Kicking off July

The 4th of July weekend was well spent just hanging out and enjoying the sunshine. We played with the water tables, in the pool, with our books and puzzles, and went to the nature conservatory in Portage. We packed a car load of gear and were out of the house by 9:30, with a short stop in Bird Creek to give everyone a stretch break and explore the exciting whale rock art and inlet views. At one point we successfully convinced all three to hold hands and walk; but most of the twenty-minute venture consisted of chasing toddlers and keeping them out of the parking lot. Grandma read books to our three opinionated listeners on the drive to Portage and showed them pictures of people on her phone. Apparently we just need a third row sitter to sit in the back of the car on a permanent basis, just to get some peace and quiet on drives!

They did great on the drive down, the longest one we’ve done in quite a while, as long as you allowed them to remove socks and shoes and have entertainment. They enjoyed wheeling around the refuge in the wagon and looking at the animals, then running free for a bit, then returning (unwillingly) to the wagon so we could move onto the next exhibit. The bears were the most popular for sure, where they exclaimed excited screams as the massive brown bears gallivanted around, about ten feet below the lookout, and the poor tourists sighed at the loud noises.

The plan was to do a quick lunch in the sun and then pack up for a driving nap home, but we got sidetracked. A lady popped her head out of her car as we were walking back, asking us if we had triplets and if she could take a picture (still a super weird request every time I hear it). Her next comment relayed we were the second set she saw that day, which is not a normal coincidence but turned out to be true! I first texted to our other triplet friends to see if it was them, but it wasn’t. As we approached the main parking lot to go home, disappointed we hadn’t found them, we ran right into them, a new, local set only three weeks younger than us. I am so excited to have another local momma that understands the current trenches! Needless to say, what a perfect story to meeting at a random place, on a random Fourth of July, at the exact same time!!

The rest of the weekend was spent outside enjoying (mostly) the hot, sunny temperatures, cleaning up the backyard and weeding the neglected raspberry patch and front garden. Regardless of the fact that fireworks awoke two of my three sleeping children at midnight, the weekend was not a wash. Harper is still up early each morning and used that time to help Grandma weed and get some on-on-one parent time. The gardens are looking the nicest it has since the girls came home from the hospital!

Day One

I really can’t complain about my week off with the kids. Why? Well it’s warm outside (at least it started that way on Monday) and that means spending the day outside. The girls have Grandma Sue to play with and with that comes fresh scones and other goodies. And, there’s lots of things to do to stay busy! Our Monday consisted of walks in the neighborhood with the wagon, meeting new neighbors moving in, taking a grand two hour nap, another afternoon walk with friends, and a lot of gardening! We expanded the back garden bed to accommodate the new golden raspberry patch and planted them after dinner, with the help of the girls (of course). They all enjoyed playing with the dirt, handing potted plants over to Craig for planting (or refusing to hand them over in a mischievous fashion), and playing with the massive worms from the pots. Harper ran around, showing off her wriggly worm and not wanting to share, Reagan would briefly hold it and Emerie kept dropping them and trying to stomp them in the grass.

Craig also replaced the lock on the back door to a keypad so that the nanny doesn’t get locked out anymore. This seems to happen a couple times a week to someone, although it’s easy enough to go to the key-less front door and get back in. We’ve been meaning to do that for years and just hadn’t gotten around to it. Emerie’s latest habit is to run inside from the deck, slam the back door, flip the deadbolt, and then set fire to the living room. Okay…not that last part, but I usually do find her standing on the table, tinkering with the TV remote in silent joy, awaiting her capture by the adults and hoping for the best.

Also, not because this is relevant to any story, but LOOK AT THEIR HAIR TODAY. Top/side ponies, with bangs long enough to pull back. Cute right?! We are starting to get more creative on the hairstyles, because the length is grown out and because bribery of the sugary kind allows me to give them bows and other pretties.

