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?!

Life Impacts

Our family is extremely fortunate that to date we haven’t fully felt the affects of the worldwide pandemic. Luckily Craig and I both have essential jobs, since crime and airports don’t stop for viruses, and our hand washing lifestyle was already a must with premie kiddos in the house the past two years.

The daycare notified us a week ago that their facility was closing down through the end of November, meaning a two week period without childcare or any relief from the busy and nonstop kiddo life, all while trying to continue working full time and remaining sane! I’m trying to have a good attitude, but let’s be realistic here. It’s going to be a hard and long month. Especially during a year when no family is traveling for the holidays. It will be our first Thanksgiving with the girls without any grandparents present to cook!

Day ONE

Team meeting at the breakfast table

The girls were up early, even though I managed to convince two of them to stay in bed until at least 7:30 by letting them play with their crib stuffed animals while I checked emails on the nursery couch. They were ready to take on their Monday, which would have been so much better if they could head off to daycare for some fun.

Craig and I were both able to switch off and handle some morning meetings and work calls while Nanny and Pricey visited for a few hours to help us out! The girls played with play dough, strummed the guitar, destroyed the house with their toys, and had all kinds of fun. The day was going okay until nap time, when all three refused participation and would NOT settle down…all three! What a way to kick off the week and not in a good way. Poor Harper wanted to drift off to sleep so badly, but Emerie and Reagan prevented her from doing so by singing, yelling, throwing toys and jumping on their beds until we finally gave up and got them back up.

Getting out of the house!

No nap is the perfect way to kick off two weeks of crazy toddlers that aim to drive their parents insane. Yes, I am complaining, but before you judge me on the grumpiness, remember I have three moody, over reactive busy bodies taking over my house, fighting with each other and over everything, and pushing boundaries at every moment. At some point a break is necessary, especially after a fourteen hour day…

That morning I managed to check a few emails at the kitchen table while the girls corralled around and munched on pancakes. Once I caught Reagan sipping coffee out of MY coffee cup with her hand, which was a good indication of how the rest of the day would go. Later I handed Harper a plastic up to play with, instead of with my coffee cup, and she scolded me with a there’s no coffee in it, Momma. Long day indeed.

We opted to walk over to the school and go sledding after the nap fiasco, hoping to get some fresh air and survive the afternoon with tired girls. It went pretty well and they enjoyed the bigger sledding hill with one of their daycare friends; afterwards we played on the very frozen playground equipment until the sun set from the sky. Overall, they were good sports for most of the evening, although as I finished writing this Craig is sitting in their room, trying to calm them down after waking up an hour into their night and NOT wanting to settle at all.

Day TWO

By the grace of God, the children slept in until 8:15 this morning (probably overtired from Monday!). It has been several weeks since we’ve had such luck, allowing me to get some much needed work done with a quiet and cozy environment.

Nanny Chris and Pricey came over again to keep the sanity in check, as well as one of their school buddies who is also missing her daycare friends! Lots of coffee was sipped (chugged?), minor tantrums occurred…you know, the usual….but this time they napped!! Hallelujah! We went sledding in the late afternoon, well after the sun went down and until our faces were frozen. All in all, a much improved day!

Day THREE

Another day sleeping in, except no one spent the entire night in their bed. It’s a creative process to climb out of bed and not wake a shifty toddler that has half a mind to get up with you bright and early. It’s a juggle of turning the sound machine up, pulling blankets over said kiddo and a pillow to the side so they don’t fall off, and tiptoeing quieter than a mouse out the door, shutting it behind you silently so the pets don’t push it open and wake them up, then looking at the baby cam and praying they didn’t hear you!

Craig and I rotated work hours for the day, watching the girls for an hour or two and then trading off to answer a call. It’s actually pretty nice, since by the time you start feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with the toddler attitude then it’s time to switch off and switch activities up!

I managed to cook an actual meal for dinner- fajitas; the prior two days were Costco prepped meals (which we love!). We did a lot of coloring with the girls and open playtime and the 7 degree weather didn’t stop Craig from taking them on a park date to burn some energy. Overall the day went pretty well in triplet standards.

Day FOUR

Everyone decided to be up at the crack of dawn today, but after two good sleep-in mornings, that wasn’t altogether surprising. Craig made breakfast and dressed everyone for the day while I handled a couple calls and then we switched and I whisked them off for another sledding adventure. This time the girls were heading down the hill solo in the little round sleds and head first on their bellies on the bigger ones. Emerie was taken out by one of the older boys, doing a full body flip into the air and (luckily) landing on his back, breaking her fall. She was not a happy camper on that one and demanded an apology! Harper was happy to go down the hill on her butt, without a sled, until she figured out how fun it was to go faster. Reagan is a sledding pro now and will even bring the sled back up herself while her sisters expect you to come help them up.

