the snow. That lasted long enough to clean up some of the kitchen and prep bath time.
With our first major holiday sans any out of town family, I’d say it could have been worse. And we have much to be thankful for this season; three smart and beautiful ladies, a happy (albeit tired) and loving husband and cook, a roof over our heads and heat, a wonderful hometown, essential jobs through all this craziness, and a life that always brings the unexpected but often fun. Happy turkey day to all of you!
The snow started dumping early Friday morning, the perfect weather for Thanksgiving weekend. We did not let that hinder our morning zoo plans and I loaded up kids and strollers and winter gear to trek out in it.
This time we brought one of the double chariots so the girls could sit for a bit intermittently and be contained when attitudes struck. Excluding the fact everyone was in a maniac mood for the morning (including me by the end of it), it didn’t go that badly and I had Uncle Will to help me corral them. The few inches of fresh snow didn’t deter them from running amuck and snacking on it at every opportunity. At least that’s clean snow, right!?
If I had to pick a favorite animal today, it was probably the turkey (which is hilariously timed and so fitting for the week!). One stayed cozied up by the heating lamp while the other one socialized with the girls. As we walked toward the caribou cages, it paralleled us along the fence line. Harper thought that was just so hilarious and informed me I love it a few times, pointing excitedly at the turkey. Emerie stayed behind once everyone moved forward to the alpacas and bonded a bit more with it, until it gobbled (squawked?) at her unexpectedly and she about jumped out of her skin. Apparently a real gobble gobble isn’t quite so comforting. She wanted to get away from him ASAP.
We swung by to see the otters a second time before heading back to the car. Meltdowns were imminent and I was glad the stroller was there to contain two of them. They all liked watching the otters belly slide across the snow, their style of sledding, and hooted and hollered at them.
After nap we donned the snow gear and shoveled the front driveway while the girls sat in the yard with me and “supervised.” We don’t love taking them out front and rarely do so, since for the past two years they bolt into the busy road; but, in snow gear, as well as the late afternoon darkness, they are slower and more timid to taking off down the street.
Craig put the plow on the four wheeler and after clearing the driveway, he convinced the girls to sit behind it while pulling them down the block in the big sled (sitting on my lap, of course!). They talked about that adventure all evening and yes, we went super slow the whole time!
The last funny thing to note for the day, poor Emerie wouldn’t go to sleep because of the turkey gobble from the zoo. She explained to me in a concerned expression that the turkey gobble upset her and I responded he went bye bye (as turkeys do on thanksgiving?). After a good fifteen minutes back and forth from a clearly anxious toddler, she finally drifted off to sleep.
By Saturday the toddler mood swings were starting to get really old (or before Saturday really). Others that have warned us that “three-nagers” are actually worse than the “two-nadoes” stage are probably right; at least that seems to be how we are trending. There is an incredible amount of meltdown rage at our house throughout the day; everything from stealing toys to being told no to disagreements about wearing their gloves or a previously chosen color of underwear. Other disagreements spur over who gets to go in which potty chair, because someone peed on someone else’s existing potty chair pee (maybe TMI but it’s funny and true!), when everyone wants to wear the same pair of boots or the same jacket, when one sits too close to the other and they touch, or when they slam the downstairs gate shut on one another. Not to mention other times when no one ever answers us the same, so all three want to sing a different song, watch a different show, read a different book, or have a different drink. I could go on forever…and certainly write an entire blog on reasons for toddler rage.
It’s a constant and long battle that takes a ton a patience AND stamina- because these tiny humans feed off your sense of tiredness or irritation and it FUELS THE FIRE. So, I admit, we both lose our heads probably once (or more) a day after a full day at home, likely with every moment filled with some kind of toddler rage, crying fit, repeated demand or total meltdown all while trying to accomplish everyday tasks, keep things going forward and done.
Through all this, the girls are starting to say sorry more often after an unkind deed, and while the upset sister doesn’t want to accept the apology yet, we are progressing on giving it. Time out is quite frequent right now and I hope that is teaching them to understand when they’ve disobeyed or been unkind. They are using their words better now, and when someone is in timeout inevitably one or both of remaining group will make a point to tell us they are listening. Momma, listening! Daddy, me listening! It’s very cute, but it also usually comes from a place where they haven’t been doing just that. This battle and continued loop will continue for a long time.
They also interject adjectives in their sentence structure now, such as Emerie this morning, point out her “my yellow pee” or Reagan stating she wants to wear “my blue hat” or Harper stringing off a few descriptive sentences about whatever is going on.
The girls were riled up once again for the start of the weekend so we ordered breakfast takeout (is that called takeout?) from a small, local restaurant, built block towers at the kitchen table while Craig picked it up, and then headed off to Kincaid Elementary for playground slides, swings and a sledding hill.
