Easter this year meant more involved activities than in years past, including an egg hunt, egg dying, spring cookie decorating, a lot of nail polish, and a lot of sugar. The girls were good sports for the majority of activities and enthusiastically participated in all of it.
We accidentally went to the Cabela’s Easter bunny earlier in the month after looking at the animals and fish. After running Reagan to the bathroom, we spotted a white bunny rabbit strolling down the aisle and Reagan did a complete double-take. We quickly signed up for a photo session (which were by appointment only) and all three did far better than expected sitting in front of it. In fact, I would say they were less terrified of this creepy eared animal than of Santa Claus earlier this year, which is hilarious. It also helps that procedure was similar to Christmas time, with a clear glass separation, making the kids feel less threatened than sitting closely with them.
The sugar cookie decorating lasted for a little while, with five toddlers helping snack on the icing and sprinkles but also somewhat decorating them. No one wanted to share their completed cookies or let me put them up on the rack; they more so hoarded full plates until we demanded to take them away and replace them with empty canvases. Megan and crew brought more sprinkles to add to the mix, including a pack of tiny eyeballs that everyone wanted to use! I plan to make it a family tradition to make sugar cookies and decorate them in celebration of (impending) spring…that thing we are still waiting to see right now.
I was not feeling adventurous about outdoor egg hunting with a snow covered backyard, so the morning hunt stayed inside on our main level with a few more in our empty, under renovation family room. The girls wore matching bunny dresses and new, fancy shoes. Just like last year, they immediately picked up the concept and slung their baskets around as they peeked under furniture and opened cabinets in search of delicious treats. There are only so many places to hide plastic eggs, so the whole search wrapped up pretty quickly, with Reagan’s bucket about 3/4ths full, Emerie’s almost halfway, and Harper’s the least filled as she kept getting distracted with trying to open them. Once all were collected everyone sat down on pillows in the empty family room and sifted through their “booty” before I handed over their real Easter baskets. Harper’s first egg contained a spotted brown jelly bean, which she promptly threw on the carpet with a that’s a rock! comment. Hysterical, I tell you! Her excitement joined her sisters as she opened a few more and found mini marshmallows, other more deliciously colored jelly beans, and egg shaped tootsie rolls.
I enjoy seeing the different responses to new candies. Emerie ate her marshmallows speedily when usually she’s not a big fan of them, Reagan tried one tootsie roll egg and spit it out into my hand with a yucky, while Harper kept getting the gross flavored jelly beans (I guess it’s my fault for not picking better colors to add) and running to throw them into the trash. Harper was the only one of the three to really enjoy the egg tootsie roll treats. Reagan did manage to collect more tootsies and bring them upstairs to share, with one placed lovingly at each table setting and the last one on the couch for Daddy, along with her open sticker book. She demanded Grandma Sue guard that candy until Daddy came upstairs…how cute is that.
This year’s Easter baskets weren’t anything to rave about, just a chocolate bunny for each and a few knickknacks and bunny ears from Grandma Anne. The girls have been carrying the light up baby chicks around with them and I’m sure I will find the princess stickers around eventually. Strict instructions for consuming the chocolate bunnies meant everyone had to take a good nap; somehow orders were obeyed and they all woke up from nap with a I want my chocolate bunny, Momma! type exclamation. It took Harper 45 minutes to eat that tiny bunny, while Reagan scarfed it down and Emerie enjoyed pointing out what parts she ate (ears, then eyes, then mouth etc.).
Easter dinner meant a house of nine kiddos running around, which isn’t too out-of-the-ordinary these days, with the girls refusing once again to eat most of their dinner but the adults and visiting kiddos enjoying each bite!
The phrase of the week for the toddlers is I not can’t. Clearly we haven’t learned double negatives yet but they sure do know how to voice when they can’t do something! I not can’t handle it if they keep saying it like that!!
A number of friends checked in the past week or so to see how we are holding up without daycare; first off, we appreciate the love and secondly, we are hanging in strong so far! Throughout the day I can’t help myself but chuckle when one of them does something related to an unreasonable write up by the daycare last month. This often includes throwing a tantrum (which allllll kids do!), eating snow outside (which I’m not discouraging unless it’s colored haha), or even letting Reagan walk a few paces down the street with one barefoot, refusing to put her sock and shoe on. Guess what?? She learned after about five steps that walking barefoot on snow is really cold and then wanted to put her sock and boot back on immediately (in between all the whining that is). So yes, we are surviving. The girls seem to learn something new everyday and have their moments of individual play and kindness.