I came downstairs to this while the girls were napping and cracked up. A near accurate depiction of them sleeping, minus the fact they don’t cuddle together. We require them to leave the bigger dolls downstairs each day because they would be noisy and take up a lot of crib space, so everyone puts theirs in a doll bed, gives them a blanket and then a gentle kiss. It’s very sweet. Emerie tries to give Harper’s doll a kiss all the time and she doesn’t like that, but it’s still cute. We were gifted several American Girls dolls by one of my coworkers and while I know they won’t care for them like if they were older, they all really like to carry them around, put them down for naps and snuggle with them on the couch, so why not?!

This also brings up the point of stuffed animals in their beds. Reagan now insists she has to bring MANY animals to bed with her every nap and night time, including her teal dragon, green lambie, black AND tie-dye teddy bears, Stella her Cabbage Patch doll, and her brown puppy. It’s a battle to get any of them away from her and she now sleeps in a pile of them. We’ve more or less given up taking them about because she will lay in the dark and ask for them a hundred times. At least she is able to sleep with them either way! Harper doesn’t have this issue nearly as much, but likes to have her Cabbage Patch doll Cici, her pink teddy bear she’s had since birth, and her pink monkey. Emerie also has a regimented demand for animals, with her beloved monkey and Cabbage Patch doll Sadi at the top in priority (they now follow her everywhere), followed by her purple/pink sloth, a tiny, black teddy bear, and whatever other animal she finds that day. For a week or so she was holding a mini, purple rubber ducky in her hand all night. She even woke up a couple of times in the middle of the night, full on screaming ducky!! and trying to find it in the dark. Good times.

After nap we ran several errands to get out of the house and showed off some of the Christmas lights around town. The girls later told us all the different colors they saw; I’m very hopeful people light up their houses this year so we can tour around and enjoy them from a nice, heated car. We have a few more to put up once it gets a bit warmer outside.

Day FIVE

The final day of the workweek started off well, with everyone sleeping in a bit. Emerie lost her mind at about midnight, waking up Reagan as a result, so they are each in a bedroom and Harper later joined Craig since he has the space of a king sized bed. While we don’t love the co-sleeping (Craig less than I do…but I can sleep anywhere), we also manage to get WAY more sleep when we pull an angry baby out of their bed and into ours, whoever it may be. They are pretty good at going right back to sleep unless they aren’t feeling well, knowing that they got exactly what they wanted…for us to bring them in our room. They inform us in the morning now that they sleep in Daddy’s bed or sleep in Mommy’s bed (guestroom bed). At some point we will have to put in the time and effort to resettle them in their own room but honestly, at this point with it the middle of winter, dark outside, both of us working from home full time and without daycare, I will take sleep any way I can get it, even if that means a battle later down the line.

The morning went pretty well and I loaded the girls up and headed to a park by Nanny’s house so she and the hubs could join us for some sledding! We had Taco Bell nachos for lunch with some yogurt, a good nap, and played in the circle behind our house before dinner.

Craig made a piping hot vat of chicken noodle soup and for once the girls chowed down on it! Reagan was all about the peas and celery and pretty much ate all of mine, Emerie chomped on all the noodles and some celery, and Harper preferred the dark meat chicken and broth. It all worked out; past experience with soup hasn’t gone nearly as well. The girls liked chicken broth when they were little; we used to put a little warm broth in a bottle and let them sip it when they had colds, so hopefully we are growing some soup loving toddlers.

Day SIX

After the usual morning routine we headed off to a new sledding hill on the west side of town. The girls were acting rough, pushing each other down deliberately and treating their friends unkindly, so we loaded back in the car a few minutes early and headed home to prepare for our lunchtime mini winter photo session. Surprisingly the girls were very well behaved for those fifteen minutes, even while cold in the 20 degree and windy weather with just sweaters, tights and boots on, and I am SO excited to see them!! I always love snowy professional photos, but haven’t tried them with the girls being so young and less than amenable to the chill.

After the outdoor excursion we came in and bundled everyone up in their frozen princess,

hooded blankets and read a book until they warmed up. We had another good nap and managed to play inside for the remainder of the day without too much fighting. We broke out the special color markers (ones that only color specific types of paper and are amazing!) and Harper fully colored her whole sheet, Emerie colored a few baby sharks and Reagan adamantly begged for Tyler and Uncle to see it her creation. It was pretty cute.

