Mother’s Day #2!

My first Mother’s Day was wonderful, but very vague in my memory now (we were a bit tired last May lol). We left the girls for the first time last year to go get pedicures together for an hour. For my second one, Craig made all the stops!

They were so tiny last year!!

We bailed on work a few minutes early on Thursday and picked out a new wedding band for my ring. Is there really anything better than a request by your husband to leave early to go buy jewelry? Yeah not that I can think of lol.

I came home from work to a wonderful gift from Nanny Chris and the girls. They decorated a flowerpot for me to enjoy, in the girls’ colors, with tiny baby fingerprints. So very thoughtful and sweet! Also quite impressive she did arts and crafts during the day…that takes a lot of effort!

Craig took the girls to Dad’s group on Saturday and did another little project that I adore. It’s definitely going up on the wall once I get a frame on it! Emerie apparently made him work for it…she does not have a giant foot.

The other amazing present in honor of being a mom? The girls slept alllll night in their room (on Saturday night), with barely a peep! That means we both felt rested and I was able to enjoy a cup of coffee bright and early with some Netflix and my feet up. A rare occasion.

Of course, the girls ended that present with a very grumpy day and only a 40 minute nap for the day. Thank goodness we had a decent night’s sleep. They were still cute in their dresses, even through the grumpiness. Oh well!

From Jumpers to Naps

This week our busy little bees have hit a few new…eeerrr……milestones?

Hearing Craig exclaim from the playpen, stop licking my belly button! And then a moment later seeing Reagan licking Craig’s leg hair. Such wonderful memories to share with the girls when they are older…

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img_0278Reagan received her first swollen lip last week. It is undetermined if she was smacked in the face by a sister (likely) or if she bit it falling down on a toy. Either way, she wasn’t excited about it; but it hasn’t stopped her from climbing on things and testing out her boundaries.

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Napping is finally improving, it only took about a year! The girls were never great nappers, starting when we defined specific nap times to now. They still need some daytime sleep to continue being happy and pleasant babies; some days it is very difficult while others are much smoother. We are down to one nap, having lost the second one at about 11 months and Reagan a little before that. It was too much of a battle to get them to go down for another relatively short nap, so we stopped trying and now focus on getting one good one. Typical naps are around an hour, but recently that is getting better at two or more. We try to be as physically active as possible throughout the morning so everyone is tired and ready to settle down. Once the girls are in their cribs, we give them about 10 minutes to settle down, whether they are screaming, giggling, or otherwise, before we will go back and intervene. Lately we haven’t had to go back in. When they were smaller, there was a great deal of pulling out the one keeping the other two awake…and that varied between all three.

The end of last week and the weekend schedule worked like a charm. The girls napped about two hours a day, ALL THREE OF THEM, each day. Major progress!! After going through more clothes, we tried on some “big girl pajamas” too! Don’t mind Reagan’s face in the picture…she was ready to eat, not smile for the camera.

Big girl pajamas!

Harper and Emerie had their follow up ear infection appointments on Friday. The office was running late and man…it is really difficult to entertain two one year olds in a tiny, boiling hot room for 40 minutes. Reagan stayed with Grandma, and napped the whole time, so at least we only had to entertain two!

The doctor told us the next few appointments are exceptionally difficult at this age. We are thinking we might split them up and take one at a time to make things less stressful. My other idea is to pack up and bring the pack-and-play with us. Then we can at least set them each down where they can play while we spend two hours there.

One other change in the Douglet household is no more tracker chart! As you know, I like to write things down, memories, silly antics, and definitely the daily schedule. We made it through three Triplet Time books (off Amazon) and once they were no longer available for purchase, I made my own customized Douglets version. We used this for a few more months, keeping up on the day-to-day eating habits, diapers, and funny things throughout the days.