After a cheeseburger lunch, with Reagan eating an entire adult burger herself, everyone went down for a nap while Craig ran to Costco. Overall the nap was very restless but successful, and they willingly snuggled on the couch afterwards and had a snack with some Pan on the until Daddy came home.
We ended this day with more thanksgiving leftovers (including the amazing homemade cranberry sauce that was delicious- thanks Sara!), pumpkin pie (the girls ate the whip off the top…) and our first Christmas pajamas of the year, which Harper greatly disliked until I explained the snowflakes on the red-striped pants were from the frozen princesses. That explanation seemed acceptable to her and she stopped trying to take them off.
One more day until routine change!
Today’s agenda was set around visiting Santa in the morning. After a quick cereal breakfast we visited the Potter’s Marsh boardwalk to burn a little energy before seeing the jolly red man. It’s been a while since we walked out there and our first time with snow, which was helpful because the girls couldn’t see straight down through the boards. It’s also great for the containment, with only two directions to choose from, so everyone could run freely, but for the most part they just wanted to walk and hold our hands and see the wildlife.
Two moose were spotted down below and we were able to get a pretty close look from the boardwalk. The girls were so excited! They called out to “Mr. Moose” and Harper asked if she could first kiss him, then hug him, and that she loves him. The walk provided some much needed time outside and produced much chatter about moosies for the afternoon. I’ll note we did have to promise Emerie that no turkeys were present during that time, as she showed concern about it.
After the boardwalk we quickly changed into Christmas attire and rushed over to Cabela’s for our morning photo slot. I fully expected rage crying like last year, but because no one can sit directly on Santa’s lap, they were content to sit on the bench in front of the glass and not concerned about the jolly man behind them. No one really wanted to look at the camera or smile; instead they kept looking up at the flashing lights after each snapshot. Overall it went pretty well and everyone snacked on a candy cane as we walked around the store and looked at the fish.
The girls were very chatty today about family members. All morning they asked about Auntie Manda and wanted to talk to her, so during lunchtime we did a quick FaceTime call and they were excited (so excited they all pooped- true story!). Later in the day Reagan asked a few times for cousin Tyler, saying she wanted to show her cheek owie to him. Emerie also said she missed Papa Cliff and the other two agreed. I’m glad that even though family isn’t local, the girls still have a close enough relationship to want to talk to them. Thank goodness for modern technology!
Post nap activities included several rides around the neighborhood on the four wheeler, certainly to our neighbors’ dismay, until our hands and feet were tingling and cold. We colored the ornaments from the Santa visit and with some effort, convinced the girls to hang them on the tree and not steal each other’s. As you can see, Harper attempted to color the entire body brown and black; we had to forcably take the colors from her after insisting it needed some holiday spirit on it. I think all three did a good job!
We ended the evening with everyone eating their entire dinner plate. I note this because it’s incredibly unusual, with each kiddo eating more than half a mini pizza, two servings of broccoli and green beans (we slacked on dinner…yes…since we were outside playing on the four wheeler). Everyone excitedly ate their ice cream reward while I sipped some wine!
It sounds silly, but a tiny part of me feels sad the girls went back to daycare (I said a TINY part). While the past two weeks were very draining and busy, there were also happy parts and fun adventures spent as a family. I look forward to the days when they are a bit bigger and it’s easy to do some of these things without the major prep work ahead of time and sense of tired afterwards, and I know that will come eventually. For now, I will relish my workday at home with a hot cup of coffee and a silent house. I will enjoy knowing the girls are off having fun with their class, burning energy and getting out of the house for a bit. I will appreciate the Christmas decorations in my house and the snow outside my windows and get excited for the upcoming holiday season. Can’t I also be thankful for that?!
Our family is extremely fortunate that to date we haven’t fully felt the affects of the worldwide pandemic. Luckily Craig and I both have essential jobs, since crime and airports don’t stop for viruses, and our hand washing lifestyle was already a must with premie kiddos in the house the past two years.
The daycare notified us a week ago that their facility was closing down through the end of November, meaning a two week period without childcare or any relief from the busy and nonstop kiddo life, all while trying to continue working full time and remaining sane! I’m trying to have a good attitude, but let’s be realistic here. It’s going to be a hard and long month. Especially during a year when no family is traveling for the holidays. It will be our first Thanksgiving with the girls without any grandparents present to cook!
The girls were up early, even though I managed to convince two of them to stay in bed until at least 7:30 by letting them play with their crib stuffed animals while I checked emails on the nursery couch. They were ready to take on their Monday, which would have been so much better if they could head off to daycare for some fun.