All in all, a decent day!

Day SEVEN

We rounded out our first week of family time with a pancake breakfast, strong coffee, and some vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting at the sledding park in honor of Craig’s birthday. The fogged rolled in and over the sunlight toward the end of our outdoor excursion and the sight was beautiful. The warmer, 30 degree weather was a nice change and you could tell the girls were happier about it. Although the weekend grumpiness was still there, they went up and down the sledding hill more than a dozen times without assistance. Emerie ended up with the bloody nose and lip at one point and needed a break, Harper required a little coaxing to go down on a sled (and then remembered her need for speed) and Reagan was happy to play with Sage on the slides and swings for a while.

In the afternoon the neighborhood moose were out to the girls delight, walking down the street from our house. We did multiple drive bys in the car so the girls could see them from both sides of the car and they hollered, screamed and talked to those poor baby moose, whose ears very much listened to the conversation.

Unfortunately no plans for daycare this week or any back up family that’s local meant Craig didn’t get much of a relaxing day off for his birthday, but we did order a nice dinner and he managed a solid nap while they napped!

Happy to have one week down! And as I was reminded at the park this morning, this is a good time to be thankful to spend more time with your family, that is something COVID has given all of us. Yes, it’s hard, stressful, and sometimes makes you want to pull your hair out, but we only get this age once, and we have to choose to enjoy it. The expanded vocabulary, the emotional fits, the questions and demands, and the snuggles and kisses.

Here’s to Thanksgiving week! We have so much to be thankful for.

Snow Bliss

I don’t know about everyone else, but I am EXCITED for the snow this year; I would like ten feet!! Most of my adult life I’ve enjoyed the winter, even more so when the roads are either completely clear or completed covered in snow (because we all agree ice sucks). Once the sun drops below the skyline for a couple of months, then I can’t stand the cold, dreary, brown weather…until we get some snow! Not only does it become more cheery, but it’s also so beautiful (especially from insane a cozy house!). Working from home this fall greatly changes my perspective on weather events as well, especially now that I have a window and can enjoy the flurries and daylight during my workday. In addition, having kids increases a love of snow- it is a heck of a lot more fun to play in it then on the cold, dormant grass. Wouldn’t you agree?

We saw our first few inches in the last day or so, with a great fall while we went out and adventured with some sledding. Other than dragging everyone all over the neighborhood last year, when they were a LOT lighter might I add, we didn’t do a lot of real sledding with the girls. This year will be different and we are starting off right. We sold the small, single seat sleds and traded that in for a massive three (three plus an adult) seater.

All three girls stayed in their own room all night, which hasn’t happened since the first week of daycare in August, but were bright eyed and bushy tailed by about 7 AM, not wanting to sleep in any longer. The general rule of thumb in this house is if everyone sleeps in their cribs all night then the day may be crash and burn grumpy. You’d think it would be the opposite right, that good sleep would make for a nice, happy toddler day? Yeah, um, never.

With that in mind, we ate a big pancake breakfast and headed outside to meet up with a couple daycare buddies and test out one of the playground hills by our house. Everyone was a little timid at first, covered head to toe in boots, snow pants, coats, gloves and hats, but in no time they were all excited to go fast! down the hill and come back up and do it again! After a few minutes they would even opt to go by themselves on their friends’ single seat ones, since they are a bit slower and stop at the bottom, without running all the way to the trees. Craig was able to convince them to pull their sleds up after a few runs, with some hand holding and coaxing, until the slippery top where they needed help. Now we just need them to participate for a couple hours every weekend and nap out like a light!

I’m trying to decide which kiddo favored the activity the most and it’s a toss up. By the end, Emerie and Harper were both soloing down the hill as well as insisting one of the adults speed down in the faster sleds. Harper also liked to sprint down the hill without a sled and walk back up, great way to create a sleepy toddler. Emerie preferred going with someone and giggled and shrieked the whole way down with a big smile. Reagan wouldn’t go alone but liked sitting in the big sled with Craig. She was also the first one to follow Sage off to the playground, heading to the slide excitedly. Everyone also insisted on taking a hundred turns on the zip line; luckily two toddlers, even in full snow gear, still fit on it together.

