I planned to write a super cute birthday blog today during nap time…but the reality of triplet and homeowner life had other plans.
In fact, this is our only family photo of the day, and man do we all look tired!
After staying up late last night, the girls slept in a bit this morning and then excitedly got up to open presents. Reagan stood up in her crib and demanded to go do presents first thing! Knowing that only a few would actually be opened before they wanted to play with them, we opted to give everyone their small, individual gift, their dolly sleeping bags and a couple other little things. The girls all traded their individual gifts with each other, with Emerie wanting Reagan’s driving garbage truck, Harper wanting Emerie’s doll, and Reagan wanting Harper’s Gus Gus plush. So much for guessing that on my part.
We had a couple friends over to play and eat some lunch like we do most Saturdays. The crack in our plan began after a refusal to nap (Emerie wanted to but her sisters were preventing it) and finally giving up on that reality about three o’clock. By that time the water was pooling more under the carpet in the family room and enough to be more than a suspected dog pee puddle.
The girls went upstairs with Grandma entertainment while we tried to pinpoint the leak by pulling up the soaking wet carpet and pad, unscrewing one of the pantry cabinets and pulling it out, and eventually cutting the drywall out in the garage. This proved water leaking but no luck figuring out the source. One of our great neighbors popped over and helped figure out it was dripping down the wall and coming from above; about this time the ceiling started to drip and sag by the washer in the family room. Long story short, the girls were very curious when parts of the ceiling were gone and more than dripping a decent amount of water onto the floor while we scrambled to put totes out to catch the run off and continued to try to find the leak.
Long story short, our master bathroom vanity had a pin size leak putting pressure on a fitting (I don’t speak plumbing….) and spewing into the wall, down the floor joists, across the ceiling of the family room, and down the wall along the garage until we noticed it it pooling on the floor. The leak had to be relatively recent because everything isn’t moldy, but long enough to travel that distance before we noticed it.
Some great friends loaded the girls up for a dinner date at their house so we could get the plumber out and cleanup the major catastrophe we call our house. We managed to prioritize what to put back… such as rehanging the TV and hooking the internet back up so Disney movies can be played…oh and covering up carpet tack strips, vacuuming and busting out the fans.
I feel terrible that we missed not only eating dinner with our littles on their birthday, but also not getting to enjoy the whole day together and feeling majorly stressed out. No nap days are not my favorite (shocking) and neither are major, unplanned housing renovations! Unopened presents are still sitting in the living room and I need a nap!
All in all, the night ended with cake at 8 pm. The girls joined in to sing Happy Birthday and ate mostly frosting and berries while licking more frosting off their decorative princess toppings. We snuggled and watched a few minutes of Cinderella before they wanted to go to bed.
What a busy day. Hopefully tomorrow is a little more relaxing (if we can ignore the wet floors and the open (unplanned vaulted!?) ceiling downstairs.
If we missed phone calls with you today…let’s try tomorrow, when it’s not raining on the inside of our house.
Everyone that knows me knows I am a fan of taking pictures of everything. This “problem” has grown exponentially since having children and more and more I’m trying to resist the effort to snap a photo versus being in the moment and enjoying it. All these photos do pay off at the end of each year when I can look over the fun adventures and challenges we’ve faced as a family, as a parent, as a society; and recognize the happy and fun parts in the midst of a very interesting age two.
Here are my favorite family snapshots from March 2020 through March 2021:
The Anchorage Zoo is always a fun stop; I’m unsure if I prefer it in the summer or winter more! The summer time brings warmth and less gear to drag around, but the snow makes the experience so gorgeous on a sunny day and allows us to go without a stroller (in other words, they can’t outrun us in their snow gear!).
Best friend play dates occurred so much over this year and I owe Aunt Janelle a ton of credit for keeping me sane throughout the chaos of 2020. This is one of the few photos I have of everyone a good sport at the same time!