Day Two

Today we toured the zoo with the visiting cousins. The girls were on pretty decent behavior and didn’t run off too much; having the extra hands was great and the girls really took to Maddie, Amber and Hayden. There was a trail of snacks across the park as they munched in the wagon and spilled their drinks all over the place.

We are improving naming animals and everything isn’t a moose anymore. Instead we hear whispers of bear, owl, kitty and porcupine (I think) at random cages. The tiger has yet to be close enough for viewing after three visits, so the girls could care less, the polar bear was hidden during our visit, but the snow leopards, referred to as “kitties” in this house, remained almost close enough to touch.

The only hiccup of the visit was Emerie getting two lower arm hornet stings as she was climbing up a wooden stairway after Harper. She took it far better than the average toddler or even adult, showing us the owies as they swelled up but without tears or being inconsolable. Luckily after some initial swelling, it decreased without intervention and she forgot about it until we made it home. But it did remind me to put some additional meds in the diaper bag in case this happens again. It seems Harper is our mosquito baby and Emerie our bee baby. Who knows what that means for Reagan!

Yogurt after the hornet bite on Emerie’s arm

Needless to say, Emerie received lots of attention and kisses and was still able to enjoy the last several animals at the park, including the young, honey bear and napping baby moose. It was great to visit with family and much overdue! Our next visit will have to be the Seward Sealife Center!

That night we ventured to Olive Garden for our first dinner out since February. The construction outside was very interesting to the girls, who now say loader and truck! as we drive by big equipment. I have to say, the restaurant’s social distancing and less busy environment was welcomed in my opinion. In the past we could barely get the stroller to the table. The girls ate a TON of salad for dinner, Harper had seconds on the black olives, everyone tried some bread sticks and butter licking, and ate all their fries and some alfredo noodles. It was quite the successful meal!

We are still trying to break the bottle before bed habit. It’s been over a month since we’ve tried to stop again, since last time was not successful AT ALL and resulted in angry, bottle demanding, screaming toddlers. Since the girls ate so well at dinner and we didn’t get home until almost bedtime, we tried doing warm milk in their sippy cups, saying the bottles are broken. All three drank less than normal, but overall sleep wasn’t any different than it usually is.

Day Three

I woke up to a very dreary, rainy day. Instead of braving the the weather at the park, I packed the girls up and went to a play date. The last play date we went to was the week before quarantine and our first one is with our same twin friends.

The girls were moody for a lot of it, fighting over toys and with each other. Overall, they really took to role playing with the dolls, making me think I need to find some more doll furniture to use for inside activities. The double doll stroller was also quite the hit.

I also didn’t think to grab their portable lunch chairs, so they didn’t eat very well without being fully contained. Overall, we had fun and it was nice to catch up with one of my fellow multiples mommas, but apparently the trip didn’t tire them out enough to take a nap. It took me close to an hour and several spankings to get Harper and Reagan to lay down in their cribs and go to sleep. Emerie slept through all the toddler huffing and puffing.

The rain didn’t stop a little fun after nap, with the girls suited up in their raincoats and boots for a little fresh air. That lasted long enough for dinner prep and this time I put warm milk in their dinner cups. That also seemed to help with the new sippy cup only rule before bed time. I’m hoping we’ve broken the habit…but we will see.

Day Four

Day four started off pretty normal, but with Harper and Reagan standing in their cribs and having a 2 AM discussion about something and waking us up to grab them before they woke up Emerie. The day was full of the normal toddler things, playing, running to the store and to grab some French fries for a car ride snack, and playing out back in the kiddo pool. I managed to catch Harper dunking Emerie with a tiny bucket of water (again). The girls ate grandma’s chicken and dumpling soup and corn on the cob for dinner and played until bedtime. Another new game is discovered; we now have toddler participation for Ring Around the Rosie and it’s sooooo cute. They all preemptively fall and think it is so hilarious. Throughout the day, Harper’s eye (brow) continued to swell up from a big mosquito bite and additional sister beating, but went back down by the next morning.

