Falling into Winter

As pretty much all parents of young children know, Bluey is life. What is Bluey? An Australian children’s television show that supports morals and raising good humans, in the form of blue and tan puppy dogs. While it may be repetitive and get stuck in your head, the story lines nevertheless are wonderful and support good family values, sibling love, creative and respectful play, and good life lessons. We managed to avoid Bluey marathons for at least three years, knowing that the girls considered it special when preschool turned it on, and kept it that way. Eventually, as all parents do, we caved and this show now plays SO MUCH. Even more so when everyone is sick and confined at home until fevers reduce and energy returns. The show has actually grown on me and some of the girls’ games are now played after certain episodes are watched, like “Keep-ee-Upie.” In layman’s terms, this is known as keeping a balloon off the ground. I’m pretty certain a few of our chickens have names based on characters in different episodes on the show (Diddums is a favorite, and Telemicus).

You know they are sick when they snuggle in and don’t move!

One of my favorite words to emerge from the show really fits with our current #tripletlife lifestyle. Harper is on a kick of saying things are difficult: people, sisters, parents, a task, everything. It turns out there is an episode on Bluey where Bingo (the little sister) uses the word “trifficult,” and I’ve decided this fits well in our household that deals in everything triple. It’s meant to be tricky and difficult combined, hence trifficult. We have a lot of bedtime routines that I would call trifficult to a tee; so, very, trifficult. Some evening conversations go like this, as the girls are lying in their beds resisting the urge to finish the day and go to sleep.

Harper: Mom, where do narwhals live? (narwhals became quite a discussion after Craig’s return from his Juneau work trip, where he found a pink, purple and teal one)

Mom: They live in the water. (It’s bedtime, so don’t be descriptive or long winded)

Harper: But what kind of water do they live in?

Mom: Well they live in the ocean.

Reagan: But mom, why don’t they live in the sea? Why the ocean? I don’t want them to live in the ocean! *whineeeee

Mom: Well, the ocean is bigger than the sea. They need their space. (this answer is based on no legitimate narwhal knowledge on my part)

Harper: Awwww, I don’t want them to live in the ocean! I want them to live in the sea *more whining. So then where do we live?

Mom: We live on the land, in Alaska. It’s next to the ocean. (the girls are well versed in their home state and a few cities where family lives)

Reagan: Well then why don’t we go to the ocean then? Why don’t you EVER take us to the ocean? WHY? I want to see a narwhal but you NEVER take us. (I now see the trap ensuing)

Harper: Yeah, we never go to the ocean. Why don’t you EVER take us to the ocean?!

Emerie (whose been listening thoughtfully the whole time): Turtles live in the water. I love turtles, they are my favorite. I want to go to the ocean. (Good diversion, kid)

Harper (taking the bait): Otters too, I want to go see otters. And the narwhals, since you never take us.

Mom: How about you just go to sleep. We will go to the ocean eventually.

Harper: My narwhal wants to go to the ocean now; she doesn’t want to sleep. Mom, she wants to go to the ocean. (and it went on from there)

And on and on and on….


Pumpkin carving this year was pretty similar to last year, other than the added enjoyment of Cousin Jaren and Savaya coming over to help with the activity. The girls thoroughly enjoyed watching everyone else clean out the pumpkin guts, but just like last year, Harper was the only one willing to use her hands. Emerie and Reagan “helped” gut with spoons and demanded the adults loosen the seeds to their satisfaction. Eventually they returned to playing and the adults finished things out. Jaren’s puking pumpkin was definitely the winner…if we were competing on designs. The girls thought it was pretty funny.

I also had the joy of watching my children knowingly torture their cousin this time around. For the longest time all three interchange their boy cousins names, but now they are starting to do it on purpose to get a rise out of them. Today in particular, all three whispered to each other go call him Tyler with a maniacal laugh, would shout hi Tyler, and then all run away in overwhelming giggles. It’s funny to know they are purposefully tormenting Jaren now. I wonder where they get that trait from?!


A few more Halloween activities led to more princess dress up and fun. The girls had their annual Halloween party at school, with snacks and goodies and fancy, carved pumpkins. Reagan came down with quite a nasty cough the evening before so she had to miss it, with the doctor telling us that day she had RSV (for the first time at age four…which is pretty good!). She demanded that I take photos of the classroom decorations and that her sisters explained what went down that day. One of the teachers’ aides kindly found a squishy eyeball for her to have like her sisters, which prompted much discussion.