Grandma Sue was here for the 4th of July this year, where we went to the wildlife preserve and made a few exploration stops along the Seward Highway. It was a beautiful day to see live bears and moose and check out the mountain views. Grandma rode in the back seat and entertained the tiny minions on the drive down and back and they loved it.
I didn’t realize until looking back how very tan our household was from spending every day outside for the whole summer. The girls loved playing on the back play sets, “riding” their tricycles on the back deck and sporting swimming suits through the sprinkler pad and small pool. Maybe this summer they’ll stop yelling about the cold water! and allow us to stop dragging hot water buckets out to fill the pool.
Fun morning adventure out to the local sand dunes. Easy trek to it with three littles and a beautiful, cool but sunny day. The girls enjoyed walking in the sand without their shoes and exploring up the big hill.
Yay for neighborhood walks all spring, summer and fall. We are blessed to live in a neighborhood with multiple playgrounds, a gravel walking trail and a creek! It has gotten us through many grumpy baby days and allowed us to get some fresh air, sanity and a lot of mosquito bites.
Can’t complete a summer in Alaska without a trip to the Sealife Center. For our first, big roadtrip, it went really well! The girls loved the park along the water more than anything else other than maybe touching the starfish in the aquarium and the silly seal outside. They napped the whole way home and it was quite the fun (and tiring!) day.
This is one of my favorite photos from the whole year, the day the girls went berry picking up in Arctic Valley for the first time. We went a bit late and missed most of the wild blueberries, opting to pick a good amount of moss berries while the girls looked for any left over blueberries to eat. It was such a fun day and I can’t wait to go in 2021!
Random visits from Cousin Tyler are adored by the littles and you should see them fight over the phone for a moment to FaceTime with him.
While Halloween was a more unorthodox this year than most, we still took our little Aurora, Cinderella and Pan (Rapuzel) princesses around the neighborhood and were joined by Papa Cliff, Cousin Tyler and Uncle Will. It was cold but the the girls were good sports and enjoyed some candy at the end of the night.
Some winter days getting out of the house meant donning snow gear and heading to the dog park for a walk and snowy adventure. Most of these ended with french fries and a hot drink…
As you might imagine, it’s a rare moment to trap these four in a photo together, especially one that doesn’t include some form of flour or butter.
It didn’t take long for the girls to overcome their fear of the loud four wheeler and understand how much fun could be had on it! Constant four wheel trips around the neighborhood as well as seventeen houses down to our friends occurred throughout the winter. As their circle snow pile grew, so did the requests to visit Jessie and crew and her chickens!
Papa Cliff visits are loved by all and the girls constantly ask when he is coming to visit again. While FaceTiming almost nightly is a great way to stay in touch, they really love his visits and all want his attention and presents!
This is our only family photo on Christmas Day. We ended up shuffling the kids out the door after presents and breakfast and trekking around the neighborhood on the four wheeler and sled. Our neighbors were kind enough to snap a quick photo (note the donut trails on the ground behind us!)
Grandma Sue’s baking extravaganzas are always meant for the memory books! This includes pink donuts and pecan bars, homemade scones and dinners, mini toddler decorated pizzas, and a LOT of flour spread across the house on a daily basis. It also means some pretty great food for us to eat!
Cousin visits are the best and we love that most of Craig’s family is only a short plane ride away. Have to celebrate these times with some sweets and adventures around the city.
Walks at the nearby boardwalk, even on cold days, give the chance for the girls to search for their favorite moosie and get some fresh air. It wasn’t so long ago they were running down the plants as new runners, excited to see if they could outrun us. How fast it goes!
I will end on our Christmas village snapshot plus Kaden. Gingerbread villages, hot chocolate (and spilling it everywhere) and running around one of the local hotels turned out to be a fun morning.
Drop us a comment on any family photos you guys have over this past year that I haven’t included here!
It’s nothing new, but something I haven’t written a lot about over the past six months. The girls are venturing down the path of constant whining, and by this I mean the high pitched, drawl of a voice when asking for things or complaining about not getting their way. We are to the point that normal pitched voices get forgotten and we are stuck listening to the constant whining, even after correction. They play off each other and the issue gets exponentially worse. Anyone else in the thick of this??
