Christmas Break

Christmas break and the close to 2019 are here. That means a week off from the full-time, “paying” job to spend time with the family at my full-time, “non-paying” job. Does that mean an actual vacation or relaxing? Not really. At the start of Christmas break, the only festive things accomplished already were visiting Santa and assembling the tree and Christmas village. Ornaments are still tucked away to be used another year. I managed to miss all three Christmas parties originally on my schedule, thanks to a variety of unforeseen things relating to life and children, and I didn’t successfully cooked any of my usual Christmas goodies. And no, the presents were not all wrapped until the eve of Christmas, but they were at least purchased thanks to Amazon and Black Friday deals and ready to go. This is typical for parents at the holidays right?

Day ONE

Night’s sleep: solid C / Morning: A+!

We started out the work week in usual style. The girls didn’t have a great night of sleep, as is the current trend right now, so I let them sleep in until nine and had a nice two hours of silence, hot coffee and Netflix! Sometimes it is worth it to stay up at the crack of dawn, as I often do on weekends, to have a little me time to sit and relax. The girls usually fidget and quietly hang out in their cribs for a little while before I get them up, but not today. Sleepy, sleepy babies. After a breakfast of yogurt, bacon, and some blueberries, everyone was dressed in holiday attire and ready for action.

They look so well behaved.

It typically takes me about an hour to get everyone ready and out of the house in the morning- that is if I am moving fast! We got ready and loaded up for a twinsies play date a nearby friends’ house, one that was much overdue. The girls were well mannered and shared, behaved for the most part, and ate the best mannered meal I’ve seen in a long time, with their own silverware and everything! Mac and cheese, green beans and oranges for the win at a dining room table. Apparently the trick to getting behaved, little eaters is to go to someone else’s house. That, or they saw how well behaved the twins were, who are about two months older, and wanted to mimic that behavior. Little did I know that would be the highlight of the day, and it was about to go waaaaay down.

Afternoon: F-

Unknown to me, the girls held a secret club meeting on this first day of Christmas break, deciding as a group to have a “no nap” day. I think we’ve had one, maybe two of them ever; and let’s just say, these are the days that make you question survival as a triplet parent.

Reagan would NOT go down for a nap and proceeded to throw everything out of her crib at her sisters on either side, waking them up just as they started to settle. Separating her after forty minutes of goofing off did not help; she would not calm down in our room either and maintained her wide wake (but tired) status. As soon as I pulled Reagan out of her crib, Emerie angrily hollered since I didn’t free her with her sister and after a few minutes, woke up Harper from her ten minute doze and then everyone screamed bloody murder for a while. Can someone please remind my children the holiday spirit is about being kind to other (and the parents!) AND that means taking naps!!

Day TWO

Night’s sleep: solid C / Morning: A

The girls slept in again until about 8:45 and gave me enough time to get dressed and start breakfast for the day. Grandma was able to sleep in too! After a good and cooperative meal we prepped for the day and headed over to Spenard Rec Center for their toddler time. I figured it would likely be pretty quiet, with most folks doing last minute preparations with the holiday right around the corner; and I was right. The play room was completely empty of any savages and boasted a ton of toys just waiting to be played with.

So many toys! Challenged accepted.

After a little while others trickled in; but overall it was a sparse turnout in comparison to other winter days. I prefer this alternative; there is less likelihood of other sick kiddos contaminating us and sharing is not as big of a deal. Plus the room has so much space to run around and tire the toddlers out!

The girls climbed on everything, scooted around on the cars, burrowed through the long play tunnels, and interacted with the other kiddos. They also tried to play with the only trash can in the room, they stole random shoes and put them on, I caught Reagan chewing on the doorstop and Harper finding all the not baby proofed outlets to poke. It was a great hour that had no meltdowns, injuries, or poopy diapers. We’ll call this a definite win.

Afternoon: D

As predicted, the afternoon went downhill after such a great morning. Nap time was unsuccessful (again). This is day two of Miss Reagan completely boycotting her nap. We didn’t even attempt to crib nap her, figuring two out of three sleeping is better than zero out of three. Craig was off work early so he tried laying down separately with Reagan. Eventually they went for a short car drive nap, which led to the doctor for an ear check, proving she has an ear infection, only her second one ever. Fingers crossed this is the reason for the past two nap fiascos and not something else.

Emerie and Harper woke up after forty minutes. Harper stayed up and “helped” me make a batch of gingerbread cookie dough for Christmas; Emerie snuggled with grandma and eventually slept a couple more minutes in her crib, much to her dismay.

