Hanging onto that Holiday Spirit

This holiday season the girls are no longer fearful of the jolly red man and acted like such big girls meeting him earlier this month. We overdressed everyone in their fancy Christmas dresses and loaded up in negative six degree temperatures for a quick visit.

So very Alaskan of us, the passenger door of the car wouldn’t latch due to the cold, so we drove there manually holding it shut so we wouldn’t miss our reserved time slot.

The girls all approached cautiously but without cowering, which is much more impressive than last year, which even had a anti-covid glass divider at the time. They talked to him and quietly answered his inquiries and questions. When asked for their names, Harper and Reagan were more silent while Emerie responded for all three. The funniest response was all three telling Santa that they don’t ever fight! Insert major eye roll here, since we ALL know that definitely isn’t the truth!

This holiday season was full of colds, ear infections and pneumonia! Not exactly a great combination for a fun filled holiday experience, but we managed to enjoy it as much as possible, went to the gingerbread town downtown, decorated cookies a few times, colored a million ornaments, and spent a great deal of time at home.

Even with all the illness, the girls made it to almost every school day, with most symptoms seeming to appear over weekends or allowing ear infections to improve before school starts back up for the week. Each morning at breakfast the girls have a rotating request for one animals friend to attend work with us for the day and check on them after school. It’s pretty cute and so thoughtful they want us to have a friend, even if my office is only upstairs in the loft!

The girls vocabulary and explanations continue to improve and with that comes better stories about their school days. I try to ask what their favorite daily experience was at least a few days each week; sometimes they copy each other’s answers but overall everyone is getting better at individual responses. For example, they now explain games created at school. One afternoon’s favorites were Emerie playing hula hoops, Harper playing basketball with Elijah (one of the teachers aides) and Reagan’s response? Playing cows and chipmunks. After asking for clarification, she reiterated she played moooos and chipmunks with the boys that day. Another drive home prompted the response that Harper and Reagan played fall on me with Arlo and Gavin, and that this resulted in a smashed nose and tears but that the game was “so fun.” It’s intriguing to see my little pre-kindergartners start to grow and innovate their own playtimes at school, even if they sound painful!

You also get additional life advice from our big preschoolers, such as Harper’s leave your boobies out, take a shower, put your clothes on and go. Such demands and great wisdom!

After spending more time at home, especially the past few weekends, the girls get more creative during free playtime and interact more than simply fighting. Christmas Eve everyone made a subconscious decision to behave so I could relax on the couch and spent the day playing hide and seek, with their Christmas Eve present we opened that morning (mini backpacks), and finding other ways to play with each other. It was wonderful (and didn’t last lol).

Weather warmed up and cooperated enough for the first sledding adventure of the winter. Last year at this time it was more like our tenth sledding trip; this year has been so cold and full of sickness! Tyler trekked into town and participated in the fun and the girls were so thrilled. After a few minutes Emerie was entirely over the cold air and coughing, so Craig took her back home while Harper and Reagan continued going up and down the hill. Last year Harper was all about speeding down solo; this year Reagan seems to enjoy it more.

Not many other Christmas adventures happened this season, with pneumonia really laying me up and taking all my energy just to try to help Craig a little with the girls while I try to feel better. Luckily presents were wrapped earlier in the week and ready to roll under the tree, or I’m not sure we would have opened them. I gave up trying to find the Christmas stockings and ended up throwing all the planned nick knacks into their trick or treat buckets to go through, prompting some questions on if we were going trick or treating!

Christmas morning wasn’t anything too crazy, pretty relaxed in fact, with the girls patiently waiting to open anything until we gave the green light. It’s quite impressive that not a single curious child opened a present unsupervised this whole month! The method to my madness, last year and probably for many years to come, is to use the same wrapping paper for three gifts at a time, so everyone opens something the same or similar at the same time. Then a few other sets of presents were specifically chosen for the likes of each kiddo, which they all opened at once but were different things. Lastly a couple things were gifts for all to share, like a princess dollhouse Craig quickly built that morning that lets the Barbie doll princesses dance to music!

It took three days to open everything and we opted out of making a fancy Christmas dinner until the house is feeling better. It wasn’t a ton of gifts, but took so much energy and the girls wanted to play with their new treasures after opening each thing. Reagan had a few panda related things and a bazaar yeti I found, since she loves Abominable. Emerie opened a box of mini magnatiles, since she loves tiny things, a new, special holder for her glasses. Harper received several new outfits for her doll and pretty hair clips. Everyone opened a mini princess house with figurines inside (Pan’s tower, Aurora’s wooded house and Belle’s home) and traded around with each other. Aunt Jenny and Uncle Keegan sent a cool fairy house, horse stable and underwater mermaid “castle” that are providing some good entertainment and everyone likes the plastic, Frozen themed container from Papa Cliff. My mom made custom doll dresses for each kiddo during her visit that turned out really adorable! I’m unsure what the favorite presents are this year, since I never quite guess right, but I’d say the dress up clothes, Elsa braid pony tails and Grandma Sue’s princess heels top the list.