If you can’t tell…it holds three toddlers quite nicely

The girls (and dad) are currently snoozing away as I write this and drink a hot chai tea while enjoying the beautiful white outside! I am not ashamed to admit we put the Christmas tree up yesterday and pulled out all the lights, the earliest I’ve ever done it…because why not? What other year are we both working at home during the holiday and practically confined to our houses due to rises COVID cases, meaning we are actually here to enjoy it!

The girls did not assist in any way and were grumps for most of the assembly (or should I say most of the DAY). I can say that they thoroughly enjoyed the big tree bag and spent the entire hour climbing in, zipping it up, zipping each other up in it, dragging blankets and dolls and toys into it, fighting over it and pretending to take a nap. I might just break that bag out again on Christmas and let them at it…who needs toys anyway?!

Yesterday was a day to get through and not a great way to start off the weekend or our unplanned five day stint without daycare (daycare is closed to get a new boiler); so far today is going MUCH better, thank goodness!

Summer Adventures

The past weekend was chocked full of toddler adventuring and getting out of the house. We find that getting the girls out and about drastically helps with the grumpiness side effect of daycare transition and keeps our sanity intact, so we made plans to do our first real road trip and drive down to the Seward Sealife Center.

As usual, I was super over packed for a half day trip. Part of this is to ensure we have everything needed for whatever comes up, the other part knows if an accident shuts down the highway on our way home (which frequently happens), then we need to have enough supplies to survive a night in a hotel. Thank goodness we didn’t end up testing how that would go, but you never know and preparation is key (I am a planner, after all…)! So in addition to the snacks, lunch food, drinks and extra clothes and coats, I had everyone’s cuddle blanket, stuffed animals, binkies hidden away, and the bedtime book. This clearly tells me we need to purchase a camper so we can adventure for whole weekends and not just half days. Then I won’t feel so over packed!

Everyone was up and ready to go by 7:45, with our fellow triplet road trippers meeting up for the drive down. We anticipated the girls would not sleep on the way down, so Craig sat in the third row and helped entertain them (ahem…keep them from fighting…), supplied a constant stream of snacks, and kept us from a two hour scream fest. I enjoyed my coffee and the beautiful scenery from the driver’s seat.

We arrived right on time for our sealife center reservations. The girls were released from the strollers pretty early on; eventually it was seven toddlers running amuck toward each exhibit, someone always trying to herd them in the right direction as they excitedly screamed about the animals. The sea lions were a hit, especially when they were up close and appeared soooo big. Everyone touched the starfish and managed to get their hoodies all wet. Everyone threw fits going back into the strollers. It was a very pleasant, albeit FAST, visit that we will have to do again soon.

The over energized toddlers released a vast amount of energy at the park down the path along the water. The weather was cool with bits of sun and wind, but overall very pleasant for a (almost) fall day in our great state. The park was amazing, with only two entrances, allowing the parents to breathe a little that they wouldn’t immediately run out to the water. Lunch went much smoother for our fellow triplet friends than for mine. We didn’t bring the food from the car so they were less than thrilled at the thought of sitting for a few more snacks instead of real food; they wanted to run around and go back to the playground.

All in all, it may have been a busy, stimulating day, but also a good one. It was really nice to get out of Anchorage for a few hours and I look forward to longer trips like this next summer. The girls napped the whole way home; Emerie was out before we left city limits and Harper and Reagan chatted a little and pretty much fell asleep mid-sentence.

To continue the weekend adventures, we went down to the Kincaid beach the following day. This includes walking down a massive paved trail until you break off toward the beach (and unfortunately walking back up it later), dragging strollers down a path not meant for them, and having to pull said gear back up that steep path at the end of the trek.

We succeeded at this with about twelves kiddos and only four strollers, lots of snacks and fun beach gear. The girls did GREAT. They didn’t explore more than 20′ away from us the whole time we were down there, they played with their shovels and buckets and walked around with the sand in their toes. Luckily the sun stayed out for most of it and it wasn’t too cold…Alaska beaches aren’t warm and we were ready for that.

The most exciting part of the morning was getting stuck on the beach side of the trail due to a mama and baby moose blocking our way. The girls kept pointing and yelling moose from the stroller. At least 20 people were held up by these creatures, who assumed we would patiently wait for them to have their lunch before we walked by. Other hikers went through the brush around them, something you cannot do with a double chariot and a ton of loud, little people. Eventually they moved far enough that we could walk quickly by and go up the huge hill that took us toward the car. It was another great morning, although it took a good hour into nap time for Emerie and Harper to drift off to sleep. This will definitely be a spot to do again; this time we will warn our friends to wear hiking shoes and bring better gear…which we did not do this time around (oops Megan!).

