Izzy, Ally and Abby
A lot has happened since my last post, and I'm certain I will forget a lot of stuff, but I might as well try to catch up, as I know I (and my girls) will appreciate this blog one day. Just a note: it's probably going to be a long one!
First of all: EVERYONE IS POTTY TRAINED!!!
It was a ROUGH, and I mean ROUGH couple of months, but it is FINISHED!!! By finished... I mean we're all in big girl panties, and most of the time we stay clean and dry. Note to the reader: the next couple of paragraphs are all about potty training, and may be a little boring... you may want to skip ahead!
Abby was the first to potty train. I started in mid-March, and I would say she was fully trained within the first week or two. That girl never ceases to amaze me. She was the one that was afraid to sit on the potty when we would attempt it before bath time, and appeared to be the least interested of the three. I think it was a combination of her desire to please her mommy, along with her love of candy that really helped her to succeed.
Ally was potty trained 2-3 weeks after the start date... it took her nearly 3 weeks to a month to go #2 in the potty. When she finally did it, we had a HUGE celebration! After the first time, she pretty much mastered both pee and poop, and very rarely has accidents.
Izzy was definitely the most challenging of the three for potty training. (On a side note, Izzy is extremely intelligent, but I believe she is just a few months behind her sisters in her development. Not behind in her intelligence or abilities... just behind in the rate in which she's developing. Just want to be clear for all reading, and for the girls who may read this in the future! :) In many ways, I see her doing things just a few months later... which is, of course, extremely normal). It took her about 3-4 months to get fully potty trained. Recently, we had a bout of regression with her too, but that seems to be taken care of after reintroducing some incentives, and making sure I remind her. She's a very busy little player, and struggles with taking the time out to go.
Here's a glimpse into the potty training process... let me assure you, it wasn't all smiles all the time!
Things are Changing:
For some other EXTREMELY exciting news... the girls will be starting a 3-year-old program at a local church soon. They will be going four days a week, for four hours a day. After school, I will pick them up, along with Andi Mae, our Pastor's daughter, and we will go home for lunch, play and nap. The school is giving me a little discount since I have three kids enrolled, and with the extra babysitting money with Andi Mae, we will be able to afford to send them. I think it will be SO good for them and me!!! I am SOOOO excited to have 16 hours a week of FREEDOM!!!!! FREEDOM!!!! I'm giddy at the thought of it! Also, I've seen many of the kids that have gone through this church's 3 and 4 yr old program, and they come out knowing lots of scripture, and demonstrate a lot of pre-reading skills. It's a very exciting and good thing for all of us.
The girls have had some big changes at our church in the past few weeks, and instead of being in the nursery during Sunday School and church, they're now in their own SS class, and they go to Wee Church afterwards. They make crafts, sing, and learn about the Bible. I love hearing them sing little songs they learned, and listening to what they talked about in class. Izzy is having a little trouble with the transition, and in the past few weeks, has been crying a lot while in class. She is the biggest "mommy's girl" out of all of them, and the teachers tell me, she does ok for the most part, until she sees another mommy or daddy pick up or drop off a kid, and then the fussing starts again. I know this will pass if we just give it time... but, it's hard knowing she's unhappy or crying because she wants me.
Another change since I blogged last: I have been doing a little work from home gig, that has been really great! I do contract work for a company called Team Floral. They're a consulting company for flower shops... helping to train their sales staff and teaching them how to be more profitable. My role is to secret shop the participating shops all over the country, and score the calls to see if they're following our advice and incorporating the practices we teach. I get paid by the call, and can make about 6-7 calls in an hour. I only work while the girls are napping, but it has generated an extra $400-$500 a month for us, and above all, I'm really enjoying it! 8-10 hours a week, working from home... I'm pretty happy with that for now. I'm also excited to have my foot in the door with this company, because they have trainers and other full-time jobs (where everyone works from home), and this may be something I'd be interested in someday when the girls are in school all day.