This Christmas didn’t quite turn out as planned, but I am very thankful I didn’t have this dreadful illness last year when the girls didn’t independently play very much yet. Also thankful for kiddos who now enjoy movies while parents can relax a bit, with many requests for Merida (Brave), Abominable, Frozen and our latest favorite, Disney’s new Encanto, which the children have conveniently renamed the crack movie. I can’t make that up folks, and really it’s an accurate description, the whole movie is about cracks in the house!

For all those wondering, we deferred Emerie’s eye surgery until January, since everyone needs to be healthier to have it! Reagan’s ENT follow up for tubes consideration will also be next month.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone. Wishing and praying for a great 2022 when these girls will turn FOUR! Also praying everyone feels better and my energy returns.

Coughs and Yawns

Well folks, after twenty months living in a global pandemic, it finally caught up to our household through the girls’ preschool class.

Reagan and Emerie had low grade fevers as an indicator early on, something we’ve dealt with more often than not over the last three months; fevers that seem to indicate ear infections or allergies. Unfortunately for this one, it turns out both girls tested positive on their rapid Covid-19 tests at the pediatrician’s office. Harper’s test came back negative, which aligns to the usual order of kiddos getting any type of sickness.

This is the second time a positive case was announced in the girls’ classroom since school started in August, without any specifics times or details, as to keep the other kids anonymous (silly if you ask me!). We assume this is where it was transmitted and we had a very short window to get in the right headspace of spending ten days stuck at home with three rambunctious toddlers, who may be sick but clearly felt fine overall. Over the next few days, they definitely felt better than their parents as the infection slowly crept into our sinuses. Catching all sicknesses is part of being a parent…right? Or is it just part of being a mom? I can’t remember.

While it is fantastic news that the girls aren’t feeling all the effects of this bug, it also means it’s really hard to keep them busy and entertained throughout the day and keep the fighting and whining to a minimum. The first day out of the gate was consumed with all the things, coloring, magnet boards, stickers, some Frozen, Cocomelon and Abominable movie viewing, tons of snacks, magna-tile construction, and layering the house with the inch of snow outside on the deck. Did I also mention eight thousand outfit changes? From pajamas to Frozen princess dresses to shorts to hoodies to regular dresses to dance leotards. So. Many. Outfit. Changes.

And here’s how the quarantine period really went by, since it is not all sunshine and smooth sailing and one of my greatest fears of impending doom over the past thirty months…in case you were curious if you can survive house arrest with your children.

Quarantine Day One

Feeling strong. Feeling ambitious! We can do this! We have lots of things to entertain the tiny minions, a full fridge of food, great internet… I prepped and cooked a nice dinner; the girls played all day.

Twelve hours later…OMG, we can’t do this. I need some Netflix and SILENCE.

Day Two

Online Target and toy store orders begin, with entertainment going okay so far…other than the one hand slammed in the door, blood, waterworks, you know…the usual. Craig picked up a fun new ball rolling set and everyone played (mostly) nicely for a little while on it. A friend dropped off dinner and a couple kid activities on our doorstep; much appreciate as we started down a long path of being home.

Day Three

The toddler cabin fever sets in. Is that a real thing, you ask?! YES, IT IS. It’s like starting a week of full moon attitudes and you can’t escape it. The kids become crazy hyper from being cooped up at home when they aren’t really used to it, at least not at this level. By the end of the day, I found Emerie and Reagan emptying all the toilet paper rolls downstairs and Emerie standing on the back of the toilet. Later that night after bath time, I caught Emerie sucking down the kid toothpaste, straight out of the tube, resulting in a death match to pry it out from her extremely strong, but tiny, fingers. Help us.

I will note a nice thirty minutes decorating craft pumpkins and taping them up on the new living room wall happened. Reagan thrived at this activity while Harper and Emerie browsed by and helped in between other distractions.

Day Four

Creative entertainment means breaking out the top shelf doll strollers that cause instantaneous energy. I began feeling really crummy by now (as opposed to just slightly) with a fever and sore throat; but am feeling very lucky not to have the fatigue other people report having- Craig might be over the hump of his sickness or he’s toughing it out well, at least we hope so! And the girls did not get the memo they are actually sick, you would never know without the mild fevers and positive tests. By the end of the day, I completed a Target pickup order of Dayquil and Robitussin with no bra on…whose feeling empowered now…?!

