Pre-K Start

First day of school jitters were much lower than I expected this week. The girls started in a new classroom for Pre-K, with a new teacher and across the building from their beloved Miss Tawni. Everyone spent much of last week visiting the new class and getting comfortable with routines standard to four-year-old instead of the three-year-olds, and even napped at the new location a time or two.

While all three claimed excitement to move up to the “big kids classroom,” they also shared the wish for Miss Tawni and a couple of classmates to join them. Realistically, most kids close in age planned to move up simultaneously, but not all and of course not their beloved teacher. Napping is no longer a requirement and more of a suggestion in this age group, with kiddos that wish (or need) to sleep receiving the opportunity to do so while others quietly play. I hope we still get school naps a bit longer; it’s easy to guess days they don’t all sleep, since that usually equals an extremely grumpy preschooler for the remainder of the evening.

Major highlights tied to the new classroom include the ability to freely use scissors and cut mounds of paper into tiny strips that get everywhere. Reagan spent an entire evening using a pair at home, after showing them to us in the room at pickup. She’s actually very skilled at cutting for her age.

Uncertain how the first day drop off would go, I opted to join Craig and brought Grandma Sue to join in on the fun. Fancy “girls night” dresses were selected for the big day as well as new, matching pig tail scrunchies, princess hoodies and lunch boxes. Thank heaven for Amazon Prime days, when back to school gear was more than 60% off!

Each kiddo happily snapped a few photos for me with the back-to-school bus board and their customized board. In honor of the milestone everyone was measured for updated height and weights:

Harper: 40.4 pounds / 3’7″

Emerie: 36.2 pounds / 3’6″

Reagan: 39.4 pounds / 3’7″

For the first time Harper and Reagan aren’t exactly the same on both height and weight, and clearly Emerie has had a growth spurt and nearly caught up to her sisters’ height.

On the drive home from the first day everyone gave me an update on their favorite parts of the day. All three answers were quite similar, with everyone stating that the best part of the day was playing with their friends and Mr. Ivan. Harper also noted being nice to her friends.

In addition to the report that everyone had a great first day- and Emerie chanting that to me a handful of times that evening- I was told the when asked who is who from a distance, Emerie shrugs and says she doesn’t know. So funny. Harper also informed me there is another Harper in her class…the first of many times that will happen in her life!

Cheers to a good first week!

Total Sassafrass

It’s been a bit since I posted a blog and thought I’d give a quick update and share some of the latest quirks the girls continue to share with us. Work continues to be incredibly busy for both Craig and I, him on the annual end of year closeout and me helping cover the rest of the grant season for airport development projects, in addition to my standard project management and job duties. We are both very thankful that the allergies and ear infections that hit mid-July last year have not yet reemerged and that the girls have been healthy and able to go to preschool continuously while we stay caught up on work.

As we start drifting toward end of summer activities, such as rain adventures, blueberry picking, and less outdoor water activities, the girls continue their current flower (bouquet) obsessions. Rose, daisy, and my poor front pansy plants now litter the living room and back deck; at least there are enthusiastic children happy to creatively play. Harper and Reagan enjoy picking raspberries from the backyard and eating them before returning inside; Emerie likes to taunt – ahem play – with the ever growing chickens, who now forcibly demand to explore the backyard, outside of their cage.

The toddler cars also reemerged and our neighbors get the honor of enjoying the spectacle of our kids driving down the street and the parents trying to keep them from getting run over by real cars or running into parked ones. Emerie greatly improved on her steering skills this summer, but also forgets the pedal is to the metal and will drive forward while looking backwards or concentrating on something that isn’t driving the car. Harper and Reagan seem to have the steering skills down and both enjoy driving. This picture fully explains everyone’s enthusiasm, Emerie’s face and all!