After hitting the year mark, the tracker started to become more effort than help, unlike previous months. We relied on it greatly when the girls were smaller, as schedule was EVERYTHING, and without it we couldn’t remember who ate how much when, let alone get any sleep. img_0371It may seem like taking the time to write things down is unneeded effort, but when you are feeding three babies every three hours each day, your mind very quickly jumbles who had how much when.  It will also be fun to look back at the first few months of life and see some of the funny notes. For example, there are definitely a few “Emerie peed in her hair!” notes (she’s going to kill me for that someday) or “no one slept in their cribs last night” type of things.

Another transition is away from the baby jumpers. I am sad to see them go; I could watch them giggle and laugh and bounce all day long. We are now to the point they just want to explore and play; and they see the jumpers as confinement. No one has tried to climb out of them yet, but if we continued to use them it would probably happen.  Our living room looks so huge now…three jumpers take up a lot of space!

A lot of people dislike jumpers, saying they are bad for babies. Looking into this topic, they can be bad for development, but that is if you leave them in for long periods of time allll the time. Another complaint is it causes children to walk on their tiptoes. In my experience, both are non issues as long as you pay attention to your kids! Harper and Emerie didn’t do tiptoe very much, but Reagan did for a while. As soon as she became mobile, the tiptoes went away and she stands fine now. It’s all about moderation! I will miss those jumpers…

We took advantage of Grandma Sue’s visit and made a few more efforts to baby proof the house.  Our tri-level house has extensive staircase area. The house was originally designed with a 7″ gap between the railings; big enough I can stick my head through, so a child can fully hang through it.  We have a loft area at the top of the stairs in the living room and it is quite high up. Our cats have always liked they can easily escape the dogs by running through the openings, and the dogs used to sit up in the loft and hang their heads through the railing, surveying their surroundings or to take a nap.

This weekend we ruined those joys for our pets, but made our stairs kid safe. I would love to completely demolished the existing railing, but because…well triplets, we don’t have time for that and just added metal spindles, centered in the 7″ opening and now to municipal code! I believe it turned out really nice, and while we aren’t quite finished with the loft, the girls can go from the living room up to their bedroom (monitored) without fear of falling off the sides.

We are still working on food. The girls love to give Grandma Sue a hard time about her cooking, refusing to try things or eat them. Harper is really a stickler for refusing to enjoy her concoctions, Emerie and Reagan are more easily coaxed. They do, however, all like her chicken noodle soup, vegetables and all! Watching them slurp noodles is literally THE cutest thing.

Because the girls can be a bit picky, we still use baby food as well as whatever we are eating to make sure they get the calorie intake they need. They often refuse to eat the food plopped down in front of them on the table (Harper and Reagan more than Em) and are more willing to try it out if you eat a bit and feed them with your utensil. Silly babies.

They seem to be picky sometimes and other times starving little monkeys. Cheese puffs and yogurt melts are still the favorite; mango slices, green beans, crackers and vege-straws are a hit, and of course french fries are a great snack every once in a while, that’s in their genetics like their mother. They liked our homemade coleslaw the other day too, as long as it entered their mouths from my fork! They enjoy Cheerios if they are off someone else’s spoon. Apparently they aren’t as good as a hand to mouth snack (yet).

We are transitioning from bottle feeds to food intake pretty well. The girls get breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day in the triple table, with a bottle in the morning, afternoon, and right before bedtime. Everyone has three or more teeth coming through, which greatly minimized the amount of milk everyone drinks. For a few days I was bagging a bunch for later this year because they weren’t drinking it. Once the teeth popped through the gums, everyone started drinking their bottles better.img_0237

Reagan and Emerie briefly still to drink their bottles

Spring is here (or at least it looks very promising!). The few recent walks feel warm and sunny and like the leaves should appear at any moment. We are excited for Easter next weekend and might do a few bunny photos and play dates. I can’t wait until it is warm enough to sit outside and play with the girls in the sun!

Miss Harper having a fun time on the walk.

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On a scale of 1-10…how about a 7.0?!

The past 48 hours have been very eventful. As most of the country knows, a 7.0 earthquake with an epicenter about 16 miles from my front door hit Anchorage at 8:29 Friday morning. The depth of 25 miles meant it was pretty close to the surface overall.