One of the most adventure packed weekends we’ve had in a while- in a good way- hopefully the rest of fall can proceed in a similar fashion.

First Two Weeks

Two weeks in and we are still surviving. The girls are doing great at daycare; in fact, according to their teachers, they are settling in better than expected! This just goes to prove that little kiddos are very resilient and I hope we continue this trend as they grow up. One morning this week Emerie even confirmed she understood she was headed to school for the day, saying”Maddie” (who is her preschool teacher who she has closely bonded with!).

Headed to the car after a busy day having fun

At pickup last week I asked if the girls were climbing on the tables during meal times, running away when going outside or refusing to sit still for nap time; all typical things I would expect from my tiny toddlers. Things they all certainly do for their parents. The teachers looked surprised, answering no to all questions. So apparently this is just an issue that Craig and I have with our children and they have better behavior when we don’t witness it! They also have some magical skill at convincing them to nap.

Surprisingly, it didn’t take much to get them to comply with the new nap rules when they aren’t at home. In recent months naps have become much longer and needed to keep everyone pleasant for the evening. This has greatly improved from the 45 minute naps we had for quite a while, in a period my brain has mostly blocked out due to lack of sleep and stress. We also continue to have growth spurts that require more sleep and they make my babies look more like little girls every day. I love it and hate it at the same time.

The past two weeks has equated to more tired kiddos, which means that the parents FINALLY got a few full nights of sleep, without any kiddos pulled out of their cribs from anxiety or rage. This is a very uncommon thing the past year or so; almost every night requires some kind of intervention to keep someone happy. The other night I settled Emerie, put her blanket back on her, and she slept the rest of the night. That’s a little strange since she almost always sleeps through the night and her sisters’ fussiness. Harper is starting to improve after several months of extreme anxiety about her bed and soon I believe she will be back to sleeping in her room all night long. At this point I don’t mind laying down in the guestroom with her, mostly because I know one day I will miss that closeness- I should enjoy it while I can! Reagan’s sleep level varies between her sisters; about half the time she will call out at the crack of dawn for one of us and half the time she’ll sleep all the way through; sometimes we can settle her and sometimes not. Needless to say, the fact that we don’t wake up to full on panicked screaming at two AM every night is a blessing and much appreciated. My mom ears still pick up the momma! calls from the other room just as well as the MOMMAAA! version.

The new routine means the girls are up about 60-90 minutes earlier than normal. This is likely a direct factor why they are participating in nap time, being up so early, and also to the grumpiness in the evenings. Yes, the grumpiness. The girls are excited to see me at pickup, excited for their snack in the car on the ten minute drive home, excited to see Daddy, and as soon as we get settled in the front door, the rage and fussiness reappears for most of the evening. I try to remind myself it’s just the new routine adjustment period and the transition from daycare to home, but MAN, it takes a TON of patience after a long and busy workday. We mostly skipped this daily transition with the nanny because we were able to settle in from work while she was still there. Little did I know how much that helped each day! Fingers crossed this all improves after a couple of weeks.

One funny story out of this week. The girls “drove” a friend’s powerwheel truck at a park date last weekend and had a great time (other than the constant fighting over it). The truck was wide enough for three across and move on the pavement, inspiring us to do a little local, online shopping and find used ones to enjoy. We drove around the neighborhood the first night with all three crammed on and visited with a neighbor who has a similar vehicle. The second night we went down our street, in the rain, hoping for a few happy minutes as we transitioned from daycare to home. As you can imagine, using two vehicles when you have three toddlers doesn’t always go as smoothly as one would like. The three photos below say it all, some real life right here…it started out with smiles and giggles down the street, stretched into fighting over whose foot was on each gas pedal or wanting to be anywhere but where they were sitting at that moment, and ended with three total meltdowns in the middle of the street, both cars left on a neighbor’s front lawn, said meltdowners carried screaming down the street into the house (once we caught up with the little marathoners), and Craig retrieving the vehicles and carrying them home in the rain while I worked to calm the masses in the living room. True story, folks. You can’t make these things up.

All in all, I won’t complain too much about the grumpiness. It’s a phase, albeit not a very fun one, but we will get through it and move onto the next thing. I know the girls have fun all day while we are able to productively finish our workdays. I greatly appreciate the potty training efforts that I don’t have to do all day right now. I greatly appreciate knowing they are learning new things and becoming a little more independent, even though I’m not totally ready for it. And I’m greatly looking forward to the upcoming fall activities and more outdoor adventures, hopefully with happy and excited toddlers in tow.