Harper and Emerie gladly wore Encanto’s Isabella (Emerie) and Rapunzel (Harper) AND wore their dress up princess heels, which was very exciting since those are only worn at home. One of the teacher aides asked me what Reagan was supposed to be, which seemed like a strange question until she clarified. The girls were going around telling everyone Reagan doesn’t get a costume because she doesn’t sleep in her bed at night. Well not entirely true kiddos…she doesn’t sleep overnight in her bed, but her staying home sick trumps that! It’s funny how the girls perspective is sometimes.

While the weather temperatures decided to drop for the rest of our fall festivities, that didn’t stop us from attempting them anyway. Extra layers and warm, “cozy (fleece) pants” kept extremities warm long enough to enjoy Trunk or Treat at their school over the weekend. It was not nearly as busy as last year, but the girls saw lots of classmates and friends throughout. I heard a few comments from older kids that those are the triplets. Those triplets are the same age! And so on. I even heard one grade schooler comment that their parents probably never sleep. That’s pretty insightful! So their school celebrity status is still going strong.

Harper and Emerie opted for the same outfits as their school party (plus a pink cape) while Reagan begrudgingly wore Anna, only because she wanted a cape. I sneakily convinced everyone to wear princess gloves, to keep hands warm but also to accessorize! Harper requested her hair be down, which she does at school everyday no matter how it’s styled, Reagan had two braids like Anna, and Emerie rocked her Elsa braid ponytail clip.

Craig prepped the decorations and then headed over early to set up. By the time we showed up, he was pretty cold, and I was sweating getting everyone dressed and into the car! Cold or not, the car looked pretty great and mermaid like. The girls were certainly impressed and tried to grab handfuls of the candy from our bowl, that we were trying to get rid of! So. Much. Candy.

The rest of Halloween weekend was spent at home, resting up from the coughing, RSV ridden and very tired kiddos. We attempted to walk around the neighborhood a bit on Halloween night, simply because the girls were so hyped up about it and have asked me for about 364 days when we could next trick or treat. It was a pretty cold night but mostly snow-less, with the neighborhood really picking up by about 6:30. The cold, crisp air was not doing us any favors; after about a block Emerie and Reagan were blustering continuously and we decided it wasn’t worth the effort. They turned around with Cliff and Craig while Harper and I went a couple more blocks. She is fearless, even without her sisters in tow, and did quite well going up to front doors on her own and ringing the bell. Toward the end of the excursion, she was turning candy down and informing unsuspecting folks she needed the packs of M&M candies from their bowls and nothing else. Silly girl. We trekked over to the fanciest decorated house (with a dragon) and then turned around and came home to warm up the appendages, which were quite cold at that point.

We definitely ended the fall season and threw ourselves straight into winter illnesses with a bang. If we are lucky this will be the worst of it for the year, but since we’ve had snow less than a week and temperatures continue to dip, I’m not optimistic that will happen. I am thankful that this is our first diagnosed bout with RSV- it must be so terrifying for folks that have tiny babies coughing and wheezing like this. It was definitely something we worked super hard to avoid when the girls were still considered preemies, and then with COVID, managed to avoid it until age four and a half. Now let’s avoid it for a few more years please. The week spent at home really displays how much the girls have matured and now play with one another or creatively alone, something they didn’t do nearly as well last winter and definitely didn’t last as long. Not sure how Craig and I would have handled the past week a year ago, so thank goodness we didn’t have to!

We made it through the rest of our sick week with dozens (hundreds?) of Bluey episodes and a lot of princess movies, continuous dressing up (from pajamas to princess dresses and accessories), and a lot of down time. We finally convinced the girls to watch a non-animated movie, Maleficent II, and they didn’t react to the scary bits as much as I expected. And we’ve watching it at least a handful of times; they really enjoy seeing the fairies and all love Maleficent and no longer believe she is the villain of the story.

Craig and I continued to brutally step on the dozens of tiny rocks, ahem “crystals”, that litter the floor of our house from Miss Reagan, who adamantly collects them and using them for everything. If we aren’t stepping on rocks, then it’s the tiny plastic jewelry and sharp edged glass beads that are lying in wait for crushing (skin crushing, soul crushing, stepping on them hurts!). Emerie especially loves to accessorize and the house is covered in beaded necklaces, rings, shoes and other head wear and I can’t for the life of me keep that $hit off the floor!

