Triple the Trouble

As we round up to age three, the girls all know their colors, numbers up to about fifteen, most of their shapes and a TON of vocabulary. Life skills include mostly dressing themselves, running away given the opportunity, potty training pros, teeth brushing, baking, tower construction, coloring and drawing, and so much more!

But just because the girls were born together, look similar and hit most of their milestones together does not mean they are always the same. In fact, it continues to get easier to answer some of the differences between them as they grow and learn new things. Here are a few for the current stage of toddlerhood as we round up to age THREE!

Popcorn is prepared in the same pot, in the same heat, in the same oil and yet…the kernels do not POP at the same time. Don’t compare your child to others. Their turn to pop is coming!

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Harper Anne – the strong willed one

Height: 39” (90% in height)

Weight: 32.2 pounds! (66% in weight)

Harper is all about her pink color and anything princess related. I’m unsure which Disney princess is her favorite, as she will randomly ask for Cinderella (and Gus Gus the mouse), Mulan, Snow White, Pan (Rapunzel), Ana and Elsa. She also loves to color everything black and always requests the black marker when given a choice. In fact, this little girl will color an entire page, making sure to fill up the color every where; if black isn’t available she opts for brown or pink. I’m sure this is just a phase! She dislikes water the most of the three and is very nervous going around the floating river at H2Oasis; she will not do it unless she has a tight grownup safety net the entire way around.

Harper is the hugger of the group and the only one that will really voluntarily give one to a sibling! She is also very expressive about her feelings and will tell you when she likes/dislikes something, or when she wants to love on it. I want to kiss it is a common term that applies to a variety of things such as the trash man, the forklift driver at Costco, and Daddy’s four wheeler. She is a cuddler and most nights will snuggle up with me and watch a show before we go up to bed. That is worth noting because as an infant she resisted cuddling the most of the three!

We shifted “top diva status” in the past year, with Harper taking the title as we round out age two. This is likely because she’s a girl that knows what she wants (and doesn’t want!) and has no qualms about throwing a full out, pouty tantrum over it. Her grumpy face is adorable in my opinion, which is surely not her intent when giving it to me, and her strong willed attitude combined with the face is one for the memory books. She also provides the entertainment of a silent tantrum and will lay face down on the floor and wait for you to react. It’s hilarious!

Favorite word/phrase: I love it, I kiss it, I hug it (about everything!) and I tired! when she’s not happy about something.

Favorite food: Harper enjoys meat more than the other two, liked plain chicken, bacon and, of course, hot dogs! She also LOVES black olives and would eat an entire can if given the opportunity.

Favorite book: Llama Llama Nighty Night (referred to as the “Potty Book”); she can quote the whole board book by memory now but will only do it when she feels like it.

Favorite song: Cocomelon’s Itsy Bitsy Spider and Shake It Off is making a comeback. She’s also on a Little Bunny Fufu kick.

Favorite show/movie: A few months ago I would have said Wreck It Ralph replaced “Pan!” in her heart but more recently she is on a big Cocomelon, Netflix’s Leap (ballalina movie as she calls it), Cinderella and Mulan kick. She is also anti-Moana and doesn’t want to watch it.

Favorite toy: her dolls and all things princess related. She enjoys playing with the American Girls dolls and towing her favorite one around. She’s also on a Cinderella kick and really likes Gus Gus the mouse (and received a stuffed one for her birthday!)

Favorite activity: coloring or watching a show. She favors black and brown and will take the time to color the enjoy paper or ornament before she’s done; she’s also the most willing to sit and watch TV, much more than her siblings. She also loves to play pretend napping, with her dolls and sisters using blankets and pillows on the floor.

Hand dominance: right hand

Dislikes: sleeping by herself, some sweets and being cold

Favored Parent: she’s a Momma’s girl for sure!!


Emerie Faye – the helper

Height: 38.2” (76% in height)

Weight: still hovering around 30 pounds (37% in weight)

Our little Baby B has turned into quite the sweet little girl. Emerie is such a helper and very willing to share with her sisters (when asked and even on her own accord) as well as clean up toys and get dressed on her own. She loves playing with blocks and building things, her purple monkey (seemingly named “Monk”) and her cabbage patch doll Sadi and loves to play pretend with them. Her towers continue to grow in height and she insists she doesn’t need help on them.

Emerie is a complete water baby and would live in the bathtub if allowed. She often gets an attitude because she doesn’t want to share her water from the spout and will fight for it at all costs! One of her favorite things is floating the wavy river at H2Oasis, near an adult but freely by herself in the water!