After last month’s unfortunate pet events, we welcomed a new member into the household, a three month old kitten. Her name started out as Molly until Reagan convinced everyone a more fitting name was Sassafras, which stuck. She’s a wild little thing and demands our attention at two or three in the morning every night, unless we manage to wear her out in the evenings. Good thing our children prepared us for that habit to continue! She really enjoys sleeping on Craig’s pillow, C-PAP and all, but turns into a raging, playful maniac the moment the first kid wakes up mid night, which is usually Reagan. A few nights I’ve caught her cuddling and sleeping in bed with Harper or Emerie; a few other nights I’ve dragged said monster out of their bedroom before the toe biting and playful scratching occurs. Overall, Sassafras fully embraces the busy, kid oriented household that surrounds my life and loves to play with the girls and run around. The girls love using the toy wands and running away from her. The chickens don’t seem incredibly upset with her presence either and simply crowd around when she gets in “their” space; not sure if that means they want to eat her or hide from her. And what does our other kitty think of her? Well he’s not ready to forgive us yet for a new foreigner, hisses when his personal space is in question and will only cuddle with her if asleep and she creeps up and settles.

Age four of the triplet life we lead produces quite the crazy opinions some days, especially when it comes to Miss Harper Anne. Of the three, she often displays the most dramatics over completely irrelevant things and it can be quite hilarious, much to her dismay. For example, the other day she was furious with me at bedtime because the following day wasn’t Christmas, and that winter wasn’t here yet (since she knows Christmas is during the snow season). She huffed and puffed and laid in her bed, with a you’re not my mom anymore response…as if I can control time! One night at bedtime she claimed with a huff that she couldn’t go to bed because I – her loving mother – didn’t make HER bed up that day. And at dinner one night we had pasta and I noted the leftovers would be in their lunch the following day. Harper scolded me for not putting said pasta in her lunch from earlier that day, and insisted that issue should be fixed by yours truly. Time be damned, Mom, go back five hours and make my lunch with pasta like I want. Kids I tell you…

It’s not all chaos and dramatics…well I mean it mostly is, but other moments the girls dole out sound advice. After a preschool fire drill one afternoon, they all reminded me on the way home, don’t be scared, be prepared, and excitedly shared their experience for the day about fire. They also strongly noted their teacher keeps them safe and wouldn’t let fire hurt them, even if she needed a firefighter to help her. True words!

Reagan is on a cooking kick this month and I often find her playing by herself and cooking a pretend masterpiece meal or tea party for her sisters. One afternoon she asked, Mom, what is your favorite cake I can make you? My response, of course, was a homemade German chocolate cake, what Craig makes for me every year! She went into her kitchen and then was quietly repeating her recipe out loud to herself. Add a little German, add a little chocolate, and a little more German. Hahaha…it’s the thought that counts.

Emerie continues to live her best life and chase chickens, taunt the kitten, pick flowers whenever possible and avoid major rain puddles that her sisters splash her direction. We learned a couple weeks back that she needs another more significant eye surgery that will couple with adding new ear tubes back in, something planned for the end of this month. She continues to amaze me when you consider she tackles everything her sisters do, but with one eye significantly weaker and often when the strong eye is patched. She’s a rock star.

Next up? A two day preschool closure starting tomorrow and next week, aging up to the four year old classroom at school! I’m not sure who is having the hardest time with that thought, Miss Tawni, the girls, or me!

Kickin Off the Summer

The Douglas household was fully embracing summer by the middle of May. A little optimistic, maybe, but also a nice break from the dreary and cold winter and spring. Harper’s obsession of shorts and dresses has passed to the other two and everyone now strongly demands such attire each day, regardless of the weather outlook. Fancy dresses were worn during gardening and throughout the long, sunny weekend.

The neighborhood will often witness three princesses biking down the street, in full-length princess dresses, heels (although they are learning heels are hard to bike in!) and bike helmets. Harper led the charge on the peddle bikes and training wheels and had the process completely down in about two days. For the most part her understanding of breaking is learned, other than when stressing down a “big” hill, freaking out and slamming into a curb. Reagan was right behind her and picked up the peddling a few days later. Her stuffed panda is mandatory for all rides. Emerie has no desire to climb on the bigger bike and races around her sisters on the pink balance bike. Occasionally Reagan will opt to ride hers and fly down the street with her legs out, balancing! We plan to let Emerie decide when she wants to transition to peddles, especially considering her balance is still off a bit from her recent surgery.