Typically I would be at work at that time, but luckily it was my Friday off and instead of being home alone with the girls, the in laws were here visiting.

On a normal off day I would have been up and quickly showering, but instead was ahead of the game, in part because Emerie refused to go back to bed after the morning feed. She had one on one mom snuggles for a little while and then I handed her off to Grandma and went back upstairs to pump before the other two awoke. About eight minutes in the room started shaking. I paused for about 10 seconds, figuring that it would stop and we’d continue on with our day, typical Alaska style. But after 10 seconds, it accelerated and everything started crashing down and the sound of the house groaning and creaking became SO loud. The sound of a big earthquake is difficult to explain. It’s very eerie and you can often hear the whoosh right beforehand, as it builds in power before the first jolt. I immediately dove off my bed, ripped off my pumping gear off and threw it across the bedroom, running like a bat out of hell into the nursery for Reagan and Harper, knowing Emerie was okay downstairs with Grandma.

Both girls were in their cribs, calm, but eyes open. I scooped up Reagan and put her in the crib next to Harper. What else can you do? I just stood over them while the earth quaked. It was loud and eerie, listening to my house creek and shift and “roll” from the vibrations. I could hear the in laws and animals downstairs reacting similarly to myself and the crashes of falling objects and pictures nearby.

I’m not sure how long the actual quake lasted, but being from Alaska recognized a decent aftershock would occur. Grandma brought Emerie up and put her in the crib with the sisters and we chatted about what to do next.

Four minutes later, at 8:33 and then 8:35, two aftershocks followed (a 4.8 followed by a 5.7). At this point our phones alerted to a tsunami warning to seek higher ground. We live close to the coastline and while we are above the bluffs, we are still only a mile or two from them and would not benefit from hanging around for a possible tsunami. My phone pinpointed the quake was north of us and across the inlet from Anchorage, meaning any possible water movement would take a tad bit longer to reach us.

My neighbors thought the same thing! We all got dressed, put the girls down in the living room in their car seats, sleep sacks and all, and quickly threw a few necessities together and started the car.

We loaded everything up and were out of the house in exactly 20 minutes, with the in laws behind me with the dogs. The phone lines were still working at that point and I briefly checked in with Craig and then called a friend on the hillside to see if we could come up.

It was as if the city sprang to life. Everyone was on the roads. The main roads toward hillside were jam packed with red taillights as everyone tried to drive up the mountainside. We took the back Old Seward route to Rabbit Creek, gambling that we could get across the (hopefully) usable bridge and up the mountain before any possible tsunami.

The girls greatly cooperated, throughout the entire 30 minutes or so before we made it to Joni’s house, they were calm and chatting, no crying. They would normally be hanging out in the living room, starting their day and getting ready for breakfast while announcing to me they are hungry.

All of hillside was out of power, which was not surprising. Joni’s house included, but it was still warm and that worked out great. Once settled in on her living room floor and unpacking the girls and changing diapers, we realized we were missing one of the main parts to all the bottles, meaning I had plenty of milk ready to go but no usable bottles. We tried one out from Joni that Emerie was mostly okay with, but the other two wouldn’t drink. We managed to get a text through to Craig to go get bottles when he made it out of downtown, since the tsunami was unlikely but no official word yet.

Eventually we had Craig, bottles, and good company who made coffee with their generator!

And lots of babies to entertain and play with, taking our minds off the aftershocks and stress of the morning.

We drove around a little on the way home, around 11:30, because the girls fell asleep and we wanted to ensure a decent nap in lieu of such a chaotic morning. Making sure to go around any major bridges or roadways we heard were damaged, we wandered the southeast neighborhoods for a few minutes.

Cracked ice at Lake Hood by my work.

Top left shows an intersection crack and the middle has a big (new) dip.

Once getting home, the aftershocks continued, which definitely contributed to continual stressed out nerves, although the babies didn’t seem too concerned. Snuggling a baby helps with that, and we had plenty to go around!