I will not admit how much Frozen I and Frozen II has played in this house in the last few days…let it goooo…

Day Five

Craig felt inspired to make homemade cinnamon rolls with the girls, so clearly he’s feeling at least a bit better. The girls helped spread the dough, melted butter, and sugar and of course lather themselves in some of it too. Eating the finished product was a bit too much for them, so Craig and I enjoyed cinnamon rolls for breakfast for a couple of days. Everyone napped in the car that afternoon after seeming lethargic and tired all day (just enough to be noticeable), much like their parents! After a shower and hair brushing, Harper told me she liked my hair…clearly we need to get out more…

Reagan begins her major coloring kick. Whoever created mess-free coloring markers; you deserve a medal. Harper and Emerie both have marker stained faces from running out of sight with the Crayola marker set and you can tell! Reagan loves her sparkly, Frozen themed mess-free coloring and sits for a few minutes each hour and colors another one, mostly in the lines, to proudly display on the fridge.

Day Six

Today we are back to work (at home). We were very lucky to have a state holiday (Alaska Day) and a four day weekend (for me) while we are quarantined. We managed six months of juggling kids and work earlier this year, but it’s a different dynamic when your littles are grumpy from fevers, you are confined to your house and the parents have what feels like a bad cold. Fortunately we were both able to get a few work hours in here and there over the weekend to stay caught up.

By day six bike riding is allowed in the house, movie times involve blankets and laundry baskets, the garage is a new play room, railroad track cities span the entire living room- desperate times call for desperate measures! Reagan threw a toy and hit Emerie square in the nose, horizontally slicing from nostril to nostril and drawing a lot of blood and tears from her sister. After that fiasco we opted for a mandatory driving nap…which no one actually slept on. This was the worst day of quarantine so far!

By the end of day six, there are two options: either our fevers are going to break or our sanity is!!

Day Seven

Two of the three slept in until 8:45 today; clearly quite the record. Emerie awoke about 7:15 and laid on the floor by my desk with her owl and blanket while I had a nice hour of hot coffee, emails and silence. We finally managed to take a walk around the neighborhood and get some fresh air, which was much overdue!

Harper found a twirly pen at some point that morning and colored the entirety of both legs before we noticed. She is also quoting full phrases from Frozen at random. For example, I turned around to her standing on the coffee table, with a tutu and crown headband on and arms out, yelling “if you don’t want me to run into fire, then don’t run into fire!”

The girls were wildly hyper in the evening, which we believe stems from the protein drinks at dinner, since they don’t seem to want to eat actual food this week. At least today was a little better than the dreadful day six.

Day Eight

Another good sleep-in morning, with Emerie going for 12 hours of sleep and Harper and Reagan waking up after eight in the morning, a definite win for us.

Overall uneventful day, thank goodness! Emerie isn’t feeling better yet but Reagan is clearly on the mend and exploding with energy. She and Harper continue to run circles around each other while Emerie cuddled on the couch and avoided. An hour driving nap rewarded the parents with a little quiet and the post lunch walk a nice outing in the sun, although Emerie wasn’t really feeling it. Two more days!!

After the car nap Emerie and Reagan cuddled and played nicely together for nearly an hour while Harper “helped” me fold a couple loads of laundry at the kitchen table, I sucked down a bunch of hot tea for my cough, and Craig made dinner that neither of us could taste. It was a nice hour reprieve before the wildness repeated for the day, with no one wanting dinner and Harper and Reagan wildly wrestling and running around the house until bedtime.

Day Nine

It appears we rounded a bit of a corner in play time- when one kiddo finds self entertainment for a few minutes (kinetic sand, coloring, playing in the toy kitchen, etc.), the other two, no matter which two, actually play together for a bit. It is nice to see what ideas they create, whether it’s a blanket fort, playing nap time with their animals (and turning off ALL my lights and closing shades), or chasing each other up and down the stairs a hundred times. As the picture highlights, I also caught them red handed a few times making massive water messes in the downstairs bathroom…but having fantastic fun until they were caught!

Everyone wanted “Elsa braids” that morning and luckily don’t yet recognize the difference between a normal braid and Elsa’s. I will have to learn that skill in the near future though, since it’s unlikely Elsa, Anna, Sven and Kristof are going anywhere, any time soon (sorry Craig).

Day Ten

Miraculously, we made it to day ten and the girls are completely fever free! We took it upon ourselves to really leave the house; not out in public mind you, and ventured out to the valley for some good ‘ole outside fun. The girls rode with their cousins on the dirt bike, four wheelers and kid size John Deer tractor. You could easily tell they were thrilled to get out of the house, enjoy a smoothie on the ride out and run around a new spot. Even their driving (steering) skills are improving! It was a beautiful fall day and unusually warm for this time of October; Jaren, Emerie and I also picked a bunch of wild, high bush (I think) cranberries and Emerie collected about half a ziploc bag, all by herself! All in all, a nice afternoon now that everyone is feeling better and getting closer to back to normal.