Patching the past six months has greatly improved; now that she is older and better understands rewards and obedience, we are able to get more time each day than when she was younger. I find that she’s a little more timid when we go places wearing it, but for the most part will still run, climb and slide at the playground. Instead of pulling it off immediately, she will ask when it’s time to remove it and wait until we say yes, which is SO helpful. The past few weeks the patch’s new home seems to be on Grandma Sue’s leggings, while she is wearing them no less, after she takes it off herself. Silly girl.

Emerie loves to read the entire Llama Llama Nighty Night book from memory; she loops one of the pages twice and it’s very endearing. She can recite her own name as well as both her parents, Grandma Sue, Papa Cliff and Uncle Will and Aunt Manda. She likes to remind her sisters not to run in the parking lot and is the only one of the three we don’t have to worry about darting out in front of a car.

Favorite word/phrase: I do it myself! and I want to sit in the middle! of the car, where she is definitely the best behaved.

Favorite food: she always downs her berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.) and as many pickles as available. And does snow count as a food? Because she is always eating that too.

Favorite book: she seems to favor the That’s Not My Llama book and most other Llama Llama series books. She randomly likes to read “Tyler book” from Christmas.

Favorite song: Jesus Loves Me or Dave and Ava’s Lola the Cow

Favorite show/movie: Pan (Tangled) and Cocomelon

Favorite toy: it used to be her tiny monkey but lately monkey is getting a little less love while she plays with “my purple sloth” and stuffed Olaf. She enjoys building with the magna-blocks and making towers all by herself or adding a handful of Little People into them.

Favorite activity: building towers, reading books one-on-one with you and wrapping up her Cabbage Patch doll Sadi and carrying her around.

Hand dominance: right hand but sometimes left

Dislikes: she will plug her ears at loud noises and her patch. She’s also in a kick right now where she doesn’t want to feed herself and wants someone to scoop up the food for her.

Favored parent: she plays pretty evenly between both of us


Reagan Jean – the comforter

Height: 39” (90% in height)

Weight: 32.6 pounds (70% in weight)

Miss Reagan still appears to be the tomboy of three and I’m interested to see how that plays out. She isn’t a huge fan of dress up, other than the occasionally sparkly tutu, and really likes to “drive” the four wheeler with Daddy. She plays with her cars and construction equipment the most and went through a phase of always ensuring one was in her coat pocket. She LOVES play dough and can sit at the table for an hour making shapes. Her coloring masterpieces are getting fancier by the week and several are hanging on the fridge once she agrees they are finished. Reagan loves playing at the water park; or, you know, running away from you there. She is also a girl after her Dad and Grandma Sue’s heart and loves any and all sweets.

Reagan expects you to focus if she is speaking to you and after a year will still hold your face in her hands and speak nose to nose. She concentrates when explaining a story and thinks out what she wants to say. She has mastered the art of getting dressed and will put on pants, socks and shirts without needing much help. If the pants have back pockets she will put them on backwards so she can use them- how well thought out is that! Toward the end of every evening, becoming tired equals a burst of energy and she often wants to climb all over everything (us) and irritate her sisters as they are calming down for the night. In general it takes her the longest to fall asleep in her bed (or at least to settle) at naps and bedtime.

Reagan continues to be the spontaneous singer and dancer and will often break into both when it suits her mood. The maternal instinct is growing for Rher too, as she now babies her stuffed animals. You will find her walking around the living room with a teddy bear wrapped in a blanket, whispering loving words to it and shushing her sisters because it’s trying to go to sleep! She will tell you baby is tired or baby doesn’t feel good and console it; her new baby doll with matching binkie is quite the hit. She will also bring toys to her sisters when they are upset and pat them on the head when she has to apologize.

Favorite word: why! But it doesn’t sound like why, more like wwwhhhyyyyyyyy….? and daddy fix it.

Favorite food: she is the biggest sweet tooth of the three but also likes lettuce, celery and bananas! She also loves Craig’s sweet pancakes and will eat several of them in one sitting and inhale the neighbor’s homemade lumpia!

Favorite book: the kid Bible and bedtime llama llama books. She loves to recite them for you.

Favorite song: she likes Cocomelon nursery rhymes and sings the ABCs a lot. She is definitely quite the little singer and breaks out into song quite often

Favorite show/movie: Tangled, Cocomelon and Leap

Favorite toy: she favors playing with cars and little people and always has one handy in her pocket; she really likes Daddy’s four-wheeler and her musical “cell-phone”

Favorite activity: play dough, paint and coloring – she is always asking to color, use markers, or paint something. She also really likes to decorate cookies and pretend cook her cake and cupcakes.

