Winter Sweethearts

Same dresses as last year!

February always seems like such a long month, even when in reality it is the shortest one of all (maybe it’s lucky it’s in the winter and not the summer!)! It drags on for a number of reasons you’ll all agree with me on- it’s the end swing of the eternal Alaska winter, still pretty dark outside (but improving on light), and by now parents have exhausted all the creative, indoor play ideas and are so tired of putting snow gear on and off just in time to hear mom, I have to poop. Yep. Pretty glamorous.

Nothing too crazy is happening at the Douglas household as we try to maintain sanity for the remainder of the winter season. I latched onto the Valentine train this year and tracked down some cute crafts, outfits and recipes to try while we maintained our indoor status due to colds, the darkness, and the general sopping wet snow that’s crummy to sled on.

Valentine weekend was chocked full of cookie decorating, some sledding after a fresh snowfall and four wheel riding, the jump park and very wild, grumpy and overtired girls. Craig mixed the sugar cookie dough on Saturday and the girls assisted shaping it into hearts, flowers and butterflies on Sunday morning. We tried out a new princess icing that “shined” and glossed over each cookie in a fancy pink color and the girls decorated a bunch of cookies to gift to their teachers the following day. In the midst of all this sugar, Craig also made an epic batch of from-scratch cinnamon rolls.

The girls flip flopped on their enthusiasm for decorating, with Harper on board the most and Reagan picking up the slack. Emerie was a bit more enthusiastic than her usual two cookies and out and everyone was thrilled to eat ONE heart shaped selection at the end of the chaos.

This year the girls created custom valentine boxes using crayons, a million stickers of numerous variety (puffy, glittery, sparkly and crazy shapes) and a lot of discussion on placement. Reagan colored the entire box with crayons before sticker commencement, while Emerie and I argued that stickers should go on the outside of the box, which she found entirely unreasonable.

Megan and I filled out the princess valentine cards that night and everyone brought a chunk to school for their party the following day. I did not anticipate the level of goodies requiring collection and shoved everything into my one bag at pickup. The girls then managed to push all the candy and tiny toys into their fancy boxes and demand to taste more candies. The slinkies and light up balls were definitely the favorites from the day, in addition to the sugar.

Craig and I managed to sneak away for the night and do a craft class together while Auntie Megan graciously came over sans the boys and made mini pizzas and fought the girls off the newly acquired candy. Overall it was a good holiday and we greatly appreciate Megan taking on our tribe for a few hours.

While not too much craziness has occurred since my last blog a couple weeks ago, I’m happy to share a few of the “pre-schoolisms” (toddlerisms sounds so much better!) that fly out of the mouths of my children at random. Things they will likely deny as they get older, of course, but are oh so fun to record for my enjoyment in my older age. And these are the only the ones I’ve remembered to write down…

  • Reagan, sitting on the toilet (which makes it so much better): Mom, pee-pees and penises are gross right? Even though everyone has one?
  • Reagan (in the bathroom again): I dropped my coin in my poop. Get it out! GET IT OUT! For the record, I did NOT get it out and sent it to fishie heaven with everything else.
  • Emerie: Grandma, Elsa is afraid and she is running away from her sister really fast and builds a castle and quickly said so many more story words I couldn’t write them down fast enough!
  • Harper, any time she strongly disagrees with me on something, more often when she’s not listening to save her life: You’re not my mom anymore. You’re NOT MY MOM! This one is just so fun and I’ve yet to hear it thrown into a dad-ism, just directed at me. It’s especially fun when screamed at you in the middle of the grocery store.
  • Reagan, running over to tattle about something a sister did the prior day, when we tell her to stop tattling, she responds with: I’m not tattling; I’m just talking to you. Such a smart ass.
  • Emerie, completely asleep and yet yelling my direction: Harper took my toy! That’s my toy! and a shriek and then rolls over, still asleep.