Over the past year and a half we focused on not sharing the current world crisis with the girls, especially since they are so young, but can comprehend a lot more than one might think. They turned two the same day our city shut down for the first time and since then are used to seeing people wearing masks and social distancing. We made it through the first six months of pandemic without changing any of our daily routines (other than me working at home instead of the office), since the girls already spent workdays with the nanny at home and hand washing after going anywhere public is something you always do when caring for premature babies. We didn’t fully feel the impact until we started out-of-home unexpectedly daycare last fall, where we weren’t allowed to enter the facility and felt very cut off from the girls during the day. You all know that story already.

The good news is the social aspect of COVID-19 hasn’t affected the girls, to their knowledge at least, as we continue having play dates with a number of folks in our little bubble. Spending a lot of time outside as they’ve grown bigger helps ease the cutoff-from-the-rest-of-society feeling, including small hikes, trail walks, playgrounds and walks around the neighborhood. It pains me to see friends with elementary aged kids that understand the world has changed and not for the better. I don’t want my kids to grow up in fear of people breathing around them, not being masked, having an occasional cough or cold and especially the sociological damage that results from it. Kid shouldn’t have to take on a lot of this responsibility and grow up fearful- they should be having fun, learning new things and maturing in a safe environment- and I intend to hold my family to that as best I can. It makes me so thankful all this is happening prior to school age, where we are the main influence on their lives and they aren’t stressing over missing school, seeing their friends or being stuck at home.

I live in a madhouse run by a tiny army I made myself.

Unknown

Throughout our quarantine the girls never questioned missing school and accepted the simple explanation of a cough and not feeling well. We received the occasional question about going or missing a teacher, but nothing more than that. Even better, they weren’t overly curious why we stayed home all day and weren’t out and about as much or going to the park, and only taking a car ride here and there. They especially disliked going to Target meant order pickup and not venturing inside; that’s about the biggest complaint so far. In another year I feel this would be a lot different! Throughout the week Harper kept telling me she has the coughs and yawns, which is more true for her sisters than her, but wouldn’t you say it is a fitting description for being sick? I definitely have that!

This week the girls started “calling” Grandma Sue on a play phone to tattle that a mean sister. The FaceTime calls with family and friends helped them stay connected and calmed the questions about seeing Oaki and Kaden, Papa and Grandma, or Tyler when they come up, but the fake calls are pretty humorous too. The cell phone tattling remains pretty random and doesn’t seem to follow a pattern when it’s “grandma worthy”, but it’s definitely hilarious to listen to such expressive thoughts!

A few friends have checked in over the course of the week, dropped off goodies and asked how we are feeling and how the virus presented to us. I find it really interesting that Craig and I had very different symptoms, with his cough showing up from day one and then improving, and my cough showing up about day five, gaining some momentum, and then improving. I presented with a fever and major sore throat, which progressed into a stuffy nose and sinus headache without the sore throat, and then stuffy nose with a cough. Emerie and Reagan are mildly stuffy off and on, maintained a 100 degree temperature prior to medicine for a handful of days, and coughed mostly at nighttime and a little throughout the day. Harper maintained no fever, stuffy nose or cough throughout the entire event!

So what has ten days in quarantine taught me about myself? Well first of all, it definitely reminded me that I can step up even more, even when it feels like you already do everyday with three kiddos, to get through a challenging time. It also reminded me to take things one day at a time, one hour at a time if needed. On a bad day (like day six!), getting through an hour at a time is less of a mind stress than constantly thinking how many more days you have to get through and all the stressful questions that come with those thoughts. Getting through one napless afternoon without focusing on the impending lack of nap in future days…really helps. It keeps the overwhelming anxiety a little more at bay, at least for a little while.

Feeling better and getting out of the house!

I fully admit if ten quarantine days occurred a year ago, I’m not sure how we would have survived it. The fact that the girls now play independently at least a little bit (in between the whining and fighting) is a major game changer in 24/7 house confinement. Reagan is fantastic at coloring and sitting for periods of time and focusing on it, Harper enjoys playing dress up and creating fancy outfits and riding her bike around, Emerie will construct a railroad track and play by herself for a little while. Everyone enjoyed trashing my house with kinetic sand a couple times and fort building and balance bike riding in the garage to burn energy. Television, while not the ideal answer but who are we kidding, is now watched and commented on with a longer attention span than last year. Current household favorites are Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, Abominable, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and Curious George. And lastly, a year ago we couldn’t easily go on a walk around the neighborhood without both parents; now they are “better” at staying close, stopping at the stop signs (with reminders) and completing a loop back home by foot or on wheels.