Craig and I were both able to switch off and handle some morning meetings and work calls while Nanny and Pricey visited for a few hours to help us out! The girls played with play dough, strummed the guitar, destroyed the house with their toys, and had all kinds of fun. The day was going okay until nap time, when all three refused participation and would NOT settle down…all three! What a way to kick off the week and not in a good way. Poor Harper wanted to drift off to sleep so badly, but Emerie and Reagan prevented her from doing so by singing, yelling, throwing toys and jumping on their beds until we finally gave up and got them back up.
No nap is the perfect way to kick off two weeks of crazy toddlers that aim to drive their parents insane. Yes, I am complaining, but before you judge me on the grumpiness, remember I have three moody, over reactive busy bodies taking over my house, fighting with each other and over everything, and pushing boundaries at every moment. At some point a break is necessary, especially after a fourteen hour day…
That morning I managed to check a few emails at the kitchen table while the girls corralled around and munched on pancakes. Once I caught Reagan sipping coffee out of MY coffee cup with her hand, which was a good indication of how the rest of the day would go. Later I handed Harper a plastic up to play with, instead of with my coffee cup, and she scolded me with a there’s no coffee in it, Momma. Long day indeed.
We opted to walk over to the school and go sledding after the nap fiasco, hoping to get some fresh air and survive the afternoon with tired girls. It went pretty well and they enjoyed the bigger sledding hill with one of their daycare friends; afterwards we played on the very frozen playground equipment until the sun set from the sky. Overall, they were good sports for most of the evening, although as I finished writing this Craig is sitting in their room, trying to calm them down after waking up an hour into their night and NOT wanting to settle at all.
By the grace of God, the children slept in until 8:15 this morning (probably overtired from Monday!). It has been several weeks since we’ve had such luck, allowing me to get some much needed work done with a quiet and cozy environment.
Nanny Chris and Pricey came over again to keep the sanity in check, as well as one of their school buddies who is also missing her daycare friends! Lots of coffee was sipped (chugged?), minor tantrums occurred…you know, the usual….but this time they napped!! Hallelujah! We went sledding in the late afternoon, well after the sun went down and until our faces were frozen. All in all, a much improved day!
Another day sleeping in, except no one spent the entire night in their bed. It’s a creative process to climb out of bed and not wake a shifty toddler that has half a mind to get up with you bright and early. It’s a juggle of turning the sound machine up, pulling blankets over said kiddo and a pillow to the side so they don’t fall off, and tiptoeing quieter than a mouse out the door, shutting it behind you silently so the pets don’t push it open and wake them up, then looking at the baby cam and praying they didn’t hear you!
Craig and I rotated work hours for the day, watching the girls for an hour or two and then trading off to answer a call. It’s actually pretty nice, since by the time you start feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with the toddler attitude then it’s time to switch off and switch activities up!
I managed to cook an actual meal for dinner- fajitas; the prior two days were Costco prepped meals (which we love!). We did a lot of coloring with the girls and open playtime and the 7 degree weather didn’t stop Craig from taking them on a park date to burn some energy. Overall the day went pretty well in triplet standards.
Everyone decided to be up at the crack of dawn today, but after two good sleep-in mornings, that wasn’t altogether surprising. Craig made breakfast and dressed everyone for the day while I handled a couple calls and then we switched and I whisked them off for another sledding adventure. This time the girls were heading down the hill solo in the little round sleds and head first on their bellies on the bigger ones. Emerie was taken out by one of the older boys, doing a full body flip into the air and (luckily) landing on his back, breaking her fall. She was not a happy camper on that one and demanded an apology! Harper was happy to go down the hill on her butt, without a sled, until she figured out how fun it was to go faster. Reagan is a sledding pro now and will even bring the sled back up herself while her sisters expect you to come help them up.
I came downstairs to this while the girls were napping and cracked up. A near accurate depiction of them sleeping, minus the fact they don’t cuddle together. We require them to leave the bigger dolls downstairs each day because they would be noisy and take up a lot of crib space, so everyone puts theirs in a doll bed, gives them a blanket and then a gentle kiss. It’s very sweet. Emerie tries to give Harper’s doll a kiss all the time and she doesn’t like that, but it’s still cute. We were gifted several American Girls dolls by one of my coworkers and while I know they won’t care for them like if they were older, they all really like to carry them around, put them down for naps and snuggle with them on the couch, so why not?!