Day Five

Creeping on the neighbors

Another relatively uneventful day full of playing outside, more French fries, and a few new knick knacks from the store. Once the weather turned nicer, we hooked up the sprinkler pad for some fun and eventually moved the slide into it. I caught some of the water dunking fights on camera and watched the girls chase each other around the yard with miniature water buckets, trying to slosh them over everyone’s heads. Eventually they stopped turning on each other and went after Koda, who probably enjoyed the cool water in the hot sun and didn’t even run away from them. This game will be fun until they come after me for it! They also insisted on verifying the newborn baby living in the house behind us was okay whenever he cried, and creepily stared his direction, through the back fence, to make sure. We are all about babies right now, and by that, I mean THE GIRLS. Calm down.

Later we ventured over to a neighbor’s house to pick up some fresh eggs, and, of course, feed their chickens some grass and ooo and ahhh over the fact that they have chickens. It was a random afternoon of adventuring while soaking wet and barefoot in the sun!

I also want to note that we’ve somehow managed to break the bedtime bottle feed by day five, a little milk with dinner seems to fix the wanting of an 8 ounce bottle an hour later. This is great progress in our kiddo development and a long time coming!

A few other notable and cute moments observed this week, Emerie licking the Pringle chips and trying to share the less-flavorful leftovers with you. She already realizes that is the best part of the snack! One morning she sang the whole ABC song, at 27 months old mind you, to me at the kitchen table! Not 100% on all the letters, but she has a number of them down and the song part at the end. She would also not do this for me on camera, because I tried several times. The best part is when Reagan and Harper join in and they all fill the letter gaps for each other. She also sang me the “no more monkeys jumping on the bed” song.

Harper and Reagan now look at you and say “like” when they dislike something. Even in the last few days, it’s starting to morph into no like or me no like, all great phrases to learn, even when we now hear them constantly! Reagan will peekaboo through her fork at you at the dinner table and is handing out free hugs more and more. I’ve seen her hug an upset sister several times this week; they just stand there and take it but she smiles and reaches out.

All week Harper greatly enjoyed the wonder of the backyard and its worms. She is still using her buzzword soccer ball and wants to play the ball game. Soccer will be just around the corner! She is also occasionally listening more and not immediately running away from you when freedom is in front of her. She did great at harnessing her inner desire to fun away FAST and I hope this is a trend for the better.

We managed to pull together a garage sale for Saturday morning and the girls actually played in the front yard and driveway for quite a while, without running away and partially with the backpack leashes, reminding us it is occasionally possible to let them roam while accomplishing a task. The extra hands helped too.

And just like that, it’s almost Monday again! ❤ ❤ ❤

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

Tough Calls

Sometimes life throws you little curve balls that aren’t so fun to tackle; and by this, I am not referring to the current pandemic. I’m also not referring to sometimes- realistically it feels like they are a constant, one after the other, set of challenges that you have to climb over and can’t get around.

Kalli napping with the kittens

Craig and I have contemplated re-homing our pups multiple times over the past two years, for one reason or another, and have always managed to talk ourselves out of it or try to be more patient and understanding of different behavior. Going from a family of two to an instant family of five required a life transition for our pets (the two dogs more than the two cats), who didn’t ask for this change but had no choice but to grow and accept it (I guess that’s the same for us too, except we understood what was going on!).

This week we made the difficult decision to re-home our beautiful, brindle greyhound Kalli, for several thought out reasons that are too big to overlook anymore.

First off, Kalli doesn’t mind the kiddos when they are at arms length, but get easily overwhelmed with all three coming at her at once. Her favorite interaction with the girls each day was coming into their room and saying good morning, rubbing up against each crib as they patted her back enthusiastically. Once they were freely roaming? Not a chance.