All in all, guys, we made it through!! The girls went back to preschool yesterday and everyone seems back to normal other than myself, with a mild, lingering cough and tastelessness holding on for a little longer.

Word Woes

The latest trend in the Douglas household is the use of “adult words” or inappropriately used potty phrases. Any of you that have the pleasure of knowing my other half are certainly not surprised by this thought or any other atypical phrasing that comes out of everyday conversations when you’d least expect it.

Does anyone believe these adorable faces say such terrible things?

It turns out that what we both believed was a genius way to handle profanity with toddlers may actually be backfiring. In other words (pun intended!) the continued use of certain four letter words that are essential in everyday life when raising toddlers, while lessened from prior years, still fly out of our mouths more than they probably should. For a while I was monitoring such things a lot better (with much effort), but ultimately age three pummeled me with such force that such things re-emerged with a hurricane force (does that depict it well enough?!). With the girls hearing such explicits, we constantly reminded them the words are only for adults, hence the that’s an adult word, you can’t say that word conversations we’ve maintained the past few months, which much success and minimal toddler repeats.

Previous to this genius, albeit backfiring, plan, the girls would drop the “f bomb” occasionally at age two (mostly Harper) and we couldn’t help but hide our chuckles. The correct usage of it taught us not only were they listening and paying attention to their parents, but that they are picking up verbiage and sentence structure incredibly well. This clearly covers more than bad words! One can’t help but appreciate using it as an adjective and then later as a verb, correctly, from the mouth of an unknowing tot.

Yes, we nipped that as quickly as we could…but I can still chuckle at the thought of Harper yelling mom, open the f$&king door! at me a time or two. That one definitely came from the “slam-the-door/gate-on-everyone’s-face-as-much-as-you-can-to-drive-the-adults-INSANE” phase. Gives me a stress headache just thinking about it.

The girls threw an unapproved rule book change at me when they started retorting any bad words from my mouth with that’s a daddy word, not a mommy word. You can’t say that, only daddy. I’m not sure what super level sneakiness Craig did to pull that sh$t off, but it’s now a rule. Writing that I even hear in my mind…mom you can’t say that. Just taking away ALL my fun. Craig doesn’t seem to have an issue with this change.

Well, I’m here to tell you that the instructional “we can say it but you can’t” concept was going amazing until recently. I believe this change resulted from two things: 1) the implementation of constant tattling, and 2) the recognition that saying it provokes a response from either a parent or a sibling or both!

A 3-year-old is basically a walking, talking middle finger.

Unknown

The cycle typically goes something like this:

Emerie: you’re a freakin’ poopoo. (to anyone in general or no one at all!)

Oh did I not mention the potty mouth words such as poopoo and peepee are apparently harder to break than the profanities? Yes, THAT, and any adult that remotely uses those out of the proper context in the ear range of my toddlers is going to hear more profanities heading their way from my mouth!! Anyway…

Harper: no, you’re a poopoo!!

And the argument goes back and forth until number three chimes in.

Reagan: Mom! Dad! Emerie said f$&king poopoo! MOM! Emerie said f$&king!! She said poopoo!! Moooom!

And repeat this about ten million times. Also include the times that Emerie did not, in fact, say those words, and yet here comes the tattletale, repeating them herself until you provide a response.

This wouldn’t be such an issue if ages were spanned out or we were just talking about one disruptive toddler. The girls have this magnetic super power that feeds off each other, in pretty much everything good or bad, and once it loads up, stopping it is practically impossible. One outlier from this occurred in the past few days, when Harper had a great attitude all weekend, listened at dance class and was most obedient on our last outdoor excursion, not feeding off the grumpy, push-mom-to-the-limits sisters’ attitudes. One can dream it will improve with age.

I sincerely hope the use of such wording is more centered at home then out at school, but I know the sister jabs and name calling of poo and pee reach far out into our activities and down times, with minimal success at shutting it down thus far. We’ve disciplined, given rewards for good behavior, flaunted rewards when one obeys and the others don’t, had continuous conversations about when it’s okay so talk about poop, and continue to stress the adult word concept, which is understood but not entirely accepted now.

And so, here I am, writing this fantastic blog on the woes of parenthood and my clan of three year olds and their potty mouths.

Pray for us ❤

3.5 Year Update!

The second half of summer kept us very busy, between the impending allergies and ear infections and all the outdoor adventures to be had! I’ve put the “pen to paper” less than I wanted to document some of the excitement, but managed to remember a few things that might bring a chuckle or two. As we round into fall and the impending winter, getting outside as much as possible is on the high priority list, among other things like dance, bike riding and lots and lots of Frozen II and Beauty and the Beast.