The Girls' Development:
At this point, it's hard to even say what they're doing developmentally, because they're pretty much just normal little people now! They speak in complete sentences, walk, run, use the toilet, eat stuff that doesn't have to be torn into tiny pieces.... just little people! I know that may sound funny, but all throughout this blog, I've listed the milestones (sitting up, walking, foods they're eating, saying 3-word sentences, etc.) At this point, they're just the smartest, talkiest, active, little girls, and they keep us laughing every day. They love to dance, sing, and they love to play pretend. They LOVE to play hide and seek, and will coax anyone who walks in the door to play with them.
We went to their Pediatrician for their 3-year-old check-up on June 19th, and here were their measurements, in order from smallest to biggest:
Abby: 36 inches tall (21st percentile), 26 lbs. (5th percentile)
Izzy: 37 inches tall (44th percentile), 28 lbs. (19th percentile)
Ally: 38 inches tall (69th percentile), 30 lbs. (39th percentile)
Although Izzy and Abby are pretty light, they all still eat very well, and almost always finish the food on their plate, since I usually offer an incentive for doing so. On a normal day, I make sure they have a vitamin, 2 cups of milk, 2 cups of juice and the rest is ice water (which they don't mind). I make sure they have at least 1 green veggie a day, 2-3 servings of fruit, 1-2 proteins, and dairy/grain as well. If only I could be as aware of what I'm putting in my mouth, maybe I could be in the 19th and 39th percentile for weight too?! Hmmmm....
The girls are always playing little games they've either made up or learned from someone. For example, on the way to church, I always hear one of them in the backseat say, "If you see church, say church!" They point out all the schools, parks, etc. along the way, and get so excited to be the first to spot the church. They love to play "restaurant" where they come and take our order. For instance, Ally will come in the living room with a toy spoon (using it as a pen) and pretend to write in a book. She'll say, "What do you want?" Then write as we give our wish list for dinner. She runs to her kitchen and they all bring us play food until we're stuffed.
They're very into helping right now in any way they can, and very much want to do everything by themselves. Abby always asks me if she can put the napkins on the table before a meal, and they LOVE it when I give them the dust pan and little broom to sweep up afterwards. Unfortunately, their skills are not quite good enough at the dust pan to be "helpful" yet, but I guess practice makes perfect, right?
Daddy is still a big "jungle gym" for them, and mommy is still the receiver of most of the cuddles. When I go to Bunko once a month, they now basically push me out the door, because they know daddy is going to play "Tiger, and Horsey, and Boo". Tiger is a game where he crawls around, roars and captures them and tickles them. They run and scream all over the place, and often, run right into him so they can be captured. Horsey is where they ride around on him like a horse. Boo is where he hides in a different place as they try to find him. He jumps out and says, "Boo", then they all run screaming to the back room and start the whole game over again, while he finds a different place to scare them. They also play a game called "wall" where their 6'4" daddy lays on the floor sideways and they climb up on him and jump off. (I personally hate the "wall" game, because it looks very painful, and I'm almost certain Matt's ribs are going to get broken any day now!) Daddy is definitely a fun play mate when he wants to be... the downfall is, he's always looked at as their play toy/jungle gym, and he doesn't get the cuddle requests quite as often as me. I'm pretty sure that's a good thing, and I'm also very happy these girls get to grow up with such a great daddy. Not to brag too much, but someday they should really thank me for choosing so wisely :)
There are pros and cons to being a triplet, as you can imagine. For example, one con: we don't get out and have quite as many experiences as perhaps someone does with one toddler. However, one pro that I see, is the social interaction with other toddlers all the time. For example, they're learning very early to share, take their turn, and work things out when there is a dispute. When there is a fight, the person in the wrong has to look the other in the eyes and say, "I'm sorry". The wronged party, then has to say, "It's ok" and they both hug and go play. Annnnnd.... let's just say they get lots and lots of practice at this skill.