The girls are now more aware of the meaning of time. While the yesterdays and tomorrows don’t always come out right, they understand if you say number of sleeps or refer to a school day versus the weekend. Everyone keeps asking when Grandma Sue will visit next and we started counting the number of sleeps after the questions become on constant repeat. Reagan especially asks several times a day, while Harper and Emerie keep demanding her presence solely for the donuts and breaded Olafs they get when she visits.

We successfully attended our most recent triplet dentist appointment with three stacking appointments in mid-afternoon. Luckily waking up early from daycare nap time and whisking them to the appointment went better than we could have hoped. Last fall we kept two in the car with a show and sent one in at a time (with Craig) and swapped out each time; this visit we brought everyone inside at once and it went decently. Reagan immediately went back with Craig while Harper, Emerie and I chilled in the waiting room and watched “New Pan” (Rapunzel TV show). I believe it’s success was attributed to being allowed to hold Mom’s prized iPad.

Surprisingly our toughest client for the visit was Emerie, who didn’t quite want to follow directions when asked and was more interested in goofing off with the toothpaste for her teeth cleaning (which was strawberry, by the way). Emerie is incredibly behaved at her eye doctor appointments but doesn’t seem to enjoy other body part visits at all. Not all doctors can be as loved as Dr. Winkle is in our house. Reagan and Harper loved the dental attention and chilled with their cool glasses on. Craig recorded a funny video clip of Reagan playing with the water sucker and living the dream; quite the cool kid.

A couple weeks back we rearranged the girls’ toddler beds a bit in hopes of better overnight sleep. Did it make a difference? Of course not. But hopefully it’ll keep Emerie from overheating next to the heater all night. Well, I should say for the few hours she actually sleeps in her bed each night.

Dress up ladies

We continue encouraging the effort of actual bed sleeping by beginning a new form of bribery. If anyone sleeps in their bed, all night long for five whole nights, they get ice cream. Harper just hit her first five nights, although she’s great at sleeping in her bed all night and has been for months, just not recorded on paper. She was very pleased to receive the ice cream sandwich reward while Reagan super pouted that she needed one more sticker to get hers. Reagan is close to five nights, which seems like a crazy miracle given the last few months of adamant demands to sleep in our bed around midnight every night. Emerie is still at a solid zero nights in her own bed; but in her defense she gets up, collects her blanket, all her animals and sometimes even her pillow, and treks to the guest bedroom where she will sleep for the rest of the night. Sometimes I’ll hear her call us, but more often than not she now does it all by herself. We haven’t had any epiphanies how to fix this one yet, but really it’s not the worst thing in the world.

And lastly, Emerie’s surgery was a couple weeks ago and she’s doing well. She managed to lose a glasses lens at school earlier this week and then Craig had to repair the backup glasses Thank goodness we have three different pairs! Her eyelid droop is similar to last summer; it just took a couple days to take effect and will wear off in two to three months. Eye patching each morning doesn’t seem to be any worse than before, which is great, and we ordered some new patch patterns she enjoys selecting each morning.

My Little Valentines

Since we are home this year for our first valentine’s day that the girls can really participate in, I made some effort to figure out daily crafts to do for friends and family.

We started off the week of love with heart window clings, which finally don’t immediately submerge into their mouths with a well warranted “yucky” response. All three enjoyed sticking them on the windows and taking them away from each other; Emerie kept balling them up in her hands and running off while Reagan’s handful went on the floor, under her foot, while she added them one-by-one and tried to keep them away from Harper. Eventually they all ended up all over the house and were collected for the trash can. Maybe someday they will stay on the actual windows.

Our first craft went better than most of the ideas I come up with! I printed basic trees (solid trunk and branches) on pink paper and instructed everyone to buckle in at the table. Crafts go sooo much better when I’m not scolding the entire time with a get OFF the table! as they crowd around you and participate. The bag of puffy, heart shaped stickers was quite the hit and everyone decorated their trees without much assistance. In fact, they were peeling off the backs of the stickers without help after about five minutes. I have to say, stickers are a majorly awesome entertainer at this age. This craft is wall worthy and currently planned to hang up in admiration over the next week. What do you think!?