The girls are using their new found abilities to make our lives more interesting, especially as they figure out how to do more things independently. Every other moment of the day seems to produce requests (demands) for adult assistance, help open something, turn the music up, turn down the music, find a snack, retrieve a stolen toy, and on and on. One often turns around to find someone digging in the refrigerator, or helping themselves to that candy on the counter by way of a dining room chair, or trying to “help” you complete a chore like emptying the dishwasher or getting silverware out for dinner. Many days the girls will insist on buckling into their car seat and refuse help, even after major dawdling and getting sidetracked or distracted by every little thing. Reagan definitely has the buckling down; it is clear she will continue to excel at these types of skills as she grows and show her sisters how to do them. The other day she zipped up her coat on her own and now demonstrates the new skill to her sisters. In fact, we often find her assisting Harper and Emerie when they ask for help and it’s incredibly sweet. Then there’s Emerie, who climbed into the driver’s seat after pickup one day, sat down and instructed me to sit in her car seat because, well, I drive us home. We had quite the epic argument when I told her to get into the back.

This month’s major discovery involved the recognition that television personality Alexa can and will listen to their requests and start a show for them. After discovery a new movie download on Amazon Video by unsupervised remote clicking, parental controls and pin numbers are now connected to anything credit card related. There are definitely some digital perks that can go the opposite direction when it comes to kiddos and you never think about them until they happen.

New activities these days relate to riding scooters and balance bikes, checking out the new-to-us kid sized four-wheelers, coloring as much as possible and becoming professional blanket fort builders. In very rare form, one evening we even had a fifteen minute break from the usual toddler wars for all three to create a blanket fort under one of the doll strollers, with pillows and stuffed animals and many giggles arising from the blankets. All three playing together, in close proximity, ends in tears and/or fighting 99% of the time; that fifteen minutes, completely inspired by them with unassisted construction, was truly a cute sister moment.

While Craig and I continue to track down kid-sized four wheelers (two down, one to go!), I will admit the girls are still hesitant to drive them, all opting to allow Kaden to chauffeur or ride on Daddy’s wheeler. We hope by next summer they will be ready to tackle the solo art of driving and steering…you know…for a four year old.

We took an impromptu four-wheel trip one afternoon to Eklutna, a beautiful spot about 45 minutes from our house, that I used to camp at or fly into as a kid. For one of our first “let’s just go for it” activities with the girls, it went great! We loaded up for a good nap on the way, with everyone ready to hit the short trail to the lake after a post-nap snack. The whole afternoon went surprisingly smoothly and it felt wonderful to do something normal and unplanned as a family, getting out and about in the gorgeous fall weather. Other less motor driven adventures, such as berry picking and wood exploration, also top the list of great and inexpensive activities and result in delicious blueberry pies and tired toddlers.

Neighborhood balance bike adventures are another popular household past time; the exciting part equals that some treks go wonderful and others result in full meltdowns in the middle of the street. Harper is by far the rock star on this activity; it’s hard to keep caught up on a walk. By next summer I believe she will be riding a real bike, without training wheels, since she already speeds down the road and holds her legs up to balance. Emerie is much more resistant to riding the bikes but generally joins in on the fun, and Reagan can almost keep up with Harper if she really tries, but appears a little more timid than her daredevil, speedy sister.

Goofy attitudes emerge on a daily basis and I try to capture as many of the entertaining moments as I can, since they seem to vanish from my short term memory so quickly (I blame mom brain). Each drive home carom daycare brings a sample of entertainment and I never guess what topics might emerge. Sometimes they want to dye daddy’s hair yellow, or they need to find daddy some necklaces, or provide strict instructions such as mom, no dancing in the car. You can only dance at 11 o’clock. Mom! No singing either, singing is only in 20 minutes. Always very specific instructions, discussed between the three of them, albeit not always well thought out.

Lately Emerie sings a song with the days of the week, which is super cute right? Well she has something against Thursday and fully disagrees that it should be included in her melodies. You will hear her humming to herself and break out with Sunday, Monday, Tuuuesday, Wednesday, Friiiiiday! Any correction is met with Mom I not like Thursday.

The latest, randomly complicated request involves Mom, I want the fever! The fever Mom! Now most folks won’t understand this odd request, especially during pandemic days when NO ONE wants a fever in the house- calm down folks…they are referring to their latest love of all things Ana, Elsa, Olaf and Kristof related, and the short film called Frozen Fever. Fun fact…it isn’t really a short film if played on repeat. The little part of our toddlers’ hearts that fell in love with Wreck It Ralph and Tangled is now replaced with a love for both Frozen movies and “the one with the beast” or “I want to watch Bell,” i.e. Beauty and the Beast. They adore all the Frozen songs, which are played continuously in the car, and have a major fascination with the Beast, who is not nice but learns to be nice– hiding under blankets when he is scary but reminding each other he learns to be nice by the end.