Now that they're three, things really are getting easier in lots of ways... a lot of times, when we go to Wal Mart, the whole family will go, and the girls and daddy will walk behind me, as we shop. They run around, and love to help put things into the cart. We do still get a lot of attention everywhere we go with them though... I would venture to say, we get comments from 4 out of 5 shoppers, every trip. By the 20th, well-meaning, "Wow you sure have your hands full", it's hard to smile, nod and make a nice comment back. I don't mind... it just gets a little old, and it's hard to act like it's funny after #19. What I do mind, is the one rude person that makes a comment like, "Oh... all girls? I pity you", or "I'm glad it's you and not me." To these comments, I have very little patience anymore. I'm a pretty nice person for the most part, and let's face it, I AM proud of these girls... so most of the time I welcome comments, stares and interruptions. The negative ones, however, really BURN ME UP!!! A few weeks ago, when a lady told me she "pitied me", I told her, "Well you shouldn't, God has blessed me, and I'm very happy with what I have." As I walked off, I heard her trying to explain her comment behind me, but I just find it so rude that someone thinks they can say that to a complete stranger about an AMAZING BLESSING in their life. Sorry.... I'm ranting a bit, but the attention (both positive and negative) is definitely an everyday occurrence when we're out in public.
A daily struggle of mine, is having the girls pick up all their toys. They string them all over the house, and I request that they pick them up twice a day: once before nap, and once before bedtime. I'm sure this is a very common occurrence with many parents, but it's so frustrating every day to have to go through the threats, spankings and yelling before it's finally done. I've been reading "The New Dare to Discipline" book by James Dobson, and I have a plan to implement some sort of rewards chart in the near future, where each child has a set of behaviors to achieve each day (one of them will DEFINITELY be picking up toys). At the end of the day, we'll review the behaviors and give them their reward for the desired outcome. Some people might call it bribery.... I call it incentives, and isn't that the way the world works anyway? Do you go to work because you want to, or do you go to work because you get a pay check? Anyway... they certainly won't get incentives for the "given" things as they get older, and toys will eventually become a "given", but for now, doing it without grumbling or just doing it, will be a huge thing!!! I'll have to let you know how it goes...
Some specific things about each girl:
Izzy is still a little firecracker, but is getting a little less ornery as she gets older. She still gets mischievous, but usually only when she's really tired and hasn't had a good nap. Around 8:00 on a day she didn't take a nap, I can see this look in her eyes like, "What can I get into?" I love the way Izzy dances. She has really good rhythm, and my favorite move is one where she walks around with a pep in her step, twists her little butt side to side, and waves her hands out in front of her in movement with her bootie. She's getting more and more scared of things, and every night before she goes to bed, she asks, "Mommy, is somebody gonna get me?" I hate that she even thinks that, and I try to explain that mommy and daddy are here with her, and that God is always watching over her. Before bed, she also always wants to sing a little line from the Grease movie that goes, "Always be together... Always be Together!" She loves to have her back scratched, and always comes to me and lays across my lap asking for me to scratch. In general, Izzy loves most everyone, and usually warms up to strangers the fastest. When we go to a Dr's appointment or hair appointment, she always goes first, because she's so brave, and always sets a good example for sisters to follow. Matt and I love a certain facial expression she makes all the time...It's a very matter-of-fact kind of expression. She kind of puckers her mouth over to one side, makes her eyes big, and nods her head. It's so cute. We had a little scare with Izzy at the 3-year Dr. appt, because for the first time, he detected a murmur while listening to her heart. We had an echo cardiogram just to be safe, and thank God it is an "innocent" murmur, and nothing we need to follow up with or worry about. She's a very happy, active, sweet, little girl!