We are to the point of not responding to those voices and reminding them that whining won’t result in what they are asking for, no matter what it is. Is this working? Not really sure yet; they sure are putting up a fight on it! I assume this is all a phase…and not an incredibly fun one…but one we will eventually get through and past.
Toddler tantrums are now a daily standard in this household; luckily they don’t happen too often when we are out and about (which means going to more places than we have over the whole winter). I’m still waiting for a triple tantrum (I’m excited to see this!) but for now the trend is they all continuously take turns. This is clearly so they can attempt to get the upper hand on the adults and something that will be ongoing for years to come. Harper is the queen of the tantrum and will wail and cry and give you the poutiest face possible, with cinched eyebrows, narrow eyes and a hard stare. It’s hilarious and she’s certainly perfecting her angry look at a young age. Reagan is more of an all out screamer and wants you to immediately console her no matter the reason for the outburst. Emerie still has the type of cry that you want to give in to, no matter if it’s a fit or not, and is great at outpouring the tears on command.
We continue to practice listening and stopping with direction when out at the store, the mall, on a trail, everywhere. Emerie is the most agreeable for all locations and actually prefers to hold your hand and walk most of the time. A little of this could be because it’s often morning so she is patched, but more so she likes to be close to you while exploring. Harper and Reagan alternate who runs away; some days they are responsive and obedient and other days they won’t listen worth anything and we have to head back to the car earlier than planned. Going to social, open spaces isn’t easy yet but the practice is slowly helping. Craig takes the girls to Get Air and they are doing well when he is solo. I’m hoping by the time snow is melted we will have better listeners and obeyers and can do more things without requiring extra hands to survive. The neighborhood walks (without a stroller) and other outside adventures across the city are a breath of fresh air as well as good practice. The random house pictured below is one of the hot spots around the neighborhood according to the children because it has a clock!! on the side of the garage. Other popular places, in addition to walking over to Jessie and crew, are the fans that blow in the wind at several places and the decorative, light up peacock at the end of the street.
They may not be those things all the time yet, but they are definitely talkers and conversationalists! Everyone is exceptional at using “you, me, and I;” they use them correctly most of the time. We aren’t quite as good with “he and she” but we are working on it. Harper will rattle off multiple sentences in a row and it blows my mind! Reagan will tell you a story with great enthusiasm and can recite a couple books by memory. Emerie also recites a few books and gets a few of the pages looped and it is so sweet to watch her be so excited about it.
All in all, a decent week. Now we shall go back to the whine o’clock, the more fun version of it anyway, the “wine” o’clock!
A number of friends checked in the past week or so to see how we are holding up without daycare; first off, we appreciate the love and secondly, we are hanging in strong so far! Throughout the day I can’t help myself but chuckle when one of them does something related to an unreasonable write up by the daycare last month. This often includes throwing a tantrum (which allllll kids do!), eating snow outside (which I’m not discouraging unless it’s colored haha), or even letting Reagan walk a few paces down the street with one barefoot, refusing to put her sock and shoe on. Guess what?? She learned after about five steps that walking barefoot on snow is really cold and then wanted to put her sock and boot back on immediately (in between all the whining that is). So yes, we are surviving. The girls seem to learn something new everyday and have their moments of individual play and kindness.
Staying home again means rediscovering some of the fun experiences one misses when out of the house. Old, forgotten toys are re-emerging as favorites as we recycle through the toy bins that aren’t sitting out everyday. Other extremely exciting moments occur throughout the week too. For example, trash truck Thursday is incredibly exciting and the girls will hoot and holler as soon as the truck is noticed down the street. They congregate at the front windows, dog included, and watch the magic of their trash man take trash to the dump? To see Wreck It Ralph?! Trash all gone?! On those lucky days, the girls might notice the second run, as trash is picked up on the opposite side of the street, causing a second stir of excitement and exclamation.
