The past summer was hot. Super hot for us Alaskans that dislike hot weather and humidity! Our August maintained the warmer than normal temperatures, but when September hit, it was almost like a switch was turned and things went back to typical fall weather (rain, 60s, etc.). This temperature change, while welcomed by me for sure but not by most, brought on the first cold of the fall/winter season, giving us three snotty babies for the first two weeks of September.
This didn’t completely ruin our fall time- we continued to play outside and bundle up, and had our first puddle splashing adventure. That was a hit! The girls also realize the boots light up and will pull them out of the bin and bring me one to put on them when we are playing inside. Yes, that is Harper you see trying to eat the street puddle water. A moment after these photos everyone made a break for it and took off down the street (monitored).
Last winter the girls survived three colds total, all that mostly involved stuffy/snotty noses and fevers for all three simultaneously; only Harper ever developed a cough, which was more “flemmy” than a deep, scary chest cough. I’m pretty sure Craig and I managed to keep another cold or two at bay from the girls throughout last winter, mostly by crazy hand washing and special efforts not to spread our germs. Now that the girls are a little older, colds seem way easier to struggle through. It’s still not great, but it’s not completely unbearable. I’m telling myself that delirious point, because it might have simply been a minor cold they handled better than normal…trying to stay optimistic here, folks.
Anyway, last weekend we had one night and following morning with a seriously grumpy Reagan, which is generally unlike her. By the time we made it to the doctor that afternoon, she had an ear infection and blown left ear drum. Poor babe. By evening the medicine kicked in and her mood significantly improved.
Over the last week Harper and Emerie started tugging at their ears a little and were grumpier than usual. While I don’t always assume it is an ear infection, I figured maybe getting over the cold prompted the ear issues. After another doctor visit, we determined Harper was in the clear and Emerie had a minor infection.
While I don’t like my babies to feel sick, the snuggles are pretty nice since they rarely sit still for any period of time when feeling good. We went to the park a couple of times, even with the rain, played outside all bundled up, and met up with some friends. Looming colds or ear infections are not going to stop the adventures hit year; hopefully they will be minimal and everyone will stay in good spirits when we can’t outrun them.
We discovered a lone, tennis ball at the park that turned in to quite the toddler adventure. Throw the ball…watch all the babies chase it…pick it up, they throw it toward you, and repeat. Lots of open space to burn energy, fill up on giggles, and have some good ‘ole entertainment. Next visit to that park, I am bringing a soccer ball! Enjoy.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a height/weight and development/leap update on the littles…so here goes!
We decided this development checkup to split out the appointments and not bring everyone into the doctor together. The past few have gotten more difficult now that the girls are mobile and want to get into everything. Two hours in a tiny, hot doctor’s office is a looooong time with three toddlers.
Emerie was up first and solo. Taking one baby to the doctor almost seems relaxing and allows us to have a little one-on-one time while the nanny also gets a little break! At this visit, Emerie weighed in at 22.0 lbs and in the 43% percentile. She is much higher in the height percentile than weight, at 82% and measuring 32.75 inches.
Of the three, Emerie is the best at entertaining herself with her toys, random containers and nick knacks, or really anything. She is happy to sit on the floor and figure out how a toy works, or put smaller toys into a bigger container, or play with her shapes picnic basket. This can occupy her for a lot longer than I’d probably guess, simply because Harper or Reagan usually interrupt the quiet playtime, steal a part of or all of her toy, and then the fighting (and timeouts!) begin.
Her tinier stature also assists in climbing into small places- boxes, bins, anything that looks fun! She enjoys trying to figure out how to do it; although she often gets frustrated if it isn’t easy and then gets mad and starts hollering about it.
She is a fan of saying “no no no” (it’s never only once) and pointing at her sisters when they do something they shouldn’t. She still loves peek-a-boo and climbing into blankets, or peeking out at you and hiding.
Harper is up to 23 lbs 10 ounces! She is in the 64th percentile for her weight and at 33.75 inches, in the 96th percentile for height! We have very tall babies! She continues to be rambunctious and talkative, learning new words constantly. She loves to tattle on her sisters in a slue of baby gibberish when she is mad. She will tell you allllll about it. She also loves to run around and giggle with her sisters, pulling and pushing them around the room until everyone is solidly laughing. Some nights she solo runs around and thinks she’s a riot. She’s the only one to say her own name so far, and while only a couple of times, it was very cute and came out like “Hapa” during a game of peekaboo.