This also brings up the point of stuffed animals in their beds. Reagan now insists she has to bring MANY animals to bed with her every nap and night time, including her teal dragon, green lambie, black AND tie-dye teddy bears, Stella her Cabbage Patch doll, and her brown puppy. It’s a battle to get any of them away from her and she now sleeps in a pile of them. We’ve more or less given up taking them about because she will lay in the dark and ask for them a hundred times. At least she is able to sleep with them either way! Harper doesn’t have this issue nearly as much, but likes to have her Cabbage Patch doll Cici, her pink teddy bear she’s had since birth, and her pink monkey. Emerie also has a regimented demand for animals, with her beloved monkey and Cabbage Patch doll Sadi at the top in priority (they now follow her everywhere), followed by her purple/pink sloth, a tiny, black teddy bear, and whatever other animal she finds that day. For a week or so she was holding a mini, purple rubber ducky in her hand all night. She even woke up a couple of times in the middle of the night, full on screaming ducky!! and trying to find it in the dark. Good times.
After nap we ran several errands to get out of the house and showed off some of the Christmas lights around town. The girls later told us all the different colors they saw; I’m very hopeful people light up their houses this year so we can tour around and enjoy them from a nice, heated car. We have a few more to put up once it gets a bit warmer outside.
The final day of the workweek started off well, with everyone sleeping in a bit. Emerie lost her mind at about midnight, waking up Reagan as a result, so they are each in a bedroom and Harper later joined Craig since he has the space of a king sized bed. While we don’t love the co-sleeping (Craig less than I do…but I can sleep anywhere), we also manage to get WAY more sleep when we pull an angry baby out of their bed and into ours, whoever it may be. They are pretty good at going right back to sleep unless they aren’t feeling well, knowing that they got exactly what they wanted…for us to bring them in our room. They inform us in the morning now that they sleep in Daddy’s bed or sleep in Mommy’s bed (guestroom bed). At some point we will have to put in the time and effort to resettle them in their own room but honestly, at this point with it the middle of winter, dark outside, both of us working from home full time and without daycare, I will take sleep any way I can get it, even if that means a battle later down the line.
The morning went pretty well and I loaded the girls up and headed to a park by Nanny’s house so she and the hubs could join us for some sledding! We had Taco Bell nachos for lunch with some yogurt, a good nap, and played in the circle behind our house before dinner.
Craig made a piping hot vat of chicken noodle soup and for once the girls chowed down on it! Reagan was all about the peas and celery and pretty much ate all of mine, Emerie chomped on all the noodles and some celery, and Harper preferred the dark meat chicken and broth. It all worked out; past experience with soup hasn’t gone nearly as well. The girls liked chicken broth when they were little; we used to put a little warm broth in a bottle and let them sip it when they had colds, so hopefully we are growing some soup loving toddlers.
After the usual morning routine we headed off to a new sledding hill on the west side of town. The girls were acting rough, pushing each other down deliberately and treating their friends unkindly, so we loaded back in the car a few minutes early and headed home to prepare for our lunchtime mini winter photo session. Surprisingly the girls were very well behaved for those fifteen minutes, even while cold in the 20 degree and windy weather with just sweaters, tights and boots on, and I am SO excited to see them!! I always love snowy professional photos, but haven’t tried them with the girls being so young and less than amenable to the chill.
After the outdoor excursion we came in and bundled everyone up in their frozen princess,
hooded blankets and read a book until they warmed up. We had another good nap and managed to play inside for the remainder of the day without too much fighting. We broke out the special color markers (ones that only color specific types of paper and are amazing!) and Harper fully colored her whole sheet, Emerie colored a few baby sharks and Reagan adamantly begged for Tyler and Uncle to see it her creation. It was pretty cute.
All in all, a decent day!
We rounded out our first week of family time with a pancake breakfast, strong coffee, and some vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting at the sledding park in honor of Craig’s birthday. The fogged rolled in and over the sunlight toward the end of our outdoor excursion and the sight was beautiful. The warmer, 30 degree weather was a nice change and you could tell the girls were happier about it. Although the weekend grumpiness was still there, they went up and down the sledding hill more than a dozen times without assistance. Emerie ended up with the bloody nose and lip at one point and needed a break, Harper required a little coaxing to go down on a sled (and then remembered her need for speed) and Reagan was happy to play with Sage on the slides and swings for a while.
In the afternoon the neighborhood moose were out to the girls delight, walking down the street from our house. We did multiple drive bys in the car so the girls could see them from both sides of the car and they hollered, screamed and talked to those poor baby moose, whose ears very much listened to the conversation.
Unfortunately no plans for daycare this week or any back up family that’s local meant Craig didn’t get much of a relaxing day off for his birthday, but we did order a nice dinner and he managed a solid nap while they napped!
Happy to have one week down! And as I was reminded at the park this morning, this is a good time to be thankful to spend more time with your family, that is something COVID has given all of us. Yes, it’s hard, stressful, and sometimes makes you want to pull your hair out, but we only get this age once, and we have to choose to enjoy it. The expanded vocabulary, the emotional fits, the questions and demands, and the snuggles and kisses.
Here’s to Thanksgiving week! We have so much to be thankful for.