Any guesses what they want to be for Halloween this year?! I bet you can guess.

Other miscellaneous household updates- Emerie’s latest eye check went great. We preemptively took her a bit earlier than scheduled after complaints her bad eye was bothering her. The doc says it appears to be an allergy related irritation and she hasn’t complained much more as the weather turns colder. Now that my little isn’t so little, she’s able to do vision tests by identifying pictures across the room (instead of letters like adults) and she is great at it. While waiting for Dr. Winkle to come in, I asked her about one image she wouldn’t answer, thinking she didn’t know what an old phone from the 50s was. She looked me right in the eye and said it’s a phone. When I responded with how do you know, she said because everybody calls it that, Mom!


Harper, Age 3.5

As we start the second half of age three, the girls all have different quirks that are quite evident. Harper is the doll enthusiast, loves to carry them around, tuck them in and change their clothes, and is by far the girliest of the three. She loves wearing “pretty dresses,” tutus, necklaces, crowns and pretty bows in her hair and wants to be a princess. Some days she proclaims her dress is SO BEAUTIFUL; how can you disagree with that?! Black continues to be her favorite color, although pink is a close second. She’s silly and likes to do things like slam her doll’s head against the metal gate, then grabs her with a awww poor baby, let’s snuggle. Her need for speed continues on everything; running, biking, informing you to drive the car faster, all of it.


Emerie, Age 3.5

Emerie continues to be the builder and loves to make block and train track creations. She also really likes to destroy them and watch them crumble (like Stitch does in Lilo and Stitch!). She enjoys wearing roller skates and is definitely the flexible gymnast and tumbler. She becomes increasingly opinionated everyday and lets her voice be known, especially on things like eye patch choice in the morning, when to wear her glasses, or when she should go to sleep. Her latest obsession is water play, which was perfectly fine over the summer when outside- now we often find her playing with cups in the bathroom and using the floor as her canvas. She belts out several of the Frozen songs with all her heart, and while not on pitch, it is definitely one of her cutest moments. She also loves to sing Patty Cake and knows the whole thing.


Reagan, Age 3.5

Reagan is still our artsy-fartsy one. She now colors within the lines and traces shapes on her own. Having her home most of last week showed her enthusiasm with markers and paint and she did a great job staying entertained while we put in work hours. She is so very proud of her masterpieces and most often wants Papa Lon, Tyler or Papa Cliff to see them. If I don’t bring all the coloring sheets home from school each day, she demands we go get them before we load up. Her second love is playing with kinetic sand and play dough, and you can’t forget about dancing! She also eats any type of muffin, although I believe zucchini mini muffins are her absolute favorite.

Bedtime at this age is proving to be one of the most difficult times each day, with drama playing out each night on cue and equals just as grumpy early risers. The lack of nap time is also causing very overtired littles, who do not want to go to bed, and we are back to the go to bed in their room, end up in ours sleep routine. Not sure how long this will last but I could use a nap.

Harper and Reagan still share height and weight, both coming in at 41.5″ tall and about 35 pounds. Emerie maintains her 31 pounds and is only an inch behind, at 40.5″. That means everyone is in the 99 percentile for height, to no one’s surprise!

Pray the second half of age three is smoother than the first half…although I won’t believe it unless it happens.

Bye Bye Cribs…Hello Big Girl Beds!

Well we’ve gone and done it now!

As usual, I am the parent that drags the feet on another change in the household, whether that relates to changing up bottle feeds, sleep training, or venturing off schedule (in my defense, I’m getting better). The latest shift in the Douglas household, which we are now a couple weeks into, is transitioning to toddler beds from cribs.

We hastily purchased toddler beds about fifteen months ago, right after the girls turned two, because they were climbing out on Nanny Chris during nap time or when they didn’t want to be left “alone” (alone with two siblings apparently) in their beds. We managed to nip this impending transition for over a year, and quite successfully I might add. The only caveat? It meant that bedtime routine included one parent chilling in the nursery chair until all parties drifted off to sleep. Some days this occurred in moments; other days it meant an hour or more arguing with one, two, or three tiny tots that refused to settle and sleep and trying to keep the unsettled souls from waking already asleep sisters.

While I fully recognize digging ourselves the hole of one parent needing to be very close by during the beginning of sleep times is not the optimal method, it resulted in over a year of really great naps and decent evening routines. I personally enjoy sitting in their room with my iPad many nights; once everyone settles it becomes relaxing and enjoyable, listening to the littles dream and talk in their sleep and getting some quiet time to myself. This method did not keep them in bed overnight, unfortunately, but we had a good six month burst of them complying so we could catch up on sleep (several years worth!). Allergy season in July appears to have ruined this beautiful trend and we’ve continue to slide backwards since then.