Hand dominance: right hand

Dislikes: being told no, having a voice raised in her direction, tags on any of her clothing and dress up

Favored Parent: she’s a Daddy’s girl all the way


So how are they different?

A perfect example of how different they all are- look at their magnetic block creations! Reagan really likes to make flat, 2D puzzles and strategically choose which color goes where. Harper generally makes a big stack and then runs off with them or demands more help from an adult. Emerie will start with one 3D square and collect little people to add to her castle as she expands it across the table or up to the sky. At some point, if no one destroys the creations, they usually end up all connected in some way or in a huge pile on the floor.

When we first overcame the fear of the loud four wheeler, everyone fought over sitting on Daddy’s lap for an excursion around the neighborhood. Now Emerie prefers sitting backwards on the sled and look at me while Harper and Reagan both like to “drive.” Harper discovered it’s fun to sit on an adults lap on the back of the actual four wheeler and look out too.

Everyone responds a bit differently to discipline. Reagan will straighten up with a stern voice in her direction much more than the other two will, Harper often needs a time out to miss the current activity, and Emerie responds to a combination of time-out and spanking, although she ends up with both a lot less often than her sisters. All three respond really well to positive praise and a reward system.

But not everything is different- of course there are also similarities to raising three of the same age at the same time. Everyone likes to sit in the middle car seat and fight over it, with Emerie the best behaved of the three during rides around town. Favored activities include the trampoline park, sledding, playgrounds, neighborhood walks, swinging (yes it needs its own category), baking, play dough, arts and crafts, anything with buckets and scoopers and pretend play. Everyone loves to play in the bathtub and make a huge mess on the bathroom floor. They all LOVE trash truck and snowplow visits, seeing forklifts at the store and helping hold things in a shopping cart. Moose sightings are a huge deal and worth talking about for days. Everyone loves their designated colors and fully believes they should never have to share something that is “their” color, including silverware and dishware, clothing and any type of toy/stuff animal that is pink/purple/teal. All three love to FaceTime with family and hold the phone themselves, hogging it as much as the parents will allow and running off with it to hide.

When asked what they wanted for dinner on their birthday, the overwhelming response from all three was cake!! In future years I plan to let each kiddo choose dinner one night over the course of the birthday week, but for now how can I refuse such an excited response! For the record, they didn’t each as much cake as you would have expected them to over birthday week! They did, however, pick the icing and berries off said cake.

Since you all know how smoothly the actually birthday went…we managed to finish prepping for a jump park birthday party last Sunday and it was pretty much a twin-fest up in the park for the morning. Later that night we attended our rescheduled dinner to Red Robin. The waiter and crew sang happy birthday Red Robin style and Harper, being a mini Becca, was super embarrassed, turned red and stuck her tongue out at everyone while Emerie and Reagan smiled and watched the charade with amusement. Everyone enjoyed the ice cream sundae and sprinkles.

We continue to open random presents we’ve forgotten about and it has really become a birthday week. I still can’t believe we are now in age three!!

Top 12 for Age 2

Since the lovely quarantine kicked off right at their birthday last year, I thought it would be fun to do the top twelve photos of each kiddo at age 2, so here we go! This was originally a top ten, but of course I couldn’t decide which ones or possibly narrow it down to that number so top twelve it is.

So here are a few favorites throughout the year, in no particular order, for those of you that don’t get to see us all the time or don’t live locally. Lots of personality and attitude coming…

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.

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I couldn’t resist a side by side comparison of birthday # 2 with birthday #3. Check out the difference!!

Harper Anne

Emerie Faye

Reagan Jean

It’s crazy to see how much smaller they were only a year ago, with so much less hair on their heads and words in their mouths. I can’t even imagine how many more changes we will have over the next year.

It’s Whine O’Clock

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 tantrum times two

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!

The Flipping Switch

I haven’t posted the contents of this blog for the past few weeks because I didn’t want to end 2020 on a sour note; or shall I say any more sour than the rest of the year brought for everyone…with a worldwide pandemic, quarantines and minimal social encounters, and of course the overall standard stress of being a parent and full time worker. The girls wrapped up the year with a new attitude at daycare, and not one that we are happy to discover.