Harper is the only one sleeping full nights in her crib (lately)- with Reagan and Emerie alternating on who demands attention at all hours of the night. I’m so glad she’s back to being my good sleeper!
She’s also the best at eating pouches at meal time (doesn’t matter the flavor), but probably the most picky eater in general. Lately she’s been my trust faller, and will lean right off a slide or play set, regardless of how close by a parent is. She enjoys jumping off the side of the family room couch, into a pile of (strategically placed) pillows, and jumping up and running back around to do it again.
Lastly, I still believe Harper will be my soccer baby. She remains interested in my mini pink soccer ball more than her sisters and we are working on the concept of kicking. I can’t wait to put everyone in sports next year!!
Reagan continues to be our binkie baby and anti-crib napper; but, she will fall asleep in her car seat seconds after a busy morning of playing. She weighs in at the same 23 pounds 10 ounces as her sister, in the 64th percentile, but is 34.00 inches, and slightly taller, in the 97th percentile. She remains the shyest so far but will come out of her shell when she is comfortable; she’s timid on big park toys and not a big fan of most swings.
Lately she dislikes eating meals more than her sisters, but I believe it’s just a phase resulting from teething, snotty noses and possible stubbornness. In the evening she has started to enjoy more snugglingbthan when she was younger, and will sit with you and relax.
Of the three, I believe Reagan tries to pull things off the counter and table the most, intending to grab anything within her reach. I’ve caught her climbing onto the table a couple of times from a nearby chair to grab something, and she will just look at me like, “what?“
While not so interested in the concept of soccer, Reagan loves to play catch with the mini, pink soccer ball I’ve had since childhood. She also is great at fetch… ahem…I probably shouldn’t call it that… She seems to favor her right arm to throw the ball, so we might have a right hander (I’m very interested to see if everyone favors the same hand as they grow!). The throws produce quite the punch as well, so you must pay attention or take a nice ball to the face, or throat, or chest.
The pediatrician set a goal of five words per kiddo for their 18 month appointment. I believe we hit that mark over one week in August! So far everyone’s favorite word is “baby” and “kitty“. They definitely understand that kitty means the cat; but they also think it means all animals like dogs…horses…pigs… Everyone has mastered saying “no no no” and shaking their finger at you and are starting to say “not nice” back in my face when I scold them for hitting or being mean. They can also inform you when they want a “baba”. And no that does not mean they want another baby. It definitely means they want a bottle and you are not funny!
In addition to the everyday momma and dadda, other words they’ve picked up over the past three months include bubble, yeah (Harper loves to say this!), more (sometime they will sign it too), belly, wow, puppy/dog (sometimes when it’s not kitty), cheese, hi, ball and uh-oh. Emerie is in a phase of repeating uh-oh after she purposefully throws something on the floor. They all love to point out where their belly is if you ask and usually want to point at yours as well. There’s no privacy here; they will lift your shirt right up to make sure YOU know where your belly is. Sometimes they will point to their nose when prompted and Emerie will say nose. Reagan also says Papa instead of Grandpa. A little to my dismay, they are all now repeating our “not nice” phrase when they hit each other or steal a toy. Not only do they repeat it, but they definitely say it a little higher pitched, almost like it’s there first word to throw back in my face. Oh toddlerhood…
So it appears to me that we are good to go on the word quota for these appointments! While generally speaking, most multiples’ speech is delayed, due to premieness and/or because they will do baby language to talk to their siblings instead of real words. I am unsure that this will affect us in the long run. While it’s still too early to tell, both Craig and I are good at languages so I’m guessing that will genetically rub off on them. Our next goal is 50 words by age two. Since that is six months away and we are already well into it, I don’t foresee this milestone difficult to achieve. Now if I can just keep them from learning bad words to add to their vocabulary from a few certain men! 😉
The past few months have been a bit more frustrating on the food end. In addition to Grandma Sue’s food not being a hit with the tiniest grandchildren, they aren’t really enthusiastic or interested in eating a lot during meals, no matter what is placed before them. With the runny noses that visited in early September, no one really wanted much milk either! A big part of this is due to teething- everyone finally has four molars, two top and two bottom on each side, in addition to eight front teeth. I might also add everyone has the exact same teeth in…so we are continuing the identical-ness there too.