We ended up creating several versions of this upon request. Everyone kept asking for the heart stickers and then concentrated on their decorating.

I really enjoy noting the differences between each kiddo’s artwork. Janelle pointed out to me that their creations resemble each season, with Reagan’s showing all the leaves up in the tree (and nicely organized I might add- all done by herself!), Emerie’s with leaves beginning to fall and Harper’s covering full on fall all over the page. They aren’t to the point of comparing what the other is constructing so it’s great to see their free spirits roam and create. It will be interesting to see how their styles change as they grow and learn and then compare them to each other.

It took several nights tracing and cutting out hearts to do the next craft, heart shaped valentines in several different shapes. We typical color with crayons at least once a day but the girls weren’t really interested in drawing in more than a couple hearts before they wanted normal coloring sheets. I’ll be saving this idea for next year when attention spans are longer; for now we made enough to add to a few cards to send out.

We ventured into the messy paint a couple of times, using stencils and later decorating wooden hearts by hand. So much effort but the girls really love smearing the paint everywhere and it all ends up looking very brown (probably why Harper likes it haha!).

Aunt Janelle and Paris came over to help us celebrate Valentine’s Day and enjoy some homemade treats. The girls all boasted matching dresses AND polka dot tights and a rockin’ fancy hairstyle by Grandma. Much of the morning was spent making out favorite brownies and the girls help package them up for friends. I managed to sneak out and deliver a few throughout the day, even bring the girls with me for some and bribing good behavior with heart suckers.

The girls’ highlightable activity of the morning consisted of helping Grandma Sue make fresh, pink, heart shaped donuts. Needless to say, the room was quite a mess of flour and dough by the end of it, but it was hilarious to watch them mimic their instructor and try to knead the dough into shapes.

I can’t help but note some of the grossness that accompanied such an event. Harper went straight to eating it (just like she’s more into eating play dough than the other two) , laughing at our reactions as it dribbled out of her mouth. Reagan was all about getting flour everywhere and occasionally snacking on it; Emerie was happy to knead it and smear the flour on the paper. Paris did an awesome job with the little rolling pin and smoothing hers out, once the sticky factor was resolved with more flour.

After the initial dough work, Grandma got to work frying the deliciousness on the stove. One by one she and Craig had one little helper with the icing and, of course, you can’t forget about the sprinkles. Each kiddo had their turn putting the final touches on (some of) the treats and ensuring the flavor was up to par. We made enough for a small army so I hope everyone who had a plate enjoyed them! The girls sure did!

Today’s festivities needed some ground rules to abide by when cooking with Grandma, such as:

  1. The messier the floor, the better the food.
  2. Painting smocks are excellent at keeping flour off toddlers.
  3. Donut dough is for snacking on, not for cooking with.
  4. Flour should be licked directly off the table.
  5. Play dough tools work perfectly for dough rolling.
  6. “Heart” shapes made by little hands look more like bruised hearts that happy ones but taste the same.
  7. Sprinkles are like glitter; you find them everywhere and on everything but you still have to have them.

All of the sugar ensured that Reagan and Emerie refused to actually nap, with Harper out pretty quick and sleeping through most of the bedroom shenanigans until we finally gave up and got them back up. My sleepless two were dismayed that they couldn’t have a donut as a post-nap snack; Harper happily munched on hers during our usual wake up snuggle on the couch.

I can’t say today was altogether easy, that we didn’t have fighting and tantrums and toddler rage; but in between those moments were some enjoyable ones. Examples like watching the girls enthusiastically try to work the donut dough, play tea party with each other (and fight over all the little plates), request you to read a book, snuggle with Auntie, examine the flowers on the kitchen table from Daddy, sucking on the big lip suckers, enjoying some lumpia and ponset courtesy of the neighbors, or running around in their cooking aprons and hats. Valentine’s Day should be fun each year to come, when we can do more crafts and cooking under a little less toddler duress; for now it’s still pretty manageable and the girls seemed to have fun.

Happy hearts day!