But here is the kicker of the evening. The ten second video says it all; surprisingly this is Harper. And we aren’t even two yet!

Not at all ready for this yet….

I swore I set her in her own crib while I dressed the other two post bath time. This one can’t be chalked up to mom brain. The crib camera confirms one of my biggest anxieties of the future. Hopefully this was just a fluke and she’ll forget the capability for at least a few more months! Otherwise our life is about to get a lot more interesting…and I’m okay with how interesting it is already…

In past years we try to at least do something for Christmas Eve dinner. This year? I think not. We fancily ordered Taco King and ate at the kitchen table with Grandma Anne and Papa Cliff. Surprisingly, everyone at pretty well and enjoyed a tiny candy cane for dessert.

And the best part about this day?! Well, that would be fulfilling the wish of a white Christmas. The snow continued to fall throughout the afternoon and into the night, bringing about the white Christmas we love and expect to have, living in Alaska!

Day THREE: Christmas

Night’s sleep: C

The girls slept okay for the night, excluding the fact everyone was awake at 2AM. Reagan slept with us again; hopefully her ear medicine will get her back to her own bed soon. Harper did a couple hours with Grandma Anne and Emerie and I had a twenty minute snuggle session and bottle and she immediately went back to sleep in the nursery. A relatively calm night overall.

Morning: A!

It was a slow start to the morning, but no one seemed to mind. Craig started a delicious breakfast of avocado, crepes, bacon, and sausage with lots of coffee! The girls were up by about 8:45 and ready to take on the day in their matching Christmas pajamas. We released the beasts into the entire living room, taking down the playpen so we could easily open gifts. The girls were so excited to explore places they haven’t accessed in a while and climb on the furniture. I forgot how small the blockade made the room look, so without it everything looked so open!

A really quick photo op before presents. Lasted about five photos.

I expected additional chaos with everyone roaming freely; but really, it wasn’t that bad. Apparently the furniture is less exciting once you are allowed on it and they didn’t bother the tree at all; plus we had lots of grandparents to sit and monitor the shenanigans.

The opening of presents went about as expected. No one was all that interested in sitting in one space for more than a second, although they did grab things out of their stockings. For the first part of this adventure, everyone just ran around and fought over the mini play doh containers from those stockings. Little do they know what is inside them (yet)!

Once the play doh was removed from eyesight, some participation occurred. Reagan enjoyed tearing the wrapping off the boxes if you started it for her, Harper was happy to sit and snuggle while you unwrapped it, Emerie was still out and about checking out all the new stuff. Oh and trying on all the different sized shoes in the entryway. She was especially perplexed by Papa Lon’s Xtra Tuffs…which were as tall as her entire leg but did not stop her from trying.

Reagan putting on her dress glasses

The main hits of the morning, besides play doh containers? Matching toddler purses, which included accessories like glasses and a hairbrush and comb. The glasses were willingly worn by all three (even Em put them on over the ones she was wearing) and I even caught one combing Papa Lon’s beard for him. How considerate! The potato heads were opened and compiled, although I don’t think they are quite obsessed over them yet. The mini car keys were also adored, fought over and hidden in their new purses.

We wasted no time getting outside after destroying the living room. In fact, I think I was more excited to take them on a sled ride than to open presents! We wrangled everyone into snowsuits, boots and gloves and went outside for a quick ride.

For this venture, Reagan is in pink, Harper in purple and Emerie in blue. Yes…how confusing but the purple is still too big for Emerie and she cannot reach anything with the long arms and legs of the bigger suit!

Everyone giggled and chatted in excitement as Craig, Cliff and I walked down the snow covered, un-plowed roadway. Holidays are the best because the streets are mostly empty and become a playground, especially when covered in winter. The girls immediately had rosy cheeks and red noses from the cold, and while they didn’t all look impressed, we managed to pull some giggles and smiles out of them.

Afternoon: A+!

Get this- after a week of painfully short naps, the girls slept TWO hours, with only one freak out about twenty minutes in. Thankfully they all settled without intervention. I guess presents and sled riding is the way to sleeping babies. Craig, the grandpas and I relaxed a bit while the grandmas finished prepping dinner. The smell of prime rib filled the whole house. After nap-time, the new toys re-emerged. The girls rotated between grandparents, Harper would sit and play with a toy for a few minutes with one, same with Em and Reagan. Once someone got up, they would swap and show that same toy to the next person. This went on for a little while.