In addition to the almost daily neighborhood bike rides, we are back to the constant water play. With dandelions in bloom, custom versions of dandelion soup and tea are the hits of the house. Every time you turn around you find dandelion parts, water, and flower petals. The girls designed some great food off the fallen petals on the floor of Bells Nursery this week. And those are free! A number of bouquet deliveries have also occurred and I can confidently say that our lot has no growing dandelions at the moment.

Another really cute moment during a bike ride last week; Emerie found a field of seeding dandelions on a nearby neighbor’s lot and abandoned her bike to collect them. By the time we caught up to her, she was hollering she found a bunch of wishes! So cute.

Reagan already mastered the art of swinging and while she knows how to do it, she still wants to be pushed sometimes. Harper and Emerie study their sister’s new skill and are starting to do it themselves too. New types of swings continue to pop up on our property thanks to Craig’s creativity and we now have a front tire swing and normal swing, and three regular swings, a trapeze bar and a fancy sun seat in the backyard. This week the girls all learned how to do a back flip holding the trapeze and are so thrilled to show it to everyone.

The Douglas family is also growing again (calm down, not THAT) with the arrival of baby chicks. As shouted at me when arriving home from work to them, we got Easter eggs! We briefly tried adopting some last year but quickly learned the girls weren’t quite ready to be gentle with them (and I might have threatened Craig’s life if we kept them). This time around is going much better. Craig told me he showed all three how to gently help the babies drink water while I was at work; Emerie’s first attempt was more like a shove-the-entire-chick-into-the-water type of “help,” but she will learn. Reagan and Harper are quite gentle with them but enjoy petting their heads more than feeling the scaly feet on their hands. A few have definitely tried to learn to fly in the moment from getting thrown by a stressed out preschooler; none of them have died yet either! When asked what everyone is named, the quick consensus was all names starting with ballerina (Ballerina Emerie, Ballerina Harper, Ballerina Grandma, Ballerina Tyler) or Ling-Fong. Yes, we will work on better names as they get bigger.

We are almost three weeks out from Emerie’s surgery and her eye is straightening nicely. Unfortunately this improvement is tied to a very droopy left eyelid (like her first procedure) and now that she’s a bit older, she has more opinions on it and tells people her eye is closed or that it won’t stay open. She asks to go to Dr. Winkle to fix it too. Her patching and wearing of glasses continues to be a daily battle; she is such a trooper while patched and distracted with an activity and while a bit less balanced, still works really hard to do everything her sisters do while wearing it. I’m thoroughly impressed at how well she handles her wobbles and continues having fun and try to give her credit and praise when it goes well.

A few more girls nights have occurred over the past month and I feel as though they are getting easier to navigate by myself. Maybe it’s because we are getting into a groove; more likely it’s due to the yummy food and ability to chow down on dinner with a movie in the living room, which we don’t do any other time. This week elevated temperatures resulted in a granted ice cream request to kick off girls night before dinner, and went really well.

The three day daycare closure and holiday weekend meant a solid six days with the kiddos home. While exhausting and very stimulating, the girls slept in later than normal due to efforts to tire them out all day, no naps and direct sun beaming down through most activities. Reagan even slept until 9:30 one morning! I’m guessing a growth spurt is right around the corner.

The majority of Memorial Day weekend was spent outside with lots of adventuring and activities. We played at the beach (an Alaskan beach with dry, cold sand!), played with the water slide and pool in the back yard, ran the sprinkler, destroyed the back deck with smashed orso balls, shopped for and planted flowers and vegetables, had play dates with friends, went to the park, explored Saturday market carnival rides, and so much more. The girls continue to be fearless and went down a three tiered slide for the first time. Emerie bonked her forehead on the second trip down and was less than impressed and Megan nearly broke her leg (again) at the same time. Everyone loved the carousel and boasted big smiles throughout several rides. All five kiddos joined Megan on a spinning apple ride and no tears or screaming occurred, much to my surprise. It is very likely all three will be fans of fair rides in the future and that state fair this year will probably cause us bankruptcy; here I was thinking they’d be nervous or hesitant (well Emerie and Reagan anyway- Harper has always had a need for speed!).

Now that summer is here, a few trips are in the planning stages and I look forward to trekking to a couple other towns on the road system this summer. I will certainly have three extremely tanned and super blonde girls in tow for most of it…and I can’t wait to see what shenanigans we get into.