Favorite meal foods for all three still include breakfast sausage, rice of any variety (fried, white, brown), canned green beans and corn, avocados, blueberries, yogurt, FRENCH FRIES and udon noodles. For the most part, they seem to maintain tastes similar to Craig and I. On the fruit scale they like almost everything, including mandarin oranges, bananas, watermelon, cantaloupe, apple (sauce), and nectarines (not peaches as much). Apple pears and watermelon seem to give them immediate diaper rash so we are holding on them for a while…which sucks because they love watermelon. They also like a lot of vegetables, including steamed carrots and broccoli, cold sliced green peppers, sauteed squash, onions and zucchini (Em really likes this!), and cabbage. Yes, I said cabbage, surprising right? Craig makes a mean coleslaw and they like it.
We discovered last week that cheese quesadillas with sour cream are quite a hit too and will be making more of them in the future. While Harper will scarf down a couple strips in no time, Emerie is insisted that she needs a good gallon of sour cream smothered in it and Reagan too. They will lick off the sour cream and hold it up for more. I think that runs in Craig’s side of the family…. They also like tofu fried up on the stove- not sure if they like the consistency or it’s just easy to eat when their teeth hurt. Dislikes include most meats- they will tolerate steak bites and chicken sometimes, but don’t love it.
Other snack foods include goldfish (of course), any type of chex mix cereal and cheerios, veggie straws, animal crackers, cheese puffs and fig newton bars. They are definitely snackers, so to mix it up a bit we add veggies into the mix sometimes too.
In general everyone’s likes and dislikes in the food department are pretty similar, but there are some variations. Reagan really likes my mom’s lime jello salad (really likes) while Harper thought it was the most poisonous thing every to touch her lips in her lifetime. Harper likes Grandma Sue’s turkey meatballs while the other two tolerate them. Emerie really likes mushrooms and now I have to share mine whenever we have stir fry; the other two somewhat tolerate them but don’t love them.
Harper is the pro at eating the fruit and vegetable pouches while Emerie and Reagan think it is more fun to squeeze them on everything and eat it off the table. That is a day-to-day battle… we finally have a house of straw drinkers! In addition to using sippy cups, both Nalgene bottles for water and sippy straw cups for milk, they love drinking out of adult water bottles with straws and the one moms received from the hospital to keep us hydrated. With a surprisingly big straw, they can all drink out of it perfectly fine. They also apparently like coffee (thanks Grandma…) and were all fighting over a frappe Craig brought home from Costco the other day.
I wrote this title…but what does that mean? Sleeping? Haha kidding…not kidding. It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a good nights sleep for all three. In general the trend appears to be one will sleep well (maybe wake up once for a bottle but go back to sleep), one will be angry/keep us up a few hours overnight, and one that is in the middle of that, waking up but going back to sleep relatively easy (usually in our bed or or the guest room). Some nights two will sleep all night in their cribs without so much as a peep, but the third will be grumpy and fussy and still keep us up, so it overshadows the success of the other two!
I can’t remember the last night we slept all the way through without anyone fussing or sleeping in our bed! For a while I barely had a night sleeping in MY bed, often sleeping the second half of the night in the guestroom with angry baby #2. Other nights we finally settle one in the master bed, a second falls asleep with me in the guestroom, and then #3 freaks out. That generally seems to end with me sleeping with #3 in the nursery armchair for a couple hours if I can’t get them calmed enough to go back into their crib. They all continue to vary on who is the grumpiest and who is the best sleeper and it can change from one night to the next. The past week or so Emerie is the grump and Harper and Reagan are trading off for best nighttime sleeper. A couple weeks prior to that Harper was the grump and before that Reagan.
We still use the white noise machine for naps and nighttime. I am looking forward to the airport project completing next month so the noise from the 747s flying over our heads all night will be gone. Now that darkness is returning, folks also won’t be outside as much making noise; and nighttime, once again, looks like nighttime!
We tried coloring out again, this time with retractable crayons (which are… umm…SO cool). They ate them a little less and I’m counting the bashing them on the table as coloring…at least it produced some marks on the paper. We also used our smarts and taped the paper to the table. That at least lasted a couple minutes. We are getting closer…but not quite there yet.