The Etch a Sketches were also a hit! They all wanted to click the little stamps in and out more than actual coloring, but that’s okay because they were highly entertained for a while. Eventually they figured out that using the pen would make colorful designs on the board part. I’m just glad to have a toy they can write with that can’t get on my walls and floor! After a little while they started running around and banging them on everything, so they went back out of reach and a different toy was grabbed.

Dinner was delicious and this time the girls participated. We learned from Thanksgiving that changing feeding time schedule for the holiday meant they would not eat anything, so we did dinner at the usual time. Everyone ate green bean casserole, jello salad, rolls, and a little bit of the prime rib. As predicted, Reagan and Emerie liked the lime jello salad, while Harper spit it all back out in her hands.

The rest of the night consisted of toys, running around (ummm the children…us adults were SO full and just wanted a nap!), and happy babies. By bedtime everyone was completely exhausted, including the parents and grandparents!

It was a good day overall, with happy and rested babies. It passed much quicker than a normal day at home and created lots of fun, new memories to look back at.

Day FOUR

Night’s sleep: C / Morning: A

The girls were a little grumpy here and there, but overall absolutely enjoyed their time throughout the day. More snow meant we went outside again, this time in the backyard, and checked out all this white stuff. Emerie’s snow suit kept riding up and putting snow in her boots, so she was less enthused to explore for long. Reagan enjoyed a sled ride around the yard and then wanted back inside, and Harper and I wanted to stay outside a little longer at her request.

We decorated the homemade gingerbread cookies I baked the day before. I wasn’t sure how well the girls would do with the idea and they surprised me. All three mimicked us putting sprinkles from a plate onto a cookie. Emerie really picked it up quick (and I don’t mean the plate!). Eventually they discovered the icing was pure sugar and proceeded to lick it all off the cookies. By the afternoon they were eating small bits of the plain cookies as well. Can you tell which ones were done by them?!

The whole fifteen minutes of fun didn’t even require a bath time. With the exception of Em’s cookie toss into her hair at the end, they stayed relatively clean! And yes, if you are wondering, the cookie with no icing left…that would be Reagan’s.

Afternoon: solid B

Post nap excitement

I held my breath for naps today and somehow managed to get about an hour out of Reagan and almost 1.5 from Harper and Emerie. Not too shabby!

Reagan and I played together and munched on the remains of her decorated cookie while we waited for the other two to wake up. Grandma Anne worked on a sewing project for Craig. For some reason, everyone was really grumpy for the rest of the evening, didn’t want to share their toys, and fought over everything. We played dress up and tried on a few of their Disney themed Christmas dresses, which are so cute. Overall not a bad day.

Day FIVE

Night’s sleep: C

Not our best night of sleep, Reagan with us and wide awake after a full eight ounce bottle at 4 AM. We did a quick triple feed after that, getting Harper back from Grandma’s room, and everyone went back to sleep in their beds until 8:30.

Morning: A

Now a week off from work wouldn’t be complete without at least one (two) doctors visit…right? Craig noticed Harper had a yellow spot on two of her front teeth and was concerned it might be the start of a cavity. I’m not sure how he even noticed them in the first place but I’m glad he did! After a full investigation and some toddler screaming as we tried to get a closer peek, it appears they might be chipped but have no idea how or when that happened.

Harper and I went to the dentist in the morning, in the below zero temperatures that she did not enjoy once out of the car, and the whole experience went mostly great. We immediately went back without waiting, the nurse sat us down in the chair and Harper checked out all the cool dental tools. She especially liked the air compressor machine that spit out air or a water stream. She stayed shy, calmly sitting on my lap, throughout most of the visit and while the nurse asked me a thousand questions about being a triplet mom; at least until the doctor came in. Things were fine until he was ready to actually look at her mouth. She looked over to see him with his medical mask and the light band on his head, and she LOST her mind. It was like he was Santa. Poor thing wouldn’t let the scary stranger near her even after he took them off. After a little coaxing he was at least able to peek at the teeth in question.

Harper chillin at the dentist. Big girl!

He confirmed she cracked both teeth and the visible yellow spots are not cavities or plaque but the inside of her tooth. There isn’t much to be done until she’s older and more cooperative; so for now, since it’s not bothering her (thankfully!), we just need to keep it well brushed and monitor it for any color changes that might signify more damage or tooth decay.

She blew kisses and waved bye to the staff out front as I scheduled appointments for Emerie and Reagan. Off we went home for lunch time and to see how the grandparents survived with the other two. In good fashion, I was informed when I returned home that both gifted the grandparents wonderful, poopy diapers while I was gone. Sweet!