Birthday Weekend

Birthday weekend was SO busy! In fact, I feel tired trying to remember all the things to complete a blog on it. I enjoyed all the festivities occurring over a weekend and allowing the girls to stay entertained with all kinds of activities centered around the celebration of their wild entrance into the world. How has it been FOUR years already?! How has it been four years since that wild c-section delivery and four years since Craig and I had a decent night’s sleep?! I don’t even know.

The weekend began with a daddy/daughter dance on Friday night. Grandma Sue arrived at the airport in mid-afternoon and daycare pickup was completed a little earlier than normal, ensuring enough time to “get fancy” and for the girls to get a few grandma snuggles and chats in. Everyone picked out a tutu dress from the closet and tights with barely worn ballet flats (I forgot about them!). They rarely wear any type of shoe that isn’t boots or tennis shoes, since we live in Alaska after all, and were thrilled to wear new accessories to both the dance and just at home throughout the evenings. Since spring is not yet upon us, they continue to ask why the new apparel isn’t worthy for outside in the snow and slush and are constantly asking about it.

Overall I’d say the evening was a success. Craig noted everyone was a bit wild (sounds about right) and danced together but overall had a good time. Grandma spent the free ninety-minutes making cupcakes while I melted icing and produced white, pink, purple and teal snowflake decorations and prepped goody bags. The girls returned home tired but enthusiastic for their new balloons and evening with Dad. All the special ladies received flower, light up hair crowns and Craig managed to get some cute photos of their adventure with Dad, Shiloh and his two girls.

Saturday was a busy day prepping birthday festivities and scooting the ladies out of the house for a little while to open up the living room for a big pre-birthday surprise in the afternoon. Papa Cliff’s fun present this year meant an in-person visit from two of their favorite princesses. Can you guess which two?!

If you guessed Frozen’s Elsa (okay that’s fair- she’s actually a queen) and Sleeping Beauty’s Aurora, then you are correct! I definitely went back and forth a few times on which two would win the contest, and after multiple kiddo inquiries, received the most responses for those two.

We shut all the front curtains and herded the kids and a couple friends downstairs to prepare for “the surprise.” As the visitors walked up the stairs and rang the doorbell, I pushed the three to answer the door, which was met by total silence and surprise to see two of their favorite characters on the porch. The first words uttered were my legs are cold, followed by a snappy Queen Elsa response of sorry, that is probably me!

The feelings of awe helped the girls behave a bit better than the normal wild activity of early afternoon. Aurora read everyone a story about all the Disney princesses and sang a song while all the kiddos excitedly watched from the couch. They were definitely too celebrity struck to sing along and just watched with wide eyes. Emerie volunteered that Let It Go is her favorite song and Elsa showed everyone some dance moves to it- everyone definitely hummed along to that one! A quick game of animal charades was played and all participated, which was very cute. The hour sped by and ended with a photo op,small gift bags for the birthday girls, and of course, hugs for everyone. All in all, it was quite the magical experience for the birthday girls!

Homemade princess dress cake

After such a busy day we opted to go out to dinner with Grandma Sue and Papa Cliff and ended up at Red Robin, one of the girls’ favorite spots (and their mother’s- because who doesn’t enjoy bottomless french fries!). Everyone was quite chill munching on and dipping their fries and let the adults actually eat warm food. At the end of the meal the serving staff sang Happy Birthday and announced a triplet birthday to the entire restaurant. This same experience happened as they turned three; that time everyone ducked into parents and hid from the noise- this year Reagan and Emerie hesitantly smiled at the chaos while Harper grinned cheek to cheek and danced in her chair to the music.

Sunday morning was spent finishing party prepping and decorating the cake while the girls had intermittent meltdowns and were whisked off to the jump park with Craig so we could finish things up. You’d think the grumpiness would be to a minimum on their birthday, especially given the fact that Craig made fancy pink and blue-ish colored crepes filled with whipped cream and sausage. Hard to resist such a delicious breakfast! Overall Harper had a great day and was not only in a good mood, she wasn’t whining or melting down like her womb mates. Reagan and Emerie both needed a nap by party time, but of course we powered on through and they did pretty well.