Reagan now knows what bedtime looks like on the living room clock and will argue if it’s not right at eight when we scoop everyone upstairs. I don’t believe she knows what 8 P.M. actually is, but she knows where the hands sit when it’s the right time. So that’s superrrr fun with an overtired preschooler(s). Other intellectual discussions occurred while at home, and I continue to try to remember to write down Harper epiphanies, simply because they crack me up. The only one documented so far this month is related to the poor kitten getting her tail slammed in the door. Harper’s response? If she doesn’t have a tail, she will no longer be a cat and she will die. Ummm ok? That sounds a bit rough and dramatic. When asked what she would be instead, Harper looked me square in the eye and levelly answered, well she wouldn’t be a cat. Touche kid, touche.

I have to say, watching winter occur from the confines of my own home is far preferable to being out and about in it, so we timed the impending illnesses well for that. The yard looks so beautifully white and undisturbed, mostly because the girls hack up a lung when out in the cold for any amount of time. That and they have no desire to be out there until they feel better, other than for the occasional bundled up four wheeler ride, which is met with just as much excitement so far this year as last. Craig and I are back on the mend and the girls seem to have crushed the fevers, with the cough letting up for the most part. I am really hoping for bedtime to smooth out a little, because triple coughing children after ten days is rough on the sanity, for both the kids and the parents.

Stay warm, my friends. ❤

No Worse for (Winter) Wear

All in all early January was pretty subdued and without too much excitement (good or bad!). The high point of winter means dark days, various illnesses, busy work hours, and a lot of entertaining the littles indoors since the cold air seems to make them cough more.

Craig and I took all three to the doctor this week just to ensure we aren’t missing something on the prolonged coughing fits. It’s been a bit since a triple pediatrician visit and it started out super strong, with all three hanging out and “reading” their mini princess books and cooperating with each other; by the end of the visit they were climbing the walls of the waiting area and ready to go. They all did unusually well at obeying the doctor, who checked lungs, ears, nose and mouth with great cooperation. The pediatrician confirmed everyone just has a viral cough, not croup, not COVID, not RSV, not pneumonia from me (thank goodness), just a mild, fever-less cough. Good news I guess!

A few fun outings have happened in the past two weeks. I ventured out to the valley with Megan and the boys, getting a solid driving nap on our way out, and spent a full afternoon and evening at the play center in Wasilla. It was our first visit and the girls loved the climbing area, spending a lot of time going up and down and chasing each other. At some point Reagan went down the big slide at the top so Emerie followed her, which resulted in a tearful discussion of I went down the REALLY big slide and it was scary. It hurt me! Needless to say, she only went down it once.

We devoured snacks, rode the tiny train and spinner rides multiple times, and played a few games. The girls all enjoyed the basketball one and even made some hoops; watching all three play at once is definitely a good source of entertainment. In several cases the ball hit the rim and immediately ricochet straight into someone’s face- causing quite the moment of laughter. Calm down, the balls were much softer than real basketballs….which aren’t so fun when colliding with your nose. The girls enjoyed any game that involved whacking things and tested out their fruit ninja skills with Oaki. Toward the end of the night we watched a few friends race around the track on the other side of the center, with five very excited littles watching. I did not plan to be out until after 8 on a school night (who are we kidding, any night), but the visit went so well the time passed quickly.

It was wonderful to feel more like what I assume “normal” parents feel like during outings. I wasn’t chasing the kids around the whole time to not lose them, wasn’t stressed out and hoping for time to be over so we could go home; I was actually enjoying an afternoon with my girls and not feeling impending stress. Everyone was clearly tired as we loaded up about the time we’d normally be settling down for bedtime, and managed to keep them awake and entertained (annoyed) the entire hour drive with all the favorite Disney tunes…Frozen, Encanto, Home, and so on. And of course, more snacks.

Outings over the past month or two continue to be stroller-less, which is quite the change over the past three years. I should say, stroller-less AND survivable, for the most part. The snow plays a small factor is containment as we walk into a store or the jump park, but overall we are just getting better at it. Excluding the few horrible times that are sprinkled throughout the good trips, it is wonderful to be able to walk from the car to the destination and not haul a thousand things. Not all times are smooth or wonderful, like the other day when I picked up the girls at preschool. They proceeded to run from the gym across the whole school lobby and to the front door with their dresses pulled down to their waists, shoes littering the floor and bare chests on display, and would not listen or come back to me. Those are the beautiful memories to hold onto when they are older…right? The jump park is another spot that one parent can easily take all three and keep the damage to a minimum and it’s really nice.