That night we had a decent aftershock in the evening, right after the girls were settled, and made the decision to bring them all in our room for the night in case another large one hit. Every little creak and shift in the house kept me wide eyed all night, but the girls slept pretty well. I think Reagan either gets nervous from the quakes or can feel our stress, because she did some shrieking after a few of the bigger ones overnight.

As I write this, I can feel another small aftershock, kinda of like I’m swaying but I’m not. This weekend has been very eerie (I can’t think of a better word than that) and I try to stay close to the girls in case I need to epically move them out of harms way again.

I’m very thankful to have had extra hands that morning, for good friends who opened their home to us, and for the safety of all our friends and family up here. Ask to the crew working to fix the damaged roads, bridges, highways, water systems, and electricity! Our city is definitely working together in the face of something scary.

Since the initial quake there have been five aftershocks over a 5.0, and hundreds smaller. It’s like being on a mini roller coaster that you didn’t ask to ride, and at random times throughout the day with no warning. I don’t even like roller coasters.

What did I learn from this experience as a mom? A lot of things I didn’t initially consider beforehand:

  1. Have a PLAN: earthquakes are common here (not ones that big tho) so we should have a preset plan in place.
  2. If you have to evacuate, knowing phones will likely go out, leave a note for other family members who might come home to an empty house! Or have a planned rendezvous place.
  3. Have the car seats ready to go in the car! This helped immensely and would have taken a lot of time had this happened when I was home alone.
  4. Make sure all the most important necessities are collected if there is time, like bottles, milk, and Random things like grabbing my pumping gear in case we were gone a long time. Water and food for adults is also important and something we forgot as we focused on the babies’ needs.
  5. How would I have gotten all three immediately out of the house if I had to? Efficient answer…a laundry basket. Entirely doable to put three littles in it with a blanket and run out the door. It feels good to know that now, as in the moment I committed to staying put because I didn’t have any other ideas in mind.
  6. Consider what things can fall and where they are in proximity to babies. Pictures, plants, shelving, etc.
  7. Material possessions mean nothing! Make sure the ones you love are safe and accounted for, fur babies included.

Hopefully the aftershocks will stop soon, for now we all have Monday off of work until our buildings are cleared as safe and repaired. Time for more snuggles.

A Day in the (Triplet)Life

We’ve been getting a lot of questions how we handle three babies all day (and night) long and not go crazy. I figure I should write this down before I forget or block it out entirely in the future. The first few months, with a very tight 3 hour round the clock schedule, are already blurred in my memory; although I attribute that to much more sleep deprivation than I have now.

Starting to look pretty alike!

Back in May and June, after the girls came home from the NICU, we did round the clock feedings every three hours for at least six weeks. That meant several short 1-1.5 hour naps each day was all the sleep we would get in a 24 hour period. Other triplet parents take shifts for feedings so one parent gets an extended length of sleep, but it worked well for us to tag team everything and then settle the girls back down.

Now that we are 8 months old, the day to day is dramatically easier, but in a different way than when they were younger. They can grab a toy or binkie and chew on it themselves, so self soothing is vastly improving, although the next leap teaches them awareness when Mom and Dad aren’t nearby (that’s gonna be fun…). Since they occasionally entertain themselves for moments, that allows for laundry to get collected and washed, dried, and folded, dishes and bottles to be washed, the occasional vacuuming and random household cleaning…but mostly, it’s babies babies babies or Craig or I are doing a household chore while holding one and keeping an eye on the other two.

The first feed of the day is at about 5:40 AM.  At this point, I’ve already been awake about an hour to pump and prep their bottles, and start to get ready for work or the day at home.  Typically someone will be waking up and ready for breakfast as soon as I flip the nursery light on, or Craig has gone in a few times to re-binkie to hold them off until I am ready. Everyone gets a diaper change and arms released from their sleep sack cocoons for the feed and everyone is propped on the nursery armchair.  We have this feeding down to a science and have everyone fed, happy, and back in their cribs to chat in about 30 minutes.  After a few minutes of sisterly chatter, all fall back asleep until nine or so. Sometimes one is up earlier or one sleeps until 9:30, but overall they are relatively consistent with the normal schedule.