Teamwork is slowly starting to develop, with the girls coordinating to knock over toys, push each other around in their cars and airplanes, and best efforts to run three different directions whenever possible to confuse the poor, overtired parental figures. At bedtime the other night (picture a full bedtime march upstairs), two made it out the unlocked dog door by the time the third was up the first set of stairs (with me). They are sneaky like that. Never a dull moment.
More recently the girls are starting to help you when getting dressed and undressed. Reagan has her moments of taking her shirt off voluntarily and without permission, but otherwise all three are usually willing to assist in removal. They will put arms in the arm holes and move their legs to help, as opposed to becoming a bag of bricks and not helping. Everyone thinks it’s a game once they are down to diapers and pajamas are intended; they will step toward you and then run away as fast as they can in the midst of big smiles and giggles. It’s pretty cute…and you definitely have to chase them because they are not coming to you.
One other daily activity Craig started a little while back that is cute enough to mention… when he gets home from work, the girls flock to him for immediate attention. I’m usually home already so I get to watch this. He will pick up all three, for now this is still doable and only, you know, about ~68 wiggling pounds, and sing the Daddy’s Home song while jumping up and down. They think it is hilarious and love participating. We will see how long he can handle all three at once!
This blog turned out to be much longer than I anticipated, and honestly I can barely comprehend we are on the turning curve to age two already. Time is passing quick and I feel as though I say that quite often but still don’t believe it’s true. For comparison, here is a 6 month photo, taken about this time last year, and a photo from this week. Man are they growing up quick! ❤
This past weekend I took the girls to the local library and met up with a few friends (mine and theirs!). We played and played and explored the new space. The toddler area accommodated noise (thank goodness) and is mostly enclosed, with only one, easily monitored entrance in and out (the girls didn’t discover it until at least an hour into the adventure). I am appreciative that I had extra hands from my bestie Janelle to keep everyone safe and allow for brief diaper change breaks. Two-and-a-half year old Paris also helped keep the girls in check! Conveniently the kids’ area bathroom is very equipped for kiddos and located close to the playpen. This will be a great place to visit during the potty training phase next year when we visit the facilities 1000x each hour haha.
I’m not quite certain how to achieve bathroom breaks if I went alone, but otherwise think it would be possible to play for a bit with everyone contained. At some point we will try out this adventure solo! It was also great to have some of our twin friends come and play and get out of the house too! By the time I unloaded everyone from the stroller, there were a ton of kids in addition to ours.
As standard to all public outings where I take the whole house out and about…during the beginning of the visit I was pestered ton the usual things, being asked to overshare. Once people overcome the omg triplets concept, they often come up with the standard list of questions:
How many weeks did you make it?
How long were you in the NICU?
Are they all girls?
Are they all identical?
Do twins run in your family?
Do triplets run in your family?
Where did you get your stroller from!?
Can I take a picture of them?
And so on- the usual life of a public outing. If one overlooks all the personal questions, the visit wasn’t so bad and they behaved great! It doesn’t bother me that much to answer questions, as people aren’t intending to be rude or nosy (okay maybe a little nosy) and are genuinely curious most of the time. It’s a little weird when I’m asked if they can take a photo, but other than that…not so bad.
We had no meltdowns at all (including myself!) and lots of exploring and testing out new toys. After a bit people let up on my interrogation and everyone settled into playtime. Harper spent the majority of the visit sitting on top of the big kid table, playing with a shopping basket full of fake food, while Emerie and Reagan explored around the room a bit more and delivered new toys to their sister. Reagan managed to put an entire fake cracker in her mouth at once, which was pretty cute. Even though it was a library visit, I don’t think we looked at even one book!
Instead of trying to keep everyone awake through the drive home and lunchtime, I gave them a quick snack in the stroller, grabbed a cookie and latte, and loaded everyone up in the car with a wubbanub binkie and snuggly blanket from Grandma Anne. With nap times consistently inconsistent the past two months, sometimes a long car ride does the trick and guarantees at least a full hour of sleep for everyone…especially on a dreary/rainy day that I’m home by myself.