I feel minimally prepared for the toddler stage we’ve entered. It’s as though a switch flips on a daily basis, one that changes from happy, curious, well-rounded toddler attitude into a argumentative, frustrated, acting out maniac. The girls refer to this as not listening! We are seeing attitude changes as the girls try to sort through newfound feelings and emotions and don’t quite know how to cope. Daycare seems to be having quite a tough time handling the change (or phase) and continues to hand us behavioral notes, almost every day. It definitely doesn’t help that they feed off each other (and I’m sure other toddlers at school) and escalate the situation more and more. Then, just as quickly, the switch goes off and flips them back to the nice, pleasant children we like to see.

Daycare is providing us reports for misbehavior, with the past few weeks more than the entire time we’ve gone there. It started with Harper saying no and not wanting to listen and has since branched out to Reagan being loud at nap time and throwing shoes at the teacher or when she is outside. I think Emerie has had one report so far but is otherwise maintaining her happy demeanor, even while patched. As for the other two, we talk at night about listening to the teachers and the girls constantly say they miss them on the weekends, but then we still get reports of fighting with the teachers and not obeying the first time they are told to do something without any wiggle room to learn from mistakes. Many of the things they do we don’t have an issue with at home, making it even harder to solve. I’m highly frustrated about all of this and think things could be handled a little differently during school days and that would help a lot, but we aren’t having success with our recommendations. I pray that it’s just a phase.

Harper is definitely the most strong-willed of the three and continues to present more of my attitudes as a kid; in fact, it feels as though she is a little Becca during all kinds of activities and adventures. For example, I had a toddler fascination with the color black, wanting to douse all drawings and pictures with it according to my mother. This phase eventually turned into loving pastel colors and a million necklaces. Harper, in kind, enjoys her black play dough, black markers and crayons. It doesn’t quite align with her love of all things princesses, so hopefully that one will win in the end. Reagan is clearly the most emotional one in the group (this hasn’t changed in a while) and blatantly rejects the idea of scolding and being told no. She’s improved some on this front, but not quite where I’d like to be yet. She very much responds to scolding more than spanking. Emerie still has her moments of rage and toddler angst, but overall is calmer than her womb mates until she reaches a certain tired status, then all bets are off. I believe the patching has helped us on this, because she dislikes it but has learned to understand she has to do it anyway, and complies with less fighting than when she was younger.

Schedule are timed plans while routine relates to commit habits. We survive through routine!

We are trying to navigate these new waters with perspective and grace, exercising discipline when needed, none of which seems to help improve daycare’s behavior notes. The outside eye would probably see our attempts to keep the theoretical boat floating and above water, and some (a lot) of days it feels that way. It does, however, seem to help at home. After school discussions each day consist of the girls explaining they are not listening, so clearly there is a level of understanding of disobedience and the need to correct, regardless of them actually doing it. Timeouts and losing privileges, as appropriate for their age, also occur. We attribute part of the attitude shift to just being toddlers, because they constantly go through phases and one never knows when the flipping switch will go on. Kids are going to push boundaries and talk back- sometimes they have to learn from those mistakes and that is part of growing up! The other part is to being strong willed little girls that keep getting routine disruptions and changes, something we’ve successfully maintained since birth. In fact, routine is likely the number one reason we have survived thus far as triplet parents. Doing the same things each day seems monotonous, but who has time to worry about that when there are screaming kids in the background and a mound of tasks to get done every moment of the day? It took us about two months for the girls to really settle into the new daycare routine, with a lot of very grumpy and clingy evenings after pickup; then with COVID-19 closures, the holidays and a head cold that put us at home for a week, waiting on negative test results, that routine keeps getting disrupted. Maybe the new routine is becoming routine disruption? I don’t know.

Playing

What I do know is that daycare believes routine and schedule are the same thing and that what we think is a major disruption isn’t. I disagree, because routine amounts to the daily milestones and habitual activity, if you will, that are done at the same time, in the same order everyday, to maintain sanity and keep things moving forward. Routine happens without planning because it’s so commonly done on a regular basis. For us that used to consist of a morning bottle feed, putting the girls back to bed, getting them back up at the same time, rotating through diaper changes and breakfast, tummy time and activities, naps, and repeat; running through the same process all day, up until the bedtime feed and into their cribs. This same routine lasted more than a year in our house; every. single. day. No days to sleep in, no days to stall and wash bottles later or settle down and watch TV because we needed a break from the business, because that was the daily path to survive. It continues to this day, although it has shifted some as the girls have grown and picked up new skills.