Afternoon: A

The girls napped for about an hour and a half, giving my mom some time to do some more sewing, me to pump and work on the blog, and Papa Cliff to run a couple errands. By the time they were up, Craig was headed home from work and the day was halfway over.

We packed everyone up after a few chores were finished and went to our favorite local spot, Arctic Roadrunner, for burgers, fries, PICKLES, and milkshakes. This restaurant has become our spot to visit when Papa Cliff is in town.

The girls gorged on pickles as we waited for the meals. It took three or four pickle refills before they wanted to eat anything else. They scarfed them down and tinkered with the tiny, paper ketchup cups.

The rest of the evening consisted of the usual playtime, bottles and snuggles; and just like that, we somehow survived an entire workweek off. It started out a bit rough, but with some activities and a few extra hands, it was altogether survivable. Not relaxing, but that’s expected. Now I will need a bit of a break before another week off at home.

Week Highlights

It was enjoyable to see everyone’s excitement throughout the holiday season. The new toys, new foods, new activities; all things that become more fun than the prior year as babies. I know I will miss this stage of holiday when the kids are older- right now everything is so amazing to them and it won’t always be that way.

I expected the girls to be far grumpier on or right after Christmas Day, simply because we had lots of people in the house and lots of activity and new presents (distractions). Surprisingly, this wasn’t an issue and they still went down for their nap and at bedtime (bedtime okay, overnight not so great).

Another highlight to the week is the latest word in the Douglas household, “shut.” Mind you, it really doesn’t sound like they are cussing, and everyone comprehends the word (that’s the best part) correctly. Emerie started this whole thing and I’m not sure why, but it likely relates to us commenting to close things to other areas when the babies are on the move, which is 100% of the time.

Playing on the new quilt made by Grandma Anne

Now there are tiny “shut” demands for everything. The dog door: shut! The baby gate: shut! The cabinet in the kitchen: shut! I mean really, I left the cabinet open for maybe ten seconds and walked away from it and Emerie informed me several times, pointing from her high chair, to shut it. Craig went out the front door and left it cracked open for a moment; Emerie and Reagan reminded him to “shut” it several times. Harper and Reagan are picking up after their sister and starting to point out when things are open as well, so I guess our household will be one with all closed doors!

The girls mastered putting on their Bogg boots on without assistance this week. I often see them swapping who is wearing which one, usually ending up with different colors on each foot. Overall, they seem to understand putting these shoes on the correct feet- something they don’t do with their slippers or tennis shoes- and are more than happy to wear them around the house. Putting on the slippers is a bit trickier, but sometimes doable without hollering for a parent.

Harper testing out the lights

Another new discovery: light switches. Harper dragged over her rocking airplane, which has uneventfully been in the play room for months, and decided this was the week to stand on it and test out how the light switches work. She was so very excited when the light flipped on and off, and looked at us before she would flick it. Once Reagan and Emerie caught on to this new shenanigan, both came over to check it out. Emerie pulled up a chair to watch the show, in true awe of her sister’s newfound power. After a good light “workout,” we pulled her back off the toy.

They now like to remove their shirts whenever they feel like it. In the dead of winter, I would have been fine with the skill learned next spring! We’ve taken to rolling their sleeves up high on their arms so that they at least stay covered and warm; this or we put them in one-piece pajamas at night. They are harder to remove!

Looking into the new year like this!

Being home for a full week demonstrated the massive increase in word comprehensive by all three. They now understand full sentences from an adult, more than even a month ago, and will follow some commands even though they can’t speak back to it. The “let’s get ready for a bath” prompts them to try to take off their shirts and shoes, “time to eat” brings them over to the table, the “that was not-nice, give sissy a kiss” generally results in an attempted kiss to the upset sibling. In a way it is easier, because they are a little more independent, but it’s also harder at the same time. Why? Because they actively know when they are disobeying, like hitting a sister, climbing up a chair to the table, or pulling something off the countertop. They know exactly what they are doing and do it anyway…the toddler thing to do!

As we round out 2019 and head into 2020, I wonder what crazy, new things will happen over the course of the next year. Our final hours of 2019 consisted of very grumpy, very tired babies that went to bed early.

2019 had some major ups and downs for our family and I hope life will be a bit smoother, as much as possible with three, almost two-year-olds in it. We are definitely taking great strides as parents as we learn and grow alongside the girls.

Happy New Year, everyone!

(S)now Excited for Winter!