Car naps = sanity
As I exited Anchorage and headed down the highway toward Girdwood (about 35 miles away), it occurred to me how beautiful this drive really is. A scenic byway really is the truth! Not every mom who is out driving around, trying to get the kids to sleep so she can have a moment of peace and quiet, gets to enjoy such a pristine and gorgeous view for an hour (or more). Sometimes I have to remind myself I’m driving precious cargo and not just looking at the galloping grey inlet and huge rolling mountains, with trees slowly shifting over from summer green to fall yellows, oranges, and reds. My favorite colors of the year and each napping drive displays the brilliance more vividly. Last year I was too busy with six month olds and work to enjoy any of the crisp, fall weather that I treasure; the year before I was too nauseous to go out and do anything in it.
The girls kindly slept for two hours after the library, making the drive quite enjoyable for me and a nice break to sit and sip my coffee in quiet. I repeated this the entire weekend and achieved great naps for all in the midst of many outings and visitors and life. Sometimes the driving nap is worth it just to lessen my inner anxiety. It is extremely rare for everyone to nap more than an hour in their cribs- some days two will do two hours and one an hour, other days everyone freaks out after 30 minutes and are grumpy the rest of the day. I find my highest point of anxiety during the day is usually prior to nap time because I never know if it’s going to go smoothly or be a total disaster and no amount of small changes or routine seems to solve it. Since the scale tips toward disaster more than success, my anxiety of not getting any baby break during the day makes me stressed.
Due to the typical lack of sleep, the battle of my inner monologue keeps me awake for the drive. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in your brain when given the opportunity for quiet with minimal distractions. It’s also relatively rare to sit in one spot (even in a car) for a period of time, since that hasn’t happened at home in over a year. My thoughts vary, of course, from ridiculous notions like “why does the lane I’m driving appear larger than the one the other way?” (Hint: it’s all in my head…they are the same) to the minor paranoia that comes with fast approaching traffic a little too close to the center line for my liking. And, of course, other random things like upcoming events to plan for and thoughts regarding work and daily life.
In between the car napping this weekend were numerous adventures for the girls. We explored a new park on hillside with some friends, played outside in the dirt, and went trick or treating for the first time. This park was better designed for toddler age and assisted with the logic that each park visit gets a little easier…because my little adventurers increase their climbing skills and become braver each time we go. They now go down some of the slides without assistance!
We put everyone in their new rain gear and they were swimming in it (pun intended!). The instructions to size up might be a little untrue- they were really big, even over their wind breakers. Wearing them lasted all of five minutes before we just let “operation let’s get wet and dirty” commenced! They were having a hard time moving around with the excess material…but boy were they adorable in the little “space suits”, fall boots and hoods. Emerie was also a good sport and wore her glasses and her patch for part of the time. After a while we took it off so she could better enjoy the time and use her improved balance.
Once everyone could adequately wiggle and move minus the suits, adventure was ON. Emerie went down the small enclosed slide a bunch of times while Harper and Reagan attempted the larger, open one (Em did too later). Emerie attempted to climb up and down the climbing wall- which she definitely needs assistance on still- and Reagan started the whole gang running around on the grass, outside the fence. Reagan continues to put the most stuff in her mouth, including all the wood chips from the ground. Her face and teeth were covered in dirt after a while, but she was so happy about it. They all found big rocks to carry around; thankfully too big to try to eat! Emerie was the only one to enjoy the bobble toy and sat on it and rocked back and forth. Harper and Reagan did not want to be contained and had no interest in sitting on it.
We wrapped up our busy weekend with Trick or Treat in the Heat. This event is a neighborhood-wide early Halloween celebration and a fundraiser for Hospice of Anchorage, Make a Wish Foundation, and Ronald McDonald House Charities. In 2005, an impromptu block party was created at the request of the family of a little boy named Ian Robbins, who wanted to trick or treat before he succumbed to his terminal illness. He and all participants enjoyed it so much that a new annual event began. Here is the local news coverage from the original Trick or Treat in the Heat if you are curious.
The weather held out long enough to be perfect, with raindrops coming afterwards. The event was well planned, organized and a lot of fun with a big turnout. We saw a number of friends with their kiddos and walked around with BFF Janelle and Paris. Typically we don’t do outings around dinner time to stay in routine, but figured we’d venture out and try it. Gotta live a little right?! The girls were super grumpy on the way home and at home for a quick dinner before bedtime. Overall they were pretty good and it was worth it to get out and about.
