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.

Future Ballerinas

Now it’s anyone’s guess what part of the girls’ DNA contains a skill in dancing, but right now we are definitely on a I want to be a ballerina life train. With that in mind, we’ve been eyeing dance classes around town, trying to figure out where to go amidst the current COVID chaos and finally landed on a three-year-old ballet and jazz dancing class by our house that occurs once a week.

To no one’s surprise, I already purchased matching pink, purple and teal sequin leotards off Amazon that fit just right, with a plan to purchase ballet slippers and tap shoes once we went to class (super cute ones here!). The girls begged for ballet slippers for a couple of weeks and randomly start dancing around the house or demanded for the fancy tutus so they can embody said ballerinas. Apparently crowns are an important part of the outfit too, according to them.

Class the first week went well overall, with one of the three teachers noting afterwards they did great for their first hour long class, especially with three of them to distract one another. The shy newbies resisted venturing into the gym full of fun, gymnastic equipment for about five minutes and then curiosity won the fight. In no time all three were climbing on the bars, swinging on the rings and walking across the balance beam excitedly.

After a few minutes of open gym time, all the little dancers gathered on the hardwood floor, with teachers showing them dance moves and other fun coordinated steps, moving with hoola hoops, running to music and using bean bags to assist the effort.

Overall I’d say Reagan participated the very most the first week, only coming over to me once and going right back when I told her she’d get a treat for staying with the group. Emerie rejected her glasses immediately, which we didn’t push, and definitely enjoyed the free time more than the structured. Harper was a bit in the middle, enjoying some of the dance moves and swinging on the bars. There is much anticipation regarding tap shoes, since we didn’t have them yet and she really wanted to march with the other glittery tots.


Week two was much improved. After a cold, a windy park visit and three very grumpy, continually bickering toddlers for the morning, everyone joined in on their second dance class without any adult intervention…for an entire hour! We tried to stay out of sight and keep them from that distraction and it worked quite well. A few times over the hour one would wander off and sit on the fun padding along the wall or hang from the bars, sometimes convincing a sister to join; after some convincing by a teacher, they all rejoined on their own!

The tap portion of the class was definitely a huge hit, especially with the little, black tap shoes! Lots of big smiles and running across the dance floor resulted in much happy discussion on the way home.

The ballet shoes were finally ready for purchase at the start of the third week of class (since it’s very hard to get three pairs in the same size from a small, family business and they ordered more for us!). The girls all sat quietly while one of the kind employees helped me put them on. This week I hauled everyone solo- it started off fine; fine as I’m no one ran off from the car or threw a fit in the waiting room, and proceeded to go downhill from there.

The end of the third dance class….

It went as out as smooth as I expected on the first week. All three rotated running off to the mats, not listening and needing to come sit in the waiting room to calm down, and then back to running off and climbing on mats they weren’t supposed to. The teachers were very patient chasing them (one, then two, then three). If I only had one kid to get complaint, making them sit in the sidelines and watch is doable because I can keep them still. Trying to keep three kids? Not so doable. Sorry of my life. If every week goes like this one, dance class will be very short-lived memory in their lives.

I’ll end on a sweeter note, that the girls claim they LOVE dance class and ask when they get to go throughout the week. They love their dance leotards and tap shoes and seem to really enjoy the balance beam. If we can get them to listen better, I’m sure more and more dance moves will emerge in our living room as we move into more indoor activities for the winter.

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

Allergies and Veggies

The past several weeks have tested the parent patience levels like no other. While I won’t completely speak for Craig on that, by I personally feel incredibly burned out from the fighting, sickness, and overall day to day, more so than other times of hardship with the kiddos.

Good thing they are cute!!

The girls are still allergy ridden and not sleeping well overnight, after probably six months of decent sleeping in their room. We believe Reagan might be having some form of night terror or bad dream, as she will wake up fully screaming for us and then not remotely let us settle her back in her bed. Once in our room, she’s asleep in seconds, indicating maybe she wasn’t entirely awake for the episode. She also has no desire to go to sleep in her bed and has hour long meltdowns as we try to convince her to lay down and fall asleep, especially in days she is so overtired and her sisters are already asleep.

The allergies continue to plague our household, with a number of different nights resulting in a kiddo coughing so hard they throw up all over their bed, or our bed. After numerous doctor visits for a variety of different ailments, we continue to try new methods to help the girls feel better. The two, double ear infections for Harper and Reagan are insistent and want to stick around, with Harper on her second round of medicine and Reagan on her third!! We’ve also tried a steroid for all three to help with the throat cough, that all doctors visits have assured us is not remotely sitting in their lungs, and while it didn’t seem to make a difference right away; it appears to help a little on day two.