On the weekends we often take a nap while the girls do, and get up about 8 AM to start our day (mind you we’ve already been up for the first feed!).  First thing in the morning is by far the happiest portion of the day. The girls wake up happy and relaxed, and hang out in their swings for a few minutes while we eat a quick breakfast.  Then we get everyone up and dressed for the day, and let the fun begin!

On an average day at home, we try to switch up activities when moods start going downhill.  Once we implemented a nap schedule, it was 1.5 hours of activity, feeding, etc. and then down for a quick nap. Now that they are a bit older, we are in the vicinity of 2 hours up.  The girls are not nappers; in fact, they believe 30 minutes several times per day is plenty of sleep, and rarely give me the satisfaction of an hour or more nap, and never all three at the same time for a long one!  We are nearly out of 3 naps a day, and don’t seem to be able to convince them it is important to have all three anymore.  I usually have just enough time to pump before someone is hollering to get back up.  If the nap is in the car, it stretches to about 45 minutes, and we’ve learned that driving from our house out to Indian and back is the perfect amount of time for them to wake up as we pull back into our neighborhood.

Daily baby activities now include lots of jumper time, for everyone, rotating who goes in which one as they all have different things to play with and chew on.  Sometimes we make 30 minutes with three happy babies, sometimes one adamantly refuses to jump at all and wants to be held, and sometimes no one is in the jumping mood, although that’s rare.  The bouncers are now liked (previously hated) and all three girls think it’s hilarious to pound their legs as hard as possible and pull on the dangly toys.  That results in a little enthusiasm as well.

Another activity is tummy/sit time on the floor with all three. They are getting much stronger at sitting up and can do it pretty well with only minimal assistance needed.  During this time, the girls are starting to steal each other’s toys and look around for anything fun around them. There is always a plethora of teethers to choose from.

While feeding schedule is a little less regimented than in prior months, we still do five feeds per day: the early morning, 3 main day feeds and a bedtime one at six o’clock.  If one gets a bottle, everyone gets a bottle!  During the day we prop them in their room and can have everyone fed relatively quickly when they focus. Other days no one wants to eat and it’s much more of a battle!  When we are out and about, they actually eat pretty decently in their stroller/car seats with direct supervision, but we don’t do that as often.

The girls side prop or can eat bottles straight on, and we are so close to them holding them outright!  They are definitely interested in the bottle and understand it is food when we hold one up.

Reagan licking her bottle. Not quite the right way yet lol

During the summer and fall we did a daily walk to get the pups energy out and everyone some fresh air. We have a great 1.3 mile loop by our house that is in the trees and feels almost like an easy hike! It’s secluded enough the pups can run off leash for a little bit and we don’t have to worry about vehicle traffic. Now that’s it’s older out, the girls get bundled up if we go. Sometimes, like earlier this week, we get stopped by a young neighborhood moose on the trail.

Mr. Moose trying to prevent our walk!

Matching bear hats (Em has one on with Dad!)

This is pretty much our daily routine. Feed, play, tummy/sit time, cuddles, maybe a walk or leave for an errand, nap time, and repeat. Somewhere in there we do one baby food feed in their sit-me-ups. Somewhere in their we eat, I pump, and we try to get a few household things done too. Here’s the girls eating blueberry and something else (I forget!). Emerie is the baby bird if the group although Harper and Reagan both liked this one too.

Nighttime routine can take anywhere from 30 minutes (our personal record) to 2 hours.  Starting at six, we put everyone in pajamas and start the feed. The girls eat a ton at night, Reagan more than 8 ounces now, and Harper and Emerie that much sometimes but not as consistently.  The fidgetier ones get swaddled mid-feed, and everyone gets to settle in their crib when they decide they are done eating.