Since overnight sleep was already getting back to the normal LACK of sleep for the adults, we figured we might as well make the transition and just go for it. As summer rounds out and the “summer snow” cottonwood isn’t as widespread, everyone’s runny noses, ear infections and intense dry coughing fits eased up, but the battle of overnight sleep continued.

The girls helped Craig assemble the new beds on a sunny afternoon, running around the garage and making blankets with the boxes and protective packaging. After a driving nap to entice them to sleep, I managed to get the disassembled cribs down to the garage and the new beds upstairs and made by the time they returned, usually starting around midnight and off and on until morning.

That first night the girls excitedly checked out their beds and sat on them, commenting on pretty sheets and cuddly stuffed animals. Everyone picked out a book and sat under their blanket, flipping through and noting pictures on the pages. Then, much to my surprise, everyone went straight to sleep. It wasn’t a battle, with a ton of whining, crying, demands for water and to go potty again, they weren’t climbing out of beds and free-for-alling it around the room; they went to sleep!! Shocking, right? While the melatonin may deserve the majority of credit here, I also believe a few more months of maturity brought the benefit. All three slept the entire night through, which felt a-ma-zing, but also abruptly ended about ninety minutes earlier than normal routine the next morning.

I will also note that is the only night everyone slept in their bed all night since then, and it’s gone downhill from there…

Harper handled the transition the best by far; in fact, she immediately laid down in her bed and went to sleep, the first night and most after! I expected keeping her in the bed to be more difficult since she is more like me and doesn’t respond as easily to change, but she really took it well and enjoys choosing a book and reading it to herself. The past few weeks only resulted in a few abrupt midnight interruptions here and there and overall she’s our star bedtime routiner.

Reagan, on the other hand, never wants to sleep and has sung that tune for quite a while now, strongly resisting every night and fighting with every breath. She goes as far as throwing super tantrums and flat out screaming until we swap parents out, which seems to help. It doesn’t matter which adult is there; switching is the only way to first of all, not lose your sanity and emotional awareness and two, actually convince her to close her eyes. There are definitely many frustrating nights. Once asleep in her bed, since we refuse to cave to her demand of sleeping in daddy’s bed or her usual I don’t want to go to sleep, she snoozes about half the night and then hastily demands us to come get her. At least those demands originate from her bedside and not running across the house!

Overall Emerie adjusted to some well behaved bedtimes and some meltdown bedtimes and not much in between. Ever since Craig spent a few nights in Juneau last month for work, she is both feet into Team Daddy, reminding me on the regular that she wants dad at bedtime, cried for daddy after nap at school, and loves only daddy (her words, not mine!). Thanks, kiddo. While I’m not taking it too personally that she’s riding the dad train full time right now, it definitely makes bedtime less smooth when under no circumstance can I solve whatever thing she believes needs resolution prior to closing those sleepy, little eyes. Since this transition, she excelled greatly at not needing her overnight pull up. In fact, the last few days I’ve completely forgotten about putting one on and no accidents occurred. Good job, Em!

So yes, I wouldn’t say we’ve found the toddler bed groove yet, but at least we made it through the first few weeks, already gave up binkies last spring, and don’t even have to blockade (or empty) the bedroom to convince said toddlers to settle and snooze. I believe the girls know they can walk out of the room freely, although they don’t and I’m not pushing that, since the door is still cracked open at night and the gate isn’t shut, just propped closed so the animals don’t disrupt them. Through all the fits and arguing, everyone still eventually settles in their own room and I’m taking that as a win in itself. I’m excited for the day the animals begin to sleep with them without causing problems, assuming primarily the dog on their rug, and when they will get up to use the bathroom solo AND return to their beds.

All this new excitement essentially obliterated our nap time and we are rolling with the punches. Nearly three and a half isn’t too terrible for giving up naps, right? Since the first year of life they were non-existent, it was only fair we had least made it past age three! Weekends most toddler beds are usually spent with an encouraged driving nap if the day proves it’s essential (which sometimes work and sometimes doesn’t), but otherwise we are done with that phase and not pushing an afternoon snooze, which becomes quite the fight and not worth the added stress. One would think this would improve the ease of bedtime and cause more droopy eyelids, but that isn’t the case for the most part. Every once in a while they will request to go to bed if they are tired enough though!

I’m optimistic bedtime might improve and at some point in their lives, they must go to sleep without us so nearby, but not this week! And at some point in their lives…they will sleep through the whole night….right?!

First night in big girl beds