I am way behind on providing updates on our current every day lives and I fully blame the crazy work deadlines that the last month have held for the job I’m covering. So let’s go backwards a little, to the end of August, when I started writing this blog right after the girls’ shift to the pre-K classroom at school.
We started out the school year in typical fashion- the first week meant the stomach flu for all three kiddos, each about a day apart, and an ear infection for Harper. On Friday Emerie made it a whole 20 minutes at school before getting the phone call that she was throwing up again. While the puking derailed our plans to visit the fair later that day, the decent weather the following day ultimately worked out for a better overall visit. And I’m happy to say that both parents managed to avoid the stomach flu, which was greatly appreciated!
After sitting in the eternal, never moving line of cars waiting to park at the fair, we opted to bring the rolling wagon with us and stop at a few of the easy booths right inside the door. The girls sat on top of the big, stuffed moose and took a photo with it, munched on some fancy donuts on a stick, and didn’t immediately run off into the abyss of people. We went to the rides pretty early into our visit, presuming the excitement might make grumpy preschoolers appear before we were ready to be done for the day.
I wasn’t sure what rides everyone would like to go on, since Reagan and Emerie are often timid on a lot of things, while Harper usually sticks to her wild side and the great need for speed. The first ride of the day was a roller coaster, because why not go big to start. We hadn’t walked over to the younger kid rights at that point, and just went for it. Craig and I both went on with them; side note- I definitely forgot how hard it is to fit my knees behind a kid roller coaster seat! Emerie insistently opted to ride behind me and all by herself, while Harper and Reagan each plopped down with an adult. All three shrieked in excitement and actually loved it; even Miss Independent Em. But I will say, the second roller coaster did not meet that same sentiment for Reagan, who hid in Papa Cliff’s lap for all the loops and refused to go on any more coasters for the rest of the day. The favorite rides for the day turned out to be the airplane spinning rides and the construction truck driving; all went multiple times. We finished out all the rides with the big slide in the sky, and then did everyone really wants to do at the fair…EAT. So much food, and in usual fashion the girls wanted french fries. I enjoyed a delicious turkey leg with Grandma Sue, since the girls wouldn’t touch it. Surprisingly enough, they all liked William’s crab fritters and wanted more of that!
The favorite purchase of the day for me was the girls getting Alaska Chick hoodies in their colors (which are huge and put away for this winter). If you asked them what their favorite thing was, I imagine everyone would respond the super cool butterfly wings they wore the rest of the visit. They attached to their shoulders and wrists and resulted in three, happy girls running through the crowd as butterflies. Did I mention this made them so much easier to spot as well? And of course, adorable. I’m happy to say the day sits in the good memories and successful activities side of my brain, and I’m glad we made the effort to go.
We finished out the busy weekend by going berry picking in Whittier, which is now going to be an annual family event, or so I hope. Anchorage weather was very crummy this year; once we trekked through the tunnel and into Whittier, the sun was out and the weather just gorgeous. We spent the afternoon picking blueberries and playing along the water, the kids heaping and hollering about the dead fish in the water. It turned out to be a great day.
Later in the month we went on a family hike to Thunderbird Falls, which is maaaaaybe a mile total, and ends on an overlook to the waterfall. Reagan and Harper took to it much better than their sister, who kept asking when we were going to turn back and go home, insisted on holding an adult’s hand pretty much the entire length of the trip. In fact, she seemed quite nervous to explore and walk through the mud or up or down the hills, but some of this is likely attributed to her post surgery eye situation. We climbed down to the water on the way back and all the kids enjoyed throwing sticks and rocks into the water and trying to climb up and explore steep hills. It was another unusually beautiful day, but we had to leave Anchorage to see the actual sunlight.
Another fall favorite activity, something we’ve missed since the girls were 18 months old, is the annual Trick or Treat in the Heat event. The past two years canceled due to COVID, meaning this year’s event was met with excitement and a ton of people, and on a decent weather day! I stashed a few new costumes in the closet in anticipation of an outdoor event that wasn’t freezing cold and luckily this year only required long sleeves and pants underneath- I don’t think I heard one complaint about being cold. Mind you, there were about five million complaints of being tired, feet hurting, wanting to eat a snack or piece of candy, but not for being cold.