The girls are currently all on a dress up kick, and while you’d assume Harper would be leading that charge with her love of all things pink, black and princessery, Emerie is currently the one obsessed with her Snow White two piece outfit from Uncle William at Christmas. The past few weeks she’s worn it to school over her clothes a number of times and every night the battle of convincing her it isn’t pajamas occurs. Harper is more into the tutus, dress up heels and crown headbands while Reagan occasionally accepts an article of clothing, especially when delivered by her sisters; overall her favorite “dress-up” article of clothing is the plain green hat from June and January, which she constantly wears and carts around. The other evening Reagan was wearing a pink princess cloak and Harper called her out, claiming she can’t wear pink, you’re Reagan and you wear blue! It’s funny to say, but we definitely hit the nail on the head on who correlates to what color, since we didn’t make the call based on personality at birth. Harper loves girly and pink things, Emerie likes purple (also blue but not the point) and Reagan appears to be the tomboy and prefers teal and blue when given the option.

Snoozing on the way to the valley’s play center.

And then, when you take away the color from a picture, it’s VERY hard to tell who is who, even more so with eyes shut and sans glasses! Don’t you think?!

We have returned to the question phase about my name, with the constant why do we call you mom but Kaden calls you Becca? Can we call you Becca? Daddy’s name is Craig; my mom’s name is Becca, but we don’t call her Becca. So many complicated thoughts to work out.

Many other kiddo musings are fun to interpret and not often understand unless one is paying attention. These types of things must contribute to mom brain, since the lack of understanding their intent often results in rage and meltdowns…so one must store these jewels in their mind until the kid moves onto the next one. I enjoy writing them down, since it shows their quirks and what things they enjoy and latch onto!

Last year the main example of this related to listening to or watching Pan, more commonly known as Tangled or Rapunzel to everyone else on earthy, and they still call her that to this day, but others are definitely popping up into every day conversation. Like when Emerie asks me to play the castle song or the horse song in the car, can you guess those ones from Frozen? She’s referring to Let It Go, the song where Elsa builds the castle while she sings and the song in Frozen II when she wrangles the horse. Reagan is now a huge Rihanna fan, insisting each night that I play the shadow song, which refers to one of Rihanna’s songs from the movie Home, where she sings about the sun and a shadow. Reagan constantly sings that chorus or hums it to herself. Everyone requests the bubble song from the same movie, referring to the main opening scene when all the Boov people come to earth in their bubbles. As mentioned in a previous blog, my favorite interpretation to anything are the requests for the crack house movie (Encanto).

Who knows what requests will be next, but I can’t wait to see. We are gaining five minutes of daylight a day, everyone is starting to get healthier from their coughs, and I can sit and write this on my long-awaited, new living room couch; things are already starting to look up!

House of Sick

2022 is definitely starting off with a bang, and not exactly a fun one. All three adults managed to pick up pneumonia, likely transmitted through the girls (who didn’t catch it thank goodness!) and to my mom, me and as of this week, Craig. Being down for the count with zero energy the past two weeks means relying on a few friends’ gracious help and sheer will power to keep the household floating! Without some help the past several long weekends would have ended with the house on fire. The delivered meals feel similar to back when the babies were tiny and we got through the first few months in survival mode.

In addition to the sick adults, two of the girls have ear infections and Harper now has the croup, meaning everyone in the entire house is on some form of medication (and it’s not covid yay!). This might be a first! The only bonus with our current sicknesses is that Craig and I spaced ours apart just enough to survive; with my second round of stronger medication kicking in right about the time he started feeling worse and having the major fatigue.

On New Years Day I managed to drag myself to the car and we did a family donut run to Carrs in our pajamas, at negative temperatures! The donut requests started with the girls begging for Grandma Sue’s donuts, which no one was up for accomplishing, and so we drove to the usual local spots that were closed for the day. Everyone enjoyed a frosted donut from Carrs, with Reagan eating the entire sugared one, Emerie eating the top icing and sprinkles off hers like a mouse, and Harper slowly nibbling on all the parts.