Schedule is what is followed at daycare, which more so relates to a timed plan, and that makes sense! I believe the issue we are having is where the two clash, and then you throw three maturing toddlers into the mix, long weekends extended period at home, and the switching back and forth of daycare classrooms and you find yourself in a lovely, stressful situation like we are burrowed in. We had one of the worst bedtimes we’ve face in a few months the other night- the best part is I have no idea why!

I don’t have an answer to how this will all play out so suggestions and tips are welcome. What I can tell you is it makes me stressed out and uncertain of the future, but I think that comes with the territory of parenting and is just something you have to take in stride and try to fix when you can.


In addition to the emotional, attitude switch, a second one presented itself over the past weekend; this one more encouraging for sure! We’ve worked for months (years, almost!) on sharing and playing together with toys. While we need to make a point to stop buying as many things in triplicate (which is amazing when stuck at home for periods of time to minimize fighting) and push the girls to share and trade off more with each other, it is another sign of growing up and getting more independent. This past weekend the metaphorical light bulb switched on for pretend play with each other. I’m not entirely sure what prompted the change, but it was a noticeable one! The girls all of a sudden spend periods of time playing together without just fighting and it’s simply amazing to watch.

Breakfast time?

Everyone had a doll, monkey or princess and sat down at the family room kid table for “breakfast.” All three found play food and plates and proceeded to share with one another, having conversations about what said stuffed animal wanted to eat. Once that became less exciting, they moved up into the living room and pulled out a few blankets, TAKING TURNS wrapping each other up and noting it was “nap time.” They even, completely on their own, took turns as the toddlers in the scenario or the parents putting the blanks and pillows out. This is very exciting after so long playing referee every single second, with minimal time to accomplish anything without screaming in the background. I made it through all the laundry while they played…at least before the fighting re-emerged.

Ring around the rosie

A few other cutesy things that I might as well finish the blog on…my little terrors thought it was the greatest thing to remove the bolts that hold the downstairs bathroom toilet to the floor. This was also accomplished while chewing on the lid that goes over the bolt (gross!). I will admit this took so focus and dedication to achieve. And that was only after moments of no supervision. The other day Harper found a small tack somewhere in the house and I found her trying to shove it into one of the few, open outlets in the living room. Boy did she throw a fit when I stopped that little activity. Side note but raising said outlets so plugged in things are out of reach is sooooo helpful when you have multiples to keep an eye on. Anyway, Reagan now repeats Craig’s lovely dad words and phrases and one afternoon when we spotted a moose off the side of the road, Harper commented moosie needs to take a nap, Emerie noted he probably wanted a carrot, and the lovely Reagan answered with no, moosie needs to take a shit. Yep, Craig gets credit on that one. The girls now mention things in future tense, using tomorrow, although I’m not sure they quite understand all that entails yet. Harper will tell me that things happened last morning and is more than happy to repeat your answers to her questions to her sisters. She’s definitely the wordsmith. Emerie’s toddler perspective continues to make us laugh. For example, she went to the bathroom once in Target (since store visits are pretty rare these days) and now she thinks every store bathroom is the equivalent of going potty at Target. I went potty at Target, Momma.

As we head into our next three day weekend, I am optimistic that outside play will keep us going and hopefully Craig and I can keep our level of stress about all these things down. The metaphorical boat is certainly trying to weather yet another storm, this is the first and won’t be the last. Some turn the switch back off!!

Thanksgiving Week

Week two, or should I say round two, of our unplanned family time has been the usual parenting adventure. The girls are starting to get in the groove of being at home again, probably enough that going back to daycare will reset the calm(ish) and create even more evening grumpiness. We were determined to keep the girls busy and occupied all week while downing a lot of coffee, getting a massive amount of fresh air, and attempting to enjoy each other’s company.

Monday

We kicked off Thanksgiving week really early- with Harper up and ready to take on the day before seven AM and Emerie and Reagan right behind her.

Craig worked while I got everyone up and running for the day, got dressed, did hair and vitamins, and ate a big bowl of cereal with some bananas and sausage. Every decided to go number two relatively early in the morning, and it quite cracked me up they would run downstairs to yell at Craig in the garage, daddy I pooped! Daaaadddyy I poooooooped! I’m sure his coworkers on the other end of the line were enjoying that entertainment.

After adventuring to the park with Nanny, Pricey and Miss Janet, it took about an hour for everyone to calm down enough to snooze in their cribs, after some back talking and promising of a birthday cupcake as snack if they went to sleep! I didn’t think it was going to happen and then they were out like a light.