Another equally exciting event, that seems to land during lunch or at the start of nap, are the municipal plow trucks clearing snow off the street. This is extremely magical according to our tiny tots. They love to watch out the windows or quickly don a coat and boots for a better front porch view. This same rule applies when out and about, with muscled enthusiasm when spotting a plow from the car window. The other day I turned around to everyone wearing their winter coats and boots (inside) and authoritatively pushing their doll strollers around the room. When asked, they responded the strollers were snow plows and they were pushing snow. How very creative! We are raising kids who love big vehicles (which should thrill at least half of our family!), with semi-trucks, snow plows, and excavators topping the favorite list. I called an excavator a grader the other day, not trying to be specific, and I was quickly corrected that it was an excavator, NOT a grader. Kids these days… This summer we will have to go visit my M&O team at work and bring some treats so the girls can climb in a few big ones. They would LOVE it.
Other events are less exciting for adults but plenty fun shenanigans for the toddlers. One prime example occurred on a grumpy evening, with kiddos overtired and ready for sleep, when everyone decided to dump their popped popcorn treat down the toilet. If I haven’t mentioned it, we removed the gate from the downstairs bathroom to be freely used for its actual activity- you know, as a bathroom- so the girls now go in and out as needed. This goes well most of the time, other than nights when they dump popcorn down it!! I walked in and demanded they scoop out everything and deposit it in the trash (thank goodness it was at least clean of any #1 or #2!); my snarky toddlers complied by scooping some in the trash and some in their mouth! SO. GROSS.
Let’s move on to something less disgusting…the girls are thrilled with all the cooking and baking activities Grandma Sue continues to inspire in our household during her visit! In addition to all the valentine treats and goodies like donuts, cinnamon rolls and pecan bars, everyone “helped” create their own mini pizzas to enjoy for dinner one night. Clearly they enjoyed the creating part more than eating the final product; that and eating the dough, flour, black olives and as much cheese as possible before it was “shared” with the actual pizza. It’s rather impressive how quickly they can shovel handfuls of food into those food traps when they really want to!
Dinner turned out great that night, but I can credit that to Grandma more than my little ones. It’s amazing the activities that can happen when you have one more set of hands (and a good vacuum!).
The word of the week is “silly.” The girls are calling all kinds of things so silly, or will randomly say that moose is so silly! Or daddy is silly. Extensive discussion occurs about the neighborhood moose; why he is silly, where he is at, what he is doing, who he is with. That poor moose has no idea how hot a topic he is! The girls endeared him with a name- Carrot- because he enjoys eating them and because Olaf the snowman is outside and has a carrot for a nose. See the connection there? Not sure I do…but the kids can explain if you need to know more details haha. Everyone has a differing opinion on what he is up when out of sight (and not in our yard); Reagan usually answers that he’s sleeping, Emerie will comment he’s with his Momma, and Harper explains he wants a carrot and he’s cold. I tell you, having random moose visits causes quite the stir in this household, especially when they venture up to the front windows and are close enough to touch (with a window divide).
The latest off-the-wall, random comment from all three girls notes they don’t like mommy’s boobs and they like daddy’s boobs! Do not ask me where this comes from because I do not know but they constantly remind us about this fact…Harper went as far as yelling she loves daddy’s boobs!! I mean we should encourage body image right?! I’ve learned all big cabinets are called refrigerators; which sounds like a smart observation to me. They are also excelling at understanding the concept of time, with the most popular last morning (which means yesterday) or saying they get to go somewhere after a night or two of “sleeps.” Tomorrow is another popular word they are starting to understand. Someone will put a dolly in a stroller and turn to say see you tomorrow! Some concepts they pick up catch me by surprise; I assumed some of these concepts wouldn’t be understood until they were older and yet here we are. The latest obsession is all things wall clocks, starting with Grandma’s fancy one through FaceTime and extending out to anyone else on the phone who might possess a hanging clock in the background during a conversation. It’s almost like a recreation of their ceiling fan love when they were infants, except now they can talk and DEMAND to see them.