Staying home again means rediscovering some of the fun experiences one misses when out of the house. Old, forgotten toys are re-emerging as favorites as we recycle through the toy bins that aren’t sitting out everyday. Other extremely exciting moments occur throughout the week too. For example, trash truck Thursday is incredibly exciting and the girls will hoot and holler as soon as the truck is noticed down the street. They congregate at the front windows, dog included, and watch the magic of their trash man take trash to the dump? To see Wreck It Ralph?! Trash all gone?! On those lucky days, the girls might notice the second run, as trash is picked up on the opposite side of the street, causing a second stir of excitement and exclamation.
Another equally exciting event, that seems to land during lunch or at the start of nap, are the municipal plow trucks clearing snow off the street. This is extremely magical according to our tiny tots. They love to watch out the windows or quickly don a coat and boots for a better front porch view. This same rule applies when out and about, with muscled enthusiasm when spotting a plow from the car window. The other day I turned around to everyone wearing their winter coats and boots (inside) and authoritatively pushing their doll strollers around the room. When asked, they responded the strollers were snow plows and they were pushing snow. How very creative! We are raising kids who love big vehicles (which should thrill at least half of our family!), with semi-trucks, snow plows, and excavators topping the favorite list. I called an excavator a grader the other day, not trying to be specific, and I was quickly corrected that it was an excavator, NOT a grader. Kids these days… This summer we will have to go visit my M&O team at work and bring some treats so the girls can climb in a few big ones. They would LOVE it.
Other events are less exciting for adults but plenty fun shenanigans for the toddlers. One prime example occurred on a grumpy evening, with kiddos overtired and ready for sleep, when everyone decided to dump their popped popcorn treat down the toilet. If I haven’t mentioned it, we removed the gate from the downstairs bathroom to be freely used for its actual activity- you know, as a bathroom- so the girls now go in and out as needed. This goes well most of the time, other than nights when they dump popcorn down it!! I walked in and demanded they scoop out everything and deposit it in the trash (thank goodness it was at least clean of any #1 or #2!); my snarky toddlers complied by scooping some in the trash and some in their mouth! SO. GROSS.
Let’s move on to something less disgusting…the girls are thrilled with all the cooking and baking activities Grandma Sue continues to inspire in our household during her visit! In addition to all the valentine treats and goodies like donuts, cinnamon rolls and pecan bars, everyone “helped” create their own mini pizzas to enjoy for dinner one night. Clearly they enjoyed the creating part more than eating the final product; that and eating the dough, flour, black olives and as much cheese as possible before it was “shared” with the actual pizza. It’s rather impressive how quickly they can shovel handfuls of food into those food traps when they really want to!
Dinner turned out great that night, but I can credit that to Grandma more than my little ones. It’s amazing the activities that can happen when you have one more set of hands (and a good vacuum!).
The word of the week is “silly.” The girls are calling all kinds of things so silly, or will randomly say that moose is so silly! Or daddy is silly. Extensive discussion occurs about the neighborhood moose; why he is silly, where he is at, what he is doing, who he is with. That poor moose has no idea how hot a topic he is! The girls endeared him with a name- Carrot- because he enjoys eating them and because Olaf the snowman is outside and has a carrot for a nose. See the connection there? Not sure I do…but the kids can explain if you need to know more details haha. Everyone has a differing opinion on what he is up when out of sight (and not in our yard); Reagan usually answers that he’s sleeping, Emerie will comment he’s with his Momma, and Harper explains he wants a carrot and he’s cold. I tell you, having random moose visits causes quite the stir in this household, especially when they venture up to the front windows and are close enough to touch (with a window divide).