They were all babbling in their beds before sleep took over and I heard Reagan say “Mommy, go take a shit- no jelly bean for you!” I kid you not…that phrase CLEARLY comes from their dad! Pretty funny that the other two joined in and noted I don’t get a treat. The teamwork has already begun.

After work Craig took them over to the neighborhood school to run around while I had an hour kid (wine!) break and cooked dinner. Everyone devoured their pasta salad, corn and chicken and received a peach yogurt for dessert. I turned my back for one moment to finish the dishes while Craig was upstairs starting the bathtub, and turned around to a full kitchen table of yogurt mosaics. Silly babies!

Tuesday

Emerie was the early riser today so we plopped down on the couch and watched a little Moana before the other two were up. I try to make early morning one-on-one time count, with lots of snuggles, knowing that the girls are always sharing our attention by one-third and don’t often get to relax without their siblings present or the normal excitement around young children. After breakfast everyone went to the playground to burn off energy and I pulled out their rolling, mini four wheelers to push around the living room after lunch. They are now saying four wheeler, since the real sized one is sitting in the front yard, but it comes out sounding more like a four la la or in the holiday spirit, fa lala. Pretty cute indeed once you know what they are saying. They attempted to push their dolls on the wheelers as well as their giant monkeys. It’s crazy to think the toys used to seem so big compared to the girls; now the long legs have to crunch to ride them.

I love my children to pieces but man, some days they really know how to drive a person crazy! The tantrums, fighting, biting, complaining. All. Of. It. Luckily a friend visited for dinner and helped us do a fun painting craft, which certainly helped burn up some time, but even so the girls still ran wild and continued to be mean to one another throughout the evening.

The craft will turn into “hand” turkeys once the paint dries and I cut them out (or several days later still be unfinished on the counter; that’s more likely). Harper went completely 100% in, her usual style, and looked like she had slaughtered a pig by the end of it. Reagan’s method was one finger at a time with minimal paint on the page, but was all for full hand prints painted on her hands by an adult. Emerie tried to splatter as much paint as possible and loved every second of it. After much scrubbing (of the table, chairs, floor AND children), everything is back to cleanliness.

Wednesday

After a little early morning snuggle with Harper, everyone was up with a bang. We had a very overdue twin play date at the house, where my girls didn’t want to play out in the snow and our visitors did, so eventually we came inside and played with our books and toys. This could be because we put the new swings in the garage to warm and straighten up and they were less than pleased at their absence. Once inside, everyone was calm and composed for about two hours…something quite unusually with FIVE toddlers sharing a play area.

We decided even without family visiting this year, we would try to get a little cooking done to enjoy. With the announcement of another “hunker down” for Anchorage for whole month of December, we might as well attempt some of our own holiday joy and Craig is quite a decent cook! He prepped as much as possible while the girls napped and throughout the evening, ready for our first solo holiday.

Thursday

After a delicious breakfast of pancakes and bacon, which involved the adults eating the pancakes and the toddlers devouring yogurt and bacon, we loaded up and headed out to our favorite Eagle River park for some sledding and playground time. I can’t wait for the days when we can enjoy a quiet holiday at home, not have to trek out anywhere, and relax. This, however, is NOT how last year or this or even next year will go, but someday!

The wind was cold and for the first time the girls were enthusiastic to have their new face wraps on for warmth. All three were happy to chew on them and pull them down to “shovel” random snow in their mouths. The only glitch when they are pulled up to noses are the fogging of Emerie’s glasses, which frustrates her to no end. We are constantly wiping the lenses off a finger so she can see where she is going. Apparently it was also cold enough for cooperation on mitten wearing, and the fresh few inches of snow made sledding really fun.

The girls are continuing on their grumpy moods this week so the middle car seat was relocated into the back row for the drive home. Reagan begged to have the first ride…so I’m guessing she now believes that is her seat. The past few weeks the girls have been fighting over who sits in the middle, the spot no one wanted for the last year. This has more to do with being taken to the car first than sitting in that spot, and I’m guessing at some point everyone will have a designated seat instead of all switching around whenever we load them as we do now. We are still rear facing, even with those long legs in tow, because we are still far below the weight standard for forward facing and actively working on the height standard.

Emerie still managed to throw her glasses at Craig TWICE on the drive home and send some toys across the car at her sisters. But overall, it was less of a battle than with all three across and everyone snacked and sang songs until we made it home.

An actual photo of us together!