In true Disney themed style, everyone was a princess for the night. I ordered costumes from Little Adventures, an online shop recommended to me by another mom. I am still thoroughly impressed with both the quality of the costumes and the large selection for little girls. There are some boys outfits too, but not near the selection. The smallest size aims toward 1-3 year olds, so I knew they were going to be large on everyone. Not surprisingly, the dresses touched the floor but didn’t drag on it- that’s pretty good though for how large they are! We safety pinned the backs a little so they wouldn’t trip as much and I stuck to the girls’ colors for this year. At some point we will do whatever colors they want to wear (I really want to get the Belle and Snow White outfits!), but figured this year having three classic princess dresses that matched their colors would be cute. We will definitely be using these for another year or two. I certainly see some tea parties in our future with everyone decked out in their princess dresses.
Harper became our Sleeping Beauty for the night. I opted for this dress in long sleeves since she typically runs colder than her sisters, like her mother. Maybe it will help her sleep better at night (kidding…not kidding?). She was so darn adorable and so shy around all the other kiddos.
Emerie dressed up as Rapunzel, minus the long hair. The dress went past her feet but that didn’t stop her from walking around with Grandma. She especially liked the suckers as well as all the other sugar Grandma Sue sneaked to her!
Reagan was our classic Cinderella, minus the glass slippers (she opted for tennis shoes). She didn’t show anyone her belly the whole event and while a little grumpier than her sisters, was mostly happy when being held by one of us and walked around.
Everyone liked grabbing candy out of people’s bowls without assistance, although we “helped” them grabbed the suckers and things they can try at some point. At the end the girls all received a tiny tattoo (you can see Reagan’s in her photo above and Emerie getting hers on) from Miss Sherri. I’m not sure they even noticed it on their arms but I know eventually we will have a lot of these speckled about on the girls.
We opted for the triple wagon instead of the stroller, figuring it would be a bit easier to maneuver with all the kids around. The girls walked some with Grandma Sue, enjoyed being pulled in the wagon by Papa Lon, their chauffeur, sitting on Craig’s shoulders, or held by me. I can’t wait until next year when they can really walk around and enjoy this!
Overall, the weekend was a success. I’m so glad Grandma Sue and Papa Lon tagged along with the adventures; extra hands were great and the girls loved it I’m sure. And what did we learn from trick or treating? If you give the girls a lollipop, don’t you dare take it back. EVER. They will be unforgiving and furious, screaming the whole drive home…and be angry AND sticky…
So friends, in closing and with today’s theme…something I hope the girls will learn as they grow older…
Prior to our expanded family, we accomplished all sorts of house projects after work each night or over long weekends. Craig and I are generally quite productive when given a big tasks to tackle, and we can look back and say we’ve installed all new windows on two houses, all new doors and trim, new flooring and several completely gutted bathrooms, and even accidentally flipped our first house (we weren’t planning on redoing everything and moving but it worked out that way). We both like to work on projects, with Craig tackling all kinds of tasks and solving issues. I especially like to see how much I can change a space from an “old” look to a new and updated one, even if that is simply repainting a room or changing up the trim style.
Fast forward to one year post triplets; obviously the fun and productive house projects are now at a minimum as day to day survival does not include extra projects. While I would love to complete something new, there just isn’t time in the day! Raising babies in the new, high priority in our lives, but that doesn’t mean we can’t attempt to accomplish other things, right? Refinishing the bottom kitchen cabinets took us close to six months to complete and that happened before the girls were mobile. I still need to start (and finish) the upper ones at some point. The new back deck turned out to be an impromptu (required) project earlier this summer because Craig put a foot through one of the rotten boards. Thankfully we had friends come help with that one.
This past weekend we attempted to construct a new shed in the backyard, having torn the old, rickety one down the summer we moved in. So the question is…how many people does it take to build a shed while keeping track of three high energy, mobile toddlers?
How many people does it take to build a shed?! A LOT.
The answer? A LOT. With two grandpas, a grandma and aunt, three cousins and a couple local friends and visiting ones in tow, we still don’t have a completed product yet…but are much farther than we were a week ago! Time is definitely limited when you must account for a midday nap time, have to keep to daily eating schedules for the girls in addition to keeping an eye on them the whole time, and can’t work late into the night because you must also account for bedtime and routine.