Other than this, we haven’t been up to much since the new year started. I thank my lucky stars that this extreme sickness hit our household this year and not last, because the girls have done exceptional at playing at home and entertaining themselves without requiring us to be on our feet and moving the whole time. This, and Megan and Heather’s clans coming over to feed and entertain (thank you friends!).


In addition to all the sickness, we recently made another household change and I feel like I’ve already written a very similar blog to this a year ago when we re-homed our Kalli. Here we are again, doing the same thing for our second dog, Koda, who many of you have loved on and snuggled with over the past five years.

Craig and I mused over this decision the last few months and finally made the call that this is something we can do to ease our stress a little bit, stop the dog versus cat fights that cost a lot of money, and give Koda a better place with more puppy attention, something she deserves! It’s a hard decision to make; ultimately what is best for Koda is a place that can sit and snuggle and love on her, something we seem to do a lot of, just not for her and more for our kiddos. These decisions are never fun.

Our pretty girl

Unlike when we went through this with Kalli, the kids are now a factor in how to play out the situation. Making a big deal of it doesn’t deplete the stress, but neither does a vanishing act with no explanation to the littles that would wonder where she went. We opted for a happy medium of the two, with the explanation that Koda needs to go stay with another “momma that needs help and snuggles” and she is going to have so much fun there! We played it off as something exciting and good for our pup, something she will enjoy and be happy with, and I think it worked! Everyone asked why and thought about it, with Emerie claiming no, she’s my Koda the most of the three. She likes to call our house Koda’s house; when she’s mad at both parents for something, she whines she wants Koda. So we will see how that plays out in future days.

Craig dropped her off at the rescue the other night before picking up the girls from preschool and surprisingly no one questioned where she was- although I think they just didn’t notice. The second night I received more questions about her location and randomly throughout the day Emerie asks where her Koda is, which is sad! I never noticed how often she is mentioned in random conversations the girls have until now, but hopefully that will ease with time and it won’t be a sore spot for them.

The house feels strange without a pup and while Craig and I both feel sad that we had to make this call, it is best for the household going forward. The kitties are already starting to run around and play more freely!

Cheers to the start of a new year, which is relatively rougher than some other year starts. Next thing to solve? Getting everyone, myself included, back to feeling healthy so we can get back to fun adventures and activities.

Thanksgiving Week Wildness

It’s been a busy November, with lots of play dates, family visits, activities and all on top of pretty cold temperatures for these south-central Alaskans. I always appreciate family visits and love that I married into a much bigger family network than I have. Craig has a big family for the girls to enjoy and grown up around during visits and through thousands of FaceTime calls. We especially love holiday visits, since it is much easier for us adults to enjoy everything with a few extra sets of hands; it’s also great knowing they are making memories and getting to know many members in the family, especially since mine is so small and much farther away! With so many things to write about, in lieu of writing a ton on our mundane, day-to-day festivities; here are the main highlights as we push from early winter to turkey time, to Christmas!


Donut Time

From the moment Grandma Sue and Papa Lon stepped off the airplane from Juneau, many demands occurred from the three tiny blondes to cook homemade donuts with Grandma. Keep in mind when we tried this activity in February (for Valentine’s Day) the girls refused to eat the final product but really enjoyed the uncooked dough, spreading flour and making the biggest mess possible. This time they continued to make a big, floury mess but finally ate the donuts (holes) and came back for seconds!

Reagan picked out a sprinkle covered donut Christmas ornament for Grandma to take home with her and put up on the tree. Clearly the homemade donuts are making quite the impact as they grow older; you’d agree if you tried them!!

School Luncheon

Grandma and I volunteered at the preschool Thanksgiving luncheon on Wednesday. The three-year-old class was first up in the nicely decorated gym. Once assembled at their designated tables, everyone paired with an older kid buddy, who held their plate and assisted on food selection. The girls refused to buddy up since we were there and insisted on waiting in line with us. When questioned on food choices, all three wanted corn, a roll, carrots and pickles. No one wanted mashed potatoes (not surprising), turkey or stuffing. With a bit of parent coaxing everyone downed a turkey chunk and Harper and Reagan devoured a handful of olives. After the main course was pumpkin pie, with Harper eating only the whip cream, Emerie inhaling all the filling and not touching the crust, and Reagan eating it all!

Crazy Kids

Our goofballs continue to randomly make surrounding adults chuckle. For example, Reagan turned around one night to a lip like this and convinced us it was blood, with a story about falling and hurting her lip. Care to guess what it really was? Nail polish!