The latest off-the-wall, random comment from all three girls notes they don’t like mommy’s boobs and they like daddy’s boobs! Do not ask me where this comes from because I do not know but they constantly remind us about this fact…Harper went as far as yelling she loves daddy’s boobs!! I mean we should encourage body image right?! I’ve learned all big cabinets are called refrigerators; which sounds like a smart observation to me. They are also excelling at understanding the concept of time, with the most popular last morning (which means yesterday) or saying they get to go somewhere after a night or two of “sleeps.” Tomorrow is another popular word they are starting to understand. Someone will put a dolly in a stroller and turn to say see you tomorrow! Some concepts they pick up catch me by surprise; I assumed some of these concepts wouldn’t be understood until they were older and yet here we are. The latest obsession is all things wall clocks, starting with Grandma’s fancy one through FaceTime and extending out to anyone else on the phone who might possess a hanging clock in the background during a conversation. It’s almost like a recreation of their ceiling fan love when they were infants, except now they can talk and DEMAND to see them.
The house is now filled with new conversations, showing great perceptiveness and often bring a smile or a chuckle from nearby adults:
Emerie: Harper, you have an owie? Do you need a bandaid?
Harper: Yes, but it’s getting better. Don’t touch it! And points to it.
Reagan: I have an owie too! I need a bandaid and will pull up her sleeve or pant leg, point to it and then ask you for a bandaid.
I could probably write an entire blog called “Life Advice from Harper.” This little girl is quite the wordsmith and excelling everyday on her grammar and descriptive sentences. Her exclaimed thoughts completely crack me up- we went to Lowe’s and purposely walked down the toilet display aisle to see their reactions. Harper immediately started with I want to see the potties! Momma, I want to pee in them! to which we explained they were display potties and not usable, which did not simmer her enthusiasm with a response of no, I want to pee in them. I want to pee in the display potties because I love them! I mean what do you even say to that!? She was the first one up the other morning and we were watching TV downstairs while the other two slept a bit longer. She looked at me and randomly said, Momma,if you touch fire, you just need to get Elsa and a bandaid. How’s that for words of wisdom from a two year old?!
Bandaids heal all things, don’t you know that? Apparently that AND scotch tape, according to the toddlers this week.
Lastly, nothing says family bonding like cramming five people in the tiny, downstairs bathroom and filling balloons with water and food coloring! In the middle of this Reagan announced she needed to use the bathroom and the activity proceeded with one on the potty and two mad they couldn’t stand on the toilet and see us fill the water. Memories, I tell you. We checked on the balloons the following day to discover they still weren’t fully frozen! The second day temperatures dipped and they were firm enough to cut off the balloons. They turned out really cool and you can see the pattern the water froze into ice crystals. Too bad it was too cold to stay and enjoy them, so we went back inside with three, cold fingered grumps. I did manage to get them set on the porch railing to enjoy from the heated side of the door. If anyone has any better suggestions on how to do this in the future, I’m all ears. The food coloring immediately covered hands and gloves and made a decent mess outside…but they are pretty!
I will close today’s blog out with a quote that appropriately sums up our current life status.
The funny thing about kids is- they are the reason we lose it AND the reason we hold it together.
So, we are holding it together! And just like that we creep into our last month with two year olds! I cannot believe the big three is right around the corner already. The girls have grown SO much over the last year and learned so many new things. I can’t believe I will have three, three-year-olds in the blink of an eye!
Week one juggling full time work and full time kiddos went off better than expected. I’m not sure why I feel my attitude is better than our two week daycare closure in November, but I’m feeling optimistic and strong that we can manage this daycare gap and come out alive and thriving on the other end.
Don’t quote me on that…it could simply be the coffee and wine speaking as I’m well aware it is the dead of winter and being contained inside is hard. But! One week down and we are looking onward to the next one. Much of this is credited to the help of some wonderful friends, one that came over for an evening so I could have an art night with the bestie, two that came over one night so Craig and I could have our first date night in I don’t know how long, one that brought us coffee and donuts bright and early, one that opened her house up for a play date, and of course the bestie who visited several times so we could make work calls and survive playing inside. Each and every one of you…we thank you!!
The Amazon and Target shopping is a bit out of control since we pulled the kids from school, with my mind on what activities I need to encourage each week to keep them learning and thriving. Anyone with ideas on easy, manageable times three crafts while one versus three, I’m all ears!! So far we’ve come up with a few ideas, including:
Triple coloring sheets arrived yesterday so everyone gets to color the same sheet each day. First day was the #1 and today we all colored Little Baby Bum animals that my biased self thinks are soooo cute. Harper spent a lot of time perfecting her animals and everyone thought was amazing when the same monkey getting colored was on the tv!