Secondly, we know her life dramatically changed when three babies came home from the NICU. We no longer went on multiple walks and hikes per week, to the dog park or local lake for swimming, and became around-the-clock focused on the three tiny babies. This also meant that while we were constantly home, she didn’t get near the attention she used to and had to deal with sleep deprived, sometimes less than patient, owners. This change in focus onset extreme boredom, especially for a dog that loves to run and explore and not be cooped up all day. Hiring a dog walker to come twice a week certainly helped over the winter, but didn’t solve all her boredom.

The past few months Kalli and our other dog, Koda, have gotten into a couple unfriendly rough housing matches, one that ended with Koda getting stitches on her head. Last year one ended with Kalli getting stitches under her eye. Now that may convey that they fight all the time, but honestly it is only occasional and usually over in ten seconds. The problem is some of these tiffs happen in close proximity to the girls and that’s not okay. Even the thought of those possibilities gives me major anxiety. So with this consideration, we decided to grasp the adult, parental choice and find another family to love and cherish her for the few years she has left; and to keep Koda, who is fantastic with the girls as they climb, jump and snuggle with her or constantly steal toys/balls out of her mouth to play fetch with her.

The girls watched out the window yesterday as she was picked up, repeating Kalli! and it nearly broke our hearts. We hope to be able to follow up on how she is doing and maybe do a doggy date later this summer, but it’s still very hard saying goodbye. For those of you that have them, fur babies are certainly part of the family; loved in a different way than the children, but still resting in a special place in your heart. I anticipate the girls will bounce back from this life change pretty quick, since they are so young, but for Craig and i, the house definitely feels different without her.

It’s a tough decision for sure, but definitely the best in the long run, both for Kalli and for Harper, Emerie and Reagan. Being a parent isn’t always fun; some choices just have to happen and here we are.

Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.

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Busy little bees

Toddler time continues to become more interesting! There’s certainly never a dull moment. I think I am overdue for another hour time lapse to prove that no one ever sits still!

Little Miss Em playing around with me.

Last night I could tell Emerie was chewing something that she wasn’t supposed to. I looked at her with a “come here” and hand motioned. She immediately came over and pulled air out of her mouth and handed it to me with a big smile on her face, all the while chewing! I then told her to give it to me again and she put her hand in her mouth, motioned, and dropped air in my hand again. Silly baby! Is she already learning sarcasm?? This repeated several times and she smiled so big while handing me nothing. The last time, she pulled out a tiny piece of plastic and placed it into the palm of my hand. One point for Mom (this time anyway!)

We are trying to teach the girls as much coordination as possible, even at this young age. Who knows if this will backfire on us later when they are coordinated and wreaking even more havoc, but for now their progression continues to move forward at a fast pace! The fine line is trying to determine what to learn and how to keep from injury while doing it. Sometimes that works out, other times it prompts a nice head bonk/goose egg (Harper) or slipping off a toy (Emerie) or baby to baby collision (everyone!). So far nothing is too significant except my anxiety about it! In another year or so they can safely use their new skills during gymnastics, dance, and ballet classes. And, of course, soccer too…counting down the days until we are old enough to break into the sport hobbies!!

At first we were skeptical about stair climbing, even after PIC clearly suggested we start it. The girls proved us wrong and mastered it not only quickly, but really well; they are already pros at it. The next logical “step” (haha) is to master going back down (safely), and while I’ve been a bit more apprehensive about it, Craig is proven right that they are ready for it. Ready for it, other than the occasional I will learn forward with my full body weight and forget I’m on the stairs…. The girls now climb up the eight stairs to the bathroom for bath time, and we are starting to add to the cycle by going back down afterwards. Craig will holler at them to come up once stripped down from their post dinner, full-of-food clothes (still with diapers on mind you-I learned that lesson!!). They will run across the living room and up the stairs, then full sprint down the hallway and into the bathroom. Most of the time they don’t divert into a different room or try to climb up to the loft; every once in a while it becomes an impromptu game of tag, 3 versus 1…

Taking off up the stairs. So speedy.