Early riser Emerie was hanging out with Grandma at the crack of dawn the other morning, repeating three times she wanted to watch Merida. Finally told Grandma to go away, since she wasn’t “listening.” Everyone now uses the word “never” and will respond I’m never doing that! or I’m never talking to you AGAIN! We don’t use that terminology very often; I’m guessing another preschool kid taught them the fun new word.

Olaf Bread for the Win

Another fun, edible craft idea from the family cook meant customized, breaded Olaf’s for Thanksgiving lunch, with each kiddo donning a cooking hat and apron and decorating their own version of the snowman. This activity was quite the hit in the morning, with specific colored sprinkles, dyed orange noses, craisins for buttons and don’t forget the eyeballs! Even more surprising, the girls consumed these beauties with lunch, eating every sweet treat off before biting into the fresh dough and bread stick arms.

Cookie Decorating

Cookie decorating skills were put to the test several times over the holiday break. The girls decorated turkey cookies with mini paintbrushes and fall themed edible paint. As usually, Reagan took her time to cover ever white edge on the whole thing while Harper and Emerie more so enjoyed spreading the paint with their brushes and begging to eat them. Later in the weekend the first batch of gingerbread for the season was decorated- or more realistically I should say the girls ate sprinkles and continually asked to eat more cookies.

Putting Up the Tree

With the darkness and frigid cold weather, the Christmas tree up early is a must. This year the girls were a bit more helpful, but overall they did the same fight-over-the-tree-bag crying as last year. Everyone helped hand a few branches to Craig or I, but otherwise weren’t thrilled until the ornaments came out. Emerie decided stretching out all the wrapping ribbon looked really fun until we stopped her! Everyone enjoyed hanging their ornaments on the lower half of the tree. This year’s ornament is Frozen themed; last year was Tangled. Maybe next year it’ll be something other than a princess! And don’t let that adorable hugging photo convince you, that occurred after full cookie related bribery, a failed nap and a lot of fighting. And after putting a couple wrapped presents under the tree, they are now asking if it’s Christmas yet…a month out!

Thankfulness

Thanksgiving dinner was quite the feast of deliciousness: turkey, stuffing, sweet and mashed potatoes, pecan and pumpkin pie. Mmm, mmm, mmmmm… If my sense of smell was back, I’m sure it smelled amazing! We discovered through the afternoon snacking that one can of olives was insufficient for Harper and Reagan, that Harper now likes celery, and everyone really likes mini cucumbers and cranberry sauce.

Outdoor Photo Shoot

Megan scheduled a 20 minute photo session outside and the kiddos rocked it! Is it hard to get 5 toddlers to look and smile at once!? Yes. Is it impossible to get?! No! Does it help when they are super cold? Yes actually. And even in the cold they did fantastic and enjoyed a cookie and candy cane on the drive back home. I can’t wait to see the results.

Surprise Visit!

Auntie ‘Manda came up for the weekend to surprise everyone and the girls were so excited. Amanda is now Reagan’s new best friend and was glued to her side the entire weekend, which was really cute. The jump park became much more fun play at her with in tow and they greatly enjoyed snuggling with her on the couch and warming up with some movies. We are already receiving requests for her to visit and play again!!

At bedtime after a busy Thanksgiving, I asked each kiddo what they were thankful for and as anticipated, received varied answers. Harper was thankful for dip (all kinds apparently) and the color black. Reagan was thankful for presents, which are sitting under the Christmas tree, and Emerie was thankful for dinner.

Harper’s favorite holiday thing was eating, specifically the cookie she decorated and celery. Emerie’s favorite things was eating chicken (turkey) and watching a movie. Reagan says nothing is my favorite today. After a bit of pushing, she claimed watching Merida (Brave) in the living room earlier in the day was her favorite. Oh well!

Overall, what a fun week it was! Each holiday season will be a bit more fun and I’m really looking forward to Christmas.

Winter Woes

One ride before it was too cold

It’s official- we are down to only ONE baby gate in our house, that disconnects downstairs from upstairs! The loft/home office is now freely open to wandering toddlers, who occasionally graze on some dry cat food, hoping the parents won’t notice, and the gate on the girls’ bedroom is now packed away in the garage. We weren’t using it for more than a pet buffer and night in the last few months and figured it was time to embrace the freedom! I wonder how long until we will be a gate-less house, with kids wandering freely and not burning it to the ground out of adult eyesight.