Abby has really come out of her shell in the last year or so. In the first couple years of her life, she was way more shy, reserved and clingy than the other two. She was also fearful of doing anything remotely wild, like being on daddy's shoulders, being thrown in the air, doing a pony ride, etc. She still has her moments, but is becoming more and more brave and outspoken. A lot of people that go extended times without seeing her, really notice. They can't believe how talkative and outspoken she's become. She also has her moments where she can be a bit ornery herself. Though she pretty much has her daddy and me wrapped around her little bitty finger, lately we've unwound ourselves enough to see she's developing a bit of an attitude at times, and has to be in time out or spanked more and more often. I'm finding age three to be less about getting into things they shouldn't and more about attitude adjustments than anything. Last night, as we were tucking her into bed, Abby said, "Daddy, you're the best daddy I ever seen'. She's still very sweet, and as I tuck her in she says, "I love you, mommy" in just the sweetest little voice. She has BIG blue eyes and is the cutest little thing. She has really unique dance moves, and really does a lot of difficult steps and spins as she goes around the living room. I find myself in awe as I watch her creativity with her dancing. She's still very attached to Srog the Frog... she doesn't have to have him with her while playing or throughout the day, but if she wants cuddles, wants to sleep, or gets hurt, Srog is the first thing she grabs. While at their last check-up, the Dr. was having trouble with one of her ears registering on this machine they use to measure sound waves in the ear. I took her to the ENT doctor that put her tubes in. The tubes have naturally fallen out of her ears... I knew one had because she brought it to me almost a year ago, but we haven't been having ear infections again, so I just assumed we didn't need to have them anymore. The Dr. said she has a hole in her ear drum from where the tube was inserted. He said 99% of the time, the hole heals itself, but sometimes it doesn't. We're going to have a sound test done next week to see if it's causing hearing loss, or if it heals all on it's own. If it's causing problems with her hearing, she may have to have some kind of surgery to repair it.
Ally is so smart, so bossy, and so funny! This girl is definitely one-of-a-kind, and has us cracking up on a daily basis. She is always bossing her sisters around, and often tries to boss me around as well. It's crazy, because I really think she thinks she's smarter than me. She corrects me every chance she can get: If I say "Girls, eat your dinner" and it's lunchtime, she'll say, "Mommy, we're eating lunch." If I call her a different name, she'll say, "Mommy, my name is Ally". Ok, so granted, she's right some of the time, but sometimes she argues over things she knows nothing about. Though she's a little know-it-all, she really is very smart. She talks like a little adult most of the time. The other day, I was playing with her hair, and she said, "Mommy, my hair is not a toy!". I proceeded to tickle her legs and she said, "Mommy, I'm not a jungle gym!" A seriously funny little girl! We still have attitude issues now and again, but I'm noticing attitude issues in all of my 3-year-olds at this point. Because of her bossy side, if things don't go her way, we'll hear her scream in the other room. We lovingly call it her Tera dactyl scream. At that point, Matt and I usually look at each other and say, "Ally doesn't play well with others.... " Ally is also the Queen of making strange facial expressions. She loves to stick her bottom lip way out and pout if things don't go her way... While the lip is out, she kind of droops her whole face and appears very, very sad. She also does this weird thing where she sticks her tongue out and looks quite silly. She does this the most when her other sisters are showing off, and she just stands there looking weird, with her tongue out. She loves to play hard-to-get. For example, if one of her grandparents comes over... she'll usually be the last to go give them a hug, although you can tell she wants to do it. It's always been this little game she plays, I think, to get more attention. And... it usually works. I've mentioned how the other two dance... Ally has her own signature move, where she stands in one place, and gyrates her hips and pelvis around in a circle. Usually, she makes the weird tongue-out face while doing this, which really completes the move! And FINALLY, Ally's hair is GROWING!!! It's finally getting to where I can make a cute little pony tail on the top, and I can flip the bottom out and curl it up to make a cute little "do". It appears as though she's going to take after her mommy and have curly hair.
Each girl is still so very different from each other, and are so special and endearing in their own little way.
The Girls' 3rd Birthday Party:
The girls turned three in May, and we had a Barney-themed Birthday party at the house for them. We had three cakes, one for each girl. Izzy's cake had BJ the dinosaur on it, Abby's had Baby-Bop, and Ally's had Barney... all at their requests! We served mini, slider-burgers, potato salad, beans, and chips. We had purple, yellow, and green balloons, plates and cups, and Barney music was playing as we ate and opened presents. Once the food, cake and presents were done in the house, the kids went outside to enjoy their bouncy castle (a gift from Meemaw and Papaw), their swing set, their water table, bubbles, and side walk chalk. We invited a few other kids the girls' age from church, but only Cooper and Andi Mae were able to make it. Of course, a lot of other family and friends came too, and I think everyone (especially the little ones) had a good time! Here are a few pics from their party:
The cakes were made by Cassia Backwater. They turned out very cute, and tasted great!