Don’t get me wrong here, the bedtime feed is an epic battle every night.  Everyone wants to go to bed except the babies? We usually have one baby that goes down pretty easily (often Harper!) and then one who takes some coddling and one who refuses and tries to wake everyone else up. Emerie and Reagan vary on this day-to-day.  Once everyone is down, we sneak in and out of their room for mini cuddles sessions as needed or to re-binkie someone who sneezed, coughed, or spit theirs out. I tell you, baby binkies have been a life saver in our household. I also believe we get our exercise simply by running back and forth from our room to theirs…alllll night.

For the most part, everyone is asleep by 7:30. The past month or so we’ve been getting up 5-10 times per night to settle someone, and in the past couple weeks someone ends up in a rock and play in our bedroom, just to keep from waking the other two up due to the snuffles. But overall, the girls sleep quite well for their age and it’s quite a blessing.  We make it to bed by 9 PM, and other than our diving out of bed to quiet a screamer as fast as humanly possible, get to “sleep” until 4:30, when it all starts over again…

4-6 Adjusted Week Growth Spurt

The past week or so has been full of fussy babies and finicky eaters, but also new facial expressions and sounds from the girls.

We were warned a big growth spurt was about to occur, and it started slightly ahead of the 4-6 week timeframe, with the girls 12 weeks old today, but 4.5 weeks adjusted.

This growth spurt is more developmental than physical and involves sight, focus, and hearing. Their vision is starting to improve, with colors a little more visible. They are starting to listen to sounds and music more intently and can focus on it. They also begin recognize our voices better, and the change is very noticeable. Such big cognitive leaps!

The girls are all starting to really smile when we talk to them and express new facial expressions. Reagan, who has always been our smiler, now smiles even more and with eye contact and in response to minimal coaxing.

Harper now enjoys the play mat a little more (or maybe she’s just tolerating it now) and is showing us new sounds and shrieks.

Emerie, our little pea pod, has started to smile in response to our voices and be much more interactive with us.

It is exciting to see the changes and I look forward to the next few weeks of growth!

First solo workweek

On Monday a friend texted me how the first solo baby day was going with Craig back at work. My one worded response of “hell” pretty much summed up day one. The girls would not sleep at all, they wouldn’t bottle prop, and there was a great deal of crying. Thank goodness the week improved from that.

Now that it’s Saturday, I look back at the work week and see how much I’ve learned on 3v1 baby days:

  1. Leave the house – going somewhere, even just to hit the McDonalds drive thru or a coffee stand, counts as leaving! Getting everyone loaded up and prepped takes a lot of time and really makes the day pass quickly. The kiddos get a little more stimulation in a changed environment and that changes their moods after a tough morning.
  2. Time your feedings – one day Craig left for work midfeed and I was up the rest of the day with cranky babies. We’ve discovered if the feed is mostly done, i.e. maybe two girls are back in bed and I’m feeding the last one, then I can actually go back to bed for an hour or two. Huge game changer.
  3. Tummy/play time – feeding three babies at once when alone is really difficult, especially if they don’t feel like cooperating. Feeding two simultaneously is manageable. If one is on a play mat within view, that seems to entertain them long enough I can feed one or even both their sisters. Helps a lot when Reagan is on the mat; she likes it a lot more than Harper does!
  4. Support – attending a multiples group with women who have multiples around the same age as mine is really great. It gives us the opportunity to have grown up conversations, hear advice from those ahead of us, and once again, to get out of the house!
  5. Prep the night before – having all the bottles washed and in the nursery, snacks in the fridge, and my pumping gear ready to go is really helpful when three babies are all screaming and hungry at the same time!
  6. Tracker – keeping the food/diaper tracker current helps with my sanity! I often can’t remember who ate what after like an hour!

The most valuable thing I learned this week was that I can do it – I can leave the house solo with three in tow and we all survive! It’s definitely time consuming, stressful, and would be a lot easier with another set of hands, but also good to know that I can do it.

Here’s to a few more weeks of solo girl time. We still have the fan for moral support too 🙂