They all have different methods to climbing down stairs and all do it surprisingly well when they aren’t distracted by all the cool railings, or the dog, or the thought of running back upstairs. Harper tries to go down like an adult, on her feet, without holding on! She’s given me several mild heart attacks, but luckily an adult is always close by to catch her. Emerie scoots on her butt now and I’ve seen Reagan try both ways. We are working on railing safety and so far no one has fallen forward, even with the dogs “helping”. While the stair baby gates are not leaving anytime soon, it is good to know that they are starting to understand how to safely climb down. This is especially the case when the dog door is accidentally left open and Miss Harper goes through it like a heat seeking missile, running straight for the three unblocked deck stairs…

In case anyone was wondering, because it has been a while…yes, Craig can still carry all three at once, although he doesn’t test this out too often. For some reason they are starting to get heavier! Instead of immediate baby rage like prior months (insert the “stop touching me” kid voice), they all think it is just so funny! Nothing like carrying 65 pounds of wiggly baby at once and not letting anyone leap off, fall, or collide. Enjoyment ensued in the triple baby bedtime laundry basket ride, as Craig dragged them down the hallway in the midst of many goofy giggles. With the growth since December’s earthquake, I’m not entirely sure I could load everyone into a laundry basket and carry them to safety during an earthquake; they are much bigger now!

Laundry basket rides
Using that arm muscle!

Other daily activities include climbing on anything available, running maniacally around the house, speed running while pushing their walkers (into each other or anything in front of them), pulling all food utensils and cookware out of kitchen cabinets, and playing out on the back porch. Cardboard boxes are also popular; who needs toys when you can play with the Amazon box, or the macaroni and cheese box, or the huge goldfish box from Costco?! The girls also push each other on toys now, whether it is with one sitting on the lawn mower and one pushing or one sitting in the mini airplane and two pushing. It brings many giggles and hasn’t resulted in too many crashes so far. We’ve also started building blanket forts. That is a hit literally, as they run full blast at the fort only to hit their forehead on the table under the blanket. We are still working on that…

For the most part we have the danger zones blocked off on the main floor. They can’t climb into windowsills because it’s blocked by a baby wall, the couch and diaper changing area also behind it. Every once in a while someone will discover they can squeeze behind the armchair and make it to the windows, but this typically results in minor baby fights and enough yelling that we intervene and reset the blockade.

One new sport now invented in our household, the “how-to-catch-the-kitty” game. Now that everyone can pronounce kitty (sounds like “ki-eee”), they become unbelievably excited anytime either cat is within view. For the past year both cats have been fine with the random toddler petting, even purring from it, but now it’s progressed to a new level, with three babies running full blast across the room, after the cat, and yelling kitty! Apparently this is less fun for the animals, because they make every attempt possible to escape now.

Here is a nice collage of this week’s at-home baby adventures. We are loving the continued summertime shorts weather!

A New Meaning to Nighttime Adventures

Kalli and Reagan

It’s one thing to consistently wake up at night by a shrieking or fidgety baby, it’s something else to wake up to a crazy racket happening downstairs at two AM.

First thought- that might wake the babies!

Second thought, the dog and the cat are trying to kill each other…I better go check!

I went downstairs, and there are bags and recycling stuff all over the dining room, and a very offended dog (Kalli, our greyhound) making a bunch of noise and running back and forth.

It turns out that since it was stormy and windy out, one of the wandering neighbor cats noticed our doggie door and decided to come inside. Our “guard dog” did not take it well, but couldn’t actually get it back outside.

Craig helped me hold the dog back so I could scoot our little visitor back outside, which it happily did.

But seriously, first I have a live mouse visitor thanks to my cat, and now another animal comes in!

And none of this includes actually getting up FOR THE BABIES! Which we do….a lot.