We’ve rotated ailments between kiddos enough that each one has been home without sisters at least a time or two this summer. I have to say it: one toddler at a time is WAY EASIER…even a sick one!! I tried to do something special with each when sisters are not around to disrupt, whether that’s playing with a fun toy and not having to guard it, getting a yummy lunch, or just having one-on-one time. If I am being honest, I find a little hardship in knowing that one three-year-old at a time would be so much more fun and enjoyable, allowing me to better appreciate moments and handle the fits and maturing, than daily trying to do so with all three, which is often less than enjoyable and stressful.

Harper was greatly enthused to go to the doctor by herself the first time, since 90% of our one-kid doctor visits over the past three years were for Reagan or Emerie. Reagan seems to be the toughest patient of the three, likely because she despises her ears getting cleaned out (I mean no one enjoys that…). Emerie is always excited to see Doctor Winkle for her eye and enjoyed seeing Doctor Magnesun for her broken nail in the door. Enjoyed might be a tad strong of a word for that visit, but she chatted throughout her appointment and didn’t shed a tear for the clean out. She did give lots of smiles for the stickers and paper bag with her name on it full of gauze and sterile water.

Another beautiful thing about kiddos close in age, or ones that have the same birthday: insurance! When more than one kiddo requires a medication but receives them a day or two apart, insurance responds in the “mind blown” shock that no, we cannot pick up two of the same medicine and the prescription is already filled. Craig has argued several times now that the second prescription is for a DIFFERENT kid and I’m guessing this denial will continue in the years to come. Just another thing to deal with…

While nights over the past month are long, with upset littles and tired parents, we do have shiny, daytime moments worth documenting!

For example, we’ve greatly improved on the please and thank you responses this summer. Occasionally we even hear a please may I, although that is rarely between the I wants and I need demands that normally transpire.

The toddler discussions are turning into fun banter. I really enjoy picking them up from daycare and chatting with everyone on the 10 minute drive home. Here’s a sample of some of the toddler thoughts:

Playing with sand

Me: so where do you guys work? Can you tell me?

Emerie (without missing a beat): I work at Costco!

Me: Oh yeah? What do you do at Costco? Drive a forklift?

Emerie: No, I have a cart and I take things off the shelf and put them in it.

Me: Oh, like a personal shopper!

Reagan: I work at Daddy’s work. I work there. I throw things in the trash can.

Harper: I work at Daddy’s work too. I color on paper.

Another drive home centered around dinner options:

Harper, “I want vanilla pasta with blue and raspberries for dinner!”

Emerie and Reagan: “and chocolate for taste!”

I still don’t know what “blue” tastes like but apparently it’s delicious. We have other chuckling moments at home, such as Reagan randomly exclaiming from the living room, “Guys, are you kidding me? Are you KIDDING ME!?” and turns to look at me with a “they took ALL the blankets. Those guys.” So dramatic!

There are other typical kid moments, Emerie is especially good at their delivery. One evening she had a good sized booger gravitating down her top lip; she looks up and says, “I picking it. I don’t need a tissue; I wipe it on my pants.”

The girls now fight over boogers and throw total fits when a sister wipes that mess on another. This seems to happen mostly during car rides and occasionally at home. Thanks to this summer’s allergies, everyone has excelled at blowing their noses and demanding tissues throughout the days.

One night while watching Snow White- the part with the mean queen and the impending poison apple- Harper comments “she not very nice! Daddy needs to lock her in the closet.” Can you tell we’ve watch Tangled recently, when Rapunzel locks Flynn in the closet in the beginning? Other “ass-whipping” comments occur on a number of less than nice Disney villains as well. Harper still reminds us when a fellow sister needs one.

Not all drives from daycare have the happy chats- some days we get reports of naughtiness that result in no beloved lollipop. Harper learned this detriment one day after a note she bit her sister for the second or third day in a row! (No idea wtf was going on with her that week!). The brutality of it all, that mom wouldn’t give her a celebratory lollipop to enjoy on the way home like both her sisters. The screaming, throw-your-hands-in-the-air attitude was definitely over the top on her part, but you know what? She hasn’t had a bad report since that day so it made a decent impact.

Not a happy Harper.

The daycare was closed for three days this past week to prepare for the coming school year and get a deep clean. Grandma Sue came up to save us from the long, five day weekend with minimal napping, allergy ridden, grumpy toddlers.

The first day we took advantage of the break in rain and ventured out to the valley to the “you pick” farm for some veggies. It was two years ago since we last came out, and what a difference! Toting one year olds around last time meant the wagon, which was also full of picked vegetables and goodies, and resulted in the littles running all directions whenever released. This time around, with our three and two bonus friends, everyone mostly explored the place and ran around, following directions pretty well for the most part and helping pull peas off the vines and potatoes from the dirt.