The house is now filled with new conversations, showing great perceptiveness and often bring a smile or a chuckle from nearby adults:
Emerie: Harper, you have an owie? Do you need a bandaid?
Harper: Yes, but it’s getting better. Don’t touch it! And points to it.
Reagan: I have an owie too! I need a bandaid and will pull up her sleeve or pant leg, point to it and then ask you for a bandaid.
I could probably write an entire blog called “Life Advice from Harper.” This little girl is quite the wordsmith and excelling everyday on her grammar and descriptive sentences. Her exclaimed thoughts completely crack me up- we went to Lowe’s and purposely walked down the toilet display aisle to see their reactions. Harper immediately started with I want to see the potties! Momma, I want to pee in them! to which we explained they were display potties and not usable, which did not simmer her enthusiasm with a response of no, I want to pee in them. I want to pee in the display potties because I love them! I mean what do you even say to that!? She was the first one up the other morning and we were watching TV downstairs while the other two slept a bit longer. She looked at me and randomly said, Momma,if you touch fire, you just need to get Elsa and a bandaid. How’s that for words of wisdom from a two year old?!
Bandaids heal all things, don’t you know that? Apparently that AND scotch tape, according to the toddlers this week.
Lastly, nothing says family bonding like cramming five people in the tiny, downstairs bathroom and filling balloons with water and food coloring! In the middle of this Reagan announced she needed to use the bathroom and the activity proceeded with one on the potty and two mad they couldn’t stand on the toilet and see us fill the water. Memories, I tell you. We checked on the balloons the following day to discover they still weren’t fully frozen! The second day temperatures dipped and they were firm enough to cut off the balloons. They turned out really cool and you can see the pattern the water froze into ice crystals. Too bad it was too cold to stay and enjoy them, so we went back inside with three, cold fingered grumps. I did manage to get them set on the porch railing to enjoy from the heated side of the door. If anyone has any better suggestions on how to do this in the future, I’m all ears. The food coloring immediately covered hands and gloves and made a decent mess outside…but they are pretty!
I will close today’s blog out with a quote that appropriately sums up our current life status.
The funny thing about kids is- they are the reason we lose it AND the reason we hold it together.
So, we are holding it together! And just like that we creep into our last month with two year olds! I cannot believe the big three is right around the corner already. The girls have grown SO much over the last year and learned so many new things. I can’t believe I will have three, three-year-olds in the blink of an eye!
Week one juggling full time work and full time kiddos went off better than expected. I’m not sure why I feel my attitude is better than our two week daycare closure in November, but I’m feeling optimistic and strong that we can manage this daycare gap and come out alive and thriving on the other end.
Don’t quote me on that…it could simply be the coffee and wine speaking as I’m well aware it is the dead of winter and being contained inside is hard. But! One week down and we are looking onward to the next one. Much of this is credited to the help of some wonderful friends, one that came over for an evening so I could have an art night with the bestie, two that came over one night so Craig and I could have our first date night in I don’t know how long, one that brought us coffee and donuts bright and early, one that opened her house up for a play date, and of course the bestie who visited several times so we could make work calls and survive playing inside. Each and every one of you…we thank you!!
The Amazon and Target shopping is a bit out of control since we pulled the kids from school, with my mind on what activities I need to encourage each week to keep them learning and thriving. Anyone with ideas on easy, manageable times three crafts while one versus three, I’m all ears!! So far we’ve come up with a few ideas, including:
Triple coloring sheets arrived yesterday so everyone gets to color the same sheet each day. First day was the #1 and today we all colored Little Baby Bum animals that my biased self thinks are soooo cute. Harper spent a lot of time perfecting her animals and everyone thought was amazing when the same monkey getting colored was on the tv!
Play dough: stencils, cut outs and of course new colors. Now if I could get them to stop eating and licking it (Harper and Emerie!!)