The Douglet household was definitely hopping this weekend; the girls greatly enjoyed seeing their older cousins and getting to play. It was fun to have family visit and get out and go to breakfast and also dinner with everyone- the girls are great in restaurants. We also made time for some backyard fun, climbing and sliding on the play set, running around and “flying” on the airplane teeter totter that is now quite the hit. We even had a dance party on the back deck.
With the bustle of daytime activity, you would think they would sleep well at night this past week, right? That’s what we thought too but unfortunately not…maybe we are just destined to not sleep for a while longer. It’s anybody’s guess! At least we have extra hands this week to help accommodate the grumpiness that comes with less sleep.
One other cute little game that Emerie started, now Harper and Reagan have joined in, is with three Costco vanilla coffee creamer bottles (empty) and Tylenol syringes. Who needs actual toys right…Emerie discovered she can take the medicine syringes apart and plop them into the plastic container, dump them back out, and do it again. And repeat. We ended up trying to drink the last fridge creamer faster so that three empty bottles were available for use…otherwise everyone continued to fight over just two of them. Now it is quite the entertaining game. I often look over and see Emerie sitting in the lawn chair, quietly playing her game on the deck, fully entertained. It is so darn cute.
Oh and before I forget…maybe I should show a photo of the shed progress I’ve discussed this whole blog…here is it! I can’t wait to paint it next year to match the house. It’s going to look so great.
There are definitely more adventures to be had this weekend. Hopefully that includes a few finishing touches on the shed in preparation for winter and some other play dates…but we will see. There is so much to do before the weather starts cooling off!
It is a struggle to accurately convey my feelings over the past month into words on a page (or screen). I’ve never been great at displaying emotion, especially extremely fresh ones, but find myself wanting to get my thoughts out in an attempt to understand and comprehend those feelings.
Craig’s older brother Chris passed away in a motorcycle accident the night as Emerie’s eye surgery. This prompted an unplanned family trip to Juneau, an emotional week for all of us, our first plane ride with the kids, and a big shift in our strict daily routine. Not a lot of time was left for processing it all once we decided to make the trip south, but we are glad we could celebrate Chris’ life and spend time with family.
I find myself angry at this turn of events, because life can be really unfair sometimes. While this is not the first time I’ve felt angry with death, with someone being taken away from this world much sooner than they should have, it still provides a similar sting and ache in my heart. There’s never a good explanation for why these things happen, and I think that makes it even harder to process. I also know that if I’m feeling this way, there are many more family members and close friends that feel this ache even more deeply, and I try to stay mindful of that.
My anger is a little different since having the girls. I feel like so many amazing, future stories and memories were stolen from us in one, terrible moment. The girls absolutely adored their uncle; it was plain as day each time he visited or even through a Face Time call. He could get them to giggle and laugh and smile, crossing the bridge from “that uncle that lives out of town” into “the favorite uncle” in a matter of seconds. In fact, when he visit last March, about a week before the girls’ first birthday, he won over all three so quickly that they refused to let him get up off the floor and insisted on immediate baby wrestling and playtime, for a good hour!
Not everyone is a baby whisperer, but I can confidently say both Douglas boys certainly maintain the skill. It is always wonderful to witness, whether it is with my kiddos or someone else’s!
I find myself angry that the girls won’t get to know their Uncle Chris, see their Dad and Uncle’s playful banter when working on a house project, won’t get to ride four wheelers or dirt bikes and get into (monitored) shenanigans with him as they grow older. It surprised me how much impact this thought had on me, because I always counted on the fact it would happen. It never crossed my mind that it wouldn’t, and so much has changed the past month.
What can we do about it? While the ache remains and will for a while for everyone, we can remind the girls as they grow about their uncle, and how much he loved them as well as his family, friends and community. I see how strong my husband is each day, dealing with his sadness while continuing to get up and go to work, raise three growing babies, and make a positive daily impact on all our lives, even when it’s really hard and you just want to give up.