Cake preparation was quite the team effort and spanned the whole weekend- Grandma Sue baked the cupcakes and made the frosting, the girls organized them into the planned dress design, Megan strategically added said frosting into bags and decorated each cupcake, then I added the dress’s belt, necklace, ruffles and snowflakes for the finishing touch. Most importantly, Craig kept the kids from destroying the masterpiece and entertained everyone while we completed brought the masterpiece to life.

Ironically we did not consider attaching all the cupcakes onto the board base and now know better for the future. Car turns and unsecured cupcakes, however gorgeous, don’t mix very well…just ask Grandma Sue’s coat! Luckily disaster was averted enough to shove everything back together at the party…and they still tasted great!

The party, which was unsurprisingly Frozen themed, was a total success. Turnout of family and friends was great and for a few minutes, I forgot we are still stuck in a worldwide pandemic. You don’t even know the stress of hoping and praying everyone stayed healthy for their birthday weekend; I’m so glad it all worked out! It was great to see so many friendly faces and the kids were thrilled at their small guest list of friends. The kiddos (and a few dads) immediately vanished into the play center, ball pit and slide. So, allegedly, did an adult knife off a belt…but fear not! Crisis was averted when the missing knife was discovered in the car and not the play center, and said knife holder (ahem Russ…) was grounded….hahah kidding.

After depletion of most of the fruits, veggies and other delicious snack food, we gathered everyone together to devour the cake and then sugar everyone up further with a Frozen themed pinata. I always enjoy watching the littles take a bat to a pinata, questioning if they are really allowed to hit it hard. Harper, Emerie and Reagan all laughed throughout their turn and I assume all the adults enjoyed watching a couple of the boys hit it HARD (Arrow and his pre-school muscles…am I right?! and Kaden of course- since he was sharing HIS bat for this event!).

Birthday girls

The rest of the night consisted of opening presents and very tired adults and children. It was a good weekend, but also very exhausting and I still need another nap from it. Favorite birthday presents from family this year included fancy princess nightgowns from Grandma Anne, which everyone wants to wear to school, new princess costumes from Grandma Sue and Papa Lon (Reagan loves the Merida, Emerie another style of Elsa dress, and Harper a non-specific pink princess robe) and a few other small things here and there. If I’m being honest, we haven’t actually opened all our presents yet- a few are still sitting on the shelf, awaiting attention, but you can see the theme of princess and dress up is very strong in our house this year.

I cannot believe we’ve made it four years as triplet parents- some days I still find myself surprised that I am a parent, let alone one of three kiddos or almost school aged ones! Another blog will follow after this one with an update on everyone’s personalities, temperaments, and general variants throughout age three, since they are all their own persons, and it will note all the major milestones our household lived through this past yaer. If I had to choose a favorite moment from the three-nager stage (since that’s much harder to do than choosing disliked things for age three), I would say my favorite adventure was our family fishing trip last summer and my favorite change for this age is the ability to do more things now that they are older and can take better direction. And I will end with a photo of me and my girls, since I managed to get no photos of myself from this weekend.

Happy fourth birthday, Harper, Emerie and Reagan!! ❤

Veins of Glitter

The past month passed in a breeze! Not sure if that credit goes to a busy work load or the increased sunlight. It was a nice break to have no major illnesses like during the holidays and a visit from Grandma Sue brought excitement for the girls and a welcomed break for us tired-out parents.

Fancy Grandma

Everyone is on a major dress up kick, begging to wear princess dresses after school, showing up to school with bejeweled crowns and tutus, fancying up their outfits with lots of necklaces, beaded bracelets and sparkly rings, and don’t forget Grandma’s fancy princess heels! Tutus are not easily found these days and I’ve likely purchased every single one I could find locally, encouraging the girls to choose their color preferences and wear them whenever they’d like. Sometimes a princess dress just isn’t enough and they require an additional tutu to complete the full look. Lugging around backpacks and purses, like mom does, also helps accessorize the styles and occasionally I’ll find them adding hats and mittens for a more winter friendly feel. The worst part about this dress up stage? Getting your foot stomped on by one of those damn heels- it hurts!!