Abby, Ally and Izzy... ready for their party!
Blowing out candles....
The girls opened lots of cards...
Aunt Heather got the girls a small basketball goal and balls just their size. I think she's already coaching Abby on how to shoot in this pic!
The kids playing on the bouncy house:
Playing in the water table... (It was too cold to swim).
Sidewalk chalk and bubbles!
Swinging.... Abby, Cooper and Andi Mae being pushed by cousin Madison
Towards the end of the party, Ally was looking a little ragged!!! It was a FUN party!
Abby was looking a little rough too. Please note the fun, purple, swirly, straw cup. I think this was her favorite part of the party! She drank and drank out of that thing.
Our First Family Vacation:
In June, we decided to take our first "Family Vacation". It was more of a trip to say "We did it" than anything, and just to get out of the state and do something different. We chose to go to Memphis, because it was within driving distance, and I had never been there. Also, it has a great zoo and a cool children's museum. We stayed at a Hilton Homewood Suites, and got a suite that had a living room/kitchen and two separate bedrooms with king sized beds. The girls slept in one room, and Matt and I slept in the other room. It worked out pretty great, once the girls got to sleep. There was MUCH more playing and talking than usual, as you can imagine, being all in the same bed. I ended up laying in bed with them for the first 30 minutes or so, to get everyone to sleep, but then all was smooth-sailing.
We bought some bed rails to make sure no one fell out, and brought pillows, blankets and 2 toys each to ensure a good night's sleep.
The first night we got there, we went out to eat at a seafood restaurant, then took the kids to Chic-fil-a, to play on the play equipment and work out some of their energy from the long car ride. The next day (a Friday), we went to the Memphis Zoo and had a very nice time. We absolutely loved their zoo, and it was a good day.
Here's the girls looking at the Panda exhibit
Here we are riding the carousel as a family....
That night, we decided to shower, clean up, and go to a nice steak restaurant up the road.... BIG MISTAKE! Although the girls were pretty good, the restaurant was way too fancy to have 3 toddlers there, and Matt and I were stressed to the max, trying to keep them on their best behavior. This is not something we will likely try again for a very long time. That night, as the girls were laying in their bed to go to sleep, Abby was extra fussy. I climbed up closer to her, just in time for her to vomit ALL OVER the bed! Luckily, I contained it all in the comforter and only Abby's things, so the other 2 girls were not affected. As I dealt with Abby and gave her another bath, Matt had to take all of the vomited on "materials" to get cleaned. Fortunately, there was a laundry facility at the Hotel, which came in handy that night... Poor Matt. He came back a few hours later, cursing, and saying, "we are never going to go on vacation again!" This was definitely the lowest point of the trip :)
The next day, because our friends, Andrew and Courtney were also stopping in Memphis on their way home from a family event in Alabama, we got together and went to the Children's Museum of Memphis. My girls and Andi Mae had lots of fun there and it was absolutely the perfect place to take four 3-year-olds. There were real fire trucks and motor cycles they could climb and explore, pretend gardens and farmer's markets, stages with music and costumes to sing and dance on, a Lego area, and even a pretend supermarket, where the girls could push little carts around and take pretend groceries off of the shelves and go to the check out stands. There was a TON of other stuff I'm not mentioning, but the girls had a really good time.
Izzy on a cop motorcycle
Abby and Ally at the Farmer's Market stand
Abby on the school bus
Izzy in a giraffe costume. The girls are playing on the green screen/stage in the background. They could see themselves in different scenes on the tv.
Ally shopping in the market
Izzy checking out with her groceries
Abby checking out with her groceries
That same day, we took the girls to the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis to see the "Duck Walk" that happens every day at 5:00. The place was packed, but one of the security men motioned me and the girls over to the red carpet, and pointed for us to sit by the red carpet, so we could have a front row seat as the ducks waddled past, boarded the elevator, and went to the rooftop of the Hotel (a tradition that's been going on for decades).
Here's a pic of the ducks walking right in front of us... you can see the girls (in red shirts and white pants) and me just to the left of the ducks on the red carpet.