While the girls napped Craig worked on a multitude of dinner tasks and the amazing smell of turkey filled the house. Other deliciousness consisted of green bean and corn casserole, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, homemade stuffing and pumpkin pie. Unsurprisingly and a repeat of last year, the girls pretty much didn’t touch any of it at dinner…except for the amazing, homemade lumpia the neighbors dropped off for us that afternoon. Reagan ate at least two whole ones! Sounds about right; we couldn’t even convince them to eat sweet potatoes, i.e. SUGAR. Silly kids.

Everyone was so grumpy after dinner that we booted them all outside for some swing time and playing in the snow. That lasted long enough to clean up some of the kitchen and prep bath time.

With our first major holiday sans any out of town family, I’d say it could have been worse. And we have much to be thankful for this season; three smart and beautiful ladies, a happy (albeit tired) and loving husband and cook, a roof over our heads and heat, a wonderful hometown, essential jobs through all this craziness, and a life that always brings the unexpected but often fun. Happy turkey day to all of you!

Friday

The snow started dumping early Friday morning, the perfect weather for Thanksgiving weekend. We did not let that hinder our morning zoo plans and I loaded up kids and strollers and winter gear to trek out in it.

Pretty decent snowfall while we explored

This time we brought one of the double chariots so the girls could sit for a bit intermittently and be contained when attitudes struck. Excluding the fact everyone was in a maniac mood for the morning (including me by the end of it), it didn’t go that badly and I had Uncle Will to help me corral them. The few inches of fresh snow didn’t deter them from running amuck and snacking on it at every opportunity. At least that’s clean snow, right!?

If I had to pick a favorite animal today, it was probably the turkey (which is hilariously timed and so fitting for the week!). One stayed cozied up by the heating lamp while the other one socialized with the girls. As we walked toward the caribou cages, it paralleled us along the fence line. Harper thought that was just so hilarious and informed me I love it a few times, pointing excitedly at the turkey. Emerie stayed behind once everyone moved forward to the alpacas and bonded a bit more with it, until it gobbled (squawked?) at her unexpectedly and she about jumped out of her skin. Apparently a real gobble gobble isn’t quite so comforting. She wanted to get away from him ASAP.

We swung by to see the otters a second time before heading back to the car. Meltdowns were imminent and I was glad the stroller was there to contain two of them. They all liked watching the otters belly slide across the snow, their style of sledding, and hooted and hollered at them.

After nap we donned the snow gear and shoveled the front driveway while the girls sat in the yard with me and “supervised.” We don’t love taking them out front and rarely do so, since for the past two years they bolt into the busy road; but, in snow gear, as well as the late afternoon darkness, they are slower and more timid to taking off down the street.

Craig put the plow on the four wheeler and after clearing the driveway, he convinced the girls to sit behind it while pulling them down the block in the big sled (sitting on my lap, of course!). They talked about that adventure all evening and yes, we went super slow the whole time!

The last funny thing to note for the day, poor Emerie wouldn’t go to sleep because of the turkey gobble from the zoo. She explained to me in a concerned expression that the turkey gobble upset her and I responded he went bye bye (as turkeys do on thanksgiving?). After a good fifteen minutes back and forth from a clearly anxious toddler, she finally drifted off to sleep.

Saturday

By Saturday the toddler mood swings were starting to get really old (or before Saturday really). Others that have warned us that “three-nagers” are actually worse than the “two-nadoes” stage are probably right; at least that seems to be how we are trending. There is an incredible amount of meltdown rage at our house throughout the day; everything from stealing toys to being told no to disagreements about wearing their gloves or a previously chosen color of underwear. Other disagreements spur over who gets to go in which potty chair, because someone peed on someone else’s existing potty chair pee (maybe TMI but it’s funny and true!), when everyone wants to wear the same pair of boots or the same jacket, when one sits too close to the other and they touch, or when they slam the downstairs gate shut on one another. Not to mention other times when no one ever answers us the same, so all three want to sing a different song, watch a different show, read a different book, or have a different drink. I could go on forever…and certainly write an entire blog on reasons for toddler rage.

It’s a constant and long battle that takes a ton a patience AND stamina- because these tiny humans feed off your sense of tiredness or irritation and it FUELS THE FIRE. So, I admit, we both lose our heads probably once (or more) a day after a full day at home, likely with every moment filled with some kind of toddler rage, crying fit, repeated demand or total meltdown all while trying to accomplish everyday tasks, keep things going forward and done.