In addition to getting so beautiful (their words), they inflicted the “beauty is pain” mantra back on their grandmother during an extended hair and jewelry session one afternoon. Luckily for them, Grandma Sue boasts a great head of long hair to play with, resulting in many hair clips, bows, fake colorful hair and adorning necklaces to complete her upgraded look. It is safe to say it also included some ouches and possibly loss of hair or skin cells; but hey, beauty is pain…right?

The girls continuing to play together more and show creativity in their free play. For example, Harper will get all dressed up and accessorized, find a purse, shopping cart and animal or baby companion, and let me know she is going to the shopping store! This usually entails getting foods to “cook” for dinner and when questioned on what type of store, she always responds a shopping store. When they were smaller she always responded with Lowes or Target. Reagan often goes down to the family room and plays solo with her toys; seemingly enjoying her own space and playing islands, a game Nolan and Josiah created a couple weeks ago on a play date, or with her princesses. If you sneak up on her, you can witness her singing to herself! Now that daylight exists after school pickup, Emerie wants to play out on the deck or spiral in circles on the swings in the backyard. This is a great step from her adamant disdain for outdoor cold and gets her some space when her sisters are doing other things.

Life is a party, so why not dress like it?!

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The expanded independence on free play also shows Harper and Reagan becoming thick as thieves and teaming up against or excluding Emerie more often than I’d like to see. They will lock themselves in the bathroom (you know, to make a huge mess) and purposely won’t let Emerie, who really wants to, join; even when they are being naughty. They seem to come up with other little games and not readily let her in on them; a cycle I plan to break quickly and discourage as they get older. Having two kids, any two, generally results in good play; adding in a third is a constant issue that I’m not sure will ever really go away.

Reagan and Harper playing outside together

The tattle tailing saga continues, and while annoying, it can also be so hilarious. For example, two were downstairs playing nicely the other night until I could heard some sort of disagreement and Emerie hollered something indistinctly. Reagan, the CEO of the tattler department in our house, comes running into the kitchen to inform the adults that Emerie said Daddy’s word! She said daddy’s word! Now all of you that know my explicit and creatively worded husband know that, well…that could mean anything right? We tell Reagan to stop tattling and Emerie to calm it with the explicits; but in true Douglas style, Harper, who witnessed all this from the kitchen table, looks at me with a smile and responds in a serious whisper, Mom, Daddy’s word is f&$k. I about died laughing at her very dead-serious face. At least they know they aren’t supposed to say it!

Moving on from the lovely life expletives, Grandma Sue’s visit was full of all kinds of baking fun. The girls cooked in all kinds of attire including aprons, tutus, full princess decor and even sunglasses throughout the almost two week stay. Each kiddo requested something specific from the moment she set foot off the airplane, including breaded Olaf’s, cookies (Reagan claims Craig and I don’t make them for her which is funny!) and lots and lots of homemade donuts. All participated in different steps for each goodie and you better believe all wanted to eat them! Sue even placated their color demands and made black, green AND purple donuts, as requested by those irresistibly adorable faces. If you were wondering, the colors looked like a Halloween party was about to happen. The M&M cookie bars were also quite the hit, with everyone starting super slow, placing one M&M at a time into the batter. After a few minutes watching each kiddos’ separate pattern, Emerie decided the start “the Emerie method,” meaning throw everything in at once with super speed and vanish to do something else.

The girls attended their second theater movie but first time with Craig and I. Right after they started at the new daycare last summer, the whole class attended a real movie and they claim to remember going to it. Only one other family was in the whole room as we watched Trolls World Tour and munched on mounds of popcorn. By the end everyone visited the bathroom at least once and switched seats to snuggle with a different adult. All three are already asking to go again- we might have to make that happen since they did so well sitting and being quiet throughout.

The big fourth birthday is right around the corner, which means the work stress I’ve felt from the last month is converting into party planning stress. It also means we are almost out of winter and spring is (almost) on it’s way. I cannot tell you how excited I am for this next season; we’ve waited a long time to be able to go out and about and have fun without worrying they will run off or not be able to handle new routine!

All three are aware that the next birthday is theirs (even though all claim to be turning five!) and explain after them is Tyler and then Kaden’s. My mind still resists the idea that my fourth year of parenting is about to begin and then other times I forget they are still so young, since vocabularies are as expansive as their thoughts and opinions!