The view from our seat
After the duck walk, we ate at Rendezvous BBQ.... famous for their ribs. Personally, I wasn't too impressed, but Matt really liked it. The girls had such a full day, we decided to call it a day... we stopped for some ice cream on the way home, and went back to the hotel... luckily, this was a vomit-free night!
The next day, we headed back home, stopping a few times to let the girls play at a restaurant play area and get some energy out. DVD players in the car are a wonderful thing, by the way. It was a good little trip... not too relaxing and very different from our pre-child vacations, but we made some good memories!
4th of July
For the 4th, we took the girls to see their first Fireworks show. We were invited to go out to my mom's good friend, Patsy's, house. She lives out at Lakeland, and her neighborhood always puts on a show. We spread a blanket on the lawn, and taught the girls how to "oooooh" and "awwww" at the fireworks bursting in the sky. I was really proud of all three girls... none of them got scared, and they were all very friendly and social with all of my mom's friends, changing laps often. For the daytime activities on the 4th, we just stayed home. My mom came over, and we grilled a very nice meal and swam in the pool. It was a good day.
A look at our current laid back schedule, since I know it's going to change drastically, with school starting soon:
9:00: Wake up and have breakfast (I almost always have to wake the girls up or they'd probably sleep until 9:30 or later).
1:30 Start picking up toys
4:30: Juice, snack, and tv show
8:00 Baths, brush teeth, pick up toys, prayers, etc.
Other Things we did this Spring and Summer:
Here are some pics of the girls hunting Easter Eggs, because, Yes, it's been THAT LONG since I've updated the blog!!! This is Abby, Ally and Izzy after their hunt at the Palm Sunday Picnic at our church.
This is a pic of the girls on Easter Morning before church
Hunting eggs at Meemaw and Papaw's house on Easter.
In April, baby Hope (Andi Mae's little sister) was born! Here's a pic of the girls visiting her in the hospital.
Memorial Day, we had a fish fry at Matt's parents' house... They got out Madison's old Barbie jeep, and the girls had a very good time driving around the yard.
I love this picture! Madison and Izzy had a good time too!
Here's a pic of the night Meemaw and Papaw gave the girls their bouncy house. We decided since it was new and clean, and we have a big living room, we would set it up in the living room for the girls to play on. It was fun!
This is a pic of the girls getting their new doll house the morning of their birthday
Meemaw and Papaw took us to the Jenks Aquarium in Mid-May. This is a pic of the girls looking at the turtles. They even got to feed them carrots at the end of a pole!
At the aquarium, the Shark tank is so neat! They've designed it where you can walk through it and have the sharks swim over and all around you. Ally and Izzy loved when their daddy and Papaw picked them up to get closer to the sharks. Abby would have none of it. Here's a pic of Matt watching the shark go over with Ally.
This isn't a great pic of Izzy, but I love the huge smile on Dale's (Papaw's) face
In this pic, Ally and Izzy were not happy that Papaw was taking a rest, and blocking their walking ledge.
This Crocodile is at the entrance of the aquarium... I love how concerned the girls look as Matt puts his head in it's mouth!
In early June, the girls went to VBS at the church, and loved every minute of it. This is a pic of them on stage Sunday morning, about to sing one of the songs they learned.
When we get tired of being stuck inside because of the hot weather.... we've discovered the Pryor Library can be a lot of fun! The girls love to play with all the puzzles, and they love to check out and return books. I personally, love to have some different books to read to the girls... because I'm very bored with reading the books we own. Each girl even has their own little library card.
The girls like to color at the library too.
In July, we had the Sherman family reunion one weekend, and the Morris/Haley family reunion the next weekend, so my brother and his family came to visit and stayed a little over a week. We got in lots of family time, and the girls especially had fun with their cousin, Andie. Andie had a good time with them too.... I was told there were some big sobs and tears after she had to say goodbye to the girls. :(
This pic was taken at the Morris/Haley reunion, and I think it's really sweet.
As you can see, it's been a very active Spring and Summer.... looking forward to making more memories and updating the blog again soon!