Play dough: stencils, cut outs and of course new colors. Now if I could get them to stop eating and licking it (Harper and Emerie!!)
Mini button game: haven’t tried yet but it’s little buttons that shape into animals.
All things puzzles! You can never have too many puzzles…errr…until you are cleaning a million pieces off the floor and always missing a few…
DIY paper plate face art, animals edition
Jewelry sets with string
Stamps and sticker time: this is a new and now favored activity. We decorate paper plates with stickers, deck out little plastic boxes and the wooden food toys. So far they aren’t all over the house yet so that is a win!
Reusable sticker scenes still cover the backdoor windows and now the actual sticker books
Watercolors (and I fear for my life lol)
Valentine’s Day crafts for next week…I might have gone a bit overboard but WHY NOT?!
Magnet blocks: I finally caved and purchased a set after watching another toddler friend construct awesome things out of hers!
Fused bead kits: we haven’t tried yet and might be a wild idea but I’m excited! I always loved them as a kid.
Spray bottles: I am excited to try a fellow twin mom’s toddler entertainment hack…”washing” the car in the garage with mini spray bottles.
Much time is spent each day playing with Little People and their sets, play pretend with princesses and dolls, block building (tower time according to them) and dollhouse time, along with coloring, some cooking and dance parties. Don’t get me wrong, the level of disagreeing, tantrums and impatience is often off the charts, but let’s not dwell on that! It also extremely helps that Craig and I bounce back and forth between the kids and work, because, well we all know that the break of those two options is work! Breakfast time is the calmest part of the day and allows us to not only make breakfast, but answer the phone and respond on more emails while they quietly play and watch some nursery songs with their monkeys and princesses. This may become my favorite part of the day, second to right after nap time when everyone wants to snuggle.
And that leads me into why we are still surviving; so far nap is going wonderfully. It’s almost relaxing to get a few quiet hours of laptop work done while everyone snoozes away across the room and the other parent conducts work meetings!
One morning we broke out tattoos. The girls thoroughly enjoyed Auntie Janelle getting everyone a princess and a heart or butterfly, with Paris doing a matching one at home! The girls demanded we call Papa Cliff and Grandma Sue and show them.
In addition to our artwork, letters and numbers, we are working on learning names. The girls have each others’ names memorized, including middle names, and will also tell you both mine and Craig’s. What’s cute is they never say “Craig;” it is always “daddy’s name is Craig.” Whereas mine is just Becca…not to be confused with the teacher Rebecca, so I differentiate that a lot. They also ask us to remind them Grandma Sue and Anne and Papa Cliff and Lon’s names and they are getting increasingly good at them. They randomly asked for Koda’s name too…which is pretty funny since it’s, well, Koda.
The phrase of the week is I asked for it. This often relates to answering what movie or drink they want at a particular moment, someone will respond with Moana, I asked for italready or Reagan asked for it already, momma (usually Harper). Not sure where they picked it up but Harper started the trend and now Emerie and Reagan say it too.
We are in full parent mode on breaking a few bad habits- this is likely due to minimal socializing outside the house and daycare all winter and something that just has to be learned through practice. We continue to harp on everyone to improve listening and obeying while we are out and about, with Emerie complying the best and Harper and Reagan taking turns on actually doing it. Emerie prefers to hold your hand and has no desire to run off, while the other two seem to embrace their adventurous nature. The few excursions we’ve attended lately resulted in several major tantrums on the ride home, when we give them all the chance to obey and walk to the car and climb in and they choose to run into the parking lot or the opposite direction. This is apparently a hurdle to overcome for Harper and Reagan, Emerie complies every time and has received rewards for it while the other two scream they “want to listen!” but don’t actual listen. Obedience is a bit better getting out of the car than loading up and they will stand by us and wait until everyone is out. I attribute this to being in a new place so they don’t want to venture off; not so much to obeying us. Hopefully our disciplinary measures will be enough by the time the snow melts or we are in for some interesting (and grumpy) toddler adventures next season.
And just like that, we are into week two and the start of February! That means spring is right around the corner….right?!
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?!