Now that winter officially started, with about 18″ of snow over one twenty-four hour period followed by a dip to below zero temperatures outside, we are back to the normal cold, darkness, and try-our-best-to-entertain indoors until next spring. Daycare drop off and pickup for the next three months occurs under the cover of darkness and now the moon is visible some nights and always warrants a discussion.

Harper: Mom, drive faster! Catch the moon!

Reagan: Daddy has a fast car. Daddy could catch the moon.

Harper: Yeah, Daddy could catch the moon.

Such sass from the backseat! Other days similar sass occurs out of the blue, during a chore or a conversation. For example, the other night Emerie peeked around the bathroom door while Harper and Reagan were brushing their teeth, with a loud holler of you will never bring your family honor! and a door slam for dramatic effect. Guys, I can’t make this stuff up! Bonus points if you can guess that movie.

While we attempt to not watch too much television and come up with a variety of mind (and time) engaging activities- now that the girls actually enjoy watching shows and movies- it always proves interesting to watch anything with a group of toddlers.

For example, we watched Sleeping Beauty for the thousandth time the other night. The opening scene with Aurora walking and singing in the woods is accompanied with approximately a hundred, varied questions. Mom, where is she going? Why is she singing? Are the birds talking to her? How old is she? Where are her shoes? The scene then zooms out from the princess to the prince to bring up more toddler musings: Is that the prince? What’s his name? What’s his horse’s name? Why? Where is he going? Is he a boy? Do I need to continue or do you get the picture!

Everyone loves when Maleficent comes on the screen, but also hides their eyes or cowers under any nearby blanket. More comments arise such as she’s not a nice lady. Why isn’t she nice? She needs a spanking from daddy, really hard. She lives in a castle by herself? Why? And the plot continues.

Bedtimes continues to plague us, as it does for all toddler parents. Does anybody else have tiny minions that will do anything to get out of settling into bed each night?

Mom, I’m tired. Mom, I’m thirsty. Mom, I have to pee. Mom, I have a sharp nail. Mom, my arm is itching me. Mom, my butt hurts. Mom, I can’t pull my blanket up! My toes are cold! I don’t like blue stars; I want red ones.

What book reading looks like now

Other nights they fight over who sings a song, claim sister is waking them up by singing, or because one is serenading the other with happy birthday, which causes a screaming argument. Why? Well, it isn’t their birthday! And on other rare occasions, I get the joy of singing a song from Frozen at least a dozen times in a row, until they drift off to sleep.

We’ve essentially given up on bedtime book reading, which is unfortunate since witnessing them recite the stories from memory was incredibly cute and a good way to calm down for sleep. Some nights they will sit for a few moments on the couch and let us get through a short book, but in general someone is always goofing off, talking back, or fighting to prevent actual reading from taking place.

The past six weeks, before the joy of winter even hit, were more taxing on us parents the normal, everyday taxation we are used to, and I’m not just blaming covid for that! Post covid and quarantine, after the daily routine normalized, resulted in two ear infections, a triple stomach flu and Craig catching it too, and a pretty nasty follow-up cold, worse for me than the girls.

It definitely comes as no surprise, as I assumed half the winter months would be submersed in some kind of sickness. The girls did excellent at throwing up in the designated “throw up bowl” by the time we passed through the bug, and we probably did ten loads of laundry, all the beds, pajamas, blankets and so on before getting back to normal. The girls now ask why the puke bowl isn’t in their bedroom and like to tell people they “puked last night.”

Tiny tots!

The sicknesses resulted in a couple weeks with a kiddo at home for a day or two, on rotation, while Craig and I both attempted to get our meetings and work done. The princess laptop comes out on those days, since we just own one, and the girls are thrilled to “work” beside the parents as needed. On a busy morning, Emerie would comment that my “office was talking,” as emails and Teams calls came through the speakers.

Reagan’s last ear infection put us near the threshold of considering ear tubes for her this winter and a follow up appointment in December to discuss with ENT. Emerie’s latest eye doctor appointment unfortunately showed more regression from the progress we made over the summer and fall on her eye straightening, and will result in another procedure next month as well.

December appears to be quite a busy month, not to mention the holidays in addition to illnesses, procedures, work and everyday life. Guess we will too busy to be cold…right?