Driving across town on Saturday, I excitedly imagined the girls finally getting their first real snow experience (they were too little last year). The snow was heavily falling at that point and covering the city in white. I spent the next two hours hanging out at a kid-free, cake decorating, girls time with Janelle; something very long overdue!

By the time I returned home, I was quite dismayed to see that South Anchorage was only producing rainfall and the snow flurries had disappeared. Even more disappointing, our front yard was not a freshly coated white but still a depressing, winter green.

First time in real snowsuits!

I have a love hate relationship with winter. Growing up I loved playing outside, going sledding, all of it. Into my teenage years, I really didn’t like to drive in it and was less appreciative of the conditions. But as an adult, I’m now at a place that I enjoy the blanket of white around my house; I enjoy the winter holidays and the fun that comes with it (although clear roads are nice). The holidays just don’t feel right without some snow. It makes our houses feel cozier, more festive even, and makes people that are less than thrilled about winter enjoy summer even more. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I can’t wait to get everyone together for a meal and enjoy the holiday with some winter activities.

Anyway, we waited until after dinner and into the typical Alaska darkness, but finally had enough snow on the back deck to suit up the girls and check it out first hand. This is the first time we’ve worn the snowsuits from Papa Cliff, mostly because due to the lack of actual winter weather; outside playtime only required fleece pants, coats, hats and boots.

I can already tell getting snowsuits and boots on three mobile toddlers will be an adventure for the whole season. Getting them off might be even harder, with cold fingers, wet boots and three girls that want to do it themselves. Since the dressing process is relatively similar to putting on a sleep sack, they cooperated pretty well to laying on their suit while we put each extremity in the right place. Emerie’s snowsuit is a bit big; she looked like a purple sumo wrestler waddling around (so we switched and she is now in the blue one) and Harper’s is a bit too long-we will need to find a smaller size for her this winter.

After a couple minutes outside, we opened the backdoor so everyone could wander back into the warm house. This was promptly ignored by everyone…so we stayed out a little longer. I’m not surprised at the enthusiasm; they are Alaskan babies after all and there is so much to see! We checked out the snow, made some snowballs, inspected the snow covered Christmas lights and watched them have an ice dance off.

In typical dad style, Craig tossed a few snowballs their way. I use the word tossed lightly…because he nailed Emerie right in the face. She did not appreciate that, but she didn’t cry either! Reagan tried to throw them back at him. Harper stayed safely away in the log cabin or castle.

First snow experience!

On Sunday we decided to hold on additional snow play and took the girls swimming, meeting up with some friends and checking out the local YMCA (at the mall!). The warm water pool was met with far more enthusiasm than the cold one we visited a few weeks back. This pool also has a massive locker room and a tiny room that we could easily contain our runners while we dressed and undressed. I am also thrilled to report that we finally completed a swimming even without any poop mishaps. Don’t judge, that is a milestone.

After a late, post swimming and lunch nap time, but before the sun completely set and depressed the outdoors back into the daily darkness, we suited everyone up and loaded into the sleds for an adventure around the block.

It always pays to be prepared. Practice sledding.

The girls all inspected the sleds beforehand, climbing in and out and pulling them around by the cords. I’m pretty excited that I found them for $5.00 each at the consignment sale last month, and while we will outgrow them pretty quickly, it will provide a ton of entertainment this winter!

The adventure was a success and both Craig and I were sweating by the time we returned to the house while the girls had cold hands and red noses. The neighborhood streets are pretty icy, but the more we more bumps the better according to the little ones. They chatted and giggled all the way around the block and lost their minds at the end when we took them out of the sleds to play in the backyard. We couldn’t convince anyone to wear their mittens, Reagan wouldn’t wear her hood so she was given a hat, and by the end of the loop Emerie was hood free as well. Everyone slid down a bit in the seats and we kept sitting them back up; I think the “gangster slouch” was pretty cute.

Ice running with the toddlers

As the sun started to set we played outside a bit longer. The girls ate their fill of snow and once the whining started we ventured back inside. I look forward to many more snow days like this, especially over the holidays, and hope we see a lot of snowfall this year (I’m being optimistic). At least the first couple days of snow were a success in the toddler playbook!


On a completely unrelated note and one for the memory book, potty training may be right away the corner, at least for one of the three! Reagan came over to me the other night, sat down on the couch cushion and tugged at the back of her diaper, saying “poopy.” First off, I didn’t know she knew that word; secondly that she would actually associate it to the action! Optimistically, we would love to start the potty training by their second birthday…realistically, I don’t know if they will be ready for it yet. But! Reagan is giving me hope it’s right around the bend.