Through all this, the girls are starting to say sorry more often after an unkind deed, and while the upset sister doesn’t want to accept the apology yet, we are progressing on giving it. Time out is quite frequent right now and I hope that is teaching them to understand when they’ve disobeyed or been unkind. They are using their words better now, and when someone is in timeout inevitably one or both of remaining group will make a point to tell us they are listening. Momma, listening! Daddy, me listening! It’s very cute, but it also usually comes from a place where they haven’t been doing just that. This battle and continued loop will continue for a long time.

They also interject adjectives in their sentence structure now, such as Emerie this morning, point out her “my yellow pee” or Reagan stating she wants to wear “my blue hat” or Harper stringing off a few descriptive sentences about whatever is going on.

Spontaneous family photo – E / H / R

The girls were riled up once again for the start of the weekend so we ordered breakfast takeout (is that called takeout?) from a small, local restaurant, built block towers at the kitchen table while Craig picked it up, and then headed off to Kincaid Elementary for playground slides, swings and a sledding hill.

After a cheeseburger lunch, with Reagan eating an entire adult burger herself, everyone went down for a nap while Craig ran to Costco. Overall the nap was very restless but successful, and they willingly snuggled on the couch afterwards and had a snack with some Pan on the until Daddy came home.

We ended this day with more thanksgiving leftovers (including the amazing homemade cranberry sauce that was delicious- thanks Sara!), pumpkin pie (the girls ate the whip off the top…) and our first Christmas pajamas of the year, which Harper greatly disliked until I explained the snowflakes on the red-striped pants were from the frozen princesses. That explanation seemed acceptable to her and she stopped trying to take them off.

One more day until routine change!

Sunday

That tiny spec is a moose!

Today’s agenda was set around visiting Santa in the morning. After a quick cereal breakfast we visited the Potter’s Marsh boardwalk to burn a little energy before seeing the jolly red man. It’s been a while since we walked out there and our first time with snow, which was helpful because the girls couldn’t see straight down through the boards. It’s also great for the containment, with only two directions to choose from, so everyone could run freely, but for the most part they just wanted to walk and hold our hands and see the wildlife.

Two moose were spotted down below and we were able to get a pretty close look from the boardwalk. The girls were so excited! They called out to “Mr. Moose” and Harper asked if she could first kiss him, then hug him, and that she loves him. The walk provided some much needed time outside and produced much chatter about moosies for the afternoon. I’ll note we did have to promise Emerie that no turkeys were present during that time, as she showed concern about it.

After the boardwalk we quickly changed into Christmas attire and rushed over to Cabela’s for our morning photo slot. I fully expected rage crying like last year, but because no one can sit directly on Santa’s lap, they were content to sit on the bench in front of the glass and not concerned about the jolly man behind them. No one really wanted to look at the camera or smile; instead they kept looking up at the flashing lights after each snapshot. Overall it went pretty well and everyone snacked on a candy cane as we walked around the store and looked at the fish.

The girls were very chatty today about family members. All morning they asked about Auntie Manda and wanted to talk to her, so during lunchtime we did a quick FaceTime call and they were excited (so excited they all pooped- true story!). Later in the day Reagan asked a few times for cousin Tyler, saying she wanted to show her cheek owie to him. Emerie also said she missed Papa Cliff and the other two agreed. I’m glad that even though family isn’t local, the girls still have a close enough relationship to want to talk to them. Thank goodness for modern technology!

Post nap activities included several rides around the neighborhood on the four wheeler, certainly to our neighbors’ dismay, until our hands and feet were tingling and cold. We colored the ornaments from the Santa visit and with some effort, convinced the girls to hang them on the tree and not steal each other’s. As you can see, Harper attempted to color the entire body brown and black; we had to forcably take the colors from her after insisting it needed some holiday spirit on it. I think all three did a good job!

We ended the evening with everyone eating their entire dinner plate. I note this because it’s incredibly unusual, with each kiddo eating more than half a mini pizza, two servings of broccoli and green beans (we slacked on dinner…yes…since we were outside playing on the four wheeler). Everyone excitedly ate their ice cream reward while I sipped some wine!

It sounds silly, but a tiny part of me feels sad the girls went back to daycare (I said a TINY part). While the past two weeks were very draining and busy, there were also happy parts and fun adventures spent as a family. I look forward to the days when they are a bit bigger and it’s easy to do some of these things without the major prep work ahead of time and sense of tired afterwards, and I know that will come eventually. For now, I will relish my workday at home with a hot cup of coffee and a silent house. I will enjoy knowing the girls are off having fun with their class, burning energy and getting out of the house for a bit. I will appreciate the Christmas decorations in my house and the snow outside my windows and get excited for the upcoming holiday season. Can’t I also be thankful for that?!