Mini button game: haven’t tried yet but it’s little buttons that shape into animals.
All things puzzles! You can never have too many puzzles…errr…until you are cleaning a million pieces off the floor and always missing a few…
DIY paper plate face art, animals edition
Jewelry sets with string
Stamps and sticker time: this is a new and now favored activity. We decorate paper plates with stickers, deck out little plastic boxes and the wooden food toys. So far they aren’t all over the house yet so that is a win!
Reusable sticker scenes still cover the backdoor windows and now the actual sticker books
Watercolors (and I fear for my life lol)
Valentine’s Day crafts for next week…I might have gone a bit overboard but WHY NOT?!
Magnet blocks: I finally caved and purchased a set after watching another toddler friend construct awesome things out of hers!
Fused bead kits: we haven’t tried yet and might be a wild idea but I’m excited! I always loved them as a kid.
Spray bottles: I am excited to try a fellow twin mom’s toddler entertainment hack…”washing” the car in the garage with mini spray bottles.
Much time is spent each day playing with Little People and their sets, play pretend with princesses and dolls, block building (tower time according to them) and dollhouse time, along with coloring, some cooking and dance parties. Don’t get me wrong, the level of disagreeing, tantrums and impatience is often off the charts, but let’s not dwell on that! It also extremely helps that Craig and I bounce back and forth between the kids and work, because, well we all know that the break of those two options is work! Breakfast time is the calmest part of the day and allows us to not only make breakfast, but answer the phone and respond on more emails while they quietly play and watch some nursery songs with their monkeys and princesses. This may become my favorite part of the day, second to right after nap time when everyone wants to snuggle.
And that leads me into why we are still surviving; so far nap is going wonderfully. It’s almost relaxing to get a few quiet hours of laptop work done while everyone snoozes away across the room and the other parent conducts work meetings!
One morning we broke out tattoos. The girls thoroughly enjoyed Auntie Janelle getting everyone a princess and a heart or butterfly, with Paris doing a matching one at home! The girls demanded we call Papa Cliff and Grandma Sue and show them.
In addition to our artwork, letters and numbers, we are working on learning names. The girls have each others’ names memorized, including middle names, and will also tell you both mine and Craig’s. What’s cute is they never say “Craig;” it is always “daddy’s name is Craig.” Whereas mine is just Becca…not to be confused with the teacher Rebecca, so I differentiate that a lot. They also ask us to remind them Grandma Sue and Anne and Papa Cliff and Lon’s names and they are getting increasingly good at them. They randomly asked for Koda’s name too…which is pretty funny since it’s, well, Koda.
The phrase of the week is I asked for it. This often relates to answering what movie or drink they want at a particular moment, someone will respond with Moana, I asked for italready or Reagan asked for it already, momma (usually Harper). Not sure where they picked it up but Harper started the trend and now Emerie and Reagan say it too.
We are in full parent mode on breaking a few bad habits- this is likely due to minimal socializing outside the house and daycare all winter and something that just has to be learned through practice. We continue to harp on everyone to improve listening and obeying while we are out and about, with Emerie complying the best and Harper and Reagan taking turns on actually doing it. Emerie prefers to hold your hand and has no desire to run off, while the other two seem to embrace their adventurous nature. The few excursions we’ve attended lately resulted in several major tantrums on the ride home, when we give them all the chance to obey and walk to the car and climb in and they choose to run into the parking lot or the opposite direction. This is apparently a hurdle to overcome for Harper and Reagan, Emerie complies every time and has received rewards for it while the other two scream they “want to listen!” but don’t actual listen. Obedience is a bit better getting out of the car than loading up and they will stand by us and wait until everyone is out. I attribute this to being in a new place so they don’t want to venture off; not so much to obeying us. Hopefully our disciplinary measures will be enough by the time the snow melts or we are in for some interesting (and grumpy) toddler adventures next season.
And just like that, we are into week two and the start of February! That means spring is right around the corner….right?!