Some battles occurred over the big zucchini’s and every HAD to have a picture with their own. In their defense, they are half a batch of zucchini bread I made the next day, so it was worth it.

The wind picked up after a while but luckily no rain. The kids stayed warm by continuously running across the fields and they really enjoyed playing with the farm animals . The goats and pigs were very friendly and more than happy to give kisses and run in circles. It was a good trip, minus the triple fighting on the drive both directions!

The second day off was spent with friends, running errands and visiting the trash man and much of day three at home playing with a new tea set, kinetic sand and a lot of Duplo block construction. No naps for all three days and we somehow managed to survive!

Next adventure is berry picking, which we put off from this past week because of torrential downpours. We hope to get at least one afternoon in before fall arrives.

From Beaches to Backcountry

In a whirlwind of quick preparation, we decided to grab life by the horns and take the kids on a back-country Alaska excursion over the past weekend. With our fishing trip to Kasilof such a success, we optimistically decided the girls could handle a little more of an Alaskan edge to traveling. What do I mean by that? Well, why not try going somewhere with no power or water, somewhere tucked back in the remote wilderness and only accessible by four wheelers…THAT kind of adventure! Quite a bit different than our cozy, two bed, two bath with laundry and kitchenette stay last month, but regardless, it went pretty well overall! We are very thankful for friends who share their fun places to stay with our family, even when it’s definitely not easy to spend the weekend with three, three-year-olds!

One has to pack far lighter when all the gear must be hauled in, not one of my best traits since I like to over prepare. With one bag filled to the brim with my clothes and the girls, we managed to get the gear, food, extra coats and boots and such, and other toddler necessities like stuffed animals and car seats, down to two trips back!

Adventuring with Grandma Sue is far easier, as she is the “in-flight entertainment” for the girls on the way and back. This trip we split everyone up in the car so one sat in back and the other two had no seat between them. We also hooked the iPad up to one of the front chairs so everyone could watch a movie as we drove out and back, about 3 hours each way. Movies and a million snacks worked out pretty well; amazingly on the drive home no one napped, but were rather quiet overall.

It was my first time driving and pulling a trailer and it went pretty well overall. Maybe that is good training for a future RV to pull…one can dream. Craig completed all the hard, manual labor of setting up the four wheeler on and off the trailer, strapping car seats and gear on it, and toting the kids in (most of the way with all three to their joy). I wrangled everyone as we geared up, everyone used the portable potty chair (that we bring everywhere) and became smothered in bug spray, and excitedly tried to “help” by climbing all over the four wheelers

The girls did wonderful on the trek back to the cabin; I was impressed at the great condition of the trail. We slowly moseyed our way back and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine and scenery. Mount Denali came out both days and was absolutely gorgeous. While we probably should have packed a few more things to entertain, they did pretty good not completely destroying our host’s cabin. It was highly entertaining to explain that the TV in the corner didn’t work (we didn’t turn on the generator the whole trip) and what a VHS player was. At the end of the trip all three television remotes were missing and where did the girls shove them? Into the VHS player hole. Who knew one could fit THREE remotes in there? Well now we know.

The girls also did a full rearrange of the VHS/DVD shelf- they built towers with them on the tables and were entertained for a good thirty minutes before starting to fight. We four wheeled and occasionally walked down to the open water area that boasted all the views of Denali and the girls threw rocks in the water, muddied their boots and picked blueberries (which are super early to be out and very sour!).

In addition to the fun of the trip, I would be lying if I said there was constant toddler fighting, whining and arguing over entering and exiting the backdoor continuously!! Relaxation is not a word used to describe the weekend, something I look forward to achieving once the girls are older and more self-sufficient. We did manage to get everyone to sleep by about 9 PM that night, after a day with no nap and a lot of excitement, and everyone slept quite well with Craig in the bedroom’s king bed, waking up about 7:30 the next morning. We enjoyed sleeping out in the main living area and I extremely enjoyed the sporadic rainfall hitting the metal roof above us. How I’ve missed that!

I’m glad we spontaneously decided to go, something we haven’t done since the girls joined our family. We left the cabin and trekked back to the car the next day with minimal bug bites, lots of dirt, a lot fewer snacks to pack and another beautiful sunny morning. We made a brief stop in Talkeenta on the return trip for lunch, which the girls didn’t really eat, and once the grumpiness was too much to handle, we drove home. All in all, so glad we went. Getting out into nature is essential to being an Alaskan and we hope to instill that mentality in our kids as they grow up.