The fighting was minimal on who wore which costume, and just like last year, everyone switched out on colors (for the most part). Harper was Tinkerbell, including fancy wings, a headband and a butterfly wand; Reagan was a flamingo, which included an adorable flamingo head hat and polka dots; and Emerie was…any guesses?? Of course, Emerie opted to be Elsa for the third year in a row. A new style of dress, but still Elsa (thanks Costco!).
We did a LOT of walking that evening, and eventually made it home with bags of candy and picked up some pizza to sit down and eat. Excluding the whininess, I think it went pretty well, but next year we should definitely bring the wagon to avoid the overly tired, woah-is-me attitudes that were shared the second half of the evening. Luckily neighborhood trick-or-treat is not quite so extensive, and the dark usually helps push the kiddos to wanting to head back home.
After a little over a month of new pre-kindergarden school activities and crafts, I already see incredible improvement in the girls coloring and writing skills. In fact, Reagan has already written her own name, without tracing any letters, and it proudly displays on the wall at school that shows the classroom lettering crafts. All three really enjoy tracing books now and do a great job following the lettering. They also constantly ask for white paper, meaning paper with nothing to color, so they can expand their ideas without any distractions. Needless to say, we go through a lot of paper. The other day Reagan looked at me and said, “do I look like a crazy maniac?! No! I draw within the lines!” when I asked her about her coloring. Silly girl. We’ve also seen the first little people drawings from Reagan, which I am SO excited about. They are all head and legs and it’s adorably cute- now she is starting to tell you which people they are and draw scenery around them. We definitely have an artist in the family! Harper continues to draw rainbows on everything and Emerie is more willing to sit and color now, than in previous months.
Many discussions now center around, what letter does this word start with? What letter does THIS word start with? And you pretty much have to explain every letter start in the English alphabet. And we are only on letter “e” at school so far! All three know what their names start with, what Craig and my name starts with- Reagan keeps asking me why both our names start with an “r”. Such questions. They are also very defensive about sharing “their” letter with others, and seem to think they own it, similar to how they act with their pink, purple and teal color associations. For letter “e” show and tell, Emerie informed me her sisters didn’t need to attend the day, since it was her letter and her day.
Each day brings a new randomly taught skill. One Friday they came home and quoted me the entire pledge of allegiance, all three of them! They informed us afterwards that they do it at school a lot; it’s cute to see them repeat words that have absolutely no meaning to them yet. Other days they are questioning which side is right and which is left, and can now pick up the correct foot or arm if you ask.
In addition to letters and writing, basic math is just around the corner. Many car rides home from school involve how many fingers is this and then this? What is this hand and this hand…is it ten? These types of questions are the very foundation of math and I can’t believe it’s already starting. They seem to pick it up pretty quickly too, as you talk through the answers.
One morning I caved into the requests and let everyone use the glass markers to create intricate and wild creations on the backdoor. Reagan drew the first people I have seen her attempt and they are completely adorable, with the big heads and bodies and tiny legs and arms. The wild hair seems to indicate that maybe they are drawing Grandma Sue, but that has not been confirmed to date. Harper continues to enjoy making dozens of rainbows on everything she draws. This also reminds me she had a little too much creativity when one of our mountain art designs from the wall was set down on a table and within reach. I fully planned to blame one of the visiting boys for the writing on it, until I discovered the red letter “H” across the middle…and I don’t think she can deny that one and get away with it…
One night after school we took the girls to get fancy nails. In normal color fashion, all three selected shades of their colors (after talking Harper out of the sparkle one that wouldn’t show very well) and proceeded to entertain much of the salon as their hands and feet were beautified. Harper was last to go and did a great job waiting patiently, while Reagan and Emerie could barely contain themselves sitting for their turn and wiggled all over the place. Emerie continues to be the wiggle worm of the three for these types of activities, and hilariously laughed when they filed her toe nails, as if it was the most hilarious thing in the world. Harper sat like a statue for her turn, watching the beautification process with appreciation. It’s fun to start doing these types of things now, as long as you bring lots of snacks and don’t wait too long to go.
And to round out our busy lives and much overdue update, is Harper’s latest life quote, with the words… this is difficult! Everything is difficult! It’s difficult! And there you have it folks, an accurate, one phrase depiction of current life events in the Douglas household. Good thing they are so adorably cute… here is one of my favorite photos from this fall, captured by yours truly on an afternoon excursion (ahem photo op) to the park by our house.