We can tell the girls stories, and boy, there are so many stories! I like to think if you compared the girls’ personalities to Chris and Craig’s childhood shenanigans (the ones that I know about anyway), Emerie would be the troublemaker (Chris!) and Reagan the behaved kiddo (Craig), with Harper more-or-less a combination of the two- willing to get into trouble but also willing to let her sister(s) go down for it (hehe).
While our trip caused a major disrupt in our daily routine, it was great to see everyone as well as extended family I hadn’t met yet! We packed up (a LOT of stuff) and made the trek down to Juneau with the girls and my Mom in tow, knowing the trip would be equally as hard as it would be emotional; both which proved true. Craig’s parents were right- babies do help heal wounds, especially ones wide open, deep, fresh and heartfelt. Hugging on a cuddly Harper, a tiny Emerie or a giggling Reagan certainly helped me heal a bit, and I know I’m not the only one.
We had a couple of fun adventures during the visit, but otherwise laid pretty low (if anything with three toddlers can be considered “laying low”). With Aunt Tami’s and Papa Cliff’s help we explored the local indoor water park, with a short walk over from our residence for the week, and played in the warm water with the girls and their cousins Gabe and Chatum. It was a nice break to have a little fun for an hour.
It was also entertaining to see the boys trying to push the triple stroller down the sidewalk. It is pretty big, especially when full of three wiggling toddlers, and that caused a little problem driving straight, but the boys figured it out!
The girls greatly enjoyed the water and it was the perfect setting for them to do a little walking around as well as floating with us around the lazy river. Because the adults outnumbered the kids for once, we didn’t put life jackets on anyone: having two arms per kid is pretty useful! Everyone thought the slide was exciting, even though they sometimes looked less than thrilled about it, as well as the small kid-sized water works and fountains. This experience also taught me my phone is waterproof, as I went down the slide with it in my shorts. Even fully submerged, it came out okay. Whew!
In true kid style, we made it all the way through the water park without any mishaps or incidences, until of course, we rinsed them off without their swim diapers on…I will leave that one up to your imaginations (refer to a couple blogs back if you are unclear…).
We also took the girls to a cute park, that wasn’t completely toddler friendly, but still workable with three adults to herd them around. The whole trip was so hot, in Alaska standards anyway, so we kept the midday outings for the fair skinned kiddos to a minimum. Realistically, I think the adults were just as hot!
We barbecued at Papa Cliff’s house a couple times, with the girls (and myself!) meeting extended family up visiting from down south, the kids and their friends, a big group! We also made it out to dinner with the family as well and they behaved perfectly, other than the major mess of rice left on the restaurant floor. They certainly enjoyed being passed around and mingling with everyone.
The girls especially loved Papa Cliff’s entryway closet doors. Who knew mirrors could be so very fun and bring some smiles to the room. Here’s a video to bring a smile to your face too 🙂
Chris’ celebration of life was our last night in town and held at the beach. I’d never visited Auke Rec in Juneau before, and it was a great place to reminisce. What a beautiful view, even with the forest fire smoke in the distance. So many people showed up and it was really a testimony to how many lives Chris touched. He certainly impacted ours! Craig and I handed the kids off to many different people to say hello. It was their first visit to the beach and first time trying Rhonda’s delicious scones.I’m pretty sure they were mostly excited about eating the seashells- not so much the cold water, although Emerie didn’t seem to mind it so much.
As the days continue to pass, I am constantly reminded of Chris’ impact on our lives; in fact, it is all over my house! The windows, my beautiful, rounded third story loft window that the boys gave me so much grief over, the new pantry he installed on his spring visit to Anchorage, even all the tools used by the boys in the garage over the years. It still makes me smile that he shot a hole in one of the heater pipes, putting up trim in the family room, and yet when we discovered it and called and told him later that week, he blamed it on me because I wanted to paint and have new trim! Fair enough. While the reminders bring a sense of sadness with them, they also bring good memories. Chris and I became friends through these projects, as they often brought him up to visit us, and I remember the brothers hard at work for a weekend, arguing about trim cutting and decor…and just being brothers.
In closing, a quote I heard that seems appropriate:
A family is a circle of love, not broken by a loss, but made stronger by the memories.
So please, I ask all of you reading this that knew Chris- please continue to tell us, and the girls as they get older, stories of all the shenanigans the Douglas boys got themselves into! I only know a drop in the bucket of all the good ones…and sharing these memories will help the girls know their uncle.